LIFE OF CHRIST
A Harmony of the Gospels
Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues,
preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of
sickness and all kinds of disease among the people.
Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him
all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and
torments, and those who were demon-possessed, epileptics, and
paralytics; and He healed them. (25) Great multitudes
followed Him -- from Galilee, and from Decapolis, Jerusalem,
Judea, and beyond the Jordan.
|(35) Now in the
morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out
and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. (36)
And Simon and those who were with Him searched for Him. (37)
When they found Him, they said to Him, "Everyone is looking
|(38) But He
said to them, "Let us go into the next
towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I
have come forth."
|(39) And He was
preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and casting
|(40) Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him
and saying to Him, "If You are willing, You can make me clean."
41 Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and
touched him, and said to him, "I am willing; be cleansed."42 As
soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he
was cleansed.43 And He strictly warned him and sent him away at
once,44 and said to him, "See that you say nothing to anyone; but
go your way, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your
cleansing those things which Moses commanded, as a testimony to
|45 However, he went out and began to proclaim it freely, and to
spread the matter, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter the
city, but was outside in deserted places; and they came to Him
from every direction.
|(40) When the sun was
setting, all those who had any that were sick with various
diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one
of them and healed them. (41) And demons also came out
of many, crying out and saying, "You are the Christ, the Son of
And He, rebuking them, did not allow them to speak, for they knew
that He was the Christ.
|(42) Now when it was
day, He departed and went into a deserted place. And the crowd
sought Him and came to Him, and tried to keep Him from leaving
|(43) but He
said to them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other
cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent."
|(44) And He was
preaching in the synagogues of Galilee.
When the sun was setting
The Jews kept their Sabbath from evening to evening
Hence it was that the sick were not brought out to Jesus till
after sunset, because then the Sabbath was ended
|According to the Law (Leviticus 23:32 From
evening to evening shall ye celebrate your Sabbath).
|And the rabbins say, The Sabbath doth not
enter but when the sun is set.
(it was not lawful,
according to their traditions, to carry a sick person on the Sabbath it
was accounted as work)
And demons also came out of many
Dr. Lightfoot gives two reasons why Judea abounded with demoniacs:
||Because they were then advanced to the very height
Josephus, their own historian, says of them: There was not a nation
under heaven more wicked than they were. See also
||Because they were then strongly addicted to magic,
and so, as it were, invited evil spirits to be familiar
A leper came to Him
There are different types of leprosy:
||The Greek word lepra is a
It was an inveterate cutaneous
disease, appearing in dry, thin, white scales or scabs, either on the
whole body, or on some part of it, usually attended with violent itching, and often with great pain.
||There is the leprosy known as Hansens
disease, of which there are two types:
|The lepromatous type
||Begins with brownish-red spots on
the face, ears, forearms, thighs and/or
buttocks that later become thickened nodules and, losing
their skin covering, become ulcers with subsequent loss
of tissue and then contraction and deformity.
|The tuberculoid type
||Is characterized by numbness of
an affected area of skin and deformity such as fingers like
claws resulting from paralysis and consequent muscle wasting.
In any case, leprosy is a distemper of the most loathsome kind, highly
contagious, so as to infect garments, and was deemed incurable by any
Among the Jews, God alone was applied to for its removal; and
the cure was ever attributed to His sovereign power (Leviticus 13 & 14).
Leprosy is a type of sin, and shows how sin appears to God.
for the cleansing of leprosy represent the cleansing of our pollutions by
the sacrifice and resurrection of Christ, by the sprinkling and
application of His blood, and by the sanctifying and healing influences of
the Holy Spirit.
I am willing, be cleansed
There is here no supplication of any power superior to His own. It is
peculiar to God that He need only WILL what He intends to perform. His
power is His will.
The event proved to the fullest conviction, and by the
clearest demonstration, that
|His authority was Absolute
His power Unlimited
Show yourself to the priest and offer ... what Moses commanded
||Two living, clean birds (probably doves or
||Some cedar wood.
The above were brought for his cleansing. Once cleansed, he was to
||Two he lambs.
||One ewe lamb.
||Three tenth deals of flour.
||One log of oil.
However, if the person was poor, then he was to bring:
ephah of flour.
log of oil.
||Two turtledoves, or young pigeons.
All this was done for a testimony to them; to prove that this leper, who
was doubtless well known in the land, had been thoroughly cleansed; and
thus, in the private way, to give full proof to the priesthood that Jesus
was the true Messiah.
The Jewish rabbins allowed that curing the lepers
should be a characteristic of the Messiah; therefore the obstinacy of the
priests and religious leaders in rejecting Jesus was utterly unreasonable
So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city.
Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed.
Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son,
be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you."
And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, "This Man
But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, "Why
do you think evil in your hearts? (5) For which is
easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Arise
and walk'? (6) But that you may know that the Son of
Man has power on earth to forgive sins"
|-- then He said
to the paralytic, "Arise, take up your bed,
and go to your house." (7) And he arose and
departed to his house.
|(8) Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and
glorified God, who had given such power to men.
And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard
that He was in the house. (2) Immediately many
gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive
them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them.
Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by
And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they
uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through,
they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son,
your sins are forgiven you."
And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their
hearts,7 "Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can
forgive sins but God alone?"
But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they
reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, "Why
do you reason about these things in your hearts? (9)
Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven
you,' or to say, 'Arise, take up your bed and walk'? (10)
But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to
|-- He said to the paralytic,
(11) "I say to you, arise, take up
your bed, and go to your house." (12)
Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the
presence of them all,
all were amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything
Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there
were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come
out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power
of the Lord was present to heal them.
Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom
they sought to bring in and lay before Him.
And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because
of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with
his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus.
When He saw their faith, He said to him, "Man,
your sins are forgiven you."
And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is
this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said
to them, "Why are you reasoning in your
hearts? (23) Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are
forgiven you,' or to say, 'Rise up and walk'? (24) But
that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to
|-- He said to the man who was
paralyzed, "I say to you, arise, take up
your bed, and go to your house."
(25) Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had
been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.
And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled
with fear, saying, "We have seen strange things today!"
They uncovered the roof
The houses in the east are generally made flat-roofed, that the
inhabitants may have the benefit of fresh air on them; they are also
furnished with railing or battlements to prevent
persons from falling off. They have a trap door by which they descend into the house. This
door, it appears, was too narrow to let down the sick man and his couch;
so they uncovered the roof, removed part of the tiles, and having
broken through, taken away the laths or timber, to which the tiles had been
attached, they then had room to let down the afflicted man.
Dr. Thomson states that the roof could easily be broken up (the sticks,
thorn-bush, mortar, and earth, of which it was composed, being thrown
aside), and is often done for the purpose of letting down grain, straw, and other articles. He says: I have often seen it done, and done it
myself to houses in Lebanon, but there is always more dust made than is
agreeable. The roof would be easily repaired from the same raw materials
When He saw their faith
It is remarkable that all the three narratives call it "their
faith" which Jesus saw.
That the patient himself had faith, we know from the proclamation of his
forgiveness, which Jesus made before all; and we should have been apt to
conclude that his four friends bore him to Jesus merely out of benevolent
compliance with the urgent entreaties of the poor sufferer.
But here we learn, not only that his bearers had the same faith with
himself, but that Jesus marked it as a faith which was not to be
defeated - a faith victorious over all difficulties. This was the faith
for which He was ever on the watch, and which He never saw without
marking, and, in those who needed anything from Him,
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database.
Copyright (c) 1997 by
Thy sins be forgiven thee
Moral evil has been the CAUSE of all the natural evil in the world.
goes to the SOURCE of the malady, which is SIN;
and to that as the
procuring cause we should refer to all our afflictions.
It was a maxim among the Jews that no diseased person could be healed
till all his sins were blotted out.
This appears to have been founded on
Psalms 103:3 "Who forgives all your iniquities, Who
heals all your diseases"
Here PARDON PRECEDES HEALTH.
Who can forgive sins, but God alone?
In this question they expressed a great truth:
But they were ignorant of Who He is!
||I, even I, am he that blotted out thy transgressions.
||Who is a God like unto thee, that
pardoned iniquity, and passed by the transgression.
||The Lord, The Lord God
forgiving iniquity and
transgression and sin.
The Son of Man has Power
The visible, physical healing was to give evidence of that more important
Strong's NT:1832 -
|(in the sense of ability)
||force, capacity, competency, freedom
||magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of
control, delegated influence
Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at
the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow
Me." So he arose and followed Him.
Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that
behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him
and His disciples.
And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, "Why
does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those
who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
(13) But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and
not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but
sinners, to repentance."
He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him,
and He taught them.
As He passed by, He saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the
tax office. And He said to him, "Follow
Me." So he arose and followed Him.
Now it happened, as He was dining in Levi's house, that many tax
collectors and sinners also sat together with Jesus and His
disciples; for there were many, and they followed Him.
And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax
collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, "How is it
that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?"
When Jesus heard it, He said to them, "Those
who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."
After these things He went out and saw a tax collector named Levi,
sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, "Follow
Me." (28) So he left all, rose up, and followed
Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were
a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them.
And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His
disciples, saying, "Why do You eat and drink with tax
collectors and sinners?"
Jesus answered and said to them, "Those
who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
(32) I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to
||we find he was called Matthew
||we find he was Levi, son of Alphaeus
||we find he was a Publican
|From all three
||we find he was actively involved in collecting taxes
Matthew - Levi
Some think that Levi was his personal name, and that Jesus changed it to
It is more probable that Matthew was his personal name,
and Levi the family name.
Mathai signifies a gift in Syriac; probably so named by his
parents as implying a gift from God.
Nowhere in the four Gospels do we find a single recorded word that Matthew
Yet in his Gospel, he gives us the words and works of Jesus Christ,
"the Son of David, the Son of Abraham"
The second James named in the list of the apostles (called
James the Less) was said to be the son of a man named Alphaeus. This could possible be the same
man, which would make Matthew and the second James brothers.
Many translations call them publicans.
The publicans were the Roman tax-gatherers, of whom there were
|The Roman senate farmed the taxes to rich
capitalists, who agreed to pay a certain sum into the public
treasury, and reimburse themselves with the taxes they
These capitalists were called publicani, and
often formed themselves into a joint-stock company, appointing one of
their number as general manager.
He usually resided at Rome, and was
|The publicani were an influential section of the
Roman knights, an ancient order who occupied a kind of middle rank
between the senators and the people.
These, however, are not
mentioned in the New Testament.
|The publicans referred to in
the New Testament were the portitores, or men
who were employed by the publicani to collect the taxes in the provinces.
||They (the portitores, or publicans) were the actual customhouse
officers, and were commonly natives of the provinces where they were
||They were supervised by the sub-magistri, who made the returns to
the magister at Rome.
||Zaccheus was a sub-magister, or chief of the pulicans.
(Matthew) was one of the portitores, or tax-gatherers.
The publicans, of whatever class, were looked upon with disfavor by the
masses of the people.
The portitores, however, were especially detested.
Their duty, if honestly discharged, would have made them unpopular enough; but when, as was often the case, they went beyond their legal rights and
levied exorbitant taxes, using all the machinery of the law to help them,
their unpopularity greatly increased.
Many of them were Jews, and were
regarded by their Jewish brethren as no better than the heathen with whom
publicans were often classed.
It is said that the Jews would not associate with them, nor allow them in
the temple or in the synagogue; nor would they permit them to give
testimony in Jewish courts.
Even the presents that they brought to the
temple are said to have been rejected.
They were completely excluded from
|They were classed with sinners (Mt. 9:10,11;
11:19; Mk. 2:15,16; Lk. 7:34).
|They were mentioned with harlots (Mt.
|They were alluded to as occupying the lowest
position in morals, the vilest of the vile: even the publicans.
Sitting at the tax office
Or, sitting at the place of poll, or taxing - which was
public, not closed off in a building.
Sitting accurately expresses the posture that was occupied in the East by
all who transacted business.
The merchant sat when he sold, and even
carpenters and washerwomen sat at their work.
No one stood when at work
unless it was entirely unavoidable.
There were houses or booths built at the foot of bridges, at the gates of
cities, at the mouths of rivers, and by the seaside, where the
tax-gatherers transacted their business.
The publicans are said to have
delivered to those who paid toll, a ticket to free their passing (much
like our toll bridges, etc.). Hence the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew is
rendered lord of the passage.
Those who are well have no need of a physician
||Jesus represents Himself here as the sovereign
Physician of souls.
||All stand in need of His healing power.
||Men must acknowledge their spiritual maladies, and
the need they have of His mercy, in order to be healed by Him.
||It is the most inveterate and dangerous disease the
soul can be afflicted with - to imagine itself whole,
when the sting of death, which is sin, has pierced it
through in every part, infusing its poison every
I desire mercy, and not sacrifice
Quoted from I Samuel 15:22
1 Sam 15:22-23
So Samuel said: "Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings
As in obeying the voice of the LORD?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,
And to heed than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,
And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
He also has rejected you from being king."
We may understand these words as implying:
||That God prefers an act of mercy, shown to
the necessitous, to any act of religious worship to which the
person might be called at that time. Both are good; but
the former is the greater good.
||That the whole sacrificial system was intended only
to point out the infinite mercy of God to fallen man, in his
redemption by the blood of the new covenant.
||That we should not rest in the sacrifices,
but look for the mercy and salvation prefigured by
See Hosea 6:16; 1 Samuel 15:22.
the disciples of John came to Him, saying, "Why do we and
the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?"
And Jesus said to them, "Can the
friends of the bridegroom mourn as long as the bridegroom is with
them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken
away from them, and then they will fast.
(16) No one puts a piece of
unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from
the garment, and the tear is made worse. (17) Nor do
they put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins break,
the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put
new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved."
disciples of John and of the Pharisees were fasting. Then they
came and said to Him, "Why do the disciples of John and of the
Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?"
And Jesus said to them, "Can the
friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
(20) But the days will come when the bridegroom will be
taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.
(21) No one sews a piece of unshrunk
cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the
old, and the tear is made worse. (22) And no one puts
new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the
wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But
new wine must be put into new wineskins."
they said to Him, "Why do the disciples of John fast often
and make prayers, and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours
eat and drink?"
And He said to them, "Can you make
the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with
them? (35) But the days will come when the bridegroom
will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days."
Then He spoke a parable to them: "No
one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the
new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new
does not match the old. (37) And no one puts new wine
into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins
and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined. (38)
But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are
preserved. (39) And no one, having drunk old
wine, immediately desires new; for he says, 'The old is better.'"
The Pharisees fast often
The Pharisees had many superstitious fasts. They fasted in order to:
||Have lucky dreams.
||Obtain the interpretation of a dream.
||Avert the evil import of a dream.
||Obtain the things they wished for.
Friends of the bridegroom
Also called children of the bride-chamber were the friends and acquaintances who
participated in the marriage festivities. The expression child or children, like that of father,
was a common form of speech, and was
designed to show some relation between the person to whom it was applied
and certain qualities existing in that person, or certain circumstances
connected with him; these qualities or circumstances being the result of
that relation. Thus people who are brought together on occasion of a
marriage-feast are called the children of the bride-chamber.
The Revised Version renders undressed cloth, that would
shrink when wet, and tear loose from the old piece.
Neither do men put new wine into wineskins
The use of bottles made from the skins of animals is very ancient, and is
still practiced many parts of the world. The skin of goats, kids, and pigs are
commonly taken for this purpose, and are usually so fashioned as to retain
the figure of the animal. In preparing the bottle, the head and feet are
cut off, and the skin stripped whole from the body. The neck of the animal
sometimes makes the neck of the bottle; in other cases one of the forelegs
is used as an aperture through which the liquid may be poured out. The
thighs serve as handles; by attaching straps to them the bottle can be
fastened to the saddle, or slung over the shoulder of the traveler.
The Arabs tan the skins with Acacia bark and leave the hairy side out. For
a large party, and for long journeys across the desert, the skins of
camels or of oxen are used. Two of these, when filled with water, make a
good load for a camel. They are smeared with grease to prevent leakage and
evaporation. When the skin is green, it stretches by fermentation of the
liquor and retains its integrity; but when it becomes old and dry, the
fermentation of the new wine soon causes it to burst.
The garments and the bottles of the two parables speak of banquets, which
was what was involved in the original question.
The reaction of the
Pharisees was very common:
|They were more concerned in censuring the conduct
of others than in rectifying their own
|They desired that every one should regulate his
piety by theirs, and embrace their particular customs and forms of
|They spoke of and compared themselves with other
people, only that they might have had an opportunity of
distinguishing and exalting themselves
Here Jesus pictures the combination of the old forms of piety peculiar to
John and his disciples with the new religious life emanating from Him, as
the patching of an old garment with new cloth, or as filling an old skin
with new wine.
Jesus was telling them that it was not just repairing the
old, or refilling the old, but
|an entire new beginning,
an entire new
an entire new life.
(1) After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus
went up to Jerusalem. (2) Now there is in Jerusalem by
the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having
five porches. (3 ) In these lay a great multitude of sick
people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water.
(4 ) For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and
stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the
stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.
(5) Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity
thirty-eight years. (6) When Jesus saw him lying there,
and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time,
He said to him, "Do you want to be made
(7) The sick man answered Him, "Sir, I have no
man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while
I am coming, another steps down before me."
(8) Jesus said to him, "Rise,
take up your bed and walk." (9) And immediately
the man was made well, took up his bed, and walked.
|Petavius supposes that the feast of Purim, or Lots,
is meant here
reads e skenopeegia, the feast of Tabernacles.
|Several of the early
church fathers believe the feast of Pentecost to be intended.
||in John 2:13
||in John 5:1
||in John 6:4
||in John 13:1
||To fasten attention upon Himself
||By making him detail his case to deepen
in him the feeling of entire helplessness
||To beget in his desponding heart the
cure of faith
||EXERCISE OF FAITH
|TAKE UP THY BED
||EXERCISE OF STRENGTH
||EXERCISE OF PURPOSE