Seeking, Finding, then Seeking Again, The Great Faith of the Seeker
1Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb.
4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;
In the early morning, Mary was the first to the tomb of Jesus. They would have all stayed away for the Sabbath for various reasons. You wouldn’t want to be made unclean by accidentally touching a dead body or a dead body’s clothes. You wouldn’t want to go further than a Sabbath Day’s walk from your home, which could have been past the distance of this garden-tomb. You also wouldn’t want to come out at night, when the Sabbath ended at sunset the night before.
But as soon as she had the chance, Mary was out there. She probably left home while it was pitch dark so that she’d be at the tomb as soon as the light of dawn would light up the inside of the tomb. In other gospels, she has a discussion with some other women about who will roll the stone out of the way. It was a legitimate worry, but it didn’t stop her from going to the tomb.
When the tomb was open, Mary couldn’t fathom what happened. It was out of the question for her to not be the first person to the tomb. It was out of the question for her that the door to the tomb had already been opened by anyone that loved Jesus more than her. It must have been opened by an enemy.
Look at how subtle her conclusion is: Nobody else could be here for any other reason except that they have stolen Jesus’ body!
John and Peter can’t believe it and for the run (which might have been at least a Sabbath Day’s walk, remember) they had to think through what they were going to do when they got to that tomb. You know they thought through 100 scenarios. Did the Jews take His body to make a mockery of Him? Did the Roman soldiers sell His body to somebody? Whether it was for shame or money, would that change how much we’re going to beat somebody’s head in when we get to that tomb? You know Peter went there.
Either way, the truth came out when they took their time, held off jumping to conclusions, and remained open to learn what the real truth actually was. John was patient enough to honor Peter’s leadership and let him go in first. Mary was patient enough to let those guys go in, check it out, and leave. Their love for Jesus was too great to stay home and wonder, they had to seek Him out and work out the answers. The reward was in the journey and in what they found.