One of our followers on Twitter, Mark Daniels, recently posted an Easter reflection on the unusual ending of the Gospel of Mark. I found it very striking and thought provoking. I’m posting a few excerpts. FYI: This is written in the format of a preacher’s dialog with the Lord about his sermon as he wrestled with the text of Mark 16:1-8 (the abrubt ending…):
“But it seemed too good to be true to the women,” I answered. […] I went on, caught up with enthusiasm: “They were trying to take it all in and they had come in contact with one of Your messengers, luminescent with Your holiness and Your splendor. And…”
“And they had to decide whether they believed or not.
“Did they believe that the One they had seen crucified was risen or not?
“Did they believe that through Jesus, the power of sin and death over our eternal lives was erased?
“They must have rifled through their memories and remembered all of the times that Jesus had healed diseases, cast out demons, and raised from the dead, exercising power for others and never for Himself, power that only God possesses.
“They must have remembered all the times He had promised–in promises that seemed so strange to them at the time He made them–that He would be raised from death by God the Father after having suffered the rejection of the world.
“As they ran from the tomb, the women’s ecstasy must have transformed from bewilderment to awe-filled joy!
“Jesus, dead on Good Friday, was now risen and alive and on the march on Easter Sunday.
“So, why, Lord” I asked, “does the gospel of Mark leave things like this at the tomb…with the women fearful and in awe and processing what they’ve heard and trying to decide?”
“Because, Mark,” God replied patiently, “that’s where most of the people of the world are right now.
“Most Christians believe, but can’t decide whether to share what they believe with others. They’re afraid.
“And the rest of the world has heard something of Easter, but hasn’t decided whether to believe–to trust–or not.
“Your job and the job of every Christian is to keep telling others about Jesus–by your words and by your actions–so that they can follow the Jesus they can’t yet see into My bright eternity, where they will see Him always and ever…where sin and death will be distant memories, where all hurts will be forever healed, where love and power will envelop the saints, where every tear will be dried, and where you will live with joy and certainty and purpose forever and ever.
“Everything depended on the women telling others. And they did. If they hadn’t, you might not be celebrating Easter this year…or any year.”
What decision will you and I make?
Will we follow and share Jesus, like Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of James, and Salome?
Or will we remain silent?
(emphasis of the last 4 lines added)