Mark 16:8 And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.
Its Easter, and all across the world, people are celebrating the great feast of our salvation in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. And all across the world, people long to hear of the power and majesty, the glory and honor, along with riches wealth and success - we'd like to see the glorious company of the apostles behaving gloriously, an inspiration to us all - examples of what we by faith can do - but it isn't there - because Easter is not the story of the victory of man, but the victory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And of all the Easter Gospel's, Mark is the hardest - so hard that we often rush past it, because we so want to hear about victory. For in our text, the angel is at the empty tomb with the good news of great joy, that Jesus is risen - but the women, filled with fear, flee from the tomb, and say nothing to anyone. And we are astonished, and wonder about the rest of the story, because we want to hear about the victory, we want to hear good tidings of great joy for all people.
But the Gospel of Mark is not about all the great things man can do - rather it is always about the great things that God can do - and how God can change and empower poor miserable sinners to be the children of God and to tell the good news. If they were already supermen, what would there be for God to do, for people who are already almighty and all knowing could certainly save themselves. That's why you could say that Mark's Gospel is the one written for mere mortals, ordinary people, and poor miserable sinners, such as you and I. Only in the gospel of Mark do we meet the disciple, who runs away naked - when Jesus was arrested, some grabbed his garment, and to escape, he left it behind. That's something we can relate to, because although our pride would lead us to say, we will never forsake you - yet we have seen our sins, and seen how we are not faithful, how we could not watch one hour, how we run away from opportunities to live our faith and witness to our Savior, sometimes even denying that we know him.
In Mark, the victory comes in Jesus death, then the veil is torn in two, then the Heavens are opened, and then the impartial observer, the centurion (not the disciples), make the great confession - Truly this was the Son of God! But the disciple, mere mortals, and poor miserable sinners don't get it - they are still hiding in fear. The women going to the tomb are not going in hope, they are going to do their duty, to finish the preparations for Jesus burial - what are they worrying about? Who will roll away the rock from the tomb. But the Rock has already been rolled away, and arriving the are met by and angel. And though the angel tells them the good news, they are so frightened, not only do they run away, but they tell no one.
But wait, they must tell someone, otherwise we wouldn't have any story at all - and that is the great Easter story, Jesus might be risen in an instant, but it takes us time for the story to sink in, it take time for the word to work that faith so that we believe, the faith that changes us from poor miserable sinners, into the children of God.
And that's why this story is here, so that we can know that Jesus didn't just die for the perfect, or the holy, but that he died for all, and that the change that God works by grace through faith in the forgiveness of our sins was so powerful, that it could change fearful, frightened failures into those people that we call saints - and since God could do that for them, certainly God can also do the same for us. This is the real Easter story, Jesus is risen and there is real hope for us, the salvation is for us, the forgiveness is for us - and the power of God is certainly at work among us.