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Matthew 8:20

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
One of the scribes was too hasty in promising; he proffers himself to be a close follower of Christ. He seems to be very resolute. Many resolutions for religion are produced by sudden conviction, and taken up without due consideration; these come to nothing. When this scribe offered to follow Christ, one would think he should have been encouraged; one scribe might do more credit and service than twelve fishermen; but Christ saw his heart, and answered to its thoughts, and therein teaches all how to come to Christ. His resolve seems to have been from a worldly, covetous principle; but Christ had not a place to lay his head on, and if he follows him, he must not expect to fare better than he fared. We have reason to think this scribe went away. Another was too slow. Delay in doing is as bad on the one hand, as hastiness in resolving is on the other. He asked leave to attend his father to his grave, and then he would be at Christ's service. This seemed reasonable, yet it was not right. He had not true zeal for the work. Burying the dead, especially a dead father, is a good work, but it is not thy work at this time. If Christ requires our service, affection even for the nearest and dearest relatives, and for things otherwise our duty, must give way. An unwilling mind never wants an excuse. Jesus said to him, Follow me; and, no doubt, power went with this word to him as to others; he did follow Christ, and cleaved to him. The scribe said, I will follow thee; to this man Christ said, Follow me; comparing them together, it shows that we are brought to Christ by the force of his call to us, Ro 9:16.
Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

The foxes have holes, etc. - Reader! art thou a poor man? and dost thou fear God? Then, what comfort must thou derive from the thought, that thou so nearly resemblest the Lord Jesus! But how unlike is the rich man, who is the votary of pleasure and slave of sin, to this heavenly pattern!

Son of man - A Hebrew phrase, expressive of humiliation and debasement; and, on that account, applied emphatically to himself, by the meek and lowly Jesus. Besides, it seems here to be used to point out the incarnation of the Son of God, according to the predictions of the prophets, Psalm 8:5; Daniel 7:13. And as our Lord was now showing forth his eternal Divinity in the miracles he wrought, he seems studious to prove to them the certainty of his incarnation, because on this depended the atonement for sin. Indeed our Lord seems more intent on giving the proofs of his humanity, than of his divinity, the latter being necessarily manifested by the miracles which he was continually working.

Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 383

This chapter is based on John 6:22-71.

When Christ forbade the people to declare Him king, He knew that a turning point in His history was reached. Multitudes who desired to exalt Him to the throne today would turn from Him tomorrow. The disappointment of their selfish ambition would turn their love to hatred, and their praise to curses. Yet knowing this, He took no measures to avert the crisis. From the first He had held out to His followers no hope of earthly rewards. To one who came desiring to become His disciple He had said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head.” Matthew 8:20. If men could have had the world with Christ, multitudes would have proffered Him their allegiance; but such service He could not accept. Of those now connected with Him there were many who had been attracted by the hope of a worldly kingdom. These must be undeceived. The deep spiritual teaching in the miracle of the loaves had not been comprehended. This was to be made plain. And this new revelation would bring with it a closer test. DA 383.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 621

Dear brethren, as a church you have sadly neglected your duty toward the children and youth. While rules and restrictions are laid upon them, great care should be taken to show them the Christlike side of your character and not the satanic side. Children need constant watchcare and tender love. Bind them to your hearts, and keep the love as well as the fear of God before them. Fathers and mothers do not control their own spirit and therefore are not fit to govern others. To restrain and caution your children is not all that is required. You have yet to learn to do justly and love mercy, as well as to walk humbly with God. Everything leaves its impress upon the youthful mind. The countenance is studied, the voice has its influence, and the deportment is closely imitated by them. Fretful and peevish fathers and mothers are giving their children lessons which at some period in their lives they would give all the world, were it theirs, could they unlearn. Children must see in the lives of their parents that consistency which is in accordance with their faith. By leading a consistent life and exercising self-control, parents may mold the characters of their children. 4T 621.1

Too many cares and burdens are brought into our families, and too little of natural simplicity and peace and happiness is cherished. There should be less care for what the outside world will say and more thoughtful attention to the members of the family circle. There should be less display and affectation of worldly politeness, and much more tenderness and love, cheerfulness and Christian courtesy, among the members of the household. Many need to learn how to make home attractive, a place of enjoyment. Thankful hearts and kind looks are more valuable than wealth and luxury, and contentment with simple things will make home happy if love be there. 4T 621.2

Jesus, our Redeemer, walked the earth with the dignity of a king; yet He was meek and lowly of heart. He was a light and blessing in every home because He carried cheerfulness, hope, and courage with Him. Oh, that we could be satisfied with less heart longings, less striving for things difficult to obtain wherewith to beautify our homes, while that which God values above jewels, the meek and quiet spirit, is not cherished. The grace of simplicity, meekness, and true affection would make a paradise of the humblest home. It is better to endure cheerfully every inconvenience than to part with peace and contentment. 4T 622.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 107

He became poor, and made Himself of no reputation. He was hungry and frequently thirsty, and many times weary in His labors; but He had not where to lay His head. When the cold, damp shades of night gathered about Him, the earth was frequently His bed. Yet He blessed those who hated Him. What a life! what an experience! Can we, the professed followers of Christ, cheerfully endure privation and suffering as did our Lord, without murmuring? Can we drink of the cup and be baptized with the baptism? If so, we may share with Him His glory in His heavenly kingdom. If not, we shall have no part with Him. 3T 107.1

Brother S has an experience to gain, without which his work will do positive injury. He is affected too much by what others tell him of the erring; he is apt to decide according to the impressions made upon his mind, and he deals with severity, when a milder course would be far better. He does not bear in mind his own weakness, and how hard it is for him to have his course questioned, even when he is wrong. When he decides that a brother or sister is wrong he is inclined to carry the matter through and press his censure, although in doing so he hurts his own soul and endangers the souls of others. 3T 107.2

Brother S should shun church trials and should have nothing to do in settling difficulties, if he can possibly avoid it. He has a valuable gift, which is needed in the work of God. But he should separate himself from influences which draw upon his sympathies, confuse his judgment, and lead him to move unwisely. This should not and need not be. He exercises too little faith in God. He dwells too much upon his bodily infirmities and strengthens unbelief by dwelling upon poor feelings. God has strength and wisdom in store for those who seek for it earnestly, in faith believing. 3T 107.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 178

Now in the establishment and broadening of the work in this country, means will be essential, that we may do a large work in a short time. And the only way we can do it is, in every movement, to keep the eye single to the glory of God, so that it may not be said of us, They began to build, and were not able to finish. In leading out to do a broader work, we need, at the very beginning, to put pride and worldly ambition entirely out of our hearts. Having before us the example of Christ, the greatest Teacher the world ever knew, we need not make a mistake. “He that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.” We must study the Pattern, and inquire at every step, “Is this the way of the Lord?” We shall certainly make grave mistakes if we do not keep self-denial and self-sacrifice prominent before the people in every movement. TM 178.1

The work in this missionary field is yet in its infancy. The believers have made only a beginning in the Christian life; and the reason why we have felt so great a burden for this people is, that henceforth they may learn greater things. It doth not yet appear what they shall be through a practical belief in the truth and the sanctification of the entire being by the truth. The words and example of our Redeemer in His life of humility and self-denial will be the light and strength of His people if they follow Jesus fully, trusting in Him at every step. Let it be the language of our hearts, “Be Thou my pattern.” He that “willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching.” Nothing is so desirable as to live as Christ lived, to deny self as Christ denied Himself, and to labor with Him in seeking to save that which is lost. TM 178.2

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 83

Oh, must Christ, the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, bear the heavy cross, wear the thorny crown, and drink the bitter cup, while we recline at ease, glorifying ourselves and forgetting the souls He died to redeem by His precious blood? No; let us give while we have the power. Let us do while we have the strength. Let us work while it is day. Let us devote our time and means to the service of God, that we may have His approbation and receive His reward. 4T 83.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, 457

But in order to be saved you must accept the yoke of Christ and lay off the yoke which you have fashioned for your neck. The victory that Jesus gained in the wilderness is a pledge to you of the victory that you may gain through His name. Your only hope and salvation is in overcoming as Christ overcame. The wrath of God now hangs over you. You love the attractions of the world above the heavenly treasure. The lust of the eye and the pride of life have separated you from God. Your confidence in your own poor, weak, faulty self must be broken. You must feel your weakness before you will drop, with your burden, into the hands of God. The soul that trusts fully and entirely in God will never be confounded. 3T 457.1

God would not have us consult our own convenience in obeying Him. Christ pleased not Himself when He was a man among men. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. The Majesty of heaven had not where to lay His head, no place that He could claim as His own. He became poor for our sakes, that through Him we might be rich indeed. Let us not talk of sacrifice, for we know not what it is to sacrifice for the truth. As yet we have scarcely lifted the cross for Christ's dear sake. Let us not seek for a way which is easier than the path our Redeemer has traveled before us. How incompetent are you, with all your boasted wisdom, to guide yourself! How liable are you to follow the dictates of a deceived conscience, to run in the way of error, and drag others with you! 3T 457.2

Your natural temperament is such that submission and obedience to God's requirements are very hard. Your unbounded self-confidence, your prejudices, and your feelings easily lead you to choose a wrong path. Christ will be to you an infallible guide if you will choose Him before your own blind judgment. In your business you have not had an eye single to the glory of God. You have had many perplexities and many difficulties to encounter, and if you had trusted to the True Counselor instead of to your own judgment, you would ever have been guided out of your perplexities in your business transactions. 3T 457.3

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