Early Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went to the tomb where Joseph had entombed Jesus' body the Friday before. They brought spices used for anointing the dead (Mark 16:1-2). Their greatest concern seemed to be finding someone to roll the stone away so they could get to the body (Mark 16:3).

Death is the nature of things - we will all experience death, as many have before us. We have no expectation that we or others will come back from the dead - certainly not in our physical bodies.

These women may, for a brief moment, have been relieved to see that the stone had been rolled away so they could go about their gruesome work (Mark 16:4), but the "young man" in a white robe, sitting inside the tomb, must have really shook them up (Mark 16:5).

So far in their experience, they had witnessed Jesus' excruciating death on the cross on Friday, came to His tomb on Sunday intending to prepare Jesus' body, found the tomb open, and were addressed by a young man inside dressed in white.

This was shaping up to be a day of miraculous surprises, not just for these three women, but for the world and all of history.

The young man knew this and shocked the women with these words: "He has risen!" (Mark 16:6).

And indeed Jesus has risen! The events of that day are the basis of nearly 2,000 years of what is known as the Christian faith. As succinctly as it may be stated:

"For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that He appeared to Peter, and then to the twelve."

~The Apostle Paul, 1 Cor. 15:3-5

Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome were the first to know the Gospel! And how did they respond? They were trembling, bewildered and afraid (Mark 16:8).

It's pretty scary - even today - because it really happened! And when we first come to realize it, we too become afraid.

What are the implications of the risen Christ in your life? How do you respond to the Gospel as stated by Paul? Jesus "died for our sins." What exactly does that mean?

In the final three weeks of this series, we'll explore this, and Jesus will tell us in His own words.