Damariscotta Baptist Church
Monday, September 24, 2018
Growing personal relationships with God and community

07/26/15 - Where Is Your Galilee?

“Where is your ‘Galilee’”?

Mark 16:1-8

 

Have we come to the end of Mark?

Is verse 8 the end of his book?

What about verses 9-20?

They are in the Bible, should we just ignore them?

 

I don’t recommend ignoring them, however, I do suggest we recognize them for what they are. I have some explanations regarding the extra text on the back of your bulletin under  “Pastor’s Pondering”.  I encourage you to do some investigation of your own. I am going to agree with majority of religious scholars and end my messages on the book of Mark today with verse 8. I am not just agreeing with the majority of Biblical scholars intellectually, with my mind, I am agreeing with the majority with my gut.

It makes more sense to me, that Mark would end his gospel story of Jesus Christ by sending Jesus’ disciples back to Galilee, back to where everything began in the first place, but also back into the unknown. You see, the resurrection isn’t the end of the story.

It is a twist in the plot, another climax for us to comprehend and wrap our heads around, but in the big picture, it is actually a confirmation that Jesus is who he said he is, and still has more work to do.

Let’s take a closer look at what has happened.

We left off last week with Joseph of Arimathea getting permission from Pilot to take Jesus’ dead body. He wraps it in linen, puts it in a tomb, cut out of rock, and rolls a stone over the entrance. Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid. This all occurred the day before the Sabbath.

On the Sabbath, due to Jewish tradition, nothing was to be done, except wait. And the women must of done so impatiently, because we read in chapter 16, the very moment after the Sabbath was officially over, the women had bought spices, to anoint Jesus’ body, and just after sunrise, they are on their way to the tomb.

I would like to think these women were leaders in faith, and I do have to give them credit for being faithful, but the fact that they have brought spices with them to anoint a dead body, says to me, they didn’t quite understand everything Jesus had said. In fact, as they are walking, they are asking each other, “Oh, by the way, who are we going to get to roll the stone away so we can get into the tomb?” They were definitely acting on their love for Jesus, not on an organized, thought out and structured plan.

However, they get to the tomb and notice the stone has already been rolled away. They walk into the tomb and instead of finding Jesus’ body, they see a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and we read they are alarmed.

Okay, are they alarmed at seeing a young man dressed in a white robe? Or are they alarmed at not seeing Jesus’ body? Or is it a little of both?

The first thing the angelic figure says is, “Don’t be alarmed.” Have you noticed, whenever humans meet up with an angelic figures, they are alarmed, and the first thing the angel has to say is, “Do not be alarmed.”?

The angel then explains to the women what has happened. Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified, has risen!

He was not there.

Check it out, see where they laid him, no one there.

Then the angel gives them instructions to go, tell his disciples, especially Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of them into Galilee. You will be able to see Jesus there, just like he told you.

Well, the words the angel speaks do not calm the women down. The women flee from the tomb, trembling and bewildered. In fact, they are so afraid, Mark tells us they do not tell anyone anything.

At least not right away.

When we take a good look at this Easter story, Mark’s abrupt ending makes a lot of sense to me. It reminds me of the way things still are today.

How many of our lives are neatly packaged?

Everything turns out perfectly, no loose ends, no bad endings?

When I look around, I find very few lives that meet that description. I think Mark’s ending is spot on. Mark doesn’t have an end to his gospel because the story hasn’t ended yet. 

The place where the women are trembling and bewildered describes the very place we live today. If we are honest, this is where we live, day in and day out. Like the women, we believe, at least we are trying to, and there may be days when other people have to believe for us. Like these women, we know that the resurrection means life so we lose our excuses for thinking there is no hope. Like these women, we need to get to Galilee and see Jesus face to face. This will help us to stop wavering back and forth from disappointment to hope.  These women left in bewilderment, stuck in a place that confused them.

They must have gone back in their memory and thought of all the things Jesus had said. Jesus had made promises  and each one of them proved to be true.

Could this be true?

Is everything God says, true?

Even when it seems and looks impossible?

This is where trust comes in.

Now for the rest of the story….

We know from reading the other gospels, that the women eventually trust what Jesus said, and tell the disciples and they all go to Galilee and see for themselves. It was the trust they had in Jesus that gave them courage to follow through on what the angel had told them. Otherwise, they would have stayed bewildered, stayed home, and not experienced meeting the resurrected Jesus.

Where are you today?

Are you bewildered and stuck?

Are you going through something that requires trust, and courage?

Do you know in your heart of hearts that Jesus has your best interest at heart, but for some reason, right now, you can’t see what it is for the life of you?

Like the angel at the right side of the tomb I would like to remind you,

“He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.”

You see, Jesus goes ahead of us. He shows us the way and he wants to meet us there.

Where is your Galilee?

Where is God asking you to go right now?

Where is the place that you know you are supposed to go, the things you are supposed to do, but for whatever reason you are bewildered, frightened or just plain stuck and can’t get there?

Or maybe it’s not you that is stuck, maybe it is someone you know or love, Someone who can’t seem to move forward and be redeemed from the struggles they find themselves in.

Sometimes we need help. We know the disciples make it to Galilee, so maybe we are being called to remind those around us that God will direct them and keep them and redeem their situations, regardless of how dark and confusing it may seem.

The ending Mark gives us does not promise our life will be free from worries, fear and struggles. What it does promise is that Jesus is always ahead of us, leading us, guiding us to a place that redeems those worries, fears and struggles. Resurrection means that Jesus has the last word on everything in our lives, if we let him.

In our uncertain faith, we are called to see that indeed, “the kingdom of God has come near”.

 

Let’s pray.