Malankara World

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Ascension of Our Lord

B.W. Johnson Commentary on Mark 16:14-20

From The People's New Testament, B.W. Johnson, 1891

14. He appeared to the eleven themselves. Compare Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-23.

15. He said unto them. Probably not at the time referred to in verse 14, but later. The Lord appeared many times during the forty days. These words may have been spoken at the great meeting in Galilee (verse 7; Matt. 28:18-20). Go into all the world. Jesus is the world's Savior; he died for all; the gospel must be preached to all. In the first commission (Matt. 10:6) they were sent only to Jews. Preach the gospel. The good news of salvation through Christ; the way of life. To every creature. To every mortal. None are denied the Savior if they will have him.

16. He that believeth. Believeth the gospel message; believes in Christ as his Savior. And is baptized. These are the conditions of pardon; faith in Christ and obedience to his command. If any one has not faith enough in Christ to obey him he has not faith enough to be saved. He that believeth not. Remains in a state of unbelief. Such have no promise. See John 3:18.

17. These signs shall follow them that believe. It is generally held that this is a promise limited to the apostolic age and to a few of the disciples of that age. Perhaps the plural them does not have for its antecedent the singular he in verse 16, but the plural them in verse 14. If it does not, why is the number changed in verses 15 and 16? The grammatical construction requires us to look to verse 14 for the antecedent of them in verse 17. In verse 14 the apostles are "upbraided for their unbelief because they believed not them who had seen him after he had arisen." They are commanded to go and tell the glad story, and assured that miraculous credentials shall be given to those of "them who believe" and tell the wonderful tidings. In my name shall they cast out devils, etc. See Acts 2:4; 5:16; 8:7; 16:18; 28:3.

19. After the Lord had spoken unto them. The words above, and other words recorded in the other Evangelists. He was received up into heaven. In Acts it says, "a cloud received him out of their sight." He did not fade away from sight, but a cloud came as a veil between him and the eyes of the gazing disciples. The cloud can be pierced by the eye of faith, and our Lord seen interceding for us at the right hand of God. [219]

20. They went forth, and preached everywhere. Acts of the Apostles is the history of their preaching. It should be studied to see how the Apostles understood and preached the Commission of the Lord. The Commission of Christ is to his Church; its field is the world; its work is to preach the gospel; its congregation embraces every creature; its offer is a free and full salvation; the conditions of salvation are faith in Christ, and obedience to him; the consequence of rejecting Christ's salvation is eternal condemnation. [220]

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