Anglican Morning Devotion for 15 April 2022 Anno Domini
a ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.” (John 20:11-13; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Mary was more than a friend of the Lord, she loved Him with a love that surpasses the ordinary – not out of any romantic urge – but because of who He was and the great mercy He had shown her. Mary was one of the courageous women who remained at the cross even in the face of the danger it represented in being counted as one of His followers. She remained until the last: “And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on. And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulchre, and how his body was laid. And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.” (Luke 23:53-56) Herein lies a message for our contemplation.
There is no question that Mary had as close a spiritual relation to Christ as any of the disciples, and like them, she still failed to grasp the meaning of His teaching concerning His coming crucifixion. Even if only a dead body, Mary still reverenced Him. She traveled early, while it was yet dark, to the Garden Tomb to find and administer the last rites to her Lord whom she regarded now as a dead body. Even today, many worship a God that is still in the Tomb. They pay homage to His living counsel and His miraculous healings, but they stop there in the mire of the grave. They remember His sacrifice and suffering on the cross, but not His resurrection and ascension. It may seem more sophisticated to them not to acknowledge the Lord of the Resurrection.
There is a shrine to identify the burial place of Muhammad and Gautama Buddha, but no such grave-stone marks the burial place of our Lord Jesus Christ. Despite claims to the contrary, no one is certain of the location of that borrowed tomb in the environs of Jerusalem. If we were to discover the Borrowed Tomb of the Lord and decided to place a grave-marker there, how would we word it other than the inscription penned by Pontius Pilate that he nailed on the cross? Let me see….would we write, “Jesus Christ, Born 00 B.C./AD. At Bethlehem. Died 33 AD outside the gates of Jerusalem, Begotten again three days later as the first begotten of all living.” Could we call such a marker a gravestone since a grave must contain the dead body? Unlike the Arabs, we do not bow down to a dead body, but to a living Christ!
Mary was blinded by her tears of abject sorrow at finding the body of her Lord missing from the tomb. We all often mourn the very things that we should celebrate – a living Lord instead of a dead body! Even our loved ones who are passed into the arms of the Eternity we often mourn as if something terrible has happened to them when, if we have faith, we should rest assured of their better estate. Mary wept for a dead body when she would soon weep tears of joy for a Living Lord!
“But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, 12And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. 14And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. 15Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. 16Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.” (John 20:11-16)
Please imagine yourself looking through the eyes of two angels within the tomb at poor distraught Mary. They asked the same question that the Gardner would soon ask whom she had yet to see – “why weepest thou?”
Viewing Mary from inside the tomb, the two angels could see beyond Mary and the image of a man approaching from behind. They saw the Lord Jesus coming to Mary even as she sat weeping over a missing dead Body. Do you believe they may have smiled with joy at the situation? Jesus asked the same question of Mary, “why weepest thou?” In the eyes of God, we are all children. We lack depth of understanding, especially in times of testing and hardship. It is our faith that will see us through. When Jesus called Mary by name, she immediately knew Him. No one calls our name like Jesus does to us, and to Lazarus. Sometimes our needless tears of presumed tragedy blind us to the blessings the Lord has to offer by His Resurrection and Ascension.
The unknown gods are still in their tombs – our Lord is NOT!