Have you ever been surprised? Mark 16 tells us about the greatest surprise of all time. The resurrection of Jesus Christ!
“There is no historic incident better or more variously supported than the resurrection of Christ”
-Brooke Foss Wescott
The basis of Christianity rests on His resurrection!
“If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said; if he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like his teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.”
-Timothy Keller, The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism
MARK 16:1-8 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. 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.
Through this amazing event He changed lives forever. In particular, four people were immediately affected by His resurrection.
1. MARY MAGDALENE
They called her Mary Magdalene because she was from Magdala. Just like Jesus was called Jesus the Nazarene because he was from Nazareth. Magdala was a thriving town with a large textile industry. It is likely that she was wealthy. However, she was a woman plagued with internal struggle. She was possessed by seven demons that Jesus cast out. In the Bible, the number seven is a number of completion. She was completely overwhelmed by demons!
On the outside she may have looked beautiful and well-off, but on the inside she was broken and separated from God. She may have even carried a bad reputation, but Jesus knew who she really was.
1 Samuel 16:7 God tells us that
The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
He freed her from demons and wickedness. He calmed her soul from anxiety. For the rest of her life she continued to serve Jesus as a faithful servant.
2. MARY MOTHER OF JAMES
She was mother of James the Less. There were two disciples named James. One, the more popular James who spent his time very close to Jesus, and one who followed Him without as much intimacy, James the Less. She must have spent a lot of time explaining who her son was. “No, the other James” She is a backdrop surrounded by more interesting characters.
Even though she may not have had an eventful past like Mary Magdalene's, her future still matters in Christ. Some people stick out like Mary Magdalene, and others might blend in like Mary Mother of James. That's okay. A testimony is a testimony. What he did in Mary Magdalene's life is no more important for what he did in the life of Mary Mother of James. We are all unique pieces in His story of love and grace. Without each piece, the picture cannot be seen in full for all the beauty it holds.
Salome is the wife of a wealthy fisherman named Zebedee. He is mentioned in Mark 1:19-20:
“When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets. 20 And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him.”
Though we never hear about Zebedee again after this, we do know that Salome begins to serve and follow Jesus. As the wife of a wealthy business owner, she may have helped fund much of Jesus' ministry. She even asked Jesus if her sons could sit at His right and left in His coming kingdom, which He said He could not grant because it was only the Father's right to grant that. She knew His worth and wished her sons to be as close to him as possible! She became a follower of Jesus because of the positive influence of her children!
“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.”
It was important that Peter heard this news. He was probably hiding out with the rest of the disciples sulking in his defeat. His best friend had died, he deserted Him and, he even denied knowing Him three times. Jesus told him he would, he didn't believe it and now he was realizing the truth. He was most likely having the worst weekend of his life.
Hearing the news of his resurrection would have surged uncontrollable joy within him. His best friend is Lord and he is ALIVE! He didn't deserve God's grace in this moment, but he received it anyways because God's grace is always undeserved.
Jesus is still changing the lives of people around us every day. He died for us, and now we can be brought to life through his grace. Are we willing to accept this as truth? Are we ready to take the grace he offers us?
Are we ready to be raised to life?