Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. What is the difference between these two phrases: “the beginning of the end” and “the end of the beginning”?
2. When have you experienced a loss that seemed to be the end of the life you knew, only to discover later that it was the beginning of a new chapter of your life?
Read Mark 16:1-3.
1. Who were the women who went to the tomb? How were their lives strongly connected to the life of Jesus? See 15:40, 41. How do you think they imagined their lives changing in the days to come?
2. Note the timing of the visit mentioned in the first words of 16:1. Review Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:55, 56. How important to these women was anointing Jesus’ body? How can you tell?
Read Mark 16:4-7.
3. Look at the description of the person at the tomb. Compare that description to Matthew 28:2-5. How does that enhanced description help explain the emotional reaction of the women?
4. List the commands the angel gave to the women. What was the significance of each one?
Read Mark 16:8-11.
5. Earliest and most complete manuscripts end Mark with verse 8. How do you react to the abruptness of the ending? Many scholars point out that Mark was written to believers in Rome around the time of Nero’s persecution of Christians. They argue that it is reasonable that the original ending of the gospel was destroyed and reconstructed later. Does that explanation seem reasonable? Explain.
6. How did the disciples who did not go to Jesus’ tomb react to the women who reported what they saw at the tomb? What are some lessons we can learn from this?
7. What do you do when something you are looking for is not where you expect it to be? How appropriate is it that an empty tomb is not the end of our following Jesus but the beginning of a new life seeking to know him better?