Gospel of Mark Chapter 16 (Part One)
Introduction: A key idea in the Gospel of Mark is that Jesus is the servant of God. Today, we hope to discuss the success of the servant, especially His resurrection.
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Read Mark 16:1-8
III. The Success of the Servant. A. His Resurrection. In this section of the Gospel of Mark, Mary and several ladies went to anoint Jesus' body. They were surprised that the large stone, in front of the tomb, was moved out of the way.
They saw a young man, in the tomb, who told them to tell Jesus' disciples to meet Him in Galilee. The women left with silent fear.
- Sabbath principle. Notice in vs. 1 of this section of the Gospel of Mark that the Jewish Sabbath had ended. It was early Sunday morning, the first day of the week, that the ladies approached the tomb that did not hold Jesus.
It is good to practice the Sabbath principle. That is, make a day each week to rest and worship God. Even if you have to piece together parts of two or three days, make time to rest and worship.
However, for Christians, we are not bound to Saturday, as in the text. Sunday is a nice day for Christians, because it is the day that Jesus was resurrected, which is of foundational importance to our faith.
Sunday is also the day that the Early Church worshipped on. Baptists have gone so far as to declare that Sunday is the Christian Sabbath.
The Pastor believes that it would be nice, if all Christians could rest and worship on Sunday. But with the dynamics of our economy, many have to work on Sunday.
Thank God, we can rest and worship any day of the week. Let's work on practicing a Sabbath principle on Sunday or whatever day(s) we can.
- Knowing and obeying God’s will. Notice in vss. 1, 8 of this section of the Gospel of Mark that the women went to the tomb to show love and respect towards the carcass of Jesus (as opposed to embalming, which was foreign to this context).
However, even though they were told to go and share a message with Jesus' disciples, the text suggests that they were too afraid to share the message.
The ladies deserve some credit for at least being around the tomb, while the men were hiding in fear. However, their looking for a dead body, after Jesus promised that He would be resurrected indicates that they really didn't believe the promises of God.
And even though they had some reasons to be afraid, fear should not be the dominate force in the life of a believer. We should be ruled by faith, not fear.
Let's work on being in tuned with the will of God and obeying it. The best way to overcome fear is to act on faith. Do what God says do, and trust Him for the results.
- Angels. Notice in vs. 5 of this section of the Gospel of Mark that there was a young man in the tomb. Matthew 28:2 refers to him as an angel. Passages like Hebrews 1:14 teaches that angels are assigned to aid believers.
We are further reminded in Hebrews 13:1-2 that we should be careful how we entertain strangers, because we may entertain angels without knowing such. And in Revelation 1:20 we see that even the Pastor is considered an angel.
At the root, an angel is a massager of God. Hollywood, more than the Bible, may be responsible for the White people with wings and harps image. Let's work on treating people like possible messengers sent by God, and let's make sure we are faithful angels who share the messages of God.
Every believer ought to be able to share the message of salvation through faith in Christ and the benefits of being a disciple in a local church.
- The promises of God. Notice in vss. 6-7 that God keeps His promises. We learn from this section of the Gospel of Mark that He said that He would be resurrected, and He was. In spite of Peter's failure towards God, God did not fail to keep His promise towards Peter.
It is marvelous news that God keeps His promises. He promised that all things are working for the good of His people. He promised never to forsake or leave us. He promised that there is life with Him after death.
Let's obey like we believe the promises of God. God promises to bless obedience and punish disobedience. When we live lives of disobedience, it contradicts our claim that we believe that God is promise keeper.
When we don't give God our best in service, worship, witness, family life, health stewardship, and community involvement, we act like we don’t believe the promises of God.
Read Mark 16:9-18
b. His Appearances. There is a consensus among scholars that vss. 9-18 are not a part of the original text. Furthermore, it is believed that the original text has been lost.
These verses in this section of the Gospel of Mark seem to be a later addition to the text to make the close of Mark appear to be smoother. Notice that Jesus appears to Mary. People don't believe her report.
Jesus appeared to two, but their report was not believed either. Jesus rebuked His disciples for their lack of faith. Jesus commissioned them to preach. Signs are to follow them.
- God’s use of people. Notice in vs. 9 that Jesus appeared to Mary. For those who believe that women are not used by God, this text is difficult to explain.
The same God who used Deborah in the book of Judges to be a prophetess and judge and who used Mary in our text is able and willing to use women and men for His glory today.
The greatest measure of what God is doing in a person's life is not their gender. It is their fruit. Let's work on being open to God doing whatever He wants to do through whoever He wants to do it through. It may be that God prefers to use men, in especially leadership roles.
But it is also God's preference to use mature Christians in Christian service. Just as grace allows sinful men to serve, grace allows women to serve. As in the text, when we restrict what God can do, we are the ones who come up short.
- Unbelief and rebuke. Notice in vs. 14 of this section of the Gospel of Mark that the unbelief of the disciples triggered the rebuke from Jesus.
The disciples should have been looking for Jesus to keep His word. The witnesses should have nurtured their faith. But in spite of all that God invested in them, they were known for their unbelief.
And their unbelief triggered the rebuke of Jesus, not patient encouragement. Let's work on living faithful lives, instead of lives of unbelief that triggers divine rebuke.
Faith is not measured by what we know or say. It is measured by how we live. Lives of service, love, carrying out our family responsibilities, being good neighbors, and taking care our health and wealth give evidence of faithful living.
However, when these things are absent, no matter what we say, we have too much unbelief in us. And we run the risk of divine rebuke. The more God invests in us, the more God expects from us.
Conclusion: Let's work on being servants of God. God has much for those who obey His will.
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