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The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
General Editor: J. J. S. PEROWNE, D.D.,
Bishop of Worcester.
The Gospel According to
With Maps Notes and Introduction
The rev. g. f. maclear, d.d.,
warden of st augustine’s canterbury, and late head master of king’s college school, London.
edited for the syndics of the university press .
at the university press.
London: C. J. CLAY and SONS,
cambridge university press warehouse,
ave maria lane.
[ All Rights reserved. ]
By The General Editor
The General Editor of The Cambridge Bible for Schools thinks it right to say that he does not hold himself responsible either for the interpretation of particular passages which the Editors of the several Books have adopted, or for any opinion on points of doctrine that they may have expressed. In the New Testament more especially questions arise of the deepest theological import, on which the ablest and most conscientious interpreters have differed and always will differ. His aim has been in all such cases to leave each Contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment, only taking care that mere controversy should as far as possible be avoided. He has contented himself chiefly with a careful revision of the notes, with pointing out omissions, with suggesting occasionally a reconsideration of some question, or a fuller treatment of difficult passages, and the like.
Beyond this he has not attempted to interfere, feeling it better that each Commentary should have its own individual character, and being convinced that freshness and variety of treatment are more than a compensation for any lack of uniformity in the Series.
Chapter I . Life of St Mark
Chapter II . Circumstances of the Composition of the Gospel
Chapter III . Characteristics of the Gospel
Chapter IV . Analysis of the Gospel
III. General Index
IV. Index of Words and Phrases explained
Map of Galilee
Sea of Galilee
Environs of Jerusalem
Palestine in the time of our Saviour at end of Volume
‘Companion of the Saints! ’twas thine
To taste that drop of peace divine,
When the great soldier of thy Lord
Call’d thee to take his last farewell,
Teaching the Church with joy to tell
The story of your love restor’d.”
“The Christian Year.” St Mark’s Day .
life of st mark
1. When the Saviour was about to leave the earth, His last command to His Apostles was that they should go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15 ).
2. Thus the first work, and that out of which all their other functions grew, was to proclaim as heralds the Glad Tidings of the Great Hope which had arisen for mankind, and to deliver a personal testimony to the chief facts of the Gospel History, the life, death, and resurrection of their Lord (Acts 1:21 , Acts 1:22 , Acts 1:4 :33, Acts 1:11 :20, Acts 1:20 :20, Acts 1:21 ).
3. Of the way in which they did this, the narrative contained in the Acts of the Apostles gives us many instances. Two instances may be taken as examples of all; (i) the preaching of St Peter before Cornelius (Acts 10:37-43 ), and (ii) of St Paul in the synagogue of Antioch (Acts 13:23-39 ). It will be noticed that both these discourses contain a sketch of the outlines of the Saviour’s ministry, from the Baptism of John to the world’s first Easter-day, and both dwell on the historical events of His Passion and Resurrection 1 1 See Professor Westcott’s Introduction to the New Testament , p. 165, and his Bible in the Church , p. 57. .
4. Thus the teaching of the Apostles was in the first instance oral and not written, and out of the multitude of things which Jesus did (John 21:25 ), a cycle of representative facts was gradually selected 2 2 “How few have been preserved, perhaps we can hardly realize, without reckoning up what a small number of days contribute all the incidents of the Gospels, and how little remains even in the record of those to bear witness to the labours which left no leisure so much as to eat (Mark 6:31),” Westcott’s Bible in the Church , p. 56. , which formed the common groundwork of their message.
5. But in the course of time another step was taken Many, as St Luke expressly tells us (1:1 4), endeavoured to commit to writing this oral Gospel 1 1 The history of the original word translated Gospel deserves attention. In Classical Greek it denotes (i) the reward given to the messenger of glad tidings (as in Homer, Od . xiv. 152, 166); (ii) the sacrifice offered up as a thank-offering for glad tidings (Ar. Eq . 656); (iii) the glad tidings themselves . Thus the word passed into the Greek of the New Testament, where it denotes the Clad Tidings of Jesus Christ , i.e. the Gospel, A. S. Gode-spell . , and to form in a connected shape written collections of the words and actions of our Lord
6. What they designed or endeavoured to do, was actually done under Apostolic sanction. As long, indeed, as the Twelve were still living and proclaiming the Word at Jerusalem, they were themselves “abiding witnesses to the facts which they preached,” but when the time came for them to be scattered throughout the world, an anxiety arose that the Church should possess authoritative records to supply the place of the oral Gospel previously in use.
7. Hence originated the Four “Memoirs” or “Biographies” of the Saviour, which have come down to us in the Four Gospels. Of these, two, those of St Matthew and St John, were written by Apostles, close friends and contemporaries of the Saviour; two, those of St Mark and St Luke, were written by “Apostolic men,” who, if they had no personal knowledge of Him, were at least the constant companions of those, who had the most intimate acquaintance with His Person and His Work.
8. The writer of the second and briefest of the Gospels was St Mark.
9. Marcus was his Latin surname. His Jewish name was John, which is the same as Johanan ( the grace of God ). We can almost trace the steps, whereby the former became his prevalent name in the Church. “ John, whose surname was Mark ” in Acts 12:12 , Acts 12:25 , Acts 12:15 :37, becomes “ John ” alone in Acts 13:5 , Acts 13:13 , “ Mark ” in Acts 15:39 , and thenceforward there is no change, Colossians 4:10 ; Philemon 1:24 ; 2 Timothy 4:11 .
10. The Evangelist was the son of a certain Mary, a Jewish matron of some position, who dwelt at Jerusalem (Acts 12:12 ), and was probably born of a Hellenistic family in that city. Of his father we know nothing, but we do know that the future Evangelist was cousin 1 1 The Greek word, used in Col. 4:10, is applied to cousins german, the children, whether of two brothers, or of two sisters, or of a brother and a sister. In very late writers the word comes to be used for a “nephew.” See Professor Lightfoot on Col 4:10. of Barnabas of Cyprus, the great friend of St Paul.
11. His mother would seem to have been intimately acquainted with St Peter, and it was to her house, as to a familiar home, that the Apostle repaired (a. d. 44) after his deliverance from prison (Acts 12:12 ). This fact accounts for St Mark’s 2 2 There is no solid ground for the conjecture that ( a ) the Evangelist was one of the Seventy disciples, or that ( b ) he was one of those who were offended at the saying of Christ in the synagogue of Capernaum (John 6:53, 60) but was afterwards won back by St Peter. The theory, however, is not to be wholly rejected which would identify him with the young man, who on the night of our Lord’s apprehension, followed in his light linen robe, which he left in the hands of the officers when he fled from them (Mark 14:51, 52, where see note). intimate acquaintance with that Apostle, to whom also he probably owed his conversion, for St Peter calls him “ his son ” (1 Peter 5:13 ).
12. We hear of him for the first time in Acts 12:25 , where we find him accompanying Paul and Barnabas on their return from Jerusalem to Antioch a.d. 45. He next comes before us on the occasion of the earliest missionary journey of the same Apostles, a.d. 48, when he joined them as their “minister” (Acts 13:5 ). With them he now visited Cyprus, with which island he may have been previously acquainted, as being the native country of Barnabas. But at Perga in Pamphylia (Acts 13:13 ), when they were about to enter upon the more arduous part of their mission, he left them, and for some unexplained reason 3 3 (i) Some think he simply wished to rejoin St Peter and the other Apostles, and share their labours at Jerusalem; (ii) others hold that he shrank from the perils of rivers and perils of robbers (1 Cor. 11:26) in the interior of Asia Minor. returned to Jerusalem, to his mother and his home.
13. This occurred about a.d. 48. Three years afterwards, a.d. 51, the same Apostles resolved to set out on a second missionary tour. But on this occasion, in spite of the earnest desire of his kinsman to take him with them, St Paul resolutely declined to associate himself again with one, who “ departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work ” (Acts 15:38 ). The issue was a “ sharp contention ” which resulted in the separation of St Paul from his old friend, who taking Mark with him once more repaired to Cyprus, while the great Apostle of the Gentiles, accompanied by Silas, proceeded through Syria and Cilicia (Acts 15:39-41 ).
14. At this point St Luke’s narrative takes leave of the Evangelist. But whatever was the cause of his vacillation, it did not lead to a final separation between him and St Paul. We find him by that Apostle’s side during his first imprisonment at Rome, a.d. 61 63, and he is acknowledged by him as one of his few “ fellow-labourers unto the kingdom of God, ” who had been a “ comfort ” to him during the weary hours of his imprisonment (Colossians 4:10 , Colossians 4:11 ; Philemon 1:24 ); while from the former of these passages it would also seem that St Mark contemplated a journey to Asia Minor, and that St Paul had prepared the Christians of Colossæ to give him a friendly reception (Colossians 4:10 ).
15. We have next traces of him in another passage of the New Testament. In 1 Peter 5:13 occur the words, “The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son .” From this we infer that he joined his spiritual father, the great friend of his mother, at Babylon, then and for some hundred years afterwards one of the chief seats of Jewish culture, and assisted him in his labours amongst his own countrymen.
16. From Babylon he would seem to have returned to Asia Minor, for during his second imprisonment, a.d. 68, St Paul writing to Timothy, charges him to bring Mark with him to Rome, on the ground that he was “ profitable unto him for the ministry ” (2 Timothy 4:11 ). From this point we gain no further information from the New Testament respecting the Evangelist It is most probable, however, that he did join the Apostle at Rome, whither also St Peter would seem to have proceeded, and suffered martyrdom along with St Paul. After the death of these two great Pillars of the Church, Ecclesiastical tradition 1 1 Eusebius, H. E . iii. 16; Hieron. Vir. Illust , ii. 8. affirms that St Mark visited Egypt, founded the church of Alexandria, and died by martyrdom 1 1 According to later legends his body was removed from Alexandria to Venice a.d. 827, which was formally placed under his protection. Hence “the Lion,” the symbol of St Mark, became the standard of the Venetian Republic. .
circumstances of the composition of the gospel
1. When we pass from the Evangelist himself to the Gospel, which he wrote, it is natural to ask four questions. (1) When was it written? (2) Where was it written? (3) For whom was it written? (4) In what language was it written?
2. When? Upon this point nothing absolutely certain can be affirmed, and the Gospel itself affords us no information. The Evangelist is mentioned as a relative of Barnabas, as a “ comfort ” to St Paul, and “ profitable for the ministry .” But nothing is said of any greater distinction. We may conclude, therefore, that his Gospel was not written before a.d. 63 2 2 The most direct testimony on this point is that of Irenæus, who says that it was after the deaths of the Apostles Peter and Paul. . Again we may as certainly conclude that it was not written after the destruction of Jerusalem, for it is not likely that he would have omitted to record so remarkable a fulfilment of our Lord’s predictions. Hence a.d. 63 70 become our limits, but nearer than this we cannot go.
3. Where? As to the place, the weight of testimony is uniformly in favour of the belief that the Gospel was written and published at Rome. In this Clement, Eusebius, Jerome, Epiphanius all agree. Chrysostom indeed asserts that it was published at Alexandria, but his statement receives no confirmation, as otherwise it could not fail to have done, from any Alexandrine writer 3 3 In modern times Storr has conjectured that St Mark wrote at Antioch. But his ground for this, a comparison of Mark 15:11 with Acts 11:10, is not a sufficient basis for the theory. .
4. For whom? The traditional statement is that it was intended primarily for Gentiles, and especially for those of Rome. A review of the Gospel itself confirms this view. For
(i) All reference to the Jewish Law is omitted, and on his own authority the Evangelist makes no quotations from the Old Testament, with the exception of those in the opening verses from Malachi 3:1 , and Isaiah 40:3 1 1 That in Mark 15:28 is by many considered as interpolated. .
(ii) Words are explained which would not be understood by Gentile readers; “ Boanerges ” (3:17); “ Talitha cumi ” (5:41); “ Corban ” (6:11); “ Bartimæus ” (10:46); “ Abba ” (14:36); “ Eloï, Eloï, lama sabachthani ” 2 2 Again, two mites are said to make a farthing (12:42), and Gehenna is explained as unquenchable fire (9:43). (15:34).
(iii) Jewish usages and other points, with which Jews only could be expected to be familiar, are elucidated. Thus we are told that “ the Jews eat not unless they wash their hands oft ” (7:3); that the Mount of Olives “ is over against the Temple ” (13:3); that “ the Passover was killed on the first day of unleavened bread ” (14:12); that “ the preparation was the day before the Sabbath ” (15:42).
(iv) Again, St Mark uses several Latin forms , which do not occur in the other Gospels, as Speculator = “ a soldier of the guard ” (6:27); xestes = sextarius (7:4, 8); quadrantes = a farthing (12:42); satisfacere = to content (15:15, comp. Acts 24:27 ); Centurion (15:39, 44, 45).
5. In what language? As to the language in which it was written, there never has been any reasonable doubt that it was written in Greek 3 3 “For some considerable part of the first three centuries, the Church of Rome, and most, if not all the Churches of the West, were, if we may so speak, Greek religious colonies. Their language was Greek, their writers Greek, their Scriptures Greek; and many vestiges and traditions shew that their ritual, their Liturgy was Greek … All the Christian extant writings which appeared in Rome and in the West are Greek, or were originally Greek; the Epistles of Clement, the Shepherd of Hernias, the Clementine Recognitions and Homilies; the works of Justin Martyr, down to Caius and Hippolytus the author of the Refutation of All Heresies.” Milman’s Latin Christianity , i. p. 34. . The hypothesis of a Latin original rests on no foundation. A portion of a supposed original autograph of the Evangelist is shewn in the library of St Mark’s at Venice, but it is merely part of an ancient MS. of the Four Gospels, another fragment of which exists at Prague, and was formerly preserved at Aquileia. If the Evangelist had written in Latin, it is unaccountable that no ancient writer should have made mention of the fact.
6. On another point the testimony of the early Church is also unanimous, viz. that the Evangelist composed his Gospel under the eye and direction of St Peter. As to this fact the words of John the Presbyter as quoted by Papias 1 1 Eusebius, H. E . iii. 39; Routh, Rell. Sacr . i. 13 ff. are explicit. “Mark,” we read, “having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote accurately all that he remembered 2 2 Or “that he (Peter) mentioned.” The word is ambiguous and may have either of these meanings. See Westcott’s Introd. to the Gospels , p. 180, n. ; but he did not [record] in order that which was either said or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed Him; but afterwards, as I said, [attached himself to] Peter, who used to frame his teaching to meet the wants of his hearers, but not as making a connected narrative of the Lord’s discourses.” Here it is distinctly asserted that St Peter’s teaching was the basis of the second Gospel.
7. Equally definite is the testimony of later writers. Thus Justin Martyr (a.d. 100 120) quotes from the present Gospel under the title of “the Memoirs of Peter 3 3 Dial . c. 106. See Westcott’s Hist. of N. T. Canon , p. 103. .” Irenæus (a.d. 177 202) asserts that “after the decease of these (Peter and Paul), Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, himself also handed down to us in writing the things which were preached by Peter 4 4 Iren. C. Har . iii. 1. 1; comp. Eusebius H. E . v. 8. Elsewhere (iii. 10. 6) Irenæus-calls Mark interpres et sectator Petri . .” Origen (a.d. 185 254) says still more expressly that “Mark made his Gospel as Peter guided him 5 5 See Eusebius, H. E . vi. 25. .” Clement of Alexandria (a.d. 191 202) mentions as a “tradition of the elders of former time” that when Peter had publicly preached the Word in Rome, and declared the Gospel by Inspiration, “those who were present, being many, urged Mark, as one who had followed him from a distant time and remembered what he said, to record what he stated; and that he having made his Gospel, gave it to those who made the request of him 1 1 Clem. Alex. Fragm. Hypotyp . p. 1016, P.; Eusebius H. E . vi. 14. .” Tertullian again (a.d. 190 220) affirms that “the Gospel of Mark is maintained to be Peter’s 2 2 Adv. Marc . iv. 5. ;” while Jerome (a.d. 346 420) tells us that the “Gospel of Mark was composed, Peter relating, and he writing 3 3 “Cujus (Marci) Evangelium Petro narrante et illo scribente compositum est.” Hieron. de Vir. Ill . cviii.; ad Hedib . c. ii. .”
8. With this testimony of the early Church before us we may conclude, not indeed that the narrative, as we have it in the second Gospel, was the Apostle’s, but
( a ) That when the Evangelist, after separation from his master, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, composed his Gospel, he reproduced many of the oral communications of St Peter 4 4 Papias as quoted by Eusebius, H. E . iii. 39. ;
( b ) That to the keen memory of the Apostle, recalling scenes in which he had often borne a prominent part, and of which he was an eye-witness, we owe the graphic colouring, the picturesque touches, the minuteness of detail, which his “interpreter” reverently preserved, and faithfully enshrined in the pages of his Gospel.
9. In conformity with this view we find passages in St Mark where the Apostle is specially mentioned, while he is omitted by the other Evangelists. Thus we are told
(1) It was St Peter who followed after our Lord in the morning after the miracles at Capernaum (Mark 1:36 );
(2) It was he, who drew attention to the rapid withering of the fig-tree (Mark 11:21 );
(3) It was he, who with three others of the Apostles, asked our Lord as He sat on the Mount of Olives respecting the destruction of Jerusalem (Mark 13:3 );
(4) It was to him specially amongst the Apostles, to whom the angel directed that the announcement of the Resurrection should be made (Mark 16:7 ).
10. And, on the other hand, it has been thought that the modesty of the Apostle, anxious to pass over what might specially redound to his own honour, has caused the omission of
( a ) His name as the prompter of the question respecting “meats not defiling a man” (comp. Mark 7:17 with Matthew 15:15 );
( b ) His walking on the sea (comp. Mark 6:50 , Mark 6:51 with Matthew 14:28-31 );
( c ) The miracle of the coin in the fish’s mouth (comp. Mark 9:33 with Matthew 17:24-27 );
( d ) His designation as the Rock, on which the Church should be built (comp. Mark 8:29 , Mark 8:30 with Matthew 16:17-19 );
( e ) His being sent with another Apostle to make ready the Passover (comp. Mark 14:13 with Luke 22:8 );
( f ) The fact that it was for him especially that our Lord prayed that his faith might not “utterly fail” (Luke 22:31 , Luke 22:32 ).
11. As to the genuineness of the Gospel there is the strongest historical evidence in its favour. All ancient testimony makes St Mark the author of a certain Gospel, and that the Gospel, which has come down to us, is his, there is not the least real ground for doubting.
12. One section, however, has given rise to critical difficulties, viz. the concluding portion from 16:9 20. In this section, which is wanting in the Vatican and Sinaitic MSS. 1 1 But it is found in all other Codices of weight, including A, C, D, in the Vet Lat, Vulg., Syrr., Memph., Theb., Gothic Versions, is quoted by Irenæus, and supported by Hippolytus, Chrysostom, Augustine, and Leo the Great. , it has been urged that there is a change of style:
( a ) That everything pictorial, all minute details, all formulas of rapid transition, everything, in fact, which is so characteristic of the Evangelist, suddenly cease;
( b ) That brief notices of occurrences more fully described in other Gospels take the place of the graphic narrative which is so striking a feature of the rest of the Book;
( c ) That no less than twenty-one words and expressions occur, which are never elsewhere used by St Mark.
13. Various reasons have been suggested for the change of style. It has been attributed by some to the death of St Peter, by others to the outbreak of the terrible persecution under Nero, a.d. 64, and the necessity of seeking safety by flight. But at this distance of time it is useless to speculate on the causes of the change, and the two most probable solutions are
Either (i) That the Evangelist, being prevented at the time from closing his narrative as fully as he had intended, himself added “in another land, and under more peaceful circumstances 1 1 See Bp Ellicott’s Lectures on the Gospel History , p. 26, n.; 383, n. ,” the conclusion which we now possess;
Or (ii) That it was added by some other hand , shortly if not immediately afterwards, but at any rate before the publication of the Gospel itself.
characteristics of the gospel
1. From the time and place of its composition we now pass on to the general characteristics of the Gospel.
2. One peculiarity strikes us the moment we open it, the absence of any genealogy of our Lord. This is the key to much that follows. It is not the design of the Evangelist to present our Lord to us, like St Matthew, as the Messiah, “ the Son of David and Abraham ” (1:1), or, like St Luke, as the universal Redeemer, “ the Son of Adam, which was the son of God ” (3:38).
3. His design is to present Him to us as the incarnate and wonder-working Son of God, living and acting amongst men , to portray Him in the fulness of His living energy 2 2 Westcott’s Introduction , p. 361. .
4. The limits indeed and general character of the Work are nowhere more strikingly described than in the words of the Evangelist’s own great teacher in Acts 10:36-42 , when he addressed himself to Cornelius. Commencing with the Baptism of John and his announcement of the coming of One Mightier than himself (Acts 10:37 ; Mark 1:7 ), he tells us how, at His Baptism, “ God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power ” (Acts 10:38 ), and how after His temptation He “ went about doing good ,” proving Himself Lord over man and nature, and “ healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him ” (Acts 10:38 ).
5. While doing this, the Evangelist does not merely chronicle each incident, but “surrounds them with all the circumstances that made them impressive to the bystanders 1 1 Kitto’s Biblical Cyclopædia , iii. p. 71, 3rd Edition. ,” and constrains us to feel how deep that impression was. Thus we notice
( a ) In 1:22, 27, 2:12, 6:2, how words and actions of our Lord called forth awe and wonder from the crowds that beheld them;
( b ) In 4:41, 6:51, 10:24, 26, 32, how the same feelings were evoked in the disciples;
( c ) In 3:10, 5:21, 31, 6:33, 8, how the multitudes thronged and pressed upon Him so that there was scarce room to stand or sit (2:2, 3:32, 4:1), or leisure even to eat (3:20, 4:31);
( d ) In 6:56, how the diseased were brought to Him in numbers, and whithersoever He entered, into villages, or cities, or country, they laid the sick in the streets, and besought Him that they might touch, if it were but the border of His garment; and as many as touched Him were made Perfectly whole; comp. 1:33, 34, 3:10.
( e ) In 1:23 26, 3:11, how the unclean spirits no sooner saw Him than they fell down before Him crying with a loud voice, Thou art the Son of God .
6. But while the Evangelist thus brings out the divine power of Him, Who was the “Lion of the tribe of Judah,” he also invites our attention in an especial manner to His human nature . Thus he tells us how our Lord
( a ) Could grieve (7:34, 8:12), could love (10:21), could feel pity (6:34), could wonder (6:6), could be moved with righteous anger and indignation (3:5, 8:12, 33, 10:14);
( b ) Could be sensible of human infirmities, could hunger (11:12), could desire rest (6:31), could sleep (4:38).
7. Again, it is St Mark, who alone describes, on several occasions, the very position, the very gesture, the very words of his Divine Master:
(i) Thus we are bidden to notice
( a ) How He looked round with comprehensive gaze upon His hearers (3:5, 34), upon the woman with the issue of blood (5:32), upon His disciples (10:23), upon the scene of noisy buying and selling in the Temple (11:11);
( b ) How He took little children into His arms, laid His hands upon them and blessed them (9:36, 10:16); how He turned round in holy anger to rebuke St Peter (8:33); how He went before His Apostles on the way towards Jerusalem (10:32); how He sat down and called the Twelve to Him to instruct them in a lesson of humility (9:35);
(ii) Again we seem to hear ( a ) the very Aramaic words that fell from His lips, “ Boanerges ” (3:17); “ Talitha cumi ” (5:41); “ Corban ” (7:11); “ Ephphatha ” (7:34); “ Abba ” (14:36); and ( b ) the sighs which the sight of human misery drew forth from His compassionate breast (7:34, 8:12).
8. In keeping with this trait, St Mark is careful to record minute particulars of person, number, time, and place , which are unnoticed by the other Evangelists 1 1 For St Mark’s use of diminutives, see note 5:23. :
( a ) Person: 1:29, “They entered into the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John; ” 1:36, “ Simon and they that were with Him followed after Him;” 3:6, “the Pharisees took counsel with the Herodians; ” 3:22, “the Scribes which came down from Jerusalem said;” 11:11, “He went out unto Bethany with the Twelve; ” 11:21, “ Peter calling to remembrance , saith unto him;” 13:3, “ Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately;” 14:65, “ the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands;” 15:21, “Simon, a Cyrenian … the father of Alexander and Rufus; ” 16:7, “Go your way, tell his disciples and Peter .”
( b ) Number: 5:13, “they were about two thousand; ” 6:7, “He began to send them forth, two and two; ” 6:40, “they sat down in ranks, by hundreds and by fifties; ” 14:30, “before the cock crow twice , thou shalt deny me thrice .”
( c ) Time: 1:35, “in the morning … a great while before day; ” 2:1, “after some days; ” 4:35, “the same day, when the even was come; ” 6:2, “when the sabbath day was come; ” 11:11, “and now the eventide was come; ” 11:19, “when even was come; ” 15:25, “and it was the third hour; ” 16:2, “ very early in the mornings the first day of the week .”
( d ) Place: 2:13, “He went forth again by the sea side; ” 3:7, “Jesus withdrew Himself to the sea; ” 4:1, “He began again to teach by the sea side; ” 5:20, “He began to publish in Decapolis; ” 7:31, “through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis; ” 12:41, “and Jesus sat over against the treasury; ” 13:3, “He sat upon the Mount of Olives, over against the temple; 14:68, “and he went out into the porch; ” 15:39, “and when the centurion, which stood over against him; ” 16:5, “they saw a young man sitting on the right side .”
9. This minuteness and particularity of observation are reflected in the language and style of the Evangelist:
(1) His phrases of transition are terse and lively: e. g. “ And straightway ” occurs about 27 times in his Gospel.
(2) He frequently prefers the present to the historic tense: 1:40, “there cometh a leper to him;” 1:44, “and saith unto him;” 2:3, “they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy;” 2:10, “He saith to the sick of the palsy;” 2:17, “When Jesus heard it, He saith unto them;” 11:1, “And when they came nigh to Jerusalem.… He sendeth forth two of His disciples;” 14:43, “immediately, while He yet spake, cometh Judas;” 14:66, “there cometh one of the maids of the high priest.”
(3) He often uses a direct instead of an indirect form of expression; 4:39, “He said unto the sea, Peace, be still; ” 5:8, “He said, Come out of the man , thou unclean spirit;” 5:9, “He asked him, What is thy name? ” 5:12, “the devils besought Him saying, Send us into the swine;” 6:23, “he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee; ” 6:31, “He said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart; ” 9:25, “He rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee; ” 12:6, “He sent him, saying, They will reverence my son .”
(4) For the sake of emphasis he repeats what he has said , and couples together words or phrases of similar import to heighten and define his meaning; 1:13,” He was there, in the wilderness; ” 1:45, “but he went out and began to publish it much , and to blaze abroad the matter;” 3:26, “he cannot stand , but hath an end; ” 4:8, “that sprang up and increased; and brought forth; ” 4:33, 34, “and with many such parables spake He unto them … but without a parable spake He not unto them;” 5:23, “that she may be healed , and she shall live; ” 6:25, “and she came in straightway with haste; ” 7:21, “ from within, out of the heart of men;” 8:15, “ the leaven of the Pharisees, and the leaven of Herod;” 14:68, “ I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest.”
10. To sum up. “In substance and style and treatment,” it has been well said, “the Gospel of St Mark is essentially a transcript from life. The course and issue of facts are imaged in it with the clearest outline. If all other arguments against the mythic origin of the Evangelic narratives were wanting, this vivid and simple record, stamped with the most distinct impress of independence and originality, totally unconnected with the symbolism of the Old Dispensation, totally independent of the deeper reasonings of the New, would be sufficient to refute a theory subversive of all faith in history. The details which were originally addressed to the vigorous intelligence of Roman hearers are still pregnant with instruction for us. The teaching, which ‘met their wants’ in the first age, finds a corresponding field for its action now 1 1 Westcott’s Introduction , p. 367. .”
analysis of the gospel
The following Analysis will give a general idea of the construction of St Mark’s Gospel:
I. The Preparation: 1:1 13.
( α ) The Baptism and Preaching of John 1:1-8 .
( β ) The Baptism of Jesus 1:9 11.
( γ ) The Temptation 1:12 13.
Observe in this Section (i) the conciseness of the Introduction; (ii) the absence of any genealogy of our Lord; (iii) the first use of St Mark’s favourite formula of transition , “ And straightway; ” (iv) the graphic touch that our Lord was “with the wild beasts .”
II. The Works of Christ in Eastern Galilee: 1:14 7:23.
( A ) Section (i)
( α ) Announcement of the Kingdom 1:14, 15.
( β ) Call of the first Disciples 1:16 20.
( γ ) Cure of the demoniac at Capernaum 1:21 28.
( δ ) Cure of Peter’s wife’s mother and others 1:29 34.
Retirement to a solitary place 1:35.
( ε ) Tour in Galilee 1:35 39.
( ζ ) Cleansing of a leper 1:40 45.
Retirement to desert places 1:45.
( η ) Commencement of the conflict with the ruling powers:
(1) The cure of the Paralytic 2:1 12.
(2) Call of St Matthew 2:13-22
(3) The disciples pluck the ears of corn 2:23 28
(4) Cure of the man with the withered hand 3:1 6.
Retirement to the Lake 3:7 12.
Observe in this Section (i) how each victory of the Redeemer is followed by a withdrawal which serves as a preparation for fresh progress; (ii) the causes of the opposition of the Pharisaic party , (a) assumption by our Lord of power to forgive sins (2:6, 7), (b) eating with publicans and sinners and neglect of law of fasting (2:16 22); (c) alleged infraction of Sabbatical rules (2:23 28).
(B) Section (ii)
( α ) Call of the Apostles 3:13 19.
( β ) Opposition of the Scribes from Jerusalem 3:20 30.
( γ ) The true kindred 3:31 35.
( δ ) Parables of the Kingdom:
(1) The Sower 4:1 9.
(2) Explanation of the Parable 4:10 25.
(3) The Seed growing secretly 4:26 29.
(4) The Mustard Seed 4:30 34.
( ε ) Signs of the Kingdom:
(1) The stilling of the storm 4:35 41.
(2) The Gadarene demoniac 5:1 20.
(3) The woman with the issue 5:25 34.
(4) The daughter of Jairus 5:21 43.
( ζ ) Rejection at Nazareth 6:1 6.
Retirement into the villages 6:6.
Observe in this Section (i) the foundation of the Church by the election of the Apostles; (ii) the deepening of the conflict with the Pharisees; (iii) the issue of the opposition in unbelief .
(C) Section (iii)
( α ) Mission of the Apostles 6:7 13.
( β ) The murder of the Baptist 6:14 29.
Retirement to a desert place 6:31, 32.
( γ ) The feeding of the Five Thousand 6:33 44.
( δ ) The walking on the sea 6:45 52.
( ε ) Victories over disease in all its forms 6:53 56.
( ζ ) Renewed opposition of the Pharisaic party 7:1 23.
Retirement to the borders of Tyre and Sidon 7:24.
Observe in this Section (i) the definite step taken in the mission of the Twelve; (ii) the effects of the murder of the Baptist; (iii) the significance of the feeding of the Five Thousand at the Season of the Passover .
III. The Works of Christ In Northern Galilee: 7:24 9:37.
(A) Section (i)
( α ) Healing of the daughter of the Syrophœnician 7:24 30.
( β ) Gradual healing of the deaf and dumb 7:31 37.
( γ ) Feeding of the Four Thousand 8:1 10.
( δ ) The Pharisees ask for a sign 8:11 13.
( ε ) Warnings against the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod 8:14 21.
( ζ ) Gradual cure of the blind man 8:22 26.
Retirement to the neighbourhood of Cæsarea Philippi 8:27.
Observe in this Section (i) the renewed opposition of the Pharisaic party; (ii) the request for a sign; (iii) the hope opened up for the Gentiles in the cure of the daughter of the Syrophænician; (iv) the use of external means and the gradual nature of the miracles of this period .
(B) Section (ii)
( α ) The solemn question, and confession of St Peter 8:27 33.
( β ) The First Clear Prediction of the Passion 8:34 9:1.
Retirement to the mountain range of Hermon 9:2.
( γ ) The Transfiguration 9:2 13.
( δ ) The lunatic child 9:14 27.
( ε ) The secret source of strength 9:28, 29.
( ζ ) Second Prediction of the Passion 9:31, 32.
( η ) The Apostles taught ( a ) humility, and ( b ) self-denial 9:33 50.
Observe in this Section (i) the importance of the crisis in the Saviour’s ministry; (ii) the solemnity of the question addressed to the Apostles; (iii) the significance of the Transfiguration; (iv) the fulness of the material imagery employed by St Mark in describing it; (v) the commencement of the open announcements of the Passion .
IV. The Works of Christ in Peræa: 10:1 31.
( α ) The question of marriage and divorce 10:1 12.
( β ) The blessing of little children 10:13 16.
( γ ) The rich young ruler 10:17 22.
( δ ) The danger of riches 10:23 27.
( ε ) The reward of self-sacrifice 10:28 31.
Observe in this Section (i) the conflict with the hierarchy even in Peræa; (ii) the fewness of the recorded miracles after the Transfiguration .
V. The Last Journey to Jerusalem and the Passion: 10:32 15:47
(A) Section (i)
( α ) Third Prediction of the Passion 10:32 34.
( β ) The ambitious Apostles 10:35 45.
( γ ) Blind Bartimæus 10:46 52.
( δ ) The anointing at Bethany 14:1 10.
Observe in this Section (i) how utterly unable the Apostles were to comprehend the idea of a suffering Messiah; (ii) how St Mark, like St Matthew, places the anointing at Bethany out of its true order .
(B) Section (ii)
The Events of Holy Week:
( α ) Palm Sunday
( a ) The Triumphal Entry 11:1 11.
( b ) Retirement to Bethany 11:11.
( β ) Monday
( a ) The withering of the barren fig-tree 11:12 14.
( b ) The second cleansing of the Temple 11:15 18.
( c ) Retirement to Bethany 11:19.
( γ ) Tuesday
( a ) The lesson of the withered fig-tree 11:20 26.
( b ) The question of the deputation of the Sanhedrim and the counter question 11:27 33.
( c ) The Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen 12:1 12.
( d ) The subtle questions
(1) Of the Pharisees; the tribute-money 12:13 17.
(2) Of the Sadducees; the resurrection 12:18 27.
(3) Of the Lawyer; the importance of the Commandments 12:28 34.
( e ) The Lord’s counter-question 12:35 44.
( f ) Prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world 13:1 37..
Observe in this Section (i) the profound impression at first produced by the Triumphal Entry; (ii) the difference between the first and the second cleansing of the Temple; (iii) the deepening of the bitter hostility of the hierarchy towards our Lord; (iv) His sublime composure amidst the conflict; (v) His unconquered and unconquerable conviction of His final triumph .
(C) Section (iii)
The Events of Holy Week continued:
( α ) Wednesday
Seclusion at Bethany.
Compact of the Traitor 14:1, 2.
( β ) Thursday
( a ) Directions respecting the Passover 14:12 16.
( b ) Institution of the Holy Eucharist 14:17 26.
( c ) Protestations of St Peter 14:27 31.
( d ) The Agony in Gethsemane 14:32 42.
( e ) The Apprehension 14:43 50.
( f ) The Incident of the Young Man 14:51, 52.
( γ ) Friday
( a ) The Jewish trial 14:53 65.
( b ) The denials by St Peter 14:66 72.
( c ) The trial before Pilate 15:1 15.
( d ) The Crucifixion 15:16 32.
( e ) The Death 15:33 41.
( f ) The Burial 15:42 47.
Observe in this Section (i) the extreme minuteness of the instructions respecting the Last Supper; (ii) the expansion of the narrative into the fulness of a diary as we approach the Passion; (iii) the incident of the young man in the Garden recorded only by St Mark .
VI. Christ’s victory over the Grave, and Ascension into Heaven: 16:1 20.
( α ) Easter Eve
The rest of Christ in the Tomb 16:1.
( β ) Easter Day
(1) The visit of the Holy Women 16:1 3.
(2) The Resurrection 16:4 8.
( γ ) The appearances after the Resurrection to
(1) Mary Magdalene 16:9 11.
(2). Two disciples 16:12, 13.
(3). The Eleven 16:14.
( δ ) The last charge and the Ascension 16:15 19.
( ε ) The Session at the right Hand of God 16:19, 20.
Observe in this Section (i) How long the disciples hesitated before they would accept the fact of the Resurrection; (ii) how minute and distinct are the promises in the last charge of miraculous power; (iii) how the Ascension seems to form with St Mark the last of the many withdrawals of the Lord, which had alternated with so many victories; (iv) how the growth of the Church is traced to the continued operation of her Ascended Lord .
The Miracles of our Lord recorded by St Mark may be arranged as displaying His victorious power over
(i) Nature .
( α ) The Stilling of the Storm (4:35 41).
( β ) The Feeding of the Five Thousand (6:30 44).
( γ ) The Walking on the Lake (6:45 52).
( δ ) The Feeding of the Four Thousand (8:1 9).
( ε ) The Withering of the Fig-Tree (11:12 14).
(ii) The Spirit-world .
( α ) he demon cast out in the Synagogue (1:23 28).
( β ) The Legion (5:1 20).
( γ ) The daughter of the Syrophœnician woman (7:24 30)..
( δ ) The lunatic boy (9:17 29).
(iii) Disease .
( α ) Simon’s wife’s mother (1:30, 31).
( β ) The Leper (1:40 45).
( γ ) The Paralytic (2:3 12).
( δ ) The Cure of the Man with the withered hand (3:1 5).
( ε ) The woman with the issue of blood (5:25 34).
( ζ ) ** ** Miracles recorded only by St Mark . The deaf and dumb man (7:31 37).
( η ) ** ** Miracles recorded only by St Mark . The blind man at Bothsaida (8:22 26).
( θ ) Bartimæus (10:46 52).
(iv) Death .
The daughter of Jairus (5:21 43).
The Parables recorded by St Mark.
(i) Parables of the Early Group, from the commencement of the Ministry to the Mission of the Seventy :
( α ) The Sower (4:3 8).
( β ) ** ** Parable recorded only by St Mark . The Seed growing secretly (4:26 29).
( γ ) The Mustard-Seed (4:30 32).
(ii) Parables of the Intermediate Group, from the Mission of the Seventy to the last journey towards Jerusalem: None.
(iii) Parables of the Final Group, immediately before and after the Entry into Jerusalem:
The Wicked Husbandmen (12:1 11).
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28