Humble Hero


“Woman, Why Are You Weeping?”

This chapter is based on Matthew 28:1, 5-8; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18.

On the first day of the week, very early, the women who had stood by the cross made their way to the tomb to anoint the Savior’s body. They did not think about His rising from the dead. The sun of their hope had set. They did not remember His words, “I will see you again.” John 16:22. HH 362.1

Not aware of what was even then taking place, they came near the garden, saying, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” And suddenly, the heavens were ablaze with glory. The earth trembled. The great stone was rolled away. The grave was empty! HH 362.2

Mary Magdalene was the first to reach the place, and seeing that the stone was removed, she hurried to tell the disciples. Meanwhile the other women came. A light was shining around the tomb, but the body of Jesus was not there. HH 362.3

As they lingered, suddenly they saw that they were not alone. A young man in shining clothing was sitting by the tomb. It was the angel who had rolled away the stone. He had taken the form of humanity so that he would not alarm these friends of Jesus. Yet the light of the heavenly glory was still shining around him, and the women were afraid. “Do not be afraid,” the angel said, “for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead.” HH 362.4

They looked into the tomb, and another angel in human form said, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’” HH 362.5

The women remembered now—He said He would rise again! What a day this is! Quickly they left “with fear and great joy, and ran to bring His disciples word.” HH 362.6

Mary had not heard the good news. She went to Peter and John with the sorrowful message, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” The disciples hurried to the tomb and saw the shroud and the napkin, but they did not find their Lord. Yet even here was evidence that He had risen. The graveclothes were not thrown carelessly aside, but carefully folded, each in a place by itself. John “saw and believed.” He now remembered the Savior’s words foretelling His resurrection. HH 362.7

Christ Himself placed those graveclothes with such care. As the mighty angel from heaven rolled away the stone, another entered the tomb and undid the wrappings from the body of Jesus. But it was the Savior’s hand that folded each and laid it in its place. In the sight of Him who guides both the star and the atom, nothing is unimportant. HH 363.1

Mary had followed John and Peter to the tomb. When they returned to Jerusalem, she remained. Grief filled her heart. Looking into the empty tomb, she saw the two angels, one at the head and the other at the foot where Jesus had lain. “Woman, why are you weeping?” they asked her. “Because they have taken away my Lord,” she answered, “and I do not know where they have laid Him.” HH 363.2

Then she turned away, thinking that she must find someone who could tell her what had been done with the body. Another voice addressed her: “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Through tear-dimmed eyes, Mary saw a man, and thinking it was the gardener, said, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” If this rich man’s tomb was thought too honorable for Jesus, she herself would provide a place for Him. There was a grave that Christ’s own voice had made vacant, the grave where Lazarus had lain. HH 363.3

But now in His own familiar voice, Jesus said to her, “Mary.” Turning, she saw in front of her the living Christ! Springing toward Him as if to embrace His feet, she said, “Rabboni!” [Teacher]. But Christ raised His hand, saying, Do not detain Me; “for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’” Mary went on her way with the joyful message. HH 363.4

Jesus refused the homage of His people until He ascended to the heavenly courts and heard the assurance from God Himself that His atonement for our sins had been ample, that through His blood all could have eternal life. The Father ratified the covenant made with Christ, that He would receive repentant and obedient men and women and would love them even as He loves His Son. All power in heaven and on earth was given to the Prince of life, and He returned to His followers in a world of sin, so that He could give to them of His power and glory. HH 363.5

While the Savior was in God’s presence, receiving gifts for His church, the disciples mourned and wept. The day of rejoicing for all heaven was a day of confusion and perplexity to them. Their unbelief in the testimony of the women shows how low their faith had sunk. They could not believe the news. It was too good to be true, they thought. They had heard so much of the so-called scientific theories of the Sadducees that they scarcely knew what the resurrection from the dead could mean. HH 363.6

“Go,” the angels had said to the women, “tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” The message of these angels to the disciples should have convinced them that it was true. Such words could have come only from the messengers of their risen Lord. HH 364.1

Since the death of Christ, Peter had been bowed down with remorse. His shameful denial of the Lord was always on his mind. Of all the disciples, he had suffered most bitterly. The angels’ message gave him the assurance that his repentance was accepted. They had mentioned him by name. HH 364.2

When Mary Magdalene had told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, she repeated the call to meet Him in Galilee. And even a third time the message was sent to them. After He had ascended to the Father, Jesus appeared to the other women, saying, “Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me.” HH 364.3

Christ’s first work after His resurrection was to convince His disciples of His undiminished love and tender regard for them. He wanted to draw the bonds of love still closer around them. “Go tell My brethren,” He said, “that they are to meet Me in Galilee.” HH 364.4

But even now the disciples could not throw off their doubt and perplexity. Even when the women declared that they had seen the Lord, the disciples thought they were under an illusion. HH 364.5

Trouble seemed to follow trouble quickly. They had seen their Master die; they found themselves deprived of His body; and they were accused of having stolen it for the sake of deceiving the people. They had little hope of ever correcting the false impressions that were gaining ground. They feared the hatred of the priests and the anger of the people. They longed for Jesus’ presence. HH 364.6

They often repeated the words, “We were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel.” Luke 24:21. Lonely and sick at heart, they met together in the upper room. They closed and fastened the doors, knowing that at any time the fate of their beloved Teacher might be theirs. HH 364.7

And all the time they could have been rejoicing in the knowledge of a risen Savior! Many are still doing what these disciples did. The Savior is close beside them, but their tear-blinded eyes do not recognize Him. He speaks to them, but they do not understand. HH 364.8

“Go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen.” Look not to the empty tomb. From grateful hearts, from lips touched with holy fire, let the glad song ring out, Christ is risen! He lives to make intercession for us. HH 364.9