Page images
PDF
EPUB

cxli.

128 Caiaphas advises that one should die for the people. SECT. berating, You seem to know nothing at all of what

the present urgency of affairs requires, or you John

would easily find out a remedy in the death of X'I. 50. this Jesus, who occasions such an alarm: Nor is 50 Nor consider that this to be scrupled, because he does not appear that one man should

it is expedient for us,
to have committed any crime which is made ca- die for the people, and
pital by our law; for do you not consider that the that the whole nation
extreme danger of a state will justify such extra. perish not.
ordinary steps as are necessary for its preserva-
tion; and that it is undoubtedly much better for
us, that one innocent man should die for the
security of the people, than that the whole nation
be belongs to should perish by our scrupling to

take away his life?
51 Now this, by the way, was a very remarka-

51 And this spake ble saying; and it is to be observed, that he spake but being high-priest

he not of himself; it not merely of himself, but being high-priest that that year, he propheyear, and so a person of the greatest dignity and sied that Jesus should authority, he was moved by a secret impulse die for that pation : from God to utter these words, which might be esteemed as an oracle, and were capable of a much bigher sense than be apprehended; and by them he in effect prophesied b that Jesus should

shortly die for the security, redemption, and 52 happiness of the Jewish nation : And indeed, 52 And not for that not for the Jewish nation alone, but for all the nation only, but that

also he should gather nations of the earth, even that he also might ga- together in one the ther together into one glorious and happy society children of God that all the chosen children of God that are dispersed were scattered abroad. abroad in the most distant places and ages,

among the Gentiles as well as the Jews.
53 From that very day, therefore, the members of

53 Then from that the sanhedrim in general (though some particu- council together for to

day forth they took Jar persons were averse to their proceedings), put him to death. having thus resolved upon the death of Jesus, sought for an opportunity to execute the malicious purpose they had formed, and united their counsels, that they might find out some convenient method to slay him.

For

such a manner of speaking, which signi- of his office would add some peculiar weight fies no more than in those days, or at that and regard to what he said. --It is a strange time. (Compare Deut. xxvi. 3. Josh. xx. fancy of Dr. Lightfoot, that Caiapbas 6. Ezek. xxxviii. 8. and Mal. iii. 4.) knew Jesus to be the Messiah, and that the See Dr. Lardner's Credibility, Part i, Vol. Sanhedrim founded their apprehension of II. p. 878,879.

danger from the Romans, in consequence b. Being_high-priest that year, he pro- of the regard shewn to him, on a ridicu. phesied.] The Jewish high-priests bad in lous interpretation of Isa. x. ult. and xi. 1. former ages been often under the inspira. whence they inferred that the destruction tion of a prophetic spirit: there was there- of the temple should quickly succeed the fore some peculiar congruity in putting coming of the Messiah. See his Hor. Heb. this oracle into his mouth, and the dignity on John xi. 48, 51.

c T.

SECT cxli.

John

They resolde on his death, and Jesus retires to Ephraim. 129 54 Jesus therefore For this reason Jesus, who knew the secret rewalked no more openly solution they had formed to take away

his life, went thence into a walked no more openly among the Jews in those country near to the parts till the appointed hour for his suffering XI. 54. wilderness, into a city

was come; but, instead of visiting Jerusalem,
called Ephraim, and
there continued with he went away from thence, even from Bethany
bis disciples. where he now was, into the country near the wil.

derness of Judea, to a little city called Ephraimo,
which lay not far from Bethel on the confines of
the tribe of Benjamin ; and there he continued a
while with a few of his select disciples, and af-
terwards took a little journey eastward, towards
the banks of the river Jordan 4, from whence
he had lately come to Bethany on account of.

Lazarus's death. 55 And the Jews' And soon after this the Jewish passover drevo 55 passover was nigh at

near ;

and many went up from all parts of the hand : and many went vut of the country up country to Jerusalem, some little time before the to Jerusalem before passover, that they might purify themselves by the passover to purify some preparatory sacrifices, in order to be themselves.

ready for the celebration of that solemn festival. 56 Then sought (Compare 2 Chron. xxx. 17.) Then, as the 56 they for Jesus, and people came together, they diligently sought for selves as they stood Jesus there, some of them being desirous to see in the temple, what and hear him, and others wanting to discover think ye, that he will him to his avowed enemies the Pharisees : and Dot come to the feast?

as it could not but be generally known that the
surprising miracle which he had lately wrought
had very much inflamed the rage and envy of
his

persecutors, they were suspicious whether
he would venture to appear in public, and said
one to another, as they stood in the temple, What
think ye of his coming to the passover? Do you

suppose that, after this alarm, he will not have 57. Now both the the courage to come to the feast? But both the 57 chief priests and the chief priests and the Pharisees, concluding that commandment, that if he would not fail to come according to his usual any man knew where custom, no longer dissembled their malice, but ke were, he should published a mandate, by which they had given

an express command, that if any one knew where .: he was, he should immediately declare [it] to

them,

© To a city called Ephrain.] This city lem, which yet we find that Jesus passed (which is mentioned with Bethel, 2 Chron. through in his return. See Luke xix. 1, xiii. 19.) is by some called Ephrem, and sect. cxlii. is generally supposed to have lain in the e That they might purify themselves by porth-east part of the lot of Benjamin. some preparatory sacrifices.] Dr. Lightfoot See Reland's Palestin. p. 376, and com. (in his Hor. Heb. on this place) has shewn, pare note a on Luke xiii. 23, p. 15. that as a variety of circumstances might

d Took a little journey eastward, &c.] happen to multitudes which would require This we have reason to suppose, or Jericho purification, so some sort of cleansing re. would not have lain in his way to Jerusa. quired no less than seven days,

130 Reflections on the malice and rage of Christ's enemies. SECT. them, that they might apprehend and bring him shew it, that they might to his trial, as a disturber of the public peace,

take him. John and a person dangerous to the state, XI. 57.

çxli.

IMPROVEMENT.

Ver.

WHERE shall we find such restless, such causeless, such incor47 rigible malice, as was in the hearts of these rulers against

our blessed Saviour ? What but Divine grace can reclaim men, when to have heard of the resurrection of Lazarus from their own friends and confidants, who had just been eye-witnesses of it, instead of conquering their hearts, served only to inflame their

murderous rage! 48--50 This is an instance where we evidently see the place of judg.

ment, that wickedness was there; and the place of righteousness, that iniquity was there, (Eccles. iii. 16.) The high-priest lays down a most dangerous, though plausible, maxim, which is in effect no other than this, " That the murder of an innocent person by forms of law” (which, as a noble sufferer observed, is surely the worst kind of murder), “ nay, even of a person who by mira, cles demonstrated that he was an ambassador from God, was to be chosen, rather than by protecting and obeying him, to give umbrage to an earthly power, which seemed superior to their own,” When will the politicians of this earth learn to trust God in his own ways, rather than to trust themselves, and their own wisdom, in violation of all the rules of truth, honour, and conscience? Till then, like this foolish ruler, they will be caught in their own craftiness; and it is more than possible that they may, in many instances, hasten the very distress they are contriving to avoid. For this was here the event: the Romans (called therefore the people of Messiah the Prince, Dan, ix. 26.) were sent as executioners of the Divine vengeance, and the Jews were given up to a spirit of discord and madness, the terrible effects of which were such as cannot be read without horror, till their place and nation were taken away; nor could even the Roman general forbear declaring that the hand of God was apparent in their

destruction. $1, 52

Let us attend to this Divine oracle which God saw fit to put into the mouth of so wicked a man. Jesus has actually died for the people, even for all the children of God that are scattered abroad. His death is substituted instead of theirs ; and by it they are redeemed and delivered, and shall ere long be incorporated together, and all the happy colony be raised to an abode of eternal glory. Blessed harvest, which springs up from redeeming blood! He roic love of the dear Redeemer, which at the proper time brought

him

cxli.

Jesus sets out on his last journey to Jerusalem.

131 him to Jerusalem, where he knew that evil was determined against SECT. him! Let us follow him, in a courageous adherence to God and our duty, in the midst of danger and opposition ; and not won- Ver. der if we are set up as the marks of infamy and reproach, when 56, 57 we see Jesus marked out by a public mandate, as if he had been a robber or a murderer; and find so numerous and grand a court of judicature requiring their subjects to seize this most generous Friend of the whole world as the grand enemy of God and his country.

SECT. CXLII.

SECT.

Christ, setting out on his last journey to Jerusalem, prophesies of

his sufferings there ; rebukes the ambition of James and John;
and renews his exhortations to humility. Mat. XX. 17–28.
Mark X. 32–46. Luke XVIII. 31–34.
MARK X. 32.

Mark X. 32.
AND they were in

the way going up AT length our Lord departed from the place to Jerusalem : and Je. of his retreat, and though he knew the reso- cxlii. sus went before them; lation that his enemies had formed against him, ed, and as they follow- yet he set out with his disciples, and taking x. ak. ed they were afraid. Jericho in bis road) was deterinined to make his And he took again appearance in the temple at the approaching the twelve [disciples passover: and as, in pursuance of this design, apart in the way,) and they were in the way going up to Jerusalem, Jesus, began to tell them to shew his readiness to meet sufferings and death wbat things should in such a cause went before them; and they were bappen unto (and said unto them,j exceedingly amazed at the spirit and ardour (MAT. XX. 17.- which he discovered in so dangerous an expedi- , ilka XVIII. 31.-] tion; and as they followed him they were afraid,

both for themselves and bim. And, while their
hearts were thus impressed, he took the twelve
disciples again apart to himself, into a conve-
pient retirement which they met with by the
way, and began particularly to tell them what
things should befall him in that important jour-
ner, that he might thus prepare them for the
sufferings he should undergo, and that the ac-
complishment of his predictions might be some
confirmation to their faith during a series of
events which he knew would so severely try it.

And he said to them, 35 Behold, we go up Behold, and observe what I say ; We are now 33 to Jerusalem, [LUKE: going up to Jerusalem, and it is the last journey written by the prophets of this kind we shall ever take ; for now all thing's concerning the sin of which are written by the ancient prophets, con

cerning the sufferings of the Son of man, shall be plished :) and the Son pi man shall be [beo exactly fulfilled; and the Son of man shall be trayed

betrayed Vol. VII.

mau shall be accom

R

By the

cxlii.

132

way he foretells his death and resurrection. SECT: betrayed by one of his own company, who has trayed and} delivere!

professed the greatest duty and affection to him, unto the chief priests, Mark [and] shall be ungratefully delivered to the chief and they shall condemn X. 33. priests and the scribes, particularly to those him to death, (Mat. who constitute the sanhedrim, and who have XX, 18. Luke XVIII.

-31.]
already published so severe an edict against him
(John xi. 57, sect. cxli.); and, when they have
him thus in their power, they shall with great

formality condemn him to death, as a public
34 enemy and disturber: and, as they have not 34 And shall deliver
now the power of capital executions in their him to the Gentiles;

and they shall mock own hands, they shall deliver him up to the (Luks, and spitefully Gentiles, even to the Roman governor and his entreat] him, and soldiers; and they, instigated by the malice of shall scourge him, and the Jews, and utterly ignorant of the dignity and shall kill him, and glory of his person, shall mock and spite- Cand crucify him:) fully entreat him in the most contumelious and and the third day be reproachful manner, and shall cruelly scourge XX. 19. LUKE XVIII. him, and carry their rude outrage to such a 32, 33. height, that they shall even spit upon him; and, when this scene of mockery is over, they shall put him to a most ignominious and painful death; and, as if he was a common slave, shall even crucify him, and leave bim to expire in the gradual agonies of the cross : and yet all their malice shall not be able to triumph over him ; for on the third day he shall rise aguin, victorious over the powers of darkness, and take possession of that glorious and universal kingdom which the prophets assign to the Messiah. (Compare Mat. xvi. 21, sect. lxxxix. and Mat, xvii. 22,

sect. xcii.) Lukc And, plain as this declaration was, their LUKŁ XVIII. 34.

preXVIII. XVI 34.judices were so great, that they did not under- And they understood

none of these things : stand any of these things thoroughly, being at a loss to reconcile his being slain with the possession of that kingdom which he was to inherit:

and

and

a Shall be betrayed and delivered, &c.] zealous transport of popular fury, than that The word wapadognozler is the same both in he should have been thus solemnly cone Matthew and Mark; but plainly includes demned, and delivered up to crucifixion; a both his being treacherously discovered by Roman punishment with which we do not Judas and given up into the hands of his find he had ever heen threatened. Indeed enemies. I have therefore retained the when the Jews condemned him for blasdifferent words by which our translators phemy, for which the punishment appointed render it, in the one place and the other. in the law was sloning, and Pilate at last

b They shall-scourge him, and spit upon gave them a general permission to take him him,- and crucify him.] This prediction is and judge him according to their own law a remarkable proof of the prophetic Spirit (Mat. xxvi. 65, 66. John xviii. 31. and which dwelt" in Christ ; for, humanly xix. 7.) it is wonderful they did not choose speaking, it was much more probable that to stone him : but all this was done that the he should have been privately assassinated or scriptures might be fulfilled. (Compare Mat. stoned, (as was before attempted) by some xxvi. 56. and Joho xix. 36.)

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »