Many people have wondered why women went to the tomb on Easter morning. They ask, "Where were the men -- Peter, James, John, and the rest?" The women were out there doing their job. Jesus had been given a rather hasty burial on Friday and the women saw it as their duty to more properly prepare Jesus' body to stay in the grave.
On that first Easter morning, the women probably could have traveled the dark streets of Jerusalem unnoticed simply because they were women. It was the first day of the week, so the markets would have been open. They could have been on their way to buy food to prepare meals. Instead, they went to the spice merchants.
They were sorrowful and bogged down with practical matters, wondering who would roll away the stone for them. But when they arrived they encountered angels and the empty tomb, with that troublesome stone rolled away. They were dumbstruck. They were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground. Some feelings are too deep for words.
The Gospel according to Luke (23:53) gives us a very particular description of the tomb in which Jesus’ body had been laid on Good Friday. It says that Joseph of Arimathea “went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down [from the cross], wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid.” This is the key phrase -- “where no one had ever been laid.”
In those days, in that hot Mediterranean country of Israel, dead people were put in tombs, and when their bodies had been reduced to bones, the bones were collected and put in an ossuary, or “bone box.” The bones could then be buried in a smaller space. Maybe this is the origin of the phrase He/She knows where all the bones are buried. The fact that only Jesus’ body had been in that tomb offers further proof that only Jesus could have been raised from the dead in that tomb. And he never needed an ossuary.
Alleluia! Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!
The Rev. Linda McCloud
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek