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Friday, June 14th, 2024
the Week of Proper 5 / Ordinary 10
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Bible Commentaries
Mark 2

Watson's Exposition on Matthew, Mark, Luke & RomansWatson's Expositions

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Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

1 Christ healeth one sick of the palsy,

14 calleth Matthew from the receipt of custom,

15 eateth with publicans and sinners,

18 excuseth his disciples for not fasting,

23 and for plucking the ears of corn on the Sabbath day.

Verses 1-2

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

It was noised that he was in the house, &c. — He had entered privately, to avoid observation; and the eager people no sooner heard of his arrival, than they so crowded to the house, that it overflowed, so that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door, that is, in the porch or vestibule. And he preached the word to them, placing himself so as to be heard both by those within and without. The word τον λογον is here the same as “the Gospel of the kingdom,” Matthew 4:23. This Gospel, in its various principles, bearings, and developements, doctrinal, practical, and hortatory, was the great subject of our Lord’s preaching; and it came afterward to be termed among the disciples emphatically THE WORD; which was probably its common and familiar designation among Christians when St. Mark wrote his gospel.

Verse 3

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

One sick of the palsy, &c. — For observations on this miracle which is very remarkable for the dispute with the scribes connected with it, see the notes on Matthew 9:2, &c. The only additional circumstance in this place which needs remark, is the uncovering the roof by the friends of the paralytic, in order to get the man into the presence of Christ; because they could not approach him on account of the crowd, who filled the vestibule as well as the house. Some elaborate expositions have been offered of this transaction, the object of which appears to have been to evade the difficulty of supposing that the roof was literally uncovered, and the sick man let down through the opening. Yet this is the declaration of the text; and there is in it nothing particularly strange, if we consider that the house where Jesus was, was built in the usual style of domestic architecture in those countries; and that it was the place of his own residence, and a house therefore of the humbler description. Like other buildings, it had a flat roof, and a flight of outward stairs leading to the roof; by these the people bearing the paralytic man might easily ascend; and then the roof, being laid with light materials, as reeds or canes, covered with lime, might easily be opened without any danger to those in the room below, or any damage which might not be soon repaired and at trifling expense. Thus we do no violence to the expressions. They uncovered the roof where he was, and when they had broken it up, which are utterly unconnected with letting the couch down through an awning, which some suppose to have covered the courtyard, or the bringing it down the interior staircase. Besides, this house was of too common a class to have a quadrangle with the luxury of an awning as a defence against the sun; and being only of one story high, as the account intimates, it had no interior staircase down which the descent could be made. That they had been at some particular pains to accomplish their object, more indeed than would be implied in letting a man down into a court from a low building, or bringing him down a pair of stairs, is evident from their faith being commended by our Lord: and when he saw their faith, as expressed by their laborious and determined efforts, even to force their way into his presence. The notion that Christ was sitting in an upper room, is contrary to the history; from which it appears that he was teaching in the house, so that those before the door might also hear. The house, in fact, appears to have been Peter’s, or his wife’s mother’s, where Jesus was an inmate, and was such as fishermen generally occupied.

Verse 8

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

Perceived in his spirit. — This, by the ancient commentators, was thought to signify by his Divine nature; Rosenmuller, Campbell, and others, explain επιγνους τω πνευματι αυτου , having perceived in himself; but some think it redundant; others, with Campbell, think it intimates that our Lord did not derive his knowledge by the ordinary modes, but from powers peculiar to himself. This is true; but is a circuitous way of expressing a very plain truth. The evangelist clearly meant to say that our Lord knew the thoughts and secret reasonings of the scribes; but that he knew it not from information, but from the intimations of his own mind; he knew it, in fact, by an attribute which proves him to be God, the attribute of omniscience.

Verse 14

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

He saw Levi, &c. — See notes on Matthew 9:9-13.

Verse 18

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

The disciples of John, &c. — See notes on Matthew 9:14-17.

Verses 23-26

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

He went through the corn fields, &c. — See notes on Matthew 12:1-8. At the time here mentioned, Ahimelech, the father of Abiathar, was high priest. But the difficulty may be solved either by supposing that Ahimelech had the name also of Abiathar, which is supported by comparing 2 Samuel 8:17, with 1 Chronicles 18:16; or that Abiathar was the high priest’s sagan or deputy, and therefore called popularly the high priest himself. Therefore the Jews say that “the son of a high priest, who is deputed by his father in his stead, is called a high priest.” Επι has been variously taken; but either of the above solutions leaves its sense unforced, as it is frequently used for in the time of, and here properly by our translators, in the days of Abiathar, &c.

Verse 27

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark The Sabbath was made for man, &c. — In addition to the notes on this transaction in Matthew 12:1-8, it may be remarked on this passage, that it is impossible to conceive a dictum of wisdom in form of a maxim so finely guarded on “the right hand and on the left,” and yet left so decisively practical. It is beautifully though somewhat enigmatically founded upon the fact, that man was created before the Sabbath was instituted; not the Sabbath set apart, and then man made to observe and honour it. This shows the great end for which the Sabbath was appointed — not its own observance, not that man should give to it for its own sake a hallowed, character, as if man had been created on purpose to show it respect; but man was first made, and then the Sabbath was instituted, THE END of which institution terminated in MAN, in his interest, happiness, and spiritual improvement, to which the Sabbath was therefore to be SUBSERVIENT. Here then the great rule comes in as to sabbatical observance. Whatever is enjoined upon man with reference to the Sabbath, which has not for its end man’s instruction in religion, his intercourse with God in worship, and which superstitiously prevents his being fitted for duty by proper bodily refreshments, or his being relieved as far as possible from bodily pains and miseries, that his heart may be filled with gratitude, and his mouth with praise, is subordinating man to the Sabbath, making MAN the servant of a DAY, to give it ceremonial distinction without moral purpose or effect; whereas by fixing the attention upon the true end of the institution, it is subordinated to its primitive and noble intention, the promotion of piety, peace, and holiness; and so it will appear that the Sabbath was made for man, was appointed by God for his spiritual and eternal benefit.

When, however, it is said that the Sabbath was made for man, let it be remarked that no laxity of RELIGIOUS regard to the Sabbath can be justified by this sentiment. Wo to those who thus pervert the words of truth and mercy. The universal obligation of the Sabbath is unequivocally asserted in these words: The Sabbath was made for MAN, —not for Jews only; or for any other class of men, but for MAN; for man even in his innocence and purity, and therefore, for all his descendants; for man considered as a moral and accountable being, who needs to hold special intercourse with his Maker, who ought to be detached from worldly cares, that he may do this with a calm and recollected spirit; and who is under obligation in public assemblies to acknowledge God, and to keep up the knowledge and influence of truth in the world from age to age. And when it is said that it was made for man, the meaning is evident, that it was instituted chiefly, and in its highest reasons, to promote in him the fear and love of God, by giving him leisure for religious exercises, and appointing their observance. This is the meaning of God’s “blessing and sanctifying the day,” consecrating and setting it apart for such hallowed services as should bring man into communion with God, and thus secure his constant “blessing.” Many subordinate ends of human interest and happiness result from sabbatical observance, which indeed prove that duty and felicity are always in the result bound up together; but the grand character and end of this Divine institution is, that it was made for the purpose of promoting the spiritual and eternal interests of the human race; and whatever is inconsistent with these is an obvious violation of the law of the Sabbath, and a grievous sin against our own mercy.

Verse 28

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

The Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath. — Our blessed Lord here asserts his right,

1. To interpret the law of the Sabbath;

2. To alter or modify it as he pleased;

3. To alter the time of its observance, which he afterward did through his apostles, from the seventh to the first day of the week.

And if any ask our authority for observing this day, and not the Jewish Sabbath, the answer is, that in the Christian Scriptures it bears the name of “THE LORD’S DAY,” with manifest reference to this text, in which Christ asserts his power over it, as Lawgiver: the Son of man is LORD also of the Sabbath. It is “the Lord’s day,” because he himself appointed it, by his own authority, to be the Sabbath for all succeeding ages. Those who, like Campbell, understand the term Son of man, here, to signify any man, and the sentiment to be, that as the Sabbath was made for man, so man is its lord, fall into this erroneous interpretation through considering the words as the inference from the verse preceding; whereas it is the general conclusion from the whole argument, which is more fully stated by St. Matthew. There our Lord argues that as the priests did servile work in the temple because of the sacredness of the place, he who was “greater than the temple” itself had rights on this subject which no mere man could have; and it is to this his dignity that the words refer, and from which they flow, as the natural conclusion. Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath, See the note on Matthew 12:8.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Mark 2". "Watson's Exposition on Matthew, Mark, Luke & Romans". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwc/mark-2.html.
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