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Christ commissions the disciples
A. D. 29.
A. M. 4033. should be preached in his name among || Father upon you: but tarry ye in the An. Olymp. all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. city of Jerusalem, until be endued with power from on high.
48 And ye are witnesses of these
49 And, behold, I send the promise of my
50 And he led them out 'as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
· Gen. 12. 3. Ps. 22. 27. Isai. 49. 6, 22. Jer. 31. 31. Hos. 2. 23. Mic. 4. 2. Mal. 1. 11- John 15. 27. Acts 1. 8, 22. & 2. 32. & 3. 15.
Isai. 44. 3.
Joel 2. 28. John 14. 16, 26. & 15. 26. & 16. 7. Acts 1. 4. & 2. 1, &c. Acts 1. 12.
tion of the power, the pardoning of the guilt, and the purification of the heart from the very nature of sin.
Should be preached in his name] See the office of a proclaimer, herald, or preacher, explained in the note on Matt. iii. 1. and particularly at the end of that chapter.
In his name-On his authority, and in virtue of the atonement made by him for on what other ground could the inhabitants of the earth expect remission of sins!
Among all nations] Because God wills the salvation of ALL; and Jesus Christ by his grace has tasted death for EVERY mun. Heb. ii. 9.
Beginning at Jerusalem.] Making the first overtures of mercy to my murderers! If then the sinners of Jerusalem might repent, believe and be saved; none, on this side hell, need despair. Verse 48. Ye are witnesses of these things.] He gave them a full commission to proclaim these glad tidings of peace and salvation to a lost world. The disciples were witnesses not only that Christ had suffered and rose again from the dead; but also that he opens the understanding by the inspiration of his spirit, that he gives repentance, that he pardons sin, and purifies from all unrighteousness, and that he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come unto the knowledge of the truth and be saved. And these are the things of which their successors in the gospel ministry, must bear witness. As far as a man steadily and affectionately proclains these doctrines, so far God will bless his labour to the salvation of those who hear him. But no man can with any propriety bear witness of that grace that saves the soul, whose own soul is not saved by that grace.
culties in this verse when collated with the accounts given by the other Evangelists, are thus reconciled by Dr. Lightfoot.
"I. This very Evangelist (Acts i. 12.) tells us, that when the disciples came back from the place where our Lord had ascended, they returned from mount Olivet, distant from Jeru salem a sabbath day's journey. But now the town of Bethany was about fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem, John xi. 18. and that is double a sabbath day's journey.
II. Josephus tells us, that mount Olivet was but five furlongs from the city, and a sabbath day's journey was seven furlongs and a half. Antiq. lib. 20. cap. 6. About that time there came to Jerusalem a certain Egyptian, pretending himself a prophet, and persuading the people that they should go out with him to the mount of Olives, 'O xal rns woλews ärtingus xeiμevov, dzíxu oráðix TETE; which being situated on the front of the city, is distant five furlongs. These things are all true; 1. That the mount of Olives lay but five furlongs distant from Jerusalem. 2. That the town of Bethany was fifteen furlongs. 3. That the disci ples were brought by Christ as far as Bethany. 4. That when they returned from the mount of Olives, they travelled more than five furlongs. And 5. Returning from Bethany, they travelled but a sabbath day's journey. All which may be easily reconciled, if we would observe; that the first space from the city was called Bethphage, which I have cleared elsewhere from Talmudic authors, the Evangelists themselves also confirming it. That part of that mount was known by that name to the length of about a sabbath day's journey, till it came to that part which is called Bethany. For there was a Bethany, a tract of the mount, and the town of Bethany.
Verse 49. The promise of my Father] That is, the Holy The town was distant from the city about fifteen furlongs, i. e. Ghost, promised, John xv. 26. See Acts i. 4. ii. 33.
Until ye be endued with power] The energy of the Holy Ghost was to be communicated to them for three particular purposes. 1. That he might be in them, a sanctifying comforter, fortifying their souls, and bringing to their remembrance whatever Jesus had before spoken to them.
2. That their preaching might be accompanied by his demonstration and power to the hearts of their hearers, so that they might believe and be saved.
about two miles, or a double sabbath day's journey: but the first border of this tract (which also bore the name of Bethany) was distant but one mile, or a single sabbath day's journey.
"Our Saviour led out his disciples, when he was about to ascend, to the very first region or tract of mount Olivet, which was called Bethany, and was distant from the city a sabbath day's journey. And so far from the city itself did that tract extend itself which was called Bethphage: and when he was come to that place where the bounds of Bethphage and Bethany met and touched one another, he then ascended; in that very place where he got upon the ass when he rode into Jerusalem, Mark xi. 1. Whereas, therefore, Josephus saith, Verse 50. He led them out as far as to Bethany] The diffi- that mount Olivet was but five furlongs from the city, be
3. That they might be able to work miracles, to confirm their pretensions to a divine mission; and to establish the truth of the doctrines they preached.
means the first brink and border of it. But our Evangelist must be understood of the place where Christ ascended, || where the name of Olivet began, as it was distinguished from Bethphage."
Between the appearance of Christ to his apostles, mentioned in ver. 36, &c. almost all the forty days had passed, before he led them out to Bethany. They went by his order into Galilee, Matt. xxvi. 32. xxviii. 10. Mark xiv. 28. xvi. 7. and there he appeared to them, as is mentioned by Matthew, chap. xxviii. 16, &c. and more particularly by John, chap. xxi. 1, &c. See Bishop PEARCE.
Lifted up his hands] Probably to lay them on their heads,|| for this was the ordinary way in which the paternal blessing was conveyed. See Gen. xlviii. 8-20.
Verse 51. Carried up into heaven.] Avesgero-into that heaven from which he had descended, John i. 18. iii. 13. This was forty days after his resurrection, Acts i. 3. during which time he had given the most convincing proofs of that resurrection, not only to the apostles, but to many others :-to upwards of five hundred at one time, 1 Cor. xv. 6.
As in his life they had seen the way to the kingdom, and in his death the price of the kingdom, so in his ascension they had the fullest proof of the immortality of the soul, the resurrection of the human body, and of his continual intercession at the right hand of God.
they still live in the kingdom of God. May the God of infinite love give the Reader the same portion in time and in eternity! through the same glorious and ever-blessed Jesus. Amen and
There are various subscriptions to this book in the MSS. and Versions. The following are the principal. Through the assistance of the Most High God, the gospel of St. Luke the physician, the proclaimer of eternal life, is finished. The most holy Gospel of Luke the Evangelist is completed. SYR.-The end of the holy gospel according to Lukewritten in Greek—published in Alexandria the great,-in Troas, in Rome,-in the confines of Achaia and Bæotia,—in Bithynia,— in Macedonia,-in the Italic (or Latin) character, fifteen years after the ascension of Christ.
It is likely, the word Amen, was added by the church, on the reading of this book; but there is no evidence that it was affixed by the Evangelist. It is omitted by some of the best MSS. and Versions.
It is evident, that at the conclusion of this gospel, St. Luke passes very rapidly over a number of interesting circumstances related by the other Evangelists, and particularly by St. John, concerning the last forty days of our Lord's sojourning on earth: but to compensate for this, he has mentioned a variety of important particulars which the others have passed by, a
There are some remarkable circumstances relative to this list of which I think it necessary to subjoin. It seems as if ascension mentioned in Acts i. 4-12.
Verse 52. They worshipped him] Let it be observed that this worship was not given by way of civil respect, for it was after he was parted from them, and carried back into heaven, that they offered it to him: but acts of civil respect are always performed in the presence of the person. They adored him as their God, and were certainly too much enlightened to be capable of any species of idolatry.
the providence of God had designed that none of these Evangelists should stand alone: each has his peculiar excellence, and each his own style and mode of narration. They are all witnesses to the truth in general; and each most pointedly to every great fact of the gospel history. In each, there is something new; and no serious reader ever finds, that the perusal. of any one supersedes the necessity of carefully consulting and reading the others. The same facts and doctrines are exhibited by all in different points of view, which renders them both impressive and interesting: and this one circumstance serves to fix the narrative more firmly in the memory. We should have had slighter impressions from the gospel history, had we not had the narrative at four different hands. This variety is of great service to the Church of God, and has contributed very much to diffuse the knowledge of the facts and doctrines contained in this history. Parallel passages have Praising and blessing God.] Magnifying his mercy, and been carefully studied, and the different shades of meaning speaking good of his name. Thus the days of their mourn-accurately marked out; and the consequence has been what ing were ended; and they began that life upon earth in which the wisdom of God designed, the fuller edification of the
Returned to Jerusalem with great joy] Having the fullest proof that Jesus was the promised Messiah: and that they had a full commission to preach repentance and remission of sin to mankind: and that they should be divinely qualified for this great work by receiving the promise of the Father, ver. 49. Verse 53. Were continually in the temple] Especially till the day of Pentecost came, when they received the promise, mentioned ver. 49.
Facts related by St. Luke,
not mentioned by the other Evangelists.
I cannot close these observations with a more profitable word, than what is contained in that truly apostolic and sublime prayer for the second Sunday in Advent: and inay he who reads it weigh every word in the spirit of faith and devotion. "Blessed God! who hast caused all holy scriptures to be writ for our learning; grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ!"
faithful. It is not the business of a commentator to point out || may expect the fruits of these revelations. He who carefully beauties in the composition of the sacred text.-Many might and conscientiously uses the means, may expect the accombe selected from the Evangelists in general, and not a few plishment of the end. from Luke, who not only tells a true story, but tells it well; especially when he has occasion to connect the different parts of the narration with observations of his own. But this is his least praise from his own account we learn, that he took the utmost pains to get the most accurate and circumstantial information relative to the facts he was to relate: see the note on chap. i. ver. 3. While, therefore, he thus diligently and conscientiously sought for truth, the unerring Spirit of God led him into all truth. Even he who expected the revelation of the Almighty, and to be inspired by the Holy Spirit, that he might correctly, forcibly, and successfully proclaim the truth and righteousness of his Maker, must stand upon his watch, and set himself upon his tower, and watch to see what God would speak in him, Hab. ii. 1. In a similar spirit we
Now to him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and
FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES RELATED AT LARGE BY ST. LUKE, WHICH ARE EITHER NOT MENTIONED AT ALL, OR BUT VERY TRANSIENTLY, BY THE OTHER EVANGELISTS.
The conception of Elisabeth, chap. i. 5-25.
The salutation of Mary, ibid. 26—38.
Mary's visit to Elisabeth, ibid. 39–56.
The birth of John the Baptist, ibid. 57—79.
The presentation of Christ in the temple, ibid. 22-38.
Chronological dates at the commencement of our Lord's ministry, chap. iii. 1—2.
Success of the preaching of John the Baptist, ibid. 10-15. || Christ's preaching and miraculous escape at Nazareth, chap. iv. 15-30.
Difficulties attending the profession of Christianity, to be carefully preconsidered, ibid. 25-35.
Parable of the lost sheep, and the lost piece of money, chap. xv. 1-10.
Parable of the prodigal son, ibid. I1—32.
Parable of the unjust steward, chap. xvi. 1-18.
Parable of the rich man and the beggar, ibid. 19–31. Various instructions to his disciples, chap. xvii. 1—10. The refusal of the Samaritans to receive him into their city, chap. ix. 52-56. xvii. 11.
The cleansing of the ten lepers, chap. xvii. 12—19.
The Pharisee and the publican, chap. xviii. 1-14.
TO THE GOSPEL
WITH A SHORT ACCOUNT OF HIS LIFE.
JOHN, the writer of this Gospel, was the son of a fisherman named Zebedee, and his mother's name was Salome. Compare Matt. xxvii. 56. with Mark xv. 40. and xvi. 1. His father Zebedee was probably of Bethsaida, and with his sons James and John, followed his occupation on the sea of Galilee. The call of these two brothers to the apostleship, is related Matt. iv. 21, 22. Mark i. 19, 20. Luke v. 1-10. John is generally supposed to have been about 25 years of age, when he began to follow our Lord.
Theophylact makes him one of the relatives of our Lord, and gives his genealogy thus: "Joseph, the husband of the blessed Mary, had seven children by a former wife; four sons and three daughters, Martha, (perhaps, says Dr. Lardner, it should be Mary) Esther, and Salome, whose son John was; therefore Salome was reckoned our Lord's sister, and John was his nephew." If this relationship did exist, it may have been, at least in part, the reason of several things mentioned in the Gospels; as the petition of the two brothers, for the two chief places in the kingdom of Christ; John's being the beloved disciple and friend of Jesus, and being admitted to some freedoms denied to the rest; and possibly performing some offices about the person of his Master; and finally, our Lord's committing to him the care of his mother, as long as she should survive him. In a MS. of the Greek Testament, in the Imperial Library of Vienna, numbered 34 in Lambecius's Catalogue, there is a marginal note which agrees pretty much with the account given above by Theophylact: viz. "John the Evangelist was cousin to our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh for Joseph, the spouse of the God-bearing Virgin, had four sons by his own wife, James, Simon, Jude, and Joses; and three daughters, Esther, and Thamar, and a third, who with her mother was called Salome, who was given by Joseph in marriage to Zebedee of her, Zebedee begot James, and John also the Evangelist." The writer of the MS. professes to have taken this account from the commentaries of St. Sophronius.
PREFACE TO ST. JOHN'S GOSPEL.
This Evangelist is supposed by some, to have been the bridegroom at the marriage of Cana in Galilee see chap. ii. 1.
John was with our Lord in his transfiguration on the mount, Matt. xvii. 2. Mark ix. 2. Luke ix. 28. during his agony in the garden, Matt. xxvi. 37. Mark xiv. 33. and when he was crucified, John xix. 26.
He saw our Lord expire upon the cross, and saw the soldier pierce his side with a spear, John xix. 34, 35.
He was one of the first of the disciples that visited the sepulchre after the resurrection of Christ; and was present with the other disciples, when Jesus shewed himself to them on the evening of the same day on which he arose; and likewise eight days after, chap. xx. 19—29.
In conjunction with Peter, he cured a man who had been lame from his mother's womb, for which he was cast into prison, Acts iii. 1-10. He was afterwards sent to Samaria, to confer the Holy Ghost on those who had been converted there by Philip the Deacon, Acts viii. 5-25. St. Paul informs us, Galat. ii. that John was present at the council of Jerusalem, of which an account is given, Acts xv.
It is evident that John was present at most of the things related by him in his Gospel; and that he was an eye and ear witness of our Lord's labours, journeyings, discourses, miracles, passion, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension. After the ascension he returned with the other apostles from mount Olivet to Jerusalem, and took part in all transactions previous to the day of Pentecost: on which time, he with the rest, partook of the mighty outpouring of the Holy Spirit, by which he was eminently qualified, for the place he afterwards held in the Christian church.
Some of the antients believed that he went into Parthia, and preached the gospel there: and his first Epistle has been sometimes cited under the name of the Epistle to the Parthians.
Irenæus, Eusebius, Origen, and others, assert that he was a long time in Asia, continuing there till Trajan's time, who succeeded Nerva, A. D. 98. And Polycrates, Bishop of Ephesus, A. D. 196. asserts that John was buried in that city. Jerom confirms this testimony, and says that John's death happened in the 68th year after our Lord's passion.
Tertullian and others say, that Domitian having declared war against the church of Christ, in the 15th year of his reign, A. D. 95. John was banished from Ephesus and carried to Rome, where he was immersed in a cauldron of boiling oil, out of which however he escaped unhurt: and that afterwards he was banished to the isle of Patmos, in the Ægean sea, where he wrote the Apocalypse. Domitian having been slain in A. D. 96. his successor Nerva recalled all the exiles who had been banished by his predecessor; and John is supposed to have returned the next year to Ephesus, being then about 90 years of age. He is thought to have been the only apostle who died a natural death, and to have lived upwards of 100 years. Some say, having completed 100 years, he died the day following. This Gospel is supposed by learned men to have been written about A. D. 68 or 70. by others A. D. 86. and by others A. D. 97. but the most probable opinion is, that it was written at Ephesus about the year 86.
Jerom in his comment on Galat. vi. says, that John continued preaching when he was so enfeebled with old age, that he was obliged to be carried into the assembly; and that not being able to deliver any long discourse, his custom was, to say in every meeting, My dear children,