But Jesus did not entrust Himself to them, for He knew all men.
I. IN WHAT THE HOLINESS OF THE TEMPLE CONSISTED.
1. The true answer to this inquiry is to be found in the language of the Lord himself. The temple was his Father's house. It was the building which was originally erected in a measure upon the model of the tabernacle of the wilderness, the pattern of which had been communicated by Jehovah in some way to Moses, the servant of God. It was by Divine command that a certain special locality and building were set apart and consecrated to the service of him, who nevertheless "dwelleth not in temples made with hands."
2. The holy memories of national history gathered around this sacred edifice. The original tabernacle was associated with Moses and Aaron; the first temple at Jerusalem with the great kings - David who prepared for it, and Solomon who built it; the second temple with the great leaders of the return from the Captivity; and this restored edifice, in its costly magnificence, with the royal Herodian house.
3. The sacrifices which were offered, the priesthoods that ministered, the festivals which were observed, the praises and prayers which were presented, in these consecrated precincts, all added to the sanctity of the place.
4. And it must be remembered that the house of the Father was the house of the children; that our Lord himself designated the temple "a house of prayer for all nations. This may not have been acknowledged or understood by the Jews themselves. Yet there were intimations throughout their sacred literature in its successive stages that they, as a nation, were elected in order that through them all the nations of the earth might be blessed. The width of the counsels of Divine benevolence is apparent to all who study the psalms and prophecies of the Old Testament Scripture; and our Lord's language connects those counsels with the dedicated house at Jerusalem.
5. To our minds the temple possesses sanctity through its devotion to a symbolical use, for by anticipation it set forth in emblem the holiness of our Lord's body and the purity of the spiritual Church of Christ. The temple at Jerusalem should be destroyed in the crisis of Israel's fate; the sanctuary of the Lord's body should be taken down; and the holy temple, consecrated to the Lord, should grow in stateliness and beauty until all the living stones should be built into it for grace and glory eternal.
II. BY WHAT THE HOLINESS OF THE TEMPLE WAS VIOLATED. There must have been an infamous desecration in order to have awakened such indignation in the breast of Jesus. We can see two respects in which this was so.
1. The building was abused and profaned in being diverted from sacred to secular uses. Where there should have been only sacrifices, there were sales of beasts and birds; where there should have been only offerings, there was money changing.
2. The sanctity of the temple was violated by the cupidity of the rulers, who, it is well known, made a sinful and scandalous profit for themselves by the transactions which awakened the indignation of Jesus.
3. Nor was this all, injustice and fraud were added to cupidity - the temple became a den of thieves."
III. IN WHAT WAY THE HOLINESS OF THE TEMPLE WAS VINDICATED.
1. By the interposition of One of the highest dignity. Christ was "greater than the temple;" he was the Lord of the temple; nay, he was himself the true Temple appointed to supersede the material structure.
2. By the exercise of just and manifested authority. The demeanour and the language of Jesus were such as to preclude resistance, to silence murmuring. The Lord came to his own inheritance, to the house of his Father.
3. By the comparison of the edifice at Jerusalem to his own sacred body. In the language he used in his subsequent conversation with the Jews, he "spake of the Temple of his body," and in so doing he attached to the sanctuary a holiness greater than was conferred upon it by all the associations of its use and of its history. - T.
Jesus did not commit Himself unto them, because He knew all men.I. THE DANGER OF A SUPERFICIAL FAITH. It was only such a faith that these people had who believed in Christ on the ground of His miracles. It did not satisfy Christ. It had no deep root and had not led to loyal acceptance of His doctrine. Compare it with that of Nicodemus. Both felt that Christ was a teacher sent from God; but in the one case the feeling stopped there; in the other it stimulated patient inquiry. Consequently, while Christ did not commit Himself to the one, He did to the other. There are believers and believers; there is a serious possibility of being a sincere believer, but with a faith so shallow as not to be owned by Christ.
II. THE UNPROFITABLENESS OF A SUPERFICIAL FAITH. Christ had no faith in their faith. Shallow faith secures none of the privileges of discipleship; it does not appropriate Christ, and therefore does not enjoy His love and friendship. Christ reciprocates the faith of His true disciples only.
III. THE PERFECT ACQUAINTANCE WHICH CHRIST HAS WITH THE STATE OF PROFESSED BELIEVERS.
1. This bears on the nature of Christ ascribing to Him an attribute of Deity.
2. This bears on ourselves, telling us how thoroughly we are known. We may deceive ourselves, but we cannot deceive Him. This should lead to carefulness and honesty.
(W. Steele, M. A.)
I. INTUITIVE Ours is dependent on human testimony; His utterly independent of it. Who told Him Zaccheus' name, or of the domestic history of the woman of Samaria, or of the treachery of Judas? And so now from heaven He addressed Saul of Tarsus by name and told the Asian churches that He knew their works. Still "All things are naked and open unto His eyes."
II. UNIVERSE. With instant discrimination He knew friend from foe, the enthusiasts which fed on His miracles, and that which was love to Himself. Where is there a man? Christ knows Him, one of a thousand millions. What is He doing in crowded mart or solitary cell? Christ knows all about it.
III. INTIMATE. He reads thoughts, feelings, affections, desires. Deception has no covering from Him; hypocrisy no mask He cannot pierce. Judas may deceive the twelve, he cannot deceive the Lord. There is no secrecy in sin. Conclusion: Take comfort from Christ's omniscience.
1. Are we in sorrows? Think of Hagar.
2. Do we give ourselves to prayer? Think of Nathanael.
3. Are we of doubtful mind? Think of Thomas.
(G. T. Coster.)I. WE MAY MEASURE IT IN PART BY THE TEMPTATION IT RESISTED. It was more wonderful than even His mighty works. Around Christ was a nation full of Messianic hopes. All He had to do was by falling in with the notional ideas to gather those hopes around Himself. Who could have resisted such a temptation but He who knew the falsity of the hearts which entertained those hopes.
II. IT DEPENDED UPON THOROUGH AND ABSOLUTE KNOWLEDGE. With most people distrust is the offspring, as in turn it becomes the parent of ignorance. When men have never fairly tried their fellows or studied their behaviour under circumstances which reveal character, they naturally hesitate to commit great interests to their keeping. Christ knew men because He knew man.
III. ITS BEARINGS ON THE REDEMPTIVE WORK OF CHRIST WERE MOST IMPORTANT.
1. It safeguarded Him from surprise and precipitancy.
2. It rendered His death absolutely voluntary.
(A. F. Muir, M. A.)
(Calvin.)I. THE WORKS WHICH THE SAVIOUR PERFORMED.
1. Where they were performed.
2. When on the feast day, a most favourable time.
II. THE HONOUR WHICH THE SAVIOUR RECEIVED. No greater honour can be given to a man than to trust him.
1. By what means the people's faith was produced. Miracles.
2. The number who were convinced of the truth of Christ's claims was considerable.
III. THE CAUTION WHICH THE SAVIOUR EXERCISED.
1. How it was shown.
2. The reason assigned.
3. The truth announced — "Needed not," etc.
(Miracles of our Lord.)I. HE KNOWS ALL ABOUT THE DISEASE WHICH AFFLICTS US. Our faith in a physician's knowledge has often much to do with our recovery. Christ knows thoroughly His own workmanship, and all about that sin which is marring it.
II. CHRIST THROUGH HIS KNOWLEDGE IS ABLE TO WORK HIS CURE. To perform this cure requires a perfect knowledge of the disease and power over it. Christ has both these.
III. CHRIST KNOWS THE CHRISTIAN IN A SPECIAL WAY. "I know My sheep." He calls us by name. As in the human so in the Divine family dispositions and temperaments are recognized. One can be lead by a thread, another will break an ox chain. Christ saw the faith of the Syro-phoenician. He knew what was in boasting Peter and in Judas.
1. He knows the temptation of each Christian, and will not allow us to be tempted above what we are able.
2. In the light of this we are able to understand better our trials. Christ as the Physician does not hesitate to use the lancet when necessary. He bleeds the plethoric that he may bring forth more fruit.
(T. L. Cuyler, D. D.)
I. AS HE CAME AT FIRST FROM THE CREATOR'S HAND. God made man upright; and that uprightness is known to Him on whom our help has been laid. The Son partook of the Divine council in which the human constitution was planned.
II. WHEN HE HAD FALLEN. Knowing the character of the perfect work, the Saviour knows also the amount of damage that it has sustained. He knows, also, the gravity of man's sin, as an event affecting all the plans of God, and the government of all intelligent beings. Some trees are of such a constitution that if the uppermost bud is once nipped off, the tree is finally ruined. It can never develop itself into its proper shape and dimensions. Such an uppermost bud was humanity on the whole material creation. Deprived of its head, the world could not shoot up into the beauty and completeness which its Maker intended it should attain.
III. WHAT WOULD RESTORE HIM, AND WAS ABLE TO APPLY THE CURE. Knowing the worth of man as God had made him, our Physician would not abandon the wreck; but knowing how complete the wreck was, He bowed His heavens and came down to save. He united Himself to us, that if He should rise so must we. I rejoice in the omniscience of the Holy One, both on account of the good that He knew in man, and the evil. A counsellor who understood less fully what our nature was, and our constitution fitted us to become might have advised abandonment. It often becomes a question whether a stranded ship should be left to her fate or brought off and repaired. Sometimes an erroneous judgment is acted on. On one side, an effort is made to save the wreck, when it would have been better to abandon it, and construct another. Again, she is sometimes weakly abandoned, when it would have been profitable to have saved her. And so a helper who understood less of our original nature and capability might have proposed to cast us off as hopelessly damaged, supposing that, by allowing the "wreck to be wholly washed away, a new and higher degree of intelligence might have been called into existence. Although Christ knew all the evil that was in man by sin, He did not disdain to undertake the rescue. By assuming the nature of the fallen, and meeting the law in their stead, He received the curse into Himself and exhausted it.
IV. SOME LESSONS:
1. Speaking of the unconverted — He knows what is in them and yet He does not cast out the unclean.
2. Speaking of His own disciples — He knows what is in them, and with that knowledge, it is because He is God and not man, that He does not shake them off.
3. He knows what is in man, and therefore can make His word and providence suitable.
(W. Arnot, D. D.)
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