Sermon Summary | "The Final Chapter"

What about 16:9 – 20?

What is textual criticism?

  • Textual criticism: the science of studying all the known copies of a document to discover what the original said.
  • A science that clearly shows God’s generosity to us in preserving his word. Far more manuscripts exist of the NT than of Tacitus (3 manuscripts) and Josephus (120 manuscripts), and the manuscripts of the NT are from far closer to the original writing of the texts (30 years) than Tacitus (800 years) and Josephus (1000 years).

Was Mark 16:9-20 part of Marks’ original gospel?

  • The vast consensus by both liberal and conservative scholars is that 16:9-20 is not original.

So where did it come from?

  • Probably a well-meaning scribe or scribes added 16:9-20 to give Mark a smoother ending similar to the rest of the gospels.

How should we think about 16:9-20?

  • As ancient, faithful commentary.

Mark 15:42-47

Jesus was definitely dead

  • Notice “die,” “dead,” “dead,” and “corpse” in the text.

Jesus’ death was unique

  • Jesus did not die from natural causes. John 10: 18 “No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.”

Jesus burial was unique

  • Roman law normally forbade the burring of criminal bodies. They were usually thrown into mass graves. The Romans wanted the bodies on display for vultures to eat and to remind on-lookers not to cross Rome.
  • Joseph of Arimathea displayed courage in asking for Jesus’ body; he was identifying himself with a recently condemned “criminal.”

The gradual abandonment of Jesus

  • From sleeping disciples in chapter 14 to fleeing disciples to Jesus being alone on a cross to finally a non-friend and non-family member burying him.

Mark 16:1-8

The witness of faithful women

  • The women are mentioned in chapter 15:40, 47, and 16:1.
  • The women have not fled, and their testimony is crucial. The testimony of women evidences the authenticity of the story. No ancient Jewish writer seeking to convince others of a fabricated story would construct it so that its authenticity had to be verified by the testimony of women.

The unexpected resurrection

  • The women were coming with spices, an act of love and devotion to cover the stench of decomposition. It shows that they were not expecting a resurrection.
  • When the women see the moved stone, they don’t think, “resurrection!” No, they think, “Defilement! Disturbance!”
  • They were “alarmed,” the same word used to describe Jesus in Gethsemane.

In the original, “He is risen” is one word. One word reverses everything.

Responding to Skeptics

  • The text clearly shows that: It was not the wrong tomb. It was not a group hallucination. The body that was laid here is the same body that was raised.

Jesus goes ahead to Galilee

  • 14:27 – Jesus predicts his resurrection and travel to Galilee. Galilee is where he met them and called them. He’s going back with them to the early days.
  • Grace in 16:7 – “Go tell his disciples and Peter.” Peter is extended a personal invitation to the news, less he feel that he is disqualified.

Mark ends at the resurrection to highlight it

  • The resurrection is the ultimate vindication of Jesus. Mark could have added post-resurrection appearances, the meeting between Jesus and Peter, and the great commission. Of all that Mark could have said, God inspired these details to highlight that the resurrection of Jesus is the final guarantee of his faithfulness.
  • The resurrection validates Jesus’ life and words. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. At the cross, it appeared as though God disowned him. The resurrection was God’s public owning of Jesus before all heaven and earth. The resurrection therefore confirms the very first claim in the Mark that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus claimed to pay the ransom for sin (10:45). Jesus’ resurrection evidences that the ransom was indeed paid.
  • The resurrection vanquishes fear of abandonment by God. You are in Jesus, and God resurrected Jesus.

Mark—a gospel about Jesus and discipleship

  • Mark ends with Jesus on his way to Galilee. The followers are tired, scared, and nowhere to be found, but Jesus is on his way to Galilee.
  • The story is left open. This same Jesus is alive and is going before you.