Mark 16




The Resurrection (16:1-8)

(Matthew 28:1-8; Luke 24:1-8; John 20:1)

1 When the Sabbath was over, that is, at 6 P.M. on Saturday,121 the same women who had watched Jesus on the cross (Mark 15:40) bought and prepared spices and aromatic oils with which to further anoint Jesus’ body (see Luke 23:56).

2-4 When the women got to the tomb, they found the great stone rolled away. According to Matthew 28:2-4, there had been an earthquake, and an angel had come from heaven and rolled away the stone. The guards who had been appointed to guard the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66) were so afraid of him that they shook and became as dead men (Matthew 28:4).

5 The angel, who appeared in the form of a young man, was sitting on the stone at the right side of the entrance to the tomb. The women were alarmed because his appearance was like lightning (Matthew 28:3). According to Luke 24:4, there was also a second angel present, who is not mentioned by Matthew and Mark.

6-7 The angels said to the women, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5). “He has risen. … He is going ahead of you into Galilee … just as he told you” (see Mark 14:28; Luke 24:6-7).

8 The women fled from the tomb. At first, they said nothing to anyone. But then, they obeyed the order of the angel (verse 7) and ran to tell the disciples (Matthew 28:8).

He has risen! Since the creation of the world, there has never been another event as important as the rising of Christ from the dead. If Christ had not risen from the dead, there would be no Christian religion, no Christians. There would be no salvation for man (1 Corinthians 15:17-19). The whole course of history would have been totally different. Because, by rising from the dead, Jesus gave final and absolute proof that He was indeed God’s own Son. God Himself came to earth and overcame the last enemy, death (2 Timothy 1:10), and showed men and women the way to heaven.

Some atheists try to say that Christ never rose, that it is only a myth invented by Jesus’ disciples. However, they are wrong. Jesus’ resurrection is a fact of history. How do we know this?

First of all, the tomb was empty. No one denies this. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, where did His body go? Roman soldiers were guarding the tomb. Some Jews to this day say that Jesus’ disciples stole the body; but that would have been impossible with Roman guards at the entrance. Besides, the disciples had deserted Jesus and were hiding in fear of the Jews (John 20:19). Furthermore, the Jews and Romans surely made a careful search for Jesus’ body. The Jews especially wanted some means of disproving Jesus’ resurrection (Matthew 27:64); what better way than to find His body! But it was nowhere to be found.

The second reason we know that Jesus rose from the dead is that after His resurrection He appeared to many people. He appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time (1 Corinthians 15:6), and many of these were still alive at the time Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthians about twenty five years later. These were all witnesses to Christ’s resurrection.

The third reason we know that Christ rose from the dead is because of the amazing change that took place in the lives of those eleven frightened, faithless disciples. One moment they were fleeing, hiding. But when they had seen the risen Jesus, they became totally new men, filled with joy and empowered with His Holy Spirit (John 20:22; Acts 2:4). There is no other way to explain the extraordinary change that took place in the lives of those disciples. Only the risen Christ could have brought about such a change.

But not only did a change take place in those eleven disciples. Changes began to occur in other people too. The Apostle Paul met the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus, and his life was totally changed (see Acts 9:1-9,17-20). Millions upon millions of other Christians down through history have known the risen Christ, and His Holy Spirit has filled their lives. We know that Christ has risen, because He lives within our hearts.

What is the meaning of Christ’s resurrection? It is this: Christ overcame death. He is able to save us from death. He is the Son of the living God. And He lives today in the heart of every believer. “I will be with you always to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Therefore, let us obey His command and go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation (verse 15).


Jesus Appears to His Followers (16:9-20)

9-11 See Matthew 28:9-10; Luke 24:912; John 20:1-18 and comments.122

12-13 See Luke 24:13-35 and comment.

14 See Luke 24:36-44; John 20:19-31 and comments.

15 Jesus commanded His disciples: “Go into all the world and preach the good news.” He also told them to make disciples of all nations (see Matthew 28:16-20 and comment). Not all Christians are called to be preachers, and not all are called to go as foreign missionaries into all the world. But all Christians are called to take some part in fulfilling the great commission, if not as “goers,” then as “senders” through their gifts and prayers. And, of course, all Christians are called to be witnesses to their own families and neighbors.

16 Man is saved through faith (see Galatians 2:15-16; Ephesians 2:8 and comments). It is also necessary to be baptized in order to demonstrate publicly that we have believed (see General Article: Water Baptism). The Apostle Peter said: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you” (Acts 2:38). If we say we believe but refuse to be baptized, we are being disobedient, and therefore our faith is false. Faith without obedience is not true faith (see James 2:17 and comment).

What happens if a person believes in Christ and intends to be baptized, but dies before he gets the opportunity to be baptized? Such a person is still saved. But it is important to receive baptism as soon as possible after believing in Christ. To delay deliberately is to disobey.

17-18 Christ promised that those who believe will receive power to drive out demons (see Acts 5:14-16; 6:8; 14:3), and to speak in new tongues (see Acts 2:4; 10:44-46; 19:6 and comments). They will pick up snakes (see Acts 28:3-5). Indeed, throughout the New Testament we read that the preaching of the Gospel was frequently accompanied by signs and miraculous works (verse 20). These were performed through the power of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 and comment).

19-20 After the resurrection, Jesus remained on earth for forty days (Acts 1:3). Then He ascended into heaven (see Luke 24:50-53), and sat at the right hand of God (see Acts 2:32-33; Ephesians 1:2022 and comments). And at the end of the world this same Jesus will come back in the same way that He went (Acts 1:9-11). He will come in clouds with great power and glory (Mark 13:26). Until that day, let each of us remain faithful and busy doing the work the Lord has assigned to us. And as we do so, the Lord—the risen Christ—will be with us, to the very end of the age (Matthew 28:20).


1 The prophets of the Old Testament were not merely “tellers of the future.” They spoke the words of God Himself. They were God’s spokesmen. Through the prophets, God admonished and taught the people. For further discussion, see Word List: Prophecy, Prophet.

2 Judea is the southern province of the country of Israel. During New Testament times Judea was a province of the Roman Empire.

3 In New Testament times Jerusalem was the capital of the province of Judea. Today it is one of the leading cities of the modern nation of Israel.

4 When speaking of the triune God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—the term “mode of existence” is more accurate than “form” or “person.” For simplicity, however, the word “form” is generally used in this commentary.

5 Even though John knew Jesus was different from the other men coming to be baptized, he did not know at first that, in fact, Jesus was the Savior, the Lord Christ, whose way he was preparing. Only after the Holy Spirit descended on Jesus did John fully know who Jesus was (see John 1:32-34).

6  The imprisonment of John is described in Mark 6:17-20.

7  In Matthew 4:17, instead of the words kingdom of God, Jesus uses the words kingdom of heaven. The meaning is the same; it is the same kingdom. For further discussion, see Word List: Kingdom of God.

8 Simon was also called Peter (his Greek name) and Cephas (his Aramaic name). Simon was Peter’s Jewish name (see John 1:42). Aramaic was the common language of Israel in the time of Jesus.

9 The Sea of Galilee is a small sea about eight miles in diameter, located in northern Israel.

10 These first disciples gave up their jobs and worldly security in order to follow Jesus. Today there are many so-called “disciples” who follow Jesus in order to gain jobs and worldly security. Let this not be!

11 The synagogue is the Jewish house of worship. The Jews meet for worship every Sabbath—that is, Saturday.

12 In place of the words teachers of the law, many versions of the Bible say “scribes.” The meaning is the same.

13 In Jesus’ time, people thought that by speaking another person’s name one could gain some power over that person.

14 Moses was the great leader of the Jews who received the Jewish law from God and delivered it to the people. That is why the Jewish law is often called the “law of Moses.” For further discussion, see Word List: Moses.

15 Some illnesses come directly as a result of sin. For example, syphilis, gonorrhea, and most cases of AIDS are the result of fornication or sodomy. Some kinds of liver disease are brought on by the excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages. Other illnesses, too, can result from sin. But not all illnesses and accidents are the direct result of sin; indeed, most are not (see Luke 13:1-5; John 9:2).

16 Just as Jesus gave Simon the name “Peter,” so some scholars think that Jesus gave Levi the name “Matthew,” which means “gift of God.”

17 Although all of Israel had fallen under the control of the Roman Empire, the Roman emperor allowed local kings and rulers to exercise limited authority over different parts of the empire. Thus Herod had been given authority over the province of Galilee.

18 Greek was the language spoken by most of the educated people of the Roman Empire during New Testament times; it was the language in which the New Testament was originally written.

Aramaic was the main language of the common people in the Middle East during that same period.

19 The Pharisees were the strictest sect of the Jews. They could be called, in a sense, “high-caste” Jews; they refused to associate with other lower people lest they be made impure. They thought that Jesus was defiling Himself by associating with “sinners.” For further discussion, see Word List: Pharisee.

20 Many of these traditions were man-made (see Mark 7:1-8 and comment).

21 In Bible times, wine was kept in bags made from skins.

22 The Sabbath is the seventh day of the week. God created the universe in six days, and then rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:1-3). Therefore, God set apart the seventh day of the week as a special day of rest (Exodus 20:8-11). The Jews observe the Sabbath on Saturday, and Christians observe it on Sunday. Nowhere in the Bible does it actually say which day of the week the “seventh day” is.

23 According to 1 Samuel 21:1-6, Ahimelech was the high priest who gave David the holy bread. Abiathar was Ahimelech’s son (1 Samuel 22:20). It is not certain why Mark mentions Abiathar here.

24 See footnote to comment on Mark 2:21.

25 The Herodians were followers of King Herod of Galilee. They also were afraid of Jesus’ fame. They feared He would cause an uprising against Herod.

26 Tyre and Sidon are important cities of Lebanon, located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon is a small nation just north of Israel.

27 “Messiah” is a name for Christ. It is the Hebrew word meaning “anointed by God.” “Christ” is the Greek word meaning the same thing. God had promised the Jews that one of King David’s descendants would be the Savior, the Messiah (2 Samuel 7:12-14; Jeremiah 23:5). Thus the Messiah was often referred to as the Son of David.

28 In Mark 9:40, Jesus gave the opposite teaching. He said: “He that is not against us is for us.” By this, Jesus means that in small differences between believers, we must not count each other as enemies. But here in Matthew and Luke, Jesus means that in the big conflict between Christ and Satan, those who are not on Christ’s side are indeed enemies (see Mark 9:40 and comment). Thus there is no contradiction between these two teachings; they deal with different issues.

29 There are two other ways to describe this unforgivable sin. First, it is any sin we refuse to confess. Second, it is the denial that we have sinned (see 1 John 1:8-10).

30 Jesus did not try to keep people from understanding. That was not the reason He taught in parables. Jesus taught in parables so that the prophecy of Isaiah 6:9-10 would be fulfilled that they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding. The words “so that” refer to the fulfilling of Isaiah’s prophecy, not to the reason for teaching in parables (see Matthew 13:14-15).

31 Every preacher of the Gospel is a farmer, or a “seed-sower.” Every Christian, through his own witness, is also a “seed-sower.”

32 The name Gerasenes is not certain. Some manuscripts have “Gadarenes” (see Matthew 8:28). Gerasa was a town thirty miles from the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. The town of Gadara was six miles away from the shore.

33 Latin was the main language of the Roman Empire. Today Latin is no longer spoken as an ordinary language.

34 Decapolis means “ten cities.” Therefore, the healed man witnessed to Christ in the ten cities that were located near his home on the east side of the Sea of Galilee.

35 According to Matthew 9:18, Jairus tells Jesus, “My daughter has just died.” In Jairus’ mind, she was as good as dead. Only Jesus could give her life again.

36 In the Greek text, the meaning of these words is: “continue to believe.”

37 Jesus usually gave this command after performing a miracle (Mark 1:43-44; 3:12; 7:36). He told the demon-possessed man to tell his family about how he had been cured, but He didn’t say he should tell everyone (Mark 5:19).

38 Many Bible scholars believe that this visit to Nazareth is not the same as the visit described in Luke 4:16-30. They say that the visit mentioned by Luke occurred a year earlier. But for the opposite view, see Luke 4:16-17 and comment.

39 Bread is the main food of the Middle Eastern countries. In this context, it means any kind of food.

40 The bag may be a begging bag, or it may be a bag for carrying provisions.

41 The usual Jewish greeting was: “Peace be unto you.”

42 In Matthew 14:13, a second reason is mentioned why Jesus wanted to find a solitary place. Jesus had just learned that Herod had heard about Him and thought that He was John the Baptist (Mark 6:16). Therefore, Herod would certainly try to capture Jesus and perhaps kill Him. But Jesus still had much work to do. His time to die had not yet come. Therefore, He withdrew to the other side of the Sea of Galilee outside Herod’s jurisdiction.

43 According to Luke’s Gospel, Jesus fed the five thousand near a place called Bethsaida (Luke 9:10). Here, according to Mark, He sends them on ahead of him to Bethsaida; or as other versions translate it, He sent them “to the other side to Bethsaida.” Therefore, some Bible scholars believe that there may have been two different towns called Bethsaida.

44 Tiberias is a large town on the west shore of the Sea of Galilee. In Jesus’ time, it was King Herod’s capital.

45 The Old Testament is the Jewish Scripture.

46 In the beginning, the first traditions did not contradict the Jewish law. They gave guidance about many little things that were not mentioned in the law. However, some of the traditions added later on did contradict the law.

47 Moses was the great Jewish leader who led the Jews out of bondage in Egypt. He also received the ten commandments from God. The Jewish law is often called the “law of Moses” because it is written in the first five books of the Old Testament, which Moses wrote.

48 Corban is a Hebrew word meaning “gift devoted to God.”

49 Greece is an important country of southern Europe. In Jesus’ time it was part of the Roman Empire.

50 Syria is a Middle Eastern country which lies to the east of Lebanon and Israel.

51 The Jews despised the Gentiles and considered them sinful and unclean. However, here Jesus does not use the word “dog” to insult the Gentile woman, but rather to illustrate His reason for not healing her daughter.

52 It is interesting that the seven baskets used on this occasion were different from the twelve baskets mentioned in Mark 6:43. A different Greek word for “basket” is used in this section. The baskets used here were a larger type of basket; thus fewer were needed.

53 According to Matthew 16:6,11-12, Jesus also mentioned on this occasion the evil and hypocrisy of the Sadducees. The Sadducees were another Jewish sect like the Pharisees (see Mark 12:18; Acts 23:6-8 and comments).

54 Mark uses two different Greek words for “basket” in verses 19-20. For further discussion, see footnote to comment on verses 1-10.

55 Christ is the Greek word meaning “anointed one.” “Messiah” is the Hebrew word meaning the same thing.

56 Mark wrote his Gospel mainly according to what Peter told him about the life of Christ (see Mark: Introduction). However, out of humility, Peter did not mention to Mark the blessing he received on this occasion; this is described only in Matthew 16:17-19.

57 In place of son of Jonah, some translations of the Bible say “Bar-Jona,” which means the same thing (see John 1:42).

58 To bind and loose means to set up rules of conduct for daily life.

59 The Greek word for soul that Mark uses here and in verse 37 is the same word that he used in verse 35, where it is translated life. The same Greek word can mean both “soul” and “life.” In verses 36 and 37, the meaning is soul. In verse 35, Jesus is talking mainly about life in this world; in verses 36-37, He is talking mainly about man’s eternal soul.

60  Peter, James, and John would later see Christ in trouble and distress (Mark 14:33). But now they saw Him in glory.

61 John the Baptist was not a reincarnation of Elijah. He merely fulfilled Malachi’s prophecy concerning Elijah.

62 According to Matthew 17:20, Jesus told the disciples that if they had faith as small as a mustard seed, they could move mountains (see Mark 11:22-23 and comment). A small seed of true faith will grow into strong, effective faith, by which impossible things can be accomplished.

63  In verse 29, instead of the single word prayer, some ancient manuscripts have the words “prayer and fasting.” In the corresponding verse in Matthew 17:21, the words “prayer and fasting” are also present.

64 “Worldly men” are those men who love the world and the things in it more than they love God.

65 To work in [Jesus’] name means to work for Jesus’ sake. It means to work in a way that brings honor to Jesus. It means to work for Him sincerely, from the heart. There are false Christians who say they are working in Jesus’ name, but their work does not glorify Jesus. Such people are not on Jesus’ side.

66 However, it is all right to marry a divorced person if that person’s former spouse is living in adultery with someone else. For further discussion of the subject of divorce and remarriage, see General Article: Christian Marriage.

67 According to Matthew 19:17, Jesus, in order to test the young man, said to him, “If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” Jesus was, in effect, saying, “If you can obey them perfectly, you will inherit eternal life.”

68 In the Bible, the Gentiles usually refer to any non-Jewish people. But here in this verse, Mark is specifically referring to the Roman Gentiles who crucified Christ. For further discussion, see Word List: Gentile.

69 The city of Jericho is also mentioned in Joshua 6:1-21.

70 Instead of the words on a donkey, on a colt, the original Hebrew text says, “on a donkey and on a colt.” This gives the idea that Jesus rode on two animals. But the “and” in this verse is a Hebrew idiom, and means “that is.” Thus the prophecy of Zechariah is only talking about Jesus riding on one animal.

71 Hosanna is a Hebrew word meaning “save.” It was used as an expression of praise, like “Hallelujah.”

72 Here Mark describes the second time Jesus cleared the temple in Jerusalem. According to John 2:12-17, Jesus also came to the temple in the beginning of His public ministry and drove out the money changers and dove sellers.

73 Son of David was one of the names of the Messiah, or Christ. For further discussion, see footnote to comment on Mark 3:22.

74 In some versions of the Bible, the word praise in Psalm 8:2 is translated “strength.”

75 In his Gospel, Matthew joins together the two parts of the account of the fig tree into one section and places it after his description of Jesus in the temple (Matthew 21:18-22).

76 Telling a mountain to throw itself into the sea was a Jewish proverbial saying used to describe any impossible request.

77 Not all ancient manuscripts of Mark contain verse 26. A similar verse is found in Matthew 6:15.

78 The Old Testament prophets spoke with God’s authority, of course, and they were not considered blasphemers. But the Jewish leaders did not consider Jesus to be a prophet. Thus, in their eyes, for Jesus to claim God’s authority was indeed blasphemy.

79 The Herodians are mentioned in Mark 3:6 and comment.

80 The Roman Empire was established in 27 B.C., and lasted for four hundred years. Its capital was Rome, which today is the capital of the modern country of Italy. The Roman Empire included most of the nations of southern Europe, the Middle East, and northern Africa. For further discussion, see World List: Roman Empire.

81 Caesar means “emperor.” All Roman emperors were called “Caesar.”

82 According to the Jewish law, if a man died leaving no heir, a younger unmarried brother was required to marry his widow so that he would not remain without descendants (Deuteronomy 25:5-10).

83 In these verses in Luke, Jesus is talking about the resurrection of believers in heaven. There will also be a resurrection of unbelievers on the day of judgment (see John 5:28-29 and comment).

84 The Old Testament is often called the Law and the Prophets. The first five books of the Old Testament are called the “Law.”

85 This does not mean that believers should despise themselves. To cease loving self does not mean we must have a poor self-image. We are members of God’s family; we are made in His image. Our worth is derived from Him.

86 In place of the word mercy in this verse, some versions of the Bible say “steadfast love.”

87 Any priest or religious teacher who grows rich at the expense of those whom he is serving is a false priest and a false teacher.

88 It should be mentioned that this entire chapter is difficult to understand. Bible scholars have different opinions about the meaning of certain verses. This commentary attempts to present the most common interpretations.

89 It is not certain whether all nations means every single small tribe in the world, or whether it means “people throughout the world” in a general sense (see Romans 1:5,8; 10:17-18; Colossians 1:6,23).

Some Bible scholars believe that by saying all nations, Jesus meant all known nations at the time of the Roman Empire. If this is so, then the prophecy of Matthew 24:14 was fulfilled before the destruction of Jerusalem. In this case, the word end in Matthew 24:14 would refer to the “end” of Jerusalem, not the end of the world.

However, it’s possible that Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew refers both to the destruction of Jerusalem and to the end of the world, in which case it can be interpreted on two levels. On one level, the prophecy was partially fulfilled at the destruction of Jerusalem; on another level, the prophecy will be completely fulfilled at the end of the world.

90 For further discussion of this subject, see General Article: Can We Lose Our Salvation?

91 The name abomination that causes desolation comes from Daniel 9:27; 11:31; 12:11. Its meaning in the Old Testament is any idol or evil person by which the Jewish temple was desecrated.

92 Judea is the southern province of Israel, in which Jerusalem is located.

93 The times of the Gentiles is the period during which the Gentiles dominated Jerusalem. That period started in 70 A.D. and lasted until 1948, when the modern nation of Israel was established. The Jews regained full control of all Jerusalem in 1966. This is one reason that many Christians today believe that the last days of the world have drawn near.

94 Some Bible scholars believe that false Christs and false prophets never perform true supernatural miracles, but only magical tricks that appear to be miraculous. They say that only through the power of Christ can the laws of nature be set aside. However, others believe that Satan and his servants also can perform true miracles. For example, the Egyptian sorcerers caused their wooden staffs to become real snakes (Exodus 7:10-12). The important point, however, is that we cannot distinguish miracles performed by Satan and his servants from those performed by Christians by looking at the miracles alone. We must look to see if the miracle brings glory to Christ; that is the test.

95 In place of the word vultures, some translations of the Bible say “eagles.”

96 The sign or standard of the Roman army was an eagle.

97 On the Jews’ last night of bondage in Egypt, God killed all of the firstborn of Egypt, both men and animals. Moses had instructed the Jews to sacrifice a lamb and sprinkle its blood on the doorframes of their houses. By means of this sign, the destroyer—that is, the destroying angel—was able to identify the houses of the Jews and thus bypass or “pass over” their houses and spare their firstborn. When Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, saw the terrible calamity that God had brought upon his land on account of the Jews, he decided to let the Jews go free that very night (Exodus 12:1-14,21-36). The word Passover, therefore, means the “passing over” or the sparing of the firstborn in the Jewish homes. It also signifies the deliverance of the Jews from bondage in Egypt.

98 Mark writes about Jesus’ anointing after his description of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, but, in fact, the anointing came beforehand. Mark does not tell us on what day the anointing took place; we learn that from John’s Gospel.

99 According to Exodus 21:32, thirty shekels of silver was the value of a slave.

100 Some Bible scholars say that, according to John 18:28 and 19:14,31,42, Jesus’ death took place on the Passover day. If this is so, then the last supper had to have taken place on the day before the Passover, not on the Passover, as Matthew, Mark, and Luke have written.

Why does John seem not to agree with Matthew, Mark, and Luke? On this question, Bible scholars have different opinions. Some say that among the Jews at that time there were two different calendars in use, and that Jesus and His disciples followed one calendar and the Jewish leaders followed another. According to this explanation, John wrote according to the calendar used by the Jewish leaders, while Matthew, Mark, and Luke wrote according to the other calendar.

A second explanation is that the word Passover used in John 18:28 does not mean the actual Passover day, but is a general word meaning “any meal” during the week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (the Passover week). The scholars who hold this opinion also say that the expression day of Preparation mentioned in John 19:14,31,42 does not mean the day before the Passover but rather the “Friday” of Passover week, which happened to fall on Passover day that year. (The day of Preparation is a Jewish term meaning the day before the Sabbath; thus it always falls on Friday.)

If either of these two explanations are correct, then there is no disagreement between John and the other three Gospel writers. (There are other explanations also.) It is the opinion of this commentary that the second explanation above is most likely the correct one. We believe that all four Gospel writers agree that the Lord’s last supper occurred on Thursday evening, which was the beginning of Passover day that year. (The Jews reckoned the day to begin at 6 P.M.) As Matthew, Mark, and Luke clearly state, this was the main Passover meal (Matthew 26:17-19; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7-8). Then He was crucified the next day on Friday, the “day of Preparation” (see John 18:28 and comment).

101 In place of the words, Yes, it is you, some versions of the Bible say, “You yourself have said it,” which is a literal translation of the Greek. The expression “You yourself have said it” is a Jewish idiom meaning, “Yes, it is you.”

102 Bread is the main food of Middle Eastern countries. In the New Testament, the word “bread” is often used to mean any kind of food.

103 Jesus did not mean that people will eat and drink ordinary food in the kingdom of heaven. Our “food” there will be spiritual food.

104  However, Jesus was not totally deserted. Some of the women who had followed Him came and watched His crucifixion from a distance (Mark 15:40-41). The Apostle John was also there (John 19:25-27).

105 Abba was an Aramaic word which meant “father” (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6).

106 For further discussion of this subject, see General Article: Resisting Evil.

107 The same expression is found in Matthew 26:25 (see Mark 14:21 and comment).

108 Pontius Pilate was governor of the province of Judea from 26-36 A.D. Usually he resided at Caesarea, but during Passover each year he came to Jerusalem to ensure that there was no rioting among the Jews, because during Passover week Jewish nationalistic feelings ran high.

109 In place of the words, Yes, it is as you say, some versions of the Bible say, “You have said so,” which is a literal translation of the Greek text. The expression, “You have said so,” is a Jewish idiom meaning “Yes” (see Matthew 26:25,64; Mark 14:62 and comment).

110 The Roman method of executing condemned criminals was to hang them on a cross (see Mark 8:34 and comment). It was a shameful and painful method of execution. For further discussion, see Word List: Cross.

111 In God’s sight, of course, Pilate was not innocent. He was a sharer in the Jews’ crime. He could have released Christ, but he chose not to in order to save his own position. But he tried to shift the blame for killing Jesus onto the Jews. He said, “I am innocent. … It is your responsibility” (Matthew 27:24). However, it is not possible to transfer guilt in this way. Those who consent to the sins of others share in those same sins.

112 Cyrene was a region of northern Africa where modern Libya is now located.

113 Simon’s son Rufus may be the same Rufus mentioned in Romans 16:13, who was a member of the church at Rome.

114 According to Matthew 27:34, others gave Jesus wine mixed with gall to drink. Gall is very bitter. It is possible that the soldiers did this in order to mock Jesus. Later one of the soldiers gave Jesus wine vinegar to drink (verse 36), a cheap wine commonly drunk by soldiers (Matthew 27:48; Luke 23:36).

115 There are other explanations for the difference between Mark and John. It is not certain which explanation is correct.

116 Not all ancient manuscripts of Mark contain verse 28. A similar verse is found in Luke 22:37.

117  Ordinary solar eclipses occur when the moon comes between the earth and sun; but during the full moon this is impossible.

118 Among the disciples only John is recorded as being present at the cross (John 19:26).

119 Usually the Romans did not allow crucified criminals to be buried; they left their bodies hanging on the cross for the birds to eat. (They did this as a warning to others.) But according to Jewish law, it was necessary to bury the body of a person on the day he died (Deuteronomy 21:22-23). This is the reason Joseph asked Pilate for permission to bury Jesus’ body.

120 Nicodemus is mentioned also in John 3:1-5.

121 The Jews considered that the Sabbath began at 6 P.M. on Friday and ended at 6 P.M. on Saturday.

122 Not all ancient manuscripts of Mark contain verses 9-20.