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GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MARK.
A FEW particulars respecting Mark have been gleaned from the New Testament and early ecclesiastical history, but not enough to form a very distinct portrait of his life and character.
This evangelist was also called John, his surname being Mark, by which, as living at Rome, he would best be known, for Marcus is Latin. Acts xii. 12. His mother, whose name, like that of the mother of Jesus, was Mary, resided at Jerusalem. She was sister to Barnabas, and the apostles and disciples often resorted to her house. Maternal piety was blessed with a son, who was to be one of the four immortal historians of Jesus Christ. Col. iv. 10.
Some of the Fathers affirmed that Mark belonged to the Seventy, sent out by our Lord, during his ministry; but the account is doubtful. For he is supposed to have been converted to Christianity by Peter. 1 Pet. v. 13. He was the companion of Paul and his uncle Barnabas, in their travels, Acts xii. 25, but left them in Asia Minor, and returned, much to the displeasure of Paul, Acts xiii. 13, xy. 37–39, who was, however, afterwards reconciled to him, as would appear from 2 Tim. iv. 11. Mark sailed to Cyprus with Barnabas, Acts xv. 39, and still later went to Rome, Col. iv. 10, Phil. 24, where, according to the unanimous voice of Christian antiquity, he composed his Gospel under the sanction and aid of Peter. Thence, we are told, on slighter authority, he sailed to Egypt, became bishop of the church of Alexandria, and was martyred, vindicating, by his death, the great cause to which he had long given his life.
His Gospel is conjectured to have been written after that of Matthew, and probably about A. D. 64 or 65. It was designed for the Christians of Rome and Italy. Hence it contains some Latin terms in the original; also, explanations of Jewish manners and customs; but has few references to the Jewish Scriptures, and omits the genealogy of Christ. Mark is understood to have drawn his information chiefly from Peter; and it has been observed that none of the Gospels is more full upon the faults of that apostle, and none more chary of his praise. His name is more often mentioned in this Gospel than in the others, in the same narrations.
Mark has given a briefer and more imperfect history of Jesus than his co-workers, but his account abounds with kindred impressions of truth and reality, contains all the essential facts of our Lord's mission and ministry, and from its brevity was none the less adapted to be circulated in a foreign land, and to gain the favorable attention of the busy crowds of the mistress of the world. In style, it is plain and unadorned, but more diffuse than
INTRODUCTION TO THE GOSPEL OF MARK.
Matthew. Carpenter remarks that it is a peculiarly idiomatic, and sometimes abrupt in its construction. His Gospel displays much less of literary culture than that of Luke, and much less of general talent for composition than that of Matthew. The inartificial character of this Gospel, and the resources which the evangelist had for composing it, render it very valuable as an additional record, and especially in relating those details which strengthen the feeling of reality.” Mark's order of events corresponds nearly to that of Matthew, and there are but few passages to which parallels may not be found in the other Gospels.
Written, as has always been supposed, and as the early Fathers unanimously testified, under the coöperation of Peter, this Gospel has ever been received as of the highest authority. Thus, from four different regions, and most celebrated countries of the ancient world, we have received the four histories of Jesus Christ, — Matthew writing from Judea, Mark from Rome, Luke from Greece, and John from Asia Minor, - as if every quarter of the known world was to bear its part in rehearsing the life of Him whose kingdom was to surmount all territorial limits, and fill the whole earth, as the waters cover the sea."
The last few verses of this Gospel, chap. xvi. 9-20, have been regarded as spurious by some distinguished critics, but they are found in almost all of the ancient authorities.
CHAPTER I. The Introduction of the Ministries of John the Baptist and Jesus. THE beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; 2 as it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messen
ger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee; 3 the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way 4 of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the
wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance, for the remis5 sion of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judea,
and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river 6 of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with
camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and 7 he did eat locusts and wild honey; and preached, saying,
There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose 8 shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed
have baptized you with water : but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.
1. This verse constitutes an in- to the connexion; for the quotations scription or title to the book, such are from the prophets Mal. iii. 1, and as authors are accustomed to prefix Is. xl. 3. — Behold, I send. Note on to their works. Hos. i. 2. Gospel Mat. xi. 10. The baptism of resignifies good news. It was joyful pentance, for the remission of sins. tidings to the Jews that their Mes- He preached reformation, a token of siah had come, and to the Gentiles which was baptism, and a consethat a Saviour had been sent from the quence of which was forgiveness, or God of love. - Jesus Christ, the Son remission of sins. Both the Jewish of God. The evangelist puts for- and Christian dispensations, and John ward, at the introduction of his the Baptist, the connecting link behistory, the highest claim upon the tween them, assure us of the divine attention of the reader, by asserting pardon, when we have repented of that the being whose life he records and forsaken our sins. What a mowas the Son of God. On the defi- tive to penitence and reformation! nitions of Jesus and Christ, see Mat. - In the river of Jordan. Mark, i. 1.
writing for those who were not ac2.-6. See notes on Mat. iii. 1-5. quainted with the geography of Ju- In the prophets. Griesbach, with dea, specifies that Jordan was a many other critics, substitutes, on the river. authority of the most ancient man 7, 8. Compare Mat. iii. 11. - The uscripts and versions, the reading latchet of whose shoes. Carpenter Esaias the prophet. The received renders, the thong of whose sandals ; text is, however, more conformable for they are commonly worn in the
And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from 9 Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan. And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the 10 heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him. And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art 11 my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. 12 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of 13 Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.
Now, after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, 14 preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The 15 time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand : repent ye, and believe the gospel. -Now as he walked by the Sea of Gal- 16 ilee, he saw Simon, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea : for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come 17 ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And 18 straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. And 19 when he had gone a little farther thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. And straightway he called them: and they 20
East. The sense is couched in fig- and destiny. — Was with the wild ures ; as if he had said, “I am not beasts. An intimation, that he was worthy to perform the 'most menial far in the uncultivated and wild service for the Coming One, he is so region. much my superior.”
14 - 20. See Mat. iv. 12 - 22, and 9-11. See notes, Mat. iii. 13 - the notes. - John was put in prison. 17.— Straightway. It is remarked Notes on Mat. xiv.3 - 12.- Preachby critics, that Mark uses this word ing. Proclaiming. Haynes pertiin the original about forty times in nently asks, “Did any of the great his Gospel, which is as many as in philosophers attempt the like glorious all the rest of the New Testamento embassy to mankind?”. -The time is Peculiarities like this are interest- fulfilled, i. e. for the coming of the ing to trace, as individualizing the Messiah. Believe the gospel. Trust writer.
in, welcome these glad tidings. 12, 13. See notes, Mat. iv. 1-11, Forsook their nets, and followed him. in which it is maintained that the “And now what a change, like the temptations of Jesus were similar to change of a dream, or of enchantours; that they were chiefly inward; ment, has passed over their lives, that appetite, vanity, and ambition, dividing what was from what was to sought to convert his divine gifts be! It was long before they theminto instruments of selfishness, and selves were aware how entire and make him forget his high calling how stupendous it was. In a few
left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and
went after him. 21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the 22 Sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught. And
they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one 23 that had authority, and not as the scribes. - And there was in
their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24 saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus
of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who 25 thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, say26 ing, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the un
clean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came 27 out of him. And they were all amazed, insomuch that they
questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what
new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even 28 the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. And immediately
years, they are to be the principal One of God, i. e. the Prophet or Mesactors in the most extraordinary siah. events of recorded time. — A few 26. Torn him. As the disease years more, and the fame and the left him, he was thrown into violent doctrine of these fishermen have spasms, such as accompany that disgone out into all lands."
order. 21-28. Parallel to Luke iv. 31 27. What thing is this? We may 37.
see here the use of miracles in one 21. Capernaum. A town on the respect. They arrested attention, west shore of the Lake of Galilee, they stimulated curiosity, they made where Jesus lived after he left Naza- the senses instruments of good to the reth. — Taught. It was customary soul. The people beheld in one, to invite persons, particularly stran- who could cure the most inveterate gers, who attended at the synagogue, disorders, a being whose words were to address or exhort the people. Acts to be listened to with the most proxiii. 15.
found interest. The proofs of Jesus' 22. Taught them as one that had miraculous power were indubitable. authority. See note on Mat. vii. 29. He did not choose objects upon which
23, 24. A man with an unclean to exert it, but cured whoever was spirit. See note on Mat. iv. 24. The brought. He restored all without Jews attributed sickness and insanity exception, and was never defeated. to possession by evil spirits. This His cures were at the same time appears to have been a case of epi- sudden and perfect, and extended to lepsy, if we may judge from the con- every kind of disorder. vulsions into which he was thrown, formed his wonders in broad day, in ver. 26; Luke iv. 34. — Let us alone. the presence of multitudes, under By some construed as an interjection, every variety of place and circumah! - Art thou come to destroy us ? stance. Well might the spectators See on Mat. viii. 29. — The Holy be amazed! The impulses communi