Do the Right Thing and Expect to Be Surprised

do the right thing

The women around Jesus at his death knew to do the right thing…and they were surprised.

“Who will roll away the stone?”

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” (Mark 16:1-3).

Jesus was crucified, dead and buried two days before the event described in this passage. On the third day after the death of Jesus, out of their own initiative, the three women in this passage were driven to anoint and preserve with spices the lifeless body of Jesus inside the tomb.

They determined it was the right thing for them to do, no matter what. No one told them to do so.

It appears, as though, they bought and prepared spices to anoint Jesus’ body without first considering, “Who will roll away the massive stone blocking the entrance to his grave?” Or, perhaps, they did consider the challenge posed by the stone, but they appear to have decided to prepare the spices first, and deal with the stone later, when they walk to the tomb.

The women’s family and friends may have reminded them, “You seem to be wasting your time and money on spices. Don’t you know the tomb where Jesus’ body lies is sealed by a large stone?”

Inaction was not an option

The three women, with a common purpose, DID NOT choose to WAIT around for the unlikely news, “The stone has been rolled away and the tomb is now open and accessible.” Waiting did not figure in their game plan.

You may wonder, “Why did they not seek the help of the disciples to roll the stone away?” The women did not verbalize their reason for ignoring the disciples, but their action reveals their thinking, which may sound like this: “At this moment, having lost their leader Jesus, the disciples are not ready, mentally or emotionally, for the task of rolling away the stone. So, let’s leave them alone and take care of this as best as we can” (compare Mark 16:10).

The women could have used the obstructing stone as a valid excuse for inaction, but they chose not to.

Surprised by the rewarding experience

On the first day of the week, once they prepared the spices, they walked towards the tomb “just after Sunrise” wondering, who would roll the stone away from the tomb’s entrance for them (Mark 16:3). Before long, while approaching the tomb, they saw the stone was already gone (Mark 16:4). Their decision to act promptly that morning brought them to the tomb that was wide open because of the miraculous and wonderful resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 16:6).

They were the first to learn, Jesus rose from the dead (Mark 16:6)!

By acting promptly to do the right thing, the three women landed at the right place, at the right time! They carried to the disciples and others the good news of the single most significant event in human history—Apostle Paul put in perspective, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile” (1 Cor. 15:17; NIV).

Further, one of the three women, Mary Magdalene, received the very special honor of being the first person to meet and converse with the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 16:9), an honor that escaped the disciples. She ran to the disciples and exclaimed, “I have seen the Lord!” (John 20:18).

Wanting to do the right thing, she came prepared to anoint the lifeless body of Jesus with spices. Instead, she had a surprising meeting with the resurrected Jesus Christ in His glorious body—”Mary, hold the spices, please!”

Leaders are called to do the right thing day after day; when they do so, sometimes, a pleasant surprise may be waiting for them!

This article about how to do the right thing originally appeared here on LeadLikeJesus.com.

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Paul Swamidass
Paul Swamidass, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus, Harbert College of Business, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, USA. INTEREST: Leadership training for leaders of Christian organizations. He has published some articles on Christian leadership and contributed to some Christian-leadership training in India in partnership with The Kerusso Institute for Global Leaders. He and his wife Nimmi live in Auburn, AL, where they have worshiped at the Lakeview Baptist Church since 1992.