Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death.Foreign Missions
The incident from which our text is taken is distinguished above all others by the fact that Jesus mentions it as one that shall be held in world-wide and undying remembrance (v. 9). What is there said has been realized wherever missions have been established.
But, unfortunately, the obvious moral of the story has not prevented the application to foreign missions of a question, oft repeated and loud sounding, which amounts almost in so many words to the question of Judas, 'Why was this waste?'
I. Its Apparent Justification.
a. In the face of home needs, is it not a waste that thousands are spent yearly on missions to the heathen?
b. In face of the great mortality in Africa and elsewhere, is it not a waste to be constantly sending out missionaries to these fever-stricken countries?
c. In face of the great dearth of faithful pastors at home, is it not a waste to send so many capable and trained clergy to places where their services are not appreciated?
II. Its Absolute Injustice.
a. The motive of the question is entirely wrong: as shown by Judas himself, who was not concerned on account of the poor, but was a thief (John 12:6). Some opponents of missions are actuated by selfishness, and so ask this question simply out of a spint of narrowness, not because of their zeal for the glory of God's kingdom.
b. The very idea itself is wrong, viz. that Mary's offering was lost, wasted, and thus profitless. The most convincing instance of this is the life, sufferings, and death of Jesus Himself; thirty years in the quiet of Nazareth, only three years of public life, hidden away in a little corner of the earth—what a waste of a beautiful life! But see John 12:24. Though Mary's example is very similar, so-called waste in God's service is justified.
c. The question is especially wrong when asked in connexion with missions to the heathen. While the amount spent in this way is compared with other objects of expenditure—war, luxuries, vice—it is a mere trifle, and it must be remembered it brings a fruitful return in increased scientific knowledge, commerce, and colonial extension. The support of foreign missions has a beneficial effect on the Church at home by deepening the feeling of devotion, and the rich blessings of all sorts reflected.
III. Similarly as to the Deaths of Missionaries in the Field.
a. No one exclaims against a man who accepts a lucrative trade or official appointment to a pestilential climate, or is ordered off on military service to a post of danger.
b. The number of missionary deaths is as nothing compared with the losses in even a minor war.
c. The deaths of missionaries stimulate the devotion of the Church; e.g. how many men and women have been led to give themselves to God's work at home as well as abroad by such deaths as those of Livingstone, Patteson, and Hannington?
References.—XIV. 4-6.—'Plain Sermons' by contributors to the Tracts for the Times, vol. x. p. 98. XIV. 5—D. T. Young, The Travels of the Heart, p. 69. XIV. 6.—J. Coats Shanks, God Within Us, p. 10. John Clifford, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lix. 1901, p. 79. G. W. Herbert, Notes of Sermons, p. 76. Bishop F. Temple, Church Times, vol. xxviii. 1890, p. 1060. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxi. No. 1834. XIV. 6-9.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Mark IX.-XVI. p. 162.
The Passing of Opportunity
Jesus is a continual surprise. You could never guess, if you did not know, how He will reply to a disputant, or what He will do in a dilemma. He always does the original thing, says the unexpected thing. His deeds and words are a source of astonishment even to the disciples who know and love Him best Those whom they rebuke, He welcomes; and on those with whom they are indignant, He bestows the loftiest and most deliberate commendation. Verily His ways are not as their ways, and perhaps still less as our ways.
No one could be long with Jesus without learning that He loved the poor; and it is hardly surprising that when a woman, in the wealth of her devotion, broke a box of very precious ointment and poured it over the head of her Lord, the disciples were indignant and harsh. They counted her act one of foolish extravagance and condemned it in words which we might almost imagine were the Master's own. 'What is the good of such waste?' they say; 'for this ointment might have been sold and given to the poor.' It would not have been hard to believe that these were words of Jesus' own—words of mild rebuke to the eager woman who had forgotten how dear the poor were to Jesus. But no! The surprise is here as everywhere. What Jesus said was very different: 'Leave her alone; it is a beautiful work that she has wrought upon Me. For ye have the poor with you all the time, but Me ye have not always.' Jesus has not forgotten His love for the poor, nor has He forgotten how much might be done with the money; but the poor might be helped at any time, while if He was to be thus honoured, it must be now or never. There is a time to sell the precious ointment, and a time to break the box and pour its treasure over the head of Jesus; and happy is he who knows these times and seasons.
I. Jesus is here enunciating, in His own inimitable way, the great truth of the relative value of opportunities. The good is not the best; and His words suggest that the man who would do homage to the best must be daring enough to rise above the temptation to be merely good, or to govern his life by the standards even of a noble convention. Jesus came not to be ministered unto, yet He was glad, very glad, when such spontaneous ministrations came. Though meek and lowly, He unhesitatingly accepted the costliest service, and counted Himself worthy of the noblest that men could offer. He loved the poor, but to Him life had other than economic aspects; and amid the cruelty, suspicion and misunderstanding that clouded the last of His earthly days, He welcomed with peculiar joy the daring generosity of this woman's heart.
The great words in which Jesus justified the breaking of the alabaster box in His own behalf embody a principle which should run through all wise life. The words were these: 'The poor ye have always with you, but Me ye have not always'. The principle is this—that opportunities differ in value and importance, and that wisdom consists in reading their value aright and in selecting the one which will not be always with us. Certain things may be done at any time; certain other things must be done now or never. Certain privileges may be enjoyed at any time; certain others, now or never. Every life is confronted at many points with this strange contrast—between the ordinary opportunities which come with every day, and some great opportunity which, if not grasped at once, may vanish for ever. The poor and Jesus! There is the living contrast which is symbolical of so much in our life. The presence of the poor we can depend on; the pathetic commonplace is ever about us; but unique opportunities are not always with us. They are rare. Sometimes they come to us but once; and though we should wait for a century, they would never come again.
II. Every life, however humble, has unique opportunities of its own. The Sabbath Day—do we use it for the better things? The holiday—do we let it bring us nearer the God of the mountains and the sea? The rare opportunities of travel—what do we do with them? Are we of those who would rather read a newspaper than watch a brilliant sunset? Common days and common sights will come again; but to him that hath ears to hear, every unique opportunity rings out the reminder, 'The poor ye have always with you, but Me ye have not always'. And if we cannot distinguish between opportunities, we have yet much to learn from Jesus.
In its primary reference, this word of Jesus referred not to getting, but to doing good; and here, as there, opportunities differ. It is not always easy, of course, to judge the real significance of an opportunity. A whole career has often been determined by a choice which at the moment seemed trivial. At the same time, there are opportunities whose greatness no sane man would dispute; and it would be well for those whose life is before them to learn to understand and value how much is theirs and how soon and how surely it will pass away. It is too late to break the alabaster box when Jesus is in His grave.
—J. E. McFadyen, The City With Foundations, p. 63.
References.—XIV. 8.—T. Binney, Sermons Preached in the King's Weigh-Home Chapel, p. 188. J. Page Hopps, Sermons of Sympathy, p. 53. H. Bushnell, Christ and His Salvation, p. 39. E. R. Wilberforce, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lviii. 1900, p. 305. J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. i. p. 252. XIV. 9.—T. T. Munger, The Freedom of Faith, p. 109. Ambrose Shepherd, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxvi. 1904, p. 53.
The Battle of Chalons, where Hunland met Rome, and the earth was played for, at sword-fence, by two earth-bestriding giants, the sweep of whose swords cut kingdoms in pieces, hovers dim in the languid remembrance of a few; while the poor police-court treachery of a wretched Iscariot, transacted in the wretched land of Palestine, centuries earlier, for thirty pieces of silver, lives clear in the heads, in the hearts of all men.
—Carlyle in History Again.
The Goodman of the House
Let us take the 'Goodman of the House'. That he was well-to-do seems clear, and though there is no hint of his identity in the narrative, many would like to feel that it was the Evangelist John Mark himself, or at any rate the head of the household of which St. Mark and his mother, who was apparently a widow, formed a part.
I. The first thing we notice about the man is this: that he was an unknown friend of Jesus, unknown, that is to say, to the other disciples, as we see from the directions given to St. Peter and St. John. The Master tells them to follow a man bearing a pitcher of water.
II. If the goodman was unknown, he was also unassuming. He does not stand upon his dignity, nay, he is quite willing to pass into the background when he has done his Lord's command. He prepared the room, but there was no place for him in it. His part is to remain alone outside in the passage, to watch that his Guest should be undisturbed.
III. Notice how prepared the good man was for the Lord's message, and how willingly he responded to it. He must have made the offer to Jesus some time before. Can we not almost see the smile of happy contentment on his face when he heard the words, 'The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber where I shall eat the passover with My disciples?' His preparations had not been made in vain—the Upper Room was 'furnished and prepared'—all was ready for the Master's use.
IV. May we not think that the goodman had a greater reward still? If his house really did contain the Upper Room in which the Risen Christ appeared, what a joy to feel that in his house the disciples found their Easter Peace. And may he not have had a share? One Evangelist distinctly tells us that others were gathered with the ten Apostles where the Risen Lord appeared on that first Easter night. Surely we may hope and believe that the goodman this time no longer remained outside the door, but was admitted to that happy circle of rejoicing friends, unknown no longer, but welcomed by the others, and greeted by the Lord Himself.
—W. V. Mason, Short Addresses for Holy Week, p. 9.
References.—XIV. 12-16.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Mark IX.-XVI. p. 171. XIV. 12-26.—Ibid. p. 175. XIV. 13, 14, 15.—C. S. Macfarland, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lvi. 1899, p. 344. XIV. 14.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xiii. No. 785. XIV. 19.—S. Baring-Gould, Village Preaching for a Year, vol. i. p. 341. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Mark IX.-XVI. p. 182.
I. Would Christ have chosen Judas as His disciple if he was wholly bad? No; we lose the significance of the lesson of Judas if we do not realize that Judas had his noble side. (1) There must have been something noble in Judas to have made him throw in his lot with the disciples as they went homeless and houseless and almost penniless up and down Judaea. (2) There is not the slightest reason to suppose but that Judas himself took part in spiritual work—the disciples went out; they preached in different villages the Gospel. (3) You find that our Lord Jesus Christ was always appealing to the good side of Judas; He never gave him up even to the last. (4) When we compare the dealings of God with men, we find that He could not possibly have dealt with Judas otherwise than He has dealt with other men; the history of human nature is the same in every generation, and you may be quite certain that in tracing the history of Judas we are tracing the history of a man who had, and displayed before the eyes of the world, a devolution of character, the devolution of which is the greatest lesson to ourselves.
II. What was it that turned a man of probably naturally noble character, with aspirations which made him join a band of poor men standing for the right, into the traitor Judas?
It was the self-deception of one dominant idea, a dominant idea that was fostered and increased by the very things which should have crushed it out of him in the discipline of his character. He was an able man, but, with that business ability which distinguished Judas, he had what so often goes with it—a love of power and a love of money. It became a dominant idea in the mind of Judas to become the treasurer of a great kingdom, and as the idea grew with him, so the impatience became greater with the ways of his Master. When he pressed the fatal kiss upon His Master, probably to the very last he thought he was doing it for His good, and it was not until the lightning flash came at last when his Master was really taken, when the Son of Man was really betrayed, when He was led away and did nothing for His rescue—then the lightning flash showed Judas where he was, the veil slipped from his eyes, conscience had its revenge, and he departed and went and hanged himself.
III. Can there be at this moment some terrible self-deception which may be blinding our eyes, and leading us on almost against our own knowledge to betray our Lord?
1. What self-deception is there about what is called friendship?
2. So again with our churchmanship or our religion.
3. Whom are you working for really in your religious life?
—Bishop Winnington Ingram, Addresses in Holy Week in St. Paul's Cathedral, 1902, p. 7.
References.—XIV. 22-24.—James Vaughan, Fifty Sermons (9th Series), p. 180. XIV. 23.—E. S. Talbot, Some Titles and Aspects of the Eucharist, p. 1.
After moralizing on the pagan uses of the olive-tree, 'which has triple significance from the use of its oil for sacred anointing, for strength in the gymnasium, and for light,' Ruskin finishes by bidding his readers, 'above and beyond all, think how strange it is that the chief Agonia of humanity, and the chief giving of strength from heaven for its fulfilment, should have been under its night shadow in Palestine.'
—Queen of the Air, sec. 38.
It was when bowed down beneath this internal conflict that Dante, one day, wandering across the mountains of Lunigiana, knocked at the gate of the monastery of Santa Croce del Corvo. The monk who opened it read at a single glance all the long history of misery on the pale thin face of the stranger. 'What do you seek here?' said he. Dante gazed around, with one of those looks in which the soul speaks, and slowly replied, 'Peace,' Pacem. There is in this scene something that leads our thoughts up to the eternal type of all martyrs of genius and love, praying to His Father, to the Father of All, upon the Mount of Olives, for peace of soul and strength for the sacrifice.
—From Mazzini's essay on The Minor Works of Dante.
Here was a great beautiful chamber for him! And what better bed than God's heather! What better canopy than God's high star-studded night, with its airy curtains of dusky darkness! Was it not in this very chamber that Jacob had his vision of the mighty stair leading up to the gate of heaven? Was it not under such a roof that Jesus spent His last nights on earth? For comfort and protection he sought no human shelter, but went out into His Father's house—out under His Father's heaven! The small and narrow were not to Him the safe, but the wide and open. Thick walls cover men from the enemies they fear; the Lord sought space. There the angels come and go more freely than where roofs gather distrust.
—G. Macdonald in the third chapter of Donald Grant.
The Message of Olivet
Olivet took its name from the olive-trees which grew in luxuriant abundance upon its slopes. The Jews also called it the Mountain of Three Lights.
Strangely enough, too, the oil obtained from the olive-trees had, in ancient time, a triple significance—that of sacredness, strength, and light. More important still is the truth, as Ruskin puts it, 'that the chief Agonia of humanity, and the chief giving of strength from heaven for its fulfilment' was worked out under the night shade of the olives. For Christ's agony in the garden has endowed the human race with entirely new ideas of sacredness, strength, and light.
I. Sacredness.—The oil from the olive-trees was used for purposes of sacred anointing. Christ's agony under the olives bequeathed to men a fresh and revolutionary conception of the inspiring sacredness of the human soul. Since Christ in His matchless sorrow raised to His lips the brimming cup of man's iniquity, we may rest assured that each one of us is of the greatest value to Him. The intensity of His Passion is the measure, on the one hand, of man's sin—on the other hand, of the greatness of redeeming love. And the revelation of that love bequeathed a new conception of the sacredness of life. Suffering is then seen to be the refining process—the method by which the sacred life finds its highest realization.
II. Strength.—A second use for the oil was found in the gymnasiums. Hence the olive-tree became also an emblem of strength.
But how does the agony of Christ convey a message of strength? Never was there such a wrestling in prayer as in the garden, and never was there such a victory won. And it conveys a message of strength to us because it reveals the unlimited resources that await the beseechings of prayer. Christ therefore has shown us, where, and how, to obtain strength in our Gethsemane trials, by Himself leading us to the supreme source of all power. Your season of anguish is your period of opportunity.
III. Light.—The oil procured from the olive-trees was also used for purposes of illumination. The oil for the Temple lamps was brought from the Mount of Olives. Hence the olive-trees became also an emblem of light. But how does that awful gloom of the agony suggest a lesson in light? I think it is in this wise. When the surging multitude invaded the sanctuary of the Master's devotions, and the profane signal of Judas had been given, Jesus stepped forth and confronted the throng. Then we read 'They went backward and fell to the ground'. What caused the retreat? It was the sudden vision of that face, gleaming with the pure light of heaven. The faces of men who walk and talk with God are lit up with the glowing reflection of Divine beauty.
—W. Gilbert, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lxxii. 1907, p. 100.
References.—XIV. 26.—R. J. Campbell, Sermons Addressed to Individuals, p. 23. J. Baines, Twenty Sermons, p. 125. XIV. 27-31.—W. H. Simcox, The Cessation of Prophecy, p. 259. XIV. 29.—C. G. Lang, Church Times, vol. xlvi. 1901, p. 25; see also Christian World Pulpit, vol. lx. 1901, p. 4.
He who tells a lie is not sensible how great a task he undertakes; for he must be forced to invent twenty more to maintain that one.
The moment we cross the primitive border of equity, all things seem to fail us; one falsehood gives rise to a hundred, and treachery returns to us through a thousand channels.
In his Microcosmography Earle describes a staid man as 'one that thinks what he does, and does what he says, and foresees what he may do before he purposes. One whose 'If I can' is more than another's assurance; and his doubtful tale before some men's protestations: that is not too hasty to say after others.
Let us not be content with saying, 'Lord, Lord,' without 'doing the thing which He says'. The husbandman's son who said, 'I go, sir,' yet went not to the vineyard, gained nothing by his fair words. One secret act of self-denial, one sacrifice of inclination to duty, is worth all the mere good thoughts, warm feelings, passionate prayers, in which idle people indulge themselves. It will give us more comfort on our death-bed to reflect on one deed of self-denying mercy, purity, or humility, than to recollect the shedding of many tears, and the recurrence of frequent transports, and much spiritual exultation. Those latter feelings come and go; they may or may not accompany hearty obedience; they are never tests of it; but good actions are the fruits of faith, and assure us that we are Christ's; they comfort us as an evidence of the Spirit working in us. By them we shall be judged at the last day; and though they have no worth in themselves, by reason of that infection of sin which gives its character to everything we do, yet they will be accepted for His sake, who bore the agony in the garden, and suffered as a sinner on the Cross.
—J. H. Newman.
References.—XIV. 31.—J. H. Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, vol. i. p. 177. XIV. 32-42.—J. Laidlaw, Studies in the Parables, p. 177. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Mark IX.-XVI. p. 187. XIV. 37.—Ibid. p. 194. XIV. 38.—Reuen Thomas, Christian World Pulpit, vol. liv. 1898, p. 342. XIV. 41.—J. Addison Alexander, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, p. 305. J. L. Fraser Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlviii. 1895, p. 408. J. M. Neale, Sermons on the Blessed Sacrament, pp. 103, 113, 124, 133, 138. XIV. 42; XV. 41.—W. H. Bennett, The Life of Christ According to St. Mark, p. 232. XIV. 43-54. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Mark IX.-XVI. p. 203.
The deed of Judas has been attributed to far-reaching views, and the wish to hasten his Master's declaration of Himself as the Messiah. Perhaps—I will not maintain the contrary—Judas represented his wishes in this way, and felt justified in his traitorous kiss; but my belief that he deserved, metaphorically speaking, to be where Dante saw him, at the bottom of the Malebolge, would not be the less strong because he was not convinced that his action was detestable. I refuse to accept a man who has the stomach for such treachery as a hero impatient for the redemption of mankind and for the beginning of a reign when the kisses shall be those of peace and righteousness.
—George Eliot in Theophrastus Such.
References.—XIV. 46.—C. Stanford, The Evening of Our Lord's Ministry, p. 191. XIV. 46, 47.—W. M. Taylor, The Miracles of Our Saviour, p. 426.
Charles Lamb, in his essay on The South-Sea House, describes the accountant, John Tipp, as endowed by nature 'with a sufficient measure of the principle of self-preservation. Tipp never mounted the box of a stage-coach in his life; or leaned against the rail of a balcony; or walked upon the ridge of a parapet; or looked down a precipice; or let off a gun; or went upon a water-party; or would willingly let you go, if he could have helped it; neither was it recorded of him that for lucre, or for intimidation, he ever forsook friend or principle.'
This life was to Johnson, and to almost all the earnest thinkers of his time, unhappy in itself—a schoolhouse where the rod was ever active. But in its unhappiness Johnson found no power that could overthrow his faith. To him this world was but a place of education for the happiness that would be to the faithful in the world to come. There was a great dread for him in the question, who shall be found faithful?
—Professor Henry Morley.
A Certain Young Man
'Who was this young man?' A good many guesses have been made. Some think that he was only an ordinary bystander who had nothing to do with Jesus. Some have thought it was the owner of the garden himself, who, sleeping hard by, heard the noise and tumult, and hurried out in haste to see what it was all about Others say it may have been Lazarus of Bethany. The most likely guess is that it was the Evangelist, John Mark.
I. Let us think first of the young man as simply being an ordinary bystander, curious as to the cause of the disturbance, and thus showing greater bravery than our Lord's own followers by hovering on the outskirts of the crowd. It is an instance of the courage of curiosity. Now curiosity as to things unlawful and forbidden is, we need hardly say, wrong and sinful, and the courage that may spring from it is a thing not to be desired. But pass to a higher plane where all is purged, leave the mere animal, and think rather of the spiritual, and we shall find something corresponding to the courage of curiosity, which is higher and nobler both in scope and aim than that could ever be, but yet something which seems to develop quite naturally from it, and this is surely the fortitude of faith. As curiosity brings out brute courage, so does faith bring out that true fortitude which is indeed a Christian virtue. Could the certain young man's curiosity only have become faith in Jesus, then the little courage which he showed might have passed into such fortitude as would have led him even to the Cross itself, and if the disciples had possessed that faith in Jesus which, after all their advantages they should have gained, they would not have turned cowards and fled when danger came.
II. If the 'certain young man' were St. Mark, or some other one of the friends of Jesus, we have a lesson which should come home with especial force to us professing Church people. All the disciples fled, this unknown friend remained at any rate for a short time behind. How often, alas! do we see the same thing happening now. The professing Christian, it may be the regular communicant, who ought to stand up bravely for what is just and true, is put to shame by the man who makes no Christian profession, but whose actions are so clearly good. Why is it? A passage from the late Mr. Holden's book, The Holy Ghost the Comforter, supplies the answer. The reason is because Christians forget to use the gift of Ghostly strength. Look at the disciples who now fled and forsook their Lord, and call them cowards if you will, but look a few weeks later at these same men, look at them after Pentecost, and what a change we find. What has wrought the change? There is only one answer: the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room. And all through the history of the Church you will find the same thing true. The cross is borne, the temptation is overcome, the victory is won, the crown is gained, because men have learnt to trust in a power greater than their own, the gift of Ghostly strength.
—W. V. Mason, Short Addresses for Holy Week, p. 20.
References.—XIV. 50-62.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. liii. No. 3023. XIV. 51, 52.—B. D. Johns, Pulpit Notes, p. 146. XIV. 53.—C. Stanford, The Evening of Our Lord's Ministry, p. 216. J. Baines, Twenty Sermons, p. 107. XIV. 55-65.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Mark IX.-XVI. p. 211.
Stopping Places in Evidence
Let us take this in a way that is not usually taken; let us regard the question as equal to: Why not stop the case here? why add to the edifice? That is an illustration of what occurs in our own day in many a legal instance; the judge inquires whether the jury cares to proceed any further in the matter, and the jury notifies to the judge that they have heard enough, they have made up their minds, and so far as they are concerned they wish an end to be put to the case. I have thought that this might well apply to Christ and His Gospel, the question being asked, not with a view to the condemnation of Christ, but with a view to His being accredited and glorified as the Saviour of the world. Why call any more witnesses? why publish any more volumes of apologetics? is not the case proved? why add to the witness, the testimony, and the vindication? I think Jesus Christ is entitled to have this question asked. The subject is the stopping places in Christian evidences. What further need have we? why go on with the case? may it not be well settled at this point?
I. Apply that inquiry to the whole range of Christian thought. Apply it to the Bible.
Let us turn the high priest's question the other way, and if men will only be faithful to their own spiritual apprehension and appreciation of the Bible, and repay the Bible what it has already paid them, we shall terminate many a foolish controversy. I want Christians and Bible students to speak up for their Bible; do not make a secret letter of it, but say, 'This is the Book that helped me; whether it can help you or not I say not, but this is the Book that made a man of me'. More testimony, personal testimony, experiential testimony, and the case is established for ever.
II. Well, suppose it is, in the second place, the Gospel that is on its defence, where do you join the Gospel? One man says: 'I really cared nothing about the Gospel as an energetic and reclamatory force until I saw what it did in our neighbourhood'. What did it do in your neighbourhood? 'It made a new neighbourhood of it; the wilderness blossomed as the rose, and the wayside is as a garden of God.' Ah, how so? 'The Gospel was preached in its simplicity, power, and holy unction; man after man, woman after woman fell before its gracious power and accepted it.' And what became of them? 'Their very houses were cleaner, and their children were more attended to, and all they had to do was sweeter, wholesomer, gladder, diviner.' Well? and the man whom I am inquiring of answers, 'I could not resist a Gospel that has done such wonderful things in my own neighbourhood'. That will do; what further need have we of witnesses? stop the case there, declare what you have seen, yield to facts.
III. Well, what do you say about the effect of the Gospel upon heathen and barbarous countries? Marvellous, beyond all imagining. The Gospel has gone into a kind of hell, it has gone amongst people who have never heard of its existence, who have never heard of the Cross and the blood and the offer of redemption, and these men have been threatened, many of them have been murdered, and still the Gospel has gone on repeating its sweet, tender, redeeming story; and places that have been embruited and bedevilled, places that have been next door to hell, if not part of its very centre, have become civilized, evangelized, and now there are schools and homes and churches, and the altar of God is beloved and adored, and the Cross gathers up into its grim symbolism all that is holy, inspiring, and blessing in human life. What further need have we of witnesses? None, stop the case.
—Joseph Parker, City Temple Pulpit, vol. v. p. 165.
References.—XIV. 63, 64.—Gordon Calthrop, Penny Pulpit, No. 798, vol. xiv. p. 82. XIV. 64.—R. Winterbotham, Sermons Preached in Holy Trinity Church, Edinburgh, p. 175. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxviii. No. 1643. XIV. 67.—J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in Sackville College Chapel, vol. i. p. 219. XIV. 68.—C. Jerdan, Pastures of Tender Grass, p. 387. XIV. 69, 75.—G. Jackson, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lviii. 1900, p. 284. XIV. 71.—T. H. Archer-Hind, Some Scripture Problems and their Solution, p. 19. XIV. 72.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlvii. No. 2735. XV. 1-4.—R. M. Benson, The Life Beyond the Grave, p. 53. XV. 1-20.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—St. Mark IX.-XVI. p. 219.
But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.
And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.
And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?
For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.
For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.
She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.
Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.
And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.
And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.
And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?
And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him.
And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?
And he will shew you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us.
And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.
And in the evening he cometh with the twelve.
And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.
And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I?
And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish.
The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.
And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.
And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.
And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.
Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.
And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.
But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.
But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.
And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.
But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.
And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.
And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy;
And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.
And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?
Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.
And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words.
And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him.
And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.
And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.
And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely.
And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him.
And they laid their hands on him, and took him.
And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me?
I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled.
And they all forsook him, and fled.
And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him:
And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.
And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.
And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.
And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none.
For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together.
And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying,
We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.
But neither so did their witness agree together.
And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?
But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?
And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses?
Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.
And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.
And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest:
And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth.
But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.
And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them.
And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto.
But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.
And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.