Posted by: Michael M. Dewalt | November 9, 2008

Third Sermon on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ

 

And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled. And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest’s palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end. Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. – Matthew 26:51-66.

If we wished to judge superficially according to our natural senses the capture of our Lord Jesus Christ, we would be troubled by the fact that He offered no resistance. It would not seem consistent with His majesty that He suffered such shame and disgrace without hindering it. On the other hand, we would prize the zeal of Peter, since he exposed himself to death. For he saw the great multitude of enemies. He was alone, and a man who was not skilled at arms. Yet he draws out his sword on account of the love which he bears toward his Master, and prefers to die on the field rather than allow such an injury to be done to Him. But by that we see that we must come with all humility and modesty to know where all that the Son of God did and suffered was leading, and that what seems good to us is worth nothing, but we must pray to God that He lead us and guide us by His Word and that we judge not except according to what He will have shown us. For that is how the Gospel is a scandal to many people. Others make fun of it, and all to their perdition. It is that they are inflated with presumption and are rash judges. But in order not to be deceived, we must always in the first place come back to what our Lord Jesus declares. It is the will of God His Father. That is one item. Then we have to consider the end of that which may seem strange to us. When, then, we shall have these two considerations, then there will be occasion to adore God and to know that what seems to be folly according to men is an admirable wisdom even to the Angels.

But to arrive at that, let us consider what is here told about Peter. It is said, “Having drawn out his sword, he cut off the ear of Malchus, who was servant of Caiaphas.” Here we see how men are too bold, when they follow their foolish opinion. Then they are so blind that they do not spare themselves under any conditions. But when they ought to obey God they are so cowardly that it is a pity. They even forget themselves in such a manner that it takes nothing to make them turn aside. That is how we shall always have hundred times more courage to follow our foolish imaginations than to do what God commands us and to do what our calling implies. We see too much of that in the example of Peter. For after he has shown that he has made confession and witness to our Lord Jesus, he blasphemes to his perdition. Yet he is content to die, even when it is not commanded to him. What moves him to draw out his sword? He does it as if in spite. For he received no such instruction from his Master. And when he renounces Jesus Christ, did he not already know the saying, “Whoever denies me before men, him I shall deny before God My Father Who is in heaven”? But (as I have said) he is hot-headed. This foolish desire to support our Lord Jesus in his own way and according to his fancy carries him on. Now by his example let us learn to exert ourselves to walk where God calls us. May nothing that He commands us be too difficult for us. But may we attempt nothing, not even to move our little finger, unless God approves it and we have testimony that it is He Who guides us. That is one item.

In fact, in the first place, our Lord Jesus shows him that he has offended grievously, because he was not ignorant of the law, where it is said, “Whoever spills human blood, his blood will be spilled.” St. Peter, then, should well remember this lesson, that God does not will that either force or violence be used. And (what is more) in what school had he been nurtured during more than three years? Had not our Lord Jesus held back as far as it was possible for Him in humanness and gentleness? Where, then, does he expect to get approval for his boldness? We must observe further what we have already said. That is, if our zeal is prized by men and we are applauded, to that extent we shall not cease to be condemned before God if we transgress His Word ever so slightly. There is then no praise except in walking as God shows us by His Word. For as soon as a man goes beyond this line, all his virtues only stink. That is how it is with all our devotions. As soon its we have worked to do what we have imagined in our brain, God will condemn everything, unless we have heard His Word. For apart from that there is no truth which He approves and which is legitimate before Him.

But as for the account we are treating now, the second reason which our Lord Jesus alleges is more noteworthy. What we have already touched upon is general. But there is here a sentence which is peculiar to the death and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, when he says, “Do you not think that I can now pray to my Father, and he will send me more than twelve legions of angels?” Now one legion in that time customarily made four or five thousand men. “There is, then, a heavenly army which I can have,” says He, “and yet I do without it. And why, then, do you come here to usurp more than God either wills or permits?” Now it is surely permissible to call upon God and to pray to Him that He may be willing to sustain our life; and as He holds it precious, that He may keep it in His protection. Our Lord Jesus declares that He does not wish it now and that He ought not to do it. How, then, will Peter use violence, seeing it is outside the order which God has permitted and established by His Word? If a means which is permissible in itself ought not to come into use, how distinguish what God has defended and what He has declared worthy of punishment? Here (as I have already mentioned) we see how the Son of God subjected Himself to such shames and that He preferred to let Himself be bound and tied like an evil-doer and a criminal rather than to he a deceiver by miracle and that God employed His arm to protect Him. By that we have to recognize how He prized our salvation. Here is a point which I have already noted: namely, that He refers us to the will and to the decree of God His Father. For apart from that one would find it strange that He did not wish to implore His aid, as He might surely know that He could have it. It seems that He tempts God when He does not pray to Him at all. We have the promise that Angels will surround those who fear God, even that they will follow them to prevent them from hurting themselves, and that they may not have to meet any evil in their paths. Now when God has promised us something, He wills that it may be to invite us to prayer. Yet when we are in need we ought to run back to Him in order that He may use His Angels to guide us, for which cause He has given them this office. We see also that this was practiced by the holy Patriarchs and the Fathers. “The Angel of the Lord who has never failed me will be in thy way with thee and he will make thee prosper,” said Abraham. Thus, then, have the holy Fathers used it. Why, then, did Jesus Christ not wish to have the Angels? For already He had been comforted (as St. Luke mentions) and Angels had waited upon Him in order to sweeten the anguish in which He was.

It seems, then, that He despises a necessary help from God. But He takes it into account when he adds “How will the Scriptures be fulfilled?” As if He said, “If we doubt something, we can, then, and ought to pray to God that He may look upon us in pity and that by all means He may make us to feel His power. But when we are convinced that He must pass by some need, and that the will of God is known to us, then it is no longer a matter of making of Him another request, unless that He may strengthen us in power and in invincible constancy, and that we may make no complaint, or that we may not be carried away by our affections; but that we may go with a ready courage through everything to which He calls us.” For example, if we are persecuted by our enemies, and we do not know what God has in store for us, or what ought to be the outcome, we have to pray to Him as if our life were precious to Him and since He holds in His guard that He demonstrates this by the result and that He delivers us. But when we are persuaded that God wills to call us to Himself and that there is no longer any remedy, then we must cut off every dispute and fully resign ourselves that nothing any longer remains but to obey the decree of God which is immutable.

That, then, is the intention of our Lord Jesus. For He surely prayed throughout His whole life, and even previously in this great combat which He had sustained, He prays to God that if it were possible this drink might be turned away from Him. But now He has taken up His conclusion, because He was so ordained by God His Father and He saw that He must acquit Himself of the charge which was committed to Him, that is, to offer the perpetual sacrifice to blot out the sins of the world. Since, then, He saw Himself called to that place, and the matter was finished, that it why He abstains from praying to God to do the contrary. He wishes, then, to be helped neither by Angels nor by men. He does not wish that God make Him to feel His power to withdraw Him from death. But it was sufficient for Him to have this spirit of constancy, that He might be able to go by His free will to perform His office. That is what satisfies Him.

Now we see in the first place that the will of God ought to stop us and hold us in check so that, when things seem to us savage and against all reason, we may value more what God has ordained than what our brain can comprehend. Our imaginations, then, ought to be put under foot when we feel that God has proved otherwise. It is part of the obedience of our faith when we consider God to be wise, so that He may have authority to do everything that pleases Him. If we have reasons to do the opposite, may we know that it is only smoke and vanity and that God knows all and that nothing is hidden from Him, and even that His will is the norm of all wisdom and of all uprightness. Besides, what our spirit argues to the opposite, that comes from our rudeness. For we know that the wisdom of God is infinite, and scarcely have we three drops of sense. We need not, then, be astonished if men are scared when God does not govern Himself according to their appetite. And why not? For we are poor fools. In fact, there is only brutality in us however much our sense and reason rule. But since we do not understand the profound depth of the judgments of God, let us learn to adore what is hidden — to adore it (I say) in humility and reverence, confessing that everything God does is just and upright, though as yet we may not perceive how. That is one item.

Following that, since it is so that God willed that His Son might be thus exposed to death, may we not be ashamed of what He endured. May we not think that wicked men were in control and that the Son of God did not have the means to defend Himself. For everything proceeded from the will of God, and from the immutable decree which He had made. That is also why our Lord Jesus says in St. Luke, “Indeed, it is your reign now, and the power of darkness, As if He said, “Take no glory in what you are doing; for the devil is your master.” However, He shows that it is by means of the permission which God gave them. Although the devil possessed them, nevertheless, neither they nor he could attempt anything unless God had unleashed for them the bridle. That, then, in summary, is how we must have our eyes and all our senses fixed upon the will of God, and upon His eternal plan, when the death and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ is spoken of to us. Now He declares that such is the will of God, because it is written. For if Jesus Christ had not had testimony of what was ordered by God His Father, He might still have been in doubt. But He knew His office. God did not send Him here below that He might not have given Him fully to His express charge. It is true, inasmuch as our Lord Jesus is eternal God, He did not need to be taught by any Scripture; but inasmuch as He is our Redeemer and that He clothed Himself in our nature to have a true brotherhood with us, He had to be taught by Holy Scripture, as we see, above all, that He did not refuse such instruction. 

So then, since God has shown Him to what He was called, that is upon what He relies. That is why He is taken as a captive, in order not to draw back when He knew that He had to achieve the charge which was committed to Him, that is, to offer Himself in sacrifice for the redemption of us all. So, then, we must learn that, inasmuch as the will of God is secret to Himself and incomprehensible, we must have recourse to Holy Scripture. It is true that God does not cease to have His counsel ordered by things that we imagine to be by chance. But that is not declared to us. We shall not always have special revelation to say that God has determined this or that. Then, we must withhold judgment. That is why we pray to God that He may heal us of an illness or that He may deliver us from some other affliction when we have fallen into it. And why? We do not know what He wills to do. To be sure, we ought not to impose a law upon Him. This condition ought always to be added: that His will may be done. But all our prayers ought to lead here: to ask Him that He may know us to be necessary and useful, and that we may meanwhile refer everything to Him in His secret counsel in order that He may do as seems good to Him. But when we have testimony through Holy Scripture that God wills a thing, then it is not proper to offer any reply, as I have already said.

Here we are still better assured as to the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He was afflicted cruelly and treated with such shame and haughty, scornful abuse, not only according to the desire of wicked and lawless men, but since God had so decreed it. And how do we know? By Holy Scripture. For had not the sacrifices been ordained in the Law two thousand years before Jesus Christ was born? And before the Law was given or written, had not God already inspired and taught the Ancient Fathers to sacrifice? And could the blood of brute beasts acquire remission of sins? Could it render men acceptable to God? Not at all, but it was to show that God would be reconciled by the blood of the Redeemer Whom He had established. Then He gives explicit testimony and declaration through the Scriptures. We see, indeed, that the Prophets have spoken of Him, and He also refers especially to them. When Isaiah said that He Who was to be the Redeemer, would be disfigured, that He would be held in disdain, that He would have no form or no more beauty than an adder, that he would be beaten and struck by the hand of God, that He would be a terrible thing to see, in summary, that they would take away His life, by what power did he prophesy that? Is it that God cannot resist Satan or all the wicked men? No but He pronounced by the mouth of Isaiah what He had previously ordained. In Daniel there is a still greater expression. Since it is so, then, that God had declared that His only Son had to be sacrificed for our redemption and salvation, now we are better assured of what I have said, that is, that we must always contemplate the hand of God Who governs when we see that our Lord Jesus is subjected to such shameful things at the hands of men. That is also why St. Peter says in Acts 4:27 that Judas and all the Jews and the police and Pilate did not act except as the counsel and the hand of God had determined, as will be declared still more at length. Here, then is where we must look, if we wish not to be troubled by our foolish imaginations. It is that God sent here below His only Son in order to accept the obedience when He would offer to Him in His death and passion to abolish all our faults and iniquities.

Now the second point which I have mentioned is the benefit which comes back to us from what our Lord Jesus suffered. For if we did not know why, that would be to take away the taste of what is here narrated to us. But when it is said that He has been bound and tied for our deliverance, then, indeed, we see our condition by nature, that is, that Satan holds us under the tyranny of sin and death, that we are slaves, so that instead of our being created in the image of God there is in us only entire corruption, that we are cursed, and that we are dragged like poor beasts in this cursed captivity. When, then, we know that and we see, on the other hand, that the Son of God did not refuse to be shamefully bound in order that the spiritual bonds of sin and death, which hold us under the servitude of Satan, might be broken, then we have to glorify God, we have to triumph with full voice in the death and passion of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the capture which is here mentioned. So that is what we must remember from this passage.

Thereupon the Gospel-writer says that our Lord Jesus healed the servant who had been wounded by Peter. Not that he was worthy of it, but in order that the offense might be removed. For it would have been to defame the doctrine of the Gospel and the redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ if this wound had remained (I call “redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ” what he acquired for us) so that it could be said that He had resisted the governor of the country and all the priests and that He committed, as it were, robbery in this lonely place. That, then, might have obscured all the glory of the Son of God and it would be to put the Gospel in perpetual shame. Also let us see that this action of Peter was by zeal of Satan. For the devil schemed to make Jesus Christ be rendered infamous with all His doctrine. That is also the tendency of all our beautiful devotions when we wish to serve God according to our desire and each one is given leave to do what he imagines to be good. Jesus Christ, then, wished to abolish such a scandal in order that His doctrine might not be defamed at all.

However, we see here a detestable ingratitude in those who were not moved by such a miracle. There are the police who come to bind our Lord Jesus Christ. They see that the power of the Spirit of God is at work in Him in so many ways. He made them fall back a little before a single word. Now He heals a man who has his ear cut off. All that is nothing to them. We see, then, when the devil has once bewitched men and he has dazzled their eyes, that neither the graces of God nor all His powers can touch them that they do not follow and walk always in their deeds, and they have, as it were, the snout of a pig which pokes itself everywhere. Whatever God does, whatever He says, they remain always in their obstinacy, which is a horrible thing. Yet we surely have to pray to God that He may give us prudence to profit from all His graces in order to be drawn by His love and also to touch us when He raises His hand to show us that He is our Judge in such a way that we are then frightened into returning to Him in true repentance. This, then, in summary, is what we have to remember.

Whatever it may mean, the mouths of the wicked men were closed when Jesus Christ healed the servant of Caiaphas. Thereupon it is said “Jesus is led into the house of Caiaphas, where He is questioned,” etc. For to abbreviate we omit what St. John tells of Annas, who was the father-inlaw of Caiaphas, and perhaps Jesus Christ is led there out of respect, or maybe it was along the road while they were waiting for everyone to be assembled. Jesus, then, is led as far as the house of Caiaphas and is there questioned. Especially is it said, “The priests sought everywhere for false witnesses, and found none. Finally two false witnesses stood up and said, ‘He said he would rebuild the temple in three days.’” Here we see how Jesus Christ was charged. Not that the priests were moved by some holy zeal. Often those who persecute innocents imagine they are performing a service acceptable to God, as in fact we see that Saint Paul was possessed by such a rage, that, being, as it were, a brigand (so he is called) he spoiled and destroyed more. Even then he imagined himself to be a good zealot. But this was not so of Caiaphas and all his band. For what did they seek, except that Jesus Christ be unjustly oppressed? So we see that their ambition led them to fight openly against God, which is a horrible thing. For as for Caiaphas and all his band, they are sons of Levi, the holy line which God had chosen. It was not by men that they had been elected, but God had so ordained by His law. It is true that there was a villainous and enormous corruption, inasmuch as the office of the priest was sold in that time, and instead of being obligated for life (so God had ordained it) each one brought his companion and he who brought the most money carried away that dignity. It was, then, a villainous and detestable corruption that intrigues and underhanded practices were used in so holy and honorable an estate. However, the Priest always remained in this line of Levi which God had dedicated to His service. Nevertheless, look at them! all enemies of God, look at them! all intoxicated by Satan, indeed enraged against the Redeemer of the world, Who was the final purpose of the Law.

So let us note that those who are in high estate and dignity will not always acquit themselves so faithfully that it is not necessary to keep watch over them, as over those who can be enemies of God. By that one can see the altogether too dull-witted foolishness of the Papists, when they adopt the title and estate of Priest. Suppose that God had commanded that there be a Pope (which He never did). Suppose that He ought to have His throne at Rome (still less). Though all that might be true, yet in the person of Caiaphas and of his kind it is seen that all those who have been raised to honor can abuse their power. So then may we not be so foolish as to amuse ourselves with masks. And when there is some honorable title, may God not lose His authority over it, as we see the Papists renounce the whole Holy Scripture and do homage to their idols. Let us learn, then, that under shadow of some human dignity God must not be decreased, but He must retain His sovereign Dominion. That is one item. As for the scandal which we could here conceive according to our fancy, let us note what is said in Psalm 118 (as also our Lord Jesus had previously alleged) that He is the rock which had to be refused by the builders. And who were the builders of the house of God and of His Church? The Priests. At least they ought to acquit themselves of that office. Yet they refused the stone which God had established as the cornerstone. And this stone, although it might have been rejected, has nevertheless been seated at the principal place of the building, that is, that God did not cease to fulfill what He had ordained by His counsel, when he raised from the dead His only Son, and raised Him higher than He was before He was emptied. For every knee must bow before Him.

When it is here said that the Priests sought false testimony, this was not simply to contrive a crime, but to have some pretext and disguise to burden and oppress the Lord Jesus. In truth He had pronounced these words, “Destroy this temple, and I shall raise it up in three days.” Those, then, are the words of our Lord Jesus, just as they came out of His mouth. The witnesses who are produced recite them. One could say that they are good and faithful witnesses. Yet the Holy Spirit calls them false, since they have wickedly perverted this remark. For our Lord Jesus spoke of His body, which is the true temple of the divine majesty. The material temple which was built in Jerusalem was nothing but a figure. It was only a shadow, as we know. But in our Lord Jesus all fullness of the Godhead made His residence, as says St. Paul, indeed, bodily and in true substance. So then, let us note that we must look not simply at the words of a witness but at the intention of him who speaks. This is a good and useful instruction for us, because we see men are so given to their evil deeds and lies that when they have some cover it is enough for them and it seems to them that they are absolved before God when they have by this means falsely charged a man. May we not, then, be stopped simply at the words or at the formality or ceremony, but may we look at the true nature of the cause. For those who could always maintain that they gave no evidence except what was there, will not cease to be reputed before God false witnesses, as we see.

Whereupon it is said that Caiaphas says to Jesus Christ, “How now? You answer nothing? Do you not see those who testify against you?” Yet Jesus still remains entirely quiet and receives all those slanderous words in silence. One might find it strange that Jesus Christ, Who had a just enough occasion to repulse such a falsehood does not contradict. But (as already we have mentioned, as we shall see still more fully) Jesus Christ was not there to maintain His doctrine as previously. We must, then, distinguish prudently among all circumstances. For Jesus Christ, after having fasted in the desert, was sent by God His Father to publish the doctrine of the Gospel. During all that time we see with what magnanimity He always defended the doctrine of which He was minister. We see how He was opposed to all contradictions. That, then, is how He acquitted Himself of His office, since He was sent as minister of the Word. But here there is a special regard. It is that He must be Redeemer of the world. He must be condemned, indeed, not for having preached the Gospel, but for us He must be oppressed, as it were, to the lowest depths and sustain our cause, since He was there, as it were, in the person of all cursed ones and of all transgressors, and of those who had deserved eternal death. Since, then, Jesus Christ has this office, and He bears the burdens of all those who had offended God mortally, that is why He keeps silence. So, let us well note that when there was need that Jesus Christ maintained the doctrine of the Gospel, and that His office and His calling demanded it, He faithfully acquitted Himself of it. But when by keeping silence He performed the office of Redeemer, as if He accepted voluntary condemnation, it was not out of regard for Himself that He kept His mouth closed, for He was there (as I have already said) in our name. It is true that He speaks (as we shall see presently) but it is not for His defense; it is not without inflaming the anger and fury of the wicked men all the more against Him. That, then, is because He did not wish to escape death, but allowed Himself voluntarily to be oppressed, in order that He might show that He forgot Himself in order to acquit us before God His Father. So, He had no regard for Himself, neither for His life itself nor even for His honor. It was all one to suffer the shames and disgraces of the world, provided that our sins be abolished and we be absolved from our condemnation.

Whereupon it is said, “The high Priest adjures Him by the living God that He tell them if He is the Christ, if He is the blessed Son. He answers that so He is, but they will see His majesty when it is too late,” that is, for them, since it will be to their confounding. Here our Lord Jesus speaks, but it is not to bow as a human being to the great Priest and all his band. Rather He uses threats to sting him still more. If previously he was full of malice and cruelty, this is to light still more fire. But we have already declared that Jesus Christ had no regard for Himself and that rather He acquits Himself of the duty of which He has taken the charge, that is, to be our Redeemer.

Besides, here we have in the first place, as it were, despisers of God, those who are entirely possessed by Satan, who yet will abuse some kind of cover of religion, for one might say that this great Priest still performs well his office, when he adjures Jesus Christ by the Name of the living God. But that is where men are plunged once Satan has bound their eyes. He flings them into such impudence that they have no reverence for God, no more than they are ashamed before men. In this answer of our Lord Jesus we have to note that He wishes to declare both to Caiaphas and to all the rest that if He is thus, as it were, crushed for a little time, that ought not to lessen His majesty, that always He may be held and reputed Only Son of God. But He has here a still higher consideration. It is that we may be assured that, having thus abased Himself for our salvation, nothing has been lost of His heavenly majesty, but that before men He was willing to be so oppressed, in order that we may be made fully certain that we shall be found honorable before God, because all the shames which we might have deserved will be abolished. Since, then, our Lord Jesus kept silence and He did not defend Himself in His good cause, now we have our mouths open to call upon God as if we were righteous. He is even our Advocate, Who puts in a word for us. When, then, our Lord Jesus stood by, it was in order that now in full liberty He intercedes for us before God His Father, although we are nothing except poor vermin. There is in us only all misery. Yet we have access to God to call upon Him privately and to claim Him openly as our Father.

This is what He wishes to show when He said, “You will see afterwards the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the power of God.” We must, then, be turned away from every regard which could bring us scandal, when we see that our Lord Jesus was thus humiliated. So let us look at what was the end of it. He willed, then, to be condemned without any resistance in order that we might be able to appear before the judgment-seat of God, and that we come there freely without any fear. Let us learn, then, in summary, every time the history of the Passion is recited to us so to groan and sigh seeing that the Son of God had to suffer so for us, that we tremble at His Majesty until it may appear to us. May we be so resolved that when He comes, it will be to make us experience in effect the fruit which He acquired for us by His death and passion. Besides, may we fear to be numbered with those whom He threatens so, saying. “You will see henceforth.” For it must be that the wicked and reproved will feel how terrible is the judgment-seat of God and how great is His power to cast them down when He will rise against them. When St. Paul also wishes to speak of the condemnation which the wicked and those who are cursed by God will endure, he says that they will be before His infinite majesty trembling and frightened at His look.

Since it is so, let us learn to humble ourselves before the Lord Jesus. Let us not wait to see with the eye the majesty which He will show at His second coming, but by faith let us contemplate Him today as our King, and the Head of the Angels and of all creatures, and let us receive Him as our sovereign Prince. Let us attribute to Him the honor which belongs to Him, knowing that since He is given to us for wisdom, for redemption, for righteousness and holiness by God His Father, we must attribute to Him every praise, and that it is from His fullness that we must draw to be satisfied. Let us be advised, then, to do this honor to our Lord Jesus Christ, although today we do not yet see His judgment-seat prepared. But let us contemplate Him by the eyes of faith and let us pray to God that He may enlighten us by His Holy Spirit, that He may strengthen us to call upon Him in time of trouble, and that this may carry us above the world, above all of our senses and all our apprehensions, in such a way that our Lord Jesus may be magnified today by us as He deserves. That, then, in summary, is what we have to remember.

Touching the saying that Caiaphas and the Priests have condemned Him to death, may we learn not to be astonished by the obstinacy of the wicked and of the enemies of the truth. Today this doctrine is very necessary for us. For we see the great ones of this world blaspheme openly against the Gospel. We see even in our midst that those who make profession of the Gospel and wish to be considered reformed people and in whom it seems there is only the Gospel, yet condemn like devils incarnate, or even like furious beasts possessed by Satan, the doctrine of the Gospel. One need not go far to see all these things. So, may we be assured against such scandals, and may we learn to always glorify our God. Though Caiaphas and all his kind cough up their blasphemies as much as they wish, and though they say that Jesus Christ is deserving of death, it is necessary to keep silence on such an article, though it is bad. Though, then, they so infect the air by their villainous and execrable blasphemies, yet let us cling to this voice of our Lord Jesus Christ. If today His truth is so condemned by men falsely, and it is doubted, it is falsified, it is depraved, and people deliberately turn their backs on it, it is strong and powerful enough to maintain itself. Let us wait in patience until He appears for our redemption. Yet may all of us learn to humble ourselves, and to give Him all the glory, since He was so willing to stoop, indeed, to empty Himself of everything for our salvation.

Now let us bow in humble reverence before the majesty of our God.

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