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nay, to pay the price of reconciliation; to make a propitiation for sin, that as many as believe in him might not perish, but have everlasting life. This preaching the acceptable year of the Lord, would be to the broken and contrite spirit, what the trumpet which proclaimed the year of jubilee had formerly been to the slave, and the prisoner, and the debtor among the Israelites.3 That proclamation cancelled debts, and gave slaves their freedom. This proclamation would cancel the debt of the ten thousand talents which the sinner owes to God, and so set his heart at ease. It would heal the broken-hearted: deliver the captive: recover sight to the blind set at liberty them that are bruised. Such was too often the misery under which the captives of old time laboured: their imprisonment was hopeless: their eyes were blinded they were bruised with fetters; the iron entered into their soul. And under all these miseries would the captives of Satan labour: blindness was come upon them they were tied and bound with the chain of their sins: they would look for deliverance in vain. But the gospel announces to such captives, Be of good cheer: God has found a ransom.
Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world." Continue in his word, "and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." The broken-hearted may rejoice: God offers them the covenant of peace. The poor hear glad tidings; God careth for them. The captives are delivered; for greater is He that is with us, than he that is in the world. The blind
3 See Levit. xxv. 8.
recover sight: for he that believes in Christ "shall not abide in darkness." The bruised are set at liberty: for he "will heal them of their wounds, saith the Lord." The acceptable year of the Lord is come; for he hath sent his beloved Son, to announce a message of mercy to his rebellious children.
This, then, is the purpose for which Christ was anointed, and the purpose which he alone could execute: for he alone could say, "Fear not; I am the first and the last; I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death.”✦
But though now this is made clear to us; easily understood and explained; we cannot wonder that when first uttered, those who heard it were astonished.
22. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son?
23. And he said unto them, Ye shall surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.
24. And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
Jesus, it appears, had been heard of, as performing miracles at Capernaum. They might expect him to perform like miracles at his own home, as a physician might be expected to bestow his first attention on himself. But their state of mind prevented it. “He could do no mighty works there,
4 Rev. i. 18.
because of their unbelief." They cavilled, and said, Is not this Joseph's son? They knew his humble education, and they thought they knew his parentage and hence was excited that jealousy and envy of our corrupt nature, which often deprives a good man of the honour done to him, where it ought to be first paid, in his own country, in his own family and neighbourhood. Therefore he refuses the signs to Nazareth, which he granted to Capernaum and reminds them, that it had been the way of God with their forefathers, to "have mercy on whom he will have mercy." A heathen widow, at Sarepta, a city of Sidon, and a heathen officer, Naaman a Syrian, had received benefits which were denied to the many lepers and widows of faithless Israel.
25. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
26. But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.5
27. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.
28. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
29. And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
30. But he passing through the midst of them went his way,
31. And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days.
5 1 Kings xvii.
62 Kings v.
32. And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power.
"He taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes." A power, however, must be present with those who hear, as well as those who speak, that the word may benefit the soul. In vain is the arrow pointed, if the heart is cased in iron. The people of Nazareth wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth but when these words opposed their carnal thoughts, they were filled with wrath, and rose up and thrust him out of the city.
Thus "the kingdom of God had come nigh them;" but they rejected it, and knew not "that there had been a prophet amongst them."
UNCLEAN SPIRITS CAST OUT. THE PRESENCE OF JESUS DESIRED.
LUKE iv. 33-44.
(Mark i. 23-39.)
33. And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice,
34. Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee,
thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God.
35. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. And when the devil had thrown him in the midst, he came out of him, and hurt him not.
36. And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come
37. And the fame of him went out into every place of the country round about.
The enmity of Satan and his host against God and righteousness, is strongly manifested upon this occasion. The Son of God, the Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, enters the synagogue, and instructs the people in temperance, and righteousness, and judgment to come. "And they were astonished at his doctrine; for his word was with power." Immediately an unclean spirit, by which one present was possessed, recognises his conqueror, and cried out with a loud voice, saying, Let us alone: what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy one of God.
This is the key to the whole state of man upon earth. This explains the difficulties which godliness encounters. "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers; against the prince of the power of the air, against spiritual wickedness in high places.' Hence it comes, that the gate of life is strait, its way narrow. Satan will divert us out of it if he can. He will dread the entrance of grace into the heart, and will oppose the sentiments which accompany