Mark 16:9-20English Standard Version (ESV)
[Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9–20.]
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
9 [[Now when 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 and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 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 these things 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.
The Great Commission
14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, becausethey 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 gospel to the whole creation.16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
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 preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.]]Accompanying John MacArthur sermon: The Fitting End to Mark's Gospel
These verses did not appear in the earliest manuscripts, but nothing in them contradicts other scripture. In fact, it's mainly an amalgamation of other scripture.
verse 9 is taken right out of Luke 8:1 to 3. Verse 10 is taken from John 20, verse 18. Verse 12 is taken from Luke 24:13 to 32, the road to Emmaus account. Verse 13 is taken from Luke 24. Verse 14 is taken from Luke 24:36 to 38; verse 15 is taken from Matthew 28:19, you know that. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” That’s right out of Matthew 28:19. Verse 16 is taken right out of John 20:23 and verses 17 and 18, with all the signs and things, are drawn from a lot of sources.
Back in Matthew chapter 10, Mark chapter 6, Luke chapter 10, you remember the Lord gave to His Apostles the power to cast out demons and to do miracles. We see the same on Pentecost. We see the same going through the book of Acts. We’re told by Paul writing to the Corinthians that the signs of an Apostle were signs and wonders and mighty deeds. In the book of Acts, we know that Paul was saved from a snake bite at the end of the book of Acts, twenty-eighth chapter verses 3 to 6. We don’t have any illustration of drinking poison, we don’t know how that got thrown in. That doesn’t appear anywhere else in Scripture.
So what have we got here? We’ve got a patchwork collage that some early folks felt needed to be thrown together, all of which is scriptural with the exception of the kind of bizarre stuff about signs, in an attempt to help Mark get a better ending. Frankly, I think it’s a bad ending. We have all that information. It’s all kind of disjointed here. And I like Mark’s ending.
The last word that Mark wrote was the word “afraid, fear.” That’s kind of a key. They were afraid. Not in the sense that they were afraid for their lives or they were afraid of being harmed or that they were in danger. This is the word phobeofrom which we get phobia, which means an irrational experience. They’re literally experiencing bewilderment, amazement, astonishment, wonder. There are no human explanations. This thing ends in wonder....
This is absolutely consistent with how Mark ends everything. This is his pattern and this is the most amazing thing of all. He’s used this all the way along to punctuate absolutely everything. And he moves from one point of amazement to the next. So it ends where it ought to end. It’s not incomplete. It ends where he loves to end. It ends with amazement and wonder at the resurrection....
The story of Jesus is amazing. Isn’t every lesson amazing? Isn’t every word in the gospel of Mark amazing? Isn’t every miracle amazing? Isn’t every confrontation amazing? Isn’t every insight amazing? Isn’t everything about him stunning and overwhelming and why not end it all with the glory and wonder of the resurrection that proves He is the Son of God and we all walk away in amazement?
I’m amazed. I hope you are.
And that concludes our study on Mark! See you next week as we dig in to Nehemiah.
Tomorrow's scripture focus: Nehemiah 1
Sunday's passage: Hosea 13-14
Monday's passage: Joel 1-3, Revelation 6
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