Luke 23:31 For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?

Gill Commentary:

For if they do these things in a green tree,…

Or it may be rendered impersonally, “if these things are done in a green tree”; by which is meant the Lord Jesus Christ, who is often compared to a tree, as to a green fir tree, an apple tree, a vine, and is called the tree of life: and may be said to be a moist or green tree;

because, as a green tree is full of juice, so is he of grace and goodness;

as that is flourishing, so was he in the fame of his doctrine and miracles, in the spread of his Gospel, and in the increase of his kingdom and interest;

and as that is fruitful and useful, so was he in preaching the Gospel, and healing diseases;

and as that is not proper to be cut down, nor fit fuel for the fire, so he was not deserving of death, or to be used in the manner he was;

the metaphor seems designed to express the righteousness and innocence of Christ; … who was pure in his nature, without sin in his life, harmless in his conversation, and did no hurt to any man’s person or property:

his enemies could find nothing, nor prove any thing against him; nor even the devil himself, but owned him to be the Holy One of God;

and he was also declared innocent by his judge, the Roman governor: and yet, how many hard and grievous things were done unto him!

He was persecuted in his infancy, and his life was sought for;

he was despised and reproached by men all his days;

he was apprehended as if he had been a thief, and was bound as a malefactor;

and arraigned at the bar of men, as if he had been the greatest criminal on earth;

he was mocked, buffeted, and spit upon in the palace of the high priest;

he was scourged by Pilate, and misused by his soldiers, who arrayed him with a scarlet robe, put a crown of thorns on his head, and a reed in his hand, and in a mock way bowed the knee to him, and saluted him as King of the Jews;

they crucified him between two thieves, …

and as he hung on the cross mocked him, and gave him gall and vinegar to drink.

To which may be added, that he was forsaken by his God, and Father, and his wrath was poured out upon him, as he sustained the persons, and bore the sins of his people; the curse of the law was executed on him: and justice drew its sword, and sheathed it in him. …

and if such things were done to Christ by his Father, according to the requirement of the law, and the strictness of divine justice, when he was made sin for his people, though he knew none, nor committed any himself, what vengeance will fall on them, who must answer for their sins in their own persons?

What devouring flames, and everlasting burnings, will such dry trees be exposed to, as being fit for them, and deserving of them?


John 5

39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. 41 I receive not honour from men. 42 But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. 43 I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 44 How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. 46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

Adam Clarke

Though ye thus search the Scriptures, in hopes of finding the Messiah and eternal life in them, yet ye will not come unto me, believe in me, and be my disciples, though so clearly pointed out by them, that ye may have that eternal life which can only come through me.

Matthew Henry

How can they believe who make the praise and applause of men their idol? When the profession and practice of serious godliness are unfashionable, are every where spoken against,—when Christ and his followers are men wondered at, and to be a Christian is to be like a speckled bird (and this is the common case),—how can they believe the summit of whose ambition is to make a fair show in the flesh?

The last witness here called is Moses, v. 45, etc. The Jews had a great veneration for Moses, and valued themselves upon their being the disciples of Moses, and pretended to adhere to Moses, in their opposition to Christ; but Christ here shows them,

(1.) That Moses was a witness against the unbelieving Jews, and accused them to the Father: There is one that accuses you, even Moses. This may be understood …

As showing the manifest unreasonableness of their infidelity:

“Think not that I will appeal from your bar to God’s and challenge you to answer there for what you do against me, as injured innocency usually does; no, I do not need; you are already accused, and cast, in the court of heaven; Moses himself says enough to convict you of, and condemn you for, your unbelief.”

Let them not mistake concerning Christ; though he was a prophet, he did not improve his interest in heaven against those that persecuted him, did not, as Elias, make intercession against Israel (Rom. 6:2), nor as Jeremiah desire to see God’s vengeance on them.

Nor let them mistake concerning Moses, as if he would stand by them in rejecting Christ; no, There is one that accuses you, even Moses in whom you trust.

Note, First, External privileges and advantages are commonly the vain confidence of those who reject Christ and his grace. The Jews trusted in Moses, and thought their having his laws and ordinances would save them.

Secondly, Those that confide in their privileges, and do not improve them, will find not only that their confidence is disappointed, but that those very privileges will be witnesses against them.

That Moses was a witness for Christ and to his doctrine (v. 46, 47): He wrote of me. Moses did particularly prophesy of Christ, as the Seed of the woman, the Seed of Abraham, the Shiloh, the great Prophet; the ceremonies of the law of Moses were figures of him that was to come. The Jews made Moses the patron of their opposition to Christ; but Christ here shows them their error, that Moses was so far from writing against Christ that he wrote for him, and of him. But,

[1.] Christ here charges it on the Jews that they did not believe Moses. He had said (v. 45) that they trusted in Moses, and yet here he undertakes to make out that they did not believe Moses; they trusted to his name, but they did not receive his doctrine in its true sense and meaning; they did not rightly understand, nor give credit to, what there was in the writings of Moses concerning the Messiah.

[2.] He proves this charge from their disbelief of him: Had you believed Moses, you would have believed me.

Note, First, The surest trial of faith is by the effects it produces. Many say that they believe whose actions give their words the lie; for had they believed the scriptures they would have done otherwise than they did.

Secondly, Those who rightly believe one part of scripture will receive every part. The prophecies of the old Testament were so fully accomplished in Christ that those who rejected Christ did in effect deny those prophecies, and set them aside.

[3.] From their disbelief of Moses he infers that it was not strange that they rejected him: If you believe not his writings, how shall you believe my words? How can it be thought that you should?

First, “If you do not believe sacred writings, those oracles which are in black and white, which is the most certain way of conveyance, how shall you believe my words, words being usually less regarded?”

Secondly, “If you do not believe Moses, for whom you have such a profound veneration, how is it likely that you should believe me, whom you look upon with so much contempt?” See Ex. 6:12.

Thirdly, “If you believe not what Moses spoke and wrote of me, which is a strong and cogent testimony for me, how shall you believe me and my mission?” If we admit not the premises, how shall we admit the conclusion? The truth of the Christian religion, it being a matter purely of divine revelation, depends upon the divine authority of the scripture; if therefore we believe not the divine inspiration of those writings, how shall be receive the doctrine of Christ?


Matthew 13:45-46 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Matthew Henry

II. That of the pearl of price (v. 45, 46), …

Note, 1. All the children of men are busy, seeking goodly pearls: one would be rich, another would be honourable, another would be learned; but the most are imposed upon, and take up with counterfeits for pearls.

2. Jesus Christ is a Pearl of great price, a Jewel of inestimable value, which will make those who have it rich, truly rich, rich toward God; in having him, we have enough to make us happy here and for ever.

3. A true Christian is a spiritual merchant, that seeks and finds this pearl of price; that does not take up with any thing short of an interest in Christ, and, as one that is resolved to be spiritually rich, trades high: He went and bought that pearl; did not only bid for it, but purchased it. What will it avail us to know Christ, if we do not know him as ours, made to us wisdom? 1 Co. 1:30.

4. Those who would have a saving interest in Christ, must be willing to part with all for him, leave all to follow him. Whatever stands in opposition to Christ, or in competition with him for our love and service, we must cheerfully quit it, though ever so dear to us. A man may buy gold too dear, but not this pearl of price.