Matthew 18

The importance of humility.

Mat 18:1-6  At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?  (2)  And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,  (3)  And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.  (4)  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  (5)  And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.  (6)  But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Mat 18:1-6 – Christ spoke many words of his sufferings, but only one of his glory; yet the disciples fasten upon that, and overlook the others. Many love to hear and speak of privileges and glory, who are willing to pass by the thoughts of work and trouble. Our Lord set a little child before them, solemnly assuring them, that unless they were converted and made like little children, they could not enter his kingdom. Children, when very young, do not desire authority, do not regard outward distinctions, are free from malice, are teachable, and willingly dependent on their parents. It is true that they soon begin to show other dispositions, and other ideas are taught them at an early age; but these are marks of childhood, and render them proper emblems of the lowly minds of true Christians. Surely we need to be daily renewed in the spirit of our minds, that we may become simple and humble, as little children, and willing to be the least of all. Let us daily study this subject, and examine our own spirits.

Caution against offences.

Mat 18:7-14  (7)  Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!  (8)  Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.  (9)  And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.  (10)  Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.  (11)  For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.  (12)  How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?  (13)  And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.  (14)  Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

Mat 18:7-14 – Considering the cunning and malice of Satan, and the weakness and depravity of men’s hearts, it is not possible but that there should be offences. God permits them for wise and holy ends, that those who are sincere, and those who are not, may be made known. Being told before, that there will be seducers, tempters, persecutors, and bad examples, let us stand on our guard. We must, as far as lawfully we may, part with what we cannot keep without being entangled by it in sin. The outward occasions of sin must be avoided. If we live after the flesh, we must die. If we, through the Spirit, mortify the deeds of the body, we shall live. Christ came into the world to save souls, and he will reckon severely with those who hinder the progress of others who are setting their faces heavenward. And shall any of us refuse attention to those whom the Son of God came to seek and to save? A father takes care of all his children, but is particularly tender of the little ones.

The removal of offences.

Mat 18:15-20  (15)  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.  (16)  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  (17)  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.  (18)  Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  (19)  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.  (20)  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Mat 18:15-20 – If a professed Christian is wronged by another, he ought not to complain of it to others, as is often done merely upon report, but to go to the offender privately, state the matter kindly, and show him his conduct. This would generally have all the desired effect with a true Christian, and the parties would be reconciled. The principles of these rules may be practised every where, and under all circumstances, though they are too much neglected by all. But how few try the method which Christ has expressly enjoined to all his disciples! In all our proceedings we should seek direction in prayer; we cannot too highly prize the promises of God. Wherever and whenever we meet in the name of Christ, we should consider him as present in the midst of us.

Conduct towards brethren, The parable of the unmerciful servant.

Mat 18:21-35  (21)  Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?  (22)  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.  (23)  Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants.  (24)  And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents.  (25)  But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made.  (26)  The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  (27)  Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.  (28)  But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest.  (29)  And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all.  (30)  And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.  (31)  So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.  (32)  Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me:  (33)  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?  (34)  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.  (35)  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Mat 18:21-35 – Though we live wholly on mercy and forgiveness, we are backward to forgive the offences of our brethren. This parable shows how much provocation God has from his family on earth, and how untoward his servants are. There are three things in the parable: 1. The master’s wonderful clemency. The debt of sin is so great, that we are not able to pay it. See here what every sin deserves; this is the wages of sin, to be sold as a slave. It is the folly of many who are under strong convictions of their sins, to fancy they can make God satisfaction for the wrong they have done him. 2. The servant’s unreasonable severity toward his fellow-servant, notwithstanding his lord’s clemency toward him. Not that we may make light of wronging our neighbour, for that is also a sin against God; but we should not aggravate our neighbour’s wronging us, nor study revenge. Let our complaints, both of the wickedness of the wicked, and of the afflictions of the afflicted, be brought to God, and left with him. 3. The master reproved his servant’s cruelty. The greatness of sin magnifies the riches of pardoning mercy; and the comfortable sense of pardoning mercy, does much to dispose our hearts to forgive our brethren. We are not to suppose that God actually forgives men, and afterwards reckons their guilt to them to condemn them; but this latter part of the parable shows the false conclusions many draw as to their sins being pardoned, though their after-conduct shows that they never entered into the spirit, or experienced the sanctifying grace of the gospel. We do not forgive our offending brother aright, if we do not forgive from the heart. Yet this is not enough; we must seek the welfare even of those who offend us. How justly will those be condemned, who, though they bear the Christian name, persist in unmerciful treatment of their brethren! The humbled sinner relies only on free, abounding mercy, through the ransom of the death of Christ. Let us seek more and more for the renewing grace of God, to teach us to forgive others as we hope for forgiveness from him.

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e-Sword – the Sword of the LORD with an electronic edge: King James Bible with Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

Matthew 17

The transfiguration of Christ.

Mat 17:1-13  And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,  (2)  And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.  (3)  And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him.  (4)  Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.  (5)  While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.  (6)  And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.  (7)  And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid.  (8)  And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.  (9)  And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.  (10)  And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?  (11)  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.  (12)  But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.  (13)  Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

Mat 17:1-13 – Now the disciples beheld somewhat of Christ’s glory, as of the only begotten of the Father. It was intended to support their faith, when they would have to witness his crucifixion; and would give them an idea of the glory prepared for them, when changed by his power and made like him. The apostles were overcome by the glorious sight. Peter thought that it was most desirable to continue there, and to go no more down to meet the sufferings of which he was so unwilling to hear. In this he knew not what he said. We are wrong, if we look for a heaven here upon earth. Whatever tabernacles we propose to make for ourselves in this world, we must always remember to ask Christ’s leave. That sacrifice was not yet offered, without which the souls of sinful men could not have been saved; and important services were to be done by Peter and his brethren. While Peter spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, an emblem of the Divine presence and glory. Ever since man sinned, and heard God’s voice in the garden, unusual appearances of God have been terrible to man. They fell prostrate to the earth, till Jesus encouraged them; when looking round, they beheld only their Lord as they commonly saw him. We must pass through varied experiences in our way to glory; and when we return to the world after an ordinance, it must be our care to take Christ with us, and then it may be our comfort that he is with us.

Jesus casts out a dumb and deaf spirit.

Mat 17:14-21  (14)  And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,  (15)  Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.  (16)  And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.  (17)  Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me.  (18)  And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.  (19)  Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?  (20)  And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.  (21)  Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Mat 17:14-21 – The case of afflicted children should be presented to God by faithful and fervent prayer. Christ cured the child. Though the people were perverse, and Christ was provoked, yet care was taken of the child. When all other helps and succours fail, we are welcome to Christ, may trust in him, and in his power and goodness. See here an emblem of Christ’s undertaking as our Redeemer. It encourages parents to bring children to Christ, whose souls are under Satan’s power; he is able to heal them, and as willing as he is able. Not only bring them to Christ by prayer, but bring them to the word of Christ; to means by which Satan’s strong-holds in the soul are beaten down. It is good for us to distrust ourselves and our own strength; but it is displeasing to Christ when we distrust any power derived from him, or granted by him. There was also something in the malady which rendered the cure difficult. The extraordinary power of Satan must not discourage our faith, but quicken us to more earnestness in praying to God for the increase of it. Do we wonder to see Satan’s bodily possession of this young man from a child, when we see his spiritual possession of every son of Adam from the fall!

He again foretells his sufferings.

Mat 17:22-23  (22)  And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:  (23)  And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

Mat 17:22-23 – Christ perfectly knew all things that should befall him, yet undertook the work of our redemption, which strongly shows his love. What outward debasement and Divine glory was the life of the Redeemer! And all his humiliation ended in his exaltation. Let us learn to endure the cross, to despise riches and worldly honours, and to be content with his will.

He works a miracle to pay the tribute money.

Mat 17:24-27  (24)  And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?  (25)  He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?  (26)  Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.  (27)  Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

Mat 17:24-27 – Peter felt sure that his Master was ready to do what was right. Christ spoke first to give him proof that no thought can be withholden from him. We must never decline our duty for fear of giving offence; but we must sometimes deny ourselves in our worldly interests, rather than give offence. However the money was lodged in the fish, He who knows all things alone could know it, and only almighty power could bring it to Peter’s hook. The power and the poverty of Christ should be mentioned together. If called by providence to be poor, like our Lord, let us trust in his power, and our God shall supply all our need, according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. In the way of obedience, in the course, perhaps, of our usual calling, as he helped Peter, so he will help us. And if any sudden call should occur, which we are not prepared to meet, let us not apply to others, till we first seek Christ.

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e-Sword – the Sword of the LORD with an electronic edge: King James Bible with Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

Matthew 16

The Pharisees and Sadducees ask a sign.

Mat 16:1-4  The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.  (2)  He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.  (3)  And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?  (4)  A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

Mat 16:1-4 – The Pharisees and Sadducees were opposed to each other in principles and in conduct; yet they joined against Christ. But they desired a sign of their own choosing: they despised those signs which relieved the necessity of the sick and sorrowful, and called for something else which would gratify the curiosity of the proud. It is great hypocrisy, when we slight the signs of God’s ordaining, to seek for signs of our own devising.

Jesus cautions against the doctrine of the Pharisees.

Mat 16:5-12  (5)  And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.  (6)  Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.  (7)  And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread.  (8)  Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?  (9)  Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?  (10)  Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?  (11)  How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?  (12)  Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

Mat 16:5-12 – Christ speaks of spiritual things under a similitude, and the disciples misunderstand him of carnal things. He took it ill that they should think him as thoughtful about bread as they were; that they should be so little acquainted with his way of preaching. Then understood they what he meant. Christ teaches by the Spirit of wisdom in the heart, opening the understanding to the Spirit of revelation in the word.

Peter’s testimony that Jesus was the Christ.

Mat 16:13-20  (13)  When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?  (14)  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.  (15)  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  (16)  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  (17)  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  (18)  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  (19)  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  (20)  Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Mat 16:13-20 – Peter, for himself and his brethren, said that they were assured of our Lord’s being the promised Messiah, the Son of the living God. This showed that they believed Jesus to be more than man. Our Lord declared Peter to be blessed, as the teaching of God made him differ from his unbelieving countrymen. Christ added that he had named him Peter, in allusion to his stability or firmness in professing the truth. The word translated “rock,” is not the same word as Peter, but is of a similar meaning. Nothing can be more wrong than to suppose that Christ meant the person of Peter was the rock. Without doubt Christ himself is the Rock, the tried foundation of the church; and woe to him that attempts to lay any other! Peter’s confession is this rock as to doctrine. If Jesus be not the Christ, those that own him are not of the church, but deceivers and deceived. Our Lord next declared the authority with which Peter would be invested. He spoke in the name of his brethren, and this related to them as well as to him. They had no certain knowledge of the characters of men, and were liable to mistakes and sins in their own conduct; but they were kept from error in stating the way of acceptance and salvation, the rule of obedience, the believer’s character and experience, and the final doom of unbelievers and hypocrites. In such matters their decision was right, and it was confirmed in heaven. But all pretensions of any man, either to absolve or retain men’s sins, are blasphemous and absurd. None can forgive sins but God only. And this binding and loosing, in the common language of the Jews, signified to forbid and to allow, or to teach what is lawful or unlawful.

Christ foretells his sufferings, and rebukes Peter.

Mat 16:21-23  (21)  From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.  (22)  Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.  (23)  But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Mat 16:21-23 – Christ reveals his mind to his people gradually. From that time, when the apostles had made the full confession of Christ, that he was the Son of God, he began to show them of his sufferings. He spake this to set right the mistakes of his disciples about the outward pomp and power of his kingdom. Those that follow Christ, must not expect great or high things in this world. Peter would have Christ to dread suffering as much as he did; but we mistake, if we measure Christ’s love and patience by our own. We do not read of any thing said or done by any of his disciples, at any time, that Christ resented so much as this. Whoever takes us from that which is good, and would make us fear to do too much for God, speaks Satan’s language. Whatever appears to be a temptation to sin, must be resisted with abhorrence, and not be parleyed with. Those that decline suffering for Christ, savour more of the things of man than of the things of God.

The necessity of self-denial.

Mat 16:24-28 (24)  Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  (25)  For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.  (26)  For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  (27)  For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.  (28)  Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

Mat 16:24-28 – A true disciple of Christ is one that does follow him in duty, and shall follow him to glory. He is one that walks in the same way Christ walked in, is led by his Spirit, and treads in his steps, whithersoever he goes. “Let him deny himself.” If self-denial be a hard lesson, it is no more than what our Master learned and practised, to redeem us, and to teach us. “Let him take up his cross.” The cross is here put for every trouble that befalls us. We are apt to think we could bear another’s cross better than our own; but that is best which is appointed us, and we ought to make the best of it. We must not by our rashness and folly pull crosses down upon our own heads, but must take them up when they are in our way. If any man will have the name and credit of a disciple, let him follow Christ in the work and duty of a disciple. If all worldly things are worthless when compared with the life of the body, how forcible the same argument with respect to the soul and its state of never-ending happiness or misery! Thousands lose their souls for the most trifling gain, or the most worthless indulgence, nay, often from mere sloth and negligence. Whatever is the object for which men forsake Christ, that is the price at which Satan buys their souls. Yet one soul is worth more than all the world. This is Christ’s judgment upon the matter; he knew the price of souls, for he redeemed them; nor would he underrate the world, for he made it. The dying transgressor cannot purchase one hour’s respite to seek mercy for his perishing soul. Let us then learn rightly to value our souls, and Christ as the only Saviour of them.

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e-Sword – the Sword of the LORD with an electronic edge: King James Bible with Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

Matthew 15

Jesus discourses about human traditions.

Mat 15:1-9  Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,  (2)  Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.  (3)  But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?  (4)  For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.  (5)  But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;  (6)  And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.  (7)  Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,  (8)  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.  (9)  But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Mat 15:1-9 – Additions to God’s laws reflect upon his wisdom, as if he had left out something which was needed, and which man could supply; in one way or other they always lead men to disobey God. How thankful ought we to be for the written word of God! Never let us think that the religion of the Bible can be improved by any human addition, either in doctrine or practice. Our blessed Lord spoke of their traditions as inventions of their own, and pointed out one instance in which this was very clear, that of their transgressing the fifth commandment. When a parent’s wants called for assistance, they pleaded, that they had devoted to the temple all they could spare, even though they did not part with it, and therefore their parents must expect nothing from them. This was making the command of God of no effect. The doom of hypocrites is put in a little compass; “In vain do they worship me.” It will neither please God, nor profit themselves; they trust in vanity, and vanity will be their recompence.

He warns against things which really defile.

Mat 15:10-20  (10)  And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:  (11)  Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.  (12)  Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?  (13)  But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.  (14)  Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.  (15)  Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.  (16)  And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?  (17)  Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?  (18)  But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.  (19)  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:  (20)  These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Mat 15:10-20 – Christ shows that the defilement they ought to fear, was not from what entered their mouths as food, but from what came out of their mouths, which showed the wickedness of their hearts. Nothing will last in the soul but the regenerating graces of the Holy Spirit; and nothing should be admitted into the church but what is from above; therefore, whoever is offended by a plain, seasonable declaration of the truth, we should not be troubled at it. The disciples ask to be better taught as to this matter. Where a weak head doubts concerning any word of Christ, an upright heart and a willing mind seek for instruction. It is the heart that is desperately wicked, Jer_17:9, for there is no sin in word or deed, which was not first in the heart. They all come out of the man, and are fruits of that wickedness which is in the heart, and is wrought there. When Christ teaches, he will show men the deceitfulness and wickedness of their own hearts; he will teach them to humble themselves, and to seek to be cleansed in the Fountain opened for sin and uncleanness.

He heals the daughter of a Syrophenician woman.

Mat 15:21-28  (21)  Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.  (22)  And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.  (23)  But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.  (24)  But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  (25)  Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.  (26)  But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.  (27)  And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.  (28)  Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Mat 15:21-28 – The dark corners of the country, the most remote, shall share Christ’s influences; afterwards the ends of the earth shall see his salvation. The distress and trouble of her family brought a woman to Christ; and though it is need that drives us to Christ, yet we shall not therefore be driven from him. She did not limit Christ to any particular instance of mercy, but mercy, mercy, is what she begged for: she pleads not merit, but depends upon mercy. It is the duty of parents to pray for their children, and to be earnest in prayer for them, especially for their souls. Have you a son, a daughter, grievously vexed with a proud devil, an unclean devil, a malicious devil, led captive by him at his will? this is a case more deplorable than that of bodily possession, and you must bring them by faith and prayer to Christ, who alone is able to heal them. Many methods of Christ’s providence, especially of his grace, in dealing with his people, which are dark and perplexing, may be explained by this story, which teaches that there may be love in Christ’s heart while there are frowns in his face; and it encourages us, though he seems ready to slay us, yet to trust in him. Those whom Christ intends most to honour, he humbles to feel their own unworthiness. A proud, unhumbled heart would not have borne this; but she turned it into an argument to support her request. The state of this woman is an emblem of the state of a sinner, deeply conscious of the misery of his soul. The least of Christ is precious to a believer, even the very crumbs of the Bread of life. Of all graces, faith honours Christ most; therefore of all graces Christ honours faith most. He cured her daughter. He spake, and it was done. From hence let such as seek help from the Lord, and receive no gracious answer, learn to turn even their unworthiness and discouragements into pleas for mercy.

Jesus heals the sick, and miraculously feeds four thousand.

Mat 15:29-39  (29)  And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there.  (30)  And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:  (31)  Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.  (32)  Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.  (33)  And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?  (34)  And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.  (35)  And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.  (36)  And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.  (37)  And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.  (38)  And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.  (39)  And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.

Mat 15:29-39 – Whatever our case is, the only way to find ease and relief, is to lay it at Christ’s feet, to submit it to him, and refer it to his disposal. Those who would have spiritual healing from Christ, must be ruled as he pleases. See what work sin has made; what various diseases human bodies are subject to. Here were such diseases as fancy could neither guess the cause nor the cure of, yet these were subject to the command of Christ. The spiritual cures that Christ works are wonderful. When blind souls are made to see by faith, the dumb to speak in prayer, the maimed and the lame to walk in holy obedience, it is to be wondered at. His power was also shown to the multitude, in the plentiful provision he made for them: the manner is much the same as before. All did eat, and were filled. Those whom Christ feeds, he fills. With Christ there is bread enough, and to spare; supplies of grace for more than seek it, and for those that seek for more. Christ sent away the people. Though he had fed them twice, they must not look for miracles to find their daily bread. Let them go home to their callings and their own tables. Lord, increase our faith, and pardon our unbelief, teaching us to live upon thy fulness and bounty, for all things pertaining to this life, and that which is to come.

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e-Sword – the Sword of the LORD with an electronic edge: King James Bible with Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

Matthew 14

Death of John the Baptist.

Mat 14:1-12  At that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus,  (2)  And said unto his servants, This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead; and therefore mighty works do shew forth themselves in him.  (3)  For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him, and put him in prison for Herodias’ sake, his brother Philip’s wife.  (4)  For John said unto him, It is not lawful for thee to have her.  (5)  And when he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.  (6)  But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.  (7)  Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she would ask.  (8)  And she, being before instructed of her mother, said, Give me here John Baptist’s head in a charger.  (9)  And the king was sorry: nevertheless for the oath’s sake, and them which sat with him at meat, he commanded it to be given her.  (10)  And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison.  (11)  And his head was brought in a charger, and given to the damsel: and she brought it to her mother.  (12)  And his disciples came, and took up the body, and buried it, and went and told Jesus.

Mat 14:1-12 – The terror and reproach of conscience, which Herod, like other daring offenders, could not shake off, are proofs and warnings of a future judgment, and of future misery to them. But there may be the terror of convictions, where there is not the truth of conversion. When men pretend to favour the gospel, yet live in evil, we must not favour their self-delusion, but must deliver our consciences as John did. The world may call this rudeness and blind zeal. False professors, or timid Christians, may censure it as want of civility; but the most powerful enemies can go no further than the Lord sees good to permit. Herod feared that the putting of John to death might raise a rebellion among the people, which it did not; but he never feared it might stir up his own conscience against him, which it did. Men fear being hanged for what they do not fear being damned for. And times of carnal mirth and jollity are convenient times for carrying on bad designs against God’s people. Herod would profusely reward a worthless dance, while imprisonment and death were the recompence of the man of God who sought the salvation of his soul. But there was real malice to John beneath his consent, or else Herod would have found ways to get clear of his promise. When the under shepherds are smitten, the sheep need not be scattered while they have the Great Shepherd to go to. And it is better to be drawn to Christ by want and loss, than not to come to him at all.

Five thousand people miraculously fed.

Mat 14:13-21  (13)  When Jesus heard of it, he departed thence by ship into a desert place apart: and when the people had heard thereof, they followed him on foot out of the cities.  (14)  And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.  (15)  And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.  (16)  But Jesus said unto them, They need not depart; give ye them to eat.  (17)  And they say unto him, We have here but five loaves, and two fishes.  (18)  He said, Bring them hither to me.  (19)  And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the grass, and took the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake, and gave the loaves to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.  (20)  And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.  (21)  And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.

Mat 14:13-21 – When Christ and his word withdraw, it is best for us to follow, seeking the means of grace for our souls before any worldly advantages. The presence of Christ and his gospel, makes a desert not only tolerable, but desirable. This little supply of bread was increased by Christ’s creating power, till the whole multitude were satisfied. In seeking the welfare of men’s souls, we should have compassion on their bodies likewise. Let us also remember always to crave a blessing on our meals, and learn to avoid all waste, as frugality is the proper source of liberality. See in this miracle an emblem of the Bread of life, which came down from heaven to sustain our perishing souls. The provisions of Christ’s gospel appear mean and scanty to the world, yet they satisfy all that feed on him in their hearts by faith with thanksgiving.

Jesus walks upon the sea.

Mat 14:22-33  (22)  And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away.  (23)  And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.  (24)  But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary.  (25)  And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.  (26)  And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.  (27)  But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.  (28)  And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.  (29)  And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  (30)  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.  (31)  And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?  (32)  And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased.  (33)  Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

Mat 14:22-33 – Those are not Christ’s followers who cannot enjoy being alone with God and their own hearts. It is good, upon special occasions, and when we find our hearts enlarged, to continue long in secret prayer, and in pouring out our hearts before the Lord. It is no new thing for Christ’s disciples to meet with storms in the way of duty, but he thereby shows himself with the more grace to them and for them. He can take what way he pleases to save his people. But even appearances of deliverance sometimes occasion trouble and perplexity to God’s people, from mistakes about Christ. Nothing ought to affright those that have Christ near them, and know he is theirs; not death itself. Peter walked upon the water, not for diversion or to boast of it, but to go to Jesus; and in that he was thus wonderfully borne up. Special supports are promised, and are to be expected, but only in spiritual pursuits; nor can we ever come to Jesus, unless we are upheld by his power. Christ bade Peter come, not only that he might walk upon the water, and so know his Lord’s power, but that he might know his own weakness. And the Lord often lets his servants have their choice, to humble and prove them, and to show the greatness of his power and grace. When we look off from Christ, and look at the greatness of opposing difficulties, we shall begin to fall; but when we call to him, he will stretch out his arm, and save us. Christ is the great Saviour; those who would be saved, must come to him, and cry to him, for salvation; we are never brought to this, till we find ourselves sinking: the sense of need drives us to him. He rebuked Peter. Could we but believe more, we should suffer less. The weakness of faith, and the prevailing of our doubts, displease our Lord Jesus, for there is no good reason why Christ’s disciples should be of a doubtful mind. Even in a stormy day he is to them a very present help. None but the world’s Creator could multiply the loaves, none but its Governor could tread upon the waters of the sea: the disciples yield to the evidence, and confess their faith. They were suitably affected, and worshipped Christ. He that comes to God, must believe; and he that believes in God, will come, Heb_11:6.

Jesus healing the sick.

Mat 14:34-36  (34)  And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret.  (35)  And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased;  (36)  And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.

Mat 14:34-36 – Whithersoever Christ went, he was doing good. They brought unto him all that were diseased. They came humbly beseeching him to help them. The experiences of others may direct and encourage us in seeking for Christ. As many as touched, were made perfectly whole. Those whom Christ heals, he heals perfectly. Were men more acquainted with Christ, and with the diseased state of their souls, they would flock to receive his healing influences. The healing virtue was not in the finger, but in their faith; or rather, it was in Christ, whom their faith took hold upon.

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e-Sword – the Sword of the LORD with an electronic edge: King James Bible with Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

Matthew 13

The parable of the sower.

Mat 13:1-23  The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.  (2)  And great multitudes were gathered together unto him, so that he went into a ship, and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.  (3)  And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;  (4)  And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:  (5)  Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth:  (6)  And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.  (7)  And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them:  (8)  But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.  (9)  Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.  (10)  And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?  (11)  He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.  (12)  For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.  (13)  Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.  (14)  And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:  (15)  For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.  (16)  But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.  (17)  For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.  (18)  Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.  (19)  When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.  (20)  But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;  (21)  Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.  (22)  He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.  (23)  But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

Mat 13:1-23 – Jesus entered into a boat that he might be the less pressed, and be the better heard by the people. By this he teaches us in the outward circumstances of worship not to covet that which is stately, but to make the best of the conveniences God in his providence allots to us. Christ taught in parables. Thereby the things of God were made more plain and easy to those willing to be taught, and at the same time more difficult and obscure to those who were willingly ignorant. The parable of the sower is plain. The seed sown is the word of God. The sower is our Lord Jesus Christ, by himself, or by his ministers. Preaching to a multitude is sowing the corn; we know not where it will light. Some sort of ground, though we take ever so much pains with it, brings forth no fruit to purpose, while the good soil brings forth plentifully. So it is with the hearts of men, whose different characters are here described by four sorts of ground. Careless, trifling hearers, are an easy prey to Satan; who, as he is the great murderer of souls, so he is the great thief of sermons, and will be sure to rob us of the word, if we take not care to keep it. Hypocrites, like the stony ground, often get the start of true Christians in the shows of profession. Many are glad to hear a good sermon, who do not profit by it. They are told of free salvation, of the believer’s privileges, and the happiness of heaven; and, without any change of heart, without any abiding conviction of their own depravity, their need of a Saviour, or the excellence of holiness, they soon profess an unwarranted assurance. But when some heavy trial threatens them, or some sinful advantage may be had, they give up or disguise their profession, or turn to some easier system. Worldly cares are fitly compared to thorns, for they came in with sin, and are a fruit of the curse; they are good in their place to stop a gap, but a man must be well armed that has much to do with them; they are entangling, vexing, scratching, and their end is to be burned, Heb_6:8. Worldly cares are great hinderances to our profiting by the word of God. The deceitfulness of riches does the mischief; they cannot be said to deceive us unless we put our trust in them, then they choke the good seed. What distinguished the good ground was fruitfulness. By this true Christians are distinguished from hypocrites. Christ does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns; but none that could hinder its fruitfulness. All are not alike; we should aim at the highest, to bring forth most fruit. The sense of hearing cannot be better employed than in hearing God’s word; and let us look to ourselves that we may know what sort of hearers we are.

The parable of the tares.

Mat 13:24-30  (24)  Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:  (25)  But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.  (26)  But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.  (27)  So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares?  (28)  He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up?  (29)  But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them.  (30)  Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Mat 13:24-30 – (also Mat_13:36-43). This parable represents the present and future state of the gospel church; Christ’s care of it, the devil’s enmity against it, the mixture there is in it of good and bad in this world, and the separation between them in the other world. So prone is fallen man to sin, that if the enemy sow the tares, he may go his way, they will spring up, and do hurt; whereas, when good seed is sown, it must be tended, watered, and fenced. The servants complained to their master; Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in thy field? No doubt he did; whatever is amiss in the church, we are sure it is not from Christ. Though gross transgressors, and such as openly oppose the gospel, ought to be separated from the society of the faithful, yet no human skill can make an exact separation. Those who oppose must not be cut off, but instructed, and that with meekness. And though good and bad are together in this world, yet at the great day they shall be parted; then the righteous and the wicked shall be plainly known; here sometimes it is hard to distinguish between them. Let us, knowing the terrors of the Lord, not do iniquity. At death, believers shall shine forth to themselves; at the great day they shall shine forth before all the world. They shall shine by reflection, with light borrowed from the Fountain of light. Their sanctification will be made perfect, and their justification published. May we be found of that happy number.

The parables of the mustard-seed and the leaven.

Mat 13:31-35  (31)  Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:  (32)  Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.  (33)  Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.  (34)  All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them:  (35)  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.

Mat 13:31-35 – The scope of the parable of the seed sown, is to show that the beginnings of the gospel would be small, but its latter end would greatly increase; in this way the work of grace in the heart, the kingdom of God within us, would be carried on. In the soul where grace truly is, it will grow really; though perhaps at first not to be discerned, it will at last come to great strength and usefulness. The preaching of the gospel works like leaven in the hearts of those who receive it. The leaven works certainly, so does the word, yet gradually. It works silently, and without being seen, Mar_4:26-29, yet strongly; without noise, for so is the way of the Spirit, but without fail. Thus it was in the world. The apostles, by preaching the gospel, hid a handful of leaven in the great mass of mankind. It was made powerful by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts, who works, and none can hinder. Thus it is in the heart. When the gospel comes into the soul, it works a thorough change; it spreads itself into all the powers and faculties of the soul, and alters the property even of the members of the body, Rom_6:13. From these parables we are taught to expect a gradual progress; therefore let us inquire, Are we growing in grace? and in holy principles and habits?

The parable of the tares.

Mat 13:36-43  (36)  Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field.  (37)  He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man;  (38)  The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;  (39)  The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.  (40)  As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.  (41)  The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;  (42)  And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  (43)  Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.

Mat 13:36-43 – See note on Mat_13:24.

The parables of the hidden treasure, the pearl of great price, the net cast into the sea, and the householder.

Mat 13:44-52  (44)  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field.  (45)  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:  (46)  Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.  (47)  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind:  (48)  Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.  (49)  So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,  (50)  And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.  (51)  Jesus saith unto them, Have ye understood all these things? They say unto him, Yea, Lord.  (52)  Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.

Mat 13:44-52 – Here are four parables. 1. That of the treasure hid in the field. Many slight the gospel, because they look only upon the surface of the field. But all who search the Scriptures, so as in them to find Christ and eternal life, Joh_5:39, will discover such treasure in this field as makes it unspeakably valuable; they make it their own upon any terms. Though nothing can be given as a price for this salvation, yet much must be given up for the sake of it. 2. All the children of men are busy; one would be rich, another would be honourable, another would be learned; but most are deceived, and take up with counterfeits for pearls. Jesus Christ is a Pearl of great price; in having him, we have enough to make us happy here and for ever. A man may buy gold too dear, but not this Pearl of great price. When the convinced sinner sees Christ as the gracious Saviour, all things else become worthless to his thoughts. 3. The world is a vast sea, and men, in their natural state, are like the fishes. Preaching the gospel is casting a net into this sea, to catch something out of it, for His glory who has the sovereignty of this sea. Hypocrites and true Christians shall be parted: miserable is the condition of those that shall then be cast away. 4. A skilful, faithful minister of the gospel, is a scribe, well versed in the things of the gospel, and able to teach them. Christ compares him to a good householder, who brings forth fruits of last year’s growth and this year’s gathering, abundance and variety, to entertain his friends. Old experiences and new observations, all have their use. Our place is at Christ’s feet, and we must daily learn old lessons over again, and new ones also.

Jesus is again rejected at Nazareth.

Mat 13:53-58  (53)  And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence.  (54)  And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?  (55)  Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?  (56)  And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?  (57)  And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.  (58)  And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

Mat 13:53-58 – Christ repeats his offer to those who have repulsed them. They upbraid him, Is not this the carpenter’s son? Yes, it is true he was reputed to be so; and no disgrace to be the son of an honest tradesman; they should have respected him the more because he was one of themselves, but therefore they despised him. He did not many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. Unbelief is the great hinderance to Christ’s favours. Let us keep faithful to him as the Saviour who has made our peace with God.

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e-Sword – the Sword of the LORD with an electronic edge: King James Bible with Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

Matthew 12

Jesus defends his disciples for plucking corn on the sabbath day.

Mat 12:1-8  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.  (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.  (3)  But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;  (4)  How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, 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 profane the sabbath, and are blameless?  (6)  But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.  (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.

Mat 12:1-8 – Being in the corn-fields, the disciples began to pluck the ears of corn: the law of God allowed it, Deu_23:25. This was slender provision for Christ and his disciples; but they were content with it. The Pharisees did not quarrel with them for taking another man’s corn, but for doing it on the sabbath day. Christ came to free his followers, not only from the corruptions of the Pharisees, but from their unscriptural rules, and justified what they did. The greatest shall not have their lusts indulged, but the meanest shall have their wants considered. Those labours are lawful on the sabbath day which are necessary, and sabbath rest is to froward, not to hinder sabbath worship. Needful provision for health and food is to be made; but when servants are kept at home, and families become a scene of hurry and confusion on the Lord’s day, to furnish a feast for visitors, or for indulgence, the case is very different. Such things as these, and many others common among professors, are to be blamed. The resting on the sabbath was ordained for man’s good, Deu_5:14. No law must be understood so as to contradict its own end. And as Christ is the Lord of the sabbath, it is fit the day and the work of it should be dedicated to him.

Jesus heals a man with a withered hand on the sabbath.

Mat 12:9-13 (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? that they might accuse him.  (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.  (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.

Mat 12:9-13 – Christ shows that works of mercy are lawful and proper to be done on the Lord’s day. There are more ways of doing well upon sabbath days, than by the duties of worship: attending the sick, relieving the poor, helping those who need speedy relief, teaching the young to care for their souls; these are doing good: and these must be done from love and charity, with humility and self-denial, and shall be accepted, Gen_4:7. This, like other cures which Christ wrought, had a spiritual meaning. By nature our hands are withered, and we are unable of ourselves to do any thing that is good. Christ only, by the power of his grace, cures us; he heals the withered hand by putting life into the dead soul, works in us both to will and to do: for, with the command, there is a promise of grace given by the word.

The malice of the Pharisees.

Mat 12:14-21  (14)  Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.  (15)  But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;  (16)  And charged them that they should not make him known:  (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 shew judgment to the Gentiles.  (19)  He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.  (20)  A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.  (21)  And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.

Mat 12:14-21 – The Pharisees took counsel to find some accusation, that Jesus might be condemned to death. Aware of their design, as his time was not come, he retired from that place. Face does not more exactly answer to face in water, than the character of Christ drawn by the prophet, to his temper and conduct as described by the evangelists. Let us with cheerful confidence commit our souls to so kind and faithful a Friend. Far from breaking, he will strengthen the bruised reed; far from quenching the smoking flax, or wick nearly out, he will rather blow it up into a flame. Let us lay aside contentious and angry debates; let us receive one another as Christ receives us. And while encouraged by the gracious kindness of our Lord, we should pray that his Spirit may rest upon us, and make us able to copy his example.

Jesus heals a demoniac.

Mat 12:22-30  (22)  Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.  (23)  And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?  (24)  But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.  (25)  And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:  (26)  And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?  (27)  And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.  (28)  But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.  (29)  Or else how can one enter into a strong man’s house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.  (30)  He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

Mat 12:22-30 – A soul under Satan’s power, and led captive by him, is blind in the things of God, and dumb at the throne of grace; sees nothing, and says nothing to the purpose. Satan blinds the eyes by unbelief, and seals up the lips from prayer. The more people magnified Christ, the more desirous the Pharisees were to vilify him. It was evident that if Satan aided Jesus in casting out devils, the kingdom of hell was divided against itself; how then could it stand! And if they said that Jesus cast out devils by the prince of the devils, they could not prove that their children cast them out by any other power. There are two great interests in the world; and when unclean spirits are cast out by the Holy Spirit, in the conversion of sinners to a life of faith and obedience, the kingdom of God is come unto us. All who do not aid or rejoice in such a change are against Christ.

Blasphemy of the Pharisees.

Mat 12:31-32  (31)  Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.  (32)  And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Mat 12:31-32 – Here is a gracious assurance of the pardon of all sin upon gospel terms. Christ herein has set an example to the sons of men, to be ready to forgive words spoken against them. But humble and conscientious believers, at times are tempted to think they have committed the unpardonable sin, while those who have come the nearest to it, seldom have any fear about it. We may be sure that those who indeed repent and believe the gospel, have not committed this sin, or any other of the same kind; for repentance and faith are the special gifts of God, which he would not bestow on any man, if he were determined never to pardon him; and those who fear they have committed this sin, give a good sign that they have not. The trembling, contrite sinner, has the witness in himself that this is not his case.

Evil words proceed from an evil heart.

Mat 12:33-37  (33)  Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.  (34)  O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.  (35)  A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.  (36)  But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  (37)  For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Mat 12:33-37 – Men’s language discovers what country they are of, likewise what manner of spirit they are of. The heart is the fountain, words are the streams. A troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring, must send forth muddy and unpleasant streams. Nothing but the salt of grace, cast into the spring, will heal the waters, season the speech, and purify the corrupt communication. An evil man has an evil treasure in his heart, and out of it brings forth evil things. Lusts and corruptions, dwelling and reigning in the heart, are an evil treasure, out of which the sinner brings forth bad words and actions, to dishonour God, and hurt others. Let us keep constant watch over ourselves, that we may speak words agreeable to the Christian character.

The scribes and Pharisees reproved for seeking a sign.

Mat 12:38-45  (38)  Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.  (39)  But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:  (40)  For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.  (41)  The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.  (42)  The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.  (43)  When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.  (44)  Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.  (45)  Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

Mat 12:38-45 – Though Christ is always ready to hear and answer holy desires and prayers, yet those who ask amiss, ask and have not. Signs were granted to those who desired them to confirm their faith, as Abraham and Gideon; but denied to those who demanded them to excuse their unbelief. The resurrection of Christ from the dead by his own power, called here the sign of the prophet Jonah, was the great proof of Christ’s being the Messiah. As Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale, and then came out again alive, thus Christ would be so long in the grave, and then rise again. The Ninevites would shame the Jews for not repenting; the queen of Sheba, for not believing in Christ. And we have no such cares to hinder us, we come not to Christ upon such uncertainties. This parable represents the case of the Jewish church and nation. It is also applicable to all those who hear the word of God, and are in part reformed, but not truly converted. The unclean spirit leaves for a time, but when he returns, he finds Christ is not there to shut him out; the heart is swept by outward reformation, but garnished by preparation to comply with evil suggestions, and the man becomes a more decided enemy of the truth. Every heart is the residence of unclean spirits, except those which are temples of the Holy Ghost, by faith in Christ.

The disciples of Christ are his nearest relations.

Mat 12:46-50  (46)  While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.  (47)  Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.  (48)  But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?  (49)  And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!  (50)  For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Mat 12:46-50 – Christ’s preaching was plain, easy, and familiar, and suited to his hearers. His mother and brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him, when they should have been standing within, desiring to hear him. Frequently, those who are nearest to the means of knowledge and grace are most negligent. We are apt to neglect that which we think we may have any day, forgetting that to-morrow is not ours. We often meet with hinderances in our work from friends about us, and are taken off by care for the things of this life, from the concerns of our souls. Christ was so intent on his work, that no natural or other duty took him from it. Not that, under pretence of religion, we may be disrespectful to parents, or unkind to relations; but the lesser duty must stand by, while the greater is done. Let us cease from men, and cleave to Christ; let us look upon every Christian, in whatever condition of life, as the brother, sister, or mother of the Lord of glory; let us love, respect, and be kind to them, for his sake, and after his example.

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e-Sword – the Sword of the LORD with an electronic edge: King James Bible with Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary

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