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an oath according to the Jewish law) that thou tell me 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 (c).” St. Luke's account of this examination places the argument in a still stronger point of view : he mentions two distinct questions as having been put to Jesus in the council, first, “ Art thou the Christ?" and upon our Saviour's answering, " if I tell you, ye will not believe," and solemnly declaring, “ Hereafter shall the Son of Man sit on the right hand of the power of God;" they further ask, secondly, “ Art thou then the Son of God?” And when“ he said, unto them, Ye say that I am (d),” they said, " What need we any further witness? for we
(c) Matt. c. 26. v. 63–66.
(d) This, as well as the expression “ thou hast said,” in the parallel passage just now quoted from St. Matthew, was an Eastern mode of answering in the affirmative. Vide Mark, c. 14. v. 62.
ourselves have heard of his own mouth (e)." And when Pilate would have released Jesus, declaring, “ he found no fault in him,” the Jews answered him, “ We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God (f ).” Thus it appears that our Lord suffered death, according to the Jewish law, as a blasphemer, because avowing himself to be the Son of God, he was clearly understood to represent himself as equal with God (g). This circumstance must, I think, be allowed as alone sufficient to prove that the Jews understood the . title of “Son of God,” in the sense of absolute divinity; but it does not prove that they expected the Messiah to be the Son of God. This was the opinion of but those few, who like Simeon and Anna, waited for the promises of God, and adhered to the true and original sense of the Scriptures, unadulterated by the comments and glosses of the scribes, which had produced the general expectation of a temporal kingdom under a temporal prince; and
we (e) Luke, c. 22. v. 67. 69–71. (f) John, c. 19, v. 6 and 7.
(g) It should be observed, that the Jews never thought of punishing with death those impostors who pretended to be the Christ. This claim did not include the crime of blasphemy, according to their idea of the Messiah, any more than the pretensions to be a prophet did.
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we find our Lord and his Apostles constantly appealing to the Scriptures, as testifying to the truth of their assertions respecting his office and dignity, and combating the common opinion concerning the Christ on many occasions : “ How say the scribes, that Christ is the Son of David ? for David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool; Divid therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son (h)?"-And when the Jews asked him, “ Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead; and the prophets, which are dead; whom makest thou thyself? he answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I am. Then took they up stones to cast at him (i),” for they clearly understood this expression as agreeing with the sense in which he had called God his Father.
And we find the converts to the religion of Christ expressly declaring their faith in terms, which not only directly acknowledged their belief, that Jesus “ was the Christ,” but that he was also “ the Son of God.” Nathaniel, that true Israelite, confessed Jesus to be the Messiah in these words : “ Rabbi, thou art the Son of God,
thou (h) Mark, c. 12. v. 35, 36, and 37:(i) John, c. 8, v. 53. 58, and 59..
thou art the King of Israel (k).”—And Martha said, “ I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God (1).”—“ Then they who were in the ship,” who had seen him walk upon the water and calm the storm, “ came and worshipped him, saying, of a truth thou art the Son of God (m).”—“ Jesus asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I, the Son of Man, am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist ; some, Elias, and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am ? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church (n).”— John the Baptist " bare record that this is the Son of God,” having received this knowledge by a special revelation (0).–And God himself bore witness to the truth of Christ's pretensions
(k) John, c. 1. v. 49.
by a voice from heaven, at the time of his baptism in the river, and when he was transfigured upon the mount in the presence of three of his apostles, saying, “ This is my beloved Son : hear him (p). To these quotations from the Gospels I shall add one from the Acts : When Philip found the Ethiopian eunuch studying the prophecies of Isaiah, anxious but unable to understand them, “ he began at the same Scripture, (chap. 53d) and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water; and the eunuch said, See, here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized ? and Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (9).” He does not merely profess his faith in Jesus (of whom he probably had never before heard) as a teacher sent from God, or as the Christ expected by the Jews; but he declares his belief that Jesus Christ, the circumstances of whose life and resurrection Philip had related, is the Son of God, the Messiah of whom the prophets wrote, and whom Isaiah in particular had described in terms appropriate to God alone. And when we reflect further, that this
eunuch (p) Matt. c. 3. v. 17. Luke, c. 9. V.35. (9) Acts, c. 8. v. 35, &c.