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Blessedness of the Ordinary

June 1st, 2008

“And the common people heard him gladly”

(Mark 12:37)

Mark 12:37 is translated in the American Standard Version (1901)-“And the common people heard him gladly.” Warrant for translating the crowd as “the common people” is based largely upon the use of the definite article, “the,” in the Greek text (W.E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, 213).  Furthermore, the American Standard Version even translates John 12:9-“The common people therefore of the Jews…,” where the article is absent.  While John 12:12 has “the common people” in the margin (ASV).    While not all of the scribes were equally bad (see Mark 12:28,34), the general tendency of their professional religious circle had degenerated into ostentation, avarice, and hypocrisy (C.E. Graham Swift, The New Bible Commentary Revised, ed. Donald Guthrie, 878).  Still, we must not rush to conclude that there were no individuals of upper-class drawn to Christ, both during and after his life (John 3:1; Lk. 1:3; Acts 6:7).  These common people, however, nearly all consented to his death when put under pressure (“and the crowd…”Mark 15:8,11).

The backdrop of the Sermon on the Mount remains a shining moment in the life of Christ when “the crowd” followed him with eagerness and hung on his every word (Matt. 4:25; 5:1).  Jesus was a prophet who pronounced blessing upon the common people; and, he did so in such a way that it is written of his style, “no man ever spoke like this Man!” (John 7:46).

-Robert M. Housby

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