The gospels all have slightly different versions of that glorious Resurrection morning when death was conquered once and for all. But one thing remains – the stone was rolled away from the tomb and we were set free, free, free. Women especially can rejoice in the breath of Life poured out on resurrection morning.
Without the cross there wouldn’t be a Resurrection and without the Resurrection there wouldn’t be a Christianity. Without Christianity, Jesus would be just another man who lived and died, and the tomb would be something that sealed the grave of a nice but crazy man from Galilee who didn’t really deserve death. History would not have been irrevocably altered. Paul would not have spread the gospel which reached to the furthest corners of western civilizations.
Mom’s wouldn’t be teaching their little ones about the Risen Lord while they walk down dusty dirt roads, or reading the “Easter story” snuggling together on the couch before bed. Dad’s wouldn’t be complimenting their gussied up pretty girls on their way to Easter morning service, or straightening the tie of their little daddy look-a-likes.
Easter represents a new life birthed from the freedom to love God and be loved by Him. The tombs that kept us captive in the “never-enoughs” and “too little’s” of our driven culture fall away as we live in expectation of the newness of life that God does in us, through us, and for us.
The gentle winds of spring tickle with new life, stirring hearts that have grown cold from a long winter of where’s, and why’s, and how long’s. The stone is rolled away from the dead and barren of the I wants into the Living Spirit of Your’e Enough.
We witness lambs frolicking in joy and think about our Suffering Lamb, slain and Risen to breathe joy into our steps.
The rolling away of the stone is an important element of the Resurrection story. The rolling away of the stone reveals that there is nothing of human flesh in the Resurrection story . It is the power of God from the cross to the grave, to eternity. The power of the Resurrection gives us life, but the rolling away of the stone exemplifies God’s setting us free to live that Kingdom life.
In Christ’s Resurrected Freedom we witness –
God didn’t raise Him up and then say, “OK Son, I have gotten you this far. Now you are going to have to do some hard work to get free of the burden. Oops, sorry, my bad.”
God removed the stone so that His resurrected Son, the God-Man, could walk freely into His new position of authority.
Winter often lasts for many years, sometimes a lifetime for the never-enoughs. They simply can’t move the stone leaving their deliverance ever so close, but behind impenetrable rock.
They can see it, touch it, feel the nuances of every groove with their fingertips, even smell the spring breeze flowing between the cracks, tempting them with thoughts of what if, but the stone barring the exit from the tomb is just too heavy to push completely out of the way.
The stone rolled against Jesus tomb most likely weighed one to two tons. The stone was usually set at an incline that sloped down from the sides to the center,making it easier to close, but nearly impossible to open. It was positioned on the outside of the opening to the tomb with no way to roll it away from the inside. It was too heavy for a couple of women to roll away.
“When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?’” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed” (Mark 16:1-5).
Take a good look at that picture, close your eyes and think about it. It is a dark place, cold, without sunshine. Thoughts begin to swirl with word like, hopeless… weak… trapped… suffocating… impossible… never… abandoned… I would freak out locked in there!
A never-enough cannot roll away stones.
Oh, dear sweet never-enoughs, we don’t have to. You don’t need to freak out over the darkness or difficulties. It doesn’t matter if you are without strength, feeling trapped, or left alone. There is a God who rolled away the stone. We not only get to walk from the tomb delivered, but we get to skip out in the loving embrace of Joy. Like lambs in springtime we have been set free.
Freedom. Expectation. Deliverance.
“But I am just a woman…”
So were they.
And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. (Mark 16:6-7).
The very first who were given the task of telling the Good News were women. The very first Evangelists were women! No stone placed in front of us is too big for God to move when He sends us into His service.
Into Holy Love.
” Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone… He is not here, for he has risen… Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead… So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples… Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me” (Matthew 28, selected portions).
When Christ rose from the dead setting us free from the tombs of our minds and hearts he also us free to go. We were commissioned by the Risen Lord into His purposes from the first moments. Now, pay attention that at that time, in that historic period, women were completely oppressed. The words of women were not respected so that even Jesus disciples who learned at His feet alongside women doubted the truth of their story. In Jesus speaking to them says something important – He said women were equally as important in spreading the gospel message.
Why do you think Jesus told women first? He could have waited. He set a precedent of freedom from gender oppression first at the tomb! He is Risen daughters, you are free!
Minds are free. Hearts are free. Lives are free.
Bear with me as you read all the gospel accounts. We aren’t called just once into spreading the Good News to both men and women, but in all four gospel accounts.
“He is not here, but has risen… Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them” (Luke 24).
“Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’Jesus said to her, “Mary.’ She turned and said to him in Aramaic,“Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord” (John 20: 15-18).
Freedom. Expectation. Deliverance.
Fear not. God has moved the stone.