Centurion's Servant Healed.
(See on Mt 8:5-13.)
4. he was worthy—a testimony most
precious, coming from those who probably were strangers to the
principle from which he acted (Ec 7:1).
5. loved our nation—Having found that
"salvation was of the Jews," he loved them for it.
built, &c.—His love took this
practical and appropriate form.
Lu 7:11-17. Widow of Nain's
Son Raised to Life. (In Luke only).
11. Nain—a small village not elsewhere
mentioned in Scripture, and only this once probably visited by our
Lord; it lay a little to the south of Mount Tabor, about twelve miles
12. carried out—"was being carried out."
Dead bodies, being ceremonially unclean, were not allowed to be buried
within the cities (though the kings of David's house were buried m the
city of David), and the funeral was usually on the same day as the
only son, &c.—affecting
particulars, told with delightful simplicity.
13. the Lord—"This sublime appellation
is more usual with Luke and John than Matthew; Mark holds the mean"
saw her, he had compassion,
&c.—What consolation to thousands of the bereaved has this
single verse carried from age to age!
14, 15. What mingled majesty and grace shines
in this scene! The Resurrection and the Life in human flesh, with a
word of command, bringing back life to the dead body; Incarnate
Compassion summoning its absolute power to dry a widow's tears!
16. visited his people—more than
bringing back the days of Elijah and Elisha (1Ki
17:17-24; 2Ki 4:32-37; and
Lu 7:18-35. The Baptist's
Message the Reply, and Consequent Discourse.
(See on Mt 11:2-14.)
29, 30. And all the people that
heard—"on hearing (this)." These are the observations of
the Evangelist, not of our Lord.
and the publicans—a striking
justified God, being baptized,
&c.—rather, "having been baptized." The meaning is, They
acknowledged the divine wisdom of such a preparatory ministry as
John's, in leading them to Him who now spake to them (see Lu 1:16, 17); whereas the Pharisees and
lawyers, true to themselves in refusing the baptism of John, set at
naught also the merciful design of God in the Saviour Himself, to their
31-35. the Lord said, &c.—As cross,
capricious children, invited by their playmates to join them in their
amusements, will play with them neither at weddings nor funerals
(juvenile imitations of the joyous and mournful scenes of life), so
that generation rejected both John and his Master: the one because he
was too unsocial—more like a demoniac than a rational man; the
other, because He was too much the reverse, given to animal
indulgences, and consorting with the lowest classes of society. But the
children of Wisdom recognize and honor her, whether in the austere garb
of the Baptist or in the more attractive style of his Master, whether
in the Law or in the Gospel, whether in rags or in royalty, for "the
full soul loatheth an honeycomb, but to the hungry soul every
bitter thing is sweet" (Pr 27:7).
Lu 7:36-50. Christ's Feet
Washed with Tears.
37, 38. a sinner—one who had led a
profligate life. Note.—There is no ground whatever for the
popular notion that this woman was Mary Magdalene, nor do we know
what her name was. (See on Lu 8:2.)
an alabaster box of ointment—a perfume
vessel, in some cases very costly (Joh 12:5). "The ointment has here a peculiar
interest, as the offering by a penitent of what had been an accessory
in her unhallowed work of sin" [Alford].
38. at his feet behind him—the posture
at meals being a reclining one, with the feet out behind.
began to wash, &c.—to "water with
a shower." The tears, which were quite involuntary, poured down
in a flood upon His naked feet, as she bent down to kiss them; and
deeming them rather fouled than washed by this, she hastened to wipe
them off with the only towel she had, the long tresses of her own hair,
"with which slaves were wont to wash their masters' feet" [Stier].
kissed—The word signifies "to kiss
fondly, to caress," or to "kiss again and again," which Lu 7:45 shows is meant here. What prompted this?
Much love, springing from a sense of much forgiveness. So says
He who knew her heart (Lu 7:47).
Where she had met with Christ before, or what words of His had brought
life to her dead heart and a sense of divine pardon to her guilty soul,
we know not. But probably she was of the crowd of "publicans and
sinners" whom Incarnate Compassion drew so often around Him, and
heard from His lips some of those words such as never man spake, "Come
unto Me, all ye that labour," &c. No personal interview had up to
this time taken place between them; but she could keep her feelings no
longer to herself, and having found her way to Him (and entered along
with him, Lu
7:45), they burst forth in
this surpassing yet most artless style, as if her whole soul would go
out to Him.
39. the Pharisee—who had formed no
definite opinion of our Lord, and invited Him apparently to obtain
materials for a judgment.
spake within himself, &c.—"Ha! I
have Him now; He plainly knows nothing of the person He allows to touch
Him; and so, He can be no prophet." Not so fast, Simon; thou hast not
seen through thy Guest yet, but He hath seen through thee.
40-43. Like Nathan with David, our Lord
conceals His home thrust under the veil of a parable, and makes His
host himself pronounce upon the case. The two debtors are the woman and
Simon; the criminality of the one was ten times that of the
other (in the proportion of "five hundred" to "fifty"); but both being
equally insolvent, both are with equal frankness forgiven; and Simon is
made to own that the greatest debtor to forgiving mercy will cling to
her Divine Benefactor with the deepest gratitude. Does our Lord then
admit that Simon was a forgiving man? Let us see.
44-47. I entered … no water—a
compliment to guests. Was this "much love?" Was it any?
45. no kiss—of salutation. How much love
was here? Any at all?
46. with oil … not anoint—even
common olive oil in contrast with the woman's "ointment" or
aromatic balsam. What evidence was thus afforded of any feeling
which forgiveness prompts? Our Lord speaks this with delicate
politeness, as if hurt at these inattentions of His host, which
though not invariably shown to guests, were the customary marks
of studied respect and regard. The inference is plain—only one
of the debtors was really forgiven, though in the first instance,
to give room for the play of withheld feelings, the forgiveness of both
is supposed in the parable.
47. Her sins which are many—"Those many
sins of hers," our Lord, who admitted how much more she owed than the
Pharisee, now proclaims in naked terms the forgiveness of her
for—not because, as if love
were the cause of forgiveness, but "inasmuch as," or "in proof of
which." The latter clause of the verse, and the whole structure of the
parable, plainly show this to be the meaning.
little forgiven … loveth
little—delicately ironical intimation of no love and
no forgiveness in the present case.
48. said unto her, &c.—an unsought
assurance, usually springing up unexpected in the midst of active duty
and warm affections, while often it flies from those who mope and are
paralyzed for want of it.
49, 50. they that sat … Who is this,
&c.—No wonder they were startled to hear One who was
reclining at the same couch, and partaking of the same hospitalities
with themselves, assume the awful prerogative of "even forgiving sins."
But so far from receding from this claim, or softening it down, our
Lord only repeats it, with two precious additions: one, announcing what
was the one secret of the "forgiveness" she had experienced, and which
carried "salvation" in its bosom; the other, a glorious dismissal of
her in that "peace" which she had already felt, but is now assured she
has His full warrant to enjoy! This wonderful scene teaches two very
weighty truths: (1) Though there be degrees of guilt, insolvency, or
inability to wipe out the dishonor done to God, is common to all
sinners. (2) As Christ is the Great Creditor to whom all debt,
whether great or small, contracted by sinners is owing, so to Him
belongs the prerogative of forgiving it. This latter truth is
brought out in the structure and application of the present parable as
it is nowhere else. Either then Jesus was a blaspheming deceiver, or He
is God manifest in the flesh.