Prepare to Listen. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.
Prayerfully Read Matthew 27:55-66
55Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. 56Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. 57When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus. 58He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. 61Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. 62The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63and said, ‘Sir, we remember what that impostor said while he was still alive, “After three days I will rise again.” 64Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day; otherwise his disciples may go and steal him away, and tell the people, “He has been raised from the dead”, and the last deception would be worse than the first.’ 65Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard of soldiers; go, make it as secure as you can.’ 66So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone.
Repeatedly Jesus told his disciples that he’d suffer, die and after three days rise again. Did they remember his words? His adversaries did and were afraid the disciples would steal the body and claim he was alive, so they asked Pilate to seal and guard the tomb. Meanwhile, the disciples went into hiding. They never saw Jesus die, they never saw where his body was laid, and they never patiently waited at the tomb.
Only three women disciples waited and saw Jesus die. Only Mary Magdalene and the other Mary sat opposite the tomb, waiting. There was nothing else they could do, except wait. Did the women remember Jesus’ words? Were they expecting him to rise again? Did they hope to see him come out of the tomb fully alive? I wonder. Jesus was dead, silent, helpless and they could do nothing but grieve and wait.
They grieved Jesus’ death. Today, we grieve the state of the world. We can’t avoid our sorrow or pretend it’s not there. Like the women, we can’t give up in the face of suffering, even though we can do nothing about it. Like these two women, we can only grieve and wait in hope. They were rewarded, as we’ll read tomorrow. But first, they had to face the emptiness and the absence of God and wait.
Sometimes we jump too quickly to resurrection and fail to experience the healing that only comes through the wounds of the cross. Grieve and wait with the two Marys today.
Respond in Prayer
Lord, I know the story ends in resurrection. But today, as I wait, help me grasp more fully the suffering of the cross so that I don’t empty it of meaning or ignore the suffering in the world today. Help me be willing to touch their wounds. Amen.
Live Obediently. Wait for the Lord.
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Despite having frequently read and taught Matthew's Gospel, preparing these daily devotions, taking that second gaze, has surprised me with newness.