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laughed him to scorn. 25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose. 26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land
Or, this fame.
18-26. The miracles of healing mercy performed by our Saviour, an account of which is given in these verses, are also recorded in the Gospels according to Mark (v. 22-43) and Luke (viii. 41-56). with some additional circumstances and particulars. There came a certain ruler. The name of this individual, as we learn from Mark and Luke, was Jairus, and also, that he was a ruler of the synagogue, that is, one of the elders to whom the care of the synagogue was committed. In token of his profound respect and reverence for our Lord, he fell down and worshipped him; and knowing the compassion which glowed in the breast of Jesus, and the power which he possessed, he immediately unburdened his bosom to him, and expressed the errand upon which he had come, saying, “My daughter is even now dead." The expression in Mark and Luke is somewhat different. We read there, that the maiden was at the point of death. The breath of life had not quite departed from her when her father left the house, to solicit the gracious interposition of the divine Physician; and it was not until our Lord, complying with the request of Jairus, was on his way to the house of the latter, that a messenger met him midway, with the information that she had expired. Matthew has combined the two facts, and stated, with elegant brevity, the representation of the case which was given to Jesus, without stopping particularly to specify the manner in which it was given. "A certain ruler," says Matthew, "came and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead." The Greek word rendered even now, does not, as our translation would have it, necessarily mean that she had actually expired, but only that, to all human appearance, she was certainly at the point of death. The parent, in his sore affliction, stating the case to one in whose ability to recall the departing spirit he had confidence, would naturally, in order to urge him to hasten to the spot (for the ruler's faith was not so complete, and enlightened, and strong as that of the centurion), make use of the strongest language-of a phrase as nearly expressive of actual dissolution as was consistent with the fact, that she was still alive, and no more than alive.
As he passed along to the ruler's house, our Lord wrought another miracle, displaying his compassion for the bodies and the souls of men. The afflicted woman, who touched the hem of his garment as he went along, got more than she looked for. She came to be healed of her bodily malady. This great blessing was bestowed upon her, and a far greater one in addition to it-the diseases of her soul were cured. She gave evidence of great faith. Her exalted idea of the majesty of Christ, and deep sense of her own unworthiness, shut up her mouth, and prevented her from venturing to intrude upon the notice of the Saviour by a personal address. She thought it enough, if she could touch the hem of his garment. And it is not difficult to suppose how she would be filled with gratitude and comfort, when Christ, turning round, addressed to her these gracious words, "Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole." Here is a triumph of faith. Her faith was the means of her restoration. It was the power of Jesus that cured her, but that power was exerted in connection with her faith. No one is saved who does not believe. Faith is the instrument, not the power, that saves. Christ's merits are the alone procuring cause of salvation.
But, by this time, Jesus had come to the ruler's house; and when he went into it, he saw "the minstrels and the people making a noise." It may seem strange to us, that in the house of death there should have been such a concourse of musicians and others. It was the way of the nations of the East, and is so still. They bewail the dead by cutting the flesh, tearing the hair, and crying bitterly. They employ minstrels to aid their grief, and increase the expression of their sorrow by mournful music. The Jews were forbidden to tear their hair and cut their flesh; these practices had reference to certain dogmas in the superstitions of heathenism; but they retained the use of music. Our Lord, coming in, said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth; i.e., the maid has not ceased to exist. Though the body be dead, yet the spirit lives. Yea, her body, though dead, shall anon revive, as from a quiet sleep. I, who am the resurrection and the life, shall bring this to pass. And they laughed him to scorn, as some of the Athenians afterwards did Paul, preaching through Christ the resurrection of the dead. Perhaps there were present some of the sect of the Sadducees, who denied the separate existence of the soul and the resurrection of the body. He went in into the chamber, viz, where the dead was laid out for burial. From Mark we learn, that Jesus took with him three of his disciples-Peter, James, and John the brother of James and the father and mother of the damsel. And took her by the hand, and the maid arose. Jesus manifested his power over death and the grave. He who quickened into life the dead body, can also raise up to faith and holiness the soul which is dead in trespasses and sins. A word from Christ can restore the soul to immortal life, so that it shall never see death.
And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, "Thou Son of David, have mercy on us. 28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. 29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. 30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it. 31 'But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.
u Chap. xv. 22, xx. 30, 31; Mark x. 47, 48; Luke xviii. 38. 39.
Chap. viii. 4, xii. 16, xvii. 9; Luke v. 14.
27-31. And when Jesus departed, &c. "Christ is the fountain of light as well as life. By raising the dead, he showed himself to be the same that at first breathed into man the breath of life, by giving sight to the blind, he showed himself to be the same that at first commanded the light to shine out of darkness. At this time, there was a general expectation of Messiah's appearing; these blind men know and proclaim in the streets of Capernaum that he is come, and that this is he; which aggravates the folly and sin of the chief priests and Pharisees who denied and opposed him. Those who, by the providence of God, are deprived of bodily sight, may yet, by the grace of God, have the eyes of their understanding so enlightened, as to discern those great things of God, which are hid from the wise and prudent. Their petition was, Have mercy on us. It was foretold that the Son of David should be merciful. Ps. lxxii. 12, 13. Whatever our necessities and burdens are, we need no more for supply and support, than to share in the mercy of our Lord Jesus. Whether he heal us or not, if he have mercy on us, we have enough. As to the methods of mercy, we may safely and wisely refer ourselves to the wisdom of Christ.
"They followed him crying aloud. He would try their faith, and teach us to continue instant in prayer; always to pray, and not to faint, though the answer do not come presently, yet to wait for it, and to follow providence, even in those steps and outgoings of it which seem to neglect or contradict our prayers. It seemed rude to rush into the house after him, when he desired to retire ; but such is the tenderness of our Lord Jesus, that they were not more bold than welcome.
"When they came to him for mercy, he asked them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? Faith is the great condition of Christ's favours. What we would have him to do for us, we must be fully assured that he is able to do. They followed Christ, and followed him crying; but the great question is, Do ye believe? Nature may work fervency, but it is only grace that can work faith. They had intimated their faith in the office of Christ as Son of David, and in his mercy; but Christ demands likewise a profession of faith in his power. It is good to apply the general assurances of God's power and good will, and the general promises to our particular wants. To believe the power of Christ, is not only to assure ourselves of it, but to commit ourselves to it, and encourage ourselves in it. To this question they answered without hesitation, Yea, Lord. Though he had kept them in suspense, they imputed that to his wisdom, not to his weakness, and were still confident of his ability. Christ touched their eyes. He gives sight to blind souls by operations of his grace accompanying the word, and he puts the cure upon their faith. I know you do believe, and the power you believe in shall be exerted for you. It is a great comfort to true believers, that Jesus Christ knows their faith. Though others do not discern it, though they themselves are ready to question it, it is known to Him. Those who apply to Jesus Christ, shall be dealt with, not according to their fancies, nor according to their profession, but according to their faith. Unbelievers cannot expect to find any favour with God, but true believers may be sure to find all that favour which is offered in the Gospel. Our comforts ebb or flow, according as our faith is stronger or weaker."
32 As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. 33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. 34 But the Pharisees said, "He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.
z See Chap. xii. 22; Luke xi. 14. a Chap. xii. 24; Mark iii. 22, Luke xi. 15.
32-34. Behold they brought him a dumb man. "Here is the healing of a dumb man. His case was very sad. See the malice of Satan against mankind, and in how many ways he shows it! But of the two, better a dumb devil than a blaspheming one. This poor creature they brought to
Christ, who healed not only those that came of themselves in their own faith, but those who were brought to him by their friends in the faith of others. When the devil was cast out, the dumb spake. Christ's cure strikes at the root, and removes the effect by taking away the cause; they open the lips, by breaking Satan's power in the soul. When Christ, by his grace, casts the devil out of the soul, presently the dumb speaks. When Paul was converted, behold, he prays. The Pharisees blasphemed. When they could not gainsay the convincing evidence of these miracles, they fathered them upon the devil, as if they had been wrought by compact and collusion-a suggestion horrid beyond expression. Because the people marvelled, they must say something to diminish the miracle, and this was all they could say. Nothing can convince those who are under the power of pride. They will believe any thing, however false or absurd, rather than the Holy Scriptures; while the reflections they cast on those who are doing good to their fellow-creatures, only show the enmity of their hearts against a holy God."
35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
b Mark vi. 6; Luke xiii. 22. c Chap. iv. 23.
35. The Gospel of the kingdom. That is, the good news of the reign of God, or the good news of the advent and reign of the Messiah. Matt. iii. 2.
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
d Mark vi. 34.
Or, were tired and lay down. e Num. xxvii. 17; 1 Kings xxii. 17; Ezek. xxxiv. 5; Zech. x. 2.
36. Because they fainted. The word used here refers to the weariness and fatigue which results from labour and being burdened. He saw the people burdened with the rites of religion, and the doctrines of the Pharisees; sinking down under their ignorance and traditions, and neglected by those who ought to have been enlightened teachers; scattered and driven out without care and attention. With great beauty he compares them to sheep, wandering without a shepherd. Judea was a land of flocks and herds. The faithful shepherd, by day and night, was with his flock. He defended it, led it to green pastures, and beside the still waters. Without his care they would stray away. They were in danger of wild beasts. They panted in the summer sun, and knew not where were the cooling shade and stream. So, said he, is it with this people. No wonder that the compassionate Redeemer was moved with pity!
37 Then saith he unto his disciples, 'The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
f Luke x. 2; John iv. 35. g 2 Thess. iii. 1.
37, 38. The harvest truly is plenteous, &c. Another beautiful image.-A waving field of golden grain invites many reapers, and demands haste. By the harvest, here, he meant that the multitude of people that flocked to his ministry was great. The people expected the Messiah. They were prepared to receive the Gospel. But the labourers were few. Few were engaged in instructing the multitude. He directed them, therefore, to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth reapers. God is the proprietor of the great harvest of the world, and he only can send men to gather it in.
1. Throughout the greater part of this chapter we find our Lord engaged in healing the bodily diseases, and ministering to the souls of men. He went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. Five instances are specified in this chapter of his exerting his miraculous power. Each of these cases had in it something peculiar from which much may be learned. Taken collectively, they clearly bear evidence, first, to Christ's power; second, to Christ's mercy. His power is divine: not derived and limited, but omnipotent, doing all things in a way that cannot be resisted by any created energy, and yet, according to a most holy and wise law, the will, viz., of Him in whom that power resided, and of whose will, the glorious acts of that power were the manifestation to those among whom they were exercised. Christ is invested with all power and dominion,
universal lordship over all created things. As Mediator, he now exercises it, in the heavenly places where he now reigns, in behalf of his Church, and of every member of it. He exercised it also in his estate of humiliation; asserting dominion over the visible and invisible worlds-the elements of nature the bodies and spirits of men-the devil and his angels. He rebuked the tempests, and the deep was hushed into profound calm. "Be of good cheer, thy sins are forgiven," were his gracious words to many a sufferer, and as they were pronounced, lepers were cleansed-palsied people restored to the bloom and vigour of health-the grave itself was disturbed, and gave up its prey to him who has the keys of death-the devils fell on trembling, and, acknowledging his sovereign might, departed from many they had long time held bound in their chain. What encouragement for poor sinners! Christ came to save the souls of men from eternal perdition. This was his great business. All miraculous healing of their bodily diseases, was in subordination to this,-only so many interludes, as it were, and bye-strokes of his might. In the salvation of the soul his power is completely efficacious, and for this it is mainly exercised. Were men only half so careful of their souls as of their bodies-half so solicitous about the cure of its maladies, as about that even of slight bodily distempers, what a flocking would there be to Jesus-what numbers would continually be knocking at the door of the "Great Physician!" Not only would their confidence in his power constrain them to this, but the knowledge of his mercy would exceedingly encourage them. How would they take courage from his own most precious invitations, and the testimony too, of every one who ever made trial of them, would go to confirm it: for never a one who ever went, was met with a refusal, nay, but with a most cordial and encouraging welcome.
2. The wind bloweth where it listeth. It is so with God's Holy Spirit. The most unlikely (in man's estimation) are often called with the holy calling,' and made most signally instrumental to the advancement of God's glory, and the winning of souls to Christ. David, the shepherd-Saul the persecutor-the poor unlearned fishermen of Galilee-Matthew the publican, are instances of this. A whole library might be filled with instances of it, which have occurred in all ages from the Fall till this hour. "No rank of men is so low, as to be below the condescension of God's choice and grace; none so remote, in the reputed or real iniquity of their station or person, as to be out of the extent and reach of His saving hand. God's choice and calling wipes out the stain of all preceding sin, though the persons themselves do readily acknowledge it on all occasions, as Paul often does. But for others to object to them, after their conversion, either the meanness or the sinfulness of their former lives, were great uncharity and folly; it were to reckon up to men that which God hath blotted out, who alone is interested in the account."
3. Our Lord, answering the disciples of John, teaches that believers are to rejoice. Believers are "to rejoice evermore." This is their duty, and when they cease from rejoicing, and fall into moody and uneasy melancholy, they have fallen from duty. The grounds of their joy and rejoicing are manifold. They have been delivered from the condemnation of the broken law, from the love of sin, and, in a great measure, from its power reigning over them in their mortal bodies. They have been reconciled to God, and made to enjoy his favour. They have peace here. They stand and rejoice in the hope of the glory to be revealed. All the grounds of their joy cannot well be numbered, but may all be summed up in this,--that they are precious in Christ's sight, and the objects of his love. That love is stronger than death, and, in the whole universe, there is nothing that can make separation between that love and the believer's soul. "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom. viii. 35, 7-9. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 1 Thess. v. 16-18.-ED.
1 Christ sendeth out his twelve apostles, enabling them with power to do miracles, 5 giveth them their charge, teacheth them, 16 comforteth them against persecutions: 40 and promiseth a blessing to those that receive them.
AND when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them
power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
a Mark, iii. 13, 14; vi. 7; Luke vi. 13, ix. 1. 1 Or, over.
Ver. 1. And when he had called unto him, &c. Hitherto our Lord had been engaged in instructing his twelve disciples in the doctrines of "the kingdom," and preparing them for that work to which they were called. When God designs any man for some great work, he deals closely with that man's soul, and subjects him to a process of education. The man has his spirit touched by a live coal from off the altar. Divine truth is brought home to him with power and demonstration. He is led by a way he knew not of; his heart is enlarged, and drawn out to the attentive consideration of the leadings of Providence. A secret influence is exerted, and he is led step by step into the path which he has to pursue. The hand of God encompasses him. He may not be able to explain to himself the workings of his own mind-all for a season may to him be dark and uncertain. Then comes a glimmering light as of the dawn, and it grows and waxes betimes into the bright shining of noon. Nothing, perhaps, was farther from the thoughts of the disciples pursuing their humble calling of fishermen upon the sea of Galilee, than that work of being the ambassadors of heaven to which they were called. When Jesus commanded them to follow him, they found they must obey. Without a moment's hesitation they forsook their employment and followed him. They were wrought upon by a powerful influence, which, however it constrained them, did not do so by interfering with, and doing violence to the actings of their own minds, but through the instrumentality of the mind's unfettered operations; leaving them to the exercise of their own free choice. They believed that Jesus was the Messiah, and therefore acknowledged and obeyed him as their master. The hand of God's sovereignty is conspicuous here. The multitudes who heard the words and beheld the miracles of our Lord, had presented to them as striking proofs that he was “the Prophet" who was to come, as the apostles, but how few of them believed? How account for this difference of effect following the same cause? The apostles were chosen vessels. The sovereign grace of the Almighty, who chooses whom he will, can alone explain the difference. Having chosen the twelve, and initiated them into the knowledge of the "mystery of godliness," the Saviour now sends them forth to their proper work; and, by an act of Divine power, furnishes them with the accomplishments necessary to execute the commission he gave them, with power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness, and all manner of diseases,—that it might become apparent to those amongst whom their ministry was to be exercised, that the doctrines they preached, and confirmed by such amazing works, were not of man, but of God. "These men," the people whom they addressed, might naturally exclaim, “in the name, and by the power of Jesus, perform amongst us marvellous works to the healing of the possessed, the palsied, the leprous, the sick, the maimed, works utterly beyond the reach of mere human ability, and possible only to God,-this is but a small part of what they do. These works are done in attestation of the doctrines they preach, which doctrines they declare to be efficacious to the healing of the maladies of the soul. Who can for one moment doubt that these doctrines are what they maintain them to be, and will infallibly prove to us the savour of life unto life, if only we cordially receive them into our hearts, and practise them in our lives?"—ED.
2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alpheus, and Labbeus, whose surname was Thaddeus;
b John i. 42.
2, 3. Now the names of the twelve apostles, &c. The account of the calling of the apostles, with some farther particulars, is also contained in the Gospels according to Mark (iii. 13-18) and Luke (vi. 12-19). In both these Gospels we learn the circumstances of their appointment. They record that it took place upon a mountain; and Luke observes, that it was done previous to our Lord's delivering the sermon on the mount. We there also learn, that the night previous to their appointment was spent by our Lord in prayer. Simon, who is called Peter. Peter means a rock. He was also called Cephas. John i. 42; 1 Cor. i. 12, iii. 22, xv. 5; Gal. ii. 9. This was a SyroChaldaic word, signifying the same as Peter. This name was given probably in reference to the resoluteness and firmness which he was to exhibit in preaching the Gospel. Before the Saviour's death he was rash, impetuous, and unstable. Afterwards, he was firm, zealous, stedfast, and immovable. ¶ James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother. This James was slain by Herod in a persecution. Acts xii. 2. The other James, the son of Alpheus, was stationed at Jerusalem; and was the author of the epistle that bears his name. See Gal. i. 19, ii. 9; Acts xv. 13. He is here called the son of Alpheus, that is, of Cleophas. John xix. 25. Alpheus and Cleophas were but different ways of writing and pronouncing the same name. Lebbeus, called Thaddeus. These