(Sermon by Andrew Allison)
Strange way to end a story, isn’t it? – “Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.” (Mark 16.8)
Apparently, the words that come after are not Mark’s words – someone put them in later on. My Bible says,” The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16.9-20.”
So, the key players in this story are a few observant, gentle women who intended to return to the tomb and anoint Jesus’ dead body. Death didn’t scare these women. Their only concern was “who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” (16.3) When they got to the tomb, the stone had been rolled away and they saw an angel sitting beside Jesus’ grave clothes. This angel knew these women were concerned because from other Gospel accounts of this same incident, we know the women were present when Jesus was buried . . . yet now, He is gone.
And now, the women are bewildered, alarmed, trembling, afraid.
The women were ready for Jesus’ death but what if the dead don’t stay dead?
Well, if the dead don’t stay dead, love wins. Kindness isn’t wasted. Money is not security. Cancer isn’t the scariest reality. Your life is not yours to control. No person is a lost cause. There is always hope.
You can try to hide or silence your fear but you don’t have to – faith trumps fear. That’s a pattern of truth in the book of Mark. Faith and trust.
What about you? What do you do with your fear?
The Easter power of Jesus was unleashed when He rose from the dead.
Maybe we are bewildered, terrified,trembling…for a moment or for a season.
But not for long.
Jesus has risen and faith is the powerful response to fear.
He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Matthew 28.6