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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
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 judges of the twelve tribes of Israel ; and that all his disciples shall receive, in this age, a hundredfold for what they have renounced for his sake, and in the next shall become immortal.
James and John, however, are not satisfied with separate thrones equal to the other apostles; they aspire to be above them all, and to sit, one on the right hand, and the other on the left, of the KingJesus.
But such pre-eminence, Jesus tells them, is not in his power to give. God has already prepared it for those whom he has chosen ; but the servant of all, he shall be chief, as he himself is, for he is about to give even his life for the ransom of many.
These conversations took place on the way to Jerusalem, and on leaving Jericho Jesus is hailed as Messiah by two blind beggars, to whom he restores sight. He enters Jerusalem, sitting on an ass,* as predicted of the Messiah. This is his first public assertion (and this by act rather than word) of the Messianic dignity; and here is no display of regal pride, but rather a confirmation of his teaching, that the prime condition of entering the kingdom is lowliness and meekness of spirit.
But the prophet of Nazareth, who is expected in Jerusalem, and whose approach in this manner, attended by a great number of disciples, has at once suggested the ideas of Messiahship, is surrounded by Mark.
* Mark xi. 7. Comp. Matt. xxi. 7, and ask, O serious reader,Wherefore this difference ?
eager multitudes, who proclaim him their anointed king, of the house of David (Matt. xxi. 1-9).
Jesus tacitly accepts the homage, and the fact is noted by the chief persons of the Pharisaic sect, and by the chief priests (mostly Sadducees).
He kept on his way to the temple, followed thither by a great crowd, of whom many, especially children, continued to shout, “ Hosanna to the Son of David !” to which a parallel cry would be in England, “ Long live King Jesus !” As was natural, “ All the city was stirred, saying, Who is this? And the multitude said, This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee ” (Matt. xxi. 10, II).
Arrived at the temple, Jesus, scandalized at the noise of the traffickers in the outer courts of the sacred edifice, authoritatively cleared them—the people who accompanied him perhaps doing his bidding, by upsetting the seats of the traders, and hustling them out-after which he cured many blind and lame persons who resorted to him.
He lodged at a suburb of the city called Bethany, and as he re-entered Jerusalem on the following morning, he wrought a miracle of an exceptional character, viz. that of causing a fig tree to wither under his curse—a curse not causeless, since the tree, though bearing leaves, had no fruit. When the disciples expressed their astonishment, he told them that all things were possible to the prayer of faith. If they had faith, it would be in their power to work still greater wonders than this, even, for example, “If ye
shall say unto this mountain, Be thou taken up, and cast into the sea, it shall be done" (Matt. xxi. 21).
Jesus went again to the temple and taught the people, who there flocked to hear him ; but his acts of the previous day were called in question by the chief priests and other influential persons, who demanded on what authority he acted. They had previously directed the attention of Jesus to the claim made on his behalf, by the more enthusiastic of the people, contained in the popular cry taken up by the children and long-continued, and Jesus, quoting from one of the Psalms, intimates that children are sometimes more discerning than their elders.
But when these elders demand his credentials for the tacit assumption of Messianic authority, he silences them by placing them in a dilemma respecting John the Baptist, in whose prophetic mission they did not believe, but shrank from avowal of their disbelief for fear of losing their reputation among the people, who still regarded John as a prophet.
Jesus now began to denounce the Pharisees and the religious teachers as worse than the tax-gatherers and harlots, and declared that they would not be permitted to enter the kingdom. He knew, apparently, that these men, haughty and overbearing, full of self-seeking, would never comprehend the nature of the true divine kingdom, which must be established within their hearts before they could be admitted into the outward kingdom of the Messiah, consisting of the converted only. He therefore