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Chapter VI

The First Commission

SummaryChrist in Nazareth. Teaching in the Synagogue. Rejected by the Nazarenes. The Twelve Sent Forth to Preach. Their Preaching and Work. King Herod's Opinion of Jesus. Account of the Death of John the Baptist. Feeding the Five Thousand in the Desert Place. Praying in the Mountain Alone. The Disciples in the Storm. Christ Cometh and Saves. Healing.

1. Went out from thence. From Capernaum. Came into his own country. Nazareth, where he had been brought up.

2. When the sabbath day was come. For notes on his reception at Nazareth, see Matt. 13:53–58. This was the second time he was rejected here (Luke 4:14–29).

3. Is not this the carpenter? Matthew reads “The carpenter's son.” This shows that Jesus also had worked at the trade. It was the custom for every Jew to be taught some trade by his parents. 181

5. He could do there no mighty work. Matthew states the reason: “Because of their unbelief.” It was not from want of power, but of the conditions that he required. Those in need of help must either have faith enough to seek his help, or their friends must have faith. As faith is the condition of the salvation of the soul, so Christ required it as a condition of the salvation of the body from disease or death.

6. He marvelled because of their unbelief. See note on Matt. 8:10. Went round about the villages. See note on Matt. 9:35.

7. He called unto him the twelve. For the commission of the twelve see notes on Matt. 10:1–42, and compare Luke 9:1–6. Matthew's account is much the fullest.

8. Save a staff only. Only the staff that each had already. Matthew. forbids a supply for future use.

9. Be shod with sandals. Matthew forbids shoes, instead of which they were to wear sandals. The ancient shoe resembled the modern; the sandal was a sole tied on the foot. The latter was usually worn by the common people and they were to dress like them.

13. Anointed with oil. Matthew says nothing of this. Oil was a symbol of the Divine grace; to anoint with it, of the Holy Spirit. Its use implied that God was the healer.

14. And king Herod heard of him. For Herod's opinion of Christ and the death of John the Baptist, see notes on Matt. 14:1–12. Compare Luke 9:7–9. 182

17. For the Herodias' sake. This states why John was cast into prison, on account of the instigation of the adulterous woman, a fact omitted by Matthew.

19. Would have killed him. The wicked woman sought his murder, but could not kill him because Herod refused to consent.

20. Herod feared John. Was in awe of him as a holy man, and feared the indignation of the people if he slew him.

21. When a convenient day was come. For the execution of the plans of the vengeful woman.

27. Sent an executioner. One of his body guard. Under Oriental monarchs the captain of the guard was the executioner. 183

31. Come ye apart into a desert place. For notes on the feeding of the five thousand see Matt. 14:14–21. Compare Luke 9:10–17 and John 6:5–14. All the four gospels give this account.

32. Departed into a desert place. An uninhabited place; in this case the small plain of Butaiha, just east of where the Jordan enters the lake of Galilee. 184

45. To go to the other side before unto Bethsaida. John says, “toward Capernaum.” Capernaum was the ultimate point to be reached; but on the way there they were to sail along the coast in a northwest direction, and touch at Bethsaida, take into the boat Jesus, who would go there by land, and then sail southwest to Capernaum. The ruins at Bethsaida are found near where the Jordan empties into the Sea of Galilee, and not very far distant from the scene of the miracle. For notes on the storm and Christ walking on the sea, see Matt. 14:22–32. Compare John 6:15–21. 184

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