Mark 16, Proverbs 10
Every Easter churches declare He is Risen with great joy, reflecting hope found in Jesus' victory over the grave. I love Mark's bare-bones description of the empty tomb. The young man dressed in white who greeted the women at Jesus' tomb told these women not to be afraid. This didn't do the trick, as the ending of Mark leaves us clear about only the fact these women were frightened to the core. This leaves us asking the question, why were they so shaken? We underestimate how completely crucifixion shaped the imaginations of the world during Jesus' day. Jesus bringing back a girl alive moments earlier seemed like an altogether different sort of miracle than rising days after a crucifixion. Crucified people, even in the Jewish mindset, were those accursed by God. Add to this that Jesus was the victim, and the idea that He had risen was not in the realm of possibility on Saturday. So these women were twice shaken in a matter of three days, no doubt exhausted from the events that had taken place. The first guests at the tomb reflect the tremors this singular event would cause throughout the world. These tremors would not always leave people comforted and at peace. Our world is still, open-ended, waiting for a savior and full of bewildered people. Even the first act of the resurrection (Act 1: Jesus, Act 2: Believers) doesn't end our tensions or anguish. Mark of course treats Jesus' resurrection a transformational moment that gives the world hope. But this account leaves, above all, the impression that before we meet Jesus with gladness, sometimes we must meet His greatest works with appropriate trembling. The resurrection of Jesus means there is a judge, who we crucified, and before whom we must stand or fall. May we tremble at this, we can even tremble with gladness in our redemption.