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-Good morning and welcome!
-Please start turning in your Bibles to .
In just a moment we are going to be reading the first 8 verses.
Again, that is .
-As you know, today is a very special day in the life of the church.
-Today as we gather, we celebrate our RISEN LORD AND SAVIOR, JESUS CHRIST!
-Today is the culmination of what the Church refers to as Holy Week, beginning with Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem that we learned about last week.
-Which led up to his arrest and crucifixion, which we learned about Friday night.
-As we ended on Friday night, we were left with the image of Jesus laying in the tomb surrounded by dejected and confused disciples.
-And as we left, I left those who were with us with the message that-that was where the story ended for Friday, but that was not the end of the story.
-We have a luxury that the disciples did not have the day that Jesus was crucified.
-We have the luxury of being able to look at the story from a different perspective.
-We understand this morning that Friday was a horrible day, but Sunday came.
-Sunday came and Jesus Christ rose, just as he had promised to do.
-But these disciples didn’t have that assurance.
On Friday and Saturday, they were confused.
They didn’t know what to do.
All of their hopes and dreams had died with Jesus.
Not only that but they were associated with this Jesus, who was an outlaw.
They were afraid to even be seen in public.
-So, they were as low as low could get.
-And I believe that there are many times in our own lives that we end up in that same situation.
-We are brought as low as we can go and do not know which direction to go or which way to turn.
-Some may be here this morning and this describes where you are at today.
-However, Easter is a celebration of HOPE and when you leave here this morning, if you take nothing else with you take this.
You CAN place your hope in Jesus Christ.
-You CAN place your faith in Jesus Christ.
-Because Jesus both fulfilled and fulfills his promises, which is what we are going to read about this morning in .
-Because Jesus both fulfilled and fulfills his promises, which is what we are going to read about this morning in .
-So, if you have found in your Bible, I’d invite you to stand with me as we read the first 8 verses on the subject of Who Shall Roll the Stone Away?
-Mark writes . . .
Scripture Focus
The Sabbath is Over
-We pick up here in the Gospel according to Mark right after the end of the Sabbath.
-The way the Jewish calendar works is that Jesus was crucified on a Friday and the Sabbath began that evening at sundown and ended the following day at sundown (Saturday).
-And as the sun went down over the hills, the new day (Sunday) began, marking not only a new day but also a new week.
-So, after sunset that Saturday evening, the women who had witnessed Jesus’ death, went and bought spices to prepare Jesus’ body for burial the next morning.
-The custom was that in those days, when a person died, unless they were Egyptian or had lots of money and not Jewish, they were typically not embalmed, but rather their bodies were covered in spices and perfumes, they were wrapped in grave clothes, that were also covered in spices.
Their bodies were placed in a tomb, which was then sealed with a large stone to keep animals out.
Then after about a year, the family would return to the tomb and take the bones that were left and place them in a small box and put them on a shelf built into the tomb.
There they would remain with other relatives that died and done the same way.
-And this was the plan for Jesus and as Mark writes in the first verse . . .
-So, sometime in the evening after the end of the Sabbath, the women purchase the spices they need to anoint Jesus and verse two tells us that . . .
-So, they set out to the tomb, very early in the morning, just after the sun had rose for the day.
-This was not a pleasant journey, but it was a necessary journey.
-Although Jesus had died and all their hopes and dreams seemingly died with him, they still loved Him.
-They still respected and honored Him as their Rabbi, their teacher, and their friend.
-So, just as we do today, they set out to honor His memory and try to reclaim some of the dignity and humanity that was so violently stripped from Him at his trial and death.
Who Will Roll Away the Tomb?
-However, as they are walking toward the tomb, they realize that they have a problem.
-There is an obstacle that is standing in their way.
-There is something that they had not thought about that would prevent them from doing what they came to do.
-Verse 3 tells us that . . .
Mark 16:
-Who is going to roll this stone away?
-Who is going to remove this obstacle so that we can get to the Lord?
-Who is going to help us with this?
-And these questions are central questions, not only in the story of Jesus’ resurrection, but also in our lives.
-Who is going to roll the stone away in our lives?
-Who is going to remove the obstacles that come against us in our lives?
-Who is going to help us in our time of need?
-These are questions that we all ask.
-The answers are answers that we all seek everyday.
-Especially when life is pounding against us.
-When nothing is going our way.
-When we have lost all hope.
-When our hopes and dreams appear to be gone and destroyed forever.
-Where does our help come from?
-Who is going to roll that stone away in our lives?
-The Bible tells us that . . .
-Jesus Himself tells us to . . .
-And I think there are many here this morning that need to hear this message.
-As we stated in the very beginning, the purpose of Easter is to celebrate HOPE.
-In our world today, we desperately need HOPE.
-The Psalmist also tells us that . . .
-And finally . . .
-Folks, the message this morning is that JESUS IS OUR HOPE!
-We cannot put our hopes in governments, in jobs, in fame, in fortune, and most importantly, we cannot put our hope in ourselves or other people.
-Our hope is found in Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone.
-The same hope that is revealed here, in our passage from .
-Our story here continues as the women approach the tomb and are discussing this problem of who will roll away this stone?
-This heavy stone that had been placed at the entrance of the tomb.
-And for these women, this is a huge problem because they were not strong enough to remove this stone.
-The way it worked was that before rolling the stone in place they would dig a groove out in the ground which made it easier to roll the stone into place.
However, in order to roll it away, it would take several people and maybe even an animal or two to get it back out of this groove.
These were huge stones that were heavy, maybe even a ton.
-Which is exactly the way our burdens feel sometimes.
-So, here they are, walking along discussing things, trying to figure out who they could get that would agree to roll this thing away so they could get into the tomb and their bad day was getting even worse at this point.
The Stone is Gone!
-But then they see something at puzzles them and amazes them all at the same time . . .
-The stone had been rolled to the side.
-Somebody had come along and prepared the entrance for them.
-All this time they had spent worrying about what they were going to do and there was really no need to worry.
-Their faith had been shaken and had wavered so much and this stone was almost the straw that broke the camels back, and they had worried themselves sick over it.
-And for what reason?
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