Mark 16:1-8 – The Resurrection of Jesus
When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But 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.” So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
Mark is a strange book in how it ends. Unlike the other 3 Gospels, Mark has “two” endings. The first “shorter” ending is one that is attested to in most of the earliest manuscripts of the Gospel that have been found. Later manuscripts add the further appearances of Jesus instead of the single verse that I will explore tomorrow. I am planning on going with the shorter ending for this journey. I am struck by the humanity of this ending with the reaction of the three women – Mary Magdalene, Mary, and Salome. They come to the tomb only to find that the stone is rolled away – they are able to look within the stone and there they see something amazing and beautiful – seemingly an angel there who tells them that Jesus has been raised. Here’s the crazy part of it – they hear this and then they flee the tomb! They flee the tomb! They don’t simply accept the news, but they flee “for terror and amazement had seized them…for they were afraid.”
As I said, what a human reaction. They have experienced something that is beyond their comprehension and they react in shock and fear of what has happened. How would you react if you were in their position? Easy to say that we wouldn’t run away, but instead we would celebrate, but I am not so sure.
I loved the composition of this picture I took the other day – the rock (like the tomb) is in focus – its exactly as you expect it to be. The tomb was anticipated to be exactly as they expected – a stone over it and trying to figure out how to reach the body inside. Yet, what they found was something entirely different – something amazing, beautiful, and bright, but it was far from in focus for them – they didn’t understand…only later would they come to see it clearly.