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LIFE OF CHRIST
A Harmony of the Gospels

LESSON SIX

   
THE  FIRST  PREACHING  TOUR  IN  GALILEE

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Matthew 4:23-25
 
(23) And 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. 
(24)  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.
NKJV
Mark 1:35-45
 
(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 for You."
 
(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 out demons.
(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 them."
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.
NKJV
Luke 4:40-44
(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 God!"
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 them;
(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.
NKJV

When the sun was setting

The Jews kept their Sabbath from evening to evening

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.”
Hence it was that the sick were not brought out to Jesus till after sunset,  because then the Sabbath was ended
(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:

1. Because they were then advanced to the very height of impiety.
Josephus, their own historian, says of them: “There was not a nation under heaven more wicked than they were.”   See also Romans 1:1.
2. Because they were then strongly addicted to magic,  and so,  as it were,  invited evil spirits to be familiar with them.

A leper came to Him

There are different types of leprosy:

1. The Greek word  “lepra”  is a scale.
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.
2. There is the leprosy known as  Hansen’s 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 human means.

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.
The ordinances 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

The Gift:

1. Two living, clean birds (probably doves or pigeons).
2. Some cedar wood.
3. Scarlet.
4. Hyssop.

The above were brought for his cleansing. Once cleansed, he was to offer:

1. Two he lambs.
2. One ewe lamb.
3. Three tenth deals of flour.
4. One log of oil.

However, if the person was poor, then he was to bring:

1. One lamb.
2. One-tenth ephah of flour.
3. One log of oil.
4. 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 and inexcusable.

THE  PARALYTIC  BORNE  OF  FOUR

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Matthew 9:1-8
(1)   So He got into a boat, crossed over, and came to His own city. 
(2)  Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed.
When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you."
(3)  And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, "This Man blasphemes!"
(4)  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.
NKJV
Mark 2:1-12
(1)  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. 
(3)  Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. 
(4)  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.
(5)  When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven you."
(6)  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?"
(8)  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 forgive sins"
-- 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,
so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"
NKJV
Luke 5:17-26
(17)  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. 
(18)  Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. 
(19)  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.
(20)  When He saw their faith, He said to him, "Man, your sins are forgiven you."
(21)  And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, "Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
(22)  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 forgive sins"
-- 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. 
(26)  And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, "We have seen strange things today!"
NKJV

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 originally used.

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,  richly rewarding.
(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

Thy sins be forgiven thee

Moral evil has been the CAUSE of all the natural evil in the world.
Jesus 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:

Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am he that blotted out thy transgressions.”
Micah 7:18 “Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoned iniquity, and passed by the transgression.”
Exodus 34:6,7 “The Lord, The Lord God…forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.”
But they were ignorant of  Who He is!

The Son of Man has Power

The visible,  physical healing was to give evidence of that more important inner healing.

“exousian"  
Strong's  NT:1832  - 
(in the sense of ability) privilege
(subjectively) force, capacity, competency, freedom
(objectively) mastery
(concretely) magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control, delegated influence
MATHEW  CALLED

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Matthew 9:9-13
 
(9) As 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.
(10)  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. 
(11)  And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
(12)  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."
NKJV
Mark 2:13-17
(13) Then He went out again by the sea; and all the multitude came to Him, and He taught them.
(14)  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.
(15)  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.
(16)  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?"
(17)  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."
NKJV
Luke 5:27-32
 
(27) 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 Him.
(29)  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
(30)  And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying,  "Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?"
(31)  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 repentance."
NKJV
From Matthew we find he was called Matthew
From Mark we find he was Levi, son of Alphaeus
From Luke 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 Matthew.

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 spoke.
Yet in his Gospel, he gives us the words and works of Jesus Christ,  "the Son of David,  the Son of Abraham"

Alphaeus

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.

Publican

Many translations call them publicans.
The publicans were the Roman tax-gatherers, of whom there were several classes:

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 collected.
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 called “magister."
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.
1. They  (the portitores, or publicans)  were the actual customhouse officers,  and were commonly natives of the provinces where they were stationed.
2. They were supervised by the  “sub-magistri,”  who made the returns to the “magister” at Rome.
3. Zaccheus was a  “sub-magister,”  or  “chief of the pulicans
Levi (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 their fellows:

They were classed with sinners  (Mt. 9:10,11; 11:19; Mk. 2:15,16; Lk. 7:34).
They were mentioned with harlots  (Mt. 21:31,32).
They were alluded to as occupying the lowest position in morals, the vilest of the vile: “even the publicans.”  (Mt. 5:46,47).

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

1. Jesus represents Himself here as the sovereign Physician of souls.
2. All stand in need of His healing power.
3. Men must acknowledge their spiritual maladies, and the need they have of His mercy, in order to be healed by Him.
4. 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 where.

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 and sacrifices,
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."

NKJV

We may understand these words as implying:

1. 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.
2. 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.
3. That we should not rest in the sacrifices,  but look for the mercy and salvation prefigured by them.
See Hosea 6:16; 1 Samuel 15:22.

THE  QUESTION  ABOUT  FASTING

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Matthew 9:14-17
(14) Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying,  "Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but Your disciples do not fast?"
(15)  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."
NKJV
Mark 2:18-22
(18) The 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?"
(19)  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."
NKJV
Luke 5:33-39
(33) Then 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?"
(34)  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."
(36)  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.'"
NKJV

The Pharisees fast often

The Pharisees had many superstitious fasts.  They fasted in order to:

1. Have lucky dreams.
2. Obtain the interpretation of a dream.
3. Avert the evil import of a dream.
4. 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

New garment

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 devotion
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 existence,
an entire new life.
THE  MAN  AT  THE  POOL  OF  BETHESDA

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John 5:1-9
     (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 well?"
     (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.
NKJV

There was a feast of the Jews

This is generally supposed by many,  to have been the feast of the Passover,  which was the most eminent feast among the Jews.  However:

Petavius supposes that the feast of Purim, or Lots, is meant here
One Ms. reads “e skenopeegia,” the feast of Tabernacles.
Several of the early church fathers believe the feast of Pentecost to be intended.

Lightfoot has observed that the other evangelists  (Matthew, Mark, and Luke)  speak very sparingly of Jesus’ acts in Judea.  They mention nothing of the Passovers,  from His baptism till His death,  excepting the very last:  but John points at them all:

The 1st in John 2:13
The 2nd in John 5:1
The 3rd in John 6:4
The 4th in John 13:1

The Sheep Gate

This was in all probability the gate through which the sheep were brought that were offered in sacrifice in the temple.  (Neh. 3:1, 32; 12:39).

If  taken literally,  word-for-word  from the Greek,  it would be  “at the sheep pool”  which is called Bethesda. Some editors join the adjective with the following word,  making it the  “sheep-pool
Wycliffe translates it  “a standing water of beasts

Pool

The Hebrew word is from the verb  “to kneel down,”  and means,  therefore,  a kneeling-place (sheep-pool),  for cattle or men when drinking.

Bethesda

A spring-fed pool at Jerusalem surrounded by five porches.  In 1888,  while the church of  St. Ann in North East Jerusalem was being repaired,  a reservoir was discovered.  On the wall is a faded fresco that depicts an angel troubling the water.  The reservoir is cut from the rock and is rain-filled.  It is about 55 feet in length and 12 feet in width.  It is approached by a flight of steps both steep and winding.

The word  “Bethesda”  is from the Hebrew  “bethchasdah,”  signifying  “the house of mercy
Some think it is  “house of the portico
Still others say it is  “bethzatha,”  which would be  “house of the olive

Do you want to be made well?

Not merely do you wish, but are you in earnest?
Jesus appeals to the energy of his will.

Jesus asked the question for three reasons:

1. To fasten attention upon Himself
2. By making him detail his case to deepen in him the feeling of entire helplessness
3. To beget in his desponding heart the cure of faith

Take up your bed and walk

The  “bed”  was simply a mat or blanket that could be carried in the hands.  The poor sometimes had no other bed than the outer garment.  The wealthier people in the East have quilts or mattresses filled with cotton,  which are spread on the floor or on the divan.  In the text,  the man with the infirmity,  being healed,  was told to take up his bed.  All he had to do was to roll up his blanket and depart.  A similar incident took place with the paralytic let down through the roof in Matthew 9:6.  On such simple  “beds”  the sick were easily carried.

RISE ........... EXERCISE OF FAITH
TAKE UP THY BED ........... EXERCISE OF STRENGTH
WALK ........... EXERCISE OF PURPOSE

 

(End of Lesson Six)

   

 


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