Matthew 12:14-15. Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him They were so incensed at the affront which they imagined they had received, in our Lord’s neglecting their censure, and intimating his knowledge of the evil purposes of their hearts, (Luke 6:8,) that they were no longer able to bear the place, and therefore withdrew. Luke says, They were filled with madness, and communed with one another what they might do to Jesus; or, as Matthew and Mark express it, how they might destroy him. Being as little able to find fault with the miracle, as they had been to answer the argument by which Jesus justified his performing it on the sabbath day, they were filled with such diabolical rage, that they acted like downright madmen. They could not but be sensible of the greatness of the miracle, and, perhaps, were convinced of the truth of his mission who had performed it; but their wrath, on account of his having violated their precepts concerning the sabbath, and their other evil passions, pushed them on to such a pitch of extravagance, that they went away and joined counsel with their inveterate enemies, the Herodians, or Sadducees, (Mark 3:6,) in order to have him taken out of the way; for they found it was not in their power otherwise to keep the people from being impressed with his doctrine and miracles. This, it must be observed, is the first time that mention is made of a design on our Saviour’s life. Thus, “while the eyes of distressed multitudes were turned to Christ as their only physician and most valuable friend, the eyes of these Pharisees were continually upon him for evil: and they beheld his miracles, not for their own conviction, but that they might, if possible, turn them into the means of his destruction. So ineffectual are the most obvious and demonstrative arguments, till divine grace conquer men’s natural aversion to the Redeemer’s kingdom, and captivate their hearts to the obedience of the faith! To have reviled and dishonoured Christ, and to have endeavoured to prevent the success of his ministry, would have been a daring crime: but these desperate wretches conspire against his life; and, different as their principles and interests were, form a transient friendship, to be cemented by his blood. Blessed Jesus! well mightest thou say, Many good works have I shown you, and for which of them would you murder me? ” Doddridge. But, when Jesus knew it Or rather, Jesus, knowing it, withdrew himself from thence, in order that nothing might hinder him from fulfilling his ministry. It appears from Mark 3:0. that he retired into Galilee, where he preached and wrought miracles as privately as possible, that he might avoid giving offence. His fame, however, was now so great that vast multitudes gathered round him there, among whom were many who, having seen or heard of the miracle on the infirm man at Bethesda, (John 5:0.,) and on the withered hand in the synagogue, followed him from Jerusalem and Judea. And he healed them all That is, all that had need of healing. By this it appears, that it was not mere curiosity that drew together this immense multitude. Many, no doubt, were moved by that principle, but others came to him to be healed of their infirmities and diseases, and others again to hear and be instructed by his divine discourses.
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