Chapter 13: Many footnotes talk about this as a prophecy of the end times. Is it? One does not need to go to the end of the ages to find false Messiahs, rumors of war, abuse of the disciples, and a "desolating sacrelige," but only to 70 AD when a failed Jewish uprising leads to the destruction of the Temple (which Jesus foretells at the beginning of this chapter, setting up this prophecy). This might not be the end of the world, but was as cataclysmic an event as could be imagined by many Jews. And at the end, Jesus says that the Son of Man will come with great power and glory, and "he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth..." The same Greek word for angels is also "messenger." So, there will be these catastrophic events, a Son of Man being glorified, and messengers being sent out...sounds familiar.
We have a developed theology of what the cross means. Look carefully to see if this text connects to that or does not connect. Featured strongly is the allegation of Jesus being "King of the Jews," which comes with a whole package of expectations (which we'll get into later).
New Testament writings have been translated from ancient manuscripts. Here's the tricky part for the Gospel of Mark: a lot of its manuscripts stop at chapter 16, verse 8: "So they [the women] went from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid." A rather abrupt ending, but just as abrupt as the beginning of Mark, leaving readers a little uneasy. Perhaps the resurrection is a wild and amazing thing that can inspire "terror and amazement," and somehow this story did get told even with the women's initial fearfulness. How do we handle and feel about such an amazing but abrupt ending?