God's Inspiration of the Scriptures Part 7

Chapter 5. (Continued).

Divine Design.

(New Testament).

A new language, the characteristically Gentile one i.e. the Greek, marks outwardly a still deeper inward distinction in what is commonly called the New Testament. Its basis is the Son of God come, who has given all who believe, Jew or Greek, an understanding that we should know Him that is true. The gospel therefore goes out freely to every creature, and the children of God are gathered in one by the Holy Spirit; whilst the Lord, ascended to heaven, promises to come and receive His own, before the day of His appearing when the kingdom shall be set up over the earth in visible and indisputable glory, and Christ's supremacy be manifested over all creation heavenly and earthly, which the church shall share as His bride. Hence God is revealed as He is in light and love; man is laid bare as wholly evil and lost; provisional dealing and probation yield to grace and truth come in Jesus Christ, Who, rejected of man and the Jews especially, accomplished redemption, and brings in the new things according to the hidden but eternal counsels of God, before He will resume His relations with Israel in fulfilment of His promises to the fathers and the blessing of all families of the earth in the restitution of all things, of which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets since time began.

§ 28. MATTHEW.

In the first Gospel the Holy Spirit has for the distinctive object, as shown in its contents, to set forth Jesus as the Christ or Messiah, according to promises and prophecy; Son of David, Son of Abraham, in an especial sense; yet rejected by the Jew no less but more than by the Gentile, and so proclaiming Himself Son of man to suffer for mankind, and be exalted to heavenly and universal glory. The mysteries of the kingdom of the heavens meanwhile are disclosed to faith, and the church, part of a mystery still greater, is built on Him, the Son of the living God, before He returns as Son of man in power and glory.

Hence Matt. 1 furnishes His genealogy in the Messianic point of view, down from the roots of promise and royalty in three series of fourteen generations, in which the few women named carry the manifest significance of grace to Gentiles and the grossest of sinners. It is Joseph's line from Solomon, which was legally essential; though due care is taken to mark His birth of "the virgin" of that house by the Holy Spirit, according to Isa. 7, Emmanuel, and Jehovah or Jah in His very name.

In Matt. 2 magi from the east are seen coming to pay homage to the born King of the Jews; but they learn Bethlehem to be the birthplace, as Micah had predicted long before. An Idumean under Roman authority then ruled Jerusalem; and king and people were troubled at the tidings. But the strangers are angelically warned as well as Joseph, to defeat the designs of Herod, and thus also to accomplish Hosea. 11:1 and Jer. 31:15. The return to dwell at Nazareth, despised as it was, fell in with the prophecies that such was to be Messiah's lot.

Matt. 3 presents the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of Jehovah. It is John the Baptist saying, Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens hath drawn nigh: a testimony to Christ's coming to baptise with the Holy Spirit and fire. But Jesus stoops to be baptised, and is owned as Son by the Father, while the Spirit descends on Him visibly. The Trinity now revealed.

In Matt. 4 we have Jesus tempted by the devil forty days and after that in three special ways, but victorious. Then when John was delivered up, the Lord's Galilean ministry begins, as in Isa. 9:1-2, and the call of the earlier disciples, with a general summary of His teaching and preaching which attracts from far beyond that province, as of His healing all sickness and disease, and of His power over demons.

Then in Matt. 5-7 He on the mount lays down authoritatively the principles of the kingdom in contrast to the law, with the manifestation of the Father's name and the suited word, concluding with the security of the obedient, but the sin and vanity and ruin of mere profession.

Matt. 8 displays the reality and character of Jehovah's presence in Christ here below: (1) the Jewish leper, (2) the Gentile centurion, (3) Peter's wife's mother, (4) the fulfilment of Isa. 53. 4, (5) scribes and disciples tested, (6) the tempest rebuked, and (7) the demoniacs delivered. In Matt. 9 is shown the growth of unbelieving hatred and blasphemy brought out by (1) the paralytic forgiven, (2) the tax-gatherer called, (3) the question of fasting, (4) the ruler's child raised, (5) and on the way the flux of blood healed, (6) the two blind given to see, and (7) the dumb demoniac to speak.

Thereon, deeply pitying the distressed and scattered sheep of Israel, He bids His disciples pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth labourers and in Matt. 10 He sends forth the twelve with authority like His own over unclean spirits and diseases, but as yet only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (not to Gentiles or Samaritans), preaching the kingdom, as John had preached and Himself. He prepares them for enmity and tells them that their task will not close till the Son of man be come, while He assures them, not only of the Spirit's grace, but of honour and reward before His Father.

In Matt. 11 Christ testifies to John, instead of getting due testimony from him; shows that the kingdom calls for decision at all cost but is well worth while; reproves the caprice of "this generation;" and warns the cities unrepentant in the face of the powers displayed. Yet He bows with gracious confession to the Father, Who hid these things from wise and understanding men, yet revealed them to babes. He not only sees but announces a higher glory and a deeper grace opening out than if Israel had received Him after the flesh.

After the rest given to faith, Matt. 12 opens with the lesson of the sabbath perverted to deny His glory Who is Lord of the sabbath as of all, and with the resolve of the Pharisee to destroy Him. The Lord retires, heals still, but charges them not to make Him known. He bows to His rejection. In another and deeper way would the divine counsel be made good, as Isa. 42 declared. So, when a blind and dumb demoniac was healed and the Pharisees attribute His power to Beelzebub, He warns of the blasphemy against the Spirit that shall not be forgiven, pronounces the last state of "this evil generation" to become worse than the first, and owns His true relationship henceforth to be, not with mother and brethren after the flesh, but with such as shall do the will of His Father Who is in heaven.

Accordingly in Matt. 13 the Lord expounds in seven parables (beginning with His new work as the Sower of the word and in six following similitudes) the mysteries of the kingdom consequent on His rejection and going on high. The first took in His work before the kingdom was set up in the heavens, and was spoken outside like the next three. The interpretation of the wheatfield spoilt by darner was given within the house like the last three. But, whatever His words or works, the Jews stumbled at the stumbling-stone, His person.

In Matt. 14 we see the state morally no better but rather worse. Yet if the Lord withdraws, His compassion to Israel is unabated. He heals their diseases, satisfies the poor with bread as the true and royal Son of David, dismisses the multitude, and goes up the mountain to pray, the picture of His present work on high. But when the disciples are tempest-tossed with the winds contrary, He rejoins them, and the wind ceases, and those in the ship pay Him homage as God's Son. And now He is recognised and welcomed in His beneficent power.

Matt. 15 is the Lord's judgment of earthly religion proud in the poverty of tradition, with an unclean condition inwardly, whatever the zeal in washing of hands. On the other hand, if a Canaanite under curse cried for mercy against a demon's oppression, would Jesus deny her? He vindicates her faith, while He renews His labour of love in despised Galilee, and abundantly blesses the provision of the poor as David's Son.

In Matt. 16 none the less does the Lord denounce the hypocrisy of a generation seeking after a sign, while blind to those set before them so fully. None more should be given but that of Jonah's death and resurrection, opening the door to Gentiles. If men said this or that, Simon Peter confesses Him Christ, the Son of the living God, as revealed of the Father. And the Son also gives him a new name, declares that on this rock He will build His church, and confers on him the keys of the kingdom: two distinct, yet connected, systems of blessing to replace Israel. Thereon He announces His suffering, death, and resurrection, and calls on the one that owns Him to deny self, take up his cross, and follow Him.

Matt. 17 is a miniature though divine display of the kingdom, but Christ meanwhile declared Son of God, Who is to be heard, not law and prophets. Yet here below the disciples fail through unbelief; whereas Christ, proving Himself Lord of all, takes as yet no glory here, but associates His own with Himself in grace meanwhile.

Next in Matt. 18 He enforces humiliation in love as befitting His own in the kingdom; and in the church grace to win the wrong-doer with the sanction of heaven on their acts rightly done. The parable from ver. 23 teaches that such as professedly had forgiveness, but outraged its spirit, have all their guilt renewed to their ruin.

Matt. 19 tells us that, while God's constitution of man is right, grace reveals better things to those that share Christ's rejection, and that God encourages fidelity by due reward. It ought to be plain that there are no thrones for the apostles till the regeneration when the Lord comes in glory. Those "enthroned" meanwhile are not genuine successors, but merely affect Gentile grandeur.

Matt. 20 begins with the other side of God's rights in a parable maintaining His sovereignty. But the Son of man's path lies through shame and death, and there is no other way to glory, though the disposal is His Father's. The danger is from a fleshly mind, which is no better than a Gentile's: the Son of man on the contrary came to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

The Lord had now entered on His last journey to Jerusalem; and the healing of the two blind men near Jericho begins the final presentation of Himself Who knew the end before He began (Matt. 20:29-34). In Matt. 21. He accomplishes Zech. 9:9, purges the temple, and defends the children's Hosannas with Psalm 8. The curse on the fig-tree was the sentence on the people, full of show but without fruit; and when the religious chiefs ask for His authority, He puts a question to their conscience. When they shirk the answer, He sets out one parable that proves them to be worse than the tax-gatherers and the harlots; and in another He describes God's dealings with the rebellious people, even to His own rejection in death. They themselves must own (ver. 41) their just destruction; on which He cites Psalm 118:22, and connects with it not only the removal of the kingdom of God from them but the effect of both His advents, now their stumbling on Him to be broken, by-and-by His falling on them to be scattered as dust. They knew what He meant, but as yet feared to do their will.

So in Matt. 22 the Lord adds in a parable what grace has done and is doing, with the effects for the unbelieving, not only providential judgment which fell on Jerusalem, but that for each at the end and for ever. Then come the Pharisees with the Herodians about the tribute, and the Sadducees about the resurrection, and the lawyer about the commandments, all answered to their confusion; after which the Lord puts the question of questions for a Jew (as indeed for any). Faith alone answers; but they had none; and there they are to this day.

In Matt. 23 the Lord, while owning the law's authority (spite of the falseness of those who administered it), calls His disciples to the lowly position He had taken as their pattern; and He Who began with "Blessed, blessed," now ends with "Woe, woe." How their evil did not cease with His cross but went on against His servants, we know too well. But even here in declaring the inevitable retribution, He cannot close without a door of hope in the last verse (39).

Matt. 24 and 25 are His great prophecy on the mount, beginning with the Jews, and ending with the Gentiles in Matt. 25:31 to the end. Between these two (from Matt. 24:45 to 25:30) is the part that deals with the Christian profession. This takes therefore the general unrestricted form of three parables, since the link is with Christ Himself, not with the land or the people of Israel: the house-bondman faithful and prudent, or evil, respectively characterising Christendom in comprehensive responsibility; the ten virgins, foolish or prudent, manifested by the reality or unreality of the hope when judgment falls; and the bondmen trading with His goods, good and faithful on the one hand, or wicked and slothful on the other, in individual responsibility. The sheep and the goats represent the true and the false, not in Christendom, but among all the nations in the end of the age, tested by the testimony of the King's "brethren" during that crisis, while the heavenly saints are with Christ on high before He appears, and they with Him, in the same glory (vers. 31-46).

In Matt. 26, Matt. 27 we have the unutterably solemn and touching scenes of the Lord's earthly close. The Lord announces it; the chief priests and their associates plot; the last anointing is done for His burial; the traitor covenants; the Lord directs the paschal feast and eats it with the disciples; He institutes His supper; He goes out to Olivet, and He enters on His agony in Gethsemane; and then becomes the willing Captive, as later the Victim. The mock trial before Caiaphas follows; and Peter denies, and Judas in remorse casts down his silver in the sanctuary, and commits suicide. Pilate condemns the Holy One and releases Barabbas. Jesus is crucified, "the King of the Jews": for this alone is Pilate firm. All rail, even the robbers. He dismissed His spirit; and the veil of the temple was rent, and the earth quaked, and the rocks rent, as there had been supernatural darkness around the cross when the Messiah made sin was abandoned by His God. But if men designed otherwise, He was with the rich in His death, as the prophet said so emphatically.

Matt. 28 tells of Him risen. What availed the keepers or the seal? And the angel, before whom the guard trembled, bade the women not fear, but tell the disciples He was risen and would meet them in Galilee, the familiar ground of His ministry. And so it was amid fear and joy and doubt: He Himself appeared and confirmed it, whatever lying Jews and bribed Gentiles pretended. There too He gave them His commission. "All authority is given to me in heaven and on earth. Go ye, disciple all the nations, baptising them unto the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I have commanded you. And lo! I am with you all the days, even unto the consummation of the age." Here may be seen what supersedes Israel till the age is ended. When the new age comes, they will be owned and blessed as the head of the nations. The first dominion will be Zion's. Even during that period (for such is the consummation of the age, not a mere epoch) there will be a suited state of transition. Till then discipling proceeds; and disciples are to be baptised to the name, not of Jehovah, but of God fully revealed as now — the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Observance of Christ's injunctions follows, with the assurance of His constant presence: a condition quite distinct from His millennial reign in manifested power and glory.

§29. MARK.

The second Gospel has for its design the setting forth of the service "of Jesus Christ, the Son of God." He who at first failed but at length was pronounced "profitable for ministry" was just as suitable in the power of the Holy Spirit for that task, as Matthew called from the receipt of customs to be an apostle was for the first Gospel. Christ Himself serves in the gospel, and does mighty works accompanying it, as Mark describes.

Before proceeding farther, the precision which Mark furnishes, partly by his characteristic "straightway" that so often occurs, partly by a perhaps still more definite specifying of time e.g. in Mark 4:35, enables us to clear up some difficulties in the different order of the events related in the three Synoptic Gospels. From a careful comparison it results, that of the four inspired writers, two were led to preserve save in a rare exception the chronological order, two from their respective designs subordinate that order where requisite to a grouping of events or discourses independently; and of the two in each case one was an apostle, the other not. Matthew and Luke were from time to time not bound to simple historic sequence; whereas Mark and John as the rule adhere to it.

None can be justly called "fragmentary"; for each has a specific design impressed on his work, and all that is inserted or omitted may be accounted for on this principle. Where an incident illustrates that which belongs to the scope of all four, they all introduce it, as for instance the miracle of the five loaves and the two little fishes. Where it falls in with the province of one only, there it is given and nowhere else; as the temple tax in Matt. 17, the deaf stammerer in Mark 7, the penitent woman in Luke 7, and the Samaritan woman in John 4, to mention but one of the many facts, signs, and discourses peculiar to each, to John most abundantly. In some cases three give the same subject matter, in others but two.

But this is not all; whilst there are notable phrases and words common to all, there are quite as notable differences in the mode of communication. Hence speculative minds are tempted to irreverent cutting of the knot they cannot untie; whilst unexercised souls fail to gather the profit intended of the Spirit through every shade of difference. For it is a perversion of the truth, that the writers were inspired, but not the writings. If 2 Peter 1:21 warrants the former, still more explicit and distinctly applicable is the claim for the latter in 2 Tim. 3:16. In the verse preceding we have the "sacred" title of the O. T.; but in verse 16 the Spirit of God pronounces for "every" thing that falls under the designation of "scripture." It is not a question of human infirmity but of God's power. Every scripture is inspired by God (θεόπνευστος). Not only were the men inspired, but so according to the apostle Paul is the result. Ordinarily their writing, like their words, would have been liable to the imperfections of human speech and the limitations of human thought; but every scripture, every writing that comes under this category, is God-breathed, and in no way "left" to the mere accidents of human faculties. To mix up with inspiration the manifold errors of copyists in the lapse of ages is illicit and illogical, not to say dishonest; for this is quite another question. All we contend for is the divine character of indisputable scripture.

Differences then there are; but instead of being the discrepancies which unbelief hastily and improperly calls them because of ignorance, they are the beautifully instructive effect and evidence of God's varied design. Take Matt. 8 as an instance: "a solemn assembly of witnesses," as one justly calls it. The leper came in fact long before what is called the sermon on the mount. "And, behold," in verse 2 ties us down to no date. But as the Holy Spirit had already given a summary of the Lord's deeds of gracious preaching and power in Matt. 4:23-24, so He presents details of His teaching in Mark 5, Mark 6, Mark 7, and of His miracles in Mark 8, and again in another way in Mark 9 where the date yields to deeper considerations, and selected proofs are grouped together designedly. In Mark 1:40-45, where no such purpose operates, we see its place historically. Luke confirms the fact that it was on "one of those days" when Christ was in Capernaum, and before the healing of the paralytic, which in Matthew is reserved for the first case in chap. 9.

But, to look into details, the leper's cure fitly attested the present power of Jehovah-Messiah which opens Matt. 8. And as this proved His grace toward the Jew that came in his uncleanness and faith (however faltering), the Gentile centurion's great faith next follows, and here only is connected thus. In the Gospel of Luke it has a different place; in Mark it has none. The third fact in Mark 8, the healing of Peter's mother-in-law, so interesting to a Jew and assuring that grace to the Gentile did not turn Messiah's heart from Israel, seems here inserted with that design; whereas historically it preceded both the previous miracles in date, as shown in Mark 1 and Luke 4. So of course did the healing of many demoniacs and sick on that evening after the sabbath, in fulfilment of Isa. 53:4. It is not in the least difficult to believe that the Holy Spirit led Matthew to introduce at this point what Luke presents in quite a different connection (Luke 9:57), and with an addition too. The harmonists who imagine "duplicates" are no more faithful than the commentators who tax the inspired with "discrepancies." The conversation whenever it occurred seems given in the first Gospel to mark the great vessel of divine power and grace (i.e. the Messiah) consciously rejected, the Son of man having nowhere to lay His head, yet claiming from a disciple to be followed, even if a father lay dead. We know too for certain that both the storm which He rebuked, and the deliverance of the demoniacs took place after the parables of chap. 13 were heard and explained.

The septenary of Mark 9 is a similar collection of witnesses, following that of Mark 8 which indicates not only His divine power displayed in Israel, but the growing hatred and jealousy which it excited in the Scribes, till it culminated in the Pharisees who sought to poison the multitude with their blasphemy, "By the prince of the demons he casteth out demons." But no more evidence is needed, that Matthew was led, where it was required, to state facts and words so as best to give dispensational order; as Luke was led in no less a degree to present moral order. Take the Lord's genealogy as a clear proof, not in Mark 1 but in Mark 3 after the statement of John put in prison, and of the wondrous scene of his baptism following, though of course it long preceded what is here recounted. Take again the temptation where Luke puts the third act in the second place, as the moral order; whereas the actual fact as represented by Matthew coincided with dispensational order which it was his function to make known. This necessitated the remarkable omission which the true and ancient text testifies, as distinguished from the common error introduced by copyists, harmonists, and the like, whose clumsy assimilations provoke the rather more evil doubts of their opponents.

How full of interest, as bearing on divine purpose, to observe that in the Gospel of Mark there is no account of the Lord's reading of Isaiah 61 and preaching in the synagogue at Nazareth, any more than Matthew or John gives it. For Luke 4 it was reserved, as Christ's grandly suited introduction to public witness, as we shall see more fully in its place. The introduction for Matthew's Gospel was the striking but wholly different application of Isaiah 9 where the light shining in despised Galilee was promised. Mark was not given to state this, but only Matthew, whose also it was above all to point out the fulfilment of prophecy in the still more despised Messiah; as he only had mentioned the visit of the Magi, and the flight into Egypt, and the slaughter of the babes, all bearing in the same direction.

Again, Mark was not led to present the remarkable healing of the centurion's servant, which has so prominent a position in the First Gospel, and at still greater length in the Third. Mark does give the leper's cleansing, followed by the healing of the paralytic, and very graphically in both cases; but there was no design by him to bring in the witness that Jehovah's power would call in Gentiles when Israel should be cast out, as in Matt. 8, any more than to blazon, as in Luke 7, the faith of the Gentile, not so seen in Israel, which recognised the power of God in Jesus to command sovereignly and in love; and this in a soul so humbled by grace as to discern His people in the degenerate Jews, loved and honoured for His name' sake.

So further in the First Gospel and the Second we have no account whatever of the widow's son raised from the dead outside Nain. It had no connection with their scope in particular, and we may presume that it was therefore here omitted. But it had the utmost importance for illustrating divine power in the highest form united in our Lord Jesus with the fullest human sympathy; and so it is exactly in accord with the special aim of Luke's Gospel where alone it is found.

On the same principle we may account for a vast deal of intermediate matter given in the central parts of the First and Third Gospels, which does not appear in the Gospel of Mark. We are thus delivered from the theories which have occupied many learned men to the hurt of themselves and of those who trust them. For they have sought on human grounds to explain the different phenomena of the Synoptic Gospels, some advocating a common document, others only a general apostolic tradition. Again, a supplemental intention has been attributed to those that followed successively the first, for his own contribution, to the sum as it gradually appeared and grew. Had they believed in the special design imprinted by the Holy Spirit on each and every one of them, erroneous speculation had been spared to the honour of God's word, and to the spiritual profit of His children. The differences which undoubtedly occur would then have been known to be in no case discrepancy, but springing from God's wisdom, not man's weakness, and adding incalculably to the witness of Christ, and consequently to the spiritual intelligence of him that accepts all from God in faith of His truth and love.

Mark 1 presents neither genealogy nor early history, as we have in the accounts of Matthew and Luke. Yet this is not due to his abridging previously well-known facts, but to the divine design which made a genealogy here out of place: the service even of such a Servant did not call for it. Here as every where none so much abounds in striking details. The forerunner is briefly introduced preaching and baptising. Jesus too is baptised, and then tempted of Satan; here without the details given by Matthew and Luke, yet only Mark speaks of His being with the wild beasts. When John is imprisoned, Christ begins His public service, saying, "The time is fulfilled." Calling certain disciples to follow Him, He promises to make them fishers of men. His words and works attest the truth. The unclean spirit is cast out publicly. Simon's mother-in-law is healed of fever, and forthwith ministers to them. Sick and demoniacs are alike set free in numbers. He goes to preach; for this He is come forth. He prays without seeking fame; and a leper is cleansed with His touch as benignant as His word in divine power, love, and compassion.

In Mark 2 are given minute details of the paralytic, not healed only but forgiven (for sin is the root of evil), and made to walk, that they might know the Son of Man's title on earth to remit sins: a title which causes the Scribes to blaspheme. He goes on in grace to call a despised tax-gatherer to follow Him, eats with those whom the Pharisees branded as sinners beyond others, and vindicates it as His mission: "I came not to call righteous but sinners." What a Saviour for guilty man! Any truly righteous were already called: He came to call sinners. Those who believed were to rejoice in His presence there: let John's disciples and those of the Pharisees fast in unbelief of Him; full soon should His own have reason to fast. Besides, the new truth and power of the kingdom cannot without loss mix with old things. The sabbath itself was made for man, and the Son of Man is its Lord, not its slave as Pharisees wished.

Hence in Mark 3 He on the sabbath heals a man with a withered hand. He was here, sabbath day or not, to do good and save; but the orthodox counselled with their time-serving adversaries how to destroy Him. If He withdraws, it is to heal and deliver more abundantly; and after being alone on the mountain, He calls and appoints twelve, whom He would, to carry on the work of grace in power like His own. For He did all in the Spirit; but such was His unflagging zeal that His relations called Him deranged; and such His power, that the scribes from Jerusalem imputed it in their malice to Satan. Thereon He pronounces sentence, and announces His relationship, not after the flesh, but with him, whoever he be, that does the will of God. Accordingly in Mark 4, seated on board ship, He teaches the new departure, contingent upon the people's apostacy, and takes the place of the Sower in the world, such that three parts of the seed come to nothing, and only a fourth by grace takes effect in varying measure where conscience works before God. Light is to shine in service; the veil no longer hides; and he that has gets more, as he that has not loses all. A parable follows peculiar to Mark, and emblematic of the Lord's ways in service, Who works throughout and produces all, yet hiddenly now till the harvest is come when He reaps. The parable of mustard seed illustrates the outward rise from little to a great show on the earth. Such would be the abnormal result of service in man's hand. The evening closes with the storm on the lake, Jesus asleep in the boat now filling, and the alarmed disciples awaking Him Who in two words made a great calm.

In Mark 5 we see Him met by the fiercest of demoniacs, Legion; for many spirits were there. Jesus, expelling them from the possessed, let them enter a great herd of swine which bore witness to their evil power in rushing at once to destruction; while the man sat clothed and in his right mind, beseeching to be with Jesus. The time however is come, not yet for this, but to testify to his friends what great things the Lord, even Jesus, had done for him; while those who heard alas! besought, not Legion, but the Lord to depart from their borders. And Jesus departs. On the other side Jairus beseeches Him to come and lay His hands on his dying daughter. As He went, a woman touches Him secretly and is healed of her issue of blood; the Lord will have her too in the light and without fear. The damsel now dead is restored to life, as the Lord will do for Israel by-and-by. This closes the first part.

Then Mark 6 lays bare the unbelief that could not deny His word or work, yet stumbled at His humiliation in the grace which escaped them. So the Lord before His departure began to send forth the twelve with power over unclean spirits, but without resources of their own; He could control men's hearts as He pleased, Meanwhile Herod is shown as troubled in conscience because of John as well as Herodias, dreading the report of Jesus as a resurrection of John. And the Lord gives the disciples, full of their great work, their needed quiet with Himself, while He waits on man's wants and satisfies the poor with bread. Then sending away the multitude and the disciples by ship to Bethsaida, while He went on high to pray, He appears to them toiling in vain against contrary wind, and walked the water as if He would pass them, but immediately rejoins them on their crying out in fear; and the wind ceased. When they reached land, those who once wished Him to depart bring their sick, earnestly seeking that they may be healed.

Mark 7 manifests the superficial worthlessness of the religious chiefs and their tradition. Man's heart was a spring of evil; but grace reveals God's heart, even to the Syro-Phoenician, and His power to deliver her demoniac daughter; whilst the deaf stammering one, like the Jewish remnant, is led apart and healed, that he may hear and speak to the praise of God.

In Mark 8 a fresh pledge, in the seven loaves multiplied, is given of divine compassion to the poor of His people, as also of His power to make the blind, again led outside, see clearly. The leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod was evil; yet the disciples, though ill-affected by it, had no uncertainty as to the Messiah, but like Peter confessed Him. This however must yield to the deeper glory of the Son of Man in His rejection and death; but it was too much for Peter, who deprecates it and is rebuked of the Lord, even insisting on a path like His own for His followers and at all cost.

In Mark 9 His glory as Son of Man and Son of God is presented to witnesses on the hill, while below even His own failed in faith to use His name against Satan. How painful to the Lord! How humbling to the disciples! "O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you, how long shall I suffer you?" Only His presence in a coming day will deliver the people from Satan's power. Meanwhile it is a question of faith for individual deliverance. Power depends on faith; the ability is in the believing. Jesus acts by His word in power. But He goes on to be slain and to rise the third day, whilst they understanding nothing dispute who should be greatest, and have a little child set before them as their right example. Even John is jealous for "us" rather than for Christ; but the Lord in grace owns all He can. Woe to the despiser of the little ones that believe! Woe too, when hand, foot, or eye causes to stumble! It is not earthly judgments, but unquenchable fire that awaits the unbelieving; as believers are to have salt (the preservative power of the truth) in themselves, and peace with one another.

Mark 10 shows our Lord vindicating the relationships as God ordained from the beginning! He insists on the purity of marriage, and blesses babes. Yet while appreciating the blameless young man, who sought everlasting life (not to be saved), He denies goodness in man, and lays bare love of means and position, which is ruin, as he left Jesus to go away in sorrow. The Saviour thereon dwells on the danger, not blessing, of wealth, to the astonishment of His own; and when Peter boasts their self-denial, the Lord declares the sure remembrance of every loss for His sake (and the gospel's, peculiar to Mark), not only spiritual gain now but life everlasting beyond, with the caution that many first shall be last, and the last first. Then His death and delivery to the Gentiles are announced, and the ambition of Zebedee's sons, as well as the displeasure of the ten, corrected by the cross as God's pattern in a lost world.

The last presentation from ver. 46 begins with blind Bartimaeus appealing to David's Son and receiving his sight, as Israel will in due time. In Mark 11 He is presented as the anointed King, and owned with hosannas; He pronounces on the barren fig-tree which is seen withered next morning, cleanses the sanctuary, and exposes the incompetence as well as insincerity of the officials who demand His authority.

Mark 12 sets forth in a parable Israel's rebellion and Messiah's rejection but exaltation, and in few words the hypocrisy of the question as to Caesar, to whom they were no more subject than to God. Then the Sadducees (who talked of resurrection to undermine it and Him) hear the truth which refutes their error; and the intelligent scribe has the moral sum of the law laid down for his encouragement. Jesus puts the question how David's Son is David's Lord, which is life to him that answers it according to God. But alas! religious show and pretensions with selfishness end in more severe judgment; while the widow and her mite have everlasting record.

In the brief form of the prophecy in Mark 13 the special aim of the Spirit is evident from the fulness given to service past or future; so it is, not only in the centre, but near the end. Hence in that character "the Son" does not know; yet He gave to His bondmen their authority, and to each his work. Nowhere else is service so distinctly noticed.

The end approaches in Mark 14, His final rejection, His death, resurrection, and ascension, yet "working with them" still as the Lord. The chief priests plot, but God's will is done. Love anoints the Lord's body for His burial; the traitor makes his sad bargain with the rejoicing chief priests; the last passover is eaten, and the Lord's supper instituted. Peter is warned, and all three sleep while the Lord goes through the agony in Gethsemane. Judas then leads the band that takes Jesus, and the high priest condemns Him, not for the false witness of others but for His own confession of the truth, while Peter denies Him thrice and with oaths.

Mark 15 shows us Jesus delivered to Pilate, the Gentile judge, who owns Him guiltless and knows the chief priests' envy, but gives Him up to be crucified. Thereon ensues the scene beyond all before or to come. The Messiah, the righteous Servant, forsaken by all, even by God (for so it must be for our sins), expires on the cross; the centurion in charge confesses Him Son of God; and Joseph, an honourable councillor, lays His body in his own rock-hewn sepulchre.

In Mark 16 we have His resurrection briefly told by an angel to the women that saw the sepulchre open and empty. They were too fearful and amazed to say anything. In the second part of the chapter, of which some unreasonably and unbelievingly doubt, we have the Lord appearing to Mary of Magdala who is disbelieved; then manifested to the two going to Emmaus, as afterward to the eleven at table, with reproof of their unbelief. Yet did He give their great commission of the gospel to all the creation, with signs following those that believed. And if He risen and ascended is styled "Lord," none the less true to the design is He said to be "working with them" and confirming their words, as His servants went forth and preached everywhere. Here only in the N.T. have we the fact historically stated, however briefly. Can specific purpose be clearer first and last?

§ 30. LUKE.

The third Gospel is distinguished by its display of God's grace in man, which could be only and perfectly in the "Holy Thing" to be born and called the Son of God. Here therefore, as the moral ways of God shine, so is manifested man's heart in saint and sinner. Hence the preface and dedication to Theophilus, and the evangelist's motives for writing; hence also the beautiful picture of Jewish piety in presence of divine intervention for both forerunner and Son of the Highest to accomplish promise and prophecy, as announced by angels (Luke 1). The last of the Gentile empires was in power when the Saviour was born in David's city, and Jehovah's glory shone around shepherds at their lowly watch that night when His angel proclaimed the joyful event and its significant token, with the heavenly host praising as they said, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, in men complacency (or, good pleasure). God's Son, born of woman, was also born under law, the seal of which He duly received; and the godly remnant seen in Simeon and Anna, that looked for Jerusalem's redemption, testified to Him in the spirit of prophecy; while He walked in the holy subjection of grace, with wisdom beyond all teachers, yet bearing witness to His consciousness of divine Sonship even from His youth (Luke 2).

In due time, marked still more explicitly by the dates of Gentile dominion and of Jewish disorder, both civil and religious, John comes preaching, not here the kingdom of the heavens, nor yet the kingdom of God, but a baptism of repentance for remission of sins. Here alone and most appropriately is quoted from Isaiah's oracle, "All flesh shall see the salvation of God"; here only have we John's answers to the enquiring people, tax-gatherers and soldiers; and here too is stated anticipatively his imprisonment, but also the baptism of our Lord; and here only is given His praying, when the heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on Him, and the Father's voice, "Thou art my beloved Son; in thee am I well pleased." And the genealogy is through Mary (as she throughout is prominent, not Joseph as in Matthew) up to Adam, as becomes the Second Man and Last Adam (Luke 3). It may help if it be seen, that "being, as was supposed, son of Joseph" is parenthetical, and that "of Heli, of Matthat," etc., is the genealogical line from Mary's father upward.

Then follows His temptation viewed morally, not dispensationally as in the first Gospel; the natural, the worldly, and the spiritual. This order necessarily involved the omission in Luke 4:8, which ignorant copyists assimilated to the text of Matthew. The critics have rightly followed the best witnesses, though none of them appears to notice the evidence it renders to plenary inspiration. Divine purpose is clearly in it. Thereon He returns to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and at Nazareth in the synagogue He reads Isaiah 61:1-2 (omitting the last clause strikingly), and declares this scripture fulfilled today in their ears. In that interval, or within the acceptable year, Israel as it were goes out, and the church comes in where is neither Jew nor Gentile, but Christ is all and they one new man in Him. Then when His gracious words were met by unbelieving words on their part, He points out the grace of old that passed by Israel and blessed Gentiles. This kindled His hearers to murderous wrath even then, whilst He, passing through the midst of them, went His way. At Capernaum He astonished them publicly with His teaching and cast out an unclean spirit in the synagogue, as He brought Peter's mother-in-law immediately to strength from "a great fever," and subsequently healed the varied sick and demoniacs that were brought, while He refused their testimony to Him. And when men would detain Him, He said, "I must announce the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for therefore was I sent" (Luke 4). It is a question of the soul yet more than of the body.

In connection accordingly with preaching the word of God, we have (Luke 5) the Lord, by a miracle that revealed Him, calling Simon Peter (who judged himself as never before) with his partners, to forsake all and follow Him: an incident of earlier date, but reserved for this point in Luke. The cleansing of a man full of leprosy follows, and after the healing of multitudes He retires and prays; but as He afterwards was teaching in presence of Pharisees and law-doctors, He declares to a paralytic the forgiveness of his sins, and, to prove it, bids him arise, take up his couch, and go to his house, as the man did forthwith. Then we have the call of Levi, the tax-gatherer, and a great feast with many such in his house; but Jesus answers all murmurs with the open assertion of His coming to call sinners to repentance, as He defends the actual eating and drinking of His disciples by their joy in His presence with them: He once taken away, they should fast. In parable He intimates that the old was doomed, and that the new character and power demand a new way; though naturally no one relishes the new, but likes the old.

Luke 6 shows first, the Son of Man Lord also of the sabbath, and secondly the title to do good on that day, which filled them with madness against Him. Next, going to the mountain to pray all night to God, He chose twelve and named them apostles, with whom He came down to a plateau, healing all that came under diseases and demons. Then He addresses them in that form of His discourse which falls in perfectly with our Gospel. The great moral principles are there, not contrast with law as in Matthew, but the personal blessedness of His own, and the woes of such as were not His but enjoy the world. Another peculiarity is that Luke was led to give our Lord's teaching in detached parts connected with facts of kindred character; whereas Matthew was no less divinely given to present it as a whole, omitting the facts or questions which drew out those particulars.

Then in Luke 7 He entered Capernaum, and the healing of the centurion's slave follows. Luke distinguishes the embassy of Jewish elders, then of friends when He was near the house; but the dispensational issue was left to Matthew. The raising of the widow's only son at Nain yet more deeply proves the divine power He wields with a perfect human heart. It was high time for John's disciples to find all doubts solved by Jesus, Who testifies to the Baptist's place instead of being witnessed to by him. Yet was wisdom justified of all her children, as the penitent woman finds from the Lord's lips in the Pharisee's house. Everywhere it was divine grace in man; and she tasted it in the faith that saved, and in the grace that bade her go in peace.

In Luke 8 we see Him on His errand of mercy, followed not by the twelve only but by certain women heeled of wicked spirits and infirmities, who ministered to Him of their substance. And the Lord addresses the crowd in parables, but not of the Kingdom, as in Matthew; after that He designates His true relatives to be those that hear and do the word of God. The storm on the lake follows, and the healing of Legion in the details of grace, as well as of the woman who had a flux of blood, while He was on the way to raise the daughter of Jairus.

Luke 9 gives the mission of the twelve empowered by and like Himself, and sent to proclaim the Kingdom of God, with its effect on Herod's bad conscience. The apostles on their return He leads apart, but, being followed by a hungry crowd, He feeds about 5,000 men with five loaves and two fishes multiplied under His hand, while the fragments left filled twelve hand-baskets. After praying alone, He elicits from His disciples men's varying thoughts of Him, and Peter's confession of His Messiahship (Matthew recording much more). For this He substitutes His suffering and His glory as Son of Man: they were no more to speak of Him as Messiah. Deeper need had to be met in the face of Jewish unbelief. The transfiguration follows with moral traits usual in Luke, and the centre of that glory is owned Son of God. When the Lord and His chosen witnesses come down, the power of Satan that baffled the disciples yields to the majesty of God's power in Jesus, Who thereon announces to them His delivery into men's hands, and lays bare to the end of the chapter the various forms that self may assume in His people or in pretenders to that place.

Then we have in Luke 10 the seventy sent out two and two before His face, a larger and more urgent mission peculiar to Luke. On their return, exultant that even the demons were subject to them in His name, the Lord looks on to Satan's overthrow, but calls them to rejoice that their names were written in the heavens. To this our Gospel leads more and more henceforth. His own joy follows, not as in Matthew dispensationally connected, but bound up with the blessedness of the disciples. Then the tempting lawyer is taught that, while those who trust themselves are as blind as they are powerless, grace sees one's neighbour in every one that needs love. The parable of the Samaritan is in Luke only. The close of the chapter teaches that the one thing needful, the good part, is to hear the word of Jesus. It is not only by the word that we are begotten; by it we are refreshed, nourished, and kept.

But prayer hereon follows (as He was praying), (Luke 11), not only because of our need, but to enjoy the God of grace Whose children we become through faith; and in His illustration He urges importunity. Here again we have an instructive example of the divine design by Luke as compared with that in Matthew 6. His casting out a dumb demon gave to some occasion to blaspheme, whereon He declares that he that is not with Him is against Him, and he that gathers not with Him scatters: a solemn word for every soul. Nature has nothing to do with it, but the grace that hears and keeps the word of God. So did the Ninevites repent, and the Queen of Sheba come to hear; and more than Solomon and Jonah was there. But if light is not seen, it is the fault of the eye; if it is wicked, the body also is dark. Then to the end the dead externalism of man's religion is exposed, with the woe of such as have taken away the key of knowledge, and their malice when exposed.

Luke 12 warns the disciples against hypocrisy, and urges the sure revelation of all things in the light, with the call to fear God and to confess the Son of Man, trusting not in themselves but in the Holy Spirit. It is no question now of Jewish blessing; and He would be no judge of earthly inheritances. They should beware of being like the rich fool whose soul is required when busy with gain. The ravens and the lilies teach a better lesson. The little flock need not fear, but rid themselves rather of what men covet, and seek a treasure unfailing: if it is in the heavens, there will the heart be. And thence is the Lord coming Whom they were habitually and diligently to wait for. Blessed they whom the Lord finds watching! Blessed he whom the Lord finds working! To put off His coming in heart is evil, and will be so judged. But the judgment will be righteous, and worst of all that of corrupt and faithless and apostate Christendom. Whatever His love, the opposition of man brings hate, and fire, and division, not peace meanwhile. His grace aroused enmity. Judgment came and will come; as on the other hand He was baptised in death that the pent up floods of grace might flow as they do in the gospel.

With the Jews on the way to the judge, and about to suffer from God's just government (at the end of the chapter before), the Holy Spirit in Luke 13 connects the question of what had befallen the Galileans. Here the Lord pronounces the exposure of all to perdition, except they repented. The parable of the fig tree tells the same tale; respite hung on Himself. In vain was the ruler of the synagogue indignant for the sabbath against Jehovah present to heal; it was but hypocrisy and preference of Satan. The kingdom about to follow His rejection was not to come in by manifested power and glory, but, as under man's responsibility, from a little seed to wax a great tree, and to leaven the assigned measure, wholly in contrast with Daniel 2, 7. Instead of gratifying curiosity as to "those to be saved" (the remnant), the Lord urges the necessity of entering by the strait gate (conversion to God); seeking their own way they would utterly fail. So He would tell them He knew them not whence they were, in the day when they should see the Jews even thrust out, and Gentiles sitting with the fathers, last first, and first last, in the Kingdom of God. Crafty as Herod was, it was Jerusalem He lamented, the guiltiest rejector alike of God's government and of His grace, yet not beyond His grace at the end.

Hence Luke 14 points out unanswerably the title of grace in the face of form, and its way of self-renunciation, which will be owned in the resurrection of the just, not by the religious world which is deaf to God's call to the great supper. But if the bidden remain without, grace fills it not only with the poor of the city but with the despised Gentiles. Only those that believe God's grace are called to break with the world. Coming to Christ costs all else: if one lose the salt of truth, none more useless and offensive.

In Luke 15 the Lord asserts the sovereign power of grace in His own seeking of the lost one, in the painstaking of the Spirit by the word, and in the Father's reception and joy when he is found; as self-righteousness betrays its alienation from the Father and contempt for the reconciled soul.

Then Luke 16 describes parabolically the Jew losing his place; so that the only wisdom was, not in hoarding for self but in giving up his master's goods, to make friends with an everlasting and heavenly habitation. Practical Christianity is the sacrifice of the present (which is God's) to secure the future (which will be our own, the true riches). Pharisees, being covetous, derided this; but death lifts the veil that then hid the true issue in the selfish rich tormented, and the once suffering beggar in Abraham's bosom. If God's word fail, not even resurrection would assure. Unbelief is invincible, save by His grace.

As grace thus delivers from the world, so it is to govern the believer's walk, who must take heed to himself, rebuke a sinning brother, and, if he repent, forgive him even seven times in the day (Luke 17). Faith is followed by answering power. But the yoke of Judaism, though still existing, is gone for faith, as the Lord shows in the Samaritan leper, who broke through letter of the law, rightly confessed the power of God in Christ, and went his way in liberty. The kingdom in His person was in the midst of men for faith. By-and-by it will be displayed visibly and judicially; for such will be the Son of Man (now about to suffer and be rejected) in His day, as in those of Noah and Lot, far different from the indiscriminate sack of Jerusalem by Titus.

Luke 18 shows prayer to be the great resource, as always, so especially when oppression prevails in the latter day, and God is about to avenge His elect, and the question is raised if the coming Son of Man shall find faith on the earth. After this the Lord lets us see the spirit and ways suited to the kingdom in the penitent tax-gatherer contrasted with the Pharisee, and in the babes He received, not in the ruler who, not following Jesus because he clave to his riches, lost treasure in heaven. Yet he that leaves all for His sake receives manifold more now, and in the coming age life everlasting. Lastly the Lord again announces His ignominious death but His resurrection.

Then (ver. 35) begins His last progress to Jerusalem and presentation as David's Son; and the blind beggar, invoking Him so, receives his sight, and follows Him, glorifying God.

Zacchaeus in Luke 19, chief tax-gatherer and rich, is the witness of yet more — the saving grace of God. But the Lord is not going to restore the Kingdom immediately, as they thought; He is going to a far country to receive it and to return; and when He does, He will examine the ways of His servants meanwhile entrusted with His goods and He will execute judgment on His guilty citizens who would not that He should reign over them. Next He rides to the city from the Mount of Olivet on a colt, given up at once by the owners; and the whole multitude of the disciples praise God aloud for all the powers they had seen, saying, Blessed the coming King in Jehovah's name: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. It is a striking difference from the angels' praise at His birth; but both in season. Pharisees in vain object, and hear that the stones would cry out if the disciples did not. Yet did He weep over the city that knew not even then the things for its peace, doomed to destruction because it knew not the time of its visitation. The purging of the temple follows, and there He was teaching daily; yet could not the chief priests and the chiefs of the people destroy Him, though seeking it earnestly.

Then in Luke 20 come the various parties to judge Him, really to be judged themselves. The chief priests and the scribes with the elders demand His authority; which He meets with the question, Was John's baptism of heaven or from men? Their dishonest plea of ignorance drew out His refusal to tell such people the source of His authority. But He utters the parable of the vineyard let to husbandmen, who not only grew worse and worse to their lord's servants but killed at last his son and heir, to their own ruin according to Psalm 118:22-23, adding His own solemn and twofold sentence. Next, we have His reply to the spies who would have entangled Him with the civil power; but as He asks for a denarius, and they own Caesar's image on it, He bids them render to Caesar Caesar's things, and to God the things that are God's; and they were put to silence. The heterodox Sadducees followed with their difficulty as to the resurrection; whereon He shows that there was nothing in it but their ignorance of its glorious nature, of which present experience gives no hint. Resurrection belongs to the new age, to which marriage does not apply. Even now all live to God, if men cannot see. The Lord closes with His question on Psalm 110, how He Whom David calls his Lord is also his Son. It is just Israel's stumbling-stone, ere long to be Israel's sure foundation. Then the chapter concludes with His warning to beware of those that affect worldly show in religion, and prey on the weak and bereaved, about to receive, spite of long prayers, judgment all the more severe.

Luke 21 begins with the poor widow and her two mites of more account than the richest in the offertory. Then, in correction of those who thought much of the temple adorned with goodly stones and offerings, the Lord predicts its approaching demolition, though the end was not to be immediately. But He cheers and counsels His own meanwhile. From ver. 20 to 24 is the siege under Titus, and its consequences to this day. Ver. 25 and the following look on to the future. The Gentiles are prominent; whence we have, "Behold the fig tree and all the trees" in ver. 29. Observe also "this generation," etc. in 32, is in the future part, not in what is fulfilled. Lastly, vers. 34-36 give moral appeal. Here again we find Him teaching in the temple by day, and every night lodging at Olivet.

The last Passover approaches (Luke 22) and found the chief priests and the scribes plotting, when Judas Iscariot* gave them the desired means. On the day of sacrifice He sent Peter and John to prepare, and the Lord instructs them divinely when and how: for as He said, "With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer," and its cup He bade them take and divide it among themselves. Then He institutes His supper. As yet He had given no sign to mark the traitor, though He had long alluded to the fact. But alas! they were even then contending which of them would be accounted greatest; whilst He explains that such is the way of the Gentiles and their kings, whilst they were to follow His example — "I am in the midst of you as he that serveth." Yet He owns their continuance with Him in His temptations, and appoints to them a kingdom. He tells Simon of Satan's sifting, but of His supplication that his faith should not fail, and bids him, when turned again, or restored, to stablish his brethren. After further warning Peter, He clears up the change from a Messianic mission to the ordinary ways of providence in vers. 35-38, and then goes out to the mount and passes through His agony with His Father (39-46) while the disciples slept. Then a crowd comes, and Judas drew near to kiss, and the Lord laid all open. He heals the high priest's bondman, whose right ear was cut off; but remonstrates, yet allows Himself to be taken Who could have overwhelmed them with a word. Peter denies Him thrice. The men revile the Lord with mockery and blows; and as soon as it was day, He is led to the Sanhedrin, and when asked if He were the Christ, He tells them of the place the Son of Man will take, and owns Himself Son of God.

* It is quite general here in verse 3: "And [not Then] Satan entered into Judas." The precise time is shown in John 13:27, where then is expressed, here the statement is general, as often in the third Evangelist. So in Luke 24:12 it should be And or But, not Then.

Before Pilate in Luke 23 the effort was to prove Him a rival of Caesar; but though confessing Himself the King of the Jews, Pilate found no fault in Him. The connection with Galilee gave the opportunity for a compliment to Herod, who got not a word from the Lord; but, after with his soldiers insulting Him, he sent Him back, when Pilate again sought to release Him, as neither he nor yet Herod found evidence against Him. But the Jews only the more fiercely demanded a seditious murderer to be released, and Jesus to be crucified. Still Pilate made a last effort. But their voices prevailed. And Pilate gave sentence that what they asked for should be done. Such is man; and such is religious man, even more wicked: "Jesus he delivered up to their will." Simon of Cyrene had to prove the violence of that hour; and Jerusalem's daughters lamented with wailing. But the Lord bade them weep for themselves and for their children, and proceeds to Calvary where He was crucified, and the two robbers on either side. There He prayed His Father to forgive them as rulers scoffed and soldiers mocked. Even one of those crucified kept railing on Him; but the other became a monument of grace, confessing the Saviour and King, when others forsook and fled. The centurion too bore testimony to Him; and if they made His grave with the wicked, the rich was there in His death, and with Pilate's leave laid His body in a tomb hewn in stone where never man had yet lain. It was Friday, growing dark, and sabbath twilight was coming on. And the Galilean women who saw Him laid there returned and prepared spices and unguents. Little did they know what God was about to do; yet they loved Him in Whom they believed.

On the first day of the week at early dawn the women came (Luke 24) but found the stone rolled away from the tomb and the body gone; and two in dazzling raiment stood by them to their alarm, who asked, "Why seek ye the Living One among the dead? He is not here, but is risen;" and they recalled to their minds His words in Galilee now fulfilled in His death and resurrection. Even the apostles disbelieved. And Peter went, and saw evidences and wondered. Then we have the walk to Emmaus with all its grace and deep instruction from the scriptures, not for those disheartened men only, but for all time and all believers. Next the Lord makes Himself known in the breaking of bread (the sign of death), and at once vanishes. For we walk by faith, not by sight. On returning to Jerusalem they hear how He had appeared to Simon; and as they spoke, the Lord stood in their midst, bids them handle Him and see (for they were troubled), and even eats to reassure them of His resurrection. He speaks further and opens their minds to understand the scriptures; a distinct thing from the power of the Spirit they were to receive in due time. No going to Galilee is introduced here; it was exactly suited to Matthew's design. Here Jerusalem is prominent, which was avowedly most guilty. So repentance and remission of sins "were to be preached in his name, unto all the nations, beginning with Jerusalem." There too they were to tarry till clothed with power from on high. But thence, when the day arrived, He led them out over against Bethany, and blessed them with uplifted hands; and, while blessing them, He parted from them and was borne up into heaven.