The Walk Between Golgotha and the Tomb

Keynote address April 2019  by Lynne Hilton Wilson Ph.D. 

Take a walk back to ancient Jerusalem for the first Easter morning. Try to imagine in your mind's eye, the scene—it’s sights, smells, and sounds, as we walk beside the women who retraced their steps to the tomb were Jesus’ body was laid three days earlier.


In your mind’s eye, as you walk beside those women, I hope you feel their greatness. They are possibly, the most noble women who have ever lived.


  • We know that Mary the mother of the Lord was at the foot of the cross, and her sister was there to comfort her.


  • We know the name of four others who huddled together on that pre-sunrise walk. Mary of Magdala, the wealthy town just north of Tiberius, Joanna, the wife of Chuzza, Solome, the mother of James and John, or sons of thunder, and wife Zebedee.


  • We know there was another Mary who had two boys named James and Josie.


  • We know there were other women in addition to these who’s names are recorded.


You may not need to imagine, you may need to just remember, because as I presume, we were all there with our premortal angelic view, peering down from the clouds, cheering these women on.






Imagine in your mind’s eye that it is still dark, as this small group of shrouded women slowly and quietly retrace their steps down the main road. Slow because they are carrying a heavy load under their long robes. Their dark shawls cover them head to foot, not only because it is still chilly in the wee hours of the morning, but also because they're outside of their homes.


In Jerusalem, Jewish women were to stay indoors as much as possible. But if they ventured out, they most completely drape themselves head to foot, including the veil over their faces.


This little group are on their way to a garden, just off the main road, to visit the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. They feel dark and cold not just because the sun has not yet risen—they feel dark and cold because of sorrow. They are in deep mourning.


The darkness inside is almost overwhelming them. They are confused with unmet expectations and

with fear of both the Romans and the Jews. The other disciples are all hiding; barricaded in a room, still asleep.

But this small band of courageous women had not slept much, and ventured out in hopes that the darkness will be their cover to cross their quarter of Jerusalem and down the main road without being seen.

Jerusalem at Passover time

This is especially difficult because the city is bursting with pilgrims.A city that usually houses between 20,000 to 25,000 people, explodes during the time of the annual pilgrimage feasts. One Passover, a priest counted well over a million Jews who came to worship. There is simply not enough housing for all the pilgrims. If you are fortunate to have extended family in Jerusalem, you can bunk up with them—most of which were one-room homes. You had to squeeze your mat on the floor between their children, like baby birds scrunched up in a nest.  If you cannot fit inside, you sleep outside. There are people sleeping on the hillside, on flat rooftops, in courtyards, and public squares.


As the women carefully wind their way down the narrow-dark-passageways, they worry about disturbing those sleeping in corners and alleyways. Finally, they reach the city wall—they are half way there.


Looking at the temple brings back memories for all the women being on the temple hill with Jesus. Women could have joined him as he taught in Solomon’s Stables, or the court of women.

Imagine how their minds may have been flooded with memories of the past few days they just spent with Him—especially on walking up Mount Moriah with throngs of pilgrims cheering for Him, “Hosanna, to the Son of David” as he triumphantly entered Jerusalem. Where were all those people now?

I wonder if they heard a rumor that the veil of the temple was rent during the violent storm?

Outside the wall

I imagine, they pause and turn around to see the outline of Herod’s grand temple in the dim light.

His mother may have even remembered finding her little twelve-year-old there.

I wonder if they heard a rumor that the veil of the temple was rent during the violent storm?

And yet always aware of others, Jesus saw them sobbing and lovingly spoke:

“Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.”

Can you image in your mind’s eye the women comforting each other as they stumbled along?

I imagine as they edge their way down the dark street, they still smell the same smells.


Over 100,000 lambs were slaughter on the temple mount three days ago. The stench is horrific.

Fearfully they continue to creep along one side of the main road, the famous broad road that runs from Damascus to the Mediterranean Sea. 


I'm sure it was quiet at that time of day. How different than it was a few days before.


Imagine how frightening it must have felt to return to that same road.


I imagine that they remembered where they were standing when the Roman soldiers dragged Jesus, bruised-and-bleeding from Pilate’s scourging, barely able to walk, down the street.