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But now there manifested itself more powerfully a mysterious something in His demeanour which paralyzed the hands and hearts of His enemies. The people of Nazareth saw that their countryman—that the son of Joseph-in the lofty expression of His spiritual nature, was indeed a stranger. They had not thought the appearance of a Roman emperor so exalted. A gesture, a look of Jesus; and with involuntary reverence they open for Him a path. He passed through the midst of them, and was soon away.
This was His departure from His native place. Banished and homeless, the Son of man departs in order to bless mankind.
1. The Evangelist Luke also passes by the time between the first and the second return of Christ from the Jordan.
2. It is highly characteristic of the third Evangelist, that according to him Jesus begins to announce the year of jubilee for the poor, the wretched, for contrite hearts, in His native city of Nazareth; that He is there rejected on account of His origin, and, as an exile, commences His pilgrimage.
3. Regarding the identity of this narrative with that of Matt. xiii. 54-58, vid. Schleiermacher, p. 63.
THE SECOND STAGE IN THE PILGRIMAGE OF JESUS. HE FIXES HIS ABODE AT CAPERNAUM.
(Chap. iv. 31-44.)
The second stage of the wanderings of Jesus was Capernaum, a city in Galilee (Upper Galilee).1
Here also He appeared in the synagogues on the Sabbathdays, and taught. And here His audience felt that His word was in power, without taking offence at His lowly origin. There
1 See above, ii. 355. Luke, as well as Matthew and John, seems to be acquainted with the currency of the name Galilee for Upper Galilee.
fore also did Capernaum become a chief scene of His mighty works. On a previous occasion He must have performed miracles in this place, as has been stated. Hence we may explain the fact, that here He was already an object of terror to those who were demoniacally possessed. That He was so, is proved by the healing of a demoniac in the synagogue at Capernaum, which Luke also narrates. The Evangelist characterizes the demoniac more exactly—he had the spirit of an unclean devil. He distinguishes thus between the demon himself in his individuality, and his spirit. This seems to indicate that the patient was possessed by the demon in the joint action of his entire spiritual being. The words with which the demon received the Lord, and which are also narrated by Mark, he uttered, or rather cried out, with a loud voice. In this case of healing occurred the singular circumstance, that during the paroxysm of recovery, the demon suddenly dragged the patient into the very midst of the assembly, without, however, doing him any injury. This may have helped to increase the astonishment of the people at the power of Jesus over devils.
The second miracle consisted in the cure of Peter's wife's mother, who had been taken with a great fever. Jesus healed her, bending over her and rebuking the fever. In this case also a cure took place by delivering the spirit of the sufferer from the ban of sickness.
In the numerous cures which Jesus effected on the sick, who were brought to Him after the sun was set, He systematically employed the laying on of hands. He laid His hands,' we are told, 'on every one of them, and healed them.' From these cases of healing we must distinguish the casting out of devils, who came out of many. He rejected the honour attempted to be given Him by the demoniacs, who proclaimed Him to be the Son of God. He rebuked them, suffering them not to speak: they knew that He was the Christ.
On the following morning, when the Lord departed into a desert place, a great multitude of people went after Him. We learn also what their purpose was: they wished Him to stay, and not depart from Capernaum. They thus formed a marked contrast to the people of Nazareth, who had cast Him out from their city. He however declared that He must proclaim the Gospel of the kingdom in other cities also, being thereunto
sent. On this He commenced His journey through Galilee, and preached everywhere in the synagogues.
1. The description of the remarkable circumstances attending the healing of the demoniac, and of the conduct of our Lord in the recovery of Peter's wife's mother, is quite after the manner. of Luke. It is also characteristic of the Evangelist to notice the multitude of people who sought the Lord in the desert place, and urged Him not to depart from Capernaum; whereas he makes no mention of Simon, who was the leader on that occasion.
2. That the Evangelist does not take advantage of every opportunity to oppose the Judaizers, is shown by the circumstance that he does not (ver. 32) compare the doctrine of Christ with that of the scribes and Pharisees, as is done by Mark. He likewise omits (ver. 42) to mention that Jesus prayed in the desert place; so that the remark, that he delights on every occasion to represent Christ as praying, must be corrected. In the account of the healing of Peter's mother-in-law, he passes by the circumstance that Jesus took her by the hand and lifted
3. Schleiermacher accounts for the circumstance that Simon is here only incidentally mentioned, and in this manner is introduced for the first time, by the hypothesis, that Luke composed his narrative from memoranda. But it may be also explained from the fact, that the Evangelists wrote for readers to whom the general outlines of Gospel history, and especially the names of the disciples, were already known. Schleiermacher is of opinion that the occurrence, v. 1-11, must necessarily have preceded the healing of Peter's mother-in-law; in like manner Gfrörer (p. 126). And with regard to the unprefaced remark, Siŋkóvei avtoîs, see Ritschl (p. 77). These words are, however, introduced by the previous ἠρώτησαν αὐτόν, etc.
4. The 44th verse is apparently the concluding formula of a narrative, as it anticipates in a general form that which is first. introduced by the following section.
THE FIRST JOURNEY OF JESUS UNDERTAKEN FROM CAPERNAUM.-THE DEPARTURE. THE GOSPEL IN FACTS.
GOSPEL IN WORDS.
(Chap. v. vi.)
The first departure from the Galilean sea of the fishermen, whom Jesus called to be His disciples, was celebrated, like the last (see John xxi.), by a remarkable draught of fishes. The occasion of it in the present instance was, that the people more and more pressed around Him to hear the word of God, as He stood on the shore of the lake and taught. Seeing two ships on the shore, out of which the fishermen had gone to wash their nets, He entered into one of them, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land. He now sat down, and taught the people from the ship. When He had left speaking, He said to Simon, 'Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.' 'Master,' answered Peter, 'we have toiled all the night, and caught nothing: nevertheless at Thy word I will let down the net.' And when they had thus done, they enclosed a great multitude of fishes, so that their net began to break. And they beckoned to their partners in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' feet, and said, 'Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.' For fear fell on him, and on all who were with him, at the draught of fishes which they had taken; and likewise on James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt be a fisher of men.' And they brought their ships to land, forsook all, and followed Him.
One may see clearly from this narrative, that a close connection between Jesus and these three disciples had been previously formed. This event, however, brought the decision. Twice thus did the Lord crown the labour of His disciples in their worldly avocation with a miraculous blessing, and make it the
sign of a promise with reference to their spiritual ministry. That, however, He so deeply humbled and shamed the disciple by the overflowing abundance of His blessings; that the disciple, on this revelation of the grace of Christ, gave utterance to a feeling, such as the prophets of the Old Testament expressed on beholding the visible manifestation of Jehovah—a feeling of judgment and of death, in the view of the glory and holiness of the Lord; and that he made confession of his sinfulness in the presence of his companions: all this had to be told us by Luke, the companion of Paul, and a sharer with him in his deep knowledge of sin and grace. After such an experience on the part of the disciple, the Lord could now also add the declaration— 'From henceforth thou shalt be a fisher of men.'1
During the journey which now commenced, Jesus unfolded His glory in a series of miracles which may be regarded as a first Gospel-a complete cycle of Gospel ideas-in facts.
The first of these miracles consisted in the healing of a leper, who met Him in one of the cities which He visited-a man full of leprosy. Falling on his face, the sufferer besought Him that he might be healed. The Lord granted him his request, touched him with His hand, enjoined on him silence, and sent him forthwith to the priest. By this deed, however, His fame spread the more; so that great multitudes flocked together, both to hear, and to be healed by Him of their infirmities. They found Him in the wilderness, where He had withdrawn Himself, and prayed.
The second miracle was the healing of the paralytic. On one of those days,' as Jesus was teaching, there sat by Pharisees and doctors of the law, who were come out of every town of Galilee and Judea, and even from Jerusalem. But also under the restraint of such a circle the power of the Lord was present to heal. There was brought to Him a paralytic on a bed. His bearers, finding no other mode of entrance, ascended to the house-top, and let him down through the burnt tiles of the flat
1 Notwithstanding such a mark of distinction put on Peter, must the third Gospel be ever making him the butt of his polemics, according to the work already quoted, die Evang., etc.
2 The expression iv μiã tău nμspãv (ver. 17) has reference to the days of this special journey, as the expression iv μi tãv móλɛwy (ver. 12) to the cities, which on this first journey He visited.