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standing on the roof over the Saviour, they let the man down directly before hin. The pains which they had taken, and the perseverance which they had manifested, was the evidence of their faith or confidence in his power, and their desire that the sick man should be brought into his presence. “Be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee. The man trembled as he came before
feared that he was so great a sinner that Christ would not regard him. He therefore assured him that his offences were pardoned, and that he might lay aside his fears. Jesus intended to show his power to forgive sins. Had he stated it without any miracle, the Jews would not have believed it, and even his disciples might have been staggered. In proof of it, he worked a miracle; and no one, therefore, could doubt that he had the power. The miracle was wrought in express attestation of the assertion that he had the power to forgive sins. As God would not work a miracle to confirm a falsehood, or to deceive men, the miracle was a solemn confirmation, on the part of God, that Jesus had such power.
3 And, behold, certain of the scribes said within themselves, This man blasphemeth.
The word ' blaspheme' originally means to speak evil of any one e, to injure by words, to blame unjustly. When applied to God, it means to speak of him unjustly, to ascribe to him acts and attributes which he does not possess, to speak impiously or profanely, to blame him. It means, also, to attempt to do or say a thing which belongs to him alone, or which he only can do. This is its meaning here. Christ was charged with saying a thing in his own name, or attempting to do a thing which properly belonged to God; thus assuming the place of God, and invading his prerogatives. 'None,' said they, (as in Mark and Luke,) can forgive sins but God only. In this they reasoned correctly. See Isa. xliii. 25; xliv. 22. By saying that he forgave sins, Jesus was understood to affirm that he was Divine; and as he gave a proof of it by working a miracle expressly to confirm the claim, it follows that he is Divine, or equal with the Father.
4 And Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, Where. fore think ye evil in your hearts ?
Jesus, knowing their ihoughts. Mark says, “ Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned.' The power of searching the heart, and knowing the thoughts of men, belongs only to God, 1 Chron. xxviii. 9. Rom. viii. 27. Rev. ii. 23. Jer. xvii. 10. In elaiming tnis, as Jesus did here, and often elsewhere, he gave clear proofs of his omniscience, John ii. 24, 25.
5 For whether is easier to say, 'Thy sins be forgiven thee, or to say, Arise, and walk ? 6 But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to
forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy, Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house. 7 And he arose, and departed to his house. 8 But when the multitude saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.
“They glorified God.' See note Matt. v. 16. To glorify God, here, means to praise him, or to acknowledge his power. The expression, 'which had given such power to men,' was a part of their praise. It expresses no sentiment of the evangelist about the nature of Christ.
9 And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.
Sitting at the receipt of custom.' That is, at the place where custom, or tribute, was received; or in other words he was a puh. lican, or tax-gatherer. See note Matt. v. 47. This man was Matthew, the writer of this gospel. The same account is found in Mark ii. 14, and Luke v. 27, 28. Both these evangelists call him Levi. The Jews were in the habit of giving several names to the same person. Thus Peter was called Simon and Cephas. It is worthy of remark that Luke has mentioned a circumstance favourable to Matthew, which Matthew himself has omitted. Luke says, 'he left all.' Had Matthew said this, it would have been a commendation of himself. No men were ever further from praising themselves than the evangelists.
10 I And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.
This feast was given to him by Levi, or Matthew, Luke v. 29. To receive Christ hospitably and kindly was a commendable act, and it strongly evinces Matthew's freedom from ostentation that he has suppressed the fact. It thus illustrates Matt. vi, 1–4. * At meat.' At the table, at supper.
11 And when the pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners ?
To eat and drink with others denotes intimacy and familiarity. The pharisees, by asking this question, accused him of seeking the society of such men, and of being the companion of the wicked. The inference they would draw was, that he could not be himself righteous, since he delighted in the company of aban. doned men.
12 But when Jesus heard that, he said ur to them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
Jesus, in reply, said that the whole needed not a physician. Sick persons only needed his aid. A physician would not commonly be found with those that were in health. His proper place was among the sick. So, says he, If you pharisees are such as vou think yourselves, already pure and holv, vou do not need aid. I came on purpose to save sinners. My business is with them.
13 But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice; for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
To reprove them, and to vindicate his own conduct, he appealed to a passage of scripture with which they ought to have been acquainted. I will have mercy, and not sacrifice,' Hos. vi, 6. This is a Hebrew mode of speaking, and means, I prefer mercy to sacrifice; or, I am more pleased with acts of benevolence and kindness than with a mere external compliance with the duties of religion. Mercy, here, means benevolence or kindness towards others. Sacrifices were the principal part of the worship of the Jews, and hence came to signify external worship in general. This is the meaning of the word here. The sense in which our Saviour applies it is this: You pharisees are exceedingly tenacious of the external duties of religion. But God has declared that he prefers benevolence or mercy to those outward duties. It is proper, therefore, that I should associate with sinners for the purpose of doing them good. 'I came not to call the righteous,' &c. No human beings are by nature righteous, Ps. xiv. 3. Rom. iii. 10-18. The pharisees, however, pretend
es, however, pretended to be righteous. Christ meant to affirm that his proper and only business was to call to repentance such men as he was now with. He came to seek and save such, and it was his proper business, therefore, to associate with them.
14 | Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? 15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bride-chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them ? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.
See also Mark ii. 18–22. Luke v. 33–39. 'John' That is, of John the baptist. The pharisees fasted often, regularly twice a week, besides the great national days of fasting, Luke xviii. 12,
See note, Matt. vi. 16–18. This was the established custom of the land, and John did not feel himself authorized to make so great a change as to dispense with it. His disciples were desirous of knowing, therefore, why Jesus had done it. Besides, it is probable that this question was put to him when John was in prison; and his disciples involved in deep grief on account of it, observed days of fasting, and wondered that the followers of Jesus did not join with them.
Christ, in reply to them, used three illustrations, all of them tending to establish the same thing, that we should observe a fitness and propriety in things. The first is taken from a marriage. The children of the bridechamber-that is, the bridemen, or men who had the special care of the bridal chamber, and who were therefore his special friends-do not think of fasting while he is with them. With them it is a time of festivity and rejoicing; and mourning would not be appropriate. So, says he, John, your Priend and teacher, is in 'captivity. With you it is a time of deep grief, and it is fit that you should fast. I am with my disciples. It is, with them, a time of joy. It is not fit that they should use the tokens of grief, and fast nuw.
16 No man putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old garment; for that which is put in to fill it up taketh from the garment, and the rent is made worse.
A second illustration was drawn from a well-known fact, showing also that there was a propriety or fitness of things. None of you, says he, in mending an old garment, would take a piece of entire new cloth. The word here translated 'new' in the original means rude, undressed, or not fulled or cleansed by the clothdresser. In this state, if applied to an old garment, and if wet, it would contract and draw off a part of the garment to which it was attached, and thus make the rent worse than it was. So, says he, my new doctrines do not match with the old rites of the pharisees.
17 Neither do men put new wine into old bottles ; else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
The third illustration was taken from wine put into bottles. Bottles, in eastern nations, were made, and are so still, of skins of beasts. Generally the skin was taken entire from a sheep or a goat, and, properly prepared, was filled with wine or water. By long usage, however, they of course became tender, and would be easily rent. New wine, put into them, would ferment, and swell and burst them open. New skins or bottles would be strong enough to hold it from bursting. So, says Christ, there is a fitness or propriety of things. It is not fit that my doctrine should be attached to, or connected with, the old and corrupt doctrines of the pharisees. New things should be put together, and made to match.
This account of eastern bottles may illustrate the following passages Josh. ix. 4. Job xxxii. 19. Ps. cxix. 83.
18 | While he spake these things unto them, behold, there came a certain ruler, and worshipped him, saying, My daughter is even now dead: but come and lay thy hand upon her, and she shall live. 19 And Jesus arose and followed him, and so did his disciples.
The account contained in these verses is recorded, with some additional circumstances, in Markv. 22–43, and Luke viji.41–56. “There came a certain ruler.' Mark and Luke, say that his name was Jairus, and that he was a ruler of the synagogue ; that is, one of the elders to whom was committed the care of the synagogue. See note Matt. iv. 23. 'My daughter is even now dead.' Luke says that this was his only daughter, and that she was twelve years of age. Mark and Luke say that she was at the point of death, and that information of her actual death was brought to him by one who was sent from the ruler's house, while Jesus was going. Matthew combined the two facts, and stated the representation which was made to Jesus, without stopping particularly to exhibit the manner in wnicn it was de The Greek word rendered ‘is even now dead,' does not of necessity mean that she had actually expired, but only that she was dying or about to die. Compare Gen. xlviii. 21. 1. 5, 24. It is likely that a father, in these circumstances, would use a word as nearly expressing actual death as would be consistent with the fact that she was alive. The passage may be expressed thus: My daughter was so sick that she must be, by this time, dead. • Come and lay thy hand upon her.' It was customary for the Jewish prophets, in conferring favours, to lay their hand on the person benefited.
20 | And, behold, a woman, which was diseased of an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: 21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment I · shall be whole. 22 But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort : thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
"Touched the hem of his garment.' This garment was probably the square garment which was thrown over the shoulders. Note Natt. v. 40. This was surrounded by a border, or-fringe; and