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that cry.

7. The .Tews answered him. We have a law, and by our law he
ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.

It was true, he ought to have suffered. Not indeed for
the reason they gave, but because we ought, and because
he had put himself in our stead.

8. When Pilate therefore hoard that saying, he was the more
afraid ;

His fear worked no good effect. He had a natural dis-

528 ST. JOHN. [chap. XIX,

cernment of what was right in the case, but he wanted
orace to make him stand to his own conviction.

9. And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus,
Whence art thou ? But Jesus made him no answer.

Jesus took this method, knowing that the truth wouhl
be lost upon him, and observing his own rule, of not cast-
ing his pearls before swine. We should dread to be in
such a state.

10. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me ."*
knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have
power to release thee ?

11. Jesus answei'ed. Thou couldest have no power at all against
me, except it were given thee from above : therefore he that deli-
vered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

Pilate could have no power of any kind ; whatever he
might think of his own greatness, but by the divine will,
which orders all things : and especially not against Him.

" Therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the
greater sin.'*' Namely, the people of the Jews, who had
better means of knowing who he was. Observe, the more
light we have, tlie greater will be our condemnation for
sinning against it.

12. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him : but the
Jews cried out, saying. If thou let this man go, thou art not Cae-
sar's friend : whosoever niakelh himself a king speaketh against

This was touching Pilate in a tender part, and setting-
up his interest against his conscience. They spoke like
men that knew the world.

vi:u.l3 — 27.] ST. jofin. 529

Chap. xix. vcr. 13-27.


13. When Pihitr therefore heard that saying, he Ijrought Jesus
fortli.and sat down in the judgment-scat in a place that is called
the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbalha.

14. And it was the preparation of the passover, and aLout llie
sixth hour : and he «ailh unto the Jews, Behold your King !

The Jews called every Friday, or the day before their
sabbath, the preparation, and this in particidar, the prepa-
ration of the Passover.

" And it was about the sixtli hour ;" that is, near twelve
o'clock, the same point of time with the ending- of tlie third
hour, Mark xv. 25, according to the Jews"' division of the
day into four parts, or hours, called the first, third, sixth,
and ninth hours ; the first hour beginning at six o''clock,
and ending at nine ; the third hour at nine, and ending at
twelve; the sixth hour at twelve, and ending at three
o'clock ; the ninth hour beginning at three o'clock, and
ending at six. Others, and perhaps with more probabi-
lity, say that the Evangelists reckon the hours as we do,
and that the sia:th hour here should be read the third, on
the authority of some copies. On the latter supposition,
Christ hung three hours longer upon the cross than he did
according to the former.

15. But they cried oiU, Away wiih him, awav with him, cruelly
him. Pilate saith unto them. Shall I crucify your king ? The
chief priests answered. We have no king but Cassar.

He submitted to this scornful treatment that he migjit
be our King ; and he never is, till we are willing to learn
of him this same lesson of patient suffering. " The chief
priests answered, We have no king but Ca'sar." They said
this to gain their point, and as it were to force Christ into
tlu'ir measures, 'i'hiii- subjection to ('a?sar was very gall-

voi.. n. M .M

530 ST. JOHN. [chap. XIX'

ing to them ; but like true men of this world, they were
for anything rather than Christ, and his heavenly doctrine,
and kingdom.

16. Then delivered lie liim therefore unto them to be crucified.
And tbey look Jesus, and led him away.

Let us not mistake the men. We, and our sins, led him

17. And lie bearing his cross went forth into a place called the
place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha:

This was the common place of execution, noisome and
filthy with skulls, and dead men's bones; that no cir-
cumstances might be wanting to complete his humiliation.
Observe too, it is said, he went ; as if all were his own
doing. If it had not been his will to go, their compulsion
Avould have availed nothing.

18. Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either
side one, and Jesus in the midst.

This was a true picture of his mediation for sinners.
Those arms, as they were stretched out for all, so they
pointed to all in the persons of the two thieves. All man-
kind were upon the cross both in him and them. Let us
know our need of mercy, and be content to be saved by it.

19. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the
writing was, Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews.

Blessed God, write it in all our hearts, that this despised,
crucified Jesus, is our King ; and make us his people, by
the true circumcision of the Spirit.

20. This title then read many of the Jews : for the place where
Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city : and it was written in
Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.

21. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write
not the King of the Jews : but that he said, I am King of the

22. Pilate answered. What 1 have written I have written.

He had written the truth, without knowing it, by influ-
ence from above, and he was not suffered to alter it.

VER. 28—4-2.] ST. JOHN. 531

23. Then the soldiers, when they liad crucified Jesus, took his
garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part : now the
coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout.

24. They said therefore among themselves. Let us not rend it,
hut cast lots for it, whose it shall he : that the scripture might be
fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and
for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the sol-
diers did.

Every tittle of the scripture will be fulfilled both as it
regards its promises and threatenings, and we have no
choice, but of one or the other.

25. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his
mother's sister, Mary, the wife of Cleophas, and JMary Magdalene.

26. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple
standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother. Woman,
behold thy son !

Let us observe here the care of the blessed Jesus, in his
last moments, for his mother. It was some relief against
the sword now in her own heart, to provide her another
son, the person he most loved ; and he showed his love
effectually to John, by bequeathing him such a legacy.

27. Then saith he to the disciple. Behold thy mother ! And
from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

St. John's heart explained Christ's will to him, in these
words, " Behold thy mother !" The home tliat John pro-
vided for her was the more welcome to her, as it would be
a house of spiritual comfort to her.


Chap. xix. vcr. 28—42.


28. After this Jesus, knowing that all things were now accom-
plished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

M M 2

'^^32 ST. JOHN. [chap. xrx.

Let us observe, that Jesus saitli this, not to have his
thirst quenched, but that the scripture might be fulfilled.

29. Now there was seta vessel full of vinegar ■.'^ and they filled a
spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his

30. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said. It
is finished : and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

All scripture concerning Christ was fulfilled, and no-
thing left undone that he came into the world to accom-
plish. God was reconciled unto man, and the gates of
paradise set wide open for all that would enter into them.
Shall we suffer this precious word to be spoken in vain to
us ?

" And he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."
He did this, of his own accord, and by an act of his Al-
mighty power. He had no farther use for mortal breath,
when he had done his work in our mortal body.

31. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the
bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for
that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their
legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

32. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and
of the other which was crucified with him.

33. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that lie was dead
already, they brake not liis legs ;

34. But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and
forthwith came thereout blood and water.

This was significant of our atonement and cleansing by
him. Justification, and sanctification ; and not one with-
out the other. In this blood and water we may see the
whole gospel. St. John intended that a great stress should
be laid upon what he saw, as appears by the next verse.
Tiie miracle of blood and water flowing freely, and un-
mixed, from a corpse, was great ; and the use, and spiri-
tual understanding of it, is great also.

* This was a mixture of vinegar and myrrh, to stupify the
senses of those who were executed. This might be some charity to
their bodies, but none to their souls. The penitent thief might have
lost heaven by it.

VEK. '28 — 42.] ST. JOHN. 533

35. And lie that saw it bare record, and his record is true : and
he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe.

36. For these things were done, that the scripture should be
fulfilled, A bone of hiui shall not be broken.

37. And again another scripture saith, They shall look on hint
whom they pierced.

Let us notice this again. The scripture is God's word,
and will infallibly be made good in everything it says,
either in our salvation, or damnation. Under this convic-
tion we shall read it with advantage. " They shall look
on him whom they have pierced." If it be God's blessed
will for us, we must willingly, attentively, and constantly,
with penitence, faith, and love, look on him now, thinking
ourselves the very persons who pierced him, and for whom
he was contented to be pierced, that we may not be forced
to look on him another day, to our everlasting confusion.

38. And after this .Tuscph of Ariniathcea, being a disciple of
.lesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he
might take away the body of Jesus : and Pilate gave him leave.
He came therefore, and took the body of Jesus.

Joseph now declared himself openly, at a time when it
might least liave been expected, and when others hid them-

39. And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to
Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about
an hundred pound weight.

40. Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen
clothes with the spices, as the maimer of the Jews is to bury.

41. Now in the jjlace where he was crucified there was a gar-
den ; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man
yet laid.

42. There laid they Jesus therefore because of the Jews' pre-
paration day ; ibr the sepulchre was nigh at hand.

The day was far spent ; and as the time was short, they
must either have buried him in a place nigh at liand, or
not at all.

Joseph and Nicodemus showed their affectionate love to
the blessed Jesus, by their care of his burial and llic great

534 ST. JOHN. [chap. XX.

cost they bestowed upon it; probably, not knowing the
scriptures concerning the resurrection, any more than the
disciples. Their hearts were known to God under the
mistake ; and as they were prepared by their simplicity
and sincerity to have their eyes opened, they will doubtless
have a share in the resurrection of the just.

Chap. XX. ver. 1 — 18


1 . The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early,
when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken
away from the sepulchre.

The order of the narrative concerning the resurrection
of Jesus, as it lies in the Evangelists, seems to be this :
Mary Magdalene, and other women, were early at the se-
pulchre, — they found the stone rolled away, and the body
gone, — they saw two angels ; one of whom told tliem that
Jesus was risen, and bid them go and tell his disciples.
They went, upon which Peter and John ran to the sepul-
chre, and having seen what was done, departed.

Mary and the other women staid behind at the sepulchre,
when they first saw Jesus himself, and Mary in particular
was charged with the message to his disciples, verse seven-
teenth, and different from that given by the angels.

The only difficulty in the way of this account, arises from
Matt, xxviii. 9 : where it is said, " As they went to tell his
disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying. All hail." This
implies, that he met them as they were going to the disci-
ples, and before they had spoken with them. The words
therefore must not be so understood ; but, that having
been, or, after they had been, to tell his disciples, then
" Jesus met tliem, &c."

VEU. 1— 18.j ST. JOHN. 535

2. Then slio runneth and cometh to Simon Peter, and to
the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They
have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not
where they have laid him.

3. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came
to the sepulchre.

4. So they ran both together : and the other disciple did outrun
]'eter, and came first to the sepulchre.

5. And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes
lying ; yet went he not in.

6. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the
sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,

7. And the napkin that was about his head, not lying with the
linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

8. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the
sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.

Namely, the resurrection of Christ from that time for-

9. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise
again from the dead.

The most knowing men in the world were not ashamed
to confess their former ignorance. When once they were
convinced of the resurrection of Jesus, they knew wluit
they had to do, and acted suitably to their belief. What
follows is a melanclioly truth, but must be spoken. We
believe it, but generally without effect.

10. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

11. But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping : and as
she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,

12. And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head,
and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.

I suppose this to be a second apparition of the angels,
and different from tliat mentioned in iMatthew, Mark and

13. And they said unto her. Woman, why wecpest thou ?
She said unto them. Because they have taken away niy Lord, and
1 know not where thev have laid him.

536 ST. JOHN. [chap. XX.

14. And when she had thus said, she lunied lierself back, and
saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.

15. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, vvliy weepcst thou ? whom
seekest thou ?

Weeping, and seeking, are never in vain. To all such,
Jesus manifests himself ; in his comforts, as he pleaseth ;
and certainly in the power of his salvation.

15. She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir,
if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him,
and I will take him away.

16. Jesus saith unto her, Mary.

At the same time he opened her eyes. He can call as
powerfully to your souls and mine.

16. She turned herself", and saith unto him, Rabboui ; which is
to say, Master.

Now believing, now turning to him, and approaching
him, with a full knowledge that it was he himself. To this
turn we must all come, with the word Master in our

17. Jesus saith unto her. Touch me not ; fur I am not yet as-
cended to my Father : but go to my brethren, and say unto them,
I ascend unto my Father, and your Father ; and to my God, and
your God.

Mary was overjoyed to see Jesus risen again, and seems
to have found all she wanted in his bodily presence.
Though she showed a great deal of love and respect to
him, in the main it was but earthly ; and therefore he ac-
cordino-ly gives a check to it, and at the same time raises
lier thoughts to his ascension, and the fruits of it. She was
not to touch him, or lay hold of him with her affections, as
he was not yet gone to heaven, to send down the Spirit.
Till then he could not be her Saviour. In heaven he is
carrying on our salvation ; and we need not be a whit be-
hind those who conversed with him in his lifetime, and saw
him after his resurrection, in our participation of his spiri-
tual blesbinas.

VEU. 19— 25.] ST. JOHN. 537

Mary Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, was
honoured with the first sight of Jesus after his resurrec-
tion, and was made a messenger of his ascension to the
brethren. What a blessedness is here stamped upon a
true repentance ! If you are one of the worst of sinners,
do as she did, repent, believe, and love, and you may be
as sure of favour and acceptance.

" I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to
my God, and your God." Yes, this is for the comfort of
Christ's friends, the words assure us of this, that the Lord
is Ciirist's Father and our Father, his God, and our God ;
our God and Father, in and through him : and thus Christ
speaks in the human nature on behalf of the human nature.
Dwell upon the words, and speak them to your hearts, till
they burn within you.

18. Mary Magdalene came uinl told the disciples that she had
seen the Lord, and that lie Lad sjiukeii these things unto her.

Chap. XX. ver. 19—25.


10. Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the
week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assem-
bled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and
saith unto tliem, Peace be uuto you.

Behold, here, a little flock assembled together in the fear
of God, and shutting tiie doors upon them for fear of the
Jews. But Christ had his eye upon them, was at hand
with comfort, and would not be shut out.

" Jesus saith unto them, Peace be unto you." This one
word was a sufficient antidote both against all their fears
from the wculd, and the upbraidings of their own con-


sciences, for having so lately deserted him. That peace is
ours, and to us ; he speaks it, whenever we know how to
value it.

20. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands
and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the

Faith in us answers to this bodily sight, and fastens its
attention on the wounds of Christ, both for conviction, and
healing. When once we know that we ourselves made
those wounds, we cannot stop there ; we shall be glad to
have the benefit of them.

" Then were the disciples glad when they saw tlie
Lord." No joy like this ; and it is our own fault, if we
do not see him in his help. Those who are full cannot
cast a look towards him.

21. Then said Jesus to them again. Peace he unto you : as my
Father hath sent me, even so send I yon.

Filled with a sense of his and mi/ peace ; without which
they would be very unfit preachers of it to others.

22. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith
unto them. Receive ye the Holy Ghost :

This breathing is the new birth of his children, and as
real as the breathing which attends the natural birth,
though unseen. It conveyed more power, and greater
gifts to the apostles, but conveys life and nourishment to

23. Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them ;
and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.

By opening the doctrine of the kingdom, and declaring,
bv divine illumination, upon what conditions remission of
sins is to be had. What is knowledge but this ? x\nd if it
had not come down to us in their writings, how should we
have lamented the loss !

24. But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not
with them when Jesus came.

VER. 26—31.] ST. JOHN. 539

Whatever was the reason of his absence, Christ turned
it into a benefit to him, and to us. His doubting once
would put an end to it for ever in him, and is our as-

25. Tlie oilier disciples therefore said unto him. We have seen
the Lord. But he said unto them. Except I shall see in his hands
the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails,
and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

If the apostles had been full in the expectation of a re-
surrection, and forward to believe it, what outcries should
we have heard against their credulity ! Let us make our
own advantage of their ignorance of the scripture, and
slowness of belief in this matter.


Chap. XX. ver. 26 — 31.


26. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and
Thomas with them : then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and
stood in the midst, and said. Peace be unto you.

Peace, again peace ; peace the third time ; peace to them,
to you, and to all. Knowing the blessing contained in that
ward, in faitli and its fruits, makes us Christians.

27. Then sailh he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and
behold my hands ; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into
my side : and be not faithless, but believing.

How would Thomas be astonished, to hear his very
words repeated by Christ ! Set him always before you ;
for lo ! there is not a word in your tongues but he
knowelh it altogether.

"■ And be not faithless, but believing." Let us ask our-

540 ST. JOHN. [chap. xx.

selves without delay, whether we believe or not, what we
expect from our faith, and what it has done for us.

28. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and
my God.

He had just had experience of his infinite knowledge,
and therefore might well cry out, " My Lord and my
God." If Christ is not both to us, we know hiin not. To
be our Lord, he must be God ; and owning him for our
Lord, and Governor, without thinking him to be God, is
having more Gods than one. If Thomas was in a mistake,
what can we think of Jesus for not correcting it ?

29. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me,
thou bait believed : blessed are they that have not seen, and yet
have beheved.

Make this blessedness yours. God give us humbling
views of ourselves, and then we shall believe.

30. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the })resence of
his disciples, which are not written in this book :

31. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is
the Christ, the Son of God ; and that believing ye might have life
through his name.

In the course of this gospel we have had frequent inti-
mations given us of the great end and use of Christ's
miracles, and we are called upon at the close of it, and
especially on occasion of the crowning miracle of the resur-
rection, to observe it once more, namely, that Jesus, the
worker of them, is the Christ, the Lord's anointed, our
king, priest, and prophet, the Son of God, himself God,
and therefore able to bear the whole weight of our salva-
tion, by making atonement for our sins, and raising us from
our dead state of sin to the feeling, and power of a new life
in God. Even so. Lord Jesus ! Let this be the great end
and aim of all our reading and hearing of thee, tliat being
made alive unto God by thee, we may rejoice in our adop-
tion, and be always growing in grace, live in hope, die in
peace, and be raised in glory. Amen.

CHAP, xxr.] ST. jOHisr. 541


Chap. xxi. ver. 1 — 7.


1. After these things Jesus shencd himself again to the disci-
ples at the sea of Tiherias; and on this wise shewed he himself.

2. I'hcre were together Simon Peter, and I'homas called Didv-
mus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee,
and two other of his discijdes.

3. Simon Peter saith imto them, I go a fishiiig. They say unto
him. We also go with thee.

They would go to fish to supply their needs. These
were the men who were to convert the world ; and the
power of God was more conspicuous in the meanness of
their condition, and want of learning. What cannot God
do for us.'' Verily, nothing hinders his work in us, but

Online LibraryThomas AdamAn exposition of the four Gospels (Volume 2) → online text (page 38 of 39)