Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

BOOK

IV

remind Him of those covenant-privileges on which, as Israel after the flesh, they had relied (“ we have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets '). To this He would reply by a repetition of His former words, now seen to imply a disavowal of all mere outward privileges, as constituting a claim to the Kingdom, grounding alike His disavowal and His refusal to open on their inward contrariety to the King and His Kingdom : Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. It was a banquet to the friends of the King: the inauguration of His Kingdom. When they found the door shut, they would, indeed, knock, in the confident expectation that their claims would at once be recognised, and they admitted. And when the Master of the house did not recognise them, as they had expected, and they reminded Him of their outward connection, He only repeated the same words as before, since it was not outward but inward relationship that qualified the guests, and theirs was not friendship, but antagonism to Him. Terrible would then be their sorrow and anguish, when they would see their own patriarchs (* we have eaten and drunk in Thy Presence ') and their own prophets (“ Thou hast taught in our streets :) within, and yet themselves were excluded from what was peculiarly theirs, while from all parts of the heathen world the welcome guests would flock to the joyous feast. And here pre-eminently, in opposition to Pharisaic claims and self-righteous

ness, would the saying hold good : There are last which shall be first, Comp. also and there are first which shall be last.' a

As a further characteristic difference from the parallel passage in the Sermon on the Mount,' we note, that there the reference seems not to any special privileges in connection with the Messianic Kingdom, such as the Pharisees expected, but to admission into the Kingdom of Heaven generally. In regard to the latter also the highest outward claims would be found unavailing; but the expectancy of admission was grounded rather on what was done, than on mere citizenship and its privileges. And here it deserves special notice, that in St. Luke's Gospel, where the claim is that of fellow-citizenship (* eaten and drunk in Thy Presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets '), the reply is made, 'I know you not whence ye are ;' while in the Sermon on the Mount,' where the claim is of what they had done in His Name, they are told: I never knew you. In both cases the disavowal emphatically bears on the special plea which had been set up. With this, another slight difference may be connected, which is not brought out in the Authorised or in the Revised Version. Both in the Sermon on

St. Matt.
rix. 30 ; xx.
16

St. Matt. vii. 21, 22

THE SECOND OF THE PERÆAN DISCOURSES.

301

CHAP.
XX

vii. 23

b St. Luke

d St. Matt.
viii. 11
xiii. 31-35

the Mount'a and in St. Luke's Gospel, they who are bidden depart are designated as “workers of iniquity.' But, whereas in St. Matthew's Gospel the term (åvoula) really means “ lawlessness,'the word used in St. Matt. that of St. Luke should be rendered “unrighteousness'' (åduxia). Thus, the one class are excluded, despite the deeds which they plead, xiii. 27 for their real contrariety to God's Law; the other, despite the plea of citizenship and privileges, for their unrighteousness. And here we • Rom. ii. may also note, as a last difference between the two Gospels, that in the prediction of the future bliss from which they were to be excluded, the Gospel of St. Luke, which had reported the plea that He had “taught ’in their streets,' adds, as it were in answer, to the names of the Patriarchs,a mention of all the prophets.'

2. The next Discourse, noted by St. Luke,e had been spoken'in St. Luke that very day,'? as the last. It was occasioned by a pretended warning of certain of the Pharisees' to depart from Peræa, which, with Galilee, was the territory of Herod Antipas, as else the Tetrarch would kill Him. We have previously 3 shown reason for supposing secret intrigues between the Pharisaic party and Herod, and attributing the final imprisonment of the Baptist, at least in part, to their machinations. We also remember, how the conscience of the Tetrarch connected Christ with His murdered Forerunner, and that rightly, since, at least so far as the Pharisees wrought on the fears of that intensely jealous and suspicious prince, the imprisonment of John was as much due to his announcement of the Messiah as to the enmity of Herodias. On these grounds we can easily understand that Herod should have wished to see Jesus, not merely to gratify St. Luke curiosity, nor in obedience to superstitious impulses, but to convince himself, whether He was really what was said of Him, and also to get Him into his power. Probably, therefore, the danger of which these Pharisees spoke might have been real enough, and they might have special reasons for knowing of it. But their suggestion, that Jesus should depart, could only have proceeded from a wish to get Him out of Peræa, where, evidently, His works of healing & were largely attracting and influencing the people.

But if our Lord would not be deterred by the fears of His disciples from going into Judæa,feeling that each one had his appointed working day, in the light of which he was safe, and during the brief dura

ix. 9

as spoken of in St. Luke xiii. 32 BOOK

h St. John xi. 8

It is characteristic of 'higher' criti. cism when Hilgenfeld declares that the ‘lawlessness' in St. Matthew's Gospel is intended as

a covert hit at Pauline Christianity, and the Sunrighteousness'

in St. Luke's as a retort upon Petrine
or Jewish Christianity!

? Perhaps we should rather read 'hour.'
* See Book III. chap. xxviii.

IV

a The word
πορεύεσθαι, ,
ver. 31 is
also used in
and ver. 33
. walk

[ocr errors]

tion of which he was bound to 'walk,' far less would He recede before His enemies. Pointing to their secret intrigues, He bade them, if they chose, go back to that fox,' and give to his low cunning, and to all similar attempts to hinder or arrest His Ministry, what would be a decisive answer, since it unfolded what He clearly foresaw in the near future. Depart'?"yes, 'depart 'ye to tell “that fox,' I have still

a brief and an appointed time to work, and then “I am perfected, vel. 32 • go, in the sense in which we all readily understand the expression, as

applying to His Work and Mission. “Depart!?· Yes, I must “ depart," or go My brief appointed time: I know that at the goal of it is death, yet not at the hands of Herod, but in Jerusalem, the slaughterhouse of them that “ teach in her streets." ;

And so, remembering that this message to Herod was spoken in the very day, perhaps the very hour that He had declared how falsely the workers of wickedness' claimed admission on account of the teaching in their streets,' and that they would be excluded from the fellowship, not only of the fathers, but of all the prophets' whom they called their own—we see peculiar meaning in the reference to Jerusalem as the place where all the prophets perished.? One, Who in no way indulged in illusions, but knew that He had an appointed time, during which He would work, and at the end of which He would 'perish,' and where He would so perish, could not be deterred either by the intrigues of the Pharisees nor by the thought of what a Herod might attempt—not do, which latter was in far other hands. But the thought of Jerusalem--of what it was, what it might have been, and what would come to it-may well have

forced from the lips of Him, Who wept over it, a cry of mingled vv. 34, 35 anguish, love, and warning. It may, indeed, be, that these very

words, which are reported by St. Matthew in another, and manifestly most suitable, connection, c3 are here quoted by St. Luke, because they fully express the thought to which Christ here first gave distinct utterance. But some such words, we can scarcely doubt, He did speak even now, when pointing to His near Decease in Jerusalem.

b

• St. Matt. xxiii. 37-39

מחרא דמחר in such connection Would be

1 The words “to-day, and to-morrow, and the third day,' must not be taken as a literal, but as a well-known figurative expression. Thus we are told (Mechilta, Par. Bo, 18, towards end, ed. Weiss, p. 27 b), “There is a “to-morrow” which is now (refers to the immediate present), and a “to-morrow" of a later time,' indi. cating a fixed period connected with the present. The latter, for example, in the passage illustrated in the Rabbinic quota

tion just made: Ex. xiii. 14, 'It shall be when thy son shall ask thee [literally! to-morrow,' in our A. V. 'in time to come.' So also Josh. xxii. 24. The third day!

. ? Even the death of John the Baptist may, as indicated, be said to have been compassed in Jerusalem.

3 The words will be considered in connection with that passage.

THE THIRD OF THE PERÆAN DISCOURSES.

303

CHAP.
XX

xiv. 1-11 Chapter

xiv. 4

3. The next in order of the Discourses recorded by St. Luke is that which prefaced the Parable of “the Great Supper,' explained in a previous chapter. The Rabbinic views on the Sabbath-Law have » St. Luke been so fully discussed, that a very brief commentation will here suffice. It appears, that the Lord condescended to accept the invi- xvi. tation to a Sabbath-meal in the house of one of the Rulers of the Pharisees'- perhaps one of the Rulers of the Synagogue in which they had just worshipped, and where Christ may have taught. Without here discussing the motives for this invitation, its acceptance was certainly made use of to watch Him.' And the man with the dropsy had, no doubt, been introduced for a treacherous purpose, although it is not necessary to suppose that he himself had been privy to it. ,

On the other hand, it is characteristic of the gracious Lord, that, with full knowledge of their purpose, He sat down with such companions, and that He did His Work of power and love unrestrained by their evil thoughts. But, even so, He must turn their wickedness also to good account. Yet we mark, that He first dismissed the man healed of the dropsy before He reproved the Pharisees. It was better so—for the sake of the guests, and for «St. Luke the healed man himself, whose mind quite new and blessed Sabbaththoughts would fill, to which all controversy would be jarring.

And, after his departure, the Lord first spake to them, as was His wont, concerning their misapplication of the Sabbath-Law, to which, indeed, their own practice gave the lie. They deemed it unlawful “to heal' on the Sabbath-day, though, when He read their thoughts and purposes as against Him, they would not answer His question on the point.d And yet, if 'a son,' or even an ox,' of any dvv. 3, 4 of them, had fallen into a pit,' they would have found some valid legal reason for pulling him out! Then, as to their Sabbath-feast, and their invitation to Him, when thereby they wished to lure Him to evil-and, indeed, their much-boasted hospitality: all was characteristic of Pharisaism-only external show, with utter absence of all real love; only self-assumption, pride, and self-righteousness, together with contempt of all who were regarded as religiously or intellectually beneath them-chiefly of the unlearned' and sinners,' those in the streets and lanes' of their city, whom they considered as “the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.'° Even <ver. 21 among themselves there was strife about the first places-such as, perhaps, Christ had on that occasion witnessed,' amidst mock fessions of humility, when, perhaps, the master of the house had

So—and not ass '-according to the best reading.

f vv. 7-11

BOOK
IV

ver. 10

bvy, 12-14

© Chapter xvi.

d Ab. i. 5

e Ab. de R. Nathan 7

afterwards, in true Pharisaic fashion, proceeded to re-arrange the guests according to their supposed dignity. And even the Rabbis had given advice to the same effect as Christ's &_--and of this His words may have reminded them. "

But further—addressing him who had so treacherously bidden Him to this feast, Christ showed how the principle of Pharisaism consisted in self-seeking, to the necessary exclusion of all true love. Referring, for the fuller explanation of His meaning, to a previous chapter, we content ourselves here with the remark, that this selfseeking and self-righteousness appeared even in what, perhaps, they most boasted of their hospitality. For, if in an earlier Jewish record we read the beautiful words: “Let thy house be open towards the street, and let the poor be the sons of thy house,'d we have, also, this later comment on them, that Job had thus had his house opened to the four quarters of the globe for the poor, and that, when his calamities befell him, he remonstrated with God on the ground of his merits in this respect, to which answer was made, that he had in this matter come very far short of the merits of Abraham. So entirely self-introspective and self-seeking did Rabbinism become, and so contrary was its outcome to the spirit of Christ, the inmost meaning of Whose Work, as well as Words, was entire self-forgetfulness and self-surrender in love.

4. In the fourth Discourse recorded by St. Luke,' we pass from the parenthetic account of that Sabbath-meal in the house of the

Ruler of the Pharisees,' back to where the narrative of the Pharisees' threat about Herod and the reply of Jesus had left us. And, if proof were required of the great influence exercised by Jesus, and which, as we have suggested, led to the attempt of the Pharisees to induce Christ to leave Peræa, it would be found in the opening notice, as well as in the Discourse itself which He spoke. Christ did depart—from that place, though not yet from Peræa; but with Him 'went great multitudes. And, in view of their professed adhesion, it was needful, and now more emphatically than ever, to set before them all that discipleship really involved, alike of cost and of strength—the two latter points being illustrated by brief · Parables ? (in the wider sense of that term). Substantially, it was only what Christ had told the Twelve, when He sent them on their first Mission. Only it was now cast in a far stronger mould, as befitted the altered circumstances, in the near prospect of Christ's condemnation, with all that this would involve to His followers.

i St. Luke xiv, 25-35

xiii. 31-35

hver. 25

St. Matt. X. 37, 38

| Almost precisely the same sayings occur in Ab. de Rabbi Nathan 25, and Vajjikra R. 1.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »