Introduction Preliminary Concern: Why bother with Bible study?

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Mark 16:9-14

[Longer Ending of Mark]
9 After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went to the disciples, who were grieving and weeping, and told them what had happened. 11 But when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen him, they didn't believe her.

12 Afterward he appeared in a different form to two of his followers who were walking from Jerusalem into the country. 13 They rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed them.

14 Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead.

SEE (head)

Early on Sunday morning Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene. She rushes back to tell the grief-stricken disciples that Jesus is alive, but they do not believe her. Later Jesus appears to two disciples walking along the road, but their witness is also discounted by the disciples. Finally Jesus appears to the disciples themselves, rebuking them for their refusal to believe.

Mary Magdalene ... they didn't believe her (Mark 16:9, 11)

This account (in Mark 16:9-11) appears to be a "brief, to the point, comprehensive" summary of the events recorded in John 20:11-18.1837 It should come as no surprise that the disciples discounted Mary Magdalene's story. After all, at that time and place a woman's witness "was considered unreliable. ... Given this view and the fact that Judaism was not expecting an individual resurrection of the Messiah, it is not surprising that the disciples do not believe" her.1838 

He appeared ... to two of his followers (Mark 16:12)

This account (in Mark 16:12-13) appears to be a summary of the events recorded in Luke 24:13-35. 1839  It was customary for people headed in the same direction to travel together so as to pass the time by conversing.1840 And so the men at first thought little of Jesus' joining them - until he revealed his true identity. When they recognized Jesus for who he was, they immediately changed their travel plans and returned to Jerusalem to tell the disciples what had happened. The statement that "no one believed them" marks the second time the disciples disbelieved a report of the risen Jesus, apparently "regard[ing] Jesus' post-resurrection appearances as apparitions (cf. Luke 24:37)."1841

He appeared to the eleven disciples (Mark 16:14)

This account (in Mark 16:14) appears to be a summary of the events recorded in Luke 24:36-43 and John 20:19-25.1842 Jesus rebuked the disciples for their refusal to believe - for being "hardheaded as well as hardhearted."1843 "Jesus had foretold his own resurrection. Every time he had told them he would die, he had also told them that he would rise again. The Old Testament prophesied all that had happened to Jesus and also spoke of his resurrection. The disciples had no excuse for the stubborn refusal to believe. They should have accepted the news with joy and gone on to Galilee where Jesus had said he would meet them (14:28). Instead, they stayed in Jerusalem, and Jesus had to meet them there."1844 Jesus' words to Mary regarding meeting the disciples in Galilee was a directive from a leader, not a request from an equal. In effect, Jesus had announced that he would be leading the way to Galilee and his disciples were to follow him there.1845 When they refused to obey, Jesus came to them in Jerusalem - not once, but several times - to increase their faith and help them to obey. That is the textbook definition of servant leadership.
In a very real sense, the disciples' skepticism actually offers further proof of Jesus' resurrection. "It may be justly asserted that people of so skeptical a turn of mind would never credit anything till they had the fullest evidence of its truth. The unbelief of the disciples is a strong proof of the truth of the gospel of God."1846 What's more, "[b]y hearing about Jesus' resurrection (before seeing Him) they learned what it was like to believe the testimony of eyewitnesses. This would be necessary for all those to whom they would preach in their coming missionary outreach."1847

HEAR (heart)

You Must Be Drunk!

At the men's prayer breakfast Tony came under conviction for taking his wife for granted. And so on the way home he stopped off to purchase a dozen roses, a box of candy, and a pair of earrings.

He stood at their front door, rang the doorbell, and his wife opened the door. As soon as she saw her husband, however, she burst into tears. Bewildered, Tony asked what was wrong.
To which his wife replied: "'It's been the worst day of my life. First, Jimmy tried to flush his diaper down the toilet. Then Eric melted his plastic airplane in the oven. Then the dishwasher got clogged and overflowed all over the kitchen floor. Then Brittany came home from school with a note from the teacher saying that she beat up a boy in her class. And now you come home drunk!'"1848
The wife doubted the sincerity of her husband. His going out of his way to be so nice to her could mean only one thing - he was intoxicated! Jesus' disciples were skeptical regarding his resurrection. They could believe he had lived and ministered among them. They could believe he had died on a cross. They had, after all, seen all this with their own eyes. But to believe that Jesus was now alive? Why, those so-called "witnesses" must have been intoxicated! In point of fact, the witnesses were intoxicated - with the same joy that overtook the disciples once they themselves met the resurrected Jesus. Need it be said? As followers of Jesus Christ, that same resurrection-joy should flow freely in and through our lives.

DO (hands)

??? How can this passage of Scripture (vv. 9-14) help us when we are tempted to doubt Jesus' presence?

[[@Bible:Mark 16:15-20]]

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