↓Audio link to the sermon:
Today’s message title is from Mark16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” We’ll learn from the Great Commission that Jesus gave to his disciples. First, we’ll learn the background and context of this word. The Gospel of Mark originally ends at chapter 16 verse 8. Manuscript evidence reveals that verses 9 to 20 were added in the second century. We don’t know at this point whether Mark originally finished the book at 16: 8 or if he finished the book with the rest of the part but they have been lost and found later and added in the second century. Either way, we can see from references from other Gospels that this addition was widely recognized by the first Christians until the second century. Today, I would like to talk about this additional passage along with other books of Gospel . Now, please read Mark 16: 9-20.
First, it is emphasized that the resurrection of Jesus was difficult to accept even for the disciples. Even though they believed in Jesus as the son of God, it was still difficult to accept the fact of the resurrection. Jesus repeatedly told his disciples beforehand that he was going to be crucified, die, and be resurrected, but even if so, it was still hard to believe. That was the reality. There is one reason for the empty tomb of Jesus, either the resurrection or someone stealing and hiding Jesus’ body. So the Jewish leaders put a guard on the tomb out of fear that his disciples might steal his body, and when Jesus’ body was gone, they made up that the disciples stole his body, which is written in Matthew 28:13. Mark states here that even the disciples had difficulty accepting the fact of the resurrection until they met the resurrected Jesus. Mark 16: 9 says, Jesus revealed himself to Mary Magdalene. I would like to refer to the details in John 20: 11-18. The gentle word of Jesus to Mary is beautifully expressed. However, the disciples could not accept her testimony. Following this passage, Jesus appeared in a different form to two of the disciples while they were walking in the country. For details, please read Luke 24: 13-35. Particularly, verse 26-27 says, “Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.”
We want to be aware that the Old Testament itself refers to Christ. However, it’s written that the disciples could not accept the testimony of these two either. In fact, Mary and the other disciples only understood the resurrection after the resurrected Christ spoke to them.
Secondly, verse 14 says he appeared to the Eleven and he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal. The fact is revealed here that the resurrected Jesus met his disciples. It is written here that Jesus blamed the stubborn hearts of his disciples, which Mark may have perceived as such. However, John 20: 19-29 records the words of Jesus who met his disciples and the conversation between Jesus and Thomas who was not there. This is one of my favorite passages. Jesus said in verse 19 “Peace be with you!” and in verse 22, “receive the Holy Spirit.“ Please read this passage of Thomas who was not there with his stubborn heart, and the words of Jesus who loved him and spoke to him. In verse 27, Jesus said “Put your finger here; see my hands ..Stop doubting and believe.” We can see that the resurrected Jesus restored the faith of the disciples and poured peace and the Holy Spirit on them. We should remember that the disciples met the resurrected Jesus, and they were made a great witnesses of the resurrection.
Thirdly, today’s theme, the Great Commission is stated here, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. “ As witnesses of Jesus’ resurrection, the disciples needed to widely spread the event of His cross and resurrection. I believe that living with the same evangelistic mission is also given to the modern Christians. What is the content of the gospel that we can share with others? Christ was crucified for me. He was punished for me, he died and he was resurrected. As I believe in Christ, the forgiveness of sins is given to us. We can first share such a personal message. Do you remember that Jesus told two of his disciples that the Old Testament itself prophesied about the Savior? The Old Testament messages include the creation of God, the fall of man, the people of Israel was chosen, the Ten Commandments of Moses, and the prophecy of Christ. In addition, let us have the experience of speaking boldly with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, about the work of Christ, the salvation that Christ gives, and the new mission of the believers. I believe the divine plan that only you can do is already prepared. Mark added “go into all the world.” That emphasizes the mission to Gentiles. Japanese people are also Gentiles, but the era of the New Testament has begun, in which anyone who believes in Christ will be saved. Let’s hold on to the promise that “those who believe and are baptized will be saved.” Mark describes some of Paul’s experiences, saying that those who believe are accompanied by the following signs: It’s not only the experience of Paul. We should remind ourselves that the Gospel was spread with these works and signs of God. It is said in verse 20,「and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.」(Mark 16:20 NIV) I believe that we can experience the same works and signs of God as we spread the Gospel to the world.
「Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”」
Matthew 28:19-20 NIV