And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, ‘Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?’ 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6 And he saith unto them, ‘Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: He is risen; He is not here: behold the place where they laid Him. 7 But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter that He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you.’ 8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.” Mark 16:1-8 (KJV)
Three ladies, Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James, and Salome come to the tomb where Jesus was laid. Remember, they had witnessed where Joseph of Arimethea had buried Him (15:47). There is no mistaken. They went to the right tomb. It was very early in the morning, the day after the Sabbath [Saturday], and so it was early Sunday morning the “First day of the week”.
These ladies had a very committed love, respect and awe for Jesus. They, too had forgotten His words of resurrection. The eleven apostles had forgotten and were discouraged, doubting, disabled, and in hiding. For three days now, since the crucifixion, they had been without Jesus.
The “First day of the week” these three women have bought spices to anoint the body of Jesus. The “First day of the week” they came to the tomb where they had witnessed Joseph lay His body. They came with a question. “How will we roll the stone from the door? Will the guards roll it away for us?” The stone had not only been rolled over the door, but it had also been sealed with the Roman seal (Matthew 27:66), so it is highly unlikely that Roman guards would have touched it.
Upon arrival at the tomb, they found the stone had already been rolled away, and that they could enter freely. Upon entering the tomb, they see a “Young man” sitting there in the empty tomb. They are “affrighted” which means, “G1568 ἐκθαμβέω ekthambeō ek-tham-beh’-o From G1569; to astonish utterly: – affright, greatly (sore) amaze.” This word means more than afraid, but rather, also “Amazed – utterly amazed”. This was an angel, who Mark describes as a “Young man”. He was probably youthful in appearance, but in reality he was an angel – a messenger of God. His message to the ladies was for them to go and tell the disciples ‘and Peter’ that He had risen.
There is a particular message here for Peter. Though, Peter was a disciple of Jesus he had denied the Lord during the trial, and was most likely feeling that the Lord would have nothing further to do with him. This would have been an encouraging word for Peter, to let him know the Lord Jesus had not forgotten him, and that there was a place for him. It is also an encouraging word for all Christians who, at one time or another have failed to be the Christians that we should be, that God is not finished with us and that, He still has a place for us.
When the ladies had heard the messengers words they left quickly with fear and trembling, and it says they told no one of what they had seen and heard. Of course they went and told the disciples.
On this Resurrection weekend, remembering the day our Lord was raised from death; let’s commit anew to sharing with all whom God gives us opportunity that Jesus is risen; He is risen indeed.
-Tim A. Blankenship