Mark 16, Luke 24:36-43,1 Corinthians 15:5-6, John 21
Summary: Mark 16 presents the glorious day of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and concludes with evidence that we worship a risen Savior.
After Jesus was buried, His body lay in the tomb until early Sunday morning. The evening before, three women had brought spices to anoint the body, and they came again to the tomb to complete their work. They were concerned that they could not get access to the tomb, for it had been sealed with a large stone, and there was apparently no one around to help them get it opened. However, the stone had been rolled away, and inside the tomb was a young man clothed in white, a messenger from God. They were alarmed, but he sought to calm their fears. His message was the greatest announcement in history:
“You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! Come see where they laid Him. But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee. There you will see Him, as He had said to you” (16:6-7).
The women left, amazed and afraid (16:8), but soon their fear would turn into joy. Not just for them but for the other disciples as well. The Scriptures are clear that the Lord Jesus made several post-resurrection appearances to verify to His followers that He had indeed risen, fulfilled His prophecy, and fulfilled HIs promises.
He appeared to:
- Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9-11; John 20:11-18);
- to the other women (Matt.28:9-10);
- to two disciples walking in the country (Mark 16:12-13; Luke 24:13-32);
- to Peter (Luke 24:33-35; 1 Corinthians 15:5);
- to the apostles while Thomas was absent (Mark 16:14; John 20:19-25);
- to the apostles once more, this time with Thomas (John 20:26-31);
- to seven disciples by the Sea of Galilee (John 21:1-25);
- to five hundred brethren at once as told to Paul (1 Corinthians 15:6);
- at the time of the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8);
- to His half-brother James (1 Corinthians 15:7),
- and at His ascension (Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:50-53).
Because Jesus had appeared to them numerous times, and because of the appearances He made to other brethren over a period of forty days, the apostles were convinced beyond a doubt that they had been with the risen Lord and were given the commission to spread the Gospel, a task they gladly bore for the rest of their lives. They never recanted or denied what they had seen and heard (Acts 4:20), even under intense persecution and the threat of death.
Each of the apostles, save for John, met a martyr’s death by beheading, run through with arrows and spears, being crucified, skinned alive, stoned to death, thrown off buildings, clubbed to death, hung, or killed by beasts. And some followers in the later years were set on fire to serve as lights for the emperor’s gardens.
The evidence for the resurrection can be shown in the attitude of the disciples at the time of Jesus’ death and after His resurrection. They went from fear to open and unashamed declaration that He was alive and was Lord of all in the very city where they had crucified Him.
If Jesus’ body were still in the tomb, His enemies could open the tomb, drag the body out, and the entire movement would have died right then and there. But even His foes had to admit that the tomb was empty, and false stories made up by the Pharisees and others did not stop the apostles and all who were transformed by the Gospel message.
There are skeptics today who try to use every excuse such as going to the wrong tomb, mass hallucinations, stealing the body and hiding it, that Jesus never existed, or that the apostles somehow weaved together a long-term legend. The attempts keep coming, but all fade in the light of the certainty that Jesus is alive and will return to the earth as He promised to make all things new and to establish a new heaven and earth free from sin and death forever. Death, hell, the grave, and the devil and his followers will be eternally punished in the Lake of Fire (Matthew 25:41; Revelation 20:11-15), never to get out.
The Lord Jesus has given the gift of eternal life and forgiveness of sins to all who would come to Him (Matt. 11:28-30; John 3:16; 14: 6; Acts 4:12; Romans 5:6-11; 6:23; 10:9-10). Mark’s gospel and the entirety of the Bible testify that we have a great and glorious Almighty LORD who has provided salvation, mercy, and grace to His creation. He heals wounded hearts, broken lives, and injured souls. He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother, and He is our wonderful counselor, mighty God, and Prince of Peace. No one else can make that claim or carry out the promises that Jesus has given us in His Word.
If you are lost, He is the Good Shepherd who will go the distance to bring you home. Call out to Him, and He will be there now and always. Glory to His name!
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