On the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, I always think about the women. What must they have felt on that Jewish Sabbath day? I imagine the weeping . . . the grief . . . and the waiting.
On Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome took spices to anoint Jesus’ body. On the way, they wondered how they would get past the impossibly large stone blocking Jesus’ tomb.
Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”Mark 16:1-3 (NIV)
Scholars differ on how much the stone might have weighed, but the Bible makes it clear that it wasn’t something the three of them could move.
Can you relate? So many parts of life seem impossible. Family members struggle with chronic pain or continual illness. Friends harden their hearts and walk away from their faith, their families, and their responsibilities. Colleagues make bad business deals, get caught up in addiction, or gamble away their life savings. (Not to mention all the stony places in our own hearts and lives that require persistent tending and continual renewal.)
We all face stony hearts and rocky circumstances that appear immoveable. There are things we can’t fix. Mountains we can’t climb. Seas we can’t cross.
Who will roll the stone away?
The Easter story points to the One who is able to roll away the stones in our lives. “But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.” Mark 16:4 (NIV)
God moved the stone.
What is the stony place in your life? Perhaps it’s a difficult circumstance at work, a prodigal you love and pray for daily, or a health issue that won’t resolve. Let’s commit ourselves to daily prayer, asking God to roll away the immoveable stones in our own lives and in the lives of those we love. God is big enough and strong enough.
Stony ground becomes fertile soil.
The stone isn’t the Easter miracle — Jesus is. God doesn’t just remove blockades and soften hearts; he brings redemption and new life.
God didn’t move the stone so the women could anoint Jesus’ body. He moved it so the women could see that Jesus wasn’t in the tomb anymore. Jesus was alive. There was no body to embalm!
As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.“Mark 16:5-6 (NIV)
If you’re in an impossible situation, take courage. God can turn the stony heart into a heart of flesh. He can bring a plentiful harvest. He can redeem the time and the years the locust ate.
Grace and peace,
God can roll away the stone that won’t budge.
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)