Summary: The significance of the statement "Who will roll away the stone?" in Mark 6:3-4
ROLLING AWAY STONES
Easter Morning begins in darkness
A darkness of despair and disillusionment
A darkness of “Why did He die?” and “What will happen now?”
A darkness in the heart of a mother who has lost her son
A darkness in a group of followers who have lost their leader
But into every darkness comes a light
At first faint
Then growing in strength and clarity
As shadows are dispelled
And darkness recedes
And morning breaks
A stone is rolled away
And a tomb is found to be empty
And as in the days of the prophet Isaiah “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light”
-Stephen Ring (1998)
AND THEY ASKED EACH OTHER, “WHO WILL ROLL THE STONE AWAY FROM THE ENTRANCE OF THE TOMB?” BUT WHEN THEY LOOKED UP, THEY SAW THAT THE STONE, WHICH WAS VERY LARGE, HAD BEEN ROLLED AWAY.
To understand why this passage has come to have significance for me, you need to understand something about my reaction to the first Easter sunrise service I attended here at a local cemetery
I don’t like cemeteries-I actually had a fear of cemeteries as a child. The first death I had to deal with as a child was my grandmother, the second was my grandfather, and in 1980 my mother died very suddenly and unexpectedly. The first Easter Sunrise service in recent memory I went to was in 1991, and in one part of my being, I honestly didn’t want to go, because that was the first time I was in this cemetery since my mother died. I don’t believe in going to gravesites after a death of a loved one, because I don’t believe that the essence of what makes up a person is here in a grave any more.
You need to understand these things about me in order to understand why these verses have had such an impact on me.
I want to consider those women going to the tomb that first Easter Sunday morning.
I expect they didn’t want to be there in some secret place of their heart either. They were dumbfounded and disillusioned at the loss of the Master. But they desired to perform this one last act of service, of respect, to the body of the man they had followed, listened to and served for the past several months. They were filled with despair---remember the events of that first Easter were in the process of unfolding. They didn’t know the story like we do.
Then we read in Mark’s account that one of them suddenly has a horrible thought. “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
Has that ever happened to you? Have you had a desire to serve the Lord, a longing to be able to fill some need, some vacancy, and yet you were stopped up short by the realization that there existed a great obstacle, a stone, which was very large in your path. Maybe it’s a stone of uncertainly, a stone of depression, a stone of lack of confidence. In despair and frustration you say, “Well, that’s that! I can’t do this!” “I’m too young” or “I’m too old” or “I’d just fall on my face.”.
We are really good at finding the obstacles in our path, and we often detour around them, or stop trying. I have come to believe that when God gifts a person in a particular area of ministry, and if that person, recognizing that gift and is willing to offer up that gift to God, that God in turn will cause the imaginary stones on our paths to disappear, or He, through His grace and power, and sometimes through others, will roll away a stone that is an obstacle in our Christian walk.