Chapter 51

He is risen!
Mark 15:40-16:8 (NKJV)

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40 There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome, 41  who also followed Him and ministered to Him when He was in Galilee, and many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem.

42 Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time. 45 So when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph.

46 Then he bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. And he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where He was laid.

[Chapter 16]

1  Now when the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 And they said among themselves, “Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?” 4 But when they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away—for it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. 6 But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him. 7  But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.”

8  So they went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

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Mark 15:40-47
Important later evidence for the resurrection

Far from the crowd, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and of Joses, and Salome, see Jesus die. They also observe where He is laid. Joseph of Arimathea, a Christian council member, on the day before the Sabbath courageously obtains Pilate’s permission to take Jesus’ body. He wraps it in linen, puts it in a tomb, and seals the tomb with a large heavy stone. Because Jesus dies sooner than Pilate expects, he first asks the centurion if Jesus is dead. He learns Jesus has been dead for some time. Pilate and the centurion are each accountable and dare make no mistake before releasing the body.

So the sealed tomb, now noted by the three women, holds Jesus’ body, after certification of death. This forms valuable evidence supporting the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection.

Mark 16: 1-8
No body!

Just after sunrise after the Sabbath—on the first day of the week or our ‘Lord’s Day’—the women come to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body. They worry about how to roll away the large heavy stone. Then they see it has already happened. Entering the tomb, they are shocked to see an angel—like a young man clothed in a long white robe sitting on the right side. He tells them not to be alarmed. He knows they seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He proclaims, He is risen! He is not here. He invites them to See the place where they laid Him and sends them to tell Jesus’ disciples—naming Peter specifically—that Jesus will go to Galilee. They will see Him there, as promised.

Some opposing Christ’s resurrection claim the women were so sad, flustered and worried that they visited the wrong tomb and so could not find Jesus. But, having noted on Good Friday,[1] where the tomb’s was, they know where to take the spices for anointing His body. Also, would all three of them make the same mistake about the tomb? Some argue that their being at the wrong tomb is supported by the angel’s words, He is not here. But you cannot take only half of what the Bible says—take all or none of it for your authority. Having said He is risen! the angel immediately confirms, He is not here. The stone has been rolled away to let them in, not to let the risen Jesus out!

Mark 16:8
A natural reaction

Anyone fabricating this story would make the three women into heroes. But they act so naturally. They went out quickly and fled from the tomb, for they trembled and were amazed. And they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. Today we have rock solid evidence for the resurrection. But, first at the tomb, the three women are not in our position. Scared and confused, they keep quiet at first. Maybe people will think them crazy? Maybe they also think they are crazy!

But scared and confused people, like them, later become strong believers in Jesus and His resurrection! Doubting Thomas, the first recorded resurrection sceptic, also becomes a firmly convinced Christian![2] So does hostile Saul of Tarsus. Why?[3] Convinced by fact, they come to know that Jesus is alive! They meet the risen Saviour themselves. That makes all the difference! Objective evidence for the resurrection is supported by individual changed lives. You also can know the risen Lord in your life, if you trust Him as your Saviour who died for your sins in your place.

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[1]    .   Mark 15:42; Mark 15:47.
[2]   .  Thomas moves from wavering scepticism to glorious certainty with the words, My Lord and My God (John 20:28) when He meets the risen Christ.
[3]   .  Read the testimony of this remarkable man who had his nature as well as his name changed (from Saul to Paul), in Acts 26:9-23.

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Questions on Chapter 51
Mark 15:40 16:8 He is risen!

A. What facts here confirm the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ? Why is it important to demonstrate that Jesus really did rise from the dead?    Mark 16:42-47   Mark 15:3-4   Mark 15:5-6   Mark 15:7   Acts 1:3

B. How do you know that the stone is rolled away from the tomb to let Jesus out, not to let people in? What biblical reasons can you give why Jesus’ resurrection is absolutely vital?    Mark 16:3, 6   1 Corinthians 15:12-19   Romans 1:1-4   Acts 2:32-36

C. Why do the fear of the frightened women, the unbelief of doubting Thomas, and the hostility of persecutor Saul (who became the apostle Paul) help to confirm that Jesus rose from the dead? What do their fear, unbelief and hostility turn into?   Mark 16:8   Luke 24:9-11   John 20:24-25   John 20:26-29   Acts 26:1-2   Acts 26:1-23