Who Will Roll the Stone Away?

Sermon ~ Sunday of the Myrrhbearing Women
“And when he learned from the centurion that He was dead, he granted the body to Jospeh. And he bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped Him in the linen shroud, and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.”
“And He rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.”  That was to be the final act in the life of the greatest life that ever lived!
He touched the blind and gave the sight.
He touched the minds and hearts of sinners and made them new persons.
He offered hope to the hopeless.
He healed the sick.
He raised the dead.
Then they, we, crucified Him.
They placed Him in a tomb and rolled a stone against the door.

The story of life goes on.  Life rolls stones at us, stones that burry hope, stones that cause bitter disappointments, defeat, frustration, sickness, and even death.  These are the stones that make up our lives.  Life was nailed to the cross and then it was laid in a tomb and a stone was rolled in front of it.
We read today that on the morning of Pascha the women were on their way to perform the final act of love for Jesus.  The man they had followed these last years and the man they had watched die on the cross.  They had their worries, and I can only imagine that they were silent as they walked the path to the tomb.  They worried about who would roll the stone away for Scripture tells us it is very large!
Sometimes, as we are walking the path of life, we fret about the stones in our lives.  Sometimes, as the women were wondering who would roll this stone away because it is so large.  Sometimes we feel we cannot do this alone anymore and like St. Paul we cry out, “Who will deliver me from the body of this death.”
We all have these stones in our life and like the women we need help to roll them away.  We think of the huge stones that stand in our way:
The stone of regret for the way we have often taken in the past.
The stone of uncertainties that concern us at this moment in time, uncertainties about the future and how we are going to make it.
The stone of fear, fears that we have about the future.
The stone of inadequacy to live up to what others want us to be.
The stone of weakness in the face of temptation.
The stone of sins, of the things we have done and the things we have not done.  The people we have hurt or exploited.
The stones that block our way to a happy life.
And the stone of death!  The stone that will be placed over our tomb.

All of us have these stones at one time or another in our life and they seem as large as the stone that closed the entrance to the tomb of Jesus.  They are so large we have no idea how we are going to move them and so we ignore them and they just keep getting larger and larger.
I cannot tell you the number of people who talk to me each day about their hurts and their guilt and other feelings that they have.  The uncertainty of the future has caused so many problems in our lives and the lives of our families many of us have lost the hope that we were promised and many of us now hope for change.
But like the women who were heading down that path, the path of life, to the tomb of Jesus they found that the stone had been rolled away.  They found that their fears were not necessary because the very person who had been in the tomb had rolled the stone away, and as they found out, He is ready willing and able to roll our stones away and free us from all of those things that keep us down.
The women, and the others, thought that this was indeed the end.  They watched their teacher, their leader, their son, their brother, and their friend nailed to the cross.  The saw the metal nails pierce His flesh and they listen to Him as He cried out in pain.  They watched Him suffer and they were helpless to do anything about it.  Standing between Him and them was the might of the Roman Army, a very large stone.  The only thing they could do was to go to the tomb an anoint His body after he was dead and that was their task.
They were not going to the tomb with nothing in their hands, they carried all of the necessary things that they would need to anoint the body, and they were carrying all of their hurts, wants, and sins with them.  But they carried nothing to remove the stone!
Jesus did not come to free people from their human captors.  Jesus came to free the people from their spiritual captors, to free us from our sins, and to roll the stone that blocked the way to eternal life away.  The stone that had been rolled in front paradise by our sins.  He hung on the tree because we brought sin into the world through a tree and he rolled the stone away, that same stone that had been blocking the entrance to paradise.  He completed everything that we had been waiting for, and He continues to all we have to do is ask Him to roll away those stones.
What keeps us from asking Jesus to roll these stones away, these stones that hold us down?  Maybe we think they are so large no one can move them.  Maybe we are afraid to ask someone for help because we fear that they will judge us or tell everyone about our stones.  Maybe we think we can do it ourselves and when we realize we cannot we just give up.  But fear not because Jesus can move away any stone that we have, any stone that blocks our way, and stone that keeps us down.
Who will roll the stone away for us from the tomb?  Jesus has and He will if we just ask Him and invite Him to come and roll away that stone.
“And looking up they saw that the stone was rolled back; for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, ‘Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; He is not here; come, see the place where they laid Him.’”
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