Sunday, April 8, 2007

Mark 16:6—single word freighted with immense meaning

The ladies came to the tomb early that morning, with a deeply-flawed plan.

While the menfolk cowered in their houses, despondent and shattered, the ladies came with spices, to anoint the dead body of Jesus. Their faith wasn't much better, but the boldness speaks well of them.

However, they seemed to have had no plan for what to do about the stone. They'd seen it rolled to, and they knew it would be a problem. But they had no solution. They ask each other, τίς ἀποκυλίσει ἡμῖν τὸν λίθον ἐκ τῆς θύρας τοῦ μνημείου; (v. 6). It is a good question, from their perspective, and they have no answer.

Thank God, none was needed!

The angel they meet bears a message, in fitting with his title. He says,
μὴ ἐκθαμβεῖσθε· Ἰησοῦν ζητεῖτε τὸν Ναζαρηνὸν τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον· ἠγέρθη, οὐκ ἔστιν ὧδε· ἴδε ὁ τόπος ὅπου ἔθηκαν αὐτόν.
The perfect participle catches the eye. The angel doesn't say ἐσταυρώθη, He was crucified (aorist). Nor does he use an aorist participle. Rather, it is Ἰησοῦν τὸν Ναζαρηνὸν τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον—Jesus the Nazarene the having-been-crucified one. For all time, this would describe Him: He is the one who has been crucified, an event with eternal significance.

But after that five-word appellative, the angel offers but one: ἠγέρθη.

Did one word ever carry so much meaning? Jesus the Nazarene had been crucified, but ἠγέρθη. The word is aorist, referring to an event of history. It is in the passive voice, for He was raised by the Father. In raising Him, the Father attests His entire message and ministry, seals Jesus' claim to Deity, signals His acceptance of Christ's sacrifice for His people.

Further, it is necessarily a bodily resurrection. Who is it who ἠγέρθη? It is Ἰησοῦν τὸν Ναζαρηνὸν τὸν ἐσταυρωμένον. And who or what was crucified? It was His body. If He was crucified bodily, and He now ἠγέρθη, then He must have been raised the same way: bodily.

This is the meaning of Resurrection Day ("Easter"): ἠγέρθη.


Pat Park said...

ἠγέρθη INDEED!

Hwang Keum-OK said...

Outstanding post!

Turretinfan said...

Dear DJP,

The effect of the crucifixion certainly is of eternal significance. That's definitely confirmed from I Corinthians 1:23, I Corinthians 2:2, or Galatians 3:1. There's no doubt about it.

Nevertheless, I wouldn't attach that same significance here. Reading the parallel account in Matthew, we can see that the account in Mark is abbreviated.

The women sought a still-crucified Christ, but He is Risen!

Likewise, in Luke's account the sense of the conversation is provided: "Why seek ye the living among the dead"?

You are right to notice the significance of the participle, but I think it actually cuts the other way: the angel is gently correcting the women.

Perhaps reasonable people could differ about the significance of the participle here, but two things are beyond dispute:
1) Christ truly was crucified; and
2) Christ is Risen Indeed!


Turretinfan said...

Which, incidentally, should not detract from the main point, which is that all the accounts mention that "he is risen" (aorist passive indicative) with the impact you so eloquently describe.