Read: Mark 16:1-8
In this remarkable conclusion to John Mark’s gospel, we read about the impossible, improbable, incomprehensible resurrection of Jesus! He has risen!
Once again, the women take the initiative to do that which was uncomfortable at the very least:
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. Mark 16:1
- Mary Magdalene served alongside Jesus for most of His ministry. Luke records that she was relieved of seven demons (see Luke 8:1-3) during Jesus’ travels throughout Galilee and subsequently joined those following Him.
- The second Mary is the mother of James. At first I thought this was an indirect way of referring to Mary, the mother of Jesus, but reviewing the other gospel accounts and several commentaries corrected my mistake.
- Salome, the mother of the Zebedee sons James and John, also appears on the scene.
The concept of resurrection was not only a foreign to everyone, it was certainly not expected after watching the brutal torture and death of their beloved friend–even though Jesus told them over and over again!
John Mark’s passion week began with the woman who anointed Jesus with an extravagant perfume and ends with women appearing at the tomb to show their love and respect for this incredible man. Can we love without restraint or concern about reputation? These women were concerned with rolling the stone away, not about anyone’s opinion of their actions. They were focused on details of how to go about honoring Jesus. What an exceptional example for us to consider!
From some of my earliest memories of choir and Easter, I remember how we sang and read with great excitement these verses (and/or corresponding verses from the other gospel accounts):
“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.’” Mark 16:6-7
He is not here…just like He said. Isn’t it interesting how they were told to tell “his disciples and Peter”? Perhaps Peter is individually named here because he is deeply depressed by his actions, denials, and complete failure (in his mind). I would certainly feel the pain as the memory of my actions would certainly weigh me down. Peter denied Jesus then watched his friend, mentor, the one he declared as the Messiah, die on a cross along with criminals. Yes, tell His disciples and Peter to meet in Galilee. The story is not finished!
Final statement from John Mark:
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. Mark 16:8
I would certainly be afraid! Imagine the crazy thoughts going through your mind as you approached a grave that has apparently been robbed. After all the drama of a mock trial and ultimate execution, “afraid” would be an understatement at best.
Matthew reports they ran to tell the disciples (Matthew 28:8-10), Luke and John add their perspectives: (see Luke 24:9-10 and John 20:1-2[/bible]). All indications are they might have said nothing to those they passed, but they most definitely told the disciples (and Peter)!
The official end of the Gospel of Mark is really just the beginning of the story. I can’t wait to get to Acts, but we will make our way through Luke and John on the way through the rest of the New Testament. Who knows, perhaps we’ll finish by this Summer! I’m in no hurry. I hope you enjoy the adventure as much as I get from taking this in one bite at a time.
Read: Mark 16:9-20
Ah, the verses that were not included in the original Greek…to read or not to read…hmmmm.
From the NIV Study Bible:
Serious doubt exists as to whether these verses belong to the Gospel of Mark. They are absent from important early manuscripts and display certain peculiarities of vocabulary, style and theological content that are unlike the rest of Mark. His Gospel probably ended at 16:8, or its original ending has been lost.NIV Study Bible
In essence, this section seems to incorporate John’s account of the resurrection (see John 20:1-23). It certainly doesn’t contradict other writings, but the language is much different than the rest of Mark. For what it’s worth, I would simply refer to Matthew, Luke, and John for additional details. Your opinion is always welcome!