And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?
And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.
But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.
And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they anything to any man; for they were afraid.
Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. (Mark 16:1-11)
WE MUST READ ALL THE GOSPEL ACCOUNTS of the crucifixion and resurrection to get the complete picture. There is no contradiction between the accounts, rather, the accounts compliment each other to give the full picture. For brevity, I am looking at Mark’s account.
THE STORY OF THE DISCIPLES REFUSING TO BELIEVE the report of Jesus’ resurrection has fascinated me for many years. These guys were…slow. Jesus was going to go back to Heaven in a few days and leave these fellows in charge of…everything. Jesus had told them repeatedly that He was going to be killed by the religious leaders and be raised from the dead and they didn’t get it.
ON THE EVE OF JESUS' CRUCIFIXION immediately after the observance of Passover and the instituting of what we call: “The Lord’s Supper,” the disciples busy themselves with the all-important subject of which one of them was going to be the greatest among them.
And they began to enquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. (Luke 22:23-24)
I’VE NEVER UNDERSTOOD THIS PERSISTENT TRAIT in the disciples. They wanted to be big shots. They had given up their occupations and had been with Jesus for three years; had witnessed his miracles of stopping storms and raising the dead and feeding thousands of people from a boy’s lunch. But they deliberately turned a deaf ear to what was just ahead. They wouldn’t have it! So, when Jesus died on the cross their state of self-imposed unbelief rendered them unfit to believe in resurrection from the dead. Does that amaze you like it does me?
McGEE COMMENTED: “These men who had recognized how low they could stoop also had ambitions to be the greatest. Can you imagine that? Right in the shadow of the cross these men are grasping for position. We see that in the church today. The saints today are not much of an improvement over the apostles.” (McGee)
WE WOULD NOT HAVE HAD THEIR PROBLEM, WOULD WE? But, perhaps we would. What about our belief in Christ’s return to call out His church from the earth in the twinkling of an eye before the seven years of tribulation? Do we believe strongly in that or is it a story buried in the Bible that we nod to but never include in our daily thinking?
THE TWO WOMEN WHO WENT EARLY TO THE TOMB may not have believed any more than the disciples but their devotion to taking care of Jesus’ dead body placed them at the tomb at sunrise. The disciples apparently were satisfied to leave His body alone. But, the devotion of the two women put them in contact with the angel that sent them scurrying back to the disciples with their wide-eyed, nervous excitement about the empty tomb and the heavenly messenger they had encountered. It was in their face! They had to believe it!
SO, THE FIRST MESSENGERS ABOUT THE RESURRECTED CHRIST WERE WOMEN! Not men. There’s something about the nature of women to this day that causes them to outnumber the men in most churches. That’s just the way it is. Women announced the resurrection.
TODAY, WHO IS GOING TO TELL EVERYBODY THAT JESUS HAS BEEN RAISED FROM THE DEAD? You and me. The people who care. Do you know of anyone else that should do it? It is done by people like Mary and Mary who had the extra concern to show up at the tomb and connect with the angel. The story of the crucifixion and resurrection is the heart of the Christian message and is the bedrock proof of Christianity.
THE CRUCIFIXION AND RESURRECTION OF CHRIST is the central story to be told year ‘round, to everyone who will listen. “But, everybody has heard that story!” Not so. For several years I have been giving out cards with John 3:16 in shopping centers and asking them “Have you seen this before?” Of the people 30 and under, almost 40% of them have never seen John 3:16 in print. Bible Belt!
THE BIBLE SAYS: "EVERY CREATURE!" (Mark 16:15) The early Christians were told: And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. (Luke 24:49)
ALL CHRISTIANS ARE INDWELT BY THE HOLY SPIRIT, (Romans 8:9) but all Christians are not endued with power from on high. We can’t go to Jerusalem to be endued with power from on high. But we can all ask God every day, first thing in the morning: “Dear God I ask you to endue me with power from on high. Please show me anything I need to change to be 100% right with you. Please bless me as a witness for you today.”
GET STARTED: “May I ask you a question? Do you believe Jesus Christ rose from the dead?” You can start asking that this very day. You don’t need to know any more than that. “Do you have a Bible at home?” May I suggest that you read Matthew chapter 27? I believe you might enjoy reading that.”
PRACTICE THAT A FEW TIMES AND GET STARTED. It will soon become easy for you. That’s sowing the seed of the Word of God. You may have an opportunity to share John 3:16 with some. Engage people in conversation. You will be surprised at what God may do through you and how much you may enjoy it, once you make it a daily practice. (Read Matthew 27 yourself several time and become familiar with it.)
Read Through the Bible in a Year
APRIL 21, 2019 – MONDAY
A.M. 2 Samuel 1-3 P.M. Luke 18:1-17
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verse to Memorize:
And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. (Mark 16:11)
Songs for Today:
He Said Arise! (3:33) (Calvary Mem. Choir)
Cross Medley (2:22) (Piano Solo – Kathy Owens)