Pastor Barry/ The Gathering Church (Gospel of Mark/ Naked Runner Series #27 End) Note: to hear this series and others go to THEGATHERINGHG.COM
Mark 16:1-8, Matthew 28:1-10, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:1-18
Mark tells us that three women, 1.) Mary Magdalene, 2.) Mary, the mother of James and 3.) Salome, brought spices to anoint Jesus body (just after sunrise on the first day of the week). They arrive at the tomb and see the stone rolled away and meet a young man in a white robe. The women fled from that place “trembling and bewildered” and “said nothing to anyone.”
Matthew tells us that only the two Mary’s went to look at the tomb (he leaves out Salome). He also tells of an earthquake and how an angel rolled away the stone. Matthew tells us that the women were afraid but filled with joy and upon running to tell the disciples they ran into Jesus and they fell at his feet and worshiped him.
Luke gives the same story but there are more women (1.) Mary Magdalene, 2.) Joanna, 3.) Mary the mother of James, “and the 4+.) others.” They are greeted by “two men in robes that gleamed like lightning”. He also says the women came back from the tomb and told the eleven and others. Luke adds that the disciples did not believe them because “their words seemed like nonsense.” Peter; however ran to the tomb and saw the strips of linen laying by themselves.
John mentions only Mary Magdalene going to the tomb on the first day of the week while it was still dark. After seeing the stone rolled away she came running to Simon Peter and John (the disciple whom Jesus loved) and told them that someone had taken the Lord out of the tomb and she didn’t know where they had taken him. John says that Peter and he ran to the tomb, went into it and believed. Then they returned to the place where they were staying. Mary remained outside crying and then looked into the tomb and saw two “Angels in white” who asked her why she was crying. Then she turned and saw Jesus. John tells us that Mary thought that Jesus was the gardener until he called her name. She cried out and held him but he ask her to let go and tell the others. Mary then went and told the disciples what happened.
A legal expert would say that four stories perfectly matched would be a conspiracy. Believe it or not these gospel accounts actually do fit together:
John and Peter were together and witnessed Mary Magdalene leaving to go to the tomb before daylight. Not being gentlemen they allowed Mary to go alone. On the way to the tomb, Mary Magdalene met the other Mary, as Matthew (another fine gentleman) witnessed. They in turn joined Salome and the other women mentioned in the gospel accounts. They all went to the tomb to prepare Jesus’ body properly according to burial customs. None knew how they would remove the stone since no men went along to help.
When the women arrived they saw the stone rolled away. Mary Magdalene flipped out and ran off to tell John and Peter that someone had moved the body; meanwhile, the other women entered the tomb and saw two angels yet only one spoke and told them to go tell the disciples that Jesus had risen. Mary, the mother of James and Salome were bewildered and fled, saying nothing to anyone because they were afraid. Other women were filled with joy and fled to tell the disciples as they were told. Salome likely ran off with the band of others while Mary, the mother of James looked for the lost Mary Magdalene.
The women were running away while John, Peter and Mary Magdalene (trailing behind) ran towards the tomb. Peter went in first, then John —while Mary stayed outside crying. In their excitement, John and Peter ran out of the tomb leaving Mary in the dust! Finally, Mary got up the nerve to look into the tomb and saw the two angels and then Jesus! At this time Mary, the Mother of James, also saw Jesus and they both fell down to worship him as Matthew said. When all the women finally came together speaking excitedly to the eleven nine of them did not believe because “their words seemed like nonsense”—but Peter and John had seen the stone rolled away and the linen strips of cloth.
The Conspiracy Matthew 28:11-15
The conspiracy was not in what the eyewitnesses and the gospel writers wrote but in what the guards reported. Any guard who left his watch would have be mercilessly tortured and killed by the Romans, but these guards were exonerated and paid to keep quiet.
Conclusion and Beginning Mark 16:9-20, John 14:27, Hebrews 12:1
The earliest and most reliable manuscripts of the Bible do not include verses 9-20 in Mark; however, the other gospels testify to the events listed: John’s account of Mary Magdalene’s deliverance from seven demons (Luke 8:2) and her encounter with Jesus (John 20:1-18), Luke’s account that the disciples didn’t believe (Luke 24:9-11), Jesus appearance on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-16), Jesus appearance to the eleven (Luke 24:36-37), The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20), The declaration of salvation and condemnation (John 3:18), Accompanying signs of those who believe: Drive out demons (Acts 16:18), Speak in new tongues (1 Corinthians 12:8-11), Unaffected by poison (Luke 10:19), The sick will be healed (James 5:15), Jesus’ Ascension (Luke 24:50-51), Jesus at the right hand of God (Ephesians 1:20-21), The disciples preaching everywhere in power (Acts 1:8), with signs (John 14:11-12). It is likely that these verses were added later by some overzealous scribe to make for a more conclusive ending. I am not advocating such a deed, in fact Revelation 22:18-19 forbids such additions or subtractions from scriptures, but that remains an issue between the scribe and God. The additional verses were included in the Cannon of scripture (regarded as authoritative by the early church). The scribe probably didn’t like Mark’s ending:”They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.” Verse 20 is a much better ending: “Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.”
Where that “naked runner” (“Mark” Mark 14:51-52) concludes we must begin our proclamation of that same gospel. Jesus said “fear not!” Let us strip off all that holds us back from that task and run the race before us:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. Hebrews 12:1 (NLT)