1 Corinthians "bodily
shape" does not i1:1 The beginning of the gospel1
of Jesus2 Christ3
, the Son of God4
JOHN THE BAPTIST'S PERSON AND PREACHING. (In the wilderness of Judea, and on the banks of the Jordan, occupying several months, probably A.D. 25 or 26.) Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-18
- The beginning of the gospel. John begins his Gospel from eternity, where the Word is found coexistent with God. Matthew begins with Jesus,the humanly generated son of Abraham and David, born in the days ofHerod the king. Luke begins with the birth of John the Baptist, theMessiah's herald; and Mark begins with the ministry of John theBaptist. While the three other evangelists take a brief survey of the"preparation" of the gospel, Mark looks particularly to the period whenit began to be "preacher". Gospel means good news, and news is not newsuntil it is proclaimed. The gospel began to be preached or proclaimedwith the ministry of John the Baptist (Luke 16:16). His ministry wasthe dawn of that gospel of which Christ's preaching was the sunrise.
- Jesus. Our Lord's "name" as a human being; it means "Savior".
- Christ. Though this is also sometimes used as a name, it is in reality our Lord's "title". It means "the Anointed", and is equivalentto saying that Jesus is our Prophet, Priest, and King.
- The Son of God. This indicates our Lord's eternal "nature"; it was divine. Mark's gospel was written to establish that fact, which is thefoundation of the church (Matthew 16:18). John's Gospel was written fora like purpose (John 20:31). John uses the phrase "Son of God"twenty-nine times, and Mark seven times. As these two evangelists wrotechiefly for Gentile readers, they emphasized the divinity of Jesus, andpaid less attention to his Jewish ancestry. But Matthew, writing forHebrews, prefers the title "Son of David", which he applies to Jesussome nine times, that he may identify him as the Messiah promised inthe seed of David (2 Samuel 7:12; Psalms 72:1-17; Psalms 89:3,4; Psalms 132:11,12).
1:2 Even as it is written in Isaiah the prophet, Behold1, I send my messenger2 before thy face3, Who shall prepare thy way4.
- Behold. The clause beginning with "Behold" and ending with "way" is taken from Malachi 3:1. The Revised Version makes Mark quote thispassage as if it were from Isaiah, the reading being "written in Isaiahthe prophet", but the Authorized Version gives the reading "written inthe prophets". Following the reasoning of Canon Cook, we hold thelatter was the original reading. See Speaker's Commentary, note at theend of Mark 1.
- My messenger. John the Baptist was that messenger.
- Before thy face. Malachi says "my face". "Thy" and "my" are used interchangeably, because of the unity of the Deity (John 10:30).
- Who shall prepare thy way. Mark says little about the prophets, but at the outset of his Gospel he calls attention to the fact that theentire pathway of Jesus was the subject of prophetical prediction.
1:3 The voice1 of one crying in the wilderness2, Make ye ready the way of the Lord3, Make his paths straight;
- The voice. See Isaiah 40:3,4, quoted from the Septuagint. The words were God's, the voice was John's. So Paul also spoke(1 Thessalonians 2:1-13). It was prophesied before he was born that John shouldbe a preparing messenger for Christ (Luke 1:17).
- Of one crying in the wilderness. This prophecy of Isaiah's could relate to none but John, for no other prophet ever made the wildernessthe scene of his preaching. But John always preached there, and insteadof going to the people, he compelled the people to come out to him.John was the second Elijah. The claims of all who in these days professto be reincarnations of Elijah may be tested and condemned by thisprophecy, for none of them frequent the wilderness.
- Make ye ready the way of the Lord. See also Isaiah 35:8-10. Isaiah's language is highly figurative. It represents a band ofengineers and workmen preparing the road for their king through arough, mountainous district. The figure was familiar to the people ofthe East, and nearly every generation there witnessed such road-making.The haughty Seriramis leveled the mountains before her. Josephus,describing the march of Vespasian, says that there went before him suchas were to make the road even and straight, and if it were anywhererough and hard, to smooth it over, to plane it, and to cut down woodsthat hindered the march, that the army might not be tired. Some havethought that Isaiah's prophecy referred primarily to the return of theJewish captives from Babylon. But it refers far more directly to theministry of the Baptist; for it is not said that the way was to beprepared for the people, but for Jehovah himself. It is a beautifulfigure, but the real preparation was the more beautiful transformationof repentance. By inducing repentance, John was to prepare the peopleto receive Jesus and his apostles, and to hearken to their preaching.
1:4 John came, who baptized in the wilderness and preached the baptism of repentance unto remission of sins1.
- The baptism of repentance unto remission of sins. Pardoning mercy was to be found in Christ, and all rites then looked forward to thecleansing effected by the shedding of his blood, as all rights now lookback to it. But in popular estimation John's baptism was no doubtregarded as consummating an immediate forgiveness.
1:5 And there went out unto him all the country of Judaea1, and all they of Jerusalem; And they were baptized of him2 in the river Jordan, confessing their sins3.
- All the country of Judaea. A hyperbole common with Hebrew writers and such as we use when we say, "the whole town turned out", "everybodywas there," etc. Both Matthew and Luke show that some did not acceptJohn's baptism (Matthew 21:23-25; Luke 7:30). But from the language of theevangelist we might infer that, first and last, something like amillion people may have attended John's ministry.
- And they were baptized of him. Literally, immersed by him. In every stage of the Greek language this has been the unquestioned meaning ofthe verb "baptizo", and it still retains this meaning, the GreekChurch, in all its branches, has uniformly practiced immersion from theearliest period to the present time. Greek Christians never speak ofother denominations as "baptizing by sprinkling", but they say, "theybaptize 'instead' of baptizing". John's baptism was instituted of God(John 1:33), just as Christian baptism was instituted by Christ(Matthew 28:19). The Pharisees recognized John's rite as so importantas to require divine authority, and even then they underestimated it,regarding it as a mere purification (Josephus Ant. 18.5,2).
- Confessing their sins. As John's baptism was for the remission of sins, it was very proper that it should be preceded by a confession.The context indicates that the confession was public and general. Thereis no hint of such auricular confession as is practiced by theCatholics. See also Acts 19:18. John, writing to baptized Christians,bids them to confess their sins, that Jesus may forgive them(1 John 1:9). Christian baptism is also for the remission of sins(Acts 2:38), the ordinance itself a very potent confession that theone baptized has sins to be remitted, and it seems to be a sufficientpubic expression of confession as to sins; for while John's baptismcalled for a confession sins, Christian baptism calls only for aconfession of faith in Christ (Acts 22:16; Romans 10:9,10; Mark 16:16).
1:6 And John was clothed with camel's hair1, and [had] a leathern girdle about his loins2, and did eat locusts3 and wild honey4.
- And John was clothed with camel's hair. Camels were plentiful in the East. Their finer hair was woven into elegant cloths; but thatwhich was coarser and shaggier was made into a fabric like our druggets[coarse durable cloth used chiefly as a floor covering], and used forthe coats of shepherds and camel drivers, and for the covering oftents. Prophets often wore such cloth (Zechariah 13:4), and no doubt itwas the habitual garb of John's prototype, the prophet Elijah(Malachi 4:5; 2 Kings 1:8). In Elijah's day there was demand for protestagainst the sad havoc which Phoenician luxury and licentiousness weremaking with the purer morals of Israel; and in John's day a likeprotest was needed against a like contamination wrought by Greekmanners and customs. Both prophets, by their austerity, rebuked suchapostasy, and Jezebel answered the rebuke by attempting Elijah's life,while Herodias actually took the life of John. As a herald, John wassuited to the King whose appearing he was to announce, for Jesus wasmeek and lowly (Zechariah 9:9), and had no form nor comeliness that heshould be desired (Isaiah 53:2).
- And [had] a leathern girdle about his loins. The loose skirts worn in the East required a girdle to bind them to the body. This wasusually made of linen or silk, but was frequently more costly, beingwrought with silver and gold. John's girdle was plain, undressedleather.
- And did eat locusts. Locusts, like Western grasshoppers, were extremely plentiful (Joel 1:4; Isaiah 33:4,5). The law declared themclean, and thus permitted the people to eat them for food (Leviticus 11:22).Arabs still eat them, and in some Oriental cities they are found forsale in the market. But they are regarded as fit only for the poor.They are frequently seasoned with camel's milk and honey.
- And wild honey. Canaan was promised as a land flowing with milk and honey (Exodus 2:8-17; Exodus 13:15; 1 Samuel 14:26). Many of the trees in theplains of Jericho, such as the palm, fig, manna, ash, and tamarisk,exuded sweet gums, which went by the name of tree honey, but there isno need to suppose, as some do, that this was what John ate. Thecountry once abounded in wild bees, and their honey was very plentiful.We have on the record an instance of the speed with which they couldfill the place which they selected for their hives (Judges 14:5-9).The diet of the Baptist was very light, and Jesus so speaks of it(Matthew 11:18). He probably had no set time for his meals, and alldays were more or less fast-days. Thus John gave himself wholly to hisministry, and became a voice--all voice. John took the wilderness for achurch and filled it. He courted no honors, but no Jew of his timereceived more of them, and by some he was even regarded as Messiah(Luke 3:15).
1:7 And he preached, saying, There cometh1 after me2 he that is mightier than I3, the latchet4 of whose shoes5 I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose6.
- There cometh. John preached repentance because of a coming King; he now announces who the King is. He pictures this King as, first,administering a different baptism from his own; second, as a judge whowould separate the righteous from the wicked, just as a husbandmansifts the wheat from the chaff.
- After me. Subsequent to me in ministry. But John indicates that the coming of Christ would be closely coupled with his own appearing. Oneevent was to immediately follow the other. So Malachi binds together inone time the appearing of both forerunner and judge (Malachi 3:1-3).
- He that is mightier than I. Mightier both to save and to punish.
- The latchet. The lace or strap. See John 1:27.
- Of whose shoes. The sandal then worn was a piece of wood or leather bound to the sole of the foot to protect it from the burning sand orthe sharp stones. It was the forerunner of our modern shoe.See John 1:27.
- I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. To untie or carry away the shoe of the master or his guest was the work of the lowest slave ofthe household. As a figure of speech, the shoe is always associatedwith subjugation and slavery (Psalms 60:8). John means, "I am not worthyto be his servant". John was simply the forerunner of Jesus; the higheroffice and honor of being Jesus' attendants was reserved for others(Mark 11:11).
1:8 I baptized you in water; But he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit.
- He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit. That which is here referred to was foretold by the prophets (Isaiah 44:3; Joel 2:28). Inthe early church there was an abundant outpouring of the Spirit of God(Titus 3:5,6; Acts 2:3,4,17; Acts 10:44). This prophecy began to be fulfilledon the day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5; Acts 2:4). In the choice of the word"baptize" God indicated through his prophet how full this flooding ofthe Spirit would be.
1:9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in the Jordan1.
JESUS BAPTIZED BY JOHN IN THE JORDAN. (Jordan east of Jericho, Spring of A.D. 27.) Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21,22
- And was baptized of John in the Jordan. Greek "into". The body of Jesus was immersed or plunged into the river.
1:10 And straightway coming up out of the water1, he saw2 the heavens rent asunder3, and the Spirit4 as a dove descending upon him5:
- And straightway coming up out of the water. The preposition "out of" shows that Jesus was not yet fully out of the river, and that thevision and the voice were immediately associated with his baptism.
- He saw. The statement that "he" saw the Spirit descending, which is also the language of Matthew (Matthew 3:16), has been taken by someas implying that the Spirit invisible to the multitude. But we knowfrom John's narrative that it was also seen by John the Baptist(John 1:33,34), and if it was visible to him and to Jesus, and itdescended, as Luke affirms, in a bodily shape like a dove (Luke 3:22),it would have required a miracle to hide it from the multitude.Moreover, the object of the Spirit's visible appearance was to pointJesus out, not to himself, but to others; and to point him out as aperson concerning whom the voice from heaven was uttered. No doubt,then, the Spirit was visible and audible to all who were present.*
- The heavens rent asunder. The heavens open at the beginning of Jesus' ministry to honor him, and at the end of it to receive him.Christ is the opener of heaven for all men.
- The Spirit. The Spirit came upon Jesus to give him the miraculous power which he afterward exerted (Luke 4:14).
- As a dove descending upon him. All four evangelists are careful to inform us that it was not an actual dove (Matthew 3:16; Mark 1:10; Luke 3:22
*NOTE.--Recognizing the weight of Bro. McGarvey's argument, Inevertheless contend that the multitude only shared partially in such avision, if they shared it at all; for (1) There is no Scripture whicheven hints that the vision was seen by more than the two "inspired"parties, Jesus and John; and, on the contrary, the words of Jesus athis baptism, were addressed to the Jews generally. (2) Jesus was to bemanifested by his character and teaching rather than by heavenly sightsand sounds (Matthew 12:39), and the mysteries of the kingdom(Matthew 13:11), and the opened heavens (John 1:50,51), with manyother manifestations, were reserved for believers (John 12:28-30Matthew 17:1,2,9; Acts 1:9; Acts 7:55,59; Acts 10:40,41),; Acts and; Acts are; Acts still; Acts so; Acts reserved(1 Corinthians 2:14).; 1 Corinthians As; 1 Corinthians to; 1 Corinthians the; 1 Corinthians arguments; 1 Corinthians given; 1 Corinthians above,; 1 Corinthians we; 1 Corinthians suggest; 1 Corinthians that; 1 Corinthians "bodilyshape" does not insure universal sight. Baalam did not see what the asssaw (Numbers 22:21-31). Again, it may be true that Jesus did not need tosee the vision "to point him out to himself", but he must have neededit for some purpose, for it is twice asserted that he saw it, and thetemptations which immediately follow show that assurances of hisdivinity at this particular time were by no means misplaced.--Philip Y.Pendleton.
1:11 And a voice came out of the heavens1, Thou art2 my beloved Son3, in thee4 I am well pleased5.
- And a voice came out of the heavens. Voices from heaven acknowledged the person of Christ at his birth, his baptism, his transfiguration andduring the concluding days of his ministry. At his baptism Jesus washonored by the attestation of both the Spirit and the Father. But theordinance itself was honored by the sensible manifestation of eachseveral personality of the Deity--that the three into whose name weourselves are also baptized.
- Thou art. The "this is", etc. of Matthew 3:17 are probably the words as John the Baptist reported them; the "thou art", etc., here andof Luke 3:22, are the words as Jesus actually heard them. Thetestimony of the Father is in unreserved support of the fundamentalproposition of Christianity on which the church of Christ is founded(Matthew 16:15-18). On this point no witness in the universe was sowell qualified to speak as the Father, and no other fact was so wellworthy the honor of being sanctioned by his audible utterance as this.The testimony of Christ's life, of his works, of the Baptist, and ofthe Scriptures might have been sufficient; but when the Father himselfspeaks, who shall doubt the adequacy of the proof?
- My beloved Son. See Matthew 17:5. The Father himself states that relationship of which the apostle John so often spoke (John 1:1). Adamwas made (Genesis 1:26), but Jesus was begotten (Psalms 2:7). Both weresons of God, but in far different senses. The baptism of Jesus bearsmany marked relationships to our own: (1) At his baptism Jesus wasmanifested as the Son of God. At our baptism we are likewise manifestedas God's children, for we are baptized into the name of the Father, andare thereby permitted to take upon ourselves his name. (2) At hisbaptism Jesus was fully commissioned as the Christ. Not anointed withmaterial oil, but divinely consecrated and qualified by the Spirit andaccredited by the Father. At baptism we also received the Spirit(John 3:5; Acts 2:38; Acts 19:1-6), who commissions and empowers us toChristian ministry (Acts 1:8; 1 John 3:24).
- In thee. Some make the phrases "in whom" and "in thee" (Matthew 3:17 "with" Jesus. They see in it also the statement that the Father will bepleased with all who are "in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 1:6).
- I am well pleased. It is no slight condemnation to do well pleasing to God (Job 4:18). It is the Christian's joy that his Savior had thiscommendation of the Father at the entrance upon his ministry.
1:12 And straightway1 the Spirit driveth him forth2 into the wilderness3.
JESUS TEMPTED IN THE WILDERNESS. Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:12,13; Luke 4:1-13
- And straightway. Just after his baptism, with the glow of the descended Spirit still upon him, and the commending voice of the Fatherstill ringing in his ears, Jesus is rushed into the suffering oftemptation. Thus abrupt and violent are the charges of life. Thespiritually exalted may expect these sharp contrasts. After being inthe third heaven, Paul had a messenger of Satan to buffet him(2 Corinthians 12:7).
- The Spirit driveth him forth. The two expressions "driveth" and "led" (Matthew 4:1; Luke 4:1) show that Jesus was drawn to the wildernessby 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 he was not tempted of God. Godmay bring us into temptation (Matthew 6:13; Matthew 26:41; Job 1:12; Job 2:6), and maymake temptation a blessing unto us, tempering it to our strength, andmaking us stronger by the victory over it (1 Corinthians 10:13; James 1:2,12),but God himself never tempts us (James 1:13).
- Into the wilderness. The wilderness sets in back of Jericho and extends thence along the whole western shore of the Dead Sea. Thenorthern end of this region is in full view from the Jordan as onelooks westward, and a more desolate and forbidding landscape it wouldbe hard to find. It is vain to locate the temptation in any particularpart of it. Jesus may have wandered about over nearly all of it.
1:13 And he was in the wilderness1 forty days2 tempted of Satan3; And he was with the wild beasts4; And the angels ministered unto him5.
- And he was in the wilderness. Isolation from humanity is no security from temptation. In fact, our present passage of Scripture shows it ishighly favorable to temptation. The experience of all hermits showsthat loneliness is the mother of a multitude of evil desires.
- Forty days. Matthew speaks of the temptation as coming "after" forty days. Evidently Mark and Luke regard the long fast as part of theprocess of temptation, seeing that without it the first temptationwould have been without it the first temptation would have been withoutforce. See Matthew 4:2.
- Tempted of Satan. As a second David, Jesus went forth to meet that Goliath who had so long vaunted himself against all who sought toserve God, and had as yet found none to vanquish him. The account ofthe temptation must have been given to the disciples by Jesus himself,and as it pleased him to give it as an actual history of real facts, itbehooves us to accept it without being presumptuously inquisitive. Ofcourse, it has supernatural features, but the supernatural confronts usthrough 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, witha possibility of falling. But his divinity insured his victory overtemptation. He became like us in ability to fall, that he might make uslike unto himself in power to resist. It behooved him to be tempted,and thus sharing our nature with its weakness and temptation he mightbring us to share his nature with its strength and sinlessness(Hebrews 2:17,18; Hebrews 4:15,16). Sinlessness does not preclude temptation,else Adam could not have been tempted, nor could Satan himself havefallen. Moreover, temptation is in so sense sin. It is the yielding ofthe will to temptation which constitutes sin. The spiritual history ofhumanity revolves around two persons; namely, the first and the secondAdam. The temptation of Christ was as real as that of Adam. He hadtaken upon himself our temptable nature (Philippians 2:7,8), and he wastempted not as a private soldier, but as the second Adam, the Captainof our salvation. The failure of the first Adam brought sorrow,darkness, and death; the success of the second Adam brought joy, light,and immortality. Also see on.
- And he was with the wild beasts. A graphic touch. showing the dreariness and desolation of the wilderness, and indicating its peril.Lions, wolves, leopards, and serpents have been found in the Judeanwilderness.
- And the angels ministered unto him. See note at Jesus was probably fed by the angels, as was Elijah by one of them (1 Kings 19:4-7). Satanand suffering first, then angels, refreshment, and rest. God had indeedgiven his angels charge, and they came to him who refused to put thefather to the test. But they did not succor Jesus during histemptation, for that was to be resisted by himself alone (Isaiah 63:3).
1:14 Now after John was delivered up1, Jesus came into Galilee2, preaching the gospel of God,
JESUS SETS OUT FROM JUDEA FOR GALILEE. A. REASONS FOR RETIRING TO GALILEE. Matthew 4:12; Mark 1:14; Luke 3:19,20; John 4:1-4
- Now after John was delivered up. Either delivered up by the people to Herod (Matthew 17:12), or delivered up by Herod himself to the wardenof the castle of Machaerus (Luke 12:58), or by Providence to Herodhimself (Acts 2:23).
- Jesus came into Galilee. See John 4:3.
1:15 and saying1, The time is fulfilled2, and the kingdom of God is at hand3: repent ye, and believe in the gospel4.
GENERAL ACCOUNT OF JESUS' TEACHING. Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:14,15; Luke 4:14,15
- And saying. Jesus preached the gospel or good news of his own advent and of the setting up of the unending kingdom which should convert theworld to righteousness and save the souls of men.
- The time is fulfilled. 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 whichespecially fixed the time of its coming; viz.: Daniel 9:24-27. Thisprophecy tells of seventy weeks in which each day is reckoned as ayear, so that the seventy weeks equal 490 years. They are to becounted from the date of the decree which ordered the rebuilding ofJerusalem. The Messiah, or Prince, was to come at the beginning of theseventieth week, or 483 years from the date of the decree. Some takethe decree referred to as to be that mentioned in Nehemiah 2:7,8. Jahnand Hales fix the date of this decree in the year 444 B.C. Accordingto 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 wasthirteen years earlier, and which would bring the beginning of theministry of Jesus to the year A.D. 26. But there is much uncertaintyabout all ancient chronology. Suffice it to say that Daniel told inround numbers how long it would be until Messiah should come, and thatJesus said that this time had been fulfilled. It would have been easyto ascertain the correct chronology at the time when Jesus spoke, andwe have no record that any presumed to dispute his statement.
- The kingdom of God is at hand. Jesus announced the coming of a new dispensation. The King had already come, but the kingdom in itsorganization and administration was as yet only "at hand". Until thecrucifixion of Christ and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecostthe kingdom could not be fully organized, for the blood shed upon thecross furnished the means for purification which precedes a properentrance into the kingdom, and the coming of the Holy Spirit affordedthat indwelling strength by which those entering are enabled to abidetherein.
- Repent ye, and believe in the gospel. That is, prepare for the kingdom by repenting of sin, and by believing the glad news that thekingdom was approaching, for the King had come (John 1:49). Thepreaching of Jesus at this time did not differ materially from that ofJohn the Baptist, for John preached repentance and the approachingkingdom (Matthew 3:2), and the gospel (Luke 3:18), and belief in theKing (John 1:29,36; John 3:36). The fact that repentance comes before beliefin this passage is taken by some taken as an indication that repentanceprecedes faith in the process of conversion, but it should beremembered that the preaching here is addressed to the Jewish people,who already believed in God, and in the Scripture as the revelation ofGod. They were, therefore, required to bring forth fruit worthy of theold faith and the old revelation as preparatory to their reception ofthe new faith and the new revelation. Thus repentance and faith appearsto be the established order for Hebrews (Hebrews 6:1), and theirproselytes (Acts 20:21), because of the spiritual standpoint orcondition in which the gospel found them. But those who have no faithin God can surely have no repentance toward him, for belief precedesevery call upon God, whether for mercy, pardon, or any other blessing(Romans 10:13,14).
1:16 And passing along by the sea of Galilee1, he saw Simon and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net2 in the sea; for they were fishers3.
JESUS CALLS FOUR FISHERMEN TO FOLLOW HIM. (Sea of Galilee, near Capernaum.) Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11
- The sea of Galilee. This lake is a pear-shaped body of water, about twelve and a half miles long and about seven miles across at its widestplace. It is 682 feet below sea level; its waters are fresh, clear, andabounding in fish, and it is surrounded by hills and mountains, whichrise from six hundred to a thousand feet above it. Its greatest depth isabout 165 feet.
- A net. The New Testament speaks of three kinds of nets, viz.: the "amphiblestron", which is only mentioned here and Matthew 4:18, the"sagene", mentioned only at Matthew 13:47, and the "dictua", which ismentioned in all other places. The "dictua" was a casting-net; the"sagene", a seine or dragnet; and the "amphiblestron" was a drawnet, acircular bell-shaped affair, which was thrown upon the water, so thatit spread out and caught, by sinking, whatever was below it.
- For they were fishers. Though Simon and Andrew had been companions of Jesus on at least one journey, they did not as yet understand thathis service would require all their time. The facts that Jesus nowtemporarily resided at Capernaum afforded them an opportunity to returnto their old occupation, which they readily embraced. Fishing was thena prosperous trade on the Lake of Galilee.
1:17 And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me1, and I will make you to become fishers of men2.
- Come ye after me. It was an invitation to follow, that they might be instructed by hearing his teaching and beholding his work.
- I will make you to become fishers of men. Jesus called them from a lower to a similar but higher labor. He calls all honest tradesmen inthis manner. He invites carpenters to build his temple, servants toserve the great King, physicians to heal immortal souls, merchants toinvest in pearls of great price, etc. The fisherman found many pointsof resemblance between the old and new calling, such as, (1) dailyhardships and dangers; (2) earnest desires for the objects sought; (3)skill and wisdom in the use of means, etc. Disciples are fishers, humansouls are fish, the world is the sea, the gospel is the net, andeternal life is the shore whither the catch is drawn.
1:18 And straightway they left the nets, and followed him.
- They left their nets. Peter and Andrew. See Mark 1:20.
1:19 And going on a little further, he saw James the [son] of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending the nets.
- James [the son] of Zebedee, and John his brother. They also, like Peter and Andrew, were at work when Jesus found them. God calls the busyto his business. For instances where God had called the busy, see casesof Moses (Exodus 3:1,2), Gideon (Judges 6:11), Saul (1 Samuel 10:1-3),David (1 Samuel 16:11-15), Elisha (1 Kings 19:19-21), Matthew(Matthew 9:9), Saul (Acts 9:1-6). Moreover most of these were calledfrom lowly work, for such is God's method (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). We shouldnote two reasons why God chose the lowly and unlearned: (1) their mindsbeing free from prejudice were more ready to entertain new truth; (2)the strength of the gospel was made more apparent by the weakness ofits ministers (1 Corinthians 2:3-5; 2 Corinthians 4:7; Zechariah 4:6). Of these two brothers,James was the first apostolic martyr and John the last survivor of thetwelve. James was beheaded about A.D. 44 (Acts 12:1,2); and John,after upwards of seventy years of Christian service, died at Ephesusabout A.D. 100.
1:20 And straightway he called them1: and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after him2.
- And straightway he called them. From Matthew and Mark we would suppose that Jesus was alone when he called the two sets of brothers,and that with them he immediately left the lake. But we learn fromLuke that he taught and worked a miracle before leaving the lake(Luke 5:1,3).
- And they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after him. The four partners (James and John, Peterand Andrew), boats, different kinds of nets, hired servants, etc., andthe fact that Salome, the wife of Zebedee, was one of those whoministered to Christ out of her substance (Matthew 27:55,56; Luke 8:3),all indicate a business of respectable proportions: a fact whichsuggests that the church of Christ would catch more souls if all itsparts were in partnership. Evidently when the four men rightlyrecognized that the divine call was superior to their earthlyobligations, there is nothing which leads us to imply that their suddendeparture discomfited Zebedee. The call of Christ here marks a changein their relationship to him. Hitherto discipleship had not materiallyinterfered with business, but this present call separated them fromtheir occupation, and prepared them for the call to be apostles whichcame later, and which required them to be his constant companions(Mark 3:14).
1:21 And they go into Capernaum1; and straightway on the sabbath day2 he entered into the synagogue and taught3.
HEALING A DEMONIAC IN A SYNAGOGUE. (At Capernaum.) Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37
- And they go into Capernaum. Jesus and the four fishermen whom he called: Simon and Andrew, James and John (Mark 1:16-20).
- And straightway on the sabbath day. Mark uses the adverb "straightway" and the particle "again" (which has a similar meaning) todepict the rapid movement of Jesus. As used by him in this connectionit probably indicates that this was the next Sabbath after the callingof the four fishermen, Mark 1:16-20.
- He entered into the synagogue and taught. See Mark 1:39.
1:22 And they were astonished at his teaching1: For he taught them as having authority, and not as the scribes2.
- And they were astonished at his teaching. The astonishment of the people was natural. Not yet recognizing Jesus' divinity, they could notunderstand how one so humble could speak with such authority.
- For he taught them as having authority, and not as the scribes. They contrasted his teaching with that of the scribes. The scribes werelearned men who preserved, copied, and expounded the law and thetradition (Ezra 7:6,12; Nehemiah 8:1; Matthew 15:1-6; Matthew 23:2-4; Mark 12:35; Luke 11:52).They were also called "lawyers" (Matthew 22:35; Luke 7:30; Luke 10:25; Luke 11:45,46,52Luke 14:3; Titus 3:13), and "teachers (or doctors) of the law"(Luke 5:17-21). Though the teaching of Jesus differed from the teachingof 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 byhis own authority. Their way was to quote minute precedents supportedby endless authorities. A passage taken from later rabbinical writingsstarts 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. Forexample, Matthew 5:18,20,22,26,28,34.
1:23 And straightway there was in their synagogue1 a man with an unclean spirit2; and he cried out3,
- In their synagogue. See Mark 1:39.
- A man with an unclean spirit. Matthew, Luke, and Mark all concur in pronouncing demons unclean; that is, wicked (Matthew 10:1; Matthew 12:43Mark 1:23,26,27; Mark 3:11,30; Mark 5:2,8,13; Mark 6:7; Mark 7:25; Mark 9:25; Luke 4:33,36; Luke 6:18; Luke 8:29Luke 9:42; Luke 11:24). They thus corrected the prevailing Greek notionthat some of the demons were good. The word "demon", as used in ourSavior's time by both Jews and Greeks, meant the spirits of thedeparted or the ghosts of dead men, and the teaching of that and priorages was that such spirits often took possession of living men andcontrolled them. But whatever these demons were, the Scripture, bothby its treatment of them and its words concerning them, clearlyindicates that they were immaterial, intelligent beings, which areneither to be confused with maladies and diseases of the body, nor withtropes, metaphors, or other figures of speech. In proof of this weadduce the following Scripture facts: (1) the legislation of the OldTestament proceeded upon the assumption that there was such a thing asa "familiar spirit" (Leviticus 19:31); (2) in the New Testament they arespoken of as personalities (James 2:19; Revelation 16:14), Jesus even foundinga parable upon their habits (Luke 11:24-26); (3) Jesus distinguishedbetween them and diseases, and so did his disciples (Matthew 10:8Luke 10:17-20); (4) Jesus addressed them as persons, and they answeredas such (Mark 5:8; Mark 9:25); (5) they manifested desires and passions(Mark 5:12,13); (6) they showed a superhuman knowledge of Jesus(Matthew 8:29). It would be impossible to regard demon possession as amere disease without doing violence to the language used in everyinstance of the expulsion of a demon. The frequency of demoniacalpossession in the time of Jesus is probably due to the fact that hisadvent formed a great crisis in the spiritual order of things.
- And he cried out. The man cried, the unclean spirit determined what he should cry. The silence and decorum of the synagogue made the outcrymore noticeable, and the demon betrayed his excitement and alarm inspeaking before he was spoken to.
1:24 saying, What have we to do with thee1, Jesus thou Nazarene? art thou come to destroy us2? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God3.
- What have we to do with thee? For an explanation of this idiom, see John 2:4.
- Art thou come to destroy us? Jesus came to destroy the "works" of the devil (1 John 3:8). At his second coming the "workers" themselvesshall suffer (Matthew 25:41). We find that they recognized that the timeof 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 supernaturalknowledge. The demon called Jesus the Holy One, because (1) it was oneof his proper Scriptural names (Psalms 16:10; Acts 3:14); (2) holinesswas that characteristic which involved the ruin of demons as unholyones--just as light destroys darkness. We should note here theunfruitful knowledge, faith, and confession of demons. They lackedneither knowledge (Matthew 8:29), nor faith (James 2:19), nor didthey withhold confession; but Jesus received them not. Repentance andwilling obedience are as necessary as faith or confession.
1:25 And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him1.
- 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 whomis now rebuked and hereafter to be destroyed, the other of whom isdelivered. In commanding silence Jesus refused to receive the demon'stestimony. We can see at least three reasons for this: (1) it was notfilling that the fate of the people should rest upon the testimony ofliars; (2) because receiving such testimony might have been taken as anindication that Jesus sustained friendly relations to demons--somethingwhich the enemies of Christ actually alleged; (Matthew 12:24); (3) theMessiahship of Jesus was to be gradually unfolded, and the time for itspublic proclamation had not yet come.
1:26 And the unclean spirit, tearing him and crying with a loud voice1, came out of him.
- And the unclean spirit, tearing him and crying with a loud voice,
- came out of him. The demon first racked the body of the man with a convulsion, and then, with a cry of rage came out. All this waspermitted that, (1) there might be clear evidence of demoniacalpossession; (2) the demon's malignity might be shown; (3) it might bemanifested that the spirit came not out of its own accord, but becausecompelled thereto by the command of Christ. The cry was, however, amere impotent expression of anger, for Luke, "the beloved physician"(Colossians 4:14), notes that it did not hurt the man (Luke 4:35). Onunclean spirits, see Mark 1:23.
1:27 And they were all amazed1, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What is this? a new teaching! with authority he commandeth even the unclean spirits2, and they obey him.
- They were all amazed, etc. The power to command disembodied spirits thus amazed the people, because it was more mysterious than the powerto work physical miracles. By this miracle Jesus demonstrated hisactual possession of the authority which he had just assumed in histeaching.
- The unclean spirits. See Mark 1:23.
1:28 And the report of him went out straightway everywhere into all the region of Galilee round about1.
- And the report of him went out straightway everywhere into all the region of Galilee round about. This fame was occasioned both by themiracle and the teaching. The benevolence and publicity of the miracle,and its power--the power of one mightier than Satan--would causeexcitement in any community, in any age. Though this is the firstmiracle recorded by either Mark or Luke (Mark 1:25,26; Luke 4:35), yetneither asserts that it was the "first" miracle Jesus wrought, so thereis no conflict with John 2:11.
1:29 And straightway, when they were come out of the synagogue1, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew2, with James and John.
HEALING PETER'S MOTHER-IN-LAW AND MANY OTHERS. (At Capernaum.) Matthew 8:14-17; Mark 1:29-34; Luke 4:38-41
- And straightway, when they were come out of the synagogue. Where Jesus had just healed the demoniac (Mark 1:21). On the synagogue,see Mark 1:39.
- They came into the house of Simon and Andrew. Peter and Andrew had dwelt at Bethsaida (John 1:44). They may have removed to Capernaum, orBethsaida, being near by, may be here counted as a part, or suburb, ofCapernaum. Its name does not contradict this view, for it means "houseof fishing" or "fishery".
1:30 Now Simon's wife's mother1 lay sick of a fever; and straightway they tell him of her:
- Simon's wife's mother. The Papists, who claim that Peter was the first pope, must confess that he was married at this time, andcontinued to be so for years afterwards (1 Corinthians 9:5). Celibacy isunauthorized by Scripture (Hebrews 13:4). God says it is not good(Genesis 2:18).
1:31 and he came and took her by the hand, and raised her up1; and the fever left her, and she ministered unto them2.
- And he came and took her by the hand, and raised her up. Thus showing the miracle came from Jesus, and that he felt a tender interestin the sufferer.
- And the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. Her complete recovery is emphasized the miracle. Such fevers invariably leave thepatient weak, and the period of convalescence is long and trying, andoften full of danger. She showed her gratitude by her ministry.
1:32 And at even, when the sun did set1, they brought unto him all that were sick, and them that were possessed with demons2.
- And at even, when the sun did set. Their delay till sundown was unquestionably caused by the traditional law of the Sabbath whichforbade men to carry any burden on that day (John 5:10). The Sabbathclosed at sundown (Leviticus 23:32).
- They brought unto him all that were sick, and them that were possessed with demons. The distinction is drawn between the sickand the demon-possessed. Lightfoot gives two reasons why demoniacalpossession was so common at that time, viz.: (1) the intense wickednessof the nation; (2) the addiction of the nation to magic, whereby thepeople invited evil spirits to be familiar with them.
1:34 And he healed many that were sick with divers diseases, and cast out many demons; and he suffered not the demons to speak, because they knew him1.
- And he suffered not the demons to speak, because they knew him. Those who are disposed to frequent spiritual seances and to seekinformation from mediums should remember that the Son of God permittedhis disciples to receive no information from such sources. He forbadedemons to speak in the presence of his own, even on the most importantof all topics.
1:35 And in the morning, a great while before day1, he rose up and went out, and departed into a desert place, and there prayed3.
JESUS MAKES A PREACHING TOUR THROUGH GALILEE. Matthew 4:23-25; Mark 1:35-39; Luke 4:42-44
- And in the morning, a great while before day. Mark has in mind the season when Jesus sought the Father in prayer, and so he tells us itwas "a great while before day". Compare Luke 4:42.
- He rose up went out. That is, from the house of Simon.
- And departed into a desert place, and there prayed. Though Palestine was densely populated, its people were all gathered into towns, so thatit was usually easy to find solitude outside the city limits. A ravinenear Capernaum, called the Valley of Doves, would afford such solitude.Jesus taught and practiced solitary prayer (Matthew 6:6). We can communewith God better when alone than when in the company of even our dearestfriends. It is a mistaken notion that one can pray equally well at alltimes and in all places. Jesus being in all things like men, exceptthat he was sinless (Hebrews 2:17), must have found prayer a realnecessity. He prayed as a human being. Several reasons for this seasonof prayer are suggested, from which we select two: (1) It was asafeguard against the temptation to vainglory induced by the unboundedadmiration and praise of the multitude whom he had just healed. (2) Itwas a fitting preparation on the eve of his departure on his firstmissionary tour.
1:36 And Simon1 and they that were with him2 followed after him3;
- 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. See Mark 1:29.
- Followed after him. Literally, pursued after him. Xenophon uses this word to signify the close pursuit of an enemy in war. Simon had nohesitancy in obtruding on the retirement of the Master. This rushingafter Jesus in hot haste accorded with his impulsive nature. Theexcited interest of the people seemed to the disciples of Jesus tooffer golden opportunities, and they could not comprehend his apparentindifference to it.
1:37 and they found him, and say unto him, All are seeking thee1.
- And they found him, and say unto him, All are seeking thee. The disciples saw a multitude seeking Jesus for various causes: some tohear, some for excitement, some for curiosity. To satisfy the peopleseemed to them to be Christ;s first duty. Jesus understood his workbetter than they. He never encouraged those who sought through merecuriosity or admiration (John 6:27). Capernaum accepted the benefitof his miracles, but rejected his call to repentance (Matthew 11:23).
1:38 And he saith unto them, Let us go elsewhere into the next towns, that I may preach there also; for to this end came I forth1.
- For to this end came I forth. That is, I came forth from the Father (John 16:28) to make and preach a gospel. His disciples failed tounderstand his mission. Afterwards preaching was with the apostles theall-important duty (Acts 6:2; 1 Corinthians 1:17).
1:39 And he went into their synagogues1 throughout all Galilee2, preaching and casting out demons3.
- And he went into their synagogues. The word "synagogue" is compounded of the two Greek words "sun", "together", and "ago", "tocollect". It is, therefore, equivalent to our English word "meeting-house". Tradition and the Targums say that these Jewish houses ofworship existed from the earliest times. In proof of this assertionDeuteronomy 31:11; Psalms 74:8 are cited. But the citations are insufficient,that in Deuteronomy not being in point, and the psalm being probablywritten after the Babylonian captivity. It better accords with historyto believe that the synagogue originated during the Babyloniancaptivity, and was brought into the motherland by the returning exiles.Certain it is that the synagogue only came into historic prominenceafter the books of the Old Testament were written. At the time of ourSavior's ministry synagogues were scattered all over Palestine, andalso over all quarters of the earth whither the Jews had beendispersed. Synagogues were found in very small villages, for whereverten "men of leisure", willing and able to devote themselves to theservice of the synagogue, were found, a synagogue might be erected. Inthe synagogues the people met together on the Sabbaths to pray, and tolisten to the reading of the portions of the Old Testament, and also tohear such instruction or exhortation as might be furnished. With thepermission of the president of the synagogue any one who was fittedmight deliver an address. Thus the synagogues furnished Jesus (and inlater times his disciples also) with a congregation and a suitableplace for preaching. We find that on week days Jesus often preached inthe 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, andbecause their use shows that as yet the Jewish rulers had not soprejudiced the public mind as to exclude Jesus from the houses ofworship.
- Throughout all Galilee. The extreme length of Galilee was about sixty-three miles, and its extreme width about thirty-three miles. Itsaverage dimensions were about fifty by twenty-five miles. It contained,according to Josephus, 240 towns and villages. Its population at thattime is estimated at about three millions. Lewin calculates that thecircuit of Galilee must have occupied four or five months. The versesof this paragraph are, therefore, a summary of the work and influenceof Jesus during the earlier part of his ministry. They are a generalstatement, the details of which are given in the subsequent chapters ofthe Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke--the Gospel of John dealing moreparticularly with the work in Judea.
- And casting out demons. Mark singles out this kind of miracle as most striking and wonderful.
1:40 And there cometh to him a leper1, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean3.
JESUS HEALS A LEPER AND CREATES MUCH EXCITEMENT. Matthew 8:2-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16
- And there cometh to him a leper. There is much discussion as to what is meant here by leprosy. Two diseases now go by that name; viz.,psoriasis and elephantiasis. There are also three varieties ofpsoriasis, namely, white, black, and red. There are also threevarieties or modifications of elephantiasis, namely, tubercular,spotted or streaked, and anesthetic. Elephantiasis is the leprosy foundin modern times in Syria, Greece, Spain, Norway, and Africa. Now, sinceLeviticus, in determining leprosy, lays great stress on a white orreddish-white depression of the skin (Leviticus 13:19,24,42,49), the hairsin which are turned white (Leviticus 13:3,4,10,20,25,26) or yellow(Leviticus 13:30,32,36), and since it also provides that the leper who iswhite all over shall be declared clean (Leviticus 13:13,17,39), and sincein the only two cases where lepers are described--Numbers 12:10; 2 Kings 5:27--they are spoken of as "white as snow", scholars have been led to thinkthat the Biblical leprosy was the white form of psoriasis. But thefacts hardly warrant us in excluding the other forms of psoriasis, oreven elephantiasis; for (1) Leviticus also declares that any brightspot or scale shall be pronounced leprosy, if it be found to spreadabroad over the body (Leviticus 13:28,29,36,37); and this indefinite languagewould let in elephantiasis, cancer, and many other skin diseases. Infact, the law deals with the initial symptoms rather than with theultimate phases of the fully developed disease. (2) Elephantiasis was acommon disease in our Savior's time, and has been ever since, and wouldhardly be called leprosy now, if it had not been popularly so calledthen. The word "leprosy" comes from the Greek word "lepo", which means"to peel off in scales". It is hereditary for generations, thoughmodern medical authorities hold that it is not contagious. However, thereturning Crusaders spread it all over Europe in the tenth and eleventhcenturies, so that according to Matthew Paris, there was no less than9,000 hospitals set aside for its victims. The facts that the priestshad to handle and examine lepers, and that any one who was white allover with leprosy was declared clean, led scholars to think that thelaws of Moses, which forbade anyone to approach or touch a leper, werenot enacted to prevent the spread of a contagion, but for typical andsymbolic purposes. It is thought that God chose the leprosy as thesymbol of sin and its consequences, and that the Mosaic legislation wasgiven to carry out this conception. Being the most loathsome andincurable of all diseases, it fitly represents in bodily form theravages of sin in the soul of a man. But there must also have been asanitary principle in God's law, since we still deem it wise toseparate lepers, and since other people besides the Hebrews (as thePersians) prohibited lepers from mingling with other citizens.Elephantiasis is the most awful disease known. The body of its victimdisintegrates joint by joint, until the whole frame crumbles to pieces.Psoriasis is milder, but is very distressing. Mead thus describes acase: The
"skin was shining as covered with flakes of snow. And as the furfuraceous or bran-like, scales were daily rubbed off, the flesh appeared quick or raw underneath."
In addition to the scaly symptoms, the skin becomes hard and cracksopen, and from the cracks an ichorous humor oozes. The disease spreadsinwardly, and ends in consumption, dropsy, suffocation, and death.
- Beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying to him. The Jews, in addressing any distinguished person, usually employed thetitle "Lord". They were also accustomed to kneel before prophets andkings. It is not likely that the leper knew enough of Jesus to addresshim as the Son of God. He evidently took Jesus for some great prophet;but he must have had great faith, for he was full of confidence thatJesus had power to heal him, although there was but one case ofleper-cleansing in the Scriptures (2 Kings 5:1-19; Luke 4:27).
- If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. The leper believed in the power of Jesus, but doubted his willingness to expend it on one sounworthy and so unclean. In temporal matters we cannot always be assure of God's willingness as we can be of his power. We should notethat the man asked rather for the blessing of cleanness than forhealth. To the Jew uncleanness was more horrible than disease. It meantto be an outcast from Israel, and to be classed with swine, dogs, andother odious and abhorrent creatures. The leper, therefore, prayed thatthe Lord would remove his shame and pollution.
1:41 And being moved with compassion, he stretched forth his hand, and touched him1, and saith unto him, I will; be thou made clean2.
- And being moved with compassion, he stretched forth his hand, and touched him. Mark habitually notes the feelings, and hence also thegestures of Jesus. It was not an accidental, but an intentional, touch.Popular belief so confused and confounded leprosy with the uncleannessand corruption of sin, as to make the leper feel that Jesus might alsocompromise his purity if he concerned himself to relieve it. The touchof Jesus, therefore, gave the leper a new conception of divinecompassion. It is argued that Jesus, by this touch, was made legallyunclean until the evening (Leviticus 13:46; Leviticus 11:40). But we should note thespirit and purpose of this law. Touch was prohibited because it defiledthe person touching, and aided not the person touched. In Jesus' casethe reasons for the law were absent, the conditions being reversed.Touching defiled not the toucher, and healed the touched. In all thingsJesus touches and shares our human state, but he so shares it thatinstead of his being defiled by our uncleanness, we are purified by hisrighteousness. Moreover, Jesus, as a priest after the order ofMelchizedek (Hebrews 5:6), possessed the priestly right to touch theleper without defilement (Hebrews 4:15).
- And saith unto him, I will; be thou made clean. The Lord's answer is an echo of the man's prayer (Mark 1:40). The words "I will" expressthe high authority of Jesus.
1:42 And straightway the leprosy departed from him, and he was made clean1.
- And straightway the leprosy departed from him, and he was made clean. Godet writes,
"Luke (Luke 5:13) says, "departed," giving the merely physical view of the event. Matthew (Matthew 8:3) says, "was cleansed", using ceremonial language. Mark combines the two forms."
1:43 And he strictly charged him1, and straightway sent him out,
- And he strictly charged him. The language used indicates that Jesus sternly forbade the man to tell what had been done. The man's conduct,present and future, shows that he needed severe speech. In hisuncontrollable eagerness to be healed, he had overstepped hisprivileges, for he was not legally permitted to thus enter cities anddraw near to people (Numbers 5:2,3); he was to keep at a distance fromthem, and covering his mouth, was to cry, "Tame, tame"--"unclean,unclean" (Leviticus 13:45,46; Luke 17:12,13). The man evinced a likerecklessness in disregarding the command of Jesus (Mark 1:45).
1:44 and saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man: but go show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing the things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
See thou say nothing to any man|, etc. See Matthew 8:4.
1:45 But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to spread abroad the matter1, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into a city,2 but was without in desert places3: and they came to him from every quarter.
- But he went out, and began to publish it much, and to spread abroad the matter. The leper was so elated that he could scarcely refrainfrom publishing his cure, and he must also have thought that this waswhat Jesus really wanted--that in commanding him not to publish it hedid not mean what he said.
- Insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into a city,. Not a natural or physical inability, but the inability of impropriety. Jesuscould not do what he judged not best to do. The excitement cause bysuch an entry was injurious in several ways: (1) It gave such anemphasis to the miracles of Jesus as to make them overshadow histeaching. (2) It threatened to arouse the jealousy of the government.(3) It rendered the people incapable of calm thought. Two thingsconstantly threatened the ministry of Jesus, namely, impatience in themultitude, and envious malice in the priests and Pharisees. Jesuswished to add to neither of these elements of opposition. Thus thedisobedience of the leper interrupted Jesus, and thwarted him in hispurpose to visit the villages. Disobedience, no matter how well-meaning, always hinders the work of Christ.
- But was without in desert places. See Luke 5:16.