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Elijah would appear in person. They also supposed that Jeremiah and some other of the prophets would appear to usher in the promised Messiah, and to grace his advent. See Matt. xvi. 14; xvii. 10. John i. 21.
15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. This expression is frequently used by Christ. It is a proverbial expression, implying that the highest attention should be given to what was spoken.
16 | But whereunto shall I liken this generation ? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, 17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; We have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. 18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil. 19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
Christ proceeds to reprove the inconsistency and fickleness of that age of men. He says they were like children. Nothing pleased them long. He refers here to the plays or sports of children. Instrumental musie, or piping, and dancing, were used in marriages and festivals, as a sign of joy, Luke xv. 25. Children imitate their parents and others, and act over in play what they see done by them. Among their childish sports, therefore, was probably an imitation of a wedding, or festal occasion. We have seen also, note Matt. ix. 23, that funerals were attended with mournful music, and lamentation, and howling. It is not improbable that children also, in play, imitated a mournful funeral procession. One part are represented as sullen and dissatisfied. They would not enter into the play. The others complained of it. We have, said they, taken all pains to please you. We have piped to you, played cheerful and lively tunes, and sports, but you would not join with us; and then we have played different games, and imitated the mourning at funerals, and you are equally sullen. Nothing pleases you. So, said Christ, is this generation of men. John came one way; and you were not pleased with him. I, the Son of man, have come in a different manner, and you are equally dissatisfied. Nay, you are less pleased. You calumniate him, and yet abuse me for not doing the very thing which displeased you in John. You are fickle, changeable, and inconstant. Markets.' Places of con
Neither eating nor drinking. That is, abstaining from some kinds of food, and wine, as a Nazarene. He was remarkable for abstinence. He hath a devil.' He is actuated by a
bad spirit. "The Son of man came eating and drinking. That is, living as others do; not practising austerity. “Gluttonous.' One given to excessive eating. Wine-bibber. One who drinks much wine. A great drinker. 'Wisdom is justified of her children. The children of wisdom are the wise: those who understand. He means that though pharisees and fault-finders did not appreciate the conduct of John and himself, yet the wise, those who understood the reason of their conduct—would approve of it.
20 | Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not;
* To upbraid,' That is, to reprove, rebuke, or to denounce heavy judgment.
21 Wo unto thee, Chorazin! wo unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
* Chorazin' and' Bethsaida.' Towns not far from Capernaum. Bethsaida was the residence of Philip, Andrew, and Peter, John i. 44. "Tyre and Sidon. Cities of Phænicia, formerly very wealthy, and distinguished for merchandise. They were situated on the shore of the Mediterranean sea, and were on the western part of Judea. “In sackcloth and ashes.' Sackcloth was a coarse cloth, like canvass, used fo: the dress of the poor, and for the more common articles of domestic economy. It was worn also as a sign of mourning. The Jews also frequently threw ashes on their heads, as expressive of grief, Job ii. 12. Jer. vi. 26. The meaning is, that they would have repented with expressions of deep sorrow.
22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. 23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. 24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
“And thou Capernaum.' See note Matt. iv. 13. 'Which art exalted to heaven. This expression denotes great privileges. The city was signally favoured by the presence, the preaching, and the miracles of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here he spent a large part of his time in the early part of his ministry; and in Caper
naim and its neighbourhood he performed most of nis miracles. 'Shalt be brought down to hell. The word 'hell’ is used here io denote a state of desolation and destruction as a city. Their privileges, honours, wealth, &c., should be taken away, and they should sink as low among cities as they had before been exalted. This has been strictly fulfilled. In the wars between the Jews and the Romans, Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, &c., were so completely desolated that it is difficult to determine their former situation. Christ also threatened future punishment on those who rejected him. The truth inculcated is, that those who are peculiarly favoured, must be punished accordingly, if they abuse their privileges. If the mighty works-had been done in Sodom.' See note Matt. x. 15. It would be better for Sodom in the day of judgment than for Capernaum, for its inhabitants would not be called to answer for the abuse of so great privileges.
25 | At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.
From the wise and prudent.' That is, from those who thought themselves wise-wise, according to the world's estimate of wisdom-the men of philosophy, and self-conceit, and science, falsely so called, 1 Cor. i. 26, 27. 'Hast revealed them untó babes. To the poor, ignorant, and obscure; the teachable, simple, and humble. Such were his disciples. He had reserence here probably to the proud and haughty scribes and pharisees in Capernaum. They rejected his gospel; but it was the pleasure of God to reveal it to obscure and more humble men. The reason given, the only satisfactory reason, is, that it so seemed good in the sight of God. In this the Saviour acquiesced -'even so Father.'
27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father : and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
All things are delivered.' The same doctrine is clearly taught often in the New Testament. See John iii. 35. Col. i. 16, 17. Christ has control over all things for the good of his church; the government of the universe is committed to him as a Mediator, that he may redeem his people and guide them to glory, Eph. i. 20—22. No man knoweth the Son.' That is, such is the nature of the Son of God; such the mystery of the union between the Divine and human nature; such his exalted character as Divine, that no mortal can fully comprehend him. None but God fully knows him. “Neither knoweth any man the Father,' &c. That is, no one, man or angel, clearly understands or comprehends the character of the infinite God, but the Son, the Lord Jesus, and he to whom he makes him known. This he does by revealing the character of God clearly, and more especially as a sin-forgiving God, John xvii. 6.
28 | Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
'All ye that labour and are heavy laden. He here addresses the poor, lost, ruined sinner: the man burdened with a consciousness of his transgressions, trembling at his danger, and seeking deliverance. For such, there is relief. Christ tells them to come to him. To believe in him, and to trust in him, and in him only, for salvation. Doing this he will give them rest: rest from their sins; from the clamours of conscience; from the terrors of the law; and from the fears of eternal death.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart : and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
“Take my yoke. This is a figure taken from the use of oxen ; and hence signifying to labour for any one. It means, here, to take his precepts, and embrace his system of religion, and to obey him. For I am meek,' &c. See note, Matt. v. 5. That is he was not harsh, overbearing, and oppressive, like the pharisees, but meek, mild, kind, and gentle in his government. His laws were reasonable and tender; and it would be easy to obey him.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
My yoke is easy,' &c. That is, the services that I shall require are reasonable, and easily rendered. They are not burdensome, like all other systems of religion. So the christian always finds them. In coming to Christ, there is a peace which passeth all understanding; in following him through evil and good report, a comfort which the world giveth not; in bearing trials, and in persecution, the hope of glory; and in keeping his commandments, great reward. The poor and needy ; the weary and heavy laden; the soul sick of sin, and of the world, conscious of guilt, and afraid to die, may come to Jesus Christ. The invitation is wide as the world. The child and the old man may seek and find salvation at the feet of the same Saviour. Christ is full of mercy, and all who come shall find peace. O how should we, in this sinful and miserable world, borne down with sin, and exposed each moment to death, how should we come and find the peace which he has promised to all, and take the yoke which all believers have found to be light!
CHAPTER XII, 1 AT that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.
The account contained in these verses is also recorded in Mark ii. 23—28, and Luke vi. 1-5. At that time. Luke fixes the date more particularly. It was during the Passover, and consequently about the beginning of April. See note on Luke vi. 5. In Judea the barley harvest commences about the beginning of May, and that harvest and the wheat harvest are over by the 20th. Barley is in full ear in the beginning of April.. ' Through the
Through the barley or wheat. This explains the circumstance that they • rubbed it in their hands, Luke vi. 1, to separate the grain from the chaff.
2 But when the pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
• Upon the sabbath day. The pharisees, desirous of finding fault with Christ, said that in plucking the grain on the 'sabbath day,' they had violated the commandment. Moses had commanded to abstain from all servile work on the sabbath. Exod. xx. 10; xxxv. 2, 3. Num. xv. 32–36. On any other day this would have been clearly lawful, for it was permitted, Deut. xxiii. 25.
3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
The law commanded that twelve loaves of bread should be laid on the table in the holy place, to remain a week, and then to be eaten by the priests only. Their place was supplied then by fresh bread. This was called the shew-bread. Lev. xxiv. 549. David, fleeing before Saul, weary and hungry, had come to Abimelech the priest : had found only this bread; had asked it of him, and had eaten it, contrary to the letter of the law. 1 Sam, xxi, 1–7. This act had passed uncondemned. It proved that in cases of necessity the laws did not bind a man: a principle which all laws admit. So the necessity of the disciples justified them in doing on the sabbath what would have been otherwise unlawful.
4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests ? 5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that