As You Go

Posted by Karah

PAUSE

Reflect on what you’ve learned about Jesus’ resurrection over these last few weeks. Keep those things in mind as you read today’s devotion.

• Quickly list some of the truths you’ve learned as you studied the narrative accounts of the resurrection the last few weeks.
• At the beginning of this series, we studied Jesus’ promise that He would be betrayed, put to death, and raised again. How should these truths affect the way believers live?

Read Mark 16:14-18 in your Bible.

“Then He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation.’” —Mark 16:15

• Underline the words “go” and “preach” in verse 15.
• Highlight the phrases “all the world” and “the whole creation” (v. 15). Why is it important that disciples not leave out anyone when sharing the message of Christ? Explain.
• Record what Jesus said about the two different types of people in verse 16.

Now, read Matthew 28:16-20 in your Bible.
• List the four commands Jesus gave to His followers (v. 19-20).
The word go can better be translated with the phrase as you are going. This small difference carries huge implications. Yes, God calls us to go on mission trips, but He also calls us to make disciples as we go about our normal routine.
• Record the promise Jesus made at the end of verse 20 in your own words.

RESPOND

Understanding that the God who has all authority on heaven and earth will be with us as we go is a great comfort to believers. His presence within us, the Holy Spirit, enables us to make disciples. He goes with us and gives salvation only He can give.

• Meditate on what it means that the Holy Spirit dwells within us, enabling us to do God’s work.
• Journal a prayer of thankfulness to God for His constant presence and help in your life.

BEHIND THE STORY

The instructions Jesus gave in both of today’s passages are commonly referred to as The Great Commission. The word commission here means an instruction or command. Though Jesus spoke these commands directly to His 11 disciples, they weren’t a one-time deal. Believers are still called to go, make disciples, teach, and baptize in His name. How will you obey?

THE POINT

Jesus commands us to go and share His message with others. He promised to be with us as we go.


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No Nonsense

Posted by Karah

PAUSE

Turn off all your electronic devices and prepare to spend some time alone with God. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to learn new things through today’s Scripture.

“Returning from the tomb, they reported all these things to the Eleven and to all the rest.” —Luke 24:9

Read Luke 24:9-12 in your Bible and think through the following.
• Record the differences between Peter’s and the rest of the disciples’ responses to the women’s testimony.
• Verse 12 says Peter “ ______ __and ______” to the tomb. Why do you think he reacted this way?
• At this time, the testimony of women was highly disregarded. When the disciples heard their story about Jesus being resurrected, they thought the women were babbling nonsense. What are some things that cause us to disregard others’ testimony today? Why?
• Peter raced to the tomb to discover the truth for himself. How did his actions support the importance of testimony? Explain.

RESPOND

• Believing that Jesus was resurrected is crucial to the Christian faith. How would you explain the resurrection to someone else? Practice what you would say in the mirror.
• Ask God to bring to mind a few people in your life who don’t believe Jesus rose from the dead. Jot down their names in the margin.
• Look back over your list of names. Prayerfully consider how you can share Jesus’ love with them this week. Ask God to give you the opportunity and courage to speak.

BEHIND THE STORY

Throughout the Gospel narratives, Peter was shown as a passionate and often impulsive person. He jumped out of the boat to walk on water, cut off the ear of a high priest’s slave during Jesus’ arrest, and denied Jesus three times at His trial. In today’s passage, Peter displayed his passion yet again , evidenced by his immediate reaction to the women’s testimony.

THE POINT

Followers of Jesus should share the good news of His resurrection and what that means for us.


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Bribes and Lies

Posted by Karah

PAUSE

Reflect on your actions and words from this week. Ask God to reveal any sin and then ask Him to forgive you.
• The women obeyed the angel’s command to go tell the disciples the good news that Jesus had been raised from the dead. For followers of Jesus, this was terrific news that caused great rejoicing. However, for those who opposed Jesus, this created a problem. Why?

Now, read Matthew 28:4, 11-15 in your Bible.

“After the priests had assembled with the elders and agreed on a plan, they gave the soldiers a large sum of money and told them, ‘Say this, ‘His disciples came during the night and stole Him while we were sleeping.’” —Matthew 28:12-13

• List the priests’ actions upon hearing the guards’ testimony.
• What did the priests’ reaction indicate about the importance of Jesus’ message?
• What plan did the priests devise in order to quiet the news of Jesus’ resurrection?

The priests didn’t want the soldiers to admit that Jesus had been raised from the dead because that would have affirmed His identity as the Son of God. So, the priests who had sentenced Jesus to death bribed the guards to lie.

RESPOND

• How would you have responded if you were one of the Roman guards bribed by the priests? Journal your thoughts.
• Have you been asked to lie before? How did you respond? Record your experience in your journal.
• Consider this: The truth of Jesus’ resurrection was so powerful that the Jewish religious leaders bribed elite Roman soldiers to lie about the occurrences outside the tomb. Ask yourself: Do I understand the powerful message represented by the empty tomb?
• Look back at the previous question. Ask God to continue to help you understand the truth of the resurrection and what it means for you.

BEHIND THE STORY

The Roman soldiers were the most elite of the military. Being caught sleeping on the job was punishable by death. The description of verse 4 in today’s passage implies that the guards actually saw the angel, so it is unlikely that they were asleep when the stone was rolled away. Rather than holding firm to the truth that they saw an angel of the Lord roll away the stone blocking the tomb, they risked their lives with a lie crafted by the religious elite. If anyone asked, they would say that Jesus’ disciples stole the body while they slept.

THE POINT

The truth of Jesus’ resurrection gave hope to believers, but caused fear among the religious leaders.


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Mourning to Rejoicing

Posted by Karah

PAUSE

Walk outside and consider how God uses creation to proclaim His goodness and authority.

Read Matthew 28:1-8 in your Bible.

“So, departing quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, they ran to tell His disciples the news.” —Matthew 28:8

Complete the following.
• Jot down details about the physical appearance of the angel of the Lord (v. 3).
• No human deception could have mimicked an earthquake and the appearance of the angel. In your journal, sketch a picture depicting the scene in verses 2-4.
• Think back to previous accounts of this scene. With the inclusion of the angel’s appearance and the earthquake, why is the angel’s statement in verse 5 so important? Explain.
• These were extraordinary events that caused the guards to faint in fear. However, when the angel spoke to the women, they had a different reaction. Describe their actions upon hearing the angel’s good news.

RESPOND

• Jot down the last piece of great news you received. Who brought the message?
• Now, think about the first time you heard about Jesus’ resurrection. Who told you about Him? How did they tell you? Describe the conversation in your journal.
• Hearing that Jesus had risen from the dead was the best piece of news these women received. How did the news of His resurrection change your life? Journal about your experience.
• If you’ve never trusted Jesus as your Savior, find a trustworthy adult such as a parent, Trailstones leader, or pastor and ask them to share with you about how to become a Christian.
• If you have placed your faith in Jesus, pray for an opportunity to tell this news to others this week.

BEHIND THE STORY

Only Matthew recorded the earthquake, descending of the angel, and fainting of the guards. This is actually the second earthquake in his narrative, the first one is found in Matthew 27:51 at the moment of Jesus’ death. Just as the earth quaked, so did the guards when they saw the angel.

MEMORY VERSE

Say Matthew 28:8 aloud as you do the dishes, clean your room, or make a snack.

THE POINT

The angels’ appearance frightened the women, but the message caused the women to rejoice.


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No Reason for Fear

Posted by Karah

PAUSE

Before you dig into today’s devotion, consider this quote by J. I. Packer:

“Christian hope expresses knowledge that every day of his life, and every moment beyond it, the believer can say with truth, on the basis of God’s own commitment, that the best is yet to come.”

As the women walked toward the tomb, they were convinced of what they would find—the tomb, sealed by a large boulder, with Jesus’ body inside.
• Imagine you were walking with the women that day. Describe what you would have thought.

Now, read Mark 16:1-8 in your Bible.

“’Don’t be alarmed,’ he told them. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has been resurrected! He is not here! See the place where they put Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there just as He told you.’” —Mark 16:6-7

• In verse 5, Mark said the women were ______ and ______. Why do you think they reacted this way?
• What were the first three words the young man said to the women? What’s the significance of his statement?
• Why do you think the angel encouraged the women to look at Jesus’ empty tomb for themselves? Explain.

Biblical scholars suggest that the angel’s command for the women to go and tell the disciples demonstrated Jesus’ love and concern for them. They were dejected and afraid—their Master had been crucified!
• How would physical proof of His resurrection reassure the disciples? Show them Jesus’ love?

RESPOND

Just like the women in today’s passage, you have also heard about Jesus’ resurrection—the empty tomb signified His conquering of death.
• Consider what Jesus’ resurrection means to you. Journal a prayer of praise to God for raising Jesus to life.
• In the margin, jot down the names of two people who need to know God’s truth. Commit to sharing Jesus’ message of salvation with them this week.

BEHIND THE STORY

At one point, all of Jesus’ disciples committed to stick with Him despite what He prophesied about His arrest and crucifixion (Mark 14:31). The text surrounding that particular prophecy demonstrated Jesus’ faithfulness to His disciples despite knowing they would “run away” (Mark 14:27) when He was arrested and crucified. Jesus said, “But after I have been resurrected, I will go ahead of you to Galilee” (Mark 14:28). In verse 7 of today’s passage, the angel referenced this statement as a prophecy that would be fulfilled on resurrection day—He was on His way to Galilee.

THE POINT

Jesus’ resurrection was not cause for fear, but for rejoicing. His resurrection provides us with assurance of the truth of His promises.


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