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If we could be disposed to wonder, why more of light was not bestowed upon the Jewish public, we see the reason in their conduct. They extinguished the light they had. A miracle was exhibited, in the sight of many, and within the knowledge of the whole city, which might silence all gainsayers. Lazarus was restored from the grave. But what ensued ? Did they look on this as giving them the proof they needed? As showing that this was indeed the king of Israel, coming in the name of the Lord?
The chief priests, we read, consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death, because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away and believed on Jesus. And now they said among themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? behold the world is gone after him. Their thoughts are, not how they might discover the truth, but how they might conceal it: not how they might inquire whether Jesus was to be believed, but how they might hinder others from believing
There must have been a cause for this. We trace it back indeed to the corrupt heart, which is
enmity against God," and does not “ like to retain him in its knowledge.” But this corruption acts through certain channels. And with these Pharisees it was worldliness, love of power, pride of pre-eminence. Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing ? how the distinction ye have been used to enjoy is fast departing from you? Behold, the world is gone after him. This was the fastness, in which Satan took his post ; this “ the palace,” in which“ the
strong man armed kept his goods in peace. And to what lengths do these passions carry those who yield to them? To sins as much against the law of nature within the mind, as against the law of God written in the Bible. See Pharaoh, that he might keep the Israelites under his dominion, giving command that every male child should be destroyed. Follow Saul through his various deeds of cruelty, to which he was excited by his jealousy of David. See Herod, slaying the infants of a whole district from two years old and under, through a distant apprehension that his power might be disturbed. See Pilate reluctantly consenting to the death of Jesus, lest he should be accused before Cæsar, and his government be endangered. See here the Pharisees, taking counsel how they might put Lazarus to death, because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away and believed on Jesus.
We are shocked at these enormities. But let us remember, that it is the nature of every evil passion to hurry men into crimes from which an uncorrupted conscience would revolt. No man can say to any sin, Thus far shalt thou go, and no farther. The axe must be laid to the root of the tree.
Do not therefore stifle, like the Pharisees, the first breath of conviction; do not resist as they did, the power that might convert them: but
keep thy heart with all diligence,” and pray for light to discover your most “ secret faults,” lest they break out into “
JESUS INTIMATES THAT THE HOUR OF HIS
CRUCIFIXION IS NEAR AT HAND.
JOHN xii. 20—33.
20. And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast :
21. The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.
22. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew: and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus.
These were Gentiles by birth and residence. But from some favourable circumstances, they had become acquainted with the Jewish scriptures and the Hebrew faith, and had turned so far from their national vanities, as to worship the living and true God, the Creator of the world. There were many such, like the Centurion, whose servant was healed at Capernaum,' like Cornelius, whose“
prayers and alms had come up as a memorial before God.”. But as they did not profess the religion of the Jews, the apostles hesitated, when they came to Philip, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus. The apostles were still strangers to the light which should lighten the Gentiles.
But Jesus saw through 1 Matt. viii. 5.
Acts x. 4.
the mist by which they were surrounded, and knew that the accomplishment of the prophecy was approaching, when kings should come to his light, and the Gentiles to the brightness of his rising. He replied in mysterious words.
23. And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified.
24. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone : but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.
25. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.
The Son of man, coming to his own world, and his own people, had not been received with glory. The only triumph which he knew, was that just now recorded, when a colt, “ an ass's colt,” bore him into Jerusalem, and the multitude spread their garments before him. But now the hour was come that the Son of man should be glorified. He should burst the gates of the grave, and ascend to “ the glory which he had with the Father before the world was.”
But it is not his own glory which affects the mind of Jesus. That glory, in its proper sense, admitted of no increase. His glory is man's happiness, man's salvation ; the bringing immortal souls“ from darkness to light,” from death to life, from “ the power of Satan unto God.”
And how should this be accomplished ? In real truth, the words, Now shall the Son of man be glo
3 Is. lxii. 2.
rified, must be thus interpreted, Now shall the Son of man be crucified. The foundation of that glory must be laid on the cross, and in the grave. As the corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die, in order that it may bring forth fruit; and by dying sends up an abundant produce, nourished by itself, partaking of a nature like its own; so should it be in the kingdom of God. The seeds of an abundant harvest, bringing many sons to glory,” must be sown in the grave.
. This truth, which began with the Lord himself, extends to his disciples also. As he, their Master, counted not his life dear unto himself: so must those who follow him be prepared, in many trials, to hate their life, in this world, (to act as if hating it,) and they should keep it unto life eternal.
26. If any man serve me, let him follow me ; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will
Father honour. 27. Now is my soul troubled ; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
28. Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
29. The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
30. Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.
31. Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out.
32. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.