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THE MINISTRY OF THE RESURRECTION
We are nearing the end of our journey through the Gospel of Mark. Today, we begin looking at the last 12 verses of this wonderful, action filled book. The verses we will study today, and over the next few weeks, are verses steeped in controversy.
Many Bible scholars do not believe that these verses were not actually written by Mark. They believe they were added at a later date by some other author. The reason they believe this is because the language used in these verses is different from the language used in the rest of the Gospel of Mark. Also, the three oldest manuscripts in existence do not include these verses. That being said, I believe these verses belong right where they are!
The early church fathers mention them being in Mark toward the end of the First Century. I just believe that the Spirit of God has preserved for us exactly what we are supposed to have. I did not tell you this to cause you to doubt what you have in your Bibles. I shared it because you might read in a commentary or a book that these verses are not supposed to be here. Yes they are! If they weren’t supposed to be here God would not have preserved them for us. With that in mind, let’s begin our study of these verses today.
Intro: The day Jesus rose from the dead was flurry of activity. From the early morning to the fall of evening, Jesus was actively ministering to His followers. He wanted them to know that He was alive. He wanted them to know that the resurrection was a reality. During that first resurrection day, Jesus used His time to minister to those He cared about the most. He took the time to minister to those who would have the task of ministering to others. He wanted those who would call on others to believe in Jesus to believe in Him first. So, He spent the day building faith in the hearts of those who mattered the most to Him.
I would like for us to look in on the events of that first resurrection day. I want to follow Jesus from revelation to revelation. I want you to see that His resurrection had a three-fold ministry that day. There was A Ministry Of Consolation; A Ministry Of Confirmation and A Ministry Of Confrontation. These various ministries were designed to build faith in those who follow Jesus. The message of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead still performs the same ministry today.
Let’s follow the Lord Jesus from one appearance to the next on that resurrection day. I want to preach about The Ministry Of The Resurrection. I want you to see that His resurrection still has meaning for you today. Let His resurrection minister to your heart today!
I. v. 9-11 A MINISTRY OF
· If we are going to get a full understanding of the events of that resurrection day, we must look at the accounts of all four Gospel writers. Each writer gives different details of that wonderful morning. They do not contradict one another, they simply supple different details about the events of that morning. Let’s take a moment to understand the sequence of events that occurred the day Jesus rose from the dead.
Ψ Several women come to the tomb early in the morning Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:2-3; Luke 24:1, 22; John 20:1
Ψ An angel rolls away the stone from the tomb Matt. 28:2-3
Ψ The Roman guards panic and flee Matt. 28:4; 11-15
Ψ The women arrive at the tomb, finding it open and empty Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:4; Luke 24:2-3, 23; John 20:1
Ψ Two angels appear to the women inside the tomb. They tell the women that Jesus is alive and to go tell the disciples Matt. 28:5-7; Mark 16:5-7; Luke 24:4-8; 23
Ψ The women go to tell the disciples who do not believe their report Matt. 28:8; Mark 16:8; Luke 24:9-11
Ψ Peter and John run to the tomb, find it empty and return home Luke 24:12, 24; John 20:3-10
Ψ Mary Magdalene comes back to the tomb. She remains there alone crying when she sees an angel, and then she sees the risen Savior Mark 16:9; John 20:11-17
· That brings us to our text today. Mark tells us that “He appeared first to Mary Magdalene. The word first refers to that which is first in place, rack or honor. Of all the people Jesus could have revealed Himself to that morning, He chose to reveal Himself to Mary.
Why do you think He did that? Why do you think Jesus chose Mary to be the first to see Him? I want to suggest a couple of reasons, if I may.
Ψ Mark reminds us of what kind of woman Mary was when she met Jesus. He tells us that Jesus cast seven devils out of Mary when He met her. She was a demon possessed women. She was trapped in the worst kind of bondage. She was a prisoner of Satan. She was in the devil’s grip. She probably lived a wicked life, giving herself to every kind of sin and vice imaginable.
Then, one day, she met a man named Jesus. He spoke to her and set her free. He changed her life! From that moment on, she followed Him because she loved. She loved Him for all that he had done in her life. She had been delivered from the bondage of her sins and she loved Him for it! Her love for Jesus manifested itself in absolute devotion to Him. She loved Jesus and He honored her love for Him by allowing her to be the first to see Him risen from the dead!
By the way, those who have been forgiven the most seem to love Him the most in return, Ill. Luke 7:36-50. There are some here today who have plumbed the depths of sin. The Lord found you and saved you out of deep, dark sin. He changed your life dramatically and you love Him for it. That love manifests itself in ways that are sometimes different from those weren’t in such a wicked condition.
Don’t frown on a brother or sister who wants to thank the Lord for His great grace in their lives! They have a lot to be thankful for and they have a right to express it. Of course, it took just as much blood to save you in your junior Sunday school class as it did them in that gutter!
Ψ Another simple reason why Mary got to see Jesus first is that she was the only one at the tomb. None of the disciples are there. The Lord’s mother and half brothers and sisters are not there. She is there alone and she received that special blessing!
3,500 years ago God called Moses up on a mountain. On that mountain, God said this to Moses, “Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen, Ex. 33:21-23.
There Moses was in that rock, standing on the rock, beside the Rock, while the Rock covered his face as the Rock passed by. He was in a place of great closeness and blessing!
That place still exists! You can be as close to the Lord as you desire to be, James 4:8. You can still walk with Him in the cool of the day like Adam did. You can still rest your head on His breast like John did in the upper room. You can still enjoy sweet fellowship with Him anytime, all the time. He is knocking and looking for someone to sup with. It might as well be you! (Ill. Rev. 3:20)
· The Lord appeared to Mary to console her broken heart. It was a ministry of love and grace on His part to help a wounded saint through a time of heartache. Mary went to tell the disciples that she had seen the risen Lord, and they refused to believe her, vv. 10-11.
Of course, their unbelief did not change her experience! She had still seen the Lord and nothing could change that!
Ill. Don’t let a bunch of old satisfied, complacent, dry hides steal your joy in the Lord. You know what He did for you! You know about His touch, His power and His glory! Rejoice in what He has done for you and don’t let the killjoys suck the spiritual life out of you!
I. A Ministry Of Consolation
II. v. 12-13 A MINISTRY OF
· In these verses Marks summarizes the events of Luke 24:13-35. Jesus appeared to two disciples as they walked from Jerusalem to Emmaus. One of these disciples was named Cleopas, the other was probably his wife. As they walked, Jesus came along side and began to walk with them. He disguised His identity from them and joined in on their conversation.
As they walked they talked about the events of the last few days. They talked about the crucifixion of Jesus. They talked about the fact that the tomb was empty and that some of the female followers of Jesus claimed to have seen angels who told them that Jesus was alive.
The Lord Jesus then opened the Scriptures and preached to them about all the things that the Messiah would endure when He came. He opened the Law and the Prophets and expounded everything the Scriptures gad to say about Him. I would have loved to have heard that sermon!
When the travelers arrived at their home, they invited their guest to join them. They sat down to have a meal together. They gave their guest the bread, He took it, He blessed it and He broke it. When He did, their eyes were opened and they saw Who their companion truly was. Jesus instantly vanished out of their sight.
· This couple immediately got up from the table and went back to Jerusalem. They had just made the seven mile journey from the city, now they go back again with the good news that Jesus was indeed risen from the dead. Of course, verse 13 tells us that the disciples did not believe them either!
· The Lord’s ministry in this couple’s life was one of confirmation. They were talking about signs, wonders and hearsay testimony. Jesus took them back to the Word of God, Luke 24:25-27. Using the Word, He confirmed the mission of the Messiah.
· Any of the people living on that day would have liked to see the miracles. They would have loved to see the angels, the empty tomb, the stone rolled away and the risen Savior walking and talking with them. Did you know that they needed none of those things to believe that Jesus was going to rise from the dead?
They should have gone to the tomb that morning with the expectation that He was alive. They should have gone, not looking for a dead body, but for a living Lord. They should have gone there rejoicing and not weeping. Why? Jesus had already told them exactly what would happen, but none of them believed Him. When He arose from the dead, He was simply doing what He had told them He would do.
Ψ Matthew 16:21, “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
Ψ Matthew 17:22-23, “And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.
Ψ Matthew 20:17-19, “And Jesus going up to Jerusalem took the twelve disciples apart in the way, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be betrayed unto the chief priests and unto the scribes, and they shall condemn him to death, And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.
· What a lesson that is for us today. Some of you must be waiting on a “Damascus Road experience before you come to Jesus. Well, you probably wont get it! He has already told you in His Word what you need to do. If I were you, I would heed His Word and obey His voice. He has been speaking to you. Listen to Him and come to Him right now. Here is what He says:
Ψ Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Ψ Acts 16:31, “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Ψ Romans 10:9-10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Ψ John 8:24, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.
Ψ Luke 13:3, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Ψ Hebrews 2:3, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
· That is the Word of the Lord. That is the will of the Lord. What are you going to do about it?
I. A Ministry Of Consolation
II. A Ministry Of Confirmation
III. v. 14 A MINISTRY OF
· Later that same evening Jesus appeared to His disciples as they were eating their evening meal. Luke 24:36 tells us that Jesus simply appeared in their midst as they were receiving the report of His resurrection appearance from the two disciples from Emmaus. John 20:19 tells us that the disciples were locked in the upper room because they were afraid of the Jews. Apparently Jesus was able to pass through the walls of the room where they were. He simply materialized in their presence. John 20:20 tells us that “he shewed unto them his hands and his side.” When Jesus did this, “the disciples were glad, when they saw the Lord.
· Mark tells us that He “upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen. The word upbraided is a very strong word. It means that He took them to task over their refusal to believe the reports of those who had seen Him alive. Literally, Jesus crawled their hides over their refusal to believe the witnesses who testified of His resurrection.
· Why was this so important. Jesus wanted these men to accept the message of the resurrection by faith. They refused to believe His Word, even when He told them He would rise from the dead. They refused to believe the eyewitness testimony of people that had seen the risen Lord. They refused to believe the evidence they had seen with their own eyes, John 20:1-10. If they had all this evidence and still refused to believe, how could they expect people to believe them when they preached about the resurrection?
Jesus knew that this group of people was in a unique position. They could go to the empty tomb. They could talk with the risen Lord. They could see Him and touch Him. Jesus knew that He was going away to Heaven. He knew that these men would be called on to preach about the resurrection without one shred of physical evidence to back up their preaching. Jesus knew that the next generation of Christians, those who would be saved through the preaching of the Apostles, would not have the benefit of all the evidence these men had. They needed to believe what God said with all the conviction of their souls. They would need that conviction to preach the resurrection in His power for His glory.
· Early believers lived in a day when many had seen the risen Savior for themselves, 1 Cor. 15:3-8. They had eyewitness testimony to go by. We are 2,000 years removed from the events of that day. We cannot go see the tomb or the grave clothes. We cannot go and talk to Peter or Mary Magdalene and ask them about all they saw. We must accept the message by faith. We must believe that Jesus Died and rose again from the dead just because the Word of God says so!
· That’s hard from some people. While I cannot see the tomb, the grave clothes or the risen Savior, I do see the evidence all around me. I see the lives of those He has changed by His power, 2 Cor. 5:17. Like those people who were bitten by serpents and healed by looking to that brazen serpent on that pole, Num. 21, I see people all around me who were bitten by the serpent of sin. It’s infection was evident in your life. You were a walking dead man, Eph. 2:1-3. Then, you looked away by faith to an old rugged cross where Jesus died for your sins. Then you looked away to see that same Savior alive, having conquered death and come out of that tomb. You believed the message and you were changed. I have the evidence right before me! I see it is your life. I see it in my life. I see it and I believe!
I do not need to go to Jerusalem and look into a tomb to know that Jesus is alive. I need to look no farther than those all around me who have been changed by His power to know that He lives.
My lost friend, I challenge you to believe today! Do not live another day in your lost condition. Come to Jesus! Come today and be saved by His grace!
· Of course, the disciples never believed until Jesus came to them and showed them that He was alive, v. 14; John 20:20. When they saw Him for themselves, they were glad. When they saw Him for themselves, they believed that He was risen from the dead.
The fact is, the lost sinner is dead, Eph. 2:1. He cannot and will not believe until he is called out of death by the voice of the Lord Jesus, John 6:44. The lost sinner is like Lazarus in that tomb. He is totally unaware of the existence of a living Lord until Jesus walks up to his tomb and calls his name. When he hears that voice, he can respond in faith and he can be saved. Is He calling you? If He is, you need to come to Him today. You need to come right now?
Conc: The greatest ministry of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus is that it changes forever every life that embraces it as the truth. You cannot know Him and the power of His resurrection and remain as you were. You will be different!
If you have never been saved, you need to come to Jesus today. Stop delaying, stop waiting for a better time. Stop putting off what you know you need to do. Stop presuming on time and come to Jesus right now. Get up from your seat and come to Jesus!
If you have been saved, you need to live like it. That means being holy. It means being faithful. It means being in your place for worship. It means living for the Lord every day. It means getting before Him to thank and praise Him for what He has done in your life.
Has He spoken to you today? Do you need to come to Jesus for any purpose? Do you need to be saved? Do you need to repent of your sins? Do you need to thank Him for His grace in your life? If He has spoken to your heart, you need to obey His voice.