Christ's Promise the Support of His Despised Ministers
Luke 21:7-28
And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?…

I. THE PREDICTION here implied, viz., that the apostles should not fail of adversaries to oppose them. This, indeed, was to be no small argument of their apostolic mission. For such as engage themselves in the service of that grating, displeasing thing to the world, called "truth," must expect the natural issue and consequent of truth, which is a mortal hatred of those who speak it. The next thing offering itself to our consideration is, how this enmity (especially in the apostles' time, which the words chiefly point at) was to exert itself.

1. For gainsaying; the word in the Greek is ἀντειπε1FC0;ιν, importing opposition in disputation, with an endeavour to repel or confute what is alleged by another. And thus we find the apostles frequently and fiercely encountered by adversaries of very different persuasions, by Jews and Gentiles, and the several sects belonging to both. They were perpetually railed at as deceivers and impostors, even while they were endeavouring to undeceive the world from those wretched impostures and delusions which had so long and so miserably bewitched it: in a word, they were like physicians exchanging cures for curses; and reviled and abused by their froward patients, while they were doing all they could for their health and recovery. But —

2. The other branch of the opposition designed against the apostles and ministers of Christ is expressed by "resisting"; a word importing a much more substantial kind of enmity than that which only spends at the mouth, and shows itself in froth and noise; an enmity which, instead of scoffs and verbal assaults, should encounter them with all that art could contrive or violence execute; with whips and scourges, cross and gibbet, swords and axes; and though bare words draw no blood, yet these, to be sure, would. And such were the weapons with which they were to act their butcheries upon the Christians; till at length, through all the sorts and degrees of cruelty, the same martyrdom should both crown and conclude their sufferings together.


1. For the thing promised, "a mouth and wisdom", that is, an ability of speaking, joined with an equal prudence in action and behaviour. Which things we will consider first singly, and then in conjunction. And —

(1) For the ability of speaking conferred upon the apostles. It was highly requisite that those who were to be the interpreters and spokesmen of heaven should have a rhetoric taught them from thence too; and as much beyond any that could be taught them by human rules and art as the subjects they were to speak of surpassed the subject of all human eloquence. Now this ability of speech, I conceive, was to be attended with these three properties of it.

(a)  Great clearness and perspicuity.

(b)  An unaffected plainness and simplicity.

(c)  A suitable and becoming zeal or fervour.

(2) The other and next is that of wisdom, the noblest endowment of the mind of man of all others, of an endless extent, and of a boundless comprehension; and, in a word, the liveliest representation that a created nature can afford of the infinity of its Maker. And this, as it is in men, is properly the great principle, directing them how to demean themselves in all the particular passages, accidents, and occasions of human life, which being in the full compass of them indeed innumerable, to recount and treat of them all here would be next to impossible; but as for that wisdom which most peculiarly belonged to the first dispensers and ministers of the gospel, I shall only mention two instances, in which it most remarkably shows itself, namely —

(a) That they opposed neither things nor persons, any further than they stood in their way in the ministry of it. On the contrary, "I am become all things to all men," says St. Paul, and that neither to gain favour nor interest, but only converts to Christianity (1 Corinthians 9:22).

(b) The other instance of the wisdom given by our Saviour to His apostles was their resolute opposing all doctrines and interests whatsoever, so far as they stood in opposition to the gospel.

2. The person promising, who was Christ Himself: "I will give you a mouth and wisdom." I lay particular stress and remark upon this, because Christ seems by this very thing to give His disciples an assurance of His resurrection. For surely they could not expect to receive gifts from above, while the giver of them was underground.

III. BY WHAT MEANS CHRIST CONFERRED THOSE GIFTS UPON HIS DISCIPLES AND APOSTLES; and that we find was by the effusion of the Holy Ghost, the author and giver of every good and perfect gift, ministerial gifts more especially.

(R. South, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass?

WEB: They asked him, "Teacher, so when will these things be? What is the sign that these things are about to happen?"

A Scoffer Silenced
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