Tag Archives: Tomb

Jesus Wept

But who were the tears for?

The Raising Of Lazarus By Vincent van Gogh

It is related to us in John 11: 1-44,  that after Jesus was told that Lazarus, brother of Mary & Martha, was ill, that he did not go immediately to them in Judea; He stayed another 2 days in Jerusalem. Upon His arrival, we learn that Lazarus was already dead had been interred four days earlier. It seems then , from the timeline we are presented with, it was almost a week after being told about Lazarus, before Jesus went to see the ones’ he loved.

When Jesus arrived in Judea, He wep(John 11: 35) at the news of Lazarus’ death; but why?

Jesus knew that the power of the Father, through the Holy Spirit could resurrect Lazarus. Knowing this, it seems unlikely His tears were for Lazarus, so who were they for? Might they be tears of shame, that he allowed not only the suffering of Lazarus until death but also the suffering of Mary and Martha, all of which He could have prevented.

Perhaps His tears were for Mary and Martha, for what they had endured, after all untill He called Lazarus from the Tomb, they probably thought He’d let them all down.

Maybe it was because He new the resurrection of Lazarus would be in vain. Maybe he knew that Lazarus woud be executed in the future by the Pharisees (John 12: 10). He might have been hoping his delay would save Mary and Martha from even more pain and suffering, but when He got there emotion took over and He felt compassion for Mary and Martha and compelled to do something.

We’ll never know. I just offer a possibility.

Interview With Mary Magdalene

Christ and Mary Magdalene by Rembrandt

Something a little different from me, so I hope you like the audio post that follows this introduction.

As with all my posts, the script is entirely by me. With thanks to my friend Jenny, who provided the voice of Mary Magdalene in the recording.

I present a fictional news interview with Mary Magdalene, set outside Jerusalem on what is now Easter Sunday.

 

Wash Your Hands

and fold the towel when you’re done.

WashHandsIn Jesus’ time, when a carpenter completed a piece of work, it was fairly common practice for him to wash his hands and then dry them on a linen cloth, which he would leave neatly folded on top of the finished item. It was a way of letting anyone who inspected the object know that it was complete. Jesus was a carpenter, so would almost certainly have been shown this little ritual by his (earthly) father, Joseph.

On the day of resurrection, after Mary had called Peter and John to Jesus’ open tomb, they saw in it that although most of the grave clothes were left where they dropped, the cloth that had covered Jesus’ head in death had been left in its place where his head would have rested.

I wonder if this might have been a sign that Jesus himself was now complete, the finished article? Now he was ready to go to his Father? Maybe his crucifixion wasn’t only to take away the world’s sins, perhaps it was also the last aspect of humanity that Jesus had to experience for God to comprehend the full complexity of his creations and what death means to mankind.

If the folded head cloth was meant as a message, would any of the remaining 11 disciples discern it’s meaning. Five of the disciples’ occupations, before becoming followers, were unknown so one might have been a carpenter. Peter, who saw the folded head covering, had been a fisherman so probably wouldn’t have guessed its significance.

There were also up to five women who visited the tomb, including Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James. Even if one of these women had guessed the significance, if any, of the head cloth remaining in its place, would the men give credence to such insight, given women’s place in that society?

I think the act of leaving the head cloth in place, neatly folded might be a metaphor with Jesus’ former carpentry profession; a sign of His completeness and readiness to go home to His, and our, Father.

The Cross – 3. Life

Previous, 2. The Hill

Vacant

Grinding sounds, growing light,
The stone rolled back,
Death robes empty, neatly folded,
A vacant tomb,

A missing body.

A woman weeping,
A man in the garden,
‘Mary’ he says,
‘Rabboni’!
Understanding. Resurrection.

_________________________________________________

The Cross – 1. The Garden

Gethsemane

The rented room fills slowly,
As the friends gather.
The servant washes feet,
The King breaks bread, passes wine,
They eat, they drink,
A man slips quietly away.

A walk to a garden,
Prayer, a plea,
A clatter of armour, soldiers
A kiss, an arrest.
Trial, perjury and conviction,
Punishment and flogging.

Next: 2. The Hill

Awakening

His eyes open but there is nothing to see.

He woke up and opened his eyes, at least he thought he did. It was pitch black, so dark he at first doubted that he had opened his eyes at all. He tried holding a hand up in front of his face but could not see it; could see nothing at all. He must have been asleep, he reasoned, but didn’t know for how long. But why would he be sleeping on anything so hard and cold, it felt as hard as rock beneath him and in places lumps were digging in to him. He reached a hand that he couldn’t see out, extending it above himself and finding nothing within reach so sat up, slowly and carefully.

Bringing his hands back to his sides, he began to feel along the surface on which he was sitting. He understood now why it was so cold and hard, is was rock. Moving his hands slowly, feeling with his fingertips he found it dropped away on one side and there was a wall on the other. Turning carefully, unseeing, away from the rough wall, he swung his legs out over the drop, making a skittering sound as his heels dislodged what he guessed was a few loose stone chips. As the back of his legs again touched the side of the surface he was sitting on, so his feet also touched the ground and he realised he must be sat on a low rock shelf.

Staring hard he thought he detected a small patch where, although he couldn’t actually see light, the darkness seemed slightly less intense, grey not quite black. Standing up, without thinking to check above with his hands, he bumped his head. Stooping so as not to do it a second time again, he made his way slowly towards the grey patch, shuffling his feet forward only a foot’s length at a time with each step as he moved. His hands which he held out in front of himself, came to rest on a cold hard surface just below the patch of grey he had been making for. He couldn’t yet be sure but he thought that the grey was getting, almost imperceptibly, lighter.

The surface his hands were now resting on was cold, hard and much smoother than where had lay a short time ago. Moving his hands slowly outwards from where they rested and feeling around he realised he was standing by an aperture, a doorway perhaps. If it was, then the door was heavy, very heavy. Leaning closer to the patch of grey, his eyes caught a glimmer of light. There was a tiny gap where dim light slipped through. Pressing his cheek to the cold stone he found that the crack was too slim to see anything through, although, he guessed it was night and that the lighter patch was moonlight. It would be pointless trying to get out until at least dawn so, moving again slowly he turned around and shuffled the few steps until he again felt the rock ledge. He settled into a fairly comfortable sitting position on the uneven surface and prepared to wait, he did not know for how long, until there was more light and day was coming.

Watching intently the grey patch where the moonlight filtered in, he could just see it wane until eventually, he never knew after how long, the patch began to spread. As it spread, so its quality of light began to change too, from the cold white purity of moonlight to the amber of the sun at dawn. As the light spread further he began to discern the shape of the aperture, although he still couldn’t see anything else in his solitary space.

Moving carefully back to the doorway, which he could now make it out although little else, he pressed with his hands against the rock trapping him inside. It didn’t move. Leaning into it with his whole body weight, he felt it wobble; just the minutest movement then settle back to it’s original position. Again he tried with the same result; still trapped. It was too heavy to push and he could get no purchase to roll it sideways.

He Closed his eyes again, shutting out what little light there was; another light blossomed within his mind, the light of his Father clear in his minds eye. Reaching out again to the boulder he rested his fingertips against it and made a slow rolling motion sideways. The boulder began to roll with the movement of his hands, not completely silently but the only sound was a skittering as stone chips and pebbles were dislodged as the boulder moved.

Stepping out into the sunshine he blinked, momentarily blinded by the morning light, and stood stock still shading his eyes with his hands until his eyes adjusted and he could see more clearly. It was then he noticed the piercings, already beginning to heal, in his hands. Looking down, he saw similar marks in his feet too and there was an odd sensation in his side. The injuries were still sore and he was sure there would be scars. Then he realised he wasn’t wearing his robe, just a light, long cloak more like a shroud. Looking back into the tomb, as he now realised it to be, he saw a robe folded neatly at one end of the ledge where he had lay, just beyond where his head had rested. Stepping back inside, he donned the robe. It wasn’t his but it fitted well enough, it would do for now.

Coming back out of the tomb, he wasn’t sure where he was or which way to go and he couldn’t see anyone about to ask, so early in the morning. He set off, choosing the path that looked most trodden but after walking only a couple of minutes, he saw a small group of Roman soldiers. Something stirred in his memory and deciding it would be better to avoid them, he retraced his steps to look for another way out, of what now seemed to be a garden. Just before he passed the tomb from which he had emerged such a short time ago, he met a woman and again a memory stirred at the back of his mind. She spoke before his thought had crystallised, “Are you the gardener, Sir; Do you know where they have taken my Lord?”

It all came flooding back. His betrayal and arrest, the sham trial, his torture and crucifixion. He knew who this woman was too, and spoke her name “Mary”, almost unaware he’d said it out loud as more memories of the events of the last few days returned. A moment after Mary’s name had escaped his lips, realisation hit her like a bolt of lightening. She cried out “Teacher”. Before leaving Mary Magdalane, he gave her a message to take to the disciples, saying that “I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God”.