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Chapter III

Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit

SummaryThe Man with the Withered Hand. The Pharisees and Herodians in Council. The Great Physician Healing. The Twelve Apostles Appointed. The Blasphemy of Ascribing His Divine Power to Beelzebub. The Sin That Hath No Forgiveness. Christ's Mother and Brethren.

1. He entered again into the synagogue. Of Capernaum. Compare Matt. 12:9–14; Luke 6:6–11. For fuller notes, see Matthew.

2. They watched him. The same critics who had found fault in the preceding chapter. There was present a man whose right hand was withered, and they watched to see whether the Lord would heal him on the Sabbath.

3. Stand forth. He read their thoughts and determined to give prominence to the good work. He would heal him on the Sabbath; heal him in the synagogue, heal him before all.

4. Is it lawful … to save life, or to kill? A home thrust at the fault-finders. They were harboring murderous thoughts; he was seeking to save life. Which was breaking the Sabbath?

5. Looked on them with anger. Indignation. Hardness of heart. Shown by their fault finding, evil thoughts, and silence by his questions. 171

6. Pharisees. See note on Matt. 3:7. Herodians. See note on Matt. 22:16. Took counsel. Already these inveterate enemies were resolved to destroy Jesus. They took counsel how it might be done. As they went to the partisans of Herod, who ruled in Galilee, they probably sought to persuade them to have Herod put him to death.

7. Jesus withdrew himself. See fuller notes on the popularity described in verses 7–12 under Matt. 12:15–21. The sea. Of Galilee. Also consult map for the localities named.

8. Idumæa. More anciently called Edom. Southeast of the Jordan, and south of the Dead Sea. That country was occupied by the descendants of Esau. Herod the Great was, on his father's side, an Idumæan. Tyre and Sidon. See note on Matt. 11:21.

9. A small ship. A fishing boat. The Revision correctly renders the term by the word boat.

11. Unclean spirits. See note on Matt. 8:28.

13. Goeth up into a mountain. Compare Matt. 10:1–4, and Luke 6:12–16. The selection of the apostles occurred before the Sermon on the Mount (Luke 6:13). Matthew gives it out of order. See notes on Matt. 10:1–4.

14. Ordained twelve, that they should be with him. They were to attend him into order to be specially prepared to preach Christ.

16. Simon he surnamed Peter. He did this previously (John 1:42).

17. Boanerges. Why this title was bestowed on James and John we are not told. Possibly from their power as preachers. 172

19. They went into a house. On the return to Capernaum.

20. Could not so much as eat. The multitudes were so eager to hear, or be healed, and Jesus so ready to bless them, that there was no time for meals.

21. His friends. Probably his relatives. See verse 31. His brethren were not yet counted among his disciples. He is beside himself. Carried away by an unwise enthusiasm.

22. The scribes … said. For notes on the charge of the scribes, Beelzebub, and the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, see Matt. 12:22–37. Compare Luke 11:14–23. From Jerusalem. The men who were leaders in this effort to destroy the influence of Jesus were a delegation from the very religious bodies at Jerusalem that finally sent him to death.

30. Because they said he had an unclean spirit. This was a sin against the Holy Spirit because Jesus did mighty works in the power of the Holy Spirit, and they ascribed the power to an unclean spirit.

31. Then came his brethren and his mother. See notes on Matt. 12:46–50. Compare Luke 8:19. The natural inference is that the “brethren” were the sons of Mary and the half-brothers of Jesus. No other idea would ever have been maintained had it not been that the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary arose some centuries after the apostles. 173

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