1When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” 4But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
6“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ “
8Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
A Sudden Stop
This is the end of the book of Mark. There may be a few more verses in your bible, but they haven’t been historically verified. In the Greek, this last sentence isn’t even complete! It just abruptly ends right here, with the confusion of these women at the missing body of Jesus. It is one of the few unique characteristics of this gospel, as all the other gospel accounts include fuller narratives of Jesus’ actions after the resurrection.
But in a way, this ending is one that many of us can relate to. We often go through incredible experiences, maybe an awesome retreat or Sunday service, maybe you’ve been on a missions trip that changed your life. And when it’s over, we don’t know what to do – we are left confused and bewildered, not knowing how to process the enormous things we have seen and experienced. Sometimes that confusion can be so deep that it is almost depressing.
But we have to remember what the “young man” just said…that Jesus is risen! He’s alive! He’s actually nearby, and waiting to meet with them! If you look at the corresponding passage from the book of Luke, the disciples are actually walking right next to him, and they have no idea! And in light of this fact, that “confusion” is really not all that negative – instead, it is more accurately a sense of expectation and excitement.
And I think this is a good mentality for us to hold as well, in those moments where we are not sure where God is leading us next in our lives. It may feel confusing and a little overwhelming, but remember that Jesus is alive, and is closer than you think. And in that way, you are not heading into your future alone at all, but with the risen and victorious Christ.
1. What impressions do you take away after reading through the book of Mark? Do any particular passages or themes stick out for you?
2. Is there a situation where you feel uncertainty and confusion in your life? What do these feelings stem from?
3. Does the fact that Jesus is alive and present in that situation change how you perceive it in any way?