And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.
No sooner is the great work begun than a strikingly illustrative example of its true character and beneficent power is presented. It was in Capernaum, which, so far from being "exalted unto heaven," would hear the curse, "Thou shalt go down unto Hades." And it was "the sabbath day;" therefore of a surety "he straightway... entered into the synagogue." Now, in his "Father's house," he is doing the great work he came to do, "to bear witness of the truth." Here are all Divine things - the Lord's day, the Lord's house, the Lord's Son, the Lord's Word. Truly "the kingdom of God" is come. It is a typical example. Here we learn that Christ's work is:
1. A work of teaching.
2. A conquest of the evil spirit.
3. A healing of human infirmities and sufferings.
This threefold work finds its ample and beautiful illustration here.
I. In the synagogue he TAUGHT. This is his chief, perhaps his greatest, work. His kingdom he will rule with truth; with truth he will wrest its alienated portions from the usurper. This is his one weapon of antagonism against all evils. He himself is "the Truth." His was no second-hand, derived truth. He was a perpetual spring of new truth - an authority in all matters of truth. "Truth is in Jesus," and this his manner would betoken. Well might the hearers stand "astonished." Christ calmly spoke truth - the truth. This was ever his sword. By it the heart is pierced; men are convicted "in respect of sin" by it; the truth brings peace, for it brings the knowledge of salvation; the truth reveals the way of life; the truth unveils the future. All truth he taught. "Out of his mouth proceedeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations? The wise soldiers of the cross to-day preach the Word; the wise servants scatter truth, for it is the only seed from which the kingdom of heaven will grow.
II. Following hard upon the utterance of truth is CONFLICT WITH THE SPIRIT OF EVIL, which, being a spirit of error, truth disturbs. Then the great conflict is seen. The "unclean spirit" has nothing in common with Jesus, the pure One, as is declared in "What have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth?" No; these are mutually exclusive, mutually destructive. The spirit of evil is revealed.
1. It is an "unclean ]PGBR> spirit.
2. It is a spirit of antagonism to truth.
3. It is a malignant; spirit, tearing" its victim till he cries aloud.
4. Till Jesus speaks, it dominates over the entire life of its victim.
5. But in his presence it is a conquered spirit. With authority he commandeth even the unclean spirits, and they obey him. There is no power, in earth or in Hades, above him. Christ's word then, now, and always, casts out the evil spirit.
III. But men suffer many pains and sorrows. Ignorance, folly, mistake, sin, - all combine to expose the tender flesh to injury. It is the holy mission of the Son of man to HEAL HUMAN INFIRMITIES, to dry up the fount of human sorrow, to wipe the tears from human faces. The prostrate mother-in-law of his chief apostle is named to him as he leaves the synagogue, "and he came and took her by the hand, and raised her up; and the fever left; her, and she ministered unto them." He has shown his relation to truth as its Fountain, to the evil spirit as its Conqueror, to disease as its Healer. Lo! the need of his presence and work is demonstrated. The cool of the day affords suitable time, and "they bring unto him all that were sick, and those that were possessed with devils." Of them, "he healed many that were sick with divers diseases, and cast out many devils." Oh, gracious visitation! Well might "all the city be gathered together at the door." What a holy excitement! What a day of grace! This but typifies the healing power of his word and doctrine. At once we learn that Christ stands opposed to human suffering. But disease is the natural consequence of broken law. It is the just retribution following disobedience. Is Christ opposed to law? No, he heals disease and casts out devils, as he commanded his disciples to do:
1. By his word and spirit bringing men to obedience to law.
2. By the sick being brought in penitent faith to him, when the moral end of the sickness is truly answered.
3. By ministrations of that charity which Christian teaching awakens and sustains.
4. By his own Divine word of blessing upon the efforts of men to learn and keep the laws of nature, which are his laws. Thus "the gospel of Jesus Christ" begins. For its end we wait. The seed-corn is cast into the earth. The harvest will follow. - G.
Parallel VersesKJV: And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.