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Bible Commentaries
Mark 10

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

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Verses 1-52

Mark 10:2 . The pharisees came and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? This was a net artfully spread, to entangle the Saviour’s feet. Had he said no, they would have accused him of teaching doctrines contrary to the law of Moses. Had he said yea, they would then have charged him as guilty of cruelty. Thus, like Ezekiel, the Saviour exercised his ministry among scorpions.

A woman repudiated for mere dislike, groans beneath a load of wrongs. She went to the altar in innocence, with all the hopes and joys of life. Now her joys wither, her bread fails, her friends recede. The tyranny of men over women in Asia, is extensive and grievous; and the infidels of Europe have made strong efforts to enforce it among christians.

Mark 10:5 . Jesus answered for the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. Moses, in the political law, suffered you to divorce and repudiate your wives; but the marriage in paradise, in which God made the man and his wife one flesh, is the model of all other marriages. No man can repudiate his wife, except for adultery, and that adultery lawfully proved: while, on the contrary, your divorces, for mere dislike, drive people to adultery, and by consequence to perdition. Oh glorious teacher, covered with honour and majesty, while all thine enemies are clothed with shame. What God hath joined, let not man put asunder.

Mark 10:12 . If a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery. This was then the case with Herodias, whom Herod took from Philip. John had said, “it is not lawful for thee to have her;” and this decision was according to the law of Moses. Leviticus 18:16; Leviticus 20:21. The case of incest augmented the sin, but did not interfere with the law of adultery. If Herodias pleaded polygamy against Philip, which might be the case, still it follows, that persons thus separated should continue in a state of continence, which leaves the door open for repentance. In addition to what is related in Matthew 19:0., Mark observes that the Lord spoke those last words in private conversation, being less fit for the public ear. When the disciples heard those expositions of superior morality, they said, if a man’s happiness thus depend on the fidelity of his wife, “it is not good to marry.” Matthew 19:10.

Mark 10:13 . They brought young children to him. It was the method of the holy patriarchs and prophets to bless the children. We have a remarkable instance of this in Jacob’s blessing the two sons of Joseph, who had brought them to his father for that purpose. But Christ is here regarded as the greatest of prophets, and the highest estimation is set on his benedictions. The grace of Christ accompanied the words of Christ, for ordinances are seals of covenant blessings. And if these children received good from the blessing of the Saviour, other children may receive the same good. If they are members of the kingdom of heaven, the initiatory rite of baptism fully belongs to them, as has been the constant practice of the church of God.

Mark 10:17 . There came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? The other evangelists read, what “good thing” shall I do? Matthew 19:16. Luke 18:18. The applicant is understood to be rather young in years, and was a ruler in the city where he lived.

Mark 10:18 . Why callest thou me good? There is none good but one, that is, God. Original sin is the birth-fault of man; the disease for which all the remedies of the gospel are prescribed. Seneca confesses, that every vice is in all men, though every vice in each be not apparent. Omnia in omnibus vitia sunt; sed non in singulis extant. De benefac. 50, 4. c. 7. On this head the christian doctrine taught by the Greek and Latin fathers is, “that men do not sin by imitation, but by real propagation, our will and consent being collocated in the one will of Adam.” TIRINUS.

Mark 10:19 . Thou knowest the commandments. If thou wouldst be perfect, keep them. By asking which, he might think that our Saviour referred to some particular precepts. Jesus said, Do not commit adultery, a prohibition of all impurity. This is named first, because of the great licentiousness of some young men of fortune. Our great Master here stooped to this ruler’s ideas and habits of education, that he might the more successfully illuminate his mind, and gradually lead him to the knowledge of the truth.

Mark 10:20 . All these have I observed from my youth. How many are the barriers against ruin: how many are the advantages of a religious education. Wisdom is more precious than rubies.

Mark 10:21 . Then Jesus beholding his open countenance and ingenuous speech, loved him, and said, one thing thou lackest sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor and take up the cross of reproach and follow me, and be in training for this ministry of the kingdom of God. Peter Valdo of Lyons did this, and became a great minister, and father of the Waldenses. See on Matthew 19:23-26.

Mark 10:25 . It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. See on Matthew 19:24.

Mark 10:28-30 . Lo, we have left all, and followed thee. Small as was the sacrifice, home and parentage are dear to all men. The answer is repeated from chap. Mark 3:34; but was given there when the relatives of Christ wanted to speak with him. The reply here is to Peter, with a promise of a hundredfold reward in this world, and in the world to come life everlasting.

Mark 10:37 . That we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left. The mother, it would seem, had urged this request before. Matthew 20:21.

Mark 10:46 . Blind Bartimeus. There were two blind men, and our Saviour healed one as he went into Jericho, and the other as he went out. In addition to the reflections on the man born blind, John 9:0., which occurred previous to this, I would here add, that seeking to be saved from the blindness and misery of sin, we must address the Lord by his proper title as Messiah and God. And whenever we may be rebuked for our importunity, let us pray so much the more. Jesus still passes by; and Jesus stops, as Luke says; for prayer arrests him in his course. Jesus stops that we may ask whatever we want. Let us have a ready petition, and we shall have as ready an answer. Receive thy sight, said Jesus, and vision opened on the blind; for it was the same voice which once said, Let there be light, and there was light. Then Bartimeus followed, glorifying God, and all the multitude joined him in his praise.


The young ruler asking the way to eternal life, presents an interesting case, recorded in the three first gospels, and no doubt in others, not accounted canonical. From this we may learn

That a religious education is founded on an acquaintance with sacred truth, as milk fit for babes, and stronger meat for riper years. All these, said the ruler, have I “known.” He could also add, as to the letter, all these have I “observed” from my youth. What moral excellence of character, what filial obedience, divine prudence, and unspotted purity. Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee. The elements of sacred knowledge, and the chaste and spotless habits of piety, being invaluable, teach us to cherish due respect for ministers. The young ruler came kneeling; he regarded the Lord Jesus as a Moses, or an Elijah, the prince of prophets. And in return, Jesus loved him, and said, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. Ministers delight in the instruction of youth as the hope of the church, and the joy of a future age.

Religion teaches young people to be free and open with ministers, to ask the way to eternal life: for though the law was full of temporal promises, it had figures of eternal bliss. It says that man should not live by bread alone, but by the word of God, which is incorruptible, and lives and abides for ever. It writes the law on our hearts, and the divine nature lives, like its source, a spiritual life.

Ministers will point out the defects of youth, and show them the way to the kingdom. One thing thou lackest; a clear work of grace, regenerating the heart, and illuminating the life. The synagogue had failed in this duty, but the gospel perfects the saints. Regeneration is the first and great doctrine of the kingdom.

In fine, true religion will cost young people some severe sacrifices, especially in the higher walks of life, to part with sin, and buy the truth. The young man went away sorrowful. Nature shrunk at the cross. Sighs and tears in search of truth, are good frames on retiring from sermons. They that sow in tears shall reap in joy; they find the kingdom at length opened in their hearts.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Mark 10". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/mark-10.html. 1835.
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