‘But God raised him from the dead..because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him’. Hallelujah! What a Saviour!
Mark’s narrative moves on quickly to his climax. This is where the story has been headed. We need to save the full joy of celebrating the resurrection for tomorrow. Our problem is that we know the story so well that we find it hard to capture both the pain and desolation of the Saturday and the incredible joy of the Sunday.
Jesus was dead. Roman soldiers knew death when they saw it and the last thing they would have wanted was news to get out of a revolutionary who had survived crucifixion. Pilate checked it out and was convinced that Jesus was dead. Joseph knew it. The women, coming love and grief to anoint the body in preparation for slow decomposition, knew it. Friday evening and Saturday offer no hope–except to Roman authorities who are rid of a potential troublemaker, and Jewish leaders who are free of a presumed threat to their power base and theological system.
No one–not the women, the twelve, the Sanhedrin, Pilate, the soldiers–had any expectation of resurrection. This makes the actual event all the more surprising and all the more convincing. In their loss and confusion these broken disciples make the greatest discovery of all time. Hope dawns for women with spices, for Peter struggling with his failure and for all of us. Death has been defeated; Jesus’ resurrection is the first, but there are many others to come. And wonder of wonders, this glorious message of hope and victory is entrusted to a group of doubting men. It is still entrusted to fallible, fearful, tongue-tied people like ourselves. But somehow it will get out, as it always has.
Praise God for the way he uses people like ourselves in the spread of this glorious message. Pray for the mission of your church.