Mark 16

From Confusion to Confidence

“Don’t be alarmed,” [the angel] said . . . “He has risen! He is not here” . . . Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. Mark 16:6, 8

Flabbergasted—“overwhelmed with shock, surprise, or wonder.” Can any other word so accurately describe the emotional state of Jesus’ followers as they witnessed his crucifixion on Friday, grieved His death on Saturday, then attempted to process His resurrection on Sunday?

Jesus tried to prepare them for the tsunami-force emotional onslaught they experienced those three days. Mark records Jesus’ numerous declarations of what would occur. (See Mark 8:31; 9:2, 31; 10:33-34, 45; 14:28.) Yet His followers remained completely unprepared.

Thus they grieved for Him, stumbling around in the rubble of their faith, flummoxed by the devastation, and flabbergasted by its implications. And when they were confronted with the truth of His resurrection, they trembled with fear and wallowed in disbelief (Mark 16:5-6, 8, 11-14).

Neither the angels at the tomb nor Jesus Himself excused His followers’ disbelief. “Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee?” the angels chided (Luke 24:6). On the Emmaus Road, Jesus said to Cleopas and his companion, “How foolish you are and how slow of heart” (Luke 24:25). Later in the room where many had gathered, He said, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your mind?” (Luke 24:37). It had all been too bad to be accepted; then suddenly it was all too good to comprehend.

Jesus wanted His flabbergasted followers to become fruitful servants and spread the gospel worldwide. That wasn’t possible unless they overcame their fear and doubt and embraced what had happened. So He opened the Scriptures to them (Luke 24:44-48). But not until the Holy Spirit came were they empowered to do the work He had assigned them (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8).

We too are confronted with situations that may seem either too bad or too good to comprehend. We need the same thing the first-century followers needed: a personal encounter with the Risen Christ, who alone can open our eyes to the truth of His Word and empower us by His Spirit to spread it to others.

Feeling flabbergasted? Enter the presence of the Risen Christ through prayer and ask Him to lead you out of confusion and into confidence. His empty tomb testifies to His power to do anything for us, in us, and through us. Rejoice!

DIG DEEPER:

Read Luke 23:55-24:9. Even in their grief, what were the women doing? What was their reward for that labor of love? What can we learn from their example?

Despair threatens all of us at some point. How did David move from despair to joy in Psalm 13?

Read Matthew 28:19-20, Luke 24:47, and Acts 1:8. What can you do today to live out Jesus’ commission?

Read Luke 24:27 and 44 along with 2 Corinthians 1:19-20. What Old Testament passages that speak of Jesus come to your mind? How about Genesis 22, Psalms 22-24, or Isaiah 53?

You might also want to read Cleopas and Women of Galilee under Dig into People.

Denise K. Loock

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