And now Mary Magdalene has gotten back to the tomb. In her zeal for the safety of that precious body, she had made quite a journey into the city and back. Her zeal took her quickly to Peter. Her sorrow makes the way back longer. She had been first to come, but had not heard the news that came to her companions. Now she stands at the open tomb weeping. She stoops and looks in to see if it can be really true that He
is not there. To her surprise two angel beings are seated, one at each end of where Jesus' body had been lying. They say to her, |Why are you weeping?| She replies, |Because they have taken away my Lord
, and I know not where they have laid Him.| Turning back in her grief as the words are spoken, she sees some one else standing. Again the same question by this One. Why was she weeping? Whom was she looking for? Her eyes are blinded with the rain of tears. This is likely the man in charge of the garden wherein this family tomb was.
With earnest tones she says, |Sir, if thou didst carry Him away, tell me where thou didst lay Him and I will have Him taken away.| Then that one word came to her ears, her name, in that unmistakable voice, |Mary.| Quicker than a flash came the response, |Oh, my Master!| That same wondrous, quiet voice continues, |Do not continue to be clinging to Me. I am not yet ascended to my Father. Be going to my brethren and tell them I ascend to My Father and your Father, My God and your God.| And Mary quickly departs on her glad errand for Him. She was the first to see His face and hear His voice, and have her hand upon His person, and do something at His bidding.
And now the other women who had been at the tomb in the garden and fled away are on the road approaching the city. As they hurry along, to their utter amazement -- here is Jesus in the road approaching them. With a glad smile in His eyes, the old, sweet voice speaks out in rich tones the usual simple salutation of greeting, |Good morning.| At once they are down on their knees and faces, holding His feet and worshipping. And Jesus softly says, |Do not be afraid. Go tell my brethren to meet Me in Galilee, up by the old blue waters of the sea.|
While these incidents were occurring, all in such short time, something else is going on of a different sort. The Roman soldiers guarding that tomb had had a great shock. They had been suddenly displaced by another guard. The sacred Roman seal had been ruthlessly broken, the stone rolled back from the opening, and some one sat upon it. Their bewildered, stupefied senses heard the movements and were aware of a strange, blinding light. Then they knew that the body they were to guard was no longer within. That was about as much as they could get together. They hurry to town and tell the chief priests. Quickly the chief priests gather their clique to confer about this new phase. Was there ever such mulish obstinacy? No thought of candid investigation seems to enter their mind. The way of covering this new difficulty is after all easy. Money will buy the soldiers, and they will do as they are bid. It took a good bit of gold. The soldiers probably were keen to know how to work so good a mine. And the story was freely circulated that the body was stolen while the soldiers slept.
Peter has gone down the road from the garden toward the city after having satisfied Himself that Jesus was not in the tomb. He was wondering what all this meant. John, lighter of foot, had hurried ahead to his home in the city, very likely to tell the news to Jesus' mother, his own new mother. Peter plods slowly along. There is no need of haste now. He is thinking, wondering, thinking. It was still early morning, with the sweet dew on the ground, and the air so still. Down past some big trees maybe he was walking, deeply absorbed, when -- Somebody is by his side. It is the Master! But we must leave them alone together. That was a sacred interview, meant only for Peter.