The Life of Jesus Christ Professor F. McFadyen.
Edited by J E Bradburn.
Numbers 24:17 I shall see Him, but not now: I shall behold Him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth
Birth and Infancy.
The very beautiful introduction to Luke’s Gospel narrates the birth of John the Baptist, and the birth of Jesus. In these two chapters Luke gives us a background against which the subsequent narrative has to be read. The New Religion, he seems to say, was born in a burst of song; Jesus and His forerunner the Baptist were born and cradled in song. Many, indeed, believe that the prominence of sacred lyrics in these chapters (like the Magnificat, the Benedictus, and the Nunc Dimittis) indicates the spirit in which they are to be read. In his introduction, Luke implicitly reminds us that the men who hounded Jesus to His death did not represent the whole of Judaism. From these chapters we get a very different impression of the Temple, the priesthood, and the Jewish Piety of the time from that which we get from the subsequent history. In the birth and infancy sections both of Matthew and Luke, we are struck by the prominent part played by angels and visions as a means by which God made His will known to His servants. While the records ascribe to Jesus Himself a belief in angels, they played practically no part in His religious life. His communion with His Father God was so unhindered and direct that He was conscious of no gulf between them, and so felt no need of angels to act as intermediaries.
At a very early period in the history of the church the title Son of God was applied to Jesus. In their Gospels “Mathew” and Luke teach that Jesus was the Son of God, not only in the sense that His will was one with God’s will and that in Him; God had become incarnate, but in a physical sense also; that in His case the Holy Spirit took the place of a human father. The doctrine of the virgin birth, as it is called, has been asserted, doubted, and denied by men who all equally claim to be loyal followers of Jesus.
Those who hesitate to make belief in the virginity of Mariam, an essential of the Christian faith bring support for their position from various quarters. The virgin birth, they say, is clearly taught in Matthew, but not so quite clearly in Luke; apart from the introductions to these two Gospels, it is nowhere mentioned in the NT. It was obviously not a theme of the first Christian preachers. If John does not deny it, he neither confirms it.
Luke 1:34 Then Mariam said unto the angel, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Since I have not lain with a man).
Seeing &c = since &c. Mariam’s answer indicates how she understood the angels promise. She does not question the fact, as Zacharias did (v18 below), but only inquires as to the mode. To Mariam the promise seems too early, to Zacharias too late.
know = come to know. Greek ginōskō Ap132 I. ii. http://levendwater.org/companion/append132.html ginosko = to know (by experience, or effort); to acquire knowledge, become acquainted with; hence, to come or get to know, learn, perceive. See John 1:48. 1John 5:20. Eph. 5:5.
Luke 1:18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, “Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.”
The Virgin Mariam and the Family of Jesus Christ
The virgin Mariam
The Bible is quite clear the Messiah was born of a virgin (Matthew. 1:23; Luke. 1:27). This fulfilled prophecy (Isaiah. 7:13-15). If Jesus Christ was not born of a virgin, He could not have been the Messiah, as Scripture would have to be broken. This virgin’s name was Mariam. Her lineage is given in Luke 3 and is explained in the paper Genealogy of the Messiah (No. 119). The Jerusalem Talmud acknowledges this to be the case.
There is no doubt, according to the Bible, that Mariam was a virgin. There is also no doubt, according to the Bible, that she did not remain a virgin and had at least four other sons and a number of daughters. They are referred to in many Bible texts (Mat. 12:46; 13:56; Mk. 6:3). It would have been unthinkable for her to have remained in marriage and withheld herself from her husband contrary to Bible teaching. This perpetual virginity idea comes from the Mystery cults of the ancient Near East and the religion of ancient Rome.
Pure Heavenly TRUTH
The Church of Rome has been used of the great enemy [Satan] to rob the Lamb of God of His promised glory. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/thesufferingsandglory.htm JEROME, in his Latin translation of the Bible (405 AD), wrote "ipse," HE, in Genesis 3:15, as the "bruiser of the serpent's head." This is correct. And, in spite of the fact that JEROME himself so quotes it in his commentary, and that it is masculine in all the other ancient translations of the Bible, Rome has first corrupted JEROME's Vulgate by changing the "e" into "a," and putting "ipsa" (she) instead of "ipse" (He); then she has so translated this corruption and perpetuated this perversion in various languages! So that in all her versions, in her pictures and statues, in the decree of Pope Pius IX, which promulgated the dogma of the "immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary," this lie of the Old Serpent has been foisted ( To pass off as genuine, valuable, or worthy:) on unnumbered thousands of deluded souls, around the world; who have thereby been deceived into putting Mary in the place of Jesus;
Latin Vulgate Genesis 3:15 inimicitias ponam inter te et mulierem et semen tuum et semen illius ipsa conteret caput tuum et tu insidiaberis calcaneo eius
KJV Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it [He] [Ipse] shall bruise thy head, and thou [Satan] shalt bruise his heel.
· The "co-Redemptress" in the place of the Redeemer.
· The creature in the place of the Creator;
· The woman in the place of the woman's Seed;--
· Until the outcome is reached by emblazoning, in huge gilt letters, on the outside of a large church in Rathmines, Dublin, "MARIAE PECCATORUM REFUGIUM," to Mary the Refuge of Sinners!
So complete has been the success of the subtlety of the Serpent, that he has beguiled thousands of Protestants to unite in circulating these corrupted versions as the Word of God, thus giving currency to the Devil's lie. This is done on the plea of expediency, (the quality or state of being suited to the end in view : suitability, fitness) in order that these versions might come to many as Protestant truth instead of Popish error; but thus misleading those who were seeking for light, while confirming Papists in their darkness. But through all the "wisdom of the Serpent" we can detect his lie. It is very thinly veiled, and the Old Serpent has not succeeded in blinding the eyes which the Spirit of God has opened.
True, we see in all Rome's pictures and statues the foot of Mary on the Serpent's head, but the foot is not coming down, nor is the head crushed!
Rather is the woman's foot resting on its head; and the woman herself is supported by the Serpent. (E.U., One World System, NATO, &c). http://www.godsplan.org.uk/eviltrilogy.htm
ipsa in English translation and definition "ipsa" = she, herself, her Latin-English Dictionary online Translations into English: herself (Pronoun) (pron, noun) (reflexive object) her
The above corruption has many profound connotations (A connotation is a commonly understood cultural or emotional association that some word or phrase carries, in addition to the word's or phrases explicit or literal meaning, which is its denotation). Far too many to go into here; however, very careful thought should be brought to bear on this one subject. The deception of all Catholics by this corruption, and many Protestants by only one change of a small but significant, and subtle letter. Satan; by using Pope Pius 1X; has deceived many. That is why it is necessary to search for the TRUTH YOURSELF, and the way to the TRUTH is in Jehovah’s Word in the Heavens, where it is untouched, unaltered, subtlety changed, or misrepresented. We all have a responsibility to God, ourselves, and our families to learn these TRUTHS.
It is also added; “Mathew” misunderstood Isaiah’s prophecy from which he quotes; In Isaiah there is no reference to a virgin. (What Bible is he reading?)
Isaiah 7:13-15 (KJV)
13 And he said, Hear ye now, O house of David; Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will ye weary my God also?
14 Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
15 Butter and honey shall he eat, that He may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.
Luke’s only reference to the virgin birth is in the prophecy to Mariam of the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:34 forward. Mariam’s question in Luke 1:34 is not very intelligible as coming from a betrothed maiden.
Luke 1:34 Then Mariam said unto the angel, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” (Seeing I have not lain with a man).
(The Roman Catholics have been logical enough to note this weakness of the virgin birth. They evade (to take refuge in escape or avoidance) this difficulty, since 1854, by teaching that the conception of Mary herself was immaculate). See Pure Heavenly TRUTH again above.
Moreover, if Jesus did not enter the world as we do, then it is said He cannot be our High Priest, and out of His own experience sympathise with us in our temptations (See Isaiah 7:15above).
Those who accept the fact of the virgin birth point to such evidences of the following:
· The birth of Jesus is clearly taught both in Matthew 1 & Luke 1; moreover, these accounts come from independent sources, the former being given from Joseph’s point of view, the latter from Mariam’s.
· “Matthew” (1:23) points out that the virgin birth was prophesied in (Isaiah 7:14 above). With insignificant exceptions, the church since apostolic times has accepted the fact.
· The author of the fourth Gospel certainly knew the narrative of the virgin birth, and, at all events, he does not contradict it.
· Further, it is asked, if the narrative is not authentic, whence did it arise? Not on Jewish soil, for Jews honoured marriage and attached no special sanctity to virginity. Nor yet on pagan soil for the narrative of the birth of Jesus moves on an altogether different plane from the often gross pagan fables of children born of divine fathers and human mothers.
· Further, the incarnation seems to require a physical miracle; like the resurrection, the virgin birth is entirely consonant with all we know of Jesus. (Consonant = being in agreement or harmony )
Both Matthew and Luke both record That Jesus was born in Bethlehem, six miles south west of Jerusalem. Luke thinks of Nazareth in Galilee as the home of Joseph and Mariam (Luke 1:26—2:4). From the early life of Jesus, Luke alone lifts the veil for a moment. On a visit to the Temple, when He was twelve years old, He became so engrossed in discussion with the Rabbis, who were astonished at His ripe intelligence, which He failed to join His family party on its return journey.
Connection with John the Baptist.
All four Gospels describe a great crisis in the life of Jesus which took place during the Baptist movement (The data in Luke 3:1 forward point to a date about 28 A.D.) A prophet of priestly descent, John son of Zacharias, was the leading figure in a great religious revival. John is represented in the Gospel as a second Elijah. Like Elijah he wore a leather girdle and made his home for a time in the wilderness by the banks of the Jordan. Jesus found in him the fulfilment of Malachi’s prophecy of the coming of Elijah as the forerunner of the King Messiah.
John was a Nazirite and an ascetic (Numbers 6:1 forward) Numbers 1:27 And they shall put My name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them.
The brackish waters of the sluggish Jordan were by Jewish theologians deemed unfit for purificatory purposes; but John called on the Jews to submit to baptism in the Jordan, hitherto used for sacramental purposes only by Elisha. His call was to individual repentance, not, as that of the prophets had so often been, to national and social repentance; nor, like the Essenes, did he invite men to leave their calling, but to practice moderation, justice, and mercy in their calling.
John’s call to repentance, his proclamation that a crisis in the narrative of God’s dealings with His people was at hand, and the baptismal symbol with which he accompanied his message, stirred the country profoundly. The influence of his movement was long-continued and widespread (Acts 18:24—28 and 19:1—41).
24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.
25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.
26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.
27 And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:
28 For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.
yet John worked within the Judaic system, with no recorded protest against its outworn ritual. Moreover, the note of doom was so prominent in his message that it could hardly be called a Gospel.,
Among the throngs that came to be baptised by John, was Jesus of Nazareth in Galilee, thus abruptly introduced in Mark, our earliest Gospel, and as yet, as far as we know, unknown outside of His native town. The absence of reference to Joseph in the Gospel narrative suggest that he was long since dead, and that Jesus had been left with the care of His younger brothers and sisters. Like Joseph He followed the trade of a carpenter. The fact that Jesus had been a manual worker is mentioned only once in the Gospels, and then only by His critics in order to depreciate His ministry.
Mark 6:3 “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, [Mariam] the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not His sisters here with us? And they were offended at Him.”
Mark quite simply relates Jesus was baptised by John in the Jordan. Writing later, “Matthew” explains that John demurred (to make objection, especially on the grounds of scruples; take exception; object) at baptising Jesus, and was reassured by Jesus’ explanation that He must fulfil all the claims of righteousness. Immediately after His baptism Jesus had a strange sense of Divine approval and consecration to a God-given ministry, an assurance of unique Sonship. As Mark continues to narrate, it may indicate only an inward and spiritual experience, though the later accounts give a more concrete form to the dove that symbolised the Spirit and to the Divine voice.
Alone with God in the wilderness after His baptism, Jesus spent weeks of intense meditation on the nature of the task He now knew what lay before Him. Various alluring plans for discharging the trust committed to Him presented themselves to His mind; but One who enjoyed the unbroken fellowship with God that Jesus knew, recognised that those suggestions did not come from God. The first bypath down which He was tempted to turn was the plan of concentrating on the effort to make life smoother and more comfortable for Himself and His followers. There are indications that Jesus regarded even His healing ministry as in a measure but supplementary to His other work. Again, He was tempted to offer the people a “sign,” such as that of leaping safely from a pinnacle of the Temple. But in His thought every gift with which He was equipped was meant to help men, not to dazzle them. Moreover, almost to the last day of His life Jesus is represented as taking steps to evade any danger that threatened to bring His work to a premature close.
The fact that Jesus was speaking figuratively in describing His temptations is made especially clear in the third narrative, which represents Him as being offered, at the price of homage to Satan, the lordship over all earthly kingdoms which He viewed from a high mountain. The peculiar subtlety of this suggestion lay in this: that it might easily be made to appear that a long life of popularity and earthly power would provide far greater opportunity for beneficent work and lofty teaching than a short life largely spent in controversy, and ending in a violent death. Jesus met all three temptations with one of the great texts of Scripture with which His mind was stored.
Deuteronomy 8:3 And he [Satan] humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.
Deuteronomy 6:16 Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted Him in Massah.
Deuteronomy 6:13 Thou shalt fear [revere] the Lord thy God, and serve Him, and shalt swear by His name.
Beginning of Public Ministry
John has much to tell of the work of Jesus in Judæa before the Galilæan ministry began; indeed, he pays little attention to Galilee throughout the narrative. Apparently, John knew more than the other Gospel writers about Jesus’ activity in Judæa, but there is also a deeper explanation.
Writing long after the narrative had passed into history, John was anxious not only to record events and sayings but to interpret them; to indicate their significance on which the intervening history had shed much light. Throughout the narrative he sees Jesus, as it were, transfigured, and He is more interested in Spiritual TRUTH than in questions of chronology or geography.
According to Mark, the ministry of Jesus began in Galilee where He had been reared. In four phrases Mark sums up the central points in his proclamation.
Mark 1:15 And saying, “1The time is fulfilled, and 2the kingdom of God is at hand: 3repent ye, 4and believe the Gospel.”
“The time of waiting is over; God’s reign is at hand; prepare for this reign by repenting, changing your manner of life; have faith in the good news.” Every Jew would understand the phrase, “the Kingdom,” or “reign of God.” It might be paraphrased as “the world as God meant it to be.” It was customary for the religious teachers of the time to wander, each with a small band of followers. The intimacy with Jesus of two pairs of fishermen brothers, Peter and Andrew, James and John, dated from the beginning of the ministry. Jesus, playing on the word, called them to become fishers of men, by patient skill to win men to the new life that would fit them for citizenship in the Kingdom. In a narrative which has often been compared with the resurrection episode in John 21:1 forward; & Luke 5:1—11 gives a fuller account of the call of Peter.
Aspects of Early Ministry
Next, Jesus made a tour of the cities and villages of Galilee, finding in the service of the synagogue or village church an excellent opportunity for delivering His message. He was often invited to translate the Scripture passage for the day from the ancient Hebrew to the spoken Aramaic, and to expound it. The people were astonished at the note of authority in His teaching.
Unlike their usual teachers, He made them hear the voice of the living God from between the pages of the Book. At the very beginning of the narrative Mark introduces one more activity of Jesus—a healing ministry. Various attitudes toward disease are possible and have been actually taken. It may be regarded as the punishment of sin, our own sin in this life, or the sin of our ancestors; as a chastening discipline from God; as a test of our loyalty toward God, or even as a mark of God, a special favour.
It was the judgement of Jesus that in the Kingdom of God, in the world as God meant it to be, disease has no place. Pity for weakness and pain, the fight with disease, and the belief in this fight that we have God on our side, the church has inherited from Jesus .The healing ministry was not an addendum (something added).to the work of announcing the Kingdom, or simply a verification of His claims. It was an essential part of His message. To cure all kinds of physical disabilities was but one side of the Messiah’s work, of which the other side was to preach the Gospel to the poor.
Matthew 11:5 The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.
In his earlier chapters Mark has little explicit theology, but he clearly means to represent Jesus always as Master (or Lord, to use the title which the later church loved to give Him). He begins by subduing Satan; when He calls men to follow Him they come at His call; when He teaches, He teaches with authority; at His word foul spirits come out, the bedridden resume their activities, the paralytic walks, and the leper is restored to human fellowship. A form of disease which plays a prominent part in the narrative is that of demon possession. In the simple medical diagnosis of the time possession by a demon was the explanation given of many diseases, especially cases of mental aberration (An aberration is something that deviates from the normal way). Mark represents the demoniacs as knowing that Jesus was the Messiah. His conception is that the demons, which were believed to inspire the utterances of the demoniacs, being servants of Satan, recognised in Jesus their arch-enemy before men in general discovered in Him the Messiah.
Men of a deranged mind readily adapt the outlook of any character with which in their delusion they identify themselves, and from the beginning these poor people must have heard all around them much speculation on the nature and mission of Jesus. Jesus varied His methods according to the case. Demons He exorcised by a commanding word; Peter’s mother in law He took by the hand and assisted her to her feet. The most revealing instance is that of the leper, whom Jesus touched. A leper’s touch brought defilement, and the consequent exclusion from human society must to the sufferers have been almost more terrible than the disease.
Antipathy (dislike) of Jesus by Jewish Leaders: Its Causes.
The next question Mark turns his attention is one which, in the early days of the church, attracted great attention both among Jews and among Christians. Why was Jesus rejected by His own people? and why were the followers of Jesus persecuted by them, as the early chapters of Acts tell us they were?
For the Christians it was a problem to be explained, as we see from the way in which Paul deals with the questions in Romans.
1. Claim to Forgive Sins. Mark’s answer is that the indignation of the rulers against Jesus was aroused, in the first place, by His claim to forgive sins. At the time Mark wrote, the church put in the forefront of her creed that through faith in the name of Jesus men may have their sins forgiven. In the narrative of the paralytic brought to Jesus by four friends, (Mark 2:1—12) tells us that the claims the Christians made for Jesus, Jesus had first made for Himself. Forgiveness, the narrative implies, includes not only the cleansing of the conscience and the sense of reconciliation with God, but also, it may be in some way we do not now understand, the cancelling even of the consequences of sin.
2. Differing Views of Holiness. The antipathy of the Jewish leaders to Jesus was due, in the second place, to the irreconcilable (incompatible) between His view of Holiness and theirs. They differed vitally as to what was meant by Holy people, Holy conduct, Holy food, Holy days. The authorities were scandalised because Jesus not only invited a customhouse officer called Levi (in the first Gospel Matt 9:9) to be one of His closest followers, but attended a reception given by Levi at whom many of the guests were “publicans and sinners.” These “Publicans” were not the rich publicani who farmed out the taxes, but the actual collectors. They were social outcasts because in Judæa they were in the service of the hated Roman government, and in Galilee in the service of Herod Antipas, who was the creature of Rome; also because by the nature of their occupation they were compelled to rub shoulders with Gentiles; while no doubt they would often find it difficult or impossible to observe the Sabbath or to visit Jerusalem at the time of the Passover. Who were the “sinners”? A sinner was a transgressor of the Law; but the Jewish Law included much that we should now call ceremonial. Thieves and adulterers were “sinners”; but so also were Gentiles, however upright in character, since they were altogether outside of the Law. Galatians 2:15 We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, So also would be Jews who, through indifference, neglected the requirements of the ceremonial Law, or, owing to the circumstances of their lives, could not fulfil them. Perhaps “non-churchgoer” is the nearest modern equivalent. The Pharisees were the Puritans among the Jews. Their movement began in a serious attempt to secure the purity of the Jewish race and the Jewish religion. But separation of any kind is bound engender feelings of superiority, contempt, and self-satisfaction. They were the popular party, nationalist within limits, representing the middle classes chiefly of the towns, as opposed to the aristocratic Sadducees on the one hand and the humble village folks on the other. In a sense they were liberals, who maintained that laws given for an earlier stage of civilisation needed adaptation before being applied in a more complicated social environment. There were, however, two serious weaknesses in their position. They did not believe in allowing the people to use their own instructed common sense in solving their moral problems; and their goodness was of the kind that rubs off. The Pharisee thought that the other man’s impurity would infect him; Jesus hoped His purity would infect the other man.
Mark 2:7 Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?
3. Fasting. One of the disputes concerned fasting. (Mark 2:18—22) In His teaching Jesus did not discourage fasting, but only ostentatious fasting (Matthew 6:16—18); but His own neglect of the fast-days observed by the strict Pharisees was made the subject of gibes (Matthew 11:19). Fasting, He taught a sign of mourning and humiliation, was out of place in the glad, new epoch that His mission was inaugurating; and the expansive power of a living religion can never be confined within the framework that sufficed for bygone days. New wine needs new wineskins.
4. The Sabbath Question. Another frequent source of conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees was the Sabbath question. The subject must have occasioned great difficulty in the early church,
since Gentile converts since Gentile converts had never previously known a Sabbath day; and the question how far the Jewish Sabbath was binding on Christians was only part of the very difficult of the relation of Christians to the Jewish Law. In justice to the Pharisees, we have to remember that in their eyes the very existence of their religion was bound up with the observance of the Sabbath. On more than one occasion the enemies of the Jews had successfully taken advantage of their reluctance to fight on the Sabbath.
(See notes on Nehemiah 10:31. 13:15—22 A.B.C). The Sabbath = The observation of the Sabbath ensured the reading of God’s Word, and the multiplication of copies. However; the Pharisees looked only to the letter of the law. Jesus looked in a broad way at the meaning of the institution of the Sabbath rest. In defending His hungry disciples for plucking and rubbing wheat-ears on the Sabbath (technically threshing) Jesus quoted the precedent of David, who with his followers in time of need ate the sacred loaves.
Mark 2:26 How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the shewbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him?
David put the claims of humanity before the claims of ritual. Churlishness is always objectionable; churlishness (difficult to work with) in the name of religion is doubly so. In particular, the Pharisees urged that, in cases of desperate illness, medical attention should not be given on the Sabbath. Jesus laid down the principle on which the world, and even the church, have been so slow to act: that human beings, even our employees, deserve as much consideration as our livestock, or our draught-animals.
10 And He was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath.
11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.
12 And when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him, and said unto her, “Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.”
13 And He laid His hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the Sabbath day, and said unto the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.
15 The Lord then answered him, and said, “Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?”
16 ‘And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?’
17 And when He had said these things, all His adversaries were ashamed: and all the people rejoiced for all the glorious things that were done by him.
1 And it came to pass, as He went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath day, that they watched Him.
2 And, behold, there was a certain man before Him which had the dropsy.
3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?”
4 And they held their peace. And He took him, and healed him, and let him go;
5 And answered them, saying, “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the Sabbath day?”
6 And they could not answer Him again to these things.
7 In the first day ye shall have an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
8 But ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto the Lord seven days: in the seventh day is an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein.
Servile = laborious. = (Marked by or requiring long, hard work: spent many laborious hours on the project: involving or characterised by hard or toilsome effort).
In healing on the Sabbath the man with the withered arm, in the face of the silent hostility of the authorities, Jesus uttered the pregnant saying that the Sabbath is a day for saving life, not destroying it. On this mark has the illuminating comment that, on the same Sabbath, those defenders of the Sabbath Law began to plot the destruction of Jesus.
Mark 3:6 And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against Him, how they might destroy Him.
In this plot they joined forces with the Herodians, who must have been supporters of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee; possibly a party that hoped to see Herod an independent monarch. This union of the political and religious leaders foreshadowed the combination which finally brought Jesus to His death http://www.godsplan.org.uk/great_%20tribulation.htm. So far as the records show, this marks practically the end of the synagogue ministry.
In the next scene Jesus withdraws with His disciples to the sea of Galilee.
So great were the crowds that came to His ministrations from all parts of the country, even from Tyre and Sidon outside the limits of Palestine, which sometimes He had to take refuge in a small boat and address the multitude from this strange pulpit. We note that Jesus’ disputes with the Pharisees were not all concerned with the ritual side of the Law. In the beautiful narrative of the woman who anointed Jesus (Luke 7:36 forward) and in the passage beginning of John 8 that has somehow wandered from its original context, the Gospels show that Jesus was no more afraid of moral than of ceremonial infection. It has taken even the Christian world a long time to develop Jesus’ sense of chivalry in dealing with sexual sin. Although little is said on the subject in the Gospels, we gather that the harlots received His message with as much joy as the outcast tax-collectors.
28 But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, “Son, go work today in my vineyard.”
29 He answered and said, “I will not”: but afterward he repented, and went. [Disobedience]
30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, “I go, sir: and went not”. [Obedience]
31 Whether of them twain [two] did the will of his father? They say unto him, “The first.” Jesus saith unto them, “Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.”
On this point the accredited defenders of social morality would feel doubly sure that their opposition to Jesus was God-inspired.
Choosing the Twelve.
Next comes an event of great importance in the history of the church—the choosing of the twelve (Mark 3:13—19). Mark indicates three objects were in the mind of Jesus when He selected them:
1. Personal and close association with Himself, a theological education by personal contact with the greatest of all teachers.
2. When their course was complete, a missionary tour.
3. Equipment with the power of exorcising evil spirits
In modern language this would be described as a medical mission through faith healing; but it was then conceived as a campaign against Satan. Some of “the twelve” did work of far-reaching significance. That some of the others are almost unknown to us does not necessarily mean that they accomplished nothing. Some fishermen, a tax-collector, a politician or two, and one or two others who left hardly a name behind them, nearly all of them Galilæan, not one of them as far as we know with any pretensions to scholarship, formed a not very promising theological college. But Jesus had the same insight and the same disregard of convention in His selection of His assistants as he showed in the choice of an audience. They had the double advantage that they were not trained by a rabbi, and that they were trained by Jesus. In addition to the male disciples,
Luke 8:1—3 tells us that a number of women who were indebted to Jesus for relief from ill health, nervous, or mental trouble travelled with the disciples and ministered to their material wants.
His mighty Works.
Wherever Jesus went the excitement continued to be intense. A rumour began to spread that He was insane. Jesus’ relatives tried to seize and restrain Him.
Mark 3:21 And when His friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on Him: for they said, “He is beside Himself.”
They may have shared the common view that His mind was affected (assuming or pretending to possess that which is not natural); and they may well have been afraid, both for themselves and for Him, of the growing opposition of the authorities. For scribes now appear on the scene who have come all the way from Jerusalem.
Mark 3:22 And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, “He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth He out devils.”
The official verdict is that Jesus’ wonderful power over the bodies of minds and men, is the result of a bargain He has made with the lord of the demons; in modern language, the price He has obtained for selling Himself to the devil. The earnestness, almost fierceness, of Jesus’ answer to this subtle explanation of His Spiritual domination is explained in part by His recollection of the struggle He had with the tempter on this very point.
http://www.godsplan.org.uk/temptations.htm “All sins”, He said, in which men consciously or unconsciously do evil instead of good, can win God’s forgiveness; but to ascribe the work of God to Satan is to confound the whole moral order of the universe.
28 Verily I say unto you, “All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:”
29 ‘But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.’
30 ‘Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.’
31 There came then His brethren and His mother, and, standing without, sent unto Him, calling Him.
32 And the multitude sat about Him, and they said unto Him, “Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.”
33 And He answered them, saying, “Who is My mother, or My brethren?”
34 And He looked round about on them which sat about Him, and said, “Behold My mother and My brethren!”
35 “For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is My brother, and My sister, and mother.”
After giving some specimens of Jesus’s teaching, Mark records four examples of the overmastering impression which He made on the minds of His disciples, namely, the stilling of the storm on the sea of Galilee; the healing of the Garadene demoniac, the raising of Jairus’ daughter; and the healing of the woman with the menstrual haemorrhage. Mark is still continuing to portray Jesus as “Lord,” Lord of the storm fiend, &c. The episode of the storm was not meant to teach that Jesus could not die. Not long after this He did die—a far more terrible death than drowning. His beneficent activities have been an underlying inspiration to the world, as well as to the church; but the picture of Jesus sleeping amid the storm brings no less reassurance to our faith. He saw nothing to be afraid of http://www.godsplan.org.uk/thetruth.htm. In life of in death, in the storm as in the sunshine, He was safe in His Father’s keeping.
The detail in which the incident of the Garadene demoniac is told suggests it was regarded as a test case: If Jesus could fail anywhere, he would fail here. Many religious workers will be reminded of cases in which they have been confronted with apparently helpless victims of some vile habit that, like a vile monster, held them in its grip. To such the narrative brings its message that though the name of the devils within the man is legion. (a word that indicates the thousands of mail clad warriors in the most powerful military engine of the time), and yet, when the voice of jesus is heard, “Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit,” it will be obeyed.
One of the most beautiful narratives in the Gospels is that is of the woman who waylaid Jesus as He was going to the home of Jairus. Her illness was one that made her ceremonially unclean. Worn out with long years of weakness, social ostracism, and shame, with a strange mixture of superstition and faith she touched the tassel of Jesus’ robe and knew she had touched the fountain of life.
Leviticus 15:25 And if a woman have an issue of her blood many days out of the time of her separation, or if it run beyond the time of her separation; all the days of the issue of her uncleanness shall be as the days of her separation: she shall be unclean.
All who have worked for others understand Mark’s remark that Jesus realised there had been a drain on His healing power, for the Master’s work of saving others was a costly work.
Mark 5:30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that virtue had gone out of Him, turned Him about in the press, and said, “Who touched My clothes?”
In this case, as in so many others, Jesus told the invalid that her salvation was due to faith. By faith he meant the assurance that all around us, rivers of healing, life-giving energy from God, are flowing, beating against the barriers that we erect around our lives, barriers of blindness, and deafness, http://www.godsplan.org.uk/earstohear.htm http://www.crossroad.to/HisWord/verses/topics/blinded.htm of want of hope and courage. To have faith is to throw down these barriers, to let the river of God flow over our souls and save us.
Sending Forth the Twelve.
Very possibly the Jewish authorities had not fully realised the consequences of Jesus’ attaching to Himself the twelve disciples. The potentialities of the band were revealed when He decided on what we should now call, a whirlwind campaign in the villages of Galilee. As this was the beginning, in an organised form, of that missionary activity which, by the time the Gospels were written, had attained such dimensions and was raising difficult problems, the details of Jesus’ instructions to the missionaries would be carefully remembered (Matthew 10 & Luke 10). He evidently felt a crisis was approaching; the evangelisation of Galilee was a matter of extreme urgency. There was no time for salutations, nor would there be opportunity to enter Gentile or even Samaritan territory (Matthew 10:5—42). We would gladly know more of this mission than the Gospels have told us.
It is at this point Mark records the death of John the Baptist, whose fate foreshadowed that of Jesus. As the first Elijah had rebuked Ahab and Jezebel, so the second Elijah rebuked Antipas and his illegal wife, Herodias, and paid the penalty with his life (although, there is reason to think that fear of political trouble through John’s great influence with the people was one of Herod’s motives for this judicial murder).
When the missionaries returned from their tour, Jesus sought a quiet spot to give them rest. But the crowds would not leave them alone, and, in the words of Micaiah to King Ahab, they seemed to Jesus as sheep not having a shepherd.
1 Kings 22:17 And he said, I saw all Israel scattered upon the hills, as sheep that have not a shepherd: and the Lord said, These have no master: let them return every man to his house in peace.
Mark 6:52 For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
Speaks of the meal that followed Jesus’ teaching as he speaks of the parables, i.e., as of a mystery with a hidden meaning that only the enlightened could understand. It is to this narrative that John attaches the sermon of Jesus on the bread of life.
26 Jesus answered them and said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek Me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.”
27 ‘Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for Him hath God the Father sealed.’
28 Then said they unto Him, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?”’
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.”
30 They said therefore unto Him, “What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?”
31 ‘Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’
32 Then Jesus said unto them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.”
33 ‘For the bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.’
34 Then said they unto Him, “Lord, evermore give us this bread.”
35 And Jesus said unto them, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst”.
36 ‘But I said unto you, That ye also have seen Me, and believe not.’
37 All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out”
38 ‘For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.’
39 ‘And this is the Father's will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.’
40 And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.’
41 The Jews then murmured at Him, because He said,” I am the bread which came down from heaven.”
42 And they said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that He saith, I came down from heaven?”
43 Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, “Murmur not among yourselves.”
44 ‘No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day’.
45 ‘It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me.’
46 ‘Not that any man hath seen the Father, save He which is of God, He hath seen the Father.’
47 ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.’
48 ‘I am that bread of life..
49 ‘Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead’.
50 ‘This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.’
51 ‘I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.’
52 The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”
53 Then Jesus said unto them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.”
54 ‘Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.’
55 For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.’
56 ‘He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him’.
57 ‘As the living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me.’
58 ‘This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.”’
The very language which the Gospel writers tell how Jesus “took,” “blessed” “brake” and “gave” the bread is the language of the sacrament. When men are hungry for the bread of life, problems about material things will somehow solve themselves.
A Journey Beyond Palestine.
About this time Jesus seems to have left Palestine for a period. Why He did so, and what exactly was the route He took, we are in large measure left to conjecture (speculation). A visit to the synagogue in His home town of Nazareth had begun with rapt attention on the part of the people (Luke 4:16 forward) as He read the beautiful opening verses of Isaiah 61; but when the people remembered He was one of themselves, and noticed that He implied that Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled in Himself, there was a revulsion of feeling which ended in His narrowly escaping from an attempt to throw Him over a precipice. From Matt 11:20—24, and Luke 10:13—15. we learn that He had been rejected in the Galilean cities of Chorazin, and Bethsaida, and even in Capernaum, which had been the scene of much of His work. It was not only the religious leaders but the whole generation that was described as turning a deaf ear to the message both of John the Baptist, and of Jesus.
20 Then began He to upbraid the cities wherein most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not:
21 ‘Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.’”
22 But I say unto you, “It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.”
23 “And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.”
24 But I say unto you, “That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee”.
13 “Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.”
14 “But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.”
15 “And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.”
16 “But whereunto [what] shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,”
17 And saying, “We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.”
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, “He hath a devil.”
19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, “Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.”
May it be that the lightning was expected to presage (an intuition or feeling of what is going to happen in the future) some startling interposition of God? When, instead of some manifest evidence of the coming of the Kingdom, opposition deepened among all classes, Jesus sought an opportunity such as He could never get in Palestine for meditation, for waiting on the will of God. At all events, it was not to carry on His work that He toured the districts north of Galilee and east of the Jordan.
Mark 7:24 And from thence He arose, and went into the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and entered into an house, and would have no man know it: but He could not be hid.
This too would help to explain His apparently harsh answer to the woman of Syrian Phœnicia.
Mark 7:27 But Jesus said unto her,” Let the children first be filled: for it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it unto the dogs”.
It may be that she was voicing to Jesus at the time a very real temptation: to leave the work He believed God had given Him to do among the Jews and start a mission among the Gentiles. There are indications that they would have been far more responsive than their own people.
Romans 2:10 But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
When the Bible refers to the Jews first, then the Gentiles, it means that the descendants of Jacob, called Jews, were the ones who first heard the Gospel message brought by Jesus. After that it went to the Gentiles who lived outside Judea and Galilee.
Change in Teaching Following Peter’s Confession.
With a visit to Cæsarea Philippi, far to the north, near mount Hermon and the sources of the Jordan, we reach a new and all important chapter in the history of Jesus. He began to speak about Himself. This He does regularly in the fourth Gospel, but only to a minor extent in the earlier chapters of the first three. At this point also there enters into the Gospel narrative, certain elements that became distinctive features of the early apostolic preaching. It is well known that the theology of the church expressed in the creeds was reached only gradually, by stages which continued through centuries. It has been customary to think of Jesus as having from the beginning of His ministry that estimate of Himself and His mission which the church afterward came to have. Students of our day have found it difficult to accept this mode of thought. It does not seem to be in accordance with God’s way of working.
Hebrews 5:8 Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered;
In the neighbourhood of Cæsarea Jesus asked His disciples what were the popular theories about Himself, and then what was their own theory. It was Peter who ushered the historic words, “Thou art Christ”
Mark 8:29 And He saith unto them, “But whom say ye that I am? And Peter answereth and saith unto Him, “Thou art the Christ”.
The word “Christ,” or “Anointed One” was associated in the mind of Jews with the King, with the high priest, and with a figure that appeared in some of the pictures of the coming Kingdom, one of the lineage of David who would restore the splendour of David’s reign. However, for His conception of God’s Anointed, Jesus pointed to Isaiah 61, to the One Who was anointed to proclaim good tidings, to deliver, and to heal. Moreover, there are indications that from a very early period of the ministry He had premonitions of the fate that awaited Him, felt that one day the bridegroom would be taken from the disciples.
Mark 2:20 But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days.
He knew, too, the prophecies of the Suffering Servant (http://www.godsplan.org.uk/thesufferingsandglory.htm) in the later chapters of Isaiah, and saw their significance as the Jews did not. Thus in the very moment of what seemed His triumph, Jesus began the new teaching: “I am the Christ indeed, anointed not to glory but to suffering; no greater, and second David but a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” From this point we hear the watchwords that must have meant so much to the Roman readers of Mark’s Gospel in the dark days of Nero’s persecution: “bearing the cross” and following “following Jesus” to martyrdom, “losing one’s life to save it,” “for My sake and the Gospel’s,” “the coming of the Son of man.” “Matthew” alone records that when Simon made his memorable declaration, Jesus, who had already given him the nickname “Petros,” “the Rock-man,” by a play on the word declared that the foundation stone had now been laid on which He would build the edifice of the great and sacred company of His followers.
Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, “That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
With His passion now full in view, the very appearance of Jesus was full in view. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/thetransfiguration.htm. For a little while the veil was lifted and the three favoured disciples –Peter, James, and John—saw Him in the glory of His utter consecration to the will of God (Mark 9:2—50).
In several points the narrative recalls the transfiguration of Moses on the mount.
Exodus 34: 29—34
29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him [Aaron].
30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.
31 And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.
32 And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him in Mount Sinai.
33 And till Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a vail on his face.
34 But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.
Cost of Discipleship.
57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto Him,” Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.”
58 And Jesus said unto him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”
59 And He said unto another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said unto him, “Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.”
61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow Thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.”
62 And Jesus said unto him, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Luke (9:57 forward) gives three illustrations of the way in which Jesus selected and dealt with the men to whom His message was making its appeal. To offer them attractions or smooth the way for them was the last of His thoughts.
1. The effervescing enthusiast was told to count the cost of following a nameless wanderer, as Jesus had now become.
2. The man who wanted to wait until his father died was reminded that the King’s business required haste: there were enough men with dead souls to bury his father when he died.
3. A third made the excuse that before joining the band he wished to pay a farewell visit to his people at home.
Jesus remembered how His own home folks had tried to divert Him from His God-given work. There had been sad parting scenes too during the recent farewell visit to Capernaum.
33 And He came to Capernaum: and being in the house He asked them, “What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?”
34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.
35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.
36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,
37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.
Not long after this we find Peter reminding Jesus of all they have given up to be with Him. Mark 10:28 Then Peter began to say unto Him, “Lo we have left all, and followed thee.”
So Jesus told the candidate that the ploughman who would plough a straight furrow must plough with his eye on the mark.
Journey Toward Jerusalem and its Incidents.
The direct road from Galilee to Jerusalem was through Samaria; but Jesus was turned aside from His route by Samaritan discourtesy.
51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that He should be received up, He stedfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,
52 And sent messengers before His face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for Him.
53 And they did not receive Him, because His face was as though He would go to Jerusalem.
54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?”
55 But He turned, and rebuked them, and said, “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.”
56 ‘For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.”’. And they went to another village.
No longer anxious to be hidden, He travelled to Jerusalem, partly through Peræa (east of the Jordan), partly through Judæa. Perhaps about this time, a reply of Jesus to a question about divorce did much to increase the hostility of the civil and religious authorities. It asserted that Moses’ permission of divorce was only a temporary concession to the weakness of human nature; which must have seemed to the scribes a dangerous and far-reaching principle. Further, Jesus implicitly (absolute) went beyond John the Baptist in His condemnation of Herod, for His reply declared immoral Herod’s divorce from his first wife that had given a semblance of legality to his marriage with Herodias, while it gave the ugly name of adulteress to Herodias who had, under Roman law (she had been living in Rome), divorced her first husband to marry Herod.
Mark 10:12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.
With that dramatic appropriateness that sometimes characterises the arrangement of the Gospel material, Mark introduces at this point the beautiful narrative of the parents who brought that the great Rabbi might lay His hands upon them in blessing.
13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
Against the background of the unsophisticated children, Mark draws the picture of the rich man who came running to ask Jesus how to get eternal life. Jesus was strongly attracted to the earnest, upright man and would fain (happily) have added him to the disciple circle; but with His usual insight He imposed upon him the condition of parting with his wealth. In a flash, the man saw himself for the first time, and went away crestfallen.
As Jesus went on His way to Jerusalem—the Jerusalem that killed her prophets and stoned the messengers God sent her—He no longer walked with His disciples as of old in friendly intercourse. He walked in front of them, alone, the physical distance between them faintly shadowing forth the gulf that separated His thought from theirs.
Mark 10:32 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,
Following after the disciples were amazed and frightened at the changed mood of their Master. When He did speak to them it was of the fate that awaited Him in Jerusalem. So little did they picture it, as he pictured it that, even on this last journey, James and John begged for the posts of honour on each side of the Messianic throne upon which already in imagination they saw Jesus seated. Could they have seen His throne upon Calvary, would they still have prayed this prayer? In Jericho, Jesus gave further offence to the religious leaders by accepting hospitality from the rich little Jewish district superintendent of taxation, Zacchæus. Like the rich ruler he had come to Jesus running; but whereas the ruler could not, when asked, divest himself of his possessions, Zacchæus, unmasked, disgorged his ill—gotten gains.
Luke 19: 8 And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord: Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.
As they left Jericho a blind beggar, Bartimæus, one of the few among those who Jesus helped whose names where remembered in after years, a man of that determined character that always appeared to Jesus, addressed Him by His Messianic title, “Son of David”; the only occasion in Mark and Luke on which He is addressed by this title.
The Triumphant Entry.
Jesus had apparently that at the approaching feast He would declare Himself as Messiah, following a suggestion in;
Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”
Jesus approached Jerusalem riding upon an ass, which by previous arrangement He had borrowed from the village of Bethphage on the outskirts of Jerusalem. He followed the road along the Mount of Olives, from which the messiah was expected to appear. In this way He half revealed and half concealed His claim to be the Messiah, and at the same time made clear His Kingdom was not of this world.
Events of Passion Week.
The triumphal entry took place on the Monday of the last week of Jesus’ life. Following the custom of every pious Jew, He went at once to the Temple, but that night, and each succeeding night, was spent in Bethany or in its neighbourhood. At festival time accommodation in the city would be at famine prices. In any case, in the darkness of the night, One whom had offended so many powerful interests as Jesus had was safer outside the city. When the time came He was ready to be offered up as a living sacrifice, but His death must be one that had significance for God and man.
1). The Barren Fig Tree. On the return journey from Bethany on Tuesday morning took place the puzzling incident known as the cursing of the Fig-tree.
Mark 11: 12--14
12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, He was hungry:
13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came, if haply He might find anything thereon: and when He came to it, He found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
A Fig Tree = The symbol of Israel as to national privilege.
having leaves. Summer was not near which was symbolical of Israel at that time.
28 Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When her branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is near.
29 So ye in like manner, when ye shall see these things come to pass, know that it is nigh, even at the doors.
14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, “No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.” And His disciples heard it.
His disciples heard. A Divine supplement, here. They heard also the Lord’s teaching as to the symbol. Those who have ears to hear, hear what is being taught.
Mark 11: 20—22
20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto Him, “Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.”
22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, “Have faith in God.”
Mark 11: 23--33
23 For verily I say unto you, “That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”
24 Therefore I say unto you, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.”
25 ‘And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.’
26 ‘But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.’
27 And they come again to Jerusalem: and as He was walking in the temple, there come to Him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders,’
28 And say unto Him, ‘By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?’
29 And Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘I will also ask of you one question, and answer Me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.’
30 ‘The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer Me.’
31 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, ‘If we shall say, From heaven; He will say, Why then did ye not believe Him?’
32 But if we shall say, ‘Of men;’ they feared the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.
33 And they answered and said unto Jesus, ‘We cannot tell.’ And Jesus answering saith unto them, ‘Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.’”
2) Cleansing the temple.
Also on the Tuesday took place the cleansing of the Temple.
13 And the Jews' Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting:
15 And when He had made a scourge of small cords, He drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables;
16 And said unto them that sold doves, “Take these things hence; make not My Father's house an house of merchandise.”
17 And His disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up.
(v13) The Jews’ Passover. After the revival of Ezra and Nehemiah corruption proceeded space, and the Lord found the nation described in Malachi. Hence, what was once “the feasts of Jehovah” are spoken of as what they had become , feasts of the Jews’. = A characteristic expression of this Gospel, pointing to the consequences of their rejection of the Messiah, when they would be Lo Ammi (= not My People): no longer regarded as Israel, but as Jews.
My Father’s House. This was at the beginning of His Ministry. At the end He called it “your house” (Matt 23:38).
The priests had allowed the traffic in sacrificial animals and in the coins required to pay the Temple dues to invade the precincts of the Temple itself. Amid the varied sounds and smells of a cattle and bird market, and the chaffering and cheating of the dealers, prayer was impossible for Gentiles in the only court they were permitted to enter. When Jesus, by the sheer force of His personality, ended the traffic for the time, the chief priests, for the most part Sadducees, of whom hitherto we have heard little, became as zealous for the death of Jesus as the Pharisees. Not only had He struck a blow at their lucrative monopoly and humbled them in the eyes of the laity; He had endangered the public peace and so rendered insecure the authority which they held under Rome.
3) God or Cæsar.
Mark 12: 14—17
14 And when they were come, they say unto Him, “Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?”
15 “Shall we give, or shall we not give?” But He, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, “Why tempt ye Me? bring Me a penny, that I may see it.”
16 And they brought it. And He saith unto them, “Whose is this image and superscription?” And they said unto Him, “Caesar's.”
17 And Jesus answering said unto them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” And they marvelled at Him.
Wednesday finds Jesus again in the Temple. The chief priests, scribes, and elders, (i.e. representatives of all three official classes). formally demanded from Him a statement of the nature of the authority which justified Him in His proceedings, especially for His temerity (recklessness) in usurping the functions of the Temple police. It was a demand, the answer to which might have delivered Him into their hands. In effect Jesus’ answer was that His only authority lay in this:
As in the case of John the Baptist, men of clean sympathies and responsive heart recognised in him the bearer of a Divine commission. Then a new trap was laid for Jesus.
Ever since Judæa was taken over by the Romans in 6 A.D. a poll tax had been imposed on adult Jews. The tax was intensely unpopular, partly as evidence of Jewish servitude to Rome, and partly because the Dinar (The tax coin) bore the head of Cæsar (considered a god by Romans) and so infringed the second commandment.
Exodus 20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Jesus’ reply to the deputation that came for His opinion Mark 12:17 And Jesus answering said unto them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.” And they marvelled at Him.
This forms the basis of all Christian thought on the relation of church and state. Prof Joseph F. McFadyen writes in the (Abingdon Bible Company, The Life of Jesus Christ. Page 900, Topic 3), however; its immediate effect was to strengthen the position of His enemies. By hinting at the insignificance of the whole political question in comparison with the eternal issues that were hanging in the balance,
· He lost His chance of winning the support of the loyalists,
· At the same time, as He was to find out two days later, and as He doubtless knew at the time, His answer did nothing to win for him the protection of the Roman government.
The writer is thinking like a loyalist; as professors often do, without facing the Spiritual fact that this fallen earth is the subject of iniquitous action, by Satan, Adam, and Eve. The second Adam, Hebrew Elohim, plural was not on this earth to appease the loyalists, nor the Roman government, but to …render to God the things that are God’s. He was loyal in every way to His Father, so must every Christian be also. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/firstandsecondadam.htm
4) The Anointing at Bethany.
As they were leaving the Temple His disciples called His attention to the magnificence of the Temple buildings, of which every Jew was justly proud. Jesus, however, knew that more of worldly policy, and of worldly wisdom, than of piety had gone into the building of Herod’s Temple, and saw the whole system for which it stood was tottering to its fall (Mark 13:1 KJV - forward) WATCH. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/great%20tribulation2.htm
Two days before the Passover, i.e., apparently, still on the Wednesday of Holy Week, the chief priests and scribes decided that the time to strike had almost come. A gleam of light shed on the dark story by the insertion, between the account of the plot of the officials and of the treachery of Judas, of the ever-fragrant tale of the anointing of Jesus by a woman in the house of Simon the leper in Bethany, which was perhaps Jesus’ home during the last nights of His life.
Mark 14: 3—7
3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on His head.
4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, “Why was this waste of the ointment made?”
5 ‘For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor.’ And they murmured against her.
6 And Jesus said, “Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on Me.’
7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but Me ye have not always.’”
It was in exquisite form the greeting to host of honoured guest; it was balm for the Spirit that she saw daily, bruised by the buffetings of an unappreciative world. She was one of those who saw in Jesus the Lord’s Anointed, and felt it shameful that the end should come with no visible anointing. But Jesus recognised in it an even deeper significance. There loomed before His mind the death that might deprive His body of that respectful attention of friends that helps to rob death of its terror, and, when the bystanders grumbled at the woman’s extravagance and forwardness; He told them she had prepared His body beforehand for its entombment.
5) Judas and His Bargain.
At this time an unexpected stroke of luck befell the enemies of Jesus. Surrounded as He was by friendly crowds during the day and leaving the city each night, they could not see how they could arrest Him, until one of the twelve came to them with a proposition—for a certain sum of money to lead them to His nightly resting place and point Him out. The motive of Judas has been the subject of endless surmise. Apparently he was bitterly disappointed in Jesus. He would have followed a “Son of David” Christ, but had no interest in a Messiah whose constant theme was suffering and death, and who resisted every suggestion that he should put Himself at the head of the loyalists, and who even advocated payment of the poll tax.
6) The Last Supper.
We have now reached Thursday. The Passover Feast had to be eaten within the city, and Jesus had looked forward with keen anticipation to the celebration with His disciples of this particular feast.
Luke 22:15 And he said unto them, “With desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer:”
The visit had to be made in secret. Jesus had previously arranged with a friend to lend a room for the occasion. When night fell they sat down to supper. As with so much else in the life of Jesus, the significance of that meal was only gradually revealed. Doubtless with Jesus present, every meal of the disciple band had become to some degree a festival of brotherhood, just as with the early Christians, every meal was a sacrament.
Acts 2:42, 46
42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,
Ever since the Master had set His face toward Jerusalem the disciples knew that he was marching on to some strange destiny. It is not quite clear whether the meal was the regular Passover meal or not; in any case, the Passover was in the minds of all, with its remembrance of sacrifice and redemption from bondage. Jesus knew that the hour of His death had all but come: He knew also that His death would be the gateway of life, not only for Himself but for His followers.
He had found inspiration in Isaiah’s prophecy of the Suffering Servant on whom Jehovah had laid the iniquity of us all. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/thesufferingsandglory.htm
He had studied Jeremiah’s prophecy of the New Covenant, and was familiar, as was every Jew, with the idea of a Covenant inaugurated with blood.
Jeremiah 31:31 “Behold, the days come’, saith the Lord, ‘that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:’”
Exodus 24:8 And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.
Moreover, He felt assured that the parting was but for a season. In a little while He and His followers would share in the glad feast prepared by God for those who inherited the Kingdom. http://godsplan.org.uk/futurekingdom.htm
Luke 22:16 For I say unto you, “I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
With some such thoughts in His mind Jesus blessed and gave to His disciples the bread that meant His body; offered thanks and gave to them the cup that meant His blood of the New Covenant.
7) Gethsemane and the Arrest
Since Bethany was outside Jerusalem limits, and it was contrary to the Law to leave Jerusalem on the feast night, He went only to the Mount of Olives, stopping at an olive orchard called Gethsemane, one of His favourite resorts.
1 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the Passover unto the Lord thy God: for in the month of Abib the Lord thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.
2 Thou shalt therefore sacrifice the Passover unto the Lord thy God, of the flock and the herd, in the place which the Lord shall choose to place his name there.
3 Thou shalt eat no leavened bread with it; seven days shalt thou eat unleavened bread therewith, even the bread of affliction; for thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt in haste: that thou mayest remember the day when thou camest forth out of the land of Egypt all the days of thy life.
4 And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there anything of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning.
5 Thou mayest not sacrifice the Passover within any of thy gates, which the Lord thy God giveth thee:
6 But at the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the Passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.
7 And thou shalt roast and eat it in the place which the Lord thy God shall choose: and thou shalt turn in the morning, and go unto thy tents.
There He endured that experience which Luke calls His Agony, which we can share only as we share His purity of soul and His Divine love for the humanity He was trying to save. In trying to find its theological significance we sometimes forget the immediate circumstances. With a part of the mob He had certain popularity, but His native city had turned against Him; Capernaum had rejected Him; He had been hounded out of His own Galilee. The priests and leaders of His people were but waiting their chance to slay Him; He could not fully trust the twelve; the three disciples of the inner circle could not even stay awake in His hour of peril and agony of soul; one of the Twelve even then was bringing His enemies to arrest Him.
Nor were these men monsters of iniquity; this was life; it is thus that God’s children deal with God’s messengers. Can we wonder that His soul was exceedingly sorrowful unto death?
Judas, who had slipped away from the company at some time during the evening, now arrived with a detachment of the Temple police and gave the Judas kiss, the prearranged signal for the arrest.
None of the Twelve were present during the trial of Jesus, and the details are not clear. it looks as if the treachery of Judas caused the authorities to change their plans. They had not meant to proceed with the arrest until after the days of unleavened bread were over. Now they saw the chance of getting rid of Him before the Passover; but there were only about eighteen hours left. Utmost haste was necessary and they were not ready either with their formal charges or their witnesses, and it almost looked for a time that they were going to be beaten. Apparently about this time the right of imposing the death penalty, at least in political cases, was taken from the Jews, but they had the right and the duty of conducting a preliminary investigation. In this of course the lead was taken by the Sadducee priests, who had the political power.
Apparently, after an unofficial examination during the night by Annas, an ex-high priest who still had great influence, the official investigation before Caiaphas, the actual high priest began at day break. The only charge that could be seriously supported was one to the effect that Jesus had said He would destroy the Temple made by hands, and in three days erect another not made by hands. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/earthlytabernacle.htm
Mark 14:58 We heard Him say, “I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands”.
John 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
Throughout the investigation Jesus held His peace until He was formally asked by the high priest, “Are you the Christ?” Jesus replied, “I am.” It was the moment up to which His whole life had been leading. It gave the priests the opportunity for which they were waiting; it was only necessary to translate the word “Christ” into the word “King,” and they had a plausible charge on which to arraign (Law To call [an accused person] before a criminal court to hear and answer the charge made) Jesus before the Roman proconsul.
8) The Trial and Crucifixion.
Accordingly, He was now bound and handed over for official trial to Pilate. Luke, who alone gives the indictment, mentions three charges (Luke 23:2).
1. Jesus is an agitator.
2. He has urged Jews not to pay the imperial taxes.
3. He claims to be Christ, i.e. a King.
Luke 23:2 And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ a King.”
The first two charges were only meant to lead up to the third, which contained the real accusation. Pilate realised that there was more behind this case than appeared on the surface. Learning that Jesus belonged to the province of Galilee, he remitted the prisoner for examination and report to Herod. The trial and death of Jesus provided the humourists of the day with an abundant supply of material. Herod caught the prevailing spirit and gave his report by sending Jesus back to Pilate, dressed in mock royal array. This decision from a co religionist of Jesus and the official head of his province greatly strengthened the hand of Pilate. For a moment Pilate saw a way out when a crowd of citizens, who had learned to expect the release of a popular prisoner at each Passover, came surging up demanding that Jesus be set free. It soon transpired however, that the Jesus they wanted was the Jesus Barabbas, who had achieved great popularity among the Jews by taking part in a serious anti-Roman riot. Therefore, shouted the crowd, “For Jesus Barabbas, liberty! for Jesus Christ, the crucifixion.” Pilate doubtless more suspected that there was involved in the case some religious question that did not interest him, one on which the Jewish priests might be supposed to know their business. Early in his term of office he had learned to dread the inflexible determination of the Jews where their religion was concerned. Little dreaming that he was earning for himself a shameful immortality, he pronounced the death sentence.
It is difficult for a man with any spark of humanity even to read a detailed account of what crucifixion meant. Suffice it to say that the unhappy victims of the torture were spared no circumstance of pain or shame, and that a more awful death it would hardly be possible to imagine. We are not surprised to read the crucified victims used to curse and spit at their executioners. All this we must remember when we judge Peter for denying Jesus, and the others for deserting Him. As at the trial, so on the stake, Jesus for the most part preserved an unbroken silence. The cry from the stake that has most deeply impressed the church is given in all the first three Gospels:
Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is, being interpreted, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?”
Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani. The English translation of the Greek, which is the Greek transliteration of the Aramaic ’ēlī, ’ēlī, lamah ‘ӑzabthānī. The whole expression is Aramaic http://levendwater.org/companion/index_companion.html
see Ap 94 III.3 Words not reported in Luke or John. Quoted from Psalm 22:1 “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me? Why art thou so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring?” Thus with the Lord’s last breath He gives Divine authority to the Old Testament. See Ap 117. I. See levendwater link.
They are the opening words of Psalm 22, that psalm which begins as a despairing cry of dereliction and ends up as a song of triumph. At three o’clock, expectantly, the end came. http://www.godsplan.org.uk/thesufferingsandglory.htm
Hebrew my El (Ap 4 IV). God as Almighty in relation to the creature; not Jehovah (Ap 4 II) in covenant relation with His servant. The Psalm is Christ’s prayer and plea on the stake. It begins with My God, My God, and it ends with “it is finished”. If the Lord uttered the whole of the Psalm on the stake, the dying malefactor must have “heard” and believed Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The “Kingdom” had been referred to by Christ in (Psalm 22:22—30). http://godsplan.org.uk/futurekingdom.htm http://www.godsplan.org.uk/threestages1.htm scroll to the bottom of page to see all 12 periods.
22 I will declare Thy Name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee.
23 Ye that fear the Lord, praise Him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify Him; and fear Him, all ye the seed of Israel.
24 For He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; Neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto Him, He heard.
25 My praise shall be of Thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear Him.
26 The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek Him: your heart shall live for ever.
27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before Thee.
28 For the kingdom is the Lord's: and He is the governor among the nations.
29 All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before Him: and none can keep alive his own soul.
30 A seed shall serve Him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
Risen and Alive Forevermore.
Thus ended Jesus of Nazareth; thus began Jesus, the Christ, the Lord of the Christian Church. To the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, the whole N.T., the Christian Church, the Christian Sabbath, and all Christian experience bear ample testimony. That the new faith of the disciples began with appearances of the risen Christ is certain;
It is the unanimous testimony of the N.T., the validity of which has been amply demonstrated in the subsequent history of the Church, that after the death of Jesus His followers had with Him a communion more continuous and vital than they had had in the days of His flesh, that their personality, in all its powers, and in all its aspects, was quickened to an unexampled vitality. Of this they had no explanation, save that the risen Christ had taken possession of them, and to know that was sufficient.