Summary: He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Now what are you going to do?
April 24, 2011
He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!
So now what are we going to do?
We don’t normally use the gospel of Mark for Easter Service, but some of you may have figured out by now I am not normal. I like to shake things up a little.
In this mornings reading Mary, Mary and Salome go to anoint the body of Jesus. When they arrive they see that the stone has already been rolled away. As they enter the tomb they see a young man dressed in a white robe and he tells them, “Do not be alarmed! Jesus has been raised! Now go and tell the disciples to return to their home in Galilee. There you will see him!”
Then comes the shocker of the Easter Resurrection story because it says, “So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
Here ends the gospel of Mark! Right here! The very first gospel written ends right here with they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. We know it originally stops here because basically all the early manuscripts they have found end at this point.
Well, even the earliest Christian seemed to be unhappy with the way Mark wrapped up his story of the Life/Death and Resurrection of Jesus. There’s got to be more. After all, they must have eventually gone home and shared the good new, because Christianity grew like a wild flower. So later they took additional stories from other accounts and added them to his version to make Mark a little more user friendly.
However, I feel the entire story told in Mark is the one that not only tells the truth plainly about the Life/Death and Resurrection of Christ Jesus, it shows us clearly our human nature and it ends by asking each of us a very important question, “So now what are you going to do?”
So this Easter morning, we are going to take a closer look at this strange gospel and learn that it is truly the greatest story ever told—because He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed!
To begin with the writer of Mark is not really interested in our other big Christian holiday—Christmas. There is no mention whatsoever of the birth of the baby Jesus. Here in Mark the story begins with Jesus being baptized and named as the Son of the Most High and Living God. Then we are told to listen to him.
From here Jesus gathers together twelve disciples.
Followers it seems he could have chosen from a better lot—non-religious uneducated simple fisherman—and tax collectors.
With this group Jesus heads out on a mission leading to the Cross.
He’s teaching that the Kingdom of God is Near.
A kingdom where there is really only two commands, “Love the Lord your God and Love your neighbor as yourself.” Not really rocket science.
Jesus heals those who are sick—the lepers, the lame, the blind. He drives out evil spirits. He feeds 5000 with a couple loaves of bread and a few fish. He walks on water and calms the wind and sea.
Yet through all of this in the gospel of Mark the disciple have no clue whatsoever what in the world is going on. Truthfully, they seem oblivious to fact that this person is truly the Son of God.
To make matters worse, when Jesus does heal the sick or performs one of these great miracles his ask that they tell no one, in order that he may continue his ministry, and of course you can figure out what they do? They go against what Jesus asks of them and go and tell everyone.
During Holy Week every single one of these followers abandon Jesus—one of them actually betrays him. At the foot of the Cross, there’s not one single disciple who shows up even though he died for them. The only being that recognizes Jesus for who he truly is in the story of Mark are the demons and finally in the very end—the Roman Centurion—who nails Jesus to the Cross.
And as we heard in this mornings reading it was only three women who visit the tomb and when they find out he is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! The text tells us they say nothing to anyone because they were afraid. And folks here ends the gospel of Mark!
Maybe you too feel this may not be the appropriate story to tell on Easter Sunday but like I said, Mark is the one story that not only tells the truth plainly about the Life/Death and Resurrection of Christ Jesus, it shows us clearly our human nature and it ends by asking each of us a very important question, “So now what are you going to do?”