And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him.
Verses 1-6. - The Pharisee's feast on a sabbath day. The healing of the sick with dropsy. Verse 1. - And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day. Still on the same journey; the Lord was approaching gradually nearer Jerusalem. The house into which he entered this sabbath belonged to one who was a leading member of the Pharisee party, probably an influential rabbi, a man of great wealth, or a member of the Sanhedrim "To eat bread on the sabbath day," as a guest, was a usual practice; such entertainments on the sabbath day were very usual; they were often luxurious and costly. The only rule observed was that all the viands provided were cold,, everything having been cooked on a previous day. Augustine alludes to these sabbath feasts as including at times singing and dancing. They watched him. This explains the reason of the invitation to the great Teacher, on the part of a leading Pharisee, after the Master's bitter denunciation of the party (see Luke 11:39-52). The feast and its attendant circumstances were all arranged, and Jesus' watchful enemies waited to see what he would do.
And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy.
Verse 2. - And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. This was the scheme of the Pharisee host. The sick man was not one of the invited guests; with the freedom which attends a feast in a large Oriental house, the afflicted man was introduced, as though by chance, with other lookers-on. The skilful plotters stationed him in a prominent position, where the eyes of the strange Guest would at once fall on him. The situation is described by the evangelist with dramatic clearness: "And, behold, there was a certain man before him which," etc. In an instant Jesus grasped the whole situation. It was the sabbath, and there before him was one grievously sick with a deadly chronic malady. Would he pass by - contrary to his wont-such a sufferer? Would he heal him on the sabbath day? Could he? perhaps thought the crafty foes of the great Physician-Teacher. The disease was a deadly one, utterly incur. able, as they thought, by earthly means.
And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?
Verse 3. - And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? And the Heart-reader read their thoughts, and in a moment he saw all and understood all, and answered the unasked question of his host and the assembled guests by putting to them another query which went to the root of the whole were matter which they pondering in their evil hearts.
And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go;
Verse 4. - And they held their peace. What could they say? If they had pressed the absurd restrictions with which they hedged round the sabbath day, they felt they would be crushed by one of the Master's deep and powerful arguments. They had hoped he would have acted on the impulse of the moment, and healed the sufferer or else failed; but his calm question confused them. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go. With one of his majestic exercises of Divine power - so slight a task to Christ - the deadly disease was cured in a moment, and then, with quiet crushing contempt, the Physician passed into the Rabbi, and to the awe-struck guests he put a question; it was his apology for the late infringement of the traditions of the sabbath day. What had they to say?
And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?
Verse 5. - And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? Most of the older authorities here, instead of" an ass or an ox," read "a son or an ox." The difference here in the reading without doubt arises from the perplexity which was felt in very early days over the strangeness of the collocation of "a son and an ox." This is the reading, however, which, according to all the acknowledged principles of criticism, we must consider the true one. The meaning is clear. "If thy son, or even, to take a very different comparison, thy ox, were to fall into a pit, wouldn't you," etc.? How the sophistries of the scribes and the perplexing traditions of the Jerusalem rabbis on their sabbath restrictions must have been torn asunder by the act of mercy and power performed, and the words of Divine wisdom spoken by the Physician-Teacher of Galilee! The noble instincts even of the jealous Pharisees must have been for a moment stirred. Even they, at times, rose above the dreary, lightless teaching with which the rabbinical schools had so marred the old Divine Law. Dr. Farrar quotes a traditional instance of this. "When Hillel" - afterwards the great rabbi and head of the famous school which bore his name - "then a poor porter, had been found half-frozen under masses of snow in the window of the lecture-room of Shemaiah and Abtation, where he had hidden himself, to profit by their wisdom, because he had been unable to earn the small fee for entrance, they had rubbed and resuscitated him, though it was the sabbath day, and had said that he was one for whose sake it was well worth while to break the sabbath."
And they could not answer him again to these things.
And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them,
Verses 7-14. - At the Pharisee's feast. The Master's teaching on the subject of seeking the most honourable places. Who ought to be the guests at such feasts. Verse 7. - And he put forth a parable to those which were hidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them. The scene with the sufferer who had been healed of his dropsy was now over. The Master was silent, and the guests proceeded to take their places at the banquet. Jesus remained still, watching the manoeuvring on the part of scribes and doctors and wealthy guests to secure the higher and more honourable seats. "The chief rooms;" better rendered "first places."
When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him;
Verses 8, 9. - When thou art hidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room. The pretensions and conceit of the Jewish doctors of the Law had been for a long period intolerable. We have repeated examples in the Talmud of the exaggerated estimate these, the scholars and doctors of the Law, formed of themselves, and of the respect they exacted from all classes of the community. One can well imagine the grave displeasure with which the Divine Teacher looked upon this unholy frame of mind, and upon the miserable petty struggles which constantly were resulting from it. The expositors of the Law of God, the religious guides of the people, were setting an example of self-seeking, were showing what was their estimate of a fitting reward, what was the crown of learning which they coveted - the first seats at a banquet, the title of respect and honour! How the Lord - the very essence of whose teaching was self-surrender and self-sacrifice - must have mourned over such pitiful exhibitions of weakness shown by the men who claimed to sit in Moses' seat! Lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; and he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place. As an instance of such unseemly contention, Dr. Farrar quotes from the Talmud how, "at a banquet of King Alexander Jannaeus, the rabbi Simeon ben Shetach, in spite of the presence of some great Persian satraps, had thrust himself at table between the king and queen, and when rebuked for his intrusion quoted in his defence Ecclus. 15:5, 'Exalt wisdom, and She... shall make thee sit among princes.'"
And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.
But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.
For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.
Verse 12. - Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. This remark of Jesus took place somewhat later in the course of the feast. Those present were evidently mostly, if not all, drawn from the upper ranks of Jewish society, and the banquet was no doubt a luxurious and costly entertainment. Godet's comment is singularly interesting, and well brings out the half-sorrowful, half-playful sarcasm of the Master. He was the rich Pharisee's Guest; he was partaking of his hospitality, although, it is true, no friendly feelings had dictated the invitation to the feast, but still he was partaking of the man's bread and salt; and then, too, the miserable society tradition which then as now dictates such conventional hospitality, all contributed to soften the Master's stern condemnation of the pompous hollow entertainments; so he "addresses to his host a lesson on charity, which he clothes, like 'the preceding, in the graceful form of a recommendation of intelligent self-interest." The μήποτε, lest (ver. 12), carries a tone of liveliness and almost of pleasantry. "Beware of it; it is a misfortune to be avoided. For, once thou shalt have received human requital, it is all over with Divine recompense." Jesus did not mean to forbid our entertaining those whom we love. He means simply, "In view of the life to come, thou canst do better still."
But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:
Verses 13, 14. - But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee. Great pagan moralists, sick at heart at these dreary, selfish society conventionalities, have condemned this system of entertaining those who would be likely to make an equivalent return for the interested hospitality. So Martial, writing of such an incident, says, 'You are asking for gifts, Sextus, not for friends." Nehemiah gives a somewhat similar charge to the Jews of his day: "Eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared" (Nehemiah 8:10). Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. There is no doubt that Jesus here was alluding to that first resurrection which would consist of the "just" only; of that which St. John speaks of in rapt and glowing terms: "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection" (Revelation 20:6). This was a doctrine evidently much insisted on by the early teachers of Christianity (see John 5:25; Acts 24:15; 1 Corinthians 15:23; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Philippians 3:11; and compare our Lord's words again in Luke 20:35).
And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.
And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.
Verses 15-24. - In reply to an observation of one of the guests, Jesus relates the parable of the great supper, in which he shows how few really cared for the joys of God's kingdom in the world to come. Verse 15. - And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. One of those who were partaking of the banquet, and had witnessed the whole scene, now speaks to the Stranger Guest. He had looked on the miracle performed for the afflicted man: he had heard the wise words spoken by the Galilaean Rabbi; he had listened to the gentle and yet pungent rebuke to the Pharisee for his ostentatious hospitality to the rich and great; he had marked the quiet reminder as to the many sufferers who really stood in need of the viands so plentifully spread for those who wanted them not; he had been specially struck by the mention of the recompense which the just who remembered the poor would receive at the resurrection. This quiet observer, noticing that the Master's remarks were touching upon the recompense of the just in the world to come, now breaks in with a remark on the blessedness of him who should eat bread in the kingdom of God. The words do not seem to have been spoken in a mocking spirit, but to have been the genuine outcome of the speaker's admiration of the Guest so hated and yet so wondered at. There is, no doubt, lurking in the words a certain Pharisaic self-congratulation - a something which seems to imply, "Yes, that blessedness to which you, O Master, are alluding, I am looking forward confidently to share in. How happy will it be for us, Jews as we are, when the time comes for us to sit down at that banquet in the kingdom of heaven l"
Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
Verse 16. - Then said he unto him. The parable with which the great Teacher answered the guest's remark contains much and varied teaching for all ages of the Church, but in the first instance it replies to the speaker's words. "Yes," said the Master, "blessed indeed are they who sit down at the heavenly feast. You think you are one of those whom the King of heaven has invited to the banquet; what have you done, though, with the invitation? I know many who have received it who have simply tossed it aside; are you of that number? Listen now to my story of the Divine banquet and of the invited thereto." A certain man made a great supper, and bade many. The kingdom of heaven, under the imagery of a great Banquet, was a picture well known to the Jews of that age. The guests in the Pharisee's house for the greater part were probably highly cultured men. At once they would grasp the meaning of the parable. They knew that the supper was heaven, and the Giver of the feast was God. The many - these were Israel, the long line of generations of the chosen people. So far strictly true, they thought; the Galilaean Teacher here is one with the rabbis of our Jerusalem schools. But, as Jesus proceeded, a puzzled, angry look would come upon the self-satisfied faces of Pharisee, scribe, and doctor; whispers would run round, "What means the Galilaean here?"
And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
Verses 17-20. - Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The excuses, viewed as a whole, are paltry, and "if," as it has been well said, "as a mere story of natural life it seems highly improbable, it is because men's conduct with regard to the Divine kingdom is not according to right reason... The excuses are all of the nature of pretexts, not one of them being a valid reason for non-attendance at the feast." The fact was, the invited were pleased to be invited, but there the matter ended with them. The banquet, which they were proud to have been asked to share in, had no influence upon their everyday lives. They made their engagements for pleasure and for business without the least regard to the day or the hour of the banquet: indeed, they treated it with perfect indifference. The key to the parable is easily found. The Jews were "solemn triflers in the matter of religion. They were under invitation to enter the kingdom, and they did not assume the attitude of men who avowedly cared nothing for it. On the contrary, they were pleased to think that its privileges were theirs in offer, and even gave themselves credit for setting a high value on them. But in truth they did not. The kingdom of God had not by any means the first place in their esteem. They were men who talked much about the kingdom of heaven, yet cared little for it; who were very religious, yet very worldly - a class of which too many specimens exist in every age" (Professor Bruce, 'Parabolic Teaching'). I have bought a piece of ground... I have bought five yoke of oxen... I have married a wife, etc. These excuses, of course, by no means exhaust all possible cases. They simply represent examples of usual everyday causes of indifference to the kingdom of God. To all these excuses one thing is common - in each a present good is esteemed above the heavenly offer; in other words, temporal good is valued higher than spiritual. The three excuses may be classed under the following heads.
(1) The attraction of property of different kinds, the absorbing delight of possessing earthly goods.
(2) The occupations of business, the pleasure of increasing the store, of adding coin to coin, or field to field.
(3) Social ties, whether at home or abroad, whether in general society or in the home circle; for even in the latter case it is too possible for family and domestic interests so completely to fill the heart as to leave no room there for higher and more unselfish aims, no place for any grander hopes than the poor narrow home-life affords. The primary application of all this was to the Jews of the Lord's own time. It was spoken, we must remember, to a gathering of the Rite of the Israel of his day. In the report of the servant detailing to the master the above-recorded excuses, it has been beautifully said, "we may hear the echo of the sorrowful lamentation uttered by Jesus over the hardening of the Jews during his long nights of prayer." The invitation to the feast was neglected by the learned and the powerful among the people.
And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.
So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
Verse 21. - Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind. The invitations to the great feast, seeing that those first bidden were indifferent, were then sent out far and wide - through broad streets and narrow lanes, among wealthy publicans (tax-collectors) and poor artisans. The invitations were distributed broadcast among a rougher and less cultured class, but still the invitations to the banquet were confined to dwellers in the city; we hear as yet of no going without the walls. Here the invitation seems generally to have been accepted. All this in the first instance referred to the Galilaean peasants, to the Jewish publicans, to the mass of the people, who heard him, on the whole, gladly.
And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
Verse 22. - And the servant maid, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room. While these words are necessary to complete the picture, still in them we have a hint of the vast size of the kingdom of God. The realms of the blessed are practically boundless. Here, again, in the first instance, there was a Jewish instruction intended to correct the false current notion that that kingdom was narrow in extent, and intended to be confined to the chosen race of Israel. It is very different in the Lord's picture.
And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
Verse 23. - And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges. Hitherto the parable-story has been dealing with the past and the present of Israel; it now becomes prophetic, and speaks of a state of things to be. The third series of invitations is not addressed to inhabitants of a city. No walls hem in these far-scattered dwellers among the highways and hedges of the world. This time the master of the house asks to his great banquet those who live in the isles of the Gentiles. And compel them to some in. A greater pressure is put on this class of outsiders than was tried upon the favoured first invited. The indifferent ones were left to themselves. They knew, or professed to know and to appreciate, the nature of that feast in heaven, the invitation to which they treated apparently with so much honour, and really with such contempt. But these outsiders the Divine Host would treat differently. To them the notion of a pitying, loving God was quite a strange thought; these must be compelled - must be brought to him with the gentle force which the angels used when they laid hold of the hand of lingering Lot, and brought him out of the doomed city of the plain. Thus faithful men, intensely convinced of the truth of their message, compel others, by the bright earnestness of their words and life, to join the company of those who are going up to the feast above. Anselm thinks that God may be also said to compel men to come in when he drives them by calamities to seek and find refuge with him and in his Church. That my house may be filled. In ver. 22 the servant, who knew well his master's mind and his master's house too, and its capabilities, tells his lord how, after many had accepted the invitation and were gone in to the banquet, "yet there was room." The master of the house, approving his servant's words, confirms them by repeating, "Bring in more andyet more, that my house may be filled." Bengel comments here with his quaint grace in words to which no translation can do justice: "Nee natura nec gratis patitur vacuum." Our God, with his burning love for souls, will never bear to contemplate a half-empty heaven. "Messiah will see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied." "The love of God," says Godet, "is great; it requires a multitude of guests; it will not have a seat empty. The number of the elect is, as it were, determined beforehand by the riches of the Divine glory, which cannot find complete reflection without a certain number of human beings. The invitation will, therefore, be continued, and consequently the history of our race prolonged, until that number be reached."
For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.
Verse 24. - For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper. Whose words are these? Are they spoken by the host of the parable-story; and if so, to whom does he address them? For in the original Greek it is not "I say unto thee" (singular), the servant with whom throughout he has been holding a colloquy, but "I say unto you" (plural), Who does he mean by "you"? The assembled guests? or especially the already introduced poor of ver. 21 (so Bengel)? But what conceivable purpose, as Stier well asks, would be served by addressing these stern words to the guests admitted? Would their bliss be increased by a side-glance at those who had lost what they were to enjoy? How inharmonious a close would this be of a parable constructed with such tender graciousness throughout l It is better, therefore, to understand it as spoken with deep solemnity by the Master himself to the assembled guests in the Pharisee's house, with whom he was then sitting at meat, and for whose special instruction he had spoken the foregoing parable of the great supper. "I say unto you, that none of those who were bidden in the parable-story (and ye know full well that you yourselves are included in that number) shall sit at my table in heaven." This identification of himself as the Host of the great heavenly banquet was quite in accordance with the lofty and unveiled claims of the Master during the last period of his public ministry. Throughout this exposition of the great supper parable, the idea of the primary reference to the Jewish people has been steadily kept in view. It was a distinct piece of teaching, historic and prophetic, addressed to the Jew of the days of our Lord. As years passed on, it became a saying of the deepest interest to the Gentile missionaries and to the rapidly growing Gentile congregations of the first Christian centuries. In time it ceased to be used as a piece of warning history and of instructive prophecy, and the Church in every succeeding age has recognized its deep practical wisdom, and is ever discovering in it fresh lessons which belong to the life of the day, and which seemingly were drawn from it and intended for its special instruction, for its warning and for its comfort.
And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,
Verses 25-35. - The qualifications of his real disciples. Two short parables illustrative of the high pries such a real disciple must pay if he would indeed be his. The halfhearted disciple is compared to flavourless salt. Verse 25. - And there went great multitudes with him. These great multitudes were made up now of enemies as well as friends. Curiosity doubtless attracted many; the fame of the Teacher had gone through the length and breadth of the land. The end, the Master well knew, was very near, and, in the full view of his own self-sacrifice, the higher and the more ideal were the claims he made upon those who professed to be his followers. He was anxious now, at the end, clearly to make it known to all these multitudes what serving him really signified - entire self-renunciation; a real, not a poetic or sentimental, taking up the cross (ver. 27). Even his own chosen disciples were yet a long way from apprehending the terrible meaning of this cross he spoke of, and which to him now bore so ghastly a significance.
If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Verse 26. - If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. The Lord's teaching throughout, in parable and in direct saying, pressed home to his followers that no home love, no earthly affection, must ever come into competition with the love of God. If home and his cause came ever into collision, home and all belonging to it must gently be put aside, and everything must be sacrificed to the cause. Farrar quotes here from Lovelace -
"I could not love thee, dear, so much,
Loved I not honour more."
And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
Verses 28-30. - For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. The imagery was not an unfamiliar one in those days. The magnificent Herodian house had a passion for erecting great buildings, sacred and profane, in the varied cities under their sway. They would doubtless be often imitated, and no doubt many an unfinished edifice testified to the foolish emulation of some would-be imitator of the extravagant royal house. Now, such incomplete piles of masonry and brickwork simply excite a contemptuous pity for the builder, who has so falsely calculated his resources when he drew the plan of the palace or villa he was never able to finish. So in the spiritual life, the would-be professor finds such living harder than he supposed, and so gives up trying after the nobler way of living altogether; and the world, who watched his feeble efforts and listened with an incredulous smile when he proclaimed his intentions, now ridicules him, and pours scorn upon what it considers an unattainable ideal. Such an attempt and failure injure the cause of God.
Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,
Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.
Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?
Verses 31, 32. - Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand! Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. It is not improbable that this simile was derived from the history of the time. The unhappy connection of the tetrarch Herod with Herodias had brought about the divorce of that sovereign's first wife, who was daughter of Aretas, a powerful Arabian prince. This involved Herod in an Arabian war, the result of which was disastrous to the tetrarch. Josephus points out that this ill-omened incident was the commencement of Herod Antipas's subsequent misfortunes. Our Lord not improbably used this simile, foreseeing what would be the ultimate end of this unhappy war of Herod. The. first of these two little similes rather points to the building up of the Christian life in the heart and life. The second is an image of the warfare which' every Christian man must wage against the world, its passions, and its lusts. If we cannot brace ourselves up to the' sacrifice necessary for the completion of the building up of the life we know the Master loves; if we shrink from the cost involved in the warfare against sin and evil - a warfare which will only end with life - better for us not to begin the building or risk the war. It will be a wretched alternative, but still it will be best for us to make our submission at once to the world and its prince; at least, by so doing we shall avoid the scandal and the shame of injuring a cause which we adopted only to forsake. The Swiss commentator Godet very naturally uses here a simile taken from his own nationality: "Would not a little nation like the Swiss bring down ridicule on itself by declaring war with France, if it were not determined to die nobly on the field of battle?" He was thinking of the splendid patriotism of his own brave ancestors who had determined so to die, and who carried out their gallant purpose. He was thinking of stricken fields like Morgarten and Sempach, and of brave hearts like those of Rudolph of Erlach, and Arnold of Winkelried, who loved their country better than their lives. This was the spirit with which Christ's warriors must undertake the hard stern warfare against an evil and corrupt world, otherwise better let his cause alone. The sombre shadow of the cross lay heavy and dark across all the Redeemer's words spoken at this time.
Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.
So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
Verse 33. - So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. "We must live in this world as though the soul was already in heaven and the body mouldering in the grave" (St. Francis de Sales). There was much unreasoning, possibly not a little sentimental enthusiasm, among the people who crowded round Jesus in these last months of his work. The stern, uncompromising picture of what ought to be the life of his real followers was painted especially with a view of getting rid of these useless, purposeless enthusiasts. The way of the cross, which he was about to tread, was no pathway for such light-hearted triflers.
Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
Verses 34, 35. - Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned! It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. Here "salt" stands for the spirit of self-sacrifice, self-renunciation. When in a man, or in a nation, or in a Church, that salt is savourless, then that spirit is dead; there is no hope remaining for the man, for the people, or the Church. The lesson was a general one - it was meant to sink into each listener's heart; but the Master's sad gaze was fixed, as he spoke the sombre truth, on the people of Israel whom he loved, and on the temple of Jerusalem where his glory-presence used to dwell. Men cast it out. Jesus could hear the armed tramp of the Roman legions of the year 70 as they east out his people from their holy land.
It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.