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Mark 16:5-7 • The Authenticity of Disbelief

"Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, 'Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, "He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you."'"
    —Mark 16:5-7 (NASB)

The way each Gospel records the actions and reactions of people to the news of Jesus' resurrection really speaks to the authenticity of the Gospels. No one devising a hoax would write about these things in this manner. There is a transparent, honest quality to everyone's knee-jerk reaction of disbelief, especially among those purported to be closest to Jesus. These are not the things you would write about if devising a fictionalized account.

First, you would most likely claim to have been present at the actual resurrection. You would not report that all you witnessed was a missing body because that would play into the hands of those who claim He was not raised, but the body stolen and a mystery manufactured. So you would write that you personally witnessed His translation. Second, you would not have Him appear first to women and then continue documenting the disbelief of the disciples even as multiple accounts poured in. Your fictional account would have Him first meet with His inner circle who would claim to have always believed, to have never had their faith shaken.

But the issue is the same for us as it was for them, and that is one of the beauties of the sequence of events here; it is not a test of knowledge, but faith. The honest reactions documented among these various groups and individuals is representative of the same process we each go through when it comes to the Person of Jesus Christ. There are enough facts to draw our attention, but it cannot be completed without an act of faith on our part.

"Crucified…risen…not here…going ahead of you…" That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it?