Today’s verses are Mark 16:3,4: “And they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?’ And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large.”
Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome, in the early hours of Sunday morning after Jesus’ crucifixion, approached the tomb where they knew Jesus had been laid. They had ointments and spices to anoint his dead body. But they had literally a huge problem facing them: the stone in front of the tomb.
Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb as cut out of rock. It was essentially a cave. Grooves were placed in front of the tomb where a round, stone rock could be moved along the grooves in front of the opening. This rock was huge, weighing somewhere around two tons. It would take several strong men to move it in front of the opening after the body had been placed in the tomb. It would take several strong strong men to move it away from the opening so the two Marys and Salome could enter to anoint the body. That was the major problem facing the three women.
One of the most important questions in studying the reliability of the resurrection is this question: Who moved the stone? Pilate had placed Roman guards in front of the stone to ensure no one stole the body. The stone was sealed with a Roman seal, not to be broken by anyone upon fear of death. If the seal is broken, and the stone is removed and someone steals the body, these guards’ lives are finished. They are dead. They will face the same penalty of the criminal’s body they had failed successfully to guard. They would have faced a cross!
So the guards didn’t move the stone. Yet this very “large” stone had been moved! Who moved the stone? Who else could have moved it? There aren’t any other options except…
Of course, Christians believe that God the Father moved the stone. By his supernatural power, with his extraordinary strength and might, the almighty God of the universe spoke a word and the earth shook and the stone was rolled back. It’s the only plausible answer. It’s the only answer that makes any sense.
If God created the world with a single world, if all creation came into existence because of God’s power, then moving a two ton stone would be child’s play for him. It posed no barrier for him.
And these women, plus everyone in all the world for all times, are about to see the greatness of God’s power that raised Jesus from the dead.
The stone is moved. Jesus is alive! The world is forever changed.
That’s the heart of the Christian faith.