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Lesson 25
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I.       Observation

A.     Outline

The Empty Tomb (16:1-8)

Women go to anoint Jesus’ body (1-3)

Young man in the tomb tells the woman that Jesus had risen (4-6)

Woman commanded to tell the disciples (7-8)

Epilogue (16:9-20)

Disciples do not believe that Jesus is alive (9-13)

Jesus appears to the eleven disciples (14)

Jesus commands the disciples to preach the good news (15-18)

Jesus ascends to heaven (19)

Disciples preach everywhere (20)

B.     Key Words/Phrases

Anoint, Jesus of Nazareth, crucified, risen, alive, believe, preach, baptized, saved, condemned, signs, heaven, right hand of God

II.    General Analysis

1.      Mary Magdalene (9; Jn 20:16), two of the disciples (12; Lk 24:15,18), the apostles as a group (Jn 20:19-20), Thomas (Jn 20:26-27), Peter, Nathanael, James, John (Jn 21:1-7), about 500 believers, Paul (1Cor 15:5-8)

2.      The large number of witnesses is more proof of the certainty of Jesus’ resurrection. It also explains why the believers were willing to give up everything, even their own lives, to preach the gospel.

3.      If Jesus’ resurrection never happened, then the Christian faith would collapse. If Jesus were dead, then He would be no better than other religious leaders. Worse, if Jesus had not risen from the dead, then He had lied about Himself (Mk 9:31; 10:34); there would be no reason to believe any of His words. If Jesus did not overcome death, then Christians are putting their hopes in a lie (1Cor 15:14, 19). There would be no proof that Jesus is the Son of God, that our sins are forgiven (1Cor 15:17-18), or that Jesus will come again to take us to heaven.

4.      The fact of Jesus’ resurrection assures us a living hope of inheriting the heavenly kingdom (1Pet 1:3-5; Jn 11:25-26). His resurrection gives power to wash away our sins through water baptism (1Pet 3:21). Because He is alive, we can live a new life without sins (Rom 6:6-11; Eph 2:5-6). Because Jesus has risen, we are no longer condemned (Rom 8:34). In the last days, those who belong to Christ will also be resurrected into heaven (1Cor 15:20, 23, 51-54).

5.      The Holy Spirit (Jn 16:7) lives in us. When we pray in His name, He answers our prayers. When we preach in His name, the words have life-transforming power. We can cast out demons and heal in His name. He shows Himself in visions and dreams. He reveals His wisdom when we study the Bible.

6.      It is inappropriate to celebrate Easter because:

7.      While Jesus commands us to remember His suffering and death through the Holy Communion (Mt 26:26-28; cf. Lesson 22, Question 9b), He did not make similar commands regarding His resurrection. Because Jesus did not say so, it is not necessary to create a special occasion to celebrate His resurrection. Otherwise, we’d be honoring human traditions above God’s commands (cf. Lesson 12, Question 5).

8.      Like Christmas, Easter has its origins in pagan rituals. Often, the pagan symbols (eggs, bunny) overshadow the meaning of Christ’s resurrection. Therefore, it is inappropriate to connect this day to our Lord Jesus Christ. Instead, we should honor the resurrection of Christ by submitting to His Holy Spirit (Rom 6:5-13).

III. Segment Analysis

1. In spite of Jesus’ prophecy of His resurrection (cf. Mk 9:31; 10:34), they thought Jesus was dead for good. They had lost their hope in Jesus to save them (cf. Lk 24:21). The women went to the tomb to perform the last rites for Jesus (anointing His body). The disciples were mourning and weeping (10). Some even went back to their previous lives (cf. Jn 21:3).

2a. They went as soon as they could (just after sunrise after the Sabbath [2]). They were not put off by the stench of the body. They went to Jesus’ tomb and were not afraid to reveal their relation to Jesus (unlike the disciples, who were in hiding [Jn 20:19]).

3. “Jesus of Nazareth”; “crucified”; “risen”; “not here”

These words show us how Jesus’ resurrection has given new life and new meaning. Nazareth was an insignificant town, and “Jesus the Nazarene” normally would be considered a slur (cf. Jn 1:46; 19:19). However, because He has risen, today “Jesus of Nazareth” is a name of power and glory (cf. Acts 2:22; 3:6; 4:10; 10:38). Similarly, crucifixion was a symbol of disgrace. But because Jesus is no longer in the tomb, we can rejoice over our victory over crucifixion and death (cf. Heb 12:2; 1Cor 15:55-57).

4. In spite of Peter’s past failures (cf. Mk 8:32-33; 9:5-6; 14:31; Jn 13:6-9; 18:10), the news of Jesus’ resurrection was directed specifically at him because he was given the task of strengthening the other disciples and sacrificing for the church (cf. Lk 22:31-32; Jn 21:18-19).

5. They were bewildered and afraid (8). Perhaps they didn’t take the young man’s words literally. In spite of what the young man had said about Jesus having risen from the dead, Mary Magdalene told Peter and John, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him” (Jn 20:2). It wasn’t until after Jesus had appeared to her that she told the disciples what really happened (cf. Mk 16:9; Jn 20:11-18).

6. They heard many testimonies, but still did not believe that Jesus had risen (cf. Mk 16:11, 13, 14; Lk 24:37-38). Jesus wants us to “walk by faith, not by sight” (2Cor 5:7).

7a. preach the good news to the world (cf. Mk 16:15; Rom 10:14-15). Jesus’ command is similar to the young man’s command to the women (7). In both, they were told to preach what they have seen and heard (cf. Acts 2:33; 4:20; 22:15; 1Jn 1:1-3).

7b. drive out demons, speak in new tongues, not be harmed if they pick up snakes and drink poison, heal the sick

7c. Our job is to tell others what we have seen and heard. We testify the power of Jesus’ forgiveness, and what He has done for us. At the same time, we must pray to God to work with us and to confirm our words (20).

8. Believe in the Lord Jesus, repent, and be baptized (cf. Mk 16:16; Acts 2:38). We must also live by the Holy Spirit and not fall back to our sinful nature (Gal 5:16).

9a. “At the right hand of God” is an expression that means having the power and authority of God (see Did You Know 4). The words “sat down” also symbolizes the honor that Jesus received (Whereas angels stand in God’s presence [Lk 1:19; Rev 8:2; Dan 7:10], the Jesus the Son of God sits down at God’s right hand).

“Sat down at the right hand of God” further signifies the finished work of Jesus Christ (where the earthly priests stood to minister before God and offered sacrifices repeatedly, Christ offered Himself as sacrifice for sins once for all and sat down at the right hand of God [Heb 10:11-12]).

9b. His Holy Spirit intercedes for us (Rom 8:26-27, 32; Heb 9:15); He is also preparing a place in heaven for us (Jn 14:2-3).

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