Mark 16:1-8 1 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 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. 7 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.” 8 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.
None of us can predict the future. Mankind is always curious to know what will happen in the next year, decade, century, etc., especially as it relates to ourselves. Fortune tellers make all kinds of money by picking up on physical gestures and social cues and by asking leading questions in order to deceive the person who wants to hear their future. They use psychology and tricks to give false assurance that they actually can predict the future. Others rely on demonic powers who have greater knowledge of the world around us as they can also see into the spiritual realm and these demons use knowledge of ancestors and past events to deceive the present and to lure people into allowing demonic influence into their lives. Christians as well can become preoccupied with the future and they end up using the Holy Spirit in exactly the same manner as the fortune teller and yet they claim that what they are doing is of God because it is within the Church.
While the Holy Spirit can speak to a born again Christian about future events, we will always remain in the dark about most things as God expects us to walk daily with Him. If we know exactly the plans that He has for us we would no longer need God and pride could creep into our hearts and we could turn away from Him. But there was no pride in Jesus Christ and no concern about Him ever turning away from the love of His Father. Also,
Colossians 1:19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell
Jesus knew the end from the beginning and the Holy Spirit gave Him insight into all things as revealed from the Father. Jesus spoke beforehand about His death and resurrection- not once, but multiple times. Jesus Christ came to this earth to die for our sins and to bear the punishment of what our sins deserve. He came to bring new life and to regenerate our wicked hearts of stone into hearts of flesh that can love Him without sin and selfish motives. We, as born again Christians, can love Jesus truly with all of our heart for who He is and not for what we might receive from Him by knowing Him and being united to Him. We love Him because we know Him intimately and we long to show Him our love in an ever increasing way. We know that our love to God is nothing compared to the infinite love of God who is love and is perfect love and infinite love beyond measure. We know that we can never repay Jesus of Nazareth for dying on the cross in our place.
It is so natural to think these thoughts in light of the events surrounding the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But there is something else described here in the book of Mark that seems almost out of place. It makes sense for the angel to tell the women to examine the place where Jesus’s body was laid in the tomb as a proof to know that Jesus had indeed risen from the dead but why did the angel say in verse 7, “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”? This is especially confusing as John 20 describes Peter and John also examining the tomb with their own eyes. Why were they told to go to Galilee which was far away from Jerusalem especially as Jesus was going to appear to the disciples that very day in Jerusalem as described in John 20:19-23? Because although they were in Jerusalem, all of the disciples had yet to be prepared to return to Jerusalem.
At this point every single follower of Jesus was an absolute mess. They all had been disillusioned by the death of Jesus Christ. The Son of God whom they worshipped as the Christ had died in apparent weakness and in what they thought was complete failure. They did not understand what Jesus had done for them until after the resurrection. No one understood. But more importantly none of the disciples yet understood what it meant to be baptized with the Holy Spirit. This was the purpose for their return to Jerusalem from Galilee as was shown later:
Acts 1:4-5 4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
In spite of the fact that the disciples of Jesus had followed Him daily and learnt so much from Him, they did not understand what it meant to live and walk in the Spirit. In spite of the fact that they saw the Kingdom of God manifest in the very life and actions of Jesus and through their own actions as Jesus worked through them (as He sent the disciples out on a variety of assignments), they did not know the Spirit filled life. The disciples had, up to this point, followed God in a sense only in their own strength. They had only drawn near to God as following the physical person of Jesus. They did not know the intimacy that could be found only through knowing the Spirit of Christ.
In the death of Jesus Christ, not only did Jesus provide the means of our salvation but also the disciples of Jesus were shown the weakness of only following Him in the flesh. They all thought that they were more spiritual than they actually were. No one expected to abandon Him and yet they all did. They all needed to be restored in their relationship with Jesus Christ and Jesus did exactly this as He appeared to His disciples in His glorified body. But they also needed to return to Jerusalem seeking something greater- something beyond what they already knew. Ten days after Jesus ascended into heaven they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4).
Do you know the deeper life that can be found in Jesus Christ or do you only know Him in the flesh? Have you ever come to a realization of your weakness in the Christian life or do you have a false confidence in your walk with Him? He will bring all of us to a state of brokenness to realize our need of the Spirit filled life. Have you returned to Jerusalem a second time?
Pastor Murray Hack
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