Golden Chain 6123
6123 Mc 1,23-28
(p. 25) Bede, in Marc., 1, 7: Since by the envy of the devil death first entered into the world Sg 2,24, it was right that the medicine of healing should first work against the author of death; and therefore it is said, "And there was in their synagogue a man, &c."
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: The word, Spirit, is applied to an Angel, the air, the soul, and even the Holy Ghost. Lest therefore by the sameness of the name we should fall into error, he adds, "unclean." And he is called unclean on account of his impiousness and far removal from God, and because he employs himself in all unclean and wicked works.
Augustine, City of God, 21: Moreover, how great is the power which the lowliness of God, appearing in the form of a servant, has over the pride of devils, the devils themselves know so well, that they express it to the same Lord clothed in the weakness of flesh. For there follows, "And he cried out, saying, What have we to do we Thee, Jesus of Nazareth, &c."
For it is evident in these words that there was in them knowledge, but there was not charity; and the reason was, that they feared their punishment from Him, and loved not the righteousness in Him.
Bede: For the devils, seeing the Lord on the earth, thought that they were immediately to be judged.
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: Or else the devil so speaks, as if he said, 'by taking away uncleanness, and giving (p. 26) to the souls of men divine knowledge, Thou allowest us no place in men.'
Theophylact: For to come out of man the devil considers as his own perdition; for devils are ruthless, thinking that they suffer some evil, so long as they are not troubling men.
There follows, "I know that Thou art the Holy One of God."
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: As if he said, Methinks that Thou art come; for he had not a firm and certain knowledge of the coming of God. But he calls Him "holy" not as one of many, for every prophet was also holy, but he proclaims that the was the One holy; by the article in Greek he shews Him to be the One, but by his fear he shews Him to be Lord of all.
Augustine: For He was known to them in that degree in which He wished to be known; and He wished as much as was fitting. He was not known to them as to the holy Angels, who enjoy Him by partaking of His eternity according as He is the Word of God; but as He was to be made known in terror, to those beings from whose tyrannical power He was about to free the predestinate.
He was known therefore to the devils, not in that He is eternal Life, (see 1Jn 5,20 Jn 17,3) but by some temporal effects of His Power, which might be more clear to the angelic senses of even bad spirits than to the weakness of men.
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: Further, the Truth did not wish to have the witness of unclean spirits.
Wherefore there follows, "And Jesus threatened him, saying, &c."
Whence a healthful precept is given to us; let us not believe devils, howsoever they may proclaim the truth.
It goes on, "And the unclean spirit tearing him, &c."
For because the man spoke as one in his senses and uttered his words with discretion, lest it should be thought that he put together his words not from the devil but out of his own heart, He permitted the man to be torn by the devil, that He might shew that it was the devil who spoke.
Theophylact: That they might know, when they saw it, from how great an evil the man was freed, and on account of the miracle might believe.
Bede: But it may appear to be a discrepancy, that he should have gone out of him, tearing him, or, as some copies have it, vexing him, when, according to Luke, he did not hurt him. But Luke himself says, "When He had cast him into the midst, he came out of him, without hurting him." (Lc 4,35) Wherefore it is inferred that Mark meant by vexing or tearing him, what Luke expresses [p. 27], in the words, "When He had cast him into the midst;" so that what he goes on to say, "And did not hurt him," may be understood to mean that the tossing of his limbs and vexing did not weaken him, as devils are wont to come out even with the cutting off and tearing away of limbs. But seeing the power of the miracle, they wonder at the newness of our Lord's doctrine, and are roused to search into what they had heard by what they had seen.
Wherefore there follows, "And they all wondered, &c."
For miracles were done that they might more firmly believe the Gospel of the kingdom of God, which was being preached, since those who were promising heavenly joys to men on earth, were shewing forth heavenly things and divine works even on earth. For before (as the Evangelist says) "He was teaching them as one who had power," and now, as the crowd witnesses, "with power He commands the evil spirits, and they obey Him." It goes on, "And immediately His fame spread abroad, &c."
Gloss.: For those things which men wonder at they soon divulge, for "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." (Mt 12,34)
Pseudo-Jerome: Moreover, Capernaum is mystically interpreted the town of consolation, and the sabbath as rest. The man with an evil spirit is healed by rest and consolation, that the place and time may agree with his healing. This man with an unclean spirit is the human race, in which uncleanness reigned from Adam to Moses; (Rm 5,14) for "they sinned without law," and "perished without law." (Rm 2,12) and he, knowing the Holy One of God, is ordered to hold his peace, for they "knowing God did not glorify him as God," (Rm 1,21) but "rather served the creature than the Creator." (Rm 1,25)
The spirit tearing the man came out of him. When salvation is near, temptation is at hand also. Pharaoh, when about to let (ed. note: Al. 'dismissus ab Israel' Ex 14) Israel go, pursues Israel; the devil, when despised, rises up to create scandals.
6129 Mc 1,29-31
Bede, in Marc., 1, 7: First, it was right that the serpent's tongue should be shut up, that it might not spread any more venom; then that the woman, who was first seduced, should be healed from the fever of carnal concupiscence.
Wherefore it is said, "And forthwith, when they were come out of the synagogue, &c."
Theophylact: He retired then as the custom was on the sabbath-day about evening to eat in His disciples' house. But she who ought to have ministered was prevented by a fever.
Wherefore it goes on, "But Simon's wife's mother was lying sick of a fever."
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc., 1, 32: But the disciples, knowing that they were to receive a benefit by that means, without waiting for the evening prayed that Peter's mother should be healed.
Wherefore there follows, "who immediately tell Him of her."
Bede: But in the Gospel of Luke it is written that "they besought Him for her." (Lc 4,38) For the Saviour sometimes after being asked, sometimes of His own accord, heals the sick, shewing that He always assents to the prayers of the faithful, when they pray also against bad passions, and sometimes gives them to understand things which they do not understand at all, or else, when they pray unto Him dutifully, forgives their want of understanding; as the Psalmist begs of God, "Cleanse me, O Lord, from my secret faults." (Ps 19,12)
Wherefore He heals her at their request; for there follows, "And He came and took her by the hand, and lifted her up."
Theophylact: By this it is signified, that God will heal a sick man, if he ministers to the Saints, through love to Christ.
Bede, in Marc., 1, 6: But in that He gives most profusely His gifts of healing and doctrine on the sabbath day, He teaches, that He is not under the Law, but above the Law, and does not choose the Jewish sabbath, but the true sabbath, and our rest is pleasing to the Lord, if, in order to attend to the health of our souls, we abstain from slavish work, that is, from all unlawful things.
It goes on, "And immediately the fever left her, &c."
Bede, in Marc., 1, 8: The health which is conferred at the command of the Lord, returns at once entire, accompanied with such strength that she is able to [p. 29] minister to those of whose help she had before stood in need.
Again, if we suppose that the man delivered from the devil means, in the moral way of interpretation, the soul purged from unclean thoughts, fitly does the woman cured of a fever by the command of God mean the flesh, restrained from the heat of it concupiscence by the precepts of continence.
Pseudo-Jerome: For the fever means intemperance, from which, we the sons of the synagogue [ed. note: See St. Augustine on Ps 72, no. 4, 5, "Ecclesia Socrus Synagogue." The Church is called the daughter of the Synagogue in the spurious 'Altercatio Eccles. et Synagog.' (Aug. Opp t. viii, p. 19.) They word 'synagogue' is applied to the Church by Justin M. Dial, see Tryph, p. 160 (Ben.) Clem. Alex. Str. vi, 633.], by the hand of discipline, and by the lifting up of our desires, are healed, and minister to the will of Him who heals us.
Theophylact: But he has a fever who is angry, and in the unruliness of his anger stretches forth his hands to do hurt; but if reason restrains his hands, he will arise, and so serve reason.
6132 Mc 1,32-34
Theophylact: Because the multitude thought that it was not lawful to heal on the sabbath day, they waited for the evening, to bring those who were to be healed to Jesus.
Wherefore it is said, "And at even, when the sun had set."
There follows, "and He healed many that were vexed with divers diseases."
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: Now in that he says "many", all are to be understood according to the Scripture mode of expression.
Theophylact: Or he says, "many", because there were some faithless persons, who could not at all be cured on account of their unfaithfulness. Therefore He healed many of those who were brought, that is, all who had faith.
It goes on, "and cast out many devils."
Pseudo-Augustine, Quaest. e Vet. et Nov. Test. 16: For the devils knew that He was the Christ, who had been promised by the Law: for they saw in Him all (p. 30) the signs which had been foretold by the Prophets; but they were ignorant of His divinity, as also were "their princes, for if they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." (1Co 2,8)
Bede: For, Him whom the devil had known as a man, wearied by His forty days' fast, without being able by tempting Him to prove whether He was the Son of God, he now by the power of His miracles understood or rather suspected to be the Son of God. The reason therefore why he persuaded the Jews to crucify Him, was not because he did not think that He was the Son of God, but because he did not foresee that he himself was to be condemned by Christ's death.
Theophylact: Furthermore, the reason that He forbade the devils to speak, was to teach us not to believe them, even if they say true. For if once they find persons to believe them, they mingle truth with falsehood.
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: And Luke does not contradict this, when he says, that "devils came out of many, crying out and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God:" (Lc 4,41) for he subjoins, "And He rebuking them, suffered them not to speak;" for Mark, who passes over many things for the sake of brevity, speaks about what happened subsequently to the abovementioned words.
Bede: Again, in a mystical sense, the setting of the sun signifies the passion of Him, who said, "As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." (Jn 9,5) And when the sun was going down, more demoniacs and sick persons were healed than before: because He who living in the flesh for a time taught a few Jews, has transmitted the gifts of faith and health to all the Gentiles throughout the world.
Pseudo-Jerome: But the door of the kingdom, morally, is repentance and faith, which works health for various diseases; for divers are the vices with which the city of this world is sick.
6135 Mc 1,35-39
Theophylact: After that the Lord had cured the sick, He retired apart.
Wherefore it is said, "And rising very early in the morning, He went out and departed into a desert place." By which He taught us not to do any thing for the sake of appearance, but if we do any good, not to publish it openly.
It goes on, "and there prayed."
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: Not that He required prayer; for it was He who Himself received the prayers of men; but He did this by way of an economy, and became to us the model of good work.
Theophylact: For He shews to us that we ought to attribute to God whatever we do well, and to say to Him, "Every good gift cometh down from above," (Jc 1,17) from Thee.
It continues: "And Simon followed Him, and they that were with Him."
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: Luke however says that crowds came to Christ, and spoke what Mark here relates that the Apostles said, adding, "And when they came to Him, they said to Him, All seek thee." (Lc 4,42) But they do not contradict each other; for Christ received after the Apostles the multitude, breathlessly anxious to embrace His feet. He received them willingly, but chose to dismiss them, that the rest also might be partakers of His doctrine, as He was not to remain long in the world.
And therefore there follows: "And He said, Let us go into the neighbouring villages and towns, that there also I may preach."
Theophylact: For He passes on to them as being more in need, since it was not right to shut up doctrine in one place, but to throw out his rays every where.
It goes on: "For therefore am I come."
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: In which word, He manifests the mystery of His "emptying himself," (see Ph 2,7-8) that is, of His incarnation, and the sovereignty of His divine nature, in that He here asserts, that He came willingly into the world.
Luke however says, "To this end was I sent," proclaiming the Dispensation, and the good pleasure of God the Father concerning the incarnation (p. 32) of the Son.
There follows: "And He continued preaching in their synagogues, in all Galilee."
Augustine, de Con. Evan., ii, 19: But by this preaching, which, he says, "He continued in all Galilee," is also meant the sermon of the Lord delivered on the mount, which Matthew mentions, and Mark has entirely passed over, without giving any thing like it, save that he has repeated some sentences not in continuous order, but in scattered places, spoken by the Lord at other times.
Theophylact: He also mingled action with teaching, for whilst employed in preaching, He afterwards put to flight devils.
For there follows: "And casting out devils."
For unless Christ shewed forth miracles, He teaching would not be believed; so do thou also, after teaching, work, that thy word be not fruitless in thyself.
Bede: Again, mystically if by the setting of the sun, the death of the Saviour is intended, why should not His resurrection be intended by the returning dawn? For by its clear light, He went far into the wilderness of the Gentiles, and there continued praying in the person of His faithful disciples, for He aroused their hearts by the grace of the Holy Spirit to the virtue of prayer.
6140 Mc 1,40-45
(p. 33) Bede, in Marc., i, 7: After that the serpent-tongue of the devils was shut up, and the woman, who was first seduced, cured of a fever, in the third place, the man, who listened to the evil counsels of the woman, is cleansed from his leprosy, that the order of restoration in the Lord might be the same as was the order of the fall in our first parents.
Whence it goes on: "And there came a leper to him, beseeching Him."
Augustine, de Con. Evan., ii, 19: Mark puts together circumstances, from which one may infer that he is the same as that one whom Matthew relates to have been cleansed, when the Lord came down from the mount, after the sermon. (Mt 8,2)
Bede, in Marc., i, 9: And because the Lord said that He came "not to destroy the Law but to fulfill," (Mt 5,17) he who was excluded by the Law, inferring that he was cleansed by the power of the Lord, shewed that grace, which could wash away the stain of the leper, was not from the Law, but over the Law. And truly, as in the Lord authoritative power, so in him the constancy of faith is shewn.
For there follows: "Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean."
He falls on his face, which is at once a gesture of lowliness and of shame, to shew that every man should blush for the stains of his life. But his shame did not stifle confession; he shewed his wound, and begged for medicine, and the confession is full of devotion and of faith, for he refers the power to the will of the Lord.
Theophylact: For he said not, If thou wilt, pray unto God, but, "If Thou wilt," as thinking Him very God.
Bede: Moreover, he doubted of the will of the Lord, not as disbelieving His compassion, but, as conscious of his own filth, he did not presume.
It goes on; "But Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth His hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will, be thou clean."
It is not, as many of the Latins think, to be taken to mean and read, I wish to cleanse thee, but that Christ should say separately, "I will," and then command (p. 34), "be thou clean."
Chrys., Hom. in Matt., 25: Further, the reason why He touches the leper, and did not confer health upon him by word alone, was, that it is said by Moses in the Law, that he who touches a leper shall be unclean till the evening; that is, that he might shew that this uncleanness is a natural one, that the Law was not laid down for Him, but on account of mere men. Furthermore, He shews that He Himself is the Lord of the Law; and the reason why He touched the leper, though the touch was not necessary to the working of the cure, was to shew that He gives health, not as a servant, but as the Lord.
Bede: Another reason why He touched him, was to proved that He could not be defiled, who free others from pollution. At the same time it is remarkable, that He healed in the way in which He had been begged to heal.
"If Thou wilt," says the leper, "Thou canst make me clean."
"I will," He answered, behold, thou hast My will, "be clean;" now thou hast at once the effect of My compassion.
Chrys., Hom. in Matt., 25: Moreover, by this, not only did He not take away the opinion of Him entertained by the leper, but He confirmed it; for He puts to flight the disease by a word, and what the leper had said in word, He filled up in deed.
Wherefore there follows, "And when He had spoken, immediately, &c."
Bede: For there is no interval between the work of God and the command, because the work is in the command, for "He commanded, and they were created." (Ps 148,5)
There follows: "And He straitly charged him, and forthwith, &c." See thou tell no man."
Chrys., Hom 25: As if He said, It is not yet time that My works should be preached, I require not thy preaching. By which He teaches us not to seek worldly honour as a reward for our works.
It goes on: "But go thy way, shew thyself to the chief of the priests."
Our Saviour sent him to the priest for the trial of his cure, and that he might not be cast out of the temple, but still be numbered with the people in prayer. He sends him also, that he might fulfil all the parts of the Law, in order to stop the evil-speaking tongue of the Jews. He Himself indeed completed the work, leaving them to try it.
Bede: This He did in order that the priest might understand that the leper was not healed by the Law, but by the grace of God above [p. 35] the Law.
There follows: "And offer for thy cleansing what Moses, &c."
Theophylact: He ordered him to offer the gift which they who were healed were accustomed to offer, as if for a testimony, that He was not against the Law, but rather confirmed the Law, inasmuch as He Himself worked out the precepts of the Law.
ede: If any one wonders, how the Lord seems to approve of the Jewish sacrifice, which the Church rejects, let him remember that He had not yet offered His own holocaust in His passion. And it was not right that significative sacrifices should be taken away before that which they signified was confirmed by the witness of the Apostles in their preaching, and by the faith of the believing people.
Theophylact: But the leper, although the Lord forbade him disclosed the benefit, wherefore it goes on: "But he having gone out, began to publish and to blaze abroad the tale;" for the person benefitted ought to be grateful, and to return thanks, even though his benefactor requires it not.
Bede, see Greg., Moral., 19, 22: Now it may well be asked, why our Lord ordered His action to be concealed, and yet it could not be kept hid for an hour? But it is to be observed, that the reason why, in doing a miracle, He ordered it to be kept secret, and yet for all that it was noised abroad, was, that His elect, following the example of His teaching, should wish indeed that in the great things which they do, they should remain concealed, but should nevertheless unwillingly be brought to light for the good of others. Not then that He wished any thing to be done, which He was not able to bring about, but, by the authority of His teaching, He gave an example of what His members ought to wish for, and of what should happen to them even against their will.
Bede: Further, this perfect cure of one man brought large multitudes to the Lord.
Wherefore it is added, "So that He could not any more openly enter into the city, but could only be without in desert places."
Chrys.: For the leper every where proclaimed his wonderful cure, so that all ran to see and to believe on the Healer; thus the Lord could not preach the Gospel, but walked in desert places.
Wherefore there follows, "And they came together to Him from all places."
Pseudo-Jerome: Mystically, our leprosy is the sin of the first man, which began from the head, when he (p. 36) desired the kingdom of the world. For covetousness is the root of all evil; wherefore Gehazi, engaged in an avaritious pursuit, is covered with leprosy.
Bede: But when the hand of the Saviour, that is, the Incarnate Word of God, is stretched out, and touches human nature, it is cleansed from the various parts of the old error.
Pseudo-Jerome: This leprosy is cleansed on offering an oblation to the true Priest after the order of Melchisedec; for He tells us, "Give alms of such things as ye have, and, behold, all things are clean unto you." (Lc 11,41)
But in that Jesus could not openly enter into the city, it is meant to be conveyed that Jesus is not manifested to those who are enslaved to the love of praise in the broad highway, and to their own wills, but to those who with Peter go into the desert, which the Lord chose for prayer, and for refreshing His people; that is, those who quit the pleasures of the world, and all that they possess, that they may say, "The Lord is my portion." But the glory of the Lord is manifested to those, who meet together on all sides, that is, through smooth ways and steep, whom nothing can "separate from the love of Christ." (Rm 8,35)
Bede, in Marc., i, 10: Even after working a miracle in that city, the Lord retires into the desert, to shew that He loves best a quiet life, and one far removed from the cares of the world, and that it is on account of this desire, He applied Himself to the healing of the body.
6201 Mc 2,1-12
(p. 37) Bede, in Marc., 1, 10: Because the compassion of God deserts not even carnal persons, He accords to them the grace of His presence, by which even they may be made spiritual. After the desert, the Lord returns into the city.
Wherefore it is said, "And again He entered into Capernaum, &c."
Augustine, de Con. Evan., ii, 25: But Matthew writes this miracle as if it were done in the city of the Lord, whilst Mark places it in Capernaum, which would be more difficult of solution, if Matthew had also named Nazareth. But seeing that Galilee itself might be called the city of the Lord, who can doubt but that the Lord did these things in His own city, since He did them in Capernaum, a city of Galilee; particularly as Capernaum was of such importance in Galilee as to be called its metropolis?
Or else, Matthew passed by the things which were done after He came into His own city, until He came to Capernaum, and so adds on the story of the paralytic healed, subjoining, "And, behold, they presented to Him a man sick of the palsy," after he had said that He came into His own city.
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: Or else, Matthew called Capernaum His city because He went there frequently, and there did many miracles.
It goes on: "And it was noised that He was in the house, &c."
For the desire of hearing Him was stronger that the toil of approaching Him. After this, they introduce the paralytic, of whom Matthew and Luke speak; wherefore there follows: "And they came unto Him bearing one sick of the palsy, who was carried by four."
Finding the door blocked up by the crowd, they could not by any means enter that way. Those who carried him, however, hoping that he could merit the grace of being healed, raising the bed with their burden, and uncovering the roof, lay him with his bed before the face of the Saviour.
And this is that which is added: "And when they could not (p. 39) lay him before Him, &c."
There follows: "But when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee."
He did not mean the faith of the sick man, but of his bearers; for it sometimes happens that a man is healed by the faith of another.
Bede: It may indeed be seen how much each person's own faith weighs with God, when that of another had such influence that the whole man at once rose up, healed body and soul, and by one man's merit, another should have his sins forgiven him.
Theophylact: He saw the faith of the sick man himself, since he would not have allowed himself to be carried, unless he'd had faith to be healed.
Bede: Moreover, the Lord being about to cure the man of the palsy, first loosed the chains of his sins, in order to shew that he was condemned to the loosening of his joints, because of the bonds of his sins, and could not be healed to the recovery of his limbs, unless these were first loosened.
But Christ's wonderful humility calls this man, despised, weak, with all the joints of his limbs unstrung, a son, when the priests did not deign to touch him. Or at least, He therefore calls him a son because his sins are forgiven him.
It goes on: "But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man speak blasphemies?"
Cyril (ed. note: Nicolai observes on this passage, Nihil tale occurrit in Cyrillo, tametsi blasphemiae ideo a Judaeis improperatae Christo meminit in Johannem, Lib. ii, e.3.): Now they accuse Him of blasphemy, anticipating the sentence of His death: for there was a command in the Law, that whosoever blasphemed should be put to death. And this charge they laid upon Him, because He claimed for Himself the divine power of remitting sins.
Wherefore it is added, "Who can forgive sin, save God only?" For the Judge of all alone has power to forgive sin.
Bede: Who remits sin by those also to whom He has assigned the power of remitting, and therefore Christ is proved to be very God, for He is able to remit sins as God.
The Jews then are in error, who although they hold the Christ both to be God, and to be able to remit sins, do not however believe that Jesus is the Christ.
But the Arians err much more madly, who (p. 40) although overwhelmed with the words of the Evangelist, so that they cannot deny that Jesus is the Christ, and can remit sin, nevertheless fear not to deny that He is God.
But He Himself, desiring to shame the traitors both by His knowledge of things hidden and by the virtue of His works, manifests Himself to be God.
For there follows: "And immediately when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they so reasoned, He said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?"
In which He shews Himself to be God, since He can know the hidden things of the heart; and in a manner though silent He speaks thus, With the same power and majesty, by which I look upon your thoughts, I can forgive the sins of men.
Theophylact: But though their thoughts were laid bare, still they remain insensible, refusing to believe that He who knew their hearts could forgive sins, wherefore the Lord proves to them the cure of the soul by that of the body, shewing the invisible by the visible, that which is more difficult by that which is easier, although they did not look upon it as such.
For the Pharisees thought it more difficult to heal the body, as being more open to view; but the soul more easy to cure, because the cure is invisible; so that they reasoned thus, Lo, He does not now cure the body, but heals the unseen soul; if He'd had more power, He would at once have cured the body, and not have fled for refuge to the unseen world.
The Saviour, therefore, shewing that He can do both, says, "Which is easier?" as if He said, I indeed by the healing of the body, which is in reality more easy, but appears to you more difficult, will prove to you the health of the soul, which is really more difficult.
Pseudo-Chrys., Vict. Ant. e Cat. in Marc.: And because it is easier to say than to do, there was still manifestly something to say in opposition, for the work was not yet manifested.
Wherefore He subjoins, "But that ye may know, &c." as if He said, Since ye doubt My word, I will bring on a work which will confirm what was unseen.
But He says in a marked manner, "On earth to forgive sins," that He might shew that He has joined the power of the divinity to the human nature by an inseparable union, because although He was made man, yet He remained the Word of God; and although by an economy He conversed on the earth with men, nevertheless He was not prevented from working (p. 41) miracles and from giving remission of sins.
For His human nature did not in any thing take away from these things which essentially belonged to His Divinity, nor the Divinity hinder the Word of God from becoming on earth, according to the flesh, the Son of Man without change and in truth.
Theophylact: Again, He says, "Take up thy bed," to prove the greater certainty of the miracle, shewing that it is not a mere illusion; and at the same time to shew that He not only healed, but gave strength; thus He not only turns away souls from sin, but gives them the power of working out the commandments.
Bede: A carnal sign therefore is given, that the spiritual sign may be proved, although it belongs to the same power to do away with the distempers of both soul and body.
Whence it follows: "And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all."
Chrys.: Further, He first healed by the remission of sins that which He had come to seek, that is, a soul, so that when they faithlessly doubted, then He might bring forward a work before them, and in this way His word might be confirmed by the work, and a hidden sign be proved by an open one, that is, the health of the soul by the healing of the body.
Bede: We are also informed, that many sicknesses of body arise from sins, and therefore perhaps sins are first remitted, that the causes of sickness being taken away, health may be restored. For men are afflicted by fleshly troubles for five causes, in order to increase their merits, as Job and the Martyrs; or to preserve their lowliness, as Paul by the messenger of Satan; or that they may perceive and correct their sins, as Miriam, the sister of Moses, and this paralytic; or for the glory of God, as the man born blind and Lazarus; or as the beginnings of the pains of damnation, as Herod and Antiochus.
But wonderful is the virtue of the Divine power, where without the least interval of time, by the command of the Saviour, a speedy health accompanies His words.
Wherefore there follows: "Insomuch that they were all amazed." Leaving the greater thing, that is, the remission of sins, they only wonder at that which is apparent, that is, the health of the body.
Theophylact: This is not however the paralytic, whose cure (p. 42) is related by John, (Jn 5) for he had no man with him, this one had four; he is cured in the pool of the sheep market, but this one in a house. It is the same man, however, whose cure is related by Matthew (Mt 9) and Mark.
But mystically, Christ is still in Capernaum, in the house of consolation.
Bede: Moreover, whilst the Lord is preaching in the house, there is not room for them, not even at the door, because whilst Christ is preaching in Judaea, the Gentiles are not yet able to enter to hear Him, to whom, however, though placed without, he directed the words of His doctrine by His preachers.
Pseudo-Jerome: Again, the palsy is a type of the torpor, in which man lies slothful in the softness of the flesh, though desiring health.
Theophylact: If therefore I, having the powers of my mind unstrung, remain, whenever I attempt any thing good without strength, as a palsied man, and if I be raised on high by the four Evangelists, and be brought to Christ, and there hear myself called son, then also are my sins quitted by me; for a man is called the son of God because he works the commandments.
Bede: Or else, because there are four virtues, by which a man is through an assured heart exalted so that he merits safety; which virtues some call prudence, fortitude, temperance and justice. Again, they desire to bring the palsied man to Christ, but they are impeded on every side by the crowd which is between them, because often the soul desires to be renewed by the medicine of Divine grace, but through the sluggishness of the grovelling body is held back by the hindrance of old custom. Oftentimes amidst the very sweetness of secret prayer, and, as it may be called, the pleasant converse with God, a crowd of thoughts, cutting off the clear vision of the mind, shuts out Christ from its sight.
Let us not then remain in the lowest ground, where the crowds are bustling, but aim at the roof of the house, that is, the sublimity of the Holy Scripture, and meditate on the law of the Lord.
Theophylact: But how should I be borne to Christ, if the roof be not opened. For the roof is the intellect, which is set above all those things which are within us; here it has much earth about it in the tiles which are made of clay, I mean, earthly things: but if these be taken away, the virtue of the intellect within (p. 43) us is freed from its load. After this let it be let down, that is, humbled. For it does not teach us to be puffed up, because our intellect has its load cleared away, but to be humbled still more.
Bede: Or else, the sick man is let down after the roof is opened, because, when the Scriptures are laid open to us we arrive at the knowledge of Christ, that is, we descend to His lowliness, by the dutifulness of faith. But by the sick man being let down with his bed, it is meant that Christ should be known by man, whilst yet in the flesh.
But by rising from the bed is meant the soul's rousing itself from carnal desires, in which it was lying in sickness. To take up the bed is to bridle the flesh itself by the bands of continence, and to separate it from earthly pleasures, through the hope of heavenly rewards.
But to take up the bed and to go home is to return to paradise. Or else the man, now healed, who had been sick carries back home his bed, when the soul, after receiving remission of sins, returns, even though encompassed with the body, to its internal watch over itself.
Theophylact: It is necessary to take up also one's bed, that is the body, to the working of good. For then shall we be able to arrive at contemplation, so that our thoughts should say within us, never have we seen in this way before, that is never understood as we have done since we have been cured of the palsy; for he who is cleansed from sin, sees more purely.
Golden Chain 6123