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to amend; and they said unto him, Yesterday, at the seventh hour, one o'clock in the afternoon, of our time, the fever left him.
From the space between the time when the nobleman set out to return, which was after one o'clock in the afternoon, and that at which he met his servants, which was not till next day, it appears that there was a considerable distance between Cana and Capernaum, which may show us why our Lord chose to perform the mira. cle without going down thither.
53. So the father knew that it was the same hour, " at the very time,” in which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth, “ Thy son is well.” And himself believed and his whole house.
The removal of the fever, although so violent as to bring this young man to the point of death, was in. stantaneous, so as to leave no doubt, in the minds of any who were acquainted with the circumstances, that a miracle was wrought, and that consequently Jesus was a divine messenger.
54. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when he was come out of Judæa into Galilee.
That is, this is the second miracle which Jesus performed at Cana; after returning again into Galilee from Judæa; the first had been mentioned just before..
1. In the conduct of Christ's countrymen towards him, we see the sad effects of envy, Christ was the most illustrious character who liad ever appeared in the Jewish nation, and was an honour to the age in which he lived and to the place in which he was born and educated. The inhabitants of Nazareth might have justly valued themselves for the distinction that was shown to their city, by its being favoured with the first appearance among them of the Messiah, and of the saviour of mankind; yet, because he was the son of a carpenter, and assumed a superiority to themselves, by professing to teach others and work miracles, they are offended at him, and reject his pretensions. Thus does envy blind the understanding, as well as corrupt the heart, and render men insensible to excellence which is obvious to the eye of every impartial observer. Thus does it lead men to consider themselves as degraded by that which really does them honour, and to regard him as their enemy who is their best friend. While we are conscious that the spirit which is in us lusteth to envy, let us guard against the influence of so dislionourable and injurious a passion. Let us never forget that it rendered the inhabitants of Nazareth blind to the excellencies of the Messiah, and deprived them of the benefits of his character.
2. The cure of this young man is an illustrious proof of the miraculous powers possessed by Christ: it was performed, at several miles distance, upon a per. son whom he had never seen, and where, therefore, there was no shadow of a pretence for saying that there was room for collusion or imposture. It satisfied the father of the child, who left him at the point of death. It satisfied those who remained at home, and who saw how instantaneously he recovered; and it ought to satisfy us, who live in this distant age and quarter of the world, that Christ acted by divine power, although we have not been witnesses to its effects. To those who say that they will not believe in miracles, unless they see them performed, we may say, as Christ did to this officer of the court of Herod, Unless ye see signs and wonders will ye not believe? Is not the power of God equal to such an effect? Cannot the same Being who' established the course of nature
alter it when he pleases, or when a necessity for such an alteration shall arise? And if such a change be possible, why should not we believe the testimony of those who say that they saw it? In trusting to the senses of other men, do we not trust to the same kind of evidence as when we rely upon our own? This arrogant spirit, which will not allow the Almighty to act but in one way, and which will admit no facts but what have been submitted to men's own eyes and ears, is plainly unreasonable. Blessed are those who have not seen, yet believe, is the language of Christ; and where there is such abundant evidence from testimony, such faith becomes rational beings, and is highly commend, able. .
John v. 1–16. 1. After this there was a feast, rather, 6 a festival,” of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
As the feast of tabernacles is mentioned soon after (vii. 2.) it is probable that this was the feast of pente cost, in which the Jews commemorated the giving of the law upon mount Sinai.
2. Now there is at Jerusalem, by the sheep-market, rather, " sheep gate," a pool, “ a bath,” which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches.
The place which in our translation is called a pool, was a bath, the waters of which possessed, or were conceived to possess, some medicinal virtue; and persons afflicted with yarious diseases were accustomed to bathe themselves in it, in the hope of receiving a cure. What we call porches were porticoes, or rows of pillars supporting a roof, which afforded shelter to those who dressed
or undressed themselves, or might be intended for the convenience of shade in a hot climate to those who wished to walk. This building was called Bethesda, the meaning of which is house of grace, a name which might be given it in compliment to the liberality of the founder, who had erected it for public use, or perhaps in reference to the cures which were supposed to be wrought there.
This verse has been considered as containing a proof that the gospel of John was written before the destruction of Jerusalem: for the evangelist says there is at Jerusalem a pool or bath, which implies that Jerusalem was still standing, and shows that he wrote soon after the death of Christ.
3. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, rather, “ of infirm people," of blind, halt, withered *.
5. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty-and-eight years.
What was the nature of his complaint does not appear; but it is evident, from what follows, that it was something which deprived him of the use of his limbs.
6. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, or, so," he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? or, “ Dost thou desire to be cured?"
This question he put to him not from any doubt whether a cure would be acceptable, but to let the surrounding multitude, who were not so well acquainted with his condition as himself, see, by his answer, to what a helpless and wretched condition he was ro, duced, and how certainly miraculous his cure would be. What seems to recommend him to the notice of Jesus, before the other afflicted objects who were lying here, is the great length of time that his disprder had continued.
* I omit the last clause of this verse and the whole of the next, because they are not found in several manuscript copies of the New Testament; and because their genuineness is denied by several emi. nent critics, both in our own and in foreign countries. See Newcome's translation.
7. The impotent man, " the infirm man," answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the bath; but while I am coming, another steppeth down, or, “descendeth before me.”
Although some might be able to step, others might be in as helpless a condition as himself, and require to be let down. From the man's answer it appears that he did not know Jesus, and that he expected no cure but from the healing virtue of the waters; there could, therefore, be no room for the influence of imagination.
8. Jesus saith unto hin, Rise, take up thy bed, “ thy couch,” and walk. : 9. And immediately the man was made whole, " was healed,” and took up his couch, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath.
This showed the completeness of the cure: for he who was before so infirm as to be obliged to lie down, and who could not move without assistance, is so perfectly recovered to health as to be able to rise and walk and carry his couch. The beds in eastern countries are mats, laid upon the floor; this will account for the ease with which they are carried.
10. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured : It is the sabbathday; it is not lawful for thee to carry thy couch.