Imagini ale paginilor

days after, on which occasion Thomas exclaimed, "My Lord and my God!”

This fourth Gospel does not profess to narrate all the miracles that Jesus did, but only enough to show that he is the Christ, the Son of God, and that those who believe in him as such may have life in his name (John xx. 31.) This verse appears to conclude the Gospel, the twenty-first chapter being an appendix, narrating the appearance of Jesus to his disciples in Galilee, and his prediction of the martyrdom of Peter; it explains also how the belief arose among the disciples, that the one whom Jesus so loved would never die. The twenty-fourth verse says, “This is the

“ disciple which beareth witness of these things, and wrote these things, and we know that his witness is true.”




We have now given, in the foregoing chapters, a brief abstract of the life and teaching of Jesus—first, as described in the Gospels named after Matthew and Mark, and secondly, according to that named after John; and our next step shall be to notice some striking differences which exist between the two accounts, easily verifiable in any version by the average reader.

Some have deemed that the most important of these discrepancies is that concerning the day of Jesus' death, the Synoptics making it the day after the Passover, and the fourth Gospel making it the day of the Passover, so that Jesus was himself the Paschal Lamb slain. Dr. Farrar has dealt with this one particular at considerable length. “It must be admitted," he says (“ Life of Christ,” vol. ii. p. 475 ; Appendix), “that the Synoptics are unanimous in the use of expressions which admit of no natural explanation except on the supposition that the Passover did begin

on the evening of Thursday, and therefore that Thursday was Nisan 14, and that the Last Supper was in reality the ordinary Paschal Feast.” But Dr. Farrar, notwithstanding, adheres to the Johannine account, for, he says, also in the Appendix, p. 482, “We conclude, then, that the last supper was not the Paschal meal.” The translator of Dollinger's “ First Age of Christianity and the Church" (H. N. Oxenham, M.A.), in a note at p. 57 of that work, makes the following remark on this question :—“The author here supposes the supper described by St. John (ch. 13-17) to have taken place on the Wednesday evening, and to be distinct from that mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels, at which the Eucharist was instituted. But this method of reconciliation creates more difficulties than it removes. And it is quite clear, however the difference be explained, that St. John assumes the Feast of the Passover to have commenced on the Friday evening, the day of the crucifixion (John xviii. 28), while the Synoptic Gospels make our Lord eat it on the Thursday evening, the day of the Last Supper (Matt. xxvi. 17, 19; Mark xiv. 12, 16; Luke xxii. 7, 13).

Another oft-noted difference between the fourth Gospel and the Synoptics is that respecting the duration of Jesus' public life, apparently about one year according to the synoptists, as Jesus only attended one Passover Feast, but about three years if we follow the indications of time given by the fourth Gospel. The most ancient opinion coincides with the Synoptic


[ocr errors]

Gospels; but, says Dr. Farrar in his Appendix to the “Life of Christ,” vol. ii. p. 468, “In spite of the patient thought and consummate learning which have been devoted to the consideration, the data are clearly insufficient to decide convincingly how long Christ publicly taught on earth, nor shall we ever be able to attain any certainty on that deeply interesting question.”

Besides differences of time, there are those of place, Jesus teaching mostly in Galilee according to the first two Gospels-not in Jerusalem till his arrival there for the last time, and not in Samaria at all; but the fourth Gospel makes him teach in Samaria, and several times in Jerusalem, thus giving many journeys to and from Judæa and Galilee, which the first and second Gospels omit. The first appearance to the disciples, too, after the resurrection, the latest Gospel places in Jerusalem (as does the third), but the first and second place it in Galilee.

They also omit one or two marvellous acts alleged of Jesus, as the cure of the man born blind-an act, according to the fourth Gospel, of great notorietyand the crowning miracle of the raising of Lazarus ; so that, assuming these really occurred, it is astonishing how they could have been omitted by any writer conversant with the chief facts of Jesus' life.

Sometimes when the facts are given, they are assigned to different periods of the history, as, for example, the forcible clearance of the temple courtyard, relegated by Matthew and Mark to the

latter part of Jesus' public career, but placed by John at the very beginning.

Passing now from these external matters, mere adjuncts as they are in comparison, we come to other differences, more intimately affecting Jesus' life and teachings (letting alone the prominence given to Andrew and Philip in the fourth Gospel, and that to James and John in the Synoptics, the love for friends at Bethany, and for “the beloved disciple," about which the Synoptics are silent), for example, in the Synoptics are data showing inferentially in him distinct traces of human imperfection, whereas in the fourth Gospel such marks are entirely absent.

Even to the writers of the first three Gospels the baptism of Jesus appears to have been a stumbling-block, yet they allow it to be seen that he did actually submit to “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins," and that afterwards he was tempted (though not overcome) by the devil : but the fourth Gospel has no trace of either sin or temptation ; in it Jesus can triumphantly ask, “Which of you convinceth me of sin ?” It seems to exclude the baptism, for John states he knew not Jesus till the dove descended on him, which event is, in the Synoptics, placed after the baptism. It demands that the Son be honoured even as the Father, but in the Synoptics Jesus does not seek to be called "good," thinking that title should be reserved for God, to whom alone it absolutely belongs. This Jesus does not know, for

. instance, when the destruction of Jerusalem will take

« ÎnapoiContinuați »