תמונות בעמוד

scended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was founded upon a 26 rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and

doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which 27 built his house upon the sand; and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell; and great was the fall of it.


And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, 29 the people were astonished at his doctrine. For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

land is hilly and rocky, and the heavy rains which fall at periodical seasons wash away the earth. The torrents pour down the hills with irresistible violence, carrying away whatever withstands their fury, sweeping before them buildings that are founded upon a sandy and treacherous basis. The winds also, as is common in warm countries, blow with terrible force; still more endangering what is exposed to the rolling floods. The houses too of the poorer classes are of frail construction, being built of mud walls, or bricks dried in the sun, and reeds, and rushes, which render their overthrow still more probable, in the heavy rains and hurricanes incident to that climate, unless they are very securely built upon a solid foundation. Jesus accordingly spoke to his hearers of what was familiar to them, drawing illustrations from their own observation and experience. - Fell not; for it was founded upon a rock. Thus one who has obeyed the instructions of Christ, and built his hopes upon him as the corner stone, will be able to stand, and having done all, and suffered all, still to stand, unshaken by the storms of adversity, calm in death, erect before the throne of God.

26. Heareth, and doeth them not. A large class. Many now hear the Gospel, participate in the security,



[blocks in formation]

28. Ended these sayings. Referring to the whole discourse.. Astonished at his doctrine. At his teaching, both in matter and manner. The original expresses more than astonishment. The truths he enforced, the simplicity, directness, and spiritual power with which he delivered them, seized hold of their hearts, so as to strike them with awe. They felt, to their own wonder, a power within them rising up and paying respect to the power of Jesus. Deep responded unto deep.

29. As having authority, and not


Miracles of Jesus.

WHEN he was come down from the mountain, great multi

as the scribes. Mention is repeatedly made of the surprise and admiration of the people at his teaching, Matt. xxii. 33; Mark i. 22, xi. 18; Luke iv. 32. Nor can we wonder at it, when we consider, on one side, the capacities and wants of human nature, and, on the other, the qualifications of Jesus to speak to it. Men have more in them than they know of. A soul of unlimited powers hungers and thirsts within them. They love to be caught up into the light and glory of great truths and heavenly principles. Such times are memorable. And notwithstanding the degeneracy of the Jews, the formality and petrifaction into which religion had grown, the hypocrisy of the priests, human nature was stronger than Jewish habits. The common people heard Jesus gladly. For he spoke to them as a divine brother. They perceived that he was unlike their Rabbins and Scribes; for they trifled, wasting their time and strength upon puerile ceremonies and vain controversies. But Jesus was grave, and dwelt upon truths that came home to the business and bosom of every The Scribes referred for authority to the ancients. Jesus spoke from an internal authority, and consciousness of the truth of what he said, and of an inspiration and commission from the Deity, that must have clothed his words with a truly celestial power. The wickedness and hypocrisy of many of the Scribes of course undermined all their moral force as teachers of religion. The pure and benevolent spirit of Jesus, his unimpeachable goodness, added a thousand persuasives to his doctrine; and over


flowing, as it must naturally have done, in tone, and gesture, and feature, it impressed the people altogether differently from the cant and coldness of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus was humble, accessible, and noble. They were proud, reserved, and mean. Jesus preached the truth of God. They preached themselves. It is not strange that the people were astonished. No such teacher had ever yet appeared, or was ever again to appear. He spoke to the reason, the conscience, and the heart. He was profound, yet plain; powerful, but gentle. The precepts he gave for human conduct; the motives he addressed to the heart; the connexion he pointed out between the character and the life; the authority with which he urged his doctrines; the fearlessness with which he condemned the hypocritical Scribes and Pharisees; the beautiful light_in which he presented God as a Father, and man as a brother; the views he opened of the purposes of the Creator, and the destiny of man; and the fine illustrations with which he clothed his truths - all bore the fullest evidence to his unrivalled excellence as a spiritual teacher and guide. What further proof can we reasonably demand of his divine mission, or of our personal obligation to obey and follow him as our Master?


1. Was come down. Whilst he was coming down. The mountain. The mountain which he had ascended, Matt. v. 1, and upon which he had delivered the foregoing discourse.

2 tudes followed him. And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying: Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make 3 me clean. And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him,

2-4. Parallel to Mark i. 40-45, and Luke v. 12 - 16.

2. Leper. The leprosy is perhaps the most dreadful disease known in the world. There are several different kinds of it, chiefly distinguished by the different pearances it presents. The skin is the principal seat of the disorder, though it extends finally to every part of the system, and even destroys the bones, and causes the limbs to drop off. The first symptom is a small red spot, but in the progress of the disease it covers the body with white scales, and reduces the patient to an offensive and incurable mass of corruption, almost without the form and visage of man. Some kinds of it are highly infectious, and also hereditary. În general it is not accompanied with great pain, but with numbness, or violent itchings. Persons often live for many years who are afflicted with it, carrying about with them a "body of death." It is almost incurable by human means, and the Jews are said to have reckoned the power of healing it among the gifts of their Messiah. It has prevailed chiefly in the hot oriental countries, but was common in Guadaloupe, in the West Indies, in the 18th century. Some have supposed that swine's flesh was prohibited to the Jews, as tending to produce or aggravate this complaint. Mention of the leprosy is frequently made in the Bible, and specific directions are given by Moses to distinguish it, to exclude its victims from the society of others, or to receive them back after a cure, and to cleanse houses and clothes, that they may not communicate the dreadful contagion. Lev. xiii., xiv. In the countries of

the east, lepers, to this day, live apart from the rest of the people, and in some towns have a quarter of their own, where they dwell and intermarry. They wear a peculiar badge, to warn others not to apapproach them. The unhappy leper in question was severely afflicted, Luke v. 12, and was probably living in solitude in the vicinity of the mountain, when Jesus and the multitude passed by. Luke says "in a city," which may mean in the suburbs or territory of a city. The man may have caught at a distance the words of the Messiah; and encouraged by his kindness and power, and inclined to regard him as at least a prophet, if not the Promised One, on account of his fame and the crowds about him, he comes to salute Jesus at some distance, and beseeches his interposition. - Worshipped him, i. e. did him obeisance, or prostrated himself before him, as was done to persons of great distinction. - Lord. Sir, or Master. Thou canst make me clean. His request is modest and trustful. He doubts not the Saviour's power, he only prays that he may be disposed to exert it to cure him. The leper, according to the laws of Moses, was an unclean person. He therefore naturally speaks of his cure as making him clean, and taking off those social disabilities under which he was suffering.


[ocr errors]

3. Touched him. This act was significant. It implied that there was a connexion between Jesus and the cure of the leper. By the Jewish law, one who touched a leper incurred uncleanness. It was a mark of confidence and a sign of power in Jesus, to touch one infected with this foul disease.


saying I will, be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. And Jesus saith unto him: See thou tell no 4 man; but go thy way, show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.

will, be thou clean. An instance of the sublime, similar to that in Genesis: "Let there be light, and there was light." The loathsome disease retreats before the power of God, exerted by his Son. The Father gives Jesus this control over the worst of maladies. Though he uses the personal pronoun I, it is by no means to be supposed that Jesus possessed in himself the power adequate to a cure. It was the gift of God. John v. 30. The same power of working miracles was bestowed upon Moses, the prophets, and apostles. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed, i. e. the leper was cured. The disease is put in the place of the diseased person. The cure being instantaneous was an evidence of a miracle; for when cured by human means, the disorder would go off by degrees, and not at once.

4. See thou tell no man. Jesus not only cures him, but seeks to profit him yet further by his advice. Various reasons may have combined in this prohibition. Luther suggests, that he did it from humility. It was designed, perhaps, for the moral benefit of the cured; or to secure to him the advantages of the law, and of being pronounced clean by the priests, which, owing to their opposition to Jesus, they might have been unwilling to do, had they known who wrought the cure. He enjoins it on him to go his way, to proceed directly to Jerusalem, and obtain a certificate of his cure, before it was published who was the author of it. Again, if he had gone forth proclaiming the deeds of Jesus, it would tend to arouse the Jews to declare Jesus king, which

they attempted to do repeatedly, and which would excite the jealousy of the Romans, the masters of the country. One or all of these reasons might induce Jesus, upon this and other occasions, to forbid the proclaiming of his miracles by those upon whom they were performed. If the cure of the leprosy was an evidence of Messiahship according to the Jewish belief, there was the more reason at this time for the command of Jesus, as he evidently did not wish to declare himself prematurely, for he would thus have produced such an agitation, both among Jews and Romans, as to arrest his further course of preaching and miracles. Mark, i. 45, relates that the man broke the command of Jesus, who was afterwards obliged on that account to live more retired. Priest, gift. Jesus shows his respect for the foregoing dispensation, though its officers had become degenerate, and verifies his saying, that he came not to destroy the law. How true and beautiful such moderation and dignity of conduct in one so powerful! Reformers may learn a good lesson from their Master. For the health regulations and sacred offerings relative to leprosy, see Lev. xiv. - Testimony unto them, i. e. an evidence to the public that the leper was cleansed. If the priests accepted the of fering, it was proof to the people that the disorder was expelled.

5-13. Parallel to Luke vii. 1-10. The accounts vary in unimportant particulars, as we might suppose they naturally would, coming from independent witnesses. Slight differences and discrepancies, instead of overthrowing, confirm the fidelity

5 And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came 6 unto him a centurion, beseeching him, and saying: Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. 7 And Jesus saith unto him: I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said: Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof; but speak the word only, and


of the narrators, and the truth of the facts.


5. Capernaum. A town on the Sea of Galilee. See note on chap. iv. 13. There came unto him a centurion. This was a Roman officer who commanded one hundred Judea was kept in subjection by troops garrisoned in the principal cities and towns. There was probably a garrison of soldiers at Capernaum, a considerable city on the northwest side of the Sea of Galilee. Luke represents the communications from the centurion to Jesus as made through Jewish friends, whilst Matthew introduces the Roman as preferring his request in his own person. As a man is often described as doing a thing which he accomplishes through the agency of another, for example, building a house which he procures done; so we may, without any violence or wresting of language, suppose that Matthew exhibits the centurion as doing himself what he did in reality by means of his friends. Luke is more minute in his narration. He mentions that the centurion was very much attached to his servant, evincing the benevolence of his feelings even to one of inferior rank. He also describes the elders as strengthening their entreaty by mentioning that he was friendly to the Jews, and had built a synagogue for them, thus manifesting his piety to God.

[merged small][ocr errors]

lowing the dictates of a good heart, loves him, and cares for him as for a child. Lieth sick of the palsy. Luke does not name the malady, but says that he was "ready to die." Matthew says he was "grievously tormented.' Palsy is not usually attended by excessive pain. But Jahn calls the palsy of the New Testament a disease of very wide import, and supposes that this person had the "cramp, which, in oriental countries, is a fearful malady, subjecting the patient to exquisite sufferings, and inducing death in a few days." In the present case, palsy approximated to apoplexy.

7. I will come and heal him. That was his intention, but a change of circumstances rendered it proper to alter it. The strong faith of the centurion made it unnecessary for him to go to the house; for he believed that Jesus could work a miracle at a distance, and thought himself unworthy of receiving him under his own roof.

8. I am not worthy, &c. The Jews avoided intercourse with the Gentiles as unclean. Acts x. 28. The Roman felt, therefore, that his house was undeserving of the honor of having a great prophet enter it. He expresses a deep and genuine humility, the fruit, no doubt, of a tender religious sensibility. How refreshing to find a heathen like him, as it were, a native Christian; a piece of human nature retaining its divine image; a Roman religious; a soldier humane; an officer humble! A bright light shining in a dark place! - Speak the word on

« הקודםהמשך »