Pastor Dustin Daniels | River Bible Church
Mark 15:1-16:8 | Resurrection Sunday
April 4, 2021
Bibles in back—our gift to you.
I will deliver him;
I will protect him because he knows my name.
When he calls out to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble.
I will rescue him and give him honor.
I will satisfy him with a long life
and show him my salvation. (Psalm 91:14)
Today we are celebrating the most significant event in human history.
Today are celebrating the best day ever!
What is the best day ever, you ask?
We are recognizing and honoring the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ is the very foundation of the Christian faith.
It’s the reason we are here today.
It’s the reason the Church exists.
Without Jesus walking out of his grave and that tomb being empty, there is no such thing as Heaven.
In fact, the word of God says this…
cf. 1 Corinthians 15:13 NLT— For if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised either.
cf. 1 Corinthians 15:14;17 NLT— And if Christ has not been raised, then all our preaching is useless, and your faith is useless, and you are still guilty of your sins.
Dear friends, if we are still guilty of our sins, we have a problem that we cannot solve.
What exactly is that problem? Let’s find out.
Today’s sermon is going to be a tad different…
I’m going to read a fairly large piece of Scripture—from Mark 14:12-16:8.
This is going to take me about 10 minutes.
Rather than going back through and teaching verse by verse like normal,
I’m going to explain why we all have a problem that is impossible to solve, if Jesus didn’t walk out of His own grave.
SCRIPTURE: Mark 15:1-16:8 CSB
Mark 15:1— As soon as it was morning, having held a meeting with the elders, scribes, and the whole Sanhedrin, the chief priests tied Jesus up, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
Mark 15:2— So Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
He answered him, “You say so.”
Mark 15:3— And the chief priests accused him of many things.
Mark 15:4— Pilate questioned him again, “Aren’t you going to answer? Look how many things they are accusing you of!”
Mark 15:5— But Jesus still did not answer, and so Pilate was amazed.
Mark 15:6— At the festival Pilate used to release for the people a prisoner whom they requested.
Mark 15:7— There was one named Barabbas, who was in prison with rebels who had committed murder during the rebellion.
Mark 15:8— The crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do for them as was his custom.
Mark 15:9— Pilate answered them, “Do you want me to release the king of the Jews for you?”
Mark 15:10— For he knew it was because of envy that the chief priests had handed him over.
Mark 15:11— But the chief priests stirred up the crowd so that he would release Barabbas to them instead.
Mark 15:12— Pilate asked them again, “Then what do you want me to do with the one you call the king of the Jews?”
Mark 15:13— Again they shouted, “Crucify him!”
Mark 15:14— Pilate said to them, “Why? What has he done wrong?”
But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!”
Mark 15:15— Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them; and after having Jesus flogged, he handed him over to be crucified.
Mark 15:16— The soldiers led him away into the palace (that is, the governor’s residence) and called the whole company together.
Mark 15:17— They dressed him in a purple robe, twisted together a crown of thorns, and put it on him.
Mark 15:18— And they began to salute him, “Hail, king of the Jews!”
Mark 15:19— They were hitting him on the head with a stick and spitting on him. Getting down on their knees, they were paying him homage.
Mark 15:20— After they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple robe and put his clothes on him. They led him out to crucify him.
Mark 15:21— They forced a man coming in from the country, who was passing by, to carry Jesus’s cross. He was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus.
Mark 15:22— They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of the Skull).
Mark 15:23— They tried to give him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.
Mark 15:24— Then they crucified him and divided his clothes, casting lots for them to decide what each would get.
Mark 15:25— Now it was nine in the morning when they crucified him.
Mark 15:26— The inscription of the charge written against him was: The King of the Jews.
Mark 15:27— They crucified two criminals, with him, one on his right and one on his left.
Mark 15:29— Those who passed by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads, and saying, “Ha! The one who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,
Mark 15:30— save yourself by coming down from the cross!”
Mark 15:31— In the same way, the chief priests with the scribes were mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others, but he cannot save himself!
Mark 15:32— Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross, so that we may see and believe.” Even those who were crucified with him taunted him.
Mark 15:33— When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.,
Mark 15:34— And at three Jesus cried out with a loud voice,
(E-loy, E-Loy, lama, suh-bauch-thani) “Eloi, Eloi, lemá sabachtháni?”
which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”,
Mark 15:35— When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “See, he’s calling for Elijah.”
Mark 15:36— Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, fixed it on a stick, offered him a drink, and said, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
Mark 15:37— Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed his last.
Mark 15:38— Then the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
Mark 15:39— When the centurion, who was standing opposite him, saw the way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”,
Mark 15:40— There were also women watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome.
Mark 15:41— In Galilee these women followed him and took care of him. Many other women had come up with him to Jerusalem.
Mark 15:42— When it was already evening, because it was the day of preparation (that is, the day before the Sabbath),
Mark 15:43— Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin who was himself looking forward to the kingdom of God, came and boldly went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’s body.
Mark 15:44— Pilate was surprised that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had already died.
Mark 15:45— When he found out from the centurion, he gave the corpse to Joseph.
Mark 15:46— After he bought some linen cloth, Joseph took him down and wrapped him in the linen. Then he laid him in a tomb cut out of the rock and rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb.
Mark 15:47— Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were watching where he was laid.
Mark 16:1— When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they could go and anoint him.
Mark 16:2— Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb at sunrise.
Mark 16:3— They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance to the tomb for us?”
Mark 16:4— Looking up, they noticed that the stone—which was very large—had been rolled away.
Mark 16:5— When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side; they were alarmed.
Mark 16:6— “Don’t be alarmed,” he told them. “You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they put him.
Mark 16:7— But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see him there just as he told you.’ ”
Mark 16:8— They went out and ran from the tomb, because trembling and astonishment overwhelmed them. And they said nothing to anyone, since they were afraid.
**These are the very words from God for us this morning.**
What would you think if you were standing with those women and heard those words?
“What do you mean? I watched Him die! I watched as he was buried right here!”
The most incredible words a human being will ever hear are in verse 16.
Mark 16:6— He has risen! He is not here!
Why are those the most remarkable words we could ever hear?
Well, to understand the good news of the Gospel, we have to understand what’s so good about it.
And if there is something good about the good news, then that presumes that there must also be bad news.
So let’s start with the bad news about the Gospel.
The bad news is that the world is broken—that’s not a shocker.
We can all agree on that, can’t we?
This past year has magnified and intensified the world’s brokenness to all time high for many generations.
Would you have ever thought—that mask or no mask— would cause so much anger and outrage?
Or is it truly a shock that a famous Hollywood producer is guilty of sexual assault?
Is it a surprise that this country is trying to burn itself down with race riots?
Even creation itself is broken—it’s not just mankind—the human race.
2020 was an all-time high for the number of hurricanes.
Hurricane Laura slams into Louisiana and wildfires burned California to the ground.
And if it’s not Mother Nature doing the burning, then it’s the politicians.
The world’s brokenness is a collective sum of our individual brokenness.
If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll admit that we don’t have it altogether.
We’re far from perfect. In fact, we’re pretty messed up.
Regardless of how hard we try at not looking broken, we are.
And we try to fix our brokenness through all the things the world has to offer.
Work, money, food, technology, pornography, drugs, alcohol…
It doesn’t matter what we use to numb the pain of our life, because our problem will never be solved by what’s at the bottom of the bottle of our choosing.
The world offers no solutions to why the world is broken like this.
They have opinions, but not the Truth.
The world has no answers to spiritual questions.
Is there a God?
What am I here for? What’s my purpose?
Where am I going?
But God does offer answers.
His answers are found in His Word, the Bible.
To understand the beauty of the Gospel, we have to understand what the actual problem is.
Today’s problems are not COVID, perverted Hollywood producers, Republicans, Democrats or critical race theories.
God calls our problem sin.
Sin means to step over or go around God’s law
It is a total disregard for who God is.
Adam and Eve sinned when they ate from the tree that God told them not to eat from. And when they sinned, they ran from God. They hid.
They tried to withdraw themselves from the presence of God.
They tried to physically conceal themselves with itchy fig leaves from another tree.
They wanted to be left alone. They ran from the sunlight into the darkness.
They wanted to keep their actions a secret. Why?
They knew they were naked and, because of their nakedness, they felt shame.
Their shame forced them into hiding.
So, of course, they hid, right? They willfully and consciously rebelled against God—the Supreme Being of the Universe.
They did the one thing that they were not supposed to do.
And we’ve been doing the same thing ever since—It’s called the fall of mankind.
This deliberate and conscious choice to eat from the tree that God specifically told them not to eat from is called sin.
By its simplest definition, sin is rebellion.
Adam and Eve’s first sin didn’t come from the eating of the fruit.
It actually came before that.
Their sin came from their personal decision to rebel against a holy God.
But once that decision was made, it was only then that their behavior followed.
Sin is why the world is broken.
Sin is why you’re broken, my friend.
In other words, sin is the bad news part of the Gospel.
We don’t like to be told that we’re sinners—but we must because it’s the truth.
In the world and culture that we live in today—the world says that that man is basically good, and God is whatever I identify Him to be.
The world has a wrong view of God.
The world’s view of God will lead you to a wrong view of sin.
The world says that man’s greatest problems come from outside of himself.
They point to social issues, political differences, socio-economic factors, educational elements, race theories, blah, blah, blah.
But God teaches the very opposite.
God teaches through the Scriptures that man is a fallen creature because his heart is morally corrupt.
Dear friends, we are all a rebellious people.
We are disobedient. We don’t want anyone telling us what to do.
We are stubborn, pushy, rude, presumptuous, and arrogant.
God calls that sin. He calls it lawlessness.
We are a law unto our self.
For example, “What the speed limit?—whatever I want it be!”
We practice lawlessness in two main ways:
by openly defying God.
or by simply being apathetic, unconcerned, or indifferent to God.
Scripture also says that sin is hostile.
We as fallen human beings love unrighteousness, and we demand autonomy.
We are born demanding freedom—and are hostile toward anyone and anything which hints at taking the illusion of our freedom away.
What are the first two words children learn? “No” and “Mine.”
Who taught them that? No one! It’s his nature.
Just as dogs bark and cats meow, sinners sin.
<Day care story?>
Scripture goes on to say that sin is an abomination.
The word abomination is probably the most appropriate word for sin.
It means foul, vile, or disgusting.
To put it simply, any and all forms of sin are an abomination before the Lord.
All that to say is that because of sin, human beings have fallen short of God’s glory and His standards for how to live this life. Why?
Because the human heart is totally depraved and without hope of change.
Dear friends, we are not living in the original state in which God created us.
Our whole being—personhood— has been thoroughly perverted.
To say that the human race is depraved means that it has fallen from its original state. This is why Genesis 3 is called “The Fall.”
Because of Adam and Eve, all people are born as morally corrupt sinners by nature.
We have inherited their sin.
“That’s not fair!”—different sermon for another day.
But we also have our own personal sin, don’t we?
We’ve all willingly broken God’s commands.
Now, to say that fallen man is totally depraved does not mean that he is as bad or immoral as he could be— or that every deed is evil.
What it does mean is that depravity has affected and impacted his entire being.
Our mind, body, soul, and will.
Total depravity also doesn’t mean that mankind is incapable of doing good things.
Fallen man does sometimes do good things—depending on what your definition of good is—they are few and far between.
Total depravity does mean, however, that all people are born with a great propensity and inclination towards evil.
From a spiritual perspective, depravity means that we are all born spiritually dead.
We are physically alive— but spiritually dead.
And because we’re spiritually dead, we live as a practical atheist.
We sin because we love our sin.
A fallen man cannot love God because it’s impossible for him to love God.
You say, “Wait, I thought I had free will! I have a choice in this.”
Scripture says that you are free to choose…
But, since you are depraved, you will always choose evil.
In other words, man does have free will, but he does not have a good will.
A depraved man has ill will.
His will is in bondage to his own depravity.
Scripture goes on to say that fallen man cannot:
Is a slave to Satan
I know, very few people would ever confess following the devil, but Scripture testifies that Satan works through everyone who lives in disobedience to God.
Are we really that bad?
You tell me.
What has the news and social media force-fed you over the past year in particular?
We could sum it up in one word…depravity.
And yet, we choose to live in t delusional age that demands that man is the very center of the universe.
And yet, people are confused as to what bathroom they are to use.
You say, “Well, that’s other people…I’m certainly not perfect, but I’m not depraved.”
Hmmm…let’s try a little experiment.
If I were to give you a pair of glasses, and you put them on, and it recorded every thought that went through your mind for the next year, and then it created a video from those thoughts…
Would you be willing to let us watch your video here at Church a year from now?
For one month—30 days?
For one week—7 days?
Any takers for one day?
What about the rest of this sermon?!
What’s the point?
All of us are helpless and hopeless to save ourselves from our own depravity.
We are all in the same sinking boat. We’re all on same playing field.
No one has any special talents or has enough money to fix themselves from this thing called sin.
cf. Romans 3:12— All have turned away;
all alike have become worthless.
There is no one who does what is good,
not even one.
So the question becomes, how is a fallen man made right with God?
As we’ve just learned, it’s not only that a sinner cannot come to God—it’s that he will not come to God.
And because he won’t come to God, Scripture says that every person deserves the same eternal fate in a very real place called hell.
In other words, this life is as good as it gets.
That’s the bad news of the Gospel. There is no hope in and among ourselves.
The reason I went into such detail on the depravity of man is that your eternal life is at stake this morning.
Can you imagine walking into the doctor’s office for a routine checkup, and the tests reveal that you have cancer, but yet the doctor doesn’t tell you because he wants you to be his friend, or maybe he doesn’t want to upset you?
When you eventually found out the truth, how upset would you be?
This Church is a spiritual hospital.
It is our duty to share with you the full counsel of God.
And dear friends, that leads me to the good news of the Gospel.
The reason that we celebrate Resurrection Sunday is that God is holy.
It’s out of His holiness that all of his other attributes flow.
God is love, yes. He is also merciful, gracious, patient, and kind.
But he is also Just.
Meaning God cannot wink at our sin. God must punish sin.
And the punishment for your depravity, pride and rebellion against a Holy God is spending eternity in a very real place called hell.
Hell is where people experience the full weight of God’s holy wrath against sin.
The beauty of the Gospel is that since God knows that there is nothing that mankind to do in and among himself—to save himself.
God the Father sent Jesus, God the Son from Heaven to pay your sin debt.
God says that sin is so serious that a sacrifice must be made. Blood must be shed.
In the OT, God told people to take a perfect lamb to make that sacrifice.
Now this sacrifice only covered their sins—it was a temporary band aid.
However, this past Friday was called Good Friday.
And the reason it’s called “Good” is because Jesus is the Lamb of God—not to cover your sin—but who takes away your sin.
Let me show give you an illustration how Jesus did this on your behalf.
The first place Jesus bled from was his head.
Roman soldiers took their time to twist together and create a crown of thorns.
Now keep in mind that Roman soldiers were perfecters of pain, so they forced the crown of thorns onto Jesus’ head and beat it into His skull.
Blood started to flow from his head.
Why is this detail important?
Because of your own thought life.
All your thoughts of anger, revenge, bitterness, lust, and unforgiveness.
The good news of the Gospel today is that Jesus Christ allowed the thorns to pierce His head to free you from those thoughts and fantasies.
Jesus’ blood cleanses you of your thought life, and because His blood flowed from His head, you can now be forgiven for those sins.
The second-place Jesus Christ bled from was His back.
After the Roman soldiers got tired of mocking Jesus with the crown of thorns, they tied Him to a pole.
They beat his back with a short whip made of leather ropes.
This whip is called a flagellum.
A flagellum was explicitly designed to remove the skin of its victims quickly.
The soldiers beat, flogged, and scourged Jesus beyond human recognition, and blood flowed from his back.
Because you have turned your own back on God by running away and doing your own thing.
Dear friend, Jesus’ blood flowed from His back, for your sins, and now you can be made right with God the Father.
After His flogging, Jesus was forced to carry His own cross to what is called “The Place of the Skull,”
Then Roman soldiers took metal spikes and nailed both His hands to the cross, and blood flowed from His hands.
Because of all the times, you have used your own hands to touch things or hold things you had no business touching.
Or maybe you used your hands and fists in anger, and you struck someone or shook your fist at God himself.
Dear friend, Jesus bled from His hands so that you could be forgiven of those sins.
Then the Romans soldiers took another metal spike and pinned Jesus’ feet to the cross, and blood flowed from his feet too.
To pay for your sin when you walked where you should have never walked.
How many times have you run away for God and into the arms of your adulteress?
Once again, Jesus’ blood flowed from Jesus’s feet for you, so that you can be forgiven and made right with God.
After Jesus willingly died on that cross…no one took His life from Him.
He died to offer you new life.
One of the soldiers took his spear and thrust it into the side of Jesus, pierced His heart.
Both blood and water flowed from His side.
Blood and water are signs of a dead man.
Physically, it’s what you get during an autopsy.
Spiritually, It’s the symbol of the New Covenant—a new life in Christ.
Jesus suffered the wrath of God so that you can have a relationship with Him.
And it’s only through Jesus’ suffering, death and resurrection that divine justice was satisfied and the wrath of God the Father was appeased.
It’s only through Jesus to where God remains truly just as a Holy Judge by fulfilling the law.
It’s only in God Himself to where He is both just and the justifier for your sin.
How do you know that this is true? How do you know I’m not making this stuff up?
Because Jesus walked out of His own grave!!!
The resurrection of Jesus proves two things:
That Jesus is who He said He was.
That God the Father has accepted Jesus’ blood as the sacrifice for your sin.
Because of what Jesus has done, you can now be saved from yourself, saved from God’s wrath, and saved for His purpose.
This is why we celebrate Resurrection Sunday!
This is why the gospel is not just the “good news” but the BEST NEWS EVER!
Now you do have a responsibility in all this.
The Gospel is a free gift from God, but it’s not automatic.
Your responsibly is to believe what you just heard.
cf. John 3:16 NLT— “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.
cf. John 3:17 NLT— God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
cf. John 3:18 NLT— “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.
cf. John 3:19 NLT— And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a two-sided coin with forgiveness on the one side and judgment on the other.
It is not “salvation to everyone.”
It is “salvation to everyone who believes.”
cf. 2 Corinthians 5:17— Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!
cf. 2 Corinthians 5:18— Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.
cf. 2 Corinthians 5:19— That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us.
cf. 2 Corinthians 5:20— Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God.”
cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21— He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
cf. 2 Corinthians 6:1—Working together with him, we also appeal to you, “Don’t receive the grace of God in vain.”
cf. 2 Corinthians 6:2—For he says:
At an acceptable time I listened to you,
and in the day of salvation I helped you.,
See, now is the acceptable time; now is the day of salvation!
Washer, Paul. The Gospel Call and True Conversion. Recovering the Gospel. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2013.
Washer, Paul. The Gospel’s Power and Message. Recovering the Gospel. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2012.