Sunrise on the Square – He is Risen!

Posted: April 16, 2017 in Mark, Uncategorized
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Sunrise on the Square
Mark 16:1-8, “He is Risen!”

(1) 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.

Why had the women come so early?  This was their first opportunity to address Jesus’ body according to Jewish customs.  Jesus was taken down from the cross just prior to sunset on Friday, given over to Joseph of Arimathea in just enough time for he & Nicodemus the Pharisee to put Jesus in the tomb.  They had already packed Jesus’ body with spices, but it’s possible that (1) the women did not know all the work that had already been done, or (2) they had additional work that they desired to do.

In any case, they brought their own aromatic spices, and arrived at the tomb at their very first opportunity.  Sabbath regulations kept them from doing anything until sundown Saturday, and by that time it was too late.  Thus they planned for early Sunday morning, arriving at the tomb between first light and the full dawn.  It was imperative that they get there…their need was pressing.

  • How pressing is your need for Jesus?  Obviously the women were surprised upon arriving at the tomb, but they had come to serve – to show their devotion.  It was urgent & necessary – they couldn’t bear to wait.  Do you have an urgency with Jesus?  Have you realized your pressing need to love & to serve Him?

(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.

Their devotion was admirable, but their advance planning was a bit lacking.  A massive stone lay in front of the tomb, and it would take more than 3 women to move it.  (It would take more than 3 men, too!  Some scholars estimate it weighed between 450-650 pounds.)  This was a true problem for the women.  After all, it’s not as if the Roman guards would be willing to help them.  How would Mary & the others do it?  They didn’t know, but they didn’t let the obstacle stop them.  They would figure it out when they arrived.  (And when they did, they found that the problem was solved.)

  • Have you let anything keep you from Jesus?  Perhaps there have been perceived difficulties in the way?  Maybe you thought you needed to clean up your life before coming to Jesus?  Go to Him anyway!  You might be surprised at what He does when you do! …
  • Don’t let perceived obstacles keep you from Christ.  He is God Almighty…there are no obstacles for Him!

Of course, God had already dealt with the problem before the women arrived.  Not only was the stone removed, but so were the guards (a fact not mentioned by Mark).  The women had taken a step of faith in going to the tomb, and it was rewarded.  Instead of a stone, they saw a man – and not just any man, but an angel.  It’s no wonder they were “alarmed”…we would be, too!

We could stop right here and acknowledge a miracle.  After all, we have the mysterious removal of a several-hundred pound stone & the appearance of an angel.  That alone is enough to glorify God for His miraculous power.  Yet that’s only the opening act!  That’s just the attention-grabber.  The main miracle had already taken place, and the only reason for the angel’s appearance was to announce it.

(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.

Right here – this is the greatest news in all history!  The women had no need to fear or to be alarmed, though they certainly had reason to be excited!  Jesus wasn’t there.  His body had been in the tomb, but not any longer.  Why?  There was no need.  Only dead bodies belong in graves, and Jesus wasn’t dead!  Yes, He was dead – this was affirmed by the angel saying that Jesus was the one “who was crucified.”  But Jesus is no longer dead.  He is risen – He is alive!

  • There is no better news in all the world than what the angel told the women that morning.  Jesus is risen, Jesus is alive!  Why is it such good news?  Because it means the price for sin has been paid in full.  It means that the forgiveness of God & His gift of eternal life is available for the asking.  The very reason Jesus was crucified was because of our sin.  As the perfect Son of God, Jesus hadn’t done anything wrong.  He didn’t do anything deserving of death.  We did.  We deserved the cross, yet Jesus took it.  Praise God that He did, but how can we know it was enough?  How can we know that what Jesus did upon the cross was sufficient for you & me?  The resurrection.  He rose!  He did not only die; He came back from death.  He defeated death.  He lives, and now anyone can have life in His name!
  • Do you?  Are you certain?  You can be. …

This kind of news demands a response, and that’s what the angel calls upon the women to do…
(7) But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” (8) So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid."

The command: go & tell.  This was too good of news to keep to themselves.  All of the disciples needed to know…including Peter, the one who had failed Jesus so miserably a few days earlier.  They needed to know of Jesus’ victory, of the truth of His gospel, and of the mission in front of them.

The women obeyed…probably “going” a bit faster than they intended as they “fled” the scene.  They were silent to strangers on the road, but they soon told the apostles.  “Amazed” and “afraid” as they were, they did not let it stop them from the commission they had received.

  • Nothing should.  The news is too good.  The impact is too important.  It needs to be shared, and we are the ones to share it!

It was plain to the women that everything was changing.  Jesus had literally risen from the dead.  How could anything possibly remain the same?  It can’t.

Beloved, let us be changed by the news of Jesus’ resurrection!  Let us also be amazed and astounded at Jesus’ victory over death & sin!  May nothing hold us back from sharing this news with all the world!

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