And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words…
The chief priests and rulers of the Jews watched Jesus, but not to learn the way of salvation. They watched Him with the evil eyes of malice and hatred, desiring to take hold of His words, to entangle Him in His talk, that they might accuse Him, and deliver Him up to die. He loved all men, yet He was hated and rejected of men; He went about doing good, yet they tried to do Him harm. The enemies of Christ are ever watching for our fall, eager to hear or to tell any evil thing about us, ready to cast the stone of slander against us. You know that the whitest robe first shows the stain, let us remember whose purity we wear if we have put on Christ. Let us strive "to walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." If we are tempted to say or do something which is equivocal, though the way of the world, let us pause and ask ourselves whether it will bring discredit on our faith, whether it will dishonour our Master. But there are others who watch us, and in a different manner. The Church in Paradise watches the Church on earth and prays for it. Our path of life is compassed by a great cloud of witnesses; the saints who have fought the battle and won the crown, they watch us. St. Paul, resting after his good fight, and his many perils, is watching to see how we are fighting against sin, the world, and the devil. St. Peter, restored to the side of Jesus, watches to see if any of us deny their Lord. St. Thomas, no longer doubtful, watches to see if our faith be strong. Holy Stephen watches us when the stones of insult and persecution assail us; the forty martyrs, who died for Jesus on the frozen pool at Sebaste, watch us when the world looks coldly on us, and many another who passed through fire and water watches us in our battle and the race that is set before us. Thus with the enemies of God watching for our fall, and the saints of God watching for our victory, let us watch ourselves, and let our cry be, "Hold Thou me up that my footsteps slip not."
(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.