And he said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Hereafter you shall see heaven open…
This expression is one of the signs and evidences of the originality of Jesus Christ. It occurs more than seventy times, and was a characteristic which separated His conversation from that of other men. There were and are examples enough of mere dogmatism.
1. The scribes, whether of theology or science, will open their books and say, "It is written," and that is the end of all controversy.
2. The bigot will hold fast to the letter of his creed and anathematize all who do not hold it.
3. Ignorance will stand firm upon tradition and swear to all passers by, "I know." Everywhere there has lived the man who could not be mistaken.But the assurance of Jesus Christ was wholly different.
1. Nor was it like the positiveness of the prophets of old who proclaimed, "Thus saith the Lord."
2. Nor like the confidence of the philosopher in his reasonings, the naturalist in his verifications. Christ's verilies precede rather than conclude His teachings. He gave no demonstrations.
3. Nor with the religious faiths of His disciples. Faith is for us an achievement, and after the struggle Jesus comes and says"believe." But no Christ came to Jesus, nor is there in His positiveness any trace of conflict. He believed spontaneously and directly out of His own consciousness of God. This positiveness marked Christ's teaching from the beginning when He spoke to His mother in the Temple; and never afterwards was there a hesitating note. This peculiar quality appears when we reflect on the subjects on which He was absolutely sure. They are those on which other men are not sure.
(1) His verilies have nothing to do with natural truths which we can discover or demonstrate.
(2) Nor with matters of history which scholars may search out.
(3) Nor with such things as Sanhedrims wrangle over.
(4) But with vital, spiritual, eternal truths not otherwise discoverable by man.Learn, then:
1. That over against all our human ignorance, sinfulness, and need, the gospel is one grand affirmation of God; an assertion of those things of which we most need to be made sure.
2. If we want true hearts and strength to do and dare; if we would learn the secret of cheerful, patient lives; if we wish to live with all our souls for noble purpose, and with great faiths and immortal hope, there is a verily waiting to impart to us its power and its peace.
3. Christian unity is only to be realized upon the high plane of this positiveness, and along the lines of those great spiritual affirmations.
4. There is some verily speaking to each at all times and everywhere.
(Newman Smyth, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.