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17. The healed man gave a quick and confident testimony : He is a prophet. A divinely appointed teacher, either with or without the power of foreseeing the future. This answer did not suit the Pharisees, so they turned to the healed man's parents, who answered in a mean and cowardly way.
21. He is of age ; ask him. Many of our pupils are old enough to speak for themselves and not to rest in their parents' confession of Christ. “It is time that your feet were put below you, and that you showed some use of your own tongue.” Rev. John McNeill.
22. They feared the Jews, who had agreed together, probably informally, to excommunicate Christ's confessed followers, that is, exile them from public worship and treat them as social outlaws, boycott ”them. In its complete form it meant the ruin of their business and the destruction of most of their friendships. Even in the milder form, excommunication for thirty days, they would be forbidden to come within four cubits of any one.
24. So the Pharisees turn again to the healed man : Give God the praise, by confessing the truth : so Joshua commanded Achan (Josh. 7:19). “ They were giving him a criminal's third degree.' Foulkes. We know that this man is a sinner. The we is emphasized : we, the people in authority, who have a right to pronounce decisively.' Cambridge Bible.
25. The healed man was not caught in the Pharisees' trap ; he would not discuss Christ at all : One thing I know. “ This man is one of the one thing’ men of the Bible. The psalmist desired one thing ; Paul did one thing ; this man knew one thing.' Foulkes.
Illustration. A great fact in a life is like a “rock thrown into a still lake, which makes it quiver to the very innermost centre, upturns its lowest waters, astonishes it with a new sense of its own depth. Just as the building which has the broadest base upon the ground can rise to the highest upward point in safety, so he who is fullest of the greatest seen fact of life is fullest also of the richest, most inspiring, and most spiritual faith.” Rev. Frederick Brooks.
Whereas I was blind, now I see. That is the way to learn Jesus Christ : start with what you know he has done for you.
27. Then, when the inquisitorial Pharisees called for a repetition of the story of the cure, the healed man answered boldly : Will ye also be (R. V., “become ") his disciples? The man had grown weary of the cross-questioning ; he would do some of it in his turn, and with sly contempt.
“He stood before the Sanhedrim;
The whole world poured its vast surprise." — John Hay. 29. Said the Pharisees : We know that God spake unto Moses. “ But what value was that if they could not perceive that God was speaking through Jesus ? ”. Rev. R. F. Horton, D.D. As for this fellow (R. V., man"), we know not from whence he is. Our Lord's origin was a matter of hot discussion all through his ministry ; see John 7:27 ; 8:14 ; 19 : 9.
30. Herein is a marvellous thing, answered the healed man. He waxes properly sarcastic. The marvel was that men so wise as the Pharisees thought themselves should not know all about so great a wonder-worker as Jesus.
31. God heareth not sinners, that is, wilful sinners, such as the Pharisees charged Christ with being. See Ps. 66 : 18 ; 109 :7; Job 28 : 8,9; 35:13 ; Prov. 15: 29 ; Isa. I:11-15.
32. Since the world began. Among the Old Testament miracles there is no opening of blind eyes. What was unknown in Christ's day has since been effected, though rarely, by the wonderful skill of modern surgeons.
33. If this man were not of (R. V.," from ") God he could do nothing. Opposition to our faith is often one of our best blessings. It brings out more clearly what the grounds of our faith are." Robert E. Speer.
34. The Pharisees saw they could make nothing of the grateful healed man. Thou wast altogether born in sins. They considered this proved by his former blindness, which they here inconsistently acknowledge. They cast him out.
This was “ the first act of the rupture between the Church and the Synagogue.”
“ The new society distinct from Judaism was now begun.” — Speer.
35. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God?
36. He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?
37. And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.
38. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.
CHRIST'S FRIENDS AND ENEMIES. The blind man was like an Ohio lawyer who once came home and said, Wife, I have been converted ; let us put up the family altar.' Husband,' said she, trying to keep him from talking so loud, ‘there are three lawyers in the parlor ; perhaps we had better go into the kitchen to have prayer.' • Wife,' said he, ' I never invited the Lord Jesus into my house before, and I shall not take him into the kitchen. For many years that new convert who took Christ into his parlor was the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court — John McLean." Rev. Louis Albert Banks, D.D.
'The most powerful modern artillery can as soon batter down the Rocky Mountains as all the batteries of modern unbelief shall destroy the fact and truth of Christian experience. Rev. Randolph H. McKim, D.D.
The humble beggar was on Christ's side while the learned and powerful Pharisees were against him because the beggar had the faith which they lacked. Faith alone will build great spiritual edifices.
Illustration. "When Robert Stephenson, the English engineer, finished building the Tubular Bridge, the first of its kind, across the Menai Strait, he said that he
took little credit to himself for the work, for he felt that it was trust in a power out of himself that had enabled him to overcome the immense difficulties of the undertaking, and sometimes inspired him with new expedients when he was at his wit's end.' - Prof. James M. Hoppin.
IV. A SOUL IN THE LIGHT, vs. 35-38. “ It would not be possible to find a story through which you could more clearly trace the flow of a simple, candid mind from motive to conviction, from fountain to ocean, than we can this man's.” Phillips Brooks.
35. Jesus heard that they had cast him out. It would be widely talked about. And when he had found him. The compassionate Saviour sought him out, for all others had forsaken him, perhaps even his parents. “ The man had lost all other company, but he had gained Christ's." Frederick Brooks. Then our Lord made his great appeal for faith in the Son of God.
37. Thou hast both seen him. We also have seen Christ. “It is a grievous thing to miss One who is as close to us as our own soul, just because he would take it for granted that he must be looked for afar off.” Dean Vaughan. And it is he that talketh (R. V., “ speaketh ") with thee. “ This spontaneous revelation to the outcast from the synagogue finds its only parallel in the similar revelation to the outcast from the nation (John 4 : 26).” – Westcott.
38. Lord, I believe. are the centurion's confession, Matt. 27 : 54. Thus the once blind man received a gift greater even than his sight.
Illustration. “ If we live up to what we know, at all costs, we shall most certainly be led into further discoveries of truth. We think we are going to plough a field; and we suddenly come upon a box of treasure, struck by our plough, which makes us independent of work for the rest of our lives.” — F. B. Meyer.
And he worshipped him. “Note the gradual development of faith in the man's soul, and compare it with that of the Samaritan woman (John 4) and of Martha (John 11). In v. 11 he merely knows Jesus's name and the miracle ; in v. 17 he thinks him'a prophet'; in v. 33 he is of God'; in v. 37 he is the Son of God.' What writer of fiction in the second century could have executed such a study in psychology ? Cambridge Bible.
“ LORD I BELIEVE.”. The account of this miracle is to be believed completely. “ If the opponents of miracles could produce a single Jewish document in which any event, known not to have happened, was described with so much minuteness and verisimilitude, then it would be easier to agree with them.” Cambridge Bible.
“ The splendid and convincing proof of the gospel is the practical proof, such as this miracle. In exchange for sages like Socrates it has given to humanity sages like Saint Bernard ; for teachers like Pythagoras, teachers like Oberlin ; for heroes like Alexander, heroes like Howard ; for the victories of Cæsar, the victories of Father Mathew ; for speculators like Plato, missionaries like Paul.” - Thomas Starr King.
“When Christianity came there was not a hospital from the Euphrates to the Pillars of Hercules. It is the inspiration of all charitable institutions.' Charles L. Goodell, D.D.
Illustrations. “ There is more logic in a simple demonstration than in a whole volume of reasoning. An old philosopher was contending that there was no such thing as motion. His opponent in the singular debate arose and strode across the room. He proved motion by moving. A man wrote a book to prove that no vessel could cross the Atlantic propelled by steam. A steamship carried the first copies of his book across the sea. There may have been logic in his argument, but there was better logic in the steam.” Albertson.
The blind man's creed was very short at first, but it rapidly grew longer. “A creed is like a tree that starts in a single stalk ( one thing I know '), and that goes on branching and dividing so long as it is fed at the root, fed by the Spirit and the Word. Men's creeds stand still because their experience stands still.” – Rev. C. H. Parkhurst, D.D.
LESSON II. - April 8. JESUS RAISES LAZARUS FROM THE DEAD (EASTER LES
SON). — John II: 17-44.
PRINT vs. 17-27, 43, 44. COMMIT vs. 25, 26. GOLDEN TEXT. — Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life. -- JOHN 11:25
THE TEACHER AND HIS CLASS.
LEARN BY HEART. It will make an interesting exercise if, | Vs. 25, 26; John 6:39 ; 1 Thess. 4 : 14. a week in advance, you divide the characters of the lesson among the pupils,
PLAN OF THE LESSON. Thomas, Mary, Martha, Lazarus, a friend visiting Mary, a Pharisee looking on, and SUBJECT : Jesus Christ, the Life of the
I. LAZARUS IS DEAD,” vs. 1-16. in the first person, as if he were the char- Death and sorrow in the world. acter assigned.
II. “I AM RESURRECTION AND The aim of the teacher in the recitation
THE LIFE,” vs. 17–27. will be to show the love and power of
Jesus, our only hope in sorrow and death. Jesus, and to make the pupils realize that this life is nly the portal to our III.“ JESUS WEPT,” vs. 28–37. eternal life in him.
Our Lord's sympathy for our grief.
IV. LAZARUS, COME Forth,” vs. 38–46. THE LESSON IN ITS SETTING. Christ conquering death for the Christian.
Time. — February, A.D. 30, about two months before Christ's own resurrection.
THE TEACHER'S LIBRARY. Place. — Peræa, east of the Jordan, Chapter on Funerals and Mourning perhaps at the Peræan Bethany; then in the East,” in Trumbull's Studies in at Bethany in Judea, near Jerusalem.
Oriental Social Life. “In Death and
after Death,” in Edersheim's Sketches of THE ROUND TABLE.
Jewish Social Life. “ The Home of
Bethany,” in “ Ian Maclaren's ” The Life FOR RESEARCH AND DISCUSSION.
of the Master. Come Forth ! by Elizabeth The Bethany family: its contrasts.
Stuart Phelps and Herbert D. Ward. Christ's delays, and the reasons for them. Why God permits sorrow and death.
Donehoo's Apocryphal and Legendary The character of Thomas.
Life of Christ, Chap. XVIII. Our Lord's How Christ is the Resurrection and the Life. Proofs of our immortality.
Three Raisings from• the Dead, by Rev. Easter glories of Christianity.
Hugh Macmillan, LL.D. Alford's Fire
side Homilies. Majoribanks's The Seven- shish.” W. M. Rossetti's “ Jesus Wept." fold I Am. McClelland's The Mind of Other poems by N. P. Willis, Gerard Christ. Whiton's The Law of Liberty. Moultrie, E. H. Plumptre. Olney Hymns, Elmslie's Sermons. Kingsley's Village CXVI. Krummacher's Parables, “ LazSermons. Huntington's Sermons for the arus.' People. Taylor's Contrary Winds. New Starts in Life, by Phillips Brooks. Banks's
THE LESSON IN ART. Christ and His Friends. Munger's The Freedom of Faith. Maurice's The True Lazarus, by Sebastiano del Piombo,
The great picture, The Raising of Restand' Hope of Man. Spurgeon's in the National Gallery, London, was Sermons, Fifteenth Series.
a favorite of Tennyson, Darwin, and
Lamb. Paintings by Giovanni AngelTHE LESSON IN LITERATURE.
ico da Fiesole (Florence) ; Rubens Tennyson's "In Memoriam,” XXXI., (Berlin) ; Rembrandt ; Giotto (Padua) ; XXXII. Browning's “ Epistle of Kar- Doré.
Jesus Christ, the Life of the World. I. “ LAZARUS IS DEAD” (vs. 1-16). Sara Coleridge wrote of this as that most divine chapter.' “ Alike in its intrinsic importance, and in the effect it produced on the policy of the Sanhedrin, the raising of Lazarus may be regarded as the culmination of the Saviour's ministry.” Century Bible. John alone records it, because it happened in Judea, outside the cycle of events recorded by the other evangelists; and, besides, they recorded other resurrection miracles which John omitted. Further, it may have been dangerous to relate the story during the lifetime of Lazarus, lest it involve him in persecution ; but when John wrote, Lazarus and his sisters were probably dead. Thus John alone names Peter as the disciple who struck off the ear of the high priest's servant.
BETHANY. The village of Lazarus, Mary, and Martha is situated on the southeastern slope of Olivet, nearly two miles from Jerusalem. Bethany” means, perhaps,“ house of dates.” The modern village, called el-'Azarieh from the Arabic name of Lazarus, is “a picturesque little village of typical Oriental homes, built of lightbrown stone." Charles G. Trumbull. From near here the Saviour ascended to heaven.
THREE FRIENDS JESUS. Lazarus is the Greek form of Hebrew Eleazar, which means God is my help." He was not the Lazarus of the parable (Luke 16 : 20), nor is there any evidence that he was the rich young man of Matt. 19:16. He was probably younger than Mary, and Martha was probably the oldest of the three. He must have been a young man of fine character, to be so loved by Jesus; probably he was such a man as John himself. Like Mary, he had “ chosen the better part.” The story of Martha's devotion to housekeeping (Luke 10 : 38– 42) does not imply that she was not an earnest disciple of Christ, or that Mary was heedless of her duty.
Bethany. It was a beautiful home, a fair oasis in the life of Him The ruins shown as the house of Mary who “ had not where to lay his head.”
A STRANGE DELAY.. Christ and his disciples were in Peræa, on the east of the Jordan, having been driven there by the hostility of the Jews, who were on the point of stoning Jesus because he claimed to be the Son of God (John 10 : 31). Mary and Martha sent word to him, doubtless by the fastest runner they could find, telling him, He whom thou lovest is sick. Hearing this, Jesus remained in Peræa two days. He may have had special work to complete there, but the account shows that he
17. Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the
four days already
18. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off :
purposely delayed in order that the event might give an opportunity for the manifestation of his wonder-working power.
“ The sickness and death of Lazarus was part of the material Christ used in building up his kingdom.' Professor Elmslie.
Illustrations. Christ did not come to the help of the disciples, storm-tossed on the Sea of Galilee, till the fourth watch of the night, when they were nearly worn out with rowing; and even then“ he would have passed by them.”
Christ does not shield his followers from sickness and sorrow and death. “ As if a general in the army would, because of his faltering heart, refuse to let his son take the post of danger ; as if he would not rather wish for that son — - ay, with a great pang in his own soul that he should be the bravest, the most daring, the one most exposed to the deadliest hazard.” Professor Elmslie.
DEATH A SLEEP. Christ's delay was in the face of his supernatural knowledge that Lazarus's sickness had been fatal. He said plainly, “ Lazarus is dead”; but he was evidently unwilling to call death anything but sleep. To the Lord of life, that is all death was and is, a slumber from which he can arouse us. Many Hebrew, Greek, and Roman thinkers had called death a sleep before Christ. Our word etery,” indeed, is from a Greek word meaning sleeping-place.
“ But death among the heathen was generally conceived of as a sleep from which there was no awaking.
New Century Bible. Christ's resurrection miracles and his own resurrection proved the glorious reality of immortality.
“Sleep is a death; O make me try,
On my grave as now my bed.” Sir Thomas Browne. Illustration. “It is told of the Sultan Saladin that when he sat in state, surrounded by banners and trophies, there was hung above them all the banner of Death, with the words, ' Saladin, King of Kings Saladin, victor of victors Saladin must die.' While it is morbid to be always dwelling on death, it is good for us at times, as Samuel Rutherford put it, to ' forefancy our deathbed.'” - Majoribanks.
A HAZARDOUS JOURNEY. No wonder the disciples were amazed when Jesus declared his intention to return to the place of stoning. Thus Paul, driven from Antioch and Iconium and stoned at Lystra, returned within a few weeks to the same cities. “ They think of the danger to him, and are not without thought of the danger to themselves (v. 16).” — Watkins. In answer our Lord repeats a thought we had in our last lesson. His work was laid out for him by his Father, and while he walked along that appointed way it was plain daylight, wherever the path of duty might lead ; but if he should turn from that path by seeking his own safety, he would at once plunge into the darkness of night. Then Thomas spoke up. We might have expected Peter to express a courageous willingness to follow his Master, but perhaps Peter was not there, for the miracle is not mentioned in Mark, Peter's Gospel ; at any rate Thomas was equal to the occasion. Though characteristically foreboding, he showed the heroic stuff that was in him.
Illustration. “ Christ was the meekest of men, and the bravest, too. And so the lion, while he is the strongest and bravest of beasts of prey, is also the most patient and merciful. He knows his own strength and courage, and therefore he does not care to be showing it off. The Bible calls Christ the Lion of Judah ; but it also calls him the Lamb, dumb before the shearers.” Charles Kingsley.
II. “I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE,” vs. 17–27. Jesus came ; it was a journey of about twenty-five miles. He found that he had lain in the grave four days already. “According to Jewish custom burial took place on the day of death, so that, allowing somewhat more than one day for the journey from Peræa, it seems probable that Lazarus died about the time the messenger reached Jesus.” Expositor's Greek Testament.
18. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, nearly two miles, a furlong being oneeighth of a mile ; this accounts for the presence of so many friends. The family seems to have been one of some wealth and prominence (John 12 : 3).
19. To comfort (R. V., “console ") them concerning their brother. mourning usually lasted seven days, during which visits of condolence were received