Bartimaeus Alliance of the Blind, Inc.
Home Articles & Books Arno C. Gaebelein commentaries

This short commentary on the Gospel of Mark by A.C. Gaebelein will prove helpful in your study of God's Word. Enjoy!

Arno Clement Gaebelein

Copyright 1919: In the Public Domain

                            THE GOSPEL OF MARK


     The Gospel of Mark is the briefest of the four Gospels. The
traditional view, which holds that the Apostle Peter dictated this record
into the pen of Mark, so that he was only an amanuensis, has been proven
erroneous. Equally incorrect are other theories, that the Gospel of Mark
was written first and served Matthew and Luke in giving their account,
copying from it and making additions, or, the hypothesis that there was an
original record, a common source, which the Evangelists used. All these
opinions are mostly the inventions of men who disbelieve the inspiration of
the chosen instruments of God in giving a fourfold picture of His blessed
Son on earth. An unswerving faith in the inspiration of the four
Evangelists solves all the supposed difficulties and discrepancies of which
we hear so much in our days. Inspiration makes error impossible.

     Mark was not an Apostle. Two Apostles were chosen to write Gospel
records, Matthew and John. The other two, Mark and Luke, did not belong to
the twelve. Mark's and John's Gospels give us the chronological account,
while Matthew and Luke were led under the guidance of the Holy Spirit not
to pen the events chronologically, but to arrange them in such a way as to
bring out the distinctive features of their respective Gospels.

     While Matthew describes the Lord Jesus Christ as the King, Luke as the
Son of Man in His perfection, John as the true God and the eternal life,
Mark was chosen to write the account of our Lord as the obedient Servant.
It was announced by the Prophets that He would appear as a servant. Isaiah
beheld Him as the Servant of God. Through Zechariah the Spirit of God
announced, "Behold, I will bring forth my Servant, the Branch" (Zechariah
3:8). And after He had been on earth in the form of a servant, the Holy
Spirit in the Epistle to the Philippians tells us again that He who ever
existed in the form of God "made Himself of no reputation, and took upon
Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men"
(Philippians 2:7). Mark, himself a servant, was graciously called to give a
pen picture of this blessed Servant and to record His toil, His service of
love and patience, as well as His mighty works. All which does not stand in
definite relation to our Lord as the Servant is carefully omitted, and many
other things omitted by the other Evangelists are added, to describe the
manner and perfection of the Servant's work.

     The purpose of the Gospel of Mark must never be lost sight of in
studying it. Well may we call it the neglected Gospel, for it is the least
studied. God gave it that we His redeemed people might as His servants have
a pattern in our service. One thing, however, is absolutely necessary in
the intelligent and spiritual study of Mark and that is a constant
comparison with the Gospel of Matthew. Such a comparison will bring out the
beauties of the record given by Mark and shows the divine power which
guided infallibly these men of God.

     We have therefore given in the analysis the parallel passages from the
Gospel of Matthew and from the Gospel of Luke. The analysis contains many
hints and annotations, which will help in a closer study. At the close of
the analyzed Gospel the reader will find several articles on the
personality of Mark, the characteristic features of this Gospel and other
information, which, we hope, will prove of help to all students of this
part of God's Holy Word.


     "For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to
minister, and to give His life a ransom for many." Chapter 10:45.

     Part I. The Servant; who He is and how He came. Chapter 1:1-13.

     Part II. The Servant's work; not to be ministered unto,
              but to minister. Chapter 1.14-10:52.

     Part III. The Servant in Jerusalem. Presented as King
               and rejected. Chapter 11-13.

     Part IV. Giving His Life a ransom for many. Chapter 14-15:47.

     Part V. The Servant Highly exalted. Risen and Ascended; His
               commission to His servants and working with them.
               Chapter 16.


Chapter 1:1-13.

     1. The Servant, the Son of God. Verse 1.
     2. His coming promised and announced. Verses 2-8. Matthew 3:1-11;
        Luke 3:1-18; John 1:19-30.
     3. The Servant comes forth. Verses 9.11. Matthew 3:13-17;
        Luke 3:21-22; John 1:31-34.
     4. The Servant in the wilderness. Verses 12-13. Matthew 4:1-11;
        Luke 4:1-13.

     1. The Servant, the Son of God. Verse 1. No other Gospel begins in
this way. The Deity of our Lord is first of all emphasized. Nothing is said
about the virgin birth, nor is a genealogy given. The miraculous birth is
most fully brought out in Luke's Gospel, the Gospel of our Lord's humanity.
No genealogy appears in Mark; a servant does not need such. Nor do we find
Bethlehem mentioned, or the event which is characteristic to the Gospel of
Matthew, the visit of the wise men, seeking the newborn King of the Jews.
All these and other matters are omitted because they do not fall within the
scope and purpose of the Gospel of Mark. The Servant is the Son of God.
This great truth is fully attested by His obedience in always doing the
will of Him that sent Him and by His mighty miracles which accompanied His
loving service. If He were not the Son of God He could not have rendered
the perfect service. Sonship and Service always go together. Only a Son of
God can be a servant of God. Grace makes us, if we believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ, sons of God. True service for God is the result of the
enjoyment Of our sonplace in Christ Jesus. A deeper realization and
enjoyment of our sonship will be followed by a more obedient and constant
service. The Gospel of John gives the fullest witness that Jesus is the
Christ, the Son of God (John 20:31). The Gospel of Mark shows that He is
the Son of God by His wonderful character as the Servant.

     2. His Coming promised and announced. Verses 2-8. Prophets promised
His Coming (Malachi 3:1). The passage proves Him to be Jehovah. In Malachi
we read that Jehovah says "he shall prepare the way before Me." The Spirit
of God changes the "Me" to "Thy Face." The servant is none other than
Jehovah, who spoke to the Prophets. Isaiah 40:3 is likewise quoted. Here
too we find the same testimony that Jesus the Servant is Jehovah. "Prepare
ye the way of Jehovah."

     The account of the ministry of John the Baptist is the briefest in the
Gospel of Mark. A few sentences only describe his testimony in the
wilderness and his person. All the land of Judea and they of Jerusalem went
out to him. The baptism of John in the river of Jordan was the outward sign
of repentance. They confessed their sins. A comparison with the record of
the Baptist's ministry in Matthew, Luke and John is very instructive. In
Mark all the preaching of John concerning the state of the nation is
omitted, for the Holy Spirit describes in Mark John's ministry only as a
necessary preliminary to introduce the Servant and His ministry. Of the
baptism which Christ is to bring Mark mentions "the Holy Spirit;" "and with
fire" is left out. The fire baptism is His judgment work stated in Matthew
and Luke. Christ as the humble Servant does not execute judgment, but the
coming King (Matthew) and the Son of Man coming again (Luke) will judge and
burn the chaff with unquenchable fire.

     3. The Servant comes forth. Verses 9-11. The Servant appears to begin
His service. From Nazareth of Galilee He came forth. There too during the
hidden years He had served. The Servant was absolutely sinless and yet He
was baptized in Jordan. He showed His perfect willingness to take, in
obedience to the Father's will, the sinner's place in death. In verse 10
the word "straightway" is found for the first in Mark. It is the
characteristic word of this Gospel describing the promptness of His
service. The anointing by the reception of the Spirit follows. In Matthew
we read "heaven was opened unto Him." In Luke, "heaven was opened." In Mark
"He saw the heavens opened." Encouraging sight for Him, who had taken the
lowest place! All God's servants need the vision of this opened heavens.
The Father's voice proclaimed Him then as His beloved Son.

     4. The Servant in the Wilderness. Verses 12-13. Upon this He was
driven immediately into the wilderness to be tempted of Satan. His fitness
to be the Servant to minister and give His life for a ransom was fully
proven in His victorious conflict. The different temptations are not
reported by Mark; they belong to the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, where we
find them. But here we have a statement which is peculiar to Mark. "And was
with the wild beasts." It tells of his deep humiliation. Moses and Elijah
were in the wilderness being prepared for service. David also had been
alone in the solitary places. None, however, was in the place which He
took, whose eternal abode was the Father's bosom. The wilderness and the
wild beasts are the witnesses of a marred creation; the mighty Creator had
come in the form of the creature to meet and overcome under such conditions
the fallen being, Satan. Some have taught that He was in danger of being
attacked by the wild beasts. This was impossible (Psalm 91:9-13).

                   BUT TO MINISTER -- Chapter 1:14-10:52.

Chapter 1:14-45. The Ministry in Galilee after John's Imprisonment.

     1. The Servant in Galilee preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom.
        Verses 14-15. Matthew 4:12-17; Luke 4:14-15.
     2. The Calling of fellow servants. Verses 16-20. Matthew 4:18-22;
        Luke 5:1-11.
     3. The Servant in Capernaum. Verses 21-28; Luke 4:31-37.
     4. Peter's Mother-in-law raised up. Verses 29-31. Matthew 8:14-15;
        Luke 4:38-39.
     5. The Servant heals many and casts out demons. Verses 32-34.
        Luke 4:31-37; Matthew 8:16-18; Luke 4:40-41.
     6. The Servant in prayer. Verse 35.
     7. The Interruption and the renewed service. Verses 36-39.
        Luke 4:42-44.
     8. The Leper healed. Verses 40-45. Matthew 8:1-4; Luke 5:12-16.

     1. The Servant in Galilee preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom. Verses
14-15. The Servant begins His blessed service in Galilee immediately after
John had been put into prison. And now the Lord takes up the hushed
testimony of the forerunner. The heralding of the Kingdom at hand through
the presence of Him who came to His own is less prominent in Mark. In the
first twelve chapters of the Gospel of Matthew it is one of the leading
features. The time, indeed, was fulfilled. While Matthew and Luke report
the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom with the demand to repent, here
in Mark the words are added "and believe the Gospel." This gospel is of
course not the Gospel of our salvation. That was not preached till after He
had finished the work the Father gave Him to do.

     2. The Calling of fellow servants. Verses 16-20. It is a blessed scene
which we have before us. The Servant of God calls fellow servants, weak and
sinful men, to become fishers of men. These are Simon and Andrew, James and
John. They knew Him and had believed in Him. They were his disciples. But
now He calls them into service. "Come ye after Me." The Grace which called
them gave them power to forsake earthly things and to come after Him. Boats
and nets, their trade as fishermen and even their father, Zebedee, were
left behind. Oh! blessed place to serve the Lord Christ and yield obedience
to His call. We must own Him as Lord and follow Him in His own path of
faith, obedience and humility. To seek others and bring them to Himself is
the service to which He still calls. Note the word "straightway" in verses
17 and 20.

     3. The Servant in Capernaum. Verses 21-28. The Servant and His fellow
servants went to Capernaum. Straightway he entered the synagogue on the
Sabbath to teach. His first preaching in Nazareth (Luke 4:16-30) is not
reported by Mark. It is after they thrust Him out of the city where He had
been brought up, that He went to Capernaum. The blessed Servant knew no
discouragement nor self pity. They laid their wicked hands on Him in
Nazareth, then He went on to Capernaum and straightway taught there. His
doctrine uttered with authority and power astonished all, yet He ever was
the meek and lowly One. But the Word had another effect. A man with an
unclean spirit interrupted Him in the synagogue. Satan's power was present
and the demons were forced to confess "Jesus of Nazareth" as "the Holy One
of God." Then the Servant's power is manifested. He rebuked him and
commanded the demon to come out of him. The Servant's fame spread abroad
throughout all that region.

     4. Peter's Mother-in-law raised up. Verses 29-31. This miracle is
found in the Gospel of Matthew in a different setting. For the
dispensational setting see "The Gospel of Matthew," chapter 8. The place
given to this miracle here is equally significant. The first healing of
disease in the Gospel of Mark follows the casting out of the demon, the
defeat of Satan's power. This order will be followed when He comes again,
not as the lowly Servant, but as the mighty King. Then Satan will be bound
first and the greatest spiritual and physical blessings will come to this
poor world at last. Concerning the healing of Peter's wife's mother,
Matthew tells us "He touched her hand;" Luke "He stood over her and rebuked
the fever." Mark's testimony by the Holy Spirit is "He took her by the hand
and lifted her up." How beautiful! It reveals the tenderness, the loving
sympathy of the blessed One. With what gentleness He must have lifted her
up so as to avoid another pang of pain in her feverish body; but
immediately she was healed. And He is still the same.

     5. The Servant heals many and casts out demons. Verses 32-34.
Deliverance from demons and divers diseases came to many on that memorable
day "when the sun did set." We must view these deliverances and healings in
Mark's Gospel not so much as the evidences of His power as the
manifestations of the great love and goodness of the Servant. Then He
suffered the demons not to speak, because they knew Him. He loved to be
unknown and did not want the applause of men nor the witness of the unclean
spirits. Of His unostentatiousness we shall find further evidences.

     6. The Servant in Prayer. Verse 35. And after such a day of
uninterrupted toil, preaching, healing diseases, driving out demons,
occupied from early morning till the sun did set, we find Him, rising a
great while before day, in a solitary place, praying. He is alone in the
presence of the Father. Thus it was fulfilled, "He wakeneth morning by
morning, He wakeneth mine ear as the instructed" (Isaiah 50:4). Only Mark
gives us this precious information. It tells us that the Servant, though
the Son of God, walked in complete dependence on God His Father. Prayer is
the expression of such dependence. He had been anointed with the Spirit for
His work, heard the Father's loving approval, defeated Satan, cast out
demons, healed divers diseases, yet He is still the dependent One.
Independence in service for God is a snare, the very spirit of Satan. The
perfect Servant had His times for quietness, retirement and prayer, in
which He cast Himself anew upon Him, whom to glorify He had come to earth.
"And if He thus retired to be with God, Himself the Lord God, before He
entered upon the work of the day, can we wonder that we fail so much in
outward labor, who fail yet more in this inward intimacy with our Father?
Be assured, the secret of holy strength and endurance in service is found
there alone." (W. Kelly. "Gospel of Mark.") What child of God does not feel
the deep necessity of this and deplores the neglect of this blessed

     7. The Interruption and the renewed service. Verses 36-39. But He is
followed by his disciples and is interrupted even in prayer. No rebuke
comes from His lips. Willing He responds to the new demands. For that He
came "not to be ministered unto, but to minister."

     8. The Leper healed. Verses 40-45. Leprosy, that vile and loathsome
disease, is a type of sin. Like sin it is incurable and only Jehovah could
cure leprosy. When Jehovah had healed the disease the priest had to
pronounce the leper clean. This leper recognized in the humble Servant the
mighty Jehovah. He kneeled in His presence and expressed his faith in His
power and implored Him to make him clean. Here again Mark tells us
something of our blessed Lord, which we find neither in Matthew or Luke's
account. He was moved with compassion. Thus the spirit of God in some brief
additions portrays the Servant in His loving service. The leper is healed.
The Servant is Jehovah and both His love and His power are revealed. He
charged him to say nothing to any man. In this the Servant once more
manifests His humility, that He served in an unostentatious way. He did not
want honor from man. His Father knew all His service; that was enough for
Him. Yet the enemy through the cleansed leper attempted the popularity of
the Servant. He sought the desert places once more to hide Himself. May we
serve after this great pattern Servant.

Chapter 2.

     1. The Servant again in Capernaum. The healing of the Paralytic.
        Verses 1-12. Matthew 9:1-8; Luke 5:17-26.
     2. Levi called. With the Publicans and Sinners. Verses 13-17.
        Matthew 9:9-13; Luke 5:27-32.
     3. The Question concerning Fasting. Verses 18-22. Matthew 9:14-15;
        Luke 5:33-39.
     4. The Question concerning the Sabbath. Verses 23-28. Matthew 12:1-8;
        Luke 6:1-5.

     1. The Servant again in Capernaum. The healing of the Paralytic.
Verses 1-12. His second visit to Capernaum brought out a large multitude.
We see Him occupied with preaching the Word. He always preached the Word
first, to make known the Truth; for this He had come (1:38). Then in the
next place He confirmed His Word by His mighty works. The Paralytic tells
of man's impotence; leprosy is the type of Sin as a defiling, incurable
disease, paralysis shows man's helpless condition. The paralytic is
likewise the picture of Israel. The helpless paralytic is brought into the
presence of the Lord. Mark alone tells us that four carried him and
describes fully the obstacles in the way. They had faith in His love and in
His power. How it must have refreshed His heart! As His servants we can
still bring sinners into His presence and honor Him by our confidence.
"Son, thy sins be forgiven thee." With this blessed Word He touches the
root of all evil. To deal with it He had come. The proof that He is Jehovah
and has power to forgive sins is the healing of the paralytic. Love and
Power are here blessedly manifested. Love in forgiveness, power in healing
and restoration. It is ever repeated in the case of every believing sinner.
The two great elements of the Gospel are here. In some future day converted
Israel will know this (Psalm 103:1-3).

     2. Levi called. With the Publicans and Sinners. Verses 13-17. Levi,
the son of Alphaeus, is Matthew, the writer of the first Gospel. He was a
tax gatherer. As such he was despised by the nation Israel. Not alone were
they considered thieves, but they were the miserable hirelings of the
Romans and as such hated as Apostates. What Grace to call such an one to
the office of an Apostle! And the feast which followed reveals both the
loving condescension of the Servant-Son and His Grace to seek that which is
lost. The Servant had taken a low place by associating with the
tax-gatherers. In the eyes of the self-righteous Pharisees it was an
abomination. God in the person of His Son had come in Love and Grace
seeking man.

     3. The Question concerning Fasting. Verses 18-22. The disciples of
John approach Him next with a question. The Servant's ear was always ready
to listen to the perplexities, difficulties and sorrows of others. He was
always approachable. Under the Law they fasted. The Grace of God had now
appeared and Grace was soon to take the place of the Law. He Himself is the
Bridegroom. No need of fasting and mourning while He was with them. His
rejection would come and with it their fasting. A significant parable
follows. The old garment and the old wineskins are symbolic of Judaism with
its laws and ceremonies. The new piece and the new wine stand for the
Gospel. Law and Grace must not be mixed. If the Gospel of Grace, the new
wine, is put into the old wineskins, Judaism with its laws, the wineskins
go to pieces and the new wine is spilled. Much in Christendom today is
neither Law nor Grace. The Servant announced a change of dispensations.

     4. The Question concerning the Sabbath. Verses 23-28. The question
concerning the Sabbath is closely connected with the preceding parable. The
Sabbath, not a seventh day, but the seventh day, was the day on which God
rested in Creation. It was also the sign of His covenant with His people
Israel. Plucking ears of corn on the Sabbath to eat them is nowhere
forbidden in the Law. It was one of the hard and burdensome man-made
traditional injunctions. The Lord cites David's case. Mark adds that David
was not alone hungry, but "he had need." David, though anointed King, was
despised and in need. His greater Son and His disciples were in the same
condition. What is greater with God, the maintenance of an ordinance or the
need of Man? Surely the latter. He, the humble Servant, was none other than
the Lord of the Sabbath. He had rested in His Creation work and instituted
the Sabbath for His people. He had become the Son of Man for the need of
Man. As the Lord of the Sabbath He speaks, "The Sabbath was made for man
and not man for the Sabbath." On the ground of Grace the Sabbath no longer
exists. We have the Lord's day, the first day of the week to enjoy
communion with our risen and glorified Lord, resting from our daily
occupation. Blessed privilege to adore Him on that day and to follow His
own example of doing good.

Chapter 3.

     1. In the synagogue. The man with the withered hand healed. 
        Verses 1-6. Matthew 12:9-14; Luke 6:6-11.
     2. The Withdrawal of the Servant. Many healed. Verses 7-12.
        Matthew 12:15-21; Luke 6:17-19.
     3. On the Mountain calling the Twelve. Verses 13-19. Matthew 10:1-4;
        Luke 6:12.16.
     4. The interrupted meal. Verse 20.
     5. The Servant charged with madness. Verse 21.
     6. The Blasphemy of the Scribes; His Warning. Verses 22-30.
        Matthew 12:22-32; Luke 11:14-23.
     7. Old relationship disowned and a new relationship announced.
        Verses 31-35. Matthew 13:46-50; Luke 8:19-21.

     1. In the Synagogue. The Man with the withered hand healed. Verses
1-6. This incident stands in closest relation to the preceding chapter. In
their blindness they watched Him, if He would heal on the Sabbath. "Is it
lawful to do good on the Sabbath day, or to do evil; to save life or to
kill?" He answered the question by healing the sufferer. Note the addition
by Mark, which is not found elsewhere. "When He had looked round about them
with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts." It was a
righteous wrath when He saw them in their wicked and wilful hardness. His
service was rendered in the deepest emotions of His holy soul. He did good,
but Pharisees and Herodians were ready to destroy Him.

     2. The withdrawal of the Servant. Many healed. Verses 7-12. The sudden
departure of the Lord is not without meaning. Not alone did He withdraw
Himself from the hatred of the Pharisees and Herodians to continue His
ministry of love and power elsewhere, but His withdrawal indicates that the
nation Israel was to be set aside dispensationally. He withdrew Himself to
the sea. The sea is symbolical of the Gentile nations. Again they crowd
about Him--a great multitude from the border land of the Gentiles (Tyre and
Sidon). Satan's power was likewise manifested. Unclean spirits, when they
saw Him, fell down before Him. These were demon possessed persons. They had
to own and confess the Glory of the Servant. But He did not want their
witness and forbade them to make Him known.

     3. On the Mountain calling the Twelve. Verses 13-15. In Matthew we
find all these events and actions of our Lord in a different setting. In
vain do we look in our Gospel for the Sermon on the Mount. It is not
reported and only given in full in the Gospel of Matthew. The Sermon on the
Mount is the proclamation of the King concerning His Kingdom. Mark,
describing Him as the ministering One, had to omit the utterances of the
King. If we look for a place in Mark where the Sermon on the Mount belongs
chronologically, it is at this point. For the peculiar arrangement of the
events in the Gospel of Matthew see "Exposition of Matthew." He ordained
the twelve to be with Him and endowed with supernatural power to be sent
forth by Him. In Luke we read He prayed all night. The calling of the
Twelve was for the extension of His loving ministry. Notice also the giving
of names. "Boanerges" for the sons of Zebedee is only found here.

     4. The interrupted Meal. Verse 20. This is likewise mentioned by Mark
exclusively (see chapter 6:31). It shows that the Servant was ever ready to
minister, forgetting his own physical need.

     5. The Servant charged with madness. Verse 21. This is also a
characteristic statement in Mark's Gospel. It shows that His own relations
were ashamed of Him. They looked upon Him as being out of His mind. Thus
His perfect service of love, the untiring labor, never ceasing toil, was
judged by them.

     6. The Blasphemy of the Scribes. His Warning. Verses 22-30. Still
worse, the Jerusalem Scribes attributed His Divine power to Satan. What an
awful accusation! They could not deny the power, but refused to believe
that it was the power of God. Under Satanic impulses they called the Holy
Spirit a demon power. But the perfect wisdom of the Lord silenced their
blasphemy. The power He manifested was a power in the most blessed mercy to
man, the prey of Satan and his demons. If it were Satan's power then his
kingdom is divided. This is the unpardonable sin. No forgiveness for this
sin. The words "is in danger of eternal damnation" are better rendered by
"is guilty of an eternal sin" (see 1911 Bible).

     7. The Old Relationship disowned and a new Relationship announced.
Verses 31-35. He refused to see His relations. This refusal indicates the
broken relationship with Israel. He no longer recognizes His own, and
speaks of a new relationship, founded upon obedience to the will of His
Father. It was spoken in anticipation of the present dispensation.

Chapter 4.

     1. Teaching by the Seaside. The Parable of the Sower. Verses 1-20.
        Matthew 13:1-23; Luke 8:4-15.
     2. The Word to shine forth in testimony. Verses 21-25. Luke 8:16-18.
     3. The Parable of the Growth of the Seed and the Harvest.
        Verses 26-29.
     4. The Parable of the Mustard Seed. Verses 30-34. Matthew 13:31-35;
        Luke 13:18-19.
     5. The Storm on the sea and the wind rebuked. Verses 35-41.
        Matthew 8:23-27; Luke 8:22-25.

     1. Teaching by the Seaside. The Parable of the Sower. Verses 1-20. In
the Gospel of Matthew the scene which closes the preceding chapter is
followed by the seven parables (Matthew 13). In the seven parable discourse
the Lord teaches the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven in its present form.
These parables belong into the first Gospel because it is the Gospel of the
King. First He proclaimed the principles of the Kingdom (Matthew 5-7); then
after His rejection He taught in parables the Kingdom in mystery. Only two
of these parables are reported by Mark, the parable of the Sower and of the
Mustard Seed. Both relate to His work of ministry. Another parable,
however, is added, which is found nowhere else in the Gospels.

     The parable of the Sower is explained by Himself (verses 13-20). He
Himself is the great Sower and His fellow servants sow after Him. That
which is sown is the Word, even as He came to preach the Word. The devil,
the flesh and the world are the hindering forces.

     The Parable of the Sower is very simple. It is also noteworthy that
Mark adds a sentence, which is not found elsewhere. "Know ye not this
parable? And how then will ye be acquainted with all parables?" It is a
fundamental parable and a key to other parables. He graciously explains it.
What patience He had with His dull fellow servants! He is the Sower. That
which is sown is the Word; for this He came. Man cannot bring any fruit.
That which He sows can produce fruit. The devil, the flesh and the world
are antagonistic to the Word and the causes of failure and unfruitfulness.
Those who hear the Word and receive it (believe) yield fruit. But the
devil, the flesh and the world are even then active and influence

     2. The Word to shine forth in testimony. Verses 21-25. The Word
received in faith gives life and yields fruit. It must also shine forth in
testimony. This testimony may be obscured by "the bushel and the bed." The
bushel stands for the cares and material things of this present age; the
bed for ease and comfort. The cure for occupation with earthly things and
for an ease-loving life, the hindrances of a bright shining testimony, is
to remember the coming day of manifestation (verse 22). How bright and
perfect the example of the Servant. He did not know the bushel nor the bed.

     3. The Parable of the Growth of the seed and the Harvest. Verses
26-29. This parable is not recorded by any of the other evangelists. It is
closely linked with the words which precede. The day of manifestation is
the day of the harvest. The seed sown grows in secret. None knows how. Life
is in the Word. The blade, the ear and the full corn, after that the
harvest. This is the comforting assurance of the Servant. He sowed the seed
and then "slept and rose"--He died and rose from the dead. In view of it He
could rejoice in the knowledge that the seed would spring up, increase and
bring a harvest. And the sower will put in the sickle. The harvest (the end
of the age) is more fully revealed in Matthew 13. What was His comfort is
the comfort of all His true servants who sow the word.

     4. The Parable of the Mustard Seed. Verses 30-34. The unexpected
growth of the Kingdom during the absence of the Sower is taught in this
parable. In Matthew it is linked with the parable of the leaven. The
external growth (mustard seed) and the internal corruption (leaven) of
Christianity are foretold by Him. Christendom has developed into a powerful
world institution and become the lodging place of the fowls of the air.
These typify unclean beings (4:4, 15). The humble Servant never meant the
Word to produce such an abnormal growth.

     5. The Storm on the Lake and the Wind rebuked. Verses 35-41. The close
of the chapter fits in beautifully with the whole. The Servant is seen in
chapter 4 as the rejected One. He is sowing the seed. He leaves the earth
while the seed groweth unto the harvest. The storm on the lake gives the
picture of the trials and dangers of His own during this age; but He is in
the ship. Note a statement peculiar to Mark. "They took Him even as He was
in the ship." The Servant, though Lord of all, had a real human body. Here
we have a little picture of His weariness as Servant. Yet what a scene! He
had perfect rest in the midst of the storm while His disciples were
unbelieving. And then He manifested His power in rebuking the wind.

     "Reader, do you think that the power of the Son of God and God's
counsels could have failed because of an unexpected storm? Impossible! The
disciples were in the same boat with Jesus. Here is a lesson for us. In all
the difficulties and dangers of the Christian life, during the whole
journey upon the waves, often agitated by the tempestuous sea of life, we
are always in the same boat with Jesus, if we are doing His will. It may
seem to us that He is sleeping; nevertheless, if He allows the tempest to
rise in order to prove our faith, we shall not perish since we are with Him
in the storm; evidently neither He or we can perish. His security is our

Chapter 5.

     1. The Servant's Power over Satan's work. Verses 1-20.
        Matthew 8:28-34; Luke 8:26-39.
     2. The Servant's Power over disease and death. Verses 21-43.
        Matthew 9:18-26; Luke 8:40-58.

     1. The Servant's Power over Satan's work. Verses 1-20. The Storm on
the Lake was the work of Satan, but here the power of the enemy is more
prominent. The description of the demoniac differs from Matthew's and
Luke's account. His condition is described in fullest detail. He dwelt in
the place of the dead. No one could chain him; Satan's dominion and power
cannot be conquered by the effort of man. Then there is self-torture and
delusion in thinking of Christ as a tormentor. The complete identification
of the legion of demons with this poor victim is seen in verse 9. The power
of the Lord delivers the man. This miserable world is still in the thraldom
of Satan and his legion of demons. Demon possessions have not ceased. And
the Lord Jesus Christ is still the same. The demons enter the swine by
their own request and when granted the herd of swine rushed to destruction.
This is an evidence of the character of the devil. He is the murderer from
the beginning. But oh! the blessed change which had come for the demoniac.
Delivered completely, in the attitude of rest, no longer rushing to and fro
in torment, his nakedness covered and in his right mind. These are still
the results of salvation. He would remain in constant fellowship with His
deliverer. But the Servant demands service--and He announces directly what
the Lord had done for Him. This is still the blessed privilege of all who
have been delivered. They asked the Servant, with His loving Power to save
to the uttermost, to leave their coast. "When the presence of God is felt,
it is more terrible than that of Satan. Man would wish to free himself from
the latter, but cannot; but the presence of God is insupportable when it
makes itself felt, and indeed man has driven God (in the person of Christ)
out of this world." It shows once more the rejection of the Servant.

     2. The Servant's Power over disease and death. Verses 21-43. And now
He manifests Power over disease and death. The daughter of Jairus was sick
unto death. The willing Servant responds at once to the request of her
father. While on the way the poor, suffering woman touches the hem of His
garment. Verse 26 is found only in Mark. The Lord knows the touch of faith
and healing power goes forth from Him. She is healed. The sick daughter had
died, but the Lord raised her up. All has its blessed spiritual and
dispensational lessons. Man is dead in trespasses and sins but One has
power to give life and raise the dead. Faith is beautifully illustrated in
the woman who touched Him. Jairus' daughter represents Israel. The Lord
will come again into this earthly scene and then will call the remnant of
Israel to spiritual and national life. The woman, so hopeless, so helpless,
suffering and getting worse, is typical of the Gentiles. The hand of faith
can touch Him still. In verse 43 we see once more how the Servant loved
secrecy and despised ostentatiousness.

Chapter 6.

     1. The Servant rejected in Nazareth. Verses 1-6. Matthew 13:54-58;
        Luke 4:16-30.
     2. The Servant sends forth the Twelve. Verses 7-13. Matthew 10:5-15;
        Luke 9:1-6.
     3. King Herod troubled. Verses 14-16. Matthew 14:1-2;
        Luke 9:7-9.
     4. The Martyrdom of John. Verses 17-29. Matthew 14:3-12.
     5. The Servant's withdrawal for Rest. Verses 30-31. Luke 9:10-11.
     6. The feeding of the Five Thousand. Verses 32-44. Matthew 14:13-21;
        Luke 9:12-17; John 6:1-13.
     7. The Servant alone and His Return walking on the waters.
        Verses 45-52. Matthew 14:22-32; John 6:15-21.
     8. New Manifestations of His love and Power. Verses 53-56.
        Matthew 14:34-36.

     1. The Servant rejected at Nazareth. Verses 1-6. Once more we find Him
in Nazareth. The first thing is teaching, and though they were astonished
at His wisdom and power, they did not own Him as the Lord, but called Him
the Carpenter and were offended in Him. Such is the heart of man. Unbelief
tied His hands, yet in Love He healed a few and marvelled because of their
unbelief. But did He abandon them? Oh! the infinite patience and seeking
Grace of this perfect Servant! "He went round about the villages teaching,"
if perchance faith might yet respond to His willingness and power to heal.

     2. The Servant sends forth the Twelve. Verses 7-13. Now He sends His
Apostles forth and endows them with power. They are to depend in their
ministry upon Himself. Thus they were to be His followers for He was ever
dependent on God. Blessed principles are here which still hold good, though
the sending forth had a special meaning for Israel (see Matthew 10:5-15).

     3. King Herod troubled. Verses 14-16. It is the story of a troubled
conscience and fear produces the thought that it is John the Baptist risen
from the dead.

     4. The Martyrdom of John. Verses 17-29. The faithful herald of the
Servant suffered martyrdom. In the whole sickening scene of lust and
bloodshed the prince of this world, the god of this age is manifested in
this awful rule and power. It is a picture of the present age in opposition
to God. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life
hold sway. And this evil age is not gradually improved and getting better,
It is not abandoning its lusts and pride, its hatred of God and His Christ.
As long as Satan is the ruler the age must be evil. In such a scene the
Holy One came to minister and to give His life.

     5. The Servant's withdrawal for Rest. Verses 30-31. We have noticed
different withdrawals of the Lord. He withdrew for prayer and to the sea
and now when the Apostles gathered unto Him, the One to whom the fellow
servants must ever gather, to give a report of what they had done and
taught, He withdrew with them into a desert place. The Lord does not say
anything about their success (verse 13). There was danger of the
self-exaltation of the messengers. The silence of the Lord puts a check
upon it. It was His own power, which in goodness and mercy had done all
this. Instead we hear Him say, "Come ye yourselves apart into a desert
place and rest awhile." This again is found nowhere but in Mark. How
needful for all servants it is to heed this loving word. How easily in
constant service a servant can be lifted up and attribute something to
himself. True service only is possible by being occupied with the Lord. And
therefore we must ever learn to seek the presence of God. He remembered the
need of His messengers and the time of rest with Him gave them new

     6. The Feeding of the Five Thousand. Verses 32-44. Here we have the
compassion of the Servant in remembering the physical need of the people.
But before He supplied that need, "He began to teach them many things." The
Word stands always first. He came to serve. The giving of the Word followed
by the works of goodness and power is the order maintained in His service.
Note the contrast between Him and the request of the disciples. How
untiring, loving, gracious He was in all His service for man. May we learn
of Him. A comparison of the account of this miracle in the four Gospels
will teach us many lessons. He feeds the poor with bread (Psalm 132:15) as
the true Shepherd of His people. He is the miraculous giver, but He uses
His disciples in dispensing His blessing. His power for the good of others
is at the believer's disposal. And the little put into His hands was not
only sufficient for all but more was left over than they had given to Him.
And still He delights to take the little things and manifest through them
His power, if we but trust Him.

     7. The Servant alone and His Return walking on the Waters. Verses
45-52. All is full of blessed meaning. He is once more alone in the
mountain to pray. His disciples are alone on the stormy sea. He is absent
now and has sent the people (Israel) away. He is in the presence of God as
our intercessor. The stormy sea with the contrary wind is a type of this
present age. Trouble and perplexity is the lot of His disciples during His
absence. About the fourth watch of the night He came unto them walking upon
the sea. Mark does not mention Peter going forth to meet Him. They see Him
coming, but do not recognize Him, believing Him a spirit. His loving voice
soon assures them, "Be of good cheer; it is I, be not afraid." Thus He will
return across the stormy sea to meet and deliver His own. Blessed are we if
we ever behold Him as the mighty One, who is above all circumstances and if
we hear His words of comfort. How He cares for us. And when He comes the
wind will cease.

     8. New Manifestations of His Love and Power. Verses 53-56. What a
scene of toil! What ministry in doing good! Dispensationally it stands for
the blessed time, yet in store for this world, when He comes again. Then He
who was the Son of Man in humiliation will, as Son of Man, with power and
glory, be known to all. Then the earth will be blessed as Gennesaret was.

Chapter 7.

     1. The Opposition of the Pharisees. Verses 1-23. Matthew 15:1-20.
     2. Grace shown to the Syrophenician Woman. Verses 24-30.
        Matthew 15:21-28.
     3. The healing of the deaf man. Verses 31-37. Matthew 15:29-31.

     1. The Opposition of the Pharisees. Verses 1-23. This paragraph is of
much importance. The scope of the analysis forbids a full annotation, but
we refer the reader to the exposition of Matthew, chapter 15:1-20, the
parallel passage. The Servant in His divine wisdom uncovers the hypocrisy
which lies underneath the traditions of the elders. He shows that the
Pharisees had rejected the commandment of God for the sake of men-made
inventions and traditions. Their ritualistic service founded upon tradition
was dishonoring to God and His Word. Such ritualism springing from
tradition must always be. He condemns religiousness, which knows nothing of
heart obedience and holiness of life. And this outward, human, man-made
religion, which boasts of being something and doing something, He condemns.
Then He shows that man's defilement does not consist in what enters into
him, but the things which come out of him. He shows what man is within
(verses 21-23). No, mere religiousness cannot take away this defilement.
Thus He uncovers the hypocrisy of an outward religion and the true state of
the heart of man. The product of the natural heart of man, though it may
delight in religious observances, is nothing but vileness.

     2. Grace shown to the Syrophenician Woman. Verses 24-30. While the
omniscient Lord in the form of the Servant showed what the heart of man is,
He now also uncovers His own heart in showing Grace to one, who belonged to
the Gentiles. In the borders of Tyre and Sidon the blessed Servant sought
quietness and entered a house; but He could not be hid. Note again that
Mark mentions this exclusively, because it brings out His character as
Servant. He also informs us that she was a Gentile, a Syrophenician,
belonging to the enemies of God's people, Israel. But Mark leaves out
Matthew's statement, that she appealed to Him as "Son of David." Matthew's
Gospel is the proper place for that. What evidences all along we find of
the inspiration of these records. She had no claim on His Mercy and Power,
for she was under the curse. Her daughter had a demon. And though she had
no claim on His power and no promise, she believed in His love. She takes
the place He gave to her and the daughter was restored. What a
manifestation of Grace! And how it must have cheered the Servant's heart!
In that moment His omniscient eye must have beheld the multitudes of
Gentiles, who, after His death on the Cross, as lost sinners with no
promise, aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, would believe in His love.

     3. The healing of the deaf man. Verses 31-37. A comparison with
Matthew shows that the account here is peculiar to Mark's Gospel. In
Matthew 15:29-31 we find the dumb man mentioned among others whom He
healed. He represents Israel. Altogether deaf, unable to hear God's voice,
which spoke through the One who had come and an impediment in speech. They
attempted to speak of God and praise God. And such is man's natural state.
And such He came to heal. Israel might have had the ear opened by Him, the
Servant, whose ear was always open, and Israel might have the tongue
loosed, to praise His Name. He heals the afflicted one. And how the Servant
looked to heaven and groaned. What must He have felt!

Chapter 8.

     1. The feeding of the Four Thousand. Verses 1-9. Matthew 15:32-39.
     2. The Pharisees ask a sign. Verses 10-13. Matthew 16:1-4.
     3. The Warning against the leaven of the Pharisees. Verses 14-21.
        Matthew 16:5-12.
     4. The healing of the blind man. Verses 22-26.
     5. Peter's Confession. Verses 27-30. Matthew 16:13-16;
        Luke 9:18-20.
     6. The first announcement of His coming rejection and death.
        Verses 31-33. Matthew 16:21-23; Luke 9:22.
     7. His Disciples to follow in His path. The Coming Glory.
        Verses 34-38. Matthew 16:24-28; Luke 9:23-27.

     1. The Feeding of the Four Thousand. Verses 1-9. The compassion and
loving care of Him who came to minister is once more seen. Again He meets
the need of the multitude in a miraculous way. But here we have seven
loaves and seven baskets are left over. It points clearly to the
manifestation of Divine power, for the number seven occurs twice. He in His
great goodness and great power is sufficient to meet all human need. The
miracle foreshadows the great and perfect blessings of the coming Kingdom

     2. The Pharisees ask a sign. Verses 10-13. Though the religious
leaders had seen so many signs and display of Divine goodness and power
they asked a sign from heaven. Unbelief ever looks for something new and is
never satisfied. Their request may be looked upon as a temptation. He could
have shown a sign from heaven, but with it He would have left the humble
path of the Servant. "He sighed deeply," which is another phrase peculiar
to Mark's account, showing His deep emotion. He refused the sign. The next
sign will be "the sign of the Son of Man in heaven" at the time of His
glorious return. Then a believing remnant of His people will welcome Him.

     3. The Warning against the leaven. Verses 14-21. He warns against the
leaven of the Pharisees and Herodians. It is the only time the word leaven
is found in Mark. It means, as elsewhere in the Word of God, evil. The
leaven of the Pharisees is hypocrisy, insincerity of an unbelieving heart
in opposition to God. The expression of it is self-righteousness in pride.
The leaven of the Herodians is worldliness. He warns His disciples to
beware of it for the leaven of the Pharisees was in them too. They did not
fully see His Glory, though they believed in Him as the promised Messiah.
Their state and the Lord's Power and patience towards them is beautifully
brought out in the healing of the blind man.

     4. The Healing of the blind man. Verses 22-26. This healing at
Bethsaida is only recorded by Mark. It reveals the tender, patient and
successful method of the Servant in His ministry. The disciples' case is
illustrated. They saw "men as if they were trees." Their sight was
imperfect. But He did not leave them in that condition. Their clear sight
came, when the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit, was given to them.
But many other lessons are found here. See how He led the blind man outside
and what pains He took, and though He knew all about the effect of putting
His hands upon his eyes, yet He inquired lovingly "if he beheld anything."
If we are in His loving hands, separated from Bethsaida ("place of snares,"
a picture of the world), He will deal with us in the same tenderness and
patience. Verse 26 tells us once more how He did not seek honor from man.

     5. Peter's Confession. Verses 27-30. How perfectly all is linked
together. Though the disciples were imperfect in their sight yet they knew
that He was the Christ. That is true faith, which they all possessed, with
the exception of Judas, who never addressed Him as Lord. Mark gives the
briefest account of Peter's confession. Matthew contains the completest
record. The church, as a future thing, is announced in Matthew as well as
the Kingdom. The church is not mentioned by Mark. All shows the divine hand
which guided the pens of these instruments. What is dispensational is
always fully given in the kingly, dispensational Gospel by Matthew and
omitted by Mark.

     6. The first announcement of His coming rejection and death. Verses
31-33. The Servant now speaks of Himself as the Son of Man, the title both
of His rejection and of His exaltation. For the first time He announces His
coming death. He knew all from the beginning. He knew it when He went into
the dark waters of Jordan. He knew it all along in His ministry of toil.
Yet with the vision of His rejection, of His suffering on the cross,
constantly before Him, He continued uninterruptedly in His ministry of
love. Nothing could swerve Him from it. What perfection and beauty! But He
also spoke of His resurrection. He knew the glory that should follow. For
the joy set before Him He endured the cross and despised the shame. In our
service for God the Cross and the Glory should ever be seen. We, too, must
be willing to share His reproach and look forward to the crowning day, the
day of His Glory and ours as well. Peter becomes, on account of his
blindness, the mouthpiece of Satan, rebuking the Lord. Then "He looked on
His disciples," an addition in Mark. What a look it must have been! He
rebuked Peter in the words He used when Satan made the same suggestion to
avoid the cross.

     7. His Disciples to follow in His path. The Coming Glory. Verses
34-38, 9:1. Well may God's people ponder over these words. Salvation is by
Grace. Nothing can save but Grace. Eternal salvation is not dependent on
our walk. But the way which leads to Glory is the way of self-denial and
suffering. It is His own path. "Is it not true that we naturally like to
escape trial, shame and rejection; that we shrink from the suffering which,
doing God's will, in such a world as this, must ever entail; that we prefer
to have a quiet, respectable path in the earth--in short, the best of both
worlds? How easily one may be ensnared into this!" (W. K.) We may not be
called upon to lose the life for His sake, but "let him deny himself" we
can always do, enabled by His Grace. All the words our ever blessed Lord
spoke to His disciples hold good in this dispensation of Grace. He
announces His coming Glory. It is His second Coming in the Glory of His

Chapter 9.

     1. The Glory to Come foreshadowed in the Transfiguration.
        Verses 1-13. Matthew 17:1-13; Luke 9:28-36.
     2. The helpless disciples and the secret of failure. Verses 14-29.
        Matthew 17:14-20; Luke 9:37-42.
     3. The second announcement of His death. Verses 30-32.
        Matthew 17:22-23; Luke 9:43-45.
     4. The self-seeking disciples. Verses 33-37. Matthew 18:1-5;
        Luke 9:46-48.
     5. The Servant's gentleness and tolerance. Verses 38-41.
        Luke 9:49-50.
     6. The solemn warning. Verses 42-50. Matthew 18:6-9.

     1. The Glory to Come foreshadowed in the Transfiguration. Verses 1-13.
The Lord had the transfiguration in mind when He spoke of some standing
there and not tasting death. 2 Peter 1:16 gives the meaning of the
transfiguration as a type and earnest of His Coming into His Kingdom. On
that mountain the three disciples saw the Kingdom of God come with power.
The Servant appears in Glory. The Saints are represented by Moses and
Elias, those who have died and those changed in the twinkling of an eye.
The three disciples represented the Saints on earth, when He comes into His
Kingdom; the Shekinah cloud was there. And Peter blundered again when he
lowered the dignity of the Lord by putting Him alongside of the two Old
Testament Servants of God. The Father's voice is heard once more,
vindicating the honor of His Son. What an encouragement the transfiguration
must have been for the Servant-Son.

     2. The helpless disciples; the secret of their failure. Verses 14-29.
The whole scene is of greatest importance. The Conditions He finds
returning from the mount of transfiguration are typical of the conditions
on the earth when He comes again. Here are helpless disciples, triumphant,
unbelieving scribes and the manifestation of Satan's power. All this we
cannot follow in detail. Notice the additions in Mark's account. They had
no power to cast out the demon, because they were "faithless." The Lord
told them that lack of prayer and fasting were the causes of their failure.
Dependence on God and denial of self are meant. How gracious was the
complete deliverance of the afflicted boy. If God's people knew more of
real prayer and real denial of self, there would be a greater manifestation
of His power through them.

     3. The second announcement of His death. Verses 30-32. Passing again
through Galilee He announced His death and resurrection the second time.
They understood not and were afraid to ask Him. The cross was foreign to
them. Other thoughts occupied their hearts.

     4. The self-seeking disciples. Verses 33-37. And while He who had made
of Himself no reputation, who came to be the Servant of all, was looking
towards the goal of His earthly ministry, the cross and its shame, they
disputed all the way who should be the greatest. Vain glory filled their
hearts in expectation of the earthly kingdom for which they waited. They
were unable to enter into His thoughts. They were silent because they
realized that their dispute was wrong. Then He taught them. The desire of
being first shows only fitness to be last. Such a desire reveals nothing
but self. Humility must ever be a leading characteristic of the disciple.
Then He illustrates it by the small child He took in His arms. Such in
dependence, humbleness in mind and confidence, the disciples must be to
enjoy His fellowship. With such He can identify Himself.

     5. The Servant's gentleness. Verses 38-41. Another form of self
appears among the disciples. John would have the Lord rebuke those who used
His name effectually and belonged not to their company. It was a narrow
sectarianism. Of all the manifestations of self the religious sectarian
self, as expressed in exclusivism, rejecting those who do not fellowship
with them--is by far the worst, and in the Epistles by the Spirit of God is
designated as a work of the flesh. How very offensive it must have been to
God's perfect Servant. Yet what a gentle answer He gives. How we all can
learn from Him. The smallest service in doing honor to His name would not
be forgotten of God.

     6. The Solemn Warning. Verses 42-50. The words are for both saint and
sinner. We quote from another on this solemn word. "Nevertheless, as
regards themselves, all depends on the faithfulness of Christ; and on this
account they need to free themselves from all the things which tend to
separate from Christ, which led into sin, and bring on apostasy in the
heart as well as outward apostasy. God will keep His own, but He will keep
them in making them obedient to His Word. Besides this, God puts all to the
proof; the fire of His judgment is applied to all, both to saints and
sinners. In the saints it consumes the dross, in order that the pure gold
may shine in its true lustre; in the case of sinners it is the fire of
eternal judgment that is not quenched.

     "'Every sacrifice must be salted with salt' refers to Leviticus 2:13.
The salt represents the power of the Holy Spirit to keep us from all that
is impure and produce holiness in a heart devoted to God, to keep us from
all corruption. 'Have salt in yourselves.' He wishes us to exercise
diligence in order that our souls, in our walk, may be thus sanctified
before God, and then manifest it before the world and that we should walk
with others in peace." (J.N. Darby on "Mark.")

     "The burden" where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched,
"falls on the conscience stricken like the bell that tolls the felon to his
doom. Would that it might kindle our hearts who believe into an unwonted
earnestness on behalf of perishing souls!" Many attempts are made to deny
the solemn warning in its fearful meaning, but they are eternal truth. The
Son of God came from Heaven's Glory, walked on earth as the Servant and
tasted death, yea, forsaken of God on the Cross, to save man from the
unquenchable fire.

Chapter 10. In Judea.

     1. The question concerning Divorce. Verses 1-12. Matthew 19:1-9.
     2. Children are blessed by Him. Verses 13-16. Matthew 19:13-15;
        Luke 18:15-17.
     3. The rich young Ruler and Warning against Riches. Verses 17-27.
        Matthew 19:16-26; Luke 18:18-27.
     4. Concerning Rewards. Verses 28-31. Matthew 19:27-30; Luke 18:28-30.
     5. On to Jerusalem. The third announcement of His death and
        Resurrection. Verses 32-34. Matthew 20:17-19; Luke 18:31-34.
     6. The Desire of James and John. Verses 35-45. Matthew 20:20-28; 
        Luke 22:24-27.
     7. At Jericho. The Healing of Bartimaeus. Verses 46-52.
        Matthew 20:29-34; Luke 18:35-43.

     1. The Question concerning Divorce. Verses 1-12. The Lord restores in
teaching the original meaning of marriage and speaks against divorce Moses
had permitted on account of the hardness of their hearts. Thus He restored
the original institution of marriage. His ministry is now almost ended and
He is on His way to Jerusalem to go to the cross.

     2. Children are blest by Him. Verses 13-16. Again the disciples
failed. They showed a kind of self-importance and dignity in rebuking those
who brought the little children. He was indignant. They had no right
whatever to rebuke and to shut out from His presence. They usurped His
place and by their domineering attitude misrepresented Him. And priestcraft
has brought this to perfection. But oh! the contrast. He received them and
tenderly took them into His arms to bless them. Such is the Kingdom of God.
Sin is in them. But the little children present some characteristics of
uncorrupted nature. The way into the Kingdom is the new birth; and that
must be received as a little child.

     3. The rich young ruler and warnings against Riches. Verses 17-27.
Here is one, who would inherit eternal life by doing. He "kneeled"
(mentioned only by Mark) and showed reverence, and yet he called Him only
"Good Master." He was a moral Young man but unsaved. The reply of the Lord
is significant, He refuses the address "Good Master." The young man did not
believe on Him as Son of God. The logic is perfect. If He is not God, He
could not be good, and if He is good, then He is God. Yet "Jesus, beholding
him, loved him;" a statement found only in Mark. He did not see the truth
that man is not good, but a sinner, and salvation cannot be by works but is
by Grace. Note the beautiful answer the Lord gave to His disciples. "Who
then can be saved?" And Jesus looking upon them saith, "With men it is
impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible." Man
cannot be saved by what he is or does. Blessed truth. But God has
accomplished salvation by the gift of His Son and this salvation is
received by faith in Him.

     4. Concerning Rewards. Verses 28-31. It was a selfish question, which
Peter asked. Somehow he would remind the Lord that while the young man
refused to part with his riches, they had left all. And the meek and lowly
One answers graciously and gives the promise of reward in this life and in
the age to come. But it is reward only if it is done for His sake and the
Gospel's. It is a blessed thing to leave the rewards with Him.

     5. On to Jerusalem. Third announcement of His death and Resurrection.
Verses 32-34. But were they willing to leave all for His sake? As the
Servant now at the close of His ministry went up to Jerusalem they were
amazed at His calmness and determination to go to the place, where death
awaited Him, according to His own predictions. They were afraid of their
own lives as they followed Him. The Servant went before them in the lead;
the frightened group came behind. The third prediction of His death is the

     6. The Desire of James and John. Verses 35-45. Their fear was
short-lived. They did not grasp the solemn announcement that the Son of Man
would have to die and did not understand that all the promised blessings
could only be realized through His death on the cross. They had faith in a
coming Kingdom of Glory, faith in the Servant so lowly to be the King and
that they were to reign with Him. The request is stated and answered
graciously by the Lord. And the two who were afraid when He turned towards
Jerusalem now say that they are able to drink the cup with Him and be
baptized with the baptism, which awaited Him, the inward and outward
sufferings of the cross. But these two forsook Him a few days later and
fled. The others were much displeased, no doubt for selfish reasons, and
then still other words of instruction came from His lips.

     7. At Jericho. The Healing of Bartimaeus. Verses 46-52. This healing
stands at the beginning of the end of that blessed life lived on the earth.
Up to verse 45 He speaks of Himself as "Son of Man." The phrase "Son of
David" appears only once in Mark's Gospel. Bartimaeus calls upon Him by
that name and is healed. It is the prelude to the great events in
Jerusalem, His presentation as King, rejection, suffering and death. The
miracle of Jericho holds the same place in the three Gospels. Israel's
condition is easily seen in Bartimaeus' blindness. The Son of David had
come to give sight to the blind and in Jericho (the place of curse) He
shows His gracious Power. Bartimaeus followed Him as the blessed witness of
His power.

                  AS KING AND REJECTED -- Chapters 11-13

Chapter 11.

     1. The Servant enters into Jerusalem. Verses 1-11. Matthew 21:1-11;
        Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-16.
     2. The fig tree cursed. Verses 12-14. Compare with Matthew 21:19-21.
     3. The Cleansing of the Temple. Verses 15-18. Matthew 21:12-19;
        Luke 19:45-48.
     4. The Withered Fig tree. Verses 19-26. Matthew 21:20-22.
     5. Again in the City. His Authority Questioned. Verses 27-33.
        Matthew 21:23-27; Luke 20:1-8.

     1. The Servant enters Jerusalem. Verses 1-11. He presents Himself as
the promised Son of David to the nation as written in the prophecy of
Zechariah (9:9). As King the multitudes welcome Him. Hosanna (save now);
Blessed is He that cometh in the Name of the Lord. "Blessed be the Kingdom
of our Father David, that cometh in the Name of the Lord: Hosanna in the
Highest." They expected the promised Kingdom and they welcomed Him as Son
of David with power to save. But He knew what it all meant. He is silent,
according to Mark, but enters into the temple and looked around upon all
things without uttering a word. There is nothing for Him there. He then
left the city and returned to Bethany (meaning: house of affliction). When
He comes the second time with Glory, He will be greeted by a remnant of His
people and set up the Kingdom of David.

     2. The Fig Tree Cursed. Verses 12-14. He was hungry. In all the
enthusiasm no one had thought of His need. The rejection of the Servant-Son
is evident in this. The fig tree is the emblem of the Jewish nation. He
came looking for fruit and found none. "The fig tree was punished not for
being without fruit, but for proclaiming by the voice of those leaves that
it had fruit; not for being barren, but for being false; and this was the
guilt of Israel, so much deeper than the guilt of the nations" (Trench).

     3. The Cleansing of the Temple. Verses 15-19. Twice He cleansed the
temple, in the beginning of His ministry (John 2:13-16) and at the close.
Most likely the desecration of the house was worse at the end than in the
beginning. The greed for money is the prominent feature in the defilement
of the temple. The actions of the Lord brings out the Satanic hatred of the
scribes and chief priests. He was hated as the Servant without a cause and
hated unto death. Again He went out of the city.

     4. The Withered Fig Tree and Instructions. Verses 20-26. The dried up
fig tree is made the occasion to teach the disciples the power of faith in
God. The fig tree typifies the religious condition of the people. The
mountain, the nation as such, thinking themselves firmly established. But
soon that mountain was to be removed and cast into the sea (the sea of
nations). Faith was exercised by the Servant and He calls upon His own to
have faith in God. Faith can remove every obstacle. For the disciples it
meant the obstacle of that mountain, the nation. Verse 24 is precious and
has the same meaning today as it had when the words were spoken. God ever
answers faith. But that faith must be paired with forgiveness.

     5. Again in Jerusalem. The Authority of the Servant Questioned and His
Answer. Verses 27-33. Visiting the temple again He met His enemies, who
questioned Him concerning His authority. His authority was completely
established by the mighty works He had done. The omniscient One knew their
hatred and asked them a question, which they did not dare to answer. He,
the perfect Servant had zeal for God and for His house; they, the religious
leaders, had only zeal for their own authority, This is still the mark of
all ritualism.

Chapter 12.

     1. The Parable of the Vineyard. Verses 1-12. Matthew 21:33-46;
        Luke 20:9-19.
     2. The Question concerning the Tribute Money. Verses 13-17.
        Matthew 22:15-22; Luke 20:20-26.
     3. The Sadducees Questioning concerning Resurrection. Verses 18-27.
        Matthew 22:23-33; Luke 20:27-38.
     4. The Question of the Scribe. Verses 28-34. Matthew 22:34-40.
     5. His Question. Verses 35-37. Matthew 22:41-46; Luke 20:41-44.
     6. Beware of the Scribes. Verses 38-40. Matthew 23; Luke 20:45-47.
     7. The Servant's loving sympathy and praise. Verses 41-44.
        Luke 21:1-4.

     1. The Parable of the Vineyard. Verses 1-12. The parable is a review
of the history of Israel and its culmination in the rejection of the Son.
With what calmness the perfect One relates it all. He is ready to have all
done unto Him of which He speaks. A comparison with the Gospel of Matthew
will show that Mark is brief and passes on rapidly, omitting utterances of
the Lord which are not needed in his description of the Servant.

     2. The Question concerning the Tribute Money. Verses 13-17. With this
paragraph we have the different classes of Jews approaching the Lord to
tempt Him. Pharisees and Herodians, Sadducees and a Scribe. The Lord
manifests His wisdom and they are defeated. Then He turns questioner and
warns against the scribes. His authority they could no longer question and
now they tried to catch Him in His words. Pharisees and Herodians, so
opposed to each other, could make a common cause in hating God's Servant.
If He had answered "yes" the Pharisees would have condemned Him for
favoring the Gentile yoke. If He had said "no," the Herodians would have
accused Him as an enemy of Caesar. How wonderful His answer! They even had
to marvel and yet it only intensified their hate. Caesar's image told out
the story of their sin.

     3. The Sadducees Questioning concerning Resurrection. Verses 18-27.
The Sadducees were rationalists and denied the existence of angels and the
resurrection. They only believed in the giving of the law and accepted the
Pentateuch. It was a fine spun argument. The Lord silences them from the
portion of the Scriptures they endorsed.

     4. The Question of the Scribe. Verses 28-34. A scribe now makes the
last attempt. But he was indeed "not far from the Kingdom of God." The one
step was the acceptance of Christ, whose wisdom he had owned.

     5. His Question. Verses 35-37. Then the Lord turned questioner. His
wisdom had closed their mouths. In Matthew's Gospel this significant
question is more fully given. He refers to Psalm 110. In connection with
Matthew four great facts are stated by the Lord. 1) This Psalm was written
by David. 2) It was written by inspiration. 3) It is a Messianic Psalm. 4)
Christ is David's Lord and David's Son. While it silenced the scribes it
also silences the present day Sadducees, the higher critics with their
inventions. They claim that Psalm 110 was not written by David and Christ
is not foretold in it.

     6. Beware of the Scribes. Verses 38-40. In Matthew the Holy Spirit
reports the full discourse against the scribes and Pharisees (chapter 23)
ending with the solemn statement, "Behold your house is left unto you
desolate." In Mark, where the divine design is to give us the picture of
the Servant, only a few sentences are given. Yet they contain the chief
characteristics of the corrupt leaders of the nation. Love of being seen,
love of applause, love of preeminence, assumed religiousness and the
devouring of the poor are all mentioned. These hireling servants shall have
greater damnation.

     7. The Servant's loving sympathy and praise. Verses 41-44. He had
rendered such perfect service free from seeking applause or preeminence and
now He shows His loving sympathy to one of the poor widows who were being
spoiled by the greed of the Pharisees. That poor, yet rich, widow had two
mites. It was her all and she gave it. She might have given one mite and
retained the other. She cast in all she had. And He saw it and His sympathy
was towards her for she reminded Him of His own service in giving all. How
it must have refreshed His heart. May we remember that nothing escapes His

Chapter 13.

     1. The Destruction of the Temple Predicted. Verses 1-2. 
        Matthew 24:1-2; Luke 21:5.6.
     2. The Questions of the Disciples. Verses 3-4. Matthew 24:3;
        Luke 21:7.

     3. The Olivet Discourse. Verses 5-37. Matthew 24:4-42; Luke 21:8-38.

     1. The Destruction of the Temple Predicted. Verses 1-2. He went out of
the temple for the last time, when one of His disciples called attention to
the temple buildings. They were of the most massive construction, some of
them still in process of erection. He predicted complete destruction, which
was fulfilled later in the year 70. The destruction of Jerusalem is more
fully foretold in Luke 21:20-24.

     2. The Questions of the Disciples. Verses 3-4. Mark gives us their
names, which are omitted by Matthew and Luke. What follows is the answer.

     3. The Olivet Discourse. Verses 5-37. Mark's report is the briefest,
Matthew's the longest. omitted in Mark are the parables, which have special
reference to the Christian profession (Matthew 25) and the judgment of
living nations (chapter 25:31-46). These belong in Matthew, but would be
out of keeping with the purpose of the Gospel of Mark. The Service of our
Lord, as we have seen, is in the foreground. The three characteristic
discourses in Matthew nowhere else reported in full are: 1. The Sermon on
the mount, which is the Proclamation of the King. 2. The Parable Discourse
in Matthew 13, the mysteries of the Kingdom. 3. The Olivet Discourse,
Matthew 24-25, the future of the Kingdom. But why should there be anything
at all in the Gospel of Mark about the future things, such as the end of
the age and His Return in Glory, if only the Servant is described? it will
be seen that the predictions are in part at least in view of their service.
He forewarned them as His servants of what was to come after His departure.

     It is not the purpose of this annotated analysis to give an exposition
of this discourse. We must ask the reader to turn to our commentary on
Matthew. We give here a subdivision of the discourse as contained in Mark:
1) The characteristics of the present age and the end of the age. Verses
5-13. 2) The abomination of desolation or the great tribulation which
precedes the Second Coming of Christ. Verses 14-23. 3) The visible
manifestation of Christ. He will come again in clouds as Son of Man not as
an humble Servant but as the King of Glory. The regathering of the elect
Israel then takes place. Verses 24-27. 4) The Signs of His Coming. The
budding fig tree is Israel awakening to new national life. Verses 28-33.
Note that in verse 32 "neither the Son" is added. This statement of our
Lord that even He the Son does not know the hour of His return has been
used to deny His Deity. All kinds of theories have been invented to explain
it. It is explained by the Lord having taken the place of humiliation as a
Servant for "the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth." This is why the
statement appears only in Mark. It does not affect the truth of His Person.
5) The solemn exhortation to watch. It behooves the servants to watch
during the absence of the Lord.

         PART IV. GIVING HIS LIFE A RANSOM FOR -- Chapters 14-15.

Chapter 14.

     1. Seeking by Craft to put Him to Death. Verses 1-2. Matthew 26:2-5;
        Luke 22:1-2.
     2. The Anointing. Verses 3-9. Matthew 26:6-13; John 12:1-8.
     3. Judas offers to betray Him. Verses 10-11. Matthew 26:14-16;
        Luke 22:3-6.
     4. The last Paschal feast. Verses 12-21. Matthew 26:17-24;
        Luke 22:7-18, 21-23.
     5. The Lord's Supper instituted. Verses 22-25. Matthew 26:26-29;
        Luke 22:17-20.
     6. Peter's denial predicted. Verses 26-31. Matthew 26:31-35;
        Luke 22:31-34; John 13:36-38.
     7. The Suffering in the Garden. Verses 32-42. Matthew 26:36-46;
        Luke 22:39-46.
     8. The Betrayal and Arrest of the Lord Jesus. Verses 43-52.
        Matthew 26:47-56; Luke 22:47-53.
     9. Before the High Priest and the Sanhedrin. Verses 53-65. 
        Matthew 26:47-68; Luke 22:47-55; John 18:2-24.
    10. Peter's denial. Verses 66-72. Matthew 26:69-75; Luke 22:56-62;
        John 18:17, 25-27.

     1. Seeking by Craft to put Him to Death. Verses 1, 2. His enemies were
plotting, but over all was God and His eternal counsels. They were now
ready "to do whatsoever Thy hand and Thy counsel determined before to be
done" (Acts 4:28). The Servant is to die as the true passover lamb and He
who had ministered in such a perfect way is to give His life a ransom for
many. They had resolved it should not be on the feast day. But God's will
demanded that it should be on that day; and so it was.

     2. The Anointing. Verses 3.9. The woman is not mentioned by Mark. It
was Mary of Bethany, who sat at His feet when He had come to her house and
who wept at His feet when Lazarus had died. She alone had grasped the
meaning of the Lord's announcement concerning His death and resurrection.
She did not go to the grave as others did. She anointed His body for the
burial. What love there was in her heart! How it must have delighted His
heart when she did this act of faith and love.

     3. Judas offers to betray Him. Verses 10-11. The anointing hastened
Judas to betray Him (see John 12:5-6).

     4. The last Paschal feast. Verses 12-21. First there was the
preparation (verses 12-16) and then the feast itself (verses 17-21). What
calmness and dignity is seen in all He does! He knew all what awaited Him.
During the feast He announced the coming betrayal. Awful are the words
coming from such lips, "Good were it for that man if he had never been
born." The same is true of every human being who rejects the Lord Jesus
Christ and dies in sin.

     5. The Lord's Supper instituted. Verses 22-25. It is His own supper,
the blessed memorial feast. "Do this in remembrance of Me." They did not
know then what it meant. But when the Holy Spirit had come they broke the
bread. The passover was the memorial of the deliverance of the people out
of Egypt and reminded them of the blood that was sprinkled. A better blood
was soon to be shed and a greater deliverance wrought by the Lamb of God. A
blessed privilege to carry out His request (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

     6. Peter's denial predicted. Verses 26-31. The hymn they sang was
composed of Psalms 115-118. With what emotion of soul He must have sung
with His disciples. The shadow of deepest agony and death was upon Him and
yet the fullest praise flowed from His lips. He announced the scattering of
the sheep and His own smiting by the hand of God. What must it have meant
for Him, when He said with His perfect knowledge, "I will smite the
shepherd." That smiting, which took place on the cross, is the heart and
mystery of the atonement. Peter's denial is then predicted.

     7. The Suffering in the Garden. Verses 32-42. In Gethsemane we are
face to face with the most solemn event in the life of the Servant-Son,
save that hour, when He hung on the cross, forsaken of God. What was His
suffering there? No saint can ever fathom its depths. He did not shrink
from death, nor was the agony on account of the physical sufferings He knew
were to be His lot; nor was Satan, as some foolishly teach, ready to slay
Him. All such statements are dishonoring to Him. He was not in danger of
death in Gethsemane. What was the cup He dreaded? The Sinless One, who knew
no sin, was now soon to be made sin for us. God's face upon which He had
ever looked was soon to be hid. And what was it when at last He was made
sin for us on the cross? One sentence gives us the answer, "My God, my God,
why hast Thou forsaken Me?"

     8. The Betrayal and Arrest of the Lord Jesus. Verses 43-52. He
surrenders Himself as the willing victim. Peter was ready to fight and cut
off the ear of the high priest's servant. Mark omits the healing for he is
to picture the Servant in His suffering and all relating to power is now
out of place. In John's Gospel the Lord said one word, "I am," and those
who came to arrest Him fell backward to the ground. John was guided by the
Spirit of God to make a record of it. It could have no place in Mark's
Gospel. They all forsook Him and fled. But only Mark tells of a certain
young man, who followed and then fled naked. The young man may have been
Mark himself.

     9. Before the high priest and the Sanhedrin. Verses 53-65. We behold
the Servant now delivered into the hands of man and behind man stood Satan.
Man's wickedness and Satan's power are there, and in the midst, in solitary
grandeur, stands the perfect Servant-Son. Mark tells us exclusively that
the witnesses brought against Him did not agree. The Holy Spirit continues
to hold Him up as the perfect Servant, in whose character and service not a
flaw could be detected. But He witnesses the good confession and upon that
blessed Word of Truth as it came from His lips He is condemned. Then they
condemned Him to death and man's vile hatred energized by Satan cast itself
upon the blessed One.

     10. Peter's denial Verses 66-72. The Lord had given the true testimony
and Peter followed with his shameful denial. Mark gives what the other two
evangelists omit, the cock crowing twice. The lessons from Peter's fall are
simple. He had to pass through this terrible experience to become broken
down and learn to know his own weakness. And how we all need to know that
we are in ourselves good for nothing; "in my flesh there dwelleth no good

Chapter 15.

     1. Before Pilate. Verses 1-5. Matthew 27:1-14; Luke 23:1-4;
        John 18:28-38.
     2. Barabbas released and the Servant condemned. Verses 6-15.
        Matthew 27:15-26; Luke 23:16-25; John 18:39-40.
     3. Crowned with thorns and mocked. Verses 16-21. Matthew 27:27-32;
        Luke 23:26-43; John 19:1-16.
     4. Crucified. Verses 22-32. Matthew 27:33-44; Luke 23:26-43;
        John 19:17-27.
     5. Obedient unto death, the death of the Cross. Verses 33-41.
        Matthew 27:45-56; Luke 23:44-49; John 19:28-37.
     6. The Burial. Verses 42-47. Matthew 27:57-61; Luke 23:50-56;
        John 19:38-42.

     1. Before Pilate. Verses 1-5. The council had condemned Him to death
and now the whole council delivered Him into the hands of the Gentiles.
First the religious power had condemned the blessed Servant and the civil
Power had to do the same. It will be seen that Mark's account of our Lord's
trial before Pilate is the briefest, while Matthew's is the longest. Again
the Servant witnesses a good confession. But when accused by the chief
priests His blessed lips were sealed. He stood there to witness and not to
defend Himself. What a gracious example He gives to all His servants. The
hatred of the religious leaders of the people is especially emphasized by
Mark. For the complete exposition of this trial before Pilate see
"Exposition of Matthew."

     2. Barabbas released; the Servant condemned to be crucified. Verses
6-15. The Story of Barabbas and his release is full of helpful instruction.
"So true it was that, even in this last scene, Jesus delivers others at His
own cost and in every sense. He had just before delivered the disciples
from being taken; He is now the means of delivering Barabbas, wicked as he
was. He never saved Himself. It was the very perfection of the moral Glory
of Christ to deliver, bless, save, and in all at the expense of Himself."
("Gospel of Mark," W. Kelly) Barabbas was released, though guilty and
condemned, because the Lord Jesus took his Place. Christ was his
substitute. Barabbas released might have gone out and looked up to Him, who
hung on the cross and said, "He died for me; he paid my penalty." It is a
blessed illustration of the atonement. They ask for the murderer Barabbas
and demand the horrible death by crucifixion for God's perfect Servant and
their King. The chief priests had moved the people to make this fatal
choice. See the interesting additions in Matthew's Gospel on account of its
Jewish-dispensational character.

     3. Crowned with thorns and mocked. Verses 16-21. Oh! the heart
piercing scenes of this section of our Gospel! They led Him away to heap
the greatest indignities upon the Holy One. That is man's answer to that
service of love and power He so unceasingly had rendered. After the cruel
scourging they clothed Him with a purple robe in mockery. Matthew reports a
scarlet cloak. This is not a discrepancy. "A scarlet military robe was made
to represent the imperial purple, hence the designation, a purple robe. And
because this is the symbolic import of the robe, there is no discrepancy"
(Lange). The scarlet cloak was used to represent in mockery the imperial
purple robe. The crown of thorns was made to inflict cruel pain upon His
brow. Thorns came on account of man's sin; they are the signs of the curse.
He took the curse upon His own head. Mark tells us most definitely who
Simon the Cyrenian was, who was compelled to bear His cross, the father of
Alexander and Rufus (see Romans 16:13). God did not forget this service;
Simon's sons became believers.

     4. Crucified. Verses 22-32. It is interesting to note here that Mark
speaks of bringing Him to Golgotha. The word translated "bring" really
means "bear" (translated thus in Mark 2:3 and Luke 23:26). "And they bear
Him unto the place Golgotha." They had to hold Him up. The blessed Servant
had spent His strength. What appearance He must have presented after all
the scourging and cruel indignities! His face from the awful blows was
marred. No wonder that His real human body was weak. But could He succumb?
Never. No one could take His life. It could not be touched by man or Satan;
death (the result of sin) had no claim on Him. He gave His life for a
ransom. Mark also reports exclusively that the wine they offered Him was
mingled with myrrh. This was considered an anodyne, to relieve and deaden
the pain. The Servant who had come to spend all He had and to give Himself
did not need it, but refused the concoction. Mark gives the hour of
crucifixion as "the third hour." In John's Gospel (19:14) the sixth hour is
mentioned when Pilate said, "Behold your King." The critics triumphantly
point to this as a discrepancy. But John gives the Roman way of reckoning
the civil day and Mark adheres to the Jewish timekeeping.

     The superscription on the cross is the briefest in Mark. He gives the
substance of the accusation and not the full wording of it. The perfect
Servant who had so fully glorified God and given Himself in all His
service, hangs between the two thieves, who had robbed God and man. How
true it was (though they knew it not), "He saved others; Himself He cannot
save." He did not save Himself for He came to die. He was obedient unto

     5. Obedient unto death, the death of the Cross. Verses 33-41. What
hours those were! What heart can penetrate its deep mysteries or fathom the
depths of the sufferings of the Lamb of God, when He was obedient unto
death, the death of the Cross! Nature bears witness to it by the
supernatural darkness, for the One who created all things suffers for the
creature's sin. And what a scene in Heaven, when God's own hand rested upon
that One! Worship, praise and adoration is here more in order than an
attempt of explanation. He was forsaken of God; and then He paid our
penalty and stood in our stead in the presence of a holy God. Never say He
was forsaken by His Father. Read John 16:32. The Servant's cry with a loud
voice shows that no one took His life, but that He gave "Himself." And
there was the rent veil from top to bottom (rent by God's own hand). Then
came the utterance of the Centurion: a Gentile confessing Him as Son of
God. And the women are mentioned, who had ministered unto Him. The men had
fled, the feeble women were there. All service now after the great victory
He won, must be in weakness, depending on Him alone.

     6. The Burial. Verses 42-47. Joseph of Arimathea, like Nicodemus,
identified himself with Him, who had died on a cross and confessed Him
boldly by this action. In Pilate's astonishment that He had died so soon we
have additional evidence that the Servant "gave His life." Death by
crucifixion, perhaps so often witnessed by the centurion, is a lingering
death. They would have given Him the grave of the wicked, but God had
predicted it otherwise (Isaiah 53:9 read, "they appointed His grave with
the wicked, but with the rich He was when He had died"). The tomb was one
in which no other dead had ever been. "The one born of a Virgin-womb could
only be fittingly honored in a virgin tomb. He who could not see
corruption, could not lie in a tomb which corruption had defiled."


Chapter 16.

     1. The Resurrection and His Manifestation. Verses 1-13.
        Matthew 28:1-8; Luke 24:1-35; John 20:1-18.
     2. The Commission. Verses 9-18. Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-29.
     3. The Ascension. Verses 19-20. Luke 24:50-53.

     1. The Resurrection and His Manifestation. Verses 1-8. Again we notice
the brevity of Mark's account of the Resurrection of the Lord. The
resurrection of Him who saved and toiled so patiently, who was cast out of
His own city and suffered and died on the cross, was the fullest
vindication of His person. A still greater vindication lies in the future,
when He returns in power and glory. By His resurrection He was declared the
Son of God (Romans 1:4). Had He not risen in the same body He had taken on
in incarnation, His death on the cross would have no more power for
redemption than the death of any other human being (1 Corinthians
15:12-20). His resurrection is also the completest proof that His work on
the cross is accepted by God. The women last mentioned at the cross are the
first at the tomb. In the first eight verses the Lord Himself is not
mentioned as being seen. The stone rolled away, the empty tomb and the
angel's words declare that He is risen indeed. In Mark, Peter is specially
mentioned, "but go your way, tell His disciples and Peter." Peter's denial
is described by Mark in the fullest way. How fitting that he should record
the divinely sent message to Peter. What comfort and peace it must have
brought to sorrowing Peter.

     Higher criticism declares that the proper ending of the Gospel of Mark
is verse 8. They disputed the genuineness of verses 9-20. Another hand,
they claim, added later these verses. That spurious translation, which goes
under the name of "The Twentieth Century New Testament" (wholly
unsatisfactory) also gives this portion as "a late appendix." It is not.
Mark wrote it and some of the best scholars have declared that it is
genuine. How foolish to assume that the blessed document, which begins with
the sublime statement "The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" could
end with "they were afraid!" The trouble with these critics is that they
approach the Word of God with doubt and reject its inspiration.

     2. The Commission. Verses 9-18. To her who came to the tomb very early
in the morning He appeared first. Mary Magdalene had been under the control
of demons in a most awful way. She is there as a trophy of His Power over
Satan; as the mighty victor over Satan He appeared first to her. Knowing
Him and His power as well as the risen One, He sends her forth with the
glad message. This is fully given in the Gospel of John. The disciples did
not believe. Then He appeared to the disciples on the way to Emmaus so
fully reported in Luke. Even then they did not believe their testimony. He
appeared unto the eleven as they were at meat and at that time He gave them
the commission. But before He upbraided them with their unbelief. How it
must have humbled them. And such weak, unbelieving, doubting men the
perfect Servant sent forth to preach the Gospel to every creature. The
commission differs in many ways from that given in the Kingdom Gospel of
Matthew. In Mark the Kingdom is not in view, the Servant has served, He has
given His life for a ransom and upon that the good news goes forth. The
message is to be believed and faith confessed. He that believeth not shall
be damned. Signs were to follow them (but not all) that believe and signs
did follow. Signs were never universal, not even in the days of the
Apostles. The Lord's own sovereign will is over this.

     3. The Ascension. Verses 19-20. The Gospel of Matthew makes no record
of the ascension. If we had only Matthew we would think the Lord still on
the earth even as some day He will be earth's glorious King. The Holy
Spirit gives through Mark a brief Word on the Return of the Servant-Son to
the Glory from where He had come. The Servant who had stooped so low is
lifted so high. There at the right hand of God He has taken His place--the
Man in Glory. The work is finished. But the word "work" appears once more
in this Gospel. "And they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord
working with them, and confirming the Word with signs following." Nowhere
else in the Gospels is the statement given that the risen One works with
His servants. How fitting that the Holy Spirit put it at the close of the
Gospel of the Servant. He came from God to take the Servant's place; He
served on earth; He sacrificed Himself for our sins, and now as His
servants go forth to serve in His name He still works with them. What joy
it ought to be for all who love and adore Him to be obedient to such a
Lord, who was such a Servant on earth and whose delight is still to serve. 

                      Mark the Writer of this Gospel.

     Were we to give even the gist of theories on the Gospel of Mark and
how it was written, we would have to fill many pages. That is needless and
even unprofitable. The chosen instrument to write this Gospel in which the
Lord Jesus Christ is so beautifully pictured as the Servant of God on
earth, was not an Apostle, but himself a servant. We find his name
mentioned for the first time in Acts 12:12-25. His full name was John Mark
and his mother's name Mary. In Acts 13:5, 13 he is called by the first name
John, while in 15:39 we read of him as Mark. He accompanied Barnabas and
Paul on their first missionary journey as a helper. We read nowhere that he
addressed a single gathering. When they reached Perga he left the Apostles
and returned to Jerusalem (Acts 13:13). The reason of this abrupt departure
was failure on Mark's side. He did not want to work and had become
unprofitable (Acts 15:38, compare with 2 Timothy 4:11). On account of his
failure Paul and Barnabas had a falling out and separated from each other.
Paul refused him as a companion on the second journey, but Barnabas wanted
to take him again (Acts 15:37-40). He went with Barnabas to Cyprus (Acts
15:39). The Holy Spirit has nothing to report of this journey. A period of
unprofitableness followed for John Mark till he was restored to service.
That such was the case we learn from Colossians 4:10; Philemon 24; 2 Tim.
4:11. He had become Paul's fellow laborer. This personal history of John
Mark is of blessed encouragement. He who had such an humble place as a
servant of the two mighty men of God and who even failed in that, when
restored became the divinely chosen and inspired instrument to pen the
perfect Servant's path down here. Have we failed as servants? Let us go and
tell Him all about it. He will have better service for us.

     Tradition linked him with Peter and makes him a Bishop in Alexandria.
There is no truth in it. All we know is that he was led to Christ by the
Apostle Peter and was with him in Babylon (1 Peter 5:13).


     A careful study of the preceding analysis and comparison with the
other Gospel records will bring out the characteristic features of this
Gospel. Many events recorded in Matthew, Luke and John are omitted in Mark
because they have no bearing upon the Servant's work. We find not a word
about a genealogy, nor is there any reference to Bethlehem, David's city.
The Lord is called but once the son of David in Mark's Gospel. Nor do we
find a word about His childhood spent in Nazareth and the details of His
temptations in the wilderness. The sermon on the mount so fully reported in
Matthew is altogether omitted, because He spoke it as the king, proclaiming
the principles of the kingdom. Many of the parables are omitted by Mark,
for instance, five of those which appear in Matthew 13; also a number of
others found in Matthew, notably those of Matthew 25, and the description
of the judgment of the nations, when He comes again. The lengthy woes
pronounced upon the religious leaders of the nation (Matthew 23) are
likewise nearly all absent. All these omissions are the evidences of the
verbal inspiration of this Gospel and if closely studied will show the
divine wisdom. The word "Lord" as applying to Him is carefully omitted by
Mark. Textual investigation has shown that "Lord" in Mark 9:24 does not
belong there. But in the Resurrection chapter He is called "Lord." In a
number of passages in the analysis attention has been called to additions,
sentences, verses and sections not found in other Gospels. Many have not
been mentioned, but the most prominent are pointed out. These additions
reveal the quality of His service and give us descriptions of His moral
Glory. We ask our readers to look up once more the following passages and
compare them with the Gospel of Matthew. Chapters 1:13; 1:31, compare Luke
4:39; 3:5 compare Matthew 12:13; 3:34 compare Matthew 12:47 and Luke 8:21;
4:33; 6:31 compare Matthew 14:15; 4:36; 8:33 compare Matthew 16:23; 9:36
compare Matthew 18:2; 8:23; 8:33; 9:27 compare with Matthew 17:18; 10:16
compare Matthew 19:13,15; 10:21,23 compare Matthew 19:21-23; 16:7 compare
Matthew 28:7, et cetera.

     The parable in chapter 4:26-27 is found only in Mark. Then there are
two miracles which are exclusively reported by Mark. They are
characteristic of true ministry. These are the deaf man in 7:32-37 and the
blind man at Bethsaida, 8:22-26.

     The characteristic word of the Gospel of Mark is the word
"straightway." The Greek word has also been translated "forthwith" and
"immediately." It occurs some 40 times in this little Gospel and is the
Servant's word.

     "But enough. Blessed be God that such service has been seen on earth;
that there has been such a hand, such an eye, and such a heart here, among
the sons of men. And blessed be God, that by the same Spirit He waits to
mould us to His pattern, yea, that He has predestinated us to be conformed
to the image of His beloved Son. And if the Head was content to serve
thus;--if, while He tarried here, He lived to meet the need of all who
sought succor;--if, now risen, He Is yet the same, still the loving Worker,
interceding within the veil, and working here too for us;--if He shall yet
serve us, 'for the less is blessed of the greater,' when in the coming
kingdom He shall still lead His flock to living fountains, and wipe away
their tears;--shall not we whom He has purchased, in whom He seeks to
dwell, who are His witnesses in a world which knows Him not, wait upon Him
until His mantle fall on us, and His Spirit, 'the oil which was upon the
Head,' run down even to us also; till we catch the mind of heaven, and are
made like unto the angels, children of God and children of resurrection,
called to stand in the presence of God, and yet to serve, as ministering
spirits to them who shall be heirs of salvation? God is serving,--'the
Father worketh,'--Oh! what works of love, from the rain and fruitful
seasons up to the mighty work of raising man from earth to highest heaven;
and Christ has served, and is serving; and the Holy Ghost is serving,
taking of the things of Christ, to reveal them to us, and then to work them
in us; and angels are serving, and saints are serving, and the Church
proclaims her call, that she too because redeemed must be a servant here,
and that her rulers are but servants, yea, servants of servants; and heaven
is serving earth, and earth the creatures on it, So let us, after our
Pattern, being redeemed, go forth to serve also. 'Blessed are those
servants whom the Lord when He cometh shall find so doing. Verily, He shall
gird Himself, and make them sit down to meat, and He will come forth and
serve them.' O Lord, Thou canst perform it; perform it to Thy praise; Oh!
shew us the glory of Thy service, full of grace and truth, that in its
presence we may be changed; and as we have borne the image of the earthy,
may even here bear to Thy glory the image of the heavenly. Amen." (A.

     * We can heartily recommend "The Gospel of Mark" by w. Kelly. The
excellent notes and hints by the editor of this volume, Mr. Whitefield,
make the book still more valuable. Also A. Jukes on the four Gospels. We
acknowledge our indebtedness to both.

Back to top
Home Articles & Books Arno C. Gaebelein commentaries