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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Mark 10

 

 

Verses 1-12

And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again.

For the exposition, see the notes at Matthew 19:1-12.


Verses 13-16

And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.

For the exposition, see the notes at Luke 18:15-17.


Verses 17-31

And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?

For the exposition, see the notes at Luke 18:18-30.


Verse 32

And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid. And he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him,

And they were in the way (or on the road), going up to Jerusalem - in Perea, and probably somewhere between Ephraim and Jericho, on the further side of the Jordan, and to the northeast of Jerusalem.

And Jesus went before them - as Grotius says, in the style of an intrepid Leader.

And they were amazed , [ ethambounto (Greek #2284)] - or 'struck with astonishment at His courage in advancing to certain death.

And as they followed, they were afraid - for their own safety. These artless, life-like touches-not only from an eye-witness, but one whom the noble carriage of the Master struck with wonder and awe-are special to Mark, and give the second Gospel a charm all its own; making us feel as if we ourselves were in the midst of the scenes it describes. Well might the poet exclaim,

`The Saviour, what a noble flame Was kindled in His breast, When, hasting to Jerusalem, He march'd before the rest!'

(-COWPER)

And he took again the twelve - referring to His previous announcements on this sad subject.

And began to tell them what things should happen unto him , [ ta (Greek #3588) mellonta (Greek #3195) autoo (Greek #846) sumbainein (Greek #4819)] - 'were going to befall Him.' The word expresses something already begun but not brought to a head, rather than something wholly future.


Verse 33

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:

Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem - for the last time, "and" - "all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished" (Luke 18:31).

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. This is the first express statement that the Gentiles would combine with the Jews in His death; the two grand divisions of the human race for whom He died thus taking part in crucifying the Lord of Glory, as Webster and Wilkinson observe.


Verse 34

And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.

And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again. Singularly explicit as this announcement was, Luke (Luke 18:34) says "they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken." The meaning of the words they could be at no loss to understand, but their import in relation to His Messianic kingdom they could not penetrate; the whole prediction being right in the teeth of their preconceived notions. That they should have clung so tenaciously to the popular notion of an unsuffering Messiah, may surprise us; but it gives inexpressible weight to their after-testimony to a suffering and dying Saviour.


Verse 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.

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying. Matthew (Matthew 20:20) says their "mother came to Him with her sons, worshipping Him and desiring," etc. (Compare Matthew 27:56, with Mark 15:40.) Salome was her name (Mark 16:1). We cannot be sure with which of the parties the movement originated; but as our Lord, even in Matthew's account, addresses Himself to James and John, making no account of the mother, it is likely the mother was merely set on by them. The thought was doubtless suggested to her sons by the recent promise to the Twelve of "thrones to sit on, when the Son of man should sit on the throne of His glory" (Matthew 19:28); but after the reproof so lately given them (Mark 9:33, etc.), they get their mother to speak for them.

Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire - thus cautiously approaching the subject.


Verse 36

And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you?

And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? Though well aware what was their mind and their mother's, our Lord will have the unseemly petition uttered before all.


Verse 37

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.

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 - that is, Assign to us the two places of highest honour in the coming kingdom. The semblance of a plea for so presumptuous a request might possibly have been drawn from the fact that one of the two usually leaned on the breast of Jesus, or sat next Him at meals, while the other was one of the favoured three.


Verse 38

But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask. How gentle the reply to such a request, preferred at such a time, after the sad announcement just made!

Can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? To 'drink of a cup' is in Scripture a figure for getting one's fill either of good (Psalms 16:5; Psalms 23:5; Psalms 116:13; Jeremiah 16:7) or of ill (Psalms 75:8; John 18:11; Revelation 14:10). Here it is the cup of suffering.

And be baptized with the baptism that I am baptised with? (Compare, for the language, Psalms 42:7.) The object of this question seems to have been to try how far those two men were capable of the dignity to which they aspired; and this on the principle that he who is able to suffer most for His sake will be the nearest to Him in His kingdom.


Verse 39

And 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:

And they said unto him, We can. Here we see them owning their mother's petition for them as their own; and doubtless they were perfectly sincere in professing their willingness to follow their Master to any suffering He might have to endure. Well, and they shall have to do it. As for James, he was the first of the apostles who was honoured, and showed himself able, to be baptized with his Master's baptism of blood (Acts 12:1-2); while John, after going through all the persecutions to which the infant Church was exposed from the Jews, and sharing in the struggles and sufferings occasioned by the first triumphs of the Gospel among the Gentiles, lived to be the victim, after all the rest had gotten to glory, of a bitter persecution in the evening of his days, for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. Yes, they were dear believers and blessed men, in spite of this unworthy ambition, and their Lord knew it; and perhaps the foresight of what they would have to pass through, and the courageous testimony He would yet receive from them, was the cause of that gentleness which we cannot but wonder at in His reproof.

And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism thus I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized. No doubt this prediction, when their sufferings at length came upon them, cheered them with the assurance, not that they would sit on His right and left hand-for of that thought they would be heartily ashamed-but that "if they suffered with Him, they should be also glorified together."


Verse 40

But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.

But to sit on my right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but [it shall be given to them] for whom, [ all' (G235) hois (G3739)] it is prepared - "of my Father" (Matthew 20:23). The supplement which our translators have inserted is approved by some good interpreters, and the proper sense of the word rendered "but" [ alla (Greek #243)] is certainly in favour of it. But besides that it makes the statement too elliptical-leaving too many words to be supplied-it seems to make our Lord repudiate the right to assign to each of His people his place in the kingdom of glory; a thing which He nowhere else does, but rather the contrary. It is true that He says their place is "prepared for them by His Father." But that is true of their admission to heaven at all; and yet from His great white throne Jesus will Himself adjudicate the kingdom, and authoritatively invite into it those on His right hand, calling them the "blessed of His Father:" so little inconsistency is there between the eternal choice of them by His Father, and that public adjudication of them, not only to heaven in general, but each to his own position in it, which all Scripture assigns to Christ.

The true rendering, then, of this clause, we take it, is this: 'But to sit on My right hand and on My left hand is not Mine to give, save to them for whom it is prepared.' [The use of alla (Greek #243) in this sense, as equivalent to ei-mee (Greek #1508), occurs in Mark 9:8, "They saw no man anymore except Jesus only" - alla (Greek #243) ton (Greek #3588) Ieesoun (Greek #2424). And the very words of our Evangelist, all' (Greek #235) hois (Greek #3739), occur in this sense in Matthew 19:11]. When therefore He says, "It is not mine to give" the meaning is, 'I cannot give it as a favour to whomsoever I please, or on a principle of favouritism: it belongs exclusively to those for whom it is prepared,' etc. And if this be His meaning, it will be seen how far our Lord is from disclaiming the right to assign to each his proper place in His Kingdom; that on the contrary, He expressly asserts it, merely announcing that the principle of distribution is quite different from what these petitioners supposed. Our Lord, it will be observed, does not deny the petition of James and John, or say they shall not occupy the place in His kingdom which they now improperly sought: for anything we know, that may be their true place. All we are sure of is, that their asking it was displeasing to Him "to whom all judgment is committed," and so was not fitted to gain their object, but just the reverse. (See what is taught in Luke 14:8-11.) One at least of these brethren, as Alford strikingly remarks, saw on the right and on the left hand of their Lord, as He hung upon the tree, the crucified thieves; and bitter indeed must have been the remembrance of this ambitious prayer at that moment.


Verse 41

And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John.

And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John - or "were moved with indignation," as the same word [ aganaktein (Greek #23)] is rendered in Matthew 20:24. The expression "began to be," which is of frequent occurrence in the Gospels, means that more passed than is expressed, and that we have but the result. And can we blame the ten for the indignation which they felt? Yet there was probably a spice of the old spirit of rivalry in it, which in spite of our Lord's recent lengthened, diversified, and most solemn warnings against it, had not ceased to stir in their breasts.


Verse 42

But Jesus called them to 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.

But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule (are recognized or acknowledged as rulers), over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them - as superiors exercising an acknowledged authority over inferiors.


Verse 43

But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister:

But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister , [ diakonos (Greek #1249)] - a subordinate servant.


Verse 44

And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.

And whosoever of you will be the chiefest - or 'first' [ prootos (Greek #4413)],

Shall be - that is 'let him be,' or 'shall be he who is prepared to be'

Servant of all , [ doulos (Greek #1401)] - one in the lowest condition of service.


Verse 45

For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for (or, 'instead of') many , [ lutron (Greek #3083) anti (Greek #473) polloon (Greek #4183)]: q.d., 'In the kingdom about to be set up this principle shall have no place. All my servants shall there be equal; and the only "greatness" known to it shall be the greatness of humility and devotedness to the service of others. He that goes down the deepest in these services of self-denying humility shall rise the highest and hold the "chiefest" place in that kingdom; even as the Son of man, whose abasement and self-sacrifice for others, transcending all, gives Him of right a place above all! As "the Word in the beginning with God," He was ministered unto; and as the risen Redeemer in our nature He now is ministered unto, "angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him" (1 Peter 3:22); but not for this came He here. The Served of all came to be the Servant of all; and His last act was the grandest Service ever beheld by the universe of God - "HE GAVE HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR MANY!" "Many" is here to be taken, not in contrast with few or with all, but in opposition to one-the one Son of man for the many sinners.

Remarks:

(1) When we read of Jesus, on His last journey from Galilee to Jerusalem, going before the Twelve, with a courage which amazed and terrified them, it were well that we searched into the hidden springs of this, so far as we have Scriptural light to guide us. Turning then to that glorious Messianic prediction, in Isaiah 50:1-11, we find Him saying, "The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to Him that is weary: He wakeneth morning by morning; He wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned (or 'as an instructed person'). The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting. For the Lord God will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed," etc. (Mark 9:4-7). Here He speaks as if He went each successive morning to His Father, to receive His instructions for the work of each day; so that when He either spake a word in season to a weary soul, or showed unflinching courage in encountering opposition, or, as here, marched to the rude mockeries and cruel sufferings which awaited Him, with His "face set like a flint, knowing that He should not be ashamed," it was not mere impassive God-head that did it, but the Son of man, keenly sensitive to shame and suffering, and only rising above them through the power of an all-subduing devotion to the great end of His mission into the world, and this, too, fed by daily communion with His Father in heaven. Thus is He to His people the perfect Model of self-devotion to the work given them to do.

(2) How hard it is for even the plainest truths to penetrate through prejudice, we see once and again in these disciples of the Lord Jesus. The third Evangelist seems unable to say strongly enough how entirely hidden from them at that time was the sense of those exceeding plain statements in which our Lord now, for the third time, announced what lay before Him. And though this added prodigious, and, to the simple-hearted, irresistible weight to their subsequent testimony in behalf of a suffering, dying, and rising Messiah-now so incomprehensible to them-it teaches to us a lesson, of which we have as much need as they, to guard against allowing prepossessions and prejudices to thicken around us and shut out from our mind the clearest truth.

(3) When the indignation of the ten was kindled against James and John for their offensive petition, how admirable was the wisdom of their Lord which then interposed, checking the hot quarrel which doubtless would have broken out at that moment, by calling them all equally around Him and opening to them calmly the relation in which they were to stand, and the spirit they were to cherish to each other in the future work of His kingdom, holding forth Himself as the sublime Model both for their feeling and for their acting!

(4) The sacrificial and vicarious nature of Christ's death is here expressed by Himself (Mark 10:45) as plainly as the manner of His death is foretold a few verses before. And to say that this was merely in accommodation to Jewish ideas, is to dishonour the teaching of our Lord, and degrade Judaism to a level with the rites of Paganism.


Verses 46-52

And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.

For the exposition, see the notes at Luke 18:35-43.

 


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Mark 10:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/mark-10.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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