The ending of the gospel of Mark is filled with fear. So much so that it can baffle us with its lack of a happy ending. Hence why some have tried to add a happy ending to the gospel which was not there in its earliest renditions.
Mark ends abruptly with Jesus’ death and the two women coming to an empty tomb. We, like the women, can be afraid to accept the testimony of the young man who gives instructions for what it is to follow Jesus now that the tomb is empty.
Our fear can rob us of the greatest joy – seeing Jesus again. Not in heaven or Jerusalem, but back in Galilee, where it all began, at the beginning of His ministry.
It is there that we can begin our own ministry based on Jesus’ ministry with His presence in our midst.
That alone should fill us with joy not fear!
He is risen!
He is risen indeed!
Continuing with our Lenten series on the emotional life of Jesus, we turn to Mark 3:1-6.
In this passage the Pharisees provoke Jesus’ anger. After a discussion about what one can or cannot do on the Sabbath, Jesus makes the talk concrete by inviting forward a man with a withered hand. Jesus asks the Pharisees, is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil? To save life, or to kill it?
The Greek description Mark uses for Jesus’ anger at the Pharisees is unprecedented in its use in the gospels anywhere. Jesus is enraged because of the Pharisees stubbornness of heart, their lack of compassion for someone on the day made for humans to contemplate not just God but God’s relationship to humanity.
Do we do good when it is convenient for ourselves? Or do we do it at every opportunity that God presents us with? Does our own selfishness get in the way of our own compassion for people and do we use rules and regulations to keep ourselves out of the discussion? How enraged would God be with us on the Sabbath?
Dear God, sometimes we have not been a loving church. We have sometimes been too obedient to the structure and laws of the church than we have been compassionate to others. Lord help us to see that the Sabbath was made for us and not us for the Sabbath, an idol that can obscure your face from us. Help us live to do good when and where we can. Amen.