Guests: Bruce Johanson
Read: Mark 15:42-16:20
We come now to the conclusion of Mark. Jesus has been crucified, but the story does not end there. For that, we should be eternally thankful!
- Burial and Resurrection (Mark 15:42-16:8) After Jesus’ death, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin, asked for and received Jesus’ body. He wrapped it in linen, and placed it in a tomb. After his death, we find Jesus’ advocates coming from two unexpected groups: a member of the Sanhedrin, and some women. The disciples have vanished from the scene. Why is it that throughout history, persecution and trial lead to such surprises? Why are “leaders” in times of peace seldom “leaders” in times of strife? In future times of trial, where might we find the surprising “pillars” of the church?At various times throughout his ministry, Jesus predicted his death and resurrection three days later. Why do his closest followers obviously not expect his words to come true? How might the story have been different if the disciples had truly believed his words? When Jesus left the tomb, was he surprised to find no followers there to welcome him? Will Jesus’ second coming be similar in this regard?
It seems that if Mark was concerned about proving Jesus’ bodily resurrection, he could have made a better case. There were no witnesses of the resurrection event, and the first ones on the scene were women (in that culture, this would have been especially significant). According to Mark, these first witnesses were immediately frightened and “bewildered” to the point that they “went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid” (Mark 16:8). How does this “shaky” evidence actually lend support to the accuracy of Mark’s account–or does it? For you, what are the most important pieces of evidence which convince you that Jesus is indeed alive?
- The End of Mark (Mark 16:9-20) In the most reliable Greek manuscripts, the gospel of Mark concludes with 16:8. Mark 16:9-20 was likely added later by another author. It is possible that the last portion of Mark was somehow lost. However, given Mark’s audience, the rather abrupt beginning of his gospel, and the recurring themes in his book, what arguments could be made in support of the idea that Mark 16:8 is actually a very fitting conclusion to the Gospel? If it is Mark’s intended ending, what point is he trying to communicate to his readers? What would he be trying to accomplish?
- Looking Back Over Mark
- What is your favorite story in Mark?
- What has been the most important thing you have learned during your investigation of Mark this quarter?
- What is your most important, unanswered question from Mark?
- What actual changes in your life have you made as a result of your study of Mark? Should you make some changes? Will you? When?
- Imagine that you have just asked Jesus the question in Mark 10:17: “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” How would Jesus answer? How would you respond?