The Sepulcher

John 20:1‑18  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 7
OH 20:1-18{Some women and the beloved disciple had been present during the last scene at the cross. Before bowing His head and yielding up His spirit, the Lord had uttered the words, " It is finished," which conveyed an infinite scope of blessing to the hearts of the disciples, who were thus assured that divine love had taken pity on their state, and had provided for it at all cost. It is finished, Such a work left nothing more to be done.
The cross could no longer hold its victim. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were God's chosen instruments for giving the Savior a place with the rich in His death, and the passage preceding that which we have now read takes us up to that moment.
It was not indeed all, to know a love which had brought the Lord down to death for them; there remained a capital point to be learned. What did the sepulcher contain? What had death done with the Savior? or else, What had the Savior done with death? If the grave had held Him, His work was vain, and not one of those for whom He had given Himself was acquitted or justified. Mary found the sepulcher open. Peter and John ascertained that it was empty. Peter went in and saw. The attributes of death were there, testifying by their presence that death had been unable to hold its prey, and that, without struggle or conflict, the victory over it had been peaceful. The napkin was wrapped together in a place by itself, as one does with a garment when preparing to go out. The "It is finished" was proved. The love which had undertaken the work had completed it; and the disciples, who as yet knew not the Scripture, were convinced by the testimony of their eyes. They believed, and went away again unto their own home with the knowledge of a work thenceforth completed.
This was a great step no doubt, but, shame be to these two disciples, it was little in comparison to what a poor, ignorant woman found at the sepulcher. Mary Magdalene-witness in person of the love of Christ who had delivered her from the seven devils-loved the Lord with an affection which sprang from the greatness of His love, and which far exceeded her intelligence. Happy woman after all; for while the intelligence of Peter and John could be engaged and satisfied with a work, Mary's affection could not be; she needed more, she wanted the Person who was her object. Peter who had gone into the sepulcher had seen only the linen clothes and the napkin; Mary seeking a Person, as she wept stooped down into the sepulcher and saw the angels. The linen clothes had sufficed for the disciples, but the angels were not enough for Mary. Even in their presence, and without awaiting their answer, she turned back; for she wants her Lord. At first her utter ignorance of the things that were to conic to pass hindered her from recognizing Him; but Jesus said to her, "Mary"-one single word, "Mary."
Was it surprising that there should be a link of affection from Mary to Jesus, that the Savior in the perfection of His person should win all the thoughts and love of a failing, ignorant creature, and above all when she had been the object of such goodness and such a deliverance? But that there should be a link of affection from Jesus to Mary-that was the wonderful thing. Amongst thousands of thousands He knew her by name as His sheep. He remembered the most wretched. She said unto Him, " Master." He replies, not, " Go to my servants," but, " Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." Mary's affection clinging to Christ received a revelation greater than all those which Peter had had up to this. Love which is set on His person becomes the depositary of further knowledge. Knowing only His work the disciples had gone away again to their own home; Mary Magdalene with love which clung to His person had learned at the Savior's feet the most glorious results of His sacrifice. This is why Peter and John are so in the shade in this scene; a weak woman in all the modesty of her position outstrips them. Their feet were swift, no doubt, to lead them to the sepulcher. Mary was the first to know the path which leads straight to the Father, and, retracing her steps with this marvelous revelation, to carry the message to the disciples. H. R.