Today we are finishing up our time with Mark. You can go through and read all our reflections on Mark here on my blog, you can group them under the category Mark below and catch up. Friday we’ll do a reading from our Daily Readings, and I’ll be thinking about what is next.
The Longer Ending of Mark
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
9 [[Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.
Jesus Appears to Two Disciples
12 After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13 And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.
Jesus Commissions the Disciples
14 Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. 16 The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
The Ascension of Jesus
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.]]
We talked Monday about why Chapter 16 is made it like it is, with the notations of the different manuscripts. Today, we see these last few verses in Mark are in four different sections, and only one of them really makes us go, huh?
The first section – 9-10, Jesus appears to Mary, just as it happens in other Gospels. The first person to see Jesus after the resurrection was Mary. She was dedicated to Him, she loved Him, and she came to help prepare His body for final burial. And she was the first one to proclaim the resurrection. She was the first of many throughout the ages to tell others that Jesus is alive. She was the first to share that Good News. But notice, they didn’t believe her.
Second, 12-13, what sounds very similar to the walk to Emmaus in Luke. In Luke’s Gospel we see a fuller picture of what happened here, two followers were walking to the village of Emmaus when Jesus appeared to them, explained how all the scriptures point to Him, to His death, and resurrection, but they didn’t recognize Him. It wasn’t until they arrived at the village, and they broke bread together that they realized it was Jesus. So, they go and tell others, but notice, just like in the section before, they didn’t believe them.
Third, 14-18, Jesus appears to the Disciples. Ok, here there are some things that make us go, wait, what? We see a similar end to what we see in Matthew, with Jesus sending them out with the great commission. But we see something unique to Mark. We see that they will have signs of great power, they will be able to drink poison, handle snakes, speak in tongues, other such things. What are we to do this?
First, it is in the Bible. One of my professors in seminary always told us that we can’t just ignore passages of scripture that confuse us or that we don’t like. They are in the Bible. This ending of Mark is what is found most common in the manuscripts that the Bible comes from (I unpack a lot this Monday), but know, it is the Bible. So, I believe that those that follow Jesus, we can face amazing things, things that would kill others, and survive. I believe we have power that the world does not possess. Now notice, it didn’t say that we should necessarily go looking for trouble or for these things. But if they come, we will have more power than we think is even possible.
So, I’m not going to go out handling snakes. But, I do believe in miracles. And I do believe that as Christians, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, and we may not understand all that God does through us, He can and does do amazing things through us. We are filled with the very Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. Trust. Hope. Beleive.
Don’t be like those initial disciples. Have faith.
Fouth, 19-20, the ascension. We see Jesus ascend to heaven, where He sits at God’s right hand, praying for us, encouraging us, interceding for us. Remember, you always have someone on your side, someone pulling for you, someone that loves you, someone that cares for you, someone there for you. Jesus. He is at the right hand of the Father. On your team. Never forget that.
If you’d like to receive these thoughts by email, be sure to click here and join my email devotional group!