by Jamie Barrett
It is important to recognize that Mark 16:1-8 is a story written in the format of a gospel narrative. This text is only one of the accounts recorded in the four gospels. It is not a fairytale or a legend or mythical folklore. It is a detailed account told from Mark’s perspective. The death of Jesus is essential. The burial of our Lord is monumental. Yet, the resurrection of Christ is the most important event in history, the pinnacle of all events.
An Exclusive Claim
No other religion in the world proclaims anything close to the glorious and pivotal doctrine of the bodily resurrection for their leader. Muhammad died, as did Moses. Confucius and Buddha are dead. Joseph Smith is gone along with Krishna. It is unique to Christianity. This strictly Christian teaching is not only about Jesus rising from the grave and conquering death, but also about the bride of Christ united to Him by faith rising bodily from the dead. The triumph of Jesus will be shared with all of the saints.
Mark 16:1-8 comes in the form of a narrative. Every culture in the world is drawn to storytelling. There is just something fascinating about stories that draws us in, resonates within, and communicates deep truths in no other way. God has orchestrated a story masterpiece in arranging the narrative of Scripture. Three different languages, over thousands of years, with many authors. Every genre in human language is employed to communicate the one story of Scripture.
The Promised Savior
The story begins astonishingly with God speaking and the entire creation emerges. The movements follow the general categories of creation, fall, redemption, and recreation. All through the story, the name of Jesus is hinted at signaling a coming Messiah. The promise of a Savior comes in the early pages of Scripture in Genesis 3:15. This text is called the “first gospel”, being the earliest whispers of the coming Messiah.
Humanity has plunged into death and sin, sickness and suffering, curse and consquences. The Messiah is born in a forgotten town in less than socially ideal circumstances during the Roman occupation. Hope of a national comeback was intensifying. The people of Israel were hoping for the Messiah to come. But what they got was not what they were expecting. In great confusion, the people wondered aloud, “could this be the Christ?” Some said yes while most others said definitely not!
There is no doubt about it, Jesus turned heads and became the talk of town wherever He went. He spent a few years in humble ministry with mostly commoners and a few brief encounters with the high class. The big cats in charge grew weary of Him and came up with a plan to dispose of Him. He kept getting in the way of their ruling, they had no time to mess with potential rivals. They killed him, though innocent, and got rid of that nobody who people were thinking was somebody. They loved walking in darkness and death rather than in the daytime in righteousness.
The God Man
As it turned out, He was actually the author of life who holds all substance of the created order together by the power of his word. He was the very agent in which God spoke the world into existence. The third day in accord with the Scriptures the grave could not hold Him. Death could not defeat Him. He rose victoriously as the victorious King just as He said he would. He ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father. He intercedes, even now, for His saints, His bride, His church. The story concludes by revealing that Jesus is coming back as a fierce warrior who speaks and the wicked are undone. He ushers His bride into the most magnificent party that has ever and will ever be. This celebration continues on into eternity where we will worship the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the earth.
Soul Stirring Stories
This, my brothers and sisters, is the power of narrative. Stories of any substance follows the same pattern. They stir our souls and resonate in our affections. These are the stories that get our attention because they mirror the story we long to hear. The gospel story is relevant to humanity. This story is excellent news to boys and girl, men and women of every nation, tribe, people, and language. This story is for you and for me.