And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. (Mark 16:6 ESV)
This Sunday, we conclude our sermon series, “The Power of the Son: Expositions in the Gospel of Mark.” We have walked through this book of the Bible together as a church for about two years. As we come to a close, it would be helpful if we each considered how much our faith in Christ has grown in the last two years.
As Paul prayed for the church in Colossians 1, the end goal of sitting at the feet of God’s word is that we would be “bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Life has certainly hit many of us hard these past two years, but as we’ve beheld the picture of Christ that Mark was inspired to paint for us, have we increased in the knowledge of God? The purpose of hearing God’s word is that our faith would increase and we would become more like Christ – have we seen this in our lives, or has our time in Mark been merely academic, or formalistic?
Hopefully we can all report that our faith in Christ has grown, even if slightly; however, we would probably all also say that we aren’t where we should be. If that’s the case – take heart! You are not alone.
As we’ve seen in the latter chapters of Mark’s gospel, the disciples – the very ones who beheld Christ in the flesh – suffered from doubts and distractions. In fact, they all ran away during Jesus’ darkest hour! But Jesus doesn’t condemn them, does he? He doesn’t say, “After all I’ve done! The miracles, the teachings, the fulfilled prophecies – you deserted me! And since you’ve deserted me, I will desert you!”
Thank God that he doesn’t treat us like that, because we all would be in trouble! Rather than seek revenge on his people for their unbelief, Jesus fulfills the climax of the prophecies he was speaking of all along, he rises from the grave! He defeats death! He conquers the enemy! The seemingly immovable stone is rolled away and Christ is alive, hallelujah!
When the women come to the tomb that glorious morning, they are greeted by an angel, who, after announcing the miracle of the resurrection, tells them to “go and tell the disciples.” Think about that. Go tell them! Show them what happened! Do you see the heart of the Savior? He wants them to believe in him! He had every right to say that they abandoned him and thus he can find a new set of followers; rather, he sends his messenger to tell the women to “fear not” and then go tell the others! Even in his hour of divine, powerful triumph, Jesus is a gentle and loving Savior!
Brothers and sisters, are you encumbered by the snares of this world? Come and see. The empty tomb calls you to behold Christ. His angels tell you to behold Christ. Christ himself wants you to behold him – that you may love him, worship him, proclaim him, and draw close to him. He is alive!