Bible reading for Feb 13: Genesis 46; Mark 16.
"I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph's hand shall close your eyes." (Gen 46:3-4)
Genesis will end with the family of Jacob all residing in Egypt. Jacob will be reunited with his son Joseph, and he holds on to this promise of God's presence: "I myself will go down with you..." (46:4; see also Gen 26:3; 31:3; 48:21). God's covenant presence, dwelling with and blessing his people, is a major theme throughout the Bible (Rev 21:3).
Seventy. "All the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy" (46:27) Depending on how you figure Joseph and his two sons, and Jacob himself, the number will vary from 70 (round number?) to 75. In Acts 7:14 Stephen quotes the LXX (the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew OT) at 75. Transcription errors (scribes, not the biblical authors), translation differences, and use of round numbers account for some of the variations of numbers in the OT manuscripts. See NET Bible / Lumina notes on this.
"Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you." (Mark 16:6-7)
Short ending. The Gospel ends abruptly. It began abruptly, too, with John the Baptist rather than with birth narratives. There have been a number of additional passages that appear at the end of Mark in later manuscripts. There are many theories as to why the original gospel ended this abruptly. Pastor Joe Carter gives some helpful advice in "What Do You Do With The End Of Mark’s Gospel?"
Testimonies to the resurrection. We need to remember that the New Testament did not begin as one work. It is comprised of many documents that bring together the various accounts about Jesus. I see at least seven separate strands of testimony concerning Jesus' resurrection...
1) The witness of the OT. The OT prophets foretold this event hundreds of years before Jesus' resurrection. (Ps 16; Isa 25; Daniel, Isa 53)
2) The witness of Jesus himself, prior to his death. He predicted this several times. (Matt 16:21; 17:9)
3) The witness of the empty tomb. One needs to address the issue of where the body went, why the grave clothes were left behind, etc. Granted this is circumstantial evidence, but a grave that is supposed to be occupied and isn't needs an explanation. (Luke 24:6; John 20:6-7)
4) The witness of the women. (Matt 28:1; John 20:11-12) Though this is included in the gospel-writers accounts there is a significance to the women's testimony. This was not a point in favor of the case for the resurrection, which also highlighted that the male disciples were slow to believe. “The criterion of embarrassment... the early church would hardly have gone out of its way to create material that only embarrassed its creator or weakened its position in arguments with opponents.” ~John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus (I:168)
5) The witness of the apostles. This is the bedrock of the eyewitness testimony. With the exception of John, who died at an old age, all the apostles died martyr deaths and sealed their testimony about the resurrection. (Luke 1:1-4; John 19:35; 21:24; 1 Cor 15:6; 1 Jn 1:1-3)
6) The witness of Paul. (Rom 1:1-4; 1 Cor 15:8-9) Paul's testimony about Jesus' resurrection needs to be seen as a separate but concurring testimony regarding the resurrection of our Lord Jesus. J. Gresham Machen wrote,
“That involves this stupendous conclusion: that Peter and the very brother of Jesus, men who had walked and talked with Jesus on earth, who had seen him subject to the petty limitations of human life—that these men actually agreed with this stupendous view of Jesus as a supernatural person, an object of worship, as presented in the epistles of Paul... The religion of Paul is a phenomenon of history that requires an explanation...” J. Gresham Machen, “The Witness of Paul” (1927) from Selected Shorter Writings (2004)
7) The witness of the Spirit in gospel proclamation, by signs and miracles, and in church growth. The gospel came with supernatural power and conviction. (John 15:26; Acts 16:14; 1 Thess 2:13; Heb 2:4)
Image above: my photo of a first century tomb in Galilee, taken in 1997.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson. A PDF copy is available here.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.