The Great Forty Days
"Speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God."
I T will be necessary for the teacher to again thoroughly enter into the teaching on "The Kingdom of God" in the second of the Lessons on St. Mark. Understand our Lord's beautiful Ideal for that Kingdom. Get class to see that the object of the Church is the realizing that ideal on earth. If Christians forget that object, they forget the purpose for which Christ wants them in His Church.
Last Sunday story of Resurrection. Fitting sequel now. The "Great Forty Days" between Resurrection and Ascension.
§ 1. Between Resurrection and Ascension
How long with
People sometimes ask, "Shall we know one another after death?" They say, "Bible does not tell." Is that so? Our Lord at Transfiguration was in the glorified body, yet Apostles recognised Him. So now after resurrection. There was a change—wonderful—puzzling; but they recognised Him, the same loving Lord, so good to Peter and the Magdalene, and all of them, just as He used to be. So when we meet those gone before, we may be startled at glory and beauty, but shall recognise manner and turn of expression, and shall recognise the real self of him or her whom we loved. "Wherefore, comfort one another with these words."
§ 2. Mysterious Interviews of the Forty Days
Now, in these mysterious interviews of the forty
days what was He talking about?
Is the Church that Kingdom of God? It is at least the poor human attempt at it. Like a sculptor trying to express his beautiful idea in some rough, coarse stone, so our Lord with His beautiful idea planted in humanity.
See how stupid they were about it. What did they ask?
§ 3. Holy Ghost
What should Holy Ghost give them?
§ 4. Ascension
Now, after the forty days what wonderful thing happened? (For teaching about Ascension, see the Special Lesson for Ascension Day.)
After this, gathered together, waiting for the promise.
Was the Lord present even after Ascension? Is He now?
How were they occupied while waiting?
Who were chief members? Notice last mention in Scripture of the Blessed Virgin. Was she worshipped or prayed to, or called Queen of Heaven, or Refuge of Sinners, as she is sometimes now? No. Just a simple, humble disciple, like the others, waiting for the gift promised by her Lord and her God. (In Roman Catholic districts emphasise this.)
§ 5. First Official Act
What was their first official act? Why did they venture to elect a new member of the apostolic body? Why did these Apostles afterwards ordain clergy, as our Bishops do to-day? Who told them to make such arrangements in the new Kingdom of God? Surely we must believe the Lord had given them their directions. The Acts of the Apostles is just the carrying out of His directions of the great forty days.
LESSON—You have been enlisted as members of that
Kingdom of God. When? Can you refuse to serve in
Christ's army? To help out that lovely ideal of the
Kingdom of God, on which His heart was set—a kingdom of
purity, love, courage, self-sacrifice? But do you think
you ought to refuse? Is He present in that kingdom on
earth? See how Apostles felt His presence then?