He has risen!
Mary Magdalene and Mary mother of James & Salome had seen an angel who told them that Jesus was alive. Now Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene. She went and told the disciples, but was not believed.
What’s wrong with this picture? What’s going on?
Didn’t Jesus just spend three years and certainly all last week, telling the disciples about His resurrection? With the possible exception of John, none of the disciples were even at the crucifixion. Why were they so willing to believe in His death, but not in His resurrection?
Why were they so willing to believe in His death, but not in His resurrection? Wouldn’t they want to believe that Jesus was alive? That He did what He said He would do. Did they not believe Mary because she was a woman and an ex-prostitute? It’s not like people rise from the dead every day, but they had seen Lazarus rise up after he was dead. If God had allowed Lazarus to rise, why couldn’t he do the same for Jesus? Where was their faith?
Eventually, Jesus did appear to the 11 and He scolded them for their unbelief. He then told them to go and preach the Good News to the world. Later, with His earthly work accomplished, Jesus ascended to heaven and His disciples got to work spreading the word — with His help.
As we close this book of Mark, we see that even the disciples had a hard time believing that Jesus did what He said He would do. It took an appearance to change their minds. No reports of a “Jesus sighting” would do. Once Jesus made it clear that He did indeed accomplish what He set out to do, the disciples had no problem spending the rest of their lives spreading the Good News — even to the point of death (tradition has it that only John lived to a ripe old age — and he was placed in exile for his belief. The other disciples were martyred for their faith.) The fact that we are here as Christians today is a testament to the work they began, but mostly due to the work God did through His people. If God wasn’t in it, there is no way that this obscure “Jewish sect” (Christianity) would have spread as it has.
Jesus said: “Blessed are those who have not seen, yet believe.” Christianity was begun by those who had seen, but spread over two millennia by those who believed. If you have faith that Jesus did what He said He would do, then you should be spreading the Good News as well. Jesus’ command to “go” wasn’t just for 11 men, but for all those who know the Truth. And don’t be afraid — God will help you every step of the way. He does not sleep, and wherever you are, there He is. Go for it!