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they shook off the leaves on the willow-branches round the altar, and beat their palm-branches to pieces. On the same afternoon the 'booths' were dismantled, and the Feast ended.b
We can have little difficulty in determining at what part of the services of the last, the Great Day of the Feast,' Jesus stood and cried, "If any one thirst, let him come unto Me and drink!' It must have been with special reference to the ceremony of the outpouring of the water, which, as we have seen, was considered the central part of the service. Moreover, all would understand that His words must refer to the Holy Spirit, since the rite was universally regarded as symbolical of His outpouring. The forthpouring of the water was immediately followed by the chanting of the Hallel. But after that there must have been a short pause to prepare for the festive sacrifices (the Musaph). It was then, immediately after the symbolic rite of water-pouring, immediately after the people had responded by repeating those lines from Psalm cxviii.-given thanks, and prayed that Jehovah would send salvation and prosperity, and had shaken their Lulav towards the altar, thus praising with heart, and mouth, and hands,' and then silence had fallen upon them-that there rose, so loud as to be heard throughout the Temple, the Voice of Jesus. He interrupted not the services, for they had for the moment ceased: He interpreted, and He fulfilled them.
Whether we realise it in connection with the deeply-stirring rites just concluded, and the song of praise that had scarcely died out of the air; or think of it as a vast step in advance in the history of Christ's Manifestation, the scene is equally wondrous. But yesterday they had been divided about Him, and the authorities had given directions to take Him; to-day He is not only in the Temple, but, at the close of the most solemn rites of the Feast, asserting, within the hearing of all, His claim to be regarded as the fulfilment of all, and the true Messiah! And yet there is neither harshness of command nor violence of threat in His proclamation. It is the King, meek, gentle, and loving; the Messiah, Who will not break the bruised reed, Who will not lift up His Voice in tone of anger, but speak in accents of loving, condescending compassion, Who now bids, whosoever thirsteth, come unto Him and drink. And so the words have to all time remained the call of Christ to all that thirst,
I am surprised to find that Canon Westcott (ad loc.) regards it as a doubtful question whether or not the 'water
pouring' had taken place on the day when our Lord so pointed to the fulfilment of its symbolical meaning.
THE PROMISE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT TO THEM THAT BELIEVE.
whence- or what-soever their need and longing of soul may be. But, as we listen to these words as originally spoken, we feel how they mark that Christ's hour was indeed coming: the preparation past; the manifestation in the present, unmistakable, urgent, and loving; and the final conflict at hand.
Of those who had heard Him, none but must have understood that, if the invitation were indeed real, and Christ the fulfilment of all, then the promise also had its deepest meaning, that he who believed on Him would not only receive the promised fulness of the Spirit, but give it forth to the fertilising of the barren waste around. It was, truly, the fulfilment of the Scripture-promise, not of one but of all: that in Messianic times the Navi, 'prophet,' literally the weller forth, viz., of the Divine, should not be one or another select individual, but that He would pour out on all His handmaidens and servants of His Holy Spirit, and thus the moral wilderness of this world be changed into a fruitful garden. Indeed, this is expressly stated in the Targum which thus paraphrases Is. xliv. 3: Behold, as the waters are poured out on arid ground and spread over the dry soil, so will I give the Spirit of My Holiness on thy sons, and My blessing on thy children's children.' What was new to them was, that all this was treasured up in the Christ, that out of His fulness men might receive, and grace for grace. And yet even this was not quite new. For, was it not the fulfilment of that old prophetic cry: 'The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon Me: therefore has He Messiahed (anointed) Me to preach good tidings unto the poor "? So then, it was nothing new, only the happy fulfilment of the old, when He thus spake of the Holy Spirit, which they who believed on Him should receive,' not then, but upon His Messianic exaltation.
And so we scarcely wonder that many, on hearing Him, said, though not with that heart-conviction which would have led to self-surrender, that He was the Prophet promised of old, even the Christ, while others, by their side, regarding Him as a Galilean, the Son of Joseph, raised the ignorant objection that He could not be the Messiah, since the latter must be of the seed of David and come. from Bethlehem. Nay, such was the anger of some against what they regarded a dangerous seducer of the poor people, that they would fain have laid violent hands on Him. But amidst all this, the strongest testimony to His Person and Mission remains to be told. It came, as so often, from a quarter whence it could least have been expected. Those Temple-officers, whom the authorities had commissioned to watch an opportunity for seizing Jesus, came back
St. John vii. 17
without having done their behest, and that, when, manifestly, the scene in the Temple might have offered the desired ground for His imprisonment. To the question of the Pharisees, they could only give this reply, which has ever since remained unquestionable fact of history, admitted alike by friend and foe: Never man spake like this man." For, as all spiritual longing and all upward tending, not only of men but even of systems, consciously or unconsciously tends towards Christ, so can we measure and judge all systems by this, which no sober student of history will gainsay, that no man or system ever so spake.
• Chethub. 111 b
It was not this which the Pharisees now gainsaid, but rather the obvious, and, we may add, logical, inference from it. The scene which followed is so thoroughly Jewish, that it alone would suffice to prove the Jewish, and hence Johannine, authorship of the Fourth Gospel. The harsh sneer: 'Are ye also led astray?' is succeeded by pointing to the authority of the learned and great, who with one accord were rejecting Jesus. But this people'-the country-people (Am ha-arez), the ignorant, unlettered rabble-' are cursed.' Sufficient has been shown in previous parts of this book to explain alike the Pharisaic claim of authority and their almost unutterable contempt of the unlettered. So far did the latter go, that it would refuse, not only all family connection and friendly intercourse, but even the Baba B. 8 bread of charity, to the unlettered; nay, that, in theory at least, it would have regarded their murder as no sin,d and even cut them off from the hope of the Resurrection.2 But is it not true, that, even in our days, this double sneer, rather than argument, of the Pharisees is the main reason of the disbelief of so many: Which of the learned believe on Him? but the ignorant multitude are led by superstition to ruin.
b Pes. 49 b
d Pes. 49 b
There was one standing among the Temple-authorities, whom an uneasy conscience would not allow to remain quite silent. It was the Sanhedrist Nicodemus, still a night-disciple, even in brightest noon-tide. He could not hold his peace, and yet he dared not speak for Christ. So he made compromise of both by taking the part of, and speaking as, a righteous, rigid Sanhedrist. Does our Law judge (pronounce sentence upon) a man, except it first hear from himself and know what he doeth?' From the Rabbinic point of view, no sounder judicial saying could have been uttered. Yet such common
Whether or not the last three words are spurious is, so far as the sense of the words is concerned, matter of comparative indifference.
2 For fuller details the reader is referred to Wagenseil's Sota, pp. 516
THE WOMAN TAKEN IN ADULTERY.
places impose not on any one, nor even serve any good purpose. It helped not the cause of Jesus, and it disguised not the advocacy of Nicodemus. We know what was thought of Galilee in the Rabbinic world. 'Art thou also of Galilee? Search and see, for
out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.'
And so ended this incident, which, to all concerned, might have been so fruitful of good. Once more Nicodemus was left alone, as every one who has dared and yet not dared for Christ is after all such bootless compromises; alone-with sore heart, stricken conscience, and a great longing.1
The reader will observe, that the narrative of the woman taken in adultery, as also the previous verse (St. John vii. 53-viii. 11) have been left out in this History-although with great reluctance. By this it is not intended to characterise that section as Apocryphal, nor indeed to pronounce any opinion as to the reality of some such occurrence. For, it contains much which we instinctively feel to be like the Master, both in what Christ is represented as saying and as doing. All that we reluctantly feel bound to maintain is, that the narrative in its present form did not exist in the Gospel of St. John, and, indeed, could not have existed. For a summary of the external evidence against the Johannine authorship of the passage, I would refer to Canon Westcott's Note, ad loc., in the 'Speaker's Commentary.' But there is also internal evidence, and, to my mind at least, most cogent, against its authenticity-at any rate, in its present form. From first to last it is utterly un-Jewish. Accordingly, unbiassed critics who are conversant either with Jewish legal procedure, or with the habits and views of the people at the time, would feel obliged to reject it, even if the external evidence had been as strong in its favour as it is for its rejection. Canon Farrar has, indeed, devoted to the illustration of this narrative some of his most pictorial pages. But, with all his ability and eloquence, his references to Jewish law and observances are not such as to satisfy the requirements of criticism. To this general objection to their correctness I must add my protest against the ungrounded views which he presents of the
moral state of Jewish society at the time. On the other hand, from whatever point we view this narrative-the accusers, the witnesses, the public examination, the bringing of the woman to Jesus, or the punishment claimed-it presents insuperable difficulties. That a woman taken in the act of adultery should have been brought to Jesus (and apparently without the witnesses to her crime); that such an utterly un-Jewish, as well as illegal, procedure should have been that of the 'Scribes and Pharisees'; that such a breach of law, and of what Judaism would regard as decency, should have been perpetrated to 'tempt 'Him; or that the Scribes should have been so ignorant as to substitute stoning for strangulation, as the punishment of adultery; lastly, that this scene should have been enacted in the Temple, presents a veritable climax of impossibilities. I can only express my extreme surprise that Canon Farrar should have suggested that the Feast of Tabernacles had grown into a kind of vintage-festival, which would often degenerate into acts of license and immorality,' or that the lives of the religious leaders of Israel 'were often stained' with such sins. The first statement is utterly ungrounded; and as for the second, I do not recall a single instance in which a charge of adultery is brought against a Rabbi of that period. The quotations in Sepp's Leben Jesu (vol. v. p. 183), which Canon Farrar adduces, are not to cases in point, however much, from the Christian point of view, we may reprobate the conduct of the Rabbis there mentioned.
a St. John
© ver. 13
TEACHING IN THE TEMPLE ON THE OCTAVE OF THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES.
(St. John viii. 12-59.)
THE startling teaching on 'the last, the Great Day of the Feast,' was not the only one delivered at that season. The impression left on the mind is, that after silencing, as they thought, Nicodemus, the leaders of the Pharisees had dispersed.' The Addresses of Jesus which followed must, therefore, have been delivered, either later on that day, or, what on every account seems more likely, chiefly, or all, on the next day,' which was the Octave of the Feast, when the Temple would be once more thronged by worshippers.
On this occasion we find Christ, first in the Treasury,' and then in some unnamed part of the sacred building, in all probability one of the 'Porches.' Greater freedom could be here enjoyed, since these Porches,' which enclosed the Court of the Gentiles, did Discussions not form part of the Sanctuary in the stricter sense. might take place, in which not, as in 'the Treasury,' only 'the Phari, but the people generally, might propound questions, answer, or assent. Again, as regards the requirements of the present narrative, since the Porches opened upon the Court, the Jews might there pick up stones to cast at Him (which would have been impossible in any part of the Sanctuary itself), while, lastly, Jesus might easily pass out of the Temple in the crowd that moved through the Porches to the outer gates.3