The King now exercised His authority in a new way. He pronounced pardon on a sinner, and straightway opposition was aroused. To the questioning and rebellious hearts He vindicated His authority to forgive sins by a different exhibition of power, the power of healing. The effect was instantaneous and remarkable. The multitudes feared and glorified God.
The record of a triumphal progress of the Shepherd King follows. A ruler, a woman ostracized because of her plague, two blind men, a dumb man possessed with a devil, crossed His path, and all their varied needs He met, and with strong, tender words spoke to all some message of peace and courage. Here also the opposition of His foes manifests itself openly, and the long conflict with the forces of false religion begins. The Pharisees, madly jealous of His power, attribute it to Satan.
This section reveals the attitude of the King to the crowds, and the position of His people as intermediary. There is, first, a general statement of His public ministerial work. Then follows a declaration of the effect produced on Him. "He was moved with compassion." This movement of His compassion is consequent on His vision of the true condition of the crowds, "distressed" and "scattered"; and, as the attitude of the Pharisees proves, they are "sheep without a shepherd."
the Third Week after Epiphany