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TO THE DISCIPLES.
sum and substance of His contention, that Pharisaism, while pretending to what it was not, concealed what it was. And it was this which, like 'leaven,' pervaded the whole system of Pharisaism. Not that as individuals they were all hypocrites, but that the system was hypocrisy. And here it is characteristic of Pharisaism, that Rabbinic Hebrew has not even a word equivalent to the term 'hypocrisy.' The only expression used refers either to flattery of, or pretence before, men,' not to that unconscious hypocrisy towards God which our Lord so truly describes as 'the leaven' that pervaded all the Pharisees said and did. It is against this that He warned His disciples-and in this, rather than conscious deception, pretence, or flattery, lies the danger of the Church. Our common term, 'unreality,' but partially describes it. Its full meaning can only be gathered from Christ's teaching. But what precise term He may have used, it is impossible to suggest.
1 Wünsche goes too far in saying that
b ver. 4
After all, hypocrisy was only self-deception." But, there is St. Luke nothing covered that shall not be revealed.' Hence, what they had said in the darkness would be revealed, and what they had spoken about in the store-rooms would be proclaimed on the housetops. Nor should fear influence them. Fear of whom? Man could only kill the body, but God held body and soul. And, as fear was foolish, so was it needless in view of that wondrous Providence which watched over even the meanest of God's creatures. Rather let them, in the vv. 6, 7 impending struggle with the powers of this world, rise to consciousness of its full import-how earth's voices would find their echo in heaven. And then this struggle, what was it? Not only opposition to Christ, but, in its inmost essence, blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Therefore, to succumb in that contest, implied the deepest spiritual danger. Nay, but let them not be apprehensive; their a acknowledgment would be not only in the future; even now, in the hour of their danger, would the Holy Ghost help them, and give them an answer before their accusers and judges, whoever they might be-Jews or Gentiles. Thus, if they fell victims, it would be with the knowledge-not by neglect-of their Father; here, there, everywhere--in their own hearts, before the Angels, before men, would He give testimony for those who were His witnesses.e
Before proceeding, we briefly mark the differences between this and the previous kindred address of Christ, when sending the
are only used in the sense חנופה and חנף
of flattering. See Lery, sub verb.
2 The Peshito paraphrases it.
Thus, and not for,' as in the A. V.
e vv. 11, 12
Apostles on their Mission. There (after certain personal directions), the Discourse began with what it here closes. There it was in the St. Matt. x. form of warning prediction, here in that of comforting reassurance; St. Matt. x. there it was near the beginning, here near the close, of His Ministry. Again, as addressed to the Twelve on their Mission, it was followed St. Matt. x by personal directions and consolations, and then, transition was made to the admonition to dismiss fear, and to speak out publicly what had been told them privately. On the other hand, when addressing His Peræan disciples, while the same admonition is given, and partly on the same grounds, yet, as spoken to disciples rather than to preachers, the reference to Christ's similar fate is omitted, while, to show the real character of the struggle, an admonition is added, which in His Galilean Ministry was given in another connection. Lastly, whereas the Twelve were admonished not to fear, comp. with and, therefore, to speak openly what they had learned privately, the
d St. Luke xii. 10,
St. Matt. xii.
Peræan disciples are forewarned that, although what they had spoken together in secret would be dragged into the light of greatest publicity, yet they were not to be afraid of the possible consequences to themselves.
• St. Luke xii. 13-21
f St. Luke xii. 22-34
St. Luke xii. 32
h St. Matt. vi. 25-33
2. The second Discourse recorded in this connection was occasioned by a request for judicial interposition on the part of Christ. This He answered by a Parable, which will be explained in conjunction with the other Parables of that period. The outcome of this Parable, as to the utter uncertainty of this life, and the consequent folly of being so careful for this world while neglectful of God, led Him to make warning application to His Peraan disciples. Only here the negative injunction that preceded the Parable, 'beware of covetousness,' is, when addressed to 'the disciples,' carried back to its positive underlying principle: to dismiss all anxiety, even for the necessaries of life, learning from the birds and the flowers to have absolute faith and trust in God, and to labour for only one thing-the Kingdom of God. But, even in this, they were not to be careful, but to have absolute faith and trust in their Father, 'Who was well pleased to give' them 'the Kingdom.'
With but slight variations the Lord had used the same language, even as the same admonition had been needed, at the beginning of His Galilean Ministry, in the Sermon on the Mount. Perhaps we may here, also, regard the allusion to the springing flowers as a mark of time. Only, whereas in Galilee this would mark the beginning of spring, it would, in the more favoured climate of certain parts of Peræa, indicate the beginning of December, about the
LITTLE FLOCK' IN THE KEEPING OF THE FATHER.
time of the Feast of the Dedication of the Temple. More important, perhaps, is it to note, that the expression rendered in the Authorised and Revised Versions, neither be ye of doubtful mind,' means, st. Luke 'neither be ye uplifted,' in the sense of not aiming, or seeking after great things. This rendering of the Greek word (μɛtewpíšeɩv) is Comp. Jer. in accordance with its uniform use in the LXX.,' and in the Apocrypha; while, on the other hand, it occurs in Josephus and Philo, in the sense of being of a doubtful mind.' But the context shows, that the term must refer to the disciples coveting great things, since only to this the remark could apply, that the Gentile world sought such things, but that our Father knew what was really needful for us.
Of deepest importance is the final consolation, to dismiss all care and anxiety, since the Father was pleased to give to this 'little flock' the Kingdom. The expression flock' carries us back to the language which Jesus had held ere parting from Jerusalem. Hence- St. John forth this designation would mark His people. Even its occurrence fixes this Discourse as not a repetition of that which St. Matthew had formerly reported, but as spoken after the Jerusalem visit. It designates Christ's people in distinction to their ecclesiastical (or outward) organisation in a 'fold,' and marks alike their individuality and their conjunction, their need and dependence, and their relation to Him as the 'Good Shepherd.' Small and despised though it be in the eyes of men, 'the little flock' is unspeakably noble, and rich in the gift of the Father.
The word occurs in that sense twentyfive times in the LXX. of the Old Testament (four times as a noun, thirteen as an adjective, eight as a verb), and seven
xii. 33, 34
These admonitions, alike as against covetousness, and as to absolute trust and a self-surrender to God, which would count all loss for the Kingdom, are finally shown in their present application, and in their ultimate and permanent principle, in what we regard as the concluding part of this Discourse. Its first sentence: Sell that ye st. Luke have, and give alms,' which is only recorded by St. Luke, indicates not a general principle, but its application to that particular period, when the faithful disciple required to follow the Lord, unencumbered by worldly cares or possessions. The general principle underlying it is that expressed by St. Paul, and finally resolves itself into this: that the Christian should have as not holding, and use what he has not for self nor sin, but for necessity. This conclusion of Christ's Discourse, also, confirms the inference that it was delivered near the
times in the Apocrypha (twice as a verb
Comp. xix. 21
1 Cor. vii.
• St. Matt. vi. 19-21
i St. Luke xii.
⚫ vv. 35-38
d St. Matt. xxiv. 43, 44
terrible time of the end. Most seasonable here would be the repetition-though in slightly different language--of an admonition, given in the beginning of Christ's Galilean Ministry," to provide treasure in heaven, which could neither fail nor be taken away; for, assuredly, where the treasure was, th would the heart be also.
3. Closely connected with, and yet quite distinct from, the previous Discourse is that about the waiting attitude of the disciples in regard to their Master. Wholly detached from the things of the world, their hearts set on the Kingdom, only one thing should seem worthy their whole attention, and engage all their thoughts and energies: their Master! He was away at some joyous feast, and the uncertainty of the hour of His return must not lead the servants to indulge in surfeiting, nor to lie down in idleness, but to be faithful to their trust, and eagerly expectant of their Master. The Discourse itself consists of three parts and a practical application.
1. The Disciples as Servants in the absence of their Master: their duty and their reward. This part, containing what would be so needful to these Peræan disciples, is peculiar to St. Luke. The Master is supposed to be absent, at a wedding—a figure which must not be closely pressed, not being one of the essentials in the Parable. At most, it points to a joyous occasion, and its mention may chiefly indicate that such a feast might be protracted, so that the exact time of the Master's return could not be known to the servants who waited at home. In these circumstances, they should hold themselves in readiness, that, whatever hour it might be, they should be able to open the door at the first knocking. Such eagerness and devotion of service would naturally meet its reward, and the Master would, in turn, consult the comfort of those who had not allowed themselves their evening-meal, nor lain down, but watched for His return. Hungry and weary as they were from their zeal for Him, He would now, in turn, minister to their personal comfort. And this applied to servants who so watched-it mattered not how long, whether into the second or the third of the watches into which the night was divided.1
The Parable' now passes into another aspect of the case, which is again referred to in the last Discourses of Christ. Conversely— suppose the other case, of people sleeping: the house might be
The first would not be mentioned, because it was so early, nor the fourth, because the feast would scarcely be protracted thus far. Anciently, the Hebrews counted three night-watches; but after
wards, and probably at the time of Christ, they divided the night into four watches (see the discussion in Ber. 3 a). The latter arrangement was probably introduced from the Romans.
THE APOSTLES AS 'STEWARDS.'
broken into. Of course, if one had known the hour when the thief would come, sleep would not have been indulged in; but it is just this uncertainty and suddenness-and the Coming of the Christ into His Kingdom would be equally sudden-which should keep the people in the house ever on their watch till Christ came.a
a St. Luke
xii. 39, 40
It was at this particular point that a question of Peter interrupted the Discourse of Christ. To whom did this' Parable' apply about 'the good man' and 'the servants' who were to watch: to the Apostles, or also to all? From the implied-for it is not an express-answer of the Lord, we infer, that Peter expected some difference between the Apostles and the rest of the disciples, whether as regarded the attitude of the servants that waited, or the reward. From the words of Christ the former seems the more likely. We can understand how Peter might entertain the Jewish notion, that the Apostles would come with the Master from the marriage-supper, rather than wait for His return, and work while waiting. It is to this that the reply of Christ refers. If the Apostles or others are rulers, it is as stewards, and their reward of faithful and wise stewardship will be advance to higher administration. But as stewards they are servants-servants of Christ, and ministering servants in regard to the other and general servants. What becomes them in this twofold capacity is faithfulness to the absent, yet ever near, Lord, and to their work, avoiding, on the one hand, the masterfulness of pride and of harshness, and, on the other, the self-degradation of conformity to evil manners, either of which would entail sudden and condign punishment in the sudden and righteous reckoning at His appearing. The 'Parable,' therefore, alike as to the waiting and the reckoning, applied to work for Christ, as well as to personal relationship towards Him.
Thus far this solemn warning naturally would, as equally needful, be afterwards repeated in Christ's Last Discourses in Judæa, in view of His near departure. But in this Peræan Discourse, as reported by St. Luke St. Luke, there now follows what must be regarded, not, indeed, as a further answer to Peter's inquiry, but as specifically referring to the general question of the relation between special work and general discipleship which had been raised. For, in one sense, all disciples are servants, not only to wait, but to work. As regarded those who, like the professed stewards or labourers, knew their work, but neither 'made ready,' nor did according to His Will, their punishment and loss (where the illustrative figure of many' and 'few stripes' must not be too closely pressed) would naturally be greater than that of them ' So literally.