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12 But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
Jesus, in reply, said that the whole needed not a physician. Sick persons only needed his aid. A physician would not commonly be found with those that were in health. His proper place was among the sick. So, says he, If you pharisees are such as you think yourselves, already pure and holy, you do not need my aid. I came on purpose to save sinners. My business is with them.
13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice; for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
To reprove them, and to vindicate his own conduct, he appealed to a passage of scripture with which they ought to have been acquainted. I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, Hos. vi. 6. This is a Hebrew mode of speaking, and means, I prefer mercy to sacrifice; or, I am more pleased with acts of benevolence and kindness than with a mere external compliance with the duties of religion. Mercy, here, means benevolence or kindness towards others. Sacrifices were the principal part of the worship of the Jews, and hence came to signify external worship in general, This is the meaning of the word here. The sense in which our Saviour applies it is this: You pharisees are exceedingly tenacious of the external duties of religion. But God has declared that he prefers benevolence or mercy to those outward duties. is proper, therefore, that I should associate with sinners for the purpose of doing them good. “I came not to call the righteous,' &c. No human beings are by nature righteous, Ps. xiv. 3. Rom. iii. 10—18. The pharisees, however, pretended to be righteous. Christ meant to affirm that his proper and only business was to call to repentance such men as he was now with. He came to seek and save such, and it was his proper business, therefore, to associate with them.
14 | Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? 15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bride-chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them ? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.
See also Mark ii. 18-22. Lukev. 33–39. 'John.' That is, of John the baptist. The pharisees fasted often, regularly twice a week, besides the great national days of fasting, Luke xviii. 12
See note, Matt. vi. 16–18. This was the established custom of the land, and John did not feel himself authorized to make so great a change as to dispense with it. His disciples were desirous of knowing, therefore, why Jesus had done it. Besides, it is probable that this question was put to himn when John was in prison; and his disciples involved in deep grief on account of it, observed days of fasting, and wondered that the followers of Jesus did not join with them.
Christ, in reply to them, used three illustrations, all of them going to establish the same thing, that we should observe a fitness and propriety in things. The first is taken from a marriage. The children of the bridechamber--that is, the bridemen, or men who had the special care of the bridal chamber, and whó were therefore his special friends do not think of fasting while he is with them. With them it is a time of festivity and rejoiciwg ; and mourning would not be appropriate. So, says he, John, your friend and teacher, is in captivity. With you it is a time of deep grief, and it is fit that you should fast. I am with my disciples. It is, with them, a time of joy. It is not fit that they should use the tokens of grief, and fast nuw.
16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment; for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.
A second illustration was drawn from a well-known fact, showing also that there was a propriety or fitness of things. None of you, says he, in mending an old garment, would take a piece of entire new cloth. The word here translated 'new' in the original means rude, undressed, or not fulled or cleansed by the clothdresser. In this state, if applied to an old garment, and if wet, it would contract and draw off a part of the garment to which it was attached, and thus make the rent worse than it was. So, says he, my new doctrines do not match with the old rites of the pharisees.
17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles i else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
The third illustration was taken from wine put into bottles. Bottles, in eastern nations, were made, and are so still, of skins of beasis. Generally the skin was taken entire from a sheep or a goat, and, properly prepared, was filled with wine or water. By Tong usage, however, ihey of course became tender, and would be easily rent. New wine, put into them, would ferment, and swell and burst them open. New skins or bottles would be strong enough to hold it from bursting. So, says Christ, there is a fitness or propriety of things. It is not fit that my doctrine
should be attached to, or connected with, the old and corrupt doctrines of the pharisees. New things should be put together, and made to match.
This account of eastern bottles may illustrate the following passages Josh. ix. 4. Job xxxii, 19. Ps. cxix. 83.
18 | While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. 19 And Jesus arose and followed him, and so did his disciples.
The account contained in these verses is recorded, with some additional circumstances, in Markv. 22–43, and Luke viii.41-56. “There came a certain ruler.' Mark and Luke say that his name was Jairus, and that he was a ruler of the synagogue ; that is, one of the elders to whom was committed the care of the synagogue. See note Matt. iv. 23.. 'My daughter is even now dead. Luke says that this was his only daughter, and that she was twelve years of age. Mark and Luke say that she was at the point of death, and that information of her actual death was brought to him by one who was sent from the ruler's house, while Jesus was going. Matthew combined the two facts, and stated the representation which was made to Jesus, without stopping particularly to exhibit the manner in which it was done. The Greek word rendered 'is even now dead,' does not of neces. sity mean that she had actually expired, but only that she was dying or about to die. Compare Gen. xlviii. 21. 1.5, 24. It is likely that a father, in these circumstances, would use a word as nearly expressing actual death as would be consistent with the fact that she was alive. The passage may be expressed thus : My daughter was so sick that she must be, by this time, dead. Come and lay thy hand upon her.' It was customary for the Jewish prophets, in conferring favours, to lay their hand on the person benefited.
20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased of an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: 21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment I shall be whole. 22 But Jesus turned him about; and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort : thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
“Touched the hem of his garment.' This garment was probably the square garment which was thrown over the shoulders. Note Matt. v. 40. This was surrounded by a border, or fringe; and
this fringe, or loose threads hanging down, is what is meant by the hem. The Jews were commanded to wear this in order to distinguish them from other nations. See Num. xv. 38, 39. Deut. xxii. 12.
Mark says that the woman, fearing and trembling, came and told him all the truth. She might have trembled at the prospect that he might rebuke her for presumption. 'Be of good comfort.' Jesus silenced her fears, commended her faith, and sent her away in peace. Her faith, her strong confidence in Jesus, had been the means of her restoration. It was the power of Jesus that cured her; but that power would not have been exerted but in connection with faith. So in the salvation of a sinner. No one is saved who does not believe; but faith is the instrument, and not the power, that saves.
23 And when Jesus came into the ruler's house and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,
Jesus admitted only three of his disciples, Peter, James, and John the brother of James, and the father and mother of the damsel, to go in with him where the corpse lay, Mark v.37-40. It was important that there should be witnesses of the miracle, and he chose a sufficient number. Five witnesses were enough to establish the fact. The witnesses were impartial. The fact that she was dead was established beyond a doubt. Of this the mourners, the parents, the messengers, the people were satisfied. If she was presented to the people alive, the proof of the miracle was complete. He saw the minstrels and the people making a noise.' Minstrels are persons who play on instruments of music. The people of the east used to bewail the dead by cutting the flesh, tearing the hair, and crying bitterly. See Jer, ix. 17; xvi. 6,7. Ezek. xxiv. 17. The expressions of grief at the death of a friend, in eastern countries, are extreme. As soon as a person dies, all the females in the family set up a loud and doleful cry: They continue it as long as they can without taking breath, and the shriek of wailing dies away in a low sob. They hire persons of both sexes, whose employment it is to mourn for the dead in the like frantic manner. See Amos v. 16. Jer. ix. 20. They employ minstrels to aid their grief, and increase the expression of their sorrow. This violent grief continues, commonly, eight days; it is exhibited in the procession to the grave; and the air is rent with the wailings of real and of hired mourners.
The Jews were forbidden to tear their hair and cut their flesh. See Lev. xix. 28. Deut. xiv. 1. They showed their grief by howling, by music, by concealing the chin with their garment, by rending the outer garment, by refusing to wash or anoint themselves, or to converse with people, by scattering ashes or dust in the air, or by lying down in them, 2 Sam. i. 2–4; xiv. 2; xv. 30. Mark xiv. 63.
24 He said unto them, Give place; for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.
“The maid is not dead but sleepeth.' 'Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, John xi. 11. The sacred writers, who held the doctrine of the resurrection, often speak of the dead as sleeping, 2 Peter iii. 4. Acts vii. 60. 1 Cor. xv. 6, 18. 1 Thess. iv. 13-15. The meaning of this passage then, is, the maid has not ceased to exist; but though her body is dead, yet her spirit lives, and she sleeps in hope of the resurrection. Laughed him to scorn.' Derided him, ridiculed him.
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.
“He went in. With the father and mother, and three disciples, Mark v. 37–40. "The maid arose.' She returned to life. There could be no deception here. Parents could not be imposed on in such a case. Nor could such a multitude be deceived. The power of Jesus was undoubtedly manifest as sufficient to raise the dead. If he can restore the body to life, he can also the soul. A word from him can raise up the sinner to life and power, and restore the soul to immortal life, so that it shall never see death.
27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.
Son of David.' By the Son of David the Jews meant the Messiah. He was the son or descendant of David by way of eminence, Isa. ix. 7. Luke i. 32. Matt. i. 1. and Rev. xxii. 16.
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. 32 T 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.