““Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.””
As Mark concludes his Gospel he gives us a brief, but powerful picture of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. This picture should transform our understanding of all that our Lord Jesus Christ did for us in His cross. It should also transform how we now follow Him in this world of sin. Mark, in quoting the Angel’s words at the empty tomb uses a perfect participle for the word translated as crucified. What this means is that the word describes the present state of the Lord Jesus Christ as being dependant on a past action. As Peter Bolt translates it in The Cross From a Distance we find an incredible truth here.
“It is significant that the Greek uses the perfective aspect in this description of Jesus, which conveys ‘the state or condition of the subject of the verb as the result of an action’ (McKay 1994 31, cf. 27) He is ‘the One who remains crucified’. The crucified one has risen. The risen one is the crucified one.” (p. 168)
What exactly does this mean for us? It means that the Lord Jesus Christ was raised as one who is now permanently in the state of having been crucified. He showed His disciples His wounds. He invited Thomas to put his fingers into the nail prints, and his hand into the wound in our Lord’s side. It was a bodily resurrection of the One who was and is crucified for us. He now goes out into our world as the Crucified One who redeems us from death. Everything has changed as a consequence.
How do we illustrate this? I will point to two events which have opened my eyes to this reality. The first happened on a Monday evening a number of years ago as my wife and I walked with a group of friends who were tourists in Toronto. As we walked in downtown Toronto, on some very busy streets our friends were as you can well imagine enthralled with the many tall and beautiful buildings in the city. They were always looking up, trying to take as many pictures as they could. As a consequence they were constantly in danger of tripping over the many needy folk who were sitting on the sidewalks. As we walked I began to think about how we believers find ourselves looking up to the Lord lost in the wonder of worship, and in consequence finding ourselves having difficulty ‘seeing’ the needs of those around us.
The second incident happened one afternoon as I was reading through an issue of the Mosaic magazine put out by Canadian Baptist Ministries. This magazine can be found at www.cbmin.org. While reading an article in this magazine I came across these words spoken by a homeless man in Prague which illustrate what I believe Mark is saying.
“People just look up at the beautiful buildings, but don’t look down and see us lying on the streets at their feet.” (Mosaic, Fall edition p. 10)
To be looking at Jesus means to follow Him wherever He is to be found. Mark tells us that He is the crucified One at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. Because He is God incarnate He is also the crucified One going out into a needy world to redeem all who will believe. In sacrificial love we are called to follow Him out into our real world knowing that He meets us as the One who is forever crucified. It changes our perspective when we begin to follow Him in this way.
“He who would come after me, must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)