Joanna’s Story

It’s early in the morning.

Still dark. 

selective focus photography of tree leaves
Photo by Egor Kamelev on

The alarm goes off – she tiptoes around the house, gathering her things, so as to not wake the men and children. 

She pours a cup of coffee, leans against the counter, and closes her eyes, one last time as she prepares herself to face the day.  

It’s early in the morning. 

It’s still dark. 

And there’s work to do. 

She double-checks her basket for the perfumes, spices, and oils she’ll need.

She smiles to herself – she had overheard someone say that when the wise people had visited him after his birth, they had brought similar gifts. 

Her breath catches, as the macabre irony of that thought settles in…

She checks on the kids – still sleeping. She quietly leaves and sets off, toward the tomb. The streets are silent, except some crickets chirping in the distance. She walks carefully so as to not trip over a root or a rock in the road.

As she gets closer, a dread sweeps over her. 

She was hoping it was a dream, that she would wake up and everything would go back to normal, to the way it was supposed to be. 

It’s early in the morning. 

It’s still dark. 

She’s almost there when she meets them on the path: Mary, the other Mary, and some friends of theirs. Women they had met along the way of following Jesus in the past few years. They had been through so much together, and here they were together once more.

Walking in silence, side by side. 

Early in the morning.

While it was still dark. 

Sure, some told them they were foolish. Yesterday – the day after IT happened – their friends at the well had told them they’d be better off washing their hands of that man and moving on with their lives. For a moment, she wondered if they were right. 

Her heart started racing as she got closer. Her eyes welled with tears but she bore down with the grit and resiliency that this group of women all shared. They were ready to do the work. 

She began rehearsing in her mind what needed to be done – they’d need to work together to roll the stone away, then they’d each take turns with the fragrant perfumes. Head to toe. 

She wasn’t sure what would happen after that – they all had chores to do, of course, but she imagined they’d gather at one of their homes for some fresh coffee and figs before they went on with their da——

Her thoughts were interrupted. As they approached the tomb she realized that this was not how it was supposed to be — this was NOT how it was supposed to be – the stone wasn’t there but she knew they were the first ones to arrive!

Her heart raced faster, her mouth ran dry, her palms got sweaty as she entered the tomb and stared.

He wasn’t there. 

There was no body. 

Then she heard someone speak. She turned to see two men sitting there — had they rolled the stone away? —  she looked down in fear. 

“Why do you look for the living among the dead?” they asked. 

Then she remembered his words – those words that didn’t make sense at the time but now she understood.

He is not here – he is not here!

For he is… risen. 


Luke 24:1-12: The Women Find the Empty Tomb


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