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Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
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CHAPTER 16

Mr 16:1-20. Angelic Announcement to the Women on the First Day of the Week, that Christ Is RisenHis Appearances after His ResurrectionHis AscensionTriumphant Proclamation of His Gospel. ( = Mt 28:1-10, 16-20; Lu 24:1-51; Joh 20:1, 2, 11-29).

The Resurrection Announced to the Women (Mr 16:1-8).

1. And when the sabbath was past—that is, at sunset of our Saturday.

Mary Magdalene—(See on Lu 8:2).

and Mary the mother of James—James the Less (see Mr 15:40).

and Salome—the mother of Zebedee's sons (compare Mr 15:40 with Mt 27:56).

had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him—The word is simply "bought." But our translators are perhaps right in rendering it here "had bought," since it would appear, from Lu 23:56, that they had purchased them immediately after the Crucifixion, on the Friday evening, during the short interval that remained to them before sunset, when the sabbath rest began; and that they had only deferred using them to anoint the body till the sabbath rest should be over. On this "anointing," see on Joh 19:40.

2. And very early in the morning—(See on Mt 28:1).

the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun—not quite literally, but "at earliest dawn"; according to a way of speaking not uncommon, and occurring sometimes in the Old Testament. Thus our Lord rose on the third day; having lain in the grave part of Friday, the whole of Saturday, and part of the following First day.

3. And they said among themselves—as they were approaching the sacred spot.

Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? … for it was very great—On reaching it they find their difficulty gone—the stone already rolled away by an unseen hand. And are there no others who, when advancing to duty in the face of appalling difficulties, find their stone also rolled away?

5. And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man—In Mt 28:2 he is called "the angel of the Lord"; but here he is described as he appeared to the eye, in the bloom of a life that knows no decay. In Matthew he is represented as sitting on the stone outside the sepulchre; but since even there he says, "Come, see the place where the Lord lay" (Mt 28:6), he seems, as Alford says, to have gone in with them from without; only awaiting their arrival to accompany them into the hallowed spot, and instruct them about it.

sitting on the right side—having respect to the position in which His Lord had lain there. This trait is peculiar to Mark; but compare Lu 1:11.

clothed in a long white garment—On its length, see Isa 6:1; and on its whiteness, see on Mt 28:3.

and they were affrighted.

6. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted—a stronger word than "Fear not" in Matthew (Mt 28:5).

Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified!—"the Nazarene, the Crucified."

he is risen; he is not here—(See on Lu 24:5, 6).

behold the place where they laid him—(See on Mt 28:6).

7. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter—This Second Gospel, being drawn up—as all the earliest tradition states—under the eye of Peter, or from materials chiefly furnished by him, there is something deeply affecting in the preservation of this little clause by Mark alone.

that he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him, as he said unto you—(See on Mt 28:7).

8. And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre: for they trembled and were amazed—"for tremor and amazement seized them."

neither said they anything to any man; for they were afraid—How intensely natural and simple is this!

Appearances of Jesus after His Resurrection (Mr 16:9-18).

9. Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils—There is some difficulty here, and different ways of removing it have been adopted. She had gone with the other women to the sepulchre (Mr 16:1), parting from them, perhaps, before their interview with the angel, and on finding Peter and John she had come with them back to the spot; and it was at this second visit, it would seem, that Jesus appeared to this Mary, as detailed in Joh 20:11-18. To a woman was this honor given to be the first that saw the risen Redeemer, and that woman was NOT his virgin-mother.

11. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not—This, which is once and again repeated of them all, is most important in its bearing on their subsequent testimony to His resurrection at the risk of life itself.

12. After that he appeared in another form—(compare Lu 24:16).

unto two of them as they walked, and went into the country—The reference here, of course, is to His manifestation to the two disciples going to Emmaus, so exquisitely told by the Third Evangelist (see on Lu 24:13, &c.).

13. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them, &c.

15. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature—See on Joh 20:19-23 and Lu 24:36-49.

16. He that believeth and is baptized—Baptism is here put for the external signature of the inner faith of the heart, just as "confessing with the mouth" is in Ro 10:10; and there also as here this outward manifestation, once mentioned as the proper fruit of faith, is not repeated in what follows (Ro 10:11).

shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned—These awful issues of the reception or rejection of the Gospel, though often recorded in other connections, are given in this connection only by Mark.

17, 18. And these signs shall follow them that believe … They shall take up serpents—These two verses also are peculiar to Mark.

The Ascension and Triumphant Proclamation of the Gospel Thereafter (Mr 16:19, 20).

19. So then after the Lord—an epithet applied to Jesus by this Evangelist only in Mr 16:19, 20, when He comes to His glorious Ascension and its subsequent fruits. It is most frequent in Luke.

had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven—See on Lu 24:50, 51.

and sat on the right hand of God—This great truth is here only related as a fact in the Gospel history. In that exalted attitude He appeared to Stephen (Ac 7:55, 56); and it is thereafter perpetually referred to as His proper condition in glory.

20. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen—We have in this closing verse a most important link of connection with the Acts of the Apostles, where He who directed all the movements of the infant Church is perpetually styled "The Lord"; thus illustrating His own promise for the rounding and building up of the Church, "Lo, I AM WITH You alway!"

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