The Last Shall Be First

Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were sitting there opposite the tomb. – Matthew 27:59-61 (NIV)

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. – Matthew 28:1 (NIV)

It seems that Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” (Mary of Clopas- John 19:25), lingered at the tomb after everyone else had left.  Have you ever seen this behavior at a funeral?  Its always the ones who love the deceased the most who linger the longest, and often they are the ones who later in the day return as if to make sure the final resting place is secure and that their loved one is at peace.

One thing is for certain.  None of the disciple were there.  They had already scattered for fear and were in their various hiding places.  Peter was probably to ashamed because of his trifold denial of even knowing His Lord.  Thomas likely was brooding, formulating his doubts about whether any of this was ever true.  Simon the Zealot may have been hatching some kind of revenge plot.  We are not told for sure where they went or what the disciples were doing, but we know for sure that Mary and Mary were there.

We also know that the women spent the following day preparing the spices for anointing the body of Jesus on the first day of the week (Luke 23:56).  Then on the dawn of Sunday morning, they arrived back at the tomb.  Mary Magdalene and Mary Clopas were the last to leave Jesus and the first to return.  Even in the face of despair, of threats and potentially public disgrace, they did not fear to show their love, their devotion, and their faith.

Because of this they were the last to see the place of their sorrow and grief, but the first to witness the victory and the joy of the Risen Savior.  They were the first to know that the tomb was not final and only borrowed for a time.  And Mary Magdelene, who had given the very best she had to anoint Him and to wash His feet with her tears and dry them with her hair, was the first to see and hear Him in His resurrected form.  Most importantly, they were the first to have the privilege of announcing the Risen Christ to the world.

Today, whether you have been a believer for years, hiding silently in your own insecure world, or whether you have only just been saved.  Or perhaps you have yet to begin a relationship with the Lord Jesus.  Whether you were the first to leave or the last.  Even if you are the latest to arrive.  You may know with assurity that the tomb stills lies empty.  Jesus lives!

RUN!  Go tell the others!  He’s alive!


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