Good morning! I hope this day finds you and your family well, and I want you to know that you are in my prayers daily during this difficult time.
I invite you to take a few moments with me to reflect on today’s Upper Room Devotional below — as well as on the theology woven into “It is well with my soul.”
Special thanks to Peggy Graff and her guests for providing this uplifting and inspiring addition to us in her Dog Days Duets series. I pray that these weekly selections will uplift your spirits and feed your soul as much as it does mine.
Mark 16:9-20 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Longer Ending of Mark
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
9 [Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.
Jesus Appears to Two Disciples
12 After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13 And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.
Jesus Commissions the Disciples
14 Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.[a] 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news[b] to the whole creation. 16 The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes in their hands,[c] and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
The Ascension of Jesus
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.[d]]
Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today
Notice that this whole section at the end of the Gospel of Mark is labeled “The Longer Ending of Mark” and it is bracketed to show that it was not part of the original gospel but was added later. The gospel originally ended with verse 8: “So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” Some later editor couldn’t imagine ending with an empty tomb and fear, so the longer ending ends with the resurrection appearances to the disciples. It was, after all, the experience of the risen Christ that had the real impact on the lives of those earliest followers of Jesus.
So the longer ending has the gospel closing with these words: “And they went out and proclaimed the good news everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it.” The longer ending tells the story of the Church as it grew. The earliest followers of Jesus told everyone who would listen everywhere they went about all that Jesus did and taught and about the astounding grace of God and the good news that even death isn’t victorious over life. And they weren’t alone—“the Lord worked with them.”
We are part of that longer ending of Mark as the story of all God has done and is doing in Jesus Christ continues to be “written” by those who follow.
Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the words and music that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.
I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster