Faithlife Sermons

Mark 16

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Good morning Church. Great to see all of you today. Always feel special when I get to be introduced by my wife. She is amazing. So thankful for the blessing that is her love for Christ and His church.
How has everyone’s long weekend been? Good. Awesome. Many of us celebrated Thanksgiving, followed up with a rigorous day of shopping or a rigorous day of sitting on your couch Or maybe both?
Have any of you done the midnight shopping thing? Like, wrapping up dinner with driving to the mall to get in line?
I’ve definitely been that Black Friday shopper before. Last time I shopped hard on Black Friday I’m pretty sure I mainly purchased a bunch of DVD’s and CD’s. So I guess it’s been a while for me since I really hit Black Friday shopping hard hard. In good part because most of the last 15 years I was working on Black Friday.
One thing you don’t see on Black Friday deals much anymore, and definitely not Cyber Monday... Magazines.
For those of you that don’t know, Magazines are like a website with articles, and puzzles, opinion pieces and your favorite advertisements. But instead of having to go online for the website, it was put into a little booklet that came out once a month. So instead of visiting the website each day and surfing around, getting lost on the internet, clicking around looking for something interesting, the company would send you a “magazine” each month with all their articles, pictures and advertisements in one handy, portable location.
Okay, I get it. Websites are way handier and it makes sense why the Magazine industry is dying a slow death. Seriously though, I am a little surprised that when you go to the grocery store, there is still a pretty good amount of aisle space dedicated to… magazines.
One of the fun things about these racks is that you don’t actually get on the internet, instead you can see options of what you might care about in one place. Plus a bunch of stuff you don’t care about. All presented there, things people care about, make your choice.
One thing I’ve come to notice, looking at a magazine rack, is seeing the surprising number of periodicals that are still going strong, and comparing what they’re doing to the influencers, blogs, websites, and other time grabbers. I’ve noticed that there is a common theme that seems to dominate the periodicals and online stuff. The theme: Living. Getting what we want out of life. Living a satisfying life. A meaningful life. Living a long life. Where you live. How you live.
And there are a lot of ways that this plays out.
Now, I am not only talking about Lifestyle magazines and articles. There are many more influencer’s, companies and institutions that are all about living the way you want. Living healthy, living beautifully, living happily. Even the political articles are often about living. What rights do you want to live with, what politics support what you want from life, what we can or can’t do with our money, the state of the world we live in.
Or the survival magazines and guru’s. They are literally all about making sure that under a variety of circumstances you can stay alive. Take the gamer’s, or the celebrity gossip stuff, fueling a desire to live elsewhere from our current reality.
We as humans are obsessed with how we’re living.
In the now. In the future.
Gosh, for that matter, even living in the past. Look at the massive market of nostalgia related products, there are loads of people who are obsessed with living in the past.
I don’t think this whole focus on how we’re living is a new novelty. There’s no shortage of evidence that attention to improving one's life has been a priority throughout history.
Whether it’s just surviving, or an effort towards thriving, how one lives is a priority for people.
2000 years ago, someone came to earth and began to challenge what living was all about. Began to build on the words of some Jewish prophets and writers from years past, claiming not only that the God of the universe was His Father and His equal, He was also claiming that what it meant to live as believers in God was much more amazing, personal, and available, than anyone had ever thought before.
As you likely have guessed, I’m talking about Jesus. And as we’ve walked through the book of Mark for much of this last year, we have learned about some of the amazing things He did, things that He said, as well as, hearing about the saving grace that would change our lives through His death and resurrection.
Nevertheless, if you could just join me for a moment, as we prepare ourselves for today's passage, let’s put ourselves into the shoes of the followers of Jesus. Some who are in today’s story, and others who are spoken of in it.
Just days before what we’ll read today, Jesus, the man who had come and made bold claims about Himself, about dying and going to heaven. The man who healed the sick and performed miracles, taught on how to live life and understand God, told His followers that only through Him can one know God.
That man died.
He was wrongly accused of a crime he did not commit, brutally beaten, humiliated by the leaders of the Jewish temple and others, and eventually, upon their request, murdered on a cross.
We don’t have to wonder if the followers of Jesus were shook up by all this. Scripture makes it clear that they were.
I can only imagine what it would have been like being one of the disciples, I might be asking questions to myself like “but He said He was Lord. I thought He said that through Him we would know the Father.”
Was Jesus just a guy that performed amazing miracles and made things better for a time?
He said He was the way, the truth and life. But now He is dead
I can only imagine the pain, confusion, and fear the followers of Jesus must have been feeling.
The made that had brought hope into to their life, was gone. ‌
There’s a saying, “death puts things into perspective”. For these followers, everything they heard and experienced. Was death really going to be the final word that defined Jesus’ life?
Let’s open our Bible’s and read today in Mark chapter 16
Mark 16:1–6 CSB
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they could go and anoint him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb at sunrise. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?” Looking up, they noticed that the stone—which was very large—had been rolled away. When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side; they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he told them. “You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they put him.
Jesus wasn’t in the tomb. He had risen from the dead. Death didn’t get the last word. Death didn’t put everything into perspective.
Last week, Tyler talked about the death of Jesus being His coronation. About this section of scripture being the declaration of Jesus being King.
However, there’s more to the story than Jesus rising as King,
He has risen as King, and His first act. His first act was paying the debt of our sins so that we may be able to have eternal life, joining Him in His eternal Kingdom forever.
The event that caused the followers of Jesus to hide in fear, or at best, openly weep at His side as He died, was the event where He paid the debt for their sins and ours so that we may be able to join Him in His eternal Kingdom with new life.
But how can dying be the path to new life?
Through resurrection.
Through the debt of our sin being paid for, freeing us from our guilt. And then conquering death, removing for us the penalty to be paid, a penalty that is supposed to be our permanent condemnation. And then, having taken our own sins upon Him, He did what we could not have done. Having paid our debts, He then rose from the grave. He satisfied the debt of our sins and then came back to life, to be with us.
The death and resurrection of Jesus was not only His coronation, the death and resurrection of Jesus are the most foundational events of all of the Bible.
Through the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, everything the Bible says becomes true. Through this everything becomes eternally meaningful. Everything that Jesus said and did becomes alive in the lives of believers, forever.
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians
1 Corinthians 15:14–19 CSB
and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation is in vain, and so is your faith. Moreover, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified wrongly about God that he raised up Christ—whom he did not raise up, if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Those, then, who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.
If Christ has not been raised we might as well buy into those magazines and influencers. Click often on the life changing pieces of advice advertised on Instagram, eat up that juicy celebrity gossip, give into those sins that bring pleasure and worldly benefit, buy that lottery ticket to make your fantasy life come true.
Cause if Christ is not raised, then the Bible is just advice, history, and stories about a guy who made a difference for a time in people's lives some 2,000 years ago in Israel.
Without the resurrection, all we have is this life. Enjoy it while it lasts.
The resurrection though. The resurrection changes everything.
Imagine a modern day mansion, built with elegant light fixtures, a chandelier here, forced air vents for heat and A/C over there, ovens for cooking, fridges for holding food. And time travel that mansion into the past 1,000 hundred years ago.
Let’s say someone walks into the mansion, nothing about it feels familiar. It's a dark place, only lit by the sun shining a little through the windows. They would see some of the beautiful artisan chandeliers in the sunlight, feel the soft carpet floors under their feet, and discover the handy storage spaces for things.
Except without power, the only truly beneficial part of the mansion would be its shell. All of these other things, seemingly beautiful and maybe even handy by themselves, are not in themselves life changing.
Although if you put electricity into that home. Sizzling from the breakers box through each wire in the house, bringing power to each bulb, and every outlet.
The chandelier becomes more beautiful than it was before, and now, not only is it a hanging piece of elegant creation, it gives light into the room revealing all the beauty that is there and allowing life to be lived there.
The grates in the floor grumble to life, creating a livable atmosphere in the building, protecting from the harsh outdoors.
The oven becomes a means for cooking and providing food needed for survival and the fridge & freezer promises to keep this food stored and fresh for much longer than could have been imagined before.
Electricity flows throughout the home and changes everything about it
The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ impact scripture in a similar, but much more profound and meaningful way than electricity in a house.
Zapping backwards in time, from the prophecies about Jesus, to David’s poems and songs, Moses and the law, all the way to the story of creation. And lightning forward, through the later written words and stories of the apostle Paul, and Peter, to John.
All of scripture was forever transformed in meaning and declared as true and beneficial forever more because Jesus rose from the dead.
The prophecies of the long passed prophets are fulfilled.
Everything that Jesus said about Himself, and His plan, and His Father, and the Spirit. It all was proven true.
The instruction that is given moves from advice, from a way to live because someone said so, and it turns into a command that is given so that we might know the ways of God and how we can live to help us to better experience and shine outwardly God's goodness.
And what is maybe the most amazing and exciting light that turns on in this house.
That God desires for us to know Him and to enjoy Him, and to be in relationship with Him, through His Son and by the power of the Holy Spirit, and it is a relationship that lasts forever and ever.
And that relationship is only possible because of Christ’s death and resurrection.
God wants to be with you. And it is possible. It’s not a pipe dream. It is possible.
Because living, it is forever changed. Living just became eternal. All these things that our sinful hearts tell us to prioritize to make life better, sexual desires, power, greed, fame, notoriety, possessions, laziness, vanity, self gratification.
All of them have been proven to be temporary and fleeting and charged as dead.
Worthless in light of eternity.
No matter how pleasurable or desirable they may seem for a time, we realize why they were never as satisfying as we wanted them to be. Why they will never be enough.
We no longer need to “Enjoy life while it lasts”, because with Christ, it lasts forever.
Because the only true living, the only truly satisfying life, the only good that lasts, is found in Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:20–22 CSB
But as it is, Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead also comes through a man. For just as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
You see, Christ’s resurrection, guarantees our resurrection if we are believers in Him. It makes everything in this life not the end, not all that there is, it makes everything in this life NOT ENOUGH.
It completely changes what living is all about.
That’s why we read in Colossians
Colossians 3:1–2 CSB
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
Jesus calls us to set our eyes on things above because there is so much more than this earth. What this earth has to offer isn't enough.
Cause Jesus isn’t just a better option than all those other things.
He isn’t just a good option for those who can’t make a great life for themselves here on earth.
The Bible says in James that those who have invested in this world only, have “lived luxuriously on the earth and have indulged themselves, that they should weep and wail over the miseries that are coming for them, for their wealth and possessions will rot.”
Just because this world compete’s with Christ for our attention, doesn’t mean that it stands a chance at competing with what Christ offers through His death and resurrection.
Jesus wants us to experience Him and be with Him forever. His love. His mercy. His grace. All of it.
John 17:3 CSB
This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and the one you have sent—Jesus Christ.
Because of the resurrection, we can know that as Christ’s followers, we are His forever, living with Him eternally.
It is actually better.
But that doesn’t mean that the world has muddied our eyes and muddied our hearts in experiencing this while still here on earth.
As believers in Christ, we will experience trials. We will experience temptation. At times, we may even give into temptation.
We might experience moments of doubt, or feeling far from God. Or maybe wrestling with scripture and God’s teaching.
Our emotions, however, do not define what is true about God, and for that matter, our emotions do not define our faith.
That is why God teaches us through His Word who we are in Christ and how we are to be in Christ.
For knowing who we are in Christ, as sinners saved by His work alone, we can regularly wash the shame of our sins away knowing that God sees believers as clean in Christ.
Knowing who we are in Christ, through reading the Word of God, teaches our internal voice to sound more like Jesus, and less like our sinful hearts, or the cruel words of the world.
And what the Word says about how we are to be.
When we see God calling us to obedience, we see Him calling us to be who we are as Christians. For acting as scripture calls us to is not only to help us see ourselves as He does, He wants us to experience Him by being like Him. By loving what He loves, and hating what He hates. And that starts by doing what He would do, and turning away from what He would not.
The Bible is one of our greatest companions while still on this earth, as it teaches us who we are in Christ, and how we are to be as His people.
So what does the resurrection reveal about what the world offers compared to Jesus?
It reveals that everything you want in this life will never be enough. Even those things that by society's standard that we seek in the pursuit of happiness. Your job isn’t enough. Your home isn’t enough. Your interests and hobbies. Even your family and friends. And not because they are inherently bad. In fact, those things can be, and usually are, good, and a blessing.
All the things of this world, whether good or bad, will never be enough, because only Christ is enough. Only Christ brings eternal life.
Christ offered Himself in death, so that as we offer ourselves in faith to Him, nothing can stop Him from giving us eternal life. And He will return one day and claim all that is His, and bringing us home with Him to our eternal dwelling place.
So let’s finish our time reading reading the last few verses of Mark
Mark 16:5–8 (CSB)
When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side; they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he told them. “You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they put him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see him there just as he told you.’ ”
They went out and ran from the tomb, because trembling and astonishment overwhelmed them. And they said nothing to anyone, since they were afraid.
The three women, at the tomb. What emotions do we read them feeling? We read that they were alarmed, astonished, overwhelmed, and that they were afraid.
We see in the Gospel of Matthew, that after they had gone, Jesus met up with them before they had spoken to any one else and he said to them
Matthew 28:10 (CSB)
“Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to leave for Galilee, and they will see me there.”
We also read later of the disciples being frightened and in disbelief when they first saw him after he had risen.
This fear that they feel, it makes sense.
Jesus’ resurrection is crazy. Even after Him having raised Lazarus not long ago, this is different.
And now, everything has changed. Everything that he said and did in His life was more true and more powerful then ever before.
Fear isn’t new to the disciples. It’s been a big part of their story of late.
Peter, one of Jesus’ disciples and closest friends, despite having told Jesus that he would never leave his side, was found three times denying the fact that he even knew Jesus, because he feared what would happen if others knew.
Many of Jesus' other followers fled and hid as well during His. All this while he was being falsely charged and killed on a cross. And eventually, we now see that even the few women who were brave enough to stay by his side all the way to the cross, were found to be afraid.
Yet what are Jesus’ first recorded words after His resurrection? “Do not be afraid”.
And His instruction. Meet me in Galilee, I want to see you.
Jesus didn’t tell these women, don’t go tell the disciples, they abandoned me. When I was being beaten and wrongly accused, they were denying me. They went into hiding, even though they said they were my friends.
No. He says he wants to see them, and He says it for a joyful reason.
As we see played out here the followers of Jesus’ failure of trusting what He had said, failure to stay by His side without fear, we learn something important.
That as believers in Christ our failure and fear is not fatal.
Jesus says do not fear.
I need that word. I need to hear there is nothing to fear, including fear itself. That giving turning from my fears and trusting is safe. I need to know Jesus isn’t on a constant verge of scolding me for being scared, but instead ready to comfort
Cause you see, there are times and ways in my life that I fear the power of the resurrection.
Let me explain
Years ago I had a coworker who was a believer that I realized almost never watched the same movies and tv as I did. And He was openly not interested [Tom Boyer movie story]
Though the incident seemed small, it revealed something in my heart that I have wrestled with since. I am far too often scared of what I will have to give up in order to fully give into the truth of the resurrection. That I will have to lay down my interests, my wants. Scared of what I might lose out on if I fully press into the reality of the resurrection and relationship with Christ. And this hasn’t just been the typical billboard sins. Rather, it is usually those that I view as things that make my life better, the way I want. Things that make me feel good, maybe even happy.
And what is one of the hardest things for me to give up.
I’m scared of giving up the role of redeemer for my own life. I am scared of what might happen by fully surrendering to Christ and admitting that it is not by my works in any way that I am saved. I am scared because when I accept the resurrection as true, then I can’t rely on my own efforts for salvation or righteousness.
I sit there, holding tightly to my works, my good actions, all the things I do to be a good Christian, following the law. I sit there in a corner holding tightly, like a scared little boy holding on to a teddy bear, because all he knows is that what he holds in his hands gives him comfort. Makes him feel like it’ll be okay. Makes him feel in control. And I feel like that control is all I’ve got. So I’m squeezing like I’ll never let go.
But Jesus comes to me, walks across the room. He kneels down. And He says to that little boy, “Don’t be afraid, come to me, I will take care of you”.
And friends, I pray every day, that I will let go of that teddy bear, and give up control. Because only in doing that, can I truly experience my Savior.
Because you see, since the resurrection is true, with Jesus dying for my sins and conquering death.
The greatest action I can take is surrendering to Him.
I don’t know what you fear. I don’t know what might be scary about the resurrection for you.
Maybe you're scared about what the resurrection means for your life. What it will change.
Maybe you want Jesus, and the Bible, and all the things it tells us to do, but like me, you don’t want to admit that all you need is Jesus, and that His death and resurrection was enough of a price paid.
Maybe you want a gospel that’s just life advice for this earth, that says do these things and you’ll be happy. Do these things and you’ll not feel so guilty. But deep down you are scared to submit to Jesus as King over your life.
Maybe you don’t want the resurrection because it takes us from wanting the Gospel, to needing the Gospel.
Maybe you’re scared because of all that you have done that makes you undeserving of eternal life. Because you feel like you just aren’t the kind of person that someone would die for.
Maybe you don’t want it because it’s just hard to believe that it’s real.
Whatever it is, friends, Jesus started His life after resurrection by say, “Don’t be afraid, I want to meet with you”.
Jesus didn’t tell these women, don’t go tell the disciples, they abandoned me. When I was being beaten and wrongly accused, they were denying me. No.
He didn’t say, “Oh, you were the faithful ones by my side at death, so forget about those other guys”. No.
Look at what the Angel says.
He has risen! He is going ahead of you to Galilee and you will see Him there. He wants to see you.
So why would he say anything different to you?
And He knows that when you turn to him, you sure as heck won’t get everything together in your life all of a sudden. And He knows who you are, what you’ve done, where you are today, whatever it is that you don’t want to give up. He knows that now and knew it when He died on the cross. And regardless of all that you’ve done, none of it changed what He did for you. He still died. And He still rose. And He is still saying “do not be afraid, come and meet me”.
Friends, God wants you to know Him. He invites you into eternity with Him. And Jesus has made that possible.
What will you do with the news that He is risen? What will you do having heard that He is risen and wants to meet with you?
Not because of what you’ve done, but because of what He has done.
What will you do when Monday happens? When Tuesday gets hard? When Wednesday is busy? When Thursday is out of the ordinary? When Friday has big plans? When Saturday finds you tired?
Forget about all this?
The resurrection of Jesus, the act declaring those who believe in Him are forever changed and forever alive in Him. Will you accept that as not only factual, but as true and life changing? Will you live differently because of that, knowing that it will change who you are and how you are?
In short,
Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?
If you have already, then I urge you to go and live that truth every day.
If you feel led to make that decision today, then oh my gosh, praise God. Please come find me or Tyler, or one of our prayer team members after the service. We would love to hear your story and share with you at this moment.
And if you aren’t sure, talk to God. Pray. Don’t let go of whatever question or thought or feeling you have today go away without pursuing it. And if you feel comfortable, please feel encouraged to come connect with someone. We would love to answer your questions and hear your story.
I want to end with a passage in scripture
1 John 4:9–10 CSB
God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
1 John 4:15 CSB
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God—God remains in him and he in God.
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