Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Maturity and Ministry at All Ages (1 Timothy 4:11-16)


Having been involved in youth ministry for many years, I’ve heard the passage we had read out to us today from 1 Timothy often used to encourage young people to step up to leadership and ministry in the church and the world.  There are times in church history where Christianity has threatened to, die out with a particular generation, at other times the church has been renewed and become a vibrant youth movement and people tend to forget the tender age of those who have lead that renewal, I’ve only seen images of the great preacher Charles Spurgeon as an old man with a beard, however he was filling his church in London to overflow at the age of eighteen. John Calvin had written his famous systematic theology the Institutes and was the leader of the reformation in French speaking Europe at the age of twenty-five.

Maybe because I’m advancing in years, I am also encouraged by a list that Leonard sweet uses in his book ‘Soulsalsa’ of people who produced most of their best work when they were older. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Fallingwater house when he was sixty-nine, and the Guggenheim Museum when he was seventy-six and was most productive between eighty and his death at ninety-three. Cecil B DeMille produced his most famous film ‘the ten commandments’ at seventy-five. Michelangelo was appointed chief architect of St peter’s in Rome at age seventy-one. You just have to listen to sage words of Pope Francis, or the wisdom and grace of nelson Mandela, and the way in which the love and compassion of mother Theresa have been valued in the world to realise the contribution of older generations.

So as we come to this passage today I want to look at what it has to say to people of all ages about how we can provide leadership in the church. To see what it has to say about Maturity and ministry at all ages.

Paul is writing to Timothy whom he has sent to Ephesus to correct the effect of false teachers in the church there.  Paul’s letter is to both give Timothy instruction as to what to teach, but also to encourage him in that ministry and to add the weight of Paul’s apostleship to Timothy’s work as well. Part of the issue is that Timothy is younger than Paul, and the elders and false teachers at Ephesus. While the word in Greek which we translate young does not equate with Timothy being what we would call a youth, he is younger. In many cultures age is a major issue. In some cultures how you address someone and interact with them is dependant on weather you are older or younger than they are.

What Paul has to say on how Timothy is to handle that is relevant for people of all ages and stages of life.

The first is that Paul encourages Timothy not to let people look down at him, or put him down because of his age. Rather to invite them to look up to him as an example and model for the believers.  It is not age that matters but maturity in Christ.

Paul uses five categories that Timothy is to show his maturity in. speech, what he says and how he says it. This week at the common wealth games we’ve seen a prime example of this. When the New Zealanders won Gold and silver in the commonwealth games men’s mountain biking cross country and that victory and achievement was soured by the eventual winners display of bad sportsmanship. Love and faith again are central to Paul’s understanding of the Christian life, faith speaks of that relationship with God, and love in its outworking in relationship to others. Purity is talking about how Timothy handles his sex life. We are all to aware of how important ethical behaviour is in that area of life.

This week marked not only the 50th anniversary of the sinking f the whahine in wellington harbour, but also the sinking of the titanic in 1912. The Titanic was said to be unsinkable because it was constructed with fourteen watertight bulkheads down the length of the ship. Four of those compartments could flood and it would stay afloat. It was originally thought that the impact with the iceberg had ripped a long gash in the side of the ship and flooded five of those compartments. However when the wreck was found on the sea bed  in 1985, it was discovered that the impact with the iceberg had damaged only one of those compartments. But that was enough to cause the flooding of all the rest. We can try and compartmentalise our life, but if we don’t have integrity in all areas of our lives then issues in one area can impact all the rest. PAUl’s comprehensive list here is  a call for integrity in all areas of life. 

Paul goes on to tell Timothy to devote himself to the public reading of scriptures, to preaching and to teaching. This is the ministry that Timothy has been called to. Before we look at that, it is also goo to look at it as both, a commitment to public worship, in our reformed tradition the reading of the word and the preaching of the word and teaching are the central elements of our worship. All that goes before is designed to prepare us to hear the word read and preached, and what goes after is designed to help us to respond to the word. So it speaks to us about continuing to be involved in public worship, it becomes a priority in our lives, part of our regular routine of acknowledging God in a non-Christian world, pushing back at the worlds encroachment on our time for family and faith. 

It can also speak to us about our devotional life. In the Old Testament days and Paul’s time public reading of the scriptures was often the only way people had of hearing them. With the invention of the printing press, mass media and the internet etc, and the rise of literacy we have unprecedented access to the scriptures, as well as devotional, and teaching material to go along with it. Part of that setting an example is devoting ourselves to the scriptures and allowing the Holy spirit to use it to speak into our lives and bring transformation and new creation.

But Paul is here commanding Timothy to keep at the ministry that he had been called to, this passage is also often quoted at Ordinations, because Timothy is being called to a public preaching and teaching ministry. This is the chief way he going to co bat false teaching by expounding the truth and living it out. Talking the talk and walking the walk. Paul in this section is encouraging him to do that with authority to command and teach these things’, both the things Paul mentions in this book but the apostolic teaching of the gospel. But this equally applies to all of us. We are called to various kinds of ministry in the church and it is as we serve and are prepared to do the things God has called us to that we show others that example of the faith. Young or old or somewhere in between.  We are Christs body and we are all to play a part.

T
hat moves on to Paul reminding Timothy to not neglect the gift he has been given to you through prophecy and by the laying on of hands. Timothy has been endowed with a gift by the Holy spirit, which was both testified to by God and was affirmed by the church leadership, he is to use that to glorify God and edify others. We set an example whatever stage of life we are at when we take the risk to use the gifts that God has given us. We just ran the Network course and about eight people went through it and it was interesting as we discovered giftings and looked at how that matched up to what we were doing in the church. We are still working through what that means for each of the people on the course.

Then Paul finishes by commanding Timothy to work diligently at these things. Last week we saw how Paul used the metaphor of an athlete training to speak of us training for godliness, to live a life that reflects the God whom we believe in. Paul reuses that metaphor here and you see the idea of  Timothy putting that effort in like an athlete puts effort into their sport. We have this faith and love again when Paul says watch your life and doctrine closely. No we might think that setting an example is about perfectionism, reaching the summit, however Paul is more realistic, he says that we work at it so that people may see your progress. While we’ve been at St Peter’s Isaac has gone from a child and boy to a gangly youth/teenager, and often when we are together people will comment on how much he has grown, they look to see if he is taller than me now, I’ll have to stand up straight to ensure that I haven’t been passed yet. People see his progress towards manhood. You kids might hate bringing home report cards from school, but as a parent I appreciate being able to see your progress, and know where I can affirm where you’ve achieved and encourage you in areas that you need to be encouraged about. It is the same with us as Christians it is good to see how people develop and grow. For your children when your faith becomes their faith, in teenage years and in young adult hood they own heir own faith. It’s not always an easy journey. As someone who is in my fifties and been a Christian for forty years, its encouraging to hear people older in the faith than me and who have been through my life stage speak of how they are still growing and learning. It’s wonderful and important that we share what God is doing in our lives with one another. It’s also as we share our struggles and where we meet God in them that we can help each other.

As we do this says Paul not only will we save ourselves, we will save our hearers and those who look on. That is a difficult phrase to comprehend. Paul is not talking about earning our salvation here, that is always and only through the grace and life of Jesus Christ, his death and his resurrection. In Philippians 2: 13 Paul talks of working out our salvation with fear and trembling, it is the ongoing process of working out in our lives what it means for us to be saved by grace. In the context of Paul’s letter to Timothy it is also in holding strong to the faith in the face of opposition and false teaching that would try and drag us away. Also as in what we say and do we point towards Christ people will see and hear that and the Holy Spirit will use it to draw people to Christ. Our mission statement at St peter’s puts it like this, that we might grow as followers of Jesus and inspire others to join us on the journey.

P
aul identifying age as an issue in the church at Ephesus is also helpful for us. Intergenerational conflict is one of the main dividers in churches. Music, formality v informality, how children should behave in church, expectations on time, what is important and permanent and what is transitory and changeable, who gets to decide are all often generational things. In my first parish one of our elders a retired farmers wife in her eighties, spoke about the fact that ministers always seemed to be old, until a friend and contemporary of hers left his job as a high school principle and trained as an ordained minister and served at that church. Her experience of church changed, the minister was now a friend and they were really in sync, he met all their expectations as a minister. She stopped talking so I asked the obvious question what it like was having a minister the age of your children. After a silence she said Oh Howard we don’t think of you like that we see you as old… There was much laughter and a little embarrassment for me. But nearly all the conflicts we had in that church were over generational approaches to things. It didn’t help that the Pentecostal church down the road had a leadership team with the same last names as our church, as they were the children of the elder who had moved because things were not going to change.

Very quickly Paul gives us some insights into how to deal with these conflicts. The first is to recognise the faith in people of a different generation, sometimes that’s not all that easy as we have learned to express it in different ways. We need to recognise and affirm the gifts we see in each other. The older to the younger. There is a need also for one generation to be willing to graciously allow the another to take on leadership and lead in their way. Often failure to be willing to let go of power results in leadership simply going elsewhere. But also for those being asked to take on  leadership to have the wisdom to listen and to hear from those who have gone before them, like Timothy listens to paul.   We need also to affirm and acknowledge when we see progress in each other’s lives.  Not just as we see someone grow taller but maybe as we see the way they react and interact with others, and as we are willing to share what God is doing in our lives.

So to conclude, Paul’s message to Timothy is for us all regardless of age. Do not let people put you down because of your age, rather set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. Devote yourselves to the reading and preaching and teaching of the word. Do not neglect the gift God has given to you, allow God to identify those things and serve, allow the church to affirm them and do the same for others, be diligent in these matters, watch your life and doctrine, because not only will you save yourself but your hearer as well.  

Monday, April 9, 2018

Training for Godly Living in the face of False Teaching ( 1 Timothy 3:14-4:10)


If you are a sports fan it’s been a great time over the past month or so. We’ve had the winter Olympics from Korea, the cricket season has come to a tense and exciting end at the same time (unless you are a Blues fan) that the super rugby season and league have started off with New Zealand teams doing well. Go the warriors. There was the Parker v. Joshua world heavy weight championship fight, with all its build up and hype, now the commonwealth games over on the gold coast, everyone’s a bit bleary eyed as we are watching that great plethora of different sports and great athletes, celebrating Kiwi success and having to put up with hearing the Australian national anthem a little to much for our liking.

We see in points on the league table, rare series wins over England, unanimous points decisions meaning  millions in prize money and podium finishes with medals awarded the benefits of all the physical training that goes into these achievements.  We rightly applaud the athletes.

Paul in the passage we had read out to us this morning says that physical training is of some value… and when he says that it’s almost as if I feel him turning from his writing to look straight at me… or maybe it’s the Holy Spirit… double underlining it… but says Paul because of the hope we have in our living God, who is the savior of all people, especially those who believe we should pursue  training in Godliness more: lives that reflect the God in whom we believe.

For the last few weeks we’ve taken a break from our journey through 1 Timothy to celebrate Easter. Now we are moving back into it. It’s part of a larger series we’ve been doing looking at the pastoral epistles (1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon) that Paul wrote to other Church leaders wrestling with difficult pastoral situations, encouraging them in their ministry and Christian walk. In that we are hoping to see what the spirit has to say to us today about leadership, about maturity and ministry.

The passage we had read out to us today, is in three sections. The first is like the central message of the letter, it splits the book in half. It’s Pauls summary of all that has gone before about Christian behaviour in worship and prayer, and the character of Christian leaders. And it sets the scene for the rest of the book as Paul goes on to give instruction of how to deal with the false teachers which threatens the mission of the church. In the second section Paul, deals directly with some of the false teaching. Then he moves on to give Timothy instruction on how he is to counter that teaching.

The opening verse is great in helping us set the scene, Paul is travelling and he has sent Timothy to the church in Ephesus to deal with the problem of false teachers in the church there. The wider consequence of dealing with that issue is that the Church, which is the household of God, would act in a way that reflected the basis of their faith. Paul uses a hymn to express the mystery of what is the source of true Godliness. It is a hymn that focuses on the ministry and mission of Jesus Christ.

The lyrics start by talking of Christ appearing in the flesh, with the incarnation, there is a sense that in saying that he appeared that the song acknowledged the pre-existence of Christ, with God in eternity. It may seem strange to us that there is no mention of the crucifixion directly in this song, but when Jesus appeared in the flesh, there is a sense that this covers his earthly life and ministry which climaxes in his death on the cross. it speaks of Jesus life and ministry that we have a record of from those who were eye witnesses.  In the beginning of chapter 2 Paul had talked of the man Jesus Christ, who was the one mediator between God and humanity who gave himself as a ransom for all people.

The second line talks of Jesus being vindicated by the Spirit. Vindicated speaks of being found innocent and exonerated. It points us to the resurrection, God witnesses to Jesus Christ by raising him to life by the power of the Holy Spirit. The final witness to who Jesus Christ is the empty tomb.

Was seen by angels, is also difficult to understand, and we are dealing with lyrics we are dealing with poetry. Some have seen this as speaking of those humans who saw and witnessed the risen Jesus, as angel means messenger, but as Paul will be going on to wrestle with a false understanding of the difference between the physical and the spiritual, we see that it is important for him to point to both the spiritual and human responses to Jesus. We read of angels proclaiming the good news of Christ’s birth to the shepherds in Luke’s gospel, the angel at the tomb that we had in marks gospel who knew Jesus had risen, of course in angelic worship of Jesus is very much in the scripture like in the book of revelation, with the living creatures, the angels and the elders worshipping at the throne.

Then the lyrics go on to tell of the continuing ministry and mission of Jesus, he was preached amongst the nations, and the people in the nations believed in the world. We have Jesus ministry continuing through the preaching of the gospel and changing lives.

Finally, he is taken up into Glory. While this does not fit the ascension chronologically, the song and Paul gather together both the ascension and the future fulfilment of Jesus glory when he will return, again this time in glory. So in this song we have the great mystery of the whole work of Jesus Christ his incarnation, his resurrection, his being preached and believed in and being raised to the right hand of the Father. This is the story which forms the basis of our lives, that is the source of Godly living. Paul had talked of God’s work which is by faith resulting in love. The song expresses that vertical reality of our relationship with God through Christ and he sees it as the source of true Godliness vertically living it out in love.

Paul goes on to contrast that with the false teaching. We have it explained in spiritual terms and human physical terms. There teaching does have a spiritual element, but it does not come from God, it is from deceiving spirits and the demonic. It is anti-Christ, in the case of Ephesus it moves away from the person of Jesus, what he has done for us and his mission in the world to what we do. The church and the gospel are always going to be under attack from the spiritual forces that oppose Christ, who want to hold humanity captive in sin and death. But Paul is quick to note that there is human complicity, here Paul talks of hypocritical liars and those whose consciences have been seared over like a hot iron. In the first century there were people who would travel from place to place and make a living off others peddling their philosophical and theological thoughts and plan and systems for profit, many of them deliberately willing to mislead people for the sake of making money. Here Paul likens the false teachers to these people. Maybe today you just need to look in the newspaper and online and see people advertising this new age spiritual thing or that some even speaking of Jesus without as Paul has said focusing on the life and apostolic faith about Jesus.

I had a friend write me recently concerned about another friend who was getting into the writings of a womenwho claimed to be a medium channelled Jesus, she’d written a book where she says Jesus speaks through her, where he denies the crucifixion and the resurrection, talks of his time in India, learning yoga, and tantric sex, which he practises with his wife Mary Magdalene. She says, he says, that the gospels were false and couldn’t be relied upon. Many people are into this and of course buying her six books, you have to buy all six, and there is no historical basis to it, it steps fully away from historical evidence and Jesus claims to being the son of God to a claim simply channelling a spirit. Forgiveness of sin and reconciliation with God are replaced with individual enlightenment. Spiritualists think they are speaking with the spirits of the dead but they are deceived and in contact with deceptive spirits and demons. 

Paul says in Ephesus the focus of the false teaching is not on Christ but on a form of asceticism, where people are forbidden to marry and they are commanded to abstain from certain food. The focus moves away from doing what Christ has said to other practises. Forbidding people to marry may mean not just young people but also doing away with marriage for those who are married. In Corinth, one of the factions believed that the resurrection had already come and so we were spiritual beings now and sex and marriage and gender markers were no longer relevant to Christians. The food laws could connected with Paul’s talk of myths and genealogies may point to the fact that they also had a warped sense of the Jewish food laws. By the second century one of the major heresies in the church was Gnosticism, which had a false dualism between the spiritual and the physical. It saw the physical as shameful and little importance, and the spiritual as important. So much so that they could not see God having anything to do with creating a material world, so built a series of intermediaries in their teaching between God and the world, almost a pantheism of demi-gods. Maybe there is the start of that in what is happening in Ephesus.

Paul's response is to go back to genesis narrative and acknowledge that God made all things good that marriage and sex inside of marriage and food are gifts from God for humanity. They are good and should be welcomed and enjoyed with thanksgiving.  He finishes the paragraph by saying it is consecrated, through the word, God has told us it is good, and through prayer, we have acknowledged God’s goodness in it.


Paul turns to give instruction to Timothy on how to counter these teaching and help the church to be godly he continues to use that by likening the Christian life to the physical training of the athlete.  To be a good minister of Jesus says Paul, hold fast to the truth of the faith, in the Jesus story, not the godless tails of the false teachers. Using the same analogy of an Olympic athlete the writer to Hebrews says ‘et us run the race before us, with our eyes fixed firmly on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith. When you listen to interviews with athletes they will talk of the goals they have set themselves that have driven them and sustained them through the hours of training and practise. For us that is because we have put our hope in he living God, who is the savior of all people. While physical training is of value, paul says that training in godliness is of eternal value. When I heard that I couldn’t help but think of the matra of the current All black coaching staff that good people make good all blacks, great people make great all blacks, even sports people are realising the surpassing importance of character and substance.

Sadly Paul does not set out for us a training regime in his letter. It would have been good if he did, and we could talk of spiritual practises and exercises and routines that help us to develop. But in this passage we have one specifically mentioned. Thanksgiving, recognising and acknowledging all the good things that God has done for us. From the food we eat to if you are married your spouse, they are a gift from God, but also with the inclusion of that song at the heart of his letter, thanksgiving for what Christ has done for us. It is living that gratitude for God’s love and Christ’s forgiveness and new life, and the Holy spirits presence that motivates and compels us to listen to Jesus and to do what he has said and to respond to that love with love for others. We sang rend collectives ‘counting every blessing in our service today, and it highlights the spiritual discipline of acknowledging all God has done for us, to help focus us on God’s goodness even when we are going through difficulties. Maybe we have things the wrong way when we think of blessings and difficulties, we think the difficulties are the  things there first, and God’s blessings counter them but in my devotions this week I read a comment from Bishop Sandy Millar that No Blessing goes uncontested, god’s blessings are there first, Gods provision, God’s presence, God’s love shown through Jesus Christ, God’s forgiveness, God’s enabling and empowering, giving thanks allows us to see that clearly.

Paul’s instructions to Timothy tell us living a godly life, springs out of the Jesus story: his life, his death his resurrection and his ongoing mission. That that is the best remedy for falsehood and false teaching. It is the gospel truth believed and expressed: a life where our faith, results in love. It’s not easy, Paul finishes by talking about labour and striving, just like athletes do to achieve the prize and goals they set themselves and that we honour them for. They set goals for physical achievement but we have placed our hope in the living God, who is the saviour of all people, remember Paul had talked of God’s desire that all be saved and especially of those who believe, that results in eternal reward and us hearing “well done good and faithful servant" from the one who was taken up into glory.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Easter Sunday Prayer



Loving God

We join your people all over the world

To proclaim the wonderful news; “He is risen”



We join as brothers and sisters in this land and place

To witness to the new life we have in you



We come together this morning to give you praise

For who you are and what you have done



You sent Jesus Christ into the world to seek and save the lost

In His life and teaching we hear the truth of your Kingdom



On the cross, Jesus paid the price for what we have done wrong

and we can be forgiven and reconciled to God as our Father



In Christ raise to life again, sin and death has lost it’s sting

And we are created anew and can have full and eternal life in you.



You have sent the promised Holy Spirit, as Christ said you would

You dwell within us to lead and to guide, enable and empower



You have drawn us together to be your body in the world

United us with the same hope, the same faith, the same love



We confess that we have done wrong, and ask that you would forgive us

We acknowledged we have left good undone, and ask you to forgive us



In Christ who died and is risen again we know your mercy and grace,

We know You are faithful and just and we are forgiven and made clean





Fill us afresh with you Holy Spirit, O Lord, to be your witnesses

To proclaim “he is risen’ to the glory of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

An Empty Tomb and Reluctant Witnesses ( Mark 16:1-8, 1 Corinthians 15:3-8)




On Easter Sunday we have a combined service with the Antioch Korean church which also use our church buildings on Sunday. The service is done in Korean and English and also as St Peter's is a multi cultural congregation, we had the words for the call to worship, the Lord's Prayer and the Blessing in Maori, Samoan and Tongan  and people were encouraged to use which ever language was closest to their heart.  We had hoped for more languages but many of our families chose to celebrate Easter in a very Kiwi way by going away for the last holiday weekend before winter. for the Third time ever I preached in English and was translated into Korean, this time by Pastor James Park from Antioch Korean church...(I've simply posted the English version and then the English Korean interlinear after it).  All these languages on Easter Sunday reminds us of how important the message of the empty tomb is and how important for the whole world that we are willing to witness to the fact that "he is risen, He is risen indeed). 



The Gospel of Mark reads very much like a mystery story. Mark starts by telling us that this is the beginning of the good news about Jesus the messiah and the Son of God… then in his fast paced telling of Jesus ministry and life, from his baptism by john to his crucifixion, you are invited to explore the question ‘who is Jesus?’ for yourself.  We along with the disciples and the crowd round Jesus are amazed and astounded at what Jesus says and does.  Who is this Jesus? What does it mean that he is the messiah, and the son of God?

That comes to a crescendo and a climax at the crucifixion, with the declaration of the Roman centurion. If you were to think of the gospel in cinematic terms, like a movie, the centurion stares in to the camera lens and locks eyes with us, what movie makers call breaking the fourth wall, and says “surely this was the son of God!” if the centurion can come to that conclusion on simply the scene at the cross, then what is our conclusion as we have walked with Jesus through the gospel.

The burial of Jesus and the actions of the women who had followed him and witnessed his death might then feel like a postscript a way to round out the story. Except the story does not end there and we are presented with one more amazing witness to who Jesus is, an empty tomb… and the amazing news about what that means…“Don’t be alarmed, you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.” 

Three women who had been close to Jesus, had waited out the uneasy rest and inactivity of the Sabbath, and now at the first light of the first day of the week they set off to finish the task of preparing Jesus Body. Normally this would have been done before the burial, but we are told that as the day was ending, and it was Sabbath the next day they had only been able to do the bare minimum for him.

There is a sense that they are driven by both devotion; wanting to do the right thing for the one who had done so much for them, and grief; that they have lost the one who was so important to them. That sense of grief comes to the fore as it is only as they are coming with their spices to the tomb, that they start to think who will roll the stone away for us. Tomb’s were sealed with large stones to stop them being opened and reused illegally by other people.

There is no expectation for these women other than that Jesus is dead and they find themselves in the hopeless situation of what to do with the stone.  We are invited to share in the surprise of the women, they were not expecting that. They go in Jesus body is not there. They encounter rather a young man dressed in white. For Mark’s first century Jewish readers this would have told them he was an angel, but that is downplayed to emphasise his amazing news. ‘Jesus the Nazarene is risen he is not here!’

The women are invited to see the place where they laid him! Then go and tell the disciples and Peter, ‘he is going ahead of you into galilee. There you will see him Just as he told you.”

Mark does not mention the earthquake or the angels rolling the stone away, he wants to focus on the facts. None of the gospels tell us the how of the resurrection happened, which is the one thing I guess our twenty first century minds would love to know, we are simply left to see the stone rolled away and the empty tomb as an act of God. An act we only understand through a divine messenger, who tells us this is God at work… Jesus is risen. An act that has formed the basis of Christian proclamation of the Good news of Jesus Christ for two Millennium ‘Jesus is risen, he is risen indeed.”

Mark finishes his account, by telling us that the women fled the empty tomb and didn’t tell anyone because they were afraid. There is irony in this as in Mark’s gospel people who Jesus healed  are told not to tell others about what Jesus has done, but do tell and here the women who are asked to tell of the empty tomb stay quite.

Maybe we can understand their reluctance as witnesses. They have not yet meet and seen and touched the risen Lord. In Jewish Society women’s testimony was not deemed reliable. Would they be believed? 

Perhaps their reluctance reflects a bit of our own. The empty tomb is a God event. It calls us to have faith. That Jesus own words about himself that he would die and be raised to life again are true.  To tell of the empty tomb is to acknowledge God’s witness to Jesus as his Son. Is to acknowledge the truth of all that Jesus life and death and resurrection has done for us, That God sent his son into this world to save us, to tell of his kingdom and demonstrate its reality in his healings, that he died on the cross so that our sins can be forgiven, that  we can be reconciled to God, and in being raise to life, that death and sin are defeated, that we too can know new and abundant life. The empty tomb changes everything.

While Mark chooses to finish his account of the resurrection there, we know that the women did not stay quite, that they did what they were told and went to the disciples and to Peter with the good news. Peter and John came to the tomb that day and found the amazing truth that it was empty. There is some debate over whether the second half of Mark 16, verses 9-20 are a later addition, but they tell us of Mary Magdalene meeting the risen Jesus Christ.  An account of which we have in John’s gospel.  Where she is only convinced that Jesus has risen when she hears her voice. Mark tells us that she was not believed, at first. Mark also mentions the two on the road to Emmaus that Luke also tells us about. Then gives an account of Jesus meeting his disciples in galilee and giving them the great commission. Of course, in the other passage that we had read out to us today from 1 Corinthians 15 Paul gives us a run down of the many witnesses to Jesus resurrection, and in typical Jewish legal fashion he does not include the women.

You and I are also witnesses to the empty tomb and the risen Jesus. Two thousand years later the reality of Jesus death on the cross and the empty tomb are still impacting and changing lives. The Risen Christ still goes before us and meet with us by the Holy spirit, in a way that we know that he is alive. The facts and reality of the empty tomb are still here today and inviting people to answer Mark's question who is this Jesus, what does it mean that he is the messiah the son of God.  And we are commanded to witness to the empty tomb in our words and our lives. 


The empty tomb and the reluctant witnesses (Mark 16:1-8, 1 Corinthians 15: 3-8)


빈무덤과 주저하는 목격자들

The Gospel of Mark reads very much like a mystery story.

마가복음은 신비한 이야기와 아주 흡사합니다.



Mark starts by telling us that this is the beginning of the good news about Jesus the messiah and the Son of God…

마가는 하나님의 아들 예수 그리스도의 복음의 시작이라 말로 복음서를 시작합니다.



then in his fast paced telling of Jesus ministry and life, from his baptism by john to his crucifixion, you are invited to explore the question ‘who is Jesus?’ for yourself. 

그러면서 세례 요한에 의한 세례로부터 십자가의 죽음에 이르는 예수의 사역과 생애를 빠르게 이야기 하면서 여러분들로 자신에게 예수는 누구신가?”라는 질문을 탐구하도록 이끕니다.



We along with the disciples and the crowd round Jesus are amazed and astounded at what Jesus says and does.  

우리는 예수님의 제자들과 주위에 있던 군중들처럼 예수님이 무엇을 말씀하시고 행하셨는가에  경탄하고 놀라워 합니다.



Who is this Jesus? What does it mean that he is the messiah, and the son of God?

예수는 누구십니까? 그분이 메시아요 하나님의 아들인 것이 무엇을 의미합니까?



That comes to a crescendo and a climax at the crucifixion, with the declaration of the Roman centurion.

질문은 로마 백부장의 고백으로 십자가의 죽음에서 최고조와 절정에 이르게 됩니다.



If you were to think of the gospel in cinematic terms, like a movie,

만일 여러분이 영화적인 측면에서 복음서를 생각했다면, 하나의 영화처럼



the centurion stares in to the camera lens and locks eyes with us, what movie makers call breaking the fourth wall,

4 벽을 허물기, 영화제작자가 관객과 배우 사이의 가상의 벽을 허물기라고 칭하는 것으로, 백부장은 카메라 렌즈를 응시하고 우리와 눈을 고정시킵니다,



and says “surely this was the son of God!”

그리고 사람은 진실로 하나님의 아들이었도다라고 말합니다.



 if the centurion can come to that conclusion on simply the scene at the cross,

만일 백부장이 십자가의 장면에서 단순하게 그런 결론에 도달할 있다면,



then what is our conclusion as we have walked with Jesus through the gospel.

복음서를 통해 예수님과 동행했던 우리로서 우리의 결론은 무엇일까요?



The burial of Jesus and the actions of the women who had followed him and witnessed his death might then feel like a postscript a way to round out the story.

예수님의 장사됨과, 예수님을 따르고 그의 죽음을 목격했던 여인들의 행동은 이야기를 완성시키는 하나의 해설, 하나의 방식처럼 느낄 것입니다.



Except the story does not end there

이야기는 거기서 끝나지 않고

 and we are presented with one more amazing witness to who Jesus is, an empty tomb…

예수님이 누구신가에 대한 하나의 놀라운 증거인 빈무덤을 우리에게 제공합니다.

and the amazing news about what that means…

그리고 그것이 무엇을 의미하는지에 대한 놀라운 소식 입니다.



“Don’t be alarmed, you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.” 

놀라운 소식은 놀라지 말라, 너희가 십자가에 박히신 나사렛 예수를 찾는구나. 그는 살아나셨고 여기 계시지 아니하니라.( 16:6)”라는 것입니다.



Three women who had been close to Jesus, had waited out the uneasy rest and inactivity of the sabbath,

예수님과 가까이 했던 세명의 여인들은 안식일 동안 편하게 쉬지도 못하고 활동도 없이 기다려야 했습니다.

 and now at the first light of the first day of the week they set off to finish the task of preparing Jesus Body.

그리고 안식 첫날 새벽에 예수님의 시신을 위해 준비한 것을 완료하기 위해 출발했습니다.



Normally this would have been done before the burial,

보통 일은 장사되기 전에 행해져야 했겠지만



but we are told that as the day was ending, and it was sabbath the next day they had only been able to do the bare minimum for him.

날은 이미 저물었고 다음날은 안식일이였기에 그들이 있는 것은 예수의 시신을 천으로 싸는 것뿐이었습니다.



There is a sense that they are driven by both devotion;

그녀들이 이끌린 것은 가지 측면의 헌신입니다.  

wanting to do the right thing for the one who had done so much for them, and grief; that they have lost the one who was so important to them.

그들을 위하여 많은 일을 행하신 분을 위해 올바른 것을 하길 원하는 마음과, 비통함, 그녀들에게 아주 소중했던 분을 잃었다는 깊은 슬픔입니다.



 That sense of grief comes to the fore as it is only as they are coming with their spices to the tomb, that they start to think who will roll the stone away for us.

그런 비통함은 여인들로 향품을 가지고 무덤을 향하여 가면서 조차 누가 우리를 위해 돌을 굴려 있을까 생각하는 것에 주목하게 했습니다.



Tomb’s were sealed with large stones to stop them being opened and reused illegally by other people.

무덤은  여인들이 열지도 못하고, 다른 사람들에 의해 불법적으로 재사용하지 못하도록 바위로 막혀 있었습니다. 



There is no expectation for these women other than that Jesus is dead and they find themselves in the hopeless situation of what to do with the stone. 

그녀들에게는 예수님은 돌아가셨다는 것과 자신들은 바위를 어떻게 해야할 모르는 절망적인 상황속에 있는 모습을 어떤 기대도 없었습니다.



We are invited to share in the surprise of the women, they were not expecting that.

그러나, 여인들이 기대하지 못했던 놀라운 사건에 참여하도록 우리를 이끕니다.



They go in(, but) Jesus body is not there.

그녀들은 무덤속에 들어갔지만, 예수님의 시신은 거기에 없었습니다.



They encounter rather a young man dressed in white.

다만 그녀들은 입은 젊은 사람과 마주칩니다.



For Mark’s first century Jewish readers this would have told them he was an angel,

마가가 살았던 일세기 유대인 독자들에게는 그가 천사였다고 알려졌습니다.



but that is downplayed to emphasise his amazing news. ‘Jesus the Nazarene is risen he is not here!’

그러나, 사실은 그가 전한 놀라운 소식, “나사렛 예수는 살아나셨고, 여기에 계시지 아니하다라는 것을 강조하기 위함입니다. 



The women are invited to see the place where they laid him!

여인들에게는 그들이 예수님을 두었던 장소를 보도록 초청되었습니다.



Then go and tell the disciples and Peter, ‘he is going ahead of you into galilee. There you will see him just as he told you.”

그리고 가서 제자들과 베드로에게 전하라는 것입니다. “예수께서 너희보다 먼저 갈릴리로 가시나니, 전에 말씀하신 대로 너희가 거기서 뵈오리라.”



Mark does not mention the earthquake or the angels rolling the stone away, he wants to focus on the facts, (Jesus’s resurrection and the empty tomb).

마가는 지진이나 천사들이 돌을 굴려놓은 것을 언급하지 않습니다. 다만 그는 (예수님이 부활하셨고 무덤은 비어 있었다는) 사실에 초점을 두는 것입니다.



None of the gospels tell us the how of the resurrection happened,

어떤 복음서도 어떻게 부활이 일어났는지 우리에게 말하지 않습니다.



which is the one thing I guess our twenty first century minds would love to know,

내가 생각하기에 이것은21세기를 살아가는 우리들이 그것을 알고 싶어하는 일수도 있습니다.



(but) we are simply left to see the stone rolled away and the empty tomb as an act of God.

하지만, 우리에게 단순히 남겨진 것은 하나님의 일하심으로써 옮겨진 돌과 무덤을 보는 것입니다.



An act we only understand through a divine messenger, who tells us this is God at work… Jesus is risen.

하나님이 일하신다라고 우리에게 전해주는 하나님의 사자를 통하여 우리가 이해하는 일하심은  예수님은 부활하셨다 것입니다.



An act that has formed the basis of Christian proclamation of the Good news of Jesus Christ for two Millennium ‘Jesus is risen, he is risen indeed.”

지난2천동안 예수 그리스도의 기쁜 소식으로 기독교인의 선포의 근거를 형성한 일하심이 바로 예수님은 부활하셨다, 그는 참으로 부활하셨다라는 것입니다.



Mark finishes his account, by telling us that the women fled the empty tomb and didn’t tell anyone because they were afraid.

마가는 여인들이 빈무덤에서 도망치고 두려움 때문에 아무에게도 말하지 않았다고 하면서 그의 기록을 마칩니다.



There is irony in this as in Mark’s gospel people who Jesus healed  are told not to tell others about what Jesus has done, but do tell and here the women who are asked to tell of the empty tomb stay quite.  

여기에는 풍장하는 것이 있습니다. 마가복음에는 예수님께 고침 받은 사람들에게 예수님께서 무엇을 하셨는지 아무에게도 말하지 말라고 하셨지만 그들은 나가서 전파했습니다. 하지만 여기서 여인들은 빈무덤에 대하여 가서 말하라고 전달받았지만, 잠잠했습니다.  



Maybe we can understand their reluctance as witnesses.

어쩌면 우리는 목격자들로서 여인들의 주저함을 이해할 있을 것입니다.



They have not yet meet and seen and touched the risen Lord.

여인들은 아직 부활하신 주님을 만나지도 보지도 만지지도 못했습니다.



 In Jewish Society women’s testimony was not deemed reliable. Would they be believed? 

유대인 사회에서 여인들의 증거는 신뢰할 없는 것으로 생각되었습니다. 그런 사회속에서 여인들의 증거를 그들이 믿을 있었겠습니까?



Perhaps their reluctance reflects a bit of our own.

아마도 여인들의 주저함은 어느 정도 우리 자신을 나타냅니다.



The empty tomb is a God’s event. It calls us to have faith.

빈무덤은 하나님의 하나의 중요한 사건으로, 우리의 믿음을 요구합니다.



That Jesus own words about himself that he would die and be raised to life again are true.

죽었다가 다시 살아나실 것이라고 자신에 대해 하신 예수님의 말씀은 사실입니다.



To tell of the empty tomb is to acknowledge God’s witness to Jesus as his Son.

빈무덤을 말하는 것은 예수가 자신의 아들이라는 하나님의 증거를 인정하는 것입니다.



 Is to acknowledge the truth of all that Jesus life and death and resurrection has done for us,

빈무덤을 말하는 것은 우리를 위해 행하신 예수님의 삶과 죽음과 부활이 진리임을 인정하는 것입니다.



That God sent his son into this world to save us, to tell of his kingdom and demonstrate its reality in his healings,

그것은 또한 하나님께서 우리를 구원하시기 위해, 그의 나라에 대해 말씀하시기 위해, 그리고 병을 치료하심으로 하나님의 나라의 실제함을 나타내시기 위해  그의 아들을 세상에 보내셨음이 진실임을 인정하는 것입니다.



that he died on the cross so that our sins can be forgiven,

그것은 예수 그리스도가 십자가에서 죽으셨고, 그래서 우리의 죄는 용서될 있다는 것이 진실임을 인정하는 것입니다.



that  we can be reconciled to God, and in being raise to life, that death and sin are defeated, that we too can know new and abundant life.

그것은 우리는 하나님과 관계가 회복되어 있고, 죽음에서 부활하심으로 죽음과 죄는 정복되었고, 우리 역시 새롭고도 풍성한 삶을 있다는 것이 진실임을 인정하는 것입니다.



The empty tomb changes everything.

빈무덤은 모든 것을 변화시킵니다.

While Mark chooses to finish his account of the resurrection there, we know that the women did not stay quite, 여자들이 아무말도 하지 못했다는 것으로 마가는 부활의 기록을 마치고 있습니다. 하지만 우리는 여인들이 입을 다문 채로 있지 않았음을 압니다.



that they did what they were told and went to the disciples and to Peter with the good news.

여인들은 자신들 명령 받은 대로 했습니다. 기쁜 소식을 가지고 제자들과 베드로에게 가서 전했습니다.



Peter and John came to the tomb that day and found the amazing truth that it was empty.

그날 베드로와 요한은 무덤으로 달려가서 무덤이 비었다는 놀라운 진실을 발견했습니다.



There is some debate over whether the second half of Mark 16, verses 9-20 are a later addition,

마가복음 16 9-20절이 후에 첨가된 것인지에 대하여 약간의 논쟁이 있습니다.



but they tell us of Mary Magdalene meeting the risen Jesus Christ. An account of which we have in John’s gospel.

하지만 구절들은 부활하신 예수 그리스도를 만나는 막달라 마리아에 대하여 말해주며, 기록을 우리는 요한복음에서 있습니다.



Where she is only convinced that Jesus has risen when she hears his voice.

여기서 막달라 마리아가 예수님이 부활하셨음을 유일하게 깨닫게 것은 예수님의 목소리를 들었을 입니다.



Mark tells us that she was not believed, at first.

마가는 막달라 마리아도 처음에는 믿지 못했다고 말합니다.



Mark also mentions the two on the road to Emmaus that LUKE also tells us about(Luke 24:13-35).

마가는 또한 누가복음에도 기록되어 있는 엠마오로 향하는 제자를 언급합니다.



Then gives an account of Jesus meeting his disciples in galilee and giving them the great commission.

그리고 마가는  갈릴리에서 제자들을 만나 그들에게 지상명령을 주시는 예수님에 대해 기록합니다.



Of course, in the other passage that we had read out to us today from 1 Corinthians 15 Paul gives us a run down of the many witnesses to Jesus resurrection, and in typical Jewish legal fashion he does not include the women.

물론, 우리가 오늘 읽은 고린도전서 15장과 같은 구절에서 바울은 예수님의 부활에 대한 많은 목격자들이 있음을 보여줍니다.  그리고 전형적인 유대인의 법적인 관습에 따라 바울은 여인들을 포함시키지 않았지만 말입니다.



You and I are also witnesses to the empty tomb and the risen Jesus.

여러분과 또한 무덤과 부활하신 예수님의 증인들입니다.



Two thousand years later the reality of Jesus death on the cross and the empty tomb are still impacting and changing lives.

2천년이 지난 지금도 십자가위에서 예수님의 죽음의 실제성과 무덤은 사람들에게 영향을 미치고 삶을 변화시키고 있습니다.



The Risen Christ still goes before us and meet with us by the Holy spirit, in a way that we know that he is alive.

부활하신 그리스도는 우리 앞서 행하시고, 우리로 그분이 살아계심을 있도록 성령을 통해 우리를 만나주십니다.



 The facts and reality of the empty tomb are still here today and inviting people to answer Marks question who this Jesus is,

무덤의 사실과 실제성은 오늘날도 여기에 있고, 사람들에게 예수님이 누구신가라는 마가의 질문에 답할 것을 촉구합니다.

(What is your answer? He is ) the messiah the son of God.    

여러분은 무엇이라고 답변하시겠습니까? 그분은 메시아, 하나님의 아들이십니다.