صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

our Lord's garment, Mat. ix. 20. and by the instances mentioned in the explication of Luke vi. 19. § 38.

And now, to return to the people whom Jesus had fed by mi. racle; notwithstanding he had ordered them to go home, after he had sent his disciples away, they did not leave the desart mountain. It seems they took notice that no boat had come thither, but the one belonging to the disciples; and because Jesus did not go with them, they concluded he had no design to leave his attendants. Wherefore, though by withdrawing into the mountain, he modestly declined the dignity which they had offered him, they persuaded themselves he would be prevailed upon to accept it the next day; especially as they might fancy the disciples were dispatched to prepare matters for that purpose. In this hope, they remained all night about the foot of the mountain in the clifts of the rocks, making the best shift they could to defend themselves from the storm ; and as soon as the morning was come, they went up designing to wait on Jesus. But they did not meet with him, though they searched for him up and down the mountain. At length they began to think he had gone off in one of the boats belonging to Tiberias, which, dure ing the storm, had taken shelter in some creek or other at the foot of the mountain. The most forward of the multitude therefore entering those boats, sailed to Capernaum, the known place of our Lord's residence, where they found him in the synagogue teaching the people, (John vi. 59.) and asked him with an air of surprise, how, and when he came thither ? John vi. 22. The day following, i. e. the day after the miracle of the loaves, being the same day that Jesus arrived at Capernaum, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one wherein his disciples. were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone. 23. Howbeit, there came other boats from Tiberias, nigh unto the place where they did eat bread ofter the Lord hod given thanks. 24. When the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, neither his disciples, they also took shipping, and came to Cerper naum, seeking for Jesus. 25. And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when comest thou hither?26. Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye seek me not because ye saw the miracles. Ye are not come after me, because ye were convinced by my miracles of the truth of my mission, and are now disposed to hearken unto my doctrine, but because ye did ent of the loaves, and were filled; having been once fed, you expect that I will feed you frequently by miracle, and the satisfaction you found in that meal, has made you conceive great hopes of temporal felicity under my administration. These are the views with which you are following me ; but you are entirely

mistaken mistaken in them; for your happiness does not consist in the meat that perisheth, neither is it that sort of meat which Messiah will give you. Wherefore, ye ought not to labour so much for the meat chat perishesh, mere animal food, which nourishes and delights the body only, as for the meat that endureth to everlasting life, divine knowledge, and grace, which by invigorating all the faculties of the soul, makes it incorruptible and immortal. Neither ought you to follow the Son of man, the Messiah, with a design to obtain the meat that perisheth, but in expectation of being fed with the meat that endureth to everlasting life, for it is that meat which he will give you. 27. Labour not' only (pen being put here for (ren povor, see on Luke xiv. 12., 92.) for the meat that perisheth, but also for that meat which endureth to everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you. For hin hath God the Father sealed : by the miracle of the loaves, God the Father shews you that he hath enabled and authorized me the Son of man, to bless you with the meat enduring to everlasting life, the food of your souls. The epithet of Father is ele gantly given to God in this passage, as it expresses the relation he stands in to the person who in the precedent clause is called the Son of man. The metaphors of meat and drink being very familiar to the Jews, and frequently used in their writings to signify, wisdom, knowledge, and grace, (see Prov. ix. 1,-5. Isa. lv. 2, 3.) they might easily have understood what Jesus meant by the meat enduring to everlasting life. Nevertheless, they mistook him altogether, imagining that he spake of some delicious, healthful, animal food, which would make men immortal, and which was not to be had but under the Messiah's government. . Accordingly, being much affected with his exhortation, they asked him what they should do to work the works of God; they meant to erect the Messiah's kingdom, and obtain that excellent meat which he said God had authorized Messiah to give them ; works which they imagined were prescribed them by God, and would be most acceptable to him. John vi. 28. Then said they unto him, What shall we do that we might work the works of God? 29. Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. The Jews having their minds filled with the notion of the great empire which Messiah was to erect, expected no doubt that Jesus would have bidden them first rise against the Romans, and vindicate their liberties, and then by the terror of fire and sword, establish Messiah's authority in every country. Wherefore, when he told them that the whole work which God required of them towards erecting Messiah's kingdom was, that they should believe on Messiah whom he had now sent unto them, they were exceedingly offend

ed, thinking that he could not be the Messiah promised in the , law and the prophets. And some more audacious than the rest,

had

had the confidence to tell him, that since he pretended to be Messiah, and required them to believe in him as such, notwithstanding his character was entirely different from that of the great deliverer described in their sacred books, being so humble and peaceable as to refuse the crown which of right pertained to Messiah, and which they had offered him, it would be proper that he should shew greater miracles than their law-giver had performed, otherwise they would not be to blame, if believing Moses and the prophets, they persisted in their ancient faith concerning Messiah, and concerning the duty which they owed him. 30. They said therefore unto him, what sign shewest thou then that we may see and believe thee (to be the Messiah ?) what dost thou work? Our fathers did ent manna in the desert; as it is written, (Ps. lxxviii. 24.) He gave them bread from heaven to eat. By extolling the miracle of the manna, by calling it bread from heaven, and by insinuating that it was Moses' miracle, the Jews endeavoured to disparage both Christ's mission and his miracle of the loaves, which they affected to despise as no miracle in comparison. It was only a single meal of terrestrial food, at which nine or ten thousand had been fed. Whereas Moses, with celestial food, fed the whole Jewish nation, in number upwards of two millions, and that not for a day, but during the space of forty years in the wil. derness. Wherefore, as if Jesus had done no miracle at all, they said to him, What sign shewest thou? what dost thou work? Jesus replied, 32. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread (Toy aftov, the bread) from heaven: it was not Moses who in ancient times gave you the manna : neither was the manna bread from heaven, though it be so called by the Psalmist, on account of the thing which it typified, for it dropped from the air only... But my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven: by the miracle of the loaves, my Father has pointed out to you the true, spiritual, heavenly bread which he himself giveth you, which the manna was only a symbolical representation of, and which is sufficient to sustain, not a single nation only, but the whole world. 33. For the bread of God is he which is what) cometh doavn from heaven (Oyaq aptos 72 918 65W ó xarabdivos ex 78 xpays) and give eth life unto the world. The manna which dropt from the air, and kept those who made use of it alive only for a day, cannot be called the bread of God; but that is the bread of God which cometh down from God, and maketh the eater virtuous, happy, and immortal like God.

It is reasonable to imagine, that the people who now heard our Lord, were of different characters. Many of them no doubt were obstinately perverse, heard him with prejudice, and wrested all his words. But others of them might be men of honest dispositions, who listened to his doctrine with pleasure, and were ready to obey it. This latter sort, therefore, having heard him

describe describe the properties of the celestial bread, were greatly struck with the thoughts of it, and expressed an earnest desire to be red with it always. John vi. 34. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this brend. 35. And Jesus said unto them, I am the brend of life: I am the bread of God which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life to the world. He that cometh to me for the sustenance of his life, shall never hunger, and he that believeth on me shall never thirst: because I am the bread of life, they who believe on me shall in due time be raised to the enjoy. ment of a life free from all the painful appetites and sensations which accompany mortality, and shall be made immortal and perfectly happy. Thus he assigned one of the many reasons, why he called himself the bread of life, (see verses 47, 48, 51.). The conclusion from this part of his discourse was so evident, that he left his hearers to draw it for themselves. It was this ; since matters are so, I am evidently greater than Moses, even in respect of that for which you extol him most. He gave your fathers manna, which was a bodily food only, and nourished nothing but the natural life. But I am myself the bread of life and food of the soul, making men both immortal and happy. He next turned his discourse to those of his hearers who did not possess that goodness of heart which the former had expressed. 36. But I said unto you, that ye also have seen me and believe not: ye ask me to shew you a sign, that ye may see and believe me, (ver. 30.) Why truly I must tell you, that you have seen me, seen my character and mission in the miracles which I hava performed already, that is, you have seen me perform many signs sufficient to convince you that I am the Messiah. Nevertheless, you do not believe that I am he, but reject me as an impostor. "Therefore your infidelity proceeds, not from want of evidence, as you pretend, (ver. 30.) but from the perverseness of your own disposition, which perhaps in time may be overcome. For, 37. All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me, that is, shall believe on me, (ver. 35.) There have been many disputes about the meaning of the Father's giving men to Christ. I think our Lord himself has determined it by the parallel expression, ver. 44. "No man can come to me except the Father draw him." To give men to Christ, therefore, is to draw men to Christ. If so, the sense of the passage is, all that the Father draweth to me (see on ver. 44.) shall believe on me, however obstinate they may be for a season. This was fit matter of comfort to Jesus, under the present infidelity of the Jews. By this likewise he encouraged his disciples who had already believed on him. In the mean time he invited those who were disposed to believe, from the consideration that he would not reject them, however low their circumstances might be, however vile they might appear in their own eyes, or however much they might have formerly injured

him, by speaking evil of him, and opposing him. And him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out. . 38. For I came down from heaven, not to do nine own will, but the will of him that sent me: I came not to act according to the bent of human passions, which lead men to return whatever injuries are done them; and therefore I will not instantly leave off exhorting those who at first reject me, neither will I inflict immediate punishment on them; but I will bear with thein, and try all possible means to bring them to repentance, that they may be saved; for I am come to do the will of him that sent me. 39. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all' which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day: it is the will of the Father that every thing necessary be done, both for the conversion of those who are disposed by him to believe, and for the preservation of those in the paths of righteousness who have already believed, that none of them whom he has given me may be lost by me. For they must all be presented before him safe at thie last day. John vi. 40. And this (likewise) is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, seeth the character and mission of the Son in the miracles which he worketh, and in the other evidences where. with his mission is attended, as is evident from ver. 36.-and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last dny. It is the fixed determination of the Father to bestow everlasting life on all who truly believe in me. Wherefore, in order to that, I will raise them up at the last day. Thus Jesus placed the character of Messiah in a light very diferent from that in which his hearers had been accustomed to view it, and taught them that instead of the temporal blessings which they expected from him, they were to receive none but spiritual benefits. Hence, as the dispositions of the greatest part of them were carnal, his doctrine offended them, especially his affirming that he was the bread of life, (ver. 35.) and that he came down from heaven, (ver. 33.) 41. The Jews then mur mured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. 42. And they said, Is not this Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Was he not born into the world as other men are, and are we not well acquainted with his parents, and know him to be earthborn? How then can he pretend to have come down from heaven? The Jews did not find fault with Jesus for insinuating that Messiah should come down from heaven; that was a point universally believed. (See on Matt. iv. 6. $ 17.) But they were displeased, because he said that he had come down from heaven; a thing which they could by no means believe, in regard they were well acquainted with his father and mom

ther.

« السابقةمتابعة »