« PoprzedniaDalej »
evident from this place here, John v. compared with that of John x. last quoted. For there he says, that his works bear witness of him : And what was that witness ? viz. that he was “ the Messiah.” Here again he says, that his works bear witness of him: And what is that witness? viz. “ that the Father sent him." By which we are taught, that to be sent by the Father, and to be the Messiah, was the same thing, in his way of declaring himself. And accordingly we find, John iv. 53, and xi. 45, and elsewhere, many hearkened and assented to his testimony, and believed on him, seeing the things that he did.
2. Another way of declaring the coming of the Messiah, was by phrases and circumlocutions that did signify or intimate his coming ; though not in direct words pointing out the person. The most usual of these were, “ The kingdom of God, and of heaven;" because it was that which was often spoken of the Messiah, in the Old Testament, in very plain words : and a kingdom was that which the Jews most looked after and wished for. In that known place, Isaiah ix. “ The GOVERNMENT shall be upon his shoulders ; he shall be called the Prince of peace : of the increase of his GOVERNMENT and peace there shall be no end; upon the THRONE of David, and upon his KINGDOM, to order it, and to establish it with judgment, and with justice, from henceforth even for ever.” Micah v. 2, “ But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me, that is to be the RULER in Israel.” And Daniel, besides that he calls him “ Messiah the Prince,” chap. ix. 25, in the account of his vision “ of the Son of man," chap. vii. 13, 14, says,
“ There was given him dominion, glory, and a KINGDOM, that all people, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away; and his KINGDOM that which shall not be destroyed.” So that the kingdom of God, and the kingdom of heaven, were common phrases amongst the Jews, to signify the times of the Messiah. Luke xiv, 15, “ One of the Jews that sat
at meat with him, said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.”. Chap. xvii. 20, The Pharisees demanded, “ When the kingdom of God should come ?” And St. John Baptist came, say. ing, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand a phrase he would not have used in preaching, had it not been understood.
There are other expressions that signified the Messiah and his coming, which we shall take notice of, as they come in our way.
3. By plain and direct words, declaring the doctrine of the Messiah, speaking out that Jesus was he; as we see the apostles did, when they went about preaching the Gospel, after our Saviour's resurrection. This was the open clear way, and that which one would think the Messiah himself, when he came, should have taken; especially if it were of that moment, that upon men's believing him to be the Messiah, depended the forgiveness of their sins; and yet we see, that our Saviour did not : but on the contrary, for the most part, made no other discovery of himself, at least in Judea, and at the beginning of his ministry, buti in the two former ways, which were more obscure; not declaring himself to be the Messiah any otherwise than as it might be gathered from the miracles he did, and the conformity of his life and actions with the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning him; and from some general discourses of the kingdom of the Messiah being come, under the name of the “ kingdom of God, and of heaven.” Nay, so far was he from publicly owning himself to be the Messiah, that he forbid the doing of it: Mark viii. 27-30, “ He asked his disciples, Whom do men say that I am ? And they answered, John the Baptist; but some say Elias; and others, one of the prophets." (So that it is evident, that even those who believed him an extraordinary person, knew not yet who he was, or that he gave himself out for the Messiah, though this was in the third year of his ministry, and not a year before his death). “ And he saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am ? And Peter answered and said unto him, Thou art the Messiah.
And he charged them, that they should tell no man of him."
Luke iv. 41, “ And devils came out of many, crying, Thou art the Messiah, the Son of God: and he, rebuking them, suffered them not to speak, that they knew him to be the Messiah.” Mark iii. 11, 12, “Unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God: and he straitly charged them, that they should not make him known.” Here again we may observe, from the comparing of the two texts, that « Thou art the Son of God," or, “ Thou art the Messiah,” were indifferently used for the same thing. But to return to the matter in hand.
This concealment of himself will seem strange, in one who was come to bring light into the world, and was to suffer death for the testimony of the truth. . This reservedness will be thought to look as if he had a mind to conceal himself, and not to be known to the world for the Messiah, nor to be believed on as such. But we shall be of another mind, and conclude this proceeding of his according to divine wisdom, and suited to a fuller manifestation and evidence of his being the Messiah, when we consider that he was to fill out the time foretold of his ministry; and after a life illustrious in miracles and good works, attended with humility, meekness, patience, and sufferings, and every way conformable to the prophesies of him; should be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and with all quiet and submission be brought to the cross, though there were no guilt nor fault found in him. This could not have been if, as soon as he appeared in public, and began to preach, he had presently professed himself to have been the Messiah ; the king that owned that kingdom he published to be at hånd. For the sanhedrim would then have laid hold on it to have got him into their power, and thereby have taken away his life; at least they would have disturbed his ministry, and hindered the work he was about. That this made him cautious, and avoid, as much as he could, the occasions of provoking them, and falling into their hands, is plain from John vii. 1, “ After these things Jesus walked in Galilee;" out of the way of the Chief Priests and rulers
; “ for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.” Thus, making good what he foretold them at Jerusalem, when at the first passover after his beginning to preach the Gospel, upon his curing the man at the pool of Bethesda, they sought to kill him, John v. 16, “Ye have not,” says he, ver. 38, "his word abiding amongst you; for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not." This was spoken more particularly to the Jews of Jerusalem, who were the forward men, zealous to take away his life: and it imports, that, because of their unbelief and opposition to him, the word of God, i. e. the preaching of the kingdom of the Messiah, which is often called the word of God," did not stay amongst them, he could not stay amongst them, preach and explain to them the kingdom of the Messiah.
That the word of God, here, signifies “ the word of God,” that should make Jesus known to them to be the Messiah, is evident from the context: and this meaning of this place is made good by the event. For, after this, we hear no more of Jesus at Jerusalem till the Pentecost come twelvemonth; though it is not to be doubted, but that he was there the next passover, and other feasts between; but privately. And now at Jerusalem, at the feast of Pentecost, near fifteen months after, he says little of any thing, and not a word of the kingdom of heaven being come, or at hand; nor did he any miracle there. And returning to Jerusalem at the feast of tabernacles, it is plain, that from this time till then, which was a year and a half, he had not taught them at Jerusalem.
For, 1, it is said, John vii. 2, 15, That, he teaching in the temple at the feast of tabernacles, “ The Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned ?"
A sign they had not been used to his preaching: for, if they had, they would not now have marvelled.
2. Ver. 19, He says thus to them: “Did not Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keep the law ? Why go ye about to kill me? One work," or miracle,
“I did here amongst you,
all marvel. Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision, and ye on the sabbath-day circumcise a man: if a man on the sabbath-day receive circumcision, that the law of Moses should not be broken, are ye angry with me, because I have made a man every way whole on the sabbathday ?” Which is a direct defence of what he did at Jerusalem, a year and a half before the work he here speaks of.
We find he had not preached to them there, from that time to this, but had made good what he had told them, ver. 38, “ Ye have not the word of God remaining among you, because whom he hath sent ye believe not." Whereby, I think, he signifies his not staying, and being frequent amongst them at Jerusalem, preaching the Gospel of the kingdom; because their great unbelief, opposition, and malice to him, would not permit it.
This was manifestly so in fact: for the first miracle he did at Jerusalem, which was at the second
passover after his baptism, brought him in danger of his life. Hereupon we find he forbore preaching again there till the feast of tabernacles, immediately preceding his last passover : so that till the half a year before his passion, he did but one miracle, and preached but once publicly at Jerusalem. These trials he made there; but found their unbelief such, that if he had staid and persisted to preach the good tidings of the kingdom, and to show himself by miracles among them, he could not have had time and freedom to do those works which his Father had given him to finish, as he says, ver. 36, of this fifth of St. John.
When, upon the curing of the withered hand on the sabbath-day, “ The Pharisees took council with the Herodians, how they might destroy him, Jesus withdrew himself, with his disciples, to the sea : and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judea, and from Jerusalem, and from Idumea, and from beyond Jordan, and they about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude; when they had heard what great things he did, came unto him, and he healed them all, and charged them, that they should not make him