By Wapke Henson.
Four of my grandchildren have grown up with a story that happened when their father was still a young boy. Tucking them into bed while babysitting, the last request before lights out would always be: “Please Oma, tell us the story about what happened to Daddy’s dog?” That story is part of their heritage. It makes the connection between them, their dad and me, almost like a continuation. I am sure that they know it by heart, yet the younger ones still want to hear it every time.
On Easter Sunday, while Leroy preached on the resurrection, I was drawn to the women in the story and hoped that they lived long enough to hear their own grandchildren ask: “Please, will you tell us the story about what happened when you went to the tomb of Jesus, and he wasn’t there?”
The grandmother would start like this:
“We had been following Jesus for a long time, you know, we loved listening to what he had to say, and we hoped that he would become our King. However, one night bad people came who took him away even though Jesus had never done anything wrong. There was a big commotion when Jesus was brought before the authorities, with lots of shouting and washing of hands. But nothing helped, and he was sentenced to death.
Simon from Cyrene was made to carry the cross behind Jesus, and we also followed, crying and wailing as we went. Never before had we been so devastated and full of sorrow. We watched and waited while Jesus died on that cross. Lots of people left, but not us women, and a few others, because we loved him and did not want him to die without us.
A brave man called Joseph of Arimathea took his body down and carried it to a brand-new tomb where no other had been laid to rest. Then the tomb was closed with a huge big stone. We were so upset that there was not enough time to prepare Jesus’ body properly for burial, because it was too close to the beginning of the Sabbath. That night we went home together, and between crying and feeling sad, we managed to prepare spices and perfume that we were going to take to Jesus after the Sabbath. We comforted each other and kept busy, and I don’t think that any of us slept.
After the Sabbath, on the first day of the week, we went to the tomb early in the morning. We worried, all the way, about that heavy stone. But suddenly we found ourselves inside the tomb where all was still, and it was empty! Jesus was not there! We were dumbfounded and surprised and scared all at the same time, and then you should have seen the two lightning angels! They were so bright that we had to bow our heads. Then we understood in our hearts that Jesus had risen!
We ran as fast as we could, spices and perfumes forgotten, to the place where the apostles stayed. We all spoke at once, and our words were stumbling over each other just as our feet had done in our hurry to get there. No wonder the apostles did not believe a thing we said. They probably could not make head or tails of what we were saying! Only Peter, who always was more spontaneous then the others went to look for himself.”
“The stone Grandma, you forgot to tell, what happened?”
“After all our worrying, God had already taken care of it. He does that sometimes when we worry too much.”
“Was it a miracle?”
“Yes, it was…and a mystery.”
“Please Grandma, will you tell me again?”