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Bible Commentaries
Mark 16

The Bible Study New TestamentBible Study NT

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Verse 1


After the Sabbath day was over. See notes on Matthew 28:1-17, Mark adds a few details. By the Jewish way of counting time, the Sabbath ended at 6 P.M. (sunset) on the day we call Saturday [the first day of the new week began at this point]. The women began their preparations then, planning to go to the grave at dawn. Bought spices to go and anoint the body of Jesus. This shows that they did not think in terms of a resurrection. Nicodemus had brought spices (John 19:39-40). Perhaps there had not been time to prepare the body properly, and the women expected to complete the job. Or, this might have been just an expression of their love.

Verse 3


Who will roll away? They did not know about the guard and the seal on the stone (Matthew 27:62-66). The grave was a cave cut out of the rock, closed by a huge stone rolled against the entrance. Their worry is about how they will get in to the grave.

Verse 4


Then they looked up. They may have been looking down before, talking about all that had happened, as they walked toward the grave. The grave was probably above them, cut back into the face of the rock.

Verse 5


So they entered the grave. Mary Magdalene sees the stone rolled back, thinks the Jewish leaders have taken the body, and runs to find Peter and John (John 20:1-2). The other women enter the grave. Saw a young man. Matthew identifies him as an angel of the Lord. Luke says there were two of them, and there may have been more. They may have both sat and stood as they spoke with the women; and have been both inside and outside the grave at different points of time. [Angels: see Hebrews 1:14.]

Verse 6


He has been raised! See Romans 6:4; Romans 6:9. Sin” and death came into the world through a women (Genesis 3:6; 1 Timothy 2:14). It is only right, then, that the Savior would come into the world through a woman (Luke 1:26-38), and that the Good News of the Resurrection should be first announced to women.

Verse 7


Now go and give this message. The angel tells them this. Note Peter is included specifically. [Peter might have thought his “denial of Jesus” had disqualified him as an apostle.] The first one to see the Risen Lord was Mary Magdalene (John 20:11-18) [he had driven seven evil spirits out of her]; and his special message is to Peter [who had denied him, with a vow]. Read John 3:17.

Verse 8


They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. They were terrified and dumfounded by all that had taken place. This day was unique in all of time and eternity! They run! away from the grave, to tell the disciples that JESUS HAS RISEN FROM DEATH! AN OLD ENDING TO THE GOSPEL. Facts are stubborn things. Of the four oldest and most reliable Greek manuscripts, the Sanaiticus and Vaticanus close Mark at Mark 16:8. But the Alexandrinus and Ephraemi Rescriptus give the longer ending, and it must have been in existence at the end of the First Century. The Regius and Athos manuscripts (along with others) give both endings. Both fragments are considered authentic.

Verse 9


After Jesus rose from death. The Jews counted their Sunday from 6 P.M. Saturday (our time – see note on Acts 20:7); but they counted night first, then day [“A day has twelve hours, has it not?” (John 11:9)]. What Mark says identifies Jesus rising from death just at sunrise (as darkness becomes light), as the women are coming to the grave. He appeared first to Mary Magdalene. This shows that she had left the other women. See notes on John 20:11-18.

ANOTHER OLD ENDING. See comment at the end of Mark 16:8 on the two endings.


The women went to Peter. See notes on Luke 24:8-12.

Verse 10


She went and told it. While she was on her way to tell the others, Jesus appeared to the other women, who also had started on their way to tell the others Jesus had raised from death. See notes on Matthew 28:9-10.

ANOTHER OLD ENDING. See comment at the end of Mark 16:8 on the two endings.


Jesus himself sent out through his disciples. Jesus works through his church. “He has no hands but our hands, his work of love to do. “ [Note: on the meaning of “church,” see note on Matthew 16:18.]

Verse 11


They did not believe her. The fact of their disbelief is proof they did not invent the account of the Resurrection.

Verse 12


Jesus appeared in a different manner. [He appeared to Peter alone before this. See note on Matthew 28:9 for a list of recorded appearances.] This took place on Sunday afternoon (Luke 24:13-35). Luke says they “somehow did not recognize him. “If their eyes were clouded, Jesus would seem to them to be in a different form.

Verse 13


They returned. To the upstairs room. They found the eleven disciples there, with the others (Luke 24:33). And told it. They explained about all that had happened to them on the road to Emmaus.

Verse 14


Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples. This was the last time, just before he was taken up to heaven. There are four accounts of this. It is amazing that they are still too stubborn to really believe he is alive, even at the end of forty days time after the Resurrection. See note on Acts 1:6-8.

Verse 15


He said to them. Jesus was seen many times during the forty days, and he may have spoken these words many times also. Matthew’s Gospel gives the Great Commission as Jesus gave it to the “more than five hundred” (1 Corinthians 15:6) at the meeting in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20). What Mark records, may have been spoken there also. Go to the whole world. Jesus is the Savior of the world! This Good News must be taken to everyone in the world! [Before his death, they were sent to the Jews only (Matthew 10:6). Now all national distinctions disappear, and people become one in Christ (Galatians 3:28).] Preach the gospel. God has acted in History! The Gospel is the Good News of this ACT: the death, burial, and raising to life of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). We reach out through faith to make ourselves part of this ACT.

Verse 16


Whoever believes. Who believes the Good News, and trusts Christ. [On “faith,” see note on James 2:19. ] And is baptized. Faith is obediential One who does not have enough faith in Christ to obey him does not have enough faith to be saved. Compare Acts 22:16. Whoever does not believe. Some will reject the Good News and remain in unbelief. Such have no promise See John 3:18. Jesus offers the way to escape!

Verses 17-18


Believers will be given. It is generally thought that this is a promise limited to the apostolic age [some think these signs of power ended when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 A.D.]. The primary force of this promise is clearly to the eleven in Mark 16:14, who were specifically given the command to “Go.” Yet others were given special powers, probably through the “laying on” of the apostle’s hands (Acts 19:6). See Acts 2:4; Acts 5:16; Acts 8:7; Acts 16:18; Acts 28:3-6.

Verse 19


After the Lord Jesus had talked with them. After he has placed upon both them and the messianic community [church], the obligation of preaching the Good News to the whole world. He was taken up into heaven. Acts tells that a cloud hid him from their sight. Jesus now sits at the “right side of God,” where he pleads with God [intercession] for his people [the church] (Hebrews 9:25).

Verse 20


The disciples went and preached everywhere. The book of Acts shows the disciples transformed as they receive power and understand all that Jesus had taught them (John 16:12-15). The purposes of the messianic community is to make disciples for Christ [not just to save souls]. The requirement for salvation is a faith which reaches out through obedience. The result of rejecting Christ’s salvation, is to REMAIN UNDER the sentence of eternal condemnation (“And you will die in your sins if you do not believe that ‘I Am Who I Am’” John 8:24).

Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Mark 16". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ice/mark-16.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.
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