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IN the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
[of Christ. he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
7 And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
8 And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples
9 And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail! And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for he is risen, as they see me.
10 Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall
EXPOSITION-Chap. XXVII. Continued.
grace of God is added, to direct and to improve it, it is difficult to speak in too high terms of the female character.
But the faithful followers of Jesus were not all females; nor were the men always of the lower class. Joseph of Arimathea was a rich man, though his disciple: and seeing his Master dead, knew not how better to show his attachment and respect, than by begging his body of the governor, in order to deposit it in a new tomb, which he had hewn out for himself in a rock in his own garden. Nicodemus, another ruler of the Jews, and secretly a disciple (John xix. 39), brought also a large quantity of spices, and having obtained leave of Pilate, they took down his body from the cross, and having swathed the body in fine linen, and covered it with spices (or perfumes), they closed the door, and placed a heavy stone against it. The bypocritical Pharisees were at this time busy with their passover, or it is probable they would have tried to prevent this. Next morning, however, recollecting (what all his disciples seem to have forgotten) that Jesus pro
mised to rise again, they beg that the governor will make sure the sepulchre, lest his disciples should steal the body, and by the substitution of a living person, pretend that he had risen from the dead. Pilate, however, having on his part no apprehensions, leaves this to themselves. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure; sealing the stone, and setting a watch."
These circumstances, fortuitous as they may seem, were doubtless all arranged in providence, not only for the accomplishment of our redemption, but also for the fulfilment of divine prophecy. Isaiah had said, "He made his grave with the wicked," or, as we render it, "He was placed with the wicked in his death; but with the rich was his sepulchre." Upon the cross "he was numbered among transgressors," but he was honoured in his tomb (see Isa. liii. 9, 12, Expos. and Notes); but he fell only to conquer; he died to rise and reign, and thus fulfil another prophecy, "O death, I will be thy plague; O grave, I will be thy destruction!" (Hos. xiii. 14.)
CHAP. XXVIII. Ver. 1. In the end of the subbath.-Camp. "Sabbath being over, and the first day of the week beginning to dawn." This agrees with Mark xvi. 1. The Jewish sabbath began on Friday evening (when stars of the second magnitude arose), and ended at the same time on Saturday evening. Ver. 2. There was (Marg, "had been") a great earthquake-that is, before the women arrived. Ver. 3. His countenance-not his face only, but his whole appearance.
Ver. J. As they went to tell his disciples.-The ancient versions, and many MSS. omit these words, and some critics therefore reject them; but as they
make no difference in the sense, the question is of n importance. All hail-Camp." Rejoice!" Dodd however, retains the term "hail," without the wor all, to which there is nothing answerable in the or ginal. Held him by the feet, &c. Exactly the kind of reverence may be seen daily among the Hir doos. A Hindoo disciple, meeting his religio guide in the public street, prostrates himself befor him, and rubs the dust off his feet, on his forebea and breast." Ward's Hindoo, vol. ii. p. 337.
Ver. 11. Now when they were going - Doddridg "While they were going," Camp, "When they we gone."
[of the Jews.
nor's ears, we will persuade him, and
15 So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported. among the Jews until this day. (U)
16 ¶ Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and spake
(U) Ver. 1-15. The resurrection of Jesus. Very early," that is, about break of day, on the first day of the week (corresponding with our Sunday), Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, mentioned ver. 56 of the preceding chapter, came to the Sepulchre, with a view of embalming the body of Jesus, not knowing that the stone had been sealed, and a military guard placed thereat, or they doubtless would not have ventured to come. The guard, however, had been so terrified by the appearance of an angel from heaven, and the earthquake that took place at the same time, that part of them had run into the city, to tell what had happened, while the rest lay around the sepulchre, terrified and insensible. The angel, who had rolled away the stone from the mouth of the sepulchre, was sitting on it, and had courteously invited the women to look in, and see the place where their Lord had lain, who was now risen from the dead. At the same time they were directed to go and tell this joyful news to his disciples (especially the apostles), and to inform them that he would give them all an interview with him in Galilee.
The women accordingly, with a mixture of fear and joy, ran to seek the eleven, and impart to them the joyful tidings. By the way, however, Jesus himself meets them, and after discovering who he was, directs them to proceed with their message, and confirm his promise by the angel, that he would be with his disciples in Galilee. The women of course proceeded to Jerusalem;
and about the same time, some of the soldiers who had kept watch at the sepulchre, ran and informed the chief priests of " all the things that were done." So that between the women and the soldiers, considerable agitation must have been excited, among both the friends and enemies of Jesus: the former elevated to hope and joy; the latter alarmed, and justly, lest their malice should be defeated, and the Roman governor excited against them.
The excuse here invented by the guard, though a very common one, was not only highly improbable, but very dangerous to the guard themselves, to be advanced. If they slept, how could they tell what became of the body? and besides, this was the confession of a capital offence, and at the same time laid them open to the suspicion of treachery and collusion. But it was the only apology they could think of, and to this day the Jews have not been able to suggest a better ground for their infidelity.
In all this, however, we may see the hand of Providence. Had no guard, or only a guard of Levites, been appointed to the sepulchre, such a pretence might have had the colour of possibility; but even then it was not likely that men who were themselves so hard to believe, should unite in a plot to persuade others. Certainly the extreme reluctance of the apostles of Jesus to admit the fact, is a strong presumption that they were compelled to it by ocular demonstration, and with Thomas even that was scarcely found sufficient. (See John xx. 25-27.)
Ver. 12. Gave large money-Doddr. " A large sum of money;" more literally, of silver," i. e. shekels. Ver. 14. And secure you.-The Roman (as well as Greek) punishment for sleeping on duty, was death. Orient. Lit. No. 1260.
Ver. 15. Unto this day when Matthew wrote. Justin Martyr says that the Jews sent chosen men of considerable rank over all the world, not only in the general to represent Christianity as an impious sect, but to assert that the body of Jesus was stolen
out of his tomb by night; and that the persons who thus fraudulently conveyed him away, took occasion from thence to report that he rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven. And this message is spoken of as having been sent before the destruction of Jerusalem." See Doddr.
Ver. 17. But some doubted-" Though some (of the company) had (at first) doubted." So Doddr. explains it. Paley says, "It is to be supposed that Christ appeared at first at a distance, when the
unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
[to his apostles.
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever 1 have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (X)
EXPOSITION-Chap. XXVIII. Continued.
called, the Missionary enterprise. (Dr. Mor rison's Parting Memorial, 1826, p. 301.)
The introduction of the Christian doctrine of the Trinity into this institution, may suggest to us, that the great point which concerns us therein, is to render equal honour to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, in their respective offices in the economy of human redemption: a subject better studied upon our knees than in the schools. But when it is added,
(X) Ver. 16—20 Christ's final exaltation, and last commission to his disciples.-Jesus had, previously to his death, appointed afterwards to meet his apostles in Galilee, which was repeatedly fulfilled. Doddridge, Wesley, and others, think it was on this occasion that our Lord appeared to 500 brethren at once (1 Cor. xv. 6); but this is by no means certain. To us it appears that this was the last interview which our Lord had with his disciples, previous to his return to heaven: so Mr. Preb. Townsend." In our Lord's words we remark the follow. ing important points.
1. The dignity to which Jesus Christ was now about to be exalted, on his ascension to the Father. "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." This must refer to that delegated authority conferred upon the Messiah, which was the reward of his passion, and the ground of his authority, as King of the church. (Ps. ii. 7-9; ex. 1, &c.; Matt. xi. 27; John xiii. 3; xvii. 2; Phil. ii. 9—11, &c. &c.) Whether that authority could be exercised by a mere creature; that is, whether such creature could be every where present; every where reign, protect, and bless his people; is another question, which we leave to be resolved by those who wish so to degrade the Son of God.
2. The commission which Messias gives to his apostles and others, to disciple, to proselyte, to Christianize, or as Milton better expresses it, to evangelize the world. "I (says the divine Saviour) have all power in heaven and on earth; go ye therefore, and proclaim the glad tidings of mercy to every human creature. This did the first disciples and apostles of our Lord, to the extent of their means; and this, more or less, have all their true successors done, up to the present day; and this is still the doing of what, in common parlance, is
greater part worshipped him; but some doubted, till Jesus came up, and spoke to them." So Dr. Townson. To us it seems probable that some, when they first saw him, supposed it to be his ghost (as on another occasion, Matt. xiv. 25.), till he appproached and spoke to them.
Ver. 19. Teach all nations.-The word teach here, is quite different from the one used in the next verse. This word signines to "disciple," or make disciples (or Christians) of all nations; and is so rendered in our margin, and to the same effect, we believe, by all modern translators. Doddr. employs the term "proselyte;" but Camp. justly objects to this
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you," we should never forget to give a prominent situation to that peculiar and comprehen sive precept of our Saviour, "These things I command you, that ye love one another." (John xv. 17.)
The promise annexed to this command is certainly of the most encouraging nature; and, so far as it relates to the aids of the Holy Spirit in the conversion of the heart, must no more be limited to any age than to any nation: "Lo! I am with you always, even to the end of the world."
3. With the propagation of the gospel among the heathen is here intimately con nected the initiatory ordinance of Christia Baptism, as a distinguishing mark of sepa ration from the heathen world. Muc more attention has been paid to this part our Lord's address than to the preceding Many volumes have been written as to th quantity of water necessary to the due a ministration of this ordinance, the manu of its application, and the parties to who it should be administered. These contr versies we are very far from wishing to vive. We are fully persuaded that Chri ians, the more they enter into the spirit their Master's institutions, the less they be inclined to dispute respecting cumstantials.
phrase, as too technical; to the verb "disciple objects, as not found in the English language; t is hard to say this of a word used both by Shaks and Spencer (see Johnson), and among divin Bp. Beveridge, Dr. Scott, Mr. Wesley, &c.
Ver. 20. Unto the end of the world. Some r this, "to the end of the age," meaning the J state; but Abp. Newcome understands it " gospel dispensation, which will indeed run på with the duration of the world. "Nothing more unreasonable (says Doddr.) than to limi' words to the end of the Jewish state.""
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO
“THIS Evangelist was not an apostle, or companion of Christ during his ministry, though Epiphanius and several other fathers affirm that he was one of the seventy dis ciples. All that we learn from the New Testament concerning him is, that he was sister's son to Barnabas (Col. iv. 10), and the son of Mary, a pious woman of Jeru salem, at whose house the apostles and first Christians often assembled. (Acts xii. 12.) His Hebrew name was John, and Michaelis thinks that he adopted the surname of Mark when he left Judea to preach the gospel in foreign countries, a practice not unusual among the Jews of that age, who frequently assumed a name more familiar to the nations which they visited, than that by which they had been distinguished in their own country. From Peter's styling him his son (1 Pet. v. 13), this evangelist is supposed to have been converted by him, and on his deliverance (recorded in Acts xii. 12.), Mark went from Jerusalem with Paul and Barnabas, and soon after accompanied them to other countries as their minister (Acts xiii. 5); but declining to attend them through their whole progress, he returned to Jerusalem, and there kept up an intercourse with Peter and the other apostles. Afterwards, however, when Paul and Barnabas settled at Antioch, we find Mark with them, and disposed to accompany them in their future journeys. He then went with Barnabas to Cyprus (Acts xv. 37-39); and subsequently accompanied Timothy to Rome, at the desire of Paul (2 Tim. iv. 11.) during his confinement in that city. From Rome he probably went into Asia, where he found Peter, with whom he returned to that city, in which he is supposed to have written and published his Gospel, Such are the outlines of this evangelist's history, as furnished to us by the New Testament. From Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Jerome, we learn that Mark, after he had written his Gospel, went to Egypt, and having planted a church at Alexandria, Jerome states that he died and was buried there in the eighth year of Nero." Some affirm that St, Mark suffered martyrdom; but this fact is not mentioned by Eusebius, or any other ancient writer, and is contradicted by Jerome.
That Mark was the author of the Gospel which bears his name, is proved by the una nimous testimony of ancient Christians, particularly Papias, and other writers of the three first and following centuries. Though not cited by name, this Gospel appears to have been alluded to by Clement of Rome in the first century; but the testimony of antiquity is not equally uniform concerning the order in which it should be placed.
Clement of Alexandria affirms that the Gospels containing the genealogies were first written; according to this account, Mark wrote after Luke: but Papias, on the information of John the Presbyter, a disciple of Jesus, and a companion of the apostles, expressly states that it was the second in order; and with him agree Irenæus, and other fathers.
That this evangelist wrote in Greek, is attested by the uninterrupted voice of antiquity, and it is generally considered that he wrote for Gentile converts, on which account he has inserted several explanatory terms (as Corban, a gift, chap. vii. 11), and omitted many things of interest peculiar to the Jews, as Christ's genealogy, and miraculous conception, &c.
From the striking coincidences between Mark and Matthew, many learned men have supposed the former an epitomizer, or at least that he made great use of the latter's Gospel in the formation of his own. On the other hand, critics of equal eminence have contended, from the many seeming inconsistencies between them, that Mark never saw the Gospel of Matthew before his own was written, or such apparent discrepancies would have been avoided. It must be confessed, however, that the sacred-writers seem to discover a sovereign contempt for artificial arrangement; and no anxiety to avoid those apparent discrepancies, to which independent writers are always liable; but which persons combining to deceive, would certainly study to avoid. As to similarity of style and expression, if Mark was a disciple of St. Peter, as is generally believed, it is highly probably that he might have an early acquaintance with Matthew's Gospel, even if Mark had not: and that he wrote under Peter's counsel and inspection, is not only asserted by the ancients, but strongly argued from the particular account he gives of Peter's fall, and the caution with which he speaks of any circumstances to his honour.
With respect to the date of this Gospel, Mr. Horne places it between A. D. 60 and 63; but Dr. Lardner thinks it could not have been written before A. D. 64 or 65.
[See Horne's Crit. Introd. vol. iv. p. 252, et seq. 4th Ed., from which the above is copied and abridged, compared with Drs. Lardner and Campbell.]
In pursuing our course of Exposition, as many parts of Mark's Gospel repeat the same facts with Matthew, and often nearly in the same words, we shall follow the plan we pursued in the Old Testament, placing these in a smaller type, that they may be omitted by those who please in family reading, and confine our Exposition to new facts and cir cumstances; or to some of those very interesting parts of the history, on which we had not sufficient room for enlargement in going through the first gospel.
Those who wish to read the whole of this Gospel in their families can still do so, as nothing is omitted; and the Notes will refer to those parts of the Exposition of Matthew, where the same facts or discourses are considered. In the Notes also, which are numerous, and sometimes copious, the different accounts will be reconciled so far as the Editor has been able; for after all, from the antiquity of the writings there are many little apparent differences which defy the skill of the most learned. But while the leading facts are established beyond all reasonable contradictions, those minute circumstances will be found of no importance to either our faith or practice.
As to the term Gospel (in Greek Evangelion), it is remarkable that St. Mark uses it more frequently than the other three Evangelists taken collectively. Both the Greek word and the English (or rather Saxon), signify good news, or glad tidings; namely, those of salvation by Jesus Christ.