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Bible Commentaries
Mark 2

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-3

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 .

Verses 4-22

4 Eastern houses have flat roofs with battlements, easily accessible from the ground, and a place of resort, especially in the evening. The roof usually was covered with quite a thickness of earth, laid on wooden supports. All this could readily be replaced. The point in this story seems to lie in the contrast between the physical weakness of the paralytic and the efficacy of faith. A strong man might not have been able to force his way into the Lord's presence, but the faith of his friends is sufficient to bring him to a most favorable audience with Him. In response to this, the Lord seems to ignore the feebleness of his physical frame, and proposes a blessing in correspondence with their faith. Hitherto He had proven His power over demons and disease; now He first proclaims the pardon of sins. The scribes are quick to note this advance. They had not grasped the significance of His power over the spirits or over the ills of humanity, and did not see that they necessarily involved the operation of God's spirit, or they would have been prepared for the next step, the pardon of sins. It is not enough to bind Satan and remove ill health to establish the millennium. Sin must also be quelled. So long as sin separates man from God, the kingdom of God cannot come.

7 See Isa_43:25 .

10 Therefore, the Lord announces His authority as the Son of Mankind, to pardon sins. Sin paralyzes. The best sign that He can offer of His power to pardon it is to remove the physical paralysis, which the scribes can see with their physical eyes, and thus, if possible, open their spiritual eyes to the pardon of sins. No wonder that all were amazed and glorified God, for they had never perceived anything like this before. Let us note, then, that the pardon of sins followed the faith of the paralytic.

13-17 Compare Mat_9:9-13 ; Luk_5:27-32 .

14 The previously chosen apostles, Peter and Andrew, James and John, were ordinary fishermen. After the pardon of sins is first proclaimed our Lord goes lower in the social scale, and chooses Levi Alpheus, who is usually named Matthew, a collector of tribute for the

Roman government. Patriotic, respectable citizens would have no connection with him or his kind, so he is forced to be friendly with sinners. It is impossible for us to apprehend the intense dislike of the Jews for those of their own nation who debased themselves by collecting tribute from their fellow countrymen for the Roman power which oppressed them. Besides, under these conditions, no patriotic and self-respecting Jew would do this work, so that, as a class, they were truly contemptible, though their extortionate methods made them well-to-do. Their only motive for engaging in this opprobrious occupation was sordid avarice. The choice of Levi and the subsequent feast is a well-considered effort on the part of our Lord to gradually introduce the great truth that the nation needed a Sacrifice more than a King. To the religious heart His announcement that He came to call sinners, not the just, was incomprehensible. Only the just will have a place in the kingdom, according to the prophets. Sinners will be destroyed in the judgments that precede it. Yet the Lord seemed to teach the opposite. He seeks to open their hearts to see this by comparing sin with disease. He was not needed by the strong. On the part of those who think themselves just there is no conscious desire for the pardon of sins. The kingdom will not come until the whole nation has learned to say ( Isa_53:6 ): All we, as sheep, are straying; We countenance our own way to a man, And Jehovah intercedes in Him for the lawlessness of us all .

18-22 Compare Mat_9:14-17 ; Luk_5:33-39 .

18 The general impression that John's ministry was the same in spirit and method as that of our Lord has no foundation in the Scriptures. It was right for his disciples to hunger. But it was most unfitting for the Lord's disciples to fast while He was with them. John came in the spirit of stern Elijah ( Luk_1:17 ), but the Lord did not come in the spirit of Elijah ( Luk_9:54 ).

21 This is used to press home the difference between John's ministry and that of our Lord. But it may be applied with far more force to the futility of seeking to combine the truth for the present with that for the past.


23-28 Compare Mat_12:1-8 ; Luk_6:1-5 .

23 In the law it was written, "For you shall come into that which was raised by your associate and pluck snips with your hand, yet you shall not swing a scythe on that which your associate raises" ( Deu_23:25 ). The disciples were perfectly justified in plucking the grain and eating it. What the Pharisees objected to was that they did this work on the sabbath. They had innumerable traditional by-laws as to what could or could not be done on a sabbath, making it a day of restraint rather than repose. The sabbath is for man's benefit, not man for the benefit of the sabbath. The Son of Mankind is Lord of the sabbath.

25 See 1Sa_21:1-6 .

25 It is notable how little the letter of the law was observed in the presence of God. The priests in the sanctuary profane the sabbath in their ministrations, yet are faultless ( Mat_12:5 ). David took the show-bread, fresh from the holy place. All this makes it evident that the law was not meant for those in His presence. It was not meant for the righteous, but sinners. Now the Pharisees are standing in the presence of the Lord of the temple and the Lord of the sabbath. It is they who are at fault with their impudent importation of the law into the precincts of the living Temple of Jehovah.

26 See Lev_24:5-9 .

1-6 Compare Mat_12:9-14 ; Luk_6:6-11 .

1 As the Pharisees are blind to His glories, He chooses another and a simpler method of enforcing the truth as to the sabbath. Here is a man who cannot work on the sabbath or any other day, for his hand is withered. Such was the sabbath keeping of the Pharisees, a withered, shrunken, spiritless, soulless form, of no benefit to either God or man. As the great miracle of the restoration of Israel takes place in the great sabbatism of a thousand years, of which all other sabbaths were but a type, and thus it is vital to the kingdom that Jehovah should do good on the sabbath, the Pharisees should have known and believed on Him because so many of His signs were done on that day.

6 See Mat_22:15-16 .

6 Now that the Pharisees had made up their minds to destroy Him, they are reminded of their own impotence. The governor would never countenance an assassination on purely theological grounds. The Jews were always quarrelling about their religious differences, and it would hardly do to make heresy a capital offense, for the various parties all hated one another. The Pharisees were against the Herodians, who were loyal to the base Idumean usurpers, who were foreigners quite as much as the Romans so far as their right to reign was concerned. But what they needed was a political charge. If they could prove Him to be opposed to the powers in possession of the government, it would not be difficult to get Him out of the way. So they lay aside their differences with the Herodians and consult with them how best to accomplish His destruction. Just as Pilate and Herod were reconciled by their common condemnation of Christ, so those who were at enmity among themselves make common cause against Him.

7-12 Compare Mat_12:15-21 ; Luk_6:17-19 .

13-19 Compare Mat_10:1-4 ; Luk_6:12-16 .

14 This first kingdom commission should be carefully compared with the creation commission at the close of this account. As twelve is the number of administration or government, there are just twelve chosen to proclaim the coming kingdom. And, when Judas Iscariot is deprived of his place, Matthias must be chosen to keep the full number ( Act_1:26 ). But the creation commission is given to the eleven ( Mar_16:14 ). The kingdom heralds are limited to the land and the nation of Israel, the preachers of the creation message go into all the world ( Mar_16:15 ). The former was confined to the apostles. In the latter the signs followed in the case of all who believed ( Mar_16:17 ). The first was never completed. The last was proclaimed everywhere ( Mar_16:20 ).

14 The chief and foremost object of choosing the apostles is usually overlooked, yet it was deemed essential when a new one was to be chosen to take Judas' place. It was that they might be with Him.

16 See Joh_1:42 .

16 See the various lists of the twelve apostles given in the note on Mat_10:2 .

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Mark 2". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/mark-2.html. 1968.
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