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the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Mark 1

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-18

2-3 Compare Mal_3:1 ; Isa_40:3 ; Mat_3:3 ; Luk_3:4-6 ; Joh_1:15-23 .

4-8 Compare Mat_3:1-12 ; Luk_3:1-18 .

4 John the baptist was the son of a priest, so that he was entitled to exercise the priestly office and enjoy all its privileges, which assured him a life of ease and comfort. Yet, under the urge of the holy Spirit, which filled him even before he was born, he gave up all this for the lowly and austere life of a Nazarite ( Num_6:2-7 ). He was not permitted to eat anything which came of the vine, the symbol of that which cheers the heart of God and man ( Jud_9:13 ). Like Samson, he let his hair grow long, a symbol of weakness and dishonor ( 1Co_11:14 ). Instead of the linen ephod he wore coarse camel's hair. Instead of living of the altar and eating the best of the sacrifices, he subsisted on locusts and wild honey. John the baptist was a continual contrast with the Lord. Christ was not a Nazarite. He drank wine, dressed as others did, never wore long hair, and dwelt with His parents until the time for His ministry arrived. John came in the spirit of Elijah, but when the Lord's disciples wished to call down fire from heaven and consume the Samaritans for offending them, as Elijah had done to the men who were sent against him ( 2Ki_1:10-12 ) , He rebuked them. Christ did not come in the spirit of Elijah at that time. Elijah was an austere proclaimer of righteousness. Christ's message mingled grace with truth. He came, not to condemn sinners, but to save them. In Him conviction was coupled with compassion.

6 See Lev_11:22 .

7 Compare Joh_1:15 ; Joh_1:26-27 .

9-11 Compare Mat_3:13-17 ; Luk_3:21-22 ; Joh_1:32-34 .

10 The dove is a symbol of peace, of judgment past ( Gen_8:12 ) and of sacrifice. (Wherever we read "pigeon" in the versions of Leviticus it should read "dove" as in all the other occurrences.) This is an index of the ministry to which it was the introduction. In contrast to John's fierce denunciations of judgment, He went about a meek, harmless, unresisting victim, until He is finally offered up to God. It was in this that God could delight. He was His Son, not merely by birth, but in His likeness to His Father.

12-13 Compare Mat_4:1-11 ; Luk_4:1-13 .

12 The wilderness trial was especially intended to test His loyalty to God in connection with His royal claims to David's throne and as the obedient Man. Hence Matthew and Luke enlarge upon it. As it is not a record of service for others, Mark mentions it most briefly.

14-15 Compare Mat_4:12-17 .

14 Before this our Lord had performed miracles, such as that at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, and had gathered a following of disciples, but He waited until John's ministry was ended by his imprisonment before beginning His first evangelistic tour.

15 The era of the nations' rule over Israel was nearing its end, as foretold by Daniel the prophet. Nearly four hundred and eighty years had run their course since Daniel had predicted that four hundred and ninety years should be "cut out" before the fulfillment of his vision

( Dan_9:24 ). Normally, not much more than ten years would bring them into the Kingdom, but this depended on the attitude of the nation.

It is true that Daniel cut the era into periods, and that there is very evidently some delay after the sixty-ninth heptad, in which Messiah was to be cut off. But no intimation is given that this would be any considerable length of time. So that we may consider that our Lord's ministry as a whole was, from the prophetic viewpoint, within something over seven years of the kingdom. This is the force of the oft-repeated expression which was the burden of His proclamation, "The kingdom of God has drawn near." The sixty-ninth heptad of Daniel ended with His triumphal entry ( Mar_11:8 ). Only seven more prophetic years remained, which begin with the confirmation of the covenant with the coming prince ( Dan_9:27 ). That it did not come does not in the least disprove the fact that it was near. Epaphroditus draws near unto death ( Php_2:30 ) but he did not die at that time. This word is very carefully chosen. The Lord did not predict positively that the kingdom was "at hand" so that it must come in a short time, but relatively, that it needed little time to make it a reality.

16-20 Compare Mat_4:18-22 ; Luk_5:1-11 .

Verses 19-45

19 Before a net is used it is important that it is not badly tangled or snarled. The work of these fishermen is a graphic commentary on the word "adjust," which has been rendered by such a variety as mend, perfect fit perfectly join, restore, prepare, and frame. We have used adjust, adapt, and attune .

21-23 Compare Mat_4:13-16 ; Luk_4:31-32 .

24 It is usually supposed that evil spirits would be the last to acknowledge the Lord, or make Him known and that we should welcome any agencies if they only bear witness to the truth. But our Lord would not have the testimony of demons and bids them be still. It is no test of an evil spirit if he knows and acknowledges Him. A little later (34) we are told that He did not let the demons talk not because of their ignorance of Him, but because they were aware that He is the Christ. It is astonishing how much of demon possession was in the land in our Lord's day. We are tempted to suppose that there was unusual activity in the unseen world because of His presence and the nearness of the kingdom. A special outburst of demonism is due in the last days, and is undoubtedly present with us now. Their tactics are the same. They do not deny Christ, but seek rather to associate themselves with Him. Hence they have made marked inroads into the household of faith, under the guise of the holy Spirit of God. Let us beware of every revelation or leading which displaces the Word of God or is in the slightest degree out of harmony with His written revelation.

23-28 Compare Luk_4:33-37 .

27 The Lord's authority over unclean spirits, even more than His control of disease, was the marvel or the people and the means of spreading His fame throughout Galilee. None of their teachers had done anything like this.

29-34 Compare Mat_8:14-17 ; Luk_4:38-41 .

32 The intense heat of an Eastern day was quickly over once the sun had set. Then it is that the town springs into life, the women go to the well for water and the men come in from work On this occasion they probably waited until the sabbath was over at sunset before carrying the sick to Him.

35-39 Compare Luk_4:42-44 .

38 Curiosity probably drew many to see Him on the morrow after He did so many wonderful deeds. Yet our Lord did not come to be gazed at but to serve. Hence He eludes them. While it is yet night He leaves the town for private communion with God in preparation for the duties of the day. Nor does He return thither to receive the plaudits of the multitude. He goes on to new fields of labor.

40-45 Compare Mat_8:2-4 ; Luk_5:12-16 .

40 It would be natural to suppose that the Lord's first efforts to proclaim the kingdom would be among the priests in Jerusalem. They were the religious leaders, and were of great political influence as well. Having gained their support He might hope to reach the lesser lights and the common people. Such would be man's way. But our Lord began with the people. He seemed almost to ignore the priests. But this incident shows the way in which He testified to them. Many lepers were cleansed by Him and His disciples. They would all report to the priests and tell the story of their cleansing. As leprosy is a type of sin, and the priests were continually occupied with the typical covering of sin, it would require but little spiritual insight for them to recognize the One Who cleansed the lepers as the true Sacrifice Which could eliminate sin altogether. The Lord did not by any means leave the priests without a witness, even if He did not personally perform many miracles in Jerusalem.

44 See Lev_14:1-32 .

44 We cannot help sympathizing with the mistaken zeal of the healed leper. He knew Christ as his Saviour but hardly as his Lord. He has many followers, who have zeal without knowledge. They say "How can we help telling abroad what is so precious to us? Surely the Lord will not be displeased even if He has forbidden it! " What was the result? The Lord could not enter the cities as He had planned, but had to remain outside, to their inconvenience and His discomfort. Alas, that we serve Him so stupidly in return for His grace!

1-12 Compare Mat_9:1-8 ; Luk_5:17-26 .

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Mark 1". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/mark-1.html. 1968.
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