Mark 16:1-8 The Resurrection

When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

The Resurrection

The credibility of the account here is stronger in our eyes than it may have been to some ancients.  The reason is that women were often seen as poor witnesses of events.  In Islamic cultures today, often two female witnesses are needed to verify an event as opposed to one man.  The reasoning is that a woman has children and forgets the pain of child birth.  If she forgets something so excruciating to the point that she will desire to have a second child, her memory is deficient.  However, in the west we accept the accounts given by women as being equal with the accounts given by men.  The fact that the ancient writers of the gospels attest to female witnesses, actually supports their historicity.  The reason is that no-one would have made up a story where women witness the resurrection, they would have invented male characters.

The young man in white is obviously an angel who is declaring what has happened.  Then the women are commissioned with telling the disciples, but especially Peter.  This is probably not because of his leadership status, it is more likely because of his denial.  The impetuous Peter is probably considering himself unworthy of discipleship, but Jesus is restoring him through his request.

This is probably the end of Mark, though others have written endings like the one included in the NIV.  However, the manuscript evidence would say that there are a number of endings that were added because either the story finished abruptly at verse 8 or the ending was lost or damaged.  An abrupt ending falls in line with the opening of Mark which states that this gospel is just a beginning.  I believe the point of this passage is to raise the question of what we will do with an empty tomb.


Let us be the bearers of good news.  Let us proclaim that although our saviour was dead and buried, he was raised again.  Jesus, through your Holy Spirit raise us to new life.  Let us live a life free from sin and death as a sign that we have accepted the truth of the resurrection.


  1. Who found the empty tomb?
  2. Who was there?
  3. Why does the book probably end at verse 8?
  4. What do you do with Jesus’ resurrection?
  5. How does your life proclaim good news?


About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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5 Responses to Mark 16:1-8 The Resurrection

  1. Eric Wildermuth says:

    Mary and Mary discovered the empty tomb. Only an angel in white was sitting there, waiting for them. Mark ended his gospel as abruptly as he ends most other accounts in his gospel. His abrupt ending leaves the reader to dwell on the fact of the empty grave–no one was in there and only a man in white was sitting near–a normal man would not have been able to move such a stone alone.
    I can live because of Jesus resurrection; I can have hope! Hope that I will not be apart from God, but one with Christ and beloved of the Father. Although I know this to be true, I do not always live with this beautiful truth in mind. Often I live as though Christ was not raised from the dead. Yet God is faithful and will not fail to complete the work He began in me.
    I hope that in my studying at Moody and serving in the Church and at PCM, that I show Christ by the power of a life lived for Him–speaking the good news when given the opportunity. I live with hope because I know that Christ is not dead in the ground and is living and active in my life and the world. This hope is only by belief in Him and that He was raised from the dead.

  2. Christina Zezulak says:

    Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome found the empty tomb. These women found a young men in white, an angel, there. The book of Mark probably ends at verse 8 because it only gives a glimpse of the gospel. It poses the question, what should we do with the empty tomb? I love proclaiming the good news, His death and resurrection. It is my delight to share it on the streets, in conversations with friends and family, online through venues like facebook and blogspot, and in ministry. I recall the time my muslim friend lived with my family and me for a few months and how many times she encountered the gospel message through conversation and by visiting church and college group with me. I pray that my life always reflects this gospel in speech and in deed.

  3. kevin w. says:

    Two Marys and Salome found the empty tomb with an angel beside it. This Gospel ends abruptly, much like how it abruptly starts without hardly any prelude at all. Mark’s gospel is characterized by movement and succinctness “immediately” is one of his favorite words. The fact that Mark is relaying all that the women saw indicates that the women did not remain silent forever, though some critical scholars do maintain this. The proclamation of the empty tomb and Jesus’ resurrection are a result of the women’s testimony to the disciples. The abrupt ending may simply be to prompt the reader or listener to finish the ending in their own lives. It ends with the women silent because of fear. We should take the empty tomb and the angel’s charge and proclaim it (as Mark is doing) to all who will listen to us.
    It is because of the empty tomb that Christianity is not just a philosophy of life or body of moral teachings from a good but misguided man. The empty tomb is why I have new life. How I think, what I do, and where I am going is a result of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. While how I live and my characteristics should be a proclamation of this reality to others, I disagree with the adage that we should preach the gospel and if necessary use words. Part of proclamation involves actually saying what it is which have become the core of my being by which I strive to view the world and live.

  4. Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James and Salome. There was a young man who was dressed in white robe sitting on the right side. Manuscript evidence shows us that it should be because of different endings but it ends abruptly because it was just the beginning.
    My life proclaims Christ through my words. Letting people know about Jesus whenever an opportunity arises. Not going along with the popular belief of the day but pointing people back to God’s word to see what he has to say.
    My life can proclaim Christ through my actions and what I choose to do. When people ask questions, ready with an answer to point them to Christ and truth.

  5. 33324bg says:

    Humanly speaking, the way Mark’s gospel ends is kind of embarrassing. The women don’t go off and triumphantly declare the news of Christ’s resurrection, but according to Mark’s account, they don’t say anything to anyone (they don’t obey the angel, at least not right away) because of their fear. Now before we scoff at these women and claim that we wouldn’t have been so afraid, let us think for a moment.. The women weren’t expecting to see a rolled stone, an empty tomb and an angel! I bet we’d be pretty afraid if we suddenly saw an angel and heard that our dear friend had risen from the grave! We’d be confused too, especially perhaps if we had seen our friend die. No wonder these women reacted the way they did- with our sinful nature and all too. But we’ve been entrusted with the good news, the gospel to declare, like these women. We’ve been entrusted with the glad news that Jesus is Lord and that He is risen! Yet like these women we are often afraid and speak to no one about Him. We have no excuse, we can’t say we’re recovering from a supernatural encounter with an angel or something; we have the straight, clear commands of Scripture to share the gospel. Like with the women, as we see in other gospel accounts, encounters with the risen Jesus give us the courage needed to speak of Him, even when we’re not sure how people are going to receive our message, whether they reject us or receive the news…

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