14 Later Jesus appeared to the 11 disciples as they were eating. He spoke firmly to them because they had no faith. They would not believe those who had seen him after he rose from the dead. 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world. Preach the good news to everyone. 16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who does not believe will be punished. 17 Here are the miraculous signs that those who believe will do. In my name they will drive out demons. They will speak in languages they had not known before. 18 They will pick up snakes with their hands. And when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all. They will place their hands on sick people. And the people will get well.” 19 When the Lord Jesus finished speaking to them, he was taken up into heaven. He sat down at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere. The Lord worked with them. And he backed up his word by the signs that went with it.
Mark has several endings, this longer ending sees Jesus being frustrated with his disciples that they did not believe the others that had seen Him alive/risen from the dead. He then gives them a mission to go & preach the gospel & lets them know that miraculous signs would back up their preaching.
After Jesus is taken up into heaven the text says that when the disciples went and preached the gospel “The Lord worked with them” V20. It’s quite emphatic … not Jesus sometimes or occasionally worked ‘with’ them but that He did.
What an encouragement this small phrase is to me. Going and preaching the Gospel for many of us is scary & something that we can feel quite alone in. This small phrase takes the pressure off, it’s not if you’re good enough or if you’re able to preach really well or if you’re bold enough or have had enough training but simply when you go He works along side with us. As the disciples stepped out and went, Jesus went ‘with’ them and it’s the same today. When I go, He WILL work with me, I’m not doing this by myself! Jesus is working in drawing people to Himself, working miraculous signs alongside my going, I have always known this but this little verse, this word, has literally just changed my headspace and taken the fear out of my going.
Thank you Jesus that you truly don’t ever leave us to it in our sharing the gospel with others no matter what the setting, whether its in front of an audience or one on one, you are always there ‘with‘ us as we speak or pray, you are there.
Written by Suzie Hodgson