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Jamieson Commentary on Mark 9:30-41

From the Commentary on the Whole Bible (Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, 1871).

Second Explicit Announcement of His Approaching Death and Resurrection (Mr 9:30-32).

30. And they departed thence, and passed - were passing along.

through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it - By comparing Mt 17:22, 23 and Lu 9:43, 44 with this, we gather, that as our Lord's reason for going through Galilee more privately than usual on this occasion was to reiterate to them the announcement which had so shocked them at the first mention of it, and thus familiarize them with it by little and little, so this was His reason for enjoining silence upon them as to their present movements.

31. For he taught his disciples, and said unto them - "Let these sayings sink down into your ears" (Lu 9:44); not what had been passing between them as to His grandeur, but what He was now to utter.

The Son of man is delivered - The use of the present tense expresses how near at hand He would have them to consider it. As Bengel says, steps were already in course of being taken to bring it about.

into the hands of men - This remarkable antithesis, "the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men," it is worthy of notice, is in all the three Evangelists.

and they shall kill him - that is, "Be not carried off your feet by all that grandeur of Mine which ye have lately witnessed, but bear in mind what I have already told you and now distinctly repeat, that that Sun in whose beams ye now rejoice is soon to set in midnight gloom."

and after he is killed, he shall rise the third day.

32. But they understood not that saying - "and it was hid from them, [so] that they preceived it not" (Lu 9:45).

and were afraid to ask him - Their most cherished ideas were so completely dashed by such announcements, that they were afraid of laying themselves open to rebuke by asking Him any questions. But "they were exceeding sorry" (Mt 17:23). While the other Evangelists, as Webster and Wilkinson remark, notice their ignorance and their fear, Matthew, who was one of them, retains a vivid recollection of their sorrow.

Mr 9:33-50. Strife among the Twelve Who Should Be Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, with Relative Teaching - Incidental Rebuke of John for Exclusiveness. ( = Mt 18:1-9; Lu 9:46-50).

Strife among the Twelve, with Relative Teaching (Mr 9:33-37).

33. What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? - From this we gather that after the painful communication He had made to them, the Redeemer had allowed them to travel so much of the way by themselves; partly, no doubt, that He might have privacy for Himself to dwell on what lay before Him, and partly that they might be induced to weigh together and prepare themselves for the terrible events which He had announced to them. But if so, how different was their occupation!

34. But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest - From Mt 18:1 we should infer that the subject was introduced, not by our Lord, but by the disciples themselves, who came and asked Jesus who should be greatest. Perhaps one or two of them first referred the matter to Jesus, who put them off till they should all be assembled together at Capernaum. He had all the while "perceived the thought of their heart" (Lu 9:47); but now that they were all together "in the house," He questions them about it, and they are put to the blush, conscious of the temper towards each other which it had kindled. This raised the whole question afresh, and at this point our Evangelist takes it up. The subject was suggested by the recent announcement of the Kingdom (Mt 16:19-28), the transfiguration of their Master, and especially the preference given to three of them at that scene.

35. If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all - that is, "let him be" such: he must be prepared to take the last and lowest place. See on Mr 10:42-45.

36. And he took a child - "a little child" (Mt 18:2); but the word is the same in both places, as also in Lu 9:47.

and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms - This beautiful trait is mentioned by out Evangelist alone.

he said unto them - Here we must go to Matthew (Mt 18:3, 4) for the first of this answer: "Verily I say unto you, except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven:" that is, "Conversion must be thorough; not only must the heart be turned to God in general, and from earthly to heavenly things, but in particular, except ye be converted from that carnal ambition which still rankles within you, into that freedom from all such feelings which ye see in this child, ye have neither part nor lot in the kingdom at all; and he who in this feature has most of the child, is highest there." Whosoever, therefore, shall "humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven": "for he that is [willing to be] least among you all, the same shall be great" (Lu 9:48).

37. Whosoever shall receive one of such children - so manifesting the spirit unconsciously displayed by this child.

in my name - from love to Me.

receiveth me; and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but Him that sent me - (See on Mt 10:40).

Incidental Rebuke of John for Exclusiveness (Mr 9:38-41).

38. And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbade him, because he followeth not us - The link of connection here with the foregoing context lies, we apprehend, in the emphatic words which our Lord had just uttered, "in My name." "Oh," interposes John - young, warm, but not sufficiently apprehending Christ's teaching in these matters - "that reminds me of something that we have just done, and we should like to know if we did right. We saw one casting out devils "in Thy name," and we forbade him, because he followeth not us. Were we right, or were we wrong?" Answer - "Ye were wrong." "But we did it because he followeth not us." "No matter."

39. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me - soon, that is, readily "speak evil of me."

40. For he that is not against us is on our part - Two principles of immense importance are here laid down: "First, No one will readily speak evil of Me who has the faith to do a miracle in My name; and second, If such a person cannot be supposed to be against us, ye are to consider him for us." Let it be carefully observed that our Lord does not say this man should not have "followed them," nor yet that it was indifferent whether he did or not; but simply teaches how such a person was to be regarded, although he did not - namely, as a reverer of His name and a promoter of His cause.

41. For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward - (See on Mt 10:42). 

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