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Thomas F. Fischer, M.Div., M.S.A., Editor


The Festival of the Resurrection/
Easter
Series B

Option #1: "When the Sabbath Was Over..."
Mark 16:1-8
Rev. Wayne Dobratz, M.Div.

  I. There were two grim tasks, vv1-4

    A. Anointing Jesus’ body--Mark 14:3

    B. Rolling away the stone--Matt 28:2-4; Luke 24:2-8

 II. Angels were the first to proclaim the Good News of Jesus’ victory over death--vv5-6, Rev 1:17-18; Acts 4:9-10, 10:38-43

III. There was work to be done--v7, Matt 28:8, 18-20; John 21:1-11; Acts 13:32-39; Luke 24:36-49

Matthew Henry: (1.) They must tell the disciples, that he is risen. It is a dismal time with them, their dear Master is dead, and all their hopes and joys are buried in his grave; they look upon their cause as sunk, and themselves ready to fall an easy prey into the hands of their enemies, so that there remains no more spirit in them, they are perfectly at their wits’ end, and every one is contriving how to shift for himself. "O, go quickly to them," said the angel, "tell them that their Master is risen; this will put some life and spirit into them, and keep them from sinking into despair." (2.) They must be sure to tell Peter. It will be good news to him, more welcome to him than to any of them; for he is in sorrow for sin, and no tidings can be more welcome to true penitents than to hear of the resurrection of Christ, because he rose again for their justification. He will be afraid, lest the joy of this good news do not belong to him. Had the angel said only, Go, tell his disciples, poor Peter would have been ready to sigh, and say, "But I doubt I cannot look upon myself as one of them, for I disowned him, and deserve to be disowned by him;" to obviate that, "Go to Peter by name, and tell him, he shall be as welcome as any of the rest to see him in Galilee." Note, a sight of Christ will be very welcome to a true penitent, and a true penitent shall be very welcome to a sight of Christ, for there is joy in heaven concerning him.

Richard Lenski: "and to Peter" is preserved by Mark alone and is taken from Peter’s own lips by him, deserves special attention. ...Peter is singled out because he denied his Lord on the night of the betrayal. "And Peter" wants him to know that he is still included in the circle of the disciples by Jesus. The word includes absolution for Peter. John 21:15ff. Is more than personal absolution, it is a public reinstatement of Peter into his apostolic office.

+   +   +

Lamb's Message on Mark 16:7: "But, go tell his disciples and Peter..."

Visual aid: signs that read "Principal's Office," "Jesus' Office"

It’s been a long time since I was in grade school, so I need your help in answering a question. What gets students in trouble these days? (Answers) What happens if a student really gets into bad trouble? Who does he have to see? Does the door have a sign on it like this? ("Principal's Office") 

I thought so. And what can happen if the student is really in trouble? (Stay after school, get suspended)

And what does a student think when the teacher says: "Go to the Principal’s office right now!"

Peter the disciple of Jesus must have felt that way when Jesus died on the cross. He told people three different times that he didn’t even know Jesus. Jesus had died before Peter had a chance to say "I’m sorry."

Now three women go to Jesus’ grave and find that Jesus isn’t there anymore! He is alive again, risen from the dead! The angel gives a message to the women to deliver: "But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.'" When Peter heard this message, it must have cut him right here in his heart. He could easily have felt like the student headed to the Principal’s office. But Jesus doesn’t work that way.

The angel of Jesus gave this message to make sure that Peter understood that Jesus still loved him, that Jesus forgave his sins and that there was work for him to do too.

So here is what I want you to remember: There will be times when you will feel very guilty over something you did or didn’t do. Jesus wants you to come to him; he paid for your sins and he wants to forgive your sins. Don’t ever think of Jesus as someone who wants to punish you. He took the punishment for your sins; there’s no need to pay that bill twice.

The Principal has a job to do: people who break the rules must be punished so they don’t do it again and so that they have respect for the rules. That’s for our own protection.

Jesus’ job is to forgive, and heal and restore. The Principal may love you and still punish you, but Jesus loves you the best. And he is alive forever and ever. We sing joyful songs today because we look forward to seeing him and being with him forever.

+   +   +

Option #2: "Terrorism Redeemed!"
Mark 16:1-8
Rev. Kelly Bedard, M.Div.

 
A. Worry-Talk
 
    1. Keeping us fixated on doing: "What haven't I done/am I not doing/can I do for God?"
 
    2. Human shock and awe: "smeared" for death

B. Angel-Talk

    1. Empowering us to meditate on being: "What God has doing/is doing/will do for me!"

    2. Divine shock and awe: "anointed" for Life!

Notes:

1. aleipho {al-i'-fo}, v1: anoint. (Strong's) Interestingly, not chrio, anoint, christen.

2. apokulio {ap-ok-oo-lee'-o}, v3: to roll off or away. This word is used in the Gospels to refer to the stone that was in front of the tomb of Jesus. In Palestine, graves were usually in a depression and the stone was rolled down an incline to cover the mouth of the tomb. For a small grave, about twenty men were required to roll a stone down hill to cover the door of the tomb. The Bible tells us that the stone covering the door of the tomb was a large stone. The women would have needed more men than even a full Roman guard of sixteen men to roll away the stone. This was a major task. (Strong's)

3. ekthambeo {ek-tham-beh'-o}, v5: to throw into terror or amazement; to alarm thoroughly, to terrify; to be struck with amazement; to be thoroughly amazed, astounded; to be struck with terror. (Strong's)

4. tromos {trom'-os}, v8: a trembling or quaking with fear; with fear and trembling, used to describe the anxiety of one who distrusts his ability completely to meet all requirements, but religiously does his utmost to fulfil his duty. (Strong's)

5. ekstasis {ek'-stas-is}, v8: any casting down of a thing from its proper place or state, displacement; a throwing of the mind out of its normal state, alienation of mind, whether such as makes a lunatic or that of a man who by some sudden emotion is transported as it were out of himself, so that in this rapt condition, although he is awake, his mind is drawn off from all surrounding objects and wholly fixed on things divine that he sees nothing but the forms and images lying within, and thinks that he perceives with his bodily eyes and ears realities shown him by God; amazement, the state of one who, either owing to the importance or the novelty of an event, is thrown into a state of blended fear and wonderment. (Strong's)

6. phobeo {fob-eh'-o}, v8: to put to flight by terrifying (to scare away); to put to flight, to flee; to fear, be afraid; to be struck with fear, to be seized with alarm; of those startled by strange sights or occurrences; of those struck with amazement; to fear, be afraid of one; to fear (i.e. hesitate) to do something (for fear of harm) ; to reverence, venerate, to treat with deference or reverential obedience. (Strong's)

7. Who is that young man dressed in white (v5)? (During the arrest of Jesus in the garden of Gethemane,) "...a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body; and they seized him, 52 but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked." (Mark 14:51-52, RSV) A fallen follower (stripped naked in the garden) who found faith in the Risen One (pointing to the world of the living, not the dead)? (Larry Broding) 

8. Jesus will not fail those who fail Him... This may also be a message that our pew-sitters need to hear--not just in reference to their own sufferings, deaths, and resurrections; but also about going back home after the Easter celebration. At home there may be piles of dirty dishes, unmade beds; a yard or garden that needs tending, a house that needs cleaning; cars that need washing; spring shopping that needs doing; and preparations for a great crowd of people coming for dinner. It can be easy to "see" the risen Christ in a packed Easter Sunday worship service, or perhaps even in a sunrise or the spring flowers blooming; but where is the risen Jesus when the people return home--to the drudgery of the same old things? The risen Christ has gone there ahead of them. They will see him. It might also be added, that no one can leave Christ behind. When the men in the garden and the women at the tomb run away from Jesus; when the worshipers leave the church building--they cannot get away from Christ. He goes ahead of them. (Brian Stoffregen)

Further rumination on Mark 16:1-8 has brought the following war-time illustration: from POWs--prisoners of worry: "Trembled and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb" (v8)--to POWs: prisoners of wonder! Make us captives, Lord, that we might be free. Empower us this Eastertide to more and more and behold the wonders of Your continual working in our lives--most of all, and again, through the most precious life, death and resurrection of Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Resurrexit! Resurrexit autem! Praisealuia!

 

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