Mark in a Month 6. Loving and Worshipping the One Who Ransomed us

  • Let us read the last three chapters,
  • and feel what it was like for Jesus, the one who paid our ransom,
  • and be filled with love and adoration for him.

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Video cover image by Correggio (Antonio Allegri).

Feel what it was like for Jesus, the one who paid our ransom,
and be filled with love and adoration for him.

Mark in a Month 6. Loving and Worshipping the One Who Ransomed us

  1. The problem with the ending of Mark
  2. Giving some attention to what it was like for Jesus
  3. How he would love us to respond

1. The problem with the ending of Mark

  • Many Bibles, probably most, will have a note to say that the last 12 verses of Mark are not found in many manuscripts.
  • The Bible was completed around 2000 years ago
  • We believe that those who wrote it were acting under the power of the Holy Spirit, so that what they wrote was:

The Bible is God’s Word

  • Without any errors
    %but so is 2+2=4%
  • Exactly the message God wants us to hear and obey
  • Yet at the same time it flowed through the personality of the writer
  • It had their style “accent”
    %No accent is right or wrong%
  • But copying was imperfect, and small errors could be introduced, no matter how careful the copyist was.
  • Thankfully we have a vast number of ancient copies of the Old and New Testaments,
  • The differences between them are small, and not a single important doctrine is under threat.
  • It is possible work out what the original must have been by comparing them and weighing the evidence.
  • This process of taking 6000 manuscripts and scientifically working what the original must have been is called Textual Criticism

Papyrus 46 (1 Corinthians)

Papyrus 46 (1 Corinthians)

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  • The process of Textual Criticism

New Testament Evidence

  • 86 Greek manuscripts written on papyrus (ancient paper)
  • over 3,000 copies from the next few centuries
  • Another couple of thousand copies organized for daily reading
  • 100’s of ancient translations into many different languages
  • A vast number of quotations included in ancient sermons, letters & commentaries
    • enough to reconstruct almost all the N.T.
    %possibly up to 66,000 in total%
  • vastly more than any other ancient writing
  • Compare with:
    • Plato - 7 copies, earliest is more than 1,000 years after he died
    • Caesar - 10 copies (ditto)
    • Quran - all variations were burned (650 AD)
    • Buddhist writings - no coherent and organized scriptures, so no way of finding errors

The Preservation of the Biblical Text

  • Over 6,000 Manuscripts
  • +Translations into other languages, quotations and other sources
  • Very high general accuracy
  • But still some some small differences—how should we recover the original text, or get as close to it as we can?

Principles of Textual Criticism

  • Older are more likely to be accurate
  • More attestations are better
  • Can we explain how the text came to be like is is now? (e.g. missing word)
  • last 12 verses of Mark
    • Not found in the oldest and most reliable manuscripts
    • Early translations into other languages don’t have it
    • When they are found, they are not always the same
    • One of the church fathers, Eusebius, wrote that it was missing in most copies
    • The Greek is a different style to Mark
    • This is the only place in the entire N.T. where a group of verses is missing (plus one place in John)
  • But if you leave it out, you get the book ending with a challenging question: What happens next?

The “Study Bible” theory

  • Because Mark ends leaving the story hanging, it raises the question, “What happened next”
  • Ancient writers added a note of explanation like a “study Bible”
  • It is accurate, historical and valuable (but not Scripture)
  • This got included, and copied, but not clearly marked as not original
  • It is useful and valuable as a historical commentary

Mark in a Month 6. Loving and Worshipping the One Who Ransomed us

  1. The problem with the ending of Mark
  2. Giving some attention to what it was like for Jesus
  3. How he would love us to respond

2. Giving some attention to what it was like for Jesus

  • As I read the verses from the last week, I experienced an overwhelming gratitude to my Lord for what he did in my place.
  • The summary verse in Mark is

Mark 10

  1. …whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant,
  2. and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of all.
  3. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve,
    and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
  • Let’s go through a few verses in these last chapters and ask how Jesus must have felt as he did this

Mark 14
The Last Supper

  1. As they were eating, he took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to them, and said,“Take it; this is my body.”
  2. Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
  3. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.
  4. I tell you the truth, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
  • We usually concentrate on Peter, but how did Jesus feel?

Mark 14
Peter’s claim

  1. Peter said to him, “Even if they all fall away, I will not!
  2. Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, today — this very night — before a rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”
  3. But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I must die with you, I will never deny you.
    And all of them said the same thing.
  • How alone he must have felt, but it got worse:

Mark 14

  1. Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he told his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”
  2. He took Peter, James, and John with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.
  3. He said to them, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake.”
  4. He went a little farther, fell to the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
  5. And he said, “‘Abba’, Father! All things are possible for you. Take this cup away from me. Nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will.”

Mark 14 cont’d

  1. Then he came and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake one hour?
  2. Stay awake and pray so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
  3. Once again he went away and prayed, saying the same thing.
  4. And again he came and found them sleeping, because they could not keep their eyes open. They did not know what to say to him.

Mark 14 cont’d

  1. Then he came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The time has come. See, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
  2. Get up; let’s go. See, my betrayer is near.”

Mark 14

  1. Jesus said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs, as if I were a criminal, to capture me?
  2. Every day I was among you, teaching in the temple, and you didn’t arrest me.”…
  3. Then they all deserted him and ran away.
  • Jesus spoke the words which he knew would lead to his death
  • He handed them the evidence

Mark 14 - Trial

  1. He kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest questioned him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
  2. “I am,” said Jesus,“and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
  3. Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses?
  4. You have heard the blasphemy. What is your decision?” They all condemned him as deserving death.
  5. Then some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to beat him, saying, “Prophesy!” The temple servants also took him and slapped him.

Mark 15 - Crucify him!

  1. Pilate asked them again, “Then what do you want me to do with the one you call the king of the Jews?”
  2. They shouted back, “Crucify him!”
  3. Pilate said to them, “Why? What has he done wrong?”
    But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!”

Mark 15 - Mocked

  1. The soldiers led him away into the palace (that is, the governor’s residence) and called the whole company together.
  2. They dressed him in a purple robe, twisted together a crown of thorns, and put it on him.
  3. And they began to salute him, “Hail, king of the Jews!”
  4. They were hitting him on the head with a stick and spitting on him. Getting down on their knees, they were paying him homage.
  5. After they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple robe and put his clothes on him.

Mark 15 - Mocked

  1. Those who passed by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads, and saying, “Ha! The one who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,
  2. save yourself by coming down from the cross!”
  3. In the same way, the chief priests with the scribes were mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others, but he cannot save himself!
  4. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross, so that we may see and believe.”
    Even those who were crucified with him taunted him.

Mark 15 -

  1. When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.
  2. And at three Jesus cried out with a loud voice, ‘“Eloi, Eloi, lemá ’ ‘sabachtháni?” ’ which is translated,“My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
  3. Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed his last.
  4. Then the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
  5. When the centurion, who was standing opposite him, saw the way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

Mark in a Month 6. Loving and Worshipping the One Who Ransomed us

  1. The problem with the ending of Mark
  2. Giving some attention to what it was like for Jesus
  3. How he would love us to respond

3. How he would love us to respond

Rev 5 – Song

  1. And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,
  2. and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
  3. Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands,
  4. saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!”

Our Response

  1. His love for you does not depend on how good you are (e.g. disciples!)
  2. Feel his commitment to you in his decision to go through with the agony
  3. Let love and thankfulness well up in your heart, and keep doing this