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Ver. 1. Then he called his twelve disciples together , etc.] The Persic version reads, “all his twelve disciples”, the other nine, besides the three that were with him, when he raised Jairus's daughter, recorded in the foregoing chapter; the Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions read, “the twelve apostles”, for so Christ had named his disciples; (See Gill on “ Matthew 6:13”). The Syriac version only reads, “his own twelve”; and this is agreeably to Luke's way of speaking; (see Luke 8:1, 9:12). And gave them power and authority over all devils ; that is, all kinds of devils, particularly to cast them out of the bodies of men, possessed by them: and to cure diseases ; of all sorts.
Ver. 2. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God , etc.] The Gospel, which gives an account of the kingdom of the Messiah; of his kingly office and power; of his church, which is his kingdom, and of the government of it, by the ministration of the word, and the administration of ordinances; of the kingdom of grace in the hearts of Christ's subjects, and the nature of it; and of the kingdom of glory, and what is the saints' meetness for it, and right unto it: and to heal the sick ; of every disease of body, and thereby confirm their mission and commission from Christ, to preach the Gospel; and recommend it to men.
Ver. 3. And he said unto them, take nothing for your journey , etc.] Throughout the towns and cities of Judea, where they were sent to preach the Gospel: neither staves , The Vulgate Latin, and all the Oriental versions, read in the singular number, “neither staff, rod, or club”; and so it was in one of Beza's ancient copies, but in all the rest in the plural, as in Matthew; which last must be the true reading, since one staff was allowed, according as in ( Mark 6:8) though more than one were forbidden: nor scrip ; or bag to put provision in; (See Gill on “ Matthew 10:10”) Neither bread, neither money ; gold, silver, or brass, to buy bread with; because they were to have it, wherever they came, given them, as their due, and the reward of their labour; neither have two coats apiece ; the word “apiece” is left out in one copy, nor is it expressed in the Vulgate Latin and the eastern versions, which read as in ( Matthew 10:10) though the word does aptly and clearly express the sense of the prohibition, which was not that they should not have two coats among them, but not two apiece; or each man should not have two, or have change of raiment; (See Gill on “ Matthew 10:10”) Ver. 4. And whatsoever house ye enter into , etc.] In any town, or city, they should come to in their journey through Judea, and should enter into for the sake of lodging, during their stay: there abide ; do not shift quarters, or move from house to house: and thence depart ; the house you come into first, go out of last, when ye leave the town or city. The Vulgate Latin and Persic versions read, and thence do not depart: and so Beza says it is read in a certain copy, but then the sense is the same, as the Ethiopic version renders it, “do not go out from thence, until ye depart”; that is, do not leave the house, till you depart out of the town or city; agreeably to which is the Arabic version, “remain in it until the time of your going out”; (See Gill on “ Matthew 10:11”).
Ver. 5. And whosoever will not receive you , etc.] Unto their houses: when ye go out of the city ; where lodging and entertainment are refused you; shake off the very dust from your feet, for a testimony against them ; (See Gill on “ Matthew 10:14”) (See Gill on “ Mark 6:11”) Ver. 6. And they departed , etc.] That is, the apostles, as the Syriac and Persic versions express it: they went from Christ, and the place where he was, from Capernaum, at least from some place in Galilee: and went through the towns ; the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions add, “and cities”; that is, of Judea, as well as Galilee, even the whole land of Israel: preaching the Gospel ; which explains what is meant by the kingdom of God, ( Luke 9:2) and healing everywhere; all sorts of bodily diseases, wherever they came.
Ver. 7. Now Herod the tetrarch , etc.] Of Galilee, and who is called a king in ( Mark 6:14) as he is here in the Ethiopic version: heard of all that was done by him ; of all the miracles that were wrought by Christ, and his apostles; the fame of which were the more spread through the mission of the apostles, and the journey they took through all the towns and cities of Galilee, which were in Herod's jurisdiction; by which means he, and his court, came to the knowledge of them, the whole country, ringing with the account of the same: and he was perplexed ; anxious, and distressed, not knowing well what to think of Christ, and the different sentiments of men about him: be was afraid lest he should be John the Baptist risen from the dead, whom he had beheaded: he hesitated about it at first, though he afterwards was fully persuaded, in his own mind, that it was he, as some affirmed; and this gave him great uneasiness, and filled him with distress and horror: because that it was said of some that John was risen from the dead ; and he began to fear it was true, though willing to disbelieve it, at least to make a question of it, especially in public; though in private, to his own family and servants, he was free to tell his mind.
Ver. 8. And of some, that Elias had appeared , etc.] Who had been translated, body and soul, to heaven, and whom the Jews expected a little before the coming of the Messiah: and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again; that is, one of the former prophets. It is well known, that the Jews distinguish the prophets into the former and latter; the books of the prophets of the Old Testament are so distinguished; the writings of the former prophets are those of Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 of Samuel, and the first and second of Kings: the latter prophets are Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, which are the greater prophets, and the twelve lesser ones: and in the Talmud it is asked, “who are µynwçarh µyaybn , “the former prophets?” Says R.
Huna, they are David, Samuel, and Solomon — and why are they called former prophets? to except (or distinguish) them from Haggai, Zachariah, and Malachi, who are the latter.”
So that by one of the old prophets, may be meant one of those that were before the times of Elias, as Samuel or David.
Ver. 9. And Herod said, John have I beheaded , etc.] That is, he had ordered him to be beheaded, and which was accordingly done by the executioner; of which he had full proof, since the head was brought him in a charger, and which he delivered to the daughter of Herodias: but who is this of whom I hear such things ? such, wonderful things, such amazing miracles, as were done by Christ: he seems to have reasoned after this manner with himself, surely this cannot be John, for I have beheaded him! and yet who should it be? and whereas some affirmed, that it was John that was risen from the dead, he began to fear that it was he; and he desired to see him : that he might be satisfied whether it was he or not; for he had had personal knowledge of John, and converse with him, and therefore, upon sight of him, could tell whether it was he that was risen from the dead, or not; but we do not find Herod had a sight of Christ, until he was sent by Pilate to him at Jerusalem; (see Luke 23:7,8).
Ver. 10. And the apostles, when they were returned , etc.] From the several parts of the land where they had been sent, and had been preaching and working miracles, having gone through their circuit, and finished the service they were sent to do: told him all they had done ; what doctrines they had taught, how they had been received, and what success they met with, what miracles they had wrought, how they had dispossessed devils, and healed all sorts of diseases: and he took them and went aside privately ; by ship, over some part of the sea of Galilee; (See Gill on “ Mark 6:32”) into a desert place belonging to the city called Bethsaida ; the city of Andrew and Peter, ( John 1:44), and which, as Josephus says, was by the lake of Gennesaret, and by Philip called Julias; and this desert place was the desert of Bethsaida, a lonely, wild, uncultivated, and desolate place, not far from it. Hither Christ went with his disciples, that they might be retired and alone, and have some refreshment and rest from their labours, and where they might privately converse together; and he give them some fresh instructions, and directions, and comfort.
Ver. 11. And the people, when they knew it , etc.] Having heard of his departure from others, and seeing him go off themselves: followed him ; not by ship, but on foot, going over the bridge at Chainmath of Gadara, and got thither before Christ and his disciples did: and he received them ; very kindly, and in a very affectionate manner, and with great respect, though they had prevented the private interview between him and his apostles; and he spake unto them of the kingdom of God ; of the Gospel dispensation, now setting up, and of the doctrines and ordinances of it, of the governing principle of grace in the hearts of his people, and of the glory of the world to come: and healed them that had need of healing ; for their bodies; as well as preached the doctrines of grace for the good of their souls; he both taught doctrine and wrought miracles.
Ver. 12. When the day began to wear away , etc.] Or “to decline”, as the Vulgate Latin and Arabic versions; or “to incline”, as the Syriac; that is, as the Ethiopic version renders it, “when the sun was declining” towards the “horizon” and was almost set; or “when the evening time was come”, as the Persic version: then came the twelve; that is, “the disciples”, as the Persic version; or “his disciples”, as the Syriac: and said unto him, send the multitude away, that they may go into the towns and country round about ; the place where they were, round about the city of Bethsaida, the several adjacent houses in the fields, villages, towns, and cities: and lodge, and get victuals ; where they might have lodging for that night, it being too far for them to reach their habitations that evening; and also that they might provide themselves with proper and sufficient food, which was not to be had in the place where they were: for we are here in a desert place ; which afforded no conveniency for lodging, nor any supply of food.
Ver. 13. And he said to them, give ye them to eat , etc.] Signifying, that it was not his will to dismiss people, and send them scattering abroad into the adjacent cities, towns, or houses; and that there was no need of it, but that his will was, that they should be supplied with provisions out of their stock: and they said, we have no more than five loaves and two fishes ; and these loaves were barley loaves, and the fishes small, ( John 6:9) except we should go and buy meat for all this people ; which would at least cost them two hundred pence; and which they represent as impossible to be done, either through want of so much money, or the scarcity of provision in those parts; where, had they money, it would be difficult, at least to get such a quantity of provisions at once, which so great a number of persons required.
Ver. 14. For they were about five thousand men , etc.] Beside women and children, ( Matthew 14:21), and he said to his disciples, make them to sit down by fifties in a company ; and by hundreds also; some companies had a hundred apiece in them, and others fifty; and which was done partly, for the more easy numbering of them, and partly and chiefly for the more convenient distribution of food to them; (See Gill on “ Mark 6:39-40”) Ver. 15. And they did so, and made them all sit down .] The disciples did not dispute the case any longer with Christ, but obeyed his orders, and ranged the multitude in companies, a hundred in one, and fifty in another; and ordered them to sit down in their distinct companies and ranks upon the green grass. The Arabic and Ethiopic versions read, “and they all sat down”; and so it is read in some copies of the Vulgate Latin version.
Ver. 16. Then he took the five loaves and the two fishes , etc.] Into his hands, being brought him by the disciples from the lad that had them: and looking up to heaven : to his Father there, from whom all the mercies and blessings of life come; he blessed them ; either asked, or commanded a blessing on them, that they might multiply and increase, that there might be a sufficiency for all the people, and that, they might be nourishing to them. Beza observes, that in his most ancient copy, it is read, “he blessed upon them”; which perfectly agrees with the Jewish way of speaking, tph l[ Ædb “he that blesseth upon the bread”; ˆyyh l[ Ærb “he that blesseth upon the wine”; and so upon the fruits of trees, and upon the fruits of the earth, and upon other things f330 ; and brake; the loaves, and divided the fishes into parts: and gave to the disciples to set before the multitude ; as they sat in ranks, and in their distinct companies.
Ver. 18. And it came to pass, as he was alone praying , etc.] To his God and Father, for himself as man, and mediator; for the success of his Gospel, and the increase of his interest; and for his disciples, that they might have a clearer revelation of him; and which they had, as appears in their after confession of him by Peter, as the mouth of them all. The place where he now retired for private devotion, was somewhere in the coasts of Caesarea Philippi; for he was now gone from the desert of Bethsaida, as appears from ( Matthew 16:13) and when he is said to be alone, the meaning is, that he was retired from the multitude, but not from his disciples; for it follows, his disciples were with him , in this solitary place: and he asked them , being with them alone; saying, Whom say the people that I am ? what are the sentiments of the common people, or of the people in general concerning me? The Alexandrian copy, and the Arabic version read, “men”, as in ( Matthew 16:13). (See Gill on “ Matthew 16:13”).
Ver. 19. They answering said, John the Baptist , etc.] This was the opinion of some who thought that he was risen from the dead, as in ( Luke 9:7). but some say Elias ; the prophet, and the Tishbite; who according to the Jewish notion, was to be the forerunner of the Messiah, so in ( Luke 7:8). and others say: that one of the old prophets is risen again ; thus were they divided in their sentiments about him. (See Gill on “ Luke 9:8”) Ver. 20. He said unto them, but whom say ye that I am ? etc.] Which was the main thing he had in view in this private conference; and in order to introduce which, he puts the former question: Peter answering : in the name of the rest of the disciples, they assenting to it: said, the Christ of God ; The Persic version reads, “Christ God”; the Messiah, who is the Son of God, and God over all, blessed for ever. The Cambridge copy of Beza's reads, “the Christ, the Son of God”. (See Gill on “ Luke 2:26”).
Ver. 21. And he strictly charged them, and commanded them , etc.] Though he highly approved of this their confession, and pronounced Peter blessed upon it; and signified that it was a discovery which flesh and blood could not make, but what was made to him his Father: yet he gave them a strict charge, and laid his commands on them, to tell no man that thing ; that he was the Messiah, and the eternal Son of God, and the true God, as well as the son of man, and really man: the reasons for this: (See Gill on “ Matthew 16:20”).
Ver. 22. Saying, the son of man must suffer many things , etc.] In his person and character, in his soul and body, at the hands of God, and of men, and devils: and be rejected of the elders, and chief priests, and Scribes ; who made up the grand sanhedrim of the nation: by these he was to be, and was rejected as the Messiah; and when put up with another which should be released, that other should be preferred, and he rejected; and which was done at the instigation of these men, who were the builders; of whom it was foretold that they should reject the head stone of the corner, ( <19B822> Psalm 118:22) and be slain ; or put to death, with the death of the cross: and be raised the third day ; according to the types and prophecies of the Old Testament. This he added for the comfort of his disciples.
Ver. 23. And he said to them all , etc.] Not only to all the disciples, but “to the multitude”, as the Arabic version renders it, who were now called unto him, with his disciples, as is clear from ( Mark 8:34), any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me; the same is said here, as in ( Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34), only here the word, “daily”, is added; and which, though as Beza observes, is not in the Complutensian edition, nor in five ancient copies; yet is in others, and in the Vulgate Latin, and in all the Oriental versions; and to be retained, as having a very considerable emphasis in it; showing that afflictions, trials, and persecutions of one sort or another, are to be expected every day by the people of God, and to be continually submitted to, and borne with cheerfulness.
Ver. 25. For what is a man advantaged if he gain the whole world , etc.] Or what profit will it be unto him? all the honours, riches, and enjoyments of it will be of no use and service to him if he himself is lost: and lose himself ; or his own soul; for he that loses his soul, which is his better and immortal part, loses himself: or be cast away : finally, and eternally, or “suffer loss” of eternal happiness and glory; that is, perishes, and is destroyed with an everlasting destruction; (See Gill on “ Matthew 16:26”).
Ver. 26. For whosoever shall be ashamed of me , etc.] Of my person and offices, of me, as the Messiah, Saviour, and Redeemer, of my grace, righteousness, blood, and sacrifice: and of my words ; of the doctrines of the Gospel, one and another of them.
In Mark, it is added, “in this adulterous and sinful generation”; having a peculiar respect to the people of the Jews, and the age in which Christ lived; but is true of any other people and age in which men live: of him shall the son of man be ashamed when he shall come in his own glory ; in the glory of his human nature, when his glorious body, as now, in heaven, shall be seen by all; and in the glory of his office, as mediator, and the judge of all the earth; and in the glory of his divine nature, which will appear in the resurrection of the dead, in the gathering of all nations before him, in separating one sort from another, and in passing and executing the definitive sentence on them; particularly the glory of his omnipotence and omniscience will be very conspicuous: and in his Father's ; which is the same with his own, as he is the Son of God, and the brightness of his glory; and which, as mediator, he has from him, and will be the object of the saints' vision to all eternity; and of the holy angels ; who shall attend him at his second coming, and be employed in various offices under him. The Syriac version renders, these last clauses as they are in ( Matthew 16:27 Mark 8:38) in the glory of his Father, with his holy angels; Ver. 27. But I tell you of a truth , etc.] And let it be received as such; you may assure yourselves of it, that not only at the last day, the son of man will come in this glorious manner, and show his resentment to all such as have been ashamed of him; but, also there be some standing here, which shall not, taste of death till they see the kingdom of God ; the Gospel dispensation visibly taking place, both among Jews and Gentiles, upon the resurrection of Christ, and the pouring fourth of his Spirit; and when it should come in power both in the conversion of God's elect in great numbers, and in the destruction of the Jewish nation, for their rejection, of the Messiah: (See Gill on “ Matthew 16:28”) Ver. 28. And it came to pass, about an eight days after those sayings , etc.] About a week after he had declared the above things, at, or near to Caesarea Philippi. The other evangelists, Matthew and Mark, say it was six days after: the reason of this difference is, because Luke takes in the day in which he delivered these sayings, and that in which he was transfigured, and they only reckon the intermediate days: he took Peter, and John, and James ; the same that he admitted to be with him at the raising of Jairus's daughter, and in the garden afterwards: and went up into a mountain to pray ; to his God and Father, that his disciples might have a visible display of his glory, as an emblem and pledge of that in which he shall hereafter appear: it was usual with Christ to go up into a mountain to pray; ( Matthew 14:23 Luke 6:12). (See Gill on “ Matthew 17:1”).
Ver. 29. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered , etc.] It became exceeding bright and glorious, it shone like the sun, ( Matthew 17:2) and hereby his prayer was answered; and thus, as Christ was heard and answered, whilst he was yet speaking, so are his people sometimes; and even their countenance is altered, when they are favoured with communion with God, and instead of a sad and dejected countenance, they have a cheerful one. And his raiment was white and glistering ; it was as white as the light, as snow, and whiter than any fuller on earth could whiten, as the other evangelists say, and so glistened exceedingly; (See Gill on “ Matthew 17:2”). (See Gill on “ Mark 9:3”).
Ver. 30. And behold there talked with him two men , etc.] Of great note and fame: which were Moses and Elias ; the one the giver of the law from God to the people “of Israel”, as well as the redeemer of them from Egyptian bondage, and who led them through the wilderness, to the borders of Canaan's land; and the other a prophet famous for his zeal for God, and his worship, and who was translated, soul and body, to heaven: these appeared and talked with Christ on the mount; and what they talked of is mentioned in the following verse; (See Gill on “ Matthew 17:3”).
Ver. 31. Who appeared in glory , etc.] In a very glorious manner, in most divine and beautiful forms to Christ, and to his disciples: and spake of his decease, which he should accomplish at Jerusalem ; the word, rendered “decease”, is “Exodus”, the name of the second book of Moses; so called from the departure of the children of Israel out of Egypt, it gives an account of; and which departure is expressed by this word, in ( Hebrews 11:22) and to which the allusion is here. Death is a departure out of this world, and goes by this name, ( 2 Peter 1:15) and so here it signifies Christ's death, or exit, which he was to make at Jerusalem; and Moses and Elias talk with him about this; the nature, manner, use, and near approach of it; and to which they might encourage him, as man. The sufferings and death of Christ were what Moses and the prophets had foretold; and these two speak of the same things now; and which must serve to confirm what Christ a few, days ago had showed his disciples, that he must go to Jerusalem, and there suffer and die. Dr. Lightfoot thinks that the ascension of Christ to heaven is contained in the word “Exodus”, which was his final departure out of this world, as well as his sufferings and death; and especially if there is any, allusion to the Israelites' departure out of Egypt, which was in victory and triumph; and the rather, because “the time of his receiving up”, ( Luke 9:51) may be thought to refer to this; and so Moses and Elias conversed with him, not only about, his sufferings and death; but his ascension, and of which also the “Exodus”, or going of Elias out of this world to heaven, which was by a translation and ascension, was a figure. Some render this word, “Expedition”, and think it refers to the whole affair of the redemption of Christ's people by him, from the bondage of sin, Satan, and the law, by his sufferings and death; of which the deliverance of the people of Israel out of Egypt was a lively representation: an expedition which Moses was sent upon, and accomplished: but now the discourse turns upon an expedition of greater importance, which shortly was to be accomplished at Jerusalem, where Christ was to be arraigned, and condemned, and then suffer without the gates of it, in order to obtain eternal redemption for the whole Israel of God.
Ver. 32. But Peter, and they that were with him , etc.] The other two disciples, James and John; were heavy with sleep ; as they afterwards were in the garden, while Christ was praying, as he had been now; being weary with the labours of the day past, and it being now night, as is very probable, since that was an usual time Christ spent in prayer: and when they were awake , The Syriac version reads, “scarcely awake”; they were so heavy with sleep, that it was with difficulty they were awaked out of it, even by the rays of light and glory that were about them. The Ethiopic version adds, “suddenly”; such a lustre darted from these glorious forms, especially from the body of Christ, as at once surprised them out of their sleep; and being thoroughly awake, they saw his glory ; the brightness of his countenance, and the whiteness of his raiment: and the two men that stood with him: Moses and Elias, and the glory in which they appeared.
Ver. 33. And it came to pass, as they departed from him , etc.] That is, as Moses and Elias departed from Christ; or “when they began to depart”, as the Syriac version renders it; or “would depart”, as the Arabic and Persic versions; seemed desirous of going, or made some signal or other by which the disciples perceived they were about to go; for, as yet, they were not gone; Peter said unto Jesus, master, it is good for us to be here, let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias ; (See Gill on “ Matthew 17:4”) not knowing what he said , nor “what to say”, as Mark observes, being in a surprise, and not in a situation to consider and weigh things well, whether what he said was right and proper, or not; (See Gill on “ Matthew 17:4”) Ver. 34. While he thus spake there came a cloud , etc.] While Peter was making the above request, before an answer was returned, a cloud appeared, a very uncommon one, as a symbol of the divine presence: “and overshadowed them”; Jesus, Moses, Elias, and the disciples: and they feared as they entered into the cloud ; either as they themselves entered into it, that coming gradually over them, because of the glory of it, and the solemnity that attended it; or as Moses and Elias entered into it; and so the Syriac and Persic versions read, “they feared when they saw Moses and Elias enter into the cloud”; which took them out of their sight: just as the cloud received Jesus out of the sight of his disciples, when he ascended to heaven, ( Acts 1:9).
Ver. 36. And when, the voice was past , etc.] The above words were delivered, and it was heard no more: Jesus was found alone; by his disciples; Moses and Elias being gone, and he in the same form in which he was before his transfiguration. And they kept it close ; as Christ strictly charged them, when coming down from the mount with them; ( Matthew 17:9). And told no man in those days any of those things which they had seen ; no, not any of their fellow disciples, until that Christ was risen from the dead.
Ver. 37. And it came to pass, that on the next day , etc.] For Jesus and his disciples staid all night on the mountain: when they were come down from the hill ; to the bottom of it: much people met him . The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Persic versions read, “met them”.
Ver. 38. And behold, a man of the company , etc.] One that was in the company, and among the multitude, that met him: cried out ; with great vehemence and earnestness: saying, Master ; doctor, or “Rabbi”: I beseech thee : most humbly, for he was now on his knees: look upon my son : with pity and compassion, and help him: for he is mine only child ; wherefore he was dear unto him, and he was greatly concerned for him, and earnestly desirous of his being restored to health; and this he mentions, to move the compassion of Christ.
Ver. 39. And, lo, a spirit taketh him , etc.] An evil spirit, the devil, as in ( Luke 9:42) seizes and possesses him at once, and he suddenly crieth out ; in a most terrible manner, giving dreadful shrieks, as soon as he perceives that he is seized by the demon: and it teareth him, that he foameth again ; throws him into convulsions, so that he foams at the mouth: and so we read of a son of a certain Jew, that “a certain spirit passed before him and hurt him, convulsed his mouth, and his eyes, and his hands were convulsed, and he could not speak.” And bruising him ; by dashing him against the wall, or throwing him to the ground: hardly departeth from him ; is very loath to leave him, even after he has distressed, convulsed, and bruised him in this dreadful manner, such was his cruelty and malice; (See Gill on “ Matthew 17:15”) (See Gill on “ Mark 9:18”) Ver. 40. And I besought thy disciples , etc.] The nine disciples that were left behind, whilst Christ, and the other three, were gone up to the mountain: to cast him out ; the devil out of his child: and they could not ; (See Gill on “ Matthew 17:16”).
Ver. 41. And Jesus answering, said , etc.] To the father of the child, and those that were with him; and with a particular view to the Scribes and Pharisees, who had been insulting the disciples, and triumphing over them, because of their inability to cast out the evil spirit: for the words are not spoken to the disciples, as they might seem at first view to be, and as the Persic version renders them, “and Jesus turned his face to the disciples, and said”; but to the unbelieving Jews, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you, and suffer you? bring thy son hither ; (See Gill on “ Matthew 17:17”).
Ver. 42. And as he was yet a coming , etc.] Whilst he was in the way bringing to Jesus, before he came to him: the devil threw him down, and tare him ; knowing who Jesus was, and that he was able to dispossess him: and having reason to believe he would, was resolved to do all the mischief he could, and give him all the pain add distress he was able, whilst he was in him; and therefore threw him to the ground, and convulsed him in a terrible manner at the same time: and Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit ; for his malice and cruelty, and ordered him to depart: and healed the child ; by dispossessing the spirit: and delivered him again to his father ; free from the possession, and in perfect health, and which must be very pleasing and acceptable to him.
Ver. 43. And they were all amazed at the mighty power of God , etc.] Or at “the greatness”, or “majesty of God”; which was displayed in this cure: for the great power of God was manifestly seen in it, to the astonishment of the disciples, who could not cure this child, and of the parent and friends of it, and of the whole multitude: and to the confusion of the Scribes and Pharisees: but while they wondered every one, at all things which Jesus did ; and were applauding him for them, and speaking in his praise on account of them: he said unto his disciples ; privately, when they were alone together, the following words, that he might not seem to be lifted up with the praise of men; and also to show their inconstancy, that those who, now admired him, would one day crucify him; and to take off the thoughts of the disciples from a temporal kingdom and glory, they were so much in expectation of, and which every miracle of Christ, and the applause he got thereby among men, strengthened them in.
Ver. 44. Let these sayings sink down into your ears , etc.] The Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions read, “in your hearts”: Christ's sense is, that they would, diligently attend to them, seriously consider them, and carefully lay them up in their memories; and what he refers to are not the words he had spoken, but what he was about to say; namely, as follow: for the son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men ; by whom he should be killed, though he should rise again the third day; (See Gill on “ Matthew 17:22-23”) Ver. 45. But they understood not this saying , etc.] What was meant by being betrayed into the hands of men, and by his being put to death; they knew not, how these things could possibly be, for they could not by any means reconcile them with the notions they had of a temporal Redeemer, and victorious Messiah: and it was hid from them, that they perceived it not ; the true meaning of this saying was hid from their understanding, which was veiled with the above notion of the worldly grandeur of the Messiah, that they did not take it in; and they feared to ask him of that saying , of the meaning of it; imagining that he had a secret mystical meaning in it, which they could not reach; lest he should reproach them with their dulness and stupidity; or should rebuke them with the like sharpness and severity he had reproved Peter not long ago, upon the same head.
Ver. 46. Then there arose a reasoning among them , etc.] The Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions read, “a thought entered into them”; suggested very likely by Satan, which broke out into words, and issued in a warm dispute among them; and this was in the way, as they were travelling from Caesarea Philippi, to Capernaum; (see Mark 9:33). Which of them should be greatest ; that is, “in the kingdom of heaven”, as in ( Matthew 18:1) in the kingdom of the Messiah, which they expected would be a temporal one: wherefore the dispute was not about degrees in glory, nor in grace; nor who should be the greatest apostle and preacher of the Gospel; but who should be prime minister to the king Messiah, when he should set up his monarchy in all its grandeur and glory.
Ver. 47. And Jesus perceiving the thought of their heart , etc.] Not by any words he had heard; for the dispute was on the road, as they came along behind him; but as the omniscient God, who is the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart, he was privy to all their ambition, and the vanity of their minds, and to all their reasonings and debates: though he was before them, and out of the reach of hearing of them: and when he came to Capernaum, after having asked them what they disputed about by the way; he took a child and set him by him . The Ethiopic version reads, “before them”, the disciples; and Matthew and Mark say, “he set him in the midst of them”; all which were true, Jesus sitting in the midst of them; so, that the child he set by him, was in the middle of them and before them; (See Gill on “ Matthew 18:2”).
Ver. 48. And said unto them, whosoever shalt receive this child , etc.] Or “one such little child”, as in ( Matthew 18:5) and so the Syriac version here, “a child like to this”; and the Arabic version, “one like to this child”; not in age, but in meekness and humility; one that is not proud and haughty, ambitious of worldly honour, and envious at the superior state of others: whoever receives such an one into his house and heart, and the Gospel he preaches, in my name ; because he belongs to me, is sent by me, and represents me, and delivers my message: receiveth me ; represented by him, and will be so taken: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth him that sent me ; (See Gill on “ Mark 9:37”) For he that is least among you all ; that is so, in his own opinion, and behaves as such in his conduct, who is lowly and meek, and humble; and so the Ethiopic version, rather interpreting than translating, renders it, “for he that makes himself humble, who is lesser than all”; who considers himself as the least of the apostles, and unworthy to be one, as did the Apostle Paul: the same shall be great ; shall be highly honoured with gifts, and made greatly useful, as the above mentioned apostle was: a saying like this, the Jews have f332 ; “every one, wmx[ ˆyjqmh , “that makes himself little”, for the words of the law in this world, lwdg hç[n , “shall be made great” in the world to come;” that is, in the days of the Messiah: and again it is said by them, “worthy is he that makes himself little in this world, how great and high shall he be in that world! — whoever is little shall be great, and he that is great shall be little.”
Ver. 49. And John answered and said, Master , etc.] The Syriac and Persic versions read, “our Master”: we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and we forbad him ; (See Gill on “ Mark 9:38”) Because he followeth not with us ; the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions read, “because he followeth not thee with us”; did not join in company with them, and follow Christ along with them, and as they did.
Ver. 50. And Jesus said unto him, forbid him not , etc.] “Or forbid not” him, or any other so doing: for he that is not against us, is for us: in two exemplars of Beza's it is read, “for he is not against you”: the Vulgate Latin, and Syriac versions, instead of “us”, in both clauses read “you”, and so likewise the Persic and Ethiopic versions; (See Gill on “ Mark 9:39-40”) Ver. 51. And it came to pass, when the time was come , etc.] Or “days were fulfilled”, an usual Hebraism; when the period of time fixed for his being in Galilee was come to an end: when he had fulfilled his ministry, and finished all his sayings, and wrought all the miracles he was to work in those parts; when he was to quit this country, and go into Judea, and up to Jerusalem, signified in the next clause: that he should be received up ; or as all the Oriental versions rightly render the words, “when the time, or days of his ascension were fulfilled”; not of his ascension to heaven, as interpreters generally understand the passage, because the word is used of that, in ( Mark 16:19) ( Acts 1:2,11,22, 1 Timothy 3:16) much less as others, of his being taken and lifted up from the earth upon the cross, and so signifies his crucifixion, and sufferings, and death; for of neither of these can it be said, that the time of them was come, or the days fulfilled, in which either of these should be: for if Christ was now going to the feast of tabernacles, as some think, it must be above half a year before his death, and still longer before his ascension to heaven: and if to the feast of dedication, it was above three months to his ascension: hence interpreters that go this way, are obliged to interpret it, that the time drew near, or was drawing on, or the days were almost fulfilled; whereas the expression is full and strong, that the time was come, and the days were fulfilled; and which was true in the sense hinted at, that now the time was up, that Jesus must leave the low lands of Galilee, having finished his work there; and go into the higher country of Judea, and so up to Jerusalem; for of his ascension from Galilee to Jerusalem are the words to be understood; (See Gill on “ Matthew 19:1”) (See Gill on “ Mark 10:1”) And it is observable that after this, he never went into Galilee any more; and this sense is confirmed by what follows: he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem ; or “strengthened his face”, as the Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions; set his face like a flint, as in ( Isaiah 1:7) denoting not impudence, as hardening of the face is used in ( Proverbs 21:29) but boldness, courage, constancy and firmness of mind: or “he prepared his face”, as the Syriac; or “turned his face”, as the Arabic, he looked that way, and set forward; or as the Persic version renders it, “he made a firm purpose”, he resolved upon it, and was determined to go to Jerusalem, his time being up in Galilee; and though he knew what he was to meet with and endure; that he should bear the sins of his people, the curse of the law, and wrath of God; that he should have many enemies, men and devils to grapple with, and undergo a painful, shameful, and accursed death; yet none of these things moved him, he was resolutely bent on going thither, and accordingly prepared for his journey; (See Gill on “ 2 Kings 12:17”).
Ver. 52. And sent messengers before his face , etc.] Who very likely were his two disciples, James and John, since they so highly resented the ill treatment their master met with from the Samaritans: and they went ; before him: and entered into a village of the Samaritans ; or “city”, as the Vulgate Latin, Persic, and Ethiopic versions read, and so one of Stephens's copies; which lay in the way from Galilee to Judea, where the disciples had been forbid to enter, that is, in order to preach, ( Matthew 10:5) To make ready for him ; to prepare a lodging, and proper food for him and his disciples, as they passed on in their journey, for his intention was not to make any stay there.
Ver. 53. And they did not receive him , etc.] The Ethiopic version reads “them”, the messengers; but it should rather seem that they did receive the messengers, and promised them lodging and entertainment; being glad that so great a person would honour them with his presence, hoping that miracles would be done by him, among them; and that he would stay with them, and show some approbation of them, and their worship; but when Christ came in person, with his disciples and the multitude, they would not admit him; the reason follows, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem : by all circumstances, by his words and looks, and gestures; by all that they could see and hear, and learn from him, his determination was to make no stay with them, but proceed on to Jerusalem, after he had took a night's lodging with them, and had refreshed himself and company and therefore they would not receive him: it had been of a long time a controversy between the Jews and Samaritans, which was the right place of worship; whether at the temple at Jerusalem, or whether at their temple on Mount Gerizzim?
Now if Christ would have interested himself in this contest, in favour of them, and would have staid with them, and worshipped where they did, they would have gladly received him; but they perceived he was going to Jerusalem, either to keep the feast of “tabernacles” there, or the feast of the dedication of the temple; and if the latter, it must be still more provoking to them, because it showed, that he preferred that temple to theirs: and however, it seems to be on this account that they would not admit him, because he favoured the temple worship at Jerusalem; otherwise his bare going thither, could not give the offence.
Ver. 54. And when his disciples, James and John, saw this , etc.] The Persic version reads thus; when “James and John, and the disciples saw this”; that is, the other disciples besides them, so making all the disciples say what follows; whereas only those two are intended, who having been the messengers, were the more provoked at this indignity to their Lord and master: they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them ; being enraged at this conduct of the Samaritans towards, Christ, and burning with love to him, and zeal for his honour; being “Boanerges's”, sons of thunder, they were for punishing of them in a most terrible manner, even with, fire from heaven; by which Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities of the plain, were destroyed: this they doubted not of doing, knowing what miraculous power was conferred upon them; but did not think proper to attempt to exert it, until they had asked leave of Christ to do it: even as Elias did ; upon the two captains of fifties, with their fifties, as recorded in ( 2 Kings 1:9-12) This clause was wanting in a certain copy of Beza's, and is not in the Vulgate Latin version; but is in other copies and versions, and by all means to be retained.
Ver. 55. But he turned and rebuked them , etc.] He turned himself about to them, and looking upon them with a stern countenance, sharply reproved them for their intemperate zeal, their passion of wrath, and anger, and desire of revenge: and said, ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of ; or do not consider that this is not the true spirit of zeal, but of anger and revenge; and is not agreeable to the spirit of the meek and humble followers of Christ, or to the Spirit of God, and those gifts of his bestowed on them, nor to the spirit of the Gospel dispensation: so good men, for want of attention, may not know sometimes from what spirit they act; taking that for a good one, which is a very bad one; being covered with specious pretenses of love and zeal, and the examples of former saints; not observing the difference of persons; times, and things.
Ver. 56. For the son of man , etc.] Meaning himself, in his state of humiliation: is not come to destroy men's lives ; the word “men's” is omitted in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Persic versions: and both words, “men's lives”, are left out in the Arabic version: but to save them ; as they might easily observe, by his casting out devils from the bodies of men, and healing all sorts of diseases: and therefore, though it was agreeably to the legal dispensation, and the times of Elijah, to punish offenders in such a manner, it was not agreeably to the Gospel dispensation, and to the ends of the Messiah's coming into the world: so far in this verse, and the latter part of the former verse, are left out in five ancient copies of Beza's, and in the Ethiopic version, but are in the rest of the Eastern versions, and in other copies, and are rightly retained: and they went to another village ; in Samaria, more civil and courteous, and less prejudiced, and where they got lodging and entertainment.
Ver. 57. And it came to pass, as they went in the way , etc.] From one village of the Samaritans, to the other; though if this is the same history related in ( Matthew 8:19) it was as Christ went from Capernaum to the sea side, in order to go to the other side of it; and must be inserted here, without regard to the order of time: a certain man said unto him ; if the same as in Matthew, he is there said to be a “Scribe”; Lord, I will follow thee, wheresoever thou goest . The Arabic and Ethiopic versions read these words by way of question, “Lord, shall I not follow thee wheresoever thou goest?” (See Gill on “ Matthew 8:19”).
Ver. 58. And Jesus said unto him, foxes have holes , etc.] Both the words of this man to Christ, and Christ's answer to him, are exactly the same as in Matthew, which makes it look as if it was the same history; though it is not improbable, that Christ might be accosted in the same manner by another person, at another time and place, and return a like answer to each; (See Gill on “ Matthew 8:20”).
Ver. 59. And he said unto another, follow me , etc.] According to Matthew, one of his disciples, who had attended him some time, and whom he now called to the ministerial work; (See Gill on “ Matthew 8:20”).
The Ethiopic version reads, “another said to him, shall I not follow thee?” but without any foundation: they are certainly the words of Christ, directed to another person, at the same time he met with the former: but he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father; (See Gill on “ Matthew 8:21”).
Ver. 60. Jesus said unto him, let the dead bury the dead , etc.] (See Gill on “ Matthew 8:22”). but go thou and preach the kingdom of God ; that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, the Gospel dispensation is now ushering in, and the kingdom of the Messiah is setting up; go and publish the things concerning the kingdom of grace, which lies not in outward rites and ceremonies, but in righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; and declare the things relating to the kingdom of glory, and eternal life and happiness; assert, that unless a man is born again, and has a better righteousness than his own, he is neither fit for, nor has he a right unto everlasting bliss.
Ver. 61. And another also said , etc.] “To him”, as the Syriac and Arabic versions add, that is, to Christ; the Ethiopic version reads, “and a third said to him”; for this is the third person mentioned in this relation of Luke's; only two are spoken of by Matthew, but a third is added here: Lord, I will follow thee ; he moves it himself, to be a disciple of his, and a preacher of his Gospel, only with this condition: but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house : as Elisha desired Elijah, that he might go and kiss his father and his mother and then he promises he would follow him, ( 1 Kings 19:20). The Syriac version adds, “and I will come”; and the Persic, “and give commands, and then, will I come”: and the phrase not only signifies, that he desired to take leave of his friends, but to compose and set in order his family affairs, and dispose of his worldly effects among his domestics, relations, and friends, in the best manner he could; and then he should have leisure, and be at liberty to follow Christ, and attend his service.
Ver. 62. And Jesus said unto him , etc.] The copulative “and”, is left out in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions: no man having put his hand to the plough ; or “ploughshare”, as reads the Syriac version; or “plough handle”, as the Persic; referring, as Beza thinks, to the business of Elisha, in ( 1 Kings 19:19) And looking back ; behind him; for the ploughman ought to look before him, on his plough, and the ground he is ploughing, or he is not fit to be a ploughman; nor will he make proper furrows, or do his work well; and so he that enters upon the ministerial work, and looks back, and engages himself in the affairs of the world, sets his heart on them, and spends his time in them, is not fit for the kingdom of God : that is, to preach the kingdom of God, as in ( Luke 9:60). He cannot serve God and mammon, his own interest, and the interest of Christ; he cannot rightly perform the work of the ministry, whilst his thoughts and time are taken up in the affairs of the world.