Have you ever driven on Mountain Parkway in Eastern Kentucky? The scenery is absolutely incredible, especially in the Spring when Redbud trees, pines, flowering plants, mountains and running water dot the landscape. But I think that the most unusual landmark is the big rock – a boulder actually. Though you might miss it if you aren’t looking for it, once you spot it you are likely to do a double take. The rock is three times the size of the car it has wedged in place on the mountainside for years! It would take some heavy equipment to move that rock!
Surely that is what the two Marys and Salome think about the rock – the huge stone – at the entrance of the tomb on that first Easter morning. They don’t know that it is Easter – nor are they aware that their Savior has risen from the dead. Rather, they are going to the tomb to complete the burial rite by anointing the body of Jesus with spices. “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” they ask. (Mark 16:3b)
We have many stones in life: challenges that we have difficulty overcoming . . . obstacles that prevent us from experiencing the fullness of life . . . pain that we carry from past hurt and losses . . . guilt which burdens our hearts . . . brokenness that comes with living life. Then there are the stones of too much attachment to worldly possessions . . . of faithlessness . . . of misunderstanding. What about the stones of misplaced priorities, of hopelessness, of deep depression? We are confronted by so many stones, including huge ones which we cannot budge - much less roll away.
When the three women arrive at the tomb they hear from a young man the best news of their lives. Jesus is Risen. Indeed the stone has been rolled away!
This is the news that greets us on this Easter morning. “Who will roll away the stone?” The stone that is plaguing us is already moved and behind it is an empty tomb! Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the heaviest stones in our lives can be rolled away. Perhaps they don’t totally disappear. But as one person who carries a heavy load in life said to me, “My belief in the Resurrection is what gets me through every day!”
Yes, our hope in the Risen Jesus gives us confidence that our losses will one day count for gain…our brokenness will not only be healed, but will be means of healing for others who are broken…our weaknesses will be our greatest strengths . . . our guilt and sin are removed and forgiven. Our hope in the Resurrected Christ gives us assurance that we will one day live in heaven with all of God’s faithful followers. Our hope in the Resurrected Savior gives us a purpose for living. As we believe these truths . . . as we trust these realities . . . then the stone is rolled away.
The beauty to it all is that we do not move the stone. We come to the stone, crying, “I wonder who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb? Who will help me overcome my grief? Who will strengthen me in my pain? Who will release me from the incredible weight of guilt? Who will free me from all that binds me?”
The answer is, “Jesus will.” He rolls away the stone and we experience resurrection out of the grief, brokenness, addictions and hopelessness of our lives. We know New Life out of the despair, losses, regret and guilt. The Good News of Easter morning is that a Savior lives who rolls away the stones, the rocks, the boulders in our lives! The tomb is empty because He is Risen and we know first-hand His Resurrection Power. Jesus Christ is alive and the stone is rolled away!