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1 Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.
Ver. 1. See Matthew 8:5 .
2 And a certain centurion’s servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.
Ver. 2. And a certain centurion’s servant ] Piscator thinks that this history is not the same with thatMatthew 8:5; Matthew 8:5 . His reasons may be read in his Scholia on that place.
3 And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.
Ver. 3. He sent unto him ] St Matthew saith, he went unto him, sc. by his messengers.
4 And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying, That he was worthy for whom he should do this:
Ver. 4. That he was worthy ] So they held him: but he held himself unworthy, Luke 7:6 . God in like manner saith that Jerusalem had received double for her sins, Isaiah 40:2 . But Jerusalem herself saith, Our God hath punished us less than our sins, Ezra 9:13 . Too much, saith God; Too little, saith she; and yet how sweetly and beautifully doth this kind of contradiction become both!
5 For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.
Ver. 5. Built us a synagogue ] Antiochus had burned the synagogues in various places. This man, new converted, is content to be at cost for God and his people. So the Israelites, received to favour again after their foul fall in setting up the golden calf, brought enough and to spare toward the work of the tabernacle.
6 Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:
Ver. 6. For I am not worthy ] So saith Jacob of himself, Genesis 32:10 ; so Paul,1 Corinthians 15:8-10; 1 Corinthians 15:8-10 ; so the Baptist, Matthew 3:11 ; so Augustine, Non sum dignus quem tu diligas, Domine, I am not worthy of thy love, Lord.
7 Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.
Ver. 7. But say in a word ] Send thy Mandamus, as Psalms 44:4 .
8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it .
Ver. 8. For I also ] See Trapp on " Mat 8:9 "
9 When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
Ver. 9. He marvelled ] See Trapp on " Mat 8:10 "
10 And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole that had been sick.
Ver. 10. See Matthew 8:13 .
11 And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people.
Ver. 11. A city called Nain ] A fair town not far from Tiberias, and watered by that ancient river, the river Kishon,Judges 5:21; Judges 5:21 , as saith Jerome.
12 Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her.
Ver. 12. There was a dead man ] Though a young man. Our decrepit age both expects death and solicits it, but vigorous youth looks strangely upon that grim sergeant of God. Senibus mors in ianuis, adolescentibus in insidiis, ( Bern.) Death seizeth on old men, and lays wait for the youngest.
Carried out ] sc. Out of the city, for without the gates were the burying places of old, for fear of annoyance by ill air. Hence harlots were called moechae bustuariae, sluts of the tombs, because they were thrust out of the city to play their pranks, where the dead were buried, as being dead while they lived. (Turneb. Advarsar. )
13 And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not.
Ver. 13. He had compassion on her ] Of his own free accord, and unrequested, he raised him. Christ had a most tender heart. How shall he not pity and provide for his praying people?
14 And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.
Ver. 14. Young man, I say unto thee, Arise ] Had he said as much to all the dead (as once he shall, Surgite, mortui, venite in iudicium ) they had certainly all risen immediately.
15 And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.
Ver. 15. Delivered him to his mother ] To be a Scipio to her; the staff and stay of her old age.
16 And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.
Ver. 16. And there came a fear upon all ] This was timor amicalis, a fear of reverence, for it produced thankfulness.
17 And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about.
Ver. 17. And this rumour ] Here the Sun of righteousness, that hath healing in his wings, shone forth in his strength, and drew all eyes to him.
18 And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.
Ver. 18. And the disciples of John ] Having a zeal for their master, but not according to knowledge, seeMatthew 11:2; Matthew 11:2 .
19 And John calling unto him two of his disciples sent them to Jesus, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
Ver. 19. Art thou he that should come ] The soul resteth not till it pitch upon Christ. See Trapp on " Mat 11:2 " See Trapp on " Mat 11:3 "
20 When the men were come unto him, they said, John Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?
Ver. 20. See Trapp on " Mat 11:3 "
21 And in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind he gave sight.
Ver. 21. See Trapp on " Mat 11:4 " See Trapp on " Mat 11:5 "
22 Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.
Ver. 22. See Trapp on " Mat 11:4 " See Trapp on " Mat 11:5 "
23 And blessed is he , whosoever shall not be offended in me.
Ver. 23. And blessed is he ] This is check to them for their preposterous zeal for John, their master. Therefore, also, our Saviour commends not John till they were departed.
24 And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
25 But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts.
26 But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.
27 This is he , of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
28 For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
Ver. 28. But he that is least ] This is no small comfort to the ministers of the gospel, against the contempts cast upon them by the world. They are somebodies in heaven, whatever men make of them.
29 And all the people that heard him , and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John.
Ver. 29. Justified God ] i.e. They glorified his word, Acts 13:48 , and acknowledged, his righteousness, repenting of their sins, and believing John’s and Christ’s testimony, which the Pharisees so pertinaciously rejected, and so deservedly perished. For as wine, a strong remedy against hemlock, yet mingled with it doubleth the force of the poison; so it is with the word when mingled with unbelief, and cast away with contempt.
30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.
Ver. 30. Rejected the counsel of God ] Being ingrati gratiae Dei, as Ambrose speaketh, and so much the further off, for having seen the people so forward.
31 And the Lord said, Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation? and to what are they like?
Ver. 31. See Matthew 11:16-17 , &c.
32 They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept.
33 For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, He hath a devil.
Ver. 33. Neither eating bread ] But locusts and wild honey.
34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!
35 But wisdom is justified of all her children.
Ver. 35. Of all her children ] That is, her disciples, Psalms 34:11 .
36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to meat.
Ver. 36. Sat down to meat ] It was fit he should feast sometimes, that fared so hard mostly.
37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment,
Ver. 37. A woman ] Not that woman, say some, mentioned Matthew 26:6 ; John 11:2 , but some other.
A sinner ] A strumpet, a she-sinner, as their mates call such.
38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
Ver. 38. To wash his feet ] They that make their eyes a fountain to wash Christ’s feet in, shall have his side for a fountain to wash their souls in.
Kissed his feet ] But how many now refuse those kisses of his mouth, Song of Solomon 1:2 , by despising the word preached, that sweet pledge of his love!
39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it , he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.
Ver. 39. This man, if he were a prophet ] See the picture of a hypocrite, slighting and censuring his betters.
What manner of woman this is ] Syr. What an ill name she hath, for a light hussy.
40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
Ver. 40. I have somewhat to say to thee ] He that receives a courtesy, we say, sells his liberty. But so did not Christ at Simon’s, at Martha’s, &c., table. His mouth was not stopped with good cheer. He entertains the Pharisees with as many menaces as they do him with messes of meat.
41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
Ver. 41. There was a certain creditor ] Christ tells the supercilious and self-conceited Pharisee by this parable, that himself was a sinner also as well as the woman, and as a debtor to God’s judgment, had as much need of his grace in Christ for remission of sin and removal of wrath.
42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
Ver. 42. And when they had nothing to pay ] We are all non-solvents, stark beggars, and bankrupts, having nothing of our own but sin and hell; nothing to say for ourselves why we should not to prison, but that of Augustine, Ego admisi, Domine, unde tu damnare potes me, sed non amisisti, unde tu salvare potes me; Lord, I have done enough to undo me for ever, but thou hast yet enough to make me happy for ever. I acknowledge the debt, that is all I can do. Oh cross the book, and draw the red lines of Christ’s blood over the black lines of my sins.
43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he , to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.
Ver. 43. Thou hast rightly judged ] See here and imitate our Saviour’s candour: cui virtuti per se pulcherrimae grande pretium raritas addidit, nostro quidem aevo, saith one, this is a rare and rich virtue.
44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
Ver. 44. She hath washed my feet with tears ] Her heart was a sacred alembic, a out of which those tears were distilled. Never did any man read his pardon with dry eyes.
Washed my feet with tears, &c. ] We read not that the Virgin Mary ever did as this greater sinner did. Repentance is the fair child of that foul mother, sin, as the Romans said of Pompey, Εχθρου πατρος φιλτατον τεκνον . And it is question whether more glorifies God, innocence or penitence?
a An apparatus formerly used in distilling, consisting of a cucurbit or gourd-shaped vessel containing the substance to be distilled, surmounted by the head or cap, or alembic proper, the beak of which conveyed the vaporous products to a receiver, in which they were condensed. It is now superseded by the retort and worm still. ŒD
45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
Ver. 45. Thou gavest me no kiss ] Which yet was their usual way of salutation, 1 Peter 5:14 .
46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
Ver. 46. Mine head with oil ] Which yet was ordinary at solemn feasts. But Simon was too short, as not understanding the worth of his present guest.
47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
Ver. 47. For she loved much ] Nam, notificativum est, non impulsivum. Her love was an argmnent (not a cause) that her sins were forgiven her.
48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
Ver. 48. Thy sins are forgiven thee ] Melancthon makes mention of a godly woman, who having upon her death bed been much conflicted, and afterwards much comforted, brake out into these words, Now, and not till now, I understand the meaning of those words, Thy sins are forgiven. It is reported about another, that courting a courtesan, and understanding that her name was Mary; he remembered Mary Magdalen, and forbearing to commit that act of filthiness that he intended, became a sound convert.
49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?
Ver. 49. Who is this that forgiveth sins also? ] Ignorance of Christ and his office bred this offence, as it doth many others. It is easy to stumble in the dark.
50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
Ver. 50. Go in peace ] Faith hath virtutem pacativam, Romans 5:1 . It lodgeth a blessed calm in the conscience, and fortifies the heart against all discouragements. Men may mutter, as here they did, but the answer, or rather demand of faith is, Who shall condemn? it is Christ that justifieth, Romans 8:34 . Better be envied than pitied.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 7". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13