If we really want to know Jesus, then we will want to know the end of his story. However, Jesus’ story never ends ...
  1. Read Mark 16:1-8
    1. Debate over the longer ending.
    2. Mark and the Story – He is intentionally leaving it hanging. Why does Mark do this?
      1. Resurrection is not the end of the story – Jesus is raised and his life and story continue to this very moment.
      2. What will these women do? What about those sad and disappointed disciples who are going back to fishing?
      3. The story does not end – it has just begun!
  2. Going ahead of us to meet us in Galilee
    1. Galilee – (Jesus is already there)
      1. For the disciples, Galilee is worse than death. They are returning to their old life with broken dreams and dashed hopes. They are going back to mark time until the final ends comes.
      2. They are ending it, Jesus is just beginning it
      3. They’ve gone back to the past, Jesus meets them with a new future
    2. What about these disciples who suddenly find that the end is just a new beginning? (Luke continues their story in Acts and the message of the resurrected Jesus fills every sermon and mighty act).
    3. What about us?

Death is certain, but Not Final ...

  1. The question is not "will we die?", the question is "will death be the end?" (Not just for eternity, but even the metaphorical "deaths" and losses we experience even now)
    1. When death (loss) is the end then it will lock us into the past with no hope for the future
      1. That may lead to bitterness,
      2. That may lead to a 3-D view of reality: depression, despair, and denial.
      3. That may lead to nostalgia (a very subtle trap of the past).
    2. When the disciples lost hope, they returned to their past (Galilee). They are in survival mode. They return to the life they know – even if that life is just the end awaiting death ...
  2. We see a very picture in Paul’s words in Galatians. For Paul death is not the end, but a door to a new beginning. He let’s go of self and the world he thought secure to gain a new life. Dying to self is living with Christ (Galatians 2:20) –
    1. Paul realizes that he has already died – to self. His life is now a new life in Christ that is filled with a hopeful future.
    2. Paul is expressing a theme that becomes real when we know Jesus – that resurrection follows death, and before resurrection there must be a death.

Before there is a resurrection there is first a death ...

New Creation even Now – Eternal Life begins now! 2 Corinthians 5:17 - I Corinthians 15:57-58 (the connection between the resurrection and discipleship) – Jesus after his resurrection did not just float up to heaven like a ghost. In fact he had a hefty agenda and was quite busy for over a month ...

Invitation: Before there is a resurrection there is first a death.

Philippians 3:10 – I want to Know Christ and the power of his RISING share in his suffering and conform to his DEATH

Will your death be the final end, or will dying to self be a new beginning? Would you like to know the power of resurrection that can change the gray husk of suffering, pain, and loss into new creation even now (not just in that great getting up morning)? Then meet Jesus. Know him!

Chris Benjamin

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Morning Sermon, 25 January 2004

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