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Sabbath School Lessons on Jesus Through the Eyes of Mark
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 13: Buried - But Risen! *
Introduction: From the very beginning of this series of lessons Mark
lays out the evidence for Jesus being the Messiah. This week we
arrive at the last lesson in our study of Mark and the glorious
conclusion to Mark's proof. This week we witness the resurrection of
our Lord! Or, do we? Does Mark leave us with faith or proof? Let's
jump right into our study!
- Joseph of Arimathea
- Read Mark 15:42-43. Why does Mark tell us that "evening
approached?" Is he just giving us a little background
color for his story? (He is doing two things. First, he is
identifying for history the day of Jesus' death - Friday.
Second, he wants us to know the time pressure Joseph
faced. The burial should be done before the Sabbath
arrived (Friday at sundown), and so Joseph had to
immediately screw up his courage and ask Pilate for the
body of Jesus.)
- Are you glad to have Joseph of Arimathea enter the
picture? (Absolutely! It is great to hear that not
all of the Jewish leaders hated Jesus. Here was a man
who believed. In addition, none of Jesus' 11
disciples would have been bold enough to ask for His
body. Here was a man who had the political
credentials to be entitled to ask for the body.)
- Further detail is added by John. Read John 19:38-39.
We see that Joseph has been a secret disciple of
Jesus. Nicodemus, another member of the Sanhedrin
( John 3:1), also emerges from secrecy and helps
Joseph bury Jesus. Since Joseph had been quieted by
his fear, why should he come out now as a disciple?
- Notice that Nicodemus brought with him "seventy-five pounds" of spices. How do you think these
two men were able to get things together so
quickly to bury Jesus before sundown? (They knew
what was going to happen and they had apparently
made preparations. In the past, I have
researched Nicodemus and my research showed that
he was likely from one of the most wealthy
families. Although shops were closed during
Passover, his family may have owned spice shops
- or maybe he purchased the spices in advance.)
- Read Mark 15:44-45. Why do we find this detail in Mark's
account? (It shows us that Jesus was "officially" dead.
The centurion reported to Pilate that Jesus had died.)
- Why is this detail important? (To eliminate the
possibility that Jesus only seemed to die and His
disciples revived Him. Mark wants us to know Jesus
was really dead.)
- Read Mark 15:46-47. Mark tells us that Mary Magdalene and
Mary, Jesus' mother, saw where Joseph and Nicodemus buried
- What do you think the women were doing? (They wanted
to stay with Jesus until the bitter end.)
- What does this tell us about the 11 disciples? (They
were not around.)
- If the disciples had stayed with Jesus, would they
have been blessed? (They could have helped with the
burial. Just knowing that two powerful members of the
Sanhedrin had now "declared" for Jesus would have
given them a measure of comfort.)
- Read Isaiah 53:9. How important was it for Joseph to
follow the impulse of his conscience, put aside the
secrecy of his convictions, and go to Pilate? (If they had
not intervened, Jesus probably would not have been buried.
They were an important part to the fulfillment of
- Was it good or bad that they waited to declare
allegiance to Jesus?
- Is it logical that they would wait to declare
until the lowest moment - the time when the 11
disciples are questioning whether they were
right to follow Jesus? (Joseph and Nicodemus
must have "gotten it." Their study must have
revealed to them that the Messiah would die like
the sacrificial lamb of Passover and the
sanctuary service. If they did not "get it,"
they would not come out now.)
- The "Marys"
- Read Mark 16:1. When did the two "Marys" and Salome buy
the spices? (Unlike Joseph and Nicodemus, they were not
prepared in advance. This also suggests that although
they watched where Jesus was buried, they did not approach
very closely or they would have known that Jesus' body had
already treated with spices. They may also not have
understand that Joseph and Nicodemus were now declared
- Read Mark 16:2-3. What does this suggest about the stone?
(It was not an easy thing to remove.)
- What does it suggest about the women? (That their
love for Jesus overrode their common sense. If the
tomb is sealed, Jesus' body should have already been
prepared with spices. If the tomb was sealed, no one
was allowed to enter until a year later (for the
secondary burial of bones). They were too late and
- Read Mark 16:4-5. Put yourself in the place of the two
"Marys." They feel relief at the fact that the stone has
been rolled away. But immediately after that, they are
alarmed. What would alarm them? Did they not believe that
Jesus would be raised from the dead? (They apparently did
not anticipate Jesus would rise from the dead. Most likely
they were concerned that the Jewish leaders had performed
one more outrage - they had now stolen Jesus' body.)
- Read Mark 16:6-7. Wasn't Peter one of the disciples? Why
would the angel say "tell his disciples and Peter?"
- What lesson about God do we find in this? (Peter was
feeling the bitter regret of letting Jesus' down.
Heaven is worried about him - as opposed to being
angry with him. Jesus wants Peter to know that he is
- Read Mark 16:8. Of what were they afraid? What kind of
emotions are going through their minds?
- Would any women you know who had such great
information be quiet about it? Know any men who would
be quiet? (Seems unlikely - although they might have
thought that as women, they would not be believed. In
addition, they were probably fearful based on the
whole series of events.)
- Read John 20:1-2. When Mark says that Mary said
nothing, what does he mean? How does John clear this
up? (Mary did not report what the angel told her to
say. She said nothing about the most important part!)
- Why not? (It was just too overwhelming. Again,
they probably thought they would not be
- Read John 20:15-17. After Mary Magdalene reported to the
disciples that Jesus was gone, she returned to the tomb
where she became the first person to see her risen Lord.
Why did Jesus chose to appear first to her? She was
buying spices at the "last minute" because she had not
understood He would die. The fact that she was buying
spices also shows that she did not understand He would
rise from the dead. Her "spice adventure" was completely
illogical because a stone blocked the entrance to the
tomb. Finally, she failed to report what the angel said by
simply saying Jesus was gone. Given all of this
misunderstanding and illogic, why did Jesus choose Mary?
(Throughout all of this, she tried to stay as close to
Jesus as possible. She hung in there. Jesus is looking
first for us to be faithful. He can later clear up our
theological and logical failures.)
- Mark 16:9-20 was added at some later time. Some of the
commentaries that I read indicate that the earliest and
most reliable manuscripts do not contain these verses. If
you want to read more about this, a thorough overview is
found in The Bible Knowledge Commentary. The addition of
these verses is not particularly critical because most of
what appears in these verses can be found elsewhere in the
Gospels or in Acts.
- Assuming (as I do) that Mark's account ended with verse 8,
look again at Mark 16:8. Why would Mark end his book on
this note? (We are left with an empty tomb, an angelic
message that Jesus has risen, and a promise of a future
- Friend, are you looking for a future meeting with Jesus?
We learned in this lesson that you can come late to faith
(Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus), you can come as a
failure (Peter) and you can come confused and illogical
(the "Marys"). What matters is that you come. Will you
repent and come today?
- Next Week: We start a new series of lessons (The Spiritual Life)
about making Jesus the Lord of all aspects of our life.
* Copr. 2005, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.