When Saturday evening arrives and the Sabbath is over, the women – Mary Magdalene, James’ mother Mary, Salome, Joanna, and several others – go to the marketplace to buy additional spices to anoint Jesus’ body. Sunday morning, very early, they go to the garden with the spices they have prepared. They worry about how they will be able to roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb. They do not know about the guard stationed there. When they get to the tomb, they stop and stare in surprise. The stone has been rolled away from the entrance and the guards are standing, looking into the tomb in fear. The women approach cautiously, and soon notice that there is a very bright light coming from inside the tomb. They peer inside and see two men, dressed in shining white robes, glowing with a blindingly bright Heavenly light – angels! The women fall to the ground in fear, but one of the angels says, “Fear not! Why are you looking for Jesus here? This is a place for dead people, and He is alive! He has risen from the dead! Do you not remember what He told you, that He would be betrayed and killed, but would rise again on the third day?” The women look up in surprise. They do recall Jesus saying this to them, and they are beginning to have a glimmer of understanding. “Go and tell His apostles that He will meet them in Galilee, just as He told them before His death.” They stand and rush back to the place where the apostles are staying to tell them what has happened. But Mary Magdalene stays by the tomb. She is confused and very upset. She sinks down to her knees in the garden and begins to cry. One of the angels sees her and asks, “Why are you crying?” “Because they have taken away My Messiah and I don’t know where they have put Him.” She wants to believe what the angels have said, but doesn’t want to get her hopes up and have them dashed to pieces. A shadow falls across the ground in front of her. A Man stands there, and Mary believes he is the gardener. “Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” He asks her. Mary replies the same way, “Because they have taken away My Messiah and I don’t know where they have put Him. Please, sir, if you have taken Him somewhere, tell me where, so that I may go and get Him.” The Man says, “Mary,” and suddenly, she knows who it is. Nobody else has ever said her name in that way. “Rabbi!” she cries, jumping to her feet. Her arms go out to embrace Him, but Jesus steps back and says to her, “Not yet, Mary. I have not gone to My Father yet. Now, go and tell My brothers this message: ‘I AM going up to My Father and your Father, to My God and Your God.’” Mary nods, her whole face glowing with joy, and runs to deliver the message to the apostles.
Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-9, Luke 24:1-10, John 20:1-2, 11-18a