« PreviousContinue »
there.' But " when he knew that the pharisees re
ported, that he made and baptized more disciples “ than John, he left Judea," and got out of their way again into Galilee, John iv. 1, 3.
In his way back, by the well of Sichar, he discourses with the Samaritan woman; and after having opened to her the true and spiritual worship which was at hand, which the woman presently understands of the times of the Messiah, who was then looked for; thus she answers, ver. 25, “ I know that the Messiah cometh : when he “ is come, he will tell us all things.” Whereupon our Saviour, though we hear no such thing from him in Jerusalem or Judea, or to Nicodemus; yet here, to this Samaritan woman, he in plain and direct words owns and declares, that he himself, who talked with her, was the Messiah, ver. 26.
This would seem very strange, that he should be more free and open to a Samaritan, than he was to the jews, were not the reason plain, from what we have observed above. He was now out of Judea,, among a people with whom the jews had no commerce; ver. 9, who were not disposed, out of envy, as the jews were, to seek his life, or to accuse him to the Roman governor, or to make an insurrection, to set a jew up for their King. What the consequence was of his discourse with this Samaritan woman, we have an account, ver. 28, 39-42. “ She left “ her water-pot, and went her way into the city, and “ saith to the men, Come, see a man who told me all
things that ever I did : Is not this the Messiah?. And
many of the Samaritans of that city BELIEVED ON HIM “ for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told
me all that ever I did. So when the Samaritans were
come unto him, they besought him, that he would “ tarry with them: and he abode there two days. And
many more believed because of his own word; and “ said unto the woman, Now we believe not because of “ thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves ; and we “ know,” (i.e. are fully persuaded) “ that this is indeed “ the Messiah, the Saviour of the world.” By comparing ver. 39, with 41 and 42, it is plain, that “ believ.
"ing on him" signifies no more than believing him to be the Messiah.
From Sichar Jesus goes to Nazareth, the place he was bred up in; and there reading in the synagogue a prophecy concerning the Messiah, out of the lxi. of Isaiah, he tells them, Luke iv. 21, “ This day is this scripture “ fulfilled in your ears."
But being in danger of his life at Nazareth, he leaves it for Capernaum : and then, as St. Matthew informs us, chap. iv. 17, “ He began to preach and say, Re
pent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Or, as St. Mark has it, chap. i. 14, 15, “ Preaching the s gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time " is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand ;
repent ye, and believe the gospel ; " i. e. believe this good news. This removing to Capernaum, and seating himself there in the borders of Zabulon and Naphtali, was, as St. Matthew observes, chap. iv, 13--16, that a prophecy of Isaiah might be fulfilled. Thus the actions and circumstances of his life answered the prophecies, and declared him to be the Messiah. And by what St. Mark says in this place, it is manifest, that the gospel which he preached and required them to believe, was no other but the good tidings of the coming of the Messiah, and of his kingdom, the time being now fulfilled.
In his way to Capernaum, being come to Cana, a nobleman of Capernaum came to him, ver. 47, “ And “ besought him that he would come down and heal his
son ; for he was at the point of death.” Ver. 48, “ Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and “ wonders, ye will not believe.” Then he returning homewards, and finding that his son began to " mend “ at the same hour which Jesus said unto him, Thy son
liveth; he himself believed, and his whole house,” ver. 53.
Here this nobleman is by the apostles pronounced to be a believer. And what does he believe ? Even that which Jesus complains, ver. 48," they would not BE
LIEVE, except they saw signs and wonders; which
could be nothing but what those of Samaria in the same chapter believed, viz. that he was the Messiah. For we no-where in the gospel hear of any thing else, that had been proposed to be believed by them. .
Having done miracles, and cured all their sick at Capernaum, he says, “Let us go to the adjoining towns, “ that I may preach there also ; for therefore came “ forth,” Mark i. 38. Or, as St. Luke has it, chap. iv. 43, he tells the multitude, who would have kept him, that he might not go from them," I must evangelize, or tell the good tidings of " the kingdom of God to “ other cities also; for therefore am I sent." And St. Matthew, chap. iv. 23, tells us how he executed this commission he was sent on : “ And Jesus went about all “ Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching " the gospel of the kingdom, and curing all diseases." This then was what he was sent to preach every-where, viz. the gospel of the kingdom of the Messiah ; and by the miracles and good he did he let them know who was the Messiah.
Hence he goes up to Jerusalem, to the second passover, since the beginning of his ministry. And here, discoursing to the jews, who sought to kill him upon occasion of the man whom he had cured carrying his bed on the sabbath-day, and for making God his Father, he tells them that he wrought these things by the power of God, and that he shall do greater things; for that the dead shall, at his summons, be raised ; and that he, by a power committed to him from his Father, shall judge them; and that he is sent by his Father, and that whoever shall hear his word, and believe in him that sent him, has eternal life. This though a clear description of the Messiah, yet we may observe, that here, to the angry jews, who sought to kill him, he says not a word of his kingdom, nor so much as names the Messiah; but yet that he is the Son of God, and sent from God, he refers them to the testimony of John the Baptist; to the testimony of his own miracles, and of God himself in the voice from heaven, and of the scriptures, and of Moses. He leaves them to learn from these the truth they were to believe, viz. that he was the Messiah sent
from God. This you may read more at large, John v. 1-47.
The next place where we find him preaching, was on the mount, Matt. v. and Luke vi. This is by much the longest sermon we have of his, any-where ; and, in all likelihood, to the greatest auditory: for it appears to have been to the people gathered to him from Galilee, and Judea, and Jerusalem, and from beyond Jordan, and that came out of Idumea, and from Tyre and Sidon, mentioned Mark iii. 7, 8. and Luke vi. 17. But in this whole sermon of his, we do not find one word of believing, and therefore no mention of the Messiah, or any intimation to the people who himself was.
The reason whereof we may gather from Matt. xij. 16, where “Christ “ forbids them to make him known;" which supposes them to know already who he was. For that this 12th chapter of St. Matthew ought to precede the sermon in the mount, is plain, by comparing it with Mark ii. beginning at ver. 13, to Mark iii. 8, and comparing those chapters of St. Mark with Luke vi. And I desire my reader, once for all, here to take notice, that I have all along observed the order of time in our Saviour's preaching, and have not, as I think, passed by any of his discourses. In this sermon, our Saviour only teaches them what were the laws of his kingdom, and what they must do who were admitted into it, of which I shall have occasion to speak more at large in another place, being at present only inquiring what our Saviour proposed as matter of faith to be believed.
After this, John the Baptist sends to him this message, Luke vii. 19, asking, “ Art thou he that should come,
or do we expect another?” That is, in short, Art thou the Messiah? And if thou art, why dost thou let me, thy forerunner, languish in prison ? Must I expect deliverance from any other? To which Jesus returns this answer, ver. 22, 23, “ Tell John what ye have seen and “ heard; the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are
cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the
poor the gospel is preached; and blessed is he who « is not offended in me.' What it is to be “ offended, “ or scandalized in him," we may see by comparing
Matt. xiii. 28, and Mark iv. 17, with Luke viii. 13. For what the two first call “ scandalized,” the last call “ standing off from, or forsaking," i. e. not receiving him as the Messiah (vid. Mark vi. 1–6.) or revolting from him. Here Jesus refers John, as he did the jews before, to the testimony of his miracles, to know who he was; and this was generally his preaching, whereby he declared himself to be the Messiah, who was the only prophet to come, whom the jews had any expectation of; nor did they look for any other person to be sent to them with the power of miracles, but only the Messiah. His miracles, we see by his answer to John the Baptist, he thought a sufficient declaration amongst them, that he was the Messiah. And therefore, upon his curing the possessed of the devil, the dumb, and blind, Matt. xii. the people, who saw the miracles, said, ver. 23, “Is not this the son of David ?” As much as to say, Is not this the Messiah? Whereat the pharisees being offended, said, “He cast out devils by Beelzebub." Jesus, showing the falsehood and vanity of their blasphemy, justifies the conclusion the people made from this miracle, saying, ver. 28, That his casting out devils by the Spirit of God, was an evidence that the kingdom of the Messiah was come.
One thing more there was in the miracles done by his disciples, which showed him to be the Messiah ; that they were done in his name. In the name of Jesus of
Nazareth, rise up and walk,” says St. Peter to the lame man, whom he cured in the temple, Acts iii. 6. And how far the power of that name reached, they themselves seem to wonder, Luke x. 17. “ And the seventy “ returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils
are subject to us in thy name.'
From this message from John the Baptist, he takes occasion to tell the people that John was the forerunner of the Messiah; that from the time of John the Baptist the kingdom of the Messiah began; to which time all the prophets and the law pointed, Luke vii. and Matt. xi.
Luke viii. 1, “ Afterwards he went through every “ city and village, preaching and showing the good tid.