What does the resurrection mean for us? As a historical event, what relevance has it for us today?
There is a debate among scholars about whether the longer ending belongs in Mark’s Gospel. So some Bibles have v9 onwards in different fonts. There are different opinions; good if you like puzzles, like my wife! But Mark seems to leave us high and dry at v8. Some think someone finished it for him, to tie in with the other gospels, and mention the resurrection itself.
Marks tells the story. Early in the morning (v1-2), the women came with spices for his dead body, because there was no time on Friday before the Sabbath. They find an empty tomb (v3-4). This led Frank Morrison, a journalist, to write his famous book, “Who moved the stone?”, about the evidence for the resurrection. Recently, another journalist, Lee Strobel has written a similar book, “The Case for Christ” (the film is on Amazon Prime). Then the angel says Jesus is risen ( v5-6), but there are no appearances. Mark leaves an unfinished story, hanging in mid-air.
If Mark wrote the shorter version, it was either deliberate or accidental, maybe a torn off parchment. If deliberate, why did he do this? He leaves us with the fear of women, not knowing what happened. Having the resurrection promise, but not seeing him. It’s understandable, when we encounter the supernatural: e.g. someone at the homeless drop-in this week, asked how to hear God, they had felt God, but it was weird.
It’s an open ending. What do we imagine happening? What’s next, for them and us? Mark is like a maths teacher, not giving the answer but letting students work it out themselves. Mark doesn’t tell us the details. How will they respond? How will we? What is the story? What story does our life tell? What story will we live by?
It’s like improvising a play, where the final act isn’t written. Mary & Lyna from our church are actors. How would you continue this story, for the women and for us? ‘How’ is up to you, requiring creativity. We’re not totally free to do anything. We improvise, consistently, in line with, the earlier script.
We extend the effect of the resurrection, like ripples in a lake when a stone’s thrown in. Incidentally, some ask – how can something 2000 years ago affect us today? Well, for example, historical events, like the Roman conquest, or WW2 determine the language we speak today.
So according to Mark’s story, how can we extend the resurrection today? Maybe there are many ways, but here’s two in v7.
- Telling the story: They are told to tell disciples. Who can we tell? E.g. Doris died recently. But she invited Sam to KCBC, where he, a Muslim, met Jesus. She was an evangelist!
- Meeting Jesus: They would meet him in Galilee. How and where will we meet him? We need to begin a relationship with him, and then spend time with him. One-off and ongoing.