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It is written, that when Jesus had thus spoken to the Pharisees, He looked round about upon them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts. Only once, and it is in this place, did Jesus look with anger upon his enemies, and it was not because they were seeking to harm him, to take away his life, it was because He was grieved for the hardness of their hearts, so grieved that his anger was moved against them, for their wilful sin that strove against all his kindness, that blinded their eyes so that they would not see. They accused him of breaking the holy rest of the Sabbath, because He, on that day, gave the sufferers rest from suffering, and they on the Sabbath sought his life,-sought to raise the passions of the people against him! Was this to keep holy the Sabbath-day? Was this to make it the blessing to man for which God had given it, to raise his thoughts, his affections and his hopes to heaven, to rest from the sinful cares and vexing toils of earth! Jesus

was grieved for the hardness of their hearts !"

Prayer. O my Saviour, thou hast suffered for our sins, let us not grieve thee by hardening our hearts against thee. Let the voice of thy love have power to call our affections from the world home to thee. Let the thought that we are thine fill us with peace in life and in death, for thou art with us, thou wilt not see us fall into danger without stretching forth thy right hand to deliver us. O fill us then with this holy confidence that as the earthly parent knows and loves each single child, so among the thousand thousands that need thy care on earth

-we are each one of us known and loved by thee; make us to feel assured that when the earth and all things in it have passed away, and thy people, redeemed by thee, shall rejoice together in thy bright heavens, a multitude whom no man can number, that in their joyful hymns of praise thou shalt know each separate voice, and that each one of us shall enjoy thy love even as an only child. O holy, holy God, let this thought never leave us through life, let it be hidden in our bosoms as a charm to keep away the infection of sin, and in the solemn hour of death, let this thought of thy tender, careful love bear our fainting spirits up, till safely laid within thine arms, our God and Saviour. Amen.

XIV.

MATT. XII. 14.

MARK III. 6-8.

LUKE VI. ]], 17-19.

We have read how the Lord Jesus put to silence the Pharisees, even while before them He did the very thing they counted as a crime. He had healed the man with the withered hand on the Sabbath-day in the midst of the synagogue, and He had shewn them that, in doing so, He had done no more than each one of them would have done for his sheep, if on the Sabbathday it had fallen into a pit. He had, on three different Sabbaths, shewn them how God was to be glorified in every work that was done in his service, and that to do good to man was to serve God. They could not answer him, but they were all the more furious against him.

LUKE vi. 11. “ And they were filled with madness ; and communed (talked) one with another what they might do to Jesus."

MARK iii. 6. “ And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

The Pharisees who had followed our Lord from Jerusalem, in the hope of finding some cause to stir up the people against him, found that they must form some new plan; so they raised up against him a new set of enemies. These were the Herodians, who would not only be very willing to join them against Jesus, but who would have more opportunities of watching every thing that He said and did. These people were called Herodians, because they were much attached to Herod, who had built them a beautiful city on the shores of the Sea of Galilee,* and had done so much for them that, in return, they liked to flatter him and to please him in every way they could. Now Herod (the same Herod who at this time had put John the Baptist in prison) was Tetrarch, or ruler, of Galilee; but he wished to be made king of the Jews, as his father had been, and for the very same reason that the father had cruelly tried to kill the Lord Jesus when He was an infant, because he was jealous of him, so it was likely that the son would gladly have him put to death now that the people began to whisper that He certainly was the Messiah, and therefore the rightful king of the Jews.

The Pharisees guessed well that the Herodians, who were so devoted to the service of Herod, would be very willing to help them in their plans against the life of Jesus. They knew too that, as they lived in Galilee, where Jesus lived, they would constantly be with him, and therefore would be more likely to be believed when the time came to accuse Jesus before the Roman governor ; for you must remember that the Jews had no

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Tiberias-built by Herod, as some say, on the site, or very near the site of the ancient Chinnereth or Kinnereth. If this is so, it is probable that one of the names of the Lake Gennesareth comes from this name Chinnereth. In order to build the city of Tiberias, Herod was obliged to remove many ancient tombs, and it being contrary to the law of Moses to dwell in any place that had been defiled by the burial of the dead, he was obliged to force many of his subjects to inhabit his new city. To reconcile them to this, he built them houses at his own expence, and shewed them especial favour. Herod, like his father, was a great flatterer of the Emperors of Rome, by whom he hoped to have been made king. He called his new city, Tiberias, after the Emperor Tiberius, by way of shewing his affection and respect for him.

The present town, Tabaria, is built on the same place, about the middle of the western side of the sea of Galilee. It is not so large, and has not above 4000 inhabitants, most of whom are Jews.

power to put any man to death, and it was by the Romans only that Jesus could be condemned to die.

This was a well-laid plan, and no doubt the Pharisees thought they must now surely succeed ; but they were mistaken, the time was not yet come. The Lord Jesus had yet much work to do, and He would not give himself up into their power till He had finished the work his Father had given him to do. This new plan of his enemies was no sooner made than Jesus knew it.

MARK iii. 7. But Jesus withdrew himself with his disciples to the sea.He would not remain in

any

town. He chose to dwell for a time among the hills and vallies of the beautiful shores of the sea of Galilee, but He could no longer be alone. Not only

LUKE vi. 17. The company of his disciples (followed him there) but also a great multitude of people out of all Judea and Jerusalem, and from the sea-coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases ; and they that were vexed with unclean spirits : * and they were healed. And the whole multitude sought to touch him ; for there went virtue (or power) out of him, and healed them all.

Can we wonder that the people thus left their homes to follow Jesus ?

Tyre and Sidon were very far away on the distant sea-shore, Jerusalem was quite at the other end of the country; the people must have travelled many a weary mile to reach Galilee, where Jesus was to be found, but they had heard of the wonderful cures done by him. They had heard that He never refused his kindness to any,- that to all He taught the glad news of the kingdom of heaven. Many of them had seen his wonderful works, and had heard his gracious words when they had been at Jerusalem to keep the solemn feast of the passover, and they had taken back such a report of him to their different homes, that the whole country, moved as one man, came forth to seek him. Can we think this wonderful, when we know that all men were in expectation of the Messiah, whose coming had been so long promised ? No, we cannot ; but we may well think it wonderful that all men do not now flock to Christ the Lord, who we know assuredly to be the Messiah, the same now as He was then, mighty to save, yesterday, to-day, and for ever; who still says to all, “ Come unto me and be

* See No. VI.

ye

saved." And many would go to Christ had they a

to Christ had they a journey to take to find him, and could they see him with their mortal eyes; for many like to do great things, who are without that simple faith which would lead them really to Christ. Not all in these crowds who flocked to Jesus on the shores of the sea of Galilee became his disciples. Curiosity and pride, and a thousand different feelings took them there, just as it would be now; and we may feel certain that if we will not now seek Christ where He may always be found, in our own homes ; if we will not meekly kneel down to him now, though we cannot see him, and seek from him the virtue and the power that is still in him, neither should we have become his true disciples if we had been of the crowds who travelled so far to find him.

Prayer. Well may we seek thee, blessed Saviour, for we have all manner of diseases to afflict us in body and mind, and that worst disease of all, sin, that cometh from the Evil Spirit, doth surely vex us, and hinder us on our way to thee. But in thee there is power to heal us, and, O blessed be thy name, in thee there is the will; for still thou dost stretch forth thine arms unto us, still dost thou call us to leave all vain and sinful things that would hold us back, and to come unto thee that we may have life.

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