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As sure as ever we enter into Christ's process, we have the same enemy to encounter with.
13. And was with the wild beasts;
This was a state of great humiliation for the Son of God. His servants in the lowest condition of poverty, distress, and desertion, may derive support and comfort from hence.
13. And the angels ministered unto him.
At the end of the temptation, and when he had passed happily through it. If thou art an heir of salvation, bravely enduring thy trials, they likewise minister to thee, in God's time; and thou wilt one day know what service thou hast received from them.
14. Now after that John was put in prison,
As John was to be the forerunner of Christ, and is so prophesied of, his ministry must of necessity end, before that of Christ began.
14. Jesus came into Galilee,
This too was according to prophecy; and if Christ had not confined his ministry and teaching to Galilee, he would have wanted one mark or proof of his being the Messiah.
14. Preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
In which God receives us to grace and favour by the remission of sins, rules over us by Jesus Christ, and prepares us by the Spirit for his everlasting kingdom of glory. Do you understand this, and is it glad tidings, and sweet preaching to you, in your undone state? Have you entered or are you willing to enter into the kingdom of God for this end? Do you know, and believe that it must be set up in your souls, and come to you with power and blessings now, whilst you live, and that if you die out of it you perish eternally ? Think of these things before you again go to sleep; and beseech God to awaken you to a sense of
condition, in the want of the gospel, and the great mercy of deliverance, therein offered you.
15. And saying, The time is fulfilled,
That of life with you, if it pleases God. Be no longer hardened and unbelieving. Think what it is to die before this time comes.
15. And the kingdom of God is at hand : To you, if you
will hear your call, and see your day. God's kingdom of grace, as preparatory to his kingdom of glory. And no one comes to the latter, but by the former.
15. Repent ye, and believe the gospel.
Repent first, and then believe. We are saved by faith ; but repentance must pave the way for it; and faith, when we have it, carries on and perfects our repentance.
Chap. i. ver. 16–28.
CHRIST CALLETH PETER, ANDREW, JAMES, AND JOHN,
AND HEALETH ONE THAT HAD A DEVIL.
16. Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea : for they were fishers. 17. And Jesus said unto them, Come
ye To be employed under him for the good of their fellow creatures, laying themselves out wholly upon the office of saving souls after his example, and receiving his instructions for that purpose. Has he any other method of calling and qualifying his ministers ? No, his rule is always the same; renounce all other pursuits, know your
business in the world, study your pattern, behold, Jesus saith, " Come ye after me !"
17. And I will make you to become fishers of men.
At all times, and in all places; to catch you in the net of the gospel, if you will hear Christ speaking by them.
18. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him.
His call was accompanied with a divine power: and no doubt this first miraculous touch of it upon their hearts would be remembered by them ever after, and be a means of keeping them steady to him. We too are called to follow him, though not as Apostles, and to forsake all as they did, yet to receive salvation from him, and to know what we must do for him. Take notice that Simon and Andrew, James and John, did not desire a moment's delay; if they had, perhaps he would never have called them
Think then whether you are following Christ, and what is your condition at this time.
19. And when he had gone a little farther thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets.
20. And straightway he called them : and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the bired servants, and went after him.
21. And they went into Capernaum ; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.
How hard would have been our condition, if nothing of what he taught had been left upon record! And yet how many who call themselves his disciples, live and die in great ignorance of it!
22. And they were astonished at his doctrine : for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.
It seems as if this was chiefly to be understood of something extraordinary in his appearance, and manner of speaking : for Capernaum still continued a hardened place, and though his doctrine caused astonishment, we do not read that it was effectual to the conversion of many of his hearers. Let the teaching of Christ be authoritative to our hearts, and we shall experience the power of his doctrine in our conversion.
23. And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out,
24. Saying, Let us alone ; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth ? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.
He asks our Lord, saying, Art thou come to put an end to our power over mankind, or to punish us out of hand ?
25. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.
26. And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him.
It is no great matter what we suffer in our healing by Christ, if we are but healed.
27. And they were all amazed,
Wonder at Jesus and all his miracles, is not conversion.
27. Insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this ? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.
It is a happy thing when we can say this from our own knowledge and experience of the power of Christ in ourselves. Let us look to him for nothing less; otherwise all scripture will be lost upon us.
28. And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.
The fame of Jesus, and his miracles, is the ground of our faith in him, and the gospels were written to spread and establish it.
Chap. i. ver. 29–45.
MANY OF DISEASES, AND CLEANSETH
29. And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, they entered into the house of Simon and Andrew, with Jaines and John.
30. But Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever, and anon they tell him of her.
31. And he came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up; and immediately the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.
The cure which Jesus wrought on Peter's motherin-law, was miraculous in some of its circumstances; it was instant, and complete, and attended with immediate ability in the patient to minister to Christ, and to his disciples. In these particulars it serves to shadow out the healing of the soul from the guilt of sin : Christ speaks pardon, he heals the soul, and imparts strength to serve him in newness of life. *
32. And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.
They would not stay till the next day, for the cure of their bodies. We are in no such haste for our souls.
33. And all the city was gathered together at the door.
Happy are those who are drawn to the doors of God's house, by the report of his mercy in Christ Jesus to sinners.t
* The M.S. is here defective, and the Editor has supplied a note.