But Mary Faced the Tomb


These were words from a post I wrote a couple of years ago. You can read the entire post HERE

“Then the disciples went back to their homes.

But Mary stood outside facing the tomb, crying. As she was crying ,she stooped to look into the tomb.” John 20:10-11

I made an observation after reading these devotional verses this morning.

I compared the varying reactions of Peter and the unnamed disciple versus Mary Magdalene.  All three of them had just witnessed a baffling sight, an empty tomb.  I know they were all distraught. I know it confused all of them, but it’s interesting to me the different reactions to the confusing scene.

What the disciples do next reminded me of what so many of us do after witnessing something we don’t understand and can’t explain.

“Then the disciples went back to their homes.”

Isn’t that just like us.  So often when we come across something we don’t understand we just keep doing what we’ve always done. The disciples went home.

But, contrast their reaction with Mary’s reaction:

But Mary stood outside facing the tomb, crying. As she was crying, she stooped to look into the tomb. 

I’m not sure if that’s meant to be significant or not, the fact that Mary stayed behind and lingered for a while. But it meant something to me.  Mary had just witnessed something confusing and out-of-place. Yet, instead of going immediately back to the comfort of “familiar” she chose to linger in that uncomfortable and confusing moment.  And, in the midst of her confusion and pain, Jesus appears.

These verses reminded me today how Jesus will often appear to us even today the very same way.  When we take time to linger in our questions, when we choose to slow down, when we take time to look for answers, He shows up in the midst of it all and offers us hope.



In the midst of all her questions, Mary stood and faced the tomb.  Everything about this moment devastated and confused her…and yet, as readers, who know the rest of the story, we understand that this isn’t a moment to cry but a moment to rejoice.  Mary just hasn’t been shown the entire picture yet.

Mary’s actions reminded me of a quote I blogged about a few months ago. “Let your need for clarity be the reason you lean into confusion.” Dan Rockwell. 

I know there’s lesson tucked away in this moment for us.   What do we do when everything in front of us tells our eyes that we should doubt, we should retreat, or we should give up?

We stand.
We face the empty tomb.
We choose to remain in the middle of all the questions in order to gain clarity.



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