Mark 16:1-20                                                 Sunday, April 8, 2012
Key Verse: 16:15                                           Kevin Jesmer NIU UBF

“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

Dear Lord Jesus thank you for making this Easter a very joyful and meaningful event. Thank you for helping us to deeply understand what you have accomplished for us all through the suffering and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I pray for the Gospel message to ring out across our land through the multitude of Easter programs going on. May the hearts of those who do not believe be moved to believe and put their hope and trust in Jesus Christ. I pray that the hearts of believers may be strengthen that they may know your grace and love you more. I pray for all of us to unite together in faith and propagate the Gospel on our campus’ and in our communities. Please plant your word in our hearts through this daily bread message. I thank you and I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!

1. He Has Risen (1-8).

Verses 1-8 read, “When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” 8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”

In verses 1-3  I can see the love and devotion of these women. They came at the earliest possible moment to anoint Jesus’ body with spices. They did not expect Jesus to be risen. They only wanted to show one more act of love to the one who had loved them so much. The disciples, in contrast, were trembling behind locked doors. There is something to be said of the Christian love and devotion of women. In many churches the majority of the worshippers are women. In most Christian choirs, most of the singers are women. I pray that my heart may be filled with such love for Jesus.

These women were not afraid. The authorities were out to arrest Jesus’ followers. The Romans had posted guards at the tomb. The Jewish religious authorities were making sure that the disciples did not steal the body of Jesus because they did not want the people to believe. They were in danger of being arrested or even molested. But their love for Jesus was able to overcome all fear. Where there is love there is release from the bondage of fear. We are so afraid of expressing our love for Jesus at times. We wonder what people would think. Will they reject me? Will they de-friend me on Facebook? Will they block my posts on Facebook because I am too religious? Will I be fired from my job? If I go on a short term mission trip will I get a disease or will I get kidnapped, held for ransom or beheaded on Youtube? There are so many fears getting us to hold back in showing our love for Jesus. But we need to take a lesson from these devoted women.

They also went to the tomb, by faith. They knew that there were soldiers there. They knew that there was a huge stone in front of the entrance to the tomb. They could have easily dwelt on the impossibilities and not even tried to go. But they thought about the possibilities instead of the impossibilities, saying “Let’s try anyway. Maybe God will open the way.” And so they came to the tomb, by faith. And God worked. All of the obstacles were taken away and they were able to meet the risen Jesus. We must never let seeming obstacles keep us from doing what God wants us to do. We must never let any obstacle from keeping us from worshipping Jesus and meeting Jesus in a very personal way. God will open the way. He will fill our lives with possibilities instead of impossibilities. The living God will open doors for his people. Go forth with faith in Jesus’ power.

If Jesus’ story ended with his death, it would be worse than a horror film. But praise be to God that it did not end there. As Jesus foretold, he rose from the dead! What proof was there? First, there was the empty tomb. Next, there was the angel’s message in verses 6-7 which reads, “’Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’” There was also the powerful testimony of the changed lives of those who knew him. For example the sorrowful women became joyful and the fearful disciples became bold witnesses of Jesus death and resurrection. Not to mention that Jesus’ resurrection occurred despite of the authorities’ best efforts to suppress it.

There are so many reasons to believe in Jesus’ resurrection and no reason to not believe. His resurrection is a fact. I don’t think that God could provide anymore evidence in the resurrection of Jesus, short of teleporting us back in time to see it or into the future to see the risen Christ in heaven. If he did this we still might doubt what we were witnessing. I really believe God did his best to make future generations know the truth that Jesus’ resurrection actually occurred. Jesus resurrection is a fact in my life, because I have experienced the power of the Risen, living Christ in my own life. He changed a hedonistic, pleasure seeking student and made him into a disciple of Jesus, a shepherd, a Bible teacher, and a pastor of a small house church ministry. He healed me of so many spiritual ailments of the heart, especially, boredom, meaninglessness, a life long stammering problem and much more. He leads and guides my life daily. The living Jesus has revealed himself to me in so many wonderful ways! He will reveal himself to you too if you will let him.

This resurrected Jesus gives us assurance and a true and living hope in eternal life in the Kingdom of God. All other religions claim that there is some sort of afterlife. But they have no proof. They have no resurrected Savior. They have no fulfilled promises. Their adherents are always wondering, “Is this true? Is this simply part of man made religion? Can I truly believe this and devote my life to this?” The answer to these questions, for adherents of all other religions, is “NO”. There is only nagging doubt that they have given themselves over to something that is not true. Only in Jesus can we have assurance of salvation and the resurrection.

With this assurance, we know that because Jesus rose from the dead his believers will also rise from the dead. There is the resurrection principle to apply here. This principle is that even though we die we will be raise by Jesus as we hold onto resurrection faith. With resurrection faith we are not depressed because of old age. We are not depressed with the bad economy. We are not depressed by sickness and weakness. We are not depressed because of poverty and lost opportunities. We are not depressed when our friends, or our children leave us. We are not paralyzed when we feel we can not go to work even one more day. We are not depressed and hopeless when our marriages are in hard times. We do not get “down” when we feel like we are doing poorly in school. It is because we know that no matter how hard the situation becomes, we have Jesus and there is the resurrection. We can try again with resurrection faith in our hearts. There is always hope and light at the end of the tunnel. God will raise us out of the darkest situations, even death. As we get older our joy and expectation in the resurrection increases. We have joy and power to live life to the fullest right to the end of our lives in this world. Praise Jesus for the power of the resurrection.

The women were the first witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection. It is because their love for Jesus was so great. God used them for a great mission to witness to the resurrection before the disciples. When we love Jesus, God gives us the privilege of participating in many wonderful works of God.

Despite of the women’s sincere efforts to let the disciples know the truth about the risen Jesus, the disciples were slow to believe (Lk 24:25; Jn 20:27). But Jesus appeared to them over a period of 40 days and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. They were eventually transformed by the power of the risen Jesus and became bold witnesses. They all proclaimed this message at the risk of their lives (traditionally all of them were martyred, except John who was exiled on Patmos). When faith in Jesus’ resurrection nestles in our hearts, fear is dispelled and we become bold witnesses of the Gospel. May many bold witnesses of the Gospel be raised across our land and on our campus’.

2. Risen Jesus’ Command (9-20).

Verses 9-20 read, “When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it. 12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either. 14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen. 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it “

These verses are a good summary of all the gospel accounts of the resurrection (Lk 24; Jn 20; Mt 28). Verse 15 is called the world mission command. It reads, “He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.’” The gospel of Jesus Christ is the good news of salvation. Whoever believes and commits his or her life to Jesus will be saved. Jesus’ power and presence will be with those who believe. This is such a wonderful gift given to us by God. We are recipients of so much grace. We can not rest easy until we share this gift with others. We have received grace and apostleship to tell the world of all that Jesus has done. I pray that I may obey Jesus’ world mission command, starting in my family, my working place, my community and our campus.

When we decide to obey Jesus’ world mission command, then there are may be dangers facing us. There may be things that Satan may use to plant fear in our hearts to stop us from preaching the Gospel and render us impotent in the work of God. But we must not be fearful. Jesus promises to go on ahead of us. He will protect us from things that threaten our lives. He will move peoples’ hearts to believe. We will be given spiritual power to even demolish demonic strongholds. With the Risen Lord, there is no need to shrink back. We can take hold of the glorious mission that God has put before us…to go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. We will have joy and victory when we do so. The people of the world need to hear the gospel message and believe. They are lost in the darkness of sin and suffering greatly. They will stand condemned if they do not repent and believe. But most importantly their Father in heaven, their Creator wants them to believe and be saved and enter into an eternal, loving fellowship with them. And he wants to work through you and me. All we must do is hold onto resurrection faith and walk with Jesus.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I know and believe that you rose from the dead to give us victory over sin and death. Help me to share this good news with others.

One Word: Preach the gospel of Jesus to all people.

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