Ezra Palmer Gould.

A critical and exegetical commentary on the Gospel according to ..., Volume 27 online

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spiritual things. See Mt. i6^^ He manifested himself to them,
admitting them to an intimate companionship and intercourse
with himself ; and when he had made his impression on them, he
drew from them the confession made under the guidance of the
Spirit, that he was no inferior and preparatory personage in the
Messianic Kingdom, but the King himself. Here, as everywhere,
Jesus* method is the truly spiritual one, that depends very little on
external helps, but on the silent movings of the Spirit of God.
6 Ilcrpos Xiya — This is the first time in the Gospel that Peter
appears as the spokesman of the disciples. 5v el 6 Xpiaro^ —
thou art the Christ, On the meaning of Xptoros, see on 1^.

1 Win. 22, 6.



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Vni. 30, 31] DEATH AND RESURRECTION PREDICTED 153

30. tva firfScvl Xeyoxnv — fhaf they tell no one. The silence that
Jesus enjoins on them is due to the same reasons as his own
silence up to this time, and his breaking it only when he was
alone with them. It was esoteric doctrine as yet, that only those
could receive, who knew something about the Messianic office on
the one hand, and about the person of Jesus on the other. In the
prevalent misconception of the Messiah, such an announcement
would work only disaster. The time was coming for it, but when
it did come, the tragedy of Jesus* life followed immediately.



JESUS PREDICTS HIS CRUCIFIXION. PETER REBUKES
HIM, AND JESUS REPELS THE EVIL SPIRIT WHO
SPEAKS THROUGH HIM

31-33.. After drawing out from his disciples the confession
of his Messianic claim, Jesus proceeds to tell them how that
claim will be treated by the authorities. In general, it will
bring him much suffering, and finally his rejection and
violent death at the hands of the Sanhedrim, from which,
however, he will be raised after three days, Peter, who
evidently regards this as a confession of defeat, and as
vacating the claim just made, takes Jesus aside, and begins
to rebuke him. But Jesus, recognizing in this the very
spirit of the Temptation, meets rebuke with rebuke, telling
Peter that he is acting the part of the Tempter, and that
he reflects the mind of men, not of God,

31. rjpiaro SiSao-Kctv — he began to teach. This is a true begin-
ning, being the first teaching of this kind.^ Set — it is necessary.
The necessity arises, first, from the hostility of men; secondly,
from the spiritual nature of his work, which made it impossible
for him to oppose force to force ; and thirdly, from the providen-
tial purpose of God, who made the death of Jesus the central
thing in redemption. But in order to take its place in the
Divine order, his death must come in the human, natural order.
That is to say, his death is the natural result of the antagonism of
his holy nature to the world ; it is the martyr's death. But it has
also a Divine purpose in it, and it is necessary to the accomplish-
ment of that purpose. The Divine purpose can use, however,
only the death that results from the human necessity, the martyr's

1 Thay.-Grm. Z^:r.



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154 THE GOSPEL OF MARK [Vm 31, 32

death. Jesus must be put to death by man. rbv vlov rav dvOpw-
irov ^ TToWa iraOtlv — that the Son of Man suffer many things. This
is the general statement, under which the rejection and death are
specifications, vtto tcdv TrptcrPvripmv koI tIov apxupitav k. twv ypap.-
/mT€u)v — dy the elders and the chief priests and the Scribes.

inrh, by, instead of i.rrb,'^ Tisch. Treg. WH. RV. K BCDGKL H. Insert
T&v, the, before dpxiep^<av Tisch. Treg. WH. RV. M BCDEHMSUVX, and
before ypafipar^wp Tisch. Treg. WH. RV. n BCDEFHLSMUV T,

Elders was the general term for the members of the Sanhedrim,
and when used as it is here, with the names of classes comprised
in that body, it denotes, of course, the other members outside of
these classes. The chief priests were members of the high-priestly
class, i,e. either the high priest himself, those who had held the
office, or members of the privileged families from which the high
priests were taken. The three classes together constituted the
Sanhedrim, or supreme council of the Jews, by which Jesus pre-
dicts that he is to be rejected and put to death.* kqx ficra rpets
'^fiipa^ avaoT^vai — and after three days rise again. This is one
of the psychological problems with which we are confronted in a
history generally answering with considerable exactness to such
tests. For when we come to the account of the resurrection, this
prophecy plays no part. The event, when it takes place, does
not recall the prophecy, and is met with a persistent unbeHef
which does not seem in any way consonant with the existence of
such a prophecy. It would seem as if Jesus must have used lan-
guage here, which the disciples did not understand, until after the
resurrection itself, to refer to that event. That Jesus predicted
the crucifixion and resurrection, there does not seem to be any
reasonable doubt. But we find variations in the details, which
suggest that these were supplied by the writers, post eventum^ and
that the prediction itself was general in its character. Moreover,
we find in the eschatological discourse, that Jesus* language needs
a key, and we seem forced to the supposition that the utter failure
of the disciples to understand the present prophecy must have
been due to a like enigmatical use of language, ^a^piyo-tigi — with-
out any reserve, using entire frankness of speech. Now that the
time had come for Jesus to speak about this, he spoke out firankly.

32. TTpoo-XajSo/Acvos avrov — having taken him aside. Peter
could not understand plain speech about a matter to be spoken
of only under his breath. Metaphorically, he puts his finger on
his lips, and says Hush. He does not wish further open discus-
sion of so dangerous a topic, and so he takes Jesus aside even to

1 See on 228.

2 On the distinction between vir6 and airo after passives, see Win. 47 b) Note.
8 See Scharer, N. Zg. H. I. III. IV.



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VIIL32-IX. 1] SELF-SACRIFICE TAUGHT 155

remonstrate with him. iinTLfji^v — /<? rebuke. Such an idea as
his master had announced was not only to be refuted, but rebuked
as unworthy of him. This would be the way in which he would
reconcile it with his sense of his Lord's dignity to rebuke him ; a
thing that he would not think of doing except as he thought that
Jesus was himself underrating that dignity. He had just allowed
the Messianic claim made for him by the disciples, and now he
seemed to be predicting defeat, whereas it belonged to the Mes-
siah not to be defeated.

33. €7rtoTpa<^€is — having turned^ that is, upon Peter. But as
he turned on him, it brought the rest of the disciples to view,
and having seen the effect of Peter's action on them, he was
moved to special plainness of speech. iirerLfirja-e Uerpa) koI Xeyci —
he rebuked Peter and says. Notice the repetition of the iwiTifiav of
v.^. Peter had assumed to rebuke him, and now he rebukes
Peter.

Kal X^et, instead of X^wv, saying, Tisch.Treg. WH. RV. k BCL A two
mss. Lat. Vet. Memph. Pesh.

''YTrayc oTTto-o) fiov — "Yirayt denotes withdrawal, get away. And the
"whoXt \ihxBse TCitdJis, Get out of my sight, Sarava — Satan. Our
Lord is not calling names here, but indicating in strong language
the part that Peter is playing. He is putting temptation in our
Lord's way, and is so acting the role of Satan. Jesus recognizes
that it is not Peter in propria persona that is speaking, but the
Spirit of evil speaking through him, just as he recognized the
invisible Tempter in the wilderness (Mt. 4*^). ^povCi% — thou
thinkest noty thou dost not regard, <t>pov€lv rd Ti.vo^ means to side
with one} Peter did not keep in mind God's purposes, but
men's. He did not look at things as God looks at them, but as
men regard them, and hence he played the part of the Adver-
sary, the Tempter. And it was not a minor and incidental
temptation, but the great thing that separates God's ways and
man's, the temptation to consider himself, instead of imitating
God's self-sacrifice.



JESUS TEACHES THE BfULTITUDE THAT THE SELF-
SACRIFICE PRACTISED BIT HIMSELF IS THE NEC-
ESSARY CONDITION OF DISCIPLESHIP

34-IX. 1. Jesus now calls up the multitude^ having
closed the purely esoteric part of his teaching, relating to
his own fate, and teaches them that the conditioft of disciple-

1 Thay.-Grm. Lex,



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IS6 THE GOSPEL OF MARK [Vm. 34

ship is self-denial, and following him even to death. He
bases this on the general principle that to lose life is to save
it, and to save it is to lose it. And there is no profit in
gaining the whole world and losing one's life, because that
is an irreparable loss. Nothing will buy it back. These
ultimate gains and losses follow a man's attitude towards
Him because the Son of Man is to return in the glory of
his Father, and will then be ashamed of the man who is
now ashamed of Him,

34. rov o^ov — the multitude. It seems from this, that in
spite of his being away from his usual place of work, and in
heathen territory, Jesus was surrounded by a crowd of people.
And his language implies that they had some knowledge of him.
El T6S QtKjLi 6irC<r<D fiov axoXovOdv — Jf any one wishes to follow after
me, A figurative expression of discipleship.^

Ef Tts, instead of «(rTts, Treg. WH. RV. n BC* DL A Latt. Hard. marg.
dKoXovdeiv^ instead of i\0€tv, Tisch. Treg. C* DX I, 28, most mss. Lat.
Vet. Vulg. The rare combination, found elsewhere only Mt. 10*^, is fairly
conclusive of the originality of the reading.

a'rrapvrj(rd(r$(t) iavrov — let him deny himself The person is
made here the direct object of the verb, not the indirect He is
not to deny something to himself, but he is to renounce himself.
He is to cease to make himself the object of his Ufe and action.
The verb is the same that is used to denote Peter's denial of his
Master, and means to deny that one stands in a supposed relation
to another, and hence to reject, or renounce. To deny self is
therefore to deny the relation of self-interest and control which
a man is supposed to hold to himself, in the interest of humanity
and of God ; in other words, to renounce himself. It is the nega-
tive side of the command to love, and like that, does not refer to
special acts, but to a change of the fundamental principle of
life. K. dparo) Tov (rravpov avrov — and take up his cross. This
is a phase, the extreme phase of the self-denial which Jesus has
just demanded. Let him deny himself, and carry out that self-
denial even to death. The cross does not mean here any dis-
agreeable thing, but the instrument of death. The criminal
carried his own cross to the place of execution, and so, to take
up the cross means to go to the place of death. The equivalent
of it in our language would be to go to the gallows or the stake.



1 See on ii7-20. The use of 6iri<ra) after aKoAovCeiv is a Hebraism. Win. 33.
Note. Thay.-Grm. Lex,



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Vni. 34, 35] SELF-SACRIFICE TAUGHT 1 57

The idea is, that a disciple is to follow the example of Jesus in
giving up everything, even life itself, that belongs to the selfish
interests, sooner than anything belonging to the higher purposes
of life. K. aKoXovOeLTd) fioL — and follow me. This is not a third
thing added to the self-denial and cross-bearing, but a repetition
of the oTTto-o) /Aov dKoXov^ctv of the conditional part of the sentence.
The meaning is, that in these two things, self-denial and cross-
bearing, is to be found the way to follow him.

35. ^Os yap eav Q^iq — For whoever wishes} Ss 8' hf d^oXco-ci —
but whoever shall lose? crmrei avriyv (omit ovro^, this one) will
save it,

i^v before B^Xy, instead of Slp, Tisch. Treg. WH. n BCKM AH i, 28, 33.
dToX^o-et, instead of AroXiffv, Tisch. Treg. WH. n BCD 2 TA. Omit ovtos
before adxret, Tisch. Treg. WH. RV. n ABC* DLM* X AH Latt. Memph.
Syrr.

Jesus has just bidden them to sacrifice even their lives, and this
gives the reason for that bidding, showing the.m that this is really
the way to save their lives. The paradox consists in the two
meanings of the word life. In the first clause, it means the
bodily life, and in the second, the true life of the spirit, which is
independent of that bodily condition. The general principle is,
that there is no such thing as ultimate loss in the kingdom of God.
And in this case, a man loses his life only to receive it again
enriched and multiplied. He sacrifices himself so far as he is
identified with lower interests, only to become absorbed in higher
and larger interests, in righteousness and love, in God and man.
cv€K€v ifiov Kol Tov cvayyeXiov — /or the sake of me and of the
Gospel, Here we have the higher objects stated, for which a man
sacrifices himself, and in which the merely personal life is ab-
sorbed. He becomes absorbed, in the first place, in a higher
personality, that of Jesus, the Redeemer, and the head of the
Messianic kingdom, who represents interests human and universal.
And all personal interests become merged in those of the Gospel,
the glad-tidings that Jesus brings, that the kingdom of God is
coming. This coming is involved in the advent of its king.^ It
is as a man loses himself in so great and high things, that he finds
himself, and as he sacrifices his life in their behalf, that he saves
it. Only in such things is there any true life.

1 On the use of iav for av after relatives, see Win. 43, Note at end. Also foot-
note 2, p. 156.

2 On the fiit. ind. with o? av, see Burton, 308, who notes it as a N.T. use. Win.
42, 3 b, cites only LXX passages, as the N.T. passages occur only in the various
critical texts. There is a use of the future indicative in classical Greek with av, but
not in conditional or relative clauses. And there is a use of the future in condi-
tional relative clauses, but without av. This construction is therefore anomalous.
See Goodwin, Greek Moods and Tenses, 61, 3, Note: 50, i. Note i ; 37, 2, Note i.

8 See on ii- 14. 15; cf. Mt. 428 986 24I4.



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158 THE GOSPEL OF MARK [VIIL 36-38

36. TL yap coi^cXci avOpanrov Kepdvjcrai . . . koI irjfUiaOrjvai . . . ;
— /(ffr what does it profit a man to gain . . . , and to forfeit , , , ?

^Xei, instead of »^Xi^(ret, Tisch. WH. RV. K BL mss, Lat VeL Pesh.
Ke/>d^(rat, instead of ih.v Kepd'^ay^ and iyi/uiaOrjvcu, instead of idv j^rifuwd'g,
Tisch. WH. RV. k BL.

IrffiuoOrjvca — to forfeit. The word commonly means to lose by
way of penalty, to forfeit. The argument is carried forward here
no longer in'the contrast between the two lives, the ^xv i^ its
two senses, but in the contrast between the ^yf) and the Koafw^,
And this is pertinent, becaus*e the earthly life is measured gen-
erally by outward gains, while the spiritual life is valued for itself.
In the one, a man is worth dollars and cents, in the other, his
worth is a matter of his own excellence, the quality and range of
his being. The question is thus between that Hfe which consists
mainly in having, and that which consists in being. And to be, in
the true sense, means to have the life of God in us. The con-
trast is made as strong as possible by making the gain the Koa/w^,
the sum total of things.

37. Tt yap Sot ^ — For what shall a man give ? dvraXXayfia —
as an exchange. The questions means, if a man has forfeited his
Ufe, by what price or ransom can he buy it back? It is the
rhetorical form of sajdng that the loss is irrevocable. It is the
irrevocableness of the loss that makes the gain to be nothing by
its side. The whole world, if a man had it, would not buy back
his life, if he lost it

ri yiip, instead of rj ri, Tisch. Treg. WH. RV. N BL A 28, one ms, Lat.
Vet Memph. «o«, instead of «<^(ret, Tisch. Treg. WH. RV. N* B (n« L
«V) kkv, instead of hv, Tisch. Treg. WH. n BCEFLMVX PA.

3a 05 yap ^av — for whoever.^ The argument does not con-
nect this with the special statement that immediately precedes,
but with the entire statement of which that forms a part. It
shows how these general statements are to be applied to man's
relations to Christ ; how these relations can affect their lives so
profoundly — a question that might easily be suggested to his
listeners by the amazing character of his assumptions. The pres-
ent situation, he says, is to be changed. He who seems to them
now so easily to be set aside is to appear eventually as the Son of
Man, coming in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels.
Now, they are ashamed of him, it may be; then he will be
ashamed of them. The announcement of Jesus' Messiahship
(v.®) is followed immediately by the prophecy of his humiha-

1 An irregular form of sec. aor. subj. for l<f. The mood is that of deliberative
questions. Win. 41 a, 4 b,

3 This use of idiv for av is due to the use of av as a contracted form of eav, lead-
ing to a mistaken use of the two as interchangeable. See Thay.-Grm. Lex.



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VIIL38-IX. 1] SELF-SACRIFICE TAUGHT 1 59

tion and death; and that by the statement that life and death
hang upon the acceptance and imitation of him ; now this is justi-
fied by the prophecy of his reign. Verily, Jesus* reticence about
himself, that has been so characteristic of his teaching so far, is
here broken. /AoixaA.t8t — adulterous. The figure represents sin
as unfaithfulness to the close relation in which God seeks to put
man to himself. It is a favorite figure of the prophets.

IX. 1. This verse belongs with the preceding discourse by the
most obvious connection of thought. He has spoken of the
coming of the Son of Man in the glory of his Father ; and here
he states the time of that coming. For the coming of the Son of
Man is everywhere identified with the coming of the kingdom.
Cf. Mt. 16^, where this coming is spoken of as the coming of the
Son of Man in his kingdom. The reason for placing the verse in
the ninth chapter is that those who made the division supposed
that the glorifying of Jesus in the Transfiguration was the event
referred to here. But that would not be described as a coming of
the Son of Man in power ; nor would an event only a week dis-
tant be spoken of as taking place before some of those present
should die. That language implies that most of them would be
dead, while a few would live to see the great event. No, this
coming of the kingdom is to be identified with the coming of the
Son of Man. Nothing else will satisfy the context. And this
coincides with everything that Jesus says about the time of that
coming. See ch. 13*^, and parallel passages in Mt. and Lk. This
then lets in a flood of light upon the meaning of that coming, as
it declares that it was to be before some of those before him
should taste of death. If his words are to stand therefore, it was
to be events belonging to the generation after his death which ful-
filled the prophecy of his coming, and of the establishment of his
kingdom. And in this case, the kingdom was to be spiritual, and
the agencies in its establishment were to be the Spirit of God and
the providence of God in human affairs.

Here, as in the esdiatological discourse, ch. 13, the coming is
referred to as an understood thing, whereas there has been no
teaching in regard to it; The same remark applies here as in the
teaching about the death and resurrection. We cannot account
for the expectation, which colored the whole life of the early
church, without some prophecy of it. But on the other hand,
the absence of expectation in the period between the death and
resurrection is unaccountable if the prophecy was of this definite
character.



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l6o THE GOSPEL OF MARK [IX. 2



THE TRANSFIGURATION

IX. 2-8. Jesus goes up into a mountain^ with Peter^
James, and John, and is transfigured before them. The
heavenly visitors. The voice from heaven.

A week after the conversation with the disciples in regard to his
death, Jesus goes, with the three disciples who stood nearest to
him, up into the neighboring mountain, and was transfigured be-
fore them. As it is described, this transfiguration consisted in an
extraordinary white light emitted from his whole person. Accom-
panying this was an appearance of Moses and Elijah talking with
him. Peter, frightened out of his wits by the amazing scene,
proposes to fix and retain it by building huts for Jesus and the
heavenly visitors up there on the mountain side. But a cloud
came over them, and a voice proceeded from it, as at the baptism.
This is my beloved Son ; hear him. And suddenly, looking around,
they saw no one but Jesus.

2. iJ/Acpas ti — six days. Lk. says, about eight days. We can
easily get rid of one of the two days which separate these two
accounts, as the Jews confounded after seven days with on the
seventh day by reckoning both the dies a quo and the dies ad quern
in the former expression, as in the account of the resurrection.
But the other day needs the ^d of Lk., about eight days, to re-
move the discrepancy.

T. IIcTpov K. T. ^laKtafiov K.(T.yitadvvrjv — These three formed the
inner circle of the twelve, whom Jesus took with him on three
great occasions, the raising of the dadghter of Jairus, the Trans-
figuration, and the scene in the garden of Gethsemane. cU 6p(ys
vil/rjXov — into a high mountain. What mountain is meant, we do
not know, except that it was probably in the vicinity of Csesarea
Philippi, and so belonged to the Hermon range. See 8^.

KttT* iStav fiovovs — apart alone. This account gives no reason
for this privacy, and Mt. is equally silent. But Lk. tells us that
Jesus went up into the mountain to pray. This gives a rational
turn to the whole occurrence, leaving us to suppose that the trans-
figuration was incidental to it, and not the purpose of our Lord's
going up into the mountain. He was glorified before the dis-
ciples, but it is quite out of character for him to deliberately set
about such a transaction. This opens the way for another sug-
gestion as to the real character of the event. Jesus would be led
to special prayer at this time by the events on which it seems that
his mind was fixed, and which formed the subject of conversation



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IX. 2-4] THE TPIANSFIGURATION l6l

between himself and his disciples. The subject of his discourse
at this period was the approaching tragical end of his life. And
it is Lk. again, who tells us that this was the subject of conversa-
tion between himself and the heavenly visitants at this time. It
looks then, as if this was a case in which the mind of the writer
was fixed on the surface of things, who has told his story too in
such a way as to fix our attention on the mere physical accompani-
ments of the scene, the shining of Jesus' garments, rather than the
glory of his countenance, while at the same time, he has himself
given us the suggestions for a deeper reading of it. According to
the ordinary view, arising from this emphasis of the physical side
of it, the transfiguration was a gleam of our Lord's true glory in
the midst of the surrounding darkness, showing that he was divine
in spite of his humiliation and death. But, according to our
Lord's own view, which he came into the world to set up, over
against its superficial worldliness, his glory was essentially in his
humiliation and death, not in spite of it. And here, his spirit was
glorified by dwelling in the midst of these high purposes and re-
solves until its glory broke through the veil of flesh, and irradiated
his whole being.

Kol fX€T€fji.op<l>(o0r)^ — and was transfigured before them. All the
particulars given are, in our account, the shining whiteness of his
garments, and in Mt. and Lk. this with the shining or (Lk.) the
change of his face.

3. Koji TO. ifmruL iyh/ero arlX^ovra^ XeuKot \Lav (omit c5s X^'***'') —
and his garments became shining^ exceedingly white.

Omit ctfj x^wv, as snow, Tisch. Treg. WH. RV. K BCL A I, two mss.
Lat. Vet. one ms, Vulg.

oTa yvac^cus ctti t^s y^s ov Swarcu outcds XeuKavtu — literally,
such as a fuller upon the earth cannot so whiten.

Insert ovrws, so, before Xev/cavat Tisch. Treg. WH. RV. N BCLN A 13,
28, 33, 69, 116, 124, 346, two mss, Lat. Vet. Egyptt.

4. 'HXctas ow Mwvo-ct — Elijah with Moses, Elijah is gen-
erally said to be the representative of O.T. prophecy, Moses
of the Law. But this distinction is more apparent than real.
Moses was a prophet, and the law that he gave was a part of his
prophetic utterance; while Elijah had nothing to do with the
predictive, certainly witl^ the Messianic side of prophecy, accord-



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