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Verse 21

Matthew 16:21. From that time forth When they had made that full confession of Christ that he was the Messiah, the Son of God; began Jesus to show unto his disciples Another most important point, namely, that he must suffer and be put to death, as a malefactor. If they had not been well grounded in their belief of Christ’s being the Son of God, it would have been a great shock to their faith to be informed that he must suffer and die. Some hints, indeed, our Lord had already given of his sufferings, as when he said, Destroy this temple, and spoke of the Son of man being lifted up, and of eating his flesh and drinking his blood; but hitherto he had not spoken plainly and expressly of the subject, because the disciples were weak, and could not have borne the notice of a thing so very strange and so very melancholy. But now, as they were more advanced in knowledge and stronger in faith, he began to reveal this to them: for he declares his mind to his people gradually, and lets in light as they can bear it, and are prepared to receive it. How that he must go unto Jerusalem The holy city, the royal city, and suffer there. Though he had lived most of his time in Galilee, he must die at Jerusalem; there all the sacrifices were offered; and there, therefore, He must die who was to be the great sacrifice. Thither he was to go within the short space of a few months, this declaration being made in the last year of his life: and instead of being owned, under the royal character he bore, and submitted to by the princes and people, must suffer many things from the elders The most honourable and experienced men; from the chief priests Accounted the most religious, and the scribes The most learned body of men in the nation. These made up the great sanhedrim, which sat at Jerusalem, and was had in veneration by the people: and these one would have expected to have been the very first to receive him. But instead of this, they were the most bitter in persecuting him! Strange, indeed, that men of knowledge in the Scriptures, who professed to expect the Messiah’s coming, and sustained a sacred character, should use him with such contumely and cruelty when he came! It was the Roman power, indeed, that condemned and crucified Christ; but the principal share of the guilt of the whole business lies at the door of the chief priests and scribes, who were the first and principal movers in it. From them he suffered many things, things which manifested their insatiable malice, and his invincible patience, and in the issue was killed: for nothing short of his death would either satisfy the malice of his enemies, or render him a proper sacrifice for the sins of mankind. Our Lord, however, while he brought to his disciples these melancholy tidings, added, for their support and encouragement under this gloomy prospect, that in the third day he should be raised again. And thus, as all the prophets had done, when he testified beforehand his sufferings, he bore witness likewise to the glory that should follow, 1 Peter 1:11. His rising again the third day proved him to be the Son of God, notwithstanding his sufferings, and therefore he mentions it in order that the faith of the disciples might not fail.

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