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Mark 16:4

ESV And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large.
NIV But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away.
NASB And looking up, they *noticed that the stone had been rolled away; for it was extremely large.
CSB Looking up, they noticed that the stone--which was very large--had been rolled away.
NLT But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside.
KJV And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

What does Mark 16:4 mean?

Several women have come to complete the preparations of Jesus' body for burial (Mark 16:1; Luke 24:10). They have scouted out where the tomb is (Mark 15:47), prepared the spices and ointments (Luke 23:56), and come to the grave as soon as the Sabbath and the sunlight allow them, with no idea as to how they will actually reach Jesus' body. Joseph of Arimathea placed a large, heavy stone to cover the entrance (Matthew 27:60). In addition, probably unbeknownst to the women, Pilate has sealed the stone to the rock face and set guards so that Jesus' followers cannot disturb the scene (Matthew 27:62–66).

The women have come with what they are able to bring to honor Jesus, knowing it's insufficient. They are blessed to discover the stone has already been rolled away.

This is the story of the crucifixion. We come to God prepared for death. We offer what we have, just to discover Jesus already did a far greater work to free us from death. The curtain between us and God is torn in two (Mark 15:38). The stone that keeps us from Jesus is moved. All we need do is turn around (Acts 3:19) and see that He is waiting for us (John 20:11–18).

The women are not alone. Pilate not only sealed the stone, he placed guards around the tomb (Matthew 28:2–4, 11–15). When an angel came down and rolled away the stone, the guards froze or fainted in terror. After the women leave, the guards go to the chief priests to explain what happened. The priests bribe them to say they fell asleep and the disciples stole Jesus' body.

This reaction is still seen today. Some people don't want to think Jesus raised from the dead. Even when faced with evidence of God's work in their own lives, they refuse to acknowledge the truth. Paul speaks of these people when he says, "the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (2 Corinthians 4:4). When Isaiah accepted God's challenge to be His prophet, God warned him of those who would refuse his message, saying of them, "'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.' Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed" (Isaiah 6:9–10).

Jesus applies these words to the people who, like the guards, see His miracles but don't accept His message (John 12:37–40), and many still live this way.
What is the Gospel?
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