Title: He still rolls away stones
Text: Mark 16:1-8
Background: Here we have in our text the Savior of the world had just died on the Cross. The Gospel of Mark records one of Jesus final words from the Cross, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which means “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me”? Those who heard the cry thought that he was calling out to Elijah for help as Jewish tradition tells us. They offered him sour wine as a sedative for his anguish. And then Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and breathed his last breathe and gave up the ghost. Then temple veil ripped from top to bottom. When the nearby Centurion saw what happened, he could not help but to say “truly this is the son of God. There were women there witnessing this heinous crime from afar. They also witnessed where they buried our Lord which was in a borrowed tomb and rolled a stone against the tombs door. That stone was to prevent any followers from coming to steal his body away. That stone was used to keep what was inside sealed from the outside world. That stone was used to block off the last rest stop for a Jesus dead. However, they did not know who they were burying behind that stone. It is here we enter our message. It is here we see the mission of 3 faithful women.
Mission of the Women
The Sabbath is now past. Three faithful women were now able to show their devotion to their Savior. This band of faithful women was comprised of Mary, Jesus’ mother, Mary Magdalene, the woman who Jesus cast out the devils and Salome the mother of the sons of Zebedee. It was early Sunday morning and they were going to prepare the Jesus’ dead body with ceremonial anointing oil and spices.
I would like to applaud these women for their faithfulness and devotion to the Lord. They were on there way to honor our Lord and Savior. He has done so much for them and they were coming to give this dead man respect and a proper home going. They took a risk of running into Roman soldiers who may have been guarding a tomb of a so called criminal. But out love they were willing to risk it all for the one they loved. How many of us would take such a risk to show such a devotion to Jesus. It is risky business to follow Jesus but it is worth it! Somebody today took risk by coming to church to see if Jesus is worth it. Risk is nothing to faith to the world. God honors our risk.
In v. 3, as they were on their way to the tomb they ask among themselves, “who will roll away the stone from the tomb for us?” In deed these women, knew the obstacle that was ahead of them. They knew that individually and collectively they did not have the strength to move the stone that prevented them from get to Jesus. It was a barrier that blocked them from getting to their goal. For these women this was a stone of doubt because they thought that they may not be able to get by it. It was stone of distraction because it hindered them from getting to the one they love. It was a stone of defeat because they believed their hope was now dead. The stone was in their way. Have you ever had anything in your way that hindered you and the people close to you that you could not do anything about? My brothers and sisters, all of us deal with stones of doubt, distraction and defeat one time or another in our lives. These stones are insurmountable barriers that impede your progress: they are stones of poverty stones of hurt and pain, stones of depression, stones of unforgiveness, stones of lost dreams, which hold you back and need to be removed so you can be who God called us to be.
Surprise for the women
Next in v. 4, these women had a surprise when they got to the tomb. When they got to the tomb they looked up and the stone was rolled away. They did not touch it. They did not employ anyone help to move it for them. All that the bible says about this situation is that they looked up and the stone was rolled away. My brothers and my sisters, whenever you have a situation that is too big for you to handle, it is always good to look up. Look up to the hills which cometh your help your help comes from the Lord. Don’t look anywhere else but up. If you look inside yourself you will get depressed. If you look around you will get distracted. If you look back you will get defeated. Look up to Jesus he is the author and finisher of your faith. They looked up and noticed the stone was rolled away. We don’t know how according to the text. All we know that it was out of the way. But this tells us how stones are removed in our lives. God has a way of getting them out of our lives that we don’t even know how. Have you ever had a problem that was there at one time but the next time you looked it disappeared? God had already worked it out. A problem on your job one minute but you remained faithful and the next time you had to deal with it God had already work it out! Problems with your finances and the next thing you knew God already work it out. God has away of removing people, places and things that hinder us that we don’t know any thing about. All I can tell is that he sends angels to go before to watch and protect his children. After that…
Message to the women:
In v. 5, they entered the tomb expecting to see the body of their dead leader. They anticipated that He would be their so they can give proper homage to their Savior. But when they went in the tomb they had a surprise waiting for them. They saw a young man in a white robe sitting on the right side and they were scared. This man was an angel sent on assignment with a message for these faithful followers. In verse 6, the angel says to them “be not afraid”, “You seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified, He is risen! He is not here! Look at the place where they laid him”. These women were expecting to find a dead Jesus but they discovered when they got there He was a Risen Lord! They thought it was going to be one way but upon arrival they discovered something different. Have you ever expected one thing and got something better than what you expected? You thought that the person that you loaned some money to when they were in a bind that they would do the same in your time of need but they didn’t. However, you received unexpected check in the mail. You thought you were saving up to move in a better apartment but God opened away for you to buy your first house. You just wanted to come to church sit quiet but God elevated to serve in a ministry that not only blesses others but it blesses you! There are some unexpected blessings when you follow after Jesus. God doesn’t always come how you want him come. You just have to be open enough to say “any way you bless me Lord I will be satisfied”. These women expected one thing and got something else. They did not get a dead body but they got a message. That was “he is not dead, he as risen”. This is where the entire Gospel hangs! Jesus is yet alive! This is the good news, He lives! Because he lives you can face tomorrow! These women had a message from God through a messenger. My beloved, God is giving you a message today. If were looking for Jesus is a dead place, He is not there! Some of us are living in some dead places and working on some dead jobs. You don’t have to remain where you are living amongst the dead any longer. Jesus is going take that thing that is dead and make it alive! The angel told the women to look where they laid him. He is not there. Jesus got up from the dead. He overcame what tried to hold him down. He came from a dead situation so you would not have to stay in one! After that…
Instructions for the women
Not only did these women get message about Jesus’ whereabouts but they also got some instructions from Jesus. In verse 7, the angel tells them to “go, tell His disciples -- and Peter -- that Jesus is going before you into Galilee”. Pause. Go tell those who left me when things were getting tough and Peter. And Peter…Why is He singling Peter out? Many of us can identify with the disciples because they have abandoned the Lord when things got tight went back to our old ways for a moment. But some of us are like Peter who denied Him 3 times after promising He would never leave his side. But Jesus, who is rich in mercy and forgiveness, tells the women to make sure you tell everybody and especially Peter that I will meet them all in Galilee. Jesus has risen from the grave with power and is able restore you from the worst sin. Tell the disciples and _____, whatever you name is put it right there because Jesus came back from the dead to restore your life back better than before!
Jesus tells his disciple “I am going before into Galilee where you will see me as I said to you”. Aren’t you glad that Jesus keeps his promises? If he said that settles it! He has proven Himself to be faithful. His promises are true. And since He keeps his promises you can put all your trust in him. You can do what He says and go where he says go with confidence knowing that He is there with you. He tells his followers to go to Galilee, the place where Jesus did most of His public ministry. It was the place where He performed the first miracle. Galilee means circle. A circle does not have a beginning or an ending. It symbolizes eternity. In other words Jesus is telling his followers I am going to a place that has no beginning or no ending and I want you there with me. God is saying to us that he wants us to go to place that has no beginning or no end. But only way we get there is by following Jesus as Lord and Savior. He wants to give you the blessing of eternal life now if you follow him!
The amazement of the women
In verse 8, they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone because they were afraid. They ran out tomb awestruck about what happened and could not speak about. I wish I could say to my sisters, “this is no time to stay quiet”! Christ has risen. Don’t hold back our testimony. Easter morning is not time to shut your mouth. The redeemed of the Lord need to say so!! The stone has been rolled away and my Redeemer lives! Look at your neighbor and tell them “My Redeemer lives and He stills rolls away stones”. My brothers and sisters the text teaches us 3 things. And in order to discover the lesson in the text, we have look at the missing person in the text, Jesus. Jesus teaches several things from this empty tomb:
1. Your failure is final. It is not the end. Your failure may be thing beginning of something new in your life. The disciples failed Jesus but when He rose from the grave, He restored them. God is going to do a new work in you and you will succeed this time!
2. There are some things that are going to have to die in order to get better. Jesus died so we can live better and have an abundant life. You may have to die to self to be resurrected better. A relationship may have to die. A habit may have to die. Something may have to die so God can raise you back up better than ever before.
3. The rolled back stone is a sign of our release! Easter Sunday is about release, deliverance and victory our situations that have been holding you back. The same power that raised Jesus from dead is the same power that gives you new life, a life without limits. Jesus rolled away stone so you can walk in victory. So my brother and my sisters, don’t the stone stop you.
Celebration: Nothing can hold you back! The devil wants the stone to stop your marriage, stop your finances, stop you from getting delivered, stop you from getting out of depression, to stop you from getting healed. Don’t let the stone stop you! Keep going forward. Don’t let the stone stop you. Jesus has already rolled away the stones in your life so you don’t have to deal with it.
It was early, one Sunday morning, before the break of day, He rolled away the stone and JESUS ROSE WITH ALL POWER IN HIS HANDS. Power to release you from the bondage of sin to give us victory in His name! He’s got power to roll your stone away. He got power to heal! He got power that defeated the enemy. My God got power!