Mark 16:9-20 – The Great Commission

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Mark 16:14

  1. It was difficult for the disciples to believe that Jesus had risen unless they saw it for themselves. But in doing so, they learned what it’s like for everyone else who hasn’t seen Jesus with their own eyes.

Mark 16:15

  1. Jesus here gives a command that the church must obey. Preaching the gospel is not a leisure activity but a mission in which the whole life and being of the congregation should be engaged.
  2. Although Jesus said “the whole world”, it was a long time before the disciples began to move outside their own Jewish circles.
  3. An example of Peter preaching the gospel to the Jews: Acts 2:14-41.
  4. An example of Paul preaching the gospel to Greeks: Acts 17:22-34.

Mark 16:16

  1. “Therefore, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” (Rom 10:9-10).
  2. Anyone who hears the gospel and believes in Jesus should be baptized as a sign of repentance and obedience to Jesus’ commands.
  3. If for some reason you have not been baptized, you can rest easy because Jesus shows that it is the lack of faith, not the lack of baptism, that causes you to be condemned. In other words, anyone who is baptized but does not believe is in danger of being condemned.

Mark 16:17

  1. All these signs that Jesus lists will follow those who believe. In the book of Acts we find examples of all of them:
    1. Paul drives a fortune teller out of a slave girl (Acts 16:16-18).
    2. The disciples all begin to speak in tongues when they are filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4).
    3. Paul is bitten by a viper without being harmed (Acts 28:3-6).
    4. Paul laid his hands on a sick man who was healed (Acts 28:7-9).
  2. In the last verse of this chapter we see that these signs are to follow the “word” where it is preached. So Christians are not always saved when they are bitten by vipers, for example, but they can expect similar things when they preach the gospel.

Mark 16:19

  1. Had Jesus not left the disciples, there would have been a risk that they would not take their mission seriously and instead rely on Jesus to do so.
    1. When Jesus walked the earth, he acted as a model for all disciples. With the power of the Holy Spirit, we too can do great things (John 14:12).
  2. When Jesus sits at the right hand of God, Psalm 110:1 is fulfilled.
  3. Stephen saw Jesus sitting at God’s right hand just before he was martyred (Acts 7:56).

Mark 16:20

  1. Although Mark’s Gospel ends with these words, the Gospel continues into our days. The Gospel is preached all over the world and miracles and signs are still an important part of the Christian message.
  2. These words teach us that we should not sit and wait for signs before we go out and preach, but we should start preaching the gospel and then expect signs to follow.
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