Just the Beginning

easter sunrise

Mark 16:1–8 (New Revised Standard Version)

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. 2And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6But 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. 7But 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.” 8So 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.

Book of Faith Devotional Questions:

1.  What scares, confuses, or challenges me in this text?

2.  What delights me in this text?

3.  What stories or memories does this text stir up in me?

4.  What is God up to in this text?

Alleluia!  Christ is risen!  Tell no one!  Wait…what?!?  What kind of an ending to the story is this?  Mary Magdalene, Mary, and Salome are among the first witnesses to the biggest surprise ending in the whole history of the world, the one that indeed saves the world, and they say nothing to anyone, for they are afraid?  Yep.  The way Mark tells it, this is it.  And yet it is also my favorite ending to a gospel.  Thanks to the work of Dr. David Lose, this year I have been able to see the ending of this story in a new light.

You see, the last sentence of Mark’s Gospel is linked to the first sentence:  “The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1).  The Gospel of Mark ends with the women saying nothing to anyone because the Gospel of Mark is just the beginning of the story!  We are meant to be unsatisfied with the ending, and to go and do what the women failed to do; tell others this amazing story, and in this way become a part of the story of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Our testimony, our faith, our work on behalf of those in need is the middle of the story, a middle that has lasted for over 2,000 years.  Because even though we celebrate Easter as the apex of God’s power, we are still looking forward to the end of the story.  An end where, as it says in Isaiah 25:  “The LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear.8he will swallow up death forever.  Then the Lord GOD will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.” (vs. 6 & 8)

Easter is a foretaste of the feast to come, a pale reflection of the glory that awaits us in heaven, when all peoples will be together in the full presence of God for eternity.  So, Easter people, will we go and tell, or say nothing to anyone because we are afraid?  My prayer is that God gives us the wisdom, courage, and strength to make Christ known, through word and deed, in all the places that he calls us to be.  Christ is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

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