Mark 16:20
And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
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16:19,20 After the Lord had spoken he went up into heaven. Sitting is a posture of rest, he had finished his work; and a posture of rule, he took possession of his kingdom. He sat at the right hand of God, which denotes his sovereign dignity and universal power. Whatever God does concerning us, gives to us, or accepts from us, it is by his Son. Now he is glorified with the glory he had before the world. The apostles went forth, and preached every where, far and near. Though the doctrine they preached was spiritual and heavenly, and directly contrary to the spirit and temper of the world; though it met with much opposition, and was wholly destitute of all worldly supports and advantages; yet in a few years the sound went forth unto the ends of the earth. Christ's ministers do not now need to work miracles to prove their message; the Scriptures are proved to be of Divine origin, and this renders those without excuse who reject or neglect them. The effects of the gospel, when faithfully preached, and truly believed, in changing the tempers and characters of mankind, form a constant proof, a miraculous proof, that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation, of all who believe.They went forth - The apostles.

Everywhere - In all parts of the world. See the account in the Acts and the Epistles.

The Lord worked with them - By miracles; by removing obstacles; by supporting them; and by giving the gospel success and making it effectual to saving men.

Confirming the word - Showing it to be the word of God or a revelation from heaven.By signs following - By attending miracles. By raising the dead, healing the sick, etc., as signs that God was with them, and had sent them forth to preach.

Amen - Truly, verily. So be it. This word here, however, is of no authority. There is no reason to think that it was added by Mark.

Mark is more concise than either of the other evangelists. In most instances he coincides with Matthew, though he has added some circumstances which Matthew had omitted. There is no evidence, however, that he copied from Matthew. The last chapter in Mark contains some things omitted in Matthew. and some things of fearful import. We learn from it that the gospel is to be preached to all mankind. Every person is to be offered eternal life, and he rejects it at his peril. The condition of the person who will not believe is fearfully awful. The Son of God has solemnly declared that he shall be damned. He will judge the world, and there is none that can deliver out of his hand. No excuse will be allowed for not believing. Unless a man has faith he must be lost for ever. This is the solemn assurance of the Bible; and in view of this awful declaration of the merciful Redeemer, how sad is the condition of him who has no confidence in Jesus, and who has never looked to him for eternal life! And how important that without delay he should make his peace with God, and possess that faith which is connected with everlasting salvation!

20. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen—We have in this closing verse a most important link of connection with the Acts of the Apostles, where He who directed all the movements of the infant Church is perpetually styled "The Lord"; thus illustrating His own promise for the rounding and building up of the Church, "Lo, I AM WITH You alway!" Here is now the history of a great deal of following time, shortly epitomized in one verse. The first motion of the eleven was to Jerusalem, Luke 24:52, and this was according to the express command of Christ, Luke 24:49. There they were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God, Luke 24:53. At Jerusalem they went into an upper room, Acts 1:12,13. There they continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, Acts 1:14, and chose Matthias for the twelfth apostle. The Holy Ghost came upon them, Acts 2:4. Still they continued preaching to the Jews, till the Jews, by their unbelief and persecution, judging themselves unworthy of eternal life, they turned to the Gentiles, Acts 13:46. Of God

confirming their word, that is, his word spoken by them,

with signs following, the whole history of the Acts of the Apostles is an abundant proof.

And they went forth,.... After this the apostles went forth, from Galilee to Jerusalem; and on the day of pentecost, they appeared publicly, and preached the Gospel in divers languages; and after the death of Stephen, and the persecution raised upon that, they went forth from Jerusalem; see Isaiah 2:3.

And preached every where; not only in Judea, and in the neighbouring countries, but all over the world, in process of time:

the Lord working with them; making their ministry useful, for the conviction and conversion of large multitudes, and for the forming and settling abundance of Gospel churches, and for the comfort and edification of the saints; all which was done, by the power and grace of Christ, without whom they could do nothing; see 1 Corinthians 3:9.

And confirming the word with signs following; the Arabic version adds "them"; or "which they did", as the Syriac and Persic versions render it; not by their own power, but, as the latter of these versions adds, "by the help of our Lord"; see Hebrews 2:4; to all which, the evangelist puts his

Amen; so let it be, or so it shall be, and so it was.

And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming {f} the word with signs following. Amen.

(f) That is, the doctrine: therefore doctrine must go before and signs must follow after.

Mark 16:20. With the ascension the evangelic history was at its end. The writer was only now concerned to add a conclusion in keeping with the commission given by Jesus in Mark 16:15. He does this by means of a brief summary of the apostolic ministry, by which the injunction of Jesus, Mark 16:15, had been fulfilled, whereas all unfolding of its special details lay beyond the limits of the evangelic, and belonged to the region of the apostolic, history; hence even the effusion of the Spirit is not narrated here.

ἐκεῖνοι] the ἕνδεκα, Mark 16:14.

δέ] prepared for by μέν, Mark 16:19.

ἐξελθόντες] namely, forth from the place, in which at the time of the ascension they sojourned. Comp. πορευθέντες, Mark 16:15; Jerusalem is meant.

πανταχοῦ] By way of popular hyperbole; hence not to be used as a proof in favour of the composition not having taken place till after the death of the apostles (in opposition to Fritzsche), comp. Romans 10:18; Colossians 1:6.

τοῦ κυρίου] nor God (Grotius, and also Fritzsche, comparing 1 Corinthians 3:9; Hebrews 2:4), but Christ, as in Mark 16:19. The σημεῖα are wrought by the exalted One. Comp. Matthew 28:20. That the writer has made use of Hebrews 2:3-4 (Schulthess, Fritzsche), is, considering the prevalence of the thought and the dissimilarity of the words, arbitrarily assumed.

διὰ τῶν ἐπακολουθ. σημείων] by the signs that followed (the λόγος). The article denotes the signs spoken of, which are promised at Mark 16:17-18, and indeed promised as accompanying those who had become believers; hence it is erroneous to think, as the expositors do, of the miracles performed by the apostles. The confirmation of the apostolic preaching was found in the fact that in the case of those who had become believers by means of that preaching the σημεῖα promised at Mark 16:17-18 occurred.

ἐπακολουθ. is foreign to all the Gospels; it occurs elsewhere in the N. T. in 1 Timothy 5:10; 1 Timothy 5:24; 1 Peter 2:21; in classical Greek it is very frequently used.


The fragment before us, Mark 16:9-18, compared with the parallel passages of the other Gospels and with Acts 1:3, presents a remarkable proof how uncertain and varied was the tradition on the subject of the appearances of the Risen Lord (see on Matthew 28:10). Similarly Mark 16:19, comp. with Luke 24:50 f., Acts 1:9 ff., shows us in what an uncertain and varied manner tradition had possessed itself of the fact of the ascension, indubitable as in itself it is, and based on the unanimous teaching of the apostles.

20. And they] i. e. the Apostles.

went forth] Not immediately. They were commanded not to “depart from Jerusalem,” but to “tarry” there until at Pentecost they should be endued with power from on high (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4). But when the day of Pentecost had come, and the Comforter had been bestowed, they went forth on their career of conquest,

and preached every where] St Mark himself when he wrote his Gospel had witnessed the spread of the Church from Babylon in the distant East to the City of the Seven Hills in the West.

the Lord working with them] according to His promise, “Behold I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” The word translated “working with them” only occurs here in the Gospels, but is used by St Paul, Romans 8:28, “all things work together for good to them that love God;” 1 Corinthians 16:16, “to every one that helpeth with us;2 Corinthians 6:1, “we then as workers together with Him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain;” and by St James (Mark 2:12), “seest thou how faith wrought with his works?”

confirming] The original word here employed denotes (1) to make firm to the tread, (2) to make steadfast, (3) to establish, confirm. It occurs nowhere else in the Gospels, but it is found five times in St Paul’s Epistles, and twice in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Thus St Paul writes to the Romans (Mark 15:8), “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision … to confirm the promises made unto the fathers;” and to the Corinthians (Mark 1:8) that God will “confirm them unto the end, that they may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ;” and to the same Church again (2 Corinthians 1:21), “now he which stablisheth us with you … is God;” and he exhorts the Colossians (Mark 2:6-7), “to walk, rooted and built up in [Jesus Christ], and stablished in the faith.” And for illustrations of the confirmation of the Apostolic commission compare (i) Acts 4:29-30; (ii) Acts 5:12; (iii) Acts 14:3.

with signs] Rather, by the signs which followed.

following] The original word thus rendered denotes more than merely to follow, and = to follow close upon, to follow in the track of another. St Paul uses it in 1 Timothy 5:10, speaking of the condition of a “widow indeed,” “if she had diligently followed every good work;” and in 1 Timothy 5:24, “Some men’s sins are open beforehand … and some men they follow after.” St Peter uses the word in one place (1 Peter 2:21), “Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow His steps.” The word is very expressive here, and denotes that the “signs” followed close upon, and were the immediate result of, the continued operation of Him, Who, clad in majesty ineffable, sitteth at the right hand of God, and hath promised to be with His Church “even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). The Evangelist does not conceive of Christ’s Session as a state of inactive rest. (i) As the High Priest of His Church He pleads with the Father the merits of His wondrous sacrifice (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 4:14; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2). (ii) As the Prophet, He teaches, inspires, and guides His Church into all truth (Deuteronomy 18:15; Luke 24:19). (iii) As King of kings and Lord of lords, He sways the destinies of the universe, and employs the agency of heaven and earth for the government and defence of His people, till He shall have subdued all things unto Himself (Php 3:21), and the last enemy, even death, shall be destroyed (1 Corinthians 15:26), and the victory, for which all Creation waits, shall be finally and completely won (Romans 8:19-23).

Amen] This is wanting in the best MSS. For some remarks respecting the apotheosis of the Cæsars at the era of the Ascension, see Abp Trench’s Hulsean Lectures, and compare the striking fact that “on public buildings at Ephesus, Augustus is found, from inscriptions on recently discovered buildings there, to have been described by the singular title Υἱὸς Θεοῦ, “Song of Solomon of God.” With this revelation of the great Conqueror, the true divus Cæsar, seated at the right hand of God—of which glorious reality the divine honours paid to the emperors at the very time he was writing from Rome were the dark shadow—the second Evangelist brings his Gospel to a close. He has portrayed the Son of Man and the Son of God as He wrought on earth, in all the fulness of His living Energy, “going about doing good” (Acts 10:38); He leaves us to realize, and realizing to believe in, His continued operation in the very heaven of heavens, in behalf of His Church and the Humanity He came to save.

“The golden censer in His hand,

He offers hearts from every land,

Tied to His own by gentlest band

Of silent love:

Above Him winged blessings stand

In act to move.”

Keble’s christian Year. Ascension Day.

Mark 16:20. Πανταχοῦ, everywhere) Mark 16:15. At the time when Mark wrote his Gospel, even then already the apostles had gone forth into all the world; Romans 10:18 : on this account it is that, excepting Peter, James the Elder, John, James the Less, and Jude, we read no mention in the books of the New Testament of any apostle, save Paul, after the second or fifteenth chapter of the Acts. Each one became most known in that place and country where he preached. The name of no apostle was celebrated throughout the whole world, but the name of Jesus Christ alone.[13]

[13] Bengel, J. A. (1860). Vol. 1: Gnomon of the New Testament (M. E. Bengel & J. C. F. Steudel, Ed.) (J. Bandinel & A. R. Fausset, Trans.) (491–577). Edinburgh: T&T Clark.

Verse 20. - And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed. Amen. These words are alluded to in several passages by Justin Martyr (about A.D. ), and, for the reasons given above, could not have been written later than the time of miracles being wrought. They form a fitting introduction to the Acts of the Apostles. Cornelius a Lapide concludes his Commentary upon St. Mark with the following beautiful apostrophe of St. Augustine: - "O kingdom of everlasting blessedness, where youth never grows old, where beauty never fades, where love never waxes cold, where health never fails, where joy never decreases, where life never ends!"

Mark 16:20Following (ἐπακολουθούντων)

Following closely: force of ἐπί. Both this and the word for follow, in Mark 16:17, are foreign to Mark's diction, though he frequently uses the simple verb.

A manuscript of the eighth or ninth century, known as L, has, at the close of Mark 16:8, these words: "In some instances there is added as follows." Then we read: "But all the things enjoined they announced without delay to those who were around Peter (i.e., to Peter and those who were with him). And afterward Jesus himself, from the east unto the west, sent forth through them the sacred and incorruptible message of eternal salvation."

The subject of the last twelve verses of this Gospel may be found critically discussed in the second volume of Westcott and Hort's Greek Testament; by Dean John W. Burgon in his monograph, "The Last Twelve Verses of the Gospel according to St. Mark Vindicated against Recent Objectors and Established;" Frederick Henry Scrivener, LL.D., "Introduction to the Criticism of the New Testament;" James Morison, D.D., "Practical Commentary on the Gospel according to St. Mark;" Samuel Davidson, D.D., "Introduction to the Study of the New Testament;" Philip Schaff, D.D., "History of the Christian Church;" Canon F. C. Cook in "Speaker's Commentary on Mark ;" Samuel P. Tregelles, LL.D., "On the Printed Text of the Greek Testament;" also in the commentaries of Alford and Meyer.

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