Monday Morning Coffee with Mark

The Challenges to Christianity: Jesus' Resurrection

April 01, 2024 Mark Roberts Season 4 Episode 14
Monday Morning Coffee with Mark
The Challenges to Christianity: Jesus' Resurrection
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Welcome to the Westside church’s special Monday Morning Coffee podcast with Mark Roberts. Mark is a disciple, a husband, father and grand dad, as well as a certified coffee geek, fan of CS Lewis’ writings and he loves his big red Jeep. He’s also the preacher for Westside church.

Speaker 1:

Hello, and welcome to the Westside churches special Monday Morning Coffee podcast on this podcast, our preacher Mark Roberts will help you get your week started right. With look back at yesterday's sermon so that we can think through it further and better work the applications into our daily lives . Mark will then look forward into this week's Bible reading so that we can know what to expect and watch for. And, he may have some extra bonus thoughts from time to time. So grab a cup of coffee as we start the week together on Monday Morning Coffee with Mark.

Speaker 2:

Good morning. Good morning. Welcome to the Monday Morning Coffee podcast for Monday, April the first. I'm Mark and I've got some coffee going. I've got some notes from yesterday that was just a wonderful Sunday. I really, really love those special Sundays. We get a lot of extra visitors and yesterday was a day where people were thinking about the resurrection of Jesus and that certainly fit into our challenges series this year. The preaching theme. It was great to talk about that. It is April the first go. Read Psalm 14 one and learn how not to be a fool on April 1st or any other day. We've got a lot happening on the podcast today. Get you some coffee. Get your Bible open to Mark 15. Let's think about yesterday's sermon. Let's get started. Yesterday was what is called by many people Easter Sunday. You understand about that and I understand about that. The Easter bunny is not found in your Bible, but it is a day when people are thinking a lot about the resurrection of Jesus, and a lot of people who don't regularly go to church are looking to go to church, and that's why I think it's important to go ahead and meet people where they are. It's always a good idea to talk about the resurrection of Jesus. It's everywhere in the New Testament, and I hope yesterday's lesson helped you think through that and what that means, and I hope that our visitors are thinking through that and continuing to think about that as they go forward here. Here's an extra thought about that as I try to answer the challenges to Christianity and especially the challenge to the resurrection of Jesus, you know , oh , that just didn't happen. That's just craziness and Christians making that kind of stuff up. There was some, yesterday there was some discussion of proof, but yesterday you probably noticed I did not make any appeal to science and that of course is what a lot of people want and some people have decided that's the only acceptable proof. You have to have something that can be examined in a lab. We want scientific proof, but science works by setting forth a hypothesis and doing controlled experiments. Then to test that hypothesis, science is based on repeatable events. Well, the resurrection of Jesus is simply not repeatable. That's not how that is going to work. It's not subject to scientific verification. However, that does not mean that there is not evidence for the resurrection and even acceptable evidence. There is historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus Christ and that is not inferior or suspect or less than something that you can test in a scientific laboratory. Think about it. You can't put Julius Caesar or Genghis Khan in a test tube yet no one doubts their existence because we have good historical evidence. So in your conversation with people, make sure before you start introducing your evidence that you have this distinction very clear in people's minds. We have historical evidence witnesses in the first century who say they saw the resurrected Jesus historical evidence. That's very powerful and very important. Lots of people think that if it can't be poked by some men and women in white lab coats, then it's just no good and you don't have any real evidence that is absolutely dead wrong. We have to help people better understand that and that historical evidence is powerful and just as important and very useful. And so in maybe in many ways the reality is a lot of times when we're talking to people about Jesus, we're going to have to help people think clearly because, because there's just a lot of muddled thinking out there, isn't there? Yeah, there's a lot of people who don't understand some basic reasoning ideas and I hope as you share that lesson with others, you can also help them think more clearly about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And our Bible reading seems to be just perfectly tied with all of that as we head in to Mark chapter 15, it's your Bible. Let's talk daily Bible reading. It is Monday and today we read Mark chapter 15 verses 33 to 41. And this is a tough reading. This is just a really hard reading because here Jesus dies for your sins and for my sins. It's so easy to say Jesus dies for the sins of the world and that is vanilla and generic and vague and amorphous and it doesn't mean much. We need to say this very clearly. Jesus is dying here terribly and he is dying for you and he is dying for me. The other synoptic gospels, Matthew and Luke each have their own distinctive focus in the crucifixion of Jesus. Mark's focus here really is on some signs that say something about Jesus' death, darkness. And then Jesus's shout in verse 34, the sign of the temple and the centurion's statement verse 33 tells us the sixth hour had come. So this is now about noon. Jesus has been on the cross since approximately nine o'clock this morning. He is suffering terribly and he asks in verse 34, my God, why have you forsaken me? Then in verse 34, Jesus says, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? And this has been very controversial and there are some brethren who want to say that Jesus was not forsaken by God. I've heard those arguments. I'm not compelled by that. It seems to me that Jesus knows what happened here and that as he bears the sins of the world, he experiences the separation from God that comes with that. And it is a terrible and awful and horrible thing. Two Corinthians five helps us here . I I think there's something to be said about this is the very worst moment on the cross for Jesus, but then the bystanders don't get it. And so they ask about Elijah and of course that reminds us about what Jesus said in chapter nine in verse 12, that Elijah does come first. And so now it's all connecting together. John the Baptist has come and now Jesus is the Messiah and he's doing what the Messiah was going to do, what John the Baptist had prepared the way for him to do. And Mark then calls attention verse 38, that the curtain of the temple was torn into from top to bottom. And Hebrews, the book of Hebrews will interpret that as a symbolic sign. Jesus's flesh is the veil making the way into the holy place open to all even unto Gentiles. It's a very symbolic kind of thing. And then Mark concludes this with a very unlikely picture and that is the picture of the women, verse 40 who are standing at the cross. And of course women were not considered to be very valuable or important in the New Testament world. They were considered worthless as witnesses and they could not testify in court. So the fact that Mark is making notice here in verses 40 and uh , verse 40 and 41 about these women shows that the gospel accounts are not made up at all. Otherwise you would not mention these women. You'd have some deputation from the Sanhedrin stand there and certify Jesus or something or something. Um , maybe, maybe more would be made out of the centurion of verse 39 and and you're gonna ask, everybody wants to know how much does this guy know and is he saying that Jesus is the son of God or he's saying he is a son of God? You may have that marginal note and we don't know. Jesus was very, very famous and did a lot of teaching and this just for Mark is a climatic kind of thing. A centurion gives testimony that he is the Christ, he is the he is the Christ. And I don't know if that's found in the way that Jesus died or the centurion had heard Jesus preach. We don't know any of that, but Mark wants us to know, and it has been noted here, this is the first sane person, the first person who is not demon possessed that gets this truly this man is the son of God. I guess Peter made a great confession, but this seems to stack on top of that because it's in the hour of Jesus' death tomorrow. Then we complete Mark chapter 15 on Tuesday, mark chapter 15 will be where we finish up this great story and in many ways this heart-rending story of Jesus' death on the cross for you and for me. See you tomorrow. It is Tuesday and today we read Mark chapter 15 verses 42 to 47. This is the end of Mark, the 15 chapter for us. I would remind folks from West side that we will have zoom tonight. Sometimes the schedule gets a little wacky when I'm gone in gospel meeting efforts. So there will be a zoom call tonight. I'm looking forward to talking more with you about Joseph of ama . He is absolutely the center of attention here. He is a respected member of the council. Verse 43. And by handling a dead body here , Joseph of Arimathea makes himself ceremonially. That's easy to say, isn't it about sw of coffee here, ceremonially unclean for the Sabbath? And that would be inconvenient and there would be some costs there for him to cleanse himself. And on top of that, there is some risk here. There is no question, there is some risk here. Who wants to go see a Roman governor and say, Hey, you know that bad man that you executed for being a revolutionary and a rebel. I'm with him. Can I bury him with honor? That is not going to play well. I think Joseph is at great risk here and I think Mark gives so much emphasis to this to contrast the courage of Joseph with pilots absolute cowardice. I think Mark is asking the reader, who are you? Are you a pilot or are you a Joseph of Arimathea courage or fear, boldness or timidity to follow? Jesus requires a decision and then it requires the courage to stand by that decision. I'll say it, I'll just say it. Lots of people aren't courageous enough to be Christians. And I think that's a good place to leave the reading today. We'll talk more about that tonight in the Zoom call for those of us who are part of the West Side Church family. I'll see everybody tomorrow as we start the last chapter of Mark's gospel, mark chapter 16. See you tonight , west siders. See you everyone else tomorrow in Mark 16 on Wednesday. Welcome to Wednesday. Today we read Mark 16, one to eight. And as bad and difficult as it was to read yesterday about Jesus dying, this is just full of joy and victory as Jesus. He is risen. And I know that you're holding on to what we talked about on Sunday, and that is there's just no expectation here. In fact, no one believes the resurrection at first. These women are not making their way out to the tombs singing up from the grave heroes. That is not happening. They don't have any thought whatsoever that Jesus will be out of that tomb. They are alarmed. Look at verse five. And as the book began with God's messenger, John the Baptist announcing what God was about to do in chapter one. Now it closes with a messenger from God announcing what God has done. And I love verse seven, you go tell the disciples. And Peter and Peter, last week when I was in Odessa, I talked with the people there about Bible reading and how important that is on a daily basis. We of course we're we're very up to speed on that here at West Side , particularly on a podcast that's about daily Bible reading. And I was working along with the idea of how to make good application from a chapter, how to transition just from getting the information out of a chapter to instead the kind of transformation we want from the very word of God. And as I talked about that, I gave them that acronym path. I've used that before. At West Side it stands for praise, admonition, trust, and hope that in every passage of scripture that we read, we would look for something to praise God for something that admonishes us, something that builds our faith, that builds our trust. That's a T. And then H is hope, something that gives us hope and God's working in the world, God working through people. And I think the hope passage here is the verse in verse seven is a part of verse seven where it says, and Peter, I'm not done with you, Peter, I know what you did. I know what happened, but I am not done with you is the message of God. And Peter, of course is gonna go on to great things. The hope of this passage is that God can work with sinful and broken people. Maybe the reason for that is because that's the only kind there is and God is willing just incredibly so to work with sinful and broken folks like Peter and like you and like me. Tomorrow we'll deal with the end of Mark 16 and not just what's going on in the text, but what about those brackets that are on top of the text? See you tomorrow. It is Thursday and today the most controversial section of Mark's gospel. Today we're reading Mark 16, nine to 20, and we've got italics or brackets here. We've got snakes. This is a section of Mark's gospel that has received a lot of attention. Let's just start by talking about why does your Bible say some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16, nine to 20 or it has some kind of marginal note down at the bottom, or maybe it's all in italics. What's going on with that? And let's just start by saying there is a giant textual issue with these verses. Simply put some of the earliest and most reliable manuscripts do not contain that ending to Mark's gospel. Verses nine to 20 are not there. And I want to remind you that our translations letting us know that is not a bad thing. That is to the credit of the translators. Sometimes people act like how dare them question the Bible, but that just assumes verses nine to 20 are in the Bible . I want those translators to signal to me, Hey, pay attention here. Do some more research, do some study. We're not totally sure about this. You want to look into this further. Italics are a very good thing. We are interested in the integrity of scripture. And if somebody added something, maybe wrote it in the margins and somehow it's being copied and recopied, it migrated itself into the text and it's not scripture, then I want it out. And I want to know that it's not scripture, don't you? So don't get upset about this. I realize people ask, can I trust my Bible? And that's an important question, but we want the translators to tell us what is and is not scripture. And the case against these verses is not a weak one. You should know that they are missing from two of our best manuscripts, the Vaticanus and the Cy Atticus. And there are some early church fathers that didn't seem to know these verses, they did not quote them. And there's some new words, some vocabulary that Mark does not use before in this section. However, all of that said, I do believe it is part of Mark's gospel, and I do believe that it is authentic and genuine scripture. There are some translations of the New Testament that do contain it, and some of those translations are actually older than the Vaticanus and the Cy Atticus that don't have it. There are some church fathers who quote it, but I think the real clincher to the argument is that if verses nine to 20 aren't there, then the gospel ends in verse eight and it ends with women who are trembling and astonished and say nothing to anyone else. In fact, the gospel in Greek would literally end on the word for is, is that the ending Marx going for this carefully constructed argument for the resurrection, for the messiahship of Jesus? The Christ is, is that how this gospel's going to end in 1428? Jesus promised to go before them to Galilee. Doesn't mark connect that up? It seems to me that that is a very dubious kind of thing. We have enjoyed this gospel so much and you appreciate now how well written and well crafted it is. I don't think the gospel ends in verse eight. That's really, really hard to believe. And there is textual evidence that it is part of Mark's gospel. So I'm gonna stand right there and say, yes, this is part of the Bible. You need to do additional research on that as well. And of course the theme goes forward here. This is the theme that we talked about on Sunday when the resurrection happens, what do, what what ? How do disciples respond to that? And the answer is verse 11, they don't believe it. Verse 13, some of them didn't believe it and in verse 14, Jesus had to rebuke them and say, Hey, how come you didn't believe it? I told you this was gonna happen. You guys need to have more faith. Then of course the gospel ends with this great commissioning and the instructions in verse 16 that whoever believes in the baptized will be saved. I I realize that there's a lot of people today who want to faith only approach. You just raise your hand, he accept Jesus in your heart, that kind of thing. I talked about baptism's importance a couple of weeks ago in the pulpit, and what can we do to close that gap so that people who are close to the kingdom of God can actually get to the kingdom of God? And if you believe in Jesus, you are close, but you need to believe and be baptized. I have long said, if the instructions were he who fills out the form and signs it will receive a million dollars, no one would say, I'm gonna fill it out and that's all I'm gonna do. I'm not gonna sign it. Filling it out is enough and I expect to receive my million dollars. No, fill it out and sign. It means what? We know what that means and believe and be baptized will be saved . We know what that means and I know that people say, well, it doesn't say, whoever does not believe in is baptized will be condemned. Well, of course it doesn't say that because if you don't believe you're not gonna be baptized, you don't have to say that if you don't believe, you classify yourself with those who are standing outside refusing Jesus who need the rebuke of verse 14. Finally, I know you're wondering about the snakes in verse 18, and what I would say about this is that this message of the resurrection of Jesus is so powerful and so important, it will need confirmation and there will be confirming signs. Verse 17, these signs will accompany those who believe and they do accompany people. Verse 20. And it confirms the message with these signs and the signs followed believers as a body. And we see that in the New Testament church in the Book of Acts. It does not mean that everyone individually will be able to exercise all of these signs. And in fact, the crucial piece for this for a lot of people is letting the Bible say everything it wants to say about signs. Perhaps if Mark 16 was the only text that ever mentions this, we might expect that there would be signs ongoing or that you could pick up a snake or I could drink poison. But we want to read everything the Bible has to say about that. And as we move forward , for example in Acts chapter eight, we read that people are baptized, but Philip could not pass on to the miraculous powers. Only apostles could do that. And so you begin to construct a complete view of miraculous signs, particularly that confirming the message and how the message once it's written down will not need to be confirmed because it has been given to us in its final form. And the word serves to confirm someone who says, I want to tell you what God wants you to do in order to be saved. I wanna tell you how to be a disciple of Jesus. Well , well, how do you know? I know 'cause I'm telling you what the Bible says. So those signs will go away when that need for confirmation goes away. And that brings us to the end, that brings us to the end of Mark's gospel. And in some ways there's a little sadness in my voice. Can you hear it ? I have really come to love this gospel. I have always loved this gospel. I share a namesake with it. And so it's always just been special to me. Full disclosure, yes, I still love Luke's gospel the most, but Mark's gospel is really, really powerful. And this theme this year of seeing Jesus through the eyes of Peter and John, it's just our first stop and it's a great stop and I'm so glad we spent time there. And now we're going over to the Book of Acts and we're gonna watch Peter and John in action as a result of what they saw in the gospel of Mark. See you tomorrow. Welcome to Friday and welcome to the Book of Acts. Today we read Acts chapter one verses one to 11. Grab yourself some coffee and let's get ready to make some notes in our Bible about the book of Acts that will help us tremendously if we can get a couple of things on the table to start with. So in the first book, verse one oath , Theophilus , I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach. The implication here is that volume two is what Jesus does through his disciples. And I have taught the Book of Acts recently at West Side and I have emphasized again and again that what acts is about is that what Jesus did in the gospels now goes on through the disciples, through the church, the work of Jesus continues. Jesus is alive and his work is alive. The New Testament church continues to preach and teach and help men and women get right with God. That's what Jesus was all about. And you'll notice here in verse one that Theophilus does not have the title most excellent one that he had in Luke one in verse three. And so some people have speculated that maybe Theophilus has become a Christian, and when you become a Christian, titles just aren't as important anymore. All that matters is that you are a brother. The title most excellent is used of Roman officials in the Book of Acts. So you can jot this in the margin here. This is the kind of stuff you get in the podcast. Acts 23, 26, 24 3 and 26, 25, 23, 26, 24 3 and 26, 25 contain that title used of Roman officials . So that may give you some insight into who Theophilus is, and I'm aware that verse eight is used as an outline for the Book of Acts. But if you sat in my Acts class, you know that I'm not a big fan of that for a number of reasons. The book really doesn't break in that way. A much better outline is to watch for Luke's summary statements like for example in chapter six and in verse seven where Luke will say the word of God continue to increase the number of disciples multiply greatly in Jerusalem and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. You get that little sum up paragraph that shows that Luke's about to begin another panel, and we'll try to note those as we go through the book of Acts here. Probably the biggest problem with Acts one, eight being the outline is that nobody in the New Testament world would've thought Rome is the end of the earth. No, Rome is the center of the earth, not the end of the earth. Please step back to verse five. John baptize you with water. You need to go Jerusalem, you need to stay there. You need to wait for the promise of the Father. You will now verse five, be baptized with the Holy Spirit. According to the Old Testament, the days of fulfillment, the time of the Messiah would be marked by a widespread outpouring of God's spirit. And so they ask verse six, is this the time you're going to restore the kingdom? And that can be a term that speaks of God setting all things right, and probably in their mind they are thinking about getting rid of the Romans, but maybe even more than that. But Jesus says just as he was anointed when he began his ministry, then in the same way his disciples need to be anointed, the apostles must be anointed to carry on this work of being witnesses. And Jesus then is received up verse nine into the clouds. The clouds I think are designed here to remind us of the shiah glory of God when God comes down on the tabernacle and inhabits it and dwells there. Same for the temple, for Solomon's temple. He comes in a glorious cloud. And so what we get in verse 11 is Jesus is gone and he will return. And so how you live depends on what you think about Jesus. What are you doing while we are waiting for his return? Is your life meaningless and it has no purpose. This was all made up. It was all a fake. It was all a fraud. It means nothing in which case Jesus is never going to return. But if you believe Jesus is coming again, that will change how you live. Make certain that you are living in expectation of the return of Jesus. Acts one verse 11. So that's the podcast for the week. I certainly do. Thank you for listening. If the podcast is helping you tell someone else about it, leave us a rating and a review so more people can be helped by the podcast Until Monday, then when we open our Bibles together, I'm Mark Roberts and I want to go to heaven, and I want you to come to see you on Monday with an open Bible and a cup of coffee. Of course. See you then.

Speaker 1:

Thanks for listening to the Westside church of Christ podcast. Monday morning coffee with mark . For more information about west side , you can connect with us through our website, just and our Facebook page. Our music is from that's upbeat with two P'S UPP , B E A T , where creators can get free music. Please share our podcast with others. And we look forward to seeing you again with a company coffee, of course, on next Monday.

Sermon Notes
Monday Mark 15:33-41
Tuesday Mark 15:42-47
Wednesday Mark 16:1-8
Thursday Mark 16:9-20
Friday Acts 1:1-11