A STUDY OF THE HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS

Book 3

The Calling Of Four Fishermen – Lesson 15

A Demon-possessed Man in the Synagogue – Lesson 16

Preaching in Galilee – Lesson 17

(Sermon on the Mount) - Beatitudes – Lesson 18

(Sermon on the Mount) - Character of Jesus’ Followers – Lesson 19

(Sermon on the Mount) – New and Old – Lesson 20

The Leper’s Cleansing – Lesson 21

A Paralyzed Man At Capernaum – Lesson 22


A HARMONY OF THE GOSPELS

As we continue following the life of Jesus as reported by the Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we come to the point at which he selected helpers. First were ordinary workers who were fishermen. Two sets of brothers, Simon and Andrew, James and John (sons of Zebedee) were the first to be called.

 Jesus then began healing the sick. He demonstrated control over all kinds of diseases and returned a young boy from the dead. He began gaining fame and multitudes of people thronged to be hear him.

In this section he encounters some of his first opposition. Scribes and Pharisees became interested in his activities and began to follow him. They did not follow him for the right purpose. They became the constant critics he had to deal with.

The greatest sermon ever delivered is part of this section of our study. The great Sermon on the Mount set forth the fundamental principles upon which Christianity was to be established. The great practical and ethical truths enunciated by the Savior are timeless. Three lessons are devoted to this great sermon.

The lessons continue with his healing the sick, exorcising demons and raising the dead. While this endeared him to multitudes of people it began to infuriate his opposition.

Lesson 15 – The Calling Of Four Fishermen - Matt. 4:18-22; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11

  1. The first two disciples Jesus called were ___________ and ____________. How were they related?
  2. What were they doing?
  3. What did Jesus promise these men if they followed Him?
  4. Who were the next two to be called?
  5. Describe their response. How long did it take for them to decide to follow Jesus?
  6. According to Luke, where did this all take place?
  7. What did Jesus use as a pulpit when he began teaching?
  8. After Jesus finished teaching, what did he tell Peter to do?
  9. What was Peter’s response?

10.   Describe the results when the nets were lowered into the water

11.   What did Peter say about this?

12.   What does fishing for men mean? Do we have any duty along this line and, if so, what is it?


Help with answers to Lesson 15

1. The Sea of Galilee was also called the sea of Tiberias, and the lake of Gennesareth, and also the sea of Chinnereth, Num. 34:11; Deut. 3:17; Josh. 12:3. It is about fifteen miles in length, and from six to nine in width. There is no part of Palestine, it is said, which can be compared in beauty with the environs of this lake.

2. Luke’s account tells us that Jesus saw two boats standing by the lake but the fishermen had gone out of them, and were washing their nets. The verb Luke used means cleaning, removing any unwanted debris from the nets. It indicates they were finished fishing for the day.

3. Jesus called them from a lower to a similar but higher labor. He calls all honest tradesmen in this manner. He invites carpenters to build his temple, servants to serve the great King, physicians to heal immortal souls, merchants to invest in pearls of great price, etc. The fishermen found many points of resemblance between the old and new calling, such as, 1. daily hardships and dangers; 2. earnest desire for the objects sought; 3. skill and wisdom in the use of means, etc. Disciples are fishers, human souls are fish, the world is the sea, the gospel is the net, and eternal life is the shore whither the catch is drawn.” (FG)

4. Two brothers, James and John, were mending their nets. These two brothers, James and John, were getting their nets ready for use. The verb (katartizô) means to adjust, to articulate, to mend if needed (Luke 6:40; Rom. 9:22; Gal. 6:1). So they promptly left their boat and father and followed Jesus. They had also already become disciples of Jesus. Now there are four who follow him steadily. (RWP).

5. They left their nets immediately. “Straightway” means immediately without hesitation and “at once.” There was no hesitation in the decision to leave behind their means of livelihood and follow the Lord.

6. Luke calls the lake “Gennesaret.” Supposed to be a corruption of Chinnereth, which see. “The land of Gennesaret,” Mt 14:34; Mr 6:53, was a tract of land some three of four; miles long on the western border of the Sea of Galilee. It was a lovely and exceedingly fertile region; in it probably lay Capernaum and Bethsaida of Galilee, places often visited by our Lord. (ATSD).

7. The fishing boat Jesus entered belonged to Simon. “He did this that he might avoid the press, and that the people might be better able both to see and to hear.”

8. “Put out” is singular and was addressed to Peter only. The verb “let down” is plural being addressed generally to those in the boat. (FG).

9. His use of “Master” is a broader word than “Rabbi.” It indicates a superior, but does not confine his superiority to matters of instruction. The words of Peter show a willingness to oblige or honor Jesus; but are devoid of hope as to the thing proposed. Night was the time for fishing (John 21:3) and the proper place to cast down their nets was near the shore; but if Jesus wished to fish by daylight in the middle of the lake, Simon was not so weary to humor his wish. (FG).

10. The breaking of the nets is meant to say they were tearing in two. The catch was so heavy the nets could not hold them. “Verbs which signify the accomplishment of a thing, are often to be understood as only signifying the beginning of that accomplishment.” (ACC).

11. The miracle came home to Peter because it was wrought in his own boat, with his own nets, and concerned his own business. Religion is only powerful as it become personal. Peter’s request shows how deeply the miracle impressed him. It gave him the sense of the divine presence which never fails to overwhelm the hearts of men. (FG).

12. (See comments on help # 3).


Lesson 16 – A Demon-possessed Man in the Synagogue – Mark 1:29-34; Luke 4:31-41

1.    To what city did Jesus go? While there where did he find a place where he could teach?

2.    What caused the people to be so amazed at him?

3.    What happened in the synagogue there?

4.    What did the man have that Jesus cured and what did he say about Jesus?

5.    What power did Jesus use? (Read and compare Matt. 12:26-28 and Luke 11:19-20).

6.    What are demons? Are there any of them today controlling people like they did when Jesus was on earth?

7.    How did demons know who Jesus was? (Read and study James 2:19.)

8.    What was it that was circulated in all the region of Galilee and round about?

9.         In Mark and Luke a woman was healed. Of what was she healed and who was related to her?

10.     What did Jesus do to heal her?

11.     What does the Bible say here that shows she was totally recovered? She ______________ unto Jesus.

12.     What happened in the evening there?

13.     What did the demons cry out as they were exorcised from their victims?


Help With Answer to Lesson 16

1.    A chief city of Galilee in the time of Christ, not mentioned before the captivity in Babylon. It lay on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, about five miles from the Jordan and on the frequented route from Damascus to the Mediterranean. This seems to have been the residence of Christ, during the three years of his ministry, more than any other place. The brothers Andrew and Peter dwelt there; Christ often taught in the synagogue, and wrought mighty works there. Mt 17:23; Mr 1:21-35; Joh 6:17,59; and it is called “his own city,” Mt 4:12-16; 9:1; Mr 2:1.

2.    The word “astonished” describes the amazement of the audience, “meaning strictly to strike a person out of his senses by some strong feeling, such as fear, wonder, or even joy.” “As one with authority: The teaching of Jesus completely reversed the method of the scribes. The latter narrowly interpreted the letter of the law; Jesus affirmed principles by which even the law itself was to be judged.” (TC)

3.    Unclean or impure spirit-a common epithet for those fallen spirits: but here it may mean, one who filled the heart of him he possessed with LASCIVIOUS thoughts, images, desires, and propensities. By giving way to the first attacks of such a spirit, he may soon get in, and take full possession of the whole soul. (ACC).

4.    The expression “What have I,” etc., is used frequently in the Scriptures and invariably indicates a mile rebuke (Judg 11:12; 2 Sam. 16:10; 1 Kings 17:18 . . .) It means “leave me to act as I please,: and Jesus uses it to assert that he is independent of all human relationships in the exercise of his Messiahship.” (FG).

5.    By the Spirit of God means Jesus through the Holy Spirit performed miraculous healing. The same thought is expressed in Luke where he uses the equivalent, “Finger of God.” (Read Exo. 8:18; Psa. 8:3). The Spirit of God, here, means the power of God--in Luke, by the finger of God.

6.    Demons: the Greek form, rendered “devil” in the Authorized Version of the New Testament. Daemons are spoken of as spiritual beings (Mt 8:16; 10:1; 12:43-45) at enmity with God, and as having a certain power over man (Jas 2:19; Re 16:14). They recognize our Lord as the Son of God (Mt 8:20; Lu 4:41). They belong to the number of those angels that “kept not their first estate,” “unclean spirits,” “fallen angels,” the angels of the devil (Mt 25:41; Re 12:7-9). (EAB).

7.    James 2:19 - The demons also believe. That is, particularly, they believe in the existence of the one God. How far their knowledge may extend respecting God, we cannot know; but they are never represented in the Scriptures as denying his existence, or as doubting the great truths of religion. They are never described as atheists. That is a sin of this world only. They are not represented as skeptics. That, too, is a peculiar sin of the earth; and probably, in all the universe besides, there are no beings but those who dwell on this globe, who doubt or deny the existence of God, or the other great truths of religion. (AB)

8.    His fame was occasioned both by the miracle and the teaching. The benevolence and publicity of the miracle, and its power – the power of one mightier than Satan – would cause excitement in any community, in any age. Though this is the first miracle recorded by either Mark or Luke, yet neither asserts that it was the first miracle Jesus wrought, so there is no conflict with John 2:11. (FG).

9.    Luke, as was natural in “the beloved physician” (Col 4:14), describes it professionally; calling it a “great fever,” and thus distinguishing it from that lighter kind which the Greek physicians were wont to call “small fevers.”

10.Fever is derived from a root signifying “to burn”): A generic term, applied to all diseases characterized by high temperature of body. Several forms of febrile disease are among the commonest of all maladies in Palestine today, as they were also in the period covered by the Bible history.
The Papists, who claim that Peter was the first pope, must confess that he was married at this time and continued to be so for years afterwards (1 Cor. 9:5). (FG)

11.Her complete recovery emphasized the miracle. Such fevers leave the patient weak and the period of convalescence is long and try8ing, and often full of danger. She showed her gratitude by her ministry. (FG).

12.It may be that the reason why they brought the diseased person at even, and when the sun did set, seems to have been, that then the Sabbath was past, and no objection could be made to their bringing them to be healed. From Lu 13:14 we see how unlawful they would have deemed it to bring their sick to Jesus for a cure during the Sabbath hours. They waited, therefore, till these were over, and then brought them in crowds. Our Lord afterwards took repeated occasion to teach the people by example, even at the risk of His own life, how superstitious a straining of the Sabbath rest this was. (JFB)

13.Those who are disposed to frequent spiritual séances and to seek information from mediums should remember that the Son of God permitted his disciples to receive no information from such sources. He forbade demons to speak in the presence of his own, even on the most important of all topics. (FG).
Lesson 17 – Preaching in Galilee – Mark 1:35-39; Luke 4:42-44; Matt. 4:23-25

  1. What did Jesus do very early the next morning?
  2. What did he do there?
  3. When the disciples found him what did they tell him?
  4. What was his response?
  5. In Mark’s account what did Jesus tell them was his purpose in coming into the world?
  6. Luke’s account says he said there was something he “must” do – what was it?
  7. Jesus went into the _____________________ in all Galilee and preached – he also _________________________________.
  8. Matthew says he preach the gospel of the _________________.
  9. The report of what Jesus was doing went as far as the nation of ____________________.

10.   List the diseases Matthew mentions that Jesus cured:

11.   From what places did people come to follow him and listen to his teaching?


Help with answers to Lesson 17

1.    The morning is to be understood the whole space of three hours, which finished the fourth watch of the night. A “desert place” could be understood as outside the city limits. “A ravine near Capernaum, called the Vale of Doves, would afford such solitude.

2.    Jesus taught and practiced solitary prayer (Matt. 6:6). We can commune with God better when alone than when in the company of even our dearest friends.” (FG)

3.    The disciples saw a multitude seeking Jesus for various causes; some to hear, some for excitement, some for curiosity. To satisfy the people seemed to them (the disciples) to be Christ’s first duty. Jesus understood his work better than they. He never encouraged those who sought through mere curiosity or admiration (John 6:27). Capernaum accepted the benefit of his miracles but rejected his call to repentance (Matt. 11:23).

4.    Seclusion was not used as a luxury by him, nor did he plead his devotions as an excuse for escaping public duties. He was ready to preach or to pray, according to the demand of the hour. In such readiness for service should all his followers excel. (SDC).

5.    Jesus said he came forth from God, or was sent by God. Luke says, (Lu 4:43) “for therefore am I sent.” Compare Joh 16:28. “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world.” The meaning of this verse therefore is--Since multitudes press to hear the word, let us not remain here, but go into the neighboring towns also, for I was sent by God not to preach at Capernaum only, but throughout Judea, and it is therefore improper to confine my labors to this place. (AB).

6.    To proclaim the kingdom of God was the Messiah’s great work; healing the diseases of the people was only an emblematical and secondary work, a work that was to be the proof of his goodness, and the demonstration of his authority to preach the Gospel, and open the kingdom of heaven to all believers. “That which the disciples regarded as a large work in Capernaum was consequently in his sight a very small one. Those who understand that it is God’s will and wish to save every man that lives upon the earth will not be over elated by successful revival in some small corner of the great field of labor.” (FG)

7.    Synagogue -- a word which primarily signifies an assembly; but, like the word church, came at length to be applied to the buildings in which the ordinary Jewish assemblies for the worship of God were convened. From the silence of the Old Testament with reference to these places of worship, many commentators and writers of biblical antiquities are of opinion that they were not in use till after the Babylonish captivity; and that before that time, the Jews held their social meetings for religious worship either in the open air or in the houses of the prophets. See 2Ki 4:23. In Ps 74:8

8.    The good news respecting the kingdom which he was about to set up; or the good news respecting the coming of the Messiah and the nature of his kingdom. Kingdom is a word expressing the reign, dispensation, or administration of Jesus Christ. The ancient prophets, when describing the character of the Messiah, Dan. 2:44; 7:13,14; Micah 4:1-7, and even when speaking of his humiliation and sufferings, were wont to intersperse hints of his power, his reign, and his divinity. The Jews, overlooking the spiritual import of this language, expected the Messiah to appear as a temporal king, exercising power over his enemies, restoring the throne of David to all its splendor, subduing the nations, and rewarding his friends and faithful servants in proportion to their fidelity and services. Hence the contests among his disciples, before they had fully learned Christ, about prominence in his kingdom; and hence probably the sons of Zebedee desired the two chief places in it, or those nearest to their endeared Master and Lord. They afterwards learned that his kingdom was not of this world, John 18:36-37; that its origin, spirit, means, and ends were spiritual and heavenly. It has indeed its outward form, the visible church, Mt 13:47, and bestows on the world the richest of temporal blessings; but its true dominion is in the souls of men. It embraces all who by the Spirit of Christ are united to him as their divine Head and King, to love, serve, and enjoy him forever. (ATCD).

9.    And his fame went throughout all Syria. It is not easy to fix the exact bounds of Syria in the time of our Savior. It was, perhaps, the general name for the country lying between the Euphrates on the east, and the Mediterranean on the west; and between Mount Taurus on the north, and Arabia on the south. Through all this region his celebrity was spread by his power of working miracles; and, as might be expected, the sick from every quarter were brought to him, in the hope that he would give relief.

10.“And the report of him went forth into all Syria: and they brought unto him all that were sick, holden with divers diseases and torments, possessed with demons, and epileptic, and palsied; and he healed them” (Matt. 4:24).

11.Galilee and Decapolis: As a geographical term, Decapolis refers to that part of Syria lying east, southeast and south of the Lake of Galilee. There is some doubt as to which were the ten cities named, for there seem at times to have been fourteen of them. Those commonly reckoned are: 1. Damascus, 2. Philadelphia, 3. Raphana, 4. Scythopolis, 5. Gadara, 6. Hyppos, 7. Dion, 8. Pella, 9. Galas, 10. Kanatha, the other four are Abila and Kanata (distince from Kanatha), Caesarea Philippi and Gergesa. None of these were in Galilee save Scythopolis. (FG).


Lesson 18 – (Sermon on the Mount) - Beatitudes – Matt. 5:1-12; Luke 6:17-26

1.   What was the setting for this sermon?

2.   Who was Jesus addressing?

3.   According to Jesus, what is the reward for those who are poor in spirit?

4.   Why are those who mourn blessed?

5.   What is the reward for those who are meek?

6.   What can those who hunger and thirst for righteousness expect?

7.   What does God promise to those who are merciful?

8.   According to this passage, who will see God?

9.   Why are peacemakers blessed?

10. What does the future hold for those who are persecuted because of righteousness?

11. What unexpected command is given to Christians who are insulted, hassled, and lied about?

 

Help with answers to lesson 18

1.    This mountain, or hill, was somewhere in the vicinity of Capernaum, but where precisely is not mentioned. He ascended the hill, doubtless, because it was more convenient to address the multitude from an eminence, than on the same level with them. A hill or mountain is still shown a short distance to the northwest of the ancient site of Capernaum, which tradition reports to have been the place where this sermon was delivered, and which is called on the maps the Mount of Beatitudes. But there is no positive evidence that this is the place where this discourse was uttered. (AB)

2.    A great number from a great number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem, and the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which is called Syrophoenecia.

3.    Most of the beatitudes are paradoxical, being the very reverse of the world’s view, but Christians who have put them to the test have learned to realize their unquestionable truth. The poor in spirit are those who feel a deep sense of spiritual destitution and comprehend their nothingness before God. (FG).

4.   The blessing is not upon all that mourn (1 Cor 7:10); but upon those who mourn in reference to sin. They shall be comforted by the discovery and appropriation of God’s pardon. But all mourning is traced directly or indirectly to sin. We may take it, therefore, that in its widest sense the beatitude covers all those who are led by mourning to a discerning of sin, and who so deplore its effects and consequences in the world as to yearn for and seek the deliverance which is in Christ. (FG).

5.   Meekness is patience in the reception of injuries. It is neither meanness, nor a surrender of our rights, nor cowardice; but it is the opposite of sudden anger, of malice, of long-harbored vengeance. Christ insisted on his right when he said, “If I have done evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me?” (John 18:23). Meekness produces peace. It is proof of true greatness of soul. It comes from a heart too great to be moved by little insults. It looks upon those who offer them with pity. He that is constantly ruffled, that suffers every little insult or injury to throw him off his guard, and to raise a storm of passion within, is at the mercy of every mortal that chooses to disturb him. He is like the troubled sea that cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
   The meek inherit the earth in two ways: 1. They shall enjoy it more fully while in it. 2. They shall finally, as part of the triumphant church, possess and enjoy it. Doubtless there is also here a reference to complete possession to be fulfilled in the new earth – Dan. 7:27; Rev. 3:32; 5:10). (FG)

6.    Hunger and thirst, here, are expressive of strong desire. Nothing would better express the strong desire which we ought to feel to obtain righteousness, than hunger and thirst. No wants are so keen, none so imperiously demand supply as these. They occur daily; and when long continued, as in case of those shipwrecked, and doomed to wander months or years over burning sands, with scarcely any drink or food, nothing is more distressing. An ardent desire for anything is often represented in the Scriptures by hunger and thirst, Ps 42:1; 63:1,2. A desire for the blessings of pardon and peace; a deep sense of sin, and want, and wretchedness, is also represented by thirsting, Isa 55:1,2. Those that are perishing for want of righteousness; that feel that they are lost sinners, and strongly desire to be holy, shall be filled. Never was there a desire to be holy, which God was not willing to gratify. And the gospel of Christ has made provision to satisfy all who truly desire to be holy. See Isa 55:1-13; 65:13; Joh 4:14; 6:35; 7:37,38; Ps 17:15. {b} “for they shall be filled” Ps 34:19; Isa 65:13. (AB)

7.    As meekness is rather a passive virtue, so mercy is an active one. The meek bear, and the merciful forbear, and for so doing they shall obtain mercy both from God and man. This beatitude, like the rest, has a subordinate, temporal application; for God rules the world in spite of sin. This beatitude has primary reference to the forgiveness of offences. The forgiven are forgiving – Matt. 6:14,15. (FG)

8.    The men of the world bless those who appear pure and holy to men, and put on a vizard and mask of purity, though they be but painted sepulchres, and their hearts be as cages of all unclean birds: but those alone are blessed, who, being washed from their filthiness by my blood, are of a sincere and upright heart; though they be not legally pure and free from all sin, yet are so pure as that God will accept them, the bent of their hearts being after holiness; who have not a heart and a heart, no doubleness of mind, who are persons in whom is no guile. For though no mortal eye can see and comprehend the essence of God, yet these men shall by an eye of faith see and enjoy God in this life, though in a glass more darkly, and in the life to come face to face, and as he is, 1Co 13:12; Heb 12:14; 1Jo 3:2. (MPC) - This is put in contrast with mere external or bodily purification, about which the Jews, and especially the Pharisees, were very scrupulous (Matt. 23:25, 28). The “pure in heart” are those who are pure, sincere, clean in motive and purpose; it is the state of heart which repels, loathes, every vile or sinful thing. . . . To see God is to enjoy him, to enjoy his presence. Jesus in conversation with Nicodemus said at one time that if one is not born again, “he cannot see the kingdom of God;” and again expressing the same thought he said to Nicodemus if one is not born of water and the Spirit he “cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:3, 5). To “see” the kingdom of God was to enjoy it; so to “see God” is to enjoy the presence of God here and hereafter.” (HLB)

9.    This term includes all who make peace between men whether as individuals or as communities. It includes even those who worthily endeavor to make peace, though they fail of success. They shall be called God’s children because he is the God of peace (Rom. 15:33; 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:11); whose supreme purpose is to secure peace (Luke 2:14); and who gave his Son to be born into the world as the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). (FG)

10.Those who suffer because of their loyalty to the kingdom of heaven are blessed by being bound more closely to that kingdom for which they suffer (FG)

11.Revile you. Reproach you; call you by evil and contemptuous names; ridicule you because you are Christians. Thus they said of Jesus, that he was a Samaritan and had a devil; that he was mad; and thus they reviled and mocked him on the cross. But being reviled, he reviled not again, (1 Pet. 2:23) and thus being reviled, we should bless, (1 Cor. 4:12) and thus, though the contempt of the world is not in itself desirable, yet it is blessed to tread in the footsteps of Jesus, to imitate his example, and even to suffer for his sake, Phil. 1:29. (AB)


Lesson 19 – (Sermon on the Mount) - Character of Jesus’ Followers – Matt. 5:13-16

  1. In what way are Jesus’ followers the “salt of the earth?”
  2. What is meant by salt losing its savor (saltiness, NIV)?
  3. What properties of salt suggest to us what the followers of Jesus mean to the world?
  4. What does this tell us about making our influence on the world the best it can be?
  5. What is meant by saying that when salt is no longer salty it is fit for nothing? What happens to it then?
  6. In what way are the followers of Jesus the “light of the world”?
  7. In what ways can followers of Jesus shed light in the world?
  8. What is the message regarding putting a light under a bushel but on a stand?
  9. Are followers of Jesus to shine their lights or let their light shine? Explain the difference.

10.   What is seen by the world in Christians that causes glory the Father?

11.   Read John 3:19-20; 8:12 and Phil. 2:14-16. From these verses what duties and responsibilities does the Lord’s church have and how are those duties to be done?


Helps with answers to Lesson 19

1.   Our Lord shows here what the preachers of the Gospel, and what all who profess to follow him, should be; the salt of the earth, to preserve the world from putrefaction and destruction. Salt has been used from time immemorial as an agent in the preservation of meats. (ACC)

2.   if it has become insipid, tasteless, or have lost its preserving properties. The salt used in this country is a chemical compound--muriate of soda-- and if the saltness were lost, or it were to lose its savour, there would be nothing remaining. It enters into the very nature of the substance. In eastern countries, however, the salt used was impure, mingled with vegetable and earthy substances; so that it might lose the whole of its saltness, and a considerable quantity of earthy matter remain.

3.   The multitudes which heard Jesus were familiar with its use in curing fish. "The pickled fish of Galilee were known throughout the Roman world" (G.A. Smith). It is worthy of note that the salt of Palestine gathered from the marshes is not pure. Because of the foreign substances in it, it loses its savor and becomes insipid and useless, when exposed to the sun and air, or when permitted for any considerable time to come in contact with the ground; but pure salt does not lose its savor. The verse teaches that God's people keep the world from putrefaction and corruption. There was not salt enough in the antediluvian world to save it from the flood, in Sodom to save it from fire, nor in Canaan to preserve its people from destruction. It also teaches--as does experience--that a disciple may lose those qualities which make him salt.

4.   Mankind, lying in ignorance and wickedness, were as a vast heap, ready to putrefy; but Christ sent forth his disciples, by their lives and doctrines to season it with knowledge and grace. If they are not such as they should be, they are as salt that has lost its savour. If a man can take up the profession of Christ, and yet remain graceless, no other doctrine, no other means, can make him profitable. (MH)

5.   Salt is worthless if it has lost its qualities. It preserves no longer. It is fit only to be cast out and trodden under foot. So, too, if those who are the salt of the earth cease to communicate saving power, they are fit only to be cast out, and Christ will cast such out of his mouth (see Rev. 3:16). (PNT)

6.   The light of the world often denotes the sun, Joh 11:9. The sun renders objects visible, shows their form their nature, their beauties, and deformities. The term light is often applied to religious teachers. See Joh 1:4; 8:12; Isa 49:6. It is pre-eminently applied to Jesus in these places; because he is, in the moral world, what the sun is in the natural world. The apostles, and Christian ministers, and all Christians, are lights of the world, because they, by their instructions and examples, show what God requires, what is the condition of man, what is the way of duty, peace, and happiness--the way that leads to heaven. (AB)

7.   As light dispels darkness and enables a man to see his way, so the Christian, by his teaching and example, removes ignorance and prejudice, and discloses the way of life. The church, reflecting the light of Christ, is of necessity a conspicuous body, so that neither its blemishes nor its beauty can be concealed. For air and for protection cities were frequently built upon hills. Jerusalem and Samaria were both hill cities. (FG)

8.   A bushel modiov:-a measure both among the Greeks and Romans, containing a little more than a peck English.  From some ancient writers we learn, that only those who had bad designs hid a candle under a bushel; that, in the dead of the night, when all were asleep, they might rise up, and have light at hand to help them to effect their horrid purposes of murder, etc. (ACC)

9.   The light of the Christian is to shine not ostentatiously, but naturally and unavoidably. It is to shine not only in his teaching or profession, but in such works and actions as unprejudiced men must acknowledge to be real excellencies. Moreover, it must so shine that it shall not win praise for itself, but for him who kindled it. Men do not praise the street lamps which protect them from robbery and assault, but they praise the municipal administration which furnishes the lamps. (FG)

10.           The light is ours, but the glorification is for our Father in heaven. We shine because we have light, and we are seen because we shine. By good works we best shine before men. True shining is silent, but yet it is so useful, that men, who are too often very bad judges, are yet forced to bless God for the good which they receive through the light which he has kindled. Angels glorify God whom they see; and men are forced to glorify God whom they do not see, when they mark the “good works” of his saints. We need not object to be seen, although we are not to wish to be seen. Since men will be sure to see our excellences, if we possess any, be it ours to see that all the glory is given to our Lord, to whom it is entirely due. (CHS)

11.           (No help necessary here).


Lesson 20 – (Sermon on the Mount) – New and Old – Matt. 5:17-48; Luke 6:27-30

1.    What was Jesus’ relation to the Law of Moses?

2.    What did he mean by “destroy”?

3.    What did Jesus say to indicate how complete he would do his work with regard to the Law?

4.    In what way should our righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Law?

5.    In verses 21, 27, 33, 38, 43 Jesus said, “Ye have heard it said.” How does he make a difference in each of these instances?

6.    In Luke’s account, what does Jesus require his followers to do to their enemies?

7.    Luke 6:31 is sometimes called what? What reason would there be for calling it that?

8.    Luke’s account says for followers of Jesus to be merciful “even as your Father is merciful.” Matthew’s account says, “Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Please explain to what extent this is possible.

 

 

Help with answers to Lesson 20.

1.    This verse constitutes a preface to the section of the sermon which follows it. It is intended to prevent a misconstruction of what he was about to say. "Destroy" is here used in antithesis, not with "perpetuate," but with "fulfill." To destroy the law would be more than to abrogate it, for it was both a system of statutes designed for the ends of government, and a system of types foreshadowing the kingdom of Christ. To destroy it, therefore, would be both to abrogate its statutes and prevent the fulfillment of its types. The former, Jesus eventually did; the latter, he did not. As regards the prophets, the only way to destroy them would be to prevent the fulfillment of the predictions contained in them. Instead of coming to destroy either the law or the prophets, Jesus came to fulfill all the types of the former, and (eventually) all the unfulfilled predictions of the latter. He fulfills them partly in his own person, and partly by his administration of the affairs of his kingdom. The latter part of the process is still going on, and will be until the end of the world. (FG)

2.    (See help for question # 1).

3.    This expression denotes that the law never should be destroyed till it should be all fulfilled. It is the same as saying, everything else may change--the very earth and heaven may pass away--but the law of God shall not be destroyed, till its whole design shall be accomplished. The word jot, or yod--'--is the name of the Hebrew letter I, the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet The Hebrew letters were written with small points or apices, as in the letter Schin--*** or Sin ***-- which serve to distinguish one letter from another. To change a small point of one letter, therefore, might vary the meaning of a word, and destroy the sense. Hence the Jews were exceedingly cautious in writing these letters, and considered the smallest change or omission a reason for destroying the whole manuscript when they were transcribing the Old Testament.  The expression, "one jot or tittle," became proverbial, and means that the smallest part of the law should not be destroyed. (AB)

4.    Since the scribes and Pharisees were models of righteousness in their own sight and in that of the people, Jesus here laid down a very high ideal. Though one may now enter the kingdom of heaven having of himself far less righteousness than that of the Pharisees, yet he must attain righteousness superior to theirs, or he can not abide in the kingdom. A large portion of the sermon from this point on is a development of the righteousness of the kingdom of heaven in contrast with old dispensation righteousness and Pharisaic interpretation of it. The laws of Moses regulated civil conduct, and being state laws, they could only have regard to overt acts. But the laws of the kingdom of Christ are given to the individual, and regulate his inner spiritual condition, and the very initial motives of conduct; in it the spirit-feelings are all acts (1 John 3:15). (FG)

5.    Here our blessed Saviour begins to expound the spiritual sense and meaning of the law, and to vindicate it from the corrupt grosses of the Pharisees: Where observe, Christ doth not deliver a new law, but expounds the old; doth not injoin new duties, but inforces the old ones.  The law of God was always perfect, requiring the sons of men to love God with all their hearts, and their neighbor as themselves. (WB)

6.    Christian charity, which is very different from worldly charity, not only does not revenge injuries, but is even extended to our most grievous enemies, and that for our Father's sake who is in heaven: in well doing it is not at all seeking its own. “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou wilt heap coals of fire upon his head, And Jehovah will reward thee” (Prov. 25:21-22). (GBN).

7.    Jesus connects the Golden Rule with what precedes with the word "therefore." We are to practice the Golden Rule because God's divine judgment teaches forbearance, and his goodness teaches kindness. This precept is fitly called the Golden Rule, for it embraces in its few words the underlying and governing principle of all morality. It contains all the precepts of the law with regard to man, and all the amplifications of those precepts given by the prophets. It teaches us to put ourselves in our neighbor's place, and direct our conduct accordingly. It assumes, of course, that when we put ourselves in our neighbor's place, we are wise enough not to make any foolish wishes, and good enough not to make any evil ones. The great sages {**} Socrates, Buddha, Confucius and Hillel each groped after this truth, but they stated it thus: "Do not do to others what you would not have done to you"; thus making it a rule of not doing rather than of doing. But the striking difference between these teachers and Christ lies not in the statements so much as in the exemplification. Jesus lived the Golden Rule in his conduct toward men, and maintained perfect righteousness before God in addition thereto. (FG).

8.    Be ye therefore perfect, he concludes this part of the discourse by commanding his disciples to be perfect. This word commonly means finished, complete, pure, holy. Originally it is applied to a piece of mechanism, as a machine that is complete in its parts. Applied to men, it refers to completeness of parts, or perfection, when no part is defective or wanting. Thus Job (Job 1:1) is said to be perfect; that is, not holy as God, or sinless--for fault is afterwards found with him, (Job 9:20; 42:6) but his piety was proportionate--had a completeness of parts--was consistent and regular, he exhibited his religion as a prince, a father, an individual, a benefactor of the poor. He was not merely a pious man in one place, but uniformly. He was consistent everywhere. This was the meaning in Matthew. Be not religious merely in loving your friends and neighbours, but let your piety be shown in loving your enemies; be perfect; imitate God; let the piety be complete, and proportionate, and regular. This every Christian may be; this every Christian must be. (AB)
Be ye therefore merciful] Or, compassionate; oiktirminev, from oiktov, commiseration, which etymologists derive from eikw to give place, yield, because we readily concede those things which are necessary to them whom we commiserate. As God is ever disposed to give all necessary help and support to those who are miserable, so his followers, being influenced by the same spirit, are easy to be entreated, and are at all times ready to contribute to the uttermost of their power to relieve or remove the miseries of the distressed. A merciful or compassionate man easily forgets injuries; pardons them without being solicited; and does not permit repeated returns of ingratitude to deter him from doing good, even to the unthankful and the unholy. (ACC)


Lesson 21 – The Leper’s Cleansing – Matt. 8:2-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16

  1. What is leprosy?
  2. What were the requirements the law of Moses imposed on lepers? (A detailed account of this is found In Leviticus13 and 14.)
  3. What did this leper do when he came to Jesus?
  4. What caused Jesus to heal him of leprosy?
  5. How long did it take for the leper to be completely cured?
  6. What did Jesus tell this man not to do?
  7. What did he tell him to do?
  8. Did the man do what Jesus told him not to do? What reason could he have possibly had?
  9. What does Luke say caused Jesus not more openly enter into a city?

10.   Who, among the multitudes, came to hear Jesus teach?


Help with answers to Lesson 21

1. Leprosy is a chronic, infectious disease characterized by sores, scabs, and white shining spots beneath the skin. Modern medicine has all but eliminated the disease after learning proper methods of treatment.

2. The Mosaic Law was very specific about the proper methods of purification where leprosy was concerned. The priest was the central figure in the Old Testament regulations for the care of patients and for sanitary precautions.

If the symptoms of leprosy showed up in a person, the priest was to decide if this was leprosy or some other disease. Because of the need to control the spread of a disease for which there was no cure, the law required that a leper be isolated from the rest of society (Lev 13:45-46). While thus excluded, the leper was required to wear mourning clothes, leave his hair in disorder, keep his beard covered and cry “Unclean! Unclean!” so everyone could avoid him. As long as the disease lasted, he was to live in isolation away from other people (Lev 13:45-46). (NIBD)

3. Mark 1:40 has “kneeling” (gonupetôn) and Matt. 8:40 “worshipped” (prosekunei). All three attitudes were possible one after the other. All three Synoptics quote the identical language of the leper and the identical answer of Jesus. His condition of the third class turned on the “will” (thelêis) of Jesus who at once asserts his will (thêlô) and cleanses him. All three likewise mention the touch (hêpsato, verse Luke 5:13) of Christ’s hand on the unclean leper and the instantaneous cure. (RWP)

4. Mark habitually notes the feelings, and hence also the gestures of Jesus. It was not an accidental, but an intentional, touch. Popular belief so confused and confounded leprosy with the uncleanness and corruption of sin, as to make the leper feel that Jesus might also compromise his purity if he concerned himself to relieve it. The touch of Jesus, therefore, gave the leper a new conception of divine compassion. (FG)

5. Leprosy is sometimes compared to personal sin. The cleansing of the leper was instantaneous. The same is true of salvation. The moment we believe and obeys the gospel we have eternal life. Time is not wanted for divine cures. One word is enough to blot out all sin, and make the loathsomeness of lust depart. If we can but trust him, Jesus is able to heal.

6. The word for “straightway” is a strong word for the snorting of a horse and expresses powerful emotion as Jesus stood here face to face with leprosy, itself a symbol of sin and all its train of evils. The command to report to the priests was in accord with the Mosaic regulations and the prohibition against talking about it was to allay excitement and to avoid needless opposition to Christ. (RWP)

7. The language Jesus used indicates that Jesus sternly forbade the man to tell what had been done. The man’s conduct, present and future, shows that he needed severe speech. In his uncontrollable eagerness to be healed he had overstepped his privileges, for he was not legally permitted to thus enter cities and draw near to people (Num. 5:2,3); he was to keep at a distance from them and covering his mouth, was to cry, “Tame, tame – unclean, unclean” (Lev. 13:45, 46; Luke 17:12, 13). The man evinced a like recklessness in disregarding the command of Jesus.” (FG).

8. The leper was so elated that he could scarcely refrain from publishing his cure, and he must also have thought that this was what Jesus really wanted – that in commanding him not to publish it he did not mean what he said. (FG)

9. He (Jesus) made it a frequent custom to withdraw from the multitudes for a time, and pray, teaching hereby the ministers of the Gospel that they are to receive fresh supplies of light and power from God by prayer, that they may be the more successful in their work; and that they ought to seek frequent opportunities of being in private with God and their books. A man can give nothing unless he first receive it; and no man can be successful in the ministry who does not constantly depend upon God, for the excellence of the power is all from him. Why is there so much preaching, and so little good done? Is it not because the preachers mix too much with the world, keep too long in the crowd, and are so seldom in private with God? Reader! Art thou a herald for the Lord of hosts? Make full proof of thy ministry! Let it never be said of thee, “He forsook all to follow Christ, and to preach his Gospel, but there was little or no fruit of his labor; for he ceased to be a man of prayer, and got into the spirit of the world.” Alas! alas! is this luminous star, that was once held in the right hand of Jesus, fallen from the firmament of heaven, down to the EARTH! (ACC)

Such was our Lord’s unexampled meekness that he preferred the silent deserts to the applause of multitudes. His meekness was as high above the capacity of merely human being as were his miracles. (FG)

10. There were Pharisees, and doctors of the law, sitting by; not sitting at his feet, to learn of him; then I should have been willing to take the following clause as referring to those who are spoken of immediately before (the power of the Lord was present to heal them); and why might not the word of Christ reach their hearts? But, by what follows (v. 21), it appears that they were not healed, but caviled at Christ, which compels us to refer this to others, not to them; for they sat by as persons unconcerned, as if the word of Christ were nothing to them. They sat by as spectators, censors, and spies, to pick up something on which to ground a reproach or accusation. How many are there in the midst of our assemblies, where the gospel is preached, that do not sit under the word, but sit by! It is to them as a tale that is told them, not as a message that is sent them; they are willing that we should preach before them, not that we should preach to them. These Pharisees and scribes (or doctors of the law) came out of every town of Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem; they came from all parts of the nation. (MH).


Lesson 22 – A Paralyzed Man At Capernaum – Matt. 9:1-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26

  1. Why is Capernaum called “his own city?
  2. Whom does Luke mention that were sitting by to hear Jesus?
  3. Mark mentions the huge gathering of people who came to listen to Jesus. How does he describe it?
  4. What is the disease of palsy?
  5. Four men brought the palsied man but what hindered them from getting close enough for Jesus to heal the man?
  6. How did they solve the problem?
  7. What does Mark say Jesus saw and how could what he saw be seen?
  8. What was the first thing Jesus said to the man?
  9. What was the reaction of the Scribes that were present

10.   How could Jesus have known what they were thinking?

11.   Jesus asked the question, “Why _____________ ye these things in your _____________?

12.   Jesus offered proof by a miracle. Think of how many miracles are involved in the curing of this man’s disease?

13.   Describe the reaction of the people who witnessed this.


Help with answers to Lesson 22

1.    He came to Capernaum. Bethlehem brought him forth, Nazareth brought him up, and Capernaum was his dwelling place. Capernaum seems to have had his common residence at the house of Peter. Capernaum was the city which was at that time his home, or where he had his dwelling, See Matt. 4:13.

2.    We shall observe that the scribes and Pharisees much haunted our Savior wherever he came, either to cavil at him, or out of curiosity to see the miracles he wrought. It seems they were many of them present at this time. But here ariseth a question or two. That they were sitting indicates they were honored above the rest. Jesus did not increase their ill-will by any needless disrespect. (FG)

3.    Neither the house nor the entry was able to hold them. About the door is the court or yard before the door. They could not get near enough to hear him. This is one of Mark’s graphic touches. No doubt in this case, as the scene occurred at his informant’s own door, these details are the vivid recollections of that honored disciple.

4.    Palsy: Or paralysis, strikes sometimes one side or portion of the body, and sometimes the whole; affecting the power of motion, or the power of sensation, or both. It is one of the least curable of diseases; but the Savior healed it with a word, Matt. 4:24; 12:10; Mark 2:3-12. The “withered hand,” Mark 3:1, was probably an effect of the palsy. There is also a palsy of the soul, which the Great Physician can heal, and he alone. Palsy is an abbreviation of the word “paralysis.” It is caused by a cessation of the nervous activities. In the East bedsteads were practically unknown. An Oriental bed is a thin mattress, or pallet, just large enough for a man to lie upon; and those generally used by the poor today are made of sheepskin with the wool on it. Such a bed could be easily carried by four men, if each took hold of a corner. (FG).

5.    To these four who sought Jesus it seemed a case of now or never. If they waited till another season, Jesus might withdraw himself again for “some days,” or the palsied man might die. Jesus was probably in the large open area, or hall, in the centre of the house. The people pressed into that area, and blocked up the door, so that they could not have access to him.

6.    They went up by means of the stairs in the porch, or by ascending to the roof of an adjoining house, and stepping across to the roof of Simon’s house. Many commentators assert that they went up by an outside stairway, erroneously believing that such stairs are common in Palestine; but they are almost unknown there, and their presence would only expose the inmates of the house to violence and pillage. The four men uncovered the roof, removed a part of the tiles; and having broken it up, taken away the laths or timber, to which the tiles had been attached, they then had room to let down the afflicted man.

7.    The four friends of the sick man showed their faith by those bold and persistent efforts which took liberties with the house of a neighbor; and the palsied man showed his faith by consenting to the extraordinary means employed in his behalf. (FG)

8.    The affectionate address, “Son,” might have ordinarily surprised the Jewish doctors, who held themselves too far removed from sinners to speak this familiarly wit them. But the small surprise was swallowed up in the greater, when they heard Jesus pronounce the forgiveness of the man’s sins. Since man had trod the globe, sin against God had never been pardoned by the direct, authoritative utterance of fleshly lips. Such power resides in Jesus alone. Since then, and even in modern times, mistaken priests have presumed to speak forgiveness; but the apostles claimed no such power. (FG)

9.    A scornful expression, shown by the repetition, houtos houtoo, which means, literally, “this one these things.” He blasphemeth: Who can forgive sins but one, even God? In classic Greek to blaspheme means to speak evil or, or to slander a person, and it is used in this sense in the New Testament (Tit 3:2; 2Pe 2:2; Jude 1:8). Its ordinary New Testament use, however, is quite different, since it is employed to designate something which reflects evil on the character and nature of God. This use is peculiar to monotheistic writers, and was unknown to the Greeks. Such blasphemies may be divided into three general heads, thus: 1. To attribute the unworthy to God. 2. To deny the worthy to God. 3. To arrogate or claim any attribute, power, authority, etc., which belongs to exclusively to God. It was under this third head that Jesus seemed to lay himself open to accusation--an accusation entirely just if he had not been the Son of God. The Pharisees were not faulty in their logic, but were mistaken in their premises; hence Jesus does not deny their doctrine; he merely corrects their mistaken application of it to himself. As to this pronounced forgiveness of Jesus, two questions arise: 1. Why did he forgive the man’s sins? The haste with which the man was brought to Jesus suggests that his condition was critical; in which case the torment of sin would be the greater. As a searcher of hearts, Jesus saw the unuttered desire of the sick man, and at once responded to it. If his words meant nothing to the conscience of the man, they were wasted; but Jesus knew what was in man. 2. Why did he pronounce the forgiveness so publicly? As the terms of pardon prescribed in the law were yet in full force, this open speech of Jesus was a surprising assertion of authority. In fact, such assertions were exceptional in his ministry; for only on three recorded occasions did he thus forgive sins (Lu 7:48; 23:43). Being the exceptional and not the established method of pardon, and being thus employed in the presence of so representative an audience, it was evidently used for a special purpose; and that purpose was to show that Jesus had such power, that men seeing this power might believe him to be the Son of God. He was vindicating an eternal law of the universe, in which all human beings throughout all generations would be interested; namely: that humanity has a Ruler who can present it spotless before the throne of God (Jude 1:24). Jesus propounded his law in the presence of those most interested in exposing it if false, and most able to explode it had it not been true. Whether his words were truth or blasphemy, was the controversy between Christ and the rulers from that day to the end of his ministry (Mt 26:65). (FG)

10.Jesus could see invisible sin, and could forgive it or condemn it, as the conditions moved him. The powers of discernment, forgiveness and condemnation make him the perfect Judge. The power of searching the hearts, and knowing the thoughts of men, belongs only to God, 1 Chron 28:9; Rom. 8:27; Rev. 2:23; Jer. 17:10. In claiming this, as Jesus did here, and often elsewhere, he gave clear proofs of his omniscience, John 2:24,25. (FG).

11.Reason: The word in Greek in enthumesis. It is translated “considered” in Matt. 1:20. It is also “thoughts” as in Matt. 9:4. It is the same word found in Heb. 4:12 where we read of the Word of God the word of God that “is living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.” It is fitting that Jesus is the divine word (John 1:1-3, 14) and “the word of life” (1 John 1:1).

12.External miracles are the proofs of internal ones. Three miracles are wrought in this case. (I mean, by miracle, something produced or known that no power is capable of but that which is omnipotent, and no knowledge adequate to but that which is omniscient.) The miracles are these: 1st. The remission of the poor man’s sins. 2d. The discernment of the secret thoughts of the scribes. 3d. The restoring of the paralytic, in an instant, to perfect soundness. Thus one miracle becomes the proof and establishment of another. Never was a clearer proof of omnipotent energy and mercy brought under the senses of man. Here is an absolutely perfect miracle wrought; and here are absolute incontestable proofs that the miracle was wrought; and the conclusion is the fullest demonstration of the Divinity of the ever-blessed Jesus.

13.Insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God. The “all” of this passage hardly includes the scribes and Pharisees, or, if it does, their admiration of Jesus was but a momentary enthusiasm, which quickly passed away. To glorify God, here, means to praise him, or to acknowledge his power. The expression, which had given such power to men, was a part of their praise. It expresses no sentiment of the evangelist about the nature of Christ, but is a record of their feelings and their praise.

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