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33. This he said, signifying what death he should die.
At first appearance, the event to which our Lord is here looking forward, would be the triumph of this world, not its judgment : the victory of the prince of this world, not his overthrow. As he said to the soldiers afterwards, “ This is your hour, and the power of darkness.” But he extends his view beyond : foresees the consequence of his death, by which in the end the world shall be overcome, and the dominion of Satan broken. He sees that his cross should do what nothing else had done ; should be “the victory that overcometh the world.” It is not only of his death, but the mode of his death that he speaks. I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto
This he said, signifying what death he should die.
And it can be explained. That death was the severest punishment of sin; and he endured it as the penalty of sin. 6. He bore our sins in his own body;” he died, “the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” Now this furnishes to man that proof which he most needs, and is most slow and unwilling to receive—the proof of the sinfulness of sin : that is, of its heinousness in God's sight, and of the consequences to which it leads. In the death of the cross we have a proof of this which no man can deny,“ unless he denies
* I do not, of course, mean that this is denied by none who profess to receive the Scriptures; but that it cannot be denied with any consistency or show of reason.
the whole history of Christ : a proof, too, from fact. Men may say, that “ the worm which dieth not,” and “the fire that is not quenched,” and “ the blackness of darkness for ever,” are figurative phrases by which nothing real is intended. Thus multitudes are deceived, as Eve was, and believe that they “ shall not surely die,” though they transgress the laws which God hath commanded them to observe. Jesus, lifted up from the earth, and bearing the wrath of God upon the cross, speaks a different language. It was sin which reviled and buffeted him ; sin which pierced his hands and feet; sin which made him melt in speechless agony ; sin which drew from him the last affecting words, “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
With this fact before their eyes, none who believe it can venture upon sin as that which God notices not, which no evil follows. By the cross on which the ransom was paid, sin is crucified to them, and they to sin. And so his words are made good; he being lifted up from the earth, draws all men unto him: gives them a motive and a reason why they should “ suffer with him,” should
deny themselves,” should “mortify the flesh with the affections and lusts,” and “ follow after holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”
THE HEARTS OF THE JEWS ARE HARDENED
JOHN xii. 34–43.
34. The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever : 1 and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?
35. Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest dark
come upon you : for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.
36. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.
37. But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him :
38. That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed ?
39. Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,
40. He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their
1 We have heard out of the Scripture : that is, “the law and the prophets.” They had collected this from the general tenour of the prophecies: as, that “God would not fail David, but cause his seed to endure for ever;" that “ of his government there should be no end."
heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them.
41. These things said Esaias, when he saw his glory, and spake of him.
42. Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.
43. For they loved the praise of men more than the praise
Jesus had given a solemn warning to the Jews; Yet a little while is the light with you. have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.
But, adds St. John, though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him. As Isaiah had given reason to expect, when he prefaced his well-known prophecy, by asking, Lord, who hath believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ?? And again, He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. We
Ve perceive therefore, that something more is necessary to FAITH, than sufficient evidence. These had sufficient evidence, in the many miracles which he had done. These had sufficient evidence, for many were convinced by it.
Among the chief rulers also many believed on him ; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should
? Is. liii. l; and vi. 10.
be put out of the synagogue. For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
It was not therefore evidence which was wanting, but a heart to receive evidence, to act upon conviction. And this heart man has not in himself; it is the gift of God, the work of the Holy Spirit. “No man can come unto me, (our Lord had already said,) unless the Father who hath sent me draw him.” The case was exactly the same with their forefathers in the wilderness : (Deut. xxix. 2—4,) when“ Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; the great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and those great miracles : yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.”
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? Is he as one who takes
up that he layed not down, and reaps that he did not sow?”3 This, we know, can never be. “God willeth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he be converted and live.”
And he calls upon the inhabitants of the whole earth to witness his dealings with his people: (Is. v. 3 :) “ And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard
3 See Luke xix. 21.