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ing by this phrase the Messiah. (?) * Did he so understand Dan. vii. 13, 14?
We may, at any rate, conclude (from this our provisional platform of the accuracy of Matthew and Mark) that Jesus is now almost, if not quite, convinced that he himself is the intended Messiah King, though he is not yet empowered to announce himself as such. The use of the title Son of man, and its application occasionally to himself, while it does not constitute an assertion of Messiahship, may yet suggest the question to his disciples.
He miraculously heals a palsied man, having previously pronounced him forgiven (presumably through discernment that he was a faithful soul and in the company of such), and he intimates to cavillers that such discernment is more within man's power than is the gift of healing. The people praised God for having given such power to men (Matt. ix. 2–8).
Jesus now calls to apostleship a fifth, viz. Matthew the taxgatherer,who also leaves his secular employment, and becomes a follower of the prophet of Nazareth.
Jesus' chief object being to convert sinners to righteousness, to bring nigh to the kingdom those who were far off, he mixes freely with all kinds of people, that he may lose no opportunity; and, not being an ascetic like John, does not shun festive occasions, but turns all alike to his purpose.
Scarcely. The phrase " as a son of man means simply “one like a man,” though that one proved to be “no other than the Messias.” (See Ewald's “ Prophets,” vol. [v., p. 252.
He now lets it be publicly known that he is not merely continuing the work of John, not merely announcing the speedy approach of the kingdom of heaven, but is actually establishing it in individuals. He is seen by the people to be a prophet of another order, and his disciples are now accordingly distinguished from those of John, as being, in fact, of another school. John deterred from sin by threats ; Jesus wins the people to righteousness by winning them to himself. Twelve men have now been found
among his disciples willing to devote themselves to the work of preaching the Gospel—that is, to announce, as John did, the speedy approach of the kingdom—and Jesus therefore sends them all over Galilee for this purpose, communicating to them his own powers over all disease and death. They are to remember by whom they are sent, and are to introduce themselves as the apostles of Jesus wherever they appear.
We are told nothing of their baptizing disciples. Perhaps the baptism administered by John had spread widely in Galilee, so that all such as truly repented had already repaired to him for baptism ; or perhaps the time for Jesus' baptism, as distinct from that of John, had not yet come. In the former case, those who wished to become disciples of Jesus came from the ranks of John's disciples. It is clear that Jesus is now represented in Matthew and Mark as speaking, prophet-like, in the name of God, and that he claims submission as a prophet. His miracles and
his teaching together unite in proving him divinely inspired, and he now distinctly aims at forming a body of persons, the nucleus of the new Messianic community, who shall, by acknowledging themselves his disciples, admit him to be a messenger from Goda prophet, and as such absolutely to be obeyed. (It may be here repeated that, in this chapter, we not only give an outline of Matthew and Mark, but, provisionally, we assume the authenticity of the narration). Jesus, therefore, was God's ambassador, entrusted with plenary power, and those who believed him to be so were also bound to honour and obey him. So now, in perfect conformity with the principles of his previous teaching, viz. that devotion to righteousness, to God, must be absolute and unreserved, he demanded that those who acknowledged himself as sent by God should confess this publicly, should not only proclaim it when they could do so with safety, but were to do it at all hazards, even, if necessary, at the sacrifice of life itself—that is, they were to prefer the latter alternative to denying him. Those who, on whatever pretext or to escape whatever loss, fell away from him when tested, he would refuse to accept as disciples at all. They must be his to the death, or in the sight of God he would renounce them utterly. This demand would not seem an extreme one to the Jews and Galileans, for thousands of them showed at that very time, without any reference to Jesus' teaching or the Messiahship, how ready they were to die for their religion. Accordingly, Jesus expected such fidelity from his missionaries, and sent them to preach it to the people of Galilee, distinctly telling them that before they had gone through all the towns of Israel the Messiah would appear (see the tenth chapter of Matthew). These twelve Jesus sent forth, and charged them, saying, Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any city of the Samaritans: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. x. 5-7). And "Ye shall not have gone through the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come" (Matt. x. 23). "He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me" (Matt. x. 40).
The fame of Jesus now reaches John in his far-off prison, and, wishing to know whether he is the Messiah, he sends two of his disciples to ask him. ("Art thou he that cometh, or look we for another?” (Matt. xi. 3). This is the first time the question comes distinctly before us. But Jesus, true to his original plan, tells them to form their own judgment from his teaching and his miracles; he still has no direct affirmation to make on the subject.
The Galilean prophet now freely speaks of his predecessor as—though no miracle-worker-greater than any of the prophets of old, and nearer to the kingdom of heaven. We may see, perhaps, the reason of this in that the ancient prophets generally addressed themselves to the nation as a whole, or to its rulers ; no one among them so addressed individuals, nor demanded of them personal repentance and righteousness so explicitly as John. He baptized individuals as such, and for the sake of their single souls. And then what previous prophet had exerted such an influence on the nation as John had done? The whole people had been stirred as one man. Moreover, John was not only a prophet, but a prophet preannounced, even the Elijah that was to come, as forerunner of the Messiah.
But, on the other hand, John had not actually entered into the kingdom of heaven. He does not seem to have understood its nature. He preached to men, and exhorted them to repent and serve God in order to escape his wrath. Jesus preached of a kingdom of God in each soul ; a heaven of sympathy and communion with him as the Father; of love to God and love to man. He who is thus in the kingdom, though externally one of the least, is yet greater than even John the Baptist (Matt. xi. 11). (Alas, how seldom is this ideal realized, or even realizable ; yet how much nearer we might approximate towards it, if we had another Jesus-nay, if the teachers of Christianity understood him, and spoke, as they were able, in his spirit and with his power !)
Hitherto the career of Jesus has been a joyful one, one of progress only. Shadows now, however, begin
appear. He finds that numbers, after the first flush of enthusiasm has passed away, have returned to their old habits of sin ; a spiritual kingdom has no attraction for them, and they vent their disappointment in