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Bible Commentaries

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Mark 10

 

 

Verses 1-12

CONTENTS.

Our Lord is here discoursing on the subject of divorcement. Little Children are brought to CHRIST. The LORD again speaks of his approaching Sufferings. Jesus passeth through Jericho.

AND he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again. (2) And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife tempting him. (3) And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? (4) And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. (5) And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. (6) But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female. (7) For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; (8) And they twain shall be one flesh; so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. (9) What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (10) And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. (11) And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committed adultery against her. (12) And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

Our LORD's circuit in his ministry would lead, in the contemplation of it, to a most profitable subject. Unwearied in all his services, with zeal to his Father's glory, and his people's happiness, the sun watched his path by day, and the stars witnessed to his communion by night. It was no small distance Jesus had advanced in a little space. In the 8th Chapter we find him on the borders of Tyre and Sidon westward, and now he is arrived eastward on the coasts of Judea by Jordan. Precious LORD! what a lesson, and what an example, to thy ministers and people! John 9:4.

We have the Pharisees, the sworn foes to CHRIST, in this paragraph at their own trade again; not to receive instruction, but to entangle Jesus in his talk. They brought forward for his decision, that popular question already decided in their mind, but wishing to entrap CHRIST: the subject concerning Divorces. But how unworthy soever their designs were, the Church of CHRIST find cause to bless GOD that the question was put to CHRIST, since it gave occasion for his very sweet and gracious answer; by which the doctrine respecting divorces is put upon its just and unalterable foundation. If the reader will once more read over this paragraph, from the 2nd to the 12th verse inclusive, I will then request his attention to the subject, according to our LORD's own statement.

And first; Our LORD most decidedly proves, that even in the cases where Moses permitted a divorcement, he allowed it not, without compelling the husband to write the bill with his own hand, before be put her away. As if to shew, that it should not be the hasty impulse of the moment, but the solemn and serious result of proper deliberation; thereby allowing an harsh and angry husband the time to relent. And even here, it was to be done with such coolness, turning over all the consequences, that the husband by the same law, however afterwards he might repent, was not by any means allowed to take her again. See Deuteronomy 24:1-4. And the LORD JESUS added that this law, which seemed rather to wink at such conduct than justify it, would never have been given by Moses but for the hardness of their hearts. So decidedly against all divorces was the tender and compassionate Jesus.

But, secondly: The LORD JESUS doth not stop here. His decision against all divorce's arose from an higher authority still; for saith Jesus, from the beginning of the creation, GOD made them male and female; and declared that when joined in marriage, they were no longer twain, but one flesh: that GOD himself joined them together; and man dared not put them asunder. Here is an uncommonly strong, argument in this statement by CHRIST: not only because marriage was of divine institution, and the separating man and wife solemnly prohibited by their Maker; but because in the first instance of wedlock, which ever took place in the creation of GOD, there was no possibility of the man's putting away his wife and taking another; for no other woman existed. One man, and one woman, the LORD had made, and no more: and from those two, made one by marriage, the race was to follow. So that here in the first marriage of our first parents, the LORD 's holy will and pleasure concerning marriage was fully given, as a pattern to all their children. I think this is so unalterably strong and conclusive, that no appeal can be made against it. The popular wish, and too general conduct of the Jews, in putting away their wives, received our LORD's decided condemnation.

But we must not stop here. Divorcement received another decided reproof from the very design of marriage: which was altogether with a mystical allusion to CHRIST, and his Church. We have an authority which cannot be questioned, that the marriage of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in the garden of Eden, was altogether a type, or more properly speaking, the shadow and representation of CHRIST's marriage with his Church. A type, it might be said, because it set forth what would be accomplished when the fulness of time was come, and GOD sent forth his SON, made of a Woman, in marrying our nature. And yet a shadow also, because it became the shade of a prior substance, when before all worlds the SON of GOD did as the Prophet described him, betroth his Church to himself forever, Hosea 2:18-19. It was not good that the GOD-Man CHRIST JESUS should be alone; no more than Adam, in the Adam nature, in which he was created: for then how would CHRIST have been the Bridegroom of his Church without a Bride? JEHOVAH therefore said, I will make him an helpmate for him. Hence therefore of the Church to CHRIST, as well as of Eve to her husband; it is said, therefore shall a man leave is father and his mother and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be one flesh, Genesis 2:18 to the end. See. Ephesians 5:23 to the end.

If the reader be not tired with the length of these observations on this passage, I would wish to detain him, one moment longer, on the subject of divorcement. You have seen the LORD JESUS decidedly giving his disapprobation to all divorcement. Perhaps it will be asked, yea it should be asked, as the most interesting question of all others: Did ever JESUS put away his wife? To which venture most humbly to say; I trow not. Let the reader look over the word of GOD for himself, (and never never can he be engaged in a question of higher consequence,) and I persuade myself he will conclude with me, that no bill of divorcement was ever given by JESUS to his Church. He who by his servant Paul hath said; husbands love your wives, and be not bitter against them, would I not be himself bitter against his, Colossians 3:19. Nay, the Apostle elsewhere saith, when speaking of men's loving their wives as their own bodies, and he that loveth his wife loveth himself, makes this blessed addition, No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as CHRIST the Church. Ephesians 5:28; Eph_5:2. Here's a beautiful scripture in point. As no man ever hated his own flesh; even though covered with sores and wounds, so JESUS loved his Church, though leprous and unclean: Oh! precious, precious LORD JESUS! Surely it becometh thee in all things to have the pre-eminence!

And now, if the Reader feels interested (as well he may; LORD let it engage my unceasing attention!) to look into the word of GOD in the enquiry; whether JESUS ever put away his Wife; let him diligently search the whole Bible. The most striking passages, which seem to lean this way, are Jeremiah 3:8; Isaiah 50:1; Hosea 2:2. But the smallest attention, and especially when connected with the whole body of scripture on the subject, very plainly (according to my view,) declare the contrary, Let the Reader take with the 8th verse of Jeremiah, the 3rd, the 1st and 14th verses of the same chapter. Let him attend also to the manner of expression in the 50th chapter of Isaiah, and 1st verse, and he will perhaps be inclined to think with me, that the LORD challengeth any one to show the bill of divorcement; knowing there was none. And as for the passage in Hosea, chapter 2: and 2nd verse; the whole chapter and the following are most decided in proof, that JESUS never did, as the Apostle Paul speaks elsewhere, cast away his people which he foreknew. Romans 11:1-2. Our LORD's manner of speaking on this subject; where is the bill of your mother's divorcement, and the like; is not un-similar to what he used to his disciples on another occasion. At that day ye shall ask in my name; and I say not unto you that I will pray for you. John 16:26. Now one might be led to think, in the first view of these words, as if Jesus meant to decline praying for them whereas it is evident JESUS meant thereby to say more fully that he would.

The Reader will I hope forgive the length to which I have extended the subject, from the importance of it; and I shall now leave him to his own conclusions, under the pleasing assurance, that the Almighty SPIRIT of truth will guide both Writer and Reader into all truth, on this most sweet and interesting subject. Indeed, indeed it is blessed to hear the LORD, the GOD of Israel, say that he hateth putting away. Malachi 2:14-16. And oh! what blessedness will in the end appear, when after all the treacherous departures of JESUS's Church, in all her spiritual adulteries, JESUS must, he will, yea, he cannot rest until he hath brought her home to his FATHER's house, and presented her to himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she shall be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 19:5-9.


Verses 13-16

(13) And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them; and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. (14) But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the kingdom of God. (15) Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. (16) And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

The same observations will meet us here, as Matthew 18:1. etc. Luke 18:15.


Verses 17-31

(17) And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? (18) And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. (19) Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. (20) And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. (21) Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. (22) And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. (23) And Jesus looked round about, and saith, unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! (24) And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! (25) It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. (26) And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? (27) And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. (28) Then Peter began to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. (29) And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my sake, and the gospel's, (30) But he shall receive an hundred fold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. (31) But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.

In addition to the observations offered on the parallel passage, Matthew 19:16, etc. I would beg to remark on the expression of JESUS be holding this young man, and as it is said, loved him, the words have no one reference whatsoever to the love JESUS beareth towards his people. There are various degrees of affection perfectly well known, felt, and understood by mankind. Even in the natural affinity of life, our love to one another is regulated by the particular character of relationship in which we stand. The LORD JESUS might be said, when beholding this youth, in whom the corruptions induced by the fall, had not broken out, in the more violent instances of notorious profligacy, as in the great mass of men, to love what he saw amiable. But then, it should be carefully distinguished what this love meant, from the love JESUS beareth to his people. The sequel of this youth's history, in going away sorrowful from CHRIST, and never more coming to CHRIST, as far as we are informed, very decidedly prove that no work of grace ever passed upon his heart. The love here spoken of differs altogether from the special affection the LORD JESUS bears to the persons of his redeemed, which are the gift of his Father, the purchase of his blood, and the objects of the everlasting love of GOD the HOLY GHOST, in whom he puts the influences of his sovereign power and grace to make them wise unto salvation, through the faith that is in CHRIST JESUS.

The concluding part of this passage is uncommonly beautiful and interesting. While. JESUS, in strong figures represents the total impossibility of the mere efforts of nature, rising above nature; he sets forth the ease and blessedness with which his redeemed, through his grace, will attain his kingdom. An huge camel might as soon pass through the eye of a needle, as for a rich man; rich in his own fancied goodness, swollen and bloated with his own Pharisaical righteousness, but never regenerated by grace, to enter into the kingdom of GOD. While on the other hand, every one of CHRIST's regenerated family, poor in spirit, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom, and who give proofs of the triumphs of grace over nature, leaving all for CHRIST, will enter with a full tide of glory into CHRIST's kingdom; being saved, not by works of righteousness which they have done, but according to rich, free and sovereign mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the HOLY GHOST, shed upon them abundantly through JESUS CHRIST our LORD. Titus 3:5-6.


Verses 32-34

(32) And they were in the way going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus went before them: and they were amazed; and as they followed, they were afraid: and he took again the twelve, and began to tell them what things should happen unto him, (33) Saying, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the scribes; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall deliver him to the Gentiles (34) And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him and the third day he shall rise again.

I beg the Reader not to overlook the affection of JESUS in thus gradually preparing the disciples for his death. See Chap. Mark 8:31, and Chap. Mark 9:31, etc. It is a blessed trait of character of Jesus in confirmation of the leading feature of his office work as Mediator, the voluntary nature of it, that he longed for the accomplishment of the whole in his death. Hence we find him, Luke 19:28, going before ascending up to Jerusalem. I have a baptism (said Jesus) to be baptized with; and how am I straitened until it be accomplished. Luke 12:50. So to Judas. What thou doest, do quickly. John 18:37. And when Judas and the band came to apprehend him: JESUS went forth and said unto them, whom seek ye? I am he. John 18:4-5. Blessedly is it said of him, that he was led as a lamb to the slaughter; so free; so willing. Isaiah 53:7.


Verses 35-40

(35) And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. (30) And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? (37) They said unto him, Grant unto that we may sit one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. (33) But Jesus said unto them, ye know not what ye ask; can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? (39) And they say unto him, We can, and Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized: (40) But to sit on my right hand, and on my left hand, is not mine to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared.

In addition to the observations made on the relation of this conversation, between CHRIST and the Sons of Zebedee. Matthew 20:20. (which see;) I would only add, that as the petition of James and John plainly prove, they had at that time no knowledge in what CHRIST's kingdom consisted; so it is equally plain that our LORD's answer had no reference in the least to his power, but to the confirmation of the ancient settlements of eternity. In the council of peace before all worlds, CHRIST's kingdom in the persons of his redeemed were all known, and their names numbered in the book of life. And hence, with an eye to this, the Prophet declared, that they should all again pass under the hand of him that telleth them. Jeremiah 33:13. I beg the Reader not to overlook in this passage, as it was in the parallel one of Matthew: the words are in Italic, verse 40, it shall be given to them; which implies that they are not in the original. And if the verse he read without them, the sense will be in exact correspondence with what Jesus saith. John 17:2, that he should give eternal life to as many as the FATHER had given him.


Verses 41-45

(41) And when the ten heard it, they began to be much displeased with James and John; (42) But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. (43) But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you shall be your minister: (44) And whosoever of you will be the chiefest shall be servant of all. (45) For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

What a very lovely and unanswerable argument the LORD makes use of in those verses, to beget humbleness of soul. Who that be holds the SON of GOD leaving the bosom of his Father, and coming voluntarily to give himself an offering and a sacrifice for sin, can in the view of such an instance, assume distinction and pride!


Verses 46-52

(46) And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples, and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. (47) And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me. (48) And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. (49) And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called: and they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. (50) And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. (51) And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? the blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. (52) And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole: and immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

The miracle here recorded being particularly interesting, and somewhat more largely treated, than in either of the other Evangelists, (See Matthew 20:29; Luke 18:35.) I would beg the reader's indulgence to notice some of the more striking features of it.

Jericho was the cursed city. Joshua 7:26; 1 Kings 16:34; but here the LORD will raise trophies to his grace. Rahab shall be called from Jericho; and thus blind Bartimaeus shall form from thence an everlasting monument in the Church, to the Redeemer's glory.

The first thing to be observed after the name, is the state and situation of this poor man. It doth not say so; but it is more than probable that he was born blind. Born blind indeed he was in soul, for this is the case of our nature universally speaking: and the SON of GOD came to give light to them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death. Isaiah xxxv; 5. Isaiah 42:6-7; Isaiah 49:9; Isaiah 61:1, compared. with Luke 4:18. I beg the Reader to consult what was offered, Chap. Mark 8:22-26, on the subject of CHRIST, forming, a creation; in all such instances of blindness as he cured when the eye had never been formed in the socket, or if destroyed. And Reader! is not every instance of every blindness when restored to sight, an emblem of the sinner, yea, every sinner; when brought from darkness to light, and from the power of sin and Satan to the living GOD!

The next thing to be noticed in the case of this poor man, is the situation in which he sat by the highway side begging. Begging alms for the body, unconscious of the wants of the soul. What can be more pitiable than when we thus see beggars in our streets, earnest and importunate for the bread which perisheth; but unconcerned for that which endureth to everlasting life. Such was this man's state. Such is every man's state, though he waiteth on the highway of ordinances till JESUS pass by; and the Spirit of JESUS put a cry in his heart for spiritual light and understanding.

The third incident in the history of Bartimaeus was the hearing of Jesus passing by, and the immediate effect wrought in his heart, putting a cry there; JESUS! thou SON of DAVID, have mercy on me! Who told him that JESUS after the flesh, was the SON of DAVID? And when he heard this, who informed him that it was under this character his people were to look for his mercy? Who but GOD the Spirit could have told him this; or put such a cry in his heart, which nothing should stifle, until the requested mercy had been granted him? Who, but must see the work of grace, upon this man's soul?

The fourth particular worthy our regard in the case, is the conduct of the people who endeavoured to stop his cry. What a striking representation this is of what is every day going on in the world. No sooner is a child of GOD brought under serious concern for his everlasting welfare, but false friends to poor sinners, and true enemies to the rich Savior, aim to stifle all conviction, and crush the infant desire of salvation at once in the soul. Oh! what sharp exercises have some gracious souls gone through, in their first awakenings from their carnal relations and neighbours, before that CHRIST hath been formed in the heart the hope of glory

The fifth thing observable in the history, is the conduct of the poor man, on the endeavours of those around him to silence his cry; his earnestness became but the more increased. True grace, the more it is exercised, the more it will manifest itself: neither will an effectual call from the LORD ever cease, before that the prayer awakened by it and offered to the LORD, be answered in mercy. Whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Romans 8:30.

The standing still of JESUS, and calling the poor man, which are the next points to be noticed in this transaction, are most blessedly interesting indeed. Was there not a needs be, for CHRIST standing still; and calling him, similar to Zacchaeus and the woman of Samaria? See Luke 19:5; John 4:4. Is not JESUS constrained by his very mission, to seek and save the lost? John 6:37. Oh! what a subject of holy joy, such views of CHRIST furnish?

Neither do I think the poor man's instant arising, hastening to Jesus, and casting away his garment, (for the whole was CHRIST's grace in the man's heart, and not nature's powers,) are less interesting as the sweet effects proceeding from such a cause! Reader! think how blessed it must be, when at any time a poor sinner is enabled by the same grace as calls him, to hasten to that call; and to cast away everything of his own; all his own righteousness, or what some men call righteousness, and which the word of GOD calls filthy rags, and come to Jesus, just as he is, poor and blind, and wretched, and needy; and receive all from CHRIST, since all is in CHRIST of pardon and salvation?

And what a beautiful close, to a most blessed and beautiful miracle doth the account end with: the poor man received his sight and followed JESUS in the way; followed him no doubt, in the regeneration; and having found JESUS so blessed in grace, is now sitting down with him forever in glory. Oh! the preciousness of salvation! Oh! the unspeakable preciousness of such an Almighty SAVIOR!


Verse 52

REFLECTIONS.

Blessed Bridegroom of thy Church! how sweetly hast thou answered all the cavils of the Pharisees, and silenced all the fears of thy people, in teaching thy Church in the opening of this Chapter, that JESUS not put away his wife, notwithstanding all her shameful departures. Oh! for grace to cry out with the spouse, my beloved is mine, and I am his!

Praises to the condescending grace of the SON of GOD, who receiveth now, as he received then, in the days of his flesh, little children. So LORD must it be indeed thy grace to receive me, for I am but a child in understanding, and therefore I pray thee, thou tender LORD, to give me grace to sit at thy feet, and hear the blessed words which proceed out of thy mouth! And as thou hast taught me in the solemn example of this apparently promising youth, who for the love of this world's gain, could so readily give up CHRIST'. Oh! for grace, to be kept from the love of money, which is the root of all evil. Bring my soul under the continual baptisms of the HOLY GHOST and let my whole rejoicings be in the consciousness of an interest in that ransom, which my GOD and SAVIOR hath given for many.

Oh! thou glorious covenant of thy people! Thou hast indeed proved thyself to be JEHOVAH's Covenant in all thy words and works. LORD! I beseech thee give me grace to follow thee as Bartimaeus did; let me cast away, and cast off everything of mine; for all must be, as I am myself, unclean. LORD, be thou all my salvation and all my desire; give me spiritual sight, and enable me to follow thee in the way.

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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Mark 10:4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/mark-10.html. 1828.

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