John 20* The sepulchre found to be empty. (1-10) Christ appears toMary. (11-18) He appears to the disciples. (19-25) The unbeliefof Thomas. (26-29) Conclusion. (30,31)1-10 If Christ gave his life a ransom, and had not taken itagain, it would not have appeared that his giving it wasaccepted as satisfaction. It was a great trial to Mary, that thebody was gone. Weak believers often make that the matter ofcomplaint, which is really just ground of hope, and matter ofjoy. It is well when those more honoured than others with theprivileges of disciples, are more active than others in the dutyof disciples; more willing to take pains, and run hazards, in agood work. We must do our best, and neither envy those who cando better, nor despise those who do as well as they can, thoughthey come behind. The disciple whom Jesus loved in a specialmanner, and who therefore in a special manner loved Jesus, wasforemost. The love of Christ will make us to abound in everyduty more than any thing else. He that was behind was Peter, whohad denied Christ. A sense of guilt hinders us in the service ofGod. As yet the disciples knew not the Scripture; they Christmust rise again from the dead. 11-18 We are likely to seek and find, when we seek withaffection, and seek in tears. But many believers complain of theclouds and darkness they are under, which are methods of gracefor humbling their souls, mortifying their sins, and endearingChrist to them. A sight of angels and their smiles, will notsuffice, without a sight of Jesus, and God's smiles in him. Noneknow, but those who have tasted it, the sorrows of a desertedsoul, which has had comfortable evidences of the love of God inChrist, and hopes of heaven, but has now lost them, and walks indarkness; such a wounded spirit who can bear? Christ, inmanifesting himself to those that seek him, often outdoes theirexpectations. See how Mary's heart was in earnest to find Jesus.Christ's way of making himself known to his people is by hisword; his word applied to their souls, speaking to them inparticular. It might be read, Is it my Master? See with whatpleasure those who love Jesus speak of his authority over them.He forbids her to expect that his bodily presence look further,than the present state of things. Observe the relation to God,from union with Christ. We, partaking of a Divine nature,Christ's Father is our Father; and he, partaking of the humannature, our God is his God. Christ's ascension into heaven,there to plead for us, is likewise an unspeakable comfort. Letthem not think this earth is to be their home and rest; theireye and aim, and earnest desires, must be upon another world,and this ever upon their hearts, I ascend, therefore I must seekthe things which are above. And let those who know the word ofChrist, endeavour that others should get good from theirknowledge. 19-25 This was the first day of the week, and this day isafterwards often mentioned by the sacred writers; for it wasevidently set apart as the Christian sabbath, in remembrance ofChrist's resurrection. The disciples had shut the doors for fearof the Jews; and when they had no such expectation, Jesushimself came and stood in the midst of them, havingmiraculously, though silently, opened the doors. It is a comfortto Christ's disciples, when their assemblies can only be held inprivate, that no doors can shut out Christ's presence. When Hemanifests his love to believers by the comforts of his Spirit,he assures them that because he lives, they shall live also. Asight of Christ will gladden the heart of a disciple at anytime; and the more we see of Jesus, the more we shall rejoice.He said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost, thus showing that theirspiritual life, as well as all their ability for their work,would be derived from him, and depended upon him. Every word ofChrist which is received in the heart by faith, comesaccompanied by this Divine breathing; and without this there isneither light nor life. Nothing is seen, known, discerned, orfelt of God, but through this. After this, Christ directed theapostles to declare the only method by which sin would beforgiven. This power did not exist at all in the apostles as apower to give judgment, but only as a power to declare thecharacter of those whom God would accept or reject in the day ofjudgment. They have clearly laid down the marks whereby a childof God may be discerned and be distinguished from a falseprofessor; and according to what they have declared shall everycase be decided in the day of judgment. When we assemble inChrist's name, especially on his holy day, he will meet with us,and speak peace to us. The disciples of Christ should endeavourto build up one another in their most holy faith, both byrepeating what they have heard to those that were absent, and bymaking known what they have experienced. Thomas limited the HolyOne of Israel, when he would be convinced by his own method ornot at all. He might justly have been left in his unbelief,after rejecting such abundant proofs. The fears and sorrows ofthe disciples are often lengthened, to punish their negligence. 26-29 That one day in seven should be religiously observed, wasan appointment from the beginning. And that, in the kingdom ofthe Messiah, the first day of the week should be that solemnday, was pointed out, in that Christ on that day once and againmet his disciples in a religious assembly. The religiousobservance of that day has come down to us through every age ofthe church. There is not an unbelieving word in our tongues, northought in our minds, but it is known to the Lord Jesus; and hewas pleased to accommodate himself even to Thomas, rather thanleave him in his unbelief. We ought thus to bear with the weak,#Ro 15:1,2|. This warning is given to all. If we are faithless,we are Christless and graceless, hopeless and joyless. Thomaswas ashamed of his unbelief, and cried out, My Lord and my God.He spoke with affection, as one that took hold of Christ withall his might; "My Lord and my God." Sound and sincerebelievers, though slow and weak, shall be graciously accepted ofthe Lord Jesus. It is the duty of those who read and hear thegospel, to believe, to embrace the doctrine of Christ, and thatrecord concerning him, #1Jo 5:11|. 30,31 There were other signs and proofs of our Lord'sresurrection, but these were committed to writing, that allmight believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah, the Saviourof sinners, and the Son of God; that, by this faith, they mightobtain eternal life, by his mercy, truth, and power. May webelieve that Jesus is the Christ, and believing may we have lifethrough his name.
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