Gospel of Mark Chapter 16 Part Two
Introduction: A key idea in the Gospel of Mark is that Jesus is the servant of God. Today, we hope to discuss Jesus' appearances and His ascension. ( click here for pdf version)
Read Mark 16:9-18
B. His Appearances. There is a consensus among scholars that this section of the Gospel of Mark, vss. 9-18, are not a part of the original text. Furthermore, it is believed that the original text has been lost.
These verses 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.
- Being witnesses. Notice in vs. 15 of this section of the Gospel of Mark the commission given to the disciples. They were to preach and signs were to follow them.
There is not much to say about preaching. Every believer should still be a witness to those whom we love and encounter on life's journey. Let's work on being witness of God's love. K
Knowing how to explain the "Plan of Salvation," how to share our testimony about the goodness of the Lord, and how to explain basic things around the church (e.g., material covered in the Membership Handbook) are important.
- Faith over baptism. Notice in vss. 16 of this section of the Gospel of Mark that belief or faith is essential to being saved. Unbelief or lack of faith will result in one not being saved and consequently destined for Hell and doom.
As for baptism, the Pastor sides with those who teach that a spiritual baptism takes place, when one accepts Christ as one's savior by faith (see I Cor. 12:13). Water baptism is a picture of what should take place spiritually.
We should perform water baptism, in obedience to scripture. However, without acceptance by faith, water baptism is a waste. And acceptance by faith, without water baptism, means that one is still saved.
Spiritual, not water, baptism is required. Spiritual baptism is done by the Spirit, not us. Let's make sure we keep proper emphasis on accepting Christ as savior by faith, as opposed to over emphasizing water baptism.
- The Word and love. Notice in vss. 17-18 of this section of the Gospel of Mark the mention of signs – demons, tongues, snakes, and sickness. First, signs are for designed to give unbelievers encouragement to believe (see I Cor. 14:22).
Consequently, signs become less frequent in the latter life of Jesus and the book of Acts. The initial signs served the purpose of giving people a reason to listen to the message.
Second, we should remember that especially the mention of snakes is in a passage of scripture whose inspiration is under question. As for tongues, the greatest commentary is found in I Corinthians 14:1-5.
Without interpretation, there should be no tongue speaking in the assembly. Third, the greatest sign of God moving among us is our love for one another and others (see Jn. 13:34-35).
Let's stay focused on the word and love, instead of being distracted by signs and tricks for unbelievers. It should be noted that these signs were said to follow. The disciples were not commanded or commissioned to perform them, in this text.
Read Mark 16:19-20
C. His Ascension. Jesus was taken up to the right side of the God. The disciples went out preaching. The Lord worked with them and confirmed His word with signs.
- God's blessed plan. Notice in vs. 19 in this section of the Gospel of Mark that Jesus ended up on the right side of God the Father.
This appears to be so distant from the bloody mess that we saw on Calvary. However, God's plan included the goriness of Calvary and the victory of sitting on the right side of the Father.
Let's remind one another that no matter how bad things look, God is still working things out for the good of His people. We should never give the devil the satisfaction of our losing our faith in God's plan.
- Doing God's will. Notice in vs. 20 of this section of the Gospel of Mark that the disciples went and preached. There was a time to be a student and a time to be rebuked, but now it was time to go and preach.
There are too many people who are professional students. They are forever learning but never actually going and doing what God has called them to do. Let's work on doing what God is calling us to do.
God has a way of confirming His work in our lives, if we would simply trust Him enough to step out on His word with obedience. God is calling every believer to be faithful in studying, serving, and giving.
He is calling us to be faithful in loving one another and following godly leadership. He is calling us to carry out our family responsibilities, exercise stewardship of health and wealth, and be a bright light in our dark communities.
Conclusion: Let's work on being servants of God. God has much for those who obey His will.
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