to the gospel according to
Isaiah 49:5, 6.
My God shall be my strength. And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
The. Prophet Isaiah foretells in a clear prophecy the calling of the Gentiles, and the cause of their salvation, saying, My God shall be my strength. And he said, &c.
Jerome. (Comm. in Esa.) In which words, it is shewn that Christ is called a servant, because He is formed from the womb. For, before these words it is said: Thus saith the Lord, that formed me from the womb to be his servant. It had indeed been the will of the Father, that the wicked tillers of the vineyard should receive the Son whom He had sent; wherefore Christ says of them to His disciples, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Mat. 10:5, 6) Because then Israel was not brought back to God, for that reason the Son of God speaks to the unbelieving Jews, saying, My God shall be my strength, who also has consoled me on the casting away of my people. And he hath said to me, It is a small thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, which have fallen by their own wickedness, and to restore the preserved, or remnant of Israel. For instead of them, I have given thee for a light to all the Gentiles, that thou shouldest illuminate the whole world, and shouldest cause my salvation, by which men are saved, to reach to the ends of the world.
Gloss. (non occ.) From the words then, which have been quoted, we can infer two things; first, the divine virtue which was in Christ, by which He was able to lighten the Gentiles; for it is said, My God shall be my strength. (2 Cor. 5:19) God therefore was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, as the Apostle says to the Corinthians; whence also the Gospel, by which believers are saved, is the power of God unto salvation, to every one who believeth, (Rom. 1:16) as the same Apostle says to the Romans. The second thing is, the enlightening of the Gentiles, and the salvation of the world, fulfilled by Christ, according to the will of the Father; for it is said, I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles. Wherefore the Lord after His resurrection, that He might fulfil the will of the Father, sent His disciples to preach, saying, Go ye, and teach all nations; some He sent to the Jews, some received the ministry of preaching to the Gentiles. But because it was right that the Gospel should not only be preached for those who then lived, but also be written for those who were to come, the same distinction is observed in the writers of the Gospel. For Matthew wrote the Gospel to the Jews in Hebrew, and Mark was the first to write a Gospel amongst the Gentiles.
Eusebius. (Hist. Eccles. 2.15) For when the glorious light of the word of God had arisen over the city of Rome, the doctrine of truth and of light, which Peter was then preaching to them, so shone upon the minds of all, by their patience in listening, that they heard him daily without ever being weary. Whence also they were not content with hearing only, but they earnestly beg of Mark his disciple, to commit to writing those things which he preached by word of mouth, that they might have a perpetual memorial of them, and might continue both at home and abroad in meditations of this sort upon the word. And they did not leave off their importunities, till they obtained what they had requested. This then was the cause of the writing of the Gospel of Mark. But Peter, when by the Holy Ghost he discovered the pious theft which had been put upon him, was filled with joy, for he saw by this, their faith and devotion; and he gave his sanction to what was done, and handed down the writing to the Churches, to be read for ever.
Pseudo-Jerome. (sup. Marc. in Præfat.) He begins at once with the announcement of the more perfect age of Christ, nor does he spend his labour on the birth of Christ as a little child, for he speaks of his perfection as the Son of God.
Chrysostom. (Hom. iv. in Matt) But he makes a compendious and brief beginning, in which he has imitated his master Peter, who was a lover of brevity.
Augustine. (de Cons. Evan. i. 3) Matthew, who had undertaken to relate what concerned the kingly person of Christ, had Mark assigned to him for a companion and an abbreviator, who was to attend upon his steps. For it belongs to kings not to be without a train of attendants. Since again the priest used to enter alone into the Holy of Holies, Luke, whose design had regard to the priesthood of Christ, had no companion to follow his steps, and in a manner to abbreviate his narration.
Bede. (in Marc. i. 1) It is also to be observed, that the holy Evangelists have each fixed upon a different commencement for their narration, and each a different ending. For Matthew, setting out from the beginning of the preaching of the Gospel, has carried on the thread of his narrative up to the time of our Lord’s resurrection. Mark, beginning with the first preaching of the Gospel, goes on to the ascension of the Lord, and the preaching of His disciples to all nations throughout the world. But Luke, commencing with the birth of the Forerunner, has ended with our Lord’s ascension. John, taking his beginning from the eternity of the Word of God, reaches in his Gospel up to the time of the Lord’s resurrection.
Ambrose. (in Luc. in Præfat. v. vol. i. p. viii.) Because then Mark began with expressing the divine power, he is rightly represented under the figure of a lion.
Remigius. Mark is signified by the lion; for as a lion sends forth his dreadful voice in the wilderness, so Mark begins with the voice in the wilderness, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness.
Augustine. (de Cons. Evan. i. 6) Although the figure might also be otherwise interpreted. For Mark did not wish to relate either his kingly race, as Matthew did, who for this is figured by a lion, or his priestly kindred, or consecration, as Luke, figured by a calf; yet he is shewn to have had for his subject the things which the man Christ did, and therefore appears to be signified by the figure of a man, in the four animals.
Theophylact. (in Marc. in Præfat.) Or, the eagle points out the Gospel according to Mark, for it begins with the prophecy of John; for prophecy views with acuteness things which are afar, as an eagle.