Focal passage: Mark 15:42-47; 16:1-8
How would you react if someone presented you with the opportunity to do something you have always wanted to do? I imagine you would be speechless. Some people would be overwhelmed or even uncontrollable.
I love adventures. If someone provided the opportunity to go and trek some of the highest peaks in the world, I would be surprised. A part of me would be afraid, but I would still be filled with amazement.
In our focal text, an angel delivers a message that provides three women with wonderful news.
Mark reveals that Jesus died for all and yet He is alive. As much as this news would fill them with joy, the women are left with “trembling and astonishment” (v. 8). And with the command of “go” given, they were “afraid” and “said nothing to anyone.”
While the ending in Mark may seem abrupt, more context is provided in Matthew 28:8. We can say that while they left the tomb “afraid,” (Mark 16:8) they were yet “filled with joy” (Matthew 28:8). However, Mark does not place focus on joy. Instead, he places emphasis on their astonishment.
The angel told them three things: He has risen; He is not here (v. 6), go tell the disciples (v. 7), and they will see Christ again (v. 7). These things are exactly what Joseph of Arimathea was looking for in Mark 15:43 – the Kingdom of God. Here, the reader can appreciate how Mark ties the end of his book to its beginning.
Mark refreshes the mind of the reader that the Kingdom of God is connected to the gospel (Mark 1:15). Christ is the Good News. As we observe throughout the book of Mark, people were continually amazed or astonished at Jesus’ work, so let us remember that we serve an amazing God.