« ÎnapoiContinuați »
of the messianic expectation, kept the minds of its adherents upon
That which Jesus observed of Zealot messianic tendencies while he
1 Acts 5:33-39.
2 For a history of the growth of this tendency from the death of Jesus to the destruction of Jeruslaem, see chap. iv, 36.
was with his disciples, he was well assured would continue and be aggravated in the years to come. As the contest with Rome became closer and fiercer, the religious element would receive heavier emphasis; as the despair of defeat deepened, the necessity and opportunity for messianic claims would be enlarged. It is from a mind which has taken recognition of current messianic tendencies, which has read the future in the present, which, above all, is concerned for the life of his society in that future of messianic uprisings that the prophecy and exhortation is expressed: “And they shall say to you, Lo, there! Lo, here! go not away, nor follow after them.".
$5. RESULTANT STATE OF THE DISCIPLES, AND CONSEQUENT
DEMAND FOR A CONSTRUCTIVE STATEMENT BY JESUS Some serious and sustained effort of the historical imagination is demanded, some sympathetic attempt at the adjustment of historical perspective is imperative, if one would attain to an adequate apprehension of the messianic content of the disciples' minds after Jesus had thus brought before them so much that had a future reference. Not that for them, in the present at least, the prohibition of attachment to future messianic claimants presented itself as a prospective deprivation. Jesus sufficed in that hour, and they had believed that he had a future. Of more significance to them was it, that he had said that all desire of theirs, in certain trying days that were to come, for a day of the Messiah, was unwarranted and futile—“Ye shall not
Whatever the limitations of vision which had marked the disciples previous to Jesus' final arrival at Jerusalem, it may be believed that they had come to some degree of realization that Jesus was soon to be separated from them. With the dawn of that consciousness would come a flood of questions touching the future. Present with them, and regarded as about to attain, Jesus was intelligible as Messiah-a Messiah with a future. But, when once place is given to the belief that he is about to leave, then problems of magnitude and gravity rise and clamor for solution. The whole ground on which rests the messianic interpretation of him by his disciples quakes. The main supports,
i Luke 17:23.
the only stable supports, for their faith in him were grounded in what they believed lay in the very near future; these were being undermined X by the closer-pressing evidences of the proximity of his death. Faith grounded thus must either die in his death, or it must be transferred beyond his death and there find basis for its activity. Outside these alternatives for their present faith, there is another solution of the problem, namely, so to correct their ideas that the objects of hope are found to be fully realized in the present. In the case of Jesus, dealing with the body of men to whom he was addressing himself, men dominated by rigid preconceptions as to the work of the Messiah, the last-suggested solution would impose a Herculean task, a task which must be pronounced practically impossible. The limit of the capacity of men for new and unwelcome truth, and the necessity which this places upon the bearer of that truth for some approximation to the standpoint of his hearers, for some attempt to throw into old forms a new concept even at the expense of precision and finality, must be had in mind in any examination of what Jesus had to say when he was in the presence of the most stubborn of contemporary expectations. Of quite as much importance is it to recognize, that by the very vigor of his negation of views held by his disciples he was obligated to fashion some positive statement. He had warned them against the attachment of themselves to any messianic claimants of the future, against the false step of seeking to find in any new messianic movement a more concrete realization of their expectations. He had forecast their ardent desire for a day of the Son of man,
but had asserted that the desire would remain unsatisfied in its ardency by any fulfilment—"Ye shall not see it."
86. A POSITIVE STATEMENT FROM JESUS AS TO THE FUTURE
Has Jesus no outline of the future? Can he offer no substitute for the persistent form of the national hope? Will he make no concessions to the natural and normal demand of the Jewish mind for some “Day”? Is there absent from his consciousness all sense of the universal human demand for consummation and climax in the order of the universe ? The situation is critical, the demand scarcely short of imperative. He will make concession:
THE DAY OF THE SON OF MAN
shineth unto the other part under heaven;
They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until
destroyed them all. 1:3 Likewise even as it came to pass in the days of Lot;
they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; but in the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brim
stone from heaven, and destroyed them all: After the same manner shall it be in the day that the Son of man is revealed. In that day, he which shall be on the housetop,
and his goods in the house, let him not go down to take them away:
likewise not return back.
Remember Lot's wife.
the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left:
the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.
Where, Lord ?
Where the body is, thither will the vultures also be gathered together."
1 Luke 17:24-37. It will be observed that, in the above citation of this paragraph, vss. 25 and 33 have been omitted. Certain reasons for eliminating them were suggested on pp. 65, 66. These may now be recalled and supplemented by others. It may be said in general, that these verses form obvious interruptions to the movement of the clearly unified thought of the paragraph, and therefore are called in question as original parts of this portrayal. Both are found in other, more appropriate contexts. In particular, as to vs. 33: (1) The introduction of the verse at this point seems to be due to its reference to the saving and the losing of life, a subject that is treated in vss. 31, 32. (2, The connection in thought between yss. 31 and 32, and vs. 33 is apparently superficial only, for the saying of Jesus in vs. 33 surely strikes far deeper than loss of the life of the body such as is referred to in a vague way by vss. 31, 32. (3) The profound saying of Jesus in vs. 33 was so easily remembered and so quotable in isolation
87. THE SINGLE THEME AND ITS RELATION TO “THE DAY
OF JEHOVAH” There is no confusion of theme here, no departure from a direct and exclusive treatment of one subject. The mind is led into a vast, obscure region; but the mystery of it is not intensified by variety of terms. Jesus here gives expression to his thought about “The Day of the Son of man”—nothing else. There is no introduction of any other phrases from the range of eschatological vocabulary. By this steadfast explication of the content of one term, and one term only, he rebukes blurred thought in a region where, at the best, clear vision is difficult. He does not concern himself with some offshoot from the original idea of “the day;" he goes back to a primal term. He does not give his thought to some subsidiary phase of the day, some necessary complement of it, but delineates the day itself. The term was old. “The day of Jehovah” had been central in his people's thought for centuries. “The day of the Son of man” was “the day of Jehovah” rephrased to fit the later increase of emphasis, in the national thought, upon the place of an anointed representative of Jehovah. Wherever the figure of the Messiah loomed into significance
that it was likely to find points of attachment which cannot be historically justified. (4) The reporters of the words of Jesus, influenced doubtless by the early persecution experiences of the disciples, tended to a physical interpretation of this saying wherever it appeared. Aside from its insertion in the present passage, there is a notable instance of such interpretation in Mark 8:34–9:1, on which see pp. 79-82. But this physical interpretation is a serious reduction of the content of Jesus' words in both passages. As to the omission above of Luke 17:25, in particular: (1) It stands between similar members in the description of the “day” in a way so obvious as to mark it as highly inappropriate to this place. (2) Its verbal form is such as relates it in origin to a similar form used on more fitting occasions (Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33). (3) It attaches the features of the “day” to Jesus in a way not justified by the impersonal attitude of Jesus throughout this sketch. (4) Its content is such that its being placed here as the result of actual history is natural. (5) It assumes on the part of Jesus a definite messianic interpretation of himself to his disciples--something exceedingly rare in his career. (6) The words are inappropriate if this discourse was spoken in the last hours, as is hinted by certain evidence already noted (chap. i), for rejection had already taken place, and the prospective suffering was in some measure apprehended by the disciples. These two verses do not appear in Matthew at the place where he uses the body of this paragraph, that is, in the farewell discourse (Matt. 24:26–27, 37–41). (7) It is apparently an endeavor to bring “his day" into close sequence with his rejection and suffering. But this Jesus has negatived, it seems, within this discourse by his words, “Ye shall not see it."