Mark 16:15
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
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(15) And he said unto them.—See Notes on Matthew 28:16-20. There is much, however, that is so distinct in St. Mark’s report as to suggest the thought that it may have referred to a different occasion.

Preach the gospel to every creature.—Better, to the whole creation. The universality of the word is, of course, limited by the nature of the case.



Mark 16:15

The missionary enterprise has been put on many bases. People do not like commandments, but yet it is a great relief and strength to come back to one, and answer all questions with ‘He bids me!’

Now, these words of our Lord open up the whole subject of the Universality of Christianity.

I. The divine audacity of Christianity.

Take the scene. A mere handful of men, whether ‘the twelve’ or ‘the five hundred brethren’ is immaterial.

How they must have recoiled when they heard the sweeping command, ‘Go ye into all the world’! It is like the apparent absurdity of Christ’s quiet word: ‘They need not depart; give ye them to eat,’ when the only visible stock of food was ‘five loaves and two small fishes.’ As on that occasion, so in this final commandment they had to take Christ’s presence into account. ‘I am with you.’

So note the obviously world-wide extent of Christ’s claim of dominion. He had come into the world, to begin with, that ‘the world through Him might be saved.’ ‘If any man thirst, let him come.’ The parables of the kingdom of heaven are planned on the same grand scale. ‘I will draw all men unto Me.’ It cannot be disputed that Jesus ‘lived and moved and had His being’ in this vision of universal dominion.

Here emerges the great contrast of Christianity with Judaism. Judaism was intolerant, as all merely monotheistic faiths must be, and sure of future universality, but it was not proselytising-not a missionary faith. Nor is it so to-day. It is exclusive and unprogressive still.

Mohammedanism in its fiery youth, because monotheistic was aggressive, but it enforced outward profession only, and left the inner life untouched. So it did not scruple to persecute as well as to proselytise. Christianity is alone in calmly setting forth a universal dominion, and in seeking it by the Word alone. ‘Put up thy sword into its sheath.’

II. The foundations of this bold claim.

Christ’s sole and singular relation to the whole race. There are profound truths embodied in this relation.

{a} There is implied the adequacy of Christ for all. He is for all, because He is the only and all-sufficient Saviour. By His death He offered satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. ‘Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is none else.’ ‘Neither is there ‘salvation in any other, for there is none other name,’ etc.

{b} The divine purpose of mercy for all. ‘God will have all men to be saved, and to come to a knowledge of the truth.’

{c} The adaptation of the Gospel message to all. It deals with all men as on one level. It addresses universal humanity. ‘Unto you, O men, I call, and My voice is to the sons of men.’ It speaks the same language to all sorts of men, to all stages of society, and in all ages. Christianity has no esoteric doctrine, no inner circle of the ‘initiated.’ Consequently it introduces a new notion of privileged classes.

Note the history of Christianity in its relation to slavery, and to inferior and down-trodden races. Christianity has no belief in the existence of ‘irreclaimable outcasts,’ but proclaims and glories in the possibility of winning any and all to the love which makes godlike. There is one Saviour, and so there is only one Gospel for ‘all the world.’

III. Its vindication in facts.

The history of the diffusion of the Gospel at first is significant. Think of the varieties of civilisation it approached and absorbed. See how it overcame the bonds of climate and language, etc. How unlike the Europe of to-day is to the Europe of Paul’s time!

In this twentieth century Christianity does not present the marks of an expiring superstition.

Note, further, that the history of missions vindicates the world-wide claim of the Gospel. Think of the wonderful number of converts in the first fifty years of gospel preaching. The Roman empire was Christianised in three centuries! Recall the innumerable testimonies down to date; e.g. the absolute abandonment of idols in the South Sea Islands, the weakening of caste in India, the romance of missions in Central Africa, etc. etc.

The character, too, of modern converts is as good as was that of Paul’s. The gospel in this century produces everywhere fruits like those which it brought forth in Asia and Europe in the first century. The success has been in every field. None has been abandoned as hopeless. The Moravians in Greenland. The Hottentots. The Patagonians {Darwin’s testimony}. Christianity has constantly appealed to all classes of society. Not many ‘noble,’ but some in every age and land.

IV. The practical duty.

‘Go ye and preach.’ The matter is literally left in our hands. Jesus has returned to the throne. Ere departing He announces the distinct command. There it is, and it is age-long in its application,- ‘Preach!’ that is the one gospel weapon. Tell of the name and the work of ‘God manifest in the flesh.’ First ‘evangelise,’ then ‘disciple the nations.’ Bring to Christ, then build up in Christ. There are no other orders. Let there be boundless trust in the divine gospel, and it will vindicate itself in every mission-field. Let us think imperially of ‘Christ and the Church.’ Our anticipations of success should be world-wide in their sweep.

As when they kindle the festival lamps round the dome of St. Peter’s, there is a first twinkling spot here and another there, and gradually they multiply till they outline the whole in an unbroken ring of light, so ‘one by one’ men will enter the kingdom, till at last ‘every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.’

‘He shall reign from shore to shore.

With illimitable sway.’

Mark 16:15-16. Go ye into all the world — To all countries under heaven; and preach the gospel to every creature — That is, to all mankind, to every human being, whether Jew or Gentile, for our Lord speaks without any limitation or restriction whatever. On this Bengelius remarks, “If all men, of all places and ages, have not heard the gospel, the successors of the first preachers, or those whose duty it was to hear it, have not answered God’s design herein, but have made void his counsel.” He that believeth — The gospel which you preach, with his heart unto righteousness; he that receives your testimony with a faith productive of love to God and man, and of obedience to the divine will; and who, in token of that faith, is baptized, and continues till death to maintain a temper and conduct suitable to that engagement, shall be saved — That is, he shall, by virtue of that faith and baptism, be put into a state of salvation: he shall be saved from the guilt and power of his sins into the favour and image of God; his person shall be justified, and his nature sanctified; and he shall be entitled to, and made meet for, eternal salvation; of which also he shall be made a partaker, if he continue in the faith he has received, and do not wilfully recede from his baptismal covenant. He that believeth not — With such a faith as is above described, whether baptized or unbaptized; shall be damned Κατακριθησεται, shall be condemned, namely, at the day of final judgment, and in consequence thereof shall perish eternally.

16:14-18 The evidences of the truth of the gospel are so full, that those who receive it not, may justly be upbraided with their unbelief. Our blessed Lord renewed his choice of the eleven as his apostles, and commissioned them to go into all the world, to preach his gospel to every creature. Only he that is a true Christian shall be saved through Christ. Simon Magus professed to believe, and was baptized, yet he was declared to be in the bonds of iniquity: see his history in Ac 8:13-25. Doubtless this is a solemn declaration of that true faith which receives Christ in all his characters and offices, and for all the purposes of salvation, and which produces its right effect on the heart and life; not a mere assent, which is a dead faith, and cannot profit. The commission of Christ's ministers extends to every creature throughout the world, and the declarations of the gospel contain not only truths, encouragements, and precepts, but also most awful warnings. Observe what power the apostles should be endued with, for confirming the doctrine they were to preach. These were miracles to confirm the truth of the gospel, and means of spreading the gospel among nations that had not heard it.Into all the world - To the Gentiles as well as the Jews. It was contrary to the opinions of the Jews that the Gentiles should be admitted to the privileges of the Messiah's kingdom, or that the partition wall between them should be broken down. See Acts 22:21-22. It was long before the disciples could be trained to the belief that the gospel was to be preached to all men; and it was only by special revelation, even after this command, that Peter preached to the Gentile centurion, Acts 10; Jesus has graciously ordered that the preaching of the gospel shall be stopped by no barriers. Wherever there is man, there it is to be proclaimed. To every sinner he offers life, and all the world is included in the message of mercy, and every child of Adam is offered eternal salvation.

Preach - Proclaim; make known; offer. To do this to every creature is to offer pardon and eternal life to him on the terms of the plan of mercy - through repentance, and faith in the Lord Jesus.

The gospel - The good news. The tidings of salvation. The assurance that the Messiah has come, and that sin may be forgiven and the soul saved.

To every creature - That is, to every human being. Man has no right to limit this offer to any class of men. God commands his servants to offer the salvation to "all men." If they reject, it is at their peril. God is not to blame if they do not choose to be saved. His mercy is manifest; his grace is boundless in offering life to a creature so guilty as man.

15. And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature—See on [1530]Joh 20:19-23 and [1531]Lu 24:36-49.Ver. 15-18. See Poole on "Matthew 28:19". See Poole on "Matthew 28:20", where what we have here is largely explained.

And he said unto them,.... Not at the same time, and place, as before; not on the first day of the week, on which he rose from the dead, but forty days after, just upon his ascension to heaven; see Mark 16:19; nor at Jerusalem, but in Galilee, where be appointed to meet his disciples, and did, when he gave them the following commission; see Matthew 28:16.

go ye into all the world: not only into Judea, and through all the cities of it, where they had been before confined; nor only into the Roman empire, which is sometimes so called, because great part of the world was under that government; but into every known and habitable part of the whole universe, to all the nations of the world under heaven: and it is to be observed, that this command is not enjoined on every apostle separately, as if each of them was to go into all the world, and travel over every part; but that one was to go one way, and another another way; every one had his line, or that part of the world marked out for him, whither he was to steer his course, and where he was to fulfil and finish his ministry: and besides, this commission not only included the Apostles, but reaches to all the ministers of the Gospel in succeeding ages, to the end of the world; and since this, one part of the world, which was not known, is now discovered; and the order includes that, as well as the then known parts of the world, and the Gospel accordingly has been sent into it.

And preach the Gospel to every creature; not to inanimate and irrational creatures, as stocks and stones, the beasts of the field, &c. nor to all rational creatures, as angels, good or bad; the former need not the preaching of the Gospel, and the latter are denied the blessing; but men, the offspring of fallen Adam, the objects of God's good will: these are styled "the creatures", because the chief of God's creation on earth; and are often in the Jewish writings so called; take an instance or two:

"R. Chuninn ben Dousa (r) used to say, all in whom, "the creatures" (i.e. men) have delight, God has delight; and in whomsoever "the creatures" (or men) have no, delight, God has no delight.''

One of the seven qualifications of a member of the sanhedrim is, , "love of the creatures" (s), or love of men: so it is said (t), that

"the holy blessed God, sits in the height of the world, and gives a portion of food, , "to every creature",''

that is, to every man: and particularly the Gentiles, as distinguished from the Jews, are often intended by this phrase: thus

"says (u) R. Judah, perhaps, "the creatures", (i.e. the Gentiles,) knew the love with which the holy blessed God Ioved Israel, and roared like lions to pursue after them.''

It is elsewhere (w) said,

"all the prayers, , "of the creatures" (the Heathens) are only concerning the earth; Lord, let the earth bring forth! Lord, let the earth be fruitful! All the prayers of the Israelites, are only for the house of the Lord; Lord, let the house of the sanctuary be built, &c.''

And in this sense is the phrase used, in Romans 8:22 2 Peter 3:4. Now to these, Christ would have the Gospel preached, as well as to the Jews; even to all, without any distinction of people, Jews and Gentiles, Barbarians, Scythians, bond and free, male and female, rich and poor, greater or lesser sinners, even to all mankind; than which, nothing was more provoking to the Jews; who would, if they could, have revoked and made null this commission of Christ; see 1 Thessalonians 2:16. It was the Gospel he would have preached to them, the word of peace and reconciliation, by his atoning sacrifice; the doctrine of free and full pardon by his blood; and of justification by his righteousness; and of complete salvation by him: even every doctrine relating to his person, as God and man; to every office of his, as prophet, priest, and king; to his incarnation, sufferings, and death, his resurrection, ascension, session at the right hand of God, and intercession for his people, and second coming to judgment; with every doctrine relating to the grace of God, of the Father in election, and the covenant of peace, of the Son in redemption, and of the Spirit in regeneration and sanctification: all which he would have published and declared in the most free, plain, and open manner, with all boldness, faithfulness, and constancy. A compendium and summary of which, is given in the next words.

(r) Pirke Abot, c. 3. sect. 10. (s) Maimon. Hilch. Sandedfin, c. 2. sect. 7. (t) T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 118. 1. Vid. T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 86. 1.((u) Zohar in Exod. fol. 2, 3.((w) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 13. fol. 11. 3. Vid. T. Bab. Chagiga, fol. 12. 2.

{3} And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to {d} every creature.

(3) The apostles are appointed, and their office is limited to them, which is to preach that which they heard from him, and to minister the sacraments which Christ has instituted, having in addition to this the power to do miracles.

(d) Not to the Jews only, nor in Judea only, but to all men and everywhere: and so must all the apostles do.

Mark 16:15. Continuation of the same act of speaking.

πάσῃ τῇ κτίσει] to the whole creation, i.e. to all creatures, by which expression, however, in this place, as in Colossians 1:23, all men are designated, as those who are created κατʼ ἐξοχήν, as the Rabbinic הבריות is also used (see Lightfoot, p. 673, and Wetstein in loc) Not merely the Gentiles (who are called by the Rabbins contemptuously הבריות, see Lightfoot, l.c.) are meant, as Lightfoot, Hammond, Knatchbull, and others would have it. This would be in accordance neither with Mark 16:16 f., where the discourse is of all believers without distinction, nor with ἐκήρυξαν πανταχοῦ, Mark 16:20, wherein is included the entire missionary activity, not merely the preaching to the Gentiles. Comp. on πάντα τὰ ἔθνη Matthew 28:19. Nor yet is there a pointing in τῇ κτίσει at the glorification of the whole of nature (Lange, comp. Bengel) by means of the gospel (comp. Romans 8), which is wholly foreign to the conception, as plainly appears from what follows (ὁ δέ). As in Col. l.c., so here also the designation of the universal scope of the apostolic destination by πάσῃ τῇ κτίσει has in it something of solemnity.

Mark 16:15-18. The Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).—εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἅπαντα, added to Mt.’s πορευθέντες.—κηρύξατε τ. εὐ.: this more specific and evangelic phrase replaces Mt.’s μαθητεύσατε, and πάσῃ τῇ κτίσει gives more emphatic expression to the universal destination of the Gospel than Mt.’s πάντα τὰ ἔθνη.

15. And he said unto them] St John informs us that on this occasion the Risen Saviour breathed on the Apostles, and gave them a foretaste of the bestowal of the Holy Ghost, with power to remit sin and retain sin. St Mark tells us of very important words, which He went on to utter, anticipating the final charge recorded by St Matthew (Matthew 28:16-20).

Go ye into all the world] Or, as it is expressed in St Matthew’s Gospel, “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), and comp. Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8. Contrast these injunctions with those to the Twelve during His earthly ministry, Matthew 10:5-6, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

every creature] i. e. to the whole creation, the whole world of men, not Jews only or Samaritans, but Gentiles of all nations. Comp. Romans 8:21-22.

Mark 16:15. Κόσμον, the world) Jesus Christ, the Lord of all, [is the fitting Giver of this command to preach in all the world].—πάσῃ, all), Mark 16:20 [everywhere]. This is said without limitation. If all men, of all places and ages, have not heard the Gospel, [the blame lies with] the successors of the first preachers, and those whose duty it was to have heard it, [who] have not answered the intention of the Divine will.—κτίσει, creature) to men primarily, Mark 16:16; to the rest of creatures secondarily. As widely extended as was the curse, so widely extended is the blessing. The creation of the world by the Son is the foundation of its redemption and His [coming] kingdom [reign] over it.

Verses 15, 16. - And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation (πάσῃ τῇ κτίσει). He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned. Here is a considerable interval of time, not noticed in any way by the evangelist. And he saith unto them; not on the day of his resurrection. It would seem that this charge was delivered to them in Galilee, and that it is the same as that recorded in St. Matthew (Matthew 28:19), which was again repeated immediately before his ascension from Bethany. Go ye into all the world; not into Judaea only, but everywhere. This command has expanded with the discovery in later times of new portions of the inhabited earth; and must ever be coextensive with geographic discovery. Preach the gospel to the whole creation; that is, "among all nations." Man is the noblest work of God. All the creation is gathered up in him, created after the image of the Creator. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned. These words are very important. The first clause opposes the notion that faith alone is sufficient for salvation, without those works which are the fruit of faith. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; that is, he that believeth, and as an evidence of his faith accepts Christ's baptism, and fulfils the promises and vows which he then took upon himself, working out his own salvation with fear and trembling, shall be saved. But he that disbelieveth shall be condemned (ὁ δὲ ἀπιστήσας κατακριθήσεται,). The condemnation anticipates the doom which will be incurred by continual unbelief. Mark 16:15To every creature (τάσῃ τῇ κτίσει)

Rightly, as Rev., to the whole creation.

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