We come now to the last chapter in our studies of the Gospel of Mark. As I stated in my introduction, there are two problems that scholars have with its finality. One, the book shows no mention of anyone seeing Jesus after the resurrection. Two, the book ends suddenly.
Three Views to the Abrupt Ending of the Book of Mark
There are three views as to why this happens. The first is that the ending was corrupted by God-haters or that it was lost or marred. The second remedy came in the middle ages during the time of King James when scholars took bits of the other three gospels, Matthew, Luke and John, and created different endings with some being short and others longer. This became so popular and accepted that the longer ending was added to the King James Bible.
In fact, the abrupt ending of the Book of Mark was so frowned upon that the gospel was considered sub-par and avoided. Ministers and teachers didn’t need to refer to Mark; they had three other gospels to choose from. Does the sudden ending really render the entire book as unworthy?
The third resolution of this problem is simply to accept Mark 16 as it stands.
Mark’s faith rests in Jesus words in his conclusion. “But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee” (Mark 14:28). What Mark believes is that Jesus has been “lifted up” and “raised up” to the right hand of God. The disciples would “see” Him in Galilee. The other gospels, in fact, give testimony of seeing Jesus in Galilee once they casted their nets into the sea. After the crucifixion, the New Testament records that the disciples fled there and went back to their original occupations.
If there was an ending that was lost or corrupted, and the gospel of Mark leaves us at verse 8, then I think this was meant to be. The lost sections of the chapter surely had no bearing on the context of either the chapter or the book. What we are left with is the disciples in Galilee trying to pick up the pieces and carry on with their lives as if nothing happened.
Anybody touched by Jesus will tell you it’s not possible!
If you have any doubts, look at the life of the Apostle Paul, formerly know as Saul, the persecutor of Christians.
One more thing to keep in mind, which holds true for the entire Bible. When each book was written, it wasn’t divided into chapters and verses. The books that we have in the Old Testament like 1 and 11 Samuel, 1 and 11 Kings, and 1 and 11 Chronicles were actually all written as one book. So there was the Book of Samuel, the Book of Kings and the Book of Chronicles. The only reason we see two books represented with each of these is that the books couldn’t all fit on one parchment.
The Bible reads totally different if you remove the verse and chapter divisions.
This leads us to the final eight verses in Mark 16. Take a look at them. Let’s briefly give them a study.
There’s one theme running through these eight verses. Have confidence in Jesus.
The fact that in the first verse we see the women carrying spices to anoint Jesus’ body, there hadn’t been time before the burial as the Sabbath was setting in, reveals to us that they didn’t expect Him to resurrect.
They also had a major problem. There was a massive stone of major weight to be rolled out of the way to get to the body. That didn’t stop them from going and expecting a miracle from God! So while they didn’t have confidence or understanding of all that Jesus was teaching them about His resurrection, due to their finite minds, they did have confidence that God was going to grant them favor to bury His son properly.
Confidence in Jesus
Do we live like this? Do we expect God’s favor and step in faith? Please understand, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome had lives that were in alignment with God. In order to have favor with God, you must be able to say the same.
As the women reach the tomb, they see God had already answered their prayers, but in a more extraordinary way. The stone was already rolled away and before them is a man clothed in white robes. They came with shock, sorrow and grief and upon arrival, they were astonished and when they fled they were filled with fear and trembling.
What must the man have looked like?
According to Mark, what were they to tell the disciples?
These three women were commissioned with the duty to go and proselytize the other apostles! They were to spread the word that the Lord had risen and He would meet them in His beloved North. In Galilee. That is where people responded to and received Jesus. In the South, in Judea, they hated Jesus. Why would He return there? It makes perfect sense! At the end of His earthly ministry Jesus went to meet Peter and Andrew, the sons of Zebedee, and the other disciples where He gathered them at the start of His earthly ministry.
Finally, we see Mark write in verse 7, “But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He will go before you into Galilee; there you shall see Him, just as He told you.”
What are we to make of this verse? The author quotes the man dressed in white as saying, “Tell His disciples-and Peter…” Was Peter no longer a disciple after denying Jesus three times?
Remember, I noted at the onset of this study that Mark was the scribe at one time for both Paul and Peter. With the haste this gospel is recorded, and with some of the omissions, along with the narrative voice, there is a good probability that Peter is dictating or directing the text.
Peter Lost Himself
What does he want us to know? That he was so low from the despair and guilt he carried after Jesus was crucified that he walked away from his faith? That Jesus no longer considered him a disciple because of his verbal denial, not once but three times?
What we know for sure is that Jesus hadn’t erased his name from His memory or from the Book of Life. We can also assume that Peter was on his own, away from the rest of the disciples. That’s not a good place to be. Consequently, if you’re wandering in the wilderness out of your own guilt and shame, find a safe pasture and flock to join.
Jesus restored Peter. He can restore you, too. Christians in alignment with Jesus are ambassadors on this earth. Our words and deeds will reveal if we are truly honoring God or not. How much confidence do you have in Jesus?
Written by Jori Sams
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…