|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:1-9 Christ sent his twelve disciples abroad, who by this time were able to teach others what they had received from the Lord. They must not be anxious to commend themselves to people's esteem by outward appearance. They must go as they were. The Lord Jesus is the fountain of power and authority, to whom all creatures must, in one way or another, be subject; and if he goes with the word of his ministers in power, to deliver sinners from Satan's bondage, they may be sure that he will care for their wants. When truth and love thus go together, and yet the message of God is rejected and despised, it leaves men without excuse, and turns to a testimony against them. Herod's guilty conscience was ready to conclude that John was risen from the dead. He desired to see Jesus; and why did he not go and see him? Probably, because he thought it below him, or because he wished not to have any more reprovers of sin. Delaying it now, his heart was hardened, and when he did see Jesus, he was as much prejudiced against him as others, Lu 23:11.
Verse 2. - And to heal the sick. St. Mark (Mark 6:13), in his brief notice of this mission of the twelve, mentions the special instrument of their power over sickness - the twelve anointed the sick with oil, and healed them. It is probable that the early Christian custom alluded to by St. James (James 5:14), of anointing the sick with oil, arose from our Lord's direction to his apostles on the occasion of this mission. The practice was continued, or possibly was revived, long after the original power connected with it had ceased to exist. It still survives in the Roman Catholic Church in the sacrament of extreme unction, which, singularly enough, is administered when all hope of the patient's recovery from the sickness is over. Anointing the sick with oil was a favourite practice among the ancient Jews (see Isaiah 1:6 and Luke 10:34). It was to be used by the twelve as an ordinary medicine, possessing, however, in their hands an extraordinary effect, and was to be, during this mission, the visible medium through which the Divine influence and power to heal took effect. We never read of Jesus in his miracles using oil; his usual practice seems to have been simply to have used words. At times he touched the sufferer; on one occasion only we read how he mixed some clay with which he anointed the sightless eyes.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God,.... The Gospel, which gives an account of the kingdom of the Messiah; of his kingly office and power; of his church, which is his kingdom, and of the government of it, by the ministration of the word, and the administration of ordinances; of the kingdom of grace in the hearts of Christ's subjects, and the nature of it; and of the kingdom of glory, and what is the saints' meetness for it, and right unto it:
and to heal the sick; of every disease of body, and thereby confirm their mission and commission from Christ, to preach the Gospel; and recommend it to men.
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