Saturday 10 April 2010

Bible Book:

"Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation." (v.15)

Mark 16:9-15 Saturday 10 April 2010


This is the 'longer ending' of Mark's Gospel. We often hear offilm producers making more than one ending and only late in theday, even without the actors involved knowing, choosing the endingthey want. Mark is generally regarded as the earliest Gospel, andthe 'shorter ending' omits any appearance of the risen Jesus atall. This longer ending serves to fill in a couple of gaps in thecomposite account of Jesus' appearances after his death andresurrection. It adds bits of the story clearly thought to benecessary by the early followers of Christ.

We're told that, for whatever reason (though we might guess atsome) the disciples disbelieve Mary's claim to have seen Jesus.There is an allusion to the story Luke records about two discipleswalking to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), but the core group of disciplesdon't believe them either. Disbelief is endemic among the disciplesof Christ.

No surprise then that when Jesus appears to the eleven disciples,sat round a meal table, that there are none of the comforting wordsof greeting or "peace be with you"s found in other Gospel accounts(eg Luke 24:36John20:19). Jesus does what he has done several times prior to hisdeath, particularly in Mark; tick them off for their lack of faith.Perhaps that's when they finally recognised it was reallyhim?!

The other crucial factor, one of the very few 'ever present' themesof resurrection narratives, is the sending of the disciples intothe world to be witnesses of Christ. What we call 'The GreatCommission' is not unique to Matthew's Gospel (28:19-20) but is found in each Gospel.

"You have seen me, you do believe even though you doubt, you aren'tperfect, you've not got all the answers, but nevertheless you aremy witnesses. Now go and tell about God's saving love for all andeverything!"

The basics of Christian discipleship include the non-negotiableelements of being witnesses and evangelists. Whether we like it ornot. Today, as in their day.

To Ponder

Evangelism. Necessary? Nice? Naughty? Notappropriate in a multi-cultural context or in light of the racialand religious hatred act? What is your opinion?

What kind of Christian witness is given byChurches to those who are not Christian in Britain today?

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