Jesus Is Alive
(Matthew 28.1-8; Luke 24.1-12; John 20.1-10)
1After the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene, Salome, and Mary the mother of James bought some spices to put on Jesus' body. 2Very early on Sunday morning, just as the sun was coming up, they went to the tomb. 3On their way, they were asking one another, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance for us?” 4But when they looked, they saw that the stone had already been rolled away. And it was a huge stone!
5The women went into the tomb, and on the right side they saw a young man in a white robe sitting there. They were alarmed.
6The man said, “Don't be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus from Nazareth, who was nailed to a cross. God has raised him to life, and he isn't here. You can see the place where they put his body. 7 Now go and tell his disciples, and especially Peter, that he will go ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.”
8When the women ran from the tomb, they were confused and shaking all over. They were too afraid to tell anyone what had happened.
ONE OLD ENDING TO MARK'S GOSPEL
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
(Matthew 28.9,10; John 20.11-18)
9Very early on the first day of the week, after Jesus had risen to life, he appeared to Mary Magdalene. Earlier he had forced seven demons out of her. 10She left and told his friends, who were crying and mourning. 11Even though they heard that Jesus was alive and that Mary had seen him, they still would not believe it.
Jesus Appears to Two Disciples
12Later, Jesus appeared in another form to two disciples, as they were on their way out of the city. 13But when these disciples told what had happened, the others would not believe either.
What Jesus' Followers Must Do
(Matthew 28.16-20; Luke 24.36-49; John 20.19-23; Acts 1.6-8)
14Afterwards, Jesus appeared to his eleven disciples as they were eating. He scolded them because they were too stubborn to believe the ones who had seen him after he had been raised to life. 15 Then he told them:
Go and preach the good news to everyone in the world. 16Anyone who believes me and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe me will be condemned. 17Everyone who believes me will be able to do wonderful things. By using my name they will force out demons, and they will speak new languages. 18They will handle snakes and will drink poison and not be hurt. They will also heal sick people by placing their hands on them.
Jesus Returns to Heaven
(Luke 24.50-53; Acts 1.9-11)
19 After the Lord Jesus had said these things to the disciples, he was taken back up to heaven where he sat down at the right side of God. 20Then the disciples left and preached everywhere. The Lord was with them, and the miracles they worked proved that their message was true.
First day of the week, A.D.33: After several days and nights of sorrow, the three women who loved their crucified Teacher woke with a plan: to meet very early. To hurry to the tomb. To offer a final gift of service: the embalming of his body.
They worried that the impossibly heavy stone would stop them. They expected a dead body.
They found neither stone nor body.
Instead, a heavenly messenger delivered an unprecedented epilogue: Jesus of Nazareth, crucified just days prior, had slipped the surly bonds of death, and absented the tomb.
These women had witnessed that unspeakable horror. Now, upon seeing evidence of God’s incomprehensible power, Mark writes that they did a curious thing: “Overcome with terror and dread, they fled . . . (v 8).”
They said nothing, at first. Not to anyone. Jesus had predicted both his death and his resurrection, and the angel assured them they would soon see him, but to these dear friends, his empty tomb brought a paralyzing sense of puzzlement and abandonment. For a brief time, perhaps they felt they had no Lord. No friend to serve, even in death. No closure.
Sunday, 2014. After a troubled night, tossed and tousled by world news, I woke with a plan—one possible only because I have the privilege of knowing the end of the story those women had not yet seen:
And so I will bundle the sorry mess in my heart and take it to Jesus. I will also, today, meet with other Christ-followers, not to embalm a dead body, but to remember that together we are his Living Body.
We’ll worship and praise the God who rolls away impossible stones. Who speaks victory over death. Who remains sovereign over every broken circumstance and our broken world.
We’ll praise the Son he resurrected; the Head of that Body, the Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ, eventually revealed to these faithful, serving women.
And we’ll open our hearts to the Holy Spirit who empowers us to live in hope, serving those around me in Jesus’ victorious name.
Father, in all the “impossible” that surrounds me, remind me that in Christ’s resurrection are planted unstoppable seeds of victory.