Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, the scribes and Pharisees were watching Him closely to see if He would heal on the Sabbath.
same sabbath as the incident preceding in our Gospel, of the blame laid ostensibly on the disciples of Christ, really on himself, on account of their plucking the ears of corn on the sabbath day, did really belong, as we learn from the account or' St. Luke, to the following sabbath. The present passage, it may also be observed, is one of those which most fully illustrate the advantage of comparing with one another the accounts of the three synoptic evangelists. There is double or tenfold advantage in doing this when the first comparison seems simply to show variations, but the task does not come to its end before those very variations are shown to corroborate and to complete the account. Thus, e.g., the narratives of St. Mark and St. Luke would at the beginning of them actually seem to proceed on the very showing for part of their efficacy that the enemies of Christ had not asked Christ in the first instance the question of shallow cleverness only, "Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?" But the words at the close of St. Luke's account, that Jesus said, "I will ask you one thing," make all plain and certain. Again, the mention on the part of St. Mark of the righteous "anger" of Christ adds an important touch to the scene, and fills the gap in St. Luke following the words, "And looking round about upon them all;" and find their place in St. Matthew after the word "then" in ver. 13. Notice -
I. THE BARE SHIFTS TO WHICH THE DISPOSITION AND THE WICKED WISH "TO ACCUSE" TEMPT MEN TO RESORT.
II. HOW THE SIMPLEST SUBSTITUTION OF A PLAIN WORD FOR AN AMBIGUOUS WILL BE SUFFICIENT TO CONFOUND ALIKE THE CASE AND THE FACE OF MEN WITH THIS SORT OF EVIL IN THEIR HEART. FOR THE WORD "TO HEAL," JESUS OFFERS THE ALTERNATIVE'S "TO DO GOOD" AND "TO SAVE LIFE," AND THEY HAVE TO BE ACCEPTED. FOR THE SUPPRESSED "NOT TO HEAL" JESUS OFFERS THE ALTERNATIVES "TO DO EVIL" AND "TO KILL." AND THE TRIUMPHANT VICTORY IS HIS, WITHOUT ANOTHER SENTENCE.
III. HOW ALL ENMITY, ALL MALIGNITY, ALL SMALLEST PASSIONS RAGING ROUND ABOUT, AND DEEP JUST ANGER KINDLED IN THE HEART AND LOOK AND WORD OF JESUS, NONE THE LESS LEAVE UNHURT, UNPOISONED, UNTOUCHED, EVEN UNDELAYED, THE FLOWING FORTH OF HIS PITY, MERCY, POWER, AS SAVIOUR, - FOR THE SUFFERER HIMSELF. - B.
And the scribes and Pharisees watched Him.I. THEY ARE EVER ON THE OUTLOOK FOB AN APPARENT BREACH OF SOME CONVENTIONAL LAW.
1. These men are cunning.
2. They are diligent.
3. They are malicious.
II. THEIR GREAT DESIRE IS TO SLANDER THOSE WHOM THEY WATCH.
III. THEY ARE NOT TO BE ALLOWED TO INTERRUPT THE DUTY OF THE GOOD. Lessons:
1. Never be set by Satan to watch the conduct of the good to find defects.
2. Seek to find all the good in men you can.
3. Think of the heavenly watchers of the good.
(J. S. Exell, M. A.)
(F. D. Maurice.)
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