Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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MARK - Chapter 16

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Mark 16

Supplemental Commentary:

Note.  Only those words and passages which have no parallel in the First Gospel are commented upon here.  For the rest the reader should consult the Commentary on the parallel passages in Matthew.

II.  THE PASSION, DEATH AND RESURRECTION  14-16 (continued)

3.  The Resurrection of Jesus  16, 1-18

16, 1-8:  The Women at the Grave.  Similar accounts in Matt. 28, 1-10 and Luke 24, 1-11.    1.  The burial on Friday evening had been so hasty that there had been no time to anoint Jesus then.    2.  When the sun had just risen: according to John 20, 1 this happened "while it was still dark."  Perhaps John refers to the moment of departure, Mark to the moment of arrival at the tomb; or, if both Evangelists are referring to the same event in general, Mark's expression would mean, "After the first streaks of dawn appeared in the east," while John's expression would mean, "Before it was full daylight."    4.  For it was very large gives the reason, not why they saw that the stone had been rolled back, but why they were saying to one another, "Who will roll the stone back?" etc.  Mark has similar loose sentence-structure in other instances.    5.  At the right side: apparently Mark means, "At the right-hand side of the tomb-chamber," in order to point out that this, the most honorable place among the other unused graves in the chamber, had been accorded to Jesus.  Robe: the same word as in 12, 38; see Commentary there; on the "white robes" of the blessed in heaven, cf. Apoc. 7, 9.    7.  Mark, like Matthew, stresses the prediction of the Galilean apparition.  We should expect him to tell us further of this apparition in the original conclusion of his Gospel.    8.  They said nothing to anyone: we must understand this to mean that at first, from fright, they kept the fact of the empty tomb and the words of the angel a secret, but later told the Apostles, as the other Evangelists relate.

16, 9-13:  Apparitions of Jesus.  On the authenticity of 9-20, see the Introduction to this Gospel.  Mark records very little that seems original in these twelve verses.  If we assume that his original conclusion was lost at a very early date, we might explain these verses by saying that he composed them by summarizing various events narrated in the other three Gospels.    9.  On the apparition to Mary Magdalene, cf. John 20, 1-17.  Seven devils: cf. Luke 8, 2.    10.  Cf. Luke 24, 10 f; John 20, 18.    11.  Cf. Luke 24, 22-25.    12 f.  Cf. Luke 24, 13-35.  Even then they did not believe: this refers probably only to the doubt of Thomas and perhaps of a few others, for in the meantime at least Simon had seen the Lord (cf. Luke 24, 33 f).

16, 14-18:  Commission of the Apostles.    14.  Cf. Luke 24, 36-49; John 20, 19 f; 1 Cor. 15, 5.    15 f.  Cf. Matt. 28, 18 ff.  We need not understand Mark to mean that this commission was given to the Apostles on the same occasion as that mentioned in 14.  Every creature: every human being.    17 f.  Cf. 6, 7.13; Matt. 10, 1.8; Luke 9, 1; 10, 19.

4.  The Ascension of Jesus  16, 19-20

16, 19-20:  The Ascension.    19.  Cf. Luke 24, 50-53; Acts 1, 9-11.  After he had spoken to them should not be understood as meaning "immediately after the preceding words."    20.  This brief summary of the activities of the Apostles implies that the Church was fairly well established throughout the Roman empire at the time when these words were written, but there is nothing said here that would not be in keeping with the traditional date of the composition of the Second Gospel.

Aloys H. Dirksen, C.PP.S


Confraternity Bible:

The Women at the Grave  1 And when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, that they might go and anoint him.  2 And very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb, when the sun had just risen.  3 And they were saying to one another, "Who will roll the stone back from the entrance of the tomb for us?"  4 And looking up they saw that the stone had been rolled back, for it was very large.  5 But on entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were amazed.  6 He said to them, "Do not be terrified.  You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He has risen, he is not here.  Behold the place where they laid him.  7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he goes before you into Galilee; there you shall see him, as he told you."  8 And they departed and fled from the tomb, for trembling and fear had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

Apparitions of Jesus  9 Now when he had risen from the dead early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.  10 She went and brought word to those who had been with him, as they were mourning and weeping.  11 And they, hearing that he was alive and had been seen by her, did not believe it.

12 After this he was manifested in another form to two of them, as they were walking on their way into the country.  13 And they went and brought word to the rest, and even then they did not believe.

Commission of the Apostles  14 At length he appeared to the Eleven as they were at table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and hardness of heart, in that they had not believed those who had seen him after he had risen.  15 And he said to them, "Go into the whole world and preach the gospel to every creature.  16 He who believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he who does not believe shall be condemned.  17 And these signs shall attend those who believe: in my name they shall cast out devils; they shall speak in new tongues; 18 they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands upon the sick and they shall get well."

The Ascension  19 So then the Lord, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God.  20 But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the preaching by the signs that followed.  Amen.