Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Sabbath School Insights No. 13, Qtr 2-05

<center><bold><fontfamily><param>Times</param>Special Insights No. 13


<bold>Second Quarter 2005 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“Jesus Through the Eyes of Mark”

(Produced by the editorial board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)</bold>

<bold>Insights to Lesson 13: “Buried--But Risen!”</bold>


</center>We have just completed thirteen Lessons about the one Man of
all time who has been the most “despised and rejected by men, a man of
sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Thank God the story ends with
Lesson Thirteen, RESURRECTION!

In the two millennia since, countless numbers of God’s true people
have experienced the fellowship of His sufferings, and like John the
Baptist have ended their lives in being “despised and rejected by
men.” They were often burned at the stake, drowned in rivers, or
perished alone in dungeons. It was during the 1260 years of papal
oppression of “the little horn,” when “the saints [were] given into
his hand” (Dan. 7:21-25). They “tasted” what Christ endured on His
cross, and died without being vindicated. But they will share the
divine vindication of His resurrection! Every one who even today
suffers injustice may “rest” his/her case “in the Lord,” and receive
the comfort the Holy Spirit brings because of Christ’s resurrection.

Big learned books have been written for and against Christ’s death and
resurrection; the simple story as it has been told briefly by Mark
bears the same heavenly credentials as did Jesus Himself in the flesh.
Some believe; some don’t. I choose to believe.

The Lesson pauses to note that Jesus chose to appear first to the
woman. His Twelve disciples a few days earlier wanted to cast out with
scorn, Mary Magdalene (Matt. 26:8, 9; Mark 14:4, 5; John 12:4, 5;
Jesus literally saved her from being “disfellowshipped,” read the
context). On the resurrection morning she of all people was given an
apostleship to go and tell the Eleven what had happened! Ever since,
Jesus has been defending faithful followers who have been
disfellowshipped by successors of the Twelve. The story of the
resurrection has always been the story of the world and the church
being turned upside down. The Lesson urges us to overcome the constant
temptation to despise the humble and unlearned people (often women)
who appear among us to great disadvantage.

The Eleven were reticent to believe the truth that Jesus had risen.
“They believed them not” (Luke 24:11). Thomas fought the truth for
days. Almost endless controversies against truth have plagued even the
church for ages; let us learn the lesson that fighting truth is an
unhealthful way to live. It can easily be kept up a wee bit too long
at the cost of eternal salvation. Jesus impresses on us the lesson
that “Blessed [happy] are those who have not seen and yet have
believed” (John 20:29). Ellen White has frequently (over a hundred
times) said that handling the truth of “1888” has been to “us” what
the almost unbelievable truth of the Resurrection was to the Eleven;
and she opines that in some cases of our brethren’s unbelief, it was
lethal to their souls. [1]

Our Teachers’ Quarterly notes that Jesus appeared suddenly to
different ones after His resurrection. “It’s almost as if He were
saying ‘You never know where you’ll see Me next.’ And implied is the
notion, ‘I’ll never be far away.’” A precious thought!

We must note that God gave unbelievers and rejecters full liberty to
oppose the Resurrection. He did not strike Caiaphas and the others
with sudden bolts of lightning from heaven, but allowed them to live
and fight the truth. It’s almost as if all through history He
challenges His opposition and welcomes the controversy. But beware:
walk softly if you oppose the Holy Spirit; it’s terribly dangerous,
especially in this time of the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary.
Light is shining today as never before.

How can we be sure that Jesus is risen from the dead? Is our own
emotional testimony sufficient, to sing that “He lives within my
heart”? As we near the end, the deception of a false and counterfeit
“holy spirit” will become ever more subtle. The Savior’s testimony to
the two on that walk to Emmaus is important: He gave them a Bible
study “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them
in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself” (Luke 24:27).
Don’t let movies and videos deprive you of first-hand Bible study.

Lastly, we would note briefly something the Quarterly seems not to
notice: the controversy over Mark 16:9-20. Some scholars declare
they’re not original with Mark because they are lacking in Codex
Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, the “uncial” [capital letter] ancient
manuscripts. Almost all the “cursive” [long-hand] manuscripts have
them--the Bibles of the humble, common people which were worn out in
devotional reading (that’s why they haven’t survived like the uncials,
which were so corrupt in text that people didn’t use them). You may
trust your Bibles that have that passage.

<flushright>--<italic>Robert J. Wieland


[1] Click on “reply” for a sample of these statements.


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