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Bible Commentaries
Mark 1

Carroll's Interpretation of the English BibleCarroll's Biblical Interpretation

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Verses 1-8



Harmony pages 12-14 and Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-18.

In a preceding chapter we have considered somewhat the biblical material for a life of John the Baptist, and certain questions touching his position in the kingdom of our Lord. The analysis of that material will constitute the outline of all our discussion of John. We now take up the beginnings of his ministry.

The time, in our era, was A.D. 29, since John had been preaching several months before he baptized Jesus, and Luke tells us that "Jesus himself, when he began to teach, was about thirty years of age" (Luke 3:23).

The true time would be four years earlier, A.D. 25, if we are correct in our revision of the Abbott Dyonisius Exiguus. It is characteristic of Luke to collate his date with the world movements. It was the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar who, as adopted son, succeeded Augustus, somewhat after the time that Jesus, twelve years old, became conscious of his messiahship. Since the deposition of Archelaus, Judea, ldumea, and Samaria had become an imperial province, ruled by procurators appointed by Caesar, and subordinated to Syria ruled by proconsul. About a year before Christ was baptized Tiberius had appointed Pontius Pilate the sixth procurator, and he remained in office until after Christ’s death. Pontius Pilate obtained this office because he had married the vicious granddaughter of Augustus; her profligate mother, daughter of Augustus, was one of the most infamous profligates of a profligate age. Strange it is that the New Testament is the only history that speaks a good word of either Pilate or his wife. In its fidelity as history, it neither omits the blemishes of its saints, nor withholds, when due, praise to the most wicked.

The military headquarters of the procurator was Caesarea, built by Herod the Great. But the turbulence of Jerusalem often required his presence in that city, particularly at the three great feasts. Pilate had already steeped Jerusalem in blood and had been forced by pressure of the Jews to withdraw the idolatrous Roman eagles from the holy city. (See Josephus, Antiquities, Book XVIII, Chapter 5, Section 1.) It was probably on this occasion that Pilate "mingled the blood of Galilean Jews with their sacrifices" in the Temple, to which our Lord later referred, at Luke 13:1-2. This Pilate, already at bitter feud with the Jews, was Roman ruler of Judea, Samaria, and ldumea, when John commenced his ministry.

At the same time Herod Antipas, who later beheaded John, and mocked our Lord at his trial, was tetrarch of Galilee and Perea. At the same time Herod Philip II was tetrarch of Iturea and Trachonitus, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene. At Jerusalem the infamous Annas, and his son-in-law Joseph Caiaphas, were both high priests, contrary to Jewish law, but by Roman appointment. We shall see our Lord, some three and a half years later, brought before them both. These references of Luke enable us to understand the world political and ecclesiastic conditions under which the ministries of John and our Lord commenced.

The place is at the fords of the Jordan near Jericho. Later we see John at other places, higher up the Jordan, but never in the cities – always in the desert places. This fact alone demonstrates that John is not officiating as a priest of the Old Testament in either synagogue or temple, but as a reformer prophet of the new dispensation.

John’s dress, diet, and habits. "Now John himself had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins, and his food was locusts and wild honey." The angel who announced his coming declared, "He shall drink no wine nor strong drink" (Luke 1:15). He fasted often, and taught his disciples to fast (Matthew 9:14; Mark 2:18; Luke 5:35). Our Lord himself said of him, "He came neither eating nor drinking," and adds, "but what went ye out to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they who are gorgeously appareled and live delicately are in kings’ courts (Luke 7:25).

You must understand that "the locusts" eaten by John were not fruits of the tree, "honey-locust," but migrating grasshoppers, a common enough food with many eastern people, and permitted as food by Jewish law (Leviticus 11:21-22).

His enduement for service. "He was full of the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb" (Luke 1:15), and like Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:5) and Paul (Galatians 1:15) and his Lord (Isaiah 49:5), he was "set apart" to his office from his mother’s womb. Indeed, he was the only child known to historic records who, before he was born, "leaped with joy" spiritual (Luke 1:44).

His preparation. Our only record is: "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the desert until the day of his showing unto Israel."

He was no product of the schools, either secular or rabbinical. He derived his knowledge from neither synagogue nor Temple, but was wholly taught by God. We have no information of the character of his necessarily profound meditations in his thirty years of desert life. The preparation was long, silent, and solitary. But he shook the world in his few months of public ministry.

After what order was he a prophet? The record is clear. The order was as unique as the order of his Lord’s priesthood. Malachi says, "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of Jehovah come." This prophecy made a profound impression on the Jewish mind, as is evident from several New Testament incidents. It was a Jewish custom to place a chair for Elijah at the family feast following the circumcision of a child. If the chair was so placed when John was circumcised, they ought to have placed the baby in it, for behold, Elijah had come. Our Lord says expressly that John was the promised Elijah (Matthew 17:10-13; Mark 9:11-13). John himself disclaims being Elijah, that is, in a literal sense (John 1:21), but the announcing angel explains "He shall go before his face, in the spirit and power of Elijah" (Luke 1:17). Indeed, Elijah himself appears on the scene at the transfiguration of our Lord (Matthew 17:3). Elijah was by far the most dramatic of the Old Testament prophets, in his garb, in his desert life, in the abrupt entrances on the stage of life and sudden exits, in the long silences, in the great issues of reformation suddenly thrust for instant decision on the king and people. The resemblance between Elijah and John is every way striking. If Elijah had his weak Ahab and relentless Jezebel, John had his weak Herod Antipas and vindicative Herodias. If, through terror of Jezebel, Elijah flees and despairs, so John, in a dungeon, apprehensive of the "convenient day" of Herodias, falls into doubt.

His commission as Elijah. Malachi says, "And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers; lest I come and smite the earth with a curse" (Malachi 4:6). To this the announcing angel refers, at Luke 1:17. The question arises, what is the exact meaning of the passage? Does it imply an alienation between parents and children, which John’s mission is to remove by restoring proper parental love and care toward their children and proper filial regard and reverence for parents, according to the reciprocal obligations of the Fifth Commandment, and on the line of Paul’s precepts – "fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord," and "children, obey your parents in the Lord"? If so, it was a mighty mission, for the earth is already cursed when these reciprocal obligations are disregarded, to the moral destruction of the family. If so, the passage becomes a golden text in all Sunday school movements. In my early ministry I so used it as a text before the Sunday School Convention of Texas assembled at old Independence. In my sermon I stressed the growing evil of race suicide, the fashionable mothers depriving their children of maternal love and care in order to attend the calls of a worldly, frivolous society, and the modern absorption of fathers in business which led them to disregard the spiritual welfare of their children.

But if this be the meaning, we fail to find this important matter the theme of special discussion either by Elijah or John. But, perhaps, the marginal reading of the revision conveys the true idea, "Turning the hearts of the fathers, with the hearts of the children" toward God, and not toward each other, and "turning the disobedient to the wisdom of the just." This last accords with the preaching of both Elijah and John, and lifts their commission from the fifth to the first commandment.

His commission as the messenger of the Temple visitor: "Behold) I send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom ye desire, behold, he cometh, saith Jehovah of hosts. But who can abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like the refiner’s fire, and like fuller’s soap; and he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, and refine them as gold and silver; and they shall offer unto Jehovah offerings in righteousness." When men who remembered the glory of Solomon’s Temple lamented the comparative insignificance of Zerrubbabel’s Temple, the prophet Haggai assured them that the glory of the latter house should exceed the glory of the former house, because to it "The Desire of all nations should come." Now, John is the messenger who prepares the way for the Messiah to come suddenly to his Temple. That John did prepare the way for the Messiah’s searching and purifying visit to his Temple is evident from John 2:13-17.

His commission as the voice and the grader of the highway to God, Isaiah 40:1-11. This passage of Isaiah is the most important of the Old Testament forecasts of John, and perhaps it is the least understood in its richness. On it observe:

(1) It is the beginning of the Old Testament Book of Comfort. Commencing with the fortieth chapter, the last twenty-seven chapters of Isaiah, treating of the Messiah’s advent and mission constitute the Old Testament Book of Comfort, as John 14-17, treating of the Holy Spirit’s advent and mission, constitute the New Testament Book of Comfort.

Isaiah’s paragraph commences: "Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned." The voice of John the Baptist is the response to this command to comfort.

(2) Therefore he is a preacher of the gospel, which means "good tidings" – "O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, get thee up on a high mountain; O thou that tellest good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold, your God!" (Isaiah 40:9). Hence, as soon as John’s voice broke the prophetic silence of 400 years, Mark, in his first sentence drives down the corner post that establishes the starting point of the New Dispensation: "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." And when our Lord comes up to Mark’s corner post, he puts up this discriminating signboard: "The law and the prophets were until John, and since that time the kingdom of heaven is preached and all men press into it."

What a pity that our pedobaptist brethren cannot lay aside their Old Testament colored glasses, and our Campbellite brethren lay aside their Pentecostal delusion concerning the kingdom, which mistakes the Spirit’s advent for the Messiah’s advent, and both of them with unveiled faces behold Mark’s corner post and our Lord’s signboard I

(3) Observe John’s grading of the King’s highway of Holiness (Isaiah 40:3-5). In this connection observe also the relevance of the Septuagint rendering of Isaiah 35:1, "The waste places of the Jordan shall be glad," or as a great scholar puts it: "The banks of the Jordan shall rejoice because of them," i.e., because of John and Jesus.

The same great chapter of Isaiah also says of John’s highway: "And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the way of holiness; and the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for the redeemed; the wayfaring men, yea fools shall not err therein. No lion shall be there nor shall any ravenous beast go up thereon; they shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of Jehovah shall return and come with singing unto Zion; and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."

His commission as friend of the bridegroom. "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom that standeth and heareth him rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is made full." The New Testament represents our Lord as the bridegroom of the church in the divine purpose (Ephesians 5:25-26) and at his first advent (Matthew 9:15; John 3:29) and at his final advent (Matthew 25:1-13; Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 19:6-9).

In our context, "the friend of the bridegroom" is not what we call the "best man," or first male attendant, who attends to the business matters and arranges the details of a marriage. It has a much higher meaning, to wit: the evangelist who, through his preaching, espouses the lost sinner to his Saviour. As Paul expresses it: ’For I espoused you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ" (2 Corinthians 11:2).

"The friend of the bridegroom" is even more than the officiating clergyman, who merely performs a marriage rite, without having had anything to do with bringing the groom and bride into loving relations. His business is to "make ready the people prepared for the Lord." Through his preaching the sinner is convicted of sin, and then through contrition led to repentance, and then through faith, is mystically united to Christ.

The idea is somewhat presented in the mission of Abraham’s servant (Genesis 24), who went to Haran to seek a wife for Isaac. He faithfully negotiated the business of his mission, and brought Rebekah to Isaac.

In this touching story, in which the old servant set forth in a matchless plea the worthiness of his master, Abraham, and the desirableness of his son, Isaac, so winning Rebekah to leave her father’s house and to accept Isaac as a husband, Edward Eggleston, in the Circuit Rider, makes his preacher take a theme: "I have come to seek a bride for my Lord," and so happily expounds it that a brilliant but worldly young lady arose at once, laid aside all her jewels, and openly professed faith in the glorious Saviour so faithfully presented by the preacher. What, then, every evangelist does in individual cases, John the Baptist did on a large scale, introducing and uniting a lost world to a gracious Saviour. To the sinner he said, "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world!" How gloriously he presented the excellencies of the Saviour appears from the record, and suggests to every preacher a great lesson on how to present acceptably and savingly the Saviour to the sinner. We must not, therefore, understand John’s mission as stern and sad, but full of joy.

His commission to give the knowledge of salvation in the remission of sins (Luke 1:77). On many accounts we should stress this point, because a modern denomination insists that God’s "law of pardon" was not announced until the first Pentecost after Christ’s resurrection.

It was not Peter, in Acts 2:38, who first promulgated this law of pardon. The honor belongs to John the Baptist. In my early ministry I held a debate with a preacher who affirmed that the kingdom of heaven was not set up until this day of Pentecost, and then in Acts 2:38 was the law of pardon first promulgated. I asked him these questions:

(1) What did Christ give to Peter? He said, "The keys of the kingdom."

(2) Did Peter have those keys on that Pentecost? He answered, "Yes."

(3) Did God then and there build a kingdom to fit the keys, or were the keys made to fit the kingdom?

(4) Did Peter, using the keys, open the door of the kingdom that day? He said, "Yes."

(5) Did he open it from the inside or from the outside? If from the inside, was not Peter in it? If from the outside, when and how did Peter himself get in?

(6) And if from the outside, when the 3,000 were added to them, did that leave them on the outside?

(7) Did Peter open the Jew door that day, and what door did he open in Acts to Acts 10:43? And if Acts 10:43 was the Gentile door, why did he [that preacher] not look there for the law of pardon to Gentiles, and why did he, a Gentile, deify the Jew door, Acts 2:38?

(8) And what about the door that John the Baptist opened in Luke 1:77?

His commission to announce the antecedent withering work of the Spirit. "The voice of one saying, Cry, And one said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodness thereof is the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the breath of Jehovah bloweth upon it; surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, but the word of God shall stand forever."

On this text Spurgeon preached a great sermon. He said, "The command to John was to speak comfortably to Jerusalem" (Isaiah 40:1-2). And John asked, in order to speak comfortably, "What shall I cry?" And the strange answer comes: "Cry that all flesh is grass, and the grass withereth and the flower fadeth." That is, before you get to the comfort, the carnal nature must wither, then comes the spiritual nature, which abideth forever.

Therefore John said to fleshly Israel: "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said unto them, Ye offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth, therefore) fruit worthy of repentance and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And even now the ax lieth at the root of the trees: every tree, therefore, that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire" (Matthew 3:7-10). This is John’s sermon on the necessity of regeneration.

This last commission of John leads up to a thorough discussion of the great staple of his preaching, "Repentance toward God on account of sin."


1. What is the time ill our era when John commenced preaching?

2. Show how Luke, in a characteristic way, collates this date with the political and ecclesiastical conditions of the world.

3. What was the place of John’s first preaching?

4. Describe his dress, diet and habits.

5. What of his enduement for service?

6. What of his preparation for service? Answer negatively and positively.

7. After what order was he a prophet, and what is the parallel between John and Elijah?

8. What was John’s commission as Elijah?

9. Which of the two meanings of this commission seems best to fit the work of John and Elijah?

10. What of his commission aa the messenger of the great Temple visitor? II. What was his commission as the voice and grader of the highway of God?

12. What the Old Testament book of comfort, and the New Testament book of comfort?

13. Describe how Mark and our Lord marked the beginning of the new dispensation.

14. What of the Septuagint rendering of Isaiah 35:1, and its application to John’s ministry?

15. What of the description of the highway in that chapter, graded by John?

16. In his commission as "friend of the bridegroom," does it mean that he was only what we call "the best man," or does it mean the same as the officiating preacher, or does it mean something higher than both? If so, what, and explain.

17. Illustrate by the remarkable history in Genesis 24.

18. Describe the Methodist preacher’s sermon on that chapter.

19. What of John’s commission with reference to remission of sins, and why should we stress this point?

20. Give the several questions propounded in a debate, where the affirmation was made that the kingdom of heaven was set up on the day of Pentecost, and the law of pardon then and there promulgated.

21. What of his commission to announce the antecedent withering work of the Holy Spirit?

22. Describe Spurgeon’s sermon on this text.

Verses 1-11



Harmony pages 14-16 and Matthew 3:11-17; Mark 1:1-11; Luke 3:15-23.

In several preceding chapters we have turned aside somewhat from the regular course of the narrative to consider, at length, at its first New Testament appearance, the vital and fundamental doctrine of repentance, as preached originally by John the Baptist, and continued by our Lord and all his apostles. We have seen that while John had clear conceptions of the etymology of words and of doctrines in their abstract sense, he was no mere theorist, but intensely practical, insisting on concrete truth as embodied in the daily life. To him, therefore repentance was as inseparable from fruits, worthy of it, as a tree is from its proper fruits. Hence he not only urges reformation in its positive and negative sense of "ceasing to do evil and learning to do well," but the instant and continuous responsibility to an inexorable judgment at the hands of the coming Messiah. "And even now the ax lieth at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire. . . . Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse his threshing floor; and he will gather his wheat into his garner, but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire." We now come to the comparison instituted by John between Christ and himself: "I indeed baptize you in water unto repentance; but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire." On this remarkable passage observe:

First, no comparison is instituted between the water baptism of John and the water baptism administered by our Lord through his disciples. They are exactly the same in subject, act and design, as has already been shown, but the comparison is wholly between the dignity of Christ’s superior person, office and power, and John’s inferior person, office and power. The dignity of person John counts not himself worthy to loose the latchet of the Messiah’s sandals. The Messiah is mightier than John, equaling him indeed in water baptism, but exceeding him in two other baptisms, to wit: baptism in the Holy Spirit, and baptism in fire.

The controversies of the ages arise on the meaning of "He shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire." The first question to be answered is: Do baptism in the Spirit and in fire mean the same thing? In other words, is "baptism in fire" epexegetical of baptism in the Spirit? If they are identical in meaning, then what is the baptism in the Holy Spirit and in fire? And when, where, how, and why first administered by our Lord? And is it continuous now as well as then? But if baptism in the Spirit and baptism in fire be two distinct things, then what is the baptism in fire, and where, when, why and by whom administered? There is more confusion of mind, and more inconsistency of interpretation on these questions than on any other New Testament problems.

My own interpretation of the passage, and my answers to the questions are worth no more than the common sense and argument back of them. In general terms I refer first to three sermons in my first volume of sermons, entitled severally: (1) baptism in water; (2) baptism in the Holy Spirit; (3) baptism in fire.

Second, in my interpretation of Acts 2 there is an elaborate discussion of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, where for the first time in the history of the world it ever occurred. Just here we need something, clear indeed, but far less elaborate. Here, on one point at least, and much as I deprecate it, I must utterly dissent from Dr. Alexander Maclaren, commonly regarded as the prince of Baptist expositors.

In the first volume of his elaborate exposition of Matthew, he labors at great length to prove that "baptism in fire" is epexegetical of "baptism in the Holy Spirit." leaving the general impression on my mind, at least, that "baptism in fire" means cleansing or purification, about equal in force to sanctification. At other times I don’t know what he means. For if baptism in the Spirit and in fire is equivalent to sanctification, then how is it there was never in the history of the world, a baptism in the Spirit before the first Pentecost after Christ’s resurrection? Surely men were spiritually cleansed, sanctified before that date. My own mind is clear on the following negations:

(1) Baptism in the Holy Spirit is not regeneration, nor conversion, nor sanctification, but an entirely new thing, a thing of promise, unknown to the world until the first Pentecost after our Lord’s resurrection and exaltation. Whatever it is, it is wholly connected with the advent and administration of that "other Paraclete," the Holy Spirit, who as Christ’s alter ego, rules the churches on earth, while Christ remains, rules, and interests in heaven.

(2) The baptism in fire is not cleansing, but destructive and punitive, the exercise of sovereign judgment by our Lord, unto whom as the Son of Man, all judgment has been committed. Its punitive character as judgment takes cognizance only of one’s attitude toward and treatment of Christ in his cause and people as presented by the gospel. It is exercised now on nations or cities, as Jerusalem A.D. 70, and on the souls of the wicked when they die, as Dives in the parable (Luke 16:23-24); and on the bodies of all the living wicked in the great world-fire of the final advent (Malachi 4:1-2; 2 Peter 3:7-10) and finds its highest expression, when after the final judgment, the wicked, both souls and bodies, are baptized in the lake of fire (Matthew 10:28; Revelation 20:14-15).

That Dr. Maclaren is mistaken about the import of baptism in fire appears from the context. Read carefully the three verses, Matthew 3:10-12. The tenth verse closes: "Every tree therefore that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire." The eleventh verse closes: "He will baptize you in fire." The twelfth verse closes: "But the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire."

It violates every sound principle of interpretation to make "fire" in the middle verse of the context mean something radically different from the "fire" in the first and third verses. There can be no doubt of the destructive, punitive character of the fire in verses ten and twelve; there should be none of the like import in verse eleven intervening. This becomes more evident when we consider that John is interpreting Malachi 3:1-4:3. The whole context of the prophecy shows that when the Messiah comes he will discriminate between evil and good persons (not mixed evil and good in one person), and separate them one from another by diverse fates, so that there would be no difficulty in discerning between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not. The refiner’s fire of Malachi 3:2-3 has not a different purpose from the fire that burns like an oven in 4:1. We doubt not the appropriateness of using the refiner’s fire to represent the purifying work in individual character, as set forth by the hymn: "Thy dross to consume, thy gold to refine." And this would be a genuine work of sanctification. But such is not Malachi’s idea, in this connection, nor that of John the Baptist, as appears not only from Malachi 3:5-6; Malachi 3:16-18; Malachi 4:1-2, but from the historical fulfilment of Malachi 3:12, when he does come suddenly to his temple at the beginning and end of his ministry, John 2:13-18; Matthew 21:12-13; Mark 11:15-18; Luke 19:45-46. In neither of these Temple purgations was there a work of individual sanctification, but the latter is indirectly connected with the cursing of the barren fig tree, as in Matthew 3:10, the barren tree is hewn down and cast into the fire. Malachi is not considering a mixture of good and evil in one individual, the evil to be eliminated by the fire of chastisement; but he is considering a mixture of good people and evil people. God’s fire will be used to separate them and make evident the difference between them. So Paul discusses the same thought: "But if any man buildeth on the foundation gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, stubble; each man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself shall prove each man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work shall abide which he built thereon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire." Here Paul’s use of the fire, at the last great day, is not to separate the evil from the good in individual character, but it is to separate evil people from good people, who by unwise builders have been mingled together in building a temple upon the foundation, Christ. If the builder puts on the foundation, Christ, the unregenerate, hypocrites, formalists, ritualists, then that fire will separate them, and the builder who put them on will suffer loss to the extent that his work is destroyed in the revelation of that great fire test.

To find a fulfilment of the identity of the "baptism in Spirit and fire" in the "tongues of fire" at Pentecost is merely silly, since they were not tongues of fire, but “tongues like as of fire.” A rising flame parts itself into the appearance of tongues. So the luminous appearance at Pentecost distributed itself into tongues, as fire seems to do.

On our paragraph, Matthew 3:10-12, Dr. Broadus, in his commentary, ably shows that we may not interpret the "fire" in Matthew 3:11 as differing in import from the "fire" in Matthew 3:10; Matthew 3:12. To pray that we may "be baptized in fire," while not so meant, is equivalent to praying that we may be cast into hell. The baptism in fire is the punitive destruction of the wicked. A few terse sentences will enable us to discriminate:

In the baptism in fire, Christ is the administrator, an in- corrigible sinner is the subject, the element is fire, the design is punitive.

In the baptism in the Holy Spirit, Christ is the administrator, the Holy Spirit is the element, the subject is a Christian, the design is to accredit and empower him for service.

In regeneration the Holy Spirit is the agent or administrator, the subject is a sinner, the design is to make him a Christian.

In sanctification the Holy Spirit is the agent, the subject is a Christian, the design is to make him personally holy, i.e., a better Christian. Regeneration and sanctification have been wrought by the Spirit in all dispensations since Adam.

The baptism in the Holy Spirit never occurred in the history of the world until the first Pentecost after Christ’s exaltation.

But it was prefigured twice in types. First, when Moses had completed the tabernacle, or movable house of God, the cloud, representing the divine inhabitant, came down and filled it (Exodus 40:33-38). Second, when Solomon had completed the Temple, the fixed house of God, the cloud, representing the divine inhabitant, came down and occupied it (1 Kings 7:51-8:11).

So when Jesus had built his church, antitype of tabernacle and Temple, the Holy Spirit came down to accredit, empower and occupy it (Acts 2:1-33). In other words –

The baptism in the Spirit was the baptism of the church – the house that Jesus built to succeed the house that Solomon built, as that had succeeded the house that Moses built.

From that date the church was accredited, occupied and empowered by the other Paraclete, the Promised of the Father and the Sent of the Father and Son.

Daniel, in his great prophecy, fixing the date and order of events, says, "Seventy weeks are decreed upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy" Here "the Most Holy" is a place, a house, and not the person, Christ. His anointing came at his baptism when the Spirit came on him.

As the sanctuary of both Moses and Solomon has been anointed when ready for use, so in this verse, following Messiah’s advent and expiation, a new most holy place was anointed by the coming of the Holy Spirit on the new Temple.

Because the old Temple had served its day, the very hour Christ said, "it is finished," referring to the expiation of sin by the true Lamb of God, "the veil of the temple was rent in twain from top to bottom." The new Temple was ready, waiting for its anointing on the day of Pentecost. Hence, I repeat, when we come to interpret Acts 2, all the words of John the Baptist and our Lord, in the Gospels, which speak of the baptism in the Spirit as a promise, and all the fulfilments, Acts 2:4; Acts 8:17; Acts 10:44-46; Acts 19:6, and Paul’s great exhaustive discussion at 1 Corinthians 12-14, will be fully considered.

The import of John’s comparison between Jesus and himself is, therefore, that Jesus is mightier than himself. John himself was not the Messiah, but only his herald. John is but a voice soon to be silenced forever. John must decrease, as the morning star pales and fades before the increasing light of the day. John is not the true light, but only a witness to the light. John indeed baptizes -penitent believers in water, but the one who follows him will not only continue the baptism in water, but will also baptize in the Holy Spirit and in fire.


This predetermined culmination of John’s ministry was the manifestation of the Messiah to Israel. This manifestation would directly connect with his administration of the ordinance of baptism. He himself declares: "And I knew him not; but that he should be made manifest to Israel, for this cause came I baptizing in water. . . . And I knew him not, but he that sent me to baptize in water, he said unto me, Upon whomsoever thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and abiding on him, the same is he that baptizeth in the Spirit" (John 1:31; John 1:33). When by this sign the as yet unknown person of the Messiah is disclosed to John himself, then must he who had hitherto spoken of the coming Messiah in general terms now identify the person, and by repeated testimony lead Israel to accept him so identified, in all his messianic offices. So that the culmination of John’s ministry consists in two particulars:

(1) John must baptize the Messiah, receiving for himself in the ordinance demonstrative evidence of the right person.

(2) This person of the Messiah so manifested to John, must by him be identified to Israel and through his repeated witness, set forth in all his messianic offices as the object of their faith. These two things accomplished, his mission is ended forever. We can do no more in rounding out this chapter than to consider the first part of this culmination, reserving for the next chapter John’s identification to Israel of the person of the Messiah and his presentation of him in all his messianic offices as the object of faith. For the present, therefore, our theme is…

The Harmony, in three parallel columns, pages 15-16, gives us the record of this momentous event, according to three historians (Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22). All these historians identify the person so baptized as Jesus. Matthew says, "Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to the Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him." Mark says, "And it came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in the Jordan." Luke says, "Jesus also having been baptized." Thus the person of the Messiah is Jesus of Nazareth in Galilee. All of them give two heavenly attestations to Jesus as the Messiah; the visible descent on him of the Holy Spirit, in the form of a dove, and the voice of the -Father from the most excellent glory, declaring Jesus his most beloved Son in whom he is well pleased. He himself came to John and solicited baptism at his hands. The ordinance was administered in the river Jordan.

According to these and correlated passages, the honorable position of this ordinance in the kingdom of God is as follows:

(1) In it is the Messiah manifested.

(2) In it the whole Trinity are present. The Son is being baptized, the Holy Spirit and the Father attesting the Son. Hence in our Lord’s Great Commission, reaching to all nations throughout all time, those disciples must be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Thus the doctrine of the Trinity is indissolubly connected with baptism and is proclaimed wherever in pool, lake, river, or sea the ordinance is administered.

(3) Therefore it is a confession on the part of every disciple submitting to the ordinance that he accepts Jesus as the sent of the Father, and anointed of the Spirit to be his sacrifice, prophet, priest, king, and judge.

(4) Its symbolism expresses the heart, of the gospel and unites therein our Lord and all his disciples who follow his example (Romans 6:3-5; Colossians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 15:1; 1 Corinthians 15:29).

A great sermon on the position of baptism has been translated into foreign languages. This was a sermon before the Southern Baptist Convention by Dr. Henry Holcombe Tucker, editor of the Christian Index. From this honorable position of the ordinance it follows that it should never be belittled or despised as a matter of small moment.

The act of John in baptizing Jesus was one thing and not three things. John did not sprinkle water in Hesys (rantizo) and pour water on Jesus (cheo) and dip Jesus in water (baptizo). He did a specific thing. Whatever the specific thing John did, to which Jesus submitted, is the thing which Jesus did when he also (through his disciples) baptized. (Compare John 3:22-23; John 4:1-2.) And it follows that the specific thing which John did, to which also Jesus submitted, and which he himself did (through his disciples) is the very thing which he commanded) in Matthew 28:19, to be done unto the end of time.

Apart from the clear meaning of baptizo, we may settle the question in another way. The argument of Romans 6:3 and Colossians 2:12 shows that Jesus was figuratively buried and raised in baptism, and that we who follow him are planted in the likeness of his death and also raised in the likeness of his f resurrection. Therefore baptism is indissolubly connected with the resurrection of the buried dead.

Since John administered a baptism (eis metanoian) unto repentance, a baptism of repentance unto the remission of sins (eis aphesin hamartion), we have the question, why should Jesus seek baptism at John’s hands, seeing he needed no repentance and no remission of sins? John himself raised this question: "But John would have hindered him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? But Jesus, answering said unto him, Suffer it now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffereth him" (Matthew 3:14-15). The answer is clear, as John understood later. (See John 1:31; John 1:33.) John’s baptizing had a twofold purpose.(l) as related to penitent believers, (2) as to the Messiah himself. In no other way could John complete his ministry. Out of this comes another question, How harmonize John’s protest (Matthew 3:14) with his subsequent declaration, "I knew him not, at John 1:31; John 1:33? John could not know the person of the Messiah until he saw the appointed sign, the visible descent of the Spirit upon him, but he could be impressed in mind, in other ways, that Jesus was not a sinner needing repentance.

One of the most remarkable things about Jesus was a presence that at times filled friend and foe with awe and amazement. A glory of irresistible power radiated from him. I cite five instances of the radiating power of this presence on his enemies: Twice when he alone purged the Temple, driving all his panic-stricken enemies before him (John 2:13-16; Matthew 21:12 f; Mark 11:15-17; Luke 19:45 f); the overawing of the Nazarenes when they rejected and sought to kill him (Luke 4:29-30); the prostration of those who sought to arrest him (John 18:6) ; the outcry of the demons when brought into his presence (Matthew 8:29 f; Mark 5; Luke 8.) Not only John the Baptist felt the radiating power of this sinless, awful presence, but Christ’s own disciples many times later. For example, Peter, at the miraculous draught of the fishes (Luke 5:8); Peter and others at the stilling of the tempest (Mark 4:41); at the transfiguration (Matthew 17:6-7); all the disciples on the last journey to Jerusalem (Mark 10:32). We thus understand how John the Baptist (Matthew 3:14) could be impressed with the sinlessness of Jesus, and yet not really know he was the Messiah until the sign came.

Now we have seen why Jesus should be baptized of John, but why baptized at all, that is, why to his own mind? The reasons are as follows:

(1) As he foreknew, in connection with this ordinance, it would be his own inauguration as Messiah. Therefore he overcame John’s scruples. Therefore, when baptized, he prayed for his spiritual anointing and the attestation of his Father. His prayer was not vague and indefinite. He knew he must be anointed as prophet, priest, and king, and sealed as the sacrifice for sin. He knew he must be endued for service as Messiah by the Holy Spirit. He must be equipped to resist and overcome the devil. All this appears as follows:

Anointing as Prophet: Read Isaiah 11:1-5; Isaiah 42:1-2, which describe his spiritual equipment for service. He prayed for that. The fulfilment is, "God gave not the Spirit to him by measure," but immeasurably (John 3:34). Read Isaiah 61:1 f and his declaration, Luke 4:16-21. He was anointed to do this very preaching.

Sealed for Sacrifice: Referring to this descent of the Spirit our Lord says, "Him hath God, the Father, sealed" (John 6:27).

On receipt of this enduement of the Spirit: He went at once to meet the temptation of Satan, as the Second Adam (Matthew 4:1 f; Mark 1:12 f; Luke 4:1 f).

So, also, the descent of the Spirit: Was his anointing as King and Priest.

(2) He was baptized to set forth in symbol the great truths of his gospel – his death, burial, resurrection (Romans 6:1 f; Colossians 2:12; 1 Corinthians 15:1; 1 Corinthians 15:29).

(3) As an example for all his followers (see same scriptures).

However, he had the messianic consciousness before his baptism. He sought the baptism; he overcame John’s scruples; he prayed for the anointing and attestation before he received them.

The meaning of his reply to John, "Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness" is that neither he nor John must stop at only one of the purposes of John’s baptism, but meet all the other purposes of that baptism. And evidently, as set forth in 2 above) this baptism would memorialize all righteousness, which comes by vicarious expiation, burial and resurrection. It would be a pictorial gospel.


1. What comparison did John institute between Christ and himself?

2. Was this a comparison between John’s baptism in water and Christ’s baptism in water? If not, what is the point of comparison?

3. On what phrase of this comparison arise the controversies of the ages, and what two questions are involved in the controversies?

4. From what great Baptist expositor does this interpretation dissent, and what is the point of the dissension?

5. What negations express the dissent from Dr. Maclaren?

6. How is the baptism in fire exercised?

7. Give the argument to show that Dr. Maclaren is mistaken about the baptism in fire.

8. Reply to the contention that tongues of fire at the first Pentecost after the resurrection, prove the identity of baptism in the Spirit and fire.

9. Analyze, in a few terse sentences, the baptism in fire, the baptism in the Holy Spirit, regeneration, and sanctification.

10. Show how the baptism in the Holy Spirit was twice prefigured.

11. Explain the baptism in the Holy Spirit from the passage in Daniel 9.

12. What of the predetermined culmination of John’s ministry, and what were his own words to show that it connected with his baptism in water?

13. It what two things, then, does the culmination of John’s ministry consist?

14. Who are the historians that give an account of John’s baptism of the Messiah?

15. In whom, as a person, do all these historians identify him?

16. What two attestations of Jesus as the Messiah do all the historians give?

17. According to these and correlated passages, what of the honorable position of this ordinance in the kingdom of God?

18. What great sermon on the position of baptism has been translated into foreign languages?

19. What follows from this honorable position of the ordinance?

20. What was the act of John in baptizing Jesus?

21. Apart from the clear meaning of baptize, how otherwise may we settle the question?

22. Why should Jesus seek baptism at John’s hands, seeing he needed no repentance and no remission of sins?

23. How may we harmonize John’s protest (Matthew 3:14) with his subsequent declaration, "I knew him not," (John 1:31; John 1:33)?

24. But why should Jesus be baptized at all?

25. How does it appear that he had the messianic consciousness before his baptism?

26. What, then, is the meaning of his reply to John, "Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness"?

Verses 12-13



Harmony pages 16-17 and Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13.

The theme of this chapter is Satan’s first temptation of Jesus, our Lord. The lesson is found on pages 16-17 of the Harmony. There are three historians of the great event: Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12-13; Luke 4:1-13. Following closely the text, let us note these general observations.

(1) All the historians agree on five express particulars and one implication, to wit:

The temptation of our Lord immediately follows his baptism, in which the Father audibly proclaimed him as his Son, and the Spirit visibly accredited, anointed, and endued him as the Messiah. So that the temptation is hell’s prompt response to heaven’s challenge in the inauguration.

Our Lord was Spirit-guided to meet the issues of the conflict.

The scene of the battle was "in the wilderness."

The time of the struggle was "forty days."

The tempter was Satan himself.

The implication is clear that no human being stood with Jesus. On the contrary, Mark adds: "He was with the wild beasts."

(2) Matthew and Luke agree: In expressing the Spirit guidance as a leading – "led of the Spirit." But Mark expresses it as a propulsion – "driven of the Spirit," while Luke adds he was "full of the Spirit."

He fasted throughout the forty days and afterward hungered.

In the consummation Satan visibly appeared and verbally submitted three special temptations, though Luke reverses

Matthew’s order of the last two.

Satan commenced two of these special temptations with the phrase, "If thou art the Son of God," showing his knowledge of the Father’s avowal at the baptism.

Jesus triumphed over Satan in them all.

In achieving this victory, Jesus used only the sword of the Spirit, the word of God, quoting from Deuteronomy only.

Satan also quoted Scripture.

Then Satan left him. But Matthew adds that Satan left because Jesus recognizes his adversary and peremptorily dismissed him, "Get thee hence, Satan," and Luke adds he left him only "for a season," so it was not the final battle.

Matthew and Mark agree that when Satan left him "angels came and ministered unto him," meaning, at least, that they supplied him with food and encouraged him. Thus three worlds were interested in the great conflict.

(4) Mark implies that in some form the temptation lasted throughout the forty days, which Luke seems to confirm by saying, "When Satan had completed every temptation." From this implication it follows that the form of the temptation up to the culmination when Jesus hungered was by mental suggestion only, Satan holding himself invisible, but when Jesus was faint with hunger, then, as Matthew and Luke agree, he appeared visibly and submitted audibly the three great special temptations.

Thus face to face, the two great warring personalities conducted the verbal duel and spiritual wrestling. This is evident from our Lord’s recognition of his adversary and his peremptory dismissal of him by name, "Get thee hence, Satan." We need not stagger at Mark’s implication when we reflect how easy it is for one spirit, by direct impact, to impress another, chough the one impressed may not be conscious of it, nor when we consider how many of what we consider our own thoughts are not self-originated, but suggestions from without. Bunyan represents his Pilgrim, when passing through the valley of the shadow of death, as being horrified at curses, slimy thoughts, and blasphemies in his mind, which he supposed were his own, whereas, they were suggestions from without by invisible whispering demons. The capital point is that our Lord was tempted in both forms – first for many days by invisible external suggestions; second, when Apollyon, as in the case of Bunyan’s Pilgrim, visibly, audibly, palpably, horribly, and suddenly came upon him in his weakest hour, straddled across his narrow way, and buried his fiery darts in rapid succession.

(5) We should carefully note, as illustrative of the value of harmonic study of the testimony of several witnesses, the special contribution of each historian. We see the force of Matthew’s "Get thee hence, Satan" and Mark’s "driven of the Spirit," and his implication of continuous temptation, and Luke’s "full of the Spirit," and especially his "left him for a season."

(6) The Greek word rendered "tempt" means "to try, prove, or test." The moral character of the "testing" depends upon the object and methods. If the object be to incite or to entice to sin, or the means be guile, flattery, lying, indeed any form of deception that would turn the tempted one from God and appeal to lower motives, then it is bad, whether coming from Satan or from his subordinates. But if the object be to honorably ascertain or prove character by lawful methods, or to fairly develop and discipline the inexperienced soul, then it is good. We may lawfully prove or test God himself in any way appointed by him whether of promise or precept. We may sinfully tempt him by creating situations not appointed by him and then claiming his help.

In the sense of enticing to sin, God tempts no man. In the sense of proving his people, he is always tempting us, as he did Abraham. In his providence he often permits us to be tested with evil intent by Satan, as in the cases of Job and Peter. In this providential permission to Satan there are always great limitations.

We are never tempted in a good sense nor allowed to be tempted in an evil sense beyond our ability to bear or to resist. And always the decision and the responsibility are upon the tempted one.

He himself must yield in order to fall. The words of James and Paul are pertinent: "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath been approved, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempteth no man: but each man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed. Then the lust, when it hath conceived, beareth sin; and the sin when it is full grown, bringeth forth death" (James 1:12-15). "There hath no temptation taken you but such as man can bear: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation make also the way of escape, that ye may be able to endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). Our English word "tempt" once had both the good and evil senses of the Greek word, but now is limited to the evil sense.

(7) The exact site of the temptation in the wilderness has never been determined. It is quite probable that on this point the Scriptures are designedly silent, as in the case of the burial place of Moses, to hedge against superstitious pilgrimages and shrines. If it be lawful to venture on conjecture, I would suggest the wilderness of the Arabian peninsula, for these reasons:

There is a strong scriptural parallel between our Lord and Israel as a nation.

Israel, as a nation, was not only tempted and fell in this Arabian wilderness, but also there evilly tempted God.

There is a correspondence between their forty years and Christ’s forty days.

There both Moses and Elijah "fasted forty days."

All of our Lord’s quotations ’in his temptation are from the Pentateuch, word fruitage of Israel’s wilderness life.

As the forty years wilderness life and the wilderness words quoted by our Lord prepared God’s son, Israel, for the national life, so this forty days fasting and triumph over Satan’s temptations prepared his Son, Jesus, for his great lifework of Israel’s redemption.

Before Paul enters his great work for the salvation of the Gentiles it was necessary that there should be a period of seclusion for meditation, for receiving his gospel, for settling great questions between himself alone and God on the one hand, and the devil on the other hand. He says, "I conferred not with flesh and blood – went not to Jerusalem – but I went into Arabia." Evidently not to preach, but under the shadow of Sinai where the Law was given, there in the light of the gospel to gain that view of the Law so powerfully set forth in his letters to the Galatians and the Romans. Why not, then – if we must guess – follow these analogies and this fitness, and suppose that this was the wilderness site of Christ’s temptation, returning from which to deliver his marvelous Sermon on the Mount, which, after all, is but the highest spiritual exposition of the Law?

(8) Can a man do without food forty days? It has been objected against the credibility of the Bible, that it represents Moses, Elijah, and our Lord fasting forty days. Within my own memory this fact has been demonstrated scientifically. A Dr. Tanner, after a careful preparation, did, in the presence of competent witnesses, fast forty days. He ate no food. The only thing he allowed himself was occasionally to rinse his mouth with water, and very rarely to swallow just a little of the water. He was not sustained by the high spiritual exaltation of Moses, Elijah, and our Lord.

(9) From Christ’s fast of forty days two new words, or institutions, have been derived:

Etymologically, our English word "quarantine." The wholly unscriptural "forty days of Lent" preceding the equally unscriptural festival of Easter observed by Romanists and Episcopalians. The word "Easter" in the common version of Acts 12:4 is simply the Jewish Passover and is so rendered in our best English versions.

(10) Was this a real temptation of our Lord? In other words, was it a case of "Not able to sin" (non posse peccare) or "able not to sin" (posse non peccare)1 This is a vital question and must be squarely answered. The temptation of our Lord was not only real, but was an epoch in his own life and in the history of the race. It was no sham battle.

The teaching of the Scriptures is express and manifold. It was not the essential deity of our Lord on trial, but his humanity, and also in an emphatic sense his representative humanity. There is no stronger proof that the Messiah was really a man and had a human soul than his susceptibility to temptation and his successful resistance to it as a man. This becomes the more obvious when we consider the later battles with Satan in Gethsemane and on the cross, to which this wilderness temptation was no more than a preliminary skirmish. The true answer to this question lies in the answer to a broader question: Why should Jesus be tempted?

We must fairly answer this broader question:

He was the Second Adam – the new race-head (1 Corinthians 15:45-49; Romans 5:12-21). "The first Adam was tempted in a garden full of permitted fruits, and by his fall converted it into a desert. The Second Adam was tempted in a desert, faint with the hunger of a forty days’ fast, and by his victory converted it into a garden." The new race head was on probation like the first.

In the highest sense he was Israel, God’s Son: "Out of Egypt have I called my Son." He was Isaiah’s "Servant of the Lord," so marvelously foreshadowed in the last twenty-seven chapters of that book. National Israel failed under temptation in every probation – under the theocracy established by Moses, under the monarchy established by Samuel, under the hierarchy established by Ezra, Nehemiah, Zechariah, Haggai, and Malachi, culminating in its rejection of the Messiah. If "all Israel is to be saved" as taught by Ezekiel, Zechariah, and Paul, then this "Son which God called out of Egypt" must triumph over real temptation.

He could not become man’s vicarious substitute in death and judgment unless on real probation from birth to death, he himself was demonstrated to be "a lamb without spot or blemish, holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners." "For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings" (Hebrews 2:10).

He could not destroy the work of the devil and rescue "the lawful captives," "the prey of the terrible one," "except as he shared the common lot of humanity." "Since then the children are sharers in the flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same; that through death he might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and might deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage" (Hebrews 2:14-15).

Without enduring real temptation in his humanity he could not become a sympathizing and efficient high priest: "Wherefore it behooved him in all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might become a faithful and merciful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted" (Hebrews 2:17-18). "Having then a great high priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but one that has been in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need" (Hebrews 4:14-16).

He could not seat humanity on the throne of the universe as King of kings and Lord of lords except by emptying himself of heavenly glory, laying aside the form of God and assuming the form of a slave, and when found in the fashion of a man he should through every temptation be perfect in obedience to every precept and submissive to every penal sanction of the Law (See Philippians 2:6-11).

He could not, as the Son of Man, become the judge of the world except he had triumphed in real temptation as a man. (Note carefully John 5:22; John 5:27; Acts 17:31; Matthew 25:31 f.) Not otherwise as enduring temptation could he become an example to his people in their hours of trial. (See Philippians 2:5; 1 Peter 2:21-23; 1 Peter 4:1.)

In assigning these reasons for Christ’s real temptation we have not limited ourselves to Satan’s first temptation of our Lord.

(11) On the subject of the temptation, what may we say of Milton’s Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained?

Paradise Regained is very inferior, as a literary epic, to Paradise Lost.

The Devil of Paradise Lost is a far grander personage than the Devil of Paradise Regained. Says Robert Burns, "The Devil is the hero of Paradise Lost, but in Paradise Regained he is a sneak nibbling at the heel of Jesus." In neither have we a true portrait of Satan.

In closing his Paradise Regained at the preliminary skirmish between Jesus and Satan, he virtually acknowledges his failure to master his great theme.

Reserving the discussions of the three special temptations of Jesus to the next chapter, we close the present discussion by citing from Dr. Broadus’ great treatment of this theme in his commentary these quotations:

"Christ hungered as a man, and fed the hungry as God. He was hungry as man, and yet he is the Bread of Life. He was a-thirst as a man, and yet He says, Let him that is athirst come to me and drink. He was weary) and is our Rest. . . He pays tribute, and is a King; he is called a devil, and casts out devils; prays, and hears prayer; weeps, and dries our tears; is sold for thirty pieces of silver, and redeems the world; is led as a sheep to the slaughter, and is the Good Shepherd" – Wordsworth.

"Observe (1) that the first word spoken by Christ in His ministerial office is an assertion of the authority of the scripture. (2) That He opposeth the word of God as the properest encounterer against the words of the devil. (3) That He allegeth scripture as a thing undeniable and uncontrollable by the devil himself. (4) That He maketh the scripture His rule, though He had the fullness of the Spirit above measure" – Lightfoot.

"The devil may tempt us to fall, but he cannot make us fall; he may persuade us to cast ourselves down, but he cannot cast us down" – Wordsworth. "True faith never tries experiments upon the promises, being satisfied that they will be fulfilled as occasion may arise. We have no right to create danger, and expect providence to shield us from it. The love of adventure, curiosity as to the places and procedure as vice, the spirit of speculation in business, the profits of some calling attended by moral perils – often lead men to tempt God. It is a common form of sin" – Broadus.

"The successive temptations may be ranked as temptations over-confidence, and over-confidence, and other confidence, The first, to take things impatiently into our hands; the second, to throw things presumptuously on God’s hands; the third, to transfer things disloyally into other hands than God’s" – Griffith.


1. Who were the historians of Satan’s first temptation of Christ?

2. In what particulars do the historians agree?

3. In what particulars do Matthew and Luke agree?

4. In what particulars do Matthew and Mark agree?

5. What is the strong implication of the continuance of the temptation throughout the forty days by Mark?

6. What was the form of the temptation during the forty days? Explain and illustrate its possibilities.

7. In what part of the temptation does Satan appear visibly face to face with and tempt and wrestle with Christ?

8. What is the value of harmonic study illustrated in the special contributions of each historian?

9. What is the meaning of our Greek word rendered "tempt"?

10. Upon what does the moral character of the tempting depend?

11. How may we lawfully in one case, and unlawfully in another case, tempt God himself?

12. Give Scripture proof that in the bad sense of the word God tempts no man, and proof that in the good sense of the word he does tempt man.

13. Give proof that he does, under great limitations, permit Satan to tempt us in an evil sense

14. When tempted by Satan, upon whom do the decision & responsibility rest?

15. Cite the pertinent words of James and Paul.

16. To what sense is our English word "tempt" now limited?

17. Why, probably, are the Scriptures silent on the exact spot of the temptation in the wilderness?

18. If we venture on a suggestion of the site, give the reasons, in order of the wilderness of Arabia as the place.

19. Prove scripturally and scientifically that a man can fast forty days.

20. How is our English word "quarantine" derived etymologically?

21. What two institutions observed by Romanists and Episcopalians are without scriptural warrant?

22. What is the meaning of the Greek word rendered "Easter" in the common version at Acts 12:4?

23. Was the temptation of our Lord a real one? In other words, was it a case of "Not able to sin" or of "Able not to sin"?

24. Give, in order, the great reasons why Christ should be really tempted.

25. Concerning the temptation, what may we say of Milton’s Paradise Lost, and Paradise Regained?

26. In what commentary may we find the most critical and rational treatment of the temptation of our Lord?

27. Cite, in order, Dr. Broadus’ quotations of practical observations from Wordsworth, Lightfoot, Broadus himself, and Griffith.

Verses 14-22



Part I

Harmony pages 85-39 and Matthew 4:17-25; Matthew 8:2-17; Matthew 9:2-26; Mark 1:14-2:22; Mark 5:22-43; Luke 4:14-5:39; Luke 8:41-56; John 4:46-54.

We now come to our Lord’s great ministry m Galilee. We will take a sort of preview of this whole division and then follow it up with more detailed discussions. The general theme of this division of the Harmony is "The kingdom of heaven." We are prone at times to fall into errors of interpretation concerning the kingdom similar to those which led ancient Israel so far and so harmfully astray concerning the advent of the Messiah. Either we so fill our minds with the sublimity of world redemption, as applied to the race, in the outcome, so satisfy our hearts with rhetorical splendor in the glowing description of universal dominion that we lose sight of its application to individuals in our day, and the responsibilities arising from the salvation of one man, or we so concentrate our fancy upon the consummation that we forget the progressive element in the development of the kingdom and the required use of means in carrying on that progress. The former error breeds unprofitable dreamers – the latter promotes skeptics. The preacher is more liable to be led astray by the one, the average church member by the other.

Perhaps the most unprofitable of all sermons is the one full of human eloquence and glowing description excited by the great generalities of salvation, and perhaps the most stubborn of all skepticism is that resulting from disappointment as not witnessing and receiving at once the very climax of salvation, both as to the individual and the race.

Such a spirit of disappointment finds expression in words like these: "The prophecies here of the kingdom are about 1,900 years old. Nineteen centuries have elapsed since the Child was born. Wars have not ceased. The poor are still oppressed. Justice, equity, and righteousness do not prevail. Sorrow, sin, and death still reign. And I am worried and burdened and perplexed. My soul is cast down and disquieted within me." In such case we need to consider the false principles of interpretation which have misled us, and inquire: Have we been fair to the Book and its promise?

Here I submit certain carefully considered statements: (1) The consummation of the Messiah’s kingdom was never promised as an instantaneous result of the birth of the Child. (2) The era of universal peace must follow the utter and eternal removal of things and persons that offend. This will be the harvest of the world. (3) Again, this consummation was never promised as an immediate result, i.e., without the use of means to be employed by Christ’s people. (4) Yet again, this aggregate consummation approaches only by individual reception of the kingdom and individual progress in sanctification. (5) It is safe to say that the promises have been faithfully fulfilled to just the extent that individuals have received the light, walked in the light and discharged the obligations imposed by the gift of the light. These receptive and obedient ones in every age have experienced life, liberty, peace, and joy, and have contributed their part to the ultimate glorious outcome. (6) And this experience in individuals reliably forecasts the ultimate race and world result, and inspires rational hope of its coming. This is a common sense interpretation. In the light of it our duty is obvious. Our concern should be with our day and our lot and our own case as at present environed. The instances of fulfilment cited by the New Testament illustrate and verify this interpretation, particularly that recorded by Matthew as a fulfilment of the prophecies of Isaiah 4-13 inclusive, of his gospel. What dispassionate mind can read these ten chapters of Matthew, with the parallel passages in Mark and Luke, without conceding fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecies uttered seven centuries before?

Here is the shining of a great light, brighter than all of the material luminaries in the heavens which declare the glory of God and show his handiwork. This is, indeed, the clean, sure and perfect law of the Lord, converting the soul, making wise the simple, rejoicing the heart, enlightening the eyes, enduring forever, more desirable than gold and sweet "r than honey in the honeycomb. Here are judgments true and righteous altogether.

Here in sermon and similitude the incomparable Teacher discloses the principles and characteristics of a kingdom that, unlike anything earth-born, must be from heaven. Here is a fixed, faultless, supreme, and universal standard of morality. The Teacher not only speaks with authority and wisdom, but evidences divinity by supernatural miracles, signs, and wonders. But there is here more than a teacher and wonder worker. He is a Saviour, a Liberator, a Healer, conferring life, liberty, health, peace, and joy. To John’s question – John in prison and in doubt – the answer was conclusive that this, indeed, was the one foreshown by the prophets and there was no need to look for another: "Go and tell John the things which ye hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And whosoever shall find no occasion for stumbling in me, blessed is he" (Matthew 11:1-4).

The special matter here most worthy of our consideration is that the kingdom of heaven was not expanded by instantaneous diffusion over a community, a nation, or the world, regardless of human personality, activity, and responsibility ill receiving and propagating it, but it took hold of each receptive individual’s heart and worked out on that line toward the consummation.

To as many as received him to them he gave the power to become the sons of God. Those only who walked in the light realized the blessings of progressive sanctification. To the sons of peace, peace came as a thrilling reality. From those who preferred darkness to light) who judged themselves unworthy of eternal life, the proffered peace departed, returning to the evangelists who offered it.

The poor woman whom Satan had bound for eighteen years experienced no imaginary or figurative release from her bonds (Luke 11:10-16). That other woman, who had sinned much, and who, in grateful humility, washed his feet with her tears – was not forgiveness real and sweet to her? That blind Bartimeus who kept crying, "Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me" – did he not receive real sight? That publican, who stood afar off and beat upon his breast, crying, "God, be merciful to me, the sinner" – was he not justified?

And when the Galilean disciples went forth in poverty and weakness preaching his gospel, did they not experience the Joy of the harvest on beholding the ingathering of souls? And when they saw even demons subject to them through the name of Jesus, was not that the joy of victory as when conquerors divide the spoil?

When the stronger than the strong man armed came upon him and bound him, might not our Lord justly say, "As lightning falls from heaven, I saw Satan fall before you"? And just so in our own time.

Every conversion brings life, liberty, peace, and joy to the redeemed soul. Every advance in a higher and better life attests that rest is found at every upward step in the growth of grace. Every talent or pound rightly employed gains 100 per cent for the capital invested, and so the individual Christian who looks persistently into the perfect law of liberty, being not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the Word, is blessed in every deed. Willing to do the will of God, and following on to know the Lord, he not only knows the doctrine to be of God, but experimentally goes on from strength to strength, from grace to grace, and is changed into the divine image from glory to glory.

In the light of these personal experiences he understands how the kingdom of God is invincible, and doubts not the certain coming of the glorious consummation foreshown in prophecy and graciously extended, in the hand of promise. His faith, staggering not through unbelief, takes hold of the invisible, and his hope leaps forward to the final recompense of the reward.

The opening incident of the Galilean ministry is the healing of the nobleman’s son, the second miracle of our Lord in Galilee, and a most remarkable one. The nobleman was Herod’s steward, maybe Chuza, as many suppose, but that is uncertain. The nobleman manifested great faith and it was amply rewarded. This is an illustration of the tenderness with which Jesus ministered to the temporal needs of the people, thus reaching their souls through their bodies. The effect of this miracle was like that of the first: "He himself believed, and his whole house."

The next section (Luke 4:16-31) gives the incident of his rejection at Nazareth. The account runs thus: "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and he entered, as his custom was, into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up to read." How solemn, how sad in its immediate result – how pathetic that scene in Nazareth when the Redeemer announced his mission and issued his proclamation of deliverance: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he anointed me to publish good tidings to the poor: He hath sent me to proclaim deliverance to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To send crushed ones away free, To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

Oh! what a day when this scripture was fulfilled in the hearing of the captives I But the Spirit on him was not on them.

As Jewish widows in Elijah’s day, perished of famine, through unbelief, and left to Sarepta’s far-off widow in a foreign land to believe and be blessed with unfailing meal and oil, as Jewish lepers, through unbelief, in Elisha’s day died in uncleanness and loathsomeness while touching elbows with One having power to heal, leaving to a Syrian stranger to wash in Jordan and be clean, so here where Jesus "had been brought up," the people of Nazareth shut their eyes, bugged their chains and died in darkness and under the power of Satan – died unabsolved from sin, died unsanctified and disinherited, and so yet are dying and shall forever die.

The Year of Jubilee came to them in vain. In vain its silver trumpets pealed forth the notes of liberty. They had no ear to hear, and so by consent became slaves of the Terrible One forever.

This brings us to church responsibility and ministerial agency in the perpetuation of this proclamation of mercy. As Paul went forth to far-off shores, announcing in tears, yet with faith and hope and courage, the terms of eternal redemption, so now the churches find in the same mission their warrant for existence, and so now are we sent forth as witnesses to stand before every prison house where souls are immured, commissioned "to open the eyes of the prisoners that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive remission of sins and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith in Christ." Ours to blow the silver trumpets and proclaim to captives the year of jubilee. Ours is the evangel of liberty – ours to make known that "if the Son of God make men free, they shall be free indeed."

Leaving Nazareth, Jesus went to Capernaum, where he made his residence from which he radiates in his ministry in Galilee, teaching and healing on a large scale. His work here in Zebulun and Naphtali is a distinct fulfilment of Isaiah 9:1-2, in which he is represented as a great light shining in the darkness. By the sea of Galilee near Capernaum he calls four fishermen to be his partners – Peter, Andrew, James, and John, two sets of brothers. Here he announces his purpose for their lives – to be fishers of men. What a lesson! These men were skilled in their occupation and now Jesus takes that skill and turns it into another direction, toward a greater end, "fishers of men." Here he gives them a sign of his authority and messiahship in the incident of the great draught of fishes. The effect on Peter was marvelous. He was conscious of Christ’s divinity and of his own sinfulness. Thus he makes his confession, Luke 5:8: "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” But our Lord replied to Peter: "Fear not, from henceforth thou shalt catch men." Later (John 21), when Peter and his comrades went back to their old occupation, the risen Lord appeared to them and renewed their call, performing a miracle of a similar draught of fishes.

In Section 28 (Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37;) we have his first case of healing a demoniac. What is the meaning of the word "demoniac"? It means demon-possessed, and illustrates the fact of the impact of spirit on spirit, many instances of which we have in the Bible. Here the demons recognized him, which accords with Paul’s statement that he was seen of angels. They believed and trembled as James says, but they knew no conversion. The lesson there is one of faith. The effect of this miracle was amazement at his authority over the demons.

In Section 29 (Matthew 8:14-17; Mark 1:29-34; Luke 4:38-41) we have an account of the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law, which incident gives us light on the social relations of the disciples. Peter was married, the Romanist position to the contrary notwithstanding. Further scriptural evidence of his marriage is found in 2 Corinthians 8:5. It is interesting to compare the parallel accounts of this incident in the Harmony and see how much more graphic is Mark’s account than those of Matthew and Luke. There is a fine lesson here on the relation between the mother-in-law and the son-in-law. Peter is a fine example of such relation. Immediately following the healing of Peter’s wife’s mother those that had sick ones brought them to Jesus and he healed them, thus fulfilling a prophecy of Isaiah, that he should take our infirmities and bear our diseases. Our Lord not only healed their sick ones, but he cast out the demons from many, upon which they recognized him. But he would not let them speak because they knew that he was the Christ.

The effect of our Lord’s great work as described in Section 29 was that Peter tried to work a corner on salvation and dam it up in Capernaum. This is indicated in the account of the interview of Peter with our Lord as described in Section 30 (Matthew 4:23-25; Mark 1:35-39; Luke 4:42-44). Here it is said that Jesus, a great while before day, went out into a desert place to pray, and while out there Peter came to him and complained that they were wanting him everywhere. To this our Lord responded that it was to this end that he had come into the world. So Jesus at once launched out and made three great journeys about Galilee. His first journey included a great mass of teaching and healing, of which we have a few specimens in Sections 31-36, which apparently occurred at Capernaum, his headquarters. A second journey is recorded by Luke in Section 47 (Luke 8:1-3) and a third journey is found in Section 55. (For Broadus’ statement of these tours, see Harmony, p. 31.)

Here we have the occasion of one of the special prayers of Jesus. There are four such occasions in his ministry: (1) At his baptism he prayed for the anointing of the Holy Spirit; (2) here he prayed because of the effort to dam up his work of salvation in Capernaum; (3) the popularity caused by the healing of a leper (Sec. 31 – Matthew 8:2-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16) drove him to prayer; (4) the fourth occasion was the ordination of the twelve apostles. The immense labors of Jesus are indicated in Matthew 4:23-24. These labors gave him great popularity beyond the borders of Palestine and caused the multitudes from every quarter to flock to him. Attention has already been called to the popularity caused by the healing of the leper (Sec. 31) and Jesus’ prayer as the result.

In the incident of the healing of the paralytic we have a most graphic account by the synoptics and several lessons: (1) That disease may be the result of sin, as “thy sin be forgiven thee”; (2) that of intelligent cooperation; (3) that of persistent effort; (4) that of conquering faith. These are lessons worthy of emulation upon the part of all Christians today. Out of this incident comes the first issue between our Lord and the Pharisees, respecting the authority to forgive sins. This was only a thought of their hearts, but he perceived their thought and rebuked their sin. From this time on they become more bold in their opposition, which finally culminated in his crucifixion. Let the reader note the development of this hatred from section to section of the Harmony.

In Section 33 (Matthew 9:9-13; Mark 2:13-17; Luke 5:27-32) we have the account of the call of Matthew, his instant response and his entertainment of his fellow publicans. Here arose the second issue between Christ and the Pharisees, respecting his receiving publicans and sinners and eating with them. This was contrary to their idea in their self-righteousness, but Jesus replied that his mission was to call sinners rather than the righteous. This issue was greatly enlarged later, in Luke 15, to which he replied with three parables showing his justification and his mission. In this instance (Matthew 9:13) he refutes their contention with a quotation from Hosea which aptly fitted this case: "I desire mercy, and not sacrifice."

Then came to him the disciples of John and made inquiry about fasting, to which he replied with the parable of the sons of the bride chamber, the interpretation of which is that we should let our joy or sorrow fit the occasion, or set fasting ments and old bottles, the interpretation of which is to let the form fit the life; beware of shrinking and expansion.

In Section 35 (Matthew 9:18-25; Mark 5:22-43; Luke 8:41-56) we have the account of his healing of Jairus’ daughter and the healing of the woman with the issue of blood. Usually in the miracles of Christ, and in all preceding miracles, there was the touch of some kind between the healer and the healed. We are informed that great multitudes of people came to Jesus with this confidence, "If I but touch him I shall be healed." Accordingly we find that Christ put his fingers on the eyes of the blind, on the ears of the deaf, or took hold of the hand of the dead. In some way usually there was either presence or contact.

We will now consider the special miracle connected with the fringe of the garment of Jesus which the Romanists cite to justify the usage concerning the relics of the saints. In Numbers 15:38 we have a statute: "Thou shalt put fringes on the wings or ends of the outer garment," and this fringe had in it a cord or ribbon of blue, and the object of it was to remind the wearer of the commandments of God. The outer garment was an oblong piece of cloth, one solid piece of cloth, say, a foot and a half wide and four feet long. The edge was fringed on all the four sides, and in the fringe was run a blue thread, and the object of the fringe and of the blue thread also was to make them remember the commandments of God. The statute is repeated in Deuteronomy 22. Again in Deuteronomy 6 is the additional law of phylacteries, or frontlets – little pieces of leather worn between the eyes – on which were inscribed the commandments of God. The people were taught to instruct their children in the commandments of God: "And they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes, and thou shalt put them upon thy door posts, and when thou goest out and when thou comest in, and when thou sittest down and when thou gettest up, and when thou liest down, thou shalt at all times teach thy children the Word of God.” Now, because of these statutes a superstitious veneration began to attach to the fringe and to the phylacteries. So we learn in Matthew 23, as stated by our Saviour, that the Pharisees made broad the phylacteries between their eyes and enlarged the fringe of the outer garment. They made the fringe or tassel very large. They did it to be seen of men. The law prescribed that when the wearer should see this fringe on his garment he should remember the commandments of the Lord his God. But these Pharisees put it on that others might see it, and that it might be an external token to outsiders of their peculiar sanctity and piety. What was intended to be a sign to the man himself was converted by superstition into a sign for other people. Hence this woman said within herself, "If I but touch that sacred fringe – the border of his garment." She could not go up and touch the phylactery between his eyes, in case he wore one, but he did wear the Jewish costume with the fringe or border on his outer garment, and she could reach that from behind. She would not have to go in front of him. She argued: "Now, if I can in the throng get up so that I can reach out and just touch that fringe, I shall be saved." We see how near her thought connected the healing with the fringe of the garment, because by the double statute of God it was required on the Jewish garment to signify their devotion to his Word – the matchless Word of Jehovah. Mark tells us that she was not the only woman, not the only person healed by touching the border of his garment (Mark 6:56). Her sentiment was not an isolated one. It was shared by the people at large. Multitudes of people came to touch the fringe of his garment that they might be healed.

The question arises, Why should Christ select that through contact with the fringe on his outer garment healing power should be bestowed? He did do it. The question is, why? There shall be no god introduced unless there be a necessity for a god. There shall be no special miracle unless the case demands it. Why? Let us see if we cannot get a reason. I do not announce the reason dogmatically, but as one that seems sufficient to my own mind. Christ was among the people speaking as never man spake, doing works that no man had done. He was awakening public attention. He was the cynosure of every eye. They came to him from every direction. They thronged him. And right here at this juncture Jairus had said, "Master, my little girl, twelve years old, is even now dead. Go and lay thy hand upon her that she may live." He arose and started, the crowd surging around him and following him, and all at once he stopped and said, "Who touched me?" "Master, behold the crowd presseth thee on every side, and thou sayest, who touched me?" Here was a miracle necessary to discriminate between the touches of the people. "Who touched me?" Hundreds sin sick touched him and were not saved. Hundreds that had diseases touched him and were unhealed. Hundreds that were under the dominion of Satan looked in his face and heard his words and were not healed. It was touch and not touch. They touched, but there was no real contact. They rubbed up against salvation and were not saved. Salvation walked through their streets and talked to them face to face. The stream of life flowed right before their doors and they died of thirst. Health came with rosy color and bright eye and glowing cheek and with buoyant step walked through their plague district) and they died of sickness. But some touched him. Some reached forth the hand and laid hold upon the might of his power. This woman did.

Poor woman! What probably was her thought? "I heard that ruler tell him that he had a little girl twelve years old that was just dead, and he asked him to go and heal her, she twelve years old, and for twelve years I have been dead. For twelve years worse than death has had hold on me and I have spent all my money; have consulted many physicians. I have not been benefited by earthly remedies, but rendered worse. Twelve years has death been on me, and if he can heal that, girl that died at twelve years of age, maybe he can heal me twelve years dead. If that ruler says, ’If you will but go and lay your hand upon her even now she will revive,’ what can I do? In my timidity, in the ceremonial uncleanness of my condition, in my shame, I dare not speak. I cannot in this crowd, for if they knew that I were here they would cast me out; for if any of them touch me they are unclean in the eyes of the law. I cannot go and kneel down before him, and say, ’Master, have mercy on me.’ The ceremonial law of uncleanness forbids my showing my face, and if I come in contact with his power it must be with a touch upon the garment. And I beg for that. I say within myself, that if I but touch the fringe with its blue thread in it that reminds him of God’s commands, I shall be healed."

There was the association of her healing with the memento of the Word of God. There was the touch of her faith, that came into contact with that Word of God and with him. So her faith reasoned, and virtue going out from him responded to her faith. And she felt in herself that she was healed. Well, he healed her and there it stands out one of the most beautiful lessons in the Word of God. Oh, what a lesson! Some will say at the judgment, "Lord Jesus, thou hast taught in our streets and we have done many wonders in thy name," and he will say, "I never knew you." "You were close to the Saviour. You did not touch him. You were his neighbor. You did not touch him." There were many lepers in Israel in the days of Elisha, the prophet – lepers that could have been healed of leprosy by an appeal to the power of God in Elisha. They died in leprosy, but Naaman came from afar and touched the healing power of the prophet and was healed. There were many widows in Israel whose staff of life was gone, whose barrel of meal was empty, whose cruse of oil had failed, and here was the prophet of God, who by a word could supply that empty barrel, that failing cruse, but they did not touch him. They did not reach out in faith and come in contact with that power. The widow of Sarepta did, and her barrel of meal never failed, and her cruse of oil never wasted. Now, the special miracle: It was designed to show that if there be a putting forth of faith, even one finger of faith, and that one finger of faith touches but the fringe, the outskirts of salvation – only let there be a touch, though that touch covers no more space than the point of a cambric needle – "let there be the touch of faith and thou art saved."

In the midst of this stir about the woman the news of the death of Jairus’ daughter burst forth upon them with the request to trouble not the Master any further. But that did not stop our Lord. He proceeded immediately to the house to find a tumult and many weeping and wailing, for which he gently rebuked them. This brought forth their scorn, but taking Peter, James, and John, he went in and raised the child to life and his praise went forth into all that land.


1. What is the general theme of this division of the Harmony?

2. What common errors of interpretation of the kingdom? Illustrate.

3. What was the offspring of these errors respectively and who the most liable to each?

4. What, perhaps, was the most unprofitable sermon and what was the most stubborn skepticism?

5. How does such disappointment find expression?

6. Give the author’s statements relative to the kingdom,

7. Where do we find the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecies relative to the kingdom?

8. What specific prophecy in Isaiah fulfilled in Matthew?

9. Where do we find the principles of the kingdom disclosed?

10. What great office did our Lord fill besides teacher and wonder worker and what proof did he submit to John the Baptist?

11. What thing most worthy of special consideration in connection with the kingdom?

12. What the opening incident of the Galilean ministry, what its importance, what its great lesson and what its effect?

13. Give an account of our Lord’s rejection at Nazareth.

14. Why was he thus rejected?

15. By what incidents in the lives of the prophets does he illustrate the folly of their unbelief?

16. What is the church responsibility and ministerial agency in the proclamation of mercy?

17. Where does Jesus make his home after his rejection at Nazareth and what his first work in this region?

18. Recite the incident of the call of the four fishermen and its lessons.

19. What was Christ’s first case of healing a demoniac and what the meaning of the term "demoniac"? Illustrate.

20. What was the lesson of this miracle and what was its effect?

21. Recite the incident of the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law and give its lessons.

22. What were the great results of this miracle and why would not Christ allow the demons to speak?

23. How did Peter try to work a "corner" on salvation and how did our Lord defeat the plan?

24. How many and what journeys did Jesus make about Galilee?

25. Give the four special prayers of Jesus here cited and the occasion of each.

26. Describe the incident of the healing of the paralytic and its les sons.

27. What issue arises here between our Lord and the Pharisees and what was the final culmination?

28. Give an account of the call of Matthew, his entertainment, the second issue between our Lord and the Pharisees and how Jesus met it.

29. What question here arises, how was it brought up, how did our Lord reply and what the meaning of his parables here?

30. What double miracle follows and what was the usual method of miracles?

31. What was the law of fringes and phylacteries and what were their real purpose?

32. Why should Christ select that through contact with the fringe on his outer garment healing power should be bestowed?

33. What, probably, was the thought of this woman as she contemplated this venture of faith?

34. What was the great lesson of this incident of her healing?

35. Describe the miracle of raising Jairus’ daughter and its effect.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Mark 1". "Carroll's Interpretation of the English Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bhc/mark-1.html.
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