Mark 16:1-8 – New Beginning
The Gospel of Mark concludes with the discovery of the empty tomb and a young man who announces that Jesus is preceding his followers into Galilee, as he promised.
The last sequence of time in the passion and resurrection story comes with the story of the empty tomb. The Sabbath has passed, and "very early on the first day of the week" (16:2) Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bring spices to anoint the body of Jesus. The stone from the door of the tomb has been rolled back, and as they enter, a young man announces that Jesus of Nazareth has been raised. They are told to announce to the disciples that he is going before them into Galilee. The women are overcome with terror (trembling) and amazement (ecstasy), "and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid" (16:8).
This enigmatic ending to the Gospel appears to be inconclusive, but it is not. The empty tomb is a theophany; it is a revelation of God's living presence in the world. This presence has been revealed in the Gospel of Mark from beginning (1:1) to conclusion (16:1-8) in the crucified and risen Jesus of Nazareth. The gospel story is concluded, and the good news is proclaimed. This is a new beginning. This is the promise of new life in Jesus Christ who goes before us and calls us to follow. Many ancient manuscripts containing the Gospel of Mark provide other stories of resurrection appearances (16:9-20), which function like an epilogue that brings Mark into greater harmony with the other canonical Gospels.