Believing before Beholding – an Open Tomb – an Open Relationship with Christ, 26Sep – #593

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Believing before Beholding – an Open Tomb – an Open Relationship with Christ, 26Sep

The bible and bible folklore uses that word: “Behold” and we put movie theatrics behind it… – “BEHOLD the Risen Christ”! …. Yet in Mark’s Gospel (a writing of Peter’s emotional experiences with Jesus) the Easter morning story ends abruptly – the women at the tomb don’t get to “Behold” the risen Christ, yet… the story ends with them hearing “He is Risen” – but with the women leaving, running in fear… In our lives and in the movies we skip over that running in fear portion – we just want to know the end of the story…

I’ve learned a lot from Michael Card’s “Biblical Imagination” series, where he has the gospels detailed according to the writer’s circumstances. I learned that our memories are a weaving of the different biblical versions plus our theatrical minds filled with John Wayne-like movies…. In truth, there are still many scholar debates of what to include or not in the gospels, even discussions about who is who… this theorist says that Mark is likely the owner of the house where Jesus held the last supper, and perhaps the man running out to hear the commotion at the Garden during Jesus’s arrest was Mark… and guess what? The gospel details the man running out only in a sheet – which he loses in the mob scene during his escape… Why would the bible need a theatrical scene of a man losing his sheet – we focus on the funny image but the image was not that at all – it was running in fear – we skip over that often…

Clearly the gospel authors had target audiences in mind…  Mark’s writings are detailed but not verbose… Mark was recording the account of Peter that would relate best with his readers who were experiencing the tyranny in Rome…. So fear was well known by his readers… He still was conveying a message of faith..   to behold the belief that they would be ok thru the tyranny – without seeing peace right now- that’s the message Mark was sending…

It’s the feeling that God needs us to experience too – believing without always seeing… Behold faith… We are asked to believe both when we are calm and when we are running in fear…

The account of the women indicates that none of the disciples actually believed Jesus would come back risen… in death, a tangible thing, they had to attend to the body. With Jesus’s body gone they only had open questions – that leap of faith, of Jesus being risen, had to be prodded by the angel – just like the cracking of the tomb, the cracking open of our faith requires prodding… Faith from prodding not always proof…

And these women still had immense fear… at this ending of the gospel there is no closure to the readers – perhaps because there is no closure for an open relationship between each person and their faith… we can desire satisfaction with understanding but that takes great leaps of faith…

Do we fear our own leaps of faith? Jesus wants us to believe even thru fear… In bad times do we not want to believe that God is still in control – do we fear faith? it’s all a personal journey… people only believe when they believe, in their own time – faithfully Jesus shepherd’s us, faithfully standing by – He knows it takes a leap of faith to acknowledge Him – He even knows it takes fearful running leaps of faith to process our own faith…

No closure here – only an open tomb – an open relationship – opening our hearts to faith….

The women were running in fear, but they had each other to witness their experience – after running i imagine they talked it out with each other – and as a reader of the story which ends abruptly, I pray they found their faithful open relationship with Jesus.

I pray we all find and open that relationship to Jesus… then we can Behold our belief in Christ…

Amen


40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there. —  47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid. Mark 15

Mark 16:1

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.


PS…

Not in the original was Jesus’s appearance to Mary – some debate any of verses past verse 8 were written by Mark at all…  9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. Mark 16

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