Monday, October 22, 2012

Mark 8:10-11 commentary: tempting him

10 ¶ And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. 11 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him.

“Straightway” means immediately. The Bible uses parallel phrasing to define words. For instance here are two parallel verses that help define straightway; Matthew 4:20, 22.

Matthew 4:20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.

Matthew 4:22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

The Bible also uses word markers to define words. In this situation if you take the word you are unfamiliar with, “straightway”, and look at the words which surround it; “And they-----left”, and then look for the word those words surround in nearby verses you can determine the meaning.

This is done again in the paragraph of Matthew 14:22-33. Simply see that the word used after “straightway” on two occasions within the paragraph is the name “Jesus”. In verse 31 you have the same word progression only with “immediately” in “straightway’s” place.

By using this method in the paragraph of Mark 1:29-39 we can see the definition of “forthwith” and “anon” as well.

As far as Dalmanutha is concerned, in the parallel passage in Matthew 15, they took the ship to the coasts (borders) of Magdala. So Dalmanutha must be a village or location on the edge of Magdala.

The Pharisees just had gotten a sign but now they want to get Him to say something or do something to get Him to do wrong by their rules. The “tempting him” here is clearly tempting for the purpose of trying to get Him to make a mistake in their minds. This difference in tempting or testing someone is a very important concept in the Bible.

“Tempt” means to prove or ensure something works as promised or is true. It is a test.

Psalm 95:9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my work.

Some people who don’t like to think or don’t want to dig into God’s word will view the next two verses as a Bible contradiction;

Genesis 22:1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

However, in the verse in James as well as Jesus’ experience with Satan in Matthew and Luke, chapters 4, it is Satan who tempts or tests man with evil, hopefully expecting to see him fall. God never tempts or tests one of His own with evil or malice. He never wants you to fall. That is not His purpose. That is always Satan’s purpose.

The Pharisees were tempting Jesus in the hope and expectation that He would commit some blasphemy by which they could justify their condemnation of Him. They were doing the work of Satan. One application for these verses might be that if you test or tempt someone with the express purpose and expectation of seeing them fall or do wrong then you are doing the work of Satan.

As an example of the contrast remember how Paul tells Christians in Romans. Chapter 14, not to flaunt their liberty in Christ in front of a weaker brother or sister. We not only don’t want to see someone fall as the world enjoys doing, the proof of which is on every day in the news or in the tabloids, but we don’t even want to put any of our brothers or sisters to the test if there is that danger. Unless, of course, you are keen on doing the work of Satan.

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