Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So, she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead (John 20.1-9; my emphases)
What did Peter and the other disciple see and believe?
Only the truth of Mary of Magdala’s report:
“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,
and we do not know where they have laid him.”
For they could not conceive
of the fulfillment
of his oft proclaimed word of promise that he,
as the Word (already, alway Being the fulfillment
of his words),
Rise above this world’s evil
that, though, even whilst ever assaulting innocence,
ever proves its impotence.
For the worst that evil will do is kill.
Beyond the offence of death,
evil ne’er can do more.
Nay, they could not conceive that he –
death, the imagined, inexorable end of all living,
its hold feeble, unable to keep him dead –
would (ah, what Holy Surprise!) rise.
Illustration: St. Peter and St. John Run to the Tomb, James Tissot (1836-1902)