Verses 1–2

We have here an account of Christ’s removal. Observe,

1. He left Galilee. There he had been brought up, and had spent the greatest part of his life in that remote despicable part of the country; it was only upon occasion of the feasts, that he came up to Jerusalem, and manifested himself there; and, we may suppose, that, having no constant residence there when he did come, his preaching and miracles were the more observable and acceptable. But it was an instance of his humiliation, and in this, as in other things, he appeared in a mean state, that he would go under the character of a Galilean, a north-countryman, the least polite and refined part of the nation. Most of Christ’s sermons hitherto had been preached, and most of his miracles wrought, in Galilee; but now, having finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and it was his final farewell; for (unless his passing through the midst of Samaria and Galilee, Luke 17:11; was after this, which yet was but a visit in transitu—as he passed through the country) he never came to Galilee again till after his resurrection, which makes this transition very remarkable. Christ did not take his leave of Galilee till he had done his work there, and then he departed thence. Note, As Christ’s faithful ministers are not taken out of the world, so they are not removed from any place, till they have finished their testimony in that place, Rev. 11:7. This is very comfortable to those that follow not their own humours, but God’s providence, in their removals, that their sayings shall be finished before they depart. And who would desire to continue any where longer than he has work to do for God there?

2. He came into the coasts of Judea, beyond Jordan, that they might have their day of visitation as well as Galilee, for they also belonged to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. But still Christ kept to those parts of Canaan that lay towards other nations: Galilee is called Galilee of the Gentiles; and the Syrians dwelt beyond Jordan. Thus Christ intimated, that, while he kept within the confines of the Jewish nation, he had his eye upon the Gentiles, and his gospel was aiming and coming toward them.

3. Great multitudes followed him. Where Shiloh is, there will the gathering of the people be. The redeemed of the Lord are such as follow the Lamb whithersoever he goes, Rev. 14:4. When Christ departs, it is best for us to follow him. It was a piece of respect to Christ, and yet it was a continual trouble, to be thus crowded after, wherever he went; but he sought not his own ease, nor, considering how mean and contemptible this mob was (as some would call them), his own honour much, in the eye of the world; he went about doing good; for so it follows, he healed them there. This shows what they followed him for, to have their sick healed; and they found him as able and ready to help here, as he had been in Galilee; for, wherever this Sun of righteousness arose, it was with healing under his wings. He healed them there, because he would not have them follow him to Jerusalem, lest it should give offence. He shall not strive, nor cry.