“And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:15-18 NKJV
I quote or partially quote “Go, ye, therefore..” (Matt 28:19) so often you probably think it is my favorite version of the Great Commission. But I think this one is my favorite! It is so black or white. Matthew’s version says to teach and make disciples – which is the basis of this blog. But Mark cleans it up a bit. When we are looking for opportunities to share Jesus we get hung up on the outcome – making believers and disciples. And it is good to have a place to direct them once they have heard and accepted the good news. But only God can MAKE them believers and MAKE them want to follow Him. Mark clears it up in relation to that. We are just to preach the gospel message to ALL creatures.
When I was a child I would preach to my dog, or out in the fields to the sheep, the birds, the snakes, and bugs. They all know their creator. But they are not made with the cognitive ability to choose heaven or hell or to have a real relationship with God. I love my puppy, but she only comes to me because I am nice and the only human she knows. God wants more from us that just that, because we are capable of more. It is every individual’s responsibility for what they do with the message once they hear it. It is just our job to share it. Signs and wonders and great exploits will follow.
Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
Do you want to know truth? Be able to discern lies? Know how to figure it all out in these confusing times and have peace? The Bible says Jesus is the truth. I have experienced it and it has changed my life. I was once a hot mess of sin, promiscuity, drug and alcohol use and so much more. But I was lost and when I could not find my way, or find a truth, I numbed it with bad choses. When I found Jesus, and truth – I found peace and deliverance from those things.
If you want a relationship with God without truth you will get the counterfeit, hypocritical Christianity that has kept some of you away for too long. You need truth and relationship. You need to be honest with yourself and God (including honest repentance) and God will reveal truth to you. It becomes the two way, interaction that your relationship with God is built on. This is why Jesus is called the truth, because he is our only way to the Father.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen
Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
Today’s reading is the Book of Mark chapter 16 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV).
He Is Risen
16 Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going [a]before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”
8 So they went out [b]quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
Mary Magdalene Sees the Risen Lord
9 [c]Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept. 11 And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.
Jesus Appears to Two Disciples
12 After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country. 13 And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either.
The Great Commission
14 Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will follow those who [d]believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they[e] will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Christ Ascends to God’s Right Hand
19 So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
- Mark 16:7 ahead of
- Mark 16:8 NU, M omit quickly
- Mark 16:9 Vv. 9–20 are bracketed in NU as not in the original text. They are lacking in Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, although nearly all other mss. of Mark contain them.
- Mark 16:17 have believed
- Mark 16:18 NU and in their hands they will
MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:
Isaiah 41:10- “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
The last chapter of Mark only has 8 verses in the oldest known manuscript. If you are reading it from your Bible, you will see verses 9-20, bracketed. Even in the online version which I copy and paste in every day – the footnotes (which never format correctly) say they are “not in the original text”. Which is speculation to assume the oldest text we have found is the original.
So where did those verses come from? Old scrolls found in Ethiopia and a few Greek manuscripts. Mark went on mission trips to Egypt and Ethiopia (and later to Greece and Rome) – so it is possible verses 9-20 were written by Mark. But the oldest scroll ends with room on the paper, so he could have kept going. Maybe this one was a copy and the writer never finished? If that is the case I pray we find an older copy or the original.
But wait – there is more! There is another ending found with one verse instead of 9-20. It was found in manuscripts from the 3rd century. That verse is included between verse 8 and 9 in the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible. That verse usually reads:
“But they reported briefly to Peter and those with him all that they had been told. And after this, Jesus himself (appeared to them and) sent out by means of them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation”
I was raised on the King James Version, and therefore most of my memorization is in King James. For ease of use, I use New King James here – although I often pull from other version to mix it up, or give insight. But the King James and New King James are among a select few versions that do not omit any verses while many other versions do.
I agree that the “long version” mathematically has a higher probability of being Mark’s intended message.
Now with the confusion and questioning, I asked my pastor (years ago) what do we do with verse 9-20. There are powerful verses in there – some of my favorite. And he said, if they have power – then they are the word of God and not to be questioned. This is profound. Because we can know that 9-20 has a mysterious past – and still accept it as the inspired work of God, His revelation to man, and His plan of Salvation. And so I do. Without question.
When I came back to God I was attending a church that did an online lunch bible study – at noon daily, on a social media platform. They were doing the book of Mark and so, when I did not have a meeting, I would join. We were to read the section ahead of time (so I did it the night before) and joint the live discussion. The last chapter came and I read the whole thing. And I turned on the discussion and the pastor spoke about it being a short 8 verses and only discussed the 8 verses and alluded to the short alternate ending. And that pastor refused to acknowledge verses 9-20.
I accept 9-20 and will not deny them as holy. God’s word never returns void and always accomplishes what it set out to accomplish – and in these verses much has been accomplished.
Mark’s version of Christ having risen at the tomb’s side and the women’s shock and mourning is the shortest and least descriptive of all the version of what took place there. Mark, jumped in at the beginning of the book with fast paced, Attention Deficit Disorder style jumping around and excited “let me tell you this and this and this…” And then lots of focus and detail on Passion Week, which were events that he probably experienced first-hand as well as receiving Peters account in order to complete the book. But if Mark was a child, and ran home naked and Jesus was killed. His mother probably did not let him go back immediately to be with the men who followed Jesus. And then the men who followed went to Galilee and I will guess (yes, this is a guess) that Mark’s older cousin Barnabas (who traveled with Paul) went to Galilee but young Mark stayed home. When the men all went to Jerusalem for Pentecost, I believe Mark rejoined them.
So – Mark would have missed the details of the day or the resurrection. And never got many details from Peter. So how would you end the Gospel? No one had written it down before Mark. How should it end? Jesus is alive – that is what matters. Mark was living out the works of the Book of Acts while writing the gospel, so his readers would that part. And what happened between Jesus be alive and Mark telling you He is alive and you can still be saved, healed, and delivered – that in between wasn’t the point to Mark. Mark was a soul winner – he was about conversions. He was about bring this message to as many people as possible.
He gets a bad reputation because he seemingly never finished his book here and he bailed out of Paul’s mission trip. But his trips south to Egypt and Ethiopia reached many large groups and many were saved.
Mark had a short life – he died before the temple fell, in approximately 68 AD. He was witnessing in Alexandria when they tied him up, rope around the neck and dragged him through the streets until he was dead.
“So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
If Mark ended the book here – well, this literally is the end of the gospel. Other gospels slowly transition and overlap the book of Acts. But I am not bothered by this ending.
And the “added” verses are great!
First we see Jesus providing the some personal attention to Mary. He appears first to the women, then He goes to the two men on the road.
Then appears to the disciples – with the great commission (as I spoke of in the beginning). But let me repeat this:
“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Verses 17-18
I prayed this verse during a prayer meeting at a church once. And after a deacon came to me and told me to settle down – that sort of thing isn’t going to happen there. I looked him straight in his dead eyes and said: ‘You are right.’ Because they only follow those who believe – not those who reject it, not those who are afraid of it, and not those who want to control the church and just have a nicey nice church. I still pray for him and his family. That church has very little in way of signs and wonders. People are healed and recovered, but it takes months (which is not any less God’s healing work). Remember in Daniel there was prayer and fasting needed to help the spiritual battle. Well, there isn’t enough spiritual fighting going on to break through the nonsense this one leader oppresses the church with.
If we believe, we should expect the signs and wonders to follow us. If they aren’t take a long hard look at yourself and if you are actionably believing. Are you a tithe giver? Do you sow into the kingdom? Are you helping the widows, orphans, the single parents, the homeless, etc.? Are you a soul winner? Does your faith produce works? Because it is in those works that signs and wonders happen.
Come back Monday and invite your friends as we start the Book of Romans! It is a power house book filled with instruction and explanation. I once had the whole book memorized – not so much anymore. It will be a great time of learning!
And do not miss our wisdom reading (without discussion) over the weekend as we continue in Psalms.
CORRECTION FROM YESTERDAY’S POST
I have been informed that the Veil of the Temple was not a foot thick as I thought I remembered correctly. Some say it was 4 inches thick – others say it was 18 to 24 inches thick. I slipped down a rabbit hole of many articles on the subject and I have come to the conclusion that a foot is a reasonable compromise! Giggles. I am not going to share all that I just learned – I definitely need to learn more on the topic and the specs of the temple. But, no one says it was a foot thick, so I do need to make that notation.
Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!