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looked forward from the earliest time, and whose power we expected to be irresistible, and whose kingdom is foretold in such magnificent terms :how could he be delivered into the hands of wicked men ?-how could he be put to death, even the death of the cross? Here was their difficulty, which all the declarations of Jesus concerning what was to befall him, did not enable them to over
To this difficulty Jesus now applies himself: the time was arrived when it should be cleared. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? Instead of contradicting the Scriptures, do not the Scriptures plainly point to this, and can they be otherwise accomplished ? The spirit of Christ, which was in the prophets, “testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.”! Moses, indeed, spoke of him only as a prophet. (Deut. xviii. 18.) “ The Lord said unto me, I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him." But in the history of Moses we find proofs that the Son of man must be lifted up upon the cross 3
And in the law of Moses we find sacrifices commanded and insisted on, which in themselves could have no virtue; for “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins:" but which were intended to foreshow the one great sacrifice, “ the offering of the 11 Pet. i. 11.
2 Acts iii. 23. 3 Numb. xx. 6—9. John iii. 14.
body of Jesus Christ once for all.” 4
The prophets are clear to the same point. Daniel, (ix. 25, 26,) who predicts the very period when “ the Messiah the Prince shall come,” says also, that “ Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself.” And Isaiah has more fully described his humiliation : (liii. 3—9:) “ He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we bid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows : yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation ? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for he transgression of my people was be stricken.” Nay, further,
, does not David, in the Psalms, foretell those very indignities which the Jewish people and the soldiers heaped upon the head of Jesus? (Ps. xxii. 7, 16, 18.) “All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him : let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.” “ For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have enclosed me; they pierced my hands and my feet. They parted my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.”
Is it not evident, then, that, according to the Scriptures, Christ ought to suffer these things ? If he had not suffered them, those Scriptures would remain unexplained. They speak, indeed, of glory : but they speak of humiliation too. They speak of
4 Heb. x. 3-10.
darkness and the grave, as well as of the presence of God, “ where is fulness of joy, and pleasures for evermore.'
28. And they drew nigh unto the villaye, whither they went : and he made as though he would have gone further.
29. But they constrained him saying, Abide with us : for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them.
30. And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave it to them. .
31. And their eyes were opened, and they knew him ; and he vanished out of their sight.
32. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures ?
Hitherto, Jesus had concealed himself, that his purpose might be better answered. Their eyes were holden that they should not know him. He had now fulfilled his purpose : and their eyes were opened, and they knew him. There was something in the manner in which he took bread, and blessed it, and brake and gave to them, which could not be mistaken. He who had been talking with them by the way, and had opened to them the Scriptures, was the very divine Master whom they had so long loved and reverenced.
And he will still reveal himself to all who love and reverence him. He will give them comfort, and grace, and knowledge, as he sees expedient for them. Even if for a time their eyes are holden, and “the mystery of godliness, Christ manifest in the flesh," is not fully disclosed to their minds :
5 Psalm xvi. 10, 11.
by-and-bye the veil will be taken away, and they “shall know, if they follow on to know the Lord.” “ After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.”
JESUS APPEARS TO ALL THE APOSTLES, AND
OPENS THE SCRIPTURES TO THEM, AND COMMISSIONS THEM TO PROCLAIM HIS GOSPEL.
LUKE xxiv. 33–53.
(Matt. xxvii. 16–20. Mark xvi. 13—20. John xx. 19—30.)
33. And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,
34. Saying,' The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35. And they told what things were done in the way, and
, how he was known of them in breaking of bread.
The two disciples had set out for Emmaus, uncertain in their minds what to think respecting the
6 Hos. vi. 2, 3.
To these two disciples when they entered. 2 The particulars of this appearance are not recorded. St. Paul alludes to it, 1 Cor. xv. 5. “He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures; and was seen of Cephas : then of the twelve."
resurrection. They had left the eleven in a like perplexity. In the interval of their absence, both parties had received evidence which rendered the fact no longer doubtful. So that those who came in haste to tell their tale, how Jesus had joined them in the way, and had opened to them the Scriptures, and at length was known of them in breaking of bread, are first saluted with the joyful tidings, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.
These words, we are told, were familiarly used by Christians in the first ages of the church. They were wont to greet one onother on the morning of Easter with the phrase, The Lord is risen. It is a truth to be much remembered, a thought to be much considered. The Lord is risen indeed, “and become the first-fruits of them that slept.” And we too, if we die with him, shall also rise with him.
He soon gave indisputable proof to them all, that he had both risen again, and risen in the same body which had suffered upon the cross, and been deposited in the tomb. They were to be witnesses to proclaim this fact, and it was needful that they should be fully persuaded in their own minds.
36. And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and said unto them, Peace be unto you.
37. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
38. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled ? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts ?
39. Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself :