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Saturday, August 28, 2010

8/28/10- Mark 16:1-3 Faithless Faith

1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus' body. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb 3 and they asked each other, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"

(Women at Jesus' Tomb William Adolphe Bouguereau 1825-1905)

Thoughts: In the Jewish reckoning in the first century AD, the new day began at sunset.  So the Sabbath was over at sunset, shops opened up, and they could buy spices.  These women were dedicated to Jesus.  They were doing a risky thing bringing spices to the tomb.  They began their journey to the tomb very early probably trying to stay cool, waiting for enough light to make their way, and probably hoping to avoid the authorities.  Things were bleak.  Jesus was dead.  They were not expecting a resurrection.  They were expecting a huge stone, and they had no idea how to roll it away.  The disciples, were weak, depressed, and scared.  They had all run away.  No one was willing to go with them to roll the stone away- they were just trying to mentally deal with the sad events.  Jesus had predicted his resurrection, but these women did not speak about that.  There is no indication that a resurrection was even in their thoughts.  Too many Christians only like Jesus.  We like his kind manner and words about love.  We like that he helped people, taught about love, but we forget or downplay his power and ability.  We don't pray to God as if He is able to do anything/much.  We don't want to take a risk in the way we live or pray to God.  We make too many excuses for God, as if we don't want to be disappointed in God.  Today, the greatest need for Christians is to live their faith.

Prayer:  Lord, let my faith not be dead but alive.  Give me grace to take risks for you.

John Calvin abridged: One evangelist names two women, another adds Saloome, Luke implies many women came.  But it is the custom of the evangelists when there are many to name only a few. It is also probable that Mary Magdalene ran ahead of the others.  The Jewish religion allowed the anointing of the body to indicate that there was hope that out of dust and putrification would come hope and life.  The Egyptian religion was also consumed with the afterlife and embalming. 
     The women remained in perplexity and doubt about rolling the stone away until they discovered that the hand of God [through an angel] did the work.  We should learn from this that because of their zeal they did not give their work due consideration.  They had seen a stone placed before the grave to hinder anyone from entering.  They were seized with fear and astonishment so that their thought and memory failed them even when they were at home resting.  But because it was holy zeal that blinded them, God does not charge them with a fault.

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