Summary: The resurrection of Jesus brings rebirth of hope
Rebirth of Hope Mark 16:1-8
INTRO.: Mark states the story very briefly, as is his customary style. He just wants to state the facts and get the story straight. He gets right to the meaning, skipping over many details. For example, he mentions the Sabbath, but gives no details of what went on that day. It must have been memorable for its sadness and gloom but, by the time Mark wrote, all that had been forgotten. It was unimportant.
Like Mark, we are just going to “hit the high points” of the resurrection story.
I. Illus.: Melvin Newlan compares the feelings of these women with a “black hole” in space. This is a huge emptiness that creates a vacuum in space that seems to swallow everything near it.
A. It seems like a good comparison. These women must have felt that every hope and aspiration of their lives had been swallowed up, leaving a huge consuming empty place in each of their hearts.
1. How they had suffered as they had seen Him arrested, beaten, ridiculed, They must have grieved for Him as they heard the crowd call for His death.
2. I imagine they screamed and hid their eyes as cruel Roman solders drove nails through His hands and feet.
3. How weak and helpless they felt as they lovingly lowered his body from the cross, hastily wrapped it in cloth and tenderly laid it in Joseph’s new tomb.
4. And the last thing they saw was a huge stone gradually hiding the form of the One they loved as it was rolled across the mouth of the tomb.
B. As they approach the tomb of Jesus to complete the preparation of His body, they find the stone rolled away.
1. The stone was rolled away so they could enter and they did. At first, in the dawn dimness they don’t notice the body of Jesus is gone. They notice a young man in white sitting on the right. That startles them.
2. From him, they receive the good news: “Jesus is risen!” As if to say, “don’t be startled, you should have known this would happen.”
3. It’s been said “the darkest hour is just before the dawn.” If we remain faithful through the “black hole” days, God will eventually roll back the stone that seems to be the end of everything and show us new life and hope. There is a better day ahead!
II. They hear the Good News: “He is risen. He is not here.” The latter makes sense. Why would He hang around the graveyard since He was alive?
A. They are invited to come and examine the place where He had lain so they might satisfy their own minds He had arisen.
1. The clothes were still there just as He had left them. These women had put them on Him and would recognize them immediately. He no longer had any use for graveclothes.
2. If the body had been stolen as His enemies were to claim, the thieves would have certainly taken the clothes with it.
3. Do not make the mistake of thinking this was only a resurrection of the spirit. His body was gone. He was physically, visibly absent.
B. They are told not to be afraid. Illus.: The lady in my Bible class who said she would have been terrified if she had seen Lazarus raised. She said, “He was buried. He should have stayed buried.”
1. These women evidently had not believed Jesus when He told them He would arise. Now they are face to face with something they never imagined would happen and they are frightened.
2. It is a little scary, even in our day and age when the fact of the resurrection is so well know, to think of someone who is supposed to be dead up and walking around.
3. But, “do not be afraid” is a prominent part of the Gospel message. Joseph was told not to fear. Matt. 1:20. Zachariah, Mary, shepherds, “little flock” Lk. 12:22. John the revelator: Rev. 1:17. Altogether 15 times in the NT (NIV) not including “do not be alarmed” (twice)
4. The risen Lord tells us today we need fear nothing. The worst thing that can happen to us is the best thing.
III. The women are told to go tell the disciples and Peter. 7
A. Of course, we can all guess why Peter was especially mentioned. No doubt the reason involved his denial of Jesus in the courtyard of the High Priest. Luke tells the story in his Gospel. 22:55ff
1. Remember how Jesus looked straight at Peter and Peter remembered His warning. Peter wept bitter tears of repentance.
2. Jesus had warned Peter about this in advance, and it happened “just as He said.” Now, he will be reminded by the women’s words that Jesus knows what He is talking about.