And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spoke of them.…
"The multitude" were pleased with Christ and took Him for a prophet. The pleasure which our text indicates may be referred to wrong motives; they were glad to see others humbled and rebuked. We often repine at the superiority of those above us, and are gratified when any wound is inflicted on their vanity. Not that Christ desired by artful means to gain the favour of the inferior orders. Often in theological controversy men applaud not from love of the truth, but because some one has been repulsed. We take the supposition that the pleasure of the multitude, in part at least, was produced by the general tenor of Christ's preaching, and not by a triumphant exposure of the sins of their rulers. Let us examine into the causes from which it came to pass that discourses which were distasteful to the great amongst the Jews found acceptance with the multitude. No doubt reasons could be derived from the peculiar circumstances of the Jewish nation; their expectation of a temporal prince, which was stronger in the higher classes than in the lower. Had the lower classes been left to themselves, it is probable that the Christ who healed their sick would have been accepted. But this is true of our own day — the multitudes, as distinguished from others, have an interest in hearing the gospel. It gains a hold on them which makes them "take Christ for a prophet." Here it is that the Almighty has introduced one of those counterpoises which cause good and evil to be distributed with considerable equality notwithstanding the marked difference in human conditions. Wealth and learning are great advantages viewed in reference to the present life; but in regard to the other life the circumstances of their life facilitate their eternal good. The poor man has little to attach him to earth; the rich is surrounded by things that fascinate him, also there are prejudices against the gospel peculiar to the rich which the illiterate cannot share. The gospel sets the poor amongst princes; the rich and great cling to artificial distinctions. The poverty of Christ was an offence to the rich; it was an attraction to the poor. The gospel cannot reach the heart without supernatural power of the Holy Spirit; but if we take the doctrines of Christianity — the mediatorial work — imputation of righteousness — we might contend that the common people are in a better position than others to admit them. In the outcasts of society there is not found that haughty self-reliance; the gospel is more welcome to them. The Bible seems to have been composed with express reference to the poor. But we must not overlook the fact that those who took Christ for a prophet finally rejected and crucified Him. "Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only."
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.