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light of heaven; from peace, and joy, and hope; will be cast into outer darkness; will weep in hopeless grief; and gnash their teeth in indignation against God, by whose just sentence they are excluded from the heavenly feast. What a striking image of future woe!
13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the self-same hour.
'He was healed in the self-same hour.' This showed decisively the goodness and power of Jesus. No miracle could be more complete. There could be no imposition, or deception.
This account, or one similar, is found in Luke vii. 1-10. The narratives agree in the character of the person, the place, and the time; the same substantial structure of the account; the expression of similar feelings; and the same answers, and the same result.
Matthew says, that the centurion came himself. Luke says, that he at first sent elders of the Jews, and then his particular friends. He also adds, that he was friendly to the Jews, and had built them a synagogue. The fact that the centurion came himself is no evidence that others did not come also. The centurion was a great favourite, and they would be anxious that what he desired of Jesus should be granted. At his suggestion, or of their own accord, they might apply to Jesus, and press the subject upon him, and be anxious to represent the case as favourably as possible. It is not at all improbable that the same representation and request might be made both by the centurion and his friends. Matthew fixed on the fact that the centurion came himself, and Luke on the remarkable zeal shown by the friends of a heathen; the interest they took in his welfare, and the circumstance that he had done much for them. Matthew was intent on the great leading facts of the cure. He was studious of brevity. He did not choose to explain the particular circumstances. He says that the centurion made the application, and received the answer. He does not say whether by himself, or by an agent. Luke explains particularly how it was done.
14 And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever. 15 And he touched her hand, and the fever left her: and she arose, and ministered unto them.
This account is contained also in Mark i. 29-31. and Luke iv. 38-41. Mark adds that Simon and Andrew lived together, and that James and John went with them to the house. He adds, also, that before the miracle, they spake to him about the sick person. The miracle was direct and complete. She was so completely restored as to attend them, and minister to them.
When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick;
All that were brought to Jesus he healed. This was proof of two things: first, his great benevolence; and, secondly, of his Divine mission. None of his miracles were performed merely to make a display of power. They were all connected with some works of benevolence. This was on the evening of the sabbath, Mark i. 21-32. The Jews kept the sabbath from evening to evening, Lev. xxiii. 32. On the sabbath they would not bring their sick to be healed, Luke xiii. 14; but as soon as it was closed, on the evening of the same day, they came in multitudes to be cured.
17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses.
This passage is found in Isaiah liii. 4. Our English translation is, 'Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows.' The word translated 'griefs' in Isaiah, and infirmities' in Matthew, means properly diseases of the body. To bear those griefs, is clearly to bear them away, or to remove them. This was done by his miraculous power in healing the sick. The word rendered sorrows,' in Isaiah, and sicknesses,' in Matthew, nieans pains, griefs, or anguish of mind. To carry them, is to sympathize with the sufferers; to make provision for alleviating those sorrows; and to take them away. This he did by his precepts and his example: the cause of all sorrows-sin-he removed by his atonement. The passage in Isaiah and Matthew mean precisely the same thing.
18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side.
'Unto the other side.' Jesus was now in Capernaum, a city at the northwest corner of the sea of Tiberias, or sea of Galilee. See note Matt. iv. 18. The country to which he purposed to go was the region on the east of the sea of Tiberias.
19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
It is not improbable that this man, who had seen the miracles of Jesus, had formed an expectation that by following him he
should obtain some considerable worldly advantage. Christ in reply proclaimed his own poverty. The very foxes and birds, says he, have places of repose and shelter, but the Son of man has no home, and no pillow. He is a stranger in his own world; a wanderer and an outcast from the abodes of men. 'Son of man.' No title is more frequently given to the Saviour than this. When he speaks of himself, this is the most common appellation by which he is known. Probably there was a reference to Isaiah ix. 6, 'Unto us a Son is given. The Saviour chose to adopt an appellation which identified him with ourselves. See Heb. ii. 14-16. Perhaps, also, he used it to signify the interest he felt in man; his peculiar love and friendship for him; and his willingness to devote himself to the best interests of the race.
21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
The word disciple properly signifies learner; and was given to his followers, because they received him as their teacher. See note Matt. v. 1. It does not of necessity mean that a disciple was a pious man, but only one of the multitude, who, for various causes, might attend on his instructions. See John vi. 66; ix. 28.
22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.
The word dead is used in this passage in two different senses. The Jews used it often to express indifference towards a thing; or rather, to show that that thing has no influence over us. Thus, to be dead to the world; to be dead to the law, Rom. vii. 4; to be dead to sin, Rom. vi. 11; means that the world, law, and sin, have not influence or control over us; that we are free from them, and act as though they were not. So, men of the world are dead to religion. They see not its beauty; hear not its voice; are not won by its loveliness. This is the class of men to which the Saviour referred here. Let men, says he, who are uninterested in my work, and who are dead in sin, Eph ii. 1, take care of the dead. Your duty is now to follow me.
There might be two reasons for this apparently harsh direction. One was, to try the character and attachment of the man. If he had proper love for Christ, he would be willing to leave his friends even in the most tender and trying circumstances. This is required, Matt. x. 37. Our Saviour taught here, that a regard to triends, and ease, and comfort, should be subordinate to the gospel; and that we should always be ready to sacrifice these when duty to God requires it.
23 And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him.
This was on the sea of Tiberias. The ship' in which they sailed was a small open boat, with sails, such as were commonly
used for fishing on the lake. 'His disciples.' Not merely the apostles, but others. There were many other ships in company with him, Mark iv. 36. This circumstance would render the miracle much more striking and impressive.
24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
'A great tempest.' A violent storm; or a wind so strong as to endanger their lives. This lake was subject to sudden squalls. 'The ship was covered with the waves.' The billows dashed against the ship, Mark iv. 37; so that it was fast filling, and in danger of sinking. He was asleep. On the hinder part of the vessel, on a pillow, Mark iv. 38. It was in the night, and Jesus had retired to rest, probably weary, and he slept calmly and serenely.
25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
'Save us.' Save our lives. 'We perish.' We are in danger of perishing. This showed great confidence in the Saviour. It shows also where those should always go, who feel that they are in danger of perishing. There is none that can save from the storms of Divine wrath but the Son of God.
26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
'Why are ye fearful? You should have remembered that the Son of God, the Messiah, was on board. You should not have forgotten that he had power to save, and that with him you are safe. Christians should never fear danger, disease, or death. With Jesus they are safe. No enemy can reach him; and as he is safe, so they shall be also, John xiv. 19. 'Rebuked the winds.' Reproved them; or commanded them to be still. What a power was this! What irresistible proof that he was Divine ! His word awed the tempest, and allayed the storm! There is not, any where, a sublimer description of a display of power. Nor could there be stronger proof that he was truly the Son of God. 'Great calm.' The winds were still; and the sea ceased to endanger their lives.
27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
'The men marvelled.' Wondered; or were amazed. 'What manner of man!' What personage! How unlike other men! What a vast display of power; and how far exalted above mor tais must he be!
None but God could calm the heaving billows, and scatter the tempest. No scene could have been more grand than this display of the power of Jesus. The darkness; the dashing waves; the howling winds; the heaving and tossing ship; and the fears and cries of the seamen; all by a single word hushed into calm repose; all present an image of power and divinity irresistibly grand and awful. So the tempest rolls and thickens over the head of the awakened sinner. So he trembles over immediate and awful destruction. So while the storm of wrath howls, and hell threatens to engulf him, he comes trembling to the Saviour. Christ hears; he rebukes the storm; and the sinner is safe; indescribable peace takes possession of the soul; and he glides on a tranquil sea to the haven of eternal rest. See Isa. lvii. 20, 21. Rom. v. 1. Phil. iv. 7.
28 And when he was come to the other side, into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.
The same account of the demoniacs substantially is found in Mark v. 1-20, and Luke viii. 26-39. 'Country of the Gergesenes.' Mark, v. 1, says that he came into the country of the Gadarenes. This difference is only apparent. Gadara was a city not far from the lake Genesareth. Note Matt. iv. 25. Gergesa was a city about twelve miles to the south-east of Gadara. He came into the region in which the two cities were situated, and one evangelist mentioned one, and the other another. No men would have written in this manner but those who were acquainted with the facts. There met him two.' Mark and Luke speak of only one that met him. "There met him out of the tombs a man,' Mark v. 2; There met him out of the tombs a certain man,' Luke viii. 27. It is to be observed, however, that neither Mark nor Luke say that there was no more than They might be led to fix the attention on one of them that was more notorious, and furious, and difficult to be managed. Had they denied plainly that there was more than one, there would have been an irreconcilable contradiction. As it is, it shows that they were honest witnesses. Witnesses in courts of law often differ in unimportant matters; and, provided the main narrative coincides, their testimony is more valuable.
Luke has given us a hint why he recorded only the cure of one of them. He says, there met him out of the city,' a man, &c.; or, as it should be rendered, a man of the city,' a citizen. Yet the man did not dwell in the city; for he adds in the same verse, 6 neither abode he in any house, but in the tombs.' The truth was, that he was well known; and the people felt a deep interest in his case. Luke was therefore particularly struck with it; and as his cure fully established the power of Jesus, he recorded it.