The Unsealed Tomb
We like stories where all the loose ends are tied up and all the tensions resolved. When this doesn’t happen, we know that the story is not over. For example, if the last episode in this summer’s PBS Endeavour TV series had ended with the killer caught and sentenced, and Morse finally marrying, it would mean the end of the series. The unresolved plot lines tell us we can look forward to more episodes in the story.
The New Testament writer, John Mark, doesn’t write for British TV. He writes an inspired account about the historical Jesus, and the unresolved tensions left by his abrupt ending tells us that this is not Jesus’ last episode. Mark writes an ending that begs for more.
“Now when the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome purchased fragrant spices so that they might come and anoint Jesus’ body. Very early in the morning on the first day of the week they were coming to the tomb just after the sunrise. And they were talking together, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the door of the tomb?’
When they looked up, they saw that the stone, a very large one, had already been rolled away. As they began to enter the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting to the right, and they were frightened. But he said, ‘Don’t be alarmed! Jesus the Nazarene, the one you seek, the one who was crucified, has been raised. He is not here. Look at the place where they laid him. But go tell his disciples, and also Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee. There they will see him, just as he told you.’
They went out and fled from the tomb for they were trembling with amazement. And they said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.” Mark 16:1-8
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome fleeing Jesus’ tomb after receiving the message that Jesus is alive and will meet his disciples in Galilee just as he predicted hardly resolves all the tension. This abrupt ending begged for a conclusion, so later scribes pieced together resurrection appearances from the other Gospels and even a dangerous snake event (from the Book of Acts, Acts 28:1-6) to give us a more satisfying ending, but the shorter ending in the earliest manuscripts leads us to hunger for more.
We want to know what Mary Magdalene did say to Peter and whether or not Jesus did meet them in Galilee. This leads us to the other three Gospels where these questions are answered and Mark already had Jesus tell us what would happen in Galilee after his resurrection (Mark 14:28).
Mark’s ending makes it clear. It was Jesus the Nazarene who died on the cross and not some imposter as the Quran teaches in Islam. And this same Jesus, the Son of God, rose from the dead. The Kingdom of God that Joseph of Arimathea was waiting for is still to come. And one last thing, unlike the women running from the tomb, we dare not keep silent about the Good News. Jesus is alive!
LORD, help me to overcome my own fears about sharing with others the resurrection Good News. Help me realize that the Story continues, and you still have others you want to include as they believe in Jesus and receive his eternal resurrection life.
For more from Dave Wyrtzen please visit TruthEncounter.com!