"Afterward Jesus appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking in the country. These returned and reported it to the rest; but they did not believe them either." - Mark 16:12-13
I'm not going to talk too much about chapter 15, because it's (for the most part) exactly the same as Matthew. In fact, the only changes I see are changes of omission on Mark's part (or additions on Matthew's part, as I'm reminded every day).
Here's a quick review: Jesus is taken before Pilate where the people choose to free Barabbas over Jesus. Jesus is mocked by the guards and given his crown of thorns. Jesus is then crucified and mocked by everyone (including both thieves crucified with him). Jesus then dies and the temple curtain is ripped.
The last paragraph of chapter 15 is where we start going off the deep end.
First of all, we are finally told which day Jesus died. Mark says that Jesus died, and was buried on the preparation day (the day before the Sabbath). If you've been reading this blog for a couple of weeks you'll remember that I told you to keep Matthew 12:40 in mind. For those that have forgotten:
For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Three full days, three full nights. Now, at the beginning of chapter 16, Mark says that the Marys visited Jesus's tomb on the morning of the day after the sabbath. So Jesus was only buried from the night before the sabbath, to the morning after the sabbath. That's only two nights and one full day by my count. Jesus isn't quite batting a thousand on his self prophecy.
Before I get too far, I want to mention a glaring omission. Mark never says there were any guards at Jesus's tomb. And obviously if there are no guards there is also no seal on the tomb (not that it made much of a difference in Matthew). Even worse, when the Marys get to the tomb in Mark's account, there isn't even an angel there. There is just some guy saying that Jesus is gone and resurrected, and that they should go meet him in Galilee.
Then my bible says something strange, "[The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have Mark 16:9-20]". Excuse me? So in the earliest (read "most accurate") manuscripts, the chapter ends here? Nobody even witnessed Jesus after his miraculous resurrection?
Lets read the part that, the bible admits, was added later. Jesus first appears to Mary Magdalene, who tells the others. They (for some reason) don't believe her. Isn't this exactly what Jesus said would happen, shouldn't they be expecting his return?
Then Jesus appears "in a different form" to two of his disciples. What the hell does that mean? Meaning he looked like someone else? That's strangely consistent with that being someone else. Then Jesus appears to the eleven and calls them faithless idiots (good ol' Jesus), and gives them some instructions. He tells them to go around and spread the good news to all of creation, and whoever believes will be "saved". Jesus goes on to say that those who believe will also speak in tongues, drive out demons, pick up snakes, and drink poison without being harmed.
So that's where these nutjobs get the speaking in tongues/handling snakes. Why aren't any churches telling their members to drink a few cc's of arsenic? If you're going to handle poisonous snakes why not go all out? Maybe they're discouraged by the 71 people that have died handling snakes during religious ceremonies. Of course, those people probably just didn't believe hard enough.
Jesus then promptly ascends to heaven. So let me get this right. First, the early manuscripts have Jesus appearing to no one. Then, even when people start adding things, they only have him appearing to his disciples? Well if that's all it takes, then I'm getting together with 10 of my friends and getting Pastafarianism going.
Mark: In Review
Other than being a witness to the contradictions in the bible, I'm not sure why Mark exists. Of course, I would say the same thing if I had read Matthew first. It seems like one of these books should have been thrown out for consistency's sake.
I'm not sure what people are thinking when they say there is no such thing as biblical contradiction. Put these books (Mark and Matthew) side by side and read them straight through. If there are even small differences (there are big differences) then the bible has contradictions.
There's not to much else to say, all the major events I could review have already been talked about in Matthew.
Is God really bad for punishing people?
Imagine for a moment that you’re 8 years old. You have a brother who’s a year older, and the two of you have a wonderful dad. This dad gives you all the things you need. He’s funny, affectionate, wise, caring, generous, kind, and all the things you could ever want in a dad. Now suppose you and your brother are playing around in your room one day, and he hits you so hard it makes you cry.
The good father runs in to find out what happened, but when you tell him your brother hit you, he just shrugs his shoulders. You ask him what he’s going to do about your brother’s bad behavior, and he says, “I can’t do anything to your brother. I’m too good and kind to punish him. He might not like it.” How do you feel about your dad now? Do you still think he’s such a great dad? Of course not. But, as illogical as it is, that’s what some people think about God. He’s too good and loving and kind and caring to punish anyone, so hell couldn’t possibly be real.
Of course a good father would not do nothing. And that's not what I'm suggesting God should do either. But let's take this metaphor to it's conclusion. By the writer's definition of a "good father", the father should take the offending son, throw him in the basement, pour gasoline down the stairs, light his son on fire, and let him burn for eternity. Where has God handled punishment any other way?
As a side note, what is God doing right now to punish people? Nothing that I can see. Which is exactly the bad situation the writer just described. People get away with brutal theft/rape/murder/genocide every day. Where is our "good father" when we need him?
In fact, God’s love for everybody is the reason he showed mercy by sending Jesus Christ to die for sin. In Christ, God offers the only way for a person to escape God’s justice. That’s good news.
Huh? The "good father" puts loopholes in his own justice system? Has the writer completely forgotten the metaphor he started with? The father must have had a third son who he crucified so that the other two wouldn't have to receive any punishment. But isn't that right back where we started, with the father doing no punishment at all?
If this is what a "good father" is, I'll go with a bad one (can't be any worse).
(via The Anniston Star)