“Easter Silence”

Three things:

Mark is the first to record the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Other gospels will follow.

Mark’s account is brief, to the point of leaving his readers breathless and wishing for more.

Mark rushes forward, peppering his story with the word, “immediately” and moving forward.

The disciples examine the fresh wounds on Jesus's body after the resurrection

​Mark 16:1-8

April 4, 2021

Dr. Todd R. Wright


Three things:


Mark is the first to record the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Other gospels will follow.


Mark’s account is brief, to the point of leaving his readers breathless and wishing for more.


Mark rushes forward, peppering his story with the word, “immediately” and moving forward.


So we should not be surprised with the way he ends his gospel with silence, but we are.

Mark just stops. It is so awkward that someone has added other endings.

No wonder there are other gospels! No wonder the Easter lectionary offers John too!

Only Mark says the witnesses were so afraid they said nothing to anyone.

How can that be? Someone must have talked. Or else how did Mark hear the story?

Only Mark tells of resurrection but records no appearance by Jesus.

Oh a promise is made: you will see him in Galilee. But how can it be Easter without him?

 

When there is so little content and it is so different from what we expect, we do well to re-examine the evidence. I think Mark would want us to. So here are three clues to his intent:


First, the figure in white says, “tell his disciples and Peter” … as if Peter was not a disciple any longer; as if all those miles by Jesus’ side didn’t count; as if his denial of Jesus had cost him his place … in their eyes and in his own.


I think Mark is telling his community that Peter especially needs to hear this good news; that no sin places you outside the circle of God’s grace; that the Lord has a soft spot for the most broken.


It is just two words, but it is so like Mark to make a point like a jab to the ribs.


Maybe you need to hear this word of grace too.


Second, the witness beside the empty tomb says “Jesus is not here; you will see him in Galilee” … as if they had just missed him; as if he had left a forwarding address at the Post Office; as if all they needed was to go back to where they first met him to meet him again.


I think Mark is telling his community that Jesus – God in the flesh – is found in ordinary places, in everyday life, wherever the gospel calls and confronts; wherever it is taught and lived out, wherever it heals and comforts; wherever it gives hope and life!


Mark spent most of his gospel jumping from one such story to the next.


Maybe you need to be reminded that the risen Christ is active here in our neighborhood.


Third, the women who first learn of the resurrection say “nothing to anyone” … as if fear has paralyzed them; as if they couldn’t even imagine what language they would use to describe this new reality; as if this good news is too good to be true.


I think Mark is telling his community that witnessing is hard: especially when your fears take on a life of their own; and you don’t expect people will listen to you; and you are not prepared.


Ordinarily Mark rushes forward, one thing following immediately after another. But maybe this is one instance where the story unfolds slowly. Maybe it takes time for the women to work up their courage; to find their voice; to find people who will listen to them. Maybe Mark was one of those people. So maybe he appreciates how hard it was for them.


Maybe you are like them – with good news to share. And maybe, like them, you are afraid, for all the usual reasons. Maybe you’re still finding your voice. Or someone who needs to hear.


Maybe this is the Easter that you break the silence. May it be so!

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