Mark 16:9
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9-20) Now when Jesus was risen early.—See Notes on Matthew 28:16-20. The history of the verses that follow is in every way remarkable. They are not found in two of the oldest MSS.—the Sinaitic and the Vatican—are marked as doubtful in many others, and are wanting in some versions. In some of these (e.g., in the Vatican MS.) there is a blank space left between Mark 16:8 and the beginning of St. Luke, as though the writer had suspended his work and waited for materials. The absence was noticed by Jerome, who says that “nearly all the Greek texts omit them.” Eusebius states the same fact as true of “the correct MSS.;” and no reference is made to them in the tables of parallel passages which were constructed for reference by Eusebius and Ammonius. On the other hand, they are referred to by Irenæus (about A.D. 170), and are found in the Alexandrian and Cambridge MSS., and in twelve other uncials which are nearly (some say, quite) as old as the two which omit them. When we turn to the internal evidence we find that the narrative, which up to this point had followed closely in the footsteps of St. Matthew, now becomes a very condensed epitome of St. John’s record of our Lord’s appearance to Mary Magdalene (Matthew 20:11-18), of St. Luke’s account of the journey to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35), of the appearance to the ten disciples in John 20:19-25 and Luke 24:36-43, of the mission of the eleven reported in Matthew 28:16-20, of the Ascension as given by Luke 24:50-53. Two explanations of these facts are possible. (1) We may suppose that the writer of the Gospel wrote two copies of it, leaving one unfinished, ending at Mark 16:8; that this passed into the hands of persons by whom it was copied as complete, and so became the archetype of the MSS. in which the verses are wanting; while those that contain the subsequent verses were made from a more perfect text, written by St. Mark himself. (2) That the Gospel, having been originally completed by the writer, was in some way, by accident or design, mutilated; that as such it was reproduced faithfully by some transcribers, while others thought it better to give it a completion of some kind, by condensing what they found in the other Gospels. Of the two hypotheses the latter seems the more probable. It seems better, looking to these facts, to reserve notes, for the most part, for the Gospels in which the narratives appear in what was probably their original and certainly their fuller form.

(9-11) First to Mary Magdalene.—See Notes on John 20:11-18, but note that St. Mark’s account of her as one from whom Jesus “had cast out seven devils” is not from St. John, but from Luke 8:2.

Mark

THE INCREDULOUS DISCIPLES

‘FIRST TO MARY’

Mark 16:9
.

A great pile of legend has been built on the one or two notices of Mary Magdalene in Scripture. Art, poetry, and philanthropy have accepted and inculcated these, till we almost feel as if they were bits of the Bible. But there is not the shadow of a foundation for them. She has generally been identified with the woman in Luke’s Gospel ‘who was a sinner.’ There is no reason at all for that identification. On the contrary, there is a reason against it, in the fact that immediately after that narrative she is named as one of the little band of women who ministered to Jesus.

Here is all that we know of her: that Christ cast out the seven devils; that she became one of the Galilean women, including the mothers of Jesus and of John, who ‘ministered to Him of their substance’; that she was one of the Marys at the Cross and saw the interment; that she came to the sepulchre, heard the angel’s message, went to John with it, came back and stood without at the sepulchre, saw the Lord, and, having heard His voice and clasped His feet, returned to the little company, and then she drops out of the narrative and is no more named. That is all. It is enough. There are large lessons in this fact which Mark {or whoever wrote this chapter} gives with such emphasis, ‘He appeared first to Mary Magdalene.’

Think what the Resurrection is-how stupendous and wonderful! Who might have been expected to be its witnesses? But see! the first eye that beholds is this poor sin-stained woman’s. What a distance between the two extremes of her experience-devil-ridden and gazing on the Risen Saviour!

I. An example of the depth to which the soul of man can descend.

This fact of possession is very obscure and strange. I doubt whether we can understand it. But I cannot see how we can bring it down to the level of mere disease without involving Jesus Christ in the charge of consciously aiding in upholding what, if it be not an awful truth, is one of the grimmest, ghastliest superstitions that ever terrified men.

In all ways He gives in His adhesion to the fact of demoniacal possession. He speaks to the demons, and of them, rebukes them, holds conversations with them, charges them to be silent. He distinguishes between possession and diseases. ‘Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead’-these commands bring together forms of sickness running its course; why should He separate from them His next command and endowment, ‘cast out devils,’ unless because He regarded demoniacal possession as separate from sickness in any form? He sees in His casting of them out the triumph over the personal power of evil. ‘I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.’ But while the fact seems to be established, the thing is only known to us by its signs. These were madness, melancholy, sometimes dumbness, sometimes fits and convulsions; the man was dominated by an alien power; there was a strange, awful double consciousness; ‘We are many,’ ‘My name is Legion.’ There was absolute control by this alien power, which like some parasitical worm had rooted itself within the poor wretch, and there lived upon his blood and life juices-only that it lived in the spirit, dominated the will, and controlled the nature.

Probably there had always been the yielding to the impulse to sin of some sort, or at any rate the man had opened the door for the devil to come in.

This woman had been in the deepest depths of this awful abyss. ‘Seven’ is the numerical symbol of completeness, so she had been utterly devil-ridden. And she had once been a little child in some Galilean home, and parents had seen her budding beauty and early, gentle, womanly ways. And now, think of the havoc! the distorted face, the foul words, the blasphemous thoughts! And is this worse than our sinful case? Are not the devils that possess us as real and powerful?

II. An example of the cleansing power of Christ.

We know nothing about how she had come under His merciful eye, nor any of the circumstances of her healing, but only that this woman, with whom the serpent was so closely intertwined, as in some pictures of Eve’s temptation, was not beyond His reach, and was set free. Note- There is no condition of human misery which Christ cannot alleviate.

None is so sunk in sin that He cannot redeem them.

For all in the world there is hope.

Look on the extremest forms of sin. We can regard them all with the assurance that Christ can cleanse them-prostitutes, thieves, respectable worldlings.

None is so bad as to have lost His love.

None is so bad as to be excluded from the purpose of His death.

None is so bad as to be beyond the reach of His cleansing power.

None has wandered so far that he cannot come back.

Think of the earliest believers-a thief, a ‘woman that was a sinner,’ this Mary, a Zacchæus, a persecuting Paul, a rude, rough jailer, etc.

Remember Paul’s description of a class of the Corinthian saints-’such were some of you.’

As long as man is man, so long is God ready to receive him back. There is no place where sun does not shine. No heart is given over to irremediable hardness. None ever comes to Christ in vain.

The Saviour is greater than all our sins.

The deliverance is more than sufficient for the worst.

‘God is able of these stones to raise up children to Abraham.’

Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones.

III. An example of how the remembrance of past and pardoned sin may be a blessing.

Mary evidently tried always to be beside Him. The cure had been perfect, but perhaps there was a tremulous fear, as in the man that prayed ‘that he might be with Him.’

And so, look how all the notices give us one picture of a heart set on Him. There were- {a} Consciousness of weakness, that made her long for His presence as a security.

{b} Deep love, that made her long for His presence as a joy.

{c} Thankful gratitude, that made her long for opportunities to serve Him.

And this is what the remembrance of Jesus should be to us.

IV. An example of how the most degraded may rise highest in fellowship with Christ.

‘First’ to her, because she needed Him and longed for Him.

Now this is but an illustration of the great principle that by God’s mercy sin when it is hated and pardoned may be made to subserve our highest joys.

It is not sin which separates us from God, but it is unpardoned sin. Not that the more we sin the more we are fit for Him, for all sin is loss. There are ways in which even forgiven and repented sin may injure a man. But there is nothing in it to hinder our coming close to the Saviour and enjoying all the fulness of His love, so that if we use it rightly it may become a help.

If it leads us to that clinging of which we have just spoken, then we shall come nearer to God for it.

The divine presence is always given to those who long for it.

Sin may help to kindle such longings.

He who has been almost dead in the wilderness will keep near the guide. The man that has been starved with cold in Arctic night will prize the glory and grace of sunshine in fairer lands.

Instances in Church history-Paul, Augustine, Bunyan.

‘Publicans and harlots go into the kingdom before you.’

The noblest illustration is in heaven, where men lead the song of Redemption.

God uses sin as a black background on which the brightest rainbow tints of His mercy are displayed.

You can come to this Saviour whatever you have been. I say to no man, ‘Sin, for it does not matter.’ But I do say, ‘If you are conscious of sin, deep, dark, damning, that makes no barrier between you and God. You may come all the nearer for it if you will let your past teach you to long for His love and to lean on Him.’

‘He appeared first to Mary Magdalene,’ and those who stand nearest the throne and lead the anthems of heaven, and look up with undazzled angels’ faces to the God of their joy, whose name blazes on their foreheads, all these were guilty, sinful men. But they ‘have washed their robes and made them white.’ There will be in heaven some of the worst sinners that ever lived on earth. There will not be one out of whom He has not ‘cast seven devils.’

Mark 16:9-11. When Jesus was risen early, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene — “There is something very remarkable in this passage of the history. None of the apostles, or male disciples, were honoured with the first visions of the angels, or with the immediate news of Christ’s resurrection, far less with the first appearances of Jesus himself. The angels in the sepulchre kept themselves invisible all the time Peter and John were there. Perhaps the male disciples in general had this mark of disrespect put on them, both because they had with inexcusable and shameful cowardice forsaken their Master when he fell into the hands of his enemies, and because their faith was so weak, that they had absolutely despaired of his being the Messiah when they saw him expire on the cross, Luke 24:21. How different was the conduct of the women! Laying aside the weakness and timidity natural to their sex, they showed an uncommon magnanimity in the whole of this melancholy transaction. Hence, in preference to the male disciples, they were honoured with the news of Christ’s resurrection, and had their eyes gladdened with the first sight of their beloved Lord after he arose, so that they preached the joyful tidings of his resurrection to the apostles themselves.” And she went — With the other women; and told them that had been with him — That is, the disciples that had constantly attended him; as they mourned and wept — For the loss of their dear Master. And they believed not — Such were the prevailing prejudices that had taken possession of their minds, and so entirely were their spirits dejected and their hopes blasted by his death, that, though they could not think this was related with a design to impose upon them, yet they were ready to impute it to the power of imagination, and supposed that the women who gave them the information were deceived.

16:9-13 Better news cannot be brought to disciples in tears, than to tell them of Christ's resurrection. And we should study to comfort disciples that are mourners, by telling them whatever we have seen of Christ. It was a wise providence that the proofs of Christ's resurrection were given gradually, and admitted cautiously, that the assurance with which the apostles preached this doctrine afterwards might the more satisfy. Yet how slowly do we admit the consolations which the word of God holds forth! Therefore while Christ comforts his people, he often sees it needful to rebuke and correct them for hardness of heart in distrusting his promise, as well as in not obeying his holy precepts.Tell his disciples and Peter - It is remarkable that Peter is singled out for special notice. It was proof of the kindness and mercy of the Lord Jesus. Peter, just before the death of Jesus, had denied him. He had brought dishonor on his profession of attachment to him. It would have been right if the Lord Jesus had from that moment cast him off and noticed him no more. But he loved him still. Having loved him once, he loved unto the end, John 13:1. As a proof that he forgave him and still loved him, he sent him this "special" message - the assurance that though he had denied him, and had done much to aggravate his sufferings, yet he had risen, and was still his Lord and Redeemer. We are not to infer, because the angel said, "Tell his disciples and Peter," that Peter was not still a disciple. The meaning is, "Tell his disciples, and especially Peter," sending to him a particular message. Peter was still a disciple. Before his fall, Jesus had prayed for him that his faith should not fail Luke 22:32; and as the prayer of Jesus was "always" heard John 11:42, so it follows that Peter still retained faith sufficient to be a disciple, though he was suffered to fall into sin.

See this passage explained in the notes at Matthew 28:1-8.

Tell his disciples and Peter - It is remarkable that Peter is singled out for special notice. It was proof of the kindness and mercy of the Lord Jesus. Peter, just before the death of Jesus, had denied him. He had brought dishonor on his profession of attachment to him. It would have been right if the Lord Jesus had from that moment cast him off and noticed him no more. But he loved him still. Having loved him once, he loved unto the end, John 13:1. As a proof that he forgave him and still loved him, he sent him this "special" message - the assurance that though he had denied him, and had done much to aggravate his sufferings, yet he had risen, and was still his Lord and Redeemer. We are not to infer, because the angel said, "Tell his disciples and Peter," that Peter was not still a disciple. The meaning is, "Tell his disciples, and especially Peter," sending to him a particular message. Peter was still a disciple. Before his fall, Jesus had prayed for him that his faith should not fail Luke 22:32; and as the prayer of Jesus was "always" heard John 11:42, so it follows that Peter still retained faith sufficient to be a disciple, though he was suffered to fall into sin.

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—There is some difficulty here, and different ways of removing it have been adopted. She had gone with the other women to the sepulchre (Mr 16:1), parting from them, perhaps, before their interview with the angel, and on finding Peter and John she had come with them back to the spot; and it was at this second visit, it would seem, that Jesus appeared to this Mary, as detailed in Joh 20:11-18. To a woman was this honor given to be the first that saw the risen Redeemer, and that woman was NOT his virgin-mother.Ver. 9-11. Concerning this appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene,

See Poole on "Matthew 28:9", See Poole on "John 20:14", and following verses to John 20:17 who gives a more full account than any other of this appearance.

Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week,.... Though the word "Jesus" is not in the text, it is rightly supplied; for of the rising of no other, can the words be understood; and so the Persic version supplies "Messiah", or "Christ"; that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week, agrees with the accounts of all the evangelists, and is here expressly affirmed; the phrase, "the first day of the week", is so indeed placed, as that it may be thought to connected with the following words; as it is by some; fancying there would otherwise be a disagreement with Matthew 28:1, whereas there is none; See Gill on Matthew 28:1 though it is true also, that he did appear on that day to Mary Magdalene, it being the same day he rose from the dead. But the true reading and pointing are as here placed; and the phrase belongs to, and points out the day of Christ's rising from the dead; and which ambiguity is removed in the Syriac version, which renders it, "now early on the first day of the week he rose"; and so the Persic version, "the Messiah", or "Christ, therefore on the morning of the, first day, rose from the dead": and that he rose early on that day, is clear from the women, who set out at the end of the sabbath, when that was past and over; and got to the sepulchre by the time the day dawned; and one of them, while it was dark, and all of them by break of day, at least by sunrising, and he was then risen:

he appeared first to Mary Magdalene; in the habit of a gardener, for whom she took him at first; and this was at the sepulchre, where she staid after the disciples were gone. That she was the very first person that Christ showed himself to, after his resurrection, may be concluded from hence, and from the account the Evangelist John has given, John 20:14, nor is there any reason to think, that before this, he appeared to his mother, of which the evangelists are entirely silent. This was a very great favour, and an high honour that was bestowed upon her; and who had received large favours from him before:

out of whom he had cast seven devils, see Luke 8:2. And if she had been a very wicked person, as she is commonly thought to be, and very likely she had been, since Satan had such a power over her, as to lodge seven devils in her, it is an instance of abounding grace, that Christ should heap up favours on such an one; and she should be the first that he should appear to and converse with after his resurrection.

{1} 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.

(1) Christ himself appears to Mary Magdalene to reprove the disciple's incredulity.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Mark 16:9-10. Now begins the apocryphal fragment of some other evangelical treatise (doubtless written very much in the way of epitome), which has been added as a conclusion of our Gospel. In it, first of all, the appearance related at John 20:14-18 is given in a meagre abstract, in which the remark, which in Mark’s connection was here wholly inappropriate (at the most its place would have been Mark 15:40), πὰρ ἧς ἐκβεβλ. ἑπτὰ δαιμ., is to be explained by the fact, that this casting out of demons was related in the writing to which the portion had originally belonged (comp. Luke 8:2).

πρωῒ πρώτῃ σαββ.] is joined by Beza, Castalio, Heupel, Wolf, Rosenmüller, Paulus, Fritzsche, de Wette, Ewald, and others with ἀναστὰς δέ, but by Severus of Antioch, Gregory of Nyssa, Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, Victor, Grotius, Mill, Bengel, Kuinoel, Schulthess, and others, with ἐφάνη. We cannot decide the point, since we do not know the connection with what went before, in which the fragment originally occurred. If it were an integral part of our Gospel, it would have to be connected with ἐφάνη, since Mark 16:2 already presupposes the time of the resurrection having taken place, and now in the progress of the narrative the question was not about this specification of time, but about the fact that Jesus on the very same morning made His first appearance.

As well πρώτῃ as the singular σαββάτου (comp. Luke 18:12) is surprising after Mark 16:2. Yet it is to be conceded that even Mark himself might so vary the expressions.

παρʼ ἧς] (see the critical remarks): away from whom (French: de chez). See Matthiae, p. 1378. The expression with ἐκβάλλειν is not elsewhere found in the N. T.

Mark 16:10. Foreign to Mark is here—(1) ἐκείνη, which never occurs (comp. Mark 4:11, Mark 7:15, Mark 12:4 f., Mark 14:21) in his Gospel so devoid of emphasis as in this case. As unemphatic stands κἀκεῖνοι in Mark 16:11, but not at ver 13, as also ἐκείνοις in Mark 16:13 and ἐκεῖνοι, at Mark 16:20 are emphatic. (2) πορευθεῖσα, which word Mark, often as he had occasion for it, never uses, while in this short section it occurs three times (Mark 16:12; Mark 16:15). Moreover, (3) the circumlocution τοῖς μετʼ αὐτοῦ γενομένοις, instead of τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ (the latter does not occur at all in the section), is foreign to the Gospels. The μαθηταί in the more extended sense are meant, the apostles and the rest of the companions of Jesus; the apostles alone are designated at Mark 16:14 by οἱ ἕνδεκα as at Luke 24:9; Luke 24:33; Acts 2:14.

πενθοῦαι κ. κλαίουσι] who were mourning and weeping. Comp. Luke 6:25, although to derive the words from this passage (Schulthess) is arbitrary.

Mark 16:9-20 may be divided into three parts corresponding more or less to sections in John, Luke, and Matthew, and not improbably based on these; Mark 16:9-11, answering to John 20:14-18; John 20:12-14, answering to Luke 24:13-35; Luke 24:15-18, answering to Matthew 28:19. Mark 16:19-20 wind up with a brief reference to the ascension and the subsequent apostolic activity of the disciples.

9–11. The Appearance to Mary Magdalene

9. Now when] On this section from 9–20, see Introduction, pp. 15, 16.

he appeared first] As yet, it will be observed, no human eye had seen the risen Conqueror of Death. The holy women had seen the stone rolled away, and the empty tomb, and had heard the words of the Angels, and announced all that had occurred to the Eleven, but their words appeared to them as “idle tales” (Luke 24:11). The Apostles Peter and John also, when they visited the Sepulchre, beheld proofs that it was indeed empty, but “Him they saw not.” The first person to whom the Saviour shewed Himself after His resurrection was Mary of Magdala. After recounting to the Apostles Peter and John the rolling away of the stone, she seems to have returned to the sepulchre; there she beheld the two angels in white apparel, whom the other women had seen (John 20:12), and while she was in vain solacing her anguish at the removal of her Lord, He stood before her, and one word sufficed to assure her that it was He, her Healer, and her Lord.

out of whom he had cast seven devils] That He should have been pleased to manifest Himself first after His resurrection not to the whole Apostolic company, but to a woman, and that woman not His earthly Mother, but Mary of Magdala, clearly made a strong impression on the early Church.

Mark 16:9. Πρωῒ, early in the morning) Construe with ἐφάνη, He appeared. Comp. Mark 16:12. However, it was on that very day the Lord arose, before the dawn.

Verse 9. - Now when he was risen early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven devils. St. Luke (Luke 8:2) mentions that "seven devils had gone out of her;" and St. Mark repeats it here, to show the power of love and penitence, that she was the first to be permitted to see the risen Savior. The vision of the angel had scared her, and she said nothing; but the actual sight of her risen Lord gave her confidence, and she went immediately, in obedience to his command, and told the disciples (see John 20:11-18). She had lingered about his tomb; her strong affection riveted her to the spot. Mark 16:9The first day of the week (πρώτῃ σαββάτου)

A phrase which Mark does not use. In Mark 16:2 of this chapter it is μιᾶς σαββάτων

Out of whom he had cast seven devils

With Mark's well-known habit of particularizing, it is somewhat singular that this circumstance was not mentioned in either of the three previous allusions to Mary (Mark 15:40, Mark 15:47; Mark 16:1).

Out of whom (ἀφ' ἧς)

An unusual expression. Mark habitually uses the preposition ἐκ in this connection (Mark 1:25, Mark 1:26; Mark 5:8; Mark 7:26, Mark 7:29; Mark 9:25). Moreover, ἀπὸ, from, is used with ἐκβάλλειν, cast out, nowhere else in the New Testament. The peculiarity is equally marked if we read with some, παῤ ἧς.

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