Summary: Jesus was faithful to fulfill His promise to rise from the dead, thereby verifying that "heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."
Just As He Said
A sermon on Mark 15:40-16:8 by Coty Pinckney, Community Bible Church, Williamstown, MA 10/22/00
40 And there were also some women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses, and Salome. 41 And when He was in Galilee, they used to follow Him and minister to Him; and there were many other women who had come up with Him to Jerusalem.
42 ¶ And when evening had already come, because it was the preparation day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 And Pilate wondered if He was dead by this time, and summoning the centurion, he questioned him as to whether He was already dead. 45 And ascertaining this from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 46 And Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth, and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were looking on to see where He was laid.
1 ¶ And when the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, they *came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?" 4 And looking up, they *saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. 6 And he *said to them, "Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. 7 "But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.’" 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
Why do you believe what someone says? What makes you believe that what a person says is true?
There are certain classes of persons whom we routinely do not believe – presidential candidates, for example. We expect them to exaggerate their accomplishments, and it’s only when they make particularly egregious errors that they pay any penalty at all. And as for their promises – well, it’s amazing how quickly after an election “unforeseen” circumstances arise that change the new president’s mind.
This is our last sermon in our series on the gospel of Mark. In these 26 sermons spread over the last 18 months, we have heard Jesus give commands and promises. Included among them:
Mark 13:31: Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
Jesus claims that His words will never fail. He claims that He speaks truth, and that those truths will hold for all time. Do you believe Him? Why should you?
This is perhaps the most important question you have to answer in your life: Are the words Jesus speaks true?
Today we consider the burial and resurrection of Jesus. This topic, I suggest, provides us with the evidence we need to judge Jesus’ claim to be telling the truth. This is the bedrock of our faith – the historical event that is the foundation of everything else we believe. So as Jesus would say, if you have ears, let them hear.
Before we proceed, let me make one note about the ending of the gospel of Mark. As you may have noticed, the passage I read ends abruptly – the tomb is empty, but there are no reports of Jesus’ appearances. Verses 9-20 of Mark 16, as noted in most of your Bibles, do not appear in the oldest manuscripts we have of Mark’s gospel – and stylistically they are quite different from the rest of the book. Although Mark may have written more in his original manuscript, if he did it is now lost to us – so we will end our exposition with verse 8.
Our outline this morning has three major headings:
Jesus is Dead!
He is Risen!
“Just as He Said”
Jesus is dead