From:  Over 50 Interpreters Explain the Gospel of Mark  Return to Home 

By Roland H. Worth, Jr.  © 2013


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16:1                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     When the Sabbath was over, Mary of Magdala, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, in order to come and anoint His body.

WEB:              When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, that they might come and anoint him.

Young’s:         And the sabbath having past, Mary the Magdalene, and Mary of James, and Salome, bought spices, that having come, they may anoint him,

Conte (RC):    And when the Sabbath had passed, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought aromatic spices, so that when they arrived they could anoint Jesus.


16:1                 Now when the Sabbath was past.  i.e., in the evening, when the Sabbath was over--Saturday evening, according to our way of speaking.  [44]

                        Alternate interpretation:   Having bought a portion of the spices which they thought necessary on Friday evening (Luke 23:56), they completed the purchase "when the Sabbath was past;” and while this may have been after sunset on the evening of the Sabbath, it is more likely that it was done as the women were on their way to the sepulcher early on Sunday morning.  [38]

                        Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James.  The second Mary is here "the mother of James;" in the preceding verse she was called the mother of Joses; at chapter 15:40, "the mother of James the less and of Joses."  No reason can be given for the variation.  [23]

                        And Salome, had bought spices.  But did not, according to Mark, take them to the tomb till "early on the first day of the week . . . when the sun was risen” (vs. 2).  [44]

                        spices.  In part at least aromatic oils, as is shown by the fact that they were to be used to anoint the body.  [35]           

                        that they might come and anoint Him.  What had been done on the Friday evening had been done in haste and yet sufficiently for the preservation of the sacred body, if that had been needful, from decay.  The remaining work could be done more carefully and tenderly at the tomb.  [39]

                        In depth:  The frame of mind implied by their preparation to complete the embalming  [23].  Observe, again, that their purpose implied the full conviction that His death was real and final, like any other death.  The wretched Sabbath that had intervened brought no new thoughts to their minds and no convincing remembrance of the Master's prediction.  No disciple, apparently, had been able even to suggest to another the thought of a resurrection.  In this blank despair of theirs we have a most valuable confirmation of the event.  If they had been expecting a resurrection, we might have thought them less trustworthy in their declaration that it occurred; but they came to the tomb to complete the embalming.



16:2                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     So, very soon after sunrise on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb;

WEB:              Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.

Young’s:         and early in the morning of the first of the sabbaths, they come unto the sepulchre, at the rising of the sun,

Conte (RC):    And very early in the morning, on the first of the Sabbaths, they went to the tomb, the sun having now risen.


16:2                 And very early in the morning.  Alford says that as the sun was up, it could not be called “very early."  However, it was "very early” for them to reach the sepulcher when we consider the distance they had come and the business they had attended to by the way.  [38]

                        on the first day of the week.  The "Lord's day" (Revelation 1:10), and our Sunday.  [8]

                        Friday night, Saturday, and Saturday night passed away, three days according to the Jewish reckoning.  Compare (1) 1 Samuel 30:12-13; 2 Chronicles; 10:5, 12; (b) Matthew 12:40; John 2:19; Matthew 27:63.  [8]

                        they came unto the sepulcher [tomb, NKJV] at the rising of the sun.  [The expression] is sometimes used indefinitely of very early in the morning, even of the first appearance of dawn in the east (Judges 9:33; Psalms 104:22).  [45]

                        In depth:  At what point in the morning hours did the women arrive at the tomb where Jesus was buried  [38]?  Matthew says they came “as it began to dawn" [Matthew 28:1]; and John, “while it was yet dark” [John 20:1].  Between Matthew and John there is no difference except in expression:  for it is yet dark when it begins to dawn.

                        But between both of these writers and Mark there is a difference which demands attention.  It is common with skeptics, and with some from whom better things might be expected, to pronounce all such differences contradictions and to dismiss them from consideration without a serious attempt to see whether they are real contradictions.  A contradiction can justly be affirmed only when two statements are such that both can not be true..  When they may be true, it is unjust to cast suspicion on either unless it is in itself improbable.

                        In the present case, we have only to inquire whether it may be true, in a proper sense of the terms, that the women went to the sepulcher at the  "rising of the sun"  and yet true that they went  "as it began to dawn."

                        If I were to see a man who had walked from the city of Lexington [Kentucky] enter the gate at Ashland (distant nearly two miles) at sunrise, I would not hesitate to say that he went to Ashland at sunrise.  But another person who saw him start from his home in Lexington would as truthfully say that the man went to Ashland about daybreak.

                        Again, if I were to pass from Lexington to Louisville on the train which leaves here at 6 AM and arrive there at 11 AM, a friend with Lexington in his mind would say that I went on the six o'clock train; while another, with Louisville in his mind, would say I went on the eleven o'clock train; and both would speak the truth.           

                        A man as far away as Boston or London, on reading either of these accounts, might be a little puzzled at first, but if her were reasonable and just he would not charge a contradiction; for similar localities and expressions at his own door would soon suggest the true explanation of the apparent discrepancy.  Give our sacred historians the benefit of this common justice and all is clear.

                        Matthew says the women went to the sepulcher  "as it began to dawn."  Does he mean that they arrived then, or that they started then?  Beyond all question the language may mean either and it must be understood according to the probabilities of the case.  But what are the probabilities?

                        Another credible writer says they went at sunrise.  His statement, considered by itself, might also mean either that they started, or that they arrived at sunrise:  but as the time that he designates is the later, and that of Matthew the earlier, we at once perceive that Matthew must be speaking of the time at which they started and Mark of the time at which they arrived.

                        This is the conclusion which justice and common sense alike demand.  It  is not a strained attempt at harmony, but a harmony which actually exists and is clearly perceptible.

                        It is made still clearer when we remember that Bethany, the place where Jesus and His disciples had lodged every night during the receding week (Luke 21:37) and whence the women had almost certainly come, was nearly two miles from Jerusalem, so that the women would have had to walk briskly in order to reach the city, purchase more spices, and arrive at the sepulcher by sunrise.    



16:3                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     and they were saying to one another, 'Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?"

WEB:              They were saying among themselves, "Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?"

Young’s:         and they said among themselves, 'Who shall roll away for us the stone out of the door of the sepulchre?'

Conte (RC):    And they said to one another, "Who will roll back the stone for us, away from the entrance of the tomb?


16:3                 And they said among themselves.   It is not at all strange that in the agitation of the time they should prepare themselves, and even find themselves almost there, without ever thinking of the great stone, especially if the rolling of it up to the door was something that was not always done.  [23]         

                        Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?  The fact that as the women approached the sepulcher they raised the question shows that the sealing of the stone and the placing of a guard were unknown to them; otherwise they would not have expected that the stone would be removed at all, nor would they come for the purpose which brought them.  It is probable that none of the disciples knew this until after the resurrection.  [38]



16:4                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     But then, looking up, they saw that the stone was already rolled back: for it was of immense size.

WEB:              for it was very big. Looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back.

Young’s:         And having looked, they see that the stone hath been rolled away -- for it was very great,

Conte (RC):    And looking, they saw that the stone was rolled back. For certainly it was very large.


16:4                 And when they looked [NKJV adds, up].  In their sorrow, they would naturally go with downcast countenances, and absorbed in thought.  Whether the tomb was above them, or on a level with the ground, cannot be determined by this expression.  [8]

                        they saw that the stone was rolled away.  Only Matthew (28:2-4) inserts an account of how the stone was removed.  [44]

                        It is conjectured by some that all entered except Mary of Magdala, who, seeing in the rolling away of the stone the confirmation of her worst fears, fled away to find Peter and John.  On her return to weep at the tomb she met the risen Lord.  See verse 9.  Others suppose that she remained behind when the other women departed from the sepulchre, and had a second vision, and met Christ Himself.  [8]

                        for it was very great [large, NKJV].  Its great size is mentioned to account both for their question and for the implied surprise when they saw that the stone was removed.  [38]

                        The rolling away of the stone is mentioned by all the evangelists; the conversation of the women about it, by Mark alone.  [23]



16:5                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     Upon entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at their right hand, clothed in a long white robe. They were astonished and terrified.

WEB:              Entering into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were amazed.

Young’s:         and having entered into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right hand, arrayed in a long white robe, and they were amazed.

Conte (RC):    And upon entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, covered with a white robe, and they were astonished.


16:5                 And entering into the sepulchre.  The women are three in Mark, two (the two Marys) in Matthew, of indeterminate number in Luke; John speaks only of Mary Magdalene.  [23]

                        they saw a young man.  Although Mark does not say expressly that this young man was an angel, the narrative clearly implies that he was.  He was the same angel who had rolled the stone away, and who sat on it until the guards fled, when he entered the sepulcher, and there awaited the arrival of the women (Matthew 28:2-5).  He was also one of the two mentioned by Luke (24:4), he alone being mentioned by Matthew and Mark because he was the actor and speaker. [38]

                        sitting on the right side.  Having respect to the position in which his Lord had lain there.  This trait is peculiar to Mark.  [43]

                        When he first rolled back the stone he sat upon it (Matthew 28:2); but now he was probably within the sepulchre.  [45]   

           clothed in a long white garment [robe, NKJV].  The white refers not to the color alone, but the brightness of their covering.  "Glistering" (Luke 24:4).  [8]

                        and they were affrighted [alarmed, NKJV].  The word here used expresses both astonishment and fear, the emotions that would naturally result from their finding this superhuman being, where they expected to see the dead body of Jesus.  [45]



16:6                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     But he said to them, "Do not be terrified. It is Jesus you are looking for--the Nazarene who has been crucified. He has come back to life: He is not here: this is the place where they laid Him.

WEB:              He said to them, "Don't be amazed. You seek Jesus, the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen. He is not here. Behold, the place where they laid him!

Young’s:         And he saith to them, 'Be not amazed, ye seek Jesus the Nazarene, the crucified: he did rise -- he is not here; lo, the place where they laid him!

Conte (RC):    And he said to them, "Do not become frightened. You are seeking Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified One. He has risen. He is not here. Behold, the place where they laid him.


16:6                 And he saith unto them.  Hilary:  "Through woman death was first introduced into the world:  to woman the first announcement was made of the resurrection."  [11]

                        Be not affrighted:  Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified:  He is risen.   He is not here.  "Why seek ye the living among the dead?" (Luke 24:5).  [45]

                        Behold the place where they laid Him.  The now vacant place, described by John (20:5-7) as he saw it a little later--a request intended, apparently, to bring conviction and assurance to their minds.  [23]      



16:7                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     But go and tell His disciples and Peter that He is going before you into Galilee: and that there you will see Him, as He told you."

WEB:              But go, tell his disciples and Peter, 'He goes before you into Galilee. There you will see him, as he said to you.'"

Young’s:         and go, say to his disciples, and Peter, that he doth go before you to Galilee; there ye shall see him, as he said to you.'

Conte (RC):    But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you into Galilee. There you shall see him, just as he told you."


16:7                 But go your way, tell His disciples and Peter.  Why is not Peter included among the disciples?  For this plain reason--he had forfeited his discipleship and all right to the honour and privileges of an apostle by denying his Lord and Master.  However, he is now a penitent--tell him that Jesus is risen from the dead and is ready to heal his backsliding and love him freely; so that, after being converted, he may strengthen his brethren.  [21]

                        St. Gregory says:  "If the angel had not named Peter, he would not have dared to come amongst the disciples.  Therefore he is specially named, lest he should despair on account of his denial."  It was evidently intended as a special message of comfort to Peter.  [39]

                        Alternate interpretations:     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.  We are not to infer 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, like other disciples, he was suffered to fall into sin.  [42]

                        In the words, “Tell his disciples and Peter,"  the angel recognized Peter's pre-eminence, and intended also, perhaps, by the very honor conferred on him, to rebuke him for his recent denial of his Lord.  [38]

                        that He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him, as He said unto you.  Cf. [Mark] 14:28; see also John 21:1; Matthew 28:16-17.  [35]

                        Yet He did not go at once to Galilee, but met the apostles, as well as the women, at Jerusalem.  The explanation probably lies in the fact that Galilee was appointed to be the scene of His manifestation of Himself to the largest assembly of witnesses, and of His most decisive instructions.  (See Matthew 28:16, with 1 Corinthians 15:6).  He did precede the apostles thither, and there they saw Him, although He was pleased to show Himself to theme earlier in Jerusalem [as well].  [23]

                        In depth:  the certainty that Jesus had truely died  [23].  In evidence of the reality of the death we have: 

                        (1)  The positive, natural, and evidently sincere assertions of all the evangelists.

                        (2)  The fact of a hostility in the Jews that would not rest satisfied without the completion of its work in the death of Jesus, and that could not be deceived as to the question whether He was really dead or not.

                        (3)  The inquiry on the part of Pilate, occasioned by wonder at the announcement of so speedy a death (Mark 15:44).

                        (4)  The testimony of the centurion in charge of the crucifixion (Mark 15:45), and the further testimony implied in the act of the soldiers under his command in not breaking the legs of Jesus (John 19:32-33).  It was the duty of these soldiers to watch the victim of crucifixion until death had occurred.

                        (5)  The record (John 19:34) of a spear--thrust into the Lord's side, which would of itself be sufficient to produce death, if it had not already occurred.

                        (6)  The full and detailed account of embalmment and entombment in all the Gospels.

                        (7)  The intention of the women to complete, after the Jewish Sabbath had intervened, the process thus begun (Luke 23:56; 24:1).

                        (8)  The complete despair that appears in the conduct of the disciples, so far as it is shown to us.

                        (9)  The absence of any suspicion to the contrary in the proposal of His enemies to guard the sepulchre (Matthew 27:63-64).

                        (10)   The omission of denial of the reality of His death from the plan that was devised to protect the unfaithful guards (Matthew 28:11-15).

                        In these points we have the evidence, not only that the disciples of Jesus believed Him to be really dead, but that all who bore an important part in His crucifixion were thoroughly convinced of the reality of His death. 

                        In depth:  the certainty that the dead Jesus was truely raised from physical death [23].  In evidence of the reality of the resurrection we have:

                        (1)  The direct assertions of all the evangelists.  It is absolutely unquestionable that they intended to assert the reality of the resurrection; and there is no reason for rejecting their testimony here, if there is reason for receiving it anywhere.  From the Gospels in general, overwhelming evidence of their personal honesty can be gathered, and every item of this evidence is valuable as confirming the truthfulness of this part of their story.

                        (2)    Since, in all candor, we must accept this testimony, we have conveyed by means of it, the risen Lord's deliberate testimony to the reality of His own resurrection.  In Luke (24:38-43) and in John (20:27) we see Him deliberately offering to His disciples physical proof of His own real bodily presence among them.  (Compare the language of Acts 1:3).

                        (3)   The fact that the Christian religion immediately sprang up, having the assertion of this fact for one of its two central doctrines.  Compare 1 Thessalonians 5:14:  "If we believe that Jesus died and rose again."  In preaching the new faith, the apostles constantly made these two assertions with equal confidence, beginning from the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:24; 3:15; 4:10; 10:40; 1 Peter 1:3).  It has already appeared that at the time of Jesus' death His disciples were entertaining no hope of a resurrection (Luke 24:21). 

                        (4)    The testimony of the apostle Paul to the reality of the event.  Paul was not one of the original disciples, but was at first an implacable enemy.  His testimony has a special value, therefore, as that of a separate and independent witness.  He became convinced that the resurrection of Jesus was real (1 Corinthians 15:20), and accepted it as a vital point in his system of Christian truth (Romans 1:2-5; 1 Corinthians 15:12-17).  After some twenty-five or thirty years had elapsed he carefully and minutely rehearsed the evidence of the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:4-8), and was able to appeal to more than five hundred witnesses, the most of whom he declared to be still alive.  In his preaching as well as in his writing, he constantly asserted and made use of the fact (Acts 13:35-37; 17:31; 24:15; 26:23).

                        (5)   The existence in all Christian ages of the Lord's Day (Revelation 1:9), the first day of the week (Acts 20:7).  As we have in the Lord's Supper a visible proof of our Saviour's death, so in the Lord's Day we have an historical proof of the reality of His resurrection.       



16:8                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     So they came out, and fled from the tomb, for they were greatly agitated and surprised; and they said not a word to any one, for they were afraid.

WEB:              They went out, and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had come on them. They said nothing to anyone; for they were afraid.

Young’s:         And, having come forth quickly, they fled from the sepulchre, and trembling and amazement had seized them, and to no one said they anything, for they were afraid.

Conte (RC):    But they, going out, fled from the tomb. For trembling and fear had overwhelmed them. And they said nothing to anyone. For they were afraid.


16:8                 And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre for they trembled and were amazed.  They fled, not merely walked, or ran away; implying the terror attending the escape.  [8]

                        neither said they any thing to any man.  This last declaration means that they said nothing to any man on the way as they ran to tell the male disciples (verse 7).  If they had been less frightened, they might have cried out to every man they met,  "The Lord is risen!"  As it was, people saw in them as they passed, only a group of frightened women running on some unknown errand.  [38]

                        for they were afraid.  Not afraid to speak, but so alarmed at the vision and the words of the angel, that they did not stop to speak to any one, but hurried to convey his message.  [3]   

                        In depth:  The frame of mind of the first disciples after they heard the claim of a resurrected Jesus  [50].  Note the way in which the announcement of this tremendous fact was received.  With blank bewilderment and terror on the part of these women, followed by incredulity on the part of the Apostles and of the other disciples.  These things are on the surface of the narrative and very important they are.  They plainly tell us that the first hearers did not believe the testimony which they themselves call upon us to believe.  And, that being the state of mind of the early disciples on the Resurrection day, what becomes of the modern theory which seeks to explain the fact of the early belief in the Resurrection by saying, “Oh, they had worked themselves into such a fever of expectation that Jesus Christ would rise from the dead that the wish was father to the thought and they said that He did because they expected that He would?"  No!  They did not expect that He would; it was the very last thing that they expected.



16:9                                                     Translations

Weymouth:     But He rose to life early on the first day of the week, and appeared first to Mary of Magdala from whom He had expelled seven demons.

WEB:              Now when he had risen early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.

Young’s:         And he, having risen in the morning of the first of the sabbaths, did appear first to Mary the Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven demons;

Conte (RC):    But he, rising early on the first Sabbath, appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons.


16:9                 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week.  Sunday.  Hence this day of the week was called the Lord's day, by John, in Revelation 1:9.  It is therefore recognized by inspiration as the sacred day in the Christian week.  [24]

                        He appeared first to Mary Magdalene.  To a woman was this honour given to be the first that saw the risen Redeemer; and that woman was not his virgin mother.  [43]

                        first.  Inasmuch as Mary Magdalene came to the sepulcher in company with the other women (verse 1), the statement that Jesus appeared first to her implies that she had become separated from the others; for otherwise He would have appeared to all of them at once.  [38]

                        out of whom He had cast seven demons.  A fact alluded to elsewhere only in Luke (8:2) and not in John, with whose statement the first part of the sentence coincides.  [23]

                        This no doubt refers to a real possession from which she had mercifully been delivered in the same manner as the man who had the legion:  but whether this had been a visitation appointed her for the sins of her former life, or not, is quite uncertain.  Indeed, all that is generally taken for granted of her previous bad character and profligate conduct rests merely on the credit of tradition, which reports that she was  "the woman who was a sinner"  of whom Luke speaks (Luke 7:36-50) for there is no scriptural proof of it, though very much has frequently been built on it.  [52] 



16:10                                                   Translations

Weymouth:     She went and brought the tidings to those who had been with Him, as they were mourning and weeping.

WEB:              She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept.

Young’s:         she having gone, told those who had been with him, mourning and weeping;

Conte (RC):    She went and announced it to those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping.


16:10               And she went and told them that had been with Him.  Mark, having in view the effect of these several appearances on the minds of the apostles, does not give the interview in detail, as does John (20:10-18), but simply mentions her report of it, and its reception.  [45]

                        as they mourned and wept.  Because they had lost their Lord and Master, and had abandoned Him in His extremity.  [24]

                        A natural touch, showing how little they anticipated His resurrection.  [11]

                        In depth:  The number and order of Jesus' post-resurrection appearances according to proposed reconstructions [8].  In regard to the number of recorded appearances of the Lord after His resurrection, commentators are not agreed.  Some hold that there are four different ones described as occurring on the day of resurrection, others say five; some regard the appearance to the disciples by the Sea of Galilee, and to the five hundred as the same, others hold that they are two different appearances.

                        Robinson gives five on the first day and ten before the Ascension, as follows:

                        (1)  to the women (Matthew 28:9);

                        (2)  to Mary Magdalene;

                        (3)  to Peter;

                        (4)  to the two going to Emmanus;

                        (5)  to the eleven (Thomas absent);

                        (6)  to the eleven (Thomas present);

                        (7)  to the seven by the sea;

                        (8)  to the eleven and five hundred on a mountain in Galilee;

                        (9)  to James;

                        (10)  to the eleven at Jerusalem just before the resurrection.

                        Farrar and Schaff agree also with Robinson, except that they place the appearance to Mary Magdalene first, as Mark fairly implies, then to the other women.  Ellicott's view is similar, except that he holds to a second appearance to Mary, when she joined the other women.

                        Many hold only four recorded appearances on the first day, regarding Nos. 1 and 2 in the above list as the same.  The order of appearances would then be: 

                        (1)   to Mary Magdalene and the other women (John 20:14-18; Mark 16:9; Matthew 28:9);

                        (2)  to Peter (Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5);

                        (3)  to the two on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35; Mark 16:12);

                        (4)  to the "eleven" in the evening, Thomas not present (John 20:19-24);

                        (5)  to the eleven, Thomas present (one week later than the former appearance) (John 20:25-29; Mark 16:14-18) (?);

                        (6)  to seven apostles by the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-24);

                        (7)  to the disciples and five hundred brethren in a mountain of Galilee (Matthew 28:16-20; 1 Corinthians 15:6);

                        (8)  to James (1 Corinthians 15:7);

                        (9)  to the apostles at Jerusalem (Acts 1:3-5; 1 Corinthians 15:7);

                        (10)  near Bethany at the Ascension (Acts 1:6-11; Mark 16:19; Luke 24:50-51).

                        He was also seen of Paul, but after, not before the Ascension, as Godwin assumes (1 Corinthians 15:8), compare Acts 9:17.

                        Among those who favor the order last named substantially are:  Lightfoot, Krafft, Lichtenstein, Wiesler, Da Costa, Canon Cook, Geikie.  Andrews, Canon Cook, and some others hold that of the company of women going to the sepulcher early on the first day, only Mary Magdalene saw Jesus.  This view is not absolutely required by the narratives, and gives much difficulty in harmonizing the accounts in Matthew 28:1-9 and John 20:9-18.  Their explanations of     Matthew's account are plausible but unsatisfactory.

                        If there was an appearance to "the women," one of whom was Mary Magdalene, as Matthew states, this does not contradict, but confirms the appearance reported by Mark and by John, who name only Mary Magdalene, but omit to name the other women as seeing Jesus.  An omission is not a contradiction.

                        There were no doubt many other unrecorded appearances of the Lord during the forty days, as Luke's language implies (Acts 1:3).  These are recorded that we might believe, and have good grounds for the faith that is in us.       



16:11                                                   Translations

Weymouth:     But they, when they were told that He was alive and that she had seen Him, could not believe it.

WEB:              When they heard that he was alive, and had been seen by her, they disbelieved.

Young’s:         and they, having heard that he is alive, and was seen by her, did not believe.

Conte (RC):    And they, upon hearing that he was alive and that he had been seen by her, did not believe it.


16:11               And they, when they heard that He was alive, and had been seen of her.  The reports of Mary and the other women were "as idle tales" (Luke 24:11).  [45]

                        believe not.  It furnishes abundant proof that they did not invent the story of the resurrection.  [11]



16:12                                                   Translations

Weymouth:     Afterwards He showed Himself in another form to two of them as they were walking, on their way into the country.

WEB:              After these things he was revealed in another form to two of them, as they walked, on their way into the country.

Young’s:         And after these things, to two of them, as they are going into a field, walking, he was manifested in another form,

Conte (RC):    But after these events, he was shown in another likeness to two of them walking, as they were going out to the countryside.


16:12               After that He appeared in another form.  Whatever we are to infer from this, it was certainly so complete that the disciples did not recognize Him [Luke 24:16].  [25]

                        While Mark here says that Jesus “appeared in another form” to these two disciples, Luke accounts for their not recognizing Him by the fact that “their eyes were holden that they should not know Him” (Luke 24:16).  The statements are not inconsistent; they only show, when taken in connection, that Jesus appeared in another form by holding in some way, their eyes, so that He would appear to be a different person.  Mark's account implies that they eventually saw through His disguise, without stating how.  [38]    

                        unto two of them.  Unnamed here, and only one of them, Cleopas, is named in Luke.  [23]

                        Some have conjectured [that the other individual] was Nathanael, others the Evangelist Luke.  [8]

                        as they walked and went into the country.  i.e. to Emmaus, "three-score furlongs from Jerusalem," but of unknown site.  [23]

                        In depth:  The nature of Jesus' post-resurrection body [8].  A discussion on the nature of the risen body of the Lord does not come within the scope of this     work.  It will be sufficient to notice that while the body was in many respects like the other:  e.g., in appearance, in the marks upon it, in its power to take food; it was also in many remarkable features quite unlike His former body.  "He came and went, appeared and disappeared in a most mysterious and inscrutable manner."  He comes suddenly into a room, the doors being shut, He talks and walks with familiar disciples unrecognized; He vanishes as mysteriously as He appears; all these facts place His appearances after resurrection in the sphere of the supernatural.  Alford suggests that the normal condition of His body before the resurrection was to be visible to mortal eyes, the normal condition of it after the resurrection to be invisible; Ellicott thinks that the glorification which was perfected at His ascension had already begun after the resurrection.



16:13                                                   Translations

Weymouth:     These, again, went and told the news to the rest; but not even them did they believe.

WEB:              They went away and told it to the rest. They didn't believe them, either.  

Young’s:         and they having gone, told to the rest; not even them did they believe.

Conte (RC):    And they, returning, reported it to the others; neither did they believe them.


16:13               And they went and told it unto the residue [to the rest, NKJV].  They recognize[d] the Lord in the breaking of bread (Luke 24:35), and returned in haste to Jerusalem.  [8]

                        neither believed they them.  A conflict of doubt and belief would be very natural, or even a division of opinion, some doubting and some believing.  Even if all believed that the Lord had appeared to Simon, some might, for various reasons, still doubt the message of the two disciples.  [11]

                        [This does not imply] that these witnesses were more entitled to belief than those before them, but referring simply to the circumstances, that this was the third intimation of the great event and that even this, although the third, was insufficient to command their full belief; so that the defect of faith afterwards rebuked in Thomas (John 20:27, 29), was here displayed, though in a less degree, by the entire apostolic body, and could only be removed by the immediate attestation which is recorded in the next verse.  [3]

                        In depth:  do Mark and Luke's accounts contradict concerning the apostolic skepticism of the resurrection report of these two disciples [38]?  In these words Alford, who will by no means allow that the Evangelists do not occasionally contradict one another, says:  "Here again the Harmonists have used every kind of distortion of the plain meaning of words to reconcile the two accounts."  Certainly a reconciliation effected at such a sacrifice is not desirable.  But is it true that such a distortion is necessary, in order to remove the appearance of inconsistency between Mark and Luke?  Let us see.

                        Luke's account of the return of these two men to the city, and of their reception by the eleven, is this:  "They rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and hate appeared to Simon.  And they told what things were done in the way, and how He was known to them in breaking of bread” (Luke 24:33-35).

                        Here are two things asserted concerning this interview:  first, that on the arrival of the two they were told by the eleven and those who were with them, that the Lord had arisen and appeared to Simon; second, that the two men then gave an account of His appearance to them.

                        It is clearly implied that those who announced that the Lord had arisen, and had appeared to Peter, believed it to be true; but whether they believed the story that was then told by the two who came from the country, Luke neither affirms nor denies.    For though they believed Peter's story, they may not have believed the story told by these two; and that they did not believe it is the very thing affirmed by Mark.  He says, “They went and told it to the residue, neither believed they them."  He does not say that they did not believe Jesus had arisen, but that they did not believe the story of His having appeared in another form to the two as they went into the country.

                        There is, then, no inconsistency at all between the two accounts, and it is surprising that so acute a critic as Alford should have thought there is.  He surely would have detected his error, had not an erroneous theory of inspiration caused him to be indifferent to questions of this kind.

                        Here we might rest this question, but lest it may appear to some unaccountable that the company believed that Jesus had arisen on the testimony of Peter, and yet doubted the story of the others who claimed to have seen Him, we remark that this is in perfect harmony with the other facts of the resurrection history.  These same persons had treated as an idle tale the story of the women who claimed both to have seen Jesus and to have seen angels who declared that He had risen from the dead (Luke 24:10-11).

                        They were now convinced by the additional testimony of Peter, that Jesus had actually arisen; but the story of the two from Emmaus had some peculiarities which were calculated to throw doubt on it until more mature reflection on its merits brought its strong points into view.  For instance, that Jesus had walked with them several miles, conversing all the time--conversing, too, about Himself; that He had gone with them into the house; had taken a seat with them to dine; and still they did not recognize Him till He was in the act of blessing and breaking a loaf, were circumstances all calculated to throw doubt on the story when it was first told; and at that time the disciples were disposed to be suspicious of every new story they heard in regard to the resurrection.

                        But though the circumstances must have cast doubt on the story at first, the more the entire story was weighed in the scales of evidence, the more credible it appeared; for it is quite certain that if the two men had undertaken to invent a pretended appearance of Jesus to them, such details as we have named would have been carefully excluded from the story for fear that on their account it should not be believed.  



16:14                                                   Translations

Weymouth:     Later still He showed Himself to the Eleven themselves whilst they were at table, and He upbraided them with their unbelief and obstinacy in not having believed those who had seen Him alive.

WEB:              Afterward he was revealed to the eleven themselves as they sat at the table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they didn't believe those who had seen him after he had risen.

Young’s:         Afterwards, as they are reclining (at meat), he was manifested to the eleven, and did reproach their unbelief and stiffness of heart, because they believed not those having seen him being raised;

Conte (RC):    Finally, he appeared to the eleven, as they sat at table. And he rebuked them for their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen that he had risen again.


16:14               Afterward He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat [at the table, NKJV].  The circumstance that the disciples  "sat at meat"  when Jesus appeared to them, as recorded in this verse, seems to identify this appearance with that recorded in Luke 24:36-43, at which He called for food and ate it in order to convince them that He was not a spirit.  And as that appearance occurred on the evening of the first day of the week, this identifies it with that recorded in John 20:19-23.  [38]

                        and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart.  So He had spoken after the feeding of the five thousand and the four thousand.  [8]

                        because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen.  After all He had said about his rising again, and the messages and reports they had received, was highly culpable.  [45]



16:15                                                   Translations

Weymouth:     Then He said to them, "Go the whole world over, and proclaim the Good News to all mankind.

WEB:              He said to them, "Go into all the world, and preach the Good News to the whole creation.

Young’s:         and he said to them, 'Having gone to all the world, proclaim the good news to all the creation;

Conte (RC):    And he said to them: "Go forth to the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature.


16:15               And He said unto them.  In Mark's condensed narrative of the forty days between the resurrection and ascension, events are brought together with regard to their logical, rather than their chronological connection.  The interview mentioned in the last verse was probably on the evening of the first Lord's day, whilst the Ascension (verse 19) was forty days later.  [45] 

                        Go into all the world.  To all, without distinction; to Gentile as well as to Jew.  [19]

                        and preach the gospel.  Proclaim the glad tidings; not simply give instruction in Christian morality, but announce the facts they had been so slow to believe, that Jesus who had been crucified is risen, is the living Saviour for lost men.  [11]

                        Preach.  The word embraces all methods of witnessing to the truth or instructing men in it.  The disciples began as witnesses.  They related the facts of the life and death of Jesus, adding very little of their own, beyond explaining the Old Testament prophecies.  In every age the form of preaching varies according to circumstances.  But in all, the Church holds up to men the great doctrine of salvation by Christ.  [25]

                        to every creature.  Literally, "to the whole creation."  [45]

                        Contrast this with the exclusiveness required during our Lord's personal ministry.  Matthew 10:5-6, "Go not in any 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."  In Luke 24:47, as in Matthew 28:19, He gave them "all the nations" for the field, and here "the whole creation."  Again, just before the Ascension, He told them (Acts 1:8) that their mission was to carry them "unto the uttermost part of the earth."  Thus the commission was as plain as words could make it; yet the national narrowness required time and further training before it would allow the Christians to recognize the world as their field.   [23]



16:16                                                   Translations

Weymouth:     He who believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he who disbelieves will be condemned.

WEB:              He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who disbelieves will be condemned.

Young’s:         he who hath believed, and hath been baptized, shall be saved; and he who hath not believed, shall be condemned.

Conte (RC):    Whoever will have believed and been baptized will be saved. Yet truly, whoever will not have believed will be condemned.


16:16               He that believeth and is baptized.  These words are very important.  The first clause of the verse opposes the notion that faith alone is sufficient for salvation without those works that are the fruit of faith.  [39]

                        Baptism was with the apostles a first and natural result of believing, an expression of loyalty to Jesus that almost formed a part of the original act of faith.  Any thought of separating baptism from believing, whether by anticipation or by delay, would have seemed to them a perversion of its meaning.  [23] 

                        shall be saved.  To be saved is to be made safe.  It implies that the person saved was in danger or in actual distress and that the danger or the distress is removed.  [38]

                        but he that believeth not shall be damned [condemned, NKJV].  It has often been remarked that baptism is not mentioned in the second or condemnatory clause; so that disbelief stands alone as the ground of condemnation.  True; but baptism could not be mentioned in that clause.  "He that believeth not and is not baptized" would be unmeaning.  [23]

                        believeth not.  Who refuses to acknowledge the truth of the Gospel:  or, if convinced of it, to do that which is required by it.  [25]

                        shall be damned.  It is sometimes objected that baptism is not as important as faith [in regard to securing salvation], because it is not mentioned a second time, in the last part of this verse.  But how could it be?  One who does not believe would not be baptized, nor indeed be saved if he was.  Faith must come first and [baptism] follow.  It would have been out of place to repeat the two words.  [25]

                        The substitution by the revisers of "condemned" for "damned" is a gain to clearness and correctness of thought, since it associates this terrible judgment of God more distinctly with the moral considerations that justify it, and helps to show how far His judgment is from being an arbitrary judgment.  See Acts 17:31; Romans 2:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10.  [23] 



16:17                                                   Translations

Weymouth:     And signs shall attend those who believe, even such as these. By making use of my name they shall expel demons. They shall speak new languages.

WEB:              These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new languages;

Young’s:         'And signs shall accompany those believing these things; in my name demons they shall cast out; with new tongues they shall speak;

Conte (RC):    Now these signs will accompany those who believe. In my name, they shall cast out demons. They will speak in new languages.


16:17               And these signs shall follow them that believe.  The promise is, not that these signs shall follow for any specified time, nor that they should follow each individual  believer; but merely that they shall follow “the believers” taken as a body.  They did follow the believers during the apostolic age--not every individual believer, but all, or nearly all, the organized bodies of the believers.  This was a complete fulfillment of what was promised.  He who claims that the signs do yet follow the believers should present some ocular demonstration of the fact before he asks the people to believe his assertion.  Signs were intended to convince unbelievers and they were always wrought openly in the presence of the unbelievers.  Paul's expectation was that prophesying, speaking in tongues, and miraculous knowledge, would vanish away.  (1 Corinthians 13:8)  [38]

                        these signs.  These miraculous proofs shall accompany the first Christians.  [25]

                        those that believe.  Converts to Christianity.  [25]

                        in My name.  By My authority, and when engaged in their works as ministers for Me.  [25]

                        shall they cast out devils [demons, NKJV].  So did Philip the deacon in Samaria (Acts 8:7), and Paul at Philippi and Ephesus (Acts 16:18; 19:15-16).  [8]

                        they shall speak with new tongues.  Tongues new to them, such as they had never learned.  This was remarkably fulfilled on the day of Pentecost [Acts 2], and the same power seems to have resided for some time in the Church (1 Corinthians 12:10).  [25]

                        See Acts 2:4; 10:46; 1 Corinthians 13 and 14.  This promise was literally fulfilled. A symbolical meaning, such as new forms of spiritual truth, us unnecessary.  [11]



16:18                                                   Translations

Weymouth:     They shall take up venomous snakes, and if they drink any deadly poison it shall do them no harm whatever. They shall lay their hands on the sick, and the sick shall recover."

WEB:              they will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it will in no way hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."

Young’s:         serpents they shall take up; and if any deadly thing they may drink, it shall not hurt them; on the ailing they shall lay hands, and they shall be well.'

Conte (RC):    They will take up serpents, and, if they drink anything deadly, it will not harm them. They shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they will be well."


16:18               They shall take up serpents.  See Acts 28:3-5, where this promise was fulfilled in the case of Paul.  We, therefore, retain the simple meaning:  they shall take up serpents without injury as a “sign."  As the word translated “take up” has a variety of secondary meanings, some explain it here, “drive forth,"  "destroy," but the other is the more obvious sense.  Still untenable is the fanciful symbolical interpretation which finds an allusion to the brazen serpent in the wilderness  (John 3:14).  [11]

                        and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.  At times when the art of poisoning was almost cultivated as a science, and it might be expected that their enemies would endeavour in this way to destroy them, they were also assured that “if they drank any deadly thing, it would not hurt them."  [11]

                        Tradition says that John and Justus Barsabas drank the cup of hemlock which was intended to cause death, and suffered no harm from it.  See Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, III, 39.  [8]

                        they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.  This Peter did on the lame man, at the beautiful gate of the temple (Acts 3:7), and Paul on Publius, in the island of Malta (Acts 28:8).  "Gifts of healing" are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:9 and James 5:14-15.  [8]



16:19                                                   Translations

Weymouth:     So the Lord Jesus after having thus spoken to them was taken up into Heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.

WEB:              So then the Lord, after he had spoken to them, was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.

Young’s:         The Lord, then, indeed, after speaking to them, was received up to the heaven, and sat on the right hand of God;

Conte (RC):    And indeed, the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and he sits at the right hand of God.


16:19               So then, after the Lord had spoken unto them.  i.e., after He had given them such commands and promises as have just been recorded.  [23]

                        The original word here rendered "had spoken unto them," signifies "to teach, to instruct by preaching and other oral communications."  Compare its use in Mark 13:11; John 9:29.  [8]

                        He was received up into heaven.  There is no pictorial representation in this such as we find at Acts 1:9.  There is no reason to think that the writer had the visible scene of the Ascension at all in mind with any purpose of presenting it to the imagination of his readers.  The assertion is simply that He was received to heaven, according to His own prediction (John 6:62; 20:17).  [23]

                        and sat on the right hand of God.  In the place of honor and power.  The Ascension is the natural completion of the Resurrection.  After such a glorious triumph over death and Hell, Christ could not die again, but only return to His former glory, and take possession of His throne and kingdom, at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.  [11] 



16:20                                                   Translations

Weymouth:     But they went out and made proclamation everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming their Message by the signs which accompanied it.

WEB:              They went out, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed. Amen.

Young’s:         and they, having gone forth, did preach everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word, through the signs following. Amen.

Conte (RC):    Then they, setting out, preached everywhere, with the Lord cooperating and confirming the word by the accompanying signs.


16:20               And they went forth.  In this sentence Mark overleaps the stay of the apostles in Jerusalem and reaches forward to the period of their greatest activity.  [38]

                        They went forth--but 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).  [8]

                        and preached every where.  Tertullian declared, in regard to the increase of Christians in the Roman Empire, "Though but of yesterday, yet have we filled your cities, islands, castles, corporations, councils, your armies themselves, your tribes, companies, the palace, the senate, and courts of justice; only your temples have we left you free.  [8]

                        the Lord working with them.  Their activity was His activity and His strength was the means of their triumph.  [23]

                        and confirming the word with signs following [through the accompanying signs, NKJV].  Compare Hebrews 2:3-4.  [23]

                        Amen.  At the end of a prayer and of a writing, as here, "Amen" is a devout wish or prayer that what is asked or written may be fulfilled.  The word comes from the Hebrew, meaning "true," or "let it be so," and was used as a solemn affirmative response to an oath.  It was also used by our Saviour, at the beginning of an important utterance, to gain attention and give solemnity to the truth.  [8]