Summary: Does fear keep us from sharing the Good News of the Gospel?
Mark 16: 1 – 8 / Say Nothing
Intro: The little boy was not happy about going to church on Easter Sunday. His new shoes were too tight, his tie pinched his neck and the weather outside was just too beautiful to be cooped up inside . . . so as he sulked in the pew his parents overheard him mutter, “I don’t know why we have to go to church on Easter, anyway; they keep telling the same old story and it always turns out the same in the end.”
I. Maybe you feel the same way: you wonder about the Easter message. It’s the same old story year after year.
A. In the gospel of Mark after each powerful sign that Jesus performs he tells those involved to tell no one what they had seen, who he was, or that he was the Son of God. He admonishes them to keep the MESSIANIC SECRET.
B. Do you know the best way to make sure news spreads quickly? Tell someone NOT to tell anyone else! But, here the women are told to tell the others and they say nothing!
C. VS. 6 – 7 “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here! See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”
II. History has shown there are actually 3 endings to the gospel of Mark.
A. This is the traditional ending: VS. 8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
B. The Shorter Ending: “And all that had been commanded them they told briefly to those around Peter. And afterward Jesus himself sent out through them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.”
C. The Longer Ending: Which adds VSS. 9 through 20. Neither the shorter nor the longer ending appear in the earliest manuscripts of Mark.
III. Why does Mark end his gospel so abruptly? Was his ending intentional? We are left with so many questions: Why is the tomb empty? What is going on here? Was Jesus dead of not? If he wasn’t there, where was he?
A. When my kids were young they loved to read books from a series called “Choose Your Own Adventure.” In those books the reader comes to a point where they must make a choice which determines the remainder of the story.
B. Is Mark the original “Choose Your Own Adventure” book? There is no dramatic appearance of the Lord Jesus. Is his resurrection true or not? Ad readers and hearers of this gospel we have received the same command from the young man dressed in white . . . the command to go and tell the others that Christ Jesus is risen. And then, it’s up to us.
C. Do we choose to be like the women, once so brave, once so passionate about their devotion to the Christ; but, now too scared to tell others about the resurrection? Do we choose to do as the young man commands, to go and tell others that death no longer has power for Christ the Lord is risen from the grave. He has conquered death and is going ahead of us to prepare a place for each of us.
Conclu: I believe we don’t share that good news often enough because we are afraid, trembling and bewildered like the women at the tomb long ago. We fear that it will turn out like a story I recently read:
A zealous soul-winning young preacher recently came upon a farmer working in his field. “ARE YOU LABORING IN THE VINEYARD OF THE LORD, MY GOOD MAN?” --- “NOPE, THESE ARE SOYBEANS.” --- “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND. ARE YOU A CHRISTIAN? --- NOPE, MY NAME IS JONES. JIM CHRISTIAN LIVES A MILE SOUTH OF HERE. “ARE YOU LOST? --- NOPE. I’VE LIVED HERE ALL MY LIFE. ARE YOU PREPARED FOR THE RESURRECTION? WHEN’S IT GONNA BE? IT COULD BE TODAY, TOMORROW, OR THE NEXT. Taking a handkerchief from his back pocket and wiping his brow, the farmer remarked, “WELL, DON’T MENTION IT TO MY WIFE. SHE GON’T GET OUT MUCH AND SHE’LL WANNA GO ALL THREE DAYS.” ( www.humor.com )