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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. II). (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 to 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 invective against the prophets thereof. John, they say, is a madman, and Jesus a sensualist. But it saddens Jesus to think that the multitude of people have no root in themselves, and cannot be permanently gained for the kingdom of God, either by fear or love. And the towns on the lake of Galilee, which witnessed the chief displays of miraculous power, yet do not lastingly repent! Surely they deserve a worse fate than the heathen who have not had the word of God preached to them.
We now come to a passage different in character from all the rest of the book, though similar to much in the fourth Gospel. Because of this, and in view of the uncertainty that attends all detail—the uncertainty as to the actual text of the original adverted to in the last chapter-we are justified in regarding it as possibly an early interpolation, or if indeed it was part of the original text of our Matthew, probably not in the author's main source. We refer to Matt. xi. 27 (see also Luke x. 22): “All things have been delivered unto me of my Father : and no one knoweth the Son, save the Father ; neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him." This singular passage is not found in Mark, though nothing can with certainty be concluded from that. Keim does not question that Jesus uttered something of the kind. He says, “No one has known the Father except the Son, nor the Son except the Father, and he to whom He reveals it.' Thus must the utterance of Jesus have originally
sounded." * It is true, something similar is found as early as Justin, but Strauss gives good reasons for thinking that Justin quotes from some other source than either Matthew or Luke. It was probably in the original Luke (in some form), but did not the author obtain it from an unauthentic (say a Gnostic) source ?
Jesus declares that man's welfare is of greater importance than external rites, temples, etc., the implements of what is commonly called the service of God, and he applies this principle to the sabbath law, which is to give place whenever its observance tends to man's injury rather than to his benefit-God's object in its institution.
He speaks of the kingdom of heaven in parables, similitudes, or short allegories, though he finds few, if any, who can trace the analogy unassisted.
The prevalent feeling when the prophet approaches a town is not that of joyful anticipation, but mere vulgar curiosity to see some miracle performed. Such curiosity he rebukes and leaves unsatisfied. Where he was joyfully received for the sake of the kingdom, there he wrought most of his "mighty works ;” but in Nazareth, for example, where he was reared and well known, not being honoured nor believed in as a messenger from God, he was very sparing of miracle, or abstained altogether.f
We here (Matt. xii. 40) meet with a dark saying, viz. that as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly, so shall the Son of man be three * “ Jesus of Nazara," vol. iv. p. 57.
+ Matt. xii. 39, 58.