Holy Week: Resurrection Sunday

*This series of posts walks through the Holy Week timeline, day by day, as told in the Gospel of Mark.  You can view Sunday’s post here, Monday here, Tuesday here, Wednesday here,Thursday here, Friday here, and Saturday here.

Mark 16:1-8

Snippet: 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 him, just as he told you.” (Mark 16:6-7)

Storyline

A few women who witnessed Jesus being crucified on the cross and buried in the tomb, now were on their way to anoint the dead body with oils and spices.  They had to wait a day to do so because they couldn’t buy anything on the Sabbath, but they were up before sunrise on the third day to get there as fast as they can.

As they were strategizing about who can help them roll away the large stone in front of the tomb, so they could access Jesus’ body, they came upon a site they didn’t expect.  The stone was already rolled away.  Did someone beat them to it?  As they approached the tomb, their anxiousness turned to deep, fearful amazement as they saw an angel sitting on the right side.

The angel didn’t say much, but what he did say changed the world.  Don’t be afraid, the Jesus you’re looking for who died, he is risen, he’s not here anymore.  Go and tell all the disciples.

With that, the women fled.  They were a combination of every emotion you can think of, and they were gone.

Devotional

Mark is stunningly brief with the account of the resurrection, the most important event in the history of the world, and yet it’s perfectly in line with his style all along.  If you’ve engaged in public speaking or written something for public consumption, you know it’s harder to be concise than long winded.  It’s easier to talk a lot, but say little, than it is to talk a little, but say a lot.

Mark is brief, yet vivid.  Everything is laid before our eyes, and then it’s up to us to respond.  Mark stares us down with his cliff-hanger finish and turns the tables on the reader:  Christ is risen, what say you?

The words that the angel gave to the women that day is the same pathway that is offered to all who hear the gospel today:  Do not fear, Christ is risen, go and tell.

When we come across something we fear, we cannot get true assurance from within ourselves.  Assurance comes when we know the object that struck initial fear won’t threaten us.  The angel, as an ambassador of the most holy God, gives assurance to the woman that they need not fear.

Second, he proclaims the best news ever spoken: the crucified Jesus is not dead, he is risen.  Meaning, risen by His Father, proving he is who he said he was, the divine Son.  The price of sin has been paid for, because when a debt is paid off in full, the debtor is set free.  His resurrection is a guarantee of a future resurrection for all who believe in Him.

Third, go and tell the rest of the disciples.  This good news is not meant to be kept private, for it is the very hope of eternal life for all people in all places.  Evidence that we have been saved by Christ’s death and resurrection is a desire within us to share this gospel with others.

He assures, he proclaims, he sends.  This is the grace of God upon the women, and it’s the same grace that has bestowed men, women, and children of faith for the past 2,000 years.

Jesus began his ministry with the words, “The kingdom of God is here.  Repent, and believe in the gospel.”  Now, at the end, the attention turns to us.  Will you believe in faith, or run in fear?  Here is the good news, now you decide.

Questions to consider:

Have you repented of your sin and placed your faith in Jesus Christ?

If you have, how is God currently working in your life to conform you into the image of His Son?  Who are you actively sharing the good news with in your life?

Prayer:

Father, we erupt in praise for the glory of your name in raising Jesus from the dead.  We thank you for the sacrifice you made, and the stamp of victory you declare.  We thank you that the living Christ is currently ruling and reigning at your right hand right now, as we await his return.  Keep our eyes fixed upon you, the author and perfecter of our faith, and give us the courage to live the lives you’ve called us to, stepping into the hard spaces to glorify your name, proclaim your name, and be agents of reconciliation for all of creation.  In the name of the Risen Christ we pray, amen.