From my Easter Sermon yesterday:
Mark’s ending, with the women running in amazement and holy fear, seems so odd that later Christian tradition felt compelled to supply additional endings to make it more appealing, perhaps with what they thought readers were really waiting for.
As it is, there is no indisputable evidence of the resurrection. There is no account of how the word got out to the male disciples, let alone the whole wide world, because it says the women remained silent. And unlike the other Gospel narratives of the resurrection, there is no account of an appearance of the risen Jesus. We’re left wanting a lot more information, more facts to help us make sense of what’s happened. Can’t we have St. John ‘s lovely story of the garden tomb where Jesus appears and says, “Mary,” and she responds, “Rabboni,” and then runs in joy and wonder to tell the disciples?” That seems like a good ending.
But I want to say that Mark’s unusual ending has grown on me over the years, so much so that I think that our understanding of the resurrection would be impoverished without it. Could it be that Mark’s account, just these short eight verses, gives us everything we need to know about the resurrection of Jesus? Not everything we want to know, of course. Because we would sure like some more empirical details to help shore up our sometimes tentative faith. No, Mark does not give us everything we want to know about Jesus’ resurrection, but I want to say that he gives us everything we need to know, and that might be the most powerful way to end the resurrection story after all.
Listen to the sermon here.