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"HE HATH DONE ALL THINGS WELL.'
seemed a fresh incitement to his faith-and all connected itself with the Person of Christ. As yet there was not breath of life in it all. But when the man's eyes followed those of the Saviour to heaven, he would understand whence He expected, whence came to Him the power-Who had sent Him, and Whose He was. And as he followed the movement of Christ's lips, as He groaned under the felt burden He had come to remove, the sufferer would look up expectant. Once more the Saviour's lips parted to speak the word of command : * Be opened '—and straightway the gladsome sound would pass into his • hearing,'' and the bond that seemed to have held his tongue was loosed. He was in a new world, into which He had put him that had spoken that one Word ; He, Who had been burdened under the load which He had lifted up to His Father; to Whom all the means that had been used had pointed, and with Whose Person they had been connected.
It was in vain to enjoin silence. Wider and wider spread the unbidden fame, till it was caught up in this one hymn of praise, which has remained to all time the jubilee of our experience of Christ as the Divine Healer: 'He hath done all things well—He maketh even the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.' This Jewish word, Ephphatha, spoken to the Gentile Church by Him, Who, looking up to heaven, sighed under the burden, even while He uplifted it, has opened the hearing and loosed the bond of speech. Most significantly was it spoken in the language of the Jews; and this also does it teach, that Jesus must always have spoken the Jews' language. For, if ever, to a Grecian in Grecian territory would He have spoken in Greek, not in the Jews' language, if the former and not the latter had been that of which He made use in His Words and Works.
2. Another miracle is recorded by St. Mark, as wrought by St. Nark Jesus in these parts, and, as we infer, on a heathen. All the circumstances are kindred to those just related. It was in Bethsaida-Julias, that one blind was brought unto Him, with the entreaty that He
Lord did, and the use of saliva for cures is universally recognised by the Rabbis.
So literally, or rather healings'-in the plural.
: Most commentators regard this as the eastern Bethsaida, BethsaidaJulias. The objection in the Speaker's Commentary), that the text speaks of 'a village' (vv. 23, 26) is obviated by the circumstance that immediately afterwards we read (ver. 27) about the villages of Cæsarea Philippi.' The Bethsaida of
ver. 22 must refer to the district, in one of
* Jer. Shabb. xiv. 4; Baba B. 1266
would touch him,-just as in the case of the deaf and dumb. Here, also, the Saviour took him aside— led him out of the village '—and • spat on his eyes, and put His Hands upon him.' We mark not only the similarity of the means employed, but the same, and even greater elaborateness in the use of them, since a twofold touch is recorded before the man saw clearly. On any theory-even that which would regard the Gospel-narratives as spurious—this trait must have been intended to mark a special purpose, since this is the only instance in which a miraculous cure was performed gradually, and not at once and completely. So far as we can judge, the object was, by a gradual process of healing, to disabuse the man of any idea of magical cure, while at the same time the process of healing again markedly centred in the Person of Jesus. With this also agrees (as in the case of the deaf and dumb) the use of spittle in the healing. We may here recall, that the use of saliva was a wellknown Jewish remedy for affections of the eyes. It was thus that the celebrated Rabbi Meir relieved one of his fair hearers, when her husband, in his anger at her long detention by the Rabbi's sermons, had ordered her to spit in the preacher's face. Pretending to suffer from his eyes, the Rabbi contrived that the woman publicly spat in his eyes, thus enabling her to obey her husband's command. The anecdote at least proves, that the application of saliva was popularly regarded as a remedy for affections of the eyes.
Thus in this instance also, as in that of the deaf and dumb, there was the use of means, Jewish means, means manifestly insufficient (since their first application was only partially successful), and of a multiplication of means--yet all centering in, and proceeding from, His Person. As further analogies between the two, we mark that the blindness does not seem to have been congenital, but the consequence of disease; and that silence was enjoined after the healing." Lastly, the confusedness of his sight, when first restored to him, surely conveyed, not only to him but to us all, both a spiritual lesson and a spiritual warning.
3. Yet a third miracle of healing requires to be here considered, although related by St. Matthew in quite another connection. But we have learned enough of the structure of the First Gospel to know, that its arrangement is determined by the plan of the writer rather than by the chronological succession of events. The manner
b Jer. Sot. 16 d, about the middle
• Comp. St. Mark viii. 94 d ver. 26
e St. Matt. ix. 27-31
i The better reading of the words is given in the Revised Version.
· Thus, the healing recorded imme
diately after this history, in St. Matt. ix. 32–35) belongs evidently to
a later period. Comp. St. Luke xi. 14.
HEALING OF THE TWO BLIND MEN.
in which the Lord healed the two blind men, the injunction of silence, and the notice that none the less they spread His fame in all that land, seem to imply that He was not on the ordinary scene of His labours in Galilee. Nor can we fail to mark an internal analogy between this and the other two miracles enacted amidst a chiefly Grecian population. And, strange though it may sound, the cry with which the two blind men who sought his help followed Him,
Son of David, have mercy on us,'comes, as might be expected, more frequently from Gentile than from Jewish lips. It was, of course, pre-eminently the Jewish designation of the Messiah, the basis of all Jewish thought of Him. But, perhaps on that very ground, it would express in Israel rather the homage of popular conviction, than, as in this case, the cry for help in bodily disease. Besides, Jesus had not as yet been hailed as the Messiah, except by His most intimate disciples; and, even by them, chiefly in the joy of their highest spiritual attainments. He was the Rabbi, Teacher, Wonder-worker, Son of Man, even Son of God; but the idea of the Davidic Kingdom as implying spiritual and Divine, not outwardly royal rule, lay as yet on the utmost edge of the horizon, covered by the golden mist of the Sun of Righteousness in His rising. On the other hand, we can understand, how to Gentiles, who resided in Palestine, the Messiah of Israel would chiefly stand out as “the Son of David. It was the most ready, and, at the same time, the most universal, form in which the great Jewish hope could be viewed by them. It presented to their minds the most marked contrast to Israel's present fallen state, and it recalled the Golden Age of Israel's past, and that, as only the symbol of a far wider and more glorious reign, the fulfilment of what to David had only been promises.?
Peculiar to this history is the testing question of Christ, whether they really believed what their petition implied, that He was able to restore their sight; and, again, His stern, almost passionate, insistence 3 on their silence as to the mode of their cure. Only on one other occasion do we read of the same insistence. It is, when the leper had expressed the same absolute faith in Christ's ability to
? I admit that especially the latter argument is inconclusive, but I appeal to the general context and the setting of this history. It is impossible to regard St. Matt. ix. as a chronological record of events,
2 He is addressed as 'Son of David,' in this passage, by the Syro-Phænician woman (St. Matt. xv. 22), and by the
blind men near Jericho (St. Matt. xx. 30, 31; St. Mark x. 47, 48; St. Luke xviii. 38, 39), and proclaimed as such by the people in St. Matt. xii. 23; xxi. 9, 15.
3 εμβριμάομαι- the word occurs in that sense only here and in St. Mark i. 43; otherwise also in St. Mark xiv. 5, and
in St. John xi. 33, 38. E
heal if He willed it, and Jesus had, as in the case of these two blind
men, conferred the benefit by the touch of His Hand. In both these St. Mark i. cases, it is remarkable that, along with strongest faith of those who
came to Him, there was rather an implied than an expressed petition on their part. The leper who knelt before Him only said: “Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean;' and the two blind men: ' Have mercy on us, Thou Son of David.' Thus it is the highest and most realising faith, which is most absolute in its trust and most reticent as regards the details of its request.
But as regards the two blind men (and the healed leper also), it is almost impossible not to connect Christ's peculiar insistence on their silence with their advanced faith. They had owned Jesus as “the Son of David,' and that, not in the Judaic sense (as by the Syro-Phænician woman '), but as able to do all things, even to open by His touch the eyes of the blind. And it had been done to them, as it always is—according to their faith. But a profession of faith so wide-reaching as theirs, and sealed by the attainment of what it sought, yet scarcely dared to ask, must not be publicly proclaimed. It would, and in point of fact did, bring to Him crowds which, unable spiritually to understand the meaning of such a confession, would
only embarrass and hinder, and whose presence and homage would St. Mark i. have to be avoided as much, if not more, than that of open
enemies. For confession of the mouth must ever be the outcome of heartbelief, and the acclamations of an excited Jewish crowd were as incongruous to the real Character of the Christ, and as obstructive to the progress of His Kingdom, as is the outward homage of a world which has not heart-belief in His Power, nor heart-experience of His ability and willingness to cleanse the leper and to open the eyes of the blind. Yet the leprosy of Israel and the blindness of the Gentile world are equally removed by the touch of His Hand at the cry of faith.
The question has been needlessly discussed, whether they were to praise or blame, who, despite the Saviour's words, spread His fame. We scarcely know what, or how much, they disobeyed. They could not but speak of His Person; and theirs was, perhaps, not yet that higher silence which is content simply to sit at His Feet.
It should be borne in mind, that the country, surroundings, &c., place these men in a total different category from the Syro-Phænician woman.
2 Roman Catholic writers mostly praise, while Protestants blame, their conduct.
CHRONOLOGICAL ARRANGEMENT OF THESE EVENTS.
THE TWO SABBATH-CONTROVERSIES—THE PLUCKING OF THE EARS OF CORN BY
THE DISCIPLES, AND THE HEALING OF THE MAN WITH THE WITHERED
(St. Matt. xii. 1-21; St. Mark ii. 23—iii. 6; St. Luke vi. 1-11.)
grouping together the three miracles of healing described in the last chapter, we do not wish to convey it as certain that they had taken place in precisely that order. Nor do we feel sure, that they preceded what is about to be related. In the absence of exact data, the succession of events and their location must be matter of combination. From their position in the Evangelic narratives, and the manner in which all concerned speak and act, we inferred, that they took place at that particular period and east of the Jordan, in the Decapolis or else in the territory of Philip. They differ from the events about to be related by the absence of the Jerusalem Scribes, who hung on the footsteps of Jesus. While the Saviour tarried on the borders of Tyre, and thence passed through the territory of Sidon into the Decapolis and to the southern and eastern shores of the Lake of Galilee, they were in Jerusalem at the Passover. But after the two festive days, which would require their attendance in the Temple, they seem to have returned to their hateful task. It would not be difficult for them to discover the scene of such mighty works as His. Accordingly, we now find them once more confronting Christ. And the events about to be related are chronologically distinguished from those that had preceded, by this presence and opposition of the Pharisaic party. The contest now becomes more decided and sharp, and we are rapidly nearing the period when He, Who had hitherto been chiefly preaching the Kingdom and healing body and soul, will, through the hostility of the leaders of Israel, enter on the second, or prevailingly negative stage of His Work, in which, according to the prophetic description, they compassed’ Him about like bees,' but are quenched as the fire of thorns.
Where fundamental principles were so directly contrary, the