Gospel of Mark: Chapter 16

Gospel of Mark:

Commentary on Chapter 16.

  • The best manuscripts only include the first eight verses of this chapter, while other manuscripts include several different endings. It is fairly certain that verses 9-21 were not part of Mark’s original Gospel, though many also believe that verse 8 was not meant to conclude Mark’s Gospel. What happened to the original ending is uncertain – but it would be expected to include Jesus’ appearance to His disciples and the conclusion of Jesus as the Messiah as had been announced in Mark 1.
  • v. 1 – The process of placing spices on Christ’s body would not be to embalm it in the manner of the Egyptians but to cover the odor of decaying flesh.
    • It is significant that Mark notes the presence of these three women at the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ while the disciples are nowhere mentioned.
  • v. 2 – This would have been Sunday morning. The Sabbath ended Saturday evening, but it would be too dark to go to the tomb then, so the women had to wait until morning.
    • Note that Jesus was crucified and buried on Friday, lay in the grave all of Saturday, and resurrected Sunday. We speak of Christ being in the ground three days – and to the ancient mind this was true (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Some might complain that it was not “three whole days” – but this conception of time is foreign to the original audience.
  • v. 3 – This large stone would keep the wild beasts from disturbing the body.
  • v. 8 – Based on our knowledge of Christ’s resurrection from the other Gospels, it seems that this verse is stating that the women did not stop and tell the public about what they had seen, instead going back and telling the disciples in private.
  • v. 9 – Note the discontinuity in the narrative, it shifts from the women’s perspective to Jesus’ perspective and seems to ignore the fact that Mary Magdalene was just mentioned in the previous verses.
  • vv. 15-16 – This is very similar to the Great Commission found at the end of Matthew’s Gospel.
  • v. 18 – In the Appalachian mountains there are still some churches which believe in snake handling. Even if these verses are part of Mark’s Gospel, they are not saying to pick up poisonous snakes, but rather that the one who does so doing the will of God would experience miraculous protection (this occurs to Paul after being shipwrecked).

Author: David Mackey.

Version: 1.0 May 25th, 2013.

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