This is a three-part series called Death to Life that addresses the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These notes and commentary have not been proofed for grammar or spelling. It is presented as is.
On Christmas we celebrate the birth of Jesus. On Good Friday we remember the death of Jesus, but on Easter we rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus. There are many reasons we do this, but one of the reasons is given in Romans 4:25 which says, “He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God” (NLT). When Jesus resurrected from the dead it proved that everything He was, is, and will be was true. When He resurrected from the dead it confirmed that everything He said and taught was true. As a result we are able to be “right with God.” This means our sins are forgiven, we are pardoned, and the wall of sin between God and you has been removed. You now can have access to God and eternal life.
With that said, let’s take a look at what Mark tells us about the resurrection of Jesus and apply some important spiritual truths to our lives today. Mark 16:1 says, Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they went to the tomb. 3 On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4 But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside. 5 When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked, 6 but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. 7 Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.” 8 The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, and they said nothing to anyone because they were too frightened. Then they briefly reported all this to Peter and his companions. Afterward Jesus himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life. Amen (NLT). From what Mark says about the resurrection, I believe we see who the resurrection of Jesus is really for. When Jesus was raised from the dead in power and glory, who did He do this for?
The resurrection is for those who feel forgotten
For one, the resurrection of Jesus is for those who feel forgotten. Notice carefully what Mark says in verse 5, When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked, 6 but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! (NLT). What were the followers of Jesus doing during the three days while Jesus was dead? Some went back to work like normal. Some traveled back home. Some stayed in town, but they all had questions. Some were confused and bewildered. If it were me, I think I would have felt abandoned by God. Forgotten by God. I think I would have been asking questions like, “Where is God is all this? Why didn’t God do something about what was happening? Why did He allow Jesus to go through what He went through?”
But the reality was, God had not forgotten anyone. God had not abandoned His people or His plan. God was at work. What looked like a disaster on the cross and what looked like defeat in the tomb was actually God at work bringing about victory. Sometimes what looks like disaster in your life and what looks like defeat in your life is actually God working to bring victory in your life.
An angel tells the incredible good news about Jesus being resurrected. The angels were witnesses of the resurrection of Christ and the behind-the-scenes work Jesus was doing during those three days in the tomb. Even if we do not see God at work, this does not mean he is not working. God is often working on our behalf in ways we cannot imagine and in ways we cannot see.
- In the Bible we are told about a teenager named Joseph who was abandon by his brothers, thrown into a well, sold into slavery, falsely accused of attempted rape, and then placed in prison. Behind all that mess, God was working behind the scenes to where Joseph would eventually be the second highest ranked individual below the pharaoh in all the land.
Like Joseph, you may be in the midst of many problems and feel like your life has been thrown into the bottom of the well and falsely accused and things are not turning out like you would have hoped… but it is at those times that God is still loving you, working on your behalf, helping you grow, and getting you ready to receive what He has for you.
The resurrection is for those who have felt forgotten.
The resurrection is for those who have failed
Number two, the resurrection of Jesus is for those who have failed. Mark goes on to say something significant in verse 7, but if you are not looking for it, you may miss it. Mark writes that the angel said in verse 7, “Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee” (NLT). Why would this angel specifically mention Peter out of all the disciples? Because of what Peter did a few days earlier. While Jesus was on trial some of the men began to spit at Jesus. They blindfolded Him and beat him with their fists and slap him across the face. While all this was going on something else was happening that involved Peter. We pick up the story in Mark 14:66,
Meanwhile, Peter was in the courtyard below. One of the servant girls who worked for the high priest came by 67 and noticed Peter warming himself at the fire. She looked at him closely and said, “You were one of those with Jesus of Nazareth.” 68 But Peter denied it. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, and he went out into the entryway. Just then, a rooster crowed. 69 When the servant girl saw him standing there, she began telling the others, “This man is definitely one of them!” 70 But Peter denied it again. A little later some of the other bystanders confronted Peter and said, “You must be one of them, because you are a Galilean.” 71 Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know this man you’re talking about!” 72 And immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he broke down and wept. (NLT)
By his actions and words Peter had denied that he even knew Jesus, let alone that he was a follower of Jesus. Jesus knew Peter would do this. When Peter realized what he had said and done it broke his heart. It grieved him that he was ashamed of Jesus.
But the statement by the angel to specifically tell Peter was a statement of grace, forgiveness, and acceptance by Jesus. Through the angel, Jesus was telling Peter that even though you failed I still love you, even though you denied me I still want you, even though you abandoned me I have not abandoned you.
The resurrection of Jesus is for those who have failed. Have you failed God? Have you sinned against Him? Have you denied that you belonged to Him when you participated in some activity you know was wrong? Have you failed God? If you have then the resurrection of Jesus is for you.
The resurrection is for those who need a purpose
Number three, the resurrection of Jesus is for those who need a purpose. In verse 8 Mark says, “Afterward Jesus himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life” (NLT). As a follower of Jesus you not only have the opportunity to walk by faith and to walk in His forgiveness and to demonstrate what a life of faith looks like and sounds like, but you have been given a purpose. You have been sent as a representative of God to tell others this good news about Jesus Christ and the salvation and the eternal life He brings.
You have been “sent.” Your life is a mission. God wants to strategically and intentionally use your life to make a difference in other’s lives on a spiritual level.
- You may think the reason you work where you work is so you can have money to pay bills. That is partly true, but the real reason you are there is to build relationships with others in order to share the gospel with them and if they are already a believer to encourage them in their faith in some way.
- That school or college you go to is helping you prepare for the future, but there are people who are in your life that God has “sent” you to. You get the opportunity to build that relationship, pray for them, and eventually share the gospel with them or encourage them in the spiritual journey.
When you begin to look at your life through a divine “sent” filter you will begin to see your life from a completely different perspective and you will see your purpose more clearly. The resurrection of Jesus gives believers a purpose.
The resurrection is for those who need hope
Number four, the resurrection of Jesus is for those who need hope. Verse 8 says, “Afterward Jesus himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life” (NLT). To help us understand “salvation” and the hope it brings it helps to understand salvation in connection with three words.
- Salvation means to be rescued. It’s like a person stranded on an island and his hope is that he will be rescued.
- Salvation means to be recovered. It’s like the person who is terminally ill and his hope is that he will recover from the sickness.
- Salvation means to escape. It’s like the person who is trapped by wild animals and his hope is to escape to freedom and safety.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ brings hope to the person who knows he is stranded in sin, broken due to sin, and trapped by sin and his only hope of rescue, recovery, and escape is if someone shows up and saves him. The resurrection of Jesus is for those who need salvation.
The resurrection is for those who need new life
Number five, the resurrection is for those who need new life. Mark concludes this section in verse 8 by saying, “Afterward Jesus himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life” (NLT). The subject of eternal life comes up over and over again in the Bible.
- John 3:16 says, “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (NLT). God loves you and He wants you to believe in His Son and as a result you will receive eternal life.
- Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord” (NLT). Even though it cost Jesus everything, it is free to you. Jesus paid your wage of sin on the cross so that you can have eternal life. This is a gift He offers you today.
- 1 John 5:11 says, “And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life” (NLT). When you receive the Son, you receive it all. This eternal life is “in his Son.” Not in doing good, not in doing better, not in stopping some sin in your life. This new life is in a relationship, it’s in His Son.
- Matthew 7:13-14 says, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (NASB).
If you haven’t already, today you found “the way… that leads to life.” You can be one of those few who say, “I believe in Jesus. I believe that He is the Son of God. He died for my sins. He was resurrected so that I could be right with God and have new life, abundant life, and eternal life in Him.”