SUMMARY.--The Coming of the Kingdom.
Moses and Elias.
The Elias That Must Come.
The Boy with the Dumb Spirit.
The Condition of Receiving Christ's Help.
The Disciples Taught of Christ's Sufferings.
Who Shall Be Greatest?
The Narrowness of the Disciples Rebuked.
A Cup of Cold Water in the Name of Christ.
The Offending Hand or Eye.
1. Till they have been seen the kingdom of God come with power.
Matt. 16:28 and Luke 9:27.
Matthew says, "Till they have seen the Son of man coming in his
kingdom;" Luke, "Till they have seen the kingdom of God." A comparison
shows that the reference is to "the coming of the kingdom in power" on
the day of Pentecost. Of the twelve, one at a time was dead; the others
had not tasted of death.
2. After six days. After six days intervening.
says, "About eight days," he counting the one before and after the six
days that intervened. For notes on the Transfiguration see
14. And when he came to his disciples. After the
He saw a great multitude. For notes on this miracle, see
Mark's account is the fullest. According to the Revision,
says that the youth was an epileptic, and the symptoms given by
are those of epilepsy.
also states that he had been afflicted from childhood.
23. If thou canst. The question is not whether Jesus can, but
whether the afflicted father can. Can he have the needful faith in
Christ? Faith is the great need.
24. Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief. The spark of faith
has been kindled; if his faith is not strong, he prays the Lord to give
him stronger faith. So should always pray the doubting Christian. If
your faith is weak, cry for help.
26. The spirit cried and rent him sore. The evil spirit obeys
most reluctantly and seeks to destroy one whom it can no longer use.
The paroxysm of departure was fearful, and left the boy exhausted and
as dead. The touch of Jesus completed the cure.
28, 29. Why could we not cast him out? His answer first was,
according to Matthew
"Because of your belief." The whole difficulty centered in their want
of faith. No demon could defy them if only they had faith enough. And
then Jesus illustrates the power of faith by showing that even a small
amount of active, living faith, like a grain of mustard-seed, could
remove "this mountain," perhaps pointing to Mount Hermon, at whose base
they were, and which towered in its grandeur above them.
Can come forth by nothing, but by prayer. (Fasting is
omitted in the New Version, but placed in the margin.) The faith which
will be effectual must be a faith exercised in prayer. The work of the
Church is still to cast out devils, the unclean spirits of worldliness,
selfishness, greed, infidelity, lust, intemperance, Sabbath-breaking.
These still defy the ordinary efforts and faith of God's people. We
have faith enough for ordinary duties, for some giving, for
prayer-meetings, for building churches; but there is a work which
ordinary faith cannot do. How shall we get that higher faith? By prayer
and fasting. By such an earnestness that we forget the needs of the
31, 32. The Son of man is delivered. See notes on
Matt. 17:22, 23.
33. What was it that ye disputed among yourselves? See notes on
35. Servant of all. The two conditions of true greatness are
humility and service; not to be the servant of friends, or kindred, or
of a class, or even of church members, but of all, like
38. John answered him, we saw one. The disciples had shortly
before returned to Christ from their first missionary tour, in which
they were empowered to cast out devils
The man here referred to they probably met during this tour. He must
have been a disciple of Christ, who was enabled by his faith, yet
without a commission, to cure the possessed--Abbott.
Casting out devils in thy name. Really, and not in a wrong
spirit, as did the Jewish exorcists
(Acts 19:13, 14);
for it was done in thy name. Such workers as this man believed
in him, or they would not have used his name.
He followeth not us. Did not join himself to the apostles as one
of their followers.
39. Forbid him not. He neither praises nor blames him for
following an independent course, and not working with his disciples. He
simply declares that he must not be forbidden, and that those who work
the same kind of work that we do should be regarded, not as enemies,
but allies. Thousands, in every period of church history, have spent
their lives in copying John's mistake. They have labored to stop every
man who will not work for Christ in their way from working for Christ
42. Cause one of these little ones . . . to stumble.. See notes
43. The fire that never shall be quenched. See note on
The fires that were occasionally lit in the literal Gehenna, or Tophet,
were necessarily only temporary. They died out for want of fuel. It was
to be otherwise with the "fire" of the other and ulterior Tophet. The
"fire" referred to is, of course, a mere symbol of the sum total of
certain dreadful realities, for which there are no adequate
representations in human language.
48. Worm dieth not, . . . fire is not quenched. An expression
borrowed from the
last verse of Isaiah,
and probably in current use among the Jews of our Savior's time, as
applied to the state of future retribution.
49. For. Our Lord is alluding to the pervading idea of
These sacrifices of hand, foot, eye, must be made; for--every
one shall be salted with fire. Fire is used in the Scripture to
denote suffering, persecution, trial, distress of any kind. Salt is
used to denote permanence, preservation from corruption. Every
one, good and bad, must suffer.
50. Have salt in yourselves. The spirit of self-sacrifice, and
thus you will "have peace with one another."