9 When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.
12 Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. 13 These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either.
14 Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
15 He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all 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 drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. Mark 16:9-20

Although verses 9-16 are not in the original text, they are an accurate summary of the endings of the other gospels.

Why did the person who added the epilogue to Marks’ Gospel take pains to record the disciples’ persistent unbelief about the resurrection of Jesus? How could eleven bewildered and frightened men have stolen and hidden Jesus’ body and then spread the story that He was alive? The last thing in the world they wanted was to draw attention to themselves by setting up a hoax that would destroy any credibility they might have about the story of Jesus’ life and teachings.

The ending to this gospel is consistent with Mark’s unembellished record of Peter’s report of Jesus’ life. Miracles and all, it is a credible story, told by an eyewitness who was part of the story. It encapsulates the conclusion to this astonishing part of God’s redemptive plan, unveiling God’s personal entry into time and space to effect in the physical what had already been accomplished before the beginning of creation.

The ending of the book also puts the future in perspective. Jesus came to earth to begin something that has no ending. Every new life has the potential to add something to and continue the story into the next generation until Jesus comes. His instruction to the first group, minus Judas, was to tell the world what the Jews already knew – our God reigns! It’s much more than accepting Jesus as our personal Saviour so that we can have our sins forgiven and go to heaven when we die!!!

It’s about leaving our own agenda behind and identifying with God’s agenda because He has a BIG plan for the whole of creation. He’s taken care of all the obstacles that get in the way of reconnecting with Him. He came to show us how to carry out and carry on His BIG plan.

Like the pieces of a giant puzzle, everyone has a part in the big picture and it all fits together to make sense of history and to fulfil God’s destiny for each person and for everyone together. Jesus is the glue that holds it all together and makes it all come alive! His death was not an interruption in God’s plan. It is the heart and centre of His rescue plan to get human beings back on track with His purpose for the whole of creation.


Luella Campbell

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