Luke 2

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.

One more thing the angel mentioned is Jesus will be found wrapped in strips of cloth, laying in the manger. This is how babies bodies are kept warm at the time. Well, when Jesus is crucified they wrap him again with strips of cloths, but when he is born again at his resurrection, the disciples look inside of the tomb and there are strips of cloth lying there without a body. This is the first evidence for them that Jesus is risen.

Wrapped in strips of cloth at his birth, unwrapped at his new birth. Yes, the tomb becomes a womb.

And speaking of wombs, we think of Mary and Joseph traveling from Nazareth to Jerusalem when she is in the late term of her pregnancy. Usually people would just walk when they traveled, but, even though the Christmas story doesn’t say, we can reasonably assume Mary was riding a donkey.

So, Jesus rides into Jerusalem in the womb of Mary to be born. On Palm Sunday, Jesus will ride into Jerusalem on a donkey again, but this time to die. He will not stay dead, however, and is raised from the dead, a new birth, coming out of the womb that is a tomb, reborn King of the Universe.

ME

Have you ever ridden a donkey or seen someone on a donkey? How did this strike you?

Monday April 4- End Time

Mark 16:8

They went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they tremble and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Well we have arrived at the end of the Gospel of Mark. We have spent over a year going verse by verse through this amazing book and here we are, the final chapter.

Here is the original ending of the oldest manuscripts available. Mark ends at verse 8.

They went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they tremble and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Now, this is strange. In the original Greek language, the last word is a conjunction. gar. As in “For”

“…afraid for.”

The New Testament is originally written in Greek. In ancient Greek, there is no punctuation, no chapter numbering and no verses.  The people who would later copy the early manuscripts would add the structures we are familiar with. So when we see the end of the Gospel of Mark end in a conjunction, an interesting mystery introduced.

I think the best evidence is the last page of the Mark manuscript is missing or is damaged. Actually in paperback books, especially, this still happens. Last pages go missing over time.

So, what happened to later versions of the Gospel of Mark?

First of all, it appears when later copyists copied the book, they are not comfortable with the abrupt ending. What they write is included in the Gospel in later manuscripts. It looks like different copyists added different material.

Some later manuscripts have a short ending added to the original. It sounds very formal and more of a summary statement. It doesn’t sound like Mark at all.

They gave a brief account to the people around Peter of what they had been told. After this, Jesus himself sent out from east to west, through their work, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Amen.

Then there is a longer ending, Mark 16:9-20, which appears to take highlights from Matthew and Luke which are written later than Mark, and added back to Mark.

Now before these later manuscripts are used, the earliest ones would have eyewitnesses of the resurrected Jesus in attendance at the reading of the book. People who are there could have finished telling what happened with their own accounts.

This can happen just as well to us. If we are left with the empty tomb and the words of the angel, how do we react?

We notice in all these endings there is an emphasis in the earliest followers having a hard time believing what just happened. But, what they do afterward is clear. They move from doubt to belief quickly and in a remarkably short time, the earliest Christian movement goes viral into most of the known world. And they didn’t even have Facebook or Instagram! Word of mouth, letters and books.

Me

All four gospels have eyewitness sources, though not the same people. Do you expect them to say the same exact thing? What do you expect?