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None but God fully knows him. Neither knoweth any man the Father,' &c. That is, no one, man or angel, clearly understands or comprehends the caracter of the infinite God, but the Son, the Lord Jesus, and be to whom he makes him known. This he does by revealing the character of God clearly, and more especially as a sin-forgiving God, John xvii. 6.
28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
* All ye that labour and are heavy laden.' He here addresses the poor, lost, ruined sinner: the man burdened with a consciousness of his transgressions, trembling
at his danger, and seeking deliverance. For such, there is relief. Christ tells them to come to him. To believe in him, and to trust in him, and in him only, for salvation. Doing this he will give them rest : rest from their sins; from the clamours of conscience; from the terrors of the law; and from the fears of eternal death.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Take my yoke. This is a figure taken from the use of oxen ; and hence signifying to labour for any one. It means, here, to take his precepts, and embrace his system of religion, and to obey him. For I am neek,' &c. See note, Matt. v. 5. That is he was not harsh, overbearing, and oppressive, like the pharisees, but meek, mild, 'kind, and gentle in his government. His laws were reasonable and tender; and it would be easy to obey nim.
30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
My yoke is easy,' &c. That is, the services that I shall require are reasonable, and easily rendered. They are not burdensome, like all other systems of religion. So the christian always finds them. In coming to Christ, there is a peace which passeth all understanding; in following him through evil and good report, a comfort which the world giveth not; in bearing trials, and in persecution, the hope of glory; and in keeping his commandments
, great reward. The poor and needy ; the weary and heavy laden; the soul sick of sin, and of the world, conscious of guilt, and “afraid to die, may come to Jesus Christ. The invitation is wide as the world. The child and the old man may seek and find salvation at the feet of the same Saviour. Christ is full of mercy, and all who come shall find peace. O how should we, in this sinful and miserable world, borne down with sin, and exposed each moment to death, how should we come and find the peace which lie has promised to all, and take the yoke which all believers have found to be light!
CHAPTER XII. | AT that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat.
The account contained in these verses is also recorded in Mark ii. 23—28, and Luke vi. 1-5. At that time.' Luke fixes the date more particularly. It was during the Passover, and consequently about the beginning of April. See note on Luke vi. 5. In Judea the barley harvest commences about the beginning of May, and that harvest and the wheat harvest are over by the 20th. Bariey is in full ear in the beginning of April. . ' Through the
Through the barley or wheat. This explains the circumstance that they “rubbed it in their hands, Luke vi. 1, to separate the grain from the chaff.
2 But when the pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
* Upon the sabbath day. The pharisees, desirous of finding fault with Christ, said that in plucking the grain on the 'sabbath day,' they had violated the commandment. Moses had commanded to abstain from all servile work on the sabbath. Exod. xx. 10; xxxv. 2, 3. Num. xv. 32–36. On any other day this would have been clearly lawful, for it was permitted, Deut. xxiii. 25.
3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
The law commanded that iwelve loaves of pread should be laid on the table in the holy place, to remain a week, and then to be eaten by the priests only. Their place was supplied then by fresh bread. This was called the shew-bread. Lev. xxiv. 5—9. David, fleeing before Saul, weary and hungry, had come to Abimelech the priest: had found only this bread; had asked it of him, and had eaten it, contrary to the letter of the law. 1 Sam. xxi. 1-7. This act had passed uncondemned. It proved that in cases of extreme necessity these laws allowed exceptions. So the necessity of the disciples justified them in doing on the sabbath what would have been otherwise unlawful.
4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shew bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests ? 5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that
on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profano the sabbath, and are blameless ?
• House of God. That was the tabernacle, the temple nos being then built. Profane the sabbath,' On the sabbath days they were engaged, as well as on other days, in killing beasts for sacrifice, Num. xxviii. 9, 10. Two lambs were killed on the sabbath, in addition to the daily sacrifice. The priests must slay them; skin them, prepare them for sacrifice, and burn them. They did that which, for other persons to do, would have been profaning the sabbath. Yet they were blameless. They did what was necessary and commanded.
6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
Here he refers to himself, and to his own dignity and power. I have power over the laws: I can grant to my disciples a dispensatio3 from the Jewish laws. An act which I command or permit them to do, is therefore right. This proves tnat he was Divine.
7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.
Christ says that he was Lord of the sabbath. He had a right to direct the manner of its observance—an undoubted proof that he was Divine.
9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: 10 | And behold there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days ? thai they might accuse him.
The account contained in these verses is recorded also in Mark iii. 145, and Luke vi. 6—10. "A man which had his hand withered. This was probably one form of the patsy. See note, Matt. iv. 24.
Mark and Luke have mentioned some circumstances omittea by Matthew. They say that Jesus told him to stand forth in the midst. He then addressed the people. He asked them if it was lawful to do good on the sabbath day. This was admitted by ali their teachers, and it could not be denied. They were therefore silent. He then appealed to them, and drew an argument from their own conduct." If a man would save the life of a sheep, was it not proper to save the life of a man? By a reference to thei: own conduct, he silenced them.
11 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? 12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
A man better than a sheep.'. Of more consequence, or value. If you would show an act of kindness to a brute beast on the sabbath, how much more important is it to evince similar kindness to one made in the image of God: one for whom the Saviour came to die, and who may be raised up to everlasting life. “It is lawful to do well. This was universally allowed by the Jews in the abstract; and Jesus showed them that the principle on which they acted in other things applied with more force to the case before him, and that the act which he was about to perform was, by their own confession, lawful.
13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.
• Stretch forth thine hand.' This was a remarkable commandment. The man might have said that he had no strength; that it was a thing which he could not do. Yet, being commanded, it was his duty to obey. He did so, and was healed. So the sinner. It is his duty to obey whatever God commards. He will give strength to those who attempt to do his will. It is not right to plead, when God commands us to do a thing, that we have no strength. God will give us strength, if there is a disposition to obey. “It was restored whole.'' Christ had before claimed Disine authority and power, ver. 6, 9. He now showed that he possessed it. By his own power he healed him ; thus evincing by a miracle that his claim of being Lord of the sabbath was well founded.
These two cases determine what may be done on the sabbath. The one was a case of necessity; the other of mercy. The example of the Saviour, and his explanations, show that these are a part of the proper duties of that holy day. Beyond an honest and conscientious discharge of these two duties, 'men may not devote the sabbath to any secular purpose. If they do, they do it at their peril.
14 Then the pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.
This account is found also in Mark iii. 6–12. "The pharisees -held a council,' &c. Mark adds, that the Herodians also took a part in this plot. They were probably a political party attached ärmly to Herod. The attempt against him now was the effect of envy. They were enraged also that he had foiled them in the
argument; they were losing their influence; and they, therefore, resolved to take him out of the way.
15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;
Jesus—withdrew himself,' &c. He knew the design against his life. He knew that his hour was not yet come; and he therefore sought security. By remaining, his presence would only have provoked them further, and endangered his own life.
Mark adds, that he withdrew to the sea; that is, to the sea of Galilee, or Tiberias. Pressed by the crowd, Mark iii. 9, he went on board a small vessel, or boat, called by Mark a ship. This he did for the convenience of being separated from them, and more easily addressing them. We are to suppose the lake still and calm; the multitudes, many of whom were sick and diseased, standing on the shore, and pressing to the water's edge; and Jesus thus healing their diseases, and preaching to them the good news of salvation.
16 And charged then that they should not make him known:
He was, at this time, desirous of concealment. He wished to avoid their plots, and to save his life.
17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, 18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen ; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased : I will put my Spirit upon him, and he shall show judgment to the Gentiles.
Matthew here quotes a passage from Isa. xlii. 1–4, to show the reason why he thus retired from his enemies and sought concealment, The Jews expected that the Messiah would be a conqueror, and vindicate himself from all his enemies. When they saw him retiring before them, and seeking a place of concealment, it was contrary to all their previous notions of the Messiah. Matthew, by this quotation, shows that their conceptions of him had been wrong, and that he was predicted under a totally different character. Instead of shouting for battle, listing up his voice in the streets, oppressing the feeble as a conqueror-he would be peaceful, retiring, strengthening the feeble, and cherishing the faintest desires of holiness.
My servant.' That is, the Messiah, the Lord Jesus, called a servant from his taking the form of a servant, or his being born in a humble condition, Phil. ii. 7, and from his obeying or serving God. See Heb. x. 9. 'Shall show judgment to the Gentiics.