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Mark 278 - Plans

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

Mark 16:1-3[1]

It was about a two-mile walk to the tomb. Not only did they carry the spices they bought, but they carried on a conversation. And the elephant-in-the-room topic of conversation was how the great big problem was going to be solved. Who was going to roll the stone away?

Rising early and walking would be in vain without someone to move the stone. Buying and bringing spices would be wasted without someone moving the stone. The stone not only blocked the tomb, it had a seal on it from the chief priests and pharisees[2]. The official seal brought with it their authority along with penalties. These women were no position to move the stone by themselves. They needed help and plenty of it.

But that didn’t stop them from going to the tomb.

Yes, they had a plan. Yes, they went to the store and purchased spices with their own money. Yes, they woke up early. Yes, they walked to the tomb. Yes, they were ready to handle Jesus’ corpse, putting the additional spices on it.

But there was a big fat question mark on how they were going to get into that tomb. They had a plan, but their plan had a hole in it. Their plan had a big unknown in it. A question without an answer. They didn’t have a clue how it was going to be answered.

But that didn’t stop them from going to the tomb.

As they walked, they kept on talking about the stone. How was the stone going to be moved? Who was going to move the stone? Who could they ask to move the stone? What were they going to do if the stone wasn’t moved?

They planned their work and then worked their plan. They expected everything to still be there. The tomb. The stone. Jesus’ body. But there was a literal, immovable object in their way. There’s a good chance that they didn’t know about the armed guard that had been put there sometime Saturday[3].

Who knows how big the stone was. How much it weighed. Joseph of Arimathea was able to roll the stone in front of the tomb by himself[4]. But there probably was a downward slope to let gravity help it fall into place. This would make it easier to close up but way harder to remove.

They had lots of questions. But precious few answers. As a matter of fact, they only had one answer, and it was in the form of a question.

Not a what, when, where, why, or even a how. Their one question was who. Who was going to move the stone? They certainly figured out that they couldn’t budge it. So, it had to be someone else.

In the play, Hamlet, Shakespeare wrote that famous line we’ve all heard.

To be, or not to be? That is the question.

But in this case, I think a different quote is needed.

The who, and only the who, that is the question.

Yes, stones can be moved. Yes, stones can be rolled. Yes, stones can even be blown up. But whenever stones are moved, it’s not so much about the how, but the who. Who will move it? There’s almost always a who involved.

When you think about the impossible things in your life, the giant stones that need to be moved, what do you think about? Do you focus on all the other questions before giving up and finally turning toward the who?

We can think, plan, plot, scheme, and connive all day long. It might steal your sleep as it goes on well into the night. We can look for answers until the cows come home and we run out of energy. And all along, Jesus is there waiting because we won’t turn to him.

you refuse to come to me to have life.

John 5:40

It’s not that he’s unavailable. It’s not that he’s not strong enough. It’s not that he’s not willing. But it’s our refusing to come to him. To turn to Jesus as our God.

What’s stopping us from coming to Jesus? Could it be our plans? Our plans for today? Our plans for this week? Our plans for our life?

What’s stopping us from coming to Jesus to have life? I’m just practical enough to think that it’s not something else, or anyone else, But just us. What is it inside of us that’s refusing to come to him?

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all Bible references are from the New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. [2] Matthew 27:66 [3] Matthew 27:62-66 [4] Matthew 27:60

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