Risen and Ascended
Open Your Bible
Mark 16:1-20, Acts 1:6-11, Isaiah 53:4-6
Text: Mark 16:1-20, Acts 1:6-11, Isaiah 53:4-6
We’ve called Mark “the Gospel of Jesus on His feet,” and now we’ve seen it to be true.
Through fifteen chapters, we have watched as Jesus went about Galilee preaching the good news and healing the sick, feeding the hungry and teaching His disciples what it means to believe. We saw Him stand on His feet before the chief priests and their accusations, with only silence and truth as His defense. We saw Him climb a mountain and walk on water.
But then, the Gospel of Jesus on His feet came to an abrupt halt. The Messiah was led to a cross and crucified. One day. Two days. Three days in the ground, and then He was up again. The stone was rolled away, and a man shimmering in white stood to greet the women in the tomb. There was no body for them to anoint; He was gone. Jesus had been raised from the dead.
And that’s how the Gospel of Jesus on His feet resumes, right here in Mark 16. Only now, everything has changed.
Here, at the very end of Mark’s Gospel, there is a crucial shift: Jesus had completed the work He came to earth to do. He had healed and taught and traveled and forgiven and died and risen. And then, He commissioned.
Jesus implored and empowered His disciples to continue the ministry He began—the same disciples who, even upon hearing eyewitness testimony of Jesus’ resurrection, still didn’t believe until they saw Him for themselves. He called them to preach the gospel. Now, you go, He said to them. You heal. You teach. You spread the message of the forgiveness of sins. Get on your feet and go.
Jesus called His disciples to stand up and step out, and then He did something stunning: He sat down.
“Then after speaking to them, the Lord Jesus was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.”
– Mark 16:19
Still today, Jesus sits at the right hand of His Father. He sits because the saving work He came to do here on earth has been done. He declared as much from the cross when He cried out, “It is finished” (John 19:30). The act of salvation is sealed and cannot be undone. Now, with the assurance that our Lord lives and reigns, we get to respond to His call: Get on your feet, and go.
The disciples were not alone as they went. Jesus had promised to go with them (John 14:26), and He did.
“And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them…”
– Mark 16:20
Friends, the Gospel of Mark is not just the “Pedestrian Gospel” because of the action of the fast-paced narrative. The Gospel of Mark is the Pedestrian Gospel because it is the plainly presented message of the gospel of Jesus Christ—the forgiveness of sins accomplished in full by His life, death, and resurrection. It is the Gospel for all of us. For her and him, for you and me.
We’ve not just heard about Him. We’ve seen Him. By His power and grace, let’s get up and carry His good news to the world.