What We Know That They Didn’t
1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.
2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
Last Sunday morning (Easter), over 2000 years after the event that was described in the text, we gathered very early in the morning on the first day of the week again. We gathered to remember their early morning trek to the tomb and the wonderful discovery they made that day.
Have you ever thought about what we know now that they didn’t know as they were making their way to the tomb that morning so long ago? That was the direction of my thoughts last week as we were preparing to celebrate Easter. I thought of three very specific things that we know that they didn’t.
I. The Stone Is Rolled Away
And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
Obviously, these women were troubled. They were on a mission but there seemed to be an immovable object in their way. They couldn’t really expect any cooperation from the guards who were guarding the tomb. And the disciples weren’t about to come out of hiding to help them. And there was no way they would be able to move the stone themselves.
So, why did they keep going? I get the feeling that their love for Jesus was compelling them. It was subconsciously drawing them to the garden tomb. They probably couldn’t have told you why they were still walking toward the tomb. But we know what they didn’t know. We know an angel had already rolled away the stone because Matthew told us.
And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
I love that detail that only Matthew included in his account. Not only did the angel roll the stone away, he sat on it. I think he was silently making it clear: Don’t even think about trying to roll that stone back over the door. It’s staying right where I put it. That’s the first thing we know that they didn’t.
II. The Tomb Is Empty
They had gathered the supplies and made all of the preparations beforehand. They were going to anoint the body of Jesus. They had been devastated at His death. There was nothing they could do to bring Him back. This was the one thing they could do to show their love and devotion. They were on a mission of love. So despite what they didn’t know about the stone being rolled away, they were still determined to complete their mission.
We know that the tomb was empty because Luke told us about it.
And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.
If the women in our text had known that the tomb was empty, they wouldn’t have needed to gather spices. They wouldn’t have been worried about the weight of the stone. They would have had other concerns on their minds.
III. Jesus Is Alive
The greatest thing that we know that they didn’t is that Jesus is alive. That was something they didn’t know even when they discovered that the tomb was empty. We know that to be the case because John described Mary Magdalene’s response when she found that the tomb was empty.
1 The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
The tomb was empty so, to her, it was obvious. They have taken His body away. They have laid Him somewhere else and we don’t know where. We know that while all of this was unfolding, Jesus was alive because Matthew, Mark and Luke gave us the message of the angels. This is how Luke recorded it.
4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
6 He is not here, but is risen:…
They were much perplexed. They were very troubled. They couldn’t see anything positive in the circumstances. But then they heard the message of the angels, “…He is not here, He is risen…” And the angels asked them why they were seeking the living among the dead. You don’t look for the living in the tombs. That was the greatest thing the angels could have told them.
And I believe it is very significant what the angels then told them to do. Once they had learned those things that I’ve mentioned in this message (those things we know that they didn’t know), look at the commission the angel gave them.
And go quickly, and tell …
That’s what I want to bring to your attention. We know that the stone is rolled away. We know that the tomb is empty. We know that Jesus is alive. There’s not a visible angel that has appeared to us and given us that commission. But I believe that God gives us the same commission. Go quickly and tell.
All across the country, people gathered very early in the morning on the first day of the week knowing what they didn’t know. Now the responsibility falls on our shoulders. We need to go quickly and tell. Tell everybody we can that the stone is rolled away, the tomb is empty and Jesus is alive.
May God burden us with an urgency to reach for those who don’t know what we know. We have the message of hope. We have the message of deliverance. We have the message that will change their destiny and their destination. We must go quickly and tell.