Mark 16: 1-8
April 12, 2020
One of the first things that my university students learn in Interpersonal Communications is a concept called the “Johari Window.”
This window is a self-awareness tool that helps students better understand themselves and better understand their relationship with others.
Imagine a window with four panes of glass.
Each pane represents an aspect of your knowledge about a situation … about a relationship … about another person … or about yourself.
There are variations of the window … depending on which discipline uses it.
In one variation, the four panes represent:
“I know what I know” – which means that you are aware of certain facts … pieces of information … or what skills you possess.
The second pane is “I know what I don’t know.” – which means you are aware of gaps in your knowledge or expertise. Basically, you know what you need to learn.
The third pane is “I don’t know what I know.” – which means that through experience or education, you have hidden or untapped knowledge that is only realized when a need arises.
The fourth pane is “I don’t know, what I don’t know.” – which means that you have gaps in your knowledge that you do not realize you have. You think you have the full picture, but in reality you only possess part of it.
This last pane can be a real pain <groan>.
Many times, these gaps are filled by assumptions and misconceptions. You believe you understand a situation or a person’s motivation, but you don’t know a person’s story … the pain … the brokenness … even the conversations … that may lie at the centre of the situation.
It requires a measure of self-awareness to recognize this within yourself.
So, lot of times, we find ourselves in that final window … we don’t know, what we don’t know … and we can cause a lot of heartache or anger through this shortcoming.
I think, that is where people who experienced or witnessed Jesus’ ministry in the Galilee also found themselves.
They didn’t know what they didn’t know.
Throughout Mark’s gospel, Jesus healed people … rid them of demons … ate with sinners and society’s other less-than-desireables … he brought people back into community and helped them feel loved and cared for … letting them know that they had worth.
Each time, Jesus told people not to say anything about what they experienced… or what they witnessed. This has become known as the Messanic Secret.
Today, we end our time with Mark’s gospel … a few verses after today’s passage, Jesus makes the ascension.
In today’s passage, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome go to Jesus’ tomb. They plan to anoint Jesus’ body because it hadn’t been done before it was placed in the tomb. The women likely didn’t know that an unnamed woman had already anointed him with Nard while he was having dinner in Bethany.
The women worried how they would open the tomb because there was a large rock supposedly covering the entrance. When they arrived, the rock had already been moved.
They crawled into the cramped space of the tomb … discovering that the body was gone and meeting a young man who told them that Jesus had gone on to Galilee as he had promised before his death on the cross.
The man tells the women to go and tell the disciples … and especially Peter … to get to the Galilee as fast as they can.
The women fled the tomb and were too scared to say anything.
Finally, when the story can be told … when the secret can be shared … the followers keep their mouths shut … at least in today’s passage. Perhaps, the story was just too great to comprehend, let alone share.
Jesus’ story … the story of God breaking into the world … is finally ready to be told in its entirety.
Throughout Mark’s gospel, whenever Jesus told the people not to say anything about the miracles they’ve witnessed or the healings they had experienced, it wasn’t to keep others from seeking the same experience or asking for help in their lives … it was to allow the full story to be told.
It was so that the people could come to know what they didn’t know … that their understanding of what Jesus was accomplishing or teaching was incomplete at this point.
Asking for people’s silence … I believe … was an attempt to allow all these acts of ministry … these experiences … to gain context … to get the full picture of what lay at the centre of the ministry … to allow Jesus to fill in the gaps.
If the word got out … and we know from the size of the crowds who showed up wherever Jesus was … that it did … the meaning of the ministry and the responsibilities that people were called to take on … would be misunderstood.
The disciples themselves continuously misunderstood Jesus’ true nature.
That context … through Jesus’ rising from the tomb and going to Galilee … is now possible. The full story has been presented.
The women and the disciples are told to go back to Galilee … back to where Jesus’ ministry had been in full force. It means going back to the margins … feeding, healing … ministering … and encountering Jesus with each act.
Going back to Galilee with Jesus’ story fully told means that the disciples … and by extension, each of us … can better understand the call to serve and to fully recognize those moments when God breaks in.
It calls us to reconcile … to hear and understand others’ stories … to repair … to resurrect relationships within ourselves and with others. To move into a different pane of the window … to know what we know … to understand so that we can love.
Now that the story has been told … now that Jesus’ has died and is risen … we can fully and deeply comprehend our discipleship … what we are called to do … and what that means for us and for the world.
We know what we know … that’s where faith lies … that is where joy can be found.
We know that we have received the gift of grace through faith … that God’s love is with us and that this love is meant to be shared through us so that its transformative powers can be let loose on the world.
The story in Mark may have come to an end … but God’s story in the world is still being written… and it is written through our hearts.
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!