This is a commentary for you and me. It isn’t complicated, because Jesus wants you to understand it, so you can be healed physically and even more importantly, in your relationship with God, which was broken by sin.
In Chapter 16, we have Mark’s account of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the results of the resurrection in the lives of those who are true believers in Christ.
IMPORTANT POINT: Why is the resurrection so important? It proves that Jesus is the Christ (see Romans 1:4)!
Verses 1-4 — After the special sabbath associated with the Passover, on the first day of the week (Sunday on our calendar), three women come to bring spices to anoint Jesus Christ’s dead body. It is early in the day. The sun has risen. Little did they know, the Son of God has risen!
But before they arrive at the tomb, they talk with each other. There’s something in the way of what they want to do. The stone over the mouth of the tomb is large — they will need help to move it. Who will help them?
When they arrive at the tomb, they look up, and see that the stone had been rolled away!
IMPORTANT POINT: There is no barrier that can stand against Jesus. Do you want to know Him? Do you think something stands in the way? Look up. The barrier has been removed! But you must look up.
Verses 5-7 — They go inside the tomb, supposing Jesus’ body is still there. But instead, they find a young “man” in a white robe, sitting off to the right. They are amazed (the literal meaning is “utterly astonished, afraid”).
Why? Two reasons. Jesus’ body isn’t anywhere to be seen, and this “man” begins to speak to them. Why do I put “man” in quotes? He is an angel, a messenger from God. How do I know? Listen to his words, and look at the other gospel accounts of the resurrection.
Verses 6-7 — Don’t be amazed, he says. Don’t be afraid and utterly astonished. You are looking for the crucified Jesus.
But He has risen! He is not here; He is not where they laid Him. Go and tell His disciples and their leader, Peter. Then he gives them these instructions from Jesus Christ — He is on His way to Galilee; you will see Him there, just as He told you.
IMPORTANT POINT: Do not fear, when you see the impossible done at God’s hands. And when you see the word “amazed” in the gospels, you now know the meaning of the word. Jesus’ works often caused people to be afraid. Why? His works, which only God could do, showed them that He was God in the flesh. And I am sure they then understood that they were not right with God.
Verses 8-11 — The women flee; they are still afraid, they are gripped with trembling and astonishment. They quake with fear and are bewildered.
Mary Magdalene, whom Jesus had delivered from seven demons, goes and reports to the disciples and others who had been with Jesus. They are mourning and weeping — they quite naturally believe Jesus is dead!
But when she tells them He is alive and she has seen Him, they refuse to believe! He had told them that He would be raised up on the third day, but they still don’t understand. They disbelieve (are unable to believe).
Verses 12-13 — He appears in a different (altered) form to two of the disciples— this was the Road to Emmaus experience that Luke records in Luke 24:13-35. Their eyes were prevented (held and restrained) so they were not able to recognize Him — that is the “different” form Mark refers to here.
But the rest refuse to believe their report, just as with Mary Magdalene.
Verse 14 — Jesus then appears to the Eleven when they were eating a meal. He reproaches them — reviles (angrily criticizes) and upbraids (scolds) and chides (rebukes) them.
This is strong stuff! It is righteous anger, because He had already told them in advance that He would be raised from the dead (see Mark 8:31,9:31, and 10:34).
Why did they not believe the reports of the others? Because of unbelief and hardness of heart, He says. Hardness of heart means their hearts are totally void of spiritual perception; they are spiritually blind).
Even with Christ before them, some are doubtful (Matthew 28:17), thinking He is a spirit/ghost (Luke 24:37).
But none will doubt when they experience their own personal Pentecost (Acts 2).
IMPORTANT POINT: Christian, ask your Father in heaven, and He will fill you with His Holy Spirit. You will have your own personal Pentecost, and you will never doubt again.
Verses 15-16 — Jesus gives the Great Commission — Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to everyone. If a person believes and is baptized, they are saved.
IMPORTANT POINT: Don’t misunderstand Jesus’ words. No one is saved by baptism. We are saved when we repent for our sins and believe Jesus took our sins on the cross, and we ask Jesus Christ to be Lord of our lives. Baptism is an outward sign of an inward work of God — salvation.
And what about the one who disbelieves, who refuses and rejects Christ? That one will be condemned on the day when all men are judged before God (Revelation 20:11-15).
Verses 17-18 — These signs will accompany those who go forth into all the world to preach the gospel. These are the attesting signs that the Gospel is true, and that they are operating in the power of God. In the name of Jesus, representing Him by having His character and nature:
— Casting out demons
— Speaking in new tongues (“new” is the Greek word kainos, which means new as to quality, different from anything they have spoken before, and “tongues” is the Greek word glossa, language appearing as a supernatural phenomenon).
Go to 1 Corinthians 12 and 14 for more on tongues.
IMPORTANT POINT: Tongues are a sign of being filled with the Holy Spirit, according to the New Testament. But do not depend on that sign only. The one filled with the Holy Spirit walks as Jesus walked in this world (1John 2:6).
— They will pick up serpents. That doesn’t mean they will let snakes bite them. That would be putting God to the test (Matthew 4:7)! But it will be as it was with the Apostle Paul in Acts 28:3, as he gathered firewood. A deadly viper bit him, everyone expected him to die, but he was unharmed.
— If they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them. That doesn’t mean they drink a bottle of Clorox to put God to the test! But any attempt to poison them will fail.
— They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. Absolutely! It is confirmed time and time again in the Book of Acts, and by James (in James 5:14).
IMPORTANT POINT #1: That’s not the only way the Lord heals people, but it is one way. Mine was the middle of the night, just Jesus and me. Paul saw a man who had never walked but was among those listening, and he saw that the man had faith to be healed (Acts 14:9). So he told him to get up and the man got up! People positioned themselves so that when Peter walked by, his shadow would fall on them and they would be healed. It wasn’t His shadow, of course — it was Jesus Christ in him!
IMPORTANT POINT #2: Don’t believe those who say, “healing is not for today.”
IMPORTANT POINT #3: Glory to God! Not only are we saved from the wrath of God by Christ’s death on the cross, not only are we born of the Spirit when we repent for our sin and believe, but we are able to do what Christ did when He walked the earth (John 14:12), and even more! I’ll be explaining the “even more” in the next commentary I’ll be writing, on the Book of John.
Verses 19-20 — After Jesus speaks, He is received up into heaven (so heaven is up, not down). And He is glorified, sitting on the throne with God the Father, restored to the glory He had before time began (John 17:5).
After He was glorified, the Holy Spirit was poured out (John 7:39)! The implication is enormous — Christ in us, the Father in us, the Spirit in us, completely transforming us, making us partakers of the divine nature, filling us with God’s actual love and power!
Then the disciples (and we) are able to do exactly what He tells us to do, and the Lord works with us and through us. You will see Him working through them as you read Acts and onward.
And the Lord confirms the Gospel they spoke, by attesting signs that occurred after they preached. That is the purpose of signs and wonders, beloved!
As Reinhard Bonnke says, “Preach the Gospel, and the Gospel will happen!”