The resurrection of Jesus Christ requires a response. You are about to hear from Mark 16:1-8 about this resurrection and will be required to respond in some way. It’s impossible to truly confront this historical reality and walk away unchanged.
As you read, what you’ll see first is that people did not anticipate Jesus’ resurrection. They weren’t expecting Him to rise from the dead.
The Women at the Tomb
After the Sabbath, three women (Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome) went to Jesus’ tomb to anoint His body with spices (vv. 1-2). And they said to each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” (v. 3).
Clearly, these women were expecting to find a sealed tomb and a dead body. They were not anticipating the resurrection. But, why not? Jesus had told them several times exactly what was going to happen. Why weren’t all of His followers gathered outside the tomb to see Jesus alive? Why weren’t they at least thinking it might happen?
Well, the notion of someone dying and coming back to life is crazy. People don’t rise from the dead after dying – both back then and now. So the women had every reason to think Jesus would still be dead when they approached the tomb, just like we would. They were getting ready to put Jesus behind them and move on with their lives.
But, what happened next changed everything.
The Angel at the Tomb
In verses 4-5, the women see that the stone has been rolled away and Jesus’ body is gone. And there’s a mysterious, angel-like person inside who tells them two things: 1) “[Jesus] is not here,” and 2) “tell his disciples” to go to Galilee to continue the mission (vv. 6-8).
The resurrection is a big deal, but this messenger doesn’t dwell on it much. He’s like a sticky note left for those who showed up first. The point was that Jesus was alive and there was work to be done.
God’s purposes were not thwarted by the cross – they were fulfilled by the cross. And so the disciples had to move forward.
Moving On from the Resurrection
As awesome as the resurrection is, it is not the resurrection that’s so special – it’s that Jesus is alive. The disciples made disciples, baptizing and teaching them about what Jesus commanded. Those disciples did the same thing … on and on all the way down to us. And it’s all because Jesus is alive.
The resurrection is such an explosive event in history that it not only emboldened the disciples, but it also started the church. It started all this and it continues today. The message of the resurrection isn’t “Come back and dwell at the empty tomb” it’s “Onward!”
We must not merely celebrate the resurrection – we must respond to it. Do not memorialize Jesus – trust and follow Him. Do not commemorate Jesus – dedicate your life to Him as your living Lord.
How Will You Respond?
Reading about the resurrection isn’t the important thing. It’s how you respond to it that’s important. The women were to respond by telling the disciples. The disciples were to respond by obeying Jesus’ Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
If you believe that Jesus was raised from the dead, the ONLY valid response is total surrender to Him. You are not allowed to ignore His resurrection. Either you reject it completely or completely give yourself over to it – apathy is not an option.
So the question is: how will you respond?
Why weren’t people expecting Jesus’ resurrection?
What are your thoughts on the angel’s message (vv. 6-8)?