Mark 11–16

“Lesson 14: Mark 11–16,” New Testament Teacher Manual (2018)

Introduction and Timeline

In Mark 11–16 we read about the events of the last week of the Savior’s mortal ministry. Though these chapters cover the span of only a few days, they constitute over a third of Mark’s Gospel, signaling the importance of the events they relate. These chapters record the fulfillment of prophecies Jesus Christ made, recorded in Mark 8–10, concerning His suffering, death, and Resurrection. Mark 14–15 contains Mark’s account of the events of the Atonement—from the Savior’s suffering in Gethsemane through His death on the cross and His burial. This account would have been incomplete, however, without Mark’s concluding testimony, recorded in Mark 16, that Jesus had risen from the dead. The Resurrection completed the Savior’s Atonement. It is the climactic event that truly makes Mark’s work a “Gospel”—a proclamation of “good news.” With this conclusion, the Gospel of Mark testifies that Jesus truly was the Son of God and that He fulfilled His mission to pay the price of our redemption (see Mark 10:45).

This chapter focuses on details of the Savior’s last week that are distinctive to Mark’s Gospel. For further information on these important events, see the commentaries for Matthew 21–28, for Luke 19–24, and for John 12–21.

New Testament Student Manual : Religion 211-212

Chapter Overviews

Mark 11

At the beginning of the last week of His mortal ministry, Jesus Christ made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem amid shouts of “Hosanna.” He cursed a fig tree, cleansed the temple, and confounded Jewish leaders on the question of His authority.

Mark 12

Jesus Christ taught in Jerusalem. He taught about the parable of the wicked husbandmen, rendering to Caesar and to God the things that belong to them, marriage and the Resurrection, the two great commandments, being the Son of David and the Son of God, and the widow’s mites.

Mark 13

On the Mount of Olives, the Savior taught about the destruction of Jerusalem and His Second Coming.

Mark 14

A woman of Bethany anointed Jesus Christ in anticipation of His impending death and burial. He ate the Passover with His disciples, instituted the sacrament, suffered in Gethsemane, and was betrayed and forsaken. He was falsely accused, and Peter denied knowing Him. Chapters 14–16 record the fulfillment of prophecies Jesus made earlier (see Mark 8–10).

Mark 15

Pilate decreed the death of Jesus. The Savior was mocked and crucified. He suffered on the cross and cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” He died and was buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.

Mark 16

Women disciples went to the tomb and found the stone rolled away. Two angels announced to them that Jesus Christ was risen (see Joseph Smith Translation, Mark 16:3–4 [in the Bible appendix]). Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, two disciples, and the eleven Apostles. He sent the Apostles to preach the gospel and baptize, promising that signs would follow faith. He ascended into heaven and sat at the right hand of God.

Suggestions for Teaching

Mark 11–16

The Last Week of the Savior’s Mortal Ministry

To give your students a brief overview of the material in Mark 11–16, you might have a student read aloud the chapter summaries for Mark 11–16. Ask students to listen for when in the Savior’s life the events in these chapters took place.

  • When in the Savior’s life did the events in Mark 11–16 take place? (The last week of His life.)

Point out that the Gospel of Mark is 16 chapters long. In those chapters, Mark wrote nothing about Jesus Christ’s birth or childhood; he devoted 10 chapters to the three years of Christ’s public ministry; and then in the last six chapters he focused exclusively on the final week of the Savior’s life, from His triumphal entry on Palm Sunday (see Mark 11:1–11) to the discovery of His empty tomb on Resurrection Sunday (see Mark 16:1–8). If Mark had devoted as much space to every week of the Savior’s life as he did to the last week, the Gospel of Mark would have been about 10,300 chapters long.

  • Why do you think Mark focused so much attention on the last week of the Savior’s life? (These chapters relate the events of the Atonement, the most important reason the Savior came to earth; see Mark 10:45.)

Remind students that in the previous lesson, they studied about the three times the Savior foretold His suffering, death, and Resurrection. Point out that Mark 11–16 records the fulfillment of those teachings.

Mark 12:41–44; 14:3–9

Two Faithful Women: The Poor Widow and the Woman of Bethany

Briefly explain that in Mark 12 and 14, Mark recorded accounts of two unnamed women who serve as examples of faith in the Lord. Display the following questions on the board or on a poster.

The Poor Widow (Mark 12:41–44)

The Woman of Bethany (Mark 14:3–9)

What is a mite?

In what sense did the widow give more than anyone else?

What doctrine or principle can we learn from this account?

What is spikenard?

What did the Savior say the anointing represented?

What do the Savior’s words suggest about the woman’s understanding and acceptance of God’s plan?

What doctrine or principle can we learn from this account?

Assign half the class to study the account of the poor widow in Mark 12:41–44, and the other half to study the account of the woman of Bethany in Mark 14:3–9. Give students several minutes to study the scriptural account and the student manual commentary for Mark 12:41–44 and for Mark 14:3–9, looking for answers to the questions. After students have had time to study, call on students to respond to the questions and explain their answers.

When students report the doctrines or principles they learned from the accounts of these two women, you might write (or ask students to write) their doctrines or principles on the board. Possible doctrines and principles include:

For Mark 12:41–44, the poor widow: Our willingness to sacrifice is a reflection of our devotion to the Lord. The Lord honors those who sincerely contribute to His kingdom, even when their contributions may seem small. The sincerity of our offering matters more than its monetary value or its comparison with other people’s offerings.

For Mark 14:3–9, the woman of Bethany: The Lord will accept our sincere acts of devotion even when others may not understand. We should offer the best we have to the Savior. Following Jesus Christ means submitting to Heavenly Father’s will. Believing in Jesus Christ means believing in His Atonement.

After students have shared their responses, ask:

  • What do both women have in common? (Possible answers: Both were faithful women who exemplified devotion to the Lord; both gave what they could [see Mark 12:44; 14:8]; both were submissive to God; both received the Savior’s commendation.)

  • When have you seen someone live one of the truths listed on the board?

Consider having students take a moment and reflect upon what they are offering to the Lord and what their offerings reveal about their love for the Lord and devotion to Him. Assure students that as they make sacrifices to show their love for the Lord, He will reward them beyond their initial offerings.

Mark 14:32–36; 15:34

Mark’s Account of the Savior’s Atoning Suffering

Briefly explain that as Mark related the events of the Atonement, he used more vivid language in describing the Savior’s suffering in Gethsemane than the writers of the other Gospels. By paying close attention to the words and phrases Mark recorded and analyzing them, students will better understand the reality and severity of the Savior’s suffering.

Invite students to read Mark 14:32–36, looking for phrases that show the Savior’s suffering and struggles in Gethsemane. List on the board the phrases that students identify. The list might look like this:

Mark 14:32–36

“Sore amazed” (verse 33)

“Very heavy” (verse 33)

“My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death” (verse 34)

“Fell on the ground” (verse 35)

“Abba, Father” (verse 36)

“All things are possible unto thee” (verse 36)

“Take away this cup from me” (verse 36)

“Nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt” (verse 36)

Ask students to take several minutes, using the study aids in their scriptures and the student manual commentary for Mark 14:32–36, to learn how these words help us better understand the Savior’s suffering in Gethsemane. After students have had sufficient time, ask them to report to the class what they learned. Encourage student participation and class discussion by asking questions such as:

  • How do these phrases help you understand the Savior’s sufferings in Gethsemane? What is important to you about this understanding?

  • Who else learned something about that phrase that helped you understand the Savior’s suffering?

Make sure students understand this doctrine: In the Atonement, Jesus Christ suffered for all mortal sins—past, present, and future—and for all our infirmities and sicknesses. You may want to refer students to the statement by Elder Neal A. Maxwell in the student manual commentary for Mark 14:32–36.

Note: The Joseph Smith Translation of Mark 14:36–38 indicates that the phrases “sore amazed” and “very heavy” can also describe the Savior’s disciples in Gethsemane.

Briefly summarize the events of the Savior’s betrayal, arrest, trials, and Crucifixion. You could do this by reading parts of the chapter overviews for Mark 14 and for Mark 15 at the beginning of this lesson. Then ask students to turn to Mark 15:34. Explain that the Savior made several statements during the hours He was on the cross, but this is the only one recorded in Mark. Ask a student to read Mark 15:34 and the statement by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland in the student manual commentary for Mark 15:34. Then ask:

  • Why was it necessary for the Father to withdraw the comfort of His Spirit from Jesus Christ at this time?

  • How are the events of the Atonement evidence of the love both the Father and the Son have for us? (As you discuss this, you might refer students to Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s statement in the student manual commentary for Mark 15:39; you might also ask students to read 1 John 4:9–10 and 1 Nephi 19:9.)

  • How does your knowledge of the great sacrifices made by the Father and the Son help you prepare to partake of the sacrament each week?

Bear testimony of this doctrine: The perfect love of both the Father and the Son were shown in the Atonement.

Mark 16:1–15

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

Ask a student to read Mark 1:1, and ask students if they recall what the word gospel means (“good news”). Point out that Mark began his Gospel by telling the good news about Jesus Christ; now in Mark 16, we learn about what ultimately makes Mark’s Gospel a proclamation of “good news.”

Ask students to read Mark 16:1–7, looking for details from these verses that are “good news.” Ask students what “good news” they identified. Make sure they understand this truth: Mark’s Gospel proclaims the good news of the Savior’s Resurrection. Ask a student to read aloud the quotation from President Howard W. Hunter in the student manual commentary for Mark 16:1–7.

  • How would it feel to you to read Mark’s Gospel if it ended with the Savior’s death, with no testimony of His Resurrection?

Ask a student to read Mark 16:9–13. Then guide students in studying the reactions to the news of the Savior’s Resurrection by asking the following questions:

  • As recorded in Mark 16:9–11, what was the reaction of the disciples to Mary Magdalene’s news that she had seen the risen Christ?

  • As recorded in Mark 16:12–13, what was the reaction of the disciples to the news that two others had seen Jesus?

  • Why do you think the disciples may have found it difficult to believe the reports of Mary Magdalene and the two disciples?

Ask a student to read the first paragraph of the statement by President James E. Faust in the student manual commentary for Mark 16:11–14.

  • What did President Faust say that helps us understand why the disciples might have had difficulty believing the news that Jesus had been resurrected?

After students have responded, read the remainder of President Faust’s statement in the student manual. Ask students to listen for how knowledge of the Resurrection can affect our lives. In particular, emphasize President Faust’s closing statement:

Faust, James E.

“Like the Apostles of old, this knowledge and belief should transform all of us to be confident, settled, unafraid, and at peace in our lives as followers of the divine Christ. It should help us carry all burdens, bear any sorrows, and also fully savor all joys and happiness that can be found in this life” (“The Supernal Gift of the Atonement,” Ensign, Nov. 1988, 14).

  • How can your knowledge of the Savior’s Resurrection and of your own resurrection affect your life?

After students have had an opportunity to respond, close by bearing your testimony of the Resurrection and the difference this testimony makes in your life.