John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible
1-8. Appearance of John the Baptist (Matthew 3:1; Luke 3:1). See on Mt and Lk. St. Mark's Gospel, being based on the reminiscences of Peter, begins with the public ministry of Jesus, or, rather, with His connexion with the Baptist, through which Peter and other apostles first became acquainted with Him. It, therefore, omits the birth narratives, although it is possible that St. Mark was acquainted with them (see on Mark 6:3).
1. The beginning] It is clear that at first the elementary preaching of the gospel by the apostles began with the baptism of Jesus by John, and that it was only subsequently, and to the initiated alone, that the secret of our Lord's miraculous birth was disclosed. The reasons for this prudential reserve during the Virgin's lifetime are obvious. The Son of God] These words are omitted by Westcott and Hort, practically on the authority of a single MS. They are rightly retained by the RV, and by Swete.
2. In the prophets] RV 'in Isaiah the prophet.' The quotation, however, is not entirely taken from Isaiah, but partly from Malachi 3:1 and partly from Isaiah 40:3. The quotation from Malachi does not occur in the parallels. Before thy face] In the Heb. 'before my face.' This was clearly a Christian adaptation of the passage: see on Matthew 11:10.
9-11. Baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3:13; Luke 3:21). See on Mt.
12, 13. The temptation (Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1). See on Mt. St. Mark alone has the graphic touch that He was 'with the wild beasts.'
14, 15. Arrest of John and beginning of the Galilean ministry (Matthew 4:18; Luke 4:14; John 4:1-3). See on Mt.
16-20. Call of Simon, Andrew, James, and John (Matthew 4:18, cp. Luke 5:1). See on Mt.
21-28. A demoniac healed in the synagogue at Capernaum (Luke 4:31). A striking point in this miracle is the testimony of the demon to Christ's Messiahship, which, however, He refused to accept. If the possession was real, the demon's confession of Christ as 'the Holy One of God' was probably extorted by fear. If the possession was not real, but imagined by the insane man, the confession was probably due to the man's instinctive sense that a person with supernatural powers was present, ready to heal him.
22. Taught] To teach with authority, as distinguished from mere exhortation, was only allowed to those who had received rabbinical ordination. Christ was probably allowed to teach, like John, as a prophet, not as a rabbi.
24. What have we, etc.] The plural is generally understood to prove the actual existence of the indwelling evil spirit. At the same time, it is a well-known fact that if an insane person is the victim of a delusion, he adapts all his words and actions to accord with it. If the insane person believed that he was possessed by a devil, he would be likely to speak in the plural. The Holy One of God] see John 6:69.
25. It was not expedient that Christ or the apostles should receive what was generally supposed to be diabolical testimony (Matthew 10:25; Matthew 12:24).
26. Torn] better, 'convulsed.'
27. What new doctrine] RV 'A new teaching.'
29-34. Healing of Simon's wife's mother and others (Matthew 8:14; Luke 4:38). See on Mt. Observe St. Mark's graphic touch, And all the city was gathered together at the door.
35-39. Tours through Galilee (Luke 4:42). See on Matthew 4:23.
35. Prayed] To spend a night, or a great part of a night, in prayer, was our Lord's way of preparing for preaching (Mark 1:38), for working miracles (Mark 9:29), and for other important actions, such as the choice of the Twelve (Luke 6:12).
40-45. The leper cleansed (Matthew 8:1; Luke 5:12). See on Mt.
45. (Peculiar to Mk.) It explains the reason why Jesus so often enjoined secrecy on those who were healed. He was afraid that the popular enthusiasm would lead to political complications.
Sunday, March 26th, 2017
the Fourth Sunday of Lent
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