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they were in, suspended their belief till they had considered the matter more calmly. Jesus, therefore, knowing their thoughts, called for meat, and did eat with them, to prove more fully the certain truth of his resurrection from the dead, and the reality of his presence with them on this occasion. [Luke xxiv. 41.] And while they yet believed not for joy, (John, then were the disciples glad when they saw the Lord,) and wondered, he said unto them, have ye here any meat? [42.] And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. [43.] And he took it, and did eat before them. He tarried so long with them, that they had time to make ready some fish for supper, which he took a share of.
[Johu xx. 21.] Then said Jesus unto them again, Peace be unto you; as my Father have sent me, even so send I you. I send you to preach the gospel, and teach men the way of salvation; for which purpose I honour you with an authority and commission from God, and bestow on you power to confirm your doctrine and mission by miracles. [22.] And when he had said thus, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, receive ye the Holy Ghost. Luke, verse thirty-five, informs us, that the disciples from Emmaus told the brethren, on this occasion, what things were done in the way. Among the rest, no doubt, they repeated the interpretations which Jesus gave of the prophecies concerning his own sufferings and death. But such a sense of the scriptures being diametrically opposite to the notions which the Jews in general entertained, a peculiar illumination of the Spirit was necessary to enable the apostles to discern it. This illumination they now received from Jesus, who, in token that he bestowed it, breathed upon them, and bade them receive it. The effect of this illumination was, that by perceiving the agreeableness of the things which had befallen him, with the antient prophecies concerning Messiah, their minds were quieted, and they were fitted to judge of the present appearance, and of the other appearances, which Jesus was to make before his ascension.
"Further the expression, receive ye the Holy Ghost, may have a relation, not only to the illumination of the Spirit which they now received, but to those which they were to receive afterwards, and in greater measure. Accordingly, it is added, [23.] Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained. This may refer to the temporal pardon and punishment of men's sins. Or the meaning may be, ye are soon to receive the Holy Ghost in the fulness of his communications, whereby you shall understand the will of God for men's salvation in the most comprehensive manner, and so be qualified to declare the only terms on which men's sins are to be pardoned. Some, indeed, carry the matter higher, supposing that this is the power of what they call authoritative absolution yet the only foundation on which the apostles themselves could claim such a power, must either have been the gift of discerning spirits which they enjoyed after the effusion of the Holy Ghost, [I Cor. xii. 10.] and by which they knew the secret thoughts of men's hearts, consequently the reality of their repentance; or it must have been some infallible communication of the will of God concerning men's future state that was made to them: for, properly speaking, they neither forgave nor retained sins, they only declared a matter of fact infallibly made known to them by God. Iu the mean time, to render this interpretation feasible, the general expressions, "whose soever sins ye remit," &c. must be very much limited, since it was but a single individual here and there, whose condition in the life to come can be supposed to have been made known to the apostles by revelation.
[John xx. 24.] But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, i. e. the twin, was not with them when Jesus came. It is said, [Luke xxiv. 33.] that the disciples from Emmaus told their story to the eleven, and to them that were with them. The
eleven was the name by which the apostles went after the death of Judas, whether they were precisely that number, or fewer. Wherefore, we are under no necessity, from this name, of supposing that Thomas was present when the disciples came in. We are sure that he was not present in this meeting when Jesus shewed himself. Yet, if Luke's expression is thought to imply that Thomas was with his brethren at the arrival of the disciples, we may suppose that he was one of those who would not believe, and that he went away before they had finished their relation. [25.] The other 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; except I have the fullest evidence arising from the testimony of my own seeing and feeling him, I will not believe that he is risen.
Thus ended the transactions of the day on which our Lord arose from the dead; a day much to be remembered by men throughout all generations, because it brought fully into act the conceptions which had lodged in the breast of infinite wisdom from eternity, even those thoughts of love and mercy on which the salvation of lost men depended. Christians, therefore, have the highest reason to solemnize this day with gladness each returning week, by ceasing from labour, and giving themselves up to holy meditations, and other exercises of devotion. The redemption of sinners, which they commemorate thereon, in its finishing stroke, affords matter for eternal thought, being such a subject as no other, how great soever, can equal, and whose lustre neither length of time nor frequent reviewing can ever diminish. For as by often beholding the sun, we do not find him less glorious or luminous than before, so this benefit, which we celebrate after so many ages, is as fresh and beautiful as ever, and will continue to be so flourishing in the memories of all reasonable beings through the endless revolutions of eternity.
Eight days after his resurrection, our Lord shewed himself again to the eleven while Thomas was with them. [Mark xvi. 14.] Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. It was Thomas whom Jesus now upbraided, as is evident from the more full account which John has given us of this affair. For, condescending to bear with the stubbornness of his unbelieving apostles, he desired Thomas in particular to put his finger into the print of the nails, and to thrust his hand into his side, that he might convince himself by the only proofs which he had declared should convince him. [John xx. 27.] Thus Jesus demonstrated, not only that he was risen, but that he was possessed of divine knowledge, being conscious of the thoughts and actions of inen. Accordingly, Thomas, exceedingly struck with the proof, cried out in a great amazement, iny Lord, and my God. Though the nominative often occurs for the vocative, it is the former case that is used here, the words, thou art, being understood. To this, the context agrees; for we are told that these words were addressed to Jesus. [28.] And Thomas answered and said unto him, my Lord and my God Wherefore, they cannot be taken merely as an exclamation of surprize, which is the Socinian gloss; but their meaning is, thou art really he whom I lately followed as my Lord; and I acknowledge thee to he possessed of infinite knowledge, and worship thee as my God. [29.] Jesus said unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thon hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. Thou hast believed my resurrection, because thou hast had it confirmed to thee by the united testimony of all thy senses: they are persons of a better disposition, who, without the evidence of sense, are so candid as to yield to the proofs which the divine wisdom has thought sufficient for convincing the world.
From this, it would appear, that Thomas's speech, on the evening of the resurrectionday, was a kind of boasting in the strength of his own understanding, and a praising of himself on that account. He would not believe that his Master was risen on such trivial evidence as the reports of the women; nothing would convince him but the evidence of his own senses. [John xx. 30.] And many other signs_truly did Jesus in the presence 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. He appeared on several other occasions to his disciples after his resurrection; and by many infallible proofs, which are not written in this book, convinced them that he was alive after his passion. The appearances mentioned by the evangelists are nine in number. The apostle Paul speaks of one to James, and one to himself, which they have omitted. Accordingly, this passage leads us to think that Jesus shewed himself much oftener than there is any account of upon record.
"Our Lord having, first by the angels, and then in person, ordered his disciples to go home to Galilee, with a promise that they should see him there, it is reasonable to think that they would depart as soon as possible. Wherefore, when they were come to their respective homes, they followed their occupations as usual; and particularly the apostles, who pursued their old trade of fishing on the lake. Here, as they were plying their nets one morning early, [verse 4.] Jesus shewed himself to them. [John xxi. I..4.] After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise shewed he himself. There were gathered together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathaniel of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples. Simon Peter saith unto them, Igo a fishing. They say unto him, we also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus, for it was somewhat dark, and they were at a distance from him. He called to them, and asked if they had caught any thing, They answered, they had got nothing. He desired them to let down their nets on the right side of the boat. The disciples, imagining that he might be acquainted with the places proper for fishing, did as he directed them, and caught a multitude of fishes. [5.] Then Jesus saith unto them, children, have ye any meat? They answered him, no. He asked this question that he might have an opportunity to give them the following direction. [6.]`And he said unto them, cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast, therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. Such marvellous success, after having toiled all the preceding night to no purpose, could not fail to make them form various conjectures about the stranger who had given them the happy advice. Some could not tell who he was; others said he was the Lord Simon Peter, who was of this latter opinion, entertaining no doubt of it, girt on his fisher's coat, and cast himself into the sea, not to swim, but to walk ashore; for to have clothed himself had been a very improper preparation for swimming. He knew that the lake was shallow thereabouts, and would not wait till the boat dragged the net full of fishes ashore Wherefore, be leaped out hastily, and walked as fast as he could to the land, which was only about sixty paces off. All the inconvenience he sustained by this was but the wetting of his sandals, provided he had them on; for the antients wore neither breeches nor stockings. [John xxi. 7] Therefore that diciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, it is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea. [S.] And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they
were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes. When the disciples came ashore, they found a fire burning, on which there was a fish broiling. At hand, also, was some bread. But neither being sufficient for the company, or, perhaps, to shew them the reality of the miracle by making them attend to the number and largeness of the fish which they had caught, and to the nets not being broken, Jesus bade them bring some of their own, then invited them to dine, that is, to eat with him: for the greek word, as Keuchenius has shewed, signifies sometimes to take meat in the morning, which is the meaning of it here: see verse 4. By this time they were all so fully convinced that it was the Lord, that none of them Jurst ask who he was. [.] As soon as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread. [10.] Jesus saith unto them, bring of the fish which ye have now caught. [11.] Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three; and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken. [12.] Jesus saith unto them, come and dine. And none of his disciples durst ask him, who art thou? knowing that it was the Lord. [13.] Jesus then cometh and taketh bread, and giveth them, and fish likewise. It is not said, indeed, that Jesus now ate with them; but his invitation to them, verse 12, implies it. sides, Peter testifies, [Acts x. 41.] that his apostles did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead; meaning to tell Cornelius, that that was one of the many infallible proofs by which he shewed himself alive after his passion. It is reasonable, therefore, to think, that he ate with his apostles on this occasion. Thus Jesus proved to his disciples anew the reality of his resurrection, not only by eating with them, but by working a miracle like that which, at the beginning of his ministry, had made such an impression upon them, as disposed them to be his constant followers.
[14.] This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples after that he was risen from the dead. The evangelist does not say that it was the third time Jesus appeared, but the third time he appeared to his disciples, i. e. to his apostles in a body; for, in reality, it was his seventh appearance. Besides, John himself has taken notice of three appearances before this.
[15.] So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? more than thy brethren apostles love me? in allusion to the high professions of love and fidelity which Peter had formerly made to him. He saith unto him, yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. Being taught modesty and diffidence by his late fall, Peter would not now compare himself with others, but humbly appealed to his Master's omniscience for the sincerity of his regard to him. Upon this, Jesus first desired him to feed his lambs, i. e. to exhort and comfort the young and tender part of the flock, those who were to be converted. He saith unto him, feed my lambs. Then, to give him an opportunity of renewing his professions, [John xxi. 16, 17.] He saith unto him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, feed my sheep. He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jomas, Lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, lovest thou me? and he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, feed my sheep. From our Lord's asking Peter if he loved him before he gave him commission to feed his lambs and his sheep, it is justly inferred, that to render men duly qualified for the ministerial function, they must prefer the interest and honour of Christ to every other consideration whatever. This is the great qualification by which alone a minister cau be animated to go through the labours and difficulties of his office, and he fortified against the dangers which may attend it. Moreover, Christ's exhortation to Peter to feed his lambs and sheep
being the reply, which he made to Peter's declaration that he loved him, shews us, that ministers best testify their love to Christ by their singular care and diligence in feeding his flock. To conclude: the repetition of this commission three times, may have been in allusion to Peter's three denials. In it, the Papists would have us to believe, that supreme dominion over the whole church, clergy as well as laity, was granted to Peter. However, it has quite a different meaning; for Peter, by his late cowardice and perfidy, having, as it were, abdicated the apostleship, was hereby no more than formally restored to his office, through the indulgence of his kind and merciful Master.
"Peter being thus restored to the apostolical office and dignity, from which he had fallen by openly denying his Master three several times, Jesus proceeded to forewarn him of the persecutions to which he in particular would be exposed in the execution of his office, intending thereby to inspire him with courage and constancy. [John xxi. 18.] Verily, verily, I say unto thee, when thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest; alluding to the strength and activity which he had now shewed in wading ashore after he had girded his fisher's coat upon him but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. Instead of that liberty which, in thy youth, thou enjoyedst, thou shalt, in thine old age, be a prisoner; for thou shalt be bound and carried whither thou wouldest not; carried to prison and to death. Accordingly, the evangelist tells us, [19.] This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. The above words imply only that Peter should glorify God by suffering a violent death. But what Jesus added is understood to signify that Peter was to follow him in the kind of his death. And when he had spo-. ken this, he saith unto him, follow me: follow me to the cross. Agreeably to this, the unanimous testimony of antiquity assures us that Peter was crucified.
 Then Feter turning about, namely, as he followed Jesus, seeth the disciple whom Jesus loved following, which also leaned on his breast at supper, and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee? [21.] Peter, seeing him, saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Peter, it seems, understanding what Jesus. meant when he ordered him to follow him, asked what would happen to his fellowdisciple John, who was now coming after them. [22.] Jesus saith unto him, if 1 will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. If I incline that he should live till my coming, what is that to thee? so the greek word signifies, being elliptical for remain in the flesh. We have the elliptical and the complete phrase, Philip. i. 24, 25 [23.] Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die. The brethren, it seems, understood by Christ's. coming his coming to judgment; and that they interpreted the phrase rightly, ig evident from what the evangelist adds: Yet Jesus said not unto him, he shall not die; but, if I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? [24.] This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that. his testimony is true. From this verse, Grotius and others infer, that the Ephesian bishops added this whole chapter to John's gospel after his death. But it evidently proves the contrary; for the verse assures us that John wrote the things contained in this chapter this is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these: things.
"Farther, tho' gh the evangelist seems to conclude his gospel, chap. xx. 31, it is no unusual thing with the sacred writers to add new matter after such conclusions. See the epistle to the Romans and Hebrews at the end. Moreover, though the writer of this gospel is here spoken of in the third person, it is agreeable to John's manner