“Don’t be alarmed,” [the angel] said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.” —Mark 16:6
And in his empty tomb sat an angel telling the grieving women who came to minister to their fallen master’s body, “Don’t be alarmed.”
Of course, Jesus had told his followers what to expect. He would die…which he did. He would be buried…which he was. And in three days he would rise again. Now he wasn’t in the tomb. And there was an angel who understated the situation by saying, “Don’t be alarmed.” Of course they were alarmed, afraid and distressed: The soldiers had crucified Jesus; he had lain in the tomb three days; the huge stone they had worried about had been rolled away; there was an angel standing there…talking to them!
It’s easy to look at ancient Bible characters and second–guess their responses: “Why didn’t they get it?” We like to think we would have gotten it. We would have understood Jesus words’ about his death and resurrection. We’d have comprehended that he must first suffer as our Savior before he could return as King of kings. The knowledge that the sign of Jonah meant Jesus would lie three days in the tomb would have been a breeze for us to comprehend, or so we like to think.
But really, if we had been there, encountering an angel in a dark, empty tomb, we would have probably run away in terror or stood there quaking in our sandals. We might have been like the women who “said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid” (verse 8). What were they afraid of? Perhaps they were afraid of the Roman soldiers; they may have been afraid people would think they were crazy; they may have been afraid they wouldn’t relay the angel’s message correctly.
Do you hold back from telling people that Jesus is risen? Maybe you’re afraid you’ll be mocked or laughed at. Or maybe you’re afraid people will think you’ve gone off the religious deep end. Or maybe you’re afraid you won’t know the right words to say. Listen to the angel’s words again: “Don’t be alarmed…He has risen!”
Reflection 1. Put yourself in the women’s shoes. What emotions other than fear might they have been feeling? 2. Are you afraid to tell others Jesus is risen? 3. Who needs to hear this Good News? Pray for the faith to overcome your fear.
From a devotion in the NIV Women’s Devotional Bible.