Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. (Mark 16:8)
In line with most scholars, I believe Mark’s gospel originally ended with the words of verse 8, and that a postscript was later added. It’s not hard to surmise why! It’s a messy ending, that’s for sure. Jesus has been raised from the dead, and the first and only witnesses are two women who are terrified by the astonishing event into silence, at least initially. There are two unresolved questions – if the women won’t speak of the resurrection, who will? And, even if they do speak, who will believe them? In Jesus’ day, the testimony of a woman (sadly) could not be relied upon in a court of law. Ironically, the messiness of Mark’s resurrection account points to its authenticity and historicity. If you were going to ‘make up’ a resurrection story it would be much tidier than this!
I wonder if in leaving such a messy ending to his gospel, Mark was inviting those who heard it and later read it to be challenged by the question, ‘Will I testify to the resurrection of Jesus?’ While I was not there 2000 years ago, I have experienced and seen evidenced in others the power of Jesus’ resurrection as I have discovered, and seen others discover new life in Christ. The bodily resurrection of Jesus is a fact of history. The power of it is experienced every day.
Father, may I boldly bear witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus in the words I say and life I live. Until Jesus comes again. Amen.