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deeply shaken them. What was the purpose of works, if done in the privacy of the circle of Christ's Apostles, in a house, a remote district, or even before an ignorant multitude ? If, claiming to be the Messiah, He wished to be openly known as such, He must take other means.
If He really did these things, let Him manifest Himself before the world—in Jerusalem, the capital of their world, and before those who could test the reality of His Works. Let Him come forward, at one of Israel's great Feasts, in the Temple, and especially at this Feast which pointed to the Messianic ingathering of all nations. Let Him go up with them into Judæa, that so His disciples-not the Galileans only, but all--might have the opportunity of gazing’? on His Works.3
As the challenge was not new,* so, from the worldly point of view, it can scarcely be called unreasonable. It is, in fact, the same in principle as that to which the world would now submit the claims of Christianity to men's acceptance. It has only this one fault, that it ignores the world's enmity to the Christ. Discipleship is not the result of
any outward manifestation by evidences' or demonstration. It requires the conversion of a child-like spirit. To manifest Himself! This truly would He do, though not in their way. For this « the season
'5 had not yet come, though it would soon arrive. Their season '- that for such Messianic manifestations as they contemplated—was always ready. And this naturally, for the world' could not 'hate' them; they and their demonstrations were quite in accordance with the world and its views. But towards Him the world cherished personal hatred, because of their contrariety of principle, because Christ was manifested, not to restore an earthly kingdom to Israel, but to bring the Heavenly Kingdom upon earth—'to destroy the works of the Devil.' Hence, He must provoke the enmity of that world which lay in the Wicked One. Another manifestation than that which they sought would He make, when His season was fulfilled ; ' soon, beginning at this very Feast, continued at the next, and completed at the last Passover; such manifestation of Himself as the Christ, as could alone be made in view of the essential enmity of the world.
And so He let them go up in the festive company, while Himself tarried. When the noise and publicity (which He wished to avoid)
| The same term XPD770 (Parhesja) occurs in Rabbinic language.
? The verb is the significant one, θεωρέω. .
3. Godet remarks, that the style of ver. 4
is peculiarly Hebraistic.
* See especially the cognate occurrence and expressions at the marriage feast in Cana.
REFUSAL OF THE SAMARITANS TO RECEIVE CHRIST.
were no longer to be apprehended, He also went up, but privately, not publicly, as they had suggested. Here St. Luke's account begins. It almost reads like a commentary on what the Lord had just said to His brethren, about the enmity of the world, and His mode of manifestation—who would not, and who would receive Him, and why. “He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become children of God ... which were born ... of God.'
The first purpose of Christ seems to have been to take the more direct road to Jerusalem, through Samaria, and not to follow that of the festive pilgrim-bands, which travelled to Jerusalem through Peræa, in order to avoid the land of their hated rivals. But His intention was soon frustrated. In the very first Samaritan village to which the Christ had sent beforehand to prepare for Himself and His company, His messengers were told that the Rabbi could not be received ; that neither hospitality nor friendly treatment could be extended to One Who was going up to the Feast at Jerusalem. The messengers who brought back this strangely un-Oriental answer met the Master and His followers on the road. It was not only an outrage on common manners, but an act of open hostility to Israel, as well as to Christ, and the Sons of Thunder,' whose feelings for their Master were, perhaps, the more deeply stirred as opposition to Him grew more fierce, proposed to vindicate the cause, alike of Israel and its Messiah-King, by the open and Divine judgment of fire called down from heaven to destroy that village. Did they in this connection think of the vision of Elijah, ministering to Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration--and was this their application of it? Truly, they knew not of what Spirit they were to be the children and messengers. He Who had come, not to destroy, but to save, turned and rebuked them, and passed from Samaritan into Jewish territory to pursue His journey.3 Perhaps, indeed, He had only passed into Samaria to teach His disciples this needful lesson. The view of this event just presented seems confirmed by the circum
I Godet infers from the word 'secretly,' Feast: comp. St. John vii. 11, 14. that the journey of St. Luke ix. 51 could ? It does not necessarily follow, that not have been that referred to by St. the company at starting was a large one. John. But the qualified expression, as But they would have no host nor quarters it were in secret,' conveys to my mind ready to receive them in Samaria. Hence only a contrast to the public pilgrim- the despatch of messengers. bands, in which it was the custom to travel 3 According to the best MSS. the to the Feasts--a publicity, which His words in St. Luke ix. 54): 'Even as
brethren' specially desired at this time. Elias did,' and those (in verses 55 and Besides, the in secret' of St. John 56) from and said ... to save might refer not so much to the journey them,' are interpolated. as to the appearance of Christ at the
. St. Matt. viii. 18
St. Matt viii, 19-22
stance, that St. Matthew lays the scene immediately following on the other side'-that is, in the Decapolis."
It was a journey of deepest interest and importance. For, it was decisive not only as regarded the Master, but those who followed Him. Henceforth it must not be, as in former times, but wholly and exclusively, as into suffering and death. It is thus that we view the next three incidents of the way. Two of them find, also, a place in the Gospel by St. Matthew, although in a different connection, in accordance with the plan of that Gospel, which groups together the Teaching of Christ, with but secondary attention to chronological succession.
It seems that, as, after the rebuff of these Samaritans, they were going' towards another, and a Jewish village, 'one' of the company, and, as we learn from St. Matthew, 'a Scribe,' in the generous enthusiasm of the moment, perhaps, stimulated by the wrong of the Samaritans, perhaps, touched by the love which would rebuke the zeal of the disciples, but had no word of blame for the unkindness of others—broke into a spontaneous declaration of readiness to follow Him absolutely and everywhere. Like the benediction of the woman who heard Him, it was one of those outbursts of an enthusiasm which His Presence awakened in every susceptible heart. But there was one eventuality which that Scribe, and all of like enthusiasm, reckoned not with the utter homelessness of the Christ in this world—and this, not from accidental circumstances, but because He was the Son of Man.'2 And there is here also material for still deeper thought in the fact that this man was 'a Scribe,' and yet had not gone up to the Feast, but tarried near Christ—was one of those that followed Him now, and was capable of such feelings !3 How many, whom we regard as Scribes, may be in analogous relation to the Christ, and yet how much of fair promise has failed to ripen into reality in view of the homelessness of Christ and Christianity in this world—the strangership of suffering which it involves to
e St. Luke xi, 27
1 The word, is, here designates a the Son of Man by the sons of men-as if certain one--one, viz., of the company. to say: Learn the meaning of the repreThe arrangement of the words un. sentative title: Son of Man, in a world of doubtedly is, 'one of the company said men who would not receive Him? It is unto Him by the way,' and not as either the more marked, that it immediately in the A. V. or R. V. Comp. Canon Cook, precedes the first application on the part ad loc. in the 'Speaker's Commentary.' of men of the title • Son of God' to Christ
2 We mark, that the designation 'Son of in this Gospel (St. Matt. viii. 29). Man’is here for the first time applied to 3 It is scarcely necessary to discuss the Christ by St. Matthew. May this history suggestion, that the first two referred to have been inserted in the First Gospel in in the narrative were either Bartholomew this connection, because it was wished to and Philip, or else Judas Iscariot and point to this contrast in the treatment of Thomas.
THE DISCIPLE WHO WOULD FIRST BURY HIS FATHER.
those who would follow, not somewhere, but absolutely, and everywhere?
The intenseness of the self-denial involved in following Christ, and its contrariety to all that was commonly received among men, was, purposely, immediately further brought out. This Scribe had proffered to follow Jesus. Another of His disciples He asked to follow Him, and that in circumstances of peculiar trial and difficulty. The expression to follow' a Teacher would, in those days, St. Luke be universally understood as implying discipleship. Again, no other duty would be regarded as more sacred than that they, on whom the obligation naturally devolved, should bury the dead. To this everything must give way--even prayer, and the study of the Law. Ber, iii. Lastly, we feel morally certain, that, when Christ called this disciple and other to follow Him, He was fully aware that at that very moment his fint espefather lay dead. Thus, He called him not only to homelessness—for Megill. 3 8 this he might have been prepared--but to set aside what alike natural feeling and the Jewish Law seemed to impose on him as the most sacred duty. In the seemingly strange reply, which Christ made to the request to be allowed first to bury his father, we pass over the consideration that, according to Jewish law, the burial and mourning for a dead father, and the subsequent purifications, would have occupied many days, so that it might have been difficult, perhaps impossible, to overtake Christ. We would rather abide by the simple words of Christ. They teach us this very solemn and searching lesson, that there are higher duties than either those of the Jewish Law, or even of natural reverence, and a higher call than that of man. No doubt Christ had here in view the near call to the Seventy-of whom this disciple was to be one--to 'go and preach the Kingdom of God.' When the direct call of Christ to any work comes-that is, if we are sure of it from His own words, and not (as, alas! too often we do) only infer it by our own reasoning on His words—then every other call must give way. For, duties can never be in conflict-and this duty about the living and life must take precedence of that about death and the dead. Nor must we hesitate, because we know not in what form this work for Christ may come. There are critical moments in our inner history, when to postpone the immediate call, is really to reject it; when to go and bury the dead-even though it were a dead father—were to die ourselves !
Yet another hindrance to following Christ was to be faced. Another in the company that followed Christ would go with Him, but he asked permission first to go and bid farewell to those whom
he had left in his home. It almost seems as if this request had been one of those tempting' questions, addressed to Christ. But, even if otherwise, the farewell proposed was not like that of Elisha, nor like the supper of Levi-Matthew. It was rather like the year which Jephtha's daughter would have with her companions, ere fulfilling the vow. It shows, that to follow Christ was regarded as a duty, and to leave those in the earthly home as a trial; and it betokens, not merely a divided heart, but one not fit for the Kingdom of God. For, how can he draw a straight furrow in which to cast the seed, who, as he puts his hand to the plough, looks around or behind him?
Thus, these are the three vital conditions of following Christ : absolute self-denial and homelessness in the world; immediate and entire self-surrender to Christ and His Work; and a heart and affections simple, undivided, and set on Christ and His Work, to which there is no other trial of parting like that which would involve parting from Him, no other or higher joy than that of following Him. In such spirit let them now go after Christ in His last journey—and to such work as He will appoint them !