Mark's life and ministry of Jesus Christ. (Mark 16:1-8)
The word ‘Easter’ comes from the Germanic language, celebrating the feast day of the vernal equinox, when the sun appears vertically over the
equator at noon. It is the high point of spring in England, when new life can be seen everywhere. Easter means much more than new life in nature.
The Christian church remembers the anniversary of Jesus Christ rising from the dead. At Easter we remember that God loves the world and
gave Jesus Christ to be sin bearer for mankind. We recall that Jesus was crucified, then buried, but we also rejoice in that He has risen again. The message is in a little acrostic I sometimes use with the children:
Mark gives us some evidence that could have been authenticated by
people living at the time his gospel was first read. There was a locked
tomb with a large stone outside (15:46; 16:4). Jesus did die and evidence
is offered by Mark from a Roman guard, a centurion, Pilate and Joseph of
Arimathea. Three women wanted to make sure Jesus had a proper
embalming before final burial, and having prepared the spices they walked
towards the tomb at sunrise on that first Easter day asking the question:
‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb?’ (16:3).
What the women saw
In verses 4-6 Mary, another Mary and Salome saw the stone rolled away.
There was now a way into the tomb for them. They could discover the
resurrection because the large stone had been moved. They also heard
the angel speaking. They were naturally alarmed, but their fear was
mixed with faith. These were mysterious happenings which at the same
time were miraculous happenings. They saw the empty tomb. They could
have been so attracted to the angel that they would never turn to see the
empty tomb. They could have missed the major miracle for a minor one!
They were seeking Jesus in the wrong place. The angel asked them a
searching question (Luke 24:5).
What the angel said
See the specific evidence in verse 6. ‘Jesus the Nazarene’ – there was no
mistaken identity. ‘Who was crucified’ – as everyone around there knew
at that time. ‘He has risen’ – the angel stated a fact. Jesus had shared it
earlier in faith, but the women still had great fear.
It is much easier to hold on to fear than to simply believe the facts.
Faith is the key that unlocks our understanding of the resurrection.
How the people responded
All four gospels give accounts of the transformation in the apostles’ lives
from the time it dawned on them that Jesus was alive. No more did they
cower in a corner of the upper room, but instead they powerfully
preached in the market square. No more did they doubt and fear man –
they were dedicated to fearing God. Some people were born again. They
were transformed. Some were commissioned, sent out by Jesus to share
the good news with everyone – going wherever they were sent. Some
were condemned by men, but they were to receive commendation from
God. Those who rejected the salvation and the Saviour they offered
condemned themselves to an eternity outside of God and His love.
Verse 15 spells out our commission today. Easter began a movement, a
method and a ministry that still goes on today.
Are you in it or are you out of it?
Discussion guide for ‘Jesus taught the resurrection’
Bible reading Mark 16:1-8
1. How many times has Mark already reminded his readers that Jesus
would rise again from the dead? Can you find at least three.
2. Name as many people – or groups of people – that Mark cites as
witnessing Jesus’ death and burial? See Mark 15:33-16:3.
Most, if not all, would have lived to dispute Mark’s writing if it
were not true.
3. What are the four facts about Jesus that the angel shared with
the women by the empty tomb, Mark 16:6?
4. Imagine you were with the three women walking to – then staying
by – the tomb of Jesus. How would your feelings change?
5. What does Mark 16:15 say to you? What are you going to do about
it? (Even if it is not in all Bible editions, the meaning is still clear in
Matthew 28:19-20, over which there is no dispute).
6. What does the resurrection of Jesus mean to you today?
7. Do you have any questions to pray over and to ask more
experienced Christians about?