Mark 16:1-8

The Good News

The Good news of the Gospel is the empty tomb. It means Jesus has risen from the dead on the third day just as He said. Death could not hold Him. He was victorious over the power of death that we all are faced with.

The Bible teaches that the consequence of sin is death. The Bible defines death as separation. Physically it means that when we die our soul or breath is separated from our physical body. When that happens the body is said to be dead. So where does the soul go? In Luke 16:16-31 Jesus taught a parable that answers that question.

In this parable we see that the soul does not die. The soul goes to Hades awaiting the judgement to come. At the time Jesus told this parable Hades was divided by a chasm. One side was a place of torment the other side a place of rest. On the torment side we read of a rich man that lived for himself with little regard for his sin. On the other side, the place of rest, we find Abraham and a poor man named Lazarus. The rich man wanted Lazarus to bring him some water but he can’t because of the chasm. It is clear from the conversation that the soul remains alive.

Deep down inside we know that we were meant to live forever. The older I get I realize that my body is aging but not my soul. My soul wants to do the same things I did fifty years ago but my body can’t keep up. So I go to the gym and take vitamins and supplements and try to eat right, all of this is focused on preserving the body but I know the best I can do is postpone the inevitable.

1 Peter 3:18-22 tells us that Jesus descended to Hades and preached to the spirits there. In Ephesians 4:8 The Apostle Paul quotes Psalm 68:18 which tells us that when Jesus ascended from Hades to Heaven he led forth a host of captives. But he did not lead out all who were in Hades. The host He led out were Abraham, Lazarus, and  all of the souls on the "rest" side of the chasm. Those on the other side remain awaiting judgement as will those who refuse to put their faith in Jesus. Jesus also describes this in John 5:19-29. The people God raised from the dead in the Old Testament and Jesus in the Gospels, are an illustration to us that we were meant to live forever. Where we will spend eternity will depend on whether we put our faith in Jesus or somewhere else. Verse 24

The one who believes there is no God, Heaven, or Hell, has put his faith in that belief and will be judged accordingly. Verse 29

So, presently, because Jesus has been raised from the dead and ascended to heaven with the host he led out of Hades, Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 5:8 that when the soul of the believer leaves the body it is present with the Lord. One day, those who are in heaven will receive a new body as Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 15.

1 Corinthians 15 is often called the resurrection chapter of the Bible and I recommend reading it, so consider it your homework for today. Here are some others. John 5; Colossians 2:13-15.

Because of the empty tomb, death has no victory over believers! That is our hope and assurance.

Pastor Dave