In the New Testament, two books come to a screeching halt – their ending is quite abrupt! Like the finale of a theatrical play, the curtain suddenly falls to the floor at the conclusion of the story. Strolling out on the stage, the interlocutor holds up a sign: “THE END”. But it’s a dead end! It’s nothing less than a cliff hanger! The reader is left spellbound and frustrated! Maybe the story will continue next week, like in some of the on-going TV series.
Allow me to illustrate: The Gospel of Mark ends abruptly at Mark 16:8. The women have arrived at the tomb:
What happened to Jesus? I thought he appeared to Mary and his followers. I thought the women hurried to tell the disciples of the empty tomb! Didn’t anyone see him resurrected? I want to know! The audience is also bewildered! Mark does not seem to know. Maybe he is waiting for the Holy Spirit to reveal the ending of the play.
Tradition says that Mark wrote his gospel along with Peter, the disciple of Jesus, who had been present after the crucifixion. Did Peter suffer from dementia? We simply don’t know what happened at the end of Mark’s gospel. Scholars suggest that the scroll telling of the ending of the story got lost, or stolen, or destroyed. I want my $12 back.
In the book of Acts, Paul had arrived in Rome, asking the Christians for financial support so he could travel on to Spain. Luke also brings Paul’s story to an abrupt ending:
What happened to Paul during those two years – did anything worth writing about take place? Did the Christians give him financial support? We don’t know! What happened after those two years in Rome? Doesn’t Luke know? Or does he know but not want to tell us?
Maybe Luke was present with Paul on that trip to Rome in the year 62. Or maybe, not! Scholars say Acts was written between the years 75 to 95. If so, Luke would certainly have known what happened to Paul. Maybe he is waiting for the Holy Spirit to reveal the ending of the play!
EEKS! This is embarrassing! I’m sorry to say – well, this essay must come to a screeching halt! It’s the finale, but I simply don’t know how to bring down the curtain! YELPS!