by Christopher Harbin

This content is part of a series.

NOTE: This sermon is part 39 and 40 of a 40 part devotional series. Two sermons outlines are included in this download.


Thirty-Ninth Day (39 of 40)
Series: Lenten Devotion
Christopher Harbin
Malachi 1:6-9

Malachi noticed that God was being treated differently than the governing officials. The priests acted as though God cared little for the quality of sacrifices and offerings presented. They acted as though God were blind, incapable of action, or simply did not care for the quality of their service and the offerings they brought to the altar.

They knew their rulers would consider the kind of gifts brought to the palace a reflection of the respect, dignity, and quality of allegiance offered by those who brought them. When it came to bringing offerings to God, they did not consider the quality of their sacrifices to matter.


Fortieth Day (40 of 40)
Series: Lenten Devotion
Christopher Harbin
Mark 16:8

Fear is a powerful motivator. It so often controls our actions, even when we know there to be a better way of doing. Fear is often irrational, but at times it is the very rational aspect of fear that keeps us from living according to faith. The women’s word was almost pointless in the day’s courts. It took the word of two women to equate the word of one man. No one would believe them if they told the story. Perhaps it was just a ruse to locate the disciples and kill them along with Jesus. They were afraid and their fear ran with them, silencing their message of good news.

Mark’s gospel originally ended with this verse. It was an unsettling ending. It was troubling. It was not the way the story was supposed to end. What about the happily ever after? Apparently, the text was changed by editors and copyists to reflect that the resurrection story did get told. They wanted the text to speak more of Jesus’ resurrection than Mark’s ending. His ending was uncomfortable, after all. It was unsatisfying. The women go to the tomb, find Jesus, then slip away quietly in fear. Mark’s was a brilliant literary device. It is effective. It stirs our emotions. It makes us question the women, but also ourselves. Too often, however, we read the text as those early editors, seeking a reinforcement of the message we want to share or hear, so we miss Mark’s point.

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