Thursday, June 8th, 2023
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
Trapp's Complete Commentary Trapp's Commentary
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Matthew 9". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ jtc/ matthew-9.html. 1865-1868.
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Matthew 9". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
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1 And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city.
Ver. 1. And he entered into a ship ] He called not for fire from heaven upon those brutish Gadarenes that were so glad to be rid of him. Some wicked ones Christ punisheth here, lest his providence, but not all, lest his patience and promise of coming again to judgment, should be called into question, saith Augustine.
Came into his own city ] Capernaum, a colony of the Romans, where our Saviour hired a house, and wore a stole or long garment, as a citizen. Happy town in such an inhabitant, and in this respect lifted up to heaven,Matthew 11:23; Matthew 11:23 . Indeed, heaven came down to Capernaum; for the Lord so delighteth in his servants (how much more, then, in his Son) that their walls are ever in his sight, and he loveth to look upon the houses where they dwell, Isaiah 49:16 .
2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
Ver. 2. They brought unto him a man sick, &c. ] Show we like mercy to our sin sick friends, bring them to the ordinances, present them to that Sun of righteousness that hath healing under his wings. To an Almighty physician no disease can be incurable. He is as able and as ready still to heal those that are brought unto him. He hath lost nothing by heaven, be sure. But as Aaron, though he might not lament over his dead sons, because as high priest he entered into the holy place, yet he still retained the affections and bowels of a father; so the Lord Christ, though in heaven, is no less loving and large hearted to his than when he was in the flesh. Bring therefore all your brethren for an offering to the Lord; and if they cannot or will not come otherwise, bring them as the prophet bids, "upon horses, and in chariots, and in litters," Isaiah 66:20 : q.d. though sick, weakly, and unfit for travel, yet rather in litters than not at all.
Son, be of good cheer ] And well he might, when his sins were forgiven. This mercy is enough to make a man everlastingly merry. Viscount Lisle, in Henry VIII’s time, died for joy of an unexpected pardon from his prince. How great then is the comfort of pardon from God! Such are bidden to be glad, rejoice, and shout for joy, Psalms 32:1 ; Psalms 32:11 . And all others flatly forbidden to take any comfort, Hosea 9:1 . Etiamsi tibi laeta obveniant omnia, non est tamen quod laeteris. (Ribera.)
Thy sins are forgiven thee ] And yet his disease remained upon him for some while after. Behold, "he whom thou lovest is sick," said they of Lazarus, John 11:3 . We must make a new Bible, ere we can necessarily conclude that God is heavily offended because we are heavily afflicted. He that escapes affliction may suspect his adoption, Proverbs 3:12 .
3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
Ver. 3. This man blasphemeth ] True, had he been but a man, and had taken upon him to forgive sins by his own authority, as Popish priests do, to the subverting of some men’s souls. I have known one, saith a reverend divine, who neither by education nor affection was disposed to Popery; who having the ill hap, when his conscience was perplexed, to fall into the hands of a Popish priest, became a Papist upon this reason, because, as the priest suggested, that religion afforded more comfort for the conscience than ours; and therefore more comfort, because it had and exercised a power to pardon sin, which our ministers neither did nor dare to assume unto themselves.
4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts?
Ver. 4. Wherefore think ye evil, &c. ] Christ confutes their calumny, and proves himself to be God, and to have power to pardon sin, by discerning and condemning their evil thoughts. "I the Lord search the heart," Jeremiah 17:10 . Satan may give a shrewd guess; and so may men too; as Bartollus writes of Doctor Gabriel Nele, that by the only motion of the lips, without any utterance, he understood all men, perceived and read in every man’s countenance what he meant, &c. But none can certainly know the thoughts of man, but God alone. It is his royalty to "know what is in man,"John 2:25; John 2:25 .
5 For whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and walk?
Ver. 5. For whether is it easier, &c. ] q.d. It is a work of one and the same Almighty power to pardon sin, and with a bare word only to heal the sick, such as are counted past cure especially. Think the same of the soul’s sicknesses, and say with that ancient, Ego admisi, Domine, unde tu damnare potes me, sed tu non amisisti, unde tu salvare potes me.
6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.
Ver. 6. That the Son of man hath power, &c. ] And therefore is more than a man. The Rhemists tell us of one man that could remove mountains. But none but the man Christ Jesus could ever remit sins. He only it is that blots out the cloud, and the thick cloud too, enormities as well as infirmities, Isaiah 44:22 , for this is a true axiom, Peccata non minuunt iustificationem, though sins be different, justification is not. Take heed ye add not words to God’s covenant.
7 And he arose, and departed to his house.
Ver. 7. And he arose and departed ] He did as he was bidden; for he was healed on both sides. Mallem obedire quam miracula facere, said Luther.
8 But when the multitudes saw it , they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
Ver. 8. They marvelled and glorified God ] When the proud Pharisees blasphemed and were hardened; and so voided the counsel of God against themselves, Luke 7:30 , or to their own singular disadvantage, Suo maximo damno. (Beza.)
9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.
Ver. 9. A man named Matthew ] The other evangelist call him Levi; so shrouding his shame under a name less known. He plainly and ingenuously sets down his own more common name, and the nature of his offence, like as David doth penance in a white sheet, as it were, Psalms 51:1 , which is an evident argument, both of the Scripture’s divinity, and of the evangelist’s gracious simplicity. If any should upbraid him with his old evil courses, he could readily have answered, as Austin did in like case, Quae tu reprehendis ego damnavi; or as Beza, Hic homo invidet mihi gratiam Christi.
Sitting at the receipt of custom ] These publicans rented the revenue of the sea and rivers of the Romans, as now the Jews do of the Turks, at a certain rate. And that they might pay their rent, and pick a living out of it, they were great gripers, and exacted extremely upon the Jews; who therefore hated them, and held them furthest off from heaven of any men. A faithful publican was so rare at Rome itself, that one Sabinus, for his honest managing of that office, in an honourable remembrance thereof, had certain images erected with this superscription, For the honest publican. a Of this sort of sinners was Matthew, whom Christ converted into an evangelist; as he did Paul the persecutor into an apostle; Justin the philosopher into a martyr; Cyprian the rhetorician, and, as some think, the magician, into a famous light of the Church. I was an obstinate Papist, saith Latimer, as any was in England; insomuch, that when I should be made bachelor of divinity, my whole oration went against Philip Melancthon, and his opinions, &c.
And he arose and followed him ] Julian the Apostate cavils at this passage; as if either this were false, or Matthew a fool to follow a stranger at the first call. But this atheist knew not the work of faith, nor the power of Christ’s voice when he calls effectually. If Maris the blind bishop of Bithynia had been by to have heard this dead dog thus barking, he would surely have shaped him such an answer as he did once. For when Julian said unto him, Behold, thou art blind; doth the Galilean thy God care for thee? He replied, O tu impie apostata, gratias ago Deo qui me caecum reddidit, ne vultum tuum videam, ita ad impietatem prolapsum, O thou wicked apostate, I give my God thanks that hath made me blind, that I might not see that wretched face of thine.
a καλως τελωνησαντι. Suetonius, Vespasian, l. 8. c. 2. 2:265,267
10 And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
Ver. 10. As Jesus sat at meat in the house ] Matthew feasted Christ, for joy of his conversion. Yea, he made a feast, a feast like a king, a very sumptuous feast, as St Luke’s word importeth, a he kept open house, a table for all comers. As princes at their coronation straw the streets with coin, make the conduits run wine, release prisoners, &c.; so here. "Kill the fatted calf, and let us be merry," said he at his son’s return, Luke 15:23 . When a sinner repents there are grand festivals and feasts in heaven: instruments of music are put into the angels’ hands, and songs into their mouths. How well paid was Zaccheus, when salvation was come home to his house! When God was once reconciled to the people in the wilderness, after their sin in setting up the golden calf, to testify their great joy and thankfulness, they brought stuff more than enough to the building of the tabernacle. The centurion, when he once became a proselyte, built the Jewish synagogues that had been thrown down by Antiochus, Luke 7:5 . And Tyre converted finds another manner of merchandise than formerly, namely, to feed and clothe God’s saints with durable clothing,Isaiah 23:18; Isaiah 23:18 .
a Luke 5:29 , Δοχην . acceptionem, splendidum epulum, ut annotat Erasm. ex Athenaeo.
11 And when the Pharisees saw it , they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
Ver. 11. And when the Pharisees saw it ] As envy is quick sighted. See Ovid’s description of it. Βασκαινειν παρα του φαεσι καινειν . The wicked look around the saints, seeking to pick a hole in their coats; they pore and pry more narrowly than Laban did into Jacob’s stuff. "Walk circumspectly,"Ephesians 5:15; Ephesians 5:15 .
They said unto his disciples ] 1. Not to him; where the hedge is lowest, there the devil leaps over soonest; as he began his temptation with Eve, apart from her husband. Calumniare audacter, aliquid saltem adhaerebit, is a maxim in Machiavel. It is the property of defamations to leave a kind of lower estimation many times where they are not believed. 2. These hypocrites would seem to say this in pure pity to the seduced disciples, whom they saw to do the same with their Master. An ordinary trick among mischief makers. St Austin had these two verses written on his table,
" Quisquis amat dictis absentum rodere famam,
Hanc mensam indictam noverit esse sibi. "
Here is no room for railers.
12 But when Jesus heard that , he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
Ver. 12. But when Jesus heard that, he said ] Hence we learn, that although it be a servile business, as Plato calleth it, and an endless piece of work, to make answer and apology to all slanders ( πασιν απολογεισθαι θεραπευτικον ); yet where God’s glory is interested, and the salvation of other men’s souls hazarded, we must endeavour the clearing of our names, and the righting of our injuries and indignities cast upon us. But let this be done with meekness of wisdom, with weight of reason, not heat of passion, and rather in God’s words than in our own, as here.
They that be whole ] There are none such, but in conceit only. The civil justiciary ails nothing, complains of nothing, is as sound as a rock; but no such sound heart can come to heaven; as, in another sense, none but sound can come there. Only sensible sinners are capable of cure and comfort, such as see themselves Christless creatures.
Need not the physician ] And the physician needs them as little; he came not, cares not, for them, they have as much help from him as they seek. Presumption is as a chain to their neck, and they believe their interest in Christ, when it is no such thing. They make a bridge of their own shadow, and so fall into the brook; they perish by catching at their own catch, hanging on their own fancy, which they falsely call and count faith.
13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Ver. 13. But go ye, and learn what, &c. ] In the history of Jonah, Christ found the mystery of his death, burial, and resurrection. Rest not in the shell of the Scriptures, but break it, and get out the kernel, a as the sense is called, Judges 7:15 ; stick not in the bark, but pierce into the heart of God’s word. Lawyers say, that Apices iaris non sunt ius. The letter of the law is not the law, but the meaning of it. John never rested till the sealed book was opened. Pray for the spirit of revelation, plough with God’s heifer, and we shall understand his riddles, provided that we wait in the use of all good means, till God irradiate both organ and object.
I will have mercy ] Both that which God shows to us and that which we show to others, spiritual and corporal. Steep thy thoughts, saith one, in the mercies of God, and they will dye thine, as the dye fat doth the cloth, Colossians 3:12 .
I came not to call the righteous ] Those that are good in their own eyes, and claim heaven as the portion that belongs unto them. Scribonius writes of the cedar, Quod viventes res putrefacit et perdit; putridas autem restituit et couservat. So Christ came to kill the living and to make alive the dead.
But sinners to repentance ] Not to liberty, but duty. Tertullian speaketh of himself, that he was born to nothing but repentance. This is not the work of one, but of all our days, as they said, Ezra 10:13 . Some report of Mary Magdalene, that after our Saviour’s resurrection she spent thirty years in Gallia Narbonensi, in weeping for her sins; and of St Peter that he always had his eyes full of tears, adeo ut etiam lachrymae cutem genarum exederint, insomuch as his face was furrowed with continual weeping. Let not him that resolves upon Christianity dream of a delicacy.
a Veshibro, the breaking of the nut.
14 Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?
Ver. 14. Then came to him the disciples of John ] These sided with the Pharisees against our Saviour out of emulation and self-love, the bane and break neck of all true love; yea, they were first in the quarrel. A doleful thing, when brethren shall set against brethren, Hebrews vex one another, Exodus 2:13 ; and Christians, as if they wanted enemies, fly in the faces of one another. St Basil was held a heretic, even of them that held the same things as he did, and whom he honoured as brethren; all the fault was that he outshone them, and they envied him the praise he had for opposing Arianism, which was such, as that Philostorgius the Arian wrote that all the other orthodox divines were but babies to Basil. How hot was the contention between Luther and Carolostadius, merely out of a self-seeking humour and desire of pre-eminence. How extremely violent are the Lutherans against the Calvinists. In the year 1567 they joined themselves at Antwerp with the Papists against the Calvinists. And Luther somewhere professeth that he will rather yield to transubstantiation than remit anything of consubstantiation. a
Why do ye and the Pharisees fast often ] The Pharisees were parlous fasters, when they devoured widows’ houses, and swallowed ill-gotten goods as gnats down their wide gullets, which therefore Christ calls ενοντα , the inwards. Their fasts were mere mock fasts. So were those of John, Archbishop of Constantinople, surnamed the Faster, who yet was the first that affected the title of universal bishop, so much cried down by Gregory the Great. These Pharisees had sided with and set on John’s disciples in their master’s absence; like the renegade Jesuits, to keep up that bitter contention that is between the Calvinists and Lutherans, have a practice of running over to the Lutheran Church, pretending to be converts, and to build with them.
a The conversion in the Eucharist of the whole substance of the bread into the body and of the wine into the blood of Christ, only the appearances (and other ‘accidents’) of bread and wine remaining: according to the doctrine of the Roman Church. Distinguished from consubstantiation, in which the elements of the bread and wine are held to coexist with the body and blood of Christ. ŒD
15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.
Ver. 15. And Jesus said unto them ] He makes apology for his accused disciples; so doth he still at the right hand of his heavenly Father, nonsuiting all accusations brought against us, as our advocate, a 1 John 2:1 , appearing for us as the lawyer doth for his client, Hebrews 9:24 , opening his case and pleading his cause. He helpeth us also to make apology for ourselves to God, 2 Corinthians 7:11 , and expecteth that, as occasion requires, we should make apology one for another, when maligned and misreported by the world.
Can the children of the bridechamber, &c. ] Our Saviour seeing them to sin by infirmity, and by the instigation of the Pharisees, who with their leaven had somewhat soured and seduced them in their master’s absence, deals gently with them; to teach us what to do in like case. A Venician glass must be otherwise handled than an earthen pitcher or goblet: some must be rebuked sharply, severely, cuttingly, b Titus 1:13 ; but of others we must have compassion, making a difference, Judges 1:22 .
Mourn as long as the bridegroom, &c. ] Mourn as at funerals (so the word signifieth). This were incongruous, unseasonable, and unseemly at a feast. It was a peevishness in Samson’s wife that she wept at the wedding; since that is the day of the rejoicing of a man’s heart, as Solomon hath it,Song of Solomon 3:11; Song of Solomon 3:11 . Now Christ is the Church’s spouse. He hath the bride, and is the bridegroom, as their master the Baptist had taught them, John 3:29 , and rejoiceth over every good soul, as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, Isaiah 62:5 . Should not the saints therefore reciprocate?
But the days will come ] Our Saviour suffered much, even many a little death, all his life long; and yet, till his passion, he accounts himself to be, as it were, in the bride chamber. Then it was especially that he alone trod the winepress, and was roasted alive in the fire of his Father’s wrath, &c.
When the bridegroom shall be taken from them ] As now your master the Baptist is from you; a just argument and occasion of your grief and fasting, if possibly you may beg him of God out of the hands of Herod. When the Duke of Bourbon’s captains had shut up Pope Clement VIII in the castle St Angelo, Cardinal Wolsey being shortly after sent ambassador beyond seas to make means for his release; as he came through Canterbury toward Dover, he commanded the monks and the choir to sing the litany after this sort, Sancta Maria, ora pro papa nostro Clemente. Himself also, being present, was seen to weep tenderly for the pope’s calamity. Shall superstition do that which religion cannot bring us to? Shall we not turn again unto the Lord with fasting, weeping, and mourning, if for nothing else, yet that our poor brethren may find compassion? which is Hezekiah’s motive to the people, 2 Chronicles 30:9 .
And then shall they fast ] Note here, 1. That fasting is not abolished with the ceremonial law, but still to be used as a duty of the gospel. 2. That times of heaviness are times of humiliation. 3. That our halcyons here are but as marriage feasts, for continuance; they last not long; never look for it.
a παρακλητον , in full opposition to κατηγορος , the accuser of the brethren, Revelation 12:10 .
b αποτομως . Tremel., dure. Beza, praecise, rigide. Erasm, severe, et ad vivum, πενθειν .
16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.
Ver. 16. No man putteth a piece, &c. ] Austerities of religion are not to be pressed upon new beginners. God would not carry the people to Canaan through the Philistines’ country (though it were the nearest way) for discouraging them at first setting out. Our Saviour spake as the disciples could hear, Mark 4:33 . Discretion is to be used, and Christ’s lambs handled with all tenderness.
17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
Ver. 17. Neither do men put new wine ] In the year of grace 340 arose certain heretics called Ascitae or Utricularii, bottle bearers, because they bare a bottle on their backs, affirming that they were no true Christians that did not so; and alleging this text for themselves, as if they were the only new bottles filled with new wine. So those districtissimi monachi, Puritan monks (as one translateth it), who made themselves wooden crosses, and carried them on their backs, continually pleaded Matthew 16:24 ; to make for them. This was, as Mr Tyndale saith in another case, to think to quench their thirst by sucking the ale bowl.
18 While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live.
Ver. 18. Behold, there came a certain ruler ] Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue. Few such came to Christ; but this man was driven out of doors by the cross, as the wolf is out of the wood by hard hunger. It was his only daughter, of a dozen years old, that was now at point of death. This makes him seek out Christ the best Physician. Men must be fatherless (childless) ere they find mercy,Hosea 14:3; Hosea 14:3 , and a poor afflicted people ere they will be brought to trust in the name of the Lord, Zephaniah 3:12 . The αιμορροουσα came not to Christ while she had a half-penny to help herself,Luke 8:43; Luke 8:43 .
But come and lay thine hands upon her ] He thought Christ could not otherwise cure her. This was weakness of faith, far short of that of the centurion, who yet was a Roman soldier; whereas Jairus was a learned Jew. Knowledge therefore is one thing, faith another; and the greatest scholars are not always the holiest men. Neither have all God’s people a like measure of true fiath. This should humble and excite the weak, but not discourage them in their course; since the tallest oak was once an acorn, and the deepest doctor was once in his horn-book. a
a A leaf of paper containing the alphabet (often with the addition of the ten digits, some elements of spelling, and the Lord’s Prayer) protected by a thin plate of translucent horn, and mounted on a tablet of wood with a projecting piece for a handle. A simpler and later form of this, consisting of the tablet without the horn covering, or a piece of stiff cardboard varnished, was also called a battledore. ŒD
19 And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples.
Ver. 19. And Jesus arose and followed him ] As tendering the ruler’s infirmity, and not taking advantages, or turning him off, for presuming to prescribe. Be we also ready to every good office, not picking quarrels or pleading excuses.
20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him , and touched the hem of his garment:
Ver. 20. And, behold, a woman, &c. ] This history and occurrence comes in here by a parenthesis, and by a sweet providence, for the exercise and increase of Jairus’s faith and patience. Jairus could have wished her far enough at that time, because she hindered our Saviour from making haste to his dying daughter. But she shall be dead outright, the woman cured, and he thereby confirmed, ere his desire shall be accomplished; that God in all may be glorified.
Which was diseased, &c. ] And had lavished money out of the bag for help, but had had none, Isaiah 46:6 . Nay, she had suffered many things of the physicians, who had well nigh officiously killed her, and had utterly exhausted her. a This made Chaucer take for his motto, Farewell, doctor; and the Emperor Adrian cry out upon his deathbed, Many physicians have killed the king, πολλοι ιατροι κατεκτειναν τον βασιλεα . Dio.
Came behind him ] Either as abashed of her blushful disease, or because she could not come before him for the crowd, &c.
a Medici persaepe aegros officiose occidunt.
21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.
Ver. 21. If I may but touch his garment ] This was a glorious faith of hers, and not much inferior to that of the centurion. Let us in like sort, when we feel the bloody flux of natural filth issuing out at our eyes, mouths, hands, and other parts, repair to Christ, and touch him by faith; so shall we feel that there goes a virtue out from him, to heal the soul. As fishes, when they are hurt, heal themselves again by touching the tench, a finding the slime of his body to be a sovereign salve; so must we, when wounded with sin, have recourse to Christ, and our faith will make us whole every whit.
a A thick-bodied freshwater fish, Tinca vulgaris, allied to the carp, inhabiting still and deep waters ŒD
22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
Ver. 22. But Jesus turned him about ] To take notice of it himself, and to notify it to others. For these reasons, saith Chrysostom: 1. To free the woman from fear, lest her conscience should call her recreant, as one that had stole a cure. 2. To make up in her what was wanting to her faith, if she should have any such thought to do Song of Solomon 3:1-11 . To manifest her faith, for other men’s imitation. 4. To make known his omniscience, and so his Divinity. 5. To confirm the ruler’s faith, and so fit him for further mercy. 6. To teach her and us that not his garment, but himself, did the cure. This makes against that Popish foppery in worshipping relics, as the clothes wherein Christ’s body was enwrapped, of the virtue whereof Paleottus, Archbishop of Bonony, set forth a great book, A. D. 1617.
And the woman was made whole, &c. ] That fable recorded by Eusebius is scarcely worth relating; that this woman should set up at her door in Caesarea Philippi a statue of brass in honour of our Saviour; near whereto grew a certain herb good for all diseases. Irenaeus (far more ancient than Eusebius) reproveth the heretics, called Gnostici, for that they carried about them the image of Christ made in Pilate’s time, after his own proportion; using also for declaration of their affection towards it to set garlands upon the head of it. And in Epiphanius’s time (who lived soon after Eusebius) images and statues of Christ or the saints were abhorred by Christians. The Turks will not endure any image, no not upon their coin, because of the second commandment; and the Papists, for their imagery, they call idolaters.
23 And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,
Ver. 23. He saw the minstrels, &c. ] A heathenish custom crept in among the Jews, as many the like are now among the Papists, who are therefore called heathens,Revelation 11:2; Revelation 11:2 .
" Cantabat moestis tibia funeribus. " Ovid.
The maid is not dead, but sleepeth ] Death is but a sleep to the saints; a and as the sleep of the labouring man is sweet unto him, so is death most welcome to such as have most suffered. See Trapp on " Joh 11:11 "
a Plato Mortem ait esse οιον υπνον , in Apol. Socr.
24 He said unto them, Give place: for the maid is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn.
Ver. 24. And they laughed him to scorn ] This is daily done by the mad world, quite beside itself in point of salvation. They hear and jeer. God will laugh at their destruction.
25 But when the people were put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand, and the maid arose.
Ver. 25. He took her by the hand ] As it were to awaken her out of a deep sleep. He could have raised her without either coming down or laying his hands upon her. But as Jairus desired him, so he did for him. Who now shall dare to despise the day of small things?Zechariah 4:10; Zechariah 4:10 .
26 And the fame hereof went abroad into all that land.
Ver. 26. And the fame hereof went abroad ] Though Christ had straitly charged the contrary, Mark 5:43 , lest, being known too soon, he should stand in the way of his own design. Howbeit, when he drew nigh to his end, he raised the young man of Nain, and his friend Lazarus, in the open view of the people.
27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.
Ver. 27. Two blind men followed him ] Misery makes unity. These two could the better agree to go together, because their cases were alike. Hooper and Ridley left jarring when they both were in prison.
Thou Son of David ] Thou that art a true man, as we are; and seemest to say unto us, as David did to the men of Judah, "Ye are my brethren, my bone and my flesh," 2 Samuel 19:12 ; "Have mercy on us." So the Church in Isaiah, when invaded and infested by the Assyrian, cries out, "The stretching out of his wings doth fill thy land, O Immanuel:" q.d. O thou that art also a man, and hast the heart of a man in thee, see to our safety. Necessity makes men beg many times of mere strangers, yea, of deadly enemies; as the Israelites did of the Egyptians, as Benhadad did of Ahab, and as the poor Jews of the Assyrians, Lamentations 5:6 . How much more boldly should we beg of Christ, our near kinsman! &c.
28 And when he was come into the house, the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord.
Ver. 28. And when he was come into the house ] For till then he seemed to slight them, that they might the more earnestly importune him. He knows how to commend his benefits to us. Cito data cito vilescunt. Things lightly come by are lightly set by.
29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you.
Ver. 29. According to your faith ] Questionless (saith a famous divine) justifying faith is not beneath miraculous, in the sphere of its own activity, and where it hath warrant of God’s word,
30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus straitly charged them, saying, See that no man know it .
Ver. 30. Straitly charged them, saying, See that no man, &c. ] He threatened them terribly a (as the word here used importeth) should they but open their mouths to make it known to any man. Some do all for a name: Christ (besides the veil of his humanity) says, nay, thunders, "See ye tell no man." How far are those spirits from this which care only to be seen, and wish only to dazzle others’ eyes with admiration, not caring for unknown riches!
a εγεβριμησατο , cum vehementi et fremente comminatione interdixit.
31 But they, when they were departed, spread abroad his fame in all that country.
Ver. 31. Spread abroad his fame ] Wherein they sinned, no doubt, though of never so good an intention. God’s commandments must be kept as the apple of our eye; for else we charge him with folly.
32 As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.
Ver. 32. A dumb man possessed with a devil ] Satan still gags many to this day, that they cannot pray to God, profess his name, utter themselves to the good of others. The spirit of faith is no indweller, but sits in the door of the lips. "I believed, therefore have I spoken," 2 Corinthians 4:13 . The Carthusian monks speak together but once a week. It is a shame to Christians that they speak not often one to another, Malachi 3:16 , that they come together, not for the better, but for the worse, 1 Corinthians 11:17 . Inveniar sane superbus, &c., modo impii silentii non arguar, dum Dominus patitur, saith Luther ( Epist. ad Staup. ): Better I be counted proud than be sinfully silent.
33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel.
Ver. 33. The multitudes marvelled, &c. ] Others censured, a third sort tempted, a fourth applauded. What can we do, to undergo one opinion to avoid variety of constructions?
34 But the Pharisees said, He casteth out devils through the prince of the devils.
Ver. 34. Through the prince of devils ] There is a principal devil, then, prince of this world: and there are princes and principal spirits in countries and nations under him, Daniel 10:13 . We read of the Prince of Persia hindering the matters of the Church. See Trapp on " Mat 12:24 "
35 And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
Ver. 35. And Jesus went about, &c. ] He was not by any affronts or hard usages of the enemy disheartened from well doing; but as the moon continues her course, though dogs bark and leap at her, En peragit cursus surda Diana suos; so did he, and so must we. "For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds," Hebrews 12:3 . Convitia spreta exolescunt. The attacks are ignored. (Tacitus.)
36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
Ver. 36. He was moved with compassion ] His eye so affected his heart, that it even yearned ( εσπλαγχνισθη ) towards these silly souls. Ingemuit miserans graviter dextramque tetendit. (Virgil.)
As sheep without a shepherd ] Their pastors were impostors, as Bernard complained of those in his time their Episcopi; Aposcopi (as Espencaeus hath it), their overseers, attendants. That judgment was now befallen them that Moses of old deprecated, Numbers 27:17 . And this troubled our Saviour more than their bodily bondage to the Romans, which yet was very grievous.
37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few;
Ver. 37. But the labourers few ] Such as will labour to lassitude ( εργαται ) in preaching Christ crucified; few such.
38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Ver. 38. Labourers into his harvest ] Harvestmen, of all others, have the hardest labour, a sore sweating labour. So have faithful ministers. "The householder hath somewhat to do," said Luther, "the magistrate more, but the minister most of all. He labours more in a day many times, than the husbandman doth in a month. The sweat of the brow is nothing to that of the brain; the former furthers health, the latter impairs it, wearying and wearing out the body: wasting the vitals, and hastening old age and untimely death:" Labores Ecclesiastici alterani corpus, et tanquam ex imis medullis succum ex hauriunt, senium mortemque accelerant.