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The ministry of]
HE beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; 2 As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.
5 And there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their
6 And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with the girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;
7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
[John the Baptist.
8 I indeed have baptized you with water but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
11 And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
12 And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilderness.
13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand repent ye, and believe the gospel. (A)
(A) Ver. 1-15. The baptism of John.Mark, as well as John (ch. i. 1), begins his narrative of the Gospel history with asserting the dignity of his divine Master, as the Son of God; and this will appear the more clearly if we examine the prophetic announcement with which he is here introduced. Passages are quoted both from Isaiah and Malachi, announcing his approach in the name of the Lord, and clothed with his authority; and at the same time predicting the arrival of a prophet in the spirit and power of Elias (or Elijah), to prepare the way before him. (Isa. xl. 3, 4; Mal. iii. 1; iv. 5.) That John the Baptist was Elias we have the explicit testimony of Jesus Christ himself (Matt. xi. 14); and that Jesus was the august person whose
way he was to prepare, we have the no less express declaration of the Baptist. "This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me, for he was before me; and I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.' (John i. 30, 31.)
As we have already briefly noticed the character and mission of this prophet of the New Testament (Matt. chap. iii.), we shall carefully avoid repetition; but our readers will certainly be gratified by the parallel between Elijah and John the Baptist, as sketched by the masterly hand of Bp. Horne, though we have been obliged somewhat to condense, and to abridge it. "An ambassador of heaven (says the good prelate), sent to preach truth to those who
Ver. 7. The latchet of whose shoes.-See Note on Matt. iii. 11.
Ver. 10. The heavens opened-Marg. "Cloven, or rent." Compare this verse and next with Matt. iii. 16, 17.
Ver. 12. The Spirit driveth him. · doubtless, to the Holy Spirit, and is, perhaps, too forcibly rendered. Camp." Conveyed." Ver. 43 and elsewhere it is rendered "sent." Comp. Matt.
Ver. 13. With the wild beasts.-This is a feature of alarm not mentioned by the other evangelists. See Matt. iv. 1, &c.
Ver. 14. Jesus came.-Matt. iv. 12.
[Omit, and pass to Ver. 21.]
16 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. 18 And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. 19 And when he had gone a little farther thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. 20 And straightway he called them and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired
servants, and went after him.
21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.
[of Christ's ministry.
22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the Scribes.
23 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,
24 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.
25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. 26 And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.
27 And they were all amazed, inso
EXPOSITION-Chapter I. Continued.
are captivated by error, and righteousness to those who are enamoured of sin, will never proceed far in the discharge of his trust, unless he be endued with a fervent zeal for the cause and for the honour of him that sent him. Every holy person is not blessed with a spirit, any more than he is invested with a commission, to appear in a public capacity to reprove rulers and kings, to look an angry world in the face, and overcome all the opposition it can raise against him. Zeal, without holiness to support it, like a meteor, will blaze and expire. Zeal, without knowledge to limit and direct it, will waste and destroy, like the element from the effect of which it takes its name, when that has burst its bounds and rules where it ought to be in subjection. But when knowledge and holiness are first obtained, it is zeal which must quicken and diffuse them, as the sun doth light and heat, for the benefit of the universe. Then stood up Elias us fire, saith the son of Sirach, and his word burnt like a lamp. And our Lord, speaking of the Baptist, gives this account of him. He was a burning and a shining light. His zeal was tempered with knowledge, for it gave light; and his knowledge was actuated by zeal, for it was burning as well as shining. His sermons came warm from the heart of the speaker, and therefore found their
way to that of the hearer, which was inflamed by them with the love, as well as enlightened with the knowledge, of hea venly things." But for the rest of this beaa. tiful parallel, we must refer to our original (Bp. Horne's Considerations on the Life and Death of John the Baptist, Sect. v.)
Nor must we again here enter on the subject of Christ's baptism, farther than to subjoin from the same pious author the fol lowing remark: "No sooner was Jesus baptized, but he came up straightway ou of the river, like another Joshua, leading his people through the waters of Jordan to the land of promise. And as he was pray ing, doubtless for the success of the grea work he had undertaken, Lo! the hea vens were opened, and the Spirit of God, encompassed, we may presume, with blaze of glory, descended in a bodily shape, like a dove,' speaking better thing than that of Noah. In this form, emble matical of innocence and purity, it 'lighted settled, and abode upon him; the Fath thus consecrating him to his office, t anointing him with the Holy Ghost and wi power, as the legal ministers were anoint with oil. And that no doubt might remai the appearance was farther explained by voice from heaven, saying, "This is beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased
[Omit, and pass to Ver. 35.]
29 And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30 But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her. 31 And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. 32 And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils. 33 And all the city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many devils; and suffered not the devils to speak, because they knew him.
35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
[and casteth out demons.
36 And Simon and they that were with him followed after him.
37 And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee.
38 And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also: for therefore came I forth. (B)
[Omit, and pass to Chap. vii. 31.]
39 And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils. 40 And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 41 And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean. 42 And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleaused. 43 And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him away; 44 And saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. 45 But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into the city, but was without in desert places and they came to him from every quarter.
(B) Ver. 21-28; 35–39. Jesus preaches in a synagogue; casts out a demon, and retires for prayer early in the morning. Here are two interesting facts on which we have not before remarked, for the demoniac here mentioned is evidently not one of those sent into the herd of swine, though their exclamation was to the same effect. (Mait. viii. 29.) Satan and his demons doubtless knew that one great object of Christ's incarnation was to destroy his power upon earth, or in the language of the first oracle, to "bruise his head." (Gen. iii. 15.) When, therefore, they saw the miracles that Jesus did, they trembled on that account, and cried out, "What have we to do with thee?" or, as Dr. Campbell renders it, "What hast thou to do with us?" The phrase, taken either way, seems equiva
lent to saying,
Why shouldest thou in
terfere with us? We do not interfere with thee: we know and acknowledge thee to be the Holy One of God let us therefore alone, and interfere not with us.' Satan is at all times ready to make a truce with Christ, knowing that he would gain at least time thereby but there is no neutrality in this warfare. Our Prince and Captain has declared," He that is not with me is against me" (Matt. xii. 30); aud all who do not fight under his banners, he will consider as confederate with his enemies. Let those who endeavour to divide their affections between Christ and the world, and so to" serve God and Mammon," duly consider this. Such persons may, indeed, be ready to say to Christ, "We know that thou art the Holy One of God :"
Ver. 32. The sun did set-Doddr. "Was set ;" i. e. when the sabbath was closed.
Ver. 34. To speak because, &c-Marg. "To say that they knew him." So Wesley. He required
not such witness.
Ver. 35. A great while before day-Doddr. "In the morning, before it was light;" i. e. at the first dawn of day
Ver. 40. There came a leper.-See Matt. viii. 2.
we know that thy religion is holy; but let us alone, for we are sinners, and desire not the knowledge of thy ways."
The cure of Peter's wife's mother we may pass over, as having been already considered (Matt. viii. 14, 15); but we cannot omit observing the absurdity of the church of Rome, in making a married man (as we see Peter was) the head of their church, and then denying marriage to all their clergy! But on this subject, more hereafter.
The principal topic on which we would here remark, is the extreme diligence and ardent piety of our Saviour. Late on the preceding evening we find him occupied in healing the sick, and casting out demons; and yet on the next morning, at the early dawn, before it was well day, we find him hurrying out of the town (where it was in vain to look for it) to find a solitary place for prayer; and as this was the morning after the sabbath, there is reason to think that it might have a particular reference to his public work. Here, therefore, our Saviour may be especially considered as a model for public teachers, whose time is often so much engrossed by their benevolent exertions as to tempt them to neglect personal religion, though that is certainly no less indispensable than the performance of pub. lic duties. These should be done, and the other not left undone. The only method to accomplish both, is by redeeming time, though it may be at the price of many of our comforts and indulgences. One way to do this is by early rising, of which our Lord
is the first and great pattern, though there are not wanting brilliant examples among ourselves, even in the first ranks of Society. His late Majesty, George III., it is well known, was distinguished through life by his early rising; but it is not so well known that his good grandfather, George II., set him the example; and during the long German war, constantly rose at a very early hour to implore the divine blessing on his armies and government. Col. Gardiner, after his conversion, constantly spent two hours in religious exercises every morning, before he entered upon any other engagement; and when called to be on duty at five o'clock, would not sleep later than three. Many examples might be adduced also from the clerical profession, of whom the late Mr. John Wesley was one of the most remarkable, and no one, perhaps, has more forcibly recommended it. All men have not this gift. Disease and constitutional infirmities prevent many, but indolence and indulgence many, very many more. Let us not, however, spend our zeal in reforming others, and forget ourselves.
Some considerable time (as it should seem) after this, the apostles followed, but it was at an humble distance, as we follow them. It is a mercy to us all that we have an indulgent master, who will make for us those excuses that we might be ashamed to make for ourselves. "The spirit," says he, "is willing, but the flesh is weak." His kindness, however, should not be abused, but should rather stimulate our exertions.
CHAP. II. Ver. 1. After some days.-The omission of any number here, seems to have occasioned a variety of supplements. Some copies supply" eight,' others "many," but some appears to be the most general and unexceptionable. It was noisedGr."heards" i. e. the report of it.
Ver. 2. About the door-that is, in the porch. Ver. 3. Borne of four-carried by four men. Ver. 4. For the press-that is, of people; Camp. "the crowd."―They uncovered the roof-The Gr. (stege) seems applicable to any kind of covering from sun and shade. According to Dr. Shaw, and other eastern travellers, the houses in Judea are all low, and flat-roofed, and built somewhat like our ancient inns, with a square in the centre, into which
all the windows opened, and often with stairs on th outside. (See Note on Matt. xxiv. 17.) In the cour within, large companies were often entertained, an over it was then spread a large curtain, or awning to keep off the sun, The Greek reads literally," the uncovered the covering," but Dr. Camp. in bette English," They uncovered the place where Jesu was, and through the opening let down the couch o which the paralytic lay." (The term here rendere "covering," is applied by the LXX to the coverin of Noah's ark. Gen. viiì. 13.) See Script. Ilia trated, by the late Editor of Calmet. "On the cour of great houses."
Ver. 5-12. Son, thy sins be forgiven, &c..—S Matt. ix. 2-8, Notes and Exposition.
hearts, 7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? 8 And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? 9 Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? 10 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) 11 I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. 12 And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion. 13 Aud he went forth again by the sea side; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them.
14 And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alpheus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him. 15 And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house, many Publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his disciples for there were many, and they followed him. 16 And when the Scribes and Pharisees saw him eat with Publicans and sinners, they said unto his disciples, How is it that he eateth and drinketh with Publicans and sinners? 17 When Jesus heard it, he
children of the bridechamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? as long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days. 21 No man also seweth a piece of new cloth on an old garment: else the new piece that filled it up taketh away from the old, and the rent is made worse. 22 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred but new wine must be put into new bottles. 23 And it came to pass, that he went through the corn fields on the sabbath day; and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of corn. 24 And the Pharisees said unto him, Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is not lawful? 25 And he said unto them, Have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungred, he, and they that were with him? 26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the High Priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the Priests, and gave also to them which were with him? 27 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: 28 Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath.
saith unto them, They that are whole have AND he entered again into the synano need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. 18 And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast: and they come and say unto him, Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not? 19 And Jesus said unto them, Can the
gogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand. 2 And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him. 3 And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth. 4 And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil?
Ver. 8. When Jesus perceived in his spirit-Camp. "Jesus knowing in himself." He adds, "There is something particular in the expression of the evangelist. To me it appears manifest that the intention of the sacred writer was, to signify that our Lord in this case did not derive his knowledge from the ordinary and outward methods of discovery, which are open to all mea; but from peculiar powers he possessed..... May it not be reasonably concluded, that the information is here given to teach Christians that they are not warranted to pronounce on what passes in the hearts of others," Ver. 14. Levi the son of Alpheus same person as Matthew. compare Luke v. 29.
See Matt. ix. 9, and
Ver. 15. In his house-that is, the house of Matthew, or Levi, who made a feast soon after he had been called, and invited his old acquaintances to come to see his new master. This might be a dangerous example to many persons; but we remember an instance somewhat similar in the life of the pious Col. Gardiner, who, after his conversion, finding that his former friends considered him as mad, invited them to meet him; and pleaded the cause of religion
with such strength of reasoning, that one cut short the argument with saying, "We thought this man mad, and he is in good earnest proving us to be so."
Ver. 16-22. When the scribes, &c. For the parallel histories to this, see Matt. ix. 10—17.
Ver. 23-28. And it came to pass, &c.-See the parallel passage, Matt. xii. 1-8.
Ver. 26. Abiathar (afterwards) high priest. — See 1 Sam. xxi. 3, and seq., where it appears Ahimelech was then high priest, but Abiathar, who succeeded him, was now probably his assistant, and might be principally concerned in assisting David.
CHAP. III. Ver. 1-12. And he entered again, &c. -The parallel passage to this will be found Matt. xii. 9-15.
Ver. 3. Stand forth-Camp. "Stand up in the midst," which agrees with margin.
Ver. 4. Is it lawful to do good, or to do evil, &c.— Dr. Campbell remarks, that in the style of Scripture, the mere negation of any thing is often expressed by the affirmation. Hence he infers, Not to do good when we can, is to do evil: not to save (when we have opportunity), is to kill.