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XLVIII. MATT. xxvii, 57: JOHN xix, 39, 40: LUKE
The whole Jewish nation was now in movement, in six days was the Feast of the Passover.
John xi. 55. “And many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.
Therefore Jerusalem was full, and the greatest anxiety prevailed throughout the crowded city, and its neighbourhood, to know whether this Jesus of Nazareth, whose fame bad filled the country, would venture to meet the assembled nation, or whether He would again, as on the last Passover, remain at a distance.
Verse 56. “ Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple, What think ye? --that he will not come to the feast ?”
Thus they questioned one with another, and as yet no man could answer them ; but the council of the chief men of the city were on their guard. They had already given orders that as soon as Jesus appeared they might immediately know it, that
they might arrest him before the people had time to crowd around him. We read that
Verse 57. “ The chief priests and the Pharisees had given a commandment, that, if any man knew where he were, he should shew it, that they might take him.”
All the passions of the people, rich and poor, were stirred. Nor is it wonderful that it should have been so. If we consider, we shall find many reasons why the whole nation of the Jews should have been violently excited ; why they should as it were have risen in one mass to demand that the question should be settled “ whether Jesus of Nazareth were the Messiab, or an impostor."
There is no doubt that among all classes there were a few who believed that He had been sent by God, though even these were perplexed as to the character in which they ought to consider him, but the greater part of the common people were exactly in that state of doubt respecting him, which might at any moment be turned either for or against Him.
Three long years their minds had been kept in a perpetual ferment by his wonderful works. No man denied their truth, and it was certain that they proved him to be possessed of powe ers far beyond the powers
His whole manner of life, all his words, and deeds, were such that, though watched by those who were eager to find something of which they might accuse Him, not a single fault had yet been found in Him if He were to be judged by the laws of God. These He maintained to be the only rule, setting aside the traditions of men. This in itself was enough to draw upon him the hatred of the greater part of the nation, for wearisome as must have been the bondage in which the Scribes and Pharisees held them, yet it is clear that they felt pride and satisfaction in the yoke. Strange though this may seem, it appears to be natural to man; for in every land, in every age, we see men