Summary: What’s done is done, we cannot change our past - but through the power of the Lord Jesus Christ we can rise up and live again, we can become whole, we can be redeemed.
Everyone had failed him. There was betrayal, denial, abandonment, and the results were catastrophic: Jesus had suffered an excruciating beating, He was forcibly driven through the city to a rock outcropping called, “The Skull” and left to die naked on a cross.
For days Jesus lay decaying in a borrowed tomb. There was no excuse that could rectify the situation. There was no explanation that could set things right. What was done, was done and an innocent man lay in a cold dark tomb, forsaken.
In their great shame, His followers slipped out of sight, ashamed to be seen. Maybe they cried, maybe they wept, maybe they sat alone in stunned silence. What could they say? They did the thing they never expected they would do, they did the thing they vowed to never do. Their failure had overwhelmed them, and now, there was nothing, absolutely nothing they could do to make things right – there was not a thing they could do to restore things the way they once were; And now they sat completely unprepared to deal with the consequences of their actions.
What would they give if they could do it all over again? How they wish things had turned out differently. These are a people in great need, but what can be done?
There, a woman sits in my office. She is in desperate need – her husband left her, walked out that very morning. An affair she ended months earlier has taken its toll, she thought they had worked things out on their own. She thought that they had moved on. Now, she is ready to go to the counselor she had refused for months, now she is ready, committed, steadfast. She thought that it was a matter of time, she thought that it was time that would heal, she thought, she thought….she thought. But now it was all out there in the table. What was done was done – and it could not be undone. No apology, no matter how heartfelt would change what she had done; No promise, no matter how solid, would change her actions; No vow, no matter how serious and true could change the fact that she had an affair.
Oh, if she could do it all over! But there it sits, right in front of her, and it won’t go away. She is a woman in deep need, but what can be done? What can be done?
Three woman awoke very early on the first day of the week and set out to anoint the body of Jesus. Understand that these are three very devote people. In the climate of Jerusalem, Jesus’ body would have decayed quite substantially after three days, the odor would have been unbearable. Yet, they are so devoted to Jesus that they will bear the horror of the corpse to give Jesus one last honor they felt He deserved, to be anointed.
They would have intended to pour fragrant oil on Jesus’ head filling the tomb with a sweet fragrance that would cover the smell of death. Remember, Jesus was anointed by Mary earlier? Remember, she broke that costly perfume over Jesus’ head, the rich aroma filling the room – How grateful Jesus was, He said it was a beautiful thing that she had done for him. And now, one last time, these woman intend to give Jesus, one last beautiful act; One last act of piety to cover the injustice done three days earlier.
It is clear that they have no idea that the tomb has been sealed and that the tomb is guarded. Somehow they had not heard, maybe because they were laying low like all the others. It is clear that they have no idea about the seal and the guards as they discuss who will roll away the stone. A stone used to cover the entrance of a tomb would have been quite large and very heavy, so heavy that there would be no way three woman alone could even budge the stone. Yet they walk.
4 “But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.” Problem solved, no more worries about the stone – and so they walk into the tomb.
I want to stop right here and point out the first thing we see in our Scripture this morning: These woman, they cannot change the past, what’s done is done – but you have to give it to them, they are seeking Jesus. They cannot change the situation, it is out of their hands – but they step out in faith, they walk down that path that no on else wants to walk down, and they have no idea what is at the end of the path, except they expect it to not be good.