In our lives, becoming a Christian can seem much like the disciples at that time. They did not yet realize what “following” Jesus really meant. Everything they had worked for now seemed to have been a waste. Would you be willing to bury all you had worked for?
We are to give up this world and everything in it. We are to become “new” creatures, not made-over old ones. To give up everything you have worked for may seem a waste, but if you “rest” in Jesus and wait, God will make all things plain. All you have to do is be willing to give up and bury your old life and arise and work in the new life.
Mark 16:1 to Mark 16:20
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.
I am sure that was one of the longest Sabbaths in their lives. Instead of recounting the wonderful words He had spoken to them about His resurrection, they probably were mourning His death. Because they did not listen to Jesus, they wasted their money. We do the same. We are so involved in our own thoughts, desires and feelings, we just aren’t listening to Jesus. We could avoid so much trouble and waste in our lives if we did. Many are buying expensive “spices”, ornaments, organs, pianos, rugs, podiums and other church paraphernalia - all a waste. Jesus is coming. Stop going to church to anoint a dead body.
An interesting thought, I have often wondered why God created the Sabbath from sundown to sundown. One Sabbath, while talking to Jesus about it near the close of the Sabbath, it was revealed. God is a practical God. He is not a tyrant. He loves us and understands “real” life. He recognized that the Sabbath “day” still has duties and responsibilities that have to be attended to. Therefore, when the sun sets on the Sabbath, the Sabbath is over. And yet, there is still “light” to do some “worldly” chores that may need accomplishing. The women going to buy spices is an example of this. The “Sabbath was past”, and yet there was still light and visibility to do what was needed to be done. Then they went home and waiting until Sunday morning to go to the tomb.
And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.
Many are going to church, a dead, dark tomb, in hopes of finding Jesus. He isn’t there. Instead of going to church when the sun rises, we need to go to Jesus. And let me make this very plain. You may not be going to church physically, but if you are viewing or listening to the TV, radio or internet religious programs, you are still psychologically in “church”. Turn them all off and sit quietly with Jesus and begin reading how to change your life.
And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”
There are lots of perceived stones in our way that need to be rolled away. For many Christians, life is nothing but perceived stones standing in the way of their joy, happiness and success. Especially when asked to go and share the good news. Boy, can we find lots of stones in our way. But if we look up to Jesus, we will find that what we were dreading, fantasizing about and fearing has been rolled back for us.
Church and religious organizations can also be “stones” in our way. They obscure our vision so we do not see Jesus. The Jews allowed their religious organization to blur their vision. They can get us all worked up over the “soon coming of Jesus”, health and a million other things that are not essential for our character development in order to go to Heaven. Turn them all off and go to Jesus.
And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed.
More likely than not, the imagination of stones in our way is “very large”. However, the reality is, in Jesus they are nothing at all. In fact, they are push-overs. Then, when we look around, we will find those sent by God to help us stay calm and “not be alarmed”.
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.
Facing our fears, imaginations and anxieties can be difficult to handle. But we will find that they are “not here” when we go to Jesus. They can all be laid to rest and we can stand up and walk in joy, peace and confidence in Jesus.
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.”
Jesus does tell us where to go find Him. He didn’t tell them to go to church. He didn’t tell them to go to their pastor. He didn’t tell them to join a denomination. They were to go where Jesus told them. He is telling us to find Him in peace, quietness, nature and the “inner room”. Not one text in all the Bible tells us to go find Jesus in church, on the TV, radio or internet. The material on our website is not about a religion, church or us. It is about Jesus and how you can find Him.
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.
Most who hear the good news that they don’t need to worry about church, their “stones” or the religions of the world, do flee, trembling with astonishment. Many are afraid to say anything to anyone. But that will soon pass. The joy of knowing the truth about Jesus and how to serve Him will overshadow everything else in our lives.
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.
When Jesus rose on the first day of the week, nowhere in the Bible do we find Him telling anyone that He had changed the Sabbath. He kept the Sabbath by resting from His work, His labors. Then, He rose in obedience to the commandment and went back to work on the first day of the week. He never broke the Ten Commandments or the Sabbath. He didn’t change any of them either. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17. And so it is with us. Do not abolish the law in your life. Fulfill the Ten Commandments as Jesus did. Follow the example of Jesus, not church.
Another interesting note. He didn’t appear first to the president of the church. He didn’t go to the church leaders. He didn’t call a church committee meeting. He appeared first to a prostitute, to one who had been redeemed from sin. I am sure that concept doesn’t sit very well with those going to church.
Too often we are morning and weeping over things that just aren’t so. I suppose that is why we are instructed to rejoice in the Lord always because we never really “know” what is going on around us. What we “perceive” probably isn’t reality. We waste a lot of time mourning and weeping over “perceived” beliefs when we could be rejoicing. I think the greatest handicap to rejoicing is the fact that we are not listening to what Jesus says. We are way too busy listening to our churches. Few sitting in church or involved with independents and religions believe those of us who have been sent to bring them good news.
After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country.
How interesting. Jesus appeared, not to those sitting in church, but to those out walking in the country. Where are you “walking”? Do you want Jesus to appear to you? If so, get out of your church and go walk with Jesus in the “country”. Interesting observation, it was while my son and I were out walking in the mountains one Sabbath morning that the angel was sent to us.
And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.
Most of those sitting in church will not believe you either. They have “church” to tell them. They are listening to their independents or sitting in church. That is a lot more comfortable than walking in the country. Listening to preachers with degrees from universities is far more acceptable to our ego and pride than listening to a poor ministry of inmates sent by Jesus.
Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.
Jesus does a lot of rebuking. Reclining in church can make us unbelieving and produce hardness of heart. I wonder if there are a lot of heart attacks among people sitting in church. Interesting to note, He didn’t tell them to set up churches or denominations. He didn’t instruct them to create a religion. He didn’t even tell them to go to church. They were “reclining at table”. I suppose they were doing what I do when I am discouraged and downhearted: eat.
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
Every individual who takes upon himself the name “Christian” must stop reclining at church and “go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation”. Many are not in a situation to physically “go into all the world”, but they may “go” by sending their tithes, offerings and donations so we can take the gospel to the whole world. Many could open their doors and invite their family, friends and neighbors. Many can take flyers with them to pass out wherever they go. Juan rides public transportation to and from work each day. It is about a one and a half hour trip each way. He takes flyers he has printed at home and places them on the seats, in the windows and other places. These flyers have our website on them. There are many ways to “go into all the world”. Sitting in church is not one of them.
In truth, I don’t know of any church, religion, independent or denomination that is proclaiming “the gospel”. “And Jesus went about all the cities and the villages teaching in their synagogues, and proclaiming the gospel.” Matthew 9:35. The “gospel” that Jesus taught was to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments in order to get eternal life. John 5:14, Matthew 5:48; 19:17. Is your church teaching you “the gospel”?
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
It is the “believes” part that is essential to “be saved”. The “baptized” part was in place of circumcision. It was a physical act that demonstrated one’s commitment to live in obedience to the gospel: perfect, sinless and commandment keeping. Baptism itself has noting to do with eternal life. But today, churches have perverted baptism and have made it their salvation.Their “belief” is only a mental assent to some Bible texts. There is no longer an active teaching to live as Jesus commands: perfect, sinless and commandment keeping. That is why the churches have become pervertsand have been condemned in Revelation. All churches are considered “prostitutes” in God’s eyes. They have all come from “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations”. Revelation 17:5. Get out or you will be condemned.
Baptism and circumcision were specific physical acts to demonstrate one’s loyalty and commitment to a belief and were not to be thought of as “necessary for salvation”. They were not. They were simply signs and symbols. “Truth” is constantly unfolding. That doesn’t mean that it is “salvation truth”. Only that God has certain signs and symbols for certain ages in order to accomplish certain tasks. The sacrifice of the lamb was a specific requirement of God, but it had nothing to do with eternal life. The bronze snake Moses made was a specific requirement of God, but it had nothing to do with eternal life. Carrying a poop stick was a command of God, but it had nothing to do with eternal life. All these and more are no longer needed today.
“The Reformation did not, as many suppose, end with Luther. It is to be continued to the close of this world’s history. Luther had a great work to do in reflecting to others the light which God had permitted to shine upon him; yet he did not receive all the light which was to be given to the world. From that time to this, new light has been continually shining upon the Scriptures, and new truths have been constantly unfolding.” GC 148.
New light is continuing to shine upon Scriptures today. Church was a medium God “winked” at for 1500 years. But today, church is destroying souls. That is why Revelation is so very plain that we must get out. The “new light” being shined upon Scriptures today is revealing the necessity of getting out of our churches.
And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Just as baptism was a symbol of obedience for those of that era who became converted, so the “signs” were specifically intended for those of that era. “Demons” were a “known” phenomenon back then. Today we might call it schizophrenia, bipolar and a host of other medical terms.
Speaking in “tongues” was necessary since they did not have Google to translate for them. They had to reach the world with the gospel in a very short time span, therefore, God gave them the ability to speak every major language of the world.
Walking from place to place put you in danger of meeting serpents. God had to protect His messengers. Remember Paul after the shipwreck, on the island, and the poisonous snake that bit him? None of these “signs” were “new”. Remember, the Israelites in the desert were also protected from snakes. They simply were reinforced upon the new believers to trust in God. However, the people did not go around playing with poisonous snakes just to “prove” God. That is called presumption.
Poisoning your opponent in those days was an acceptable way of getting rid of him. They didn’t have the FBI to “test” for poisons back then. Again, God had to protect His messengers.
They also didn’t have state of the art medical facilities. God had to get the attention of the world, and no better way than healing the sick. Again, this wasn’t a “new” sign. Raising the dead had been done in the Old Testament. Nothing in the “New” Testament is any different from the Old. God doesn’t change.
However, I want to stress that those today who proudly proclaim they are of God because they play with snakes, or speak in babbling noises, etc., are not of God. The condition was, “And these signs will accompany those who believe”. To “believe” back then was far different from “believe” today. Today, to “believe” is simply a mental affirmation. Back then, to “believe” meant you put your life into that belief. You committed yourself to that belief. You lived it. They lived the sinless, Commandment keeping life, perfectly. That is why Jesus was able to work through them. They were living His life. It has been the same since Adam for those who “believe”. Nothing has changed.
So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.
Jesus is still searching for those who will “believe”, not sit in church. Sitting in church is presumption. Jesus set the example of what true “belief” was. He died believing. Have you died to your old life? Are you living your “belief”? Isn’t it time for you to “repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:15.
We have nothing to fear. Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God Almighty. He has all power at His disposal. I am finding more and more each day how powerful that power is. I am amazed at the power He is revealing through this ministry.
And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.
He will do the same for you when you get out of your church and begin living as Jesus has commanded you. Have you gone out preaching everywhere? How can we keep silent when every soul around us will hold us accountable on the judgment day for not letting them know?