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How Does Mark End For You


Mark 15: 42-16:8

We have been studying Mark for a long time and now we come to the end…and that is “Good News.”

I say that…but the truth is, whether the end of Mark here is “Good News” for you or not all depends on you.

Now you are probably thinking, “What is he talking about? This book has its own ending and it has nothing to do with how I end it.”

We have read down through verse 8 of chapter 16. But now I want you to notice verse 9.

Now scholars have been divided over this, not just for years, but for hundreds of years.

And to explain it the scholars say that there are basically three possibilities.

  1. They say that the gospel of Mark…the part that Mark wrote… ends at verse 8….but because it is such an abrupt ending some one else added verses 9-20 to give it a more sensible close.
  2. The second possibility is: whatever the ending originally was, whatever Mark wrote originally, that was lost and someone else added this ending to finish the book.
  3. And then of course, the third possibility is that verses 9-20 are authentic and a part of the gospel of Mark.

The argument that is made in favor of verses 9-20 being written by someone else is that “it only stands to reason that since verse 8 ends so abruptly that someone would add an ending.

So there is some question about whether verses 9-20 were actually written by Mark or if they were added later by someone else.

Now, listen carefully so you won’t misunderstand.

Well, maybe Mark did write verses 9-20.

But it may be that  Mark deliberately ended with verse 8…and left the rest of the story up to you to write….just as someone did here.

Now, as we go through this section it seems that Mark wants to make the point that when Jesus died on that cross…that He was really dead.

So Mark seems to make every effort to point out that Jesus was really dead.

In verses 39 Mark tells us that when Jesus breathed His last…when He died on the cross a centurion standing near by said, “Truly, this was the Son of God.”

The only way you could give a crucified man a proper burial is if you had permission from the Roman magistrate in charge of the area.

But in Jesus’ situation some one did.

And so Joseph makes his request for the body of Jesus and Pilate is surprised that the body is already dead.

Now, this is the same centurion that Mark spoke of back up in verse 39.

Well, in verse 45 when Pilate asks this centurion if Jesus is dead the centurion ascertains that He is.

But Mark is not through. To make sure we know that Jesus was really dead he tells us about the actions of Joseph in verse 46.

Did you hear me? He was dead!

But Mark is not through. Look at chapter 16:1.

On the morning after the Sabbath the women take spices to the tomb.

And as they are walking they are asking one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us?”

But they get there…and the stone is rolled away.

“He says, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified….”

 What happened to the body?

Did the disciples steal the body?

Did the enemies of Jesus steal the body?

What happened to the body?

God did not roll that stone out of the way to let Jesus out.

Well there is no need to wonder. The only thing to wonder about is, “Will you hear the word of God on the matter?”  Look at verse 6 again.

But Mark isn’t through!  Look at verse 8 at the reaction of the ladies.

And they went out, and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”

Now we come back to the question again, “Does the story stop here?”

But I am not sure that it doesn’t make perfect sense to stop right here.

What are you going to do with this angel’s words? (He was crucified but now He is risen!”

Someone else, after reading what Mark wrote about Jesus’ death and resurrection may well have written the ending found here in this chapter…and it is one of faith…and commitment…and promise.

And let me tell you….what you write will determine if it is “Good News” for you…or if it is a sad and hopeless ending.

Is it all a lie? Or is it the truth? IF it is the truth…and Mark says it is…God says it is….and the empty tomb says it is….then I hope that you are courageous enough to do that which the truth demands.

All through the gospel of Mark, Mark has been calling us to discipleship…not just people who have been baptized…He has called us to die to ourselves….and take up the cross and follow after Him.