Daily Bible Reading – 4.4.2021

Rev. Ben Lovell   -  
Daily Bible Reading – 4.4.2021:
Mark 16:1-8 (NIV) – When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ ”
Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
Pastor Doug’s Comments:
The women were introduced to us two days ago at the cross. Yesterday they were present to observe the burial site. And now they were the first to arrive to anoint Jesus’ body for burial. Given male dominance in that ancient society, we find the men disciples have fled, and the only eyewitnesses who can testify to Jesus’ death, burial, and empty tomb are the women disciples.
It was customary to check a tomb before three days to make sure that the person was dead. Anointing a body with aromatic oils neutralized the smell from its decomposition. The anointing of Jesus’ body, not with oil but with spices, was reportedly only done for kings. They demonstrated by their actions that Jesus was King!
They had planned well to be on the road early, however, there was one thing they had not thought about until they were on their way. Who would roll away the stone? On arriving, they found it was already moved. Ducking down and entering into the tomb, they were surprised and afraid as they discovered an angel.
He told them not to be afraid for Jesus was no longer there but had risen! The entire gospel and the turning of the ages hangs on this single declaration, delivered so briefly and matter-of-factly. In Christ, death has been conquered! They could see for themselves where he had been laid was empty. Now, they were told they must tell Peter and the disciples that he was alive and would meet up with them in Galilee just as he had previously told them.
They ran away filled with fear and did not say anything to anyone. Just as Jesus’ mighty deeds regularly inspired this response, so too this final, mightiest deed did as well.
The earliest and most reliable texts conclude Mark’s gospel at verse 8. This abrupt ending has caused consternation for many. How could a Gospel end on a note of apparent failure and with no resurrection appearances?
It is believed that verse 9 and following were added at a later time by others and are not believed to be a part of Mark’s original writing. Please hear even if they were added later, that does not make them untrue for they follow the other gospels re-telling of the resurrection.
One commentator states:
“So, Mark’s gospel begins as abruptly as it ends. It is likely that Mark intended this suspenseful ending to provoke a reaction in the reader. The reader knows the disciples eventually reunite with Jesus. Otherwise, this Gospel would never have been written. Paul said he reminded the Corinthians that he related these events to them as of first importance. The word of Jesus’ resurrection has clearly been made public. The repetition of Jesus’ prediction that they will meet him in Galilee also guaranteed that these things do come to pass, because the other predictions he made in the Passion Narrative were fulfilled to the letter.
Since Mark does not narrate how this reunion occured, the reader can only conclude that God overrode human fear, failure, and disobedience to accomplish it—as God always does. One must infer that success does not depend on the heroism of individual believers, whose flesh is weak and whose spirit is not always willing, but on the power of God.”
That first resurrection day was not like the resurrection day we celebrate. We are filled with joy for we know the full ending. Mark recorded it as it was experienced that day, a day met with fear, bewilderment, and doubt.
Questions To Consider/Discuss:
In leaving the women’s fearful silence hanging, Mark asks us to consider what our response will be. Do you believe that Christ rose again? If so, will you make that declaration today and live as though you believe it tomorrow?