Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
See the notes at Mat 10:1-14.
See the notes at Mat 10:1-14.
See the notes at Mat 14:1-2. Compare Mar 6:14-16.
See the Mat 14:13-21 notes, and Mar 6:30-44 notes.
Bethsaida - A city on the east bank of the river Jordan, near where the river enters into the Sea of Tiberias. In the neighborhood of that city were extensive wastes or deserts.
Day began to wear away - To decline, or as it drew near toward evening.
See the Mat 16:13-27 notes; Mar 8:27-38 notes.
The Christ of God - The "Anointed" of God. The "Messiah" appointed by God, and who had been long promised by him. See the notes at Mat 1:1.
See an account of the transfiguration in Mat 17:1-13, and Mar 9:2-13.
The fashion - The "appearance."
Glistering - Shining like lightning - of a bright, dazzling whiteness. As Mark says, "more white than any fuller could make it."
In glory - Of a glorious appearance. Of an appearance like that which the saints have in heaven.
His decease - literally, his "exit" or "departure." The word translated here "decease" - that is, exit, or "going out" - is elsewhere used to denote death. See Pe2 1:15. Death is a departure or going out from this life. In "this" word there may be an allusion to the "departure" of the children of Israel from Egypt. As that was going out from "bondage," pain, and humiliation, so death, to a saint, is but going forth from a land of captivity and thraldom to one of plenty and freedom; to the land of promise, the Canaan in the skies.
He should accomplish - Which was about to take place.
Heavy with sleep - Borne down with sleep - oppressed, overcome with sleep. It may seem remarkable that they should fall asleep on such an occasion; but we are to bear in mind that this may have been in the night, and that they were weary with the toils of the day. Besides, they did not "fall asleep" while the transfiguration lasted. While Jesus was praying, or perhaps after he closed, they fell asleep. "While" they were sleeping his countenance was changed, and Moses and Elias appeared. The first that "they" saw of it was after they awoke, having been probably awakened by the shining of the light around them.
Jesus was found alone - That is, the two men had left him. In respect to "them" he was alone.
See this passage explained in the Mat 17:14-21 notes, and Mark 9:14-29 notes.
Let these sayings - Probably this refers to the "sayings of the people," who had seen his miracles, and who on that account had praised and glorified God. On that ground they had acknowledged him to be the Christ. As if he had said, "I am about to die. "You" will then be disconsolate, and perhaps doubtful about my being the Christ. "Then" do you remember these miracles, and the confessions of the people - the evidence which I gave you that I was from God." Or it may mean, "Remember that I am about to die, and let my sayings in regard to that sink down into your hearts, for it is a most important event; and you will have need of remembering, when it takes place, that I told you of it. This last interpretation, however, does not agree as well with the Greek as the former.
It was hid from them - They had imbibed the common notions of the Jews that he was to be a prince and a conqueror, to deliver the nation. They could not understand how that could be, if he was soon to be delivered into the hands of his enemies to die. In this way it was hid from them - not by God, but by their previous false belief. And from this we may learn that the plainest truths of the Bible are unintelligible to many because they have embraced some belief or opinion before which is erroneous, and which they are unwilling to abandon. The proper way of reading the Bible is to lay aside all previous opinions and submit entirely to God. The apostles should have supposed that their previous notions of the Messiah were wrong, and should have renounced them. They should have believed that what Jesus "then" said was consistent with his being the Christ. So "we" should believe that "all" that God says is consistent with truth, and should forsake all other opinions.
See the notes at Mat 18:1-5. Compare Mar 9:33-38.
Should be received up - The word here translated "received up" means literally a removal from a lower to a higher place, and here it refers evidently to the solemn ascension of Jesus to heaven. It is often used to describe that great event. See Act 1:11, Act 1:22; Mar 16:19; Ti1 3:16. The time appointed for him to remain on the earth was about expiring, and he resolved to go to Jerusalem and die. And from this we learn that Jesus made a voluntary sacrifice; that he "chose" to give his life for the sins of people. Humanly speaking, had he remained in Galilee he would have been safe; but that it might appear that he did not shun danger, and that he was really a voluntary sacrifice that no man had power over his life except as he was permitted (Joh 19:11 - he chose to put himself in the way of danger, and even to go into scenes which he knew would end in his death.
He stedfastly set his face - He determined to go to Jerusalem, or he set out resolutely. When a man goes toward an object, he may be said to set his face toward it. The expression here means only that he "resolved" to go, and it implies that he was not appalled by the dangers - that he was determined to brave all, and go up into the midst of his enemies - to die.
Sent messengers - In the original the word is "angels;" and the use of that word here shows that the word "angel" in the Bible does not always mean heavenly beings.
To make ready - To prepare a place, lodgings, refreshments. He had no reason to expect that he would experience any kind treatment from the Samaritans if he came suddenly among them, and if they saw that he was going to Jerusalem. He therefore made provision beforehand, and thus has shown us that it is not "improper' to look out beforehand for the supply of our wants, and to guard against want and poverty.
Samaritans - See the notes at Mat 10:5. They had no dealings with the Jews, Joh 4:9.
They did not receive him - Did not entertain him hospitably, or receive him with kindness.
Because his face was ... - Because they ascertained that he was going to Jerusalem. One of the subjects of dispute between the Jews and Samaritans pertained to the proper situation of the temple. The Jews contended that it should be at Jerusalem; the Samaritans, on Mount Gerizim, and accordingly they had built one there. They had probably heard of the miracles of Jesus, and that he claimed to be the Messiah. Perhaps they had hoped that he would decide that "they" were right in regard to the building of the temple. Had he decided the question in that way, they would have received him as the Messiah gladly; but when they saw that he was going among the Jews - that "by going" he would decide in their favor, they resolved to have nothing to do with him, and they rejected him. And from this we may learn:
1. That people wish all the teachers of religion to fall in with their own views.
2. That if a doctrine does not accord with their selfish desires, they are very apt to reject it.
3. That if a religious teacher or a doctrine favors a rival sect, it is commonly rejected without examination. And,
4. That people, from a regard to their own views and selfishness, often reject the true religion, as the Samaritans did the Son of God, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
James and John - They were called Boanerges - sons of thunder - probably on account of their energy and power in preaching the gospel, or of their vehement and rash zeal - a remarkable example of which we have in this instance, Mar 3:17.
Wilt thou ... - The insult had been offered to Jesus, their friend, and they felt it; but their zeal was rash and their spirit bad. Vengeance belongs to God: it was not theirs to attempt it.
Fire from heaven - Lightning, to consume them.
As Elias did - By this they wished to justify their zeal. Perhaps, while they were speaking, they saw Jesus look at them with disapprobation, and to vindicate themselves they referred to the case of Elijah. The case is recorded in Kg2 1:10-12.
Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of - You suppose that you are actuated by a proper love for me; but you know not yourselves. It is rather a love of revenge; rather revengeful feelings toward the "Samaritans" than proper feelings toward "me." We learn here:
1. That "apparent" zeal for God may be only improper opposition toward our fellow-men.
2. That people, when they wish to honor God, should examine their spirit, and see if there is not lying at the bottom of their professed zeal for God some bad feeling toward their fellow-men.
3. That the highest opposition which Jesus met with was not inconsistent with "his" loving those who opposed him, and with his seeking to do them good.
For the Son of man ... - You should imitate, in your spirit, the Son of man. "He" came not to destroy. If he had come for that purpose, he would have destroyed these Samaritans; but he came to save. He is not soon angry. "He" bears patiently opposition to himself, and "you" should bear opposition to "him." You should catch his spirit; temper your zeal like his; seek to do good to those who injure you and him; be mild, kind, patient, and forgiving.
See the notes at Mat 8:19-22.
Bid them farewell - To take leave, inform them of the design, and set things at home in order. Jesus did not suffer this, because he probably saw that he would be influenced by a love of his friends, or by their persuasions, not to return to him. The purpose to be a Christian requires "decision." Men should not tamper with the world. They should not consult earthly friends about it. They should not even allow worldly friends to give them "advice" whether to be Christians or not. God is to be obeyed rather than man, and they should come forth boldly, and resolve at once to give themselves to his service.
No man, having put his hand ... - To put one's hand to a plow is a proverbial expression to signify undertaking any business. In order that a plowman may accomplish his work, it is necessary to look onward - to be intent on his employment - not to be looking back with regret that he undertook it. So in religion. He that enters on it must do it with his whole heart, He that comes still loving the world - still looking with regret on its pleasures, its wealth, and its honors - that has not "wholly" forsaken them as his portion, cannot be a Christian, and is not fit for the kingdom of God. How searching is this test to those who profess to be Christians! And how solemn the duty of all people to renounce all earthly objects, and to be not only "almost," but "altogether," followers of the Son of God! It is perilous to tamper with the world - to look at its pleasures or to seek its society. He that would enter heaven must come with a heart full of love to God; giving "all" into his hands, and prepared always to give up all his property, his health, his friends, his body, his soul to God, when he demands them, or he cannot be a Christian. Religion is everything or nothing. He that is not willing to sacrifice "everything" for the cause of God, is really willing to sacrifice nothing.