The mission opens in Galilee, where the Great Commission (
) will occur.
Arrested (lit.“handed over”) is used for Judas's betrayal and the divine delivering of Jesus (see Isa 53.6
). Withdrew, typical of Jesus' response to danger (see 12.15; 14.13
Capernaum, home to Peter and Andrew, will be Jesus' own city (
. Matthew emphasizes Galilee's gentile
connection; here the Great Commission (
Summarizes Jesus' message; repent reflects the Hebrew “Tshuva,” “return” or “change direction.”
The abrupt calling of the disciples is common in Hellenistic
and Hebrew stories (see 1 Kings 19.19–21
Only Jesus teaches and proclaims.
Good news is “gospel.” Their synagogues
need not indicate alienation; Jesus restricts his mission to Israel (
Leprosy (see Lev 13–14
) refers to various skin diseases. Lepers required priestly sanction to reenter society.
centurion. Verse 7
may be read as a question—Shall I heal him?—anticipating a negative answer. Elsewhere Jesus restricts his mission to Jews
), and prior to the resurrection he displays reluctance at extending it to gentiles (
Matthew's Jesus never enters a gentile's home (contrast Mk 7
Centurions command between 50 and 100 soldiers; here the centurion admits his helplessness and faith in Jesus' power.
May refer to Diaspora
Jews or to gentiles.
Heirs (lit. sons) of the kingdom refers in v. 13
to Jesus' followers: Even those inside the church may forfeit salvation through improper action and belief.
Peter's mother-in-law “serves”; the term derives from the Greek term for “deacon.” Peter's wife is not mentioned.
Another fulfillment citation; prior to the Gospels, this passage, like many other fulfillment citations, was not viewed as
referring to the messiah.
See Isa 53.4
. Matthew lacks Mark's commands for the demons' silence.
Itinerancy marks Jesus' mission and that of his followers (see ch. 10
Teacher is used by those who are not disciples; in Matthew, Jesus calls disciples; followers do not apply for the position.
Son of Man means “human being” (Ezek 37
), but it also carries divine connotations (Dan 7.13–14
Jesus' saying shocks; nothing, not even one's own family, takes precedence over service to him.
Preparations for Jerusalem. In Matthew (and Mark), this is Jesus' first entry into Jerusalem: Luke and John depict earlier visits. Although this event
is traditionally called “Palm Sunday,” palms are mentioned only in John; in Matthean chronology, the entry occurs on Monday.
See comment on Mk 11.2
The ninth fulfillment citation, from Isa 62.11; Zech 9.9
Matthew takes literally Zechariah's poetic reference to two donkeys.
originally a plea for salvation, became a festive shout. The citation comes from Ps 118.25–26
, the last Hallel Psalm sung at Passover.
One who comes has messianic connotations.
John the Baptist.
Good news (Gk., “Euangellion”) is the literal meaning of “gospel”; Mark is the only canonical
Gospel to have this self-designation. Son of God appears rarely; Son of Man is Jesus' self-designation.
See Mal 3.1
advised the Babylonian exiles to build a road to Jerusalem; Mark adapts the statement to locate John in the wilderness.
The wilderness is a traditional place of renewal. See sidebars on “Gospels” (p.
) and “John the Baptist” (p.
Mark neither records a Bethlehem birth and infancy account nor addresses the question of Jesus' sinlessness.
With the rending of the Temple
veil, the heavens symbolically open again at the cross (
The heavenly voice speaks directly to Jesus; in Matthew's account it makes a public proclamation.
Immediately is a Marcan motif
expressing urgency. The wilderness setting, temptation, and forty days echo the Exodus and Moses' experiences on Sinai.
Unlike his Hebrew ancestors, Jesus does not succumb to temptation in the wilderness; unlike Adam and Eve, he lives peacefully
with animals and angels.
The good news. Jesus begins his mission only after the Baptist is arrested by Herod Antipas; the two are not depicted as rivals; rather,
Jesus elaborates on John's message of repentance.
(Mt 4.18–22; Lk 5.1–11; Jn 1.35–42
). The First Disciples. Simon will be nicknamed “Peter” or “rock” (
). The four disciples are not peasants but boat owners from Capernaum, a mid-sized Galilean city. The Gospels never mention
the larger cites of Sepphoris and Tiberias, although Sepphoris is just a few miles from Nazareth. The Sea of Galilee is also
known as the Sea of Tiberias and Lake Gennesaret.
The Capernaum synagogue.
Synagogues are places of worship and assembly; visitors were welcome to teach.
trained in interpretation
cited their teachers (“in the name of … ”); Jesus speaks on his own authority.
Demons recognize Jesus, but his disciples do not (
). Be silent begins the messianic secret (see sidebar above, “The Messianic Secret”).
Simon's mother-in-law. His wife is not mentioned.
Serve is from the Greek “Diakonein,” from which we get the term “deacon.”
Sabbath ends at sundown.
Jesus frequently withdraws for prayer.
Jesus continues to teach and heal in synagogues.
Leprosy referred to a variety of skin diseases; clean indicates both healing and ritual purity required for re-entry into society. Only priests could pronounce lepers clean; the
leper does not obey Jesus' commands either for silence or for priestly pronouncement.
Jesus' popularity as a healer interferes with his preaching.
Granting forgiveness of sins was a divine prerogative.
The saying appears in a different context in Jn 5.8
The title Son of Man has both human (“mortal”) (Ezek 37.3
) and superhuman (Dan 7.13–14, 1 Enoch
) connotations. Enigmatic like the parables,
the title requires hearers to determine the meaning for themselves.
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