Summary: The women going to the Tomb - Women’s work - find the miricle - the women’s work is a chosen ministry to the Lord - their Lord - Death is a simple math problem - Jesus Changes the math!
I have gotten my self in trouble several times when I made a remark about some task like cleaning or cooking as “Woman’s work.”
I really did make it in jest. I made it to get a response from the women present. Sometimes, I had to work really hard to make a formal apology.
But there is a small amount of truth to that statement; I personally believe that it can be made as a real compliment. Most of the time women are more detail oriented than men. They work hard to make a seeming small event special.
A great example, Women want to choose s present for a birthday and wrap it nicely. Men will stick cash in a card and sometimes leave it in the CVS bag. Men and women are very different and I praise God that we complement each others strengths most of the time.
This morning we are celebrating a miracle that happened over 2000 years ago.
It starts with death.
The event of death is not unusual at all. It happens around us all the time.
When we read about Jesus death it seems very strange to us. The event is horrible, the abuse and torcher are foreign. We don’t drive down the road in the United States and see a line of crosses with people bead and alive being tortured to death on them.
Personally I believe that is a direct improvement that happened because of Christianity. But in Jesus day, it happened everyday.
Death on a cross was capitol punishment. Capitol punishment was used on people that resisted government authority, Murder, theft…It was easy to get yourself killed. While the means of death could be harsh the score was exactly the same. The ratio was 1 person born and at some point one person dies.
Amazingly, even with all of the medical innovations and improvements in life style and even the kinder environment the ratio of death comes out exactly one on one. For every person in Jesus day until today for every life in this world there is one death.
So what is so great, because it seems that I am trying to put all of you on a downer? The difference is the math is more complex than that. While the count for earthy death is a 1 to 1, the conversion to eternal life holds much better odds. The story of Jesus resurrection is the story about beating the math. Because Jesus was raised from death as evidence of the promises from God himself it is evidence that what Jesus told us was true. We are able to beat the math too.
We need to talk about our scripture reading this morning. According to the majority of bible scholars the book of Mark ends with verse 8.
I know that most of you have additional verses. And some of them have some really neat things.
-Jesus meets the disciples and scolds them for not believing Mary Magdalene or two other disciples about his rising and instruction to meet.
15He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."
Some of this material we to like to skip over. The preaching the good news stuff is pretty nice. Believing, being baptized and we will be saved is not bad.
Oh, I would so love to see the signs, casting out demons, speaking in new tongues, placing hands on people and seeing them healed. That is great stuff.
But I skipped a couple, Picking up snakes and drinking poison. I started thinking that my faith was not strong enough because these things don’t seem like good ideas to me.
But I realized that God has never told me to grab a snake, any snake and I am positive that I am not tempted to drink poison.
But it is not the scary things that made the scholars decide that verses 9 – 20 were added by scribes or someone else that lived long after Mark.
The real reason is that the oldest and most reliable manuscripts that we have end at verse 8. These manuscripts were not available when the bible was canonized or officially set. Today most bibles include the longer ending with a notation of the discrepancy.
For this morning we will remain focused on 1-8.