John 7:1
After this, Jesus traveled throughout Galilee. He did not want to travel in Judea, because the Jews there were trying to kill Him.
An Unsuccessful MinistryD. Lewis.John 7:1-18
Christ an Example of PrudenceBp. Ryle.John 7:1-18
Christ and ManBp. Ryle.John 7:1-18
Christ FoundC. H. Spurgeon.John 7:1-18
Christ Must be Openly PraisedDr. Guthrie.John 7:1-18
Christ When He Comes Brings DivisionG. Calthrop, M. A.John 7:1-18
Christians May Find Opportunities of Doing Good At Any Time and AnywhereR. Brewin, "Lecture on Uncle John Vassar."John 7:1-18
Church FestivalsHooker.John 7:1-18
Cowardly ChristiansC. H. Spurgeon.John 7:1-18
Diverse Effects of Contact with ChristCanon Liddon.John 7:1-18
For Neither Did His Brethren Believe in HimJ. Orton.John 7:1-18
Go Ye Up to This FeastT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 7:1-18
His BrethrenP. Schaff, D. D.John 7:1-18
How Christians Should Act in Times of DangerJ. Trapp.John 7:1-18
InfidelityD. Thomas, D. D.John 7:1-18
Jesus and His BrethrenProf. Godet.John 7:1-18
Limitations of Human GreatnessJ. B. Thomas, D. D.John 7:1-18
Misused OpportunityBp. Horne., T. Jones, D. D.John 7:1-18
Moral CowardiceJ. W. Burn.John 7:1-18
Motives for Seeking ChristW. H. Van Doren, D. D.John 7:1-18
My Time is not Yet Come; But Your Time is Alway ReadyL. Shackleford.John 7:1-18
Openly ReligiousHooker.John 7:1-18
Opportunities of Doing Good Should be Seized EagerlyRichard Baxter.John 7:1-18
Opportunity UnusedUnion MagazineJohn 7:1-18
SalvationMassillon.John 7:1-18
Self RevelationJ. Spencer.John 7:1-18
Show Thyself to the WorldP. B. Power, M. A.John 7:1-18
Striking ContrastsD. Thomas, D. D.John 7:1-18
The Antagonism Between Christ and the WorldG. Calthrop, M. A.John 7:1-18
The Feast of TabernaclesProf. Luthardt., J. T. Bannister, LL. D.John 7:1-18
The Folly of Moral CowardiceJ. Beaumont, M. D.John 7:1-18
The Situation SurveyedT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 7:1-18
The Unbelief of Christ's BrethrenMathematicus.John 7:1-18
The World's Treatment of ChristW. H. Van Doren, D. D.John 7:1-18
The World's Treatment of the ChurchS. Coley., Terence.John 7:1-18
Unbelief an ObstructionJohn 7:1-18
Want of Religious Sympathy At Home"Pilgrim's Progress."John 7:1-18
We Must not Seek MartyrdomJohn 7:1-18
We Must Openly Show Our Love to ChristDr. Cuyler.John 7:1-18
Where is HeC. H. Spurgeon.John 7:1-18
Where is HeHomiletic ReviewJohn 7:1-18
Where to Find ChristC. H. Spurgeon.John 7:1-18
Why Christ Hid HimselfJ. Trapp.John 7:1-18
Notice -

I. JESUS" QUESTION. "Will ye also," etc.? This implies:

1. His regard for the freedom of the will. Christ does not destroy, nor even interfere with, the freedom of the human will, but ever preserves and respects it. He ever acknowledges the sovereignty of the human soul and will.

2. That it was his wish that each disciple should decide for himself. "Will ye," etc.?

(1) The personality of religious decision. Religion is personal. Every religious act must be personal, and is ever judged as such.

(2) The importance of religious decision, "Will ye," etc.? A most important question to them in its immediate and remote issues. Their destiny hangs upon it.

(3) The urgency of immediate decision. If they had a wish to leave him, the sooner the better. The question of our relationship to Christ cannot be settled too soon. It demands immediate consideration.

3. That it was not his wish to retain them against their will.

(1) This would be against the principle of his own life.

(2) It would be against the principle of all spiritual life.

(3) And against the great principle of his kingdom, which is willing obedience and voluntary service. Whatever is done to him against the will, or without its hearty concurrence, has no virtue, no spiritual value. All his true soldiers are volunteers. Unwilling service must lead to separation sooner or later.

4. His independency of them.

(1) He is not disheartened by the great departure. Many went back. He was doubtless grieved with this, with their want of faith and gratitude, but was not disheartened.

(2) He is independent of even his most intimate followers. "Will ye," etc.? If even they had the will to go away, he could afford it. One might think that he could ill afford to ask this question after the great departure from him. He had apparently now only twelve, and to these he asks, "Will ye also," etc.? He is not dependent upon his disciples. If these were silent, the very stones would speak; if the children of the kingdom reject him, "many shall come from the east," etc.

5. His affectionate care for them. "Will ye also," etc.? In this question we hear:

(1) The sound of tender solicitude. There is the note of independency and test of character; but not less distinctly is heard the note of affectionate solicitude for their spiritual safety. He did not ask the question of those who went away.

(2) The sound of danger. Even the twelve were not out of danger. Although they were in one of the inner circles of his attraction, they were in danger of being carried away with the flood.

(3) The sound of tender warning. "Will ye also," etc.? You are in danger. And their danger was greater and more serious than that of those who left; they were more advanced, and could not go away without committing a greater sin.

(4) The sound of confidence. The question does not seem to anticipate an affirmative reply. With regard to all, with the exception of one, he was confident of their allegiance.

II. THE DISCIPLES ANSWER. Simon Peter was the mouthpiece of all. The answer implies:

1. A right discernment of their chief good. "Eternal life." This, they thought, was their greatest need, and to obtain it was the chief aim of their life and energy; and in this they were right.

2. A right discernment of Jesus as their only Helper to obtain it. Little as they understood of the real meaning of his life, and less still of his death, they discerned him

(1) as the only Source of eternal life;

(2) as the only Revealer of eternal life;

(3) as the only Giver of eternal life. "With thee are the words," etc.

3. Implicit faith in his Divine character. "We believe and know," etc. They had faith in him, not as their national, but as their personal and spiritual Deliverer - the Saviour of the soul. and the Possessor and Giver of eternal life.

4. A determination to cling to him.

(1) This determination is warmly prompt. It is not the fruit of study, but the warm and natural outburst of the heart and soul.

(2) It is wise. "To whom shall we go?" They saw no other one to go to. To the Pharisees or heathen philosophers? They could see no hope of eternal life from either. To Moses? He would only send them back to Christ. It would be well for all who are inclined to go away from Christ to ask first, "To whom shall we go?"

(3) It is independent. They are determined to cling to Christ, although many left him. They manifest great individuality of character, independency of conduct, and spirituality and firmness of faith.

(4) It is very strong.

(a) The strength of satisfaction. Believing that Christ had the words of eternal life, what more could they need or desire?

(b) The strength of thorough conviction. They not only believe, but also know. They have the inward testimony of faith and experience. True faith has a tight grasp. Strong conviction has a tenacious hold.

(c) The strength of willing loyalty. "Lord, to whom," etc.? "Thou art our Lord and our King, and we are thy loyal subjects." Their will was on the side of Christ, and their determination to cling to him was consequently strong.

(d) The strength of loving attachment. The answer is not only the language of their reason, but also the language of their affection. Their heart was with Jesus. They could not only see no way to go from him, but they had no wish.

(e) The strength of a double hold. The Divine and the human. The hold of Jesus on them, and their hold on him. They had felt the Divine drawing, and they were within the irresistible attraction of Jesus. They were all, with one notorious exception, by faith safely in his hand.


1. Loving faith in the Saviour is strengthened by trials. It stands the test of adverse circumstances. In spite of forces which have a tendency to draw away from Christ, it clings all the more to him.

2. The success of the ministry must not always be judged by additions. Subtractions are sometimes inevitable and beneficial. The sincerity of the following should be regarded even more than the number of the followers.

3. It is afar greater loss for us to lose Jesus than for Jesus to lose us. He can do without us, but we cannot do without him. He can go elsewhere for disciples; but "to whom shall we go?" B.T.

After these things Jesus walked in Galilee.
I. THE SCENE IN GALILEE: the attitude of Christ's brethren.

1. The counsel they offered. That Christ should repair to the centre of the theocratic kingdom and make His Messianic claims where they could be competently examined (ver. 3).

2. The argument they used. He could not acquire fame in Galilean obscurity, but only in the metropolis (ver. 4) — a perilous temptation He had twice encountered (Matthew 4:9; John 6:15).

3. The spirit they cherished. They disbelieved in His Messiahship, but could not deny His miracles. Hence they wanted His true character settled. If He was the Christ they wanted to see Him crowned, if not, the bubble should burst.

4. The reply they received. Christ was not going up for the purpose suggested.(1) His hour for that had not come — there being for every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1), much more for this, a seasonable moment.(2) To go before that time would not secure what they desired — the great world of Jerusalem not being prepared to welcome Him (ver. 7). Any time would do for them, but not for Him.


1. The bloodthirsty Sanhedrists —(1) Searched for their victim among the city throngs.(2) With unsleeping hostility, which they had nursed for eighteen months.(3) With murderous intent.(4) With eager inquiry.(5) With contemptuous scorn. "That celebrity who has been dazzling you with His wonders."

2. The whispering multitudes. These were —(1) Divided in their judgments concerning Him, as Simeon had predicted (Luke 2:34), and Christ affirmed they would be (Matthew 10:34, 35), and as history proves they ever have been.(2) Afraid to speak openly about Him, which betokened insincerity as well. They were prepared to do as their leaders bade them. Miserable crew!Learn:

1. It is becoming and right to walk prudently: Christ did so.

2. In religion the wisdom of this world is almost wholly wrong. It was so with Christ's brethren.

3. A man's friends are often the last to believe in His greatness and goodness. It was so with Christ.

4. The more a man resembles Christ, the more he will be hated by the world.

5. The best of men may be evil spoken of. Christ was.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

I. SELDOM LACKS EVIDENCE. These brethren must have had ample evidence of Christ's Messiahship. As boys they must have seen something of His transcendent character. No doubt many had pointed out to them extraordinary phases of His birth and life, and how they had witnessed His public life for a considerable time, with its teaching and miracles. So infidels have plenty of evidence. All nature is full of proofs of God; and as for Christ the congruity of His biography with contemporaneous history, and of His system with the conscience, reason, and wants of humanity, and the immense and growing influence of His gospel upon the sentiment, spirit, and character of mankind are evidence enough. The cause of infidelity is in the heart rather than the head.

II. IS ALWAYS VAIN. His brethren mainly from vanity counsel Him to make a display in Jerusalem on a great national occasion (ver. 4). His life was too obscure and His works too unostentatious. They wanted to share the honour that would accrue. Infidelity is always vain. The vainest speakers, authors, members of society, are those who profess infidel opinions. They are vain of their imaginary intellectual independency, of their superior mental insight and grasp, of their superiority to current creeds. It must be so. The man who believes in nothing greater than himself, will have both space and aliments in his mind in which his egotism can grow to the most offensive proportions. Faith in the infinitely great and good can alone burn out the native vanity of the corrupt heart. Infidelity is a negation. "Light empty minds," says Leighton, "are like bladders blown up with anything."

III. IS EVER IN AGREEMENT WITH THE WORLD (ver. 6, 7). By the world is meant the prevailing ideas, spirit, and aims of corrupt humanity. And the mind of His brethren was in accord with this, but it was dead against Him. What is the spirit of the world? Materialism — the body is everything. Practical atheism — God is ignored. Regnant selfishness — self is supreme. Infidelity agrees with all this; there is no moral discrepancy, no reason for mutual antipathies and battling.

IV. NEVER THWARTS THE DIVINE PURPOSE (ver. 10). Christ's plan was not to go up to Jerusalem at the time they requested Him; but in His own time. Their counselling influenced Him not. Infidelity can never modify, check, or retard the decrees of heaven. Conclusion: Such is infidelity in some of its phases. Iris a wretched thing, however enriched with learning, energized with logic, embellished with culture and genius. "I seem," says Hume, "affrighted and confounded with the solitude in which I am placed by my philosophy. When I look abroad on every side I see dispute, contradiction, and distraction. When I turn my eye inward, I find nothing but doubt and ignorance. Where am I? What am I? From what cause do I derive my existence? To what condition shall I return? I am con. founded with questions, I begin to fancy myself in a very deplorable condition, surrounded with darkness on every side."

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

I. THE DESPERATE HARDNESS AND UNBELIEF OF HUMAN NATURE. Even His brethren did not believe in Him, who should have been the first to do so. This was worse than the unbelief of the Jews.

1. The doctrine of man's need of preventing and converting grace stands out here as a sunbeam. Seeing Christ's miracles, hearing Christ's teaching, living in Christ's own company, were not enough to make men believers. The mere possession cf spiritual privileges never made any one a Christian. All is useless without the work of the Holy Ghost (chap. John 6:44).

2. Christians in every age will do well to remember this. They are often troubled to find that they stand alone, and are ready to blame themselves because their families remain worldly and unbelieving. But let them look at the case before us. In our Lord Jesus Christ there was no fault either in temper, word, or deed. Yet even Christ's own "brethren did not believe in Him."

3. Christ has truly learned by experience how to sympathize with His people who stand alone. He has drunk this bitter cup. Let all who are cast down because relations despise religion turn to Him for comfort (Hebrews 2:18).


1. It was not so much the high doctrines He preached as the high standard of practice; not so much His Messianic claims as His protest against their wicked. hess. They could have tolerated His opinions if He had spared their sins.

2. This principle is of universal application and holds good to-day. Men dislike the gospel because of its holy demands. Teach abstract doctrines, and few will find any fault. Denounce the fashionable sins of the day, and call on men to repent, and thousands at once will be offended. The reason why many profess to be infidels and abuse Christianity is the witness that Christianity bears against their own bad lives (1 Kings 22:8).

III. THE STRANGE VARIETY OF OPINIONS ABOUT CHRIST, WHICH WERE CURRENT FROM THE BEGINNING (ver, 12). The words which old Simeon had spoken thirty years before were here accomplished (Luke 2:34-35).

1. In the face of such a passage as this, the endless modern divisions about religion ought never to surprise us. The open hatred of some towards Christ — the carping, prejudiced spirit of others — the bold confession of the few faithful — the timid, man-fearing temper of the many faithless — the war of words and strife of tongues — are only modern symptoms of an old disease. Such is the corruption of human nature, that Christ is the cause of divisions among men, wherever He is preached. So long as the world stands, some, when they hear of Him, will love and some will hate — some will believe, and some will believe not (Matthew 10:34).

2. What think we of Christ ourselves? This is the one question with which we have to do. Let us never be ashamed to be of that number who believe, hear, follow, and confess Him before men. While others waste their time in vain jangling and unprofitable controversy, let us take up the cross. The world may hate us as it hated Him because our religion is a standing witness against them.

(Bp. Ryle.)

Our Lord's example recorded in this verse shows clearly that Christians are not meant to court martyrdom, or wilfully expose themselves to certain death, under the idea that it is their duty. Many primitive martyrs seem not to have understood this.

(Bp. Ryle.)

The Roman rule in battle was neither to fly from dangers nor to follow them. The Christian's motto is, "Neither timorous nor temeranous." We must not basely desert the cause of Christ when called out to defend it. "Either vanquish or die," the Black Prince's father said to him. Either live with the gospel or die for it. Yet we may not rashly run ourselves upon unnecessary dangers, but decline them when we can with a good conscience. Christians are permitted to fly when they are sought for to the slaughter, so it be with the wings of a dove, and not with the pinions of a dragon.

(J. Trapp.)

In Tourney, about 1544, a very noted professor of the Protestant religion, being earnestly sought after, had concealed himself so closely that his persecutors were unable to discover where he was hid. Contrary, however, to the advice and entreaty of his wife and friends, he gave himself up, desirous of the glory of martyrdom; but being adjudged to be burnt, he recanted, and abjured the faith in order to be beheaded. The Papists improved this in order to decoy his fellow-sufferers to the like recantation; but they replied, "He had tempted God by rushing upon danger without a call, but they had to the utmost of their power shunned it, and hoped that, since He had called them to suffer, He would support them under it." And it so happened they went to the fire in solemn pomp, and were consumed loudly singing the praise of God even in the flames, till their strength was exhausted. We are not to court sufferings; it is enough if we cheerfully endure them when, in the providence of God, we are called to it, Our Lord Himself says to His disciples, "When they persecute you in one city, flee ye into another."

The Jews' feast of tabernacles was at hand
(Leviticus 23:34-43; Exodus 23:16; Deuteronomy 16:13-15) lasted seven days, from the fifteenth to the twenty-first of the seventh month, Tisri, October. An eighth day was further celebrated as a closing festival, like the first day, with a Sabbath rest and a holy convocation. The feast served as a thankful remembrance of God's gracious protection of the nation during its desert wanderings, and as a joyous celebration of the harvest then completed with the gathering in of the fruit and wine. It was therefore considered by the Jews after the exile to be the greatest and moss glorious feast, and its celebration was distinguished by various customs.

1. By an arbitrary interpretation of Leviticus 23:40, those who visited the feast carried in the left hand a lemon, and in the right a palm branch, bound with sprays of willow and myrtle.

2. At every morning offering, a priest, amid music and songs of praise, poured into two perforated vessels on the next side of the altar water which he had drawn in a golden pitcher from the fountain of Shiloah (comp. Isaiah 12:3).

3. On the evening of the first day of the feast — according to later Rabbinical accounts, on each of the seven days — there was an illumination in the court of the women by means of a great golden candelabra, accompanied by a torch dance before them.

(Prof. Luthardt.)This was perhaps the most joyous of all the Jewish festivals — the great annual holiday of the nation. During this festive period the people all left their houses and lived in tents or booths, which were erected in the streets and market places, and on the flat terraced roofs of the houses. From this circumstance it was called the "feast of tents" (text and Leviticus 23:34). It was likewise named the "feast of ingatherings" (Exodus 23:16; Exodus 34:22), because it took place at the close of the vintage, when the fruits of the year were gathered in. It was designed as a sort of a national praise-offering. The people assembled in the courts of the sanctuary to adore the bountiful providence of God which had crowned their labours with success, to rejoice in His goodness, and to implore His blessing on the following year. Josephus calls it " a most holy and eminent feast."

(J. T. Bannister, LL. D.)

Let it suffice men of sober minds to know, that the law both of God and nature alloweth generally days of rest and festival solemnity to be observed, by way of thankful and joyful remembrance, if such miraculous favours be showed towards mankind, as require the same; that such graces God hath bestowed upon His Church as well in later as in former times; that in some particulars, when they have fallen out, Himself hath demanded His own honour, and in the rest hath left it to the wisdom of the Church, directed by those precedents and enlightened by other means, always to judge, when the like is requisite. Touching those festival days, therefore, which we now observe, what remaineth but to keep them throughout all generations holy, severed by manifest notes of difference from other times, adorned with that which most may betoken true, virtuous, and celestial joy.


The family dispute which John relates from personal knowledge, with the frankness and simplicity of a genuine historian, gives us an insight into the domestic trials of our Saviour. The unbelief of His brothers need not surprise us any more than the unbelief of the Nazarenes generally (John 4:44). Not un-frequently the nearest relatives throw more obstacles in the way of God's children than strangers. Christ entered into the condition of fallen humanity with all its temptations and miseries. Hence His sympathy in this as in all (Hebrews 2:17, 18; Hebrews 5:7, 8). But the full significance of the passage depends upon the proper view of the brothers of Jesus. Here I must dissent from the cousin theory of , which assumes that three of them, James, Simon, and Jude, were apostles. This passage is one of the strongest arguments in favour of the more natural view that they were members of the Holy family, and under the care of Joseph and Mary, in whose company they constantly appear.

1. It is plain that John here, as in chap. John 2:12, and in harmony with the Synoptists and Acts 1:13, 1 Corinthians 9:5, distinguishes the brothers of Jesus from the apostles.

2. But what is more conclusive, John represents the brothers as unbelievers, and as using irreverent language against Christ, which could not have been the case had they been apostles. Not that they were unbelievers in the same sense as Jews or pagans, but not believers as the apostles must have been, at least from the miracle at Cana (John 2:11; comp. ver. 22; 16:17; 17:8). It would have been easy for John to have said, "some" of His brethren did not believe, had the others been believing apostles. John recognizes different degrees of belief (comp. John 2:23; John 4:39; John 8:31; John 12:42), and of unbelief, but he never confounds the sharp lines between belief and unbelief. Moreover, the language of the brothers contrasts with the reverence shown by the apostles on every occasion, even when they could not understand His conduct (John 4:27).

3. Our Lord characterizes them as men of the world whom the world cannot hate (ver. 7); while He says the very reverse of the apostles (John 15:18; Matthew 10:5, 22, 40). We infer, then, that all the four brothers were distinct from the apostles, and not converted till after the Resurrection (Acts 1:14; 1 Corinthians 15:7). As to the other question whether they were older from a former, otherwise unknown, marriage of Joseph (the Greek tradition defended by ), or younger children of Mary and Joseph (the view held by and , and denounced first by as heretical and profane, because of its conflict with the tenet of Mary's perpetual virginity), the passage gives no decisive answer. The patronizing tone of the brothers seems to favour the former view; but may be found also with younger brothers.

(P. Schaff, D. D.)

The injunction was neither inspired by a too impatient zeal for the glory of Jesus, nor by the odious desire of seeing Him fall into the hands of His enemies. The truth lies between both these extremes. They seem to have been puzzled by the claims of their brother. On the one hand, they could not deny the extraordinary facts which they every day witnessed; on the other, they could not decide upon regarding as the Messiah one with whom they were accustomed to live upon terms of the greatest familiarity. They desired, therefore, to see Him abandon the equivocal position in which He placed Himself, and was keeping them, by so persistently absenting Himself from Jerusalem. If He were really the Messiah, why should He fear to appear before judges more capable of deciding on His pretensions than ignorant Galileans? Was not the capital the theatre on which Messiah was to play His part, and the place where the recognition of His mission should begin? The approaching festival, which seemed to make it a duty that He should visit Jerusalem, appeared, therefore, to make a favourable opportunity for taking a decided step. There is a certain amount of similarity between this and Mary's request (chap. John 2.), as there is also between our Lord's conduct on the two occasions.

(Prof. Godet.)

For there is no man that doeth anything in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly
A single word will often lay bare a man's object, habit of mind, whole bent of nature. This is a revealing sentence involving a perpetual principle of the carnal mind. Christ had been doing and saying great things, but of the latter these people made no account. They fix upon that which struck the eye.

I. THIS IS A SPEECH OF WORLDLY MINDED MEN, and presents to us the worldly mind in its foolishness, making false deductions because unable to understand the things of God. Rising no higher than Christ's outward deeds, no wonder that they anticipated no nobler result than the world's praise. It is just the old story "What will the world say?" It is sad to judge and live with a false standard of value. Were a man to go about with a piece of straw and measure men and even principles by his worthless standard we should think him mad; and yet this is the world all over. It takes its own empty opinion as the standard of all things. What did this involve? It put before Christ a false end of action, and had He gone on the principles here suggested, He would have become alienated from the Father, and been "of the world," and so no Saviour. For there is here involved an entire perversion of His mission. His whole life was a testimony against the world, but His brethren say, "Go and take its admiration by storm with your wonderful deeds." Note the following lessons —

1. How entirely the things of God are mistaken by the world, and not only by the profligate, but by the simply unbelieving.

2. How foolish for the people of God to be led by the world's opinion.

3. How it requires sympathy with the mind of Jesus to detect and repel the mind of the world.

4. What mischief results from ignorant or bad advice, even when well meant and of friends.

5. What a warning against what is merely colourably good!

6. What little importance is to be attached to the terrible formula, "What will the world say?"

7. Beware of mistaking the end of your position, life, gifts, none of which is given to gain the world's praise.

8. Beware of reasoning on the world's principles.

9. Be wary when a course of action has as its simple end your own honour.

10. In all solicitations of the world go down into the mind of God and your relationship with Him, and judge each by the light you have of them.


1. Discontent at being put and kept in the background — and hence discomfort and weakness in work. This arises from exaggerated views of our importance, and from not seeing that God will appoint what is best, and from that superficiality which prevents our seeing that show and noise are Dot power, and that many of the greatest processes which issue in manifold results are secret. We do not under. stand the beauties of the background of the Christian life where Jesus was for many a long year. This background is at least safe, and many of God's dearest walk there unnoticed of men but honoured by Him.

2. Discontent at there being so little to show. What is this but coming into the world's court and pleading for a verdict there. The believer must have no care about his work being seen by the world. If he live there will be no occasion for him to thrust himself forward. He must by his life condemn it, and that will create sufficient attention. God's child must not be discontented at seeing honours and riches flowing in upon those who serve the world. "The world loves its own." Let us calmly live before God. Here is comfort for those who are laid aside too weak or poor to do aught that can attract observation. They are seen by God in secret and will be rewarded openly.

(P. B. Power, M. A.)

Cnidius, a skilful architect, building a watch-tower for the King of Egypt, caused his own name to be engraved upon a stone in the wall in great letters, and afterwards covered it with lime and mortar, and upon the outside of that wrote the name of the King of Egypt in golden letters, as pretending that all was done for his honour and glory. But herein was his cunning, he very well knew that the dashing of the water would in a little while consume the plastering (as it did) and then his name and memory should abide to after generations. Thus there be many in this world, who pretend to seek only the glory of God, the good of His Church, and the happiness of the state; but if there were a window to look into their hearts we should find nothing there within but self-seeking.

(J. Spencer.)

The prophecy that the Messiah should be "despised and rejected by men" was here fulfilled to the very letter. His brethren, who should have been the first, were the last to believe on Him.


1. They had heard His doctrine, not as strangers or near neighbours, but in the familiar intercourse of home.

2. They had seen His miracles (John 2:11, 12).

3. They had known the circumstances and manner of His life. They had heard no doubt of the marvels attendent on His birth, and had watched His pure and benevolent life for thirty-three years.

II. HOW IT MAY BE ACCOUNTED FOR. This is necessary, for the text is a great favourite with modern Jews and infidels, who hold that His brethren could not have been more incredulous than others. It is singular, however, on this theory, that John should have made so damaging an admission. But —

1. It is no uncommon thing for men to disbelieve in the face of the clearest evidence. To the Jews we reply that the Israelites did not believe in the Lord and Moses, though they could not deny the miracles; and to the deists that many deny God and immortality, notwithstanding the variety and strength of arguments in favour of both.

2. These men had strong prejudices against Christ.(1) Some were common to them as sinful men, arising from the purity of His doctrine and the stringency of His demands.(2) Some were peculiar to them as Jews arising from their conceptions of a temporal Messiah. They did not contest His miracles but thought that they should be displayed, if Messianic, at Jerusalem, so as to receive the suffrages of the great, and not in the obscurity of Galilee.

3. They were under the influence of an ambitious worldly spirit as Christ intimates in the next verse.Application:

1. Let us not wonder if some, who have enjoyed the greatest religious advantages, do not believe. What advantages these brethren must have had! And yet how little the impression produced. Do not wonder then, Christian parents, if, with the best of training, your children are not yet converted. But do not despair. Remember that Christ's brethen eventually became His disciples (Acts 1:14).

2. See what an enemy to Christianity a worldly spirit is. With their views Christ's brethren held that if He were Messiah they would share His temporal glory. A worldly covetous disposition hinders multitudes from believing and obeying Christ. How much better is a relation to Christ by faith than by nature.

(J. Orton.)

The subject suggests that —

I. CHRIST OWED NOTHING TO MAN'S SYMPATHY. A man's own relations of all men ought to manifest this. They are his own flesh and blood. To feel for him is only a step beyond feeling for selves. We do for the inner circle of our relatives what we should never think of doing for outsiders. But this common privilege was denied our Lord. We gather that His brethren were aware of His pretentions and of His works in support of them. But all they do is to dare Him to go to Judaea (ver. 4). An enemy might have spoken so, as indeed the Pharisees (Matthew 16:1), the chief priests (Matthew 27:41-43), and the soldiers (Matthew 27:29). In all cases He was treated as one who bad His claims to make good, so great was the chasm between those nearest to Him and Himself. There was one world of feeling within Him, and another around Him. How much went out from the One; how little came in from the other.

II. HE OWED NOTHING TO MAN'S HELP. The rare instances in which He received a little sympathy show this. The confession of Peter (Matthew 16:16) fell on His heart like cold water on a thirsty tongue; but. like water spilt on the ground, so the next moment it was gone. In Gethsemane the disciples so far sympathized with Him as to catch the infection of His grief, but that which made Him watch made them sleep. It was not by His disciples, or mother, or brethren (Luke 2:49; John 2:4), but notwithstanding them that He effected His great work. Consider the cost of that work to Himself. It was one continuous sacrifice, and through the whole He was unaided and alone.



1. The causes of our unsuccessful ministry.(1) Ignorance of Scripture truths.(2) Lack of effective expression.(3) Want of harmony between the minister's private life and public teaching.(4) Absence of a prayerful spirit.

2. These causes did not operate in the case of Christ. He knew the Scriptures, spake as never man spake, was blameless, and went about doing good, and was mighty in prayer. Still, His brethren did not believe in Him.

3. The lessons which the Saviour's unsuccessful ministry suggest.(1) That a man should not always be held responsible for the unreligiousness of his family.(2) A true ministry may be unsuccessful when the greatest success may be expected.(3) Success is no proof of the true value of a ministry.


1. Prejudice.

2. Intellectual pride.

3. Hardness of heart.

(D. Lewis.)

An empty vessel capable of holding water, if tightly corked none can enter it, though water is poured upon it in abundance; nay, it may be thrown into the sea and still remain empty. So it is with our hearts. Unbelief closes them so that overwhelming evidence can bring no conviction of the truth, and the most powerful influence can secure no entrance for the grace of God.

"Pilgrim's Progress."
When Bunyan's Pilgrim became alarmed about his state he found no sympathy from his friends. He told them of his fears, but "at this his relatives were sore amazed, nor for that they believed what he had said to them was true, but because they thought some frenzy distemper had got into his head, therefore, it drawing toward night, and they, hoping that sleep might settle his brains, with all haste they got him to bed. When the morning was come they would know how he did. He told them worse and worse. They thought to drive away his distemper by harsh and surly carriage to him; sometimes they would deride; sometimes they would chide, and sometimes they would quite neglect him."

("Pilgrim's Progress.")


1. Jesus was in extreme peril. The storm, the first mutterings of which had been heard long before seemed now to concentrate its violence upon Him. Derision had become inveterate hatred. The scribes, etc., now longed to kill Him, and were doing all in their power to compass that end. That end was only a matter of time, and the limit was only imposed by Christ Himself.

2. He might have escaped it all, and been the leader and King of the people had He conciliated, compromised, and compounded.

3. But He would not. "He saved others, Himself He cannot save." His danger was glorious, because it arose from a persistent refusal —

(1)To live any life lower than the highest.

(2)To accept any modification of the supreme law of righteousness.

(3)To become anything less than the Saviour of the world.

II. INGLORIOUS SAFETY. His brethren were safe. They might go when and where they liked. They would meet with no exasperated enemies, lint rather with their true relations — unbelievers They were safe because —

1. They were not opposing evil. Their true kinship was with the world, and the world would love and spare its own (John 15:19; cf. 1 John 4:5). They were going with the stream.

2. They were not accomplishing any high mission in life. Having no work of Divine appointment — their "time was alway ready"; they had no "hour," no climax.


1. Business. Which shall we conform to, the average standard of commercial morality or the highest?

2. Politics. Shall we merely follow the party, or be true to our deepest conviction of rights?

3. Religion. Shall we accept doctrines and creeds that are simply popular, or stand by that which in our heart we feel to be the truth?Conclusion:

1. To live the high life, to be true to conviction, to dare to stand alone — if need be, oppose evil, breast the stream — this is hard, painful, dangerous, but gloriously so.

2. To live the average life, to accept the present condition of things, to conform, to compromise, to go with the tide; this is easy, generally pleasant, profitable, and for awhile safe, but inglorious.

(L. Shackleford.)

The world never ready for Christ's salvation, but always ready for its own secular pleasures and profit.

I. The ABSORBING EXCELLENCE of Christ's salvation.

1. We fail to properly esteem it.

2. Or, confessing its excellence, we are too indolent to give it the preference over our other pursuits. Other things take our time and energy.

3. Or, proposing to pursue it, we do not make it our sovereign pleasure.(1) This is because of our vitiated taste.(2) We do not acquire the liking for religious duties by sufficient practice of them.(3) Or, if we give them time, we do not give to them more than half our hearts.


1. Study the reasons for Christian life until you have a strong conviction regarding them.

2. In all doubt, be reminded that Christian life alone has a hope set before it. Let this determine the scale.


1. Those who believe in the Divinity of Christ may wonder that He should be under the limitations of time. It was not until the time appointed that He was born, nor could He die till His hour was come. The Redeemer is put under sharper restrictions than are His disciples, for their time was alway.

2. Here was a focal centre to which preparatory events converged. The promise in the garden; the words of prophecy, the symbolism of ancient days — all were knit into the Redemption's plan. But why was salvation so circuitous? Why wait so long?

3. We cannot comprehend the secrets of the Infinite Mind, nor argue a priori in the matter. We must move from our standpoint upward. Consider the limitations of human greatness and, by inference, those of Omnipotence itself.

I. INCREASE OF POWER DOES NOT INCREASE THE RANGE OF FREEDOM FROM LAW. It rather hinders. Power can do some things, and some things it cannot do. To weld iron to iron, a man needs a blacksmith's arm and muscle. To instruct a child's intellect or develop its moral nature, physical power is not counted.

1. We cannot argue from the almightiness of God, seen in the material creation, that He will force men into heaven. The order of things is a narrowing condition. For example, an act of parliament cannot banish the plague. The disciples would have called down fire from heaven and have honoured God by destroying His enemies. This spirit established the Inquisition. It would break through the order of the universe to accomplish a subsidiary end. But God does not propose to outrage man's faculties in man's salvation.

2. Increasing power puts under restraint, by making needful the hiding of power. The crowd would proclaim Christ king. He checked them. So, again and again, He said to those on whom He had wrought miracles, "Tell it to no man," knowing that the blazing abroad of it at: that time would precipitate His conflict with the civil power. He also guarded these miraculous energies, so as not to paralyze human responsibility. Thousands of hungry ones were fed. Their horizon is opened and they thought, perhaps, that no more labour would be needful, now that the granaries of heaven were open by Divine power. "Gather up the fragments!" How strange, when there is such a power to create supplies! So, too, there was danger of becoming estranged from the practical duties of life, as in the case of Peter, who wished to abide on the mount. This was rebuked by Christ. He kept in the realm of humanity. He laboured to prove Himself human. Men were already convinced that He was Divine.

3. This necessary control and restriction of increasing power is seen among men. A little boat in the river moves hither and thither as its rower pleases, but the huge ocean steamer, with its vast momentum, must be guarded in its movements, lest its iron weight and onward speed send it crashing into other craft, like some blind Polyphemus to devour and destroy. A child's movements may not affect anything outside its home, but a Napoleon is watched by the nations with fear. How much more the tremendous power of God and His responsibility as related to the order and harmony of the universe!


1. The child sees no significance in the congeries of forces about him. He moves about freely. He plays with water, and knows not that each drop is a universe, and that every motion of his finger is felt in Sirius. Higher knowledge puts us under sense of higher responsibility.

2. The power and use of speech is another field of illustration. As childhood ripens into manhood, this trust is more appreciated. Christ's use of parables is a solemn rebuke to those who, had they fully known the truth, would have abused it — would have "held down the truth in unrighteousness" (Romans 1:18). Throw pearls to swine, and they will rend you. Fools rush in where angels dare not tread. Knowledge dwarfs our self esteem. The more wisdom the more modesty. The ignorant look at the sky and see but specks of light, and fancy this globe great. The astronomer reveals a gigantic system. We shrink abashed before the Father of lights, and fear to despise His mercy or trifle away our probation.


1. The wicked have "no bands in their death," and in life they often revel in unlicensed liberty; but men like Paul deny themselves meat if it cause a brother to fall. Christ says, "For their sakes I sanctify Myself." The good man separates himself from luxury and ease, and from all that hinders his work.

2. The man obtuse through sin or self-will shuts his eyes and ears to the suffering. The good man is sensitive. "If any suffer, I suffer; if any is weak, I am weak."

3. A pure heart, too, is pained by sin, as a cultured ear is pained by the discords of music. The man who is destitute of musical sensibility is unaffected. Holiness, essentially, is a separating process. A Brahmin cannot touch food or drink prepared by one of lower caste. The shadow of such a one pollutes the air. He must therefore assume the burden of furnishing himself with food.Conclusion:

1. As obedient to the Father's will, Christ the Holy One was under restrictions the most exacting. Step by step He fulfilled His course. Christ could not wander a vagrant. He steered between those who, on the one hand, said, "Show Thyself," and those who, like Peter, cried, "Far be it from Thee," and kept to the lines appointed him. When the clock of the universe pointed to the hour, He must be put upon the cross.

2. Gaze into the heavens where stars are wheeling in courses, the delicacy and exactness of whose curves it takes pages of figures to compute. The safety of worlds depend on their perfect harmony of movement. The astronomer calculates, centuries in advance, their various intersections. But in the moral world there is the same exactness. Jerusalem had her "day of visitation." You and I have our day of mercy. The hour hastens when it will be said, "It is the last time." God will not then move back the index on the dial plate.

(J. B. Thomas, D. D.)

Your time is alway ready. — Did we see the husbandman dreaming away his time, when all his fields lay uncultivated; or the generals of an army trifling an hour at cards, when the enemy was preparing to storm the camp; or a pilot asleep, when the ship was running directly upon a rock; and did all these allege, as the reason of their behaviour, that they had "nothing to do," we should think a madhouse the only proper place for them: and we should think right. But why do we not perceive that there is not less of absurdity and madness in the con- duct of that Christian who wastes his precious hours in idleness, and apologizes for it by saying in the same manner, that he has "nothing to do," when perhaps the work of his salvation, that greatest of all works, the very work for which God sent him into the world, is not yet so much as entered upon, or even thought of (John 11:9; 1 Corinthians 4:2).

(Bp. Horne.)

Misused opportunity: — Many do with opportunities as children do at the sea shore; they fill their little hands with sand, and then let the grains fall through, one by one, till they are all gone.

(T. Jones, D. D.)

Union Magazine.
Opportunity is like a strip of sand which stretches around a seaside cove. The greedy tide is lapping up the sand. The narrow strip will quickly become impassable; and then how sad the fate of the thoughtless children who are now playing and gathering shells and seaweed inside the cove!

(Union Magazine.)

When the earth is soft the plough will enter. Take a man when he is mourning, or newly stirred by some moving sermon, and then set it home and you may do him good. Christian faithfulness doth require us not only to do good when it falls in our way, but to watch for opportunities of doing good.

(Richard Baxter.)

Some persons are so extremely particular as to where they begin to work for Christ that they lose much time in what they think is wise waiting for opportunities. But it was not so with Uncle John Vassar (the American colporteur). He would begin anywhere. One day a minister met him at the railway station and was about to take him home with him before commencing his work. Uncle John proposed that they should work on the way home. "But where shall we begin?" said the minister. "Oh," he replied, "let us begin at the station-master's." They did so, and before ten minutes had passed one poor discouraged backslider had opened her heart to the stranger's earnest appeals and was kneeling in true penitence at the throne of Divine mercy.

(R. Brewin, "Lecture on Uncle John Vassar.")

The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth
I. CHRIST'S POSITION ONE OF ANTAGONISM TO THE GENERAL CURRENT OF HUMAN THOUGHT AND FEELING. The great idol of humanity is self. Every one worships it in one form or other. Christ comes to overthrow this idol and to claim all men for His Father. This claim is resented. In other words, Christ, by His Person, teaching, example, testifies of the world that its works are evil. The light rebukes the darkness. Christ does not say, "You are very nearly right"; but, "You are altogether wrong." Nor will He rest until His statements are believed and His claims accepted. So He is hated. Men say they are indifferent, but they hate.

II. IT IS THE FACT OF THIS ANTAGONISM WHICH MAKES MANY SHRINK FROM JOINING HIM. They dread running counter to general opinion. They cannot stand opposition or ridicule. They feel instinctively that the dislike with which the worm regards Christ is extended to His disciples; and at this dislike they shudder. But their condition is a very perilous one. It is to Him that "overcometh" that the blessing is given. The "fearful" are cast out with the "false and abominable." Hence infer —(1) that weakness towards the world is hardness towards Christ; and(2) that Christ, if we look to Him, will give us the needful strength.

(G. Calthrop, M. A.)

The world gave Him a cradle, but it was a manger; a throne, but it was a cross; a crown, but it was thorns; a sceptre, but it was a reed; homage, but it was derisive mockery and bitter scorn; companions, but they were crucified criminals; a kingdom, but it was a grave (James 4:4).

(W. H. Van Doren, D. D.)

In Brazil there grows a common plant, which is called the matodor, or murderer. Its slender stein creeps at first along the ground; but no sooner does it meet a vigorous tree than with clinging grasp it cleaves to it, and climbs it, and as it climbs, sends out at short intervals arm-like tendrils that embrace the tree. As the murderer ascends, these ligatures grow larger, and clasp tighter. Up, up it climbs, one hundred feet, nay, two hundred, if needs be, until the last loftiest spire is gained and fettered. Then, as if in triumph, the parasite shoots a huge flowery head above the strangled summit, and thence from the dead tree's crown, scatters its seed to do again the work of death. Even thus does worldliness strangle churches.

(S. Coley.)

Truth begets hate.

Go ye up to this feast. I go not up yet, nor the final departure from Galilee (Matthew 19:1, 2), both of which were public. Though Christ's journey was in secret it is not said that His visit to the feast was.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

Then the Jews sought Him at the feast

1. Base cowardice (vers. 11-13).(1) For these chief men of the nation to be in cunning search for the life of one lonely man. "Where is He?" We want Him. What for? To listen to His doctrines? honestly to test His merits, to do honour to His person or His mission? No; but to kill Him. Here are a number of influential men banded together to crush one humble peasant!(2) In the people meeting together in secrecy, and talking about Him. Why not openly? Sin is always cowardly: virtue alone is courageous. Sin's talk is swaggering, and its attitude often defiant; but it is essentially craven-hearted. "Thou wear a lion's hide! Doff it for shame, and hang a calf's skin on those recreant limbs" (Shakespeare).

2. In contrast with this, we have the sublimest courage (ver. 14). When the festival was at its height, and the concourse swollen to the greatest number, and national enthusiasm most intense, this poor peasant Reformer confronted public sentiment when its billows were thundering at high tide. Where in all history have you an example of courage comparable to this?


1. Conventional scholarship (ver. 15). The question breathes contempt. The idea is, He has never been to our seats of learning and studied under our rabbis; what can He know? He is an uneducated man and, forsooth, presumes to teach. There is much of this spirit now. There are those who hold that a man cannot know much unless he has graduated at some university. This is a great fallacy; some of the most educated men have never passed the college curriculum. This idea fills society with pedants, and our pulpits with men who have neither the kind of lore, or genius to preach the gospel.

2. Divine intelligence. Note here that(1) God is the sole Teacher of the highest doctrine (ver. 16). Although I have not studied under you, rabbis, I have got my knowledge directly from the primal source of all true intelligence. Do not content yourself with sipping at the streams of conventional teachings, go to the fountain head.(2) Obedience is the qualification for obtaining the highest knowledge (ver. 17). Philosophy and experience show the truth of this. "The essence of goodness consists in wishing to be good," says Seneca. And well too as Pascal said, that "a man must know earthly things in order to love them, but that he must love heavenly things in order to know them."(3) Entire devotion of self to the Divine is necessary in order to communicate the highest knowledge (ver. 18). It is not only as a man becomes self-oblivious, and lost in the love and thoughts of God, that he can reflect the bright rays of Divine intelligence upon his fellow-men. We must allow ourselves to become mere channels through which the Divine will flow.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

To kindle the desire of seeing and hearing Him so much the more; or to discover whether there were any numbers disposed by His first preaching to receive Him, to the end that He might not show Himself in vain.

(J. Trapp.)

Jesus went to the feast in secret, and the Jews sought Him. From differing motives they inquire for Him, but they did inquire. No man, having once heard of Jesus, can any longer remain indifferent to Him: he must take some sort of interest in the Lord Jesus. From many quarters come the question, "Where is He?" We will at this time —


1. Hate, ferociously desiring to slay Him, and overthrow His cause. Herod was the type of this school.

2. Infidelity, sneeringly denying His existence, taunting His followers because His cause does not make progress (2 Peter 3:4).

3. Timorous fear, sadly doubting His presence, power, and prevalence (Job 23:8, 9).

4. Penitence, humbly seeking Him that she may confess her sin, trust her Lord, and show her gratitude to Him (Job 23:3).

5. Love, heartily pining for communion with Him, and for an opportunity to serve Him (Song of Solomon 3:3).

6. Fear, bitterly lamenting His absence, and craving His return.

7. Desire, ardently aspiring to meet Him in His second advent, and to behold His glory (Revelation 22:20).


1. At the mercy-seat when we cry in secret.

2. In the Word as we search the sacred page.

3. In the assemblies of His people, even with two or three.

4. At His table, known in the breaking of bread.

5. In the field of service, aiding, sympathizing, guiding, and prospering. In all things glorified before the eyes of faith.

6. In the furnace of trial, revealing Himself, sanctifying the trial, bearing us through.

7. Near us, yea, with us, and in us.


1. At the bottom of your trust?

2. At the root of your joys?

3. On the throne of your heart?

4. Near by constant converse?

5. Is His Spirit manifested in your spirit, words, and actions?

6. Is He before you, that to the end of your journey, the terminus towards which you are daily hastening?

IV. ASK IT OF THE ANGELS. They, with one voice, reply that He is —

1. In the bosom of the Father.

2. In the centre of glory.

3. On the throne of government.

4. In the place of representation.

5. In the armoury of mercy.

6. Within reach of you and all needy sinners who will now seek Him.Conclusion:

1. Come, let us go and find Him. We will hold no feast till He is among us.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Homiletic Review.

1. Do you thither repair expecting to meet Him?

2. Does His presence banish every irreverent and worldly feeling?

3. Does He meet out to you the Word of Life, and render it sweet to your taste, and nourishing to your soul?


1. Do you, in company with others, meet together weekly and claim the fulfilment of His promise?

2. Is He then causing your hearts to burn within you, and strengthening your grasp on His promises?

3. When you leave does your conduct say, "We have been with Jesus"?


1. Has he made your home His abode?

2. Does His presence refresh the weariness of toil, loosen the burden of care, and brighten the smile of affection?

3. Does He take your children in His arms and bless them?

4. Does He assure you that you shall form an individual family in heaven?


1. If so He is ever near.

2. If not, seek the Lord while He may be found.

(Homiletic Review.)

How diverse were the motives from which men sought Jesus: the Magi to adore Him; Herod to crush a rival prince; Greeks to satisfy curiosity; Jews to see miracles, or to crown Him a king to promote their carnal interests; only a few hungry souls sought Him as the Bread of Life. Some seek Him to find ground of objection to His mission. How many frequent His church and ordinances but never seek Him. To how many of the earth's feasters would He prove an unwelcome guest?

(W. H. Van Doren, D. D.)

Many years ago, there was a young man in Birmingham whose dissipation and excess had brought into a condition from which he endeavoured to extricate himself by crime. The fear of detection, exposure, and ruin goaded him on to such a pitch of desperation that he left his father's house resolutely bent on self-destruction. God's good providence led him through Bond Street; and, under some inexplicable impulse, he found himself sitting in the Baptist Chapel almost before he was aware. The minister, a Mr. Edmonds, was reading from the Book of Job, occasionally throwing in some shrewd parenthetic remark. Coming to verses 8 and 9, the young man's attention was irresistibly arrested: "Job, Job," the preacher cried entreatingly, "why don't you look upward?" These words were as nails fastened in a sure place, and the young man ever thanked God for the belief that he was unconsciously drawn by the Holy Spirit to enter that place, and that the preacher was impelled to the use of those words, to the end that his life might be redeemed from destruction, and crowned with lovingkindness and tender mercy.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I saw a young brother last Friday, and, in answer to the question, How were you converted? he said it was through reading Luther on the Galatians. I said, "I am glad to see the man that reads Luther on the Galatians." He was a young man employed in the city, and I admired him for preferring Luther to the wretched novels of the period. "I read it two or three times," he said, "and I saw the difference between the covenant of works and the covenant of grace; I saw how man was ruined by his works, and how he must be saved by faith, and I found the Saviour while reading that book." Oh, if people would but read the Bible, and books about the Bible, with the desire to know what the gospel is, they would soon find Him of whom Moses and the prophets wrote.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

And there was much murmuring among the people concerning Him
Describe the scene, the variety of characters and feelings and opinions, at this most popular of all the feasts; the movement, the stir, all circling round the central figure, Christ. Now discussion about Christ may be allowable enough, but as discussion proceeds the crowd takes sides, and there is a party for, and a party against, Christ. It is so now. The proclamation of truth separates men. Jesus is either a great foundation or else a stone of stumbling. Men are attracted or repelled, hardened or softened. Let us consider then —

I. THE DIVINE INTENTION. This is that all men shall be saved. God so loved the world, and His goodness should lead to repentance. But —

II. Such is the mystery that attaches to our creation, that MAN HAS IT IN HIS POWER TO FRUSTRATE THIS INTENTION OF GOD. The Holy Spirit pleads with him, but he resists. He can resist. Were it not so, he would be but a machine. Hearts cannot be compelled; they can only be drawn. Christ knocks at the door; but we can, if we choose, keep it bolted on the inside, and Christ will not force the way in. We must be persuaded to admit Him. He wishes to be a guest. "I will come in and sup with him, and he with me."

III. GOD DOES ALL IN HIS POWER TO WIN THE HUMAN HEART. To say that He multiplies kindnesses is to say little. He sends, He gives, He spares not His own Son. This is His last effort. Beyond this there is nothing. And if the heart can resist such an evidence of His love, its case is hopeless. There is nothing left that will touch it. How is it with us? Which side are we taking? For Christ? or against Him? "He that is not with Me is against Me." There is no intermediate region; no neutral ground. Men start in lifo as boys, hand-in-hand, but on opposite sides of a little mountain rill. The widening stream soon compels them to unclasp their hands; and the distance between them increases as they advance. Presently they are out of sight of each other; and at last a broad, impassable gulf rolls between them.

(G. Calthrop, M. A.)

The coating of our Lord acted as a moral shock upon the existing fabric of thought and life; it broke up the stagnant, fixed modes of feelings and thinking; it set men in movement; it led to anxious self-questionings, to widespread anxiety of mind, to general unsettlement; it destroyed that tranquil satisfaction with things as they were in Israel which had secured so much repose of mind to so many classes. Such an event would reveal above all the true character of the time; it would act as many a flash of lightning on the crew of a wreck; it would dispel illusions somewhat rudely, often at the cost of happiness and temper, and as a result it would be regarded in more ways than one. Those who wish to know the truth and to live in it at all costs, would welcome it, and thank God for it; those who did not wish this would slink away from an influence which made them uncomfortable, even though they might have reason to think that in the end it would make them better than they were. In ordinary life there are occurrences which act upon men in different ways, which bring out unsuspected tendencies for good or for evil. A railway accident, a fire, the outburst of aa epidemic, or the sudden inheritance of a fortune, are each in their own way revelations of character. They break through the ordinary habits, and surprise men for the moment into being perfectly natural, They reveal unexpected beauties in this man's character, heroism, generosity, etc.; or they bring any little weakness to the surface in that man, and show him to be selfish or cowardly, or in other ways unlike what he was supposed to be. In the same way a great controversy acts as a solvent upon all sorts of persons. It throws them back upon the principles which really rule them; it precipitates a great deal in them which else might have remained undecided; it forces them to take a side, and, by taking that side, to make a revelation of character. And much more is this the case when men are brought into contact with a mind and heart of unwonted greatness. Such a personality is too imperative to leave other men just as they were; such a personality sets feeling, thought, will, all in motion — not always in friendly motion — towards itself, not unfrequently in hostile and prejudiced motion. And this was especially the case with our Lord. Men could not, if they would, regard Him with indifference. They could not escape from some sort of profound emotion at coming into contact with Him. When He made His entry into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, "Who is this?" And this was a sort of concrete representation of what took place on a vast historical scale on His entrance into the world. That event produced a varied and prolonged emotion in human souls. It stirred the lowest instincts as well as the highest thoughts of men. It was a fulfilment of that pregnant saying, "Yet once more do I shake, not the earth only, but heaven." But its result was not, could not be, uniform. It was for the rising or fall of many a human soul.

(Canon Liddon.)

Howbeit no man spake openly of Him for fear of the Jews
I. THE FACT — "No man spake openly of Him." To this there was a large exception. His friends were silent, not His enemies. They were loud enough in their reproaches, etc. This is the case still to a large and lamentable extent. How much there is said and written against Christ which His professed followers allow to pass without protest or counter demonstration! There is no lack of private confession it may be. They that fear the Lord still speak "one to another"; but those who love Him will surely speak to others also. What Christ wants is confession before men, for the defence of His honour, the confutation of unbelief, the extension of His cause.

II. ITS EXPLANATION — "For fear of the Jews." This fear was and is twofold.

1. Nervous shrinking. To men, e.g., in the position of Nicodemus, there was not much to dread from the hostile majority. So many to-day hesitate to confess Christ and rebuke sin, say, to relatives and intimate friends, not because of consequences, but because of the tax it would make upon a highly-strung nervous organization. Over sensitiveness an enemy to the cause of Christ.

2. Rank cowardice. Taking sides for and with Christ in the case of many then meant pains and penalties, and they were not prepared to pay the cost of their convictions. To some extent discipleship still involves tribulation, but of how much milder a type! Yet men and women seal their lips because they are afraid of being called contemptuous names.


1. Our duty — to make a bold, manly, and decisive stand for Christ.(1) He deserves it. What a stand He made for us! hie fear of the Jews deterred Him from pleading our cause.(2) He will reward it with present approval and final blessedness.

2. Our privilege. "God hath not given us the spirit of cowardice," etc. Christ does not ask us to under. take this or any duty without qualifying us for its discharge.

3. Our warning. "Whoso is ashamed of Me of him will I be ashamed."

(J. W. Burn.)

When the passengers gallop by as if fear made them speedy, the cur follows them with an open mouth. Let them walk by in confident neglect, and the dog will not stir at all. It is a weakness that every creature takes advantage of.

(J. Beaumont, M. D.)

What would Her Majesty think of her soldiers, if they should swear they were loyal and true, and yet should say, "Your Majesty, we prefer not to wear these regimentals; let us wear the dress of civilians! we are right honest men, and upright; but do not care to stand in your ranks, acknowledged as your soldiers; we had rather slink into the enemy's camp, and into your camp too, we therefore prefer not to wear anything that would mark us as being your soldiers!" Ah! some of you do the same with Christ. You are going to be secret Christians, are you, and slink into the devil's camp, and into Christ's camp, but acknowledged by none? Well, ye must take the chance of it, if ye will be double-minded; but I should not like to risk it. It is a solemn threatening — "Of him will I be ashamed when I come in the glory of My Father, and all His holy angels with Me!" It is a solemn thing, I say, when Christ says, "Except a man take up his cross and follow Me, he cannot be My disciple."

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Some time ago, when in a mine, looking through its dark corridors, I now and then saw the glimmer of a moving lamp, and I could track it all through the mine. The reason was the miner carried it on his hat — it was a part of himself and showed where he was. I said, "Would that in this dark world every miner of the Master carried his lamp to show where he walks."

(Dr. Cuyler.)

It is not sufficient to carry religion in our hearts, as fire is carried in flint stones; but we are outwardly, visibly, apparently, to serve and honour the living God.


If people are loud in the praise of a physician who has cured them of some deadly malady — recommending others to trust and seek his skill, why should not Christ's people crown Him with equal honours, commend Him to a dying world and proclaim what He has done for them?

(Dr. Guthrie.)

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