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9. We should not be discouraged that our prayers are not immediately answered.
the proper time to answer them, and it may be of great importance to us that the answer should be deferred. Verse 23.
10. Our prayers will be answered if we persevere. Verse 28. They that seek shall find. In due time-in the best and most proper time-a gracious God will lend an ear to our request, and grant the thing we need.
11. We should come with humility and faith. Verse 27. selves, or too much of the mercy and faithfulness of Christ. are answered.
We can never think too little of our-
12. Christ will take care of his poor and needy followers. We may be assured that he has power to give us all we need ; and that in times of necessity he will supply our wants. Verses 32-38.
1 The Pharisees require a sign. 6 Jesus warneth his disciples of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. 13 The people's opinion of Christ, 16 and Peter's confession of him. 21 Jesus foresheweth his death, 23 reproveth Peter for dissuading him from it: 24 and admonisheth those that will follow him, to bear the cross.
HE Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.
a Chap. xii. 38; Mark viii. 11; Luke xi. 16, xii. 54-56; 1 Cor. i. 22.
Ver. 1. See also Mark viii. 11, 12. ¶ The Pharisees also, and with the Sadducees. These two sects were opposed to each other in the doctrines they held and the life they pursued; but they, for a season, laid aside their mutual animosity, and combined with one heart and mind against our Lord. It still frequently happens that men, holding very opposite opinions, unite to suppress and oppose vital godliness. Tempting. They came not to be convinced; they had no desire to be convinced that he was the Messiah. Had they been open to conviction, our Lord had wrought miracles enough to satisfy them that he was the Messiah promised to the fathers. Yet they feigned an appearance of willingness to be convinced; they had a real desire to see our Lord make the attempt to work a miracle, and fail in the attempt. A sign from heaven. The descent of the Holy Spirit upon our Lord at his baptism, and the voice of the Father declaring him to be his "beloved Son," were signs from heaven. In the dispensations of God's providence towards them, their fathers had witnessed many manifestations of Divine glory-the pillar of cloud and of fire in the wilderness, the solemn accompaniments with which the Law was given from the summit of mount Sinai, &c. It was, perhaps, some such manifestation of divine power that they wished our Saviour to put forth. It is not to be supposed that they would have been convinced though he had . gratified their wishes. He had done amongst them many works as plainly requiring divine power for their execution, as any work could require, but they had remained proof against the evidence of them. What proofs shall be given in evidence of "Revelation," are not to be selected by the fancies of men, but by the wisdom of God. "It is an instance of the deceitfulness of the heart, to think that we should be wrought upon by means and advantages we have not, while we slight those which we have."
2 He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather for the sky is red. 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to-day for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? 2, 3. He answered, &c. The meaning of this answer is, there are certain appearances in the atmosphere by which you judge concerning the weather; and you are in possession of abundance of materials by which you, if you really desire it, may be guided to a right conclusion concerning me, and concerning these times. The doctrines I preach, the miracles I have wrought, the state of affairs in Judea, studied in connection with the writings of the prophets, furnish materials by which you may judge of the times. When men are set against the truth, Satan and their own corrupt hearts will readily suggest some argument against it, however cogent the evidence of it may be.
4 "A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.
b Chap. xii. 39.
4. A wicked and adulterous generation, &c. Mark adds (viii. 12), that he sighed deeply in spirit. Whilst our Lord severely rebuked the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees, he was greatly grieved on account of their perverseness and obstinacy.
5 And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread.
c Mark viii. 14.
5. And when his disciples had come to Galilee. Had forgotten to take bread. They had not more than one loaf. Mark viii. Then Jesus said unto them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. 8 Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? 9 Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 10 'Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 12 Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. d Mark xii. 1. e Chap. xiv. 17; John vi. 9. f Chap. xv. 34.
the other side. That is, to the other side of the sea of That is, had forgotten to lay in a sufficient supply. 14.
6-12. The leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. The corrupt principles and practices of the Pharisees and Sadducees. This was a caution given to the disciples to beware of the teaching of those who place the sum of religion and worship in outward performances, which avail nothing to the sanctification of the soul; and such were the traditions of the Scribes and Pharisees and also such doctrines as tended to subvert religion, by cutting off all hopes of future blessings after this life, and turning the kingdom of God into an earthly and worldly kingdom, as did the doctrines of the Sadducees. They reasoned. They misapprehended the intention of their Master, and, because they had no provisions with them, they thought that he was speaking of bread. O ye of little faith. He chides the disciples for their want of faith. They had no reason to be greatly solicitous in regard to the supply of their temporal wants. A short time before, they had witnessed their Master miraculously supply food for a great multitude of men and women. Had not their faith at this time been weak, they would immediately have inferred that, in speaking of " the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees," our Lord had something more important in view than the bread which perishes. Then understood they, &c. After this explanation, they immediately saw that he referred to their doctrines. Erroneous doctrines are like leaven in the following respects:-1. They are at first slight and unimportant in appearance. 2. They are insinuated into the soul unawares and silently, and are difficult of detection. 3. They act gradually. 4. They act most certainly. 5. They will pervade all the soul, and bring in all the faculties under their control.
When Jesus came into the coasts of Cesarea Philippi, he asked his
g Mark viii. 27; Luke ix. 18.
17 And Jesus answered and said Chap. xiv. 33; Mark vill. 29; Luke ix. 20; John vi. 69, xi. 27; Acts viii. 37, ix. 20; 1 John iv. 15, v. 5; Heb. i. 2, 5.
h Chap. xiv. 2: Luke ix. 7-9.
unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but 'my Father which is in heaven.
13-17. See also Mark viii. 27-29, and Luke ix. 18-20. When Jesus came. The original is, when Jesus was coming. When in the way, Jesus took occasion to call their attention to the truth that he was the Messiah. This truth it was of much consequence that they should fully believe and understand. He began, therefore, by inquiring what was the common report respecting him. In answer, the disciples said, Some say one thing, some another. "Some say that thou art John the Baptist; some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets." Our Lord having listened to the disciples making mention of the opinions current amongst men in regard to himself, asks them, for the trial of their faith, to declare plainly and truly their own sentiments,-" Whom do you yourselves think and say that I am?" In answer to this question, Peter, for himself and his fellow-disciples, makes the confession, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God;" as if he had said, "Lord, we well know that thou art the great expected Messiah; and art not only the Son of man, the worthy Heir of that glorious and extensive kingdom promised to him, but art, in a proper and incommunicable sense, the Son of the ever-living God; and we believe in thee as such, and adore thee under that divine character." And Jesus answered, &c. The truth thou hast confessed is one of the utmost importance-essentially necessary to salvation; and, in having been brought to believe it, thou art blessed; and so shall all be blessed who become partakers of the same faith. Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee. You have not become acquainted with this truth, and made firmly to believe in it, by your own sagacity or by the teaching of man. You have been taught of God. He has made a discovery of the truth to you, and wrought faith in your soul.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and "upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
m John i. 5. n Eph. ii. 20; Rev. xxi. 14. o Job xxxviii. 17; Psal. ix. 13, cvii. 18; Isa. xxxviii. 10.
18. Upon this rock I will build my Church. The confession made by Peter contains that truth upon which the Church is founded, as upon a rock, which shall never give way or be displaced. The nature, character, offices, and work of Christ are the pillars of the Gospel-the sure and tried foundation stone laid in Zion. The name of Christ is the only name given under heaven by which we must be saved. The work of Christ is solely and exclusively that by which an atonement has been made for sin, and by which God has been reconciled to his people. By a living faith on the truths contained in the confession made by Peter, men have extended to them the benefits of Christ's work, and are constituted members of the true Church-built upon that foundation of which Christ is the corner stone. ¶ And the gates of hell, &c. Ancient cities were surrounded by walls. In the gates, by which they were entered, were the principal places for holding courts, transacting business, and deliberating on public matters. The word gates, therefore, is used for counsels, designs, machinations, evil purposes. The devices and efforts of Satan and of wicked men have ever been directed against the Church, and against those fundamental truths on which the Church is built; with what success we all know. The truth, indeed, remains untouched. It is the Word of God, and cannot be shaken. The success of Satan and his agents is not over the truth, but over the minds of men-leading them to deny the truth, to have but a dim glimpse of it, to hold it in unrighteousness. 66 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?" It is, indeed, a very vain thing to think that purposes of God can be traversed, or the foundations of his Church shaken. And what comfort is here for the sincere believer! Not only shall the Gospel always maintain a place in the world, and the true Church have an existence-every true disciple, every one who believes in his heart that Jesus is "the Christ, the Son of the living God," shall have such support given him from above as shall enable him to endure unto the end. He shall partake of that very stability which is in the truth itself. The gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church, neither shall they against those who are members of the true Church.
19 PAnd I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
p Chap. xviii. 18; John xx. 23.
19. And I will give unto thee, &c. A key is an instrument for opening a door. He that is in
possession of it has the power of access, and has a general care and administration of a house. Hence, in the Bible, a key is used as a symbol of superintendence-an emblem of power and authority. Isa. xxii. 22; Rev. i. 18, iii. 7. "Our Lord next stated the authority with which Peter would be invested. He had spoken in the name of his brethren, as well as in his own, and, doubtless, this related to them as well as to him (xviii. 18); but he might be especially addressed, as he first preached the Gospel, after Christ's ascension, both to the Jews and to the Gentiles; thus, opening the kingdom of heaven, as it were, to them both, in which it was impossible that any successor could share with him. The expression, doubtless, immediately related to the authority which the apostles possessed, as the representatives of Christ, and the principal ministers of his kingdom. They were endued with the Holy Spirit, that they might infallibly declare his truth to mankind, and determine what was binding on the conscience, and what not, to show what persons ought to be admitted into the Church, or excluded from it,—to decide on the characters of those whose sins were forgiven, or the contrary; and whatever in these, and similar respects, they bound or loosed on earth, would be bound or loosed in heaven. The apostles themselves had not an infallible insight into the characters of men, and they were liable to mistakes and sins in their own conduct. But they were infallibly preserved from error, in stating the way of acceptance and salvation, the rule of obedience, the believer's character and experience, and the final doom of unbelievers, hypocrites, and apostates. In such things their decision was absolute, and ratified in heaven, as all will find at last, even they who now despise it. In this respect, their apostolical authority continues in their doctrine, as transmitted to us in the New Testament; but all other ministers, of whatever rank, name, or age, can do no more than declare the doctrine of the apostles, and apply it to particular cases; by preaching the word, administering divine ordinances, admitting men into the visible church. or excluding them from it, or by personal encouragement and warning. As far as they proceed according to the Scripture, in these things, their decisions are warranted, and ratified in heaven; but not when they mistake, either in doctrine, or in its application to particular persons or characters. As no man can see another's heart; and as no man has any inherent power to forgive sin, or the contrary, so all pretensions absolutely to absolve, or to retain men's sins, claim more than even apostolical authority; for surely none will maintain that any man can be made a true believer, or a hypocrite, by the erroneous decision of another concerning him."
20 Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.
q Chap. xvii. 9; Mark viii. 30; Luke ix. 21.
20. Then charged, &c. The reason of this charge, perhaps, was, that his time had not fully come; he was not willing to rouse the Jewish malice, and to endanger his life, by having it proclaimed that he was the Messiah.
21 From that time forth began Jesus 'to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.
r Chap. xx. 17; Mark viii. 31, ix. 31, x. 33; Luke ix. 22, xviii. 31, xxiv. 6, 7.
21. See also Mark vii. 31-33; Luke ix. 22. ¶ From that time forth. This was the first intima- ̄ tion that he gave that he was to die in this cruel manner. He had taken much pains to convince them that he was the Messiah. He saw by the confession of Peter that they were convinced, and he then began to prepare their minds for the awful event which was before him. Had he declared this when he first called them, it would greatly have staggered them. Their minds were not prepared for it. They expected a temporal, triumphant prince as the Messiah. He first, therefore, convinced them that He was the Christ; and then, instructed them regarding the true character and office of the Messiah.
22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, †Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. unto Peter, Get thee behind me, "Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be
† Gr. Pity thyself. See 2 Sam. xix. 22.
23 But he turned, and said. thou art an offence unto me: of God, but those that be of
Rom. viii. 7.
22, 23. Then Peter took him. "When God's dispensations are either intricate or cross to us, it
becomes us silently to acquiesce in, and not to prescribe to the Divine will. Peter would have Christ to dread suffering as much as he did; but we mistake, if we measure Christ's love and patience by our own. He intimates, likewise, the improbability of it. This shall not be unto thee; it is impossible that one who has so great an interest in the people should be crushed. We do not read of any thing said or done by any of his disciples, at any time, that Christ resented so much as this. Just now he had said, Blessed art thou, Simon; but here, Get thee behind me, Satan and there was cause for both. He answered him as he did Satan himself. Chap. iv. 10. It is the subtilty of Satan, to send temptations to us by the unsuspected hands of our best and dearest friends. It concerns us, therefore, not to be ignorant of his devices, but to stand against his wiles and depths, by standing always upon our guard against sin, whoever moves us to it. Thou art an offence to me; thou art my hindrance; thou standest in my way. So strongly was Christ engaged for our redemption, that those who endeavoured to divert him from it, touched him in a very tender and sensitive part. Peter was not so sharply reproved by words for disowning and denying his Master in his sufferings, as he was for dissuading him from them. Our Lord Jesus preferred our salvation before his own ease and safety."
24 "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Chap. x. 38; Mark viii. 34; Luke ix. 23, xiv. 27; Acts xiv. 22; 1 Thess. iii. 3; 2 Tim. iii. 12. * Luke xvii. 33; John xii. 25. 24, 25. This discourse is also recorded in Mark viii. 34-38, ix. i, and Luke ix. 23-27. him deny himself. That is, let him surrender to God his will, affections, body, and soul. Let him not seek his own happiness as the supreme object, but be willing to renounce all, and lay down his life also, if required. If we would have Christ, and the salvation which is in him, we must resign ourselves to his will, and deny ourselves in every thing that is opposed to his commandments.
26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
y Psal. xlix. 7, 8.
26. For what is a man profited, &c. To gain the whole world, means to possess it as our ownall its riches, honours, and pleasures. To lose his own soul, means to be cast away-to be shut out from heaven-to be sent to hell. Two things are implied by Christ in these questions:-1st, That they who are striving to gain the world, who set their affections wholly upon it, and are unwilling to give it up for the sake of religion, will lose their souls; and, 2d, That if the soul is lost, nothing can be given in exchange for it, it can never afterwards be saved. There is no redemption in
27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
z Chap. xxvi. 64; Mark viii. 38; Luke ix. 26. a Dan. vii. 10; Zech. xiv. 5; Chap. xxv. 31; Jude 14. b Job xxxiv. 11; Psal. Ixii. 12; Prov. xxiv. 12; Jer. xvii. 10, xxxii. 19; Rom. ii. 6; 1 Cor. iii. 8; 2 Cor. v. 10; 1 Pet. i. 17; Rev. ii. 23, xxii. 12.
27. For the Son of man, &c. That is, the Lord Jesus Christ shall return to judge the world. He will come in glory-the glory of his Father. He will be attended by angels. Reward. He will deal with men according to their character. The righteous he will reward in heaven, with glory and happiness. The wicked he will send to hell, as a reward or recompense for their evil works. The condemnation of impenitent sinners is according to the strictest law of righteous retribution.
28 Verily I say unto you, "There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom,
c Mark ix. 1; Luke ix. 27.
28. Verily I say unto you, &c. To encourage the disciples, he assured them that though his kingdom was now obscure and despised-though he was cast out and little known-yet the time was near when he should be regarded in a different manner, and his kingdom be established with great power. The meaning is, that before they were called out of this world, they should behold