Sorry for the delay in posting this week…I have no valid reasons, only excuses.
So, we’re going to finish our study in the gospel of Mark this Sunday. It’s always sort of bittersweet to me to finish up a book. Its a great feeling of accomplishment, but also a sadness to leave such familiar territory.
We’re going to be reading the last part of chapter 16, verses 9-20. For roughly the last 1,800 years there has been a controversy surrounding these verses. Many scholars, both ancient and modern, believe they are an addition to the original text and should not be included nor taken seriously. If you feel like reading, you can find a fair summary of the opposing views HERE.
For my part, I find compelling arguments on both sides of the issue. To determine if I should include these verses in our study, I asked myself some questions. 1) Are the verses in question in conflict with the rest of the Scriptures of the New Testament? My answer was no, they’re not and in fact can be correlated to other gospel and didactic passages. 2) Do the verses introduce foreign doctrines? Again, the answer is no. Some cessationist advocates may try to insinuate that verses 15-18 could promote wild charismania…but even there, the things Jesus lists off in the passage DID get experienced by the Christians of the book of Acts….so a person could still argue that those gifts had ceased after that (if they wanted to, and wanted to be wrong).
The fact is, every translation of the Bible today still includes these verses, and just add a footnote. God is pretty big, that much I’m sure of. I think He’s well able to see to it that we have the Word He wants us to have…so…I’m going to teach on those verses. What do you think about them?
If you read them over, you’ll notice that one reaction is pretty consistent from those who only hear about Jesus rising from the dead. What is it? Put yourself in their place…how do you think you would have responded? (seriously…when you read about someone who “spotted” Elvis working at a 7-11, what is your first reaction to that kind of “news”?) Yet in verse 14, Jesus is none too amused at their response.
How would you summarize verses 15-18? What do those verse tell us about the world we live in now that Jesus has risen from the dead? V 19 is the fuel for v 20…Jesus “ascended”, or was taken into the unseen realm of heaven (which N.T. Wright describes as the control room for the events of earth, which I think is brilliant). From that place of power and dominion He does something…what does He do, and through what agency does He do it?
Well…don’t feel pressured to respond…I know this was late in coming. And don’t feel like you need to answer all the questions I pose…if just one thing strikes your interest, lets talk about it!
Peace…see you Sunday!