Today we remember Joanna, Mary, and Salome, the women who went to Jesus’ grave to anoint His body with spices. Our devotion is from Concordia Bible Story Book.
Jesus had foretold that He would rise from His grave on the third day after He died. The third day was the next Sunday.
Very early that morning, before sunup, a group of faithful women who had watched the burial of Jesus were on their way to Joseph’s garden. They wanted to finish the work of putting perfumed ointments on the body of their beloved Master. In the group were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and some other women whose names the Bible does not tell us.
But before the women arrived at the garden, wonderful things had happened there. A great earthquake had shaken the place. At the same time an angel of the Lord had come, rolled away the stone that closed the grave, and sat on it. The face of the angel was as bright as lightning, and his clothes were as white as snow.
The appearance of the angel terrified the soldiers guarding the grave. Trembling in fear, they fell to the ground and became like dead men. As soon as they recovered somewhat from their fright, they got up and fled to Jerusalem.
The women knew nothing about this, and they did not think of the promise of Jesus that He would become alive that day. Instead, their minds were on the large, heavy stone that closed the door of Jesus’ grave. And they wondered who would roll it away.
When the women came near Joseph’s garden, the sun was rising. Soon they were within sight of the grave. Suddenly they stopped and stared. The great stone no longer covered the entrance of the grave. Someone had rolled it away. What could this mean?
Mary Magdalene thought she knew. Immediately she ran back to Jerusalem to report that the body of Jesus had been stolen. In the meantime the other women went inside the grave and looked around. Jesus was not there!
Soon the women noticed two angels dressed in dazzling white clothes. Thoroughly frightened, the women quickly bowed down to the ground. But the angels said, “Do not be afraid. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, as He said. Remember how He told you when He was still in Galilee that the Son of Man must be delivered to sinful men, and be crucified, and rise again on the third day. Come, see the place where He lay. Then go and tell His disciples, especially Peter, that He has risen from the dead.”
Filled with joy but trembling from excitement and awe, the women left the grave and ran to tell the disciples what they had seen and heard. But before they reached Jerusalem, Jesus met them and greeted them. Happy to see their beloved Master alive, the women knelt down, took hold of His feet, and worshiped Him. Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My disciples to go to Galilee. There they will see Me.”
This joyful Eastertide
Away with sin and sorrow!
My love, the Crucified,
Has sprung to life this morrow: Refrain.
Had Christ, who once was slain,
Not burst His three-day prison,
Our faith had been in vain:
But now has Christ arisen,
But now has Christ arisen!
Devotional reading is from Concordia Bible Story Book, page 438 © 1971 Concordia Publishing House. All rights reserved. Hymn text is from LSB 482:1.