Sunday, January 22, 2012

Mark, Chapters 15 & 16: Haven't we read all this before?

Chapter 15

Jesus' trial concluded, he's taken to Pilate, who again asks him if he's the King of the Jews, but Jesus is tired and cranky by now, so he'll only answer Thou sayest it (v. 2). He refuses to speak after that.

Because it's a feast day, Pilate decides to pardon the prisoner of the people's choosing. Thanks to some priestly meddling, they choose Barrabas, a revolutionary and murderer who probably photographed well.

Pilate then asks what he should do with Jesus. The crowd's answer? Crucify him. He asks what, exactly, Jesus has done, but they only yell crucify him louder.

So the soldiers beat Jesus up, then put a purple robe on him, then beat him some more, then put him back in his old clothes. Then the lead him to Golgotha to be crucified. While he's dying, they gamble for his clothes. People passing by mock him, as do the other two thieves who were crucified that day.

After 6 hours, there's a 3-hour total eclipse of the sun, then Jesus cries out and dies. An indeterminate number of women named Mary is watching, as is Joseph of Arimathaea. Joseph goes to Pilate and asks for the body, which they wrap in a shroud and put in a cave with a rock over the entrance.

Chapter 16

On Sunday, the Marys return to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body with oil. But they quickly prove that their brain power is every bit as feeble as that of the disciples, when they remember that there's a big rock in front of the cave and they didn't bring anything to help move it out of the way. Fortunately, this doesn't prove an obstacle as the rock has miraculously moved on its own.

Inside, they find a creepy young man dressed in white who tells them that Jesus has left, but has left word with him to tell Peter to meet him in Galilee. The ladies flee and don't tell anyone about the weirdo in the tomb.

Apparently the original text ends there, but a few centuries later, someone tacked on a more dramatic ending in which Jesus goes on to appear to several of his former disciples and perform some more miracles.

First he appears to Mary Magdalene, but because she was crazy before Jesus cast seven devils out of her, no one believes her.

Ghost Jesus next appears to two of his disciples while they're taking a walk in the countryside. They rush home to tell the others, who again, dismiss the claim.

Finally Ghost Jesus gets the bright idea to appear to a crowd rather than a couple of individuals, so he finds the disciples at dinner and scolds them all for their lack of faith. Then he reminds them to go out and preach and baptize the willing and curse the unwilling to hell. How will you know whether someone's a true believer or not? Well, true believers will cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. (v. 17-18)
Kids, do not try any of those things at home. Well, speaking in tongues is weird but harmless, but don't pick up snakes or drink poison, mkay?

Anyway, after leaving us with that insanely dumb advice, Jesus goes off to heaven.

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