After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. — Mark 16:12
Try to place yourself in the situation of these two people. Their close friend had experienced a violent death just a few days earlier. Because their future plans had involved Him, they found themselves dealing with uncertainty as well as heart-breaking grief. Then, one of their acquaintances reported seeing their friend alive. How could that be? Troubled thoughts and questions undoubtedly were weighing on their minds as they walked along the road in the country. Their hearts were heavy with sorrow.
I remember making a descent off a mountain in northern Washington after my friends and I had been involved in a climbing accident. I too had a heavy and burdened heart. Two of my friends and one rescuer were in such poor shape that they had been evacuated off the mountain by helicopter. They were alive when they left, but those of us remaining on the mountain did not know anything beyond that. By the time the helicopter flew away for the last time, it was too late in the evening for the rest of us to make it safely down the cliffs between us and our camp. We spent a fitful night huddled on a rock outcropping that had been warmed by the last rays of the setting sun. All of us were wrestling with the “what if’s” of the situation. It was hard, under the circumstances, not to imagine the worst.
The next morning, we trekked back down to our camp at Lake Ann and prepared for the hike out. In addition to our own equipment, we also needed to pack out all of our injured friends’ gear: tents, stoves, sleeping bags, and backpacks. The prospects of the physical burdens we would need to bear was daunting, but even more oppressive was the burden of anxiety about our friends’ condition.
As we were packing up, a couple of hikers came over to us. Somehow they knew that we were the party that had been involved in the accident, and they volunteered to carry as much of our friends’ gear as they could. I remember to this day how that kind gesture lifted our spirits a little, but we were still desperately worried about our friends. Like the two in our Bible text today, I know what it is like to walk with a heavy heart and much uncertainty.
Thankfully, when we got out to our cars at the trailhead, under a windshield wiper we found a note from a park ranger saying that our friends were doing fine and were not seriously hurt. We had quite a reunion with them that afternoon in town!
Maybe you remember a time when you had a heavy heart. Some situations do not have happy endings like my friends and I had on the mountain, and like these men had when Jesus appeared to them. Perhaps you have stood by the graveside of a loved one, and you felt as if there would never be another happy day in your life. The Resurrection is what gives us hope! Jesus conquered every situation, including death, and if we have yielded our hearts to Him, we have the anticipation of eternal life. We have that hope for the future as well as His help for the present.
The Resurrection, Jesus’ commission to His followers, and the Lord’s Ascension are recorded in this grand finale to the Book of Mark.
The women in our text honored the Sabbath, but once it ended on Saturday evening, they bought spices to anoint the body of Jesus. They started for the tomb on Sunday morning while it was still dark, arriving at the tomb as the sun was coming up. The sepulcher was probably a square chamber of about six or seven feet. In front of it was a large wheel-shaped stone that rolled down into a groove to cover the opening of the sepulcher. The stone had to be rolled uphill to remove it, and the women saw no way they could do this. However, when they arrived at the tomb, the stone had already been rolled away.
When the women went into the sepulcher, they were startled and frightened to see an angel. The angel’s message had three parts: Jesus, whom they were seeking, was not there; the reason He was not there was because He had risen; they could see the clothes, which confirmed that His body had been there.
Before His death, Jesus had told His disciples that He would meet them in Galilee (Mark 14:28), and the angel instructed the women to tell this to the disciples and Peter. Special mention was made of Peter, no doubt so he would not feel so ashamed of his denial of his Master that he would not come. Although the women were fearful of saying anything at first, the other Gospels indicate that they did tell the disciples.
The oldest Greek copies of the Gospel of Mark end at verse 8. Nothing is known about why this is so, but a possible explanation is that the original manuscript was damaged, or Mark was interrupted — perhaps even martyred — before he finished it. In the ancient copies that contain verses 9-20, the writing does not match the style of the rest of the book, so this portion may have been written by someone else later. Several endings for the Gospel of Mark are found in early writings, but the one in the King James Version is the one most widely accepted.
The information in these verses is corroborated in other books of the Bible. Here is a summary:
Verses 9-11 are about Mary Magdalene, whose story is also told in John 20:11-18.
Verses 12-13 tell of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, also found in Luke 24:13-35.
Verses 14-15 contain the Great Commission, which is also recorded in Matthew 28:16-20.
Verses 17-20 describe the Lord’s Ascension and work, and the Book of Acts confirms these.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
VII. The Crucifixion and Resurrection of the Son of God
I. The Resurrection of the Son of God (16:1-20)
1. The evidence of the empty tomb (16:1-8)
a. The mission of the women (16:1-2)
b. The find of the women (16:3-4)
c. The message for the women (16:5-7)
d. The fear of the women (16:8)
2. The evidence of His appearances (16:9-18)
a. To Mary (16:9-11)
b. To two disciples (16:12-13)
c. To the eleven (16:14-18)
(1) His appearance and rebuke (16:14)
(2) His commission (16:15-18)
(a) The statement of the commission (16:15)
(b) The significance of the commission (16:16)
(c) The accompanying signs with the commission (16:17-18)
3. The evidence of His Ascension (16:19-20)
The Resurrection gives hope for every situation in life because Jesus conquered death.