(Reprinted from "Eyes on Jesus: Through Mark's Gospel")
“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. 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.’”
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. (verses 6-8)
This is where the earliest manuscripts of Mark’s Gospel end. It’s a cliff-hanger. Verses 9-20 seem to have been added by someone else later to fill out the resurrection account with details mostly familiar from the other gospels. But the shorter ending certainly focuses the sharp reality of the drama.
“He has risen! He is not here.” What a shock – ultimately filled with joy unspeakable, but in the moment it is hardly surprising that these women were afraid. Terrified. They were face to face with the power of divine intervention, face to face with a “young man” who was clearly more than a man, announcing world-shaking news that would reverberate down through history. Yet, in that moment, they were without the calming wonder of being face to face with Jesus himself.
That was yet to come. In Galilee. Just as he promised (Mark 14:28). But not yet.
So, whether Mark intended this abrupt ending, or whether his original ending has been lost, the stunning impact of the good news is here in all its shocking wonder. “He has risen! … There you will see him …”
It all comes down to the Person and Work and Word of Jesus. What he has promised is always sure. The end of this story is guaranteed. The wonder, in the midst of fear, is already breaking in, reverberating from an empty tomb in angelic tones.
It moves us still. “He has risen! … He is going ahead of you … There you will see him …”
Lord Jesus, Risen Lord, grip me, today, with the shocking surprise of your resurrection. The tomb is empty and everything is changed. Ready my heart to heed your call. Strengthen my will to follow as you go ahead of me this day. Give me eyes to see your presence. Praise you!
Reflect: When I was a kid in Sunday School, we used to sing a chorus that started like this: “I serve a risen Saviour, he’s in the world today …”What difference will this truth make for you today? If this is indeed true, what events, meetings or circumstances will be different as a result?
Photo by Pisit Heng on Unsplash