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signifying to choose, to desire, to be inclined. See John iii. 8. They had done to John as they pleased; that is, they had put him to death.

Mark adds, ix. 12. that Jesus told them that it was written of the Son of man that he must suffer many things, and be set at naught. This was written of him particularly in the liii. chapter of Isaiah. No prophecy was ever more strikingly fulfilled. See Luke xxiii. П1.


And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man kneeling down to him, and saying,

This narrative, with some additions, is found in Mark ix. 1429, and Luke ix. 37-43. This took place on the day following the transfiguration, Luke ix. 37. With them, as Mark, ix. 15, informs us, were scribes questioning with them. That is, they were professedly making inquiries about the Saviour, but really attempting to introduce their own sentiments, and to draw them off from him, intending to insinuate that such a person could not be the Christ. The multitude, seeing Jesus coming down, left the scribes, and ran to meet him, (Mark.) They were amazed, probably because they had not expected to see him there. In their joy at meeting him in this unexpected manner, they saluted him, (Mark.) That is, they prostrated themselves before him, after the manner of salutation in eastern countries. See note, Luke x. 4. Jesus seeing the scribes and their artful design, reproved them, by asking them why they questioned thus with his disciples, Mark ix. 16. Conscious of their guilt, and their base purpose, they returned no answer.

15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed, for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.

The word Lord,' here, means, sir, a title of civility, not implying divinity. This was an only son, (Luke.) He was possessed with a devil. This calamity was attended with the following symptoms: he was lunatic, see note, Matt. iv. 24; he was 6 sore vexed,' that is, he suffered greatly, or was greatly afflicted; he fell often suddenly, in the manner of persons having epileptic fits; he was dumb, that is, he was dumb, except when the fit was coming on him; for Luke says, that when the spirit took him, he cried suddenly out; he foamed and gnashed with his teeth, and wasted away, or became poor and emaciated. It tore him, (Luke,) and scarcely departed from him, or he had only short intervals of reason.

16 And I brought him to thy disciples, 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.

'Perverse' means that which is twisted or turned from the proper direction. Applied to a 'generation,' or race of men, it means that they held opinions turned or perverted from the truth, and were wicked in their conduct. He applied this probably chiefly to the Jews, and not to his real disciples. How long shall suffer you? That is, how long shall I bear with you? This was not an expression of impatience or complaint, so much as a reproof that they were so slow to believe that he was the Messiah, notwithstanding his miracles, and that even his disciples so slowly learned to put the proper trust in him. Mark adds, ix. 20-22, that when he that was possessed was brought, the spirit, by a last desperate struggle, threw him down, and tore him, and left him apparently dead. He adds, further, that the case had existed during the whole life of his son, from a child. This was a case of uncommon obstinacy. The affliction was fixed and lasting. The disciples, seeing this, despaired of being able to cure him: lacked the faith which was necessary; doubted whether they could cure him, and therefore could not. Jesus said to the father, Mark ix. 23, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. Not that his faith would give Jesus the power to heal him, but would render it proper that he should exert that power in his favour. In this way, and in this only, are all things possible to believers. The father came, as a father should do, weeping, and praying that his faith might be increased so as to make it proper that Jesus should interpose in his behalf, and save his child. 'Help my unbelief,' Mark ix. 24. This was an expression of humility. If my faith is defective, sup ply what is lacking. Help me to overcome my unbelief. Let not the defect of my faith be in the way of this blessing.

18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

And Jesus rebuked the devil.' Mark, ix. 25, has recorded the words which he used: words implying reproof and command: 'Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee come out of him, and enter no more into him. And the spirit cried, and with a mighty convulsion came out, leaving him apparently dead.

19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?

This inquiry was made in some house to which they retired near the place where the miracle was performed, (Mark.) Jesus told them, in reply, that it was because of their unbelief that they


had not been able to cast him out. Their faith would not have made it more easy for God to work this miracle, but such was his will; such the way in which he worked miracles, that he required faith in those who were the instruments.

20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief. for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

'As a grain of mustard seed.' See note, Matt. xiii. 31, 32. The mustard seed was the smallest of all seeds, but produced the largest of all herbs. The meaning is, if you have increasing, enlarged faith, growing and strengthening from small beginnings, you can perform the most difficult undertaking. There is a principle of vitality in the grain of seed tending to great results, which illustrates the nature of faith. 'Ye shall say unto this mountain,' &c. If they had such faith, they might accomplish the most difficult undertakings-things that at first would appear impossible.

21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

'This kind' means this kind of devils; this species of possession. Where they have had long possession; where they produce such painful, and fixed, and alarming effects. Goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.' That is, in order to work miracles of this kind, to cast out devils in cases so obstinate and dreadful as this, faith of the highest kind is necessary. That faith is produced and kept vigorous by much prayer, and by such abstinence from food as fits the mind for the highest exercises of religion, and leaves it free to hold communion with God.

22 ¶ And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men ·

See also Mark ix. 30-33. Luke ix. 43-45. To betray, means to deliver up in a treacherous manner. This was done by Judas Iscariot, called on that account the traitor, Matt. xxvi. 1416, 47-50.

23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

See Matt. xii. 40. Mark and Luke add, that they understood not that saying, and it was hid from them, and they were afraid to ask him. They were strongly attached to him, and were exceedingly sorry (Matthew) at any intimation that he was soon to

leave them. They were not willing to believe it. To be betrayed into the hands of his enemies, and put to death, appeared to them to be frustrating all their expectations. Though what he said was plain enough, yet they could not see how he could be the Messiah, and yet be put to death in this manner. they understand it fully till after his resurrection.

Nor did

24 And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?

And when they were come to Capernaum.' See note Matt. iv. 13. They that received tribute.' In the original this is, they who received the two drachms. The drachm was worth about sevenpence halfpenny of our money. This tribute was paid to the Jewish collectors for the use of the temple service. It was permitted in the law of Moses, (see Ex. xxx. 11-16) that in numbering the people half a shekel should be received of each man for the services of religion. It was devoted to the purchase of animals for the daily sacrifice; wood, flour, salt, incense, &c. for the use of the temple. Two drachms were about equal to half a shekel. 'Doth not your master pay tribute? This tribute was voluntary; and they therefore asked him whether he was in the habit of paying taxes for the support of the temple. Peter replied, that it was his custom to pay all the usual taxes of the nation.

25 He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? 26 Peter, saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.

'Jesus prevented him.' That is Jesus commenced speaking before Peter, or spoke before Peter had told him what he had said. This implies that though not present with Peter, when he gave the answer, yet Jesus was acquainted with what he had said. 'Prevented. Went before, or preceded. Their own children.' Their sons; the members of their family. Or of strangers ?" The word 'strangers' does not mean foreigners, but those who were not their own sons or members of their family. The meaning of this may be thus expressed: " Kings do not tax their own sons. This tribute money is taken up for the temple service; that is, the service of my Father. I, therefore, being the Son of God, for whom this is taken up, cannot be lawfully required to pay this tribute."

27 Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his

mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

"Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them.' That is, lest they should think that we despise the temple and its service, and thus provoke needless opposition, it is best to pay it to them. 'Thou shalt find a piece of money. In the original thou shalt find a stater, a Roman silver coin of the value of four drachms, or one shekel, and of course sufficient to pay the tribute for two, himself and Peter. Here is proof that Jesus was possessed of divine attributes. He knew that in the first fish that came up there would be such a coin, which proved his omniscience. It is by no means strange that a fish should have swallowed a silver coin, such cases have often occurred.


1 AT the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?

See also Mark ix. 33-41. Luke ix. 46-50. 'Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" They asked the question because they supposed that Jesus was about to set up a temporal kingdom of great splendour; and they wished to know who should have the principal offices and posts of honour and profit. Mark, ix. 34, informs us that they had had a dispute on this subject in the way. Luke, ix. 47, says that Jesus perceived the thought of their heart: an act implying omniscience, for none can search the heart but God, Jer. xvii. 10. The disciples, conscious that the subject of their dispute was known, requested Jesus to decide it, Matt. xviii. 1. They were at first silent through shame, (Mark,) but perceiving that the subject of their dispute was known, they came, as Matthew states, and referred the matter to him for his opinion.

2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, 3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The word 'converted,' means changed, or turned. It means changed, or turned from one habit of life, or set of opinions to another, James v. 19. Luke xxii. 32. The phrase, except ye be converted,' does not here imply of necessity that they were not christians before, or had not been born again. It means that their opinions and feelings about the kingdom of the Messiah must be changed. They had supposed that he was to be a tempora. prince. And they were ambitiously inquiring who should hold the highest offices. Jesus told them they were wrong in

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