(Translated version, original article written in Chinese by Pastor Mickey Hsiao)
By singing praises and hymns, awake your soul, open your heart to the Lord, and prepare yourself to welcome the presence of God and receive the Word of God that will be given to you.
Petition with thanksgiving to God for a wonderful day and pray sincerely for a focused Scripture reading time! (Do not rush into reading the Bible without starting with prayers!) (e.g., you may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what will you be speaking to me today?)
Get the following items ready in advance: your devotional notebook, paper, pen, and/or electronic devotional articles so that you can easily write down the Bible verses, questions, and thoughts you have noticed! You are encouraged to open your Bible and vocally read out the scriptures (Try to practice this reading method daily or once a week)!
Scripture Reading: Mark Ch. 16 (ESV)
Take a moment to quietly reflect on today’s Scriptures. Through such exercises, let God’s Word be gradually written into our hearts and be inscribed to our mind.
Read the devotional articles prepared by CBCLWA (*Read the Bible first before reading any devotional materials.)
(vv.1-20) Jesus had died! His disciples were mourning and weeping over his death. Several women bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. Imagine the sadness in their hearts at that time – that is fairly relatable to us. Before his death, Jesus had already prophesied to his disciples at least three times that he would be resurrected after death. Because the disciples were still in grief and they had trouble thinking and they could not believe it when they heard that Jesus had actually risen from the dead.
But Jesus has risen indeed! He appeared to his disciples several times. According to the Gospel of Mark, He appeared to Mary Magdalene, two of his disciples, and he appeared to his eleven disciples as they were together and spoke to them.
Through a review of other three Books of Gospels, we can tell that the appearance of Jesus occurred at different times and in different places (e.g., on the road, in a house in Jerusalem, in Galilee, by the sea of Galilee, when the disciples were eating, in a room where the disciples gathered). He also appeared to different people (e.g., to some women, some of his disciples at one time when Thomas was absent and at another time when Thomas was present).
The appearance of Jesus was also recorded in Paul’s letters, “…and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.”(1 Corinthians 15:5-8)
|Mary Magdalene||Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18|
|other woman||Matthew 28:9-10; Luke 24:10|
|Peter||Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5*|
|Two of His disciples who were going to Emmaus||Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-32|
|10 disciples||Luke 24:36-43; John 20:19-23
(note: ten disciples excluding Judas and Thomas)
|Eleven disciples as they were eating||Mark 16:14; John 20:26-31; 1 Corinthians 15:5*|
|Seven of his disciples who were fishing by the Sea of Galilee||John 21:1-24|
|Eleven disciples who went to the mountain in Galilee||Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18; 1 Corinthians 15:6*|
|More than five hundred brothers||1 Corinthians 15:6#|
|James||1 Corinthians 15:7#|
|All of his disciples, before Jesus was taken into heaven||Luke 24:44-53; Acts 1:4-9; 1 Corinthians 15:7*|
[*] Paul may have referred to possibly the same occasions as what were recorded in the Books of the Gospels.
[#] Paul may have referred to possibly different occasions from what were recorded in the Books of the Gospels.
It is a historical fact that Christ, with his incarnation on earth, had been crucified and resurrected from the dead on the third day. This is the core foundation of the Christian faith. He is the risen Lord – that is the belief and preaching of the disciples and his followers of all generations. Since then, Satan hasn’t slackened and has attempted to confuse people or deny the truth constantly.
Regarding the resurrection of Jesus, there are times we could rationally debate and investigate about the real fact of his resurrection. We may also encourage people to take a leap of their faith to overcome their disbelief – thinking the dead cannot be resurrected. That is all because Jesus is not an ordinary man and He is God. When one person repents to God, having buried his old self and been born again – that will be a powerful testimony of the resurrection with the Lord! “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:14)
What does mean to you knowing the fact that the Lord was risen and is alive? How will your life be different because of the living Lord? Don’t forget that your life is the best way you can witness the Lord!
Give thanks to God for His enabling us to read the Scriptures and for our response for living out the Word of God today! (e.g., You may start with a simple prayer like this: “Dear Lord, what/where are you going to lead me to today?”)