#94: Giving Thanks for Chapter Sixteen

Welcome to Knowing Jesus as we wrap up the final chapter of Mark’s gospel. This post was delayed a week because last Tuesday evening—when I usually post to my blog—we were dealing with frozen/burst water pipes at our house. So thank you for your patience. Here we go!

The ending of a book can make or break it, don’t you think? I’ve read books I thoroughly enjoyed—right up to a disappointing last chapter. I’ve read books I thought were just average—right up until a thrilling conclusion. As we come to the end of this study (only one more week to go), I’m so happy that Mark’s book doesn’t finish with the despair of chapter 15, but instead closes in victory—the perfect ending!

Get your Bible and let’s take a look back.

Read Mark 15:46-47, and imagine this was where Mark’s story concluded. What if there was no chapter 16? The book of Mark might be a biography of a suffering martyr who lived a good, unselfish life. It might be an inspirational story of a great teacher who died for his convictions. It might be a tribute to an influential leader whose monument we can visit to pay our respects.

But if 15:47 was its final verse, one thing Mark’s book wouldn’t be is a gospel (meaning “good news”).

Ah, but add chapter 16—and the suffering martyr is our Christ, the great teacher is the living Word, and the influential leader is the Son of God, whose tomb is empty!

What makes the difference? The resurrection.

Take a moment to read through Mark 16. Feel the disciples’ wondrous shift from sadness to skepticism to sheer joy as they became convinced of the truth that Jesus, who had died, was alive.

In His resurrection, Jesus accomplished all of these and more:
• He completed God’s plan. (Acts 2:23-24)
• He was declared with power to be the Son of God. (Romans 1:4)
• He fulfilled many prophecies, including His own. (For a small sample, see Psalm 16:9-10, Psalm 89:48, Matthew 16:21, John 2:19)
• He rescued us from the dominion of darkness (Colossians 1:13-14), proclaiming light to us all. (Acts 26:23)
• He destroyed death (2 Timothy 1:10), removing its sting. (1 Corinthians 15:54b-57)
• He gave us a living hope. (1 Peter 1:3)
• He assured us the power that raised Him can raise us also (2 Corinthians 4:14)

The resurrection of Jesus became the matchless message that transformed cowering, defeated disciples into bold, courageous apostles who were willing to die defending it. Still today, we celebrate a living Christ and joyfully spread the news about the life we have in Him.

In his book The Bible Reader’s Companion, Larry Richards writes, “Without the Resurrection, the story of Jesus is one of history’s greatest tragedies. With it, the story is one of triumph and the foundation of all our hopes.” Aren’t you grateful for chapter sixteen?

© Diane McLoud 2015

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