Page images
PDF
EPUB

12 And when ye come into a house, salute it. 'The word 'house,' here, evidently means family, as it does in the following verse. See also Matt. xii. 25, and John iv. 53. The apostles were directed to salute the family, to show them the customary tokeus of respect, and to treat them with civility. Religion never requires or permits its friends to outrage the common rules of intercourse. It demands of them to exhibit to all the proper tokens of respect, according to their age and station, 1 Pet. ii. 12—25; iii. 8–11. Phil. iv. 8. As to the mode of salutation, see note, Luke x. 4, 5.

13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return

to you.

• If the house be worthy.' That is, if the family be worthy, or be willing to receive you as my disciples.

• Let your peace come upon it.'. That is, seek their peace and happiness by prayer, instruction, by remaining with them, and imparting to them, ihe blessings of the gospel. But if it be not worthy,' &c. If the family be unwilling to receive you, and inhospitable; if they show themselves unfriendly to you and your message. “Let your peace return to you.' This is a Hebrew more of saying that your peace shall not come upon it, Psa. xxxv. 13. It is a mode of speaking derived from bestowing a gift. If people were willing to receive it, they derived the benefit from it; if not, then of course the present came back, or remained in the hand of the giver. So Christ figuratively speaks of the peace or liberty which their labour would confer.

14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Shake off the dust of your feet.” A significant act, denoting that they regarded them as impure, profane, and heathenish, and unworthy of their instruction, and that they declined all further connexion with them. See Acts xiii. 51 ; xviii. 6.

15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

The cities here mentioned, together with Admah and Zeboim, were destroyed by fire and brimstone on account of their great wickedness. They occupied the place afterwards covered by the Dead Sea, bounding Palestine on the south-east, Gen. xix. 21, 23. Christ says that their punishment will be more tolerable-inat is, more easily borne—than that of the people who reject his gespel. The reason is, that they were not favoured with so much light

6

and instruction. See Matt. xi, 23, 24. Luke xii. 47, 48. Sodom and Gomorrhia are often referred to as signal instances of Divine vengeance, and as sure proofs that the wicked shall not go unpunished. See 2 Peter ii. 6. Jude 7.

16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

• As sheep in the midst of wolves.' That is, I send you, innocent and harmless, into a cold, unfriendly, and cruel world, Your innocence will not be a protection.

• Be wise as serpents,' &c. Serpents have been always an emblem of wisdom and cun. ning, Gen. iii. 1. Christ directed his followers here to imitate the caution of serpents in avoiding danger. No animals equal them in the rapidity and skill which they evince in escaping danger. He directs them also to be harmless, not to provoke danger, not to do injury, and make their fellow men justly enraged against them. Doves arc, and always have been, a striking emblem of innocence.

17 But beware of men : for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues ;

• But beware of men. That is, be on your guard against men who are like wolves, v. 16. Do not run unnecessarily into danger. Use suitable prudence and caution, and do not unnecessarily endanger your lives. ' Councils. The judicial tribunals, of which there were some in erery town and village. They will scourge you in their synagogues.' Scourging or whipping is often mentioned in the New Testament as a part of punishment. The law of Moses directed that the number of stripes should not exceed forty, but might be any number less, at the discretion of the judge, Deut. xxv. 2, 3. "The blows were inflicted on the back. The criminal was tied to a low post.

The instrument formerly used was a rod. Afterwards thongs or lashes were employed attached to the rod. The law was express that the number of stripes should not exceed forty. The Jews, to secure the greater accuracy in counting, used a scourge with three lashes, which inflicted three stripes at once. With this the criminal was struck thirteen times, making the number of blows thirty-nine. Paul was five times scourged in this way. See 2 Cor. xi. 24. This was often done in the synagogue. See Matt. xxiii. 34. Acts xxii. 19; xxvi. 11.

18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.

This prediction was completely and abundantly fulfilled, Acts

v. 26; xii, 1–1; xxiii. 33; xxv. 23. Peter is said to have been brought before Nero, John before Domitian, Roman emperors; and others before Parthian, Scythian, and Indian kings. They were to be witnesses to them of the great facts and doctrines of the christian religion; and if they rejected christianity, they would be witnesses against them in the day of judgment. The fulfilment of this prophecy is a signal evidence that Christ possessed a knowledge of the future. Few things were more improbable, when this was uttered, than that the fishermen of Galilee should stand before the illustrious and mighty monarchs · of the east and the west.

19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak : for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.

'Take no thought.' That is, be not anxious, or unduly solicitous. See note, Matt. vi. 25. God would inspire them. Poor and ignorant, and obscure fishermen, would naturally be solicitous what they should say before the great men of the earth, How consoling, then, the assurance that God would aid them, and speak within them!

21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child : and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death.

Were there no evidence that this had been done, it would scarcely be credible. The ties which bind brothers and sisters, and parents and children, are so strong, that it would scarcely be believed that division of sentiment on religious subjects should cause them to forget these tender relations. And especially, it shows the exceeding malignity of the human heart against the gospel of Christ, when it can be gratified in no other way than by seeking the death of a parent, or a child ! Nothing else but this dreadful opposition to God, and his gospel, ever has induced, or ever can induce men, to violate the most tender relations, and consign the best friends to torture, racks, and flames.

22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

'Ye shall be hated of all men. That is, of all kinds of men, The human heart would be opposed to them, because it is opposed to Christ. But he that endureth to the end,' &c. That is, to the end of life, be it longer or shorter. He that bears all these unspeakable sufferings. and does not shrink and apostatize, will

6

give decisive evidence of attachment to me, and shall enter into

heaven.

23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another : for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

They were not permitted to throw away their lives. Where they could preserve them without denying their Lord, they were to do it. We are to preserve our lives by all proper means; but rather die, than save ourselves by doing any thing wrong. ''Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, &c. That is, in fleeing from persecutors, from one city to another, you shall not have gone to every city in Judea, till the destruction of Jerusalem, and the end of the Jewish economy. See note on Matt. xxiv. 28 -30. By the coming of the Son of man, that is, of Christ, is probably meant the destruction of Jerusalem, which happened about thirty years after this was spoken. The words are often used in this sense. See Matt. xxiv. 30. Mark xiii. 26. Luke xxi. 2/-32.

24 The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. 25 It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household ?

" The disciple is not above his Master,' &c. That is, you must expect the same treatment which I have received. See Matt. xii. 24. Luke xi. 15. John viii. 48. Beelzebub,' or Beelzebul, was a god of the Ekronites. See 2 Kings i. 2. The word literally means the god of flies, so called because this idol was supposed to protect them from the numerous swarms of flies with which that country abounded. The word also signified, among the Jews, the god of filth, and was esteemed as the lowest and most offensive of all the idol gods. Hence the name was given to the leader, or prince of all the devils, Luke xi. 15. Mark iii. 22. By giving the name to Christ, they poured upon him the greatest possible abuse and contempt.

26 Fear them not therefore : for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

“There is nothing covered,' &c. It is probable that this declaration was a proverb among the Jews. By it our Saviour meant, that their innocence, their principles, and their integrity, though then the world might not acknowledge them, yet, in due time, should be revealed. They were to be willing to be unknown,

despised, persecuted, for a time, with the assurance that their true characters should yet be manifest.

27 What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.

“What I say to you in darkness, &c. That is, in secret, in private, in confidence. The private instructions which I give you while with me, do you proclaim publicly, on the housetop. See note, Matt. ix. 148.

28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul : but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

The body is a small matter, in comparison with the soul. Tem. poral death is a slight thing, compared with eternal death. He directs them therefore not to be alarmed at the prospect of temporal death; but to fear God, who can destroy both soul and body for ever. This passage proves that the bodies of the wicked will be raised up to be punished for ever.

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing ? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Are not two sparrows,' &c. The argument is, if God take care of birds of the least value; if he regard so small things as the hairs of the head, and number them, he will certainly protect and provide for you. You need not, therefore, fear what man can do to you. 'Sparrows.' Birds of very small kind and value. They were used for food, and were an image of sorrow, solitude, and wretchedness, Ps. cii. 7. 'Farthing.' See note, Matt. v. 26. Without your Father.' That is, God your Father guides and directs its fall

. It falls only with his permission, and where he chooses. • The hairsmare numbered. That is, each one has exercised the care and attention of God. He has fixed the number; and though of small importance, yet he dies not think it beneath him to determine how few, or how many, they shall be. He will therefore take care of you.

32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which in, heaven.

'Whosoever therefore shall confess me,' &c.

It means an

K

« PreviousContinue »