Our passage today is Mark 16:1-8.
If you’re like me, you probably had a rough last couple of days. It could be because of frustration and stress at work, or because of a rough patch in a relationship, a sickness in the family, failure in your studies, a sadness due to unanswered prayers, or you’ve been cheated by someone, or you are struggling with sin that you’re not able to get rid of.
And you are here this morning, all dressed up for the Resurrection Sunday, with smiles on your faces, joy in your demeanour and a twinkle in your eye. But inside, you are broken, joyless, you’re in despair, in pain, feel hopeless, feel lonely, feel hurt & angry.
If you are in this state of mind this morning, then I want to talk about what does the Resurrection of Jesus mean to us in our present situation and how should we respond so we can enjoy the full benefits of what Christ has achieved for us on the Cross of Calvary.
We are in Mark 16 where Jesus is dead and buried, and there is a sadness in the air. If you’ve ever experienced a sudden death of a loved one in your family, you know what that feeling is.
Everything around us moves in slow motion, we go through a period of disbelief, we question the meaning of life, everything we do seems meaningless and less important, we lose all our energy crying, and there is no more joy left in us. We wish this world would end soon.
I assume that is the exact feeling all the disciples and followers of Jesus were going through at this moment.
And then Mark tells us that after the Sabbath, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome, along with other women brings spices to anoint the body of Jesus.
As they are walking towards the tomb, they are worried about how to roll away the stone from the entrance of the tomb, but when the women reach the tomb, they see the stone has already been rolled back.
And entering the tomb they find a man sitting on the right side, the other gospel writers mention it was an angel who met them at the tomb. The angel gives them the news that the Jesus they buried is not here; He has Risen.
The angel tells them to go and say the news to the disciples, but instead, Mark says they were afraid and did not speak a word.
When we read the account of the Resurrection of Jesus, even within the four Gospels, we see a lot is happening there, and the account of each of the Gospel writers seems to contradict each other. The sceptics often use these contradictions to the point that Jesus’s Resurrection, it never happened.
But as I read, studied & investigated these accounts I did find the answer to the contradictions and was able to rest my heart.
But my goal today is not to clear the doubt surrounding the contradictions but to highlight and speak about the main event that happened, which is “Jesus had Risen from the Dead.”
Jesus’s resurrection was an unlikely event that happened, most people in that time never experienced or heard news like that. None of them even expected such a thing to happen.
It is crucial for us to know that what was happening there was a fulfilment of a prophecy that was made many years ago which appeared in the book of Isaiah written in the 8th century BCE.
Isiah writes, God himself, left his heavenly throne, lived among us, bore our griefs, carried our sorrows, pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities, offered himself to die on our behalf as a sacrifice for our sins, to reconcile us back to Him.
When God made the world, a beautiful and perfect one beyond our imagination, the 9 to 10 thousand species of birds, 1.2 million species of animals, 34,000 recognised species of fish, the trees, the mountains.
The bible says he also made man in His own image, with around 78 organs in one single body, the most dominant, complex and powerful species that live on earth.
He created us like Him to commune with Him on his level, we were just like Him and enjoyed the most beautiful relationship that ever existed. But the whole idea was to live on Gods terms, under His rule and dominion, but what did we do?
We rejected His rule by disobeying His commands and devaluing His authority.
And according to God’s law, the penalty of disobedience is death. Just like it is when we break the rules that govern a country.
The only entity that could pardon our sins and save us from death was God himself. And that is why Jesus, the beloved Son of God, who was God himself came down to earth, lived a perfect life in the sight of God on our behalf and took the penalty of our Sins and died on our behalf.
But sadly, for most of the people in this world, the story of Jesus ends right there. And why not, isn’t that the image of Christ we often portray to the world. The image of Jesus hung on the cross, helpless, dead, displayed in churches, carried by Christians…. But isn’t that just a half-told story.
What the world often fails to recognise and believe is the fact that Jesus didn’t just die but also he also defeated Sin and satan, and on the third day he rose again.
Without the Resurrection of Jesus, our story is incomplete.
In this context, here’s why Jesus’s resurrection is essential and what should mean to us.
1. The Resurrection affirms our death to Sin
When we were not in Christ we were slaves to Sin, Sin ruled in our mortal bodies. Knowingly, unknowingly we lived a life of disobedience to God. But the day we heard about our saviour Jesus, and our hearts responded with repentance and faith, we also proclaimed to the world through the waters of baptism.
Romans 6:4 says “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.”
Romans 6:8 – “Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.”
Romans 6:10-11 “For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
To those who’ve been struggling with sin in the last few days, filled with guilt and shame, unable to walk in the light, holding yourself back from fellowshipping with other believers, holding yourself back from confessing your sin to God, to one another asking for forgiveness.
My encouragement to you is to remember that you are no more slave to the sin you are struggling with, in Christ you are a new creation. Do not let the devil trick you from believing that God will not accept you.
Take courage like the prodigal son and return to the Father who loves you and will embrace you if you genuinely repent and is willing to put your faith in his son Jesus.
2. The Resurrection gives hope for the future
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
Brothers & sisters, you may be going through a tough circumstance, one that you think is beyond your capacity to handle. But remember, we are not a people without hope. Through the Resurrection power of Jesus, we have been born to a living hope.
We can call unto him for help, and he will answer us from His Holy Hill. His promised that he will never leave us and never forsake us. Even though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, he is with us. His rod and his staff, they comfort us.
Do not put your hope in man.
And even if we die on this earth, our life story will not end. We will spend eternity in heaven with Christ, in his glory.
Therefore, my encouragement to you is to always lift up your eyes unto the Lord, from whom our help comes. Set our minds on the heavenly things and not on the earthly pain.
And remind yourself of the glorious future we have in the heavenly Kingdom of God. We don’t need a passport or a visa to enter his Kingdom, the blood of Christ on us is the proof that we belong. No guard or security can stop us.
Because of the Resurrection of Christ, we are people of hope.
3. The Resurrection strength our witness in Christ
1 Cor 15:17 – 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile, and you are still in your sins.
The fact that Jesus indeed rose from death is the evidence of our faith. The Gospel is incomplete without Resurrection. The world needs to know that Jesus isn’t always hanging on the cross, but that he has risen from the dead and is seated on the right hand of the God the Father, interceding from you and me.
The story of Resurrection ought to be told to every man and women because if they don’t hear the complete full story, they will never respond, they will leave the earth and end up in hell without knowing that there was a way for them to save themselves from hell.
Along with redemption from sin, and eternal hope, we are also called to be ambassadors of this good news. The day we received Christ in our hearts and was adopted into the family of God, we also took up the responsibility to join the Fathers business which is to preach the good news to the ends of the earth.
Let us not be like the women who were afraid and didn’t go out to tell the news to others.
The Bible says as children of God we are co-heirs with Christ, and there is a reward waiting for us in heaven.
Remember, as we share this good news with others, don’t forget to tell the Resurrection story, because without the Resurrection of Jesus our faith is futile, our story is incomplete.