Page images

You are truly attached to me. You will follow me, and you will partake of my afflictions, and will suffer as I shall. This was fulfilled. James was slain with the sword by Herod, Acts xii. 2. John lived many years. But he attended the Saviour through his sufferings, and was himself banished to Patmos, a solitary island, for the testimony of Jesus Christ-a companion of others in tribulation, Rev. i. 9. Is not mine to give,' &c. The correct translation of the passage would be, “ To sit on my right hand and on my left is not mine to give, except to those for whom it is prepared of my Father.' It thus declares that Christ would give rewards to his followers; but only to such as should be entitled to them according to the purpose of his Father. Much as he might be attached to these two disciples, yet he could not bestow any such signal favours on them out of the regular course of rewards, Matt. xxv. 34. The correct sense is seen by leaving out that part of the verse in italics, which is not in the original.

24 And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren.

• The ten heard it. That is, the ten other apostles. They were moved with indignation. They were offended at their am. bition, at their desire to be exalted above their brethren.

25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister ; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

The kings of the earth raise their favourites to posts of trust and power. They give authority to some over others. But my kingdom is established in a different manner. The rich, the poor, the learned, the unlearned, the bond, the free, are to be equal. He will be the most distinguished that shows most humility, the deepest sense of his unworthiness, and the most earnest desire to promote the welfare of his brethren. 'Your Minister.' Your servant. Preachers of the gospel are called ministers because they are the servants of God and the church, 1 Cor. iii. 5; iv. 1. 2 Cor. üi, 6; vi. 4. Eph. iv. 12; an office, therefore, which forbids them to lord it over God's heritage; which is the very opposite of a station of superiority, and which demands the greatest degree of humility.

28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

See note, Matt. viii. 20. Jesus points them to his own example. He was in the form of God in heaven, Phil. ii. 6. Hecame in the form of a servant, Phil. ii. 7. And since he came, he had not required them to minister to him. He laboured for them. He strove to do them good. He provided for their wants, fared as poorly as they did, went before them in dangers and sufferings, practised self-denial on their account, and was about to lay down his life for them. See John xiii. 4, 5. "To give his life a ransom for many.' In war, when prisoners are taken by an enemy, the money demanded for their release is called a ransom. That is, it is the means by which they are set at liberty. So any thing that releases any one from a state of punishment, or suffering, or sin, is called a ransom. Mer. are by nature captives to sin. They are sold under it. They are under condemnation, Eph. ii. 3. Rom. iii. 9-20, 23. 1 John v. 19. They are under a curse, Gal. iii. 10. They are in love with sin. They are under its withering dominion, and are exposed to death eternal, Ezek. xviii. 4. Ps. ix. 17; xi. 6; Ixviii. 2; cxxxix. 19. Matt. xxv. 46. Rom. ii. 6—9. They must have perished unless there had been some way by which they could be rescued. This was done by the death of Jesus, by giving his life a ransom. The meaning is, that he died in the place of sinners, and that God was willing to accept the pains of his death in the place of the eternal suffering of the redeemed. See John jii. 16. 1 John iv. 10. 1 Pet. i. 18, 19. Rev. xiii. 8. John i. 29. Eph. v. 2. Heb. vii. 27. Isa. lii. This is commonly called the atonement. * For many.' See also Matt. xxvi. 28. John x. 15. 1 Tim. ii. 6. 1 John ii. 2. 2 Cor. v. 14, 15. Heb. ii. 9.

29 And as they departed from Jericho, a great multitude followed him.

See Mark x. 46–52. Luke xviii. 35–43; xix. 1; where this account of his restoring to sight two blind men is also recorded.

And as they departed from Jericho.' This was a large town on the west bank of the Jordan, about nineteen miles north-east from Jerusalem. In point of size it was second only to Jerusalem. Jt was sometimes called the city of palm-trees, from the many palms in the vicinity, 2 Chron. xxviii. 15. Judges i. 16; iii. 13. It is now a small village, wretched in its appearance, and inhabited by a very few persons, and called Riba. Jesus was going to Jerusalem. He had left Samaria, and crossed the Jordan, ch. xix. 1. His regular journey was therefore through Jericho. As they departed from Jericho. Luke says, ' As he was come nigh unto Jericho.' The original word would be here rendered correctly,' when they were near to Jericho, or when they were in the vicinity of it, without saying whether they were going to it or from it. Matthew and Mark say they were going from it. The passage in Luke xix. 1. 'And Jesus entered and passed through



Jericho,' might be intended to be connected with the account of Zaccheus, and not to denote the order of time in which these events took place; but simply that as he was passing through Jericho, Zaccheus sought to see him, and invited him to his house. The main facts of the narrative are the same, and such variations of circumstances and order, where there is no palpable con tradiction, show the honesty of the writers; show that they did not conspire together to deceive, and are confirmations of the truth of their testimony.

30 | And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.

'Two blind men.', Mark and Luke mention but one. His name was Bartimeus. Bar is a Syriac word, meaning son; and the name means, therefore, the son of Timeus. Probably Tímeus was a man of note; and as the case of his son attracted most attention, Mark and Luke recorded it particularly.. 'Heard that Jesus passed by.' They learned who he was by inquiring, They heard a noise, and asked who it was. (Luke.) They had doubtless heard much of his fame, and so were therefore earnest in calling upon him. Son of David.'. That is, Messiah, or Christ. This was the name by which the Messiah was commonly known. He was the descendant of David; he to whom a perpetual throne was promised. See note, Matt. i. 1.

31 And the multitude rebuked them, because they should hold their peace: but they cried the more, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David.

And the multitude rebuked them, &c. They chid or reproved them, and in a threatening manner told them to be silent. * They cried the more.' Jesus, standing still, ordered them to be brought to him. (Mark.) They then addressed the blind men, and told them that Jesus called them. Mark adds, that Bartimeus cast away his garment, and rose and came to Jesus. The garment was not his only raiment, but was the outer garment, thrown loosely over him, and commonly laid aside when persons laboured or ran. See note, Matt. v. 4).

32 And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will ye that I shall do unto you?

33 They say unto him, Lord, that our eyes may be opened. 34 So Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their eyes : and immediately their eyes received sight, and ihey followed him. And touched their eyes.' Mark and Luke say, he added, “Thy

[ocr errors]

faith hath saved thee. Thy confidence, belief that I could cure, has been the means of obtaining this blessing. Faith had no power to open the eyes, but it led them to Jesus; it showed that they had just views of his power; it was connected with the cure. So faith has no power to save from sin, but it leads the poor, lost, blind sinner to Him who has power, and in this sense, it is said, we are saved by faith : his touching their eyes was merely a sign that the power of healing proceeded from him.

Here was an undoubted miracle. These blind men were well known. One at least had been long blind. They were strangers to Jesus. They could not have, therefore, feigned themselves blind. The miracle was wrought in the presence of multitudes, who took a deep interest in it, and who could easily have detected the imposition if there had been one. The men followed him. They praised or glorified God. (Mark and Luke.) The people gave praise to God also. (Luke.) They were satisfied that a real miracle was performed. He that can give sight to the blind cannot lead us astray. He that can shed light in the beginning of our faith, can enlighten our goings through all our pilgrimage, and down through the dark valley of the shadow of death.

CHAPTER XXI. 1 AND when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,

See also Mark xi. 1-11. Luke xix. 29–44. They were going up now from Jericho, ch. xx. 29. The distance was about nineteen miles. The mount of Olives, or Olivet, is on the east of Jerusalem. Between this and Jerusalem there runs a small stream called the brook Kidron, or Cedron. It is dry in the hot seasons of the year, but swells to a considerable size during heavy rains. The valley through which this passes is called the valley of Jehoshaphat, or the valley of Hinnom. See note, Matt. v. 22. The mount of Olives was so called from its producing in abundance the olive. It was from Jerusalem about a sabbath day's journey, or a mile, Acts i. 12. On the west side of the mountain was the garden of Gethsemane, Luke xxii. 39. Mark xiv. 32. On the east side of the mountain, probably at its base, were the villages of Bethphage and Bethany. Mark and Luke say that he came near to both those places. The mount of Olives is about a mile in length, and overlooks Jerusalem ; so that from its summit almost every part of the city can be seen.

2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her : loose them, and bring them unto me.

The village here meant was not far from Bethany, and about

two miles east of Jerusalem. (Mark and Luke.) He had lodged at Bethany the night before, and in the morning sent his disciples to the village over against them; that is, to Bethphage, John xii. 1–12. ‘Ye shall find an ass tied,' &c. In Judea there were few horses, and those were chiefly used in war. Men seldom employed them in common life, and in ordinary journies. The ass, the mule, and the camel are still most used in eastern countries. To ride on a horse was sometimes an emblem of war: a mule and an ass the emblem of peace. Kings and princes commonly rode on them in times of peace; and it is mentioned as a mark of rank and dignity to ride in that manner, Judges x. 4; xii. 14. 1 Sam. xxv. 20. So Solomon, when he was inaugurated as king, rode on a mule, 1 Kings i. 33.

Mark and Luke say that he told them they should find a colt tied. This they were directed to bring. They mention only the colt, because it was this on which he rode.

3 And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, the Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.

• The Lord hath need of them. This means, the master has need of him. The word ' Lord' often means master, as opposed to servant, Matt. X. 24. Eph, vi 5. 1 Pet. iii. 5, 6. The word is soinetimes used in the bible as applied to God, or as a translation of the name Jehovah. Its common use is as a title of respect given by an inferior to a superior, by a servant to a master, by a disciple to a teacher. As a title of high respect it was given to Christ, or the Messiah. The persons to whom these disciples were sent, were probably acquainted with the miracles of Jesus, and favourably disposed towards him.

4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, 5 Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.

The prophecy here quoted is found in Zech. ix. 9. It was always, by the Jews, applied to the Messiah. ‘Daughter of Zion.' That is, Jerusalem. Zion was one of the hills on which the city of Jerusalem was built. On this stood the city of David and some strong fortresses. The names daughter and virgin were given to it often, in accordance with the oriental figurative manner of expression, Amos v. 2. Ps. cxxxvii. 8. Isa. xlvii. 1. Meek.' See note, Matt. v. 5. The expression here rather denotes peaceful, not warlike; not with pomp and state, and the ensigns of ambition. Sitting upon an ass,' &c. He rode on the colt. (Mark and Luke.) This expression in Matthew is one which is common with all writers. See Gen. xix, 29. Judges xii, 7.


« PreviousContinue »