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The Resurrection

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
July 11, 2021 12:01 am

The Resurrection

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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July 11, 2021 12:01 am

By the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus was raised from the dead. This signaled to the world that His atonement was accepted by the Father for the redemption of all who trust in Christ. Today, R.C. Sproul begins to examine Mark's account of the Lord's resurrection.

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Coming up next on the Lord's Day edition of Renewing Your Mind… We continue this morning with our study of the gospel according to Saint Mark, and today we start the last chapter, chapter 16, which gives us Mark's account of the resurrection. And I will be reading today from verse 1 through verse 13 in chapter 16.

And I'll ask the congregation please to stand for the reading of the Word of God. Now when the Sabbath was past, 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 sun had risen. And they said among themselves, Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us? And 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. 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." Again we have just heard the account of this astonishing work of God given to us through God's own inspired Word. May we take this truth to our hearts and embrace it for our entire lives.

Please be seated. This morning I heard part of the Lutheran Hour on the radio, and the message today was a message on the cross. And I thought as I was listening to it how that we hear messages on the cross all through the Christian year. The cross is proclaimed somewhere every day in the world, and yet it seems that we restrict our preaching of the resurrection to our celebration of it on Easter Sunday. And we rarely hear sermons at any other time during the year that focus on the resurrection unless we happen to be engaged in expository preaching following a book chapter by chapter and verse by verse, and it happens to fall on a time that is not Easter, such is the case for us.

But I remind you that the reason why we are gathered here this morning on the first day of the week, then gathering yesterday on the seventh day of the week, is because Jesus rose on Sunday, and because He rose on Sunday in the very early days of the Christian church, the Christians came together to celebrate the Lord's Day, and that Lord's Day became then the Christian Sabbath, so that every Sunday we come, we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. Let's look then at Mark's narrative, which characteristically Markan is very brief. You remember when we first started studying this book that I told you one of the key words in Mark's gospel is the Greek word euthos, which is translated either straightway or immediately.

He moves rapidly, sticks just to the salient facts of the matter and gives us very little lengthy commentary. To fill out this narrative, we would have to look at the other gospel records, but let's look today at Mark. Now when the Sabbath was passed, the Sabbath finished at sundown on Saturday, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices. We recall from last week that Jesus' burial was made in haste so that it might be accomplished before sundown on Friday and the beginning of the Sabbath, and there was no time to buy precious ointment and spices in order to anoint the body.

And you remember that the practice of anointing the body with these spices of myrrh and aloe and other precious spices that was done not to preserve a corpse but was done to show respect and devotion to the departed loved one. But the disciples were not able to perform that task in time for the burial. Now we don't know where the men were, but presumably they were still cowering in fear, having fled the scene of the crucifixion and remained in hiding. But these women who had followed from a distance and had been eyewitnesses of the crucifixion took it upon themselves to complete the custom of anointing the body of their master. And so as soon as they were able to engage in commerce after the sun went down on Saturday, they went out and they purchased the substances they needed for this task, and so that they came to anoint Him.

And we're told that 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? Notice that the men were in hiding.

Who will find out that we were numbered among His followers? That was their question. These women were fearless in coming out on Sunday morning in broad daylight after the sun had risen to go to the tomb of Jesus for the purpose of anointing His body. And in a sense, they weren't worried about who might see them. What they were worried about was how in the world they were going to manage to roll away the stone from the tomb.

They knew that together they didn't have the strength to do that. And so they were hoping that one of the workers that tended to the garden tombs may be present to help them get inside the tomb that they may anoint the body of Jesus. Just a few weeks ago in our studies on chapter 14, we read of the lavish anointing of Jesus by the woman who came in and poured precious ointments upon Him flowing through His whole body, and we were given the cryptic note by Mark that she was preparing Him for His burial. But that anointing and preparation was premature. She was anointing Jesus before He died. And so the only anointing He received was before His death because now when the women come at first light, they're too late.

Their purpose will be thwarted, and they will have wasted their money for buying the precious ointments because the body was gone. Who will roll away the stone from the door? But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had already been rolled away. We are told in the other gospels that the stone was rolled away not by a caretaker but by an angel and by the hand of God in bringing an earthquake to bear, and so that the stone was rolled away not by human device but by divine power.

And that's important for us to remember because every detail of the resurrection of Christ in the New Testament points to the reality that it was accomplished by God and by God alone. And so they saw that the stone was already rolled away. And when they looked up, they saw that it was gone, and it was very large, and so they went inside the tomb. And upon entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe. Now that's the language that describes the presence of an angel. And so we can say they saw an angel clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side. Notice that. Mark gives the detail from the testimony of these ladies, that they saw this young man, they saw the angel dressed in white, and the angel that they saw was standing on the right side of the tomb.

Now a couple things about this. You realize I'm sure that in the early church at the time of Jewish domination that the Jews gave little credibility to the testimony of women in courts of law. They ranked the testimony of women with the testimony of slaves and of criminals. They didn't think that women could be trustworthy witnesses. And in light of that bias of the first century, isn't it striking that the New Testament record of the resurrection of Christ was born witness in the first place and chiefly, at least initially, by the testimony of women. Now some people look at that in order to discredit the historic reliability of that testimony and of the biblical writers. On the other hand, if someone was about to falsify the testimony of the resurrection of Jesus, the last thing that they would do would be to put that testimony in the lips of women.

But Mark here is not interested in the law court. He's interested in truth and to convey exactly what happened, and he does it down to the detail of where this angel was standing. Now the fact that Mark records an angel standing in the tomb is another point of contention.

I've heard people again and again argue that the New Testament cannot possibly be inspired or inerrant because the resurrection accounts disagree. And the chief disagreement is the question of how many angels were present at the tomb. Now Mark mentions one angel. Other gospel writers speak of two angels being there, and this is alleged as a contradiction. I try to remind people of the elementary principles of logic that if there are two angels present and somebody says there is an angel there, that is not a contradiction because manifestly if there were two angels there, there also had to be one angel there.

Now if Mark would have said there was one angel and only one angel, and the other biblical writer said no there were two angels, then you have a contradiction. But in this case Mark only mentions what these women saw on the right side of the tomb and their vision of the young man in the flowing white robe. And we read that when they saw him, they were alarmed. Now the word there that is used for alarmed indicates a kind of fear and a kind of distress that is profound and is intense.

This is exactly the same word that was used to describe the inner conflict that our Lord was experiencing in the Garden of Gethsemane when the pathos He endured there pierced His very soul. And so with that same force of alarm and distress these women saw the angel there in the tomb. They were terrified.

And again if you look at the accounts throughout the Scripture, any time that an angel appears to somebody as Gabriel did to Zacharias as he did to Mary, the initial response was terror in the presence of the supernatural realm. But the angel said to them, do not be alarmed. Calm down. Don't be distressed.

Don't be afraid. You seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He's risen. He is not here.

See the place where they laid Him. Now if I can just quibble a bit with this translation, I think it's an important quibble. The text does not say in the original language, He is risen. I know that we use that text all the time on Easter Sunday when we say He is risen, and then the people say He is risen indeed.

But that's just a little bit inaccurate because the text here and the use of the verb is in the passive form. And so what the text actually says is not that Jesus is risen, but that He has been raised. Now if He has been raised, He is risen.

But here's the point of the quibble. The idea that He is risen at least suggests that Jesus came back to life on His own. But the biblical testimony is not that the human corpse of Jesus was able supernaturally to defeat the jaws of death and come out of the tomb. It is God who raises Him from the dead, specifically God the Holy Spirit whom Peter tells us was the One who is the life giver in the first place and is the One who injects life back into this corpse and by the power of God, this dead man is raised from the tomb.

That's very important. Elsewhere the Scripture says that He was raised for our justification. Recently we looked at the cross and its theological significance and that our Savior satisfied the demands of the righteousness of God, and He remitted a payment for us vicariously, which God did not have to accept. But when God raises Christ from the dead, God is saying to the whole world that our justification has been secured and that God accepts completely the atonement that Jesus offered for His people. And so the Father who sent Him to the cross, sent Him to the grave, brings Him out of the grave for our justification and for His vindication. As we are told elsewhere that it was impossible for death to hold Him. Had God allowed an innocent man to stay dead, God would have been unjust. But He vindicates the sinlessness of His Son by removing the power of death over Him.

He has been raised. He is not here. I told you last Easter and other times in the past that our faith in the resurrection is not based upon an empty tomb. It wasn't that they just found an empty tomb, and then we infer a resurrection from it. No, the testimony for the resurrection is based upon the eyewitness accounts of those who saw Him after He had been raised from the dead so that the resurrection is not the result of the empty tomb. The empty tomb is the result of the resurrection. That's why He wasn't there, because He wasn't dead anymore, because God had raised Him from the dead.

Look where they had laid Him. The other gospels give more details of the grave cloths that were remaining. "'But go,' the angel said to the women, tell His disciples and Peter that He is going before you into Galilee.

And there you will see Him as He said to you." Now remember that Mark's gospel almost completely is devoted to Jesus' ministry in Galilee. And we also know from the other gospel writers that Jesus saw the disciples before they ever got to Galilee. He saw them in the upper room still in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, then later He joined them for an extensive period in this world after His resurrection in Galilee. So they went out quickly, fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed.

And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Now 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 said that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe. The other gospel writers tell us how two of them ran full speed to the tomb to see if it was true. And then Mark tells us that after that, He appeared in another form to two of them.

He says on the road to Emmaus as they walked and went into the country. And then they went and told it to the rest, but they didn't believe them either. So that the first response to the testimony of the women and to the testimony of the men was unbelief. Secondary witness was not enough for the disciples or for the world. What was necessary for them to believe was not hearsay but eyewitness experience, which Mark mentions in the text that we will examine, God willing, next week.

Those eyewitness accounts lend such overwhelming credibility to the resurrection of Christ. You're listening to Renewing Your Mind and another sermon by Dr. R.C. Sproul from The Gospel of Mark.

Dr. R.C. Sproul preached through entire books of the Bible in his role as co-pastor of St. Andrew's Chapel in Sanford, Florida, and we benefit from those sermons here on this program. We also benefit from them because they're the basis of Dr. Sproul's commentaries on these books. Our resource offer today will provide you the opportunity to continue study on your own. When you contact us with a donation of any amount, we will provide you a digital download of Dr. Sproul's commentary on Mark.

You can make your request online at And on behalf of all of my colleagues here at Ligonier Ministries, thank you for your generous donation. You can also hear Dr. Sproul's teaching on RefNet. That's our 24-hour internet radio station. When you go to, you'll hear faithful teaching and preaching from many trusted pastors and theologians.

You can also download the free RefNet app. Next week, we will hear the final message in our series from The Gospel of Mark, and we'll conclude with Jesus' solemn command to His disciples. Join us as R.C. preaches on the Great Commission next Sunday, here on Renewing Your Mind.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-23 09:29:17 / 2023-09-23 09:36:43 / 7

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