Jesus had spoken of this indirectly but distinctly when first He told His disciples of His suffering and death, six months before. And each time afterwards when He told them of His death the words were always added, “and the third day rise again." I The two things are nearly always linked. But they hadn’t seemed to sense what He meant. The thing seems quite beyond them.
He spoke of it again on that never-to-be-forgotten night of the betrayal, the night of the feet-washing, and that last long talk, and that wondrous Kidron-prayer. He spoke of it more than once that night.
It was a very emphatic word He spoke as they were walking along the darkly shadowed Jerusalem streets out towards the east gate. He said, “a little while and ye shall behold Me no more; and again a little while and ye shall see Me." And the disciples pick this up and puzzle over it.
And the Master explains rather carefully and at some length. There was a time of sore trouble coming for Him and for them. And while they were sorrowing the outer crowd would be making merry. But it would be just as with the expectant mother, He said. All the while even when the pains cut she is thinking of the great delight that is to be hers. Her after-joy clean wipes out of her thought the sharp cutting of the pain.
So it would be. “I will see you again,” He said in plainest speech. And again that same night He said, “after I am raised up, I will go before you into Galilee.” Could any appointment be more explicit as to time and place?
But they forget. Aye, there’s the bother, this thing of forgetting. The memory is ever the index of the heart and the will and the understanding. You can tell the one by the other. Some things are never forgot. A bit embarrassing and odd this thing of forgetting what Jesus says.
His enemies remembered, and took special pains to head off any breaking of their careful plans. And even when the angels remind the women of the promised appointment, and they with great joy repeat the reminder to the disciples, it seems like “idle talk” and is not accepted. The thing couldn’t be, they think. Finally the evidence becomes so convincing that they start off for the trysting place, “into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them."
How the Appointment Was Kept.
Let us look a bit at the wonderful keeping, so unexpected, of this sacred tryst. It’s the third day now since Jesus’ death. It is in the dark dusk of the early morning. A little knot of women make their way slowly along the road leading out of the city gate. Mary Magdalene is in the lead, so far ahead of the others as to be alone. They are carrying packages of perfumed ointments. They are thinking only of a dear dead body and of clinging fragrant memories.
They are troubling themselves about how to get the big stone at the tomb pushed aside. It was too much for their strength. As she drew near the tomb Mary Magdalene’s love-quickened eyes notice something quite unexpected. The stone is moved aside! She naturally thinks some one has taken the body secretly away in the night.