If you got to the end of Mark and wondered what the “real” ending is, you are not alone! When we ask where does Mark end, the short answer is, “no one knows for certain!” But I know that that is not a very satisfying answer!
Remember that the Bible was first shared orally -- it is very powerful to hear Mark recited! I had a professor who performed the gospel of Mark dramatically from his own translation. It was great to hear!! If you ever find an old video of The Rev. Dr. David Rhoades performing Mark, take the time to watch it!! This also means that it was not originally written down and so the only thing we know for certain is that the gospel was probably never exactly the same when it was presented orally.
Even after the gospel was written down, it was copied by hand for centuries so we know that mistakes were made. In the case of Mark’s gospel, there were multiple endings!!! You can find scholars who will claim to know how the gospel originally ended. Unless they are much older than me – by two centuries I mean – I cannot understand their certainty on the gospel’s ending. So there is debate. If you are really interested, let me know and I can share some resources with you so that you can be more informed before you take a side on what the original ending was.
From my own studies, I have come to believe that Mark 16:8 was the original ending. One of the strongest arguments for this ending is that it is one that many would not be satisfied with. It just seems to hang there and needs something else added to it! Therefore, I am convinced that people over the years added various endings to the gospel to give it a better finish!
If you do end it at Mark 16:8, it ends in fear. The women have heard from an angel that Jesus is alive. They are the first witnesses to the resurrection but they have to decide whether or not to live in fear and tell no one or to live by faith and share their story. Obviously, they choose to share the good news.
This ending is very powerful because it leaves us – the readers – with the same challenge. Will we live by fear or faith? Will we share our experience of the risen Christ in our lives or will we let the story die? I pray that we face our fears and tell it boldly!