SUMMARY.--The Women at the Tomb. The Empty Sepulcher. The Message of the Angel. Mary Magdalene Sees the Risen Lord. The Message to the Disciples. Seen of Two Disciples at Emmaus. Appears to the Eleven. Rebukes Their Unbelief. Gospel for All the World. Received into Heaven.
1. When the sabbath was past. Compare Matt. 28:1-17; Luke 24:1-11; John 20:1-10. As Mark's account is peculiar in some things, I add some notes. The Sabbath ended at sunset; the women then made their preparations to visit the tomb at dawn. Might come and anoint him. This shows that they did not expect his resurrection. The Jews were wont, as a mark of honor, to surround the body in the tomb with fragrant spices. Nicodemus (John 19:39, 40) had brought spices. Perhaps the women did not know this; perhaps they wished, in addition, to render their own loving service.
3. Who shall roll away the stone? They were not aware of the deputation of the Jewish rulers which had gone to Pilate and secured the sealing of the stone and the setting of the watch over the tomb (Matt. 27:62-66), and their only anxiety was how they would get the great stone, with which the rock-cut sepulcher was closed, rolled away.
4. Looked. Rather, looking up. They may have been looking down before, absorbed in the conversation. The tomb was probably above them, cut horizontally in the face of the rock at a slight elevation.
5. And entering into the sepulchre. Mary Magdalene, seeing the stone rolled away, and supposing the body had been removed by the Jews, runs to find Peter and John (John 20:1, 2). The other women proceed to the sepulcher, and enter. Saw a young man. Matthew calls him an angel. Luke says that there were two who "stood;" i. e., appeared suddenly. Besides, they might easily have both sat and stood during the interview; might have been both outside and inside at different moments, and they might have been seen both singly and together in the sudden and shifting apparition.--Jacobus.
6. He is risen. Through woman death was first introduced into the world; to woman the first announcement was made of the resurrection.
7. Tell his disciples and Peter. Observe that as Christ's first appearance is to Mary Magdalene (John 20:18), out of whom he had cast seven devils, so his special message is to Peter, who had denied him. A touching commentary on our Savior's saying that he came to save sinners.
8. Neither said they anything to any man; i. e., on their way to tell the disciples. "For," says Dr. Wells, "they were afraid to stay, and not to hasten all they could to the apostles." They were in a tumult of commotion, and could not pause by the way to speak to any.
9. Now when he had risen. The remainder of the chapter is not found in the Vatican or Siniatic Greek MSS., but is found in the Alexandrian. These are the three oldest and most reliable MSS. Some hold these verses to be a later addition, but as they are found in all the most ancient versions they must have been a part of Mark's Gospel when the first century ended. Schaff, Plumptre, Olshausen, Lochman and others regard them genuine, while other critics consider them doubtful. A circumstance in their favor is that the Vatican MS. has a vacant space for them. It seems probable that in an early copy, therefore, they were omitted for some cause by a copyist who left space for them, but did not afterwards fill it, and that the Siniatic MS. was made from the mutilated copy. It is clear that verse 8 was not designed to conclude Mark's narrative. He appeared first to Mary Magdalene. This appearance is described more fully in John 20:11-17.
10. And she went. While she was going to tell the disciples, Jesus appeared to the other women, who had started before on the same errand (Matt. 28:9, 10).
11. They . . . believed not. Their disbelief was overruled for good, for it furnishes abundant proof that they did not invent the story of the resurrection.
12. Jesus next appeared to Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Cor. 15:5). After that. On the afternoon of the same day (Sunday) (Luke 24:13-32). He appeared in another form. Luke explains this by saying that their eyes were holden. If their eyes were influenced, of course, optically speaking, Jesus would appear in another form.
13. And they went. Back to Jerusalem, to the upper room where the ten disciples were assembled (Luke 24:33). And told it. They related their whole interesting interview.
14. He appeared to the eleven themselves. Compare Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-23.
15. He said unto them. Probably not at the time referred to in verse 14, but later. The Lord appeared many times during the forty days. These words may have been spoken at the great meeting in Galilee (verse 7; Matt. 28:18-20). Go into all the world. Jesus is the world's Savior; he died for all; the gospel must be preached to all. In the first commission (Matt. 10:6) they were sent only to Jews. Preach the gospel. The good news of salvation through Christ; the way of life. To every creature. To every mortal. None are denied the Savior if they will have him.
16. He that believeth. Believeth the gospel message; believes in Christ as his Savior. And is baptized. These are the conditions of pardon; faith in Christ and obedience to his command. If any one has not faith enough in Christ to obey him he has not faith enough to be saved. He that believeth not. Remains in a state of unbelief. Such have no promise. See John 3:18.
17. These signs shall follow them that believe. It is generally held that this is a promise limited to the apostolic age and to a few of the disciples of that age. Perhaps the plural them does not have for its antecedent the singular he in verse 16, but the plural them in verse 14. If it does not, why is the number changed in verses 15 and 16? The grammatical construction requires us to look to verse 14 for the antecedent of them in verse 17. In verse 14 the apostles are "upbraided for their unbelief because they believed not them who had seen him after he had arisen." They are commanded to go and tell the glad story, and assured that miraculous credentials shall be given to those of "them who believe" and tell the wonderful tidings. In my name shall they cast out devils, etc. See Acts 2:4; 5:16; 8:7; 16:18; 28:3.
19. After the Lord had spoken unto them. The words above, and other words recorded in the other Evangelists. He was received up into heaven. In Acts it says, "a cloud received him out of their sight." He did not fade away from sight, but a cloud came as a veil between him and the eyes of the gazing disciples. The cloud can be pierced by the eye of faith, and our Lord seen interceding for us at the right hand of God.
20. They went forth, and preached everywhere. Acts of the Apostles is the history of their preaching. It should be studied to see how the Apostles understood and preached the Commission of the Lord. The Commission of Christ is to his Church; its field is the world; its work is to preach the gospel; its congregation embraces every creature; its offer is a free and full salvation; the conditions of salvation are faith in Christ, and obedience to him; the consequence of rejecting Christ's salvation is eternal condemnation.