From the Pastor’s Pen

Final thoughts on Mark 16:6-7

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.”                NKJV

The words of the angel to these women contain the answer to all the skepticism of over twenty centuries. For the things that the angel said to them answers most of the claims that have ever been raised in questioning the reality of Jesus’ resurrection. The first thing the angel said was, “This Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified and whom you seek, has been raised from the dead.” Many of the attempts to explain this away say that the women went to the wrong tomb or that they found the wrong person. This ridiculous assertion is refuted here by the words of the angel who says to the women, “This very same Jesus who you knew from Nazareth, who was crucified, whom you saw die on the cross, this very same Jesus is risen from the dead.

Then the angel said to them, “He is not here.” That is, He is not only risen; He is not here. And in those words he makes clear that, though Jesus is risen, there is nevertheless a real tie with our humanity. He is not just a spirit. This is not a spiritual resurrection but a bodily resurrection. It was the physical body of Jesus that rose from the dead. There are cults today who claim that what happened was that the spirit of Jesus rose, and He now lives spiritually only. But the Bible declares that it was the dead body that was put into the grave, which also rose from the dead. He is not here. He is a human person with a human body—changed, yes—but still human. And in that human body He rose from the dead.

The third thing the angel says is put in these extraordinary words found only in Mark account of the gospel: But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going before you into Galilee.’ What a wonderful touch and a gentle, tender word this is! The last time we saw Peter in this gospel account, he was standing in the courtyard of the high priest during the trial of Jesus. And a servant girl kept following him around, saying, “I know you. You were with Him, weren’t you?” Peter kept denying it. He went out into the darkness of the night, weeping bitterly. What a tender thing it is for the angel to say to these women, Go and tell the disciples and Peter that He goes before you to into Galilee. It puts him right back into the apostolic group.

We see that Jesus is available to individuals—not just to the crowd at large, not just to the world in general, or the church as a group, but to you individually. You can put your own name in there. This accessibility to each individual has been the hallmark of Christianity ever since Jesus’ resurrection.

Each one of us can know Him personally, intimately—not just as a figure of history nor as a coming king nor in a general sense, as we know about the president of the United States, but in that close, personal, real, conscious sense of knowing that we share in the most intimate human communion.                    Ray Stedman

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