Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, gasping for breath. “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.”
John 20: 1-2 The Message
Very early in the morning, before the first rays of sunlight appeared, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb. She saw that the enormously heavy stone had been rolled away. She investigated, and discovered that the tomb was empty!
Now quite alarmed, Mary Magdalene ran to get help. She knew exactly where to go to get help: from Jesus’ disciples. When she arrived at Peter’s door, panting from running, she told the disciples exactly what she had found. She also included her probable explanation: grave-robbers!
“They have taken the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they have put him.”
Mary’s breathless explanation of Jesus’ missing body was one more layer of human sinfulness. When she said “they”, she had already decided that something nefarious had happened to Jesus’s body.
However, we know that the true explanation was quite different. Yes, Jesus' body was no longer in the tomb, but it was not human-caused. Instead, it was the mighty work of the Lord. Jesus was alive! Resurrected from the dead!
Mary had assumed the worst. Sometimes, our initial response to a jarring event can be to jump to the wrong conclusion, or the worst-case scenario. Why is that? Is it just our fallen nature to first respond with a negative explanation?
When things don't go according to our preconceptions, we may assume that any other outcome is wrong. More often than we would like to admit, we can become stubborn, unwilling to see any other options. Consequently, we lose sight of the goal.
Mary Magdalene was intent on finishing the burial process with Jesus’s body. She was focused only on her anticipated task. When an empty tomb interrupted her plans, she assumed something bad must have happened. Quite the opposite! Mary Magdalene’s surprise on Easter morning should give all of us pause. We are called to be a people of hope, of light, and of faith.
Therefore, trust in God. Trust the Lord even when things don’t go the way we think they should, or the way we planned. When we realize we need to change our plans, it is God’s opportunity to lead us in a different direction: towards Him.
Lord, thank you for Easter morning, when You surprised all of us with the gift of Your Son Jesus. Forgive me when I try to wedge the plans I have made into the path You want me to follow. Help me to be humble. Let me be open to different ideas and options, so that others will see a kind and patient servant to You Lord. Soften my heart, Lord, and help me to see the best in others and in my day. With an open heart I pray this prayer in the name of Your Son, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.