Day Sixty-Two with Mark: Mark 16:1-8

Yesterday we looked at the reason behind the way the way that the Gospel of Mark ends.  Today we look at Mark 16:1-8:

When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4 When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. 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 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

The Shorter Ending of Mark

[[And all that had been commanded them they told briefly to those around Peter. And afterward Jesus himself sent out through them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.]]

450165977_e5ed7a3617One of the things that we see when the women encounter the resurrection is fear.  They are afraid. We see it illustrated in other Gospels, they think the body has been stolen or something awful has happened.

Jesus had told them that He would be raised, by they really didn’t get it. They really didn’t understand it.  They (may) have known intellectually, but they really didn’t get it emotionally.  They struggled to understand it.

For the Jewish mind, death was THE result of the fall.  It is what happened because of the fall.  The entire Levitical purity system was in many ways about removing the curse of death.  If you touched anything dead, you were unclean.  Think about the parable of the Good Samaritan.  The reason the priest and Levite passed by is because the man looked death.  The law would not have allowed them to touch him; they would not have been able to do their religious duties.

The high priest must have been born on a house or place that was made of bedrock.  Bedrock is pure rock, there is no dirt or soil beneath it, meaning that there was no way there could have been any bones beneath it, meaning that there was no way they could have been born on top of impurity.

(By the way, thinking along those lines, think about where Jesus was born.  Most likely in a cave.  Pure bedrock.)

This is why they really couldn’t grasp it.  You didn’t overcome death.  Death was the result of this life.  Death is the curse.  Death is the result of the fall, death is the result of sin. We all die. All of us.  Death wins.

Until this moment.  Death has been overcome.  Death has been defeated.  Death has been destroyed.  Sin, death, and the grave are no more. They are vanquished. They are gone.  They are no more.

Jesus defeated death.  Forever.

We sort of get that and understand it.  Sort of. Even we struggle to understand that. Even we are afraid of death like they are.  But we know that Jesus has overcome.

The didn’t really get it until they saw Him and understood.

Today, sin, death, and the grave are defeated.  They hold no power over you. They are no more.  Do not be afraid. Do not worry. Do not fear.  They are forever gone and destroyed.

Jesus has defeated them.

Do not fear.

Tomorrow we’ll finish up Mark by looking at Mark 16:9-20.

What questions do you have?  How does this strike you?  Shoot me an email, comment below, or connect with me through social media.

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An Easter People

One of the truths for us as Christians is this – we are an Easter people. For us, Easter is not just one day of the year, but it is a way of life, it is a truth, it is a hope, it is a peace, it is who we are.

We are an Easter people. Easter is why we worship on Sunday, instead of the Old Testament Sabbath – sundown Friday to sundown Saturday. But Easter was Sunday. And that changes things for us. We believe that life will win over death, good will win over evil, light will win over dark, faith, hope and love will win over all.

We are an Easter people. We believe that life is just waiting to erupt, everywhere. Life is just waiting to spring forth.

But see, that’s the way that it’s always gone with God. He is always bringing forth life in amazing ways. He is always up to something awesome. Listen to this story you’ve probably heard a million times, but listen to it in light of Easter. Listen to Ezekiel 37: 1-3:

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.”

istock_000005957821large_3God tells Ezekiel, I am going to bring life to these dead bones today. I am going to bring life to this dry, desolate valley. Life will spring forth from a place where there is no life, there is no hope, there is resurrection.

I will bring resurrection and life because I am resurrection and life.

And then you will know that I am the Lord. That is what is happening here.

That’s what can happen in your life today. Today, God wants to break through with life and hope and peace. Today, God wants to break into the dry bones of our life and bring Easter resurrection.

That’s what God does. That’s who God is. That’s what happens in Easter. Today, look for life. Don’t give up in the dry valley. Know that God is wanting to bring life. And when that life erupts, live in the glory and the power of Easter.

Because we are an Easter people.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

For Fear

After the resurrection happens, something very unexpected, and sort of shocking, when you think about it, happened.  At Easter, the stone was rolled away, life triumphed over death, evil was defeated, good has won.

All is great.  That’s what happened on Easter morning.

Yet, look at what happens later that same day.  It says in John 20: 19-21:

On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”

locked_doorThe disciples had just witnessed the miracle of resurrection. All of them had heard that He was alive.  They knew the tomb was empty.  They heard that truth and good had won. They knew it. But, they were still afraid.

They were afraid of the ones that had crucified Jesus.

They were afraid that they were coming for them now.

They were afraid of what could happen.

There were just scared.

So, they went up to the room. And they locked the door. For fear.  They locked the door, they shut themselves off, they locked away the world.  Out of fear.  And what does Jesus do?  He shows up, through the locked door and says – peace.

Today, you may have things that you are really afraid of. Things that are killing you spiritually/emotionally/physically.  You may be really afraid.  It’s ok.  We’ve all felt that way; we’ve all been there. And what we want to do when we are afraid is lock the doors.  Shut people off, shut people out. For fear.

We want to lock the doors of our heart.

Don’t do it.  Hear the words of Jesus – peace.  He has this.  It’s ok.  He’s alive.  He has overcome.  You don’t have to be afraid.  You don’t.  Trust.  Love.  Laugh.  Live.  You don’t have to be afraid anymore.  You don’t have to lock the doors of your heart anymore.  You don’t.

Life overcomes fear.  You can trust.  You can. Today, and each day.

Don’t lock the door of your heart.  Don’t give into fear.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

This Week Come Celebrate Easter!

he-is-risen-printableThis Sunday, whether it be at Asbury, or another church, I really hope you will be in church to celebrate Easter!  I really hope you come out and be with us as we proclaim that the Lord is Risen!  He is risen indeed!

Come out this week and celebrate Easter!

Wait, what?

Wasn’t that last week? Is Andy just recycling old posts? What is he talking about?

Yes, this coming Sunday, we will celebrate Easter. We celebrate Easter every Sunday. That’s why we Christians worship on Sunday, instead of the Jewish Sabbath of Saturday. We are a Sunday people. We are an Easter people.

Listen to what happens in Matthew 28: 5-7:

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.”

He is just as risen today, as He was on Easter.  Every Sunday, every time we Christian gather together, it is Easter.  We are a people of hope. We are a people of resurrection.  We are a people of life.

And we don’t just believe that one Sunday a year.  We believe that every Sunday, we believe that every day.

He is risen. And sin, death, and the grave are defeated.  They were defeated Sunday.  And they are defeated today.

Don’t let Easter be just one day a year for you.  It’s every day.  It’s every Sunday.  It’s all our lives. Jesus Christ has risen from the dead and has conquered sin, death, and the grave.

He is risen.  Come celebrate with us.  It is Easter. Every day. For every day, He is risen.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

What Do You Say?

Staring this Sunday at Asbury, we are starting a series entitled “What’s Next.”  Easter has come. The Lord is risen.  What do we do about it now?

And with that, it’s kinda neat that that passages we are looking at during our morning readings deal with the reality of resurrection.  Paul writes a great deal about how all all human history hinges upon this moment.  If Christ has been raised, then nothing can stay (or will stay) the same. If Christ has not been raised, then why are we doing all this?

So, the question that we have to answer today is this. Do we really believe that Jesus Christ has been raised from the dead? Do we really believe in the power and truth of the resurrection?  If so, that really changed everything.  Listen to what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15: 12-19:

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

tumblr_mav7rbFXeN1qz6f9yo1_500If Jesus has not been raised, then all this in vain. All if it.  It there was no resurrection, then why we do what we do doesn’t matter.

But, if He has been raised, then sin, death, and the grave are defeated.

Not to be trite, but those are the two options.  If He was not raised, then this all pointless.

If He was raised, then nothing, nothing, nothing in all of creation, no power of hell, no scheme of man, nothing at all can stop the power of God.  Nothing.

Not your sins, not your mistakes, nothing.  Nothing.  If He is raised, then we have access to the power to change us, and everything.

So, what do you say this morning?  Do you really believe it? Really?

If so, if you do, may today, you live in the power of the resurrection, and know that you your life will never be the same.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

What Now?

Yesterday, Christians all over the globe gather together to worship.  To praise.  To sing.  To  celebrate the resurrection.  I don’t know what passage you heard preached upon at whatever church you attended yesterday (At Asbury I hopped around a bit, but landed on John 20:1-10), but I wanted to read from Matthew 28:5-10 this morning:

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified.  He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay.  Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.”  So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him.  Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

what-nowHe is risen!  He is risen indeed!

What now?  What do we do now?  We proclaimed and celebrated the resurrection yesterday. What now?

Easter, for us as Christians, is not just a one day thing, but it’s a rest of our lives thing.  He is risen.  And He remains risen.  He is just as alive today, as He was yesterday, as He will be tomorrow.  Yesterday we were full of hope and full of expectation.

Let’s live the same way today.  Let’s live with that same victory that we had yesterday.  Let’s live with that same passion we had yesterday.  Let’s live with that same hope that we had yesterday.

For, He is risen!  He remains risen.  He is alive.

We have hope.  Today, live like it.  Live in that hope, in that peace, in that victory.

Easter isn’t just one Sunday on a calendar.  It’s the rest of our lives.  Let’s live it today!

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.

Fear Has Lost

I was reading through the text of the resurrection as found in Matthew today, when something pop out at me.

By the way, people will sometimes ask me, how do I know when God is speaking to me in scripture? How do I know what God is trying to say? What should I look for? What should I listen for?

One of the things I tell them is this. When you are reading, pay attention to what pops out at you. What word, through, concepts sticks out to you. What grabs your attention.

Focus on that. Focus on that word, phrase or concept. Listen to what God may want to say to you in that. Ponder that word, phrase, or concept. Let it roll around in your mind for a second.

Listen in that.

For me, that’s one of the ways that God speaks to me in scripture.

Today, in reading Matthew 28: 5-10  that happened to me. Listen to what happens here. See if you noticed what I noticed, or see if you notice something different:

But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

do-not-be-afraidWhat popped out at me was this. In this passage, a command is given twice. Do not fear. Do not fear. Do not be afraid.

In the light of the resurrection, this is so important for to hear and to know.

We have nothing to fear.

Death – defeated.

Sin – defeated.

The chains of sin – broken.

The power of the devil – defeated.

All that we can fear has been defeated. All that could stop us is done away with. That was the message of the angels. That was the message of Jesus.

And that’s a message for us today. No matter what you are facing today, do not fear. Do not be afraid. Do not given into that fear.

Jesus Christ is alive! Sin, death, and the grave are defeated! Life has won. Faith has won.

Fear has lost.

Today, don’t be a afraid.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones.