Thursday marks the Feast of the Ascension, the fortieth day after Easter, said to be the day the deceased Jesus stopped kicking the tires here on earth, and ascended straight up into heaven to sit at the right hand of God. I believe in the supernatural. I believe that Jesus was holy. But this morning, after reading several commentaries on Christ’s ascension, I’ve come to see that Jesus last remarks are late-in-coming misquotes.
While seated at a table with his disciples, Jesus is believed by many Bible literalists to have said: “Go forth to every part of the world, and proclaim the good news to the whole creation. Those who believe it and receive baptism will find salvation; those who do not believe will be condemned….”
This particular verse of Mark 16 has been pronounced by scholars as extremely unreliable, almost definitely added in the second century AD. Some religious commentators don’t even believe that the final verses of Mark 16 should be included in the Bible at all. Other Christian commentators are brave enough to state that baptism is in no way a requirement for eternal life. I’m confident other parts of the Bible lead some Christians into thinking they’re the only ones getting “saved,” but I suspect the verses they’re quoting have also been doctored.