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Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol IX:
Origen's Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew.: Chapter XVI

Early Church Fathers  Index     

16.  Parables in Relation to Similitudes.  Jesus in His Own Country.

And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables, He departed thence.  And coming into His own country.” 5253   Since we inquired above whether the things spoken to the multitude were parables, and those spoken to the disciples were similitudes, and set forth observations bearing on this in my judgment not contemptible, you must know that the sentence which is subjoined, “And it came to pass when Jesus had finished these parables, He departed thence,” will appear to be in opposition to all these arguments, as applying not only to the parables, but also to the similitudes as we have expounded.  We inquire therefore whether all these things are to be rejected, or whether we must speak of two kinds of parables, those spoken to the multitudes, and those announced to the disciples; or whether we are to think of the name of parable as equi-vocal; or whether the saying, “And it came to pass when Jesus had finished these parables,” is to be referred only to the parables above, which come before the similitudes.  For, because of the saying, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to the rest in parables,” 5254 it was not possible to say to the disciples, inasmuch as they were not of those without, that the Saviour spoke to them in parables.  And it follows from this, that the saying, “And it came to pass when Jesus had finished these parables, He departed thence,” is to be referred to the parables spoken above, or that the name parable is equivocal, or that there are two kinds of parables, or that these which we have named similitudes were not parables at all.  And observe that it was outside of His own country He speaks the parables “which, when He had p. 424 finished, He departed thence; and coming into His own country He taught them in their synagogue.”  And Mark says, “And He came into His own country and His disciples follow Him.” 5255   We must therefore inquire whether, by the expression, “His own country,” is meant Nazareth or Bethlehem,—Nazareth, because of the saying, “He shall be called a Nazarene,” 5256 or Bethlehem, since in it He was born.  And further I reflect whether the Evangelists could have said, “coming to Bethlehem,” or, “coming to Nazareth.”  They have not done so, but have named it “His country,” because of something being declared in a mystic sense in the passage about His country,—namely, the whole of Judæa,—in which He was dishonoured according to the saying, “A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country.” 5257   And if anyone thinks of Jesus Christ, “a stumbling-block to the Jews,” 5258 among whom He is persecuted even until now, but proclaimed among the Gentiles and believed in,—for His word has run over the whole world,—he will see that in His own country Jesus had no honour, but that among those who were “strangers from the covenants,” 5259 the Gentiles, He is held in honour.  But what things He taught and spake in their synagogue the Evangelists have not recorded, but only that they were so great and of such a nature that all were astonished.  And probably the things spoken were too high to be written down.  Only be it noted, He taught in their synagogue, not separating from it, nor disregarding it.



Matt. 13:53, 54.


Matt. xiii. 11.


Mark vi. 1.


Matt. ii. 23.


Matt. xiii. 57.


1 Cor. i. 23.


Eph. ii. 12.

Next: Chapter XVII