ACTS 10:34A, 37-43 | COLOSSIANS 3:1-4 | JOHN 20:1-9
It was that unique time before dawn, that very still, very quiet darkness. Sometimes, it’s eerie. Sometimes, it’s awesome. Mary was part of the darkness. Her mind was filled with the images, the cross, the blood, the suffering. Something was so wrong. The stone covering the tomb entrance had been pushed aside. The tomb was open. It was empty. She ran back to the group, frantic. “They’ve taken the Lord from the tomb and we don’t know where they put him.” John and Peter followed her back to the tomb. They all ran. Peter trailed behind.
Why did they follow her back to his tomb? Jesus had been plotted against and killed. They were his followers. They knew there were plots against them. They were hiding in a tomb of their own, but there was something compelling in Mary’s frightened declaration. They left their tomb, and followed Mary to his.
John and Simon Peter ran together for a bit, but John was so much younger. He quickly moved ahead. He was already peering into the tomb when Simon Peter arrived. Out of deference he didn’t enter.
Simon Peter squatted down and entered. Like adetective, he studied what little was in there. The tiny room was just big enough to fit in. The bedlike shelf where the body had laid was clear except for the shroud and two linen bands that had bound Jesus’ hands and feet. They were folded up at one end of the shelf. The cloth that had covered his head was rolled up at the opposite end. There were no signs of pilfering here, no signs of desecration. Whatever happened here was methodical and peaceful. He put his hand to his mouth and wondered.
John came in behind him. Something happened to him the second he entered. He felt he had entered a sacred chamber. Tears welled up in his eyes. Something happened here, something beyond logic. The old man and the young man were silent.
They left the tomb and returned to the city in silence. Mary remained behind weeping as she stood before the empty tomb.
This is the story we tell, today. We have to wait another seven days before we hear the other things that happened that day – that Easter Sunday. Why are we made to wait?
We need time to discern who we are. Are we Mary, overwhelmed by the darkness that never seems to go away? Are we Simon Peter, still not sure about it all? Are we John seeing heaven for the first time?
We need time to realize that the dawn has come. We need time to believe in the impossible. We need time to see a new heaven and a new earth.