Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XXVI: Learning To Trust God With Our Well-Intended, But Ineffective Plans And Efforts (Mark 15:47-16:8)
  1. Introduction
    1. We Christians are commanded by God to live a godly life in many avenues: we are to provide for our own families (1 Tim. 5:8), disciple all nations (Mtt. 28:19-20) and give no offense to unbelievers to be a godly testimony unto them, cf . 1 Cor. 10:31-33.
    2. However, being human, our best efforts often are pock-marked with oversights, misjudgments and miscues, leading to temporary failures: for example, James 3:1-2 notes that teachers in the Church often even unintentionall y offend in many things the ones they teach!
    3. In view of our human weaknesses and errors, one can tend to think that he should give up even trying to serve the interests of God, but such is not the case. God's grace is great in equipping us to succeed in the matters to which He sends us, and that in spite of our weaknesses. Mark 15:47-16:8 is evidence of that:
  2. Learning To Trust God With Our Well-Intended, But Ineffective Plans And Efforts, Mk. 15:47-16:8:
    1. When Mary Magdalene and Mary, the mother of Joses beheld where Jesus was laid, they also witnessed the fact that the tomb had a large stone rolled over its mouth to shut the body of Jesus in, Mk. 15:47, 46b. We know that they knew about the stone from their reference to it as they talked about it as a size obstacle as they traveled to the tomb that first Easter Sunday morning, Mk. 16:3.
    2. However, perhaps due to their shock and grief over Christ's crucifixion, though knowing of the stone, and that it was too large for them to move, they had brought sweet spices to anoint Christ's body anyway, and realized en route what a mistake it was to travel as they were to the tomb when they couldn't reach His body to achieve their goal, Mk. 16:3, 4b. Funny thing is, they KEPT going toward the tomb!
    3. We also know from other Scriptures that this effort was futile due to their ignorance or oversight:
      1. The day after the women had seen Christ's burial, a Roman seal and guard had been set to cut off the disciples' having access to Jesus' body by force , Mtt. 27:62-66. These women supporters of Jesus were walking into a dangerous confrontation with Rome oblivious to their plight as they traveled to the tomb!
      2. These women might not have been told by the 12 of Jesus' predictions to them of His resurrection:
        1. Jesus had told the disciples of his coming death and resurrection in Mk. 8:31 and Mk. 10:32-34.
        2. Yet, they did not believe this truth, and most likely the women were kept in the dark about it! (8:32)
        3. That being so, they were either ignorantly or irresponsibly about to waste financial, emotional and physical resources to anoint a body that was not to stay dead much longer!
    4. However, in grace, God protected these women from violent, tomb-defending actions by the soldiers, from having to spend their wealth on anointing Jesus' body, from the emotional grief to be experienced in the process of carrying out this intent, etc. as follows:
      1. When Jesus rose from the dead, the Lord through an angel removed the tomb's stone, Mtt. 28:2.
      2. That angel also terrified the defending Roman guards into fainting dead away, removing their threat to these women who were en route to the tomb, Mtt. 28:3-4.
      3. God had Jesus rise from the dead, removing the financial and emotional costs that otherwise would have been incurred by these women carrying out their intended burial services, Mk. 16:6.
      4. God sent an angel to inform the women on these events so that they would not be confused in spite of their unnecessary ignorance of Christ's resurrection, Mk. 16:5-6 in light of Mk. 8:31; 10:32-34.
      5. In sending this angel, the women were terrified, so the Lord's angel graciously informed them not to be terrified, but to note the evidence of the caved in graveclothes where the body had lain (Mk. 16:6d with Lk. 24:12) and that they w ere to glorify God with a new project: instead of anointing a dead Messiah's body, they were to tell His disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee where He could tell them to disciple the world that all might believe in Him and live eternally in victory over the tomb, Mk. 16:7; Mtt. 28:16-20!
Lesson: Like the women with all good but errant intentions who came to the tomb Easter morning to anoint a body they in themselves couldn't possibly reach, who were intercepted by God's grace and given a mission forwarding eternal victory over the tomb through Christ, God in GRACE overshadows our errors and miscues in trying to serve Him if we but just TRY, and be open to letting God lead us!