Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mark, Chapter Sixteen

Chapter 16

Verses 1-8, the resurrection

When Jesus appeared to Saul, he identified himself as Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 22:8). Why did the angel at the empty tomb use the identifier Jesus the Nazarene? What mission did the angel give the women? Did they carry it out (Luke 24:9-12)?

Verses 9-20 (earliest, most reliable manuscripts do not contain these verses)

If Mark indeed ended his gospel-telling at verse 8, do the last nine words of that verse speak powerfully about witnessing about the Christ to both his Christian, Roman and Gentile readers: They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.

Summary Thought: As followers of God, our hope is placed in Jesus and the miracle of three words: He is risen!

Prayer Endings: In the name of Jesus who topples gravestones (vs. 3-4). I pray through Jesus, who is good news (vs. 15).

Note from Cathy: May we embrace the courage and mission of Christ to model the gospel to all—empowered by his manners, meekness, forgiveness, and the generous Holy Spirit.

At the very beginning of this study, I referred to Jesus as the “breathtaking Savior.” May Mark’s portrait-in-words of Jesus’ deity so grab our souls that we share with any who come near us the wonder of God who walked this earth.


Halley’s Bible Handbook; Pulpit Commentary; Inductive Study Bible; Burton Coffman Commentary; Walk with Me by Prentice Meador and Bob Chisholm; NIV Bible on CD; Matthew Henry Commentary; Navigator’s Daily Walk (November 2002)


  1. Now why did Jesus identify HIMSELF as Jesus of Narazeth? I have enjoyed your study greatly...just get stumped some mornings. Thanks,

  2. Cindy,

    Thanks for folowing the Mark study. My original intentions were to write some comments each time I posted questions, but I landed a new book contract A Still and Quiet Soul: Embracing Contentment [working title]) and I'm pouring my words and study into it. That new Sept. 1 "finish line" keeps me hopping, but with enthusiasm for commenting on Jesus' story and how ours connects with his.

    I'll share my thoughts about Jesus referring to himself as "Jesus of Nazareth" and the angel at his empty tomb also doing so:


    Nazareth was an insignificant village that had obvious prejudices against it because Nathanael asked when he first heard of Jesus of Nazareth, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46).

    Also see Acts 24:5; 28:22, where Paul was accused, sneered at for being a ring leader of the Nazarene sect (Christians).

    Biblical scholars seem to jump over this reference here in Mark. So, I'll chime in from my research: I think that in referring to himself as Jesus of Nazareth and the angel's referencing Jesus as such, that a connection is being made to both prophecies about Jesus and fulfillment by Jesus that he is a Branch.

    The word Nazareth means branch or shoot. Isaiah 11:1 says a Branch would come from the house of Jesse (King David's father).

    In Jesus, the prophecy was fulfilled in at least two ways--Jesus came through the lineage of David, fulfilling the heritage that Isaiah mentioned, but he also grew up a tender shoot (spent his boyhood)in the town of Nazareth (literally meaning: shoot or branch). Either God long, long ago put the name of Nazareth in someone's mind to call the city that, or he put Mary's and Joseph's family in that city, knowing he wanted his son to be brought up there. These things don't just happen you know. Amazing!

    Jesus also went on to become the Vine, the Branch, all who believe and obey are grafted into the Branch to bear fruit. I think the people living in the timeframe of Jesus would have picked up on that more than we do, because they knew the underlying meaning of words like "Nazareth."

    When Jesus appeared to Saul, maybe he used that identifier because Paul was a Jew among Jews, who knew their prophecies and had studied extensively. He would have known that the term Nazareth would have connected Jesus back to the prophecies.

    Maybe Paul was hearing in his intellect, I'm Jesus of Nazareth, the Isaiah prophecy fulfilled, of Branch fullfilled.

    At the tomb, if the women knew the term "Nazareth" to mean shoot or branch, those are living things. And the angel asked Luke 24:5) "Why do you seek the living among the dead?" By identifying Jesus as a Nazarene, the angel reiterates the living Branch among the tombs.

    I certainly don't have all the answers, but I do love to study and learn along with other seekers. If you have any other questions, just let me know, and I'll dig around and try to find answers.

    Thanks for your study of Mark...Cathy