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Bible Commentaries
Mark 16

Watson's Exposition on Matthew, Mark, Luke & RomansWatson's Expositions

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Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

1 An angel declareth the resurrection of Christ to three women.

9 Christ himself appeareth to Mary Magdalene:

12 to two going into the country:

14 then to the apostles,

15 whom he sendeth forth to preach the Gospel:

19 and ascendeth into heaven.

Verse 1

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

And when the Sabbath was past. — See the notes on Matthew 28:1. They had bought these spices, αρωματα — myrrh, aloes, and unguents, — according to the Jewish custom in honourable funerals, on the evening of the crucifixion, as soon as they had seen where the body was laid; and they rested on the Sabbath. Had there been time before six in the evening, when the Sabbath commenced, to have embalmed the body, they would have done it; and that they were prevented by the intervention of the Sabbath affords the reason why they went to the sepulchre so early on the morning of the first day. Such consenting but incidental circumstances in the account give it an irresistible character of veracity.

Verse 2

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

At the rising of the sun. — Ανατειλαντος του ηλιου , when the sun was about to rise, just before daybreak, it being yet obscure. They were ignorant that the sepulchre had had a guard set over it, as not knowing what had passed between the Pharisees and Pilate, as to that security. They only knew that a great stone had been rolled to the mouth of the sepulchre, and they anxiously inquired of each other, who should roll it away. They might hope perhaps that some of the disciples would recover courage sufficient to come to the tomb of their Master, and that they might obtain their assistance. They found it, however, rolled away; which had been done by the angel of terribly glorious aspect, at whose presence the Roman guard had fainted with terror, and then hastened away. This same angel, it appears, was now in the interior of the sepulchre, and had laid aside all terror; and though retaining his supernatural character, addressed them in mild and encouraging accents.

Verse 7

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

Tell his disciples and Peter. — Και has here the force of especially: tell his disciples, and ESPECIALLY Peter. This was the angel’s message; but he had received it from his Lord, who showed himself thus mindful of the repentant Peter, in the very moment of his glorious and triumphant resurrection.

Verse 8

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

Neither said they any thing to any man. — They would meet many, no doubt, on their return to the apostles; but such was their emotion, so strong and overpowering, that they spake to none by the way: a circumstance which intimates that they might meet some whom they knew, and those probably disciples.

Verse 9

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

Now when Jesus was risen, &c. — From this verse to the close, we have a rapid summary of the resurrection and appearances of our Lord to his disciples, the commission he gave them, his ascension into heaven, and the success of their preaching. It is so evidently appended as a hasty summary to what precedes, that its genuineness has been attacked by some critics, but most successfully defended.

Verse 10

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

As they mourned and wept. — This shows the deep sorrow and perplexity into which the death of Christ had thrown the disciples: the third day had arrived, and their sorrow was still unabated. In them were indeed fulfilled the words of Christ, “Ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice;” and in a very short time were those words, of very different import, as signally fulfilled, “But I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”

Verse 12

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

In another form. — This refers to the two disciples going to Emmaus. — That εν ετερα μορφη does not mean, as some will have it, a different dress or habit, appears from the history, The aspect under which our Lord appeared to the two disciples was a disguised one; and he only presented himself in his true form in the breaking of bread, when they instantly knew him.

Verse 15

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

Preach the Gospel to every creature. — See notes on Matthew 28:19. St. Matthew has, all nations; and St. Mark’s every creature must be taken as exegetical of that phrase. It signifies, in fact, all men, whether Jews or Gentiles, and is used constantly in this sense in the Jewish writings; where the phrase “the creatures” signifies sometimes, it is true, the Gentiles in opposition to the Jews, but more generally men of all nations, all the rational creatures upon earth. This is the extent of our Lord’s commission; and if the Gospel, the good news, is to be offered to all, it is that they may believe and be saved, from the power and possibility of which no one can be excluded by any decree of reprobation or preterition, or there would be no offer of good news to him; nor can he be damned according to the terms of this commission, but in consequence of rejecting the doctrine and offer of salvation, when proposed to him. — Every creature is a redeemed creature, or there could be no offer of mercy to every creature.

Verse 18

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

They shall take up serpents. — As St. Paul in the island of Melita. And if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; of which we have no instance in sacred history; but several are recorded in the ancient ecclesiastical histories, and the martyrologies. These, with the casting out of devils, speaking with new tongues, that is, tongues new to them, foreign languages, and healing the sick, are called signs:

1. Because in the sense of wonders, as things unknown and unheard of, either in themselves, or in their circumstances and accidents.

2. As attestations of a Divine commission, and therefore of the truth and heavenly authority of the doctrines taught, and the facts declared. How long these gifts continued in the Church has been a matter of controversy. This we know, that they were not only exercised by the apostles, but conveyed by them to others; and yet we soon reach a period when the pretensions to such gifts become equivocal and doubtful, and finally are to be resolved into pious frauds, or rather into impious imposture. It is not of much importance to ascertain at what precise point between these two periods the true gifts ceased. They were probably withdrawn gradually, and were exerted in some places longer than in others, or appeared in some parts when they had ceased in others. In their nature they were adapted to the introduction and establishment of a new form of religion, claiming to be an immediate revelation from God; but as soon as they entwined themselves into the records of authentic history as facts, they became good and sufficient evidence to carry down the demonstration of the truth of Christianity, along with its own glorious internal evidence, to all future ages.

There was no necessity for their permanency; and that Christianity, pure and efficient Christianity, has, in these later times, made its way without any restoration of such gifts, at home or abroad, is an additional presumption that they were designed to be confined to the first ages, and that they have ceased, not for want of faith, as some have thought, but in pursuance of the Divine purpose and plan. — There is nothing in this view, however, contrary to the very rational opinion, that extraordinary circumstances may even now produce extraordinary aids to God’s servants; and that sometimes they may be furnished with remarkable powers. We have no authority to prescribe one uniform mode of working to Him who is not only supreme as Sovereign, but infinite in wisdom. This, however, appears to constitute the difference between the former and the latter times of the Church; that in the former, what we call extraordinary gifts were so common as to be reckoned, in fact, among the ordinary means of spreading the influence of Christianity; whereas, in these later times, they are, in truth, extraordinary wherever they exist, and can only be regarded in the light of very rare and special visitations.

Verse 20

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

The Lord working with them. — Which refers to the secret influences of his grace, giving the increase to the seed they sowed, and to the shoots they planted. This CO-OPERATION of Christ with his servants, in their employment of preaching everywhere is therefore distinguished from his confirming the word with signs following, that is, proving the Divine original, and therefore truth, of their doctrine, by the miracles by which it was followed. They proposed the doctrine, and then the miracle became the sign and seal of its Divinity.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Mark 16". "Watson's Exposition on Matthew, Mark, Luke & Romans". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwc/mark-16.html.
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