Monday Oct 21, 2019
He Is Alive!
Monday Oct 21, 2019
Monday Oct 21, 2019
Mark 16: 1 – 20
There’s a story about a wealthy man who was terminally ill. The doctor said, "There’s only “one thing” that will save you. “A brain transplant.” - It’s an experimental operation. And it’s very expensive." The wealthy guy said, - "Money is no object. Can you get me a brain?"
The doctor said, - "We have three available right now. The first one was from a college professor. But it’ll cost you $10,000." The guy said, "Don’t worry. I can pay; it will make me much wiser.
What about the second brain?" The doctor said, "It was from a rocket scientist. It’ll cost you $100,000." The man said, "I have the money. And I’d be a lot smarter too. But tell me about the third brain."
The doctor said, "The third brain is from a Politician. But it would set you back a million dollars." The man said, "A million dollars? Why so much for his brain?" The doctor said, "It’s never been used."
· We too have unused power in us, above us, around us,
it is called The GOSPEL!
My wife keeps telling me I’m losing my hearing. Some husbands call it “selective hearing.” An older couple was sitting outside in their rocking chairs one afternoon. She looked at her husband of 60 years and said, “I’m proud of you.” He turned to her and said, “I’m tired of you, too.” She said, “Thanks!” She looked around at the trees moving and said, “It’s windy today.” He said, “No it’s not. It’s Thursday.” She said, “Me too, I’ll go get us some lemonade!”
Hopefully we won’t be hard of hearing when it comes to listening to God’s Word.
It has been said that:
'atheism is a fairy story for people afraid of the light'."
The resurrection story of Jesus:
• Is either the biggest fairy story ever invented;
• Or the greatest miracle and the most significant event in human history!
I believe it is the greatest miracle that the world has or will ever see!
• I don’t know if you have noticed this observation.
• But in the Old Testament when talking about the power of God;
• The writers always refer to creation.
• The miracle of God creating the world out of nothing.
• In the New Testament when talking about the power of God;
• The writers always refer to the resurrection of Jesus from the dead!
• Because there is nothing greater that you can compare with it!
Now one word you have to associate with Jesus Christ is ‘miracle’.
• He entered our world in a miraculous way;
• Conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary.
• During his three years of ministry, the four gospels record 37 miracles of Jesus.
• Most scholars tend to agree with this number.
• John the apostle tells us (John chapter 21 verse 25);
• Jesus performed many other miracles to these 37 that were not recorded.
• So Jesus entered our world in a miraculous way;
• He lived a miraculous life;
• And even in death, he has that word ‘miracle’ attributed to him!
Peter Larson writes:
• "Despite our efforts to keep him out, God intrudes.
• The life of Jesus is bracketed by two impossibilities: a virgin's womb and an empty tomb.
• Jesus entered our world through a door marked 'No Entrance';
• And left through a door marked 'No Exit’”
Our text this morning is found in Mark 16:1-20.
Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going [a]before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”
8 So they went out [b]quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
9 [c]Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.
12 After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either.
14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who [d]believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they[e] will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.
Because the empty tomb was discovered on a Sunday morning, every Sunday should be a resurrection celebration. The title of this message is “He’s Alive! Do you Believe Him?” At first I was going to ask, “Do you believe IT?” But the resurrection is more than just an historical event that you believe IN. Jesus is a risen Savior, and salvation comes by believing in Him and being obedient to his will.
In this message we’re going to hear the announcement of the angel, consider the unbelief of the disciples, and hear Jesus give us our marching orders.
I. THE ANGEL ANNOUNCED, “HE’S ALIVE!”
Once again we must admire the women who followed Jesus. They were there at the cross. They were the last ones in the garden when Joseph and Nicodemus placed Jesus’ body in the tomb. And early on Sunday morning, they were the first ones heading back to the tomb. They were carrying additional spices to anoint the corpse of Christ. They’re biggest concern was how they were going to roll the huge stone away from the opening of the tomb.
But they were totally surprised to arrive and find the stone was already rolled away. These brave women went into the tomb. Jesus wasn’t there, but they saw a young man dressed in white. This is a description the Bible often uses for angels. Of course, the women were confused and terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I know you’re looking for Jesus. He isn’t here. He has risen! Then the angel gave them two sets of instructions. These are the same instructions we should follow today.
A. He said, “Come see!”
He invited them to examine the tomb and look for the evidence. The tomb was empty, but it was full of significance. In John’s account, we’re told the strips of cloth that had covered the body of Jesus were stacked up along with the sheet covering His body. These women had to be wondering if this was a dream. They had seen the torture and crucifixion of Jesus. They watched as His body was removed from the cross and placed in the tomb. They knew He was dead. But they were confronted with an empty tomb.
In Acts 1:3 the Bible says Jesus offered the disciples many more “convincing proofs” that He was alive. If you are going to examine the evidence of the resurrection, you have to start with the empty tomb. Even the enemies of Jesus admitted the tomb was empty. Then you are confronted with only three possibilities. First, Jesus really didn’t die; that’s the swoon theory. Second, His body was stolen, either by his enemies or by his disciples. Or third, God raised Jesus from the dead. Come see.
Decide for yourself. But as I said earlier, it’s not about believing IT; it’s about believing Him.
B. He said, “Go tell!”
The angel told the women to go tell the disciples that Jesus was alive and He would meet them in Galilee. However, notice their reaction in verse eight. It says trembling and bewildered they fled: They didn’t tell anyone because they were afraid. I can’t really blame them. They were in shock. A little while later Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene and she delivered the message.
We’ve been given the same command to “go tell” the world that Jesus is alive. How often have we been guilty of the initial behavior of the women? Like them, we are too often too afraid to share the Good News.
The best tool to use is your personal faith story. Just tell people naturally what the risen Lord has done in your life.
II. THE DISCIPLES DOUBTED THE REPORTS
Meanwhile the eleven disciples (twelve minus Judas), were hiding behind closed doors weeping and mourning. Mary and the women come running in, “Jesus is alive.” The Bible says they didn’t believe her.
Mark mentions that later two other people show up claiming they had seen Jesus alive. In Luke 24 we read the story of Jesus appearing to two disciples who were walking from Jerusalem to Emmaus, a distance of about eleven miles. They didn’t recognize Jesus. I would have loved to have been on that original walk to Emmaus, because the Bible says Jesus started with Moses (that’s Genesis) and took them all the way through the Old Testament telling how all the scriptures predicted the Messiah would suffer and die. When they finally arrived at their house, they invited their companion to join them for dinner. Jesus, who was the guest, became the host, because the Bible says when He broke the bread, their eyes were opened
and they recognized it was Jesus. Then He, poof!, just disappeared. They were so excited they turned around and traveled eleven miles back to tell the disciples. I imagine they ran this time. Out of breath, I can hear one of them telling Peter, “We saw the Lord! He’s alive!” Mary probably chimed in, “See I told you!” But it says the disciples still didn’t believe.
Of course, Jesus is aware of all of this, so He appeared in the room and rebuked the disciples. He said, “Where’s your faith, guys? I told you I would come back from the grave, and then these witnesses told you. But you guys are stubborn as a mule. Here I am. Now do you believe?” I’m sure they backtracked and said, “Sorry, Lord. Yes, now we believe!”
I think we learn an important lesson from this episode. The best proof of the resurrection isn’t an empty tomb. The best proof of the resurrection is when you meet Jesus.
I know Jesus is alive not because of any of the arguments about the historical resurrection. I know He’s alive because He’s my best friend. He lives inside of me and I talk to Him all the time.
When Saul was persecuting the church, he heard all their claims that Jesus was alive, but he didn’t believe any of them. In fact, he approved of Stephen’s death, and was active in arresting Christians. But one day on the road to Damascus he suddenly believed in the resurrection, because he had a close encounter of the Jesus kind. Later he wrote about the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. “He presented himself alive to Peter, then to his closest followers, and later to more than five hundred of his followers all at the same time, most of them still around (although a few have since died); that he then spent time with James and the rest of those he commissioned to represent him; and that he finally presented himself alive to me.” (1 Corinthians 15:5-8)
Paul had heard all the arguments, but he didn’t believe it. But when he met Jesus, he believed Him.
It’s great if you ever get a chance to visit the empty tomb in Jerusalem, but you don’t need to see that. You just need to know Him. Salvation isn’t knowing about Jesus; it is knowing Jesus.
III. JESUS GAVE US A JOB TO DO
In these final words of Mark’s writing, he packs the great commission, God’s promise of protection and the ascension together. Jesus has given us three tasks to do.
A. “Tell everyone the good news about Me!”
Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14) There are 2.3 billion Christians, twice as many as the number of Muslims. Christianity is the fastest growing faith in the world. There are over 400,000 missionaries taking the gospel to every people group on the planet.
B. “I will equip and empower you!”
Jesus said, “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49) It’s a dangerous plan to start driving your car across a desert with your gas tank on empty. You won’t make it. And it’s frustrating to try to serve the Lord without the power of the Holy Spirit. If the disciples had immediately gone out and started sharing, they would have failed. But they prayed for ten days after Jesus ascended and they were filled with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost and they were empowered and equipped. Thousands were saved and added to the church. We’re the same way. We must always pray for the filling of the Holy Spirit. “It’s not by your might, or by your power, but by my Spirit says the Lord.”
C. “I will protect you until you finish your assignment!”
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God.” (Isaiah 43:1-3)
Did you catch what Jesus said about poisonous snakes and drinking poison? Obviously, there are some churches that have taken those words so literally that they have services where they take poisonous snakes out of boxes and handle them to show their faith. How many of you have heard of snake-handling churches? These tend to be small Pentecostal churches in the Appalachian region. Snake handling is outlawed in every state except West Virginia.
Wendy Bagwell was a Southern Gospel singer and comedian. He tells the story about his group being in a little church to sing and they started bringing out the rattlesnakes to handle. Wendy asked the pastor, “Where is your back door? We’re leaving.” The Pastor said, “We don’t have a back door.” Wendy asked him, “Well, where do you want one?”
Someone once asked me what I thought about snake handling and I said, “I think a lot of them are dead.” And indeed dozens of them have died. I suppose because their faith wasn’t strong enough. I don’t want to make fun of any group, because these folks are sincere. I just think they’re sincerely wrong. So what was Jesus talking about? I think the perfect fulfillment of his promise can be found in Acts 28. The Apostle Paul was shipwrecked on the island of Malta. They were building a fire on the beach. A viper came out of the woods and bit Paul on the hand. He just shook it off into the fire. All the natives expect him to swell up and die. But when he didn’t, they thought he was a god, so they took him to the main official on the island.
These words shouldn’t be a license to tempt God.
But it’s Jesus’ promise that He will protect you while you are on mission for Him. You wonder, “I am sure some missionaries have died in service for the Lord.” The Bible says our days are numbered and it is appointed once for a person to die. Sometimes God gets more glory in the death of a servant than in their living.
He’s alive! Do you believe Him? Do you know Him? Will you follow Him?