Was Jesus’ Resurrection the Result of a Missing Page?

November 15, 2013  Leave a comment

Wow!  The History Channel is at it again. This time with Bible Secrets Revealed.  And like Banned From the Bible and other programs like it, it’s doing a real bang-up job of distorting the facts with quick sound bites and brazen insinuation.  I received this message from a troubled friend.

So they say the gospel of mark ended originally with the women going to the tomb to wash his body, but when they realized he was gone, they left & said nothing for they were afraid. Yet later on someone added the resurrection due to being unsatisfied with the original abrupt ending

You can find the segment of the program here between 19:27 and 21:21.

It’s true. I agree with the facts. BUT not the inference. Mark did originally end at 16:8 and that later Christians added a new ending because they were unsatisfied with the old. But its not at all for the reasons the program suggests.

The program implies early Christians later made up accounts of Jesus’ resurrection because of Mark’s missing ending. Wrong!  Paul in 1 Corinthians 15, writing 20 years before Mark, tells us who and in what order more than 500 people saw Jesus bodily risen from the dead.  A fact he had already received from others.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.

But the writers of Bible Secrets Revealed are apparently so ignorant they feel they can rhetorically ask,

“Is it possible that the account of Jesus divine resurrection, one of the most important tenants of Christianity, was the result of a missing page? (21:09 – 21:21)

NO!  IT’S NOT!

Just read Mark!  It’s obvious he knows of these early resurrection appearances!  He points to them!  Three times, he records Jesus predicting his resurrection.

And He (Jesus) began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. (Mark 8:31)

For He was teaching His disciples and telling them, “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.” (Mark 9:31)

They were on the road going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking on ahead of them; and they were amazed, and those who followed were fearful. And again He took the twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to Him, saying, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Himand three days later He will rise again.” (Mark 10:32-34)

Mark also tells us that the angel at the empty informed the women that Jesus had fulfilled these predictions and would later meet his disciples in Galilee.

And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.’” (Mark 8:6-7)

If Mark believes that Jesus was clearly correct about His resurrection, don’t you think Mark intends his readers to trust the predictions of the angel, that they did see Jesus in Galilee.  “There you WILL see Him, just as He told you.”  Any basic introduction to Mark would reveal this.  But you won’t get this from the History Channel.  They just let this leading questions dangle out there as if no one could possibly think of a better explanation.

So WHY doesn’t Mark end with a resurrection appearance of Jesus?

It’s vital part of his message. Throughout his Gospel, Mark has shown that true disciples follow Jesus wherever he goes. And that includes to the death. But the disciples of course ran away and abandoned Jesus in the hours before his death. The invitation from the angel is that Jesus is once again waiting for them. To find him they must follow. Mark ends his gospel, with that invitation still ringing in his readers ears. And the question he wants his readers to ask is, “will I follow?” “Will I start over and follow him in His death and resurrection?”

That point has been lost on a number of people, not least many readers in the early church. It’s a bit too subtle for some. That’s why someone felt it necessary to include Mark 16:9-20, which is itself a basic summary of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances from the book of Luke and Acts. The summary is accurate. It’s just not the point of Mark’s Gospel.

I’ve dealt with this topic in a couple of posts. You might find these helpful.

Matthew Scott Miller

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