« PreviousContinue »
Prince of the devils.' That is, Beel-Zebub. See note Mait. xii. 24.
35 And Jesus went about all the cities and vi)lages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
The gospel of the kingdom. That is, the good news of the reign of God, or the good news of the advent and reign of the Messiah, Mait. iii. 2.
36 | But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
He saw the people burdened with the rites of religion and the doctrines of the pharisees—sinking down under their ignorance and traditions, and neglected by those who ought to have been enlightened teachers-scattered and driven out without care and attention. With great beauty he compares them to sheep, wandering without a shepherd. Judea was a land of flocks and herds. The faithful shepherd, by day and night, was with his flock. Without his care, they wandered. They were in danger of wild beasts. So, said he, is it with this people. No wonder that the compassionate Redeemer was moved with pity.
37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Another beautiful image. By the harvest,' here, he meant that the multitude of people that flocked to his ministry was great. The people expected the Messiah. They were prepared to receive the gospel. But the labourers were few. Few were engaged in instructing the multitude. He directed them, therefore, to pray to the Lord of the harves:. God is the proprietor of the great harvest of the world, and he only can send men to gather it in. Without ceasing, we ought to entreat of God to pity the nations, and to send faithful men, who shall tell them of a dying Saviour,
CHAPTER X. 1 AND when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power ayainst unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease.
This account of sending the apostles forth is recorded also in
Mark vi. 7, and Luke ix. 1. Mark says that he sent them ont two and two. This was a kind arrangement, that each one might have a companion; and that they might visit more places, and accomplish more labour, than if they were all together. These twelve were the original number of apostles. The word apostle means one that is sent, and was given to them because they were sent forth to preach the gospel. They were ambassadors of Christ. To this number Matthias was afterwards added, to supply the place of Judas, Acts i. 26. And Paul was specially called to be an apostle to the Gentiles, Rom. i. 1. 1 Cor. xv. 8, 9. Gal. i. 1.
Their office was clearly made known. They were to heal the sick, raise the dead, preach the gospel, &c. They were to be with him, receive his instructions, learn the nature of his religion, be witnesses of his resurrection, and bear his gospel around the globe. The number twelve was for these purposes sufficiently large to answer the purpose of testimony. They were not learned men, and could not be supposed to spread their religion by art, or talents, or learning. They were not men of wealth, and could not bribe men to follow them. They were not men of rank and office, and could not compel men to believe. They were just such men as are always found the best witnesses in courts of justice--plain men, of good sense, of fair character, of great honesty, and with favourable opportunities of ascertaining the facts to which they bore witness. Such men every body believes, and especially when they are willing to lay down their lives to prove their sincerity.
It was important that he should choose them early in his ministry, that they might be fully acquainted with him. No witnesses were ever so well qualified to give testimony as they ; and none ever gave so much evidence of their sincerity as they did. See Acts i. 21, 22.
2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: the first, Simon, who was called Peter, and Andrew his brother ; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother. 3 Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alpheus; and Lebbeus, whose surname was Thaddeus ;
The account which follows is more fully given in Mark iii. 13—18, and Luke vi. 12—19. Each of those evangelists has recorded the circumstances of their appointment. They agree in saying it was done on a mountain; and, according to Luke, it was done before the sermon on the mount was delivered. Luke adds that the night previous had been spent in prayer to God. See note on Luke vi. 12. Simon, who is called "Peter.' Peter means a rock. He was also called Cephas, John i. 42. 1 Cor.
i. 12; iii. 22; xv.5. Gal. ii. 9. This was a Syro-Chaldaic word, signifying the same as Peter. This name was given probably in reference to the resoluteness and firmness which he was to exhibit in preaching the gospel. Before the Saviour's death he was rash, impetuous, and unstable. Afterwards, as all history affirnıs, he was firm, zealous, stedfast, and immovable. "James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother.' This James was slain by Herod in a persecution, Acts xii, 2. The other James, the son of Alpheus, was stationed at Jerusalem, and was the writer of the epistle that bears his name. See Gal. ii. 9. Acts xv. 13. He is here called the son of Alpheus, that is, of Clecphas, John xix. 25. Alpheus and Cleophas were hut different ways of writing and pronouncing the same name. ' Lebbeus, called Thaddeus.' These two words have the same signification in Hebrew. Mark and Luke call him Judas, by a slight change from the name Thaddeus, Such changes are common in all writings.
4 Simon the Canaanite ; and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
* Simon the Canaanite,' Luke calls him Simon Zelutes, the zealous. His native place was probably Cana. Judas Iscariot.' It is probable this name was given to him to designate his native place. Carioth was a 'smali town in the tribe of Judah.
5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
* Into the way of the Gentiles.' That is, among the Gentiles, or no where but among the Jews. The full time for preaching the gospel to the former was not come. It was proper that it should be first preached to the Jews, the ancient covenant people of God, and the people among whom the Messiah was born.
And into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not.' The Samaritans occupied the country formerly belonging to the tribe of Ephraim, and the half tribe of Manassah.
That region was situated between Jerusalem and Galilee; so that in passing from the one to the other, it was a direci course to pass through Samaria. The capital of the country was Samaria, formerly a large and splendid city. It is now a small village called Naplose, or Nablous, containing but forty or fifty inhabitants. They are still tenacious of the opinions of their fathers, and still inveterate in their hatred of the Jews. This people was formerly composed of a few of the ten tribes, and a mixture of foreigners. When the ten tribes were carried away into captivity to Babylon, the king of Assyria sent people from Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, to inhabit their country, 2 Kings xvii. 24. Ezra iv. 2--1). These people at first worshipped the idols of their own
nations. But being troubled with lions, which had increased greatly while the country remained uninhabited, they supposed it was because they had not honoured the God of the country. A Jewish priest was therefore sent to them from Babylon, to instruct them in the Jewish religion, but they still retained many of their old rites and idolatrous customs, and embraced a religion made up of Judaism and idolatry, 2 Kings xvii. 26–28.
They obtained leave of the Persian monarch to build a temple for themselves. This was erected on mount Gerizim, and they strenuously contended that that was the place designated by Moses as the place where the nation should worship. Sauballat, the leader of the Samaritans, constituted his son-in-law, Manasses, high priest. The religion of the Samaritans thus became perpetuated, and an irreconcilable hatred arose between them and The Jews. Afterwards Samaria became a place of resort for all the outlaws of Judea. Many Jewish criminals, and refugees from justice, and those excommunicated, betook then selves for safety to Samaria, and greatly increased the hatred which subsisted between the two nations. The Samaritans received only the five books of Moses, and rejected the writings of the prophets, and all the Jewish traditions. From these causes arose an irreconciłable difference between them, so that the Jews regarded them as the worst of the human race, John viii. 48, and had no dealings with them, John iv. 9. Our Saviour, however, preached the gospel to them afterwards, John iv. 6—26, and the apostles imitated his example, Acts viii. 25.
6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
That is, to the Jews. Christ regarded them as wandering and lost, like sheep straying without a shepherd. They had been the chosen people of God, they had long looked for the Messiah; and it was proper that the gospel should be first offered to them.
7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
“The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' See note, Matt. iii. 2.
8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils : freely ye have received, freely give.
Freely ye have received, freely give.' That is, they were not to sell their favours of healing, preaching, &c. They were not to make a money making business of it, to bargain to heal for so much, and to cast out devils for so much. This, however, neither then nor afterwards, precluded them from receiving a competen! support. See Luke x. 7. 1 Cor. ix. 8-14. 1 Tim. v. 18.
9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,
Nor brass. This prohibition of gold, silver, and brass, is designed to prevent their preparing money for their journey. "Pieces of money of small value were made of brass.
“În your purses. Literally in your girdles. The loose flowing dresses of the Jews required to be girded up, or tied around the body during labour, exercise, running, or even walking. See note, Matt. v. 40. girdle or sash was therefore an indispensable part of the dress. This girdle was made hollow, and answered the purpose of a purse.
10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats neither shoes, nor yet staves : for the workman is worthy of his meat.
Nor scrip. That is, knapsack. It was made of skin or coarse cloth, to carry provisions in. It was commonly hung around the neck. Neither two coats. See note, Mati. v. 40.
Neither shoes.' The original is the word commonly rendered sandals. See note, Matt. iii. 11.
Mark says, in recording this discourse, ' but be shod with sandals. But there is no difference. According to Matthew, Jesus does not forbid their wearing the sandals, which they probably had on, but only forbids their supplying themselves with more, or with superfluous ones. Instead of making provision for their feet when their present shoes were worn out, they were to trust to Providence to be supplied, and go as they were. staves.' But Mark says that they might have a staff. They were hereby probably forbidden to provide and carry a second or spare staff, as is not uncommon in the east when persons are upon a journey. The workman is worthy of his meat. They were not to make bargain and sale of the power of working miracles, but they were to expect competent support from preaching the gospel, and that not merely as a gift, but they were worthy of it, and had a right to it.
11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. • Who in it is worthy'
. That is, who in it sustains a fair character, will be able and disposed to show you hospitality, and will treat you kindly: ‘And there abide.' There remain; as Luke adds, 'Go not from house to house. They were to content themselves with one house, not to wander about, not to appear to be men of idleness, and fond of change, or dissatisfied with the hospitality of the people; but to show that they valued their time, and were disposed to give themselves to labour, prayer, and meditation, and to be intent only on the business for which Christ had sent them.