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The short end

This was an effort by a writer to make Mark’s *Gospel complete. ‘The women went to Peter and those who were with him. They gave them a brief account of all that the *angel had told them. Afterwards Jesus himself sent them out from east to west. He sent them with the holy and always living message about how God will *save people. *Amen.’ ‘From east to west’ means that the *disciples had a message for the whole world. Their message was that belief in Jesus would give people *eternal life. This message would never change.

The long end

16:9-20

This was an account that was not in the early copies of Mark’s book. It is a list of Jesus’ *resurrection appearances that Luke and Matthew record. The writer also refers to details from Matthew’s *Gospel and from Acts. The author may have written it early in the second century *AD. However, it is possible that Mark himself actually wrote these words at the end of his book. In those days, people had to copy books by hand. So, people would copy the complete book until the loss of its last page. Then people would have to copy the book without its last page. The copies that have the long end are later copies than those without it. And the copies without the long end are good copies. But Mark wrote the original book over 200 years before the earliest copies that still exist. So, perhaps the people who wrote the copies with the long end had accurate copies of the end section. v9 Jesus rose from death early on the first day of the week. He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had driven out seven evil *spirits. v10 She went. And she told those who had been with him. They were very sad and they were weeping. v11 They heard that Jesus was alive. And that she had seen him. But they did not believe it. v12 After that, Jesus appeared in a different way to two of them. They were walking into the country. v13 They went back and they told the other *disciples. But they did not even believe them. v14 Afterwards, Jesus appeared to the 11 *disciples themselves as they were eating. Jesus blamed them for their lack of *faith. They had refused to believe those who had seen him after his *resurrection. v15 Jesus said to them, ‘Go into the entire world. *Preach the good news to everyone. v16 I will *save anyone who believes and receives *baptism. God will punish anyone who does not believe. v17 These are the *miracles that believers will do. They will force out evil *spirits in my name. They will speak in new languages. v18 They will pick up snakes. If they drink anything poisonous, it will not hurt them. They will place their hands on those who are ill. And the people will be well again.’ v19 When the *Lord Jesus had finished talking to them, he went up into heaven. He sat down at the right hand side of God. v20 Then the *disciples went out and they *preached everywhere. The *Lord worked with them. He showed that the message was true. He showed it by the *miracles that happened with it. *Amen. The writer refers to three appearances of Jesus. In each one, he emphasises the *disciples’ lack of *faith to believe that he was alive. Verses 9-11 Luke mentions that Jesus had made Mary Magdalene free from ‘seven evil *spirits’ (Luke 8:2). John describes how Jesus appeared to her in the garden (John 20:11-18). Verses 12-13 The two people on the road to Emmaus did not recognise Jesus at first. They only realised who he was at supper. This was when he blessed and broke the bread. They returned to Jerusalem at once in order to tell the other *disciples (Luke 24:13-34).

Verse 14 The third appearance may have been when Thomas was among the 11 *disciples. It was Thomas especially whom Jesus encouraged to have more *faith (John 20:26-29). Verse 15 Matthew records Jesus’ command to *preach the *gospel everywhere. They should *baptise people as a sign of their *faith. Verses 17-18 The new powers that the *disciples will have include the power to send evil *spirits out of people. They also include the power to cure sick people. They had already been able to do this (Mark 6:13). Acts 2:4 describes how they spoke in other people’s languages on the day of *Pentecost. Paul escaped without injury when he picked up a snake (Acts 28:5). The reference to snakes and poison means that God will protect his *disciples. He will protect them in dangerous situations that they cannot avoid. Verse 19 Mark had not used the title ‘the *Lord Jesus’ in his *Gospel. But Jesus had now gone back to heaven to the place of honour with God. So *Lord is a suitable title to describe Jesus. Jesus had referred to Psalm 110:1, while he was teaching in the *Temple (Mark 12:36). It describes the great honour that God would give to the *Messiah. Luke describes how Jesus went back to heaven in Acts 1:11. Verse 20 The author of verses 9-20 ends with an account of how the *disciples obeyed Jesus’ command. The Acts of the *Apostles describes how they *preached the *gospel. It records how the *Lord worked *miracles by them. He was with them wherever they went.