John 18* Christ taken in the garden. (1-12) Christ before Annas andCaiaphas. (13-27) Christ before Pilate. (28-40)1-12 Sin began in the garden of Eden, there the curse waspronounced, there the Redeemer was promised; and in a gardenthat promised Seed entered into conflict with the old serpent.Christ was buried also in a garden. Let us, when we walk in ourgardens, take occasion from thence to mediate on Christ'ssufferings in a garden. Our Lord Jesus, knowing all things thatshould come upon him, went forth and asked, Whom seek ye? Whenthe people would have forced him to a crown, he withdrew, ch.#6:15|, but when they came to force him to a cross, he offeredhimself; for he came into this world to suffer, and went to theother world to reign. He showed plainly what he could have done;when he struck them down he could have struck them dead, but hewould not do so. It must have been the effect of Divine power,that the officers and soldiers let the disciples go awayquietly, after the resistance which had been offered. Christ setus an example of meekness in sufferings, and a pattern ofsubmission to God's will in every thing that concerns us. It isbut a cup, a small matter. It is a cup that is given us;sufferings are gifts. It is given us by a Father, who has afather's authority, and does us no wrong; a father's affection,and means us no hurt. From the example of our Saviour we shouldlearn how to receive our lighter afflictions, and to askourselves whether we ought to oppose our Father's will, or todistrust his love. We were bound with the cords of ouriniquities, with the yoke of our transgressions. Christ, beingmade a sin-offering for us, to free us from those bonds, himselfsubmitted to be bound for us. To his bonds we owe our liberty;thus the Son makes us free. 13-27 Simon Peter denied his Master. The particulars have beennoticed in the remarks on the other Gospels. The beginning ofsin is as the letting forth of water. The sin of lying is afruitful sin; one lie needs another to support it, and thatanother. If a call to expose ourselves to danger be clear, wemay hope God will enable us to honour him; if it be not, we mayfear that God will leave us to shame ourselves. They saidnothing concerning the miracles of Jesus, by which he had doneso much good, and which proved his doctrine. Thus the enemies ofChrist, whilst they quarrel with his truth, wilfully shut theireyes against it. He appeals to those who heard him. The doctrineof Christ may safely appeal to all that know it, and those whojudge in truth bear witness to it. Our resentment of injuriesmust never be passionate. He reasoned with the man that did himthe injury, and so may we. 28-32 It was unjust to put one to death who had done so muchgood, therefore the Jews were willing to save themselves fromreproach. Many fear the scandal of an ill thing, more than thesin of it. Christ had said he should be delivered to theGentiles, and they should put him to death; hereby that sayingwas fulfilled. He had said that he should be crucified, liftedup. If the Jews had judged him by their law, he had been stoned;crucifying never was used among the Jews. It is determinedconcerning us, though not discovered to us, what death we shalldie: this should free us from disquiet about that matter. Lord,what, when, and how, thou hast appointed. 33-40 Art thou the King of the Jews? that King of the Jews whohas been so long expected? Messiah the Prince; art thou he? Dostthou call thyself so, and wouldest thou be thought so? Christanswered this question with another; not for evasion, but thatPilate might consider what he did. He never took upon him anyearthly power, never were any traitorous principles or practiceslaid to him. Christ gave an account of the nature of hiskingdom. Its nature is not worldly; it is a kingdom within men,set up in their hearts and consciences; its riches spiritual,its power spiritual, and it glory within. Its supports are notworldly; its weapons are spiritual; it needed not, nor used,force to maintain and advance it, nor opposed any kingdom butthat of sin and Satan. Its object and design are not worldly.When Christ said, I am the Truth, he said, in effect, I am aKing. He conquers by the convincing evidence of truth; he rulesby the commanding power of truth. The subjects of this kingdomare those that are of the truth. Pilate put a good question, hesaid, What is truth? When we search the Scriptures, and attendthe ministry of the word, it must be with this inquiry, What istruth? and with this prayer, Lead me in thy truth; into alltruth. But many put this question, who have not patience topreserve in their search after truth; or not humility enough toreceive it. By this solemn declaration of Christ's innocence, itappears, that though the Lord Jesus was treated as the worst ofevil-doers, he never deserved such treatment. But it unfolds thedesign of his death; that he died as a Sacrifice for our sins.Pilate was willing to please all sides; and was governed more byworldly wisdom than by the rules of justice. Sin is a robber,yet is foolishly chosen by many rather than Christ, who wouldtruly enrich us. Let us endeavour to make our accusers ashamedas Christ did; and let us beware of crucifying Christ afresh.
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