But Wait; Thereís More!
16:1-8 I Corinthians 15:1-11
First Scripture, Mark 16:1-8
Thereís more, there has to be more. How can Markís
gospel end so abruptly? For heavenís sake, you
canít end the gospel with the words, ďAnd they said
nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.Ē If thatís
all there was, we wouldnít be celebrating this
you check your Bible, however, you will find
footnotes saying that Markís gospel appears to end
with verse 8. Later authors added verses 9-20 in an
attempt to provide a more satisfactory conclusion.
lectionary reading, however, is precisely what
scholars believe to be the authentic ending of
Markís Gospel, and so the story ends abruptly.
donít we finish the story by reading from Paulís
First Letter to the Corinthians, chapter 15?
Have you seen the series of commercials with a man
and an unfocused focus group of 5 or 6 children
sitting in a circle? Iíve not bothered to figure out
what they are selling, internet service? But they
decide that more is better than less, because, well
because more is better.
our consumer culture, more is always better and the
promise of more makes us sit up and listen. Itís
rather like the Shopping Network I surf through
between commercials on the NCAA basketball
tournament. One of the salespeople invariably
shouts, ďBut wait! Thereís more!! And I pause,
because, who doesnít want more?
Although I hesitate to equate in any way, shape, or
form the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the Shopping
Network, still the Easter story is an astonishing
tale of, But wait! Thereís more!!. Just when you
think the story is told, thereís more, and it gets
Friday concluded with a sigh too deep for words.
Judas betrayed, Peter denied, the disciples fled.
Jesus, the Messiah and Son of God was dead. Joseph
of Arimathea took the body down from the cross and
placed it in a tomb. The women at the foot of the
cross wept until they were still.
wait. Thereís more.
Saturday, the Sabbath, the women rested. They could
not perform the ritual preparation of Jesusí body,
so they grieved quietly, prayed, and waited.
Sunday, as soon as it was light enough, Mary
Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome,
went to the tomb to work through their grief with
the practicalities of life and death. The body
needed to be prepared, they were the ones who would
do it. They came to the tomb grieving, to honor and
bury the dead. They did not expect a miracle, they
did not anticipate resurrection life.
did expect that someone would be at the cemetery to
help them roll away the stone, but they did not
expect that the task had already been done. So they
stood, staring at the open tomb, bewildered.
wait, there must be more.
the women who came to the tomb, we come to church
this Easter morning impelled by the circumstances of
life. Many of us come with joy this morning to
celebrate resurrection, to be stirred by the
glorious music, to greet our neighbors and friends
and to enjoy a gorgeous day. Some of us, however,
are weighed down with anxiety about health or
finances, or with grief, and some of us feel a
yearning in our soul for something deeper to fill
the void. The truth is, however, that very few of
us come to church this morning expecting a miracle.
The stone is rolled away and we are curious, but not
really expectant or hopeful.
just wait; thereís more, and it gets even better.
we join with Mary Magdalene and Mary and Salome,
peering into the tomb, uncertain of what we will
find, we are startled by the young man in the white
ďDonít be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of
Nazareth who was crucified. He has been raised. He
is not here! See, here is the spot where they laid
him. Go and tell his disciples and Peter that he is
going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see
him, just as he said.Ē
when terror and amazement hit us. Everything we
expected, every certainty we have known is suddenly
turned upside down, because this is so much more
than we ever knew possible.
Jesus, whom we thought was dead, is alive!
Those whose death we grieve, they are not dead, they
are alive with him!
sickness we fear, though real, has no power to
separate us from those we love!
financial uncertainties, though real, do not
undermine our true worth!
sin that overwhelms us, has been forgiven, redeemed
on the cross!
this again, because as many Easters as I have lived,
sometimes I still donít get it. Sometimes I still
donít believe it. Sometimes I still donít allow it
to transform my life. The resurrection of Jesus
changes everything! He is not dead, he is alive!
Youíre still not sure? Wait, thereís more, much
Jesus did appear to Mary Magdalene, to Peter and
John, to the disciples on the Emmaeus road, to
Thomas who put his fingers in the wounds, to the
disciples on the beach when they were fishing, to
Paul on the Damascus road, and yes, Jesus appears to
us, to us in our prayers, in our music, in our
worship. Jesus appears to us in the faces of our
IHN guests and the guests at Clinton Avenue Soup
Kitchen. Jesus appears to us in the face of
everyone we share Godís love with and in the face of
everyone who shares Godís love with us.
Jesus appears to us and invites us to live by faith,
trusting in the resurrection miracle that those who
are dead are alive with Christ, that sickness does
not separate us, that anxieties do not undermine us,
that sin does not control us.
lives are different today than they were yesterday.
describes resurrection life this way. ďBy the grace
of God I am what I am,Ē which sounds suspiciously
like Godís revelation to Moses in the burning bush,
I am who I am. I am what I am; I am a beloved child
of God, healed, forgiven, redeemed, and raised to
resurrection life. I am not stuck in a tomb; I am
freed by Godís Grace to resurrection life!
wait, thereís more, much more, and it gets even
Godís grace to me has not been in vain; on the
contrary, Godís grace has transformed my life, and I
cannot keep this story to myself. The story does
not end, ďThey said nothing to anyone for they were
afraid.Ē No! We write the ending of this
gospel! Markís gospel is unfinished, because we
make the ending happen.
are not afraid, we are overwhelmed with joy and our
lives are transformed.
are not paralyzed, we share our joy by reaching out
to help others.
we are not silent, we sing, we shout, we live the
Good News to anyone and to everyone that they might
share our joy! Because, friends, there is more,
even more to come, and it gets even better.
Thanks be to God who brings us new life in the
Easter resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus