Study Guide

Gospel of Mark Chapter 16:9-20

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Chapter 16:9-20

You Forgot A Few Things, Dummy: The So-Called "Long Ending"

  • Get ready for some more fun with manuscripts. Another group of manuscripts include the so-called "Long Ending" of Mark (16:9-20). In most of them it follows directly after 16:8, while in a few it follows the "Short Ending."
  • The odds are that someone was not satisfied with the empty tomb or the failure of the scared women in 16:8 and took the initiative to round Mark out by adding stories of Jesus's appearance. This is more in keeping with the endings of the other three New Testament gospels, too.
  • Rising early on the first day of the week, Jesus appears first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast seven demonic spirits.
  • Mary informs Jesus's disciples who were mourning his death, but they don't believe that she saw him alive.
  • Then Jesus appears to two people walking in the country, but in another form.
  • These two also report their sighting to the disciples, who don't believe them either. Does this remind anyone else of Elvis?
  • Finally, Jesus appears to the eleven disciples (remember, Judas isn't around) while they're eating.
  • He rebukes their lack of faith. Not much has changed, eh? These disciples still get F's.
  • Jesus orders them to proclaim the good news to all of creation in the whole world—a very tall order.
  • Jesus adds that salvation belongs to baptized believers, and condemnation to non-believers. Okay, this is getting serious.
  • He promises that believers will perform miracles in his name, such as exorcizing demons, speaking in new languages, or picking up snakes with their bare hands.
  • These people will also be unharmed if they drink poison. Whoa.
  • They will even cure the sick by laying their hands upon them.
  • After saying these things to the disciples, Jesus ascends to heaven, where he takes a pretty powerful seat right next to none other than God.
  • The disciples go forth as they are ordered and finally start to raise their grades to A's. After all, the Lord has given them a little help and proves that what they say is right by the miracles that they perform.

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