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place; the Jesus of the latter Gospel knows “all things” (see John xvi. 13-15, and 30).
The Jesus of the first Gospel does not know whether it is possible for the cup to pass without its being drunk : when the hour approached, he prayed that, if possible, he might be saved from it. But the Jesus of the last Gospel (as if it were to controvert the statements of the former), when his soul is troubled, asks, “ What, then, shall I say? Shall I say, Father, save me from this hour, when it was for this cause I came to this hour?” And again,“ The cup that my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?" We can thus understand why the prayer in the garden of Gethsemane is omitted by the author of the fourth Gospel.
And how different the scene at the arrest! In the first, Judas salutes his Master with a traitorous kiss, and the officers come forward and take him, while the disciples all fly (after the momentary valour of one of them); but in the last Gospel there is no necessity for the kiss, nor does it take place, for while Judas was with the officers Jesus approached and revealed himself, and his majestic bearing so struck them with awe, that they went backward and fell to the ground. Jesus quietly stipulates that his disciples be allowed to go.
Thus all the differences between the fourth Gospel and the others point one way : they all tend, in the fourth, to the glorification of Jesus, to his exaltation above humanity. Even at the tomb, two angels in John take the place of one in Matthew and Mark, while after the resurrection, though according to these the women to whom he appears come and hold him by the feet, in John his person is sacred—“ Touch me not."
It is quite in keeping that, in the Synoptics, Jesus, who has been baptized by John, does not begin to make disciples nor to teach till after John has been sent to prison, and that his teaching should be, at first, only an echo of that of the Baptist (see Matt. iii. 1, 2): “In those days cometh John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judæa, saying, Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand ;” and Matt. iv. 12, “ Now when he heard that John was delivered up, he withdrew into Galilee ;” and (ver. 17) “ From that time began Jesus to preach, and to say, Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
We should not expect the Jesus of the fourth Gospel to occupy such a position relative to John, but rather that in all things he would have the preeminence. Accordingly, there we do not find him following John in the simple announcement of the coming kingdom, and the consequent call to repentance (merely stepping, at first, into John's vacant place); but, while John is still baptizing, Jesus explains the second birth to Nicodemus, works many miracles in Jerusalem, and “After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judæa . . . and baptized.
. . For John was not yet cast into prison. . . . And they came unto John, and said to him, Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou hast
borne witness, behold the same baptizeth, and all mer come to him (John iii. 22–26). So that before John was imprisoned, Jesus made and baptized more disciples than he (John iv. 1). The discrepancy is all the greater if we look at the Synoptical account of John's success (Matt. iii. 5,6). "Then went out unto him Jerusalem, and all Judæa, and all the region round about Jordan; and they were baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins."
The difference between the synoptists and the author of the last Gospel in regard to the teaching of Jesus, has often been noticed.
In the judgment of our theologic statesman, “it is the works of the three synoptical writers, and not the Gospel of St. John, which exhibit to us, as far as a judgment can be formed, the ordinary and average tenour of our Saviour's life, and the true picture of its daily exhibition to the world.” “Though the strain
” of St. John's Gospel, and of the teaching of Christ in it, is very even, the occasions and audiences are very different.” The different circumstances, then, sufficiently account to Mr. Gladstone for the difference in the teaching of the fourth Gospel, except only six chapters, of which he says, “The exceptional teaching, as I would venture to call it, of our Lord among the Jewish people ... is really contained in the six chapters from the fifth to the tenth.” “All this portion of our Lord's teaching,” he says, “ is foundly charged with doctrine concerning his person. It is full and large in instruction for all times and all
persons. But it seems to have been delivered to no great number; perhaps, too, within a limited space of time. It stands in marked distinctness from the general tenour of his teaching; and it stands also in contrast with that teaching as to the mode of its reception” (On “Ecce Homo,” Good Words, Feb. 1868).
This is no distinction without a difference ; for the difference is no less than that between the human and the superhuman, between the Son of man and the Son of God.
Again, speaking generally, we may say that, according to the first Gospels, the chief aim of the preaching of Jesus was to teach righteousness; but according to the fourth, on the contrary, its chief aim was to inculcate belief in himself, or to teach doctrine. It is, thus, the practical against the doctrinal; Works versus Faith. Exceptions may be culled from all the Gospels, it is true ; but it will, we think, be admitted that the distinction generally holds good. Perhaps nothing exhibits this divergence so markedly as the two occasions on which Jesus is represented as being called on by inquirers to explain, or to state “the whole duty of man.” For example, in Matthew (xix. 16-21), the question put to Jesus is, “What good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?” Jesus replies, “If thou wouldest enter into life, keep the commandments." Commit no murder, theft, adultery, etc.“ All these things," said the young man, “have I observed : what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him, If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that thou
hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.”
In striking contrast to this is the teaching of the fourth Gospel (John vi. 28, 29). When asked, “What must we do, that we may work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." It is true that in this latter case righteousness is supposed to co-exist with faith, still there is a great difference as to which is put in the first and which in the second place. *
But though these seemingly discordant utterances may by some ingenuity be made to appear reconcilable, and may, perhaps, actually be reconciled, yet other inconsistencies remain, which baffle all the attempts of the harmonizer.
In Matt. xi. 10, Jesus, speaking of the Baptist, says, “ This is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.” (See Mal. iii. 1-5; also Mal. iv. 5, 6.) This messenger and this Elijah seem to be one and the same, having the same office of purifying and converting the Jews, before the day of retribution. Jesus accordingly also terms John the Elijah (Matt. xi. 14): “This is Elijah, which is to come.” (See also Matt. xvii. 10-13.)
But Jesus nowhere in the Gospel of John calls the Baptist either the Elijah or the messenger of the
* See Dean Stanley's “ Lectures on the Jewish Church,” vol. i. P. 451.