Sacred Texts  Christianity  Calvin  Index  Previous  Next 

Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 32: Matthew, Mark and Luke, Part II, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at

Matthew 14:34-36; Mark 6:53-56

Matthew 14:34-36

Mark 6:53-56

34. And when they had passed over, they came into the country of Gennesareth. 35. And when the men of that place had recognized him, they sent messengers into all the surrounding country, and brought to him all that were diseased. 36. And besought him that they might ouch only the fringe of his robe; and as many as touched were made whole.


53. And when they had passed over, they came into the country of Gennesareth, and landed. 54. And when they had left the ship, they immediately knew him.  386 55. And, running through all that country round about, they began to carry to him in beds those that were sick, wheresoever they heard that he was. 56. And to what place, soever he went, into villages, or into cities, or into towns, they laid the diseased in the streets, and besought him that they might touch only the fringe of his robe; and as many as touched him were healed.



Matthew 14:34. They came into the country of Gennesareth. The Evangelists give that designation to the country which borrowed its name from the lake, though it is uncertain if it was not rather the name of the country that was bestowed on the lake; but that is a matter of little consequence. Our chief business is, to attend to the object which the Evangelists have in view. It is, to show that the glory of Christ was attested not by one or by another miracle, but that this part of Judea was filled with innumerable proofs of it, the report of which might easily be carried to Jerusalem and to other towns in every direction. Hence we infer, that singularly base and wicked must have been the ingratitude of that nation which wickedly shut its eyes from perceiving, and even endeavored, as far as lay in its power, to extinguish the brightness of the divine glory which was exhibited before them. Our present business is, to perceive, amidst so large an assemblage of miracles, the reason why Christ came, which was, that he might offer himself as a physician to heal all the diseases of all men  387 For we must bear in mind what Matthew had formerly quoted from the Prophet Isaiah, (Isa 53:4,) that in healing bodies he shadowed out something greater, namely, that he restores our souls to health, and that it is his peculiar office to remove spiritual diseases.  388 He is not now an inhabitant of the earth; but it is certain that, now that he is in heaven, he is authorized to bestow those favors of which he then exhibited a visible proof. Now as we labor under every kind of diseases till he heal us, let each of us not only present himself to him, but endeavor to bring others who need the same remedy.

That they might touch the fringe. There is reason to believe that they were under the influence of some superstition, when they limited the grace of Christ to a touch of his robe; at least, they defrauded him of a part of his honor, since they did not expect any efficacy  389 to be derived from his bare word. But that he may not quench the smoking flax, (Isa 42:3,) he accommodates himself to their ignorance. Yet there is nothing here that lends countenance to the views of those who seek the grace of God in wood, or nails, or robes; while Scripture expressly declares, that we have no right to form any conception respecting Christ but what is spiritual and consistent with his heavenly glory. The weakness of those who, not knowing that Christ is God, desired to make a nearer approach to him, was endured for a time. Now that he fills heaven and earth with the sweet savor of his grace, we must embrace—not with hands or eyes, but by faith—the salvation which he offers to us from heaven.



(Les gens) le cognurent incontinent;” — “(the people) immediately knew him.”


En guairissant toutes sortes de maladies en toutes personnes;” — “by healing all kinds of diseases in all persons.”


See Harmony, vol. 1, p. 251.


Veu qu’ils n’esperoyent point de sentir aucun secours de sa vertu;” — “since they did not hope to experience any relief from his power.”

Next: Matthew 15:1-9; Mark 7:1-13