Saturday, June 3, 2017

Mark: what if it just ended there?

First part of Mark 16:

It's been a while.  My life got busy and then it got less busy and then my brain burned out.  But I plan to eke this out to make at least one, if not two posts about Mark 16.  This is the famous chapter where in original manuscripts it ends after verse 8.  But later on, people needed to read about seeing the resurrected Jesus and they borrowed verses from the other gospels.  I might be wrong, but if I recall, that's how John MacArthur sees it.  RC Sproul disagrees.

But anyway, the women go to the tomb to embalm the body and wonder how they will roll away the stone.  A guard was placed there.  And by guard I don't mean one lonely guard, but 50.  The Pharisees were so paranoid that either the disciples would fake a resurrection, or even worse, that one would actually happen, that they thought they could stop it with 50 measly men.

The women get there to see the stone already rolled away.  Angels are there saying that he is risen.  And then, in the original manuscript, Mark ends it in a cliffhanger at verse 8.

And often, that is how many people end their encounter with Jesus.  They hear that he is alive, but the story ends.  They say they believe that people don't have to work for salvation, but then they go overboard with trying to make up for their sins or doing good things for people as if Christ's work on the cross was not enough.

They say they worship nobody else but God, but then they find salvation in other people like their friends, their parents, other people's parents, people who are no longer alive, or human priests/preachers.  But no, Jesus came so he could be the mediator between God and man, being both himself.  There is now no wall dividing Christians from God and we can come to him freely.

Or they ask Jesus into their hearts only to still live the same lives they lived before.  They still watch whatever their friends watch, take whatever dares are offered, and listen to awful music only because it is popular.  Or they neglect to read the Bible so that when heresy comes along and is sold in the popular Christian novels and books, they swallow it up and buy copies of the book/movie for everyone.

But no, Jesus is alive and he doesn't just want to live in your heart; he wants to live outside in your live and rule over you.  He wants you to read his direct words to you in the Bible.  He wants you to know both the bad news and Old Testament history that lead to him until you realize that the story is relevant to you because you have a history of turning your back on God before Jesus comes and pays your penance for you and then sends his Spirit to change your heart so that you can accept him.

I'm so glad the story doesn't just end with a wondering about what the angel said, but with a actual encounter with Jesus that grows and never ends.

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