They Were Afraid

They Were Afraid

Shortly after moving here, someone asked me in Bible class about the so-called Longer Ending of Mark (Mk 16:9-20). I took a deep breath before noting that most of the ancient and most reliable Greek manuscripts lack Mark 16:9-20; plus, there are significant stylistic differences in those verses with the rest of Mark. As I answered in class, I find Mark 16:9-20 to be a later addition and not originally part of that Gospel. I believe that Mark intentionally ended his Gospel at 16:8: “And they [the women who brought spices to anoint Jesus’s body] went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”

Many people, it seems to me, overlook a simple question when discussing how Mark ended his Gospel: “Why would a writer of a Gospel intentionally end with women running away from the empty tomb in terror and utter silence?” The “young man” who was “dressed in a white robe” (Mk 16:5) told the women to “go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee” (Mk 16:7). The women, in Mark’s Gospel, don’t follow that simple instruction; instead, they keep their mouths shut.

I’m convinced Mark ended his Gospel that way to make a point to his ancient readers: “The women said nothing about the empty tomb, so you had better go out and say something.” I believe Mark was calling everyone who read his Gospel to go and tell about that empty tomb.

This week the world remembers the empty tomb, but whom have you told about that empty tomb?

  • Whom have you told that you no longer fear death because Jesus’s tomb was empty?
  • Whom have you told that your sins are forgiven because Jesus’s tomb was found empty?
  • Whom have you told that your life has forever been changed because Jesus’s tomb was found empty?
  • Whom have you told that you worship a living Savior because Jesus’s tomb was found empty?

Isn’t it time that we, unlike those women, tell others about the amazing discovery the women made on a first day of the week nearly two millennia ago?

This article was originally written by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., for the weekly newsletter at Church of Christ Deer Park in Deer Park, Texas.

Share with Friends:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.