Friday, August 8, 2008

Mark, Chapter 16

Yesterday ended with the most depressing day in human history. Jesus, the man that many believed was the Savior, was inexplicably dead. Though He had talked about His death, His followers had lost faith. Many followers had deserted Him as He died on the Cross. Mary Magdalene and Jesus’s mother were on their way to the tomb to care for the body at the beginning, most definitely with heavy hearts. After following Jesus for so long they were lost, confused, and in the midst of a hopeless situation.

Then a miracle happened. We see in Mark’s account a very streamlined version of the resurrection compared to the other gospels. Even in these short verses, however, it is no less miraculous. In the midst of a desperate situation, Jesus had risen from the dead.

4But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
6"Don't be alarmed," he said. "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.' "
8Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. – Mark 16:4-8

I’m sure this was overwhelming for these women. The body of their Lord was gone, and in His place was an angel telling them that Jesus was alive. I know I would be confused in this situation. Mark’s original text ends here, but we see a continuation in later manuscripts.

15He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well." – Mark 16:15-18

This clearly echoes the Great Commission mentioned at the end of the book of Matthew. Jesus’s victory over sin and death means nothing unless we continue His work here on Earth. If we kept this gift to ourselves, it would be the height of selfishness. Therefore, it is our mission in life to spread the gospel wherever we go. We are each called to a different task. In that task, we must live the Word of Christ to present it to the nations. Each person’s unique gifts are given to them with that primary goal in mind. Everything else is secondary.

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