“Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.” – Mark 15:47From Dave Atkinson:
We are told in John’s gospel (John 19:41-42) that two men, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, took Jesus’ body from the cross and buried him in a new tomb. Mark, in his gospel (as with Matthew and Luke), adds a final scene for us to note. He adds that Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph had followed the men to the tomb, and saw where Jesus was buried.
In part this is a clever literary device from Mark to counter those who would later claim that the reason that the women found the tomb empty on the first Easter morning was because they had gone to the wrong one!
However, what strikes me about this verse is the opportunity it provides, as we look at the example of these women, to ask ourselves how committed, how devoted am I to my saviour, Jesus?
We first hear of Mary Magdalene and a number of other women in Luke 8:2, where we learn that Jesus healed them of evil spirits and diseases. We don’t know exactly what that involved for each of the women but their committed, faithful and loving response to Jesus from that point on shows that Jesus turned their lives around – he saved them.
Luke goes on to tell us that the women left their homes in Galilee to follow Jesus through his ministry, helping to support Jesus and his disciples from their own means. As Jesus’ journey to the cross neared its end, and while others fell away from the challenge of Jesus’ teaching and expectations, the women stood by him faithfully. It was the women who were there as Jesus hung from the cross in agony, as he spoke his last words, as he gave up his last breath. It was the women who followed him until they could go no further – and saw where he was laid.
Their love and devotion to Jesus, to the one who had saved them to follow him, was astounding. They did that without knowing what was to come on that first Easter morning.
We know the “what happened next”. We know that Jesus beat death and is alive and rules in heaven. We know that if we have been saved by Jesus, that if we have committed our life to him, we look forward to a glorious and eternal future with him.
Today, as you reflect on how Jesus gave up everything for you, as you look to his agony on the cross and the darkness of the tomb, remember that Jesus saved you to follow him…whatever it takes.