Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Short and Long Endings

I'm just about at then end of Mark's gospel and I will soon need to decide where next in my daily reading. I think I've probably mentioned before that I have a soft spot for Mark, having studied it in some details at college. Mind you I'd probably say the same for John, and Luke is interesting for all sorts of reasons too!

Anyway, here I am at the end of Mark, but which end? I'm not sure how important it is to come down on one side of the argument or the other. The longer ending presents some problems, but it isn't so out of character, whereas the shorter ending seems to fit well with Mark's sense of immediacy and his focus on the identity of Jesus.

The NIV that we use at church ends rather abruptly with Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. A rather incomplete ending that begs for a fuller explanation of the resurrection, something the longer ending supplies.

Interestingly the NLT adds Then they briefly reported all this to Peter and his companions. Afterward Jesus himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life. Amen. which at least gives a neater finish to the shorter ending.

I'd need to get my books out to look at why this should be included, my memory doesn't retain all the details!

Such things, fascinating as they might be to some, can be a distraction. After all, the whole point of chapter 16 is that Jesus is not dead- He is risen! He is not here.

As the three women approach the tomb they are wondering who is going to help them get in. There is a large stone over the entrance that they can't move on their own. But the stone had already been moved. Not, of course, to let them in but to let Jesus out.

He is not here! He has risen.

How much does that change the trajectory of your life? How much hope does it bring? If death no longer defines the end of life, where is your life going beyond death?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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