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fact, declaring, that he was the Messiah, or the Arm 9f the Lord united to the prince of David's race, who was to make a covenant of peace with the world, and Call the teachers of Israel to account for their perverted doctrine, covetousness, and deceit.'
Our Lord having declared himself to be the good Shepherd, proceeded to assert his intimate knowledge of the Father, which implied a constant union with the Godhead. He then foretold the calling of the Gentiles into his church; in' i»iatimj, that his pastoral care, was not confined to the Jewish nation, but, on the contrary, extended to his sheep, wheresoever dispersed. By his sheep we may understand all who were or should be desirous of knowing the truth,. and willing to do their duty; these by the aid of Divine grace, when the Gospel should be offered to them, would easily discern its excellency and embrace its doctrines. Our Lord encouraged his faithful people to love him, by assuring them that he would lay down his life to purchase salvation for them. This, he informed them, would be received as an eminent act of duty by his Father, who had appointed this sacrifice, and ordained that he should have power to renew his life. Our Lord declared, that it was not in the power of any man to kill him, unless he voluntarily submitted to death, as he had in himself the principle of life, from his union with God; which Divine principle, in order to reward his obedience, would remain «with his soul even in the place of the dead, and enable it to re-animate his body. This extraordinary declaration of our Lor«'s, occasioned great divisions; some, blinded by prejudice, treated him as a madman; while others, who were rational and willing to be convinced, discerned the divine energy of his words.
How delightful it is to contemplate our Saviour as
. . • . 'the
'. the Shepherd of our souls, and to think that he wilj' continue his care to the end of the world! Let as then acknowledge him, as he was acknowledged by the FaTher, and be ready to lay down our lives rather than forsake him. We are ourselves living proofs of the. faithfulness of his gracious promise, "that he would bring other sheep besides the Israelites into the fold," being descended from the Gentiles, who were not originally of his flock. Let us, therefore, improve the'
. glorious advantage, and pray that those who yet remain unconverted may be received also into Christ's flock; that all may be one fold under one shepherd, who will' lead them through the paths of righteousness to the regions of bliss.
JESUS AT THE FEAST OF DSDICATION DECLARES THAT HE IS THE CHRIST.
From John, Chap, x.
And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was' winter. And Jesus walked in the temple' in Solomon's porch.
Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto" him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thoa be the Christ, tell us plainly. 1
Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believecT not. The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not; because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow. roe. And I give unto them eternal life, and S a they they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck then out of my hand.
My father who gave them me is greater than all: and none Is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one.
Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy, and because that thou being a man, makest thyself God.
Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
If ye called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken:
Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because 1 said, 1 am the Son of God?
If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him.
Therefore they sought again to take him; but he escaped out of their hand, and went away again beyond Jordan, into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.
And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true. And many believed on him there.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
Ti e /i «i of the dedication, observed by the Jews,
was was instituted by Judas Maccabeus *, in memory of the purification of the temple, after it had been polluted by the idolatries and impieties of Antiochus Epiphane;. Solomon's porch was a large portico leading to the Temple, originally built by Solomon, part of which. continued in the second Temple, and was called by hi* name. i
It must have been with an invidious design, that the Pharisees expressed their desire for our Lord's declaring himself to be the Messiah; for had they really wished to know him as such, his calling himself the good shepherd was sufficient. Our Saviour appealed to his miracles, and then keeping up the similitude of a shepherd, assigned the reason of their infidelity to be want of sincerity and humility. Many who followed him entered into the spiritual meaning of his discourses, because they were accustomed to lend a willing ear to his instructions, and knew that.they were such as no other person could give ; Tto these he promised the inestimable gift of eternal life, with an assurance, that no outward violence should prevail against them, or force them out of his fold, as they would be constantly strengthened and protected by the Father.
Having promised eternal life as his oiun gift, our Lord proceeded to explain how he came to be possessed of the power to bestow it, namely, by his union with the Father. His expression is very strong, I and my Father are one; and it is plain that he meant it to be taken in a literal sense, because/ when the Jews were going to stone him, and accused him of making himself God, he did not deny the assertion, but, with the utmost mildness, appealed to his works, whish evidently
• See Supplement to Vol. IV.
manifested manifested Divine power; and being perfectly righteous, shewed that he must possess Divine wisdom and .goodness: and, lest they' should imagine he called himself God in the same sense as princes and governors had borne the title (because in their respective jurisdictions they had supreme power), our Lord pointed out his own superiority, and shewed how unreasonable .it was to style them gods who were mere men, and deny him the title of the Sou of God, who was so truly God by the union of the Divine Word, and the Holy Stirit abiding with him. Our Lord then again appealed to his works, as evidences of his union .with God; and shewed, that he did not mean to ascribe .Divinity to his human nature, but to the Godheab dwelling in him.
The place our Lord retired to was Bethabara, where John had preached in the beginning of his ministry: the inhabitants of this country seem to have retained a «trong impression of the Baptist's prediction, that * " he who came after him should be greater than himself;" and willingly acknowledged Christ's superiority to him, as John performed no miracle. They also compared our Saviour's actions with the testimony of John, which convinced them that he was the Messiah; and they gladly embraced the opportunity of hearing Jbis doctrine, and professing their faith in him.
"What prudence +, mingled with sweetness, runs through our Lord's answers to the Pharisees! What inestimable blessings dees he propose to invite men into his fold! Let us never lose sight of them, but resolve to obey his precepts, and follow him wherever he shall lead us, either by his example er his doctrine: then may
* See Sect. xvii. xix. and xxi. + Doddridge's Family Expositor.