When therefore the LORD knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,…
I. THE DEPARTURE. The reason for it was the jealousy of the Pharisees at Christ's success.
1. Jesus saw that a storm was coming, and withdrew. To abandon the profession or defence of the gospel from dread of suffering is quite a different thing from the persecuted Christian in one city fleeing to another to there hold forth the Word of life.
2. It is that persecutors are not always the open enemies, but are sometimes the professed friends, of religion, and that the name of God has often been associated with relentless cruelty.
3. The Pharisees did not hear Christ, but received reports doubtless exaggerated, for they heard that He personally baptized.
4. The great work of the ministry is not to baptize, but to preach. They are Christ's fellow-workers in discriminating the truth, but not fellow-workers with the Spirit in communicating grace.
II. THE ARRIVAL.
1. Although the district was alien, there were souls to be saved.
(1) To the eye of man Jesus appeared to be fleeing from persecution.
(2) To the eye of God the visit was part of a mysterious plan by which the glory of the Divine government was to be revealed.
(3) To the eye of faith it offers an illustration of the manner in which the purpose of God is fulfilled.
2. Christ's presence and work at Sychar, with its illustrious antecedents, offer encouragements to prayer for those who are to come after us.
(1) Parents should be stimulated to pray for children's children,
(2) Believers to plead for the future of the Church.
(A. Beith, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John,