angels; but how then, said he, would this great work in which I am engaged, have been accomplished*? And having said this, in the presence of them all, he wrought a miracle, which, had they not hardened their hearts, must have convinced them of their wickedness, in this their violent persecution of the Lamb of GOD, the innocent and mild JESUS. He touched the servant's ear, and instantly it was healed. This unwarrantable apprehension of JESUS drew from him a just expostulation with the chief priests and captains of the temple, and the elders which were come to him, demanding why they came out against him, as against a thief, with swords and staves to take him. When I was daily with you, and sat teaching in the temple, ye took me not, nor did you stretch forth any hands against me; but this is your hour and the power of darkness: then you were withheld by a secret check, but now you are permitted to execute your malice upon me; for the ancient prophecies must be fulfilled.

Here it was that the courage of his disciples, who had all, not many hours before, declared with most solemn pro

* Gilpin. + Knowles.

testations, that they would die with, rather than forsake him-here it was that their courage failed them; for alas! they all forsook him and fled. St. Mark, in his narrative, mentions also that a certain young man, who probably lodged near the garden, and was awakened by the noise which he heard, came forth, and followed with a linen cloth cast about his naked body; on whom the guard, suspecting him to be a disciple of JESUS, laid hold; and that he, through fear, left the linen cloth, and fled from them


On this event of the disciples thus forsaking their Master, the following just observation occurs in the lectures before alluded to.

"Here we have the exact completion of that prophecy, which JESUS had just before delivered, that all his disciples should be offended because of him; that is, should desert him that very night. And that this prediction was so accomplished, is clear beyond all controversy; because it was an event, which the disciples would for their own credit gladly have suppressed, if they durst. By recording this event, they recorded their own weakness, their own pusillanimity. And we may be perfectly sure, that they

would not invent a falsehood on purpose to perpetuate their own disgrace. We have, therefore, in this incident, a demonstrative proof, both that our Lord's prophecy was actually fulfilled, and that the evangelists were men of the strictest veracity and integrity, who were determined to sacrifice every thing, even their own reputation, to the sacred cause of truth*."

As we proceed in the mournful history, every step we take, leads us nearer and nearer to the sad and bitter consummation of our Saviour's sufferings. We have just seen him basely betrayed by one of his twelve disciples, and timorously forsaken by all the rest, apprehended and carried away by a band of armed men, to undergo, with the mockery of a trial, every indignity, and at last to be brought to the ignominious death of the cross. Let us now follow him, and watch with observant eye the progress of that malice, which is to lead to the last sad scene of lawless persecution. Behold him then first of all, when seized by the band and the captain and officers of the Jews, bound like a common malefactor-Behold him in that degrading state led away

*See Bishop of London's Lecture xxi.

to Annas, and by him sent in the same bonds to the house of Caiaphas,-—that Caiaphas, who not long before had given counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people*; where all the chief priests and the scribes and the elders were, in anxious expectation, assembled with him. Basely as all the disciples, at the instant of his being apprehended, had forsaken him and fled, yet two of them soon recollected themselves; these were Peter and John, who followed JESUS afar off, and were at length admitted into the hall of the palace, where Peter sat down among them to see the end of the examination of his deserted Master.

We have seen JESUS bound, we next behold him placed before the tribunal, as a malefactor; we behold also a judge, who had nothing criminal to lay to his charge; but who in his irregular proceedings sought to make the prisoner a witness against himself, and thus to be'come his own accuser. The high priest therefore begins his examination by a scrutiny into his doctrine and the conduct of his disciples, in hopes of an opportunity of charging him with heresy or

John xi. 50.

sedition. JESUS told him, that he had always spoken openly to the world; that he had preached no private doctrine, that he constantly taught in the synagogue and the temple, whither the Jews always resorted from every quarter; to them he referred him for an account of his doctrine; which, as they had heard, they could not but be able to report to him, for in secret he had said nothing.

Was this an answer to provoke that haughty and imperious question, Answerest thou the high priest so? What then shall we think of such an officer, who, in open court, not only put to him this disdainful question, but accompanied it also with the indignity of a blow, for he struck JESUS with the palm of his hand?

Mark the contrast between the haughty question of the officer, and the meek and patient answer of the prisoner: If said JESUS, I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; report it to the judges, and let them punish it: but if well, why smitest thou me? And if, as some have supposed*, the officer who struck JESUS, was the very Malchus whose ear he had so lately healed, how is the ingratitude of

* See Henry on the New Testament.

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