Then Jesus and His companions went to Capernaum, and as soon as the Sabbath began, Jesus entered the synagogue and began to teach.
I. How IT SHOWED ITSELF.
1. From the outset of his career. The Capernaum synagogue, where his boyhood had been passed, did not daunt him. The ordinary circumstances, which tend to dwarf even great men, did not detract from his greatness.
2. It showed itself especially in two directions, viz. teaching and spiritual healing.
(1) Teaching. "He taught - spake - as one having authority." An indefinable yet absolute difference existed in this respect between him and the customary teachers of the people. They went back upon prescription and tradition, the sentences of the rabbis, the legal interpretations received in the schools. They would refer back to some great name, or some generally acknowledged opinion, as a lawyer collects his instances; but their own opinion was seldom or never fortheoming; if it was, it was tentative, unoriginal, and uninfluential. Now, Christ had quite a different tone. He referred to the sentences of the Jewish schools only to condemn them, and he did not hesitate to range himself alone against all the weight of tradition. "Ye have heard that it hath been said,... but I say unto you;" "Verily, verily, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
(2) Action. Look at this special case, the man with the unclean spirit. He shows mastery from the very first. His word is a command, and there is no flinching or compromise. Nor is the order despised; he said, and it was done.
3. It gave a character to his entire work. "What is this? a new teaching! with authority he commandeth even the unclean spirits, and they obey him;" or, "A new teaching with authority (or power)! He commandeth," etc. In the whole round of duties, and undertakings connected with his mission, it is observable, and its effect is to draw attention and impress.
II. To WHAT IT WAS NOT. This was the problem which presented itself, which was meant to present itself, to the men of his day. That it was no accident of manner or any mere assumption of superiority is shown by its results. And the general bearing of Christ was meekness itself. It was due to nature rather than office, to personal relation with God.
1. To absolute spiritual insight. He saw and knew what he was speaking about in its ground and essence. It was therefore unnecessary for him to sit at any man's feet, or to borrow wisdom of any teacher.
2. To absolute trust in moral power. This arose from his identifying himself with it. He did not only speak about truth; he was "the Way, the Truth, and the Life." "I and my Father are one." The display of superior physical strength did not appall him, nor was he discouraged by suffering or death.
III. WHAT IT ARGUED.
1. His divinity. This "unknown quantity" in Christ was as unmistakable as it was immeasurable. Out of the depth and fullness of his own spiritual life he must have spoken. The Divine element is therefore an inevitable inference. "Never man spake like this man."
2. His power to save. "Even the unclean spirits" obeyed him. It is the moral or subjective side of temptation on which the real weakness of man exists; and just there Christ is omnipotent. He can cure the sick soul and restore moral tone and energy. And his words are an unerring guidance and discipline for the soul: "Lord, to whom can we go? Thou hast the words of eternal
And they went into Capernaum.
(D. C. Hughes, M. A.)
(H. M. Luckock, D. D.)I. He entered into the synagogue ON THE SABBATH DAY.
1. The synagogue — origin unknown. There were two divisions, ten officers, etc. The service — prayer, etc.
2. The Sabbath day. Christ honoured ordinances. Sanctioned social worship. He is still in the midst of His people. Where will you find Him on the Sabbath?
II. In the synagogue CHRIST TAUGHT. Not the first time. His sermon not recorded. The Spirit has amply provided for our instruction. Christ still preaches.
III. THE EFFECT.
1. They were astonished.
2. They were not converted.
3. Many wonder, who do not believe.
IV. THE CHARACTERISTIC OF CHRIST'S TEACHING was authority.
1. The scribes employed tradition.
2. Christ spoke assured and naked truth — delivered a message from God — awakened the testimony of conscience.
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