Ched Myers - Binding the Strong Man
“At this point (in) Mark’s narrative symbolics begin to proliferate (397).”
“Firstly, the neaniskos (young man) is ‘sitting at the right.’ This is the position for which the former inner circle of male disciples competed (10:37), which the Psalmist attributed the Messiah (12:36) and Jesus to the Human One (14:62), and which was attributed to the bandits (15:27). It is the symbol of true power of solidarity (397).”
“Secondly, he is ‘wrapped in a white robe.’ The first neaniskos was similarly ‘wrapped’ in a linen cloth (14:51) - which cloth cloaked Jesus in the tomb, the Jesus who is no longer in the tomb! But this neaniskos is now wrapped in a white robe, the same color as Jesus’ garments in his transfiguration (9:3) and the identical phrase used to describe the apparel of the martyrs of Revelation 7:9, 13 (397-98).”
“Finally, the women are ‘deeply troubled’ (16:6), a verb that appears only twice elsewhere in Mark. In 9:15 it described the reaction of the crowd upon beholding Jesus after his transfiguration and public teaching of the way of the cross; 14:33 it describes Jesus’ struggle to come to terms with his own execution. Each of theses apocalyptic symbolics compels us to conclude that the women realize they are in the presence of a ‘glorified martyr figure’ (398).”
We will engage these clues from Mark when we reach them in our reading of the story. I lift them up here to note the depth of the metaphors that Mark writes into the narrative.
"He has been raised!"
“He is risen (16:6)!” The statement of resurrection. “Jesus is ‘risen’ (egerthe, 16:6), a word that recalls earlier healing episodes (egeirein, six times in healing) (Myers, 398).”
1) to arouse, cause to rise 1a) to arouse from sleep, to awake 1b) to arouse from the sleep of death, to recall the dead to life 1c) to cause to rise from a seat or bed etc. 1d) to raise up, produce, cause to appear
I like to think of the moments of "raising' Mark as social resurrection. When Jesus raises someone it is from a state of being socially dead, not able to participate in the life of the community. Jesus raises people to new life in this world. This is the power of God at work. Resurrection, while an eternal promise, is also a social reality in our midst.
Moments of social resurrection:
Back to Galilee
The emphasis of this encounter is on this statement: “there you will see him, just as he told you.” This is the power of the message at tomb.
Mark does not narrate post-resurrection stories. There is something else going on here. The promise of the new social reality called the kingdom of God is not halted with the death of Jesus. The story goes on. The radical equality and abundance taught, demonstrated, and nurtured by Jesus goes on. And it all comes in Galilee, where it all started.
While the resurrection of Jesus has universal implications, the power of his resurrection always happens in our own contexts. The resurrection unfolds where we live, where we work, where we play. Where our lives as families and friends, neighbors and strangers, takes shape. The good news announced at the tomb is directional in nature. It points us back to where God is already at work in our midst, turning death into life. The call at the tomb is that same one Jesus offers over and over again - follow!
Some wisdom from Ched Myers:
“This ‘future’ point of reference is the same as the ‘past’ one: Galilee. And where is that? It is where ‘the disciples and Peter’ were first called, named, sent on mission, and taught by Jesus. In other words, the disciple/reader is being told that the narrative, which appeared to have ended, in beginning again. The story is circular (Myers, 398-99)!”
“It (the full revelation) has resulted in nothing more and nothing less than the regeneration of the messianic mission. If we have ‘eyes’ to see the advent of the Human One we will be able to ‘see’ Jesus is still going before us. The ‘invitation’ by Jesus, via the young man, to follow him to Galilee, is the third and last call to discipleship (Myers, 399).”
The "Longer" Ending of Mark
Joel Marcus - Mark 8-16
“Everyone in the Markan audience knew that the reunion in Galilee prophesied 14:28 and 16:7 had actually taken place. Stories of resurrection appearances were in common circulation at least by the time Paul wrote 1 Corinthians 15 in the fifties and were surely well known when Mark wrote his Gospel in the late sixties or early seventies (Marcus, 1095-96).”
“Still, we cannot be dogmatic: there is not enough evidence to say definitively whether Mark intended his work to end at 16:8. But that is where it concludes in our earliest and best manuscripts, and so it behooves us, as even Croy (169-70) acknowledges, to try and make sense of that ending as it stands (Marcus, 1096).”
“Since Mark does not wrap up all the loose ends, we have no alternative but to return to the inception of his narrative, ‘the beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ’ (1:1), and to start to read it again as our story (cf. Bartlett, Fact and Faith, 104). Mark’s Gospel is just the beginning of the good news, because Jesus’ story has become ours, and we take it up where Mark leaves off (Marcus, 1096).”
Questions for Modern-Day Disciples
- Where is your "Galilee" - where you are called to continue the story
- Where does the resurrection happen in your midst?
- How do we continue to follow Jesus, from the empty tomb back into the world?