A Free Online Commentary of the Bible.
16:1-3 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought aromatic spices so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, at sunrise, they went to the tomb. They had been asking each other, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’
Having rested on the Sabbath in obedience to God’s command, the women came to Jesus’ tomb on the third day (Sunday) as the sun began to rise. They had stood faithfully at Jesus’ cross and were present at his burial; and now they had returned to anoint his body with spices. They had been wondering who would roll away the stone for them; which indicates that they certainly did not expect his resurrection. They may have been aware, however, that guards were watching the tomb.
16:4-5 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled back. Then as they went into the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.
On arriving at the tomb, they found that the stone had already been rolled away. Matthew indicates (Matt. 28:2) that there was a great earthquake, and that an angel descended to roll away the stone, paralysing the guards with fear. On entering the tomb, they found the angel still there and they too became afraid.
16:6-7 But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has been raised! He is not here. Look, there is the place where they laid him. But go; tell his disciples, even Peter, that he is going ahead of you into Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you.’
It was the angel who first announced that Jesus was raised from the dead and instructed the women to bring this news to his disciples. Even though they had all forsaken him, and Peter in particular had denied him, Jesus would go ahead of them into Galilee just as he promised that he would (14:28). “Jesus is always ready to restore those who forsake him if they turn to him in faith to make a new start” (Wesley Bible).
16:8 Then they went out and ran from the tomb, for terror and bewilderment had seized them. And they said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
The women ran from the empty tomb filled with an awesome fear for they realised that God had been at work in a mighty way. They did not do as the angel had bidden them straight away because of this fear.
The resurrection of Christ is of immense importance to the believer. By it Jesus was declared to be the Son of God with power (Rom. 1:4). Because Christ lives we live also with eternal, abundant life. We are justified before God since Christ’s resurrection shows that he has accepted the death of his Son as the penalty paid for our sin (Rom. 4:25). We cannot be saved unless we believe in the resurrection (Rom. 10:9). We have a sure hope that we too shall be raised (2 Cor. 4:14; 1 Pet. 1:3).
16:9 Early on the first day of the week, after he arose, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had driven out seven demons.
The first person Jesus showed himself to after his resurrection was Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast seven demons. Either she had stayed behind after the other women had gone or she had later returned to the garden.
16:10-11 She went out and told those who were with him, while they were mourning and weeping. And when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.
It was Mary who went to tell the disciples, who were even then mourning his death, that he was risen. Yet they did not believe her, in spite of the fact that Jesus had told them a number of times that he would rise from the dead after three days.
16:12-13 After this he appeared in a different form to two of them while they were on their way to the country. They went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.
Jesus next appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus as they returned home. They failed to recognise him until he had broken bread with them (John 24:16, 30-31). They went to tell the others that they had seen the Lord but these discilpes were still full of unbelief.
16:14 Then he appeared to the eleven themselves, while they were eating, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen him resurrected.
Finally, Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples at a meal and rebuked them for their lack of faith and hardness of heart (Heb. 3:12).
The Great Commission
16:15 He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Although these disciples had deserted him, were unbelieving, hard hearted and weak, it is to them that Jesus committed the preaching of the gospel to the whole world. What changed them into the fearless believing witnesses who they became was their experience of being filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).
16:16 The one who believes and is baptized will be saved, but the one who does not believe will be condemned.
All who believe the gospel message will be saved. They must be baptised in water and will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). Those who do not believe will be judged (John 12:48) and cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:15).
16:17-18 These signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new languages; they will pick up snakes with their hands, and whatever poison they drink will not harm them; they will place their hands on the sick and they will be well.’
Jesus' promise was given to all who believe will in his name. They will perform many signs and wonders; being empowered to cast out demons, and to speak with new tongues. They will be able to handle serpents and not be harmed (Acts 28:3-6). Being poisoned shall not affect them; and they will lay hands on the sick and they will get well.
16:19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.
Jesus appeared to his disciples for forty days following his resurrection, giving them further teaching and instructions. On the fortieth day he led them to Mount Olivet, from whence he was received up into heaven (Acts 1:9-12) and sat at the right hand of God. God has highly exalted his Son and given a name that is above every other name (Phil. 2:9). In heaven, Jesus ever lives to make intercession for his people (Heb. 7:25) and one day he will come again to take us to our heavenly home, where we will forever be with our Lord and Saviour (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
16:20 They went out and proclaimed everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through the accompanying signs.
When we read the book of Acts we see further details of Mark’s claim here. The disciples obeyed the command to go and preach; and as they did, Jesus worked with them and confirmed his gospel in miraculous ways. This will always be the case when Christians take Christ’s command seriously and go into the entire world to preach the gospel.
Discussion Questions for Chapter 16
1. v1. Why do you think the women wanted to anoint Jesus’ body?
2. vv. 1-8. The women never did get to anoint the body of Jesus. Describe the events of that resurrection Sunday as recorded by Mark.
3. vv. 9-14. Why do you think the disciples failed to believe the reports that Jesus was alive from the dead?
4. vv. 15-20. What great task has Jesus entrusted to his disciples until he comes again?
5. Why do you think Mark wrote his gospel?
To view commentary for each chapter, click desired chapter number.
Copyright (2009-2015) Sharon Full Gospel Church, United Kingdom. Reg. Charity No. 1050642 www.sharonchurch.co.uk
This study is taken from our Bible study guide Faithbuilders - The Gospel of Mark