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Bible Commentaries
Mark 9

McGarvey's Commentaries on Selected BooksMcGarvey'S Commentaries

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Verse 1

Subdivision C.
aMATT. XVI. 21-28; bMARK VIII. 31-38; IX. 1; cLUKE IX. 22-27.

a21 From that time [i. e., from the time of Peter’s confession, and about three-quarters of a year before the crucifixion] began Jesus to show unto his disciples, b31 And to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things [Since the apostles, by the mouth of Peter, had just confessed Jesus as Christ, it was necessary that their crude Messianic conceptions should be corrected and that the true Christhood--the Christhood of the atonement and the resurrection--should be revealed to them. In discourse and parable Jesus had explained the principles and the nature of the kingdom, and now, from this time forth, he taught the [414] apostles about himself, the priestly King], athat he must go up to Jerusalem, band be rejected by aand suffer many things of the elders, and bthe chief priests, and the scribes [The Jewish Sanhedrin was generally designated by thus naming the three constituent parts. See John 2:19-22, John 3:14, Matthew 12:38-40), but these had not been understood by either friend or foe. Now that he thus spoke plainly, we may see by Peter’s conduct that they comprehended and were deeply moved by the dark and more sorrowful portion of his revelation, and failed to grasp the accompanying promise of a resurrection.] a22 And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall never be unto thee. [Evidently Peter regarded Jesus as overcome by a fit of despondency, and felt that such talk would utterly dishearten the disciples if it were persisted in. His love, therefore, prompted him to lead Jesus to one side and deal plainly with him. In so doing, Peter overstepped the laws of discipleship and assumed that he knew better than the Master what course to pursue. In his feelings he was the forerunner of those modern wiseacres who confess themselves constrained to reject the doctrine of a suffering Messiah.] b33 But he turning about, and seeing his disciples. aturned, brebuked Peter, and saith, {asaid} unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art a stumbling-block unto me: for thou mindest not the things of God, but the things that be of men. [Jesus withdrew from Peter and turned back to his disciples. By the confession of the truth Simon had just won his promised name of Peter, which allied him to Christ, the [415] foundation. But when he now turned aside to speak the language of the tempter, Peter receives the name Satan, as if he were the very devil himself. Peter presented the same temptation with which the devil once called forth a similar rebuke from Christ ( Matthew 4:10). He was unconsciously trying to dissuade Jesus from the death on which the salvation of the world depended, and this was working into Satan’s hand. Peter did not mind or think about the Messiah’s kingdom as divinely conceived and revealed in the Scriptures.] b34 And he called unto him the multitude with his disciples, a24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, c23 And he said unto all [despite the efforts of Jesus to seek privacy, the people were still near enough at hand to be called and addressed], If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily [comp. Romans 8:36, 1 Corinthians 15:31] and follow me [For comment, see Luke 12:9, 2 Timothy 1:8, 2 Timothy 1:12, 2 Timothy 2:12] in this adulterous and sinful generation [see pp. 305, 306], the Son of man also shall be ashamed of him cwhen he cometh in his own glory, and the glory of the {bhis} cFather, and of {bwith} the holy angels. [Peter had just been ashamed of the words in which Christ pictured himself as undergoing his humiliation. Jesus warns him and all others of the dangers of such shame.] a27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels; and then he shall render unto every man according to his deed. [The Father’s glory, the angels, and the rendering of universal judgment form a threefold indication that Jesus here speaks of his final coming to judge the world.] b1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, c27 But I tell you of a truth, aThere are some of them that stand here, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. ctill they see the kingdom of God. bcome with power. [The mention of his final coming suggested one nearer at hand which was to be accomplished during the life of most of those present, since none but Jesus himself and Judas were to die previous to that time. The kingdom was to come and likewise the King. The former coming was literal, the latter spiritual. Those who refer this expression to the transfiguration certainly err, for no visible kingdom was established at that time. The expression refers to the kingdom which was organized and set in motion on the Pentecost which followed the resurrection of Jesus. It was set up with power, because three thousand souls were converted the first day, and many other gospel triumphs speedily followed.] [417]

[FFG 414-417]

Verses 2-13

Subdivision D.
(A Spur of Hermon, near Cæsarea Philippi.)
aMATT. XVII. 1-13; bMARK IX. 2-13; cLUKE IX. 28-36.

c28 And it came to pass about eight days {asix days} cafter these sayings [Mark agrees with Matthew in saying six days. Luke qualifies his estimate by saying "about." But if we regard him as including the day of the "sayings" and also the day of the transfiguration, and the other two as excluding these days, then the three statements tally exactly. The "sayings" referred to were the words of Jesus with regard to his suffering at Jerusalem], that aJesus taketh {ctook} awith him Peter, and James, and John his brother [These three, as leaders among the apostles, needed the special encouragement which was about to be given. For further comment, see Mark 9:30). Moreover there is little doubt that at that time and for centuries previous there was an inhabited fortress upon Mt. Tabor ( Joshua 19:12; Jos. B. J. i. 8, 7; Vit. 37). Moreover, Mt. Tabor is not a high mountain, its elevation above the sea being but 1,748 feet. Hermon, on the contrary, is the highest mountain in Palestine, its elevation, according to Reclus, being 9,400 feet. It was Jesus’ custom to withdraw for prayer by night ( Matthew 14:23, Matthew 14:24, Luke 6:12, Luke 21:37, Luke 22:39) and the transfiguration took place at night.] 29 And as he was praying, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became white and dazzling. a2 and he was transfigured [i. e., transformed; the description shows to what extent] before [418] them; and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. bglistering, exceeding white; so as no fuller on earth can whiten them. [We may conceive of the body of Jesus becoming luminous and imparting its light to his garments. The Christian looks forward to beholding such a transfiguration and also to participating in it-- 1 John 3:2.] a3 And, behold, there appeared unto them ctwo men, who were Moses and {bwith} cElijah; band they were talking with Jesus. [The three apostles could identify Moses and Elijah by the course of this conversation, though it is possible that miraculous knowledge may have accompanied miraculous sight.] c31 who [i. e., Moses and Elijah] who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. [The word for decease is "exodus," an unusual word for death. It means a departure and is, as Bengel says, a very weighty word, since it includes the passion, crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.] 32 Now Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep [it being night]; but when they were fully awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. 33 And it came to pass, as they were departing from him, aPeter answered and said {banswereth and saith} aunto Jesus, bRabbi, cMaster, aLord, it is good for us to be here: band let us make three tabernacles; aif thou wilt, I will make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. cnot knowing what he said. b6 For he knew not what to answer; for they became sore afraid. [Peter’s fears overcame his discretion, but did not silence his tongue. Though he trembled at the fellowship of Moses and Elijah, he also realized the blessedness of it and could not let them depart without an effort to detain them, though the best inducement that he could offer was to build three booths, or arbors, made of the branches of trees, for their and Christ’s accommodation. By thus speaking, Peter placed Jesus upon the same level with Moses [419] and Elijah--all three being worthy of a booth.] c34 And while he said these things, a5 While he yet speaking, behold, bthere came aa bright cloud bovershadowing them: {cand overshadowed them:} and they feared as they entered into the cloud. [Clouds often roll against the sides of Mt. Hermon, but the brightness of this cloud and the fear which it produced suggests that it was the Shekinah, or cloud of glory, which was the symbol of God’s peculiar presence-- Exodus 13:21, Exodus 13:22, Exodus 19:9, Exodus 19:18, Exodus 24:16, Exodus 40:34, Exodus 40:35, 1 Kings 8:10.] aand behold, bthere came a voice out of the cloud, asaying, This is my beloved Son, cmy chosen: ain whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. [This command contains the chief significance of the entire scene. Spoken in the presence of Moses and Elijah, it gave Jesus that pre-eminence which a son has over servants. He is to be heard. His words have pre-eminence over those of the lawgiver and the prophet ( Hebrews 1:1, Hebrews 1:2). Peter recognized Jesus as thus honored by this voice-- 2 Peter 1:16-18.] 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. [As every man is who hears the voice of God.] 7 And Jesus came and touched them and said, Arise, and be not afraid. [As mediator between man and God, Jesus removes fear.] b8 And suddenly looking round about, a8 And lifting up their eyes, bthey saw no one any more, save Jesus only with themselves. c36 And when the voice came, Jesus was found alone. [Leaders and prophets depart, but Christ abides-- Hebrews 3:5, Hebrews 3:6.] b9 And as they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them, that they should tell no man what things they had seen, save when the Son of man should have risen again from the dead. a9 And Jesus commanded them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen from the dead. [The people were not ready for the publication of such an event. To have told it now would only have been to raise doubts as to their veracity.] b10 And they kept the saying, [420] questioning among themselves what the rising from the dead should mean. [Jesus spake so often in parables and made so frequent use of metaphors that the apostles did not take his words concerning the resurrection in a literal sense. They regarded his language as figurative, and sought to interpret the figure.] cAnd they held their peace, and told no man in those days any of the things which they had seen. a10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come? bHow is it that the scribes say that Elijah must first come? [They were puzzled by the disappearance of Elijah. They looked upon him as having come to fulfill the prophecy of Malachi ( Malachi 4:5, Malachi 4:6), but they marveled that, having come, he should so soon withdraw, and that they should be forbidden to tell that they had seen him, since the sight of him would be some sign of Jesus’ Messiahship.] a11 And he answered and bsaid unto them, Elijah indeed cometh first, and restoreth {ashall restore} all things [this sentence leads some to think that Elijah will appear again before the second coming of our Lord, but the words are to be interpreted in connection with the rest of the passage]: band how it is written of the Son of man, that he should suffer many things, and be set at naught? [If the writings concerning Elijah perplexed the apostles, those concerning the Messiah perplexed them also. From one set of prophecies they might learn something about the other. Elijah came, but the Scriptures concerning him were so little understood that he was put to death. The Messiah also came, and the prophecies concerning him were so little understood that he, too, would be set at naught.] 13 But I say unto you, that Elijah is come, aalready, and they knew him not, but did {band they have also done} unto him whatsoever they would. Even as it is written of him. aEven so shall the Son of man also suffer of them. 13 Then understood the disciples that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. [Malachi used the name of Elijah figuratively to represent John the Baptist. [421] See pp. 102, 284. That there shall be a second coming of Elijah in fulfillment of this prophecy is hardly possible, for the office of Elijah is prophetically outlined as that of the restorer. But Elijah could not restore Judaism, for that dispensation had been done away with in Christ. He could hardly have chosen to restore Christianity, for even if it should need such a restoration, a Jewish prophet would be ill-suited to such an office. One of the apostles would be vastly preferable.]

[FFG 418-422]

Verses 14-28

Subdivision E.
(Region of Cæsarea Philippi.)
aMATT. XVII. 14-20; bMARK IX. 14-29; cLUKE IX. 37-43.

c37 And it came to pass, on the next day, when they were come down from the mountain, b14 And when they came to the disciples [the nine apostles which had been left behind], they saw a great multitude about them [We last heard of the multitude at Mark 8:34. See Exodus 34:29), but this can hardly have been so, for it would have been at variance with the secrecy which Jesus enjoined as to his transfiguration. Moreover, so important [422] a feature could hardly have escaped from the narratives of all three evangelists. Undoubtedly the amazement was caused by the sudden and opportune return of Jesus. Those who urge that this was not enough to produce amazement show themselves to be poor students of human nature. The multitude had been listening to and no doubt enjoying the questions of the scribes. The unexpected appearance of Jesus therefore impressed them with the sudden sense of having been detected in wrong-doing which invariably leads to amazement. Moreover, those who remained loyal to Jesus would be equally amazed by his approach, since they could not but feel that an exciting crisis was at hand.] a14 And when they were come to the multitude [i. e., when Jesus and the multitude met], bhe asked them, What question ye with them? [He surprised the scribes by this demand and they saw at once that he knew all and they felt rebuked for their unwarranted exultation, and so kept silent.] c38 And, behold, athere came to him a man, bone of {cfrom} the multitude, akneeling to him, banswered him, ccried, saying, bTeacher, a15 Lord, bI brought unto thee my son, who hath a dumb spirit; ahave mercy on my son: for he is epileptic, and suffereth grievously; cI beseech thee look upon my son: for he is mine only child. 39 and behold a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; b18 and wheresoever it taketh him, it dasheth him down: cand it teareth him that he foameth, band grindeth his teeth, and pineth away: cand it hardly departeth from him, bruising him sorely. [When the scribes did not answer, the father of the demoniac boy broke the embarrassing silence by telling Jesus about the matter in question. His child was deaf, dumb, and epileptic, but all these physical ailments were no doubt produced by the demon or evil spirit which possessed him. The phrase "hardly departeth from him" rather suggests the continual unrest in which the demon kept his victim rather than that the demon ever really relinquished his possession of him. Pauses in the delirium of agony were regarded as departures of the [423] demon.] a16 And I brought him to thy disciples, band I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; c40 And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not. bthey were not able. aand they could not cure him. 17 And Jesus answered and said, {banswereth them and saith,} aO faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I bear with you? cbring hither thy son to me. bunto me. [As there was no reason to accuse the apostles of perversity, it is evident that the rebuke of Jesus is addressed generally to all and not particularly to the disciples. The perverse faithlessness and infidelity of the scribes had operated upon the multitude, and the doubts of the multitude had in turn influenced the apostles, and thus, with the blind leading the blind, all had fallen into the ditch of impotent disbelief. The disbelief of the people was a constant grief to Jesus, but it must have been especially so in this case, for it fostered and perpetrated this scene of weakness, mean-spiritedness, misery, and suffering which stood out in such sharp contrast with the peace, blessedness, and glory from which he had just come.] 20 And they brought him unto him: c42 And as he was yet a coming, bwhen he saw him [saw Jesus], straightway cthe demon dashed him down, and bthe spirit tare him grievously; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. 21 And he asked his father, How long is it since this hath come unto him? And he said, From a child. 22 And oft-times it hath cast him both into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: {ahe falleth into the fire, and oft-times into the water.} [By causing the long-standing nature of the case and the malignity of it to be fully revealed, Jesus emphasized the power of the cure] bbut if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us. 23 And Jesus said unto him, If thou canst! All things are possible to him that believeth. [Jesus echoed back the "if thou canst" which the man had uttered. If Jesus marveled at the faith of a Gentile which trusted the fullness [424] of his divine power, he also marveled at the disbelief of this Jew which thus coolly and presumptuously questions the sufficiency of that power. In the remainder of his answer Jesus shows that the lack of power is not in him, but in those who would be recipients of the blessings of his power, for those blessings are obtained by faith.] 24 Straightway the father of the child cried out, and said I believe; help thou my unbelief. [He confessed his faith, but desired so ardently to have the child healed that he feared lest he should not have faith enough to accomplish that desire, and therefore asked for more faith.] 25 And when Jesus saw that the multitude came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I command thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. [Jesus had found the multitude when he came down from the mountain, but the excitement in this multitude was evidently drawing men from every quarter, so that the crowd was momentarily growing greater. A longer conversation with the man might have been beneficial, but to prevent the gathering of any larger company Jesus acted at once and spoke the words of command. Since the demon was manifestly of a most daring, impudent, and audacious nature, Jesus took the precaution to forbid it attempting to re-enter its victim, a precaution which the conduct of the demon abundantly justified.] 26 And having cried out, and torn him much, he came out: and the boy became as one dead; insomuch that the more part said, He is dead. [The malicious effrontery and obstinacy displayed by this demon stands in marked contrast to the cowed, supplicating spirit shown by the Gergesene legion. See Matthew 13:32). Faith has such power with God that even little faith becomes well-nigh omnipotent in an age of miracles.] b29 And he said unto them, This kind can come out by nothing, save by prayer. [Prayer was the means of increasing faith. Demons, like spirits in the flesh, have different degrees of will force, some being easier to subdue than others, and this once, being particularly willful and obstinate, required more faith to expel it.]

[FFG 422-426]

Verses 30-32

aMATT. XVII. 22, 23; bMARK IX. 30-32; cLUKE IX. 43-45.

b30 And they went forth from thence [from the region of Cæsarea Philippi], and passed through Galilee [on his way to Capernaum]; and he would not that any man should know it. [He was still seeking that retirement which began on the journey to Tyre. See John 7:3, John 7:4. See page 439.] [426] 31 For he taught his disciples [the reason for his retirement is here given: he wished to prepare his disciples for his passion], and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered up [the present tense is used for the future to express the nearness and certainty of the event] into the hands of men, a22 And {cBut} awhile they abode in Galilee, cwhile all were marvelling at all the things which he did, aJesus csaid unto his disciples, 44 Let these sayings sink into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered up into the hands of men. [We have here two notes of time during which Jesus spoke of his passion. It was all the while he was in Galilee, between his return from Cæsarea and his departure into Judæa, for which see page 439. The length of time suggests that the sad lesson was oft repeated, but was at a time when the marvels of his works strengthened the faith of the disciples so as to enable them to bear the instruction.] band they shall kill him; and when he is killed, after three days he shall rise again. {aand the third day he shall be raised up.} [For comment on similar language see page 306.] And they were exceeding sorry. [Peter’s experience taught them not to attempt to correct Jesus while thus speaking, so there was nothing left for them but to grieve at his words.] c45 But they understood not this {bthe} saying, cand it was concealed from them, that they should not perceive it [What was told to them was not for their present but their future benefit, and therefore they were left to puzzle over the words of Jesus]; and they were afraid to ask him about this saying. [Not so much from any awe with which they regarded him, as from the delicacy of the subject itself, and their own sorrow, which shrank from knowing it more fully.] [427]

[FFG 426-427]

Verses 33-50

(Capernaum, Autumn, A. D. 29.)
aMATT. XVIII. 1-14; bMARK IX. 33-50; cLUKE IX. 46-50.

c46 And there arose a reasoning among them, which of them was the greatest. b33 And he came to Capernaum: c47 But when Jesus saw the reasoning of their heart, band when he was in the house [probably Simon Peter’s house] he asked them, What were ye reasoning on the way? 34 But they held their peace: for they had disputed one with another on the way, who was the greatest. [The Lord with his disciples was now on his way back to Galilee from Cæsarea Philippi, where, some ten days before, he had promised the keys of the kingdom to Peter, and where he had honored Peter and the sons of Zebedee by a mysterious withdrawal into the mount. These facts, therefore, no doubt started the dispute as to which should hold the highest office in the kingdom. The fires of envy thus set burning were not easily quenched. We find them bursting forth again from time to time down to the very verge of Christ’s exit from the world-- Matthew 20:20-24, Luke 22:24.] 35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and he said unto them, If any man would be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all. [The spirit which proudly seeks to be first in place thereby consents to make itself last in character, for it reverses the graces of the soul, turning love into envy, humility into pride, generosity into selfishness, etc.] a1 In that hour came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven? [Not comprehending our Lord’s answer and wishing to have him definitely point out the honored person, they now come asking this question. Had Jesus wished to teach the primacy of Peter, no better opportunity [430] could have been found.] 2 And he called to him a little child b36 And he took a child, cand set him by his side, band set him in the midst of them: and taking him in his arms, he said unto them, aVerily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. [Jesus told them plainly that they must turn from their sin of personal ambition or they could not be his disciples--part of his kingdom--and he pointed them to a little child as the model in this particular, because the humble spirit in which the child looks up to its parents stood out in sharp contrast with their self-seeking, self-exalting ambition.] 5 And b37 Whosoever shall receive one of such little children {cthis little child} in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive {breceiveth} me, receiveth not me, but creceiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same is great. [Greatness does not consist in place. Disciples who receive those of a childlike spirit and disposition that they may thereby honor the name of Christ are honored of Christ as the greatest. The words "in my name" probably suggested to John the incident which follows.] 49 And John answered and said, Master, bTeacher, we saw one casting out demons in thy name; and we forbade him, cbecause he followeth {bfollowed} cnot with us. [Was not one of our immediate company. This man’s actions had excited the jealousy of John. Jealousy as to official prerogative is very common. His zeal for Jesus reminds us of the friends of Moses ( Numbers 11:27-29). But Jesus shows that one who knows enough of him to use his power is not apt to dishonor him.] 50 But Jesus said unto him, bForbid him not: for there is no man who shall do a mighty work in my name, and be able quickly to speak evil of me. 40 For he that is not against us is for us. cfor he that is not against [431] you is for you. [The converse of this statement is found at Matthew 12:30. The two statements taken together declare the impossibility of neutrality. If a man is in no sense against Christ, then he is for him; and if he is not for Christ, he is against him.] b41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink, because ye are Christ’s, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. [Jesus here returns to the discussion of greatness, and reasserts the doctrine that the smallest act of righteousness, if performed for the sake of the King, shall be honored in the kingdom. For comment, see Isaiah 66:24, and refers to those worms which feed upon the carcasses of men. The fire and worm can hardly be taken literally, for the two figures are incompatible--worms do not frequent fires. The two figures depict hell as a state of decay which is never completed and of burning which does not consume. Some regard the worm as a symbol of the gnawings of remorse, and the fire as a symbol of actual punishment.] 49 For every one shall be salted with fire. [At this point many ancient authorities add, "and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt."] 50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost its saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace one with another. [We have here one of the most difficult passages in the Bible. If the word "fire" were found in an isolated text it might be taken as a symbol either of purification or of punishment. But the context here determines its meaning, for it has just been taken twice as a symbol of punishment. Salt is a symbol of that which preserves from decay. Now, Jesus has just been talking about the future state, with its two conditions or states [433] of bliss and punishment. In both of these states the souls of men are salted or preserved. Every one of the wicked is preserved by a negative or false salt--a worm which feeds but does not die, and a fire which consumes but refuses to go out. Though this state is a condition of life, it is such a negative and false condition that it is elsewhere termed a second death. It is therefore rightly called a "salted" or preserved condition, yet it contradicts the symbolic idea of saltness. As we understand it, the difficulty of the passage lies in this contradictory sense in which the term "salt" is used--a contradiction in which the term "eternal life" also shares, for eternal life is the constant contrast to life in hell, though that life also is spoken of as eternal. The true Christian--the man who offers his body as "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God"--is preserved by the true salt or element of preservation, which is a divinely begotten life of righteousness within him. This is the good state of preservation which a man is counseled to obtain, and not to lose, since it will not be restored to him. The passage summarizes and contrasts the two states of future preservation, one being the salt of eternal life which preserves a man to enjoy the love of God in heaven, and the other being the salt of fire which preserves him in hell to endure the just punishment of God. The "every one" in Mark 9:49 refers to the sufferers mentioned in Mark 9:48.] a10 See that ye despise not one of these little ones: for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. [Jesus here resumes his warning against that pride which exalts itself and despises the humble; disclosing the fact that the ministration of angels is not only general but special, certain angels being entrusted with the care of certain individuals, and all of them supplementing their own wisdom and power by direct access to the presence of God.] 12 How think ye? if any man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and go unto the mountains, and seek that which is goeth astray? 13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, [434] he rejoiceth over it more than over the ninety and nine which have not gone astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. [Those who have led highly moral lives have a tendency to despise those who have been defiled by gross sin. This truth is abundantly illustrated by the conduct of the Pharisees, but that such little ones should not be despised Jesus speaks this warning parable. Though the sheep in the fold and the one that is lost have, as individuals, the same intrinsic value, yet this even balance of value is somewhat modified by the sentiments and emotions incident to loss and recovery. Moreover, the anxiety and trouble caused by the sheep’s wandering do not depreciate but rather enhance the value of that sheep, because the heart of the Shepherd is so replete with goodness that the misbehavior of the sheep prompts him to feel pity and compassion, rather than to cherish resentment and revenge. Sin does not add to a man’s intrinsic value in God’s sight--nay, it detracts from it; but it excites in the heart of God pity, compassion, and other tender emotions which make it extremely dangerous for those who hinder his reformation and imperil his soul by despising him.]

[FFG 430-435]

Bibliographical Information
McGarvey, J. W. "Commentary on Mark 9". "J. W. McGarvey's Original Commentary on Acts". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/oca/mark-9.html. Transylvania Printing and Publishing Co. Lexington, KY. 1872.
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