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MATT. viii. 16.
Galilee. 16 When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils.
MARK i. part of ver. 34. and ver. 39. 34 And he healed many—and cast out many devils; and
39 And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.
LUKE iv. part of ver. 40, 41, 42. and ver. 44. 40 Now when the sun-brought them unto him41 -suffered them not to speak : for they knew 42 And when it was day, he departed, and went into a desert place44 And he preached in the synagogues of Galilee.
Christ cures a Leper?".
LUKE v. 12-16.
Luke v, 12
27 The arguments of Newcome and Lightfoot have principally induced me to give this place to the cure of the leper, contrary to the authority of Doddridge, who has preferred the order of St. Matthew's Gospel, and arranged it after the sermon on the mount. The expression in St. Matthew's Gospel, on which this opinion is founded, is in Matt. viii. 1. katabávrı dè autų árò toŨ őpoveand kai idoù. The same expression has induced Mr. Jones, in his vindication of St. Matthew's Gospel, to conclude that this Evangelist had observed the due order of time. But Archbishop Newcome justly observes, that, according to St. Luke, this miracle was performed in a certain city, Luke v, 12; and that the expression in Matt. viii. 1, refers only to the multitudes following him: and the words kai idoù are only used as an introductory phrase for the better transition from one part of the history to another. Many expressions apparently fixing the time of events, must be considered in this point of view, such as idwy dd-kai εγένετο, και ελθών, και προσελθών, εισελθόντι δέ, περιπατών δε, και ανοίξας το στόμα-τότε, μετά ταυτα, αν, εν ταις ημέραις εκείναις, εν μια των ημερών (α).
It may be observed also in support of the arrangement now adopted, that our Lord would not have said to the leper, if he had performed the cure in the presence of the great multitudes that followed him as he came down from the mount, See thou tell no man; neither is it probable that the leper, being so utterly unclean, would be found among the crowd.
Lightfoot also has remarked, that St. Matthew was solicitous to proceed at once to the Sermon on the Mount, for which purpose he mentions several miracles together, without attending to the order in which they took place. Eichhorn
(a) Chemnitius Harm. proleg. p. 17, 18; Jones' Vindication of St. Matthew's Gospel ; apud Newcome's Notes to the Harmony, p. 14,
Mark i. 40.
Luke v. 12.
Mark i. 40.
Luke v. 12.
Luke v, 12.
there came a leper to him
And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth Mark i. 41.
And as soon as he had spoken, immediately the Mark i. 12. leprosy departed from him, and he was cleansed.
And Jesus saith unto him, See thou say nothing unto any man, but go thy Mark i. 44. way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer, for thy cleansing, those things which Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them 28.
Matt, viii. 4.
has observed the same order. There does not appear to be sufficient reason for supposing that two lepers were cleansed.
Both among Jews and Gentiles the leprosy has been considered as a most expressive emblem of sin, the properties and circumstances of the one pointing out those of the other. The leprosy, like sin, begins with a spot, a simple hidden infection, soon spreading over the whole body, and communicating its contagious nature to every thing which it can either touch or influence.
This disorder, like sin, is hereditary, and was deemed incurable by mere human means. Among the Jews, God alone was considered able to remove it, and its cure was uniformly attributed to divine power. In like manner, the contagion of sin, its guilt and its consequences, can only be removed by the hand of God : all means without his especial influence can be of no avail.
In effecting the cure, our Lord asserted his sovereignty, by the phrase, “I will-be thou clean." Our Saviour begins by prefiguring his power to forgive sin in its fullest extent by the cure of the leper; he soon afterwards publicly proclaims it in the case of the sick of the palsy, when he said, “ But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sin," &c.
28 Christ commanded the leper not to tell any man till he had shewn himself to the priest, as a testimony unto them. He charges the man to be silent on the subject of his cure, that the jealousy of the Romans, or of the Jewish rulers, should not be excited; and that his ministry should not be disturbed and interrupted by the clamours of the people, who sometimes in their zeal endeavoured to make him a king. He directed him also to the priest, and to offer the usual gift. In the Levitical law it was the office of the priest alone to testify that the disease was cured. The man was sent, therefore, that the priest might look upon him, and declare him clean; and thus a legal proof might be given to the people, and a testimony be afforded to the priests themselves, that a greater than the priest was amoug them, who could heal all diseases by a word, and even the disease of
Mark i. 43.
Mark i. 45.
Luke v. 15.
Luke v, 16.
And he straightway charged him, and forth with Galilee. sent him away.
But he went out and began to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter,
But so much the more went there a fame abroad of him, and great multitudes came together to hear,
and to be healed by him of their infirmities,
into the city, but was without in desert places :
MATT. viii. part of ver. 2, ver. 3, and part of ver. 4. 2 And behold, there came a leper
3 And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
4 See thou tell no man; but go thy way, shew thyself to the priest, and offer the gist that Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
MARK i. part of ver. 40, and 44. 40 —and—if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. 44 And saith unto him
LUKE v. part of ver. 12, and ver. 13, 14. 12 —saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.
Mark i. 45.
the leprosy. But if the leper who had been cured had told the priest, before he was pronounced clean, that he had been healed by our Saviour, his jealousy might have refused to acknowledge the completion of the cure: and the man was therefore charged to be silent. Our Lord could not have offered a more evident proof of his divinity than this cure of the leper, for there was a prevalent tradition among the Jews, that when the Messiah should appear he should heal the leprosy.
As some objections have been proposed concerning the propriety of our Lord's conduct in commanding the man whom he had cured of his leprosy to keep silence on the subject, I would direct the attention of the reader to the following admirable observations of the learned Witsius.
Si ad ea quæ sequuntur attendamus, manifestum fiet, non esse indictum huic homini perpetuum silentium; sed duntaxat usque dum purgationem sui purgasset sacerdotibus, eamque testatam fecisset doni imperati oblatione. Nimirum non modo volebat Jesus divinæ legis retinens videri, quod erat revera : sed et miraculo suo fidem fieri ab ipsis sacerdotibus, et tum demum illud publicari. Ut autem fides ei fieret a sacerdotibus, præveniendi erant, antequam fama miraculi in Galilæa facti ad Hierosolymitanorum aures perveniret; ne sacerdotes, quorum ea notio erat, invidiæ veneno tacti, aut leprosum eum fuisse, aut a lepra bona fide curatum esse, negarent. Ideo eum Jesus eudéws itibale, protinus facessere jussit, ne fama anteverteret, et silentium imperavit, donec se sacerdoti explorandum stitisset, et permissum ipsi esset munus suum offerre ; quod non licebat nisi post solemnem sacerdotis declarationem. Ab eo tempore fas sanato fuit in urbem ingredi, &c. &c. &c.— Witsii, Meletemata Leidensia, Dissert. V. p. 253. VOL. I.
13 And he put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately the leprosy departed from him.
14 And he charged him to tell no man: but go and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.
29 Where the Harmonists are all agreed in the arrangement of any particular event, which very frequently occurs, it will only be necessary to refer the reader to those Harmonists, by whose authority I am principally directed.
The cure of the sick of the palsy is placed after that of the leper mentioned in Matt. viii. 2, 3, 4. by Doddridge, Newcome, Lightfoot, Pilkington, Eichhorn, and Bishop Richardson, apud Usher’s Annals, p. 821. For the reasons why the order of St. Mark and St. Luke is adopted here, instead of that of St. Matthew, vide Doddridge, Fam. Exp. vol. i. p. 245.
Mark connects this story with that of the leper ; the word cudéws, says Archbishop Newcome, fixes the order, (Mark ii. 2.) St. Luke does not specify the time, and St. Matthew, who seems to have deferred the narration of many facts, that the sermon on the mount might be introduced early to the Jewish reader, to whom he particularly addressed his Gospel, places several events between the cure of the leper and the paralytic. St. Luke relates the cure as happening only on a certain day, εγένετο εν μιά των ημερών.
Our Lord asserts here, for the first time, his power to forgive sins, which he demonstrates also by another miracle, and declares himself greater than any prophet. He gradually reveals his mission as the minds of his hearers were able to receive it, and till the time should come when he should appear at Jerusalem, before the rulers of the people.
, , and that the diseases of the body were not healed till the sins that occasioned them were forgiven. I meet in Schoetgen this quotation. Nedarim, fol. 41. 1. Dixit R. Chija fil Abba, nullus ægrotus a morbo sanatur, donec ipsi omnia pec
, Bab. Sabbat, fol. 55. 1. Midrach Kohelet, fol. 70. 4. apud Gill on Matt. ix. 2.
Kimchi too, on Psalm xli. 5, has observed : When God sliall heal the diseases of the soul, then, after the expiation of its sins, the body also shall be healed. The Jews believed, on their own principles, that he, who could thus display the attributes of Deity, was the Messiah. Our Lord appeals, therefore, on his usual plan, to their received opinions, and asserted his bigh dignity by actions.
Whitby, in Matt. ix. 3, supposes that the paralytic was suffering under the punishment of some particular sin, and the removal of the disease signified only the forgiveness of that particular offence. Whereas Lightfoot, on the contrary,
,אין יסורין בלא עין ,TheJews believed that all disease was the consequence of sin
.a T-אין החולה נרפא מחוליו ער שמוחלין לו על כל עוונותיו ,cata remissa sunt
Mark ii, 2.
Luke v. 17.
Luke v. 18.
Mark ii. 3
Luke v. 18.
Mark ii. 3.
Luke v. 18.
Luke v. 19.
Mark ii. 4.
Mark ii. 4
And straightway many were gathered together, Capernaum. insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them.
And it came to pass on a certain day, as he was
a man which was taken with a palsy, Matt. ix. 2 lying on a bed,
which was born of four:
And when they could not find by what way they
they could not come nigh him for the press; Luke v. 19. they went upon the house-top, and
they uncovered the roof where he was; and when
When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the
y Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Luke v. 21. Who can forgive sins but God alone ?
And immediately, when Jesus perceived in his
Spirit that they so reasoned within themselves,
Why reason ye these things in your hearts ?
Luke v. 19.
Mark ij. 5.
Matt. ix, 2.
Luke v. 20.
Matt. ix. 3.
Mark ii. 6.
Luke v. 21.
Matt. ix. 3
argues that the restoration of the sick of the palsy was accompanied with the remission of all his past transgressions. Vide Schoetgen, Horæ Hebraicæ, vol. i. p. 93; Lightfoot; Whitby and Gill in loc.