A post Easter Reflection
Thank you for joining me back here for the second part of our post Easter reflections. How has your week been? Have you been able to ponder the ideas of tombs and seals, and the different ways we may be trying to ‘keep Jesus in’?
I know for me, this is something I need to walk with for a while. I would love to hear from you if anything comes to mind for you though as you ponder on and if you’re willing to share. Do ping me an e-mail sometime.
Let’s turn to the second question. I guess which seems a bit obvious at first glance. But, if you are able to journey with me a while, lets take a moment to reflect further.
Did the stone need to roll away?
Last week we thought about the steps that the Pharisees, chief priests and Pilate took to ‘keep Jesus in’, and that they simply, incredibly, didn’t work. They couldn’t work. In the face of resurrection they were all, ultimately, irrelevant.
So, if that is the case, if Jesus didn’t need the tomb sealed to keep him in, did he need the stone rolled away so that he could get out?
The answer has to be no, doesn’t it?
Resurrection meant the grave was meaningless! That’s an incredible sentence to write, let’s be honest. But the rules of the physical universe clearly no longer applied. We see this is the case as we read later in John 20: 19 and 26 where Jesus appears twice amongst the disciples in a locked room. He doesn’t come through the door, he just suddenly is there amongst them. He can now appear and disappear at will. Once resurrected, normal, physical barriers were no longer an issue. Were they?
So the stone wasn’t removed for Jesus’ sake. So why did it happen?
In Mark 16: 3 we hear the very human, very real, very deep concern of Mary Magdalene, Mary and Salome – “Who will roll the stone away for us from the entrance of the tomb?” These women wanted to get in. They wanted to get to Jesus and tend to his body. They wanted to go to where he was, to be with him again. To do what they could to honour, respect and love him in death as they had in life. But they wouldn’t be able to get in. They couldn’t get in by themselves. They needed someone to roll the stone away for them.
The stone was rolled away so that they could enter.
The stone stays rolled away so that we can enter too.
We are familiar with the idea that the tomb was empty. Another sentence that is incredible to write!
But have we ever payed attention to the fact that it was also open?
These women were invited in, so that they could step further into this incredible story.
Jesus’s disciples were invited in, so that they could step further into this incredible story.
And the empty tomb remains an open one today, inviting any who want to come and look, to step into this story still.
And it makes me think.
We are invited, always, aren’t we, into the story God is telling.
We are invited. Always. Even at the point of death.
That’s actually really good to know
We are invited into the empty, open tomb, to stand and see death defeated.
We are invited into the empty, open tomb, to stand and see Jesus is risen.
We are invited just as those who first stepped into that tomb were. Just as they came, in the raw honesty of their emotions and thoughts, we can come too.
Whoever we are, however we are, wherever we are.
Easter offers a regular, rhythmic, invitation to come and stand again in the empty, open tomb.
Maybe you need to reconnect with him. Maybe you have been laid low by doubts, fears, hurts.
Maybe you are battle weary. Or you have lost your way. Or lost hope.
Can you receive this invitation again today?
May you – precious, beloved you – make your way back into the empty, open tomb to find what you need to raise your head, to rise again, to walk on into this year knowing you are a part of the story God is telling. And because he has risen, he is with you. Always.