Summary: The joy and hope of the resurrection of Christ for the believer.
Who Shall Roll Away the Stone?
Mark 16: 1-8
When someone asks a question something about the person asking the question is revealed. This is why, many times, we are all hesitant to ask a question publicly. We know that our question will expose some information about us that we would rather keep to ourselves.
I was part of a brainstorming committee several years ago at a company where I was employed. We would meet each week and brainstorm certain ideas concerning improving production, quality, safety, etc. Our motto was “The only stupid question is the one not asked.” This motto was intended to help all committee members overcome their fear of asking questions during our brainstorming sessions. Now I am not sure this motto is entirely true. I have heard some pretty stupid questions asked or should I say some questions asked without a lot of thought given to them. For example, the lady taking orders at the MacDonald’s drive thru asking me after I had placed my order, “Is that for here or do you want it to go?” Now why would I be ordering at the drive thru if I was going to eat inside the restaurant? Or I heard this question asked recently, “Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?”
The women in our text today revealed a great deal about their thoughts, emotions, and even their faith when they asked, “Who shall roll away the stone?” This question tells us something about the thinking and attitude of these women as they were going to the tomb of Jesus. First, it expresses that they were concerned about getting inside the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus with spices. They desired to show their love and devotion to Christ so they asked, “Who shall roll away the stone?” They knew the stone was too heavy for them to roll away. Also if they knew of the Roman Guards placed at the tomb by Pilate at the request of the Jewish leaders, they may have wondered how they could gain access to the body of Jesus, especially since the tomb had been sealed and guarded.
Secondly, the question reveals to us that the women had no expectation of the resurrection of Christ. They were only saddened by His death and no thoughts of what Jesus had taught them about the resurrection had entered their minds. They were expecting to find the cold, lifeless body of Jesus in the tomb.
Thirdly, the question shows us that the women were in a state of hopelessness. The same Jesus whom they had witness heal the sick, cast out devils, and even raise the dead, now laid in a tomb with a heavy stone sealing His dead body. What hope could they have now after His death? They trusted Him as their Messiah and king. What could He do for them from the grave?
The women here serve to show how hopeless life would be if there had been no resurrection of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 15: 17-19, Paul states, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” Can you imagine how different life would be without the resurrection of Jesus? Paul declares that we would be of all men most miserable. If there is no resurrection of Christ; there is no church; there is no Christianity. The whole Christian faith and doctrine is built upon the resurrection of Jesus. Without the resurrection of Christ Christianity would be just another dead, man-made religion without any power to save or give hope.
Let’s focus on this question asked by the women in our text and its answer and rejoice in the hope of the resurrection of Christ.
I. First the question asked by the women expressed unbelief.
A.The women were so overcome with the death of Christ that they failed to believe what He taught them before His crucifixion and death. In Mark 14: 28 Jesus taught His disciples at the Passover meal that He would shed His blood and His sheep would be scattered but that He would be raised from the dead. It may be true that the women were not present at the Passover meal and had not heard Jesus speak of His resurrection. Yet, He did speak of it plainly on many other occasions. Let me share just a few passages with you where Jesus speaks of His resurrection: Matthew 17:9; 20:19; 24:7; 26:32; 27:63; Mark 8:31; 10:34; 13:8; Luke 18:33; 24:7; John 20:9. I think we can be fairly sure that the women had heard of the predicted resurrection of Jesus. Unbelief had blinded the eyes of these women and all the disciples.