The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. For behold, days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the LORD, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their fathers, and they shall take possession of it.”
These are the words that the LORD spoke concerning Israel and Judah:
“Thus says the LORD:
We have heard a cry of panic,
of terror, and no peace.
Ask now, and see,
can a man bear a child?
Why then do I see every man
with his hands on his stomach like a woman in labor?
Why has every face turned pale?
Alas! That day is so great
there is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob;
yet he shall be saved out of it.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, declares the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off your neck, and I will burst your bonds, and foreigners shall no more make a servant of him. But they shall serve the LORD their God and David their king, whom I will raise up for them.
“Then fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the LORD,
nor be dismayed, O Israel;
for behold, I will save you from far away,
and your offspring from the land of their captivity.
Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease,
and none shall make him afraid.
For I am with you to save you,
declares the LORD;
I will make a full end of all the nations
among whom I scattered you,
but of you I will not make a full end.
I will discipline you in just measure,
and I will by no means leave you unpunished.
“For thus says the LORD:
Your hurt is incurable,
and your wound is grievous.
There is none to uphold your cause,
no medicine for your wound,
no healing for you.
All your lovers have forgotten you;
they care nothing for you;
for I have dealt you the blow of an enemy,
the punishment of a merciless foe,
because your guilt is great,
because your sins are flagrant.
Why do you cry out over your hurt?
Your pain is incurable.
Because your guilt is great,
because your sins are flagrant,
I have done these things to you.
Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured,
and all your foes, every one of them, shall go into captivity;
those who plunder you shall be plundered,
and all who prey on you I will make a prey.
For I will restore health to you,
and your wounds I will heal,
declares the LORD,
because they have called you an outcast:
‘It is Zion, for whom no one cares!’
“Thus says the LORD:
Behold, I will restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob
and have compassion on his dwellings;
the city shall be rebuilt on its mound,
and the palace shall stand where it used to be.
Out of them shall come songs of thanksgiving,
and the voices of those who celebrate.
I will multiply them, and they shall not be few;
I will make them honored, and they shall not be small.
Their children shall be as they were of old,
and their congregation shall be established before me,
and I will punish all who oppress them.
Their prince shall be one of themselves;
their ruler shall come out from their midst;
I will make him draw near, and he shall approach me,
for who would dare of himself to approach me?
declares the LORD.
And you shall be my people,
and I will be your God.”
Behold the storm of the LORD!
Wrath has gone forth,
a whirling tempest;
it will burst upon the head of the wicked.
The fierce anger of the LORD will not turn back
until he has executed and accomplished
the intentions of his mind.
In the latter days you will understand this.
(Jeremiah 30 ESV)
When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 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. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
[Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9–20.]
[[Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.
After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.
Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.]]
(Mark 16 ESV)
A Historical Hope
There ought to be no overlooking the fact that none of the disciples seemed to have any plans to visit the burial site of Jesus the day that these women did. And even these women were bringing ‘spices’ suitable for a dead man. Despite Jesus saying it over and over again, obviously no one was expecting Him to rise from the dead. He was even so specific to point out that “after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee” (Mark 14). The angel in the tomb reminds them of this, “But go, tell the disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” As much as we struggle with the idea of Jesus resurrecting from the dead, we must not overlook the fact that this was just as unbelievable to His first followers as it can be for us today.
If you were trying to start some sort of religion or cult surrounding this man named Jesus, then you have to imagine that you would have recorded this story a little differently than Mark records it. If the disciples were going to be the patriarchs of this new ‘made-up’ religion then why on earth would you record such blatant misunderstanding and ignorance on their part in regards to the clear prophetic messages of Christ concerning His death and resurrection? And not only that, if you were attempting to make your ‘made-up’ story credible, the last thing you would do is base the foundation of your entire story on the eye-witness testimony of women. In ancient cultures, the testimony of a woman was not even considered valid in the court of opinion. The obvious point here is that if Mark and the disciples were trying to start some sort of religious movement, they would have never included such ignorance on their part and the testimony of women as the critical events surrounding the resurrection of Christ.
Therefore, the only reasonable conclusion to be drawn from the way in which the resurrection account is recorded is simply that Mark and the disciples are retelling the events as they actually happened.
- Jesus said He would rise from the dead on the third day.
- No one (including the disciples) expected this would happen.
- Women went to attend to His dead body.
- They were shocked at what they encountered at the tomb.
- The stoned was rolled away.
- The tomb was empty.
- Jesus had risen from the dead.
Our faith is a faith based on historical facts rather than hope-filled fiction. The resurrection is just as much information as it is inspiration. We ought to be greatly encouraged and confidently assured that our hope rests on actual events in history, otherwise we would exhibit a faith that is futile and worship that is worthless (1 Corinthians 15).