"Many biblical scholars have long thought that the gospel of Mark lacks a coherent ending, and that there may have been a final chapter, lost centuries ago. Powell contends it wasn't lost at all, but was taken off the Gospel of Mark and moved to the Gospel of John, where it is known today as John 21, a curious last chapter that has long been considered awkward and redundant where it is.
Sometime during the First Century, the ending of Mark's gospel was appended to John's for political reasons within the church, Powell believes.
"The gospel of John was written to demonstrate that Peter was not to be trusted as a leader of the church," Powell said. "I believe Mark was written as a rebuttal to John. In their original form, these gospels are quite at odds."
Jesus Forgive Peter
One of the most interesting realities found in the Gospels is that the Gospel of Mark has no good ending to the story of Jesus crucifixion, while the Gospel of John has TWO.
The true ending of Mark is found at Mark 16:8 which says...
1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. 2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. 8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid."
Scholars agree that the rest of Mark was added later to correct this obvious problem of no real good ending that reflects the events in the Gospel of Mark. There is no real account of the resurrection, women telling anyone and certainly no story that has the disciples meeting Jesus for the very first time after the resurrection in Galilee. It also seems a story concerning Peter is missing, but it is interesting that the Angel makes a point of telling the women to tell the disicples AND PETER to be there. Since Peter was a disicple, it is obvious that Mark has a need for Peter specifically to be there. Why and why does the Gospel of Mark have no story ending this way with Peter specifically needing to be in Galilee to meet Jesus? There is none.
Mark 14:27 notes...
27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. 28 But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. 29 But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. 30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice."
So here we have, in Mark, Jesus telling them that they will all be scattered but he will meet them for the FIRST time in Galilee after he is risen. Peter is told that, inspite of his bravado, he will deny knowing Jesus three times before the rooster crows twice.
What's going on here. A story that promises the disciples that after he rises, Jesus will meet them in Galilee, not in Jerusalem, for the first time, and yet, does not include such an ending having the women come to the tomb, not find Jesus body, panic and flee telling NO ONE. Not much inspiration of resurrection here! Mark plainly has a missing ending. Where is it?
First of all the idea that Jesus would meet the disciples for the first time after his resurrection is not unique to Mark. Matthew also has this tradition but also has an ending that includes it.
Matthew 28 says...
8 "And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word. 9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. 10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me."
So as in Mark, there is not sighting in Jerusalem, but the women here at least afraid, did tell the disciples that Jesus said they were to go to Galilee to meet him the first time, minus Judas. Remember Mark said to be sure to bring Peter.
Matthew goes on to say...
16 "Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted."
So, in fact, Matthew has a story of all these things happening as Mark said too, but Mark did not tell how it ended as Matthew did. Mark had no positive ending to his Gospel.
Luke edits the story a bit because he wants his story to take place immediately in Jerusalem after the resurrection and not in Galilee as Mark and Matthew said.
Luke 24 says...
5 "And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee."
So here we see how Luke cleverly said in effect, not that Jesus said he'd meet them in Galilee after he was risen, but that the disciples should remember that Jesus told them in Galilee that they would see him risen in Jerusalem. Luke had stories in Jerusalem the others did not have that needed to be told evidently and going right to Galilee would not help him do that.
Now the interesting part. Mark has no ending to his Gospel, but the Gospel of John has TWO.
The first ending of John is in chapter 20.
30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
But then we start again in John 21 with...
"After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. 2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. 3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee."
Here we have a story, a second ending of John that starts "after these things." After what things? Certainly not the things of John 20 as they don't fit. The "again" in verse 1, I believe to have been added to make this look like a second or third appearing when in fact it is the real first meeting but not in John as John doesn't need it. I believe that the 21st chapter of John is the original missing ending of Mark. "After these things" is really the women leaving the tomb perplexed and fearful, telling no one about Jesus rising. John 21 shows a disheartened group of men who simply went back to fishing not having seen Jesus at all! How soon they forgot the events and sightings of Jesus in John 20! The reason is that this ending is the second nonesensical ending of John that is really the missing ending of Mark!
John has no fishing motiff until this last chapter, where Mark is nothing but a fishing motiff. John had an ending already and doesn't need this second one. Mark needs this chapter to make sense of his whole Gospel non-ending!
Remember how the Angel made a point of telling the women to tell the disciples AND PETER to show up in Galilee? Well of all things, this second end of John has a story about Peter being restored by Jesus to the fold. Three times , in Mark, he denied Jesus and now three times, in John, PETER, is sent to feed the sheep, meaning the Church and followers of Jesus. This also fits very well as an ending of Mark story as Mark made of point of being sure Peter was in Galilee where John doesn't need it.
John 21 says...
15 "So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs." In other words, Peter is forgiven and restored. It was important for Peter to be here in Galilee as Mark said, but never reported.
Let's just see how it fits.
16:2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. 3 And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 4 And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5 And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. 7 But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. 8 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid."
Now add John 21 and contine...
1 "After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. 2 There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. 3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee....15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
John, the editor makes this an event that happens "again" or "the third time," but these are added to make it solve the problems it's being appended to John causes as it shows the disciples disheartened, dejected, depressed and just going back to fishing as if Jesus didn't rise and they forgot the sightings of John 20.
In all probability, the 21st Chapter of the Gospel of John is the missing ending of Mark! Now Mark, as Gospel with no good ending, has one that fits and John that needs only one ending and not two is restored to normal.
Why? Because John's Gospel always portrays Peter as a Judas. Judas betrayed, Peter denied. No difference. Don't follow Peter. But the Petrine community of believers won out over John and so to clean up the Gospel of John and make it seem like John really and finally promotes and forgive Peter, Mark's convenient ending was added to the Book. This leads to Mark having no good ending after Mark 16:8 and the cursory and tidy it up ending was added which scholars admit was added and not in the oldest copies of Mark.
Note: Agnostic/Atheist or not, the origins and politics of the New Testament have always fascinated me and given the Bible a human quality. Much of what I saw taking place in WCG and all Churches was the very same , "follow me, not them" as one sees in the books of the New Testament when one has the eyes and willingness to see it. Truly there is nothing new, in the world of men competing for pre-eminence over others who claim to understand who and what Jesus was and their place in the story, under the sun.