The Gospel of Mark – Part 53

Alive – Mark 15:40-16:8

Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Sept 27th, 2020


  • Over the past several weeks, we have seen what Jesus endured and what He accomplished from the night of His betrayal to the moment of His death. This morning, I want you to witness through the eyes of those who were there, His death, burial, and resurrection. This will help you to know the facts about what happened, and build your faith upon the truth and understanding of how this impacts your life and eternity.  

Witness His death

Mark 15:40-41 ESV 

There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

  • These are women who knew Jesus personally, were dedicated to Him, and followed Him all the way from Galilee. They were a witness to His life, and they were a witness to His death. They knew Jesus and would not mistake someone else for Him.    

Mark 15:42-45 ESV

And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph.

  • The day of Preparation was the day the Jews were to get all their work done before the Sabbath started on Friday night at 6pm (the Sabbath runs from 6pm Friday to 6pm Saturday). Jesus died around 3 pm, and since there were only a few short hours left to prepare for the Sabbath, Joseph immediately acted.
  • Joseph was from the town of Arimathea, which was about 20 miles north of Jerusalem. He was a righteous man, wealthy, well-known, and a well-respected member of the Sanhedrin (Jewish leadership council). He was not in agreement with his fellow leader’s choice to condemn and crucify Jesus. He was “looking for the kingdom of God” and was a secret disciple of Jesus (see Matt. 27:57, Luke 23:50-51, John 19:38). 
  • Joseph “took courage,” overcoming his fear of the other Jewish leaders discovering his true allegiance, and asked Pilate (the Roman Governor) for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised that Jesus was already dead (in some cases, those being crucified lingered for days), and he verified Jesus was dead from the centurion who was in charge of the crucifixion. 
  • The captain of the Roman guard who was in charge of crucifixions made sure the people were dead before they were taken off the crosses because if the person crucified did not die, the centurion would lose his life. Because this crucifixion was on a Sabbath, the Jews asked that the bodies would be taken down by 6pm. The request was granted, and they broke the legs of the two criminals that were being crucified next to Jesus.
  • When they came to Jesus, they “saw that He was already dead.” Just to make sure, they pierced His side with a spear and out came both blood and water. Ordinarily, after someone dies, blood does not flow since there is no blood pressure because the heart has stopped pumping.  However, Jesus was erect when he died, the flow was due to the effects of gravity. He was pierced between the ribs through the top of a lung and into his heart. Therefore, the water came from His filled lungs and the blood from His stilled heart. They did not need to break His legs, because there was no doubt that Jesus was indeed dead (see John 19:31-37). This event also fulfilled Old Testament prophecy. The Passover lamb was not to have its bones broken (Ex. 12:46), the Messiah would not have His bones broken (Psalm 34:20), and He also would have his side “pierced” (Zech. 12:10).  
  • Jesus was verifiably dead, and His corpse was given over to this righteous, well-known leader and disciple of Jesus to be buried.   

Witness His burial

Mark 15:46-47 ESV

And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.

  • Joseph went and purchased a linen shroud, which he had no problem doing so because he was wealthy. Joseph was helped by another well-known and well-respected member of the Sanhedrin, Nicodemus, the original “Nick at night” from John 3. Together, they prepared the body of Jesus for burial by wrapping His body in the linen with around 100 pounds of burial spices (see John 19:39-40).
  • The tomb they laid Jesus in was a new tomb that Joseph had cut for himself, where no one had ever been laid (this way, people could not say his body was confused for another one). This tomb was close by (it was not miles and miles away in some unknown, undisclosed location). They rolled a “great stone” in front of the entrance (that the women could not move). The women saw where He had been laid; they knew exactly where He was buried (see Matt. 27:60-61, Luke 50-55, John 19:38-42).
  • The Jewish leaders were so afraid that someone would come and steal the body of Jesus out of the tomb and say that He was resurrected, so they had a “guard of soldiers” for security and even sealed the tomb so no one could get in or out without detection (see Matt. 27:62-66). 
  • Jesus was buried by well-known and well-respected leading men who knew Jesus personally, in a new tomb that was nearby, sealed and guarded by soldiers. This was all witnessed by the women who returned to that exact spot early Sunday morning. There was no way He was not dead, and there was no way this was not His body; there was no way that this was not the location.  He was verifiably dead; He was verifiably buried.  

Witness His resurrection

Mark 16:1-8 ESV

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

  • The same women who had witnessed all these things went back to the tomb with spices on Sunday morning as soon as the sun rose. They were unsure how they were going to move the stone, and when they had arrived, they saw that the stone had been rolled away. They went into the tomb and saw a young man dressed in white who was an Angel. The Angel told them not to be alarmed, that Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified, had risen and that He was no longer there. They were in the right place, looking for the right person. Jesus had risen and was no longer there; they could see this for themselves; the body was not there. They were instructed to go and tell the disciples and Peter that He would meet them in Galilee. They fled trembling, astonished, and afraid.
  • As they were fleeing, while still in the garden, Jesus Himself appeared to them. They took hold of His feet, and they worshiped Him. Jesus told them not to be afraid and to go quickly and tell the disciples (see Matt. 28:9-10, John 20:14-18). The women did indeed tell the disciples, and they came to the tomb themselves and saw that the body of Jesus was no longer in the tomb (John 20:1-13). Jesus was verifiably dead. Jesus was verifiably buried. Jesus was verifiably risen. 


  • Scripture goes on to give the account of numerous times that Jesus appeared to people after His resurrection. He appeared to two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-15).  He appeared to His disciples without Thomas in a closed room (John 20:19-23). He appeared to His disciples with Thomas present, who touched His wounds (John 20:24-29), and He appeared to them on several other occasions (Matt. 28:16-20, John 21:1-14).  
  • When writing to the church in Corinth, Paul the Apostle reminded them what had happened and how important these events were: 

1 Cor 15:3-9 ESV

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

  • The facts indeed prove that these things happened. And because of what Christ did through His life, death and resurrection because of our faith in Him, we will be made alive as well. 

1 Cor 15:20-23 ESV

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.

  • We were born as sons and daughters of Adam, and because of our fallen nature, we will die, but through faith in Christ, we will be made alive again. Be confident in what you believe, knowing that those who told us are faithful, and the promises we have in Christ are assured.  Jesus indeed is the Son of God.