Most of this chapter is a repetition of divers passages of Christ's
preaching and miracles which we had before in Matthew and Mark; they
are all of such weight, that they are worth repeating, and therefore
they are repeated, that out of the mouth not only of two, but of three,
witnesses every word may be established. Here is,
I. A general account of Christ's preaching, and how he had subsistence
for himself and his numerous family by the charitable contributions of
II. The parable of the sower, and the four sorts of ground, with the
exposition of it, and some inferences from it,
III. The preference which Christ gave to his obedient disciples before
his nearest relations according to the flesh,
IV. His stilling a storm at sea, with a word's speaking,
V. His casting a legion of devils out of a man that was possessed by
VI. His healing the woman that had the bloody issue, and raising
Jairus's daughter to life,
1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every
city and village, preaching and showing the glad tidings of the
kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,
2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and
infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven
3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna,
and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.
We are here told,
I. What Christ made the constant business of his
life--it was preaching; in that work he was indefatigable,
and went about doing good
afterward--en to kathexes--ordine, in the
proper time or method. Christ took his work before him
and went about it regularly. He observed a series or order of
business, so that the end of one good work was the beginning of
another. Now observe here,
1. Where he preached: He went
about--diodeue--peragrabat. He was an
itinerant preacher, did not confine himself to one place, but
diffused the beams of his light. Circumibat--He went his
circuit, as a judge, having found his preaching perhaps most
acceptable where it was new. He went about through
every city, that none might plead ignorance. Hereby he set an
example to his disciples; they must traverse the nations of the earth,
as he did the cities of Israel. Nor did he confine himself to the
cities, but went into the villages, among the plain
country-people, to preach to the inhabitants of the villages,
2. What he preached: He showed the glad tidings of the kingdom of
God, that it was now to be set up among them. Tidings of the
kingdom of God are glad tidings, and those Jesus Christ
came to bring; to tell the children of men that God was willing to take
all those under his protection that were willing to return to
their allegiance. It was glad tidings to the world that
there was hope of its being reformed and reconciled.
3. Who were his attendants: The twelve were with him, not to
preach if he were present, but to learn from him what and how to preach
hereafter, and, if occasion were, to be sent to places where he could
not go. Happy were these his servants that heard his wisdom.
II. Whence he had the necessary supports of life:
He lived upon the kindness of his friends. There were certain
women, who frequently attended his ministry, that ministered to
him of their substance,
Some of them are named; but there were many others, who were
zealously affected to the doctrine of Christ, and thought themselves
bound in justice to encourage it, having themselves found
benefit, and in charity, hoping that many others might find
benefit by it too.
1. They were such, for the most part, as had been Christ's
patients, and were the monuments of his power and mercy; they had
been healed by him of evil spirits and infirmities. Some of them
had been troubled in mind, had been melancholy, others of them
afflicted in body, and he had been to them a powerful healer. He is the
physician both of body and soul, and those who have been healed by
him ought to study what they shall render to him. We are
bound in interest to attend him, that we may be ready to apply
ourselves to him for help in case of a relapse; and we are bound in
gratitude to serve him and his gospel, who hath saved us,
and saved us by it.
2. One of them was Mary Magdalene, out of whom had been cast seven
devils; a certain number for an uncertain. Some think that she was
one that had been very wicked, and then we may suppose her to be
the woman that was a sinner mentioned just before,
Dr. Lightfoot, finding in some of the Talmudists' writings that Mary
Magdalene signified Mary the plaiter of hair, thinks it
applicable to her, she having been noted, in the days of her iniquity
and infamy, for that plaiting of hair which is opposed to
1 Timothy 2:9.
But, though she had been an immodest woman, upon her repentance and
reformation she found mercy, and became a zealous disciple of Christ.
Note, The greatest of sinners must not despair of pardon; and the worse
any have been before their conversion the more they should study to do
for Christ after. Or, rather, she was one that had been very
melancholy, and then, probably, it was Mary the sister of Lazarus,
who was a woman of a sorrowful spirit, who might have been
originally of Magdala, but removed to Bethany. This Mary Magdalene was
attending on Christ's cross and his sepulchre, and, if she was not Mary
the sister of Lazarus, either that particular friend and favourite of
Christ's did not attend then, or the evangelists did not take notice of
her, neither of which we can suppose; thus Dr. Lightfoot argues. Yet
there is this to be objected against it that Mary Magdalene is reckoned
among the women that followed Jesus from Galilee
whereas Mary the sister of Lazarus had her residence in Bethany.
3. Another of them was Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's
steward. She had been his wife (so some), but was now a widow, and
left in good circumstances. If she was now his wife, we have reason to
think that her husband, though preferred in Herod's court, had
received the gospel, and was very willing that his wife should be both
a hearer of Christ and a contributor to him.
4. There were many of them that ministered to Christ of their
substance. It was an instance of the meanness of that condition to
which our Saviour humbled himself that he needed it, and of his great
humility and condescension that he accepted it. Though he was rich, yet
for our sakes he became poor, and lived upon alms. Let none say
that they scorn to be beholden to the charity of their neighbours, when
Providence has brought them into straits; but let them ask and be
thankful for it as a favour. Christ would rather be beholden to his
known friends for a maintenance for himself and his disciples than be
burdensome to strangers in the cities and villages whither he came to
preach. Note, It is the duty of those who are taught in the word to
communicate to them who teach them in all good things; and those
who are herein liberal and cheerful honour the Lord with their
substance, and bring a blessing upon it.
|The Parable of the Sower.
4 And when much people were gathered together, and were come to
him out of every city, he spake by a parable:
5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell
by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the
air devoured it.
6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up,
it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it,
and choked it.
8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit
a hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He
that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
9 And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable
10 And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of
the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they
might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the
devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they
should believe and be saved.
13 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive
the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while
believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they
have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and
pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and
good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth
fruit with patience.
16 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a
vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a
candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.
17 For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest;
neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.
18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him
shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken
even that which he seemeth to have.
19 Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could
not come at him for the press.
20 And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and
thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.
21 And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my
brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.
The former paragraph began with an account of Christ's industry in
this begins with an account of the people's industry in hearing,
He went into every city, to preach; so they, one would think,
should have contented themselves to hear him when he came to their own
city (we know those that would); but there were those here that came
to him out of every city, would not stay till he came to
them, nor think that they had enough when he left them,
but met him when he was coming towards them, and followed
him when he was going from them. Nor did he excuse himself from
going to the cities with this, that there were some from
the cities that came to him; for, though there were, yet the
most had not zeal enough to bring them to him, and therefore such is
his wonderful condescension that he will go to them; for he is found
of those that sought him not,
Here was, it seems, a vast concourse, much people were gathered
together, abundance of fish to cast their net among; and he was as
ready and willing to teach as they were to be taught. Now
I. Necessary and excellent rules and cautions for hearing the word, in
the parable of the sower and the explanation and application of
it, all which we had twice before more largely. When Christ had put
forth this parable,
1. The disciples were inquisitive concerning the meaning of it,
They asked him, What might this parable be? Note, We should
covet earnestly to know the true intent, and full extent,
of the word we hear, that we may be neither mistaken nor defective in
2. Christ made them sensible of what great advantage it was to them
that they had opportunity of acquainting themselves with the mystery
and meaning of his word, which others had not: Unto you it is
Note, Those who would receive instruction from Christ must know and
consider what a privilege it is to be instructed by him, what a
distinguishing privilege to be led into the light, such a light, when
others are left in darkness, such a darkness. Happy are we, and for
ever indebted to free grace, if the same thing that is a parable
to others, with which they are only amused, is a plain
truth to us, by which we are enlightened and
governed, and into the mould of which we are
Now from the parable itself, and the explication of it, observe,
(1.) The heart of man is as soil to the seed of God's
word; it is capable of receiving it, and bringing forth the fruits
of it; but, unless that seed be sown in it, it will bring forth nothing
valuable. Or care therefore must be to bring the seed and the
soil together. To what purpose have we the seed in the
scripture, if it be not sown? And to what purpose have we the
soil in our own hearts, if it be not sown with that seed?
(2.) The success of the seeding is very much according to
the nature and temper of the soil, and as that is, or is not,
disposed to receive the seed. The word of God is to us, as we
are, a savour of life unto life, or of death unto
(3.) The devil is a subtle and spiteful enemy, that makes it his
business to hinder our profiting by the word of God. He takes the word
out of the hearts of careless hearers, lest they should
believe and be saved,
This is added here to teach us,
[1.] That we cannot be saved unless we believe. The word
of the gospel will not be a saving word to us, unless it be mixed with
[2.] That therefore the devil does all he can to keep us from
believing, to make us not believe the word when we read and hear
it; or, if we heed it for the present, to make us forget it again, and
let it slip
or, if we remember it, to create prejudices in our minds against it, or
divert our minds from it to something else; and all is lest
we should believe and be saved, lest we should believe and
rejoice, while he believes and trembles.
(4.) Where the word of God is heard carelessly there is commonly
a contempt put upon it too. It is added here in the parable that
the seed which fell by the way-side was trodden down,
They that wilfully shut their ears against the word do in effect
trample it under their feet; they despise the commandment of the
(5.) Those on whom the word makes some impressions, but they are
not deep and durable ones, will show their hypocrisy in a
time of trial; as the seed sown upon the rock, where it gains no root,
These for awhile believe a little while; their profession
promises something, but in time of temptation they fall away
from their good beginnings. Whether the temptation arises from the
smiles or the frowns, of the world, they are easily overcome by it.
(6.) The pleasures of this life are as dangerous and mischievous
thorns to choke the good seed of the word as any other. This is added
which was not in the other evangelists. Those that are not entangled
in the cares of this life, nor inveigled with the deceitfulness
of riches, but boast that they are dead to them, may yet be kept
from heaven by an affected indolence, and the love of ease and
pleasure. The delights of sense may ruin the soul, even lawful
delights, indulged, and too much delighted in.
(7.) It is not enough that the fruit be brought forth, but it must be
brought to perfection, it must be fully ripened. If it be not,
it is as if there was no fruit at all brought forth; for that which in
Matthew and Mark is said to be unfruitful is the same that here
is said to bring forth none to perfection. For factum non
dicitur quod non perseverat--perseverance is necessary to the
perfection of a work.
(8.) The good ground, which brings forth good fruit, is an
honest and good heart, well disposed to receive
instruction and commandment
a heart free from sinful pollutions, and firmly fixed for God and duty,
an upright heart, a tender heart, and a heart that trembles at the
word, is an honest and good heart, which, having heard the word,
understands it (so it is in Matthew), receives it (so it
is in Mark), and keeps it (so it is here), as the soil not only
receives, but keeps, the seed; and the stomach not only
receives, but keeps, the food or physic.
(9.) Where the word is well kept there is fruit brought forth with
patience. This also is added here. There must be both
bearing patience and waiting patience; patience to suffer
the tribulation and persecution which may arise
because of the word; patience to continue to the end in
(10.) In consideration of all this, we ought to take heed how we
take heed of those things that will hinder our profiting by the word we
hear, watch over our hearts in hearing, and take heed lest they betray
us; take heed lest we hear carelessly and slightly, lest, upon
any account, we entertain prejudice against the word we hear; and take
heed to the frame of our spirits after we have heard the word, lest we
lose what we have gained.
II. Needful instructions given to those that are appointed to preach
the word, and to those also that have heard it.
1. Those that have received the gift must minister the
same. Ministers that have the dispensing of the gospel committed to
them, people that have profited by the word and are thereby qualified
to profit others, must look upon themselves as lighted candles:
ministers must in solemn authoritative preaching, and people in
brotherly familiar discourse, diffuse their light, for a candle
must not be covered with a vessel nor put under a bed,
Ministers and Christians are to be lights in the world, holding
forth the word of life. Their light must shine before men; they
must not only be good, but do good.
2. We must expect that what is now done in secret, and from
unseen springs, will shortly be manifested and made
What is committed to you in secret should be made manifest by
you; for your Master did not give you talents to be buried, but to
be traded with. Let that which is now hid be made known; for, if
it be not manifested by you, it will be manifested against
you, will be produced in evidence of your treachery.
3. The gifts we have will either be continued to us, or taken from us,
according as we do, or do not, make use of them for the glory of God
and the edification of our brethren: Whosoever hath, to him shall be
He that hath gifts, and does good with them, shall have more; he that
buries his talent shall lose it. From him that hath not shall be
taken away even that which he hath, so it is in Mark; that which
he seemeth to have, so it is in Luke. Note, The grace that is
lost was but seeming grace, was never true. Men do but
seem to have what they do not use, and shows of religion
will be lost and forfeited. They went out from us, because they were
not of us,
1 John 2:19.
Let us see to it that we have grace in sincerity, the root of the
matter found in us; that is a good part which shall never be taken
away from those that have it.
III. Great encouragement given to those that prove themselves faithful
hearers of the word, by being doers of the work, in a
particular instance of Christ's respect to his disciples, in preferring
them even before his nearest relations
which passage of story we had twice before. Observe,
1. What crowding there was after Christ. There was no coming near for
the throng of people that attended him, who, though they were crowded
very so much, would not be crowded out from his congregation.
2. Some of his nearest kindred were least solicitous to hear him
preach. Instead of getting within, as they might easily have
done if they had come in time, desiring to hear him, they stood
without, desiring to see him; and, probably, out of a
foolish fear, lest he should spend himself with too much speaking,
designing nothing but to interrupt him, and oblige him to break off.
3. Jesus Christ would rather be busy at his work than conversing with
his friends. He would not leave his preaching, to speak with his
mother and his brethren, for it was his meat and
drink to be so employed.
4. Christ is pleased to own those as his nearest and dearest relations
that hear the word of God and do it; they are to him more than
his mother and brethren.
|Christ's Power over the Winds; Christ's Power over the Devils.
22 Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a
ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over
unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.
23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a
storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and
were in jeopardy.
24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master,
we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of
the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being
afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is
this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey
26 And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is
over against Galilee.
27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the
city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no
clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.
28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him,
and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus,
thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.
29 (For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the
man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with
chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of
the devil into the wilderness.)
30 And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said,
Legion: because many devils were entered into him.
31 And they besought him that he would not command them to go
out into the deep.
32 And there was there a herd of many swine feeding on the
mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to
enter into them. And he suffered them.
33 Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the
swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the
lake, and were choked.
34 When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and
went and told it in the city and in the country.
35 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus,
and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting
at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they
36 They also which saw it told them by what means he that was
possessed of the devils was healed.
37 Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes
round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken
with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back
38 Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought
him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,
39 Return to thine own house, and show how great things God
hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published
throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto
We have here two illustrious proofs of the power of our Lord Jesus
which we had before--his power over the winds, and his power over
the devils. See
I. His power over the winds, those powers of the air that are so
much a terror to men, especially upon sea, and occasion the death of
such multitudes. Observe,
1. Christ ordered his disciples to put to sea, that he might show his
glory upon the water, in stilling the waves, and might do an act of
kindness to a poor possessed man on the other side the water: He
went into a ship with his disciples,
They that observe Christ's orders may assure themselves of his
presence. If Christ sends his disciples, he goes with them. And
those may safely and boldly venture any where that have Christ
accompanying them. He said, Let us go over unto the other side;
for he had a piece of good work to do there. He might have gone by
land, a little way about; but he chose to go by water, that he
might show his wonders in the deep.
2. Those that put to sea in a calm, yea, and at Christ's word, must yet
prepare for a storm, and for the utmost peril in that storm;
There came down a storm of wind on the lake
as if it were there, and no where else; and presently their ship was so
tossed that it was filled with water, and they were in jeopardy of
their lives. Perhaps the devil, who is the prince of the power of
the air, and who raiseth winds by the permission of God, had
some suspicion, from some words which Christ might let fall, that he
was coming over the lake now on purpose to cast that legion of devils
out of the poor man on the other side, and therefore poured this storm
upon the ship he was in, designing, if possible, to have sunk him and
prevented that victory.
3. Christ was asleep in the storm,
Some bodily refreshment he must have, and he chose to take it when it
would be least a hindrance to him in his work. The disciples of Christ
may really have his gracious presence with them at sea, and in a storm,
and yet he may seem as if he were asleep; he may not immediately
appear for their relief, no, not when things seem to be brought even to
the last extremity. Thus he will try their faith and patience, and
quicken them by prayer to awake, and make their deliverance the more
welcome when it comes at last.
4. A complaint to Christ of our danger, and the distress his church is
in, is enough to engage him to awake, and appear for us,
They cried, Master, master, we perish! The way to have our fears
silenced is to bring them to Christ, and lay them before him. Those
that in sincerity call Christ Master, and with faith and
fervency call upon him as their Master, may be sure that he will
not let them perish. There is no relief for poor souls that are
under a sense of guilt, and a fear of wrath, like this, to go to
Christ, and call him Master, and say, "I am undone, if
thou do not help me."
5. Christ's business is to lay storms, as it is Satan's business
to raise them. He can do it; he has done it; he delights to do
it: for he came to proclaim peace on earth. He rebuked the
wind and the raging of the water, and immediately they
not, as at other times, by degrees, but all of a sudden, there was a
great calm. Thus Christ showed that, though the devil pretends to
be the prince of the power of the air, yet even there he has him in a
6. When our dangers are over, it becomes us to take to ourselves the
shame of our own fears and to give to Christ the glory of his power.
When Christ had turned the storm into a calm, then were they
glad because they were quiet,
(1.) Christ gives them a rebuke for their inordinate fear: Where is
Note, Many that have true faith have it to seek when they have
occasion to use it. They tremble, and are discouraged, if second causes
frown upon them. A little thing disheartens them; and where is their
(2.) They give him the glory of his power: They, being afraid,
wondered. Those that had feared the storm, now that the danger was
over with good reason feared him that had stilled it, and said one
to another, What manner of man is this! They might as well have
said, Who is a God like unto thee? For it is God's prerogative
to still the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves,
II. His power over the devil, the prince of the power of the
air. In the next passage of story he comes into a closer grapple
with him than he did when he commanded the winds. Presently
after the winds were stilled they were brought to their desired haven,
and arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, and there went
and he soon met with that which was his business over, and which he
thought it worth his while to go through a storm to accomplish.
We may learn a great deal out of this story concerning this world of
infernal, malignant spirits, which, though not working now ordinarily
in the same way as here, yet we are all concerned at all times to stand
upon our guard against.
1. These malignant spirits are very numerous. They that
had taken possession of this one man called themselves Legion
because many devils were entered into him: he had had devils
a long time,
But perhaps those that had been long in possession of him, upon some
foresight of our Saviour's coming to make an attack upon them, and
finding they could not prevent it by the storm they had raised, sent
for recruits, intending this to be a decisive battle, and hoping
now to be too hard for him that had cast out so many unclean spirits,
and to give him a defeat. They either were, or at least would be
thought to be, a legion, formidable as an army with
banners; and now, at least, to be, what the twentieth legion
of the Roman army, which was long quartered at Chester, was styled,
legio victrix--a victorious legion.
2. They have an inveterate enmity to man, and all his
conveniences and comforts. This man in whom the devils had got
possession, and kept it long, being under their influence, wore no
clothes, neither abode in any house
though clothing and a habitation are two of the necessary
supports of this life. Nay, and because man has a natural dread of the
habitations of the dead, they forced this man to abide in the
tombs, to make him so much the more a terror to himself and to all
about him, so that his soul had as much cause as ever any man's had to
be weary of his life, and to choose strangling and death
3. They are very strong, fierce, and unruly, and hate and scorn
to be restrained: He was kept bound with chains and in fetters,
that he might not be mischievous either to others or to himself, but he
broke the bands,
Note, Those that are ungovernable by any other thereby show that
they are under Satan's government; and this is the language of those
that are so, even concerning God and Christ, their best friends, that
would not either bind them from or bind themto any thing
but for their own good: Let us break their bands in sunder. He was
driven of the devil. Those that are under Christ's government are
sweetly led with the cords of a man and the bands of love; those
that are under the devil's government are furiously driven.
4. They are much enraged against our Lord Jesus, and have a great dread
and horror of him: When the man whom they had possession of, and
who spoke as they would have him, saw Jesus, he roared
out as one in an agony, and fell down before him, to
deprecate his wrath, and owned him to be the Son of God most
high, that was infinitely above him and too hard for him; but
protested against having any league or confederacy with him (which
might sufficiently have silenced the blasphemous cavils of the scribes
and Pharisees): What have I to do with thee? The devils have
neither inclination to do service to Christ nor expectation to receive
benefit by him: What have we to do with thee? But they dreaded
his power and wrath: I beseech thee, torment me not. They do not
say, I beseech thee, save me, but only, Torment me not.
See whose language they speak that have only a dread of hell as
a place of torment, but no desire of heaven as a place of holiness and
5. They are perfectly at the command, and under the
power, of our Lord Jesus; and they knew it, for they besought
him that he would not command them to go eis ton
abysson--into the deep, the place of their torment, which
they acknowledge he could easily and justly do. O what a comfort is
this to the Lord's people, that all the powers of darkness are under
the check and control of the Lord Jesus! He has them all in a chain. He
can send them to their own place, when he pleaseth.
6. They delight in doing mischief. When they found there was no
remedy, but they must quit their hold of this poor man, they begged
they might have leave to take possession of a herd of swine,
When the devil at first brought man into a miserable state he brought a
curse likewise upon the whole creation, and that became subject to
enmity. And here, as an instance of that extensive enmity of his, when
he could not destroy the man, he would destroy the swine. If he could
not hurt them in their bodies, he would hurt them in their goods, which
sometimes prove a great temptation to men to draw them from Christ, as
here. Christ suffered them to enter into the swine, to convince
the country what mischief the devil could do in it, if he should suffer
him. No sooner had the devils leave than they entered into the
swine; and no sooner had they entered into them than the herd
ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were
drowned. For it is a miracle of mercy if those whom Satan
possesses are not brought to destruction and perdition. This, and other
instances, show that that roaring lion and red dragon seeks what
and whom he may devour.
7. When the devil's power is broken in any soul that soul recovers
itself, and returns into a right frame, which supposes that those whom
Satan gets possession of are put out of the possession of themselves:
The man out of whom the devils were departed sat at the feet of
While he was under the devil's power he was ready to fly in the
face of Jesus; but now he sits at his feet, which is a sign
that he is come to his right mind. If God has possession of us,
he preserves to us the government and enjoyment of ourselves; but, if
Satan has possession of us, he robs us of both. Let his power therefore
in our souls be overturned, and let him come whose right our
hearts are, and let us give them to him; for we are never more our own
than when we are his.
Let us now see what was the effect of this miracle of casting the
legion of devils out of this man.
(1.) What effect it had upon the people of that country who had lost
their swine by it: The swineherds went and told it both in
city and country
perhaps with a design to incense people against Christ. They told by
what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed
that it was by sending the devils into the swine, which was capable of
an invidious representation, as if Christ could not have delivered the
man out of their hands, but by delivering the swine into them. The
people came out, to see what was done, and to enquire into it; and
they were afraid
they were taken with great fear
they were surprised and amazed at it, and knew not what to say to it.
They thought more of the destruction of the swine than of the
deliverance of their poor afflicted neighbour, and of the country from
the terror of his frenzy, which was become a public nuisance; and
therefore the whole multitude besought Christ to depart from
them for fear he should bring some other judgment upon them;
whereas indeed none need to be afraid of Christ that are willing to
forsake their sins and give up themselves to him. But Christ took them
at their word: He went up into the ship, and returned back
again. Those lose their Saviour, and their hopes in him, that love
their swine better.
(2.) What effect it had upon the poor man who had recovered himself by
it. He desired Christ's company as much as others dreaded
it: he besought Christ that he might be with him as others were
that had been healed by him of evil spirits and infirmities
that Christ might be to him a protector and teacher, and that he might
be to Christ for a name and a praise. He was loth to stay among those
rude and brutish Gadarenes that desired Christ to depart from them.
O gather not my soul with these sinners! But Christ would not
take him along with him, but sent him home, to publish among those that
knew him the great things God had done for him, that so he might be a
blessing to his country, as he had been a burden to it. We must
sometimes deny ourselves the satisfaction even of spiritual benefits
and comforts, to gain an opportunity of being serviceable to the souls
of others. Perhaps Christ knew that, when the resentment of the loss of
their swine was a little over, they would be better disposed to
consider the miracle, and therefore left the man among them to be a
standing monument, and a monitor to them of it.
|The Issue of Blood Healed; The Ruler's Daughter Raised.
40 And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the
people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him.
41 And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a
ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus' feet, and
besought him that he would come into his house:
42 For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and
she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him.
43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had
spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of
44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment:
and immediately her issue of blood stanched.
45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and
they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee
and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive
that virtue is gone out of me.
47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came
trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him
before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how
she was healed immediately.
48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy
faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
49 While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the
synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble
not the Master.
50 But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear
not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.
51 And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go
in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the
mother of the maiden.
52 And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she
is not dead, but sleepeth.
53 And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.
54 And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and
called, saying, Maid, arise.
55 And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he
commanded to give her meat.
56 And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that
they should tell no man what was done.
Christ was driven away by the Gadarenes; they were weary of him,
and willing to be rid of him. But when he had crossed the water, and
returned to the Galileans, they gladly received him,
wished and waited for his return, and welcomed him
with all their hearts when he did return,
If some will not accept the favours Christ offers them, others
will. If the Gadarenes be not gathered, yet there are many among
whom Christ shall be glorious. When Christ had done his work on
the other side of the water he returned, and found work to do in the
place whence he came, fresh work. They that will lay out themselves to
do good shall never want occasion for it. The needy you have always
We have here two miracles interwoven, as they were in Matthew and
Mark--the raising of Jairus's daughter to life, and the cure of the
woman that had an issue of blood, as he was going in a crowd to
Jairus's house. We have here,
I. A public address made to Christ by a ruler of the
synagogue, whose name was Jairus, on the behalf of a little
daughter of his, that was very ill, and, in the apprehension of all
about here, lay a dying. This address was very humble and
reverent. Jairus, though a ruler, fell down at Jesus's feet, as
owning him to be a ruler above him. It was very importunate. He
besought him that he would come into his house; not
having the faith, at least not having the thought, of the
centurion, who desired Christ only to speak the healing
word at a distance. But Christ complied with his request; he
went along with him. Strong faith shall be applauded, and yet weak
faith shall not be rejected. In the houses where sickness and death
are, it is very desirable to have the presence of Christ. When Christ
was going, the people thronged him, some out of curiosity to see
him, others out of an affection to him. Let us not complain of a crowd,
and a throng, and a hurry, as long as we are in the way of our duty,
and doing good; but otherwise it is what every wise man will
keep himself out of as much as he can.
II. Here is a secret application made to Christ by a woman ill
of a bloody issue, which had been the consumption of her body
and the consumption of her purse too; for she had spent all her
living upon physicians, and was never the better,
The nature of her disease was such that she did not care to make a
public complaint of it (it was agreeable to the modesty of her sex to
be very shy of speaking of it), and therefore she took this opportunity
of coming to Christ in a crowd; and the more people were present
the more likely she thought it was that she should be concealed.
Her faith was very strong; for she doubted not but that
by the touch of the hem of his garment she should derive
from him healing virtue sufficient for her relief, looking upon him to
be such a full fountain of mercies that she should steal a cure
and he not miss it. Thus many a poor soul is healed, and
helped, and saved, by Christ, that is lost in a
crowd, and that nobody takes notice of. The woman found an
immediate change for the better in herself, and that her disease was
As believers have comfortable communion with Christ, so they have
comfortable communications from him incognito--secretly, meat
to eat that the world knows not of, and joy that a
stranger does not intermeddle with.
III. Here is a discovery of this secret cure, to the glory both
of the physician and the patient.
1. Christ takes notice that there is a cure wrought: Virtue is gone
out of me,
Those that have been healed by virtue derived from Christ must
own it, for he knows it. He speaks of it here, not in a
way of complaint, as if he were hereby either weakened or
wronged, but in a way of complacency. It was his delight
that virtue was gone out of him to do any good, and he did not
grudge it to the meanest; they were as welcome to it as to the light
and heat of the sun. Nor had he the less virtue in him for the
going out of the virtue from him for he is an overflowing
2. The poor patient owns her case, and the benefit she had received:
When she saw that she was not hid, she came, and fell down before
Note, The consideration of this, that we cannot be hid from
Christ, should engage us to pour out our hearts
before him, and to show before him all our sin and all our trouble.
She came trembling, and yet her faith saved her,
Note, There may be trembling where yet there is saving faith.
She declared before all the people for what cause she had touched
him because she believed that a touch would cure her, and it did
so. Christ's patients should communicate their experiences to one
3. The great physician confirms her cure, and sends her away with the
comfort of it: Be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee
Jacob got the blessing from Isaac clandestinely, and by a wile; but,
when the fraud was discovered, Isaac ratified it designedly. It was
obtained surreptitiously and under-hand, but it was
secured and seconded above-board. So was the cure here. He is
blessed, and he shall be blessed; so here, She is
healed, and she shall be healed.
IV. Here is an encouragement to Jairus not to distrust the power
of Christ, though his daughter was now dead, and they that
brought him the tidings advised him not to give the Master any
further trouble about her: Fear not, saith Christ, only
believe. Note, Our faith in Christ should be bold and
daring, as well as our zeal for him. They that are willing to do
any thing for him may depend upon his doing great things for them,
above what they are able to ask or think. When the patient is dead
there is no room for prayer, or the use of means; but here, though the
child is dead, yet believe, and all shall be well. Post
mortem medicus--to call in the physician after death, is an
absurdity; but not post mortem Christus--to call in Christ
V. The preparatives for the raising of her to life again.
1. The choice Christ made of witnesses that should see the
miracle wrought. A crowd followed him, but perhaps they were
rude and noisy; however, it was not fit to let such a multitude come
into a gentleman's house, especially now that the family was all in
sorrow; therefore he sent them back, and not because he was
afraid to let the miracle pass their scrutiny; for he raised Lazarus
and the widow's son publicly. He took none with him but Peter,
and James, and John, that triumvirate of his disciples that he was most
intimate with, designing these three, with the parents, to be the only
spectators of the miracle, they being a competent number to attest the
truth of it.
2. The check he gave to the mourners. They all wept, and
bewailed her; for, it seems, she was a very agreeable hopeful
child, and dear not only to the parents, but to all the neighbours. But
Christ bid them not weep; for she is not dead, but sleepeth. He
means, as to her peculiar case, that she was not dead for good and all,
but that she should now shortly be raised to life, so that it would be
to her friends as if she had been but a few hours asleep. But it is
applicable to all that die in the Lord; therefore we should not sorrow
for them as those that have no hope, because death is but a
sleep to them, not only as it is a rest from all the
toils of the days of time, but as there will be a
resurrection, a waking and rising again to all the
glories of the days of eternity. This was a comfortable
word which Christ said to these mourners, yet they wickedly ridiculed
it, and laughed him to scorn for it here was a pearl cast
before swine. They were ignorant of the scriptures of the Old
Testament who bantered it as an absurd thing to call death a
sleep; yet this good came out of that evil that
hereby the truth of the miracle was evinced; for they knew that she
was dead, they were certain of it, and therefore nothing less than
a divine power could restore her to life. We find not any answer
that he made them; but he soon explained himself, I hope to
their conviction, so that they would never again laugh at any word of
his. But he put them all out,
They were unworthy to be the witnesses of this work of wonder; they who
in the midst of their mourning were so merrily disposed as to laugh at
him for what he said would, it may be, have found something to
laugh at in what he did, and therefore are justly shut out.
VI. Her return to life, after a short visit to the
congregation of the dead: He took her by the hand (as we do by
one that we would awake out of sleep, and help up), and he called,
saying, Maid, arise,
Thus the hand of Christ's grace goes along with the calls of
his word, to make them effectual. Here that is expressed which was
only implied in the other evangelists, that her spirit came
again; her soul returned again to animate her body. This plainly
proves that the soul exists and acts in a state of separation from the
body, and therefore is immortal; that death does not extinguish this
candle of the Lord, but takes it out of a dark lantern.
It is not, as Grotius well observes, the krasis or
temperament of the body, or anything that dies with it; but it
is anthypostaton ti--something that subsists by
itself, which, after death, is somewhere else than where the body
is. Where the soul of this child was in this interval we are not told;
it was in the hand of the Father of spirits, to whom all souls
at death return. When her spirit came again she arose, and made
it appear that she was alive by her motion, as she did also by her
appetite; for Christ commanded to give her meat. As babes newly
born, so those that are newly raised, desire spiritual food, that they
may grow thereby. In the
we need not wonder to find her parents astonished; but if that
implies that they only were so, and not the other by-standers,
who had laughed Christ to scorn, we may well wonder at their stupidity,
which perhaps was the reason why Christ would not have it proclaimed,
as well as to give an instance of his humility.