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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MARK.
Of Mark, the writer of this Gospel, little is certainly known. From the New Testament, we learn that he was sister's son to Barnabas, Col. iv. 10; and that his mother's name was Mary, a pious woman in Jerusalem, at whose house the apostles and primitive christians often assembled, Acts xii. 12.
His Hebrew name was John, Acts xii. 12. and it is probable that he adopted a name better known, or more familiar, when he visited the gentiles, a practice not uncommon in that age. He was at first the companion of Paul and Barnabas, on their journies to propagate Christianity, Acts xiii. 5. He chose not to attend them through their whole journey, but left them at Pamphylia, Acts xv. 38. Afterwards he went with Barnabas to Cyprus, Acts xv. 39. Subsequently he went to Rome, at the express desire of Paul, in company with Timothy, 2 Tim. iv, 11. He remained at Rome while Paul was a captive there, but how long is uncertain, Col. iv. 10. Philemon 24. Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Jerome say, that Mark went from Rome to Alexandria, in Egypt, where he planted a church, and died and was buried in the eighth year of the reign of Nero, A.D. 64.
This Gospel is supposed to have been written between the years 56 and 63. Mark was, for a considerable time, tne companion of Peter. Though he had not himself been with the Saviour in his ministry, yet, by his long acquaintance with Peter, he was rendered familiar with the events of his life, and with his instructions. The uniform opinion of the Fathers is, that he was the interpreter of Peter; and that he wrote this Gospel under the eye of Peter, and with his approbation. Its right to a place among the inspired books has never been questioned,
CHAPTER I. 1 THE beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
"The beginning of the gospel.'. The word gospel literally signifies good tidings, and particularly the good tidings respect
way of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ. It here means the beginning of the good news, or annunciation respecting the Messiah. It was very customary thus to prefix a title to a book. * The Son of God.' This title was used here, to attract attention, and to secure respect. It is no common history. It recounts the doctrines and doings of the Son of God, when he took upon him the nature of man.
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.
As it is written in the prophets.' These places are found in Malachi iii. l; and in Isa. xl. 3. See note on Matt. iii. 3.
4 John did baptize in the wilderness, and preached 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 sins. 6 And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a 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. 8 I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
See notes, Matt. iii. 4-6, 11.
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 be loved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
See notes, Matt, iii. 13—17.
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.
Matthew has recorded this more at length in ch. iv. "The Spirit driveth.'. The word 'driveth' does not mean that he was compelled forcibly against his will to go there. The Spirit of God, for important purposes, caused him to go. Compare Matt. ix. 25, where the same word is used in the original. And when the people were put forth; in Greek, 'all driven out.' 'And was with the wild beasts. This shows the desolation and danger of his dwelling there. Amidst want and perils, Satan might suppose he would be more easily seduced from God.
"And the angels ministered to him.' From Luke iv, 2, we learn that in those days he did eat nothing. The angels ministered to him after the days of temptation had expired, as is said by Matthew, iv. 1).
14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God.
John was imprisoned by Herod, Matt. xiv. 3. 'Jesus came into Galilee.? He expected that if he remained in Judea, Herod would also persecute him. Hence we may learn, that when we have great duties to perform for the church of God, we are not wantonly to endanger our lives. When we can secure them without a sacrifice of principle we are to do it. See Matt. xxiv. 16.
15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.
"The time is fulfilled. That is, the time for the appearance of the Messiah. The time, so long foretold, has come.
The kingdom of God is at hand. The time when God shall reign, or set up a kingdom in the hearts of men, by the gospel, is near. See Matt. iii. 2. Repent ye.' Exercise sorrow for sins, and turn from them. And believe the gospel.' Literally, trust in the gospel, or believe the good tidings-to wit, respecting salvation, See note, Matt. iv. 17.
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 further 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.
See notes, Matt. iv. 18—22.
21 And they went into Capernaum, and straightway on the sabbath-day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.
See also Luke iv. 31-87. For the situation of Capernaum, see Matt. iv. 13. Straightway. Iminediately. On the following sabbath. The synagogue.' See note, Matt. iv. 23. And taught.' In the synagogue, the presiding elder, after reading the scriptures, invited some one to address the people, Acts xiii. 15.
22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.
He taught them as one that had authority,' &c. See note, Matt. vii. 29.
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.
'Let us alone.? Though but one impure spirit is mentioned as possessing this man, yet that spirit speaks also in the naine of others, who were leagued together in the work of evil. What have we to do with thee?' This seems to mean, “Have we injured thee?' See 1 Kings xvii. 18. By this the spirit meant to say, that if Jesus cast him out, it would be an improper interference. But this was untrue. Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil, and he had a right, therefore, to liberate the captive, and to punish him who had possessed him. 'Art thou come to destroy us?' Implying that this could not be the intention of the benevolent Messiah; or as in Matt. viii. 29, that the time of their destruction had not come. 'I know thee,' &c. Evil spirits had learned from his miracles that he was the Messiah, and had power over them. The Holy One of God.' "The Messiah.' See Dan. ix. 24. He is called the Holy One of God, because he was eminently pure, the only begotten Son of Godequal with the Father, was anointed, or set apart to the work of the Messiah, the Mediator between God and man.
25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.
"And Jesus rebuked him.' It was not the man that he rebuked, but the spirit, for he instantly commanded the same being io come out of the man. In all this Jesus did not once address the man. His conversation was with the evil spirit; proving conclusively, that it was not a mere disease or derangement, but that he conversed with a being, who also conversed, reasoned, cavilled, resisted, and knew hini. Hold thy peace. This was a very signal proof of the power of Jesus; to be able by a word to silence an evil angel, and against his will to compel him to leave a man whom he delighted to torment.
26 And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.
Still malignant, submitting because he was obliged, not because he chose—he exerted his last power, inflicted all the pain he could, and then came out. This is the nature of an evil disposition. Though compelled to obey, yet, in seeming to obey, it does all the ill it can, and makes even the appearance of obedience, the occasion for increased crime and mischief.
27 And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this ? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. 28 And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.
And they were all amazed,' &c. The power of casting out devils was new to them. It was done by a word. He did it in his own name, and by his own authority. This proved that he was superior to all the unclean spirits.
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. See note, Matt. viii, 14, 15.
32 And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.
See Matt, viii. 16, 17. 'At even, when the sun did set.' That is, after the setting of the sun. The Jewish sabbath ended u sunset. Before that, it would have been unlawful for them o have carried the sick to be healed.