Thursday, 15th July 2021
Hope Beyond the Grave
Pr Mark Tan

Mark 6:14-29

With infection rates remaining high and death being experienced among all age groups and health statuses, we might often wonder whether there is any hope for this to end. The disciples of John the Baptist must have felt somewhat similar. They have just witnessed their teacher and Messiah’s herald, beheaded. Moreover, it was Herod who beheaded John the Baptist at his step-daughter’s request after illicitly dancing for him and his guests. What hope is there for John’s disciples? How will John himself be vindicated by what happened to him? It all just seems unfair.

As much as the passage is centred on a terrible account, it begins with a ray of vindication through Jesus. For as if to haunt Herod, his hearing about Jesus and His miracles and teachings, were as if John the Baptist had been raised from the dead! This, of course, was John’s hope all along: “He must increase; I must decrease.” (John 3:30) And Jesus did increase! From parables to miracles, Jesus proclaimed that the Kingdom of God was at hand and He gave a foretaste of it by healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, casting out demons and even raising people from the dead. This made Jesus not only like John the Baptist, but more, like Elijah or one of the prophets. Suffice to say, Jesus was up to something big, and Herod was afraid.

We all know the end of this story. Herod tried to kill Him, but death couldn’t have Him and the grave couldn’t hold Him. Jesus rose from the dead! The empty tomb is the witness. This is where our hope lies: beyond the grave.

Going back to John the Baptist’s death, as soon as they heard, John’s disciples took their teacher’s body and placed it in a tomb. Knowing what we know now, what would we say to the disciples?

  1. They will be okay: It is later in Acts that we know many of John’s disciples became part of the first church, and though they lost their first master, Jesus shall be their “forever” Master and Saviour.
  2. God is just: While Jesus’s tomb is empty, and John the Baptist’s body is tucked safe in a tomb somewhere in the Middle East (although some say his head and hands are going places), Herod was struck dead and worms ate his body; he did not get to be buried in a tomb (Acts 12). This is significant because symbolically, it means that Herod will never be saved.
  3. The tomb is temporary: There will come a day when the tombs and the graves shall give up their dead, and they will be judged with the book of deeds while saved by the Book of Life, and through Jesus Christ we shall be in that Forever Place where He will wipe away every tear: there will be no more sorrow or grief.

What does this mean to us? Well similarly:

  1. It’s going to be okay: While life nowadays might seem more precarious and fleeting than before, Jesus remains to be our Forever Saviour and Lord. He who healed the sick so that others may draw to Him shall do that again in this day and age so that many will come to faith in Him.
  2. God is just: “ ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay.,’ says the Lord. Meanwhile we must not overcome evil with evil, but with good.” (Romans 12). Therefore let’s look for Jesus among the least of them: the hungry, the thirsty, the homeless, the naked, the sick, and the imprisoned (Matthew 25) in preparation for His coming again.
  3. Death is temporary Billy Graham said it well: ”Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” This too is our hope, as it is for anyone who faithfully depends on the merit of the work of Christ on the cross and resurrection.

Prayer: O Lord, mercifully receive the prayers of Your people who call upon You. Grant that they may know and understand the things they ought to do, and also that they may have grace and power to faithfully accomplish them; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

每日灵粮
2021年7月15日,星期四

题目:“ 超越坟墓的盼望”
作者: 陈燕靖传道
翻译: 黄姐妹
经文: 马可福音 6:14-29

由于疫情感染率居高不下,所有年龄层的健康状况都在面临死亡的威胁,我们经常会想这种情况到底何时才会结束。施洗约翰的门徒一定也有类似的感觉。他们刚刚目睹了他们的老师和弥赛亚的使者被斩首。而且,希律是因继女和他及客人跳舞后,应继女的要求将施洗约翰斩首的。约翰的门徒还抱有什么希望?约翰将如何平反发生在自己身上的事情?这一切似乎都不公平。

尽管这段经文以一个可怕的叙述为中心,但它透过耶稣的名声证明见到一线曙光。因为这仿佛困扰着希律,他听到耶稣和他的奇迹和教义,就好像施洗约翰从死里复活了一样!当然,这是约翰一直以来的希望:“祂必 兴 旺 , 我 必 衰 微” (约翰福音 3:30)耶稣确实兴旺了!从比喻到奇迹,耶稣宣告神的国近了,祂通过医治病人、洁净麻风病人、赶鬼,甚至使人从死里复活来预表祂。这使耶稣不仅像施洗约翰,而且像以利亚或其中一位先知。确切的说,耶稣行神迹奇事,希律很是害怕。

我们都知道这个故事的结局。希律想要杀祂,但死亡不能占有祂,坟墓也不能胜过祂。耶稣从死里复活!空墓是证人。这就是我们的盼望所在:坟墓之外。

回到施洗约翰的死讯,约翰的门徒们一听到,就把他们老师的尸体带到坟墓里。以我们现在所知道的,我们会对门徒说什么?

1.他们会没事的: 在使徒行传的后面,我们知道约翰的许多门徒成为第一个教会的一部分,虽然他们失去了他们的第一位主人,但耶稣将是他们“永远”的主人和救主。

2.上帝是公义的:当耶稣的坟墓是空的,而施洗约翰的尸体则被安全地藏在中东某处的坟墓中时(尽管有人说他身首异处。)
希律被虫所咬,气就绝了;他没有被埋葬在坟墓里(使徒行传 12)。这很重要,因为象征性地,这意味着希律永远不会得救。

3.坟墓是暂时的:终有一天,坟墓将交出死者,死了的人都凭着生命册里这些案卷所记载的,照他们所行的受审判。接着耶稣基督,我们将在永恒的国度里,没有悲伤也没有眼泪, 充满了神的爱。

这对我们意味着什么?同样:

1.一切都会好起来的:尽管如今的生活似乎比以往更加不稳定和短暂,但耶稣仍然是我们的主和永远的救主。那个医治病人,使人归向他的,同样在今天这个时代再次这样做,以使更多人相信他。

2.上帝是公义的:“ 伸 冤 在 我 ; 我 必 报 应 ” 主说。同时,
*你 不 可 为 恶 所 胜 , 反 要 以 善 胜 恶 。(罗马书 12 章)。因此,让我们在最小的人中寻找耶稣:饥饿的、口渴的、无家可归的、赤身露体的、生病的和被监禁的(马太福音 25 章),为基督再来做准备。

3.死亡是暂时的
葛培理牧师说得好”有一天你会读到或听到葛培理死去的消息。你不要相信人们所说的,我那时的生命比起现今只会更焕发活力。我不过是变更了地址,那时我要进到神的同在。”
这也是我们的盼望,对于任何以信心仰望从十字架复活的耶稣基督的人来说亦是如此。

祷告:慈悲的主啊!请垂听向你呼求之人的祷告。赐予他们通达的道理使他们知道自己应该做的事情,并且因着祢的恩典和力量可以忠实地完成它们;借着我们的主耶稣基督,他与你和圣灵同在并掌权,独一的神,从现在到永远。阿门。