20:3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb.

 4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in.

6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb.

He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.

8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.

10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.

So many small strange details fill these few verses. Simon Peter and one other disciple hear Mary Magdalene’s report that Jesus’ body is missing. They set out together running to the tomb. The unnamed disciple runs faster than Peter and reaches the tomb first. He looks in and sees the linen clothes in which Jesus had been wrapped lying empty but does not enter. Simon Peter arrives at the tomb and goes in. He sees the wrappings in which Jesus had been shrouded, abandoned with the head cloth separated from the rest of the linen. The other disciple enters the tomb and believes. Together they return “to their homes”.

What do all these curious details signify?

The truth is of course, no one knows what is signified by the disciples’ foot-race to the tomb, the arrangement of the grave clothes, the first disciple’s refusal to enter the tomb, or Peter’s later arrival and entry. No one understands why the first disciple remains anonymous. It is not clear what is meant by the statement that this unidentified disciple “saw and believed” or what Peter understood at this point. The only thing John makes clear is that neither of these disciples understood that Jesus “must rise from the dead”.

We are in the terrain of mystery and no one finds their way in this territory with absolute certainty or complete clarity. We feel our way forward. We grope in the dark and trust that there is greater wisdom at work in these curious events than we can fully see at this point.

What gives me hope when I do not understand that I can continue moving forward?

What do I see that helps me trust in the light in the midst of my failure to fully understand?