Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

same word that struck them down to the ground, could have laid them dead there. Touch our hearts, O Lord, by thy grace; or it will be in vain that we are smitten with thy rod!

In all the remainder of this story let us remember that Jesus voluntarily gave himself up to sufferings which he circumstantially foreknew; even though he could have commanded to his assistance whole legions of angels. His Father's will was an answer to all that nature could plead in its own cause; and the good hand from which this cup of his severest sufferings came, reconciled him to all the bitterest ingredients it contained. How reasonable then is it that we who, having had fathers of our flesh that corrected us, submitted to the rod, and gave them reverence, should much rather, after the example of our innocent and holy Redeemer, be in subjection to the Father of our spirits, and live! (Heb. xii. 9.)

SECTION CIV.

MATT. XXVI. 57-68. MARK XIV. 53-65. LUKE XXII. 54, 55, 63-65. JOHN XVIII. 19—24. THEN the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, and led him away to Annas first; for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, which was the high-priest that same year. Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. And Annas sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high-prest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests, and the elders, and the Scribes.

And Simon Peter followed Jesus afar off unto the high-priest's palace, and so did another disciple. That disciple was known unto the high-priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high-priest. But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high-priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter, And the servants and officers had made a fire of coals in the midst of the hall, (for it was cold :) and were set down together; and they warmed themselves: and Peter sat down among

them to see the end; and warmed himself at the fire.

The high-priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world: I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high-priest so? Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me? Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high-priest.

Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; but found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, and bare false witness against him, yet found they none: for their witness agreed not together. At the last came two false witnesses, and said, We heard this fellow say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands. But neither so did their witness agree together. And the high-priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the highpriest asked him, and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God the blessed? Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said. And Jesus said, I am: Nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high-priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What

think ye? And they all answered, and condemned him, and said, He is guilty of death. Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and the men that held Jesus mocked him, covered his face, and when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, who is he that smote thee? And many other things blasphemously spake they against him : and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.

Thus was the patient Lamb of God surrounded by his bloodthirsty enemies: Thus did the dogs encompass him, and the strong bulls of Bashan beset him on every side. (Psalm xxii. 12, 16.) Thus was he brought as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. (Isaiah liii. 7, 8.) He was taken from judgment, and suffered the worst kind of murder, even that which had the appearance of being legal. But those gentle words which he dropped in the midst of all the injuries which were offered him are surely worthy ever to be recorded and remembered. It had always been his care to provide things honest in the sight of all men and as he answered with a most graceful and courageous appeal to all that heard him, as to the innocence and usefulness of his doctrine, so it is well worthy our observation and reflection, that God so far restrained the rage and malice of hell, that no such false witnesses arose against him, as could on the whole asperse his character, or bring it under any brand of public infamy; though Judas, as well as others, might have sought a reward, or at least an indemnity, for their own villiany, in accusing him. And indeed it is no inconsiderable instance of God's providential government of the world, that wicked men are restrained by this one remainder of reverence for the Divine omniscience, and dread of his vengeance, from destroying the reputations and lives of his children; especially in countries where (as in our own) the punishment which human laws inflict on perjury is so much below its desert.

When Jesus was examined on oath he witnessed a good con fession, and cited those that were now his judges to appear at his bar. Nor was it a vain boast! The Son of man is now sitting at the right hand of power, and will ere long come in the clouds of heaven; and then they that condemned, and insulted, and pierced him, shall mourn because of him, (Rev. i. 7.) May we be now so wise as to kiss the Son in token of our hum

ble allegiance to him, lest he be then justly angry with us; yea, lest we immediately perish from the way, when his wrath is but beginning to be kindled! (Psalm ii. 12.)

SECTION CV.

MATT. XXVI. 69-75. MARK XIV. 66-72. XXII. 56-62. JOHN XVIII. 17, 18, 25-27. Now Peter sat without in the palace: and as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high-priest, the damsel that kept the door. And when she saw Peter as he sat by the fire, warming himself, she earnestly looked upon him, and said, Art thou not also one of this man's disciples? Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. But he denied before them all, saying, Woman, I am not, I know him not, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch ; and the cock crew. And when he was gone out into the porch, this maid saw him again, and another, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold; and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? And again he denied with an oath, I am not, I do not know the man.. And after a while, about the space of one hour after, one of the servants of the high-priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow was also with him; for he is a Galilean. And he said to Peter, Did not I see thee in the garden with him? And they that stood by said unto Peter, Surely thou art one of them, for thou art a Galilean, and thy speech bewrayeth thee. Peter then denied again, and began to curse and to swear, and said, Man, I know not what thou sayest; I know not this man of whom ye speak. And immediately, while

LUKE

he yet spake, the second time the cock crew. And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he went out, and wept bitterly.

How loudly does this affecting story speak to us in the words of the apostle, Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall, (1 Cor. x. 12.) Peter professed the warmest zeal; and gave his Lord repeated and no doubt, very sincere assurances of the firmest resolution in his cause! and yet, except Judas the traitor, none of his brethren fell so low as he. But a few hours before he had been with Christ at the sacred table, and had heard from his own lips those gracious discourses which, as echoed back from his word, do still strike so strongly on the heart of every true believer. He had just seen those words remarkably, and even miraculously, verified, that Jesus having loved his own that were in the world, loved them to the end, (John xiii. 1.) How reasonably then might it have been expected that his own should also have continued their most zealous and constant affection to him! But Peter, who, if possible, was more than doubly his as a disciple, as an apostle, as a distinguished intimate, most shamefully denies him; and that not only once, but a second, yea, and a third time, even with oaths and curses, as if he would by that diabolical language give a sensible proof that he did not belong to Christ: and who indeed, that had heard it, would have imagined that he did? Nay, to aggravate it yet farther, it was done in the presence of the other disciple, and even of Christ himself, who surely was much more painfully wounded by this perfidiousness of Peter than by all the rage and fury of his enemies. Lord, what is man? What is our boasted strength but weakness! and, if we are left unto curselves, how do our most solemn resolutions melt like snow before the sun! Be thou surety for thy servants for good, (Psalm cxix. 122.)

The Lord turned and looked upon Peter. So may he graciously look upon us if we at any time make any approach towards the like sin! May he look upon us with a glance which shall penetrate our hearts, and cause floods of penitential sorrow to flow forth! Peter went out, and wept bitterly. He quitted that dangerous scene where temptation had met and vanquished him; and chose retirement and solitude to give vent to his overflowing soul. Thus may we recover our... selves; or rather, thus may we be recovered by Divine grace from those slips and falls which in this frail state we shall

« ForrigeFortsæt »