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not." There is the root of every impenitent sinner's damna-
tion, namely, a stubborn, opposing will. He died to bring
our wills over to God, and make salvation our own choice,
but he can do no more for us ; and without this, mercy is
at an end for ever.

35. Behold, your house is left unto you desolate : and verily I
say unto you. Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye
shall say. Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.

The time will come, and probably is not far off, when
the Jews, who have been preserved by a continual miracle
for that purpose, shall turn to the Lord, with these very
words in their mouths.


Chap. xiv. ver. 1 — 14,

Christ's conduct and teaching.

1. And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the
chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched

And he had an eye upon them also; but with a very
different design. Their intent was to destroy him : Christ's
intention was to instruct and to save them, by laying open
their pride, ignorance, and hypocrisy.

2. And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had
the dropsy.

VER. 1 — 14.] ST. LUKE. 271

3. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees,
saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day ?

4. And they held their peace.

This question of Christ darted conviction into them, all
on a sudden. They would not say it was lawful, and durst
not sav that it was unlawful.

4. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go ;

Christ did this without fear of their censure, or any
danger that might come to him by the miracle.

5. And answered them, saying. Which of you shall have an ass
or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on
the sabbath day ?

Jesus again answered them according to their hearts.
His judgment is always in agreement with what we find
there. His eye goes directly thither. He does not want
to hear us speak, or to see us act, in order to know what we

6. And they could not answer him again to these things.

What answer could be given to such plain reasoning .''
Nevertheless, it does not appear that they were convinced.
It is one thing to be struck dumb witii the truth, and an-
other to own it.

7. And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden,
when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms ; saying unto

8. When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down
in the highest room ; lest a more honoiu-able man than thou be
bidden of him ;

9. And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee. Give
this man place ; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest

iO. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest
room ; that when he that bade thee conieth, he may say unto thee.
Friend, go up higher : then shall thou have worship in the pre-
sence of them that sit at meat with thee.

This is sound advice, suited for all times ; and when it

272 ST. LUKE. [chap. XIV.

is followed from the heart, it will render men better fitted
to exercise all the charities of life.

It may seem unworthy of Christ, and much beneath his
office, as a divine teacher, to prescribe a rule for our out-
ward behaviour. And so it would appear, if we stop at
the outside of the parable. That which Christ here teaches,
is lowliness of heart. Let us carry that about with us,
and we shall always know our place. O what shame will
seize us, if the great master of the feast should say to us at
last. Thou art a deceived man, thy place is not here !

11. For whosoever exalietb biuiJ^elf shall be abased ; and be ibat
bumbletb himself shall be exalted.

All persons, without exception, exalt themselves, till a
sense of sin has laid them low. But those who continue to
exalt themselves, shall be abased to hell. But he that
humbleth himself — as all should do, and will, whenever
their eyes are opened — shall be exalted to a place at
God's right hand. We can hear these plain words a hun-
dred times over, without ever looking for any pride in our
hearts, or thinking of the consequence.

12. Then said he also to bim that badebiin, When thou makest
a dinner, or a supper, call not tby friends, nor tby brethren, nei-
ther thy kinsmen, nor tby rich neighbours ; lest they also bid thee
again, and a recompence be made thee.

13. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed,
the lame, the blind :

14. And thou ssbalt be blessed ; for they cannot recompense
thee : for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the


Christ wives a lesson to the entertainer, and bids us look
to eternity, as the grand recompence for all the benefits we
confer on our fellow men. Let us carry out the command-
ment, " Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," and
we shall then say with David, " ]My goodness extendeth
not to the Lord, but to the saints that are in the earth,
and to such as excel in virtue." Compassion to the needy
from a sense of our obligation to God for his infinite mercy

VER. 15 24. j ST. IJIKR. 273

to ourselves, will dictate a proper line of conduct toward
the poor in our festivities.

Chap. xiv. ver. 15 — 24.


15. And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard
these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat hread
in the kingdom of God.

16. Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great sup-
per, and hade many :

None were excepted from this invitation.

17. And sent his servant at supper-time to say to them that
were hidden. Come ; for all things are now ready.

Are we not invited ? And to what ? To receive the for-
giveness of our sins : to be happy in God's favour; and to
be made new creatures in Christ Jesus, in order that we
may be fitted for heaven. The invitation to us is, " Come ;
for all things are now ready," that is, on God's part. All
that sinful, perishing creatures can desire. And God the
Father does not mock us. Behold and wonder ! He says,
" Come." Christ says, " Come." The Holy Spirit says,
" Come." O come then, all ye who hear these sayings. Be
ye also ready. Think you hear this spoken from heaven.

18. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The
first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and 1 must
needs go and see it ; T pray thee have me excused.

Their excuse was worldly business or engagements. We
may well suppose that this was singled out as the most
common and fatal hindrance of men's salvation. Look to
it, for yourselves are at stake, and the world has a strong
chain about you.

vor. II. T

274 ST. LUKE. [chap. XIV.

19. Aiul anodier said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I
go to prove thein : I pray thee have .me excused.

He would be excused from salvation ! So the field and
the yoke of oxen make men say in their hearts.

20. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I
cannot come.

The rest were a little more modest, and prayed to be
excused. This man thought it a clear case that he had no-
thing to do at God's supper, and said stoutly, he could not
come. They all indeed meant, they would not.

21. So that servant came, and shewed his lord all these things.

Nothing is hidden from him, though we would fain think
so. He knows what is at the bottom of all our excuses.

21. Then the master of the house being angry said to his ser-
vant. Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and
bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the

See at what the master of the house was angry ! Had
they not faii'ly excused themselves .'' O no ! Take warning.
Remember that you are to be put into God's balance, and
there weighed.

We ! we ! are the miserable objects who are to be
brought in : we, sinful dust and ashes, who are every way
diseased and helpless. We, by a miracle of mercy, have
had, and still have, our call to be healed, and received by
God as his friends. We are fit for Christ just as we are ;
he wants nothing of us but to have us know what we are.

22. And the servant said. Lord, it is done as thou hast com-
manded, and yet there is room.

23. And the lord said unto the servant. Go out into the high-
ways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house
may be filled.

There is no forcing men to heaven, for then God would
keep none out. But the meaning is, go, everywhere, do
everything, try all methods, be very urgent with all sorts of

VER. 25 — 35,1 sr. lukk. 270

persons, use a kind of holy violence, to bring tliem thither.
When this is done, heaven will be filled, though we perish.

24. For I say unto you, That none of those men that were bid-
den shall taste of iny supper.

Because they refused to come. No matter for what reason.
They shut themselves out of the kingdom of heaven, and
excluded they must be for ever.

Chap. xiv. ver. 25 — 35.


25. And there went grout niuUiludes wiih liim : and he turned,
and said unto them,

Christ said words, in which all of us are concerned, even
to the end of the world ; and he inculcated a hard lesson

26. If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother,
and wife, and children, and brethren, and sis:ers, yea, and his own
\\l'c also, he cannot be my disciple.

Let us not, however, mistake our Lord's words. We are
not here required actually to hate any one, and much less
father and mother; but to renounce them as freely as if we
hated them, whenever they are an hindrance to our salva-
tion, and would keep us from Christ. Our souls must be
dearer to us than all the world, or our own lives.

27. And whosoever dotli not bear his cross, and come after me,
cannot be my disciple.

We must bear our cross of outward sufferings when it is
laid upon us; and also of inward mortification of all un-
godly tempers, which we must of all necessity lay upon

T 2

276 ST. LUKE. [chap. XIV.

28. For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down
first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it ?

As if he had said, in other things you think beforehand
what you are about to do; and what means you have for
finishing that which you undertake. Do not think to be my
disciples with less forecast. If you would follow me in the
road to heaven, there is something to be done which will
put you to the trial. And if you are not aware of it, you
must necessarily shrink from me,

29. Ijest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able
to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him,

30. Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to

31. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sit-
teth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten
thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thou-
sand ?

32. Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth
an ambassage, and desiveth conditions of peace.

33. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all
that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

1st, He must wholly forsake his own natural will and
wisdom, his corrupt self, his choices and inclinations, in
order to give himself up to the will and wisdom of God.
2ndly, He must wholly give up all dependence upon him-
self, or the creature, for rest and happiness. 3rdly, He
must not so cleave to anything that he has, in heart and
afl'ection, as to be unwilling to part with it, when God calls
for it. May the Lord help us ! We have great reason to
fear that Christ's Christianity is not ours.

34. Salt is good; but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith
shall it be seasoned ?

The doctrine of Christ, and his Spirit, are our seasoning.
We are dead flesh of ourselves, and must putrify or mor-
tify others, if we have it not, or if we lose it.

35. It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill, but
men cast it out.

CHAP. XV.] ST. LUKE. 277

This is a most awful vvarnii)g to all who claim the benefit
of being the disciples of Christ : but especially to the mi-
nisters of his holy gospel.

35. He that hath ears to lieai-, let him hear.

And let him lay to heart that which so deeply concerns

Chap, XV. ver. 1 — 10.



1. Then drew near unto liim all the publicans and sinners for to
hear him.

When lost sinners draw near to Jesus, to hear him, it
is an important and precious moment to them. For such
he has sweet instruction, and they will find him to be all
grace and goodness.

2. And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying. This man
rcceiveth sinners, and eateth with them.

O what a winning, meek answer does he return to the
proud murmurings of these men ! Christ was a saint of a
different kind from these pretenders to great strictness.
They murmured because he received sinners ; but blessed
be God that sinners have such a friend. Let us know our-
selves to be sinners, and he will receive us, and will keep a
feast with us, but Pharisaical pride of heart shuts the door
against him.

3. And he sjiake tliis parable unto them, saying,

A parable is a similitude, or comparison, contrived for
the sake of some farther instruction, and contained under
the outward cover of it.


4. Wliat man ol" you, having an bundled sheep, if he lose one
of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and
go after that which is lost, until he find it ?

God has his eye and heart upon all, and this is a mar-
vellous description of his tender concern for all, and every
one. Let tliy care be for that one which is lost, namely,
thy soul : let this be now considered, if we never knew it
before. And let us think what it is to be lost to God.

5. And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders,

As we should, if we had plucked an only child out of the
fire. Jesus knows what a lost condition is, though those
that are in it do not. Has Christ ever taken us, as it
were, on his shoulders ? AVhen were we found of Christ ?
When did we put ourselves in the way where he might
find us 'i

6. And when he conieth home, he calleth together his friends
and neighbours, saj'ing unto them. Rejoice with uie ; for I have
found my sheep which was lost.

This he does, as not being able to contain his joy. A
man would scarcely do so for the finding a lost sheep : but
Christ can, and does, for the recovery of a lost soid. O
minister, what is thy joy !

7. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one
sinner that repentelh, more than over ninety and nine just persons,
which need no repentance.

The words are plain ; the sinner must repent ( And what
a call and encouragement has he to it ! What an opening
is here of the deplorableness of a lost condition ! As if
heaven were not heaven, so long as men are miserable by
continuing in sin.

" More than over ninety and nine just persons, which
need no repentance :"" that is, no remarkable thorough
diange of their state : or who have already repented, and are
safe in God's fold. But why over one such than over ninety
and nine just persons ? For its being unexpected ; as our

VER. 1 1 —24.] ST. LUKE. 279

joy rises l)igher on the like occasions, in proportion to the
grief and concern which went before. The parable of the
Prodigal Son, will serve further to explain this.

8. Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one
])iece, cloth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek dili-
gently till she find it ?

9. And wlien she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her
neighbours together, saying. Rejoice with me ; for I have found
the piece which I had lost.

10. Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of
the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

This parable, in addition, is added to the same purpose ;
in order to confirm God''s gracious intention towards re-
penting sinners beyond all doubt, and to cause the whole
to make a deeper impression upon us.


Chap. XV. ver. 11 — 24.


I suppose the parable of the Prodigal Son to relate prima-
rily to the calling of the Gentiles, — the younger brother, —
and to their being reconciled to God in one body, with the
Jews, — the elder brother. But withal it is a perfect draught
of every sinner's progress in error and guilt; — of the man-
ner of his return to God ; — and of his joyful reception.
Every single soul, while wandering from God, is in the
Gentile state, and must come to him in the way here
marked out for all. At the present time this is that in
which we are principally concerned.

11. And he said, A certain man had two sons ;

12. And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give mo
the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them
his living.

280 ST. LUKE. [chap. XV

This young man would have it so, and was left to his
own foolish choice. He wanted to be manager for himself.
This was Adam's sin, and we have all more of this inde-
pendent spirit than we imagine. But woe be to us, when
we take ourselves out of God's hands. The father had a
portion for him, as God has for us all. See what it will
come to when it is in his own keeping.

13. And not many clays after the younger son gathered all to-
gether, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted
his substance in riotous living.

Let us keep our thoughts close to the hidden meaning
of the parable, all the way, as we proceed. He departed
from God, and quickly wasted his stock. His soul was
soon in a starving condition.

14. And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in
that land ; and he began to be in want.

This pictures forth a man who is pinched with spiritual
poverty, but does not yet turn his eyes to his Father's
house ; and who tries all ways to relieve himself, in some
other method.

15. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country,
and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.

And what could he do for him in his need ? Nothing,
but send him to feed swine. The meaning is, we do so by
ourselves. When once we are fallen from God, as we all
are by nature, we make any shift rather than return to

16. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that
the swine did eat : and no man gave unto him.

These husks are the world, our lusts, our own wills,
called our reason ; and with this trash we would fain fill
ourselves. " And no man gave unto him."" Still there
was no food for the poor soul : its hunger was unsatisfied ;
and now behold it at the last gasp.

17. And when he c;imc to himself, he said. How many hired

VER. 11 — 24.] ST. LUKE. 281

servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I
perish with hunger ! .

Mark how a man finds his lost state, and that no sinner
ever comes to himself till he does find it. If we would know
whether we have come to ourselves, let us observe what
follows, and what workings we must have had. Hear his
reasonings in this verse. What plenty have I left ! What
a wretched condition have I brought myself into! How
much better is that of the meanest person in my father's
house ! So the awakened sinner says, I perish. This, there-
fore, is the first step in our repentance, namely, self-know-
ledge, conviction of sin, and a deep sense of our misery.

18. I will arise and go to my dither, and say unto liim. Father,
I have sinned against heaven, and before thee,

A purpose in the heart to return to God, is the second
step in our repentance : " I will arise and go to my father."
Confession of our guilt and miserable blindness, is the
third step in repentance : " Father, I have sinned against
heaven, and before thee."

19. And am no more worthy to be called thy son : make me as
one of thy hired servants.

This is another qualification of a true penitent. He
thinks that he has no right to be treated as a child, in
God's family. O that he might be admitted to the meanest
place in it !

20. And ho arose, and came to bis father. But when he was
yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and
ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

This was the last step, and the completion of all that
went before. No knowledge, convictions, or purposes, will
avail us without this arising, and coming to God, through
Jesus Christ. Now see what his father did, and what God
will do for all who are come thus far on their way.

When we are resolved to come to God, it is no matter
how far off, we are seen and pitied by him. The face of

282 ST. LUKE. [chap. XV.

tliis man was turned the right way. His father, who only
wanted this happy change, saw it, and ran to meet and
welcome him, with all possible demonstrations of kindness.

21. And tlie son said unto bim^ Father, I have sinned against
heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called
thy son.

No work of grace begins till this confession comes from
the heart, and from a lively conviction of our miserable
estate in sin. It is easy saying, as we are taught, that all
are sinners, and so thinking no more of it. But the pro-
digal son was pinched with a sense of his miserable condi-
tion. And so must all be inwardly, before they take up a
resolution of coming to Christ, and by him to their hea-
venly Father.

22. But the father said -to his servants. Bring forth the best
robe, and put it on him ; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes
on bis feet :

What can the best robe be, but Christ's perfect righte-
ousness ? " And put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his
feet." He is again a child in my family, he shall be owned
by me as such, and entitled to all the plenty of it. O our
good heavenly Father ! Here is not a M'ord of upbraiding
for what was past. All is forgotten when the sinner comes
to himself, and returns to God the Father, through Jesus
Christ, who is the only way to God.

23. And bring hither the fatted call", and kill it : and let us eat,
and be merry :

Who was sacrificed for us ? And what cause have we to
rejoice !

24. For this my son was dead, and is alive again : he was lost,
and is found. And they began to be merry.

We are all dead in trespasses and sins, till Christ lives
in us ; and we are lost to all good, to ourselves, to God, to
heaven, and to happiness, till wc are found of him.

vEii 25—32.] ST. LUKE. 283

Chap. XV. ver. 25 — 32.


In order to understand what remains of this parable, we
must call to mind that one great design of it was to show
the calling and receiving tlie Gentiles into covenant with
God. The Jews, who were once his only people, had per-
suaded themselves, by a strange mistake, that they were
always to be so, and they could not bear to think that the
rest of the world should have this honour with them. We
may now see who the elder son is, and what was the ground
of their murmuring.

25. Now his filler son was in the field : and as lie came and
drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.

26. And he called one of the servants, and asked what these
things meant.

27. And he said unto him, I'hy brother is come ; and thy
father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him
safe and sound.

28. And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came
his father out,aud entreated him.

He did not know himself. We can hardly think that
any one but such self-righteous people, can be displeased
with God's superabundant kindness to the worst of sinners.

29. And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years
do 1 serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy command-
ment : and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make
merry with my friends ;

See here the heart ! Let us know our deceitfulness. In
the very act of transgressing, he says he never transgressed.

30. But as soon as this thy son was come, which hath devoured
thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf.

In his pet he had forgotten that he was his brother.

284 ST. LUKE. [chap. XV.

31. And he said unto him. Son, thou art ever with nie, and all
that I have is thine.

Though the elder son was greatly to blame, and be-
trayed a very bad disposition, his father was not less con-
cerned for him than the other ; but speaks to him with
great tenderness, to bring him to a better mind.

32. It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad : for
this thy brother was dead, and is alive again ; and was lost, and is

The elder had said in scorn, " This thy son," v. 30. The
father throws the ill-natured expression back to him, with a

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