Matters of Faith: “Not Your Typical Sunday Morning!

By Rev. J. Loren Russell, BA, MDiv

SCRIPTURE: Mark 16:1-7 (‬ NKJV‬‬)

“Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”

It was early in the morning on the first day of the week. It was the third day (using the Jewish calendar) after the crucifixion, and probably before the sun came up. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome came to the grave to anoint Jesus’ body with oil and spices as was the custom. As they walked, they pondered and asked themselves who would roll back the large stone that covered the cave where He was buried. When they arrived, they found that the stone had already been rolled away, and His body was gone. They were alarmed because the tomb was now occupied by a young man clothed in a long white robe, sitting at the right hand of where He had laid. This was not your typical Sunday morning.

Apparently, he recognized that they were startled by his presence and tells them not to be afraid. He tells them that the one whom they are looking for, the one who was crucified, Jesus of Nazareth is not in the grave because He has risen. He tells them to look at the unoccupied place where they laid Him. In one of the synoptic gospels, Luke records it a little differently; he says they were asked, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5)

The women were commissioned by the young man, who is identified in Matthew 28:2 as an angel, to go and tell His disciples and Peter in particular, that Jesus would see them in Galilee. Trembling in amazement, they left quickly from the tomb as they were instructed, but Mark says that they told no one because they were afraid. Fear has a way of paralyzing us.

In verse 9, the text says that it was also on that day that Jesus made His first appearance to Mary Magdalene. She was the one who went and told His disciples. You would think that they would rejoice and praise the Lord with shouts of Hallelujah; that they would be grateful and would rush to look for Him. What they did was mourn, weep and doubt.

It’s a good thing that it does not end there. Mark concludes this chapter and his book with this; “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen” (Mark 16:20). If you recall, the people reviled Him, His disciples abandoned and doubted Him, the other women were afraid, and said nothing about Him. But, it only takes one committed soul to make a world of difference. Mary Magdalene planted the seed which resulted in the birth of the church. And Peter? Fifty days later, he preached the first sermon and three thousand souls were added to the church (Acts 2:41).

This was not your typical Sunday morning. It was Resurrection Day.

Be Blessed +++

Rev. J. Loren Russell is an associate minister at both Goodwill and The Greater Universal Baptist Churches in the Bronx, President/CEO of The JLR Company for Church Financial &. Strategic Consulting, and hosts “Matters of Faith – The Radio Show” on Soul 1 Radio, Mondays 8:00 – 10:00 PM. Listen by phone” at 626-226-1448. Be sure to Friend “Matters of Faith” on Facebook and email us at Order your copy of Matters of Faith: The Book at Book Blues.

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