Bible Study, Easter Day (B) – April 8, 2012

Discussion Leader: William O. Daniel, Jr., Nashotah House Seminary

“As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you’” (Mark 16:5-7).

Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) readings:
Acts 10:34-43 or Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24; 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 or Acts 10:34-43; John 20:1-18 or Mark 16:1-8
(Click on the link to jump down the page to each reading.)

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Acts 10:34-43 (New Revised Standard Version)

34 Then Peter began to speak to them: ‘I truly understand that God shows no partiality,
35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.
36 You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all.
37 That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced:
38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.
39 We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree;
40 but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear,
41 not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead.
43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’

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Isaiah 25:6-9 (New Revised Standard Version)

6 On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
a feast of rich food, a feast of well-matured wines,
of rich food filled with marrow, of well-matured wines strained clear.
7 And he will destroy on this mountain
the shroud that is cast over all peoples,
the sheet that is spread over all nations;
8 he will swallow up death for ever.
Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces,
and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
9 It will be said on that day,
Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us.
This is the Lord for whom we have waited;
let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.

Comments from this week’s seminarian, William Daniel:

Here Isaiah breaks into the eschatological vision of the eternal banquet. This banquet that will come upon the world is that which will give rise to a celebration that will not be squelched by death. It is here that we should hear Jesus’ words to the disciples of John on fasting: “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they?” (Matthew 9.15). It is the same reason Christians do not fast on the Lord’s Day, for as the primary day of Eucharistic Celebration it would be as if fasting in the presence of the bridegroom. The question we must ask ourselves, then, in light of the Isaiah passage, is the same question Jesus ask: Do we mourn like the world, or do we now relate to the circumstances of life as the people of Christ, crucified, died and resurrected? It does not mean there will be no mourning in this life, but it does mean that mourning is ending even now.

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Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 (Book of Common Prayer, p. 760)

1   Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his mercy endures for ever.

2   Let Israel now proclaim,
“His mercy endures for ever.”

14  The LORD is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.

15  There is a sound of exultation and victory
in the tents of the righteous:

16  “The right hand of the LORD has triumphed!
the right hand of the LORD is exalted!
the right hand of the LORD has triumphed!”

17  I shall not die, but live,
and declare the works of the LORD.

18  The LORD has punished me sorely,
but he did not hand me over to death.

19  Open for me the gates of righteousness;
I will enter them;
I will offer thanks to the LORD.

20  “This is the gate of the LORD;
he who is righteous may enter.”

21  I will give thanks to you, for you answered me
and have become my salvation.

22  The same stone which the builders rejected
has become the chief cornerstone.

23  This is the LORD’S doing,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.

24  On this day the LORD has acted;
we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Comments from this week’s seminarian, William Daniel:

What is it to have life? This is the question the psalmist poses to us. “I shall not die, but I shall live,” and just as Paul says in his letter to the Philippians (“For me to live is Christ and to die is gain”) the psalmist tells us that living is for “[recounting] the deeds of the Lord.” Life is to remember and to bear witness to the truth of God with us, says the psalmist, and not only of his benefits but also of his disciplining.

How is it that God is disciplining us?

How are our actions known to God?

What needs mending in our habits for us to see how God is disciplining us and drawing us to himself?

Does our way of life permit us to see today as the day the Lord has made?

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1 Corinthians 15:1-11 (New Revised Standard Version)

1 Now I should remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand,
2 through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain.
3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures,
4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures,
5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.
6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died.
7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.
8 Last of all, as to someone untimely born, he appeared also to me.
9 For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me has not been in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them—though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.
11 Whether then it was I or they, so we proclaim and so you have come to believe.

Comments from this week’s seminarian, William Daniel:

Paul here reminds the Corinthians of the truth of Christ died and resurrected, but something Paul says is very important to remember. Paul’s own eschatological vision of salvation is the eternal actuality of the redeeming work of God in Christ – the already-not-yet of redemption. We have been saved; we are being saved; we will be saved. It is this “being saved” that helps us to see the ongoing and eternal nature of Christ’s redeeming act. We are being saved, being completed, being perfected. Paul here names the eternal action of God’s creating, whereby we come to understand that God is always creating, always making us into his people – always gathering us into himself by his indwelling Spirit. Paul challenges our modern notions of success and completion, reminding us that we are ever in a state of being completed in Christ, because we are the Lord’s creation and our journey toward Christ and his redemption is an eternal journey. We might ask ourselves, then, how most everything around us moves us to fixate on determinable ends, timelines, goals, and to investigate how these daily measures of life hinder us from seeing the eternal action of God in Christ, who is still with us making of us a chosen people for our own good.

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John 20:1-18 (New Revised Standard Version)

1 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.
2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’
3 Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb.
4 The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in.
6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there,
7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself.
8 Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;
9 for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb;
12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet.
13 They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’
14 When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’
16 Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher).
17 Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’
18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Comments from this week’s seminarian, William Daniel:

Earlier in John’s gospel (John 10.27) Jesus tells the Jews that, “My sheep hear my voice.” It is a curious passage, but it comes into full light in this passage when Jesus calls Mary by name. “My own know me,” says Jesus (John 10. 14). Mary knows Jesus when she hears him call out her name. Mary in kind knows Jesus, calling out to him in the same manner. She is an exemplar of what it means to know Christ. Mary Magdalene is there at the graveside; she weeps for his loss; and she hears his voice. Mary reveals to us what it truly means to know Christ. It is to be so attuned to the way of God in the world that when you hear the voice of the Lord, you know it. Mary calls into question the order of our lives and asks us whether we are so poised and attuned to hear Christ calling our names. In John 3, Jesus talks about the Pharisees having their sight darkened by evil deeds. We must ask ourselves what around us is moving us to fill our ears, preventing us from hearing the voice of the Lord.

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Mark 16:1-8 (New Revised Standard Version)

1 When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.
2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.
3 They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’
4 When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back.
5 As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
6 But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him.
7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’
8 So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.