Alfred Place Baptist Church

15:47-16:8 He is risen

Mark 15:47-16:8 “Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid. When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’ But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you into Galilee . There you will see him, just as he told you.”’ Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.”

In this closing passage in Mark’s gospel we meet Jesus’ disciples, and we are taken to the tomb where Jesus briefly lay, and we are even introduced to an angel of Jesus, but the Lord Christ himself makes no appearance. “He is not here,” as the angel told the first disciples. When he was here he was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Men beat him up, and spit in his face, and scourged him, and nailed him to a cross and mocked him. All that occurred while he was here and much more, but he is not here in Jerusalem any longer, in fact he is on his way to Galilee where they will see him. So let us begin by looking at life without Jesus for these women.

There were three of them, two Marys and Salome, and the fact that there were three is significant. If one woman should tell you she has really seen a ghost then you will be rather cagey in your response, “Mmmm . . . well . . . maybe . . .” but if two people tell you they both saw the same sight and then with utter seriousness describe it to you then you have to give it more credence, while the dynamics of three witnesses are different again. Obviously there is not one strong personality dominating the other weaker person. Actually three or four women saw the events Mark describes in this chapter. Even though the role of the woman in the ancient world was of a second class citizen Christ chose to appear first of all to women not to a man. Two hundred years later a pagan writer named Celsus could needle the Christian preacher Origen about this fact; “the gossip of women about the empty tomb” is how he described it, but Christ chose to appear first to them. If this gospel of Mark were fiction you would develop it in some way like this, a man from a humble home, a fisherman, begins to follow Jesus. He has a number of adventures and fallings away but in the end he becomes a giant and to him, Peter, as the climax of Jesus’ work, the Saviour appears with great acclamation and glory. “Hooray for Peter!!” It is not at all like that. Here are three fairly anonymous background people – ‘little women’ – and to them Jesus appears for the first time risen from the dead. What about you? Doesn’t this give some hope to you, that Christ should reveal himself in a sinner like you, not to the righteous and law-abiding but to you.

So here are three individuals who all hear and see something remarkable at the tomb where they had seen the body of Christ lain to rest two nights earlier. Each one is of age; each can speak for herself. Won’t that make you consider these words seriously? If you will do that, then you should also consider what almost a dozen men in an upper room saw and heard later this same day; or some days later men from that same group were working in a fishing boat when they saw a fire on the shore, smelled fish being cooked and they talked with the risen Jesus Christ, and they stood or sat around a fire with him; or again a crowd of five hundred people all meeting this man a week or two later? These are the kinds of reports we come across in the gospels, but this is the first, written about twenty years after the event.

1. WHAT DO WE DISCOVER ABOUT THESE WOMEN?

i] Here are three loyal women. They had followed the Lord Jesus for a couple of years and were not going to abandon him on Golgotha throughout three hours of light and the next three hours of darkness until he breathed his last. They’d had to wait even a further hour until official permission had been given to take the body down from the cross. Perhaps they’d helped Joseph of Arimathea to hurriedly wash the body, bind the linen strips around it intermingled with fragrant spices – the Sabbath deadline was hurtling towards them. Two of the three had followed the men as they carried the body of Jesus to the tomb. They had seen them emerge and with some effort – probably with the help of their servants – they rolled the stone across the entrance and secured it. Then the women spent a long twenty-four hours until the Saturday night after sunset when the Sabbath was over, the shops opened and they could implement their plan to buy more spices. They had to do something for Jesus, and occasionally there was a two-stage perfuming of the body in this manner. They certainly needed to see his body, so they were up very early the next morning and off to the tomb to honour Jesus’ corpse more appropriately than they’d been able to do in the rush of late Friday afternoon. What loving loyal women they were

ii] Here are three perplexed women. “They asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’’” The stone was put there to discourage grave robbers and so it was of some size and weight. There might have been a track down which it was rolled and then it fell into a deep niche that had been carved for it, so that the whole stone first had to be lifted before being pushed back up the track. Mark tells us that it was “very large” (v.4) and so that would deter even a gang of grave robbers from raiding the tomb and taking anything of value buried with the body. The women were carrying their bags full of spices; they were obsessed with making Jesus’ body more fragrant, and they pushed out of their minds this very basic obstacle. Love is blind. People in love will walk down the street where their loved one lives if by chance she might come out as they are passing. The women knew that Joseph had a gardener and he might help them. They might have thought that they would meet some other of the scattered disciples of Jesus there are the tomb. It would surely be a focus for their re-gathering; those men would succeed in rolling the stone away for them. They never even considered that Pilate had set a guard of four Roman soldiers on the sepulchre and put an imperial seal on the chain binding the stone. Really this was mission impossible, doomed to failure, but loving loyalty compelled them to go on.

iii] Here are three unbelieving women. They were the foremost amongst the women disciples of Jesus who had followed him in Galilee . We know from Mark chapter eight and verse thirty-one that Jesus had told his disciples that he would “be killed and after three days rise again.” We know from Mark chapter nine and verse thirty-one that he had told them that “after three days he will rise.” We know from Mark ten and verse thirty-four that he said, “Three days later he will rise.” There were probably other occasions on which he explained to them his trial, death and resurrection, but they found it incredible to accept, just as the people of our town today refuse to believe in resurrection from the dead; “People do not rise from the dead; you stay dead,” they say. These women loved Jesus and worshipped him, but what he said seemed utterly impossible to them, or maybe they interpreted it as a symbol; it made no impact on them at all. Certainly they were not going to the tomb on the first day of the week to have a grandstand view of his resurrection. They were going there to make his dead body smell a little sweeter for a day or two longer before it putrefied.

iv] Here are terrified women. When they get to the tomb their problem with the stone has been solved. The gigantic stone was no longer covering the entry to the place where Jesus had been lying, and Mary Magdalene, according to John, seems to have dashed off straight away to tell Peter and John that the tomb was empty. The other Mary and Salome stand still, not knowing what to do, and then they are joined by two other godly women, Joanna and another woman, so Luke tells us. These four women finally gingerly went into the sepulchre itself, through the short entrance tunnel into its inner chamber where the body had been placed on a shelf on the right side, and there, to their amazement, they were met by “a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side” (v.5). Another young man was also with him, Luke tells us, but this one is the spokesman. These men were very much alive. They were not ghosts at all, but they were obviously not passer-bys out for a morning constitutional who had noticed this stone pushed aside and had popped in to see what was inside. They were special, dressed in white, a mark of festivity – of a wedding not a funeral, of celebration not mourning, of heavenly glory not earthly fallenness. Luke in fact tells us that their clothes gleamed like lightning. They were waiting for these women to appear because they knew why they had come, and they were sitting down in the posture of a teacher. In other words it was not a threatening posture, standing up as if to strike, no not intimidating at all. The young man spoke with authority, but the women said nothing at all, in fact Luke tells us that the women simply prostrated themselves before them, their faces to the ground. Then the young man addressed them kindly, “‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you into Galilee . There you will see him, just as he told you.”’ (vv. 6&7).

The whole astounding encounter was all too much for them. This wasn’t a teenager, or a student speaking; it was not an ordinary young man. His appearance, his authority, his extraordinary words, the absence of the body of Jesus, and now this mission he gave them to fulfil immediately, and the promise that they would certainly see the living Jesus again – this was devastating. We are told, “Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb.” They took off like scared rabbits chased out of their burrows by a ferret. They couldn’t get away from the tomb fast enough. They had thought of only one thing for 36 hours, going to the tomb first thing Sunday morning, and they are barely inside for a minute before they run off as if the devils in hell were chasing them.

v] Here are four silent women. They are crashing through the streets on their way to the Upper Room to talk to Peter and the apostles. It was quite a sight, as it would be quite a sight today to see four white-faced women running along the pavement. It would stop the traffic. “What’s wrong? Are you all right? Is that Mary? What’s happened?” “They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid” (v.8). The angel had said “Go and tell his disciples that he is risen.” That was the first commandment the risen Lord had given them, and this was their first disobedience. They were too afraid to speak to anyone, just like we are today.

2. WHO WAS THE YOUNG MAN DRESSED IN WHITE?

This young man wasn’t the Lord Jesus. The man doesn’t want to be confused with him; he told them that Jesus was not there. This man was an angel, a created, spiritual being with moral judgment and high intelligence but lacking a physical body. Angels are not eternal creatures; they are part of the universe that God made. He created the heavens as well as the earth. Sometimes they are referred to as the host of heaven or the armies of heaven. Ezra says, “You are the LORD, you alone; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens with all their host . . . and the host of heaven worships you” (Neh. 9:6). They are spirits, lacking any bodies, and therefore we cannot see them. The Lord Jesus referred to angels about twenty times. This church may be filled with watching angels at this moment, in fact this very angel who was in the tomb of whom I am speaking could be here listening to me talking about him, and one day I shall certainly see him. Angels have the task of guarding and protecting us. They are intimate; they keep our feet from falling. The very first sermon that I heard Professor John Murray preaching in September 1961 in Philadelphia was on the ministry of angels. However, there were times in the history of redemption when angels assumed a human bodily form and in that form appeared to patriarchs, prophets, apostles and women also like these four, or to the virgin Mary.

Angels travel from one place to another as God directs them. “The angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth ” (Lk. 1:26). When all the angels gathered before God to receive their orders Gabriel was given that task, and at the resurrection of Jesus an angel was delegated to deal with the stone and speak to the women. We are told in Matthew chapter 28 and verse 2, “an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.” “Go to the garden where the body of your Lord is lying and roll back the stone and sit on it,” God had said. This was to overwhelm with terror the soldiers who were guarding the sepulchre, and then he went inside to greet the four women. Angels have very great power. They are called, “you mighty ones who do his word,” (Ps. 103:20). They are referred to as powers and authorities and dominions. One angel can smite the whole Assyrian army. Another strikes King Herod dead. Little wonder the three women were trembling, bewildered and sore afraid crouching six feet away from an angel.

What is the purpose of God sending this angel to move the stone and speak to the women? Why didn’t God simply lift up the stone himself as he lifted up the axe-head from the bottom of the lake? There are several reasons for this. The presence of angels places the resurrection amongst the very important events in redemptive history, like the deliverance from Egypt , and the giving of the law on Sinai, or the protection of his people in Babylon . It sets the resurrection of Christ alongside the incarnation of Christ, and the temptations in the wilderness, and the intercession in Gethsemane as occasions when God sent angels to serve his Son and to highlight the importance of Jesus’ ministry. They will also be there in their innumerable splendour when he returns to earth one day leading the host of heaven.

Again the perforation of the lives of these ordinary women by an angelic visitor reminded both them and us of the reality of the heavenly world. The world of angels is the real world. Fallen men live in the shadowlands of life without God, and there they cling to weird superstitions. In that world they read their horoscopes, and carry their good luck charms, and say, “touch wood”, and refuse to walk under a ladder, and think the number 13 is unlucky. They believe in astrological birth-charts, and have their fortunes read, and go to seances, and believe in fairies, and abominable snowmen, and Bigfoot, and that Extra Terrestrials built the pyramids. All of that is sheer fantasy – but it’s on the web! Angels are not in that category. They are real. They serve God and ourselves, and it would be incredible that at the resurrection of God the Son from the dead the event were not marked by the presence and activity of angels. This is reality as it is.

When we Christians are suddenly delivered from a danger or distress then perhaps God has sent an angel to help us. When a car suddenly swerved and missed hitting one of your children as they ran out into the road, or when you found footing in the sea when a current seemed to be taking you out to sea, or when you had to walk back late one night when there were dangers about then shouldn’t you thank God that he protected you by sending an angel to guard you?

Angels were there as an example to the women of the response of humble obedience which even mighty angels give to their Lord. This angel delighted to do what God had told him to do, without questions. He faithfully and joyfully obeyed God, removed the stone and sat on it and spoke this message that God had given him to the women. That was his highest joy to do the will of God. He shattered the unbelief of these four women who never expected to see the tomb empty and Jesus risen, even though God the Son had told them on a number of occasions that this would happen.

The women did not worship this young man, neither did they pray to him. They left his presence mute and they were exactly right to do so. There’s no example in Scripture of anyone praying to any specific angel or asking angels for help. The church has been compromised and confused by young people claiming to see talking visions. Grottos and shrines have been established in such places and the customary claims of healing of some who prayed to the vision. Go to God! Tell our loving Father your needs!

3. WHAT DID THE YOUNG MAN SAY?

The words of the angel were these, “‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, “He is going ahead of you into Galilee . There you will see him, just as he told you.”’ (vv.6&7)

i] Firstly he addresses their emotional state. He expresses his concern for their fear. Our Lord soothes our sorrows, heals our wounds and drives away our fear, and this he does day by day, but especially on the Lord’s Day. He sends a servant of his to us each Sunday and he says to God’s people, “Don’t be alarmed.” “Let not your hearts be troubled; ye believe in God, believe also in me.” We often say such words to fearful Christians; fear is not a good response to the problems facing you. It is an unbelieving response; “I am going into trials and testings and I am doing this all by myself. How am I going to survive?” No you are not! The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Jesus says, “I will never leave you; Lo! I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” So don’t be alarmed.

But the young man calmed their fears by telling them he knew all about them, that though their refusal to believe in the resurrection of Christ was against the will of God they were not outside the will of God, he still cared for them and was determined to do them good. They were there on an unbeliever’s errand, searching for the body of Christ after the Saviour had risen. “You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth,” he said, in a graveyard, searching for the living among the dead. Their vision was to perfume a body rather than meet with a living Lord. He knows how some of you have been wasting your time searching for the second best, trying religion instead of Jesus Christ, looking for happiness in relationships rather than in knowing God for yourselves. How can we be so ignorant and so dull trying to find our spiritual answers by shifting our focus away from the plain words of Jesus Christ? How can we so readily slight the Christ of God who has limitless authority throughout the universe? How long will it take for us to believe what he says, whether it is rising from the dead on the third day, or raising us from the dead too and taking us to live with him for ever? This same Jesus knows the mess you have got yourselves into and, wonder of grace, he is saying to you, “Don’t be alarmed.” He has brought you here for good.

ii] The second thing he said was, “He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.” (v.6). The tomb of Jesus is not to become the wailing wall of the church for the next two thousand years. He has risen! He is not here! This is so very fascinating in its directness and simplicity. This anonymous young man was not the arch plotter, the rogue who has persuaded millions of people for two thousand years to believe that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Let us consider the things the young man did not say.

a] He did not say, “Jesus has resuscitated after his coma.” In other words he gave no support to the swoon theory that Jesus fainted on the cross. He was taken down, put in the tomb, and in the coolness of the tomb, he comes to, and he lifts up the stone and walks out appearing again in the Upper Room as though alive from the dead. That’s one th000eory. It first appeared in the 18th century, but it was revived in 1965 by Hugh Schonfeld in his publication, The Passover Plot. Let’s think about it. At the cross, the centurion went to Pilate and assured Pilate that he was dead. A soldier actually pushes a spear deep into Jesus’ side to insure that he was dead. He was put through a complex burial ritual and Pilate, because he thought that there would be a claim that Jesus would rise from the dead, set a guard to watch the tomb and set a seal upon the stone of the tomb. The swoon theory is so impressed by the various appearances of Jesus that they acknowledge, “Yes, these things happened,” but they happened in one who never really died. The faith you need to believe all that is far greater than to believe the plain words of the young man. They are asking us to believe that Jesus raised himself, and then he lifted out the enormous stone, and then he walked to Emmaus that afternoon just like any other man in the eyes of his walking companions after the whipping and the nails and spear thrust? Incredible! He announced that he was the resurrection and the life, the picture of resurrection vitality, but suddenly disappeared after forty days never to be seen again! It beggars belief. The young man said, “He is risen”.
b] The young man did not say, “They have stolen the body.” Who would have done that? Who wanted it? Who removed the corpse? The authorities, let us say. Which authorities? Was it the Jewish authorities or the Roman authorities? Why would the Jewish authorities steal the body of Jesus? The last thing they wanted was for Christians to go about saying that Jesus had risen from the dead. And why would the Roman authorities do it? They had set a guard to watch the tomb and a seal across the tomb to ensure this very thing did not happen. According to some, a guard of soldiers could be up to sixty men. It would require that if the body were stolen, perhaps all sixty of them fell asleep knowing that the penalty for falling asleep on duty, under Roman law, was execution. Perhaps the disciples stole the body, but they are so demoralised that all they want to do is make the body smell a little sweeter, and yet we’re asked to believe that within weeks some of these religious grave robbers were prepared to lay down their lives for something they knew wasn’t true? The young man said, “He is risen.”
c] The young man did not say, “Breathe deeply and look into my eyes and you will start to see Jesus . . . you will start seeing Jesus . . . you are starting to see Jesus now!” That is the so-called projection theory. This appeals to those who have a psychiatric bent. It was first propounded by Hegel anticipating Freudian wish projection. It goes something like this: the disciples so longed for the resurrection of Jesus that it was self-fulfilling. In the heightened emotional state of that last week in Jerusalem they started to see him everywhere. Come on! Look at the evidence. The disciples actually didn’t expect and weren’t longing for the resurrection. Thomas had to be persuaded to put his hand into the side of Jesus. When the women came from the tomb telling the twelve that they had seen the risen Jesus, the disciples didn’t believe them. Verse 14 nicely summarizes the apostles’ first unbelieving response to this story of a resurrection appearance of Christ, “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.” No, there was no hypnosis from this master plotter who persuaded them to believe that they were seeing Jesus. The young man said, “He is risen.”
d] The young man did not say, “You are at the wrong tomb. I made the same mistake myself and I will take you now to the right tomb.” There is this so-called mislaid theory which Blake, in 1907, first propounded saying that actually what happened was that the women went to the wrong tomb. It was early in the morning, Luke writes, and in the half light they were confused. There were lots of tombs, they all looked the same. They went to the wrong one and they saw a gardener, and the gardener says, “Are you looking for Jesus? You’re looking for him in the wrong place; he is not here. He is over there.” Hysterical women – that’s the view – that’s what it’s saying. But think about it for a minute. Within thirty minutes, Peter and John are going to the same tomb. When the gospels have carefully recorded that not only did they know which tomb it was but that they’d carefully noted which way it was that Jesus was laid in the tomb. Had they gone to the wrong tomb, wouldn’t it have been the easiest thing in the world for the Jewish or Roman authorities to go to that garden and say, “Look, you went to the wrong tomb. This is the tomb.” And they would open it and there would be the body of Jesus. Wouldn’t that be a simple thing to do? No, men and women, Jesus rose from the dead; the evidence is compelling. Frank Morrison, in the 1920s, a journalist commissioned to write a book to disprove the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, after carefully examining all the evidence, wrote a book called Who Moved the Stone? Morrison came to the conclusion that the evidence was totally convincing that Jesus rose from the dead. There’s a missing person. The body is gone and no one, absolutely no one, could produce the body. And within weeks, there are disciples prepared to give their lives because they were so certain that Jesus had risen from the dead. “He is risen,” said the young man. “He is not here.”
From the first century men have tried to ‘disprove’ the fact that Jesus rose from the dead, but when we thoughtfully read the four gospels then all of these arguments fall to the ground. If the women or other disciples had stolen the body then this passage would not have had the detail and immediacy that it has, and where would have been the marks of new conviction and authority and zeal in their lives, if what they were preaching was pure fiction? He is risen!

iii] Thirdly he tells them “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee . There you will see him, just as he told you’” (v.7). This is a word about leadership. The Greek historian Thucydides uses this word to describe a commander leading his troops onward, and so does the historian Polybius. This is also a great word of grace and encouragement. The running away of the disciples was not the last word. The swearing of Peter at his denial was not the last word. Men never have the last word. God has the last word, “He is going ahead of you.” Here is the incarnation of the pillar of fire and the cloud. Here is the living good shepherd. This is the message they are tell his disciples, that as they move on to Galilee they will be dogging his footsteps. He is going to meet them where they recently spent great years together. The same Jesus in the same place still leading them. The work of the kingdom of God has not ended; it is just beginning. They are to tell the demoralized group this message. The future is not going to be in Jerusalem . That place is the city of the doomed temple while they are going out from Jerusalem to Judea and to the uttermost parts of the earth. In Galilee you will see him; there will be a new perception of his greatness and power as the conqueror of death. Their blindness is going to be healed.

“Tell Peter in particular,” the angel says. He is the first and also the last disciple to be mentioned in this gospel. He is the one who denied his Lord so publicly, and wept so bitterly. Can there be any future for such a sinner? “Make sure you tell Peter,” says the angel. Jesus was going ahead of Peter to Galilee . His life had not been written off by God. There were special reasons why Peter must be told this, special guilt and shame he bore. Peter must face up to his failure, and know the kiss of the divine forgiveness and be restored to a life of serving Jesus Christ.

4. MARK ENDS WITH THE WOMEN FLEEING IN DEEP FEAR.

So the gospel ends with the women running off, trembling, bewildered, mute and afraid. Why? Because they had had an awesome encounter with God and such a response of terror is entirely appropriate, and typical of every occasion in the Bible in which sinners have a close encounter with their Creator. The terror is as much proof that they have experienced God close up as the empty tomb and the missing body and the appearance of angels. The fact that they are shattered distraught people means God was in that tomb. These encounters with the divine in the Bible are never excited and giddy. The men and women involved want to get away; they long for the experience to be over. “Depart from me; I am a sinful man O Lord,” they cry. They ask, “Is it right for us to be here?” They understand themselves as weak and evil people as never before. They have seen the divine glory and they are afraid. They are silenced because of the impact that God’s word has made on them. They don’t find it easy to pray. Their mouths are too dry to sing. Who can speak when God has spoken?

The resurrection of Christ does not mean that from now on everybody is going to live happily ever after. We may want this gospel of Mark to end positively with happy people. We want to walk out of church every Sunday as a happy congregation. Instead of this Mark ends with a group of Christian women who have met God and are running away, trembling and afraid. The ache of death does not vanish with a rub of resurrection ointment. The Son of God arose but God is still a consuming fire. Jesus lives, but men must still fear God. That is the beginning of wisdom.

Have you seen it? Have you heard it? Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day. Jesus Christ is more powerful than death. The grave failed to keep its grip on our Lord. He lives who had been killed. He arose from the grave; he returned from the realm of death; he came back across the river. He has risen! And the implications for me and for my life are immense, such as this, that what is crucial is not this life, but the life that begins at death. How I relate to the Son of God in this life will determine my relationship to him in the life to come. Ignore him in this life and he will ignore me in the next life! So let me love and serve him. Let me use my hours and my days for him, let me worship him. What is my chief end in life? To glorify and enjoy the risen Christ. So I must live not as one bound to die but as one bound to meet with death’s conqueror. I have to meet him in the midst of millions of young men dressed in white like lightning. My life matters because I must give an account of it to him. Jesus has risen, and I am afraid, for I am not living as he wants me to live. Jesus has arisen and I am trembling because there is no way I can dodge him. Will I meet him as my enemy or as my eternal friend? Am I following him? Am I doing his will? Christ lives! How fearful. He is risen. He is risen. He is risen. May he become my friend. Lord have mercy on me a sinner. May your blood shed wash me; may your righteousness clothe me; may your Spirit indwell me so that from now on I live for you and look forward to the time when I see you too, when I meet with you and be with you for ever. Help me to live for the ever living one. Be my advocate with God. Be my mediator. Help me God. You must help me. I shall die unless I live for him. Help me God. Help me God.

February 12 2005 GEOFF THOMAS