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1. The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God--By the "Gospel" of Jesus Christ here is evidently meant the blessed Story which our Evangelist is about to tell of His Life, Ministry, Death, Resurrection, and Glorification, and of the begun Gathering of Believers in His Name. The abruptness with which he announces his subject, and the energetic brevity with which, passing by all preceding events, he hastens over the ministry of John and records the Baptism and Temptation of Jesus--as if impatient to come to the Public Life of the Lord of glory--have often been noticed as characteristic of this Gospel--a Gospel whose direct, practical, and singularly vivid setting imparts to it a preciousness peculiar to itself. What strikes every one is, that though the briefest of all the Gospels, this is in some of the principal scenes of our Lord's history the fullest. But what is not so obvious is, that wherever the finer and subtler feelings of humanity, or the deeper and more peculiar hues of our Lord's character were brought out, these, though they should be lightly passed over by all the other Evangelists, are sure to be found here, and in touches of such quiet delicacy and power, that though scarce observed by the cursory reader, they leave indelible impressions upon all the thoughtful and furnish a key to much that is in the other Gospels. These few opening words of the Second Gospel are enough to show, that though it was the purpose of this Evangelist to record chiefly the outward and palpable facts of our Lord's public life, he recognized in Him, in common with the Fourth Evangelist, the glory of the Only-begotten of the Father.
3. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight--The second of these quotations is given by Matthew and Luke in the same connection, but they reserve the former quotation till they have occasion to return to the Baptist, after his imprisonment (Mt 11:10; Lu 7:27). (Instead of the words, "as it is written in the Prophets," there is weighty evidence in favor of the following reading: "As it is written in Isaiah the prophet." This reading is adopted by all the latest critical editors. If it be the true one, it is to be explained thus--that of the two quotations, the one from Malachi is but a later development of the great primary one in Isaiah, from which the whole prophetical matter here quoted takes its name. But the received text is quoted by IRENÆUS, before the end of the second century, and the evidence in its favor is greater in amount, if not in weight. The chief objection to it is, that if this was the true reading, it is difficult to see how the other one could have got in at all; whereas, if it be not the true reading, it is very easy to see how it found its way into the text, as it removes the startling difficulty of a prophecy beginning with the words of Malachi being ascribed to Isaiah.) For the exposition, see on Mt 3:1-6; Mt 3:11.
See on Mt 3:13-17.
See on Mt 4:1-11.
Mr 1:14-20. CHRIST BEGINS HIS GALILEAN MINISTRY--CALLING OF SIMON AND ANDREW, JAMES AND JOHN.
See on Mt 4:12-22.
Mr 1:21-39. HEALING OF A DEMONIAC IN THE SYNAGOGUE OF CAPERNAUM AND THEREAFTER OF SIMON'S MOTHER-IN-LAW AND MANY OTHERS--JESUS, NEXT DAY, IS FOUND IN A SOLITARY PLACE AT MORNING PRAYERS, AND IS ENTREATED TO RETURN, BUT DECLINES, AND GOES FORTH ON HIS FIRST MISSIONARY CIRCUIT. ( = Lu 4:31-44; Mt 8:14-17; 4:23-25).
21. And they went into Capernaum--(See on
22. And they were astonished at his doctrine--or "teaching"--referring
quite as much to the manner as the matter of it.
23. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit--literally, "in an unclean spirit"--that is, so entirely under demoniacal
power that his personality was sunk for the time in that of the spirit.
The frequency with which this character of "impurity" is ascribed to
evil spirits--some twenty times in the Gospels--is not to be overlooked.
24. Saying, Let us alone--or rather, perhaps, "ah!" expressive of
mingled astonishment and terror.
25. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him--A glorious word of command. BENGEL remarks that it was only the testimony borne to Himself which our Lord meant to silence. That he should afterwards cry out for fear or rage (Mr 1:26) He would right willingly permit.
26. And when the unclean spirit had torn him--Luke
says, "When he had thrown him in the midst." Malignant cruelty--just
showing what he would have done, if permitted to go farther: it
was a last fling!
27. What thing is this? what new doctrine--teaching
28. And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee--rather, "the whole region of Galilee"; though some, as MEYER and ELLICOTT, explain it of the country surrounding Galilee.
29. And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue--so also
30. But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever--Luke, as was
natural in "the beloved physician"
describes it professionally; calling it a "great fever," and thus
distinguishing it from that lighter kind which the Greek physicians
were wont to call "small fevers," as GALEN, quoted
by WETSTEIN, tells us.
31. And he came and took her by the hand--rather, "And advancing, He
took her," &c. The beloved physician again is very specific: "And He
stood over her."
32. And at even, when the sun did set--so
says it was setting.
33. And all the city was gathered together at the door--of Peter's house; that is, the sick and those who brought them, and the wondering spectators. This bespeaks the presence of an eye-witness, and is one of those lively examples of word-painting so frequent in this Gospel.
34. And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out
it is said, "He cast out the spirits with His word"; or rather, "with a
word"--a word of command.
35. And in the morning--that is, of the day after this remarkable
sabbath; or, on the first day of the week. His choosing this day to
inaugurate a new and glorious stage of His public work, should be noted
by the reader.