He is Not Here!

He is Not Here!

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. 5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

6 “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. 7 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.'”

8 Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. Mark 16:1-8

The single greatest day in history is upon us.

The stone was rolled away.
He is not here.
He has risen.
Tell the disciples.
Go.
Go.
Go.

As the song says, “the empty tomb is there to prove my Savior lives!””

Take the time today to thank God for this glorious day.

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Darkness for a While

33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.

37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”

40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.

42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43 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. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 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. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid. Mark 15:33-47

Yesterday the parable in the earlier part of Mark was about light and darkness. As you read this during what is considered The Holy Week, Jesus would have been crucified and buried. While he was dying on the cross, darkness filled the skies for three hours.

The true darkness was only beginning for Jesus. He was forsaken by God the Father, which is the pain and anguish He expressed while He hung there. For three days the spiritual darkness He would be in spiritual darkness. His followers didn’t have a clue where He was or what was going on. Neither do we though we do see references that He descended into hell (Acts 2:31; Romans 10:7; Ephesians 4:9).

But even with that, He ascended again and was resurrected from the dead.

Yes, He could have ended it all by calling down angels but He didn’t. He did expressly what the Father had asked Him to do.

Those three days of darkness are a mystery to us and probably forever will be. Forsaken and abandoned.

But we do know the rest of the story in this case, so we don’t have to lose all hope.

Just you wait and see!

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Of Secrets and Disclosure

Of Secrets and Disclosure

21 He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? 22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.” Mark 4:21-23

Immediately after the parable of the seeds comes this great parable. It has a similar message as the seeds but is told from the aspect of light.

We light things because we want to see better. Our lights shine in the darkness to illuminate that which we cannot see. The light exposes and reveals the darkness. There is so much truth to that statement.

The broad message is clear: don’t hide your light. Don’t be embarrassed about shining your light. The world desperately needs light, especially as we navigate in uncharted waters that we find ourselves in. The light you have in you is brighter than you know. We have the answer for what ails people most in the world, but if no one knows we have that answer, they stay in darkness. I’m not at all suggesting we all become outgoing evangelists who eats, drinks, and sleeps telling the Gospel message. We use the gifts God has given us to tell the message. The manner of shining that light is different for each person, but as believers, we all have that light.

Hallelujah!

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Praying for Root Power

Praying for Root Power

13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.” Mark 4:13-20

Because we’ve read this passage multiple times, the meaning seems obvious to us. Why did the disciples need it explained to them? When you’re planting grass seed, how many do you plant, one for each blade you expect or do you just scatter them all? We scatter them because that’s the way grass grows. Some seeds will take root; others will not.

It’s different planting corn or watermelon or tomatoes. You wouldn’t want all the crops growing and crowding other similar crops out. So you have to be strategic about planting those vegetables. You place them exactly where you want it to grow and make sure the soil is good and the right type.

Planting physical seeds is like that. So is planting seeds of the gospel.

We often wonder if someone can be reached because you see the hardness of heart. But that person may need to hear 19 or 45 times before something “clicks,” and when it does, there’s no telling how that person will respond. Even under the best of circumstances we don’t know the hearts of the people we share Christ with or how many times before this time they’ve heard the truth. It could be time #9 or #921. The Holy Spirit bears the fruit. We just plant seeds and pray for root power (and fruit).

That’s it.

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The Secret of the Kingdom of God

The Secret of the Kingdom of God

10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that,

“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'” Mark 4:10-12

Many who came to hear Jesus were there to see him perform miracles. Did they have any intentions questioning who he was further?

The simply irony of Jesus using the parable of the sower was that He was doing exactly what the parable was teaching. Some in that audience had hard hearts and were the rocky ground. Few, I suspect, wanted to dig deeper to try to understand the meaning. Those who kept asking and questioning were eventually rewarded. There would undoubtedly be an “aha!” moment where the light finally clicked on.

Jesus was reserving the right of explaining the parable to those He knew were committed. He was still cautious about revealing everything about himself to those who would didn’t have a vested interested. But He was giving His disciples everything.

As New Testament commentator C. F. D. Moule stated, the mystery Jesus spoke of in these verses was the secret that the kingdom of God had come in the person of Christ. During His ministry Jesus revealed Himself, but He did so in a veiled manner. “The incarnate Word is not obvious,” Moule explains. “Only faith could recognize the Son of God in the lowly figure of Jesus of Nazareth. The secret of the kingdom of God is the secret of the person of Jesus.”

The person of Jesus Christ was the secret of the kingdom of God. That truth is life changing.

We know the secret of the kingdom of God. Wow.

You can’t find better news than that in this world.

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