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that he was the Messiah. That this is the meaning, in the evangelists, of the phrase, of “ believing on him,' we have a demonstration in the following words, ver. 47, 48, “ Then gathered the chief priests and pharisees “ a council, and said, What do we? For this man does “ many miracles; and if we let him alone, all men will
BELIEVE ON HIM." Those who here say, all men would BELIEVE ON HIM, were the chief priests and pharisees, his enemies, who sought his life, and therefore could have no other sense nor thought of this faith in him, which they spake of; but only the believing him to be the Messiah : and that that was their meaning, the adjoining words show : “ If we let him alone, all the “ world will believe on him;" i. e. believe him to be the Messiah. “ And the Romans will come and take
away both our place and nation.” Which reasoning of theirs was thus grounded : If we stand still, and let the people “ believe on him,” i. e. receive him for the Messiah: they will thereby take him and set him up for their king, and expect deliverance by him; which will draw the Roman arms upon us, to the destruction of us and our country. The Romans could not be thought to be at all concerned in any other belief whatsoever, that the people might have on him. It is therefore plain,
believing on him," was, by the writers of the gospel, understood to mean the “ believing him to be “ the Messiah.” The sanhedrim therefore, ver. 53, 54, from that day forth consulted to put him to death. " Jesus therefore walked not yet” (for so the word étu signifies, and so I think it ought here to be translated) “ boldly,” or open-faced, aniong the jews," i. e. of Jerusalem."VETI cannot wellhere be translated "no more," because, within a very short time after, he appeared openly at the passover, and by his miracles and speech declared himself more freely than ever he had done ; and all the week before his passion, taught daily in the temple, Matt. xx. 17. Mark. x. 32. Luke xviii. 31, &c. The meaning of this place seems therefore to be this: that his time being not yet come, he durst not yet show himself openly and confidently before the scribes and pharisees, and those of the sanhedrim at Jerusalem, VOL. VI.
who were full of malice against him, and had resolved his death : “ But went thence into a country near the “ wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there “ continued with his disciples,” to keep himself out of the way until the passover, " which was nigh at hand,” ver. 55. In his return thither, he takes the twelve aside, and tells them before-hand what should happen to him at Jerusalem, whither they were now going; and that all things that are written by the prophets, concerning the Son of man, should be accomplished ; that he should be betrayed to the chief priests and scribes : and that they should condemn him to death and deliver him to the gentiles; that he should be mocked, and spit on, and scourged and put to death; and the third day he should rise again. But St. Luke tells us, chap. xviii. 34, That the apostles “understood none of these things, and this " saying was hid from them ; neither knew they the
things which were spoken.” They believed him to be the Son of God, the Messiah sent from the Father ; but their notion of the Messiah was the same with the rest of the jews, that he should be a temporal prince and deliverer : accordingly we see, Mark x. 35, that, even in this their last journey with him to Jerusalem, two of them, James and John, coming to him, and falling at his feet, said, “ Grant unto us that we may sit one on
thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory :" or, as St. Matthew has it, chap. xx. 21, “ in
thy kingdom.” That which distinguished them from the unbelieving jews, was, that they believed Jesus to be the very Messiah, and so received him as their King and Lord.
And now, the hour being come that the Son of man should be glorified, he, without his usual reserve, makes his public entry into Jerusalem, riding on a young ass! “ As it is written, Fear not, daughter of Sion; behold,
thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt.” But " these things,” says St. John, chap. xii. 16, “ his dis
ciples understood not, at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of him, and that they had done these things unto him.” Though the apostles believed
him to be the Messiah, yet there were many occurrences of his life, which they understood not (at the time when they happened) to be foretold of the Messiah; which, after his ascension, they found exactly to quadrate, Thus according to what was foretold of him, he rode into the city, “all the people crying, Hosanna, blessed is the
King of Israel, that cometh in the name of the Lord.” This was so open a declaration of his being the Messiah, that, Luke xix. 39, “ Some of the pharisees from among " the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy dis
ciples.” But he was so far now from stopping them, or disowning this their acknowledgment of his being the Messiah, that he said unto them, “I tell you, that “ if these should hold their peace, the stones would im* mediately cry out." And again upon the like occasion of their crying, “ Hosanna to the Son of David,” in the temple, Matt. xxi. 15, 16, “ When the chief priests " and scribes were sore displeased, and said unto him, “ Hearest thou what they say ? Jesus said unto them, “ Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouths of babes " and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?" And now, ver. 14, 15, “ He cures the blind and the lame openly “ in the temple. And when the chief priests and « scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the “ children crying in the temple, Hosanna, they were “ enraged.” One would not think, that after the multitude of miracles that our Saviour had now been doing for above three years together, the curing the lame and blind should so much move them. But we must remember, that though his ministry had abounded with miracles, yet the most of them had been done about Galilee, and in parts remote from Jerusalem. There is but one left on record, hitherto done in that city; and that had so ill a reception, that they sought his life for it: as we may read John v. 16. And therefore we hear not of his being at the next passover, because he was there only privately, as an ordinary jew : the reason whereof we may read, John vii. 1, “ After these things " Jesus walked in Galilee; for he would not walk in
Jewry, because the jews sought to kill him."
the mention of his being at Jerusalem, at the third passover, after his baptism; probably because he did nothing memorable there. Indeed when he was at the feast of tabernacles, immediately preceding this his last passover, he cured the man born blind : but it appears not to have been done in Jerusalem itself, but in the way, as he retired to the mount of Olives; for there seems to have been nobody by when he did it, but his apostles. Compare ver. 2. with ver. 8, 10, of John ix. This, at least, is remarkable, that neither the cure of this blind man, nor that of the other infirm man, at the passover, above a twelve-month before, at Jerusalem, was done in the sight of the scribes, pharisees, chief priests, or rulers. Nor was it without reason, that in the former part of his ministry, he was cautious of showing himself to them to be the Messiah. But now, that he was come to the last scene of his life, and that the passover was come, the appointed time, wherein he was to complete the work he came for, in his death and resurrection, he does many things in Jerusalem itself before the face of the scribes, pharisees, and whole body of the jewish nation, to manifest himself to be the Messiah. And, as St. Luke says, chap. xix. 47, 48, “ he taught daily in the temple: but " the chief priests, and the scribes, and the chief of the
people, sought to destroy him ; and could not find “ what they might do; for all the people were very at
tentive to hear him.” What he taught we are left to guess, by what we have found him constantly preaching elsewhere : but St. Luke tells us, chap. xx. 1, “ He
taught in the temple, and evangelized;” or, as we translate it, “preached the gospel;” which, as we have showed, was the making known to them the good news of the kingdom of the Messiah. And this we shall find he did, in what now remains of his history.
In the first discourse of his, which we find upon record, after this, John xii. 20, &c. he foretels his crucifixion, and the belief of all sorts, both jews and gentiles, on him after that. Whereupon the people say to him, ver. 34, “We have heard out of the law, that the “ Messiah abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, that " the Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son
“ of man ?” In his answer, he plainly designs himself under the name of Light; which was what he had declared himself to them to be, the last time that they had seen him in Jerusalem. For then at the feast of tabernacles, but six months before, he tells them in the very place where he now is, viz. in the temple, “ I am " the Light of the world ; whosoever follows me shall
not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life;" as we may read, John viï. 12. And ix. 5, he says, “As
long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the 66 world.” But neither here, nor any-where else, does he, even in these four or five last days of his life, (though he knew his hour was come, and was prepared to his death, ver. 27, and scrupled not to manifest himself to the rulers of the jews to be the Messiah, by doing miracles before them in the temple,) ever once in direct words own himself to the jews to be the Messiah ; though by miracles and other ways he did every-where make it known unto them, so that it might be understood. This could not be without some reason; and the preservation of his life, which he came now to Jerusalem on purpose to lay down, could not be it. What other could it then be, but the same which had made him use caution in the former part of his ministry ; so to conduct himself, that he might do the work which he came for, and in all parts answer the character given of the Messiah, in the law and the prophets ? He had fulfilled the time of his ministry ; and now taught and did miracles openly in the temple, before the rulers and the people, not fearing to be seized. But he would not be seized for any thing that might make him criminal to the government: and therefore he avoided giving those, who, in the division that was about him, inclined towards him, occasion of tumult for his sake : or to the jews, his enemies, matter of just accusation, against him, out of his own mouth, by professing himself to be the Messiah, the King of Israel, in direct words. It was enough that by words and deeds he declared it so to them, that they could not but understand him; which it is plain they did, Luke xx. 16, 19. Matt. xxi. 45. But yet neither his actions, which were