Mark 13:3
And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
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(3) Over against the temple.—The view which the position commanded, and which St. Mark alone mentions, made all that followed more vivid and impressive. It may well have been at or near the very spot at which, a few days before, He had paused as “He beheld the city and wept over it” (Luke 19:41).

Peter and James and John and Andrew.—The list of names is noticeable (1) as being given by St. Mark only; (2) as the only instance in which the name of Andrew appears in conjunction with the three who were on other occasions within the inner circle of companionship; (3) in the position given to Andrew, though the first called of the disciples (John 1:41), as the last in the list.

Mark 13:3-8. As he sat upon the mount of Olives, over against the temple — As this mountain stood eastward from the city, it must have been the eastern wall of the temple, fronting that mountain, which the disciples desired their Master to look at, and which, being built from the bottom of the valley to a prodigious height with stones of incredible bulk, firmly compacted together, made a very grand appearance at a distance. (Josephus Antiq., Mark 15:14; Bell., Mark 6:6.) And in Mr. Mede’s opinion, this eastern wall was the only part of Solomon’s structure that remained after the Chaldeans burned the temple. Hence the portico, built on the top of it, obtained the name of Solomon’s porch, or portico, John 10:23. Peter, James, &c., asked him privately — When Jesus was come to the mount of Olives, and had taken a seat on some eminence, from whence the temple and a part of the city could be seen, these disciples, while the rest were at a distance on the road, or absent on some occasion or other, drew near to him and inquired privately, when these things should be, and what should be the sign when they should be fulfilled? See notes on Matthew 24:3-8. Many shall come in my name, &c. — Christian writers have always, with great reason, represented Josephus’s History of the Jewish War as the best commentary on this chapter; and many have justly remarked it, as a wonderful instance of the care of Providence for the Christian Church, that he, an eye-witness, and in these things of so great credit, should (especially in such an extraordinary manner) be preserved, to transmit to us a collection of important facts, which so exactly illustrate this noble prophecy in almost every circumstance. Compare Bell., Mark 3:8, al. 14. There shall be famines and troubles — Matthew says, famines and pestilences. Concerning these Josephus writes thus: (Bell., Mark 7:17 :) “Being assembled together from all parts to the feast of unleavened bread, presently and on a sudden they were environed with war. And first of all a plague fell among them, by reason of the straitness of the place, and immediately after a famine worse than it.” Besides, in the progress of the siege, the number of the dead, and the stench arising from their unburied carcasses, must have infected the air, and occasioned pestilence. For Josephus tells us, (Bell., 6. fine,) that there were no fewer than six hundred thousand dead bodies carried out of the city, and suffered to lie unburied. All these are the beginning of sorrows — Greek, ωδινων. The expression properly signifies the pains of child-bearing, which at the beginning are but light in comparison of what they become afterward. Therefore our Lord’s meaning was, that the evils which he mentioned were but small in comparison of those which were yet to fall upon the nation.

13:1-4 See how little Christ values outward pomp, where there is not real purity of heart. He looks with pity upon the ruin of precious souls, and weeps over them, but we do not find him look with pity upon the ruin of a fine house. Let us then be reminded how needful it is for us to have a more lasting abode in heaven, and to be prepared for it by the influences of the Holy Spirit, sought in the earnest use of all the means of grace.On the mount of Olives, over against the temple - The Mount of Olives was directly east of Jerusalem, and from it there was a fine view of the temple. 3. And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, over against the temple—On their way from Jerusalem to Bethany they would cross Mount Olivet; on its summit He seats Himself, over against the temple, having the city all spread out under His eye. How graphically is this set before us by our Evangelist!

Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately—The other Evangelists tell us merely that "the disciples" did so. But Mark not only says that it was four of them, but names them; and they were the first quarternion of the Twelve.

Ver. 3,4. Matthew puts two things more into the question, What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? The best of men have a great curiosity to know futurities, things that shall hereafter come to pass. All the other part of this chapter is spent by our Saviour in an answer to these three questions, according to St. Matthew, or this one question, according to Mark and Luke. Some have attempted curiously to distinguish betwixt the signs intended by our Saviour, as relating to each period. But certainly those interpreters do judge best, that think our Saviour intended to let them know, that the destruction of Jerusalem should be a type of the destruction of the world at the last day, and that the same things should go before the one, and be signs of it, that should go before the other. And whoso readeth the history of Josephus, of what happened before the destruction of Jerusalem, and after this time, will find that there were few or none of these signs, that are here mentioned, but came to pass before the dreadful destruction of that so famous place; yet we must doubtless look for many, if not all, the same things to come to pass before the general destruction of the world in the last day.

And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives,.... On the east of Jerusalem:

over against the temple: where he could have a full view of it; the eastern wall of the temple being lower than the rest; See Gill on Matthew 24:3.

Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, asked him privately; apart from the rest of the disciples, they being, especially the first three, his favourites, and very familiar with him.

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
Mark 13:3. εἰς τὸ ὄρος: implying previous motion towards, before sitting down on the Mount of Olives.—κατέναντι τ. ., opposite the temple, with the admired buildings in full view; this graphic touch in Mk. only.—ἐπηρώτα ([117] [118] [119]), singular: Peter in view as the chief speaker, though accompanied by other three; imperfect, as subordinate to ἤρξατο in Mark 13:5 explaining the occasion of the discourse Jesus then began to deliver.—ὁ Πέτρος, etc.: the well-known three, and a fourth—Andrew; a selection found only here. Were these all the disciples with Jesus, all who went with Him to Bethany in the evenings, the rest remaining in Jerusalem? The two pairs of brothers were the first called to discipleship (Mark 1:16-20). This reminiscence points to internal relations in the disciple-circle imperfectly known to us.—κατʼ ἰδίαν, apart, i.e., from the rest of the disciples. Mt. has the same phrase, though he assumes all the disciples to be present, which is suggestive of literary dependence.

[117] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.

[118] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[119] Codex Regius--eighth century, represents an ancient text, and is often in agreement with א and B.

3. the mount of Olives] Nothing more appears to have been said now, and crossing the valley of the Kidron, the little company ascended the steep footpath that leads over the mount of Olives in the direction of Bethany. When they had reached the summit, He sat down (Matthew 24:3; Mark 13:3)

over against the temple] Notice this minuteness as regards details of place peculiar to the second Evangelist, and see Introduction, p. 19.

Peter and James and John and Andrew] Observe again these minute particulars as to persons, and see Introd. p. 18. These Apostles probably now sat nearest to their Master, and were the most favoured of the apostolic band.

Mark 13:3. Εἰς, upon) The mountain. The wall of the temple was rather sunk towards the Mount of Olives: in consequence of which the interior of the temple could be conveniently seen.—Πέτρος, κ.τ.λ., Peter, etc.) James and Peter were about to die sooner than the rest: and yet the subject of inquiry appertains even to them: yet still more to John.

Verse 3. - And as he sat on the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, Tell us, when shall these things be? St. Matthew and St. Luke only mention his disciples generally. St. Mark, going more into detail, gives the names of those who thus asked him; namely, Peter and James and John, already distinguished, and Andrew, who enjoyed the distinction of having been the first called. These men appear to have been our Lord's inner council; and they asked him (κατ ἰδίαν) privately, or separately, not only from the multitude, but from the rest of the disciples. It was a dangerous thing to speak of the destruction of the temple, or even to inquire about such an event, for fear of the scribes and Pharisees. It was this accusation that led to the stoning of Stephen. It is evident from St. Matthew (Matthew 24:3) that the disciples closely associated together the destruction of the temple and his final coming at the end of the world. They knew from our Lord's words that the destruction of Jerusalem was near at hand, and therefore they thought that the destruction of the world itself, and the day of judgment, were also near at hand. Hence their questions. Mark 13:3Note the particularity of detail in Mark. He adds, over against the temple, and the names of the four who asked the question. With the following discourse compare Matthew 24.
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