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all men are not able to receive this saying of celibacy, or to live continently in a single state; whence the Apostle observes, "it is better to marry than burn," 1 Cor. vii. 9; and, 2. that celibacy was to be tolerated only in the three following cases; 1. of natural coldness of constitution; 2. of deprivation of virility; or, 3. of a firm resolution of living continently in a single state *, in order more effectually to promote the interests of religion, as in St. Paul's case, 1 Cor. vii. 7, 8. In such cases, says OUR LORD, he that is able to receive, let him receive the saying of celibacy, which in times of distress and persecution, might not be unadvisable, (as he afterwards remarked, Matt. xxiv. 19, and St. Paul, 1 Cor. vii. 26;) Matt. xix. 10—12.
CHRIST BLESSES LITTLE CHILDREN.
Then, some persons, through a high opinion of his sanctity, brought little children to JESUS, intreating that he would lay his hands upon them, and bless them; his disciples, however, rebuked them that brought them, for their unseasonable intru sion. But our Lord reprimanded his disciples, and said,“ Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven [attainable:] Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall by no means enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands upon them, and blessed them," Matt. xix. 13-15; Mark x. 13-16; Luke xviii. 15-17. Here Luke resumes the common narrative, with this interesting reprehension, by example, of the ambition and prejudices of the disciples, in public, which our Lord had done before in private.
THE RICH YOUNG RULER.
This "forward" young man, who seems to have "trusted in himself that he was righteous," and professed that "he had kept all the commandments, (of the second table,) from his youth," seems to have addressed JESUS with faith, acknowledging him to be THE CHRIST, both by his respectful manner of "kneeling to him," and by the high title he gave him of "Good Teacher," which is scarcely to be found elsewhere in the Scriptures. To check his self-complacency, it seems, OUR LORD observed,
Origen, understanding it literally, "male himself a eunuch," but afterwards confessed his error. Lardner, Vol. II. p. 445.
Why callest thou me good? there is none good but GOD alone;" there is none else, in whom goodness is an original, essential, and underived principle. That he was sincere, however, in his profession of obedience from his childhood, may be collected from our Lord's "loving him," or being pleased with his behaviour, which would not have been the case, had not his conduct corresponded with his profession. He possessed, therefore, the two main requisites for "eternal life," namely, faith and obedience. But he aimed at Christian perfection, as appears from his next question, "What lack I yet?" JESUS said, "If thou desirest to be perfect, Go, and sell all that thou hast, and distribute to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me, [as a disciple,] taking up the cross. But he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved, for he was very rich." His attachment to Mammon overcoming his attachment to CHRIST, Matt. xix. 16-22, Mark x. 17—22, Luke xviii. 18-23. Compare Matt. vi. 24.
And JESUS, seeing that he was grieved, looked round on his disciples, and said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! And his disciples were amazed at his words. But he again said unto them, in explanation, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches, to enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier that a camel should go through the eye of a needle*, than that a rich man should enter into the kingdom of God. And they were exceedingly astonished, saying, Who then can be saved? And JESUS, looking upon them, said, With men this is impossible, but with GOD all things are possible, Matt. xix. 23-36, Mark x. 23— 27, Luke xviii. 24-27. For, even the rich, who repent, and trust in GOD, will be enabled, by the divine aid, to overcome the world, if they watch and pray against the temptation, and dangerous "snare" of Mammon, or riches. Such was the penitent Zaccheus, Luke xix. 9, and such those rich and respectable disciples of OUR LORD, we may presume, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, Lazarus, and his sisters, Mary Magdalene, Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, &c. who either ministered to OUR LORD'S necessities of their substance, or anointed and embalmed him with costly ointments and spices,
The camel was the largest animal known in the holy land, Matt. xxiii. 24. A similar expression occurs in the Talmud. "No Elephant passes through the eye of a needle."
to shew their veneration for him, living and dead. Happy they who were so circumstanced, and who made such a desirable use of their "good things!" Luke viii. 2, 3, John xi. 3, xix. 39-42, Luke xxiii. 56.
CHRIST RETURNS TO JUDEA.
While OUR LORD was employed on his ministry in Peræa, a message was sent to him from the sisters of Lazarus, that their brother, his friend, was sick. To which he returned for answer, that "this sickness should not be unto death, (irrecoverably,) but for the glory of GOD, to the end that THE SON OF GOD might be glorified thereby," John xi. 1-4.
After this, he remained two days longer in the same place, till Lazarus died. Then he proposed to his disciples to return again to Judea. But they said, with surprise, "Rabbi, the Jews lately sought to stone thee, and art thou going thither again !” JESUS answered figuratively, that during the day, a person is not apt to stumble, while he walks in the light, until the darkness of night arrives; intimating, that during the allotted period of his ministry he was safe, until its close, when the appointed time of his sufferings should come. After this, which they understood not, he said unto them, Lazarus, our friend, is asleep. Then said his disciples, still ignorant, "Lord, if he sleep, he shall recover." Then said He plainly to them, “Lazarus is dead! and I am pleased, for your sakes, that I was not there, in order that ye might believe. Nevertheless, let us go unto him." Then said Thomas, apart, to his fellow disciples, "Let us go also, that we may die with him," (CHRIST,) or share his fate! John xi. 6-16.
LAZARUS RAISED TO LIFE.
JESUS, therefore, went to Bethany, where he found that Lazarus had been interred four days. His interview with the sisters of Lazarus, is inimitably interesting and affecting.
"When Martha heard that JESUS was coming, she went to meet him, and [plaintively] said, LORD, if thou hadst been here, my brother would not have died; but now I know that whatsoever thou shalt ask of GOD, GOD will give thee.
"JESUS saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again :" She, not understanding that he meant "immediately," said, "I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection, at the last day."
"JESUS saith unto her, I am [the author of] the resurrection and the life: He that believeth on Me, though he die [here,] yet shall live [hereafter;] and every one that liveth [hereafter,] and believeth in Me, shall die no [more] for ever *. Believest thou this? She saith unto Him, Yea, LORD, I do believe that thou art THE CHRIST, THe Son of God, who should come into the world."
After this noble and explicit confession of faith, referring, in part, perhaps, to his former answer to her message, John xi. 4, she went to call her sister Mary, privately;--who, when she came where JESUS was, and saw him, fell at his feet, repeating, LORD, if thou hadst been here, my brother would not have died! [and she wept.]
When JESUS, therefore, saw her weeping, and the Jews that accompanied her, also weeping, he groaned in the spirit, and troubled himselft; and he said, Where have ye laid him? They say unto him, LORD, come and see.
JESUS wept t.
Then said the Jews, See how He loved him!
But some of them said, [disparagingly,] Could not this person, who opened the eyes of the blind man, (John ix. 6,) have caused that this man also should not have died?
Jesus, then groaning again in himself, cometh to the sepulchre. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. JESUS said, Remove the stone 1. Martha, still weak in faith, and struggling with doubt, thought that the body would be too offensive to be approached by CHRIST, being now in a state of putrefaction, after an interment of four days; which in that hot climate usually took place sooner. "LORD, said she, he now smelleth, for he is the fourth day buried."
JESUS, gently rebuking her, answered, " Said I not unto thee, that if thou believedst, thou shouldst see the glory of GOD? (ver. 4.) Then, after they had removed the stone ‡, JESUS lift up his eyes, with thanksgiving to his Father, for hearing him always, and giving proof of his divine mission to the people;
⚫ See the foregoing article of Job, for this correcter translation of the passage, p. 79. † erapašev iavrov. From this remarkable expression, it appears that OUR LORD'S affections were in his own power. He voluntarily sustained sorrow now, as he voluntarily embraced death afterwards.
JESUS could as easily have removed the stone, as he raised Lazarus. This seems to be done to ascertain the fact of the putrefaction of Lazarus, by those who descended to the vault.
and cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth! Then he that had been dead, came forth, whose feet and hands had been bound with grave-clothes; and his face was still bound about with a napkin. JESUS said unto them, Loose him, and let him go! His feet and hands had been miraculously loosed; and JESUS desired his friends to loose the napkin also from his face. If the Jews buried like the Egyptians, the napkin did not entirely cover the face of Lazarus, but only went round his forehead, and over his chin, so that he might easily see his way out of the sepulchre *.
Thus, by a closer translation of the original, and by reference to the Jewish mode of interment, is the deistical objection removed, "How could Lazarus, either walk or see, when bound in his grave-clothes and napkin ?" for as ó TεvηKwc, must signify "he that had been dead," so must dedeμevos, by the same analogy, signify " he that had been bound," John xi. 17-44.
Many then of the [principal] Jews, who came to condole with Mary, and beheld what JESUS did, believed on Him. But some of the unbelievers went off to the Pharisees, and informed them of what JESUS had done. The chief priests and Pharisees therefore, assembled a council, and said, What shall we do, for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all will believe on him; and the Romans will come and take away our [Holy] place and nation.-And from that day forth, they conspired together to kill Him.
On this occasion, Caiaphas, who was high priest that memorable year, to quiet the scruples of several of the rulers, who privately believed on CHRIST, (John xii. 42,) and were not consenting to his death, (Luke xxiii. 51.) on the score of his miracles and his innocence, (John vii. 51,) treated them with contempt, as ignorant politicians, who did not understand, that regard to the public safety warranted private injustice." Ye know nothing at all; nor do ye consider, that it is expedient
The sepulchre is thus described by Maundrell, p. 78. "At the bottom of a small descent, not far from the castle of Lazarus, (supposed to have been the mansion house of that favourite of our Lord,) is shewn the sepulchre out of which he was raised to a second mortality, by that enlivening voice of CHRIST, Lazarus, come forth! You descend into the sepulchre by twenty-five steep stairs; at the bottom of which you arrive, first in a small square room; and from thence you creep into another lesser room, about a yard and half deeper, in which the body is said to have been laid. This place is held in great veneration by the Turks, who use it for an oratory, and demand of all Christians a small caphar for their admission into it."