When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Jesus. Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large.
Readings – Mark 15 and 16, Matthew 27,28
So we have this; the stone was extremely large. We have this; the stone was rolled away, not to let the Savior out but to let the disciples in.
There is a great word in Greek that described excess in stuff and feelings. It has the sense of “done to the max,” going all-out (“wide-open”) with total effort – like doing something “with a vengeance!” When feelings are over the top or circumstances are out of control this word pops out.
The stone was over the top large. Almost, it seems, designed to keep Jesus in although Jesus resting place was in the mind of God, not the authorities. The size of the stone was as huge as the fear factor in the upper room when Jesus announced one of the disciples would betray him and everyone of them believed they had the ability of betrayal and treachery to the noblest person that they had ever known and whom they declared to be the Son of God.
The stone was as out of control large as the screaming mob that attacked Pilate and cursed themselves with precious blood. The stone was as over the top large as the wreck of Pilate’s authority and the loss of all justice. The stone was as extreme as the guilt of the crowds who saw the rocks crack and the graves open and caused the Roman centurion to declare Jesus as the Son of God.
I imagine the women who came and found the stone rolled away had discussed the immensity of the stone all night and the conversation continued on to the tomb. It is the way of folks sometimes to talk things to death. Alexander Maclaren said, “Sorrow wakes early, and love is impatient to bring its tribute”. So the women got their ointments together and made the trip and wondered. They had no plan on the immensity
ahead of them. They did what they could, and then did what they did, not knowing if they could accomplish what they wanted.
Psalm 127 verse 1-2
Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain;
unless the LORD protects the city,
its watchmen stand guard in vain.
2In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for bread to eat—
for He gives sleep to His beloved.
I love to relate that most scholars believe that Luther’s translation of verse 2, “for God gives to his beloved while they sleep” is the best one. It is not read like that in most Bibles, but…… If you can grasp this you know what it means to live by faith. While they prepared what they could the immensity of the stone is taken care of by God. They did what they could, and then did what they did, not knowing if they could accomplish what they wanted, but God knew what he was doing and the love that fires the Sun started burning and would be a conflagration in mercy and grace and confessing that Jesus is Lord and Savior.
How many times have you looked at something so over the top difficult and frightening and treacherous that it seemed overwhelming? You did what you could, and then did what you did, not knowing if you could accomplish what you wanted. The long nights of worry, and pain and sometimes lack of sleep make life hellish. We have a hymn about it.
1 When in the hour of deepest need
We know not where to look for aid;
When days and nights of anxious thought
No help or counsel yet have brought.
2 Then is our comfort this alone
That we may meet before Your throne;
To You, O faithful God, we cry
For rescue from our misery.
3 For You have promised, Lord, to heed
Your children’s cries in time of need
Through Him whose name alone is great,
Our Savior and our advocate.
4 And so we come, O God, today
Anld all our woes before You lay;
For sorely tried, cast down, we stand,
Perplexed by fears on ev’ry hand.
So from our sins, Lord, turn Your face;
Absolve us through Your boundless grace.
Be with us in our anguish still;
Free us at last from ev’ry ill.
6 So we with all our hearts each day
To You our glad thanksgiving pay,
Then walk obedient to Your Word,
And now and ever praise You, Lord.
Source: Lutheran Service Book #615
So the immensity of sin and death laid on the world like the over the top rock at the tomb and all along God was preparing for the glorious rising of his son for you; making you glorious; making you fit for his service, in other words making you Holy and righteous and exceedingly blessed
We still have over the top issues and still tribulation and we will do what we can and do what we do never knowing how our plans will work but knowing there is a master plan to give me and all believers in Christ everlasting life. How do you and I know? Because he is risen indeed Hallelujah.