Two of the books that we read to our kids just before bed is Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. Do you know the last line in both of those books? Of course you do – “And they all lived happily ever after.”
Do you want to live happily ever after? Of course you do. In fact, one philosopher named Blaise Pascal proposed that our enduring happiness is what undergirds every one of our decisions. Every single one. He writes, “All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they empty, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war, and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even those who hang themselves.”
If we are all pursuing happiness, then there is both a crisis and an opportunity in front of us when we read the resurrection story of Jesus – particularly the one in Mark. Mark’s story of the resurrection ends it seems without an ending. There is not resolution. Three women visit his tomb to anoint his dead body, only to find an angel who has told them he has risen, to go and tell his disciples that he will go ahead of them to Galilee. They run off in fear and say nothing to anyone. And then it “ends.” What? That’s the end?
By ending his story this way Mark wants us to wrestle with writing the ending of the story ourselves. Mark isn’t so concerned with what the women are going to do, what the disciples are going to do. He wants to know, “What are you going to do?” How are you going to respond to this story. The way Mark has written this story, he makes no apology that our response is paramount to our eternal happiness. If we want our story to end well, it will be based on what we do with this story. In fact, the Bible says at every turn, that the ending of everyone’s story depends on how they respond to the ending of Jesus story.
Remember the “happily ever after” ending we all want? Mark seems to be saying, that if we want to live happily ever after, if we want to write a good end to our story, it’s going to depend on how we respond to the end of his story. Jesus is the only one who can give us an eternal, happily ever after.
Listen in to find out why.