Matthew 12:37
For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."
Casting Out Devils, and Blasphemy Against the Holy GhostMarcus Dods Matthew 12:22-37
The Bathos of Detracting BlasphemyP.C. Barker Matthew 12:22-37
The Heart in the TongueJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 12:33-37

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. It is in our Lord's mind here to account for the bad speech of the Pharisees. It was the natural expression of bad minds, minds full of prejudice and malice. How could they, "being evil, speak good things"? But a great principle is involved in our Lord's appeal.

I. WORDS MAY BE MERE WORDS. Our Lord calls them "idle words." Much that we say we have not really thought. We often speak first and think last. And such idle words, though they do not express our real selves, often make sad mischief. Words glibly pass our tongues, and we forget them the moment after they are uttered, but they are as scorpion-stings to those who hear; they light up fires like the fires of hell. Therefore Christ warns so severely against words that have no thought and no heart behind them, and yet do their fatal work, saying, "For every idle word that man shall speak, he shall give account in the day of judgment." The first law of good speech is - think before you speak.

II. WORDS MAY UTTER A BAD HEART. The skill of life is keeping bad thoughts from gaining utterance. At the most, they only injure one person if they are kept from utterance. There is no knowing how many they may injure if they get expressed. These Pharisees had bad enough thoughts concerning Christ. If they had kept them to themselves, they would only have ruined themselves. Speaking their thought out, they started evil in other minds; words were agencies for communicating thought to thought; so the mischief ran, other souls were blocked against Christ, and his redeeming work was hindered in men.

III. WORDS MAY UTTER A GOOD HEART. Think pure things, and you need not restrain utterance; you will find pure words. Think kind things, trustful things, God-honouring things, and then, out of the abundance of the heart, the lips may freely speak. What you say will not be "idle things" with nothing behind them; nor will they be evil things with malice behind them. Let God make the soul-fountains of thought and heart fresh and sweet by his Holy Spirit's regenerating and sanctifying, and there need be no fear - our speech will be good speech, "seasoned with salt." - R.T.

That every idle word.
The Pharisees bad said, "This fellow doth not east out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils." Christ meets this objection in two ways.

I. He shows its UNREASONABLENESS. It is against experience that any power, good or bad, consciously seeks its own destruction. The powers of evil and of good are distinct, and each power is ready to defend itself.

II. He condemns THE SPIRIT IN WHICH IT WAS MADE, and brings out the serious nature of the sin it involved. Why did Christ warn them against this dangerous sin? Not because of any act unmistakably wicked and cruel, but because they called evil good, and good evil, confounding the two, and this from dislike to the truth when it reflected on themselves. There lay the danger; and there it lies still. The essence of sin is being out of sympathy with goodness.

(A. Watson, D. D.)

Just as it can be shown in nature that the law of gravitation in a drop of water is the same law which binds the planets in their courses in the distant heavens, and the same law which reigns through the whole universe of matter; so the law which binds goodness to goodness, or which draws evil to evil, in the instinctive feeling that they are in themselves one, is a law which holds good in the visible and invisible worlds. The powers of evil — so far as they know one another — are all under one great power, and they will not conspire consciously against themselves.

(A. Watson, D. D.)

They are words that issue out of a condition of idleness.

1. Tattling. Tattling dims the charity of the charitable mind as a spider dims the light of a window, spinning his web over it.

2. Tale-bearing.

3. "Slang" conversation. Slang is to language what profanity is to reverence.

4. Boasting.

5. Swearing.

(H. W. Beecher.)

A child that is in trouble in the nurse's arms is sung to; some little song, the whole of which does not give a single solitary particle of meaning; but the movement of it, and the various associations that are connected with it, charm the child away from tears, and make him happier.

(H. W. Beecher.)

I think no musical instrument in the world is like the utterance of speech in one whose voice is well trained, whose mind is rich with emotion, and who is accustomed to describe in graceful and appropriate language one's own experience in life. The conversation that flows in the quietude of a family, like the tinkling of a brook under the shadow of green trees; the conversation that flows like a river whose banks are efflorescent, and which holds its way deep and tranquil — such conversation may become a habit, not only in the sense of not being hurtful but in the sense of having a beauty which is pleasurable.

(H. W. Beecher.)


1. By idle words we may understand such words as proceed from vanity or deceit, which comprehend the pretences and plausible speeches of the cunning, and the empty boastings of the vain-glorious man.

2. Idle words may comprehend the reports of envy and malice, by which our neighbour suffers in credit or reputation.

3. Idle words may imply such as are the product of a loose and idle mind, such as represent the impure conceptions of a mind polluted with lust.

4. By idle words we may understand useless and insignificant words which are spent to no great end or purpose, either good or bad.


1. He descends from the greater to the less evils of speech; from blasphemy to the other evils which are generated in the heart, and from thence derived to the tongue — "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders," etc. Not only these but idle words will be punished. Jesting does not become the gospel.

III. THE END AND DESIGN OF SPEECH, which is the gift of God to mankind. If we use our speech to serve any purpose contrary to the end designed by God, we abuse His gift and must answer for it.

1. Speech was given for the communication of our thoughts to each other, yet all our thoughts are not to be brought into conversation.

2. The wants and necessities of nature call for our help, and as these subjects must employ great part of our thoughts, so likewise of our speech, for we cannot live without mutual aid.

3. Further, God has made us to delight in each other's company, hence it is lawful to employ speech for improving mutual love and friendship. Men may talk of many subjects which have no present instruction, Yet they may serve this end.

4. Consider the different degrees of sense and understanding that men are endowed with. The tongue cannot speak better than the understanding can conceive. Must not despise the conversation of weaker men.

(T. Sherlock, D. D.)

Many imagine that this sin is too insignificant to be remembered at a moment when the vast things of eternity shall be waiting the allotment of the Judge. It cannot be a small thing to disobey God, though it may be a small thing in which I disobey Him. We maintain that sins of the tongue, if compared with other sins, should be regarded as aggravated, rather than trivial. David speaks of the tongue as of the best member which he had. And never should it be forgotten that language is not a human invention; men left to themselves could not have arranged such a system for communicating their thoughts one to the other. There was silence in creation till man was made with the faculty of expressing what he felt, and creation thrilled at the melody of speech.

1. We ought to consider the faculty of speech, how eminent its power, before we marvel at the criminality attached to its abuse. Every one condemns the prostitution of reason, because it is a high attribute; but "what is language but reason walking abroad? Can it be a light thing to use the tongue against God, and dishonouring Him through that whence He looked for His chief glory?

2. If these remarks prove the " idle word" so criminal that of itself it might justly procure the condemnation of the speaker, they will also prove that our conversation may evidence whether or no we have justifying faith. St. James makes the power of the tongue equivalent to power over the whole man. He who is master of his chief faculty is little likely to be the slave of an inferior. It is true that no sin is more easily committed than one of the tongue; hence the non-commission of it is a high attainment. It is just because the thing may be so easily done, that the not doing it marks singular power and vigilance. But this is evidence from their being no idle words; there may be positive as well as negative witness, "the witness of what is uttered as well as of what is repressed. If it be true that " out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh," we may confidently reckon that where there is genuine piety it will give tone to the conversation. "With the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Hence there is a high duty to be performed by the tongue. Therefore, whilst we admit that faith is the instrument of justification, we can understand why words, which are the confession of Christ before men, should be given as securing salvation. They are but faith embodied. It was to a particular description of idle words that our Lord had respect — scoffing words. What helps our laughter will soon lose our reverence.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

Language is so curious, so costly a gift, so impregnate with Deity, so vast in empire, that to misuse it, though in the least particular, may be likened to sacrilege, the profanation of an august and infinite mystery.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

It is grievous, for example, to think of God irreverently: the soul should be His sanctuary: and to profane Him there, is to aggravate the contempt by offering it at the shrine which He reared for Himself. But it is yet more grievous to speak of Him irreverently. This is worse than dishonouring Him at the secret shrine: this is taking the material of His costliest temple — for is it not said, that He " inhabiteth the praises of Israel?" as though words were the columns, the walls, the domes, which combine for the noblest dwelling-place of Deity — I say, then, that to speak irreverently of God, is to take the material of His costliest temple, and fashion it into a structure where He may be openly contemped. The richness of the material enhances the dishonour. Give me the stars with which to build, give me the treasures of immensity with which to adorn, and the temple which I rear to an idol shall be so much the more an insult to the one living God. And it is thus with speech. Words are as the stars of heaven, fitted to illumine the yet dark places of creation. Burning with truth, they may guide the wanderings, and be as messengers for the depths of eternity.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

Their words are more than exhibitions of the workings and movements of the intellect, more than the displayed rushings and soarings of the imagination. They are the discoverings of a heaven-born principle, a principle which apprehends truths that are above the human intellect, and glories that defy the human imagination. They are the signs, the evidences, of a second creation — the order, the symmetry, the beauty, the stateliness, of a new and spiritual world, demonstrated, unveiled, laid open, incorporated. If they be words of prayer, they are the ascendings towards heaven of renovated affections: if of praise, they are the vibrations of chords which a Divine hand has returned: if of reproof, counsel, exhortation, they are but the soul, once "dead in trespasses and sins," appearing as an armed man to fight the battle of the Lord. Then words may justify, as incontrovertible proofs of a justifying faith, and a renewed nature. Actions furnish no better criterion: and when the great white throne shall be set, and the earth and the sea shall have given up their dead, the righteous and the wicked may alike have their portions determined by their use of the tongue: speech, forgotten speech, may be heard again, piercing as the trumpet-peal, by which the graves have been rent; and there will be no fear of erroneous decision, should there be no rule of judgment but this, "By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned."

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

Consider some of the ways by which words minister to our condemnation.

I. At the head of the list we must put PROFANE SWEARING.

II. Another way in which we expose ourselves to God's displeasure is by FOOLISH WALKING (Ephesians 5:4).

III. Another example of the improper use of the gift of speech is an indulgence in the PETULANT AND COMPLAINING LANGUAGE which so often destroys the harmony of private life.

IV. A fourth illustration of our text is found in the case of MISREPRESENTATION AND SLANDERS.

V. ANGRY WORDS may endanger our salvation.

(J. H. Norton.)

Happy are the friends of those whose conversation "ministers grace to the hearers." It may not always be grave and serious; it may even dance and sparkle like a mountain stream in the cheerful sunlight; but it is always innocent and pure.

(J. H. Norton.)

You could not fasten upon any word or sentence, and say that it was calumny; for in order to constitute slander it is not necessary that the word spoken should be false — half truths are often more calumnious than whole falsehoods. It is not even necessary that a word should be distinctly uttered: a dropped lip, an arched eyebrow, a shrugged shoulder, a significant look, an incredulous expression of countenance; — nay, even an emphatic silence, may do the work; and when the light and trifling thing which has done the mischief has fluttered off, the venom is left behind, to work and rankle, to inflame hearts, and to poison human society at the fountain springs of life.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

There is a machine in the museum at Venice, by which some forgotten Italian tyrant used to sheet poisoned needles at the objects of his hatred. How much worse was he than the unscrupulous agent of slander to whom the great Judge of all is heard to say: "By thy words thou shalt be condemned"?

(J. H. Norton.)

I do not call words idle simply because they cannot be registered and measured by a matter-of-fact standard. How often has an airy word of pleasantry fallen on the ear and pierced the shield of prejudice or passion! How often has the cloud, no bigger than a man's hand, but which would soon have overspread the whole sky, been dispersed by a momentary gleam of bright sunshine, and by a word which in itself was only fugitive, and hardly to be remembered. You cannot call that an idle word which is the outflow of simple cheerfulness, if it dissipates an angry thought.

(A. Watson, D. D.)

The man who indulges in frivolous and idle talk damages his own mental faculties and moral sense. In such speech there is no demand for the reflective powers, and they become impotent; no development of the sentiments of truth, benevolence, and religion, the very stamina of our moral nature, and they become more and more inoperative and dead. In idle talk the soul in every way is injured; its rich soil, capable of producing trees of knowledge and life, is wasted in flowery, it may be, but still noxious weeds.

(Dr. Thomas.)

Science affirms that every movement in the material creation propagates an influence to the remotest planet in the universe. Be this as it may, it seems morally certain that every word spoken on the ear will have an influence lasting as eternity. The words we address to men are written, not on parchment, marble, or brass, which time may effiace, but on the indestructible pages of the soul. Everything written on the imperishable soul is imperishable. All the words that have ever been addressed to you by men long since departed, are written on the book of your memory, and will be unsealed at the " Day of Judgment," and spread out in the full beams of eternal knowledge.

(Dr. Thomas.)

The meaning may best be gathered from the metaphor whence it appears to be taken — that of money, not employed, but lying dead in the hands of the possessor. Our words are as precious in their proper use as gold and silver; but they become "idle" words when they yield no interest, when they bear no good fruit to the glory of God, the edification or comfort of our neighbour, the salvation of ourselves and of those who hear us.

(J. Ford.)

Idle words are deemed of little consequence. There are more deaths occasioned by unperceived irregularities of diet, than by open and apparent surfeits. If venial sins be less in quality, they are more in quantity; and their multitude makes them equal to the other's magnitude. The aggregation of atoms made at first the world's huge mass; and the aggregation of drops did drown it, when it was made.

(O. Feltham.)

An infidel once remarked jestingly to a clergyman, "I always spend the Sunday in settling my accounts." "You may find, sir," was the solemn reply, "that the Day of Judgment is to be spent in exactly the same manner!"

Our conversation need not always be of grace, but it should be with grace.

(Matthew Henry.)

I. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN FAITH AND WORKS WHICH CAUSES THE JUSTIFICATION DERIVED FROM THE FORMER, OFTEN TO BE SPOKEN OF AS DERIVED FROM THE LATTER. Turn away the mean and despicable notion of a faith, which doth not cordially embrace Christ, and concentrate all the affections of the soul in Him as in one centre, like as a thousand rivers pour forth their mighty waters into the bosom of the ocean, or as the scattered rays of the midday sun, gathered by the optic glass, meet in one bright focus. Whenever there is true faith in Christ, works of righteousness and .peace are the inevitable consequences of her dominion. Whenever justification is in Scripture ascribed to works, it is not for their own sake, but for the sake of that faith whence they spring.

II. How THE PARTICULAR FRUIT TO WHICH OUR TEXT ALLUDES IS A JUST CRITERION OF OUR FAITH, AND A FITTING STANDARD FOR THE AWARDS OF FINAL TRIUMPH. "For by thy words," etc. Such is the law, and its justice will be evinced by our referring to the fruit of the lip as an indication of the faith of the heart. God may be denied by words and thoughts, hence both may fairly decide the great assize. From the tenor of a man's conversation we may estimate his conversion. Various methods by which this law might be vindicated — words of prayer and praise. Absence of these leads to condemnation. Faith speaks through these — "If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man."

(H. Melvill, M. A.)

I believe a man may speak of heaven who shall never behold its mansions, just as he may speak of India who will never sail towards its distant shores. It is one thing to decide that a man has justifying faith merely because his tongue may give utterance to matters connected with religion; and it is another to declare that where there is faith, it will call forth religious conversation, and excite a Divine aspiration.

(H. Melvill, M. A.)

I. For good or ill, the life of every one of us is an incessant influence.

II. Deduce from this fact some important lessons.

1. Our unconscious influence is spontaneous, and has no premeditation or calculation about it.

2. Our unconscious influence is a perpetual emanation from ourselves.

3. This unconscious influence is necessarily simple.

4. Our unconscious influence is the more powerful because it excites no suspicion.

III. In what sense and on what grounds are we accountable for this kind of influence?

1. It is conditioned by our character.

2. It is by this we act most on those who are nearest to us.

3. Our indirect influence is our truest. It best represents us.

4. By these unconscious exhibitions of character the world is constantly judging us. Learn

(1)The importance of each act in our life;

(2)The necessity of conversion.

(Clement Bailhache.)

I. What does our Lord call an idle word? Some understand unprofitable words; others false, reproachful, hurtful words; and this latter meaning may be preferred.

II. How can men be justified by their words, if they are good; and condemned by them, if evil?

III. The reasonableness of justifying or condemning men by their words. One reason is, that a great deal is in the power of the tongue. Another is, that as men's words are so are their hearts.

IV. Application:

1. No one may hence infer that he may be saved by a fair profession of religion without good works.

2. Here is a mark which may be of good use for determining our sincerity or insincerity.

3. The doctrine of the text teaches us to be careful of our words.

4. We may hence discern that the Lord Jesus was a most excellent person — "Never man spake like Him."

(N. Lardner.)

Think of the streams of holy speech which have been flowing through the world for ages, and of the life which they have conveyed to thirsty souls. Think of these streams as they are flowing to-day in tens of thousands of Christian congregations, and in innumerable Sabbath-schools. Compare their influence with that of the dark utterances of heathenism, and the disturbing teachings of unbelief. Think of the countless rills of Christian speech which are flowing to-day from the lips of those who love the Saviour, and who are endeavouring to make Him known in the home, in the sick-chamber, in the prison-house, and in their various intercourse with those around them. Compare their influence with that of the idle, thoughtless, impious, profane talk of the millions who are living without God; and then say whether Christianity may or may not be judged by its words!

(Clement Bailhache.)

Beelzebub, David, Isaiah, Jesus, Jonah, Jonas, Ninevites, Solomon
Galilee, Nineveh
Condemned, Declared, Judged, Justified, Righteous, Righteousness, Unrighteous
1. Jesus reproves the blindness of the Pharisees concerning the Sabbath,
3. by scripture,
9. by reason,
13. and by a miracle.
22. He heals a man possessed that was blind and mute;
24. and confronting the absurd charge of casting out demons by Beelzebub,
32. he shows that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall never be forgiven.
36. Account shall be made of idle words.
38. He rebukes the unfaithful, who seek after a sign,
46. and shows who is his brother, sister, and mother.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Matthew 12:28-38

     3045   Holy Spirit, sovereignty

Matthew 12:33-37

     5173   outward appearance

Matthew 12:34-37

     5547   speech, power of

Matthew 12:35-37

     8751   false witness

Matthew 12:36-37

     2363   Christ, preaching and teaching
     5052   responsibility, to God
     5575   talk, idle
     5868   gossip
     9240   last judgment

An Attempt to Account for Jesus
'But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This man doth not cast out demons, but by Beelzebub, the prince of the demons.'--MATT. xii. 24. Mark's Gospel tells us that this astonishing explanation of Christ and His work was due to the ingenious malice of an ecclesiastical deputation, sent down from Jerusalem to prevent the simple folk in Galilee from being led away by this new Teacher. They must have been very hard put to it to explain undeniable but unwelcome facts, when they hazarded such a preposterous
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

'Make the Tree Good'
'... Make the tree good, and his fruit good....' --MATT. xii. 33. In this Gospel we find that our Lord twice uses this image of a tree and its fruit. In the Sermon on the Mount He applies it as a test to false teachers, who hide, beneath the wool of the sheep's clothing, the fangs and paws of ravening wolves. He says, 'By their deeds ye shall know them; for as is the tree so is its fruit.' That is a rough and ready test, which applies rather to the teacher than to his doctrine, but it applies, to
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

'A Greater than Jonas'
'A greater than Jonas is here.'--MATT. xii. 41. There never was any man in his right mind, still more of influence on his fellows, who made such claims as to himself in such unmistakable language as Jesus Christ does. To say such things of oneself as come from His lips is a sign of a weak, foolish nature. It is fatal to all influence, to all beauty of character. It is not only that He claims official attributes as a fanatical or dishonest pretender to inspiration may do. He does that, but He does
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

'A Greater than Solomon'
'A greater than Solomon is here.'--MATT. xii. 42. It is condescension in Him to compare Himself with any; yet if any might have been selected, it is that great name. To the Jews Solomon is an ideal figure, who appealed so strongly to popular imagination as to become the centre of endless legends; whose dominion was the very apex of national glory, in recounting whose splendours the historical books seem to be scarce able to restrain their triumph and pride. I. The Man. The story gives us a richly
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Pharisees' Sabbath and Christ's
'At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the corn; and His disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. 2. But when the Pharisees saw it they said unto Him, Behold, Thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day. 3. But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; 4. How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. xii. 32, "Whosoever Shall Speak a Word against the Holy Spirit, it Shall not be Forgiven Him, Neither In
1. There has been a great question raised touching the late lesson of the Gospel, to the solution of which I am unequal by any power of mine own; but "our sufficiency is of God," [2335] to whatever degree we are capable of receiving His aid. First then consider the magnitude of the question; that when ye see the weight of it laid upon my shoulders, ye may pray in aid of my labours, and in the assistance which is vouchsafed to me, may find edification for your own souls. When "one possessed with a
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

On the Words of the Gospel, Matt. xii. 33, "Either Make the Tree Good, and Its Fruit Good," Etc.
1. The Lord Jesus hath admonished us, that we be good trees, and that so we may be able to bear good fruits. For He saith, "Either make the tree good, and his fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt, for the tree is known by his fruit." [2484] When He says, "Make the tree good, and his fruit good;" this of course is not an admonition, but a wholesome precept, to which obedience is necessary. But when He saith, "Make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt;" this is not a
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

Sweet Comfort for Feeble Saints
I. First, we have before us a view of MORTAL FRAILTY And first, the encouragement offered in our text applies to weak ones. What in the world is weaker than the bruised reed, or the smoking flax? A reed that groweth in the fen or marsh, let but the wild duck light upon it, and it snaps; let but the foot of man brush against it and it is bruised and broken; every wind that comes howling across the river makes it shake to and fro, and well nigh tears it up by the roots. You can conceive of nothing
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 1: 1855

How to Read the Bible
I. That is the subject of our present discourse, or, at least the first point of it, that IN ORDER TO THE TRUE READING OF THE SCRIPTURES THERE MUST BE AN UNDERSTANDING OF THEM. I scarcely need to preface these remarks by saying that we must read the Scriptures. You know how necessary it is that we should be fed upon the truth of Holy Scripture. Need I suggest the question as to whether you do read your Bibles or not? I am afraid that this is a magazine reading age a newspaper reading age a periodical
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 25: 1879

Strength in the Weak.
"He is Faithful that Promised." "A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench."--MATT. xii. 20. Strength in the Weak. Will Jesus accept such a heart as mine?--this erring, treacherous, traitor heart? The past! how many forgotten vows--broken covenants--prayerless days! How often have I made new resolutions, and as often has the reed succumbed to the first blast of temptation, and the burning flax been well-nigh quenched by guilty omissions and guiltier commissions! Oh!
John Ross Macduff—The Faithful Promiser

Identity of Christ's Character.
THE argument expressed by this title I apply principally to the comparison of the first three Gospels with that of Saint John. It is known to every reader of Scripture that the passages of Christ's history preserved by Saint John are, except his passion and resurrection, for the most part different from those which are delivered by the other evangelists. And I think the ancient account of this difference to be the true one, viz., that Saint John wrote after the rest, and to supply what he thought
William Paley—Evidences of Christianity

What are Evidences of Backsliding in Heart.
1. Manifest formality in religious exercises. A stereotyped, formal way of saying and doing things, that is clearly the result of habit, rather than the outgushing of the religious life. This formality will be emotionless and cold as an iceberg, and will evince a total want of earnestness in the performance of religious duty. In prayer and in religious exercises the backslider in heart will pray or praise, or confess, or give thanks with his lips, so that all can hear him, perhaps, but in such a
Charles G. Finney—The Backslider in Heart

Lesser and Fuller Forms.
Moreover, we have endeavoured to use the fullest form, including the words of those Gospels which have the lesser forms of sentences, except where the sentence ends in a period, in which case have given the least form, so that the larger form of the other Gospels might be made apparent; as, for instance, this sentence, taken from Matt. xii. 47; Mark iii. 32; Luke viii. 20: ^c 20 And it was told him, ^a Behold, thy mother and thy brethren bseek for thee. ^c stand without desiring to see thee. ^a seeking
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Jesus Defends Disciples who Pluck Grain on the Sabbath.
(Probably While on the Way from Jerusalem to Galilee.) ^A Matt. XII. 1-8; ^B Mark II. 23-28; ^C Luke VI. 1-5. ^b 23 And ^c 1 Now it came to pass ^a 1 At that season ^b that he ^a Jesus went { ^b was going} on the { ^c a} ^b sabbath day through the grainfields; ^a and his disciples were hungry and began ^b as they went, to pluck the ears. ^a and to eat, ^c and his disciples plucked the ears, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. [This lesson fits in chronological order with the last, if the Bethesda
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Jesus Heals Multitudes Beside the Sea of Galilee.
^A Matt. XII. 15-21; ^B Mark III. 7-12. ^a 15 And Jesus perceiving it withdrew ^b with his disciples ^a from thence: ^b to the sea [This was the first withdrawal of Jesus for the avowed purpose of self-preservation. After this we find Jesus constantly retiring to avoid the plots of his enemies. The Sea of Galilee, with its boats and its shores touching different jurisdictions, formed a convenient and fairly safe retreat]: ^a and many followed him; ^b and a great multitude from Galilee followed; and
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Blasphemous Accusations of the Jews.
(Galilee.) ^A Matt. XII. 22-37; ^B Mark III. 19-30; ^C Luke XI. 14-23. ^b 19 And he cometh into a house. [Whose house is not stated.] 20 And the multitude cometh together again [as on a previous occasion--Mark ii. 1], so that they could not so much as eat bread. [They could not sit down to a regular meal. A wonderful picture of the intense importunity of people and the corresponding eagerness of Jesus, who was as willing to do as they were to have done.] 21 And when his friends heard it, they went
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Sign Seekers, and the Enthusiast Reproved.
(Galilee on the Same Day as the Last Section.) ^A Matt. XII. 38-45; ^C Luke XI. 24-36. ^c 29 And when the multitudes were gathering together unto him, ^a 38 Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, Teacher, we would see a sign from thee. [Having been severely rebuked by Jesus, it is likely that the scribes and Pharisees asked for a sign that they might appear to the multitude more fair-minded and open to conviction than Jesus had represented them to be. Jesus had just wrought
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Christ's Teaching as to his Mother and Brethren.
(Galilee, Same Day as the Last Lesson.) ^A Matt. XII. 46-50; ^B Mark III. 31-35; ^C Luke VIII. 19-21. ^a 46 While he yet speaking to the multitudes, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without seeking to speak to him. [Jesus was in a house, probably at Capernaum--Mark iii. 19; Matt. xiii. 1.] ^c 19 and there came { ^b come} ^c to him his mother and ^b his brethren; ^c and they could not come at him for the crowd. ^a and, standing without, they sent unto him, calling him. 32 And the multitude
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

Jesus Defends Healing a Withered Hand on the Sabbath.
(Probably Galilee.) ^A Matt. XII. 9-14; ^B Mark III. 1-6; ^C Luke VI. 6-11. ^a 9 And he departed thence. [The word here points to a journey as in Matt. xi. 1 and xv. 29, which are the only places where Matthew uses this expression. Greswell may be right in thinking that it indicates the return back to Galilee from the Passover, since a cognate expression used by John expresses such a journey from Galilee to Judæa. See John vii. 3 ], ^c 6 And it came to pass on another sabbath [another sabbath
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Acceptance of the Christian Conception of Life Will Emancipate Men from the Miseries of Our Pagan Life.
The External Life of Christian Peoples Remains Pagan Though they are Penetrated by Christian Consciousness--The Way Out of this Contradiction is by the Acceptance of the Christian Theory of Life--Only Through Christianity is Every Man Free, and Emancipated of All Human Authority--This Emancipation can be Effected by no Change in External Conditions of Life, but Only by a Change in the Conception of Life--The Christian Ideal of Life Requires Renunciation of all Violence, and in Emancipating the Man
Leo Tolstoy—The Kingdom of God is within you

The Two Sabbath-Controversies - the Plucking of the Ears of Corn by the Disciples, and the Healing of the Man with the Withered Hand
IN grouping together the three miracles of healing described in the last chapter, we do not wish to convey that it is certain 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
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

The First Peræan Discourses - to the Pharisees Concerning the Two Kingdoms - their Contest - what Qualifies a Disciple for the Kingdom of God, And
It was well that Jesus should, for the present, have parted from Jerusalem with words like these. They would cling about His hearers like the odour of incense that had ascended. Even the schism' that had come among them [4194] concerning His Person made it possible not only to continue His Teaching, but to return to the City once more ere His final entrance. For, His Peræan Ministry, which extended from after the Feast of Tabernacles to the week preceding the last Passover, was, so to speak,
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

Opposition to Jesus.
During the first period of his career, it does not appear that Jesus met with any serious opposition. His preaching, thanks to the extreme liberty which was enjoyed in Galilee, and to the number of teachers who arose on all hands, made no noise beyond a restricted circle. But when Jesus entered upon a path brilliant with wonders and public successes, the storm began to gather. More than once he was obliged to conceal himself and fly.[1] Antipas, however, did not interfere with him, although Jesus
Ernest Renan—The Life of Jesus

The Cardinal was Seated, -- He Rose as Moretti Appeared. ...
The Cardinal was seated,--he rose as Moretti appeared. "I beg your Eminence to spare yourself!" said Moretti suavely, with a deep salutation, "And to pardon me for thus coming unannounced into the presence of one so highly esteemed by the Holy Father as Cardinal Bonpre!" The Cardinal gave a gesture of courteous deprecation; and Monsignor Moretti, lifting his, till then, partially lowered eyelids, flashed an angry regard upon the Abbe Vergniaud, who resting his back against the book-case behind him,
Marie Corelli—The Master-Christian

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