Going back to the morning of the resurrection in the Gospel of Mark. The Gospel of Mark was and is the first Gospel which was written, which means that for a period of time the Gospel of Mark was simply “the Gospel”, the only gospel which was written.
If we think about the week leading up to the death and burial of Jesus of Nazareth, it had been quite a week. He and a group of followers had made the trek to Jerusalem from Galilee, “And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him,” Mark 10:32 ESV. Jesus was headed to Jerusalem to be crowned king, this is why those who followed him were both amazed and afraid. Of course, those following were expecting a triumphant battle, Jesus knew his crowning would be far different than anyone else expected – “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. And they will mock him and spit on him, and flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise.”” Mark 10:33-34 ESV.
As they walked they picked up more followers, and by the time they got to Jerusalem they had quite an excited crowd with them to witness Jesus purposefully fulfill Zachariah’s prophecy of Messiah – “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem; and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace to the nations; his rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.” Zechariah 9:9-10 ESV. And so Jesus rode into the city riding the foal of a donkey to command peace to the nations while his followers shouted their hosannas.
On Monday he went into the temple to stage his prophetic protest which we call the cleansing of the temple, by Wednesday he had a meal with friends and Mary anointed him to be king with $25,000 worth of perfume, to which Jesus announces “She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial.” Mark 14:8 ESV. Which is NOT what Mary thought she was doing, those with Jesus thought they were on their way to see Jesus crowned king and that’s why Mary was anointing him – to be king.
On Thursday Jesus had his last supper where he instituted the Lords Supper, Thursday night Judah betrayed him to chief priests and scribes so they could arrest him without causing a riot, and sham trials in front of all the principalities and powers, Pilate and Caiaphas and Herod and Friday morning he was crucified.
The disciples were scattered all throughout the region, they were no where to be found. Peter had denied him 3 times after proclaiming he would never fall away, he was in hiding. Only possibly the apostle John was still nearby.
But the women had not left. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James (and Jesus), and Salome were there through the whole thing. It had all gone so wrong, but they stayed true to Jesus and never fled. They were nearby during the “trials”, saw the scourging, cried for him as he carried his cross through the streets, cried out to him as he hung on the cross. They stayed with Jesus through it all. Even after the life had left his body, they stayed. When Joseph and Nicodemus came and took the body, they had not left. They were with him, followed him to the garden, saw where the body was laid. Even when all the disciples had ran off in the interest of self preservation, the women never left.
Question for all the men reading this – ever have a woman who, even after all your friends had gone away, left you for dead shaking their heads about what should have been, what might have been, muttering about who and what they thought you were versus what you really were, after everyone else had given up and gone away and left your side, abandoned you, but she stayed through it?
The women stayed with him.
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, 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. And now, in their last act of devotion to Jesus whom they loved, they were going to add spices to his body.
And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. So, who’s going to move the stone?? But it’s already moved!!??
And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. Would you be alarmed? I would think so. These women had seen Jesus crucified, watched him die, and were at his burial. Now his body is gone and a young man is sitting where his body was laid.
And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. As always, the angel tells them not to be afraid. Jesus was crucified, but now he has risen! His body is not here.
Indeed, his body is not in the tomb. Jesus is risen!! What would you be thinking right now?
But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” I think it’s interesting he tells them specifically to tell Peter that Jesus is risen.
And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
This is the original end to the Gospel of Mark. This is the original ending of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
To Be Continued…