Wait, What's the Plan?
This Easter weekend, I reread the Resurrection story in Mark and was overwhelmed, once again, by the audacity of the women that went to honor Jesus. Mark 16 (ESV) begins with,
“When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?’”
I got only three verses in before I had to stop and laugh. “And they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?’” HAHA. Y’all what was their plan?! In all my years of hearing the Easter story, I have become so accustomed to knowing that the stone was rolled away for these ladies already that I never actually stopped to think about how they would have done it otherwise.
First, the stone was huge (scholars can’t decide on a particular number but anywhere from 1/3 ton to 2 tons and likely set on an incline). Alright though, women are tough, I’ll give that one to them. Maybe the three of them together could’ve budged the stone enough to slip in and out of there. But the stone was also stamped with the seal of the law. The seal would’ve been a sort of clay-like substance that was imprinted with the Roman imperial seal and then attached to the stone somehow with a string or rope. Breaking this seal was, as its name appropriately indicates, a breaking of the law. Hence, breaking the seal was bad enough. To even have a chance at breaking the seal though one had to get past the guards, of which there would have been one at a minimum. So the ladies logistical question asks not only how they will physically move the stone but how they will even get to the stone.
These ladies were already rad in my mind but suddenly they are total renegades. Reading this again, it’s as if these ladies are on their way to a bank robbery asking each other if they should maybe make a plan. To anyone else, what they are doing is crazy and reckless. And honestly, it was crazy and reckless. What if the ladies had gone a day earlier, before Jesus had risen? What if they had gone and tried to move the stone and been arrested?
In hindsight, it’s easy to think these ladies were confident in knowing how great a plan the Lord had for them or for that day. In reality, though, my guess is that these ladies likely had no idea what the plan was and that the stream of possible consequences was tearing through their minds as they got closer and closer to the tomb. These incredible women though were so set on the person of Christ, that they didn’t need to know the plan. Their hearts were in passionate pursuit of him, and as a result, they were fixated more on Him than the consequences of their situation.
As a Believer, I find that it is often most difficult in the “in between”—in seasons when the steps ahead of you are dark and the consequences unpredictable. It’s easy to want to slowly dip our toes in the water—to test if something we are feeling called to is really worth the risk. We hope for a well-lit path before proceeding or ask for confirmations before deciding. Luckily, God is often gracious enough to light the way if we are too scared to go in the dark. But I think of how many things in life I would have missed out on if I had waited—if I had held back or thought more “logically” about possible consequences. And I think of how wild an opportunity these ladies would have missed had they been too fearful of appearing at the tomb that morning. These women have been forever stamped into history because they refused to be shaken by the “what ifs” and “maybes” of potential outcome.
It is only when our minds are set on the person of Christ—when our hearts are so wildly on fire for and consumed by Him—that we are able to live as witnesses of miracles and step into stories unimaginable and life-changing.
Please Note: Not trying to compare honoring Jesus to a bank robbery
Please Also Note: I know Easter was several weeks ago but I finally finished writing this post after having it mostly done for a while and I’m not waiting a whole year for the sake of appearing like my life is well-planned… because it’s not- ha!