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the Pharisees and priests could not lay hold on to make an accufation of to the disturbance of his ministry, or the seizure of his fon, how much soever they desired it: for his time was not yet come. The officers they had sent to apprehend him, charmed with his discourse, returned without laying hands on him, ver. 45, 46. And when the chief priests asked them, “ Why they brought him “ not?” They answered, “ Never man spake like this man.' Whereupon the Pharisees reply,
also deceived? Have any “ of the rulers of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people, « who know not the law, are cursed.” This shews what was meant by “ believing on him,” viz. believing that he was the Merfiah. For, say they, have any of the rulers who are skilled in the law, or of the devout and learned Pharisees, acknowledged him to be the Mefliah? For as for thofe who, in the divifion among the people concerning him, say, “ That he is the Messiah,” they are ignorant and vile wretches, knowing nothing of the scripture, and, being accursed, are given by God to be deceived by this impostor, and to take him for the Messiah. Therefore, notwithstanding their 'desire to lay hold on him, he goes on : and ver. 37, 38. “ In the “ laft and great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If
any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink: he that be“ lieveth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow “ rivers of living water.” And thus he here again declares himself to be the Meffiah ; but in the prophetic style, as we see by the next verfe of this chapter, and those places in the Old Testament that these words of our Saviour refer to.
In the next chapter, John viii. all that he says concerning himself, and what they were to believe, tends to this, viz. That he was sent from God his father, and that if they did not believe that he was the Meffiah, they should die in their dins : but this in a way, as St. John observes, ver. 27. that they did not well underitand. But our Saviour himself tells them, ver. 28. “ When ye have lift
up the son of man, then shall ye know that I am he." Going from them, he cures the man born blind, whom meeting with again, after the Jews had questioned him, and cast him out, John ix. 35-38. “ Jesus said unto him, Doft thou believe on the i fon of God He answered, Who is he, Lord, that I might be« lieve on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen « him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I « believe.” Here we see this man is pronounced a believer, when all that was proposed to him to believe, was, that Jesus was the “ son of God;" which was, as we have already shewn, to believe that he was the Messiah.
In the next chapter, John X. 1—21. he declares the laying down of his life for both Jews and Gentiles; but in a parable which they understood not, ver. 6- 20.
As he was going to the feast of the dedication, the Pharisees alk him, Luke xvii. 20. “ When the kingdom of God," i. e. of the Mefliah, “ should come?” He answers, that it hall not come with
pomp and observation, and great concourse ; but that it was already begun amongst them. If he had stopt here, the sense had been lo plain, that they could hardly have mistaken him; or have doubted, but that he meant that the Mefliah was already come, and amongst them; and so might have been prone to infer, that Jesus took upon him to be him. But here, as in the place before taken notice of, subjoining to this future revelation of himself, both in his coming to execute vengeance on the Jews, and in his coming to judgement mixed together, he fo involved his sense, that it was not easy to understand him. And therefore the Jews came to him again in the temple, John X. 23. and said, “ How long dost thou make us “ doubt? If thou be Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered, I told you,
and ye BELIEVED not : the works that I do in my father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye BELIEVED not, because “ ye are not of my fheep, as I told you. The BELIEVING here, which he accuses them of not doing, is plainly their not BELIEVING him to be the Messiah, as the foregoing words evince, and in the same sense it is evidently meant in the following verses of this chapter.
From hence, Jesus going to Barbara, and thence returning into Bethany, upon Lazarus's death, John xi. 25–27. Jesus said to Martha, “ I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in “ me, though he were dead, yet he shall live; and whosoever liveth « and believeth in me, shall never die for ever.” So I understand αποθάνη εις τον αιώνα, antwerable to ζήσέlαι εις τον αιώνα, of the Septuagint, Gen. iii. 22. or John vi. 51. which we read right in our English translation, “live for ever;" but whether this saying of our Saviour here can with truth be translated, “ He that liveth and believeth « in me, shall never die,” will be apt to be questioned. But to go on,
« Believeft thou this? She said unto him, Yea, Lord, I be« lieve that thou art the Mefliah, the son of God, which should « come into the world.” This she gives as a full answer to our Saviour's demands; this being that faith, which whoever had, wanted no more to make them believers.
We may observe farther, in this fame story of the raising of Lazarus, what faith it was our Saviour expected, by what he says, ver. 41, 42.
« Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me; and I « know that thou heareft me always. But because of the people « who stand by, I faid it, that they may believe that thou hast sent *« me.” And what the consequence of it was, we may lec, ver. 45. " Then many of the Jews who came to Mary, and had seen the “ things which Jefus did, believed on him :” which belief was, that he was sent from the Father ;” which, in other words, was, that he was the Messiah. That this is the meaning, in the Evangelifts, 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 be
LIEVE ON HIM, were the chief priests and Pharisees, his enemies, who fought 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 Mefliah: and that that was their meaning, the adjoining words shew; “If we let him alone, all the world U will believe on him," i. e. believe him to be the Mefliah. “And « the Romans will come and take away both our place and nation.” Which reasoning of theirs was thus grounded: if we stand fill, and let the people believe on him," i. e. receive him for the Meffiah, 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, that « believing on him," was by the writers of the gospel understood to mean, the “ believing him to be the Messiah.
i The Sanhe« drim therefore,” ver. 53, 54. "" from that day forth consulted to « put him to death. Jefus therefore walked not yet” (for so the word fro signifies, and so I think it ought here to be translated) « boldly," or openfaced “among the Jews,” i. e. of Jerusalem. *Erı cannot well here 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 durft not shew himself openly, and confidently, before the Scribes and Pharisees, and those of the Sanhedrim at Jerusalem, who were full of malice against him, and resolved his death : “ but u 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 till 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 Mhould be accomplished'; tiat 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. xvii. 34. That the Apostles “ understood
none of these things, and this saying was hid from them ; nei“ ther knew they the things which were spoken.” They believed him to be the son of God, the Messiah sent froin 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 fee, Mark x. 35. that even in this their last journey with him to Jerusalem, two of thein, James and John, coming to him, and F.lling at his feet, faid, “ Grant unto us, that we may fit, 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.' which distinguished them from the unbelieving Jews, was, that they believed
Jesus to be the very Merliah, and to 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, inakes 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 “ disciples understood not at the first; but when Jesus was glori“ fied, 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 Meiliah; 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 faid unto him, master, rebuke thy disciples.” But he was so far now from stopping them, or disowning this their acknowledgement of his being the Meffiah, that he « faid unto « them, I tell you, that if there should hold their peace, the stones « would immediately cry out." And again, upon the like occafion of their crying, “ Hosanna to the son of David,” in the temte, Matt. xxi. 15, 16. When the chief priests and Scribes were “ fore displeased, and said unto him, Hearest thou what they say? « Jefus laid unto them, yea; Have ye never read, Out of the “ mouths of babes and lucklings 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 u temple Hosanna, they were enraged.” One would not think, that, after the multitude of miracies that our Saviour had now been doing for above three years together, the curing the laine and blind 1hould 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 Jerufilem. There is but one left upon record hitherto done in that city; and that had so ill a reception, that they fought his life for it, as we may read John v. 16.
And therefore we hear not of his being at the next pallover, 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.”
Hence we may guels the reason why St. John omitted the mention of his being at Jerufalem at the third pallover after his bap
tism; probably because he did nothing memorable there. Indeed, when he was at the feast of Tabernacles, immediately preceding this laft paftover, he cured the man born blind: but it appears not to have been done in Jerusaleın itfelf, 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 apoftles. Compare ver. 2. with ver. 8. 10. of St. John ix. This, at least, is remarkable; that neither the cure of this blind man, nor that of the other infirm man, at the paflover above a'twelver.onth before at Jerusalem, was done in the light 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 fhewing himself to them to be the Meffiah. 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 compleat the work he came for, in his death and resurrection, he does many things in Jerufalem itself, before the face of the Scribes, Pharifees, and whole body of the Jewish nation, to manifest himself to be the Meffiah. And, as St. Luke fays, chap. xix. 47, 48. “ He taught « daily in the temple : but the chief priests, and the Scribes, and “ the chief of the people, fought to destroy him; and could not « find what they might do, for all the people were very attentive to « hear hiin.” What he taught we are not 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 gospei:" which, as we have thewed, was the making known to thein 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 foretells his crucifixion, and the belief of all forts, both Jews and Gentiles, on him after that. Whereupon the people say to him, ver. 34. « We have heard out of the law, chat is the Messiah abideth for ever; and how fayest 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 hiinself to them to be, the last time that they had seen him in Jerusalem. For then at the feast of Tabernacles, but fix months before, he tells them in the very place where he row is, viz. in the temple, “ I am the light of the world; who« foever follows me, shall not walk in darkness, but Mall have the
light of life:” as we may read John viii. 12. and ix. 5. he says, « As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world." But neither here, nor any where elle, does he, even in these four or five last days of his life (though he knew his hour was come, and was prepared for his death, ver. 27. and scrupled not to manifeft himself to the rulers of the Jews to be the Melliah, by doing miracles before them in the Temple), ever once in direct words own himself to the Jews to be the Melliah; though by miracles, and other ways, he did every wliere make it known to them, so that it