Everything felt strange. Nothing about today was ordinary. Nothing about today was going as she had thought it would, and with every passing hour things seemed only to get worse. An eerie quietness settled over her as she stood at the base of the hill, powerlessly watching Him suffer. It was all so surreal. Images of all they had shared flashed before her eyes: the miracles, the love and friendship, the words of life, the simple moments together. Present-moment reality rattled her with a cruel jolt.
Now Jesus, her Jesus, the man she knew and loved, was gone.
Keep moving she urged herself. She had to keep moving or else, fall apart, so she followed them to the tomb, watching as they laid Him to rest. The pain was unbearable, yet she clung desperately to every moment to be near His body.
There were still things to be done before the sun set and Sabbath began. She knew she had to leave Him and run to the market to buy all the spices and oils necessary to honor Him, wanting nothing to delay her return to the tomb on Sunday morning. But leave him? How? Numbness, having replaced the pain, left her paralyzed. Her only consolation was the opportunity to care for Him in death as He had cared for her in life. That was all the fuel she needed. The tasks were accomplished in a determined haze, and now, if nothing else, she could provide a proper burial.
But first, the Sabbath.
How could she possibly rest with Jesus gone? It seemed almost impossible in this moment. A hot flood of memories washed over her again, as she recalled the example He’d set. She managed a half-smile through welled eyes, whispering ‘even now, He’s still caring for me.’ Jesus was her model and no matter what was going on in His ministry, He had known how to rest. She had learned so much from watching Him. He had shown her the freedom and joy found in obedience, in always living in response to the Father’s love. In humble determination to honor the Sabbath in order to honor her Lord, she yielded.
Oddly, the forced rest was good, giving them time to process and grieve. One emotion gave way to another. They were angry—He was innocent! They were confused—why didn’t He fight back? They were resolved—they must keep His ministry going. As they voiced their questions and reflected on all the things He said that hadn’t made sense in the moment, many of His words became chillingly clear. Hadn’t He told them this would happen?
No one slept much those two nights and the moment the sun began to rise on Sunday morning, they made their way back to where His body was lain. What started as a walk, quickly turned into a run. They were desperate to get to Him. Devotion and love carried them the whole way.
But as they approached the tomb, anticipation turned to fear. The ground began to shake; lightning and thunder stopped them in their tracks. They exchanged startled glances. The men who were guarding the tomb fell to the ground, unconscious, the stone pushed aside. The tomb was empty. Jesus was gone. Horror overcame her.
A man (or at least he looked like a man, yet so bright and blinding) appeared and began to speak. His words pierced into her soul. She was in shock but what she heard changed everything. “He’s not here. He’s alive. GO. TELL.” It made no sense but at the same time this was the truest thing her soul had ever heard.
The desperate ache within was telling her to stay—to stay where Jesus had been, but revelation was inviting her to go.
And so, she ran.
Even though she hadn’t seen Him yet, the truth that He was alive propelled her forward with a joy that overpowered her pain and fear. Tears streaming down her face, heart pounding, and her legs moving faster than ever before, she had one goal—find the rest to tell them He was alive! They needed to know. Everyone needed to know. But would they believe her?
She ran without care or concern for her dignity. None of it seemed to matter now that her Lord was alive. Her lungs burned but she kept running. And then, just there, ahead in the distance, she saw Him. She froze. Standing in the middle of the road they locked eyes, and even from afar, she knew it was Him.
Time stood still and nothing else existed in the brilliance of that moment.
She fell at His feet. Her tears soaked them as she poured out her love upon Him—it wasn’t the first time. This was a familiar posture. She didn’t know what to say to Him, her words meant nothing compared to how she felt.
Jesus had met her. He had come for her.
He had come for them and for us.It was true. He’s alive. Go! Tell!