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46 And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. 47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.

'After three days.' This means probably on the third day after they had left Jerusalem. That is, the first day they went towards Galilee; on the second they returned to Jerusalem; and on the third they found him. Compare Matt. xxvii. 63. Mark viii. 31. 'In the temple.' In the court of the temple. For Jesus not being a Levitical priest could not enter into the temple itself. See Matt. xxi. 12. In the midst of the doctors.' The teachers, the rabbies, who were the instructors of the people in matters of religion. Asking them questions.' Proposing questions to them respecting the law and the prophets. The questions were doubtless proposed in a respectful manner, and the answers listened to with proper deference to their age and rank. Jesus was a child; and religion teaches all, and especially the young, to treat other men with respect; to show them the honour that is due; to venerate age; and to speak kindly to all, 1 Pet. ii. 17; iii. 8. Ex. xx. 12. Matt. xxiii. 3. Rom. xiii. 7.

48 And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.

'Why hast thou thus dealt with us? Why hast thou given us all this trouble and anxiety, in going so far, and returning with so much solicitude; Thy father.' Joseph was not the real father of Jesus, but he was legally so; and he was called his father. 'Sorrowing. Anxious, lest some accident might have happened to him.

49 And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?

Why have ye sought me with so much anxiety? Mary should have known that the Son of God was safe, that his heavenly Father would take care of him, and that he could do nothing amiss. 'Wist ye not.' Know ye not. You knew my design in coming into the world; and that design was superior to the duty of obeying earthly parents, and they should be willing always to give me up to the proper business for which I live. My Father's business.' Jesus reminded them here that he came down from heaven, that he had a higher Father than an earthly parent; and that, even in early life, it was proper that he should be engaged in the work for which he came.

50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.

It is remarkable that they did not understand Jesus in this; but it shows how slow persons are to believe.

51 And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.

'Was subject unto them.' Performed the duty of a faithful and obedient child; and not improbably was engaged in the trade of Joseph, that of a carpenter. Every Jew was required to learn some trade; and there is every reason to think that our Saviour followed that of his reputed father. Jesus has set an example in this that all children should follow. Though he was the Son of God, and engaged in the great work of redemption, yet he was also the son of Mary; and he loved and obeyed his mother, and was subject to her. Jesus has also conferred honour on virtuous industry, and no man should be ashamed of industrious parents, though poor, or of a condition of life that is far from ease and affluence. Industry is honourable, and virtuous poverty without reproach.

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

In favour with God.' That is, in proportion to his advance in wisdom. This does not imply that he ever lacked the favour of God.


1 NOW in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,

'Now in the fifteenth year. This was the thirteenth year of his being sole emperor. He was two years joint emperor with Augustus, and Luke reckons from the time when he was admitted to share the empire with Augustus Cesar. 'Tiberius Cesar.' Tiberius succeeded Augustus in the empire, and began his sole reign, August 19, A.D. 14. He was a most infamous character, a Scourge to the Roman people. 'Pontius Pilate.' Herod the Great left his kingdom to three sons. Note, Matt. ii. 22. To Archelaus he left Judea. He reigned nine years, when, on account of his crimes, he was banished to Vienna, and Judea was made a Roman province, and placed entirely under Roman

governors, or procurators, and became completely tributary to Rome. Pontius Pilate was the fifth governor that had been sent, and had been in Judea but a short time. 'Herod being tetrarch of Galilee.' This was Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, to whom Galilee had been left as his part of his father's kingdom. The word 'tetrarch' properly denotes one who presides over a fourth part of a country or province; but it also came to be a general title, denoting one who reigned over any part, a third, a half, &c. It was this Herod who imprisoned John the Baptist, and to whom our Saviour, when arraigned, was sent by Pilate. 'Iturea,' was so called from Jetur, one of the sons of Ishmael, Gen. xxv. 15. 1 Chron. i. 31. It was situated on the east side of the Jordan, and was taken from the descendants of Jetur by the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, 1 Chron. v. 19. Region of Trachonitis.' These regions were also on the east of the Jordan, and extended northward to the district of Damascus, and eastward to the deserts of Arabia, and were bounded on the west by Gaulonitis, and south by the city of Bostra. Philip had obtained these regions from the Romans on condition that he would extirpate the robbers. Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene.' Abilene was so called from Abila, its chief city. It was situated in Syria, north-west of Damascus, and south-east of mount Lebanon, and was adjacent to Galilee.

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2 Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

There was, properly speaking, but one high priest of the Jews. Yet the name of high priest continued to be given to those who had been in that office, and especially when they still possessed some civil office after they had left the high priesthood. In this case it appears that Caiaphas was high priest, and Annas had been, but was dismissed from the office.

There is one remark to be made here, about the manner in which the Gospels were written. They have every mark of openness and honesty. An impostor does not mention names, and times, and places, particularly; for thus it would be easily seen that he was an impostor. But the sacred writers describe objects and men as if they were perfectly familiar with them. They never appear to be guarding themselves. They speak of things most minutely. And if they had been impostors, it would have been easy to detect them. If, for example, John did not begin to preach in the fifteenth year of Tiberius; if Philip was not tetrarch of Iturea; if Pontius Pilate was not governor of Judea; how easy would it have been to detect them in falsehood! Yet it was never done. Nay, we have evidences of that age in Josephus, that these descriptions are strictly true; and consequently the Gospels must have been written by men who were personally acquainted

with what they wrote, who were not impostors, and who were honest men. If they were honest, then the christian religion is


3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; 4 As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; 6 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. 7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. 9 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

On the baptism of John, see notes on Matt. iii.

10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?

John had told them to bring forth fruits appropriate to repentance, or to lead a life which showed that their repentance was genuine. They very properly, therefore, asked, how it should be done, or what would be such a life.

11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.

Or, in other words, aid the poor according to your ability, be benevolent, and you will thus show that your repentance is genuine. This requires self-denial, and none will deny themselves who are not attached to God. 'Coats.' See note on Matt. v. 40. Meat.' Provision of any kind.

12 Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?

The publicans.' See note on Matt. v. 47. The 'publicans,' or tax-gatherers were peculiarly oppressive, and nard in their

dealings with the people; and as they had every opportunity of exacting more than they ought, so they often did it, and thus enriched themselves. The evidence of repentance in them would be to break off their sins, and to deal justly.

13 And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.

'Exact.' Demand, or take, no more. Than that which is appointed. That is, by the government. If there is a government, it must be supported; and of course there must be men whose duty it is to collect the taxes, as the means of the proper support of the government. And as such a support of the government is necessary, so the people should pay cheerfully the just appointment of the rulers, and regard favourably those who are authorized to collect the taxes.

14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

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Whether these were Jews or Romans cannot be ascertained. 'Do violence.' Do not take the property of any by unlawful force. It is probable that they were many of them oppressive, or prone to violence, rapine, or theft. Neither accuse any falsely.' It is probable that when they wished the property of others, they often falsely accused the persons of crime. Be content' Do not murmur or complain, or take unlawful means to increase your wages. Wages.' This word means not only the money which was paid them, but also their rations or daily allowance of food. By this they were to show that their repentance was genuine, that it had a practical influence, that it produced a real reformation of life. Every profession of repentance, which is not attended with a change of life, is mere hypocrisy. Man every where, in all professions, should be a christian; and then he will do honour to his profession: and his profession, if it is not a direct violation of the law of God, will be honourable.

15 And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ or not; 16 John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: 17 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will

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