He Is Risen

  Sunday School Lesson

 

Key Verse:  And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. Mark 16:6,KJV

 

Introduction: Our celebrations of Easter can be pretty bland. Easter eggs, chocolate, and lilies are not very threatening. But the first Easter was scary. If Jesus was alive, then life could not continue as usual.The resurrection is a historical fact. Faith in the resurrected Jesus begins with the acceptance of eyewitness testimony. That testimony is collaborated by all four Gospels and literally hundreds of people (1 Corinthians 15:6). Depending on how one counts, Jesus made 13 resurrection appearances.

Judge Herbert Casteel was a judge in Missouri for years. He wrote that if collaborative eyewitness testimonies came into his courtroom similar to the record that we have in the New Testament, he would have to conclude that Jesus of Nazareth was alive.

 

Going to the Tomb

Mark 16:1-3KJV

 

1And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.

And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

 

The women were the last at the cross and the first at the tomb. They were quicker to believe than the men. Mark mentions three—Mary from Magdala (from whom Jesus had cast out seven demons, Mark 16:9), Mary the mother of James (about whom we know nothing), and Salome (very possibly the mother of James and John).Jesus’ burial by Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus was, of necessity, done quickly. They only had three hours to prepare Jesus’ body before the Sabbath began. Even though the men used 75 pounds of spices, the women felt compelled (out of love?) to anoint Jesus’ body again. So as soon as the Sabbath was over and the sun began to rise, they scurried off to the tomb. They arrived very early on the first day of the week. (That phrase appears several times in the Gospel of Mark and usually in a positive sense, except in Mark 15:1). These earliest witnesses of the resurrection began to discuss their obstacle while walking to the tomb. They remembered the rock’s size and the Roman seal across it. What would they do? No worries.

 

Entering the Tomb

Mark 16:4-5KJV

 

And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.

 

God’s power took care of the women’s problem. The stone had been rolled away. No doubt rather carefully, they entered the tomb. This was quite a risk and not a little frightening. They saw an angel. Young man is only used in Mark’s Gospel. He was dressed in a white robe. All the women could do was stare and be alarmed (the translation of alarmed is the same word for “marvel”).

The announcement by the angel contains three imperatives, two indicatives, and one promise. The imperatives: 1. Don’t be alarmed. This is the standard line that angels use with humans in the Bible. 2. See the place where they laid him. The resurrection is of such significance that Heaven invites us to investigate it. There is no need to kiss one’s brains good-bye on Easter or have blind faith. 3. Go tell his disciples and Peter. While the disciples would be skeptical at first to accept this announcement, this message would be especially important to Peter (John 20:3-10; 1 Corinthians 15:5).

 

He Is Risen

Mark 16:6-8

 

And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.

 

The two indicatives: 1. You are looking for Jesus . . . who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. What God has done precedes what we do. 2. He is going ahead of you into Galilee. Each of the Gospels has a great commission statement. Galilee is the place of that statement for Matthew and Mark. Jerusalem is the place of that statement in Luke and John.The promise is singular: There you will see him, just as he told you. In light of the resurrection, that promise is made all the more sure.

Mark’s Gospel ends as abruptly as it began. If the Gospel ends in verse 8 (there is a major textual issue with verses 9-20), Jesus does not even show up in his own resurrection account. The women run from the tomb scared to death—but hoping in faith that it is all true. Mark uses three words for their anxiety: trembling (trauma), bewildered (ecstasy), and afraid (phobia). All of this underscores the mysterious, busy Messiah presented in Mark’s Gospel.John Ortberg tells about a minister named Skip Viau who, in a children’s sermon, posed this question to the kids: “What were Jesus’ first words to the disciples after he was raised from the dead?” Before Skip could answer the question, a little girl waved her hand. “I know,” she said. “Ta da!” We are the “Ta da!” people. We have resurrection faith.