Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen.
And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues;
they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
So then, after the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.
And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen.
Mark presents this coda to the wonders of the previous days in a very matter-of-fact way — almost like a business meeting, where Jesus is the chairman, summing up and clarifying a few points, reminding the disciples of the ground covered and the way ahead, before He heads home. The heading — in the New King James Version quoted here — is ‘The Great Commission’.
It is interesting to see how each of the gospel writers end their final chapter. Matthew is closest to Mark, but ends with the more inspirational “I am with you always.” Luke records no similar final briefing, preferring to emphasise Jesus’ appearing to His disciples, as on the road to Emmaus. John — as would be expected — gives a more personal account — but distils ‘The Great Commission’ down to ‘feed my sheep’.
However, the most important thing to remember is that we have four inspirational gospel letters, each speaking with his own voice — testimonials, really — giving us a vivid and rounded picture of Jesus. Mark highlights three aspects of the way ahead for us, His disciples in this present time,
‘Meditate on these things…’
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
CHRIST IS RISEN — Phil Wickham
A HOLY COMMAND: Oswald Chambers on LOVE
GEORGE and GILL STEWART