« AnteriorContinuar »
J. P.4740. 47 When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judæa
. into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he
Cana, in Ga. lilee.
Harmony, p. 9.) the same opinion which has induced me to adopt this deviation. To use his own words : “ Matt. iv. 17. and Mark i. 14, 15. refer to a more solemn and general teaching after John's imprisonment by Herod, and Jesus's departure into Galilee ; and to a teaching according to the tenor of particular words. Though in Judea and Jerusalem, Jesus shewed his divine knowledge, taught, made disciples, and ordered his followers to be initiated by baptism, wrought miracles, and, when he had purged the temple, intimated, among other important truths, that he was the Son of God: yet still he might, with great wisdom, chuse a more remote scene for preaching publicly and plainly the completion of the time for the approach of God's kingdom, and repentance followed by belief in the Gospel.” He might have added, that his first declaration of his Messiahship to the woman of Samaria, in his way to Galilee, may be considered as a kind of prelude to his more solemn teaching: and, as it happened on his way to Galilee, the detached verses which so briefly relate the ministry in Galilee, may very properly be prefixed to the account of that ministry.
On consulting the map of Galilee, it will be seen that our Lord's direct road from Samaria to Cana in Galilee, would be through Nazareth. He is supposed, however, by Archbishop Newcome, to have gone by another route, in order to avoid that city for the present, that he might work his first public miracle at the same place where he had primarily manifested himself to the people. He then proceeds, as in the next section, to Nazareth, thence to Capernaum, where he continued for some time, teaching in their synagogues. He calls four disciples, cures a demoniac, and Peter's wife's mother. He then proceeds throughout Galilee, heals a leper and a paralytic, calls St. Matthew, and goes up to Jerusalem to a feast, most probably not a Passover.
Archbishop Newcome supposes the distance between Sichem, the capital of Samaria, and Cana, in Galilee, to be forty miles ; between Cana and Nazareth, ten ; between Nazareth and Capernaum, twenty-three; between Capernaum and Jerusalem, sixty-five.
It is a very probable supposition of Lightfoot, that the word rendered in our translation " a certain nobleman,” (ris badilikòs,) but which ought rather to be translated with the Syriac, xaba nay, “one of the king's servants," denoted one of those who took part with Herod the Great, and who was now a follower of his son, Herod the Tetrarch, Lightfoot supposes that the preaching of John the Baptist had produced some effect at the court of Herod, and that many of the courtiers were consequently acquainted with the mission of our Lord; and that the nobleman who now sent to Christ, that his son might be healed, was Manaan, (Acts xiii. 1.) who had been brought up with Herod ; or Chuza, (Luke viji. 3.) Herod's steward, both of whom were among the earliest converts.
This miracle was greater than the first which had taken place at Cana, and demonstrated a higher degree of power. Our Lord by it shewed that he possessed a power superior to that which had been claimed or exercised by any merely human prophet, or teacher sent from God. It is true that the degree of supernatural agency seems to be equal in one miracle to that of another: but in this
would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point J. P. 4740. of death.
48 Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and Cana, in Ga. wonders, ye will not believe.
lilee. 49 The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.
50 Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way.
51 And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Thy son liveth.
52 Then inquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.
53 So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth : and himself believed, and his whole house.
54 This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judæa into Galilee.
and his danger there 12.
LUKE iv. 16–31. 16 And he came to k Nazareth, where he had been Nazareth. brought up: and, as his custom was 13, he went into the 51."
no 13 hand intahk Matt. xili.
instance the divine attribute of ubiquity was evidently manifested. Capernaum was distant from Cana about twenty-five miles.
12 This visit to Nazareth was certainly different from that mentioned below. It was before our Saviour went to Capernaum, Luke iv. 16-31. Matt. iv, 13. The other took place after the recovery of Jairus's daughter, when he left that city. Compare Mark vi. 1. kai EXO ev Škeilev, i.e. from Capernaum, with Matt. iv. 13. Luke iv. 31.
13 Lightfoot supposes the words, “ as his custom was," refer to the usual attendance of our Lord on the public service, when our Lord lived at Nazareth as a private individual. He now enters the synagogue as an acknowledged Prophet, and, as a member of it, joins in the service, and reads publicly there, which only members were allowed to do. Hence we find that this is the only place on record where our Saviour read publicly, although he preached in every synagogue where he came. It is not to be supposed that the public worship at that time was less corrupt than ours of the present period nor that the conduct of the Jewish teachers was irreproachable; we have, indeed, a lamentable instance to the contrary, v. 29. yet we find that our blessed Saviour did not sepa
J. P. 47-40. synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read 14.
found the place where it was written 15,
rate himself, as too many have since done, and continue to do, on this account, from the appointed public worship, although there was much to be condemned in it.
Our Lord's example also sanctions to us the use in all Churches of forms of prayer, or Liturgies, the public reading of the Scriptures. Christ complied with human forms, and joined in liturgical services :-are we wrong in following the example of our blessed Redeemer ?
14 It may be asked here, by what authority Christ was permitted to teach and preach in the synagogue ? The tribe of Levi alone possessed the priesthood, attended the service of the temple, and was appointed to teach the people, as well as to superintend the schools or universities in their forty-eight cities, Josh. xxi. Deut. xxxii. 10. Malachi ii. 7. Yet it sometimes happened that men of other tribes studied the law, and became preachers, as well as the priests and Levites. They were ordained, when qualified, by the Sanhedrim to that office, they were ordained to some particular employment in the public administration, and they might not go beyond the power they had received, or intrude upon the ministry of another. The Jews also had a law, that if any man came in the spirit of a prophet, and assumed the office of a teacher on that ground, he was always permitted to preach; but the Sanhedrim was constituted the judge of his pretensions; and he who was declared by them to be no prophet, and yet continued to preach, did so at his peril. It was probably on this claim, in the manner and office of a prophet, that our Saviour obtained permission to address the people of Nazareth. Vide Lightfoot, vol. i. p. 614.
15 It was the custom among the Jews to divide the law into fifty-two or fiftyfour portions for every Sunday in the year. When this was prohibited by Antiochus, a similar distribution of the prophets was substituted. The passage from Isaiah, read by our Lord, is the part of the sacred writings appointed to be used about the end of August; and Macknight, with other harmonists, have therefore concluded that this circumstance fixes the date of the event recorded (a).
The prophetical books were divided into five parts, to correspond with the five divisions of the law. We may consider Genesis as corresponding with IsaiahExodus with Jeremiah-Leviticus with Ezekiel, &c. &c. the twelve minor prophets were held as one volume, or quintane.
It is of little consequence whether the portion of Scripture our Saviour fixed upon, was, or was not, the proper lesson of the day : for, in reading of the prophets it was customary for anon, or reader, to turn from passage to passage, for the better illustration of his subject ; and in the twelve minor prophets bę was permitted to refer from one to another-but, in all probability, (see v. 20.) Christ was standing up as a member of the synagogue, appointed by the minister of the congregation the reader of the prophets, or the second lesson of that day, according to an established custom. On these occasions the minister called
(a) Lamy's Jewish Calendar, App. bibl. b. i. c. iv. p. 115. 4to.
18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath J. P. 4740.
V. Æ. 27. the reader out, and delivered to him the book of the prophets; he himself Nazareth. standing at the desk with an interpreter at his side, to render into Syriac all 1 Isaiah lxi. 1. that was read. “When Christ had finished he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister,” v. 20. He did all these things according to the established order of the Jewish Church (6).
It is to be remarked here, that our Saviour closed the book before he came to that part of the prophecy where he is represented as declaring the day of vengeance. This applied to events of a subsequent date: whereas he confined himself to those words only, which the Jews referred more immediately to the Messiah, and applying them to himself, openly declared, in the presence of all his early acquaintances, that he who had so long lived among them as their equal and their companion, was the predicted Messiah, the expected Saviour of the Jewish nation. He asserts, that his public ministry had begun; that the Spirit of the Lord had descended upon him to preach the Gospel to the meek and to the humble, O'rgy; to heal the broken-hearted ; to preach deliverance to the captives, whether Jew or Gentile; the recovering of sight, or opening the eyes of the blind (c) and idolatrous Gentiles. So far this prediction was taken from Isaiah Ixi. 1, 2; but the remainder is to be found in Isaiah xlii. 7. The first verse of Isaiah lxi. ends with the words mponpb 0710x), to those which are bound the opening of the prison. The verse inserted from Isaiah xlii. 7, begins with the last word of the verse, and seems quoted by our Lord either from association of ideas, or by actual reference to the passage, Daynpes, &c. &c. to open the blind eyes. This solution of the difficulty, which is agreeable to the established custom of the synagogue, which allowed the privilege of illustration from another passage of the same prophet, appears much preferable to that of Michaelis (d).
Having thus asserted himself to be the Messiah, our Lord observed the wonder and astonishment excited by his words; and, knowing the prejudices he had to overcome, as well as the inveterate obstinacy of his hearers, he declined giving them any other proof of his divine mission than that which had been already offered them, at the town of Capernaum.
We have here an account of our Saviour's preaching for the first time in his own city of Nazareth. He asserts himself to be the Messiah; he then declines working a miracle, though he had done so elsewhere. What was the cause of this refusal ?
Our Lord's conduct on this occasion appears to me to afford one of the most powerful evidences of the truth of his lofty claims, and a most striking instance of that part of the plan of the divine government, which denies to man more evidences in support of any truth than are sufficient to satisfy an unbiassed mind. As the commentators have not alluded to this idea, I give it with diffidence; but to me it appears satisfactory. Our Lord had lived at Nazareth nearly thirty years. At the end of that time he commenced his office with supernatural evidences that his mission was from above. He worked miracles, to demonstrate this truth, in places where he was less known than at Nazareth, and between which and the latter city there must have been a constant communication. The
(6) Lightfoot's works, vol. i. p. 615. (c) So the Chaldee paraphrase, ap Lightfoot, 91773'1sanx, revealing to the light. (d) Marsh's Michaelis, vol. i. p. 224,
J. P. 4740. anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor 16; he hath V. Æ. 27. sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to be the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at
liberty them that are bruised,
19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.
22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?
23 And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself 17: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.
people of Nazareth had known him from infancy, pure, holy, and undefiled ; a man, like other men, sin only excepted. They had heard of his miracles; they knew, from the testimony of others, that he had given undeniable proofs of his power; and he now came among them to announce himself as their Messiah, appealing to them by the purity and holiness of his life, and by applying to him. self, and fulfilling in his own person, the predictions of their prophets. He asserted himself to be the Messiah, and required them to believe, on account of their previous knowledge of his motives, life, and conduct, and by the power they acknowledged he possessed of working miracles. Nothing can more strongly demonstrate the unimpeached and unimpeachable holiness of the Son of God, than his thus presenting himself to the attention of his envious and jealous townsmen; and by boldly asserting his Messiahship, challenging them to accuse him of sin, or of any evil, which might derogate from the necessary and entire supériority implied in his holy and lofty claim.
16 That the Jews applied this passage, Isaiah lxi. 1. and 42. to the Messiah, see the quotations in Whitby in loc., Schoetgen, vol. ii. p. 68 and p. 192, where Kimchi is quoted, as referring the words to the Messiah ; also p. 3, &c. where, in the chapter de nominibus Messiæ, the subject is fully discussed (a). The Greek original of this passage hints at the reason for which our Lord was called Christ, and his doctrine the Gospel, éveka 'EXPIXE ue 'EYATTEAIZE38AI Toxois, &c. &c. · 17 Dan. Heinsius in loc. in his Exercitationes Sacræ, a book of great learning, now too much neglected, has made an Iambic line of this proverb:
θεράπευσον ώ ιατρε την σαυτέ νόσον. • Lightfoot has rendered it in the Jerusalem language 70' 'DX **Dx, and quotes the original proverb from Bereschith Rabba, sect. 23, and Tanchuma, fol. 4. 2. 90737 DX X*DR.--Lightfoot's Works, vol. ii. p. 408.
Dr. Gill in loc. quotes another of the same kind from Zohar in Exod. fol. 31. 2.
(a) See on the subject of this note Lightfoot, third part of the Harmony of the Evangelists, vol. i. works, folio.