A Preaching Tour in Galilee
And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose and went out to a lonely place, and there he prayed. And Simon and those who were with him followed him, and they found him and said to him, "Every one is searching for you." And he said to them, "Let us go on to the next towns, that I may preach there also; for that is why I came out." And he went throughout all Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and casting out demons.
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," [James 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." [Luke 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 Phil. 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 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.
- text taken from by Saint Thomas Aquinas, translated by William Whiston, 1842