The Resurrection of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark
Mark 16:5–6 (ESV) — 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “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.
As we celebrate Easter this Sunday, let’s remember why we are celebrating. Here are five reasons why we celebrate Easter from the Gospel of Mark.
1. The resurrection of Jesus Christ means that the kingdom of God has come in power.
At the beginning of his ministry, Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the gospel” (Mk 1:15). The kingdom of God is the dynamic reign of God over all nations (Isa 52:7). Jesus has ushered in God’s reign through his life, death, and resurrection.
During his earthly ministry, he healed the sick, cleansed lepers, cast out demons, made the lame walk, and gave sight to the blind. His miracles signified the inbreaking of God’s kingdom into the world.
Jesus cross and resurrection inaugurated the kingdom. Now he sits at God’s right hand building his church throughout the world. Every time a person is transferred out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Christ, we see Jesus’ resurrection power at work in our world. One day God will consummate the kingdom, and Christ will reign with his people over a new heavens and new earth. The resurrection of Christ guarantees that.
2. The resurrection of Jesus Christ signals his vindication as the obedient Son of God.
Death only has power where sin is present because the wages of sin is death. Jesus, however, never sinned. Death knew not what to do with Jesus, because Jesus knew no sin. In every facet of his life he was the obedient Son of God.
Mark announced him as the Son of God in the opening verse of his Gospel: “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mk 1:1). At Jesus baptism, the Fathered declared from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased” (Mk 1:11). In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus affirmed his resolve to obey his Father, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet now what I will, but what you will” (Mk 14:36).
Jesus went to the cross in obedience to the Father, but death could not hold him because he never sinned. God raised Jesus from the dead vindicating his faithful life of obedience. His resurrection means everything he ever said about himself is true, and we must give our lives to him, following him in faith.
3. The resurrection of Jesus Christ means God has given the Son of Man dominion over the world.
What is Jesus’ favorite self-referential title throughout Mark’s Gospel? Is it the Son of David? The king? The Messiah? The Main Event? No. His favorite title is “the Son of Man.”
· Mark 2:10 (ESV) — 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins
· Mark 2:28 (ESV) — 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”
· Mark 8:38 (ESV) — 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
· Mark 9:9 (ESV) — … he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
· Mark 9:31 (ESV) — 31 … “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill him.
· Mark 10:33 (ESV) — … “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes,
· Mark 10:45 (ESV) — 45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
In an earlier blog post, I argued that the Son of Man language evokes Daniel 7:13–14, where Daniel sees one like the Son of Man ascend to God and receive all power and dominion over the world. The resurrection of Jesus Christ solidifies him as Daniel’s Son of Man. Jesus is the king above all kings. He is reigning right now from heaven. He is not serving a limited term of office. He will not be up for re-election in another 1,000 years. He will have no successor take his place. He rose from the dead never to die again. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and he will rule forever.
4. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the vindication of Jesus as Isaiah’s servant of the Lord.
Before Jesus ascended to heaven in power after his resurrection, he first suffered by giving his life as a sacrifice for sin. Jesus is not only Daniel’s powerful Son of Man; he is Isaiah’s suffering servant. Jesus came not to be served, but to servant and give his life a “ransom for many” (Mk 10:45). Isaiah prophesied of a servant of Yahweh who would bear the sin of “many” (Isa 53:12). Isaiah’s messianic servant would bear the sins of God’s people (Isa 53:5–6), suffer in their place (Isa 53:7–8), and ultimately rise from the dead to share the spoils of his victory (Isa 53:10–11).
Throughout Marks Gospel, we see Jesus fulfill the role of the suffering servant. Before the Son of Man inherits the nations, he must first be handed over to the Gentiles to die (Mk 10:33–34).
5. The resurrection of Jesus Christ means the silence is broken.
Throughout Mark’s Gospel, Jesus repeatedly tells people to keep quiet about his identity.
· Mark 1:34 (ESV) — 34 And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. And he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.
· Mark 1:44 (ESV) —(Leper) 44 and said to him, “See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.”
· Mark 3:12 (ESV) — (Unclean spirits) 12 And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.
· Mark 5:43 (ESV) 43 And he strictly charged them that no one should know this, and told them to give her something to eat.
· Mark 9:9 (ESV) —9 And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
Why does Jesus want to keep everyone silent? Because Jesus knew that people would misunderstand his mission prior to the cross. Before the cross, people might say something like this about Jesus:
“Hey everyone, this guy is a great miracle worker, he’ll make you feel better; he’ll make your diseases go away; he’ll give you your best life possible; he’s going to crush Rome. Hey everyone, come follow him. He’ll make you happy!”
Sounds like much of the preaching we hear today. But in light of the cross and resurrection, the message is a little different. It sounds more like this:
“Hey everyone, this man named Jesus died under the curse of God on a Roman cross. He did no wrong, but he died in this way for sinners. And 3 days later he conquered death and rose from the grave. Repent of your sin, give your life to Jesus, and trust in him with all your heart. Take up your cross and follow him and you too will have life. He will deliver you from the wrath to come.”
Jesus is risen from the dead so the silence must be broken. Mark doesn’t record the Great Commission, but Matthew does:
Matthew 28:18–19 (ESV) — 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
The message of the gospel must now be proclaimed to the entire world. Everyone must know that Jesus Christ is the Lord of heaven and earth, and in him alone can we find hope beyond the grave.