Summary: The first disciples preached the resurrection of Jesus and Mark 16:20 says Jesus worked with them confirming their message with signs. What would happen if we testified to the resurrection with expectancy, giving Jesus opportunity to work with us?
THEY PREACHED THE RESURRECTION
Pastor Dan Little - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Landmark Church
Binghamton, NY 13901
Mark 16:1-15, 19-20
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 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 back— it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to 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 seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
9 Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
[[Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.
12 Jesus Appears to Two Disciples
After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13 And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.
14 The Great Commission
Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. ...
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs. ESV
It is Easter Sunday and we are here to celebrate Jesus’ great victory over death. Jesus was tortured and put to death on Friday and then early Sunday morning He walked out of the tomb and began to show Himself to be truly alive again.
In your bulletin you will find a list of 16 different post-resurrection appearances of Jesus as recorded in the New Testament. They are arranged in the sequence in which they happened.
A few persons have explained Jesus’ many appearances as grief-induced hallucinations. But if you read the narratives of these appearances you will find that Jesus didn’t just appear and vanish into thin air, sort of like an Elvis sighting. He gives his disciples plenty of freedom to test the reality of His resurrection. He walks with them for a couple of hours. He converses with them face to face. They touch Him at His invitation, and they eat with Him.
The last appearance on the list is to a devout Jew named Saul of Tarsus, a.k.a., the Apostle Paul. Paul does not fit the profile a grieving man. He was glad Jesus was dead and was busy persecuting those were spreading the news of His resurrection. Paul never got over it. Twenty years after his conversion he is still talking about Jesus being alive. He writes to the church in Corinth (a church he personally planted) saying; If Christ be not risen, our faith is vain (1 Corinthians 15:14).
These early appearances of Jesus assured these first witnesses that reports of Him being alive were true. They went out and preached with that assurance and over the years millions upon millions have come to faith by hearing the message of the resurrection followed by signs as the Lord confirmed the truth of what they were hearing.
In fact, waling in a living partnership with a living Jesus was the daily experience of these message bearers. Mark 16:20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.
Look at the team dynamics between Jesus and disciples.
They were not sharing facts about a dead hero.
There have been thousands of heroes who died bravely for others, but not one of them came out of their graves on the third day and then joined His disciples, working with them to confirm their testimony of his resurrection..