Page images
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][subsumed]
[ocr errors]

and nets, and hired servants, Mark i. 20, and followed his oc-
cupation on the sea of Galilee.-From Matt. xxvii. 55. com-
pared with Mark xv. 40. it appears that the name of Zebedee's
wife was Salomè; for in the former of these passages, the is
called the mother of Zebedee's children, who in the latter is named
Salome.-- Zebedee had another son whose name was James, and
who seems to have been elder than John. Both of them were
fishers like their father, and assisted him in his business, till they
were called to follow Jesus. They seem all to have lived in
one family in the town of Bethsaida, which being situated near
the sea of Galilee, was a convenient station for fishers.



Because the mother of Zebedee's children, is mentioned among the women who followed Jesus from Galilee to the last passover, ministring to him, as related, Matt. xxvii. 56. Lardner conjectures, that Zebedee was then dead, and that the two brothers lived in separate houses. For when our Lord, upon the cross, recommended his mother to John, it is said, John xix. 27. From that baur that disciple took her unto his own home. Perhaps John and his mother Salome lived together.— Theophylact was,

of opinion that John's mother was related to our Lord : And Lardner, whom I have generally followed in giving John's history, supposes that that relation encouraged her to ask the two chief places in Christ's kingdom for her fons; and that it was the occasion of our Lord's committing the care of his mother to John. But there is no evidence in scripture of Zebedee's children being related to our Lord by their mother.

John had not the advantage of a learned education. For we are told, Acts iv. 13. that the Council perceived Peter and John were unlearned men. Nevertheless, like the generality of the Jewish common people of that age, they may have been well acquainted with the scriptures; having often heard them read in the fynagogues. And as with the rest of their countrymen, they expected the coming of the Melliah aboue that time, they lent a willing ear to the Baptist, when he published, that Messiah was actually come, though the people did not know him, John i. 26.---Afterward when the Baptist pointed out Jesus to his disciples, ver. 29. as the lamb of God who taketh away the fin of the world, he said to them, ver. 33. I knew him not to be Messiah, but he who sent ine to baptize avith water the same said to me, upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on him, the same is he who baptizeth with the Holy Ghost, 34. And I saw and bare record that this is the Son of God. If the sons of Zebedee were of the number of those to whom John testified that Jesus was the Son of God, we may believe they attached themselves early to him, and were among those who are called his difciples, and to whom he manifested his glory at the marriage in Cana, by turning water into wine, John ij. 11.

After the miracle in Cana, the sons of Zebedee feem to have, followed their ordinary occupation, till Jesus called them to at


tend on him conftantly, as mentioned, Matt. iv. For the evangelist having related the calling of Peter and Andrew, adds, ver. 21. And going on from thence, he saw other two bretbren, James the son of Zebedee, aad John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father mending their nets; and he called them, 22, and they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him ; namely, when he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing all manner of fickness, and all manner of disease among the people.

Some time after this, Jesus chose twelve of his disciples to be with him always, that they might be eye and ear-witnesses of all he did and said, and be qualified to testify the same to the world; and in particular, qualified to bear witness to his resurrection from the dead. These chosen persons Jesus named apostles; and the sons of Zebedee being of that number, he firnamed them Boanerges, or fons of thunder, to mark the courage with which they would afterwards preach him to the world, as Chrif the son of God: --How well James fulfilled his Master's prediction, may be known from his being put to death by Herod Agrippa, not long after our Lord's afcenfion,, on account of his boldly testifying the resurrection of Jesus from the dead; fo that he became the first martyr among the apostles.-Cave in his life of James, says the sons of Zebedee had the firname of Boanerges given them, on account of the impetuosity of their tempers. And it must be acknowledged that they shewed too much anger, in their proposal to have the Samaritans destroyed by fire from heaven, becaufe they refused to receive Jesus, as he was going up to Jerusalem to worship, Luke ix. 54. Lord wilt thou, that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did ?

But although James and John shewed improper zeal on the occafion mentioned, they were highly esteemed by their Master, for their other good qualities; as appears from this, that of all the apostles they only, with Peter, were admitted by him to be the witneffes of the resurrection of Jairus's daughter, and of our Lord's transfiguration, and of his agony in the garden. John more especially was so much beloved of Jesus, that he was called the disciple whom he loved.-His benevolent disposition John

B 2


[ocr errors]

manifested in this his first epiftle, by the frequency and ear. neftness with which he recommended mutual love to the disciples of Christ. - With benevolence, John joined great fortitude and constancy in his attachment to his Master. For he only of the twelve, attended him during his crucifixion; and faw the blood and water ifsue from his fide, when the soldier pierced it with a spear; and, I doubt not, was present when his body was laid in the sepulchre ; and saw the sepulchre closed with a ftone.--He with Peter, ran to the sepulchre, when Mary Magdalen brought word that the Lord's body was taken away.--He was present also when Jesus shewed himself to his apostles, on the evening of the day of his resurrection ; and on the eighth day thereafter. He with his brother James, was present when Jesus fhewed himself to his disciples at the fea of Tiberias; and to the five hundred on the mountain in Galilee, mentioned Matt. xxviii. 16.—Moreover, he was present with the rest of the apostles, when our Lord ascended into heaven from the mount of Olives. So that, with the greatest propriety and truth, he could begin his first epistle with saying, That which was from the beginning which we have heard, which we have seen, &c. we declare unto you ; referring to his gospel, in which he hath narrated the crucifixion, miracles, sufferings, death, and resurrection of the living Word; his appearances to his disciples after his resurrection; and last of all, his ascension into heaven. -To conclude, John was one of the one hundred and twenty upon whom the Holy Ghost descended, on the day of Pentecost which immediately followed our Lord's ascension.

After the effusion of the Holy Spirit, John displayed the greatest boldness in maintaining his master's cause, when with Peter he was brought before the council, and was strictly charged not to teach in the name of Jesus. For on that occasion, he made the noble answer recorded, Adt iv. 19. Whether it be right in the fight of God to hearken unto you ather than unto God, judge


For we cannot but speak the things which we have heard and seen.

We are told, Acts viii. 14. That when the apostles who were at Jerusalem, heard that Samaria had received the word of God, -they sent to them Peter und John, that they wright receive the Holy Ghost It seems none could confer that gist but apostles.


« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »