Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.PART V. THE SERVANT HIGHLY EXALTED. RISEN AND ASCENDED; HIS COMMISSION TO HIS SERVANTS AND WORKING WITH THEM
1. The Resurrection and His Manifestation. (Mark 16:1-13. Matthew 28:1-8; Luke 24:1-35; John 20:1-18.)
1. The Resurrection and His Manifestation. Mark 16:1-8
Again we notice the brevity of Mark’s account of the Resurrection of the Lord. The resurrection of Him who saved and toiled so patiently, who was cast out of His own city and suffered and died on the cross, was the fullest vindication of His person. A still greater vindication lies in the future, when He returns in power and glory. By His resurrection He was declared the Son of God (Romans 1:4). Had He not risen in the same body He had taken on in incarnation, His death on the cross would have no more power for redemption than the death of any other human being (1Corinthians 15:12-20). His resurrection is also the completest proof that His work on the cross is accepted by God. The women last mentioned at the cross are the first at the tomb. In the first eight verses the Lord Himself is not mentioned as being seen. The stone rolled away, the empty tomb and the angel’s words declare that He is risen indeed. In Mark, Peter is specially mentioned, “but go your way, tell His disciples and Peter.” Peter’s denial is described by Mark in the fullest way. How fitting that he should record the divinely sent message to Peter. What comfort and peace it must have brought to sorrowing Peter.
Higher criticism declares that the proper ending of the Gospel of Mark is Mark 16:8. They disputed the genuineness of Mark 16:9-20. Another hand, they claim, added later these verses. That spurious translation, which goes under the name of “The Twentieth Century New Testament” (wholly unsatisfactory) also gives this portion as “a late appendix.” It is not. Mark wrote it and some of the best scholars have declared that it is genuine. How foolish to assume that the blessed document, which begins with the sublime statement “The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” could end with “they were afraid!” The trouble with these critics is that they approach the Word of God with doubt and reject its inspiration.
2. The Commission. Mark 16:9-18
To her who came to the tomb very early in the morning He appeared first. Mary Magdalene had been under the control of demons in a most awful way. She is there as a trophy of His Power over Satan; as the mighty victor over Satan He appeared first to her. Knowing Him and His power as well as the risen One, He sends her forth with the glad message. This is fully given in the Gospel of John. The disciples did not believe. Then He appeared to the disciples on the way to Emmaus so fully reported in Luke. Even then they did not believe their testimony. He appeared unto the eleven as they were at meat and at that time He gave them the commission. But before He upbraided them with their unbelief. How it must have humbled them. And such weak, unbelieving, doubting men the perfect Servant sent forth to preach the Gospel to every creature. The commission differs in many ways from that given in the Kingdom Gospel of Matthew. In Mark the Kingdom is not in view, the Servant has served, He has given His life for a ransom and upon that the good news goes forth. The message is to be believed and faith confessed. He that believeth not shall be damned. Signs were to follow them (but not all) that believe and signs did follow. Signs were never universal, not even in the days of the Apostles. The Lord’s own sovereign will is over this.
3. The Ascension. Mark 16:19-20
The Gospel of Matthew makes no record of the ascension. If we had only Matthew we would think the Lord still on the earth even as some day He will be earth’s glorious King. The Holy Spirit gives through Mark a brief Word on the Return of the Servant-Son to the Glory from where He had come. The Servant who had stooped so low is lifted so high. There at the right hand of God He has taken His place--the Man in Glory. The work is finished. But the word “work” appears once more in this Gospel. “And they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word with signs following.” Nowhere else in the Gospels is the statement given that the risen One works with His servants. How fitting that the Holy Spirit put it at the close of the Gospel of the Servant. He came from God to take the Servant’s place; He served on earth; He sacrificed Himself for our sins, and now as His servants go forth to serve in His name He still works with them. What joy it ought to be for all who love and adore Him to be obedient to such a Lord, who was such a Servant on earth and whose delight is still to serve.