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Gospel of Mark, 88 - CHRIST RISEN (MARK 16:1-18)

By G.A. Chadwick

      "And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. And very early on the first day of the week, they come to the tomb when the sun was risen. And they were saying among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the tomb? and looking up, they see that the stone is rolled back: for it was exceeding great. And entering into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, arrayed in a white robe, and they were amazed. And he saith unto them, Be not amazed; ye seek Jesus, the Nazarene, Which hath been crucified: He is risen; He is not here: behold, the place where they laid Him! But go, tell His disciples and Peter, He goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you. And they went out, and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to anyone for they were afraid. Now when He was risen early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven devils. She went and told them that had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they heard that He was alive, and had been seen of her, disbelieved. And after these things He was manifested in another form unto two of them, as they walked, on their way into the country. And they went away and told it unto the rest: neither believed they them. And afterward He was manifested unto the eleven themselves as they sat at meat; and He upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen. And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned. And these signs shall follow them that believe: in My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." MARK 16:1-18 (R.V.)

      THE Gospels were not written for the curious but for the devout. They are most silent therefore where myth and legend would be most garrulous, and it is instructive to seek, in the story of Jesus, for anything similar to the account of the Buddha's enlightenment under the Bo tree. We read nothing of the interval in Hades; nothing of the entry of His crowned and immortal body into the presence chamber of God; nothing of the resurrection. Did He awake alone? Was He waited upon by the hierarchy of heaven, who robed Him in raiment unknown to men? We are only told what concerns mankind, the sufficient manifestation of Jesus to His disciples.

      And to harmonize the accounts a certain effort is necessary, because they tell of interviews with men and women who had to pass through all the vicissitudes of despair, suspense, rapturous incredulity, [11] and faith. Each of them contributes a portion of the tale.

      From St. John we learn that Mary Magdalene came early to the sepulcher, from St. Matthew that others were with her, from St. Mark that these women, dissatisfied with the unskillful ministrations of men (and men whose rank knew nothing of such functions), had brought sweet spices to anoint Him Who was about to claim their adoration; St. John tells how Mary, seeing the empty sepulcher, ran to tell Peter and John of its desecration; the others, that in her absence an angel told the glad tiding to the women; St. Mark, that Mary was the first to whom Jesus Himself appeared. And thenceforth the narrative more easily falls into its place.

      This confusion, however perplexing to thoughtless readers, is inevitable in the independent histories of such events, derived from the various parties who delighted to remember, each what had befallen himself.

      But even a genuine contradiction would avail nothing to refute the substantial fact. When the generals of Henry the Fourth strove to tell him what passed after he was wounded at Aumale, no two of them agreed in the course of events which gave them victory. Two armies beheld the battle of Waterloo, but who can tell when it began? At ten o'clock, said the Duke of Wellington. At half past eleven, said General Alava, who rode beside him. At twelve according to Napoleon and Drouet; and at one according to Ney.

      People who doubt the reality of the resurrection, because the harmony of the narratives is underneath the surface, do not deny these facts. They are part of history. Yet it is certain that the resurrection of Jesus colors the history of the world more powerfully today, than the events which are so much more recent.

      If Christ were not risen, how came these despairing men and women by their new hope, their energy, their success among the very men who slew Him? If Christ be not risen, how had the morality of mankind been raised? Was it ever known that a falsehood exercised for ages a quickening and purifying power which no truth can rival?

      From the ninth verse to the end of St. Mark's account it is curiously difficult to decide on the true reading. And it must be said that the note in the Revised Version, however accurate, does not succeed in giving any notion of the strength of the case in favor of the remainder of the Gospel. It tells us that the two oldest manuscripts omit them, but we do not read that in one of these a space is left for the insertion of something, known by the scribe to be wanting there. Nor does it mention the twelve manuscripts of almost equal antiquity in which they are contained, nor the early date at which they were quoted.

      The evidence appears to lean toward the belief that they were added in a later edition, or else torn off in an early copy from which some transcribers worked. But unbelief cannot gain anything by converting them into a separate testimony, of the very earliest antiquity, to events related in each of the other Gospels.

      And the uncertainty itself will be wholesome if it reminds us that saving faith is not to be reposed in niceties of criticism, but in the living Christ, the power and wisdom of God. Jesus blamed men for thinking that they had eternal life in their inspired Scriptures, and so refusing to come for life to Him, of Whom those Scriptures testified. Has sober criticism ever shaken for one hour that sacred function of Holy Writ?

      What then is especially shown us in the closing words of St. Mark?

      Readiness to requite even a spark of grace, and to bless with the first tiding of a risen Redeemer the love which sought only to embalm His corpse. Tender care for the fallen and disheartened, in the message sent especially to Peter. Immeasurable condescension, such as rested formerly, a Babe, in a peasant woman's arms, and announced its Advent to shepherds, now appearing first of all to a woman "out of whom He had cast seven devils."

      A state of mind among the disciples, far indeed from that rapt and hysterical enthusiasm which men have fancied, ready to be whirled away in a vortex of religious propagandism (and to whirl the whole world after it), upon the impulse of dreams, hallucinations, voices mistaken on a misty shore, longings which begot convictions. Jesus Himself, and no second, no messenger from Jesus, inspired the zeal which kindled mankind. The disciples, mourning and weeping, found the glad tidings incredible, while Mary who had seen Him, believed. When two, as they walked, beheld Him in another shape, the rest remained incredulous, announcing indeed that He had actually risen and appeared unto Peter, yet so far from a true conviction that when He actually came to them, they supposed that they beheld a spirit (Luke 24:34, 37). Yet He looked in the face those pale discouraged Galileans, and bade them go into all the world, bearing to the whole creation the issues of eternal life and death. And they went forth, and the power and intellect of the world are won. Whatever unbelievers think about individual souls, it is plain that the words of the Nazarene have proved true for communities and nations, He that believeth and is baptized has been saved, He that believeth not has been condemned. The nation and kingdom that has not served Christ has perished.

      Nor does any one pretend that the agents in this marvelous movement were insincere. If all this was a dream, it was a strange one surely, and demands to be explained. If it was otherwise, no doubt the finger of God had come unto us.


      [11] Can anything surpass that masterstroke of insight and descriptive power, "they still disbelieved for joy" - Luke 24:41.

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See Also:
   Gospel of Mark, 1 - THE BEGINNING OF THE GOSPEL (MARK 1:1-6)
   Gospel of Mark, 2 - AT THE JORDAN (MARK 1:7-11)
   Gospel of Mark, 3 - AT THE JORDAN cont. (MARK 1:7-11)
   Gospel of Mark, 4 - THE TEMPTATION (MARK 1:12,13)
   Gospel of Mark, 6 - TEACHING WITH AUTHORITY (MARK 1:21,22)
   Gospel of Mark, 7 - MIRACLES (MARK 1:23)
   Gospel of Mark, 8 - THE DEMONIAC (MARK 1:23-28)
   Gospel of Mark, 9 - A GROUP OF MIRACLES (MARK 1:29-34)
   Gospel of Mark, 10 - JESUS IN SOLITUDE (MARK 1:35-39)
   Gospel of Mark, 11 - THE LEPER (MARK 1:40-45)
   Gospel of Mark, 12 - THE SICK OF THE PALSY (MARK 2:1-12)
   Gospel of Mark, 13 - THE SON OF MAN (MARK 2:10)
   Gospel of Mark, 14 - THE CALL AND FEAST OF LEVI (MARK 2:13-17)
   Gospel of Mark, 16 - THE SABBATH (MARK 2:23-28)
   Gospel of Mark, 17 - THE WITHERED HAND (MARK 3:1-6)
   Gospel of Mark, 18 - THE CHOICE OF THE TWELVE (MARK 3:7-19)
   Gospel of Mark, 19 - CHARACTERISTICS OF THE TWELVE (MARK 3:14-19)
   Gospel of Mark, 20 - THE APOSTLE JUDAS (MARK 3:19)
   Gospel of Mark, 21 - CHRIST AND BEELZEBUB (MARK 3:20-27)
   Gospel of Mark, 22 - "ETERNAL SIN" (MARK 3:28,29)
   Gospel of Mark, 23 - THE FRIENDS OF JESUS (MARK 3:31-35)
   Gospel of Mark, 24 - THE PARABLES (MARK 4:1,2,10-13)
   Gospel of Mark, 25 - THE SOWER (MARK 4:3-9,14-20)
   Gospel of Mark, 26 - THE SOWER cont. (MARK 4:3-9,14-20)
   Gospel of Mark, 27 - LAMP AND STAND (MARK 4:21-25)
   Gospel of Mark, 28 - THE SEED GROWING SECRETLY (MARK 4:26-29)
   Gospel of Mark, 29 - THE MUSTARD SEED (MARK 4:30-34)
   Gospel of Mark, 30 - FOUR MIRACLES (MARK 4:39)
   Gospel of Mark, 31 - THE TWO STORMS (MARK 4:35-41)
   Gospel of Mark, 32 - THE DEMONIAC OF GADARA (MARK 5:1-20)
   Gospel of Mark, 33 - THE MEN OF GADARA (MARK 5:14-20)
   Gospel of Mark, 34 - WITH JAIRUS (MARK 5:21-43)
   Gospel of Mark, 35 - WITH JAIRUS cont. (MARK 5:21-43)
   Gospel of Mark, 36 - REJECTED IN HIS OWN COUNTRY (MARK 6:1-6)
   Gospel of Mark, 37 - THE MISSION OF THE TWELVE (MARK 6:7-13)
   Gospel of Mark, 38 - HEROD (MARK 6:14-29)
   Gospel of Mark, 39 - BREAD IN THE DESERT (MARK 6:30-46)
   Gospel of Mark, 40 - UNWASHEN HANDS (MARK 6:53-7:13)
   Gospel of Mark, 41 - THINGS WHICH DEFILE (MARK 7:14-23)
   Gospel of Mark, 42 - THE CHILDREN AND THE DOGS (MARK 7:24-30)
   Gospel of Mark, 43 - THE DEAF AND DUMB MAN (MARK 7:31-37)
   Gospel of Mark, 44 - THE FOUR THOUSAND (MARK 8:1-10)
   Gospel of Mark, 45 - THE LEAVEN OF THE PHARISEES (MARK 8:11-21)
   Gospel of Mark, 46 - MEN AS TREES (MARK 8:22-26)
   Gospel of Mark, 47 - THE CONFESSION AND THE WARNING (MARK 8:27-32)
   Gospel of Mark, 48 - THE REBUKE OF PETER (MARK 8:32-9:1)
   Gospel of Mark, 49 - THE TRANSFIGURATION (MARK 9:2-8)
   Gospel of Mark, 50 - THE DESCENT FROM THE MOUNT (MARK 9:9-13)
   Gospel of Mark, 51 - THE DEMONIAC BOY (MARK 9:14-29)
   Gospel of Mark, 52 - JESUS AND THE DISCIPLES (MARK 9:28-37)
   Gospel of Mark, 53 - OFFENSES (MARK 9:38-50)
   Gospel of Mark, 54 - DIVORCE (MARK 10:1-12)
   Gospel of Mark, 55 - CHRIST AND LITTLE CHILDREN (MARK 10:13-16)
   Gospel of Mark, 56 - THE RICH INQUIRER (MARK 10:17-22)
   Gospel of Mark, 57 - WHO THEN CAN BE SAVED? (MARK 10:23-31)
   Gospel of Mark, 58 - CHRIST'S CUP AND BAPTISM (MARK 10:35-40)
   Gospel of Mark, 59 - THE LAW OF GREATNESS (MARK 10:41-45)
   Gospel of Mark, 60 - BARTIMAEUS (MARK 10:46-52)
   Gospel of Mark, 61 - THE TRIUMPHANT ENTRY (MARK 11:1-11)
   Gospel of Mark, 62 - THE BARREN FIG-TREE (MARK 11:12-14,20-25)
   Gospel of Mark, 63 - THE SECOND CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE (MARK 11:15-19)
   Gospel of Mark, 64 - THE BAPTISM OF JOHN, WHENCE WAS IT? (MARK 11:27-33)
   Gospel of Mark, 65 - THE HUSBANDMEN (MARK 11:1-12)
   Gospel of Mark, 66 - THE TRIBUTE MONEY (MARK 12:13-17)
   Gospel of Mark, 67 - CHRIST AND THE SADDUCCEES (MARK 12:18-27)
   Gospel of Mark, 68 - THE DISCERNING SCRIBE (MARK 12:28-34)
   Gospel of Mark, 69 - DAVID'S LORD (MARK 12:35-40)
   Gospel of Mark, 70 - THE WIDOW'S MITE (MARK 12:41-44)
   Gospel of Mark, 71 - THINGS PERISHING AND THINGS STABLE (MARK 13:1-7)
   Gospel of Mark, 72 - THE IMPENDING JUDGMENT (MARK 13:8-16)
   Gospel of Mark, 73 - THE CRUSE OF OINTMENT (MARK 14:1-9)
   Gospel of Mark, 74 - THE TRAITOR (MARK 14:10-16)
   Gospel of Mark, 75 - THE SOP (MARK 14:17-21)
   Gospel of Mark, 76 - BREAD AND WINE (MARK 14:22-25)
   Gospel of Mark, 77 - BREAD AND WINE cont. (MARK 14:22-25)
   Gospel of Mark, 78 - THE WARNING (MARK 14:26-31)
   Gospel of Mark, 79 - IN THE GARDEN (MARK 14:32-42)
   Gospel of Mark, 80 - THE AGONY (MARK 14:34-42)
   Gospel of Mark, 81 - THE AGONY cont. (MARK 14:34-42)
   Gospel of Mark, 82 - THE ARREST (MARK 14:43-52)
   Gospel of Mark, 83 - BEFORE CAIAPHAS (MARK 14:53-65)
   Gospel of Mark, 84 - THE FALL OF PETER (MARK 14:66-72)
   Gospel of Mark, 85 - PILATE (MARK 15:1-20)
   Gospel of Mark, 86 - CHRIST CRUCIFIED (MARK 15:21-32)
   Gospel of Mark, 87 - THE DEATH OF JESUS (MARK 15:33-41)
   Gospel of Mark, 88 - CHRIST RISEN (MARK 16:1-18)
   Gospel of Mark, 89 - THE ASCENSION (MARK 16:19-20)


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