Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). – John 20:11-16
Once, as I ended a visit and was leaving a hospital, I encountered a young woman who was crying most sorrowfully. Near the exit, there she was wailing excruciatingly. Her sorrow moved me to inquire why she was crying. She responded, “My father just died.”
Even though I had comforted many grieving people in the past, her grieving troubled me. I was rendered helpless.
As I stood next to her, I could think of nothing comforting to say to her. Therefore, I just stood there beside her for quite a while. Whether my presence made a difference, I do not know. However, by the time I left, her crying had subsided.
Death is a most disarming enemy of humanity. In the face of it, we are helpless. That is why we need Jesus who conquered death for us.
Last Sunday, we celebrated Easter, a most holy day in the Christian church calendar. This is also called Resurrection Sunday, a day of rebirth.
Early on Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene visited the tomb where they had laid her Lord. However, the tomb was empty. The Lord’s body was not there. Mary, who stood weeping, needed some explanation.
Sometimes as we face the problems of life, which seem to have no answers and are overwhelming, we wonder in amazement. They cause us grief, anger, fear and confusion. Therefore, because we do not understand, we just throw up our hands in despair.
As Mary stood weeping and confused, Jesus appeared and comforted her. He reassured her that all was not lost. The resurrection gave her hope.
Like Mary, when we stand at the graveside of our loved ones, we have the comfort that Jesus’ resurrection from the grave has conquered death for us. His death and resurrection give us life, life everlasting.
When Jesus comes to us during our moments of desperation, our fear and dilemmas turn to jubilation. The reality of it all is, Christ is risen, the tomb is empty. He has broken the sting of death.
In the words of the Apostle, “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We need not weep and worry where our Lord’s body is. The tomb is empty because he is risen from the grave. This is not an illusion. He has broken the sting of death. He is risen!
Because he lives, we do not have to fear the darkness. We can say with the confidence of faithful Job, “I know that my redeemer lives.” Yes, the tomb is empty! The light has dawned! The new life is ours. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; or telephone: 426-9084; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; website: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.