1The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.2As it is written in the Prophets: Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.3The voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight.4John came immersing in the wilderness and preaching an immersion of repentance for the remission of sins.5And all the land of Judea, and those from Jerusalem, went out to him and were all immersed by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.6Now John was clothed with camel's hair and with a leather waistband around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.7And he preached, saying, There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose.8I indeed immerse you in water, but He will immerse you in the Holy Spirit.9And it came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was immersed by John in the Jordan.10And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove.11And a voice came from Heaven, You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.12And immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness.13And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.14Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,15and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.16And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.17And Jesus said to them, Come after Me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.18And they immediately left their nets and followed Him.19And when He had gone a little farther from there, He saw Jacob the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets.20And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him.21And they went into Capernaum, and immediately on the Sabbath He entered the synagogue and taught.22And they were astonished at His doctrine, for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.23Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out,24saying, Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are; the Holy One of God!25But Jesus rebuked him, saying, Be quiet, and come out of him!26And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him.27And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.28And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.29And as soon as they had come out of the synagogue, they entered the house of Simon and Andrew, with Jacob and John.30But Simon's wife's mother lay sick with a fever, and at once they told Him about her.31So He came and took her by the hand and lifted her up, and immediately the fever left her. And she served them.32And at evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon-possessed.33And the whole city was gathered together at the door.34And He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He did not allow the demons to speak, because they knew Him.35And in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there prayed.36And Simon and those who were with Him followed after Him.37And when they found Him, they said to Him, Everyone is looking for You.38But He said to them, Let us go into the neighboring towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.39And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting out demons.40Now a leper came to Him, begging Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, If You are willing, You can make me clean.41And Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, I am willing; be made clean.42And as soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.43And He strictly warned him and sent him away at once,44and said to him, See that you say nothing to anyone; but go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.45However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him from every direction.
Matthew Henry - Complete Commentary 1
We may observe here,
I. What the New Testament is - the divine
testament, to which we adhere
above all that is human;
the new testament, which we advance
above that which was old. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God, Mark 1:1
. 1. It is gospel;
it is God's word, and is faithful
see Revel 19:9
; Revel 21:5
; Revel 22:6
. It is a good word,
and well worthy of all acceptation;
it brings us glad tidings. 2. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ,
the anointed Saviour,
the Messiah promised and expected. The foregoing gospel began with the generation of Jesus Christ
- that was but preliminary, this comes immediately to the business - the gospel of Christ.
It is called his,
not only because he is the Author
of it, and it comes from him,
but because he is the Subject of it,
and it treats wholly concerning him.
3. This Jesus is the Son of God.
That truth is the foundation on which the gospel is built, and which it is written to demonstrate; for is Jesus be not the Son of God,
our faith is vain.
II. What the reference
of the New Testament is to the Old, and its coherence
with it. The gospel of Jesus Christ begins,
and so we shall find it goes on,
just as it is written in the prophets
); for it saith no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said should come
), which was most proper and powerful for the conviction of the Jews, who believed the Old Testament prophets to be sent of God and ought to have evidenced
that they did so by welcoming the accomplishment of their prophecies in its season; but it is of use to us all, for the confirmation of our faith both in the Old Testament and in the New, for the exact harmony that there is between both shows that they both have the same divine original.
Quotations are here borrowed from two prophecies - that of Isaiah, which was the longest,
and that of Malachi, which was the latest
(and there were above three hundred years between them), both of whom spoke to the same purport concerning the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ,
in the ministry of John.
1. Malachi, in whom we had the Old Testament farewell,
spoke very plainly (Mal 3:1
) concerning John Baptist, who was to give the New Testament welcome. Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, Mark 1:2
. Christ himself had taken notice of this, and applied it to John (Matt 11:10
), who was God's messenger,
sent to prepare Christ's way.
2. Isaiah, the most evangelical of all the prophets, begins
the evangelical part of his prophecy with this, which points to the beginning of the gospel of Christ
); The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Mark 1:3
. Matthew had taken notice of this, and applied it to John, Matt 3:3
. But from these two put together here, we may observe, (1.) That Christ, in his gospel, comes among us,
bringing with him a treasure of grace, and a sceptre of government. (2.) Such is the corruption of the world, that there is something to do to make room
for him, and to remove that which gives not only obstruction,
to his progress. (3.) When God sent his Son into the world, he took care,
and when he sends him into the heart, he takes care,
effectual care, to prepare his way before him;
for the designs of his grace shall not be frustrated;
nor may any expect the comforts of that grace, but such as, by conviction of sin and humiliation for it, are prepared
for those comforts, and disposed to receive them. (4.) When the paths
that were crooked,
are made straight
(the mistakes of the judgment rectified, and the crooked ways
of the affections), then way is made for Christ's comforts. (5.) It is in a wilderness,
for such this world is, that Christ's way
is prepared, and theirs that follow him, like that which Israel passed through to Canaan. (6.) The messengers of conviction and terror, that come to prepare Christ's way, are God's messengers,
whom he sends and will own, and must be received
as such. (7.) They that are sent to prepare the way of the Lord,
in such a vast howling wilderness as this is, have need to cry aloud,
and not spare, and to lift up their voice like a trumpet.
III. What the beginning
of the New Testament was. The gospel began in John Baptist; for the law and the prophets were, until John,
the only divine revelation, but then the kingdom of God began to be preached, Luke 16:16
. Peter begins from the baptism of John, Acts 1:22
. The gospel did not begin so soon
as the birth
of Christ, for he took time to increase in wisdom and stature,
not so late as his entering upon his public ministry, but half a year before, when John began to preach the same doctrine that Christ afterward preached. His baptism was the dawning of the gospel day;
1. In John's way of living
there was the beginning of a gospel spirit;
for it bespoke great self-denial, mortification of the flesh, a holy contempt of the world, and nonconformity to it, which may truly be called the beginning of the gospel of Christ
in any soul, Mark 1:6
. He was clothed with camels' hair,
not with soft raiment; was girt, not with a golden, but with a leathern girdle;
and, in contempt of dainties and delicate things, his meat was locusts and wild honey.
Note, The more we sit loose to the body, and live above the world, the better we are prepared for Jesus Christ.
2. In John's preaching
there was the beginning
of the gospel doctrines and ordinances,
and the first fruits of them. (1.) He preached the remission of sins,
which is the great gospel privilege; showed people their need
of it, that they were undone
without it, and that it might be obtained. (2.) He preached repentance,
in order to it; he told people that there must be a renovation of their hearts and a reformation of their lives, that they must forsake their sins and turn to God, and upon those terms and no other, their sins should be forgiven. Repentance for the remission of sins,
was what the apostles were commissioned to preach to all nations, Luke 24:27
. (3.) He preached Christ, and directed his hearers to expect him
speedily to appear, and to expect great things
from him. The preaching of Christ is pure gospel, and that was John Baptist's preaching, Mark 1:7
, Mark 1:8
. Like a true gospel minister, he preaches, [1.] The great pre-eminence
Christ is advanced to;
so high, so great, is Christ, that John, though one of the greatest that was born of women, thinks himself unworthy to be employed in the meanest office about him, even to stoop down,
and untie his shoes.
Thus industrious is he to give honour to him, and to bring others to do so too. [2.] The great power
Christ is invested with;
He comes after me
in time, but he is mightier than I,
mightier than the mighty ones of the earth, for he is able to baptize with the Holy Ghost;
he can give
the Spirit of God, and by him govern
the spirits of men. [3.] The great promise
Christ makes in his gospel to those who have repented,
and have had their sins forgiven them; They shall be baptized with
the Holy Ghost, shall be purified
by his graces, and refreshed
by his comforts. And, lastly,
All those who received his doctrine, and submitted to his institution, he baptized with water,
as the manner of the Jews was to admit proselytes, in token of their cleansing themselves
by repentance and reformation (which were the duties required), and of God's cleansing them
both by remission and by sanctification, which were the blessings promised. Now this was afterward to be advanced into a gospel ordinance, which John's using it was a preface to.
3. In the success of John's preaching, and the disciples he admitted by baptism, there was the beginning of a gospel church.
He baptized in the wilderness,
and declined going into the cities; but there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem,
inhabitants both of city and country, families of them, and were all baptized of him.
They entered themselves his disciples, and bound themselves to his discipline; in token of which, they confessed their sins;
he admitted them his disciples, in token of which, he baptized
them. Here were the stamina of the gospel church, the dew of its youth
from the womb of the morning, Pss 110:3
. Many of these afterward became followers of Christ, and preachers of his gospel, and this grain of mustard-seed became a tree. 9
We have here a brief account of Christ's baptism and temptation, which were largely related Mt. 3 and 4.
I. His baptism,
which was his first public appearance, after he had long lived obscurely in Nazareth.
O how much hidden worth
is there, which in this world is either lost in the dust of contempt and cannot
be known, or wrapped up in the veil of humility and will not
be known! But sooner or later it shall be
known, as Christ's was.
1. See how humbly
God, by coming to be baptized of John;
and thus it became him to fulfil all righteousness.
Thus he took upon him the likeness of sinful flesh,
that, though he was perfectly pure and unspotted, yet he was washed
as if he had been polluted;
and thus for our sakes he sanctified himself, that we also might be sanctified,
and be baptized with him, John 17:19
2. See how honourably
God owned him, when he submitted to John's baptism.
Those who justify God,
are said to do, who were baptized with the baptism
of John, he will glorify, Luke 7:29
, Luke 7:30
(1.) He saw the heavens opened;
thus he was owned to be the Lord from heaven, and had a glimpse of the glory and joy that were set before him,
to him, as the recompence of his undertaking. Matthew saith, The heavens were opened to him.
Mark saith, He saw them opened.
Many have the heavens opened to receive them, but they do not see it; Christ had not only a clear foresight of his sufferings, but of his glory too.
(2.) He saw the Spirit like a dove descending upon him.
we may see heaven opened to us, when we perceive the Spirit descending
and working upon us. God's good work in us is the surest evidence of his good will towards us, and his preparations for us. Justin Martyr says, that when Christ was baptized, a fire was kindled in Jordan:
and it is an ancient tradition, that a great light shone round the place;
for the Spirit brings both light
(3.) He heard a voice which was intended for his encouragement to proceed in his undertaking, and therefore it is here expressed as directed to him, Thou art my beloved Son.
God lets him know, [1.] That he loved him
never the less
for that low
estate to which he had now humbled himself;
Though thus emptied and made of no reputation, yet he is my beloved Son
still. [2.] That he loved him
much the more
for that glorious
undertaking in which he had now engaged himself.
God is well pleased
in him, as referee of all matters in controversy between him and man; and so well pleased in him, as to be well pleased with us
II. His temptation.
The good Spirit
that descended upon him, led him into the wilderness, Mark 1:12
. Paul mentions it as a proof that he had his doctrine from God, and not from man - that, as soon as he was called, he went not to Jerusalem,
but went into Arabia, Galat 1:17
. Retirement from the world is an opportunity of more free converse with God, and therefore must sometimes be chosen, for a while, even by those that are called to the greatest business. Mark observes this circumstance of his being in the wilderness
- that he was with the wild beasts.
It was an instance of his Father's care of him, that he was preserved from being torn in pieces by the wild beasts, which encouraged him the more that his Father would provide for him when he was hungry. Special protections are earnests of seasonable supplies. It was likewise an intimation to him of the inhumanity of the men of that generation, whom he was to live among - no better than wild beasts
in the wilderness,
nay abundantly worse. In that wilderness,
1. The evil spirits
were busy with him;
he was tempted of Satan;
not by any inward injections (the prince of this world had nothing in him
to fasten upon), but by outward solicitations. Solicitude often gives advantages to the tempter, therefore two are better than one.
Christ himself was tempted, not only to teach us, that it is no sin to be tempted,
but to direct us whither to go for succour when we are tempted, even to him that suffered,
that he might experimentally sympathize with us when we are tempted.
2. The good spirits
were busy about him;
the angels ministered to him,
supplied him with what he needed, and dutifully attended him. Note, The ministration of the good angels about us, is matter of great comfort in reference to the malicious designs of the evil angels against us; but much more doth it befriend us, to have the indwelling of the spirit in our hearts, which they that have, are so born of God,
that, as far as they are so, the evil one toucheth them not,
much less shall be triumph
over them. 14
Here is, I. A general account of Christ's preaching in Galilee. John gives an account of his preaching in Judea, before this (ch. 2 and 3), which the other evangelists had omitted, who chiefly relate what occurred in Galilee, because that was least known at Jerusalem. Observe,
1. When Jesus began to preach in Galilee; After that John was put in prison.
When he had finished
his testimony, then Jesus began
his. Note, The silencing of Christ's ministers shall not be the suppressing of Christ's gospel; if some be laid aside, others shall be raised up, perhaps mightier than they, to carry on the same work.
2. What he preached; The gospel of the kingdom of God.
Christ came to set up the kingdom of God among men, that they might be brought into subjection to it,
and might obtain salvation in it;
and he set it up by the preaching of his gospel, and a power going along with it.
Observe, (1.) The great truths
Christ preached; The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand.
This refers to the Old Testament, in which the kingdom of the Messiah was promised, and the time fixed for the introducing of it. They were not so well versed in those prophecies, nor did they so well observe the signs of the times, as to understand it themselves, and therefore Christ gives them notice of it; The time prefixed is now at hand;
glorious discoveries of divine light, life, and love, are now to be made; a new dispensation far more spiritual and heavenly than that which you have hitherto been under, is now to commence. Note, God keeps time; when the time is fulfilled,
the kingdom of God is at hand,
for the vision is for an appointed time,
which will be punctually observed, though it tarry past our time.
(2.) The great duties
inferred from thence. Christ gave them to understand the times,
that they might know what Israel ought to do;
they fondly expected the Messiah to appear in external pomp and power, not only to free the Jewish nation from the Roman yoke, but to make it have dominion over all its neighbours, and therefore thought, when that kingdom of God
was at hand,
they must prepare for war, and for victory and preferment, and great things in the world; but Christ tells them, in the prospect of that kingdom approaching, they must repent, and believe the gospel.
They had broken the moral law,
and could not be saved by a covenant of innocency,
for both Jew and Gentile are concluded under guilt.
They must therefore take the benefit of a covenant of grace,
must submit to a remedial law,
and this is it - repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ.
They had not made use of the prescribed preservatives, and therefore must have recourse to the prescribed restoratives. By repentance we must lament and forsake our sins, and by faith we must receive the forgiveness of them. By repentance we must give glory to our Creator whom we have offended; by faith we must give glory to our Redeemer who came to save us from our sins.
Both these must go together; we must not think either that reforming our lives will save us without trusting in the righteousness and grace of Christ, or that trusting in Christ will save us without the reformation of our hearts and lives. Christ hath joined these two together, and let no man think to put them asunder. They will mutually assist and befriend each other. Repentance will quicken faith, and faith will make repentance evangelical; and the sincerity of both together must be evidenced by a diligent conscientious obedience to all God's commandments. Thus the preaching of the gospel began, and thus it continues; still the call is, Repent, and believe, and live a life of repentance
and a life of faith.
II. Christ appearing as a teacher, here is next his calling of disciples, Mark 1:16
. Observe, 1. Christ will have followers. If he set up a school, he will have scholars; if he set up his standard, he will have soldiers; if he preach, he will have hearers. He has taken an effectual course to secure this; for all that the Father has given him, shall,
without fail, come to him.
2. The instruments Christ chose to employ in setting up his kingdom, were the weak
and foolish things of the world;
not called from the great sanhedrim, or the schools of the rabbin, but picked up from among the tarpaulins by the sea-side, that the excellency of the power
might appear to be wholly of God,
and not at all of them.
3. Though Christ needs not the help of man, yet he is pleased to make use of it in setting up his kingdom, that he might deal with us not in a formidable but in a familiar way, and that in his kingdom the nobles and governors may be of ourselves, Jer 31:21
. 4. Christ puts honour upon those who, though mean in the world, are diligent in their business,
and loving to one another;
so those were, whom Christ called. He found them employed,
and employed together. Industry
and unity are good
and there the Lord Jesus commands the blessing, even this blessing, Follow me.
5. The business of ministers is to fish for souls,
and win them to Christ.
The children of men, in their natural condition, are lost, wander endlessly in the great ocean of this world, and are carried down the stream of its course and way; they are unprofitable. Like leviathan in the waters, they play therein;
and often, like the fishes of the sea, they devour one another. Ministers, in preaching the gospel, cast the net
into the waters, Matt 13:47
. Some are enclosed and brought to shore, but far the greater number escape. Fishermen
take great pains, and expose themselves to great perils, so do ministers;
and they have need of wisdom. If many a draught brings home nothing, yet they must go on. 6. Those whom Christ called, must leave all,
to follow him; and by his grace he inclines them to do so. Not that we must needs go out of the world
immediately, but we must sit loose to the world, and forsake every thing that is inconsistent with our duty to Christ, and that cannot be kept without prejudice to our souls. Mark takes notice of James and John, that they left not only their father
(which we had in Matthew), but the hired servants,
whom perhaps they loved as their own brethren, being their fellow-labourers
and pleasant comrades; not only relations, but companions, must be left for Christ, and old acquaintance. Perhaps it is an intimation of their care for their father; they did not leave him without assistance, they left the hired servants
with him. Grotius thinks it is mentioned as an evidence that their calling was gainful to them, for it was worth while to keep servants in pay, to help them in it, and their hands
would be much missed,
and yet they left it.
III. Here is a particular account of his preaching in Capernaum, one of the cities
of Galilee; for though John Baptist chose to preach in a wilderness,
and did well,
and did good,
yet it doth not therefore follow, that Jesus must do so too; the inclinations and opportunities of ministers may very much differ, and yet both be in the way of their duty,
and both useful. Observe, 1. When Christ came into Capernaum,
applied himself to his work there, and took the first
opportunity of preaching the gospel. Those will think themselves concerned not to lose time,
who consider what a deal of work they have to do, and what a little time to do it in. 2. Christ religiously observed the sabbath day, though not by tying himself up to the tradition of the elders, in all the niceties of the sabbath-rest,
yet (which was far better) by applying himself to, and abounding in, the sabbath-work,
in order to which the sabbath-rest was instituted. 3. Sabbaths are to be sanctified in religious assemblies,
if we have opportunity; it is a holy day,
and must be honoured with a holy convocation;
this was the good old way, Acts 13:27
; Acts 15:21
. On the sabbath-day, tois sabbasin
- on the sabbath-days;
every sabbath-day, as duly as it returned, he went into the synagogue.
4. In religious assemblies
on sabbath-days, the gospel is to be preached, and those to be taught,
who are willing to learn the truth as it is in Jesus.
5. Christ was a non-such preacher; he did not preach as the scribes,
who expounded the law of Moses by rote, as a school-boy says his lesson, but were neither acquainted
with it (Paul himself, when a Pharisee, was ignorant of the law), nor affected
with it; it came not from the heart,
and therefore came not with authority.
But Christ taught as one that had authority,
as one that knew the mind of God, and was commissioned to declare it. 6. There is much in the doctrine of Christ, that is astonishing;
the more we hear it, the more cause we shall see to admire it. 23
As soon as Christ began to preach, he began to work miracles for the confirmation of his doctrine; and they were such as intimated the design and tendency of his doctrine, which were to conquer Satan, and cure sick souls.
In these verses, we have,
I. Christ's casting the devil
out of a man that was possessed, in the synagogue at Capernaum. This passage was not related in Matthew, but is afterward in Luke 4:33
. There was in the synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, en pneumati akatharto
- in an unclean spirit;
for the spirit had the man in his possession, and led him captive at his will. So the whole world is said to lie en to ponero
- in the wicked one.
And some have thought it more proper to say, The body
is in the soul,
because it is governed by it, than the soul in the body.
He was in the unclean
spirit, as a man is said to be in a fever,
or in a frenzy, quite overcome by it. Observe, The devil is here called an unclean spirit,
because he has lost all the purity of his nature, because he acts in direct opposition to the Holy
Spirit of God, and because with his suggestions he pollutes the spirits of men. This man was in the synagogue;
he did not come either to be taught or to be healed, but, as some think, to confront Christ and oppose him, and hinder people from believing on him. Now here we have,
1. The rage which the unclean spirit expressed at Christ; He cried out,
as one in an agony, at the presence of Christ, and afraid of being dislodged; thus the devils believe and tremble,
have a horror of Christ, but no hope in him, nor reverence for him. We are told what he said, Mark 1:24
, where he doth not go about to capitulate
with him, or make terms
(so far was he from being in league or compact with him), but speaks as one that knew his doom. (1.) He calls him Jesus of Nazareth;
for aught that appears, he was the first that called him so, and he did it with design to possess the minds of the people with low thoughts
of him, because no good thing was expected out of Nazareth; and with prejudices
against him as a Deceiver, because every body knew the Messiah must be of Bethlehem. (2.) Yet a confession is extorted from him - that he is the holy One of God,
as was from the damsel that had the spirit of divination concerning the apostles - that they were the servants of the most high God, Acts 16:16
, Acts 16:17
. Those who have only a notion
of Christ - that he is the holy One of God,
and have no faith in him, or love to him, go no further than the devil doth. (3.) He in effect acknowledgeth that Christ was too hard for him, and that he could not stand before the power of Christ; Let us alone;
for if thou take us to task, we are undone, thou canst destroy us.
This is the misery of those wicked spirits, that they persist in their rebellion, and yet know it will end in their destruction. (4.) He desires to have nothing to do
with Jesus Christ; for he despairs
of being saved
by him, and dreads
by him. What have we to do with thee?
If thou wilt let us alone, we will let thee alone. See whose language they speak, that say to the Almighty, Depart from us.
This, being an unclean spirit,
therefore hated and dreaded Christ, because he knew him to be a holy One;
for the carnal mind is enmity against God,
especially against his holiness.
2. The victory which Jesus Christ obtained over the unclean spirit; for this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil,
and so he makes it to appear; nor will he be turned back from prosecuting this war, either by his flatteries or by his menaces. It is in vain for Satan to beg and pray, Let us alone;
his power must be broken, and the poor man must be relieved; and therefore, (1.) Jesus commands.
As he taught, so he healed, with authority.
Jesus rebuked him;
he chid him and threatened him, imposed silence upon him; Hold thy peace; phimotheti
- be muzzled.
Christ has a muzzle for that unclean spirit when he fawns
as well as when he barks;
such acknowledgments of him as this was, Christ disdains,
so far is he from accepting
them. Some confess Christ to be the holy One of God,
that under the cloak of that profession they may carry on malicious mischievous designs; but their confession is doubly an abomination to the Lord Jesus, as it sues in his name for a license to sin, and shall therefore be put to silence and shame. But this is not all, he must not only hold his peace,
but he must come out of the man;
this was it he dreaded - his being restrained from doing further mischief. But, (2.) The unclean spirit yields,
for there is no remedy (Mark 1:26
); He tore him,
put him into a strong convulsion;
that one could have thought he had been pulled in pieces; when he would not touch
Christ, in fury at him he grievously disturbed this poor creature. Thus, when Christ by his grace delivers poor souls out of the hands of Satan, it is not without a grievous toss and tumult in the soul; for that spiteful enemy will disquiet
those whom he cannot destroy.
He cried with a loud voice,
to frighten the spectators, and make himself seem terrible, as if he would have it thought that though he was conquered, he was but just conquered, and that he hopes to rally again, and recover his ground.
II. The impression which this miracle made upon the minds of the people, Mark 1:27
, Mark 1:28
1. It astonished them that saw it; They were all amazed.
It was evident, beyond contradiction, that the man was possessed - witness the tearing of him, and the loud voice
with which the spirit cried;
it was evident that he was forced out
by the authority of Christ; this was surprising to them, and put them upon considering with themselves, and enquiring of one another, What is this new doctrine?
For it must certainly be of God, which is thus confirmed. He
hath certainly an authority to command us, who hath ability to command even the unclean spirits,
and they cannot resist him, but are forced to obey him.
The Jewish exorcists pretended by charm or invocation to drive away evil spirits; but this was quite another thing, with authority he commands them.
Surely it is our interest to make him
our Friend, who has the control of infernal spirits.
2. It raised his reputation among all that heard it; Immediately his fame spread abroad into the whole adjacent region of Galilee,
which was a third part of the land of Canaan. The story was presently got into every one's mouth, and people wrote it to their friends all the country over, together with the remark made upon it, What new doctrine is this?
So that it was universally concluded, that he was a Teacher come from God,
and under that character he shone more bright than if he had appeared in all the external pomp and power which the Jews expected their Messiah to appear
in; and thus he prepared his own way,
now that John, who was his harbinger, was clapped up; and the fame of this miracle spread the further, because as yet the Pharisees, who envied
his fame, and laboured to eclipse
it, had not advanced their blasphemous suggestion, that he cast out devils
by compact with the prince of the devils. 29
In these verses, we have,
I. A particular account of one miracle that Christ wrought, in the cure of Peter's wife's mother, who was ill of a fever. This passage we had before, in Matthew. Observe,
1. When Christ had done that which spread his fame
throughout all parts, he did not then sit still, as some think that they may lie in bed
when their name is up.
No, he continued to do good,
for that was it he aimed at, and not his own honour. Nay, those who are in reputation, had need be busy and careful to keep it up.
2. When he came out of the synagogue,
where he had taught and healed with a divine authority, yet he conversed familiarly with the poor fishermen that attended him, and did not think it below him. Let the same mind, the same lowly mind, be in us, that was in him.
3. He went into Peter's house, probably invited thither to such entertainment as a poor fisherman could give him, and he accepted of it. The apostles left all for Christ; so far as that what they had should not hinder them from him, yet not so, but that they might use it for him.
4. He cured his mother-in-law, who was sick. Wherever Christ comes, he comes to do good, and will be sure to pay richly for his entertainment. Observe, How complete the cure was; when the fever left her,
it did not, as usual, leave her weak,
but the same hand that healed
her, so that she was able to minister
to them; the cure is in order to that, to fit for action, that we may minister to Christ, and to those that are his
for his sake.
II. A general account of many cures he wrought - diseases healed, devils expelled. It was on the evening of the sabbath,
when the sun did set,
or was set;
perhaps many scrupled bringing their sick to him, till the sabbath was over, but their weakness therein was no prejudice to them in applying to Christ. Though he proved it lawful to heal on the sabbath days,
yet, if any stumbled at it, they were welcome at another time. Now observe,
1. How numerous
the patients were; All the city was gathered at the door,
as beggars for a dole. That one cure
in the synagogue occasioned this crowding after him. Others speeding well with Christ should quicken us in our enquiries after him. Now the Sun of righteousness rises with healing under his wings;
to him shall the gathering of the people be.
Observe, How Christ was flocked after in a private house,
as well as in the synagogue;
wherever he is, there let his servants, his patients, be. And in the evening of the sabbath,
when the public worship is over, we must continue our attendance upon Jesus Christ; he healed, as Paul preached, publicly, and from house to house.
2. How powerful
the Physician was; he healed all
that were brought to him, though ever so many. Nor was it some one particular disease, that Christ set up for the cure of, but he healed those that were sick of divers
diseases, for his word was a panpharmacon- a salve for every sore.
And that miracle particularly which he wrought in the synagogue, he repeated in the house
at night; for he cast out many devils,
and suffered not the devils to speak,
for he made them know who he was,
and that silenced them. Or, He suffered them not to say that they knew him
(so it may be read); he would not permit any more of them to say, as they did (Mark 1:24
), I know thee, who thou art.
III. His retirement
to his private devotion
); He prayed,
prayed alone; to set us an example of secret prayer. Though as God he was prayed to,
as man he prayed.
Though he was glorifying God, and doing good, in his public work, yet he found time to be alone with his Father; and thus it became him to fulfil all righteousness.
1. The time when
Christ prayed. (1.) It was in the morning,
the morning after the sabbath day.
Note, When a sabbath day is over and past, we must not think that we may intermit our devotion till the next sabbath: no, though we go not to the synagogue,
we must go to the throne of grace,
every day in the week; and the morning after the sabbath particularly, that we may preserve the good impressions of the day. This morning
was the morning of the first day of the week,
which afterward he sanctified, and made remarkable, by another sort of rising early.
(2.) It was early, a great while before day.
When others were asleep in their beds, he was praying,
as a genuine Son of David, who seeks God early,
and directs his prayer in the morning;
nay, and at midnight will rise to give thanks.
It has been said, The morning is a friend to the Muses - Aurora Musis amica;
and it is no less so to the Graces.
When our spirits are most fresh and lively, then we should take time for devout
exercises. He that is the first
ought to have the first
2. The place where
he prayed; He departed into a solitary place,
either out of town, or some remote garden or out-building. Though he was in no danger of distraction, or of temptation to vain-glory, yet he retired, to set us an example to his own rule, When thou prayest enter into thy closet.
Secret prayer must be made secretly. Those that have the most business in public, and of the best kind, must sometimes be alone with God;
must retire into solitude,
there to converse with God, and keep up communion with him.
IV. His return
to his public
work. The disciples thought they were up early,
but found their Master was up before them,
and they enquired which way he went, followed him
to his solitary place,
and there found him
at prayer, Mark 1:36
, Mark 1:37
. They told him that he was much wanted, that there were a great many patients waiting for him; All men seek for thee.
They were proud that their Master was become so popular already, and would have him appear in public,
yet more in that place, because it was their own city;
and we are apt to be partial to the places we know and are interested in. No, saith Christ, Capernaum must not have the monopoly of the Messiah's preaching and miracles. Let us go into the next towns,
that lie about here, that I may preach there also,
and work miracles there, for therefore came I forth,
not to be constantly resident in one place, but to go about doing good.
Even the inhabitants of the villages in Israel
shall rehearse the righteous acts of the Lord, Judg 5:11
. Observe, Christ had still an eye to the end wherefore he came forth,
and closely pursued that; nor will he be drawn by importunity, or the persuasions of his friends, to decline from that; for (Mark 1:39
) he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee,
and, to illustrate and confirm his doctrine, he cast out devils.
Note, Christ's doctrine is Satan's destruction. 40
We have here the story of Christ's cleansing a leper,
which we had before, Matt 8:2
. It teaches us,
1. How to apply ourselves to Christ;
come as this leper did, (1.) With great humility;
this leper came beseeching him, and kneeling down to him
); whether giving divine honour to him as God, or rather a less degree of respect as a great Prophet,
it teaches us that those who would receive grace and mercy from Christ, must ascribe honour and glory to Christ, and approach to him with humility and reverence. (2.) With a firm belief of his power; Thou canst make me clean.
Though Christ's outward appearance was but mean,
yet he had this faith in his power, which implies his belief that he was sent of God.
He believes it with application, not only in general, Thou cast do every thing
(as John 11:22
), but, Thou cast make me clean.
Note, What we believe of the power of Christ we must bring home to our particular case; Thou canst do this for me.
(3.) With submission to the will of Christ; Lord, if thou wilt.
Not as if he had any doubt of Christ's readiness in general to help the distressed, but, with the modesty that became a poor petitioner, he refers his own particular case to him.
2. What to expect from Christ;
that according to our faith it shall be to us. His address is not in the form of prayer, yet Christ answered it as a request. Note, Affectionate professions of faith in Christ, and resignations to him, are the most prevailing petitions for mercy from him, and shall speed accordingly. (1.) Christ was moved with compassion.
This is added here, in Mark, to show that Christ's power is employed by his pity for the relief of poor souls; that his reasons are fetched from within himself, and we have nothing in us to recommend us to his favour, but our misery
makes us the objects of his mercy.
And what he does for us he does with all possible tenderness. (2.) He put forth his hand, and touched him.
his power, and directed it to this
creature. In healing souls, Christ toucheth them, 1Sam 10:26
. When the queen toucheth for the evil, she saith, I touch, God heals;
but Christ toucheth and healeth too.
(3.) He said, I will, be thou clean.
Christ's power was put forth in and by a word,
to signify in what way Christ would ordinarily work spiritual cures; He sends his word and heals, Pss 107:20
; John 15:3
; John 17:17
. The poor leper put an if
upon the will of Christ; If thou wilt;
but that doubt
is soon put out of doubt; I will.
Christ most readily wills
favours to those that most readily refer themselves
to his will. He was confident of Christ's power;
Thou canst make me clean;
and Christ will show how much his power is drawn out into act by the faith of his people, and therefore speaks the word as one having authority, Be thou clean.
And power accompanied this word, and the cure was perfect in an instant; Immediately his leprosy
vanished, and there remained no more sign of it, Mark 1:42
3. What to do when we have received mercy from Christ.
We must with his favours receive his commands. When Christ had cured him, he strictly charged him;
the word here is very significant, embrimesamenos
- graviter interminatus- prohibiting with threats.
I am apt to think that this refers not to the directions he gave him to conceal it (Mark 1:44
), for those are mentioned by themselves; but that this was such a charge as he gave to the impotent man whom he cured, John 5:14
, Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee;
for the leprosy
was ordinarily the punishment of some particular sinners, as in Miriam's, Gehazi's, and Uzziah's, case; now, when Christ healed him, he warned
him, he threatened
him with the fatal consequence of it if he should return to sin
again. He also appointed him, (1.) To show himself to the priest,
that the priest by his own judgment of this leper might be a witness for Christ, that he was the Messiah, Matt 11:5
. (2.) Till he had done that, not to say any thing
of it to any man:
this is an instance of the humility
of Christ and his self-denial, that he did not seek his own honour, did not strive or cry, Isa 42:2
. And it is an example to us, not to seek our own glory, Prov 25:27
. He must not proclaim
it, because that would much increase the crowd that followed Christ, which he thought was too great already; not as if he were unwilling to do good to all,
to as many as came; but he would do it with as little noise
as might be, would have no offence given to the government, no disturbance of the public peace, not any thing done that looked like ostentation, or an affecting of popular applause. What to think of the leper's publishing
it, and blazing it abroad,
I know not; the concealment of the good characters and good works of good men better become them
than their friends;
nor are we always bound by the modest commands of humble men. The leper ought to have observed his orders; yet, no doubt, it was with a good design that he proclaimed
the cure, and it had no other ill effect than that it increased the multitudes which followed Christ, to that degree, that he could no more openly enter into the city;
not upon the account of persecution (there was no danger of that yet,) but because the crowd was so great, that the streets would not hold them, which obliged him to go into desert places,
to a mountain
), to the sea-side, Mark 4:1
. This shows how expedient
it was for us, that Christ should go away,
and send the Comforter,
for his bodily presence could be but in one place at a time; and those that came to him from every quarter,
could not get near him;
but by his spiritual presence he is with his people wherever they are, and comes to them to every quarter.