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Mark Chapter 16:1-20

Memory verses for this week:  1 Cor 13:4  Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,1 Cor 13:5  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 1 Cor 13:6  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 1 Cor 13:7  Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.


Introduction: We conclude our study of Mark this week as we cover Chapter 16.   Last week we saw the great price Jesus paid for our sins there on Calvary.   We covered the trial before Pilate where he could find no fault in Jesus.   He tried to release Jesus, but they desired a murderer named Barabbas to be released instead of Christ.  The people cried out for Jesus to be crucified, and so he was sentenced to die by the most horrible method of death available which was crucifixiation.     He was beaten so bad that he could not carry his cross up the hill to the place of the skull.   Adorned in a crown of thorns, Jesus bore the sins of the world as God turned His back on Christ just before He died.  God can not look upon sin, and the penalty for sin was placed there on Christ where he died that we might go free.


I.                The Women at the Empty Tomb

Mark 16:1  And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

Mark 16:2  And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.

Mark 16:3  And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

When the Sabbath ended at sunset on Saturday afternoon, the same three women we saw standing by at the cross come and bring sweet spices that they might anoint the body of Jesus in the tomb.   It says it was very early in the morning on the first day of the week meaning it was Sunday morning.  They come to the sepulchre at sunrise with the spices.   Why had they not come sooner?   There probably was a reason, but I think that it was all part of the big plan that the Lord had about revealing the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  As the women walk towards the tomb, they question how they would get the stone door moved to open up the grave.   It was a very large stone, and would have taken several strong individuals to move.

Matthew Henry said this about these good women.

The affectionate visit which the good women that had attended Christ, now made it to his sepulchre—not a superstitious one, but a pious one. They set out from their lodgings very early in the morning, at break of day, or sooner; but either they had a long walk, or they met with some hindrance, so that it was sun-rising by the time they got to the sepulchre. The had bought sweet spices too, and came not only to bedew the dead body with their tears (for nothing could more renew their grief than this), but to perfume it with their spices, v. 1. Nicodemus had bought a very large quantity of dry spices, myrrh and aloes, which served to dry the wounds, and dry up the blood, Jn. 19:39. But these good women did not think that enough; they bought spices, perhaps of another kind, some perfumed oils, to anoint him. Note, The respect which others have showed to Christ’s name, should not hinder us from showing our respect to it.

II. The care they were in about the rolling away of the stone, and the superseding of that care (v. 3, 4); They said among themselves, as they were coming along, and now drew near the sepulchre, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? For it was very great, more than they with their united strength could move. They should have thought of this before they came out, and then discretion would have bid them not go, unless they had those to go with them, who could do it. And there was another difficulty much greater than this, to be got over, which they knew nothing of, to wit, a guard of soldiers set to keep the sepulchre; who, had they come before they were frightened away, would have frightened them away. But their gracious love to Christ carried them to the sepulchre; and see how by the time they came thither, both these difficulties were removed, both the stone which they knew of, and the guard which they knew not of. They saw that the stone was rolled away, which was the first thing that amazed them. Note, They who are carried by a holy zeal, to seek Christ diligently, will find the difficulties that lie in their way strangely to vanish, and themselves helped over them beyond their expectation.  [i]

Mark 16:4  And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

Mark 16:5  And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.

Mark 16:6  And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

While being concerned about how they would get the stone rolled back, they come upon the grave and the stone was already rolled away.   This amazed them and they were surprised to find a young man sitting on the right side when they entered the grave hewn in the side of the rock.   It appears that this was an angel in a long white garment.   The angel tells them that Jesus is not here.. he has risen.   They were afraid, and he tells them to not be afraid… “Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified; he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.”     He invites them to come in and see the place where Jesus lay and look at the grave clothes… which are all that is left.

Mark 16:7  But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

Mark 16:8  And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.

The angel tells them to go on their way and to tell the disciples and Peter that Jesus went before them into Galilee where they would see him.   I think it is worthy to mention that while Peter was the one who was singled out that denied the Lord, the Lord never quit loving Peter.   He knew all about his human weakness, and had warned them all that they would be fearful.  Here Peter is named and that is a great compliment to him.    Don’t be afraid to do something for God.   You may fail and not do things perfectly, but God will never forget your labor of love.   Peter would soon be chosen to preach that great message at Jerusalem in the church there on the day of Pentecost. (Acts Chapter 2)   The women are fearful and trembled the bible says.  They left quickly and fled and didn’t say anything to any man due to their fear.

II.  Various Appearances of Jesus

Mark 16:9  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.

Mark 16:10  And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.

Mark 16:11  And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.

The first one that Jesus appears to is Mary Magdalene.  This is the woman who Jesus had cast out the seven devils (or demons) during his personal ministry. 

Luke 8:1  And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,

Luke 8:2  And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,

Luke 8:3  And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

When God does something great for you, you don’t soon forget it.   From whom much is forgiven, we have a great appreciation for the Lord.   That is why sometimes the vilest of sinners are the ones God uses to do great works in His name.   When Paul was still known as Saul, he murdered Christians in the name of God in ignorance, thinking he was doing God a favor.   But once Paul was saved on that road to Damascus, he was used in one of the most powerful ways of any man to ever live.   Perhaps after Jesus, Paul is the next one I want to meet when I get to heaven one day.  I want to thank him for his faith that has inspired so many through generations of time.

When Mary finds Jesus alive, she goes and tells the other disciples.   They were mourning and weeping about Christ’s death, and simply can not believe that he is alive.

Mark 16:12  After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.

Mark 16:13  And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.

Next, Jesus appears to two of the disciples as they walked.  Apparently these were the two men who were traveling back home to Emmaus.    They brought word to the others, and again they will not believe that Jesus was alive.   Seems like they would have known that if Jesus could raise the dead when he was alive, why could he not raise himself up after death.   But they lacked the faith that they needed to believe.   Had we been there, most likely we would have been just like them.   No one else who died ever came out of the grave without help.   But Jesus was the first resurrected… the first fruits to all.

1 Cor 15:20  But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.

1 Cor 15:21  For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.

1 Cor 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

1 Cor 15:23  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.

Mark 16:14  Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Finally Jesus comes and appears to the 11 as they sit eating.  It says he upbraided them because of the hardness of their hearts.   We all must fight our unbelief and letting our hearts get hard from the world.  God can’t use us if our hearts are hard and we are lacking in faith.  God wants us to have moldable hearts and be putty in the master’s hand.   Jesus upbraided and encouraged them because they had not believed them which had already seen him since he was risen.

III.  The Great Commission Given to the Church

Mark 16:15  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Some people think the commission to preach the gospel is a Christian commission.   We all as Christians do have a responsibility to preach the gospel, but the commission was given to the church.   The mission of the church is to evangelize the entire world with the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  And after we preach to all creatures, we are to not only baptize them, but teach them ‘all things, whatsoever I have commanded you.”  Not all four accounts of the Gospel have the exact rendering, but together they present all things God wanted us to know.  The account in Matthew is the most clear and elaborate about what the commission to the church was.

Mat 28:18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

Mat 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Mat 28:20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Mark 16:16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Some denominations use this as the verse to try and prove that baptism is a requirement of salvation.   But this is not what the bible is teaching here.  God makes a great promise to all those who believe about what He will do.  It says that all who believe and are baptized shall be saved, but those who do not believe will be damned.   But what if we are one of those like the thief on the cross who accept Jesus but fail to do the very first command he gives to every believer.  What did Jesus tell the thief who believed as they hung on the cross?

Luke 23:39  And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

Luke 23:40  But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

Luke 23:41  And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

Luke 23:42  And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

Luke 23:43  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

The reality is you will still be saved, but you won’t be a part of the bride which is the church.   You must be baptized to be a valid member of the church.   It is the doorway into the church.   And the church will be the bride of Christ when Jesus comes back to this earth.   Many will be guests that day… one of the most notable is John the Baptist.   He baptized many, but we have no record of him being baptized.

John 3:29  He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

John 3:30  He must increase, but I must decrease.

John was that friend of the bridegroom.   Getting back to salvation, the reality is that it is faith that saves us, not baptism.

John 3:17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Note what verse 18 clearly teaches… he that believes is not condemned… but those who have not believed are condemned already.   You don’t have to wait to find out where you stand before God if you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  You are condemned already the bible clearly states there in John.  Faith in the Son of God is what takes a person to heaven, and baptism is just another blessing along the way.  It is an act of righteousness, and works of righteousness are not what save us.

John 5:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.


Rom 10:8  But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

Rom 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Rom 10:10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Rom 10:11  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Rom 10:12  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

Rom 10:13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.


Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Eph 2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Eph 2:10  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.


Titus 3:5  Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Titus 3:6  Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

Titus 3:7  That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.


Mark 16:17  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

Mark 16:18  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Note that these signs were to follow the believers.  During the time of the apostles, there were many signs mentioned that the believers experienced.  These were needed to convince many of the truth of the Gospel.  But today we have the completed word of God and those special signs and wonders have ceased.

1 Cor 13:8  Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

1 Cor 13:9  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

1 Cor 13:10  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

J. Vernon McGee had some good things to say about this verse.

If you want to accept any of these sign gifts, then you must take them all, brother. I’ll be glad to prepare a formaldehyde cocktail if you think you can drink it. What am I trying to say? These signs have followed the preaching of the gospel. But they are not signs to continue the preaching of the gospel. They disappeared even in the early church, but they do manifest themselves on some primitive mission frontiers even today. But if someone maintains that they are injunctions for today, then one must accept them all, even the drinking of a deadly poison. Even before the end of the first century, the sign gifts were no longer the credentials of the apostles. The test was correct doctrine (see 2 John 10). It is the Word of God that is the great sign in this hour.  [ii]

IV.  The Ascension of the Lord

Mark 16:19  So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

Jesus was received up into heaven and sat down on the right hand of God.  This signified that the job of redemption was completed and final.   Years later, Stephen saw Jesus in heaven at the right hand of God.   He was standing apparently to welcome Stephen home.

Acts 7:54  When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.

Acts 7:55  But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

Acts 7:56  And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

Mark 16:20  And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

The disciples did what the Lord told them to do.   They went about everywhere preaching the word.   The Lord was with them and confirmed the word with the signs we mentioned earlier.   Are we still faithful to tell others about Jesus Christ?   We need to be.   The world needs the Lord as much today as in any day.


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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[i]Henry, Matthew, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Bible, (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.

[ii]J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System, (Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.