read | Mark 16:5
“As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe,
sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.”
I’m a details person. I want to know who, what, when, where, why. I want step-by-step instructions, clearly and accurately spelled out. I enjoy looking at the minutia that drives big-picture people crazy.
So I love it when Scripture lets us look at an event in more than one way. Here are other Gospels’ accounts:
“After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, descending from heaven, came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men.”
“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground.”
“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.”
So, was Mary Magdalene alone, or were there one or two or more women with her? Was there one angel or two? Were they seated or standing? Did the disciples come running before this, or did that happen after? And what about the stone…and the earthquake…and…
And then I stop, and smile, and realize my interest in how the message is delivered is nowhere near as important as the message—JESUS ISN’T IN THE TOMB! I shake my head. The most important news in history, and I’m looking at the details instead of grasping what this means. He has risen! He is alive—then, now, and forever! OK, big-picture people, I joyfully concede this one.
Happy Easter, everybody!
- Ellen Baker