This is a Bible study on Mark 16:1-8.

6 pages.

Mark 16:1-8 - Have Confidence in the Lord Jesus

Read Mark 16:1-8.


A mother received a phone call from her eighteen-year-old daughter. The daughter was over four thousand miles away on a summer ministry in Europe with a young peoples’ group from her church. The daughter had called to inform her mother that she was in England and, because everyone else was busy, she was going to tour the city of London all by herself. The daughter was confident; the mother was apprehensive. As their conversation ended she once again cautioned her daughter to be careful. Throughout the night and into the next day the mother is anxious. She repeatedly prays for her daughter’s safety.

That night there comes another call from England. It’s her daughter, and she is very excited. The young lady proceeds to describe for her mother the events of her day in London. She found herself in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Trafalgar Square. She paused to rest on a park bench, wishing she had a companion. Just about this time a stranger from the crowd, a girl about her age, sat down beside her. After engaging in conversation, they decided to spend the afternoon together. As they walk along, what should they discover but that they both were serving with the same Christian mission: the one had been working in Sweden, and was now assigned to northern England; the other had been working in Germany, and she, too, was assigned to northern England.

“God still does miracles, doesn’t He!” exclaimed the daughter.

Yes He does,” replied her mother. “I suppose God looked down on Trafalgar Square and said, “There is a girl who needs a friend; let me remind her how big I really am.”

After hanging up the phone, the mother reflected on these things: she became convinced that it was really she who needed the reminder of how big God really is.1

In this present passage of Scripture we meet some other women who also needed to be reminded of how big God really is, and that He is fully able to keep all His promises. Like these women whom we meet in the sixteenth chapter of Mark, we often forget the promises of the Lord Jesus, and the power of God to fulfill those promises. Christian, let us have confidence in the Lord Jesus, because He is worthy of our complete trust.

Have Confidence in the Lord Jesus, because He is Faithful to Keep His Word🔗

On that first Easter morning, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, did not go to the tomb to greet the risen Jesus, they went to anoint His dead corpse. They had seen the place where Joseph and Nicodemus had buried Jesus. Now, as soon as the Sabbath was over, they purchased spices and departed for the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus.

As they made their way to the tomb, their great concern was the huge stone that had been rolled over the entrance way: Who would remove the stone for them? But when they arrived at the tomb, they discovered that the stone had already been moved!

Upon entering the tomb, they encountered two young men, (according to Luke 24:4), dressed in dazzling white robes, and the women were greatly alarmed.

One of these angels now addressed the women. He began by first calming their fears: “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified” (Matt. 28:5). Then he mildly rebukes them by asking incredulously, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead?” (Lk. 24:5) He now informs them that Jesus has risen from the dead.

The angel reminds the women of how Jesus had assured His disciples that He would meet them in Galilee, as He had promised: “You will all fall away, Jesus told them...But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee” (Mk. 14:27-28). He also reminds them of how the Lord Jesus had foretold His trial, His crucifixion, and His resurrection:

Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee, 7'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'Lk. 24:6-7

Let us have confidence in Jesus, because He is faithful to keep His word. Let us be assured that He is the Lord and Conqueror of death:

Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. Rev. 1:17b-18

Let us be assured that He is with us and will watch over us:

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever, 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot receive him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Jn. 14:16-18

The Apostle Paul testifies,

the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength...And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. 18The Lord will rescue me out of every evil attack and will save me for his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen. 2 Tim. 4:17-18

Let us be assured that, as believers, He has brought us into the household of God His Father; note that in referring to His disciples, our Lord identifies them (and us) as his “brethren” (Matt. 28:10):

The Apostle Paul assures us:

you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are children of God... Rom. 8:15-16

Let us be assured that He desires to have communion and fellowship with us; in Matthew 28:10 Jesus Himself reiterates the instructions of the angels recorded in verse seven of Mark 16, “Do not be afraid. Go, tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they shall see me.”

The Lord Jesus exhorts us:

Do not let your hearts be troubled; trust in God, trust also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I am going to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back, and take you to be with me; so that where I am, you may be also. Jn. 14:1-3

Have Confidence in Jesus, Despite the Apparent Obstacles to Your Faith🔗

Indeed, Jesus had foretold all that was about to occur: (His betrayal, His trial, His crucifixion, and His resurrection); but He had spoken these things while He and His disciples were still in Galilee, far removed from the events. But the very events He foretold now posed as obstacles to their faith and caused the disciples to forget the words and promises of the Lord Jesus.

In times of trial, we, too, tend to forget or lose sight of the promises of our Lord. By way of example: A Christian man tells of traveling with his family through a torrential downpour, listening to his children’s recorder playing the Scripture song, “I will trust in Him and not be afraid.” That father writes,

It is one thing to hear those words in the sunshine, but it is easy to forget them in the midst of the storm. Had the recorder not been playing, would I have remembered to 'trust Him and not be afraid?' or would the storm have so dominated my attention that it posed a threat to my faith and caused me to forget the promises of the Lord?

The playing of the recorder, like the angels’ testimony to the women at the empty tomb, served to remind that father of the promises of the Lord, preventing him from forgetting them and becoming overwhelmed by the obstacles and the danger that presently confronted him.

The Bible testifies of Christian people encountering all kinds of apparently insurmountable obstacles to their faith:

  • Abram and Sarah were promised a son; but they were confronted with their own advanced age and the barrenness of Sarah’s womb.
  • Joseph was promised a position of honor and glory; but he was confronted with his present condition of slavery and imprisonment in the land of Egypt.
  • The Israelites were promised deliverance from Egypt and entrance into the Promised Land of Canaan; but they were confronted with the wide expanse of the Red Sea.
  • The women and the disciples were promised a Savior; but they were confronted with the crucifixion, a dead corpse, and a sealed tomb.

All these people of God were confronted with great obstacles to their faith, but in every instance the LORD proved Himself greater than the obstacles. He proved Himself ready and able to fulfill all that He had promised.

As Christians, even when we are confronted with obstacles to our faith, and especially then, may we have confidence in the Lord; may we imitate and practice the faith of Abraham:

[Despite all the obstacles standing] against hope, [Abraham] believed with hope, so that he might become a father of many nations, just as it had been promised [to him], 'So shall your offspring be.' 19And without becoming weak in faith, he acknowledged that his own body was now as good as dead, (he being about a hundred years old), and [he acknowledged] the barrenness of Sarah’s womb. 20Nevertheless, looking to the promise of God, he did not waver through unbelief, but grew strong through faith, [thereby] giving glory to God, 21being fully persuaded that what [God] had promised, he was also able to fulfill. Rom. 4:18-21

Let us have confidence in Jesus, no matter what the apparent obstacle may be.

The obstacle at times may be spiritual in nature; perhaps a strong, even overwhelming, sense of sin, note Peter’s reaction after he had denied his Lord, “Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him, ‘Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.’ And he broke down and wept” (Mk. 14:72).

But consider the special word the angel has for Peter following our Lord’s resurrection: “But go, tell his disciples, and Peter, He is going ahead of you to Galilee: there you shall see him, just as he told you” (Mk. 16:7). Note, also, Luke 24:34, “The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon [i.e. Peter].” The Apostle John assures us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9). As the Apostle Paul reveals, because of Calvary, God can forgive our sins and still maintain His divine justice: “God presented [Christ] as a sacrifice of atonement... 26he did so to demonstrate his as to be just and the one how justifies the man who has faith in Jesus” (Rom. 3:24,26).

Sometimes the obstacles may be intellectual in nature: the women wondered who would move the stone from the mouth of the tomb; and they could not even conceive of the resurrection at this point.

But consider the Apostle Paul’s testimony before the Roman authorities: “Why is it judged to be incredible by you, if God raises the dead?” (Acts 26:8) Let us also take confidence from the prayer of the prophet Jeremiah: “Ah Lord GOD! You have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm; there is nothing too hard for you” (Jer. 32:17).

Whenever we are confronted with obstacles of an intellectual, or scientific nature, let us bear in mind the following truths. First, science itself is possible only because God is a God of order who has brought into being a creation that is under His control and has been fashioned by His mind and hand. Second, it is God Himself who commands our study of and righteous dominion over His creation: “fill the earth, and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Gen. 1:28). Third, the theories of science that are in accordance with truth shall be established, those that are not shall ultimately fail, for God’s truth shall endure: “The lip of truth shall be established forever; but a lying tongue lasts only for a moment” (Prov. 12:19). Note: A very good Christian website devoted to scientific issues is Dr. Hugh Ross’s website, Reasons to Believe ( There are also good Christian apologetic websites that deal with questions of a more philosophical nature. An extensive list is provided at Josh McDowell’s website: Apologetics -

Still at other times, the obstacles we encounter may be moral in nature. When they are questions relating to God’s goodness, consider such a passage as Matthew 5:45, “your Father in heaven...causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” The everyday care for mankind in the form of the sunshine and rain is an expression of God’s goodness.

May we bear in mind that the ultimate expression of God’s love is to be seen at the cross of Calvary: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16).

When the moral questions relate to God’s justice, consider the Apostle Paul’s testimony made before the Athenians: “[God] has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:31). Paul points out that the resurrection of the one truly righteous man, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the proof that God is righteous and that He has appointed a day of final reckoning when His absolute justice shall prevail.

Finally, there are times when the obstacles we face may be of a personal nature. When they pertain to financial needs, bear in mind the Apostle Paul’s assurance given to the Philippian church: “my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). When they pertain to the future, bear in mind the LORD’s great promise made through the prophet Jeremiah: “I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to make you proper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11). When they pertain to the growing threat of persecution, bear in mind the assurance provided in Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” When those obstacles pertain to the hour of our own death, may we as Christians take comfort from the sure testimony of the Psalmist: “The LORD is my shepherd...Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me...and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Psl. 23:1,4,6).

Let us have confidence in our Lord Jesus Christ, no matter what obstacles may confront us.

You will light my lamp. The LORD my God will lighten my darkness. 29By you I advance against a troop; and by my God do I leap over a wall. Psl. 18:28-29


Just like those women who came to the tomb, we, too, tend to forget the promises of our Lord and the power of God to fulfill those promises. Because our Lord Jesus Christ is able and faithful to keep all His promises, let us place our confidence in Him. May God help us to do so all the days of our lives and in all the changing circumstances of life.

Discussion Questions🔗

  1. What was the purpose of the women’s early morning visit to Jesus’s tomb? What did they expect to find? See Mk. 16:1. Could there ever be such a thing as a “resurrectionless Christianity”? Do we live our lives as though Jesus had not risen from the dead? What practical difference does Jesus’ resurrection make in your life?

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, in order that they might come and anoint his body. Mk. 16:1

  1. As the women approached the tomb, what was their concern? See Mk. 16:2-3. Do you ever view yourself as standing impotent before a sealed tomb; if so, what do you need to realize? See Mk. 16:4-6a,

And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they came to the tomb. 3Now they were saying among themselves, Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb for us? Mk. 16:2-3

But looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back; for it was extremely large. 5Upon entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were alarmed. 6aHe said to them, Do not be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus, the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He is risen... Mk. 16:4-6a

  1. How did the women react to the empty tomb and the report that Jesus has risen from the dead? See Mk. 16:8. Do you think theirs was a natural reaction to such a stupendous supernatural act of God? How do you react to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ? Note Jer. 32:17; Acts 26:8,

Then they went out and fled from the tomb; for they were overcome with trembling and astonishment. But they said nothing to any one, because they were afraid. Mk. 16:8

The comment, “they said nothing to anyone,” may simply mean that the women did not share the news with anyone they happened to meet along the way as they returned to give their report to the disciples.

Ah, Lord God! Behold, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm; there is nothing too hard for you. Jer. 32:17

Why is it judged incredible by you, if God raises the dead? Acts 26:8

  1. When the women regain their composure and report the good news to the disciples, how do they react? See Lk. 24:11. In view of Jesus’ repeated testimony (cf. Mk. 8:31; Mk. 16:7a/Matt. 26:31­ 32), why would the disciples have reacted as they did when the women gave the report of His resurrection? Were they not listening to all that Jesus taught? Did they dismiss Jesus’ words as “impossible”? How often do we treat Jesus’ words in such a way?

But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them to be ridiculous. Lk. 24:11

Then he began to teach them that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. Mk. 8:31

But go, tell his disciples, and Peter, that he will go before you into Galilee... Mk. 16:7a

Then Jesus said to them, You will all fall away because of me this night, for it is written: 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' 32But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.Matt. 26:31-32

  1. When the news of Jesus’ resurrection is reported to Thomas, what does he insist on doing? See Jn. 20:25. What does Jesus do to remove Thomas’ doubts and assist him to accept the wonderful fact of His resurrection? See Jn. 20:26-27 How does Thomas react to the proof presented to him? See Jn. 20:28. Although we, like Thomas, were not present on the earlier occasion when Jesus presented Himself to His disciples after His resurrection, what evidence has He provided for us? See Jn. 20:30-31. What does the Lord Jesus say about those who receive this witness? See Jn. 20:29. Are you among those who believe?

The other disciples told him, We have seen the Lord. But he said to them, Unless I see the nail prints in his hands, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe. Jn. 20:25

Eight days later the disciples again were in [the upper room], and Thomas was with them. [Although] the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, Peace be with you. 27Then he said to Thomas, Put your finger here and examine my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. No longer doubt, but believe. Jn. 20:26-27

Thomas responded by saying to him, My Lord and my God. Jn. 20:28

Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples that are not recorded in this book. 31But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and by believing you may have life in his name. Jn. 20:30-31

Jesus replied [to Thomas], Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, but [still] have believed. Jn. 20:29

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