"Why are you weeping?" (John 20:15).
Death is never easy to deal with.
Most of the time we can avoid it or postpone it or keep it far away from us. But sometimes death stares us in the face and we don't know what to do or how to respond. And that's why Mary Magdalene was standing alone at the Garden Tomb about 6:30 a.m. on the first Easter Sunday.
If the tomb is empty, why is she still there? Either you know the answer and I don't have to explain it, or you don't, and there isn't much I can say. If you've ever lost a loved one who meant more to you than life itself, you know why she was there. She had loved Jesus in life, now she loved him in death. She served him in life, now she meant to serve him in death. She was there at the tomb, alone, because death could not destroy her love.
Some of you got up this morning and remembered friends and loved ones who are not with you this year. Perhaps later today or sometime tomorrow you will go to a quiet cemetery and stand by a grave alone. In your heart, you may even talk to the one who is now gone and tell them again how much you miss them. If you have ever done that, you know why Mary was there.
She weeps because the tomb is empty. She is weeping over an empty tomb! What should have been good news broke her heart! We would say today that the empty tomb is one of the greatest proofs of the Resurrection. Yet Mary weeps. This shows us that evidence alone will never persuade anyone. Unless the evidence is accompanied by proper understanding and an open heart, no one will be changed. Mary had all the right facts but she still jumped to the wrong conclusion. We often do the same thing. When faced with trials and unexplainable tragedy, we often weep over our circumstances, when if we had God's perspective, we wouldn't weep at all.
And consider this. If Mary had gotten her wish, we would be the ones weeping today. If she had found Jesus' body still in the tomb, we would have nothing to celebrate because Easter would not exist.
I close with the question Jesus asked Mary, only I would like to ask each person who reads my words: Why are you weeping? As one writer put it, when Jesus walked out of the tomb, all his people came out with him.
It's Saturday, but Sunday's coming. Let that thought give strength to your heart today.
Lord Jesus, we do not ask you to ask our sorrow away, but we pray for faith to see your promises through our tears. We thank you that Saturday leads on to Sunday, and that Holy Week always ends in a resurrection. Amen.