Saturday 06 April 2013

Bible Book:

Mark 16:9-15 Saturday 6 April 2013


This passage is the longer ending to the Gospel of Mark and isnot found in some of the older manuscripts which conclude at verse8. Scholars believe that it may be by another later hand as thestyle of these verses is quite different to that of the rest ofthis Gospel.

Be that as it may, what we have here reads like a summaryaccount of several post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. Thestory of Mary Magdalene (verses 9-11) is found in John's Gospel (John20:1-18); from Mark's Gospel, we learn that the disciples didnot believe her, though John's Gospel does not mention that. Thenwe have a brief account of what seems to be the Emmaus story (Luke24:13-35), and, again, we are told that the disciples did notbelieve the two travellers, although the Gospel itself does not saythis. Lastly, there is an appearance to the whole group ofdisciples similar to that recorded in John20:19, closely linked to a version of the giving of the GreatCommission (Matthew28:16-20).

Reading on, many of the dramatic signs outlined in verses 18 and19 are recorded as concrete events in the Acts of the Apostles: oneof the manifestations of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was speakingin tongues (Acts 2:4); Paul cast out a demon (Acts16:16-18); he shook off a snake into a fire (Acts28:3-5) and he healed a number of people (Acts28:8-9). No mention in Acts of anyone drinking deadly draughts,but there is a tradition that this happened to Joseph Barsabbas (Acts1:23).

The message of these verses is clear: lack of faith paralyses,faith empowers. The faith-filled disciples "went out and proclaimedthe good news everywhere" (Mark16:20-21) and the Lord was with them. It might well be said thefinal verse of this section of Mark's Gospel encapsulates the storyof the Church from Acts to the present day!

To Ponder

  • Are you going out into your world with the good news? How?
  • Mark's Gospel talks about signs confirming the presence of theLord. What signs of his presence do you see in the worldtoday? 

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