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Galilee. Matt. xvii. part of ver. 14. 16. ver. 17. part of ver. 18, 19. and ver. 21. h Mark ix. 14. 14 h And when they were come to the multitude and saying, Luke ix, 37. '
'16 --and they could not cure him.
17 Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation ! how long shall I be with you ? how long shall I suffer you ? bring him hither to me.
18 And Jesus rebuked the devil ; and he departed out of him
LUKE ix. part of ver. 38. 40, 41, 42.
41 And Jesus angwering said, O faithless and perverse generation ! how long shall I be with you, and suffer you ?
42 -and tare him. And Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, and healed the child
LUKE ix. 43-47.
24 The three apostles had now beheld their God, companion, and friend, the Messiah, in his glorified state; in that form and manner in which he had appeared to the patriarchs and prophets of the ancient time, and in which he will again appear when he shall come again to judge the living and the dead. After this sublime disclosure of his celestial dignity, he continually reminded his disciples, and by that means prepared their minds for the approach of his degrading, cruel, and painful death. The saying was hid from them-it was incomprehensible—they understood it not. For the doctrine of the atonement, although prefigured by the types, and taught in the institutions of the law, and still more clearly revealed by the prophets, was not thoroughly understood, till life and immortality were brouglit to light by the Gospel. This doctrine was to the apostles, as well as to their countrymen, a stumbling block. It was, and it will ever be, foolishness to the Greek, and to all who assimilate to the same speculative, presumptuous, and philosophising character. Human reason must here be submitted to the Gospel. There must be a prostration of the pride of human intellect at the foot of the cross, before men with proper humility can believe in the salvation purchased for them through the atonement of a Divine Being for the sins of man. He who rejects this doctrine, counts the blood of the covenant an unholy thing, and violently separates the bond of love, which unites a fallen man to the mercy of luis Creator.
Mark ix. 31. For
the Son of man shall be
and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed,
he shall rise
of them should be the greatest. Mark ix. 32 And he came to Capernaum.
MATT. xvii. part of ver. 22, 23. 22 And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be-into the hands of men : 23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall
LUKE ix. part of ver. 43, 44, 45. 43 - But-he said unto his disciples, 44 - delivered into the hands of men. 45 But they understood not this saying and they feared to ask him—
Matt. xvii. 24, to the end. Matt. xvii. 24. And when they were come to Capernaum, they capernaum. that * received tribute money came to Peter, and . Called in
the original, said, Doth not your Master pay tribute ?
didrachma, being in value
fifteen pence: 75 It is uncertain whether the tribute demanded of our Lord was the half see Ex. XXX:
Han 13, & xxxviii. shekel for the service of the temple, or the common taxes required by the rulers 26. of the country. Both Lightfoot (a) and Whitby (6) have adopted the former
Capernaum. He saith, Yes. And when he was come into Matt. xvii. 25.
the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What
Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith
Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, Matt, xvii. 27. go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up
the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast *Or, a stater. opened his mouth, thou shalt find * a piece of ounce of sil. money: that take, and give unto them for me and
Matt. xvii. 26.
opinion, which seems to be more consistent with our Lord's reasoning, that he was the son of that King for whose use the tribute was demanded. The conduct of our Lord in this instance affords a striking example to all mankind, quietly to submit to all the laws and customs of their country, which are not hostile to Christianity.
Jones (c) considers this as another significant action, and remarks on it—" I have a notion of my own, for which I can produce no authority of any commentator, that the three orders of animals, the fowls of the air, the beasts of the earth, and the fishes of the sea, represent three states of being; the fowls of the air, the angelic or spiritual nature, both bad and good; the land animals, the present state of man's life ; the fish of the sea, the state of the dead, who are silent and invisible. This may appear strange and visionary to those who have not considered it; but if the distinction is founded on the Scripture, then the fish that first cometh up, is he that first cometh up from the dead, as Christ did, the first fruits of them that slept : and as he rose for our justification, he brought with him our ransom, to be paid for those who have no tribute money of their own to give. With this sense the case was worthy of the divine interposition." I insert this as a curious specimen of Jones' interpretation of Scripture ; it is fanciful, but ingenious.
Dr. Owen (apud Bowyer, p. 103) has justly observed, that the omission of our translators to mark the difference between the didrachma, (ver, 24), and the stater, (ver. 27), has obscured and enervated the whole account. The stater was equal in value to the didrachma, which was equivalent to the half shekel demanded (d) (Exod. xxx. 11-16, and xxxviii. 25-28) for the service of the temple.
(c) Jones's Figurative Language of Scripture. ' (d) See on this subject Elsley in loc., Lightfoot ut supra, and Schoetgen's Remarks on Lightfoot, Horæ Hebraicæ, vol. i. p. 151.
the end. LUKE ix. 47–51.
* The ambitious dispute of the disciples concerning their precedency in the kingdom of heaven, proves that not even the repeated predictions of our Saviour's sufferings and death could banish from the minds of his followers their preconceived ideas respecting the Messiah's kingdom. To correct this prevailing error, our Saviour now resorts to a different mode of undeceiving them. He places a little child before them, assuring them, that unless they were converted, that is, unless they became as unambitious and as humble, as mild, as meek, and as regardless of all temporal power and distinctions, as a little child, they could not even be admitted into the kingdom of heaven. Humility is the characteristic virtue of Christianity; and the highest rewards of heaven are promised to the most humble and meek: “for he that is least among you all, the same shall be
The reason, Michaelis observes on this conversation, why apparent contradictions are unavoidable in the deposition of several eye witnesses to the same transaction, is easy to be assigned. They do not all observe every minute circumstance of the transaction, but some pay particular attention to one circumstance, others, to another; this occasions a variation in their accounts, which it is sometimes difficult to reconcile. This happened likewise to the Evangelists, as I will illustrate by the following instance: St. Matthew, ch. xviii. 1-14, and St. Mark, ch. ix. 33—50, relate the same transaction, but in different points of view, and for that reason appear, at first sight, to contradict each other.
St. Matthew says, “At that time came the disciples to Jesus, and said, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven ?” St. Mark, on the contrary, “He came to Capernaum, and having entered into an house, he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace ; for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest." According to St. Matthew, the disciples themselves lay the subject of their dispute before Jesus, for his decision : but, according to St. Mark, they even refuse to relate the subject of their dispute, though Jesus requested it, because they were conscious to themselves that it would occasion a reproof. The question is, how these accounts are to be reconciled ?
Without entering into the various solutions which have been given by the commentators, I shall only observe, that, as this transaction relates to a matter of dispute among the disciples, it has of course two different sides, and is therefore capable of two different representations. Some of the disciples laid claim to the title of the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, among whom we may probably reckon Peter, with the two sons of Zebedee, James and John. These could hardly expect to escape a reproof, and were undoubtedly ashamed, when questioned as to the subject of their dispute. Other disciples, on the contrary, may be considered as the party attacked, who, without claiming the first rank for
Capernaum. came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the Matt. xviii. 1.
greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
But they held their peace : for by the way they Mark ix. 34.
And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, Luke ix. 47. sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto Mark ix. 35. them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.
themselves, might yet think it unjust to be treated as inferiors, since they all appeared to be equal. The latter had less reason to fear a reproof, since the pure morality of Christ, which teaches that every action must be estimated by the motives which gave it birth, was not then fully understood by his disciples. In their outward behaviour, at least, there was nothing unreasonable; and, without being guilty of a breach of propriety, they might lay their complaints before their Master, and request his decision. It is probable that St. Matthew was of this party, since a man, who was by profession a tax-gatherer, and never particularly distinguished himself among the Apostles, would have hardly supposed that he should become the first in the kingdom of God. He relates the transaction, therefore, as one of that party to which he belonged. St. Mark, on the contrary, who derived information from St. Peter, considers the matter from an opposite point of view. Let us suppose the full state of the case to be as follows.
Some of the disciples, who were of the diffident party, and laid no claim to the first rank, bring the matter before Christ, with the same kind of indignation as was displayed by ten of the Apostles on another occasion, Matt. xx. 24. Christ reserves the decision of the dispute till they were entered into the house, where they were accustomed to meet: he then calls his disciples together, and enquires into the subject of their dispute, to which Peter, James, John, and those in general who had claim to pre-eminence, make no answer. If the transaction was literally as here described, it is by no means impossible that Matthew and Mark might consider it from different points of view, and write what we find in their Gospels, without the least violation of truth. The one relates one part, and the other another part of the transaction ; but neither of them relates the whole. If we read a few verses further in St. Mark's Gospel, we find a circumstance recorded of St. John, which St. Matthew passes over in silence, and from which it appears that St. John was more concerned in this dispute than most of the other disciples. He even ventured, when Christ, with a view of introducing a perfect equality among his disciples, said, “Whoever receiveth one of these children in my name, receiveth me," to doubt of the universality of this position, alleging, that persons of unexceptionable character might appeal to the name of Jesus, and giving an instance of one who had cast out devils in his name, whom the Apostles had rebuked, Mark ix. 37, 38. This again occasioned replies from Christ; which, though they are mentioned by St. Matthew, have in his Gospel a different appearance, and are attended with less perspicuity than they are in St. Mark's Gospel, because St. Matthew has not related the causes which gave them birth.-Marsh's Michaelis, vol. iii. part 1. p. 6-9.