JESUS IS THE KING OF KINGS
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
See the dominion he is advanced to, and the throne he has above every throne
6: The government shall be upon his shoulder—his only. He shall not only wear the badge of it upon his shoulder (the key of the house of David, ch. 22:22), but he shall bear the burden of it. The Father shall devolve it upon him, so that he shall have an incontestable right to govern; and he shall undertake it, so that no doubt can be made of his governing well, for he shall set his shoulder to it, and will never complain, as Moses did, of his being overcharged. I am not able to bear all this people, Num 11:11,14. Glorious things are here spoken of Christ's government .
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
The text he preached upon
(v. 17): From that time, that is, from the time of his coming into Galilee, into the land of Zebulun and Naphtali, from that time, he began to preach. He had been preaching, before this, in Judea, and had made and baptized many disciples (John 4:1); but his preaching was no so public and constant as now it began to be. The work of the ministry is so great and awful, that it is fit to be entered upon by steps and gradual advances. The subject which Christ dwelt upon now in his preaching (and it was indeed the sum and substance of all his preaching), was the very same John has preached upon (ch. 3:2); Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand; for the gospel is the same for substance under various dispensations; the commands the same, and the reasons to enforce them the same; an angel from heaven dares not preach any other gospel (Gal 1:8), and will preach this, for it is the everlasting gospel. Fear God, and, by repentance, give honour to him, Rev 14:6,7. Christ put a great respect upon John's ministry, when he preached to the same purport that John had preached before him. By this he showed that John was his messenger and ambassador; for when he brought the errand himself, it was the same that he had sent by him. Thus did God confirm the word of his messenger, Isa 44:26. The Son came on the same errand that the servants came on (ch. 21:37), to seek fruit, fruits meet for repentance. Christ had lain in the bosom of the Father, and could have preached sublime notions of divine and heavenly things, that should have alarmed and amused the learned world, but he pitches upon this old, plain text, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
[1.] This he preached first upon; he began with this. Ministers must not be ambitious of broaching new opinions, framing new schemes, or coining new expressions, but must content themselves with plain, practical things, with the word that is nigh us, even in our mouth, and in our heart. We need not go up to heaven, nor down to the deep, for matter or language in our preaching. As John prepared Christ's way, so Christ prepared his own, and made way for the further discoveries he designed, with the doctrine of repentance. If any man will do this part of his will, he shall know more of his doctrine, John 7:17.
[2.] This is preached often upon; wherever he went, this was his subject, and neither he nor his followers ever reckoned it worn threadbare, as those would have done, that have itching ears, and are fond of novelty and variety more than that which is truly edifying. Note, That which has been preached and heard before, may yet very profitably be preached and heard again; but then it should be preached and heard better, and with new affections; what Paul had said before, he said again, weeping, Phil 3:1,18.
[3.] This he preached as gospel; "Repent, review your ways, and return to yourselves." Note, The doctrine of repentance is right gospel-doctrine. Not only the austere Baptist, who was looked upon as a melancholy, morose man, but the sweet and gracious Jesus, whose lips dropped as a honey-comb, preached repentance; for it is an unspeakable privilege that room is left for repentance.
[4.] The reason is still the same; The kingdom of heaven is at hand; for it was not reckoned to be fully come, till that pouring out of the Spirit after Christ's ascension. John had preached the kingdom of heaven at hand above a year before this; but now it was so much the stronger; now is the salvation nearer, Rom 13:11. We should be so much the more quickened to our duty, as we see the day approaching, Heb 10:25.
JESUS HAS COMISSION EVERY CHRISTIAN TO WIN SOULS
" THE GREAT COMMISSION "
Matthew 28:16-20 vs 19
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name , of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit .
Mark 16:12-20 vs 15
He said to them , "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation
Matthew 4:4-18 ( 19 / Mark 1:14-20 ( 17
Come , follow me,''Jesus said , '' and I will make you fishers of men.
Luke 5 : 1-11( 9-10
9 For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken,
10. and so wereJames John , the sons of Zebedee, Simon's partners. Then Juses said to Simon , '' Don't be afraid; from now on will catch me
23. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
24. And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
25. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan.
Christ Preaches in Galilee; Miracles of Christ in Galile
See here, I. What an industrious preacher Christ was; He went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom. Observe,
1. What Christ preached—the gospel of the kingdom. The kingdom of heaven, that is, of grace and glory, is emphatically the kingdom, the kingdom that was now to come; that kingdom which shall survive, as it doth surpass, all the kingdoms of the earth. The gospel is the charter of that kingdom, containing the King's coronation oath, by which he has graciously obliged himself to pardon, protect, and save the subjects of that kingdom; it contains also their oath of allegiance, by which they oblige themselves to observe his statutes and seek his honour; this is the gospel of the kingdom; this Christ was himself the Preacher of, that our faith in it might be confirmed.
2. Where he preached—in the synagogues; not there only, but there chiefly, because those were the places of concourse, where wisdom was to lift up her voice (Prov 1:21); because they were places of concourse for religious worship, and there, it was to be hoped, the minds of the people would be prepared to receive the gospel; and there the scriptures of the Old Testament were read, the exposition of which would easily introduce the gospel of the kingdom.
3. What pains he took in preaching; He went about all Galilee, teaching. He might have issued out a proclamation to summon all to come to him; but, to show his humility, and the condescensions of his grace, he goes to them; for he waits to be gracious, and comes to seek and save. Josephus says, There were above two hundred cities and towns in Galilee, and all, or most of them, Christ visited. He went about doing good. Never was there such an itinerant preacher, such an indefatigable one, as Christ was; he went from town to town, to beseech poor sinners to be reconciled to God. This is an example to ministers, to lay themselves out to do good, and to be instant, and constant, in season, and out of season, to preach the word.
II. What a powerful physician Christ was; he went about not only teaching, but healing, and both with his word, that he might magnify that above all his name. He sent his word, and healed them. Now observe,
1. What diseases he cured—all without exception. He healed all manner of sickness, and all manner of disease. There are diseases which are called the reproach of physicians, being obstinate to all the methods they can prescribe; but even those were the glory of this Physician, for he healed them all, however inveterate. His word was the true panpharmacon—all-heal.
Three general words are here used to intimate this; he healed every sickness, noson, as blindness, lameness, fever, dropsy; every disease, or languishing, malakian, as fluxes and consumptions; and all torments, basanous, as gout, stone, convulsions, and such like torturing distempers; whether the disease was acute or chronical; whether it was a racking or a wasting disease; none was too bad, none too hard, for Christ to heal with a word's speaking.
Three particular diseases are specified; the palsy, which is the greatest weakness of the body; lunacy, which is the greatest malady of the mind, and possession of the Devil, which is the greatest misery and calamity of both, yet Christ healed all: for he is the sovereign Physician both of soul and body, and has command of all diseases
2. What patients he had. A physician who was so easy of access, so sure of success, who cured immediately, without either a painful suspense and expectation, or such painful remedies as are worse than the disease; who cured gratis, and took no fees, could not but have abundance of patients. See here, what flocking there was to him from all parts; great multitudes of people came, not only from Galilee and the country about, but even from Jerusalem and from Judea, which lay a great way off; for his fame went throughout all Syria, not only among all the people of the Jews, but among the neighbouring nations, which, by the report that now spread far and near concerning him, would be prepared to receive his gospel, when afterwards it should be brought them. This is given as the reason why such multitudes came to him, because his fame had spread so widely. Note, What we hear of Christ from others, should invite us to him. The queen of Sheba was induced, by the fame of Solomon, to pay him a visit. The voice of fame is "Come, and see." Christ both taught and healed. They who came for cures, met with instruction concerning the things that belonged to their peace. It is well if any thing will bring people to Christ; and they who come to him will find more in him than they expected. These Syrians, like Naaman the Syrian, coming to be healed of their diseases, many of them being converts, 2 Kings 5:15,17. They sought health for the body, and obtained the salvation of the soul; like Saul, who sought the asses, and found the kingdom. Yet it appeared, by the issue, that many of those who rejoiced in Christ as a Healer, forgot him as a Teacher.
Now concerning the cures which Christ wrought, let us, once for all, observe the miracle, the mercy, and the mystery, of them.
(1.) The miracle of them. They were wrought in such a manner, as plainly spake them to be the immediate products of a divine and supernatura otherwise, none could have done the works that he did, John 3:2. He appeals to these as credentials, ch. 11:4,5; John 5:36. It was expected that the Messiah should work miracles (John 7:31); miracles of this nature (Isa 35:5,6); and we have this indisputable proof of his being the Messiah; never was there any man that did thus; and therefore his healing and his preaching generally went together, for the former confirmed the latter; thus here he began to do and to teach, Acts 1:1.
(2.) The mercy of them. The miracles that Moses wrought, to prove his mission, were most of them plagues and judgments, to intimate the terror of that dispensation, though from God; but the miracles that Christ wrought, were most of them cures, and all of them (except the cursing of the barren fig tree) blessings and favours; for the gospel dispensation is founded, and built up in love, and grace, and sweetness; and the management is such as tends not to affright but to allure us to obedience. Christ designed by his cures to winupon people, and to ingratiate himself and his doctrine into their minds, and so to draw them with the bands of love, Hos 11:4. The miracle of them proved his doctrine a faithful saying, and convinced men's judgments; the mercy of them proved it worthy of all acceptation, and wrought upon their affections. They were not only great works, but good works, that he showed them from his Father (John 10:32); and this goodness was intended to lead men to repentance (Rom 2:4), as also to show that kindness, and beneficence, and doing good to all, to the utmost of our power and opportunity, are essential branches of that holy religion which Christ came into the world to establish
(3.) The mystery of them. Christ, by curing bodily diseases, intended to show, that his great errand into the world was to cure spiritual maladies. He is the Sun of righteousness, that arises with this healing under his wings. As the Converter of sinners, he is the Physician of souls, and has taught us to call him so, ch. 9:12,13. Sin is the sickness, disease, and torment of the soul; Christ came to take away sin, and so to heal these. And the particular stories of the cures Christ wrought, may not only be applied spiritually, by way of allusion and illustration, but, I believe, are very much intended to reveal to us spiritual things, and to set before us the way and method of Christ's dealing with souls, in their conversion and sanctification; and those cures are recorded, that were most significant and instructive this way; and they are therefore so to be explained and improved, to the honour and praise of that glorious Redeemer, who forgiveth all our iniquities, and so healeth all our diseases.
John 10: 11I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep
Christ is the shepherd,
11, &c. He was prophesied of under the Old Testament as a shepherd, Isa 40:11; Ezek 34:23; 37:24; Zech 13:7. In the New Testament he is spoken of as the great Shepherd (Heb 13:20), the chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:4), the Shepherd and bishop of our souls, 1 Peter 2:25. God, our great owner, the sheep of whose pasture we are by creation, has constituted his Son Jesus to be our shepherd; and here again and again he owns the relation. He has all that care of his church, and every believer, that a good shepherd has of his flock; and expects all that attendance and observance from the church, and every believer, which the shepherds in those countries had from their flocks
(1.) Christ is a shepherd, and not as the thief, not as those that came not in by the door. Observe,
[1.] The mischievous design of the thief (v. 10): The thief cometh not with any good intent, but to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. First, Those whom they steal, whose hearts and affections they steal from Christ and his pastures, they kill and destroy spiritually; for the heresies they privily bring in are damnable. Deceivers of souls are murderers of souls. Those that steal away the scripture by keeping it in an unknown tongue, that steal away the
[2.] The gracious design of the shepherd; he is come,
First, To give life to the sheep. In opposition to the design of the thief, which is to kill and destroy (which was the design of the scribes and Pharisees) Christ saith, I am come among men,
1. That they might have life. He came to put life into the flock, the church in general, which had seemed rather like a valley full of dry bones than like a pasture covered over with flocks. Christ came to vindicate divine truths, to purify divine ordinances, to redress grievances, and to revive dying zeal, to seek those of his flock that were lost, to bind up that which was broken (Ezek 34:16), and this to his church is as life from the dead. He came to give life to particular believers. Life is inclusive of all good, and stands in opposition to the death threatened (Gen 2:17); that we might have life, as a criminal has when he is pardoned, as a sick man when he is cured, a dead man when he is raised; that we might be justified, sanctified, and at last glorified.
2. That they might have it more abundantly, kai perisson echosin
As we read it, it is comparative, that they might have a life more abundant than that which was lost and forfeited by sin, more abundant than that which was promised by the law of Moses, length of days in Canaan, more abundant than could have been expected or than we are able to ask or think. But it may be construed without a note of comparison, that they might have abundance, or might have it abundantly. Christ came to give life and perisson ti
—something more, something better, life with advantage; that in Christ we might not only live, but live comfortably, live plentifully, live and rejoice. Life in abundance is eternal life, life without death or fear of death, life and much more.
Secondly, To give his life for the sheep, and this that he might give life to them (v. 11): The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
1. It is the property of every good shepherd to hazard and expose his life for the sheep. Jacob did so, when he would go through such a fatigue to attend them, Gen 31:40. So did David, when he slew the lion and the bear. Such a shepherd of souls was St. Paul, who would gladly spend, and be spent, for their service, and counted not his life dear to him, in comparison with their salvation. But,
2. It was the prerogative of the great Shepherd to give his life to purchase his flock (Acts 20:28), to satisfy for their trespass, and to shed his blood to wash and cleanse them.
(2.) Christ is a good shepherd, and not as a hireling. There were many that were not thieves, aiming to kill and destroy the sheep, but passed for shepherds, yet were very careless in the discharge of their duty, and through their neglect the flock was greatly damaged; foolish shepherds, idle shepherds, Zech 11:15,17. In opposition to these
[1.] Christ here calls himself the good shepherd (v. 11), and again (v. 14) ho poimen ho kalos —that shepherd, that good Shepherd, whom God had promised. Note, Jesus Christ is the best of shepherds, the best in the world to take the over-sight of souls, none so skilful, so faithful, so tender, as he, no such feeder and leader, no such protector and healer of souls as he.
[2.] He proves himself so, in opposition to all hirelings, v. 12-14. Where observe, First, The carelessness of the unfaithful shepherd described (v. 12,13); he that is a hireling, that is employed as a servant and is paid for his pains, whose own the sheep are not, who has neither profit nor loss by them, sees the wolf coming, or some other danger threatening, and leaves the sheep to the wolf, for in truth he careth not for them. Here is plain reference to that of the idol-shepherd, Zech 11:17. Evil shepherds, magistrates and ministers, are here described both by their bad principles and their bad practices.
a. Their bad principles, the root of their bad practices. What makes those that have the charge of souls in trying times to betray their trust, and in quiettimes not to mind it? What makes them false, and trifling, and self-seeking? It is because they are hirelings, and care not for the sheep. That is,
(a.) The wealth of the world is the chief of their good; it is because they are hirelings. They undertook the shepherds' office, as a trade to live and grow rich by, not as an opportunity of serving Christ and doing good. It is the love of money, and of their own bellies, that carries them on in it. Not that those are hirelings who, while they serve at the altar, live, and live comfortably, upon the altar. The labourer is worthy of his meat; and a scandalous maintenance will soon make a scandalous ministry. But those are hirelings that love the wages more than the work, and set their hearts upon that, as the hireling is said to do, Deut 24:15. See 1 Sam 2:29; Isa 56:11; Mic 3:5,11.
(b.) The work of their place is the least of their care. They value not the sheep, are unconcerned in the souls of others; their business is to be their brothers' lords, not their brothers' keepers or helpers; they seek their own things, and do not, like Timothy, naturally care for the state of souls. What can be expected but that they will flee when the wolf comes. He careth not for the sheep, for he is one whose own the sheep are not. In one respect we may say of the best of the under-shepherds that the sheep are not their own, they have not dominion over them not property in them (feed my sheep and my lambs, saith Christ); but in respect of dearness and affection they should be their own. Paul looked upon those as his own whom he called his dearly beloved and longed for. Those who do not cordially espouse the church's interests, and make them their own, will not long be faithful to them.
b. Their bad practices, the effect of these bad principles, v. 12. See here,
(a.) How basely the hireling deserts his post; when he sees the wolf coming, though then there is most need of him, he leaves the sheep and flees. Note, Those who mind their safety more than their duty are an easy prey to Satan's temptations.
b.) How fatal the consequences are! the hireling fancies the sheep may look to themselves, but it does not prove so: the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep, and woeful havoc is made of the flock, which will all be charged upon the treacherous shepherd. The blood of perishing souls is required at the hand of the careless watchmen.
Secondly, See here the grace and tenderness of the good Shepherd set over against the former, as it was in the prophecy (Ezek 34:21,22, &c.): I am the good Shepherd. It is matter of comfort to the church, and all her friends, that, however she may be damaged and endangered by the treachery and mismanagement of her under-officers, the Lord Jesus is, and will be, as he ever has been, the good Shepherd. Here are two great instances of the shepherd's goodness.
a. His acquainting himself with his flock, with all that belong or in any wise appertain to his flock, which are of two sorts, both known to him
( a.) He is acquainted with all that are now of his flock (v. 14,15), as the good Shepherd (v. 3,4): I know my sheep and am known of mine. Note, There is a mutual acquaintance between Christ and true believers; they know one another very well, and knowledge notes affection.
[a.] Christ knows his sheep. He knows with a distinguishing eye who are his sheep, and who are not; he knows the sheep under their many infirmities, and the goats under their most plausible disguises. He knows with a favourable eye those that in truth are his own sheep; he takes cognizance of their state, concerns himself for them, has a tender and affectionate regard to them, and is continually mindful of them in the intercession he ever lives to make within the veil; he visits them graciously by his Spirit, and has communion with them; he knows them, that is, he approves and accepts of them, as Ps 1:6; 37:18; Ex 33:17.
[b.] He is known of them. He observes them with an eye of favour, and they observe him with an eye of faith. Christ's knowing his sheep is put before their knowing him, for he knew and loved us first (1 John 4:19), and it is not so much our knowing him as our being known of him that is our happiness, Gal 4:9. Yet it is the character of Christ's sheep that they know him; know him from all pretenders and intruders; they know his mind, know his voice, know by experience the power of his death. Christ speaks here as if he gloried in being known by his sheep, and thought their respect an honour to him.
1. It is the only way; there is no way left but this. The first way to the tree of life is, and has been, long shut up
2. It is a new way, both in opposition to the covenant of works and to the antiquated dispensation of the Old Testament; it is via novissima—the last way that will ever be opened to men. Those who will not enter in this way exclude themselves for ever. It is a way that will always be effectual.
3. It is a living way. It would be death to attempt to come to God in the way of the covenant of works; but this way we may come to God, and live. It is by a living Saviour, who, though he was dead, is alive; and it is a way that gives life and lively hope to those who enter into it.
4. It is a way that Christ has consecrated for us through the veil, that is, his flesh. The veil in the tabernacle and temple signified the body of Christ; when he died, the veil of the temple was rent in sunder, and this was at the time of the evening sacrifice, and gave the people a surprising view into the holy of holies, which they never had before. Our way to heaven is by a crucified Saviour; his death is to us the way of life. To those who believe this he will be precious.
1 Peter 2:25
For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. The general rule of a Christian conversation is this, it must be honest, which it cannot be if there be not a conscientious discharge of all relative duties. The apostle here particularly treats of these distinctly.
1 Peter 5:1-4
1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
JESUS CALMS THE STORM
26 He replied, “ You of little faith , why are you so afraid? “ Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.
27 The men were amazed and asked , “ What kind of men is this ? Even the winds and the waves obey him! ”
The power and grace of Jesus Christ put forth for their succour:
Then the Lord Jesus awaked, as one refreshed, Ps 78:65.
Christ may sleep when his church is in a storm, but he will not outsleep himself: the time, the set time to favour his distressed church, will come Ps 102:13.
1. He rebuked the disciples (v. 26); Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? He does not chide them for disturbing him with their prayers, but for disturbing themselves with their fears. Christ reproved them first, and then delivered them; this is his method, to prepare us for a mercy, and then to give it us. Observe,
(1.) His dislike of their fears; "Why are ye fearful? Ye, my disciples? Let the sinners in Zion be afraid, let heathen mariners tremble in a storm, but you shall not be so. Enquire into the reasons of your fear, and weigh them."
(2.) His discovery of the cause and spring of their fears; O ye of little faith. Many that have true faith are weak in it, and it does but little. Note,
[1.] Christ's disciples are apt to be disquieted with fears in a stormy day, to torment themselves with jealousies that things are bad with them, and dismal conclusions that they will be worse.
[2.] The prevalence of our inordinate fears in a stormy day is owing to the weakness of our faith, which would be as an anchor to the soul, and would ply the oar of prayer. By faith we might see through the storm to the quiet shore, and encourage ourselves with hope that we shall weather our point.
[3.] The fearfulness of Christ's disciples in a storm, and their unbelief, the cause of it, are very displeasing to the Lord Jesus, for they reflect dishonour upon him, and create disturbance to themselves.
2. He rebukes the wind; the former he did as the God of grace, and the Sovereign of the heart, who can do what he pleases in us; this he did as the God of nature, the Sovereign of the world, who can do what he pleases for us. It is the same power that stills the noise of the sea, and the tumult of fear, Ps 65:7. See,
(1.) How easily this was done, with a word's speaking. Moses commanded the waters with a rod; Joshua, with the ark of the covenant; Elisha, with the prophet's mantle; but Christ with a word. See his absolute dominion over all the creatures, which bespeaks both his honour, and the happiness of those that have him on their side.
(2.) How effectually it was done? There was a great calm, all of a sudden. Ordinarily, after a storm, there is such a fret of the waters, that it is a good while ere they can settle; but if Christ speak the word, not only the storm ceases, but all the effects of it, all the remains of it. Great storms of doubt, and fear in the soul, under the power of the spirit of bondage, sometimes end in a wonderful calm, created and spoken by the Spirit of adoption.
3. This excited their astonishment (v. 27); The men marvelled. They had been long acquainted with the sea, and never saw a storm so immediately turned into a perfect calm, in all their lives. It has all the marks and signatures of a miracle upon it; it is the Lord's doing, and is marvellous in their eyes. Observe,
(1.) Their admiration of Christ; What manner of man is this! Note, Christ is a Nonsuch; every thing in him is admirable: none so wise, so mighty, so amiable, as he.
(2.) The reason of it; Even the winds and the sea obey him. Upon this account, Christ is to be admired, that he has a commanding power even over winds and seas. Others pretended to cure diseases, but he only undertook to command the winds. We know not the way of the wind (John 3:8), much less can we control it; but he that bringeth forth the wind out of his treasury (Ps 135:7), when it is out, gathers it into his fists, Prov 30:4. He that can do this, can do anything, can do enough to encourage our confidence and comfort in him, in the most stormy day, within or without, Isa 26:4. The Lord sits upon the floods, and is mightier than the noise of many waters. Christ, by commanding the seas, showed himself to be the same that made the world, when, at his rebuke, the waters fled (Ps 104:7,8), as now, at his rebuke, they fell .
JESUS LOVE CHILDREN
JESUS SAID BRING THE LITTLE CHILDREN TO ME
13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
Christ's Love to Little Children
It is looked upon as the indication of a kind and tender disposition to take notice of little children, and this was remarkable in our Lord Jesus, which is an encouragement not only to little children to apply themselves to Christ when they are very young, but to grown people, who are conscious to themselves of weakness and childishness, and of being, through manifold infirmities, helpless and useless, like little children. Here we have,
I. Little children brought to Christ, v. 13. Their parents, or whoever they were that had the nursing of them, brought them to him, that he should touch them, in token of his commanding and conferring a blessing on them. It doth not appear that they needed any bodily cure, nor were they capable of being taught: but it seems,
1. That they had the care of them were mostly concerned about their souls, their better part, which ought to be the principal care of all parents for their children; for that is the principal part, and it is well with them, it if be well with their souls.
2. They believed that Christ's blessing would do their souls good; and therefore to him they brought them, that he might touch them, knowing that he could reach their hearts, when nothing their parents could say to them, or do for them, would reach them. We may present our children to Christ, now that he is in heaven, for from thence he can reach them with his blessing, and therein we may act faith upon the fulness and extent of his grace, the kind intimations he hath always given of favour to the seed of the faithful, the tenour of the covenant with Abraham, and the promise to us and to our children, especially that great promise of pouring his Spirit upon our seed, and his blessing upon our offspring, Isa 44:3.
II. The discouragement which the disciples gave to the bringing of children to Christ; They rebuked them that brought them; as if they had been sure that they knew their Master's mind in this matter, whereas he had lately cautioned them not to despise the little ones.
III.The encouragement Christ gave to it.
1. He took it very ill that his disciples should keep them off; When he saw it, he was much displeased, v. 14. "What do you mean? Will you hinder me from doing good, from doing good to the rising generation, to the lambs of the flock?" Christ is very angry with his own disciples, if they discountenance any in coming to him themselves, or in bringing their children to him.
2. He ordered that they should be brought to him, and nothing said or done to hinder them; suffer little children, as soon as they are capable, to come to me, to offer up their supplications to me, and to receive instructions from me. Little children are welcome betimes to the throne of grace with their Hosannas.
3. He owned them as members of his church, as they had been of the Jewish church. He came to set up the kingdom of God among men, and took this occasion to declare that that kingdom admitted little children to be the subjects of it, and gave them a title to the privileges of subjects. Nay, the kingdom of God is to be kept up by such: they must be taken in when they are little children, that they may be secured for hereafter, to bear up the name of Christ.
4. That there must be something of the temper and disposition of little children found in all that Christ will
5. He received the children, and gave them what was desired (v. 16); He took them up in his arms, in token of his affectionate concern for them; put his hands upon them, as was desired, and blessed them. She how he out-did the desires of these parents; they begged he would touch them, but he did more.
(1.) He took them in his arms. Now the scripture was fulfilled (Isa 40:11), He shall gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom. Time was, when Christ himself was taken up in old Simeon's arms, Luke 2:28. And now he took up these children, not complaining of the burthen (as Moses did, when he was bid to carry Israel, that peevish child, in his bosom, as a nursing father bears the sucking child, Num 11:12), but pleased with it. If we in a right manner bring our children to Christ, he will take them up, not only in the arms of his power and providence, but in the arms of his pity and grace (as Ezek 16:8); underneath them are the everlasting arms.
( 2.) He put his hands upon them, denoting the bestowing of his Spirit upon them (for that is the hand of the Lord), and his setting them apart for himself
( 3.) He blessed them with the spiritual blessings he came to give. Our children are happy, if they have but the Mediator's blessing for their portion. It is true, we do not read that he baptized these children, baptism was not fully settled as the door of admission into the church until after Christ's resurrection; but he asserted their visible church-membership, and by another sign bestowed those blessings upon them, which are now appointed to be conveyed and conferred by baptism, the seal of the promise, which is to us and to our children.
JESUS WAS CROWN THORNS ON HIS HEAD BECAUSE OF YOU AND I OUR SINS
Matthew 27: 29
And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jew
In these verses we have the preparatives for, and prefaces to, the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus. Here is,
I. The sentence passed, and the warrant signed for his execution; and this immediately, the same hour.
(3.) They platted a crown of thorns, and put it upon his head, v.29. This was to carry on the humour of making him a mock-king; yet, had they intended it only for a reproach, they might have platted a crown of straw, or rushes, but they designed it to be painful to him, and to be literally, what crowns are said to be figuratively, lined with thorns; he that invented this abuse, it is likely, valued himself upon the wit of it; but there was a mystery in it.
[1.] Thorns came in with sin, and were part of the curse that was the product of sin, Gen 3:18. Therefore Christ, being made a curse for us, and dying to remove the curse from us, felt the pain and smart of those thorns, nay, and binds them as a crown to him (Job 31:36); for his sufferings for us were his glory.
[2.] Now he answered to the type of Abraham's ram that was caught in the thicket, and so offered up instead of Isaac, Gen 22:13.
[3.] Thorns signify afflictions, 2 Chron 33:11. These Christ put into a crown; so much did he alter the property of them to them that are his, giving them cause to glory in tribulation, and making it to work for them a weight of glory.
[4.] Christ was crowned with thorns, to show that his kingdom was not of this world, nor the glory of it worldly glory, but is attended here with bonds and afflictions, while the glory of it is to be revealed.
[5.] It was the custom of some heathen nations, to bring their sacrifices to the altars, crowned with garlands; these thorns were thd.
[6.] these thorns, it is likely, fetched blood from his blessed head, which trickled down his face, like the previous ointment (typifying the blood of Christ with which he consecrated himself) upon the head, which ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard, Ps 133:2. Thus, when he came to espouse to himself his love, his dove, his undefiled church, his head was filled with dew, and his locks with the drops ofthe night, Song 5:2.
( 4.) They put a reed in his right hand; this was intended for a mock-sceptre, another of the insignia of the majesty they jeered him with; as if this were a sceptre good enough for such a King, as was like a reed shaken with the wind (ch. 11:7); like sceptre, like kingdom, both weak and wavering, and withering and worthless; but they were quite mistaken, for his throne is for ever and ever, and the sceptre of his kingdom is a right sceptre, Ps 45:6.
( 5.) They bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! Having made him a sham King, they thus make a jest of doing homage to him, thus ridiculing his pretensions to sovereignty, as Joseph's brethren (Gen 37:8); Shalt thou indeed reign over us? But as they were afterward compelled to do obeisance to him, and enrich his dreams, so these here bowed the knee, in scorn to him who was, soon after this, exalted to the right hand of God, that at his name every knee might bow, or break before him; it is ill jesting with that which, sooner or later, will come in earnest.
( 6.) They spit upon him; thus he had been abused in the High Priest's hall, ch. 26:67. In doing homage, the subject kissed the sovereign, in token of his allegiance; thus Samuel kissed Saul, and we are bid to kiss the Son: but they, in this mock-homage, instead of kissing him, spit in his face; that blessed face which outshines the sun, and before which the angels cover theirs, was thus polluted. It is strange that the sons of men should ever do such a piece of villany, and that the Son of God should ever suffer such a piece of ignominy.
(7.) They took the reed, and smote him on the head. That which they had made the mock-ensign of his royalty, they now make the real instrument of their cruelty, and his pain. They smote him, it is probable, upon the crown of thorns, and so struck them into his head, that they might wound it the deeper, which made the more sport for them, to whom his pain was the greatest pleasure. Thus was he despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. All this misery and shame he underwent, that he might purchase for us everlasting life, and joy, and glory.
III. The conveying of him to the place of execution. After they had mocked and abused him, as long as they thought fit, they then took the robe off from him; to signify their divesting him of all the kingly authority they had invested him with, by putting it on him; and they put his own raiment on him, because that was to fall to the soldiers' share, that were employed in the execution. They took off the robe, but no mention is made of their taking off the crown of thorns, whence it is commonly supposed (though there is no certainty of it) that he was crucified with that on his head; for as he is a Priest upon his throne, so he was a King upon his cross. Christ was led to be crucified in his own raiment, because he himself was to bear our sins in his own body upon the tree. And here,
1. They led him away to be crucified; he was led as a lamb to the slaughter, as a sacrifice to the altar. We may well imagine how they hurried him on, and dragged him along, with all the speed possible, lest any thing should intervene to prevent the glutting of their cruel rage with his precious blood. It is probable that they now loaded him with taunts and reproaches, and treated him as the off-scouring of all things. They led him away out of the city; for Christ, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate (Heb 13:12), as if he that was the glory of them that waited for redemption in Jerusalem was not worthy to live among them. To this he himself had an eye, when in the parable he speaks of his being cast out of the vineyard, ch. 21:39.
JESUS WAS CRUCIFIED BECAUSE OF OUR SINS
1 Peter 2:21-23
Lest any should think, from what is said, v. 21-23, that Christ's death was designed merely for an example of patience under sufferings, the apostle here adds a more glorious design and effect of it: Who his own self, &c., where note,
(1.) The person suffering-Jesus Christ: His own self-in his own body. The expression his own self is emphatic, and necessary to show that he verified all the ancient prophecies, to distinguish him from the Levitical priests (who offered the blood of others, but he by himself purged our sins, Heb 1:3), and to exclude all others from participation with him in the work of man's redemption: it is added, in his body; not but that he suffered in his soul (Matt 26:38), but the sufferings of the soul were inward and concealed, when those of the body were visible and more obvious to the consideration of these suffering servants, for whose sake this example is produced.
(2.) The sufferings he underwent were stripes, wounds, and death, the death of the cross-servile and ignominious punishments!
(3.) The reason of his sufferings: He bore our sins, which teaches,
[1.] That Christ, in his sufferings, stood charged with our sins, as one who had undertaken to put them away by the sacrifice of himself, Isa 53:6.
[2.] That he bore the punishment of them, and thereby satisfied divine justice.
[3.] That hereby he takes away our sins, and removes them away from us; as the scape-goat did typically bear the sins of the people on his head, and then carried them quite away, (Lev 16:21,22), so the Lamb of God does first bear our sins in his own body, and thereby take away the sins of the world, John 1:29.
(4.) The fruits of Christ's sufferings are,
[1.] Our sanctification, consisting of the death, the mortification of sin, and a new holy life of righteousness, for both which we have an example, and powerful motives and abilities also, from the death and resurrection of Christ.
[2.] Our justification. Christ was bruised and crucified as an expiatory sacrifice, and by his stripes we are healed. Learn, First, Jesus Christ bore the sins of all his people, and expiated them by his death upon the cross. Secondly, No man can depend safely upon Christ, as having borne his sin and expiated his guilt, till he dies unto sin and lives unto righteousness.