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years: for where miracles are concerned, all things are equally easy or alike difficult. On a former occasion we find Christ declaring, “The hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the son of man, and they that hear shall live;" joining the resurrection of the dead now with the future general resurrection of all mankind, as if one event was intended to be a specimen and pledge of the other; and there can be no doubt that this was the intention of the resurrection of Lazarus. To this purpose let us improve it, by keeping in mind that he who performed the one may with equal ease be qualified for the other; and by figuring to ourselves the joy and transport of that moment when the voice of the son of man will set all the prisoners of the grave at liberty together, and restore the righteous, not to an existence of a few years, to be again terminated by death, as was the case in the present instance, but to a life that will
John xi. 45. to the end. xii. 1-11,
45. Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.
They believed not only that he was a prophet, but likewise the promised Messiah, as appears from the next chapter, verse the thirteenth, where we are told that the multitude that came to meet him, cried, Blessed is the king of Israel, that cometh in the name of the Lord: verse the seventeenth. But, satisfactory and convincing as this great miracle was to some, it seems it did not remove the incredulity of others.
46. But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, to such of that sect as were members of the Sanhedrim, and told them what things Jesus had done.
47. Then gathered,“ then assembled," the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, that is, the principal persons, among their party, and said, What do we; “ What must we do;" for this man doth many miracles ?
48. If we let him thus alone, al} men will believe on him, and the Romans shall come, “ will come," and take away both our place, “our temple,” and nation.
If we suffer this man to proceed, without endeavouring to stop him, all men will believe him to be the Messiah, and the king of Israel; and the Romans will be induced to destroy both our temple and na. tion, because we have set up a king in opposition to their authority. They do not deny his miracles, but, on the contrary, admit the reality of them, and infer thence the probability of his obtaining universal credit. Some of the council seem to have proposed forbidding Jesus to preach, as the most effectual method of stopping the progress of this heresy; in the same manner as they afterwards prohibited his apostles; and it is to this opinion, although not mentioned by the evangelist, that the next speaker refers.
49. And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year*, said unto them,
Some suppose the words, “ being high priest that same year,” to have been inserted here by mistake, from the fifty-first verse, because they are introduced without any connection.
* See Lardner, Vol. i. 387, 388. .
Ye know nothing at all,
50. Nor consider, or, as some would render it, “ Do ye not know and consider ?” that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.
Some of the council were averse from putting Jesus to death, and thought perhaps that a reprimand would be sufficient, accompanied with an injunction not to preach any more. To this Caiaphas replies, by saying that to save the life of one in the present instance, would be to endanger the whole nation, for the reasons before suggested respecting the Romans, and that therefore he was clearly for putting him to death. Where it may be observed that the plea for such a violent measure is not founded upon guilt or demerit, but upon political expediency. The words, “it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, are capable of a different sense from that in which they were used by Caiaphas, and applicable to the death of Christ, as the means of salvation, not to the Jewish nation only, but likewise to all mankind, who are benefitted by that event, The evangelist, therefore, seems to have considered the words of Caiaphas as prophetical, which he might be the more inclined to do, as it had been usual for God to deliver oracles by the high priest in former times *.
51. And this spake he not of himself, but, being the high priest that year,
" at that time,” he prophesied that Jesus should die, " that Jesus would die,” for that nation;
* Lardner, Vol. i. pp. 388, 389. Theol. Rep. Vol. iii. p. 187.
52. And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.
John thought these words of the high priest's not only applicable to his own nation, but likewise prophetical of the benefit which Christians of all nations, who are called the children of God, would derive from his death, being hereby united together under one head. To this opinion respecting the necessity of putting Jesus to death the majority of the Sanhedrim assented, and there was no further debate upon the subject.
53. Then from that day forth they took counsel together, for to put him to death.
Having resolved what to do, they now only deli, berated about the best method of executing their pur: pose, which ended, as it should seem, in a determination to offer a reward to any person who should discover where Christ was. Being informed of this resolution, he was prevented hereby from going up to Jerusalem at present, although so near to it as to be within two miles, and retired to a distant part of the country.
54. Jesus, therefore, walked no more openly among the Jews, but went thence, into a country near the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim; and there continued with his disciples.
This he did, that he might not expose his life to danger, before the time appointed by Divine Providence for his death; an instance of prudence which we have observed in him more than once before.
the Jews passover was nigh at hand, and many went out of the country up to Jerusalem before the passover, to purify themselves.
They went thither to offer the sacrifices which the law of Moses required for such legal impurities as they had contracted; in order to prepare themselves for the festival of the passover. Some kinds of impurity required sacrifices and other rites to be performed for seven days. Those who were under a vow of Nazaritism, likewise, generally brought their vow to a conclusion at this time. Thus we find Paul joining himself, Acts xxi. 24, to a company of persons who were under this vow, and employed purifications. On these accounts there was a great influx of people into Jerusalem, for several days before the cele. bration of the passover.
56. Then sought they for Jesus, and spake among themselves, as they stood in the temple,
temple, What think ye; that he will not come to the feast?
Having heard the fame or seen the miracles of Jesus in the country, they were anxious to know whether he would come up to Jerusalem, where they would have an opportunity of seeing and hearing him; or whether he would not be deterred from coming, the resolution of the council to put him to death, and the order which they had issued for his apprehension. This matter, it seems, was the subject of general conversation among those who frequented the temple.
57. Now both the chief priests and the Pharisees, such as were members of the Sanhedrim, had given a commandment, that if any man knew where he were, he should show it, that they inight take him.