While many interpreters of Mark would agree that 16:8 is the intended end of the Gospel, there is little agreement on what that sudden stop means literarily, and theologically. The two most popular interpretations at present disagree significantly on how to evaluate the actions of the women in v. 8 (e.g., either positively or negatively), but they do agree that the end of Mark makes a point about discipleship. That is, Mark calls the reader to a certain kind of behavior, whether that be imitating the faithful women in discipleship or undoing their disobedience through obedience. While I do not wish to dispute the plausibility and theological importance of both readings, I will here argue that there is another thread in Mark 16:1–8 that meets, and extends beyond, the one about discipleship. This other thread concerns the plan and activity of the God of Israel. The ending of Mark, on this reading, presents the spectacular failure of discipleship, which forces one to place all trust in the faithfulness of God. Readers of Mark, who knew that the disciples were rehabilitated, are invited to see that the Church continued despite human failure only because of the agency and intervention of God.

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