Mark 16

Mark 16:1

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him.

(a) When the Sabbath was over. Jesus was crucified on the preparation day (Friday morning; see Mark 15:42) that preceded the Sabbath (the second day), and his empty tomb was discovered the day after the Sabbath (Sunday morning, the third day). On several occasions Jesus prophesied that he would rise on the third day (Matt. 16:21, 17:23, 20:19, Luke 9:22, 18:33) and that prophecy came true. Further reading: “Good Friday Timeline.

(b) Mary Magdalene; see entry for Luke 8:2.

(c) Mary the mother of James was also the mother of Joseph (Mark 15:40) and probably the wife of Clopas (John 19:25). If so, Mary was Jesus’ aunt on his father’s side (see entry for Matt. 27:56).

(d) Salome was likely Jesus’ aunt on his mother’s side (see entry for Matt. 27:56).

(e) Bought spices. Since they visited the tomb before sunrise on the first day of the week (John 20:1), the two Marys and Salome may have purchased the spices on Saturday night, after the Sabbath had ended. However, in Luke’s account it appears they purchased and prepared the spices on the day of preparation, before the Sabbath (Luke 23:56, 24:1).

Mark 16:2

Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.

(a) They came to the tomb. The three women or more women who came to the tomb on Sunday, included the two who came on Friday, namely Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, plus Salome (Mark 16:1). Joanna may have also been there (see entry for Luke 24:10).

Mark 16:6

And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him.

Jesus the Nazarene. A Nazarene was someone from Nazareth, a Galilean town of little consequence. In Judea, Jesus was known as a Nazarene in fulfilment of prophecy (see entry for Matt. 2:23).

Mark 16:9

[Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons.

(a) He first appeared. Although at least three women saw the empty tomb (Mark 16:1), only Mary Magdalene is recorded as seeing the Risen Lord.

(b) Mary Magdalene; see entry for Luke 8:2.

Mark 16:11

When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it.

(a) Seen by her. Mary Magdalene was the first to see the Risen Lord (Mark 16:9). Simon Peter and the two disciples on the road to Emmaus saw him next (Luke 24:31, 34).

(b) They refused to believe it. For a brief time, the great apostles were unbelievers.

Mark 16:12

After that, He appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking along on their way to the country.

Two of them. Jesus appeared to Cleopas and another disciple on the road to Emmaus. See entry for Luke 24:13.

Mark 16:13

They went away and reported it to the others, but they did not believe them either.

They did not believe them either. The disciples did not believe Mary Magdalene and they didn’t believe the two disciples. Even when Jesus himself appeared in their midst, they did not believe he had risen. They thought they were seeing a ghost (Luke 24:37, 41). They were not only faithless, they were law-breakers. In the presence of two or three witnesses, let every matter be established (Deu. 19:15, 2 Cor. 13:1).

Mark 16:15

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

(a) Preach. We are instructed to do two things with the gospel; believe it and preach it.

Jesus preached the gospel (Luke 20:1), and his disciples and the apostles preached the gospel (Luke 9:6, Acts 8:25, 14:7, 21, 16:10, 1 Cor. 1:17). We proclaim the good news of God’s grace so that all may know the peace and joy that comes from receiving the Father’s great love.

(b) The gospel refers to the gospel of Christ or the gospel of God or the gospel of the kingdom. These are all different labels for the gospel of grace. See entry for The Gospel.

Mark 16:16

“He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.

(a) He who has believed. In the New Testament, there are more than 200 imperative statements linked with faith. Some of these statements exhort us to: receive Jesus (John 1:11-12, 5:43), obey or heed the message or good news of Jesus (John 17:6) and turn to God in repentance (Acts 26:20).

Other scriptures encourage us to accept the word (Mark 4:20), confess Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9), call on the name of the Lord (Act 2:21), eat the bread of life (John 6:50-51), be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20), submit to God’s righteousness (Rom. 10:3), and be born again (John 3:3, 7).

But the one imperative that appears far more than any other, is the instruction to believe. We are to believe in Jesus (see entry for John 3:16).

(b) Baptized. The baptism that saves is the baptism done to every believer by the Holy Spirit (1 Pet. 3:21). This is not a reference to water baptism or any kind of baptism other than the one baptism that truly counts (Eph. 4:5). The moment you came to Jesus, you were baptized or placed into his body by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:12–13). See entry for Baptism.

(c) Shall be saved. Jesus preached for a verdict. He began his message encouraging people to repent and believe the good news (Mark 1:15), and he ended it with the same message. Likewise, the apostles who came after encouraged their listeners to repent, believe the good news, and be saved (Acts 4:12, 17:30, 1 Tim. 2:4, 1 John 3:23).

Mark 16:17

“These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues;

(a) These signs. Supernatural signs accompany those who believe because every believer carries the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9). This is why Jesus said we would do the same and greater works that he did (John 14:12).

(b) Cast out demons. Every believer can cast out demons because every believer has the authority of Jesus.

(c) Speak with new tongues. Speaking in new and various kinds of tongues is a spiritual gift that accompanies faith in Christ. It is a sign of the indwelling Spirit. However, not every believer will speak in tongues. See entry for 1 Cor. 12:10.

Mark 16:19

So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God.

(a) The Lord Jesus. When Jesus walked the earth he was known as Jesus of Nazareth (e.g., Matt. 26:71). But after he ascended to heaven he was given a new name above every name, and that name is Lord (Php. 2:9–11). The original word for Lord (kyrios) means the One who is supreme above all. “You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am” (John 13:13).

(b) The right hand of God. The Son shares his Father’s throne; see entry for Matt. 22:44.

Mark 16:20

And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.]
[And they promptly reported all these instructions to Peter and his companions. And after that, Jesus Himself sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.]

(a) Preached. The original word (kerusso) means to herald as a public crier. This is one of three words that are commonly translated as “preached” or “preaching” in the New Testament. See entry for Acts 5:42.

(b) Confirmed the word by the signs that followed. The gospel of the kingdom is a show and tell gospel (Matt 4:23). When we preach the good news, the Holy Spirit confirms the word with supernatural signs.

(c) The word is the word of God (Luke 8:11) or the word of the kingdom (Matt. 13:19) or the word of the Christ (Rom. 10:17). In short, it is the gospel of Jesus (Mark 1:1).

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