And entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, ”Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him.” (Mark 16: 5-6)–The Lord is risen!
–He is risen indeed!
Thus rings the joyous greeting and response Christians have called out to one another every Easter morning from that first day till this. It is the central affirmation of our faith. In Mark’s gospel this affirmation, proclaimed first by the angel, takes on a remarkable depth for though many modern translations (including the RSV which we use) don’t reflect it, the verb is in the passive voice. That is, it actually reads, ”He has been raised”, putting the emphasis on the one who intervened to raise him. Mary Healy captures the beauty and significance of this: “The passive verb has been raised means that it is God who raised him. Jesus agonized question on the cross, ’My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ has received its answer. God has not forsaken his beloved Son but has vindicated him with a triumph far greater than any of his enemies could have imagined, an everlasting triumph over death itself.” (Healy, The Gospel of Mark, p330)
And the best of news is that the vindication and triumph God won for Jesus is ours as well. Because Christ lives, we shall live too! That, from the beginning, is the promise: We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. (Romans 6:4-5) Or, as Jesus himself promised, “I am the resurrection and the life, he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”(John 11: 25-26. emphasis mine)
”Do you believe this?” Jesus asked. If we go back to Marks gospel, it may surprise and sadden us to see how slow the disciples were to believe: “She [Mary Magdalene] went out and told those who had been with him , as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it” (16:10-11). But are we also slow to believe? Surely that is the question Mark wanted us to ask ourselves whenever we read this. Mourning and weeping are our lot as long as we are slow to believe. Joy and hope accompany confidence in his resurrection. It is a fact, The Lord is risen. May each of us be able to respond quickly from the heart, He is risen indeed!