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PREDICTION OF THE NEAR END.

345

CHAP.
XXIII

A St. John xi. 8,16

danger which threatened the Master in Judæa. Yet not only was He going up' to Jerusalem, but there was that in His bearing which was quite unusual. As St. Mark writes, He was going óbefore them --we infer, apart and alone, as One, busy with thoughts allengrossing, Who is setting Himself to do His great work, and goes to meet it. “And going before them was Jesus; and they were amazed (utterly bewildered, viz. the Apostles]; and those who were following, were afraid.' It was then that Jesus took the Apostles apart, and, in language more precise than ever before, told them how all things that were written by the prophets shall be accomplished on the Son of Man'h—not merely, that all that had been bSt. Luke written concerning the Son of Man should be accomplished, but a far deeper truth, all-comprehensive as regards the Old Testament: that all its prophecy ran up into the sufferings of the Christ. As the three Evangelists report it, the Lord gave them full details of His Betrayal, Crucifixion, and Resurrection. And yet we may, without irreverence, doubt whether on that occasion He had really entered into all those particulars. In such case it would seem difficult to explain how, as St. Luke reports, they understood none of these things, and the saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken ;' nor yet, how afterwards the actual events and the Resurrection so took them by surprise. Rather do We think, that the Evangelists report in the light of after-events what Jesus had said. He had told them of His Betrayal by the leaders of Israel, and that into the hands of the Gentiles—of His Death and Resurrection on the third day—yet in language which they could, and actually did, misunderstand at the time, but which, when viewed in the light of what really happened, was perceived by them to have been actual prediction of those terrible days in Jerusalem and of the Resurrection-morning. At the time they may have thought that it pointed only to His rejection by Jews and Gentiles, to Sufferings and Death-and then to a Resurrection, either of His Mission or to such a reappearance of the Messiah, after His temporary disappearance, as Judaism expected.

But all this time, and with increasing fierceness, were terrible thoughts contending in the breast of Judas; and beneath the tramp of that fight was there only a thin covering of earth, to hide and keep from bursting forth the hellish fire of the master-passion within.

One other incident, more strange and sad than any that had

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! This is the precise rendering of the verb.

2 This is the precise rendering of St. Mark x. 32.

BOOK
IV

* St. Matt. xvi. 23

• St. Matt. xxvii. 56; comp. St. Mark xv. 40 e St. Mark ix. 38

d St. Luke ix. 54

e by St. Mark (x. 35)

preceded, and the Peræan stay is for ever ended. It almost seems, as if the fierce blast of temptation, the very breath of the destroyer, were already sweeping over the little flock, as if the twilight of the night of betrayal and desertion were already falling around. And now it has fallen on the two chosen disciples, James and John-the sons of thunder,' and one of them, the beloved disciple !' The third of that band most closely bound to Christ, Peter, had already had his fierce temptation, and would have it more fiercely—to the uprooting of life, if the Great High-Priest had not specially interceded for him. And, as regards these two sons of Zebedee and of Salome, we know what temptation had already beset them, how John had forbidden one to cast out devils, because he followed not with them, and how both he and his brother, James, would have called down fire from heaven to consume the Samaritans who would not receive Christ. It was essentially the same spirit that now prompted the request which their mother Salome preferred,' not only with their full concurrence, but, as we are expressly told, with their active participation. There is the same faith in the Christ, the same allegiance to Him, but also the same unhallowed earnestness, the same misunderstanding--and, let us add, the same latent self-exaltation, as in the two former instances, in the present request that, as the most honoured of His guests, and also as the nearest to Him, they might have their places at His Right Hand and at His Left in His Kingdom. Terribly incongruous as is any appearance of selfseeking at that moment and with that prospect before them, we cannot but feel that there is also an intenseness of faith and absoluteness of love which is almost sublime, when the mother steps out from among those who follow Christ to His Suffering and Death, to proffer with her sons, and for them, such a request.

And so the Saviour seems to have viewed it. With unspeakable patience and tenderness, He, Whose Soul is filled with the terrible contest before Him, bears with the weakness and selfishness which could cherish such thoughts and ambitions even at such a time. To correct them, He points to that near prospect, when the Highest is to be made low. Ye know not what ye ask!' The King is to be King through suffering—are they aware of the road which leads to that goal ? Those nearest to the King of sorrows must reach the

St. Matt. xx. 20-28; St. Mark x. 35-45

1 It is very remarkable that, in St. Matt. xx. 20, she bears the unusual title: the mother of Zebedee's children'(comp. also for the mention of Zebedee, St. Mark

x. 35). This, evidently, to emphasise that the distinction was not asked on the ground of earthly kinship, as through Salome, who was the aunt of Jesus.

TIIE REQUEST OF THE MOTHER OF ZEBEDEE'S CHILDREN.

347

CHAP.
XXIII

Mark, x. 41

place nearest to Him by the same road as He. Are they prepared
for it; prepared to drink that cup of soul-agony, which the Father
will hand to Him—to submit to, to descend into that Baptism of
consecration, when the floods will sweep over Him?' In their
ignorance, and listening only to the promptings of their hearts,
they imagine that they are. Nay, in some measure it would be so
yet, finally to correct their mistake: to sit at His Right and at His
Left Hand, these were not marks of mere favour for Him to bestow
-in His own words: it is not Mine to give except to them for
whom it is prepared of My Father.'

But as for the other ten, when they heard of it, it was only the pre-eminence which, in their view, James and John had sought, which stood out before them, to their envy, jealousy, and indignation. And so, in that tremendously solemn hour would the fierce - St. Matt. fire of controversy have broken out among them, who should have &c.; St. been most closely united; would jealousy and ambition have filled &c. those who should have been most humble, and fierce passions, born of self, the world, and Satan, have distracted them, whom the thought of the great love and the great Sacrifice should have filled. It was the rising of that storm on the sea, the noise and tossing of those angry billows, which He hushed into silence when He spoke to them of the grand contrast between the princes of the Gentiles as they “lord it over them, or the great among them' as they domineer

over men, and their own aims—how, whosoever would be great among them, must seek his greatness in service-not greatness through service, but the greatness of service; and, whosoever would be chief or rather “first’ among them, let it be in service. And had it not been thus, was it not, would it not be so in the Son of Man—and must it not therefore be so in them who would be nearest to Him, even His Apostles and disciples ? The Son of Man-let them look back, let them look forward—He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. And then, breaking through the reserve that had held Him, and revealing to them the inmost thoughts which had occupied Him when He had been alone and apart, going before them on the way, He spoke for the first time fully what was the deepest meaning of His Life, Mission, and

2

The clause in St. Matthew : 'and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with,' is probably a spurious insertion, taken from St. Mark's Gospel.

? I have chosen these two words because the verbs in the Greek (which is

the same in the two Gospels) express not ordinary •dominion' and authority,' but a forcible and tyrannical exercise of it. The first verb occurs again in Acts xix. 16, and 1 Pet. v. 3; the second only in this passage in the Gospels.

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BOOK
IV

* St. Vatt.
XX. 28;
St. Mark x
45

Death: “to give His Life a ransom for many to pay with his LifeBlood the price of their redemption, to lay down His Life for them: in their room and stead, and for their salvation.

These words must have sunk deep into the heart of one at least in that company. A few days later, and the beloved disciple tells us of this Ministry of His Love at the Last Supper, and ever afterwards, in his writings and in his life, does he seem to bear them about with him, and to re-echo them. Ever since also have they remained the foundation-truth, on which the Church has been built: the subject of her preaching, and the object of her experience.

We would here call attention to some exquisitely beautiful and forcible remarks 1 Pet. i. 19; by Dean Plumptre on the passage.

Comp. Dean Plumptre, u. S.

b St. John xiii.

c Rom, iii.
24 ; 1 Cor.
vi. 20;
1 Tim. ii. 6;

2

1 John iv. 10

IN JERICHO.

349

CHAPTER XXIV.

IN JERICHO AND AT BETHANY-JERICHO-A GUEST WITH ZACCHÆUS-THE

HEALING OF BLIND BARTIMÆUS—THE PLOT AT JERUSALEM—AT BETHANY,
AND IN THE HOUSE OF SIMON THE LEPER.

(St. Luke xix. 1-10; St. Matt. xx. 29-34; St. Mark x. 46–52; St. Luke xviii. 35-43;

St. John xi. 55—xii. 1; St. Matt. xxvi. 6-13; St. Mark xiv, 3-9; St. John xii. 2-11.)

CHAP.
XXIV

ONCE

more, and now for the last time, were the fords of Jordan passed, and Christ was on the soil of Judæa proper. Behind Him were Peræa and Galilee; behind Him the Ministry of the Gospel by Word and Deed; before Him the final Act of His Life, towards which all had consciously tended. Rejected as the Messiah of His people, not only in His Person but as regarded the Kingdom of God, which, in fulfilment of prophecy and of the merciful Counsel of God, He had come to establish, He was of set purpose going up to Jerusalem, there to accomplish His Decease, to give His Life a Ransom for many.' And He was coming, not, as at the Feast of Tabernacles, privately, but openly, at the head of His Apostles, and followed by many disciples—a festive band going up to the Paschal Feast, of which Himself was to be the Lamb' of sacrifice.

The first station reached was Jericho, the City of Palms,' a distance of only about six hours from Jerusalem. The ancient City occupied not the site of the present wretched hamlet, but lay about half an hour to the north-west of it, by the so-called Elisha-Spring. A second spring rose an hour further to the north-north-west. The water of these springs, distributed by aqueducts, gave, under a tropical sky, unsurpassed fertility to the rich soil along the plain of Jericho, which is about twelve or fourteen miles wide. The Old Testament history of the City of Palms' is sufficiently known. It was here also that King Zedekiah had, on his flight, been seized by the Chaldeans, and thither a company of 345 men returned - 2 Kings under Zerubbabel. In the war of liberation under the Maccabees b Ezra ii. 54

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