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favours from them, nor confer any upon them. And as He had proved them to be not the children of God, but the children of the devil, by showing that they did not obey God, but obeyed the Prince of darkness; they retorted the charge upon Him, by calling Him one that was possessed with a devil. A most wicked accusation, made for the purpose of excusing themselves for not hearing and believing His gracious words.
Our blessed Lord was not insensible to the malice which prompted such an accusation; yet He condescended to reply to it. Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour My Father, and ye do dishonour Me. He simply denied the charge brought against Him; and asserted that the honour of God was the object which He kept in view, and which was promoted by all His words and actions. They were of an entirely different character from any thing that could emanate from Satan, or from the influence of the Prince of darkness. It was therefore most dishonourable to our Lord Jesus Christ, to impute to Him such a monstrous thing as to have any confederacy with the great enemy of mankind, whose dominion He had come into the world to subvert.
He proceeded further to vindicate Himself. seek not mine own glory. It was not for the sake of any benefit which would be obtained by Him
self, that He called Himself the Light of the world, and enforced upon them the necessity of their believing in Him. He did so merely for their benefit, that they might be saved. It was no object with Him to receive earthly glory. His kingdom was not of this world. He appeared upon earth in a state of humiliation, and He did not design to appear in any other character than that of a servant, while He was as a man among men. But He said, There is one
That glory which
that seeketh and judgeth. He sought not while He continued on earth, would be given to Him afterwards. This was the Divine determination. The time would come when His glory would be manifested, when He should be crowned with glory and honour. The infinite merit of His obedience would be recompensed by the righteous Judge of all the earth.
As it was most important that He should be received as the Prophet, whose coming was foretold by Moses; or as the Light of the world, which He had described Himself to be; He declared in the most solemn and impressive manner, Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep My saying, he shall never see death. Notwithstanding the reproaches which His enemies heaped upon Him, He persisted in setting before them that important truth, in the belief of which their salvation was involved. The sal
vation of sinners was ever present to the mind of our blessed Redeemer; that those whom He came to redeem might be delivered from death everlasting.
But His earnestness in declaring the truth only excited their enmity the more. The gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth filled them with wrath, instead of causing gratitude for the benefit conferred upon them. Then said the Jews unto Him, Now we know that Thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets, and Thou sayes!, If a man keep My saying he shall never taste of death. They repeated the horrible calumny, pretending not to understand Him, and therefore misrepresenting His meaning. This He had plainly declared, when He said, If ye believe not that I AM, ye shall die in your sins. This is the death from which Jesus Christ saves His people; not from the death of the body, but from the consequences of sin in eternal death. Were it not for the eternal state into which the soul enters on the death of the body, what we call dying would be a matter of little moment. To be saved from eternal death, ought to be the object of our greatest anxiety. The Jews said that Abraham and the prophets were dead. But these holy men of God had not died in their sins, they were living with God among the spirits of the just made perfect. Saviour declared on another occasion.
to the Sadducees, Have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living,86 for they all live unto or with Him. 87 For this reason a state of happiness after death was represented by being carried into Abraham's bosom.8
The Jews proceeded to ask our blessed Lord, Art Thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead, and the prophets are dead, whom makest Thou Thyself? They thought that nothing but the utmost arrogance could induce any man to speak of himself as being greater than their ancestor Abraham, from whom they considered it their highest honour to be descended. But they regarded the memory of Abraham only as it ministered to their pride. They had no idea of imitating his character, and of seeking the Divine blessing in the way in which he had sought it. They closed their eyes against the glory which the Lord Jesus displayed. The miracles which He wrought among them were disregarded, as matters of common occurrence. He came and spake to them as never man spake. He did among them works which none other man ever did. They had the fullest evidence of His Divine power before their eyes which
86 Matthew xxii. 31, 32.
87 Luke xx. 38. 88 Luke xvi. 22.
could be required; but it was all of no avail. They manifested by their conduct that they had both seen and hated both Him and His Father; that the love of God was not in them.
In reply to their question, Whom makest Thou Thyself? Jesus answered, If I honour Myself, My honour is nothing. He wanted no personal honour as man. He did not seek honour from them. What He said respecting the necessity of believing in Him was for their benefit, for their own eternal salvation; not for any advantage that would accrue to Himself; not in order to obtain respect as a man among men. He did not ask for any credit to be given to His own unsupported testimony. He added, It is My Father that honoureth Me, of whom ye say that He is your God; yet ye have not known Him. The Divine power which was manifested in Him, showed plainly the honour that was due to Him. The people whom He addressed, asserted that the God of heaven was their Father and their
God; and yet they knew Him not. His name, indeed, was continually on their lips, but their heart was far from Him. Their profession of religion was a mere mask of hypocrisy, by means of which they were deceiving themselves, and were endeavouring to deceive others. It did not lead them to draw nigh to God, to seek His favour, and to live in obedience to His holy laws.