Luke 5:16
And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
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(16) He withdrew himself into the wilderness.—Literally, into the wildernesses, agreeing with St. Mark’s “in desert places,” now in one part, now in another, of the unenclosed, uncultivated country. The addition that he “was praying” there is peculiar to St. Luke, who, throughout his Gospel, lays stress on this feature in our Lord’s life. (See Introduction.)

5:12-16 This man is said to be full of leprosy; he had that distemper in a high degree, which represents our natural pollution by sin; we are full of that leprosy; from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot there is no soundness in us. Strong confidence and deep humility are united in the words of this leper. And if any sinner, from a deep sense of vileness, says, I know the Lord can cleanse, but will he look upon such a one as me? will he apply his own precious blood for my cleansing and healing? Yes, he will. Speak not as doubting, but as humbly referring the matter to Christ. And being saved from the guilt and power of our sins, let us spread abroad Christ's fame, and bring others to hear him and to be healed.See the notes at Matthew 8:2-4. 15. But so, &c.—(See Mr 1:45). We meet with Christ often commending to us the duty of secret prayer, by his own example, as he had done by his precept, Matthew 6:1-34, and always choosing for it the most private and retired places, to teach us to go and to do likewise, often to pray to our Father which seeth in secret: and his example more presseth us, because we have much more business with God in prayer than he had; he had no sins to confess, nor to beg pardon for, no need to ask for any sanctifying habits of grace, &c. It is possible also that he withdrew into desert places oft times to avoid all show of ostentation, or dangers of tumults, and to obtain a little rest for himself. But suppose that the reason of his motion, yet the spending of his leisure hours in communion with his Father is very imitable for us. Christ had no idle hours, he was always either preaching or healing, thereby doing good to others; or praying, thereby paying a homage to God. If it could be said of the Roman, (with respect to his studies), it should be much more said of Christians, They should never be less alone than when they are alone, nor less idle than when they are most at leisure from their public employments.

And he withdrew himself into the wilderness,.... Into a desert place, that he might have rest from the fatigues of preaching and healing diseases; and being alone, and free from company, might have an opportunity for private prayer to God, for so it lows:

and prayed; this is to be understood of Christ, as man: as God, he is the object of prayer, and petitions are often addressed unto him; and as mediator, he offers up the prayers of all saints, and presents them to his Father; which are acceptable to him, through the incense of his mediation; and as man, he prayed himself: what he now prayed for, is not known; sometimes he prayed for his disciples, and for all that should believe; for their conversion, sanctification, union, perseverance, and glorification; and sometimes for himself, that the cup might pass from him, and he be saved from death; but always with submission to the will of his Father.

And he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.
Luke 5:16. To retirement mentioned in Mk. Lk. adds prayer (προσευχόμενος); frequent reference to this in Lk.

16. he withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed] Rather, But He Himself was retiring in the wilderness and praying. St Mark (Mark 1:45) gives us the clearest view of the fact by telling us that the leper blazoned abroad his cure in every direction, “so that He was no longer able to enter openly into a city, but was without, in desert spots; and they began to come to Him from all directions.” We here see that this retirement was a sort of “Levitical quarantine,” which however the multitudes disregarded as soon as they discovered where He was.

and prayed] St Luke’s is eminently the Gospel of Prayer and Thanksgiving. See on Luke 3:21.

Luke 5:16. Αὐτὸς, Himself) He for His part [as contrasted with the multitudes Luke 5:15].—ἦν ὑποχωρῶι) was in the habit of withdrawing. Thereby He both had a space of time for rest and prayer, and sharpened the desires of men for Him.

Luke 5:16Withdrew (ἦν ὑποχωρῶν)

The participle with the imperfect of the finite verb denoting something in progress, and thus corresponding to the imperfect in Luke 5:15. The multitudes were coming together, but he was engaged in retirement and prayer, so that he was inaccessible. The word occurs only in Luke, the usual New Testament word for withdraw being ἀναχωρέω. See Matthew 2:12; Matthew 12:15; Mark 3:7.

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