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tinual, though gentle motion. Looking down upon it from the heights above, the white foam sparkles, like silver, on the face of the rippling water.
When a storm of wind from the south-east comes sweeping down the mountains into the lake, it meets the current of the river Jordan, and in a moment the waves rise into a tempest. Woe to the fisher's boat that had met that storm! But whether the lake be lashed into fury by the winds, or ripple brightly beneath the glorious skies of the East, the mountains ever stand around it in quiet majesty. Far above them all rises Mount Hermon, which is also Sion, (Deut. iv. 48.) distant, yet near enough to throw its shadow on the water. Even in the hottest summer it is crowned with snow, and its solemn height, rising into the sky, stirs in the heart the remembrance of the past days, when king David so often spoke of Mount Hermon in his beautiful Psalms. And when the setting sun throws its slanting rays upon the woods of Mount Tabor, the lake glitters for a moment in the parting light, and the golden day is gone. But even more beautiful is the solemn night that comes. Dark shadows of the mountains lie upon. the lake. Even through the darkness, the snowy top of Hermon is pictured on the waters, as the moon, rising almost behind the mountain, throws her rays like a path of glimmering silver across the bosom of the lake.
This is, this was the sea of Galilee, and we shall be better able in thought to follow our Saviour's steps, and understand his doings, if we thus picture it to our minds, as we read:
LUKE vi. 12. "It came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God."
From sun-rise to sun-set the Lord Jesus taught the people; listened to their complaints and petitions, and healed their diseases. At evening He was wearied, as we should have been,
and sought for rest-rest from the sound and sight of misery— rest from the griefs that sin had brought. Among these mountains, on the shores of that lake, far away from man, alone with God his Father, the holy Son refreshed his soul. How solemn is the thought! The whole night long He prayed. And what his prayers must have been!
They were the
Son's communion with the Father! What a gushing forth of holiest love. What asking and receiving help for the human nature He had taken for a time, that He might do His Father's will and save mankind. What earnest prayer to God to look down upon and strengthen him in the work He was carrying on (for Jesus knew that the very next day He was to bring, as it were into his family, the traitor who was to betray Him.) What child-like willingness to suffer his Father's will! What holy joy that men and angels should see the Father glorified, and Satan the destroyer's power overthrown! What a longing to return to his Father's bosom! All this must have been in the Saviour's prayer. No wonder that the whole night long He prayed, for prayer was to him, a time spent with his Father. O that we could thus pray! He bent his nature down to ours, that he might raise our nature up to his, or rather He took ours upon him that it might be brought into fellowship with his own, therefore our prayers may be, should be, like his, the outpouring of our hearts to our Father, God. And let us follow the example of our blessed Lord. When we have some great thing to do, let us the more earnestly pray. He was about to choose the twelve Apostles, and to appoint to them their work; the whole night long, before He did this, He prayed. We cannot pray a whole night, nor need we, "for our Father knoweth what we have need of before we ask him." But we can, and we must, humbly and earnestly ask of him that wisdom which is from above, and which He willingly gives to all who seek for it. (James i. 5.)
When the sun rose again from behind the mountains, and
glittered upon the lake, the Son of God returned to his mighty work, which He was now about to put into a more regular form. We have seen how He was followed from place to place, by some who were more particularly his disciples. We have read the manner in which Jesus had received six of these,* and what He had said to them when they first joined him.† We have also read the miracle by which He shewed them that they might safely trust to him for support, when they, for his sake, gave up the work by which, till then, they had earned their living, and the assurance He gave them that they should succeed in the new work He gave them to do. It was now needful regularly to appoint twelve chosen men from among his followers, that He might send them forth, in his name, and in his power, to carry the good news of the Gospel through all the land. It is written that,
LUKE xii. 13. 66 When it was day, He called unto Him (whom He would of) His disciples: and of them He chose twelve, whom also He named Apostles."
MARK iii. 14, 15. "And He ordained twelve, that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils."
"The seed of the woman shall bruise thy head," God said to that old serpent, who is the devil, in the beginning of the history of the world; and the New Testament is, from the beginning to the end of it, the history of the way in which these words were made true. Jesus, God, in the shape of man, born of the Virgin, and therefore "the seed of the woman," carried on open war against the kingdom of Satan, and He now chose twelve to act under Him, and gave them his own power that they might go forth against the enemy.
See Vol. I. No. XXIV. John i. 38. xxxvi. Matt. iv. 18-22.
MATTHEW X. 2-4 "Now the names of the twelve apostles are these the first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother;* James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew (believed to be Nathanael) Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphæus ; † and Lebbæus, whose surname was Thaddeus (or Judas, the brother of James.) ‡ Simon the Canaanite; § and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.”|| The Lord Jesus called to him from the crowd below "who He would," and, of those whom He chose, one was the man who in the end was to betray Him; and He knew it, for from him nothing was hid; that which was to come was present to his mind as that which already was. All the events of his life and death were determined from the beginning. It was necessary that He should be given up into the hand of His enemies; but the holy Jesus made no man a traitor; He chose from the many there, one in whose heart He saw that love of
* No. XXIV. Vol. I.
† James, son of Alpheus or Cleophas. His mother, Mary, was sister of Mary the mother of Jesus, and as the Jews called their near kinsman brother, it is probable this is the meaning of his being called "James, the Lord's brother." Gal. i. 19. Milman.
Luke vi. 16. Judas in Syriac is Thaddai. It is not clear whether his other name Lebbeus, is from the town of Lebba on the coast of the sea of Galilee, or from a word meaning "the heart," and therefore nearly the same as Thaddai, which means "the breast."
§ Also called Zelotes-The word Canaanite does not mean, as is often supposed, from Cana, nor yet that he was of Canaanite descent. It is from a Hebrew word which means Zealot, to which dangerous sect Simon belonged before he became the disciple of Christ. See Milman. The leader of the sect of the Zealots, was that Judas of Galilee spoken of by Gamaliel in Acts v. He taught that it was unlawful to pay tribute to the Romans, and his followers maintained this doctrine by force of arms against the Romans. The sect became little better than a band of robbers. See Cyclopædia of Biblical Literature.
|| Judas the Traitor was probably named Iscariot, from a small village named Iscara, or from the town Carioth in the tribe of Judah.
money which would cause him to sell his Lord. (Matt. xxvi. 23-25.)
In the heart of Judas Iscariot covetousness lay like a small seed. He was called by Jesus into near fellowship with Himself; surely He might have struggled and prayed against its growth, and perhaps He would have done so, had he looked upon it as sin; but we shall see how he yielded to temptation, (John xii. 4-6.) how he, in secret, nursed the evil wish, till that small seed of covetousness grew into a poison-tree, and deadly were its fruits. (Matt. xxvi. 14-16. 47-50. xxvii. 3-5.)
God in kindness hides from us that which is to come, and we go on from year to year, from day to day, in peaceful enjoyment, to the very hour in which our past blessings are to become the causes of our grief. grief. How often do years of happiness pass over the mother, watching and rejoicing in the childhood of the son who, when he is a man, will bring her grey hairs with sorrow to the grave! How much enjoyment is often found for half a life-time in those very friends who are in the end estranged, perhaps even become our enemies! We may have seen from the first the evil which has caused the change; but we went on hoping that it would be cured. We did not know, for we did not see, how fast it was growing all the while; and in the end it took us by surprise. Blessed be God that this is so, for to our ignorance we owe half the happiness of our lives. But to the Lord Jesus every heart was open, every desire known, and from Him no secret was hid.* From this day He lived with Judas the traitor. With him He shared his daily bread, and every hour, before his searching eye, that evil passion, the love of money, grew in strength till it became the full-grown treason that "sold" his life into the hands of his cruel enemies, who were thirsting even now for his blood.
* Collect before the Communion.