Summary: The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most important even in human history. Coming down from that global perspective, what does the resurrection mean to me? That's the question we'll talk about as we conclude our study in Mark's gospel.
Don’t you like delivering good news? Like: “you got the job!” or “Yes, I’ll marry you” or “It’s a girl!” Here in Mark 16 we get the best news of all—the best news ever delivered to mankind. Though Jesus our ultimate action hero died, He came back to life victorious over sin, the Devil, and death. But I like how Jesus did it, instead of bursting forth from the tomb in a huge flash and taking over, He came out quietly, invisibly, and then slowly introduced His people to a reality that would blow them away!
These two Mary’s had witnessed the crucifixion along with Salome. The two had followed Joseph and Nicodemus to see where they laid Jesus’ body. The practice of bringing spices is akin to bringing flowers to a grave. Since Joseph had already wrapped the body in spices they likely were simply going to do some external application. Of course, they faced three problems: the guard would stop them, the stone would stop them, and the body would have already started to decompose. That didn’t matter to these women, who loved Jesus so much that nothing would stand in their way. What stops you in your pursuit of Jesus? Are there barriers like what would your friends and family say, what you might have to give up, or what if He asks me to do something I am uncomfortable with?
If you are considering Jesus think about how He pursued a relationship with you by coming to earth and going through the cross. Jesus would let nothing stand in the way of loving you—perhaps pursuing Him and leaving other things behind is worth it?
2 – 4
The three recognized that they could not roll the stone from the entrance and wondered who would do it for them. Notice that it didn’t stop them. Sometimes we face severe obstacles as Christians in sharing the gospel. Our job, like these women, is to continue on with the task, perhaps wondering how it is going to be accomplished, but not let the impossibility of it all be a deterrent.
When they arrived they noticed the stone was already out of the way—not for someone to get out, for people to get in to see that Jesus had risen. Matthew tells us that an earthquake had occurred; an angel had moved the stone and sat on top of it.
Matthew and Mark mention one angel, Luke says there were two. It’s just the different perspectives of the gospel writers and their sources. Mark seems to focus on the angel that spoke. Notice he appears like a young man. Angels appear to us as humans, though for most people it is a frightening experience—so frightening that most people fall down in fear. Here the women are “amazed and alarmed” but don’t fall to the ground like the guards in Matthew 28:4 who saw this same angel and “became like dead men.” I guess it just matters which side you are on.
6 – 7
First the angel puts them to rest—“don’t be alarmed.” Then he tells them that they are in the right tomb. Then the greatest four words probably ever spoken “He has been resurrected!” Not resuscitated, but resurrected. This is the main difference between Christianity and all other religions. Others may have great precepts and philosophies, but none other has God becoming human, dying for his people and then raising from the dead—proving that the sacrifice took and that the same power that raised Christ from the dead will give new life to us who belong to Him!
The angel told them to go to the disciples. Luke 24:10-12 says that when they did it, no one believed them, except that Peter and John ran to the tomb to see for themselves. The charge was that they would meet in Galilee but the men were so frightened that they stayed in Jerusalem and that is where they first saw Jesus.
It says here they told no one, but it could mean they didn’t stop to talk to anyone on the way to the disciples, or at first didn’t do anything but later went and did as the angel had told them.
This is where Mark’s gospel ends. Verses 9 through 20 may not be a part of the original autograph. The most ancient manuscripts don’t contain this ending and the early church fathers indicate Mark ended in verse 8. That didn’t stop scribes in the Second Century from adding various endings. The one we have here is the most popular since it seems to pull words and events from other gospels and from the book of Acts.
9 – 11
The fact that Jesus appeared first to Mary Magdalene should be encouraging to us: she was a woman, a sinner, and had a troubled past. Such was her devotion to Jesus that after everyone was gone from the tomb, she remained. This story is found in John 20:16.