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nally evinced by his laying down his life for them, whom he called not servants, but friends, having considered them not as slaves under the law, but as friends, to whom he had freely communicated the gracious purposes of the Father, by which
they are delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of
He admonishes them to disregard the insults of the world, knowing that the world had previously insulted him. For they must not expect that the servants will be treated better than their Lord. Had not the Jews had ample proofs that Jesus was "the Christ, the Son of God," they might have pleaded ignorance in excuse for their persecution of him. But now they had “no cloak for the sin ” they were about to commit by putting him to death in open defiance of the testimony of God towards him. But the Holy Spirit would still bear testimony to the truth, by the supernatural works he would display through them, his chosen witnesses and Apostles.
* Rom. viii. 21.
THERE is reason to believe that the Apostles, though full of affection, and zeal, and confidence in Jesus, believing him to be the very Messiah, which was to come into the world; were however by no means free from the prejudices of their countrymen respecting the nature of that kingdom, which he was about to set up. And in proportion to their misconceptions, and false hopes, would be their disappointment, when the chief priests and the rulers should deliver him to be condemned to death, and crucify him, who they trusted was he which should have redeemed Israel *." Therefore Jesus repeatedly forewarns them of what would come to pass, that when it was come to pass, they might not be offended, might not be reduced to despair, and relinquish their trust in him. For though they would be persecuted, even unto death, for his sake; yet ought they not to be discouraged, but should remember that he had taught them to expect these things; which would happen through the perverseness of those, who knew neither the Father, nor the Son. The introduction of the Father in this place has the more force, because, as it has before been observed, the Jews entertained a national pride, derived from the notion of their being God's peculiar people. But Jesus declares, that notwithstanding their pretences, they knew him not. These things it was unnecessary for Jesus to state while he remained with his disciples; but the time being now come, when he should be removed from them, it was requisite to prepare them for that event. The disciples appear to have been deeply affected by his manner and discourse, particularly by that part of it, where he said that he was going to leave them; so that in the present disordered state of their minds they dared not ask him to explain himself. But Jesus knew their thoughts, and perceived their sorrow, and comforted them, by assuring them that it was expedient he should go, inasmuch as the Holy Spirit would not descend upon them till after his departure; but when he was gone, he would send him unto them, to lead them into all truth, and to shew them the things that are coming *; that is, to open unto them a fuller insight into that dispensation which was about to be established. And, first, the Holy Spirit would reprove the world of sin, by convincing men that he, whom they had crucified, was the Messiah; 2dly, He would prove the righteousness of Jesus, by the evidence of his resurrection and ascension; and, 3dly, He would confirm the doctrine of a judgment to come, by the present judgment of Satan, and restriction of his power, especially by the erection of Christianity upon the ruins of idolatry and superstition, and the check which would thereby be given to his influence in the world.
* Luke xxiv. 20.
Ver. 12. Many things which he had yet to tell them, would be supplied by the ministration of the Holy Spirit at a time when they would better be able to comprehend them.
He must very shortly be taken from them by death ; but again shortly they should see him risen from the dead, previous to his ascent into heaven.
Ver. 17. The disciples, though they understood not the just meaning of his words, yet abstained from asking him. But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, proceeded to inform them that the rulers of this world would rejoice, while they, his followers, wept and lamented his death as the extinction of all their hopes.
But their sorrow should be turned into joy as soon as they should
behold him again risen from the dead, and have their expectations not only revived, but converted into a sure and steady confidence, which no man should take from them. Jesus then comforts them by repeating his assurance, that though absent in body, he would be present with them in spirit, and would hearken to their petitions, and supply all their wants, that their joy may be complete.
Ver. 23. “In that day, after that I am risen, ye shall ask me nothing, ye shall not need my presence to instruct you, for the Spirit shall guide you into all truth. Verily, verily, I say unto you, that instead of the Jewish ordinances of sacrifice and incense, ye shall draw near to the Father with a true heart in full assurance of faith*; and whatsoever spiritual aid ye shall ask the Father in my name, for the promotion of my religion, he will give it you, will hear your prayers offered up through faith in Christ, as effectually as through the forms prescribed by the law; and he will grant them as far as to his wisdom shall seem expedient.” If he had hitherto spoken to them obscurely of his death and resurrection, he would soon instruct them without disguise, and open to them a clearer view of the gracious designs of the
* Heb. x. 22.