A radical challenge to our faith
Mark ends early
Why were Mary and Mary and Salome afraid?
It is my pleasure that graves and tombs
remain unmolested in perpetuity.
Let no one remove them for any reason. If anyone does so, however, it is my will that he shall suffer capital punishment on the charge of tomb robbery.
If this ordinance was in fact published in Galilee some time prior to the death of Jesus, then at the time of the resurrection there was in force a severe law against tampering with buried bodies. An empty tomb would entail capital punishment for Jesus’ “friends.”
How do we stop being afraid?
By the abrupt ending Mark also leaves his readers with a radical challenge to their faith. Belief, conversion, and discipleship do not really rest on resurrection appearances (which Mark’s community of ca. A.D. 70 would not have experienced), but on the word of promise, the victory over death at that very moment when death seemed sovereign.