Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter: Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Old Testament Lesson

Exodus 12:28-39

We see here the Lord delivering His people. And notice how the Lord turns things around here. The ones who were slaves are now the ones the ones calling the shots. They leave, and they ask the Egyptians for their gold and sliver, and they give it over. The Lord has a way of turning things upside down. The slaves leave with the blessings of the Masters. The foolish are used to shame the wise. The cross is means of salvation. A child shall lead us. All these are Biblical concepts, and each of them does not make sense in the way that we are used to thinking

For God's ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. We just have to trust in Him to do what He said He would do. He made a way for the Israelites and will make a way for us as well. If we just believe.

New Testament Lesson

1 Corinthians 15:12-28

As I told the congregation on Easter, that's the Super Bowl for us. Easter is what it is all about. It is what it all comes down to it. It is the point of our Faith. We are an Easter people. The empty grave is what makes us Christian. Without it, the cross is just a bloody sign of torture. Without it, evil, sin, death, and the grave have the last word. Without it, the hope that we now feel is in vain.

But, we know that the grave was empty. And we know that we have hope. And we know that the power of sin, death, and the grave have been defeated! And we know that we have reason to rejoice. So, let us rejoice today. Let us be thankful. For He is alive, and the grave is empty. Let us rejoice!

Gospel Lesson

Mark 16:9-20

This is one of the more controversial passages in all the Bible. In fact, many of our Bibles have a note right above this passage saying that the earliest accounts of Mark didn't includes this passage. And, plus, it has some unusual stuff in there. So, shouldn't we just ignore it and move on to Luke?

I say no, because after all, it is still in there, and we can't just ignore something in there. So, what are we to make of it? Perhaps the fact that those that believe upon Christ have a power that others don't have. Or maybe something that others deal with, we dont' have to. What I mean by that is this: those that believe have no reason to be afraid. Fear should have no hold on us. For God has won, the victory is achieved, and nothing, not even the grave, can do us eternal harm. Now, in this moment on the earth, things will hurt, and things will sting.

But, in the end, in eternity, God has won. And we have the victory. What should we feel discouraged, why should we fear? For God has won!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Andy,

    I just wanted to send this note to encourage you to have no fear about preaching and teaching from Mark 16:9-20. Well, no more fear than preaching and teaching from other passages of Scripture, I mean.

    As one who has looked into the background of Mark 16:9-20 in detail, I can say that those sub-headings and footnotes in some Bibles should not be taken altogether at face value. Mark 16:9-20 is not in the two earliest existing manuscripts of Mark 16 -- both of which are from the 300's -- but the earliest manuscripts and not always the earliest *evidence.* This passage was used in the 100's by Justin, Tatian, and Irenaeus. Irenaeus, writing c. 184, explicitly quoted Mark 16:19 and stated that he was quoting from near the end of Mark's Gospel. Plus, Mark 16:9-20 is present in something like 99.9% of the Greek copies of Mark 16. Plus, in one of those two early Greek copies that does not contain Mark 16:9-20, there's a prolonged blank space after Mark 16:8. Plus, in the other early Greek copy, the original pages of the manuscript are missing; all the text from Mark 14:54 to Luke 1:56 is on a replacement-page.

    Mark 16:17-18 does indeed have some unusual stuff, but it's not much more striking than Luke 10:19. Sensible and Spirit-led exegesis is as essential here as it is elsewhere.

    For more info I welcome you to visit an online multi-part presentation I have made about this passage and its early and widespread support. It begins at

    www.curtisvillechristian.org/MarkOne.html .

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.