Yet there weren’t just women in the garden, Matthew tells us that there were men there, not disciples but guards there to ensure that no tampering happens with the tomb – oh dear.
Yesterday I suggested that the women dropped their spices and left them in the garden, today’s picture comes from the same thought process. What about these guards, they were probably temple guards not Roman centurions. Still they probably thought they had managed a pretty cushy shift, guarding a dead body safely ensconced behind a hefty rock. Matthew tells us when the angel appeared to announce that Jesus had risen they shook and became like dead men.
I imagine that while the women left their spices, the guards dropped their shields and weapons, useless against this sight now before them. As Mary had sung when she met Elizabeth, the mighty had indeed been cast down and the meek lifted up. A new world order has begun and it isn’t about power, might and strength, it is about humility, servitude and love.
John Bunyan in Pilgrims Progress wrote that it was only when Christian saw the empty sepulcher that the pack he was carrying fell off his back and rolled into the sepulchre. What is it that we hold on to, thinking that without it we will be defenseless and vulnerable, weak and powerless? Maybe it is time to let it go to leave it at the empty tomb.
For fear of him (the angel) the guards shook and became like dead men.