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disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. And he resumed the discourse as often as there was opportunity for it, in one place and another, Matthew xvii. 22, 23. And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, Tbe Son of Man shall be betrayed into the hands of men : and they shall kill him, and the third day be fball be raised again. The evangelist Mark has it, that he spake that saying openly, namely, That the Son of man must differ many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again, chapter viii. 31, 32. And he bad then let the sayings sink deep into their ears, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of
men, Luke ix. 44. And tho it is said there, they understood not these sayings concerning his sufferings, it was not for want of Christ's speaking often and very plainly of them : they were much upon his own mind, and he meant not that they should be strange to theirs. Luke xviii. 31, 32, 33. Then he took to him the twelve, and jaid unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man, shall be accomplished. For be Shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully intreated, and spit upon. And they shall scourge him, and put him to death.
Thus Christ had his sufferings and death much upon his mind, and shewed it by the frequent notices he gave of them. U 3
And no wonder ; as upon his sufferings and death our redemption depended. These were the meritorious price of our being delivered from the wrath to come; whereby pardon, grace and heaven were purchased, and himself made perfect for the bringing many sons unto glory.
Our redemption so greatly depending on these, Christ often thought and spoke of them himself: and by his example he taught his disciples and followers, what it becomes them to do, even to be often thinking of Christ's death, and their own deaths, that the awful change may be no surprize to them, but looked upon as what they are to get themselves prepared for, that they may willingly meet it.
But this brings me to the
2d Thing, Christ's temper with reference to his sufferings and death. He speaks of these in a manner that discovers his readiness and resolution to go through them, how heavy or pressing soever ; With defire have I desired to eat this pasover with you before I suffer.
His willingness to suffer and die, is many ways discovered.
(1.) As soon as the Father's purpose was known, this way to bring about the salvation of man, he closes it with approbation and delight. Isaiah 1. 5. "The Lord God hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious. He made no excuses or delays, but with the greatest readiness
approved, and then pleased himself with the office to which he was chosen, and had consented. He rejoiced in the habitable part of his earth, and his delights were with the fons of men, Prov. viii. 31.
(2.) He came into the world highly pleased, as fent of God to lay down his life, or suffer and die for mankind. He speaks with the greatest readiness to obey his Father's will, and as one who took most intimate delight in it, when about to assume our nature, wherein to suffer,
Psalm xl. 7, 8. Then said I, Lo, I come : in the volume of the book it is written of me : 1 delight to do thy will, o my
God. (3.) As the time drew on wherein he was to suffer, notwithstanding the innocent reluctancies of nature, he did not repent of his undertaking, or defist from it, but spake of his passion with greater frequency, and stronger desire.
He suffered Judas in his family, though he knew he would be the man that would betray him. He sharply rebuked Peter, as acting Satan's
part in diffwading him from suffering, laying, Get thee behind me, Satan, for thou art an offence to me. As sitting down at the last passover, he, in the text, speaks of his approaching sufferings, as matters that had drawn forth his strongest desire, With desire have I desired to eat this passover with you before I luffer. It is as if he had said, The sufferings I have fo often spoke of, are now approaching: the hour is at hand when I shall be betrayed and crucified: this is the last passover I shall ever keep with you before I am lifted up from the earth; and therefore, I most earnestly desire it, because it is the last, and that which will immediately precede my death. With calmness and composure he spake to the traitor, What thou dcest, do quickly. After his last fupper with his disciples was over, he went to the garden, whither he knew Judas would bring a band to apprehend him. And tho’ he prayed, that if it were the will of God the cup might pass from him, ( as suffering cannot but be grievous to sense ) yet he still resigned, saying, Thy will be done : For this cause came 1 unto this hour, Father glorify tby namie.
When the multitude came to seize him in the garden, he did not attempt to escape, but went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus faith uinto them, I am be. And,
his saying so, they went backward, and fell to the ground. He that threw them to the ground, could have thrown them into the grave, and into hell : but he suffered them to rise, and again offered himself unto them, saying, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jefils of Nazareth. Žejus anjwered, I have told you that I am be. If therefore ye leek me, let thejë, pointing to his disciples, go their way. He had a care of his disciples, to keep them out of cruel hands, while he willingly yielded up himself unto such.
Upon Peter's drawing his sword in his defence, and beginning to fight, he presently restrained him, saying, Pilt up thy fword into its meath; adding this as the reason, The
Father giveth ine, Mall I not drink it ? John xviii. 8. to the end.
He could easily have rescued himself by his own power, or have had aid enough from heaven; but he would employ neither, that the scriptures might be fulfilled, that foretold his sufferings,
Matth. xxvi. 53, 54. Thinkest thou, faith he to Peter, who would have rescued him, that I cannot now pray to my Father, and be shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels ?' Bút how then skall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be ?
It is true, nature shrinks from suffering ; and from the innocent aversion our Lord had to it, he once and again prayed that if it were possible, the cup might pass from him : But this is so far from eclipfing, that it sets off his resolution, as he was mediator, so much the more, his resolution to go through the darkness and death he had before him, how terrible soever it was to nature. With what earnestness foever he prayed to be exempted from the bitter sufferings, after all, he yielded all deference and submission to his Father's pleasure : O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me : Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt, Matth. xxvi. 39. He patiently yielded to be seized and bound, whipped and scourged, and carried his own cross, and without the least opposition was nailed to it. The forest trial remained till last : But he remembered the cause for which he came to that hour, and welcomed the feast that would lead on his death, speaking thus with ardour and affection concerning it, Witb desire have I desired to eat this pasover with you before I suffer, adding ; for I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
APPLICATION. 1. How wonderful and endearing is the love of Christ, that notwithstanding the full and tremendous view of what he was to bear as standing in