Posts tagged ‘Mark 8:38-9:1’

July 22, 2018

On Mark 8:38-9:1

Mark 8:38 “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
Mark 9:1 And He said to them, “Verily I say unto you, that there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power.

A comment on this passage1 states: Mark pin-points the people that he referred to in this statement, “there be some of them that stand here” from “this generation” which shall not taste of death. This quote eliminates any doubt that Christ addressed any other than those of His generation in His day, when He spoke of the nearness of His return.

While it is irrefutably true that in this passage Christ addressed those of His generation in the days of His humiliation, it wasn’t “when He spoke of the nearness of His return”; rather the text (9:1) plainly refers the nearness to them seeing “the kingdom of God come with power” as it did in their lifetimes, and devastatingly so against apostate Jerusalem with its old covenant temple and economy in 70 AD, ushering in “the new Jerusalem”, the new covenant of the gospel age. The Lord’s preceding statement (8:38) about “when He cometh in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” reasonably refers to His (2nd) coming in the distant future, at the consummation of the kingdom which did indeed come in its power in the then present age.

There is no exegetical nor hermeneutical reason why these two verses must have the same referent just because they appear in succession in the text. As in the parallel passage in Matthew 16:27-28, our Lord exhorts His disciples (and us) to self-denial through persecutions, to receive the reward of eternal life hereafter for standing firmly in the faith in this life till the end. Then He immediately assures His original hearers that the kingdom of His Messianic reign would be manifest before some of them “tasted of death”.

Whosoever shall be ashamed of the Lord Jesus Christ and of His words, the Son of man will likewise be ashamed of in final judgment. No one would dispute that the words Jesus spoke in that adulterous and sinful generation, as recorded in Mark 8:38, are applicable as well to subsequent generations. Indeed, in some parts of the world today, Christians are suffering persecutions and staying faithful to the Lord even unto death.

Note the text leading up to 8:38. The Lord had just rebuked Peter in v.33, saying “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”  Then verses 34-37 record: 34When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whosever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 35For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Whosoever shall refuse to acknowledge and serve Christ here, shall be excluded from His kingdom hereafter. The cross of Christ, that amazing revelation of God’s power and wisdom, is to this day a stumbling block to some, and foolishness to others; and the consequences of faith in the Lord of the gospel or lack thereof are eternal and irrevocable, pronounced on the final day of judgement at His 2nd coming, which will indeed be a personal, bodily return, cf. Acts 1:6-11. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:24-26).

It follows from the context of Mark’s account that v. 8:38 is referring to that final coming of Christ, “in the glory of His Father”, to deliver the consummated kingdom to Him, and judge everyone who ever lived according to their deeds, coincident with the general resurrection of all the dead. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil (2 Corinthians 5:10).

In the next verse (9:1), for encouragement, Jesus assured them that though He must suffer many things, and though His kingdom was then obscure and despised, it would come to be established in great power, as indeed it was, with His resurrection, ascension to the right hand of the Majesty in heaven, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, and the vindication of His divine Lordship via the revelation of His “coming on the clouds” in 70 AD, in vengeance against apostate old covenant Israel, ending the Mosaic sacrificial economy forever, having given Himself as the once-for-all sacrifice — the Lamb of God!

Jesus’ teaching is to count the cost of faithfully serving Him under the tribulations of the world, in light of the eternal judgment awaiting all men. He also (“And He said to them”) taught that His millennial reign was indeed at hand.

Presumptuously absorbing verse 8:38 in with the temporal reference of verse 9:1, while ignoring the context set by verses 8:34-37, is problematical for receiving the correct counsel and enduring application of the passage.

While Mark 9:1 undeniably refers to the kingdom of God coming with power, i.e. the outworking of its 1st century inauguration, within the lifetimes of some of them that stood there then; there is no need of referring the preceding verse (8:38) to the same near-term prophecy. Moreover the preceding context sets the reference to the consummation of the kingdom at the end of time. Thus the Lord Jesus Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, imparted to His original hearers prophecy for both the end time (not yet; still in our future) as well as for the then present generation (already fulfilled in our past).

Having covered Matthew 16:27-28 in a previous post, and Mark 8:38-9:1 in this post, for the parallel passage in Luke’s gospel (Luke 9:26-27), herewith is an excerpt from Matthew Henry’s commentary:

“We must… never be ashamed of Christ and His gospel, nor of any disgrace or reproach that we may undergo for our faithful adherence to Him and it, Luke_9:26. For whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, and justly. When the service and honour of Christ called for his testimony and agency, he denied them, because the interest of Christ was a despised interest, and everywhere spoken against; and therefore he can expect no other than that in the great day, when his case calls for Christ’s appearance on his behalf, Christ will be ashamed to own such a cowardly, worldly, sneaking spirit, and will say, “He is none of mine; he belongs not to Me.” As Christ had a state of humiliation and of exaltation, so likewise has His cause. They, and they only, that are willing to suffer with it when it suffers, shall reign with it when it reigns; but those that cannot find in their hearts to share with it in its disgrace, …shall certainly have no share with it in its triumphs.

Observe here, How Christ, to support Himself and His followers under present disgraces, speaks magnificently of the lustre of His second coming, in prospect of which He endured the cross, despising the shame.

(1.) He shall come in His own glory. This was not mentioned in Matthew and Mark. He shall come in the glory of the Mediator, all the glory which the Father restored to him, which He had with God before the worlds were, which He had deposited and put in pledge, as it were, for the accomplishing of His undertaking, and demanded again when He had gone through it. Now, O Father, glorify thou Me, John_17:4, 5. He shall come in all that glory which the Father conferred upon Him when He set Him at His own right hand, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church; in all the glory that is due to Him as the assertor of the glory of God, and the author of the glory of all the saints. This is His own glory.

(2.) He shall come in His Father’s glory. The Father will judge the world by Him, having committed all judgment to Him; and therefore will publicly own Him in the judgment as the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person.

(3.) He shall come in the glory of the holy angels. They shall all attend Him, and minister to Him, and add every thing they can to the lustre of His appearance. What a figure will the blessed Jesus make in that day! Did we believe it, we should never be ashamed of Him or His words now.

Lastly, to encourage them in suffering for Him, He assures them that the kingdom of God would now shortly be set up, notwithstanding the great opposition that was made to it, Luke_9:27. “Though the second coming of the Son of man is at a great distance, the kingdom of God shall come in its power in the present age, while some here present are alive.” They saw the kingdom of God when the Spirit was poured out, when the gospel was preached to all the world and nations were brought to Christ by it; they saw the kingdom of God triumph over the Gentile nations in their conversion, and over the Jewish nation in its destruction.2

1source: preteristarchive.com

2Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible. Pub. 1708-1714; public domain.

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