Life-Study of Markby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Before we begin to consider 13:1-37, where the Lord Jesus speaks of things to come, I would like to give a further word on chapter twelve.
In 12:35 the Lord Jesus, teaching in the temple, says, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David?” Then the Lord Jesus went on to ask how the Christ could be the son of David when David himself called Him Lord. The Lord’s question concerning Christ silenced the opposers. Verse 37 says, “And the great crowd heard Him gladly.”
As the immediate continuation of 12:35-37, verse 38 says, “And in His teaching He said, Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and like greetings in the marketplaces.” This word, no doubt, is spoken in relation to the fact that, though the scribes supposedly knew the Bible, they knew very little concerning Christ. They knew something of Christ’s humanity; however, they did not know anything at all regarding His deity. Hence, they were devoid of the proper knowledge of the reality of Christ. Because of this shortage, the Lord Jesus warned the people to beware of the scribes.
According to the Lord’s word, the scribes not only liked to walk around in long robes and liked the greetings in marketplaces, but they also liked the chief seats in the synagogues and places of honor at dinners (v. 39). Furthermore, the scribes “devour the widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers” (v. 40). This indicates that the scribes had only an appearance; they did not have reality. The fact that the scribes liked to walk around in long robes indicates that they cared for position, honor, and glory. They also enjoyed receiving the people’s respect and regard. This indicates strongly that they were empty, vain teachers of the Bible, altogether lacking the reality of Christ. In their living there was no reality. Instead, they were seeking position, respect, honor, and glory.
We all need to heed the Lord’s warning regarding the scribes. There is the possibility that even among us in the Lord’s recovery some may be like the scribes in principle. They may have some knowledge of the Bible and the eloquence to speak in a way that attracts others. However, they may not have the reality of the God-man, the One who is both God and man, the all-inclusive Christ as our universal replacement. We should be warned concerning those who lack the inward reality of Christ and yet are seeking position, respect, honor, and glory.
We have seen that in 12:41-44 the Lord Jesus appraised a poor widow in her loyalty. This widow probably did not have much knowledge of the Bible. Nevertheless, she had reality, for her heart was sincere, honest, and faithful to God. There was inward reality in her daily life. This widow is presented in contrast to the scribes with their empty knowledge.
Mark 13:1-37 is usually considered a chapter of prophecy. However, this chapter is not merely a prophecy; it is also part of the Slave-Savior’s preparation for His redemptive service. In 13:1—14:42 the Lord Jesus prepared the disciples for His death. We have seen that in 11:1—12:44 the preparation of the Slave-Savior for His redemptive work included three matters: entering into Jerusalem and lodging in Bethany (11:1-11), cursing the fig tree and cleansing the temple (11:12-26), and being tested and examined (11:27—12:44). This work of preparation involved both the Lord’s followers and His opposers. If we consider chapters eleven and twelve carefully, we shall see that although the opposers had been subdued by the Lord, they had also been speeded up in their efforts to put Him to death. The preparations had been made by the Lord for the opposers to put Him to death at the appointed time, on the day of the Passover.
Although the opposers had been put to silence, they did not cease from their endeavors to put the Lord to death. Actually, they were stirred by the situation to intensify their efforts to kill Him.
With respect to the opposers and the environment, everything had been prepared. The people had been gained by the Lord, and the situation had been subdued by Him. Those who tested and examined Him could not find anything at all wrong with Him. They did not have the legal ground to do anything to Him. Nevertheless, they had been prepared by the Lord’s confrontation with them to do whatever was necessary to kill Him.
In chapters eleven and twelve the Lord thoroughly prepared the environment and the opposers for His death. Then in 13:1—14:42 the Lord no longer paid attention to the opposers, but turned to His disciples and had a private time with them in order to prepare them for His death.
In His preparation for His redemptive work (11:15—14:42), the Slave-Savior, after confronting the opposers (11:15— 12:37), stayed with His followers to prepare them for His death (13:1—14:42)—a shocking and disappointing event for them. He prepared them by telling them the things that would come (13:2-37), by enjoying their love expressed in a feast and being anointed with costly pure nard (14:3-9), by instituting His supper (1 Cor. 11:20) so that they might remember Him (Mark 14:12-26), and by warning them concerning their stumbling and charging them to watch and pray (14:27-42). Immediately after such a preparation He was arrested to be crucified (14:43—15:28).
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