7:1 After he had ended all his sayings in the ears of the people, he entered into Capernaum1. HEALING THE CENTURION'S SERVANT (At Capernaum.) Matthew 8:1,5-13; Luke 7:1-10
After he had ended all his sayings in the ears of the people, he
entered into Capernaum. See Matthew
7:2 And a certain
centurion's servant1, who was dear unto him, was sick and
at the point of death.
A certain centurion's servant. A slave boy.
7:3 And when he
heard concerning Jesus1, he sent
unto him elders of the Jews, asking him that he would come and save his servant2.
And when he heard concerning Jesus. The sequel shows that the
centurion had probably heard how Jesus had healed the son of his
fellow-townsman. See John
He sent unto him elders of the Jews, asking him that he would come and
save his servant. See Matthew
7:4 And they, when they came to Jesus,
besought him earnestly, saying, He is worthy that thou
shouldest do this for him1;
Saying, He is worthy that thou shouldest do this for him. The
centurion evidently believed in and worshiped God, but, influenced probably
by his profession, did not become a proselyte by being circumcised and
conforming entirely to the Mosaic law. He was what later Jews would have
termed a Proselyte at the Gate, and not a full-fledged Proselyte of
7:5 for he loveth
our nation, and himself built us our synagogue1.
For he loveth our nation, and himself built us our synagogue. The
ruins of Capernaum show the ruins of a synagogue. It was a beautiful
structure, built of white limestone, shows by its architectural features
that it was built in the time of the Herods, and there is little doubt that
it is the one which this pious Gentile erected, and in which Jesus taught
and healed. On the synagogue, see Mark
7:6 And Jesus went with them. And when he
was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto
him, Lord, trouble not thyself; for I am not worthy
that thou shouldest come under my roof1:
For I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof. See Matthew
neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee1: but
say the word, and my servant shall be healed2.
Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee. The
centurion, well knowing that it was unlawful for Jews to go into the houses
of the Gentiles, lest they should sully the sanctity which they desired to
maintain, wished to spare Jesus any embarrassment. Whatever he may have
thought of this custom with regard to the Pharisees, he attributed to Jesus
so high a degree of sanctity that he accepted the doctrine as true in
reference to him.
But say the word, and my servant shall be healed. See Matthew
7:8 For I also am a
man set under authority1, having under myself soldiers:
and I say to this one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh;
and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
For I also am a man set under authority. See Matthew
7:9 And when Jesus
heard these things, he marvelled at him1, and turned and
said unto the multitude that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so
great faith, no, not in Israel.
And when Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, etc. See Matthew
7:10 And they that
were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole1.
And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant
whole. The centurion, long before this when he was building the
synagogue, had doubtless heard with delight concerning the wonderful works
wrought by the mighty prophets in the olden time; he little dreamed that his
own eyes should see them all surpassed.
7:11 And it came to pass soon afterwards,
that he went to a city called Nain1;
and his disciples went with him, and a great multitude2.
JESUS RAISES THE WIDOW'S SON. (At Nain in Galilee.) Luke
A city called Nain. Nain lies on the northern slope of the
mountain, which the Crusaders called Little Hermon, and between twenty and
twenty-five miles south of Capernaum, and about two miles west of Endor. At
present it is a small place with about a dozen mud hovels, but still bears
its old name, which the Arabs have modified into Nein. It is situated on a
bench in the mountain about sixty feet above the plain.
And a great multitude. We find that Jesus had been thronged with
multitudes pretty continuously since the choosing of his twelve apostles.
7:12 Now when he drew near to the gate of
the city, behold, there was carried out one that was
dead1, the only son of his mother2,
and she was a widow3: and
much people of the city was with her4.
There was carried out one that was dead. Places of sepulture were
outside the towns, that ceremonial pollution must be avoided. To this rule
there was an exception. The kings of Judah were buried in the city of David
16:20; 2 Kings
The only son of his mother. The death of an only child represented
to them as to us the extreme of sorrow (Jeremiah
And she was a widow. But in this case the sorrow was heightened by
the fact that the mother was a widow, and hence evidently dependent upon her
son for support. Her son had comforted her in her first loss of a husband,
but now that her son was dead, there was none left to comfort.
And much people of the city was with her. The Jews were careful to
give public expression to their sympathy for those who were bereaved (John
7:13 And when the
Lord saw her1, he had compassion
on her2, and said unto her, Weep
And when the Lord saw her. Some take this use of the phrase
"the Lord" as an evidence of the late date at which Luke wrote his
Gospel; but the point is not well taken, for John used it even before Jesus
He had compassion on her. As the funeral procession came out of the
gate, they met Jesus with his company coming in. Hence there were many
witnesses to what followed. But the miracle in this instance was not wrought
so much attest our Lord's commission, or to show his power, as to do good.
As Jesus had no other business in Nain but to do good, we may well believe
that he went there for the express purpose of comforting this forlorn
mother. Compare John
And said unto her, Weep not. Good blessings may come to us when
reason speaks and God's wise judgment answers; but we get our best blessings
when our afflictions cry unto him and his compassion replies.
7:14 And he came
nigh and touched the bier1: and
the bearers stood still2. And he
said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise3.
And he came nigh and touched the bier. The Greek word "soros",
here translated "bier", may mean a bier or coffin, and the
authorities are about equally divided as to which it was. It was more likely
a stretcher of boards, with the pallet or bed upon it, and the body of the
young man wrapped in linen lying upon the bed. Coffins, which were common in
Babylon and Egypt, were rarely used by the Jews, save in the burial of
people of distinction; and, if we may trust the writing of the later rabbis,
the burial of children. When they were used, the body was placed in them,
and borne without any lid to the place of sepulture. We find no coffin in
the burial of Lazarus or Jesus.
And the bearers stood still. Jesus was, no doubt, known to many in
Nain, and it is no wonder that those who bore the bier stood still when he
touched it. Though we cannot say that he had raised the dead prior to this,
we can say that he had healed every kind of disease known among the people,
and therefore his act would beget a reasonable expectancy that he might do
something even here.
And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. Here, as in the
other instances where Jesus revived the dead, we find that he issues a
personal call to the party whose remains are before him. It suggests the
sublime thought that he has as full dominion and authority over the unseen
as over the seen; and that should he issue a general call, all the dead
would revive again as obediently and immediately as did the single one to
whom he now spoke (John
5:28,29). The command of Jesus, moreover, is spoken with the ease and
consciousness of authority known only to Divinity. Compare the dependent
tone of Simon Peter (Acts
7:15 And he that
was dead sat up, and began to speak1. And
he gave him to his mother2.
And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. Thus showing that
not only life, but also health and strength, were restored.
And he gave him to his mother. As the full fruitage of his
compassion. The scene suggests that Christ will, with his own hands, restore
kindred to kindred in the glorious morning of resurrection.
7:16 And fear took
hold on all: and they glorified God1, saying,
A great prophet is arisen among us2: and,
God hath visited his people3.
And fear took hold on all: and they glorified God. Because the
power of God had been so signally manifested among them. They recognized the
presence of God's power and mercy, yet by no means apprehended the nearness
of his very person.
Saying, A great prophet is arisen among us. Expectation of the
return of one of the prophets was at that time widely spread. See Luke
9:8,19. That they should esteem Jesus as no more than a prophet was no
wonder, for as yet even his apostles had not confessed him as the Christ. In
state and conduct Jesus appeared to them too humble to fulfill the popular
ideas of Messiahship. But in wisdom and miracle he outshone all God's former
And, God hath visited his people. The "visiting" of God
refers to the long absence of the more strikingly miraculous powers of God
as exercised through the prophets. None had raised the dead since the days
of Elisha (2 Kings
7:17 And this
report went forth concerning him in the whole of Judaea1,
and all the region round about.
And this report went forth concerning him in the whole of Judaea,
and all the region round about. This great miracle caused the fame
of Jesus to fill all Judea as well as Galilee. It seems, from what next
follows, to have reached John the Baptist in his prison on the east of the
Dead Sea. See Matthew
7:18 And the disciples of John told him of
all these things.
THE BAPTIST'S INQUIRY AND JESUS' DISCOURSE SUGGESTED THEREBY. (Galilee.) Matthew
7:19 And John
calling unto him two of his disciples1 sent them to the
Lord, saying, Art thou he that cometh, or look we for another?
John calling unto him two of his disciples. See Matthew
7:20 And when the men were come unto him,
they said, John the Baptist hath sent us unto thee, saying, Art
thou he that cometh, or look we for another1?
Art thou he that cometh, or look we for another? See Matthew
7:21 In that hour
he cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits1;
and on many that were blind he bestowed sight.
In that hour he cured many of diseases and plagues and evil spirits,
and on many that were blind he bestowed sight. It may be inferred
that Jesus withheld answering the messengers (Luke
7:20) and went one with his works of grace, that these might testify to
John more potently than mere words of assertion. Jesus did not work miracles
to gratify skeptical curiosity, but he did use them, as here, to strengthen
wavering faith (Mark
7:22 And he
answered and said unto them, Go and tell John the things which ye have seen and
heard1; the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the
lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the
poor have good tidings preached to them2.
And he answered and said unto them, Go and tell John the things which
ye have seen and heard. See Matthew
The poor have good tidings preached to them. See Matthew
7:23 And blessed
is he, whosoever shall find no occasion of stumbling in me1.
And blessed is he, whosoever shall find no occasion of stumbling in me.
7:24 And when the messengers of John were
departed, he began to say unto the multitudes
concerning John1, What went ye out into the wilderness to
behold? a reed shaken with the wind?
He began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, etc. See Matthew
7:25 But what went ye out to see? a man
clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that are gorgeously apparelled, and live
delicately, are in kings' courts.
But what went ye out to see? a man clothed in soft raiment? See Matthew
7:26 But what went ye out to see? a
prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet.
But what went ye out to see? a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much
more than a prophet. See Matthew
7:27 This is he of
whom it is written1, Behold, I send my messenger before
thy face, Who shall prepare thy way before thee.
This is he of whom it is written, etc. See Matthew
7:28 I say unto you, Among
them that are born of women1 there is none greater than
John: yet he that is but little in the kingdom of God is greater than he.
Among them that are born of women, etc. See Matthew
7:29 And all the
people when they heard, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with
the baptism of John1.
And all the people when they heard, and the publicans, justified God,
being baptized with the baptism of John. They justified or approved the
wisdom of God in sending such a prophet as John and establishing such an
ordinance as baptism.
7:30 But the
Pharisees and the lawyers rejected for themselves the counsel of God, being not
baptized of him1.
But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected for themselves the counsel
of God, being not baptized of him. The counsel of God was that the
nation should be brought to repentance by John, that it might be saved by
Jesus; but the Pharisees frustrated this plan so far as they were concerned,
by their proud refusal to repent. All who followed their example shared
their unhappy success. It is noteworthy that Jesus emphasizes baptism as the
test as to whether men justify or reject God's counsel.
7:32 They are like
unto children that sit in the marketplace, and call one to another1;
who say, We piped unto you, and ye did not dance; we wailed, and ye did not
They are like unto children that sit in the marketplace, and call one
to another. See Matthew
7:33 For John the
Baptist is come1 eating no bread nor drinking wine; and ye
say, He hath a demon.
For John the Baptist is come, etc. See Matthew
7:36 And one of
the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him1. And
he entered into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat2.
JESUS' FEET ANOINTED IN THE HOUSE OF A PHARISEE. (Galilee.) Luke
And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. We
learn that the Pharisee's name was Simon (Luke
7:40). Because the feast at Bethany was given in the house of Simon the
leper, and because Jesus was anointed there also, some have been led to
think that Luke is here describing this supper. See Matthew
12:1-8. But Simon the leper was not Simon the Pharisee. The name Simon
was one of the most common among the Jewish people. It was the Greek form of
the Hebrew Simeon. The New Testament mentions nine and Josephus twenty
Simons, and there must have been thousands of them in Palestine at that
time. The anointing at Bethany was therefore a different occasion from this.
And he entered into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.
Literally, reclined to eat. The old Jewish method of eating was to sit
cross-legged on the floor or on a divan, but the Persians, Greeks, and
Romans reclined on couches, and the Jews, after the exile, borrowed this
custom. We are not told in plain terms why the Pharisee invited Jesus to eat
with him. The envy and cunning which characterized his sect leads us to be,
perhaps, unduly suspicious that his motives were evil. The narrative,
however, shows that his motives were somewhat akin to those of Nicodemus. He
wished to investigate the character and claims of Jesus, and was influenced
more by curiosity than by hostility --for all Pharisees were not equally
7:45-52). But he desired to avoid in any way compromising himself, so he
invited Jesus to his house, but carefully omitted all the ordinary
courtesies and attentions which would have been paid to an honored guest.
Jesus accepted the invitation, for it was his custom to dine both with
Pharisees and publicans, that he might reach all classes.
7:37 And behold, a
woman who was in the city1, a
sinner2; and when she knew that he was sitting at meat in
the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster cruse of
And behold, a woman who was in the city. Because the definite
article "the" is used before the word "city", Meyer says
it was Capernaum, and because Nain is the last city mentioned, Wiesler says
it was Nain, but it is not certain what city it was.
A sinner. Older commentators say "the city" was Magdala,
because they hold the unwarranted medieval tradition that the sinner was
Mary Magdalene, that is, Mary of Magdala. No trustworthy source has ever
been found for this tradition, and there are two good reasons for saying
that this was not Mary Magdalene: (1) She is introduced soon after as a new
character and also as a woman of wealth and consequence. See Luke
27:55. (2) Jesus had delivered her from the possession of seven demons.
But there is no connection between sin and demon- possession. The former
implies a disregard for the accepted rules of religious conduct, while the
latter implies no sinfulness at all. This affliction was never spoken of as
a reproach, but only as a misfortune.
She brought an alabaster cruse of ointment. The cruse which she
brought with her was called "an alabaster". Orientals are very
fond of ointments and use them upon the face and hair with profusion. They
were scented with sweet-smelling vegetable essence, especially that
extracted from the myrtle. Originally the small vases, jars, or
broad-mouthed bottles, in which the ointment was stored, were carved from
alabaster, a variety of gypsum, white, semi-transparent, and costly.
Afterwards other material was used, but the name "alabaster" was
still applied to such cruses. That used by Mary of Bethany was probably the
highest grade ointment in the highest priced cruse (John
12:3). The context here leaves us free to suppose that both the cruse
and the unguent were of a cheaper kind.
17:38 and standing behind at his
feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the
hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
And standing behind at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet
with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed his
feet, and anointed them with the ointment. To see this scene we must
picture Jesus stretched upon the couch and reclining on his left elbow. The
woman stood at the foot of the couch behind his feet. His feet were bare;
for every guest on entering left his sandals outside the door. The woman,
feeling strongly the contrast between the sinlessness of Jesus and her own
stained life, could not control her emotions. Says Brom,
"The tears poured down in a flood upon his naked feet, as she bent
down to kiss them; and deeming them rather fouled than washed by this, she
hastened to wipe them off with the only towel she had, the long tresses of
her own hair. She thus placed her glory at his feet (1 Corinthians
11:15), after which she put the ointment upon them."
7:39 Now when the Pharisee that had bidden
him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man,
if he were a prophet1, would have
perceived who and what manner of woman this is2 that
toucheth him, that she is a sinner3.
This man, if he were a prophet. Public opinion said that Jesus was
a prophet (Luke
7:16), and Simon, from the Pharisee's standpoint, feared that it might
be so; and therefore no doubt felt great satisfaction in obtaining this
evidence which he accepted as disproving the claims of Jesus.
Would have perceived who and what manner of woman this is. He
judged that if Jesus had been a prophet he would have known and repelled
this woman. He would have known her because discerning of spirits was part
of the prophetic office--especially the Messianic office (1 Kings
14:6 2 Kings
1:1-3; 2 Kings
11:2-4). Compare with John
That toucheth him, that she is a sinner. He would have repelled her
because, according to the Pharisaic tradition, her very touch would have
rendered him unclean. The Pharisees, according to later Jewish writings,
forbade women to stand nearer to them than four cubits, despite the warning
of God (Isaiah
65:5). Thus reasoning, Simon concluded that Jesus had neither the
knowledge nor the holiness which are essential to a prophet. His narrow mind
did not grasp the truth that it was as wonderful condescension for Christ to
sit at his board as it was to permit this sinner to touch him.
7:40 And Jesus
answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee1.
And he saith, Teacher, say on2.
And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto
thee. Jesus heard Simon's thoughts (Luke
7:39) and answered them.
And he saith, Teacher, say on. Simon called Jesus
"Teacher", little thinking how fully Jesus was about to vindicate
the justice of the title, thus given him in compliment.
7:41 A certain
lender had two debtors: the one owed five hundred shillings, and the other fifty1.
A certain lender had two debtors: the one owed five hundred shillings,
and the other fifty. The denarius or shilling was a silver coin issued
by Rome which contained nearly seventeen cents' worth of that precious
metal. The two debts, therefore, represented respectively, about $75 and
$7.50. But at that time a denarius was a day's wages for a laboring man (Matthew
20:2,9,10,12,13), so that the debt is properly translated into our
language as if one owed five hundred and the other fifty days of labor.
7:42 When they had
not [wherewith] to pay, he forgave them both1. Which
of them therefore will love him most2?
When they had not [wherewith] to pay, he forgave them both. In this
brief parable God represents the lender, and the woman the big and Simon the
little debtor. Simon was (in his own estimation) ten times better off than
the woman; yet they were each in an equally hopeless case--having nothing
with which to pay; and each in an equally favored case--being offered God's
free forgiveness. Forgiveness is expressed in the past tense in the parable,
but merely as part of the drapery and not for the purpose of declaring
Simon's forgiveness. It indicates no more than that Jesus was equalling
"willing" to forgive both. But the Pharisee did not seek his
forgiveness, and the absence of all love in him proved that he did not have
Which of them therefore will love him most? It was Jesus' custom to
thus often draw his verdicts from the very lips of the parties concerned (Luke
answered and said, He, I suppose, to whom he forgave the most1.
And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged2.
Simon answered and said, He, I suppose, to whom he forgave the most.
The "suppose" of Simon betrays a touch of supercilious irony,
showing that the Pharisee thought the question very trivial.
And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. Simon's words were
more than an answer. They were a judgment as well. Like Nathan with David (2 Samuel
12:1-7), Jesus had concealed Simon's conduct under the vestments of a
parable, and had thus led him to unwittingly pronounce sentence against
himself. Simon, the little debtor, was a debtor still; having no acts of
gratitude to plead in evidence of his acquittal. From this point the words
of Jesus take up the conduct of Simon which we should here picture to
"We must imagine the guests arriving; Simon receiving them with all
courtesy, and embracing each in turn; slaves ready to was the dust of the
road from their sandaled feet, and to pour sweet olive oil over their heads
to soften the parched skin. See Genesis
3:3; 1 Samuel
6:17). But there is one of the guests not thus treated. He is but a poor
man, invited as an act of condescending patronage. No kiss is offered him;
no slave waits upon him; of course a mechanic cannot need the luxuries
others are accustomed to!"
7:44 And turning
to the woman, he said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman1? I
entered into thy house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath wetted
my feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair2.
And turning to the woman, he said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman?
Simon is to look upon the woman as one whose actions stood in contrast to
I entered into thy house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she
hath wetted my feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. Jesus
here draws the first contrast. In the East, where the feet without stockings
are placed in sandals instead of shoes, water becomes essential to one who
would enter a house. The guest should be afforded an opportunity to was the
dust from his feet, not only for comfort's sake, but also that he might not
be humiliated by soiling the carpets on which he walked, and the cushions on
which he reclined. The trifling courtesy Simon had omitted; but the woman
had amply supplied his omission, bathing the Lord's feet in what Bengel well
calls "the most priceless waters".
7:45 Thou gavest
me no kiss: but she, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet1.
Thou gavest me no kiss: but she, since the time I came in, hath not
ceased to kiss my feet. We have here the second contrast. A kiss was the
ordinary salutation of respect in the East. Sometimes the hand was kissed,
and sometimes the cheek (2 Samuel
15:5; 2 Samuel
16:16). We may note incidentally that we have no record of a kiss upon
the cheek of Jesus save that given by Judas (Matthew
22:47). The woman had graced the feet of Jesus with those honors which
Simon had withheld from his cheek.
7:46 My head with
oil thou didst not anoint: but she hath anointed my feet with ointment1.
My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but she hath anointed my feet
with ointment. Anointing was a mark of honor which was usually bestowed
upon distinguished guests (Amos
141:5). To anoint the feet was regarded as extreme luxury (Pliny,
Natural History, 13:4). In this third case Jesus makes a double comparison.
To anoint the feet was more honored than to anoint the head, and the
ointment was a more valuable and worthy offering than the mere oil which
ordinary courtesy would have proffered.
7:47 Wherefore I
say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven1;
for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven,
[the same] loveth little2.
Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven;
for she loved much. Her love was the result, and not the cause, of
her forgiveness. Our sins are not forgiven because we love God, but we love
God because they are forgiven (1 John
4:19). Such is the inference of the parable, and such the teaching of
the entire New Testament.
But to whom little is forgiven, [the same] loveth little. We search
the story in vain for any token of love on the part of Simon.
7:48 And he said unto her, Thy
sins are forgiven1.
Thy sins are forgiven. See Mark
7:49 And they that
sat at meat with him began to say within themselves1, Who
is this that even forgiveth sins2?
And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves.
They were naturally surprised at this marvelous assumption of authority, but
in the light of what had just been said they did not dare to express
Who is this that even forgiveth sins? Ignorance of Christ's person
and office caused them to thus question him. It is easy to stumble in the
dark. We are not told that Simon joined in asking this question.
7:50 And he said
unto the woman1, Thy faith hath
saved thee; go in peace2.
And he said unto the woman. Jesus did not rebuke his questioners,
because the process of forgiveness was something which could not be
demonstrated to their comprehension, and hence their error could not be made
Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace. Jesus attributed her
forgiveness to her faith. "Peace" was the Hebrew and
"grace" was the Greek salutation. It is here used as a farewell,
and means "Go in the abiding enjoyment of peace".
Several valuable lessons are taught by this incident (Luke
7:36-50): (1) That the sense of guiltiness may differ in degree, but
nevertheless the absolute inability of man to atone for sin is common to
all. (2) As sin is against Christ, to Christ belongs the right and power to
forgive it. (3) That conventional respectability, having no such flagrant
and open sins as are condemned by the public, is not conscious of its awful
need. (4) That those who have wandered far enough to have felt the world's
censure realize most fully the goodness of God in pardoning them, and hence
are moved to greater expressions of gratitude than are given by the
self-righteous. But we must not draw the conclusion that sin produces love,
or that much sin produces much love, and that therefore much sin is a good
thing. The blessing which we seek is not proportioned to the quantity of the
sins; but is proportioned to the quantity of "sinful sense" which
we feel. We all have sin enough to destroy our souls, but many of us fail to
love God as we should, through an insufficient sense of sinfulness.