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have I begotten thee.” The Jews, believing that the Alessiah was to be a descendent of David, very naturally apply to him the appellation of Son of God, which the Divine Being himself had given to one of his posterity: so that Messiah, and Son of God, came to sig. nify the same thing. Many examples of this are to be found in the gospel history.
50. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig-tree, believest thou? Thou shalt see greater things than these.
51. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, hereafter, rather, 5 from this time,” ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the son of man.
These last words cannot be understood literally : for no examples can be produced from the gospels, of angels usually ascending and descending over Jesus; but the language is highly figurative, and means no more than that there would be an evident communication between heaven and himself; as much so, as if angels had been seen ascending and descending; referring to his miraculous powers, which he derived from heaven, and was able to exercise upon all occasions. When a revelation was about to be made to Jacob in a dream, it was preceded by the appearance of angels ascending and descending, to intimate to him, that a communication was then opened between heaven and earth.
It is generally supposed, that from this time Nathanael became a disciple and apostle of Christ: for it is not likely that Jesus would neglect to invite one, to whom he had given so high a character, to be one of his followers; or that Nathanael would refuse to
comply with it: besides this, we find him mentioned, John xx. 1, 2, with the apostles, to whom our Lord appeared at the sea of Tiberias. “And there were together, Simon Peter and Thomas, called Didymus, and Nathanael, of Cana, in Galilee.” The reason why this name does not appear in the catalogue of the twelve apostles, as given us by the other evangelists, is, that he is there called Bartholomew, having, as was very common among the Jews, two names.
John ii. 1--11. 1. And the third day there was a marriage, rather, “ a marriage feast," in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there,
The third day is computed from the time at which Peter came to him.
2. And both Jesus was called, «s invited,” and his disciples to the feast.
It was probably celebrated on the occasion of the marriage of some relation of Jesus, which was the reason of his being invited.
3. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
The company which attended was, probably, larger than was expected, and therefore the provision for the feast failed. This increase of company, might be occasioned by the expectation that Jesus would be there, who was already announced by John the Baptist as a great prophet. Mary, his mother, haying learnt that his ministry was soon to begin, either from what John had said, or from some private intimations of his own, hints to him that this was a proper opportunity for exercising his miraculous powers, by supplying the deficiency of wine. She might, probably, be induced to think of such a miracle, from the example of Elisha, who, in a time of dearth, multiplied a few loaves so much as to make them sufficient for a hundred men. 2 Kings, iv. 42.
4. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? or, “what hast thou to do with me?” Mine hour is not yet come.
This was intended as a gentle rebuke to Mary, for presuming to direct him in the exercise of his ministry, and to show her the reason why he was not forward to work a miracle upon the present occasion ; inasmuch as the time for that purpose was not fully arrived. It would hence appear, as if Jesus had been induced to perform a miracle, to satisfy the expectation of his mother, somewhat sooner than he intended. That the term woman, with which he addresses her, contained nothing in it disrespectful at that time, is evident, from his employing it in speaking to her from the cross, when he committed her to the care of John for support, John xix. 26. “ Woman, behold thy son.”
5. His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
This shows that she did not regard his answer as an absolute refusal, and that she still entertained hope that he would fulfil her wishes.
6. And there were set there, six water-pots of stone, after the manner of purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins a-piece.
These water pots were set here, that the Jews might wash themselves, according to the traditions of the elders, before they sat down to meat. It is calculated, that altogether they contained about fourteen gallons of water; such a quantity of wine could not have been suddenly produced by any artifice : but if it had been less, there might have been some ground to sus. pect a fraud.
7. Jesus saith unto them, Fill the water-pots with water; and they filled them up to the brim.
8. And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast ; and they bare it.
The circumstance of a governor of the feast being appointed, shows that the company expected was large, and that the quantity produced might not be a disproportionate supply.
9. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was (but the servants which drew the water knew) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, · 10. And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, or,“ drunk a good deal,” then that which is worse; but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
The governor here speaks of the common practice; but no inference can be drawn hence, respecting the sobriety or intemperance of the present entertainment.
11. This beginning of miracles did Jesus, in Cana of Galilee, and manifested
forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.
1. We see here the commendable zeal of those who were acquainted with Christ, in communicating the knowledge of him to others. Andrew and Peter teli Philip, that they had seen the Messiah, and Philip tells Nathanael. In the same manner, whatever knowledge in religion we possess, of which others are destitute, let us be ready to impart: if they are ignorant of Christ, let us labour to make them wellacquainted with him; if, knowing something of him, they reject his authority, or have misconceived the nature of his person or purposes of his mission, let us endeavour to convince them of their error, and to give them better information. To confine to ourselves what we have learnt; to say, let others take the same trouble to examine and enquire which we have taken ; let them submit to the same chances of meeting with the truth, or of falling into error, is inconsistent with the principles of common good nature; to say nothing of Christian benevolence: for error is the cause of evil, and religious error more than any other. To behold the mistakes of mankind, therefore, upon this subject, with indifference, while we believe them to be attended with such consequences, is to be destitute of humanity. Remember, the injunction of Christ to his disciples is, “ What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light, and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the house-tops."
2. In the conduct of Nathanael, in coming to Jesus, we see a commendable openness to conviction, which was happily satisfied. He was prejudiced against Christ, because he came from Nazareth, and he could not easily admit that so great a personage could proceed from so mean a place; yet he does not refuse to listen