It was near the dawning of a new morning, the morning of a new day destined to be a great day. While yet dark there come a number of women out of the city gate toward the tomb where Jesus' body had been laid. They carry spices and ointment. With woman's ever tender thoughtfulness they are bent upon some kindly service for that precious body. They had followed up the burial and noted the arrangements with a view to this morning's early service. Their whole thought is absorbed with a tomb and a body and a bit of loving attention. They wonder as they come along whom they can get to roll the heavy stone over into its groove at the side of the opening. Mary Magdalene is in the lead. With her in the darkness is her friend Mary, the mother of John and James. Others come along a little behind, in small groups.
As they get near to the place the keen eyes of Mary Magdalene notice at once with a quick start that the stone is rolled away. Somebody has been tampering with the tomb in the night. Leaving her companion, she starts back on a run into the city and finds Peter, and tells him that the Lord has been taken away, and they don't know where He has been laid. Peter, too, is startled. He gets John, and the two start back on a run.
Meanwhile the other women have gone on toward the tomb. As they approach they are startled and awed to find a man there, with the glorious appearance of an angel, sitting upon the stone. To these awe-stricken women this angel being quietly said, |Do not be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. He is risen, as He told you. Come and see the place where He lay.| And as they gaze with wide open eyes, he adds, |Go quickly and tell His disciples, and be sure you tell Peter, that He is risen from the dead, and lo, He goeth before you into Galilee. You will meet Him there. Lo, I have told you.| But the women were panic-stricken, and ran away down the road, and told no one except some of the apostles. And to them their story seemed ridiculous. They refused to believe such talk.
And now Peter and John come breathless to the tomb. John is in the lead. Either he is younger or swifter of foot. As he comes up he stops at the opening of the tomb, and, with a bit of reverential awe, gazes within. He can see the linen cloths lying; but the body they had encased is clearly not in them. Peter comes up, and steps at once inside for a closer inspection. There the linen cloths are, just as they had enswathed the body, but flattened down, showing the absence of anything inside their folds. The napkin that had been about the head was folded up neatly and laid over to one side. Then John enters, and as he continues looking conviction comes to him that Jesus has indeed risen. Wondering greatly at this thing, wholly unexpected by them, they go off to their homes in the city.
And now another little group of the women come up, and are perplexed in turn as the others, the stone away, the body of Jesus not there. As they stand with staring eyes and fearing hearts, two men unexpectedly appear in clothing that dazzles the women's eyes. Frightened, they bow down before these men, who seem to be angels. But the men quickly reassure them with their words. Why were they seeking a living One in a tomb? Jesus was not there. He was risen. And they remind the women of Jesus' own words about being killed and then rising again. As the men talk the women remember the Master's words, and wonderingly see their meaning now, and hurry away to tell their friends the great news.