This addition of Mark, is like the addition in Matthew, chapter 28:19-20. This text indicated that Jesus told the 11 apostles (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) that they were to go into the whole world (Πορευθέντες εἰς τὸν κόσμον ἅπαντα). They were to proclaim the good news or preach the gospel (κηρύξατε τὸ εὐαγγέλιον) to all creation (πάσῃ τῇ κτίσει). Obviously, the mission of the early Christians was to preach the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ, to everyone.
There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 20:25, almost word for word, and Luke 22:25, but slightly different. Mark said that Jesus called his 12 apostolic leaders to himself (καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτοὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς) because of this dispute among them. He said to them (λέγει αὐτοῖς) that they knew that among the recognized gentile rulers (Οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ δοκοῦντες ἄρχειν τῶν ἐθνῶν), the Romans and the Greeks, they lorded it over their people (κατακυριεύουσιν αὐτῶν). Their great men acted like tyrants, exercising authority (καὶ οἱ μεγάλοι αὐτῶν κατεξουσιάζουσιν αὐτῶν). Jesus explained that this autocratic power system, sometimes dictatorial, within the Roman Empire system was the way of the world.
This saying about prayer in common is unique to Matthew. Jesus had another solemn pronouncement, “Again truly! I say to you (Πάλιν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν)!” He said that if two of them could agree on earth about anything (ὅτι ἐὰν δύο συμφωνήσωσιν ἐξ ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς περὶ παντὸς πράγματος) they asked for, it would be done for them by his heavenly Father (οὗ ἐὰν αἰτήσωνται, γενήσεται αὐτοῖς παρὰ τοῦ Πατρός μου τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς). Where two or three of them were gathered together (οὗ γάρ εἰσιν δύο ἢ τρεῖς συνηγμένοι) in his name (εἰς τὸ ἐμὸν ὄνομα), Jesus would be there in the middle, among them (ἐκεῖ εἰμι ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῶν). Some groups of Christians exist all over the world today, where 2 or 3 followers of Jesus gather to pray to the heavenly Father.
This saying about temptations and stumbling blocks is unique to Matthew. However, it is a follow up to the preceding verses. The world is cursed (Οὐαὶ τῷ κόσμῳ) because of these stumbling blocks, snares, or temptations (ἀπὸ τῶν σκανδάλων). These snares, stumbling blocks, or temptations are necessarily bound to happen (ἀνάγκη γὰρ ἐλθεῖν τὰ σκάνδαλα,). However cursed is the man or person (, πλὴν οὐαὶ τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ) by whom these stumbling blocks or temptations come (δι’ οὗ τὸ σκάνδαλον ἔρχεται). Temptations and snares are to be cursed. But also, the humans or people who bring these temptations, snares, stumbling blocks should also be cursed.
Only Matthew has this explanation about the parable of the weeds that was earlier in this chapter, 13:24-30. Jesus, via Matthew, went into great detail about this earlier parable, as he explained the field, the good seed, and the weeds. The field was the world (ὁ δὲ ἀγρός ἐστιν ὁ κόσμος). The good seeds were the sons of the kingdom (τὸ δὲ καλὸν σπέρμα, οὗτοί εἰσιν οἱ υἱοὶ τῆς βασιλείας). The weeds were the sons of the evil one (τὰ δὲ ζιζάνιά εἰσιν οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ πονηροῦ). This is the classic battle of good and evil in the world with the sons of the kingdom against the sons of the evil one.
This explanation of the sower parable was about the seeds among the thorns that can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Mark, chapter 4:18-19, and Luke, chapter 8:14, with Matthew closer to Mark. As for the seeds that were sown among the thorns (ὁ δὲ εἰς τὰς ἀκάνθας σπαρείς), these are the ones who heard the word of the kingdom (οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ τὸν λόγον ἀκούων), but the cares and anxiety of this present age (καὶ ἡ μέριμνα τοῦ αἰῶνος), as well as the allure or deceit of material wealth (καὶ ἡ ἀπάτη τοῦ πλούτου), choked or crowded out the word (συμπνίγει τὸν λόγον). Thus, it yielded nothing because it was barren (καὶ ἄκαρπος γίνεται). The thorns were the cares about physical riches that choked off the growth of the seeds or the words of the kingdom. There had to be good circumstances or pre-depositions to hearing and understanding for the word or the seed to be effective.
This saying of Jesus is nearly the same as in Luke, chapter 6:31, indicating a common Q source, except that Luke never mentioned the Law and the prophets. This saying is often known throughout the world as the philosophical golden rule. In everything, whatever you wanted other men to do to you (Πάντα οὖν ὅσα ἐὰν θέλητε ἵνα ποιῶσιν ὑμῖν οἱ ἄνθρωποι), you should do to them the same (οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ποιεῖτε αὐτοῖς). Matthew emphasizes that this already was in the Hebrew scriptures in the Torah, the Law (οὗτος γάρ ἐστιν ὁ νόμος), and among the various Judaic prophets (καὶ οἱ προφῆται). Pure and simple, treat other people the way that you would want to be treated.
This 3rd and final temptation was the 2nd temptation in Luke, chapter 4:5-8. The wording is the same, indicating a shared common source, perhaps Q. This time, the devil took Jesus to an exceeding high mountain (Πάλιν παραλαμβάνει αὐτὸν ὁ διάβολος εἰς ὄρος ὑψηλὸν λίαν). He then showed him all the great kingdoms of the world with all their splendor and glory (καὶ δείκνυσιν αὐτῷ πάσας τὰς βασιλείας τοῦ κόσμου καὶ τὴν δόξαν αὐτῶν). Then he asked Jesus to worship him. If Jesus fell down and worshipped him (ἐὰν πεσὼν προσκυνήσῃς μοι), the devil would then give all these kingdoms with their glory to him (καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ταῦτά σοι πάντα δώσω). Somehow this devil thought that he was in control of all the nations in the world. Perhaps the early followers of Jesus thought that the world outside Jerusalem was under the power of the devil. For many Christians, this seemed like a stupid temptation since God, the Father and his Son, already controlled the world.
Deism sees the transcendent God as starting the world and leaving it alone. This was a common belief in the late 17th and 18th century. God got things started and then left humans alone to take care of things. Some of the American founding fathers had this kind of belief in God.
The Bible is a great book, the “Good Book.” Every time we go back to it, we find new meanings. There is always the sensus plenior, the fuller meaning. The bible texts have more than one meaning. Reading and rereading our favorite passages exposes us to even a greater understanding of life and the world around us. Some stories of the Bible are so interesting, we like to read them more than once.