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Then they sought to take him; but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come :
And many of the people believed on him, and said, When CHRIST cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?
The Pharisees heard that the people murmured such things concerning him: and the Pharisees and chief priests sent officers to take him.
Then said Jesus unto them, Yet a little while am I with you, and then I go unto him that sent me.
Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come.
Then said the Jews among themselves, Whither will he go, that we shall not find him? Will he go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles, and teach the Gentiles?
What manner of saying is this that he said, Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come ?
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
The feast of tabernacles was observed by the Jews with great solemnity and joy.
The kindred of Joseph and Mary, who are the persons here called our LORD's brethren, did not believe him to be the MESSIAH: therefore it was not out of kindness and respect, but from ill-will, that they advised him to go to Judea: knowing their hearts, Jesus declined giving public testimony of his ministry at Jeru salem, and manifesting himself openly to all the world, because the time appointed by the FATHER for his doing so was not yet arrived, and it was proper for him to use every prudent means to avoid persecution; neither 'did he wish to provoke the Roman governor. As for those who are here called his brethren, it was of little import
importance when they went to Jerusalem, neither had they reason to fear ill-treatment from the genera lity of mankind, or the rulers of the Jews in particular; because these all acted upon the same worldly principles. But our SAVIOUR's zeal for truth and reformation made all such persons his enemies; he therefore resolving to go privately to the feast, at the time he himself should judge most proper, waited a few days longer, and then went, but not attended by a train of followers, as usual.
From the enquiry which is said to have been made by the Jews, there appears to have been a general expectation of our LORD's coming to the feast, some wishing to see him through curiosity, others with the hope of receiving benefit, either from his doctrine or miraculous power; and the Scribes and Pharisees longing for an opportunity of persecuting him to his dẹ. struction. These different motives naturally gave rise to disputes, but they were cautiously conducted by those who thought favourably of our LORD, through fear of incurring the displeasure of the Jewish rulers.
When the general expectation of his coming had a little subsided, our LORD publicly entered into the temple, and taught with such divine eloquence, that the multitude who were assembled together were astonished, for they could not account for his possessing such deep knowledge in the Scriptures, nor for the gracefulness and propriety with which he communi. cated this, knowledge to others. That they might no longer wonder at his abilities, our LORD publicly as sured them, that what he taught was not, the result of human study, but proceeded immediately from GOD; that it was not his as man, but as the MEDIATOR; and he declared, that God would afford inward conviction to every honest, candid, and religious mind, that the doc.
trine of his beloved Son was divine. Our LORD them pointed out to his hearers the great difference there was betwixt himself, and a person who should seek to promote his own private interest, as he constantly referred the glory of all his miracles, as well as the wisdom which governed his words and actions, to the FATHER, which was a sure proof that he was no impostor. Our LORD then reminded them of the difference there was between himself-and some of the Jewish teachers, who, at the same time that they contended for the divine original of the Law, violated one of its greatest pre cepts, by their seeking to kill him, who was an inno cent and upright person. The people who were not acquainted with the secret designs of some of his hearers, treated our LORD as if he were possessed with a devil, and unconscious of the words he uttered, when he talked of their seeking to kill him; but he, knowing that the Scribes and Pharisees, would renew their persecution against him, on account of his having commanded the impotent man at the pool of Bethesda tô carry his bed, addressed his answer to the secret thought♦ which passed in their malicious minds, before they began openly to accuse him, and mildly expostulated on the inconsistency of their conduct, even upon their own principles for if it was lawful to break the sabbatic law, in order to observe the rite of circumcision, surely it must be lawful for him to do a good work, which manifested forth the glory of GoD, and was perfectly agreeable to the laws of humanity. Our LORD, there. fore, required them to judge ofthis actions as reason would direct, if they divestedithemselves of prejudice; for then they would be as ready to acknowledge his divine mission, as that of Moses.
Some of the congregation, who dwelt at Jerusalem, seem to have known that the members of the Sanhe
drim sought for an opportunity of patting our LORD to death, and were surprised that they did not prohibit his preaching. It appeared to them, from this circumstance, as if the rulers were convinced that he was really the MESSIAH, and yet they observed it was very unlikely he should be so, because the prophets foretold that Christ should be born in a miraculous way at Bethlehem; whereas JESUS came out of Galilee, and his pas rents were known. Whilst they were thus indulging themselves in idle surmises, and wilfully resolving not to believe the doctrine of CHRIST, he exalted his voice, that his words might be perfectly heard by them, and noticed by the rest of the people, declaring that their assertion," that they both knew him, and whence he was, was false, for that he came immediately from GOD, whom they knew not; but that he knew Gop, having proceeded immediately from him, and being expressly sent by him." The charge of not knowing God pro voked the Jews to such a degree, that they would have immediately seized him, and laid an accusation before the council, had not the power of our LORD OVCE, ruled their malice.
This discourse, though rejected by the proud, found a passage to the hearts of the bumble. Those who were desirous of doing the will of Gon, discerned by the right use of their reason, assisted by divine grace, that our LORD taught heavenly precepts. They were ready to acknowledge him as the MESSIAH; and did not speak their sentiments so privately, but that some of a contrary opinion informed the Pharisees and other members of the Sanhedrim of their conversation, who sent some of their officers to apprehend him. JESUS, knowing their design, intimated that God would not permit them to put it in execution at present; and informed them, that when he should return to God, hẹ
should be out of their reach; neither would such ma licious persons find admittance to the divine presence, and that they would then seek in vain for the MESSIAH. The Jews, not understanding his allusion, supposed that he meant to go and seek for the rest of Abraham's descendants, who were scattered among the Greeks and other nations; or that he would endeavour to find reception for himself amongst the Gentiles. Not knowing how to judge, they were fearful of acting, and overawed by divine power, though they knew it not, they suffered him to depart without further mo❤ lestation,
Every person, in the course of a religious life, must expect to meet with a variety of censures. Let a man be ever so good, some will speak ill of him: but it is a comfort for such to reflect, that his SAVIOUR bore the same treatment before him, by which means he set an example of the proper behaviour under such circumstances. Let us then learn of CHRIST patiently to endure injurious language, and endeavour to behave ourselves so, that we may have a testimony in our own conscience, and in the presence of GOD. Then will our names be had in remembrance, and the honour and reward of our faithful obedience continue, when the memory of those who reviled us has perished with them.
INVITATION FROM THE WORD OF THE LORD,
From Isaiah, Chap. iv.
Ho! every one that thirsteth, come ye'to the waters. And he that hath no silver, come ye, buy, and eat! Yea, come, buy ye without silver; and without price, wine and milk.