Monday, January 23, 2017

January 23 - Mark 16

Today's reading in our daily plan is Mark 16. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • Jewish custom did not allow a body to be embalmed on the Sabbath, so the women had to come back two days later to do so. When they did, they found an angel waiting to tell them that Jesus had risen from the dead and that they needed to tell the disciples. Naturally, they were afraid.
  • Jesus rose from the dead. This is critical to Christianity because prophecies in the Old Testament predicted God's promised Messiah would rise from the dead, and Jesus himself had claimed he would rise from the dead (see Mark 8:31;10:33- 34). Jesus raising from the dead was the ultimate proof that he truly was who he said he was.
  • The book of Mark ends with Jesus' last command for his followers: "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation." The disciples immediately followed.

SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Back in Jesus' time, women were considered second class citizens; there were no such things as equal rights. The fact that Jesus appeared first to women was a powerful statement by God to show that Jesus really did come for all people, not just the powerful or the elite.
  • The fact that Jesus lived after death means that life on earth is not all there is. And those who choose to follow Jesus in this life will follow Jesus in defeating death and living eternally in Heaven. That truth changes everything. It means this life is a preamble, that nothing that happens in this life is the be-all end-all. There is eternity in a perfect place awaiting those who follow Jesus.
  • It is fascinating to see the quick transformation of the disciples from fearful, denying human beings to bold speakers about God's love over a matter of days.  The only clear explanation for this can be the power of the resurrection.  Seeing was believing.  They had once feared for their lives by being associated with Jesus, but now they did not care what happened to themselves because they saw and understood it was not the end. The fear of death was gone.
  • Jesus' command to tell everyone in the world that he came for us was his last command, and the command we all need to follow.

NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Think about the things you get worked up and stressed over. These often show what we really care about. What do your worries say about your belief in life after death? If you believed in and focused on the fact that Jesus defeated this life and you have eternity in Heaven coming, would you worry like you do? 
  • We see the transformation of the disciples from men of fear to men who boldly shared the gospel. Have you allowed the power of the resurrection to transform your life in the same way? The disciples lived with the fear of death and beatings for speaking about God. However, we live in a privileged country where we do not have to fear those things. What is keeping you from sharing boldly? Fear of being made fun of? Fear of losing your friends? Your job? Whatever it is, give those fears up to Jesus and remember he is more powerful than your greatest fears combined.
  • Jesus makes it clear that our mission is to share the good news. Who is a person God has put in your life that you could share Jesus with, or invite to come to Verve with you? Have courage today to share with them.