You may notice but the ending of Mark seems to have some bits added onto it. It is generally agreed that the author of Mark concluded his writing at the end of verse 8 – where our reading finishes. The women come to the tomb, find the stone rolled away and the tomb empty except for a young man dressed in a white robe. Even though this young man – we know he is an angel – tells them to go and tell Peter and the disciples that Jesus has been raised and that he is going ahead to meet them Galilee, if we end our story at the end of verse 8, this message is never delivered. The women flee from the tomb filled with terror and amazement and tell no one.
If the disciples never received this message imagine how they would have felt. Everything they knew, everything they had hoped for had gone. Jesus had died and now it was back to fishing for a living. How were they to go on?
The final added verses – and there is nothing with these additions – show us that it took a bit of time for the disciples and others to believe that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead. But believe they did and the rest, you could say, is history.
For the followers of Jesus, the world had been turned upside down! The raising of Christ from the dead was totally impossible, even though Jesus had told them time and time again that would happen. Everything had now changed, which meant the future for these fishermen and tax collectors and others was going to change too.
As we wake to Easter Sunday, we wake to a very different world compared to last year. Yes, this Easter is different, yes this Easter is strange and maybe that strangeness can give us a little bit of insight as to what the disciples were feeling? But the message is still the same. Christ has risen, Christ has conquered death and gives us freedom and life in the Kingdom of God.
The only response is HALLELUJAH!!!!
Mark’s account has the ring of authenticity precisely because the resurrection was bound to be unnerving. Rather than the end to the story of Jesus, it was the beginning of the tale of the church and that was going to require courage and faith and, in that, nothing has changed!