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A Practical Commentary On Holy Scripture by Frederick Justus Knecht D.D.

[Luke 4:31–44. Mark 1:21–39. Mat. 4:13–17 and 8:13]

FROM Nazareth Jesus went to Capharnaum, and there He taught them on the Sabbath-days. The people were astonished at His doctrine, and at the wonderful force and unction of His preaching. There was, in the synagogue, a man who had an unclean spirit, and he cried aloud, saying: “Let us alone, what have we to do with Thee, Jesus of Nazareth? Art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee, who Thou art, the Holy One of God.”

Jesus rebuked the spirit, commanding him to be silent, and to go out from the man. Then the devil, throwing the man into the midst of the crowd, went out of him, and left him unharmed. A great fear came upon all who witnessed this miracle, and they said one to another: “What word is this? For with authority and power He commandeth the unclean spirits, and they go out.”

From the synagogue Jesus went to the house of Simon Peter. It so happened that the mother-in-law of Peter was grievously sick, and Jesus was asked to cure her. He drew near her bed, commanded the fever, and it left her. Immediately she arose, cured of the fever, and waited on them as they sat at table.

When the sun was down, the sick and infirm of the city were brought to Jesus, and He laid His hands upon them, and they were healed.

Early next morning He left Capharnaum and retired to a desert place. But the people followed Him in crowds, beseeching Him not to leave them. He said to them: “I must preach the kingdom of God in other places also; for therefore am I sent.”

He then preached in the synagogues of Galilee: “The time is accomplished, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the Gospel.” He healed all manner of diseases; and the fame of His power and holiness spread over all the country, and people came from far and near to see and hear Him.

The Divinity of our Lord. The astounding miracles which Jesus wrought, in the presence of so many people, are a proof of His Divine Omnipotence. He took the death-stricken mother-in-law of Peter by the hand, and immediately she got up well and strong. He laid His hand on the sick who were brought to Him in front of Peter’s house, and at once they were cured. He drove the devils out of those whom they possessed, and imposed silence on them by His word. “What is this?” asked the awe-struck people; “that He commandeth even the unclean spirits and they go out!” This was a proof that Jesus is Lord not only of the visible creation, but of the unseen world of spirits as well.

The Kindness of Jesus was wonderful, for He helped all those who were afflicted by diseases and sickness. “He went about doing good” (Acts 10:38).

The Prayer of Jesus, when He retired into a desert place, was one of intercession for sinful men. It was also an example to us to pray and not to faint (Luke 18:1).

The Preaching of Jesus. The gist of our Lord’s preaching was: “Repent and believe the Gospel.” This is still, and will be for all time, the most important obligation of Christianity and the indispensable condition of salvation. He who wishes to have a part in the kingdom of God, must believe in our Lord and His teaching, and must do penance for his sins.

Dead faith. “The devils also believe and tremble”, writes St. James (2:19). These words are confirmed by the story we have just read, which relates that the devil confessed: “Thou art the Holy One of God.” There is a faith which does not avail to salvation—a dead faith, which is not a free act of obedience and love.

The power of intercession. Our Lord yielded to the intercession of His disciples for Peter’s mother-in-law. To pray for the living and the dead is a work of mercy and a duty of brotherly love. “Pray for one another that you may be saved”, writes St. James (5:16).

The hatred and power of the devil. The devil hates and envies man, and does all he can to injure him. Before our Lord came, the devil had obtained a great power over men, especially over idolators; and when our Blessed Redeemer came to conquer Satan, the latter made a last and desperate effort to maintain his supremacy. This is why, during our Lord’s sojourn on earth, there were so many cases of possession. They were by the eternal counsel of God permitted, in order that the object of our Lord’s mission as well as His power and glory might be made manifest.

Exorcisms. Cases of possession still occur: but the Church, by exorcisms, drives away the evil spirit in the name of Jesus.

The cruelty of the devil. Jesus allowed the devil to throw down the possessed man and rend him, to show us from how cruel an enemy He has delivered us; and to put us on our guard, lest we should allow ourselves to be subjected to his everlasting rage.

Jesus the Physician of our souls. We too are sick of a fever—the fever of anger, ambition, covetousness, gluttony, and all other passions, which incite us to evil and keep us from what is good. Jesus alone can cure us. He can give us grace to overcome our evil inclinations, if only we will ask Him for it; and He will cool the ardour of our passions by His Presence, if we worthily receive Him in Holy Communion.

APPLICATION. Are you prompt in getting up in the morning, or have you to be called several times? Prize the golden hours of the morning.

Do you say your morning prayers devoutly every day? and do you make good resolutions, when you say them? Begin the day with God, and your day will not be spent without Him.








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