We’ve reached chapter 16 and the last moments of hopelessness and mourning for the lost Messiah.
Mark’s focus switches back to the women. They were prepared for sunset (and the end of the Sabbath) to purchase perfumed spices as soon as they could, likely to pour on Jesus’ head. He would have been in the tomb for 2 nights and a day in a hot climate by the time the women arrive at the tomb on Sunday morning.
Mark is typically minimalistic. The size of the round stone is mentioned to emphasise the impossibility of the women or the ‘young man’ moving it on their own.
No wonder the women were terrified (the word is that strong) – entering a tomb, huge stone rolled away, no body and a white-robed stranger sitting inside. The stranger isn’t called an angel but he fulfils the role – a holy, pure, divine messenger. And I guess there must have been something terrifying about him – something glorious, transcendent, other ….
And this is the typical response of anyone encountering an angel of God, let alone God himself.
What place should the fear of God – fear of his otherness, his glory, his holiness, his power and his mystery – have in the modern church, in your faith? What place does it have? Has the modern church pretty well lost any sense of God’s complete and terrifying otherness? And if so, what are the implications?
Jesus Has Risen
1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.