Week #125; Wed, May 20: Matthew 27:1–Mark 4:41

CHAPTER OBSERVATIONS:

Matthew 27:1, I. Jesus Delivered to Pilate; II. Jesus Before Pilate; III. Crowd Chooses Barabbas; IV. Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified; V. Jesus is Mocked; VI. The Crucifixion; VII. The Death of Jesus; VIII. Jesus is Buried; IX. The Guard at the Tomb

I. KEY TEXT (Jesus Delivered to Pilate): “When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate the governor.” (27:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ They said, ‘What is that to us? See to it yourself. And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself. But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, ‘It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.’ So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. Then was fulfilled what had been spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, saying, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him on whom a price had been set by some of the sons of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord directed me.'” (27:3-10)
1. FINDINGS: “Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ Jesus said, ‘You have said so.’ But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate said to him, ‘Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?’ But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed. (27:11-14
2. CRITERIA: “”Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, ‘Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?’ For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up.” (27:15-18)”
3. CONDITION: “Multitudes who choose the world, rather than God, for their ruler and portion, thus choose their own delusions. The Jews were so bent upon the death of Christ, that Pilate thought it would be dangerous to refuse. And this struggle shows the power of conscience even on the worst men.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Envy.” (27:18)
5. EFFECT: “Yet all was so ordered to make it evident that Christ suffered for no fault of his own, but for the sins of his people. How vain for Pilate to expect to free himself from the guilt of the innocent blood of a righteous person, whom he was by his office bound to protect!” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The blood of Christ is now upon us for good, through mercy, by the Jews’ rejection of it. O let us flee to it for refuge!” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Jesus Before Pilate):“Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor again said to them, ‘Which of the two do you want me to release for you?’ And they said, ‘Barabbas.’ Pilate said to them, ‘Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?’ They all said, ‘Let him be crucified!’ And he said, ‘Why, what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, ‘Let him be crucified!'” (27:20-23)
A. INFERENCE: “How vain for Pilate to expect to free himself from the guilt of the innocent blood of a righteous person, whom he was by his office bound to protect!” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “None could bear the sin of others, except Him that had no sin of his own to answer for. And are we not all concerned? Is not Barabbas preferred to Jesus, when sinners reject salvation that they may retain their darling sins, which rob God of his glory, and murder their souls?” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “None of these expedients succeeded, and he drifted into the very act which his conscience had condemned from the first. He is a specimen of those weak men who want the right thing to be done, but will not adventure their own interests to get it done.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Having no malice against Jesus, Pilate urged him to clear himself, and labored to get him discharged.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “The vacillation of Pilate made him a criminal. Weakness becomes sin. At first he evidently meant to release Jesus, but instead of saying so outright, he strove to bring about His release by indirect means and without committing himself.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Barabbas was released; Jesus was crucified.” (27:15-23)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The one hope for us all is to declare ourselves for the right and true, at once and from the start.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (The Crowd Chooses Barabbas):“So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.'” (27:24)
A. INFERENCE: “No judge ought to have asked the crowd what he should do. But every man has to do with Christ. He is ever standing before the bar of conscience, and each of us must accept or condemn, do homage or crucify.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “It is not easy to skip over the larger plan of God that was there making sure that the script was followed.” (Personal observation: see host home page at paragraph 5.III for links to graphic illustrations)
2. CRITERIA: “Since the ‘Lamb’s Book of Life was written before the foundation of the world, there is a hand at work bigger than we can grasp. Based on God’s desire to restore His perfect kingdom on Mount Zion, we must recognize there will be steps taken that will not be easy.” (Personal observation: see host home page at paragraph 5.III for links to graphic illustrations)
3. CONDITION: “If we do not pronounce for Him, we pronounce against Him.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “We may wash our hands after the deed of treachery is done, but water will not avail for Pilate, for Lady Macbeth, or for us. We need the blood of Christ, ere we can be cleansed from all sin, 1 Jn:5:6.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Multitudes who choose the world, rather than God, for their ruler and portion, thus choose their own delusions.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Look for ‘God’s master plan as we visit all areas of His Word.” (Personal observation: see host home page at paragraph 5.III for links to graphic illustrations)

IV. KEY TEXT (Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified):“And all the people answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’ Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.” (27:25-26)
A. INFERENCE: “Crucifixion was a death used only among the Romans; it was very terrible and miserable. A cross was laid on the ground, to which the hands and feet were nailed, it was then lifted up and fixed upright, so that the weight of the body hung on the nails, till the sufferer died in agony.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “Christ thus answered the type of the brazen serpent raised on a pole.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Christ underwent all the misery and shame here related, that he might purchase for us everlasting life, and joy, and glory.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (26:39)
4. CAUSE: “. . . there is a larger plan!” (Personal observation: see host home page at paragraph 5.III for links to graphic illustrations)
5. EFFECT: “He has made peace by the blood of His Cross; we have but to accept and be at rest.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Keep the cross in plain view, always.” (Personal observation: see host home page at paragraph 5.III for links to graphic illustrations)

V. KEY TEXT (Jesus is Mocked): “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him they mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.” (27:27-31)
A. INFERENCE: “Christ was led as a Lamb to the slaughter, as a Sacrifice to the altar. Even the mercies of the wicked are really cruel. Taking the cross from him, they compelled one Simon to bear it. Make us ready, O Lord, to bear the cross thou hast appointed us, and daily to take it up with cheerfulness, following thee.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “Was ever sorrow like unto his sorrow? And when we behold what manner of death he died, let us in that behold with what manner of love he loved us.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “He was delivered up that we might be delivered.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary in One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “As if death, so painful a death, were not enough, they added to its bitterness and terror in several ways.” (Matthew henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “In this unparalleled instance of divine grace, the upright is a ransom for the transgressors, the just for the unjust.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary in One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “The guards understood that he pretended to a crown; to taunt him with that gave them some diversion, and an opportunity to make themselves and one another happy.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary in One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “All that will approve themselves disciples indeed, must follow Christ, bearing His cross.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary in One Volume)

VI. KEY TEXT (The Crucifixion): “As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, ‘This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.’ Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’ So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, ‘He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trust in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.” (27:32-44)
A. INFERENCE: “He will not drink what would dull His keen sense of the momentous issues of the Cross.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” (27:37)
2. CRITERIA: “Here is no crime alleged against him. Pilate, instead of accusing Christ as a Criminal, proclaimed him a King.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary in One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “He was numbered with the transgressors.” (Isa. 53:12)
4. CAUSE: Envy and anger. “He was, at his death, numbered among the transgressors, that we, at our death, might be numbered among the saints.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary in One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “Every circumstance was contrived to his dishonor, as if the great Saviour were of all others the greatest sinner.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary in One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Keep fast hold of God the Father as did Jesus while enduring trouble.” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary in One Volume)

VII. KEY TEXT (The Death of Jesus): “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, ‘This man is calling Elijah.’ And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, ‘Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.’ And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!'” (27:45-54)
A. INFERENCE: “There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, among who were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.” (27:57-61)
1. FINDINGS: “The manner in which he breathed his last; between the third and the sixth hour, that is, between nine and twelve o’clock, as we reckon, he was nailed to the cross, and soon after the ninth hour, that is, between three and four o’clock, in the afternoon, he died.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
2. CRITERIA: “Faith in the Father was on display in worst moment for Jesus. ‘That our Lord Jesus, even when he was thus forsaken by his Father, kept hold of him as his God, nevertheless; ‘My God, my God; though forsaking me, yet mine.’ This supported him, and bore him up, that even in the depth of his sufferings God was his God, and this he resolves to keep fast hold of.'” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “Darkness, earthquake, rocks split, curtain torn from top to bottom, the dead arose, enemies convicted, and many other miracles.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
4. CAUSE: God’s master plan was being rolled out for Jews, Gentiles, and Romans too. (Personal observation, see two graphic illustrations at links in host website home page in paragraph 5.III)
5. EFFECT: “The Father wanted Him back. ‘When Christ had overcome the sharpness of death, he opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Nothing can obstruct or discourage our access to heaven'” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Know that the Father wants His believers back too.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)

VIII. KEY TEXT (Jesus is Buried): “When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean lined shroud and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.” (27:57-61)
A. INFERENCE: “In the burial of Christ was nothing of pomp or solemnity. As Christ had not a house of his own, wherein to lay his head, while he lived, so he had not a grave of his own, wherein to lay his body, when he was dead.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “Our Lord Jesus, who had no sin of his own, had no grave of his own.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “The Jews designed that he should have made his grave with the wicked, should have been buried with the thieves with whom he was crucified, but God overruled it, so that he should make it with the rich in his death, Isaiah 53:9.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “And although to the eye of man the beholding a funeral may cause terror, yet if we remember how Christ by his burial has changed the nature of the grave to believers, it should make us rejoice.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Fear not to entrust yourself to God in death. If you yield up your spirit and commend it to the Father’s hands, He will provide for it and for your body also. He has His Josephs everywhere. He will provide loving hands for the body, which was the shrine and casket of the precious jewel that He bought at so great a cost. Precious in His sight is the death of His saints, Psa.116:15.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The kings and princes of this world set themselves to guard the sepulcher of the Son of God by sealing-wax and sentries. They might as well have endeavored to restrain the bursting life of spring. Said the King of Terrors to Captain Corruption, “Take care to keep this Man’s body fast.” But what did this avail, when it had been ordained that he should not stay in Hades, nor even see corruption? Whatever your foes may do against you will not avail, if only you wait patiently for God. See Psa.40:1-17.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “And we are ever to imitate Christ’s burial in being continually occupied in the spiritual burial of our sins.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

IX. KEY TEXT (The Guard at the Tomb): “The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate and said, ‘Sir, we remember how that imposter said, while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will rise.’ Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last fraud will be worse than the first.’ Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.’ So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.” (27:62-66)
A. INFERENCE: “On the Jewish Sabbath, the chief priests and Pharisees, when they should have been at their devotions, were dealing with Pilate about securing the sepulcher. This was permitted that there might be certain proof of our Lord’s resurrection.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “Pilate told them that they might secure the sepulcher as carefully as they could. They sealed the stone, and set a guard, and were satisfied that all needful care was taken.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “But to guard the sepulcher against the poor weak disciples was folly, because needless; while to think to guard it against the power of God, was folly, because fruitless, and to no purpose; yet they thought they dealt wisely.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “But the Lord took the wise in their own craftiness. Thus shall all the rage and the plans of Christ’s enemies be made to promote his glory.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “The kings and princes of this world set themselves to guard the sepulcher of the Son of God by sealing-wax and sentries.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “They might as well have endeavored to restrain the bursting life of spring.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Know that: ‘There ain’t no grave gonna hold His body down’ . . . or mine or yours either. Victory! Search on: “ain’t no grave bellevue baptist church molly skaggs

Matthew 28:1-20, I. The Resurrection; II. The Report of the Guard; III. The Great Commission

I. KEY TEXT: (The Resurrection):“Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.’ So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. And behold, Jesus met them and said, ‘Greetings!’ And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.'” (28:1-10)
A. INFERENCE: “Ere the sun had risen and while the glory of the dawn was faint in the Eastern sky, the women were well on their way. But He whom they sought had gone. How often we look down into the grave of the dead past, and into the vault where we have buried twin-souls; or we peer for help into the diaries, prayers and rites of departed saints or a moribund church-but we do not find the Lord. The divine Leader of souls is not behind us, but before; not in the grave of the dead past, but in the van of the world’s march. Lo, he beckons us on to follow the Ascension mountain and the opened heaven!” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “Christ rose the third day after his death; that was the time he had often spoken of. On the first day of the first week God commanded the light to shine out of darkness. On this day did He who is the Light of the world, shine out of the darkness of the grave; and this day is from henceforward often mentioned in the New Testament, as the day which Christians religiously observed in solemn assemblies, to the honor of Christ.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Our Lord Jesus could have rolled back the stone by his own power, but he chose to have it done by an angel. The resurrection of Christ, as it is the joy of his friends, so it is the terror and confusion of his enemies.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “The angel encouraged the women against their fears. Let the sinners in Zion be afraid. Fear not ye, for his resurrection will be your consolation. Our communion with him must be spiritual, by faith in his word. When we are ready to make this world our home, and to say, It is good to be here, then let us remember our Lord Jesus is not here, he is risen; therefore let our hearts rise, and seek the things that are above.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “He is risen, as he said. Let us never think that strange which the word of Christ has told us to expect; whether the sufferings of this present time, or the glory that is to be revealed.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “It may have a good effect upon us, by faith to view the place where the Lord lay. Go quickly. It was good to be there, but the servants of God have other work appointed. Public usefulness must be chosen before the pleasure of secret communion with God.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The disciples of Christ should be forward to make known to each other their experiences of communion with their Lord; and should tell others what God has done for their souls.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT: (Report of the Guard): “While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, ‘Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep.’ And if this comes to the governor’s ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.’ So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.” (28:11-15)
A. INFERENCE: “What wickedness is it which men will not be brought to by the love of money! Here was large money given to the soldiers for advancing that which they knew to be a lie, yet many grudge a little money for advancing what they know to be the truth.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “Let us never starve a good cause, when we see bad ones so liberally supported. The priests undertook to secure them from the sword of Pilate, but could not secure these soldiers from the sword of God’s justice, which hangs over the heads of those that love and make a lie. Those men promise more than they can perform, who undertake to save a man harmless in doing a willful sin.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “But this falsehood disproved itself. Had the soldiers been all asleep, they could not have known what passed. If any had been awake, they would have roused the others and prevented the removal; and certainly if they had been asleep, they never would have dared to confess it; while the Jewish rulers would have been the first to call for their punishment.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Again, had there been any truth in the report, the rulers would have prosecuted the apostles with severity for it. The whole shows that the story was entirely false. And we must not charge such things to the weakness of the understanding, but to the wickedness of the heart.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “God left them to expose their own course. The great argument to prove Christ to be the Son of God, is his resurrection; and none could have more convincing proofs of the truth of that than these soldiers; yet they took bribes to hinder others from believing.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The plainest evidence will not affect men, without the work of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Separate from the idea: “Men will believe any lie rather than God’s truth, because their hearts are evil.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (The Great Commission): “Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (28:16-20)
A. INFERENCE: “All that see the Lord Jesus with an eye of faith, will worship him. Yet the faith of the sincere may be very weak and wavering. But Christ gave such convincing proofs of his resurrection, as made their faith to triumph over doubts.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “He now solemnly commissioned the apostles and his ministers to go forth among all nations. The salvation they were to preach, is a common salvation; whoever will, let him come, and take the benefit; all are welcome to Christ Jesus.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Christianity is the religion of a sinner who applies for salvation from deserved wrath and from sin; he applies to the mercy of the Father, through the atonement of the incarnate Son, and by the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, and gives up himself to be the worshipper and servant of God, as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three Persons but one God, in all his ordinances and commandments.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Baptism is an outward sign of that inward washing, or sanctification of the Spirit, which seals and evidences the believer’s justification.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Let us examine ourselves, whether we really possess the inward and spiritual grace of a death unto sin, and a new birth unto righteousness, by which those who were the children of wrath become the children of God.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Believers shall have the constant presence of their Lord always; all days, every day. There is no day, no hour of the day, in which our Lord Jesus is not present with his churches and with his ministers; if there were, in that day, that hour, they would be undone.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Even so, Lord Jesus, be thou with us and all thy people; cause thy face to shine upon us, that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

Mark 1:1-45 I. John the Baptist Prepares the Way; II. The Baptism of Jesus; III. The Temptation of Jesus; IV. Jesus Begins His Ministry; V. Jesus Calls the First Disciples; VI. Jesus Heals a Man with an Unclean Spirit; VII. Jesus Heals Many; VIII. Jesus Preaches in Galilee; IX. Jesus Cleanses a Leper

I. KEY TEXT (John the Baptist Prepares the Way): “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’ John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, ‘After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.'” (1:1-8)
A. INFERENCE: “Always the message of John precedes that of Jesus Christ; first the changed attitude of the will, then faith. The greatness of the Baptist revealed itself in his humility. He saw what we must see, that a negative religion, symbolized by water, is not enough: we need to be set on fire.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “Isaiah and Malachi each spoke concerning the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, in the ministry of John. From these prophets we may observe, that Christ, in his gospel, comes among us, bringing with him a treasure of grace, and a scepter of government.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “When God sent his Son into the world, he took care, and when he sends him into the heart, he takes care, to prepare his way before him. John thinks himself unworthy of the meanest office about Christ. The most eminent saints have always been the most humble. They feel their need of Christ’s atoning blood and sanctifying Spirit, more than others.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “The great promise Christ makes in his gospel to those who have repented, and have had their sins forgiven them, is, they shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost; shall be purified by his graces, and refreshed by his comforts.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “We use the ordinances, word, and sacraments without profit and comfort, for the most part, because we have not of that Divine light within us; and we have it not because we ask it not; for we have his word that cannot fail, that our heavenly Father will give this light, his Holy Spirit, to those that ask it.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “to those who have repented, and have had their sins forgiven them, is, they shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Ask, knock . . .

II. KEY TEXT (The Baptism of Jesus): “In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.'” (1:9-11)
A. INFERENCE: “Christ’s baptism was his first public appearance, after he had long lived unknown. How much hidden worth is there, which in this world is not known! But sooner or later it shall be known, as Christ was.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “He took upon himself the likeness of sinful flesh; and thus, for our sakes, he sanctified himself, that we also might be sanctified, and be baptized with him, John 17:19. See how honorably God owned him, when he submitted to John’s baptism.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “He saw the Spirit descending upon him like a dove. We may see heaven opened to us, when we perceive the Spirit descending and working upon us. God’s good work in us, is sure evidence of his good will towards us, and preparations for us.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Jesus was recognized by the Baptist, who beheld the opened heavens and the descending Spirit. If the Lord was thus anointed ere He commenced His life-work, how much more must we be! Hast thou become united with Him in His death, made one with Him in His resurrection, and anointed by that same Spirit?” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Sons of men must go the way of the Son of man, now under the opened heavens, then tempted of the devil; on one side the wild beasts, on the other the angels; now driven to loneliness, and then to the crowded street of the cities, there to gather disciples by the energy and beauty of a victorious life.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “He took upon himself the likeness of sinful flesh; and thus, for our sakes, he sanctified himself, that we also might be sanctified, and be baptized with him, John 17:19.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Then go “to the crowded street of the cities, there to gather disciples by the energy and beauty of a victorious life.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (The Temptation of Jesus): “The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. And he was with the wild animals, and the angels were ministering to him.” (1:12-13)
A. INFERENCE: “The ministration of the good angels is matter of great comfort in reference to the malignant designs of the evil angels; but much more does it comfort us, to have the indwelling of God the Holy Spirit in our hearts.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “Mark is another witness who concentrates chiefly on his miracles. This Jesus is the Son of God. That truth is the foundation on which the gospel is built, and which it is written to demonstrate.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
2. CRITERIA: “The mistakes of the will are rectified, and the rough ground of the emotions; then a way is made for Christ’s comforts.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “The wilderness was an example of his Father’s care for him, that he was preserved from being torn in pieces by the wild beasts.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “Christ himself was tempted, not only to teach us, that it is no sin to be tempted, but to direct us where to go for help when we are tempted. even to him who suffered, being tempted.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “The good spirits were busy around him; the angels attended him.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Listen for his guidance from angels and his Word while in prayer.

IV. KEY TEXT (Jesus Begins His Ministry): “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (1:14-15)
A. INFERENCE: “Jesus began to preach in Galilee, after that John was put in prison. If some be laid aside, others shall be raised up, to carry on the same work. Observe the great truths Christ preached.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “By repentance we give glory to our Creator whom we have offended; by faith we give glory to our Redeemer who came to save us from our sins. Christ has joined these two together, and let no man think to put them asunder.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Those whom Christ calls, must leave all to follow him; and by his grace he makes them willing to do so. Not that we must needs go out of the world, but we must sit loose to the world; forsake every thing that is against our duty to Christ, and that cannot be kept without hurt to our souls.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “. . . the preaching of the gospel began, and thus it continues; still the call is, Repent, and believe, and live a life of repentance and a life of faith.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “Christ will have followers. If he sets up a school, he will have students; if he sets up his standard, he will have soldiers; if he preaches, he will have hearers. Though Christ does not need the help of man, yet he is pleased to make use of it in setting up his kingdom. The business of ministers is to fish for souls, and win them to Christ. Ministers, in preaching the gospel cast the net into the waters.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “There is much in the doctrine of Christ that is astonishing; and the more we hear it, the more cause we see to admire it.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Fish!

V. KEY TEXT (Jesus Calls the First Disciples): “Passing alongside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’ And immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.” (1:16-20)
A. INFERENCE: “The instruments Christ chose to employ in setting up his kingdom, were the weak and foolish things of the world; not from the great Sanhedrin or the schools of the rabbis, but picked from among the tarpaulins beside the Sea of Galilee.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
1. FINDINGS: “Though Christ does not need the help of man, yet he is pleased to make use of it in setting up his kingdom.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
2. CRITERIA: “Christ honors those who are diligent in their business, and loving toward one another; so those were, whom Christ called. ” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “He found them employed, and employed together, Industry and unity are good and pleasant, and there the Lord Jesus commands the blessing.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “Those whom Christ calls, must leave all, to follow him; and by his grace he causes them to wish to do so.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “We must be loosely attached to the world, and forsake everything that is inconsistent with duty to Christ.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “. . . not only relations, but companions, must be left for Christ, and old acquaintances.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)

VI. KEY TEXT (Jesus Heals a Man with an Unclean Spirit): “And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath he entered the synagogue and was teaching. And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes. And immediately there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are–the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves saying, ‘What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.’ And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.” (1:21-28)
A. INFERENCE: “The devil is an unclean spirit, because he has lost all the purity of his nature, because he acts in direct opposition to the Holy Spirit of God, and by his suggestions defiles the spirits of men. There are many in our assemblies who quietly attend under merely formal teachers; but if the Lord come with faithful ministers and holy doctrine, and by his convincing Spirit, they are ready to say, like this man, What have we to do with thee, Jesus of Nazareth!” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “This unclean spirit hated and dreaded Christ, because he knew him to be a Holy One; for the carnal mind is enmity against God, especially against his holiness.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “When Christ by his grace delivers souls out of the hands of Satan, it is not without tumult in the soul; for that spiteful enemy will disquiet those whom he cannot destroy.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “What is this new doctrine? A work as great often is wrought now, yet men treat it with contempt and neglect.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “If this were not so, the conversion of a notorious wicked man to a sober, righteous, and godly life, by the preaching of a crucified Savior, would cause many to ask, What doctrine is this?” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “. . . emphasis is laid on the unresting labors of Jesus, who went about doing good.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Consider how much work we have to do, and how little time to do it in.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)

VII. KEY TEXT (Jesus Heals Many): “And immediately he left the synagogue and entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. Now Simon’s mother-in-law lay ill with a fever, and immediately they told him about her. And he came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and the fever left her, and she began to serve them.” (1:29-34)
A. INFERENCE: “Wherever Christ comes, he comes to do good. He cures, that we may minister to him, and to others who are his, and for his sake. Those kept from public ordinances by sickness or other real hindrances, may expect the Savior’s gracious presence; he will soothe their sorrows, and abate their pains.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “Observe how numerous the patients were.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “When others speed well with Christ, it should quicken us in seeking after him.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Those who have the most business in public, and of the best kind, must yet sometimes be alone with God.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Early next day He had gone forth for prayer, and forthwith started on a mission throughout all Galilee. The second typical day is recorded in Mar.11:20-33; Mar. 12:1-44; Mar. 13:1-37.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Jesus did not sit still. He continued to do good.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Go and do likewise!

VIII. KEY TEXT (Jesus Preaches in Galilee): “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him searched for him, and they found him and said to him, ‘Everyone is looking for you.’ And he said to them, ‘Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also, for that is why I came out.’ And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.” (1:35-39)
A. INFERENCE: “He cured Peter’s mother-in-law, who was sick. . . . the hand that healed her, strengthened her, so that she was able to wait on to them; the cure equips for action.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
1. FINDINGS: “How numerous the patients were; the whole town gathered at the door, as beggars for charity. That one cure in the synagogue occasioned this crowding after him.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
2. CRITERIA: “Christ was flocked after in a private house, as well as in the synagogue; wherever he is, there let his servants, his patients, be.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “How powerful the Physician was; he healed many who were brought to him. Nor was it some one particular disease, that Christ healed, but he healed those who had various diseases.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “His withdrawal to his private devotion; He prayed, prayed alone; to set us an example of secret prayer. Though as God he was prayed to, as man he prayed. He found time to be alone with his Father.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “We must go to the throne of grace, every day in the week.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Pray with every breath; stay continuously connected.

IX. KEY TEXT (Jesus Cleanses a Leper): “A leper came to him, imploring him, and kneeling said to him, ‘If you will, you can make me clean.’ Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him and said to him, ‘I will; be clean.’ And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. And Jesus sternly charged him and sent him away at once, and said to him, ‘See that you say nothing to anyone, but go, show yourself to the priest and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to them.’ But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.” (1:40-45)
A. INFERENCE: “We have here Christ’s cleansing of a leper. It teaches us to apply to the Savior with great humility, and with full submission to his will, saying, “Lord, if thou wilt,” without any doubt of Christ’s readiness to help the distressed.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “See also what to expect from Christ; that according to our faith it shall be to us. The poor leper said, If thou wilt. Christ readily wills favors to those who readily refer themselves to his will. Christ would have nothing done that looked like seeking praise of the people.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “The news of Christ spread fast and far until it reached the outcasts from Jewish society, the very dregs of humanity. As the story of the wonderful miracles wrought by our Lord was pondered deeply by this man, He concluded that the only question which remained was that of Christ’s willingness to hear.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “As to His power there could be no doubt. But no one of all the religious world of that time had ever thought of extending a helping hand to such as he. Note the instantaneousness of our Lord’s response to this appeal.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “His love and power are commensurate; when you gauge the one, you have measured the other.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “But no reasons now exist why we should hesitate to spread the praises of Christ.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Build faith.

Mark 2:1-28, I. Jesus Heals a Paralytic; II. Jesus Calls Levi; III. A Question About Fasting; IV. Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath

I. KEY TEXT (Jesus Heals a Paralytic): “And when he returned to Capernaum after some days, it was reported that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them. And they came, bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men. And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when thy had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, ‘Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’, he said to the paralytic, ‘I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.’ And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God saying, ‘We never saw anything like this!'” (2:1-12)
A. INFERENCE: “It was this man’s misery that he needed to be so carried, and shows the suffering state of human life; it was kind of those who so carried him, and teaches the compassion that should be in men, toward their fellow-creatures in distress.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “True faith and strong faith may work in various ways; but it shall be accepted and approved by Jesus Christ. Sin is the cause of all our pains and sicknesses. The way to remove the effect, is to take away the cause.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Pardon of sin strikes at the root of all diseases. Christ proved his power to forgive sin, by showing his power to cure the man sick of the palsy.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “And his curing diseases was a figure of his pardoning sin, for sin is the disease of the soul; when it is pardoned, it is healed. When we see what Christ does in healing souls, we must own that we never saw the like.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Most men think themselves whole; they feel no need of a physician, therefore despise or neglect Christ and his gospel.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “But the convinced, humbled sinner, who despairs of all help, excepting from the Savior, will show his faith by applying to him without delay.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Apply faith.

II. KEY TEXT (Jesus Calls Levi): “He went out again beside the sea, and all the crowd was coming to him, and he was teaching them. And as he passed by, he saw Levi (Matthew) the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he rose and followed him. And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ And when Jesus heard it, he said to them. ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (2:13-17)
A. INFERENCE: “Matthew was not a good character, or else, being a Jew, he would never have been a publican, that is, a tax-gatherer for the Romans. However, Christ called this publican to follow him. With God, through Christ, there is mercy to pardon the greatest sins, and grace to change the greatest sinners, and make them holy.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “A faithful, fair-dealing publican was rare. And because the Jews had a particular hatred to an office which proved that they were subject to the Romans, they gave these tax-gatherers an ill name.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “But such as these our blessed Lord did not hesitate to converse with, when he appeared in the likeness of sinful flesh. And it is no new thing for that which is both well done and well designed, to be slandered, and turned to the reproach of the wisest and best of men.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Christ would not withdraw, though the Pharisees were offended. If the world had been righteous, there had been no occasion for his coming, either to preach repentance, or to purchase forgiveness.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “We must not keep company with ungodly men out of love to their vain conversation; but we are to show love to their souls, remembering that our good Physician had the power of healing in himself, and was in no danger of taking the disease; but it is not so with us.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “In trying to do good to others, let us be careful we do not get harm to ourselves.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Be careful.

III. KEY TEXT (A Question About Fasting): “Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. And people came and said to him, ‘Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?’ And Jesus said to them, ‘Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day. No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.” (2:18-22)
A. INFERENCE: “Strict professors are apt to blame all that do not fully come up to their own views.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “Christ did not escape slanders; we should be willing to bear them, as well as careful not to deserve them; but should attend to every part of our duty in its proper order and season.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “In eternity the Friend of sinners will surround His table with saved sinners who have become His guests” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Two things Christ pleads in excuse of his disciples not fasting. 1. That these were easy times with them, and fasting was not so appropriate not as it would be hereafter. There is a time for all things. 2. That these were early days with them, and they were no so equipped for the severe exercises of religion as hereafter they would be.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “Their Master came eating and drinking, and had not bred them up to the difficult services of religion as yet.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “God graciously considers the strength of young Christians who are weak and tender, and so must we.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Don’t make the yoke of Christ otherwise than it is, easy and sweet, and pleasant.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)

IV. KEY TEXT (Jesus Is Lord of the Sabbath): “One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. And the Pharisees were saying to him, ‘Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?’ And he said to them, ‘Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?’ And he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.'” (2:23-28)
A. INFERENCE: “The Sabbath is a sacred and Divine institution; a privilege and benefit, not a task and drudgery.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “God never designed it to be a burden to us, therefore we must not make it so to ourselves.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “The Sabbath was instituted for the good of mankind, as living in society, having many wants and troubles, preparing for a state of happiness or misery.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Man was not made for the Sabbath, as if his keeping it could be of service to God, nor was he commanded to keep its outward observances to his real hurt.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Every observance respecting it, is to be interpreted by the rule of mercy.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Christ defended his disciples by citing David where ritual observances must give way to moral obligations; and that may be done in a case of necessity, which otherwise may not be done.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “The Sabbath is a sacred and divine institution; but we must receive and embrace it as a privilege and a benefit, not as a task and a drudgery.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)

Mark 3:1, I. A Man with a Withered Hand; II. A Great Crowd Follows Jesus; III. The Twelve Apostles; IV. Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit; V. Jesus’ Mother and Brothers

I. KEY TEXT (A Man with a Withered Hand): “Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there with a withered hand. And they watched Jesus, to see whether he would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse him. And he said to the man with the withered hand, ‘Come here.’ And he said to them, ‘Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?’ But they were silent. And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was restored. The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.” (3:1-6)
A. INFERENCE: “This man’s case was piteous; he had a withered hand, which disabled him from working for his living; and those that are so, are the most proper objects of charity. Let those be helped that cannot help themselves.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “Christ looks at the root of bitterness in the heart, the blindness and hardness of that, and is grieved.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Let hard-hearted sinners tremble to think of the anger with which he will look upon them shortly, when the day of his wrath comes. The great healing day now is the Sabbath, and the healing place the house of prayer; but the healing power is of Christ.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “The gospel command is like that recorded here: though our hands are withered, yet, if we will not stretch them out, it is our own fault that we are not healed.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “The spectators were very unkind, both to the patient and to the Physician; instead of interceding for a poor neighbor, they did what they could to hinder his cure.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “If Christ cured him now on the Sabbath day, they would accuse him as a Sabbath breaker.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “But if we are healed, Christ, his power and grace, must have all the glory.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (A Great Crowd Follows Jesus): “Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great crowd followed, from Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from around Tyre and Sidon. When the great crowd heard all that he was doing, they came to him. And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they crush him, for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him. And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, ‘You are the Son of God.’ And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.” (3:7-12)
A. INFERENCE: “All our sicknesses and calamities spring from the anger of God against our sins. Their removal, or the making them blessings to us, was purchased to us by the blood of Christ.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “But the plagues and diseases of our souls, of our hearts, are chiefly to be dreaded; and He can heal them also by a word.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “This is the errand on which sickness is sent, to alert us to enquire after Christ, and apply ourselves to him as our Physician.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “They desired leave but to touch him, having faith to be healed, not only by his touching them, but by their touching him.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “Diseases were effectively cured. He healed many.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “Evil spirits were effectively conquered; those whom evil spirits had got possession of, when they saw him, trembled at his presence, and they also fell down before him, not to beseech his favor, but to turn away his wrath.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Carry the news.

III. KEY TEXT (The Twelve Apostles): “And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for they were saying, ‘He is out of his mind.'” (3:13-21)
A. INFERENCE: “Christ calls whom he will; for his grace is his own. He had called the apostles to separate themselves from the crowd, and they came unto him. He now gave them power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “May the Lord send forth more and more of those who have been with him, and have learned of him to preach his gospel, to be instruments in his blessed work. Those whose hearts are enlarged in the work of God, can easily bear with what is inconvenient to themselves, and will rather lose a meal than an opportunity of doing good.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Those who go on with zeal in the work of God, must expect hindrances, both from the hatred of enemies, and mistaken affection of friends, and need to guard against both.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “He called to him those he wanted.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “Not such as we should have thought fittest to be called; but such as he thought fit to call, and determined to make fit for the service to which he called them.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “Christ calls whom he will.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Be willing to come to His call.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)

IV. KEY TEXT (Blasphemy Against The Holy Spirit): “And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, ‘He is possessed by Beelzebul,’ and ‘by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.’ And he called them to him and said to them in parables, ‘How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house. Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin,’ for they were saying, ‘He has an unclean spirit.'” (3:22-30)
A. INFERENCE: “It was plain that the doctrine of Christ had a direct tendency to break the devil’s power; and it was as plain, that the casting of him out of the bodies of people, confirmed that doctrine; therefore Satan could not support such a design. Christ gave an awful warning against speaking such dangerous words.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “It is true the gospel promises, because Christ has purchased, forgiveness for the greatest sins and sinners; but by this sin, they would oppose the gifts of the Holy Ghost after Christ’s ascension.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Such is the enmity of the heart, that unconverted men pretend believers are doing Satan’s work, when sinners are brought to repentance and newness of life.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Christ gave them to take heed how they spoke such dangerous words as these; however they might make light of them, as only conjectures, and the language of free-thinking, if they persisted in it, it would end fatally for them; it would be found a sin against the last remedy, and consequently unpardonable.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “Blaspheming the Holy Spirit = unpardonable sin.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “Sin remains.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Do not blaspheme the Holy Spirit.

V. KEY TEXT (Jesus’ Mother and Brothers): “And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, ‘Your mother and your brothers are outside, seeking you.’ And he answered them, ‘Who are my mother and my brothers?’ And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, ‘Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” (3:31-35)
A. INFERENCE: “It is a great comfort to all true Christians, that they are dearer to Christ than mother, brother, or sister as such, merely as relations in the flesh would have been, even had they been holy.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “Blessed be God, this great and gracious privilege is ours even now; for though Christ’s bodily presence cannot be enjoyed by us, his spiritual presence is not denied us.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “The disrespect which Christ’s human family showed to him when he was preaching; they not only stood outside, but they sent someone in to call him.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “The respect which Christ showed to his spiritual kindred on this occasion. Now, as at other times, he comparatively neglected his mother. He looked on those seated around him, and pronounced those of them who not only heard, but did, the will of God, to be to him as his brother, and sister, and mother; as much esteemed, loved, and cared for, as his nearest relations.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “This is a good reason why we should honor those who fear the Lord, that we may share with the saints in this honor.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “This occasion brought balance between relations and kindred.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Give equal opportunity to relations and kindred.

Mark 4:1, I. The Parable of the Sower; II. The Purpose of the Parables; III. A Lamp Under a Basket; IV. The Parable of the Seed Growing; V. The Parable of the Mustard Seed; VI. Jesus Calms a Storm

I. KEY TEXT (The Parable of the Sower): “Again he began to teach beside the sea. And a very large crowd gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat in it on the sea, and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land. And he was teaching them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them: ‘Listen! A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it. Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil. And when the sun rose, it was scorched, and since it had no root, it withered away. Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain. And other seeds fell into good soil and produced grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.’ And he said, ‘He who has ears to hear, let him hear.'” (4:1-9)
A. INFERENCE: “This parable contained instruction so important, that all capable of hearing were bound to attend to it. There are many things we are concerned to know; and if we understand not the plain truths of the gospel, how shall we learn those more difficult! It will help us to value the privileges we enjoy as disciples of Christ, if we seriously consider the deplorable state of all who have not such privileges.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “In the great field of the church, the word of God is dispensed to all. Of the many that hear the word of the gospel, but few receive it, so as to bring forth fruit. Many are much affected with the word for the present, who yet receive no abiding benefit. The word does not leave abiding impressions upon the minds of men, because their hearts are not duly disposed to receive it. The devil is very busy about careless hearers, as the fowls of the air go about the seed that lies above ground.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “Many continue in a barren, false profession, and go down to hell. Impressions that are not deep, will not last. Many do not mind heart-work, without which religion is nothing. Others are hindered from profiting by the word of God, by abundance of the world. And those who have but little of the world, may yet be ruined by indulging the body. (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “God expects and requires fruit from those who enjoy the gospel, a temper of mind and Christian graces daily exercised, Christian duties duly performed.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Let us look to the Lord, that by his new-creating grace our hearts may become good ground, and that the good seed of the word may produce in our lives those good words and works which are through Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God the Father.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Note the perils of the hearer, that you may guard against the waste of precious seed.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Don’t waste seeds.

II. KEY TEXT (The Purpose of the Parables): “And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them, ‘To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, so that ‘they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.’ And he said to then, ‘Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables? The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them. And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away. And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” (4:10-20)
A. INFERENCE: “It has been given to you, but not to them.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
1. FINDINGS: “Those only who are converted, have their sins forgiven them.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
2. CRITERIA: “The farmer sows the Word.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “He scatters in order to increase it.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “Christ was awhile sowing himself, when he went about teaching and preaching; now he sends his ministers and sows by their hand.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “That of the many who hear the word of the gospel, there are, comparatively, but few who receive it, so as to bring forth the fruits of it; here is but one in four, who comes to good.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Do not be a careless hearer.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)

III. KEY TEXT (A Lamp Under a Basket): “And he said to them, ‘Is a lamp brought in to be put under a basket, or under a bed, and not on a stand? For nothing is hidden except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret except to come to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.’ And he said to them, ‘Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you. For to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.'” (4:21-25)
A. INFERENCE: “Those who are good ought to do good.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
1. FINDINGS: “These declarations were intended to call the attention of the disciples to the word of Christ.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “By his thus instructing them, they were made able to instruct others; as candles are lighted, not to be covered, but to be placed on a candlestick, that they may give light to a room.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Let but the word of Christ have the place it ought to have in a soul, and it will show itself in a good conversation.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “How quick the Master was to observe the meaning of natural symbols! To Him all things were unfoldings of eternal mystery, and the ways of men unconsciously mirrored the unseen. (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Are there bushels in your life?” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Use them as lamp stands, not as coverings.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

IV. KEY TEXT (The Parable of the Seed Growing): “And he said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.'” (4:26-29)
A. INFERENCE: “This parable of the good seed, shows the manner in which the kingdom of God makes progress in the world.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “It grows gradually: first the blade; then the ear; after that the full corn in the ear. When it is sprung up, it will go forward.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “The work of grace in the soul is, at first, but the day of small things; yet it has mighty products even now, while it is in its growth; but what will there be when it is perfected in heaven!” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “The mysterious co-operation of God in nature, and the gradual process of growth, are analogous to the co-working of the Holy Spirit with all faithful sowers of the Word, and the imperceptible stages through which the soul reaches maturity.” (F. B Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “The good seed of the gospel sown in the world, and sown in the heart, does by degrees produce wonderful effects, but without noise” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “The farmer cannot describe how it comes up; it is one of the mysteries of nature; It sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Help cover the field in green.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)

V. KEY TEXT (The Parable of the Mustard Seed): “And he said, ‘With what can we compare the kingdom of God, or what parable shall we use for it? It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when sown on the ground, is the smallest of all the seeds on earth, yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes larger than all the garden plants and puts out large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.’ With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his won disciples he explained everything.” (4:30-34)
A. INFERENCE: “The work of grace is small in its beginnings, but comes to be great and considerable at last.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
1. FINDINGS: “Never were there such great things undertaken by such an inconsiderable handful, as that of the discipling of the nations by the ministry of the apostles.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
2. CRITERIA: “The gospel kingdom in the world, shall increase and spread to the remotest nations of the earth.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “He spoke in parables, as much as they could understand; he drew his comparisons from those things that were familiar to them.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “He did not say anything to them without using a parable.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “We can only wish we had had that exposition, as we had of the parable” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Express easy to recall and edit in the sowing of seeds.” (Matthew Henry Commentary in One Volume)

V. KEY TEXT (Jesus Calms a Storm): “On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, ‘Let us go across to the other side.’ And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, ‘Peace! Be still!’ And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, ‘Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith? And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?'” (4:35-41)
A. INFERENCE: “Christ was asleep in the storm, to try the faith of his disciples, and to stir them up to pray. Their faith appeared weak, and their prayers strong.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “When our wicked hearts are like the troubled sea which cannot rest, when our passions are unruly, let us think we hear the law of Christ, saying, Be silent, be dumb.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “When without are fightings, and within are fears, and the spirits are in a tumult, if he say, “Peace, be still,” there is a great calm at once.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Why are ye so fearful? Though there may be cause for some fear, yet not for such fear as this.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Those may suspect their faith, who can have such a thought as that Jesus careth not though his people perish.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “How imperfect are the best of saints! Faith and fear take their turns while we are in this world; but ere long, fear will be overcome, and faith will be lost in sight.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Grow and nurture faith in prayer and the Word.

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