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I decided to investigate the matter further. One of my English Bibles had suggested that the women who ran from the empty tomb on that first Sunday morning did so ‘trembling and bewildered’ (Mark 16:8). I was satisfied that the original word that stood behind the English word ‘trembling’ was appropriate, but it was the other one that caused me to take a second look. The Greek that supposedly translates as ‘bewildered’ is the word ekstasis, from which we get our word ecstasy.
I checked in the Book to see where else the word appeared, and there were a number of occasions where the same word is translated as amazed, or astonished. In both Luke 5:26 and Acts 3:10, it’s the reaction of the crowd to the healing of paralytics, and in Mark 5:42, it’s the word chosen to describe the reaction of the parents to the raising of their little girl from the dead.
I find it a stretch to imagine such parents walking around scratching their heads and ‘bewildered’. Likewise in the scene where paralytics are now dancing for joy, I struggle to imagine those who witnessed the miracle looking on befuddled and ‘bewildered’. Surely the reaction in each case is one of heart-pounding, eye-popping, gob-smacking joy.
Seems to me that that’s how we’re to draw the faces of the ladies whom Mark mentions running from the tomb on that first Easter morning. Ecstatic. Amazed. Astonished. Beside themselves with joy. And not just because the tomb was empty, but because their Lord had risen from the dead.
DM 21st April 2015