until the day He was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen.
whole scriptural impression. Especially difficult it is to connect the divinity of Christ with the revelation of the Divine Spirit, the Holy Ghost. The difficulty is in part occasioned by our failing to associate the Spirit, in the apostles and in the older prophets, with the Holy Ghost in Christ. The differences need to be carefully marked, but the samenesses also need to be brought to light. We do not fully realize that God can be in man; but precisely this is brought home to us by the teaching of the Holy Ghost in Christ, the man; and the representation that his human words and laws come to us with the perfection and authority stamped by the indwelling Holy Ghost. Scripture gives us three distinct representations of the relations of the Holy Spirit to Christ himself, to his miracles, and to his teachings.
I. THE SPIRIT IS REPRESENTED AS COMING TO CHRIST. Recall the scene of his baptism. The symbolic "dove" brooded over him, or settled on him, and the Spirit of God "came upon him." This took place at the very entrance upon his ministry, so that throughout his ministry we are to conceive of him as specially endowed, as one in whom dwelt the Spirit "above measure" (see Luke 4:1; John 3:34). The sense in which the Spirit came to Christ needs careful treatment. From his birth the Divine Spirit was his Spirit; and in this lies the deep mystery of his Godhead. The Spirit that came to him at his baptism was the specific Divine endowment for the ministry to which he was called, and so it and the descent of the Holy Ghost on the disciples at Pentecost help to explain each other; and they show that the Spirit may still be with us in a twofold sense. As "born again," he is our very life; as called to any work, he comes to us as a specific endowment for that work. It is, therefore, right to realize the Spirit's permanent dwelling in the believer, and at the same time right to pray that he may come to us for special needs.
II. THE SPIRIT IS REPRESENTED AS WORKING THROUGH CHRIST. This was our Lord's teaching concerning his miracles, and it lies at the basis of his solemn warning to the blaspheming Pharisees. The "sin against the Holy Ghost" is shown to be precisely this - declaring the miracles of Christ, which manifested the presence and power of the Holy Ghost, to have been wrought by devilish agencies. So vital is it to the Christian faith and life that we should recognize the Holy Ghost in Christ's mighty works, that the sin of the Pharisees is declared to be "beyond forgiveness." In measure the same is true of the witness and work of Christ's Church now. It is wrought in the power of the Holy Ghost. It is mighty only as this conviction dwells in the workers, and opens the hearts of those who receive the witness and are the subjects of the work. The one thing that Christ's Church needs is to be lifted up to the solemn and inspiring conviction - the Holy Ghost is with us.
III. THE SPIRIT IS REPRESENTED AS SPEAKING THROUGH CHRIST. This is set forth separately because, though, in Christ, miracle and teaching went together, teaching, speaking, preaching is the one great agency of his Church, and therefore we do well to see the truth in precise relation to it. To this point our Lord directed the attention of the disciples in the "upper chamber." All he had spoken to them had been "given him to speak," and just so they might be assured that the Divine Spirit would give them right and fitting words. And in our text the last injunctions and counsels and commands are directly traced to the Holy Ghost. But, properly regarded, the sphere of the Spirit's operation is the human will - the real source and spring of all activity, the center of the human vitality, From the teaching of what the Spirit was, beyond measure, in Christ, we may learn what the Holy Ghost can be, within measure, in man; what he may be to apostles and to us. In conclusion, show, practically, that the necessary condition of the abiding of the Holy Ghost in Christ was his perfect openness and entire submission to the Spirit's lead; and that this Christ-like openness is still the one condition of the Spirit's abiding and working in us. Impress the warnings of the apostles against the danger of resisting, quenching, and grieving the Holy Ghost. - R.T.
Men and brethren, this Scripture must needs have been fulfilled... concerning Judas.
I. LET US PREMISE ONE OR TWO OBSERVATIONS UPON THE CHARACTER OF JUDAS; for bad as this was, it may by possibility be misrepresented. We see no reason to believe that Judas had any design on the life of his Master, for, seeing the consequences of his treachery, he was tern with mortification and remorse. He might have supposed it highly improbable that, by placing Christ in the hands of His enemies, he would have been instrumental in His death; for the Jews had then no legal power of putting to death; and it was not likely that the Romans would pay attention to their accusations. Judas then may have calculated that all that could be done to Christ would be putting some restraint upon His person, and preventing Him from further propagating the religion, by whose precepts he himself was condemned.
II. We shall proceed, on this supposition, in TRACING THE ENDS WHICH THE TREACHERY SUBSERVED. You may imagine that the traitor seized a favourable opportunity of indulging his avarice, and of stopping the diffusion of a religion, which, as a money-grasping man, he must have cordially disliked, Now, if he had been possessed of any information which at all tended to invalidate its truth, how eagerly would he have adduced it, and the chief priests have received it! The mere putting to death was as nothing compared with the proving Him a deceiver. And yet Judas, eager as he was for money, and anxious to crush the new religion, has no intelligence to give which may disprove Christ's pretensions. This is amongst the strongest of proofs that Christ was "a teacher sent from God."
1. Our Lord's pretensions rested chiefly on His miracles, so that to show deceit in the one would have over. thrown the other. Infidelity will sometimes argue that there might have been collusion in the miracles. Now, had this been the case, Judas must have known it, and if Judas must have known, this would have been a fine piece of intelligence to have sold to the chief priests, and by communicating it he would at once have enriched himself and destroyed Christianity. Nay, he would have done a righteous deed; and while gratifying his avarice, he would have laid up no food for remorse.
2. The infant religion might have been assailed with at least equal power through the moral character of its Founder. And one of the most beautiful arguments by which we may defend Christianity is derived from the more than human purity of Christ. And if it were possible to invalidate in the least degree the truth that Christ "did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth," the whole system would fall to the ground. Mark, that "the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put Him to death; and they found none." Yet they were bargaining with Judas, one of His intimate associates, who must have been accurately acquainted with all the flaws, if such there were, in His character. In the silence of this traitor in selling his Master, we find irresistible attestation to the fact that Christ Jesus was indeed "a lamb without blemish and without spot."
3. The prophecies might have been frustrated. It had been declared, in Zechariah, that the Messiah should be sold for thirty pieces of silver, and this price be given to the potter. Now had the chief priest and scribes offered more than thirty pieces, or had Judas been contented with fewer, or had the price of blood, when returned by the traitor, been spent on the land of any but a potter, there would have been a defect in the evidence that Jesus was the Christ. And the infatuated rulers could not see this. Perhaps they drove a hard bargain with Judas, beating him down till they reached the exact sum which prophecy specified as the number of the pieces of metal. They never thought, when exulting that they had bought Jesus at the price of a slave, that they had completed the evidence of His being their king. The like may be said of the potter's field. With all their profligacy, they were scrupulous in touching the money; and therefore will they use it in proving Jesus the Christ. It shall buy the potter's field — the only purpose to which it can be turned; and after being the price of His blood it shall serve to prove His commission. The only prophecies with which infidelity could be successfully pressed are those in which it is impossible that the parties professedly interested should have planned or procured the accomplishment. Nothing can more directly answer this commission than those which have reference to the compact with Judas. Conclusion: This is our consolation whilst "the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing" — we know that the will of our Creator shall take effect. Hostility and malice and treachery shall prevail nothing against the Lord and His Christ. They shall but defend and consolidate the Church. Judas Iscariot vindicates the Master he betrayed, and sustains the cause from which he apostatised. Therefore need we be nothing dismayed if the wicked combine to oppose Christianity. There is one that sits above the tempest, and so directs it, that its fury shall be spent on those by whom it has been raised.
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
I. THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO TAKE CHRIST.
1. Faith takes Jesus. It takes Christ at His word.(1) In His promises.(2) In His warnings, when He directs the life by those careful provisions and restrictions which are found everywhere in His Word.(3) In His precepts, when it strives to obey that which He commands, to submit to that which He appoints.(4) In His person.(5) In His covenanted presence in this world by the Spirit.
2. Falseness takes Christ. Inspired by hatred of His words, by restlessness under His control, by uncongeniality with His spirit, it cries, "I will not; have this man to reign over me." And when that spirit of opposition is developed there is no mode of destruction too vile for falseness to accept. The world is full of those who are controlled by this hostility. Opposition to Jesus among men only lacks leadership; and whensoever such a guide is found they covenant with him even to a costly sacrifice if he will deliver the Jesus of the Church into their hands. Pilate's timidity, and Herod's overweening, weak curiosity, are bad enough in condemning Christ; but He says, "He that delivered Me unto thee hath the greater sin." It is not enough that the Judas who guides this hostility should plead his own freedom from violence. He adds meanness to his other sins when he shirks the responsibility he has assumed. There are multitudes who need no accusers before God's throne. There are those who confess that they are opponents, and mean to be such, and whose only apology is, "At all events, we do not profess to be anything better," and in God's book of remembrance their apology becomes their accusation. Then there are those who say, "We know the truth perfectly." Then, brother, if thy life is still against Christ, when thou shalt stand before that terrible bar thine own faith shall testify against thee. Of all dooms there is none so dreadful as that of him who strives to hold the privilege of professed discipleship, and yet is a guide to them that take Jesus.
II. THREE STEPS WHICH SUCH A GUIDE MUST TAKE. Only three? How short a journey it is! David sums it up with other words in his first Psalm. The likeness of Judas' life in these three respects can be traced, I fear, in that of some of us.
1. He counsels with Jesus' enemies.
2. He reveals His hiding.
3. He perverts a profession of affection.
(S. H. Tyng, D. D.)He foreknew nothing. Volition is as perfect, the will is as unfettered in the one case as it would or could be in the other. Simple foreknowledge, as distinguished from absolute predestination, is founded on free agency, and in no way does it influence or control it. The very certainty by which it is characterised is the result of free agents acting as they please, of rational intelligences ranging at large in the wide field of unrestrained liberty. If men are not saved, it is because they refuse to be saved, and for no other cause; and hence we may well ask, Where is the humility, where is the wisdom, where is the piety, of persons disquieting their minds, because their Creator is an omniscient Intelligence, and because the attribute of omniscience involves foreknowledge and certainty? You will observe that I have confined myself to the point of foreknowledge, leaving that of predestination, excepting incidently, untouched. I have done so because I consider it as irrelevant to the case of Judas, and not propounded, either directly or by implication, in the text. Predestination stands closely connected with sovereignty; and sovereignty has exclusively to do with the bestowment of good; exerting itself solely in acts of beneficence; decreeing blessings, not curses; ordaining men to life, not dooming them to destruction. At the same time, I cannot refrain from saying, in reference to predestination, that, in a practical point of view, it presents, so far as I can judge, no greater difficulties to the mind than those connected with foreknowledge. It is equally consistent with the freedom of man as a rational agent, with the universality of gospel offers, and with the fulness of gospel grace. Conclusion:
1. The subject we have considered constitutes a loud call to humanity. Instead of cavilling at difficulties, let us resolve them into the imperfection of mortal vision; and, instead of boasting our mental powers, let us lie prostrate at the Divine footstool, as those who feel their own littleness, and are sensible how blind and ignorant they are, in reference to heavenly things.
2. The subject should guard us against the error of suffering ourselves to be fettered by any human system. Let promises and precepts, doctrines, and duties, decrees and responsibilities, occupy the places assigned to them on the page of Scripture; and what God has joined together let not the presumptuous hand of man dare to put asunder.
3. The contemplation of God's foreknowledge should never be engaged in otherwise than in close connection with gospel promises and gospel precepts. God knows no such character as a sincere inquirer shut out from mercy's gate; and sooner shall the sun be shorn of its beams — sooner shall the rainbow discharge its beauteous colours — than a praying soul shall perish, because Divine foresight takes cognizance of human destination.
4. The doctrine of Divine foreknowledge, as taught in Scripture directly and inferentially, tends, when duly apprehended, through a spiritual medium, both to impart comfort, and to prompt exertion. In proportion as faith and hope ripen into assurance, the soul is perceptibly strengthened for the performance of its active duties; and on the same principle, the certainty of Divine foreknowledge, irradiated with the bright beams of evangelical promise, so stimulates the believer's energies Chat he becomes "ready to every good work" — "steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord."
(Wm. Knight, M. A.)
1. How great a sin avarice is, and to what a depth of wickedness it precipitates a man.
2. How deep the fall of those who fall from great grace and from high privileges.
3. How grievous the sin of desperation. It was this which made the difference between the sin of the traitor and that of the denier.
(Cornelius Lapide.)cf. Josephus, "Jewish Wars," 6:1-6), a fact not contradictory, but additional, to the circumstances mentioned in Matthew 27:5, where the word is the same as that used by the LXX. concerning Ahithophel. Theophylact explained that the rope broke, Judas having flung himself off some height. It will be remembered that ten thousand Idumean captives, cast down from the top of a rock, after Amaziah's victory, "were all broken in pieces" (2 Chronicles 25:12).
(C. Geikie, D. D.)Matthew 27:8), and, according to received tradition, stained with the blood of Judas. The name would remind Jewish readers of that bloodshedding, the consequences of which had been invoked on themselves and on their children. The place commonly shown as Aceldama has ever been famous on account of the sarcophagus virtue possessed by the earth in hastening the decay of dead bodies. Shiploads of it were carried to the Campo Santo in Pisa.
1. This sin works ruin, first, by providing an unhealthful stimulant.
2. Again, this sin works ruin by killing industry.
3. Furthermore, this sin is the source of dishonesty.
4. Notice also the effect of this crime upon domestic happiness.
(T. de Witt Talmage.)Psalm 69:25, with some compression of LXX., and a variation in the number of the pronoun from plural to singular, by which Judas is taken as a representative of Christ's enemies. This Psalm, quoted in the New Testament oftener than any other, except 22., is pre-eminently Messianic. Ver. 9 is applied to Christ by John (John 2:17); the words immediately following by Paul (Romans 15:3); and the fulfilment of ver. 21 is noted by John (John 19:28-30). The second quotation is taken with verbal exactness from LXX., Psalm 109:8 — the Iscariot Psalm. The conduct of Judas warranted the identifying him with Doeg and Ahithophel. David and his enemies are treated as types of Christ and His enemies. And after the exposition given by our Lord (Luke 24:44), it is out of the question to impute to Peter misunderstanding or misapplication.
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