“He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16).
For the past two years, I’ve been writing about passages in the gospel of Mark. We are now at the end and just here it’s worth noting that Mark ends his book much as he began: As the book opened, Mark described it as the beginning of the gospel. He ends with Jesus’ command to go preach the gospel. Chapter one described John the baptist dressing like Elijah. As Jesus cried out on the cross, people thought he was calling for Elijah. The first miracle Mark mentions is Jesus casting out a demon. At the end, Mark mentions Mary Magdalene out of whom Jesus cast seven demons. Jesus is baptized in chapter one. At the end, Jesus commands baptism for all who would be saved. At Jesus’ baptism, God proclaimed that Jesus was His son. At Jesus’ death, a centurion proclaims Jesus to be the son of God.
I find it interesting that throughout the book, people have had trouble understanding and accepting that Jesus was God’s son (the Jewish ruling council made this the cause of Jesus’ condemnation). And yet, at the end, the person who “gets it” is not one of the disciples. In fact, Jesus is critical of the disciples for their lack of belief (16:14). The person who “gets it” is not a Jew. The person who “gets it” is a gentile centurion – perhaps the least likely of anyone we might expect to come to faith.
You never know who will respond to the good news about Jesus. But our task is not to decide who will respond. It is simply to make the gospel known.