Mark 16:1-20

Day 21


Mark 16:1-20

Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body.  Very early on Sunday morning,  just at sunrise, they went to the tomb.  On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”   But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside.  When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked,   but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body.  Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there,  just as he told you before he died.”  The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, and they said nothing to anyone because they were too frightened.  

After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons.   She went to the disciples, who were grieving and weeping, and told them what had happened.  But when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen him, they didn’t believe her.  Afterward he appeared in a different form to two of his followers who were walking from Jerusalem into the country.   They rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed them.  Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead.  And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.   Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.  These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages.   They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”  When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honour at God’s right hand.  And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs. 

Let’s remember these questions as we dig into this Scripture:



Last year I went to Israel for the second time.  However, this trip was very different for me.  It was a time where God solidified something in my heart that has changed something inside of me.  During my time there I was able to see that in this moment of time, in this generation God is fulfilling a 6,000 year old promise to His people.   Israel is living in the divine timing of God and seeing what He promised Abraham become their very story.

Jews are being called home from all over the world.  Some of them do not even know why, but they have this sense that they need to go to Israel.  They pick up their lives and move to a country they personally have never known.  They are becoming part of what the Bible refers to as the return of the Jews to their homeland.  For anyone who has read God’s promises to Abraham in Genesis, and then been privileged to hear some of these stories, you know it is nothing short of God’s Word being performed.

I walked away from Israel knowing that if God can fulfill a word that is 6,000 years old.  He can do what He promised in my life.  Nothing, absolutely nothing that He spoke will be forgotten.  It has built deep faith in my heart.

As I ponder todays passage, I believe the struggle is the same for those who have walked with Jesus.  He spoke a word of promise to them, but because circumstances seemed to present a different story, they allowed what they seen with their natural eyes a few days before to lead their hearts.  They seen his death as final and that would mean that his word was not true.  Imagine the devastation.  If He was not Truth, what hope did they have?

So, on the day in which they go to deal with the final aspects of His death, He reveals to them that His Word is True, and death nor any other thing will minimize the power of His Word.

He challenges their unbelief.  He reveals who he is.  He imparts His words to them that they will need to obey when He returns to heaven.

How many times in my life have I believed my circumstances over what God has declared will be so?  How many times have I  given more credit to what appears to be and not what He said would be?  I am guilty.  Yet, His Word remains Truth.

For Freda, there is a truth to be believed here.  Regardless of what my present circumstances tell me, His Word will never fail.  I can trust him.  I can have confidence that if He can bring Jews home after them being scattered for generations all over the globe, He can perform his word in  my life.  I can believe Him. I can trust him.  I can have full confidence that absolutely nothing can stop him from doing what He said he would do in my life.

I praise God that He is Faithful and True.  There is so much that we cannot trust in this life, but our God can be trusted.

He told his disciples that signs would follow those who believe. I pray that I become a such a believer that in this hour I begin to be followed by His promise.  It will come.  He is making a real believer out of me.


  1. Reply
    Sue says:

    One of the realities in this story is that God keeps His promises. Thank you for this reminder. The fulfillment of a promise 6,000 years old. How many times have I allowed my own present day circumstances take prominence over His promise to me a mere 30+ years old. It is so easy sometimes to lose sight of the reality that there is no such thing as ‘time’ in God’s eternal kingdom. When He makes a promise, it is as good as done. Sometimes His promises are contingent on us such as in 2 Chronicles 7:14 … “If my people … then I will …”. But always they are sure.
    Another thing that stands out to me so here is the power of a personal encounter with God. The first one that Jesus appeared to was Mary Magdalene … she believed. She went back to tell the disciples and “they didn’t believe her” Then He appeared to the two men on the road to Emmaus … they believed. They went back to tell the others “but no one believed them”. We can feed off and be encouraged by other people’s stories of their encounters with God. I’ve found the comments shared through the 40 Days venture (both online and in small group) very encouraging. But today’s passage makes it clear that nothing is more real that having a personal encounter with God. It also makes it clear just how much He wants to reveal Himself to us.
    I am reminded here that my heavenly Father is a God of hope and second chances. Jesus had to first deal with the disciples unbelief but He didn’t stop there. In spite of the disciples allowing their grief and guilt to shape their belief and cause their circumstances to be their reality … Jesus them to do the very thing that Mary Magdalen and the Emmaus Road travellers did … “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.” .
    So what does this say to me? There is hope. There IS hope. There is Hope … His name is Jesus! If He will fulfill a promise made to e 30+ years ago as surely as He is fulfilling one made to Israel 6,000 years ago. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed, how much harsher my circumstances get, the proclamation of man or the consolation of friends … because “God is not a man that He should lie.”
    It also tells me that that I have a commission … to tell others. There is a purpose in this … to bring people to a crossroad of belief and unbelief. The reward for belief is condemnation. I have to pause and ask myself, ‘How many have I told this week? … this month? … this year?’
    He said that signs will follow belief. I, too, pray for the fulfillment of this promise in my own walk. To this I echo the cry of the one who looked to Jesus and said “Help my unbelief.”
    The great commission is our command. The life of Christ & the book of Acts are my examples to follow.
    I am forever grateful to be adopted by a God of second chances. I’ve lost count of how many second chances I’ve had but am grateful that His mercy is new every morning. And I am grateful for this 40 Day study and the challenge to dig deeper.

  2. Reply
    Sue says:

    One correction to above .. 3rd paragraph from bottom … should read “the reward for unbelief is condemnation” 🙂

  3. Reply
    Susan Craig says:

    Freda-I found your comments fascinating in light of our Prime Minister’s visit to Israel this week. I try to keep politics and religion separate as much as possible in my own life and have some suspicions as to Mr Harper’s true motivation for this visit and his stand on Israel, at this point in his career. But putting his motives aside, your comments hit the nail on the head with regard to God’s promises/His Word. In Genesis 3:15,God said that the seed of the woman would crush Satan’s head and that Satan would crush His heel. When Jesus died on the cross, Satan crushed His heel but when Jesus rose from the dead, He began the fulfillment of that prophesy of crushing Satan’s head. All those years ago, God spoke and this reading today confirmed that His Word was fulfilled. When God speaks,it is Truth-It is sure to happen-but in His timing-not ours. I have been thinking of the disciples in these readings this week-of all the things they bore witness to-the miracles,the healings,the crowds,the crucification,and now the resurrection-they had the unique position to be firsthand witnesses to the power of God and the truth of His Word from Genesis onwards. Even so, they had their doubts until they saw Jesus fulfill that prophesy right before their eyes. We also have a unique positional view of Jesus and even though we have not seen him with our eyes,we have the 20/20 vision of hindsight and the written Word of God compiled in one book(the Bible) with the record of God’s revelation of Himself to man over time. Those who saw Jesus after he was crucified and resurrected, had no doubt what/who they witnessed and had no problem speaking about it to the others.But because the others did not see Him with their own eyes,they did not believe those who did see Him until they saw the resurrected Lord themselves-with their own eyes. People are no different today than they were then. Doubt is our natural reaction to Jesus because we haven’t witnessed Him ourselves-with our own eyes. Faith is believing in Someone we do not see-it is trusting He will do what He says He will do in His Word- it is waiting on His timing to reveal His fulfillment of that Word and without faith , it is impossible to please God. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.(Heb.11:1) It is believing in the Word of God and the Promises of God, It is believing He exists even though we don’t see HIm and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. (Heb11:6) Doubt was the desciples natural reaction and doubt is our natural reaction today. It takes the involvement of the Holy Spirit in combination with the Word of God,( who ignites in the seeker’s heart/mind the fire of possibility which grows into probability), for the promises of God to be believed by faith in the Only One who is able to fulfill those promises. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God and the divine intervention of the Holy Spirit who speaks to our own spirit,and confirms in our own minds/hearts that that word is true.
    Praying today for the following
    1) that God will increase my own faith
    2) that God will remove all that feeds my doubt
    3) that I will devote more time to studying/meditating on the word of God
    4) that God will allow the Spirit to teach me God’s truth
    5) that I will allow God’s Spirit to teach me God’s truth
    6) that I will believe His truth
    7) that I will put what has been revealed as truth into practice in my own life
    8) that I will tell others about Jesus and about God’s truth
    9) that I will listen to the Spirit’s leading/guiding/instructing in my life
    10) that I will be bold-not fearful-to follow through on what He wants me to do/say

  4. Reply
    Jim Holmes says:

    When the 3 women came to the tomb to anoint Jesus, they were wondering who might roll the stone away, as it was a very great stone, that blocked the entrance. This reminds me as a non-Christian coming to Christ…there are roadblocks we must struggle through…it may be coming to our senses, like the guy living in the pigsty, or some crushing blow we experience in our lives…looking weak to our friends…and finally getting there…we sometimes discover that things take on a different appearance…you are not yourself, out of place, and then, suddenly… you are taken by surprise, overcome with hope, changed forever. You have a new assurance, are dizzy, at peace, and wonder…joy, laughter, excitement. I experienced all of this as I sought Jesus, Cinderella’s dream come true.

    One cannot describe the glory of His Presence. Yet, in telling others, many do not believe us…that we should know the Truth…or darkness keeps us from seeing the Truth. We forget what Jesus said, or we do not believe what He said. But others will believe. Jesus left us with this great commission: Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. And this we should do, earnestly, because the scriptures say that He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that doesn’t believe shall be damned.

    Proclaiming the gospel of Truth in truth, meaning that you believe what you say, ought to leave a trail of miracles. Note what Hebrews 4:2 says… For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. Have faith…believe the gospel. Remember “it is the Lord working with you, confirming His word”. It’s not you, not your word. Remember, that your faith is in Christ Jesus, and not yourself…It is God with you working in you and through you. Jesus is the author of your faith, and the finisher of it. It is this Living faith that accompanies the work of Jesus. Faith without works is dead.
    Do we truly believe that “Jesus is the only Way”?….that without Him, we perish.

    Remember John 3… 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

  5. Reply
    Pat McRae says:

    So yet another struggle with scripture and the flu bug 🙁 God spoke to me on Saturday but until I read the scripture for Monday I thought it was just me. So here goes!
    The Message Bible “Go into the world. Go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all.”
    The words “go” and “everywhere” stand out to me today. How do I answer Pastor Freda’s questions with these two words in my thoughts?
    Do I take the Good News everywhere I go? When I am frustrated with traffic or in a long line at the store or while I am receiving poor service or just caring for those that live with me? Do others see Jesus in my attitude and actions or do they see anger, ill-temper, self-centerness?
    Well doesn’t God just teach us as we go and I just failed the test! So humbling yet so wonderful to know He still loves me and will continue to teach me the lesson until I pass. I surely hope it will be before I graduate into heaven 🙂 Feeling so sick, trying to put my thoughts together, get interupted and the message is ill-temper and self-centered 🙁
    I don’t believe Jesus is making a suggestion here but after His rebuke for unbelief He is saying, commanding, get off your butts, leave your self-centered ways and take My Message to the world you live in today.
    Oh Lord You know I want to take Your Message of love to others. Help me to be focused on You so Your love can flow through me. Holy Spirit fill my mouth with Your words so I can encourage and build-up those around about me. And when yet another curve ball comes my way let the world around me see Jesus in my attitude and actions.
    There is just so many ways to go with this portion of scripture and I could not understand on Saturday what or where God was leading me. Today Monday I see the way and it is marked very clearly for me. Time to pass the test because the path around this mountain is getting to well worn.

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