Mark 16 Study Notes


16:1-8 Women were the first to know that Jesus was risen (Mt 28:1-8; Lk 24:1-8; Jn 20:1-2). Mary Magdalene’s name heads the list in all four Gospels. The role of women in this account is astonishing since Judaism did not accept the testimony of women as legally valid.

16:1 The Sabbath was over at about 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. This allowed the women to buy more spices that evening. All three women had witnessed Jesus’s crucifixion (15:40), and two of them had witnessed his burial (15:47). They would also be the first witnesses to his resurrection. On Mary the mother of James, see note at 15:40. The Jews anointed bodies to cover the stench of decay.

16:2 The first day of the week was Sunday. Very early in the morning probably indicates when the women left for the tomb, whereas at sunrise indicates when they arrived.

16:3 That the women wondered who would roll away the stone reveals that they did not know that the tomb was sealed or guarded (Mt 27:62-66).

16:4 According to Matthew (Mt 28:2-4) an angel had rolled away the stone.

16:5 The stone was not moved to let Jesus out but to let witnesses enter. That the women entered the tomb confirms it was a large family tomb. The young man dressed in a white robe (Mt 28:3; Ac 1:10; 10:30) was an angel (Mt 28:5; Lk 24:4). Luke mentions two angels (Lk 24:3-4); Mark focuses on the spokesman.

16:6 The words of reassurance (don’t be alarmed) are a standard feature in angelic manifestations (Dn 10:12,19; Mt 28:5; Lk 1:13,30; 2:10; Ac 27:24). On three previous occasions in Mark, he was designated Jesus of Nazareth (1:23; 10:47; 14:67). Here the word serves to connect the historical Jesus who was crucified to the one who has risen . . . See the place where they put him recalls 15:47 (cp. Jn 20:6-7) and indicates the shelf inside the tomb on which Jesus’s body was placed.

16:7 Go, tell are the two things that all followers of Jesus are to do. Peter is given special mention only in Mark as an encouragement following his denials of Jesus (14:66-72). The message for the disciples to meet Jesus in Galilee recalls Jesus’s prophecy in 14:28.

16:8 Trembling and astonishment overwhelmed the women, whether from fear or excitement (cp. Mt 28:8). Most likely it was both. The phrase they said nothing to anyone, stated only by Mark, is a strong double negative. It does not imply that they forever kept silent but that they initially refused to speak about their bewildering experience (Mt 28:8; Lk 24:9-10).

16:9-20 These verses do not appear in some of the earliest manuscripts of Mark’s Gospel.