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Mark 16:1-8

 
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?" 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. 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. 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." 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. (ESV)

Any More Questions?

Tuesday of Easter 2

5 April 2016

St. Mark's Gospel ends without an appearance of the resurrected Lord to the disciples. Many scholars have criticized Mark for this apparent oversight. But isn't it just possible that Mark the Evangelist might have known exactly what he was doing? Could God the Holy Spirit actually have led the Evangelist to attest to what God wanted us to know about the resurrection? To this the Christian responds with a hearty, "Yes and Amen!" God is more than capable of speaking for himself on the lips of His witnesses.
 
There may be any number of good reasons why Mark "leaves out" the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus to the disciples. One that comes to mind is that Mark is forcing us Christians to trust upon the Word of God. The angel speaks to the shocked and fearful women and says matter-of-factly, "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" (Mk 16:6). As far as Mark is concerned, if along with the women you hear the testimony of the Word of God spoken by the angel, you have a resurrected Lord. The tomb is empty. God says that Jesus of Nazareth is risen. Any more questions?
 
The apostles' testimony about the resurrection tends to be all of this sort. Christ is raised. God says so. Who are you to tell God that He doesn't know what He is talking about? Paul's great resurrection chapter in 1 Corinthians 15 revolves around the faithful testimony of the apostles to the resurrection of Christ "according to the Scriptures" (1Co 15:3-4).

 

Martin Luther

"The apostle [Paul] at the very outset (1Co 15:1-2) wants to lead us away from all disputation and tutelage of reason and direct us solely to the Word, which he had received from Christ and had proclaimed to them. And he thereby wishes to show us how to conduct ourselves and act over against all articles of faith. With regard to this I always say that faith must have absolutely nothing but the Word on its side and must permit no subtle argumentation or human ideas in addition. Otherwise it is impossible for faith to be retained and preserved. For human wisdom and reason cannot progress beyond judging and concluding in accordance with what it sees and feels or with what it comprehends with the senses. But faith must transcend such feeling and understanding or make its decision contrary to these and cling to whatever the Word submits. Reason and human competence do not enable faith to do that, but this is the work of the Holy Spirit on the heart of man. Otherwise, if man could comprehend this with his reason, or if he were to resolve this in accordance with what is and what is not consonant with his reason, he would not need faith or the Holy Spirit.
 
"For instance, in this article we are asked to believe in the resurrection of the dead, to believe that all men will be revived again on one day, that our body and soul will be united as they are united today. To believe that is surely not in man's competence and power. For reason does no more than merely to observe the facts as they appear to the eye, namely, that the world has stood so long, that one person dies after another, remains dead, decomposes, and crumbles to dust in the grave, from which no one has ever returned; in addition, that man dies and perishes so miserably, worse and more wretchedly than any beast or carcass; also, that he is burned to ashes or turns to dust, with a leg resting in England, an arm in Germany, the skull in France, and is thus dismembered into a thousand pieces, as the bones of the saints are usually shown. When reason approaches this article of faith and reflects on it, it is entirely at a loss. Here so many odd, peculiar, and absurd ideas present themselves that reason must necessarily judge that there is nothing to it. It judges in the same manner as in everything else; for instance, when misfortune strikes and we permit reason to cogitate and to measure what it finds in God's Word with its own understanding. Or when man feels his sin and his conscience and fails to hold exclusively to the words of grace and forgiveness through Christ but only surveys his sin and reflects on the Law and on works and tries to scourge and torment himself with these, he surely removes himself from forgiveness and has lost the grace which he should apprehend through faith."

Martin Luther, Commentary of 1 Corinthians, 5.1-2
 
Prayer
O God, You who in the Paschal Feast have bestowed restoration on the world, continue to give to Your people Your heavenly gift that they may attain perfect freedom and advance unto eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
For all those who have been deceived by perverted human reason, that the Holy Spirit would give them again the faith that Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!
 
For all those who have been baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ, that they might live in the confidence that because Christ lives they too shall live
 
For the family of Robert De Young, because the Lord has led him into the green pastures and to the still waters of His eternal kingdom, that they would be comforted by our holy faith
Art: RUBENS, Peter Paul  The Resurrection of Christ (1611-12)

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