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Never Before (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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December 15, 2021 6:00 am

Never Before (Part A)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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December 15, 2021 6:00 am

Pastor Rick teaches from the Gospel of Mark (Mark 16:1-11)

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The world thinks that the Gospel writers have no right to tell history, to be honest and give the truth.

They're not accredited by the world. And again, that's where we come in. No matter what you're struggling with in your life, no matter what sin you're facing, no matter what hard times you're facing, you are still required to preach the Gospel when you are given a truth. You have a chance to preach the Gospel. You do not get out of preaching because of your pain.

You're still in it. When the Sabbath was passed, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome, bought spices that they might come and anoint Him. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the Sabbath was passed. Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. And they said among themselves, who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us? But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, for it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe, sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

But He said to them, Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen. He is not here. See the place where they laid Him?

But go tell His disciples and Peter that He is going before you into Galilee, and there you will see Him as He said to you. So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb. For they trembled and were amazed, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. Never before, all of the struggles that we come across in Scripture, never before had humans felt this low as these disciples felt on this day, and particularly the eleven apostles. Jesus of course had breathed His last on the cross and was buried. And what happened next?

What happened after that? It's a very important question for us to not only answer to those who are unbelieving, but to bring up so that we can answer it for those who are unbelieving. The events of that resurrection morning that we are considering here, they unfolded with such rapidity and awe that the Gospel writers, they struggled to document the sequence of events as they were happening.

It was sort of like the news was coming in too quickly. There were just so many things taking place internally and externally at one time. And nothing about this resurrection is casual. All of it is miraculous. It's not something that you can really explain or accept without the help of God Himself. It is so outside of the human experience. And over the years, I've worked on putting together a sequence, a likely sequence of events. And I'm going to share that with you. And I'm not saying that it is perfect, though it might be. There is that possibility. But it is the best I can do.

Of course, I've read many others and I'm more comfortable with mine. And so here it is. Of course, an angel, after the Lord rises from the dead, an angel rolls back the stone. And he sits atop of that stone, incidentally, which you've got to think, they've got a sense of humor.

But he sits atop of the stone while the Roman gods were petrified and in awe. Now I'm not going to try to be precise with the time, but I'm going to use it so we have some point of reference. So about 5 a.m. that Sunday morning, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome and other women, Luke mentions Joanna also, they head out toward the tomb, presumably coming out of Jerusalem. So they set out for the tomb.

It is still dark when they set out. By the time they arrived, the sun had risen. Mary Magdalene, evidently, hurries ahead of the women who are carrying spices and things to further anoint the body of Christ.

And so that would slow them down a little bit. Clearly, there were alternate routes to the tomb from Jerusalem and from wherever else surrounding Jerusalem, for example, Bethany. And so Mary hurries ahead of the women, so excited she was. She couldn't wait to get there, even in her grief.

It is just her way of showing her love. And she finds the tomb open, but she doesn't go inside and she doesn't engage anyone, not yet. Mary's use of the pronoun we when she goes and tells the disciples that the Lord has risen may not be in sequence, but it also might be. Again, the information came in so quickly with so much feeling that it is difficult to take all the gospels and line it up and be precise. But there are no contradictions.

There is so much room for this and that to make total sense. Well, about 5.30, the other women arrive, and by this time, as mentioned, the sun was up. And the women, they are invited to enter the tomb to see that it is indeed empty, and they're invited, of course, by one of the two angels that are reported to be there. And they saw two angels.

Mark will concentrate on just the one that spoke. And these angels, these messengers, these angelic beings, they deliver a message. He's not here, and go tell his disciples that he is risen, just as he said, and that he'll see them in Galilee.

Now, he's not limiting it to Galilee, but that is where he is going to see them at some point. And so Mary, she's already headed back to tell Peter and John. These ladies are now going to head back also to tell Peter and John and the apostles. Before 6 a.m., the apostles are told by Mary Magdalene, and they initially are skeptical of her report.

It's too good to be true. Remember, they were in extreme grief. As we just stood in red, we noticed that they were still weeping three days later. Well, Mary, she tells them, and they decide they're going to investigate.

And they're pretty excited when they decide, you know, I'm going to look into this. They start running to the tomb. Of course, as we always mention, John is very careful to point out that he outran Peter. And he arrives, of course, first. He stoops. He looks in the tomb. Peter comes up.

Peter is Peter. And he goes in the tomb. As Mary will be the first to see the risen Lord, John, the apostle, was the first one to believe that he was risen.

And he did that without seeing the Lord. Well, Mary follows them. They return back to where they came from, and she lingers.

She remains in the garden tomb area. As she lingers there, of course, she looks in the tomb at this point, and she dialogues with the angels. She's not really interested in these angels, nor were the other women, which I find very fascinating. I would think that if I had encountered an angel, I'd have a lot of questions. You know, how do you like your steak? Just so many questions to ask him.

Who does your laundry? I mean, well, anyway, these women, they're not interested in angels. They're interested in Jesus Christ, their Lord and their Savior.

And that comes out very clear as you read the story, because you say, well, what would I do? Well, if I felt about Jesus the way I feel about Jesus, I'd be looking for him, and nobody else would substitute. Well, she looks in the tomb, of course, and that is when, turns around, she supposes Christ is the gardener tending the garden, which incidentally is sort of an indication that the garden of Joseph of Arimathea was well manicured, that there was expected to be a gardener there. So anyway, she thinks it's the gardener, of course, and then when she hears her name said from the lips of Jesus, as only he can say it, she knew that it was him.

Well, as that is taking place with her, around 6.30, this is going on. She, of course, is the first to see him risen. The other women, as they're heading back to tell the apostles, they must have taken separate routes, and this is why they don't cross paths. Christ shows up to them and appears to them and shows himself risen to the other women as they were heading to tell the apostles that the tomb was empty. So this resurrection is very important to us to this day, and I'm going to cover a few of these post-resurrection appearances of Christ, just a few of them.

Peter saw him risen personally, one-on-one. The two disciples that were heading to the town of Emmaus, they saw him, they walked with him, and they realized it was Christ. The ten disciples will then see Christ after the two come back to Jerusalem to tell them that they saw Christ. You see, when you've seen the risen Christ, you have something to say to people.

You have something that's urgent, you have something that's exciting, and this is what was taking place that morning. Well, a week later, Christ again appears. This time, it's not to the ten disciples, it's to the eleven.

Thomas was the missing man at his first appearance, while Thomas is present at the second appearance. Then, by the time they get up to Galilee, over 500 believers, because a great many believers were up in Galilee, they will see him risen. James, the eldest son of Joseph and Mary, James will see the risen Lord, cannot leave out Stephen. We must not leave out Stephen, who saw the Lord risen as Stephen was dying. Paul saw him apparently at least three times, and that's in Acts chapter 9, chapter 22, and chapter 23. John, the apostle, again sees him decades later there on the Isle of Patmos, as we're told in Revelation 1.17. Now, the purpose of Bible study is not to just give us information so that we can know about the Bible.

That would be a mistake if that is as far as it went. We take this as ammunition or nutrients to do something with for the kingdom. It is supposed to edify, to build up, to make stronger, to change us in some way, and this is a lifelong process. There is in the book of Acts this unceasing emphasis on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is what the first Christians occupied their preaching with, the resurrection of Christ.

I think we're supposed to still do this. It is miraculous, and who else has this message? Early in the church, while the apostles were still alive, false teachers entered the pulpits in churches and began to attack the resurrection. This is why we have many of the writings in the New Testament, to counter their lies, even in such passages as 1 Corinthians 15. And there, Paul includes these statements about the resurrection, such as, if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile. Well, he's saying these things, again, to counter those who are sent from hell to destroy the message of God to sinners, that Christ Jesus not only died for sinners, to save them from the judgment of their sins, to change their lives, to have a plan for their lives, there's no truth in these things, not all the truth, but there is truth in it, and may we not leave out that part about the resurrection. It's not up to us to say, well, I might lose them if I preach. No, we might save them if we preach a risen Christ. He's not on a crucifix. That is wrong.

He is alive, and he sits at the right hand of the throne of God, and he intercedes for you and me, not with words, but by what he has done, the sacrificial death on the cross. Well, many sinful theories have been invented over the centuries to this present day. They're being invented and repeated to explain away the empty tomb, and they are ridiculous. But we're not going to take much time on that. But to view the scripture as a myth is to put oneself in control of not only the facts in one's mind, the history and its lessons.

You can get away with that for one lifetime. But it is not going to allow the skeptic to put themselves in control of the judgments that God is very serious about, such as illustrated in the life of a man named Lot and his sons-in-law. We picked this up in Genesis 19. There, the two angels have entered into Sodom, and they knew it was Sodom. They saw the six-colored flag, and they said, Well, that should have seven.

They got that wrong, too. But anyway, and that's not hateful speech. What would be hateful speech is telling you, No, you can go ahead and sin like a sodomite and still expect to enter into heaven. That would be hate speech. Truth speech is out of love. Like it or lump it, you're going to face it. Well, the angels are sent, and they say it a lot, We can't destroy this place until the righteous have been taken out.

Do you have any other family other than those under your roof who you need to help get out? And he says, Oh, I've got my son-in-law. So here we pick it up, Genesis 19, verse 14. So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, Get up and get out of this place, for Yahweh will destroy this city. But to his sons-in-law, he seemed to be joking. They scoffed at him. What kind of witness did Lot lack?

Whereas when he spoke about serious things, no one took him seriously. Well, we then read, a few verses later, verse 28, Then Abraham looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the plain, and he saw and behold the smoke of the land which went up like the smoke of a furnace. See, the judgment came.

Whether they laughed at it or not, it was coming. And to try to toy with the resurrection and the truths of Scripture because you don't care for them is to seal your own eternal fate, and thus the message of the Gospel. The good news is you don't have to perish. The world thinks that the Gospel writers have no right to tell history, to be honest and give the truth.

They're not accredited by the world. And again, that's where we come in. No matter what you're struggling with in your life, no matter what sin you're facing, no matter what hard times you're facing, you are still required to preach the Gospel when you are given a chance to preach the Gospel. You do not get out of preaching because of your pain.

You're still in it. You identify totally with those who are under the curse in the midst of pain and yet still preaching the truth. Verse 1, Now when the Sabbath was passed, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Salome, bought spices that they might come and anoint him. Now this Sabbath, of course, is over. Their Sabbath ran from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown.

This is our Sunday morning. Mary Magdalene, as mentioned, you know, she was demonically possessed. You know, the Lord delivered her. Verse 9, it comes out again, but anyway, Mary the mother of James. This is James known as James the Less.

Not a very flattering title, right? I don't want to be known as James the Less, but anyway, he's one of the twelve disciples and it uses to distinguish him from James, the brother of John. And he did not take it as an insult, nor is it intended to be. There was nothing uptight about this distinction for him. He may have even been flattered. Anyway, this name James, of course, comes by way of the Greek Jacobus and from the Hebrew Jacob.

It's a variant of Jacob. Salome, one of the ladies who also witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus, is also present. They bought spices that they might come and anoint him. Well, they did not believe that he would rise again.

They did not believe that he was already risen. Otherwise, they would not come with these perfumes for the body. And incidentally, Nicodemus, you know, he came with over a hundred pounds of spices that was sufficient. That was an adequate amount to care for the body, but they wanted to do their part.

They wanted to express their love nonetheless. In the book of Acts, speaking of the resurrection, just this one little short line from Acts chapter 13. This is the chapter where the Holy Spirit says, separate unto me Barnabas and Saul for the work of ministry.

And just a very beautiful chapter. But there we read, but he, that is the Christ, whom God raised up, saw no corruption. His body did not decay. There was no need for any of these spices, whether they were from Nicodemus or the women.

They were a waste of material things, you could say. But it was an expression of love and therefore not a waste. Love compelled these women to do more, as love still compels us to serve Christ. But again, none of the believers or followers of Jesus Christ, not one of them, expected him to rise up from the dead. Verse 2, very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.

Again, an eagerness. They couldn't wait to get there. They probably did not sleep well that night, as evidenced in Mary Magdalene to me, just running ahead of the women. You guys are walking too slow. I'll meet you at the tomb, and she takes off.

She must have been younger than some of the ladies in Spry and just had to get there. And you have to admire that as a believer. And contrast that, if you were once living in the world, you did not run to the things of Christ. But now that you are a believer, things have changed. Well, they still loved him like no other. They came looking and prepared for a dead man who was not going to be there. Their understanding had fallen short, not knowing the Scriptures, not listening to Christ, and yet they still had this love. It makes me stop and think when I read about this story and ask myself, am I missing something from the Scripture in my own life? All of these heard him preach this. They knew the prophets had spoken about these things, and they missed it in a big way.

Am I doing the same thing? On the first day of the week, little did they know that from this point forward, the first day of the week would replace Sabbath or Saturday worship for us. Sabbath does not mean Saturday.

It means rest, but it takes place on our Saturday. And it's disappointing to see that there are still some Sabbath-terrians out there that, you know, when a Christian confuses their role as a New Testament believer and the life in the Old Testament, a lot of stuff gets out of whack. It's just, you know, and you tend to become legalistic or prone to legalism versus grace. We are New Testament believers, ministers of the New Covenant, said Paul, and that does not diminish the Old Testament.

That strengthens it. Jesus said, don't think I've come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. Well, the fulfillment of that law is what we call the New Testament theology. And, you know, Jesus does not have to itemize and say, well, I'm against, you know, stealing, and I'm against sexual perversity. He doesn't have to itemize it. When he says, think not that I've come to, don't think that I've come to destroy the law, means that he is upholding the moral teachings, the commandments of God.

Which one? All of them, and some of them are certainly developed by Christ and his work. And one of them is the replacement of Sabbath worship with what we do on Sundays.

It's not a sin to do it on a Saturday, but this is why we do it on a Sunday, because this is the day the Lord showed himself risen, and the New Covenant that Jeremiah spoke of, for example, is now fulfilled. And so, believers, we rest not in a Sabbath but in a Savior. That's what Paul was trying to tell the church in Hebrews chapter 4. There remains a rest for the people of God. It is Christ, the Savior.

These distinctions are to be stark in our lives. Well, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. Someone felt, and of course it is the writers and the people who told the story, that this was worth repeating. And if you picture it, they set out, it's dark. They don't have flashlights. They may have lamps or torches with them. But here they get to the tomb, the group of women, and there may actually have been two separate groups of women that left from wherever they originated from. There's space for that.

But they get there and the sun is rising. Thanks for tuning in to Cross-Reference Radio for this study in the book of Mark. Cross-Reference Radio is the teaching ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville in Virginia. To learn more information about this ministry, visit our website, crossreferenceradio.com. Once you're there, you'll find additional teachings from Pastor Rick. We encourage you to subscribe to our podcast. When you subscribe, you'll be notified of each new edition of Cross-Reference Radio. You can search for Cross-Reference Radio on your favorite podcast app. That's all we have time for today, but we hope you'll join us next time as Pastor Rick continues to teach through the book of Mark, right here on Cross-Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-09 01:20:25 / 2023-07-09 01:29:58 / 10

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