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An Easter Message from Revd Dr Sam Wells

News St Martin – Talking Points

Thursday 24 March 2016

The last chapter of Mark’s gospel, just eight verses, gives us everything we need to know about the resurrection of Jesus. Not everything we want to know, of course. But everything we need to know.

 

The three faithful women see a young man, and he says, ‘You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here’. This is telling them everything they need to know about the past. He has been raised. Of course they have a host of questions. But there’s only one question, it seems, they need to know the answer to: is this a physical resurrection or just a spiritual one? And the answer is, a physical one: the young man says, ‘He is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him.’ Jesus has been raised, not as a ghost or a spirit, a metaphor or an idea, but as a body.

And the second thing the young man tells the women is, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee.’ This is telling them everything they need to know about the present. Jesus’ resurrection is not a finished thing, a completed historical event with no further implications. Jesus is doing something now. And the place he is going is Galilee. It is not just that Jesus has opened the way into heaven, precious as that news would be: it is that he has opened the way back to a new life on earth, and in Galilee, the place the disciples knew best, their home, the place where they had lived all their lives before Jesus summoned them to the way of the cross.

And the third thing the young man says is, ‘There you will see him’. He tells the women everything they need to know about the future. You are going to find yourself in Jesus’ presence. You are going to be his companion. This is the destiny of your life. And there isn’t any other news. This is the last word. So we have to assume ‘there you will see him’ really is all we need to know about the future.

Mark tells us the vital information about the past – Jesus is risen; about the future – we shall see him; and about the present – we are on our way from the place of resurrection to the gate of glory.

These eight short verses give us the gospel – Christ is risen; they give us our hope – we shall see him; and they give us our mission – he is going ahead of you. That’s Easter. That’s the Christian faith. Hallelujah.