with Alan Bailey
Welcome to this Bible Study. Read what I have written slowly. If you have a Bible look up the reference verses given, and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your soul through them.
Having read about the death of Jesus on the cross, we now look at what followed. Several times Jesus had told His disciples that He would die and rise again. It was said that they simply didn't understand Him. The idea of a dead person rising made no sense to them so they wondered what He meant.
The rising of Jesus is of utmost importance. It gives proof of who He claimed to be. It showed Him to be different to all other men. It sets Christianity apart from all other faiths. It climaxed His ministry, making salvation available.
Verses 42 & 43 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body.
We saw earlier that Jesus died around three in the afternoon. This man, Joseph, was well aware of all that had happened. Though he was a member of the council that had condemned Jesus, he was himself a believer. In identifying himself as a believer he would have been open to ridicule from his peers. Bravely, he requested the body of Jesus to treat it with respect.
Verse 44 & 45 Pilate was surprised to hear that He was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph.
It was common for a crucified man to live longer than one day. The death was usually slow and agonizing. We can't help wondering how Pilate felt, knowing he had given the order for Christ's death. But the answer was final. The body was lifeless.
Verse 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb.
We are told that Joseph was a rich man. The tomb was probably made for him. It would have been like a large cave or room, cut out of a wall of rock. John's Gospel says that 75 pounds of spices and ointment were used to anoint the body, then it was wrapped in linen strips. The stone rolled across the entrance to the tomb would not have been a ball but a large disc. Such tombs are still seen in Israel today. Matthew goes on to say that a guard of soldiers was set to prevent anyone approaching the tomb. This all points to the impossibility of anyone faking a resurrection. The tomb was secure.
Verses 1 & 2 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where He was laid. When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome brought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"
There was a group of women who were very attentive to the well-being of Jesus and the disciples. They had watched proceedings and noted just where Jesus' body had been laid. They probably hoped that no-one would be around at that time of day. But their problem was the weight of the stone that need to be rolled to one side.
Verses 4 & 5 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.
They, and we, would ask "Who moved the stone?" Matthew says that and angel of the Lord moved it and sat on it. But who moved the body was a bigger question. The women were surprised out of their wits to see that young man, as they later described him. Other gospels tell us that two angels came at different points and were seen by the different observers who were very soon to come and see an empty tomb. In the Bible, angels sometimes appeared looking quite human.
Verses 6 & 7 "Don't be alarmed," he said. "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.'"
These women were the first people to hear the news of Jesus' resurrection. How powerfully it affected them. The message of the angel was plain. Perhaps we wonder why the expression "the disciples and Peter" when Peter was one of them. Maybe the Lord wished to see Peter restored after his sad denial.
Verses 8-11 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had driven seven demons. She went and told those who had been with Him and who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen Him, they did not believe it.
The other Gospels fill in the story for us. The women went on their way to tell the disciples when Jesus met them. So they had seen the Lord personally and had this to share with the disciples. Some then came running to the tomb. They saw the empty tomb and the linen strips lying to one side but still were puzzled. Mary Magdalene remained at the tomb and had a personal encounter with Jesus. This was the beginning of a line of witnesses who could tell the world that they had seen the risen Christ. The initial doubting on the part of the disciples followed their inability to believe when Jesus told then ahead of time what He would do.
Verses 12-15 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either. Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; He rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. He said to them "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation."
As we read on in the Book of Acts, we see the dramatic change in the disciples. They became brave, telling all and sundry that Christ had risen. Most died for their faith, knowing the truth and not being prepared to deny it.
The truth of the resurrection is crucial. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15 that if Christ did not rise, the faith is empty. The Christian Gospel rests on the fact that Jesus paid the price for sin and defeated death by dying and rising. He is Lord of all. Every knee will one day bow to Him.
We must individually search our own hearts and ask where we stand before Him. Either we acknowledge Him as our own Lord and Saviour or we stand with those who disbelieve and are condemned.
Mark has told us the truth.
• This concludes the study of the Book of Mark.