Chapter and verse: Mark 16:8
Rosalind Selby finds courage in those who were afraid
The Gospels do not tell us precisely the same story of the tomb on Easter Day. Matthew has two women at the tomb, and John only Mary Magdalene, but in both gospels the women meet Jesus. Women are portrayed as faithful witnesses to the Resurrection, taking the story back to men who have failed Jesus. Luke doesn’t name the women until later in his story, but finally we discover they are Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James and “the other women” – quite a crowd it would seem – who do not meet Jesus themselves but bear witness to the empty tomb and the message they hear.
Much ink has been spent over the eight verses of Mark 16 – much debate as to whether one or other of the added endings is original (they are not) and much (sometimes fantastic) speculation about how and why Mark ends with the words “for they were afraid”. Two women go to the tomb, which they find empty, and they meet a young man who tells them Jesus has been raised and has gone ahead of them all (women and men both) to Galilee. The women are commissioned to bear witness, but they are so terrified that they flee the scene and say absolutely nothing – we might be forgiven for scratching our heads and asking: “Where is the good news, in that?” I’m very fond of Mark’s gospel, and I believe there’s a rich seam of good news to be mined…
This is an extract from the April 2015 edition of Reform.