For today’s commemoration, we remember three of the women who brought spices to Jesus’ tomb, and we read a devotion from The Heart of Jesus: Women in the Gospel of Luke.
The Gospels of Mark and Luke both record the account of the women returning to Jesus’ tomb to anoint His body. Much to the women’s surprise, they were met not with the body of Jesus but with an angel delivering the Good News. We remember the women today for their persistence in honoring Jesus after His death and their faithfulness in delivering the angels’ news of His resurrection!
Although we assume the women at the tomb had heard Jesus’ preaching and had seen His miracles, none of them expected what they found that morning. Yes, Jesus had raised people from the dead, just as several Old Testament prophets had. But no one had ever raised himself! Although Jesus had clearly told His followers that He would rise again, such a possibility lay beyond their comprehension.
As the women approached the tomb, their worries were more mundane: “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” (Mark 16:3). Opening a tomb so soon after a burial was unusual in itself. Under normal conditions, no one entered a sealed tomb until at least a year later—when the bones of the deceased would be gathered and placed in an ossuary—and perhaps not until another member of the family died and was buried. Opening a tomb sealed by a large stone would take at least two strong men. In their urgency to complete the burial process, the women had evidently forgotten this practical matter until they were well on their way to Joseph’s garden tomb.
The women soon saw their concern was unfounded; the entrance stood wide open. The large round stone had already been rolled aside. The surprise soon disappeared as a wave of shock passed over them. When the women looked inside the tomb, the Lord’s body was gone! In yet another mind-numbing blow, suddenly two men appeared in the dimness of the tomb—angels dressed in white robes that gleamed and flashed like lightning, scattering the darkness!
Trembling with fright, the women bowed with their faces to the ground. “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” one angel asked (Luke 24:5), reminding them of what Jesus had promised. At these words, the women remembered. They began to realize what Christ had meant. Could He be alive? The angel commanded them to deliver that message to the other disciples! Yes, Jesus had risen, just as He said. Who would believe it? Who would believe them? Afraid, and anxious to reach the disciples, they spoke to no one along the way back into the city.
They arrived to find a group of their friends, disciples all, in mourning. Still grief-stricken and weeping, those who heard the report were astonished. The women’s words sounded like nonsense to them, Luke tells us. Peter and John immediately took off, running to see for themselves. They were amazed when they entered the tomb and found the Lord’s grave clothes neatly in place with no body inside, just as the women had said.
Devotional reading is from The Heart of Jesus: Women in the Gospel of Luke, pages 209–10 © 2009 Marlys Taege Moberg. Published by Concordia Publishing House.
Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
© 2015 Concordia Publishing House