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days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Of which passage Professor Maurice wrote : *“I do not understand it. . . . As there were not three days and three nights between the crucifixion and the resurrection of our Lord, these words clearly cannot bear the interpretation which is commonly given to them. But I do not see of what other interpretation they are susceptible, therefore I leave them.”
Jesus declares that spiritual ties rank above natural. Those who do the will of the Father are his true sons, and will be acknowledged by Jesus as his brothers, rather than those who are merely born of the same human parentage.
His miracles were seldom, if ever, performed for the direct purpose of convincing unbelievers in his divine mission, but rather to do some good and needful act, as when he fed many thousands with only a little bread and fish. Faith seems generally to have been the motive power, i.e. the faith of the person in whose favour the miracle was wrought, as when Peter walked on the sea, and when persons were healed by touching the hem of Jesus' garment.
He spoke against the Rabbinical traditions as weakening instead of hedging round and supporting the true commandments of God; and, in attacking them, he utters a principle which cuts at the root of some precepts in the Mosaic law, viz. that a man is not defiled by meats and drinks, clean or unclean. The precepts which are only of men shall perish; the
* See “ Unity of the New Testament,” p. 197.
teachers who cannot discriminate between the commands of God and those of men are not fit for the office they assume.
We are not informed whether the twelve apostles visited all the towns of Galilee or not, but we find them again with Jesus, who asks them what is the prevailing opinion respecting himself (among those who believe in him). They tell him, some believe him to be John the Baptist, risen from the dead, and others Jeremiah or Elijah ; none as yet, it would seem, believe him to be the Messiah. But now, for the first time, Jesus asks the apostles their opinion. Simon declares him the Messiah, on which he is pronounced blessed, as having spoken by revelation from God, since Jesus himself had never taught him, nor had ever claimed this exalted office. But now it seems to come almost as a revelation to Jesus himself, i.e. from God to him and Peter simultaneously, removing any lingering doubt he may have had on the subject.
He thus tells the apostles that he is the Messiah, the king, and that his disciples will form his kingdom, the kingdom of heaven so long foretold. When the kingdom is thus externally constituted, it will be built on the allegiance of its subjects; only those will be of the kingdom who acknowledge the king, as Simon has just done. But not yet, they are not yet to make the fact of his Christhood public. *
Simon, in token of his having laid the foundation, and being the first to own allegiance, is himself
* Matt. xvi. 20.
to be regarded as the foundation of Jesus' spiritual realm, and is to be henceforth called a rock or stone (Kepha = Peter), and is to be invested with the powers of the kingdom—the miraculous powers of loosing persons from disease, Satanic possession, etc., or of leaving them bound therein (Matt. xvi. 13-20).
Jesus now explains to his apostles from time to time the mysterious allusion to the Son of man having to be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth, as that he must himself be put to death at Jerusalem, and be raised from the dead on the third day. (For unless he first went to heaven, by dying or otherwise, how could he come thence, as represented in Daniel ?)
But Simon Peter is not prepared for this, and tries to dissuade the Master from putting himself in danger. Jesus, however, perhaps being tempted to avoid this death, reprimands Peter as coming in aid of the tempter, instead of acknowledging that the divinelyordained plan was best, and strengthening his Master to pursue it. Moreover, they must themselves be ready to follow him to death, on pain of being cut off from the kingdom. For when he comes in glory with the angels, he will be the judge of all men. And this will certainly happen before some of them die, some of those who were standing around him. the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father, with his angels; and then shall he render to every man
; according to his deeds. Verily I say unto you, There be some of them that stand here, which shall in no
wise taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.”
A few days after this, Jesus took the three principal apostles, Peter, James, and John, apart from the rest up into a high mountain. And they there saw the apparitions of Moses and Elijah talking with Jesus, on whom a glorious light shone, a visible anointing from on high. There also came over them all a wondrous bright cloud, and out of it a voice, which said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.” This so terrified the three
” that they fell on their faces; but Jesus bade them arise and not be afraid, and on looking up they found themselves alone with him. But he strictly forbade their mentioning the circumstance, till after he should be risen from the dead.
The apostles now began to speculate as to who should have the highest place in the kingdom. It may be presumed that the miraculous powers promised to Peter had already been promised the others as well, and that they were now on an equality, except that Peter, James, and John were most favoured by the Master. But Jesus reproved them, and told them that unless they became changed, by discarding all selfseeking and becoming humble as a child (say specially as one whom he then called and placed amidst them), they could not enter into the kingdom of heaven at all. How very little they seemed to have profited by his instructions !
* Matt. xvi. 27, 28.
Children were brought to Jesus by their parents that he might place his hands on them and bless them : this he delighted to do, though the morose disciples were displeased with those who brought them. The kingdom of heaven was like such little children, Jesus said. When he transmitted to the apostles the miraculous powers of the kingdom, he told them that if two of them agreed to ask of God the same thing, whatever it was, their request would be granted. This in virtue of their connection with himself, no matter whether he were present in the body or not.
Jesus did not court flattering titles. He would, unquestionably, rather have been accounted good than great, but he rebuked a rich young man who addressed him as Good Master, since only God was (wholly) good. The way to eternal life, Jesus told him, he knew already, and reminded him of the commandments of God; not the ten, but the moral commandments only, or those of natural morality, whether among the ten or not. And, if he desired perfection, he was to sell all his goods, give them to the poor, and become a follower of Jesus. But this was too much for the young man; he could not part with his riches. So Jesus told his disciples that riches were a great hindrance and clog, making it almost impossible for the possessors to enter into the kingdom, i.e. to become humble, meek, and obedient as little children.
Peter asks what will be the reward in the kingdom of heaven) of those who have left all to follow their Lord Jesus says the twelve, having done so, shall be