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A Beginning to an End | Mark 16

It is an end….to this book, this chapter, this testimony of a disciple.

It was only a few months ago that we started this study together. Together, Pastor Josh preached about the word, small groups discussed the chapters, and writers delved a little deeper each week. We learned from historical events about Jesus and the place they have today with us. Each week we grew a little closer. Each week we went a little deeper. Each week we came closer to the end.
But is it the end?

As today was designated to celebrate the eve of Jesus’ birthday, we can only reflect the time and words spent in Mark. Looking back at this week, we tied in how Jesus’ Resurrection feels like Christmas (I recommend viewing the sermon of this week): similar motifs but different times. It had a beginning and an end…but another beginning always follows shortly after.

So, no, this is not the end (unless you let it be). Just as Jesus’ Resurrection started a new path with the Holy Spirit, so does the end of this bible study hopefully start a new path for your personal relationship development with Jesus. No matter how many times you read the bible, you can always learn something new.

As we close this study with Mark 16, end this crazy year with Christmas, and start a new year of 2021, let’s begin the new year with hope and insight.

“Blessed is the man[a] who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law[b] of the Lord,  and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season,  and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”
~Psalm 1:1-6

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Stay Close | Mark 16:9-11

The death of Jesus, let us never accept His sacrifice as common. 

The resurrection of Jesus, the one thing that separates Christianity from every other religion. 

I'd like to focus on verses 9 - 11.

"Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it."

A woman? Jesus first revealed himself to a woman?

Why not John 'the beloved?' Why not one of the other two men from the inner circle, James or Peter? These three men would be the top choice, right? Or one of the remaining eleven disciples? Some would even think appearing to his mother would have made the most sense, so why Mary Magdalene?

Could it be because she was the only one who would have no doubts? You see, it is very commonly believed Mary Magdalene is the one who washed Jesus' feet with her tears and dried them with her hair before anointing them with her alabaster jar. Mary had such a deep love and admiration for Jesus because of her past he freed her from. 

Personally, above all mentioned, I believe Mary was the only one in recent days who had been so close to Jesus' feet that there was no way she wouldn't recognize every curve and detail, even with the presence of scars. You see, in order to wash someone's feet with your tears, you have to be close. And Mary stayed close even after that encounter. We see in the gospel of John, Mary stood at the crucifixion until the end. 

We also see at the beginning of chapter 16 Mary was at the tomb with more spices on the Sabbath morning before he appeared to her, so she saw the open and empty tomb and heard the angel's declaration. 

Because Mary stayed close, she never missed out. 

Mary Magdalene was with Jesus before, she was with Jesus until the end, she was present after he died, and she was the first person Jesus revealed himself to. Even in the face of mass mockery that Jesus wasn't who he said he was, "proven" by his death, Mary was there. SHE KNEW. 

Because Mary stayed close, she never missed out. 

She came close to Jesus in her sinful state and became free.
She stayed close to Jesus, even until his death, because she believed and never abandoned or denied.
She stayed close, returning to the tomb because she loved Jesus and wanted to care for him even in his death.
And Jesus came close to her, first of everyone. 

Christmas Feels like Easter(Sermon) | MArk 16

“If Jesus was only born and died, Christmas is merely inspirational, but because he was resurrected, Christmas is transformational.” 

The resurrection story feels a lot like Christmas…

Mark 16:1–8 (ESV) 16 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

The Resurrection feels like Christmas

1. A Joseph and Mary

2. A repurposed place

3. Surprises

-A Full womb
-An Empty womb

4. Angels are present

5. Fear and Assurance

Angel comforting Mary:

Luke 1:30–33 (NIV) 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

Angel comforting Mary’s
Mark 16:6 (ESV) He said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.

6. The Good News Spreads
Luke 2:17–18 (NIV)17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

Mark 16:7-8 (ESV) But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Mark 16:15(ESV) He said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.

Our Response: 
1. Believe the news: the best gift we can receive.
The message of Christmas: Incarnation: 
“The eternal takes on mortality only to reclothe himself with immortality so that mere mortals can take on immortality.”

2. Spread the News: the best give we can give. 

Additional Reading:
The Resurrection of Jesus: Matt. 28:1–8; Luke 24:1–9
The Appearances of Jesus: Luke 24:13–48; John 20:1–10
The Ascension of Jesus: Luke 24:49–53; Acts 1:9
The Christmas Story: Matthew 1&2 Luke 1&2