Bible Commentary

Mark 16

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of Mark 16)

Verse 2

[2] And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.

At the rising of the sun — They set out while it was yet dark, and came within sight of the sepulchre, for the first time, just as it grew light enough to discern that the stone was rolled away, Matthew 28:1; Luke 24:1; John 20:1. But by the time Mary had called Peter and John, and they had viewed the sepulchre, the sun was rising.

Verse 3

[3] And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

Who shall roll us away the stone — This seems to have been the only difficulty they apprehended. So they knew nothing of Pilate's having sealed the stone, and placed a guard of soldiers there.

Verse 7

[7] But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

And Peter — Though he so oft denied his Lord. What amazing goodness was this!

Verse 9

[9] Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.

John 20:11.

Verse 10

[10] And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.

Luke 24:9; John 20:18.

Verse 12

[12] After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.

Luke 24:13.

Verse 13

[13] And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.

Neither believed they them — They were moved a little by the testimony of these, added to that of St. Peter, Luke 24:34; but they did not yet fully believe it.

Verse 14

[14] Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Luke 24:36; John 20:19.

Verse 15

[15] And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature — Our Lord speaks without any limitation or restriction. If therefore every creature in every age hath not heard it, either those who should have preached, or those who should have heard it, or both, made void the counsel of God herein. Matthew 28:19.

Verse 16

[16] He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

And is baptized — In token thereof. Every one that believed was baptized.

But he that believeth not — Whether baptized or unbaptized, shall perish everlastingly.

Verse 17

[17] And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

And these signs shall follow them that believe — An eminent author sub-joins, "That believe with that very faith mentioned in the preceding verse." (Though it is certain that a man may work miracles, and not have saving faith, Matthew 7:22,23.) "It was not one faith by which St. Paul was saved, another by which he wrought miracles. Even at this day in every believer faith has a latent miraculous power; (every effect of prayer being really miraculous;) although in many, both because of their own littleness of faith, and because the world is unworthy, that power is not exerted. Miracles, in the beginning, were helps to faith; now also they are the object of it. At Leonberg, in the memory of our fathers, a cripple that could hardly move with crutches, while the dean was preaching on this very text, was in a moment made whole." Shall follow - The word and faith must go before.

In my name — By my authority committed to them. Raising the dead is not mentioned. So our Lord performed even more than he promised.

Verse 18

[18] They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

If they drink any deadly thing — But not by their own choice. God never calls us to try any such experiments.

Verse 19

[19] So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

The Lord — How seasonable is he called by this title! After he had spoken to them - For forty days. Luke 24:50.

Verse 20

[20] And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

They preached every where — At the time St. Mark wrote, the apostles had already gone into all the known world, Romans 10:18; and each of them was there known where he preached: the name of Christ only was known throughout the world.

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