(based on Matthew 28:1-10, Mark 16:1-8, Luke 24:1-10 and John 20:1-2)
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all wrote on the women going to the tomb. Amazingly, they all told it differently. Matthew says Mary Magdalene and the other Mary. Mark agrees but adds Salome. Luke finally gave the women names and added Joanna and others. John has only Mary Magdalene going to the tomb.
My imagination thinks more than one but -- be it one, two or many -- going to a grave would not have been an easy journey. Can you hear their conversation as they go?
"Walk with me up the path to the grave. Be beside me as we go to prepare the body. Each step is hard. I know I should hurry, but I am so afraid," says Mary Magdalene.
Mary replies, "We all listened as Jesus spoke. His voice was always so sure. So calm. To know I will never hear his voice again breaks my heart."
"The grave is closer now," Salome adds. "I wonder how we will roll away the stone. We have the spices and perfumes. We will attend to the body, of Jesus, with love and respect. But how will we roll away the stone?"
Joanna whispers, "We are almost there."
Can you picture these women? No longer saying a word. Each lost in their own thoughts. Each wondering what will happen. Each fearing the answer to the question, "How can we go on?"
Mary looks at Mary Magdalene and gasps, "There is the grave. I don't understand -- The stone is rolled away. The body of the Lord Jesus is not here. Where is my Lord?"
Do not be afraid. Remember everything Jesus told you.
He has risen!! He has risen!! He has risen!!
IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU
The women made a painful journey to the grave of someone they loved. This was not an easy walk. They did not want to reach their destination. They did not want to say goodbye.
It could happen to you. No, it will happen to you. This is one we all must face.
Bottom line: Death is going to happen.
It is a hard walk to the cemetery when a parent dies. When a spouse dies. When a child dies. When a friend dies. It is a painful journey.
Please go back to the women at the tomb. Watch as they finish their journey.
Jumping up and down and with a smile which filled her face, Mary shouted with joy, "Why did I not remember? The man simply asked, 'Why do you look for the living among the dead?' "
Turning first to one woman and then the other, Mary continued, "Remember what he said? 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' Of course our Lord is not here. HE IS ALIVE! HE HAS RISEN!"
My friend, the journey is hard but the journey ends not on earth but in heaven. Jesus died, was buried and rose from the dead so you - so everyone who believes - will have a journey through the grave into eternal life.
Remember John 14:1-4 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."
He has risen and Jesus, the Son of God, is waiting to welcome you to eternal life.