MARK, IS THAT ANY WAY TO REPORT A RESURRECTION?
Bible Background: Each of the 4 gospels reports the resurrection of Jesus with some similarities and some differences: All report the tomb is empty. All place Mary Magdalene there. All report some understandable confusion. All have some instructions for those first witnesses (who happen to be women!)
Digging Deeper: Of all 4 accounts, Mark’s is the shortest, ending at 16:8. (Most Bibles will show a ‘shorter’ and ‘longer’ ending to Mark, with the notes that these were later additions to make up for a too-sudden ending.) Mark reports that the women fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone because they were afraid. (The End!) The reader is left hanging!
1. One thing we see is the Bible’s “honesty”. That’s probably how it really was Easter morning! But obviously-since the story “got out”-the women must have gotten over their fears and told someone! The first words of Mark’s gospel are: The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Could it be that Mark has not tried to tell us “the rest of the story” because the rest of the story is really open-ended?
2. In 16:7, the women are instructed to Go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you. (See 14:28). This might be the most important part of Mark’s account: namely, that it is in going forward into the future, and trusting in Jesus, that we come to see and know the living Lord! Living in the light of Christ’s resurrection is not a story that has a neat, tidy, ending. It’s an ongoing adventure and journey!
3. The women had questions and fears. (So do we!) They wondered Who will roll away the stone for us? When they get there, the stone is rolled away! What are some obstacles/things you worry about, that maybe are not such a big deal? The angel-figure says to the women Do not be alarmed! (As in, “do not be afraid!”) While no one could blame them for being alarmed, fears need to be dealt with and put in its place. We live in a climate of fear-some of it real, some of it manufactured. How can “do not be alarmed/afraid” speak to us? How can we take those words that Jesus frequently spoke to his disciples, and internalize faith rather than fear?
4. For a fuller account of that First Easter, read Luke 24. The “Road to Emmaus” story tells of great joy and surprise in the presence of the living Christ!