Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: Amazement at the Empty Tomb
Accompanying Robert Rayburn sermon: The Great Surprise
It is interesting to note that Mark names these women here, as well as at the crucifixion and burial. These women saw Jesus did, saw Him buried, and saw the empty tomb. They were witnesses.
Rayburn: The place of women as eyewitnesses of the resurrection has long been noted as a powerful argument for historicity of the Gospel’s accounts, for no one in that age inventing such a story and wanting it to be taken seriously would rest its credibility on the testimony of women....Judaism did not accept the testimony of women in court and so the early church would scarcely have placed them at the tomb unless their presence was a brute fact of history!
V9-20 do not appear in the most ancient manuscripts, so for all intents and purposes v8 is the end of Mark.
MacArthur: Mark ends his gospel with a blazing reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, gripping the souls of these women with wonder and astonishment.
Rayburn: what verse 8 underscores, with its account of the women’s bewilderment and fear, is the mystery, the dreadful, the awe-inspiring, the complacency-destroying, and the mind-shattering character of this historical event, the resurrection of Jesus. It is a warning to us not to sentimentalize this mighty event or to imagine that we really grasp the mighty power of God that brought it to pass. It is a warning not glibly and mindlessly to incorporate the resurrection into an otherwise predictable and ordinary view of life...
Can we escape death? Is it possible to surmount death? Is there a way to live on after death? These are the great questions of human existence and the fact that men think so little about them is the index of how profoundly they trouble and disturb him. He has no answer so he will not ask the question.
The women at Jesus’ grave Easter morning were the first human beings actually to see the reality of eternal life break upon the world and it shattered them; it terrified them. Eventually of course it filled them with an unspeakable and inexpressible joy. But first it confused them and frightened them; they ran away from the tomb because they were so afraid of what they had encountered. Something so tremendous, something erupting into our life from another world, something so powerful as to conquer our greatest enemy, all of this was more than they could manage at the moment. Could it be true? They were afraid even to hope. All the fears of death they had ever felt deep within themselves, all the fears they had so manfully kept at bay all their lives finally, unbidden, rushing into their hearts.
Whatever you do, however you think about these things, you are not to domesticate the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Life breaking into the history of this world of death is the greatest thing that has ever happened and you hardly begin to understand what it is. It answers the great question of human existence in the most dramatic and decisive way possible. Death is so terrifying a thing we can hardly bear to think about it. The conquest of death is something of such terrible power that we cannot really take it in. But the resurrection of Jesus Christ is as much a fact as is our soon coming death and that is far and away the most important thing any human being can know. You must face death to learn of the conquest of death and so many miss the latter because they are unwilling to face the former. Screw up your courage and look death and your death in the eye and then turn and look at the Lord Jesus Christ who conquered death to give you life.
“I am the resurrection and the life,” Jesus once said, “he who believes in me will live, even though he dies, and the one who lives and believes in me, truth be told, will never die.”
The importance of the resurrection of Christ cannot be understated.
MacArthur: Mark ends it, where Mark by the providences of the Holy Spirit intended to end it, in wonder, in awe, as anyone’s response should be to the resurrection of Christ.
The resurrection thus is established as a fact of history, as a fact of theology by the angelic testimony. It is the most important event in the life of Christ. It is the most important event in the history of the world. It is the most important event in your life and mine because it is by His resurrection that we are justified and that we will live forever. To deny the resurrection is to deny the testimony of the facts. To deny the testimony of the angels, to deny the testimony of the eyewitnesses, to deny the testimony of Scripture, and to deny the truth of God.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Mark 16:9-20