When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘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.’ 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.
Reflection Go and Tell
In most, if not in all cultures, the thought of dying and coming to life is crazy. People don’t rise from the dead after dying, back then and now. The three women, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome had every reason to believe that Jesus would still be dead when they approached the tomb. Arguably we would have thought the same. As clearly recorded by Mark, these women didn’t anticipate the resurrection. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us away from the tomb?” Unfortunately, none of them would even remember what Jesus said would happen. “It is necessary that the Son of Man suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests, and scribes, be killed, and be raised the third day.” As the story unfolds, you realise that people didn’t expect Jesus to rise from the dead, even his own disciples. The attitude of the disciples was that everything had finished in tragedy.
The women’s witness of the empty tomb is a message to be proclaimed: “But go and tell.“ Who are the audience here? It is the disciples, and Mark singles out Peter as the spokesperson. So someone has to proclaim this awesome story of the resurrection. We know from the other gospels that the women didn’t stay silent forever. The message of the young man is addressed to us. Go and tell the world that Jesus is alive. Therefore, we must not merely celebrate the resurrection, but we respond to it. In short, Mark’s gospel calls us to act and speak: Go and tell. On this Easter Sunday, as we gather at the tomb, it is up to you and me to make a decision. Will we live in fear, or will we go and tell?
God give us new eyes to which to behold your glory and presence on this Easter Day.
Jesus give us the grace of Easter and teach us to be thankful for your sacrifice.
Holy Spirit brighten our view of the world with renewed hope in the coming of your Kingdom.
The Rev’d Samuel Silungwe, minister, Rockingham Forest Group (London Road, Geddington and Brigstock URCs), in Kettering.