Matthew 27:62 – 28:10 (3/25/13)
The four Gospels contain five accounts of the resurrection; we will read each of them this week. This morning Pastor Craig asked Pastor Steve the meaning of “synoptic,” as in the “Synoptic Gospels,” and Pastor Steve said it means, “same.” When Matthew, Mark, and Luke are talking about the same event, it is quite common that Matthew and Luke use Mark’s exact words. Sometimes they make minor changes (for example, where Mark says “sewing needle,” Luke the physician says “surgical needle.”)
This week we’ll see that the accounts of the resurrection are not “same.” It is as if each writer is saying, “Guess what I
saw! This is what Mary Magdalene said to me
! This is what I
think was the most amazing part!” They don’t contradict each other, but each writer reports the part that impressed him the most. Together, they provide a rich description of the events of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Matthew alone talks about the Pharisees’ request to Pilate for soldiers to guard the tomb and the reaction of the soldiers to the angel. He alone mentions the earthquake.
Mark 16:1-8 (3/26/13)
Most scholars agree that there are two endings of the Gospel of Mark. The original ending was lost very early, apparently before any copies were made. What we read today is the “short ending,” which is what Mark had right before his original ending. You can see that it stops kind of abruptly – the women run from the tomb and say nothing to anyone. Oh … kay. Then how do we know what happened to them there? Not only does this ending make no sense in itself, but ending a gospel – “good news” – with fear and trembling makes no sense for Mark’s purpose.
Read verses 1 and 2 carefully. Mark tells us twice that the women were not working on the Sabbath: “when the Sabbath was past,” “on the first day of the week.”
Mark 16:9-20 (3/27/13)
This is the “long ending” of Mark. Some Bible translations omit it, or put it in a footnote, or mark it with brackets. The Church has accepted it as scripture for a couple thousand years, however, so I wouldn’t worry about it.
I told you yesterday that Mark’s original ending was lost so early that we have no copies. Someone in the early Church decided that an ending was needed, so this piece was added. The chances are very good that Mark didn’t write this; it’s really not his normal style. One thing that is totally in line with the rest of Mark, though, is the bit in verses 11-14 about the unbelief of the twelve (now eleven) disciples. Later writers got more respectful of the disciples, and their failings tended to be played down a little.
Since I know you’re going to ask, I don’t quite know what to make of verses 17-18. I do know that there are some (small) denominations that make speaking in tongues, snake handling, and taking poisons a test of faith. I personally think you should pay more attention to Matthew 4:7: Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"
Luke 24:1-12 (3/28/13)
We get four slightly varying accounts of the people who were at the tomb:
- Matthew records two women (Mary Magdalene and Mary) and one angel in snow-white clothing.
- Mark has Mary M., Mary, and a young man in white clothes. The women were on their way to see Peter when the original ending was lost, so Mark might have recorded him, too; we have no way of knowing.
- Luke has Mary M., Mary, Joanna, and two or more other women, plus two men in dazzling clothes, with Peter coming later.
- John has Mary M., Peter, and the “other disciple,” presumed to be John himself.
Presumably Matthew, Mark (Peter’s associate, who lived in Jerusalem, Acts 12:12), and John were in the city with the other disciples. Each one seems to telling his own story, mentioning only the bits important to him. Luke, writing later, did some research and wrote “an orderly account” (Luke 1:3). I suggest that his list of people and angels, plus John, is the complete list, and the other lists are the people of immediate interest to each writer.
John 20:19-31 (3/29/13)
May you have a blessed and happy Easter! Hold fast to the sense of astonishment and joy that the disciples had on the very first Easter—when they saw Jesus alive and among them after having been dead.
John’s gospel is all about belief, and he ends his story (except for the appendix in Ch. 21) by telling us again why he’s writing: “so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” Celebrate new life in Jesus Christ on Easter and every Sunday!
More of The Rest of the Story
Week 1. Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 1. More on the Beginning of Life As We Know It
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Abraham … But Not Lot
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Isaac…But not Ishmael or the sons of Keturah
Week 2. God Builds a Nation – Jacob…But not Esau
Week 3. Joseph Preserves Two Nations
Week 4. Deliverance
Week 4. More on Deliverance
Week 5. New Commands and a New Covenant
Week 6. Wandering
Week 6. More on the Wandering
Week 7. The Battle Begins
Week 8. A Few Good Men...and Women
Week 9. The Faith of a Foreign Woman
Week 10. Standing Tall, Falling Hard
Week 11. From Shepherd to King
Week 12. The Trials of a King
Week 13. The King Who Had It All
Week 14. A Kingdom Torn in Two
Weeks 15 and 16. God's Messengers and The Beginning of the End
Week 17. The Kingdoms' Fall
Jeremiah, Prophet of the Exile
Story 19. The Return Home
in the Old Testament
Story 21. Rebuilding the Walls
Story 22. The Birth of the King
Story 23. Jesus’ Ministry Begins
Story 24. No Ordinary Man
Story 25. Jesus, the Son of God
Story 26. The Hour of Darkness
Story 27. The Resurrection
Story 28. New Beginnings
James, Brother of the Lord
John and Jude
Story 31. The End of Time
Copyright 2013 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.
Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the
author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the
Bible-study participants. Thanks to the
Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers
for their support and enthusiasm. All
errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.
St. John’s United Methodist Church,
2626 Arizona NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110
Traditional worship services are held Sundays at 8:15 and
11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary. Casual worship services are held Sundays at
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are held monthly on the second Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in the sanctuary. St. John’s feels especially called to the worship of God and to the service of our neighbors through our music program
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