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The Lord’s Conflicts and Victories in Peræa. Transition from the Old Church to the New. The Disciples gathered together for the Passion
CARNAL MARRIAGE LEGISLATION OF THE PHARISEES, AND THE SPIRITUAL MARRIAGE LEGISLATION OF THE LORD
(Parallel: Matthew 19:1-12.)
1And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judea, by [through]1 the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again. 2And the Pharisees came to him,2 and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. 3And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? 4And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. 5And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept:3 6But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8And they twain shall be one flesh:4 so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 10And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11And he saith unto them,5 Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
See the notes on the parallel in Matthew , 19—Christ’s abode in Peræa embraces three occurrences: the treatment of the subject of divorce, the bringing of the little children to Jesus, and the rich young man. These transactions all belong, doubtless, to the second abode of Christ in Peræa. We must, according to the connection of the evangelical narratives, assume two residences in Peræa; for we know that Jesus, after the Feast of Tabernacles in the year of persecution 782, returning into Galilee, assembled His disciples there; that with them He journeyed through the boundaries of Galilee and Samaria to Peræa (see Luke 9:51-52; Luke 17:11-19; comp. Leben Jesu, ii. 2, 1058), appeared then in Jerusalem at the Feast of the dedication, and afterwards returned back to Peræa, John 10:42. That the circumstances related by the Evangelists Matthew and Mark belong to the close of the second abode in Peræa, is manifest from the intimation that the rich young man came to Him as He was on the point of journeying; and the same applies to Matthew’s account of the mothers bringing their children. But with this last transaction that concerning divorce was closely connected.—Concerning Peræa, see the Critical Notes on Matthew, as also concerning the double residence in Peræa, and the significance of the Peræan narrative in relation to the founding and preparation of the new congregation, the Christian Church.—Christian ecclesiastical regulations begin with regulations for the house: with the Christian legislation, 1. for marriage; 2. for children; 3. for property.
As to the relation of Mark to the Synoptists in the Peræan sections, he and Matthew alone record the matter concerning divorce. Mark states more precisely than Matthew that Jesus penetrated through Peræa to the borders of the land, Mark 10:1. In Matthew, on the other hand, there is a more definite account given of the first journey of Jesus to Peræa, accompanied by a great train. Matthew says that great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there. Mark says that the people resorted to Him again (πάλιν, again in Peræa), and that, as He was wont, He taught them again. In the Lord’s answer to the tempting question concerning divorce, Mark places first the reference to the Mosaic law of marriage, and brings in the paradisaical law afterwards: Matthew inverts that order. But it is in harmony with the character of Mark, that he introduces all by the piercing word of decision. The rebuke of the Pharisees is, moreover, made more keen by the fact that he assigns the saying concerning the Christian marriage law (Mark 10:10-12, compare Matthew Mark 10:9, Mark 5:32) to the house in which Jesus continued His discourse with the disciples on this question. Here also, as often elsewhere, Mark shows that the Lord, after His intercourse with the people, retreated to the house, that is, the inn, where He had been received, for the sake of confidentially continuing His words to the disciples. These are the lesser images of the Lord’s greater retreats.—The words that follow were not for the Pharisees. Mark gives the addition, “If a woman shall put away her husband;” but then he omits the conversation between the disciples and the Lord concerning the difficulty of true marriage, “If the case of the man,” etc. (Matthew 19:10-12). In the section about the children (which Luke also has), Mark alone makes it prominent that Jesus was displeased with the disciples. He records, in common with Luke, the saying about not receiving the kingdom of God as a little child. That Jesus here again took the children in His arms and embraced them, as He had done the child in Capernaum, Mark alone mentions. He also makes it more distinctly prominent than Mathew does, Mark 10:15, that the rich young man came to the Lord on the occasion of His leaving Peræa. Luke alone tells us that the young man was a ruler, probably a ruler of the synagogue. But Mark alone records that, after the declaration “All these have I kept from my youth up,” Jesus looked upon him and loved him; as he also later inserts the Lord’s approbation of the questioning scribe, Mark 12:28 seq. To him also we owe the striking and vivid trait, that the rich young man put on a gloomy and fallen countenance (στυγνάσας) after the Lord’s answer. The amazement of the disciples at the word, “How hardly shall the rich,” etc., Mark exhibits as continued and increased, even after the Lord’s explanation, “How hard is it for them that trust in riches.” In the transaction that followed, between Peter and the Lord, Mark is more express than Luke in recording that Peter only began in his confusion to inquire about the reward, and that he did not give full expression to his words. He omits the clause, “What shall we have therefore?” which Matthew inserts. It is very remarkable that Mark omits here again the saying of Jesus concerning the twelve thrones of the Apostles (Matt. Mark 10:28), even as he had omitted the special prerogatives of Peter. It is obvious to suggest on this point, that the saying about “judging the twelve tribes of Israel” was not so easily intelligible to Gentile Christians (although Luke also has it, Luke 22:30). On the other hand, Mark gives the broad and comprehensive promise of the Lord to the disciples who renounce all, and in the most full detail: Mark 10:30, there is the hundred-fold compensation, houses, and brethren, etc., already in the present life, although amidst persecutions.
Mark 10:1. And He arose from thence.—In the wider sense, from Galilee; in the narrower sense, from Capernaum, where He gathered together His disciples.—By the farther side of Jordan.—That Jesus did not merely come to Persia, but travelled through Peræa to the borders of Judæa, that is, to the most eastern limits of Peræa, is plain even from the words of Matthew; but is still more plainly declared in the expression here used by Mark. For the whole of Peræa could hardly be described as the borders of Judæa in the wider sense. A whole province of a land can never be merely regarded as its border. On the immediate occasion of this journey to Peræa, see on Matthew, Critical Notes.—Again.—The repeated πάλιν seems to have been employed in consequence of the distinct remembrance of a double abode of Jesus in Peræa. At any rate, the events that follow belong to the second residence.
Mark 10:2. Asked Him.—Meyer: “Mark omits, what Matthew gives, the properly tempting element in the question, κατὰ πᾶσαν αἰτίαν.” But, according to the explanation of Ewald (see Critical Notes on Matthew), the question was a critical and tempting one, even without that addition, because it was dangerous in the territory of Herod Antipas to say anything against divorce. De Wette supposes that the Pharisees may have been aware of the Saviour’s earlier declaration concerning divorce. That may be true; in any case they might very well guess that, on this question, His utterance would perfectly coincide with that of the Baptist. Either, thought they, He must in His answer touch Herod too closely, or the Baptist; that is, He must fall under the condemnation either of worldly power, or of the pious.
Mark 10:3. What did Moses command you?—The order of the main points is not the same in Mark as in Matthew. Matthew comes down from the paradisaical institute to the Mosaic; Mark, on the contrary, rises from the latter to the former, and moreover makes Jesus Himself put the question concerning the law of Moses, and the tempter give the reply. This seems to have been the natural order. Elsewhere we have it as the first counter-question of Jesus: What is written in the law? (See Mark 10:19, and Luke 10:26.)
Mark 10:4. Moses suffered to write (see Deuteronomy 24:1).—In Matthew we read, Why then did Moses command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? and the answer of Jesus: Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives. And in Mark’s account of the Pharisees’ words, they give, as in Matthew, a distorted view of the Mosaic law. Moses had suffered to divorce, and restrictingly commanded that a letter of divorce be given in addition. In Matthew, it is true, the opposition between the design of the Pharisees and the mind of Moses is made more expressly prominent. But in Mark, the opposition is found in the emphatic statement, that Moses wrote this commandment on account of the hardness of their hearts; that is, not in order to divorce, but, with the divorce, to give a bill of divorce therewith. The two accounts, in fact, are, as to their results, one and the same. The bill of divorce found divorce existing; it was intended to limit and restrain it, and make it more moral. The man who put away his wife, required the services of a learned scribe in order to construct the bill of divorce; it was necessary that he should give the grounds of the separation, and the ordinance of the lawgiver required those grounds never to be light or trivial. Moreover, there were two cases in which the marriage was indissoluble,—viz., when a man dishonored a virgin, and when he slanderously denied the virginity of his young wife (Deuteronomy 22:19; Deuteronomy 22:29). In Mark, also, more weight is attached to the other point of opposition which our Lord brings out: His appealing to the paradisaical ordinance. We must also notice the expression, wrote this precept. It refers to a written, restricting law for hardness of heart, in contradistinction to the everlasting and original commandments of paradise: hence the written word is to be interpreted in harmony with these last.
Mark 10:7. For this cause shall a man.—The words of Adam (Genesis 2:24) are in Matthew words of God; in Mark, words of Christ. It is all the same; for Adam uttered those words prophetically as a paradisaical, divine, fundamental ordinance. They are words of God, as being eternally valid; and words of Christ, as rules for life to be reëstablished and sanctified. The Futures indicate the necessary realization of the original relation and condition of the sexes in marriage. As it is in reality and principle, it must be in development. See Critical Notes on Matthew.
Mark 10:10. And in the house His disciples asked Him.—Here, as often elsewhere, our Lord, according to Mark’s account, retreated, after a public transaction with the people, into the house, where He followed up His public teaching by more confidential instruction. Meyer: “The two Evangelists here differ, as it respects the place, the persons to whom our Lord speaks, and the substance of what He says.” He then gives the account of Matthew the preference. But the thought of Mark 10:11 is already found in the words of Mark 10:9 : What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Divorce was by that word forbidden. It is an error to speak of any difference here; all we can say is, that Mark gave a more specific account. And this is strictly in harmony with the circumstances of the case; it was fit that Christ should give His fullest utterance concerning the New Testament law of marriage within the more confidential circle of His disciples.
Mark 10:11. Committeth adultery.—The marriage contracted with the one is adultery towards the other. Meyer supposes that ἐπ ̓ αὐτήν must mean, “in reference to her,” that is, the forsaken woman. But, literally, ἐπ ̓ αὐτήν refers back to the last mentioned. The great point is, that the adultery against the first woman is consummated by marriage with the second, and thus the second marriage is made into adultery. “The μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ (Matthew) is omitted by Mark. But it makes no difference, as this reason for divorce is self-understood.” (Meyer.)
Mark 10:12. And if a woman.—Meyer denies the genuineness of this added clause. Among the Greeks and Romans it certainly was customary for the woman to be the abandoned party; but not among the Jews, since the examples they furnish—Michal (1 Samuel 25:44), Herodias (Matthew 14:4), Salome (Joseph. Antiq. 15, 7, 10)—were preëminent enormities. But he overlooks the fact, that Jesus, according to Mark, here gives His disciples a confidential decree for His new Church, and appoints a new custom which, as did the primitive paradisaical ordinance, goes far beyond the good and ill customs of the Greeks and Romans. It is to be observed that the Herodians introduced amongst the Jewish people laxer customs as it respects woman.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. See on Matthew.
2. For the hardness of your heart.—This word is in sharp contrast with the sentimental excuses made for breaches of the marriage-vow—such as rest upon the softness of the heart, the overpowering emotions of love, etc.
3. And in the house.—Confidential household words of Jesus to His disciples, according to Mark: concerning the power of casting out demons, Mark 9:28; the great in the kingdom of heaven, Mark 9:33; and here concerning New Testament marriage. In other passages it is solitude generally, or solitude on a mountain, in which Jesus imparts to His disciples the confidential utterances that belong to the future of His new Church, Mark 4:10, etc. On the other hand, the house of Jesus is often the centre of great assemblages of the people, Mark 2:1; Mark 3:20; even the house which Jesus chose for His rest and retirement cannot continue hidden, Mark 7:24. In the most important crises of His conflict, Jesus turns from official encounters with His opponents to a free exposition of His doctrine to the whole people. So in Mark 7:14; Mark 12:36 seq. Thus the house of the Redeemer is, on the one hand, the most private, and on the other, the most public, place; always, however, in its most hidden privacy opened and known. And as the Lord, in His method of teaching, passes over from the general announcement of the word into confidential communications to His chosen disciples, so also we perceive that He passes over from dealing with the priests and the officials to a freer application of His words to all the people. In the former case He regulates His teaching according to their being able to hear His words; in the latter, according to their being willing. The doctrine of Christ is the most secret and the most public: the great and utterable mystery.
4. Not only does monogamy generally lie at the foundation of this passage, but also the idea of the true ideal monogamy, which is constituted not so much by the union of two human “exemplars” as rather by the blending of two human personalities (ἅρσεν καὶ θῆλυ), which are to each other similar to what (we do not say the same that) Adam and Eve were created to be to each other.
5. 1 Corinthians 7:0 : The Pauline development of the Christian marriage-law with reference to mixed marriages.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
See on Matthew.—Jesus pressed on all sides to the limits of His land; or, Jesus within the limitations of His earthly vocation: 1. Sacredly observing the legal restrictions; 2. extending to them, touching them; 3. going beyond them in His spiritual life and work (endlessly towards north, east, south, west).—The Lord in Peræa provides beforehand for His Church: 1. He confirms and establishes that which is the fundamental condition of its establishment (the Christian household); 2. in this place He prepares a refuge and hiding-place for the future of His persecuted people.—Peræa the last refuge of the Redeemer; the first refuge of His Church.—The pilgrimages of Christians to Christ: 1. As they spring from impulse of heart, not human traditions; 2. the life of the Spirit, and not spiritual chains; 3. movements towards the true rest, and the true rest in movement (that is, on the one hand, not the running without an object, and, on the other hand, not frigid form).—How the Lord for ever refers the tempters to the word of God:—How He glorifies Moses: 1. As an expositor of the creation; 2. as a prophet of redemption.—How Christ confirms the unison between the old and the new covenants.—Moses wrote his law for sinners; or, the finite side of the written law of God in its changeableness, explained by the finite nature of the fallen child of God.—God, even in the external changeableness of His revelations, confirms His own unchangeable character.—The dignity of marriage measured by the dignity of filial piety (of the relation to father and mother).—In order to true marriage according to the mind of Christ, more than a man and a woman is wanting.—From the right of the husband follows necessarily the right of the wife; as from the obligation of the one follows the obligation of the other.—Concerning the contrast and the reconciliation between the laws of the State and the eternal, fundamental laws of the Church of Christ.—The reciprocal influence of the punishment of death and the divorce appointed in the Jewish law: 1. Ecclesiastically: an actual adultery is spiritual death, and death as to moral fellowship; 2. an inexorable prohibition of all divorce, on civil or ecclesiastical grounds, leads to death in many ways, even to the death of the higher moral family life (see the South American and other Catholic states); 3. the reference to spiritual death in adulterous sin must remove and heal the deadly influences of both lax and over-severe marriage ordinances.
The three sections together.—The Christian household 1. in relation to marriage, 2. the children, 3. the property, 4. the vocation of the members to walk according to God’s will, and to deny themselves.
Starke:—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—Envy is soon found in the track of a teacher who has a large body of dependants.—Quesnel:—A true preacher is not soon weary.—Every age has its Pharisees, whom the devil often uses for the temptation of pastors, and whom God permits to test His people.—Osiander:—We must take care what answers we make when questions are put to us on doubtful matters; for many ask questions, not that they may learn, but that they may have something to blaspheme or except against.—Quesnel:—The bond of marriage is a figure of the union of Christ with His bride, the Church; which He will never renounce, even as she will never be separated from Christ, Ephesians 5:32.
Schleiermacher:—And thus we have here an example of the manner in which the Lord administered discipline in relation to the high and mighty ones of the earth. He was not moved by the fact that Herod was an example of the sin; nor did He present the matter in the slightest degree otherwise than it was, because a person was affected in whose land and in whose power He Himself then stood.—It was of the essence of the old covenant, if we go back to the legislation and lawgiver of the Jewish Church, that the divine law and the civil law were one and the same. The civil and political ordinances must be regulated by the condition of men at the time.—The civil law in relation to the actions of men, and the divine law, which utters the laws of conscience (in Christendom), distinguished.—The levity and impure motives which too often enter into marriage contracts.—Therefore we should regard it as a public evil, that such marriages are often contracted as should never be contracted.—Marriages are matters of public concernment.
Brieger:—Man must take his right place in the sight of God before he can take his right place in respect to his fellow-men, whether as husband, father, etc.—Gossner:—Alas! when we look round upon the condition of Christendom, and observe all the laws, usages, and customs which prevail, touching how many things must we say, In the beginning it was not so!—Bauer:—We may here again see how surely the man who stands firm to God’s word shall escape the most cunning snares that his most cunning enemies may lay for him.
Mark 10:1; Mark 10:1.—The reading of Cod. A. (διὰ τοῦ πέραν &c.) must not be given up, with Lachmann and Tischendorf (who read καὶ πέραν), on account of B., C.*, L.
Mark 10:2; Mark 10:2.—Elzevir reads οὶ Φαρισαῖοι; but the article is not supported.
Mark 10:6; Mark 10:6.—The ὁ Θεός is wanting in B., C., L., Δ., &c., and omitted by Tischendorf [and Meyer, and bracketed by Lachmann].
Mark 10:10; Mark 10:10.—Περὶ τούτου. Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer, following A., B., C.
Mark 10:12; Mark 10:12.—Lachmann and Tischendorf read γαμήσῃ ἄλλον instead of γαμηθῇ ᾶλλῳ, following B., C., D., L., Δ.
THE RABBINICAL (BAPTIST) HOUSEHOLD DISCIPLINE OF THE DISCIPLES; AND THE THEOCRATIC AND NEW TESTAMENT HOUSEHOLD DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD
(Parallels: Matthew 19:13-15; Luke 18:15-17.)
13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them; and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. 14But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and6 forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. 15Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. 16And he took them up in his arms, and put his hands upon them, and blessed7 them.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
See on the parallels of Matthew and Luke.
Mark 10:13. That He should touch them.—The modest form of request, as in Luke; not necessarily the expression of a superstitious notion of magical influence resulting from it. Matthew tells us that imposition of hands was what was meant.
Mark 10:14. He was displeased.—This feature is peculiar to Mark. Displeasure against displeasure: the displeasure of the Master against the displeasure of the disciples; or, indeed, the displeasure of the Church, which believes in the blessing of children in Abraham and in Christ, against Separatism.
Mark 10:15. Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God.—The same rebuking sentence in Luke: comp. Matthew 18:3. A man must first have received the kingdom of God into his heart if he would gain admission into the kingdom of God. See Matthew 5:3; Matthew 5:10; John 3:3.—The kingdom of God, which a man may receive, is Christ as the personal kingdom of God, with His salvation in His word (hence Theophylact is right, in a certain qualified sense, when he explains it of the preaching of the Gospel); the kingdom of God, into which a man is received, is the heavenly society and Church of Christ’s kingdom. The kingdom, as a principle in the heart, is unfolded and developed into the fellowship of the kingdom of Christ’s manifestation.—As a little child.—In that spiritual condition which the child, in unconscious symbolism, represents by its disposition. And yet the Lord welcomes the little children not as mere figures of the poor in spirit and of simple believers. The symbol is inseparably connected with the reality: the child and the believer are one. In the childlikeness there is present the typical precondition of faith; that is, a germ of susceptibility which the word of God will fructify.
Mark 10:16. He took them up in his arms.—Abundant answer to the prayers of pious mothers. He was expected only to touch them; He took them up in His arms, laid His hands upon them, and blessed them. Moreover, He made them a type to the disciples and adults.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. See on the parallel passages of Matthew and Luke, as also the previous notes.
2. The blessings which Christ has brought into the world of little children. Jesus Himself is the proper Protector (patron and saint) of children: not the archangel Michael, not St. Nicolas, not St. Martin; although, as under the Lord, all angels and saints are appointed to love, guard, and minister to children.—We read twice of our Lord’s taking to His arms or embracing: in both instances children were the objects.
3. The disciples, infected with the rabbinical zeal for inquiry concerning the laws of marriage, would not have the Lord interrupted by their coming. Jesus, on the other hand, regards the children themselves as the final word concerning the question of marriage.
4. We have no definite account of any ordination of the Apostles by the laying on of Christ’s hands; but we do read of a laying on of hands upon children, and consequently of their ordination to the kingdom of heaven.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
See on Matthew.—How pious women here understood the Lord better than His apostolical disciples did; and why? 1. The fact. Similar examples: Mary in Bethany; the believing announcers of the Risen Lord. 2. Why? Because themselves nearer to children, and better acquainted with childhood and the childlike nature.—The disciples on the byeway of rabbinical ostentation called back by the Lord to true simplicity.—The sign of rising pedantry: offence at sound life in its most innocent and beautiful forms and expressions.—How often the high school in its pride has oppressed the true schools of life; especially, 1. the school of children, and 2. the school of childlikeness, or of simple faith.—What it signifies, that the Lord demanded childlikeness almost as often as repentance and faith, in order to entrance into the kingdom of heaven: 1. Repentance and faith must have the stamp of childlikeness; 2. true childlikeness is penitent and full of faith.—The cry of the Lord through all ages, Suffer the children to come unto Me, etc.—Jesus the Friend of children.—The great Friend of the little ones: the Founder of infant baptism, infant schools, infant catechising, and of all good institutions that care for children.—The Son of Man among the children of men: 1. As the heavenly new and fresh related to the earthly new and fresh; 2. as the humble One to the artless; 3. as the Prince of faith to the confiding ones; 4. as the great Warrior to the strivers; 5. as the great Hope to the hoping; 6. as the Blessed with the happy.—Christ embraced the children: 1. The fact: a. an act of God, b. an act of Christ, c. an act of holy humanity. 2. A sign of judgment: a. for the childhood-hating kingdom of darkness, b. for the children despising proud world, c. for Christendom still too little childlike.
Starke:—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—Alas! how many Christians are there who bring their children, not to Christ, but to the devil! who hinder them from entering the kingdom of heaven by their bad example, etc.!—Quesnel:—Nothing is so precious to God as true simplicity.—All blessings come from the hand of the Lord Jesus.
Braune:—The Lord, who is so gracious to the fruits (the children), is not less so to the tree (marriage).—Klopstock, in the “Messiah,” brings many souls of children, before they are conducted by angels into human bodies, to the cross of Christ, in order that they may receive a deep impression of it, such as will fit them afterwards to receive the doctrine of the Crucified.—The source of our life lies beyond any investigation of ours.—Be only a child, that thou mayest be able to become a child of God.—Christ’s embracing and laying on of His hands, and blessing, is a gracious figure of the love of God, which works upon us and for us long before we know anything about it.—Gerlach:—Children, to whom the feeling of helplessness and simplicity is rendered easier by their natural weakness and inexperience, enter most easily into the kingdom of God.—Lisco:—To us all, a regeneration for the kingdom of God is necessary.
Schleiermacher:—We should know that a future is coming after us, when the light of the Gospel will shine more clearly.—It is the proper nature of a child to live altogether and absolutely in the present. What the present moment brings, it receives with simplicity and joy; the past vanishes from its vision, of the future it knows nothing, and every passing instant suffices for the happiness of its innocent nature.—(Here simplicity merely is painted.)—Gossner:—The greatest condescends to the least. Oh, how dear to Christ is man!
Mark 10:14; Mark 10:14.—And forbid them not. The καί is wanting in many documents.
Mark 10:16; Mark 10:16.—Κατευλόγει, Tischendorf, after B., C., L., Δ., and before τιθείς.
THE WORLD’S RICHES, AND THE HOLY POVERTY OF BELIEVERS
(Parallels: Matthew 19:16 to Matthew 20:16; Luke 18:18-30.)
17 And when he was gone forth into the way [to Judea, i.e.], there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from21 my youth. Then Jesus, beholding him, loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt22 have treasure in heaven; and come, and take up the cross,8 and follow me. And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. 23And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 26And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? 27 And Jesus, looking upon them, saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. 28Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. 29And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother,9 or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, 30But he shall receive an hundred-fold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and 10mothers, and children, 31 and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
See the parallels on Matthew and Luke.
Mark 10:17. And when He was gone forth into the way.—This can mean no other than the final departure from Peræa to Jerusalem; and therefore, primarily, the journey to Bethany for the raising of Lazarus. It was the time between the last Feast of Dedication in the winter, when the Jews would have stoned Jesus, and the Passover in the spring (783). See John 11:0—There came one running, and kneeled to Him.—The two words are the more emphatic, inasmuch as he who thus hastened and knelt was a distinguished man, and a head of the synagogue. These clear and realizing traits are peculiar to Mark.
Mark 10:18. Why callest thou Me good?—As to the various acceptations of this expression, see on Matthew 19:16-17. According to the strongly supported reading of Matthew, Jesus leads the young man up to God, the source of all good, from the question, “What good thing shall I do?” but, according to Mark and Luke, from the appeal, “Good Master!” Both agree very well together. “Good Master, what good thing must I do?” runs the question; the answer is, “How divided and isolated seems to thee what is good! One is the good Being, and in this One is good.” Jesus does not decline the appellation “good;” He repels it only in the superficial sense of the questioner. The young man deals with good in its relative meaning; and in this sense he says “Good,” that is, “Excellent” Master. Jesus teaches him to apprehend good in its absoluteness; and to that end he must understand the being good, which he ascribes to Christ, as being founded in God. Thus the answer is not to be explained deistically, but christologically: If thou wouldst call Me good, thou must apprehend My unity with God, and My divine nature. Meyer insists that it is the contrast between the divine perfection, and the human development in Jesus (which he confounds with limitation), that is meant, and he terms the explanation that has been current since Augustine, a dogmatic misinterpretation. That term may better be applied to his own notion of Christ’s relative sinlessness, and his own confusion between development and limitation.
Mark 10:19. Defraud not, μὴ .—The ἀποστερεῖν may mean rob or defraud, and also withhold. De Wette translates it as the former, Meyer as the latter; but in both cases half the meaning is lost. We have only to choose between several expressions: take advantage, withhold, defraud, do wrong. We prefer the last, because of its comprehensive and strong meaning; and hold that the αποστερῖν comprises or comprehends all the preceding ten commandments (Beza), and at the same time explains the tenth (Bengel, Wetstein, Olshausen). Meyer thinks, on the contrary, that the specific commandment of Deuteronomy 24:14, οὐκ , is meant. But it is impossible that the Lord’s summing up of the precepts should have issued in such a speciality, which moreover falls under the commandment, Thou shalt not steal. When taken in its comprehensive meaning, the words present a more concrete expression of the final sentence of Matthew, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Or, in other words, it signifies, Thou shalt not feel and act selfishly or egoistically (giving is better than receiving). In this case, the entire quotation of the commandments concurs with that of Matthew, only that in Mark the words, “Honor thy father and mother,” are placed at the end. The last expression in Mark is keen, and comes at the end, because its pungent point was best adapted to touch the conscience of a rich man. Luke has omitted the parallel sayings—“Defraud not,” and “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”—probably on account of the uncertainty of the tradition.
Mark 10:20. Master.—This time not “Good Master.”
Mark 10:21. Beholding him, loved him; for He penetrated his inmost being and nature: exhibiting an honest striving, notwithstanding the self-righteousness in which he is involved. The ἠγάπησεν does not refer to His speaking to the young man in an affectionate manner, as Grotius and others thought.—One thing thou lackest, ἕν σοι ὑστερεῖ.—It is observable that in Matthew we find the word in a question of the man himself: τί ἔτι ὑστερε͂:—evidence that the Apostles drew freely from an abundant and never ceasing fountain of objective original remembrances of their own, and traditions handed down to them.
Mark 10:22. And he was sad.—Rather, he stood confounded, ὁ δὲ στυγνάσας. The verb occurs again only in the Septuagint of Ezekiel. In Ezekiel 27:35, it is the translation of שָׁמֵם, to be astonished and confounded : properly, to stand in silent, amazed confusion. The expression at the same time denotes the being or appearing to be bewildered. It likewise denotes a sad and downcast state; and this is contained in the word στυγνάζειν.
Mark 10:23. And Jesus looked round about.—The “looking upon” of Jesus, Mark 10:21; Mark 10:27, and His “looking round,” Mark 10:23—both observable. Comp. Mark 3:5; Mark 10:34; Mark 8:33; Luke 6:10; Luke 22:61.—They that have riches: οἱ τὰ χρήματα ἕχοντες.
Mark 10:24. Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches.—Tranquillizing and explanatory. The whole discourse is of trusting in riches. But a severer word follows: It is easier for a camel, etc.; meaning, that it is infinitely hard to separate the trusting in riches from the possession of riches. The decisive explanation of the whole hard doctrine is found in Mark 10:27. A miracle of the grace of God can alone solve this dread mystery.
Mark 10:28. Then Peter began.—It is evident that the “beginning” signifies a venturesome interruption, or taking up the word (comp. Mark 8:31-32), followed by embarrassment. According to Mark, Peter himself seems here to have broken off in inward confusion, or at the suggestion of modesty.
Mark 10:29. There is no man that hath left.—Hath forsaken, ἀφῆκεν. Meyer, correctly: “In case he shall not have received; that is, if the latter is not found the case, it is through the absence of the former. The hundredfold compensation is so certain, that its not having been received presupposes the not having forsaken. Precisely similar is the force and connection of the thought in Luke 4:22.” But it is at the same time positively declared that the ideal receiving of the new possessions in the kingdom of heaven is simultaneous with the renunciation of the old possessions; or even that it is the preparatory condition on which that forsaking depends.
Mark 10:30. Now in this time, and in the world to come.—The compensating retribution in this world and the other definitely distinguished. So also in Luke. The number in hundredfold is manifestly symbolical, as the expression of an immeasurable advantage. The spiritual nature of the new connections is evident from this, that they do not include the father or the wife. The hospitable houses of friends, Christian brethren and sisters, spiritual mothers, spiritual children, lands, and fields, and ecclesiastical possessions.—With persecutions.—That is, not merely in the midst of persecutions and in spite of them: the persecutions are rather part of our best possessions. See Matthew 5:12; Romans 5:3; James 1:2; James 1:4; 1 Peter 1:6; Hebrews 12:6.—Eternal life.—The everlasting, all-embracing unity, consummation, fulness, and depth of all-compensating retribution.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. See on the parallel of Matthew.
2. Jesus looked upon him, and loved him.—Even after so self-righteous a declaration. Evidently our Lord sees through the features of the self-righteous his inmost nature; and distinguishes that which is a mistaken effort of the soul from that which is a corrupt self-deception, that which is based upon ignorance from that which is based upon hypocrisy. But this man was not thoroughly self-righteous; for he had a lively conviction that something important was wanting to him; and he did not hesitate, disdaining all Jewish conventional notions of propriety and dignity, to cast himself at the Lord’s feet, and utter the anxious question of his heart.
3. Those who trust in riches.—The explanatory word is peculiar to Mark. Because it is so hard to have riches without coming to regard them as the one thing; to possess much without being altogether possessed by the possession: therefore, with man it is, generally speaking, a thing impossible that the rich should be saved; but the grace of God makes it possible through the miracle of the new birth. Clemens Alexandrinus: τίς ὁ σωζόμενος πλούσιος:
4. It is very observable that Mark, and therefore also Peter, in quoting the words concerning spiritual compensation, speaks indeed of the substitution of spiritual mothers for an earthly mother, but does not set a spiritual father or spiritual fathers over against the earthly father. The reading which places the word father here before the word mother, has but little support, and is manifestly exegetical. The Singular mother, in opposition to the Plural mothers, is strongly authenticated, and should be preferred.
HOMILETICAL AND PRATICAL
See on Matthew.—The unsatisfactory encounter of the rich young man in its contrasts: 1. He runs to Jesus enthusiastically, he leaves Him in sorrow: 2. without reflecting, he throws himself at the Lord’s feet, but he scorns reflectingly His advice; 3. he comes with the consciousness of his lack, but goes away with the consciousness of slavery and guilt.—How much depends upon the right use of words!—Christ sancfities our greetings.—Truth is the salt of courtesy, which makes the difference between it and false compliment.—All commandments converge to the one saying: Thou shalt not covet (that is, thou shalt not deal selfishly or egotistically).—How the Lord entered into the legal notion of the rich young man, in order to lead him in the way of perfect knowledge of the law over into the way of evangelical repentance.—Jesus looked upon him and loved him: 1. A somewhat surprising fact (after he had made such a revelation of himself); 2. a very significant one (Jesus looks through the error and the confusion into the secret better impulse, the drawing of the Spirit); 3. a warning fact also (that we should not regard as the final judgment those humbling tests which the Lord applies to beginners).—The poverty of the rich, and the riches of the poor.—Trust in perishable possessions, the fundamental evil of the carnally-minded: 1. The vain image of a false blessedness; 2. the decisive hindrance to the attainment of true blessedness.—Only by a miracle of God can man be saved.—The hundred fold gain of a man who renounces for the sake of God this world’s gain.—The persecution of a believer one of his best possessions in this life.—The simple gain of eternal life is infinitely greater than the hundred fold gain of the blessings of this life.—Persecutions are among the possessions of the kingdom of heaven: 1. A lessening of them;2. an increase of them; 3. a consummating of them.—Christ the perfect example of the promise which He gave to the disciples: His people sacrificed, hundreds of peoples won; His life sacrificed, infinite life won; earth, etc., renounced, heaven with all its worlds won.—Paul also a very illustrious example.
Starke:—Quesnel:—Christ alone can show us the way to heaven, because He Himself is the way.—Osiander:—Men do not thoroughly know their own wicked and perverted nature; hence they fall into the folly of seeking to be saved by their works.—Quesnel:—If we would pray aright, we must be perfectly convinced of our misery, and know that, because God is the perfect fulness of all that is good, we can only by Him be made good ourselves.—The law of God is the rule of our conduct.—Hedinger:—The external in the law is the least matter: an honest heathen may make his boast on that point.—Osiander:—There are few to be found who really prefer heavenly to earthly treasures.—Quesnel:—That we possess with undue satisfaction, which we cannot without smarting renounce. Let every one apply to himself this test.—Who can regard riches as an advantage, when they stand in the way of salvation?—To how many are these riches their greatest misfortune !—Canstein:—Riches may be possessed without the possessor’s trusting in them; and then they are neither sinful nor hurtful. Rich men, who rightly use their riches, may become very rich towards God.—The rules of Christianity make many things superfluous, but we must not qualify or alter them.—Salvation we must not regard as a matter so very simple and easy. Strive to enter in at the strait gate, etc.—To a sinner who experiences all his impotence, there is nothing more comforting than to know that God is greater than his heart, 1 John 3:20.—Thou forsakest much, when thou not only for sakest all things in thy mind and spirit, but also forsakest the thought of any merit, and the hope of any reward.—Quesnel:—It is a small thing to leave earthly possessions; for they are another’s, and, strictly speaking, not our own. But we must forsake our own will and our own flesh, and sacrifice them unto God by crucifixion or mortification, Galatians 5:24.—Cramer:—Hast thou at once done much and suffered much? Then do not exalt thyself, on that account, above others; for thou art bound to do and to suffer all this and more.—What they lost in Judaism as friends, they would find again among the converted Gentiles.—Canstein:—Let go for Christ’s sake what is taken from thee in persecution; and be fully assured that all will be abundantly given back to thee again. And at length thou hast the treasure of all treasures for thine own—eternal life.—Cramer:—It is among true Christians as among racers for a prize: where one now goes in advance, then falls back, and then again goes forward. Let every one so run as to obtain, 1 Corinthians 9:24.
Gerlach:—The perpetual recurrence of wavering in the carnally-minded between the kingdom of heaven and the world. He feels himself, a. attracted by both, b. by both repelled.—He thinks, in his folly, that there must be some profound utterance beyond the commandments of God, which shall reconcile God and the world without. (Does not this last idea hold good, in a sacred sense, of the Gospel?) Nothing can be done without decision.—Braune:—“What is good? That which makes itself common, communicates itself (or devotes itself to the life of others). Him we call a good man, who is common and useful. God is the most common and self-communicating of all: He gives himself to all things. Nothing created gives itself. The sun gives only its rays, but keeps back itself; but God gives himself in all His gifts. His Godhead hangs upon this, that He communicates himself to all things that are capable of receiving His goodness.”—Master Eckhart:—In Christ, who is entirely for the use and benefit of all, God’s Spirit is without measure.—Why does not Jesus suggest to the questioner the commandments of the first table? These all were contained in the words, God is good. And the duties to our neighbor were best fitted to aid the blinded mind in looking into his heart and life, Luke 12:33; Luke 14:33.—(Trusting in riches):—There are poor people also, who with difficulty enter into the kingdom of heaven, because they put too much trust in money. Thus it is the spirit and temper—relying too much upon this world’s goods for happiness, whether possessing or not possessing much, whether rich or poor—that makes that entrance hard, Romans 8:17.—For Christ’s sake, and the Gospel’s, that must be given up which is given up; else it is not seed, and the promised harvest can therefore never be reaped.
Schleiermacher:—When thou askest what is really good, and what thou must do as being good, thou shouldst reflect that thou canst do absolutely nothing of thyself (and knowest nothing of thyself), and that God alone can give the power to do or think anything good.—Why did the Redeemer love the young man? On account of unprejudiced and simple words, his earnest aim, and the fidelity with which he followed his conviction and views, albeit these were limited.—And if at this crisis he did not sustain the test, yet we see that the sympathy which the Lord manifested was so entirely without displeasure, that the young man must have been filled with hope, etc.—The heart should never hang upon worldly possessions, as sufficing to impart earthly satisfaction; but we should always regard them as one part of those gifts, for the use of which we must give a strict account.—It was a laudable purpose of the Apostle to clear up for himself and for others, by an express declaration of the Redeemer, the important matter of a reward for the good, and punishment for the evil:—it was not therefore the common desire for reward.—The nature of Christian love consists in this, that the spiritual bond assumes altogether the form of the natural (brothers, sisters).—So long as we find ourselves entangled in the endeavor to prove that there is any value in ourselves, we are liable to be put to the shame of experiencing that those who would be first become the last; and inversely we shall find that the Spirit of God often prepares for Himself His instruments in profound secrecy.—Brieger:—All the impediments must be removed, but following was the great thing.—Gossner:—When self-love breathes upon the mirror of the law, that mirror becomes obscured or falsified: instead of detecting his own ugliness there, a man finds himself beautiful.—The answer of Jesus was designed to reveal to him the depths of his own heart.—.Bauer:—A man must give up, not only his riches, but also himself.
Mark 10:21; Mark 10:21.—The omission of the words ἄρας τὸν σταυρόν in B., C., D., A., [Vulgate,] is not decisive.
Mark 10:29; Mark 10:29.—According to B., C., Δ., [Lachmann, Tischendorf,] the mother comes first. The transposition is explained by the fact of the more usual order. See Meyer.
Mark 10:30; Mark 10:30.—The Sing. μητέρα [Lachmann] is a correction. Fritzsche places first καὶ πατέρα, which is not sufficiently supported, and, like the καὶ γυναῖκα afterwards, come from Mark 10:23.
THE ASSEMBLING OF THE DISCIPLES ON THE WAY TO THE CROSS
(Parallels: Matthew 20:17-19; Luke 18:31-34; John 11:53-57.)
32 And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed,11 they were afraid. And he took again33 the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles; 34And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him,12and shall kill him; and the third day he shall rise again.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
See on the parallels of Matthew and Luke. Comp. also the observations in the Introduction to Mark.—Our Evangelist here brings into clear prominence a critical period in the history of our Lord, concerning which John has given us the most exact account. For there can be no doubt that the narrative has to do with the last retreat of the Redeemer into the town and desert of Ephraim. where He prepared Himself, and collected His disciples for the last journey to Jerusalem (see John 11:53 ; Leben Jesu, ii. 2). We hear their tone of mind expressed on the occasion of the departure of Jesus from Peræa in order to raise Lazarus. In the spring of the year 783 (p. u. c), Jesus went from Peræa to Bethany, and raised Lazarus from the, dead; He then, because the Sanhedrim had laid Him under excommunication, and decreed that He should die, retreated back into the desert of Ephraim. That desert, eastwards from Bethel, extends towards the desert of Quarantania, between Jerusalem and Jericho. (See for particulars, Robinson, ii. 353.) The last abode of Jesus in the wilderness, His last retreat in this world, forms a counterpart and contrast to His abode in the wilderness after His baptism. In the former, it was necessary for Him to decide on going amongst the people as it were without a name, in order that He might avoid the Messiahship, as it had become an idea grossly perverted into a mere watchword of deception; but now He must decide to yield Himself up to the people, according to the true and purified idea of the Messiah, which He had in the whole tenor of His holy life re-established amongst them. This was the great task that He now contemplated; and Matthew himself points to it also. He took His disciples κατ̓ ἰδίαν ἐν τψ͂ δςψ͂ ,and gave them the last and most express preannouncement of His passion. Luke gives the faintest record of the crisis: παραλαβὼν—ἰδοὺ, ἀναβαίνομεν. But Mark describes, first, the great confusion and terror with which the disciples regarded the final catastrophe, and how they followed their Master not without much fear. This expression, ἀκολουθοῦντες ἐφοβοῦντο, is stronger, in consequence of the seeming inversion of the participle and the Past tense. It indicates a wavering, and a danger of being scattered abroad, which Jesus prevented by the παραλαβὼν πάλιν. We therefore understand it thus, that this morbid depression, which the Lord contended against, was followed by a new and more mighty impulse of excitement, that found its expression in the immediately following appeal of the two sons of Zebedee. Mark is most copious in the prediction of the passion, and presents it to us in simple active propositions in the Future. Matthew lays the main stress on Jesus’ being delivered over to the Gentiles: He is delivered up, betrayed to mockery, to scourging, and to crucifixion. Luke makes Christ’s person the central point, and records what He would suffer and encounter. Mark depicts the double betrayal in its vividly apprehended consequences; and the word of Matthew respecting the crucifixion he divides into two parts: they will spit upon Him, and they will kill Him. Luke gives prominence, moreover, to the fact, that Jesus declared at the beginning that the Scriptures must be fulfilled; and lays stress at the end on the circumstance, that the disciples could not and would not understand His prediction.
Mark 10:32. And as they followed, they were afraid.—Meyer prefers the reading, οἱ δὲ . ἐφοβοῦντο, which would give this meaning: The greater number of the disciples held back in astonishment and confusion; those who followed Jesus, who advanced before them, followed Him only with great fear. We agree with Meyer so far as this, that the crisis was a very special one; but his reading makes it too emphatic. It is a reading not sufficiently supported; and, moreover, we have no sign in John that at that time many of the disciples left the Lord. If any are disposed to think that about this time the thought of betraying the Lord entered the soul of Judas as a germ, yet it must be remembered that there was no development of it until the subsequent feast in Bethany, and that it was not a fixed decision until the Passover. An express contrast between those who now left the Lord, and those who followed Him in fear, would have been expressed in stronger terms: as, for instance, at that earlier crisis, after the declaration of Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum, John 6:66. The fact that the sentence of death was now uttered against our Lord (John 11:45), might indeed make some of those who reverenced Jesus waver and apostatize. But how decidedly His genuine disciples still put faith in Him and His cause, is proved by the subsequent palm-entry into Jerusalem, as well as by the circumstance, which Luke prominently mentions, that the disciples did not thoroughly lay to heart and believe the announcement which Jesus had made concerning His own death.—And He took again the Twelve.—See John’s statement, John 11:7 seq., and John 10:54.—And began.—The expression intimates that a series of new and decisive explanations took place (comp. Mark 8:31; Mark 9:22). These consisted in, 1. The decision of the time. He had first declared that He must suffer death generally (ὅτι δεῖ), and that it was near at hand (μέλλει in Matthew and Luke; in Mark expressed by the Present παραδίδοται): He now declares more expressly that all this would take place at the coming journey to the feast (ἀναβαίνομεν, etc., καὶ δ υἱός). 2. In the more precise statement of the form of suffering: a. the being rejected generally (Mark 8:31); b. the betrayal, and the delivering up by the Jews to the Gentiles (Mark 9:12; Mark 9:31); c. the great double betrayal,—the first betrayal, or the delivering up to the high priests, coming in our passage into marked prominence. 3. In the more precise definition of the critical elements of the passion, especially His execution by the hands of the Gentiles, Matthew expressly mentions the crucifixion, while in Mark and Luke it is plainly hinted at. Compare the Critical Notes on the parallel place in Matthew.
Mark 10:34. And they shall mock Him.—The text does not require us, with Meyer, to limit this verb and that which follows to the Gentiles. Why should they be omitted who were the original movers of the whole, and who gave it their continual aid? Compare Matthew and Luke.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. See on the parallel of Matthew.
2. Here again, as in many other passages, Mark goes beyond the other Synoptists, and decidedly approximates to John; and the account of the last Evangelist concerning the final abode of Jesus in the wilderness of Ephraim is made more plain by the circumstances given here by Mark. The amazement and hesitation of the Lord’s disciples was occasioned especially by His heroic and decisive bearing as He went before them. They saw in His majestic, resolute, solemn, and fixed deportment, that a most important crisis was impending. Since the astonishment and wavering of His disciples precedes the definite prediction of Christ concerning His now approaching passion and death, it can only refer to the obscure and anxious foreboding with which the thought of something unknown, but critical and decisive and fearful, filled their minds (De Wette). For all this they were as yet but little prepared; hence the Lord collected them together, and strengthened them in solitude. He foretold to them His whole passion, so far as He could do so (that is, without a premature disclosure of the traitor, who had not yet decided on his treachery); He repeated to them all the comforting promises of His resurrection, and thus prepared them for all, while waiting for the Galilæan-Peræan festival companies.
3. The abode of Jesus in the wilderness of Ephraim, in its connection with His abode in the wilderness of Quarantania, and in its contrast with that abode.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
See on Matthew.—Jesus as going before His disciples in the way of sufferings: 1. His heroic spirit; 2. their despondency; 3. their invigoration in His strength.—Follow Me, saith Christ our Leader and Champion.—Jesus, go before us!—Christ, the Captain of our salvation, Hebrews 2:10.—The Lord in the midst of His disciples, before the coming of the hours (or days) of great and solemn crisis and decision.—The shuddering presentiment of the disciples, contemplating the unknown future; excited by, 1. beholding the holy and joyful solemnity of the Lord; 2. the journey to Jerusalem; 3. the consideration of the people’s disposition; 4. the consideration of their own frame of mind.—How the Lord seeks to deliver the disciples from an indefinite fear, by setting before them the clear idea of a fearful, but salutary and saving, certainty.—The trembling and wavering discipleship.—We must not tremble and be amazed in the uncertainty of the way of suffering, but be bold and dare in the certainty of it.—Morbid feelings must become cheerful; and feebleness must be invigorated by the thought of the glorious and final end.—The Lord’s assembly in solitude for His great and decisive encounter with the world. (See running title.)—The importance of stillness for the kingdom of God: 1. Into stillness; 2. in stillness; 3. out of stillness.—How the Lord collects His disciples for the conflict of suffering: 1. Every one to Him (with Christ); 2. every one into himself (in the inner life); 3. every one singly (to his companions).—The source of the suffering of Christ; or, the enmity of the world against Him.—The ever recurring cry from heaven, in the prospect of all Christ’s sufferings and His people’s: and [the cry] on the third day.—The Lord deals with His disciples in the spirit of heavenly simplicity and fidelity.—The plain disparity between the temper of the disciples and the feeling of our Lord: 1. Its meaning; 2. its signs; 3. itself a sign of the betrayal, the denial, and the forsaking Him in the night of His passion.
Starke:—Conversations in travelling should further us in the heavenly pilgrimage.—All the steps which are taken in suffering with Christ, are steps taken to glory, 2 Thessalonians 3:5; 1 Peter 4:1; Hebrews 12:2; Hebrews 12:8.—We should often remind ourselves of the cross.—Christ summons us to fellowship with Him, as often as we hear of His sufferings and death.—We should be of good heart (Luke 24:26), remembering in our sufferings the resurrection, and expecting our redemption in patient hope.—Lisco:—They were amazed and affrighted at the way which Jesus so boldly took into the very presence and power of His enemies.—Braune:—On account of their Master, they were amazed; for themselves, they feared.—Jesus going before them attracted them to follow.—A secret presentiment and longing of the spirit points to fellowship with Christ upon the cross; but the flesh grievously recoils.—We must train ourselves to endure sufferings.—Gossner:—All nature trembles when God leads man on the way of the cross.—Bauer:—The Master going before them, what remained but that they should follow?
 Mark 10:32.—Meyer adopts the reading οἱ δὲ , after B. and others. So Ewald. Cod. C. reads καὶ οὶ, which dentifies those “following” fas the disciples.
 Mark 10:34.—The spitting connected with the mocking in B., C., L., Δ., [Lachamann, Tischendorf,] may be explained by exegetical motives. B., C., L., Δ. read μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας, Lachmann, Tischendorf. Probably this was introduced to conform it with Mark 8:31; Mark 9:31.
The Conflicts and Triumphs of the Lord in Judæa. Christ the Founder of the New Church.
THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY INTO JERUSAEM
Mark 10:35 to Mark 11:26
1. The Request of the Sons of Zebedee. Mark 10:35-45
(Parallel: Matthew 20:20-28)
35 And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire.1336And he said unto 37 them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. 38But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and14 be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? 39And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: 40But to sit on my right hand and15on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared. 41And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John 4:0; John 4:02But Jesus called them 16to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. 43But so shall it 17not be 44 among you: but whosoever will be great among you,18shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. 45For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
See on the parallel of Matthew, especially Critical Note on Mark 10:20.—Christ has prepared the Twelve for His final festival journey, and for its significance as a time of crisis. He has come forth from the wilderness of Ephraim; the first band of the Galilæan pilgrims to the feast—consisting probably of the most intimate friends and dependants of Jesus, who had come from Galilee through Samaria to Ephraim—had joined Him, purposing to go on with Him through Jericho to Jerusalem. This seems to be confirmed by the fact of the presence of Salome, and her participation in the request of her two sons. This request itself shows us how mighty had once more grown the joyful excitement of the disciples, hopes: in this respect, it makes the present section a perfect contrast to the previous one. Matthew alone accompanies Mark here; and he makes Salome prominent, putting the request into her lips. According to Mark, her sons present the petition to the Lord; but the records are evidently complementary to each other. Matthew’s account makes Salome only the intercessor, and with marked accommodation to the spirit of Oriental court ceremony. Hence, even according to Matthew, Christ speaks immediately,—after the mother had proffered that request which, according to Mark, is the supplication of the sons,—to these sons themselves. Mark adds to the word concerning drinking of the cup, the word concerning the baptismal bath. Matthew says, “The sitting on My right hand and on My left is not mine to give, but for whom it is prepared of My Father;” Mark says briefly, “For whom it is prepared.” He also says, in his manner, “The ten began to be displeased.” The princes of the earth also he describes in his own peculiar way. For the rest, he agrees here with Matthew very closely; and down to trifling variations, such as between Matthew’s “your servant,” and Mark’s “servant of all.”
Mark 10:35. We would that Thou shouldst do for us.—Strong importunity, θέλομεν, ἵνα.
Mark 10:37. In Thy glory. According to Matthew, in Thy kingdom.—These are essentially the same. But we must reject the explanation, “in that glory which will surround us when we sit by Thee.”
Mark 10:38. And with the baptism.—Peculiar to Mark. On the double meaning of the expression, see Matthew 20:22.
Mark 10:40. For whom it is prepared—Matthew adds, “of My Father.” In Mark the emphasis lies upon the fact that the matter of the honor was already decided.
Mark 10:41. They began.—Here again follows at once a counter feeling: the appeasing word of our Lord.
Mark 10:42. Which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles, οἱ δοκοῦτες ἄρχειν.—Meyer: The essence of Gentile government, the ruling ambition, is signified; not simply οἱ ἄρχοντες (Gataker and others) but qui censentur imperare; i.e., quos gentes habent et agnoscunt, quorum imperio pareant (Beza). He justly sets aside Fritzsche’s exposition: “those who think they rule.” But in Wetstein’s interpretation,—qui sibi regnare videntur, revera autem affectuum suorum servi sunt,—there is an element worth noticing.
Mark 10:43. Whosoever will be great among you shall be your minister.—Properly the “he will be” has the meaning of ἔστω, he should be, let him be; yet also with a hint of the thought that he will be such, either in the most internal sense or in the most external. Christ is the servant of all in the centre of the Church; the Pope, in the periphery of the Church, is the involuntary result of, and protest against, a too hasty development of the kingdom of God.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. See on Matthew, especially the Critical Notes.
2. The last known instance of the Lord’s apostolical training of the sons of Zebedee. The two preceding periods were Luke 9:54, and Mark 9:38. Thus there is an analogy and a contrast with the apostolical education of Peter. Our history throws light in many directions: 1. As the beginning of that enthusiastic Hosanna, which found its climax in the acclamations of the palm-entry into Jesusalem. Christ had predicted His sufferings on the cross. The sons of Zebedee declare, with glowing heroism, that they are willing to connect their fate with His in the strictest manner, and that they are fully resolved to go forward: they rather, however, hope for glory with Him, than fear the shame of His cross. 2. As the last outbreak of the high-toned, noble, natural pride of the sons of Zebedee. The mother and the sons are one. But John seems to interpose especially in favor of his brother James: he might, according to antecedents, have had some sort of claim to the right hand place; but he now (as the younger) will take his place on the left hand. 3. As an unconscious request for martyrdom with Christ. 4. As a keen test of the heroism of Peter. 5. As an illustration of the stage of transition, through which the disciples were then passing. 6. As giving the Lord occasion to characterize the nature of earthly government, and to utter His protest against all ideas of a Christian hierarchy; as well as to distinguish expressly the economy of the Father, and the creation and preordination, from the economy of the Son and redemption; and still more expressly to mark out the royal road of humility as the appointed and only way to true and abiding Christian exaltation. Philippians 2:6 seq.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
See on Matthew.—What was noble and what was evil in the request of the sons of Zebedee.—The bold petition of these disciples: 1. As a fault: with regard to the error and the sin in it,—a. they prayed for something which, in the sense in which they prayed for it, did not exist in the kingdom of Christ; b. for something which was not yet existing (not before the cross); c. for something about which decision had already been made: possibly in their favor, so that their request was superfluous; possibly not, and then their request was vain. 2. As a pious impulse of the Spirit, which was sanctified and abundantly gratified: it was an impulse, a. to remain always near Him; b. to share His lot and serve Him; 3. to work with self-devotement for His kingdom. One was the friend of Jesus, the other the first martyr.—The cup of Christ and His baptism: a. the tasting of all the bitternesses of the Messianic suffering; b. the experience of all the external trials, or the being baptized into the shame of the cross, the death, the sepulchre, the underworld. Or, a. His drinking (Gethsemane); b. His sinking (Calvary).—Cup and baptism in the kingdom of Christ: 1. The cup and the baptism; 2. the baptism and the cup.—As the Lord corrected Peter by rebuking lessons, so He corrects the sons of Zebedee by humbling lessons: 1. By making an express distinction between the suffering of Christ and His glory; 2. between martyrfidelity with its reward, and the divine gift and its blessedness; 3. between the economy and work of the Father, and the economy and work of the Song of Song of Solomon 4:0. between the eternal fundamental principles of the kingdom of God, and their realization in the work of man’s free will; 5. between the earthly State and the spiritual Church.—The displeasure of the disciples at the error of the sons of Zebedee: 1. Probably a feeling on behalf of Peter’s rights;19 2. not free from envy and strife; 3. but at the same time springing from a presentiment of a higher order of things.—Above and below in the Church of Christ: 1. An above which is below; 2. a below which is above (as oft-times the first is the last, and the last first).—Contrast between the appointments of the State and those of the Church: 1. Those are legal; these rest upon the fundamental principles of pure and free love. 2. Those are symbolical; these are actual powers in life.—The repeated testimonies of Christ against a primacy.—Christ servant of all and Lord of all, Philippians 2:6 seq. Real and essential dignities in the kingdom of heaven: 1. Its names or titles are powers of life; 2. its powers of life are divine fruits; 3. its divine fruits are God’s gifts.—Christ the Prince of peace among His people.
Starke:—Osiander:—Ministers in the Church have their own failings.—Take good heed how thou prayest.—We should never look at anything high for ourselves.—Quesnel:—Ambition is blind, and often knows not what it wants.—Osiander:—The cup of affliction is bitter enough to the flesh, but it is exceeding salutary. Take it in full confidence, and it will serve to the healing of the soul.—Christ does not say that He could not give the heavenly glory, but that He could not give it to any but those for whom it was prepared, 2 Timothy 2:11-12.—We must not trouble ourselves as to the place which we shall occupy in heaven, but see to it that we get there.—Hedinger:—Christ does not disparage or overturn dignities, but their pride and vanity.—Variety of gifts in the Church: these should not exalt themselves, those should not envy, Romans 12:3; 1 Corinthians 12:15; James 1:10.—In the kingdoms of the world, a man is called great when he rules; in the kingdom of grace, when he serves many.—Luther:—There is nothing which more adorns and dignifies the office of a true servant of Christ than genuine humility and simplicity.—Braune:—There is ever a widening interval between seeking the applause of others and the cause itself (at first, he remarks, they coalesce, or are much more concurrent).—In the result, the ambitious man forgets the cause itself, and displays his own gifts and powers; from one false step he then proceeds to another.—If in their (Zebedee’s sons’) love to the Lord there was an admixture of ambition, this would tend to make their love impure: the kingdom of love could not and must not tolerate such a blending.—The displeasure of the ten was a proof that they were affected by the same fault.—The promises of Christ, Revelation 2:10; Revelation 2:28; Revelation 3:21.
Schleiermacher:—Love to Christ is the measure for all the actions of men in His Church.—Brieger:—The kingdom of Christ is a kingdom of the cross.—Love teaches us to serve.—His serving should endear our service.—Bauer:—The whole life of the Son of Man was humble service.
Mark 10:35; Mark 10:35.—Lachmann, Tischendorf, [after A., B., C., D., Versions,] supply σε after αἰτήσωμεν.
Mark 10:38; Mark 10:38.—According to B., C.*, D., L., Δ., [Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer,] instead of καί read ἤ.
Mark 10:40; Mark 10:40.—Instead of the καί here, also read ἤ, [after B., D., L., Δ., Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer.]
Mark 10:42; Mark 10:42.—See the order in Tischendorf and Lachmann, [who read καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτοὺς ὸ ’Ιησοῦς, after B., C., D., L., Syriac, Coptic.]
Mark 10:43; Mark 10:43.—Instead of ἔσται here, ἔστιν is the reading of B., C.*, D., L., Δ., So Lachmann, Tischendorf.
Mark 10:44; Mark 10:44.—Lachmann, after B., C., ἐν ὑμῖν εἶναι, instead of ὑμῶν γενέσθαι.
[The author here travels out of the record. There is not the slightest allusion to Peter in the narrative.—Ed.]
2. The Passing through Jericho. Mark 10:46-52
(Parallels: Matthew 20:29-34; Luke 18:35-43; Luke 19:1-28.)
46 And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples, and a great number of people, blind Bartimeus, the20 son of Timeus, sat by the highway-side begging. 47And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth,21 he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. 48And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. 49And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called:22 and they call50 the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose,23 and came to Jesus. 51And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. 52And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus24 in the way.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
See on the parallels in Matthew and Luke.—From Ephraim and the desert, Jesus, with the Twelve and His trusted Galilæan dependents—who had joined Him at this point or before—turned to Jericho, where He united His company with that of the great Galilæan-Peræan band going up to the feast, which had come from Peræa over the Jordan. Upon the question of time, and Jericho itself, and the difference among the Synoptists in regard to the healing of the blind, consult the notes upon Matthew. Like that Evangelist, Mark passes over the narrative of Zacchæus, and gives instead all the more exact account of the healing of the blind man. The fundamental idea of Luke’s Gospel demanded that the favor shown to the rich publican should not be omitted. Matthew and Mark are so intent upon depicting the great procession to the feast in its unity, that they cannot linger upon another episode, such as that of Zacchæus, in addition to the healing of the blind man. Matthew, indeed, might hesitate through modesty to record prominently so many instances of favor shown to the publicans; and Mark would probably prefer to omit a new remembrancer of the embittered hatred which subsisted between the Jews and the Romans—writing as he did so much for Roman Christians. Moreover, the occurrence with Zacchæus was not properly a miraculous history, such as both these Evangelists mainly record at this time.—Now, while Matthew gives an account merely of the departure from Jericho, Mark mentions also the entrance. In his account of the departure, he describes the great numbers that accompanied Jesus, and records the full name of the blind man, Bartimæus, the son of Timæus. Luke joins him in saying that this man was a beggar. Mark, again, has the specific note that he, Bartimæus, began to cry aloud. The words of the people to the blind man, “Be of good courage, rise; He calleth thee”—the conduct of Bartimæus generally, and his casting away his garment, and standing up, and coming—are all characteristic touches of painting which Mark alone gives. Only Matthew records the compassion of Jesus, and the fixing His eyes upon the man. Mark also omits “Receive thy sight.” The word of healing is condensed, and the conclusion is briefer than Luke’s, touching only the main points.
Mark 10:46. Bartimæus.—The patronymic בַּר טִמְאַי is made into a proper name (after the analogy of Bartholomew and others); as it is explained by the additional clause, “son of Timæus.” This last seems to place Timæus among the number of well-known Christians. Meyer: Probably a Christian who afterwards attained distinction. And this might be true, notwithstanding the fact that he had allowed his son, a blind man, to beg on the highway. But, if we read with Codex A. and the Text. Rec., “a son of Timæus, Bartimæus the blind man, sat and begged,” it is plain that this is an account of him more precise and consistently carried out, which however seemed too full and specific to most copyists. According to it, Bartimæus, the blind man, was himself a personage well known to Christians as a monument of the Lord’s miracle, as was probably also Simon the Leper; and the designation “a son of Timæus” would distinguish him, not merely from the father, but also from other sons.
Mark 10:47. And when he heard.—He therefore believed that Jesus of Nazareth was the son of David, that is, the expected Messiah. He thus bore testimony to the widely-scattered seed of faith, and especially to the renewed stimulus given to the Redeemer’s cause, since the beginning of the festal journey, amongst the masses. But the blind man might also have heard on his hill-top of the recent resurrection of Lazarus, which took place in his own neighborhood; and this might have been matter of many silent night-ponderings in his blindness.
Mark 10:49. And Jesus stood still.—We now have reached the great crisis. He now hears the loud cry of the people—Messiah! See on the parallel of Matthew.—Be of good comfort.—Meyer: θάρσει, ἔγειρε, φωνεῖ σε: most affecting asyndeton.
Mark 10:51. Rabboni, רַבּרּנִּי, my Master.—If the Yod is taken paragogically, it means merely “master” (see Meyer); but even then it has so emphatic a sense as to be almost equal in personal reverence. Bartimæus adhered from that time to the Lord. He followed Him, praising God, Luke says; he followed Him in the way, in the procession, says Mark. He immediately joined the festal company of Jesus’ triumph. It was, indeed, the triumphal procession of the Prophet, and not yet that of the High Priest: this is formed by the living Church, even as the risen saints will be the triumphal procession of the King.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. See on Matthew and the previous notes.
2. The contrast in the sentiments of the people round Christ: type of the contrast between the hierarchical and the evangelical Church. In the former, the poor and wretched are threatened, and bidden to keep silence, when they cry directly to Christ; in the latter it is, “Be of good comfort, rise; He calleth thee.” It was natural that those who surrounded Christ should be led, by the thought that His kingdom was beginning, into conventional notions as to the value of courtly customs and hierarchical order; but it was also natural that the mercy of our Lord towards the wretched should scatter all such mists.
3. The casting his garment away was an expression of joyous boldness and zealous haste, and a removal of all impediments.
4. Mark intimates the dignity of the crisis in which the Lord now stands, by the circumstance that He heals the blind man simply by words: “Go thy way, thy faith,” etc. We know from Matthew how they are to be explained in detail; nevertheless, it is observable that Mark, who earlier records the sighing, the anointing with spittle, etc., introduces here so few intervening circumstances.
5. The Lord declared, by act and deed, that He would have no courtly state in His kingdom, no intermediate personages between Him and His dependents; that He was come, not to rule, but to minister. And, so far as this goes, our history is an acted illustration of the former section.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
See on Matthew.—The beginning of the procession of Christ was the opening of blind eyes.—Light must be diffused in the world.—The fame of Bartimæus the best fame for all men; the best reputation for all Christians. (He was a blind man, a beggar; he believed and importuned; the Lord took pity upon him, and healed him.)—With the name of Christ the names of those whom He saved are immortalized.—The most beautiful homage with which Christ was publicly hailed as Messiah: Have mercy on me!—It is a pitiable thing when the cry, “Lord, have pity on me” (the κύριε ἐλέησον, to wit), becomes a dead formula in our poor Christendom.—How Jesus can transform the harsh threateners of the wretched into compassionate comforters and helpers.—The three words of true Christian sympathy and help for the wretched: Be of good comfort, rise; He calleth thee.—Through the compassion of Jesus and nearness to Him, one is taught to preach the Gospel even unconsciously.—How the helping “Go thy way” of the Lord to Bartimæus and others becomes a glorious and encouraging announcement, “Come unto Me.”—All the uncalled ceremonialists in the royal procession of Christ are unable to suppress the cry of faith sent forth to Him.—The ear of the King detects the lamenting cry of the blind beggar through all the tumult of the crowd.—Thus the royal procession is magnified by the cry of misery.—A blind beggar can arrest the course of it; a blind beggar, turned into a seeing disciple, can advance it and add to its dignity.—The true petitioners of God throw away for ever the beggar’s array.—Mendicancy appears or vanishes as men are guided: 1. It appears in the ancient priestly and royal states of this world; 2. it vanishes in the kingdom of Christ. Compare with this passage John 9:8; Acts 3:2; Acts 4:34.—Men may at first hinder the beginnings of Christianity, and then agree afterwards to further it prematurely and rashly. (The first three centuries, and the three following, are examples.)
Starke:—Luther:—Blindness and poverty cause a double distress: so it is in spiritual matters, when both are rightly felt and mourned over.—Canstein:—The preaching of the Gospel is a perpetual announcement that Jesus is near; and we should, knowing our misery, incessantly and confidently cry aloud to Him for His mercy.—Luther:—Sufferers oftentimes meet with scanty sympathy and poor intercession.—Cramer:—It would be a sore thing if the good God were as easily wearied as men are with our praying and beseeching.—Quesnel:—We should let no opportunity pass of getting good either to body or soul, for such opportunities do not always return.—Hedinger:—In prayer we should let nothing interrupt or divert us.—The simplicity of faith in prayer holds fast and holds out.—Luther:—God’s call is even in spiritual things the beginning of actual cure.—He who truly wants salvation must disencumber himself of all embarrassments and come to Christ.—Hedinger:—He who would see, must acknowledge his blindness.—Luther:—Faith is counted of such high dignity that salvation is ascribed to it, although the work of God.—Hedinger:—Christ is our Physician and our Light.—Faith is the best of all medicine.—Canstein:—Those who receive gifts follow their benefactors. Ought we not then to follow Christ?—He is indeed our greatest Benefactor.—Rieger (with reference to those who murmured):—Those who stand around are often unaware how much harm they may do by light words, and how easily a tender germ is trodden down and ruined.—The inward earnestness of the blind man broke through everything. Happy he who lets himself be restrained from faith and the cry of faith by nothing under the sun.—Things are continually occurring which might have a tendency to turn us in part or wholly away from Christ. What then? So much the more does the blind cry out, and faith believe; and the more it is hindered, the more it is helped.—The Lord was not always so willing to be followed by those who were healed; but in this last journey to Jerusalem an exception was admitted. Envy was not now to be excited; it had reached its highest point. Praise, on the other hand, was now, by all the wonderful works of God, to demonstrate its power against “the enemy and the avenger.”—Gossner:—The blind man runs to Jesus without seeing Him; so must we hasten to Him in faith, though we see Him not.
Mark 10:46; Mark 10:46.—We read, with A. and Recepta, υἱός without the Article, and ὁ τυφλός with the Article. [Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Meyer, following B., D., L., Δ., omit it.] So also προσαιτῶν, although important Codd., including B., L., Δ., Tischendorf, and Meyer, read προσαίτης. See the Notes.
Mark 10:47; Mark 10:47.—Ναζαρηνός, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Meyer.
Mark 10:49; Mark 10:49.—Εἶπεν φωνήσατε αὐτόν: B., C., L., Δ., Tischendorf, Meyer.
Mark 10:50; Mark 10:50.—Instead of ἀναστάς, Lachmann and Tischendorf read ἀναπηδήσας, after B., L., D., Δ., Vulgate, &c.
Mark 10:52; Mark 10:52.—Αὐτῷ instead of τῷ Ἰησοῦ.
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Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Mark 10". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany