Today we completed reading the gospel of Mark. As with all the gospels, the death and resurrection of our Lord is its’ crowning message. While he is on the cross there are mockers, in particular “the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” [15 v,31,32]
We can see a comparison with today – there are many who mock at any suggestion that Christ will return. One of the facts of history that provides one of the rocks on which we base our faith is how Roman historians of the 2nd century reflect the impact of original Christianity on their culture and it “turned the(ir) world upside down. ” [Acts 17 v.6] Sadly succeeding generations, in the centuries that followed, corrupted the message – but then when printing was invented and gospels such as Mark’s became available for all to read – a ‘reformation’ led to the original gospel being rediscovered – although there were ‘inquisitions’ that tried to destroy those accepting it.
Sadly, today, this has been largely swamped by modern attitudes and pride in human inventions and ‘knowledge.’ But this shows the significance of the question Jesus posed, “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” [Luke 18 v.8] Let us make every effort to build up our understanding and resultant faith – so that He will “find faith”!
Looking into the last chapter of Mark’s gospel, we try to imagine the scene – and the heart challenging feelings of those who came first to the tomb. This, we suggest, has a comparison with feelings we, if we are still alive, and fellow believers will have – when it is evident Jesus is returning!
“And entering the tomb, they saw a young man” (Matthew’s gospel says “an angel”) who says, “”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.” [v.5,6] But, “they went out and fled … for trembling and astonishment had seized them …” [v.8]
What kind of reaction will “seize” us when it is evident Jesus is returning – and – as we read in Mark ch. 13, “the powers in the heavens (are)… shaken … And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect …” [v.25,27] Is it not likely we will also be “trembling” but will then hear a voice saying, “Do not be alarmed.”