Our Last Day with Mark: Mark 16:9-20

Today we are finishing up our time with Mark.  You can go through and read all our reflections on Mark here on my blog, you can group them under the category Mark below and catch up.  Friday we’ll do a reading from our Daily Readings, and I’ll be thinking about what is next.

The Longer Ending of Mark

Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
9 [[Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.

Jesus Appears to Two Disciples
12 After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13 And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.

Jesus Commissions the Disciples
14 Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. 16 The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

The Ascension of Jesus
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.]]

the-gospel-of-mark1We talked Monday about why Chapter 16 is made it like it is, with the notations of the different manuscripts.  Today, we see these last few verses in Mark are in four different sections, and only one of them really makes us go, huh?

The first section – 9-10, Jesus appears to Mary, just as it happens in other Gospels. The first person to see Jesus after the resurrection was Mary. She was dedicated to Him, she loved Him, and she came to help prepare His body for final burial.  And she was the first one to proclaim the resurrection.  She was the first of many throughout the ages to tell others that Jesus is alive.  She was the first to share that Good News.  But notice, they didn’t believe her.

Second, 12-13, what sounds very similar to the walk to Emmaus in Luke.  In Luke’s Gospel we see a fuller picture of what happened here, two followers were walking to the village of Emmaus when Jesus appeared to them, explained how all the scriptures point to Him, to His death, and resurrection, but they didn’t recognize Him.  It wasn’t until they arrived at the village, and they broke bread together that they realized it was Jesus.  So, they go and tell others, but notice, just like in the section before, they didn’t believe them.

Third, 14-18, Jesus appears to the Disciples.  Ok, here there are some things that make us go, wait, what?  We see a similar end to what we see in Matthew, with Jesus sending them out with the great commission. But we see something unique to Mark.  We see that they will have signs of great power, they will be able to drink poison, handle snakes, speak in tongues, other such things.  What are we to do this?

First, it is in the Bible.  One of my professors in seminary always told us that we can’t just ignore passages of scripture that confuse us or that we don’t like.  They are in the Bible.  This ending of Mark is what is found most common in the manuscripts that the Bible comes from (I unpack a lot this Monday), but know, it is the Bible.  So, I believe that those that follow Jesus, we can face amazing things, things that would kill others, and survive.  I believe we have power that the world does not possess.  Now notice, it didn’t say that we should necessarily go looking for trouble or for these things. But if they come, we will have more power than we think is even possible.

So, I’m not going to go out handling snakes. But, I do believe in miracles.  And I do believe that as Christians, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, and we may not understand all that God does through us, He can and does do amazing things through us.  We are filled with the very Spirit that raised Christ from the dead.  Trust.  Hope.  Beleive.

Don’t be like those initial disciples.  Have faith.

Fouth, 19-20, the ascension.  We see Jesus ascend to heaven, where He sits at God’s right hand, praying for us, encouraging us, interceding for us.  Remember, you always have someone on your side, someone pulling for you, someone that loves you, someone that cares for you, someone there for you.  Jesus.  He is at the right hand of the Father.  On your team.  Never forget that.

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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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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Through One Man

One of my favorite things that the Bible teaches about Jesus is this. He’s the second Adam.

Wait, huh? What does that even mean, to say that Jesus is the second Adam?  Listen to what Paul writes here in 1 Corinthians 15: 20-22:

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

Image 4 copy_0The first Adam (you know Adam) was created, he and Eve walked with God, and all was great. Then, as we know, they ate from the tree they were forbidden to eat from, and they fell. And then all of creation fell with them.

So, as it says here, death came through one man. When Adam fell, all of creation fell him. Both creation, and humanity. So, we all now, struggle with our sin, our temptation, our stuff. All of us.

To say you struggle with sin and temptation doesn’t make you a bad person.  It makes you human. All of us, me, you, all of us struggle with sin.  We are the children of our father Adam.  Through one man, all fell.

But, it says that just as through Adam, all fell, through Jesus all can live.  So, one of the coolest things that Jesus did, was he undid what happened in the fall.

Think about it. What happened in the fall – sin and death. What happened through Jesus – forgiveness and life.  So, in other words, you don’t have to stay the same. Yes, we all suffer under temptation and sin, we all struggle, but Jesus came to restore us from what we inherited.

Through one man, all have died.  But, through one Man, Jesus Christ, all of us can live. For in the resurrection, God has overcome sin, death, and the grave.  You don’t have to be dead anymore.  You can live.  The second Adam has destroyed the work of the first.

Today, you can live!

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.

Dry Bones

Sometimes in life, we can feel worn out. Sometimes we can feel tired.

Sometimes, based off mistakes, based off circumstance, based off whatever, we can feel dried up and useless.

No good to God, to man, to anyone. We can feel like a bunch of dried up old bones, only fit to be buried and forgotten about. That’s what the weight of this world can can make us feel like sometimes.

That’s what our mistakes and failures can make us feel like sometimes.

That what life can do.

Listen to what happens in this passage today.  Listen to what happens in Ezekiel 37:3-12:

And he said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy over these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Thus says the Lord God to these bones: Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live, and you shall know that I am the Lord.” So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I prophesied, there was a sound, and behold, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them. But there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army. Then he said to me, “Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. Behold, they say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are indeed cut off.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: Behold, I will open your graves and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will bring you into the land of Israel.

God says to Ezekiel, go out and say to those bones, come to life. And it happened!

God brought these dead bones back to life. God breathed the spirit of life back into these dry bones and made an army out of them. God brought the dead back to life.

Not just here. But on Easter.

Not just on Easter. But in our lives.

Not just once. But every day.

Today, no matter where you are, that’s what God wants to do. He wants to bring life back to you. He wants to breathe life back into your dry bones. He wants to bring you to life.

No matter how old, tired, dead, or dry you may feel. God wants to bring you back to life. Today.

Today, new life awaits. New hope, new power, new everything. Today, He wants to breathe you back to life.

Today, you are more than dead bones. You are His prize creation. Today, He wants you to live. Today, may He breathe new life into our souls!

Today, may he bring us back to life!

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.