Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 7 years ago

Resurrection Reactions

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Well, if you're able, please remain standing and let's return our attention. Turn our attention to mark Chapter Fifteen, verse forty, to Mark Sixteen Verse Eight. So Mark Fifteen, verse forty, this Mark Fifteen, verse forty. There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalen and Mary, the mother of James and the younger James, the younger and Josephs and Salome. When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem. And when evening had come, since it was the day of preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council who was also himself looking for the Kingdom of God, took courage and went to pilot and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilot was surprised to hear that he should have died already and, someming, summoning the Centurion, he asked him whether he had all ready. He was already dead, and when he learned from the Centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph and Joseph bought a linen shroud and, taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the Rock, and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the Tomb. Mary Magdalen and Mary, the mother of Joseph, saw where he was laid. When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalen and Mary, the mother of James and Salam, brought spices so...

...that they might go and annoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb and they were saying to one another, who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the Tomb and looking up they saw that the stone of the the stone had been rolled back. It was very large. And entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed and he said to them, do not be alarmed, you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here see the place where they laid him, but go tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you. And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling in a astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. It sends the Reading of God's word, I mean he bless it to us. You may be seated. The amazing story that we're here to celebrate today is, of course, the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are here to remember this event in history in which the son of God willingly laid down his life, suffered, died and was buried so that three days later, he would arise from the dead as a hero who conquered death. This is to say, then, that we come to celebrate not the death of a hero,...

...but of a hero over death. And there are amazing things as we consider this, to consider Jesus Christ risen from the dead, this thing which, from since Adams, since Adam fell into sin, has captured and condemned us all, every single one of us here, Jesus Christ rises, conquering over sin and death. And yet this news, this news of a hero conquering death, does not affect everyone the same way. Some laugh, some mock, some ignore, some belief, some have faith, others have fear, and we see some of these reactions here in this passage. Among the many reactions you have, though, in the reactions to the resurrection of Christ. Among them, among them all, perhaps the most obnoxious one is the modern one, a kind of shrug of the shoulders and a cool, I guess, this kind of nonchalant attitude toward the resurrection of the Son of God. Even those who hated Jesus and did not believe or did not want to believe didn't react this way. They understood, and people have often and always understood this claim, the seriousness of it, to claim that someone has risen from the dead, and not just someone but Jesus Christ himself, the son of God. So what makes the difference? Why do some hear one way and some hear another? The answer has to do with sin and unbelief. Sin and unbelief. It's kind of a double poison. That change is the constitution of the human heart. It changes US spiritually in such a way that...

...even the best news seems like bad news. It's kind of the way a sick person who's has a illness, might have good and nutritious food set before them, and yet they don't recognize it as such. They say, take it away from me, I don't feel like eating. The illness, the sickness inside, changes your perception of things. That's what sin and unbelief do. This good news that Jesus Christ has conquered death and that those who believe in him will conquer death in him, is received as bad news or as no news, because of sin and unbelief. It hasn't always been that way, though. God, when he made man, we read in the book of Genesis, made man very good, made him very good, he made him holy and righteous. We know this story how God made man in this Paradise Garden. But it wasn't just the garden, not and just the flowers and the trees that were considered paradise. But there is a kind of spiritual paradise as well, something that's very foreign, from a foreign to us, a paradise in the heart. What do I mean by that? I mean that man didn't have sin, that there was an unbelief, that there was close communion with the God who had made him. But when Adam and Eve sinned and disbelieved, when sin and in belief, that double poison came into the world and they disbelieved God's words and they sinned against them. All that changed and instead of this paradise of a heart, instead of a close communion and relationship with God, things fell apart. We read in Genesis that when...

...they heard God walking in the garden, they hid themselves from his presence. Adam says to God shortly after that, I heard the sound of you in the garden and I was afraid, in a similar way to these women receiving this good news from this angel, this good news about the resurrection of God, about the communion of God with man. They fled, they were afraid and, on top of that, they disobeyed. You See, that sin and unbelief. The Angel specifically says to them, go to Galilee, go tell disciples. And what does mark say? Happens? They fled in fear and said nothing to anyone. It's that same old sin and disbelief from early on that is characterizing on their reaction. It's sin and belief that has been passed at, Sin and unbelief that's been passed down from generation to generation, and it's the same break with God that has always been there. It's that same sin and belief that we recognize in our own hearts. That we recognize. Why do I not react in a positive way to the resurrection of the Son of God? Why do I treat it with apathy or mockery or with fear? It's because of that same old problem sin and unbelief. Example of that that we see here in this garden is quite striking. Consider what happened. Consider these women. Put yourselves in their shoes. First of all, back in at the end of Mark Fifteen, we read that these women were, in a some of the most tenacious among the disciples. If anyone ever...

...doubts a sort of special strength in women, let this example forever put that to rest. Among all the disciples, among all these men, men filled with much bravado and Peter Saying, I will follow you to your death, and James and John Sang the same thing. Don't worry, Lord, we can drink the cup of wrath that's coming. They all fled. But here we see, at the end of Mark Forty, this this kind of commendation of these women. There were these women looking on at the crucifixion from a distance. And it even goes on to say that in Verse Forty One, it gives this background about these women. It says that when he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him from Jerusalem. A close us into the fact that among the twelve disciples and among the other followers that were following Jesus, there was a significant group, even a core and even beyond that, of these women there were following Jesus, ministering to him from Galilee, traveling with him to Jerusalem and even here at the Cross. A tenacity, a good tenacity, and following this this Christ who had come into the world. Well, he followed him not only from Galilee but to Jerusalem, and not only for Jerusalem to the cross, but then even to the tomb. We read that, I'm after Jesus has died. This man, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council who himself was looking for the Kingdom of God, took courage and went to pilot. Imagine that courage that that would take. Joseph goes to the one who had just condemned Jesus, to the one who had just made this politically expedient move to get rid of Jesus and subdue the Jews. And he goes to him and he says, I want...

...the body of Jesus. Pilot is surprised. He's dead already. Why is he surprised? He's surprised because crucifixion was meant to carry on to this torturous death as long as possible. It's a perhaps a reminder that even his death, even in the means of his death, Jesus remained in control. He died at exactly the moment that he wanted it to die. Pilot is surprised, but he asks for proof. Not only he does he ask for proof, but he calls this Roman guard, this Centurion, this one with command and rank, and he asks him if he's already dead. The centurion certifies this the death of Jesus, and he gramps grants the corpse to Joseph. It's getting close to the Sabbath. Joseph Hurry's prepares the body puts him in a tomb. A tomb in these times was they didn't bury under the ground as we do today, but often these tombs would be carved out of rock. You could kind of think something of a tunnel. Joseph, being a member of the council, was likely wealthy. It was also likely wealthy to be able to have a tomb already. I'm probably providing a space that had been designated for some kind of future family member. These tombs were long and then sometimes had corridors in which various bodies would be placed. And Joseph takes one of these, puts his Lord this one, puts the body of Jesus into the Tomb. A stone is rolled against the entrance of the Tomb, a great, huge stone. And then we read in forty seven that these women who had follow Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem, to the cross, now...

...followed Joseph to the tomb. And Forty seven we read that Mary Magdalen and Mary, the mother of Josephs, saw where he was laid. They weren't confused, they didn't know, they knew where Jesus was. They saw his body, they saw where he was laid. And then what happens? Well, once the Sabbath is passed, they come to him again, perhaps to show him respect and finish the burial preparations that were somewhat hurried because of the Sabbath. But now that the Sabbath is over they come. We read in versus in Chapter Sixteen, early on the first day of the week, they come to bring spices that they might go and annoint him. As I said, in the discipleship of these women there's a lot to commend their courage, their tenacity, the are sticking to it even when many others had not. And yet we begin here, even in the purpose of their visit to the tomb, we begin to see some cracks in the discipleship, some weaknesses, underlying fundamental weaknesses that are going on. How so well, back in mark eight thirty one and then again in mark ten thirty three, Jesus told his disciples some very specific things. So, several chapters ago, several days and weeks and months before, Jesus had said to them, I'll read from Mark Ten thirty three. See, we are going up to Jerusalem and the son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the gentiles and they will mock him and spit on him and flog him and kill him and after three...

...days he will rise we read of this twice specifically in mark, though the impression is given that Jesus said it many more times than that, even just a few days before this moment that we've read of to day, in Mark Fourteen, Jesus says, after I'm raised up, I will go before you to Galilee. Exactly what the angel has announced, announces to these women. The point is this that when these women are coming to the tomb, they should be coming with a certain expectation. Right God, the one, the son of god, whom they have been following, has told them something very specific. He's told them that they will go to Jerusalem. He's told them that the son of men will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, which happened. He told them that these scribes and priests would condemn him to death, which happened. He told them that he would be delivered over to the gentiles, ponscious pilot in particular, which happened. He told them that he would be mocked, which happened, and spit upon, which happened, and flogged, which happened, and killed, which happened, and after three days he would rise. It's the third day, but they're not going to the tomb to expect something which happened. They're going to the tomb to expect to find a dead body and they're bringing spices and perfumes to anoint it. So you see what I mean by saying that. Already here, in the purpose of their going to visit Jesus, you begin to see some cracks in the discipleships, some fundamental flaws in where their hearts are at and how they believe and what they believe about Jesus. There's this respect for his body, but but what about his words? What about his promises? They're doubts...

...that I'm highlighting here are confirmed in their question in verse three. They're saying to one another, who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the Tomb? If they had believed that Jesus Christ had risen from the dead, surely they wouldn't have expected a stone to be a problem. But they're not thinking along those lines. They're not thinking about what Jesus said, or if they are, they don't believe it. They're going to the tomb expecting to find a dead body. And even if they were expecting to find a dead body and the hope for the resurrection. You would expect them to say something like we'll go wait outside the tomb for the resurrection, but that's not the case. Instead we find them weeping and crying. In the other gospels we fear. We read of them coming with spices to anoint worried about the stone. In this we see that faith in Jesus is not only believing what he says is true, but in trusting in it as well, in trusting is in it as well. It's not enough to simply follow after him and and see what he says and believe what he says to a certain extent, but it's to put your whole heart in it, to trust Jesus with everything, even something like resurrection from the dead, from from from death. Well, they come to the Tomb and what happens? They find that the stone has been rolled away. Here we don't read about it, but in one of the other gospels we read that when the angel, and there are one angels mentioned here in Mark Too and other places on, when these angels...

...come, the guards, these guards that are guarding the tomb, faint as dead men, says, they fall like dead men. They faint and fear at the sight of these angels. So these women come, they see an open tomb, they see guards on the ground and they see this, this angel. How do we know he's an angel? He's called so in other gospels, but there's ways that we know here from Mark Fifteen as well, few different ways. One he's seated. I'm this is a position of authority in that culture, a way in which you would sit down in to speak or to teach and be received with authority. A second thing is their reaction. They see this young man and they're terrified. You don't typically see a young man and flee in fear unless there's something particularly special, and that's definitely what's going on here. But it's not only the his seated posture, it's not only their reaction of being terrified, but it's also his clothes. It perhaps it doesn't signal the exactly this way when you read it, that he's clothed in white, but consider two things. First, consider that these white garments are often spoken of and of heavenly beings being expressed to humans in a visual way. We read about it this way and revelation, when Jesus was transfigured. You remember, back earlier in mark, he appeared in white, this glorious white, the white garment of this young man is described in Luke is being dazzling in apparel, of having dazzling apparel. And remember also, finally, how I described the tomb. This is not a hole in the ground, this is something of a kind of a cave. Caves are dark. You don't have electricity at this time. They're going into a cave,...

...they're moving into the dark and what do they see? This young man in dazzling white, shining clothes, haps lighting up the space. It would be a fearful thing, wouldn't it? And so this angel recognizes these things and says what angels often do when they announce the good news of God throughout the Scriptures. He says, do not be alarmed, do not be alarmed, I bring good news. Right, this is what the messengers of God say when they come to talk and announce the good news of the Glory of God in Jesus Christ. Do not be alarmed, this is good news. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, which is the same to say is dead, but he has risen just as he promised. He is not here. See the place where they laid him. Now go tell his disciples, and Peter in particular, that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you. This is good angelic news. Do you remember what happened at Jesus Birth? Good Angelic News, the angels in a heaven declaring the glories of God that the Messiah has come. The same thing as here happening at his death. But they don't do what the shepherds do. The shepherds that Jesus's birth do what. They go to Jesus, they they make their way toward him. But these women, they they flee. They flee away from the Gospel, they flee away...

...from this Messenger and they disobey as well. It's a strange thing and it's a strange ending too. You see in your bibles that there's these most of you probably have in your bibles these brackets from verse nine to the end of the chapter. These here are to give you what is in some of the later manuscripts but not in in any of the early ones, and for a variety of reasons, scholars, a virtualist very unanimously basically agree that these last verses nine to the end are not part of the original text, partly because of their lateness, partly because of their content, partly because of the way that they appear. I'm so it's very it's a very settled thing that these things are are not what mark wrote, but we're written later on. Why were they written later on? Is An interesting question to ask. The answer, I think, is pretty obvious. Verse Eight's a really Weird Way to end the Gospel. To End, if direct disobedience on the part of the disciples, to end with the glorious resurrection and then people running afraid and scared. It's hard to say why mark ended here. Perhaps he meant to, perhaps he died, perhaps there was an ending that got lost somewhere along the way. We really don't know and we can only speculate about that. But what we do know is that there is this reaction here that God has told us about. We also know from the other gospels that this isn't the end of the story. We also know from our own lives that this end isn't the end of the story. The good news of Jesus Christ didn't end with...

...these women. It wasn't a telephone game that cut got cut short at the beginning, the message got passed on. In fact, we even read that it this fear and astonishment and covering of the mouths, so to speak. I didn't even last for that long. In John's Gospel we read this I'm Jesus after hearing well, I'll read to you from Verse Eleven, in Chapter Twenty of John. Mary stood weeping outside the Tomb. And she wept and stooped to look into the Tomb and she saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and want at the feet. They said to her, woman, why are you weeping? She said to them, why have you taken away my Lord? I do not know where they have laid him. Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she didn't know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking? Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, Sir, if you've carried him away, tell me where have you laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus said to her Mary. She turned and he said to her, and she turned and said to him in Aramaic Rabboni, which means teacher. She recognized him, and then we read that they go on to tell and to tell the disciples. So what changes? What do we learn from this fearful reaction and the corresponding turn? Well, the first thing we learned is that faith in Jesus, of course, is not running from the news, but running to it. Faith in Jesus is not disobeying him, but obeying Him. It's not being silent, but speaking when he's called us to speak. But where does that come from? Where does the later...

...courage that these women have come from? Where do we get it when it's obviously not inside ourselves, when our hearts have been poisoned and by sin and disbelief? It comes from the only place it can come, not inside us, but outside of us, from God. Faith is a gift of God, we are told in Effhesians, and it comes when God himself speaks to us, as he does to marry. She turns, not seeing the savior for who he is, not hearing the savior from him, who he is or his Messenger. But he speaks to her, he says her name and calls her in a way that reaches to her heart and cures her inside, takes away that heart that's been poisoned by by sin and and unbelief, and gives her faith. Why are you weeping? And then she's weeping no more. There's this dramatic change that we see not only in the women but in the disciples as well. They too, running afraid from their lives, denying the Lord, even calling curses upon themselves, as Peter did just a little while later, giving up their very lives for the sake of the Lord Jesus. They're changed. They're changed by God. When we consider our own reactions, when we consider our own struggles of faith, sometimes it's easy to be overwhelmed by them, to be overwhelmed by our fears. Our doubts are struggles. But what do we see in this story? What do we see in this good news that mark has been telling us from verse one all the way...

...to the very end? We see that, despite our doubts, our sin and disbelief, this one, this Jesus Christ, has come into the world to conquer not only death, but death in us, not just sin in a general way, but sin particularly in his people. God has come in a way that is powerful. We saw it in his miracles. We see it in his words and we've seen it in many striking ways all through the end. When you consider your own weaknesses, your own lack of faith, your own fears about Jesus, about the world, I want you to consider the things that mark has been telling us. Consider the things he's been telling us about the power of God. Consider the things that he has overcome. The soldiers, the government's the great stone, the guards, death it's self. The risen Lord Jesus, who can overcome all these things and bring the Kingdom of God into the world, can change our hearts as well. He's powerful to do this. He can change stony hearts into hot into soft hearts, unbelieving, sinful hearts into living, breathing, believing ones. In Him, we are brought to life, and true life. So, as you consider and celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus, consider who he is. Consider not just that a great hero has come into the world and done some wonderful things. Consider not only that he is a hero and a conqueror over death, but he does it for us, for you who believe in him,...

...and when your fears and when your doubts creep over you and threaten you and and take away that communion and assurance you have from God. Turn again to him, turn again to Jesus, who calls your name and calls you to faith in him. He's powerful to save, he's victorious in all he does. Remember that and celebrate it. Let us pray.

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