Page images
PDF
EPUB

Thus all sinners snould come to Jesus, embracing him as their beloved Redeemer, humbled at his feet, and offering all they have to be employed in his service.

39 Now when the pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is, that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.

'He spake within himself." Thought. If he were a prophet.' If Jesus had been sent of God as a prophet, he supposed he would have known the character of the woman, and would have rebuked her. Would have known,' &c. The pharisees considered it improper to hold communion with those who were notorious sinners. They judged our Saviour by their own rules, and supposed he would act in the same way. Jesus did not refuse the society of the guilty. He came to save the lost. And those are sure of finding him a friend, who come mourning on account of their sins. That toucheth him.' The touch of a Gentile, or a person singularly wicked, they supposed to be polluting, and the pharisees avoided it. See Matt. ix. 11.

40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. 41 There was a certain creditor, which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty.

'A certain creditor.' A man who had lent money, or sold property, the payment for which was yet due. 'Five hundred pence. About sixteen pounds sterling. 'Fifty.' About one pound twelve shillings.

42 And when they had nothing to pay, ne frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?

'Frankly forgave.' Freely forgave. God forgives sinners. He forgives, forgives freely, through the atonement made by the Lord Jesus. If it were a mere debt which we owed to God, he might forgive as this creditor did, without any equivalent; but it is a crime which he forgives. He pardons as a moral governor. Our sins against God, though they are called debts, are called so figuratively. God cannot forgive us, without maintaining his word, the honour of his government and law-in other words, without an atonement. It is clear that by the creditor here, our Saviour meant to designate God; and by the debtors, sinners. Simon, whose life had been comparatively upright, was denoted by the one that owed fifty pence-the woma", who had been an

open sinner, was represented by the one that owed five hundred. Yet neither could pay. Both must be forgiven, or perish. So, however much difference there is among men, all need the pardoning mercy of God, and all, without it, must perish.

43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.

He saw not the point of our Lord's parable. By thus saying, therefore, he condemned himself, and prepared the way for our Lord's reproof.

44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.

'Seest thou this woman ?" You see what this woman has done to me, compared with what you have done. 'I entered into thine house.' I came at your invitation, where I might expect all the usual rites of hospitality. 'Thou gavest me no water,' &c. Among eastern people it was customary, before eating, to wash the feet, and to do this, or to bring water for it, was one of the rites of hospitality. See Gen. xviii. 4. Judges xix. 21. The reasons for this were that they wore sandals which covered only the bottom of the feet, and that when they ate they reclined on couches or sofas.

45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet.

'No kiss.' The kiss was a token of affection, or a very common mode of salutation. It was often used among men as a sign of salutation. Compare Gen. xxxiii. 4. Ex. xviii. 7. Matt. xxvi. 49. 'Hath not ceased to kiss my feet.' Simon, with all the richness of a splendid preparation, had omitted the common marks of regard and affection. She, in humility, had bowed at his feet-had watered them with tears-had not ceased to kiss them. The most splendid entertainments do not always express the greatest welcome.

46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.

The custom of pouring oil upon the head was very common among the Jews. Sweet oil, or oil of olives, prepared in such a way as to give an agreeable smell. It was also used to render the hair more smooth and elegant. See Ruth iii. 3. 2 Sam. xii. 20; xiv. 2. Ps. xxiii. 5. With ointment.' This ointment was a mixture of various aromatics, and was, therefore, far more costly

G

and precious than the oil commonly used for anointing the head. Her conduct, compared with that of Simon, was, therefore, more striking. He did not give even the common oil for his head, used on such occasions. She had applied to his feet a far more precious and valuable unguent,

47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.

'Wherefore, I say unto thee.' As the result of this, or because she has done this; meaning by this, that she had given evidence that her sins had been forgiven. "For she loved much." In our translation this would seem to be given as a reason why her sins had been forgiven-that she had loved much before they were pardoned. But this is clearly not the meaning. This would be contrary to the whole New Testament, which teaches that love succeeds, not precedes, forgiveness. It would be also contrary to the design of the Saviour here. It was not to show why her sins had been forgiven, but to show that she had given evidence that they actually had been, and that it was proper, therefore, that she should come near to him, and manifest this love. The meaning may be thus expressed: She loves much. She shows deep gratitude, penitence, love. Her conduct is the proper expression of that love. While you have shown comparatively little evidence that you felt that your sins were great, and comparatively little love at their being forgiven, she has shown that she felt hers to be great, and has loved much. To whom little is forgiven. A man's love to God will be in proportion to the obligation he feels to Him for forgiveness. God is to be loved for his perfections, apart from what he has done for us. But still our love should be increased by a consideration of his goodness; and those who feel, as christians do, that they are the chief of sinners, will feel under infinite obligations to love God their Redeemer.

48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. Thy sins are forgiven.' What a gracious assurance to the weeping, loving, penitent! And how manifest is it, that he who could say thus, must be God! No man has a right to forgive sin. No man can speak peace to the soul, and give assurance that its transgressions are pardoned. Here, then, Jesus gave indubitable proof that he was God as well as man.

49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also?

"Who is this?" A very pertinent question. Who could he be but God? Man could not do it, and therefore it is not wonderful that they were amazed.

50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved

thee; go in peace.

'Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace.' See Mark v. 34.

CHAPTER VIII.

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,

'Every city and village.' Of Galilee. "The glad tidings of the kingdom of God.' That the kingdom of God was about to come, or his reign in the gospel about to be set up over men.

2 And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,

'Seven

'Infirmities.' Sickness. 'Mary called Magdalene.' So called from Magdala, the place of her residence. It was situated on the sea of Galilee, south of Capernaum. To this place Jesus retired after feeding the four thousand. See Matt. xv. 39. devils.' It has been commonly supposed that Mary Magdalene was a woman of abandoned character; but of this there is not the least evidence. All that we know of her is that she was formerly grievously afflicted by the presence of evil spirits; that she was cured by Jesus; see Mark xvi. 9; and that afterward she became one of his most faithful and humble followers.

3 And Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.

'Herod's steward.' Herod Antipas, who reigned in Galilee. He was a son of Herod the Great. The word steward,' here, means one who has charge of the domestic affairs of a family, to provide for it. 'Ministered.' Brought for his support. Of their substance. Their property; their possessions. Christians then believed that when they professed to follow Christ, it was proper to give all up to him-their property, as well as their hearts. And the same thing is still required-that is, to commit all that we have to his disposal; to be willing to part with it for the promotion of his glory; and to leave it when he calls us away from it.

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 an hundred-fold. 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 be? 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.

See the parable of the sower explained in Matt. xiii. 1–23.

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.

See Mark iv. 21-25.

19¶Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press. 20 And it

« PreviousContinue »