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Bible Commentaries
Mark 16

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

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Verses 1-20

Mark 16:1-8 . When the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene came very early in the morning to the sepulchre. See on Luke 8:2. All the circumstances mentioned in these eight verses claim particular notice. The women who came in two companies were five or six in number. Their errand was to do the decencies performed to illustrious persons. Their sole difficulty on the road was the rolling away of the stone. This, to their surprize, they found removed. They knew nothing of the guards watching on the spot, or their fears would have been insuperable. On looking into the sepulchre they saw a young man in a white robe, as worn by the jews at their feasts. They looked, but they saw not the body of Jesus. They heard the consoling words of this stranger, who said that Jesus was risen. He also knew the promise of the Saviour, that after he had risen he would meet the brethren in Galilee, and make them witnesses of his resurrection. He commissioned them to go and tell his disciples, and Peter by name, who was now of all the apostles the most disconsolate. All these are facts, pursuant to the prophecies that went before. They are all realities, and not visions.

Mark 16:12 . He appeared in another form unto two of them, as they went into the country. This interesting circumstance is related at large in Luke 24:13-34.

Mark 16:14 . He upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. Du Pin, from Jerome’s second dialogue with the Pelagians, gives us here another verse, which was found in some copies, and particularly in the Greek. “They answered him by saying, this age is the essence of iniquity and incredulity, which obstructs by means of unholy spirits the embracing of true virtue; the age towards which thou discoverest thy righteousness.”

Though Jerome mentions this reply, he has not thought proper to introduce it into the Vulgate version.

Mark 16:15 . Preach the gospel to every creature. See on Romans 10:15. Κηρυσσειν , to preach, to publish, to proclaim, is derived from κηρυξ , a herald, one who cries aloud. Thus it is in Theodotian, on Daniel 3:4. Ο κηρυξ εβοα εν ισχυι , the herald cried with full voice or strength, as in Revelation 5:2. There are moments when preachers should do the same. Why should the heralds of princes cover the heralds of the Lord with silence and shame. How can the people be persuaded that we ourselves believe, unless we sometimes raise our voice, and utter the fulness of our hearts. Never was mission so exclusive and glorious, so majestic and sublime, as that given to Christ’s servants. Our Lord speaks here with majesty like himself; he speaks according to the prophets, who with one voice had published righteousness to the heathen. Agreeably to this, every man should say to his brother, Know the Lord, till all shall know him from the least to the greatest. Agreeably to this, we are enjoined to train up our children in the nurture and fear of the Lord; for the Lord is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Thus the Lord sent his disciples forth clothed with full power, and according to his promises the Roman world believed. By and bye the fulness of the gentiles shall be brought in; for God in his secret counsel seems to have hitherto sentenced them to the vanity of idols.

Mark 16:16 . He that believeth with an honest heart, so as to embrace the Saviour in all the glory of his person and offices, shall be saved. He will then confess him openly by baptism, and bear his reproach. While on the other hand, he that believeth not shall be damned. All the Latin versions have the word, “condemned.” It is so used in our version, to designate the present state of unregenerate men. They are now condemned, and the execution may soon follow. Romans 5:16. Like Moses to Israel, our Lord here sets life and death before the people. Calvin in his later years wrote his commentary on the new testament in French: on this verse, he says, il signifie que les rebelles en rejettant le salut qui leur est presente, attirent sur eux une plus griefve punition. It signifies, that the rebels who reject the salvation “which is presented to them,” draw upon themselves a more grievous punishment. Ed. fol. Geneve, 1563.

Mark 16:17 . These signs shall follow them that believe. As a tender family in infancy needs the fostering care of the mother, the infant church no less required the special endowments of the Holy Spirit. But the gifts, whether of prophesying, of healing, or of tongues, were restricted to persons specially endowed. “Do all speak with tongues? Have all gifts of healing? Are all workers of miracles?” 1 Corinthians 12:29. Of the existence of such endowments, we find no father of the primitive church that ever doubted. In all their multifarious writings, and in all the various countries where they lived, they speak the same things: and though the age of infancy be gone, we must not limit the Holy One of Israel. In these ages he helps our infirmities, and hears prayer in a most remarkable manner.

Mark 16:18 . They shall take up serpents and it shall not hurt them. A few years ago, an aged Moravian minister wrote to his friends, that while in South America he one day on coming home, saw a serpent six feet long on the top of his hut, which, on seeing him, descended, and bit him on the breast, yet no harm followed. Isaiah 11:8-9.

Mark 16:19. After the Lord had spoken to them he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. The subject of Christ’s ascension is more fully recorded in Acts 1:6-11, where suitable improvements will be found.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Mark 16". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/mark-16.html. 1835.
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