The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, and they said nothing to anyone because they were too frightened. Mark 16:8 NLT
This is the shorter ending of the Gospel of Mark based on the most ancient manuscripts. Does this surprise you? It lacks faith and falls short of what we’d expect of people who encountered the miraculous resurrection of Jesus. There is no hint of the revival that swept the ancient world. Only the empty tomb, trembling, bewilderment, and fear-driven silence.
Perhaps that’s why later manuscripts add one or two more glorious endings. Check your Bible to see how Mark 16 ends.
At first glance, this ending bothers me. It is unsettling. I want to read about women who were courageous and did not keep the life-changing message to themselves. But the Bible reports events honestly. (Thankfully, the other three Gospels paint a more palatable picture.) From the combination of all the Gospels, we see that the angel of the Lord appeared to women first. Women were considered second-class citizens. Their testimonies were not generally believed.
That is truly remarkable! The Creator of the Universe entrusted the initial message of the resurrection to women.
The Bible doesn’t sugar-coat the women’s reaction to the news. Jesus was alive! But they had seen Him dead, lying in the tomb. Their world was turned upside down, and it took some time to figure out what to do. In other accounts, the women eventually told the disciples and weren’t believed anyway (heavy sigh).
Instead of blaming these women for their lack of faith, what can we learn from them?
- Jesus calls unexpected people to share the good news. You may not feel like a qualified candidate to tell others about Jesus. The good news is not reserved for the highly, trained clergy or the flamboyant evangelist. It’s for everyone. If you are a believer, He has called you. Tell your Jesus-story.
- Others may not believe us but our message is life-changing. God has not asked us to convince anyone to trust in Jesus as their Savior. That’s His job. Our job is to share God’s message as we go. We plant or water seeds. He does the rest.
- Ask the Holy Spirit for the courage to tell others the Gospel. Without the Holy Spirit, we will easily resemble the women in Mark 16:8. But Jesus promised the disciples, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere…” (Acts 1:8). We have the Holy Spirit to give us the courage we need.
Do you feel among the unexpected? Let’s step out with Spirit-filled courage. We have a message that the world needs to hear.
In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through him, and nothing was created except through him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it (John 1:1-5).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I confess that sometimes I am afraid to share the Good News with others. I worry about rejection or that I won’t say the right thing. Give me courage through the Holy Spirit to plant and water seeds of the Gospel, expecting you to make them grow. Above all, empower me to speak your message with love and grace. In Jesus’ name. Amen.