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An exposition of the four Gospels (Volume 2) online

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Theological Seminary,

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' hiroQaviiiv «ti KaXurai. — Heh. xi. 4.









Chap. i. ver. 1 — 8.


] . The beginning of the gospel

In Judea, seventeen, or eighteen hundred years ago ;
and at all times, and in all places to the end of the world.
To every one of us now, when we are laid low enough
in our own eyes to seek after Jesus Christ, know our own
want of him, and that we must be undone without him.
Let us ask ourselves what progress we have made in the
knowledge, love, and power of it ?

" Of the gospel," viz. : — peace with God, forgiveness of
sins, release from condemnation, acceptance to a state of
sonship, and inheritance by Jesus Christ. What says the
heart to all this ?

1. Of .Jesus Christ,

Let us not separate Jesus from Christ. He is Jesus^ a
Saviour, as the name imports ; but then he is only so to
those who receive him as the Christ, the Anointed of God,
to be tlieir king, priest, and propliet.

1. The Son of God;

VOL. 11. - ^

2 ST. MARK. [chap. I.

Himself God, as the Son of man is a man ; perfectly
acquainted witii the will of God, sent from him to declare
it, and able to save to the uttermost all that come unto
God by him. — Lord, help the writer to speak concerning
this blessed gospel of glad tidings, and you to receive it in
love I Alas ! what are we when we stand off from it in un-
belief; think coldly of it, prefer our own lost state in the
world to it, or do not receive it into our hearts !

2. As it is written in the prophets. Behold, I send my messen-
ger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.

The messenger and preacher of repentance. The way
to Christ is through the doctrine of John the Baptist.

3. The voice of one crying in the wilderness,

Aloud to every man in the wilderness of sin, and the

3. Prepare }'e the way of the Lord,

All the impediments to his coming, and presence in your
souls, must be removed. — Do thou, O Lord, enable us to
discover and remove them.

3. Make his paths straight.

The ways of all flesh are crooked before his com-

4. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the bajitism
of repentance for the remission of sins.

Viz. — By Christ, for whom John prepared the way by
his baptism of repentance. Repentance therefore is the
way, and only the way, to Christ ; as there is no coming to
him without it, so it has no efficacy of itself for the remis-
sion of sins, without bringing us to Christ. How plain is
this! Without repentance there is no remission. When did
we see our sin, so as to be pricked in our hearts for it ?
When did we repent ? When did we come to Christ for
remission .''

5. And there went out unto him all the land of .fiidcea, and they

VER. 1 — 8.] ST. MARK. 3

of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan,
confessing their sins.

It is to be feared they did these things more in hypocrisy
than from the heart. Outward baptism, and the confession
of the lips, are easy things, but tlic truth of repentance,
and inward cleansing, are painful work.

6. And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of
a skin about his loins ; and he did eat locusts and wild honey ;

His habit and manner of living were suitable to his

7. And preached, saying. There cometli one mightier than I
after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down
and unloose.

Without whom John's baptism, preaching, and exhorta-
tions, would be of no effect ; repentance not being available
to pardon, but through him. He works, that which both
he and I preach, viz. repentance ; and also faith, and new-
ness of life, by baptizing with the Spirit. Let him come
in his might to us, let us expect it, pray for it, and assure
ourselves that nothing less than the grace and power of his
Godhead can be our remedy.

8. I indeed have baptized you with water : but he shall baptize
you with the Holy Ghost.

The meaning is, he must, it is his prerogative, the pecu-
liar glory of his dispensation, and our great happiness
under him. If we stop short of this baptism, we lose all
faith, love, and obedience, and do not know him in the very
thing which makes him greater than John the Baptist, or
all that went before him.

B 2

4 ST, MARK. [chap. [.


Chap. i. ver. 9 — 15.


9. And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from
Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.

Jesus needed not baptism unto repentance for himself ;
but being in the place of sinners, to show what was neces-
sary to them.

10. And straightway coming np out of the water, he saw the
heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon
him :

The same happens to all who are rightly baptized,
though they do not see it. But our infant baptism will be
lost, if we do not take it upon ourselves, and answer the
end of it in ourselves.*

11. And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou a^t my
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

And for his sake, with all who are in him by faith.

12. And immediately the spirit driveth him into the wilder-

He drove him into the wilderness that he might undergo
all trials, to perfect his obedience as our pattern. This was
a state of great humiliation Let the children of God look
for trials. Christ was their pattern herein. Let them not
fear ; for they too have angels ministering to them.

13. And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tem])ted of
Satan ;

* A pen is run over this sentence, and the words, " Never to
depart till they force him from them," inserted after baptised : the
ink is not the same, I think the hand is. — Ed.

VER. 9 — 15.] ST. MARK. 5

As sure as ever we enter into Christ's process, we have
the same enemy to encounter with.

13. And was wiih the wild beasts;

This was a state of great humiliation for the Son of God.
His servants in the lowest condition of poverty, distress,
and desertion, may derive support and comfort from

13. And the angels ministered unto him.

At the end of the temptation, and when he had passed
happily through it. If thou art an heir of salvation,
bravely enduring thy trials, they likewise minister to thee,
in God's time ; and thou wilt one day know what service
thou hast received from them.

14. Now after that John was put in prison,

As John was to be the forerunner of Christ, and is so
prophesied of, his ministry must of necessity end, before
that of Christ began.

14. Jesus came into Galilee,

This too was according to prophecy ; and if Christ had
not confined his ministry and teaching to Galilee, he
would have wanted one mark or proof of his being the

14. Prcacliing the gospel of the kingdom of God,

In which God receives us to grace and favour by the
remission of sins, rules over us by .lesus Clirist, and pre-
pares us by the Spirit for his everlasting kingdom of glory.
Do you understand this, and is it glad tidings, and sweet
preaching to you, in your undone state ? Have you entered
or are you willing to enter into the kingdom of God for
this end '^ Do you know, and believe that it must be set up
in your souls, and come to you with power and blessings
now, whilst you live, and that if you die out of it you
perish eternally ? Tiiink of these things before you again
go to slcej) ; and beseech God to awaken vou to a sense of

6 ST. MARK. [chap. I.

your condition, in the want of the gospel, and the great
mercy of deliverance, therein offered you.

1 5. And saying, The time is fulfilled.

That of life with you, if it pleases God. Be no longer
hardened and unbelieving. Think what it is to die before
this time comes.

15. And the kingdom of God is at hand :

To you, if you will hear your call, and see your day.
God's kingdom of grace, as preparatory to his kingdom of
glory. And no one comes to the latter, but by the

1 5. Repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Repent first, and then believe. We are saved by faith ;
but repentance must pave the way for it ; and faith, when
we have it, carries on and perfects our repentance.


Chap. i. ver. 16— '28.


16. Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simoji
and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea : for they were

17. And Jesus said unto them. Come ye after me.

To be employed under him for the good of their fellow
creatures, laying themselves out wholly upon the office of
saving souls after his example, and receiving his instruc-
tions for that purpose. Has he any other method of call-
ing and qualifying his ministers ? No, his rule is always

VER. 16 — 28.] ST. MARK. 7

the same ; renounce all other pursuits, know your business
in the world, study your pattern, behold, Jesus saith,
" Come ye after me !"

17. And I will make you to become fishers of men.

At all times, and in all places ; to catch you in the net of
the gospel, if you will hear Christ speaking by them.

18. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed

His call was accompanied with a divine power: and no
doubt this first miraculous touch of it upon their hearts
would be remembered by tliem ever after, and be a means
of keeping them steady to him. We too are called to
follow him, though not as Apostles, and to forsake all as
they did, yet to receive salvation from him, and to know
Avhat we must do for liim. Take notice that Simon and
Andrew, James and John, did not desire a moment's delay ;
if they had, ])erhaps he would never liave called them
more. Think then whether you are following Christ, and
what is your condition at this time.

19. And when he liad gone a little farther thence, he saw James
the son of Zebedce, and John his hiullirr, who also were in the
ship mending their nets.

20. And straightway he called them : and they left their father
Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after

21. And they went into Capernaum ; and straightway on the
sabbath day he entered into the synagogue^ and taught.

How hard would have been our condition, if nothinsr of
wiiat he taught had been left upon record ! And yet how
many who call themselves his disciples, live and die in great
ignorance of it !

22. And they were astonished at his doctrine : for he taught
lluni as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

It seems as if this was chiefly to be understood of some-
thing extraordinary in his appearance, and niamier of

8 ST. MARK. [chap. 1.

speijking: for Capernaum still continued a hardened place,
and though his doctrine caused astonishment, we do not
read that it was effectual to the conversion of many of his
hearers. Let the teaching of Christ be authoritative to our
iiearts, and we shall experience the power of his doctrine
in our conversion.

23. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean
spirit : and he cried out,

24. Saying, Let us alone ; what have we to do with thee, thou
Jesus of Nazareth ? art thou come to destroy us ? I know thee who
thou art, the Holy One of God.

He asks our Lord, saying. Art thou come to put an
end to our power over mankind, or to punish us out of
hand ?

2-5. And Jesus rebuked him, saying. Hold thy peace, and come
out of him.

26. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with
a loud voice, he came out of him.

It is no great matter what we suffer in our healing by
Christ, if we are but healed.

27. And they were all amazed.

Wonder at Jesus and all his miracles, is not conver-

27. Insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying,
What thing is this ? what new doctrine is this ? for with authority
commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

It is a happy thing when we can say this from our own
knowledge and experience of the power of Christ in our-
selves. Let us look to him for nothing less ; otherwise all
scripture will be lost upon us.

28. And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the
region round about Galilee.

The fame of Jesus, and his miracles, is the ground of
our faith in him, and the gospels were written to spread
and establish it.

VER. 29—45.] ST. MARK. 9


Chap. i. ver. 29—45.


29. And forlhwilh, when they were come out of the synagogue,
they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James
and Jolm.

30. But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they
tell him of her.

31. And he came and took her hy the hand, and lifted her up;
and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.

The cure which Jesus wrought on Peter's mother-
in-law, was miraculous in some of its circumstances; it
was instant, and complete, and attended with immediate
ability in the patient to minister to Christ, and to his dis-
ciples. In these particulars it serves to shadow out the
healing of the soul from the guilt of sin : Christ speaks
pardon, he heals the soul, and imparts strength to serve
him in newness of life.*

32. And at even, when the sun did set, they hrought unto
him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with

They would not stay till the next day, for the cure of
their bodies. We are in no such haste for our souLs.

33. And all the city was gathered together at the door.

Happy are those who are drawn to tlie doors of God's
house, by the report of his mercy in Christ Jesus to

• The M.S. is here defective, and the Editor has supplied a
t Idem.

10 ST. MARK. [chap. I.

34. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and
cast out many devils ; and suffered not tlie devils to speak, because
they knew him.

The devils owning him could be no credit to him, nor
advantage to the truth, and therefore he would not suffer

35. And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he
went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

Was he so concerned for a blessing on his work, and so
dihgent in the use of the best means, and have we not one
prayer for our souls ? Hear especially, O minister !

36. And Simon and they that were with him followed after

37. And when they had found him, they said unto him. All men
seek for thee.

Nevertheless, he left them . they had as much of his time
as he could spare, and might have made a saving use of
his presence. He is always present with us, by his word
and Spirit, until we provoke him to leave us. O that it
could be said of us, all seek for thee !

38. And he said unto them, Let us go into the next towns,
that I may preach there also : for therefore came I forth.

39. And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee,
and cast out devils.

The labours of Christ were incessant : his miracles were
intended to conciliate regard to his doctrines ; by these he
olorified God his Father, and removed his wrath from those
who repented and believed in him, and by those jhe
demonstrated his good-will to men. — Ed.

40. And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneel-
ing down to him, and saying unlo him. If thou wilt, thou canst
make me clean.

We have all a worse leprosy cleaving to us, and are de-
fded and spotted all over with sin, till we receive our cure
from Christ. This we shall do whenever we come to

VEU. 29 — 45.] ST. MARK. 11

Christ, with tliis saying in our mouths, and with earnest de-
sire to be healed by him.

41. And .Jesus, moved with compassion, put fonli liis hand, and
touched him, and saitli unlo him, I will ; be thou clean.

42. And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the leprosy de-
l^arted from him, and he was cleansed.

Perhaps in no miracle of healing did Christ more clearly
point out his will and power to remove the guilt and pollu-
tion of sin from those who should come to him by faith,
for the healing of their souls. Let us go to him with this
prayer, and we shall not be sent empty away. — Ed.

43. And he straitly charged him, and forthwith sent him
away ;

44. And saith unto him. See thou say nothing to any man :

This was to avoid ostentation, and to set us a pat-
tern of humility ; as well as for the reason mentioned in
verse 45. Not that we are forbidden to speak of Christ at
all times, to one another as we are able.

44. But go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy
cleansing those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony
unto them-

Tiie cleansed man would thus yield obedience to
a divine ordinance ; and he would exhibit a mark of the
finger of God in his cure : the leprosy being supposed in-
curable by human means.

45. But he wen«; out, and began to publish it much, and to blaze
abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly
enter into the city, but was without in desert places : and they
came to him from every quarter.

We see here that the most serious inconvenience may
arise to the usefulness of the ministers of the gospel of
Christ, from the indiscreet zeal of those who have re-
ceived mercy, through their means. — Ed.

12 ST. xMAIlK. [chap. II.


Chap. ii. ver. 1 — 12,


1. And again he entered into Capernaum after some days ; and
it was noised that he was in the house.

Is he not here now, in this house, by his word, and
Spirit? O that we were with him in will and desire for
his blessings !

2. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that
there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the
door : and he preached the word unto them.

Whatever they came to him for he knew his own busi-
ness, and what they wanted. " Herein he is an example
to all ministers to the end of time." — Ed.

3. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy,
which was borne of four.

But who can bring us to iiim ? Christ himself, in the
preaching of his gospel, and by his Spirit within us. But
then while he is willing, bring thyself to him, O sinful, and
diseased man, who art sick of a deadly distemper. Thou
canst not please him better.

4. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press,
they uncovered the roof where he was : and when they had broken
it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay.

Sense and feeling of sin will put us upon trying every
method to come at Jesus. And come at him we shall, if
we are in earnest.

5. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the
palsy. Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

Jesus saw the faith of those who brought the man, and
also the faith of the person himself for his bodily cure.

Vlill. 1—12.] ST. MARK. 13

But he here reveals himself to them, and to all, in his
better capacity of physician to the soul, and in such a
manner as to show what he chiefly aimed at in his mira-
culous cures, namely, the spiritual recovery of man-

The paralytic had faith in Christ's power, and therefore
the Saviour graciously extended it to the i-elief of all his
wants; and when he healed him of one distemper, would
not leave him under a worse. " Son, thy sins are forgiven
thee," are sweet words to a fainting soul, and here spoken,
once for all, to every believer. When a sense of sin presses
hard upon thee, and thou art looking out every way for
belp, be not so inuch thy own enemy as to think ihey are
not spoken to thee : thou mayest be taught by some to wait
for a personal call, grant, or inward testimony, particularly
assuring thee of it. But remember " Faith cometh by
hearing, and hearing by the word of God;" Rom. x. 17;
and it may never come to thee, if thou wilt receive it upon
no other evidence than that of thy own feeling.

6. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and rea-
soning in their hearts,

7. Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies ? who can for-
give sins but God only ?

8. And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they
so reasoned within themselves.

This Jesus could not have done, if he had not been God
as well as man. And observe from hence how clearly the
hearts of all men lie open to him.

8. He said unto them. Why reason ye these things in your
hearts ?

9. Whether is it easier to say to the sick of tlie jmlsv. Thy
sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and
walk ?

Both were alike im])ossible to men, and both alike easy
to Christ. Note from hence, that sin is more at the bottom
of all our sicknesses than we tliink of. We cannot be
mistaken in scarchinff for it as the cause of them.

14 ST. MARK. [chap. II.

10. But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on
earth to forgive sins.

This miracle was wrought and recorded, that ye might
know and believe this. And take especial notice that your
sin must be forgiven you upon earth. As the tree falls, so
it lies. When did you think of this ? When did your sins
give you any concern ? When did you ever come with
them to Christ for pardon ?

10. (He saith to the sick of the palsy,)

11. I say unto thee. Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy
way into thine house.

12. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and v\'ent forth
before them all ; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified
God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

We now hear this that we may so wonder at Christ, in
the power of his miracles, as to glorify God for our own
conversion by him.

In reading the Scripture, do not let one story, or one
miracle pass, without some application to yourselves. For
instance, in the case of the paralytic ; had he lost the use
of his limbs.'* and am not I in a worse condition, and stand
as much in need of healing ? Yes, I am helpless and weak
in my soul, my heart is insensible to God, my will is mo-
tionless, my affections are dead to heavenly things, till
Christ restores them. Have I sins to be forgiven .? Yes,
more than the hairs of my head. Will they be forgiven .?
Yes, Christ wrought this, and all his miracles, that we
might believe in him as the Saviour of sinners. Will he
heal me, if I do not see, and confess my sin, and come to
him for that purpose.? No, I must desire it of him, with
the same earnestness and concern, as if I wanted healing
in my body, and knew that he would, and that he alone
could, cure me.

VEIL 13—22.] ST. MARK. 15


Chap. ii. ver. 13—22.


13. And he went forth again hy the sea side ; and all the mul-
titude resorted unto him, and he taught them.

Your coming hither to hear his word, is resorting to him.
If it is in sincerity, for a blessing. He is wherever his
word is, and will make you know the power of his teach-

14. And as he passed hy, he saw Levi the son of Alphajus sit-
ting at the receipt of custom.

This was Matthew himself, attending upon the profit-
able trade of a publican, farmer, or collector of the public

14. And said unto him. Follow me. And he arose and followed

Be astonished here. This was a greater miracle than the
former. Matthew, who was such a worldling as to prefer gain
to credit, (for the employment in which he was engaged was
hateful among the Jews, more especially in a Jew,) at the
call of Christ, had a new heart given him, and was changed
into another man. Nevertheless, the same miracle must be
wrought in every one of us. Neither do we want our call,
yea many calls, but alas ! the world, and for the most part,
a little of it, — a bare livelihood in it, effectually stops our
ears, and hardens our hearts against it.

15. And it came to pass, that, as Jesus sat at meat in his house,
many publicans and sinners sat also together with Jesus and his

Online LibraryThomas AdamAn exposition of the four Gospels (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 39)