And as they heard these things, he added and spoke a parable, because he was near to Jerusalem…
1. THAT CHRIST HATH A SPIRITUAL KINGDOM; for all things concur here which belong to a kingdom; here is a monarch, which is Christ; a law, which is the gospel; subjects, which are penitent believers; rewards and punishments, eternal life and eternal torment.
1. Here is a monarch, the mediator, whose kingdom it is. Originally it belongeth to God as God, but derivatively to Christ as Mediator (Psalm 2:6; Philippians 2:10, 11).
2. There are subjects. Before I tell you who they are, I must premise that there is a double consideration of subjects. Some are subjects by the grant of God, others are subjects not only by the grant of God, but their own consent.
3. The law of commerce between this sovereign and these subjects (for all kingdoms are governed by laws).
4. Rewards and punishments.
(1) For punishments. Though the proper intent and business of the gospel is to bless, and not to curse, yet, if men wilfully refuse the benefit of this dispensation, they are involved in the greatest curse that can be thought of (John 3:19).
(2) Rewards. The privileges of Christ's kingdom are exceeding great.
(a) For the present, pardon and peace.
(b) Hereafter eternal happiness.
II. That in all reason THIS KINGDOM SHOULD BE SUBMITTED UNTO —
1. Because of the right which Christ hath to govern. He hath an unquestionable title by the grant of God (Acts 2:36). And His own merit of purchase (Romans 14:9).
2. This new right and title is comfortable and beneficial to us.
3. It is by His kingly office that all Christ's benefits are applied to us. As a Priest, He purchased them for us; as a Prophet, He giveth us the knowledge of these mysteries; but as a King, He conveyeth them to us, overcoming our enemies, changing our natures, and inclining us to believe in Him, love Him, and obey Him (Acts 5:31).
4. Our actual personal title to all the benefits intended to us is mainly evidenced by our subjection to His regal authority.
5. We shall be unwillingly subject to His kingdom of power if we be not willingly subject to His kingdom of grace.
6. This government, which we so much stick at, is a blessed government. Christ Himself pleadeth this (Matthew 11:30), "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light." It is sweet in itself, and sweet in the issue.
III. WHAT MOVETH AND INDUCETH MEN SO MUCH TO DISLIKE CHRIST'S REIGN AND GOVERNMENT.
1. The evil constitution of men's souls. This government is contrary to men's carnal and brutish affections. It comes from an affectation of liberty. Men would be at their own dispose, and do whatsoever pleaseth them, without any to call them to an account (Psalm 12:4).
3. It proceeds from the nature of Christ's laws.
(1) They are spiritual.
(2) They require self-denial.Information.
1. It showeth us whence all the contentions arise which are raised about religion in the world. All the corrupt part of the world oppose His kingly office.
2. It informeth us how much they disserve Christianity that will hear of no injunctions of duty, or mention of the law of faith, or of the new covenant as a law. Besides that they take part with the carnal world, who cannot endure Christ's reign and government, they blot out all religion with one dash. If there be no law, there is no government, nor governor, no duty, no sin, no punishment nor reward; for these things necessarily infer one another.
3. It informeth us what a difficult thing it is to seat Christ in His spiritual throne, namely, in the hearts of all faithful Christians.
4. It informeth us of the reason why so many nations shut the door against Christ, or else grow weary of Him.
5. It informeth us how ill they deal with Christ who have only notional opinions about His authority, but never practically submit to it.Exhortation. If we would distinguish ourselves from the carnal world, let us resolve upon a thorough course of Christianity, owning Christ's authority in all things.
1. If we be to begin, and have hitherto stood against Christ, oh I let us repent and reform, and return to our obedience (Matthew 18:3).
2. Remember that faith is a great part of your works from first to last (John 6:27).
3. Your obedience must be delightful, and such as cometh from love (1 John 5:3).
4. Your obedience must be very circumspect and accurate (Hebrews 12:28).
5. It is a considerable part of our work to look for our wages, or expect the endless blessedness to which we are appointed (Titus 2:13).
(T. Manton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.