Bible scholars point out that this passage is not included in the best manuscripts of Mark’s gospel, was not written by Mark, and does not have the same “feel” of the rest of the gospel. However, there is nothing wrong with the message. It appears to be a gathering of details found in other gospels and even the book of Acts. Yet, inquiring minds continue to ponder the inclusion of this ending.
For whatever reason this passage is included in God’s Word, so let’s reflect on the message it brings to us today. We see that (1) the pattern of unbelief when first hearing of Jesus’ resurrection, (2) Jesus makes several appearances and then ascends to heaven, and (3) our call to the mission field is included. All in all, it’s a very nice closure to the gospel giving us the next steps we need to move forward on our own faith journey.
If you had to respond to Jesus that day on the road outside Galilee, how would you describe Jesus? Now think about how you would introduce Jesus to your friends.
I’ve always perplexed over the disciples’ response that some say Jesus was John the Baptist. Followers of John would have heard the message that someone else was coming, far greater than John himself. In fact, it was John’s job to prepare the way for Jesus, not himself.
What a powerful verse to open Mark’s gospel! There is a lot here. Mark wanted to make sure his audience knew who he would be writing about. I like how the ESV (English Standard Version) translation makes it more of like a book title introducing the book’s subject. “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Let’s unpack that statement as well as what the NLT (New Living Translation), I normally reflect on, says.
The Good News Begins. This tells me that what is to follow is fantastic news. What a contrast to other Bible texts that bring news of doom and gloom! The gospel of Jesus Christ is often referred to as the “good news.” I’ve often said that “I love sharing the good news with others.” The account of Jesus’ life, his love for us, and his ultimate sacrifice is certainly “good news” for those who believe in him, and even for those who don’t believe yet. It’s the kind of news that changes lives.
Paul takes such delight in his friends in Philippi. I can imagine how, as he wrote this letter, he was filled with joy at the memories he had made in this community. It is often fond memories we cherish that keep us going in the tough times. Sitting in a prison would not be Paul’s best hour. Yet, he rejoices and encourages his friends to “stay true to the Lord.”
Paul sees the fruits of his labor blooming in his friends. Spreading the good news about Jesus’ resurrection power has become Paul’s life work. To see this young congregation in Philippi growing gives Paul a lot to be thankful for. God is moving in the lives of these people, and God continues to move today. To stay true to the Lord, we need to keep our eyes focused on Jesus and not let the distractions of this world take hold.
Do you ever feel like you’re the only one that doesn’t have it all together? I know lots of women who confess on social media they are simply a “hot mess” struggling to pull it all together to be a positive influence on their families and in the workplace. Why do we all feel it necessary to put on a good show for the rest of the world? Isn’t it better to just be ourselves, comfortable in our own skin, thankful for what God has provided?
One of my favorite sayings we used often in our Celebrate Recovery ministry over the years was, “God never wastes a hurt.” Think about that one for a moment. God can use everything we experience and make something good out of it. Paul is alluding to this in this passage when he gives credit to how his less than desirable circumstances have helped him spread the Good News!