The following sermon was prepared by Ps Lucas Stoltz. Click here: Mark 16:1-8, to download or stream the audio sermon, or click here: Mark 16:1-8 for the video version. Alternatively, you can read the notes below, or follow along as you watch or listen.

Mark 16:1-8, His Resurrection

  • Imagine for a moment, what it would be like if we went to bed one night knowing that the sun would not rise again the next morning. Think of the coldness, the unending darkness, the inescapable fingers of death that would gradually move across the earth.
  • Plants would wither, flowers would fade, trees would die, and all of life would perish for lack of sunlight. But praise God, the sun does rise every day. Its warm and life-giving light floods the earth each day. Let me put it this way, the “death” of a sunset each day is followed by the “resurrection” of a sunrise the next day—and our hope is renewed.
  • Every morning the rays of the sun remind us that the long night of sin and darkness will give way to the eternal day in heaven. Even more sure than the rising of the morning sun is the certainty of our resurrection in Jesus Christ. The dark night of death came upon Him, and His lifeless body was laid in the tomb.
  • But He arose! And in His resurrection is the promise of our own resurrection to life. Paul declared, “Even so in Christ all shall be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). So the next time you see the sun rise and watch its rays brighten the morning sky, let hope fill your heart. It is a reminder of your own sure resurrection, as Christ’s resurrection is the guarantee of our own. So let’s start by first understanding

1. What is the Resurrection:

  • Text – 1 Corinthians 15:1-8
  • Explanation – Paul’s main emphasis is on the evidences of His resurrection. The reason for that is the resurrection is not simply a component of the gospel, it is not merely a feature of the gospel, it is the main event. It is the greatest event in the life of our Lord Jesus. It is the greatest event in all of human history. And it is the cornerstone of gospel promise.
  • Application – The resurrection is the source of eternal life for us who believe. In fact, without the resurrection the cross would mean nothing, the teaching of Jesus would mean nothing, and the works of Jesus would mean nothing.
  • The resurrection is the climax of the life of Christ and His work. And that’s what is unique to Christianity, we have the promise of a physical resurrection into a form that will be perfect, joyful, and eternal. Turn to 1 Corinthians 15:14-20. That’s the importance of the resurrection.
  • Conclusion – Now coming to Mark’s account, take note, none of the Gospel writers give a description of resurrection itself. There’s no description of what happened. The phenomenon is not described. No one saw it, nor could anyone explain it.
  • Bridge – Because how it happened is incomprehensible, it is supernatural! However, the truth is, even though no one saw how it happened, it did happen and according to Mark, here it is…

2. The Reality of the Resurrection:

  • Text – Mark 16:1-8
  • Explanation – Now Jesus said that He would rise. In John 2:19 Jesus said, “If you destroy this body, in three days I’ll raise it up.” In fact, throughout Mark’s Gospel we see it repeatedly. And every time, He would mention a period of time, three days.
  • So what I wanna do is, remember I mentioned that there is no record of how the Resurrection happened? There is however, 3 types of testimonies to the reality of the Resurrection:
  • 1) The first is, the testimony of the empty tomb; v1-4
  • The Sabbath was on Saturday. Now in the Jewish context, the day ends at 6pm. We mark our days at midnight, they marked their days at sundown. So now we’re twelve hours into the day after Sabbath. Luke says it’s “On the first day of the week.
  • So it’s Sunday, the first day of the week, but it is the third day. Jesus was in the grave on Friday, He was in the grave on Saturday, He has been in the grave for about twelve hours on Sunday; that’s three days in the grave.
  • Now just by the way, the most important day of the week was always the Sabbath, but since the Resurrection, that changes. In fact, we learn that the church, according to Acts 20:7, “always met on the first day.” According to the apostle John in Revelation 1:10, he “was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day.
  • Sunday, in the time of the first century, became known as the Lord’s Day. So here we have “Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome,” who by the way, literally followed Jesus everywhere. They ministered to Christ in practical ways. Luke 24:10 identifies another woman by the name of Joanna.
  • Illustration – They watched His burial. Before this, they had been looking on at the cross, and then they followed Joseph of Arimathea. And he met with Nicodemus. And they sprinkled spices on Jesus and wrapped Him in linen and put Him in Joseph’s unused tomb.
  • So it’s Sunday and they come back. They bought spices so that they might come and anoint Him. So they come very early on the first day of the week. Luke says, “At the early dawn,” while John says, “While it was still dark.”
  • So which was it? John 20:1 says, “Mary Magdalene came early to the tomb while dark.” Mary Magdalene came to the tomb while dark. These women arrive, according to Mark, when the sun has already risen. Here’s the thing, Matthew tells us that when Mary Magdalene started out, she was with a companion: Mary.
  • So they all start together, yet Mary Magdalene went ahead. She gets there first and she sees the stone rolled away. She doesn’t go in, she sprints off to Peter and John. John 20:2, she tells them “they have stolen the corpse.” That’s her conclusion, she’s not thinking, “Oh, it happened – His resin.”
  • Application – So when she arrived, it’s dark, but there’s enough light to see that the stone is removed. She concludes that grave robbers have stolen the body. We pick up the story in verse 3, the other women arrive. As they get near, they say to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb? Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, it was extremely large.
  • They would probably conclude the same thing that Mary Magdalene concluded because none of them expected a resurrection. If they were convinced there would be a resurrection that day, why spend the money and waste the time to anoint the body?
  • The reason for anointing a body was to dull the smell. And by the way, they didn’t know what happened on Saturday. Matthew 27:62-66. They didn’t someone pulling off a fake resurrection. So they went and made the grave secure.
  • So, that’s what happened on Saturday. There’s now a Roman guard at the tomb; the women have no idea about this. But something else happened in the deep, dark hours of Sunday morning. Matthew 28:2, “A severe earthquake occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone, and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.
  • Conclusion – With the mighty presence, these guys drop out cold. And so by the time the women arrive there are no soldiers, verse 5 says, “They entered the tomb.” There aren’t any soldiers, because when they came too, they ran to the Sanhedrin, not Pilate. For they asked Pilate to give them the guards.
  • Imagine the feedback, “we were guarding, and then…” Yet, the Roman soldiers knew the body wasn’t stolen didn’t steal the body. But the Jewish leaders were afraid somebody might steal the body. Matthew 28:11 actually tells us everybody knows the body was not stolen.
  • “They came into the city and reported to the chief priests what had happened: An earthquake, an angel, a coma, we woke up, the body’s gone.” They realise they have a real resurrection, but they want to discredit that.
  • So they assembled the elders together, and they gave a large sum of money to the soldiers, in other words bribed them, and they told them to say that it the disciples came by night and stole Him. So now you have the guards telling whomever, the disciples stole the body.
  • Bridge – Here’s the point, they never denied the empty tomb. The women knew the tomb was empty. The disciples knew the tomb was empty. The guards knew the tomb was empty. The Sanhedrin knew the tomb was empty. No one ever denied that Jesus’ tomb was empty.
  • 2) the testimony of the angels, v5-6
  • Explanation – Luke says there were actually two angels who suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing. So we have two angelic witnesses. Now according to Deuteronomy 19:15, “In the mouth of two witnesses, truth is confirmed.
  • So now these women are terrified, Luke uses a word from which we get the word “phobia.”
  • Application – So the angel says, “Do not be amazed – He has risen.” Luke 24:5 adds that one of the angels also said, “Why are you seeking the living One among the dead?” So we’ve seen testimony from the empty tomb, and now we hear testimony from the heavenly angels.
  • Conclusion – Friends, to deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ is to deny the historical realities of the empty tomb, and it is to deny the historic word of heavenly angels. They speak for God.
  • Bridge – But there is one more word on this…
  • 3) the testimony of eyewitnesses, 7-8
  • Explanation – The angels tell them to “Go.” This is a command. “Go, tell His disciples and Peter.” Now according to Mark 14:28, Jesus said, “After I’ve been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” Guess what; they didn’t go to Galilee. Mary Magdalene has got Peter and John running to the tomb. As for the rest of them, they didn’t believe it so they didn’t go to Galilee.
  • Anyway, here are these women, and verse 8 says they become the first eyewitnesses. “They went out, fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them…” However, these women can’t process what’s going on. It isn’t because they’re afraid something’s going to harm them, it’s the inability to give a rational explanation for the realities that have now dawned on them.
  • Application – And that’s the end of Mark. The empty tomb, the heavenly angels, and the experience of the women – all testify of Jesus’ resurrection. But we can’t end it here. Let’s go to Matthew 28:8.
  • Matthew picks up the story: “They left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy.” Their fear is melting into joy as it all begins to come clear. So “they ran to report it.” Verse 9: “And behold, Jesus met them and greeted them, and they came up and took hold of His feet and worshiped Him.
  • Conclusion – There it is! These women were the first eyewitnesses of the risen Christ. And even when the disciples denied it at first when these ladies reported the news to them, the resurrection is established as a fact of history!
  • It is most important event in the life of Christ. It is the most important event in the history of the world. It is the most important event in our lives. Because it is by Christ’s resurrection that we are justified! Through which we will live forever.
  • Bridge – To deny the resurrection is to deny the testimony of the facts, the testimony of the angels, testimony of the eyewitnesses, and finally; to deny the testimony of Scripture and the truth of God. See, the reality of the Resurrection leads us to awe and wonder.
  • Mark has shown us that Jesus is truly the Son of God. Because if He is the Son, then He is the Saviour, and if He is the Saviour – He is our only hope, our only rescue, and the only source of life. Therefore, beloved, rejoice in knowing Him, loving Him, and serving Him.