Lord, Your female disciples were truly remarkable.
Read MARK 15:42–16:8
The Burial of Jesus
42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.
Jesus Has Risen
16 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”
4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.[a]
[a] Mark 16:8 Some manuscripts have the following ending between verses 8 and 9, and one manuscript has it after verse 8 (omitting verses 9-20): Then they quickly reported all these instructions to those around Peter. After this, Jesus himself also sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Amen.
Reflect on all the women who have ministered the love of God to you.
Darkness has ended. The death has occurred. A pagan soldier has confessed Him as deity. Then we meet a group of people who have been unmentioned until now – the women who have followed Jesus. Luke tells us that these women have financed much of His ministry (Luke 8:2,3). The male disciples fled when Jesus was arrested, but many women stood at a distance from the cross. It is interesting that two of them are the mothers of male disciples (Matt 27:56). Mark is not just signifying their faithfulness, but also brands them as faithful witnesses. They have seen Jesus die, two have witnessed His burial, and three have seen the empty tomb.
We also discover that one man steps up to the plate and boldly identifies himself with Jesus and the kingdom of God. Joseph of Arimathea provides the tomb and organizes the burial. Jesus rests for the Sabbath, as do all his disciples – as God rested upon finishing the work of creation. Then on the first day of the next week, the women come to anoint the body and instead find an open tomb and an angelic messenger.
It would seem that Mark has set the story to recount these faithful women as the first witnesses to the resurrection. We are expecting the risen Lord to appear, but the authentic text ends with fearful, silent women. Scholars dispute whether Mark intended to end here or planned more that was either left incomplete or lost. As the text stands, however, there are no testimonies to the resurrection, and we as readers are challenged. Are we today witnesses to the astonishing fact that Jesus has dealt with sin on the cross and conquered death? Let us tell everyone this news.
Overcome your fears and talk about the risen Lord.
Lord, as the women back then were told, we also seek You, Jesus of Nazareth.