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LAZARUS COME FORTH FROM THE TOMB.
20 a; Ber.
b St. John
final leave from the resting-place of the body. Only one sentence Jesus spake of gentle reproof, of reminder of what He had said to her just before, and of the message He had sent when first He heard Yebam. of Lazarus’ illness, but, oh, so full of calm majesty and consciousness R. 100;
Vajjik. R. 18 of Divine strength. And now the stone was rolled away. We all feel that the fitting thing here was prayer--yet not petition, but thanks- xi, 4 giving that the Father heard' Him, not as regarded the raising of Lazarus, which was His Own Work, but in the ordering and arranging of all the circumstances-alike the petition and the thanksgiving having for their object them that stood by, for He knew that the Father always heard Him: that so they might believe, that the Father had sent Him. Sent of the Father—not come of Himself, not sent of Satan—and sent to do His Will!
And in doing this Will, He was the Resurrection and the Life. One loud command spoken into that silence; one loud call to that sleeper; one flash of God's Own Light into that darkness, and again moved the wheels of life at the outgoing of The Life. And, still bound hand and foot with graveclothes [ bands,' Tachrichin), and his face with the napkin, Lazarus stood forth, shuddering and silent, in the cold light of earth's day. In that multitude, now more pale and shuddering than the man bound in the graveclothes, the Only One majestically calm was He, Who before had been so deeply moved and troubled Himself, as He now bade them ‘Loose him, and let him go.'
We know no more. Holy Writ in this also proves its Divine authorship and the reality of what is here recorded. The momentarily lifted veil has again fallen over the darkness of the Most Holy Place, in which is only the Ark of His Presence and the cloudy incense of our worship. What happened afterwards—how they loosed him, what they said, what thanks, or praise, or worship, the sisters spoke, and what were Lazarus' first words, we know not. And better so. Did Lazarus remember aught of the late past, or was not rather the rending of the grave a real rending from the past : the awakening so sudden, the transition so great, that nothing of the bright vision remained, but its impress-just as a marvellously beautiful Jewish legend has it, that before entering this world, the soul of a child has seen all of heaven and hell, of past, present, and future; but that, as the Angel strikes it on the mouth to waken it into this world, all of the other has passed from the mind? Again we say: We know not-and it is better so.
And here abruptly breaks off this narrative. Some of those who had seen it believed on Him; others hurried back to Jerusalem to tell it the Pharisees. Then was hastily gathered a meeting of the
comp, also 91, and the Midr, on Eccl. ix. 18
Sanhedrists,' not to judge Him, but to deliberate what was to be done. That He was really doing these miracles, there could be no question among them. Similarly, all but one or two had no doubt as to the source of these miracles. If real, they were of Satanic agency-and all the more tremendous they were, the more certainly so. But whether really of Satanic power, or merely a Satanic delusion, one thing, at least, was evident, that, if He were let alone, all men would believe on Him. And then, if He headed the Messianic movement of the Jews as a nation, alike the Jewish City and Temple, and Israel as a nation, would perish in the fight with Rome. But what was to be done? They had not the courage of, though the wish for, judicial murder, till he who was the High-Priest, Caiaphas, reminded
them of the well-known Jewish adage, that it is better one man Ber. R. 94 ; should die, than the community perish.'* Yet, even so, he who spoke
was the High-Priest; and for the last time, ere in speaking the sentence he spoke it for ever as against himself and the office he held, spake through him God's Voice, not as regards the counsel of murder, but this, that His Death should be for that nation'—nay, as St. John adds, not only for Israel, but to gather into one fold all the now scattered children of God.
This was the last prophecy in Israel ; with the sentence of death on Israel's true High-Priest died prophecy in Israel, died Israel's High-Priesthood. It had spoken sentence upon itself.
This was the first Friday of dark resolve. Henceforth it only needed to concert plans for carrying it out. Some one, perhaps Nicodemus, sent word of the secret meeting and resolution of the Sanhedrists. That Friday and the next Sabbath Jesus rested in Bethany, with the same majestic calm which He had shown at the grave of Lazarus. Then He withdrew, far away to the obscure bounds of Peræa and Galilee, to a city of which the very location is now unknown. And there He continued with His disciples, withdrawn from the Jews-till He would make His final entrance into Jerusalem.
1 On the Sanhedrin, see further in Book V.
? The doubt as to their reality would, of course, come from the Sadducees in the Sanhedrin. It will be remembered, that both Caiaphas and the Chief Priests belonged to that party.
& The city' called Ephraim' has not been localised. Most modern writers identify it with the Ephraim, or Ephron, of 2 Chron. xiii. 19, in the neighbourhood of Bethel, and near the wilderness of Bethaven. But the text seems to require a place in Peræa and close to Galilee.
THE LAST JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM.
ON THE JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM— DEPARTURE FROM EPHRAIM BY WAY OF
SAMARIA AND GALILEE—HEALING OF TEN LEPERS-PROPHETIC DISCOURSE
(St. Jatt. xix. 1, 2; St. Mark x. 1; St. Luke xvii. 11; St. Luke xvii. 12-19; St. Matt.
xix. 3-12; St. Mark x. 2-12; St. Matt. xix. 13–15; St. Mark x. 13-16; St. Luke xviii. 15-17.)
The brief time of rest and quiet converse with His disciples in the
CHAP. retirement of Ephraim was past, and the Saviour of men prepared for His last journey to Jerusalem. All the three Synoptic Gospels mark this, although with varying details. From the mention of Galilee a St. Matt. by St. Matthew, and by St. Luke of Samaria and Galilee—or more St. Mark'x. correctly, ‘between (along the frontiers of) Samaria and Galilee,' we xvii. 11 may conjecture that, on leaving Ephraim, Christ made a very brief detour along the northern frontier to some place at the southern border of Galilee---perhaps to meet at a certain point those who were to accompany Him on His final journey to Jerusalem. This suggestion, for it is no more, is in itself not improbable, since some of Christ's immediate followers might naturally wish to pay a brief visit to their friends in Galilee before going up to Jerusalem. And it is further confirmed by the notice of St. Mark, that among those St. Mark who had followed Christ there were many women which came up with Him unto Jerusalem.' For, we can scarcely suppose that these 'many women' had gone with Him in the previous autumn from Galilee to the Feast of Tabernacles, nor that they were with Him at the Feast of the Dedication, or had during the winter followed Him through Peræa, nor yet that they had been at Bethany. All these difficulties are obviated if, as suggested, we suppose that Christ had passed from Ephraim along the border of Samaria to a place in Galilee, there to meet such of His disciples as would go up with
1; St. Luke
| Indeed, any lengthened journeying, Not so, of course, the travelling in the and for an indefinite purpose, would have festive band up to the Paschal Feast. been quite contrary to Jewish manners.
IV. 40, 41
a St. Mat-
e St. Luke xvii. 12-19
d vy. 20-37
e St. Matt. viii. 2-4; St. Mark i. 40-45
Him to Jerusalem. The whole company would then form one of those festive bands which travelled up to the Paschal Feast, nor would there be anything strange or unusual in the appearance of such a band, in this instance under the leadership of Jesus.
Another and deeply important notice, furnished by SS. Matthew and Mark, is, that during this journey through Peræa, 'great multitudes' resorted to, and followed Him, and that 'He healed '* and • taught them.'b This will account for the incidents and Discourses by the way, and also how, from among many deeds, the Evangelists may have selected for record what to them seemed the most important or novel, or else best accorded with the plans of their respective narratives.
Thus, to begin with, St. Luke alone relates the very first incident by the way, and the first Discourse. Nor is it difficult to understand the reason. To one who, like St. Matthew, had followed Christ in His Galilean Ministry, or, like St. Mark, had been the penman of St. Peter, there would be nothing so peculiar or novel in the healing of lepers as to introduce this on the overcrowded canvas of the last days. Indeed, they had both already recorded what may be designated as a typical healing of lepers. But St. Luke had not recorded such healing before ; and the restoration of ten at the same time would seem to the ' beloved physician' matter, not only new in his narrative, but of the deepest importance. Besides, we have already seen, that the record of the whole of this East-Jordan Ministry is peculiar to St. Luke; and we can scarcely doubt, that it was the result of personal inquiries made by the Evangelist on the spot, in order to supplement what might have seemed to him a gap in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark. This would explain his fulness of detail as regards incidents, and, for example, the introduction of the history of Zacchæus, which to St. Mark, or rather to St. Peter, but especially to St. Matthew (himself once a publican), might appear so like that which they had so often witnessed and related, as scarcely to require special narration. On the same ground we account for the record by St. Luke of Christ's Discourse predictive of the Advent of the Messianic Kingdom. This Discourse is evidently in its place at the beginning of Christ's last journey to Jerusalem. But the other two Evangelists merge it in the account of the fuller teaching on the same subject during the last days of Christ's sojourn on earth.
It is a further confirmation of our suggestion as to the road taken
I St. Luke xvii. 20-37
& St. Matt. xxiv.; St. Mark xiii.
? This will more fully appear when we study the history of Zacchæus and the cure of the blind man in Jericho.
THE TEN LEPERS THAT WERE CLEANSED.
by Jesus, that of the ten lepers whom, at the outset of His journey, He met when entering into a village, one was a Samaritan. It may have been that the district was infested with leprosy; or these lepers may, on tidings of Christ's approach, have hastily gathered there. It was, as fully explained in another place,' in strict accordance with Jewish Law, that these lepers remained both outside the village and far from Him to Whom they now cried for mercy. And, without either touch or even command of healing, Christ bade them go and show themselves as healed to the priests. For this it was, as will be remembered, not necessary to repair to Jerusalem. Any priest might declare unclean' or clean,' provided the applicants presented themselves singly, and not in company, for his inspection. And they · Neg. iii. 1 went at Christ's bidding, even before they had actually experienced the healing! So great was their faith, and, may we not almost infer, the general belief throughout the district, in the Power of the Master.' And as they went, the new life coursed in their veins. Restored health began to be felt, just as it ever is, not before, nor yet after believing, but in the act of obedience of a faith that has not yet experienced the blessing.
But now appeared the characteristic difference between these men. Of these ten, equally recipients of the benefit, the nine Jews continued their way–presumably to the priests—while the one Samaritan in the number at once turned back, with a loud voice glorifying God. The whole event may not have occupied many minutes, and Jesus with His followers may still have stood on the same spot whence He bade the ten lepers go show themselves to the priests. He may have followed them with His eyes, as, but a few steps on their road of faith, health overtook them, and the grateful Samaritan, with voice of loud thanksgiving, hastened back to his Deliverer. No longer now did he remain afar off, but in humblest reverence fell on his face at the Feet of Him to whom he gave thanks. This Samaritan 3 had received more than new bodily life and health: he had found spiritual life and healing.
But why did the nine Jews not return? Assuredly, they must have had some faith when first seeking help from Christ, and still Inore when setting out for the priests before they had experienced the
See Book III. chap. xv. * As we note, in St. Luke xvii. 14, the direction to show themselves to the priests' (in the plural), this forms another point of undesigned evidence of the authenticity of the narrative.
* Some have seen in the reference by
St. Luke here, and in the Parable of the good Samaritan, a peculiarly Pauline trait. But we remember St. John's reference to the Samaritans (iv.), and such sentiments in regard to the Gentiles as St. Matt. viii. 11, 12.