So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
I say again that this bizarre ending is, without a doubt, my favorite moment in any of the Gospel’s of Jesus.
After resisting all of the assumptions around the idea that the Messiah would wrestle control of human power and dominion and wield it himself, Jesus instead showed us a different way: one of love, non-violence, integrity and justice. One filled with hope not for some people, but for all people.
He died for this vision of the kingdom of God.
And then comes the shock of Easter morn. God has subverted the shame and sadness of dishonorable execution and death to something truly miraculous. The stone is rolled back, and the young man in a white robe says:
“Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.”
God has turned darkness and defeat into something else: new life.
BUT, in an unexpected turn of events, those that discovered the empty tomb “went out and fled…for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
Originally, the Gospel writer ended his story here.
Why would he do that?
After all, we know that the story did come out. The followers of Jesus proclaimed his resurrection to the world, and things were never the same.
Why doesn’t Mark tell us this in his Gospel?
I think, in a stroke of brilliance, he ends his Gospel here to proclaim that the Gospel now rests in the hands and hearts of its readers, including you and me. The reader of the Gospel is compelled to see the immediacy still present today: that the Good News depends on each and every one of us to share it.
To live as Jesus would have us, loving and caring for one another.
The enemy present then is still embedded deep in our human psyche: fear…a force that has real power, enough to initially cause the women to flee in terror and say nothing to anyone...
It remains to be seen as to what happens next, and even today, the story remains unfinished.
It’s now up to us: how we live our lives now, really does matters.
A year ago, the side of a downtown historic church in Halifax, Nova Scotia was spray-painted with the words, “God is dead” in large black letters. The people of the church wondered what to do about it.
The minister chose to respond. Around the words “God is dead,” she wrote “Not so fast…Happy Easter!”
How’s that for boldly declaring the Gospel message…
What opportunity will you respond to?
What gracious step will you take?
How will you proclaim God’s vision for the world, and move beyond being afraid?
Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!!!