In the Gospel of John when Mary Magdalene arrives at the tomb after the death of Jesus, John says it was dark. Her world is dark. Before this day Mary experienced a world filled with light. She traveled with Jesus. She counted him as a friend. He brought stability to her life. He gave her a sense of purpose and direction. Mary saw in Jesus a life-filled with grace. She witnessed that grace firsthand with the miracles he performed. She witnessed his love for people by meeting their physical needs. She saw his compassion in his teaching.
Before that fateful Friday her world was filled with light. Now all she knew was darkness. As the story goes, she returns to the tomb probably to pay some respect, to remember the days when her life was filled with light and goodness. As she arrives she notices the stone has been rolled away. Max Lucado says, “Now we are tempted to read the ending into the story. She doesn’t expect anything but death when she arrives. She was not expecting to find the stone removed and the body missing. For all Mary knew someone has stolen the body. The one glimmer of hope that she had was now taken away. The one thing left certain in her life: the body of a dead man being where it was last put was taken from her.”
She was afraid.
We know what Mary didn’t know. Fear does not have the final word. Jesus is alive and he bids us to leave our fears behind and follow him. He boldly declares, “Do not be afraid!”
Jesus is still rolling back the stones of fear and letting in faith.