It was early morning, so early in fact that it was still dark. The city was quiet as the women made their way through the streets. There was no small talk; in fact no words were spoken at all for fear of the tears flowing again. Each one had had a headache for days because of the crying and the activity of walking had given them a much needed break. In their hands were carefully prepared spices for the body. Yes, the body. The man they all loved so deeply was dead.
How could this be? They could not even slightly wrap their heads around this. But dead he was. They had witnessed the horrific execution with their own eyes.
It was all so sudden, just days ago they were all hanging out, having dinner, laughing and yet as they remembered back they could now tell there had been a weariness about him. Not that this ever stopped him pouring out his love and compassion – in fact just the opposite. He had been so attentive, so kind. Oh the pain – how could they have killed him!!
The worse was first thing in the morning, that first moment when your eyes open and for a split second you forget a loved one has died and then… then you remember and the heaviness that descends on your heart is unbelievable.
What had he ever done to deserve this? Their love for him cried out in utter pain.
For this man was truly remarkable. He was like no other!
He had been brought up in the same time and country as them and so he had been surrounded by the culture that treated woman as nothing.
He was the first man to look them, a woman, in the eyes and treat them as an equal. He was the first man to speak to them and listen to their, a woman’s opinion. He was the first man to show kindness and gratitude for their acts of service. He was the first man to show respect and give time. And he was the first man to love them without condition. He loved them and in turn they loved him deeply back.
Now he was gone! Dead! Oh how that thought made them want to throw up because their stomach churned so violently.
And with him hope was gone. Hope that their future would be different. Hope that they would be lifted from their status and be able to actually do things that had meaning. Hope that the men in their lives would watch and learn. Hope that the generations of women to come would not be treated so badly.
As these thoughts circulated in their minds their steps got slower and not one of them noticed the dawn slowly arriving announcing another day.
Finally they arrived at the place where the tomb was. Mary Magdalene’s steps grew faster; she who had been rescued and forgiven much had loved him so deeply. She longed to do her last possible act of love, even though he would never know, it would help her in her intense grief to give to him just one more time.
Mary (James mother), Joanna and the others had lost sight of her when they heard a scream. All of them started running. To their surprised the tomb was opened, the scream must have come from inside where Mary still must be. Without slowing down they ran in and then they all suddenly stopped, their mouths dropped open and not one of them spoke for the longest time.
Where on earth was the body? Was this some kind of sick joke? Seriously hadn’t the religious leaders done enough – weren’t they satisfied he was dead.
As if things couldn’t get any more bizarre suddenly in front of them were two exquisitely beautiful men dressed in the most amazing dazzling robes. Terrified the women fell to their knees and then one of them spoke and said “Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” (Luke 24:5-7 (NLT))
Memories of those exact words came flooding back and as the realisation of what the angel had just said slowly sunk in, the pain, the heartache, the hopelessness faded away as joy, intense, explainable joy burst into their hearts and with it bringing hope – wonderful hope.
He is alive!
He is alive!
He is alive!
And hope for all women is restored through those three simple words.
Jesus is alive!