Pharisaic Leaven. A Blind Man Healed.

-. THIRD WITHDRAWAL FROM HEROD'S TERRITORY.Subdivision A.
PHARISAIC LEAVEN. A BLIND MAN HEALED.

(Magadan and Bethsaida. Probably Summer, A. D. 29.)
a MATT. 15:39; b MARK 8:10-26.

      b 10 And straightway he entered into the boat with his disciples, a and came into the borders of Magadan. b into the parts of Dalmanutha. [It appears from the context that he crossed the lake to the west shore. Commentators, therefore, pretty generally think that Magadan is another form of the name Magdala, and that Dalmanutha was either another name for Magdala, or else a village near it.]

  a 1 And the Pharisees and Sadducees b came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign a and trying him [testing the strength of his miraculous power] asked him to show them a sign from heaven. [They rejected his miracles as signs of his Messiahship, the Pharisees holding that such signs could be wrought by Beelzebub. They therefore asked a sign from heaven such as only God could give, and such as he had accorded to Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and Elijah, or such as Joel foretold ( Joel 2:31 ). Herodians were Sadducees of Galilee. If so, we note the beginning of their hostility recorded at Mark iii. 6, Section 39.]

  b 12 And he sighed deeply in his spirit [being grieved deeply at the sinful obduracy which demanded signs in the midst of overwhelming demonstrations of divine power],

  a 2 He answered and said {b saith,} a unto them, b Why doth this generation seek a sign? a When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the heaven is red.

  3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to-day: for the sky is red and lowering. Ye know how to discern the face of the heaven; but ye cannot discern the signs of the times. [For comment on similar language, see Section 52. The signs of the times being fulfillments of prophecies, were better evidence of the period and presence of the Messiah than heavenly portents. It is useless to bestow new signs upon those who are blind as to the signs already existing. Jews continue to require a sign-- 1 Corinthians 1:22 .]

  4 An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and b verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. [i. e., none such as was demanded] b but the sign of Jonah. [For comment on similar language, see Section 49. The resurrection or Jonah sign was a sign from heaven in the sense in which they used the words; that is, it was wrought directly by God, and not through man.]

  13 And he left them, b And again entering into the boat departed to the other side. [I. e., from Magdala back again to the east shore, or rather, toward Bethsaida Julias, on the northeast shore.]

  a 5 And the disciples came to the other side and forgot to take bread. b and they had not in the boat with them more than one loaf. [This loaf was probably left over from the previous supply.]

  a 6 Then Jesus said unto them,

  b 15 And he charged them, saying, a Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. b and the leaven of Herod. [Leaven, which answered to our modern yeast, was a symbol of a secret, penetrating, influence of the Pharisees was that of formalism, hypocritical ostentation, and traditionalism; that of the Sadducees was sneering rationalistic unbelief, free thought and cunning worldliness, manifesting itself among the Herodians in political corruption.

  16 And they reasoned one with another, a among themselves, saying, We took {b have} no bread. They thought that Jesus reproved them for their carelessness in forgetting to take bread, since that carelessness might lead them to be without bread on their journey. So his rebuke below indicates.]

  a 8 And Jesus perceiving it said, {b saith,} unto them, a O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?

  9 Do ye not yet perceive, b neither understand? a neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets [cophini, probably traveling baskets] ye took up?

  10 Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets [spurides, probably grain baskets or hampers] ye took up?

  11 How is it that ye do not perceive that I spake not to you concerning bread? b have ye your hearts hardened?

  18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?

  19 When I brake the five loaves among the five thousand, how many baskets [cophini] full of broken pieces took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve.

  20 And when the seven among the four thousand, how many basketfuls [spurides] of broken pieces took ye up? And they say unto him, Seven.

  21 And he said unto them, Do ye not yet understand? a But beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees?

  12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees. [Jesus had resorted to metaphor because the word leaven better expressed his idea than did the word teaching. The formulated dogmas of the Pharisees were not so bad, but without warning, like a concealed grave. There are those to-day who are too skillful to be openly convicted of heterodox statements, but whose teaching, nevertheless, in its very essence and spirit, tends to infidelity.]

  b 22 And they cometh unto Bethsaida. [Not the suburb of Capernaum, but Bethsaida Julias, a town on the east side of the Jordan, near where it flows into the Sea of Galilee. Jesus was proceeding northward toward Cæsarea Philippi.] And they bring to him a blind man, and beseech him to touch him.

  23 And he took hold of the blind man by the hand, and brought him out of the village [Jesus increased the sympathy between himself and the man by separating him from the crowd. Our greatest blessing can only come to us after we have been alone with God]; and when he had spit on his eyes, and laid his hands upon him, he asked him, Seest thou aught?

  24 And he looked up, and said, I see men; for I behold them as trees, walking.

  25 Then again he laid his hands again upon his eyes; and he looked steadfastly, and was restored, and saw all things clearly. [The man's eyes were probably sore, and Jesus made use of saliva to soften and soothe them. But it was our Lord's custom to give variety to the manifestation of his power, sometimes using one apparent auxiliary means, and sometimes another; and also healing instantly or progressively, as he chose, that the people might see that the healing was altogether a matter of his will. The man had evidently not been born blind, else he would not have been able to recognize men or trees by sight, for those not used to employ sight can not by it tell a circle from a square.]

  26 And he sent him away to his home, saying, Do not even enter into the village. [The man, of course, lived in the village, and to send him home was to send him thither, but he was to go directly home and not spread the news through the town, for if he did the population would be at once drawn to Jesus, thus breaking up the privacy which he sought to maintain.]