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character, till having baptized him, he saw the Spirit descend and remain upon him. 31. And I knew him not: when I testified concerning Messiah, that he was soon to appear, and was a much greater person than me, I did not know that this was he: I only knew that my mission and baptism were designed by God, as the means of making Messiah known to the Israelites: But that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. Accordingly, in the course of his ministry, the Baptist had Messiah discovered to him, by the appearance of a sign which God had told him of. And from that time forth he openly pointed out Jesus to the Israelites; declaring at the same time, the ground on which he proceeded in this matter, namely, the descent of the Spirit, which was the sign mentioned by God himself. 32. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. 33. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spi rit descending and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. 34. And I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God. Next day likewise John happening to be with two of his disciples on the banks of the Jordan, saw Jesus passing by a second time, and repeated what he had said to the multitude the day before. 35. Again the next day after, John stood, and two of his disciples: 36. And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God. 37. And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. John points ed out Jesus to the two disciples, probably because they had been absent when the Spirit descended upon him, and the voice from heaven declared him to be the Son of God. But having now had an account of these things from their master, they desired to become acquainted with Jesus, and for that purpose followed him. Jesus knowing their intentions, turned about, and invited them to go along with him. 38. Then Jesus turned, 'and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? they said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master) where dwellest thou? μeves, where dost thou lodge? For Jesus had no fixed abode at Jordan, having come thither only to be baptized. By making this reply, John's disciples insinuated, that they had a great inclination to converse with Jesus. He gave them therefore an invitation to his lodging. 39. He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour; that is, ten in the morning. For the evangelist John uses the Roman method of reckoning the hours of the day in his gospel. See Obs. 5. Wherefore the two disciples conversed with Jesus almost a whole day. It seems they were desirous to be acquainted with one whom their master acknowledged as Messiah. 40. One of the two which
heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. Probably John the evangelist was the other, it being his custom to conceal his own name in his writings. 41. He (Andrew) first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messiah, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. It seems the Baptist's testimony, joined with the proofs offered by Christ himself, in the long conversation which the two disciples had with him, fully convinced Andrew. 42. And he brought him to Jesus; and when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona, thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation a stone. Though Jesus had never seen Simon before, immediately on his coming in, he saluted him by his own and his father's name, adding, that he should afterwards be called Cephas, that is, a rock, on account of the strength of his mind, and the unshaken firmness of his resolution; also because the Christian church was to be built on his labours, as on a solid foundation. (See on Matt. xvi. 18. § 70.) 43. The day following, Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Jesus being now baptized, and having received the testimonies of the Holy Ghost and of the Baptist, also having finished his course of temptation, he proposed to return to Galilee, there to begin his ministry, attended by his disciples. 44. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. As it appears from the subsequent part of the history, that Philip was already acquainted with our Lord's character, and believed on him, this observation is made by the evangelist, to shew by what means he was brought to Jesus: his townsmen Andrew and Peter had done him the favour. 45. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. It seems Peter and Andrew, in their conversation with Philip, had persuaded him to believe on Jesus, by shewing him how the predictions of the law and the prophets were fulfilled in him. Perhaps this was the method which Jesus himself had taken, to confirm Peter and Andrew, Philip's instructors, in the good opinion they had conceived of him, by means of the testimony which their master, John Baptist, had given concerning him, though the evangelist had not
Ver. 41. The Messiah] The great king whom the Jews expected, is called Messiah by none of the prophets but Daniel, who has named him, chap. ix. 25. Messiah the prince. Wherefore, as by many passages of the ges pels, it appears, that this name was now familiar to the Jews, it shews how much their attention was turned towards Daniel's prophecy of the seventy weeks, and how firmly they expected the arrival of their king ac cording to the time fixed in that prophecy.
+ Ver. 45. Nathanael.] Nathanael is supposed by many to have been he who, in the catalogue of the apostles. is called Bartholomew. To this opinion I also assent for the reasons to be mentioned in the history of Bartholomew, § 37.
thought fit to mention this circumstance. 46. And Nathanael said unto him, Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? a proverb by which the rest of the Israelites ridiculed the Nazarenes. Nathanael on this occasion applied it the rather, that Messiah's nativity had been determined by the prophet Micah to Bethlehem.-Philip saith unto him, Come and see: Come and talk with him yourself, and you will soon be convinced that he is Messiah. Nathanael, being a man of a candid disposition, resolved to go and converse with Jesus, that he might judge with the more certainty concerning his pretensions. He was coming therefore with Philip on this errand, when Jesus, who knew his thoughts honoured him with the amiable character of a true Israelite, in whom there was no guile; a plain, upright, honest man, one free from hypocrisy and open to conviction, one who not only derived his pedigree from Abraham, but who inherited his virtues. 47. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in ruhom is no guile. 48. Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? I am a perfect stranger to you, how come you to know my character ?-Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig-tree, I saw thee: Though I was at so great a distance from thee, that it was impossible for me to see thee with my bodily eyes, yet I knew both where thou wast, and what thou wast doing. The character that I just now gave thee, is founded on what I saw thee doing there. (See the note on the following verse). 49. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God, thou art the king of Israel. I am sensible of the truth of what you have told me, and am certain that you have discovered unto me a matter be
Ver. 49. Thou art the Son of God, &c.] Most commentators are of opinion, that this conviction was produced in Nathanael's mind by our Lord's miraculous power. But his faith may be accounted for, on supposition that he had been praying under the fig-tree, and that in his prayer he had made confession of his sin in such a particular manner, as to merit this ample character. Accordingly when Jesus insinuated that he had given it to him on account of what had passed under the fig-tree, Nathanael immediately perceived that he not only knew what was done at a dis*ance, but could also look into mens hearts, so cried out in great astonishment, that he was the long expected Messiah of the Jews.
It may not be improper to observe here, that the Jews universally believed the Son of God would appear on earth, and be that great king whom they had for so many ages expected. This I think plain from the following passages: Johni 49. Thou art the Son of God, Thou art the king of Israel-Matt. viii. 29. What have ave to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God?-John vi. 69. We believe and are sure that thou art Christ the Son of the Irving God.-Matt. xxvi. 16. Simon Peter answered and s id, Thou art Christ the Son of the living God.-John xi. 27. Martha says, Lord, I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the worldMatt. xxvi. 63. the high priest saith, I adjure thee by the living God that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ the Son of God.
yond the reach of human knowledge, and therefore can no longer doubt your being Messiah. I acknowledge you to the long expected King of Israel, who is the Son of God. 50. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee I saw thee und der the fig-tree, believest thou? Dost thou believe, me to be Messiah, because of the supernatural knowledge of thy character and secret actions which I have now discovered?—thou shalt see greater things than these, greater instances of my power and knowledge, consequently, more remarkable proofs of my mission. 51. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. (See on Matt. viii. 20. 31.) Ye shall see the whole frame of nature subject to my commands, and be witnesses to such remarkable interpositions of providence in my behalf, as will leave you no room to doubt of my mission from God *.
• This certainly was the moral meaning of the ladder reaching from earth to heaven, on which Jacob in his dream saw the angels ascending and descending, Gen. xxviii. 12. and which our Lord seems to have alluded to in this passage.-Spencer thinks he had here in his eye some visions of ministering angels, which in the course of his public life the disciples were to behold, though the evangelists have not mentionted them. For that angels did minister to Jesus is certain, from the accounts we have of his temptation and resurrection. And that they might be made visible to the disciples was a possible privilege, and such as holy men of old had enjoyed, particularly the prophets, who saw the heavenly hosts surrounding even the throne of God.-Or we may suppose that our Lord in this passage is speaking of the angels who waited on him at his resurrection and ascension. For thus he shall have referred his disciples to the greatest of his miracles, his resurrection from the dead, and his ascension into heaven, by which the truth of his mission is put beyond all doubt.
§ XIX. Jesus and his disciples return from Bethabara into Galilee, and are present at the marriage in Cana. Jesus goes up to Jerusalem to the passover. John ii. 1,—13.
OUR Lord having thus in the beginning of his ministry proved his mission, and made several disciples at Jordan, departed for Galilee, accompanied by Philip, John i. 48. probably also by Simon, Andrew, and Nathanael. The persons called his disciples, who were with him at the marriage in Cana, with him also in Jerusalem, and who accompanied him to the distant parts of Judea, and baptized those who offered themselves to his baptism, John iii. 32. iv. 1. could be no other than the four just now mentioned. For as these transactions happened before the Baptist's imprisonment, John iii. 24. we cannot think the disciples present at them, had followed Jesus in consequence of the call given near the sea of Galilee, Matt. iv. 18. or the call spoken of, Luke v. 1. because it is certain that neither the one
nor the other was given till after the Baptist was silenced. See the last paragraph of sect. 25.
On the third day after Jesus and his disciples arrived in Galilee, they went to a marriage that was in Cana. Here Jesus furnished wine for the feast by miracle, at the desire of his mother, who was also bidden. Dr Clarke thinks our Lord, in the course of his private life, had sometimes exerted his divine power for the relief of his friends; and that his mother having seen or heard of those miracles, knew the greatness of his power, so applied to him on this occasion. Or we may suppose she had heard him speak of the miracles he was to perform for the confirmation of his mission, and the benefit of mankind, and begged him to favour his friends with one in the present necessity. Probably Mary interested herself in this matter, because she was a relation or an intimate acquaintance of the new married couple, and had the management of the entertainment committed to her care, so was anxious to have every thing gone about with decency. Or she might make the case known to her son, being desirous to see him perform a miracle before such a numerous company of friends, John ii. 1. And the third day there was a marriage in* Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2. And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. 3. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. 4. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come. Mary was without doubt blameable for presuming to direct her son
Ver. 1. Cana of Galilee.] This town is mentioned Josh. xix. 23. as situated in the possession of the tribe of Asher, not far from the city of Sidon, and by consequence in the most northern part of Galilee. Hence it was called Cana of Galilee, to distinguish it from another Cana that was in the tribe of Fphraim, and which is mentioned Josh. xvi. 8. xvii. 9. This latter Cana, therefore, was at no great distance from Jerusalem.
The compellation with which Jesus addressed his mother sounds harsh in our language, because with us it is never used where respect is meant to be shewed: Woman, what have I to do with thee? Nevertheless woman, anciently was a term of honour, being used in speaking to persons of the fist quality; besides, it was that by which our Lord addressed his mother, at a time when his respect and tenderness for her cannot be called in question: John xix. 26. Woman, behold thy son.―The clause which in our translation runs, What have I to do with thee? might be rendered so as to have a milder aspect; thus, What hast thou to do with me? For the original words, Ti iμoi xai coi, are evidently used in this sense, 2 Sam. xix, 22. Mark v. 7. What hast thou to do with me? mine hour is not yet come: the season of my public ministry in this country is not yet come. Before I work miracles in Galilee, I must go into Judea and preach, where the Baptist my forerunner has been preparing my way. Others translate the latter clause interrogatively, Is not mine hour come? the season of my public ministry, at which period your authority over me ends. Upon the whole, our Lord's answer to his mother was not in the least disrespectful; as is evident likewise from the temper with which she received it, and from her desiring the servants to wait on him, and do whatever he should bid them.