Mark chapter 16 is a relatively short reading. Some of you will see in your Bible that the chapter stops after the 8th verse, but others will have another eleven verses. The additional eleven verses are reportedly not in the older manuscripts, which are closer to the original writing. There are a handful of cases like this in the Bible, where there is additional writing, in certain translations, which was probably added by a copyist, to clarify or add context. This addition in Mark appears to have been added for that reason.
What catches my attention in the first 8 verses is the prominent role women play. At the time this was written, the culture at large didn’t place much significance on women. For instance, women couldn’t testify in court, but when we watch Jesus, we see women highly valued and treated with respect. Salome and the two Marys risked their lives to give Jesus a proper burial, because their devotion to Him was stronger than their fear. Along with the others who were close to Jesus, they risked being harassed and hunted down by the Jewish authorities, because they were spreading the word of Jesus’ resurrection while the authorities were instructed to quell any remnants of Jesus’ movement. These women were not fearless, they were just not fear-driven. The fact that Mark makes it a priority to include their involvement here is remarkable, and shows Jesus’ impact on His followers. At the time this was written, the culture at large didn’t place much significance on women. For instance, women couldn’t testify in court To include these 3 women in the story of Jesus’ resurrection is a powerful statement that something very counter-culture is happening. A marketing agent would have told Mark to delete this so that the male dominated culture wouldn’t be offended. Instead, like we see so often, the Bible gives us insight into the mind and heart of God, who values and loves women equally. The faith and courage these women displayed as they came to show their respect for Jesus, serves as an inspiration for us all.