9Now 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. 10 She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.
12 After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13 And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them. 14 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. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 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.” 19 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. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.
1. Some early manuscripts of St. Mark’s Gospel did not include vv. 9-20. Some Bible scholars have suggested Mark added this longer ending because early Christians did not understand why he had previously ended his Good News story with verse 8. Such speculation is typical of graduate degree programs and not particularly edifying to the Church. What matters now is that Mark’s Gospel ends at v. 20, and is the written Word of God. How do these verses build up faith?
2. Scripture never says that Mary Magdalene was formerly a prostitute. What does v. 9 point out?
3. If you are a curious Bible student, try to pick out where Mark agrees with John 20, Matthew 28, Luke 24, and Acts 2.
4. Martin Luther included 16:16 in his Small Catechism’s section on the Sacrament of Holy Baptism. How does this verse challenge you to pray and witness to your family and friends today?
5. Some pentecostal Christians emphasize vv. 17-18 as an essential part of their worship. Read Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians chs. 12-14 to bring those verses into proper balance. Have you learned to interpret the more difficult passages of Scripture with clearer ones? It helps!
6. So which Easter Eucharist are you attending: 6:30, 8:30, or 11 a.m.? Whom are you bringing with you? Go to the bottom of the page to remember your lines at the beginning of worship.
Come, Holy Spirit, and fill me with Easter joy today. Remind me that sin, death, and the devil can never again have the last word over me or my loved ones. When dealing with those who think Easter is just a spiritual celebration of spring, help me to ask them to consider that, from the beginning, God made the seasons to point instead to His saving work in Christ Jesus. Regardless of the unbelief of others, please don’t let me lose the hope that is mine because Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
If you set aside a penny a day for the past 46 days, please write a check to your congregation for $11.28 and designate it for Lent 2018 – Good Gifts. If you set aside a nickel a day, write a check for $56.40. If you set aside a dime, write a check for $112.80. Please place this check in a separate envelope.
If you or someone you love has not yet been baptized, please arrange to visit with our pastor by emailing: email@example.com New Disciples Class for those new to Christianity or new to the Lutheran church is Saturday, April 28, 9 a.m. to noon. New Member Orientation is May 26, 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Pastor Samuel D. Zumwalt, STS
St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
Wilmington, North Carolina
The Daily Readings are from English Standard Version,