Some have suggested that the gospel of Mark was written as a kind of training manual for new Christians, or for Christian evangelists. Egypt, Antioch, Galilee and Rome have been suggested destinations for the gospel. Rome seems likely. A largely Gentile readership is the reason for Mark's explanation of Jewish customs. The focus on the suffering Christ in the second half may be for the purpose of strengthening a church that is facing persecution. A possible date would be between AD64 and AD70.

1 1The beginning of the Good News [euangeliou]

Originally it represented 'good news' in the sense of announcing some significant event which made a change in world history. For example, the birth of the Roman Emperor Augustus was described as 'gospel'.

of Jesus [Iēsou]

A common name among Jews until the second century AD, after which Jews ceased using it to avoid connection with Jesus Christ, and Christians did not use it commonly, out of respect for their Lord. The name means 'Yahweh is salvation' (cf. Mt 1:21).

Christ [christou; Heb. Messiah], the Son of God. 2As it is written in the prophets, "See [idou]; I send [apostellō] my messenger [angelon] before your face, who will prepare your way before you. 3The voice of one crying [boaō] in the wilderness [erēmō], 'Make ready [eutheias] the way of the Lord [kyriou; Heb. Adonai]! Make his paths straight!'" 4John came baptizing in the wilderness [erēmō]

A boundary between East and West, which the Romans would watch with particular care. It had historical importance, for Lot chose the Plain of Jordan when given the opportunity (Gn 13), Jacob crossed the Jordan on his way to meet Esau (Gn 33), Joshua led the people of Israel across the Jordan into the Promised Land (Jos 3). The ministries of the prophets Elijah and Elisha had focused there too.

and preaching [kēryssō]

'Heralding'. In the Greek city-state the herald (a) preceded the kind drawing attention to his coming, (b) called the citizens to the assembly which determined the city's life and, (c) told athletes at the games what the rules for participating were.

the baptism [baptisma]

Jews had practised ritual washings since their time in the wilderness with Moses. Much of the provision of the law had used such washing to preserve sanitation and health. They were also familiar with the idea that washing made pure (cf. Is 1:16-18). Proselytes were baptised into the Jewish faith so it was surprising that John summoned the Jews to be baptised.

of repentance [metanoias] for forgiveness [aphesin] of sins. 5All the country of Judea and all those of Jerusalem went out to him. They were baptized by him in the Jordan river, confessing their sins. 6John was clothed with camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey. 7He preached [ekērussen], saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and loosen [luō]

The slave tied the sandals for a master. To be willing to do that for another person is either to denigrate oneself beyond what is humanly reasonable or to elevate the other person beyond all normal categories of work.

. 8I baptized you in water, but he will baptize you in the Holy Spirit." 9It happened in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10Immediately coming up from the water, he saw the heavens [tous ouranous] parting, and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11A voice came out of the sky [tōn ouranōn], "You are my beloved [agapaō] Son, in whom I am well pleased [eudokeō]." 12Immediately the Spirit drove [ekballō]

'Driven out' as opposed to 'was led' (of Matthew and Luke). Ekballō can mean 'drive out, expel, literally, throw out by force'. But it can also mean 'send out' without necessarily connoting force, cf. Mt 7:4f.

him out into the wilderness [erēmō]. 13He was there in the wilderness [erēmon] forty days tempted [peirazō] by Satan. He was with the wild animals; and the angels were serving [diakoneō] him. 14Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee [Galilaian]

Galilee was the centre of a buzzing political and commercial life. It stood at the crossroads of the nations of the ancient world, through which the armies and the traders and the diplomats passed. There some of the greatest battles of the world had been fought. Galilee was the home of a thoroughly cosmopolitan population: Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic would all be heard in the markets; Syrian, Jew, Roman and Parthian mixed freely. It was a land of passing excitements and dangerous fashions, of a barbarous dialect and offensive manners.

, preaching [kēryssō] the Good News [euangelion] of the Kingdom of God, 15and saying, "The time is fulfilled [plēroō]

Lit. 'The time is fulfilled'.

, and the Kingdom [basileia]

The Aramaic term behind basileia means 'kingly rule', 'sovereignty', or 'reign'. It is about the fact of someone reigning rather than about the geographical area of the reign. It is about 'rule' rather than 'realm'. In the OT, extra-canonical writing, and rabbinic literature, two elements vie with one another. The first is that YHWH is now king. The other strand is that one day this will no longer be hidden, but will be seen by all to be the case.

of God is at hand! Repent [metanoeō]

Means 'a change of direction', 'turning back', 'change of mind'.

, and believe [pisteuō] in the Good News [euangeliō]." 16Passing along by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 17Jesus said to them, "Come after [opisō] me, and I will make you into fishers for men [anthrōpōn]

OT use (Je 16:16; Ezk 29:4f; Hab 1:14-17) and in rabbinic literature is always in a bad sense.

." 18Immediately they left their nets, and followed [akoloutheō] him. 19Going on a little further from there, he saw James the son of Zebedee [Iakōbon; Heb. Ya'akov Ben-Zavdai], and John, his brother, who were also in the boat mending [katartizō] the nets. 20Immediately he called them, and they left their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired servants, and went after him. 21They went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath day he entered into the synagogue and taught. 22They were astonished [ekplēssō]

Cf. v27.

at his teaching, for he taught them as having authority, and not as the scribes [grammateis]. 23Immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, 24saying, "Ha! What do we have to do with you, Jesus, you Nazarene? Have you come to destroy [apollymi] us? I know you who you are: the Holy One of God!" 25Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be quiet [phimoō], and come out of him!" 26The unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. 27They were all amazed [thambeomai], so that they questioned [syzēteō] among themselves, saying, "What is this? A new teaching? For with authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him!" 28The report of him went out immediately everywhere into all the region of Galilee and its surrounding area. 29Immediately, when they had come out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. 30Now Simon's wife's mother lay sick with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. 31He came and took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she served them. 32At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to him all who were sick, and those who were possessed by demons. 33All the city was gathered together at the door. 34He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. He didn't allow the demons to speak, because they knew him. 35Early in the morning, while it was still dark, he rose up and went out, and departed into a deserted [erēmon] place, and prayed there. 36Simon and those who were with him followed after [katadiōkō] him; 37and they found him, and told him, "Everyone is looking for you." 38He said to them, "Let's go elsewhere into the next towns, that I may preach [kēryssō] there also, because I came out for this reason." 39He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching [kēryssōn] and casting out [ekballō] demons. 40A leper [lepros]

This term referred to a wider range of conditions than the term leprosy in English designates.

came to him, begging him, kneeling down to him, and saying to him, "If you want to [thelō], you can make me clean [katharizō]." 41Being moved with compassion [splagchnizomai]

Some early and reliable MMS imply Jesus was filled with anger.

, he stretched out his hand, and touched [haptō]

This action would have shocked onlookers who knew of the ritual uncleanness of a person with leprosy.

him, and said to him, "I want to [thelō]. Be made clean [katharizō]." 42When he had said this, immediately the leprosy [lepra] departed from him, and he was made clean [katharizō]. 43He strictly warned [embrimaomai]

Different translations have been suggested: 'spoke sternly', 'groaned', 'murmured against', 'growled at', upbraided', 'roared at', 'snorted'. The word represents deep emotion expressed inarticulately.

him, and immediately sent him out [ekballō]

'Drove out'.

, 44and said to him, "See you say nothing to anybody, but go show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing [katharismou] the things which Moses commanded, for a testimony to them." 45But he went out, and began to proclaim it much, and to spread about the matter, so that Jesus could no more openly enter into a city, but was outside in desert [erēmois] places: and they came to him from everywhere.

2 1When he entered again into Capernaum after some days, it was heard that he was in the house. 2Immediately many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even around the door; and he spoke [laleō] the word [logon] to them. 3Four people came, carrying [airō] a paralytic to him. 4When they could not come near to him for the crowd, they removed the roof [stegēn]

Houses in Jesus' day typically had rooms arranged around an inner courtyard with an external stairway leading to the upper stories. In this instance, the sticks, thorn-bush, mortar, and earth comprising the roofing plaster, may have been broken up to make an aperture. This was often done for the purpose of letting down grain, straw, and other articles.

where he was. When they had broken it up, they let down the mat [krabatton] that the paralytic was lying on. 5Jesus, seeing their faith [pistin], said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven [aphiēmi] you." 6But there were some of the scribes [grammatiōn] sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts [dialogizomai en tais kardiais autōn], 7"Why does this man speak blasphemies [blasphēmeō] like that? Who can forgive [aphiēmi] sins but God alone?" 8Immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they so reasoned [dialogizomai] within themselves, said to them, "Why do you reason [dialogizomai] these things in your hearts? 9Which is easier, to tell the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven [aphientai];' or to say, 'Arise, and take up your bed [krabatton], and walk?' 10But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive [aphienai] sins"--he said to the paralytic— 11"I tell you, arise, take up your mat [krabatton], and go to your house." 12He arose, and immediately took up the mat, and went out in front of them all; so that they were all amazed [existēmi], and glorified [doxazō] God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!" 13He went out again by the seaside. All the multitude came to him, and he taught them. 14As he passed by, he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus [Leuin; Heb. L'vi Ben Chalfai], sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, "Follow [akoloutheō] me." And he arose and followed [ēkolouthēsen] him. 15It happened, that he was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors [telōnai]

Tax collectors worked for the cruel Herod Antipas, who would not have been in power but for the Romans. Tax collectors extorted more tax than was required, even from the poor. The Jews considered Gentile traders to be ritually unclean.

and sinners [amartōloi] sat down with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many, and they followed [ēkolouthoun] him. 16The scribes [grammateis] and the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with the sinners [amartōlōn] and tax collectors, said to his disciples, "Why is it that he eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners [amartōlōn]?" 17When Jesus heard it, he said to them, "Those who are healthy [ischuontes] have no need for a physician, but those who are sick [kakōs echontes]. I came not to call the righteous [dikaious], but sinners [amartōlous] to repentance." 18John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting [nēsteuō]

Only the fast on the Day of Atonement (Lv 16:29) was enjoined by the law, but the Pharisees fasted on Mondays, and Thursdays throughout the year.

, and they came and asked him, "Why do John's disciples and the disciples [mathētai]

Disciples related to teachers of the law, which the Pharisees, in general, were not, though scribes who were Pharisees were teachers.

of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples don't fast?" 19Jesus said to them, "Can the groomsmen fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they can't fast. 20But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then will they fast in that day. 21No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, or else the patch shrinks and the new tears away from the old, and a worse hole is made. 22No one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the new wine will burst the skins, and the wine pours out, and the skins will be destroyed; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins." 23It happened that he was going on the Sabbath day through the grain fields, and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of grain [stachuas]

Lit. 'ears'. There were thirty-nine forbidden activities on a Sabbath ('forty save one') and the third was reaping. This was all built on the injunction in Ex 34:21 forbidding Sabbath work. Jesus' reply is couched in rabbinic style. David had taken the 'presence-bread' - the twelve newly baked loaves that were laid in two rows on a table before God in the tabernacle every Sabbath, which were saved for the priests (1 Sam 21:1-6; cf. Lv 24:5-9).

. 24The Pharisees said to him, "Look [ide], why do they do that which is not lawful on the Sabbath day?" 25He said to them, "Did you never read what David did, when he had need, and was hungry--he, and those who were with him? 26How he entered into the house of God when Abiathar [Abiathar]

The reference in 1 Sam 21 is to the priest. Actually, Ahimelech, Abiathar's father, is the priest named in the story.

was high priest, and ate the show bread, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and gave also to those who were with him?" 27He said to them, "The Sabbath was made for [dia] man, not man for [dia] the Sabbath. 28Therefore the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath [Sabbaton]

The point can be found in rabbinic teaching also; 'The Sabbath is delivered unto you, and you are not delivered to the Sabbath' is an example.


3 1He entered again into the synagogue, and there was a man there who had his hand withered. 2They watched [paratēreō]

The verb suggests close, adverse, scrutiny, as given to a potential wrong-doer.

him, whether he would heal him on the Sabbath day, that they might accuse [katēgoreō] him. 3He said to the man who had his hand withered, "Stand up." 4He said to them, "Is it lawful [exestin] on the Sabbath day to do good [agathon], or to do harm [kakopoieō]? To save a life [psychēn sōzō], or to kill [apokteinō]?" But they were silent. 5When he had looked around at them with anger, being grieved [sullupeomai] at the hardening of their hearts, he said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out, and his hand was restored as healthy as the other. 6The Pharisees [Pharisaioi]

These were not necessarily 'Pharisaic' in the pejorative sense; they were genuine believers in God, who were concerned for the spiritual renewal of their people, and enjoyed a huge reputation for piety of life and uprightness of conduct. There were honourable men among them like Joseph of Arimathea, looking eagerly for the Kingdom and diligent in prayer for it. Their proximity to even Jesus' ideals sharpened the confrontation.

went out, and immediately conspired with the Herodians [Hrōdianōn]

The Herodians, supporters of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee, would have little in common with the Pharisees, since they differed so strongly about relations with Rome and about religious ideals in general.

against him, how they might destroy him. 7Jesus withdrew [anachōreō]

Sometimes used of escaping from danger though this is not evidence of Jesus' negative motive.

to the sea with his disciples, and a great multitude followed him from Galilee, from Judea, 8from Jerusalem, from Idumaea, beyond the Jordan, and those from around Tyre and Sidon. A great multitude, hearing what great things he did, came to him. 9He spoke to his disciples that a little boat should stay near him because of the crowd, so that they wouldn't press on him. 10For he had healed many, so that as many as had diseases pressed on him that they might touch him. 11The unclean spirits, whenever they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, "You are the Son of God!" 12He sternly warned [epitimaō] them that they should not make him known. 13He went up into the mountain, and called to himself those whom he wanted, and they went to him. 14He appointed twelve [dōdeka], that they might be with him, and that he might send them out [apostellō] to preach [kēryssō], 15and to have authority to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: 16Simon, to whom he gave the name Peter; 17James the son of Zebedee [Iakōbon; Heb. Ya 'akov Ben-Zavdai]; John, the brother of James, and he surnamed them Boanerges [Boanērges; Heb. B'nei-Regesh]

The identification by nicknames was not new. Rabbis with the same name were also distinguished in this way. In one sense the nicknames are more descriptive of their activities than their characteristics. Peter was not exactly rock-like although he was the rallying point for the others.

, which means, Sons of Thunder [Gioi Brontēs]; 18Andrew; Philip; Bartholomew [Bartholomaion; Heb. Bar-Talmai]; Matthew; Thomas; James, the son of Alphaeus [Iakōbon; Heb. Ya 'akov Ben-Chalfai]; Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot [Kananitēn]

Lit. the 'Cananite'. The Zealots were banded together for insurrection at any moment when the word might be given by their leaders. They were under a vow to murder anyone they came across who was taking good Jewish money from fellow Jews and passing it over to Rome. Of the disciples of Jesus, the tax collector Matthew and the Zealot Simon were blood brothers.

; 19and Judas Iscariot [Ioudan Iskariōtēn; Heb. Y'huda from K'riot], who also betrayed [paradidōmi] him. He came into a house. 20The multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. 21When his friends [oi par'autou]

'Those belonging to him'.

heard it, they went out to seize [krateō]

Used for taking hold of someone's hand or for arresting a person.

him: for they said, "He is insane." 22The scribes [grammateis] who came down from Jerusalem said, "He has Beelzebul [Beelzeboul; Heb. Ba 'al-zibbul]

'Lord of the dwelling' is the most likely translation in the light of 'house' in v25 and 27. Can mean 'Lord of the flies' or Lord of the demons'. Beelzebub is not used in Jewish literature as another name for Satan but this may have been a first.

," and, "By the prince [archonti] of the demons he casts out [ekballō] the demons." 23He summoned them, and said to them in parables [parabolais]

This word only found in the synoptics. It is from a Hebrew word meaning 'wise saying or story'.

, "How can Satan cast out [ekballein] Satan? 24If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26If Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he can't stand, but has an end. 27But no one can enter into the house of the strong man to plunder, unless he first binds the strong man; and then he will plunder his house. 28Most certainly I tell you [amēn legō hymin], all sins of the descendants of man will be forgiven [aphiēmi], including their blasphemies with which they may blaspheme [blasphēmiai hosa ean blasphēmeō]; 29but whoever may blaspheme [blasphēmeō] against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness [aphesin], but is guilty of an eternal sin" 30Because they said, "He has an unclean [akatharton] spirit." 31His mother and his brothers came, and standing outside, they sent to him, calling him. 32A multitude was sitting around him, and they told him, "See [idou], your mother, your brothers, and your sisters are outside looking for you." 33He answered them, "Who are my mother and my brothers?" 34Looking around at those who sat around him, he said, "See [ide], my mother and my brothers! 35For whoever does the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother."

4 1Again he began to teach by the seaside. A great multitude was gathered to him, so that he entered into a boat in the sea, and sat down. All the multitude were on the land by the sea. 2He taught them many things in parables, and told them in his teaching, 3"Listen! Think of it [idou]: the farmer went out to sow, 4and it happened, as he sowed, some seed fell by the road, and the birds came and devoured it. 5Others fell on the rocky ground, where it had little soil, and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of soil. 6When the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8Others fell into the good ground, and yielded fruit, growing up and increasing. Some brought forth thirty times, some sixty times, and some one hundred times as much."9He said, "Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear." 10When he was alone, those who were around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11He said to them, "To you is given the mystery [mystērion]

Not a reference to the mystery religions, but to an OT idea of something hidden until revealed by God, which cannot otherwise be perceived.

of the Kingdom of God, but to those who are outside, all things are done in parables, 12that 'seeing they may see [blepō], and not perceive [oraō]; and hearing they may hear [akouō], and not understand [syniēmi]; lest perhaps [mēpote] they should turn again, and their sins should be forgiven [aphiēmi] them.'" 13He said to them, "Don't you understand [oida] this parable? How will you understand [ginōskō] all of the parables? 14The farmer sows the word [logos]. 15The ones by the road are the ones where the word [logon] is sown; and when they have heard, immediately Satan comes, and takes away the word [logon] which has been sown in them. 16These in like manner are those who are sown on the rocky places, who, when they have heard the word [logon], immediately receive it with joy [charas]. 17They have no root in themselves, but are short-lived. When oppression or persecution arises because of the word [logon], immediately they stumble [skandalizontai]. 18Others are those who are sown among the thorns. These are those who have heard the word [logon], 19and the cares of this age [aiōnos], and the deceitfulness [apatē] of riches, and the lusts [epithumiai] of other things entering in choke the word [logon], and it becomes unfruitful. 20Those which were sown on the good ground are those who hear the word [logon], and accept it, and bear fruit, some thirty times, some sixty times, and some one hundred times." 21He said to them, "Is the lamp brought to be put under a basket [modion] or under a bed? Isn't it put on a stand? 22For there is nothing hidden, except that it should be made known [phaneroō]; neither was anything made secret [apokruphon], but that it should come to light. 23If any man has ears to hear, let him hear." 24He said to them, "Take heed what you hear. With whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you, and more will be given to you who hear. 25For whoever has, to him will more be given, and he who doesn't have, even that which he has will be taken [airō] away from him." 26He said, "The Kingdom of God is as if a man should cast seed on the earth, 27and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he doesn't know how. 28For the earth bears fruit: first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29But when the fruit is ripe, immediately he puts forth the sickle, because the harvest has come." 30He said, "How will we liken the Kingdom of God? Or with what parable will we illustrate it? 31It's like a grain of mustard seed [kokkō sinapeōs]

Not the smallest seed, but proverbially it seems to have been the typical small seed (cf. Mt 17:20; Lk 17:6).

, which, when it is sown in the earth, though it is less than all the seeds that are on the earth, 32yet when it is sown, grows up, and becomes greater than all the herbs, and puts out great branches, so that the birds of the sky can lodge under its shadow." 33With many such parables he spoke the word [logon] to them, as they were able to hear [akouō] it. 34Without a parable he didn't speak to them; but privately to his own disciples he explained [epiluō]

Lit. 'untie', 'unravel'.

everything. 35On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let's go over to the other side." 36Leaving the multitude, they took him with them, even as he was, in the boat. Other small boats were also with him. 37A big wind storm arose, and the waves beat into the boat, so much that the boat was already filled. 38He himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion, and they woke him up, and told him, "Teacher [didaskale; Heb. Rabbi], don't you care that we are dying?" 39He awoke, and rebuked [epitimaō] the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace! Be still [phimoō]!" The wind ceased [kopazō], and there was a great calm. 40He said to them, "Why are you so afraid [deiliaō]? How is it that you have no faith [pistin]?" 41They were greatly afraid [phobeomai], and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"

5 1They came to the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes [Gadarēnōn]

An alternative in some reliable MMS of Mark has Gergesenes. Gergesa was a place of little significance, while Gadara and Gerasa were sizeable towns. On the other hand, both Gadara and Gerasa were several miles from the shore of the lake. Gergesa is the best placed geographically. The site of a small unpretentious location may in itself be significant.

. 2When he had come out of the boat, immediately a man with an unclean [akathartō] spirit met him out of the tombs. 3He lived in the tombs. Nobody could bind him any more, not even with chains, 4because he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been torn apart by him, and the fetters broken in pieces. Nobody had the strength to tame [damazō] him. 5Always, night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out, and cutting [katakoptō] himself with stones. 6When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and bowed down [proskyneō] to him, 7and crying out with a loud voice, he said, "What have I to do with you [ti emoi kai soi], Jesus, you Son of the Most High [hupsistou; Heb. HaElyon] God? I adjure you by God, don't torment me." 8For he said to him, "Come out of the man, you unclean [akatharon] spirit!" 9He asked him, "What is your name?" He said to him, "My name is Legion [Legiōn]

The Knowing of the name, accurately, was believed to give one power over the person named, since the name stood for the nature of the person. A legion consisted of upward of 6000 soldiers.

, for we are many." 10He begged him much that he would not send them away out of the country. 11Now on the mountainside there was a great herd of pigs feeding. 12All the demons begged him, saying, "Send us into the pigs, that we may enter into them." 13At once Jesus gave them permission. The unclean [akatharta] spirits came out and entered into the pigs. The herd of about two thousand rushed down the steep bank into the sea, and they were drowned in the sea. 14Those who fed them fled, and told it in the city and in the country. The people came to see what it was that had happened. 15They came to Jesus, and saw [theōreō] him who had been possessed by demons sitting, clothed, and in his right mind, even him who had the legion [legeōna]; and they were afraid [phobeō]. 16Those who saw it declared to them how it happened to him who was possessed by demons, and about the pigs. 17They began to beg him to depart from their region. 18As he was entering into the boat, he who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. 19He didn't allow him, but said to him, "Go to your house, to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how he had mercy on you." 20He went his way, and began to proclaim in Decapolis [Dikapolei] how Jesus had done great things for him, and everyone marveled. 21When Jesus had crossed back over in the boat to the other side, a great multitude was gathered to him; and he was by the sea. 22Think of it [idou]; one of the rulers of the synagogue [archisynagōgōn], Jairus by name, came; and seeing him, he fell at his feet, 23and begged him much, saying, "My little daughter is at the point of death. Please come and lay your hands [cheiras]

Laying on of hands occurs in the contemporary Jewish contexts of blessings and sacrifices and authorisation, but not for healing.

on her, that she may be made healthy, and live." 24He went with him, and a great multitude followed him, and they pressed upon him on all sides. 25A certain woman, who had an issue of blood for twelve years, 26and had suffered many things by many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better, but rather grew worse, 27having heard the things concerning Jesus, came up behind him in the crowd, and touched his clothes [himatiou]

The touching of the garment was related to a common belief at the time that the clothing carried the power of the person (cf. Ac 19:12).

. 28For she said, "If I just touch his clothes [himatiōn], I will be made well [sōzō]." 29Immediately the flow of her blood was dried up, and she felt in her body that she was healed [iaomai apo] of her affliction. 30Immediately Jesus, perceiving [epiginōskō] in himself that the power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd, and asked, "Who touched my clothes [himatiōn]?" 31His disciples said to him, "You see the multitude pressing against you, and you say, 'Who touched me?'" 32He looked around to see her who had done this thing. 33But the woman, fearing and trembling, knowing what had been done to her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth. 34He said to her, "Daughter, your faith [pistis] has made you well [sōzō]. Go in peace, and be cured [eimi hugiēs] of your disease." 35While he was still speaking, people came from the synagogue ruler's house saying, "Your daughter is dead. Why bother [skullō] the Teacher any more?" 36But Jesus, when he heard the message spoken, immediately said to the ruler of the synagogue [archisynagōgō], "Don't be afraid, only believe [pisteuō]." 37He allowed no one to follow him, except Peter, James, and John the brother of James. 38He came to the synagogue ruler's house, and he saw an uproar, weeping, and great wailing. 39When he had entered in, he said to them, "Why do you make an uproar and weep? The child is not dead, but is asleep [katheudō]." 40They ridiculed [katagelaō] him. But he, having put them all out, took the father of the child, her mother, and those who were with him, and went in where the child was lying. 41Taking the child by the hand, he said to her, "Talitha cumi [Talitha koum]!" which means, being interpreted, "Girl, I tell you, get up!" 42Immediately the girl rose up and walked, for she was twelve years old. They were amazed with great amazement. 43He strictly ordered [diastellomai] them that no one should know this, and commanded that something should be given to her to eat.

6 1He went out from there. He came into his own country, and his disciples followed him. 2When the Sabbath had come, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many hearing him were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things?" and, "What is the wisdom [sophia] that is given to this man, that such mighty works come about by his hands? 3Isn't this the carpenter [tektōn], the son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judah, and Simon? Aren't his sisters here with us?" They were offended [skandalizō]

Cf. 1 Pet 2:6-8 for the significance of this idea with the root meaning of 'stumbling' or 'tripping'.

at him. 4Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honour [atimos], except in his own country, and among his own relatives, and in his own house." 5He could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people, and healed them. 6He marveled because of their unbelief [apistian]. He went around the villages teaching. 7He called to himself the twelve, and began to send them out two by two; and he gave them authority over the unclean [akathartōn] spirits. 8He commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a staff only: no bread, no wallet [pēran], no money in their purse [zōnēn], 9but to wear sandals, and not put on two tunics [chitōnas]. 10He said to them, "Wherever you enter into a house, stay there until you depart from there. 11Whoever will not receive [dechomai] you nor hear you, as you depart from there, shake off the dust that is under your feet for a testimony against them. Assuredly, I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!" 12They went out and preached [kēryssō] that people should repent [metanoeō]. 13They cast out many demons, and anointed [eleiphō] many with oil who were sick, and healed them. 14King [basileus]

The honorary title of 'king' could be a gesture from Rome or simply popular usage. Cf. Mt 14:1; Lk 9:7.

Herod heard this, for his name had become known, and he said, "John the Baptizer has risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him." 15But others said, "He is Elijah." Others said, "He is a prophet, or like one of the prophets." 16But Herod, when he heard this, said, "This is John, whom I beheaded. He has risen from the dead." 17For Herod himself had sent out and arrested John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias [Hrōdēs]

Josephus (Antiquities xviii 136) records that Herodias was married to Herod; Mark says Herod. Perhaps the Herod to whom Herodias was married was also called Philip.

, his brother Philip's wife, for he had married her. 18For John said [legō]

Meaning 'had been saying consistently over time'.

to Herod, "It is not lawful [exestin] for you to have your brother's wife." 19Herodias set herself against him, and desired to kill him, but she couldn't, 20for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous [dikaion] and holy man, and kept him safe [suntereō]. When he heard him, he did many things, and he heard him gladly. 21Then a convenient day came, that Herod on his birthday made a supper for his nobles [megistasin], the high officers [chiliarchois], and the chief men of Galilee. 22When the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, she pleased Herod and those sitting with him. The king said to the young lady, "Ask me whatever you want, and I will give it to you." 23He swore to her, "Whatever you shall ask of me, I will give you, up to half of my kingdom." 24She went out, and said to her mother, "What shall I ask?" She said, "The head of John the Baptizer." 25She came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, "I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptizer on a platter." 26The king was exceedingly sorry [perilypos], but for the sake of his oaths, and of his dinner guests, he didn't wish to refuse her. 27Immediately the king sent out a soldier of his guard, and commanded to bring John's head, and he went and beheaded him in the prison, 28and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the young lady; and the young lady gave it to her mother. 29When his disciples heard this, they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb. 30The apostles [apostoloi]

Assuming the background to be the Hebrew saliah, the 'sent one' is not so much the military force or colonising party as the authorised representative of an individual, corporation or community. They are dependent on their commission and it is not their status that counts but their function and role.

gathered themselves together to Jesus, and they told him all things, whatever they had done, and whatever they had taught. 31He said to them, "You come apart into a deserted place, and rest awhile." For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. 32They went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves. 33They saw them going, and many recognized him and ran there on foot from all the cities. They arrived before them and came together to him. 34Jesus came out, saw a great multitude, and he had compassion [splagchnizō]

Means to be inwardly moved so as to have to do something about it, cf. Lk 10:33. This verb is only used to describe Jesus himself (Mk 8:2; Mt 9:36; 14:14; 15:32), or to explain the actions of people in his parables who resemble him (Mt 18:27; Lk 10:33; 15:2).

on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he began to teach them many things. 35When it was late in the day, his disciples came to him, and said, "This place is deserted [erēmos], and it is late in the day. 36Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages, and buy themselves bread, for they have nothing to eat." 37But he answered them, "You give them something to eat." They asked him, "Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give them something to eat?" 38He said to them, "How many loaves do you have? Go see." When they knew, they said, "Five, and two fish." 39He commanded them that everyone should sit down [anaklinō]

Lit. 'To make recline'. Ideas of the people in rows as students of a rabbi, or as soldiers in a revolution (cf Jn 6:14-15) are possible insights here although the crowds have come spontaneously and of their own accord.

in groups [prasiai] on the green [chlōrō]

This eye-witness touch confirms the time as around Passover, the only 'green' period of the year in Palestine.

grass. 40They sat down in ranks, by hundreds and by fifties. 41He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed [eulogeō] and broke the loaves, and he gave to his disciples to set before them, and he divided the two fish among them all. 42They all ate, and were filled. 43They took up twelve baskets [kophinōn] full of broken pieces and also of the fish. 44Those who ate the loaves were five thousand men. 45Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat, and to go ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he himself sent the multitude away. 46After he had taken leave of them, he went up the mountain to pray. 47When evening had come, the boat was in the midst of the sea, and he was alone on the land. 48Seeing them distressed in rowing [basanizō en tō elaunein], for the wind was contrary to them, about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea, and he would have [ethelō]

Lit. 'he wished' to do so.

passed by them, 49but they, when they saw him walking on the sea, supposed that it was a ghost [phantasma], and cried out; 50for they all saw him, and were troubled [tarassō]. But he immediately spoke with them, and said to them, "Cheer up! It is I [ego eimi]! Don't be afraid [phobeomai]." 51He got into the boat with them; and the wind ceased, and they were very amazed [existēmi] among themselves, and marvelled [thaumazō]; 52for they hadn't understood [syniēmi] about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened [pōroō]. 53When they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore [prosormizō]. 54When they had come out of the boat, immediately the people recognized him, 55and ran around that whole region, and began to bring those who were sick, on their mats [krabattois], to where they heard he was. 56Wherever he entered, into villages, or into cities, or into the country [agrous], they laid the sick in the marketplaces [agorais], and begged him that they might touch just the fringe of his garment [kraspedou tou himatiou]

Jesus, like every Jewish man, was required to wear fringes or tassels on his garment (Nu 15:37f; Dt 22:12).

; and as many as touched him were made well [sōzō].

7 1Then the Pharisees, and some of the scribes [grammateōn] gathered together to him, having come from Jerusalem. 2Now when they saw some of his disciples eating bread with defiled [koinais], that is, unwashed [aniptois], hands, they found fault. 3(For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, don't eat unless they wash [niptō]

Attached to the words give their hands a ceremonial washing is a Greek word meaning 'with the fist'. It may mean rubbing the fist in the palm of the hand, but more likely involves washing the hands up to the wrist, or even using a fistful of water rather than a larger amount.

their hands and forearms, holding [krateō] to the tradition of the elders [presbyterōn]

This refers to the Jewish oral tradition, added to the law as commentary to spell out the details, implications and applications of the law itself.

. 4They don't eat when they come from the marketplace [agoras]

It was a widespread custom, particularly on returning from the market, to follow such rules, since there they might be defiled by touching Gentiles in the crowd and so become ritually unclean. Even the shadow of a Gentile falling across a dish or plate made it unclean.

, unless they bathe [baptizō] themselves, and there are many other things, which they have received to hold to: washings of cups, pitchers, bronze vessels, and couches.) 5The Pharisees and the scribes [grammateis] asked him, "Why don't your disciples walk [peripateō] according to the tradition of the elders [paradosin tōn presbyterōn], but eat their bread with unwashed [koinais] hands?" 6He answered them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites [hupokritōn], as it is written, 'This people honours me with their lips, but their heart is far from [apechō] me. 7But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.' 8"For you set aside [aphiēmi] the commandment of God, and hold tightly [krateō] to the tradition [paradosin] of men--the washing of pitchers and cups, and you do many other such things." 9He said to them, "Full well [kalōs] do you reject [apheteō] the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. 10For Moses said, 'Honour [timaō] your father and your mother;' and, 'He who speaks evil [kakologeō] of father or mother, let him be put to death.' 11But you say, 'If a man tells his father or his mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban [Korban]

The Aramaic word in the text transliterates a Hebrew equivalent, frequently used in Leviticus, Numbers and Ezekiel to mean 'an offering to God'. The root of the Hebrew has to do with 'bringing near' and implies that the gift, brought near to God, is holy and not available for any other purpose. Here a man declares as Corban that which would have been valuable in support of his parents, thus contravening the law's requirement of filial obligation, according to Jesus. But the tradition excuses him from it. To put it in stronger terms, even though the Bible commanded the honour of parents, the Pharisees had devised a system whereby a greedy son could escape his responsibility to help his need parents. All the son had to do was claim that the money he had available for their relief had already been dedicated to God through a religious vow. Through an ingenious loophole, however, he didn't actually have to give the money to God.

, that is to say, given to God;"' 12then you no longer allow him to do anything for his father or his mother, 13making void [akuroō] the word [logon] of God by your tradition [paradosei], which you have handed down [paradidōmi]. You do many things like this." 14He called all the multitude to himself, and said to them, "Hear me, all of you, and understand. 15There is nothing from outside of the man, that going into him can defile [koinōsai] him; but the things which proceed out of the man are those that defile the man [ta koinounta ton anthrōpon]. 16If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!" 17When he had entered into a house away from the multitude, his disciples asked him about the parable. 18He said to them, "Are you thus without understanding [asynetoi] also? Don't you perceive [noeō] that whatever goes into the man from outside can't defile him, 19because it doesn't go into his heart [kardian], but into his stomach [koilian], then into the latrine, thus purifying [katharizōn] all foods?" 20He said, "That which proceeds out of the man, that defiles [koinoi] the man. 21For from within, out of the hearts of men, proceed evil thoughts [dialogismoi oi kakoi], adulteries, sexual sins, murders, thefts, 22covetings, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, an evil eye, blasphemy [blasphēmia], pride [hyperēphania], and foolishness [aphrosynē]. 23All these evil things [ponēra] come from within, and defile [koinoi] the man." 24From there he arose, and went away into the borders of Tyre [Tyruo]

Tyre was a city of importance, associated with an empire and a former enemy of Israel.

and Sidon [Sidōnos]. He entered into a house, and didn't want anyone to know it, but he couldn't escape notice. 25For a woman, whose little daughter had an unclean [akatharton] spirit, having heard of him, came and fell down at his feet. 26Now the woman was a Greek [Hellēnis]

A religious, not national label here, the point being that she was pagan, not Jewish, and as such, a rule-breaker.

, a Syrophoenician [Surophoinikissa] by race. She begged him that he would cast the demon out of her daughter. 27But Jesus said to her, "Let the children be filled first, for it is not appropriate [kalon] to take the children's bread [arton tōn teknōn] and throw it to the dogs [kynariois]

Not complimentary although the use of the diminutive does at least suggest the household pets, not the scavenging, dangerous street dogs.

." 28But she answered him, "Yes, Lord. Yet even the dogs [kunaria] under the table eat the children's crumbs [psichiōn ton paidiōn]." 29He said to her, "For this saying, go your way. The demon has gone out of your daughter." 30She went away to her house, and found the child having been laid on the bed, with the demon gone out. 31Again he departed from the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and came to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the region of Decapolis [Dekapoleōs]. 32They brought to him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech. They begged him to lay his hand on him. 33He took him aside from the multitude, privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue. 34Looking up to heaven, he sighed [stenazō]

'Groaned,' cf. Ro 8:22-27 and 2 Cor 5:2,4, where this term is used of the Christian's inner struggle.

, and said to him, "Ephphatha [Ephphatha]!" that is, "Be opened!" 35Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was released, and he spoke clearly. 36He commanded [diastellomai] them that they should tell no one, but the more he commanded them, so much the more widely they proclaimed it. 37They were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well. He makes even the deaf hear, and the mute speak!"

8 1In those days, when there was a very great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to himself, and said to them, 2"I have compassion [splagchnizomai] on the multitude, because they have stayed with me now three days, and have nothing to eat. 3If I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint on the way, for some of them have come a long way." 4His disciples answered him, "From where could one satisfy these people with bread here in a deserted [erēmias] place?" 5He asked them, "How many loaves do you have?" They said, "Seven." 6He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves. Having given thanks [eucharisteō], he broke them, and gave them to his disciples to serve, and they served the multitude. 7They had a few small fish. Having blessed [eulogeō] them, he said to serve these also. 8They ate, and were filled. They took up seven baskets [spyridas] of broken pieces that were left over. 9Those who had eaten were about four thousand. Then he sent them away. 10Immediately he entered into the boat with his disciples, and came into the region of Dalmanutha [Dalmanoutha]. 11The Pharisees came out and began to question [syzēteō] him, seeking from him a sign from heaven, and testing [zēteō] him. 12He sighed deeply in his spirit [anastenaxas tō pneumati], and said, "Why does this generation seek a sign? Most certainly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation." 13He left them, and again entering into the boat, departed to the other side. 14They forgot to take bread; and they didn't have more than one loaf in the boat with them. 15He warned [diastellomai] them, saying, "Take heed [horaō]: beware [blepō] of the yeast of the Pharisees and the yeast of Herod." 16They reasoned [dialogizomai] with one another, saying, "It's because we have no bread." 17Jesus, perceiving it, said to them, "Why do you reason that it's because you have no bread? Don't you perceive [noeō] yet, neither understand [syniēmi]? Is your heart still hardened [pōroō]? 18Having eyes, don't you see [blepō]? Having ears, don't you hear [akouō]? Don't you remember? 19When I broke the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets [kophinous] full of broken pieces did you take up?" They told him, "Twelve." 20"When the seven loaves fed the four thousand, how many baskets [spuridōn] full of broken pieces did you take up?" They told him, "Seven." 21He asked them, "Don't you understand [syniēmi], yet?" 22He came to Bethsaida. They brought a blind man to him, and begged him to touch him. 23He took hold of the blind man by the hand, and brought him out of the village. When he had spit on his eyes, and laid his hands on him, he asked him if he saw anything. 24He looked up, and said, "I see men; for I see them like trees walking." 25Then again he laid his hands on his eyes. He looked intently, and was restored, and saw everyone clearly. 26He sent him away to his house, saying, "Don't enter into the village, nor tell anyone in the village." 27Jesus went out, with his disciples, into the villages of Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked his disciples, "Who do men say that I am?" 28They told him, "John the Baptizer, and others say Elijah, but others: one of the prophets." 29He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Christ [christos]

In Hebrew and Aramaic mean 'the Anointed One', carrying the sense of consecration by God for a particular task, and used, for example of kings and priests in the OT (Ex 29:7, 21; 1 Sa 10:1). The title had later been used of the one who would set the Jews free of their oppressors.

." 30He commanded them that they should tell no one about him. 31He began to teach them that the Son of Man [uion tou anthrōpou]

Can simply mean 'a person', 'a man', 'a fellow', and in the OT it is used this way. In Daniel 7:13, however, it refers to an exalted figure, representing 'the saints of the Most High'.

must suffer many things, and be rejected [apodokimazō] by the elders [presbyterōn], the chief priests, and the scribes [grammateōn], and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32He spoke to them openly. Peter took him, and began to rebuke [epitimaō] him. 33But he, turning around, and seeing his disciples, rebuked [epitimaō] Peter, and said, "Get behind me, Satan! For you have in mind not the things of God, but the things of men." 34He called the multitude to himself with his disciples, and said to them, "Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny [aparneomai] himself, and take up his cross [stauron]

The Romans compelled a condemned criminal to carry his cross to the site of crucifixion.

, and follow [akoloutheō] me. 35For whoever wants to save [sōzō] his life [psychēn] will lose [apollymi] it; and whoever will lose [apollymi] his life [psychēn] for my sake and the sake of the Good News [euangeliou] will save [sōzō] it. 36For what does it profit [ōpheleō] a man, to gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? 37For what will a man give in exchange for his life [psychēs]? 38For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

9 1He said to them, "Most certainly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste death until they see the Kingdom of God come with power." 2After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John, and brought them up onto a high mountain privately by themselves, and he was changed into another form [metamorphoomai] in front of them. 3His clothing [himatia] became glistening, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer [gnapheus] on earth can whiten them. 4Elijah and Moses appeared to them, and they were talking [sullaleō] with Jesus. 5Peter answered Jesus, "Rabbi [Rhabbi], it is good [kalon] for us to be here. Let's make three tents [skēnas]: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah." 6For he didn't know what to say, for they were very afraid [ekphobeō]. 7A cloud came, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved [agapaō] Son. Listen [akouō] to him." 8Suddenly looking around, they saw no one with them any more, except Jesus only. 9As they were coming down from the mountain, he commanded [diastellomai] them that they should tell no one what things they had seen, until after the Son of Man had risen from the dead. 10They kept this saying to themselves, questioning [syzēteō] what the "rising from the dead" meant. 11They asked him, saying, "Why do the scribes [grammateis] say that Elijah must come first?" 12He said to them, "Elijah indeed comes first, and restores [apokathistēmi] all things. How is it written about the Son of Man, that he should suffer many things and be despised [exoudeneō]? 13But I tell you that Elijah has come, and they have also done to him whatever they wanted to, even as it is written about him." 14Coming to the disciples, he saw a great multitude around them, and scribes [grammateis] questioning [syzēteō] them. 15Immediately all the multitude, when they saw him, were greatly amazed, and running to him greeted him. 16He asked the scribes, "What are you asking [syzēteō] them?" 17One of the multitude answered, "Teacher, I brought to you my son, who has a mute spirit; 18and wherever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth, and wastes away. I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they weren't able." 19He answered him, "Unbelieving [apistos] generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to me." 20They brought him to him, and when he saw him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground, wallowing and foaming at the mouth. 21He asked his father, "How long has it been since this has come to him?" He said, "From childhood. 22Often it has cast him both into the fire and into the water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us, and help us." 23Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes [pisteuō]." 24Immediately the father of the child cried out with tears, "I believe [pisteuō]. Help my unbelief [apistia]!" 25When Jesus saw that a multitude came running together, he rebuked [epitimaō] the unclean [akathartō] spirit, saying to him, "You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!" 26Having cried out, and convulsed greatly, it came out of him. The boy became like one dead; so much that most of them said, "He is dead." 27But Jesus took him by the hand, and raised him up; and he arose. 28When he had come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why couldn't we cast it out?" 29He said to them, "This kind can come out by nothing, except by prayer and fasting." 30They went out from there, and passed through Galilee. He didn't want anyone to know it. 31For he was teaching his disciples, and said to them, "The Son of Man is being handed over to the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, on the third day he will rise again." 32But they didn't understand the saying [ginōskō to rhēma], and were afraid to ask him. 33He came to Capernaum, and when he was in the house he asked them, "What were you arguing [dialegomai] among yourselves on the way?" 34But they were silent, for they had disputed one with another on the way about who was the greatest. 35He sat down, and called the twelve; and he said to them, "If any man wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant [diakonos] of all." 36He took a little child [paidion]

The child held a very lowly place in the Graeco-Roman world.

, and set him in the midst of them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, 37"Whoever receives [dechomai] one such little child in my name, receives [dechomai] me, and whoever receives [dechomai] me, doesn't receive [dechomai] me, but him who sent me." 38John said to him, "Teacher, we saw someone who doesn't follow us casting out demons in your name; and we forbade him, because he doesn't follow us." 39But Jesus said, "Don't forbid [kōluō] him, for there is no one who will do a mighty work [dunamin] in my name [onomati]

The name was taken truly to represent the person. Cf. Ac 4:10-12.

, and be able quickly to speak evil of me. 40For whoever is not against us is on our side. 41For whoever will give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because you are Christ's, most certainly I tell you, he will in no way lose his reward. 42Whoever will cause one of these little ones who believe [pisteuō] in me to stumble [skandalizō], it would be better for him if he was thrown into the sea with a millstone [mylos onikos]

One which was pulled by a donkey as opposed to a lighter one moved by humans. The Romans punished by drowning in this way.

hung around his neck. 43If your hand causes you to stumble [skandalizō], cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life [zōēn] maimed, rather than having your two hands to go into Gehenna [geennan], into the unquenchable fire, 44'where their worm doesn't die, and the fire is not quenched.' 45If your foot causes you to stumble [skandalizō], cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life [zōēn] lame, rather than having your two feet to be cast into Gehenna [geennan; Heb. Gey-Hinnom]

The place where offal and rubbish were permanently on fire.

, into the fire that will never be quenched--46'where their worm doesn't die, and the fire is not quenched.' 47If your eye causes you to stumble [skandalizō], cast it out. It is better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the Gehenna [geennan] of fire, 48'where their worm doesn't die, and the fire is not quenched.' 49For everyone will be salted with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. 50Salt [halas]

Perhaps this conjured up images of sacrifices which had salt added to them (Lev 2:13; Exk 43:24).

is good [kalon], but if the salt has lost its saltiness, with what will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace [eirēneuō] with one another."

10 1He arose from there and came into the borders of Judea and beyond the Jordan. Multitudes came together to him again. As he usually did, he was again teaching them. 2Pharisees came to him testing [peirazō]

Can mean 'to try out the defences' or 'to catch unguarded'.

him, and asked him, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce [apoluō] his wife?" 3He answered, "What did Moses command you?" 4They said, "Moses allowed a certificate of divorce [biblion apostasiou] to be written, and to divorce [apoluō] her." 5But Jesus said to them, "For your hardness of heart [skērokardian], he wrote you this commandment [entolēn]. 6But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. 7For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and will join [proskollaomai] to his wife, 8and the two will become one flesh, so that they are no longer two, but one flesh [sarka]. 9What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate." 10In the house, his disciples asked him again about the same matter. 11He said to them, "Whoever divorces [apoluō] his wife, and marries another, commits adultery against her. 12If a woman herself divorces [apoluō] her husband, and marries another, she commits adultery." 13They were bringing to him little children, that he should touch them, but the disciples rebuked those who were bringing them. 14But when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation [aganakteō], and said to them, "Allow the little children to come to me! Don't forbid them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15Most certainly I tell you [amēn legō hymin], whoever will not receive [dechomai] the Kingdom of God like a little child, he will in no way enter into it." 16He took them in his arms, and blessed [kateulogeō] them, laying his hands on them. 17As he was going out into the way, one ran to him, knelt before him, and asked him, "Good [agathe] Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?" 18Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good [agathon]? No one is good [agathos] except one--God. 19You know the commandments: 'Do not murder,' 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not give false testimony,' 'Do not defraud,' 'Honor your father and mother.'" 20He said to him, "Teacher, I have observed [phylassō] all these things from my youth." 21Jesus looking at him loved [agapaō] him, and said to him, "One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow [akoloutheō] me, taking up the cross." 22But his face fell at that saying, and he went away sorrowful [lypeō], for he was one who had great possessions. 23Jesus looked around, and said to his disciples, "How difficult it is for those who have riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!" 24The disciples were amazed [thambeō] at his words. But Jesus answered again, "Children [tekna], how hard is it for those who trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God! 25It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God." 26They were exceedingly astonished [explēssō], saying to him, "Then who can be saved [sōzō]?" 27Jesus, looking at them, said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God, for all things are possible with God." 28Peter began to tell him, "Look [idou], we have left [aphiēmi] all, and have followed you." 29Jesus said, "Most certainly I tell you [amēn legō hymin], there is no one who has left [aphiēmi] house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my sake, and for the sake of the Good News [euangeliou], 30but he will receive one hundred times more now in this time, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land, with persecutions; and in the age to come eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last; and the last first." 32They were on the way, going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus was going in front of them, and they were amazed; and those who followed were afraid. He again took the twelve, and began to tell them the things that were going to happen to him. 33"Look [idou], we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be delivered [paradidōmi] to the chief priests and the scribes [grammateusin]. They will condemn [katakrinō] him to death, and will deliver [paradōsousin] him to the Gentiles [ethnesin]. 34They will mock him, spit on him, scourge him, and kill him. On the third day he will rise again." 35James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came near to him, saying, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we will ask." 36He said to them, "What do you want me to do for you?" 37They said to him, "Grant to us that we may sit, one at your right hand, and one at your left hand, in your glory." 38But Jesus said to them, "You don't know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" 39They said to him, "We are able." Jesus said to them, "You shall indeed drink the cup that I drink, and you shall be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with; 40but to sit at my right hand and at my left hand is not mine to give, but for whom it has been prepared [etoimazō]." 41When the ten heard it, they began to be indignant [aganakteō] towards James and John. 42Jesus summoned them, and said to them, "You know that they who are recognized as rulers [archein] over the nations [ethnōn] lord it over them, and their great ones [megaloi] exercise authority over them. 43But it shall not be so among you, but whoever wants to become great among you shall be your servant [diakonos]. 44Whoever of you wants to become first among you, shall be bondservant [doulos] of all. 45For the Son of Man also came not to be served [diakoneō], but to serve [diakoneō], and to give his life [psychēn] as a ransom for [lytron anti]

The 'ransom' was a familiar image in Jewish, Roman and Greek cultures. It was the price paid to liberate a slave, a prisoner of war, or a condemned person. The paying of the price cleaned the slate. Setting a person free like this was known as 'redemption'.

many." 46They came to Jericho. As he went out from Jericho, with his disciples and a great multitude, the son of Timaeus, Bartimaeus [ho uios Timaiou Bartimaios; Heb. Bar-Timai], a blind beggar, was sitting by the road. 47When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out, and say, "Jesus, you son of David, have mercy on me!" 48Many rebuked [epitimaō] him, that he should be quiet, but he cried out much more, "You son of David, have mercy on me!" 49Jesus stood still, and said, "Call him." They called the blind man, saying to him, "Cheer up! Get up. He is calling you!" 50He, casting away his cloak [himation]

The significance of this action is lost without understanding that the cloak was everything to a poor man in the first century: his protection against the cold, his shelter, his mattress, and so on.

, sprang up, and came to Jesus. 51Jesus asked him, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man said to him, "Rabboni [Rabbouni], that I may see again." 52Jesus said to him, "Go your way. Your faith [pistis] has made you well [sōzō]." Immediately he received his sight, and followed [akoloutheō] Jesus in the way.

11 1When they drew near to Jerusalem [Hierousalēm]

At the same time as Jesus' entry into Jerusalem many lambs from the flocks on the Bethlehem hillsides were driven into Jerusalem through the East Gate and up into one of the temple compounds. This was one of the few occasions on which the East Gate was opened, since there were too many to go through the Sheep Gate which was the normal entrance. There would have been thousands of lambs needed for the crowds of worshippers making sacrifices at this festival time. The date was the 10th day of Nissan, four days before Passover and the same day that Jesus rode in to Jerusalem. According to Exodus chapter 12 the lambs were set aside for four days to verify that they were without blemish.

, to Bethsphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, 2and said to them, "Go your way into the village that is opposite you. Immediately as you enter into it, you will find a young donkey [pōlon] tied, on which no one has sat. Untie him, and bring him. 3If anyone asks you, 'Why are you doing this?' say, 'The Lord needs him;' and immediately he will send him back here." 4They went away, and found a young donkey [pōlon] tied at the door outside in the open street, and they untied him. 5Some of those who stood there asked them, "What are you doing, untying the young donkey [pōlon]?" 6They said to them just as Jesus had said, and they let them go. 7They brought the young donkey to Jesus, and threw their garments [himatia] on it, and Jesus sat on it. 8Many spread their garments [himatia] on the way, and others were cutting down branches [stibadas]

During the Feast of Tabernacles bundles of palm, myrtle and willow were waved during the festival whenever Hosanna occurred in the liturgy.

from the trees, and spreading them on the road. 9Those who went in front, and those who followed, cried out, "Hosanna [ōsanna]

A transliteration of the Hebrew used in Ps 118:25, meaning 'Save now'. Since this psalm was used on the Feast of Tabernacles and at Passover, the cry from the crowd may simply have picked up the celebratory spirit of those other occasions.

! Blessed [Eulogēmenos]

In Hebrew this would read: Baruch haba bashem Adonai; Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

is he who comes in the name of the Lord! 10Blessed [Eulogēmenē] is the kingdom of our father David that is coming in the name of the Lord [kyriou; Heb. Adonai]! Hosanna [ōsanna] in the highest!" 11Jesus entered into the temple in Jerusalem. When he had looked around at everything, it being now evening, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. 12The next day, when they had come out from Bethany, he was hungry. 13Seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came to see if perhaps he might find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14Jesus told it, "May no one ever eat fruit from you again!" and his disciples heard it. 15They came to Jerusalem, and Jesus entered into the temple, and began to throw out those who sold and those who bought in the temple [hieron]

The activity of these verses refers to the support system for the sacrificial rituals. The sacrificial creatures - animals and birds - could be bought in the outer court, and foreign Jews could change their money there in order to have local coinage for the temple tax. So the Court of the Gentiles, the place intended for Gentiles ('all nations') to pray, was being misused by the Jews for trade and profit.

, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and the seats of those who sold the doves. 16He would not allow anyone to carry a container through the temple. 17He taught, saying to them, "Isn't it written, 'My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations?' But you have made it a den of robbers!" 18The chief priests and the scribes [grammateis] heard it, and sought how they might destroy [apollymi] him. For they feared him, because all the multitude was astonished [explēssō] at his teaching. 19When evening came, he went out of the city. 20As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away from the roots. 21Peter, remembering, said to him, "Rabbi [Rhabbi], look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered away." 22Jesus answered them, "Have faith [pistin] in God. 23For most certainly I tell you [amēn legō hymin], whoever may tell this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and doesn't doubt [diakrinō] in his heart, but believes [pisteuō] that what he says is happening; he shall have whatever he says. 24Therefore I tell you, all things whatever you pray and ask for, believe [pisteuō] that you have received them, and you shall have them. 25Whenever you stand praying, forgive [aphiēmi], if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father, who is in heaven [en tois ouranois], may also forgive [aphiēmi] you your transgressions. 26But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven [en tois ouranois] forgive your transgressions." 27They came again to Jerusalem, and as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, and the scribes [grammateis], and the elders [presbyteroi] came to him, 28and they began saying to him, "By what authority do you do these things? Or who gave you this authority to do these things?" 29Jesus said to them, "I will ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. 30The baptism of John--was it from heaven, or from men? Answer me." 31They reasoned [dielogizomai] with themselves, saying, "If we should say, 'From heaven [ouranou];' he will say, 'Why then did you not believe [pisteuō] him?' 32If we should say, 'From men'"--they feared the people, for all held [exō] John to really be a prophet. 33They answered Jesus, "We don't know." Jesus said to them, "Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things."

12 1He began to speak to them in parables. "A man planted a vineyard [ampelōna]

The vineyard was a common picture of Isreal, e.g. Is 5:1-7; Ps 80:8f and Je 2:21.

, put a hedge around it, dug a pit for the winepress, built a tower, rented it out to a farmer, and went into another country. 2When it was time, he sent a servant [doulon] to the farmer to get from the farmer his share of the fruit of the vineyard. 3They took him, beat him, and sent him away empty. 4Again, he sent another servant [doulon] to them; and they threw stones at him, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated. 5Again he sent another; and they killed him; and many others, beating some, and killing some. 6Therefore still having one, his beloved [agapaō] son, he sent him last to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' 7But those farmers said among themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' 8They took him, killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. 9What therefore will the lord of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the farmers, and will give the vineyard to others. 10Haven't you even read this Scripture: 'The stone which the builders rejected [apodokimazō], the same was made the head of the corner [kephalēn gōnias]. 11This was from the Lord [kyriou; Heb. Adonai], it is marvelous in our eyes'?" 12They tried to seize him, but they feared the multitude; for they perceived that he spoke the parable against them. They left him, and went away. 13They sent some of the Pharisees [Pharisaiōn]

The Pharisees ('separated ones') stood for strict obedience of the law, in its written and oral forms. The opposed strongly the Roman rule though they were not revolutionaries.

and of the Herodians [Hrōdianōn]

Those attached to the Herod family held positions which depended on Rome and were therefore supportive of Roman authority.

to him, that they might trap [agreuō]

This verb is taken from the world of the hunter with his net or trap. In the background was the view of the Zealots, that the tax should not be paid, a view with which most of the crowds would agree.

him with words. 14When they had come, they asked him, "Teacher, we know that you are honest, and don't defer to anyone; for you aren't partial to anyone, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful [exestin] to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? 15Shall we give [didōmi], or shall we not give [didōmi]?" But he, knowing their hypocrisy [hypokrisin]

Behind this word is the idea of acting a part of wearing a mask.

, said to them, "Why do you test [peirazō] me? Bring me a denarius [dēnarion], that I may see it." 16They brought it. He said to them, "Whose is this image and inscription?" They said to him, "Caesar's." 17Jesus answered them, "Render [apodidōmi]

Jesus' answer changes the word used to describe the tax. They used a word meaning 'give', suggesting a choice openly faced. Jesus uses a word which stresses 'payment', carrying on the idea of an obligation for services rendered. The image of Caesar on the coin represented all the benefit received from the Roman Empire, and their use of the coins signalled implicit acceptance of these. 'Pay up for what you gain!' is Jesus' point. This leads on to the real blow by opening up the question of their overall debt to God.

to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." They marvelled [thaumazō] greatly at him. 18There came to him Sadducees [Saddoukaioi]

The Sadducees were the aristocratic party, made up of the high priestly and leading lay families of Jerusalem. They were wealthy and worldy. Their arrogance and harshness in the administration of justice were notorious. Conservative in doctrine, they rejected what they regarded as Pharisaic innovations; but their main concern was for the maintenance of their privileges, not for doctrinal purity.

, who say that there is no resurrection [anastasin]. They asked him, saying, 19"Teacher, Moses wrote to us, 'If a man's brother dies, and leaves a wife behind him, and leaves no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up offspring for his brother.' 20There were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and dying left no offspring. 21The second took her, and died, leaving no children behind him. The third likewise; 22and the seven took her and left no children. Last of all the woman also died. 23In the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be of them? For the seven had her as a wife." 24Jesus answered them, "Isn't this because you are mistaken [planasthe], not knowing the Scriptures [graphas], nor the power of God? 25For when they will rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 26But about the dead, that they are raised; haven't you read in the book of Moses, about the Bush, how God spoke to him, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? 27He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are therefore badly mistaken [polu planaō]." 28One of the scribes [grammateōn] came, and heard them questioning together. Knowing that he had answered them well [kalōs], asked him, "Which commandment is the greatest [prōtē]

This was not a novel question. There is considerable evidence of rabbis being asked to choose the most fundamental commandment.

of all?" 29Jesus answered, "The greatest is, 'Hear, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one [kyrios eis estin; Heb. Sh'ma Israel, Adonai Eloheynu, Adonai echad]: 30you shall love [agapaō] the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. 31The second is like this, 'You shall love [agapaō] your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." 32The scribe [grammateus] said to him, "Truly, teacher, you have said well [kalōs] that he is one, and there is none other but he, 33and to love [agapan] him with all the heart, and with all the understanding [syneseōs], with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love [agapaō] his neighbor as himself, is more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices." 34When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God." No one dared ask him any question after that. 35Jesus responded, as he taught in the temple, "How is it that the scribes [grammateis] say that the Christ is the son of David? 36For David himself said in the Holy Spirit, 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies the footstool of your feet."' 37Therefore David himself calls him Lord, so how can he be his son?" The common people heard him gladly [ēdeōs]. 38In his teaching he said to them, "Beware of the scribes [grammateōn], who like to walk in long robes [stolais]

The teachers had particularly identifiable robes to be worn during their work. By walking round in them they were looking for respect and deference.

, and to get greetings in the marketplaces [agorais], 39and the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts: 40those who devour [katesthiō] widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation [perissoteron krima]. " 41Jesus sat down opposite the treasury, and saw how the multitude cast money into the treasury. Many who were rich cast in much. 42A poor widow came, and she cast in two small brass coins [lepta Lat. Minutum]

Two mites made one quadrans, the fourth part of a Roman as (cf. Mt 10:29).

, which equal a quadrans [kodrantēs]

Quadrant, or quarter of an as; equal to two lepta.

coin. 43He called his disciples to himself, and said to them, "Most certainly I tell you [amēn legō hymin], this poor widow gave more than all those who are giving into the treasury, 44for they all gave out of their abundance [husterēseōs], but she, out of her poverty, gave all that she had to live on [ton bion autēs]."

13 1As he went out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, "Teacher, see what kind of stones and what kind of buildings!" 2Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone on another, which will not be thrown down [kataluō]." 3As he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, 4"Tell us, when will these things be? What is the sign that these things are all about to be fulfilled [synteleō]?" 5Jesus, answering, began to tell them, "Be careful [blepō] that no one leads you astray. 6For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he [ego eimi]!' and will lead many astray. 7"When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, don't be troubled. For those must happen, but the end is not yet. 8For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places. There will be famines and troubles. These things are the beginning of birth pains [ōdinōs]. 9But watch [blepō] yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils [synedria]. You will be beaten in synagogues. You will stand before rulers [hēgemonōn] and kings for my sake, for a testimony [martyrion] to them. 10The Good News [euangelion] must first be preached [kēryssō] to all the nations [ethnē]

Really means 'Gentiles'.

. 11When they lead you away and deliver you up [paradidōmi]

Most of the early Christians were simple and unlearned people, for whom a speech in court would have been a terrible ordeal.

, don't be anxious beforehand, or premeditate what you will say, but say whatever will be given you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12"Brother will deliver up [paradidōmi] brother to death, and the father his child. Children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death. 13You will be hated by all men for my name's sake, but he who endures [hypomenō] to the end [telos], the same will be saved [sōzō]. 14But when you see the abomination of desolation [bdelygma tēs erēmōseōs]

Cf. Da 12:11; often linked to the act of Antiochus Epiphanes in setting up a heathen altar on the altar of burnt offerings in the temple in 169 BC.

, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not (let the reader understand [noeō]), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, 15and let him who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter in, to take anything out of his house. 16Let him who is in the field not return back to take his cloak [himation]. 17But woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babies in those days! 18Pray that your flight won't be in the winter. 19For in those days there will be oppression [thlipsis], such as there has not been the like from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never will be. 20Unless the Lord had shortened the days, no flesh [sarx] would have been saved [sōzō]; but for the sake of the chosen ones, whom he picked out, he shortened the days. 21Then if anyone tells you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'Look, there!' don't believe [pisteuō] it. 22For there will arise false christs [pseudochristio] and false prophets [pseudoprophētai], and will show signs and wonders, that they may lead astray [pros to apoplanaō], if possible, even the chosen ones [tous eklektous]. 23But you watch [blepō]. "See [idou], I have told you all things beforehand. 24But in those days, after that oppression [thlipsin], the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, 25the stars will be falling from the sky, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. 26Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27Then he will send out his angels, and will gather together his chosen ones from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the sky. 28"Now from the fig tree, learn this parable. When the branch has now become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that the summer is near; 29even so you also, when you see these things coming to pass, know that it is near, at the doors. 30Most certainly I say to you [amēn legō hymin], this generation [genea]

The Greek could mean humankind, or the Jewish people, or disciples of Jesus in each generation.

will not pass away [parerchomai] until all these things happen. 31Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words [logoi] will not pass away [parerchomai]. 32But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33Watch [blepete], keep alert [agrupneō], and pray; for you don't know when the time is. 34"It is like a man, travelling to another country, having left his house, and given authority to his servants [doulois], and to each one his work, and also commanded the doorkeeper to keep watch [grēgoreō]. 35Watch [grēgoreō]

Cf. night watches mentioned at first in Ex 14:24. After the Jews became subject to Roman power, they adopted the Roman method of dividing the watches. There were four: Sunset to 3 hours later; from 9 till midnight; midnight to three hours before sunrise; and from 3 till dawn.

therefore, for you don't know when the lord [Kyrios] of the house is coming, whether at evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning; 36lest coming suddenly he might find you sleeping [katheudō]. 37What I tell you, I tell all: Watch [grēgoreō]."

14 1It was now two days before the feast of the Passover [Pascha; Heb. Pesach] and the unleavened bread [azyma; Heb. of Matzah]

The Festival of Unleavened Bread was closely associated with the Passover, the Passover Meal being held on the evening of the final day of Unleavened Bread. Leaven, causing the loaves to rise, was usually taken from a piece left over from the day before, joining one baking to the next. As the Festival of Unleavened Bread (cf. Ex 23:15; 34:18) was celebrated for a week, the use of unleavened bread stood for a break with the past and the commitment to a new start.

, and the chief priests and the scribes [grammateis] sought how they might seize him by deception, and kill him. 2For they said, "Not during the feast, because there might be a riot of the people." 3While he was at Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster jar [alabastron]

This meant that all the perfume was to be, extravagantly, used for this occasion.

of ointment of pure nard--very costly. She broke the jar, and poured it over his head [kephalēs]

Not in itself restricted to royal or priestly anointing. It may simply have been the woman's dramatic and expensive way of expressing devotion and gratitude.

. 4But there were some who were indignant among themselves, saying, "Why has this ointment been wasted? 5For this might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and given to the poor." They grumbled [embrimaomai] against her. 6But Jesus said, "Leave her alone. Why do you trouble [kopous parechō] her? She has done a good work [kalon ergon] for me. 7For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want to, you can do them good; but you will not always have me. 8She has done what she could. She has anointed my body beforehand for the burying. 9Most certainly I tell you, wherever this Good News [euangelion] may be preached [kēryssō] throughout the whole world [kosmon], that which this woman has done will also be spoken of for a memorial of her." 10Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went away to the chief priests, that he might deliver [paradidōmi] him to them. 11They, when they heard it, were glad [chairō], and promised to give him money. He sought how he might conveniently deliver [paradidōmi] him. 12On the first day of unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the Passover [pascha; Heb. Seder], his disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go and make ready that you may eat the Passover?" 13He sent two of his disciples, and said to them, "Go into the city, and there you will meet a man [anthrōpos] carrying a pitcher [keramion] of water. Follow him, 14and wherever he enters in, tell the master of the house, 'The Teacher says, "Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"' 15He will himself show you a large upper room furnished and ready. Make ready for us there." 16His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found things as he had said to them, and they prepared the Passover [pascha; Heb. Seder]

'Prepared the Seder.' Passover Day itself was celebrated on 14 Nisan: on it the lambs were killed during the late afternoon or early evening, lit. 'between the two evenings' (Ex 12:6; Lv 23:5). Then after sunset, when according to Jewish reckoning a new day had begun (i.e. 15 Nisan), the Passover meal was eaten. This was 'the first day of Unleavened Bread'.

. 17When it was evening he came with the twelve. 18As they sat and were eating, Jesus said, "Most certainly I tell you, one of you will betray [paradidōmi] me--he who eats [esthiō]

Eating and drinking was understood in the first century as a deep and intimate form of acceptance and sharing.

with me." 19They began to be sorrowful [lypeō], and to ask him one by one, "Surely not I?" And another said, "Surely not I?" 20He answered them, "It is one of the twelve, he who dips [embaptō]

Lit. 'one … who is dipping'. Most food was easily eaten by hand. Soup-based food could be scooped up with a piece of bread.

with me in the dish. 21For the Son of Man goes, even as it is written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed [paradidōmi]! It would be better [kalon autō] for that man if he had not been born." 22As they were eating, Jesus took bread [arton; Heb. matzah], and when he had blessed [eulogeō], he broke it, and gave to them, and said, "Take, eat. This is my body." 23He took the cup, and when he had given thanks [eucharisteō], he gave to them. They all drank of it. 24He said to them, "This is my blood of the new covenant [diathēkēs], which is poured out [ekcheō] for many. 25Most certainly I tell you [amēn legō hymin], I will no more drink of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it anew in the Kingdom of God." 26When they had sung a hymn [hymneō]

The second part of the Hallel (Ps 114-118 or 115-118) normally sung at that point in the Passover meal.

, they went out to the Mount of Olives [horos tōn Elaiōn]

Dt 16:7 was understood to require all visitors to be in for the night of Nisan 15th, but in practice at the time a larger district was allowed, including Bethpage.

. 27Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble [skandalizō] because of me tonight, for it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered [diaskorpizō].' 28However, after I am raised up, I will go before you into Galilee." 29But Peter said to him, "Although all will be offended [skandalizō], yet I will not." 30Jesus said to him, "Most certainly I tell you [amēn legō soi], that you today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice [dis]

i.e., before the dawn or, indeed, before the bugle blows, since some writers tell us that no cocks were allowed in Jerusalem during a feast. The Roman bugle, sounded from the Tower of Antony during the night at six, nine, midnight, and three A.M., was called the 'gallus' or cock; and the two trumpet calls at midnight and three A.M. were both called 'cock crowings' ('gallicinia'). These two calls may explain the word 'twice'. The bugle signalled the relief of the guard, but it told the whole city the time also. 'Thrice' (v30) is a Greek idiom meaning repeatedly. The sense of the Greek sentence, 'Before the cock crow twice thrice you shall deny' means, 'Before the dawn you will have denied me again and again'.

, you will deny [aparneomai] me three times." 31But he spoke all the more, "If I must die with you, I will not deny [aparneomai] you." They all said the same thing. 32They came to a place which was named Gethsemane [Gethsēmanē]

Probably means 'oil-press' or 'olive-press'. It is located by John as a garden beyond the Kidron ravine (Jn 18:1-2) and therefore taken to be on the lower slopes of the Mount of Olives, half a mile from the wall of the city.

. He said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I pray." 33He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be greatly troubled and distressed [adēmoneō]. 34He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here, and watch [grēgoreō]." 35He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass away from him. 36He said, "Abba [Abba]

A word in the Aramaic language Jesus would speak. We are probably to understand that this word was used when elsewhere in the gospels the Greek word for 'Father' is recorded. Abba is intensely personal and intimate. On the rare occasions of its use in addressing God, 'which art in heaven' was added. Christians daringly came to use this address for God, too, in describing the believer's deep, inner sense of belonging to God's family (Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6).

, Father, all things are possible to you. Please remove this cup from me. However, not what I desire, but what you desire." 37He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "Simon, are you sleeping [katheudō]? Couldn't you watch [grēgoreō] one hour? 38Watch [grēgoreō] and pray, that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak [sarx asthenēs]." 39Again he went away, and prayed, saying the same words. 40Again he returned, and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they didn't know what to answer him. 41He came the third time, and said to them, "Sleep on now, and take your rest. It is enough [apechō]

Can have the meaning 'the bill is paid' as though everything was finally established. What had been settled in prayer would now be carried out.

. The hour has come. Look [idou], the Son of Man is betrayed [paradidōmi] into the hands of sinners. 42Arise, let us be going. Look [idou], he who betrays [paradidous] me is at hand." 43Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, came--and with him a multitude with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes [grammateōn], and the elders [presbyterōn]. 44Now he who betrayed [paradidous] him had given them a sign, saying, "Whoever I will kiss, that is he. Seize him, and lead him away safely." 45When he had come, immediately he came to him, and said, "Rabbi! Rabbi [Rhabbi]!" and kissed [kataphileō]

'Ardently kissed.' In different circumstances this might have been an acceptable greeting between rabbi and pupil, with the rabbi taking the initiative.

him. 46They laid their hands on him, and seized him. 47But a certain one of those who stood by drew his sword, and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 48Jesus answered them, "Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to seize me? 49I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you didn't arrest me. But this is so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled [plēroō]." 50They all left [aphiēmi] him, and fled. 51A certain young man followed him, having a linen cloth [sindona]

A high quality piece of clothing.

thrown around himself, over his naked body. The young men grabbed him, 52but he left the linen cloth [sindona], and fled from them naked. 53They led Jesus away to the high priest. All the chief priests, the elders [presbyteroi], and the scribes [grammateis] came together [synerchomai]

They met for a preliminary hearing. It was informal and not too careful about strict legal procedures. So it was held at night, contrary to legal requirements for an official trial.

with him. 54Peter had followed him from a distance, until he came into the court of the high priest. He was sitting with the officers, and warming himself in the light of the fire. 55Now the chief priests and the whole council sought witnesses [martyrian]

It is not certain whether or not at that time the Sanhedrin would have had authority to have Jesus stoned to death for blasphemy, but in any case consideration of the response of the people certainly made it politically wiser to use the Roman power if possible.

against Jesus to put him to death, and found none. 56For many gave false testimony [pseudomartyreō] against him, and their testimony didn't agree with each other. 57Some stood up, and gave false testimony [pseudomartyreō] against him, saying, 58"We heard him say, 'I will destroy [kataluō]

This was a charge of sacrilege in Jewish eyes, and the leader of the Sanhedrin could ask the Roman governor to declare a death sentence if a charge of sacrilege were proved. The words themselves were a travesty of something Jesus actually did say.

this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.'" 59Even so, their testimony [martyria]

In Jewish law it was illegal to refrain from acquitting a prisoner when the witnesses disagreed.

did not agree. 60The high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, "Have you no answer? What is it which these testify against [katamarturousin] you?" 61But he stayed quiet, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed [eulogētou; Heb. Meshiach, Ben-HaM' vorakh]

This is a periphrasis (way of speaking about God without using his name) for God, cf. v62: 'sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One'. The most likely source of all this information would be Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, members of the Sanhedrin who became Christians (Jn 19:38-42).

?" 62Jesus said, "I am [Egō eimi]. You will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power [dynameōs; Heb. HaG' vurah, "the Power"], and coming with the clouds of the sky [tou ouranou]." 63The high priest tore his clothes [chitōnas]

The gorgeous robes of his high office were blue and scarlet and gold, with onyx stones on each shoulder and jewels flashing from his breast. It was customary to tear the robe when blasphemy was spoken in the presence of a priest.

, and said, "What further need have we of witnesses? 64You have heard the blasphemy [blasphēmias]! What do you think?" They all condemned [katakrinō] him to be worthy of death. 65Some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to beat him with fists, and to tell him, "Prophesy!" The officers struck him with the palms of their hands. 66As Peter was in the courtyard below, one of the maids [paidiskōn] of the high priest came, 67and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him, and said, "You were also with the Nazarene, Jesus!" 68But he denied [arneomai] it, saying, "I neither know, nor understand [epistamai] what you are saying." He went out on the porch, and the rooster crowed. 69The maid saw him, and began again to tell those who stood by, "This is one of them." 70But he again denied [arneomai] it. After a little while again those who stood by said to Peter, "You truly are one of them, for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it." 71But he began to curse, and to swear, "I don't know this man of whom you speak!" 72The rooster crowed the second time. Peter remembered the word [rhēma], how that Jesus said to him, "Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny [arneomai] me three times." When he thought about that, he wept.

15 1Immediately in the morning the chief priests, with the elders [presbyterōn] and scribes [grammateōn], and the whole council [synedrion], held a consultation, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him up [paradidōmi]

Used in LXX to translate 1 Sam 24:4, meaning, 'delivered over to death'; cf. Mk 1:14.

to Pilate. 2Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" He answered, "So you say." 3The chief priests accused him of many things. 4Pilate again asked him, "Have you no answer? See how many things they testify against you!" 5But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate marvelled [thaumazō]. 6Now at the feast he used to release to them one prisoner, whom they asked of him. 7There was one called Barabbas [Barabbas; Heb. Bar-Abba], bound with those who had made insurrection, men who in the insurrection had committed murder. 8The multitude, crying aloud, began to ask him to do as he always did for them. 9Pilate answered them, saying, "Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?" 10For he perceived that for envy the chief priests had delivered him up. 11But the chief priests stirred up the multitude, that he should release Barabbas to them instead. 12Pilate again asked them, "What then should I do to him whom you call the King of the Jews?" 13They cried out again, "Crucify him!" 14Pilate said to them, "Why, what evil [kakon] has he done?" But they cried out exceedingly, "Crucify him!" 15Pilate, wishing to please the multitude, released Barabbas to them, and handed over [paradidōmi] Jesus, when he had flogged him, to be crucified. 16The soldiers led him away within the court [aulēs], which is the Praetorium [praitōrion]

Praetorium is a Latin word describing the governor's residence.

; and they called together the whole cohort. 17They clothed him with purple [porphyran]

Purple was the colour usually worn by kings and emperors.

, and weaving a crown [stephanon]

A painful imitation of a diadem, worn by the emperor as a sign of divinity, oddly enough.

of thorns, they put it on him. 18They began to salute him, "Hail [Chairō]

This greeting was a traditional welcome for Caesar.

, King of the Jews!" 19They struck his head with a reed, and spat on him, and bowing their knees, did homage to him. 20When they had mocked him, they took the purple off of him, and put his own garments on him. They led him out to crucify him. 21They compelled [angareuō]

Roman soldiers had the right to enforce tasks upon citizens (cf. Mt 5:41). To Jew and Gentile alike the picture of a so-called Messiah needing someone else to carry the patibulum or cross-piece (the upright section would already be at the site and in the ground) must have been at once shocking and incomprehensible.

one passing by, coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to go with them, that he might bear [airō] his cross. 22They brought him to the place called Golgotha [Golgothan; Heb. Gulgolta], which is, being interpreted, "The place of a skull [Kraniou Topos]." 23They offered him wine mixed with myrrh [smyrnizō]

'Medicated with myrrh.' The purpose of this was to dull the senses. The Talmud records that women from Jerusalem provided a narcotic for condemned criminals, as a charitable act.

to drink, but he didn't take it. 24Crucifying him, they parted his garments [himatia]

Victims were crucified naked, their clothing taken as the possession of the soldiers, to apportion as they chose. Not only were capital criminals tortured but they were also humiliated publicly. Here we learn what Jesus had worn to the Last Supper: a himation, a sari-like garment, over a tunic. This would have been the equivalent of a 'Sunday best'.

among them, casting lots on them, what each should take. 25It was the third hour [hōra tritē]

9 a.m. Approximate, since there were no clocks.

, and they crucified him. 26The superscription of his accusation [aitias]

This was one of treason.

was written over him, "THE KING OF THE JEWS." 27With him they crucified two robbers [lēstas]

Political revolutionary, not 'robber' or 'thief'.

; one on his right hand, and one on his left. 28The Scripture was fulfilled, which says, "He was numbered with transgressors." 29Those who passed by blasphemed [blasphēmeō] him, wagging their heads, and saying, "Ha! You who destroy [kataluō] the temple, and build it in three days, 30save [sōzō] yourself, and come down from the cross!" 31Likewise, also the chief priests mocking among themselves with the scribes [grammateōn] said, "He saved [sōzō] others. He can't save [sōzō] himself. 32Let the Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, that we may see and believe [pisteuō] him." Those who were crucified with him insulted [oneidizō] him. 33When the sixth hour [hōras hektēs]


had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour [hōras ennatēs]

3 p.m. This was the time of the evening sacrifice in the Temple of the paschal lambs.

. 34At the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani [Elōi elōi lema sabachthani]?" which is, being interpreted, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken [egkataleipō] me?" 35Some of those who stood by, when they heard it, said, "See [ide], he is calling Elijah." 36One ran, and filling a sponge full of vinegar, put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Let him be. Let's see whether Elijah comes to take him down." 37Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and gave up the spirit. 38The veil [katapetasma; Heb. Parokhet]

There were two curtains in the temple to which Mark might be referring. One was over the entrance to the Holy Place (Ex 26:37). The other was between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place (Ex 26:31-35), where God's immediate presence was felt to be. The high priest would enter through that curtain once a year on behalf of all the people on the Day of Atonement (Lv 16). The penetrating of this second curtain is used symbolically elsewhere in the NT (e.g., He 6:19; 9:3; 10:20).

of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. 39When the centurion [kentyriōn]

A centurion was only a non-commissioned officer, promoted from the ranks and having under him only a hundred men, half the number under a British company sergeant major. Centurions were made fun of, as Juvenal did, of the centurions' fat calves and hobnailed boots! This centurion had ideals, common to most Roman soldiers. He knew a little about the gods of the Roman Pantheon: Mars, Jupiter, Mercury, etc. He had been trained in the tradition of the Roman soldier, and he admired courage, valour, endurance, fortitude, and uncomplaining suffering. Above all he admired physical courage of which he saw little in other Jewish prisoners, shrieking in mad agony, piteously cowering for mercy or struggling madly with a dozen soldiers, fighting to the last, biting at their captors, spitting out curses at indifferent guards. He had watched Jesus closely, especially if he had been on guard over Jesus from the time of his trial before Pilate. Tradition names this rough and honest soldier Longinus. His declaration was a brave act of witness for it was rank insubordination implying a severe criticism of authority - the sergeant major criticizing the act of the commander in chief.

, who stood by opposite him, saw that he cried out like this and breathed his last, he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!" 40There were also women [gynaikes]

The reporting of vital events will now depend increasingly on the word of women, not highly regarded in Jesus' day, but relied upon by him.

watching from afar, among whom were both Mary Magdalene [Maria hē Magdalēnē]

Mary of Magdala, a town on the west of Lake Gennesaret.

, and Mary the mother of James [Iakōbou] the less [mikrou] and of Joses [Iōsē], and Salome [Salōmē]; 41who, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and served [diakoneō] him; and many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem. 42When evening had now come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43Joseph of Arimathaea, a prominent council [bouleutēs; Heb. Sanhedrin] member who also himself was looking for the Kingdom [basileian] of God, came. He boldly [tolmaō]

'Having boldness,' 'Taking courage'.

went in to Pilate, and asked for [aiteō]


Jesus' body. 44Pilate marvelled [thaumazō] if he were already dead [thnēskō]

Criminals sometimes lingered for days.

; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead long. 45When he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph. 46He bought a linen cloth [sindona]

The wrapping of the body with a linen shroud was customary, as was the rolling of a large stone down a slope to block the entrance to a tomb.

, and taking him down, wound him in the linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb which had been cut out of a rock. He rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. 47Mary Magdalene [Maria hē Magdalēnē] and Mary [Maria], the mother of Joses [Iōsē], saw where he was laid.

16 1When the Sabbath [Sabbatou] was past, Mary Magdalene [Maria hē Magdalēnē], and Mary [Maria] the mother of James [Iakōbou], and Salome [Salōmē], bought spices, that they might come and anoint [eleiphō]

Crucifixion was such a shameful way to die that the corpses were normally treated with scant respect. They normally went into a common grave, unmarked, uncelebrated and unrecorded. (Perhaps Pilate consented to Joseph of Arimathea as a way of acknowledging that Jesus was not a common criminal, or worthy of crucifixion).

him. 2Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3They were saying among themselves, "Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?" 4for it was very big. Looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back. 5Entering into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were amazed [ekthambeō]. 6He said to them, "Don't be amazed [ekthambeō]. You seek Jesus, the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen. He is not here. See [ide], the place where they laid him! 7But go, tell his disciples and Peter [Petrō], 'He goes before you into Galilee. There you will see him, as he said to you.'" 8They went out, and fled from the tomb, for trembling [tromos] and astonishment [ekstasis] had come on them. They said nothing to anyone; for they were afraid [phobeō]. 9Now when he had risen early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene [Maria tē Magdalēnē], from whom he had cast out [ekballō] seven demons. 10She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11When they heard that he was alive, and had been seen by her, they disbelieved [pisteuō]. 12After these things he was revealed [phaneroō] in another form to two of them, as they walked, on their way into the country. 13They went away and told it to the rest. They didn't believe [pisteuō] them, either. 14Afterward he was revealed to the eleven themselves as they sat at the table, and he rebuked [ōneidisen] them for their unbelief [apistian] and hardness [sklērodardian] of heart, because they didn't believe [pisteuō] those who had seen him after he had risen. 15He said to them, "Go into all the world [kosmon], and preach [kēryssō] the Good News [euangelion] to the whole creation [ktisei]. 16He who believes [pisteuō] and is baptized will be saved [sōzō]; but he who disbelieves [apisteō] will be condemned [apistēsas katakrinō]. 17These signs [sēmeia] will accompany those who believe [pisteuō]: in my name [onomati] they will cast out [ekballō] demons; they will speak with new languages [glōssais]; 18they will take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it will in no way hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover [kalōs]

Lit. 'and well they shall be'.

." 19So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was received up [analambanō] into heaven [ouranon], and sat down at the right hand of God. 20They went out, and preached [kēryssō] everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming [bebaioō] the word [logon] by the signs [sēmeiōn] that followed. Amen [Amēn].

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