‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen!… (Mark 16:6)
But that’s impossible!
The King still reigns today?
Could it be true?
But that changes everything, doesn’t it…
Three Course Meal
Reading: Mark 16
16 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. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’
4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
6 ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”’
8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
After the rush to get Jesus buried before the Sabbath so as not to break the Law by working on the Sabbath, the women go as early as they can to finish the job, such is their devotion to him. How quick are we with our service for him? Is it our first priority, or last when everything else is done? But when they arrive they find not a sealed tomb but an open one, not a corpse but an angel, not a dead King but a risen one!
Mark’s Gospel ends abruptly. The women flee trembling and bewildered, not telling of what they have been told out of fear. If you feel that’s not how it should end, it would seem you’re not alone. Many Bibles include a few more verses at the end of the Gospel, which some later manuscripts include, but not the earliest ones. It would seem others were just as unsettled by the jarring close as we are. We like answers. We like to understand what we experience, to wrap it up and make it tidy. We like happy Hollywood endings. But the resurrection is not like that (nor indeed is God)! Mark’s abrupt ending is a warning not to move too fast from the awe at what we’ve just heard to creating tidy theologies that explain it and put it in a nice, comfortable, safe, intellectual box that no longer impinges on our lives or unsettles or challenges us.
Jesus the King has risen from the grave! Nothing will be the same again.
Risen Jesus, do we dare to peek out and see your face, to grasp that what we’ve heard is true? Have we the courage to accept this impossible truth and emerge and invite you to reign in our lives and in our world today?