“Very early on the first day of the week” some women who had witnessed the death and burial of our Lord traveled to His tomb carrying “spices” in order to “anoint Him” according to the custom of their culture. Their first surprise was that the “very large” stone covering the entrance had been “rolled back.” They then found a “young man” calmly sitting inside the tomb who was “dressed in white.” He had a message from heaven for these frightened mourners: “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen.”
Though Christ had told His disciples He would rise again from the dead on the third day, His prediction was very difficult to understand and believe. The angel drew their attention to the evidence before their eyes, and gave them an instruction concerning what they should do. “Go, tell His disciples and Peter that He is going before you to Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.”
The Word that the Messiah had spoken to them prior to the cross was entirely reliable. The facts of His resurrection were now clear, but their weak hearts were overwhelmed.
So what did the women do? “They went out and fled” because “trembling and astonishment had seized them.” The earliest and best manuscripts we have suggest that Mark’s gospel ended with these words: “They were afraid.”
An angel was able to announce the truth with perfect assurance, but unsettled human beings could not take it in. Mark ended his fast-moving book with a note of human frailty. His strange conclusion highlights all the more the glory of God. Our Father gave us the Only Begotten who died and rose again for our salvation. The Holy Spirit would soon change a very nervous church into a bold assembly of evangelists who were willing to give everything they had for their Savior.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, Your Son Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath, is alive! The stone was rolled back, the body was gone from the tomb, and the Messiah was not there. He had risen, as an angel gave perfect testimony. Though His disciples were alarmed and afraid, our hope is not in the courage or wisdom of men, but in our Redeemer. He has granted to us a new life of gospel joy, and we will thank You for Your grace toward us throughout all eternity.