The Fourfold Gospel
6:1 And he went out from thence; and he cometh into his own country1; and his disciples follow him.
JESUS VISITS NAZARETH AND IS REJECTED.
Matthew 13:54-58; Mark 6:1-6; Luke 4:16-31
- And he cometh into his own country. Nazareth. See Luke 1:26 and see Luke 2:39. As to the early years of Jesus at Nazareth,
see Luke 2:51.
26:2 And when the sabbath was come, he began to teach in the synagogue1: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, Whence hath this man these things? and, What is the wisdom that is given unto this man, and [what mean] such mighty works wrought by his hands?
- He began to teach in the synagogue. For comment on this usage of the synagogue, see Mark 1:39.
- Whence hath this man these things? and, What is the wisdom that is given unto this man, and [what mean] such mighty works wrought by his
hands? They admitted his marvelous teaching and miraculous works, but
were at a loss to account for them because their extreme familiarity
with his humanity made it hard for them to believe in his divinity, by
which alone his actions would be rightly explained. Twice in the early
part of his ministry Jesus had been at Cana, John 2:1; John 4:46, within a
few miles of Nazareth, and turning away from it had gone down to
Capernaum. He did not call upon his townsmen to believe in him or his
divine mission the evidences were so full that they could not deny
6:3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary1, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they were offended in him2.
- Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, etc. They brought forth every item of trade and relationship by which they could confirm
themselves in their conviction that he was simply a human being like
themselves. The question as to his identity, however, suggests that he
may have been absent from Nazareth some little time. As to Jesus'
kindred, see Mark 3:18.
- And they were offended in him. His claims were too high for them to admit, and too well accredited for them to despise, so they sought
refuge from their perplexity by getting angry at Jesus.
6:4 And Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house1.
- A prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. Jealousy forbids the countrymen of
a prophet to honor him. Base as this passion is, it is a very common
one, and is not easily subdued, even by the best of men. In Nazareth
Jesus was no more than the son of a carpenter, and the brother of a
certain very common young men and girls, while abroad he was hailed as
the prophet of Galilee, "mighty in word and deed" (Luke 24:19).
6:6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief1. And he went round about the villages teaching2.
- He marvelled because of their unbelief. As to this statement that Jesus felt surprised, see Matthew 8:10. Says Canon Cook,
"It should also be borne in mind that surprise at the
obtuseness and unreasonableness of sin is constantly
attributed to God by the prophets."
The statement, therefore, is perfectly consonant with the divinity of
THIRD CIRCUIT OF GALILEE. THE TWELVE INSTRUCTED AND SENT FORTH.
Matthew 9:35-38; Matthew 10:1,5-42; Mark 6:6-13; Luke 9:1-6
- And he went round about the villages teaching. In the first circuit of Galilee some of the twelve accompanied Jesus as disciples; in the
second the twelve were with him as apostles; in the third they, too,
are sent forth as evangelists to supplement his work.
6:7 And he calleth unto him the twelve1, and began to send them forth by two and two2; and he gave them authority over the unclean spirits3;
- And he calleth unto him the twelve. For a complete list of the apostles, see Matthew 10:2
- And began to send them forth by two and two. He sent the twelve in pairs because: (1) Under the law it required two witnesses to establish
the truth (Deuteronomy 19:15; Matthew 18:16; 2 Corinthians 13:1; 1 Timothy 5:19; Hebrews 10:28). (2) They
could supplement each other's work. Different men reach different
minds, and where one fails another may succeed. (3) They would
encourage one another. When one grew despondent the zeal and enthusiasm
of the other would quicken his activities.
- The unclean spirits. See Mark 1:23.
6:8 and he charged them that they should take nothing for [their] journey1, save a staff only; no bread, no wallet, now money in their purse;
- And he charged them that they should take nothing for [their] journey, etc. The prohibition is against securing these things before
starting, and at their own expense. It is not that they would have no
need for the articles mentioned, but that "the workman is worthy of his
food" (Matthew 10:10), and they were to depend on the people for whose
benefit they labored, to furnish what they might need. This passage is
alluded to by Paul (1 Corinthians 9:14). To rightly understand this prohibition
we must remember that the apostles were to make but a brief tour of a
few weeks, and that it was among their own countrymen, among a people
habitually given to hospitality; moreover, that the apostles were
imbued them with powers which would win for them the respect of the
religious and the gratitude of the well-to-do. The special and
temporary commission was, therefore, never intended as a rule under
which we are to act in preaching the gospel in other ages and in other
6:10 And he said unto them, Wheresoever ye enter into a house, there abide till ye depart thence1.
- Wheresoever ye enter into a house, there abide till ye depart thence. The customs of the East gave rise to this rule. The
ceremonies and forms with which a guest was received were tedious and
time-consuming vanities, while the mission of the apostles required
6:11 And whatsoever place shall not receive you, and they hear you not1, as ye go forth thence, shake off the dust that is under your feet for a testimony unto them2.
- And whatsoever place shall not receive you, and they hear you not,
- as ye go forth thence. Jesus here warns them that their experiences would not always be pleasant.
- Shake off the dust that is under your feet for a testimony unto them. The dust of heathen lands as compared with the land of Israel
was regarded as polluted and unholy (Amos 2:7). The Jew, therefore,
considered himself defiled by such dust. For the apostles, therefore,
to shake off the dust of any city of Israel from their clothes or feet
was to place that city on a level with the cities of the heathen, and
to renounce all further intercourse with it.
- [It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment]. This clause is not found in the Revised Version. Compare
6:13 And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them1.
- And anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them. Oil was not used as a medicine. The Jews anointed their hair and their faces
every day, especially when about to depart from the house to move among
their fellows. This anointing was omitted when they were sick and when
they fasted (2 Samuel 12:20; Matthew 6:16,17). When an apostle stood over a
sick man to heal him by a touch or a word, he was about to send him out
of his sick chamber, and just before the word was spoken, the oil was
applied. It was, therefore, no more than a token or symbol that the man
was restored to his liberty, and was from that moment to be confined to
his chamber no longer. Compare James 5:14. This practice bears about
the same relation to the Romish practice of extreme unction as the
Lord's Supper does to the mass, or as a true baptism does to the
sprinkling of an infant.
6:14 And king Herod1 heard [thereof]; for his name had become known: and he said, John the Baptizer is risen from the dead, and therefore do these powers work in him.
HEROD ANTIPAS SUPPOSES JESUS TO BE JOHN.
Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9
- King Herod. Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great. See Luke 3:1.
6:15 But others said, It is Elijah. And others said, [It is] a prophet1, [even] as one of the prophets.
- But others said, It is Elijah. And others said, [It is] a prophet,
- [even] as one of the prophets. The work of Jesus impressed the people as prophetic rather than Messianic, for they associated the Messiah in
their thoughts with an earthly kingdom of great pomp and grandeur.
Jesus, therefore, did not appear to them to be the Messiah, but rather
the prophet who should usher in the Messiah. Their Scriptures taught
them that Elijah would be that prophet. But the Apocrypha indicated
that it might be Isaiah or Jeremiah (1 Macc. 14:41). Hence the many
opinions as to which of the prophets Jesus was. If he was Elijah, he
could not be properly spoken of as risen from the dead, for Elijah had
been translated, 2 Kings 2:11. For a comment on similar language,
see Mark 8:28.
6:16 But Herod, when he heard [thereof], said, John, whom I beheaded1, he is risen2.
- But Herod, when he heard [thereof], said, John, whom I beheaded. For the imprisonment of John, see Luke 3:20. The mission of the twelve
probably lasted several weeks, and the beheading of John the Baptist
appears to have taken place about the time of their return.
See Matthew 14:13.
- He is risen. Some thought that Elijah might have returned, as the Scripture declared, or that Jesus might be a prophet just like the
great prophets of old.
6:17 For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison1 for the sake of Herodias2, his brother Philip's wife; for he had married her.
- For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison. See Matthew 14:3.
- Herodias. She was the daughter of Aristobulus, who was the half- brother of Herod Philip I and Herod Antipas, and these two last were in
turn half-brothers to each other. Herodias, therefore, had married her
uncle Herod Philip I, who was disinherited by Herod the Great, and who
lived as a private citizen in Rome. When Herod Antipas went to Rome
about the affairs of his tetrarchy, he became the guest of his brother
Herod Philip I, and repaid the hospitality which he received by
carrying off the wife of his host.
6:18 For John said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife1.
- It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife. The marriage was unlawful of three reasons: (1) The husband of Herodias was still
living, see Leviticus 18:16. (2) The lawful wife of Antipas (the daughter of
Aretas, king or emir of Arabia) was still living. (3) Antipas and
Herodias, being nephew and niece, were related to each other within the
forbidden degrees of consanguinity, Leviticus 18:14.
6:20 for Herod feared John1, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was much perplexed; and he heard him gladly.
- For Herod feared John. Herod feared both John and his influence. His fear of the man as a prophet caused him to shelter John against any
attempts which his angry wife might make to put him to death, and led
him to listen to John with enough respect to become perplexed as to
whether it were better to continue in his course or repent. At other
times, when the influence of Herodias moved him most strongly, and he
forgot his personal fear of John, he was yet restrained by fear of
John's influence over the people.
6:21 And when a convenient day was come1, that Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, and the high captains, and the chief men of Galilee;
- When a convenient day was come. A day suited to the purposes of Herodias. The phrase refers to Mark 6:19.
6:22 and when the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced1, she pleased Herod and them that sat at meat with him; and the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.
- And when the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced. The language seems to indicate that others had first come in and danced.
The dancer was Salome, the daughter of Herod Philip and his niece of
Herod Antipas. The dancing of the East was then, as now, voluptuous and
indecent, and nothing but utter shamelessness or inveterate malice
could have induced a princess to thus make a public show of herself at
such a carousal.
6:23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom1.
- Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom. The rashness of the king's promise is characteristic of
the folly of sin. Riches, honors, kingdoms, souls are given for a
bauble in the devil's market.
6:24 And she went out, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask1? And she said, The head of John the Baptizer.
- And she went out, and said unto her mother, What shall I ask? She may have known beforehand what to ask. If so, she retired and asked her
mother that the brunt of the king's displeasure might fall upon her
6:25 And she came in straightway with haste unto the king1, and asked, saying, I will that thou forthwith give me on a platter the head of John the Baptist2.
- And she came in straightway with haste unto the king. She wished to make her request known before the king had time to put limitations upon
- And asked, saying, I will that thou forthwith give me on a platter the head of John the Baptist. She asked for the prophet's head that she
might have the witness of their own eyes to the fact that he was dead,
and that they might not be deceived about it.
6:26 And the king was exceeding sorry1; but for the sake of his oaths2, and of them that sat at meat, he would not reject her3.
- And the king was exceeding sorry. Because the deed went against his conscience and his sense of policy as above stated.
- But for the sake of his oaths. The oath alone would not have constrained Herod to grant Salome's request, for if left alone he would
rightly have construed the request as not coming within the scope of
the oath. The terms of his oath looked to and anticipated a pecuniary
present, and not the commission of a crime.
- And of them that sat at meat, he would not reject her. But Herod's companions, being evil men, joined with the evil women against the man
of God, and shamed Herod into an act which committed him forever to a
course of guilt. Thus, a bad man's impulses are constantly broken down
by his evil companions.
6:28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the damsel; and the damsel gave it to her mother1.
- And the damsel gave it to her mother. To the anxious, unrestful soul of Herodias this seemed a great gift, since it assured her that the
voice of her most dangerous enemy was now silent. But as Herod was soon
filled with superstitious fears that John had risen in the person of
Christ, Matthew 14:2; Mark 6:14,16; Luke 9:7, her sense of security was very
short-lived. The crime stamped Herod and Herodias with greater infamy
than that for which John had rebuked them.
6:29 And when his disciples heard [thereof], they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb1.
- And when his disciples heard [thereof], they came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb. Herod had feared that the death of John
would bring about a popular uprising, and his fears were not mistaken.
As soon as they had decently buried the body of the great preacher,
John's disciples go to Jesus, expecting to find in him a leader to
redress the Baptist's wrongs. They knew the friendship of John for
Jesus, and, knowing that the latter intended to set up a kingdom, they
believed that this would involve the overthrow of Herod's power. They
were ready now to revolt and make Jesus a king. See John 6:1,2,15. But
Jesus would not aid them to seek the bitter fruits of revenge, nor did
he intend to set up such a kingdom as they imagined.
6:30 And the apostles gather themselves together unto Jesus; and they told him all things, whatsoever they had done, and whatsoever they had taught.
FIRST WITHDRAWAL FROM HEROD'S TERRITORY AND RETURN.
(Spring, A.D. 29.)
A. RETURN OF THE TWELVE AND RETIREMENT TO THE EAST SHORE OF GALILEE.
Matthew 14:13; Mark 6:30-32; Luke 9:10; John 6:1
- And the apostles . . . told him all things, whatsoever they had done, and whatsoever they had taught. They had fulfilled the mission
on which Jesus had sent them, and on returning each pair made to him a
full report of their work.
6:31 And he saith unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place1, and rest a while2. For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat3.
- Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place. An uninhabited place.
- And rest a while. Need of rest was one reason for retiring for the thinly settled shores east of the lake.
- For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. Matthew proceeds to give us another reason for his
retiring. See Matthew 14:13.
6:32 And they went away in the boat to a desert place apart1.
- And they went away in the boat to a desert place apart. They sailed to the northeastern shore of the lake to a plain lying near the city of
Bethsaida Julius. See Luke 9:10.
6:33 And [the people] saw them going, and many knew [them], and they ran together there on foot from all the cities, and outwent them1.
FIRST WITHDRAWAL FROM HEROD'S TERRITORY AND RETURN.
(Spring, A.D. 29.)
B. FEEDING THE FIVE THOUSAND.
Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:33-44; Luke 9:11-17; John 6:2-14
- And [the people] saw them going, and many knew [them], and they ran together there on foot from all the cities, and outwent them. Jesus
probably set sail from near Capernaum, and from thence across the lake
to the narrow, secluded plain of El Batihah, where he landed is less
than five miles. Seeing him start, the people followed him by running
along the northern shore, and, though having a little farther to go,
they traveled faster than the sailboat, and were waiting for him on the
shore when he arrived.
6:35 And when the day was now far spent1, his disciples came unto him, and said, The place is desert, and the day is now far spent;
- When the day was now far spent. The time to seek lodging and provisions had gone by, and therefore the multitude must act quickly.
6:36 send them away, that they may go into the country and villages round about, and buy themselves somewhat to eat.
- Send them away, that they may . . . buy themselves somewhat to eat. The apostles were the first to think of eating, and naturally enough,
for they had started on empty stomachs, and their own discomfort made
them anticipate the sad plight in which the multitude would soon find
6:37 But he answered and said unto them, Give ye them to eat. And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred shillings' worth of bread1, and give them to eat?
- Shall we go and buy two hundred shillings' worth of bread? The word translated "shilling" is the Roman denarius, worth about seventeen
cents. The sum was not large, as we reckon money, but, considering the
purchasing power of money in those days, if was an imposing sum, and it
is to be doubted if the treasury-bag of Judas even contained the fourth
part of it. For a denarius was the regular price for a day's labor.
6:38 And he saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? go [and] see. And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes2.
- How many loaves have ye? go [and] see. When sent to see what was in their larder, it appears that they had nothing at all. Andrew
reports the finding of the boy's lunch while it was as yet the boy's
property (John 6:8,9).
- And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. Some of the others, having secured it from the boy, report it now at the disposal
of Jesus, but comment on its insufficiency. Eastern loaves were thin
and small, like good-sized crackers, and around the Sea of Galilee, the
salting and preserving of small fish was an especial industry. These
fish, therefore, were about the size of sardines. The whole supply,
therefore, was no more than enough for one hungry boy. But each loaf
had to be divided between a thousand, and each fish between twenty-five
6:39 And he commanded them that all should sit down by companies upon the green grass1.
- And he commanded them that all should sit down by companies upon the green grass. By thus arranging them in orderly companies, Jesus
accomplished several things. He saved his apostles much time and labor
in distributing the food. He insured that each one should be fed, and
that the reality of the miracle could not be questioned, and he
ascertained definitely how many men were fed.
6:41 And he took the five loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake the loaves1; and he gave to the disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all.
- And looking up to heaven, he blessed, and brake the loaves. He blessed the loaves and fishes by returning thanks for them. This and
similar acts of Jesus are our precedents for giving thanks, or, "asking
the blessing" at our tables.
6:43 And they took up broken pieces, twelve basketfuls, and also of the fishes1.
- And they took up broken pieces, twelve basketfuls, and also of the fishes. See John 6:12.
6:44 And they that ate the loaves were five thousand men1.
- And they that ate the loaves were five thousand men. Considering the distance from any town, the women and children would not likely be
numerous. They form no part of the count, for Eastern usage did not
permit the women to sit with the men. They, with the little ones, would
6:45 And straightway he constrained his disciples to enter into the boat, and to go before [him] unto the other side to Bethsaida1, while he himself sendeth the multitude away2.
FIRST WITHDRAWAL FROM HEROD'S TERRITORY AND RETURN.
(Spring, A.D. 29.)
C. THE TWELVE TRY TO ROW BACK. JESUS WALKS UPON THE WATER.
Matthew 14:22-36; Mark 6:45-56; John 6:15-21
- Bethsaida. The suburb of Capernaum.
- While he himself sendeth the multitude away. The obedience of the disciples in leaving him helped to persuade the multitude to do
6:46 And after he had taken leave of them, he departed into the mountain to pray1.
- He departed into the mountain to pray. The news of John's assassination (Matthew 14:13) was calculated to exasperate him in the
highest degree, and also to deeply distress him. He needed the benefits
of prayer to keep down resentment, and to prevent despondency. For this
he started away as soon as he heard the news, but the people prevented
him till night.
6:47 And when even was come, the boat was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land1.
- The boat was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. The diciples evidently expected that he would follow. Possibly they
skirted the shore, hoping that he would hail them and come on board.
6:48 And seeing them distressed in rowing, for the wind was contrary unto them1, about the fourth watch of the night2 he cometh unto them, walking on the sea; and he would have passed by them:
- And seeing them distressed in rowing, for the wind was contrary unto them. That is, it blew from the west, the direction toward which the
disciples were rowing.
- About the fourth watch of the night. From 3 to 6 A.M.
- He cometh unto them, walking upon the sea. The disciples of Jesus can rest assured that the eyes of the Lord will behold their
distresses, and that sooner or later the Lord himself will arise and
draw near for their deliverance.
6:49 but they, when they saw him walking on the sea, supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out1;
- But they, when they saw him walking on the sea, supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out. Their fears would probably have been greater
if Jesus had approached the boat, for they were severe enough to make
them cry out, even when he was seen to be passing by them.
6:50 for they all saw him, and were troubled. But he straightway spake with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I1; be not afraid2.
- Be of good cheer: it is I. There was no mistaking that voice. If Isaac knew the voice of Jacob (Genesis 27:22), Saul the voice of David
(1 Samuel 26:17), and Rhoda the voice of Peter (Acts 12:13), much more
did the apostles know the voice of the great Master.
- Be not afraid. See Luke 1:30.
6:51 And he went up unto them into the boat; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves1;
- And they were sore amazed in themselves. The disciples showed the hardness of their hearts in that the working of one miracle did not
prepare them either to expect or to comprehend any other miracle which
followed. They ought to have worshipped Jesus as the Son of God when
they saw the five thousand fed, but they did not. But when he had done
that, and had walked upon the water, and quieted the wind, and
transported the boat to the land, they were overcome by the iteration
of his miraculous power, and confessed his divinity (Matthew 14:33).
6:53 And when they had crossed over, they came to the land unto Gennesaret1, and moored to the shore.
- Gennesaret. The land of Gennesaret was a plain at the western end of the lake of Galilee. Josephus describes it as about thirty furlongs
in length by twenty in average width, and bounded on the west by a
semicircular line of hills. Also see Luke 5:1.
6:54 And when they were come out of the boat, straightway [the people] knew him1,
- And when they were come out of the boat, straightway [the people] knew him. Though the apostles had started their boat toward Capernaum,
the storm appears to have deflected their course, and the language of
the text suggests that they probably came to land at the south end of
the plain, somewhere near Magdala, and made a circuit of the cities in
the plain of Gennesaret on their way to Capernaum.
6:55 and ran round about that whole region, and began to carry about on their beds those that were sick, where they heard he was1.
- And ran round about that whole region, and began to carry about on their beds those that were sick, where they heard he was. As they knew
the course that he was taking, by running ahead they could anticipate
his arrivals and have the sick gathered to take advantage of his
6:56 And wheresoever he entered, into villages, or into cities, or into the country, they laid the sick in the marketplaces1, and besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment2: and as many as touched him were made whole.
- They laid the sick in the marketplaces. As he did not stop in these cities, the sick were laid in the street that they might touch him in
- And besought him that they might touch if it were but the border of his garment. The story of the woman who touched the hem of his garment
had evidently spread far and wide, and deeply impressed the popular
mind (Mark 5:25-34; Matthew 9:20-22; Luke 8:43-48).