April 30, 2022

What’s Next?

Mark 16:6-8

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

—  Mark 16:8

These final sentences in Mark 16 have left a lot of people puzzled. (Though some Bibles include more verses, those are not included in the earliest manuscripts.) We might wonder if maybe Mark misplaced the last page of his book or if it later got lost. The ending seems hasty and even gloomy. We’d expect the women to be happy and eager to spread the news of Jesus’ rising. But instead they are silent and afraid.

As noted earlier this month, we can be thankful that many other Bible passages help to explain the resurrection. And the books of Matthew, Luke, and John share other details of what happened next and how others met the risen Jesus that day and in the weeks ahead.

In blunt honesty, though, Mark describes the reality of that day: the resurrection of Jesus was so alarming that it brought disorientation and fear. This also shows that the women did not yet have the comfort and guidance of the Holy Spirit (see Acts 1-2).

Instead of leaving us thrilled, Mark’s account challenges us to search out the rest of the story and to figure out how God calls us to respond to the risen Jesus. The resurrection has set in motion a new chapter that is still being told, still unfolding. And we enter into the story ourselves as we listen and follow where Jesus leads next.

How has Easter and the risen Lord affected your life?

Lord Jesus, thank you for patiently leading us, especially when we are afraid. Guide us in following you. Amen.

About the author — Douglas MacLeod

Rev. Douglas MacLeod is a church pastor in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has served as a pastor for over 36 years with five congregations in Michigan and Iowa. He and Cathy, his wife of 40+ years, are grateful for their three children and four grandchildren.

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