Mark 1

#Mr 1:1| XVII. JOHN THE BAPTIST'S PERSON AND PREACHING. (In the wilderness of Judaea, and on the banks of the Jordan, occupying several months, probably A.D. 25 or 26.) #Mt 3:1-12 Mr 1:1-8 Lu 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 of Herod the king. Luke begins with the birth of John the Baptist, the Messiah's herald; and Mark begins with the ministry of John the Baptist. While the three other evangelists take a brief survey of the preparation of the gospel, Mark looks particularly to the period when it began to be preached. Gospel means "good news," and news is not news until it is proclaimed. The gospel began to be preached or proclaimed with the ministry of John the Baptist (#Lu 16:16|). His ministry was the dawn of that gospel of which Christ's preaching was the sunrise. Jesus. Our Lord's name as a human being; it means "Saviour." Christ. Though this is also sometimes used as a name, it is in reality our Lord's title. It means "the Anointed," and is equivalent to 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 the foundation of the church (#Mt 16:18|). John's Gospel was written for a like purpose (#Joh 20:31|). John uses the phrase "Son of God" twenty-nine times, and Mark seven times. As these two evangelists wrote chiefly for Gentile readers, they emphasized the divinity of Jesus, and paid less attention to his Jewish ancestry. But Matthew, writing for Hebrews, prefers the title "Son of David," which he applies to Jesus some nine times, that he may identify him as the Messiah promised in the seed of David (#2Sa 7:12 Ps 72:1-17 89:3,4 132:11,12|). (TFG 63) See Introduction to The Fourfold Gospel 9001 #Mr 1:2| Behold. The clause beginning with "Behold," and ending with "way," is taken from #Mal 3:1|. The Revised Version makes Mark quote this passage as if it were from Isaiah, the reading being "written in Isaiah the prophet," but the King James Version gives the reading "written in the prophets." Following the reasoning of Canon Cook, we hold that the latter was the original reading. See Speaker's Commentary, note at the end 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 (#Joh 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 the entire pathway of Jesus was the subject of prophetical prediction. (TFG 67) #Mr 1:3| The voice. #Isa 40:3,4|, quoted from the Septuagint. The words were God's, the voice was John's. So Paul also spoke (#1Th 2:1-13|). It was prophesied before he was born that John should be a preparing messenger for Christ (#Lu 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 wilderness the scene of his preaching. But John always preached there, and instead of 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 profess to be reincarnations of Elijah may be tested and condemned by this prophecy, for none of them frequent the wilderness. Make ye ready the way of the Lord. See also #Isa 35:8-10|. Isaiah's language is highly figurative. It represents a band of engineers and workmen preparing the road for their king through a rough, mountainous district. The figure was familiar to the people of the 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 such as were to make the road even and straight, and if it were anywhere rough and hard, to smooth it over, to plane it, and to cut down woods that hindered the march, that the army might not be tired. Some have thought that Isaiah's prophecy referred primarily to the return of the Jewish captives from Babylon. But it refers far more directly to the ministry of the Baptist; for it is not said that the way was to be prepared for the people, but for Jehovah himself. It is a beautiful figure, but the real preparation was the more beautiful transformation of repentance. By inducing repentance, John was to prepare the people to receive Jesus and his apostles, and to hearken to their preaching. (TFG 67) #Mr 1:4| The baptism of repentance unto remission of sins. Pardoning mercy was to be found in Christ, and all rites then looked forward to the cleansing effected by the shedding of his blood, as all rites now look back to it. But in popular estimation John's baptism was no doubt regarded as consummating an immediate forgiveness. (TFG 69) #Mr 1:5| All the country of Judaea. A hyperbole common with Hebrew writers and such as we use when we say, "the whole town turned out," "everybody was there," etc. Both Matthew and Luke show that some did not accept John's baptism (#Mt 21:23-25 Lu 7:30|). But from the language of the evangelist we might infer that, first and last, something like a million 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 of the verb baptizo, and it still retains this meaning in modern Greek. In accordance with this meaning, the Greek Church, in all its branches, has uniformly practiced immersion from the earliest period to the present time. Greek Christians never speak of other denominations as "baptizing by sprinkling," but they say, "they baptize instead of baptizing." John's baptism was instituted of God (#Joh 1:33|), just as Christian baptism was instituted by Christ (#Mt 28:19|). The Pharisees recognized John's rite as so important as to require divine authority, and even then they underestimated it, regarding it as a mere purification (Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, 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. There is no hint of such auricular confession as is practiced by the Catholics. See also #Ac 19:18|. John, writing to baptized Christians, bids them to confess their sins, that Jesus may forgive them (#1Jo 1:9|). Christian baptism is also for the remission of sins (#Ac 2:38|), the ordinance itself a very potent confession that the one baptized has sins to be remitted, and it seems to be a sufficient pubic expression of confession as to sins; for while John's baptism called for a confession sins, Christian baptism calls only for a confession of faith in Christ (#Ac 22:16 Ro 10:9,10 Mr 16:16|). (TFG 70-71) #Mr 1:6| And John was clothed with camel's hair. Camels were plentiful in the East. Their finer hair was woven into elegant cloths; but that which was coarser and shaggier was made into a fabric like our druggets, and used for the coats of shepherds and camel-drivers, and for the covering of tents. Prophets often wore such cloth (#Zec 13:4|), and no doubt it was the habitual garb of John's prototype (#Mal 4:5|), the prophet Elijah (#2Ki 1:8|). In Elijah's day there was demand for protest against the sad havoc which Phoenician luxury and licentiousness were making with the purer morals of Israel; and in John's day a like protest was needed against a like contamination wrought by Greek manners and customs. Both prophets, by their austerity, rebuked such apostasy, and Jezebel answered the rebuke by attempting Elijah's life, while Herodias actually took the life of John. As a herald, John was suited to the King whose appearing he was to announce, for Jesus was meek and lowly (#Zec 9:9|), and had no form nor comeliness that he should be desired (#Isa 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 was usually made of linen or silk, but was frequently more costly, being wrought with silver and gold. John's girdle was plain, undressed leather. And did eat locusts. Locusts, like Western grasshoppers, were extremely plentiful (#Joe 1:4 Isa 33:4,5|). The law declared them clean, and thus permitted the people to eat them for food (#Le 11:22|). Arabs still eat them, and in some Oriental cities they are found for sale 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 (#Ex 2:8-17 13:15 1Sa 14:26|). Many of the trees in the plains of Jericho, such as the palm, fig, manna, ash and tamarisk, exuded sweet gums, which went by the name of tree honey, but there is no need to suppose, as some do, that this was what John ate. The country once abounded in wild bees, and their honey was very plentiful. We have on the record an instance of the speed with which they could fill the place which they selected for their hives (#Jud 14:5-9|). The diet of the Baptist was very light, and Jesus so speaks of it (#Mt 11:18|). He probably had no set time for his meals, and all days were more or less fast-days. Thus John gave himself wholly to his ministry, and became a voice--all voice. John took the wilderness for a church, and filled it. He courted no honors, but no Jew of his time received more of them, and by some he was even regarded as Messiah (#Lu 3:15|). (TFG 70) #Mr 1:7| 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 who would separate the righteous from the wicked, just as a husbandman sifts 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. One event was to immediately follow the other. So Malachi binds together in one time the appearing of both forerunner and judge (#Mal 3:1-3|). He that is mightier than I. Mightier both to save and to punish. The latchet. The lace or strap. See TFG "#Joh 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 or the sharp stones. It was the forerunner of our modern shoe. See TFG "#Joh 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 of the household. As a figure of speech, the shoe is always associated with subjugation and slavery (#Ps 60:8|). John means, "I am not worthy to be his servant." John was simply the forerunner of Jesus; the higher office and honor of being Jesus' attendants was reserved for others (#Mt 11:11|). (TFG 78) #Mr 1:8| He shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit. That which is here referred to was foretold by the prophets (#Isa 44:3 Joe 2:28|). In the early church there was an abundant outpouring of the Spirit of God (#Tit 3:5,6 Ac 2:3,4,17 10:44|). This prophecy began to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost (#Ac 1:5 2:4|). In the choice of the word "baptize" God indicated through his prophet how full this flooding of the Spirit would be. (TFG 79) #Mr 1:9| XVIII. JESUS BAPTIZED BY JOHN IN THE JORDAN. (Jordan east of Jericho, Spring of A.D. 27.) #Mt 3:13-17 Mr 1:9-11 Lu 3:21,22| And was baptized of John in the Jordan. Greek "into." The body of Jesus was immersed or plunged into the river. (TFG 82) #Mr 1:10| And straightway coming up out of the water. The two prepositions, "out of" and "from" (#Mt 3:16|) shows that Jesus was not yet fully out of the river, and that the vision 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 (#Mt 3:16|), has been taken by some as implying that the Spirit was invisible to the multitude. But we know from John's narrative that it was also seen by John the Baptist (#Joh 1:33,34|), and if it was visible to him and to Jesus, and it descended, as Luke affirms, in a bodily shape like a dove (#Lu 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 point Jesus out, not to himself, but to others; and to point him out as the person 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 (#Lu 4:14|). As a dove descending upon him. That is, like a dove. All four evangelists are careful to inform us that it was not an actual dove (#Mt 3:16 Mr 1:10 Lu 3:22 Joh 1:32|). See TFG "#Lu 3:22|". {*} Recognizing the weight of Bro. McGarvey's argument, I nevertheless contend that the multitude only shared partially in such a vision, if they shared it at all; for 1. There is no Scripture which even hints that the vision was seen by more than the two inspired parties, Jesus and John; and, on the contrary, the words of Jesus at #Joh 5:37|, though not addressed to the specific audience present at his baptism, were addressed to the Jews generally. 2. Jesus was to be manifested by his character and teaching rather than by heavenly sights and sounds (#Mt 12:39|), and the mysteries of the kingdom (#Mt 13:11|), and the opened heavens (#Joh 1:50,51|), with many other manifestations, were reserved for believers (#Joh 12:28-30 Mt 17:1,2,9 Ac 1:9 7:55,59 10:40,41|), and are still so reserved (#1Co 2:14|). As to the arguments given above, we suggest that "bodily shape" does not insure universal sight. Baalam did not see what the ass saw (#Nu 22:21-31|). Again, it may be true that Jesus did not need to see the vision to "point him out to himself," but he must have needed it for some purpose, for it is twice asserted that he saw it, and the temptations which immediately follow show that assurances of his divinity at this particular time were by no means misplaced.--P. Y. P. (TFG 84-85) #Mr 1:11| And a voice came out of the heavens. Voices from heaven acknowledged the person of Christ at his birth, his baptism, his transfiguration and during the concluding days of his ministry. At his baptism Jesus was honored by the attestation of both the Spirit and the Father. But the ordinance itself was honored by the sensible manifestation of each several personality of the Deity--that the three into whose name we ourselves are also baptized. Thou art. The "this is," etc. of Matthew (#Mt 3:17|) are probably the words as John the Baptist reported them; the "thou art," etc., of Mark (#Mr 1:11|) and Luke (#Lu 3:22|), are the words as Jesus actually heard them. The testimony of the Father is in unreserved support of the fundamental proposition of Christianity on which the church of Christ is founded (#Mt 16:15-18|). On this point no witness in the universe was so well qualified to speak as the Father, and no other fact was so well worthy the honor of being sanctioned by his audible utterance as this. The testimony of Christ's life, of his works, of the Baptist, and of the Scriptures might have been sufficient; but when the Father himself speaks, who shall doubt the adequacy of the proof? My beloved Son. See also #Mt 17:5|. The Father himself states that relationship of which the apostle John so often spoke (#Joh 1:1|). Adam was made (#Ge 1:26|), but Jesus was begotten (#Ps 2:7|). Both were sons of God, but in far different senses. The baptism of Jesus bears many marked relationships to our own: 1. At his baptism Jesus was manifested as the Son of God. At our baptism we are likewise manifested as God's children, for we are baptized into the name of the Father, and are thereby permitted to take upon ourselves his name. 2. At his baptism Jesus was fully commissioned as the Christ. Not anointed with material oil, but divinely consecrated and qualified by the Spirit and accredited by the Father. At baptism we also received the Spirit (#Joh 3:5 Ac 2:38 19:1-6|), who commissions and empowers us to Christian ministry (#Ac 1:8 1Jo 3:24|). In thee. Some make the phrases "in whom" and "in thee" (#Mt 3:17 Lu 3:22|) to mean more than simply a declaration that God is pleased with Jesus. They see in it also the statement that the Father will be pleased with all who are "in Christ Jesus" (#Eph 1:6|). I am well pleased. It is no slight condemnation to be well pleasing to God (#Job 4:18|). It is the Christian's joy that his Saviour had this commendation of the Father at the entrance upon his ministry. (TFG 86-87) #Mr 1:12| XIX. JESUS TEMPTED IN THE WILDERNESS. #Mt 4:1-11 Mr 1:12,13 Lu 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 Father still ringing in his ears, Jesus is rushed into the suffering of temptation. Thus abrupt and violent are the changes of life. The spiritually exalted may expect these sharp contrasts. After being in the third heaven, Paul had a messenger of Satan to buffet him (#2Co 12:7|). The Spirit driveth him forth. The two expressions "driveth" and "led up" (#Mt 4:1 Lu 4:1|) show that Jesus was drawn to the wilderness by an irresistible impulse, and did not go hither of his own volition (#Eze 40:2|). He was brought into temptation, but did not seek it. He was led of God into temptation, but was not tempted of God. God may bring us into temptation (#Mt 6:13 26:41 Job 1:12 2:6|), and may make temptation a blessing unto us, tempering it to our strength, and making us stronger by the victory over it (#1Co 10:13 Jas 1:2,12|), but God himself never tempts us (#Jas 1:13|). Into the wilderness. The wilderness sets in back of Jericho and extends thence along the whole western shore of the Dead Sea. The northern end of this region is in full view from the Jordan as one looks westward, and a more desolate and forbidding landscape it would be hard to find. It is vain to locate the temptation in any particular part of it. Jesus may have wandered about over nearly all of it. (TFG 87-88) #Mr 1:13| And he was in the wilderness. Isolation from humanity is no security from temptation. In fact, our present passage of Scripture shows that it is highly favorable to temptation. The experience of all hermits shows that loneliness is the mother of a multitude of evil desires. Forty days. See TFG "#Lu 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 to serve God, and had as yet found none to vanquish him. The account of the temptation must have been given to the disciples by Jesus himself, and as it pleased him to give it to us as an actual history of real facts, it behooves us to accept it without being presumptuously inquisitive. Of course, it has supernatural features, but the supernatural confronts us all through 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, with a possibility of falling. But his divinity insured his victory over temptation. He became like us in ability to fall, that he might make us like unto himself in power to resist. It behooved him to be tempted, and thus sharing our nature with its weakness and temptation he might bring us to share his nature with its strength and sinlessness (#Heb 2:17,18 4:15,16|). Sinlessness does not preclude temptation, else Adam could not have been tempted, nor could Satan himself have fallen. Moreover, temptation is in so sense sin. It is the yielding of the will to temptation which constitutes sin. The spiritual history of humanity revolves around two persons; namely, the first and the second Adam. The temptation of Christ was as real as that of Adam. He had taken upon himself our temptable nature (#Php 2:7,8|), and he was tempted not as a private soldier, but as the second Adam, the Captain of our salvation (#Heb 2:10-18|). The failure of the first Adam brought sorrow, darkness and death; the success of the second Adam brought joy, light and immortality. One of the tenets of modern infidelity is the denial of the personality of the devil. It is asserted that the idea of a devil was not known to the early Hebrews, but was borrow from Persian dualism. The Persians held that there were two contending deities--a good one and a bad one; and the Hebrews, according to these critics, learned this doctrine from the Persians during the days of their Babylonian captivity, and modified it so that the god of evil became the devil. But such a theory is based upon the absurd notion that all the books of the Old Testament were written after the return of the Jews from Babylon. Their theory requires this notion, for the books of Genesis and Job, which were written centuries before the captivity, both show a knowledge of this being, and the first connects him and his work with the very beginning of human history. Those who believe in the inspiration of the Scriptures must also believe in the personality of the devil, for they plainly teach it. The devil is a fallen angel (#Jude 1:6 2Pe 2:4|). This doctrine need startle no one, for as there are good and bad spirits in the body, so there are good and bad spirits out of the body. Since God permits sinful spirits in the body, why should he not also permit them out of the body? If there can be a Herod, a Nero, a Judas, among men, why may there not be a Satan among evil spirits? Being but an angel, Satan is neither omnipresent, omniscient nor omnipotent. He is only a tolerated rebel, as we are tolerated rebels. He was the first sinner (#1Jo 3:8|), and was the originator of sin (#Joh 8:44|). He is the perpetual tempter of mankind (#Re 20:2,8|), but he shall be conquered by the Redeemer (#Joh 12:31 Re 12:9|), and may be conquered by us also through the grace of Christ (#1Pe 5:8,9 Jas 4:7|); but is, nevertheless, dangerous (#Re 2:10 3:9|). Jesus, therefore, teaches us to pray for deliverance from him (#Mt 6:13|, R.V.). Jesus will destroy the works of Satan (#1Jo 3:8|), and Satan himself shall suffer eternal punishment (#Re 20:10|). There is but one devil in the spirit world. The word which our King James Version translates "devils" should be translated "demons." The word "devil" means "false accuser" or "slanderer," and the word in the plural is twice applied, metaphorically, to men and women (#2Ti 3:3 1Ti 3:11|). The devil is called slanderer because he speaks against men (#Re 12:10-12|) and against God (#Ge 3:1-5|). The word "devil" is Greek. The word "Satan" is Hebrew, and means "adversary" (#Job 2:1|). Satan is referred to under many other terms, such as Beelzebub (#Mt 12:24|); serpent (#Re 12:9|); prince of the powers of the air (#Eph 2:2|); Abaddon (Hebrew) and Apollyon (Greek), meaning "destroyer" (#Re 9:11|); Belial, meaning "good for nothing" (#2Co 6:15|); murderer and liar (#Joh 8:44|); prince of this world (#Joh 12:31|); god of this world (#2Co 4:4|); and the dragon (#Re 12:7|). These terms are always used in the Bible to designate an actual person; they are never used merely to personify evil. The devil may have appeared to Jesus in bodily form, or he may have come insensibly as he does to us. Our Lord's temptation makes the personality of the tempter essential, else Christ's own heart must have suggested evil to him, which is incompatible with his perfect holiness. 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 Judaean wilderness. And the angels ministered unto him. Jesus was probably fed by the angels, as was Elijah by one of them (#1Ki 19:4-7|). Satan and suffering first, then angels, refreshment and rest. God had indeed given his angels charge, and they came to him who refused to put the father to the test. But they did not succor Jesus during his temptation, for that was to be resisted by himself alone (#Isa 63:3|). (TFG 88, 90-91, 101) #Mr 1:14| XXVI. JESUS SETS OUT FROM JUDAEA FOR GALILEE. A. REASONS FOR RETIRING TO GALILEE. #Mt 4:12 Mr 1:14 Lu 3:19,20 Joh 4:1-4| Now after John was delivered up. Either delivered up by the people to Herod (#Mt 17:12|), or delivered up by Herod himself to the warden of the castle of Machaerus (#Lu 12:58|), or by Providence to Herod himself (#Ac 2:23|). Jesus came into Galilee. See TFG "#Joh 4:3|". (TFG 139) #Mr 1:15| XXVII. GENERAL ACCOUNT OF JESUS' TEACHING. #Mt 4:17 Mr 1:14,15 Lu 4:14,15| And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Jesus preached the gospel or good news of his own advent and of the setting up of the unending kingdom which should convert the world to righteousness and save the souls of men. 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 which especially fixed the time of its coming; namely, #Da 9:24-27|. This prophecy tells of seventy weeks in which each day is reckoned as a year, so that the seventy weeks equal four hundred and ninety years. They are to be counted from the date of the decree which ordered the rebuilding of Jerusalem. The Messiah, or Prince, was to come at the beginning of the seventieth week, or four hundred and eighty-three years from the date of the decree. Some take the decree referred to as to be that mentioned in #Ne 2:7,8|. Jahn and Hales fix the date of this decree in the year 444 B.C. According to this, Jesus would have begun his ministry in the year A.D. 39. Others take the decree to be mentioned in #Ezr 7:12-26|, which was thirteen years earlier, and which would bring the beginning of the ministry of Jesus to the year A.D. 26. But there is much uncertainty about all ancient chronology. Suffice it to say that Daniel told in round numbers how long it would be until Messiah should come, and that Jesus said that this time had been fulfilled. It would have been easy to ascertain the correct chronology at the time when Jesus spoke, and we have no record that any presumed to dispute his statement. Jesus announced the coming of a new dispensation. The King had already come, but the kingdom in its organization and administration was as yet only "at hand." Until the crucifixion of Christ and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost the kingdom could not be fully organized, for the blood shed upon the cross furnished the means for purification which precedes a proper entrance into the kingdom, and the coming of the Holy Spirit afforded that indwelling strength by which those entering are enabled to abide therein. Repent ye, and believe in the gospel. That is, prepare for the kingdom by repenting of sin, and by believing the glad news that the kingdom was approaching, for the King had come (#Joh 1:49|). The preaching of Jesus at this time did not differ materially from that of John the Baptist, for John preached repentance and the approaching kingdom (#Mt 3:2|), and the gospel (#Lu 3:18|), and belief in the King (#Joh 1:29,36 3:36|). The fact that repentance comes before belief in this passage is by some taken as an indication that repentance precedes faith in the process of conversion, but it should be remembered that the preaching here is addressed to the Jewish people, who already believed in God, and in the Scripture as the revelation of God. They were, therefore, required to bring forth fruit worthy of the old faith and the old revelation as preparatory to their reception of the new faith and the new revelation. Thus repentance and faith appears to be the established order for Hebrews (#Heb 6:1|), and their proselytes (#Ac 20:21|), because of the spiritual standpoint or condition in which the gospel found them. But those who have no faith in God can surely have no repentance toward him, for belief precedes every call upon God, whether for mercy, pardon, or any other blessing (#Ro 10:13,14|). (TFG 155-157) #Mr 1:16| XXX. JESUS CALLS FOUR FISHERMEN TO FOLLOW HIM. (Sea of Galilee, near Capernaum.) #Mt 4:18-22 Mr 1:16-20 Lu 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 widest place. It is six hundred eighty-two feet below sea level; its waters are fresh, clear and abounding in fish, and it is surrounded by hills and mountains, which rise from six hundred to a thousand feet above it. Its greatest depth is about one hundred sixty-five feet. A net. The New Testament speaks of three kinds of nets, namely: the amphiblestron, which is only mentioned at #Mr 1:16| and #Mt 4:18|; the sagene, mentioned only at #Mt 13:47|; and the dictua, which is mentioned in all other places. The dictua was a casting-net; the sagene, a seine or dragnet; and the amphiblestron was a drawnet, a circular bell-shaped affair, which was thrown upon the water, so that it 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 that his service would require all their time. The facts that Jesus now temporarily resided at Capernaum afforded them an opportunity to return to their old occupation, which they readily embraced. Fishing was then a prosperous trade on the lake of Galilee. (TFG 161-162) #Mr 1:17| Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. It was an invitation to follow, that they might be instructed by hearing his teaching and beholding his work. Jesus called them from a lower to a similar but higher labor. He calls all honest tradesmen in this manner. He invites carpenters to build his temple, servants to serve the great King, physicians to heal immortal souls, merchants to invest in pearls of great price, etc. The fisherman found many points of resemblance between the old and new calling, such as, 1, daily hardships and dangers; 2, earnest desires for the objects sought; 3, skill and wisdom in the use of means, etc. Disciples are fishers, human souls are fish, the world is the sea, the gospel is the net, and eternal life is the shore whither the catch is drawn. (TFG 162) #Mr 1:18| They left their nets. Peter and Andrew. See TFG "#Mr 1:20|". (TFG 165) #Mr 1:19| 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 busy to his business. For instances where God had called the busy, see cases of Moses (#Ex 3:1,2|), Gideon (#Jud 6:11|), Saul (#1Sa 10:1-3|), David (#1Sa 16:11-15|), Elisha (#1Ki 19:19-21|), Matthew (#Mt 9:9|), Saul (#Ac 9:1-6|). Moreover most of these were called from lowly work, for such is God's method (#1Co 1:26-29|). We should note two reasons why God chose the lowly and unlearned: 1, their minds being free from prejudice were more ready to entertain new truth; 2, the strength of the gospel was made more apparent by the weakness of its ministers (#1Co 2:3-5 2Co 4:7 Zec 4:6|). Of these two brothers, James was the first apostolic martyr and John the last survivor of the twelve. James was beheaded about A.D. 44 (#Ac 12:1,2|); and John, after upwards of seventy years of Christian service, died at Ephesus about A.D. 100. (TFG 162-163) #Mr 1:20| 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 from Luke that he taught and worked a miracle before leaving the lake (#Lu 5:1,3|). And they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after him. The four partners, boats, different kinds of nets, hired servants, etc., and the fact that Salome, the wife of Zebedee, was one of those who ministered to Christ out of her substance (#Mt 27:55,56 Lu 8:3|), all indicate a business of respectable proportions: a fact which suggests that the church of Christ would catch more souls if all its parts were in partnership. Evidently when the four men left the boats and nets Zebedee took charge of them. While the four rightly recognized that the divine call was superior to their earthly obligations, there is nothing which leads us to imply that their sudden departure discomfited Zebedee. The call of Christ here marks a change in their relationship to him. Hitherto discipleship had not materially interfered with business, but this present call separated them from their occupation, and prepared them for the call to be apostles which came later, and which required them to be his constant companions (#Mr 3:14|). (TFG 163, 166) #Mr 1:21| XXXI. HEALING A DEMONIAC IN A SYNAGOGUE. (At Capernaum.) #Mr 1:21-28 Lu 4:31-37| And they go into Capernaum. Jesus and the four fishermen whom he called (#Mr 1:16-20|). And straightway on the sabbath day. Mark uses the adverb "straightway" and the particle "again" (which has a similar meaning) to depict the rapid movement of Jesus. As used by him in this connection it probably indicates that this was the next Sabbath after the calling of the four fishermen (#Mr 1:16-20|). He entered into the synagogue and taught. See TFG "#Mr 1:39|". (TFG 166) #Mr 1:22| And they were astonished at his teaching: for he taught them as having authority, and not as the scribes. The astonishment of the people was natural. Not yet recognizing Jesus' divinity, they could not understand how one so humble could speak with such authority. They contrasted his teaching with that of the scribes. The scribes were learned men who preserved, copied and expounded the law and the tradition (#Ezr 7:6,12 Ne 8:1 Mt 15:1-6 23:2-4 Mr 12:35 Lu 11:52|). They were also called "lawyers" (#Mr 12:28 Mt 22:35|), and "doctors of the law" (#Lu 5:17-21|). Though the teaching of Jesus differed from the teaching of 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 by his own authority. Their way was to quote minute precedents supported by endless authorities. A passage taken from later rabbinical writings starts 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 (#Mt 5:18,20,22,26,28,34|). (TFG 166-167) #Mr 1:23| In their synagogue. See TFG "#Mr 1:39|". A man with an unclean spirit. Matthew, Luke and Mark all concur in pronouncing demons unclean; that is, wicked (#Mt 10:1 12:43 Mr 1:23,26,27 3:11,30 5:2,8,13 6:7 7:25 9:25| #Lu 4:33,36 6:18 8:29 9:42 11:24|). They thus corrected the prevailing Greek notion that some of the demons were good. The word "demon," as used in our Saviour's time by both Jews and Greeks, meant the spirits of the departed or the ghosts of dead men, and the teaching of that and prior ages was that such spirits often took possession of living men and controlled them. But whatever these demons were, the Scripture, both by its treatment of them and its words concerning them, clearly indicates that they were immaterial, intelligent beings, which are neither to be confused with maladies and diseases of the body, nor with tropes, metaphors, or other figures of speech. In proof of this we adduce the following Scripture facts: 1, the legislation of the Old Testament proceeded upon the assumption that there was such a thing as a "familiar spirit" (#Le 19:31|); 2, in the New Testament they are spoken of as personalities (#Jas 2:19 Re 16:14|), Jesus even founding a parable upon their habits (#Lu 11:24-26|); 3, Jesus distinguished between them and diseases, and so did his disciples (#Mt 10:8 Lu 10:17-20|); 4, Jesus addressed them as persons, and they answered as such (#Mr 5:8 9:25|); 5, they manifested desires and passions (#Mr 5:12,13|); 6, they showed a superhuman knowledge of Jesus (#Mt 8:29|). It would be impossible to regard demon possession as a mere disease without doing violence to the language used in every instance of the expulsion of a demon. The frequency of demoniacal possession in the time of Jesus is probably due to the fact that his advent formed a great crisis in the spiritual order of things. For fuller treatment of the subject, see Millennial Harbinger, 1841, pp. 457, 530; 1842, pp. 65, 124. And he cried out. The man cried, the unclean spirit determined what he should cry. The silence and decorum of the synagogue made the outcry more noticeable, and the demon betrayed his excitement and alarm in speaking before he was spoken to. (TFG 167-168) #Mr 1:24| What have we to do with thee? For explanation of this idiom see TFG "Joh 2:4". Art thou come to destroy us? Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (#1Jo 3:8|). At his second coming the workers themselves shall suffer (#Mt 25:41|). We find that they recognized that the time of this "torment" had not yet come (#Mt 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 supernatural knowledge. The demon called Jesus the Holy One, 1, because it was one of his proper Scriptural names (#Ps 16:10 Ac 3:14|); 2, because holiness was that characteristic which involved the ruin of demons as unholy ones--just as light destroys darkness. We should note here the unfruitful knowledge, faith, and confession of demons. They lacked neither knowledge (#Mt 8:29|), nor faith (#Jas 2:19|), nor did they withhold confession; but Jesus received them not. Repentance and willing obedience are as necessary as faith or confession. (TFG 168) #Mr 1:25| 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 whom is now rebuked and hereafter to be destroyed, the other of whom is delivered. In commanding silence Jesus refused to receive the demon's testimony. We can see at least three reasons for this: 1, it was not fitting that the fate of the people should rest upon the testimony of liars; 2, because receiving such testimony might have been taken as an indication that Jesus sustained friendly relations to demons--something which the enemies of Christ actually alleged (#Mt 12:24|); 3, the Messiahship of Jesus was to be gradually unfolded, and the time for its public proclamation had not yet come. (TFG 168-169) #Mr 1:26| 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 was permitted that, 1, there might be clear evidence of demoniacal possession; 2, the demon's malignity might be shown; 3, it might be manifested that the spirit came not out of its own accord, but because compelled thereto by the command of Christ. The cry was, however, a mere impotent expression of anger, for Luke, "the beloved physician" (#Col 4:14|), notes that it did the man no hurt (#Lu 4:35|). On unclean spirits, see TFG "Mr 1:23". (TFG 169) #Mr 1:27| They were all amazed, etc. The power to command disembodied spirits thus amazed the people, because it was more mysterious than the power to work physical miracles. By this miracle Jesus demonstrated his actual possession of the authority which he had just assumed in his teaching. The unclean spirits. See TFG "#Mr 1:23|". (TFG 169) #Mr 1:28| And the report of him went out straightway everywhere into all the region of Galilee round about. This fame was occasioned both by the miracle and the teaching. The benevolence and publicity of the miracle, and its power--the power of one mightier than Satan--would cause excitement in any community, in any age. Though this is the first miracle recorded by either Mark or Luke (#Mr 1:25,26 Lu 4:35|), yet neither asserts that it was the first miracle Jesus wrought, so there is no conflict with #Joh 2:11|. (TFG 169) #Mr 1:29| XXXII. HEALING PETER'S MOTHER-IN-LAW AND MANY OTHERS. (At Capernaum.) #Mt 8:14-17 Mr 1:29-34 Lu 4:38-41| And straightway, when they were come out of the synagogue. Where he had just healed the demoniac (#Mr 1:21|). On the synagogue, see TFG "Mr 1:39". They came into the house of Simon and Andrew. Peter and Andrew had dwelt at Bethsaida (#Joh 1:44|). They may have removed to Capernaum, or Bethsaida, being near by, may be here counted as a part, or suburb, of Capernaum. Its name does not contradict this view, for it means "house of fishing" or "fishery." (TFG 170) #Mr 1:30| Simon's wife's mother. The Papists, who claim that Peter was the first pope, must confess that he was married at this time, and continued to be so for years afterwards (#1Co 9:5|). Celibacy is unauthorized by Scripture (#Heb 13:4|). God says it is not good (#Ge 2:18|). (TFG 170) #Mr 1:31| And he came and took her by the hand, and raised her up. Thus showing the miracle came from him, and that he felt a tender interest in the sufferer. And the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. Her complete recovery emphasized the miracle. Such fevers invariably leave the patient weak, and the period of convalescence is long and trying, and often full of danger. She showed her gratitude by her ministry. (TFG 170-171) #Mr 1:32| And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were sick, and them that were possessed with demons. Their delay till sundown was unquestionably caused by the traditional law of the Sabbath which forbade men to carry any burden on that day (#Joh 5:10|). The Sabbath closed at sundown (#Le 23:32|). The distinction is drawn between the sick and the demon-possessed. Lightfoot gives two reasons why demoniacal possession was so common at that time, namely: 1, the intense wickedness of the nation; 2, the addiction of the nation to magic, whereby the people invited evil spirits to be familiar with them. (TFG 171) #Mr 1:34| And he suffered not the demons to speak, because they knew him. Those who are disposed to frequent spiritual seances and to seek information from mediums should remember that the Son of God permitted his disciples to receive no information from such sources. He forbade demons to speak in the presence of his own, even on the most important of all topics. (TFG 171) #Mr 1:35| XXXIII. JESUS MAKES A PREACHING TOUR THROUGH GALILEE. #Mt 4:23-25 Mr 1:35-39 Lu 4:42-44| And in the morning, a great while before day. See TFG "#Lu 4:42|". He rose up went out. That is, from the house of Simon Peter. And departed into a desert place, and there prayed. Though Palestine was densely populated, its people were all gathered into towns, so that it was usually easy to find solitude outside the city limits. A ravine near Capernaum, called the Vale of Doves, would afford such solitude. Jesus taught (#Mt 6:6|) and practiced solitary prayer. We can commune with God better when alone than when in the company of even our dearest friends. It is a mistaken notion that one can pray equally well at all times and in all places. Jesus being in all things like men, except that he was sinless (#Heb 2:17|), must have found prayer a real necessity. He prayed as a human being. Several reasons for this season of prayer are suggested, from which we select two: 1. It was a safeguard against the temptation to vainglory induced by the unbounded admiration and praise of the multitude whom he had just healed. 2. It was a fitting preparation on the eve of his departure on his first missionary tour. (TFG 172) #Mr 1:36| 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; namely: Andrew, James, and John (#Mr 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 no hesitancy in obtruding on the retirement of the Master. This rushing after Jesus in hot haste accorded with his impulsive nature. The excited interest of the people seemed to the disciples of Jesus to offer golden opportunities, and they could not comprehend his apparent indifference to it. (TFG 172-173) #Mr 1:37| And they found him, and say unto him, All are seeking thee. The disciples saw a multitude seeking Jesus for various causes: some to hear, some for excitement, some for curiosity. To satisfy the people seemed to them to be Christ's first duty. Jesus understood his work better than they. He never encouraged those who sought through mere curiosity or admiration (#Joh 6:27|). Capernaum accepted the benefit of his miracles, but rejected his call to repentance (#Mt 11:23|). (TFG 173) #Mr 1:38| Let us go elsewhere into the next towns. The other villages of Galilee. For to this end came I forth. That is, I came forth from the Father (#Joh 16:28|) to make and preach a gospel. His disciples failed to understand his mission. Afterwards preaching was with the apostles the all-important duty (#Ac 6:2 1Co 1:17|). (TFG 173) #Mr 1:39| And he went into their synagogues. The word "synagogue" is compounded of the two Greek words sun, "together," and ago, "to collect." It is, therefore, equivalent to our English word "meeting-house." Tradition and the Targums say that these Jewish houses of worship existed from the earliest times. In proof of this assertion, #De 31:11| and #Ps 74:8| are cited. But the citations are insufficient, that in Deuteronomy not being in point, and the seventy-fourth Psalm being probably written after the Babylonian captivity. It better accords with history to believe that the synagogue originated during the Babylonian captivity, and was brought into the motherland by the returning exiles. Certain it is that the synagogue only came into historic prominence after the books of the Old Testament were written. At the time of our Saviour's ministry synagogues were scattered all over Palestine, and also over all quarters of the earth whither the Jews had been dispersed. Synagogues were found in very small villages, for wherever ten "men of leisure," willing and able to devote themselves to the service of the synagogue, were found, a synagogue might be erected. In the synagogues the people met together on the Sabbaths to pray, and to listen to the reading of the portions of the Old Testament, and also to hear such instruction or exhortation as might be furnished. With the permission of the president of the synagogue any one who was fitted might deliver an address. Thus the synagogues furnished Jesus (and in later times his disciples also) with a congregation and a suitable place for preaching. We find that on week days Jesus often preached in the 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, and because their use shows that as yet the Jewish rulers had not so prejudiced the public mind as to exclude Jesus from the houses of worship. Throughout all Galilee. The extreme length of Galilee was about sixty-three miles, and its extreme width about thirty-three miles. Its average dimensions were about fifty by twenty-five miles. It contained, according to Josephus, two hundred and forty towns and villages. Its population at that time is estimated at about three millions. Lewin calculates that this circuit of Galilee must have occupied four or five months. The verses of this paragraph are, therefore, a summary of the work and influence of Jesus during the earlier part of his ministry. They are a general statement, the details of which are given in the subsequent chapters of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke--the Gospel of John dealing more particularly with the work in Judaea. And casting out demons. Mark singles out this kind of miracle as most striking and wonderful. (TFG 173-175) #Mr 1:40| XXXIV. JESUS HEALS A LEPER AND CREATES MUCH EXCITEMENT. #Mt 8:2-4 Mr 1:40-45 Lu 5:12-16| And there cometh to him a leper. There is much discussion as to what is here meant by leprosy. Two diseases now go by that name; namely, psoriasis and elephantiasis. There are also three varieties of psoriasis, namely, white, black and red. There are also three varieties or modifications of elephantiasis, namely, tubercular, spotted or streaked, and anesthetic. Elephantiasis is the leprosy found in modern times in Syria, Greece, Spain, Norway and Africa. Now, since Leviticus 13, in determining leprosy, lays great stress on a white or reddish-white depression of the skin (#Le 13:19,24,42,49|), the hairs in which are turned white (#Le 13:3,4,10,20,25,26|) or yellow (#Le 13:30,32,36|), and since it also provides that the leper who is white all over shall be declared clean (#Le 13:13,17,39|), and since in the only two cases where lepers are described--\\#Nu 12:10 2Ki 5:27\-they are spoken of as "white as snow," scholars have been led to think that the Biblical leprosy was the white form of psoriasis. But the facts hardly warrant us in excluding the other forms of psoriasis, or even elephantiasis; for 1. Leviticus 13 also declares that any bright spot or scale shall be pronounced leprosy, if it be found to spread abroad over the body (#Le 13:28,29,36,37|); and this indefinite language would let in elephantiasis, cancer and many other skin diseases. In fact, the law deals with the initial symptoms rather than with the ultimate phases of the fully developed disease. 2. Elephantiasis was a common disease in our Saviour's time, and has been ever since, and would hardly be called leprosy now, if it had not been popularly so called then. The word "leprosy" comes from lepo, which means "to peel off in scales." It is hereditary for generations, though modern medical authorities hold that it is not contagious. However, the returning Crusaders spread it all over Europe in the tenth and eleventh centuries, so that according to Matthew Paris there was no less than nine thousand hospitals set apart for its victims. The facts that the priests had to handle and examine lepers, and that any one who was white all over with leprosy was declared clean, led scholars to think that the laws of Moses, which forbade any one to approach or touch a leper, were not enacted to prevent the spread of a contagion, but for typical and symbolic purposes. It is thought that God chose the leprosy as the symbol of sin and its consequences, and that the Mosaic legislation was given to carry out this conception. Being the most loathsome and incurable of all diseases, it fitly represents in bodily form the ravages of sin in the soul of a man. But there must also have been a sanitary principle in God's laws, since we still deem it wise to separate lepers, and since other people besides the Hebrews (as the Persians) prohibited lepers from mingling with other citizens. Elephantiasis is the most awful disease known. The body of its victim disintegrates joint by joint, until the whole frame crumbles to pieces. Psoriasis is milder, but is very distressing. Mead thus describes a case: 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 cracks open, and from the cracks an ichorous humor oozes. The disease spreads inwardly, 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 the title "Lord." They were also accustomed to kneel before prophets and kings. It is not likely that the leper knew enough of Jesus to address him 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 that Jesus had power to heal him, although there was but one case of leper-cleansing in the Scriptures (#2Ki 5:1-19 Lu 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 so unworthy and so unclean. In temporal matters we can not always be as sure of God's willingness as we can be of his power. We should note that the man asked rather for the blessing of cleanness than for health. To the Jew uncleanness was more horrible than disease. It meant to be an outcast from Israel, and to be classed with swine, dogs and other odious and abhorrent creatures. The leper, therefore, prayed that the Lord would remove his shame and pollution. (TFG 176-178) #Mr 1:41| And being moved with compassion, he stretched forth his hand, and touched him. Mark habitually notes the feelings, and hence also the gestures of Jesus. It was not an accidental, but an intentional, touch. Popular belief so confused and confounded leprosy with the uncleanness and corruption of sin, as to make the leper feel that Jesus might also compromise his purity if he concerned himself to relieve it. The touch of Jesus, therefore, gave the leper a new conception of divine compassion. It is argued that Jesus, by this touch, was made legally unclean until the evening (#Le 13:46 11:40|). But we should note the spirit and purpose of this law. Touch was prohibited because it defiled the person touching, and aided not the person touched. In Jesus' case the reasons for the law were absent, the conditions being reversed. Touching defiled not the toucher, and healed the touched. In all things Jesus touches and shares our human state, but he so shares it that instead of his being defiled by our uncleanness, we are purified by his righteousness. Moreover, Jesus, as a priest after the order of Melchizedek (#Heb 5:6|), possessed the priestly right to touch the leper without defilement (#Heb 4:15|). And saith unto him, I will; be thou made clean. The Lord's answer is an echo of the man's prayer (#Mr 1:40|). The words, "I will," express the high authority of Jesus. (TFG 179) #Mr 1:42| And straightway the leprosy departed from him, and he was made clean. "Luke says, 'departed,' giving the merely physical view of the event. Matthew says, 'was cleansed,' using ceremonial language. Mark combines the two forms" (Godet). (See Lu 5:13 Mt 8:3.) (TFG 179) #Mr 1:43| 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 his uncontrollable eagerness to be healed he had overstepped his privileges, for he was not legally permitted to thus enter cities and draw near to people (#Nu 5:2,3|); he was to keep at a distance from them, and covering his mouth, was to cry, "Tame, tame"--"unclean, unclean" (#Le 13:45,46 Lu 17:12,13|). The man evinced a like recklessness in disregarding the command of Jesus (#Mr 1:45|). (TFG 179-180) #Mr 1:44| See thou say nothing to any man, etc. See TFG "#Mt 8:4|". #Mr 1:45| But he went out. From the presence of Jesus and from the city. And began to publish it much, and to spread abroad the matter. The leper was so elated that he could scarcely refrain from publishing his cure, and he must also have thought that this was what Jesus really wanted--that in commanding him not to publish it he did 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. Jesus could not do what he judged not best to do. The excitement cause by such an entry was injurious in several ways: 1. It gave such an emphasis to the miracles of Jesus as to make them overshadow his teaching. 2. It threatened to arouse the jealousy of the government. 3. It rendered the people incapable of calm thought. Two things constantly threatened the ministry of Jesus, namely, impatience in the multitude, and envious malice in the priests and Pharisees. Jesus wished to add to neither of these elements of opposition. Thus the disobedience of the leper interrupted Jesus, and thwarted him in his purpose to visit the villages. Disobedience, no matter how well-meaning, always hinders the work of Christ. But was without in desert places. See TFG "#Lu 5:16|". (TFG 180-181)
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