“Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”
~Mark 16:8 (NIV).
Imagine for one moment, in going to anoint the dead body of Jesus, you had just seen categorical evidence that he’d actually risen; the stone’s rolled away, and a messenger is telling you not to be alarmed—you’re to tell the disciples to meet him in
This is what the three women, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome experienced—you could sense their fear. No one really understood that Jesus must rise again (John 20:9) even though he had explicitly told them more than once.
How would we react if we were there, the resurrected Jesus potentially right before, and around, us—alive when we thought he was a goner?
Fear and a mix of awed emotions would fill us; even in our doubting we’d be challenged to believe.
There had been so much going on over that past seven to ten days, commencing from the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem (Mark 11:1), to the agony and betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane, to the trial, the scourging, the crucifixion, and now the resurrection account. The final six chapters of the gospel of Mark—3/8ths of the entire gospel account—is dedicated to this cosmically-graphic final portion of Jesus’ life; including his death, resurrection and final ascension to be with the Father, Holy Spirit en route.
And again we sit there hardly whelmed at all, as if people rise from the dead every day. But, it has only happened once and will only happen once (besides the consummation).
Christ has defeated death. Just picture how that must have been for those eye-witnesses to the actual event. This was no small event. It’s what made Jesus—finally in the eyes of all—God.
The most reliable sources of biblical Mark finish abruptly with the three women in awed, astonished and beside themselves “ecstasy” (do not read it as blissful ecstasy) at the fact of Jesus’ risen reality. This was a life-changing reality for them.
It is probably the perfect way to finish it.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.