Final Words

Read: Mark 16:9-20

Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed. (v. 14)

Although these final words of Mark’s Gospel appear to be a later addition (because the oldest manuscripts do not have them), they are still words worth paying attention to.

What is really striking is that three times it mentions the followers of Jesus not believing that he had risen from the dead. And Jesus rebuked them for this! We can hardly blame them though. In all the history of the world, this had never happened before! And yet, we can tell from Jesus’ words that belief in his resurrection was imperative for any kind of further service.

Only after they believe he was alive does Jesus commission them: “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (v. 15). That is a commission for us today too.

With these final words, we come to the end of Mark’s Gospel, though tomorrow we will look at a flashback for our final reflection in this series. But after considering the whole story, Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, is clearly the main focus of this Gospel. And our Lord’s deep desire is that we believe in him, trust him, and serve him.

So, here is my final word to you: Do you believe? My prayer is that you will, because doing so will make all the difference in your life! —John Koedyker

As you pray, ask God to continue to use this Gospel to bring people to faith in Jesus Christ.

About the Author

Rev. John Koedyker has been a pastor in the Reformed Church in America for more than forty years. His ministry began in Japan where he served as a missionary for ten years. After that he has served churches in Iowa and Michigan. He has served as the Stated Clerk of Muskegon Classis, RCA, for the past sixteen years and also presently serves as pastor of congregational care at First Reformed Church of Grand Haven, Michigan. John has written a number of times previously for Words of Hope and he has a bi-monthly religion column in the Grand Haven Tribune. He is married to Marilyn, and they have four grown children and seven grandchildren.