How to Be Pro Life

                                       Mark 3:1-6, 5:21-43, 10:13-16

                                                  January 15, 2010





Mark 3:1-5 – The Healing of the Man with the Withered Hand – This incident

serves to bring out the antagonism between the spiritual and benevolent ministry of

the Lord Jesus, and the formalism, self-righteousness, and hard-heartedness of the

religious leaders of the Jews. It serves to explain, not only the enmity of the Pharisees,

but their resolve to league with whomsoever would help them in carrying out their

purposes and plot against the very life of the Son of man. It serves to exhibit the

mingled feelings of indignation and of pity with which Jesus regarded His enemies,

whose hatred was directed, not only against His person, but against His works of

mercy and healing. But the incident shall here be treated as a symbol of man’s need

and of Christ’s authority and method as man’s Saviour.



      OF THE STATE AND NEED OF MAN. He was a man “with a withered

            hand.”  St. Jerome informs us that in an apocryphal Gospel in use

            amongst the Nazarenes and Ebionites, the man whose hand was withered is

            described as a mason, and is said to have asked for help in the following

            terms: — “I was a mason, seeking my living by manual labour. I beseech

            thee, Jesus, to restore me the use of my hand, that I may not be compelled

            to beg my bread.” This is so far consistent with St. Mark’s description

            (ejxhramme>nhn e]cwn th<n cei~ra) as to show that the malady was the result

            of disease or accident, and not congenital. St. Luke (Luke 6:6) informs us that

            it was the right hand. The disease probably extended through the whole arm      

            according to the wider meaning of the Greek word  It seems to have been a

            kind of atrophy, causing a gradual drying up of the limb; which in such a            

            condition was beyond the reach of any mere human skill.


ü      The Hand is the Symbol of Mans Practical Nature. The husbandman,

      the mechanic, the painter, the musician, every craftsman of every

      grade, makes use of the hand in executing works of art or fulfilling

      the task of toil. The right hand may be regarded as the best bodily

      emblem of our active, energetic nature.


ü      The Withering of the Hand is Symbolical of the Effect of Sin upon

      our Practical Nature. As this man was rendered incapable of pursuing

                        an industrial life, so the victim of sin is crippled for holy service.  The

                        withering of muscle, the paralysis of nerve, is no more disastrous to

                        bodily effort than the blighting and enfeebling power of sin is

                        destructive of all holy acceptable service unto God.


ü      The Apparent Hopelessness of this Mans Case is an Emblem of the

      Sinners Hopeless State. This unhappy person was probably

      condemned by his misfortune to poverty, privation, neglect, and            

      helplessness. He was aware of the inability of human skill to cure

      him. The case of the sinner is a case of inability and sometimes of          

      despondency. Legislation and philosophy are powerless to deal with

      an evil so radical and so unmanageable. Unless God have mercy, the          

      sinner is undone!


v. 2 – “and they watched Him” -  The scribes had already the evidence that our

Lord had permitted His disciples to rub the ears of corn on the sabbath day. But this

was the act of the disciple, not His. What He was now preparing to do was an act of

miraculous power. And here the case was stronger, because work, which was

prohibited under pain of death by the Law (Exodus 31:12-18)), was understood to

include every act not absolutely necessary



      ASPECT OF HIS REDEMPTIVE WORK. And this in two respects:


ü      He Saves by the Impartation of Power. Christ in the synagogue

      spoke with authority, both when addressing the spectators who

      caviled, and when addressing the sufferer who doubtless welcomed

      His aid. Power accompanied His words — power from on high;

      healing virtue went forth from Him. How grateful should we be that,

      when the Son of God came to earth with power, it was with power to

      heal and bless! He is “mighty to save.” (Isaiah 63:1)  There was power

      in His person and presence, power in His words and works, power in

      His example and demeanor, power in His love and sacrifice. When He

      saves, He saves from sin and from sin’s worst results.  The spiritual       

      inefficiency and helplessness, which is man’s curse, gives place to a       

      heavenly energy and activity. The redeemed sinner finds his right

                        hand of service whole, restored, vigorous. Under the influence of

                        new motives and new hopes, he consecrates his renewed nature of

                        activity to the Lord who saved him.


ü      He Saves with the Concurrence of Human Effort. Observe that the

      Lord Jesus addressed to this sufferer two commands. He bade him

      “Stand forth!” which he could do; and “Stretch forth thy hand!”

      which he could not do — or at least might, judging from the past, have

      felt and believed himself unable to do. Yet he believed that the Prophet

      and Healer, who spoke with such authority, and who was known to

      have healed many, was not uttering idle words. His faith was called

      forth, and his will was exercised. Without his obedience and

      concurrence, there is no reason to suppose that he would have been

      healed. So every sinner who would be saved by Christ must recognize

      the Divine authority of the Saviour, must avail himself of the Saviour’s   

      compassion, and in humble faith must obey the Saviour’s command. It

      is not, indeed, faith which saves. It is Christ who saves, but He saves    

      through faith; for it is by faith that the sinner lays hold upon the

      Saviour’s might, and comes to rejoice in the Saviour’s grace.


v. 4 – “Is it lawful on the sabbath day to do good, or to do harm? to save a life,

or to kill?”  Our Lord’s meaning appears to be this: “If any one, having it in his

power, omits to do an act of mercy on the sabbath day-for one grievously afflicted,

as this man is, if he is able to cure him, as I Christ am able, he does him a wrong; for

he denies him that help which he owes him by the law of charity.” Our Lord thus

plainly signifies that not to do an act of kindness to a sick man on the sabbath day

when you are able to do it, is really to do him a wrong. But it is never lawful to do a

wrong; and therefore it is always lawful to do good, not excepting even the sabbath

day, for that is dedicated to God and to good works. Whence it is a greater sin to do

a wrong on the sabbath than on other days; for thus the sanctity of the sabbath is

violated, just as it is all the more honored and sanctified by doing good. In our

Lord’s judgment, then, to neglect to save, when you have it in your power to do so,

is to destroy. “They held their peace.”  They could not answer Him. They are

obstinate indeed in their infidelity, who, when they can say nothing against the truth,

refuse to say anything for it.


v. 5 – “When He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved

sullupou>menov) — the word has a touch of “condolence” in it — at the hardening

of their heart. All this is very characteristic of St. Mark, who is careful to notice the

visible expression of our Lord’s feelings in His looks. The account is evidently from

an eye-witness, or from one who had it from an eye-witness. Christ was indignant at

their blindness of heart, and their unbelief, which led them to attack the miracles of

mercy wrought by Him on the sabbath day as though they were a violation of the law

of the sabbath. We see here how plainly there were in Christ the passions and

affections common to the human nature, only restrained and subordinated to reason.

Here is the difference between the anger of fallen man and the anger of the sinless

One. With fallen man, anger is the desire of retaliating, of punishing those by whom

you consider yourself unjustly treated. Hence, in other men, anger springs from

self-love; in Christ it sprang from the love of God.  He loved God above all things;

hence He was distressed and irritated on account of the wrongs done to God by sins

and sinners. So that His anger was a righteous zeal for the honor of God; and hence

it was mingled with grief, because, in their blindness and obstinacy, they would not

acknowledge Him to be the Messiah, but misrepresented His kindnesses wrought on

the sick on the sabbath day, and found fault with them as evil.  Thus our Lord, by

showing grief and sorrow, makes it plain that His anger did not spring from the desire

of revenge. He was indeed angry at the sin, while He grieved over and with the sinners,

as those whom He loved, and for whose sake He came into the world that He might

redeem and save them.   “For the Son of man is come to save that which is lost” 

(Matthew 18:11)  Stretch forth thy hand. And he stretched it forth: and his

hand was restored” -  The words “whole as the other” (uJgih<v wJv hJ a]llh) are

not found in the best uncials. They were probably inserted from St. Matthew.  In this

instance our Lord performed no outward act. “He spake, and it was done.” The

Divine power wrought the miracle concurrently with the act of faith on the part of

the man in obeying the command.





Mark 5:25-34The Incident with the Woman with the Issue of Blood


vs. 25-26 – “A woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years” -

All the synoptic Gospels mention the length of time during which she had

been suffering. Eusebius records a tradition that she was a Gentile, a native

of Caesarea Philippi. This disease was a chronic hemorrhage, for which

she had found no relief from the physicians. Lightfoot, in his ‘Horae

Hebraicae,’ gives a list of the remedies applied in such cases, which seem

quite sufficient to account for Mark’s statement that “she was nothing

bettered, but rather grew worse”.   Luke, himself a physician, says that

she “had spent all her living upon physicians, and could not be healed of

any.”  (Luke 8:43)


vs. 27-28 – “This woman, having heard of Jesus” — literally (ta<

peri> tou~ jIhsou~), the things concerning Jesus — “came in the crowd

behind, and touched His garment” -  Both Matthew and Luke say “the

border (tou~ kraspe>dou) of His garment.” Matthew 9:21 tells us that

she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.”

From this it appears that, though she had faith, it was an imperfect faith. She

seems to have imagined that a certain magical influence was within Christ

and around Him. And the touching of the border of His garment (the blue

fringe which the Jews were required to wear, to remind them that they

were God’s people) was supposed by her to convey a special virtue. Yet

her faith, though imperfect, was true in its essence, and therefore was not



v. 29 – “And straightway — Mark’s favorite word — the fountain of her blood

was dried up; and she felt (e]gnw) — literally, she knew in her body that she

was healed of her plague” -  (o[ti i]atai ajpo< th~v ma>stigov); literally, that she

 hath been healed of her scourge, The cure was instantaneous.


v. 30 - The words in the Greek are ejpignou<v ejn eJautw~| th<n ejx auJtou~ du>namin

ejxelqou~san: “Jesus, perceiving in Himself that the power emanating from Him

had gone forth, turned Him about in the crowd, and said, Who touched my

garments?”  Christ sees the invisible grace in its hidden operations; man only sees

its effects, and not always these.


v. 31 - St. Luke (Luke 8:45) adds here, “When all denied, Peter said, and they

that were with him, Master, the multitudes press thee and crush thee. But Jesus

said, Some one did touch me; for I perceived that power had gone forth from me.”

This incident shows the mysterious connection between the spiritual and the physical. The

miraculous virtue or power which went forth from the Savior was spiritual in its source

and in the conditions on which it was imparted, but it was physical in its

operation; and that which brought the two together was faith. Multitudes

thronged the Saviour, but only one of the crowd touched Him.


v.  32 – “He looked round about (perieble>peto) — another favorite word of

Mark – to see her that had done this thing”.


v. 33 – “The woman fearing and trembling” - Every word in this

verse is expressive. It was her own act. She seemed to herself as though

without permission she had stolen a blessing from Christ; and so she could

hardly venture to hope that the faith which had prompted her would be

accepted. Hence her fear and terror, and her free and full confession. We

thus see the gentleness of Christ in His dealings with us. Perhaps the

woman had intended to escape, satisfied with a temporal benefit, which

would hardly have been a blessing at all, if she had been suffered to carry it

away without acknowledgment. But this, her loving Savior would not

permit her to do. It was the crisis of her spiritual life. It was necessary that

all around should know of the gift which she had endeavored to snatch in

secret. Our Lord might have demanded from her this public confession of

her faith beforehand. But, in His mercy, He made the way easy to her. The

lesson, however, must not be forgotten, that it is not enough to believe

with the heart. The lips must do their part, and “with the mouth confession

must be made unto salvation.”  (Romans 10:10).


v. 34 - Our Lord here reassures this trembling woman, who feared, it

may be, lest, because she had abstracted the blessing secretly, He might

punish her with a return of her malady. On the contrary, He confirms the

benefit, and bids her be whole of her plague. The Greek expression here is

stronger than that which is given as the rendering of what she had used

when we read that she said within herself, “I shall be saved

(swqh>somai).” Here our Lord says, “Go in peace, and be whole” -  (i]sqi

uJgih<v). It is as though He said, “It is not the mere fringe of my garment,

which you have touched with great faith, and with some hope of obtaining

a cure — it is not this that has cured you. You owe your healing to my

omnipotence and your faith. Your faith (itself my gift) has delivered you

from your issue of blood; and this deliverance I now confirm and ratify.

‘Go in peace.’” The original Greek here (u[page eijv eijrh>nhn) implies

more than this. It means “Go for peace.” Pass into the realm, the element

of peace, in which henceforth thy life shall move. It is here obvious to

remark that this malady represents to us the ever-flowing bitter fountain of

sin, for which no styptic treatment can be found in human philosophy. The

remedy is only to be found in Christ. To touch Christ’s garment is to

believe in his incarnation, whereby He has touched us, and so has enabled

us by faith to touch Him, and to receive His blessing of peace.



                                    ADDITIONAL NOTES on vs. 25-34


vs. 25-34 -  Faith Conquering Timidity.  Far from withdrawing from scenes of

distress and woe, our Lord Jesus was found wherever human sin or misery invited

His compassion and invoked His aid. On this occasion He was passing towards the

house of mourning, the chamber of death, and on His way paused to pity and to heal

a helpless, timid, trembling sufferer.



            the thronging multitude were persons of various circumstances, character,

            and wants. In all companies there are those who have spiritual ills which

            only Christ can heal, spiritual desires which only Christ can satisfy. Sin   

            and doubt, weakness, sorrow, and fear, helplessness and despondency, -

            these are to be found on every side. The case of this poor woman deserves

            special attention:


ü      Her need was conscious and pitiable.


ü      It was of long continuance: for twelve years had she suffered and had

                        obtained no relief.


ü      Her case was beyond human skill and power. She had gone to many

                        physicians, had endured much in undergoing treatment, had expended

                        all her means, and yet, instead of being better, was worse than before.

                        And now apparently hope was taking flight, and the end seemed near.

                        An emblem this of many a sinner’s case  - conscious of sin and of a                           

                        tyranny long endured, yet helpless and despairing of deliverance.



            TREMBLING FAITH, The graphic narrative of the evangelist is very

            suggestive as well as very impressive:


ü      There was faith, in the woman’s coming to Christ at all. She might

      have questioned the possibility of His curing her. She might have

      fancied that, lost in the crowd, she should not gain His notice and help.


ü      The faith, however, seems to have been imperfect. Something of

                        superstition probably impelled her to seize the hem or sacred fringe of

                        His garment, as though there were magic virtue in the bodily presence

                        of the Savior.


ü      Yet the venture of faith overcame the natural shrinking and timidity

      she experienced. Doubt and diffidence would have kept her away;

      faith drew her near, and she stole to Him. It was the last resort; as

      it were, the dying grasp.


                                                “I have tried, and tried in vain,

                                                Many ways to ease my pain;

                                                Now all other hope is past,

                                                Only this is left at last:

                                                Here before thy cross I lie;

                                                Here I live or here I die.”


ü      Faith led to personal contact, to the laying hold of the Redeemer.

      Jesus often healed with a touch, by the laying on of His hand; and

      here He acknowledged the grasp of trembling confidence. They that

      come to Jesus must come confessing their faults and needs, applying

      for His mercy, and laying hold upon Him with cordial faith.



      APPLICANT. The conduct of Christ has been recorded in detail, for the

      instruction and encouragement of all to whom the gospel comes.


ü      Notice His recognition of the individual. This woman was one of a

                        multitude, yet she was not unobserved by the all-seeing and

                        affectionate Savior. He never overlooks the one among the many;

                        His heart can enter into every case, and succor every needy soul.


ü      Notice the immediate and efficacious exercise of His healing power.

                        What others could not accomplish in long years, the Divine Healer                            

                        effected in a moment. Thus Jesus ever acts. His grace brings pardon

                        to the penitent, justification to the guilty, cleansing to the impure.                                           

                        Immediate grace is the earnest of grace unfailing.


ü      We see our Lord accepting grateful acknowledgments. Pleasing to

      Him was the courage that, spite of timidity, “told him all the truth.”

      He ever delights in the thankful tribute of His people’s praise and          



ü      We hear our Lord’s gracious benediction. The language is very rich

      and full. There is an authoritative assurance of blessing; there is the        

      adoption of the healed one into the spiritual family, conveyed in the

      one word, “Daughter;” there is the recognition of her saving faith;

      there is the dismissal in peace; and there is the assurance that the    

      healing is COMPLETE  and PERMANENT.



Let every hearer of the gospel bring his case to Jesus.  Let every applicant

to Christ be encouraged by the assurance of the Lord’s individual regard

and interest. Let faith lay firm hold of Christ, and that AT ONCE







Mark 5:35-43 – The Healing of Jarius’ Daughter - Our Lord had lingered on

the way to the house of Jairus, perhaps, as has already been suggested, that the

crisis might first come, and that so there might be full evidence of His resurrection power.

The ruler must have been agonized with the thought that, while our Lord

 lingered, the life of his dying child was fast ebbing away. And now comes the fatal

message to him. “Thy daughter is dead” - (ajpe>qane); the aorist expresses that her

death was now a past event. “Why troublest thou the Master any further?” 

(ti> e]ti sku>lleiv to<n dida>skalon). The Greek word here is very strong. It is to

vex or weary; literally, to flay. The messengers from the ruler’s house had

 evidently abandoned all hope, and so probably would Jairus, but for the cheering

words of our Lord, “Fear not, only believe.”


v. 36 - The words of the narrative, as they stand in the Authorized Version, are:

As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, He saith unto the ruler of

the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe” – But there is good authority for the

reading parakou>sav instead of eujqe>wv ajkou>sav which requires the rendering,

but Jesus, not heeding, or overhearing. This word (parakou>w) occurs in one other

place in the Gospels, namely, in Matthew 18:17, “And if he refuse to hear them”

(eja<n de< parakou>sh| aujtw~n).  Here the word can only have the meaning

of “not heeding,” or “ refusing to hear.” This seems to be a strong reason

for giving the word a somewhat similar meaning in this passage. And

therefore, on the whole, “not heeding” seems to be the best rendering.

Indeed, it seems to cover both meanings. Our Lord would overhear, and

yet not heed, the word spoken.


v. 37 - Here we have the first occasion of the selection of three of the apostles to be

witnesses of things not permitted to be seen by the rest. The other two occasions are

those of the transfiguration, and of the agony in the garden. We now follow our

Lord and these three favored disciples, Peter and James and John, to the house of

death. They are about to witness the first earnest of the resurrection.


v. 38 -  Matthew here says (Matthew 9:23) that when Jesus came into the ruler’s

house, He “saw the minstrels (tou<v aujlhta<v),” i.e. the flute-players, “and the

people making a noise.” This was the custom both with Jews and with Gentiles, to

quicken the sorrow of the mourners by funeral dirges. The record of these attendant

circumstances is important as evidence of the fact of death having actually taken



v. 39 -  Some have regarded the words of our Lord, “the child is not dead, but

sleepeth  as really meaning that she was only in a swoon. But although she was

actually dead in the ordinary sense of that word, namely, that her spirit had left the

body, yet Christ was pleased to speak of death as a sleep; because all live to Him,

and because all will rise at the last day.  Hence in the Holy Scriptures the dead are

constantly described as sleeping, in order that the terror of death might be mitigated,

and immoderate grief for the dead be assuaged under the name of sleep, which

manifestly includes the hope of the resurrection. Hence the expression with regard

to a departed Christian, that “he sleeps in Jesus.” Then, further, this child was

not absolutely and irrecoverably dead, as the crowd supposed, as though she could

not be recalled to life; since in fact our Lord, who is the Lord of life, was going at

once to call her back by His almighty power from the realms of death into which

she had entered. So that she did not appear to Him to be dead so much as to sleep

for a little while. He says elsewhere,  “Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that

I may awake him out of sleep.”  (John 11:11)  Christ, by the use of such language

as this, meant to show that it is as easy with Him to raise the dead from death as

sleepers from their slumbers.


v. 40 – “They laughed Him to scorn” -  He suffered this, in order that

the actual death might be the more manifest, and that so they might the

more wonder at her resurrection, and thus pass from wonder and

amazement to a true faith in Him who thus showed Himself to be the

Resurrection and the Life.   (John 11:25-26)  He now put them all forth; and then,

with His three apostles, Peter, James, and John, and the father and the mother of the

child, He went in where the child was. The common crowd were not worthy to see

that in which they would not believe. They were unworthy to witness the great reality

of the resurrection; for they had been deriding Him who wields this power.  In the

same manner Elisha (II Kings 4:33) cleared the room before he raised the son of the



v. 41 - The house was now set free from the perfunctory and noisy crowd; and

He goes up to the dead child, and takes her by the hand and says, “Talitha cumi” –

 literally Little maid, arise. The evangelist gives the words in the very language used

by our Lord — the ipsissima verba, remembered no doubt and recorded by

Peter; just as he gives “Ephphatha” in another miracle – (ch. 7:34)


vs. 42-43 - Here, as in other miracles, the restoration was immediate and complete:

straightway the damsel rose up, and walked” -  Well might the father and the

mother of the maiden and the three chosen apostles be “amazed with a great

amazement” (ejxe>sthsan ejksta>sei mega>lh|). And then, for the purpose of

strengthening that life which He rescued from the jaws of the grave, our Lord

commanded that something should be given her to eat.”   It has often been

observed that in the examples of His resurrection power given by Christ there is

a gradation:


ü      The daughter of Jairus just dead..

ü      The widow’s son from his bier.

ü      Lazarus from his grave after four days.


The more stupendous miracle is yet to come, of which our Lord’s own resurrection

is at once the example and the pledge, when “All that are in their graves shall hear

His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection

of life; and they that have done evilo, unto the resurrection of damnation” 

(John 5:28-29)



                                                Mark 10



                Christ’s Teaching on Marriage and Divorce


vs. 1-2 – “And He arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by

the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto Him again; and, as He was

wont, He taught them again.  And the Pharisees came to Him, and asked Him, Is

it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting Him.  And He answered and

said unto them, What did Moses command you?  And they said, Moses suffered

to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.  And Jesus answered and said

unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.  But from

the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.  For this cause

shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain

shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.  What therefore

God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.  And in the house His

disciples asked Him again of the same matter.  And He saith unto them,

Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery

against her.  And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to

another, she committeth adultery.”


v. 1 - Our Lord was now on His last progress towards Jerusalem to die for us all. 

Luke 9:51 tells us that “He steadfastly (firmly) set His face to go to Jerusalem”.

In the earlier part of His journey He touched the frontier of Samaria. Putting the

accounts together, we conclude that, being refused by the Samaritans, He passed

eastwards along their frontier, having Galilee on His left, and Samaria on His right;

and then crossed the Jordan, perhaps at Scythopolis, where was a bridge, and so

entered Peraea. As Judaea and Galilee both lay west of the Jordan, this route above

described would be literally coming “to the borders of Judaea and beyond

Jordan.” Again multitudes flocked together to Him, and again He taught them.

Matthew 21:1 says that “He healed them.” His miracles of healing and His

teaching went hand in hand.


v. 2 – “And there came unto Him Pharisees (the article should be omitted)

and asked Him” - they came forward before the people, and publicly questioned

Him — “Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife?”  What, then, was the danger

that lay in such a question? According to His reply they hoped to discredit Him with

the respectable classes, and to found a charge against Him of overturning the social

and religious institutions of the land.  Too, they hoped they could charge Him with

lax morality, or perhaps He would disrespect the law of Moses or possibly, even

to embroil Him with the tetrarch Herod Antipas, in whose dominions He now was.

(Remember what happened to John the Baptist ch. 6:14-29) It is the reproach and

shame of nearly all “heresies” (remember that the Greek word for heresy means

“choice CY – 2010) in religion that they sooner or later attempt to abolish the

safeguards of society, and the time-honored customs of the social order. Marriage

is a touchstone that betrays the inherent unrighteousness and impracticability of a

large proportion of them.  (In our society it is obsession with abortion, gender,

homosexuality, separation of church and state, dispersal of condoms, freedom of

expression, censorship, etc.  Beware – CY – 2010)  Also, Christ’s enemies hoped

on this point to array Him against Moses and to discredit Him with the common

people.  Matthew 21:3 adds to the question the words, “for every cause.” There

were causes for which it was lawful.  They put this question to our Lord, “tempting

Him” – of course with an evil intent. This question about divorce was one which was

much agitated in the time of our Lord.  In the century before Christ, a learned rabbi,

named Hillel, a native of Babylon, who afterwards came to Jerusalem (this might

explain the liberal attitude of Hillel – God had told the Israelites not to mix with the

Canaanites for they would detract them from God – the Israelites disobeyed and

eventually went into idolatry and for this, they were carried into Babylon in captivity

for seventy years – many returned under  Ezra but many stayed behind, being content

in Babylon and preferring the world instead of God’s plans.  Apparently, Hillel was a

descendant of this groupand no doubt this affected his attitude in such things as marriage . 

If you remember, his ancestors under the leadership of Aaron had built a golden calf to

worship and when Moses came off Mt. Sinai after being with God, that he ground up

the golden calf and spread the dust in the brook that came out of the mount –

I say all this to make the point that The Jews were wont to say that never any

trouble came upon them without an ounce of the gold dust of the golden calf

being in it – I submit that Hillel’s views and modern attitudes towards marriage,

abortion, gay rights and other perverted views reek with “gold dust from the

calf”.  Jesus called it “teaching for doctrines the commandments of men”

[ch.7:7] – CY – 2010).  Hillel studied the Law with great success, and became the 

head of the chief school in  that city. One of his disciples, named Shammai,

separated from his master, and set up another school; so that in the time of our Lord

the scribes and doctors of the Law were arranged in two parties, namely, the

followers of Hillel, the most influential; and the followers of Shammai. These two schools

differed widely on the subject of divorce. The followers of Shammai only permitted

divorce in the case of moral defilement, while the followers of Hillel

placed the matter entirely in the power of the husband. (just opposite of

modern heresies which promote the supremacy of women to make that

call – CY – 2010)  The object, therefore, of this artful question was to entrap

our Lord, and to bring Him into collision with one or other of these two

opposing parties. For if He had said that it was not lawful for a man to put away

his wife, He would have exposed Himself to the hostility of many of the wealthy

classes, who put away their wives for any cause. But if he had allowed the lawfulness

of divorce at all, they would have found fault with His doctrine as imperfect and

carnal, although He professed to be a spiritual Teacher of a perfect system, sent

down from heaven.


vs. 3-4 – “What did Moses command you?” - It is to be observed that Jesus goes

back behind the old Mosaic Law, which was universally accepted among the Jews

as the authoritative standard of conduct.  Jesus allows no authority to mere

traditions and usages.  “And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of

divorcement”.  From the beginning God joined man and woman in one

indissoluble bond; but man’s nature having become corrupt through sin,

and sin changed and corrupted the institution, and so was the occasion of

bills of divorcement and polygamy.



            divorcement was called “a writing of cutting off” (sepher kerithuth). This

            bill or writing of divorcement implied, not only a mere separation from bed

            and board, as some restrict it, but a complete severance of the marriage tie.

            It was a certificate of repudiation, and either stated or omitted the cause of

            such repudiation. If the cause was adultery or a suspicion of adultery, the

            husband might prove himself (di>kaiov) just like Joseph in Matthew 1:19),

            that is, a strict observer of the Law in dismissing the guilty wife with a bill

            of divorcement; and yet, not wishing to expose her, he might send her away

            privately. If, however, the guilty person or the suspected person were

            brought openly to justice, and the crime proved, certain death was the

            penalty, as is distinctly stated in Leviticus 20:10, “The man that

            committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that

            committeth adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the         

            adulteress shall surely be put to death.” Most commonly, therefore, when

            a bill of divorcement was resorted to in accordance with the Mosaic

            permission, it was for some less cause or minor offense than conjugal

            infidelity; and in such cases it served the wife as a certificate of character.


v. 5 – “And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart

he wrote you this precept.” 


vs. 6-9 – “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and

female.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to

his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but

one flesh.  What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.


  • ORIGINAL MARRIAGE LAW. The Savior argues the indissoluble

            nature of the marriage law from the original unity of male and female, from

            the extreme closeness of the marriage bond taking precedence of every

            other union even parental and filial; above all, from its Divine origin.

            Marriage was thus an ordinance of God; it was instituted in Paradise in

            those bright and sunny bowers before sin had marred the freshness and the

            loveliness of the new-created world. Even then God saw that it was not

            good for man to be alone, and accordingly He gave him a help meet for him

            — one that was bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh. “Therefore shall a

            man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto [literally, be

            glued unto] his wife: (my testimony is that I appreciate my wife of 41 years

            whose attitude in times of marital unharmony has always been “I’m stuck”

            according to the Biblical plan – CY – 2010) and they shall be one flesh.” It

            was an ordinance of God Himself, an ordinance nearly coeval with the creation,            

            an ordinance made for man even in his unfallen state of innocence.  Jesus says   

            that an institution created by God at first, coeval with our race, and confirmed

            by so many sanctions, can neither be nullified nor modified by any human

            enactment, nor set aside by any authority other than His who created it.

            “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”




ü      There is reference to what we should call natural adaptation. If there

      is design in any arrangement or provision of nature, there is certainly      

      design [reader, I recommend typing in Fantastic Trip in your

      search engine if you are interested in design – this is spectacular –

      there are 68 photographs – it has music which I hope you can

      bring up but if not, a silent reverence will do – CY – 2010]

      in the division of mankind (as, indeed, of other races of living beings)

      into two corresponding and complementary sexes. Man was made for  

      woman, and woman for man; and the equality in numbers of male and   

      female is evidently a natural reason both for marriage and for



ü      There is reference to the creative, historical basis of marriage. The

                        record of Genesis is adduced, and Jesus reminds the Pharisees that

                        marriage dated, as a matter of fact, from the beginning of the

                        creation — that our first parents lived together in this relationship

                        from their first introduction to each other until the close of life.


ü      Jesus asserts marriage to be a Divine ordinance. “God hath joined

                        together” husband and wife. The Law of Moses came in with its                                             

                        additional provisions and sanctions; but it presumed the existence of

                        the marriage state. God, who orders all things well, had seen that it

                        would not be good for the man to be alone; accordingly He instituted                         

                        wedded life, and hallowed it.




ü      A condemnation of the custom of facile (easy) divorce. It was a

      common practice for the Jews, when dissatisfied with their wives, to

      put them away for very trivial reasons — even because they were not   

      pleased with them, without any offense having been committed. They    

      were wont to appeal to a permissive provision in their law as a warrant

      for acting thus. In our own times, in many countries even professedly     

      Christian, it is too common for regulations of great laxity to be made     

      regarding divorce. In some countries even incompatibility of temper is

      a sufficient ground for permanent separation. (and who knows what

      other excuse has been developed in the last 200 years since this has

      been written - CY - 2010)  Such practices are condemned by Jesus as           

      contrary to the Divine intention regarding marriage, and as

      subversive of all sound morality. As the family is the unit and the basis

      of all communities, and of all moral unity and welfare, it is of the

      highest importance that the sacredness of this Divine institution

      should be upheld, and that all practices and sentiments which       

      undermine it should be discountenanced and opposed. Lax views

      upon divorce are to be repressed, hostile to all social welfare as well

      as to domestic concord.


ü      A declaration that such divorce is conducive to adultery. Our Lord

      does not say that the remarriage of divorced persons is in all cases        

      adulterous; but, speaking of these who are separated for trivial

      offenses, and for any offense short of the most serious, (infidelity)

      He declares that for such persons to marry again is nothing less than      

      adultery. They are not really and in God’s sight released from one

      another, and a second union is therefore unlawful. “What therefore

      God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”  May we as   

      Christians discountenance lax opinions and practices upon a question

      so vital to social and national well-being as the ordinance of






vs. 10-12  - “And in the house His disciples asked Him again of the same matter. 

And He saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another,

committeth adultery against her.  And if a woman shall put away her husband,

and be married to another, she committeth adultery.”  Here, Christ defines with

authority and precision what constitutes “adultery.” These words remained to

condemn the disobedient, and will remain to “judge him in the last day. (John

12:48) “An it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my

words which He shall speak in my name, I will require it of him”.  (Deuteronomy

18:19)  The indissoluble bond of the marriage relation Jesus here affirms, and in the old

words, spoken at “the beginning,” “the twain shall become one flesh.” To

the propriety, the goodness, the blessedness of this law many Christian

centuries bear their unequivocal testimony. The purest institution and the

best, so hallowed, so beneficent, promoting in the highest degree individual

happiness, the peace and sanctity of family life, the purity of public morals;

preserving national health, stability, and greatness; guarding against wild

lust, and a long train of envy, jealousy, revenge, and other passionate

crimes; preserving the honor and dignity of women, the love and careful

training of children; imposing responsibilities, but cherishing virtue and

peace and joy. The family life is the symbol of the heavenly community; the

marriage bond the type of the Redeemer’s relation to His people, who are

“the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” It is God’s ordination, and is very

sacred; nor may it be set aside, but “for the kingdom of heaven’s sake;” nor

may its bond be broken, but for the one cause of fornication, from which it

is the most efficient guard. Its rites were honored by Jesus, and its “holy

estate adorned and beautified with his presence and first miracle.” (John 2:1-11)

The wisest legislation (How flies the legislation in the United States Congress,

the rulings from the Supreme Court, the behavior in the White House, and the

morality of the people of the land, “who love to have it so” [Jeremiah 5:31]

in the face of this teaching of Jesus Christ! – we too shall be judged in the last day

– John 12:48 – CY – 2010)- tends to the conservation of the family, whose

multiplied relations, whose sweet fellowship, whose united interest, and whose

common possessions give rise to the lofty idea of the home. Conjugal,

parental, filial, fraternal affection are cherished. Obedience on the one

hand, care and providence on the other; discipline and wise authority; the

sense of dependence arising from want; responsibility arising from the

power to meet that want; common interests and common aims, go to make

each home a miniature kingdom. Teaching to those in authority the

beneficence of rule, and to those under authority the lessons of submission,

the home lays the foundation for stable national life; while mutual interests

and obligations teach all to respect the rights and just claims of the entire

community; whilst each learns his responsibility to the whole, and his deep

interest in the general welfare. The nation that honors the home and the

sanctities of family life is honored of God. “Blessed is the nation whose

God is the Lord” – (Psalm 33:12) – “The wicked shall be turned into

hell and all nations that forget God” – (Psalm 9:17).  The Christian teaching,

reverting to the condition of things as it was “from the beginning of the creation,”

shows how truly it is in harmony with natural law, which is the expression

of the Divine will.





Mark 10:13-16 – “And they brought young children to Him, that He should

touch them: and His disciples rebuked those that brought them.  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.  Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God

as a little child, he shall not enter therein.  And He took them up in His arms,

put His hands upon them, and blessed them.”


Christ and the Children.  That three of the evangelists should have recorded this

incident is proof of the impression it made upon the early Christians, and of the

importance they attached to it. The Son of man interested Himself in all classes and

conditions of humanity; and it is not strange that He should have come into

direct and tender relations with the very young.


  • THE CHILDREN who were brought to Jesus. They were very young,

for they are called “little children,” and they were so small as to be taken

up in the arms. Jesus had himself been a child, and had passed through the

stages of infancy and boyhood, so that from His own experience He could

sympathize with this age and condition of human life. These children may

have been children of the house where Jesus had been staying, and of the

neighbors. It should be remembered that, not long before, Jesus had taken

a little child and used him as an example of simplicity and humility. We may

certainly learn from this incident that no child, however young or feeble,

is disregarded by our Lord Jesus. In every one He sees an immortal, God

given nature, capable of fellowship with the Creator’s mind, and of obedience

to his commands.




ü      They revered and honored Jesus themselves, or they would not

have acted thus. They would not have treated another rabbi thus.

There must have been something in our Lord which attracted them

and induced them to believe that He would not repel them should

they ask a favor on behalf of their little ones.


ü      They brought their children to Jesus. The babes had neither

knowledge nor strength to come of themselves; but their parents acted

for them.  Parents should regard it as their duty and privilege to bring

their offspring to the Savior. This they may do by instructing them as to

who and what Jesus is, by leading them into the society of Christ’s



ü      They had a definite purpose in bringing the children to Jesus, that

He should touch them and should pray for them. To tell our children of

Christ is, or should be, with a view to their personal spiritual contact

with Him, and with a view to their enjoying both the regard of His

friendship and the benefit of His intercession.



It is instructive to observe that the very persons whose office it was to

make Jesus known to men, and to introduce all the needy to His notice, and

to commend them to His aid, should have on this occasion interfered with

the approach of those whom Jesus would have welcomed. The twelve

rebuked the parents, and forbade the children to be brought to Jesus,

probably from a mistaken idea that the Lord would not care to be troubled

with those so young and so helpless. How important that Christians should

not interpose to prevent children from seeking Christ and the fellowship of

His people!



narrative gives us a delightful view of the Savior’s character, as the

children’s Friend.


ü      What He felt. A very strong expression is used to denote our Lord’s

disapproval of His disciples’ conduct. He was “moved with

indignation” by their demeanor. They were both misrepresenting Him and

inflicting a wrong upon the applicants for blessing.


ü      What He said. His language includes a special reference to the

occasion, and a general statement of a Divine principle. “Suffer the

children to come!” “Forbid them not!” How gracious a revelation

of the Savior’s mind and disposition, and how instructive a lesson for

His people! The general principle He enunciates is even more valuable:

“Of such is the kingdom of heaven.” The reference is doubtless to

the dependence and teachableness of little children. God’s kingdom is

composed of childlike natures. The proud, self-sufficient, and

self-confident are out of harmony with a spiritual society which

recognizes a Divine Head and is governed by Divine laws.


ü      What he did. Doubtless, in these actions, Jesus was obeying the impulse

of His affectionate nature. Yet He intended to teach the world how

gracious is His heart, how compassionate are His purposes, how vast

and widely extended are the arms of his love. He took them in His

arms, verifying the prediction concerning Him as the Good Shepherd.

He laid his hands upon them, signifying his tender interest. He blessed

them, praying for them, and pronouncing over them words of Divine



  • Here we have parents encouraged to bring their children to the Savior.


  • Here we have an encouragement for the young to look to Jesus as the true

giver of blessings.


  • Here we have an example to the Church of Christ in what spirit in which

the Lord’s people should deal with the young – with gentle consideration

towards the lambs of the flock.



v. 13 - It is worthy of notice that this touching incident follows here, as well as in the parallel

passage in Matthew 21:13, immediately after the discourse about the marriage bond. “And

they brought unto Him (prose>feron) — literally, were bringing -  little

children (paidi>a) — Luke18:15 calls them “babes” (bre>fh) — that He should

touch them” (i[na a[yhtai aujtw~n). Luke has the same word (i[na a[pthtai); but

Matthew 21:13 says “that He should lay His hands on them and pray.” The

 imposition of hands implies a formal benediction; the invoking of Divine grace upon

them, that they might grow up into wise and holy men and women. Why did the

disciples rebuke them? Perhaps because they thought it unworthy of so great a

Prophet, whose business was rather that of instructing those of full age, to be spending

His time upon little children.


v. 14 – “But when Jesus saw it” (ijdw<n de< oJ jIhsou~v). The Greek shows that there

was no interval between the acts of the parents and the disciples, and our Lord’s seeing

it. The parents were bringing the children, the disciples were rebuking them, Jesus was

perceiving. “He was much displeased” (hjgana>kthse); literally, He was moved

 with indignation. His words imply eagerness and earnestness: “Suffer the little

children to come unto me; forbid them not.” The copulative kai< is not to be

found in the best authorities. The omission adds force and vividness to the words.

The simplicity, candor, and innocence of little children are very attractive. This narrative

shows with what care children should be educated. “For of such is the kingdom of

God; that is, of such little children as these. The kingdom of heaven belongs in a peculiar

manner to little children. We know for certain that little children if they die before they

are old enough for moral accountableness, are undoubtedly saved.


v. 15 – “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God

as a little child, he shall in no wise enter therein”.  Observe the “verily” with

which our Lord introduces these words. He here adds something which extends what

He has just said to those who are, not literally, but figuratively, little children. We

must first receive the kingdom into our affections before we can really enter into it.

It is as though Christ said, “It is not unworthy of my dignity to take little children into

my arms and bless them, because by my benediction they become fit for the kingdom

of heaven. And if you full-grown men would become fit for my kingdom, you must give

up your ambitious aims and earthly contests, and imitate the simple unworldly ways of

little children. The simplicity of the little child is the model and the rule for every one who

desires, by the grace of Christ, to obtain the kingdom of heaven. Our Lord’s whole

action here is a great encouragement to the receiving of little children.


v. 16 – “And He took them in His arms, and blessed them, laying His hands

upon them” - This is considered the true order of the words, according to the best

authorities. The word rendered “taking in the arms” (ejnagkalisa>menov) has

already occurred in this Gospel at Mark 9:36 (“And He took a little child (paidi>on),

and set him in the midst of them” - Mark adds, what is not recorded by the other

synoptists, that He took him in His arms. “And taking him in His arms

(ejnagkalisa>menov); literally, folding him in His arms; embracing him. It is

probable that the house where he was was the house of Simon Peter; and it is

possible that this little child might have been Simon’s. A tradition not earlier than

the ninth century says that this child was Ignatius). The description here is very graphic. 

Our Savior would first embrace the little child,. He folding it in His arms; then He

would lay His right hand upon the child’s head, and bless it.


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