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it was his duty to make haste to the residence of the priest, and obtain his sanction to the reality of the cure. 'A testimony unto them.' Both to the priest, and to the people. Show thyself to the priest, and get his testimony to the reality of the cure, as a proof to the people that the healing genuine. It was necessary ihat he should have that testimony, before he could ce received into the congregation, or allowed to 'mingle with the people, Having this, he would be, of course, restored to the privileges of social and religious life, and the proof of the miracle, to the people, would be put beyond a doubt.
5 | And when Jesus was entered into Caperbaum there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,
Capernaum. See note, ch. iv. 13. A centurion was a commander of a hundred men, in the Roman armies. Judea was a Roman province, and garrisons were kept there to preserve the people in subjection.
6 And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
'Sick of the palsy.' See note, ch. iv. 24.
7 And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. 8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest cume under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
8. 'I am not worthy,' &c. This was an expression of great humility. It indicated a lowly spirit; a conviction of the great dignity and power of the Saviour, and a belief that he was so unlike him, and so far removed in character, that he was not fit that the Son of God should come into his dwelling. So humbly every truly penitent sinner feels; a feeling which is appropriate when he comes to Christ.
9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth ; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
He had full confidence in the ability of Jesus to heal his servant, and requested him simply to give the command as quite sufficient. This request he presented in a manner appropriate to a soldier. I am a man, says he, under authority. That is, I am subject to the command of others, and know how to obey. 'I have also under me soldiers who are accustomed to obedience. I say to one, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes. I am prepared, therefore, to believe that your commands will be obeyed. As these obey me, so do diseases, storms, and seas obey thee.
10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
The word 'faith, here means confidence, or belief that Christ had power to heal his servant. Jesus marvelled.' Or wondered at his faith; or deemed it remarkable. "Not in Israel.' Israel was a name given to Jacob, Gen. xxxii. 28, 29, because, as a prince, he had power with God; because he persevered in wrestling with the Angel that met him, and obtained the blessing. It was given to the whole nation till the time of Jeroboam, when only the ten tribes that revolted received the name, probably because they were a majority of the nation. After the captivity of Babylon, it was given to all the Jews indiscriminately. See Matt. x. 6. Mark xv. 32.
11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
The phrase 'from the east and from the west,' in the scripture, is used to denote the whole world, Isa. xlv. 6; lix. 19. The phrase 'shall sit down' in the original, refers to the manner of sitting at meals, see note, Matt. xxiii. 6; and the enjoyments of heaven are described under the similitude of a feast or banquet: a very common manner of speaking of them, Matt. xxvi. 29, Luke xiv. 15; xxii. 30. It is used here to denote felicity and honour. To sit with those distinguished men was an honour, and would be expressive of great felicity.
12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“The children of the kingdom. In other words, the Jews. They supposed themselves peculiarly the favourites of Heaven. They thought they were by birth subjects of God's kingdom. They thought the Messiah would enlarge their nation, and spread the triumphs of their kingdom. They called themselves, therefore, the children or the members of the kingdom of God, to the exclu. sion of the Gentiles. Our Saviour used their language, and said, that many of the pagans would be saved, and many Jews lost. 'Shall be cast out into outer darkness,' &c. This is an image of future punishment. Feasts were given at night. The rooms were brilliantly illuininated; and the splendour within made the darkness without the outer darkness,' gloomy indeed. See Matt, xxii, 18. The wicked who are lost will be shut out from the 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 deci. sively 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.
16 | When the even was come, they brought unto lim many that were possessed with devils : and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were
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 dring 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' Matthew, means properly diseases of the body. To bear those griefs, is clearly to bear them away, oi 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, griess, 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 lav his head.
It is not improbable inat 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 o 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 will. ingness to devole 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 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 clead to the world; to be dead to the law, Rom. vii. 4; tó 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. b, 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 friends, and ease, and comfort, should be subordinate to the gospel ; and that we should always be ready to sacrifice these u hen 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 railed was a small open boat, with sails, such as were commonly