Thursday, February 14, 2013

Mark 16 - Resurrection, Appearances, and Commission

LINK: Mark 16


BACKGROUND


Sunday at Sunrise


He is RISEN! This proves the Kingship of Jesus Christ! He fulfilled His claim that He would lay down His life and take it up again (John 10:17-18).

The order of events can sometimes be confusing when looking at all four accounts. I will try to explain it all in order. 

Before sunrise, an earthquake happened and an angel rolled away the stone and frightened the guards of the tomb (Matthew 28:2-4).

At early dawn, the women who followed Jesus brought spices to anoint His body. The women mentioned were Mary Magdalene (Luke 8:2, Mark 16:9), the "other" Mary who was the mother of James and Joses and wife of Clopas (Mark 15:40; John 19:25), Salome (Mark 16:1), and Joanna (Luke 24:10). We do not know who the "other women" included (Luke 24:9). Since women bring people into the world, it was only appropriate that at least two mothers would be the first to discover the empty tomb! 

Mary left to go and tell Peter and John (John 20:1-2). While she was gone, the other women saw two angels who told them Jesus had RISEN (Matthew 28:5-7; Mark 16:5-7; Luke 24:4-8). The Matthew and Mark accounts focus on only one angel.

Mary came back with Peter and John to tell them that Jesus was not in the tomb, but she did not know that He had risen (John 20:2).  Isn't it funny that John, the author, would say that he beat Peter in a foot race back to the tomb (John 20:4)? They saw the linen wrappings but still did not understand that Jesus had risen (John 20:9).  So, they went back to their homes. 


Many commentators believe that Mark ended his gospel here and an anonymous writer added Mark 16:9-20. They believe this was done shortly after A.D. 100.


240. Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene: Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb crying and after seeing two angels, she saw Jesus (even though she did not recognize Him at first)!  It is interesting to note that "no Jewish author in the ancient world would have invented a story with a woman as the first witness to this most important event" (The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament, John 20:10-14). Jesus tells Mary to "stop clinging/do not hold on." This does mean He did not want to be touched because He would have not allowed the other women to touch Him in the next event. He told her this so she would hurry and tell the disciples that He had risen! The clause in the Greek implies it was His disciples (followers) in general and not just the Eleven. It is so sad that they refused to believe her report. 

The following two events are not recorded in Mark but important for understanding the chronology of events:

241. Jesus appears to the women: Matthew 28:8-10

242. Religious leaders bribe the guards: Matthew 28:11-15

243. Jesus appears to two believers traveling on the road: Mark 16:12-13, Luke 24:13-34

This is Jesus' fourth appearance. Emmaus was a small village seven miles northwest of Jerusalem. Since these verses say two of "them," it indicates that they were part of the disciples who did not believe Mary's report (Mark 16:10-11). They did not recognize Him because He was in a "form of a different kind" (Mark 16:12).  He told them all that was in Moses and the Prophets. That is what I do when I share Jesus with others. I start in the first book of Moses, Genesis (Genesis 3:15 is the first prophecy about Jesus), and help them to see the undeniable Scarlet Thread of Redemption from Genesis to Revelation. Join me!

It was not until after He had broken bread with them
that their eyes were opened enough to recognize Him. Then they recalled how His words had burned in their hearts. They hurried back to Jerusalem to tell the disciples.

One commentator believes the two disciples were Cleopas and his wife because usually when there was no name mentioned, it was probably a woman, but they mentioned all the other women in the resurrection events. So why would they not mention her?

The following event is not in Mark's gospel, but helps with understanding the chronology of events:

Evening

244. Jesus appears to His disciples: Luke 24:35-43, John 20:19-23

Eight days later

245. Jesus appears to Thomas: Mark 16:14, John 20:24-31

Thomas is often called "Doubting Thomas" because he had to see to believe. When he saw, he acknowledged Jesus' deity by exclaiming, "My Lord and my God!"  Jesus said that we are blessed if we can believe without having to see. 


Two weeks later

246. Jesus appears to seven disciples: John 21:1-14 

247. Jesus challenges Peter:John 21:15-25

Three weeks later

248. Jesus gives the great commission: Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:15-18

Jesus commissioned His followers to go on the basis of His authority. The Greek word here is exousia, and it means "official right or power." In addition, He commissioned them to go to all the nations. The Greek phrase for "all the nations" is panta ta ethne. This does not mean political nations with man-made boundaries but all the different people groups of the world as they tend to understand and define themselves by language, lineage, or socio-cultural factors. This is the clearest mandate for world evangelization given, but if you have been reading along with the Bible Book Club, you have probably learned that, from the beginning, God has always wanted to bless all nations (Genesis 12). Through the whole Old Testament and the four Gospel accounts, it is clear that God has always wanted to bless all nations!  See the REFLECTION section for more about this.

249. Jesus appears to the disciples in Jerusalem: Luke 24:44-49


Forty days later (Ascension Day)


Gebhard Fugel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
250. Jesus ascends into heaven: Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, Acts 1:9-12

The gospel accounts overlap with the beginning of Acts. Jesus has given His commission. Now it was time to leave the earth and go back to the right hand of God, the Father (Mark 16:19; Acts 7:56). After Jesus left, the Acts account records two angels in human form (Luke 24:4) telling them of Jesus' return on the Mount of Olives (Revelation 1:7; Zechariah 14:4). 

This caused them to go back to Jerusalem and the temple with GREAT JOY, praising God!  Then they preached/proclaimed the gospel everywhere with signs authenticating the message of salvation through Jesus (Mark 16:20)!

Fifty days later

251. PentecostActs 2

Read about it in Acts 2 of the Bible Book Club, and join me for the rest of the New Testament!  


REFLECTION - Please read this!!!!!!!!!

I already wrote this in the Matthew 28 post, but I am posting it again because it so important to read and apply. I strongly encourage you to read the article that I have linked to this reflection!

In 1988, I had the honor of going to Bangkok, Thailand with a team of seventeen people. Most mornings, our leader and teacher on the trip, Steven Hawthorne, expounded on God's heart for the nations. Here is an article he wrote that summarized what I learned from being under his leadership for 2 1/2 months. It deals with a much better exposition of Matthew 28:19-20 than I could ever give. Please take the time to read it. You will be blessed.

MANDATE ON THE MOUNTAIN by Steven C. Hawthorne

The original sidebar has been omitted from the above article. So I have included it in this post: 
"The Great Commission and the Great Commandment" by Steven Hawthorne
The "Great Commission" of Matthew 28 has been seen as a counterpart to the so-called "Great Commandment," in which Jesus points to the most important of all commandment of Scripture. In the familiar passage (Matt 22:25-37, with parallel accounts in Mark 12:28-34 and Luke 10:25-37), Jesus says that the "greatest" of all biblical commandments is love for God and love for neighbor. Many significant evangelical voices have put the two imperatives side-by-side as a way of expressing the full responsibility of Christians in the world.
How does the Great Commandment relate to the Great Commission? They are often presented as balancing equals, corresponding to different dimension of human need. the Great Commission is thought to focus on spiritual issues, while the Great Commandment is considered to address physical and social matters. But when they are held side-by-side as responses to human need, there can be confusion about how to integrate them as Christian mission.
Different: Historical Achievement and Constant Imperative
We may better see how the two commands work together if we respect how they are different. Comparing them as though they were equal may result in us failing to pursue either fully.
Loving God and our neighbors with devotion and service is not something which can ever be completed. Love is something that can only grow over time and must be pursued at all times. But the Great Commission is a global, historic achievement, a task to be completed. In spite of popular understanding, the Great Commission is not a command to do evangelism as often as one finds possible. It is a mandate entrusted to all of Christ's followers to accomplish a work that requires many generations of labor that at the end of history will be finished.
Same Focus: Both are For God 
Try to balance or compare the Great Commandment and the Great Commission may be missing the point of either one. In neither of them is the pre-eminent focus on human need, spiritual or otherwise. the primary end of both is relational reality directed toward God. Though we often pay more attention to "love your neighbor" in the Great Commandment, the main point of Jesus' words it that God would be loved with heart, soul, mind, and strength. And the essential outcome of the Great Commission is equally for God, that He would be served by obedient disciples in every people. 
The point is not just to love God, but to labor that He will be loved. The greatest way of loving our Lord is to see that He is worshiped, followed, and loved in every people. Furthermore, we have been given something greater than merely extending our own love to neighbors. We have a mandate to transform entire neighborhoods by multiplying those who love one another as Christ commanded.
How They Work Together
Neither can be prioritized above or below the other. Ultimately, neither can happen without the other. We cannot evangelize the peoples without excelling in love. And we cannot consider our evangelization to be complete unless people are growing in love for God and obeying Him by loving their neighbors. 
From Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, Fourth Edition edited by Ralph D. Winter and Steven C. Hawthorne. 
APPLICATION

Be sure to read the articles above and consider taking the entire Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course!

Check out their website for a course in your area HERE!

No matter where you are in your walk with God, this class will challenge and encourage you! I took it in 1987, and I often grade for the class now. I never cease to love the "shot in the arm" it gives me as I review the things I learned. 

If there is not one in your area, you can also take it online. It is well worth the investment of time and money. 

If you are still in doubt, take the first two lessons for free online! 

In addition, HERE is a great article and acronym for thinking about Jesus in you!

PRAYER

Lord, thank You for giving us a clear purpose for our lives. May we obey You by loving You and our neighbor and taking the Good News of Jesus to all the peoples of the earth. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. 
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