By Ben Simpson

 

As we journey through the Witness of Mark, we want to encourage you to first begin with the Daily Reading that will take you through the entire book of Mark. Then, read the First 15 Scripture and Reflection to dive a little deeper into verses from the Daily Reading. 

Today's daily reading is:        Mark 16:9-20

Scripture

Mark 16:19-20

After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

 

Reflection

If you have a good Bible or have carefully studied Scripture you may have learned that Mark has two endings, one short and the other long. The earliest manuscripts end at verse eight with an empty tomb, a young messenger, and three women who are bewildered and afraid. Mark goes so far as to say that the women did not say anything to anyone about what they had seen and heard. Their silence did not last. Eventually, they told their story!

Mark’s longer ending, added later by followers of Jesus, includes detail that aligns with the witness of Matthew, Luke, and John. Verse nine tells us that Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, who shared her testimony with the disciples, though they did not believe her. This sounds similar to a story that is found in John. Verses twelve and thirteen seem to be an abbreviated account of Luke’s Emmaus road story, and verse fifteen seems to be a variation of Matthew’s Great Commission.

But Mark concludes his gospel with these words: “After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” This seems to be the abridged version of the Acts of the Apostles!

Reading Acts widens the lens for us. The disciples did go out and preach. Signs were given that confirmed what they said. Take this account, found in Acts 5:12-16, as an example:

“The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people. Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.”

Notice: “the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” God worked with the apostles to send the message forth, to bring healing, and to welcome new people into the family of God. This work confirmed the message. The message was not only proclaimed, but it was made manifest. God’s reign, in Jesus, was not only something to hope for in the future, but it was something to be received and experienced now.

The message has not changed. Neither has God’s way of working. So go. Preach the word. Offer healing, hope, salvation, reconciliation, and renewal in the name of Jesus Christ. Let God work in and through you, even with you, as you serve Jesus. Announce the kingdom in word and deed. When good things take place, when God confirms the message, give thanks to God. Offer your praise. Respond in worship. Glorify the name of God. And pray that the kingdom would come, even now, on earth as it is in heaven.

This is the good news about Jesus, the Messiah, God’s Son. He has come. He has died. He is risen. And he reigns! Celebrate him. Join with the saints in worship. Serve him today, and for the remainder of your days.

Rejoice and be glad. He is the risen Lord!

Prayer

Father, thank you for leading and guiding me all throughout this season of Lent to walk with Mark and to learn the good news of and about Jesus, the Son. I lift my heart up to you with joy and gladness, for salvation has come. You have done it. You have defeated sin, death, and the devil, and overthrown the principalities and the powers of this world. Now, bring about your redemption, healing, and salvation. Let your kingdom come. And let us be witnesses. Let us see the broken healed, the bruised restored, the fallen lifted up, and the oppressed set free. Let us see the lost gathered into your house, and your name worshipped in spirit and truth. Change our world, change your church, change me, that we might enter your gates with thanksgiving and praise, this day and forevermore. Amen.