Sunrise Service April 8,2007
Sunrise Service April 8, 2007
Gospel of Mark 16: 1 – 16:8
Jesus was DEAD – Really dead.
None of his followers expected it. They had just come to fully realize that Jesus was the messiah.
They never had any power they dreamed if it. Jesus was the glue that held the group together and who knows what will happen now. It started so simply. Jesus just had a way of explaining God that just make you know he was special.
The 12 had been with him the longest, and the idea of one of them betraying the teacher had been unthinkable. The crowds had grown but, lately almost disappeared as his tone had changed and he hardly did any miracles anymore.
It was a week off surprises. It started on a high and the suddenly it seemed like the world had ended.
Just a week ago Jesus had ridden into Jerusalem on a donkey. The crowds had gathered and shouted Hosanna, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
It was such a day. Then just a few nights ago. Jesus was arrested and it was a horrible sight. The people came out for the trial, Jewish authorities’ ash Pilot to sentence Jesus to death and when, he found no guilt the crowd shouted crucify him.
It was a terrible scene. The women in our scripture this morning were witness to Jesus crucifixion. They were there when he died, they heard the words. They weren’t there for a show. They were there as family, holding a vigil for their loved one. What else could they do except to be close so Jesus could hear their cries?
They watched as the body was removed and wrapped in a linen cloth. Everything had happened so quickly. It was the day of preparation for the Passover and they had to be inside before sundown. The events of that day were horrible and the images and sounds would not leave their minds. Their hearts ached with grief.
The disciples were holding up (hiding) some place in town. They observed the Sabbath and did not travel, probably a combination of fear of the mob and a fear of God.
HOW COULD GOD LET THIS HAPPEN?
It probably seemed like the Sabbath would never end .The Sabbath starts at sundown on Friday and ends at sundown on Saturday.
The women had made a list of sorts. Proper care had not been given to Jesus body. They would go and get the items to wash and prepare the body. When the Sabbath ended on Saturday night they went out and purchased the materials needed and then made the plans to head outside the city at day break.
No one thought of that, they should have insisted that some of the men come along. All they could do is go and try. They really just wanted to be as close as possible to mourn their loss and express their pain. The anointing of the body was a customary act of love and devotion. It wasn’t that it should be done…it must be done so they could have closure. In a way it was an act of worship.
By the time they reached the garden it is light enough that they can see the entrance of tomb.
Look, are my eyes deceiving me? It looks like the stone is rolled away?
I imagine that the three speed up their pace, perhaps even run to the entrance, but, I doubt that they were feeling Joy, I suspect the depression and pain quickly turned to fear – the obvious questions:
WHO, WHEN, WHY?
Did the Romans do this? Did some robbers or maybe the Jewish authorities? The scripture says they entered the tomb. And there was a young man there. Other portions of scripture tell us he is an angel. Something about the man is alarming to the ladies, it could be the surprise of him being in there, perhaps there was something more about his appearance, but Mark does not give us any additional guesses.
He has a message, “YOU ARE LOOKING FOR JESUS THE NAZARENE, WHO WAS CRUCIFIED. HE HAS RISEN! HE IS NOT HERE. SEE THE PLACE WHERE THEY LAID HIM. BUT GO, TELL HIS DISCIPLES AND PETER, ‘HE IS GOING AHEAD OF YOU INTO GALILEE. THERE YOU WILL SEE HIM, JUST AS HE TOLD YOU.”
The message includes a special knowledge of who they are looking for. Jesus the Nazarene, that he was crucified. Both subjects are facts. Then the new information starts.
HE HAS RISEN! HE IS NOT HERE.
Do you think that they could connect the words of the man with anything they could actually understand?
Folks, people don’t get up and walk away after they are crucified. The Romans are really good at it. They do it everyday.
The women’s minds had to be all jumbled up with what they knew as fact, the shock of an open tomb and a young man. The works could hardly mean much stacked up against all that had happened. All this was just crazy.
WHERE IS THE BODY OF THE LORD? WHO IS THIS MAN?
The message continues; Go tell his disciples and Peter, “HE IS GOING AHEAD OF YOU TO GALILEE.”
Ok, the first interesting piece of information is the women came to the grave to perform an act of worship and are given a different job. They are to go tell the disciples that Jesus has risen and will meet them in Galilee. They are told to go and share the good news with the disciples.
The Disciples and Peter – What is the difference, isn’t Peter a disciple…. Not if he did not know Jesus.
Peter had denied Jesus 3 times, he ran away in sorrow for being so weak and shallow. He had not kept his word and died with Jesus. Peter would probably not have considered himself a disciple. He might not even be with the group.
The women are to carry the amazing message. The scripture says they ran from the tomb confused and afraid.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have amazing freedoms available to us today. We have very little reason to come to worship together this morning with any kind of fear of someone discovering what we are doing. We don’t have a need to sneak around in darkness in order to worship our God.
In our country we have the freedom to declare that we are Christians and the worst that will happen is the hearer might think better or worse things about us depending on their personal point of view.
The story that Mark shares in his Gospel seems to fall short of actually declaring the good news.
The women are not expecting good news, all they had witnessed told them they were going to perform the final acts of love. They could not comprehend the words “HE IS RISEN.” Here is the question for all of us this morning, are you here this morning out of a since of duty, obligation or Love…
Are you here expecting something, are you expecting a great discovery?
Mark’s Gospel is said by many scholars to end here at verse 8. They give reasons like the best and oldest manuscripts end here and that the style and grammars change as if someone added the rest of the verses between 9 and 20 to help Mark have a better ending.
LET ME JUST SAY THAT, If this is Mark’s official ending, then we are left with an abrupt end.
It is an ending that provokes thought and questions. It is an ending that makes the reader become a part of the story and decide how it should end.
How will you respond to the good news? Your heads are clear, the pressure is low the risk is small…are you going to tell anyone the good news?
Are you going to take on the responsibility of sharing the news that Jesus did what he said he would…HE WAS RAISED FROM THE DEAD!
That means his promises are true…Folks this is not our little secret….it is the good news from God himself…
I know you have a heart for Jesus, or you would not have come here so early on a Sunday morning to share in a simple act of worship. But, does the GOOD NEWS give you joy, does the good news make you walk faster, Does the good news well up inside of you and make you want to sing?
Hear the good news:
Christ is raisen…He is risen indeed!
WILL YOU SAY THAT WITH ME…. (3 TIMES. )
PRAY WITH ME,
Gracious God, we come to have the fire renewed within hearts. We come to receive the good news in a fresh new way, we come to give you our worship and praise. Father, renew us like the spring we see all around us. Let us live the life you give with the joy and excitement of people that had real hope and peace. All glory, honor and praise belong to you. Amen.