Laying wait for him - Or, rather, laying “snares” for him It means that they endeavored to entangle him in his talk; that they did as men do who catch birds - who lay snares, and deceive them, and take them unawares.
That they might accuse him - Before the Sanhedrin, or great council of the nation, and thus secure his being put to death.
From this we may learn:
1. That faithful reproofs must be expected to excite opposition and hatred. Though the “conscience” may be roused, and may testify against the man that is reproved, yet that does not prevent his hating the reproof and the reprover.
2. We see here the manner in which wicked people endeavor to escape the reproofs of conscience. Instead of repenting, they seek vengeance, and resolve to put the reprover to shame or to death.
3. We see the exceeding malignity which people have against the Lord Jesus. Well was it said that he was set for the fall of many in Israel, that thereby the thoughts of many hearts might be revealed! Luke 2:34-35. Men, now, are not by nature less opposed to Jesus than they were then.
4. We see the wisdom, purity, and firmness of the Saviour. To their souls he had been faithful. He had boldly reproved them for their sins. They sought his life. Multitudes of the artful and learned gathered around him, to endeavor to draw out something of which they might accuse him, yet in vain. Not a word fell from his lips of which they could accuse him. Everything that he said was calm, mild, peaceful, wise, and lovely. Even his cunning and bitter adversaries were always confounded, and retired in shame and confusion. Here, surely, must have been something more than man. None but “God manifest in the flesh” could have known all their designs, seen all their wickedness and their wiles, and escaped the cunning stratagems that were laid to confound and entangle him in his conversation.
5. The same infinitely wise Saviour can still meet and confound all his own enemies and those of his people, and deliver all his followers, as he did himself, from all the snares laid by a wicked world to lead them to sin and death.
The spirit in which you come to the investigation of the Scriptures will determine the character of the assistant at your side. Angels from the world of light will be with those who in humility of heart seek for divine guidance. But if the Bible is opened with irreverence, with a feeling of self-sufficiency, if the heart is filled with prejudice, Satan is beside you, and he will set the plain statements of God's word in a perverted light. TM 108.1
There are some who indulge in levity, sarcasm, and even mockery toward those who differ with them. Others present an array of objections to any new view; and when these objections are plainly answered by the words of Scripture, they do not acknowledge the evidence presented, nor allow themselves to be convinced. Their questioning is not for the purpose of arriving at truth, but is intended merely to confuse the minds of others. TM 108.2
Some have thought it an evidence of intellectual keenness and superiority to perplex minds in regard to what is truth. They resort to subtlety of argument, to playing upon words; they take unjust advantage in asking questions. When their questions have been fairly answered, they will turn the subject [and] bring up another point to avoid acknowledging the truth. We should beware of indulging the spirit which controlled the Jews. They would not learn of Christ, because His explanation of the Scriptures did not agree with their ideas; therefore they became spies upon His track, “laying wait for Him, and seeking to catch something out of His mouth, that they might accuse Him.” Let us not bring upon ourselves the fearful denunciation of the Saviour's words, “Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.” TM 108.3Read in context »