And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed.
 And he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.
 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you."
 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
Mark 16:5-8 (ESV)
And they said nothing to anyone for they were afraid. I sometimes wonder who they are. Is it Mary and Mary and Salome, or is Salome James’ sister? I suppose it really doesn’t matter much if it was two or three here. What you have are some very dedicated women. Jesus has died. Their faithful rabbi and friend. He has been murdered by the courts. A criminal. Yet here they are the soonest possible they could going to go give him a proper burial. I guess they watched Joseph and Nicodemus take him to the tomb. They evidently didn’t trust a man to do this work properly. That is understandable. But really they are risking life and limb here. Jesus was quite a controversial figure. The Pharisees and chief priests have put him to death. And they are liable to go after anyone for being associated with him. I mean the disciples end up locking themselves in a room week after week for fear of the Jews. And here these women decide to get up as early as possible and go to the tomb to do this work for their friend.
Perhaps that is all they think of him as. A faithful teacher and friend. They certainly expect to find him dead in the tomb. Perhaps they had never heard him talk about all this happening. Dying and coming back to life. It seems most of the disciples never really heard him when he spoke thus. In any case they never believed him. Not truly. I don’t know that I would either. No I know for certain I would not. I would not believe that if my friend had told me that. I don’t care how many demon’s he cast out. Would you?
You see the story told from their perspective is utterly human, utterly honest. No one is expecting him to be alive. And even after they see it. They don’t believe it. It takes time to sink in, to register.
The women get there. They see some angel or a young man of some sort sitting there. “Hey,” he says “don’t be alarmed. I know who you are looking for. But he isn’t here. He has risen. Yes Jesus the one that was crucified. You have the right tomb, but he isn’t here. He is risen. Go tell the others.” But they don’t.
They are scared stiff. Scared stiff of the gospel. Scared stiff of the resurrection. Scared because they believe it. But they tell no one. Makes sense to me. Would you tell anyone. I might think I was crazy. I might be afraid others would confirm my fear. But here is this young man dressed all in white telling us that Jesus is risen. And it is the most wonderful news that we will ever here. That is why it is called the gospel, which means good news. I don’t care how many more generations there are on earth. This will always be wonderful news. It will always be good news. Jesus is risen from the dead. It is wonderful because of who Jesus is, and what he has said he would do in his death. And it is so wonderful it is a bit frightening and hard to believe.
Jesus told the world he was God and no one believed him. He told them to tear down the temple and he would raise it again in three days, and everyone laughed. John the Baptist said he was the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. But everyone stuck with what they knew, the law. The law is easy for us to believe in . We want to believe in the law it makes sense to us. We don’t want those “do badders” to go to heaven. We want to go to heaven as a reward for being good, when it was so tempting to be bad. It is tempting isn’t it. Who doesn’t want to live the riotous life? Really, if you didn’t think there were any consequences to it? It’s in us. And we are guilty of it. Even as we covet it. And stop lying to yourself, you do covet it. We are that evil we covet a riotous life. Empty as we know it is. It tugs at us. Advertiser’s use it to sell us the stupidest of products. And we buy. Yes we buy, because we covet the good life. And then we want to be rewarded for not living it. We want to be rewarded being good, and not doing that bad stuff we were afraid to do. We want to be rewarded for being afraid. Sometimes, when I think of this stuff it makes me depressed. But then there is Jesus. The guy who says “I forgive you. Take eat this is my body given for you, take drink this is my Blood of the New Testament given for you for the forgiveness of sins.” And one is tempted to ask who cares. I mean I really don’t care if my neighbor forgives me or not. If he wants to hold a grudge let him. No sweat of my back. Is it off yours? But with Jesus I can’t do that. Jesus confronts me with a reality. He forgives my sins, in the name of God, and to prove he has that authority he not only tells the lame man to get up and walk. No, He dies in my place and on the third day he gets up, he rises. And in light of that I believe. And no longer depressed I get up and walk in the newness of life, the good life I couldn’t buy. The good life that Christ bought for me, the good life he bought for you with his death. The good life he gave us, with his resurrection.
Now the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord amen.