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Wednesday, May 29th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Luke 4

McGarvey's Commentaries on Selected BooksMcGarvey'S Commentaries

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Verses 1-13

aMATT. IV. 1-11; bMARK I. 12, 13; cLUKE IV. 1-13.

c1 And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, b12 And straightway the Spirit driveth him forth cand a1 Then [Just after his baptism, with the glow of the descended Spirit still upon him, and the commending voice of the Father still ringing in his ears, Jesus is rushed into the suffering of temptation. Thus abrupt and violent are the changes of life. The spiritually exalted may expect these sharp contrasts. After being in the third heaven, Paul had a messenger of Satan to buffet him-- 2 Corinthians 12:7] was Jesus led up [The two expressions "driveth" and "led up" show that Jesus was drawn to the wilderness by an irresistible impulse, and did not go hither of his own volition ( Ezekiel 40:2). He was brought into temptation, but did not seek it. He was led of God into temptation, but was not tempted of God. God [87] may bring us into temptation ( Matthew 6:13, Matthew 26:41, Job 1:12, Job 2:6), and may make temptation a blessing unto us, tempering it to our strength, and making us stronger by the victory over it ( 1 Corinthians 10:13, James 1:2, James 1:12), but God himself never tempts us-- James 1:13] of the Spirit into the wilderness [The wilderness sets in back of Jericho and extends thence along the whole western shore of the Dead Sea. The northern end of this region is in full view from the Jordan as one looks westward, and a more desolate and forbidding landscape it would be hard to find. It is vain to locate the temptation in any particular part of it. Jesus may have wandered about over nearly all of it] to be tempted of the devil [As a second David, Jesus went forth to meet that Goliath who had so long vaunted himself against all who sought to serve God, and had as yet found none to vanquish him. The account of the temptation must have been given to the disciples by Jesus himself, and as it pleased him to give it to us as an actual history of real facts, it behooves us to accept it without being presumptuously inquisitive. Of course, it has supernatural features, but the supernatural confronts us all through the life of Jesus, so there is nothing strange about it here. Jesus had taken upon him our flesh, and hence he could be tempted, with a possibility of falling. But his divinity insured his victory over temptation. He became like us in ability to fall, that he might make us like unto himself in power to resist. It behooved him to be tempted, and thus sharing our nature with its weakness and temptation he might bring us to share his nature with its strength and sinlessness ( Hebrews 2:17, Hebrews 2:18, Hebrews 4:15, Hebrews 4:16). Sinlessness does not preclude temptation, else Adam could not have been tempted, nor could Satan himself have fallen. Moreover, temptation is in so sense sin. It is the yielding of the will to temptation which constitutes sin. The spiritual history of humanity revolves around two persons; namely, the first and the second Adam. The temptation of Christ was as real as that of Adam. He had taken upon himself our temptable nature ( Philippians 2:7, Philippians 2:8), and he was tempted not as a private soldier, but as the second Adam, the Captain of [88] our salvation ( Hebrews 2:10-18). The failure of the first Adam brought sorrow, darkness and death; the success of the second Adam brought joy, light and immortality. One of the tenets of modern infidelity is the denial of the personality of the devil. It is asserted that the idea of a devil was not known to the early Hebrews, but was borrow from Persian dualism. The Persians held that there were two contending deities--a good one and a bad one; and the Hebrews, according to these critics, learned this doctrine from the Persians during the days of their Babylonian captivity, and modified it so that the god of evil became the devil. But such a theory is based upon the absurd notion that all the books of the Old Testament were written after the return of the Jews from Babylon. Their theory requires this notion, for the books of Genesis and Job, which were written centuries before the captivity, both show a knowledge of this being, and the first connects him and his work with the very beginning of human history. Those who believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures must also believe in the personality of the devil, for they plainly teach it. The devil is a fallen angel ( Judges 1:6, 2 Peter 2:4). This doctrine need startle no one, for as there are good and bad spirits in the body, so there are good and bad spirits out of the body. Since God permits sinful spirits in the body, why should he not also permit them out of the body? If there can be a Herod, a Nero, a Judas, among men, why may there not be a Satan among evil spirits? Being but an angel, Satan is neither omnipresent, omniscient nor omnipotent. He is only a tolerated rebel, as we are tolerated rebels. He was the first sinner ( 1 John 3:8), and was the originator of sin ( John 8:44). He is the perpetual tempter of mankind ( Revelation 20:2, Revelation 20:8), but he shall be conquered by the Redeemer ( John 12:31, Revelation 12:9), and may be conquered by us also through the grace of Christ ( 1 Peter 5:8, 1 Peter 5:9, James 4:7); but is, nevertheless, dangerous ( Revelation 2:10, Revelation 3:9). Jesus, therefore, teaches us to pray for deliverance from him ( Matthew 6:13, R.V.). Jesus will destroy the works of Satan ( 1 John 3:8), and Satan himself shall suffer eternal punishment [89] ( Revelation 20:10). There is but one devil in the spirit world. The word which our King James Version translates "devils" should be translated "demons." The word "devil" means false accuser or slanderer, and the word in the plural is twice applied, metaphorically, to men and women ( 2 Timothy 3:3, 1 Timothy 3:11). The devil is called slanderer because he speaks against men ( Revelation 12:10-12) and against God ( Genesis 3:1-5). The word "devil" is Greek. The word "Satan" is Hebrew, and means adversary ( Job 2:1). Satan is referred to under many other terms, such as Beelzebub ( Matthew 12:24); serpent ( Revelation 12:9); prince of the powers of the air ( Ephesians 2:2); Abaddon (Hebrew) and Apollyon (Greek), meaning destroyer ( Revelation 9:11); Belial, meaning good for nothing ( 2 Corinthians 6:15); murderer and liar ( John 8:44); prince of this world ( John 12:31); god of this world ( 2 Corinthians 4:4); and the dragon ( Revelation 12:7). These terms are always used in the Bible to designate an actual person; they are never used merely to personify evil. The devil may have appeared to Jesus in bodily form, or he may have come insensibly as he does to us. Our Lord’s temptation makes the personality of the tempter essential, else Christ’s own heart must have suggested evil to him, which is incompatible with his perfect holiness.] b13 And he was cled in the Spirit [that is, under the power of the Spirit] in the wilderness [Isolation from humanity is no security from temptation. In fact, our present passage of Scripture shows that it is highly favorable to temptation. The experience of all hermits shows that loneliness is the mother of a multitude of evil desires] 2 during forty days [Matthew speaks of the temptation as coming "after" forty days. Evidently Mark and Luke regard the long fast as part of the process of temptation, seeing that without it the first temptation would have been without force. There is no evidence of any other specific temptations before the three], being tempted of bSatan; cthe devil, band he was with the wild beasts [A graphic touch, showing the dreariness and desolation of the wilderness, and indicating its peril. Lions, [90] wolves, leopards and serpents have been found in the Judæan wilderness]; cAnd he did eat nothing [It used to be thought that a forty days’ absolute fast was a practical impossibility, and Luke’s words were therefore modified to mean that he ate very little. But as a forty days’ fast has been safely accomplished in modern times, and as it was Jesus who fasted, we see no reason why we should not take Luke’s statement literally, as indicating an absolute fast] in those days: and when they were completed. a2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights [A forty days’ fast was accomplished by Moses ( Exodus 34:28, Deuteronomy 9:18), and by Elijah ( 1 Kings 19:8), and it is a significant fact in this connection that these two men appeared with Christ at his transfiguration ( Matthew 17:3). Those who share Christ’s sufferings shall also share his glorification ( Romans 8:17, 2 Timothy 2:11, 2 Timothy 2:12). The forty days’ fast became a basis for the temptation. We are told that temptation results from the excitement of desire ( James 1:14), and, as a rule, the greater the desire the greater the temptation. Viewed from this standpoint the temptation of the second Adam greatly exceeded in strength that of the first, for Adam abstained as to a particular fruit, but Christ fasted as to all things edible], he afterward hungered. [Here, for the first time, our Lord is shown as sharing our physical needs. We should note for our comfort that one may lack bread and suffer want, and still be infinitely beloved in heaven.] 3 And the tempter came [Satan is pre-eminently the tempter, for other tempters are his agents. He may possibly have appeared as an angel of light ( 2 Corinthians 11:14), but the purpose of his coming is more important than the manner of it. He came to produce sin in Jesus, for sin would render him forever incapable of becoming our Saviour--a sacrifice for the sins of others] c3 And the devil said unto him, If thou art the Son of God, command this stone that it {acommand that these stones} become bread. [The devil’s "if" strikes at the faith of Christ, and faith is the bond of union and accord between man and God. The main sin of this temptation was therefore distrust, though [91] it had other sinful phases. The Father’s voice had just declared the Sonship of Jesus, and Satan here boldly questions the truth of God’s words, just as he did in the beginning ( Genesis 3:3-5). The temptation smacks of curiosity, and curiosity is the mother of many sins. Though Satan so glibly questioned the divinity of Christ, his kingdom soon began to feel the power of that divinity ( Luke 4:34-41), and shall continue to feel it until his kingdom is destroyed ( Hebrews 2:14, 1 John 3:8). This temptation appealed to the present appetite, the impulse of the moment, as many of our temptations do. It has been quaintly said of the tempter that "he had sped so successfully to his own mind by a temptation about a matter of eating with the first Adam, that he practiced the old manner of trading with the second." This first temptation is still Satan’s favorite with the poor. He suggests to them that if they were really the beloved objects of God’s care, their condition would be otherwise. We should note that Jesus wrought no selfish miracle. Such an act would have been contrary to all Scripture precedent. Paul did not heal himself ( 1 Corinthians 12:7-9, Galatians 4:13, Colossians 4:14), nor Epaphroditus, ( Philippians 2:25-27), nor Trophimus ( 2 Timothy 4:20). Denying himself the right to make bread in the wilderness, Christ freely used his miraculous power to feed others in the desert ( Matthew 14:15-21), and merited as just praise those words which were meant as a bitter taunt-- Matthew 27:42.] 4 But he {c4 And Jesus} aanswered and said, cunto him, It is written [Jesus quotes Deuteronomy 8:3. It is a saying relative to the times when Israel was sustained by manna in the wilderness. The case of Jesus was now similar to that of Israel. He was in a foodless wilderness, but he trusted that as God had provided for Israel in its helplessness, so would he now provide for him. Israel sinned by doubt and murmuring, and proposing to obtain bread in its own way--that is, by returning to Egypt ( Exodus 16:1-9). Jesus avoided a like sin. We should note the use which our Lord made of Scripture: in his hour of trial he did not look to visions and voices and special revelation for guidance, but used the written Word as the lamp [92] for his feet ( Psalms 119:105); in the conflict of temptation he did not defend himself by his own divine wisdom, but used that wisdom which God had revealed to all Israel through his prophets. Jesus fought as a man ( Philippians 2:6, Philippians 2:7), and used that weapon which, as God, he had given to man ( Ephesians 6:17). Jesus used the Scripture as of final, argument-ending authority. Eve also started with "God hath said" ( Genesis 3:3); but she was not constant in her adherence to God’s word. Jesus permitted Satan neither to question nor pervert the Scripture], Man [In using the word "man" Jesus takes his stand with us as a human being] shall not live by bread alone [Called out of Egypt as God’s Son ( Matthew 2:15), Jesus could well expect that he would be fed with manna after his forty days’ fast. He trusted that God could furnish a table in the wilderness ( Psalms 78:19). We, too, have abundant reason for a like trust. God gave us our lives, and gave his Son to redeem them from sin. He may let us suffer, but we can not perish is we trust him. Let us live by his word rather than by bread. It is better to die for righteousness than to live by sin. God fed Israel with supernatural bread, to show the people that they lived thus, and not by what they were pleased to call natural means. The stomach is a useful agent, but it is not the source of life, nor even the life sustainer. Those who think that the securing of bread is the first essential to the sustaining of life, will fail to seek any diviner food, and so will eventually starve with hunger--soul hunger.] abut by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God [To satisfy our sense of duty is often more pleasant than to appease the pangs of hunger ( John 4:32-34, Job 23:12, Jeremiah 15:16). The trust of Jesus that God would speak in his behalf and save him, was like that of Job ( Job 13:15). God can sustain our lives without food if he chooses. We shall live if God wills it, bread or no bread; and we shall likewise die at his word ( Matthew 6:25, John 6:47-58, Acts 17:28). God can support our lives independent of our body-- Matthew 10:28.] 5 Then the devil taketh him [Matthew emphasizes the [93] compulsory companionship of Satan. Jesus was in the hands of Satan as was Job ( Job 2:5, Job 2:6); but in Jesus’ case Satan had the power of life and death, and he eventually took Jesus to the cross and slew him there] into the holy city [A common name for Jerusalem. The inscription on Jewish coins was "Jerusalem the Holy." Arabs to-day call it "el Kuds," "the Holy." The Holy City did not exclude the tempter nor temptations. The church may be the scene of man’s sorest trial to resist wrong. But in the Holy City which is to come there will be no temptation]; c9 And he led him to Jerusalem, aand set him [The two verbs "taketh" and "setting" imply that Satan exercised a control over the bodily person of our Lord] on the pinnacle of the temple [It is not known exactly what spot is indicated by the word "pinnacle." Hence three places have been contended for the proper locality: 1. The apex of the temple structure itself. 2. The top of Solomon’s porch. 3. The top of Herod’s royal portico. As to the temple itself, Josephus tells us that its roof was covered with spikes of gold, to prevent even birds from alighting upon it, and, if so, men could not stand upon it. Solomon’s porch, or the eastern portico, faced the Mount of Olives, and has been fixed upon by tradition as the place from which James, the Lord’s brother, was hurled. The royal portico of Herod was at the southeast corner of the temple enclosure, and overlooked the valley of Kidron. Here was then, and is yet, the greatest height about the temple, and it was, therefore, the most suitable place for Satan’s proposal], 6 and saith {csaid} aunto him, If [Godly life rests on faith. The life the devil would have us lead rests on ifs and uncertainties, on doubt and skepticism. We should note that foolish men doubt the divinity of Jesus, but the temptations of our Lord show how positively Satan was convinced of it. The opening scenes of Christ’s ministry are redolent with his divinity. The Baptist asserted his purity and might, the Spirit visibly acknowledged his worthiness, the Father audibly testified to his Sonship, and the devil twice assaulted him as the divine champion] thou art the Son of God, cast thyself down [94] [The first temptation was to under-confidence; the second to over-trust and presumption--two very dangerous conditions of the soul. Men begin by disparagingly doubting that Jesus can save them from their sins, and end by recklessly presuming that he will save them in their sins. Comparing this with Eve’s temptation, we find that she was vainly curious to see if she might be like God ( Genesis 3:5), but Christ resisted such curiously. It is urged by some as to this temptation that there is no hint of vainglory or display, because nothing is said about casting himself down in the presence of the people, and that Jesus was merely taken to the temple because the sacred locality would tend to heighten his trust in the protecting promise which Satan quoted. But this ground is not well taken, for 1. The temple presumes a crowd. 2. We have a right to presume that this temptation would be like others to which Jesus was subjected. He was frequently invited to work miracles to satisfy curiosity, and he invariably refused to do so]: cfrom hence: 10 for it is written [This quotation is taken from Psalms 91:11, Psalms 91:12, and applies to man generally. Note 1. The devil’s head is full of Scripture, but to no profit, for his heart is empty of it. 2. By quoting it he shows a sense of its power which modern rationalism would do well to consider. 3. Satan’s abuse of Scripture did not discourage Christ’s use of it], He shall give his angels charge concerning thee [Regarding Satan’s words as a quotation, we are struck with the fact that his knowledge of this particular passage was based upon his personal experience. He had been confronted by the presence of the guardian angels and had fretted at it ( Job 1:10, 2 Kings 6:8, 2 Kings 6:17, Psalms 34:7, Judges 1:9). As a temptation, Satan’s words appeal to Jesus to be more religious; to put more trust and reliance upon the promises of the Father; and he puts him in the place--the temple--where he might argue that God could least afford to let his promise fail], to guard thee: 11 and, On their hands they shall bear thee up [All who love pomp, display of artistic taste, gaieties of fashion, intoxication of fame, etc., fall by this temptation. Those who truly rest on God’s promises, stand on a sure [95] foundation, but those who rise on bubbles must come down when they burst], Lest haply thou dash thy foot against a stone. 12 And Jesus answering, said unto him, aagain it is written {csaid,} ["Written," "said"; the writings of Scripture are in general the sayings of God. But the Bible is not made up of isolated texts. To get a right understanding we must compare Scripture with Scripture. We could have no higher indorsement of the Old Testament than this use of it by Christ. It was sufficient for him in his temptations, and with the addition of the New Testament, it is sufficient for us in all things-- 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Timothy 3:17, Colossians 3:3-16], aThou shalt not make trial [Make experiment upon God, set traps for him, put one’s self in dangerous situations, hoping thereby to draw forth some show of loving deliverance. Had Jesus cast himself down, he would have demanded of the Father a needless miracle to prove his Sonship, and would thereby have put the love of God to an unnecessary trial. All who jeopardize themselves without any command of God or call of duty, make trial of his love] of the Lord thy God. 8 Again, the devil taketh him [whether naturally or supernaturally, "whether in the body or out of the body" ( 2 Corinthians 12:2-4), we can not tell. But it was a real, practical trial and temptation] unto an exceeding high mountain [it is immaterial which mountain this was; for from no mountain could one see the whole earth with the natural eye], c5 And he led him up, aAnd showeth {cshowed} ahim [It is not said by either evangelist that Jesus saw the kingdoms from the mountain-top, but that Satan showed them to him. From any high Judæan mountain it would be easy for him to locate Rome, Greece, Egypt, Persia and Assyria, and as he pointed out their locality a few brief words of description would picture them to the imagination of Jesus, and cause their glories to move before his eyes. But it is very likely that to this description some sort of supernatural vision was added. It tempted the eye of Jesus as the luscious fruit did the eye of Eve-- Genesis 3:6] all the kingdoms of the world [It tempted Jesus to realize the dreams [96] which the Jewish nation entertained. It was an appeal to him to reveal himself in the fullness of his power and authority as above generals, princes, kings, and all beings of all ages. An appeal to obtain by physical rather than by spiritual power; by the short-cut path of policy rather than by the long road of suffering and martyrdom. Jesus came to obtain the kingdoms of the world. He was born King of the Jews, and confessed himself to be a King before Pilate. All authority is now given to him, and he must reign until he puts all his enemies under his feet, and until all the kingdoms of the world become his kingdom. Satan’s way to obtain this kingdom differed from God’s way. He might obtain it by doing Satan’s will and becoming his worshiper, or by worshiping God and doing his will. Satan would give the speedier possession, but God the more lasting. We also strive for a kingdom; but let us obtain ours as Christ did his], and the glory of them [That is, all their resources as well as their magnificence. Their cities, lands and people, their armies, treasures and temples, etc. Many parents, in encouraging their children to seek earthly glory and distinction, unconsciously assist Satan in urging this temptation]; cin a moment of time [These words strongly indicate that the prospect must have been supernaturally presented. The suddenness of the vision added greatly to the power of the temptation]; a9 and he cthe devil said unto him, To thee will I give all this authority {aAll these things will I give thee,} [From the standpoint of Christ’s humanity, how overwhelming the temptation! It was the world’s honors to one who had for thirty years led the life of a village carpenter; it was the world’s riches to him who had not where to lay his head. From the standpoint of Jesus’ divinity the temptation was repulsive. It was a large offer in the sight of Satan, but a small one in the sight of him who made all the worlds. Such offers are large to the children of the world, but small to those who are by faith joint-heirs with Christ ( Romans 8:17, Philippians 3:7, Philippians 3:8). But the temptation was, nevertheless, very specious and plausible. The power of Jesus linked with that of Satan, and [97] operating through Jewish fanaticism and pagan expectation would, in a few months, have brought the whole earth into one temporal kingdom, with Jesus as its head. But the kingdom of Christ rested upon a surer promise ( Psalms 2:8) than that here given by the "father of lies." God had promised, and, despite the pretensions of Satan, God had not yet retired from the government of the world. It was true that Satan and his emissaries had, by usurpation, gained an apparent possession of the world, but Jesus had right to it as the heir of God ( Matthew 21:33-43). Being stronger than Satan, he had come to regain his kingdom, not by treaty, but by conquest ( Luke 11:19-22). Moreover, he would obtain it as a spiritual and not as a carnal kingdom. Servants of Christ should remember this. Every attempt to establish Messiah’s kingdom as an outward, worldly dominion is an effort to convert the kingdom of heaven into the kingdom of the devil. God’s kingdom can not be secularized. It should be noted also that Satan omits the words "if thou art the Son of God" in this instance, for their presence would have marred the force of the temptation. Note also that this was the only temptation wherein Satan evinced any show of generosity. He is slow to give anything, and most of us sell out to him for nothing-- Isaiah 52:3], and the glory of them: for it hath been delivered unto me [Satan does not claim an absolute but a derivative right, and his claim is not wholly unfounded ( John 12:31, John 14:30, John 16:11). But the kingdom has been delivered unto him by men rather than by God ( Ephesians 2:2). How much more quickly Jesus would have obtained power, had he received it from men by consenting to co-operate with them in their sinful practices as does Satan]; and to whomsoever I will [Not so Jesus. His giving is according to the Father’s will-- Matthew 9:23] I give it [The Emperor Tiberius then held it in the fullest sense ambition ever realized. Yet he was the most miserable and degraded of men. Satan knows how to take full toll for all that he gives.] 7 If [In the temptations Satan uses three "ifs." The first "if" is one of despairing doubt; the second, one of vainglorious speculation; the third, one of moral and [98] spiritual compromise] thou therefore wilt afall down and worship cbefore me [Satan and God each seek the worship of man, but from very different motives. God is holiness and goodness, and we are invited to worship him that we may thereby be induced to grow like him. But Satan seeks worship for vanity’s sake. How vast the vanity which would give so great a reward for one act of worship! Verily the devil is fond of it. He gives nothing unless he obtains it, and all his generosity is selfishness. Worshiping before Satan is the bending of the soul rather than of the body. He holds before each of us some crown of success, and says: "Bend just a little; slightly compromise your conscience. Accept the help of Pharisee and Sadducee, and keep silent as to their sins. Mix a little diplomacy with your righteousness. Stoop just a little. If you do, I will aid you and insure your success. If you do not, I will defeat you and laugh at your failures." It is Satan’s sin to make such suggestions, but it is not our sin until we comply with them. We may more quickly obtain by his wrong way, but more surely by God’s right way. Let no Christian be humiliated or discouraged by gross temptation, since even the Son of God was tempted to worship the devil. What Jesus would not do, the Beast has done, and has received the kingdoms for a season ( Revelation 13:1-9). Note, too, that it is all one whether we worship Satan, or mammon, the gift which he offers-- Matthew 6:24], it shall all be thine. 8 And a10 Then cJesus answered and said {asaith} cunto him, aGet thee hence [The passionate utterance of an aroused soul. Indignation is as divine as patience ( Ephesians 4:26). Satan’s sweetest temptation was most disgusting to Christ, for its sin was so grossly apparent. It ran counter to the very first of the ten commandments. Jesus would give it no room in his thoughts; he spurned it, as being as heinous as the law describes it ( Deuteronomy 5:6-11). Temptation must be peremptorily rejected. Jesus did not stop to weigh the worthiness of Satan; it was sufficient that God only is to be worshiped. As God, Jesus was himself an object of worship; but as man he worshiped the Father privately and publicly. Satan [99] sought to command Jesus, but was commanded of him. Step by step Satan has obeyed this command, and foot after foot, earth’s spiritual world has been yielded by his departing presence], Satan [The first and second temptations were so subtle and covert, and their sin so skillfully disguised, as to suggest that Satan himself was disguised. If so, his pride and vanity, revealed in this last temptation, betrayed him so that Jesus tore off his mask and called him by his right name. When he tempted him in a somewhat similar matter, Jesus called Simon Peter by this name ( Matthew 16:23), but he laid a different command upon each of them. To Satan he spoke as an enemy, saying, "Get thee hence." He ordered Satan from his presence, for he had no proper place there. To Peter he spoke as to a presumptuous disciple, saying, "Get thee behind me." The disciple is a follower of his master, and his proper place is in the rear]: for it is written [Jesus gives a free translation of Deuteronomy 6:13. He substitutes the word "worship" for the word "fears." Fear prohibits false and induces true worship, and loving worship is the source of all acceptable service. The three Scripture quotations used by Jesus are all from the book of Deuteronomy. He struck Satan with that very part of the Spirit’s sword which modern critical infidelity, in the name of religion, and often aided by so-called religious organizations, seeks to persuade us to cast away], Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. [By serving God, Jesus obtained all the earthly authority which the devil offered him, and heavenly authority in addition thereto ( Matthew 28:18). So much better are the rewards of God than Satan’s.] c13 And when the devil had completed every temptation. a11 Then the devil leaveth {che departeth from} him for a season. [See James 4:7. But Satan left to return many times. Here was the first being endowed with human nature who had defeated Satan under all circumstances for thirty years. This was Satan’s first defeat under Christ’s ministry. His last is yet to come, and it shall come by this same Christ. Temptations are battles. They leave the victor stronger and the [100] vanquished weaker. Hence Satan when resisted is represented as fleeing. But he only flees for a season. He never despairs of the conflict so long as man is on the earth. Christ was constantly tempted by the returning devil ( Luke 22:28). As Jesus hung upon the cross, all these three temptations with their accompanying "ifs" were spread out before him-- Matthew 27:39-43] aand behold, angels came [They had probably witnessed the contest. Compare 1 Corinthians 4:9, 1 Timothy 3:16. Angels do not appear again visibly ministering unto Jesus until we find him in Gethsemane ( Luke 22:43). When Satan finally departs from us, we, too, shall find ourselves in the presence of angels-- Luke 16:22] and ministered unto him. [Jesus was probably fed by the angels, as was Elijah by one of them ( 1 Kings 19:4-7). Satan and suffering first, then angels, refreshment and rest. God had indeed given his angels charge, and they came to him who refused to put the father to the test. But they did not succor Jesus during his temptation, for that was to be resisted by himself alone-- Isaiah 63:3.]

[FFG 87-101]

Verse 14


Subdivision C.
cLUKE IV. 14; dJOHN IV. 43-45.

d43 And after the two days [the two days spent among the Samaritans at Sychar] he went forth from thence [from Samaria] into Galilee. c14 And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee [Power of the Spirit here means its manifest use to perform miracles, rather than its presence, influence or direction. Jesus was always under the influence and direction of the Spirit, but did not previously perform miracles]: d44 For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet hath no honor in his own country. [Galilee was Jesus’ "own country" ( John 1:46, John 2:1, John 7:3, John 7:41, John 7:52, Luke 23:5-7). In Judæa he had begun to receive so much honor as to bring him into danger at the hands of the Pharisees: he would receive less in Galilee. John 4:43 resumes the itinerary of John 4:1, John 4:2, after the interlude which tells of the woman at Sychar.] 45 So when he came into Galilee, the Galilæans received him, having seen all the things that he did in Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast. [The works which Jesus had done in Jerusalem were for the most part fruitless as to its inhabitants, but they bore the fruit of faith in far-off Galilee. Of "the many who believed on him" in Jerusalem ( John 2:23), it is highly probable that a large number were Galilæan pilgrims who were then there attending the passover.] [154]

[FFG 154]

Verses 14-15

aMATT. IV. 17; bMARK I. 14, 15; cLUKE IV. 14, 15.

a17 From that time Jesus began to preach [The time here indicated is that of John the Baptist’s imprisonment and Jesus’ return to Galilee. This time marked a new period in the public ministry of Jesus. Hitherto he had taught, but he now began to preach. When the voice of his messenger, John, was silenced, the King became his own herald. Paul quoted the Greeks as saying that preaching was "foolishness," but following the example here set by Christ, he used it as the appointed means for saving souls. While Matthew gives us many of the earlier incidents of Christ’s life, he enters upon the account of his ministry at the time when Jesus returned to Galilee. From that time forward he was probably an eye-witness of the events which he records], bpreaching the gospel of God, 15 And saying, {aand to say,} Repent ye; for bthe time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God {aof Heaven} bis at hand. [Jesus preached the gospel or good news of his own advent and of the setting up of the unending kingdom which should convert the world to righteousness and save the souls of men. We should note that Jesus himself declares that the prophesied time for the setting up of his kingdom was at hand. There were many general prophecies as to this kingdom, but one which especially fixed the time of its coming; viz.: Daniel 9:24-27. This prophecy tells of seventy weeks in which each day is reckoned as a year, so that the seventy weeks equal four hundred and ninety years. They are to be counted from the date of the decree which ordered the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The Messiah, or Prince, was to come at the beginning of the seventieth week, or four hundred and eighty-three years from the date of the decree. Some take the decree referred to as to be that mentioned in Nehemiah 2:7, Nehemiah 2:8. Jahn and Hales fix the date [155] of this decree in the year 444 B. C. According to this, Jesus would have begun his ministry in the year A. D. 39. Others take the decree to be mentioned in Ezra 7:12-26., which was thirteen years earlier, and which would bring the beginning of the ministry of Jesus to the year A. D. 26. But there is much uncertainty about all ancient chronology. Suffice it to say that Daniel told in round numbers how long it would be until Messiah should come, and that Jesus said that this time had been fulfilled. It would have been easy to ascertain the correct chronology at the time when Jesus spoke, and we have no record that any presumed to dispute his statement. Jesus announced the coming of a new dispensation. The King had already come, but the kingdom in its organization and administration was as yet only "at hand." Until the crucifixion of Christ and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost the kingdom could not be fully organized, for the blood shed upon the cross furnished the means for purification which precedes a proper entrance into the kingdom, and the coming of the Holy Spirit afforded that indwelling strength by which those entering are enabled to abide therein]: repent ye, and believe in the gospel. [That is, prepare for the kingdom by repenting of sin, and by believing the glad news that the kingdom was approaching, for the King had come ( John 1:49). The preaching of Jesus at this time did not differ materially from that of John the Baptist, for John preached repentance and the approaching kingdom ( Matthew 3:2), and the gospel ( Luke 3:18), and belief in the King ( John 1:29, John 1:36, John 3:36). The fact that repentance comes before belief in this passage is by some taken as an indication that repentance precedes faith in the process of conversion, but it should be remembered that the preaching here is addressed to the Jewish people, who already believed in God, and in the Scripture as the revelation of God. They were, therefore, required to bring forth fruit worthy of the old faith and the old revelation as preparatory to their reception of the new faith and the new revelation. Thus repentance and faith appears to be the established order for Hebrews ( Hebrews 6:1), and their [156] proselytes ( Acts 20:21), because of the spiritual standpoint or condition in which the gospel found them. But those who have no faith in God can surely have no repentance toward him, for belief precedes every call upon God, whether for mercy, pardon, or any other blessing-- Romans 10:13, Romans 10:14], cand a fame went out concerning him through all the region round about. [The miracles of Jesus and the manner in which he taught caused the people to glorify his name.] 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. [If we may trust later tradition (and the New Testament corroborates it), synagogues were very plentiful in that day, there being at least one in each town. In the synagogue the people met on Sabbath and feast days. The temple at Jerusalem was used for ceremonial worship, but the services in the synagogue were of far different order, the study and application of the Scripture being the principal feature.]

[FFG 155-157]

Verses 16-31

aMATT. XIII. 54-58; bMARK VI. 1-6; cLUKE IV. 16-31.

b1 And he went out from thence [from Capernaum]; and he cometh {aAnd coming} binto his own country; and his disciples follow him. c16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up [As to this city, see Mark 1:39, Mark 3:1, Mark 3:2). For comment on this usage of the synagogue see Isaiah 61:1, Isaiah 61:2; but the quotation embraces other lines from Isaiah.] where it was written, 18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, Because he anointed me to preach good tidings to the poor [Anointing was the method by which prophets, priests, and kings were consecrated or set apart to their several offices. This prophecy says that the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus because he was appointed to do [358] a work of divine helpfulness]: He hath sent me to preach release to the captives, And recovering of sight to the blind, To set at liberty them that are bruised, 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. [The prophecy set forth in physical terms what Jesus should perform in both the physical and spiritual realms. The prophecy closes with a reference to the jubilee year, which, being a time of liberation, forgiveness, and fresh starts, was a type of Christ’s ministry and kingdom.] 20 And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant [This officer corresponded to our sexton. Part of this duty was to take charge of the synagogue rolls], and sat down [Reader and congregation both stood during the reading; then, usually, both sat down to hear the passage explained. They stood out of reverence for God’s word]: and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. [They had heard of his miracles, and were curious to see what he would say and do.] 21 And he began to say unto them, To-day hath this scripture been fulfilled in your ears. 22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the words of grace which proceeded out of his mouth [The word grace refers rather to the manner than to the matter. The speech of Jesus flowed easily, and gracefully]: a54 And he taught {bbegan to teach} athem in their {bthe synagogue}: ainsomuch that bmany hearing him were astonished, aand said, {bsaying,} Whence hath this man these things? athis wisdom, and these might works? band, What is the wisdom that is given unto this man, and what mean such mighty works wrought by his hands? [They admitted his marvelous teaching and miraculous works, but were at a loss to account for them because their extreme familiarity with his humanity made it hard for them to believe in his divinity, by which alone his actions would be rightly explained. Twice in the early part of his ministry Jesus had been at Cana, within a few miles of Nazareth, and turning away from it had gone down to Capernaum. He did not call upon his townsmen to believe in him or his divine mission until [359] the evidences were so full that they could not deny them.] 3 Is not this the carpenter, cJoseph’s son? athe carpenter’s son? bthe son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? ais not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joseph, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all bhere with us? [They brought forth every item of trade and relationship by which they could confirm themselves in their conviction that he was simply a human being like themselves. The question as to his identity, however, suggests that he may have been absent from Nazareth some little time. As to Jesus’ kindred, see 1 Kings 17:8-16, and the second at 2 Kings 5:1-14. Palestine was filled with poor people even in times of plenty, so there must have been large numbers of hungry people during the long-continued period of famine. There has always been a large number of lepers in the land, and surely if any disease ought to prompt a man to lay aside his prejudices that he might obtain healing it was leprosy; but as Nazareth was now rejecting Jesus, so their ancestors had despised the two mighty prophets. Not one of all the hungry would have received bread from Elijah by an act of faith, nor did one of all the lepers ask healing from Elisha.] 28 And they were all filled with wrath in the synagogue, as they heard these things [The Nazarenes were jealous enough of the claims of Jesus when put in their most modest dress; but when Jesus placed himself alongside Elijah and Elisha, and likened his hearers to widows for want, and lepers for uncleanness, they were ready to dash him to pieces]; 29 and they rose up, and cast him forth out of the city, and led him [they evidently had hold of him] unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might throw him down headlong. [Near the eastern end of Nazareth there is a cavern in the rock which forms a precipice down which, if a man were hurled, he would be killed. At the western end there is a perpendicular cliff about forty feet high, with a naked floor of rock at the bottom. To which place they led Jesus we can not decide.] 30 But he passing through the midst of them [361] went his way. [A simple statement of a marvelous fact. Miracles are not explained in the Bible.] b5 And he could there do no mighty work, a58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief. bsave that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief. [As to this statement that Jesus felt surprised, see page 273. "It should also be borne in mind," says Canon Cook, "that surprise at the obtuseness and unreasonableness of sin is constantly attributed to God by the prophets." The statement, therefore, is perfectly consonant with the divinity of Jesus.] c31 And he came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. [We have followed the chronology of Mark, according to which Jesus had already been living in Capernaum for some time. Luke tells of the rejection early in his narrative, and adds this line to show that from the earlier days of his ministry Jesus made Capernaum his headquarters.]

[FFG 358-362]

Verses 31-37

(At Capernaum.)
bMARK I. 21-28; cLUKE . iv. 31-37.

b21 And they [Jesus and the four fishermen whom he called] go into {che came down to} Capernaum, a city of Galilee. [Luke has just spoken of Nazareth, and he uses the expression "down to Capernaum" because the latter was on the lake shore while Nazareth was up in the mountains.] And bstraightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue and taught. {cwas teaching them} b22 And they were astonished at his teaching: for he taught them as having {chis word was with} bauthority, and not as the scribes. [Mark uses the adverb "straightway" and the particle "again" (which has a similar meaning) to depict the rapid movement of Jesus. As used by him in this connection it probably indicates that this was the next Sabbath after the calling of the four fishermen. The astonishment of the people was natural. Not yet recognizing Jesus’ divinity, they could not understand how one so humble could speak with such authority. They contrasted his teaching with that of the scribes. The scribes were learned men who preserved, copied and expounded the law and the tradition ( Ezra 7:6, Ezra 7:12, Nehemiah 8:1, Matthew 15:1-6, Matthew 23:2-4, Mark 12:35, Luke 11:52). They were also called "lawyers" ( Mark 12:28, Matthew 22:35), and "doctors of the law" ( Luke 5:17-21). Though the teaching of Jesus differed from the teaching of the scribes as to matter, the contrast drawn is as to manner. They spoke on the authority of Moses or the elders, but Jesus taught by [166] his own authority. Their way was to quote minute precedents supported by endless authorities. A passage taken from later rabbinical writings starts thus: "Rabbi Zeira says, on the authority of Rabbi Jose bar Rabbi Chanina, and Rabbi Ba or Rabbi Chija on the authority of Rabbi Jochanan," etc. Contrast this with the oft-repeated "I say to you" of Jesus-- Matthew 5:18, Matthew 5:20, Matthew 5:22, Matthew 5:26, Matthew 5:28, Matthew 5:34.] 23 And straightway there was in their {cthe} bsynagogue a man with {cthat had} ban unclean spirit {ca spirit of an unclean demon} [Matthew, Luke and Mark all concur in pronouncing demons unclean; that is, wicked. They thus corrected the prevailing Greek notion that some of the demons were good. The word "demon," as used in our Saviour’s time by both Jews and Greeks, meant the spirits of the departed or the ghosts of dead men, and the teaching of that and prior ages was that such spirits often took possession of living men and controlled them. But whatever these demons were, the Scripture, both by its treatment of them and its words concerning them, clearly indicates that they were immaterial, intelligent beings, which are neither to be confused with maladies and diseases of the body, nor with tropes, metaphors, or other figures of speech. In proof of this we adduce the following Scripture facts: 1, the legislation of the Old Testament proceeded upon the assumption that there was such a thing as a "familiar spirit" ( Leviticus 19:31); 2, in the New Testament they are spoken of as personalities ( James 2:19, Revelation 16:14), Jesus even founding a parable upon their habits ( Luke 11:24-26); 3, Jesus distinguished between them and diseases, and so did his disciples ( Matthew 10:8, Luke 10:17-20); 4, Jesus addressed them as persons, and they answered as such ( Mark 5:8, Mark 9:25); 5, they manifested desires and passions ( Mark 5:12, Mark 5:13); 6, they showed a superhuman knowledge of Jesus ( Matthew 8:29). It would be impossible to regard demon possession as a mere disease without doing violence to the language used in every instance of the expulsion of a demon. The frequency of demoniacal possession in the time of Jesus is probably due to the fact that his advent [167] formed a great crisis in the spiritual order of things. For fuller treatment of the subject, see Millennial Harbinger, 1841, pp. 1 John 3:8). At his second coming the workers themselves shall suffer ( Matthew 25:41). We find that they recognized that the time of this "torment" had not yet come-- Matthew 8:29.] I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. [It is impossible that fever or disease, mental or physical, could give such supernatural knowledge. The demon called Jesus the Holy One, 1, because it was one of his proper Scriptural names ( Psalms 16:10, Acts 3:14); 2, because holiness was that characteristic which involved the ruin of demons as unholy ones--just as light destroys darkness. We should note here the unfruitful knowledge, faith, and confession of demons. They lacked neither knowledge ( Matthew 8:29), nor faith ( James 2:19), nor did they withhold confession; but Jesus received them not. Repentance and willing obedience are as necessary as faith or confession.] 35 Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. [We have in this phrase two personages indicated by the personal pronoun "him"; one of whom is commanded to come out of the other; one of whom is now rebuked and hereafter to be destroyed, the other of whom is delivered. In commanding silence Jesus refused to receive the demon’s testimony. We can see at least three reasons for this: 1, it was not fitting that the fate of the people should rest upon the testimony of liars; 2, because receiving such testimony might have been taken as an indication that Jesus sustained friendly relations to demons--something which the enemies of [168] Christ actually alleged ( Matthew 12:24); 3, the Messiahship of Jesus was to be gradually unfolded, and the time for its public proclamation had not yet come.] And when the demon {bunclean spirit} chad thrown him down in the midst, btearing him and crying with a loud voice, che came out of him, having done him no hurt. [The demon first racked the body of the man with a convulsion, and then, with a cry of rage, came out. All this was permitted that, 1, there might be clear evidence of demoniacal possession; 2, the demon’s malignity might be shown; 3, it might be manifested that the spirit came not out of its own accord, but because compelled thereto by the command of Christ. The cry was, however, a mere impotent expression of anger, for Luke, "the beloved physician," notes that it did the man no hurt.] b27 And they were all amazed, {aamazement came upon all}, binsomuch that they questioned among themselves, cand they spake together, one with another, saying, bWhat thing is this? cWhat is this word? ba new teaching! cfor with authority and power he commandeth beven the unclean spirits, cand they come out. band they obey him. [The power to command disembodied spirits thus amazed the people, because it was more mysterious than the power to work physical miracles. By this miracle Jesus demonstrated his actual possession of the authority which he had just assumed in his teaching.] 28 And the report of him went out straightway {c37 And there went forth a rumor concerning him} beverywhere into all {cevery place of} bthe region of Galilee roundabout. [This fame was occasioned both by the miracle and the teaching. The benevolence and publicity of the miracle, and its power--the power of one mightier than Satan--would cause excitement in any community, in any age. Though this is the first miracle recorded by either Mark or Luke, yet neither asserts that it was the first miracle Jesus wrought, so there is no conflict with John 2:11.] [169]

[FFG 166-169]

Verses 38-41

(At Capernaum.)
aMATT. VIII. 14-17; bMARK I. 29-34; cLUKE IV. 38-41.

c38 And he arose out of the synagogue [where he had just healed the demoniac], b29 And straightway, when they were come out of the synagogue, they came {centered} binto the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. [Peter and Andrew had dwelt at Bethsaida ( John 1:44). They may have removed to Capernaum, or Bethsaida, being near by, may be here counted as a part, or suburb, of Capernaum. Its name does not contradict this view, for it means "house of fishing" or "fishery."] 30 Now Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of {cwas holden with} a great fever. [The Papists, who claim that Peter was the first pope, must confess that he was married at this time, and continued to be so for years afterwards ( 1 Corinthians 9:5). Celibacy is unauthorized by Scripture ( Hebrews 13:4). God says it is not good ( Genesis 2:18). Luke speaks as a physician; for Galen, the father of medicine, divided fevers into little and great.] a14 And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother lying sick of a fever. band straightway they tell him of her: cand they besought him for her. [Their interest in her shows the spirit of love and kindness which pervaded the home.] b31 and he came c39 And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever [Though it was an inanimate force, it was still subject to rebuke, as were the winds and waves of Galilee-- Matthew 8:26]; a15 And he touched her hand, band took her by the hand, and raised her up [thus showing the miracle came from him, and that he felt a tender interest in the sufferer]; cand it {bthe fever} cleft her: and immediately she rose up {aarose,} band she ministered unto them. {ahim.} [Her complete recovery emphasized the miracle. Such fevers invariably leave the patient weak, [170] and the period of convalescence is long and trying, and often full of danger. She showed her gratitude by her ministry.] b32 And at even, awhen even was come, cwhen the sun was setting, {bdid set,} call they that had any sick with divers diseases, brought them unto him; bthey brought unto him all that were sick, and them {amany} bthat were possessed with demons. [Their delay till sundown was unquestionably caused by the traditional law of the Sabbath which forbade men to carry any burden on that day ( John 5:10). The Sabbath closed at sundown ( Leviticus 23:32). The distinction is drawn between the sick and the demon-possessed. Lightfoot gives two reasons why demoniacal possession was so common at that time, viz.: 1, the intense wickedness of the nation; 2, the addiction of the nation to magic, whereby the people invited evil spirits to be familiar with them.] cand he laid his hands on every one of them, aand he cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all cthem athat were sick: 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet [ Isaiah 53:4], saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our diseases. [Isaiah’s vision is progressive; he sees, first, a man of sorrows; second, a man sorrowful because he bore the sickness and sorrows of others; third, a man who also bore sin, and healed the souls of others by so doing. Such was the order of Christ’s life. His early years were spent in poverty and obscurity; his days of ministry in bearing, by sympathy and compassion, the sicknesses and sorrows of others ( John 11:35, Mark 14:34); and in the hour of his crucifixion, he became the world’s sin-bearer-- John 1:29, 1 Peter 2:24.] b33 And all the city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many demons; c41 And demons also came out from many, crying out, and saying, Thou art the Son of God. And rebuking them, he suffered them {bthe demons} cnot to speak, bbecause they knew him. cthat he was Christ. [Those who are disposed to frequent spiritual seances and to seek information from mediums should remember that the Son of God permitted his disciples to receive no information from such sources. He forbade demons to speak in the presence of his own, even on the most important of all topics.] [171]

[FFG 169-170]

Verses 42-44

aMATT. IV. 23-25; bMARK I. 35-39; cLUKE IV. 42-44.

b35 And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose up went out [i. e., from the house of Simon Peter], and departed into a desert place, and there prayed. [Though Palestine was densely populated, its people were all gathered into towns, so that it was usually easy to find solitude outside the city limits. A ravine near Capernaum, called the Vale of Doves, would afford such solitude. Jesus taught ( Matthew 6:6) and practiced solitary prayer. We can commune with God better when alone than when in the company of even our dearest friends. It is a mistaken notion that one can pray equally well at all times and in all places. Jesus being in all things like men, except that he was sinless ( Hebrews 2:17), must have found prayer a real necessity. He prayed as a human being. Several reasons for this season of prayer are suggested, from which we select two: 1. It was a safeguard against the temptation to vainglory induced by the unbounded admiration and praise of the multitude whom he had just healed. 2. It was a fitting preparation on the eve of his departure on his first missionary tour.] c42 And when it was day, he came out and went into a desert place. [Mark has in mind the season when Jesus sought the Father in prayer, and so he tells us it was "a great while before day." Luke has in mind the hour when Jesus faced and spoke to the multitude, so he says, "When it was day."] b36 And Simon. [As head of the house which Jesus had just left, Simon naturally acted as leader and guide to the party which sought Jesus] and they that were with him [they who were stopping in Simon’s house; viz.: Andrew, James, and John] followed after him [172] [literally, "pursued after him." Xenophon uses this word to signify the close pursuit of an enemy in war. Simon had no hesitancy in obtruding on the retirement of the Master. This rushing after Jesus in hot haste accorded with his impulsive nature. The excited interest of the people seemed to the disciples of Jesus to offer golden opportunities, and they could not comprehend his apparent indifference to it]; 37 and they found him, and say unto him, All are seeking thee. [The disciples saw a multitude seeking Jesus for various causes: some to hear, some for excitement, some for curiosity. To satisfy the people seemed to them to be Christ’s first duty. Jesus understood his work better than they. He never encouraged those who sought through mere curiosity or admiration ( John 6:27). Capernaum accepted the benefit of his miracles, but rejected his call to repentance-- Matthew 11:23.] 38 And he saith unto them, Let us go elsewhere into the next towns [the other villages of Galilee], that I may preach there also; for to this end came I forth. [I. e., I came forth from the Father ( John 16:28) to make and preach a gospel. His disciples failed to understand his mission. Afterwards preaching was with the apostles the all-important duty-- Acts 6:2, 1 Corinthians 1:17.] cand the multitudes sought him after him, and came unto him, and would have stayed him, that he should not go from them. [They would have selfishly kept his blessed ministries for their own exclusive enjoyment.] 43 But he said unto them, I must preach the good tidings of the kingdom of God to the other cities also: for therefore was I sent. [Jesus sought to arouse the entire nation. That which the disciples regarded as a large work in Capernaum was consequently in his sight a very small one. Those who understand that it is God’s will and wish to save every man that lives upon the earth will not be overelated by a successful revival in some small corner of the great field of labor.] b39 And he aJesus went about in all Gailiee [The extreme length of Galilee was about sixty-three miles, and its extreme width about thirty-three miles. Its average [173] dimensions were about fifty by twenty-five miles. It contained, according to Josephus, two hundred and forty towns and villages. Its population at that time is estimated at about three millions. Lewin calculates that this circuit of Galilee must have occupied four or five months. The verses of this paragraph are, therefore, a summary of the work and influence of Jesus during the earlier part of his ministry. They are a general statement, the details of which are given in the subsequent chapters of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke--the Gospel of John dealing more particularly with the work in Judæa], binto their synagogues throughout all Galilee, ateaching in their synagogues [The word "synagogue" is compounded of the two Greek words "sun," together, and "ago," to collect. It is, therefore, equivalent to our English word "meeting-house." Tradition and the Targums say that these Jewish houses of worship existed from the earliest times. In proof of this assertion Deuteronomy 31:11, Psalms 74:8 are cited. But the citations are insufficient, that in Deuteronomy not being in point, and the seventy-fourth Psalm being probably written after the Babylonian captivity. It better accords with history to believe that the synagogue originated during the Babylonian captivity, and was brought into the motherland by the returning exiles. Certain it is that the synagogue only came into historic prominence after the books of the Old Testament were written. At the time of our Saviour’s ministry synagogues were scattered all over Palestine, and also over all quarters of the earth whither the Jews had been dispersed. Synagogues were found in very small villages, for wherever ten "men of leisure," willing and able to devote themselves to the service of the synagogue, were found, a synagogue might be erected. In the synagogues the people met together on the Sabbaths to pray, and to listen to the reading of the portions of the Old Testament, and also to hear such instruction or exhortation as might be furnished. With the permission of the president of the synagogue any one who was fitted might deliver an address. Thus the synagogues furnished Jesus (and in later times his disciples also) with a congregation [174] and a suitable place for preaching. We find that on week days Jesus often preached in the open air. But the synagogues are thus particularly mentioned, probably, because in them were held the most important services, because they were necessary during the rainy and cold season, and because their use shows that as yet the Jewish rulers had not so prejudiced the public mind as to exclude Jesus from the houses of worship], and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, band casting out demons [Mark singles out this kind of miracle as most striking and wonderful], aand healing all manner of disease and all manner of sickness among the people. 24 And the report of him went forth into all Syria [caravans passing through Galilee back and forth between the Mediterranean seaports on the west and the Persian cities on the east, and between Damascus on the north and Egypt on the south, would carry the reports concerning Jesus far and wide]: and they brought unto him all that were sick, holden with divers diseases and torments, possessed with demons, and epileptic, and palsied; and he healed them. [Thus, by his actions, Jesus showed that the kingdom of God had come. The wonders of Moses were mostly miracles of judgment, those of Jesus were acts of compassion. The diseases here enumerated are still among the most difficult for physicians to handle. The term "palsy" included all forms of paralysis, catalepsy, and cramps.] 25 And there followed him great multitudes [these popular demonstration, no doubt, intensified the erroneous notion of his disciples that the kingdom of Jesus was to be one of worldly grandeur] from Galilee and Decapolis [Decapolis is formed from the two Greek words "deka," ten, and "polis," city. As a geographical term, Decapolis refers to that part of Syria lying east, southeast, and south of the Lake of Galilee. There is some doubt as to which were the ten cities named, for there seem at times to have been fourteen of them. Those commonly reckoned are 1. Damascus. 2. Philadelphia. 3. Raphana. 4. Sycthopolis. 5. Gadara. 6. Hyppos. 7. Dion. 8. Pella. 9. Galas. 10. Kanatha. The [175] other four are Abila and Kanata (distinct from Kanatha), Cæsarea Philippi, and Gergesa. None of these were in Galilee save Sycthopolis. According to Ritter, these cities were colonized principally by veterans from the army of Alexander the Great. A reminiscence of their Macedonian origin is found in the fact that there was a city named Pella in Macedonia. These cities are said to have been formed into a confederacy by Pompey the Great. In the time of Jesus they were chiefly inhabited by Greeks or heathens, and not by Jews. Josephus expressly calls Gadara and Hyppos Greek cities] and Jerusalem and Judæa and from beyond the Jordan. [The land beyond Jordan was called Peræa, which means "beyond." According to Josephus, it included territory between the cities of Pella on the north and Machærus on the south. That is to say, its northern boundary began on the Jordan opposite the southern line of Galilee, and its southern boundary was at Moab, about the middle of the east shore of the Dead Sea.] c44 And he was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.

[FFG 172-176]

Bibliographical Information
McGarvey, J. W. "Commentary on Luke 4". "J. W. McGarvey's Original Commentary on Acts". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/oca/luke-4.html. Transylvania Printing and Publishing Co. Lexington, KY. 1872.
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