20:1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”
3 "Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. 4 So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. 5 And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb..."
Mary came and saw from the outside that the tomb was open. From that singular piece of evidence she jumped to the conclusion that some people had come and stolen His body and buried it somewhere else. She and whoever was with her (we) went and found Peter. John was with him and they ran to the tomb. John arrives first (likely because of his younger legs) and he looks into the tomb and sees the burial cloths but doesn't go in. When Peter arrives he goes right into the tomb.
Do you see a pattern? Each person goes a step further than the person who came before them. Why? Why didn't Mary go in? If we say it was too dark then why didn't John go in? Too scared? Unlikely? Looking into a tomb when it's half dark is not much different from going in. If he was scared he likely would have just waited for Peter to arrive before looking in.
Something different is happening here and Mary gave us the clue yesterday. It is our nature both to jump to conclusions and to share what we think we know. How often do we begin a sentence spoken to another person with "Did you know...?" or "Did you hear about...?" Mary didn't just share what she saw (stone rolled away from the tomb entrance) but she added a whole story to it.
Peter and John were by nature skeptical. They had to run and see for themselves.
It's no mystery why we are so skeptical. With so many of us running around sharing what we think we know based loosely on what we actually know it's bound to create some skepticism. A study gets released showing red wine is good for you. Then another study is released saying red wine is bad for you. Which is it? And how valid are any studies if they can't agree? And if researchers can't figure out something as simple as the benefits or harms of red wine what else do they not know?
Add to this that Mary is just a woman and likely over emotional it's perfectly logical that the men had to go and see what was really going on. (Insert sarcastic voice :) )
So John arrives and sure enough the stone is rolled away. He looks in to see. I mean it could be that Jesus' body is still there. Maybe "they" got scared off by Mary's arrival and never completed the heist. However the cloths are there so clearly He is gone. Peter then arrives. Does John tell him what he saw or does pushy outspoken Peter just plow through so he can see for himself? These are details we are not told.
What we do know is that each person who comes to the scene goes further in their investigation than the last person did.
What John found does not make him better or smarter than Mary. What Peter did does not make him wiser or more thorough than either John or Mary. Had Mary not pioneered the investigation Peter and John would still be at home. Had John not peered into the open tomb and stood there with a look of shock and bewilderment at the discarded grave cloths perhaps Peter would not have had the desire/urgency to push through and see the whole scene for himself.
In short we are all on a journey of discovery. Each of us is building on those who have gone before us. Anything "new" we discover does not discredit those who went before us. Had they not gone as far as they did we would not have been able to go further. God designed for us to be a community. To work together. To share talents and resources and perspectives and information. Together we are stronger, smarter, faster, wiser, etc... than any one of us is by ourselves. Jesus always sent His followers out in pairs. Before sin ever tainted the human race God declared "It is not good for man to be alone."
It was a mistake for Mary to draw false conclusions from the evidence she found but it was right to seek out others to help her in her search. It was right that they believed her enough to go and it was also right that they doubted her enough to search and see for themselves. We are designed for community but we are not designed to be blind followers of others. There is a vast difference between community and cult. Never allow yourself to come under the influence of any person or group that expects you to let them do your thinking for you.
Build on their knowledge. Hear what others have to say but check it out for yourself. Go all the way in your investigating. Peter did and tomorrow we'll see what he found...