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Bible Commentaries
Luke 9

McGarvey's Commentaries on Selected BooksMcGarvey'S Commentaries

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Verses 1-6

aMATT. IX. 35-38; X. 1, 5-42; XI. 1; bMARK VI. 6-13; cLUKE IX. 1-6.

b6 And he aJesus bwent about aall the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner sickness and all manner of sickness. [In the first circuit of Galilee some of the twelve accompanied Jesus as disciples (see Mark 16:15). As Jesus himself was sent only to the Jews, so during his days on earth he sent his disciples only to them.] 7 As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. [It was set up about a year later, on the day of Pentecost, under the direction of the Holy Spirit-- Acts 2:1-4.] 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons: freely ye received, freely give. [Here is the true rule of giving. Paul repeats it at 1 Corinthians 16:2. If we would obey this rule, we would make this a happy world.] c3 And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, a9 Get you no gold, nor silver, cnor money; anor brass in your purses; cneither staff, nor wallet, afor your journey, cnor bread, neither have two coats. anor shoes, nor staff: for the workman is worthy of his food. [The prohibition is against securing these things before starting, and at their own expense. It is not that they would have no need for the articles mentioned, but that "the laborer is worthy of his food," and they were to depend on the people for whose benefit they labored, to furnish what they might need. This passage is alluded to by Paul ( 1 Corinthians 9:14). To rightly understand this prohibition we must remember that the apostles were to make but a brief tour of a few weeks, and that it was among their own countrymen, among a people habitually given to hospitality; moreover, that the apostles were imbued with powers which would win for them the respect of the religious and the gratitude of the well-to-do. The special and temporary commission was, therefore, never intended as a rule under which we are to act in preaching the gospel in other ages and in other lands.] b10 And he said unto them a11 And into whatsoever city or village ye shall enter, search out who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go forth. [The customs of the East gave rise to this rule. The ceremonies and forms with which a guest was received were tedious and time-consuming vanities, while the mission of the apostles required haste.] 12 And as ye enter [364] come into an house, salute it. 13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. [The form of salutation on entering a house was, "Peace to this house." The apostles are told to salute each house, and are assured that the peace prayed for shall return to them if the house is not worthy; that is, they shall receive, in this case, the blessing pronounced on the house.] bWheresoever ye enter into a house, there abide till ye depart thence. {c4 And into whatsoever house ye enter, there abide, and thence depart.} b11 And whatsoever place shall not receive you, and they hear you not [Jesus here warns them that their experiences would not always be pleasant], a14 And whosoever cas many as ashall creceive you not, anor hear your words, bas ye go forth thence, aout of that house or that city [The word "house" indicates a partial and the word "city" a complete rejection], {cwhen you depart from that city,} bshake off the dust that is under your feet {aof your feet.} cfrom your feet bfor a testimony unto them. cagainst them. [The dust of heathen lands as compared with the land of Israel was regarded as polluted and unholy ( Amos 2:7, Ezekiel 27:30). The Jew, therefore, considered himself defiled by such dust. For the apostles, therefore, to shake off the dust of any city of Israel from their clothes or feet was to place that city on a level with the cities of the heathen, and to renounce all further intercourse with it.] a15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city. [For comment on similar remarks, see 2 Samuel 12:20, Matthew 6:16, Matthew 6:17). When an apostle stood over a sick man to heal him by a touch or a word, he was about to send him out of his sick chamber, and just before the word was spoken, the oil was applied. It was, therefore, no more than a token or symbol that the man was restored to his liberty, and was from that moment to be confined to his chamber no longer. Comp. James 5:14. This practice bears about the same relation to the Romish practice of extreme unction as the Lord’s Supper does to the mass, or as a true baptism does to the sprinkling of an infant.]

[FFG 362-369]

Verses 7-9

aMATT. XIV. 1-12; bMARK VI. 14-29; cLUKE IX. 7-9.

b14 And c7 Now a1 At that season bKing Herod [Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great. See Matthew 10:41), but there was a prevalent idea among the ancients that departed spirits were endowed with superhuman powers, and Herod therefore supposed that the risen John had brought these powers with him from the spirit world.] cAnd he sought to see him. [Jesus purposely kept out of the reach of Herod, knowing the treacherous cunning of his nature ( Luke 13:32), and Herod’s curiosity was not gratified until the day of Christ’s crucifixion ( Luke 23:8-12), and then its gratification was without sanctification.] b15 But others said, It is Elijah. And others said, It is a prophet, even as one of the prophets. 16 But Herod, when he heard thereof, said, John, whom I beheaded, he is risen. [Some thought that Elijah might have returned, as the Scripture declared, or that Jesus might be a prophet just like the great prophets of old. Matthew, by introducing what follows with the word "for," gives us the reason why Herod clung to this singular opinion of Jesus. He did so because this opinion was begotten in the morbid musings of a conscience stained with the blood of John.] 17 For Herod himself had sent forth [370] and laid hold upon John, aand bound him, and put him in prison the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. bfor he had married her. [Herodias was the daughter of Aristobulus, who was the half-brother of Herod Philip I. and Herod Antipas, and these two last were in turn half-brothers to each other. Herodias, therefore, had married her uncle Herod Philip I, who was disinherited by Herod the Great, and who lived as a private citizen in Rome. When Herod Antipas went to Rome about the affairs of his tetrarchy, he became the guest of his brother Herod Philip I., and repaid the hospitality which he received by carrying off the wife of his host.] 18 For John said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife. [The marriage was unlawful of three reasons: 1. The husband of Herodias was still living; 2. The lawful wife of Antipas (the daughter of Aretas, king or emir of Arabia) was still living; 3. Antipas and Herodias, being nephew and niece, were related to each other within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity.] 19 And Herodias set herself against him, and desired to kill him; but she could not: 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was much perplexed, and he heard him gladly. a5 And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. [Herod feared both John and his influence. His fear of the man as a prophet caused him to shelter John against any attempts which his angry wife might make to put him to death, and led him to listen to John with enough respect to become perplexed as to whether it were better to continue in his course or repent. At other times, when the influence of Herodias moved him most strongly, and he forgot his personal fear of John, he was yet restrained by fear of John’s influence over the people.] 6 But when Herod’s birthday came, b21 And when a convenient day was come [A day suited to the purposes of Herodias. The phrase refers to Mark 6:19], that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, and the high captains, and [371] the chief men of Galilee; 22 and when the daughter of Herodias herself [the language seems to indicate that others had first come in and danced] came in and danced, ain the midst, bshe pleased Herod and them that sat at meat with him [This dancer was Salome, daughter of Herod Philip and niece of Herod Antipas. The dancing of the East was then, as now, voluptuous and indecent, and nothing but utter shamelessness or inveterate malice could have induced a princess to thus make a public show of herself at such a carousal]; a7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she should ask. band the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee. 23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. [The rashness of the king’s promise is characteristic of the folly of sin. Riches, honors, kingdoms, souls are given for a bauble in the devil’s market.] 24 And she went out, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? [She may have known beforehand what to ask. If so, she retired and asked her mother that the brunt of the king’s displeasure might fall upon her mother.] And she said, The head of John the Baptist. a8 And she, being put forward by her mother, bcame in straightway with haste unto the king [she wished to make her request known before the king had time to put limitations upon her asking], and asked, saying, {asaith} bI will that thou forthwith give me ahere on a platter the head of John the Baptist. [She asked for the prophet’s head that she and her mother might have the witness of their own eyes to the fact that he was dead, and that they might not be deceived about it.] 9 And the king was grieved; bwas exceeding sorry [because the deed went against his conscience and his sense of policy as above stated]; but for the sake of his oaths, and of them that {awhich} sat at meat, bhe would not reject her. ahe commanded it to be given [The oath alone would not have constrained Herod to grant Salome’s request, for if left alone [372] he would rightly have construed the request as not coming within the scope of the oath. The terms of his oath looked to and anticipated a pecuniary present, and not the commission of a crime. But Herod’s companions, being evil men, joined with the evil women against the man of God, and shamed Herod into an act which committed him forever to a course of guilt. Thus, a bad man’s impulses are constantly broken down by his evil companions]; b27 And straightway the king forth a soldier of his guard, aand beheaded John in the prison. band commanded to bring his head: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head {ahis head was brought} bon a platter, and gave it {aand given} bto the damsel: and the damsel abrought it bgave it to her mother. [To the anxious, unrestful soul of Herodias this seemed a great gift, since it assured her that the voice of her most dangerous enemy was now silent. But as Herod was soon filled with superstitious fears that John had risen in the person of Christ, her sense of security was very short-lived. The crime stamped Herod and Herodias with greater infamy than that for which John had rebuked them.] 29 And when his disciples heard thereof, they came and took up his {athe} corpse, band laid it in a tomb. aand buried him; and went and told Jesus. [Herod had feared that the death of John would bring about a popular uprising, and his fears were not mistaken. As soon as they had decently buried the body of the great preacher, John’s disciples go to Jesus, expecting to find in him a leader to redress the Baptist’s wrongs. They knew the friendship of John for Jesus, and, knowing that the latter intended to set up a kingdom, they believed that this would involve the overthrow of Herod’s power. They were ready now to revolt and make Jesus a king. See Matthew 12:13, John 6:1, John 6:2, John 6:15. But Jesus would not aid them to seek the bitter fruits of revenge, nor did he intend to set up such a kingdom as they imagined.]

[FFG 369-373]

Verse 10

(Spring, A. D. 29.)
Subdivision A.

aMATT. XIV. 13; bMARK VI. 30-32; cLUKE IX. 10; dJOHN VI. 1.

b30 And the apostles gather themselves together unto Jesus; cwhen they were returned, band they told {cdeclared unto} bhim all things, whatsoever they had done, and whatsoever they had taught. [They had fulfilled the mission on which Jesus had sent them, and on returning each pair made to him a full report of their work.] 31 And he saith unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place [an uninhabited place], and rest a while. For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. [Need of rest was one reason for retiring to the thinly settled shores east of the lake. Matthew proceeds to give us another reason for his retiring.] a13 Now d1 After these things awhen Jesus heard it [Heard about John’s death. The excitement caused by this event, and the efforts to use Jesus as a leader in revolt, as indicated at the close of the last section, constituted another reason why Jesus should withdraw from the multitude], che took them [the apostles], and withdrew athence capart b32 And they went away in the {aa} boat, dto the other side of the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. cto a city called Bethsaida. bto a desert place apart. [They sailed to the northeastern shore of the lake to a plain lying near the city of Bethsaida Julius.] [374]

[FFG 374]

Verses 11-17

(Spring, A. D. 29.)
Subdivision B.
aMATT. XIV. 13-21; bMARK VI. 33-44; cLUKE IX. 11-17; dJOHN VI. 2-14.

c11 But {aand} the multitudes heard thereof [heard of Jesus and his disciples crossing the lake], b33 And they saw them going, and cperceiving it, bmany knew them, d2 And a great multitude followed him, because they beheld the signs which he did on them that were sick. band they ran together there on foot from all the cities, and outwent them. a14 And he came forth, and saw a great multitude, and had compassion on them, bbecause they were as sheep not having a shepherd cand he welcomed them, band he began to teach them many things. cand spake unto them of the kingdom of God, aand healed their sick. cand them that had need of healing he cured. [Jesus probably set sail from near Capernaum, and from thence across the lake to the narrow, secluded plain of El Batihah, where he landed is less than five miles. Seeing him start, the people followed him by running along the northern shore, and, though having a little farther to go, they traveled faster than the sailboat, and were waiting for him on the shore when he arrived.] d3 And Jesus went up into the mountain, and there he sat with his disciples. [The level plain did not afford a good platform from which to address the people.] 4 Now the passover, the feast of the Jews, was at hand. [This passover is computed to have been held on April 16, A. D. 29. This statement as to the time of year prepares us for his further statement that there was much grass in the plain. It also explains in part the gathering of a multitude in this secluded region. Pilgrims on their way to the passover would gladly go several miles out of their way to see the great Prophet perform a miracle. The excitement, due to the mission of the twelve and the death of the Baptist, also tended to swell the [375] crowd.] c12 And the day began to wear away; b35 And when the day was now far spent, a15 And when even was come, bhis disciples cthe twelve bcame unto him cand said unto him, {asaying,} bThe place is desert, and the day is now far spent; aand the time is already past [the time to seek lodging and provisions had gone by, and therefore the multitude must act quickly]; b36 send them athe multitudes {cmultitude} away, that they may go into the villages and country around, and lodge, and get provisions: aand buy themselves food. bsomething to eat. cfor we are here in a desert place. [The apostles were the first to think of eating, and naturally enough, for they had started on empty stomachs, and their own discomfort made them anticipate the sad plight in which the multitude would soon find itself.] a16 But Jesus said unto them, They have no need to go away; d5 Jesus therefore lifting up his eyes, and seeing that a great multitude cometh to him, saith unto Philip, Whence are we to buy bread, that these may eat? 6 And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. 7 Philip answered him, Two hundred shillings’ worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one may take a little. [Jesus tested Philip to see which way he would turn in his weakness. Jesus asked where the bread might be bought, knowing that power to feed the multitude resided in himself ( Isaiah 55:1), but Philip wondered where the money was to be had to buy it.] b37 But he answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred shillings’ worth of bread, and give them to eat? [The word translated shilling is the Roman denarius, worth about seventeen cents. The sum was not large, as we reckon money, but, considering the purchasing power of money in those days, it was an imposing sum, and it is to be doubted if the treasury-bag of Judas ever contained the fourth part of it. For a denarius was the regular price for a day’s labor.] 38 And he saith unto them, How many [376] loaves have ye? go and see. d8 One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him, 9 There is a lad here, who hath five barley loaves, and two fishes: but what are they among so many? bAnd when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. a17 And they say unto him, {csaid,} aWe have here but cno more than five loaves and two fishes; except we should go and buy meat for all this people. 14 For they were about five thousand men. [When sent to see what was in their larder, it appears that they had nothing at all. Andrew reports the finding of the boy’s lunch while it was as yet the boy’s property. Some of the others, having secured it from the boy, report it now at the disposal of Jesus, but comment on its insufficiency. Eastern loaves were thin and small, like good-sized crackers, and around the Sea of Galilee, the salting and preserving of small fish was an especial industry. These fish, therefore, were about the size of sardines. The whole supply, therefore, was no more than enough for one hungry boy. But each loaf had to be divided between a thousand, and each fish between twenty-five hundred men.] a18 And he said, Bring them hither to me. 19 And he commanded the multitude to sit down cAnd d10 Jesus said, cunto his disciples, Make them dthe people sit down. cin companies, about fifty each. 15 And they did so, and made them all sit down. b40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. dNow there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. [By thus arranging them in orderly companies, Jesus accomplished several things. He saved his apostles much time and labor in distributing the food. He insured that each one should be fed, and that the reality of the miracle could not be questioned, and he ascertained definitely how many men were fed.] c16 And d11 Jesus therefore took athe five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, che blessed and brake them, band brake the loaves; dand having [377] given thanks, he distributed to them that were set down; aand gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples to the multitudes. {cand gave to the disciples to set before the multitude.} dlikewise also of the fishes as much as they would. band the two fishes divided he among them all. 42 And they all ate, cand were all filled. [He blessed the loaves and fishes by returning thanks for them. This and similar acts of Jesus are our precedents for giving thanks, or, "asking the blessing," at our tables]: d12 And when they were filled, he saith unto his disciples, Gather up the broken pieces which remain over, that nothing be lost. [Christ is the economist of the universe. This command was in keeping with his laws which permit nothing to suffer annihilation. Ruin and destruction have no other effect than merely to change the form of things. Every atom of the material world which was here at the beginning of creation is here to-day, though it may have changed its form a million times in the progress of events.] So they gathered them up, cand there was taken {athey took} cup that which remained over to them of athe broken pieces, dand filled atwelve baskets full. {bbasketfuls,} dwith broken pieces from the five barley loaves, which remained over unto them that had eaten. band also of the fishes. a21 And they that did eat {bate} the loaves were aabout five thousand men, besides women and children. [Considering the distance from any town, the women and children would not likely be numerous. They form no part of the count, for Eastern usage did not permit the women to sit with the men. They, with the little ones, would stand apart.] d14 When therefore the people saw the sign which he did, they said, This is of a truth the prophet that cometh into the world. [That is to say, this is the Messiah, the prophet promised at Deuteronomy 18:15. Their desire to avenge the death of John made them feverishly anxious for the appearance of the Messiah, but this faith was inconstant.] [378]

[FFG 375-378]

Verses 18-21

Subdivision B.
(Near Cæsarea Philippi, Summer, A. D. 29.)
aMATT. XVI. 13-20; bMARK VIII. 27-30; cLUKE IX. 18-21.

b27 And Jesus went forth, and his disciples, into the villages of Cæsarea Philippi [The city of Paneas was enlarged by Herod Philip I., and named in honor of Tiberias Cæsar. It also bore the name Philippi because of the name of its builder, and to distinguish it from Cæsarea Palestinæ or Cæsarea Strotonis, a city on the Mediterranean coast. Paneas, the original name, still pertains to the village, though now corrupted to Banias. It is situated under the shadow of Mt. Hermon at the eastern of the two principal sources of the Jordan, and is the most northern city of the Holy Land visited by Jesus, and save Sidon, the most northern point of his travels]: a13 Now when Jesus came into the parts of Cæsarea Philippi, cit came to pass, bon the way cas he was praying apart, the disciples were with him: and he asked bhis disciples, saying, unto them, aWho do men say that the Son of man is? aWho do men {cthe multitude} say that I am? [Jesus asks them to state the popular opinion concerning himself as contrasted with the opinion of the rulers, Pharisees, etc.] 19 And they answering btold him, saying, {csaid,} aSome say John the Baptist; cbut {band} asome, bothers, Elijah; but {cand} others, aJeremiah, or cthat one of the old prophets is risen again. [For comment on similar language, see Galatians 1:16] hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in heaven. [Peter was blessed by having a revelation from God by which facts were made known that could not be discovered by the unaided human reason. God had revealed the truth to him in the words and works of Jesus, and this revealed truth was to him a source of happiness both temporal and eternal. Like confessions as to this truth had been made before ( Matthew 14:33, John 1:49), but they had been made under the pressure of miraculous display and strong emotion. Hence they were rather exclamatory guesses at the truth, and differed from this now made by Peter which was the calm expression of a settled conviction produced both by the character and by the miracles of Jesus.] 18 And I say also unto [411] thee, That thou art Peter [petros, a noun masculine] and upon this rock [Petra, a noun feminine] I will build my church [The tense here is future. Christ had followers, but they were not yet organized, and hence had no such structural form as to suggest a similitude to a building]; and the gates of Hades [Hades was the name of the abode of the dead. Its gate symbolized its power because the military forces of an ancient city always sallied forth from its gates] shall not prevail against it. [Death shall neither destroy the organic church which is in the world, nor the members thereof which go down into the grave ( 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 1 Corinthians 15:54-56). No passage in the word of God has called forth more discussion than this and the succeeding verse, the first point in dispute being as to what is meant by the rock; i. e., whether Christ or Peter or Peter’s confession is the foundation of the church; the second point being as to the extent of the power and authority bestowed on Peter by the symbol of the keys. To aid us in reaching a correct conclusion we must note that Jesus speaks in metaphorical language. He represents: 1. His kingdom as a city about to be built upon a rock. 2. Himself as a builder of the city. 3. Simon Peter as the one who holds the keys to the gates by which egress and regress is had to the city. 4. The gates or powers of the opposing city of Hades are not able to prevail against this kingdom city. Now, since Jesus himself occupies the position of builder in the metaphor, and Simon Peter the position of key-bearer, neither of them can properly be regarded as the foundation. The foundation must therefore be the confession which Peter has just spoken, since it is all that remains that is liable to such application. The case could present no difficulty at all were it not for the unmistakable allusion to Peter (petros, a loose stone) as in some way associated with petra, the bedrock or foundation. But in the light of other Scriptures this allusion presents no difficulty; for all the apostles were such stones, and were closely allied to the foundation ( Ephesians 2:19-22, Galatians 2:9). Compare also 1 Peter 2:3-8. The Christian religion in all its redemptive completeness rests and can rest on no other [412] foundation than Christ ( 1 Corinthians 3:11). But the church or kingdom of Christ among men rests organically and constitutionally upon a foundation of apostolic authority, for the apostles were the mouthpieces of the Holy Spirit; but in this apostolic foundation the other apostles had equal rights, each one of them becoming a living foundation stone as soon as his faith led him to make a like confession with Simon Peter. Hence we find the apostle Paul asserting the superior authority of the apostles to all other Christian teachers and workers ( 1 Corinthians 12:28), and times without number asserting his apostolic office and authority-- 1 Corinthians 9:1, 1 Corinthians 9:2, 2 Corinthians 12:12, 2 Corinthians 13:1-4, Galatians 1:1, Galatians 1:8, Ephesians 3:1-6, Philemon 1:8, Philemon 1:9.] 19 I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. [Continuing his metaphorical language, Jesus promised to Peter the keys; i. e., the authority to lay down the rules or laws (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, however) for admission to or exclusion from the kingdom or church. This office was, of course, given to Peter in a secondary sense, since it must ever belong to Christ in a primary sense ( Revelation 3:7). The figure of key-bearer is taken from Isaiah 22:22. Peter used the keys on the day of Pentecost to open the church to the Jews, and about seven years afterward, at Cæsarea Palestinæ, he used them again to admit the Gentiles. In fixing the terms of admission, he also fixed the terms of exclusion, for all who are not admitted are excluded. The keys as used by Peter have never been changed; that is to say, the terms of admission abide forever. Plurality of keys is merely part of the parabolic drapery, since cities were accustomed to have several gates, thus requiring a plurality of keys. The kingdom was not opened to Jews and Gentiles by different keys, since both were admitted on the same terms. The words "bind" and "loose" were commonly used among the Jews in the sense of forbid and allow. Abundant instances of this usage have been collected by Lightfoot. They relate to the binding and annulling of laws and rules. [413] In this sense the word for loose, is used very many times in the New Testament, but it is translated by the word break or broken ( Matthew 5:19, John 7:23, John 10:35). The power here given to Peter was soon after extended to the rest of the apostles ( Matthew 18:18). The apostles were to lay down, as they afterward did, the organic law of the new kingdom, defining what things were prohibited and what permitted. Their actions in this behalf would of course be ratified in heaven, because they were none other than the acts of the Holy Spirit expressed through the apostles.] b30 And a20 Then {c21 But} acharged he the disciples cand commanded them to tell this to no man; bthat they should tell no man of him. athat he was the Christ. [The people were not ready to receive this truth, nor were the apostles sufficiently instructed to rightly proclaim it. Their heads were full of wrong ideas with regard to Christ’s work and office, and had they been permitted to teach about him, they would have said that which it would have been necessary for them to subsequently correct, thus producing confusion.]

[FFG 410-414]

Verses 22-27

Subdivision C.
aMATT. XVI. 21-28; bMARK VIII. 31-38; IX. 1; cLUKE IX. 22-27.

a21 From that time [i. e., from the time of Peter’s confession, and about three-quarters of a year before the crucifixion] began Jesus to show unto his disciples, b31 And to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things [Since the apostles, by the mouth of Peter, had just confessed Jesus as Christ, it was necessary that their crude Messianic conceptions should be corrected and that the true Christhood--the Christhood of the atonement and the resurrection--should be revealed to them. In discourse and parable Jesus had explained the principles and the nature of the kingdom, and now, from this time forth, he taught the [414] apostles about himself, the priestly King], athat he must go up to Jerusalem, band be rejected by aand suffer many things of the elders, and bthe chief priests, and the scribes [The Jewish Sanhedrin was generally designated by thus naming the three constituent parts. See John 2:19-22, John 3:14, Matthew 12:38-40), but these had not been understood by either friend or foe. Now that he thus spoke plainly, we may see by Peter’s conduct that they comprehended and were deeply moved by the dark and more sorrowful portion of his revelation, and failed to grasp the accompanying promise of a resurrection.] a22 And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall never be unto thee. [Evidently Peter regarded Jesus as overcome by a fit of despondency, and felt that such talk would utterly dishearten the disciples if it were persisted in. His love, therefore, prompted him to lead Jesus to one side and deal plainly with him. In so doing, Peter overstepped the laws of discipleship and assumed that he knew better than the Master what course to pursue. In his feelings he was the forerunner of those modern wiseacres who confess themselves constrained to reject the doctrine of a suffering Messiah.] b33 But he turning about, and seeing his disciples. aturned, brebuked Peter, and saith, {asaid} unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art a stumbling-block unto me: for thou mindest not the things of God, but the things that be of men. [Jesus withdrew from Peter and turned back to his disciples. By the confession of the truth Simon had just won his promised name of Peter, which allied him to Christ, the [415] foundation. But when he now turned aside to speak the language of the tempter, Peter receives the name Satan, as if he were the very devil himself. Peter presented the same temptation with which the devil once called forth a similar rebuke from Christ ( Matthew 4:10). He was unconsciously trying to dissuade Jesus from the death on which the salvation of the world depended, and this was working into Satan’s hand. Peter did not mind or think about the Messiah’s kingdom as divinely conceived and revealed in the Scriptures.] b34 And he called unto him the multitude with his disciples, a24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, c23 And he said unto all [despite the efforts of Jesus to seek privacy, the people were still near enough at hand to be called and addressed], If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily [comp. Romans 8:36, 1 Corinthians 15:31] and follow me [For comment, see Luke 12:9, 2 Timothy 1:8, 2 Timothy 1:12, 2 Timothy 2:12] in this adulterous and sinful generation [see pp. 305, 306], the Son of man also shall be ashamed of him cwhen he cometh in his own glory, and the glory of the {bhis} cFather, and of {bwith} the holy angels. [Peter had just been ashamed of the words in which Christ pictured himself as undergoing his humiliation. Jesus warns him and all others of the dangers of such shame.] a27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels; and then he shall render unto every man according to his deed. [The Father’s glory, the angels, and the rendering of universal judgment form a threefold indication that Jesus here speaks of his final coming to judge the world.] b1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, c27 But I tell you of a truth, aThere are some of them that stand here, who shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. ctill they see the kingdom of God. bcome with power. [The mention of his final coming suggested one nearer at hand which was to be accomplished during the life of most of those present, since none but Jesus himself and Judas were to die previous to that time. The kingdom was to come and likewise the King. The former coming was literal, the latter spiritual. Those who refer this expression to the transfiguration certainly err, for no visible kingdom was established at that time. The expression refers to the kingdom which was organized and set in motion on the Pentecost which followed the resurrection of Jesus. It was set up with power, because three thousand souls were converted the first day, and many other gospel triumphs speedily followed.] [417]

[FFG 414-417]

Verses 28-36

Subdivision D.
(A Spur of Hermon, near Cæsarea Philippi.)
aMATT. XVII. 1-13; bMARK IX. 2-13; cLUKE IX. 28-36.

c28 And it came to pass about eight days {asix days} cafter these sayings [Mark agrees with Matthew in saying six days. Luke qualifies his estimate by saying "about." But if we regard him as including the day of the "sayings" and also the day of the transfiguration, and the other two as excluding these days, then the three statements tally exactly. The "sayings" referred to were the words of Jesus with regard to his suffering at Jerusalem], that aJesus taketh {ctook} awith him Peter, and James, and John his brother [These three, as leaders among the apostles, needed the special encouragement which was about to be given. For further comment, see Mark 9:30). Moreover there is little doubt that at that time and for centuries previous there was an inhabited fortress upon Mt. Tabor ( Joshua 19:12; Jos. B. J. i. 8, 7; Vit. 37). Moreover, Mt. Tabor is not a high mountain, its elevation above the sea being but 1,748 feet. Hermon, on the contrary, is the highest mountain in Palestine, its elevation, according to Reclus, being 9,400 feet. It was Jesus’ custom to withdraw for prayer by night ( Matthew 14:23, Matthew 14:24, Luke 6:12, Luke 21:37, Luke 22:39) and the transfiguration took place at night.] 29 And as he was praying, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became white and dazzling. a2 and he was transfigured [i. e., transformed; the description shows to what extent] before [418] them; and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. bglistering, exceeding white; so as no fuller on earth can whiten them. [We may conceive of the body of Jesus becoming luminous and imparting its light to his garments. The Christian looks forward to beholding such a transfiguration and also to participating in it-- 1 John 3:2.] a3 And, behold, there appeared unto them ctwo men, who were Moses and {bwith} cElijah; band they were talking with Jesus. [The three apostles could identify Moses and Elijah by the course of this conversation, though it is possible that miraculous knowledge may have accompanied miraculous sight.] c31 who [i. e., Moses and Elijah] who appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. [The word for decease is "exodus," an unusual word for death. It means a departure and is, as Bengel says, a very weighty word, since it includes the passion, crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension.] 32 Now Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep [it being night]; but when they were fully awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. 33 And it came to pass, as they were departing from him, aPeter answered and said {banswereth and saith} aunto Jesus, bRabbi, cMaster, aLord, it is good for us to be here: band let us make three tabernacles; aif thou wilt, I will make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. cnot knowing what he said. b6 For he knew not what to answer; for they became sore afraid. [Peter’s fears overcame his discretion, but did not silence his tongue. Though he trembled at the fellowship of Moses and Elijah, he also realized the blessedness of it and could not let them depart without an effort to detain them, though the best inducement that he could offer was to build three booths, or arbors, made of the branches of trees, for their and Christ’s accommodation. By thus speaking, Peter placed Jesus upon the same level with Moses [419] and Elijah--all three being worthy of a booth.] c34 And while he said these things, a5 While he yet speaking, behold, bthere came aa bright cloud bovershadowing them: {cand overshadowed them:} and they feared as they entered into the cloud. [Clouds often roll against the sides of Mt. Hermon, but the brightness of this cloud and the fear which it produced suggests that it was the Shekinah, or cloud of glory, which was the symbol of God’s peculiar presence-- Exodus 13:21, Exodus 13:22, Exodus 19:9, Exodus 19:18, Exodus 24:16, Exodus 40:34, Exodus 40:35, 1 Kings 8:10.] aand behold, bthere came a voice out of the cloud, asaying, This is my beloved Son, cmy chosen: ain whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. [This command contains the chief significance of the entire scene. Spoken in the presence of Moses and Elijah, it gave Jesus that pre-eminence which a son has over servants. He is to be heard. His words have pre-eminence over those of the lawgiver and the prophet ( Hebrews 1:1, Hebrews 1:2). Peter recognized Jesus as thus honored by this voice-- 2 Peter 1:16-18.] 6 And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. [As every man is who hears the voice of God.] 7 And Jesus came and touched them and said, Arise, and be not afraid. [As mediator between man and God, Jesus removes fear.] b8 And suddenly looking round about, a8 And lifting up their eyes, bthey saw no one any more, save Jesus only with themselves. c36 And when the voice came, Jesus was found alone. [Leaders and prophets depart, but Christ abides-- Hebrews 3:5, Hebrews 3:6.] b9 And as they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them, that they should tell no man what things they had seen, save when the Son of man should have risen again from the dead. a9 And Jesus commanded them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen from the dead. [The people were not ready for the publication of such an event. To have told it now would only have been to raise doubts as to their veracity.] b10 And they kept the saying, [420] questioning among themselves what the rising from the dead should mean. [Jesus spake so often in parables and made so frequent use of metaphors that the apostles did not take his words concerning the resurrection in a literal sense. They regarded his language as figurative, and sought to interpret the figure.] cAnd they held their peace, and told no man in those days any of the things which they had seen. a10 And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come? bHow is it that the scribes say that Elijah must first come? [They were puzzled by the disappearance of Elijah. They looked upon him as having come to fulfill the prophecy of Malachi ( Malachi 4:5, Malachi 4:6), but they marveled that, having come, he should so soon withdraw, and that they should be forbidden to tell that they had seen him, since the sight of him would be some sign of Jesus’ Messiahship.] a11 And he answered and bsaid unto them, Elijah indeed cometh first, and restoreth {ashall restore} all things [this sentence leads some to think that Elijah will appear again before the second coming of our Lord, but the words are to be interpreted in connection with the rest of the passage]: band how it is written of the Son of man, that he should suffer many things, and be set at naught? [If the writings concerning Elijah perplexed the apostles, those concerning the Messiah perplexed them also. From one set of prophecies they might learn something about the other. Elijah came, but the Scriptures concerning him were so little understood that he was put to death. The Messiah also came, and the prophecies concerning him were so little understood that he, too, would be set at naught.] 13 But I say unto you, that Elijah is come, aalready, and they knew him not, but did {band they have also done} unto him whatsoever they would. Even as it is written of him. aEven so shall the Son of man also suffer of them. 13 Then understood the disciples that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. [Malachi used the name of Elijah figuratively to represent John the Baptist. [421] See pp. 102, 284. That there shall be a second coming of Elijah in fulfillment of this prophecy is hardly possible, for the office of Elijah is prophetically outlined as that of the restorer. But Elijah could not restore Judaism, for that dispensation had been done away with in Christ. He could hardly have chosen to restore Christianity, for even if it should need such a restoration, a Jewish prophet would be ill-suited to such an office. One of the apostles would be vastly preferable.]

[FFG 418-422]

Verses 37-43

Subdivision E.
(Region of Cæsarea Philippi.)
aMATT. XVII. 14-20; bMARK IX. 14-29; cLUKE IX. 37-43.

c37 And it came to pass, on the next day, when they were come down from the mountain, b14 And when they came to the disciples [the nine apostles which had been left behind], they saw a great multitude about them [We last heard of the multitude at Mark 8:34. See Exodus 34:29), but this can hardly have been so, for it would have been at variance with the secrecy which Jesus enjoined as to his transfiguration. Moreover, so important [422] a feature could hardly have escaped from the narratives of all three evangelists. Undoubtedly the amazement was caused by the sudden and opportune return of Jesus. Those who urge that this was not enough to produce amazement show themselves to be poor students of human nature. The multitude had been listening to and no doubt enjoying the questions of the scribes. The unexpected appearance of Jesus therefore impressed them with the sudden sense of having been detected in wrong-doing which invariably leads to amazement. Moreover, those who remained loyal to Jesus would be equally amazed by his approach, since they could not but feel that an exciting crisis was at hand.] a14 And when they were come to the multitude [i. e., when Jesus and the multitude met], bhe asked them, What question ye with them? [He surprised the scribes by this demand and they saw at once that he knew all and they felt rebuked for their unwarranted exultation, and so kept silent.] c38 And, behold, athere came to him a man, bone of {cfrom} the multitude, akneeling to him, banswered him, ccried, saying, bTeacher, a15 Lord, bI brought unto thee my son, who hath a dumb spirit; ahave mercy on my son: for he is epileptic, and suffereth grievously; cI beseech thee look upon my son: for he is mine only child. 39 and behold a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out; b18 and wheresoever it taketh him, it dasheth him down: cand it teareth him that he foameth, band grindeth his teeth, and pineth away: cand it hardly departeth from him, bruising him sorely. [When the scribes did not answer, the father of the demoniac boy broke the embarrassing silence by telling Jesus about the matter in question. His child was deaf, dumb, and epileptic, but all these physical ailments were no doubt produced by the demon or evil spirit which possessed him. The phrase "hardly departeth from him" rather suggests the continual unrest in which the demon kept his victim rather than that the demon ever really relinquished his possession of him. Pauses in the delirium of agony were regarded as departures of the [423] demon.] a16 And I brought him to thy disciples, band I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; c40 And I besought thy disciples to cast him out; and they could not. bthey were not able. aand they could not cure him. 17 And Jesus answered and said, {banswereth them and saith,} aO faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I bear with you? cbring hither thy son to me. bunto me. [As there was no reason to accuse the apostles of perversity, it is evident that the rebuke of Jesus is addressed generally to all and not particularly to the disciples. The perverse faithlessness and infidelity of the scribes had operated upon the multitude, and the doubts of the multitude had in turn influenced the apostles, and thus, with the blind leading the blind, all had fallen into the ditch of impotent disbelief. The disbelief of the people was a constant grief to Jesus, but it must have been especially so in this case, for it fostered and perpetrated this scene of weakness, mean-spiritedness, misery, and suffering which stood out in such sharp contrast with the peace, blessedness, and glory from which he had just come.] 20 And they brought him unto him: c42 And as he was yet a coming, bwhen he saw him [saw Jesus], straightway cthe demon dashed him down, and bthe spirit tare him grievously; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. 21 And he asked his father, How long is it since this hath come unto him? And he said, From a child. 22 And oft-times it hath cast him both into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: {ahe falleth into the fire, and oft-times into the water.} [By causing the long-standing nature of the case and the malignity of it to be fully revealed, Jesus emphasized the power of the cure] bbut if thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and help us. 23 And Jesus said unto him, If thou canst! All things are possible to him that believeth. [Jesus echoed back the "if thou canst" which the man had uttered. If Jesus marveled at the faith of a Gentile which trusted the fullness [424] of his divine power, he also marveled at the disbelief of this Jew which thus coolly and presumptuously questions the sufficiency of that power. In the remainder of his answer Jesus shows that the lack of power is not in him, but in those who would be recipients of the blessings of his power, for those blessings are obtained by faith.] 24 Straightway the father of the child cried out, and said I believe; help thou my unbelief. [He confessed his faith, but desired so ardently to have the child healed that he feared lest he should not have faith enough to accomplish that desire, and therefore asked for more faith.] 25 And when Jesus saw that the multitude came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I command thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. [Jesus had found the multitude when he came down from the mountain, but the excitement in this multitude was evidently drawing men from every quarter, so that the crowd was momentarily growing greater. A longer conversation with the man might have been beneficial, but to prevent the gathering of any larger company Jesus acted at once and spoke the words of command. Since the demon was manifestly of a most daring, impudent, and audacious nature, Jesus took the precaution to forbid it attempting to re-enter its victim, a precaution which the conduct of the demon abundantly justified.] 26 And having cried out, and torn him much, he came out: and the boy became as one dead; insomuch that the more part said, He is dead. [The malicious effrontery and obstinacy displayed by this demon stands in marked contrast to the cowed, supplicating spirit shown by the Gergesene legion. See Matthew 13:32). Faith has such power with God that even little faith becomes well-nigh omnipotent in an age of miracles.] b29 And he said unto them, This kind can come out by nothing, save by prayer. [Prayer was the means of increasing faith. Demons, like spirits in the flesh, have different degrees of will force, some being easier to subdue than others, and this once, being particularly willful and obstinate, required more faith to expel it.]

[FFG 422-426]

Verses 44-45

aMATT. XVII. 22, 23; bMARK IX. 30-32; cLUKE IX. 43-45.

b30 And they went forth from thence [from the region of Cæsarea Philippi], and passed through Galilee [on his way to Capernaum]; and he would not that any man should know it. [He was still seeking that retirement which began on the journey to Tyre. See John 7:3, John 7:4. See page 439.] [426] 31 For he taught his disciples [the reason for his retirement is here given: he wished to prepare his disciples for his passion], and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered up [the present tense is used for the future to express the nearness and certainty of the event] into the hands of men, a22 And {cBut} awhile they abode in Galilee, cwhile all were marvelling at all the things which he did, aJesus csaid unto his disciples, 44 Let these sayings sink into your ears: for the Son of man shall be delivered up into the hands of men. [We have here two notes of time during which Jesus spoke of his passion. It was all the while he was in Galilee, between his return from Cæsarea and his departure into Judæa, for which see page 439. The length of time suggests that the sad lesson was oft repeated, but was at a time when the marvels of his works strengthened the faith of the disciples so as to enable them to bear the instruction.] band they shall kill him; and when he is killed, after three days he shall rise again. {aand the third day he shall be raised up.} [For comment on similar language see page 306.] And they were exceeding sorry. [Peter’s experience taught them not to attempt to correct Jesus while thus speaking, so there was nothing left for them but to grieve at his words.] c45 But they understood not this {bthe} saying, cand it was concealed from them, that they should not perceive it [What was told to them was not for their present but their future benefit, and therefore they were left to puzzle over the words of Jesus]; and they were afraid to ask him about this saying. [Not so much from any awe with which they regarded him, as from the delicacy of the subject itself, and their own sorrow, which shrank from knowing it more fully.] [427]

[FFG 426-427]

Verses 46-50

(Capernaum, Autumn, A. D. 29.)
aMATT. XVIII. 1-14; bMARK IX. 33-50; cLUKE IX. 46-50.

c46 And there arose a reasoning among them, which of them was the greatest. b33 And he came to Capernaum: c47 But when Jesus saw the reasoning of their heart, band when he was in the house [probably Simon Peter’s house] he asked them, What were ye reasoning on the way? 34 But they held their peace: for they had disputed one with another on the way, who was the greatest. [The Lord with his disciples was now on his way back to Galilee from Cæsarea Philippi, where, some ten days before, he had promised the keys of the kingdom to Peter, and where he had honored Peter and the sons of Zebedee by a mysterious withdrawal into the mount. These facts, therefore, no doubt started the dispute as to which should hold the highest office in the kingdom. The fires of envy thus set burning were not easily quenched. We find them bursting forth again from time to time down to the very verge of Christ’s exit from the world-- Matthew 20:20-24, Luke 22:24.] 35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and he said unto them, If any man would be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all. [The spirit which proudly seeks to be first in place thereby consents to make itself last in character, for it reverses the graces of the soul, turning love into envy, humility into pride, generosity into selfishness, etc.] a1 In that hour came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven? [Not comprehending our Lord’s answer and wishing to have him definitely point out the honored person, they now come asking this question. Had Jesus wished to teach the primacy of Peter, no better opportunity [430] could have been found.] 2 And he called to him a little child b36 And he took a child, cand set him by his side, band set him in the midst of them: and taking him in his arms, he said unto them, aVerily I say unto you, Except ye turn, and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. [Jesus told them plainly that they must turn from their sin of personal ambition or they could not be his disciples--part of his kingdom--and he pointed them to a little child as the model in this particular, because the humble spirit in which the child looks up to its parents stood out in sharp contrast with their self-seeking, self-exalting ambition.] 5 And b37 Whosoever shall receive one of such little children {cthis little child} in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive {breceiveth} me, receiveth not me, but creceiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same is great. [Greatness does not consist in place. Disciples who receive those of a childlike spirit and disposition that they may thereby honor the name of Christ are honored of Christ as the greatest. The words "in my name" probably suggested to John the incident which follows.] 49 And John answered and said, Master, bTeacher, we saw one casting out demons in thy name; and we forbade him, cbecause he followeth {bfollowed} cnot with us. [Was not one of our immediate company. This man’s actions had excited the jealousy of John. Jealousy as to official prerogative is very common. His zeal for Jesus reminds us of the friends of Moses ( Numbers 11:27-29). But Jesus shows that one who knows enough of him to use his power is not apt to dishonor him.] 50 But Jesus said unto him, bForbid him not: for there is no man who shall do a mighty work in my name, and be able quickly to speak evil of me. 40 For he that is not against us is for us. cfor he that is not against [431] you is for you. [The converse of this statement is found at Matthew 12:30. The two statements taken together declare the impossibility of neutrality. If a man is in no sense against Christ, then he is for him; and if he is not for Christ, he is against him.] b41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink, because ye are Christ’s, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward. [Jesus here returns to the discussion of greatness, and reasserts the doctrine that the smallest act of righteousness, if performed for the sake of the King, shall be honored in the kingdom. For comment, see Isaiah 66:24, and refers to those worms which feed upon the carcasses of men. The fire and worm can hardly be taken literally, for the two figures are incompatible--worms do not frequent fires. The two figures depict hell as a state of decay which is never completed and of burning which does not consume. Some regard the worm as a symbol of the gnawings of remorse, and the fire as a symbol of actual punishment.] 49 For every one shall be salted with fire. [At this point many ancient authorities add, "and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt."] 50 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost its saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace one with another. [We have here one of the most difficult passages in the Bible. If the word "fire" were found in an isolated text it might be taken as a symbol either of purification or of punishment. But the context here determines its meaning, for it has just been taken twice as a symbol of punishment. Salt is a symbol of that which preserves from decay. Now, Jesus has just been talking about the future state, with its two conditions or states [433] of bliss and punishment. In both of these states the souls of men are salted or preserved. Every one of the wicked is preserved by a negative or false salt--a worm which feeds but does not die, and a fire which consumes but refuses to go out. Though this state is a condition of life, it is such a negative and false condition that it is elsewhere termed a second death. It is therefore rightly called a "salted" or preserved condition, yet it contradicts the symbolic idea of saltness. As we understand it, the difficulty of the passage lies in this contradictory sense in which the term "salt" is used--a contradiction in which the term "eternal life" also shares, for eternal life is the constant contrast to life in hell, though that life also is spoken of as eternal. The true Christian--the man who offers his body as "a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God"--is preserved by the true salt or element of preservation, which is a divinely begotten life of righteousness within him. This is the good state of preservation which a man is counseled to obtain, and not to lose, since it will not be restored to him. The passage summarizes and contrasts the two states of future preservation, one being the salt of eternal life which preserves a man to enjoy the love of God in heaven, and the other being the salt of fire which preserves him in hell to endure the just punishment of God. The "every one" in Mark 9:49 refers to the sufferers mentioned in Mark 9:48.] a10 See that ye despise not one of these little ones: for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven. [Jesus here resumes his warning against that pride which exalts itself and despises the humble; disclosing the fact that the ministration of angels is not only general but special, certain angels being entrusted with the care of certain individuals, and all of them supplementing their own wisdom and power by direct access to the presence of God.] 12 How think ye? if any man have a hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and go unto the mountains, and seek that which is goeth astray? 13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, [434] he rejoiceth over it more than over the ninety and nine which have not gone astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish. [Those who have led highly moral lives have a tendency to despise those who have been defiled by gross sin. This truth is abundantly illustrated by the conduct of the Pharisees, but that such little ones should not be despised Jesus speaks this warning parable. Though the sheep in the fold and the one that is lost have, as individuals, the same intrinsic value, yet this even balance of value is somewhat modified by the sentiments and emotions incident to loss and recovery. Moreover, the anxiety and trouble caused by the sheep’s wandering do not depreciate but rather enhance the value of that sheep, because the heart of the Shepherd is so replete with goodness that the misbehavior of the sheep prompts him to feel pity and compassion, rather than to cherish resentment and revenge. Sin does not add to a man’s intrinsic value in God’s sight--nay, it detracts from it; but it excites in the heart of God pity, compassion, and other tender emotions which make it extremely dangerous for those who hinder his reformation and imperil his soul by despising him.]

[FFG 430-435]

Verses 51-56

(Through Samaria. Probably September, A. D. 29.)
cLUKE IX. 51-56; dJOHN VII. 10.

d10 But when his brethren were gone up unto the feasts, then went he also up, not publicly, but as it were in secret. [This section follows immediately after the preceding. The secrecy of this journey consists in the fact that Jesus did not join the caravans or pilgrim bands, and that he did not follow the usual Peræan route, but went directly through Samaria.] c51 And it came to pass, when the days were well-nigh come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem, 52 and sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him. [Taken in its strictest sense, the expression "taken up" refers to our Lord’s ascension, but it is here used to embrace his entire passion. Though our Lord’s death was still six months distant, his going to Jerusalem is described as attended with a special effort, because from that time forth Jerusalem was to occupy the position of headquarters, as Capernaum had done, and his [441] withdrawals and returns would be with regard to it. The presence of the twelve alone is sufficient to account for the messengers. He did not wish to overtax the fickle hospitality of the Samaritans by coming unannounced.] 53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he were going to Jerusalem. [Had Jesus come among them on a missionary tour he would doubtless have been received. But when he came as a Jew passing through to Jerusalem, and using their highway as a convenience, they rejected him.] 54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we bid fire to come down from heaven, and consume them? 55 But he turned, and rebuked them, 56 And they went to another village. [Refusing to receive a religious teacher was considered a rejection of his claim. This rejection roused the ire of the two sons of thunder and prompted them to suggest that the example of Elijah be followed ( 2 Kings 1:9-12), but Jesus was a Saviour and not a destroyer, so he passed on to another village. The conduct of John in after years contrasts sharply with the wish which he here expressed-- Acts 8:14-25.]

[FFG 441-442]

Verses 57-62

(Samaria. Probably September, A. D. 29.)
cLUKE IX. 57-62.

c57 And as they went on the way [the way through Samaria to Jerusalem], a certain man said unto him, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 58 And Jesus said unto him, The foxes have holes and the birds of the heaven have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. 59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 60 Jesus said unto [442] him, Leave the dead to bury their own dead; but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. [For comment upon similar language see pp. 341, 342.] 61 And another also said, I will follow thee, Lord; but first suffer me to bid farewell to them that are at my house. 62 But Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. [Comparing Luke with Matthew, as indicated above, we find that Matthew gives two and Luke three proposals to follow him, and that they differ widely as to the time. It is likely that the first instance occurred where Matthew places it, and the last two occurred where Luke places them, and that each Evangelist borrowed an item from another period and joined it to his incident because of the similarity of the subject. But as such proffers of discipleship may have been very common, the incidents may be entirely different. The teaching of the last incident is that at a command of Christ all conflicting obligations must be set aside.]

[FFG 442-443]

Bibliographical Information
McGarvey, J. W. "Commentary on Luke 9". "J. W. McGarvey's Original Commentary on Acts". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/oca/luke-9.html. Transylvania Printing and Publishing Co. Lexington, KY. 1872.
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