“And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
Now, if you’re reading in your Bible, when you come to this point in Mark chapter 16, verse eight, Jesus has risen from the dead, you have this realization that the tomb is empty. And then it says, “They said nothing to anyone because they were afraid.” And then your Bible will say some of the earliest manuscripts do not include Mark chapter 16 verses nine through 20. So this is one of those very rare places in the Bible where the earliest manuscripts don’t correspond exactly. So there are some early manuscripts that don’t include this part. So there’s a question about whether or not this is actually a part of the Bible.
We have been united with Christ in His death and resurrection. We cannot keep this news to ourselves. Lord help us to be faithful to proclaim Your gospel.
Now take heart, be encouraged along these lines, instances like these are extremely rare and they do not in any way change the core meaning, the truth that we see all over scripture. So, we don’t need to think, “Okay. So we can’t trust anything in the Bible.” That’s a whole nother thing we could dive into. The Bible is absolutely trustworthy as the inerrant, infallible, authoritative, sufficient, true word of God, but that’s a whole nother, hours we could spend on that. The reason I emphasize that though now is let’s just imagine for a moment that we don’t have verses nine through 20. Mark is writing this gospel. His specific audience is followers of Jesus who are prone to shrink back from following and proclaiming Jesus because of all the pressures that are happening to them in the Roman Empire around them. And these followers of Jesus in the first century were facing real fear.
So imagine if verse eight is how Mark closes his gospel, with the greatest news in the world now a reality. Jesus has died on the cross and risen from the dead. And the very last words you read are, “They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” That would be a potent point and maybe the potent point that Mark is making, that this must not be the story of the church. This must not be the story of followers of Jesus. That knowing what we know about his death and resurrection from the grave, that it would not be said of us that we said nothing to anyone because we were afraid.
So, I just want to pray accordingly. God, we pray that you would deliver us from fear, particularly from fear of speaking about what we have seen and heard in you. We just confess, and we’ve prayed this recently, walking through Mark, because this seems to be a theme. We confess that we are prone to be silent, even to the point of Peter did, denying you. We are prone to not proclaim you. We are prone to not share with you.
God, we must confess this in our lives as your church. The number of people in your church who never share the gospel, God, we need you to change us. We need you to change our hearts, our minds, and our mouths that we might speak and not be said of us that we said nothing to anyone because we were afraid, that we might speak, especially all the more so, like we’re not in a context, at least not in the country where I live, where we have to fear government reprisal or imprisonment or death because we’re speaking God. We pray for our brothers and sisters around the world who are facing those realities. We pray that you would give them boldness all the more so for us who don’t have those dynamics around. God, help us to speak. Help us to speak the gospel today.
We pray that today in each of our lives, tomorrow in each of our lives, you would grant us opportunities and you would help us to speak the gospel to those who need it. Right around us and far from us, God, we pray today for the Baloch in Pakistan. I think about this people group of eight and a half plus million people. And for many years have been praying for the Baloch in Pakistan, specifically knowing that they are a really hard group people to reach, that there are so many barriers, there are so many challenges to getting the gospel to the Baloch in Pakistan. And those who take the gospel to the Baloch in Pakistan will face, have faced, are facing, I know them, all kinds of challenges and trials along the way. So, I pray. I pray right now. We pray together for your blessing on laborers who are working for the spread of the gospel among the Baloch.
God, we pray for your provision for them, for your help for them, for your strength in them, for your peace in them, and for your boldness in them. Help them as they work to share the gospel with people who have never heard it before, knowing that when Baloch men, women, children hear the gospel, and if they choose to believe it, that it will be costly for them. God, we pray that you would give them boldness. God, we pray for the spread of the gospel among the Baloch in Pakistan. Please, oh God, bring it about. We plead for the spread of the gospel among the Baloch in Pakistan, for your grace and strength and boldness over all those who were working. And we pray that you would raise up more laborers who will say, “We’re not afraid. We’re going to take the gospel to this people group that is hard to reach with the gospel. We’re going to take the gospel to the Baloch.”
God, we pray that it would not be said of us in our lives, our families, the commentary on our churches, that we said nothing to anyone, for we were afraid. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.