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FORGIVENESS, NOT QUANTITATIVE BUT QUALITATIVE.

teaching, as if he had fully entered into its spirit. Surely, the new wine was bursting the old bottles. It was a principle of Rabbinism that, even if the wrongdoer had made full restoration, he would not obtain forgiveness till he had asked it of him whom he had wronged, but that it was cruelty in such circumstances to refuse pardon. The Jerusalem Talmud adds the beautiful remark: Let this be a token in thine hand-each time that thou showest mercy, God will show mercy on thee; and if thou showest not mercy, neither will God show mercy on thee.' And yet it was a settled rule, that forgiveness should not be extended more than three times. Even so, the ⚫ Yoma 86 b practice was terribly different. The Talmud relates, without blame, the conduct of a Rabbi, who would not forgive a very small slight of his dignity, though asked by the offender for thirteen successive years, and that on the Day of Atonement-the reason being, that the offended Rabbi had learned by a dream that his offending brother would attain the highest dignity, whereupon he feigned himself irreconcilable, to force the other to migrate from Palestine to Babylon, where, unenvied by him, he might occupy the chief place!

And so it must have seemed to Peter, in his ignorance, quite a stretch of charity to extend forgiveness to seven, instead of three offences. It did not occur to him, that the very act of numbering offences marked an externalism which had never entered into, nor comprehended, the spirit of Christ. Until seven times? Nay, until seventy times seven!' The evident purport of these words was to efface all such landmarks. Peter had yet to learn, what we, alas! too often forget: that as Christ's forgiveness, so that of the Christian, must not be computed by numbers. It is qualitative, not quantitative: Christ forgives sin, not sins-and he who has experienced it, follows in His footsteps.2

It makes no difference in the argument, whether we translate seventy times seven, or else seventy times and

seven.

2 The Parable, with which the account in St. Matthew closes, will be explained by and by in the Second Series of Parables.

125

CHAP.

III

a Baba K. viii. 7

b Jer. Baba K. 6 c

d Yoma 87 b

BOOK

IV

a St. John vii, to x.

b x. 22-42

• St. Matt.

xx. 17 &c.; St. Mark x. 32 &c.; St. Luke xvii. 11 &c.

(St. John vii. 1-16; St. Luke ix. 1-56; 57-62; St. Matthew viii. 19–22.) THE part in the Evangelic History which we have now reached has this peculiarity and difficulty, that the events are recorded by only one of the Evangelists. The section in St. Luke's Gospel from chap. ix. 51 to chap. xviii. 14 stands absolutely alone. From the circumstance that St. Luke omits throughout his narrative all notation of time or place, the difficulty of arranging here the chronological succession of events is so great, that we can only suggest what seems most probable, without feeling certain of the details. Happily, the period embraced is a short one, while at the same time the narrative of St. Luke remarkably fits into that of St. John. St. John mentions three appearances of Christ in Jerusalem at that period: at the Feast of Tabernacles,a at that of the Dedication, and His final entry, which is referred to by all the other Evangelists. And, while the narrative of St. John confines itself exclusively to what happened in Jerusalem or its immediate neighbourhood, it also either mentions or gives sufficient indication that on two out of these three occasions Jesus left Jerusalem for the country east of the Jordan (St. John x. 19-21; St. John x. 39 to 43, where the words in verse 39, they sought again to take Him,' point to a previous similar attempt and flight). Besides these, St. John also records a journey to Bethany-

C

a St. John xi. though not to Jerusalem-for the raising of Lazarus, and after that a council against Christ in Jerusalem, in consequence of which He withdrew out of Judæan territory into a district near the wilderness' e as we infer, that in the north, where John had been baptizing and Christ been tempted, and whither He had afterwards withdrawn. We regard this 'wilderness' as on the western bank of the Jordan, and extending northward towards the western shore of the Lake of Galilee.

If St. John relates three appearances of Jesus at this time in

• xi. 54

f St. Luke
iv. 1; v. 16;
vii. 24

* St. Luke viii. 29

CHAPTER IV.

THE JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM-CHRONOLOGICAL ARRANGEMENT OF THE LAST
PART OF THE GOSPEL-NARRATIVES-FIRST INCIDENTS BY THE WAY.

THE PEREAN MINISTRY.

b

6

Jerusalem, St. Luke records three journeys to Jerusalem, the last of which agrees, in regard to its starting-point, with the notices of the other Evangelists, always supposing that we have correctly indicated the locality of the wilderness' whither, according to St. John xi. 54, Christ retired previous to His last journey to Jerusalem. In this respect, although it is impossible with our present information to localise the City of Ephraim,' the statement that it was 'near the wilderness,' affords us sufficient general notice of its situation. For, the New Testament speaks of only two wildernesses,' that of Judæa in the far South, and that in the far North of Peræa, or perhaps in the Decapolis, to which St. Luke refers as the scene of the Baptist's labours, where Jesus was tempted, and whither He afterwards withdrew. We can, therefore, have little doubt that St. John refers to this district. And this entirely accords with the notices in St. John by the other Evangelists of Christ's last journey to Jerusalem, as through the borders of Galilee and Samaria, and then across the Jordan, and by Bethany to Jerusalem.

xi. 54

It follows (as previously stated) that St. Luke's account of the three journeys to Jerusalem fits into the narrative of Christ's three appearances in Jerusalem as described by St. John. And the unique section in St. Luke supplies the record of what took place before, during, and after those journeys, of which the upshot is told by St. John. Thus much seems certain; the exact chronological succession must be, in part, matter of suggestion. But we have now some insight into the plan of St. Luke's Gospel, as compared with that of the others. We see that St. Luke forms a kind of transition, is a sort of connecting link between the other two Synoptists and St. John. This is admitted even by negative critics. The Gospel by St. Matthew has for its main object the Discourses or teaching of the Lord, around which the History groups itself. It is intended as a demonstration, primarily addressed to the Jews, and in a form peculiarly suited to them, that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. The Gospel by St. Mark is a rapid survey of the History of the Christ as such. It deals mainly with the Galilean Ministry. The Gospel by St. John, which gives the highest, the reflective, view of the Eternal Son as the Word, deals almost exclusively with the Jerusalem Ministry. And the Gospel by St. Luke complements the narratives in the other two Gospels (St. Matthew and St. Mark), and it supplements them by tracing, what

a

e

This seems unaccountable on the modern negative theory of its being an Ephesian

Gospel.

127

CHAP.

IV

a

ix. 51; xiii.

St. Luke 22; xviii. 31

b
xix. 1;

St. Matt.

St. Mark x. 1

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St. Luke

ix. 51-xviii.

14

thew and.

St. MatSt. Mark

See Renan,

Les Evan

giles, p. 266

BOOK

IV

a St. Luke ix. 31

b St. John

vi. 4

is not done otherwise: the Ministry in Peraa. Thus, it also forms a transition to the Fourth Gospel of the Judæan Ministry. If we may venture a step further: The Gospel by St. Mark gives the general view of the Christ; that by St. Matthew the Jewish, that by St. Luke the Gentile, and that by St. John the Church's view. Imagination might, indeed, go still further, and see the impress of the number five-that of the Pentateuch and the Book of Psalms-in the First Gospel; the numeral four (that of the world) in the Second Gospel (4 x 4 16 chapters); that of three in the Third (8 x 324 chapters); and that of seven, the sacred Church number, in the Fourth Gospel (7 × 3 = 21 chapters). And perhaps we might even succeed in arranging the Gospels into corresponding sections.' But this would lead, not only beyond our present task, but from solid history and exegesis into the regions of speculation.

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The subject, then, primarily before us, is the journeying of Jesus to Jerusalem. In that wider view which St. Luke takes of this whole history, he presents what really were three separate journeys as one-that towards the great end. In its conscious aim and object, all-from the moment of His finally quitting Galilee to His final Entry into Jerusalem-formed, in the highest sense, only one journey. And this St. Luke designates in a peculiar manner. Just as a he had spoken, not of Christ's Death but of His 'Exodus,' or outgoing, which included His Resurrection and Ascension, so he now tells us that, when the days of His uptaking '—including and pointing to His Ascension 2 were being fulfilled, He also 3 steadfastly set His Face to go to Jerusalem.'

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St. John, indeed, goes farther back, and speaks of the circumstances which preceded His journey to Jerusalem. There is an interval, or, as we might term it, a blank, of more than half a year between the last narrative in the Fourth Gospel and this. For, the events chronicled in the sixth chapter of St. John's Gospel took place immediately before the Passover, which was on the fifteenth day of the first ecclesiastical month (Nisan), while the Feast of Taber

Of course, putting aside the question of the arrangement into chapters, the reader might profitably make the experiment of arranging the Gospels into parts and sections, nor could he have a better guide to help his own investigations than Canon Westcott's Introduction to the Study of the Gospels.

a The substantive ἀνάληψις occurs only in this place, but the cognate verb repeatedly, as referring to the Ascension.

The curious interpretation of Wieseler would not even call for notice, if it had not the authority of his name.

3 The word kаí, strangely omitted in translations, denotes Christ's full determination by the side of the fulfilment of the time.

The term is used in the LXX. as denoting firmly setting. In connection with Tрóσwоv it occurs twelve times.

a

'THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES WAS AT HAND.'

a St. John

1

nacles began on the same day of the seventh ecclesiastical month (Tishri). But, except in regard to the commencement of Christ's Ministry, that sixth chapter is the only one in the Gospel of St. John which refers to the Galilean Ministry of Christ. We would vii. 2 suggest, that what it records is partly intended to exhibit, by the side of Christ's fully developed teaching, the fully developed enmity of the Jerusalem Scribes, which led even to the defection of many former disciples. Thus, chapter vi. would be a connecting-link (both as regards the teaching of Christ and the opposition to Him) between chapter v., which tells of His visit at the Unknown Feast,' and chapter vii., which records that at the Feast of Tabernacles. The six or seven months between the Feast of Passover b and that of St. John Tabernacles, and all that passed within them, are covered by this brief remark: After these things Jesus walked in Galilee for He would not walk in Judæa, because the Jews [the leaders of the people 2] sought to kill Him.'

6

vi.

6

But now the Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. The pilgrims would probably arrive in Jerusalem before the opening day of the Festival. For, besides the needful preparations—which would require time, especially on this Feast, when booths had to be constructed in which to live during the festive week-it was (as we remember) the common practice to offer such sacrifices as might have previously become due at any of the great Feasts to which the people might go up.3 Remembering that five months had elapsed since the last great Feast (that of Weeks), many such sacrifices must have been due. Accordingly, the ordinary festive companies of pilgrims, which would travel slowly, must have started from Galilee some time before the beginning of the Feast. These circumstances fully explain the details of the narrative. They also afford another most painful illustration of the loneliness of Christ in His Work. His disciples had failed to understand, they misapprehended His teaching. In the near prospect of His Death they either displayed gross ignorance, or else disputed about their future rank. And His own brethren' did not believe in Him. The whole course of late events, especially the unmet challenge of the Scribes for a sign from heaven,' had

6

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129

festive lectures commenced in the Aca-
demies thirty days before each of the
great Feasts. Those who attended them
were called Benej Rigla, in distinction
to the Benej Challah, who attended the
regular Sabbath lectures.

CHAP.

IV

e St. John vii.

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