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From the library of the late 
Very Rev. Dr. George C. Pidgeon 







M.A.Oxon., D.D., Ph.D. 



&ut|)0r , !3 lEuitton 


38 West Twenty-Third Street 




Copyright, 1890, 
By Anson D. F. Randolph & Co. 


SRnfoersttg $r«H5: 
John Wilson and Son, Cambridge. 






E. E. 
W. S. 


When the author of the Life and Times of Jesus the 
Messiah was taken away in the spring of this year from 
the labours and studies which he loved, he had already 
had under consideration the expediency of publishing an 
abridged edition of his larger work, such as should throw 
it open to a wider circle of readers. That abridgment 
has now been carried out, it is hoped, upon the lines which 
he would have desired. 

Those who have attempted any such task will be aware 
how difficult it is to execute satisfactorily. When a re- 
plica is made of a great picture, its scale may be diminished 
without serious loss. The proportions are preserved ; the 
contents are the same ; it is only that they are indicated 
rather more slightly than before. The reduction takes 
place evenly over the whole surface. It is otherwise with 
a great literary work. Here reduction involves omission ; 
and omission at once alters the proportions. It is not only 
that the logical connection is broken and that new links 
have to be supplied : the difficulties arising from this 
cause are perhaps less than might be supposed : but the 
whole texture of the work is disturbed. A style which 
was natural upon one scale, has to be adapted to another ; 
and that by an external process which lacks the ease and 

viii Jesus the Messiah 

freedom of first composition. Dr. Edersheim's work was 
planned emphatically upon a large scale. It had a certain 
breadth and richness of colouring which helped to carry off 
its profusion of detail. When the details were curtailed, 
this too had to be toned down. What could be done by 
omitting a phrase here, and a sentence there, has been 
done ; and upon this much anxious care and thought have 
been expended. 

As to the matter of the omissions, this was to some 
extent prescribed by the nature of the case. The broad 
framework of narrative was of course indispensable ; and 
along with this every effort has been made to save as much 
of the illustrative accessories as the size of the volume 
permitted. It is, however, greatly to be regretted that so 
much should have been lost which constituted the peculiar 
and unrivalled excellence of the larger book. Our genera- 
tion has seen a number of attempts — some in their way of 
great merit — to reproduce the externals and surroundings 
of the Life and Ministry of Christ. But it will, I think, 
be admitted by the general consent of scholars that in this 
respect Dr. Edersheim surpassed his predecessors. No one 
else has possessed such a profound and masterly knowledge 
of the whole Jewish background to the picture presented 
in the Gospels — not merely of the archaeology, which is 
something, but of the essential characteristics of Jewish 
thought and feeling, which is far more. It was inevitable 
that heavy sacrifices should be made here. All-important 
as these details are to the student, the ordinary reader 
would be simply oppressed and overpowered by them. For 
such readers the abridged edition is intended ; but it is 
hoped that not a few may be encouraged to go on to the 
abundant stores of the larger book. 

I am fain to believe that a more catholic spirit is 
growing than prevailed a short time ago, when the first 

Preface ix 

thing a critic did was to ascertain to what school or party 
a book belonged, and then to praise or condemn it accord- 
ingly. This has been too much the case with those who 
aspired to be in the forefront of opinion. To label a book 
1 critical ' or ' uncritical ' was enough to determine its fate 
quite apart from its solid value. Dr. Edersheim's book — 
full as it was of information on the very points on which a 
scholar would desire it — was not one which could be called 
exactly ' critical.' It did not, for instance, presuppose any 
theory as to the origin and composition of the Gospels. 
It was not that the author was indifferent upon the sub- 
ject : he had himself made independent studies upon it, 
which with time might have been matured and published : 
but he deliberately postponed the critical process until 
after his book was written. It was quite as well that it 
should be so ; as well to start with an absence of theory, 
as e.g. that Keim — to take the case of a very able and 
conscientious writer — should start from a theory which is 
pretty certainly untenable. We are learning by degrees 
to leave first principles in suspense until we know better 
what are the facts which have to be accounted for. 

A high authority has said that whoever thinks himself 
capable of rewriting the story of the Gospels does not 
understand them. And this is indeed, in a sense, most 
true. The Gospels have filled for eighteen centuries a 
place which nothing else will ever fill. But that does not 
exclude the attempts which have been and are being made 
so to present the substance of their story as to set it in full 
relation at once to its own times and to ours. This has 
not yet been done finally. And if it ever should be done 
it will, I believe, be allowed that few have contributed 
more towards the culmination and crown of many efforts 
than he of whom all that is mortal now rests in peace by 
the waters of the Mediterranean. With serious purpose, 

x Jesus the Messiah 

and after long and arduous preparation, he had put his 
hand to a work which it was granted to him to prosecute 
far, but not to finish — for the Life and Times was to have 
been followed by a Life of St. Paul. He who 

Doth not need 
Either man's work or His own gifts 

gently took the pen from his grasp. And the present 
gleaning from the greatest of its many products is a tribute 
of filial piety. My own share in the work has been quite 
subordinate : but as I have gone over the ground after the 
preliminary abridgment had been made, and as I have 
been freely consulted in cases of doubt, I gladly accept the 
responsibility which falls to me. Nor can I bring these 
few words of preface to a close without acknowledging 
the valuable assistance we have received from Mr. Norton 
Longman, whom the author always regarded as among 
the best and most trusted of his friends. 

Oxfobd: Oct. 3,1889. 



I. — The Annunciation of St. John the Baptist ... 1 

II. — The Annunciation of Jesus the Messiah, and the Birth 

of His Forerunner 6 

III. —The Nativity of Jesus the Messiah .... 13 

IV. — The Purification of the Virgin and the Presentation in 

the Temple 17 

V.— The Visit and Homage of the Magi, and the Flight into 

Egypt 24 

VI.— The Child-Life in Nazareth -28 

VII. — In the House of His Heavenly, and in the Home of His 
Earthly Father — the Temple of Jerusalem -the 

Retirement at Nazareth ...... 31 

VIII. — A Voice in the Wilderness 37 

IX. — The Baptism of Jesus . . . t . 42 

X. — The Temptation of Jesus ...... 45 

XI. — The Deputation from Jerusalem— The Three Sects of 

the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes ... 54 

XII.— The Twofold Testimony of John— The First Sabbath 
of Jesus' Ministry— The First Sunday— The First 

Disciples 62 

, 69 

, 74 

c 79 

t 84 

. 88 

XIII. — The Marriage- Feast in Cana of Galilee 

XIV.— The Cleansing of the Temple 

XV. — Jesus and Nicodemus . 

XVI. — In Judaea and through Samaria 

XVII.— Jesus at the Well of Sychar . 

XVIII.— The Cure of the • Nobleman's ' Son at Capernaum . 95 

XIX. — The Synagogue at Nazareth— Synagogue-Worship and 

Arrangements 97 

xii Jesus the Messiah 


XX.— The First Galilean Ministry 104 

XXI.— At the ' Unknown ' Feast in Jerusalem, and by the 

Pool of Bethesda 108 

XXII.— The Final Call of the First Disciples, and the 

Miraculous Draught of Fishes . . . .113 
XXIII. — A Sabbath in Capernaum 1X7 

XXIV.— Second Journey Through Galilee— The Healing of the 

Leper 121 

XXV. — The Return to Capernaum— Concerning the Forgive- 
ness of Sins— The Healing of the Paralysed . . 126 
XXVI.— The Call of Matthew— Rabbinic Theology as regards 
the Doctrine of Forgiveness in Contrast to the 
Gospel of Christ— The Call of the Twelve Apostles 129 

XXVII. — The Sermon on the Mount 138 

XXVIII.— The Healing of the Centurion's Servant . . .147 
XXIX.— The Raising of the Young Man of Nain . . .161 
XXX. — The Woman which was a Sinner .... 155 
XXXI.— The Ministering Women— The Return to Caper- 
naum—Healing of the Demonised Dumb— Pharisaic 
Charge against Christ— The Visit of Christ's Mother 
and Brethren IgO 

XXXII.— The Parables to the People by the Lake of Galilee, 

and those to the Disciples in Capernaum . 165 

XXXIII.— The Storm on the Lake of Galilee . . , .177 
XXXIV.— At Gerasa -The Healing of the Demonised . .180 

XXXV.— The Healing of the Woman— The Raising of Jairus' 

Daughter 185 

XXXVI.— Second Visit to Nazareth— The Mission of the Twelve 192 
XXXVII.— The Baptist's Last Testimony to Jesus, and his Be- 
heading in Prison 202 

XXXVIII.— The Miraculous Feeding of the Five Thousand . , 215 

XXXIX —The Night of Miracles on the Lake of Gennesaret . 221 

XL.— Concerning 'Purification,' * Hand - Washing,' and 
* Vows ' 

XLL— The Great Crisis in Popular Feeling— Christ the 

Bread of Life—' Will ye also go away V . .232 
XLIL— Jesus and the Syro-Phoenician Woman . . . 242 


XLIIL— A Group of Miracles among a Semi-Heathen Popu- 


XLIV.— The Two Sabbath-Controversies— The Plucking of 
the Ears of Corn by the Disciples, and the Healing 
of the Man with the Withered Hand . . .249 

Contents xiii 


XL V.— The Feeding of the Four Thousand—' The Sign from 

Heaven* 257 

XLVL— The Great Confession -The Great Commission . . 263 

XLVIL— The Transfiguration 273 

XLVIII.— The Morrow of the Transfiguration . . . .277 

XLIX.— The Last Events in Galilee:— The Tribute- Money, the 
Dispute by the Way, and the Forbidding of him who 
could not follow with the Disciples .... 282 

L. — The Journey to Jerusalem — First Incidents by the 

Way 293 

LI. — The Mission and Return of the Seventy — The Home 

at Bethany 299 

LII. — At the Feast of Tabernacles — First Discourse in the 

Temple 309 

LIIL— ' In the Last, the Great Day of the Feast' . . .316 

LIV. — Teaching in the Temple on the Octave of the Feast 

of Tabernacles 321 

LV— The Healing of the Man Born Blind . . . .331 

LVL— The 'Good Shepherd' 339 

LVII. — Discourse concerning the Two Kingdoms . . . 343 

LVIII. — The Morning- Meal in the Pharisee's House . . . 350 

LIX. — To the Disciples— Two Events and their Moral . . 357 

LX.— At the Feast of the Dedication of the Temple . . 366 

LXL— The Second Series of Parables— The Two Parables of 

him who is Neighbour to us 371 

LXIL— The Three Parables of Warning: The Foolish Rich 

Man — The Barren Fig-Tree— The Great Supper . 377 

LXIIL— The Three Parables of the Gospel: The Lost Sheep, 

the Lost Drachm, the Lost Son .... 385 

LXI V. —The Unjust Steward — Dives and Lazarus . . 393 

LXV— The Three Last Parables of the Peraean Series : The 
Unrighteous Judge — The Pharisee and the Publi- 
can — The Unmerciful Servant 406 

LXVI. — Christ's Discourses in Persea — Close of the Peraean 

Ministry 416 

LXVIL— The Death and the Raising of Lazarus .... 423 

LXVIII. — On the Journey to Jerusalem— Healing of Ten Lepers — 

On Divorce— The Blessing to Little Children . . 436 

LXIX. — The Last Incidents in Peraea — The Young Ruler who 
went away Sorrowful — Prophecy of Christ's Passion 
— The Request of Salome, and of James and John . 442 

xiv Jesus the Messiah 


LXX. — In Jericho— A Guest with Zacchaaus — The Healing 
of Blind Bartimaeus — At Bethany, and in the 
House of Simon the Leper 450 

LXXL— The First Day in Passion- Week— The Royal Entry 

into Jerusalem 469 

LXXII. — The Second Day in Passion-Week — The Barren 
Fig-Tree— The Cleansing of the Temple— The 
Hosanna of the Children 464 

LXXIIL— The Third Day in Passion- Week— The Question of 
Christ's Authority —The Question of Tribute to 
Caesar— The Widow's Farthing — The Greeks who 
sought to see Jesus 468 

LXXIV.— The Third Day in Passion- Week— The Sadducees 
and the Resurrection — The Scribe and the Great 
Commandment — Question to the Pharisees and 
Final Warning against them ■ , . . .478 

LXXV.— The Third Day in Passion- Week— The Last Series 
of Parables : Of the Labourers in the Vineyard — 
Of the Two Sons— Of the Evil Husbandmen— 
Of the Marriage of the King's Son and of the 
Wedding Garment . . . . . .491 

LXXVL— The Evening of the Third Day in Passion- Week- 
Discourse to the Disciples concerning the Last 
Things 503 

LXXVIL— Evening of the Third Day in Passion- Week— Last 
Parables : Of the Ten Virgins— Of the Talents— 
Of the Minas 515 

LXXVIIL— The Fourth Day in Passion-Week— The Betrayal- 
Judas : his Character, Apostasy, and End . . 524 

LXXIX.— The Fifth Day in Passion-Week—' Make Ready the 

Passover ! ' 531 

LXXX.— The Paschal Supper— The Institution of the Lord's 

Supper 539 

LXXXL— The Last Discourses of Christ — The Prayer of Con- 
secration 554 

LXXXII. — Gethsemane 568 

LXXXI II.— Thursday Night— Before Annas and Caiaphas— 

Peter and Jesus 578 

LXXXIV.— The Morning of Good Friday 588 

LXXX V.— * Crucified, Dead, and Buried ' 600 

LXXXVL— On the Resurrection of Christ from the Dead . 624 
LXXXVIL— • On the Third Day He rose again from the Dead ; 

He ascended into Heaven ' 62? 




(St. Luke i. 5-25.) 

It was the time of the Morning Sacrifice. 1 As the massive 
Temple gates slowly swung on their hinges, a threefold 
blast from the silver trumpets of the Priests seemed to 
waken the City to the life of another day. 

Already the dawn, for which the Priest on the highest 
pinnacle of the Temple had watched, to give the signal for 
beginning the services of the day, had shot its brightness 
far away to Hebron and beyond. Within the courts below 
all had long been busy. At some time previously, un- 
known to those who waited for the morning, the superin- 
tending Priest had summoned to their sacred functions 
those who had ' washed,' according to the ordinance. 
There must have been each day about fifty priests on duty. 
Such of them as were ready now divided into two parties, 
to make inspection of the Temple courts by torchlight. 
Presently they met, and trooped to the well-known Hall 
of Hewn Polished Stones. The ministry for the day was 
there apportioned. To prevent the disputes of carnal zeal, 
the ' lot ' was to assign to each his function. Four times 

1 For a description of the details of that service, see ' The Temple 
and its Services/ Edersheim 

2 Jesus the Messiah 

was it resorted to : twice before, and twice after the 
Temple gates were opened. The first act of their ministry 
had to be done in the grey dawn, by the fitful red light 
that glowed on the altar of burnt-offering, ere the priests 
had stirred it into fresh flame. It was scarcely daybreak, 
when a second time they met for the ' lot,' which desig- 
nated those who were to take part in the sacrifice itself, 
and who were to trim the golden candlestick, and make 
ready the altar of incense within the Holy Place. And 
now nothing remained before the admission of worshippers 
but to bring out the lamb, once again to make sure of its 
fitness for sacrifice, to water it from a golden bowl, and 
then to lay it in mystic fashion — as tradition described the 
binding of Isaac — on the north side of the altar, with its 
face to the west. 

All, priests and laity, were present as the Priest, 
standing on the east side of the altar, from a golden bowl 
sprinkled with sacrificial blood two sides of the altar, below 
the red line which marked the difference between ordinary 
sacrifices and those that were to be wholly consumed. 
While the sacrifice was prepared for the altar, the priests, 
whose lot it was, had made ready all within the Holy 
Place, where the most solemn part of the day's service was 
to take place — that of offering the incense, which symbo- 
lised Israel's accepted prayers. Again was the lot (the 
third) cast to indicate him, who was to be honoured with 
this highest mediatorial act. Only once in a lifetime 
might any one enjoy that privilege. It was fitting that, 
as the custom was, such lot should be preceded by prayer 
and confession of their faith on the part of the assembled 

It was the first week in October 748 A.U.C., that is, in 
the sixth year before our present era, when ' the course of 
Abia' — the eighth in the original arrangement of the 
weekly service — was on duty in the Temple. 

In the group ranged that autumn morning around the 
superintending Priest was one, on whom at least sixty 
winters had fallen. But never during these many years 
had he been honoured with the office of incensing. Yet 

The Annunciation of St. John the Baptist 3 

the venerable figure of Zacharias must have been well 
known in the Temple. For each course was twice a year 
on ministry, and, unlike the Levites, the priests were not 
disqualified by age, but only by infirmity. In many re- 
spects he seemed different from those around. His home 
was not in either of the great priest-centres — the Ophel- 
quarter in Jerusalem, nor in Jericho — but in some small 
town in those uplands, south of Jerusalem : the historic 
' hill-country of Judaea.' And yet he might have claimed 
distinction. To be a priest, and married to the daughter 
of a priest, was supposed to convey twofold honour. That 
he was surrounded by relatives and friends, and that he 
was well known and respected throughout his district, 
• st Lukei a PP ears incidentally from the narrative.* For 
58,59,61,65, Zacharias and Elisabeth, his wife, were truly 
'righteous,' in the sense of walking ' blamelessly,' 
alike in those commandments which were specially binding 
on Israel, and in those statutes that were of universal 
bearing on mankind. 

Yet Elisabeth was childless. For many a year this 
must have been the burden of Zacharias' prayer ; the bur- 
den also of reproach, which Elisabeth seemed always to 
carry with her. 

On that bright autumn morning in the Temple, how- 
ever, no such thoughts would disturb Zacharias. The lot 
had marked him for incensing, and every thought must 
have centred on what was before him. First, he had to 
choose two of his special friends or relatives, to assist in 
his sacred service. Their duties were comparatively simple. 
One reverently removed what had been left on the altar 
from the previous evening's service; then, worshipping, 
retired backwards. The second assistant now advanced, 
and, having spread to the utmost verge of the golden altar 
the live coals taken from that of burnt-offering, worshipped 
and retired. Meanwhile the sound of the ' organ,' heard 
to the most distant parts of the Temple, and, according to 
tradition, Tar beyond its precincts, had summoned priests, 
Levites, and people to prepare for whatever service or 
duty was before them. But the celebrant Priest, bearing 

B 2 

4 Jesus the Mess/ ah 

the golden censer, stood alone within the Holy Place, lit 
by the sheen of the seven-branched candlestick. Before 
him, somewhat farther away, towards the heavy Veil that 
hung before the Holy of Holies, was the golden altar of 
incense, on which the red coals glowed. To his right (the 
left of the altar — that is, on the north side) was the table 
of shewbread ; to his left, on the right or south side of the 
altar, was the golden candlestick. And still he waited, as 
instructed to do, till a special signal indicated that the 
moment had come to spread the incense on the altar, as 
near as possible to the Holy of Holies. Priests and people 
had reverently withdrawn from the neighbourhood of the 
altar, and were prostrate before the Lord, offering unspoken 
worship. Zacharias waited, until he saw the incense kind- 
ling. Then he also would have ' bowed down in worship,' 
and reverently withdrawn, had not a wondrous sight 
arrested his steps. 

On the right (or south) side of the altar, between it 
and the golden candlestick, stood what he could not but 
recognise as an Angelic form. Never, indeed, had even 
tradition reported such a vision to an ordinary Priest in 
the act of incensing. The two supernatural apparitions 
recorded — one of an Angel each year of the Pontificate of 
Simon the Just ; the other in that blasphemous account of 
the vision of the Almighty by Tshmael, the son of Elisha, 
and of the conversation which then ensued — had both been 
vouchsafed to High-Priests, and on the Day of Atonement. 
Still, there was always uneasiness among the people as any 
mortal approached the immediate Presence of God, and 
every delay in his return seemed ominous. No wonder, 
then, that Zacharias c was troubled, and fear fell on 

It was from this state of semi-consciousness that the 
Angel first wakened Zacharias with the remembrance of 
life-long prayers and hopes, which had now passed into 
the background of his being, and then suddenly startled 
him by the promise of their realisation. But that Child of 
so many prayers, who was to bear the significant name of 
John (Jehochanan, or Jochanan), 'the Lord is gracious,' 

The Annunciation of St. John the Baptist 5 

was to be the source of joy and gladness to a far wider 
circle than that of the family. The Child was to be great 
before the Lord ; not only an ordinary, but a life-Nazarite, 1 
as Samson and Samuel of old had been. Like them, he 
was not to consecrate himself, but from the inception of 
life wholly to belong to God, for His work. And, greater 
than either of these representatives of the symbolical 
import of Nazarism, he would combine the twofold mean- 
ing of their mission — outward and inward might in God, 
only in a higher and more spiritual sense. For this life- 
work he would be filled with the Holy Ghost, from the 
moment life woke within him. Then, as another Samson, 
would he, in the strength of God, lift the axe to each 
tree to be felled, and, like another Samuel, turn many of 
the children of Israel to the Lord their God. Nay, com- 
bining these two missions, as did Elijah on Mount Carmel, 
he should, in accordance with prophecy,* precede 
• Mai. ui. 1 t k e Messianic manifestation, and, not indeed in 
the person or form, but in the spirit and power of Elijah, 
accomplish the typical meaning of his mission. Thus 
would this new Elijah ' make ready for the Lord a people 

If the apparition of the Angel, in that place, and at 
that time, had overwhelmed the aged priest, the words 
which he heard must have filled him with such bewilder- 
ment, that for the moment he scarcely realised their mean- 
ing. One idea alone, which had struck its roots so long 
in his consciousness, stood out : A son. And so it was 
the obvious doubt, that would suggest itself, which first 
fell from his lips, as he asked for some pledge or confir- 
mation of what he had heard. 

He that would not speak the praises of God, but asked 
a sign, received it. His dumbness was a sign— though 
the sign, as it were the dumb child of the prayer of un- 
belief, was its punishment also. And yet a sign in another 
sense also — a sign to the waiting multitude in the Temple ; 
a sign to Elisabeth; to all who knew Zacharias in the 

1 On the different classes of Nazarites, see « The Temple, &c.,' pp. 

6 Jesus the Messiah 

hill-country ; and to the Priest himself, during those nine 
months of retirement and inward solitude; a sign also 
that would kindle into fiery flame in the day when God 
should loosen his tongue. 

A period of unusual length had passed, since the signal 
for incensing had been given. The prayers of the people 
had been offered, and their anxious gaze was directed to- 
wards the Holy Place. At last Zacharias emerged to take 
his stand on the top of the steps which led from the Porch 
to the Court of the Priests, waiting to lead in the priestly 
» Numb. vi. benediction* that preceded the daily meat-offer- 
24-26 j n g a nd t k e cha^ f tne p S al ms f praise, ac- 

companied with joyous sound of music, as the drink- 
offering was poured out. But already the sign of Zacharias 
was to be a sign to all the people. The pieces of the 
sacrifices had been ranged in due order on the altar of 
burnt-offering; the Priests stood on the steps to the porch, 
and the people were in waiting. Zacharias essayed to 
speak the words of benediction, unconscious that the 
stroke had fallen. But the people knew it by his silence, 
that he had seen a vision in the Temple. Yet as he stood 
helpless, trying by signs to indicate it to the awestruck 
assembly, he remained dumb. 

Wondering, they had dispersed, people and Priests- 
some to Ophel, some to Jericho, some to their quiet dwell- 
ings in the country. But God fulfilled the word which 
He had spoken by His Angel. 



(St. Matt. i. ; St. Luke i. 26-80.) 

The Galilee of the time of Jesus was not only of the 
richest fertility, cultivated to the utmost, and thickly 
covered with populous towns and villages, but the centre 

The Annunciation of Jesus y 

of every known industry, and the busy road of the world's 

Nor was it ^ f herwise in Nazareth. The great caravan- 
route which led from Acco on the sea to Damascus divided 
at its commencement into three roads, one of which passed 
through Nazareth. Men of all nations, busy with another 
life than that of Israel, would appear in its streets ; and 
through them thoughts, associations, and hopes connected 
with the great outside world be stirred. But, on the 
other hand, Nazareth was also one of the great centres of 
Jewish Temple-life. The Priesthood was divided into 
twenty-four ' courses,' each of which, in turn, ministered 
in the Temple. The Priests of the 'course' which was to 
be on daty always gathered in certain towns, whence they 
went up in company to Jerusalem, while those of their 
number who were unable to go spent the week in fasting 
and prayer. Now Nazareth was one of these Priest-centres. 
Thus, to take the wider view, a double symbolic signifi- 
cance attached to Nazareth, since through it passed alike 
those who carried on the traffic of the world, and those 
who ministered in the Temple. 

We may take it, that the people of Nazareth were like 
those of other little towns similarly circumstanced : with 
all the peculiarities of the impulsive, straight-spoken, hot- 
blooded, brave, intensely national Galileans; with the 
deeper feelings and almost instinctive habits of thought 
and life, which were the outcome of long centuries of Old 
Testament training ; but also with the petty interests and 
jealousies of such places, and with all the ceremonialism 
and punctilious self-assertion of Orientals. The cast of 
Judaism prevalent in Nazareth would, of course, be the 
same as in Galilee generally. We know, that there were 
marled divergences from the observances in that strong- 
hold of Rabbinism, Judaea — indicating greater simplicity 
and freedom from the constant intrusion of traditional 
ordinances. The purity of betrothal in Galilee was less 
likely to be sullied, and weddings were more simple than 
» st. John in Judaea — without the dubious institution of 
ui.29 groomsmen, or 'friends of the bridegroom. a 

8 Jesus the Mess/ah 

The bride was chosen, not as in Judaaa, where money was 
too often the motive, but as in Jerusalem, with chief 
regard to ' a fair degree ; ' and widows were (as in Jeru- 
salem) more tenderly cared for. 

Whatever view may be taken of the genealogies in the 
Gospels according to St. Matthew and St. Luke, there 
can be no question that both Joseph and Mary were of 
the royal lineage of David. Most probably the two were 
nearly related, while Mary could also claim kinship with 
the Priesthood, being, no doubt on her mother's side, a 
»st. Luke i. 'blood-relative' of Elisabeth, the Priest-wife of 
36 Zacharias. a Even this seems to imply that 

Mary's family must shortly before have held higher rank, 
for only with such did custom sanction any alliance on the 
part of Priests. But at the time of their betrothal, alike 
Joseph and Mary were extremely poor, as appears — not 
indeed from his being a carpenter, since a trade was re- 
garded as almost a religious duty — but from the offering 
» st. Luke at the presentation of Jesus in the Temple. b 
iL 24 Accordingly, their betrothal must have been of 

the simplest, and the dowry settled the smallest possible. 1 
From that moment Mary was the betrothed wife of Joseph ; 
their relationship as sacred as if they had already been 
wedded. Any breach of it would be treated as adultery ; 
nor could the bond be dissolved except, as after marriage, 
by regular divorce. Yet months might intervene between 
the betrothal and marriage. 

Five months of Elisabeth's sacred retirement had 
passed, when a strange messenger brought its first tidings 
to her kinswoman in far-off Galilee. It was not in the 
solemn grandeur of the Temple, between the golden altar 
of incense and the seven-branched candlestick, that the 
Angel Gabriel now appeared, but in the privacy of a 
humble home at Nazareth. And, although the awe of the 
Supernatural must unconsciously have fallen upon her, it 
was not so much the sudden appearance of the mysterious 

1 Comp. 'Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ,' 
pp. 143-149. Also the article on * Marriage ' in CasselVs Bible-Educator, 
vol. iv. pp. 267-270. 

The Annunciation of Jesus 9 

stranger in her retirement that startled the maiden, as the 
words of his greeting, implying nnthought blessing. The 
'Peace to thee' was, indeed, the well-known salutation, 
while the words ' The Lord is with thee ' might waken 
remembrance of the Angelic call to great deliverance 
•judg.ri. in the past. 8. But this designation of 'highly 
12 favoured ' came upon her with bewildering sur- 

prise, perhaps not so much from its contrast to the humble- 
ness of her estate, as from the self-unconscious humility of 
her heart. Accordingly, it is this story of special ' favour,' 
or grace, which the Angel traces in rapid outline, from 
the conception of the Virgin-Mother to the distinctive, 
Divinely-given Name, symbolic of the meaning of His 
coming ; His absolute greatness ; His acknowledgment as 
the Son of God ; and the fulfilment in Him of the great 
Davidic hope, with its never-ceasing royalty, and its bound- 
less Kingdom. 

In all this, however marvellous, there could be nothing 
strange to those who cherished in their hearts Israel's 
great hope. Nor was there anything strange even in the 
naming of the yet unconceived Child. It sounds like a 
saying current among the people of old, this of the Rabbis, 
concerning the six whose names were given before their 
birth : Isaac, Ishmael, Moses, Solomon, Josiah, and ' the 
Name of the Messiah, Whom may the Holy One, blessed 
be His Name, bring quickly, in our days ! ' 

Thus, on the supposition of the readiness of her be- 
lieving heart there would have been nothing that needed 
further light than the how of her own connection with the 
glorious announcement. And the words, which she spake, 
were not of trembling doubt, but rather those of enquiry, 
for the further guidance of a willing self-surrender. And 
now the Angel unfolded yet further promise of Divine 
favour, and so deepened her humility. For the idea of 
the activity of the Holy Ghost in all great events was 
quite familiar to Israel at the time, even though the Indi- 
viduation of the Holy Ghost may not have been fully 
apprehended. Only, they expected such influences to rest 
exclusively upon those who were either mighty, or rich, 01 

io Jesus the Messiah 

wise. And of this twofold manifestation of miraculous 
' favour ' — that she, and as a Virgin, should be its sub- 
ject—Gabriel, 'the might of God,' gave this unasked 
sign, in what had happened to her kinswoman Elisabeth. 

The sign was at the same time a direction. The first, 
but also the ever-deepening desire in the heart of Mary, 
when the Angel left her, must have been to be away from 
Nazareth, and for the relief of opening her heart to a 
woman, in all things like-minded, who perhaps might 
speak blessed words to her. It is only what we would 
have expected, that < with haste' she should have resorted 
to her kinswoman. 

It could have been no ordinary welcome that would 
greet the Virgin-Mother* Elisabeth must have learnt 
from her husband the destiny of their son, and hence the 
near Advent of the Messiah. But she could not have 
known either when, or of whom He would be born. When, 
by a sign not quite strange to Jewish expectancy, she 
recognised in her near kinswoman the Mother of her Lord, 
her salutation was that of a mother to a mother — the 
mother of the ' preparer ' to the mother of Him for Whom 
he would prepare. 

Three months had passed, and now the Virgin- Mother 
must return to Nazareth. Soon Elisabeth's neighbours 
and kinsfolk would gather with sympathetic joy around a 
home which, as they thought, had experienced unexpected 
mercy. But Mary must not be exposed to the publicity 
of such meetings. However conscious of what had led to 
her condition, it must have been as the first sharp pang of 
the sword which was to pierce her soul, when she told it 
all to her betrothed. For only a direct Divine communi- 
cation could have chased all questioning from his heart, 
and given him that assurance, which was needful in the 
future history of the Messiah. Brief as the narrative is, 
we can read in the ' thoughts ' of Joseph the anxious con- 
tending of feelings, the scarcely established, and yet 
delayed, resolve to ' put her away,' which could only be 
done by regular divorce ; this one determination only 
standing out clearly, that, if it must be, her letter of 

The Birth of St. John the Baptist ii 

divorce shall be handed to her privately, only in the 
presence of two witnesses. The humble Tsaddiq of Naza- 
reth would not willingly make of her ' a public exhibition 
of shame.' 

The assurance, which Joseph could scarcely dare to 
hope for, was miraculously conveyed to him in a dream - 
vision. All would now be clear ; even the terms in which 
he was addressed (' thou son of David '), so utterly unusual 
in ordinary circumstances, would prepare him for the 
Angel's message. The naming of the unborn Messiah 
would accord with popular notions ; the symbolism of such 
a name was deeply rooted in Jewish belief; while the 
explanation of Jehoshua or Jeshua (Jesus), as He Who 
would save His people (primarily, as he would understand 
it, Israel) from their sins, described at least one generally 
expected aspect of His Mission. 

The fact that such an announcement came to him in a 
dream, would dispose Joseph all the more readily to receive 
it. ' A good dream ' was one of the three things popu- 
larly regarded as marks of God's favour. Thus Divinely 
set at rest, Joseph could no longer hesitate. The highest 
duty towards the Virgin-Mother and the unborn Jesus 
demanded an immediate marriage, which would afford not 
only outward, but moral protection to both. 

Meanwhile the long-looked-for event had taken place 
in the home of Zacharias. No domestic solemnity was so 
important or so joyous as that in which, by circumcision, 
the child had, as it were, laid upon it the yoke of the Law, 
with all of duty and privilege which this implied. It was, 
so tradition has it, as if the father had acted sacrificially 
as High-Priest, offering his child to God in gratitude and 
love ; and it symbolised this deeper moral truth, that man 
must by his own act complete what God had first insti- 
tuted. We can scarcely be mistaken in supposing, that 
then, as now, a benediction was spoken before circum- 
cision, and that the ceremony closed with the usual grace 
over the cup of wine, when the child received his name in 
a prayer, that probably did not much differ from this at 
present in use : ' Our God, and the God of our fathers, 

12 Jesus the Messiah 

raise up this child to his father and mother, and let his 
name be called in Israel Zacharias, the son of Zacharias.' 
The prayer closed with the hope that the child might grow 
up, and successfully 'attain to the Torah, the marriage- 
baldachino, and good works/ 

Of all this Zacharias was, though a deeply interested, 
yet a deaf and dumb l witness. This only had he noticed, 
that, in the benediction in which the child's name was 
inserted, the mother had interrupted the prayer. Without 
explaining her reason, she insisted that his name should 
not be that of his aged father, as in the peculiar circum- 
stances might have been expected, but John (Jochanan). 
A reference to the father only deepened the general 
astonishment, when he also gave the same name. But 
this was not the sole cause for marvel. For, forthwith the 
tongue of the dumb was loosed, and he, who could not 
utter the name of the child, now burst into praise of the 
name of the Lord. His last words had been those of 
unbelief, his first were those of praise ; his last words had 
been a question of doubt, his first were a hymn of assu- 
rance. This hymn of the Priest closely follows, and, if the 
expression be allowable, spiritualises a great part of the 
most ancient Jewish prayer : the so-called Eighteen Bene- 
dictions. Opening with the common form of blessing, his 
hymn struck, one by one, the deepest chords of that prayer. 

But far and wide, as these marvellous tidings spread 
throughout the hill-country of Judaea,, fear fell on all — the 
fear also of a nameless hope : * What then shall this Child 
be ? For the Hand of the Lord also was with Him ! ' 

1 From St. Luke i. 62 we gather that Zacharias was what the Eabbis 
understood by a Hebrew term signifying one deaf as well as dumb. 
Accordingly, he was communicated with by signs. 

The Nativity of Jesus 13 



(St. Matt. i. 25 ; St. Luke ii. 1-20.) 

To Bethlehem as the birthplace of Messiah, not only Old 
Testament prediction,* but the testimony of Rab- 
binic teaching, unhesitatingly pointed. Yet no- 
thing could be imagined more directly contrary to Jewish 
thoughts— and hence nothing less likely to suggest itself 
to Jewish invention — than the circumstances which, accord- 
ing to the Gospel-narrative, brought about the birth of the 
Messiah in Bethlehem. A counting of the people, or Cen- 
sus ; and that Census taken at the bidding of a heathen 
Emperor, and executed by one so universally hated as 
Herod, would represent the ne plus ultra of all that was 
most repugnant to Jewish feeling. 

That the Emperor Augustus made registers of the 
Roman Empire, and of subject and tributary states, is 
now generally admitted. This registration — for the purpose 
of future taxation — would also embrace Palestine. Even if 
no actual order to that effect had been issued during the 
life-time of Herod, we can understand that he would deem 
it most expedient, in view of the probable excitement which 
a heathen census would cause in Palestine, to take steps 
for making a registration rather according to the Jewish 
than the Roman manner. 

According to the Roman law, all country-people were 
to be registered in their ' own city ' — meaning thereby the 
town to which the village or place, where they were born, 
was attached. In so doing, the ' house and lineage ' of 
each were marked. According to the Jewish mode of 
registration, the people would have been enrolled accord- 
ing to tribes, families or clans, and the house of their fathers. 
But as the ten tribes had not returned to Palestine, this 
could only take place to a very limited extent, while it 

14 Jesus the Messiah 

would be easy for each to be registered in ' his own city.' 
In the case of Joseph and Mary, whose descent from David 
was not only known, but where, for the sake of the unborn 
Messiah, it was most important that this should be dis- 
tinctly noted, it was natural that, in accordance with 
Jewish law, they should have gone to Bethlehem. Perhaps 
also, for many reasons which will readily suggest them- 
selves, Joseph and Mary might be glad to leave Nazareth, 
and seek, if possible, a home in Bethlehem. Indeed, so 
strong was this feeling, that it afterwards required special 
Divine direction to induce Joseph to relinquish this chosen 
»st. Matt, place of residence, and to return into Galilee. 3 
u - 22 In these circumstances, Mary, now the ' wife ' of 

Joseph, though standing to him only in the actual relation- 
»st. Luke ii. ship of ' betrothed,' b would, of course, accompany 
6 - her husband to Bethlehem. 

The short winter's day was probably closing in, as the 
two travellers from Nazareth, bringing with them the 
few necessaries of a poor Eastern household, neared their 
journey's end. Only in the East would the most absolute 
simplicity be possible, and yet neither it, nor the poverty 
from which it sprang, necessarily imply even the slightest 
taint of social inferiority. The way had been long and 
weary — at the very least, three days' journey from Galilee. 
Most probably it would have been by that route so com- 
monly followed, from a desire to avoid Samaria, along the 
eastern banks of the Jordan, and by the fords near 

The little town of Bethlehem was crowded with those 
who had come from all the outlying district to register 
their names. The very inn was filled, and the only avail- 
able space was where ordinarily the cattle were stabled. 
Bearing in mind the simple habits of the East, this scarcely 
implies what it would in the West ; and perhaps the 
seclusion and privacy from the noisy, chattering crowd, 
which thronged the khan, would be all the more welcome. 
Scanty as these particulars are, even thus much is gathered 
rather by inference than from the narrative itself. Thus 
early in this history does the absence of details, which 

The Nativity of Jesus 15 

increases as we proceed, remind us, that the Gospels were 
not intended to furnish a biography of Jesus, nor even the 
materials for it; but had only this twofold object: that 
those who read them ' might believe that Jesus is the Christ, 
the Son of God,' and that believing they ' might have life 
• st. John through His Name.' a The Christian heart and 
cod!p! ; imagination, indeed, long to be able to localise 
st. Luke i. 4 the scene and linger with fond reverence over 
that Cave, which is now covered by ' the Church of the 
Nativity.' It seems likely that this, to which the most 
venerable tradition points, was the sacred spot of the 
world's greatest event. Bat certainty we have not. As to 
all that passed in the seclusion of that ' stable ' the Gospel- 
narrative is silent. This only is told, that then and there 
the Virgin-Mother ' brought forth her first-born Son, and 
wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a 

But as we pass from the sacred gloom of the cave out 
into the night, its loneliness is peopled, and its silence 
made vocal from heaven. Jewish tradition may here prove 
both illustrative and helpful. That the Messiah was to be 
born in Bethlehem, was a settled conviction. Equally so 
was the belief, that He was to be revealed from Migdal 
Eder, ' the tower of the flock.' This Migdal Eder was not 
the watch-tower for the ordinary flocks which pastured on 
the barren sheep -ground beyond Bethlehem, but lay close 
to the town, on the road to Jerusalem. A passage in the 
Mishnah leads to the conclusion, that the flocks, which 
pastured there, were destined for Temple-sacrifices, and, 
accordingly, that the shepherds, who watched over them, 
were not ordinary shepherds. The latter were under the 
ban of Rabbinism, on account of their necessary isolation 
from religious ordinances, and their manner of life, which 
rendered strict legal observance unlikely, if not absolutely 
impossible. The same Mishnic passage also leads us to 
iufer, that these flocks lay out all the year round, since 
they are spoken of as in the fields thirty days before the 
Passover — that is, in the month of February, when in 
Palestine the average rainfall is nearly greatest. 

1 6 Jesus the Messiah 

It was, then, on that ' wintry night ' of the 25th of 
December, that shepherds watched the flocks destined for 
sacrificial services, in the very place consecrated by tradi- 
tion as that where the Messiah was to be first revealed. Of 
a sudden came the long-delayed, unthought-of announce- 
ment : an Angel stood before their dazzled eyes, while the 
outstreaming glory of the Lord seemed to enwrap them, as 
in a mantle of light. Surprise, awe, fear would be hushed 
into calm and expectancy, as from the Angel they heard 
that what they saw boded not judgment, but ushered in to 
waiting Israel the great joy of those good tidings which he 
brought : that the long-promised Saviour, Messiah, Lord, 
was born in the City of David, and that they themselves 
might go and see, and recognise Him by the humbleness 
of the circumstances surrounding His Nativity. 

It was as if attendant angels had only waited the 
signal. As, when the sacrifice was laid on the altar the 
Temple-music burst forth in three sections, each marked 
by the blast of the Priests' silver trumpets, so, when the 
Herald-Angel had spoken, a multitude of heaven's host 
stood forth to hymn the good tidings he had brought. 
What they sang was but the reflex of what had been 
announced : — 

Glory to God in the highest — 
And upon earth peace — 
Among men good pleasure I 

Only once before had the words of Angels' hymn fallen 
upon mortals' ears, when, to Isaiah's rapt vision, Heaven's 
high Temple had opened, and the glory of Jehovah swept 
its courts, almost breaking down the trembling posts that 
bore its boundary gates. Now the same glory enwrapt 
the shepherds on Bethlehem's plains. Then the Angels' 
hymn had heralded the announcement of the Kingdom 
coming ; now that of the King come. Then it had been 
the Tris-Hagion of prophetic anticipation; now that of 
Evangelic fulfilment. 

The hymn had ceased ; the light faded out of the sky ; 
and the shepherds were alone. But the Angelic message 

The Purification of the Virgin 17 

remained with them ; and the sign, which was to guide 
them to the Infant Christ, lighted their rapid way up the 
terraced height to where, at the entering of Bethlehem, 
the lamp swinging over the hostelry directed them to the 
strangers of the house of David, who had come from 
Nazareth. There they found, perhaps not what they had 
expected, but as they had been told. The holy group only 
consisted of the Virgin-Mother, the carpenter of Nazareth, 
and the Babe laid in the manger. What further passed 
we know not, save that having seen it for themselves the 
shepherds told what had been spoken to them about this 
Child, to all around — in the ' stable,' in the fields, probably 
also in the Temple, to which they would bring their flocks, 
thereby preparing the minds of a Simeon, of an Anna, and 
of all them that looked for salvation in Israel. 



(St. Luke ii. 21-38.) 

Foremost amongst those who, wondering, had heard what 
the shepherds told, was she whom most it concerned : the 
Mother of Jesus. 

At the very outset of this histoiy, and increasingly in 
its course, the question meets us, how, if the Angelic 
message to the Virgin was a reality, and her motherhood 
so supernatural, she could have been apparently so ignorant 
of what was to come — nay, so often have even misunder- 
stood it ? Might we not have expected, that the Virgin- 
Mother from the inception of this Child's life would have 
realised that He was truly the Son of God ? The question, 
like so many others, requires only to be clearly stated, to 
find its emphatic answer. For, had it been so, His history, 
His human life, of which every step is of such importance 
to mankind, would not have been possible. Apart from 


1 8 Jesus the Messiah 

all thoughts of the deeper necessity, both as regarded His 
Mission and the salvation of the world, of a true human 
development of gradual consciousness and personal life, 
Christ could not, in any real sense, have been subject to 
His Parents, if they had fully understood that He was 
Divine ; nor could He, in that case, have been watched, as 
He * grew in wisdom and in favour with God and men.' 
Such knowledge would have broken the bond of His 
Humanity to ours, by severing that which bound Him as 
a child to His mother. We could not have become His 
brethren, had He not been truly the Virgin's Son. The 
mystery of the Incarnation would have been needless and 
fruitless, had His Humanity not been subject to all its 
right and ordinary conditions. In short, one, and that 
the distinctive New Testament, element in our salvation 
would have been taken away. At the beginning of His 
life He would have anticipated the lessons of its end — 
nay, not those of His Death only, but of His Resurrection 
and Ascension, and of the coming of the Holy Ghost. 

In all this we have only considered the earthward, not 
the heavenward, aspect of His life. The latter, though 
very real, lies beyond our present horizon. Not so the 
question as to the development of the Virgin-Mother's 
spiritual knowledge. Assuming her to have occupied the 
standpoint of Jewish Messianic expectancy, and remember- 
ing also that she was so ' highly favoured ' of God, still 
there was not as yet anything, nor could there be for many 
years, to lead her beyond what might be called the utmost 
height of Jewish belief. On the contrary, there was much 
connected with His true Humanity to keep her back. 

Thus it was, that every event connected with the 
Messianic manifestation of Jesus would come to the 
Virgin-Mother as a new surprise. Each event, as it took 
place, stood isolated in her mind, as something quite by 
itself. She knew the beginning, and she knew the end ; 
but she knew not the path which led from the one to 
the other ; and each step in it was a new revelation. And 
it was natural and well that it should be so. For, thus 
only could she truly, because self-unconsciously, as a Jewish 

The Purification of the Virgin 19 

woman and mother, fulfil all the requirements of the 
Law, alike as regarded herself and her Child. 

The first of these was Circumcision, representing 
voluntary subjection to the conditions of the Law, and 
acceptance of the obligations, but also of the privileges, of 
the Covenant between God and Abraham and his seed. 
The ceremony took place, as in all ordinary circumstances, 
on the eighth day, when the Child received the Angel- 
given name Jvskua (Jesus). Two other legal ordi- 
nances still remained to be observed. The firstborn son 
of every household was, according to the Law, to be 
' redeemed ' of the priest at the price of five shekels of the 
•Numb. Sanctuary. a The earliest period of presentation 
xviii. 16 was thirty-one days after birth, so as to make 
the legal month quite complete. The child must have 
been the firstborn of his mother; neither father nor 
mother must be of Levitic descent ; and the child must be 
free from all such bodily blemishes as would have dis- 
qualified him for the priesthood — or, as it was expressed : 
' the firstborn for the priesthood/ It was a thing much 
dreaded, that the child should die before his redemption ; 
but if his father died in the interval, the child had to 
redeem himself when of age. The value of the ' redemp- 
tion-money' would amount to about ten or twelve 
shillings. The redemption could be made from any priest, 
and attendance in the Temple was not requisite. It was 
otherwise with ' the purification ' of the mother. b 
The Rabbinic law fixed this at forty-one days 
after the birth of a son, and eighty-one after that of a 
daughter, so as to make the Biblical terms quite complete. 
But it might take place any time later — notably, when 
attendance on any of the great feasts brought a family to 
Jerusalem. Indeed, the woman was not required to be 
personally present at all, when her oifering was provided 
for — say, by the representatives of the laity, who daily 
took part in the services for the various districts from 
which they came. But mothers who were within con- 
venient distance of the Temple, and especially the more 
earnest among them, would naturally attend personally in 

c 2 

20 Jesus the Messiah 

the Temple; and in such cases, when practicable, the 
redemption of the firstborn, and the purification of his 
mother, would be combined. Such was undoubtedly the 
case with the Virgin-Mother and her Son. 

For this twofold purpose the Holy Family went up to 
the Temple, when the prescribed days were completed. 
The ceremony at the redemption of a firstborn son was, no 
doubt, more simple than that at present in use. It con- 
sisted of the formal presentation of the child to the priest, 
accompanied by two short ' benedictions ' — the one for the 
law of redemption, the other for the gift of a firstborn son, 
after which the redemption-money was paid. 

As regards the rite at the purification of the mother, 
the scantiness of information has led to serious misstate- 
ments. Any comparison with our modern ' churching ' 
of women is inapplicable, since the latter consists of 
thanksgiving, and the former primarily of a sin-offering 
for the Levitical defilement symbolically attaching to the 
beginning of life, and a burnt-offering, that marked the 
restoration of communion with God. Besides, as already 
stated, the sacrifice for purification might be brought in 
the absence of the mother. The service simply consisted 
of the statutory sacrifice. This was what, in ecclesiastical 
language, was termed an offering, ' ascending and de- 
scending/ that is : according to the means of the offerer. 
The sin-offering was, in all cases, a turtle-dove or a young 
pigeon. But, while the more wealthy brought a lamb 
for a burnt-offering, the poor might substitute for it a 
turtle-dove, or a young pigeon. The Temple-price of the 
meat- and drink-offerings was fixed once a month ; and 
special officials instructed the intending offerers, and pro- 
vided them with what was needed. There was also a 
special ' superintendent of turtle-doves and pigeons/ 
required for certain purifications. In the Court of the 
Women there were thirteen trumpet-shaped chests for 
pecuniary contributions, called ' trumpets.' l Into the 
third of these they who brought the poor's offering, like 

1 Comp. St. Matt. vi. 2. See ' The Temple and its Services,' &c. 
pp. 26, 27. 

The Purification of the Virgin 21 

the Virgin-Mother, were to drop the price of the sacrifices 
which were needed for their purification. As we infer, the 
superintending priest must have been stationed here, alik« 
to inform the offerer of the price of the turtle-doves, and 
to see that all was in order. For the offerer of the poor's 
offering would not require to deal directly with the 
sacrificing priest. At a certain time in the day this 
third chest was opened, and half of its contents applied 
to burnt-, the other half to sin-offerings. Thus sacrifices 
were provided for a corresponding number of those who 
were to be purified, without either shaming the poor, 
needlessly disclosing the character of impurity, or causing 
unnecessary bustle and work. Though this mode of pro- 
cedure could, of course, not be obligatory, it would, no 
doubt, be that generally followed. 

We can now, in imagination, follow the Virgin-Mother 
in the Temple. Her Child had been given up to the Lord, 
and received back from Him. She had entered the Court 
of the Women, probably by the ' Gate of the Women,' on 
the north side, and deposited the price of her sacrifices in 
Trumpet No. 3, which was close to the raised dais or 
gallery where the women worshipped, apart from the men. 
And now the sound of the organ, which announced 
throughout the vast Temple-buildings that the incense 
was about to be kindled on the Golden Altar, summoned 
those who were to be purified. The chief of the ministrant 
lay-representatives of Israel on duty (the so-called ' station- 
men ') ranged those, who presented themselves before the 
Lord as offerers of special sacrifices, within the wickets on 
either side the great Nicanor Gate, at the top of the 
fifteen steps which led up from the Court of the Women 
to that of Israel. The purification-service, with such 
unspoken prayer and praise as would be the outcome of 
a grateful heart, was soon ended, and they who had shared 
in it were Levitically clean. Now all stain was removed, 
and, as the Law put it, they might again partake of sacred 

It has been observed, that by the side of every humili- 
ation connected with the Humanity of the Messiah, the 

22 Jesus the Messiah 

glory of His Divinity was also made to shine forth. The 
coincidences are manifestly undesigned on the part of the 
Evangelic writers, and hence all the more striking. And 
so, when now the Mother of Jesus in her humbleness 
could only bring the ' poor's offering,' the witness to the 
greatness of Him Whom she had borne was not want- 

The 'parents' of Jesus had brought Him into the 
Temple for presentation and redemption, when they were 
met by one, whose venerable figure must have been well 
known in the city and the Sanctuary. Simeon combined 
the three characteristics of Old Testament piety : 'justice,' 
as regarded his relation and bearing to God and man ; ' fear 
of God,' in opposition to the boastful self-righteousness of 
Pharisaism ; and, above all, longing expectancy of the near 
fulfilment of the great promises, and that in their spiritual 
import as ' the Consolation of Israel.' And now it was as 
had been promised him. Coming 'in the Spirit' into the 
Temple, just as His parents were bringing the Infant 
Jesus, he took Him into his arms, and burst into thanks- 
giving. God had fulfilled His word. He was not to see 
death, till he had seen the Lord's Christ. Now did his 
Lord ' dismiss ' him ' in peace ' — release him from work 
and watch— since he had actually seen that salvation, so 
long preparing for a waiting weary world : a glorious light, 
Whose rising would light up heathen darkness, and be 
the outshining glory around Israel's mission. 

But his unexpected appearance, the more unexpected 
deed and words, and that most unexpected and un-Judaic 
form in which what was said of the Infant Christ was pre- 
sented to their minds, filled the hearts of His parents with 
wonderment. And it was as if their silent wonderment 
had been an unspoken question, to which the answer now 
came in words of blessing from the aged watcher. But 
now it was the personal, or rather the Judaic, aspect 
which, in broken utterances, was set before the Virgin- 
Mother— as if the whole history of the Christ upon earth 
were passing in rapid vision before Simeon. That Infant 
was to be a stone of decision ; a foundation and corner- 

The Presentation in the Temple 23 

stone, a for fall or for uprising; a sign spoken 
against ; the sword of deep personal sorrow would 
pierce the Mother's heart ; and so to the terrible end, when 
the veil of externalism which had so long covered the 
hearts of Israel's leaders would be rent, and the deep evil 
of their thoughts laid bare. 

Nor was Simeon's the only hymn of praise on that day. 
A special interest attaches to her who responded in praise 
to God for the pledge she saw of the near redemption. A 
kind of mystery seems to invest this Anna. A widow, 
whose early desolateness had been followed by a long life 
of solitary mourning : one of those in whose home the 
tribal genealogy had been preserved. We infer from this, 
and from the fact that it was that of a tribe which had 
not returned to Palestine, that hers was a family of some 
distinction. Curiously enough, the tribe of Asher alone is 
celebrated in tradition for the beauty of its women, and 
their fitness to be wedded to High-Priest or King. 

These many years had Anna spent in the Sanctuary, 
and spent in fasting and prayer — yet not of that self- 
righteous, self-satisfied kind which was of the essence of 
popular religion. Nor yet were ' fasting and prayer ' to 
her the all-in-all of religion, sufficient iu themselves; 
sufficient also before God. The seemjngly hopeless exile 
of her own tribe, the political state of Judaea, the con- 
dition — social, moral, and religious — of her own Jerusa- 
lem, all kindled in her, as in those who were like-minded, 
deep, earnest longing for the time of promised ' redemp- 
tion.' No place so suited to such an one as the Temple, 
with its services ; no occupation so befitting as ' fasting 
and prayer.' And there were others, perhaps many such, 
in Jerusalem. Though Rabbinic tradition ignored them, 
they were the salt which preserved the mass from festering 
corruption. To her, as the representative of such, was it 
granted as prophetess to recognise Him, Whose Advent 
had been the burden of Simeon's praise. 

24 Jesus the AT ess /a ii 



(St. Matt. ii. 1-18.) 

The story of the homage to the infant Saviour by the 
Magi is told by St. Matthew, in language of which the 
brevity constitutes the chief difficulty. Even their desig- 
nation is not free from ambiguity. The term Magi is used 
in the LXX., by Philo, Josephus, and by profane writers, 
alike in an evil and, so to speak, in a good sense — in the 
• so also in former case a s implying the practice of magical 
mttjt 9 : arfcs '* in tiie latter ' as referring to those Eastern 
(specially Chaldee) priest-sages, whose researches, 
in great measure as yet mysterious and unknown to us, 
seem to have embraced much deep knowledge, though not 
untinged with superstition. It is to these latter, that the 
Magi spoken of by St. Matthew must have belonged. 
Their number — to which, however, no importance at- 
taches—cannot be ascertained. Various suggestions have 
been made as to the country of ' the East,' whence they 
came. The oldest opinion traces the Magi — though par- 
tially on insufficient grounds— to Arabia. And there is 
this in favour of it, that not only the closest intercourse 
existed between Palestine and Arabia, but that from about 
120 B.C. to the sixth century of our era, the kings of Yemen 
professed the Jewish faith. 

Shortly after the Presentation of the Infant Saviour in 
the Temple, certain Magi from the East arrived in Jeru- 
salem with strange tidings. They had seen at its ' rising ' 
a sidereal appearance, which they regarded as betokening 
the birth of the Messiah-King of the Jews, in the sense 
which at the time attached to that designation. Accor- 
dingly, they had come to Jerusalem to pay homage to 
Him, probably not because they imagined He must be born 

The visit of the Magi 25 

in the Jewish capital, but because they would naturally 
expect there to obtain authentic information, < where ' He 
might be found. In their simplicity, the Magi addressed 
themselves in the first place to the official head of the 
nation. But their inquiry produced on King Herod, and 
in the capital, a far different impression from the feeling 
of the Magi. Unscrupulously cruel as Herod had always 
proved, even the slightest suspicion of danger to his rule 
— the bare possibility of the Advent of One, Who had 
such claims upon the allegiance of Israel, and Who, if 
acknowledged, would evoke the most intense movement 
on their part— must have struck terror to his heart. Nor 
is it difficult to understand that the whole city should, 
although on different grounds, have shared the ' trouble ' 
of the king. They knew only too well the character of 
Herod, and what the consequences would be to them, or 
to any one who might be suspected, however unjustly, of 
sympathy with any claimant to the royal throne of David. 

Herod took immediate measures, characterised by his 
usual cunning. He called together all the High-Priests — 
past and present— and all the learned Rabbis, and, with- 
out committing himself as to whether the Messiah was 
already born, or only expected, simply propounded to 
them the question of His birthplace. At the same time 
he took care diligently to inquire the precise time, when 
the sidereal appearance had first attracted the attention of 
• st. Matt, the Magi. a So long as any one lived, who was 
"• 7 • born in Bethlehem between the earliest appear- 
ance of this ' star ' and the time of the arrival of the 
„ v#16 Magi, he was not safe. The subsequent conduct 

of Herod b shows that the Magi must have told 
him, that their first observation of the phenomenon had 
taken place two years before their arrival in Jerusalem. 

The assembled authorities of Israel could only return 
one answer to the question submitted by Herod. As shown 
by the rendering of the Targum Jonathan, the prediction 
in Micah v. 2 was at the time universally understood as 
pointing to Bethlehem, as the birthplace of the Messiah. 
That such was the general expectation, appears from the 

26 Jesus the Messiah 

Talmud, where, in an imaginary conversation between an 
Arab and a Jew, Bethlehem is authoritatively named as 
Messiah's birthplace. St. Matthew reproduces the pro- 
phetic utterance of Micah, exactly as such quotations were 
popularly made at that time. It will be remembered that, 
Hebrew being a dead language so far as the people were 
concerned, the Holy Scriptures were always translated 
into the popular dialect, the person so doing being desig- 
nated Methurgeman (dragoman) or interpreter. These ren- 
derings, which at the time of St. Matthew were not yet 
allowed to be written down, formed the precedent for, if 
not the basis of, our later Targum. 

The further conduct of Herod was in keeping with 
his plans. He sent for the Magi — for various reasons, 
secretly. After ascertaining the precise time when they 
had first observed the ' star/ he directed them to Beth- 
lehem, with the request to inform him when they had 
found the Child ; on pretence that he was equally desirous 
with them to pay Him homage. As they left Jerusalem 
for the goal of their pilgrimage, to their surprise and joy, 
the ' star,' l which had attracted their attention at its 
1 rising,' and which, as seems implied in the narrative, 
they had not seen of late, once more appeared on the 
horizon, and seemed to move before them, till * it stood 
over where the young child was ' — that is, of course, over 
Bethlehem, not over any special house in it. And, since 
in ancient times such extraordinary ' guidance ' by a ' star ' 
was matter of belief and expectancy, the Magi would, 

1 Astronomically speaking there can be no doubt that the most 
remarkable conjunction of planets — that of Jupiter and Sa'urn in the 
constellation Pisces, which occurs only once in 800 years— took place 
no less than three times in the year 747 A.U.C., or two years before the 
birth of Christ (in May, Oct., and Dec.)- In the year following Mars 
joined this conjunction. Kepler, who was led to the discovery by ob- 
serving a similar conjunction in 1603-4, also noticed that when the 
three planets came into conjunction a new, extraordinarily brilliant 
star was visible between Jupiter and Saturn, and he suggested that a 
similar star had appeared under the same circumstances in the conjunc- 
tion preceding the Nativity. It has been astronomically ascertained 
that such a sidereal apparition would be visible to those who left 
Jerusalem, and that it would point — almost seem to go before — in the 
direction of and stand over Bethlehem. 

The Flight into Egypt 2; 

from their standpoint, regard it as the fullest confirmation 
that they had been rightly directed to Bethlehem — and 
' they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.' It could not be 
difficult to learn in Bethlehem, where the Infant, around 
Whose Birth marvels had gathered, might be found. It 
appears that the temporary shelter of the ' stable ' had 
been exchanged by the Holy Family for the more per- 
b u manent abode of a ' house ; ' a and there the 

Magi found the Infant- Saviour with His Mother. 

Only two things are recorded of this visit of the Magi 
to Bethlehem : their homage, and their offerings. Viewed 
as gifts, the incense and the myrrh would, indeed, have 
been strangely inappropriate. But their offerings were 
evidently intended as specimens of the products of their 
country, and their presentation was, even as in our own 
days, expressive of the homage of their country to the 
new-found King. In this sense, then, the Magi may 
truly be regarded as the representatives of the Gentile 
World ; their homago as the first and typical acknowledg- 
ment of Christ by those who hitherto had been ' far off;' 
and their offerings as symbolic of the world's tribute. The 
ancient Church has traced in the gold the emblem of 
His Royalty ; in the myrrh, of His Humanity, and that in 
the fullest evidence of it, in His burying ; and in the in- 
cense, that of His Divinity. 

It could not be, that these Magi should become the in- 
struments of Herod's murderous designs ; nor yet that 
the Infant-Saviour should fall a victim to the tyrant. 
Warned of God in a dream, the ' wise men ' returned ' into 
their own country another way ; ' and, warned by the Angel 
of the Lord in a dream, the Holy Family sought temporary 
shelter in Egypt. Baffled in the hope of attaining his 
object through the Magi, the reckless tyrant sought to 
secure it by an indiscriminate slaughter of all the chil- 
dren in Bethlehem and its immediate neighbourhood, from 
two years and under. True, considering the population of 
Bethlehem, their number could only have been small — 
probably twenty at most. But the deed was none the less 
atrocious ; and these infants may justly be regarded as 

28 Jesus the Messiah 

the ' protomartyrs,' the first witnesses, of Christ, ' the blos- 
som of martyrdom ' (' flores martyrum,' as Prudentius calls 

But of two passages in his own Old Testament Scrip- 
tures the Evangelist sees a fulfilment in these events. 
The flight into Egypt is to him the fulfilment of this ex- 
pression by Hosea, 'Out of Egypt have I called My 
■ Hos. xi. 1 Son.' a In the murder of ' the Innocents,' he sees 
"jer.xxxi.i5 the fulfilment of Rachel's lament b over her chil- 
dren, the men of Benjamin, when the exiles to Babylon met 
in Ramah, c and there was bitter wailing at the pro- 
spect of parting for hopeless captivity, and yet 
bitterer lament, as they who might have encumbered the on- 
ward march were pitilessly slaughtered. Those who have 
attentively followed the course of Jewish thinking, and 
marked how the ancient Synagogue, and that rightly, 
read the Old Testament in its unity, as ever pointing to 
the Messiah as the fulfilment of Israel's history, will 
not wonder at, but fully accord with St. Matthew's retro- 
spective view. 



(St. Matt. ii. 19-23 ; St. Luke ii. 39, 40.) 

The stay of the Holy Family in Egypt must have been of 
brief duration. The cup of Herod's misdeeds, but also of 
his misery, was full. During the whole latter part of his 
life, the dread of a rival to the throne had haunted him, 
and he had sacrificed thousands, among them those nearest 
and dearest to him, to lay that ghost. And still the 
tyrant was not at rest. A more terrible scene is not pre- 
sented in history than that of the closing days of Herod. 1 
Tormented by nameless fears ; even making attempts on 

1 For an account of the personal history of Herod see * Life and 
Times,' bk. ii., cbaps. ii. and ix., and app. iv. 

The Child-life in Nazareth 29 

his own life; the delirium of tyranny, the passion for 
blood, drove him to the verge of madness. The most 
loathsome disease had fastened on his body, and his suffer- 
ings were at times agonising. By the advice of his 
physicians, he had himself carried to the baths of Cal- 
lirhoe (east of the Jordan), trying all remedies with the 
determination of one who will do hard battle for life. It 
was in vain. He knew that his hour was come, and had 
himself conveyed back to his palace under the palm-trees 
of Jericho. 

The last days of Herod were stained by fresh murders. 
The execution of An ti pater — the false accuser and real 
murderer of his half-brothers Alexander and Aristobulus 
— preceded the death of his father by but five days. The 
latter occurred from seven to fourteen days before the 
Passover, which in 750 took place on April 12. 

Herod had reigned thirty-seven years — thirty-four 
since his conquest of Jerusalem. Soon the rule for which 
he had so long plotted, striven, and stained himself with 
untold crimes, passed from his descendants. A century 
more, and his whole race had been swept away. 

Herod had three times changed his testament. 1 But 
a few days before his death he made yet another disposi- 
tion, by which Archelaus, the elder brother of Antipas, 
was appointed king; Antipas tetrarch of Galilee and 
Peraea ; and Philip tetrarch of the territory east of the 
Jordan. Although the Emperor seems to have authorised 
him to appoint his successor, Herod wisely made his dis- 
position dependent on the approval of Augustus. But the 
latter was not by any means to be taken for granted. 
Archelaus had, indeed, been immediately proclaimed King 
by the army ; but he prudently declined the title, till it 
had been confirmed by the Emperor. 

Augustus decided, however, to do this, though with 
certain slight modifications, of which the most important 
was that Archelaus should bear the title of Ethnarch, 
which, if he deserved it, would by-and-by be exchanged 

1 Herod had married no less than ten times. See his genealogical 

30 Jesus the Messiah 

for that of King. His dominions were to be Judaea, 
Idumsea, and Samaria, •with a revenue of 600 talents (about 
230,000/. to 240,000/.). It is needless to follow the for- 
tunes of the new Ethnarch. His brief reign ceased in the 
year 6 of our era, when the Emperor banished him, on 
account of his crimes, to Gaul. 

It must have been soon after the accession of Archelaus, 
but before tidings of it had actually reached Joseph in 
Egypt, that the Holy Family returned to Palestine. The 
first intention of Joseph seems to have been to settle in 
Bethlehem, where he had lived since the birth of Jesus. 
Obvious reasons would incline him to choose this, and, if 
possible, to avoid Nazareth as the place of his residence. 
But when, on reaching Palestine, he learned who the 
successor of Herod was, and also, no doubt, in what 
manner he had inaugurated his reign, common prudence 
would have dictated the withdrawal of the Tnfant-Saviour 
from the dominions of Archelaus. It needed Divine direc- 
tion to determine his return to Nazareth. 

Of the many years spent in Nazareth, during which 
Jesus passed from infancy to manhood, the Evangelic 
narrative has left us but briefest notice. Of His childhood : 
that * He grew and waxed strong in spirit, filled with 
» st. Luke wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him ; ' * 
u - 40 of His youth : besides the account of His ques- 

tioning the Rabbis in the Temple, the year before He 
attained Jewish majority — that ' He was subject to His 
Parents,' and that ' He increased in wisdom and stature, 
and in favour with God and man.' Considering what 
loving care watched over Jewish child-life, tenderly 
marking by not fewer than eight designations the various 
stages of its development, 1 and the deep interest naturally 
attaching to the early life of the Messiah, that silence, in 
contrast to the almost blasphemous absurdities of the 
Apocryphal Gospels, teaches us once more, that the 
Gospels furnish a history of the Saviour, not a biography 
of Jesus of Nazareth. 

1 See ' Sketches of Jewish Social Life,' Edersheim, pp. 103, 104, and 
'Life and Times,' vol. i. pp. 226-234. 

In the House of His Heavenly Father 31 



(St. Luke ii. 41-62.) 

Once only is the silence which lies on the history of 
Christ's early life broken. It is to record what took place 
on His first visit to the Temple. 

In strict law, personal observance of the ordinances, 
and hence attendance on the feasts at Jerusalem, devolved 
on a youth only when he was of age, that is, at thirteen 
years. Then he became what was called ' a son of the 
Commandment,' or ' of the Torah.' But, as a matter of 
fact, the legal age was in this respect anticipated by two 
years, or at least by one. It was in accordance with this 
custom that, on the first Pascha after Jesus had passed 
His twelfth year, His Parents took Him with them in the 
4 company' of the Nazarenes to Jerusalem. The text 
seems to indicate, that it was their wont to go up to the 
Temple; and we mark that, although women were not 
bound to make such personal appearance, Mary gladly 
availed herself of what seems to have been the direction 
of Hillel (followed also by other religious women, men- 
tioned in Rabbinic writings), to go up to the solemn 
services of the Sanctuary. Politically, times had changed. 
Archelaus was banished, and Judaea, Samaria, and Idumaea 
were now incorporated into the Roman province of Syria, 
under its Governor, or Legate, P. Sulpicius Quirinius. The 
special administration of that part of Palestine was, how- 
ever, entrusted to a Procurator, whose ordinary residence 
was at Caesarea. 

It was, as we reckon it, in spring a.d. 9, that Jesus for 
the first time went up to the Paschal Feast in Jerusalem. 
A brief calm had fallen upon the land. The census and 

32 Jesus the Messiah 

taxing, with the consequent rising of the Nationalists with 
Ezekias at their head, which had marked the accession of 
Herod, misnamed the Great, were alike past. There was 
nothing to provoke active resistance, and the party of the 
Zealots, as the Nationalists were afterwards called, although 
still existing, and striking deeper root in the hearts of the 
people, was, for the time, rather ' the philosophical party ' — 
their minds busy with an ideal, which their hands were not 
yet preparing to make a reality. And so, when, according to 
• Ps. xiii. 4 ; ancient wont, a the festive company from Nazareth, 
J s a*v* " 29 soon swelled by other bands, went up to Jerusa- 
i?Sx es ; * em ' cnantm g by * ne wa y those l Psalms of 
cxxxiv.' Ascent' b to the accompaniment of the flute, 
they might implicitly yield themselves to the spiritual 
thoughts kindled by such words. 

When the pilgrims' feet stood within the gates of 
Jerusalem, there could have been no difficulty in finding 
hospitality, however crowded the City may have been on 
such occasions — the more so when we remember the ex- 
treme simplicity of Eastern manners and wants, and the 
abundance of provisions which the many sacrifices of the 
season would supply. Glorious as a view of Jerusalem 
must have seemed to a child coming to it for the first time 
from the retirement of a Galilean village, we must bear in 
mind, that He Who now looked upon it was not an ordi- 
nary Child. But the one all-engrossing thought would be 
of the Temple. As the pilgrim ascended the Mount, crested 
by that symmetrically proportioned building, which could 
hold within its gigantic girdle not fewer than 210,000 
persons, his wonder might well increase at every step. 
The Mount itself seemed like an island, abruptly rising 
from out deep valleys, surrounded by a sea of walls, 
palaces, streets, and houses, and crowned by a mass of 
snowy marble and glittering gold, rising terrace upon 
terrace. Altogether it measured a square of about 1,000 
feet. At its north-western angle, and connected with it, 
frowned the Castle of Antonia, held by the Roman garrison. 1 

1 For a full description reference must be made to ' The Temple, 
its Ministry and Services, &c* 

In the House of His Heavenly Father 33 

In some part of this Temple, ' sitting in the midst of 
the Doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions/ 
we must look for the Child Jesus on the third and the 
two following days of the Feast on which He first visited 
the Sanctuary. Only on the two first days of the Feast of 
Passover was personal attendance in the Temple necessary. 
With the third day commenced the so-called half-holidays, 
when it was lawful to return to one's home — a provision 
of which, no doubt, many availed themselves. For the 
Passover had been eaten, the festive sacrifice (or Chagigah) 
offered, and the first ripe barley reaped and brought to the 
Temple, and waved as the Omer of first 'flour before the 
Lord. Hence, in view of the well-known Rabbinic pro- 
vision, the expression in the Gospel-narrative concerning 
• st. Luke the < Parents ' of Jesus, ' when they had fulfilled 
**• 43 the days,' a cannot necessarily imply that Joseph 

and the Mother of Jesus had remained in Jerusalem during 
the whole Paschal week. We read in the Talmud that 
the members of the Temple-Sanhedrin, who on ordinary 
days sat as a Court of Appeal from the close of the Morn- 
ing to the time of the Evening Sacrifice, were wont on 
Sabbaths and feast-days to come out upon ' the Terrace ' of 
the Temple, and there to teach. In such popular instruc- 
tion the utmost latitude of questioning would be given. 
It is in this audience, which sat on the ground, sur- 
rounding and mingling with the Doctors — and hence 
during, not after the Feast — that we must seek the Child 

The presence and questioning of a Child of that age 
did not necessarily imply anything so extraordinary, as to 
convey the idea of supernaturalness to those Doctors or 
others in the audience. Jewish tradition gives other in- 
stances of precocious and strangely advanced students. 
Besides, scientific theological learning would not be neces- 
sary to take part in such popular discussions. If we may 
judge from later arrangements, not only in Babylon, but in 
Palestine, there were two kinds of public lectures, and two 
kinds of students. The first, or more scientific lectures, 
implied considerable preparation on the part of the lecturing 


34 Jesus the Messiah 

Rabbis, and at least some Talmudic knowledge on the part 
of the attendants. On the other hand, there were Students 
of the Court, who during ordinary lectures sat separated 
from the regular students by a kind of hedge, outside, as 
it were in the Court, some of whom seem to have been 
ignorant even of the Bible. The lectures addressed to 
such a general audience would, of course, be of a very 
different character. 

But if there was nothing so unprecedented as to render 
His Presence and questioning marvellous, yet all who 
heard Him ' were amazed ' at His ' combinative insight ' 
and ' discerning 'answers.' Judging by what we know of 
such discussions, we infer that His questioning may have 
been connected with the Paschal solemnities. Or perhaps 
He would lead up by His questions to their deeper mean- 
ing, as it was to be unfolded, when Himself was offered up, 
1 the Lamb of God, Which taketh away the sin of the 

Other questions also almost force themselves on the 
mind — most notably this : whether on the occasion of this 
His first visit to the Temple, the Virgin-Mother had told her 
Son the history of His Infancy, and of what had happened 
when, for the first time, He had been brought to the 
Temple. It would almost seem so, if we might judge from 
the contrast between the Virgin-Mother's complaint about 
the search of His father and of her, and His own emphatic 
appeal to the business of His Father. But most sur- 
prising — truly wonderful it must have seemed to Joseph, 
and even to the Mother of Jesus, that the meek, quiet 
Child should have been found in such company, and so 
engaged. The reply of Jesus to the expostulation of them 
who had sought Him ' sorrowing ' these three days, sets 
clearly these three things before us. He had been so 
entirely absorbed by the awakening thought of His Being 
and Mission, however kindled, as to be not only neglectful, 
but forgetful of all around. Secondly : we may venture to 
say, that He now realised that this was emphatically His 
Father's House, And, thirdly : so far as we can judge, it 
was thep and there that, for the first time, He felt the 

In the Home of His Earthly Father 35 

strong and irresistible impulse — that Divine necessity of 
His Being — to be ' about His Fcither's business.' 

A further, though to us it seems a downward step, was 
the quiet, immediate, unquestioning return of Jesus to 
Nazareth with His Parents, and His willing submission to 
them while there. It was not self-exinanition but self- 
submission, all the more glorious in proportion to the 
greatness of that Self. This constant contrast before her 
eyes only deepened in the heart of Mary the ever-present 
impression of \ all those matters, of which she was the 
most cognisant. 

With His return to Nazareth began Jesus' life of 
youth and early manhood, with all of inward and outward 
development, of heavenly and earthly approbation which it 
• st. Luke ii. carried.* Whether or not He went to Jerusalem 
62 on recurring Feasts, we know not, and need not 

inquire. Other influences were at their silent work to weld 
His inward and outward development, and to determine the 
manner of His later Manifesting of Himself. We assume 
that the school-education of Jesus must have ceased soon 
after His return to Nazareth. 

Jewish home-life, especially in the country, was of 
the simplest. Only the Sabbath and festivals, whether 
domestic or public, brought what of the best lay within 
reach. The same simplicity would prevail in dress and 
manners. We cannot here discuss the vexed question 
whether ' the brothers and sisters ' of Jesus were such in 
the real sense, or step-brothers and sisters, or else cousins, 
though it seems to us as if the primary meaning of the 
terms would scarcely have been called in question, but for 
a theory of false asceticism, and an undervaluing 
ifitttSfs of the sanctity of the married estate. b But, 
f: gjHjitt. 'whatever the precise relationship between Jesus 
«*i6 • st m ' anc * tnese ' brothers and sisters,' it must, on any 
Mark iii. 3i ; theorv, have been of the closest, and exercised 

vi.3; Actsi. ., . V tt- 

i4;icor.ix. its influence upon Him. 

5 ; Gai. 1 19 Passing over Joses or Joseph, of whose his- 

tory we know next to nothing, we would venture to infer 
from the Epistle of St. James, that his religious views, had 


36 Jesus the Messiah 

originally been cast in the mould of Shammai. Of His 
cousin Simon l we know that he had belonged to the 
Nationalist party, since he is expressly so designated 
• st. Luke (Zdotes,* Ganancean h ). Lastly, there are in the 
yi .is ; Acts Epistle of St. Jude, one undoubted and another 
» st. Mark probable reference to two of those (Pseudepi- 
graphic) Apocalyptic books, which at that time 
marked one deeply interesting phase of the Messianic out- 
look of Israel. We have thus within the nar- 
w. i4, u isto row circle of Christ's Family-Life — not to speak 
Enoch?an°d of any intercourse with the sons of Zebedee, who 
v. 9 probably probably were also His cousins — the three most 
Assum. of hopelul and pure J ewisn tendencies, brought into 
constant contact with Jesus : in Pharisaism, the 
teaching of Shammai ; then, the Nationalist ideal ; and, 
finally, the hope of a glorious Messianic future. To these 
there should probably be added at least knowledge of the 
lonely preparation of His kinsman John, who, though 
certainly not an Essene, had, from the necessity of his 
calling, much in his outward bearing that was akin to 

From what are, necessarily, only suggestions, we turn 
again to what is certain in connection with His Family- 
Life and its influences. From St. Mark vi. 3, we may 
infer with great probability, though not with absolute cer- 
«> comp. st. tainty, d that He had adopted the trade of Joseph, 
wfswohn Among the Jews the contempt for manual labour, 
**• *■ which was one of the characteristics of heathenism, 

did not exist. On the contrary, it was deemed a religious 
duty, frequently and most earnestly insisted upon, to learn 
some trade, provided it did not minister to luxury, nor 
tend to lead away from personal observance of the Law. 
There was not such separation between rich and poor as 
with us, and while wealth might confer social distinction, 
the absence of it in no way implied social inferiority. 

The reverence towards parents, as a duty higher than 
any of outward observance, and the love of brethren, which 

1 I regard this Simon (Zelotes) as the son of Clopas (brother of 
Joseph, the Virgin's husband) and of Mary. 

A Voice in the Wilderness 37 

Jesus had learned in His home, form, so to speak, the 
natural basis of many of His teachings. They give us 
also an insight into the family-life of Nazareth. Even the 
games of children, as well as festive gatherings of families, 
find their record in the words and the life of Christ. This 
also is characteristic of His past. And so are His deep 
sympathy with all sorrow and suffering, and His love for 
the family circle, as evidenced in the home of Lazarus. 
That He spoke Hebrew, and used and quoted the Scrip- 
tures in the original, has been shown, 1 although, no doubt, 
He understood Greek, possibly also Latin. 

Thus, Christ in His home-life and surroundings, as 
well as by the prevailing ideas with which He was brought 
into contact, was in sympathy with all the highest tenden- 
cies of His people and time. Beyond this, into the mys- 
tery of His inner converse with God, the unfolding of His 
spiritual receptiveness, and the increasing communication 
from above, we dare not enter. It is best to remain con- 
tent with the simple account of the Evangelic narrative: 
1 Jesus increased in favour with God and man.* 


(St. Matt. iii. 1-12 ; St. Mark i. 2-8 ; St. Luke iii. 1-18.) 

A SILENCE, even more complete than that concerning the 
early life of Jesus, rests on the thirty years and more, 
which intervened between the birth and the open forth- 
showing of John in his character as Forerunner of the 
Messiah. Only his outward and inward development, and 
a st. Luke i. ms Dem g ' i n the deserts,' are briefly indicated.* 
80 At last that solemn silence was broken by an 

appearance, a proclamation, a rite, and a ministry as 
startling as that of Elijah had been. In many respects, 
indeed, the two messengers and their times bore singular 

1 See ' Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah/ vol. L p. 234. 

38 Jesus the Messiah 

likeness. John came suddenly out of the wilderness of 
Judaea, as Elijah from the wilds of Gilead ; John bore the 
same strange ascetic appearance as his predecessor ; the 
message of John was the counterpart of that of Elijah ; 
his baptism that of Elijah's novel rite on Mount Carmel. 
And, as if to make complete the parallelism, even the more 
minute details surrounding the life of Elijah found their 
counterpart in that of John. 

Palestine, the ancient kingdom of Herod, was now 
divided into four parts : Judaea being under the direct 
administration of Rome, two other tetrarchies under the 
rule of Herod's sons (Herod Antipas and Philip), while 
the small principality of Abilene was governed by Lysa- 
nias, of whom no details can be furnished. 

Herod Antipas, whose rule extended over forty-three 
years, reigned over Galilee and Peraea — the districts which 
were respectively the principal sphere of the Ministry of 
Jesus and of John the Baptist. Like his brother Arche- 
laus, Herod Antipas possessed in an even aggravated form 
most of the vices, without any of the greater qualities, of 
his father. Of deeper religious feelings or convictions he 
was entirely destitute, though his conscience occasionally 
misgave, if it did not restrain, him. The inherent weak- 
ness of his character left him in the absolute control of his 
wife, to the final ruin of his fortunes. He was covetous, 
avaricious, luxurious, and utterly dissipated; suspicious, 
and with a good deal of that fox-cunning which, especially 
in the East, often forms the sum total of state-craft. Like 
his father, he indulged a taste for building — always 
taking care to propitiate Rome by dedicating all to the 

A happier account can be given of Philip, the son of 
Herod the Great and Cleopatra of Jerusalem. He was a 
moderate and just ruler, and his reign of thirty-seven 
years contrasted favourably with that of his kinsmen. The 
land was quiet and prosperous, and the people contented 
and happy. 

As regards the Roman rule, matters had greatly 
changed for the worse since the mild sway of Augustus. 

A Voice in the Wilderness 39 

When Tiberius succeeded to the Empire, and Judaea 
was a province, merciless harshness characterised the 
administration of Palestine; while the Emperor himself 
was bitterly hostile to Judaism and the Jews, and that 
although, personally, openly careless of all religion. 

St. Luke significantly joins together, as the highest 
religious authority in the land, the names of Annas and 
Caiaphas. The former had been appointed by Quirinius. 
After holding the Pontificate for nine years, he was de- 
posed, and succeeded by others, of whom the fourth was 
his son-in-law Caiaphas, in whom the Procurator at last 
found a sufficiently submissive instrument of Roman 
tyranny. The character of the High-Priests during the 
whole of that period is described in the Talmud in terrible 
language. And although there is no evidence that ? the 
house of Annas ' was guilty of the same sins as some of 
their successors, they are included in the woes pronounced 
on the corrupt leaders of the priesthood, whom the Sanc- 
tuary is represented as bidding depart from the sacred 
precincts, which their presence defiled. 

Such a combination of political and religious distress, 
surely, constituted the time of Israel's utmost need. As 
yet no attempt had been made by the people to right 
themselves by armed force. In these circumstances, the 
cry that the Kingdom of Heaven was near at hand, and 
the call to preparation for it, must have awakened echoes 
throughout th^ land, and startled the most careless aud 
unbelieving. It was, according to St. Luke's exact state- 
ment, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar 
— reckoning, as provincials would do, from his co-regency 
with Augustus (which commenced two years before his 
sole reign) — in the year 26 a.d. According to our former 
computation, Jesus would then be in His thirtieth year. 
The scene of John's first public appearance was in ' the 
wilderness of Judaea,' that is, the wild, desolate district 
around the mouth of the Jordan. We know not whether 
• st. Luke John baptized in this place, nor yet how long he 
m - 3 continued there ; but we are expressly told that 

his stay was not confined to that locality.* Soon afterwards 

40 Jesus the Messiah 

we find him at Bethany a (A.V. Bethabara), which is farther 
• st. John i. U P the stream. The outward appearance and 

the habits of the Messenger corresponded to the 
character and object of his Mission. Neither his dress nor 
his food was that of the Essenes ; and the former, at least, 

like that of Elijah, b whose mission he was now 

t2Ku * 3i ; 8 to 'fulfil.' J 

This was evidenced alike by what he preached, and by 
the new symbolic rite, from which he derived the name of 
1 Baptist.' The grand burden of his message was : the 
announcement of the approach of l the Kingdom of 
Heaven,' and the needed preparation of his hearers for 
that Kingdom. The latter he sought, positively, by ad- 
monition, and, negatively, by warnings, while he directed 
all to the Coming One, in Whom that Kingdom would 
become, so to speak, individualised. 

Concerning this ' Kingdom of Heaven,' which was the 
great message of John, and the great work of Christ Him- 
self, we may here say, that it is the whole Old Testament 
sublimated, and the whole New Testament realised. This 
rule of heaven and Kingship of Jehovah was the very sub- 
stance of the Old Testament ; the object of the calling and 
mission of Israel ; the meaning of all its ordinances, 
whether civil or religious ; the underlying idea of all its 
institutions. It explained alike the history of the people, 
the dealings of God with them, and the prospects opened 
up by the prophets. It constituted alike tlje real contrast 
between Israel and the nations of antiquity, and Israel's 
real title to distinction. 

A review of many passages on the subject shows that, 
in the Jewish mind, the expression ' Kingdom of Heaven ' 
referred, not so much to any particular period, as in 
general to the Rule of Ood — as acknowledged, manifested, 
and eventually perfected. Very often it is the equivalent 
for personal acknowledgment of God : the taking upon 
oneself of the ' yoke ' of ' the Kingdom,' or of the com- 
mandments — the former preceding and conditioning the 

As we pass from the Jewish ideas of the time to the 

A Voice in the Wilderness 41 

teaching of the New Testament, we feel that while there 
is complete change of spirit, the form in which the idea 
of the Kingdom of Heaven is presented is substantially 

John came to call Israel to submit to the Reign of 
God, about to be manifested in Christ. Hence, on the one 
hand, he called them to repentance — a ' change of mind ' — 
with all that this implied ; and, on the other, pointed them 
to the Christ, in the exaltation of His Person and Office. 
Thus the symbolic action by which this preaching was 
accompanied might be designated ■ the baptism of repent- 

For what John preached, that he also symbolised by a 
rite which, though not in itself, yet in its application, was 
wholly new. Hitherto the Law had it, that those who had 
contracted Levitical defilement were to immerse before 
offering sacrifice. Again, it was prescribed that such 
Gentiles as became ' proselytes of righteousness,' or ' pro- 
selytes of the Covenant,' were to be admitted to full par- 
ticipation in the privileges of Israel by the threefold rites 
of circumcision, baptism, and sacrifice — the immersion 
being, as it were, the acknowledgment and symbolic 
removal of moral defilement, corresponding to that of 
Levitical uncleanness. But never before had it been pro- 
posed that Israel should undergo a ' baptism of repentance,' 
although there are indications of a deeper insight into the 
meaning of Levitical baptisms. Was it intended that the 
hearers of John should give this as evidence of their re- 
pentance, that like persons defiled they sought purifica- 
tion, and like strangers they sought admission among the 
people who took on themselves the Rule of God ? These 
two ideas would, indeed, have made it truly a ' baptism of 
repentance.' But it seems difficult to suppose that the 
people would have been prepared for such admissions ; or, 
at least, that there should have been no record of the mode 
in which a change so deeply spiritual was brought about. 
• Comp.Gcn. May it not rather have been that as, when the first 
xxxv. 2 Covenant was made, Moses was directed to pre- 
pare Israel by symbolic baptism of their persons a and their 

42 Jesus the Messiah 

garments,* so the initiation of the new Covenant, by which 
a, the people were to enter into the Kingdom of 
14 God, was preceded by another general symbolic 

baptism of those who would be the true Israel, and receive, 
or take on themselves, the Law from God ? 



(St. Matt. iii. 13-17; St. Mark i. 7-11; St. Luke iii. 21-23; 
St. John i. 32-34.) 

The more we think of it, the better do we seem to under- 
stand how that ' Voice crying in the wilderness : Repent ! 
for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand,' awakened echoes 
throughout the land, and brought from city, village, and 
hamlet strangest hearers. For once, every distinction was 
levelled. Pharisee and Sadducee, outcast publican and 
semi-heathen soldier, met here as on common ground. 
Their bond of union was the common ' hope of Israel ' — 
the only hope that remained : that of c the Kingdom.' 

That Kingdom had been the last word of the Old 
Testament. As the thoughtful Israelite, whether Eastern 
or Western, viewed even the central part of his worship in 
sacrifices, and remembered that his own Scriptures had 
spoken of them in terms which pointed to something be- 
yond their offering, 1 he must have felt that ' the blood of 
bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling 
the unclean/ could only < sanctify to the purifying of the 
flesh;' that, indeed, the whole body of ceremonial and 
ritual ordinances ' could not make him that did the service 
perfect as pertaining to the conscience.' They were only 
' the shadow of good things to come ; ' of ' a new ' and ' better 
b Heb covenant, established upon better promises.' b It 

13, 9 ;'x. i; was otherwise with the thought of the Kingdom. 
Each successive link in the chain of prophecy, 

1 Comp. 1 Sam. xv. 22 ; Ps. xl. 6-8 ; li. 7, 17 ; Is. i. 11-13 ; Jer. vii. 
22, 23 ; Amos v. 21, 22 ; Ecclus. vii. 9 ; xxxiv. 18, 19 ; xxxv. 1, 7. 

The Baptism of Jesus 43 

even the wild fantasies of Apocalyptic liteiature, bound 
Israel anew to this hope. 

This great expectancy would be strung to utmost ten- 
sion during the pressure of outward circumstances more 
hopeless than any hitherto experienced. And now the cry 
had been suddenly raised : ' The Kingdom of Heaven is 
at hand!' It was heard in the wilderness of Judaea, 
within a few hours' distance from Jerusalem. No wonder 
Pharisee and Sadducee nocked to the spot. They would 
not see anything in the messenger that could have given 
their expectations a rude shock. His was not a call to 
armed resistance, but to repentance, such as all knew and 
felt must precede the Kingdom. The hope which he held 
out was not of earthly possessions, but of purity. His 
appearance would command respect, and his character was 
in accordance with his appearance. Not rich nor yet 
Pharisaic garb with wide fringes, bound with many-coloured 
or even priestly girdle, but the old prophet's poor raiment 
and a leathern girdle. Not a luxurious life, but one 
of meanest fare. ' Not a reed shaken by the wind,' but 
unbendingly firm in deep and settled conviction. For 
himself he sought nothing; for them he had only one 
absorbing thought : The Kingdom was at hand, the King 
was coming — let them prepare ! 

Such entire absorption in his mission, which leaves us 
in ignorance of even the details of his later activity, must 
have given force to his message. And still the voice, 
everywhere proclaiming the f-ame message, travelled up- 
ward, along the winding Jordan which cleft the land 
of promise. It was probably the autumn of the year 
779 (a.u.C.), which, it may be noted, was a Sabbatic 
year. Released from business and agriculture, the mul- 
titudes flocked around him as he passed on his Mission. 
He had reach*.. 1 what seems to have been the most 
northern point of his Mission-journey, Beth-Abara ('the 
house of passage,' or 'of shipping') — according to the 
ancient reading, Bethany ('the house of shipping') — one 
• st. John i. °f the fords across the Jordan into Peraea. Here 
28 he baptized.* But long before John had reached 

44 Jesus the Messiah 

that spot, tidings of his word and work must have come 
even into the retirement of Jesus' home-life. 

From earliest ages it has been a question why Jesus 
went to be baptized. We need not seek for any ulterior 
motive. The one question with Him was, as He afterwards 
put it : ' The Baptism of John, whence was it ? from 
heaven, or of men ? ' (St. Matt. xxi. 25). That question 
once answered, there could be no longer doubt nor hesita- 
tion. He went not from any other motive than that it 
was of God. The Baptism of Christ was the last act of 
His private life ; and, emerging from its waters in prayer, 
He learned, when His business was to commence, and 
how it would be done. 

Alone the two met — probably for the first time in their 
lives. Over that which passed between them Holy Scrip- 
ture has laid the veil of reverent silence, save as regards 
the beginning and the outcome of their meeting, which it 
was necessary for us to know. When Jesus came, John 
knew Him not. And even when he knew Him, that was 
not enough. For so great a witness as that which John 
was to bear, a present and visible demonstration from 
heaven was to be given. 

We can understand how what he knew of Jesus, and 
what he now saw and heard, must have overwhelmed John 
with the sense of Christ's transcendentally higher dignity, 
and led him to hesitate about, if not to refuse, administer- 
ing to Him the rite of Baptism. Not because it was ' the 
baptism of repentance,' but because he stood in the 
presence of Him ' the latchet of Whose shoes ' he was ' not 
worthy to loose.' And yet in so ' forbidding ' Him, and 
even suggesting his own baptism by Jesus, John forgot 
and misunderstood his mission. John himself was never 
to be baptized ; he only held open the door of the new 
Kingdom ; himself entered it not, and he that was least in 
that Kingdom was greater than he. Jesus overcame his 
reluctance by falling back upon the simple and clear 
principle which had brought Him to Jordan: ' It becometh 
us to fulfil all righteousness.' Thus putting aside, with- 
out argument, the objection of the Baptist, He followed 

The Baptism of Jesus 4$ 

the Hand that pointed Him to the open door of 'the 

Jesus stepped out of the baptismal waters ' praying.'* 
• st. Luke One prayer, the only one which He taught His 
bu 21 disciples, recurs to our minds. 

As the prayer of Jesus winged heavenwards, His 
solemn response to the call of the Kingdom — ' Here ami;' 
1 Lo, I come to do Thy Will ' — the answer came, which at 
the same time was also the predicted sign to the Baptist. 
Heaven seemed cleft, and, in bodily shape like a dove, the 
Holy Ghost descended on Jesus, remaining on Him. Here, 
at these waters, was the Kingdom into which Jesus had 
entered in the fulfilment of all righteousness f and from 
them He emerged as its Heaven-designated, Heaven- 
qualified, and Heaven-proclaimed King. As such He had 
received the fulness of the Spirit for His Messianic work. 
As such also the voice from Heaven proclaimed it, to Him 
and to John : ' Thou art (' this is ') My Beloved Son, in 
Whom I am well pleased.' The ratification of the great 
Davidic promise, the announcement of the fulfilment of its 
predictive import in Psalm ii., was God's solemn declara- 
tion of Jesus as the Messiah, His public proclamation of it, 
and the beginning of Jesus' Messianic work. And so the 
b st. John i. Baptist understood it, when he i bare record ' that 
34 He was 4 the Son of God.' b 


(St. Matt. iv. 1-11 ; St. Mark i. 12, 13; St. Luke iv. 1-13.) 

The proclamation and inauguration of the ' Kingdom of 
Heaven ' at such a time, and under such circumstances, 
was one of the great antitheses of history. A similar, even 
greater antithesis, was the commencement of the Ministry 
of Christ. From the Jordan to the wilderness with its 
wild beasts ; from the devout acknowledgment of the 

46 Jesus the Messiah 

Baptist, the consecration and filial prayer of Jesus, the 
descent of the Holy Spirit, and the heard testimony of 
Heaven, to the utter forsakenness, the felt want and weak- 
ness of Jesus, and the assaults of the Devil — no contrast 
more startling could be conceived. 

And yet that at His consecration to the Kingship of the 
Kingdom, Jesus should have become clearly conscious of all 
that it implied in a world of sin ; that the Divine method by 
which that Kingdom should be established, should have been 
clearly brought out, and its reality tested.; and that the 
King, as Representative and Founder of the Kingdom, 
should have encountered and defeated the representative, 
founder, and holder of the opposite power, * the prince of 
this world ' — these are thoughts which must arise in every 
one who believes in any Mission of the Christ- We can 
understand how a Life and Work such as that of Jesus 
would commence with ' the Temptation,' but none other 
than His. Judaism never conceived such an idea ; because 
it never conceived a Messiah like Jesus. The patriarchs 
indeed had been tried and proved ; so had Moses, and all the 
heroes of faith in Israel. And Rabbinic legend, enlarging 
upon the Biblical narratives, has much to tell of the original 
envy of the Angels ; of the assaults of Satan upon Abraham, 
when about to offer up Isaac ; of attempted resistance by 
the Angels to Israel's reception of the Law ; and of the 
final vain endeavour of Satan to take away the soul of 
Moses. Foolish, and even blasphemous, as some of these 
legends are, thus much at least clearly stands out, that 
spiritual trials must precede spiritual elevation. In their 
own language : ' The Holy One, blessed be His Name, does 
not elevate a man to dignity till He has first tried and 
searched him ; and if he stands in temptation, then He 
raises him to dignity.' 

But so far from any idea obtaining that Satan was to 
assault the Messiah, in a well-known passage the Arch- 
enemy is represented as overwhelmed and falling on his 
face at sight of Him, and owning his complete defeat. 

Thus, though such ideas were, indeed, present to the 
Jewish mind, they were so in a sense opposite to the 

The Temptation of Jesus 47 

Gospel narratives. But if the narrative cannot be traced 
to Rabbinic legend, the question may be raised if it be not 
an adaptation of an Old Testament narrative, such as the 
account of the forty days' fast of Moses on the mount, or of 
Elijah in the wilderness ? Viewing the Old Testament in 
its unity, and the Messiah as the apex in the column of its 
history, we admit — or rather, we must expect — throughout 
points of correspondence between Moses, Elijah, and the 
Messiah. In fact, these may be described as marking the 
three stages in the history of the Covenant. Moses was 
its giver, Elijah its restorer, the Messiah its renewer and 
perfecter. And as such they all had, in a sense, a similar 
outward consecration for their work. But that neither Moses 
nor Elijah was assailed by the Devil, constitutes not the 
only, though a vital, difference between the fast of Moses 
and Elijah, and that of Jesus. Moses fasted in the middle, 
Elijah at the end, Jesus at the beginning of His ministry. 
Moses fasted in the Presence of God ; Elijah alone ; Jesus 
assaulted by the Devil. Moses had been called up by God ; 
Elijah had gone forth in the bitterness of his own spirit ; 
Jesus was driven by the Spirit. Moses failed after his 
forty days' fast, when in indignation he cast the Tables of 
the Law from him ; Elijah failed before his forty days' 
fast ; Jesus was assailed for forty days and endured the 
trial. Moses was angry against Israel ; Elijah despaired 
of Israel ; Jesus overcame for Israel. 

Before proceeding farther, a most difficult and solemn 
question arises : In what respect could Jesus Christ, the 
Perfect Sinless Man, the Son of God, have been tempted 
of the Devil ? That He was so tempted is of the very 
essence of this narrative, confirmed throughout His after- 
life, and laid down as a fundamental principle in the 
• Heb. iv. teaching and faith of the Church. a On the other 
15 hand, temptation without the inward correspond- 

ence of existent sin is not only unthinkable, so far as man 
„ st James is concerned, 1 * but temptation without the possi- 
L 14 bility of sin seems unreal — a kind of Docetism. 1 

* The heresy which represents the Body of Christ as only apparent, 
not real. 

4^ Jesus the Mess/ah 

Yet the very passage of Holy Scripture in which Christ's 
equality with us as regards all temptation is expressed, 
also emphatically excepts from it this one particular, sin* 
• Heb. iv. not only in the sense that Christ actually did not 
J 5 st. James sm ? nor merely in this, that ' our concupiscence ' b 
114 had no part in His temptations, but emphatically 

in this also, that the notion of sin has to be wholly ex- 
cluded from our thoughts of Christ's temptations. 

To obtain, if we can, a clearer understanding of this 
subject, two points must be kept in view. Christ's was 
real, though unfallen Human Nature; and Christ's Human 
was in inseparable union with His Divine Nature. Jesus 
voluntarily took upon Himself human nature with all its 
infirmities and weaknesses — but without the moral taint 
of the Fall : without sin. It was human nature, in itself 
capable of sinning, but not having sinned. The position 
of the first Adam was that of being capable of not sinning, 
not that of being incapable of sinning. The first Adam 
would have been ' perfected' — or passed from the capability 
of not sinning to the incapability of sinning — by obedience. 
That ' obedience ' — or absolute submission to the Will of 
God — was the grand outstanding characteristic of Christ's 
work ; but it was so, because He was not only the Un- 
sinning, Unfallen Man, but also the Son of God. To sum 
up : The Second Adam, morally unfallen, though volun- 
tarily subject to all the conditions of our Nature, was, 
with a peccable Human Nature, absolutely impeccable 
as being also the Son of God — a peccable Nature, yet an 
impeccable Person : the God-Man, ' tempted in regard to 
all (things) in like manner (as we), without (excepting) 

A few sentences are here required in explanation of 
seeming differences in the Evangelical narration of the 
event. The historical part of St. John's Gospel begins 
after the Temptation — that is, with the actual Ministry 
of Christ. If St. Mark only summarises in his own brief 
manner, he supplies the twofold notice that Jesus was 
' driven ' into the wilderness, ' and was with the wild 
beasts,' which is in fullest internal agreement with the 

The Temptation of Jesus 49 

detailed narratives of St. Matthew and St. Luke. The 
only noteworthy difference between these two is that 
St. Matthew places the Temple- temptation before that of 
the world-kingdom, while St. Luke inverts this order, 
probably because his narrative was primarily intended for 
Gentile readers, to whose mind this might present itself 
as to them the true gradation of temptation. To St. 
Matthew we owe the notice, that after the Temptation 
'Angels came and ministered' unto Jesus ; to St. Luke, 
that the Tempter only ' departed from Him for a season.' 

During the whole forty days of Christ's stay in the wil- 
derness His temptation continued, though it only attained 
its high-point at the last, when, after the long fast, He 
felt the weariness and weakness of hunger. As fasting 
occupies but a very subordinate place in the teaching of 
Jesus, and as, so far as we know, He exercised on no other 
occasion such ascetic practices, we are left to infer internal, 
as well as external, necessity for it in the present instance. 
The former is easily understood in His pre-occupation ; 
the latter must have had for its object to reduce Him to 
utmost outward weakness, by the depression of all the 
vital powers. We regard it as a psychological fact that, 
under such circumstances, of all mental faculties the 
memory alone is active, indeed almost preternatu rally 
active. During the preceding thirty-nine days the plan, 
or rather the future, of the Work to which He had been 
consecrated, must have been always before Him. It is 
impossible that He hesitated for a moment as to the means 
by which He was to establish the Kingdom of God. The 
unchangeable convictions which He had already attained 
must have stood out before Him : that His Father's business 
was the Kingdom of God ; that He was furnished to it, 
not by outward weapons, but by the abiding Presence of 
the Spirit ; above all, that absolute submission to the Will 
of God was the way to it, nay, itself the Kingdom of God. 
It will be observed that it was on these very points that 
the final attack of the Enemy was directed in the utmost 
weakness of Jesus. But, on the other hand, the Tempter 
could not have failed to assault Him with considerations 


50 Jesus the Messiah 

which He must have felt to be true. How could He hope, 
alone, and with such principles, to stand against Israel ? 
He knew their views and feelings ; and as, day by day, 
the sense of utter loneliness and forsakenness increasingly 
gathered around Him, in His increasing faintness and 
weakness, the seeming hopelessness of such a task as He 
had undertaken must have grown upon Him with almost 
overwhelming power. Alternately, the temptation to de- 
spair, presumption, or the cutting short of the contest 
in some decisive manner, must have presented itself to 
His mind, or rather have been presented to it, by the 

And this was, indeed, the essence of His last three 
great temptations; which, as the whole contest, resolved 
themselves into the one question of absolute submission to 
the Will of God. If He submitted to it, it must be suffer- 
ing — suffering to the bitter end ; to the extinction of life, 
in the agonies of the Cross ; denounced, betrayed, rejected 
by His people. And when thus beaten about by tempta- 
tion, His powers reduced to the lowest ebb of faintness, all 
the more vividly would memory hold out the facts so well 
known.: the scene lately enacted by the banks of Jordan, 
and the two great expectations of His own people, that the 
Messiah was to head Israel from the Sanctuary of the 
Temple, and that all kingdoms of the world were to become 
subject to Him. 

He is weary with the contest, faint with hunger, alone 
in that wilderness. He must, He will absolutely submit 
to the Will of God. But can this be the Will of God ? 
One word of power, and the scene would be changed. By 
His Will the Son of God, as the Tempter suggests — not, 
however, calling thereby in question His Sonship, but 
rather proceeding on its admitted reality — can change the 
stones into bread. He can do miracles — put an end to 
present want and question, and, as visibly the possessor of 
absolute miraculous power, the goal is reached ! But this 
would really have been to change the idea of Old Testament 
miracle into the heathen conception of magic, which- was 
absolute power inherent in an individual, without moral 

The Temptation of Jesus 51 

purpose. The moral purpose — the grand moral purpose 
in all that was of God — was absolute submission to the 
Will of God. His Spirit had driven Him into that wil- 
derness. His circumstances were God-appointed, and 
where He so appoints them, He will support us in them, 
even as in the failure of bread, He supported Israel by 
the manna. a Jesus does more than not succumb : 
He conquers. The Scriptural reference to a better 
life upon the Word of God marks more than the end of 
the contest ; it marks the conquest of Satan. He emerges 
on the other side triumphant, with this expression of His 
assured conviction of the sufficiency of God. 

Jt cannot be despair — and He cannot take up His 
Kingdom alone, in the exercise of mere power. If it be 
not despair of God, let it be presumption ! 

The Spirit of God had driven Jesus into the wilderness ; 
the spirit of the Devil now carried Him to Jerusalem. Jesus 
stands on the lofty pinnacle of the Tower, or of the Temple- 
porch, presumably that on which every day a Priest was 
stationed to watch, as the pale morning light passed over 
the hills of Judaea far off to Hebron, to announce it as 
the signal for offering the morning sacrifice. In the next 
temptation Jesus stands on the watch-post which the 
white-robed Priest has just quitted. Fast the morning 
light is spreading over the land. In the Priests' Court 
below Him the morning-sacrifice has been offered. The 
massive Temple-gates are slowly opening, and the blast of 
the Priests' silver trumpets is summoning Israel to begin 
a new day by appearing before their Lord. Now then let 
Him descend, Heaven-borne, into the midst of Priests and 
people. What shouts of acclamation would greet His 
appearance ! What homage of worship would be His ! The 
goal can at once be reached, and that at the head of 
believing Israel. 

Jesus is surveying the scene. By His side is the 
Tempter. The goal might indeed thus be reached; but 
not the Divine goal, nor in God's way — and, as so often, 
Scripture itself explained and guarded the Divine promise 
by a preceding Divine command. And thus once more 

B 2 

52 Jesus the Mess/ ah 

Jesus not only is not overcome, but He overcomes by 
absolute submission to the Will of God. 

To submit to the Will of God ! But is not this to 
acknowledge His authority, and the order and disposition 
which He has made of all things ? Once more the scene 
changes. They have turned their backs upon Jerusalem 
and the Temple. Behind are also all popular prejudices, 
narrow nationalism, and limitations. They no longer 
breathe the stifled air, thick with the perfume of incense. 
They have taken their flight into God's wide world. There 
they stand on the top of some very high mountain. Before 
Him from out the cloud-land at the e^ge of the horizon 
the world, in all its glory, beauty, strength, majesty, lies 
unveiled. Its work, its might, its greatness, its art, its 
thought, emerge into clear view. It is a world quite other 
than that which the retiring Son of the retired Nazareth- 
home had ever seen, that opens its enlarging wonders. 
But passingly sublime as it must have appeared to the 
Perfect Man, the God-Man — and to Him far more than to 
us from His infinitely deeper appreciation of, and wider 
sympathy with the good, the true, and the beautiful — He 
had already overcome. It was, indeed, not ' worship,' but 
homage which the Evil One claimed from Jesus, and that 
on the apparently rational ground that, in its present state, 
all this world ' was delivered ' unto him, and he exercised 
the power of giving it to whom he would. But in this 
very fact lay the answer to the suggestion. High above 
this moving scene of glory and beauty arched the deep 
blue of God's heaven, and brighter than the sun, which 
poured its light over the sheen and dazzle beneath, stood 
out the fact : ' I must be about My Father's business ; ' 
above the din of far-off sounds rose the voice : ' Thy King- 
dom come ! ' Was not all this the Devil's to have and to 
give, because it was not the Father's Kingdom, to which 
Jesus had consecrated Himself? To destroy all this : to 
destroy the works of the Devil, to abolish his kingdom, to 
set man free from his dominion, was the very object of 
Christ's Mission. On the ruins of the past shall the new 
arise. It is to become the Kingdom of God ; and Christ's 

The Temptation of Jesus 53 

consecration to it is to be the corner-stone of its new 
Temple. Those scenes are to be transformed into one of 
higher worship ; those sounds to merge into a melody, of 
praise. An endless train, unnumbered multitudes from 
afar, are to bring their gifts, to pour their wealth, to con- 
secrate their wisdom, to dedicate their beauty — to lay it all 
in lowly worship as humble offering at His feet. And so 
Satan's greatest becomes to Christ his coarsest temptation, 
which He casts from Him ; and the words : ' Thou shalt 
worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve,' 
which now receive their highest fulfilment, mark not only 
Satan's defeat and Christ's triumph, but the principle of 
His Kingdom — of all victory and all triumph. 

Foiled, defeated, the Enemy has spread his dark pinions 
towards that far-off world of his, and covered it with their 
shadow. The sun no longer glows with melting heat ; the 
mists have gathered on the edge of the horizon, and en- 
wrapped the scene which has faded from view. And in 
the cool and shade that followed have the Angels come and 
ministered to His wants, both bodily and mental. He 
would not yield to Jewish dream ; He did not pass from 
despair to presumption ; and lo, after the contest, with no 
reward as its object, all is His. He would not have Satan's 
vassals as His legions, and all Heaven's hosts are at His 

They had been overcome, these three temptations 
against submission to the Will of God, present, personal, 
and specifically Messianic. Yet all His life long there 
were echoes of them : of the first, in the suggestion of His 
• st. John brethren to show Himself* ; of the second, in the 
vii. 3-5 popular attempt to make Him a king, and per- 
haps also in what constituted the final idea of Judas 
Iscariot; of the third, as being most plainly Satanic, in 
the question of Pilate : i Art Thou then a king ? ' 

54 Jesus the Messiah 




(St. Joljn i. 19-24.) 

Apart from the carnal form which it had taken, there 
is something sublime in the continuance and intensity 
of the Jewish expectation of the Messiah. It outlived 
not only the delay of long centuries, but the persecutions 
and scattering of the people ; it continued under the 
disappointment of the Maccabees, the rule of a Herod, 
the administration of a corrupt and contemptible Priest- 
hood, and, finally, the government of Rome as represented 
by a Pilate ; nay, it grew in intensity almost in pro- 
portion as it seemed unlikely of realisation. These are 
facts which show that the doctrine of the Kingdom, as the 
sum and substance of Old Testament teaching, was the 
very heart of Jewish religious life; while, at the same 
time, they evidence a moral elevation which placed abstract 
religious conviction far beyond the reach of passing events, 
and clung to it with a tenacity which nothing could 

Tidings of what these many months had occurred by 
the banks of the Jordan must have early reached Jeru- 
salem, and ultimately stirred to the depths its religious 
society, whatever its preoccupation with ritual questions 
or political matters. For it was not an ordinary move- 
ment, nor in connection with any of the existing parties, 
religious or political. An extraordinary preacher, of 
extraordinary appearance and habits, not aiming, like 
others, after renewed zeal in legal observances, or increased 
Levitical purity, but preaching repentance and moral 
renovation in preparation for the coming Kingdom, and 
sealing this novel doctrine with an equally novel rite, had 
drawn from town and country multitudes of all classes — 
inquirers, penitents, and novices. The great and burning 

The Deputation from Jerusalem 55 

question seemed, what the real character and meaning of 
it was ? or rather, whence did it issue, and whither did it 
tend? The religious leaders of the people proposed to 
answer this by instituting an inquiry through a trust- 
worthy deputation. 

That the interview referred to occurred after the Bap- 
tism of Jesus, appears from the whole context. Similarly, 
the statement that the deputation which came to John was 
* sent from Jerusalem ' by ' the Jews ' implies that it pro- 
ceeded from authority, even if it did not bear more than a 
semi-official character. For, although the expression ' Jews ' 
in the fourth Gospel generally conveys the idea of con- 
trast to the disciples of Christ (e.g. St. John vii. 15), 
yet it refers to the people in their corporate capacity, that 
is, as represented by their constituted religious authori- 
ties/ On the other hand, it seems a legitimate 
johnTit' inference that, considering their own tendencies, 
22Jx^iifi2. and the political dangers connected with such a 
31 ' ' step, the Sanhedrin of Jerusalem would not have 

come to the formal resolution of sending a regular deputa- 
tion on such an inquiry. Moreover, a measure like this 
would have been entirely outside their recognised mode of 
procedure. It is quite true that judgment upon false 
prophets and religious seducers lay with it ; but the Bap- 
tist had not as yet said or done anything to lay him open 
to such an accusation. If, nevertheless, it seems most 
probable that ' the Priests and Levites ' came from the 
Sanhedrin, we are led to the conclusion that theirs was an 
informal mission, rather privately arranged than publicly 
determined upon. 

And with this the character of the deputies agrees. 
' Priests and Levites '—the colleagues of John the Priest 
—would be selected for such an errand, rather than leading 
Rabbinic authorities. The presence of the latter would, 
indeed, have given to the movement an importance, if not 
a sanction, which the Sanhedrin could not have wished. 
Finally, it seems quite natural that such an informal in- 
quiry, set on foot most probably by the Sanhedrists, should 
have been entrusted exclusively to the Pharisaic party. 

56 Jesus the Messiah 

It would in no way have interested the Sadducees ; and 
» st. Matt, what members of that party had seen of John a 
iii.7,&o. mus (j nave convinced them that his views and 
aims lay entirely beyond their horizon. 

The two great parties of Pharisees and Sadducees ! 
mark, not sects, but mental directions, such as in their 
principles are natural and universal, and, indeed, appear 
in connection with all metaphysical questions. The latter 
originally represented a reaction from the Pharisees — the 
moderate men, who sympathised with the later tendencies 
of the Maccabees. 

Without entering on the principles and supposed prac- 
tices of ' the fraternity ' or ' association ' of Pharisees, 
which was comparatively small, numbering only about 
6,000 members, the following particulars may be of in- 
terest. The object of the association was twofold: to 
observe in the strictest manner, and according to tradi- 
tional law, all the ordinances concerning Levitical purity, 
and to be extremely punctilious in all connected with 
religious dues (tithes and all other dues). A person might 
undertake only the second, without the first of these obli- 
gations. But he could not undertake the vow of Levitical 
purity without also taking the obligation of all religious 
dues. If he undertook both vows he was a Chabher, or 
A^.ociate. Here there were four degrees, marking an 
ascending scale of Levitical purity, or separation from all 
that was profane. In opposition to these was the Am ha- 
arets, or ' country people ' (the people which knew not, or 
cared not for the law, and were regarded as ' cursed '). 

The two great obligations of the ' official ' Pharisee, or 
h OA T , c Associate ' — that in regard to tithing b and that 

D St. Luke . -i.T'i'i* • 

xi. 42 ; xvrii. m regard to Levitical purity — are pointedly re- 
iiiii St 23 Matt * ferred to by Christ. In both cases they are associ- 
xi S 3Mi k ? atec * w * tn a want °f corresponding inward reality, 
Sd^'saKe anc * w ^ hyP ocr i s y- But the sayings of some 
of the Rabbis in regard to Pharisaism and the 

1 For further particulars as to the origin and peculiar views and 
practices of these parties see ' Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah,' 
Book i. ch. viii., and Book iii. ch. ii. 

Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes 5; 

professional Pharisee are more withering than any in the 
New Testament. Such an expression as ' the plague of 
Pharisaism ' is not uncommon ; and a silly pietist, a clever 
sinner, and a female Pharisee, are ranked among ■ the 
troubles of life.'' The Sadducees had, indeed, some reason 
for the taunt, that ' the Pharisees would by-and-by subject 
the globe of the sun itself to their purifications,' the more 
so that their assertions of purity were sometimes conjoined 
with Epicurean maxims, betokening a very different state 
of mind, such as, ' Make haste to eat and drink, for the 
world which we quit resembles a wedding feast.' 

But it would be unjust to identify Pharisaism, as a 
religious direction, with such embodiments of it, or even 
with the official ' fraternity.' While it may be granted 
that the tendency and logical sequence of their views and 
practices were such, their system, as opposed to Saddu- 
ceeism, had very serious bearings: dogmatic, ritual, and 

The fundamental dogmatic differences between the 
Pharisees and Sadducees concerned : the rule of faith and 
practice ; the ' after death ; ' the existence of angels and 
spirits ; and free will and predestination. In regard to 
the first of these points, the Sadducees did not lay down 
the principle of absolute rejection of all traditions as such, 
but they were opposed to traditionalism as represented 
and carried out by the Pharisees. When put down by 
sheer weight of authority, they would probably carry the 
controversy further, and retort on their opponents by an 
appeal to Scripture as against their traditions, perhaps 
ultimately even by an attack on traditionalism ; but always 
as represented by the Pharisees. A careful examination 
of the statements of Josephus on this subject will show 
that they convey no more than this. That there was 
sufficient ground for Sadducean opposition to Pharisaic 
traditionalism, alike in principle and in practice, will 
appear from the following quotation, to which we add, 
by way of explanation, that the wearing of phylacteries 
was deemed by that party of Scriptural obligation, and 
that the phylactery for the head was to consist (according 

5 8 Jesus the Messiah 

to tradition) of four compartments. ' Against the words 
of the Scribes is more punishable than against the words 
of Scripture. He who says, No phylacteries, so as to 
transgress the words of Scripture, is not guilty (free) ; [he 
who says] five compartments — to add to the words of 
the Scribes — he is guilty.' 

The second doctrinal difference between Pharisees and 
Sadducees concerned the ' after death/ According to the 

New Testament,* the Sadducees denied the re- 
xxii.23, and surrection of the dead, while Josephus, going 
Egeif Acta further, imputes to them denial of reward or 
xxikV punishment after death, and even the doctrine 

that the soul perishes with the body. The latter 
statement may be dismissed as among those inferences 
which theological controversialists are too fond of im- 
puting to their opponents. But it is otherwise in regard 
to their denial of the resurrection of the dead. Not only 
Josephus. but the New Testament and Rabbinic writings, 
attest this. The Mishnah expressly states that the 
formula ' from age to age,' or rather ' from world to world,' 
had been introduced as a protest against the opposite 
theory; while the Talmud, which records disputations 
between Gamaliel and the Sadducees on the subject of 
the resurrection, expressly imputes the denial of this 
doctrine to the ' Scribes of the Sadducees.' In fairness 
it is perhaps only right to add that in the discussion 
the Sadducees seem only to have actually denied that 
there was proof for this doctrine in the Pentateuch, and 
that they ultimately professed themselves convinced by 
the reasoning of Rabbi Gamaliel. Whether or not their 
opposition to the doctrine of the resurrection in the first 
instance was prompted by rationalistic views, which they 
endeavoured to support by an appeal to the letter of 
the Pentateuch, as the source of traditionalism, it deserves 
notice that in His controversy with the Sadducees Christ 
appealed to the Pentateuch in proof of His teaching 

Connected with this was the equally rationalistic 
m 8 °PP OSRC i on to belief in Angels and Spirits. b 

Remembering what the Jewish Angelology was 3 


one can scarcely wonder that in controversy the Sadducees 
should have been led to the opposite extreme. 

The last dogmatic difference between the two ? sects' 
concerned the problem of man's free will and God's pre- 
ordination, or rather their compatibility. The difference 
seems to have been this : that the Pharisees accentuated 
God's pre-ordination, the Sadducees man's free will; and 
that, while the Pharisees admitted only a partial influence 
of the human element on what happened, or the co-opera- 
tion of the human with the Divine, the Sadducees denied 
all absolute pre-ordination, and made man's choice of evil 
or good, with its consequences of misery or happiness, to 
depend entirely on the exercise of free will and self- 

The other differences between the Pharisees and 
Sadducees can be easily and briefly summed up. They 
concern ceremonial, ritual, and juridical questions. In 
regard to the first, the opposition of the Sadducees to the 
excessive scruples of the Pharisees on the subject of 
Levitical defilements led to frequent controversy. 

Even greater importance attached to differences on 
ritual questions, although the controversy here was purely 
theoretical. For the Sadducees, when in office, always 
conformed to the prevailing Pharisaic practices. But 
the Sadducean objection to pouring the water of libation 
upon the altar on the Feast of Tabernacles, led to riot 
and bloody reprisals on the only occasion on which it 
seems to have been carried into practice. 1 There were 
also many other minor differences which need not here be 

Among the divergences on juridical questions it may 
be mentioned that the Sadducees only allowed marriage 
with the l betrothed,' and not with the actually espoused 
widow of a deceased childless brother. 2 Josephus, indeed, 

1 For details about the observances on this festival, I must refer to 
' The Temple, its Ministry and Services.' 

2 The Sadducees in the Gospel argue on the Pharisaic theory, 
apparently for the twofold object of casting ridicule on the doctrine of 
the resurrection, and on the Pharisaic practice of marriage with the 
espoused wife of a deceased brother. 

60 Jesus the Messiah 

charges the Sadducees with extreme severity in criminal 
matters ; but this must refer to the fact that the ingenuity 
or punctiliousness of the Pharisees would afford to most 
offenders a loophole of escape. On the other hand, such of 
the diverging juridical principles of the Sadducees as are 
attested on trustworthy authority, seem more in accord- 
ance with justice than those of the Pharisees. 

With the exception of dogmatic differences, the con- 
troversy between the two parties turned on questions of 
' canon-law.' Josephus tells us that the Pharisees com- 
manded the masses, and especially the female world, while 
the Sadducees attached to their ranks only a minority, and 
that belonging to the highest class. The leading priests 
in Jerusalem formed, of course, part of that highest class 
of society; and from the New Testament and Josephus 
we learn that the High-Priestly families belonged to the 
• Acts y. 17 Sadduc ^ an party. a But not a few of the 

Pharisaic leaders were actually priests, while 
the Pharisaic ordinances make more than ample recog- 
nition of the privileges and rights of the Priesthood. Even 
as regards the deputation to the Baptist of ' Priests and 
b st. John i. Levites' from Jerusalem, we are expressly told 

that they ' were of the Pharisees.' b 
The name Pharisees, ' TerusMmJ ' separated ones,' was 
not taken by the party itself, but given to it by their 
opponents. From 1 Mace. ii. 42 ; vii. ] 3 ; 2 Mace. xiv. 6 
it appears that originally they had taken the sacred 
cPaxxx4 . name of Ghasidim, or 'the pious.' c This, no 
xxxi.23;' ' doubt, on the ground that they were truly 
^S^i ; ix. those who, according to the directions of Ezra, d 
n££j nad separated themselves 'from the filthiness of 

the heathen ' (all heathen defilement) by carry- 
ing out the traditional ordinances. 1 The derivation of the 
name ' Sadducee ' has always been in dispute. But the 
inference is at hand, that, while the 'Pharisees' would 
arrogate to themselves the Scriptural name of Ghasidim, 
or 'the pious,' their opponents would retort that they 
were satisfied to be Tsaddiqim, or ' righteous.' Thus the 
1 Comp. generally, ■ Sketches of Jewish Social Life,' pp. 230, 231. 

Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes 6i 

name of Tsaddiqim would become that of the party- 
opposing the Pharisees, that is, of the Sadducees. 

There remains yet another party, mention of which 
could not be omitted in any description of those times. 
But while the Pharisees and Sadducees were parties within 
the Synagogue, the Essenes 1 were, although strict Jews, 
yet separatists, and, alike in doctrine, worship, and prac- 
tice, outside the Jewish body ecclesiastic. Their numbers 
amounted to only about 4,000. They are not mentioned 
in the New Testament, and only very indirectly referred 
to in Rabbinic writings. Their entire separation from all 
who did not belong to their sect, the terrible oaths by 
which they bound themselves to secrecy about their 
doctrines, and which would prevent any free religious dis- 
cussion, as well as the character of what is known of their 
views, would account for the scanty notices about them. 

On one point, at least, our brief inquiry can leave no 
doubt. The Essenes could never have been drawn either 
to the person or the preaching of John the Baptist. 
Similarly, the Sadducees would, after they knew its real 
character and goal, turn contemptuously from a movement 
which would awaken no sympathy in them, and could only 
become of interest when it threatened to endanger their 
class by awakening popular enthusiasm, and so rousing 
the suspicions of the Romans. To the Pharisees there 
were questions of dogmatic, ritual, and even national im- 
portance involved, which made the barest possibility of 
what John announced a question of moment. And, 
although we judge that the report which the earliest 
• st. Matt. Pharisaic hearers of John* brought to Jerusalem 
m - 7 — no doubt, detailed and accurate — and which 

led to the despatch of the deputation, would entirely pre- 
dispose them against the Baptist, yet it behoved them, as 
leaders of public opinion, to take such cognisance of it, as 
would not only finally determine their own relation to the 
movement, but enable them effectually to direct that of 
others also, 

1 For a fuller account of the Essenes see ' Life and Times,' vol. i. 
pp. 324-334. 

62 Jesus the Messiah 



(St. John i. 15-51.) 

The forty days, which had passed since Jesus had come to 
him, must have been to the Baptist a time of unfolding 
understanding, and of ripened decision. On first meeting 
Jesus by the banks of Jordan, he had felt the seeming 
incongruity of baptizing One of Whom he had rather 
need to be baptized. Yet what he needed was not to be 
baptized, but to learn that it became the Christ to fulfil 
all righteousness. This was the first lesson. The next 
and completing one came when after the Baptism the 
heavens opened, the Spirit descended, and the Divine 
Voice of Testimony pointed to, and explained the promised 
• st. John i. sign. a It told him that the work which he had 
33 begun in the obedience of faith had reached 


He had entered upon it not only without illusions, but 
with such entire self-forgetfulness as only deepest con- 
viction of the reality of what he announced could have 
wrought. As we gather the elements of that conviction, 
we find them chiefly in the Book of Isaiah. His speech 
and its imagery, and especially the burden of his message, 
were taken from those prophecies. 

In his announcement of the Kingdom, in his call to 
inward repentance, even in his symbolic Baptism, one 
Great Personality always stood out before the mind of 
John. All else was absorbed in that great fact : he was 
only the voice of one that cried, ' Prepare ye the way ! ' 

And now, on the last of those forty days, simultaneously, 
as it would seem, with the final great Temptation of Jesus, 
which must have summed up all that had preceded it in 
the previous days, came the hour of John's temptation by 

The Twofold Testimony of John 63 

the deputation from Jerusalem. Very gently it came to 
him, not like the storm-blast which swept over the Master. 
Yet a very real temptation it was, this provoking to the 
assumption of successively lower grades of self-assertion, 
where only entire self-abnegation was the rightful feeling. 
And greatest temptation it was when, after the first victory, 
came the not unnatural challenge of his authority for what 
he said and did. This was the question which must at 
all times, from the beginning of his work to the hour of 
his death, have pressed most closely upon him, since it 
touched not only his conscience, but the very ground of 
his mission, nay, of his life. For what was the meaning 
of that question which the disciples of John brought to 
Jesus : 4 Art Thou He that should come, or do we look 
for another ? ' other than doubt of his own warrant and 
authority for what he had said and done? But in that 
first time of his trial at Bethabara he overcame — the first 
temptation by the humility of his intense sincerity, the 
second by the simplicity of his own experimental con- 
viction; the first by what he had seen, the second by 
what he had heard concerning the Christ at the banks of 

Yet, as we view it, the questions of the Pharisaic 
deputation seem but natural. After his previous emphatic 
disclaimer at the beginning of his preaching (St. Luke iii. 
15), of which they in Jerusalem could scarcely have been 
ignorant, the suggestion of his Messiahship — not indeed 
expressly made, but sufficiently implied to elicit what the 
language of the fourth Gospel shows to have been the most 
energetic denial — could scarcely have been more than 
tentative. It was otherwise with their question whether he 
were ' Elijah.' Yet, bearing in mind what we know of the 
Jewish expectations of Elijah, this also could scarcely have 
been meant in its full literality— but rather as ground for 
the further question after the goal and warrant of his 
mission. Hence also John's disavowing of such claims is 
not satisfactorily accounted for by the common explana- 
tion, that he denied being Elijah in the sense of not being 
what the Jews expected of the Forerunner of the Messiah : 

64 Jesus the Messiah 

the real, identical Elijah of the days of Ahab; or else, 
that he denied being such in the sense of the peculiar 
Jewish hopes attaching to his reappearance in ' the last 
days.' There is much deeper truth in the disclaimer of 
the Baptist. It was, indeed, true that, as foretold in the 

• st Luke i. Angelic announcement,* he was sent 'in the 
17 spirit and power of Elias,' that is, with the same 
object and the same qualifications. Similarly, it is true 
what, in His mournful retrospect of the result of John's 
mission, and in the prospect of His own end, the Saviour 
said of him : ' Elias is indeed come.' But ' the spirit and 
power' of the Elijah of the New Testament, which was to 
accomplish the inward restoration through penitent recep- 
tion of the Kingdom of God in its reality, could only ac- 
complish that object if ' they received it ' — if ' they knew 
him.' And as in his own view, so also in very fact the 
Baptist, though Divinely such, was not really Elijah to 
Israel. This is the meaning of the words of Jesus : ' And 
b st Matt> if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for 
xi - u to come.' b 

More natural still seems the third question of the 
Pharisees, whether the Baptist were ' that prophet/ The 
reference here is undoubtedly to Deut. xviii. 15, 18. Not 
that the reappearance of Moses as lawgiver was expected. 
But the prediction taken in connection with the pro- 

• Jer. xxxi. mise c of a ' new covenant ' with a l new law ' 
31 &c written in the hearts of the people was expected 
to take place in Messianic days, and by the instrumentality 
of ( that prophet.' 

Whatever views the Jewish embassy might have enter- 
tained concerning the abrogation, renewal, or renovation 
of the Law in Messianic times, the Baptist repelled the 
suggestion of his being ' that prophet ' with the same 
energy as those of his being either the Christ or Elijah. 
We mark increased intensity and directness in the testi- 
d S t. John i. niony which he now bears to the Christ before the 
22-28 Jerusalem deputies.* 1 

And the reward of his overcoming temptation was at 
hand. On the very day of the Baptist's temptation Jesus 

The Twofold Testimony of John 65 

had left the wilderness. On the morrow after it, c John 
seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold, the Lamb 
of God, Which taketh away the sin of the world ! ' We 
cannot doubt, that the thought here present to the mind 
of John was the description of ' The Servant of 
nil Jehovah,' as set forth in Is. liii. It must always 

b Comp st# have been Messianically understood ; a it formed 
Matt. via. the groundwork of Messianic thought to the New 

17 ; St. Luke rr . & . -i • -i i r« t 

xxii. 37; Testament writers b — nor did the Synagogue read 
32°; iPet.ii. it otherwise, till the necessities of controversy 
22 diverted its application, not indeed from the 

times, but from the Person of the Messiah. But we can 
understand how, during those forty days, this greatest 
height of Isaiah's conception of the Messiah was the one 
outstanding fact before his view. And what he believed, 
that he spake, when again, and unexpectedly, he saw 

Yet, while regarding his words as an appeal to the 
prophecy of Isaiah, two other references must not be ex- 
cluded from them : those to the Paschal Lamb, and to the 
Daily Sacrifice. These are, if not directly pointed to, yet 
implied. For the Paschal Lamb was, in a sense, the basis 
of all the sacrifices of the Old Testament, not only from its 
saving import to Israel, but as that which really made 
them ' the Church,' and people of God. Hence the institu- 
tion of the Paschal Lamb was, so to speak, only enlarged 
and applied in the daily sacrifice of a Lamb, m which 
this twofold idea of redemption and fellowship was ex- 
hibited. Lastly, the prophecy of Isaiah liii. was but the 
complete realisation of these two ideas in the -Messiah. 
Neither could the Paschal Lamb with its completion in 
the Daily Sacrifice be properly viewed without this pro- 
phecy of Isaiah, nor yet that prophecy properly understood 
without its reference to its two great types. Jewish com- 
ment explains how the morning and evening sacrifices were 
intended to atone, the one for the sins of the night, the 
other for those of the day, so as ever to leave Israel guilt- 
less before God ; and it expressly ascribes to them the 
efficacy of a Faraclete— that being the word used. And 


66 Jesus the Messiah 

both the school of Shammai and that of Hillel insisted on 
the symbolic import of the Lamb of the Daily Sacrifice in 
regard to the forgiveness of sin. In view of such clear 
testimony from the time of Christ, less positiveness of 
assertion might, not unreasonably, be expected from those 
who declare that the sacrifices bore no reference to the 
forgiveness of sins, just as, in the face of the application 
made by the Baptist and other New Testament writers, 
more exegetical modesty seems called for on the part of 
those who deny the Messianic references in Isaiah. 

It was, as we have reason to believe, the early morning 
of a Sabbath. John stood, with the two of his disciples 
who most shared his thoughts and feelings. One of them 
we know to have been Andrew (v. 40) ; the other, un- 
named one, could have been no other than John himself, 
the beloved disciple. They had heard what their teacher 
had on the previous day said of Jesus. And now that 
Figure once more appeared in view. The Baptist is not 
teaching now, but learning, as the intensity and penetra- 
tion of his gaze calls from him the now worshipful repeti- 
tion of what, on the previous day, he had explained and 
enforced. There was no leave-taking on the part of these 
two — perhaps they meant not to leave John. It needed 
no direction of John, no call from Jesus. But as they 
went, in the dawn of their rising faith, He turned Him. It 
was not because He discerned it not that He put to them 
the question, ' What seek ye ? ' which elicited a reply so 
simple, so real, as to carry its own evidence. He is still 
to them the Rabbi — the most honoured title they can find 
— yet marking still the strictly Jewish view, as well as 
their own standpoint of ' What seek ye ? ' There is strict 
correspondence to their view in the words of Jesus. Their 
very Hebraism of ' Rabbi ' is met by the equally Hebraic 
1 Come and see ; ' l their unspoken, but half-conscious 
longing by what the invitation implied. 

1 The precise date of the origin of this designation is not quite clear. 
When Jesus is so addressed it is in the sense of ■ my Teacher.' Nor 
can there be any reasonable doubt that thus it was generally current 
in and before the time noted in the Gospels. The expression * Come 

The Fir si Disciples 6y 

It was but early morning — ten o'clock. 1 The form of 
the narrative and its very words convey, that the two, not 
learners now but teachers, had gone, each to search for his 
brother — Andrew for Simon Peter, and John for James. 
Here already, at the outset of this history, the haste of 
energy characteristic of the sons of Jona 2 outdistanced the 
st. John i. m ore quiet intenseness of John : a ' He (Andrew) 
41 first findeth his own brother.' But Andrew and 

John equally brought the same announcement, still 
markedly Hebraic in its form : ■ We have found the 
Messias.' This, then, was the outcome to them of that 
day — He was the Messiah ; and this the goal which their 
longing had reached, ' We have found Him.' 

And still this day of first marvellous discovery had not 
closed. It could scarcely have been but that Andrew had 
told Jesus of his brother, and even asked leave to bring 
him. The searching glance of the Saviour now read in 
Peter's inmost character his future call and work : ' Thou 
art Simon, the son of John — thou shalt be called Cephas, 
which is interpreted (Grecianised) Peter.' 

It was Sunday morning, the first of Christ's Mission- 
work, the first of His Preaching. He was purposing to re- 
turn to Galilee. The first Jerusalem-visit must be prepared 
for by them all ; and he would not go there till the right 
time — for the Paschal Feast. It was probably a distance of 
about twenty miles from Bethany (Bethabara) to Cana. By 
the way, two other disciples were to be gained — this time 
not brought but called, where and in what precise circum- 
stances we know not. But the notice that Philip was a 

and see' is among the most common Rabbinic formulas, although 
generally connected with the acquisition of special and important in- 

1 The common supposition is, that the time must be computed 
according to the Jewish method, in which case the tenth hour would 
represent 4 p.m. But remembering that the Jewish day ended with 
sunset, it could, in that case, have been scarcely marked that ' they 
abode with Him that day.' The correct interpretation would therefore 
point in this, as in other passages of St. John, to the Asiatic numeration 
of hours, corresponding to our own. Comp. J. B. McLellarts New 
Testament, pp. 740-7 12. 

2 Note : According to the best text, John, and not Jona, as below. 


68 Jesus the Messiah 

fellow-townsman of Andrew and Peter seems to imply 
some instrumentality on their part. Similarly we gather 
that afterwards Philip was somewhat in advance of the 
rest, when he found his acquaintance Nathanael, and en- 
gaged in conversation with him just as Jesus and the 
others came up. But here also we mark, as another 
characteristic trait of John, that he, and his brother with 
him, seem to have clung close to the Person of Christ, just 
as did Mary afterwards in the house of her brother. It 
was this intense exclusiveness of fellowship with Jesus 
which traced on his mind that fullest picture of the God- 
Man, which his narrative reflects. 

The call to Philip from the lips of the Saviour met 
with immediate responsive obedience. Yet though no 
special obstacles had to be overcome and hence no special 
narrative was called for, it must have implied much of 
learning, to judge from what he did and from what he 
said to Nathanael. In Nathanael's conquest by Christ 
there is something special implied, of which the Lord's 
words give significant hints. Nathanael (Theodore, ' the 
gift of God ') had, as we often read of Rabbis, rested for 
prayer, meditation, or study, in the shadow of that wide- 
spreading tree so common in Palestine, the fig-tree. The 
approaching Passover-season, perhaps mingling with 
thoughts of John's announcement by the banks of Jor- 
dan, would naturally suggest the great deliverance of 
Israel in the age to come. Such a verse as that with which 
the meditation for the New Moon of Nisan, the Passover- 
month, closes — ' Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob 
for his help ' a — would recur, and so lead back the 
mind to the suggestive symbol of Jacob's vision, 
and its realisation in ' the age to come.' 

These are, of course, only suppositions ; but it might 
well be that Philip had found him while still busy with 
such thoughts. It must have seemed a startling answer 
to his thoughts, this announcement, made with the fresh- 
ness of new conviction : ' We have found Him of Whom 
Moses in the Law, and the Prophets, did write.' But 
this addition about the Man of Nazareth, the son of 

The First Disciples 69 

Joseph, would appear a terrible anti-climax. It was so 
different from anything that he had associated either with 
the great hope of Israel, or with the Nazareth of his own 
neighbourhood, that his exclamation, without implying 
any special imputation on the little town, seems only 
natural. There was but one answer to this — that which 
Philip made, which Jesus had made to Andrew and John 1 
* Come and see.' And as he went with him evidences irre- 
fragable multiplied at every step. As he neared Jesus, 
he heard Him speak to the disciples words concerning him, 
which recalled, truly and actually, what had passed in his 
soul. And to his astonished question came such answer 
that he could not but burst into immediate and full acknow- 
ledgment : ' Thou art the Son of God,' Who hast read my 
inmost being ; ' Thou art the King of Israel,' Who dost 
meet its longing and hope. 

Thus Nathanael, ' the God-given ' — or, as we know him 
in after-history, Bartholomew, ' the son of Telamyon ' — 
was on that first Sunday added to the disciples. 


(St. John ii 1-12.) 

We are now to enter on the Ministry of "The Son of 
Man,' first and chiefly in its contrast to the preparatory 
call of the Baptist, with the asceticism symbolic of it. 
We behold Him now as freely mingling with humanity, 
entering into its family life, sanctioning and hallowing all 
by His Presence and blessing ; then as transforming the 
1 water of legal purification ' into the wine of the new dis- 
pensation; and, lastly, as having absolute power as the 
• Son of Man,' being also ' the Son of God ' and ' the King 
of Israel.' 

It must be borne in mind that marriage conveyed to 
the Jews much higher thoughts than merely those of festivity 
and merriment. The pious fasted before it, confessing their 
sins. It was regarded almost as a Sacrament. Entrance 

70 Jesus the Messiah 

into the married state was thought to carry the forgiveness of 
sins. It almost seems as if the relationship of Husband 
and Bride between Jehovah and His people, so frequently 
insisted upon, not only in the Bible, but in Rabbinic 
writings, had always been standing out in the back- 

A special formality, that of ' betrothal' preceded the 
actual marriage by a period varying in length, but not ex- 
ceeding a twelvemonth in the case of a maiden. At the 
betrothal, the bridegroom, personally or by deputy, handed 
to the bride a piece of money or a letter, it being expressly 
stated in each case that the man thereby espoused the 
woman. A legal document fixed the dowry which each 
brought, the mutual obligations, and all other legal points. 

On the evening of the actual marriage, the bride was 
led from her paternal home to that of her husband. First 
came the merry sounds of music; then they who dis- 
tributed among the people wine and oil, and nuts among 
the children ; next the bride, covered with the bridal veil, 
her long hair flowing, surrounded by her companions, and 
led by ' the friends of the bridegroom,' and c the children 
of the bride-chamber.' All around were in festive array ; 
gome carried torches, or lamps on poles ; those nearest had 
myrtle-branches and chaplets of flowers. Every one rose 
to salute the procession, or join it ; and it was deemed 
almost a religious duty to break into praise of the beauty, 
the modesty, or the virtues of the bride. Arrived at her 
new home, she was led to her husband. Some such for- 
mula as : ' Take her according to the Law of Moses and 
of Israel,' would be spoken, and bride and bridegroom 
crowned with garlands. Then a formal legal instrument 
was signed, which set forth that the bridegroom undertook 
to work for her, to honour, keep, and care for her, as is 
the manner of the men of Israel ; that he promised to give 
his maiden-wife at least two hundred Zuz l (or more as 
might be), 2 and to increase her own dowry (which, in the 

If the Zuz be reckoned at 7d. t about 51. 16s 8d. 
2 This, of course, represents only the minimum. In the case of a 
Priest's daughter the ordinary legal minimum was doubled 

The Marriage-Feast in Can a of Galilee yi 

case of a poor orphan, the authorities supplied) by at least 
one-half, and that he also undertook to lay it out for her to 
the best advantage, all his own possessions being guarantee 
for it. Then, after the prescribed washing of hands and 
benediction, the marriage-supper began — the cup being 
filled, and the solemn prayer of bridal benediction spoken 
over it. And so the feast lasted — it might be more than 
one day, till at last ' the friends of the bridegroom ' led the 
bridal pair to the bridal-chamber and bed. Here it ought 
to be specially noticed, as a striking evidence that the 
writer of the fourth Gospel was not only a Hebrew, but 
intimately acquainted with the varying customs prevailing 
in Galilee and in Judaea, that at the marriage of Cana no 
1 friend of the bridegroom ' or ' groomsman ' is mentioned, 
while he is referred to in St. John iii. 29, where the 
words are spoken outside the boundaries of Galilee. For 
among the simpler Galileans the practice of having c friends 
of the bridegroom ' did not obtain, though all the invited 
•com P .st. guests bore the general name of ' children of the 
Matt. ix. 15 bride-chamber/ • 

It was the marriage in Cana of Galilee. All connected 
with the account of it is strictly Jewish — the feast, the 
guests, the invitation of the stranger Rabbi, and its accept- 
ance by Jesus. We are not able to fix with certainty the 
site of the little town of Cana. But if we adopt the most 
probable identification of it with the modern pleasant village 
of Kefir Kenna, a few miles north-east of Nazareth, on the 
road to the Lake of Galilee, we picture it to ourselves as 
on the slope of a hill, its houses rising terrace upon terrace. 
As we approach the little town we come upon a fountain 
of excellent water, around which clustered the village gar- 
dens and orchards that produced in great abundance the 
best pomegranates in Palestine. Here was the home of 
Nathanael-Bartholomew, and it seems not unlikely, that 
with him Jesus had passed the time intervening between 
His arrival and ' the marriage/ to which His Mother had 
come — the omission of all mention of Joseph leading to the 
supposition, that he had died before that time. There is 
not any difficulty in understanding that on His arrival 

72 Jesus the Messiah 

Jesns would hear of this ' marriage,' of the presence of His 
Mother in what seems to have been the house of a friend, 
if not a relative ; that He and His disciples would be bidden 
to the feast ; and that He resolved not only to comply with 
the request, but to use it as a leave-taking from home and 
friends — similar, though also far other, than that of Elisha, 
when he entered on his mission. 

As we pass through the court of that house in Cana, 
and reach the covered gallery which opens on the various 
rooms — in this instance, particularly, on the great reception 
room — all is festively adorned. In the gallery the servants 
move about, and there the ' water-pots ' are ranged, ' after 
the manner of the Jews/ for purification — for the washing 
not only of hands before and after eating, but also of the 
vessels used. a ' Purification ' was one of the 
Markvii. ' main points in Rabbinic sanctity, and the mass 
of the people would have regarded neglect of the 
ordinances of purification as betokening either gross igno- 
rance or daring impiety. 

At any rate, such would not be exhibited on an occasion 
like the present ; and outside the reception-room, as St. 
John relates, six of those stone pots, of which we know from 
Rabbinic writings, were ranged. It seems likely that each 
of these pots might have held from 17 to 25J gallons. For 
such an occasion the family would produce or borrow the 
largest and handsomest stone- vessels that could be procured, 
and it seems to have been the practice to set apart some of 
these vessels exclusively for the use of the bride and of the 
more distinguished guests, while the rest were used by the 
general company. 

Entering the spacious, lofby dining-room, which would 
be brilliantly lighted with lamps and candlesticks, the 
guests are disposed round tables on couches, soft with 
cushions or covered with tapestry, or seated on chairs. The 
bridal blessing has been spoken, and the bridal cup emptied. 
The feast is proceeding — not the common meal, which was 
generally taken about even, according to the Rabbinic say- 
ing, that he who postponed it beyond that hour was as if 
he swallowed a stone — but a festive evening meal. And 

The Marriage-Feast in Can a of Galilee 73 

now there must have been a painful pause, or something 
like it, when the mother of Jesus whispered to Him that 
' the wine failed.' There could, perhaps, be the less cause 
for reticence on this point towards her Son, not merely 
because this failure may have arisen from the accession of 
guests in the persons of Jesus and His disciples, for whom 
no provision had been originally made, but because the gift 
of wine or oil on such occasions was regarded as a meri- 
torious work of charity. 

But all this still leaves the main incidents in the narra- 
tive untouched. How are we to understand the implied 
request of the Mother of Jesus, how His reply, and what 
was the meaning of the miracle ? Although we have no 
absolute certainty of it, we have the strongest internal 
reasons for believing that Jesus had done no miracles these 
thirty years in the home at Nazareth, but lived the life of 
quiet submission and obedient waiting. That was the then 
part of His Work. 

And so when Mary told Him of the want that had arisen, 
it was simply in absolute confidence in her Son, probably 
without any conscious expectancy of a miracle on His part. 
Yet not without a touch of maternal self-consciousness, 
almost pride, that He, Whom she could trust to do anything 
that was needed, was her Son, Whom she could solicit m 
the friendly family whose guests they were — and that what 
He did would be done if not for her sake, yet at her request. 
It was a true earth-view to take of their relationship : the 
outcome of His misunderstood meekness. And therefore it 
was that as on the first misunderstanding in the Temple, 
He had said : ' Wist ye not that I must be about My 
Father's business ? ' so now : ' Woman, what have I to do 
with thee ? ' With that ' business ' earthly relationship, 
however tender, had no connection. 

And Mary did not, and yet she did, understand Him, 
when she turned to the servants with the direction, implicitly 
to follow His behests. What happened is well known: 
how, in the excess of their zeal, they filled the water-pots to 
the brim — an accidental circumstance, yet useful, as show- 
ing that there could be neither delusion nor collusion ; how, 

74 Jesus the Messiah 

probably in the drawing of it, the water became best wine 
— ' the conscious water saw its God, and blushed ; ' then 
the coarse proverbial joke of what was probably the master 
of ceremonies and purveyor of the feast, intended, of course, 
not literally to apply to the present company, and yet in its 
accidentalness an evidence of the reality of the miracle. 
After this the narrative abruptly closes with a retrospective 
remark on the part of him who relates it : ' And His disciples 
believed on Him.' 



(St. John ii. 13-25.) 

Immediately after the marriage of Cana, Mary and the 
* brethren of Jesus ' went with Him, or followed Him, to 
Capernaum, which henceforth became ' His own 
13 ;' ix. i ; ' city ' a during His stay by the Lake of Galilee, 
st. Mark U. i j t geems most probable that the Tell Bum of 
modern exploration marks the site of the ancient Caper- 
naum, Kephar Nachum, or Tanchumin. At the time it could 
have been of only recent origin, since its Synagogue had but 
lately been reared, through the friendly liberality of the 
*» st. Matt, true and faithful Centurion . b But already its 
viii. 5,&c. importance was such, that it had become the 
station of a garrison, and of one of the principal custom- 
houses. Its soft sweet air, the fertility of the country — 
notably of the plain of Gennesaret close by; and the 
fertilising proximity of a spring which, from its teeming 
with fish like that of the Nile, was popularly regarded as 
springing from the river of Egypt — this and more must 
have made Capernaum one of the most delightful places in 
these ' Gardens of Princes,' as the Rabbis interpreted the 
word c Gennesaret,' by the ' cither-shaped lake ' of thr.t 
name. The town lay quite up on its north-western shore, 
only two miles from where the Jordan falls into the lake. 
Close by the shore stood the Synagogue, built of white 
limestone on dark basalt foundation. All the houses of the 

The Cleansing of the Temple 75 

town are gone : the good Centurion's house, that of Mat- 

• stMarkii thew ^ ne publican,* that of Simon Peter, b the 
15 ; 'comp. ' temporary home which first sheltered the Master 

iii 20 31 

» st. Matt, and His loved ones. All are unrecognisable 
vm,u — a confused mass of ruins — save only that 
white Synagogue in which He taught. From its ruins 
we can still measure its dimensions, and trace its fallen 
pillars ; nay, we discover over the lintel of its entrance the 

• st. John device of a pot of manna, which may have lent 
vi. 49, 59 } tg f orm to fjis teaching there. 

. And this, then, is Capernaum — the first and the chief 
home of Jesus, when He had entered on His active work. 
But, on this occasion, He ' continued there not many days/ 
For, already, ' the Jews' Passover was at hand,' and He 
must needs keep that feast in Jerusalem. If our former 
computations are right this Passover must have taken place 
in the spring (about April) of the year 27 A.D. A month 
before the feast bridges and roads were put in repair, and 
sepulchres whitened, to prevent accidental pollution to the 
pilgrims. Then, some would select this out of the three 
great annual feasts for the tithing of their flocks and herds, 
which, in such case, had to be done two weeks before the 
Passover ; while others would fix on it as the time for going 
a st. John up to Jerusalem before the feast ' to purify them- 
A 55, selves ' d — that is, to undergo the prescribed 

purification in any case of Levitical defilement. But what 
must have appealed to every one in the land was the appear- 
ance of the ' money-changers' who opened their stalls in 
every country-town on the 15th of Adar (just a month 
before the feast). They were, no doubt, regularly accre- 
dited and duly authorised. For all Jews and proselytes 
— women, slaves, and minors excepted — had to pay the 
annual Temple-i ribute of half a shekel, according to the 
1 sacred ' standard, equal to about Is. 2d. of our money. 
From this tax, many of the Priests — to the chagrin of the 
Rabbis — claimed exemption. 

This Temple-tribute had to be paid in exact half-shekels 
of the Sanctuary, or ordinary Galilean shekels. When it 
is remembered that, besides strictly Palestinian silver and 

76 Jesus the Messiah 

especially copper coin, Persian, Tyrian, Syrian, Egyptian, 
Grecian, and Roman money circulated in the country, it will 
be understood what work these ' money-changers ' must 
have had. From the 15th to the 25th Adar they had stalls 
in every country-town. On the latter date, which must 
therefore be considered as marking the first arrivals of 
festive pilgrims in the city, the stalls in the country 
were closed, and the money-changers henceforth sat within 
the precincts of the Temple. All who refused to pay 
the Temple-tribute, except Priests, were liable to dis- 
traint of their goods. The money-changers made a 
statutory fixed charge of from l^d. to 2d. on every half- 
shekel. In some cases, however, double this amount was 

It is a reasonable inference that many of the foreign 
Jews arriving in Jerusalem would take the opportunity of 
changing at these tables their foreign money, and for this, 
of course, fresh charges would be made. For there was a 
great deal to be bought within the Temple-area, needful 
for the feast (in the way of sacrifices and their adjuncts), 
or for purification. We can picture to ourselves the scene 
around the table of an Eastern money-changer — the 
weighing of the coins, deductions for loss of weight, arguing, 
disputing, bargaining — and we can realise the terrible 
truthfulness of our Lord's charge that they had made the 
Father's House a mart and place of traffic. But even so 
the business of the Temple money-changers would not be 
exhausted. Through their hands would pass probably all 
business matters connected with the Sanctuary. Some 
idea of the vast accumulation of wealth in the Temple- 
treasury may be formed from the circumstance that, despite 
many previous spoliations, the value of the gold and silver 
which Crassus a carried from the Temple-treasury 
amounted to the enormous sum of about two and 
a half millions sterling. 

The noisy and incongruous business of an Eastern 
money-lender was not the only one carried on within the 
sacred Temple-enclosure. A person bringing a sacrifice 
might not only learn, but actually obtain, in the Temple 

The Cleansing of the Temple yy 

from its officials what was required for the meat- and drink- 
offering. The prices were fixed by tariff every month, and 
on payment of the stated amount the offerer received one 
of four counterfoils, which respectively indicated, and, on 
handing it to the proper official, procured the prescribed 
complement of his sacrifice. 1 The Priests and Levites in 
charge of this made up their accounts every evening, and 
these (thoughn ecessary) transactions must have left a 
considerable margin of profit to the treasury. This would 
soon lead to another line of traffic. Offerers might, of 
course, bring their sacrificial animals with them, and we 
know that on the Mount of Olives there were four shops, 
specially for the sale of pigeons and other things requisite for 
sacrificial purposes. But then, when an animal was brought, 
it had to be examined as to its Levitical fitness by persons 
regularly qualified and appointed. Disputes might here 
arise, due to the ignorance of the purchaser or the greed of 
the examiner. But all trouble and difficulty would be avoided 
by a regular market within the Temple-enclosure, where 
sacrificial animals could be purchased, having presumably 
been duly inspected, and all fees paid before being offered 
for sale. It needs no comment to show how utterly the 
Temple would be profaned by such traffic, and to what 
scenes it might lead. 

These Temple-Bazaars, 2 the property, and one of the 
principal sources of income, of the family of Annas, were 
the scene of the purification of the Temple by Jesus ; and 
in the private locale attached to these very Bazaars, where 
the Sanhedrin held its meetings at the time, the final con- 
demnation of Jesus may have been planned, if not actually 
pronounced. We can now also understand why the Temple 
officials, to whom these Bazaars belonged, only challenged 
the authority of Christ in thus purging the Temple : the 
unpopularity of the whole traffic, if not their consciences, 
prevented their proceeding to actual violence. Nor do we 
any longer wonder that no resistance was offered by the 
people to the action of Jesus, and that even the remon- 

1 Comp. 'The Temple and its Services, &e.' pp. 118, 119. 

2 See ' Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah,' Vol.i. pp. 370-72 of the 
larger work. 

78 Jesus the Messiah 

strances of the priests were not direct, but in the form of a 
perplexing question. 

Many of those present must have known Jesus. The 
zeal of His early disciples, who, on their first recognition 
of Him, proclaimed the new-found Messiah, could not have 
given place to absolute silence. The many Galilean pil- 
grims in the Temple could not but have spread the tidings, 
and the report must soon have passed from one to the other 
in the Temple-courts, as He first entered their sacred en- 
closure. They would follow Him, and watch what He did. 
Nor were they disappointed. He inaugurated His Mission 
by fulfilling the prediction concerning Him Who was to be 
Israel's refiner and purifier (Mai. iii. 1-3). Scarce had He 
entered the Temple-porch, and trod the Court of the Gen- 
tiles, than He drove thence what profanely defiled it. There 
was not a hand lifted, not a word spoken to arrest Him as 
He made the scourge of small cords, and with it drove out 
of the Temple both the sheep and the oxen ; not a word said 
nor a hand raised as He poured into their receptacles the 
changers' money and overthrew their tables. His Presence 
awed them, His words awakened even their consciences ; they 
knew only too well how true His denunciations were. And 
behind Him was gathered the wondering multitude, with 
whom such bold and Messianic vindication of Temple sanc- 
tity would gain Him respect, approbation and admiration, 
and which, at any rate, secured His safety. 

For when ' the Jews,' by which here, as in so many 
other places, we are to understand the rulers of the people 
— in this instance, the Temple officials — did gather courage 
to come forward, they ventured not to lay hands on Him. 
Still more strangely, they did not even reprove Him for 
what He had done, as if it had been wrong or improper. 
With infinite cunning, as appealing to the multitude, 
they only asked for ' a sign ' which would warrant such 
assumption of authority. But this question of challenge 
marked two things : the essential opposition between the 
Jewish authorities and Jesus, and the manner in which 
they would carry on the contest, which was henceforth to 
be waged between Him and the rulers of the people. 

The Cleansing of the Temple 79 

And Jesus foresaw, or rather saw it all. As for ' the 
sign/ then and ever again sought by an ' evil and adulte- 
rous generation' — evil in their thoughts and ways, and 
adulterous to the God of Israel — He had then, as afterwards," 
• st. Matt, only one ' sign ' to give : ' Destroy this Temple, 

rii. 38-40 an( J J n t } iree d a y S J w ]\\ ra i se ^ Up.' TllUS He 

met their challenge for a sign by the challenge of a sign : 
Crucify Him, and He would rise again ; let them suppress 
the Christ, He would triumph. 


(St. John iii. 1-21.) 

TnE Feast of the Passover commenced on the 15th Nisan, 
dating it, of course, from the preceding evening. On the 
evening of the 13th Nisan, with which the 14th, or ' pre- 
paration-day,' commenced, the head of each household 
would, with lighted candle and in solemn silence, search 
out all leaven in his house, prefacing his search with solemn 
thanksgiving and appeal to God, and closing it by an 
equally solemn declaration that he had accomplished it, so 
far as within his knowledge, and disavowing responsibility 
for what lay beyond it. And as the worshippers went to 
the Temple, they would see prominently exposed, on a 
bench in one of the porches, two desecrated cakes of some 
thankoffering, indicating that it was still lawful to eat of 
that which was leavened. At ten, or at latest eleven 
o'clock, one of those cakes was removed, and then they 
knew that it was no longer lawful to eat of it. At twelve 
o'clock the second cake was removed, and this was the 
signal for solemnly burning all the leaven that had been 

The ' cleansing of the Temple ' undoubtedly preceded 
b st John iU the actual festive Paschal week. b To those who 
23 were in Jerusalem it was a week such as had 

never been before, a week when ' they saw the signs which 

8o jEb us the Messiah 

He did,' and when, stirred by a strange impulse, 'they 
believed in His Name' as the Messiah. 

Among the observers who were struck by these signs 
was Nicodemus, one of the Pharisees and a member of the 
Jerusalem Sanhedrim And, as we gather from his mode 
of expression, not he only, but others with him. From 
the Gospel-history we know hi in to have been cautious by 
nature and education, and timid of character, and we 
cannot wonder that he should have wished to shroud this 
his first visit in the utmost possible secrecy. It was a 
most compromising step for a Sanhedrist to take. With 
that first bold purgation of the Temple a deadly feud 
between Jesus and the Jewish authorities had begun, of 
which the sequel could not be doubtful. 

Nevertheless, Nicodemus came. And as Jesus was not 
depressed by the resistance of the authorities, nor by the 
' milk-faith ' of the multitude (as Luther calls it), so He 
was not elated by the possibility of making such a convert 
as a member of the Great Sanhedrin. 

The report of what passed reads, more than almost any 
other in the Gospels, like notes taken at the time by one 
who was present. We can almost put it again into the 
form of brief notes, by heading what each said in this 
manner, Nicodemus : — or, Jesus. They are only the out- 
lines of the conversation, giving in each case the really im- 
portant gist, and leaving abrupt gaps between, as would be 
the manner in such notes. Yet they are quite sufficient to 
tell us all that is important for us to know. We can scarcely 
doubt that it was the narrator, John, who was the wit- 
ness that took the notes. His own reflections upon it, or 
lather his after- look upon it, in the light of later facts, and 
under the teaching of the Holy Ghost, is described in the 
verses with which the writer follows his account of what 
had passed between Jesus and Nicodemus (St. John iii. 
16-21). In the same manner he winds up with similar 
reflections (ib. vv. 31-36) the reported conversation 
between the Baptist and his disciples. In neither case 
are the verses to which we refer part of what either 
Jesus or John said at the time, but what, in view of it, 

Jesus and Nicodemus 8i 

John says in name of, and to the Church of the New 

If from St. John xix. 27 we might infer that St. John 
had * a home ' in Jerusalem itself, the scene about to be 
described would have taken place under the roof of him 
who has given us its record. Up in the simply furnished 
Aliy ah — the guest-chamber on the roof — the lamp was 
still burning. There was no need for Nicodemus to pass 
through the house, for an outside stair led to the upper 
room. It was night, when Jewish superstition would 
keep men at home; a wild, gusty spring night, when 
loiterers would not be in the streets ; and no one would 
see him as at that hour he ascended the outside steps that 
led up to the Aliyah. His errand was soon told: one 
sentence, that which admitted the Divine Teachership of 
Jesus, implied all the questions he could wish to ask. It 
was all about ' the Kingdom of God/ so connected with that 
Teacher come from God, that Nicodemus would inquire. 

And Jesus took him straight to whence alone that 
4 Kingdom ' could be seen. ' Except a man be born from 
above, 1 he cannot see the Kingdom of God/ Judaism 
could understand a new relationship towards God and 
man, and even the forgiveness of sins. But it had no 
conception of a moral renovation, a spiritual birth, as the 
initial condition for reformation, far less as that for seeing 
the Kingdom of God. And it was because it had no idea 
of such ' birth from above,' of its reality or even possibility, 
that Judaism could not be the Kingdom of God. 

All this sounded quite strange and unintelligible to 
Nicodemus. He could understand how a man might 
become other, and so ultimately be other ; but how a man 
should first be other in order to become other — more than 
that, needed to be ' born from above,' in order to l see the 
Kingdom of God ' — passed alike his experience and his 
Jewish learning. Only one possibility of being occurred 

1 Notwithstanding the high authority of Professor Westcott, I must 
still hold that this and not ■ anew,' is the right rendering. The word 
&i>jlOo> has always the meaning 'above' in the fourth Gospel (ch. iii. 3, 
7, 31; xix. 11, 23); and otherwise also St. John always speaks of 'a 
birth ' from God (St. John i. 13 ; 1 John ii. 29 ; iii. » ; iv. 7 ; v. 1, 4, 18). 


82 Jesus the Messiah 

to him : that given him in his natural disposition, or, as a 
Jew would have put it, in his original innocency when he 
first entered the world. And this he thought aloud. a 
st. John But there was another world of being than that 
111,4 of which Nicodemus thought. That world was 

the i Kingdom of God ' in its essential contrariety to the 
kingdom of this world, whether in the general sense of 
that expression, or even in the special Judaistic sense 
attaching to the c Kingdom ' of the Messiah. But that 
1 Kingdom ' was spiritual, and here a man must be in order 
to become. How was he to attain that new being ? The 
Baptist had pointed it out in its negative aspect of repent- 
ance and putting away the old by his Baptism of water ; 
and as regarded its positive aspect he had pointed to Him 
Who was to baptize with the Holy Ghost and with fire. 
This was the gate of being, through which a man must 
enter into the Kingdom, which was of the Messiah, be- 
cause it was of God and the Messiah was of God, and in 
that sense ' the Teacher come from God ' — that is, being 
sent of God, He taught of God by bringing to God. But 
as to the mystery of this being in order to become— hark ! 
did he hear the sound of the wind as it swept past the 
Aliyah ? He heard its voice ; but he neither knew whence 
it came, nor whither it went. So was every one that was 
born of the Spirit. You might hear the voice of the Spirit 
Who originated the new being, but the origination of that 
new being, or its further development into all that it might 
and would become, lay beyond man's observation. 

Nicodemus now understood in some measure what 
entrance into the Kingdom meant; but he wanted to 
know the how of these things before he believed them. 
But to that height of being no one could ascend but He 
that had come down from heaven, the only true Teacher 
come from God. Or did Nicodemus think of another 
Teacher — hitherto their only Teacher, Moses ■ — whom 
Jewish tradition generally believed to have ascended into 
the very heavens, in order to bring the teaching unto 
them ? Let the history of Moses, then, teach them ! They 
had heard what Moses had taught them ; they had seen 

Jesus and Nicodemus 83 

' the earthly things ' of God— and, in view and hearing of 
it all, they had not believed but murmured and rebelled. 
Then came the judgment of the fiery serpents, and, in 
answer to repentant prayer, the symbol of new being, a life 
restored from death, as they looked on their no longer 
living but dead death lifted up before them. A symbol 
this, showing forth two elements : negatively, the putting 
away of the past in their dead death (the serpent no longer 
living, but a brazen serpent) ; and positively, in their look 
of faith and hope. Before this symbol, as has been said, 
tradition has stood dumb. It could only suggest one 
meaning, and draw from it one lesson. The meaning 
which tradition attached to it was that Israel lifted up 
their eyes, not merely to the serpent, but rather to their 
Father in heaven, and had regard to His mercy. This, as 
St. John afterwards shows (ver. 16), was a true but in- 
sufficient interpretation. And the lesson which tradition 
drew from it was that this symbol taught the dead would 
live again ; for, as it is argued, ' behold, if God made it 
that, through the similitude of the serpent which brought 
death, the dying should be restored to life, how much more 
shall He, Who is Life, restore the dead to life ? ' And here 
lies the true interpretation of what Jesus taught. If the 
uplifted serpent, as symbol, brought life to the believing 
look which was fixed upon the giving, pardoning love of 
God, then, in the truest sense, shall the uplifted Son of 
Man give true life to everyone that believeth, looking up 
in Him to the giving and forgiving love of God, which His 
Son came to bring, to declare, and to manifest. ' For as 
Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the 
Son of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth should 
in Him have eternal life.' 

And so the record of this interview abruptly closes. 
Of Nicodemus we shall hear again in the sequel, not need- 
lessly, nor yet to complete a biography, were it even that 
of Jesus ; but as is necessary for the understanding of this 
• st John History. What follows a are not the words of 
iii. I6-21 Christ, but of St. John. In them, looking back 
many years afterwards in the light of completed events, 

• 2 

84 Jesus the Messiah 

the Apostle takes his stand, as becomes the circumstances, 
where Jesus had ended His teaching of Nicodemus — under 
the Cross. 

And to all time and to all men sounds, like the Voice 
of the Teacher come from God, this eternal Gospel-message : 
' God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten 
Son, that whosoever belie veth in Him should not perish, 
but have everlasting life.' 


(St, John iv. 1-4.) 

From the city Jesus retired with His disciples to 'the 
country,' which formed the province of Judasa. There He 
» st. John taught, and His disciples baptized.* The number 
iv - 2 of those who professed adhesion to the expected 

new Kingdom, and were consequently baptized, was as 
large, in that locality, as had submitted to the preaching 
and Baptism of John — perhaps even larger. An exag- 
gerated report was carried to the Pharisaic authorities : 
*> st. John ' Jesus maketh and baptizeth more disciples than 
iv - 1 John.' b From which, at least, we infer that the 

opposition of the leaders of the party to the Baptist was 
now settled, and that it extended to Jesus ; and also, what 
careful watch they kept over the new movement. 

But what seems at first sight strange is the twofold 
circumstance that Jesus should for a time have established 
Himself in such apparently close proximity to the Baptist, 
and that on this occasion, and on this only, He should 
have allowed His disciples to administer the rite of Bap- 
tism. The latter must not be confounded with Christian 
Baptism, which was only introduced after the death of 
Christ, or, to speak more accurately, after the 
outpouring of the Holy Ghost. The administra- 
tion of the same rite by John and by the disciples of Jesus 
seems not only unnecessary, but it might give rise to mis- 

In Judaea and through Sam art a 85 

conception on the part of enemies, and misunderstanding 
or jealousy on the part of weak disciples. 

Such was actually the case when, on one occasion, a 
discussion arose ' on the part of John's disciples with a 
• st. John Jew,' 1 on the subject of purifications We know 
m - 25 not the special point in dispute. But what really 

interests us is, that somehow this Jewish objector must have 
connected what he said with a reference to the Baptism of 
Jesus' disciples. For, immediately afterwards, the disci- 
ples of John, in their zeal for the honour of their master, 
brought him tidings of what to them seemed interference 
with the work of the Baptist, and almost presumption on 
the part of Jesus. While fully alive to their error, we 
cannot but honour and sympathize with this loving care 
for their master. Never before had such deep earnestness 
and self-abnegation as his been witnessed. In the high-day 
of his power, when all men wondered whether he would an- 
nounce himself as the Christ, or, at least, as His Forerunner, 
or as one of the great Prophets, John had disclaimed 
everything for himself, and pointed to Another ! And, as 
if this had not been enough, the multitudes which had 
formerly come to John now flocked around Jesus; nay, 
He had even usurped the one distinctive function still left 
to their master. It was evident that, hated and watched 
by the Pharisees, watched also by the ruthless jealousy 
of a Herod, overlooked if not supplanted by Jesus, the 
mission of their master was nearing its close. It had been 
a life and work of suffering and self-denial ; it was about to 
end in loneliness and sorrow. They said nothing expressly 
to complain of Him to Whom John had borne witness, but 
they told of what He did, and how all men came to Him. 

The answer which the Baptist made may be said to 
mark the high-point of his life and witness. In the silence, 
which was now gathering around him, he heard but One 
Voice, that of the Bridegroom. For it he had waited and 
worked. And now that it had come, he was content : his 
' joy was now fulfilled.' ' He must increase, but I must 
decrease.' It was the right and good order. 

1 This, and not * the Jews,' is the better reading 

86 Jesus the Messiah 

That these were his last words, publicly spoken and 
recorded, may, however, explain to us why on this excep- 
tional occasion Jesus sanctioned the administration by His 
disciples of the Baptism of John. Far divergent as their 
paths had been, this practical sanction on the part of Jesus of 
John's Baptism, when the Baptist was about to be forsaken, 
betrayed and murdered, was Christ's highest testimony to 
him. Jesus adopted his Baptism ere its waters for ever 
ceased to flow, and thus He blessed and consecrated them. 

Leaving for the present the Baptist^ we follow the foot- 
steps of the Master. St. John alone tells of the early 
Judaean ministry and the journey through Samaria, which 
preceded the Galilean work. 

The shorter road from Judaea to Galilee led through 
Samaria ; and this was the one generally taken by the 
Galileans on their way to the capital. On the other hand, 
the Judseans seem chiefly to have made a detour through 
Peraea, in order to avoid hostile and impure Samaria. The 
expression, ' He must needs go through Samaria,' probably 
refers to the advisability in the circumstances of taking 
the most direct road, since such prejudices in regard to 
Samaria would not influence the conduct of Jesus. Great 
as these undoubtedly were, they have been unduly exag- 
gerated by modern writers, misled by one-sided quotations 
from Rabbinic works. 

The Biblical history of that part of Palestine which 
bore the name of Samaria need not here be re- 
Kings xiii. peated. a Before the final deportation of Israel 
&c! ; X Sg? 4 by Shalmaneser, or rather Sargon, the ' Samaria ' 
2 a KhSs eser ' t° which his operations extended must have con- 
xv.29;Shai- siderably shrunk in dimensions. It is difficult 


xvii.3-5'; to suppose that the original deportation was so 
sIJgon'xvL complete as to leave behind no traces of the 
jj'c*mp.2 original Israelitish inhabitants. 5 Their number 
chron. would probably be swelled by fugitives from 
jer.xii.5;' Assyria, and by Jewish settlers in the troublous 
Amos v. 3 times that followed. Afterwards they were largely 
increased by apostates and rebels against the order of 
things established by Ezra and Nehemiah. 

In Judaea and through Samaria 87 

The first foreign colonists of Samaria brought their 
• 2 Kings peculiar forms of idolatry with them.* But the 
xvii.30,31 Providential judgments by which they were 
visited led to the introduction of a spurious Judaism, con- 
sisting of a mixture of their former superstitions with 
» 2 Kings Jewish doctrines and rites. b Although this state 
xvii. 28-41 f ma tters resembled that which had obtained in 
the original kingdom of Israel, perhaps just because of 
this, Ezra and Nehemiah, when reconstructing the Jewish 
commonwealth, insisted on a strict separation between 
those who had returned from Babylon and the Samaritans, 
resisting equally their offers of co-operation and their at- 
tempts at hindrance. This embittered the national feeling 
of jealousy already existing, and led to that constant hos- 
tility between Jews and Samaritans which has continued 
to this day. The religious separation became final when 
the Samaritans built a rival temple on Mount Gerizim, 
and Manasseh, the brother of Juddua, the Jewish High- 
Priest, having refused to annul his marriage with the 
daughter of Sanballat, was forced to flee, and became the 
High-Priest of the new Sanctuary. Henceforth, by impu- 
dent falsification of the text of the Pentateuch, Gerizim was 
declared the rightful centre of worship, and the doctrines 
and rites of the Samaritans exhibited a curious imitation 
and adaptation of those prevalent in Judaea. As might 
be expected, their tendency was Sadducean rather than 

In general it may be said that, while on certain points 
Jewish opinion remained always the same, the judgment 
passed on the Samaritans, and especially as to intercourse 
with them, varied, according as they showed more or less 
active hostility towards the Jews. 1 

The expression, l the Jews have no dealings with the 
« st. John Samaritans,' finds its Rabbinic counterpart in 
iv * 9 this : ' May I never set eyes on a Samaritan ; ' 

or else, * May I never be thrown into company with 
him ! ' A Rabbi in Caesarea explains, as the cause of these 
changes of opinion, that formerly the Samaritans had been 

1 For more precise details see the ■ Life and Times of Jesus the Mes- 
siah,' vol. i. pp. 400. 401. 

88 Jesus the Messiah 

observant of the Law, which they no longer were. Mat- 
ters proceeded so far, that they were entirely excluded 
from fellowship. But at the time of Christ Jewish tole- 
ration declared all their food to be lawful, and there would 
be no difficulty as regarded the purchase of victuals on the 
part of the disciples of Jesus. 

The Samaritans strongly believed in the Unity of God; 
they held the doctrine of Angels and devils ; they received 
the Pentateuch as of sole Divine authority ; they regarded 
Mount Gerizim as the place chosen of God, maintaining 
that it alone had not been covered by the Flood, as the 
Jews asserted of Mount Moriah; they were most strict 
and zealous in what of Biblical or traditional Law they 
received ; and they looked for the coming of a Messiah, in 
Whom the promise would be fulfilled, that the Lord God 
would raise up a Prophet from the midst of them, like 
unto Moses, in Whom His words were to be, and unto 
«Deut.xviii. Whom they should hearken. 8 Thus while in 
15,18 some respects access to them would be more 

difficult than to His own countrymen, yet in others Jesus 
would find there a soil better prepared for the Divine Seed, 
or, at least, less encumbered by the thistles and tares of 
traditionalism and Pharisaic bigotry. 


(St. John iv. 1-42.) 

There is not a district in ' the Land of Promise ' which 
presents a scene more fair or rich than the plain of Samaria 
(the modern Et Mukhna). As we stand on the summit of 
the ridge, on the way from Shiloh, the eye travels over the 
wide sweep, extending more than seven miles northward, 
till it rests on the twin heights of Gerizim and Ebal, 
which enclose the Valley of Shechem. Following the 
straight olive-shaded road from the south to where a spur 
of Gerizim jutting south-east forms the Vale of Shechem, 

Jesus at the Well of Sychar 89 

we stand by that c Well of Jacob ' to which so many sacred 
memories attach. North of the entrance to the Vale of 
Shechem rises Mount Ebal, which also forms, so to speak, 
the western wall of the northern extension of the Plain of 
Samaria. Here it bears the name of El 'Askew, from 
Askar, the ancient Sychar, which nestles at the foot of 
Ebal, at a distance of about two miles from Shechem. 

It was, as we judge, about six o'clock of an evening in 
early summer, when Jesus, accompanied by the small band 
which formed His disciples, emerged into the rich Plain of 
Samaria. Far as the eye could sweep, ' the fields ' were 
' already white unto the harvest.' They had reached l the 
Well of Jacob.' Here Jesus waited, while the others 
went to the little town of Sychar on their work of 
ministry. This latter circumstance marks that it was 
evening, since noon was not the time either for the sale 
of provisions or for their purchase by travellers. Probably 
John remained with the Master. They would scarcely 
have left Him alone, especially in that place ; and the 
whole narrative reads like that of one who had been present 
at what passed. 

There was another well on the east side of the town, 
and much nearer to Sychar than ' Jacob's Well ; ' and to it 
probably the women of Sychar generally resorted. It 
should also be borne in mind that in those days such work 
no longer devolved, as in early times, on the matrons and 
maidens of fair degree, but on women in much humbler 
station. This Samaritaness may have chosen l Jacob's 
Well,' perhaps, because she had been at work or lived in 
that direction ; perhaps because, if her character was what 
seems implied in verse 18, the concourse of the more com- 
mon women at the village-well of an evening might scarcely 
make such a pleasant place of resort to her. 

But whatever the motives which brought her thither, 
both to Jesus and to the woman the meeting was unsought : 
providential in the truest sense. The request : ' Give Me 
to drink,' was natural on the part of the thirsty traveller. 
Even if He had not spoken, the Samaritaness would have 
recognised the Jew by His appearance and dress, if, as 

90 Jesus the Messiah 

seems likely, He wore the fringes on the border of His 
garment. 1 His speech would by its pronunciation place 
His nationality beyond doubt. Any kindly address, con- 
veying a request not absolutely necessary, would naturally 
surprise the woman ; for, as the Evangelist explanatively 
adds : ' Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.' Besides, 
we must remember that this was an ignorant Samaritaness 
of the lower order. In the mind of such an one, two 
points would mainly stand out : that the Jews in their 
wicked pride would have no intercourse with them ; and 
that Gerizim, not Jerusalem, as the Jews falsely asserted, 
was the place of rightful worship. It was, therefore, 
genuine surprise which expressed itself in the question : 
1 How is it, Thou, being a Jew, of me askest to drink ? ' 

And the ' How is it ? ' of the Samaritan woman soon 
and fully found its answer. He Who had spoken to her 
was not like what she thought and knew of the Jews. He 
was what Israel was intended to have become to mankind ; 
what it was the final object of Israel to have been. Had 
she but known it, the present relation between them would 
have been reversed ; the Well of Jacob would have been 
but a symbol of the living water, which she would have 
asked and He given. 

-The ' How can these things be ? ' of Nicodemus finds a 
parallel in the bewilderment of the woman. Jesus had 
nothing wherewith to draw from the deep well. Whence, 
then, the ' living water ' ? * And yet, as Nicodemus' ques- 
tion not only similarly pointed to a physical impossibility, 
but also indicated his searching after higher meaning and 
spiritual reality, so that of the woman : ' No ! art Thou 
greater than our father Jacob ? ' — who at such labour had 
dug this well, finding no other means than this of supply- 
ing his own wants and those of his descendants. Nor did 
the answer of Jesus now differ in spirit from that which 
He had given to the Rabbi of Jerusalem. But to this 

1 The 'fringes' on the Tallith of the Samaritans are blue, while 
those worn by the Jews are white. The Samaritans do not seem to 
have worn jihylacteries. But neither did many of the Jews of old — nor, 
I feel persuaded, did our Lord. 

Jesus at the Well of Sychar 91 

woman His answer must be much simpler and plainer than 
to the Rabbi. It was not water like that of Jacob's Well 
which He would give, but ' living water.' In the Old Tes- 
tament a perennial spring had, in figurative language, been 
•Gen. xxvi. thus designated,* in significant contrast to water 
xiv. £**" accumulated in a cistern. b But there was more 
b Jer - u - 13 than this : it was water which, in him who had 
drunk of it, became a well, not merely quenching the thirst 
on this side time, but ' springing up into everlasting life.' 

We would mark here that though in many passages 
the teaching of the Rabbis is compared to water, it is 
never likened to a 'well of water springing up.' The 
difference is great. For it is the boast of Rabbinism that 
its disciples drink of the waters of their teachers ; chief 
merit lies in receptiveness not spontaneity, and higher 
praise cannot be given than that of being ' a well-plastered 
cistern, which lets not out a drop of water.' But this is 
quite the opposite of what our Lord teaches. For it is 
only true of what man can give when we read this (in 
Ecclus. xxiv. 21): 'They that drink me shall yet be 
thirsty.' At the Feast of Tabernacles, amidst universal 
rejoicing, water from Siloam was poured from a golden 
pitcher on the altar, as emblem of the outpouring of the 
Holy Ghost. 1 But the saying of our Lord to the Samari- 
tan ess referred neither to His teaching, nor to the Holy 
Ghost, nor yet to faith, but to the gift of that new spiritual 
life in Him, of which faith is but the outcome. 

If the humble, ignorant Samaritaness had formerly but 
imperfectly guessed that there was a higher meaning in 
the words of Him Who spake to her, she now believes in 
the incredible ; believes it because of Him and in Him ; 
believes also in a satisfaction through Him of outward 
wants, reaching up beyond this to the everlasting life. 
But all these elements are still in strange confusion. And 
thus Jesus reached her heart in that dimly conscious longing 
which she expressed, though her intellect was incapable of 
distinguishing the new truth. 

' See 'The Temple and its Ministry,' pp. 211-243. 

92 Jesus the Messiah 

It is difficult to suppose that He asked the woman to 
call her husband with tne primary object of awakening in 
her a sense of sin. Nor does anything in her bearing in- 

• ver. 19 dicate any such effect ; indeed, her reply a and 
b ver - 29 her after-reference to it b rather imply the con- 
trary. "We do not even know for certain whether the five 
previous husbands had died or divorced her, and, if the 
latter, with whom the blame lay, although not only the 
peculiar mode in which our Lord refers to it but the 
present condition of the woman seem to point to a sinful 
life in the past. In Judcea a course like hers would have 
been almost impossible; but we know too little of the 
social and moral condition of Samaria to judge of what 
might there be tolerated. On the other hand, we have 
abundant evidence that, when the Saviour so unexpectedly 
laid open to her a past which He could only supernatu- 
rally have known, the conviction at once arose in her that 
He was a Prophet, just as in similar circumstances it had 

• st. John been forced upon Nathanael. c 

h 48 « 49 This conviction, sudden but firm, was already 

faith in Him; and so the goal had been attained — not, 
perhaps, faith in His Messiahship, about which she might 
have only very vague notions, but in Him. We feel that 
the woman has no after-thought, no covert purpose in 
what she now asks. All her life long she had heard that 
Gerizim was the mount of worship, and that the Jews were 
in deadly error. But here was an undoubted Prophet, and 
He a Jew. Were they then in error about the right place 
of worship, and what was she to think and to do ? 

Once more the Lord answers her question by leading 
her far beyond all controversy : even on to the goal of all 
His teaching. ' There cometh an hour, when neither in this 
mountain, nor yet in Jerusalem, ye shall worship the Father.' 
Words, these, that pointed to the higher solution in the 
worship of a common Father, which would be the. worship 
neither of Jews nor of Samaritans, but of children. And 
yet there was truth in their present differences. ' Ye wor- 
ship ye know not what : we worship what we know, since 
salvation is from out the Jews/ The Samaritan was 

Jesus at the Well of Sychar 93 

aimless worship, because it wanted the goal of all the Old 
Testament institutions, that Messiah l Who was to be of 
•Rom.i. 3 ^ ae see d of David ' a — for of the Jews, ' as con- 
join, ix. 5 cerning the flesh,' was Christ to come. b But 
only of present interest could such distinctions be ; for 
an hour would come, nay, already was, when the true 
worshippers would ' worship the Father in spirit and in 
truth, for the Father also seeketh such for His worshippers. 
Spirit is God' — and only worship in spirit and in truth 
could be acceptable to such a God. 

Higher teaching than this could not be uttered. And 
she who heard thus far understood it, that in the glorious 
picture, which was set before her, she saw the coming of 
the Kingdom of the Messiah. ' I know that Messiah 
cometh. When He cometh, He will tell us all things.' 
It was then that, according to the need of that untutored 
woman, He told her plainly what in Judaea, and even by 
His disciples, would have been carnally misinterpreted and 
misapplied : that He was the Messiah. 

It was the crowning lesson of that day. The disciples 
had returned from Sychar. That Jesus should converse 
with a woman was so contrary to all Judasan notions of a 
Rabbi, that they wondered. Yet, in their reverence for 
Him, they dared not ask any questions. Meanwhile the 
woman, forgetful of her errand, and only conscious of that 
new well-spring of life which had risen within her, had 
left the unfilled waterpot, and hurried into i the City.' 
1 Come, see a man who told me all that I have done. No — 
is this the Christ ? ' We infer that these strange tidings 
soon gathered many around her ; that they questioned, and 
as they ascertained from her the indisputable fact of His 
superhuman knowledge believed on Him, so far as the 
woman could set Him before them as object of faith. 
• w. 39, 40 Under this impression ' they went out of the City, 
<ver. 30 anc i came on their way towards Him.' d 

Meantime the disciples had urged the Master to eat 
of the food which they had brought. But His Soul was 
otherwise engaged. His words of rebuke made them won- 
der whether, unknown to them, some one hud brought Him 

94 Jesus the Messiah 

» st. Matt. food. It was not the only nor the last instance 
xvi. 6, 7 f their dulness to spiritual realities. 8 

Yet with Divine patience He bore with them : ' My 
meat is, that I may do the Will of Him that sent Me, and 
that I may accomplish (bring to a perfect end) His work.' 
To the disciples that work appeared still in the far future. 
To them it seemed as yet little more than seed-time ; the 
green blade was only sprouting ; the harvest of such a 
Messianic Kingdom as they expected was still months dis- 
tant. To correct their mistake, the Divine Teacher, as so 
often, and as best adapted to His hearers, chose His illus- 
tration from what was visible around. To show their 
meaning more clearly, we venture to reverse the order of 
the sentences which Jesus spoke : ' Behold, I say unto 
you, lift up your eyes and look [observantly] at the fields, 
that they are white to the harvest. [But] do ye not say 
that there are yet four months, and the harvest cometh ? ' 

Notice how the Lord further unfolded His own lesson 
of present harvesting, and their inversion of what was 
sowing and what reaping time. ' Already ' he that 
reaped received wages, and gathered fruit unto eternal life 
(which is the real reward of the Great Reaper, the seeing 
of the travail of His Soul), so that in this instance the 
sower rejoiced equally as the reaper. And, in this respect, 
the otherwise cynical proverb, that one was the sower, 
another the reaper of his sowing, found a true application. 
It was indeed so, that the servants of Christ were sent to 
reap what others had sown, and to enter into their labour. 
And yet, as in this instance of the Samaritans, the sower 
would rejoice as well as the reaper. 

It was as Christ had said. The Samaritans, who 
believed ' because of the word ' (speech) ' of the woman 
[what she said] as she testified ' of the Christ, ■ when they 
came ' to that well, ' asked Him to abide with them. And 
He abode there two days. And many more believed 
because of His own word (speech, discourse), and said 
unto the woman : No longer because of thy speaking do 
we believe. For we ourselves have heard, and know, that 
this is truly the Saviour of the world.' 



(St. Matt, iv. 12 ; St. Mark i. 14 : St. Luke iv. 14, 15 ; St. John iv. 43-54.) 

When Jesus returned to Galilee, it was in circumstances 
entirely different from those under which He had left it. 
• st. John iv. As He Himself said, a there had, perhaps natur- 
44 ally, been prejudices connected with the humble- 

ness of His upbringing, and the familiarity engendered by 
knowledge of His home-surroundings. These were over- 
come when the Galileans had witnessed at the feast in 
Jerusalem what He had done. Accordingly, they were 
now prepared to receive Him with the reverent attention 
which His Word claimed. We may conjecture that it 
was partially for reasons such as these that He first bent 
His steps to Cana. The miracle, which had there been 
b S t.johnii. wrought, b would still further prepare the people 
1-11 for His preaching. Besides, this was the home 

of Nathanael, in whose house welcome would now await 
Him. It was here that the second recorded miracle of His 
Galilean ministry was wrought, with what effect upon the 
whole district may be judged rom the expectancies 
est. Luke iy. which the fame of it e>cite 1 even in Nazareth, 
23 the city of His early upbringing. 

It appears that the son of one of Herod Antipas' officers 
was sick, and at the point of death. When tidings reached 
the father that the Prophet, or more than Prophet, Whose 
fame had preceded Him to Galilee, had come to Cana, he 
resolved in his despair of other means to apply to Him 
for the cure of his child. We do not assume that this 
' court-officer ' was actuated by spiritual belief in the Son 
of God when applying to Him for help. Rather would 
we go to almost the opposite extreme, and regard him as 
simply actuated by what, in the circumstances, might be 
the views of a devout Jew. Instances are recorded in 
the Talmud, which may here serve as our guide. Various 

g6 Jesus the Messiah 

cases are related in which those seriously ill, and even at 
the point of death, were restored by the prayers of cele- 
brated Rabbis. 

But the great and vital contrast lies alike in what was 
thought of Him Who was instrumental in the cure and in 
the moral effects which followed. The profane representa- 
tion of the relation between God and His servants, the 
utterly unspiritual view of prayer, which are displayed by 
the Rabbis, and their daring self-exaltation mark suffi- 
ciently the contrast in spirit between the Jewish view and 
that which underlies the Evangelic narrative. 

When, to the request that Jesus would come down to 
Capernaum to perform the cure, the Master replied, that 
unless they saw signs and wonders they would not believe, 
what He reproved was not the request for a miracle, 
which was necessary, but the urgent plea that He should 
come down to Capernaum for that purpose. That request 
argued ignorance of the real character of the Christ, as if 
He were either merely a Rabbi endowed with special 
power, or else a miracle-monger. What He intended to 
teach this man was, that He, Who had life in Himself, 
could restore life at a distance' as easily as by His Pre- 
sence ; by the word of His Power as readily as by personal 
application. When the 'court-officer' had learned this 
lesson, he became ' obedient unto the faith/ and ' went his 

• ver.50 way,' a presently to find his faith both crowned 
bveriss and perfected. 15 

Whether this ' royal officer ' was CMiza, Herod's 
steward, whose wife, under the abiding impression of this 
miracle to her child, afterwards gratefully ministered to 

• st Luke J esus > c must remain undetermined. Suffice it 
viii.3 to mark the progress in the ' royal officer' from 
<«ver.5o belief in the power of Jesus to faith in His 

• ver. 53 wora ^d an( j thence to absolute faith in Him, 6 with 
its expansive effect on that whole household. And so are 
we ever led from the lower stage of belief by what we see 
Him do, to that higher faith which springs from experi- 
mental knowledge of what He is. 




(St. Luke iv. 16.) 

The stay in Cana, though we have no means of determin- 
ing its length, was probably of only short dt* ration. Per- 
haps the Sabbath of the same week already found Jesus in 
the Synagogue of Nazareth. 

As the lengthening shadows of Friday's sun closed 
around the quiet valley, He would hear the well-remem- 
bered double blast of the trumpet from the roof of the 
Synagogue-minister's house, proclaiming the advent of the 
holy day. Once more it sounded through the still summer- 
air, to tell all that work must be laid aside. Yet a third 
time it was heard, ere the i minister ' put it aside close by 
where he stood, not to profane the Sabbath by carrying it ; 
for now the Sabbath had really commenced, and the festive 
Sabbath lamp was lit. 

Sabbath morn dawned, and early He repaired to that 
Synagogue where He had so often worshipped in the 
humble retirement of His rank, sitting, not up there 
among the elders and the honoured, but far back. The 
old well-known faces were around Him, the old well-re- 
membered words and services fell on His ear. And now 
He was again among them, a stranger among His own 
countrymen ; this time, to be looked at, listened to, tested, 
tried. It was the first time, so far as we know, that He 
taught in a Synagogue, and this Synagogue that of His 
own Nazareth. 

That Synagogues originated during, or in consequence 
of, the Babylonish captivity, is admitted by all. The Old 
Testament contains no allusion to their existence, and the 
Rabbinic attampts to trace them even to Patriarchal times 
deserve, oi course, no serious consideration. We can 
readily understand how, during the long years of exile in 


gS Jesus the Messiah 

Babylon, places and opportunities for common worship on 
Sabbaths and feast-days must have been felt almost a 
necessity. This would furnish, at least, the basis for the 
institution of the Synagogue. After the return to Pal- 
estine, and still more by ' the dispersed abroad,' such 
* meeting-houses ' would become absolutely requisite. Here 
those who were ignorant even of the language of the Old 
Testament would have the Scriptures read and ' targumed ' 
to them. It was but natural that prayers, and, lastly, 
addresses, should in course of time be added. Thus the 
regular Synagogue services would gradually arise ; first 
on Sabbaths and on feast- or fast-days, then on ordinary 
days, at the same hours as, and with a sort of internal 
correspondence to, the worship of the Temple. The services 
on Mondays and Thursdays were special, these being the 
ordinary market-days, when the country-people came into 
the towns, and would avail themselves of the opportunity 
for bringing any case that might require legal decision 
before the local Sanhedrin, which met in the Synagogue, 
and consisted of its authorities. Naturally, these two 
days would be utilised to afford the country-people, 
who lived far from the Synagogues, opportunities for 

A congregation, according to Jewish Law, must consist 
of at least ten men. Another and perhaps more important 
rule was as to the direction in which Synagogues were to 
be built, and which worshippers should occupy during 
prayer. Prayer towards the east was condemned, on the 
ground of the false worship towards the east mentioned in 
Ezek. viii. 16. The prevailing direction in Palestine was 
towards the west, as in the Temple. It is a mistake to 
suppose that the men and women sat in opposite aisles, 
separated by a low wall. 

We can with the help given by recent excavations form 
a conception of these ancient Synagogues. The Synagogue 
is built of the stone of the country. The flooring is formed 
of slabs of white limestone ; the walls are solid (from 2 even 
to 7 feet in thickness), and well built of stones, rough in 
the exterior, but plastered in the interior. The building is 

Synagogue-worship and Arrangements 99 

furnished with sufficient windows to admit light. The roof 
is fiat, the columns being sometimes connected by blocks of 
stone, on which massive rafters lvst. 

Entering by the door at the southern end, and making 
the circuit to the north, we take our position in front of 
the women's gallery. Those colonnades form the body of 
the Synagogue. At the south end, facing north, is a 
movable ' Ark/ containing the sacred rolls of the Law and 
the Prophets. It was made movable, so that it might be 
carried out, as on public fasts. Steps generally led up to 
it. In front hangs the Vilon or curtain. But the Holy 
Lamp is never wanting, in imitation of the undying light 
•Exod. in the Temple. a Right before the Ark, and facing 
xxvii. 20 ^ e p e0 pi e ^ are the seats of honour, for the rulers 
>>st. Matt, of the Synagogue and the honourable. 11 The place 
xxiii. 6 f or ki m w h leads the devotion of the people is 
also in front of the Ark, either elevated, or else, to mark 
humility, lowered. In the middle of the Synagogue (so 
generally) is the elevation, on which there is the desk, from 
which the Law is read. This is also called the chair, or 
throne. Those who are to read the Law will stand, while 
he who is to preach or deliver an address will sit. Beside 
them will be the Methurgeman, either to interpret or to 
repeat aloud what is said. 

To neglect attendance on the services of the Synagogue 
would not only involve personal guilt, but bring punish- 
ment upon the whole district. Indeed, to be effectual, 
prayer must be offered in the Synagogue. At the same 
time, the more strict ordinances in regard to the Temple, 
such as that we must not enter it carrying a staff, nor with 
shoes, nor even dust on the feet, nor with scrip or purse, 
do not apply to the Synagogue, as of comparatively inferior 
sanctity. However, the Synagogue must not be made a 
thoroughfare. We must not behave lightly in it. We 
may not joke, laugh, eat, talk, dress, nor resort there for 
shelter from sun or rain. Only Rabbis and their disciples, 
to whom so many things are lawful, and who, indeed, must 
look upon the Synagogue as if it were their own dwelling, 
may eat, drink, perhaps even sleep there. Under certain 

h 2 

ioo Jesus the Messiah 

circumstances also, the poor and strangers may be fed 
there. But, in general, the Synagogue must be regarded 
as consecrated to God. 

All this, irrespective of any Rabbinic legends, shows 
with what reverence these ' houses of congregation' were 
regarded. And now the weekly Sabbath, the pledge 
between Israel and God, had once more come. To meet it 
as a bride or queen, each house was adorned on the Friday 
evening. The Sabbath lamp was lighted; the festive 
garments put on ; the table provided with the best which 
the family could afford ; and the benediction spoken over 
a cup of wine, which, as always, was mixed with water. 
And as Sabbath morning broke, they hastened with 
quick steps to the Synagogue ; for such was the Rabbinic 
rule in going, while it was prescribed to return with slow 
and lingering steps. Jewish punctiliousness defined every 
movement and attitude in prayer. If those rules were 
ever observed in their entirety, devotion must have been 
crushed under their weight. But we have evidence that, 
in the time of our Lord, and even later, there was room 
for personal freedom left ; for not only was much in the 
services determined by the usage of each place, but the 
leader of the devotions might preface the regular service 
by free prayer, or insert such between certain parts of the 

The officials are all assembled. The lowest of these 
* st. Luke was the Chazzan, or minister,* who often acted also 
as schoolmaster. For this reason, and because 
the conduct of the services frequently devolved upon him, 
great care was taken in his selection. Then there were 
the elders or rulers, whose chief was the Archisynagogos. 
All the rulers of the Synagogue were duly examined as to 
their knowledge, and ordained to the office. They formed 
the local Sanhedrin or tribunal. But their election de- 
pended on the choice of the congregation ; and absence 
of pride, as also gentleness and humility, are mentioned 
as special qualifications. 

To these regular officials we have to add those who 
officiated during the service, the delegate of the congrega- 

Synagogue- worship and Arrangements ioi 

tion — who, as its mouthpiece, conducted the devotions — 
the Interpreter or Methurgeman, and those who were 
called on to read in the Law and the Prophets, or else to 

We are now in some measure prepared to follow the 
worship on that Sabbath in Nazareth. On His entrance 
into the Synagogue, or perhaps before that, the chief 
ruler would request Jesus to act for that Sabbath as the 
Sheliach Tsibbur, or delegate of the congregation.^ For, 
according to the Mishnah, the person who read in the 
Synagogue the portion from the Prophets, was also expected 
to conduct the devotions, at least in greater part. If this 
rule were enforced at that time, then Jesus would ascend 
the elevation, and, standing at the lectern, begin the 
service by two prayers. 

After this followed what may be designated as the 
Jewish Creed. It consisted of three passages from the 
• Pentateuch,* so arranged that the worshipper 

2i 9 - Numb" took u P on himself first tne y° ke of tlie Kin g dom 
xy.Z7?S. ' of Heaven, and only after it the yoke of the com- 
mandments. The recitation of these passages was followed 
by a prayer. 

This finished, he who officiated took his place before 
the Ark, and there repeated certain 'Eulogies ' or Bene- 
dictions. These are eighteen, or rather nineteen, in 
number, and date from different periods. But on 
Sabbaths only the three first and the three last of them, 
which are also those undoubtedly of greatest age, were 
repeated, and between them certain other prayers in- 

After this the Priests, if any were in the Synagogue, 
spoke the blessing, elevating their hands up to the 
shoulders (in the Temple above the head). This was 
fccomp. called the lifting up of hands. b In the Syna- 
1 Tim. ii. 8 gogue the priestly blessing was spoken in three 
sections, the people each time responding by an Amen. 
Lastly, in the Synagogue, the word ' Adonai ' was sub- 
stituted for Jehovah. If no descendants of Aaron were 
present, the leader of the devotions repeated the usual 

io2 Jesus the Messiah 

» priestly bene diet ion. a After the benediction 
23 - 26 followed the last Eulogy. 

It was the practice of leading Rabbis, probably dating 
from very early times, to add at the close of this Eulogy 
certain prayers of their own, either fixed or free, of which 
the Talmud gives specimens. From very early times also, 
the custom seems to have obtained that the descendants 
of Aaron, before pronouncing the blessing, put off their 
shoes. In the benediction the Priests turned towards the 
people, while he who led the ordinary prayers stood with 
his back to the people, looking towards the Sanctuary. 
The public prayers closed with an Amen, spoken by the 

The liturgical part being thus completed, one of the 
most important, indeed, what had been the primary object 
of the Synagogue service, began. The Chazzan, or 
minister, approached the Ark, and brought out a roll of 
the Law. It was taken from its case and unwound from 
those cloths which held it. The time had now come for 
the reading of portions from the Law and the Prophets. 
The reading of the Law was both preceded and followed by 
brief Benedictions. 

Upon the Law followed a section from the Prophets. 
As the Hebrew was not generally understood, the 
Methurgeman, or Interpreter, stood by the side of the 
b reader, b and translated into the Aramaean verse 

1 cor. xiv. by verse, and in the section from the Prophets, 
after every three verses. But the Methurgeman 
was not allowed to read his translation, lest it might 
popularly be regarded as authoritative. This may help us 
in some measure to understand the popular mode of Old 
Testament quotations in the New Testament. So long as 
the substance of the text was given correctly, the Methurge- 
man might paraphrase for better popular understanding, 
Again, it is but natural to suppose that the Methurgeman 
would prepare himself for his work by such materials as 
he would find to hand, among which, of course, the trans- 
lation of the LXX. would hold a prominent place. This 
may in part account alike for the employment of the LXX., 

Synagogue-worship and Arrangements 103 

and for its Targuinic modifications, in the New Testament 

The reading of the section from the Prophets was in 
olden times immediately followed by an address, discourse, 
or sermon, that is, where a Rabbi capable of giving such 
instruction, or a distinguished stranger, was present. 
Neither the leader of the devotions (' the delegate of the 
congregation '), nor the Methurgemayi, nor yet the preacher, 
required ordination. That was reserved for the rale of the 
congregation, whether in legislation or administration, 
doctrine or discipline. The only points required in the 
preacher were the necessary qualifications, both mental 
and moral. 

Jewish tradition uses the most extravagant terms to 
extol the institution of preaching. So it came, that many 
cultivated this branch of theology. When a popular 
preacher was expected, men crowded the area of the 
Synagogue, while women filled the gallery. On such 
occasions, there was the additional satisfaction of feeling 
that they had done something specially meritorious in 
running with quick steps, and crowding into the Syna- 
gogue. For, was it not to carry out the spirit of Hos. 
vi. 3, xi. 10 — at least, as Rabbinically understood ? Even 
grave Rabbis joined in this ' pursuit to know the Lord,' 
and one of them comes to the somewhat caustic conclusion, 
that ' the reward of a discourse is the haste.' 

It is interesting to know that, at the close of his 
address, the preacher very generally referred to the great 
Messianic hope of Israel. The service closed with a short 
prayer, or what we would term an ' ascription.' 

We can now picture to ourselves the Synagogue, its 
worship and teaching. We can see the leader of the 
people's devotions as (according to Talmudic direction) he 
first refuses, with mock modesty, the honour conferred on 
him by the chief ruler ; then, when urged, prepares to go ; 
and when pressed a third time, goes up with slow and 
measured steps to the lectern, and then before the Ark. 
We can imagine how one after another, standing and 
facing the people, unrolls and holds in his hand a copy of 

io4 Jesus the Messiah 

the Law or of the Prophets, and reads from the Sacred 
Word, the Methurgeman interpreting. Finally, we can 
picture it, how the preacher would sit down and begin his 
discourse, none interrupting him with questions till he had 
finished, when a succession of objections, answers, or in- 
quiries might await the helper, if the preacher had em- 
ployed such. And help it certainly was not in many 
cases, to judge by the depreciatory remarks which not 
unfrequently occur, as to the manners, tone, vanity, self- 
conceit, and silliness of the Methurgeman or Amora as he 
was sometimes called. As he stood beside the Rabbi, he 
usually thought far more of attracting attention and 
applause to himself, than of benefiting his hearers. Hence 
some Rabbis would only employ special and trusted inter- 
preters of their own, who were above fifty years of age. 
In short, so far as the sermon was concerned, the impression 
it produced must have been very similar to what we know 
the addresses of the monks in the Middle Ages to have 
wrought. All the better can we understand, even from 
the human aspect, how the teaching of Jesus, alike in its 
substance and form, in its manner and matter, differed 
from that of the scribes ; how multitudes would hang en- 
tranced on His word ; and how, everywhere and by all, its 
impression was felt to be overpowering. 


(St. Matt. iv. 13-17 ; St. Mark i. 14, 15 ; St. Luke iv. 15-32.) 

As there could be no un-Jewish forwardness on the part 
of Jesus, so would there be none of that mock humility of 
reluctance to officiate, in which Rabbinism delighted. It 
seems likely that Jesus commenced the first part of the 
service, and then pronounced before the l Ark ' those 
Eulogies which were regarded as, in the strictest sense, 
the prayer. And now, one by one, Priest, Levite, and, 

The First Galilean Ministry 105 

in succession, five Israelites, had read from the Law. The 
whole narrative seems to imply that Jesus Himself read 
the concluding portion from the Prophets. It is most 
likely that the lesson for that day was taken from the pro- 
phecies of Isaiah, and that it included the passage* 
"st. Luke quoted by the Evangelist as read by the Lord 
lv ' 18 ' 19 Jesus. b We know that the ' rolls ' on which the 
Law was written were distinct from those of the Prophets. 
In this instance we are expressly told that the minister 
' delivered unto Him the book of the prophet Esaias,' and 
that, ' when He had unrolled the book,' He ' found ' the 
place from which the Evangelist makes quotation. 

It was, indeed, Divine ' wisdom ' — ' the Spirit of the 
Lord ■ upon Him, which directed Jesus in the choice of the 
text for His first Messianic Sermon. It struck the key- 
note to the whole of His Galilean ministry. The ancient 
• The other Synagogue regarded Is. lxi. 1, 2, as one of the 
is!°xxxii. g i4, three passages,* 5 in which mention of the Holy 
Lament Ghost was connected with the promised redemp- 
i". so ' tion. In this view, the application which the 
passage received in the discourse of our Lord was peculiarly 
suitable. For the words in which St. Luke reports what 
followed the introductory text seem rather a summary 
than either the introduction or part of the discourse of 
Christ. ( This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.' 
As regards its form, it would be : so to present the teach- 
ing of Holy Scripture, as that it can be drawn together in 
the focus of one sentence ; as regards its substance, that 
this be the one focus : all Scripture fulfilled by a present 

There was not a word of that which common Jewish ex- 
pectancy would have connected with, nay, chiefly accentu- 
ated in an announcement of the Messianic redemption ; not 
a word to raise carnal hopes, or flatter Jewish pride. Truly, 
it was the most un-Jewish discourse for a Jewish Messiah 
of those days, with which to open His Ministry. And yet 
such was the power of these ' words of grace/ that the 
hearers hung spell-bound upon them. For the time they 
forgot all else — Who it was that addressed them, even the 

106 Jesus the Messiah 

strangeness of the message, so in contrast to any preach- 
ing of Rabbi or Teacher that had been heard in that 

The discourse had been spoken, and the breathless 
silence with which, even according to Jewish custom, it had 
been listened to, gave place to the usual after-sermon hum of 
an Eastern Synagogue. On one point all were agreed : that 
they were marvellous words of grace, which had proceeded 
out of His mouth. And still the preacher waited for some 
question, which would have marked the spiritual applica- 
tion of what He had spoken. They were indeed making 
application of the Sermon to the Preacher, but in quite 
different manner from that to which His discourse had 
pointed. It was not the fulfilment of the Scripture in 
Him, but the circumstance that such an one as the Son 
of Joseph, their village carpenter, should have spoken such 
words, that attracted their attention. 

They had heard, and now they would fain have seen. 
But already the holy indignation of Him, Whom they only 
knew as Joseph's Son, was kindled. No doubt they would 
next expect that here in His own city, and all the more 
because it was such, He would do what they had heard had 
taken place in Capernaum. It was the world-old saying, 
as speciously popular as most such sayings: 'Charity 
begins at home ' — or, according to the Jewish proverb, and 
in application to the special circumstances : ' Physician, 
heal thyself.' Whereas, if there was any meaning in the 
discourse He had just spoken, Charity does not begin at 
home ; and ' Physician, heal thyself is not of the Gospel for 
the poor, nor yet the preaching of God's Jubilee, but that of 
the Devil, whose works Jesus had come to destroy. How could 
He say this better than by again repeating, though now with 
different application, that sad experience, ' No prophet is 
• st. John accepted in his own country ; ' a and by pointing 
iv - ** to those two Old Testament instances of it, whose 

names and authority were most frequently on Jewish lips ? 
Not they who were ' their own,' but they who were most 
receptive in faith — not Israel, but Gentiles, were those 
most markedly favoured in the ministry of Elijah and 
of Elisha. 

The Fie st Galilean Ministry 107 

That Jesus should have turned so fully the light upon 
the Gentiles, and flung its large shadows upon them ; that 
' Joseph's Son ' should have taken up this position towards 
them ; that He would make to them spiritual application 
unto death of His sermon, since they would not make it 
unto life, stung them to the quick. Away He must out of 
His city ; it could not bear His Presence any longer, not 
even on that holy Sabbath. Out they thrust Him from 
the Synagogue ; out of the city, along the road by the 
brow of the hill on which the city is built — perhaps to 
that western angle, at present pointed out as the site. 
This, with the unspoken intention of crowding Him over 
the cliff, which there rises abruptly about forty feet out of 
the valley beneath. If we are correct in indicating the 
locality, the road here bifurcates, and we can conceive how 
Jesus, Who had hitherto allowed Himself to be pressed 
onwards by the surrounding crowd, now turned, and by 
His look of commanding majesty, which ever and again 
wrought on those around miracles of subjection, constrained 
them to halt and give way before Him, while unharmed 
He passed through their midst. 

Cast out of His own city, Jesus pursued His solitary 
way towards Capernaum. There, at least, devoted friends 
and believing disciples would welcome Him. There, also, 
a large draught of souls would fill the Gospel-net. Caper- 
• st. Matt, naum would be His Galilean home. a Here He 
1x1 would, on the Sabbath-days, preach in that 

*> st. Luke Synagogue, of which the good centurion was the 
™"t 5 Markv. builder, b and Jairus the chief ruler. These 
22 names, and the memories connected with them, 

are a sufficient comment on the effect of His preaching : 
that ' His word was with power.' In Capernaum, also, 
was the now believing household of the court-officer, whose 
only son the Word of Christ, spoken at a distance, had 
restored to life. Here also, or in the immediate neigh- 
bourhood, was the home of His earliest and closest disci- 
ples, the brothers Simon and Andrew, and of James and 
John, the sons of Zebedee. 

He came ; and now Capernaum was not the only place 

108 Jesus the Messiah 

where He taught. Rather was it the centre for itinerancy 
» st. Matt, through all that district, to preach in its Syna- 
iv. 13-17 gogues. a Amidst such ministry of quiet ' power,' 
chiefly alone and unattended by His disciples, the summer 
passed. To the writer of the first Gospel, as, years afterwards, 
he looked back on this happy time when he had first seen 
the Light, till it had sprung up even to him ' in the region 
and shadow of death,' it must have been a time of peculiarly 
bright memories. How often, as he sat at the receipt of 
custom, must he have seen Jesus passing by ; how often 
must he have heard His Words, some, perhaps, spoken to 
himself, but all preparing him at once to obey the sum- 
mons when it came : Follow Me ! 

There was a dim tradition in the Synagogue, that this 
prediction, b ' The people that walk in darkness 
see a great light,' referred to the new light, with 
which God would enlighten the eyes of those who had 
penetrated into the mysteries of Rabbinic lore, enabling 
them to perceive concerning c loosing and binding, con- 
cerning what was clean and what was unclean.' Others 
regarded it as a promise to the early exiles, fulfilled when 
the great liberty came to them. To Levi-Matthew it 
seemed as if both interpretations had come true in those 
days of Christ's first Galilean ministry. 




(St. John v.) 

The shorter days of early autumn had come as Jesus passed 
from Galilee to what, in the absence of any certain evi- 
dence, we must still be content to call 'the Unknown 
Feast ' in Jerusalem. Thus much, however, seems clear : 
that it was either the < Feast of Wood-offering ' on the 
15th of Abh (in August), when, amidst demonstrations of 

At the * Unknown' Feast 109 

joy, willing givers brought from all parts of the country 
the wood required for the service of the Altar ; or else the 
' Feast of Trumpets ' on the 1st of Tishri (about the middle 
of September), which marked the beginning of the New 
(civil) Year. The journey of Christ to that Feast and its 
results are not mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels, because 
that Judsean ministry lay, in great measure, beyond their 
historical standpoint. But this and similar events belonged 
to that grand Self-Manifestation of Christ, with the corre- 
sponding growth of opposition consequent upon it, which 
it was the object of the fourth Gospel to set forth. 

It may be inferred that, during the summer of Christ's 
first Galilean ministry, when Capernaum was His centre 
of action, the disciples had returned to their homes and 
usual avocations, while Jesus moved about chiefly alone 
and unattended. This explains the circumstance of a 
second call, even to His most intimate and closest followers. 
It also accords best with that gradual development in 
Christ's activity, which, commencing with the more private 
teaching of the new Preacher of Righteousness in the 
villages by the lake, or in the Synagogues, expanded into 
that publicity in which He at last appears, surrounded by 
His Apostles, attended by the loving ministry of those to 
whom He had brought healing of body or soul, and fol- 
lowed by a multitude which everywhere pressed around 
Him for teaching and help. 

This more public activity commenced with the return 
of Jesus from ' the Unknown Feast ' in Jerusalem. There 
He had, in answer to the challenge of the Jewish authori- 
ties, for the first time set forth His Messianic claims in all 
their fulness. And there, also, He had for the first time 
encountered that active persecution unto death, of which 
Golgotha was the logical outcome. This Feast, then, was 
the time of critical decision. 

It seems only accordant with all the great decisive 
steps of Him in Whose footprints the disciples trod, after 
He had marked them, as it were, with His Blood — that 
He should have gone up to that Feast alone and un- 

i io Jesus the Messiah 

The narrative transports us to what, at the time, seems 
to have been a well-known locality in Jerusalem, though 
all attempts to identify it, or even to explain the name 
Bethesda, have hitherto failed. All we know is, that it 
was a pool enclosed within five porches, by the sheep- 
• Neh. m. market, presumably close to the ' Sheep-Gate.' a 
32 ; xii. 39 T/his, ag seemg mogt \i^ e ]j^ opened from the busy 
northern suburb of markets, bazaars, and workshops, east- 
wards upon the road which led over the Mount of Olives 
and Bethany to Jericho. 

In the five porches surrounding this pool lay * a great 
multitude of the impotent,' in anxious hope of a miraculous 
cure. The popular superstition, which gave rise to a 
peculiarly painful exhibition of human misery of body and 
soul, is strictly true to the times and the people. Even 
now travellers describe a similar concourse of poor crippled 
sufferers, on their miserable pallets or on rugs, around the 
mineral springs near Tiberias, filling, in true Oriental 
fashion, the air with their lamentations. In the present 
instance there would be even more occasion for this than 
around any ordinary thermal spring. For the popular 
idea was, that an Angel 1 descended into the water, causing 
it to bubble up, and that only he who first stepped into 
the pool would-be cured. As thus only one person could 
obtain benefit, we may imagine the lamentations of the 
' many ' who would, perhaps day by day, be disappointed 
in their hopes. This bubbling up of the water was, of 
course, due not to supernatural but to physical causes. 
Such intermittent springs are not uncommon, and to this 
day the so-called ' Fountain of the Virgin ' in Jerusalem 
exhibits the same phenomenon. The Gospel-narrative 
does not ascribe this ' troubling of the waters ' to Angelic 
agency, nor endorse the belief, that only the first who 
afterwards entered them could be healed. This was 
evidently the belief of the impotent man, as of all the 
»> st. John v. waiting multitude. 1 * But the words inverse 4 
of our Authorised Version, and perhaps, also, 

1 For the popular Jewish views on Angels see ' The Life and Times 
of Jesus the Messiah,' Appendix xiii. 

By the Pool of Bethesda hi 

the last clause of verse 3, are admittedly an interpola- 

The waters had not yet been ' troubled,' when Jesus 
stood among that multitude of sufferers and their attendant 
friends. It was in those breathless moments of intense ex- 
pectancy, when every eye was fixed on the pool, that the 
eye of the Saviour searched for the most wretched object 
among them all. In him, as a typical case, could He best 
do and teach that for which He had come. This ' impotent ' 
man, for thirty-eight years a hopeless sufferer x without 
• ver 7. attendant or friend a among those whom misery 
, comp 4 st. made so intensely selfish ; and whose sickness was 
John ix. 3 really the consequence of his sin, b and not merely 
in the sense which the Jews attached to it c — this now 
seemed the fittest object for power and grace. It is idle 
to speak either of faith or of receptiveness on the man's 
part. The essence of the whole history lies in the utter 
absence of both ; in Christ's raising, as it were, the dead, 
and calling the things that are not as though they were. 
The ' Wilt thou be made whole ? ' with which Jesus drew 
the man's attention to Himself, was only to probe and lay 
bare his misery. And then came the word of power or 
rather the power spoken forth, which made him whole 
every whit. Away from this pool, in which there was no 
healing — for the Son of God had come to him with the 
outflowing of His power and pitying help, and he was made 
whole. Away with his bed, not although it was the holy 
Sabbath, but jjist because it was the Sabbath of holy rest 
and holy delight ! 

Before the healed man, scarcely conscious of what had 
passed, had, with new-born vigour, gathered himself up 
and rolled together his coverlet to hasten after Him, Jesus 
had already withdrawn.* 1 In that multitude, all 
thinking only of their own sorrows and wants, 
He had come and gone unobserved. But they all now 
knew and observed this miracle of healing, as they saw 
this unbefriended one healed, without the troubling of 
waters or first immersion in them. 

The Jews saw him, as from Bethesda he carried home 

H2 Jesus the Messiah 

his ' burden.' Most characteristically, it was this external 
infringement which they saw, and nothing else ; it was the 
Person Who had commanded it Whom they would know, 
not Him Who had made whole the impotent man. 

It could not have been long after this that the healed 
man and his Healer met in the Temple. What He then 
said to him completed the inward healing. On the ground 
of his having been healed, let him be whole. As he trusted 
and obeyed Jesus in the outward cure, so let him now in- 
wardly and morally trust and obey. Here also this looking 
through the external to the internal, through the temporal 
to the spiritual and eternal, which is so characteristic of the 
after-discourse of Jesus, nay, of all His discourses and of 
His deeds, is most marked. The healed man now knew 
to Whom he owed faith, gratitude, and trust of obedience ; 
and the consequences of this knowledge would make him a 
disciple in the truest sense. And this was the only addi- 
tional lesson which he, as each of us, must learn individu- 
ally and personally : that the man healed by Christ stands 
in quite another position, as regards the morally right, 
from what he did before — not only before his healing, but 
even before his felt sickness, so that, if he were to go back 
to sin, or rather, as the original implies, ' continue to sin/ 
a thing infinitely worse would come to him. 

And yet something further was required. Jesus must 
speak out in clear, open words, what was the hidden inward 
meaning of this miracle. The first forthbursting of His 
Messianic Mission and Character had come in that Temple 
when He realised it as His Father's House, and His Life as 
about His Father's business. Again had these thoughts 
about His Father kindled within Him in that Temple, when, 
on the first occasion of His Messianic appearance there, 
He had sought to purge it, that it might be a House of 
Prayer. And now, once more in that House, it was the 
same consciousness about God as His Father, and His Life 
as the business of His Father, which furnished the answer 
to the angry invectives about His breach of the Sabbath- 
Law. The Father's Sabbath was His ; the Father worked 
hitherto and He worked ; the Father's work and His were 

By the Pool of Bethesda 113 

• st. John v. the same ; He was the Son of the Father.* And 
17 in this He also taught, what the Jews had never 

understood, the true meaning of the Sabbath-Law, by em- 
phasising that which was the fundamental thought of the 
Sabbath—' Wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, 
and hallowed it : ' not the rest of inactivity, but of blessing 
and hallowing. 

Once more it was not His whole meaning, but only 
this one point, that He claimed to bj equal with God, of which 
they took hold. As we understand it, the discourse be- 
ginning with verse 19 is not a continuation of that which 
had been begun in verse 17, but was delivered on another, 
though probably proximate occasion. By what He had 
said about the Father working hitherto and His working, 
He had silenced the multitude, who must have felt that 
God's rest was truly that of beneficence, not of inactivity. 
But He had raised another question, that of His equality 
with God, and for this He was taken to task by the Masters 
in Israel. But for the present the majesty of His bearing 
overawed His enemies, even as it did to the end, and Christ 
could pass unharmed from among them. With this inward 
separation and the gathering of hostile parties, closes the 
first, and begins the second stage of Christ's Ministry. 




(St. Matt. iv. 18-22 ; St. Mark i. 16-20 ; St. Luke v. 1-11.) 

We are once again out of the great City, and by the Lake 
of Galilee. They were other men, these honest, simple, im- 
pulsive Galileans, than that self-seeking, sophistical, heart- 
less assemblage of Rabbis, whose first active persecution 
Jesus had just encountered, and for the time overawed by 
the majesty of His bearing. What wonder that, immedi- 
ately on His return, ' the people pressed upon Him to hear 

His word ' ? 


H4 Jesus the Messiah 

It seems as if what we are about to relate occurred while 
Jesus was returning from Jerusalem. But perhaps it fol- 
lowed on the first morning after His return. It had pro- 
bably been a night of storm on the Lake. For the toil of the 
• st. Luke fishermen had brought them no draught of fishes,* 
v - 6 and they stood by the shore or in the boats drawn 

up on the beach, casting in their nets to ' wash ' them of 
sand and pebbles, or to mend what had been torn by the 
violence of the waves. It was a busy scene ; for among the 
many industries by the Lake of Galilee that of fishing was 
not only the most generally pursued, but perhaps the most 

Tradition had it, that since the days of Joshua, and by 
one of his ten ordinances, fishing in the Lake, though under 
certain necessary restrictions, was free to all And as fish 
was among the favourite articles of diet, in health and sick- 
ness, on week-days and especially at the Sabbath-meal, 
many must have been employed in connection with this 
trade. Frequent and sometimes strange are the Eabbinic 
advices, what kinds of fish to eat at different times, and in 
what state of preparation. They were eaten fresh, dried, 
b st Matt or pickled ; b a kind of ' relish ' or sauce was made;xiii. of them, and the roe also prepared. In truth, 
these Rabbis are veritable connoisseurs in this 
delicacy. It is one of their usual exaggerations when we 
read of 300 different kinds of fish at a dinner given to a 
great Rabbi, although the common proverb had it to denote 
what was abundant, that it was like ' bringing fish to 
Acco/ yet fish was largely imported from abroad. 

Those engaged in the trade of fishing, like Zebedee and 
his sons, were not unfrequently men of means and standing. 
This, irrespective of the fact that the Rabbis enjoined some 
trade or industrial occupation on every man, whatever his 

Jewish customs and modes of thinking at that time do 
not help us further to understand the Lord's call, except so 
far as they enable us to apprehend what the words of Jesus 
would convey to them. The expression ' Follow Me * would 
be readily understood, as implying a call to become the 

The Final Call of the First Disciples 115 

permanent disciple of a teacher. Similarly, it was not only 
the practice of the Rabbis, but regarded as one of the most 
sacred duties, for a Master to gather around him a circle of 
disciples. Thus, neither Peter and Andrew, nor the sons 
of Zebedee, could have misunderstood the call of Christ, or 
even regarded it as strange. On that memorable return 
from His temptation in the wilderness they had learned to, 
• st. John i. know Him as the Messiah, a and they followed 
37 «fec jji m And, now that the time had come for 

gathering around Him a separate discipleship, when, with 
the visit to the Unknown Feast, the Messianic activity of 
Jesus had passed into another stage, that call would not 
come as a surprise to their minds or hearts. 

So far as the Master was concerned, we mark three 
points. First, the call came after the open breach with, 
and initial persecution of, the Jewish authorities. It was, 
therefore, a call to fellowship in His peculiar relationship to 
the Synagogue. Secondly, it necessitated the abandon- 
ment of all their former occupations, and, indeed, of all 
» st. Matt, earthly ties. b Thirdly, it was from the first, and 
iv. 20, 22 ' c i ear l Vj marked as totally different from a call to 
such discipleship, as that of any other Master in Israel. 
It was not to learn more of doctrine, nor more fully to 
follow out a life-direction already taken, but to begin, and 
to become, something quite new, of which their former 
occupation offered an emblem. The disciples of the Rabbis, 
even those of John the Baptist, ' followed,' in order to learn ; 
they, in order to do, and to enter into fellowship with His 
Work. ' Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men/ 
The more we think of it, the more do we perceive the mag- 
nitude of the call and of the decision which it implied — for, 
without doubt, they understood what it implied, perhaps 
more clearly than we do. All the deeper, then, must have 
been their belief in Him, and their earnest attachment, 
when, with such absolute simplicity and entireness of self- 
surrender, that it needed not even a spoken Yea on their 
part, they forsook ship and home to follow Him. And so, 
successively, Simon and Andrew, and John and James— 
those who had been the first to hear, were also the first to 

u6 Jesus the Messiah 

follow Jesus. And ever afterwards did they remain closest 
to Him, who had been the first fruits of His Ministry. 

What had passed between Jesus and, first the sons of 
Jona, and then those of Zebedee, can scarcely have occupied 
many minutes. But already the people were pressing 
around the Master in eager hunger for the Word. To 
such call the Fisher of Men could not be deaf. The boat of 
Peter shall be His pulpit ; He had consecrated it by conse- 
crating its owner. We need scarcely ask what He spake. 
It would be of the Father, of the Kingdom, and of those 
who entered it — like what He spake from the Mount, or 
to those who laboured and were heavy laden. And Peter 
had heard it all as he sat close by. This then was the 
teaching of which he had become a disciple ; this the 
net and the fishing to which he was just called. Could 
such an one as he ever hope, with whatever toil, to be a 
successful fisher ? 

Jesus had read his thoughts, and much more than read 
them. This is another object in Christ's miracles to His 
disciples : to make clear their inmost thoughts and longings, 
and to point them to the right goal. * Launch out into the 
deep, and let down your nets for a draught.' That they 
toil in vain all life's night only teaches the need of another 
beginning. The ' nevertheless, at Thy word,' marks the 
new trust, and the new work as springing from that trust. 
Already ' the net was breaking,' when they beckoned to their 
partners in the other ship that they should come and help 
them. And now both ships are burdened to the water's edge. 

But what did it all mean to Simon Peter ? Jesus could 
see to the very bottom of Peter's heart. And could he 
then be a fisher of men, out of whose heart, after a life's 
night of toil, the net would come up empty, or rather only 
clogged with sand and torn with pebbles ? This is what 
he meant when 'he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying: 
Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord.' And 
this is why Jesus comforted him : ' Fear not ; from hence- 
forth thou shalt catch men.' 

1 And when they had brought their ships to land, they 
forsook all and followed Him.' 

A Sabbath in Capernaum 117 


(St. Matt. viii. 14-17 ; St. Mark i. 21-34 ; St. Luke iv. 33-41.) 

It was the Holy Sabbath — the first after He had called 
around Him His first permanent disciples ; the first, also, 
after His return from the Feast at Jerusalem. 

As yet all seemed calm and undisturbed. Those simple, 
warm-hearted Galileans yielded themselves to the power of 
His words and works, not discerning hidden blasphemy in 
what He said, nor yet Sabbath-desecration in His healing 
on God's holy day. It is morning, and Jesus goes to the 
Synagogue at Capernaum. To teach there was now His 
wont. It was not only what He taught, but the contrast 
with that to which they had been accustomed on the part 
of ' the Scribes,' which filled His hearers with * amazement.' 
There was no appeal to human authority, other than that 
of the conscience ; no subtle logical distinctions, legal 
niceties, nor clever sayings. Clear, limpid, and crystalline, 
His words flowed from out the spring of the Divine Life 
that was in Him. 

Among the hearers in the Synagogue that Sabbath 
morning was one of a class, concerning whose condition, 
whatever difficulties may attach to our proper understand- 
ing of it, the reader of the New Testament must form some 
definite idea. The New Testament speaks of those who 
had a spirit, or a demon, or demons, or an unclean spirit, 
or the spirit of an unclean demon, but chiefly of persons 
who were c demonised.' We find that Jesus not only 
tolerated the popular opinion regarding the demonised, but 
that He even made it part of His disciples' commission to 
»st. Matt. ' cast out demons,'* and that, when the disciples 
* 8 * afterwards reported their success in this, Christ 

17, *i8 U e ** actually made it a matter of thanksgiving to 
God. b The same view underlies His reproof to the disciples, 

n8 fi-sus the Messiah 

• st. Matt, when failing in this part of their work a ; while in 
xvii. 21 ; ' g t L u k e x i. ] 9, 24, He adopts and argues on this 

comp. a so , ' ' T1 . *■ '- J 

xii. 43 &c, view as against the .Pharisees. 
toth e P al e . n Our next inquiry must be as to the character 

ciples of the phenomenon thus designated. In view 

of the fact that in St. Mark ix. 21, the demonised had 
been such ' of a child,' it is scarcely possible to ascribe it 
simply to moral causes. Similarly, personal faith does not 
seem to have been a requisite condition of healing. Again, 
it is evident that all physical or even mental distempers of 
the same class were not ascribed to the same cause : some 
might be natural, while others were demoniacal. On the 
other hand, there were more or less violent symptoms of 
disease in every demonised person, and these were greatly 
aggravated in the last paroxysm, when the demon quitted 
his habitation. We have therefore to regard the pheno- 
mena described as caused by the influence of such ' spirits,' 
primarily, upon that which forms the nexus between body 
and mind, the nervous system, and as producing different 
physical effects, according to the part of the nervous 
system affected. To this must be added a certain im- 
personality of consciousness, so that for the time the 
consciousness was not that of the demonised, but the 
demoniser, just as in certain mesmeric states the conscious- 
ness of the mesmerised is really that of the mesmeriser. 
We might carry the analogy farther, and say that the two 
states are exactly parallel — the demon or demons taking 
the place of the mesmeriser, only that the effects were 
more powerful and extensive, perhaps more enduring. 
Neither the New Testament, nor even Rabbinic literature, 
conveys the idea of permanent demoniac indwelling, to 
which the later term < possession ' owes its origin. On 
the contrary, such accounts as that of the scene in the 
Synagogue of Capernaum give the impression of a sudden 
influence, which in most cases seems occasioned by the 
spiritual effect of the Person or of the Words of the 
Christ. In our view, it is of the deepest importance 
always to keep in mind that the ' demonised ' was not a 
permanent state, or possession by the powers of darkness. 

A Sabbath in Capernaum 119 

For it establishes a moral element, since during the period 
of their temporary liberty the demonised might have 
shaken themselves free from the overshadowing power, or 
sought release from it. Thus the demonised state in- 
volved personal responsibility, although that of a diseased 
and disturbed consciousness. 

Whatever want of clearness there may be about the 
Jewish ideas of demoniac influences, 1 there is none as to 
the means proposed for their removal. These may be 
broadly classified as: magical means for the prevention of 
such influences (such as the avoidance of certain places, 
times, numbers, or circumstances ; amulets, &c.) ; magical 
means for the cure of diseases ; and direct exorcism (either 
by certain outward means, or else by formulas of incanta- 
tion). Again, while the New Testament furnishes no data 
by which to learn the views of Jesus or of the Evangelists 
regarding the exact character of the phenomenon, it sup- 
plies the fullest details as to the manner in which the 
demonised were set free. This was always the same. It 
consisted neither of magical means nor formulas of exor- 
cism, but always in the Word of Power which Jesus 
spake, or entrusted to His disciples, and which the demons 
always obeyed. There is here not only difference, but 
contrariety in comparison with the current Jewish notions, 
and it leads to the conclusion that there was the same 
contrast in His views, as in His treatment of the ' de- 

In one respect those who were ' demonised ' exhibited 
the same phenomenon. They all owned the Power of 
Jesus. It was not otherwise in the Synagogue at Caper- 
naum on that Sabbath morning. What Jesus had spoken 
produced an immediate effect on the demonised, though 
one which could scarcely have been anticipated. For 
there is authority for inserting the word ' straight- 
» in st. Mark way ' a immediately after the account of Jesus' 
1,23 preaching. Yet, as we think of it, we cannot 

imagine that the demon would have continued silent, nor 

1 See 'Life and Times,' Appendix XVI.: 'Jewish Views about 
Demons and the Demonised.' 

120 Jesus the Messiah 

yet that he could have spoken other than the truth in the 
Presence of the God -Man. Involuntarily, in his con- 
fessed inability of disguise or resistance, he owns defeat 
even before the contest. ' What have we to do with 
Thee, Jesus of Nazareth ? Thou art come to destroy us ! 
I know Thee Who Thou art, the Holy One of God.' i\nd 
yet there seems in these words already an emergence of the 
consciousness of the demonised, at least in so far that 
there is no longer confusion between him and his tor- 
mentor, and the latter speaks in his own name. One 
stronger than the demon had affected the higher part in 
the demonised. 

But this was not all. Jesus had come not only to de- 
stroy the works of the Devil, but to set the prisoners free. 
By a word of command He gagged the confessions of the 
demon, unwillingly made, and even so with hostile intent. 
It was not by such voices that He would have His 
Messiahship proclaimed. 

The same power which gagged the confession also bade 
the demon relinquish his prey. One wild paroxysm — and 
the sufferer was for ever free. But on them all who saw and 
heard it fell the stupor of astonishment. Each turned to 
his neighbour with the inquiry : i What is this ? A new 
doctrine with authority ! And He commandeth the un- 
clean spirits, and they obey Him.' 

From the Synagogue we follow the Saviour, in com- 
pany with His called disciples, to Peter's wedded home. 
But no festive meal, as was Jewish wont, awaited them 
there. A sudden access of violent ' burning fever,' such 
as is even now common in that district, had laid Peter's 
mother-in-law prostrate. If we had still any lingering 
thought of Jewish magical cures as connected with those 
of Jesus, what is now related must dispel it. The Talmud 
gives this disease precisely the same name, 'burning 
fever,' and prescribes for it a magical remedy, of which 
the principal part is to tie a knife wholly of iron by a 
braid of hair to a thornbush, and to repeat on successive 
days Exod. iii. 2, 3, then ver. 4, and finally ver. 5, after 
which the bush is to be cut down, while a certain magical 

A Sabbath in Capernaum 121 

formula is pronounced. How different from this is the 
Evangelic narrative of the cure of Peter's mother-in-law. 
Jesus is 'told ' of the sickness ; He is besought for her 
who is stricken down. In His Presence disease and misery 
cannot continue. Bending over the sufferer He * rebuked 
the fever,' just as He had rebuked 'the demon' in the 
Synagogue. Then lifting her by the hand, she rose up. 
healed, to 'minister' unto them. It was the first Dia- 
conate of woman in the Church — a Diaconate to Christ 
and to those that were His. 

The sun was setting, and the Sabbath past. On this 
autumn evening at Capernaum no one thought of business, 
pleasure, or rest. There must have been many homes of 
sorrow, care, and sickness there, and in the populous 
neighbourhood around. To all had the door of hope now 
been opened. No disease too desperate, when even the 
demons owned the authority of His mere rebuke. From 
all parts they bring them, and the whole city throngs— a 
hushed, solemnised multitude— expectant, waiting at the 
door of Simon's dwelling. There they laid them, along 
the street, up to the market-place, on their beds. Never, 
surely, was He more truly the Christ than when, in the 
stillness of that evening, He went through that suffering 
throng, laying His hands in the blessing of healing on 
every one of them, and casting out many devils. 



(St. Matt. iv. 23 ; viii. 2-4 ; St. Mark i. 35-45 ; St. Luke iv. 42-44 ; 

v. 12-16.) 

It was, so to speak, an inward necessity that the God-Man, 
when brought into contact with disease and misery, 
whether from physical or supernatural causes, should re- 
move it by His Presence, by His touch, by His Word. An 

122 Jesus the Messiah 

outward necessity also, because no othjsr mode of teaching 
equally convincing would have reached those accustomed 
to Rabbinic disputations, and who must have looked for 
such a manifestation from One Who claimed such autho- 
rity. And yet, so far from being a mere worker of miracles, 
as we should have expected if the history of His miracles 
had been of legendary origin, there is nothing more marked 
than the pain, we had almost said the humiliation, which 
their necessity seems to have carried to His heart. i Ex- 
cept ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe ; ' 'an 
evil and adulterous generation seeketh a sign ; ' ' blessed 
are they that have not seen, and yet have believed ' — such 
are the utterances of Him Who sighed when He opened 
» st. Mark the ears of the deaf, a and bade His Apostles look 
t l si 3 Luke f° r higher an d better things than power over all 
x. 17-20 diseases or even oyer evil spirits. b 

And so, thinking of the scene on the evening before, 
we can understand how, ' very early, while it was still very 
c st . Mart i. dark,' c Jesus rose up, and went into a solitary 
35 place to pray. 

As the three Synoptists accordantly state, Jesus now 
entered on His second Galilean journey. There can be 
little doubt that the chronological succession of events is 
here accurately indicated by the more circumstantial 
narrative in St. Mark's Gospel. 

Significantly, His Work began where that of the 
Rabbis, we had almost said of the Old Testament saints, 
ended. Whatever remedies, medical, magical, or sympa- 
thetic, Rabbinic writings may indicate for various kinds of 
disease, leprosy is not included in the catalogue. They 
left aside what even the Old Testament marked as moral 
death, by enjoining those so stricken to avoid all contact 
with the living, and even to bear the appearance of 
mourners. As the leper passed by, his clothes rent, his 
hair dishevelled, and the lower part of his face and hi3 
dLev.xiii. upper lip covered, d it was as one going to death 
46 who reads his own burial-service, while the 

mournful words, i Unclean ! Unclean ! ' which he uttered, 
proclaimed that his was both living and moral death. 

The Healing of the Leper 123 

Again, the Old Testament, and even Rabbinism, took, in 
the measures prescribed in leprosy, primarily a moral, or 
rather a ritual, and only secondarily a sanitary, view of the 

In the elaborate Rabbinic code of defilements leprosy 
stood foremost. Not merely actual contact with the leper, 
but even his entrance defiled a habitation, and everything 
in it, to the beams of the roof. But beyond this, Rabbinic 
harshness or fear carried its provisions to the utmost 
sequences of an unbending logic. Childlessness and leprosy 
are described as chastisements, which indeed procure for 
the sufferer forgiveness of sins, but cannot, like other 
chastisements, be regarded as the outcome of love, nor be 
received in love. Tradition had it that, as leprosy attached 
to the house, the dress, or the person, these were to be re- 
garded as always heavier strokes, following as each succes- 
sive warning had been neglected, and a reference to this 
was seen in Prov. xix. 29. Eleven sins are mentioned 
which bring leprosy, among them pre-eminently those of 
which the tongue is the organ. 

Still, if such had been the real views of Rabbinism, 
one might have expected that compassion would have been 
extended to those who bore such heavy burden of their 
sins. Instead of this, their troubles were needlessly in- 
creased. True, as wrapped in mourner's garb the leper 
passed by, his cry ' Unclean ! ' was to incite others to pray 
for him — but also to avoid him. No one was even to salute 
him ; his bed was to be low, inclining towards the ground. 
If he even put his head into a place, it became unclean. 
No less a distance than four cubits (six feet) must be kept 
from a leper ; or, if the wind came from that direction, a 
hundred was scarcely sufficient. Rabbi Meir would not 
eat an egg purchased in a street where there was a leper. 
Another Rabbi boasted that he always threw stones at 
them to keep them far off, while others hid themselves or 
ran away. To such extent did Rabbinism carry its inhuman 
logic in considering the leper as a mourner, that it even 
forbade him to wash his face. 

We can now in some measure appreciate the contrast 

124 Jesus the Messiah 

between Jesus and His contemporaries in His bearing 
towards the leper. Or, conversely, we can judge by the 
healing of this leper of the impression which the Saviour 
had made upon the people. He would have fled from a 
Rabbi ; he came in lowliest attitude of entreaty to Jesus. 
There was no Old Testament precedent for this approach : 
not in the case of Moses, nor even in that of Elisha, and 
there was no Jewish expectancy of it. But to have heard 
Him teach, to have seen or known Him as healing all man- 
ner of disease, must have carried the conviction of His 
absolute power. And so one can understand this cry : ' If 
Thou wilt, Thou canst make me clean.' It is not a prayer, 
but the ground-tone of all prayer — faith in His Power, and 
absolute committal to Him of our need. And Jesus, 
touched with compassion, willed it. It almost seems as if 
it were in the very exuberance of power that Jesus, acting 
in so direct contravention of Jewish usage, touched the 
leper. It was fitting that Elisha should disappoint Naaman's 
expectancy that the prophet would heal his leprosy by the 
touch of his hand. It was even more fitting that Jesus 
should surprise the Jewish leper by touching, ere by His 
Word He cleansed him. 

It is not quite so easy at first sight to understand why 
Christ should with such intense earnestness, almost vehem- 
ence, have sent the healed man away — as the term bears, 
1 cast him out,' Perhaps we may here once more gather 
how the God-Man shrank from the fame connected with 
miracles — specially with such an one — which, as we have 
seen, were rather of inward and outward necessity than of 
choice in His Mission. Not thronged by eager multitudes 
of sight-seers, or aspirants for temporal benefits, was the 
Kingdom of Heaven to be preached and advanced. It 
would have been the way of a Jewish Messiah, and have 
led up to His royal proclamation by the populace. But as 
we study the character of the Christ, no contrast seems 
more glaring than that of such a scene. And so we read 
that when, notwithstanding the Saviour's charge to the 
healed leper to keep silence, it was nevertheless all the 
more made known by him, He could no more, as before, 

The Healing of the Leper 125 

enter the cities, but remained without in desert places, 
whither they came to Him from every quarter. And in 
that withdrawal He spoke, and healed, ' and prayed/ 

Christ's injunction of silence to the leper was com- 
bined with that of presenting himself to the priest, and 
conforming to the ritual requirements of the Mosaic Law 
in such cases. His conforming to the Mosaic Ritual was 
to be ' a testimony unto them/ The Lord did not wish 
to have the Law of Moses broken — and broken, not super- 
seded, it would have been, if its provisions had been in- 
fringed before His Death, Ascension, and the Coming of 
the Holy Ghost had brought their fulfilment. 

But there is something else here. The course of this 
history shows that the open rupture between Jesus and 
the Jewish authorities, which had commenced at the 
Unknown Feast at Jerusalem, was to lead to practical 
sequences. On the part of the Jewish authorities, it led to 
measures of active hostility. The Synagogues of Galilee are 
no longer the quiet scenes of His teaching and miracles ; 
His Word and deeds no longer pass unchallenged. It had 
never occurred to these Galileans, as they implicitly sur- 
rendered themselves to the power of His words, to question 
their orthodoxy. But now, immediately after this occur- 
• st. Luie v. rence, we find Him accused of blasphemy.* They 
21 had not thought it breach of God's Law when, 

on that Sabbath, He had healed in the Synagogue of 
Capernaum and in the home of Peter ; but after this it 
became sinful to extend like mercy on the Sabbath to him 
b st. Luke whose hand was withered. 5 They had never 
**• 7 thought of questioning the condescension of His 

intercourse with the poor and needy ; but now they 
sought to sap the commencing allegiance of His disciples 
by charging Him with undue intercourse with publicans 
« st. Luker. and sinners, and by inciting against Him even the 
*»°st.Lukev. prejudices and doubts of the half-enlightened 
33 followers of His own Forerunner. d All these 

new incidents are due to the presence and hostile watch- 
fulness of the Scribes and Pharisees, who now for the first 
time appear on the scene of His ministry. Is it too mucb 

126 Jesus the Messiah 

then to infer that, immediately after that Feast at Jerusa- 
lem, the Jewish authorities sent their familiars into Galilee 
after Jesus, and that it was to the presence and influence 
of this informal deputation that the opposition to Christ, 
which now increasingly appeared, was due ? If so, then 
we see not only an additional motive for Christ's injunc- 
tion of silence on those whom He had heated, and for His 
own withdrawal from the cities and their throng, but we 
can understand how, as He afterwards answered those 
whom John had sent to lay before Christ his doubts, by 
pointing to His works, so He replied to the sending forth 
of the Scribes of Jerusalem to watch, oppose, and arrest 
Him, by sending to Jerusalem as His embassy the healed 
leper, to submit to all the requirements of the Law. 


(St. Matt. ix. 1-8 ; St. Mark ii. 1-12 ; St. Luke v. 17-26.) 

We are still mainly following the lead of St. Mark, alike 
as regards the succession of events and their details. 

The second journey of Jesus through Galilee had com- 
menced in autumn ; the return to Capernaum was ' after 
days,' which, in common Jewish phraseology, meant a con- 
siderable interval. As we reckon, it was winter, which 
would equally account for Christ's return to Capernaum, 
and for His teaching in the house. For, no sooner ' was 
it heard that He was in the house,' than so many flocked 
to the dwelling of Peter, which at that period may have 
been 'the house' or temporary 'home ' of the Saviour, as 
to fill its limited space to overflowing. The general im- 
pression on our minds is, that this audience was rather in 
a state of indecision than of sympathy with Jesus. It in- 
cluded ' Pharisees and doctors of the Law,' who had come 
on purpose from the towns of Galilee, from Judaea, and 

The Healing of the Paralysed 127 

from Jerusalem. These occupied the ' uppermost rooms/ 
sitting, no doubt, near to Jesus. Their influence must 
have been felt by the people. 

Although in no wise necessary to the understanding 
of the event, it is helpful to try and realise the scene. We 
can picture to ourselves the Saviour ' speaking the Word ' 
to that eager, interested crowd, which would soon become 
forgetful even of the presence of the watchful ' Scribes/ 
Though we know a good deal of the structure of Jewish 
houses, 1 we feel it difficult to be sure of the exact place 
which the Saviour occupied on this occasion. Meetings 
for religious study and discussion were certainly held in 
the Aliyah or upper chamber. But, on many grounds, 
such a locale seems unsuited to the requirements of the 

The house of Peter was, probably, one of the better 
dwellings of the middle classes. In that case Jesus would 
speak the Word, standing in the covered gallery that ran 
round the courtyard of such houses, and opened into the 
various apartments. Perhaps He stood within the entrance 
of the guest-chamber, while the Scribes sat within that 
apartment, or beside Him in the gallery. The court before 
Him was thronged, out into the street. All were absorb- 
edly listening to the Master, when of a sudden those 
appeared who were bearing a paralytic on his pallet. It 
had of late become too common a scene to see the sick 
thus carried to Jesus to attract special attention. And yet 
one can scarcely conceive that, if the crowd had merely 
filled an apartment and gathered around its door, it would 
not have made way for the sick, or that somehow the 
bearers could not have come within sight, or been able to 
attract the attention of Christ. But with a courtyard 
crowded out into the street, all this would be, of course, 
out of the question. In such circumstances access to Jesus 
was simply impossible. 

Their resolve was quickly taken. If they cannot ap- 
proach Christ with their burden, they can let it down from 
above at His feet. Outside the house, as well as inside, a 

1 See ' Sketches of Jewish Life,' pp. 93-9H. 

128 Jesus the Messiah 

stair led up to the roof. They may have ascended it in 
this wise, or else reached it by what the Rabbis called ' the 
road of the roofs,' passing from roof to roof, if the house 
adjoined . others in the same street. It would have been 
comparatively easy to f unroof the covering of ' tiles,' and 
then, ' having dug out ' an opening through the lighter 
framework which supported the tiles, to let down their 
burden ' into the midst before Jesus.' All this, as done by 
four strong men, would be but the work of a few minutes. 
But we can imagine the arresting of the discourse of Jesus, 
and the surprise of the crowd as this opening through the 
tiles appeared, and slowly a pallet was let down before 
them. Busy hands would help to steady it, and bring it 
safe to the ground. And on that pallet lay one paralysed 
— his fevered face and glistening eyes upturned to Jesus. 

This energy and determination of faith exceeded aught 
that had been witnessed before. Jesus saw it, and He 
spake. As yet the lips of the sufferer had not parted to 
utter his petition. He believed, indeed, in the power of 
Jesus to heal, with all the certitude that issued in the 
determination to be laid at His feet. And this open out- 
burst of faith shone out the more brightly from its contrast 
with the unbelief within the breast of those Scribes, who 
had come to watch and ensnare Jesus. 

As yet no one had spoken, for the silence of expectancy 
had fallen on them all. But He, Who perceived man's 
unspoken thoughts, knew that there was not only faith, 
but also fear, in the heart of that man. Hence the first 
words which the Saviour spake to him were : ' Be of good 
»st. Matt, cheer.' a He had, indeed, got beyond the coarse 
lx - 2 Judaic standpoint, from which suffering seemed 

an expiation of sin. But this other Jewish idea was even 
more deeply rooted, had more of underlying truth, and 
would, especially in presence of the felt holiness of Jesus, 
have a deep influence on the soul, that recovery would not 
be granted to the sick unless his sins had first been for- 
given him. It was this, perhaps as yet only partially 
conscious, want of the sufferer before Him, which Jesus 
met when He spoke forgiveness to his soul, and that not 

The Healing of the Paralysed 129 

as something to come, but as an act already past : ' Child, 
thy sins have been forgiven.' 

In another sense, also, there was a higher ' need be ' 
for the word which brought forgiveness, before that which 
gave healing. Let us recall that Jesus was in the presence 
of those in whom the Scribes would fain have wrought dis- 
belief, not of His power to cure disease — which was patent 
to all — but in His Person and authority ; that, perhaps, 
such doubts had already been excited. And here it de- 
serves special notice, that, by first speaking forgiveness, 
Christ not only presented the deeper moral aspect of His 
miracles, as against their ascription to magic or Satanic 
agency, but also established that very claim, as regarded 
His Person and authority, which it was sought to invali- 
date. In this forgiveness of sins He presented His Person 
and authority as Divine, and He proved it such by the 
miracle of healing which immediately followed. 

Thus the inward reasoning of the Scribes, which was 
open and known to Him Who readeth all thoughts, issued 
in quite the opposite of what they could have expected. 
It seemed easy to say : ' Thy sins have been forgiven.' 
But to Him, Who had ' authority ' to do so on earth, it 
was neither more easy nor more difficult than to say : 
' Rise, take up thy bed, and walk.' Yet this latter, 
assuredly, proved the former, and gave it in the sight of 
all men unquestioned reality. 



(St. Matt. ix. 9-13 ; St. Mark ii. 13-17 ; St. Luke v. 27-32 ; 
St. Matt. x. 2-4 : St. Mark iii. 13-19 ; St. Luke vi. 12-19.) 

In two things chiefly does the fundamental difference 
appear between Christianity and all other religious systems, 


130 Jesus the Messiah 

notably Rabbinism. Rabbinism, and every other system 
down to modern humanitarianism, can only generally 
point to God for the forgiveness of sin. What here is 
merely an abstraction has become a concrete reality in 
Christ. He speaks forgiveness on earth, because He is its 
embodiment. As regards the second idea, that of the 
sinner, all other systems would first make him a penitent, 
and then bid him welcome to God ; Christ first welcomes 
him to God, and so makes him a penitent. The one 
demands, the other imparts life. And so Christ is the 
Physician, Whom they that are in health need not, but 
they that are sick. And so Christ came not to call the 
righteous, but sinners — not to repentance, as our common 
text erroneously puts it in St. Matthew ix. 13, and St. 
Mark ii. 17, but to Himself, to the Kingdom; and this is 
the beginning of repentance. 

Thus it is that Jesus, when His teaching becomes dis- 
tinctive from that of Judaism, puts these two points in the 
foreground : the one at the cure of the paralytic, the other 
in the call of Levi-Matthew. And this, also, further ex- 
plains His miracles of healing as for the higher presenta- 
tion of Himself as the Great Physician, while it gives 
some insight into the nexus of thesetwo events, and ex- 
plains their chronological succession. It was fitting that 
at the very outset, when Rabbinism followed and chal- 
lenged Jesus with hostile intent, these two spiritual facts 
should be brought out, and that, not in a controversial, 
but in a positive and practical manner. For all the cum- 
brous observances of Rabbinism — its whole law — were 
only an attempted answer to the question : How can a 
man be just with God ? 

But, as Rabbinism stood self-confessedly silent and 
powerless as regarded the forgiveness of sins, so it had 
emphatically no word of welcome or help for the sinner. 
The very term ' Pharisee,' or ■ separated one,' implied the 
exclusion of sinners. With this the whole character of 
Pharisaism accorded ; perhaps we should have said, that of 
Rabbinism, since the Sadducean would here agree with 
the Pharisaic Rabbi. The contempt and avoidance of the 

The Call of Matthew 131 

unlearned, which was so characteristic of the system, arose 
not from mere pride of knowledge but from the thought 
that, as ' the Law ' was the glory and privilege of Israel — 
indeed, the object for which the world was created and 
preserved — ignorance of it was culpable. Thus, the un- 
learned blasphemed his Creator, and missed or perverted 
his own destiny. It was a principle that 'the ignorant 
cannot be pious.' The yoke of ' the Kingdom of God ' 
was the high destiny of every true Israelite. Only to 
them it lay in external, not internal conformity to the Law 
of God : ' in meat and drink,' not ' in righteousness, peace, 
and joy in the Holy Ghost.' 

Although Rabbinism had no welcome to the sinner, it 
was unceasing in its call to repentance and in extolling 
its merits. Repentance not only averted punishment and 
prolonged life, but brought good, even the final redemption 
to Israel and the world at large. But, when more closely 
examined, we find that this repentance, as preceding the 
free welcome of invitation to the sinner, was only another 
form of work-righteousness. 

We have already touched the point where, as regards 
repentance, as formerly in regard to forgiveness, the 
teaching of Christ is in absolute and fundamental con- 
trariety to that of the Rabbis. According to Jesus Christ, 
when we have done all, we are to feel that we are but un- 
• st. Luke profitable servants.* According to the Rabbis, as 
xvii. 10 g^ p au } p U £ S ^ < righteousness cometh by the 
Law ; ' and, when it is lost, the Law alone can restore 
life; while, according to Christian teaching, it only 
bringeth death. Thus there was, at the very foundation 
of religious life, absolute contrariety between Jesus and 
His contemporaries. 

The nature of repentance has yet to be more fully 
explained. Its gate is sorrow and shame. In that sense 
repentance may be the work of a moment, ' as in the 
twinkling of an eye,' and a life's sins may obtain mercy by 
the tears and prayers of a few minutes' repentance. To 
this also refers the beautiful saying, that all which rendered 
a sacrifice unfit for the altar, such as that it was broken, 

k 2 

132 Jesus the Messiah 

fitted the penitent for acceptance, since £ the sacrifices of 
God were a broken and contrite heart.' 

In some respects Rabbinic teaching about the need of 
repentance runs close to that of the Bible. But the vital 
difference between Rabbi nism and the Gospel lies in this : 
that whereas Jesus Christ freely invited all sinners, what- 
ever their past, assuring them of welcome and grace, the 
last word of Rabbinism is only despair and a kind of 
Pessimism. For it is expressly and repeatedly declared 
in the case of certain sins, and characteristically of heresy, 
that, even if a man genuinely and truly repented, he must 
expect immediately to die — indeed, his death would be 
the evidence that his repentance was genuine, since, 
though such a sinner might turn from his evil, it would be 
impossible for him, if he lived, to lay hold on the good, 
and to do it. 

It is in the light of Rabbinic views of forgiveness and 
repentance that the call of Levi-Matthew must be read, if 
we would perceive its full meaning. 

Few, if any, could have enjoyed better opportunities 
for hearing and quietly thinking over the teaching of the 
Prophet of Nazareth, than Levi-Matthew. We do not 
wonder that in the sequel his first or purely Jewish name of 
Levi is dropped, and only that of Matthew, which would 
have been added after his conversion, retained. The 
latter, which is the equivalent of Nathanael, or of the 
Greek Theodore (gift of God), seems to have been fre- 

Sitting before his custom-house, as on that day when 
Jesus called him, Matthew must have frequently heard 
Him as He taught by the sea-shore. Thither not only the 
multitude from Capernaum would easily follow ; but here 
was the landing-place for the many ships which traversed 
the Lake, or coasted from town to town. And this not 
only for them who had business in Capernaum or that 
neighbourhood, but also for those who would then strike 
the great road of Eastern commerce which led from 
Damascus to the harbours of the West. 

We know much about those ' tolls, dues, and customs,' 

The Call of Matthew 133 

which made the Roman administration such sore and 
vexatious exaction to all l Provincials/ and which in Judaea 
loaded the very name of publican with contempt and 
hatred. They who cherished the gravest religious doubts 
as to the lawfulness of paying any tribute to Caesar, as 
involving in principle recognition of a bondage to which 
they would fain have closed their eyes, and the. substitu- 
tion of heathen kingship for that of Jehovah, must have 
looked on the publican as the very embodiment of anti- 
nationalism. The endless vexatious interferences, the 
unjust and cruel exactions, the petty tyranny, and the 
extortionate avarice, from which there was neither defence 
nor appeal, would make it well-nigh unbearable. It is to 
this that the Rabbis so often refer. If ' publicans ' were 
disqualified from being judges or witnesses, it was, at 
least so far as regarded witness-bearing, because ' they 
exacted more than was due.' Hence also it was said that 
repentance was specially difficult for tax-gatherers and 
custom-house officers. 

It is of importance to notice that the Talmud dis- 
tinguishes two classes of ' publicans : ' the tax-gatherer 
in general, and the douanier or custom-house official. 
Although both classes fall under the Rabbinic ban, the 
douanier — such as Matthew was — is the object of chief 
execration. And this, because his exactions were more 
vexatious, and gave more scope to rapacity. The tax- 
gatherer collected the regular dues, which consisted of 
ground-, income-, and poll-tax. The ground-tax amounted 
to one-tenth of all grain and one-fifth of the wine and 
fruit grown — partly paid in kind, and partly commuted 
into money. The income-tax amounted to I per cent. ; 
while the head-money, or poll-tax, was levied on all per- 
sons, bond and free, in the case of men from the age of 
fourteen, in that of women from the age of twelve up to 
that of sixty-five. 

If this offered many opportunities for vexatious exac- 
tions and rapacious injustice, the custom-house official 
might inflict much greater hardship upon the poor people. 
There was tax and duty upon all imports and exports ; on 

134 Jesus the Messiah • 

all that was bought and sold ; bridge-money, road-money, 
harbour-dues, town-dues, &c. The classical reader knows 
the ingenuity which could invent a tax and find a name 
for every kind of exaction. On goods the ad valorem duty 
amounted to from 2% to 5, and on articles of luxury to 
even 12 J per ceut. But even this was as nothing, com- 
pared with the vexation of being constantly stopped on the 
journey, having to unload all pack-animals, when every 
bale and package was opened, and the contents tumbled 
about, private letters opened, and the douanier ruled 
supreme in his insolence and rapacity. This custom- 
house official was called ! great ' if he employed substi- 
tutes, and ' small ' if he stood himself at the receipt ot 

What has been described will cast light on the call 
of Matthew by the Saviour of sinners. For we remember 
that Levi-Matthew was not only a ' publican,' but of the 
worst kind : a ' Mokhes ' or douanier ; a ' little Mokhes ' who 
himself stood at his custom-house ; of the class to whom, 
as we are told, repentance offered special difficulties. And, 
of all such officials, those who had to take toll from ships 
were perhaps the worst, if we are to judge by the pro- 
verb : ' Woe to the ship which sails without having paid 
the dues.' 

But now quite another day had dawned for Matthew. 
The Prophet of Nazareth was not like those other great 
Rabbis, or their self-righteous imitators. There was not 
between Him and one like Matthew, the great, almost 
impassable gap of repentance. He had seen and heard 
Him in the Synagogue — and who that had heard His 
Words or witnessed His power could ever forget or lose 
the impression ? The people, the rulers, even the evil 
spirits, had owned His authority. But in the Synagogue 
Jesus was still the Great One, far away from him ; and he, 
Levi-Matthew, the ' little MoJches' of Capernaum, to whom, 
as the Rabbis told him, repentance was next to impossible. 
But out there, in the open, by the seashore, it was other- 
wise. All unobserved by others, he observed all, and 
could yield himself without reserve to the impression. 

The Call of Matthew 135 

Perhaps he may have witnessed the call of the first 
Apostles ; he certainly must have known the fishermen 
and shipowners of Capernaum. And now it appeared as 
if Jesus had been brought still nearer to Matthew. For 
the great ones of Israel, ' the Scribes of the Pharisees/ 
and their pietist followers, had combined against Him, 
and would exclude Him, not on account of sin, but on 
account of the sinners. And so, we take it, long before 
that eventful day which for ever decided his life, Matthew 
had, in heart, become the disciple of Jesus. Only he dared 
not hope for personal recognition — far less for call to 
discipleship. But when it came, and Jesus fixed on him 
that look of love which searched the inmost deep of the 
soul, it needed not a moment's thought or consideration. 
When He spake it, 'Follow Me,' the past seemed all 
swallowed up. He said not a word ; but he rose up, left 
the custom-house, and followed Him. That was a gain 
that day, not of Matthew alone, but of all the poor and 
needy in Israel — nay, of all sinners from among men, 
to whom the door of heaven was opened. 

It could not have been long after this that the 
memorable gathering took place in the house of Matthew, 
which gave occasion to that cavil of the Pharisaic Scribes, 
which served further to bring out the meaning of Levi's call. 
It was natural that all the publicans around should, after 
the call of Matthew, have come to his house to meet Jesus. 
And it was characteristic that Jesus should improve such 
opportunity. When we read of ' sinners ' as in company 
with these publicans, it is not necessary to think of gross 
or open offenders, though such may have been included. 
For we know what such a term may have included in the 
Pharisaic vocabulary. Equally characteristic was it, that 
the Rabbinists should have addressed their objection as to 
fellowship with such, not to the Master, but to the dis- 
ciples. Had they been able to lodge this cavil in their 
minds, it would have fatally shaken the confidence of the 
disciples in the Master. . 

From their own standpoint and contention, m then- 
own form of speech, He answered the Pharisees. And 

136 Jesus the Messiah 

He not only silenced their gainsaying, but further opened 
up the meaning of His acting — nay, His very purpose 
and Mission. 'No need have they who are strong and 
• The latter * n nea lth a of a physician, but they who are 
m st. Luke ill.' It was the very principle of Pharisaism 
which He thus set forth, alike as regarded their 
self-exclusion from Him and His consorting with the 
diseased. And, as the more Hebraic St, Matthew adds, 
applying the very Rabbinic formula, so often used when 
superficial speciousness of knowledge is directed to further 
thought and information : ' Go and learn ! ' Learn what ? 
What their own Scriptures meant ; learn that fundamental 
principle of the spiritual meaning of the Law as explana- 
tory of its mere letter, ' I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.' 

There was yet another and higher aspect of it, ex- 
plaining and applying alike this saying and the whole 
Old Testament, and thus His Own Mission : \ For I am 
not come to call righteous men, but sinners.' The intro- 
duction of the words f to repentance ' in some manuscripts 
of St. Matthew and St. Mark shows how early the full 
meaning of Christ's words was misinterpreted. For Christ 
called sinners to better and higher than repentance, even 
to Himself and His Kingdom. 

The call of St. Matthew was no doubt speedily followed 
by the calling of the other Apostles. b It ap- 

pears that only the calling of those to the Apo- 

x. 2-4 ; 

3*0$^ stolate is related, which in some sense is typical, 
st. Luke vi. v iz. that of Peter and Andrew, of James and 
John, of Philip and Bartholomew (or Bar Tela- 
myon, or Temalyon, generally supposed the same as 
Nathanael), and of Matthew the publican. Yet, secondly, 
there is something which attaches to each of the others. 
Thomas, who is called Didymus (which means 'twin'), 
is closely connected with Matthew, both in St. Luke's 
Gospel and in that of St. Matthew himself. James is ex- 
« st. John pressly named as the son of Alphaeus or Clopas. c l 
xix.25 This we know to have been also the name of 

1 Thus he would be the same as ' James the Less,' or rather ■ the 
Little,' a son of Mary, the sister-in-law of the Virgin-Mcther. 

The Call of the Twelve Apostles 137 

Matthew-Levi's father. But, as the name was a common 
one, no inference can be drawn from it, and it does not 
seem likely that the father of Matthew was also that of 
James, Judas, and Simon, for these three seem to have 
been brothers. Judas is designated by St. Matthew as 
Lebbaeus, from the Hebrew for ' a heart,' and is also named, 
both by him and by St. Mark, Thaddaeus — a term which 
we would derive from the Jewish name for 'praise.' In 
that case both Lebbaeus and Thaddaeus would point to 
the heartiness and the thanksgiving of the Apostle, and 
hence to his character. St. Luke simply designates him 
Judas of James, which means that he was the brother 
• st Luke ess P roDaD ly> tne son ) °f James.* Thus his 
vi. 11 ; real name would have been Judas Lebbaeus, and 

stJohn his surname Thaddaeus. Closely connected with 
xiv.22- these two we have, in all the Gospels, Simon, 
surnamed Zelotes or Cananaean (not Canaanite), both terms 
indicating his original connection with the Galilean Zealot 
party, the ' Zealots for the Law.' His position in the 
Apostolic Catalogue, and the testimony of Hegesippus, 
seem to point him out as the son of Clopas, and brother of 
James, and of Judas Lebbaeus. These three were, in a 
sense, cousins of Christ, since, according to Hegesippus, 
Clopas was the brother of Joseph, while the sons of 
Zebedee were real cousins, their mother Salome being a 
sister of the Virgin. Lastly, we have Judas Iscariot, or 
Ish Kerioth, l a man of Kerioth,' a town in Judah. b 
b JosK X7m Thus the betrayer alone would be of Judaean 
25 origin, the others all of Galilean ; and this may 

throw light on not a little in his after-history. 

138 Jesus the Messiah 


(St. Matt, v.-vii.) 

It was probably on one of those mountain-ranges which 
stretch to the north of Capernaum, that Jesus had spent 
the night of lonely prayer which preceded the designation 
of the twelve to the Apostolate. As the morning broke, 
He called up those who had learned to follow Him, and 
from among them chose the twelve, who were to be His 
• st. Luke Ambassadors and Representatives.* But already 
**• 13 the eager multitude from all parts had come to 

the broad level plateau beneath, to bring to Him their need 
of soul or body. To them He now descended with words 
of comfort and power of healing. As they pressed around 
Him for that touch which brought virtue of healing to all, 
He retired again to the mountain height, and through the 
clear air of the spring day spake what has ever since been 
known as the ' Sermon on the Mount/ from the place 
where He sat, or as that 'in the plain' (St. Luke vi. 17), 
from the place where He had first met the multitude, and 
which so many must have continued to occupy while He 

The first and most obvious, perhaps also most super- 
ficial thought, is that which brings this teaching of Christ 
into comparison with the best of the wisdom and piety of 
the Jewish sages, as preserved in Rabbinic writings. Its 
essential difference, or rather contrariety, in spirit and 
substance, not only when viewed as a whole, but in almost 
each of its individual parts, will be briefly shown in the 

Turn from a reading of the ' Sermon on the Mount ' to 
the wisdom of the Jewish Fathers in their Talmud. It 
matters little what part be chosen for the purpose. Here, 
also, the reader is at disadvantage, since his instructors 
present to him too frequently broken sentences, torn from 

The Sermon on the Mount 139 

their connection, words often mistranslated or misapplied ; 
at best, only isolated sentences. There is here wit and 
logic, quickness and readiness, earnestness and zeal, but 
by the side of it profanity, uncleanness, superstition, and 
folly. Taken as a whole, it is not only utterly unspiritual, 
but anti-spiritual. Not that the Talmud is worse than 
might be expected of such writings in such times and 
circumstances, perhaps in many respects much better — 
always bearing in mind the particular standpoint of narrow 
nationalism, without which Talmudism itself could not 
have existed, and which therefore is not an accretion but 
an essential part of it. But, taken not in abrupt sentences 
and quotations, but as a whole, it is so utterly and im- 
measurably unlike the New Testament, that it is not easy 
to determine which is greater, the ignorance or the pre- 
sumption of those who put them side by side. And to the 
reader of such disjointed Rabbinic quotations there is this 
further source of misunderstanding, that the form and 
sound of words is so often the same as that of the sayings 
of Jesus, however different their spirit. For, necessarily, 
the wine — be it new or old— made in Judaea comes to us 
in Palestinian vessels. But the ideas underlying terms 
equally employed by Jesus and the teachers of Israel are, 
in everything that concerns the relation of souls to God, so 
absolutely different as not to bear comparison. Whence 
otherwise the enmity and opposition to Jesus from the first, 
and not only after His Divine claim had been pronounced ? 

We can only here attempt a general outline of the 
'Sermon on the Mount/ Its great subject is neither 
righteousness, nor yet the New Law (if such designation 
be proper in regard to what in no real sense is a Law), 
but the Kingdom of God. Notably, the Sermon on the 
Mount contains not any detailed or systematic doctrinal, 
nor any ritual teaching, nor yet does it prescribe the form 
of any outward observances. 

As from this point of view the Sermon on the Mount 
differs from all contemporary Jewish teaching, so also 
is it impossible to compare it with any other* system of 
morality. The difference here is one not of degree, nor 

J 40 Jesus the Mess/ ah 

even of kind, but of standpoint. It is indeed true that 
the Words of Jesus, properly understood, mark the utmost 
limit of all possible moral conception. But every moral 
system is a road by which, through self-denial, discipline, 
and effort, men seek to reach the goal. Christ begins 
with this goal, and places His disciples at once in the 
position to which all other teachers point as the end. 
They work up to the goal of becoming the < children of 
the Kingdom 5 ' He makes men such, freely, and of His 
grace : and this is the Kingdom. Accordingly, in the real 
sense, there is neither new law nor moral system here, but 
entrance into a new life : ' Be ye therefore perfect, as your 
Father Which is in heaven is perfect/ 

But if the Sermon on the Mount contains not a new, 
nor, indeed, any system of morality, and addresses itself 
to a new condition of things, it follows that the promises 
attaching, for example, to the so-called 'Beatitudes' must not 
be regarded as the reward of the spiritual state with which 
they are respectively connected, nor yet as their result. 
It is not because a man is poor in spirit that his is the 
Kingdom of Heaven, in the sense that the one state will 
grow into the other, or be its result j still less is the one 
the reward of the other. The connecting link between 
the ' state ' and the promise is in each case Christ Himself: 
because He stands between our present and our future, 
and ' has opened the Kingdom of Heaven to all believers/ 
Thus the promise represents the gift of grace by Christ in 
the new Kingdom, as adapted to each case. 

It is Christ, then, as the King, Who is here flinging 
open the gates of His Kingdom. To study it more closely : 
in the three chapters, under which the Sermon on the 
^ch 3 .v.-vii. Mount is grouped in the First Gospel, a the King- 
dom of God is presented successively progressively, 
and extensively. Let us trace this with the help of the text 

In the first part of the Sermon on the Mount, b the 
» st. Matt v. Kin g dom of God is delineated generally, first 
' positively, and then negatively, marking espe- 
cially how its righteousness goes deeper than the mere 

The Sermon on the Mount 141 

letter of even the Old Testament Law. It opens with ten 
Beatitudes, which are the New Testament counterpart to 
the Ten Commandments. These present to us, not the 
observance of the Law written on stone, but the realisation 
of that Law which, by the Spirit, is written on the fleshy 
tables of the heart. a 

• stMatt.v. Thege Ten c omman a m ents in the Old Cove- 
rs*. **. nanfc were preceded by a Prologue. 5 The ten 
c st. Matt. v. Beatitudes have, characteristically, not a Prologue, 

but an Epilogue, which corresponds to the Old 
Testament Prologue. This closes the first section, of which 
the object was to present the Kingdom of God in its 
characteristic features. But here it was necessary, in 
order to mark the real continuity of the New Testament 
with the Old, to show the relation of the one to the other. 
And this is the object of verses 17 to 20, the last-men- 
tioned verse forming at the same time a grand climax and 
transition to the criticism of the Old Testament-Law in its 
merely literal application, such as the Scribes and Phari- 

• w. 21 to sees made. d In this part of the ' Sermon on the 
end of ch. v. Mount ' the careful reader will mark an analogy 
to Exod. xxi. and xxii. 

This closes the first part of the ' Sermon on the Mount.' 
The second part is contained in St. Matt. vi. In this the 
criticism of the Law is carried deeper. The question now 
is not as concerns the Law in its literality, but as to what 
constituted more than a mere observance of the outward 
commandments : piety, spirituality, sanctity. Three points 
here stand out : alms, prayer, and fasting — or, to put the 
latter more generally, the relation of the physical to the 
spiritual. These three are successively presented, nega- 

• Aims vi. ti ve lv and positively. 6 But even so, this would 
1-4 ; prayer, have been but the external aspect of them. The 
Voting, is- Kingdom of God carries all back to tho grand 
18 underlying ideas. What were this or that mode 
of giving alms, unless the right idea be apprehended, of 
that which constitutes riches, and where they should be 
sought? This is indicated in verses 19 to 21. Again, as to 
prayer : what matters it if we avoid the externalism of the 

I4 2 Jesus the Messiah 

Pharisees, or even catch the right form as set forth in the 
' Lord's Prayer,' unless we realise what underlies prayer ? 
It is to lay our inner man wholly open to the light of God 
in genuine, earnest simplicity, to be quite shone through 

• w.22, 23 by Him. a It is, moreover, absolute and undi- 
*w. 22-24 v ided self-dedication to God. b And in this lies 
its connection, alike with the spirit that prompts almsgiving, 
and with that which prompts real fasting. That which 
underlies all such fasting is a right view of the relation in 
which the body with its wants stands to God — the temporal 
«w.25to to the spiritual. It is the spirit of prayer which 
end of oh. vi mU st rule alike alms and fasting, and pervade 
them ; the self-dedication to God, the seeking first after 
the Kingdom of God and His Kighteousness, that man, 
and self, and life may be baptized in it. Such are the 
real alms, the real prayers, the real fasts of the Kingdom 
of God. 

If we have rightly apprehended the meaning of the 
first two parts of the ' Sermon on the Mount,' we cannot 
be at a loss to understand its third part, as set forth in the 
seventh chapter of St. Matthew's Gospel. Briefly, it is 
this, as addressed to His contemporaries, nay, with wider 
application to the men of all times : First, the Kingdom 
of God cannot be circumscribed, as you would do it. d 
d ^ 1 _ 6 Secondly, it cannot be extended, as you would do 
' Ver > 6 i2 **> ky external means, e but cometh to us from 
God, f and is entered by personal determination 
and separation. 8 Thirdly, it is not preached, as too often 

* w. 13, u is attempted, when thoughts of it are merely of 
"w.15,16 t jj e ex ternal. h Lastly, it is not manifested in 
life in the manner too common among religionists, but is 

» w 17-20 ver y rea ^' anc * true > an ^ &°°d m ^ effects. 1 And 
this Kingdom, as received by each of us, is like 
a solid house on a solid foundation, which nothing from 
without can shake or destroy. k 

The contrast just set forth between the 
Kingdom as presented by the Christ and Jewish contem- 
porary teaching is the more striking, that it was expressed 
in a form, and clothed in words with which all His hearers 

The Sermon on the Mount 143 

were familiar. It is this which has misled so many in 
their quotations of Rabbinic parallels to the ' Sermon 
on the Mount.' They perceive outward similarity, and 
they straightway set it down to identity of spirit, not 
understanding that often those things are most unlike 
in the spirit of them, which are most like in their form. 
Many of these Rabbinic quotations are, however, entirely 
inapt, the similarity lying in an expression or turn of 
words. Occasionally, the misleading error goes even fur- 
ther, and that is quoted in illustration of Jesus' saying 
which, either by itself or in the context, implies quite the 
opposite. A few specimens will sufficiently illustrate our 

To begin with the first Beatitude, to the poor in spirit, 
since theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. This early Jewish 
saying is its very counterpart, marking not the optimism, 
but the pessimism of life : '.Ever be more and more lowly 
in spirit, since the expectancy of man is to become the 
food of worms.' Another contrast to Christ's promise of 
grace to the ' poor in spirit ' is presented by the saying of 
the great Hillel : ' My humility is my greatness, and my 
greatness my humility,' which, be it observed, is elicited 
by a Rabbinic accommodation of Ps. cxiii. 5, 6 : ' Who is 
exalted to sit, who humbleth himself to behold.' It is 
the omission on the part of modern writers of this ex- 
planatory addition, which has given the saying of Hillel 
even the faintest likeness to the first Beatitude. 

But even so, what of the promise of ' the Kingdom of 
Heaven ' ? What is the meaning which Rabbinism at- 
taches to that phrase, and would it have entered the mind 
of a Rabbi to promise what he understood as the Kingdom 
to all men, Gentiles as well as Jews, who were poor in 
spirit ? We recall here the fate of the Gentiles in Mes- 
sianic days, and, to prevent misstatements, summarise the 
opening pages of the Talmudic tractate on Idolatry. At 
the beginning of the coming era of the Kingdom, God is 
represented as opening the Law, and inviting all who 
had busied themselves with it to come for their reward. 
On this, nation by nation appears, bat is in turn repelled. 

144 Jesus the Messiah 

Then all the Gentile nations urge that th^ Law had not 
been offered to them, which is proved to be a vain con- 
tention, since God had actually offered it to them, but only 
Israel had accepted it. On this the nations reply by a 
peculiar Rabbinic explanation of Exod. xix. 17, according 
to which God is actually represented as having lifted 
Mount Sinai like a cask, and threatened to put it over 
Israel unless they accepted the Law. Israel's obedience, 
therefore, was not willing, but enforced. On this the 
Almighty proposes to judge the Gentiles by the Noachic 
commandments, although it is added that, even had they 
observed them, these would have carried no reward. And, 
although it is a principle that even a heathen if he studied 
the Law was to be esteemed like the High-Priest, yet it 
is argued, with the most perverse logic, that the reward 
of heathens who observed the Law must be less than that 
of those who did so because the Law was given them, 
since the former acted from impulse, and not from obe- 
dience ! 

Other portions of the context bring out even more 
strongly the difference between the largeness of Christ's 
World-Kingdom, and the narrowness of Judaism. 

It is the same self-righteousness and carnalness of view 
which underlies the other Rabbinic parallels to the Beati- 
tudes, pointing to contrast rather than likeness. Thus 
the Rabbinic blessedness of mourning consists in this, 
that much misery here makes up for punishment here- 
after. We scarcely wonder that no Rabbinic parallel can 
be found to the third Beatitude, unless we recall the con- 
trast which assigns in Messianic days the possession of 
earth to Israel as a nation. Nor could we expect any 
parallel to the fourth Beatitude, to those who hunger and 
thirst after righteousness. Rabbinism would have quite 
a different idea of ' righteousness,' considered as ' good 
works/ and chiefly as almsgiving. To such the most 
special reward is promised. Similarly, Rabbinism speaks 
of the perfectly righteous and the perfectly unrighteous, 
or else of the righteous and unrighteous (according as the 
good or the evil might weigh heaviest in the scale) ; and, 

Kingdom of Christ and Rabbinic Teaching 145 

besides these, of a kind of middle state. But such a con- 
ception as that of ' hunger ' and ' thirst ' after righteous- 
ness would have no place in the system. And, that no 
doubt may obtain, this sentence may be quoted : ■ He 
that says, I give this "Sela" as alms, in order that my 
sons may live, and that I may merit the world to come, 
behold, this is the perfectly righteous.' Along with such 
assertions of work-righteousness we have this principle 
often repeated, that all such merit attaches only to Israel, 
while the good works and mercy of the Gentiles are 
actually reckoned to them as sin, though it is only fair 
to add that one voice is raised in contradiction of such 

It seems almost needless to prosecute this subject ; yet 
it may be well to remark that the same self-righteousness 
attaches to the quality of mercy, so highly prized among 
the Jews, and which is supposed not only to bring reward, 
but to atone for sins. With regard to purity of heart, 
there is, indeed, a discussion between the school of Sharn- 
mai and that of Hillel — the former teaching that guilty 
thoughts constitute sin, while the latter expressly confines 
it to guilty deeds. The Beatitude attaching to peace- 
making has many analogies in Rabbinism ; but the latter 
would never have connected the designation of ' children 
of God' with any but Israel. A similar remark applies 
to the use of the expression ' Kingdom of Heaven ' in the 
next Beatitude. 

One by one, as we place the sayings of the Rabbis by 
the side of those of Jesus in this Sermon on the Mount, we 
mark the same essential contrariety of spirit, whether as 
regards righteousness, sin, repentance, faith, the Kingdom, 
alms, prayer, or fasting. Only two points may be specially 
selected, because they are so frequently brought forward by 
writers as proof that the sayings of Jesus did not rise 
above those of the chief Talmudic authorities. The first 
• st. Matt. °f these refers to the well-known words of our 
***• 12 Lord : a ' Therefore all things whatsoever ye 

would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them : 
for this is the law and the prophets.' This is compared 


146 Jesus the Messiah 

with the following Rabbinic parallel, in which the gentle- 
ness of Hillel is contrasted with the opposite disposition 
of Shammai. The latter is said to have harshly repelled 
an intending proselyte, who wished to be taught the whole 
Law while standing on one foot, while Hillel received 
him with this saying: 'What is hateful to thee, do not 
to another. This is the whole Law, all else is only its ex- 
planation/ It will be noticed that the words in which 
the Law is thus summed up are really only a quotation 
from Tob. iv. 15, although their presentation as the sub- 
stance of the Law is, of course, original. But apart from 
this, there is a vast difference between this negative injunc- 
tion and the positive direction to do unto others as we would 
have them do unto us. The one does not rise above the 
standpoint of the Law, while the Christian saying embodies 
the nearest approach to absolute love of which human nature 
is capable, making that the test of our conduct to others 
which we ourselves desire to possess. And, be it observed, 
the Lord does not put self-love as the principle of our con- 
duct, but only as its ready test. Besides, the further 
explanation in St. Luke vi. 38 should here be kept in 
view, as also the explanatory additions in St. Matt. v. 

The second instance is the supposed similarity between 
• st. Matt, petitions in the Lord's Prayer a and Rabbinic 
vi. 9-13 prayers. Here we may remark at the outset, 
that both the spirit and the manner of prayer are presented 
by the Rabbis so externally, and with such details, as to 
make it quite different from prayer as our Lord taught His 
disciples. That the warning against prayers at the corner 
of streets was taken from life appears from the well- 
known anecdote concerning one Rabbi Jannai, who was 
observed saying his prayers in the public streets of 
Sepphoris, and then advancing four cubits to make the so- 
called supplementary prayer. Again, a perusal of some 
of the recorded prayers of the Rabbis will show how 
vastly different many of them were from the petitions 
which our Lord taught. 

Further details would lead beyond our present scope. 

Healing of the Centurions Servant 147 

It must suffice to indicate that such sayings as St. Matt 
v. 6, 15, 17, 25, 29, 31, 46, 47 ; vi. 8, 12, 18, 22, 24, 32 ; 
vii. 8, 9, 10, 15, 17-19, 22, 23, have no parallel, in any 
real sense, in Jewish writings, whose teaching, indeed, 
often embodies opposite ideas. 


(St. Matt. viii. 1, 5-15 ; St. Mark iii. 20, 21 ; St. Luke vii. 1-10.) 
From the Mount of Beatitudes, it was again to His tem- 
• st. Mark porary home at Capernaum that Jesus retired.* 
iii. 19-21 y et not e i t h er to so lit u de or to rest. For of 
that multitude which had hung entranced on His Words 
many followed Him, and there was now such constant 
pressure around Him, that in the zeal of their attendance 
upon the wants and demands of those who hungered after 
the Bread of Life alike Master and disciples found not 
leisure so much as for the necessary sustenance of the 

The circumstances, the incessant work, and the all- 
consuming zeal led to the apprehension on the part of ' His 
friends ' that the balance of judgment might be over- 
weighted, and high reason brought into bondage to the 
poverty of the earthly frame. On tidings reaching them, 
with perhaps Orientally exaggerating details, they hastened 
out of their house in a neighbouring street to take posses- 
sion of .Him, as if He had needed their charge. The idea 
that He was 'beside Himself afforded the only explana- 
tion of what otherwise would have been to them well-nigh 
inexplicable. To the Eastern mind especially this want of 
self-possession, the being c beside ' oneself, would point to 
possession by another — God or Devil. It was on the 
ground of such supposition that the charge was so con- 
stantly raised by the Scribes, and unthinkingly taken up 
by the people, that Jesus was mad, and had a devil : not 
demoniacal possession, be it marked, but possession by the 

l 2 

148 Jesus the Messiah 

Devil, in the absence of self-possessedness. And hence 
our Lord characterised this charge as really blasphemy 
against the Holy Ghost. And this also explains how, 
while unable to deny the reality of His Works, they could 
still resist their evidential force. 

This incident could have caused but brief interruption 
to His Work. Presently there came the summons of the 
heathen Centurion and the healing of his servant, which 
both St. Matthew and St. Luke record. 

The Centurion is a real historical personage. He was 
captain of the troop quartered in Capernaum, and in the 
service of Herod Antipas. We know that such troops 
were chiefly recruited from Samaritans and Gentiles of 
Cassarea. Nor is there the slightest evidence that this 
Centurion was a ' proselyte of righteousness.' The accounts 
both in St. Matthew and in St. Luke are incompatible with 
this idea. A ' proselyte of righteousness ' could have had no 
reason for not approaching Christ directly, nor would he 
have spoken of himself as * unfit ' that Christ should come 
under his roof. But such language quite accorded with 
Jewish notions of a Gentile, since the houses of Gentiles 
were considered as defiled, and as defiling those who 
entered them. On the other hand, the ' proselytes of 
righteousness ' were in all respects equal to Jews, so that 
the words of Christ concerning Jews and Gentiles, as 
reported by St. Matthew, would not have been applicable 
to them. The Centurion was simply one who had learned 
to love Israel and to reverence Israel's God ; one who had 
built that Synagogue, of which, strangely enough, now 
after eighteen centuries the remains in their rich and 
elaborate carvings of cornices and entablatures, of capitals 
and niches, show with what liberal hand he had dealt his 
votive offerings. 

As the houses of Gentiles were ' unclean/ entrance 
into them, and still more familiar fellowship, would ' de- 
file/ The Centurion must have known this ; and the 
higher he placed Jesus on the pinnacle of Judaism, the 
more natural was it for him to communicate with Christ 
through the elders of the Jews, and not to expect the 

Healing of the Centurion's Servant 149 

personal Presence of the Master, even if the application 
to Him were attended with success. 

Closely considered, whatever verbal differences, there 
is not any real discrepancy between the Judaean presenta- 
tion of the event in St. Matthew and the fuller Gentile 
account of it by St. Luke. From both narratives we are 
led to infer that the house of the Centurion was not in 
Capernaum itself, but in its immediate neighbourhood, 
probably on the road to Tiberias. 

And in their leading features the two accounts entirely 
agree. There is earnest supplication for his sick, seemingly 
dying servant. Again, the Centurion in the fullest sense 
believes in the power of Jesus to heal, in the same manner 
as he knows his own commands as an officer would be im- 
plicitly obeyed. But in his self-acknowledged ' unfitness ' 
lay the real ' fitness ' of this good soldier for membership 
with the true Israel ; and in his deep-felt ' unworthiness ' 
the real < worthiness ' for ' the Kingdom ' and its blessings. 
Here was one who was in the state described in the first 
clauses of the l Beatitudes,' and to whom came the pro- 
mise of the second clauses ; because Christ is the connect- 
ing link between the two, and because He consciously was 
such to the Centurion. 

And so we mark that participation in the blessedness 
of the Kingdom is not connected with any outward rela- 
tionship towards it, nor belongs to our inward conscious- 
ness in regard to it ; but is granted by the King to that 
faith which in deepest simplicity realises, and holds fast 
by Him. 

But for the fuller understanding of the words of 
Christ, the Jewish modes of thought, which He used in 
illustration, require to be briefly explained. It was a 
common belief that in the day of the Messiah redeemed 
Israel would be gathered to a great feast, together with 
the patriarchs and heroes of the Jewish faith. One thing, 
however, was clear : Gentiles could have no part in that 
feast. On this point, then, the words of Jesus in re- 
ference to the believing Centurion formed the most marked 
contrast to Jewish teaching. 

150 Jesus the Messiah 

In another respect also we mark similar contrariety. 
When our Lord consigned the unbelieving to ■ outer dark- 
ness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth,' He 
once more used Jewish language, only with opposite appli- 
cation of it. Gehinnom was a place of darkness, to which, 

Amos v 20 in the da ^ of the Lord > a the Gentiles would be 
consigned. On the other hand, the merit of 
circumcision would in the day of the Messiah deliver 
Jewish sinners from Gehinnom. It seems a moot question, 
«> st. Matt, whether the expression < outer darkness ' b may 
vm - 12 not have been intended to designate — besides 

the darkness outside the lighted house of the Father, and 
even beyond the darkness of Gehinnom — a place of hope- 
less, endless night. Associated with it is ' the weeping 
and the gnashing of teeth.' In Rabbinic thought the 
former was connected with sorrow, the latter almost always 
with anger— not, as generally supposed, with anguish. 

To complete our apprehension of the contrast between 
the views of the Jews and the teaching of Jesus, we must 
bear in mind that, as the Gentiles could not possibly 
share in the feast of the Messiah, so Israel had claim and 
title to it. To use Rabbinic terms, the former were 
' children of Gehinnom,' but Israel ' children of the King- 
• st. Matt, dom,' c or, in strictly Rabbinic language, ' royal 
vm - 12 children,' « children of God,' < of heaven,' 'chil- 
dren of the upper chamber,' and ' of the world to come.' 

Never, surely, could the Judaism of His hearers have 
received more rude shock than by this inversion of all 
their cherished beliefs. There was a feast of Messianic 
fellowship, a recognition on the part of the King of all 
His faithful subjects, a festive gathering with the fathers 
of the faith. But this fellowship was not of outward, but 
of spiritual kinship. There were ' children of the King- 
dom,' and there was an « outer darkness ' with its anguish 
and despair. But this childship was of the Kingdom, 
such as He had opened it to all believers ; and that outer 
darkness theirs, who had only outward claims to present. 
And so this history of the believing Centurion is at the 
same time an application of the ' Sermon on the Mount,' 

The Raising of the Young Man of Nain 151 

and a further carrying out of its teaching. Negatively, 
it differentiated the Kingdom from Israel ; while, posi- 
tively, it placed the hope of Israel, and fellowship with 
its promises, within reach of all faith, whether of Jew or 



(St. Luke vii. 11-17.) 

It matters little whether it was the very { day after ' the 
healing of the Centurion's servant, or ' shortly afterwards,' 
that Jesus left Capernaum for Nain. Probably it was the 
morrow of that miracle, and the fact that ■ much people,' 
or rather ' a great multitude,' followed Him seems con- 
firmatory of it. The way was long — as we reckon, more 
than twenty-five miles ; but even if it was all taken on 
foot, there could be no difficulty in reaching Nain ere the 
evening, when so often funerals took place. Various 
roads lead to and from Nain. About ten minutes' walk to 
the east of Nain lies the now unfenced burying-ground, 
whither on that spring afternoon they were carrying the 
widow's son. 

Putting aside later superstitions, so little has changed 
in the Jewish rites and observances about the dead, that 
from Talmudic and even earlier sources we can form a 
vivid conception of what had taken place in Nain. The 
watchful anxiety, the vain use of such means as were 
known or within reach of the widow would be com- 
mon features in any such picture. But here we have 
besides the Jewish thoughts of death and after death ; 
knowledge just sufficient to make afraid, but not to give 
firm consolation, which make even the most pious Rabbi 
uncertain of his future ; and then the desolate thoughts 
connected in the Jewish mind with childlessness. We 
can realise how Jewish ingenuity and wisdom would re- 
sort to remedies real or magical; how the neighbours 
would come in with reverent step, feeling as if the very 

152 Jesus the Messiah 

Shekhinah were, unseen, at the head of the pallet in that 
humble home ; and how they would resort to the prayers 
of those who were deemed pious in Nain. 

But all was in vain. And now the well-known blast 
of the horn has carried tidings that once more the Angel 
of Death has done his behest. In passionate grief the 
mother has rent her upper garment. The last sad offices 
have been rendered to the dead. The body has been laid 
on the ground ; hair and nails have been cut, and the body 
washed, anointed, and wrapped in the best the widow 
could procure. 

The mother is left moaning, lamenting. She would 
sit on the floor, neither eat meat nor drink wine. What 
scanty meal she would take must be without prayer, in the 
house of a neighbour, or in another room, or at least with 
her back to the dead. Pious friends would render 
neighbourly offices, or busy themselves about the near 
funeral. If it was deemed duty for the poorest Jew, on 
the death of his wife, to provide at least two flutes and 
one mourning woman, we may feel sure that the widowed 
mother had not neglected what were regarded as the last 
tokens of affection. In all likelihood the custom obtained 
even then, though in modified form, to have funeral 
orations at the grave. For, if charity even provided for 
an unknown wayfarer the simplest funeral, mourning- 
women would be hired to chaunt in weird strains the 
lament : ' Alas, the lion ! alas, the hero ! ' or similar words, 
while great Rabbis were wont to bespeak for themselves 
' a warm funeral oration.' 

We can follow in spirit the mournful procession. As 
it issued chairs and couches were reversed and laid low. 
Outside, the funeral orator, if such were employed, pre- 
ceded the bier, proclaiming the good deeds of the dead. 
Immediately before the dead came the women, this being 
peculiar to Galilee, the Midrash giving this reason of it, 
that woman had introduced death into the world. The 
body was not, as afterwards in preference, carried in an 
ordinary coffin of wood, if possible cedarwood, but laid on 
a bier, or in an open coffin. In former times a distinc- 

The Raising of the Young Man of Nain 153 

tion had been made in these biers between rich and poor. 
The former were carried, as it were, in state — while the 
poor were conveyed in a receptacle made of wickerwork, 
having sometimes at the foot what was termed ' a horn,' 
to which the body was made fast. But this distinction 
between rich and poor was abolished by Rabbinic or- 
dinance, and both alike, if carried on a bier, were laid in 
that made of wickerwork. Commonly, though not in 
later practice, the face of the dead body was uncovered. 
The body lay with its face turned up, and its hands 
folded on the breast. We may add that, when a person 
had died unmarried or childless, it was customary to 
put into the coffin something distinctive of them, such as 
pen and ink, or a key. Over the coffins of bride or 
bridegroom a baldachino was carried. Sometimes the 
coffin was garlanded with myrtle. In exceptional cases we 
read of the use of incense, and even of a kind of libation. 

We cannot, then, be mistaken in supposing that the 
body of the widow's son was laid on the ' bed,' or in the 
' willow basket,' already described. Nor can we doubt 
that the ends or handles were borne by friends and 
neighbours, different parties of bearers, all of them un- 
shod, at frequent intervals relieving each other, so that as 
many as possible might share in the good work. During 
these pauses there was loud lamentation ; but this custom 
was not observed in the burial of women. Behind the 
bier walked the relatives, friends, and then the sympa- 
thising 'multitude.' For it was deemed like mocking 
one's Creator not to follow the dead to his last resting- 
place, and to all such want of reverence Prov. xvii. 5 was 
applied. If one were absolutely prevented from joining 
the procession, although for its sake all work, even study, 
should be interrupted, reverence should at least be shown 
by rising up before the dead. And so they would go on 
to what the Hebrews beautifully designated as the ' house 
of assembly,' or ' meeting,' the ' hostelry,' the ' place of 
rest,' or * of freedom,' the ' field of weepers,' the ' house of 
eternity,' or ' of life.' 

Up from the city close by came this ' great multitude ' 

154 Jesus the Messiah 

that followed the dead, with lamentations, wild chaunts of 
mourning women, accompanied by flutes and the melan- 
choly tinkle of cymbals, perhaps by trumpets, amidst 
expressions of general sympathy. Along the road from 
Endor streamed the great multitude which followed the 
1 Prince of Life/ Here they met : Life and Death. The 
connecting link between them was the deep sorrow of the 
widowed mother. He recognised her as she went before 
the bier, leading him to the grave whom she had brought 
into life. She was still weeping; even after He had 
hastened a step or two in advance of His followers, quite 
close to her, she did not heed Him and was still weeping. 
But, ' beholding her,' the Lord ' had compassion on her.' 
We remember, by way of contrast, the common formula 
used at funerals in Palestine, ' Weep with them, all ye 
who are bitter of heart ! ' It was not so that Jesus spoke 
to those around, nor to her, but characteristically : ■ Be 
not weeping.' And what He said, that He wrought. 
He touched the bier, perhaps the very wicker-basket in 
which the dead youth lay. He dreaded not the greatest 
of all defilements — that of contact with the dead, which 
Rabbinism, in its elaboration of the letter of the Law, had 
surrounded with endless terrors. His was other separa- 
tion than of the Pharisees : not that of submission to 
ordinances, but of conquest of what made them neces- 

And as He touched the bier, they who bore it stood 
still. The awe of the coming wonder — as it were, the 
shadow of the opening gates of life — had fallen on them. 
One word of command, i and he that was dead sat up, and 
began to speak.' Not of that world of which he had had 
brief glimpse. For, as one who suddenly passes from 
dream-vision to waking, in the abruptness of the transition 
loses what he has seen, so he, who from that dazzling 
brightness was hurried back to the dim light to which his 
vision had been accustomed. 

And still was Jesus the link between the mother and 
the son, who had again found each other. And so, in the 
truest sense, ' He gave him to his mother/ 

The Woman which was a Sinner 155 

But on those who saw this miracle at Nain fell the 
fear of the Divine Presence, and over their souls swept th* 
hymn of Divine praise : fear, because a great Prophet was 
risen up among them; praise, because God had visited 
His people. 



(St. Luke vii. 36-50.) 

The next recorded event in this Galilean journey of the 
Christ can scarcely have occurred in the quiet little town 
of Nain. And yet it must have followed almost immedi- 
ately upon it. 

The impression left upon us by St. Matt. xi. 20-30 
(which follows on the account of the Baptist's embassy) is 
that Jesus was on a journey, and it may well be that those 
words of encouragement and invitation, spoken to the 
• st. Matt, burdened and wearily labouring,* formed part, 
xi. 28-30 perhaps the substance, of His preaching on that 
journey. Truly these were ' good tidings/ and not only 
to those borne down by weight of conscious sinfulness or 
deep sorrow. ' Good news,' also, to them who would fain 
have ' learned ' according to their capacity, but whose 
teachers had weighted ' the yoke of the Kingdom ' to a 
heavy burden, and made the Will of God to them labour, 
weary and unaccomplishable. 

Another point requires notice. It is how, in the un- 
folding of His Mission to man, the Christ progressively 
placed Himself in antagonism to the Jewish religious 
thought of His time, from out of which He had historically 
sprung. We find this in the whole spirit and bearing of 
what He did and said — in the house at Capernaum, in the 
Synagogues, with the Gentile Centurion, at the gate of 
Nain, and especially here, in the history of the much- 
forgiven woman who had much sinned. A Jewish Rabbi 
could not have so acted and spoken ; he would not even 

156 Jesus the Messiah 

have understood Jesus ; nay, a Rabbi, however gentle and 
pitiful, would in word and deed have taken precisely the 
opposite direction from that of the Christ. 

The history itself seems but a fragment. We must 
try to learn from its structure, where and how it was 
broken off. We understand the delicacy that left her 
- unnamed, the record of whose i much forgiveness ' and 
great love had to be joined to that of her much sin. And 
we mark in contrast the cravings of morbid curiosity, or 
for saint-worship, which have associated her history with 
the name of Mary Magdalene. Another mistake is the 
attempt of certain critics to identify this history with the 
» st. Matt. mucn later anointing of Christ at Bethany.* Yet 
xxvi. e &c., the two narratives have really nothing in com- 
mon, save that in each case there was a ' Simon ' 
— perhaps the commonest of Jewish names ; a woman who 
anointed ; and that Christ, and those who were present, 
spoke and acted in accordance with other passages in the 

The invitation of Simon the Pharisee to his table 
does not necessarily indicate that he had been impressed 
by the teaching of Jesus. If Jesus had taught in the 
' city,' and, as always, irresistibly drawn to Him the multi- 
tude, it would be only in accordance with the manners of 
the time if the leading Pharisee invited the distinguished 
4 Teacher ' to his table. As such he undoubtedly treated 
* st. Luke Him. b The question in Simon's mind was, 
vii - 40 whether He was more than ' Teacher ' — even 

4 Prophet ; ' and that such question rose within him indi- 
cates not only that Christ openly claimed a position 
different from that of Rabbi, and that His followers re- 
garded Him at least as a Prophet, but also, within the 
breast of Simon, a struggle in which Jewish prejudice was 
bearing down the impression of Christ's Presence. 

They were all sitting, or rather < lying,' around the 
table, the body resting on the couch, the feet turned away 
from the table in the direction of the wall, while the left 
elbow rested on the table. And now, from the open court- 
yard, up the verandah-step, perhaps through an ante- 

The Woman which was a Sinner 157 

chamber, and by the open door, passed the figure of a 
woman into the festive reception-room and dining-hall. 
How she obtained access little matters — as little as 
whether she ' had been,' or ' was ' up to that day, ! a 
sinner,' in the terrible acceptation of the term. But we 
must bear in mind the greatness of Jewish prejudice 
against any conversation with woman, however lofty her 
character, fully to realise the incongruity on the part of 
such a woman in seeking access to the Rabbi, Whom so 
many regarded as the God-sent Prophet. 

We have said before that this story is a fragment ; and 
here, also, as in the invitation of Simon to Jesus, we have 
evidence of it. The woman had, no doubt, heard His 
words that day. What He had said would be, in sub- 
stance : ' Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy 
laden, and I will give you rest. . . . Learn of Me, for I 
am meek and lowly in heart. ... Ye shall find rest unto 
your souls. . . .' This was to her the Prophet sent from 
God with the good news that opened even to her the 
Kingdom of Heaven, and laid its yoke upon her, not bear- 
ing her down to very hell, but easy of wear and light of 
burden. She knew that it was all as He said, in regard 
to the heavy load of her past ; and, as she listened to those 
Words, and looked on that Presence, she learned to believe 
that it was all as He had promised to the heavy-burdened. 
And she had watched, and followed Him afar off to the 
Pharisee's house. 

The shadow of her form must have fallen on all who 
sat at meat. But none spake ; nor did she heed any but 
One. What mattered it to her who was there, or what 
they thought ? There was only One Whose Presence she 
dared not encounter — not from fear of Him, but from 
knowledge of herself. It was He to Whom she had come. 
And so she ' stood behind at His Feet.' She had brought 
with her an alabastron (phial, or flask, commonly of 
alabaster) of perfume. We know that perfumes were 
much sought after, and very largely in use. Some, such 
as true balsam, were worth double their weight in silver ; 
others, like the spikenard, though not equally costly, were 

i5 8 Jesus the Messiah 

also ' precious/ We have evidence that perfumed oils— 
notably oil of roses, and of the iris plant, but chiefly the 
mixture known in antiquity nsfoliatum, were largely manu- 
factured and used in Palestine. A flask with this perfume 
was worn by women round the neck, and hung down below 
the breast. So common was its use as to be allowed even 
on the Sabbath. Hence it seems at least not unlikely 
that the alabastron which she brought, who loved so much 
was none other than the ' flask of foliatum.' 

As she stood behind Him at His Feet, reverently bend- 
ing, a shower of tears, like sudden summer-rain, ' bedewed ' 
His Feet. ^ As if afraid to defile Him by her tears, she 
quickly wiped them away with the long tresses of her hair 
that had fallen down and touched Him as she bent. And, 
now that her faith had grown bold in His Presence, she is 
continuing to kiss those Feet which had brought to her 
the ' good tidings of peace,' and to anoint them out of the 
alabastron round her neck. And still she spake not, nor 
yet He. For, as on her part silence seemed most fitting 
utterance, so on His, that He suffered it in silence was 
best and most fitting answer to her. 

Another there was whose thoughts, far other than hers 
or the Christ's, were also unuttered. A more painful con- 
trast than that of * the Pharisee ' in this scene can scarcely 
be imagined. We do not insist that the designation < this 
• ver 39 Man,' a given to Christ in his unspoken thoughts, 
or the manner in which afterwards he replied to 
the Saviour's question by a supercilious ' I suppose,' or ' pre- 
» ver 43 sume / b necessarily imply contempt. But they 
certainly indicate the mood of his spirit. One 
thing, at least, seemed now clear to this Pharisee: If 
< this Man/ with His strange, novel ways and words, Whom 
in politeness he must call ' Teacher,' Rabbi, were a Prophet, 
He would have known who the woman was ; and, if He had 
known who she was, then would He never have allowed 
such approach. 

And yet Prophet He was, and in far fuller sense than 
Simon could have imagined. For He had read Simon's 
unspoken thoughts. Presently He would show it to him ; 

The Woman which was a Sinner 159 

yet not by open reproof that would have put him to shame 
before his guests. What follows is not, as generally sup- 
posed, a parable, but an illustration. Accordingly, it must 
in no way be pressed. With this explanation vanish all 
the supposed difficulties about the Pharisees being ' little 
forgiven,' and hence ' loving little.' To convince Simon 
of the error of his conclusion that, if the life of that woman 
had been known, the Prophet must have forbidden her 
touch of love, Jesus entered into the Pharisee's own modes 
of reasoning. Of two debtors, one of whom owed ten 
times as much as the other, who would best love the 
creditor who had freely forgiven them ? Though to both 
the debt might have been equally impossible of discharge, 
and both might love equally, yet a Rabbi, would, according 
to his Jewish notions, say that he would love most to 
whom most had been forgiven. If this was the undoubted 
outcome of Jewish theology — the so much for so much — 
let it be applied to the present case. If there were much 
benefit, there would be much love ; if little benefit, little 
love. And conversely : in such case much love would 
argue much benefit ; little love, small benefit. Let him 
then appty the reasoning by marking this woman, and 
contrasting her conduct with his own. To wash the feet 
of a guest, to give him the kiss of welcome, and especially 

to anoint him, a were not, indeed, necessary atten- 
john xiii. 4 tions at a feast. All the more did they indicate 
4 f SxfJY 1 " special care, affection, and respect. b None of 
judg.xU. these tokens of regard had marked the merely 
xU 4i * m " P°^ te reception of Him by the Pharisee. But, 
Ex.xviii.7; in a twofold climax, of which the intensity can 
5 ; x?xV39 ; only be indicated, the Saviour now proceeds to 
imos^eV snow k° w different it had been with her, to 
?»-*«*tt>V whom, for the first time, He now turned ! On 

Simon's own reasoning, then, he must have re- 
ceived but little, she much benefit. Or, to apply the 
former illustration, and now to reality : ' Forgiven have 
been her sins, the many' — not in ignorance, but with 
knowledge of their being * many.' This, by Simon's former 
admission, would explain and account for her much love, 

160 Jesus the Messiah 

as the effect of much forgiveness. On the other hand- 
though the Lord does not actually express it — this other 
inference would also hold true, that Simon's little love 
showed that ' little is being forgiven.' 

And as formerly for the first time He had turned, so 
now for the first time He spoke to her : ' Thy sins have 
been forgiven ' — not now * the many.' Nor does He now 
heed the murmuring thoughts of those around, who cannot 
understand Who this is that forgiveth sins also. But to her 
He said : ( Thy faith has saved thee : go into peace.' Our 
logical dogmatics would have had it : 'go in peace ; ' He, 
1 into peace.' And so she, the first who had come to Him 
for spiritual healing, went out into the better light, and 
into the eternal peace of the Kingdom of Heaven. 



(St. Luke viii. 1-3 ; St. Matt. ix. 32-35 ; St. Mark iii. 22, &c. ; St. Matt, 
xii. 46-50 and parallels.) 

Although there are difficulties connected with details, we 
conclude that Christ was now returning to Capernaum 
• st Luke fr° m *kat Missionary journey a of which Nain 
viii. 1-3; st. had been the southernmost point. On this jour- 
ney He was attended, not only by the Twelve, 
but by loving, grateful women. Among them three are 
specially named. ' Mary, called Magdalene,' had received 
from Him special benefit of healing to body and soul. 
Her designation as Magdalene was probably derived from 
her native city, Magdala, just as several Rabbis are spoken 
of in the Talmud as ' Magdalene.' Magdala, which was a 
Sabbath-day's journey from Tiberias, was celebrated for its 
dyeworks, and its manufactories of fine woollen textures, 
of which eighty are mentioned. Indeed, all that district 

The Ministering Women 161 

seems to have been engaged in this industry. It was also 
reputed for its traffic in turtle-doves and pigeons for 
purifications — tradition, with its usual exaggeration of 
numbers, mentioning three hundred such shops. Accord- 
ingly, its wealth was very great, and it is named among 
the three cities whose contributions were so large as to be 
sent in a waggon to Jerusalem. But its moral corruption 
was also great, and to this the Rabbis attributed its final 
destruction. Of the many towns and villages that dotted 
the shores of the Lake of Galilee, all have passed away 
except Magdala, which is still represented by the collection 
of mud hovels that bears the name of Mejdel. The ancient 
watch-tower which gave the place its name is still there, 
probably standing on the same site as that which looked 
down on Jesus and the Magdalene. To this day Magdala 
is celebrated for its springs and rivulets, which render it 
specially suitable for dyeworks ; while the shell-fish, with 
which these waters and the Lake are said to abound, might 
supply some of the dye. 

Such details may help us more clearly to realise the 
home, and with it, perhaps, also the upbringing and 
circumstances of her who not only ministered to Jesus in 
His life, but, with eager avarice of love, watched 'afar off' 

His dying moments,* and then sat over against 
xxvii. 56 ' the new tomb of Joseph in which His Body was 

laid. b And the terrible time which followed she 
spent with her like-minded friends, who in Galilee had 

ministered to Christ, in preparing those ' spices 
xxiii. 55 and ointments ' d which the Risen Saviour would 

never require. But however difficult the circum- 
stances may have been, in which the Magdalene came to 
profess her faith in Jesus, those of Joanna must have been 
even more trying. She was the wife of Chuza, Herod's 
Steward — possibly, though not likely, the Court-official 
whose son Jesus had healed by the word spoken in Cana. e 
• st. John Only one other of those who ministered to Jesus 
iv. 46-54 £ s mentioned by name. It is Susanna, the ' lily/ 
And the^ ' ministered to Him of their substance/ 

It was on this return-journey to Capernaum, probably 


1 62 Jesus the Messiah 

not far from the latter place, that the two blind men had 
» st. Matt, their sight restored.* It was then also that the 
ix. 27-31 healing of the demonised dumb took place, which 
is recorded in St. Matt. ix. 32-35, and alluded to in St. 
Mark iii. 22-30. This narrative must, of course, not be 
confounded with the somewhat similar event told in St. 
Matt. xii. 22-32, and in St. Luke xi. 14-26. The latter 
occurred at a much later period in our Lord's life, when, 
as the whole context shows, the opposition of the Pharisaic 
party had assumed much larger proportions, and the lan- 
guage of Jesus was more fully denunciatory of the character 
and guilt of His enemies. That charge of the Pharisees, 
therefore, that Jesus cast out the demons through the 
b st> Matt . Prince of the demon s, b as well as His reply to it, 
ix. 34 -will best be considered when it shall appear in 

its fullest development. 

It was on this return-journey to Capernaum from the 
uttermost borders of Galilee that the demonised dumb was 
restored by the casting out of the demon. The circum- 
stances show that a new stage in the Messianic course had 
begun. It is characterised by fuller unfolding of Christ's 
teaching and working, and pari passu by more fully de- 
veloped opposition of the Pharisaic party. For the two 
went together, nor can they be distinguished as cause or 
effect. That new stage, as repeatedly noted, had opened 
on His return from the ' Unknown Feast ' in Jerusalem, 
whence He seems to have been followed by the Pharisaic 
party. We have marked it so early as the call of the four 
disciples by the Lake of Galilee. But it first actively 
appeared at the healing of the paralytic in Capernaum, 
when, for the first time, we noticed the presence and 
murmuring of the Scribes, and, for the first time also, the 
distinct declaration about the forgiveness of sins on the 
part of Jesus. The same twofold element appeared in the 
call of the publican Matthew, and the cavil of the Pharisees 
at Christ's subsequent eating and drinking with ' sinners.' 
It was in further development of this separation from the 
old and now hostile element, that the twelve. Apostles 
were next appointed, and that distinctive teaching of Jesus 

Healing of the Demonised Dumb 163 

addressed to the people in the ' Sermon on the Mount/ 
which was alike a vindication and an appeal. On the 
journey through Galilee, which followed, the hostile party 
does not seem to have actually attended Jesus ; but their 
growing and now outspoken opposition is heard in the 
discourse of Christ about John the Baptist after the 
• st. Matt, dismissal of his disciples,* while its influence 
xi. 16-19 appears in the unspoken thoughts of Simon the 

It has already been suggested that the Pharisaic party, 
as such, did not attend Jesus on His Galilean journey. 
But we are emphatically told that tidings of the raising 
» st. Luke °f ^ ne dead at Nain had gone forth into Judaea. b 
vii. 17 No doubt they reached the leaders at Jerusalem. 

There seems just sufficient time between this and the 
healing of the demonised dumb on the return-journey to 
Capernaum, to account for the presence there of those 
« st. Matt. Pharisees, who are expressly described by St. 
^st. 4 Mark Mark d as ' the Scribes which came down from 
iii. 22 Jerusalem.' 

Whatever view the leaders at Jerusalem may have 
taken of the raising at Nain, it could no longer be denied 
that miracles were wrought by Jesus. At least, what to 
us seem miracles, yet not to them, since, as we have seen, 
1 miraculous ' cures and the expelling of demons lay within 
the sphere of their 'extraordinary ordinary' — were not 
miracles in our sense, since they were, or professed to be, 
done by their ' own children.' The mere fact, therefore, 
of such cures would present no difficulty to them. To us 
a single well-ascertained miracle would form irrefragable 
evidence of the claims of Christ ; to them it would not. 
They could believe in the ' miracles,' and yet not in the 
Christ. And here, again, we perceive that it was enmity 
to the Person and Teaching of Jesus which led to the 
denial of His claims. The inquiry : By what Power Jesus 
did these works ? they met by the assertion that it was 
through that of Satan, or the Chief of the Demons. They 
regarded Jesus, as not only temporarily, but permanently, 
possessed by a demon, that is, as the constant vehicle of 

M 2 

1 64 Jesus the Messiah 

Satanic influence. And this demon was, according to 
them, none other than Beelzebub, the Prince of the devils. a 
* st. Mark Thus, in their view, it was really Satan who 
m - 22 acted in and through Him; and Jesus, instead 

of being recognised as the Son of God, was regarded as 
an incarnation of Satan ; instead of being owned as the 
Messiah, was denounced and treated as the representative 
of the Kingdom of Darkness. All this, because the King- 
dom which He came to open and which He preached, 
was precisely the opposite of what they regarded as the 
Kingdom of God. Thus it was the essential contra- 
riety of Rabbinism to the Gospel of the Christ that lay 
at the foundation of their conduct towards the Person of 

To regard every fresh manifestation of Christ's Power 
as only a fuller development of the power of Satan, and to 
oppose it with increasing determination and hostility, even 
to the Cross : such was henceforth the natural progress of 
this history. On the other hand, such a course once fully 
settled upon, there would and could be no further reason- 
ing with or against it on the part of Jesus. Henceforth 
His Discourses and attitude to such Judaism must be 
chiefly denunciatory, while still seeking — as, from the 
inward necessity of His Nature and the outward necessity 
of His Mission, He must — to save the elect remnant from 
this 'untoward generation/ and to lay broad and wide 
the foundations of the future Church. 

The charge of Satanic agency was, indeed, not quite 
new. It had been suggested that John the Baptist had 
been under demoniacal influence, and this cunning pretext 
for resistance to his message had been eminently successful 
»> st. Matt, with the people. b The same charge, only in 
it. Luke ; much fuller form, was now raised against Jesus, 
vii. 31-33 As 'the multitude marvelled, saying, it was 
never so seen in Israel,' the Pharisees, without denying 
the facts, had this explanation of them : that, both as re- 
garded the casting out of the demon from the dumb man 
e st Matt an d all similar works, Jesus wrought it ' through 
ix. 33, 34 the R u i er c f t h e Demons.' c 

Pharisaic Charge against Christ 165 

Their besetment of the Christ did not cease here. It 
is to it that we attribute the visit of 'the mother and 
brethren' of Jesus, which is recorded in the three Synoptic 
Gospels.* Pharisaic opposition had either filled 
xii.46&o.'; those relatives of Jesus with fear for His safety, 
m.3i&o.' or ma de them sincerely concerned about His 
vm L i9&c proceedings. Only if it meant some kind of 
interference with His Mission, whether prompted 
by fear or affection, would Jesus have so disowned their 

But it meant more than this. Without going so far 
as to see pride or ostentation in this, that the Virgin- 
Mother summoned Jesus to her outside the house, since 
the opposite might as well have been her motive, we 
cannot but regard the words of Christ as the sternest pro- 
phetic rebuke of all Mariolatry, prayer for the Virgin's 
intercession, and, still more, of the strange doctrines 
about her freedom from actual and original sin, up to 
their prurient sequence in the dogma of the ' Immaculate 

On the other hand, we also remember the deep rever- 
ence among the Jews for parents, which found even ex- 
aggerated expression in the Talmud. And we feel that 
of all in Israel He, who was their King, could not have 
spoken or done what might even seem disrespectful to a 
mother. There must have been higher meaning in His 
words. That meaning would be better understood after 
His Resurrection. 



(St. Matt. xiii. 1-52 ; St. Mark iv. 1-34 ; St. Luke viii. 4-18.) 

We are once more with Jesus and His disciples by the 
Lake of Galilee. It was a spring morning, and of such 
spring-time as only the East, and chiefly the Galilean 
Lake, knows. Almost suddenly the blood-red anemone, 

1 66 Jesus the Messiah 

the gay tulip, the spotless narcissus, and the golden ranun- 
culus clothe the fields, while all trees put forth their fragrant 
promise of fruit. As the imagery employed in the Sermon 
on the Mount confirmed the inference, otherwise derived, 
that it was spoken during the brief period after the winter 
rains, when the ' lilies ' decked the fresh grass, so the scene 
depicted in the Parables spoken by the Lake of Galilee 
indicates a more advanced season, when the fields gave first 
promise of a harvest to be gathered in due time. And 
as we know that the barley-harvest commenced with the 
Passover, we cannot be mistaken in supposing that the 
scene is laid a few weeks before that Feast. 

Other evidence of this is not wanting. From the 
»st. Matt, opening verses* we infer that Jesus had gone 
xiii. 1, 2 f^k f rom t t h e nouge ' w fth His disciples only, 
and that, as He sat by the seaside, the gathering multitude 
had obliged Him to enter a ship, whence He spake unto 
them many things in Parables. 

We mark an ascending scale in the three series of Para- 
bles, spoken respectively at three different periods in the 
History of Christ, and with reference to three different stages 
bst.Matt. °f Pharisaic opposition and popular feeling. 
xiii - The first series is that, b when Pharisaic opposi- 

tion had just devised the explanation that His works were of 
demoniac agency, and when misled affection would have 
converted the ties of earthly relationship into bonds to hold 
the Christ. 

• st. Luke ^e secon d series of Parables is connected 

x.-xvi., with the climax of Pharisaic opposition as pre- 
sented in the charge, in its most fully developed 
form, that Jesus was, so to speak, the incarnation of 
Satan, the constant medium and vehicle of his activ- 
dst i4 L 36 e - ity. d This was the blasphemy against the Holy 

St Matt.' Ghost. 

it!' Mark k I n the third series, consisting of eight Para- 

•ItMatt. kl es > e the Kingdom of God is presented in its 

xviii., xx., final stage of ingathering, separation, reward and 

xxiv., xxv., loss, as, indeed, we might expect in the teaching 

«tLuke Q f t j ie -k or( j immediately before His final rejec- 

Parables by the Lake of Galilee 167 

tion by Israel and betrayal into the hands of the Gen- 

One thing, however, is common to all the Parables, 
and forms a point of connection between them. They are 
all occasioned by some unreceptiveness on the part of the 
hearers, and that, even when the hearers are professing 
disciples. This seems indicated in the reason assigned 
by Christ to the disciples for His use of parabolic teach- 
ing : that unto them it was ' given to know the mys- 
tery of the Kingdom of God, but unto them that 
•st. Mark are without, all these things are done in 
**'U parables.' a 

Little information is to be gained from discussing the 
etymology of the word Parable. The word means the 
placing of one thing by the side of another. Perhaps no 
other mode of teaching was so common among the Jews 
as that by Parables. Only in their case they were almost 
entirely illustrations of what had been said or taught; 
while, in the case of Christ, they served as the foundation 
for His teaching. This distinction will be found to hold 
true, even in instances where there seems the closest 
parallelism between a Rabbinic and an Evangelic Parable. 
On further examination, the difference between them, as 
has been already remarked in regard to other forms of 
teaching, will appear not merely one of degree, but of kind, 
or rather of standpoint. This may be illustrated by the 
Parable of the woman who made anxious search for her lost 
» st. Luke coin, b to which there is an almost literal Jewish 
xv. 8-10 parallel. But, whereas in the Jewish Parable 
the moral is that a man ought to take much greater pains 
in the study of the Law than in the search for coin, since 
the former procures an eternal reward, while the coin 
would, if found, at most only procure temporary enjoy- 
ment, the Parable of Christ is intended to set forth, not 
the merit of study or of works, but the compassion of the 
Saviour in seeking the lost, and the joy of Heaven in his 
recovery. It need scarcely be said that comparison 
between such Parables, as regards their spirit, is scarcely 
possible, except by way of contrast. 

1 68 Jesus the Messiah 

* st Matt J- n ^ ne recor d °f this first series,* the fact that 

*!!!• „ x. Jesus spake to the people in Parables, b and only 

»> St. Matt. . i . s t « . ^ r i t n \ L 

xiii. 3, and in Parables, is strongly marked. It appears, 

* st al Matt. therefore, to have been the first time that this 
st^MarL: iv. m ode of popular teaching was adopted by Him. 
33,34 Accordingly, the disciples not only expressed 
their astonishment, but inquired the reason of this novel 
«st Matt method.* The answer of the Lord specially 
xm. io, and marks this as the difference between the teaching 

vouchsafed to them and the Parables spoken to 
the people, that the designed effect of the latter was 
judicial : to complete that hardening which, in its com- 
mencement, had been caused by their voluntary rejection 

* st. Matt. °f what they had heard.® To us, at least, it 
ri. 13-17 seems clear that the ground of the different 
effect of the Parables on the unbelieving multitude and on 
the believing disciples was not caused by the substance or 
form of these Parables, but by the different standpoint of 
the two classes of hearers towards the Kingdom of Grod. 

We are now- in some measure able to understand why 
Christ now for the first time adopted parabolic teaching. 
Its reason lay in the altered circumstances of the case. All 
His former teaching had been plain, although initial. In 
it He had set forth by word, and exhibited by fact (in 
miracles), that Kingdom of God which He had come to open 
to all believers. The hearers had now ranged themselves 
into two parties. Those who, whether temporarily or per- 
manently (as the result would show), had admitted these 
premisses, so far as they understood them, were His pro- 
fessing disciples. On the other hand, the Pharisaic party 
had now devised a consistent theory, according to which 
the acts, and hence also the teaching, of Jesus were of 
Satanic origin. Christ must still preach the Kingdom; 
for that purpose had He come into the world. Only, the 
presentation of that Kingdom must now be for decision. 
It must separate the two classes, leading the one to clearer 
understanding of the mysteries of the Kingdom, while the 
other class of hearers would now regard these mysteries as 
wholly unintelligible, incredible, and to be rejected. And 

The Parable of the Sower 169 

the ground of this lay in the respective positions of these 
two classes towards the Kingdom. * Whosoever hath, to 
him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance ; 
but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away 
even that he hath.' And the mysterious manner in which 
they were presented in Parables was alike suited to, and 
corresponded with, the character of these ' mysteries of 
the Kingdom,' now set forth, not for initial instruction, 
but for final decision. 

Thus much in general explanation. The record of the 
• st. Matt. fi rst series of Parables a contains three separate 
xiii - accounts: that of the Parables spoken to the 

people ; that of the reason for the use of parabolic teaching, 
and the explanation of the first Parables (both addressed 
to the disciples) ; and, finally, another series of Parables 
spoken to the disciples. To each of these we must briefly 
address ourselves. 

On that bright spring morning, when Jesus spoke 
from ' the ship ' to the multitude that crowded the shore, 
He addressed to them these four Parables : concerning 
Him Who sowed, concerning the Wheat and the Tares, 
concerning the Mustard-Seed, and concerning the Leaven. 
The first, or perhaps the two first of these, must be supple- 
mented by what may be designated as a fifth Parable, that 
of the Seed growing unobservedly. This is the only Parable 
b st Mark of which St. Mark alone has preserved the record . b 
iv. 26-29 All these Parables refer, as is expressly stated, to 
the Kingdom of God ; that is, not to any special phase or 
characteristic of it, but to the Kingdom itself, or in other 
words, to its history. 

The first Parable is that of Him Who sowed. We 
can almost picture to ourselves the Saviour seated in the 
prow of the boat, as He points His hearers to the rich 
plain over against Him, where the young corn, still in the 
first green of its growing, is giving promise of harvest. 
Like this is the Kingdom of Heaven which He has come 
to proclaim. The Sower has gone forth to sow the Good 
Seed. If we bear in mind a mode of sowing peculiar to 
those times, the Parable gains in vividness. According to 

170 Jesus the Mess/ ah 

Jewish authorities there was twofold sowing, as the seed 
was either cast by the hand or by means of cattle. In the 
latter case, a sack with holes was filled with corn, and 
laid on the back of the animal, so that, as it moved on- 
wards, the seed was thickly scattered. Thus it might well 
be that it would fall indiscriminately on beaten roadway, 
on stony places but thinly covered with soil, or where the 
thorns had not been cleared away, or undergrowth from 
the thorn-hedge crept into the field, as well as on good 
ground. The result in each case need not here be 
repeated. But what meaning would all this convey to 
the Jewish hearers of Jesus ? How could this sowing and 
growing be like the Kingdom of God ? Certainly not in 
the sense in which they expected it. To them it was only 
a rich harvest, when all Israel would bear plenteous fruit. 
Again, what was the Seed, and who the Sower ? or what 
could be meant by the various kinds of soil and their 
unproductiveness ? 

To us, as explained by the Lord, all this seems plain. 
The initial condition requisite was to believe that Jesus 
was the Divine Sower, and His Word the Seed of the 
Kingdom. If this were admitted, they had at least the 
right premisses for understanding ' this mystery of the 
Kingdom/ According to Jewish view the Messiah was to 
appear in outward pomp, and by display of power to esta- 
blish the Kingdom. But this was the very idea of the 
Kingdom, with which Satan had tempted Jesus at the out- 
set of His Ministry. In opposition to it was this ' mystery 
of the Kingdom,' according to which it consisted in recep- 
tion of the Seed of the Word. That reception would 
depend on the nature of the soil, that is, on the mind and 
heart of the hearers. The Kingdom of God was ivithin ; 
it came neither by a display of power, nor even by this, 
that Israel, or else the Gospel -hearers, were the field on 
which the Seed of the Kingdom was sown. 

If even the disciples failed to comprehend the whole 
bearing of this ' mystery of the Kingdom,' we can believe 
how utterly strange and un^Jewish such a Parable of the 
Messianic Kingdom must have sounded to them who had 

Parable of the Wheat and the Tares 171 

been influenced by the Pharisaic representations of the 
Person and Teaching of Christ. 

This appears the fittest place for inserting the Parable 
»st. Mark recorded by St. Mark alone, a concerning the Seed 
iv. 26-29 growing unobservedly. If the first Parable, that 
of the Sower and the Field of Sowing, would prove to 
all who were outside the pale of discipleship a ' mystery,* 
while to those within it would unfold knowledge of the 
very mysteries of the Kingdom, this would even more fully 
be the case in regard to this second or supplementary 
Parable. In it we are only viewing that portion of the 
field which the former Parable had described as good 
soil. ' So is the Kingdom of God, as if a man had cast the 
seed on the earth, and slept and rose, night and day, and 
the seed sprang up and grew : how, he knows not himself. 
Automatous [self-acting] the earth beareth fruit : first 
blade, then ear, then full wheat in the ear ! But when 
the fruit presents itself, immediately he sendeth forth the 
sickle, because the harvest is come.' The meaning of all 
this seems plain. We can only go about our daily work, 
or lie down to rest, as day and night alternate ; we see, 
but know not the how of the growth of the seed. Yet 
assuredly it will ripen, and when that moment has arrived, 
immediately the sickle is thrust in, for the harvest is come. 
And so also with the Sower. His outward activity on 
earth was in the sowing, and it will be in the harvesting. 
What lies between them is of that other Dispensation of the 
Spirit, till He again send forth His reapers into His field. 
But all this must have been to those ' without ' a great 
mystery, in no wise compatible with Jewish notions ; while 
to them ' within ' it proved a very needful unfolding of the 
mysteries of the Kingdom, with wide application of them. 

The < mystery ' is made still further mysterious, or else 
it is still further unfolded, in the next Parable concerning 
the Tares sown among the Wheat. According to the com- 
mon view, these Tares represent what is botanically known 
as the ' bearded darnel,' a poisonous rye-grass, very com- 
mon in the East, ' entirely like wheat until the ear appears;' 
or else the 'creeping wheat' or 'couch-grass' (Triticum 

172 Jesus the Messiah 

repens), of which the roots creep underground and become 
intertwined with those of the wheat. But the Parable 
gains in meaning if we bear in mind that, according to 
ancient Jewish (and, indeed, modern Eastern) ideas, the 
Tares were not of different seed, but only a degenerate 
kind of wheat. 

Once more we see the field on which the corn is grow- 
ing — we know not how. The sowing time is past. ' The 
Kingdom of Heaven is become like to a man who sowed 
good seed in his field. But in the time that men sleep 
came his enemy and over-sowed tares in (upon) the midst 
of the wheat, and went away.' Thus far the picture is 
true to nature, since such deeds of enmity were, and still 
are, common in the East. And so matters would go on 
unobserved, since, whatever kind of ' tares ' may be meant, 
it would, from their likeness, be for some time impossible 
to distinguish them from the wheat. ' But when the herb- 
age grew and made fruit, then appeared (became manifest) 
also the tares.' What follows is equally true to fact, since 
most strenuous efforts are always made in the East to weed 
out the tares. But in the present instance separation 
would have been impossible, without at the same time 
uprooting some of the wheat. For the tares had been 
sown right into the midst, and not merely by the side of 
the wheat ; and their roots and blades must have become 
intertwined. And so they must grow together to the har- 
vest. Then such danger would no longer exist, for the 
period of growing was past, and the wheat had to be 
gathered into the barn. Then would be the right time 
to bid the reapers first gather the tares into bundles for 
burning, that afterwards the wheat, pure and unmixed, 
might be stored in the garner. 

True to life as the picture is, yet the Parable was, of 
all others, perhaps the most un-Jewish, and therefore 
mysterious and unintelligible. Hence the disciples spe- 
cially asked explanation of this only, which from its main 
subject they designated as the Parable ' of the Tares.' a 
•st. Matt. Yet this was also perhaps the most important for 
xiii 36 them to understand. For already i the Kingdom 

Parable of the Wheat and the Tares 173 

of Heaven is become like ' this, although the appearance of 
fruit has not yet made it manifest that tares have been 
sown right into the midst of the wheat. But they would 
soon have to learn it, in bitter experience and temptation,* 
•st. John and not only as regarded the impressionable, 
vi. 66-70 fickle multitude, nor even the narrower circle of 
professing followers of Jesus, but that in their very midst 
there was a traitor. Most needful, yet most mysterious also, 
is this other lesson, as the experience of the Church has 
shown, since almost every period of her history has wit- 
nessed not only the recurrence of the proposal to make 
the wheat unmixed while growing, by gathering out the 
tares, but actual attempts towards it. All such have proved 
failures, because the held is the wide ' world,' not a narrow 
sect ; because the tares have been sown into the midst of 
the wheat, and by the enemy ; and because, if such gather- 
ing were to take place, the roots and blades of tares and 
wheat would be found so intertwined, that harm would 
come to the wheat. But what have we, who are only the 
owner's servants, to do with it, since we are not bidden of 
Him ? The ' ^Eon-completion ' will witness the harvest, 
when the separation of tares and wheat may not only be 
accomplished with safety, but shall become necessary. 
For the wheat must be garnered in the heavenly storehouse, 
and the tares bound in bundles to be burned. 

More mysterious still, and if possible even more need- 
ful, was the instruction that the Enemy who sowed the 
tares was the Devil. To the Jews, nay, to us all, it may 
seem a mystery that in ' the Messianic Kingdom of 
Heaven ' there should be a mixture of tares with the wheat, 
the more mysterious, that the Baptist had predicted that 
the coming Messiah would throughly purge His floor. 
But to those who were capable of receiving it, it would be 
explained by the fact that the Devil was ' the Enemy ' of 
Christ and of His Kingdom, and that he had sowed those 
tares. This would, at the same time, be the most effective 
answer to the Pharisaic charge that Jesus was the incar- 
nation of Satan, and the vehicle of his influence. 

The concluding two Parables set forth another equally 

174 Jesus the Messiah 

mysterious characteristic of the Kingdom : that of its 
development and power, as contrasted with its small and 
weak beginnings. In the Parable of the Mustard-seed 
this is shown as regards the relation of the Kingdom to 
the outer world ; in that of the Leaven in reference to 
the world within us. The one exhibits the extensiveness, 
the other the intensiveness of its power ; in both cases at 
first hidden, almost imperceptible, and seemingly wholly 
inadequate to the final result. 

A few remarks will set the special meaning of these 
Parables more clearly before us. Here also the illustrations 
used may have been at hand. The very idea of Parables 
implies, not strict scientific accuracy, but popular pictorial- 
ness. It is characteristic of them to present vivid sketches 
that appeal to the popular mind, and exhibit such analogies 
of higher truths as can be readily perceived by all. Thus, 
as regards the first of these two Parables, the seed of the 
mustard-plant passed in popular parlance as the smallest 
of seeds. In fact, the expression, f small as a mustard- 
seed,' had become proverbial, and was used, not only by 

• st. Matt, our Lord,* but frequently by the Rabbis, to indi- 
xvii.20 ca £ e the smallest amount, such as the least drop 
of blood, the least defilement, or the smallest remnant of 
sun-glow in the sky. ' But when it is grown, it is greater 
than the garden-herbs.' Indeed, it looks no longer like 
a large garden-herb or shrub, but ' becomes,' or rather 
appears like ' a tree ' — as St. Luke puts it, ' a great tree b ' — 
bst. Luke of course, not in comparison with other trees, but 
xiii! is, 19 w jth garden-shrubs. Such growth of the mus- 
tard-seed was also a fact well known at the time, and 
indeed still observed in the East. 

This is the first and main point in the Parable. The 
other concerning the birds which are attracted to its 

• st. Mark branches and ' lodge ' — literally, ' make tents '— - 
iv - 32 there, or else under the shadow of it, c is subsi- 
diary. Pictorial, of course, this trait would be, and we can 
the more readily understand that birds would be attracted to 
the branches or the shadow of the mustardrplant, when we 
know that mustard was in Palestine mixed with or used as 

Parable of the Leaven 175 

food for pigeons, and presumably would be sought by other 
birds. And the general meaning would the more easily be 
apprehended, that a tree, whose wide-spreading branches 
afforded lodgment to the birds of heaven, was a familiar 
Old Testament figure for a mighty kingdom that gave 
• Ezek.x X xi. shelter to the nations.* Indeed, it is specifically 
iVii \l 21, used as an illustration of the Messianic King- 
l 2 \. u ' dom. b Thus the Parable would point to this, so 

23 ze ' xvu * full of mystery to the Jews, so explanatory of 
the mystery to the disciples : that the Kingdom of Heaven, 
planted in the field of the world as the smallest seed, in 
the most humble and unpromising manner, would grow 
till it far outstripped all other similar plants, and gave 
shelter to all nations under heaven. 

To this extensive power of the Kingdom corresponded 
its intensive character, whether in the world at large or in 
the individual. This formed the subject of the last of the 
Parables addressed at this time to the people— -that of the 
Leaven. We need not here resort to ingenious methods 
of explaining ' the three measures,' or Seahs, of meal in 
which the leaven was hid. Three Seahs were an Ephah, 
of which the exact capacity differed in various districts. 
To mix * three measures ' of meal was common in Biblical, 
com as wel1 as in later times *° Nothing further was 

Gen .™%ii. therefore conveyed than the common process of 
lrf^sSS. ordinary, everyday life. And in this, indeed, 

24 lies the very point of the Parable : that the King- 
dom of God when received within would seem like leaven 
hid, but would gradually pervade, assimilate, and trans- 
form the whole of our common life. 

With this most un-Jewish characterisation of the 
Kingdom of Heaven, the Saviour dismissed the people. 
Enough had been said to them and for them, if they had 
but ears to hear. And now He was again alone with the 
disciples ' in the house ■ at Capernaum, to which they had 
returned.* 1 Many new and deeper thoughts of 
xiiL36* the Kingdom had come to them. Bnt why had 
w m ancTst: He so spoken to the multitude, in a manner so 
M^ different, as regarded not only the form, but 

176 Jesus the Messiah 

even the substance of His teaching ? And did they quite 
understand its solemn meaning themselves ? More especi- 
ally, who was the enemy whose activity would threaten 
the safety of the harvest ? Of that harvest they had 
• st. John already heard on the way through Samaria.* 
iv. 35 ^ n( j w h a t W ere those ' tares,' which were to con- 

tinue in their very midst till the judicial separation of the 
end ? To these questions Jesus now made answer. His 
statement of the reason for adopting in the present instance 
the parabolic mode of teaching would, at the same time, 
give them farther insight into those very mysteries of the 
Kingdom which it had been the object of these Parables 
to set forth. His unsolicited explanation of the details of 
the first Parable would call attention to points that might 
readily have escaped their notice, but which, for warning 
and instruction, it most behoved them to keep in view. 

Kindred, or rather closely connected, as are the two 
Parables of the Treasure hid in the Field and of the Pearl 
of Great Price — now spoken to the disciples — their dif- 
ferences are sufficiently marked. In the first, one who must 
probably be regarded as intending to buy a, if not this, 
field, discovers a treasure hidden there, and in his joy 
parts with all else to become owner of the field and of 
the hidden treasure which he had so unexpectedly found. 
Some difficulty has been expressed in regard to the 
morality of such a transaction. In reply it may be ob- 
served that it was, at least, in entire accordance with 
Jewish law. If a man had found a treasure in loose coins 
among the corn, it would certainly be his, if he bought 
the corn. If he had found it on the ground, or in the 
soil, it would equally certainly belong to him, if he could 
claim ownership of the soil, and even if the field were not 
his own, unless others could prove their right to it. The 
law went so far as to adjudge to the purchaser of fruits 
anything found among these fruits. 

In the second Parable we have a wise merchantman 
who travels in search of pearls, and when he finds one 
which in value exceeds all else, he returns and sells all 
that he has, in order to buy this unique gem. The 

The Storm on the Lake of Galilee 177 

supreme value of the Kingdom, the consequent desire to 
appropriate it, and the necessity of parting with all else 
for this purpose, are the points common to this and the 
previous Parable. But in the one case, it is marked that 
this treasure is hid from common view in the field, and 
the finder makes unexpected discovery of it, which fills 
him with joy. In the other case, the merchantman is, 
indeed, in search of pearls, but he has the wisdom to dis- 
cover the transcendent value of this one gem, and the 
yet greater wisdom to give up all further search and to 
acquire it at the surrender of everything else. Thus, two 
different aspects of the Kingdom, and two different con- 
ditions on the part of those who, for its sake, equally part 
with all, are here set before the disciples. 

Nor was the closing Parable of the Draw-net less 
needful. Assuredly it became, and would more and more 
become, them to know that mere discipleship — mere in- 
clusion in the Gospel-net — was not sufficient. That net 
let down into the sea of this world would include much 
which, when the net was at last drawn to shore, would 
prove worthless or even hurtful. To be a disciple, then, was 
not enough. Even here there would be separation. Not 
only the tares, which the Enemy had designedly sown into 
the midst of the wheat, but even much that the Gospel- 
net cast into the sea had inclosed, would when brought 
to land prove fit only to be cast away, into ' the oven of 
the fire where there is the wailing and the gnashing of 
teeth/ 1 



(St. Matt. viii. 18, 23-27 ; St. Mark iv. 35-41 ; St. Luke viii. 22-25.) 

It was the evening, and once more great multitudes were 
gathering to Him. What more could He have said to 
those to whom He had all that morning spoken in Parables, 
which hearing they had not heard or understood? In 

1 The well-known oven of the well-known fire — Gehenna. 


178 Jesus the Messiah 

truth, after that day's teaching it was better, alike for these 
multitudes and for His disciples, that He should withdraw. 
And so ' they took Him even as He was ' — that is, pro- 
bably without refreshment of food, or even preparation 
of it for the journey. This indicates how readily, nay, 
eagerly, the disciples obeyed the behest. 

Whether in their haste they heeded not the signs of 
the coming storm ; whether they had the secret feeling 
that ship and sea which bore such burden were safe from 
tempest ; or whether it was one of those storms which so 
often rise suddenly, and sweep with such fury over the 
Lake of Galilee, must remain undetermined. He was in 
the ship,' the well-known boat which was always ready 
for His service, whether as pulpit, resting-place, or means 
of journeying. But the departure had not been so rapid 
as to pass unobserved ; and the ship was attended by other 
boats, which bore those who would fain follow Him. In 
the stern of the ship, on the low bench where the steers- 
man sometimes takes rest, lay Jesus. Weariness, faintness, 
hunger, exhaustion, asserted their mastery over His true 
humanity. He, Whom earliest Apostolic testimony a pro- 

• Phii. ii. 6 claimed to have been in ' the form of God,' slept. 

Meanwhile the heavens darken, the wild wind swoops 
down those mountain-gorges, howling over the trembling 
sea. The danger is increasing — 'so that the ship was 
»> st. Mark now filling.' b They who* watched it might be 
iv - 37 tempted to regard the peaceful rest of Jesus 

as weakness in not being able, even at such a time, to 
overcome the demands of our lower nature ; real indiffer- 
ence, also, to their fate — not from want of sympathy, but 
of power. In short, it might lead up to the inference that 
the Christ was a no-Christ, and the Kingdom of which He 
had spoken in Parables, not His, in the sense of being 
identified with His Person. 

It has been asked, with which of the words recorded by 
the Synoptists the disciples had wakened the Lord : with 

• st. Matt, those of entreaty to save them, or with those of 
st. d Luke impatience, perhaps uttered by Peter himself ? d 
1 st. Mark Similarly, it has been asked, which came first — 

The Storm on the Lake of Galilee 179 

the Lord's rebuke of the disciples, and after it that of 
• st. Matt, the wind and sea, a or the converse ? b But, 
Lfd' Mark may it not be that each recorded that first which 
st. Luke h a( J most impressed itself on his mind — St. 
Matthew, who had been in the ship that night, the needful 
« st. Mark, rebuke to the disciples ; St. Mark and St. Luke, 
fr r o°m ably wno na( ^ near d it fr° m others, the help first, and 
st. Peter then the rebuke ? 

Yet it is not easy to understand what the disciples had 
really expected, when they wakened the Christ with their 
1 Lord, save us — we perish ! ' Certainly not that which 
actually happened, since not only wonder but fear came 
over them as they witnessed it. Probably theirs would be 
a vague, undefined belief in the unlimited possibility of 
all in connection with the Christ. 

When ' He was awakened ' d by the voice of 
i d v S 38 Mark His disciples, < He rebuked the wind and the sea,' 
Nah.L4* 9; as Jehovah had of old e — just as He had < re- 
j st. Luke buked ' the fever, f and the paroxysm of the de- 
Tst. Mark monised. g And the sea He commanded as if it 
ix * 25 were a sentient being : ' Be silent ! Be silenced ! ' 

And immediately the wind was bound, the waves throbbed 
into stillness, and a great calm fell upon the Lake. For, 
when Christ sleepeth, there is storm ; when He waketh, 
peace. But over these men who had wakened Him with 
their cry, now crept wonderment, awe, and fear. No 
longer, as at His first wonder-working in Capernaum, was 
h st. Mark i. it: ' What is this?' h but, ' Who, then, is this?' 
27 And so the grand question, which the enmity of 

the Pharisees had raised, and which, in part, had been 
answered in the Parables of teaching, was still more fully 
and practically met in what, not only to the disciples, but 
to all time, was a Parable of help. And Jesus also 
wondered : how was it that they had no faith ? 


i8o Jesus the Messiah 


(St. Matt viii. 28-34 j St. Mark v. 1-20; St. Luke viii. 26-39.) 

Most writers have suggested that the healing of the 
demonised on the other side took place at early dawn of 
the day following the storm on the Lake. But the distance 
is so short that, even making allowance for the delay by 
the tempest, the passage could scarcely have occupied the 
whole night. All the circumstances lead us to regard the 
healing at Gerasa as a night-scene, following immediately 
on Christ's arrival from Capernaum, and after the calming 
of the storm at sea. 

We can with confidence describe the exact place where 
our Lord and His disciples touched the other shore. The 
ruins right over against the plain of Gennesaret, which 
still bear the name of Kersa or Gersa, must represent the 
ancient Gerasa. The locality entirely meets the require- 
ments of the narrative. About a quarter of an hour to the 
south of Gersa is a steep bluff, which descends abruptly on 
a narrow ledge of shore. A terrified herd running down 
this cliff could not have recovered its foothold, and must 
inevitably have been hurled into the Lake beneath. Again, 
the whole country around is burrowed with limestone 
caverns and rock-chambers for the dead, such as those 
which were the dwelling of the demonised. 

From these tombs the demonised, who is specially- 
singled out by St. Mark and St. Luke, as well as his less 
» st. Matt, prominent companion,* came forth to meet Jesus. 
viii. 28 According to common Jewish superstition, the 
evil spirits dwelt especially in lonely desolate places, and 
also among tombs. 1 We must here remember what has 
previously been explained as to the confusion in the con- 
sciousness of the demonised between their own notions 

1 See 'Life and Times,' App. XIIL, « ADgelology and Demonology ; ' 
and App. XVI. ' Jewish Views about Demons and the Demonised.' 

The Healing of the Demon/sed 181 

and the ideas imposed on them by the demons. It is 
quite in accordance with the Jewish notions of the de- 
monised that, according to the more circumstantial ac- 
count of St. Luke, he should feel as it were driven into 
the deserts, and that he was in the tombs, while, accord- 
ing to St. Mark, he was ' night and day in the tombs 
and in the mountains,' the very order of the words indi- 
cating the notion (as in Jewish belief) that it was chiefly 
at night that evil spirits were wont to haunt burying- 

In calling attention to this and similar particulars, we 
repeat that this must be kept in view as characteristic 
of the demonised, that they were incapable of sepa- 
rating their own consciousness and ideas from the in- 
fluence of the demon, their own identity being merged, 
and to that extent lost, in that of their tormentors. In 
this respect the demonised state was also kindred to mad- 

The language and conduct of the demonised, whether 
seemingly his own, or that of the demons who influenced 
him, must always be regarded as a mixture of the Jewish- 
human and the demoniacal. The demonised speaks and 
acts as a Jew under the control of a demon. Thus, if he 
chooses solitary places by day, and tombs by night, it is 
not that demons really preferred such habitations, but that 
the Jews imagined it, and that the demons, acting on the 
existing consciousness, would lead him, in accordance 
with his preconceived notions, to select such places. Here 
also mental disease offers points of analogy. The fact 
that in the demonised state a man's identity was not super- 
seded but controlled, enables us to account for many 
phenomena without either confounding demonism with 
mania, or else imputing to our Lord such accommodation 
to the notions of the times, as is not only untenable in 
itself, but forbidden even by the language of the present 

The description of the demonised, coming out of the 
tombs to meet Jesus as He touched the shore at Gerasa, is 
vivid in the extreme. His violence, the impossibility oi 

1 82 Jesus the Messiah 

B gt Mark y control by others,* the absence of self-control, b 
m" ar ' his homicidal, and almost suicidal, d frenzy, are 
vm.'27 uke all depicted. Christ, Who had been charged by 
Vaiw**" tne Pharisees with being the embodiment and 
j st. Mark y. messenger of Satan, is here face to face with the 
extreme manifestation of demoniac power and 
influence. It is once more, then, a Miracle in Parable 
which is about to take place. The question, which had 
been raised by the enemies, is about to be brought to the 
issue of a practical demonstration. 

With irresistible power the demonised was drawn to 
Jesus, as He touched the shore at Gerasa. As always, 
the first effect of the contact was a fresh paroxysm, but 
in this peculiar case not physical, but moral. As always, 
also, the demons knew Jesus, and His Presence seemed to 
constrain their confession of themselves — and therefore of 

The strange mixture of the demoniac with the human, 
or rather, this expression of underlying demoniac thought 
in the forms and modes of thinking of the Jewish victim, 
explains the expressed fear of present actual torment, or, 
as St. Matthew, who, from the briefness of his account, 
does not seem to have been an eye-witness, expresses it: 
' Thou art come to torment us before the time ; ' and possibly 
also for the ' adjuration by God.' For, as immediately on 
the homage and protestation of the demonised : ' What 
between me and Thee, Jesus, Thou Son of the Most High 
God ? ' Christ had commanded the unclean spirit to come 
out of the man, it may have been that in so doing He 
had used the Name of the Most High God; or else the 
'adjuration' itself may have been the form in which the 
Jewish speaker clothed the consciousness of the demons, 
with which his own was identified. 

It may be conjectured that it was partly in order to 
break this identification, or rather to show the demonised 
that it was not real, and only the consequence of the con- 
trol which the demons had over him, that the Lord asked 
his name. To this the man made answer, still in the dual 
consciousness, 'My name is Legion: for we are many. 1 

The Healing of the Demonised 183 

Such might be the subjective motive for Christ's question. 
Its objective reason may have been to show the power of 
the demoniac possession in the present instance, thus 
marking it as an altogether extreme case. It was a com- 
mon Jewish idea that, under certain circumstances, ' a 
legion of hurtful spirits ' (of course not in the sense of a 
Roman legion) ' were on the watch for men, saying : When 
shall he fall into the hands of one of these things, and be 
taken ? ' 

This identification of the demons with the demonised, 
in consequence of which he thought with their conscious- 
ness, and they spoke not only through him but in his forms 
of thinking, may also account for the last and most difficult 
part of this narrative. Their main object and wish was 
not to be banished from the country and people, or, as 
St. Luke puts it — again to ' depart into the abyss.' Let us 
now try to realise the scene. On the very narrow strip of 
shore, between the steep cliff that rises in the background 
and the Lake, stands Jesus with His disciples and the 
demonised. The wish of the demons is not to be sent out 
of the country — not back into the abyss. Up on that 
cliff a great herd of swine is feeding ; up that cliff, there- 
fore, is ' into the swine ; ' and this also agrees with Jewish 
thoughts concerning uncleanness. The rendering of our 
a st. Mark Authorised Version,* that, in reply to the demo- 
▼• ** iiiac entreaty, \ forthwith Jesus gave them leave,' 

has led to misunderstanding. The verb, which is the same 
in all the three Gospels, would be better rendered by 
• suffered ' than by ' gave them leave.' With the latter we 
associate positive permission. None such was either asked 
or given. The Lord suffered it — that is, He did not 
actually hinder it. He only * said unto them, Go ! ' 

What followed belongs to the phenomena of supersen- 
suous influences upon animals, of which many instances 
are recorded, but the rationale of which it is impossible to 
explain. This, however, we can understand : that under 
such circumstances a panic would seize the herd, that it 
would madly rush down the steep, on which it could not 
arrest itself, and so perish in the sea. 

1 84 Jesus the Messiah 

The weird scene was past. And now silence has 
fallen on them. From above, the keepers of the herd had 
seen it all— alike what had passed with the demonised, 
and then the issue in the destruction of the herd. From 
the first, as they saw^he demonised, for fear of whom ' no 
man might pass that way,' running to Jesus, they must 
have watched with eager interest. In the clear Eastern 
air not a word that was spoken could have been lost. And 
now in wild terror they fled, into Gerasa — into the country 
round about — to tell what had happened. 

It is morning, and a new morning-sacrifice and morn- 
ing-Psalm are about to be offered. He that had been the 
possession of foul and evil spirits — a very legion of them 
— and deprived of his human individuality, is now * sitting 
at the feet of Jesus,' learning of Him, ' clothed and in his 
right mind.' He has been brought to God, restored to 
self, to reason, and to human society — and all this by 
Jesus, at Whose Feet he is gratefully, humbly sitting, ' a 

But now from town and country have they come, who 
had been startled by the tidings which those who fed the 
swine had brought. It is not necessary to suppose that 
their request that Jesus would depart out of their coasts 
was prompted only by the loss of the herd of swine. 
There could be no doubt in their minds that One possess- 
ing supreme and unlimited power was in their midst. 
Among men superstitious, and unwilling to submit abso- 
lutely to the Kingdom which Christ brought, there could 
only be one effect of what they had heard, and now 
witnessed in the person of the healed demonised — awe and 
fear ! And in such place and circumstances Jesus could 
not have continued. As He entered the ship, the healed 
demonised humbly, earnestly entreated that he might go 
with his Saviour. It would have seemed to him as if there 
were calm, safety, and happiness only in His Presence ; 
not far from Him — not among those wild mountains and 
yet wilder men. So too often do we reason and speak, as 
regards ourselves or those we love. Not so He Who 
appoints alike our discipline and our work. To go back, 

The Healing of the Woman 185 

now healed, to his own, and to publish there, in the city — 
nay, through the whole of the large district of the ten con- 
federate cities, the Decapolis — how great things Jesus had 
done for him, such was henceforth to be his life-work. In 
this there would be both safety and happiness. 

* And all men did marvel/ And presently Jesus Him- 
self came back into that Decapolis, where the healed 
demonised had prepared the way for Him. 



(St. Matt. ix. 18-26 ; St. Mark v. 21-43 ; St. Luke viii. 40-56.) 

On the shore at Capernaum many were gathered on the 
morning after the storm eagerly looking out for the well- 
known boat that bore the Master and His disciples. And, 
as He again stepped on the shore, He was soon ' thronged,* 
inconveniently pressed upon, by the crowd, eager, curious, 
expectant. The tidings rapidly spread, and reached two 
homes where His help was needed ; where, indeed, it alone 
could now be of possible avail. The two most nearly con- 
cerned must have gone to seek that help about the same 
time, and prompted by the same feelings of expectancy. 
Both Jairus, the Ruler of the Synagogue, and the woman 
suffering these many years from disease, had faith. But 
the weakness of the one arose from excess, and threatened 
to merge into superstition, while the weakness of the other 
was due to defect, and threatened to end in despair. In 
both cases faith had to be called out, tried, purified, and 
so perfected. 

Jairus, one of the Synagogue-rulers of Capernaum, 
had an only daughter, who at the time of this narrative 
had just passed childhood, and reached the period when 
Jewish Law declared a woman of age. Although St. 
Matthew, contracting the whole narrative into briefest 
summary, speaks of her as dead at the time of Jairus' 

1 86 Jesus the Messiah 

application to Jesus, the other two Evangelists, giving 
fuller details, describe her as on the point of death, 
literally, ' at the last breath/ 

That, in view of his child's imminent death, and 
with the knowledge he had of the ' mighty deeds ' com- 
monly reported of Jesus, Jairus should have applied to 
Him, can the less surprise us when we remember how 
often Jesus must, with consent and by invitation of this 
Ruler, have spoken in the Synagogue, and what im- 
pression His words must have made. There was nothing 
in what Jairus said which a Jew in those days might 
not have spoken to a Rabbi, who was regarded as Jesus 
must have been by all in Capernaum who believed 
not the charge, which the Judaean Pharisees had just 
raised. Though we cannot point to any instance where 
the laying on of a great Rabbi's hands was sought for 
healing, such combined with prayer would certainly be in 
entire accordance with Jewish views at the time. The 
confidence in the result, expressed by the father in the 
accounts of St. Mark and St. Matthew, is not mentioned 
by St. Luke. And, perhaps, as being the language of an 
Eastern, it should not be taken in its strict literality as 
indicating actual conviction on the part of Jairus, that the 
laying on of Christ's Hands would certainly restore the 

Be this as it may, when Jesus followed the Ruler to 
his house, the multitude ' thronging Him ' in eager 
curiosity, another approached Him whose inner history 
was far different from that of Jairus. The disease from 
which this woman had suffered for twelve years would 
render her Levitically ; unclean.' It must have been not 
unfrequent in Palestine, and proved as intractable as 
modern science has found it, to judge by the number and 
variety of remedies prescribed, and by their character. 
But what possesses real interest is" that, in all cases where 
astringents or tonics are prescribed, it is ordered that, 
while the woman takes the remedy, she is to be addressed 
in the words : ' Arise from thy flux.' It is not only that- 
psychical means are apparently to accompany the therapeu- 

The Healing of the Woman 187 

tical in this disease, but the coincidence in the command, 
' Arise,' with the words used by Christ in raising Jairus' 
daughter is striking. But here also we mark only con- 
trast to the magical cures of the Rabbis. For Jesus neither 
used remedies, nor spoke the word ' Arise ' to her who had 
come ' in the press behind ! to touch for her healing ' the 
fringe of His outer garment.' 

We can form an approximate idea of the outward 
appearance of Jesus amidst the throng at Capernaum. He 
would, we may safely assume, go about in the ordinary 
although not in the more ostentatious, dress, worn by the 
Jewish teachers of Galilee. His head-gear would pro- 
bably be a kind of turban, or perhaps a covering for the 
head which descended over the back of the neck and 
shoulders, somewhat like the Indian pugaree. His feet 
were probably shod with sandals. His inner garment 
must have been close-fitting, and descended to His feet, 
since it was not only so worn by teachers, but was regarded 
as absolutely necessary for anyone who would publicly 
read or ' Targum ' the Scriptures, or exercise any function 
in the Synagogue. As we know, it was without seam, 
• st. John woven from the top throughout,* and this closely 
xix * 23 accords with the texture of these garments. 

Round the middle it would be fastened with a girdle. 
Over this inner He would most probably wear the square 
outer garment, or Tallith, with the customary fringes of 
four long white threads with one of hyacinth knotted 
together at each of the four corners. There is reason to 
believe that three square garments were made with these 
4 fringes,' although by way of ostentation, the Pharisees 
made them particularly wide so as to attract attention, 
» st. Matt. just, as they made their phylacteries broad. b Al- 
*W 5 though Christ only denounced the latter practice, 
not the phylacteries themselves, it is impossible to believe 
that Himself ever wore them, either on the forehead or the 
arm. There was certainly no warrant for them in Holy 
Scripture, and only Pharisaic externalism could represent 
their use as fulfilling the import of Exod. xiii. 9, 16 ; 
Deut. vi. 8; xi. 18. The admission that neither the 

1 88 Jesus the Messiah 

officiating priests, nor the representatives of the people, 
wore them in the Temple, seems to imply that this prac- 
tice was not quite universal. 

One further remark may be allowed before dismissing 
this subject. Our inquiries enable us in this matter also 
to confirm the accuracy of the Fourth Gospel. We read a 
»st. John that the quaternion of soldiers who crucified 
Christ made division of the riches of His poverty, 
taking each one part of His dress, while for the fifth, 
which, if divided, would have had to be rent in pieces, they 
cast lots. This incidental remark carries evidence of the 
Judsean authorship of the Gospel in the accurate know- 
ledge which it displays. The four pieces of dress to be 
divided would be the head-gear, the more expensive 
sandals or shoes, the long girdle, and the coarse Tallith — 
all about equal in value. And the fifth undivided and 
comparatively most expensive garment, 'without seam, 
woven from the top throughout/ probably of wool, as be- 
fitted the season of the year, was the inner garment. 

We do not wonder that this Jewish woman, ' having 
heard the things concerning Jesus,' with her imperfect 
knowledge, in the weakness of her strong faith, thought 
that, if she might but touch His garment, she would be 
made whole. 

We can picture her to our minds as, mingling with 
those who thronged and pressed upon the Lord, she put 
forth her hand and ' touched the border of His garment/ 
most probably the long fringes of one of the corners of the 
outer garment. We can understand how, with a disease 
which not only rendered her Levitically defiling, but where 
womanly shamefacedness would make public speech so 
difficult, she, thinking of Him Whose Word .spoken at a 
distance had brought healing, might thus seek to have her 
heart's desire. Yet in the very strength of her faith lay 
also its weakness. She believed so much in Him, that she 
felt as if it needed not personal appeal to Him ; she felt 
so deeply the hindrances to her making request of Him- 
self, that, believing so strongly in Him, she deemed it 
sufficient to touch, not even Himself, but that which in 

The Healing of the Woman 189 

itself had no power tior value, except as it was in contact 
with His Divine Person. 

Very significantly, the Lord disappointed not her faith, 
but corrected the error of its direction and manifestation. 
No sooner had she so touched the border of His garment 
than ' she knew in the body that she was healed of the 
scourge.' No sooner, also, had she so touched the border 
of His garment than He knew, ' perceived in Himself,' 
what had taken place : the forthgoing of the Power that 
is from out of Him. 

And this was neither unconscious nor unwilled on His 
part. It was caused by her faith, not by her touch. ' Thy 
faith hath made thee whole.' And the question of Jesus 
could not have been misleading, when ' straightway ' He 
' turned Him about in the crowd and said, ' Who touched 
My garments?' That He knew who had done it, and 
only wished, through self-confession, to bring her to clear- 
ness in the exercise of her faith, appears from what is 
immediately added : ' And He looked round about,' not 
to see who had done it, but ' to see her that had done this 
thing.' And as His look was at last fixed on her alone in 
all that crowd, which, as Peter rightly said, was throng- 
ing and pressing Him, ' the woman saw that she was not 
»st. Luke hid,' a and came forward to make full confession. 
Thus, while in His mercy He had borne with her 
weakness, and in His faithfulness not disappointed her 
faith, its twofold error was also corrected. She learned 
that it was not from the garment, but from the Saviour, 
that the power proceeded ; she learned also that it was not 
the touch of it, but the faith in Him, that made whole — 
and such faith must ever be of personal dealing with Him. 
And so He spoke to her the Word of twofold help and 
assurance: 'Thy faith hath made thee whole — go forth 
into peace, and be healed of thy scourge.' 

Brief as is the record of this occurrence, it must have 
caused considerable delay in the progress of our Lord to 
the house of Jairus. For in the interval the maiden, who 
had been at the last gasp when her father went to entreat 
the help of Jesus, had not only died, but the house of 

190 Jesus the Messiah 

mourning was already filled with relatives, hired mourners, 
wailing women, and musicians, in preparation for the 
funeral. The intentional delay of Jesus when summoned 
• st. John to Lazarus* leads us to ask whether similar 
ri - 6 purpose may not have influenced His conduct in 

the present instance. But even were it otherwise, no out- 
come of God's Providence is of chance, but each is 
designed. The circumstances, which in their concurrence 
make up an event, may all be of natural occurrence, but 
their conjunction is of Divine ordering and to a higher 
purpose, and this constitutes Divine Providence. It was 
in the interval of this delay that the messengers came, 
who informed Jairus of the actual death of his child. 
Jesus overhead it, as they whispered to the Ruler not to 
trouble the Rabbi any further, but He heeded it not, save 
so far as it affected the father. The emphatic admonition, 
not to fear, only to believe, gives us an insight into the 
threatening failure of the Ruler's faith ; perhaps, also, into 
the motive which prompted the delay of Christ. The 
utmost need, which would henceforth require the utmost 
faith on the part of Jairus, had now come. But into that 
which was to pass within the house no stranger must 
intrude. Even of the Apostles only those, who now for the 
first time became, and henceforth continued, the innermost 
circle, might witness what was about to take place. 

Within, ' the tumult ' and weeping, the wail of the 
mourners, real or hired, and the melancholy sound of the 
mourning flutes — sad preparation for, and pageantry of, 
an Eastern funeral —broke discordantly on the calm of 
assured victory over death, with which Jesus had entered 
the house of mourning. But even so He would tell them 
that the damsel was not dead, but only sleeping. The 
Rabbis also frequently have the expression ' to sleep ' 
(when the sleep is overpowering and oppressive), instead 
of ' to die.' It may well have been that Jesus made use 
of this word of double meaning in some such manner as 
this: 'the maiden sleepeth.' And they understood Him 
well in their own way, yet understood Him not at all. 

For did they not verily know that she had actually 

The Raising of J air us* Daughter 191 

died, even before the messengers had been despatched to 
prevent the needless trouble of His coming? Yet even 
this their scorn served a higher purpose. For it showed 
these two things : that to the certain belief of those in 
the house the maiden was really dead, and that the Gospel- 
writers regarded the raising of the dead as not only beyond 
the ordinary range of Messianic activity, but as something 
miraculous even among the miracles of Christ. 

The first thing to be done by Christ was to * put out ' 
the mourners, whose proper place this house no longer 
was, and who by their conduct had proved themselves unfit 
to be witnesses of'Christ's great manifestation. The j im- 
pression which the narrative leaves on the mind is that 
all this while the father of the maiden was stupefied, 
passive rather than active in the matter. The great fear, 
which had come upon him when the messengers ap- 
prised him of his only child's death, seemed still to numb 
his faith. 

Christ now led the father and the mother into the 
chamber where the dead maiden lay, followed by the three 
Apostles, witnesses of His chiefest working and of His 
utmost earthly glory, but also of His inmost sufferings. 
Without doubt or hesitation He took her by the hand, 
and spoke only these two words : Talyetha Qum \Kum\ 
Maiden, arise ! ' And straightway the damsel arose.' But 
the great astonishment which came upon them, as well as 
the ' strait charge ' that no man should know it, are further 
evidence, if such were required, how little their faith had 
been prepared for that which in its weakness was granted 
to it. And thus Jesus, as He had formerly corrected in 
the woman that weakness of faith which came through 
very ex-cess, so now in the Ruler of the Synagogue the 
weakness which was by failure. 

192 f£sus the Messiah 



(St. Matt. xiii. 54-58; x. 1, 5-42; xi. 1; St. Mark vi. 1-13; 
St. Luke ix.1-6.) 

How Jesus conveyed Himself away from Capernaum, 
whether through another entrance into the house, or by 
1 the road of the roofs,' we are not told. But assuredly He 
must have avoided the multitude. Presently we find Him 
far from Capernaum. Probably He had left it immediately 
on quitting the house of Jairus. 

It almost seems as if the departure of Jesus from the 
town marked a crisis in its history. From henceforth it 
ceases to be the centre of His activity, and is only occa- 
sionally, and in passing, visited. Indeed, the concentra- 
tion and growing power of Pharisaic opposition, and the 
proximity of Herod's residence at Tiberias, would have 
rendered a permanent stay there impossible at this stage 
in our Lord's history. Henceforth, He has no certain 
dwelling-place : in His own language, ' He hath not where 
to lay His Head.' 

•st. Mark The notice in St. Mark's Gospel,* that His 

Ttl disciples followed Him, seems to connect the 

arrival of Jesus in ' His own country ' (at Nazareth) with 
the departure from the house of Jairus, into which He bad 
allowed only three of His Apostles to accompany Him. 
The circumstances of the present visit, as well as the tone 
of His countrymen at this time, are entirely different from 
what is recorded of His former sojourn at Nazareth. b 
»> st. Luke Nazareth would have ceased to be Nazareth, had 
iv. i6-3i its people felt or spoken otherwise than they had 
before. That His fame had so grown in the interval 
would only stimulate the conceit of the village-town. 

And now He had come back to them, after nine or ten 
months, in totally different circumstances. No one could 
any longer question His claims, whether for good or for 

The Mission of the Twelve 193 

evil. As on the Sabbath He stood up once more in that 
Synagogue to teach, they were astonished. But their 
astonishment was that of unbelief. Whence had ' this 
One ' ' these things,' ' and what the wisdom which ' was 
•st Mark 'given to this One — and these mighty works 
*• 2 done by His Hands ? ' a 

'And He marvelled because of their unbelief.' In 
view of their own reasoning it was most unreasonable. 

But it would have been impossible for Christ to have 
finally given up His own town of Nazareth without one 
further appeal and one further opportunity for repentance. 
As He had begun, so He closed this part of His Galilean 
Ministry, by preaching in His own Synagogue of Nazareth. 
Save in the case of a few who were receptive, on whom He 
laid His Hands for healing, His visit passed away without 
such 'mighty works ' as the Nazarenes had heard of. He 
will not return again to Nazareth. Henceforth He will 
make commencement of sending forth His disciples. For 
His Heart compassionated the many who were ignorant 
and out of the way. 

Viewing the discourse with which Christ now sent out 
b st. Matt. x. tne Twelve in its fullest form, b it is to be noted 
5 to the end that it consists of five parts : vv. 5 to 15 ; vv. 16 
to 23 ; w. 24 to 33 ; vv. 34 to 39 ; vv. 40 to the end. 
«st Matt. I ts nrsfc P arfcC applies entirely to this first 

x. 5-i5 a Mission of the Twelve, although the closing words 
point forward to c the judgment.' d Accordingly it has its 
dver. 15 parallels, although in briefer form, in the other 

vf.Vn'f two Gospels. 6 

st*. Luke 1 . The Twelve were to go forth two and two, f 

'It. Mark furnished with authority — or, as St. Luke more 
""' 7 fully expresses it, with ' power and authority ' — 

alike over all demons and to heal all manner of diseases. 
The special commission, for which they received such 
power, was to proclaim the near advent of the Kingdom, 
and, in manifestation as well as in evidence of it, to heal 
the sick, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. They 
were to speak good and to do good in the highest sense, 
and that in a manner which all would feel to be good : freely, 

194 Jesus the Messiah 

even as they had received it. Again, they were not to 
make any special provision for their journey, beyond the 
absolute immediate present. They were but labourers, 
yet as such they had claim to support. Their Employer 
would provide, and the field in which they worked might 
•comp. for well be expected to supply it. a 
2 P ect tter Before entering into a city, they were to 

1 Tim. v. is make inquiry, literally to { search out,' who in it 
was ( worthy/ and of them to ask hospitality ; not seeking 
during their stay a change for the gratification of vanity or 
for self-indulgence. If the report on which they had made 
choice of a host proved true, then the ' Peace with thee ! 
with which they had entered their temporary home, would 
become a reality. Christ would make it such. 

But even if the house should prove unworthy, the 
Lord would none the less own the words of His messengers 
and make them real ; only, in such case the ' Peace with 
thee ! ' would return to them who had spoken it. Yet 
another case was possible. The house to which their 
inquiries had led them, or the city into which they had 
entered, might refuse to receive them, because they came 
as Christ's ambassadors. Greater, indeed, would be their 
guilt than that of the Cities of the Plain, since these had 
not known the character of the heavenly guests to whom 
they refused reception ; and more terrible would be their 
future punishment. So Christ would vindicate their 
authority as well as His own, and show the reality of their 
commission : on the one hand, by making their word of 
peace a reality to those who had proved ' worthy ; ' and, 
on the other, by punishment if their message were refused. 
Lastly, in their present Mission they were not to touch 
either Gentile or Samaritan territory. This direction — so 
different in spirit from what Jesus Himself had previously 
said and done, and from their own later commission — was, 
of course, only ' for the present necessity.' It would have 
been a fatal anticipation of their inner and outer history 
to have attempted more, and it would have defeated the 
object of our Lord of disarming prejudices when making a 
final appeal to the Jews of Galilee. 

The Mission of the Twelve 195 

Even these considerations lead us to expect a strictly 
Jewish cast in this Discourse to the Disciples. The com- 
mand to abstain from any religious fellowship with Gentiles 
unci Samaritans was in temporary accommodation to the 
prejudices of His disciples and of the Jews. And the dis- 
tinction between ' the way of the Gentiles ' and ' any city 
of the Samaritans' is the more significant, when we bear 
in mind that even the dust of a heathen road was regarded 
as defiling, while the houses, springs, roads, and certain 
food of the Samaritans were declared clean. At the same 
time, religiously and as regarded fellowship, the Samaritans 
were placed on the same footing with Gentiles. Nor 
would the injunction, to impart their message freely, sound 
strange in Jewish ears. It was, in fact, what the Rabbis 
themselves most earnestly enjoined in regard to the teach- 
ing of the Law and traditions, however different their prac- 
tice may have been. Indeed, the very argument that they 
were to impart freely, because they had received freely, is 
employed by the Rabbis, and derived from the language 
and example of Moses in Deut. iv. 5. Again, the direc- 
tions about not taking staff, shoes, nor money-purse, 
exactly correspond to the Rabbinic injunction not to enter 
the Temple-precincts with staff, shoes (mark, not sandals), 
and a money-girdle. The symbolic reasons underlying 
this command would, in both cases, be probably the same : 
to avoid even the appearance of being engaged on other 
business, when the whole being should be absorbed in the 
service of the Lord. Nor could they be in doubt what 
severity of final punishment a doom heavier than that of 
Sodom and Gomorrah would imply, since, according to 
early tradition, their inhabitants were to have no part in 
the world to come. And most impressive to a Jewish mind 
would be the symbolic injunction, to shake off the dust of 
their feet for a testimony against such a house or city. The 
expression, no doubt, indicated that the ban of the Lord 
was resting on it, and the symbolic act would, as it were, 
be the solemn pronouncing that ' nought of the cursed 
»Deut.xiii. thing' clave to them. a In this sense, anything 
17 that clave to a person was metaphorically called 

o 2 

196 Jesus the Messiah 

c the dust/ as, for example, ' the dust of an evil tongue/ 
' the dust of usury/ as, on the other hand, to ' dust to 
idolatry ' meant to cleave to it. Even the injunction not 
to change the dwelling, where a reception had been given, 
was in accordance with Jewish views, the example of Abra- 

• According nam being quoted, who 8 ' returned to the place 
to Gen. xiii. w here his tent had been at the beginning.' 

* st. Matt. x. These remarks show how closely the Lord 
«"st. Matt. x. followed, in this first part of His charge to the 
16-23 disciples, b Jewish forms of thinking and modes of 
expression. It is not otherwise in the second, although the 
difference is here very marked. We have no longer merely 
the original commission, as it is given in almost the same 
terms by St. Mark and St. Luke. But the horizon is now 
enlarged, and St. Matthew reports that which the other 
Evangelists record at a later stnge of the Lord's Ministry. 

Without here anticipating the full inquiry into the 
promise of His immediate Coming, it is important to 
avoid, even at this stage, any possible misunderstanding on 
the point. The expectation of the Coming of ' the Son of 
d Dan> ^i. Man ' was grounded on a prophecy of Daniel, d in 
13 which that Advent, or rather manifestation, was 

associated with judgment The same is the case in this 
charge of our Lord. The disciples in their work are de- 
scribed ' as sheep in the midst of wolves/ a phrase which 
the Midrash applies to the position of Israel amidst a 
hostile world, adding : How great is that Shepherd, Who 
delivers them, and vanquishes the wolves! Similarly, 
the admonition to ' be wise as serpents and harmless as 
doves' is reproduced in the Midrash, where Israel is de- 
scribed as harmless as the dove towards God, and wise as 
serpents towards the hostile Gentile nations. Such and 
even greater would be the enmity which the disciples, as 
the true Israel, would have to encounter from Israel after 
the flesh. They would be handed over to the various 
Sanhedrin, and visited with such punishments as these 
• st Matt x tribunals had power to inflict. e More than this, 
17 they would be brought before governors and 

kings — primarily, the Roman governors and the Hero- 

The Mission of the Twelve 197 

dian princes. a And so determined would be this persecu- 
tion, as to break the ties of the closest kinship, and to bring 

• st Matt x on them the hatred of all men. b The only support 
is " in those terrible circumstances was the assurance 

of such help from above, that, although unlearned 
and humble, they need have no care, nor make preparation 
in their defence. And with this they had the promise 
that he who endured to the end would be saved, and the 
prudential direction, so far as possible, to avoid persecution 
by timely withdrawal, which could be the more readily 
achieved, since they would not have completed their circuit 
of the cities of Israel before the ' Son of Man be come.' 

It is of the greatest importance to keep in view that, 
at whatever period of Christ's Ministry this prediction and 
promise were spoken, and whether only once or oftener, 
they refer exclusively to a Jewish state of things. The 
persecutions are exclusively Jewish. This appears from 
verse 18, where the answer of the disciples is promised to 
be ' for a testimony against them,' who had delivered them 
up, that is, here, evidently the Jews, as also against * the 
Gentiles.' And the Evangelistic circuit of the disciples 
in their preaching was to be primarily Jewish ; and not 
only so, but in the time when there were still l cities of 
Israel/ that is, previous to the final destruction of the Jew- 
ish commonwealth. The reference, then, is to that period of 
Jewish persecution and of Apostolic preaching in the cities 
of Israel, which is bounded by the destruction of Jerusalem. 
Accordingly, the ' Coming of the Son of Man,' and ' the 
end ' here spoken of, must also have the same application. 
It was, as we have seen, according to Dan. vii. 13, a coming 
in judgment. To the Jewish persecuting authorities, who 
had rejected the Christ, in order, as they imagined, to save 

• st. John tn eir City and Temple from the Kornans, and to 
xi. 48 whom Christ had testified that He would come 
again, this judgment on their city and state, this destruc- 
tion of their polity, was ' the Coming of the Son of Man ' 
in judgment, and the only coming which the Jews, as a 
state, could expect. 

The disciples must have the more readily applied this 

198 Jesus the Messiah 

prediction of His Coming to Palestine, since l the woes' 
connected with it so closely corresponded to those expected 
by the Jews before the Advent of Messiah. Even the 
direction to flee from persecution is repeated by the Rabbis 
in similar circumstances, and established by the example 
of Jacob, of Moses, and of David. 

In the next section of this Discourse of our Lord, 

• st. Matt. x. as reported by St. Matthew, a the horizon is 
24-34 enlarged. The statements are still primarily ap- 
plicable to the early disciples, and their preaching among 
the Jews and in Palestine. But their ultimate bearing is 
already wider, and includes predictions and principles true 
to all time. In view of the treatment which their Master 
received, the disciples must expect misrepresentation and 
evil-speaking. Nor could it seem strange to them, since 
even the common Rabbinic proverb had it : ' It is enough 
for a servant to be as his lord.' As we hear it from the 
lips of Christ, we remember that this saying afterwards 
comforted those who mourned the downfall of wealthy 
and liberal homes in Israel, by thoughts of the greater 
calamity which had overthrown Jerusalem and the Temple. 
And very significant is its application by Christ : ' If they 
have called the Master of the house Beelzebul, how much 
more them of His household.' 

But they were not to fear such misrepresentations. In 
due time the Lord would make manifest both His and 
«>st.Matt.x. their true character. b Nor were they to be de- 
26 terred from announcing in the clearest and most 

public manner, in broad daylight, and from the flat roofs 
of houses, that which had been first told them in the dark- 
ness, as Jewish teachers communicated the deepest and 
highest doctrines in secret to their disciples, or as the 
preacher would whisper his discourse into the ear of the 
interpreter. But, from a much higher point of view, how 
different was the teaching of Christ from that of the 
Rabbis ! The latter laid it down as a principle, which 

• Lev.xviii. tne y ^ied to prove from Scripture, 6 that, in 
5 - order to save one's life, it was not only lawful, 
but even duty, if necessary, to commit any kind of sin, 

The Mission of the Twelve 199 

except idolatry, incest, or murder. Nay, even idolatry was 
allowed, if only it were done in secret, so as not to pro- 
fane the Name of the Lord — than which death was in- 
finitely preferable. Christ, on the other hand, not only 
ignored this vicious Jewish distinction of public and 
private as regarded morality, but bade His followers set 
aside all regard for personal safe by, even in reference to 
the duty of preaching the Gospel. There was a higher 
fear than of men : that of God — and it should drive out 
the fear of those who could only kill the body. Besides, 
why fear? God's Providence extended even over the 
meanest of His creatures. Two sparrows cost only about 
the third of a penny. Yet even one of them would not 
perish without the knowledge of God. No illustration 
was more familiar to the Jewish mind than that of His 
watchful care even over the sparrows. 

Nor could even the additional promise of Christ: 
1 But of you even the hairs of the head are all numbered/ 
surprise His disciples. But it would convey to them the 
assurance that, in doing His Work, they were performing 
the Will of God, and were specially in His keeping. And 
it would carry home to them what Rabbinism expressed 
in a realistic manner by the common sayings, that whither 
a man was to go, thither his feet would carry him ; and, 
that a man could not injure his finger on earth, unless it 
had been so decreed of him in heaven. And in later 
Rabbinic writings we read, in almost the words of Christ : 
1 Do I not number all the hairs of every creature ? ' And 
yet an even higher outlook was opened to the disciples. 
All preaching was confessing, and all confessing a preach- 
ing of Christ ; and our confession or denial would, almost 
by a law of nature, meet with similar confession or denial 
on the part of Christ before His Father in heaven. This, 
also, was an application of that fundamental principle, 
that ' nothing is covered that shall not be revealed.' 
• st. Matt. 1. What follows in our Lord's Discourse d still 
34 further widens the horizon. It describes the 

condition and laws of His Kingdom, until the final revela- 
tion of that which is now covered and hidden. So long 

200 Jesus the Messiah 

as His claims were set before a hostile world, they could 
only provoke war. On the other hand, so long as such 
decision was necessary, in the choice of either those nearest 
and dearest, of ease, nay, of life itself, or else of Christ, 
there could be no compromise. Not that, as is sometimes 
erroneously supposed, a very great degree of love to the 
dearest on earth amounts to loving them more than Christ. 
The love which Christ condemneth differs not in degree, 
but in kind, from rightful affection. It is one which takes 
the place of love to Christ — not which is placed by the 
side of that of Christ. For, rightly viewed, the two 
occupy different provinces. Wherever and whenever the 
two affections come into comparison, they also come into 
collision. And so the questions of not being worthy of 
Him, and of the true finding or losing of our life, have 
their bearing on our daily life and profession. 

But even in this respect the disciples must, to some 
extent, have been prepared to receive the teaching of 
Christ. It was generally expected that a time of great 
tribulation would precede the Advent of the Messiah. 
Again, it was a Rabbinic axiom that the cause of the 
teacher, to whom a man owed eternal life, was to be 
taken in hand before that of his father, to whom he owed 
only the life of this world. Even the statement about 
taking up the Cross in following Christ, although pro- 
phetic, could not sound quite strange. Crucifixion was, 
indeed, not a Jewish punishment, but the Jews must have 
become sadly familiar with it. Indeed, the expression 
1 bearing the cross,' as indicative of sorrow and suffering, 
is so common, that we read, Abraham carried the wood 
for the sacrifice of Isaac, ' like one who bears his cross on 
his shoulder.' 

Nor could the disciples be in doubt as to the meaning 
. st Matt of the last part of Christ's address. 4 They were 
x. 46-42 " \& Jewish forms of thought, only filled with the 
new wine of the Gospel. The Rabbis taught, but in 
extravagant terms, the merit attaching to the reception 
and entertainment of sages. The very expression ' in the 
name of a prophet, or a rightectas man, is strictly Jewish, 

The Mission of the Twelve 201 

and means for the sake of, or with intention in regard to. 
Tt appears to us that Christ introduced His own dis- 
tinctive teaching by the admitted Jewish principle, that 
hospitable reception for the sake of, or with the intention 
of doing it to, a prophet or a righteous man, would pro- 
cure a share in the prophet's or righteous man's reward. 
Thus, tradition had it that the Obadiah of King Ahab's 
• 1 Kings court a had become the prophet of that name, 
X viii.4 because he had provided for the hundred pro- 
phets. And we are repeatedly assured that to receive 
a sage, or even an elder, was like receiving the Shekhinah 
itself. But the concluding promise of Christ, concerning 
the reward of even < a cup of cold water ' to ' one of these 
little ones ' ' in the name of a disciple,' goes far beyond 
the farthest conceptions of His contemporaries. Yet, even 
so, the expression would, so far as its form is concerned, 
perhaps bear a fuller meaning to them than to us. These 
< little ones' were 'the children,' who were still learning 
the elements of knowledge, and who would by-and-by 
grow into ' disciples.' For, as the Midrash has it : ' Where 
there are no little ones, there are no disciples ; and where 
no disciples, no sages ; where no sages, there no elders ; 
where no elders, there no prophets; and where no pro- 
phets, there does God not cause His Shekhinah to rest.' 

We have been particular in marking the Jewish parallel- 
isms in this Discourse, first, because it seemed important 
to show that the words of the Lord were not beyond the 
comprehension of the disciples. Starting from forms of 
thought and expressions with which they were familiar, 
He carried them far beyond Jewish ideas and hopes. But, 
secondly, it is just in this similarity of form, which proves 
that it was of the time and to the time, as well as to us 
and to all times, that we best see how far the teaching of 
Christ transcended all contemporary conception. 

202 Jesus the Messiah 



(1. St. John iii. 25-30. 2. St. Matt. ix. 14-17; St. Mark ii. 18-22; St. 
Luke v. 33-39. 3. St. Matt. xi. 2-14 ; St. Luke vii. 18-35. 4. St. 
Matt. xiv. 1-12 ; St. Mark vi. 14-29 ; St. Luke ix. 7-9.) 

While the Apostles went forth by two and two on their 
first Mission, Jesus Himself taught and preached in the 

• st. Matt, towns around Capernaum. a This period of un- 
"st. Mark disturbed activity seems, however, to have been 
st SikfL °f "brief duration. That it was eminently suc- 
e cessful, we infer not only from direct notices, b 
but also from the circumstance that, for the first time, the 
attention of Herod Antipas was now called to the Person 
of Jesus. We suppose that, during the nine or ten 
months of Christ's Galilean Ministry, the Tetrarch had 
resided in his Peraean dominions (east of the Jordan), 
either at Julias or at Macheerus, in which latter fortress 
the Baptist was beheaded. We infer that the labours of 
the Apostles had also extended thus far, since they at- 
tracted the notice of Herod. In the popular excitement 
caused by the execution of the Baptist, the miraculous 
activity of the messengers of the Christ Whom John had 
announced, would naturally attract wider interest, while 
Antipas would, under the influence of fear and supersti- 
tion, give greater heed to them. We can scarcely be 
mistaken in supposing that this accounts for the abrupt 
termination of the labours of the Apostles, and their re- 
turn to Jesus. At any rate, the arrival of the disciples 
of John, with tidings of their master's death, and the 
return of the Apostles, seem to have been contempora- 

• st. Matt. . neous. c Finally, we conjecture that it was 
st Y Markvl among the motives which influenced the re- 
30 moval of Christ and His Apostles from Caper- 
naum. Temporarily to withdraw Himself and His dis- 

The Baptist in Prison 203 

ciples from Herod, to give them a season of rest and 
further preparation after the excitement of the last few- 
weeks, and to avoid being involved in the popular move- 
ments consequent on the murder of the Baptist — such we 
may venture to indicate as among the reasons of the de- 
parture of Jesus and His disciples, first into the dominions 
» st. John of the Tetrarch Philip, on the eastern side of the 
l\] Mark Lake,* and after that ' into the borders of Tyre 
v »- 2 * and Sidon.' b Thus the fate of the Baptist was, 

as might have been expected, decisive in its influence on 
the History of the Christ and of His Kingdom. But we 
have yet to trace the incidents in the life of John, so far 
as recorded in the Gospels, from the time of his last con- 
tact with Jesus to his execution. 

• st. John i- 1* was ° i n tne earl y summer °f tne y ear 

iii.22toiv.3 27 of our era, that John was baptizing in ^Enon, 
near to Salim. In the neighbourhood Jesus and His 
disciples were similarly engaged. The Presence and 
«st.joimii. activity of Jesus in Jerusalem at the Passover d 
13 to iii. 21 h a( j determined the Pharisaic party to take active 
measures against Him and His Forerunner, John. As the 
first outcome of this plan we notice the discussions on the 
question of 'purification,' and the attempt to separate 
between Christ and the Baptist by exciting the jealousy of 
• st. John tne latter. 6 But the result was far different. His 
iii. 25 &c. disciples might have been influenced, but John 
himself was too true a man, and too deeply convinced of 
the reality of Christ's Mission, to yield even for a moment 
to such temptation. 

It was not the greatness of the Christ, to his own 
seeming loss, which could cloud the Baptist's convictions. 
In simple Judfean illustration, he was only ' the friend of 
the Bridegroom,' with all that popular association or higher 
Jewish allegory connected with that relationship. He 
claimed not the bride. His was another joy — that of 
hearing the Voice of her rightful Bridegroom, Whose 
' groomsman ' he was. In the sound of that Voice lay the 
fulfilment of his office. 

2. The scene has changed, and the Baptist has become 

204 Jesus the Messiah 

the prisoner of Herod Antipas. The dominions of the 
latter embraced, in the north : Galilee, west of the Jordan 
and of the Lake of Galilee ; and in the south : Peraea, east 
of the Jordan. To realise events we must bear in mind 
that, crossing the Lake eastwards, we should pass from the 
possessions of Herod to those of the Tetrarch Philip, or 
else come upon the territory of the ' Ten Cities ' or 
Decapolis, a kind of confederation of townships, with con- 
stitution and liberties, such as those of the Grecian cities. 
By a narrow strip northwards, Peraea just slipped in 
between the Decapolis and Samaria. It is impossible with 
certainty to localise the iEnon, near Salim, where John 
baptized. We believe that the place was close to, perhaps 
actually in, the north-eastern angle of the province of 
Judaea, where it borders on Samaria. We are now on the 
western bank of Jordan. The other, or eastern, bank of 
the river would be that narrow northern strip of Peraea 
which formed part of the territory of Antipas. Thus a few 
miles, or the mere crossing of the river, would have brought 
the Baptist into Peraea. There can be no doubt but that 
the Baptist must either have crossed into, or else that 
iEnon, near Salim, was actually within the dominions ot 
Herod. It was on that occasion that Herod seized on his 
»st. John person,* and that Jesus, Who was still within 
*st John Judaean territory, withdrew from the intrigues of 
vi. i the Pharisees and the proximity of Herod, through 

Samaria, into Galilee. b 

Supposing Antipas to have been at his palace in the 
Peraean Julias, he would have been in close proximity to 
the scene of the Baptist's last recorded labours at iEnon. 
We can now understand, not only how John was im- 
prisoned by Antipas, but also the threefold motives which 
influenced it. According to Josephus, the Tetrarch was 
afraid that his absolute influence over the people, who 
seemed disposed to carry out whatever he advised, might 
lead to a rebellion. This circumstance is also indicated in 
« st Matt. tne remark of St. Matthew c that Herod was 
xiv/5 afraid to put the Baptist to death on account ot 

the people's opinion of him. On the other hand, the 

The Baptist in Prison 205 

• st. Matt Evangelic statement a that Herod had imprisoned 
s&ifarkvL J° nn on account of his declaring his marriage 
17 > 18 with Herodias unlawful, is in no way inconsistent 
with the reason assigned by Josephus. Not only might 
both motives have influenced Herod, but there is an 
obvious connection between them. For John's open 
declaration of the unlawfulness of Herod's marriage, as 
alike incestuous and adulterous, might, in view of the 
influence which the Baptist exercised, have easily led to a 
rebellion. The reference to the Pharisaic spying and to 
their comparisons between the influence of Jesus and of 
*>st. John iv. John, b which led to the withdrawal of Christ 
M into Galilee, seems to imply that the Pharisees 
had something to do with the imprisonment of John. 
Their connection with Herod appears even more clearly in 
the attempt to induce Christ's departure from Galilee, on 
pretext of Herod's machinations. It will be remembered 
that the Lord unmasked their hypocrisy by bidding them 
go back to Herod, showing that He fully knew that real 
danger threatened Him, not from the Tetrarch, but from 

• st. Luke tne leaders of the party in Jerusalem. Our 
xiii. 31-33 inference, therefore, is that Pharisaic intrigue 
had a very large share in giving effect to Herod's fear of 
the Baptist and of his reproofs. 

3. Machaerus (the modern Mhhaur) marked the extreme 
point south, as Pella that north, in Peraea. As the 
boundary fortress in the south-east (towards Arabia), its 
safety was of the greatest importance, and everything was 
done to make a place, exceedingly strong by nature, 

' A rugged line of upturned squared stones ' shows the 
old Roman paved road leading to the fortress, in which, 
according to Josephus, the Baptist was confined. Ruins 
covering quite a square mile, on a group of undulating 
hills, mark the site of the ancient town of Macharus. 
Although surrounded by a wall and towers, its position is 
supposed not to have been strategically defensible. Only 
a mass of ruins here, with traces of a temple to the Syrian 
Sun-God, broken cisterns, and desolateness all around. 

206 Jesus the Messiah 

Crossing a narrow deep valley, about a mile wide, we 
climb up to the ancient fortress on a conical hill. Altogether 
it covered a ridge of more than a mile. The key of the 
position was a citadel to the extreme east of the fortress. 
It occupied the summit of the cone, was isolated, and 
almost impregnable, but very small. Descending a steep 
slope about 150 yards towards the west, we reach the 
oblong flat plateau that formed the fortress, containing 
Herod's magnificent palace. 

No traces of the royal palace are left, save foundations 
and enormous stones upturned. Within the area of the 
keep are a well of great depth, and a deep cemented 
cistern with the vaulting of the roof still complete, and two 
dungeons, one of them deep down, its sides scarcely broken 
in, ' with small holes still visible in the masonry where 
staples of wood and iron had once been fixed.' As we look 
down into its hot darkness, we shudder in realising that 
this terrible keep had for nigh ten months been the prison 
of that son of the free ' wilderness,' the bold herald of the 
coming Kingdom, the humble, earnest, self-denying John 
the Baptist. 

4. In these circumstances we scarcely wonder at the 
feelings of John's disciples, as months of his weary 
captivity passed. Uncertain what to expect, they seem 
to have oscillated between Machaerus and Capernaum. 
Any hope of their Master's vindication and deliverance lay 
in the possibilities involved in the announcement he had 
made of Jesus as the Christ. And it was to Him that 
their Master's finger had pointed them. Indeed, some of 
Jesus' earliest and most intimate disciples had come from 
their ranks ; and, as themselves had remarked, the multi- 
tude had turned to Jesus even before the Baptist's im- 
» st. John prisonment. a And yet, in their view, there must 
m - 26 have been a terrible contrast between him who 

lay in the dungeon of Machaarus, and Him Who sat down 
to eat and drink at a feast of the publicans. 

His reception of publicans and sinners they could 
understand ; their own Master had not rejected them. But 
why eat and drink with them ? Was not fasting always, 

The Baptist in Prison 207 

but more especially now, appropriate ? The Pharisees, 111 
their anxiety to separate between Jesus and His Fore- 
runner, must have told them all this again and again, and 
pointed to the contrast. 

At any rate, it was at the instigation of the Pharisees, 
and in company with them, that the disciples of John pro- 
pounded to Jesus this question about fasting and prayer, 
immediately after the feast in the house of the converted 
Levi-Matthew. a We must bear in mind that 
ix. 14-17 ' fasting and prayer, or else fasting and alms, or 
and parallels ^ ^ ^^ were a i wavs combined. Fasting 

represented the negative, prayer and alms the positive 
element, in the forgiveness of sins. Fasting, as self- 
punishment and mortification, would avert the anger of 
God and calamities. Most extraordinary instances of the 
purposes in view in fasting, and of the results obtained, 
are told in Jewish legend, which (as will be remembered) 
went so far as to relate how a Jewish saint was thereby 
rendered proof against the fire of Gehenna, of which a 
realistic demonstration was given when his body was 
rendered proof against ordinary fire. 

To the Jews, fasting was the readiest means of turning 
aside any threatening calamity, such as drought, pesti- 
lence, or national danger. The second and fifth days of 
the week (Monday and Thursday) were those appointed 
for public fasts, because Moses was supposed to have gone 
up the Mount for the second Tables of the Law on a 
Thursday, and to have returned on a Monday. 

It may well have been that it was on one of these 
weekly fasts that the feast of Levi-Matthew had taken 
place, and that this explains the expression : ' And John's 
b st<Mark disciples and the Pharisees were fasting.' b This 
1118 would give point to their complaint, 'Thy 

disciples fast not.' Looking back upon the standpoint 
from which they viewed fasting, it is easy to perceive 
why Jesus could not have sanctioned, nor even tole- 
rated, the practice, among His disciples, as little as St. 
Paul could tolerate among Judaising Christians the, in 
itself indifferent, practice of circumcision. But it was 

208 Jesus the Messiah 

not so easy to explain this at the time to the disciples of 
John. • • ■■.•; ,-r • 

The last recorded testimony of the Baptist had pointed 
• st. John to Christ as « the Bridegroom.' a As explained 
iii.2'9 in a previous chapter, John applied this in a 

manner which appealed to popular custom. As he had 
pointed out, the Presence of Jesus marked the marriage- 
week. By universal consent and according to Rabbinic 
law, this was to be a time of unmixed festivity. During 
the marriage-week all mourning was to be suspended — 
even the obligation of the prescribed daily prayers ceased. 
It was regarded as a religious duty to gladden the bride 
and bridegroom. Was it not, then, inconsistent on the 
part of John's disciples to expect < the sons of the bride- 
chamber' to fast, so long as the Bridegroom was with 
them ? 

But let it not be thought that it was to be a time of 
unbroken joy to the disciples of Jesus. The Bridegroom 
would be violently taken from them, and then would be 
the time for mourning and fasting. Not that this neces- 
sarily implies literal fasting, any more than it excludes it, 
provided the great principles, more fully indicated imme- 
diately afterwards, are kept in view. Painfully minute, 
Judaistic self-introspection is contrary to the spirit of the 
joyous liberty of the children of God. It is only a sense of 
sin, and the felt absence of the Christ, which should lead to 
mourning and fasting, though not in order thereby to avert 
either the anger of God or outward calamity. 

In general, the two illustrations employed — that of the 
piece of undressed cloth (or, according to St. Luke, a piece 
torn from a new garment) sewed upon the rent of an old 
garment, and that of the new wine put into the old wine- 
skins — must not be too closely pressed in regard to their 
language. They seem chiefly to imply this: You ask, 
why do we fast often, but Thy disciples fast not ? You are 
mistaken in supposing that the old garment can be re- 
tained, and merely its rents made good by patching it 
with a piece of new cloth. The old garment will not bear 
mending with the ' undressed cloth.' Christ's was not 

The Baptist in Prison 209 

merely a reformation : all things must become new. Or, 
again, take the other view of it — the new wine of the 
Kingdom cannot be confined in the old forms. It would 
burst those wine-skins. The spirit must, indeed, have its 
corresponding form of expression ; but that form must be 
adapted, and correspond to it. Such are the two final 
principles — the one primarily addressed to the Pharisees, 
the other to the disciples of John, by which the illustrative 
teaching concerning the marriage-feast, with its bridal 
garment and wine of banquet, is carried beyond the 
original question of the disciples of John, and receives an 
application to all time. 

5. Weeks had passed, and the disciples of John had come 
back and showed their Master of all these things. He 
still lay in the dungeon of Machserus ; his circumstances 
unchanged — perhaps, more hopeless than before. For 
Herod was in that spiritually most desperate state : he 
had heard the Baptist, and was much perplexed. This we 
can understand, since he ' feared him, knowing that he 
was a righteous man and holy,' and thus fearing ' heard 
him.' But that, being * much perplexed,' he still ' heard 
• st. Mark him gladly,'* constituted the hopelessness of his 
vi - 20 case. But was the Baptist right ? Did it con- 

stitute part of his Divine calling to have not only de- 
nounced, but apparently directly confronted Herod on his 
adulterous marriage ? Had he not attempted to lift him- 
self the axe which seemed to have slipt from the grasp of 
Him, of Whom the Baptist had hoped and said that He 
would lay it to the root of the tree ? 

Such thoughts may have been with him, as he passed 
from his dungeon to the audience of Herod, and from such 
bootless interviews back to his deep keep. Strange as it 
may seem, it was, perhaps, better for the Baptist when 
he was alone. The state of mind and experience of his 
disciples has already appeared, even in the slight notices 
concerning them. Indeed, had they fully understood him, 
and not ended where he began — which, truly, is the 
characteristic of all sects — they would not have remained 
his disciples. Their very affection for him, and their zeal 


210 Jesus the Messiah 

for his credit (as shown in the almost coarse language of 
their inquiry : ' John the Baptist hath sent us unto Thee, 
saying, Art Thou He that cometh, or look we for another ? '), 
as well as their tenacity of uu progressives ss— were all, so 
to speak, marks of his failure. And if he had failed with 
them, had he succeeded in anything ? 

And yet further and more searching questions rose in 
that dark dungeon. What if after all there had been 
some horrible mistake on his part ? At any rate the logic 
of events was against him. He was now the fast prisoner 
of that Herod, to whom he had spoken with authority ; in 
the power of that bold adulteress, Herodias. If he were 
Elijah, the great Tishbite had never been in the hands of 
Ahab and Jezebel. And the Messiah, Whose Elijah he 
was, moved not ; could not, or would not, move, but 
feasted with publicans and sinners ! Was it all a reality ? 
It must have been a terrible hour, and the power of dark- 
ness. At the end of a life, and that of such self-denial and 
suffering, and with a conscience so alive to God, which had 
— when a youth — driven him burning with holy zeal into 
the wilderness, to have the question meeting him : Art 
Thou He, or do we wait for another ? 

In that conflict John overcame, as we all must over- 
come. His very despair opened the door of hope. The 
helpless doubt, which none could solve but One, he brought 
to Him around Whom it had gathered. When John 
asked the question : Do we wait for another ? light was 
already struggling through darkness. It was incipient 
victoiy even in defeat. When he sent his disciples with 
this question straight to Christ, he had already conquered ; 
for such a question addressed to a possibly false Messiah 
had no meaning. 

The designation 'The Coming One,' though a most 
truthful expression of Jewish expectancy, was not one 
ordinarily used of the Messiah. But it was invariably 
used in reference to the Messianic age as the coming world 
or ^Eon. In the mouth of John it might therefore mean 
chiefly this : Art Thou He that is to establish the 
Messianic Kingdom in its outward power, or have we to 

The Baptist in Prison 211 

wait for another ? In that case, the manner in which the 
Lord answered it would be all the more significant. The 
messengers came just as He was engaged in healing body 

• st. Luke and soul. a Without interrupting His work, or 
•* 21 otherwise noticing their inquiry, He bade them 
tell John for answer what they had seen and heard, and 

* st. Matt, that ' the poor b are evangelised.' To this, as the 
"• 5 inmost characteristic of the Messianic Kingdom, 
He only added, not by way of reproof nor even of warning, 
but as a fresh ' Beatitude ' : ' Blessed is he, whosoever 
shall not be scandalised in Me.' And such knowledge 
of Christ's distinctive Work and Word is the only true 
answer to our questions, whether of head or heart. 

But a harder saying than this did the Lord speak 
amidst the forthpouring of His testimony to John, when 
his messengers had left. He to Whom John had formerly 
borne testimony now bore testimony to him ; and that, 
not in the hour when John had testified for Him, but when 
his testimony had wavered and almost failed. Again we 
mark that the testimony of Christ is as from a higher 
standpoint. And it is a full vindication as well as unstinted 
praise, spoken, not as in his hearing, but after his 
messengers — who had met a seemingly cold reception — 
had left. 

6. The scene once more changes, and we are again at 
Machaarus. Weeks have passed since the return of John's 
messengers. We cannot doubt that the sunlight of faith 
has again fallen into the dark dungeon, nor yet that the 
peace of conviction has filled the martyr of Christ. 
He must have known that his end was at hand, and been 
ready to be offered up. Nor would he any longer expect 
from the Messiah assertions of power on his behalf. He 
now understood that for which ' He had come ; ' he knew 
the better liberty, triumph, and victory which He brought. 
His life-work had been done, and there was nothing further 
that fell to him or that he could do, and the weary servant 
of the Lord must have longed for his rest. 

It was early spring, shortly before the Passover, the 
anniversary of the death of Herod the Great and of the 

p 2 

212 Jesus the Messiah 

accession of (his son) Herod Antipas to the Tetrarchy. A 
fit time this for a Belshazzar-feast, when such an one as 
Herod would gather to a grand banquet * his lords,' and 
the military authorities, and the chief men of Galilee. It is 
evening, and the castle-palace is brilliantly lighted up. The 
noise of music and the shouts of revelry come across the 
slope into the citadel, and fall into the deep dungeon where 
waits the prisoner of Christ. And now the merriment in 
the great banqueting-hall has reached its utmost height. 
The king has nothing further to offer his satiated guests, 
no fresh excitement. So let it be the sensuous stimulus 
of dubious dances, and, to complete it, let the dancer be 
the fair young daughter of the king's wife, the very 
descendant of the Asmonaean priest-princes ! To viler 
depth of coarse familiarity even a Herod could not have 

She has come, and she has danced, this princely 
maiden. And she has done her best in that wretched 
exhibition, and pleased Herod and them that sat at meat 
with him. And now, amidst the general plaudits, she 
shall have her reward — and the king swears it to her with 
loud voice, that all around hear it — even to the half of his 
kingdom. The maiden steals out of the banquet-hall to 
ask her mother what it shall be. Can there be doubt or 
hesitation in the mind of Herodias ? If there was one object 
she had at heart, which these ten months she had in vain 
sought to attain, it was the death of John the Baptist. 
She remembered it all only too well — her stormy, reckless 
past. The daughter of Aristobulus, the ill-fated son of the 
ill-fated Asmonasan princess Mariamme (I.), she had been 
married to her half-uncle, Herod Philip, the son of Herod 
the Great and of Mariamme (II.), the daughter of the 
High-Priest (Boethos). At one time it seemed as if Herod 
Philip would have been sole inheritor of his father's dominions. 
But the old tyrant had changed his testament, and Philip 
was left with great wealth, but as a private person living 
in Jerusalem. This little suited the woman's ambition. 
It was when his half-brother, Herod Antipas, came on a 
visit to him at Jerusalem, that an intrigue began between 

Beheading of John the Baptist 213 

the Tetrarch and his brother's wife. It was agreed that, 
after the return of Antipas from his impending journey to 
Rome, he should repudiate his wife, the daughter of Aretas, 
king of Arabia, and wed Herodias. But Aretas' daughter 
heard of the plot, and having obtained her husband ^con- 
sent to go to Machasrus, she fled thence to her father. 
This, of course, led to enmity between Antipas and Aretas. 
Nevertheless, the adulterous marriage with Herodias 
followed. In a few sentences the story may be carried to 
its termination. The woman proved the curse and ruin of 
Antipas. First came the murder of the Baptist, which 
sent a thrill of horror through the people, and to which all 
the later misfortunes of Herod were attributed. Then 
followed a war with Aretas, in which the Tetrarch was 
worsted. And, last of all, his wife's ambition led him to 
Rome to solicit the title of king, lately given to Agrippa, 
the brother of Herodias. Antipas not only failed, but was 
deprived of his dominions, and banished to Lyons in Gaul. 
The pride of the woman in refusing favours from the 
Emperor, and her faithfulness to her husband in his fallen 
fortunes, are the only redeeming points in her history. 
As for Salome, she was first married to her uncle, Philip 
the Tetrarch. Legend has it that her death was retribu- 
tive, being in consequence of a fall on the ice. 

Such was the woman who had these many months 
sought to rid herself of the hated person who alone had 
dared publicly denounce her sin, and whose words held her 
weak husband in awe. The opportunity had now come for 
obtaining from the vacillating monarch what her entreaties 
• st. Matt, could never have secured. As the Gospel puts it, a 
* T - 8 'instigated ' by her mother, the damsel hesitated 

not. ' With haste,' as if no time were to be lost, she went 
up to the king : ' I will that thou forthwith give me in a 
charger the head of John the Baptist.' Silence must 
have fallen on the assembly. Even into their hearts such 
a demand from the lips of little more than a child must 
have struck horror. They all knew John to be a righteous 
and a holy man. Wicked as they were, in their supersti- 
tion, if not religiousness, few, If 4ny of them, would have 

214 Jesus the Messiah 

willingly lent himself to such work. And they all knew 
also why Salome, or rather Herodias, had made this 
demand. What would Herod do? 'The king was ex- 
ceeding sorry.' For months he had striven against this. 
His conscience, fear of the people, inward horror of the 
deed, all would have kept him from it. But he had sworn 
to the maiden, who now stood before him, claiming that 
the pledge be redeemed, and every eye in the assembly 
was fixed upon him. Unfaithful to his God, to his con- 
science, to truth and righteousness ; not ashamed of any 
crime or sin, he would yet be faithful to his half-drunken 
oath, and appear honourable and true before such com- 
panions ! 

It has been but the contest of a moment. ' Straight- 
way ' the king gives the order to one of the body-guard. 
No time for preparation is given, or needed. A few 
minutes more, and the gory head of the Baptist is brought 
to the maiden in a charger, and she gives the ghastly dish 
to her mother. 

It is all over ! As the pale morning light streams into 
the keep, the faithful disciples, who had been told of it, 
come reverently to bear the headless body to the burying. 
They go forth for ever from that accursed place, which is 
so soon to become a mass of shapeless ruins. They go to 
tell it to Jesus, and henceforth to remain with Him. We 
can imagine what welcome awaited them. But the people 
ever afterwards cursed the tyrant, and looked for those 
judgments of God to follow, which were so soon to descend 
on him. And he himself was ever afterwards restless, 
wretched, and full of apprehensions. He could scarcely 
believe that the Baptist was really dead, and when the 
fame of Jesus reached him, and those around suggested 
that this was Elijah, a prophet, or as one of them, Herod's 
mind, amidst its strange perplexities, still reverted to the 
man whom he had murdered. It was a new anxiety, 
perhaps even so a new hope; and as formerly he had 
often and gladly heard the Baptist, so now he would fain 
«»st.Lukeix. have seen Jesus.* He would see Him : but not 
9 now. In that dark night of betrayal, he, who at 

Feeding of the Five Thousand 215 

the bidding of the child of an adulteress, had murdered the 
Forerunner, might, with the approbation of a Pilate, have 
rescued Him Whose faithful witness John had been. But 
night was to merge into yet darker night. For it was the 
time and the power of the Evil One. And yet : Jehovah 
reigneth ! 



(St. Matt. xiv. 13-21; St. Mark vi. 30-44; St Luke ix 10-17 » 
St. John vi. 1-44.) 

In the circumstances described in the previous chapter, 
Jesus resolved at once to leave Capernaum ; and this prob- 
ably, as we have seen, alike for the sake of His disciples, 
who needed rest ; for that of the people, who might have 
attempted a rising after the murder of the Baptist ; and 
temporarily to withdraw Himself and His followers from 
the power of Herod. For this purpose He chose the place, 
outside the dominions of Antipas, nearest to Capernaum. 
This was Beth-Saida ('the house of fishing') on the 
eastern border of Galilee, just within the territory of the 
Tetrarch Philip. Originally a small village, Philip had 
converted it into a town, and named it Julias, after Caesar's 
daughter. It lay on the eastern bank of Jordan, jnf»t 
before that stream enters the Lake of Galilee. 1 

Only a few hours' sail from Capernaum, and even a 
shorter distance by land, lay the district of Bethsaida 
Julias. It was natural that Christ, wishing to avoid 
public attention, should have gone ' by ship,' and equally 
so that the many ' seeing them departing, and knowing ' 
— viz. what direction the boat was taking — should have 
followed on foot, and been joined by others from the neigh- 
bouring villages. The circumstance that the Passover was 

1 This Bethsaida must not be confounded with the other ' Fisher 
town ' or Bethsaida, on the western shore of the Lake, which the Fourth 
Gospel distinguishes from the Eastern as * Bethsaida of Galilee' (St. 
John xii. 21 ; comp. i. 44 ; St. Mark vi. 45). 

216 Jesus the Messiah 

nigh at hand, so that many must have been starting on 
their journey to Jerusalem, round the Lake and through 
Peraea, partly accounts for the immense number of ' about 
5,000 men, beside women and children,' which is men- 
tioned. And this, perhaps in conjunction with the effect 
on the people of John's murder, may also explain their 
ready and eager gathering to Christ. 

As we picture it to ourselves, our Lord with His 
disciples, and perhaps followed by those who had outrun 
the rest, first retired to the top of a height, and there 
•st. John rested in teaching converse with them. a Pre- 
^st. Matt, sently, as He saw the great multitudes gathering, 
xiv. u jj e was t move( l w ith compassion towards them.' b 

There could be no question of retirement or rest in view 
of this. He must work while it was called to-day, ere the 
night of judgment came. It was this depth of pity which 
now ended the Saviour's rest, and brought Him down from 
the hill to meet the gathering multitude in the ' desert ' 
plain beneath. 

And what a sight — these thousands of men, besides 
women and children ; and what thoughts of the past, the 
present, and the future, would be called up by the scene. 
These Passover-pilgrims and God's guests, now streaming 
out into this desert after Him ; with a murdered John just 
buried, and no earthly teacher, guide, or help left ! Truly 
• st. Mark ^ e J were ' as sheep having no shepherd.' 
vi. 34 Tn e very surroundings seemed to give to the 

thought the vividness of a picture : this wandering, stray- 
ing multitude, the desert sweep of country, the very want 
of provisions. A Passover, indeed, but of which He would 
be the Paschal Lamb, the Bread which He gave the 
Supper, and around which He would gather those 
scattered, shepherdless sheep into one flock of many 
' companies,' to which His Apostles would bring the 
bread He had blessed and broken, to their sufficient and 
more than sufficient nourishment ; and from which they 
would carry the remnant-baskets full, after the flock had 
been fed, to the poor in the outlying places of far-off 

Feeding of the Five Thousand 217 

Meantime the Saviour was moving among them — 

' beginning to teach them many things,' a and 

vi. 34 ' healing them that had need of healing.' b Yet, 

*st, Luke ^ jj e g0 move( j an( j thought of it all, from the 

• st. John g rs t c He Himself knew what He was about to do.' c 

And now the sun had passed its meridian, and 
the shadows fell on the surging crowd. Full of the 
thoughts of the great Supper, which was symbolically to 
link the Passover of the past with that of the future, and 
its Sacramental continuation to all time, He turned to 
Philip with this question : ' Whence are we to buy bread, 
that these may eat?' Perhaps there was something in 
Philip which made it specially desirable that the question 
« should be puttohim. d At any rate, the answer 
John xiv. of Philip showed that there had been a ' need be ' 
for it. This — 'two hundred denarii (between 
six and seven pounds) worth of bread is not sufficient for 
them, that every one may take a little,' is the realism, not 
of unbelief, but of an absence of faith which, entirely 
ignoring any higher possibility, has not even its hope left 
in a ' Thou knowest, Lord.' 

But there is evidence, also, that the question of Christ 
worked deeper thinking and higher good. As we under- 
stand it, Philip told it to Andrew, and they to the others. 
While Jesus taught and healed, they must have spoken 
together of this strange question of the Master. They 
knew Him sufficiently to judge that it implied some 
purpose on His part. Did He intend to provide for all 
that multitude ? They counted them roughly. They 
thought of all the means for feeding such a multitude. 
How much had they of their own ? As we judge by com- 
bining the various statements, there was a lad there who 
carried the humble provisions of the party — perhaps a 

• comp. st. fisher-lad brought for the purpose from the boat. 
John vi. 9 It would take quite what Philip had reckoned — 
Matt. xiv. about two hundred denarii — if the Master meant 
It*?; st!"* them to go and buy victuals for all that multitude, 
Luke ix. 13 p ro bably the common stock — at any rate as com- 
puted by Judas, who carried the bag — did not contain that 

218 Jesus the Messiah 

amount. In any case, the right and the wise thing was to 
dismiss the multitude, that they might go into the towns 
and villages and buy for themselves victuals, and find 

Already what was called * the first evening ' had set in, 
when the disciples, whose anxiety must have been growing 
with the progress of time, asked the Lord to dismiss the 
people. But it was as they had thought. He would have 
them give the people to eat ! How many loaves had they ? 

• st. Mark Let them go and see. a And when Andrew went 
•* 38 to see what store the fisher-lad carried for them, 
he brought back the tidings, ' He hath five barley loaves 
and two small fishes,' to which he added, half in disbelief, 
half in faith's rising expectancy of impossible possibility : 

* st. John 'But what are they among so many?' b It is 
vi -9 to the fourth Evangelist alone that we owe the 
record of this remark, which we instinctively feel gives to 
the whole the touch of truth and life. It is to him also 
that we owe two other minute traits of deep interest, and 
of greater importance than at first sight appears. 

When we read that these five were barley-loaves, we 
learn that, no doubt from voluntary choice, the fare of the 
Lord and of His followers was the poorest. Indeed, barley- 
bread was, almost proverbially, the meanest. The other 
minute trait in St. John's Gospel consists in the use of a 
peculiar word for ' fish ' — ' opsarion,' which properly means 
what was eaten along with the bread, and specially refers 
to the small and generally dried or pickled fish eaten with 
bread, like our ' sardines,' or the ' caviar ' of Russia, the 
pickled herrings of Holland and Germany, or a peculiar 
kind of small dried fish, eaten with the bones, in the North 
of Scotland. Now the Lake of Galilee was particularly 
rich in these fishes, and we know that both the salting 
and pickling of them was a special industry among its 
fishermen. For this purpose a small kind was specially 
selected. The diminutive used by St. John, of which our 
Authorised Version no doubt gives the meaning fairly by 
rendering it 'small fishes,' refers, most likely, to those small 
fishes (probably a kind of sardine), of which millions were 

Feeding of the Five Thousand 219 

caught in the Lake, and which, dried and salted, would 
form the most common ' savoury ' with bread for the fisher- 
population along the shores. 

Only once again does the same expression occur, and 
that once more in the fourth Gospel. On that morning, 
when the Risen One manifested Himself by the Lake of 
Galilee to them who had all the night toiled in vain, He 
had provided for them miraculously the meal, when on the 
fire of charcoal ' they saw the well-remembered ' little fish/ 
and, as He bade them bring of the ' little fish ' which they 
had miraculously caught, Peter drew to shore the net full, 
not of ' little ' but ■ of great fishes.' And yet it was not 
of those ' great fishes ' that He gave them, but ' He took 
»st. John the bread and gave them, and the opsarion like- 

xxi. 9, 10,13 wise.' a 

There is one proof at least of the implicit faith, or 
rather trust, of the disciples in their Master. They had 
given Him account of their own scanty provision, and yet, 
as He bade them make the people sit down to the meal, 
they hesitated not to obey. We can picture to ourselves 
» st. Matt. ^he expanse of ■ grass/ b * green,' and fresh, 
*st m k ' mucn gi'ass ; ' d then the people in their ' com- 
vi. 39 panies ' e of fifties and hundreds, reclining, 1 " and 

vi St io J ° hn looking in their regular divisions, and with their 
vL fc 39* ark bright many-coloured dresses, like ' garden- 
fkiuke beds'* on the turf. But on One Figure must 
1 st. Mark every eye have been bent. Around Him stood 
His Apostles. They had laid before Him the 
scant provision made for their own wants, and which was 
now to feed this great multitude. As was wont at meals 
on the part of the head of the household, Jesus took the 
bread, ' blessed ' or, as St. John puts it, ' gave thanks/ 
and ' brake ' it. The expression recalls that connected 
with the Holy Eucharist, and leaves little doubt on the 
mind that, in the Discourse delivered in the Synagogue of 
•st. John Capernaum , h there is also reference to the Lord's 
vi. 48-58 Supper. As of comparatively secondary import- 
ance, yet helping us better to realise the scene, we recall 
the Jewish ordinance, that the head of the house was only to 

220 Jesus the Messiah 

speak the blessing if he himself shared in the meal. Yet if 
they who sat down to it were not merely guests, but his 
children, or his household, then might he speak it, even if 
he himself did not partake of the bread which he had 

There can be little doubt that the words which Jesus 
spake, whether in AramaBan, Greek, or Hebrew, were those 
so well known : ' Blessed art Thou, Jehovah our God, King 
of the world, Who causest to come forth bread from the 
earth.' Assuredly it was this threefold thought : the up- 
ward thought, the recognition of the creative act as 
regards every piece of bread we eat, and the thanks- 
giving — which was realised anew in all its fulness when, 
as He distributed to the disciples, the provision miracu- 
lously multiplied in His Hands. And still they bore it 
from His Hands from company to company, laying before 
each a store. When they were all filled, He that had pro- 
vided the meal bade them gather up the fragments before 
each company. So doing, each of the twelve had his 
basket filled. Here also we have another life-touch. 
Those ' baskets ' known in Jewish writings by a similar 
name, made of wicker or willows, were in common use, 
but considered of the poorest kind. There is a sublimeness 
of contrast that passes description between this feast to 
the five thousand, besides women and children, and the 
poor's provision of barley-bread and the two small fishes ; 
and, again, between the quantity left and the coarse 
wicker baskets in which it was stored. Nor do we forget to 
draw mentally the parallel between this Messianic feast 
and that banquet of ' the latter days ' which Rabbinism 
pictured so realistically. But as the wondering multitude 
watched, as the disciples gathered from company to com- 
pany the fragments into their baskets, the murmur ran 
through the ranks: 'This is truly the Prophet, "the 
Coming One." ' 




(St. Matt. xiv. 22-36; St. Mark vi. 45-56 ; St. John vi. 15-21.) 

The last question of the Baptist spoken in public had 
been : * Art Thou the Coming One, or look we for another ? ' 
It had in part been answered, as the murmur had passed 
through the ranks : ' This One is truly the Prophet, the 
Coming One ! ' So, then, they had no longer to wait, nor 
to look for another ! An irresistible impulse seized the 
people. They would proclaim Him King, then and there ; 
and as they knew, probably from previous utterances, per- 
haps when similar movements had to be checked, that He 
would resist, they would constrain Him to declare Him- 
self, or at least to be proclaimed by them. 

'Jesus, therefore, perceiving that they were about to 
come, and to take Him by force, that they might make 
Him King, withdrew again into the mountain. Himself 
alone,' or, as it might be rendered, though not quite in the 
modern usage of the expression, ' became an anchorite 
• st. John again . . . Himself alone.' a He withdrew to 
rL 15 pray ; and He stilled the people, and sent them, 

no doubt solemnised, to their homes, by telling them that 
He withdrew to pray. And He did pray till far on, when 
«>st.M»tt. the (second) evening had come, b and the first 
xiv - 23 stars shone out over the Lake of Galilee. 

For whom and for what He prayed alone on that 
mountain, we dare not inquire. And as He prayed, out on 
the Lake, vhere the bark which bore His disciples made 
for the other shore, ' a great wind ' ' contrary to them ' was 
rising. And still He was ' alone on the land,' but looking 
out after them, as the ship was ' in the midst of the sea,' 
and they toiling and c distressed in rowing.' 

Thus far, to the utmost verge of their need, but not 
farther. The Lake is altogether about six miles wide, 
and they had as yet made little more than half the dis- 
tance. Already it was ' the fourth watch of the night/ 

222 Jesus the Mess/ah 

what might be termed the morning watch, 1 when the well- 
known Form seemed to be passing them, ' walking upon 
the sea/ There can, at least, be no question that such 
was the impression, not only of one or another, but that 
all saw Him. They tell us that they regarded His Form 
moving on the water as ' a spirit,' and cried out for fear ; 
and again, that the impression produced by the whole 
scene, even on them that had witnessed the miracle of the 
previous evening, was one of overwhelming astonishment. 
This walking on the water, then, was even to them within 
the domain of the truly miraculous, and it affected their 
minds equally, perhaps even more than ours, from the fact 
that in their view so much which to us seems miraculous 
lay within the sphere of what might be expected in the 
course of such a history. 

As regards what may be termed the credibility of this 
miracle this may again be stated, that this and similar 
instances of ' dominion over the creature,' are not beyond 
the range of what God had originally assigned to man, 
when He made him a little lower than the angels, and 
crowned him with glory and honour, made him to have 
dominion over the works of His Hands, and all things 
»Ps vm 6 were P u k under his feet. a Indeed, this ' dominion 
e ; comp. ' over the sea ' seems to exhibit the Divinely 
human rather than the humanly Divine aspect of 
Christ's Person, if such distinction may be lawfully made. 

This, however, deserves special notice : that there is one 
marked point of difference between the account of this 
miracle and what will be found a general characteristic in 
legendary narratives. In the latter the miraculous, how- 
ever extraordinary, is the expected ; it creates no sur- 
prise and it is never mistaken for something that might 
have occurred in the ordinary course of events. For it is 
characteristic of the mythical that the miraculous is not 
only introduced in the most realistic manner, but forms 
the essential element in the conception of things. Now 
the opposite is the case in the present narrative. Had it 
been mythical or legendary, we should have expected that 

1 Probably from 3 to about 6 A.M. 

CtiRisr Walking on the Water 223 

the disciples would have been described as immediately 
recognising the Master as He walked on the sea, and 
worshipping Him. Instead of this, they ' are troubled ' and 
* afraid.' ' They supposed it was an apparition ' (this in 
accordance with popular Jewish notions), and ' cried out 
for fear/ Even afterwards, when they had received Him 
into the ship, ' they were sore amazed in themselves,' and 
' understood not,' while those in the ship (in contradistinc- 
tion to the disciples) burst forth into an act of worship. 
This much then is evident, that the disciples expected not 
the miraculous; that they were unprepared for it; that 
they explained it on what to them seemed natural grounds ; 
and that, even when convinced of its reality, the impres- 
sion of wonder which it made was of the deepest. 

But their fear, which made them almost hesitate to re~ 
ceive Him into the boat, even though the outcome of error 
and superstition, brought His ready sympathy and com- 
fort, in language which has so often converted misappre- 
hension into thankful assurance : ' It is I, be not afraid !' 

And they were no longer afraid, though truly His walk- 
ing upon the waters might seem more awesome than any 
' apparition.' The storm in their hearts, like that on the 
Lake, was commanded by His Presence. We must still 
bear in mind their former excitement, now greatly in- 
tensified by what they had just witnessed, in order to 
understand the request of Peter: ' Lord, if it be Thou, 
bid me come to Thee on the water.' They are the words 
of a man whom the excitement of the moment has carried 
beyond all reflection. And yet, with reverence be it said, 
Christ could not have left the request ungranted, even 
though it was the outcome of yet unreconciled and un- 
transformed doubt and presumption. And so He bade him 
come upon the water to transform his doubt, but left him 
to his own feelings unassured from without as he saw the 
wind, in order to transform his presumption ; while by stretch- 
ing out His Hand to save him from sinking, and by the 
words of correction which He spake, He did actually so point 
to their transformation in that hope, of which St. Peter is 
the special representative, and the preacher in the Church. 

224 Jesus the Messiah 

And presently, as they two came into the boat, the wind 
ceased, and immediately the ship was at the land. But 
{ they that were in the boat ' — apparently in contradistinc- 
tion to the disciples, though the latter must have stood 
around in sympathetic reverence — ' worshipped Him, say- 
ing, Of a truth Thou art the Son of God.' The first full 
public confession this of the fact, and made not by the 
disciples, but by others. But in the disciples also the 
thought was striking deep root; and presently, by the 
Mount of Transfiguration, would it be spoken in the name 
of all by Peter, not as demon nor as man taught, but as 
taught of Christ's Father Who is in Heaven. 


(St. Matt. xv. 1-20 ; St. Mark vii. 1-23.) 

It is quite in accordance with the abrupt departure of 
Jesus from Capernaum, and its motives, that when, far from 
finding rest and privacy at Bethsaida (east of the Jordan), 
a greater multitude than ever had there gathered around 
Him, which would fain have proclaimed Him King, He 
resolved on immediate return to the western shore, with 
the view of seeking a quieter retreat, even though it were in 
»st. Matt, 'the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.' a From the fact 
bs* fc 2 Mark tnat St. Mark b names Bethsaida, and St. John 
^st 4 John Capernaum, as the original destination of the boat, 
vi.i7 we would infer that Bethsaida was the fishing 

quarter of, or rather close to, Capernaum, even as we so 
often find in our own country a ' Fisherton ' adjacent to 
larger towns. 

Christ had directed the disciples to steer thither. But 
* st. Mark we gather from the expressions used d that the boat 
▼*• 53 which bore them had drifted out of its course — 

probably owing to the wind — and touched land, not where 
they had intended, but at Gennesaret, where they moored 
it early on the Friday morning. There can be no question 

Concerning Purification 225 

that by this term is meant ' the Plain of Gennesaret,' the 
richness and beauty of which Josephus and the Rabbis 
describe in such glowing language. To this day it bears 
marks of having been the most favoured spot in this 
favoured region. 

As the tidings spread of His arrival and of the miracles 
which had so lately been witnessed, the people from the 
neighbouring villages and towns flocked around Him, and 
brought their sick for the healing touch. So passed the 
greater part of the forenoon. Meantime the report of all 
this must have reached the neighbouring Capernaum. 
This brought immediately on the scene those Pharisees and 
Scribes ' who had come from Jerusalem ' on purpose to 
watch, and, if possible, to compass the destruction of Jesus. 
As we conceive it, they met the Lord and His disciples on 
their way to Capernaum. 

Although the cavil of the Jerusalem Scribes may have 
been occasioned by seeing some of the disciples eating with- 
out first having washed their hands, we cannot banish the 
impression that it reflected on the miraculously provided 
meal of the previous evening, when thousands had sat down 
to food without the previous observance of the Rabbinic 
ordinance. Neither in that case, nor in the present, had 
the Master interposed. He was, therefore, guilty of par- 
ticipation in their offence. But, in another aspect, the 
objection of the Scribes was not a mere cavil. 

It has already been shown that the Pharisees accounted 
for the miracles of Christ as wrought by the power of 
Satan, whose special representative — almost incarnation — 
they declared Jesus to be. This would not only turn the 
evidential force of these signs into an argument against 
Christ, but vindicate the resistance of the Pharisees to His 
claims. The second charge against Jesus was, that He 
• st. John was < not of God ; ' that He was ' a sinner/ ft If 
ix.i6,24 t y 8 cou \& De established it would, of course, 
prove that He was not the Messiah, but a deceiver who 
misled the people, and whom it was the duty of the San- 
hedrin to unmask and arrest. The way in which they 
attempted to establish this, perhaps persuaded themselves 

226 Jesus the Messiah 

that it was so, was by proving that He sanctioned in others, 
and Himself committed, breaches of the traditional law. 
The third and last charge against Jesus, which finally 
decided the action of the Council, could only be fully made 
at the close of His career. It might be formulated so as to 
meet the views of either the Pharisees or Sadducees. To 
the former it might be presented as a blasphemous claim 
to equality with God— the Very Son of the Living God. 
To the Sadducees it would appear as a movement on the 
part of a most dangerous enthusiast — if honest and self- 
deceived, all the more dangerous ; one of those pseudo- 
Messiahs who led away the ignorant, superstitious, and 
excitable people ; and which, if unchecked, would result in 
persecutions and terrible vengeance by the Romans, and 
in loss of the last remnants of their national independence. 
To each of these three charges, of which we are now 
watching the opening or development, there was (from the 
then standpoint) only one answer : faith in His Person. To 
this faith Jesus was now leading His disciples, till, fully 
realised in the great confession of Peter, it became, and 
has ever since proved, the Rock on which that Church 
is built, against which the very gates of Hades cannot 

It was in support of the second of these charges that 
the Scribes now blamed the Master for allowing His dis- 
ciples to eat without having previously washed, or, as St. 
Mark — indicating in the word the origin of the custom — 
expresses it : ' with common hands.' This practice is ex- 
pressly admitted to have been, not a Law of Moses, but ' a 
tradition of the elders.' Still, it was so strictly enjoined 
that to neglect it was like being guilty of gross carnal de- 
filement. Its omission would lead to temporal destruction, 
or, at least, to poverty. Bread eaten with unwashen hands 
was as if it had been filth. In fact, although at one time 
it had only been one of the marks of a Pharisee, yet at a 
later period to wash before eating was regarded as affording 
the ready means of recognising a Jew. 

Let us try to realise the attitude of Christ in regard 
to the ordinances about purification, and seek to under- 

Concerning * H an d-w ashing' 227 

stand the reason of His bearing. That, in replying to the 
charge of the Scribes against His disciples, He neither 
vindicated their conduct, nor apologised for their breach 
of Rabbinic ordinances, implied at least an attitude of 
indifference towards traditionalism. This is the more 
noticeable, since, as we know, the ordinances of the Scribes 
were declared more precious and of more binding import- 
ance than those of Holy Scripture itself. But, even so, 
the question might arise, why Christ should have provoked 
such hostility by placing Himself in marked antagonism 
to what, after all, was in itself indifferent. The answer to 
this inquiry will require a disclosure of that aspect of 
Rabbin ism which has hitherto been avoided. 

It has elsewhere been told how Rabbi nism, in the mad- 
ness of its self-exaltation, represented God as busying Him- 
self by day with the study of the Scriptures, and by night 
with that of the Mishnah ; and how, in the heavenly San- 
hedrin, over which the Almighty presided, the Rabbis sat 
in the order of their greatness, and the Halakhah was 
discussed, and decisions taken in accordance with it. It 
is even more terrible to read of God wearing the Tallit/i, 
or that He puts on the Phylacteries, which is deduced 
from Is. lxii. 8. In like manner the Almighty is sup- 
posed to submit to purifications. Similarly He immersed 
in a bath of fire, after the defilement of the burial of 

Such details will explain how Jesus could not have 
assumed merely an attitude of indifference towards tradi- 
tionalism. His antagonism was never more pronounced 
that in what He said in reply to the charge of neglect of 
the ordinance about ' the washing of hands.' It was an 
admitted Rabbinic principle that, while the ordinances of 
Scripture required no confirmation, those of the Scribes 
needed such, and that no Halakhah (traditional law) 
might contradict Scripture. When Christ, therefore, next 
proceeded to show that in a very important point — nay, 
in ' many such like things ' — the Halakhah was utterly in- 
compatible with Scripture, that, indeed, they made ' void 
the Word of God' by their traditions which they had 

o 2 

22& Jesus the Mess/ah 

• st. Matt, received, 3 He dealt the heaviest blow to tra- 
it.' Mart vii. ditionalism. Rabbinism stood self-condemned ; 
9 ' 13 on its own showing it was to be rejected as in- 

compatible with the Word of God. 

It is not so easy to understand why the Lord should, 
out of ' many such things,' have selected in illustration 
the Rabbinic ordinance concerning vows, as in certain 
circumstances contravening the fifth commandment. Of 
course, the 'Ten Words' were the Holy of Holies of the 
Law ; nor was there any obligation more rigidly observed 
than that of honour to parents. In both respects, then, 
this was a specially vulnerable point, and it might well be 
argued that if in this Law Rabbinic ordinances came into 
conflict with the demands of God's Word, the essential 
contrariety between them must, indeed, be great. 

At the outset it must be admitted that Rabbinism did 
not encourage the practice of promiscuous vowing. The 
Jewish proverb had it : 'In the hour of need a vow ; in 
time of ease excess.' Towards such work-righteousness 
and religious gambling the Eastern, and especially the 
Rabbinic Jew, would be particularly inclined. But even 
the Rabbis saw that its encouragement would lead to the 
profanation of what was holy. Of many sayings con- 
demnatory of the practice one will suffice to mark the 
general feeling : ' He who makes a vow, even if he keep 
it, deserves the name of wicked . ' Nevertheless, the practice 
must have attained serious proportions, whether as regards 
the number of vows, the lightness with which they were 
made, or the kind of things which became their object. 
It was not necessary to use the express words of vowing. 
Not only the word ' Qorban ' [Korban] — ' given to God ' — 
but any similar expression would suffice ; the mention of 
anything laid upon the altar (though not of the altar it- 
self), such as the wood or the fire, would constitute a vow, 
nay, the repetition of the form which generally followed on 
the votive Qonam or Qorban had binding force, even though 
not preceded by these terms. 

It is in explaining this strange provision, intended 
both to uphold the solemnity of vows, and to discourage 

Concerning 'Vows' 229 

the rash use of words, that the Talmud makes use of the 
word ' hand ' in a connection which might, by association 
of ideas, have suggested to Christ the contrast between 
what the Bible and what the Rabbis regarded as ' sanctified 
hands,' and hence between the commands of God and the 
traditions of the Elders. For the Talmud explains that 
when a man simply says : * That (or if) I eat or taste such 
a thing,' it is imputed as a vow, and he may not eat or 
taste of it, ' because the hand is on the Qorban ' — the mere 
touch of Qorban had sanctified it and put it beyond his 
reach, just as if it had been laid on the altar itself. Here 
then was a contrast. According to the Rabbis, the touch 
of ' a common ' hand defiled God's good gift of meat, while 
the touch of ' a sanctified ' hand in rash or wicked words 
might render it impossible to give anything to a parent, 
and so involve the grossest breach of the Fifth Com- 
mandment ! Such, according to Rabbinic Law, was the 
' common ' and such the ' sanctifying ' touch of the hands. 
And did such traditionalism not truly ' make void the 
Word of God'? 

A few further particulars may serve to set this in 
clearer light. It must not be thought that the pronuncia- 
tion of the votive word ' Qorban,' although meaning I a gift/ 
or ' given to God,' necessarily dedicated a thing to the 
Temple. The meaning might simply be, and generally was, 
that it was to be regarded like Qorban — that is, the thing 
termed was to be considered as if it were Qorban, laid on 
the altar, and put entirely out of their reach. For although 
included under the one name, there were really two kinds 
of vows : those of consecration to God, and those of per- 
sonal obligation — and the latter were the most frequent. 

The legal distinctions between a vow, an oath, and ' the 
ban,' are clearly marked both in reason and in Jewish 
Law. The oath was an absolute, the vow a conditional 
undertaking. The ' ban ' might refer to one of three things : 
those dedicated for the use of the priesthood, those dedicated 
to God, or else to a sentence pronounced by the San- 
hedrim Absolutions from a vow might be obtained before a 
1 sage,' or, in his absence, before three laymen, when all 

230 Jesus the Messiah 

obligations became null and void. At the same time the 
Mishnah admits that this power of absolving from vows 
received little (or, as Maimonides puts it, no) support from 

There can be no doubt that the words of Christ referred 
to such vows of personal obligation. By these a person 
might bind himself in regard to men or things, or else put 
that which was another's out of his own reach, or that which 
was his own out of the reach of another, and this as completely 
as if the thing or things had been Qorba7i, a gift given 
to God. And so stringent was the ordinance that (almost 
in the words of Christ) it is expressly stated that such a vow 
was binding, even if what was vowed involved a breach of 
the Law. Such vows in regard to parents were certainly 
binding, and were actually made. Thus the charge brought 
by Christ is in fullest accordance with the facts of the case. 
More than this, the seemingly inappropriate addition to our 
Lord's mention of the Fifth Commandment of the words : 
4 He that revileth father or mother, he shall (let him) 
» Ex. xxi. 17 sure ly die,' a is not only explained but vindicated 
by the common usage of the Rabbis, to mention 
along with a command the penalty belonging to its breach, 
so as to indicate the importance which Scripture attached 
to it. On the other hand, the words of St. Mark : ' Qor- 
ban (that is to say, gift [viz. to God]) that by which 
thou mightest be profited by me,' are a most exact tran- 
scription into Greek of the common formula of vowiug, 
as given in the Mishnah and Talmud. 

But Christ did not merely show the hypocrisy of the 
system of traditionalism in conjoining in the name of re- 
ligion the greatest outward punctiliousness with the grossest 
breach of real duty. Never was prophecy more clearly vin- 
dicated than the words of Isaiah to Israel : ' This people 
honoureth Me with their lips, but their heart is far from 
Me. Howbeit, in vain do they worship Me, teaching 
for doctrines the commandments of men.' In thus setting 
forth for the first time the real character of traditionalism, 
and placing Himself in open opposition to its fundamental 
principles, the Christ enunciated also for the first time the 

That which Defileth a Man 231 

fundamental principle of His own interpretation of the Law. 
That Law was not a system of externalism, in which out- 
ward things affected the inner man. It was moral, and 
addressed itself to man as a moral being. Not from with- 
out inwards, but from within outwards : such was the prin- 
ciple of the new Kingdom, as setting forth the Law in its 
fulness and fulfilling it. 'There is nothing from without 
the man, that, entering into him, can defile him ; but the 
things which proceed out of the man, those are they that 
defile the man.' It is in this essential contrariety of prin- 
ciple, rather than in any details, that the unspeakable 
difference between Christ and all contemporary teachers 

As we read it, the discussion had taken place between 
the Scribes and the Lord, while the multitude perhaps 
stood aside. But when enunciating the grand principle of 
what constituted real defilement, ' He called to Him the 

• st. Matt, multitude.' a It was probably while pursuing 
sI'Mark their way to Capernaum, when this conversation 

* i4 had taken place, that His disciples afterwards re- 
ported that the Pharisees had been offended by that saying 
of His to the multitude. Even this implies the weakness 
of the disciples : that they were not only influenced by 
the good or evil opinion of these religious leaders of 
the people, but in some measure sympathised with their 
views. The answer which the Lord gave bore a twofold 
aspect : that of warning concerning the inevitable fate of 
every plant which God had not planted, and that of warn- 
ing concerning the character and issue of Pharisaic teach- 
ing, as being the leadership of the blind by the blind, 
which must end in ruin to both. 

But even so the words of Christ are represented in the 
Gospel as sounding strange and difficult to the disciples. 
They were earnest, genuine men ; and when they reached 
the home in Capernaum, Peter, as the most courageous of 
them, broke the reserve — half of fear and half of reverence 
— which, despite their necessary familiarity, seems to have 
subsisted between the Master and His disciples. He would 
seek for himself and his fellow-disciples explanation of 

232 Jesus the Messiah 

what seemed to him parabolic in the Master's teaching. 
He received it in the fullest manner. There was, indeed, 
one part even in the teaching of the Lord, which accorded 
with the higher views of the Rabbis. Those sins which 
Christ set before them as sins of the outward and inward 
man, and of what connects the two : our relation to others, 
were the outcome of ' evil thoughts.' And this the Rabbis 
taught, explaining with much detail how the heart was 
alike the source of strength and of weakness, of good 
and of evil thoughts, loved and hated, envied, lusted and 
deceived, proving each statement from Scripture. But 
never before could they have realised that anything enter- 
ing from without could not defile a man. Least of all 
could they perceive the final inference which St. Mark 
•st. Mark long afterwards derived from this teaching of the 
last clause Lord : ' This He said, making all meats clean.'*" 



(St. John vi. 22-71.) 

The narrative now returns to those who, on the previous 
evening, had after the miraculous meal been ' sent away • 
to their homes. We remember that this had been after 
an abortive attempt on their part to take Jesus by force 
and make Him their Messiah-King. We can understand 
how the resistance of Jesus to their purpose not only 
weakened, but in great measure neutralised, the effect of 
the miracle which they had witnessed. In fact, we look 
upon this check as the first turning of the tide of popular 
enthusiasm. Let us bear in mind what ideas and expec- 
tations of an altogether external character those men con- 
nected with the Messiah of their dreams. At last, by 
some miracle more notable even than the giving of the 
Manna in the wilderness, enthusiasm had been raised to 
the highest pitch, and thousands were determined to give 

Crisis in Popular Feeling 235 

up their pilgrimage to the Passover, and then and there 
proclaim the Galilean Teacher Israel's King. If He were 
the Messiah, such was His rightful title. Why then did 
He so strenuously and effectually resist it ? In ignorance 
of His real views concerning the Kingship, they would 
naturally conclude that it must have been from fear, from 
misgiving, from want of belief in Himself. At any rate, 
He could not be the Messiah, Who would not be Israel's 
King. Enthusiasm of this kind, once repressed, could 
never again be kindled. Henceforth there were continuous 
misunderstanding, doubt, and defection among former ad- 
herents, growing into opposition and hatred unto death. 
Even to those who took not this position, Jesus, His 
Words and Works, were henceforth a constant mystery. 
And so it came that the morning after the miraculous 
meal found the vast majority of those who had been fed 
either in their homes or on their pilgrim-way to the Pass- 
over at Jerusalem. Only comparatively few came back to 
seek Him, where they had eaten bread at His Hand. And 
even they sought both ' a sign ' to guide, and an explana- 
tion to give them its understanding. 

It is this view of the mental and moral state of those 
who, on the morning after the meal, came to seek Jesus 
which alone explains the questions and answers of the 
interview at Capernaum. As we read it : ' the day follow- 
ing, the multitude which stood on the other [the eastern] 
side of the sea ' ' saw that Jesus was not there, neither 
• st. John His disciples.' a But of two facts they were 
vi. 22, 24 cognisant. They knew that on the evening 
before only one boat had come over, bringing Jesus and 
His disciples ; and that Jesus had not returned in it with 
His disciples, for they had seen them depart, while Jesus 
remained to dismiss the people. In these circumstances 
they probably imagined that Christ had returned on foot 
by land, being, of course, ignorant of the miracle of that 
night. But the wind which had been contrary to the dis- 
ciples had also driven over to the eastern shore a number 
of fishing-boats from Tiberias. These they now hired, 
and came to Capernaum, making inquiry for Jesus. It 

234 Jesus the Messiah 

is difficult to determine whether the conversation and out- 
lined address of Christ took place on the Friday afternoon 
and Sabbath morning, or only on the Sabbath. All that 
. -* -r t. we know for certain is that the last part (at any 

• St. John n . _ tt \ i L 

vi. 53-58 rate a ) was spoken ' m synagogue, as He taught 
ver ' in Capernaum.' b 

We have to bear in mind that the Discourse in ques- 
tion was delivered in the city which had been the scene 
of so many of Christ's great miracles, and the centre of 
His teaching, and in the Synagogue built by the good 
Centurion, and of which Jairus was the chief ruler. Again, 
it was delivered after that miraculous feeding which had 
raised the popular enthusiasm to the highest pitch, and 
also after that chilling disappointment of their Judaistic 
hopes in Christ's utmost resistance to His Messianic pro- 
clamation. They now came \ seeking for Jesus,' in every 
sense of the word. They were outwardly prepared for the 
very highest teaching, to which the preceding events had 
led up, and therefore they must receive such, if any. But 
they were not inwardly prepared for it, and therefore they 
could not understand it. Secondly, and in connection 
with it, we must remember that two high-points had been 
reached — by the people, that Jesus was the Messiah- 
King; by the ship's company, that He was the Son of 
God. However imperfectly these truths may have been 
apprehended, yet the teaching of Christ must start from 
them, and then point onwards. 

>w 26-29 k ^ e q ues ti° n:C 'Rabbi, when earnest 

Thou hither ? ' with which they from the eastern 
shore greeted Jesus, seems to imply that they were per- 
plexed about, and that some perhaps had heard a vague 
rumour of the miracle of His return to the western shore. 
It was the beginning of that unhealthy craving for the 
miraculous which the Lord had so sharply to reprove. In 
His own words : they sought Him not because they ' saw 
signs,' but because they ' ate of the loaves,' and, in their 
love for the miraculous, ' were filled.' What brought them 
was not that they had discerned either the higher mean- 
ing of that miracle, or the Son of God, but those carnal 

Last Discourse at Capernaum 235 

Judaistic expectancies which had led them to proclaim Him 
King. What they waited for was a Kingdom of God — 
not in righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Ghost, 
but in meat and drink — a kingdom with miraculous wil- 
derness-banquets to Israel, and coarse miraculous triumphs 
over the Gentiles. Not to speak of the fabulous Messia- 
nic banquet which a sensuous realism expected, or of the 
achievements for which it looked, every figure in which 
prophets had clothed the brightness of those days was first 
literalised, and then exaggerated, till the most glorious 
poetic descriptions became incongruous caricatures of 
spiritual Messianic expectancy. The fruit-trees were every 
day, or at least every week or two, to yield their riches, 
the fields their harvests ; the grain was to stand like palm 
trees, and to be reaped and winnowed without labour. 
Similar blessings were to visit the vine ; ordinary trees 
would bear like fruit-trees, and every produce of every 
clime would be found in Palestine in such abundance and 
luxuriance as only the wildest imagination could con- 

Such were the carnal thoughts about the Messiah and 
His Kingdom of those who sought Jesus because they 'ate 
of the loaves, and were filled.' What a contrast between 
them and the Christ, as He pointed them from the search 
for such meat to ' work for the meat which He would give 
them,' not as a merely Jewish Messiah, but as \ the Son 
of Man.' And yet in uttering this strange truth, Jesus 
could appeal to something they would understand when He 
added, ' for Him the Father hath sealed, even God.' The 
words, which seem almost inexplicable in this connection, 
become clear when we remember that this was a well- 
known Jewish expression. According to the Rabbis, c the 
seal of God was Truth,' the three letters of which this 
word is composed in Hebrew being, as was significantly 
pointed out, respectively the first, the middle, and the last 
letters of the alphabet. Thus the words of Christ would 
convey to His hearers that for the real meat, which would 
endure to eternal life — for the better Messianic banquet — 
they must come to Him, because God had impressed upon 

236 Jesus the Messiah 

Him His own seal of truth, and so authenticated His Teach- 
ing and Mission. 

• st. John 2. Probably what now follows a took place at 

vi. 30-36 a gomewhat different time — perhaps on the way 
to the Synagogue. Among the ruins of the Synagogue of 
Capernaum the lintel has been discovered : it bears the 
device of a pot of manna, ornamented with a flowing 
pattern of vine leaves and clusters of grapes. Here then 
were the outward emblems, which would connect them- 
selves with the Lord's teaching on that day. The miracu- 
lous feeding of the multitude in the ' desert place ' the 
evening before, and the Messianic thoughts which gathered 
around it, would naturally suggest to their minds remem- 
brance of the manna. That manna, which was angels' 
food, distilled (as they imagined) from the upper light, 
1 the dew from above ' — miraculous food, of all manner of 
taste, and suited to every age, according to the wish or 
condition of him who ate it, but bitterness to Gentile 
palates — they expected the Messiah to bring again from 
heaven. For all that the first deliverer, Moses, had done, 
the second— Messiah — would also do. And here, over 
their Synagogue, was the pot of manna — symbol of what 
God had done, earnest of what the Messiah would do : that 
pot of manna, which was now among the things hidden, 
but which Elijah, when he came, would restore again. 

In their view the events of yesterday must lead up to 
some such sign, if they had any real meaning. They had 
been told to believe on Him as the One authenticated by 
God with the seal of truth, and Who would give them 
meat to eternal life. By what sign would Christ cor- 
roborate His assertion that they might see and believe ? 
What work would He do to vindicate His claim ? Their 
fathers had eaten manna in the wilderness. To understand 
the reasoning of the Jews, implied but not fully expressed, 
as also the answer of Jesus, it is necessary to bear in 
mind that it was the oft and most anciently expressed 
opinion that, although God had given them this bread out 
of heaven, yet it was given through the merits of Moses/ 
and ceased with his death. This the Jews had probably 

Christ the Bread of Life 237 

in view, when they asked : ' What workest Thou?' and 
this was the meaning of Christ's emphatic assertion that 
it was not Moses who gave Israel that bread. And then, 
by what may be designated a peculiarly Jewish turn of 
reasoning, such as only those familiar with Jewish litera- 
ture can fully appreciate, the Saviour makes quite different, 
yet to them familiar, application of the manna. Moses 
had not given it — his merits had not procured it — but His 
Father gave them the true bread out of heaven. ' For/ 
as He explained, ' the bread of God is that which cometh 
down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.' Again, 
this very Rabbinic tradition which described in such glow- 
ing language the wonders of that manna, also further ex- 
plained its other and real meaning to be that if Wisdom 
said ' Eat of my bread and drink of my wine,' a 
it indicated that the manna and the miraculous 
water-supply were the sequence of Israel's receiving the 
Law and the Commandments — for the real bread from 
heaven was the Law. 

It was a reference which the Jews understood, and to 
which they could not but respond. Yet the mood was 
brief. As Jesus, in answer to the appeal that He would 
evermore give them this bread, once more directed them 
to Himself — from works of men to the Works of God and 
to faith — the passing gleam of spiritual hope had already 
died out, for they had seen Him and ' yet did not believe/ 

With these words Jesus turned away from His ques- 
i» st. John tioners. The solemn sayings which now followed b 
vi. 37-40 could not have been spoken to, and they would 
not have been understood by, the multitude. And accord- 
ingly we find that, when the conversation of the Jews is 
once more introduced, it takes up the thread 
where it had been broken off, when Jesus spake 
of Himself as the Bread Which had come down from 

3. Regarding these words of Christ as addressed to the 
disciples, there is nothing in them beyond their standpoint. 
Believing that Jesus was the Messiah, it might not be 
quite strange nor new to them as Jews — although not 

238 Jesus the Messiah 

commonly received — that He would at the end of the world 
raise the pious dead. Indeed, one of the names given to 
the Messiah has by some been derived from this very ex- 
pectancy. Again, He had said that it was not any Law, 
but His Person that was the bread which came down from 
heaven and gave life, not to Jews only, but unto the 
world — and they had seen Him and believed not. But 
none the less would the purpose of God be accomplished in 
the totality of His true people, and its reality be expe- 
rienced by every individual among them : ' All that [the 
total number] which the Father giveth Me shall come unto 
Me [shall reach Me], and him that cometh unto Me [the 
coming one to Me] I will not cast out outside.' The 
totality of the God-given must reach Him, despite all hin- 
drances, for the object of His Coming was to do the Will 
of His Father ; and those who came would not be cast 
outside, for the Will of Him that had sent Him, and which 
He had come to do, was that of ' the all which He has 
given ' Him, He ' should not lose anything out of this, but 
raise it up in the last day.' Again, it was the Will of Him 
that sent Him ' that everyone who intently looketh at the 
Son, and believeth on Him, should have eternal life ; ' and 
the coming ones would not be cast outside, since this 
was His undertaking and promise as the Christ in regard 
• st John vi to each : ' And raise him up will I at the last 
39 '4° day.'* 

4. What now follows b is again spoken to 
' the Je.vs,' and may have occurred just as they 
were entering the Synagogue. To those spiritually un- 
enlightened, the point of difficulty seemed how Christ 
could claim to be the Bread come down from heaven. His 
known parentage and early history forbade anything like 
a literal interpretation of His Words. 

Yet we mark that what Jesus now spake to ? the Jews ' 
was the same in substance as, though diiferent in applica- 
tion from, what He had just uttered to the disciples. This, 
not merely in regard to the Messianic prediction of the 
.Resurrection, but even in what He pronounced as the judg- 
ment on their murmuring. The words : ' No man can come 

Christ the Bread of Life 239 

to Me, except the Father Which hath sen." Me draw him/ 
present only the converse aspect of those to the disciples : 
' All that which the Father giveth Me shall come unto Me, 
and him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out.' 
No man can come to the Christ — such is the condition of 
the human mind and heart that coming to Christ as a 
disciple is not an outward, but an inward, impossibility — 
except the Father 'draw him.' And this, again, not in 
the sense of any constraint, but in that of the personal 
moral influence and revelation, to which Christ afterwards 
• st. John lelers when He saith : 'And I, if I be lifted up 
xti - 32 from the earth, will draw all men unto myself.'* 

Nor did Jesus, while uttering these entirely un-Jewish 
truths, forget that He was speaking to Jews. The appeal 
to their own Prophets was the more telling, that Jewish 
tradition also applied these two prophecies (Is. liv. 13; 
Jer. xxxi. 34) to the teaching by God in the Messianic 
Age. But the explanation of the manner and issue of 
God's teaching was new : ' Everyone that hath heard from 
the Father, and learned, cometh unto Me.' And this, not 
by some external or realistic contact with God, such as they 
regarded that of Moses in the past, or expected for them- 
selves in the latter days ; only ' He Which is from God, 
He hath seen the Father.' But even this might sound 
general and without exclusive reference to Christ. So, 
also, might this statement seem : ' He that believeth hath 
eternal life.' Not so the final application, in which the 
subject was carried to its ultimate bearing, and all that 
might have seemed general or mysterious plainly set forth. 
The Personality of Christ was the Bread of Life : ' I am 
»> st. John the Bread of Life.' b The Manna had not been 
vi. 48 bread of life, for those who ate it had died, their 

carcases had fallen in the wilderness. Not so in regard to 
this, the true Bread from heaven. To share in that Food 
was to have everlasting life, a life which the sin and death 
of unbelief and judgment would not cut short, as it had 
that of them who had eaten the Manna and died in the 
wilderness : ' the Bread that I will give is My Flesh, for 
the life of the world.' 

240 Jesus the Messiah 

5. These words, so significant to us, as pointing out 
the true meaning of all His teaching, must have sounded 
most mysterious. Yet the fact that they strove about their 
meaning shows that they must have had some glimmer of 
apprehension that they bore on His self-surrender, or, as 
they might view it, His martyrdom. This last point is 
• st John set f° r th m the concluding Discourse,* which we 
vi. 53-58 know to have been delivered in the Synagogue, 
whether before, during, or after, His regular Sabbath 
address. It was not a mere martyrdom for the life of the 
world, in which all who benefited by it would share — but 
personal fellowship with Him. Eating the Flesh and 
drinking the Blood of the Son of Man, such was the neces- 
sary condition of securing eternal life. It is impossible to 
mistake the primary reference of these words to our per- 
sonal application of His Death and Passion to the deepest 
need and hunger of our souls ; most difficult, also, to resist 
the feeling that, secondarily, they referred to that Holy 
Feast which shows forth that Death and Passion, and is to 
all time its remembrance, symbol, seal, and fellowship. 

6. But to them that heard it, nay even to many of His 
disciples, this was an hard saying. It was a thorough dis- 
enchantment of all their Judaic illusions, an entire upturn- 
ing of all their Messianic thoughts. The 'meat' and 
4 drink ' from heaven which had the Divine seal of ! truth ' 
were, according to Christ's teaching, not ' the Law/ nor yet 
Israel's privileges, but fellowship with the Person of Jesus 

in that state of humbleness (' the son of Joseph ' b ), 
*ver.42 nft ^ Q f mar ty r d m, which His words seemed to 
indicate, i My Flesh is the true meat, and My Blood is 
« ver. 56 the true drink ; ■ c and what even this fellowship 

secured consisted only in abiding in Him and 
« ver. 56 jj e m them ; d or, as they would understand it, 
in inner communion with Him, and in sharing His con- 
dition and views. 

Though they spake it not, this was the rock of offence 
over which they stumbled and fell. And Jesus read their 
thoughts. If they stumbled at this, what when they came 
to contemplate the far more mysterious and un-Jewish 

Christ the Bread of Life 241 

• st. John w. facts of the Messiah's Crucifixion and Ascension ! a 
Truly, not outward following, but only inward 
and spiritual life-quickening could be of profit — even in 
the case of those who heard the very Words of Christ, 
which were spirit and life. Thus it again appeared, and 
most fully, that, morally speaking, it was absolutely im- 
"ver.65; possible to come to Him, even if His Words 
cornp. w.' were heard, except under the gracious influence 
from above. b 

And so this was the great crisis in the History of the 
Christ. We have traced the gradual growth and develop- 
ment of the popular movement, till the murder of the 
Baptist stirred popular feeling to its inmost depth. With 
his death it seemed as if the Messianic hope, awakened by 
his preaching and testimony to Christ, were fading from 
view. It was a terrible disappointment, not easily borne. 
Now must it be decided whether Jesus were really the 
Messiah. His Works, notwithstanding what the Pharisees 
said, seemed to prove it. That miraculous feeding, that 
wilderness-cry of Hosanna to the Galilean King-Messiah 
from thousands of Galilean voices — what were they but its 
beginning ? All the greater was the disappointment : first, 
in the repression of the movement — so to speak, the retreat 
of the Messiah, His voluntary abdication, rather, His 
defeat ; then, next day, the incongruousness of a King, 
Whose few unlearned followers, in their ignorance and un- 
Jewish neglect of most sacred ordinances, outraged every 
Jewish feeling, and whose conduct was even vindicated by 
their Master in a general attack on all traditionalism, that 
basis of Judaism — as it might be represented, to the con- 
tempt of religion and even of common truthfulness in the 
denunciation of solemn vows ! This was not the Messiah 
• st. Matt. Whom the many — nay, Whom almost any — 
xv. 12 would own. c 

Here, then, we are at the parting of the two ways ; 
and, just because it was the hour of decision, did Christ so 
clearly set forth the highest truths concerning Himself, in 
opposition to the views which the multitude entertained 
about the Messiah. The result was yet another and a sorer 


242 Jesus the Messiah 

defection. ' Upon this many of His disciples went back, 
•st, John an ^ walked no more with Him.'* Nay, the 
vi - 66 searching trial reached even unto the hearts of 

the Twelve. But one thing kept them true. It was the 
experience of the past. This was the basis of their present 
faith and allegiance. They could not go back to their old 
past ; they must cleave to Him. So Peter spake it in 
name of them all : ' Lord, to whom shall we go ? Words 
of Eternal Life hast Thou ! ' Nay, and more than this, 
as the result of what they had learned : 'And we have 
believed and know that Thou art the Holy One 
'"■ ,Mi of God.'" 

But of these Twelve Christ knew one to be ' a devil ' — 
like that Angel, fallen from highest height to lowest depth. 
The apostasy of Judas had already commenced in his heart. 
And the greater the popular expectancy and disappoint- 
ment had been, the greater the reaction and the enmity 
that followed. 


(St. Matt. xv. 21-28 ; St. Mark vii. 24-30.) 

The purpose of Christ to withdraw His disciples from the 
excitement of Galilee, and from what might follow the 
execution of the Baptist, had been interrupted by the 
events at Bethsaida- Julias, but it was not changed. 

A comparatively short journey would bring Jesus and 
His companions from Capernaum ' into the parts,' or, as 
St. Mark more specifically calls them, ' the borders of Tyre 
and Sidon.' At that time this district extended, north of 
Galilee, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan. But the 
event about to be related occurred, as all circumstances 
show, not within the territory of Tyre and Sidon, but on 
its borders, and within the limits of the Land of Israel. 

The whole circumstances seem to point to more than a 
night's rest in that distant home. Possibly, the two first 

The Syro-Phcenician Woman 243 

Passover-days may have been spent here. According to 
St. Mark, Jesus ' would have no man know ' His Presence 
in that place, ' but He could not be hid,' and the fame of 
His Presence spreading into the neighbouring district of 
Tyre and Sidon reached the mother of the demonised child. 
All this implies a stay of two or three days. And with 
this also agrees the after-complaint of the disciples: 'Send 
» st. Matt, her away, for she crieth after us.' a As the 
o v s t 23 Mark Saviour apparently received the woman in the 
vii.24,25 house, b it seems that she must have followed 
some of the disciples into Galilee, entreating their help or 
intercession in a manner that attracted the attention which, 
according to the will of Jesus, they would fain have avoided, 
before, in her despair, she ventured into the presence of 
Christ within the house. 

She who now sought His help was, as St. Matthew 
calls her, from the Jewish standpoint, ' a Ca- 
naanitish c woman,' by which term a Jew would 
designate a native of Phoenicia, or, as St. Mark calls her, 
a Syro-Phcenician (to distinguish her country from Lybo- 
Phcenicia), and ' a Greek ' — that is, a heathen. But we 
can understand how she would, on hearing of the Christ 
and His mighty deeds, seek His help for her child with the 
most intense earnestness, and that, in so doing, she would 
d st Mark approach Him with lowliest reverence, falling 
**■ 25 at His Feet. d But what, in our view, furnishes 

the explanation of the Lord's bearing towards this woman 
is her mode of addressing Him : ' Lord, Thou Son of 
David ! ' This was the most distinctively Jewish appellation 
of the Messiah ; and yet it is emphatically stated of her 
that she was a heathen. 

Spoken by a heathen, these words were, if used with- 
out knowledge, an address to a Jewish Messiah, Whose 
works were only miracles, and not also and primarily signs. 
Now this was exactly the error of the Jews which Jesus 
had encountered and combated, alike when He resisted the 
attempt to make Him King, in His reply to the Jeru- 
salem Scribes, and in His Discourses at Capernaum. To 
have granted her the help she so entreated would have been, 

B 2 

244 Jesus the Messiah 

as it were, to reverse the whole of His Teaching, and to make 
His works of healing merely works of power. In her 
mouth, the designation meant something to which Christ 
could not have yielded. And yet He could not refuse her 
petition. And so He first taught her, in such manner as 
she could understand, that which she needed to know — 
the relation of the heathen to the Jewish world, and of both 
to the Messiah, and then He gave her what she asked. 

She had spoken, but Jesus had answered her not a 
word. When the disciples — in some measure, probably, 
still sharing the views of this heathen, that He was the 
Jewish Messiah — without, indeed, interceding for her, 
asked that she might be sent away, because she was 
troublesome to them, He replied that His Mission was only 
to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. This was true, as 
regarded His Work while upon earth ; and true, in every 
sense, as we keep in view the world-wide bearing of the 
Davidic reign and promises, and the real relation between 
Israel and the world. Thus baffled, as it might seem, she 
cried no longer ' Son of David,' but ' Lord, help me.' It 
was then that the special teaching came in the manner she 
could understand. If it were as ' the Son of David ' 
that He was entreated — if the heathen woman as such 
applied to the Jewish Messiah as such, what, in the Jewish 
view, were the heathens but 'dogs,' and what would be 
fellowship with them but to cast to the dogs — house-clogs, 
it may be — what should have been the children's bread ? 
And, certainly, no expression more common in the mouth 
of the Jews than that which designated the heathens as 
dogs. Most harsh as it was, as the outcome of national 
pride and Jewish self-assertion, yet in a sense it was true, 
* Rev. xxii. that those within were the children, and those 
16 ' without ' ' dogs.' a 

Two lessons did she learn with that instinct-like 
rapidity which Christ's personal Presence seemed ever and 
again to call forth. 'Yea, Lord,' it is as Thou sayest; 
heathenism stands related to Judaism as the house-dogs to 
the children, and it were not meet to rob the children of 
their bread in order to give it to dogs. But Thine own 

Miracles among a Semi-Heathen Population 245 

words show that such would not now be the case. If they 
are house-dogs, then they are the Master's and under His 
table, and when He breaks the bread to the children, in 
the breaking of it the crumbs must fall around. 

But in so saying she was no longer ' under the table,' 
but had sat down at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and 
Jacob, and was partaker of the children's bread. He was 
no longer to her the Jewish Messiah, but truly ' the Son 
of David.' She now understood what she prayed, and she 
was a daughter of Abraham. And that which had taught 
her all this was faith in His Person and Work, as not only 
just enough for the Jews, but enough and to spare for all — 
children at the table and dogs under it ; that in and with 
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David, all nations were 
blessed in Israel's King and Messiah. And so it was that 
the Lord said it : '0 woman, great is thy faith : be it 
done unto thee even as thou wilt.' Or, as St. Mark puts 
it, not quoting the very sound of the Lord's words, but 
their impression upon Peter : * For this saying go thy way ; 
the.devil is gone out of thy daughter.' ' And her daughter 
»st. Matt. was healed from that hour.' a 'And she went 
xv. 28 away unto her house, and found her daughter 

prostrate [indeed] upon the bed, and [but] the demon 
gone out.' 



(St. Matt. xv. 29-31; St. Mark vii. 31-37 ; viii. 22-26; 
St. Matt. xi. 27-31.) 

If even the brief stay of Jesus in that friendly Jewish 
home by the borders of Tyre could not remain unknown, 
the fame of the healing of the Syro- Phoenician maiden 
would soon have rendered impossible that privacy and 
retirement, which had been the chief object of His leaving 
Capernaum. Accordingly, when the two Paschal days 
were ended, He resumed His journey, extending it far 
beyond any previously undertaken. The borders of 

246 Jesus the Messiah 

Palestine proper, though not of what the Rabbis reckoned 
as belonging to it, 1 were passed. Making a long circuit 
through the territory of Sidon, He descended — probably- 
through one of the passes of the Hermon range — into the 
country of the Tetrarch Philip. Thence He continued 
1 through the midst of the borders of Decapolis,' till He 
once more reached the eastern, or south-eastern, shore of 
the Lake of Galilee. It will be remembered that the 
D?capolis, or confederacy of ' the Ten Cities,' was wedged 
in between the Tetrarchies of Philip and Antipas. Their 
political constitution was that of the free Greek cities. 
They were subject only to the Governor of Syria, and 
formed part of Ccele-Syria, in contradistinction to Syro- 
Phoenicia. Their privileges dated from Pompey's lime. 

It is important to keep in view that, although Jesus 
was now within the territory of ancient Israel, the district 
and all the surroundings were essentially heathen, although 
in closest proximity to that which was purely Jewish. St. 
• st. Matt. Matthew a gives a general description of Christ's 
xv - 29 - 31 activity there. 

They have heard of Him as the wonder-worker, these 
heathens in the land so near to, and yet so far from, 
Israel ; and they have brought to Him ' the lame, blind, 
dumb, maimed, and many others,' and laid them at His 
Feet. All disease vanishes in presence of Heaven's Own 
Life Incarnate. It is a new era — Israel conquers the 
heathen world, not by force, but by love ; not by outward 
means, but by the manifestation of life-power from above. 
Truly, this is the Messianic conquest and reign : ' and they 
glorified the God of Israel.' 

One special instance of miraculous healing is recorded 
by St. Mark, not only from its intrinsic interest, but, per- 
haps, also, as in some respects typical. 

1. Among those brought to Him was one deaf, whose 
speech had, probably in consequence of this, been so affected 
as practically to deprive him of its power. This circum- 
stance, and that he is not spoken of as so afflicted from his 

1 For the Rabbinic views of the boundaries of Palestine see 
4 Sketches of Jewish Social Life,' ch. ii. 

Healing of the Deaf and Dumb 247 

birth, leads us to infer that the affection was the result of 
disease, and not congenital. Remembering that alike the 
subject of the miracle and they who brought him were 
heathens, but in constant and close contact with Jews, 
what follows is vividly true to life. The entreaty to ' lay 
His Hand upon him ' was heathen, and yet semi-Jewish 
also. Quite peculiar it is, when the Lord took him aside 
from the multitude; and again that, using a means ot 
healing accepted in popular opinion of Jew and Gentile, 
' He spat,' applying it directly to the diseased organ. We 
read of the direct application of saliva only here and in the 
*st. Mark healing of the blind man at Bethsaida.* We are 
via. 23 disposed to regard this as peculiar to the healing 
of Gentiles. Peculiar, also, is the term expressive of 
burden on the mind, when, l looking up to heaven, He 
sighed.' Peculiar, also, is the ' thrusting' of His Fingers 
into the man's ears, and the touch of his tongue. Only 
the upward look to heaven, and the command ' Ephphatha ' 
— ' be opened' — seem the same as in His everyday won- 
ders of healing. But we mark that all here seems more 
elaborate than in Israel. The reason of this must, of 
course, be sought in the moral condition of the person 
healed. There is an accumulation of means, yet each and 
all inadequate to effect the purpose, but all connected with 
His Person. This elaborate use of such means would 
banish the idea of magic ; it would arouse the attention, 
and fix it upon Christ as using these means, which were 
all connected with His own Person. 

It was in vain to enjoin silence. Wider and wider 
spread the unbidden fame, till it was caught up in this 
hymn of praise : c He hath done all things well — He 
maketh even the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.' 
»st. Mark 2. Another miracle is recorded by St. Mark, b 

viii. 22-26 as wrought by Jesus in these parts, and, as we 
infer, on a heathen. All the circumstances are kindred to 
those just related. It was in Bethsaida- Julias that one 
blind was brought unto Him, with the entreaty that He 
would touch him, — just as in the case of the deaf and 
dumb. Here, also, the Saviour took him aside — ' led him 

248 Jesus the Messiah 

out of the village ' — and ' spat on his eyes, and put His 
Hands upon him.' We mark not only the similarity of 
the means employed, but the same, and even greater ela- 
borateness in the use of them, since a twofold touch is 
recorded before the man saw clearly. So far as we can 
judge, the object was, by a gradual process of healing, 
to disabuse the man of any idea of magical cure, while at 
the same time the process of healing again markedly 
centred in the Person of Jesus. With this also agrees (as 
in the case of the deaf and dumb) the use of spittle in the 
healing. We may here recall that the use of saliva was a 
well-known Jewish remedy for affections of the eyes. 

3. Yet a third miracle of healing requires to be here 
considered, although related by St. Matthew in another 
» st. Matt, connection.* But we have learned enough of the 
ix. 27-31 structure of the first Gospel to know that its 
arrangement is determined by the plan of the writer rather 
than by the chronological succession of events. The man- 
ner in which the Lord healed the two blind men, the 
injunction of silence, and the notice that none the fess 
they spread His fame in all that land, seem to imply that 
He was not on the ordinary scene of His labours in 
Galilee. Nor can we fail to mark an internal analogy 
between this and the other two miracles enacted amidst a 
chiefly Grecian population. And, strange though it may 
sound, the cry with which the two blind men who sought 
His help followed Him, ' Son of David, have mercy on us,' 
comes more frequently from Gentile than from Jewish lips. 
It was, of course, pre-eminently the Jewish designation of 
the Messiah, the basis of all Jewish thought of Him. But 
we can understand how to Gentiles who resided in Palestine 
the Messiah of Israel would chiefly stand out as ' the Son 
of David.' It was the most ready, and, at the same time, 
the most universal, form in which the great Jewish hope 
could be viewed by them. 

Peculiar to this history is the testing question of 
Christ, whether they really believed what their petition 
implied, that He was able to restore their sight; and, 
again, His stern, almost passionate, insistence on their 

Two Sabbath-Controversies 249 

silence as to the mode of their cure. Only on one other 
occasion do we read of the same insistence. It is, when 
the leper had expressed the same absolute faith in Christ's 
ability to heal if He willed it, and Jesus had, as in the 
case of these two blind men, conferred the benefit by the 
»st. Mark i. touch of His Hand. a In both these cases, it is 
40,4i remarkable that, along with strongest faith of 

those who came to Him, there was rather an implied than 
an expressed petition on their part. The leper who knelt 
before Him only said : ' Lord, if Thou wilt, Thou canst 
make me clean ; ' and the two blind men : ' Have mercy on 
us, Thou Son of David.' Thus it is the highest and most 
realising faith which is most absolute in its trust, and most 
reticent as regards the details of its request. 



(St. Matt. xii. 1-21 ; St. Mark ii. 23-iii. 6 ; St. Luke vi. 1-11.) 

In grouping together the three miracles of healing de- 
scribed in the last chapter, we do not wish to convey that 
it is certain they had taken place in precisely that order. 
From their position in the Evangelic narratives we inferred 
that they happened at that particular period and east of the 
Jordan. They differ from the events about to be related 
by the absence of the Jerusalem Scribes, who hung on the 
footsteps of Jesus. While the Saviour tarried on the 
borders of Tyre, and thence passed through the terri- 
tory of Sidon into the Decapolis and to the southern and 
eastern shores of the Lake of Galilee, they were in Jeru- 
salem at the Passover. But after the two festive days, 
which would require their attendance in the Temple, they 
seem to have returned. And the events about to be 
related are chronologically distinguished from those that 

250 Jesus the Messiah 

had preceded by this presence and opposition of the Pha- 
risaic party. The contest now becomes more decided and 
sharp, and we are rapidly nearing the period when He, 
Who had hitherto been chiefly preaching the Kingdom, 
and healing body and soul, will, through the hostility of 
the leaders of Israel, enter on tiie second, or prevailingly 
negative stage of His Work. 

Where fundamental principles were so directly contrary, 
the occasion for conflict could not be long wanting. In- 
deed, all that Jesus taught must have seemed to these 
Pharisees strangely un-Jewish in cast and direction, even 
if not in form and words. But chiefly would this be the 
case in regard to that on which, of all else, the Pharisees 
laid most stress : the observance of the Sabbath. On no 
other subject is Rabbinic teaching more minute and more 
manifestly incongruous to its professed object. For, if we 
rightly apprehend what underlay the complicated and in- 
tolerably burdensome laws and rules of the Pharisaic 
Sabbath-observance, it was to secure, negatively, absolute 
rest from all labour, and, positively, to make the Sabbath 
a delight. The Mishnah includes Sabbath-desecration 
among those most heinous crimes for which a man was to 
be stoned. This, then, was their first care : by a series of 
complicated ordinances to make a breach of the Sabbath- 
rest impossible. The next object was, in a similarly ex- 
ternal manner, to make the Sabbath a delight. A special 
Sabbath dress, the best that could be procured ; the choicest 
food, even though a man had to work for it all the week, 
or public charity were to supply it — such were some of the 
means by which the day was to be honoured and men were 
to find pleasure therein. The strangest stories are told, 
how, by the purchase of the most expensive dishes, the pious 
poor had gained unspeakable merit, and obtained, even on 
earth, Heaven's manifest reward. And yet, by the side of 
these and similar misdirections of piety, we come also upon 
that which is touching, beautiful, and even spiritual. On 
the Sabbath there must be no mourning, for to the Sabbath 
a in prov.x. applies this saying : a ' The blessing of the Lord, 
88 it maketh rich, and He addeth no sorrow with it/ 

The Plucking of the Ears of Corn 251 

Quite alone was the Sabbath among the measures of time. 
Every other day had been paired with its fellow : not so 
the Sabbath. And so any festival, even the Day of Atone- 
ment, might be transferred to another day: not so the 
observance of the Sabbath. Nay, when the Sabbath com- 
plained before God that of all days it alone stood solitary, 
God had wedded it to Israel ; and this holy union God had 
bidden His people ' remember,' a when they stood 
before the Mount. Even the tortures of Gehenna 
were intermitted on that holy, happy day. 

Jewish Law sufficiently explains the controversies in 
which the Pharisaic party now engaged with Jesus. Of 
these the first was when, going through the cornfields on 
the Sabbath, His disciples began to pluck and eat the ears 
of corn. 

This first Sabbath-controversy is immediately followed 
by that connected with the healing of the man with the 
withered hand. From St. Matthew and St. Mark it might 
appear as if this had occurred on the same day as the 
plucking of the ears of corn, but St. Luke corrects any 
possible misunderstanding by telling us that it happened 
' on another Sabbath ' — perhaps that following the walk 
through the cornfields. 

It was probably on the Sabbath after the Second Pas^ 
chal Day that, as Christ and His disciples passed through 
„ st Mat . cornfields, His disciples, being hungry, b as they 
e heW M k went, c plucked ears of corn and ate them, having 
«» st. Luke rubbed off the husks in their hands. d On any 
• Deut.xxm. or( jj nar y (j a y thig wou ld naV e been lawful, 6 but 

on the Sabbath it involved, according to Rabbinic statutes, 
at least two sins. For, according to the Talmud, what 
was really one labour, would, if made up of several acts, 
each of them forbidden, amount to several acts of labour, 
each involving sin, punishment, and a sin-offering. Now 
in this case there were at least two such acts involved : 
that of plucking the ears of corn, ranged under the sin of 
reaping, and that of rubbing them, which might be ranged 
under sifting in a sieve, threshing, sifting out fruit, grind- 
ing, or fanning. 

252 Jesus the Messiah 

Holding views like these, the Pharisees, who witnessed 
the conduct of the disciples, would naturally condemn 
what they must have regarded as gross desecration of the 
Sabbath. Yet it was clearly not a breach of the Biblical, 
but of the Rabbinic Law. Not only to show them their 
error, but to lay down principles which would for ever 
apply to this difficult question, was the object of Christ's 
reply. Unlike the others of the Ten Commandments, the 
Sabbath Law has in it two elements : the moral and the 
ceremonial ; the eternal, and that which is subject to time 
and place ; the inward and spiritual, and the outward (the 
one as the mode of realising the other). In their distinc- 
tion and separation lies the difficulty of the subject. In 
its spiritual and eternal element, the Sabbath Law em- 
bodied the two thoughts of rest for worship, and worship 
which pointed to rest. The keeping of the seventh day, 
and the Jewish mode of its observance, were the temporal 
and outward form in which these eternal principles were 
presented. Even Rabbinism, in some measure, perceived 
this. It was a principle that danger to the life of an 
Israelite, but not of a heathen or Samaritan, superseded 
the Sabbath Law, and, indeed, all other obligations. It 
was argued that a man was to keep the commandments 
that he might live — certainly not, that by so doing he 
might die. Yet this other and kindred principle did Rab- 
binism lay down, that every positive commandment super- 
seded the Sabbath-rest. This was the ultimate vindication 
of work in the Temple, although certainly not its explana- 
tion. Lastly, we should, in this connection, include this 
important canon, laid down by the Rabbis: 'a single 
Rabbinic prohibition is not to be heeded, where a graver 
matter is in question.' 

These points must be kept in view for the proper 
understanding of the words of Christ to the Scribes. For, 
while going far beyond the times and notions of His ques- 
tioners, His reasoning must have been within their com- 
prehension. Hence the first argument of our Lord, as 
recorded by all the Synoptists, was taken from Biblical 
history. When, on his flight from Saul, David had, 

The Sabbath-Law 253 

* when an hungered,' eaten of the shewbread, and given it 
to his followers, although, by the letter of the Levitical 

• Lev. xxiv. Law, a it was only to be eaten by the priests, 
6 ~ 9 - Jewish tradition vindicated his conduct on the 
plea that 'danger to life superseded the Sabbath-Law,' 
and hence all laws connected with it ; while, to show 
David's zeal for the Sabbath-Law, the legend was added 
that he had reproved the priests of Nob, who had been 
baking the shewbread on the Sabbath. To the first argu- 
ment of Christ St. Matthew adds this as His second, 
that the priests, in their services in the Temple, necessarily 
broke the Sabbath-Law without thereby incurring guilt. 

In truth, the Sabbath-Law was not one merely of rest, 
but of rest for worship. The Service of the Lord was the 
object in view. The priests worked on the Sabbath, be- 
cause this service was the object of the Sabbath ; and 
David was allowed to eat of the shewbread, not because 
there was danger to life from starvation, but because he 
pleaded that he was on the service of the Lord, and needed 
this provision. 

To this St. Mark adds as a corollary : ' The Sabbath 
was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.' It is 
remarkable that a similar argument is used by the Rabbis. 
When insisting that the Sabbath-Law should be set aside 
to avoid danger to life, it is urged : ' the Sabbath is handed 
over to you ; not, ye are handed over to the Sabbath.' 
Lastly, the three Evangelists record this as the final out- 
come of His teaching on this subject, that ' The Son of 
Man is Lord of the Sabbath also.' The Service of God, 
and the Service of the Temple, by universal consent, 
superseded the Sabbath-Law. But Christ was greater 
than the Temple, and His Service more truly that of God, 
and higher than that of the outward Temple — and the 
Sabbath was intended for man, to serve God : therefore 
Christ and His Service were superior to the Sabbath-Law. 
Thus much would be intelligible to these Pharisees, 
although they would not receive it, because they believed 
not on Him as the Sent of God. 

But to us the words mean more than this. We are 

254 Jesus the Messiah 

free while we are doing anything for Christ; God loves 
mercy, and demands not sacrifice ; His sacrifice is the 
service of Christ, in heart, and life, and work. We are 
not free to do anything we please ; but we are free to do 
anything needful or helpful, while we are doing any ser- 
vice to Christ. He is the Lord of the Sabbath, Whom we 
serve in and through the Sabbath. 

The question as between Christ and the Pharisees was 
not, however, to end here. l On another Sabbath ' — pro- 
bably that following — He was in their Synagogue. 
Whether or not the Pharisees had brought ' the man with 
the withered hand ' on purpose, or otherwise raised the 
question, certain it is that their secret object was to com- 
mit Christ to some word or deed, which would lay Him 
open to the capital charge of breaking the Sabbath-Law. 
It does not appear whether the man with the withered 
hand was consciously or unconsciously their tool. But in 
this they judged rightly : that Christ would not witness 
disease without removing it — or, as we might express it, 
that disease could not continue in the Presence of Him 
Who was the Life. He read their inward thoughts of evil, 
and yet He proceeded to do the good which He purposed. 

So much unciearness prevails as to the Jewish views 
about healing on the Sabbath that some connected infor- 
mation on the subject seems needful. We have already 
seen that in their view only actual danger to life warranted 
a breach of the Sabbath-Law. But this opened a large 
field for discussion. Thus, according to some, disease of 
the ear, according to some throat-disease, while, according 
to others, such a disease as angina, involved danger, and 
superseded the Sabbath-Law. All applications to the out- 
side of the body were forbidden on the Sabbath. As 
regarded internal remedies, such substances as were used 
in health, but had also a remedial effect, might be taken, 
although here also there was a way of evading the Law. 
A person suffering from toothache might not gargle his 
mouth with vinegar, but he might use an ordinary tooth- 
brush and dip it in vinegar. Medical aid might be called 
in if a person had swallowed a piece of glass ; a splinter 

Healing the Man with the Withered Hand 255 

might be removed from the eye, and even a thorn from 
the body. 

But although the man with the withered hand could 
not be classed with those dangerously ill, it could not have 
been difficult to silence the Rabbis on their own admissions. 
Clearly, their principle implied that it was lawful on the 
Sabbath to do that which would save life or prevent death. 
But if so, did it not also, in strictly logical sequence, imply 
this far wider principle, that it must be lawful to do good 
on the Sabbath ? There was no answer to such an argu- 
ment ; St. Mark expressly records that they dared not 
• st. Mark attempt a reply.* On the other hand, St. 
*st. Matt. Matthew, while alluding to this challenge, 1 * re- 
xii. 12 cords yet another and a personal argument. It 

seems that Christ publicly appealed to them : If any poor 
man among them, who had one sheep, were in danger ot 
losing it through it having fallen into a pit, would he not 
lift it out ? To be sure, the Rabbinic Law ordered that food 
and drink should be lowered to it, or else that some means 
should be furnished by which it might either be kept up 
in the pit, or enabled to come out of it. And was not the 
life of a human being to be more accounted of? 

We can now imagine the scene in that Synagogue. 
The place is crowded. Christ probably occupies a promi- 
nent position as leading the prayers or teaching : a position 
whence He can see, and be seen by all. Here, eagerly 
bending forward, are the dark faces of the Pharisees, ex- 
pressive of curiosity, malice, cunning. They are looking 
k-m t„i™ round at a man whose right hand is withered, 

• too. JjUKe # m 1 5 • i_« 

vi - 6 perhaps putting him forward, drawing attention 

to him, loudly whispering, ■ Is it lawful to heal on tihe 
Sabbath-day?' The Lord takes up the challenge. He 
bids the man stand forth — right in the midst of them, 
where they might all see and hear. By one of those telling 
appeals, which go straight to the conscience, He puts the 
analogous case of a poor man who was in danger of losing 
his only sheep on the Sabbath : would he not rescue it ; 
and was not a man better than a sheep ? Nay, did they 
not themselves enjoin a breach of the Sabbath-Law to save 

256 Jesus the Messiah 

human life ? Then must He not do so ; might He not do 
good rather than evil ? 

They were speechless. But a strange mixture of feel- 
ing was in the Saviour's heart : 'And when He had looked 
round about on them with anger, being grieved at the 
hardening of their heart.' It was but for a moment, and 
then He bade the man stretch forth his hand. Withered 
it was no longer, when the Word had been spoken. A 
fresh life had streamed into it, as, following the Saviour's 
Eye and Word, he slowly stretched it forth. And as he 
stretched it forth, his hand was restored. The Saviour 
had broken their Sabbath-Law, and yet He had not broken 
it, for neither by remedy, nor touch, nor outward applica- 
tion had He healed him. He had broken the Sabbath-rest, 
as God breaks it, when He sends, or sustains, or restores 
life, or does good. 

They had all seen it, this miracle of almost new creation. 
, st Luke As they saw it, ' they were filled with madness.' a 
vi. 11 They could not gainsay, but they went forth and 

took counsel with the Herodians against Him, how they 
might destroy Him. Presumably, then, He was within, or 
quite close by, the dominions of Herod, east of the Jordan. 
And the Lord withdrew once more, as it seems to us, into 
Gentile territory, probably that of the Decapolis. For, as 
He went about healing all that needed it in that great 
multitude that followed His steps, yet enjoining silence 
on them, this prophecy of Isaiah blazed into fulfilment : 
' Behold My Servant, Whom I have chosen, My Beloved, 
in Whom My soul is well-pleased ; I will put My Spirit 
upon Him, and He shall declare judgment to the Gentiles. 
He shall not strive nor cry aloud, neither shall any hear 
His Voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall He not 
break, and smoking flax shall He not quench, till He send 
forth judgment unto victory. And in His Name shall the 
Gentiles trust.* 




(St. Matt. xv. 32-xvi. 12 ; St. Mark viii. 1-21.) 

It is remarkable that each time Christ's prolonged stay 
and Ministry in a district were brought to a close with 
some supper, so to speak, some festive entertainment on 
His part. The Galilean Ministry had closed with the feed- 
ing of the five thousand, the guests being mostly from 
Capernaum and the towns around, as far as Bethsaida 
(Julias), many in the number probably on their way to the 
Paschal Feast at Jerusalem. But now at the second pro- 
vision for the four thousand, with which His Decapolis 
Ministry closed, the guests were not strictly Jews, but 
semi-Gentile inhabitants of that district and its neighbour- 
hood. Lastly, His Judaean Ministry closed with the Last 
Supper. At the first ' Supper/ the Jewish guests would 
fain have proclaimed Him Messiah-King ; at the second, 
as ' the Son of Man,' He gave food to those Gentile multi- 
tudes which, having been with Him those days, and con- 
sumed all their victuals during their stay with Him, He 
could not send away fasting, lest they should faint by the 
way. And on the last occasion, as the true Priest and 
Sacrifice, He fed His own with the true Paschal Feast ere 
He sent them forth alone into the wilderness. Thus these 
three ' Suppers' seem connected, each leading up, as it 
were, to the other. 

There can be little doubt that this second feeding of 
the multitude took place in the Gentile Decapolis, and that 
those who sat down to the meal were chiefly the inhabitants 
of that district. If it be lawful, departing from strict 
history, to study the symbolism of this event, as compared 
with the previous feeding of the five thousand who were 
Jews, somewhat singular differences will present themselves 


25 8 Jesus the Messiah 

to the mind. On the former occasion there were five 
thousand fed with five loaves, when twelve baskets of frag- 
ments were left. On the second occasion, four thousand 
were fed from seven loaves, and seven baskets of fragments 
collected. It is at least curious that the number jive in 
the provision for the Jews is that of the Pentateuch, just 
as the number twelve corresponds to that of the tribes and 
of the Apostles. On the other hand, in the feeding of the 
Gentiles we mark the number four, which is the signature 
of the world, and seven, which is that of the Sanctuary. 

On all general points the narratives of the twofold 
miraculous feeding run so parallel that it is not necessary 
again to consider this event in detail. But the attendant 
circumstances are quite unlike. There are broad lines of 
difference as to the number of persons, the provision, and 
the quantity of fragments left. On the former occasion 
the repast was provided in the evening for those who had 
gone after Christ, and listened to Him all day ; who had 
been so busy for the Bread of Life that they had forgotten 
that of earth. But on this second occasion, of the feeding 
of the Gentiles, the multitude had been three days with 
Him, and what sustenance they had brought must have 
failed, when, in His compassion, the Saviour would not 
send them to their homes fasting, lest they should faint by 
the way. And it must be kept in view that Christ dis- 
missed them, not, as before, because they would have made 
Kim their King. Yet another marked difference lies even 
in the designation of ' the baskets ' in which the fragments 
left were gathered. At the first feeding they were, as the 
Greek word shows, the small wicker-baskets which each of 
the Twelve would carry in his hand. At the second feed- 
ing they were the large baskets, in which provisions, chiefly 
bread, were stored or carried for longer voyages. For on 
the first occasion, when they passed into Israelitish terri- 
tory — and, as they might think, left their home for a very 
brief time — there was not the same need to make provision 
for storing necessaries as on the second, when they were on 
a lengthened journey, and passing through or tarrying in 
Gentile territory. 

The Feeding of the Four Thousand 259 

But the most noteworthy difference seems to us this : 
that on the first occasion they who were fed were Jews ; 
on the second, Gentiles. There is a little trait in the 
narrative which affords striking, though undesigned, evi- 
dence of this. In referring to the blessing which Jesus 
spake over the first meal, it was noted that, in strict 
accordance with Jewish custom, He only rendered thanks 
once over the bread. But no such custom would rule His 
conduct when dispensing the food to the Gentiles ; and, 
indeed, His speaking the blessing only over the bread, 
while He was silent when distributing the fishes, would 
probably have given rise to misunderstanding. Accord- 
ingly, we find it expressly stated that He not only gave 
• st. Mark thanks over the bread, but also spake the bless- 
viii. 6. 7 j n g over ^ e fi snes# a j^ or snou i3 we? w hen mark- 
ing such undesigned evidence, omit to notice that oa the 
first occasion, which was immediately before the Passover, 
the guests were, as three of the Evangelists expressly 
b gt Matt state, ranged on ' the grass,' b while, on the 
xiv.19; present occasion, which must have been several 
39"; st.johA weeks later, when in the East the grass would 
V1 * 10 be burnt up, we are told by the two Evangelists 

that they sat on ' the ground.' 

On the occasion referred to in the preceding narrative, 
those who had lately taken counsel together against Jesus — 
the Pharisees and the Herodians, or, to put it otherwise, 
the Pharisees and Sadducees — were not present. For those 
who, politically speaking, were ' Herodians ' might also, 
though perhaps not religiously speaking, yet from the 
Jewish standpoint of St. Matthew, be designated as, or 
else include, Sadducees. But they were soon to reappear 
on the scene, as Jesus came close to the Jewish territory 
of Herod. * As Jesus sent away the multitude whom He 
had fed, He took ship with His disciples, and 'came into 
« st Matt, the borders of Magadan,' c or, as St. Mark puts it, 
IV - 39 < the parts of Dalmanutha.' Neither ' Magadan ' 

nor ' Dalmanutha ' has been identified. This only we infer, 
that the place was close to, yet not within the boundary 
of strictly Jewish territory ; since on His arrival there the 

2Co Jesus the Messiah 

Pharisees are said to ' come forth ' a — a word which 
• st. Mark implies that they resided elsewhere, though, of 
vitt.ll course, in the neighbourhood. We can quite 
understand the challenge on the part of Sadducees of ' a 
sign from heaven.' They would disbelieve the heavenly 
Mission of Christ, or, indeed, to use a modern term, any 
supra-naturalistic connection between heaven and earth. 
But in the mouth of the Pharisees also it had a special 
meaning. Certain supposed miracles had been either wit- 
nessed by, or testified to them, as done by Christ. As 
they now represented it — since Christ laid claims which 
in their view were inconsistent with the doctrine received 
in Israel, preached a Kingdom quite other than that of 
Jewish expectancy, was at issue with all Jewish customs, 
more than this, was a breaker of the Law, in its most 
important commandments, as they understood them — it 
followed that, according to Deut. xiii., He was a false 
prophet, who was not to be listened to. Then, also, must 
the miracles which He did have been wrought by the power 
of Beelzebul, ' the lord of idolatrous worship,' the very 
prince of devils. But had there been real signs, and 
might it not all have been an illusion ? Let Him show 
them ( a sign,' and let that sign come direct from heaven ! 

It is said that Rabbi Eliezer, when his teaching was 
challenged, successfully appealed to certain ' signs.' First, a 
locust tree moved at his bidding one hundred, or according 
to some, four hundred cubits. Next the channels of water 
were made to flow backwards. Then the walls of the 
Academy leaned forward, and were only arrested at the 
bidding of another Rabbi. Lastly, Eliezer exclaimed : ' If 
the Law is as I teach, let it be proved from heaven ! ' when 
a voice fell from the sky : ' What have ye to do with Rabbi 
Eliezer, for the Halakhah is as he teaches ? ' 

It was, therefore, no strange thing, when the Pharisees 
asked of Jesus ' a sign from heaven,' to attest His claims 
and teaching. The answer which He gave was among 
the most solemn which the leaders of Israel could have 
heard. They had asked Him virtually for some sign of 
His Messiahship ; some striking vindication from heaven 

The ' Sign from Heaven 261 

of His claims. It would be given them only too soon. 
By the light of the flames of Jerusalem and the Sanctuary 
were the words on the Cross to be read again. The burn- 
ing of Jerusalem was God's answer to the Jews' cry, 
' Away with Him — we have no king but Caesar ; ' the 
thousands of crosses on which the Romans hanged their 
captives, the terrible counterpart of the Cross on Golgotha. 
It was to this that Jesus referred in His reply to the 
Pharisees and ' Sadducean ' Herodians. Men could dis- 
cern by the appearance of the sky whether the day would 
be fair or stormy. And yet, when all the signs of the 
gathering storm that would destroy their city and people, 
were clearly visible, they, the leaders of the people, failed 
to perceive them ! Israel asked for ' a sign '—but none 
should be given the doomed land and city other than that 
which had been given to Nineveh: 'the sign of Jonah.' 
The only sign to Nineveh was Jonah's solemn warning 
and call to repentance ; and the only sign now, or rather, 
» st. Mark ' unto this generation no sign,' a was the warn- 
bstLuke in g cl 7 of judgment and the loving call to 
xix. 41-44 repentance. 5 

It was but a natural sequence that 'He left them 
and departed.' Once more the ship bore Him and His 
disciples towards the coast of Bethsaida-Julias. He was 
on his way to the utmost limit of the land, to Caasarea 
Philippi, in pursuit of His purpose to delay the final con- 
flict. For the great crisis must begin, as it would end, 
in Jerusalem, and at the Feast; it would begin at the 
est John Feast of Tabernacles, and it would end at the 
** following Passover. But by the way the disciples 

themselves showed how little even they, who had so long 
and closely followed Christ, understood His teaching, and 
how prone to misapprehension their spiritual dulness 
rendered them. 

When the Lord touched the other shore, His mind and 
heart were still full of the scene from which He had lately 
passed. For truly on this demand for a sign did the 
future of Israel seem to hang. And now, when they 
landed, they carried ashore the empty provision baskets ; 

262 Jesus the Messiah 

for, as, with his usual attention to details, St. Mark notes, 
they had only brought one loaf of bread with them. In 
fact, in the excitement and hurry 'they forgot to take 
bread.' Whether or not something connected with this 
arrested the attention of Christ, He broke the silence, 
speaking that which was so much on His mind. He 
warned them, as greatly they needed it, of the leaven 
with which Pharisees and Sadducees had, each in their 
own manner, leavened, and so corrupted, the holy bread 
of Scripture-truth. The disciples, aware that in their 
hurry and excitement they had forgotten bread, mis- 
understood these words of Christ. They thought the words 
implied that in His view they had not forgotten to bring 
bread, but purposely omitted to do so, in order, like the 
Pharisees and Sadducees, to ' seek of Him a sign ' of His 
Divine Messiahship — nay, to oblige Him to show such: 
that of miraculous provision in their want. The mere 
suspicion showed what was in their minds, and pointed to 
their danger. This explains how, in His reply, Jesus re- 
proved them, not for utter want of discernment, but only 
for 'little faith/ It was their lack of faith — the very 
leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees — which had sug- 
gested such a thought. Again, if the experience of the 
past had taught them anything, it should have been to 
believe that the needful provision of their wants by Christ 
was not ' a sign,' such as the Pharisees had asked, but 
what faith might ever expect from Christ, when following 
after or waiting upon Him. Then understood they 
truly that it was not of the leaven of bread that He had 
bidden them beware, but pointed to the far more real 
danger of ' the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees,' 
which had underlain the demand for a sign from heaven. 



(St. Matt. xvi. 13-28; St. Mark viii. 27-ix. 1; St. Luke ix. 18-27.) 

If we are right in identifying the little bay — Dalraanutha 
—with the neighbourhood of Tarichaea, yet another link 
of strange coincidence connects the prophetic warning 
spoken there with its fulfilment. From Dalmanutha our 
Lord passed across the Lake to Caesarea Philippi. From 
Csesarea Philippi did Vespasian pass through Tiberias 
to Taricheea, when the town and people were destroyed, 
and the blood of the fugitives reddened the Lake, and 
their bodies choked its waters. Even amidst the horrors 
of the last Jewish war, few spectacles could have been so 
sickening as that of the wild stand at Tarichaea, ending 
with the butchery of 6,500 on land and sea ; and lastly, the 
vile treachery by which they to whom mercy had been 
promised were lured into the circus at Tiberias, when 
the weak and old, to the number of about 1,200, were 
slaughtered, and the rest— upwards of 30,400— sold into 
slavery. Well might He, who foresaw and foretold that 
terrible end, standing on that spot, deeply sigh in spirit 
as He spake to them who asked ' a sign,' and yet saw not 
what even ordinary discernment might have perceived of 
the red and lowering sky overhead. 

From Dalmanutha, across the Lake, then by the plain 
where so lately the five thousand had been fed, and near 
to Bethsaida, would the road of Christ and His disciples 
lead to the capital of the Tetrarch Philip, the ancient 
Paneas, or, as it was then called, Caesarea Philippi, the 
modern Banias. 

The situation of the ancient Caesarea Philippi (1,147 
feet above the sea) is, indeed, magnificent. Nestling amid 
three valleys on a terrace in the angle of Hermon, it is 
almost shut out from view by cliffs and woods. The 

2(5 4 Jesus the Messiah 

western side of a steep mountain, crowoed by the ruins of 
an ancient castle, forms an abrupt rock- wall. Here from 
out an immense cavern bursts a river. These are ' the 
upper sources' of the Jordan. This cave, an ancient 
sanctuary of Pan, gave its earliest name of Paneas to the 
town. Here Herod, when receiving the tetrarchy from 
Augustus, built a temple in his honour. On the rocky 
wall close by, votive niches may still be traced, one of them 
bearing the Greek inscription, < Priest of Pan.' When 
Herod's son, Philip, received the tetrarchy, he enlarged 
and greatly beautified the ancient Paneas, and called it in 
honour of the Emperor, Caesarea Philippi. 

It was into this chiefly Gentile district that the Lord 
now withdrew with His disciples after that last and de- 
cisive question of the Pharisees. It was here that as His 
question, like Moses' rod, struck their hearts, there leaped 
from the lips of Peter the living, life-spreading waters of 
his confession. It may have been that this rock-wall 
below the castle, from under which sprang Jordan, or the 
rock on which the castle stood, supplied the material sug- 
gestion for Christ's words : 'Thou art Peter,, and on this 
rock will I build My Church.' In Caasarea, or its im- 
mediate neighbourhood, did the Lord spend with His dis- 
ciples six days after this confession ; and here, close by, 
on one of the heights of snowy Hermon, was the scene of 
»2Pet.i.i9 tlie Transfiguration, the light of which shone 
for ever into the hearts of the disciples on their 
dark and tangled path. a 

The trial to which Jesus had put His disciples' faith at 
Capernaum was only renewed and deepened by all that 
followed. It should be remembered that His refusal to 
meet the challenge of ' a sign ' of the Sadducees must have 
left the impression of a virtual defeat, while His subsequent 
'hard sayings' led to the defection of many. Un- 
doubtedly the faith of the disciples had been greatly tried, 
as appears also from the question of Christ : ' Will ye also 
go away ? ' ^ But here it was their whole past experience in 
following Him which enabled them to overcome. Almost 
like a cry of despair goes up that shout of victory : ' Lord, 

Peter's Great Confession 265 

to whom shall we go ? Thou hast the words of eternal 

We shall, perhaps, best understand the progress of 
this trial when following it in him who, at last, made ship- 
wreck of his faith : Judas Iscariot. Without attempting 
to penetrate the Satanic element in his apostasy, we may- 
trace his course in its psychological development. We 
must not regard Judas as a monster, but as one with 
like passions as ourselves. True, there was one terrible 
master-passion in his soul — covetousness ; but that was 
only the downward, lower aspect of what seems, and to 
many really is, that which leads to the higher and better — 
ambition. It had been thoughts of Israel's King which 
had first set his imagination on fire, and brought him to 
follow the Messiah. Gradually, increasingly, came the 
disenchantment. It was quite another Kingdom, that of 
Christ ; quite another Kingship than what had set Judas 
aglow. This feeling was deepened as events proceeded. 
His confidence must have been rudely shaken when the 
Baptist was beheaded. Then came the next disappoint- 
ment, when Jesus would not be made King. Why not — 
if He were King? And so on, step by step, till the final 
depth was reached, when Jesus would not, or could not — 
which was it ? — meet the public challenge of the Pharisees. 
We take it that it was then that the leaven pervaded 
and leavened Judas in heart and soul. 

We repeat that what so permanently penetrated Judas 
could not (as Christ's warning shows) have left the others 
wholly unaffected. The very presence of Judas with them 
must have had its influence. The littleness of their faith 
required correction ; it must grow and become strong. 
And so we can understand what follows. It was after 
» st. Luke solitary prayer — no doubt for them a — that, with 
ix. is reference to the challenge of the Pharisees, ' the 

leaven ' that threatened them, He now gathered up all their 
experience of the past by putting to them the question, 
what men, the people who had watched His Works and 
heard His Words, regarded Him as being. Even on them 
some conviction had been wrought by their observance of 

266 Jesus the Mess/ah 

Him. It marked Him out (as the disciples said) as dif- 
ferent from all around, nay, from all ordinary men : like 
the Baptist, or Elijah, or as if He were one of the old 
prophets alive again. But, if even the multitude had 
gathered such knowledge of Him, what was their experience 
who had always been with Him ? Answered he, who most 
truly represented the Church, because he combined with 
the most advanced experience of the three most intimate 
disciples the utmost boldness of confession : ' Thou art the 
Christ ! ' 

And so in part was this ' leaven' of the Pharisees 
purged! Yet not wholly. For then it was that Christ 
spake to them of His sufferings and death, and that the 
resistance of Peter showed how deeply that leaven had 
penetrated. And then followed the grand contrast pre- 
sented by Christ, between minding the things of men 
and those of God, with the warning which it implied, and 
the monition as to the necessity of bearing the cross of 
contempt, and the absolute call to do so, as addressed 
to those who would be His disciples. Here, then, the 
contest about ' the sign,' or rather the challenge about the 
Messiahship, was carried from the mental into the moral 
sphere, and so decided. Six days more of quiet waiting 
and growth of faith, and it was met, rewarded, crowned, and 
perfected by the sight on the Mount of Transfiguration ; 
yet, even so, perceived only as through the heaviness of sleep. 

We are probably correct in supposing that popular 
opinion did not point to Christ as literally the Baptist, 
Elijah, Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets who had 
long been dead. Rather would it mean that some saw in 
Him the continuation of the work of John, as heralding 
and preparing the way of the Messiah, or, if they did not 
believe in John, of that of Elijah ; while to others He 
seemed a second Jeremiah, denouncing woe on Israel, and 
calling to tardy repentance : or else one of those old pro- 
phets, who had spoken either of the near judgment or of 
the coming glory. But however men differed on these 
points, in this all agreed, that they regarded Him not as 
an ordinarv man or teacher, but His Mission as straight 

Peter's Great Confession 267 

from heaven ; and in this also, that they did not view Him 
as the Messiah. 

There is a significant emphasis in the words with 
which Jesus turned from the opinion of ' the multitudes ' 
to elicit the faith of the disciples : ' But you, whom do 
you say that I am?' In that moment it leaped, by the 
power of God, to the lips of Peter : l Thou art the Christ 

• st. Matt, (the Messiah), the Son of the Living God/ a St. 
xvi. is Chrysostom has beautifully designated Peter as 

* the mouth of the Apostles ' — and we recall, in this con- 
nection, the words of St. Paul as casting light on the re- 
presentative character of Peter's confession as that of the 
Church, and hence on the meaning of Christ's reply, and 

its equally representative application : * With the 
mouth confession is made unto salvation.' b The 
words of the confession are given somewhat differently by 
the three Evangelists. From our standpoint, the briefest 
form (that of St. Mark) : ' Thou art the Christ,' means 
quite as much as the fullest (that of St. Matthew) : ' Thou 
art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.' We can thus 
understand how the latter might be truthfully adopted, 
and, indeed, would be the most truthful, accurate, and 
suitable in a Gospel primarily written for the Jews. And 
here we notice that the most exact form of the words 
seems that in the Gospel of St. Luke : ' The Christ of God.' 
Previously to the confession of Peter, the ship's com- 
pany, that had witnessed His walking on the water, had 

• st. Matt, owned : ' Of a truth Thou art the Son of God,' c 
xiv. 33 Du £ no fc j n the sense in which a well-informed, 
believing Jew would hail Him as the Messiah, and 'the 
Son of the Living God,' designating both His* Office and 
His Nature — and these two in their combination. Again, 
Peter himself had made a confession of Christ, when, after 

* st. John His Discourse at Capernaum, so many of His 
*• 69 disciples had forsaken Him. It had been : ' We 
have believed, and know that Thou art the Holy One of 
God.' d 

But now he has consciously reached the firm ground 
of Messianic acknowledgment. All else is implied in this, 

268 Jesus the Messiah 

and would follow from it. It is the first real confession 
• st. Luke °f tne Church. We can understand how it fol- 
ix. is lowed after solitary prayer by Christ a — we can 

scarcely doubt, for that very revelation by the Father, which 
He afterwards joyously recognised in the words of Peter. 

The reply of the Saviour is only recorded by St. 
Matthew. The whole form is Hebraistic. The ' blessed 
art thou ' is Jewish ; the address, ' Simon bar Jona,' proves 
that the Lord spake in Aramaic. The expression ' flesh 
and blood,' as contrasted with God, occurs not only in that 
Apocryphon of strictly Jewish authorship, the Wisdom of 
the Son of Sirach, b and in the letters of St. Paul, c 
i8; C xvii. , 3i v ' but in almost innumerable passages in Jewish 
50; Gai X i writings, as denoting man in opposition to God ; 
16 ; Eph. vi while the revelation of such a truth by ' the 
Father Which is in Heaven,' represents not only 
both Old and New Testament teaching, but is clothed in 
language familiar to Jewish ears. 

Not less Jewish in form are the succeeding words of 
Christ : ' Thou art Peter (Petros), and upon this Rock 
(Petra) will I build My Church.' We notice in the ori- 
ginal the change from the masculine gender, ' Peter ' 
(Petros), to the feminine, ' Petra ' (' Rock '), which seems 
the more significant, that Petros is used in Greek for 
' stone,' and also sometimes for ' rock,' while Petra always 
means a 'rock.' The change of gender must therefore 
have a definite object. The Greek word Rock (' on this 
Petra [Rock] will I build my Church ') was used in the 
same sense in Rabbinic language. According to Jewish 
ideas, the world would not have been created, unless it 
had rested, as it were, on some solid foundation of piety 
and acceptance of God's Law — in other words, it required 
a moral, before it could receive a physical foundation. It 
is, so runs the comment, as if a king were going to build 
a city. One and another site is tried for a foundation, 
but in digging they always come upon water. At last 
they come upon a Rock. So, when God was about to build 
His world, He could not rear it on the generation of Enos, 
nor on that of the flood, who brought destruction on the 

The Great Commission 269 

world ; but ' when He beheld that Abraham would arise 
in the future, He said : Behold I have found a Rock to 
build on it, and to found the world,' whence also Abraham 
is called a Rock, as it is said : a ' Look unto the 
Rock whence ye are hewn/ The parallel between 
Abraham and Peter might be carried even further. If, 
from a misunderstanding of the Lord's promise to Peter, 
later Christian legend represented the Apostle as sitting 
at the gate of heaven, Jewish legend represents Abraham 
as sitting at the gate of Gehenna, so as to prevent all who 
had the seal of circumcision from falling into its abyss. 

But to return. Relieving that Jesus spoke to Peter in 
the Aramaic, we can now understand how the words Petros 
and Petra would be purposely used by Christ to mark the 
difference which their choice would suggest. Perhaps it 
might be expressed in this somewhat clumsy paraphrase : 
' Thou art Peter (Petros) — a Stone or Rock — and upon 
this Petra — the Rock, the Petrine — will I found My 
Church.' If, therefore, we would not entirely limit the 
reference to the words of Peter's confession, we would 
certainly apply them to that which was the Petrine in 
Peter : the heaven-given faith which manifested itself in 
his confession. And we can further understand how, just 
as Christ's contemporaries may have regarded the world as 
reared on the rock of faithful Abraham, so Christ promised 
that He would build His Church on the Petrine in Peter — 
on his faith and confession. Nor would the term ' Church ' 
sound strange in Jewish ears. The same Greek word 
(i/cfc\r)(ria), as the equivalent of the Hebrew which is 
rendered in our version ' convocation,' ' the called,' was 
apparently in familiar use at the time. In Hebrew use it 
referred to Israel, not in their national but in their religious 
unity. As here employed, it would convey the prophecy 
that His disciples would in the future be joined together 
in a religious unity ; that this religious unity or ' Church ' 
would be a building of which Christ was the Builder ; that 
it would be founded on ' the Petrine ' of heaven-taught 
faith and confession ; and that this religions unity, this 
Church, was not only intended for a time, like a school of 

270 Jesus the Messiah 

thought, but would last beyond death and the disembodied 
state : that, alike as regarded Christ and His Church — 
' the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.' 

Viewing ' the Church ' as a building founded upon * the 
Petrine,' it was not to vary. To carry on the same meta- 
phor, Christ promised to give to him who had spoken as re- 
presentative of the Apostles — ' the stewards of the mysteries 
of God ' — ' the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.' For, as 
the religious unity of His disciples, or the Church, repre- 
sented ' the royal rule of heaven,' so, figuratively, entrance 
into the gates of this building, submission to the rule of 
God — to that Kingdom of which Christ was the King. 
And we remember how, in a special sense, this promise was 
fulfilled to Peter. Even as he had been the first to utter 
the confession of the Church, so was he also privileged to 
be the first to open its hitherto closed gates to the Gen- 
tiles, when God made choice of him, that, through his 

• Acts xv. 7 mouth, the Gentiles should first hear the words of 
b Acts x. 48 the Gogp^a and at k is bidding first be baptized. b 

Our primary inquiry must here be, what the further 
words of Christ would convey to the person to whom the 
promise was addressed. And here we recall that no other 
terms were in more constant use in Rabbinic Canon-Law 
than those of ' binding ' and ' loosing.' The words are the 
literal translation of the Hebrew ' to bind,' in the sense of 
prohibiting, and ' to loose,' in the sense of permitting. The 
power of ' binding and loosing ' was one claimed by the 
Rabbis. It represented the legislative, while another pre- 
tension, that of declaring ' free ' or else ' liable,' i.e. guilty, 
expressed their claim to the judicial power. By the first 
of these they ' bound ' or ' loosed ' acts or things ; by the 
second they ' remitted ' or ' retained,' declared a person 
free from, or liable to punishment, to compensation, or to 
sacrifice. These two powers — the legislative and judicial — 
which belonged to the Rabbinic office, Christ now trans- 
ferred, and that not in their pretension, but in their reality, 

• st. John to His Apostles : the first here to Peter as their 
rx. 23 Representative, the second after His Resurrection 

to the Church. 

The Great Commission 271 

On the second of these powers we need not at present 
dwell. That of ' binding ' and ' loosing ' included all the 
legislative functions for the new Church. In the view of 
the Rabbis heaven was like earth, and questions were dis- 
cussed and settled by a heavenly Sanhedrin. Now, in regard 
to some of their earthly decrees, they were wont to say that 
{ the Sanhedrin above ' confirmed what ' the Sanhedrin be- 
neath ' had done. But the words of Christ, as they avoided 
the foolish conceit of His contemporaries, left it not doubt- 
ful, but conveyed the assurance that, under the guidance of 
the Holy Ghost, whatsoever they bound or loosed on earth 
would be bound or loosed in heaven. 

But all this that had passed between them could not 
be matter of common talk — least of all, at that crisis in 
His History, and in that locality. Accordingly, all the 
three Evangelists record — each with distinctive emphasis — 
that the open confession of His Messiahship, which was 
virtually its proclamation, was not to be made public. 
Among the people it could only have led to results the 
opposite of those to be desired. How unprepared even 
that Apostle was, who had made proclamation of the 
Messiah, for what his confession implied, and how ignorant 
of the real meaning of Israel's Messiah, appeared only too 
soon. The Evangelists, indeed, write it down in plain 
language, as fully taught them by later experience, that 
He was to be rejected by the rulers of Israel, slain, and 
to rise again the third day. And there can be as little 
doubt that Christ's language (as afterwards they looked 
back upon it) must have clearly implied all this, as that at 
the time they did not fully understand it. They could 
well understand His rejection by the Scribes — a sort of 
figurative death, or violent suppression of His claims and 
doctrines, and then, after briefest period, their resurrection, 
as it were — but not these terrible details in their full 

But, even so, there was enough of realism in the 
words of Jesus to alarm Peter. His very affection, in- 
tensely human, to the Human Personality of his Master 
would lead him astray. He put it in the very strongest 

2J2 Jesus the Messiah 

language, although the Evangelist gives only a literal 
translation of the Rabbinic expression — God forbid it, ' God 
be merciful to Thee : ' no, such never could, nor should 
be to the Christ! It was an appeal to the Human in 
Christ, just as Satan had, in the great Temptation after 
the forty days' fast, appealed to the purely Human in 

Yet Peter's words were to be made useful, by affording 
to the Master the opportunity of correcting what was amiss 
in the hearts of all His disciples, and teaching them such 
general principles about His Kingdom, and about that 
implied in true discipleship, as would, if received in the 
heart, enable them in due time victoriously to bear those 
trials connected with that rejection and Death of the Christ, 
which at the time they could not understand. Not a 
Messianic Kingdom, with glory to its heralds and chieftains 
— but self-denial, and the voluntary bearing of that cross 
on which the powers of this world would nail the followers 
of Christ. They knew the torture which their masters 
— the power of the world — the Romans, were wont to inflict : 
such must they, and similar must we all, be prepared to 
bear, and in so doing begin by denying self. In such a 
contest to lose life would be to gain it, to gain would be 
to lose life. And if the issue lay between these two, who 
could hesitate what to choose, even if it were ours to gain 
or lose a whole world? For behind it all there was a 
reality — a Messianic triumph and Kingdom — not, indeed, 
such as they imagined, but far higher, holier : the Coming 
• st. Matt, °f * ne Son of Man in the glory of His Father, 
xvi. 24-27 an( } w itn His Angels, and then eternal gain or 
loss, according to our deeds.* 

But why speak of the future and distant ? ' A sign ' 
— a terrible sign of it ' from heaven,' a vindication of the 
Christ Whom they, had slain, invoking His Blood on their 
City and Nation, a vindication such as alone these men 
could understand, of the reality of His Resurrection and 
Ascension, was in the near future. The flames of the City 
and Temple would be the light in that nation's darkness, 
by which to read the inscription on the Cross. All this 

The Transfiguration 273 

not afar off. Some of those who stood there would not 
• st. Matt. ' taste death,' till in those judgments they would see 
xvi. 28 that the Son of Man had come in His Kingdom.* 


(St. Matt. xvii. 1-8 ; St. Mark ix. 2-8 ; St. Luke ix. 28-36.) 

The great confession of Peter, as the representative 
Apostle, had laid the foundations of the Church as such. 
In contradistinction to the varying opinions of even those 
best disposed towards Christ, it openly declared that Jesus 
was the Very Christ of God, the fulfilment of all Old 
Testament prophecy, the heir of Old Testament promise, 
the realisation of the Old Testament hope for Israel, and, 
in Israel, for all mankind. Without this confession, 
Christians might have been a Jewish sect, a religious 
party, or a school of thought, and Jesus a Teacher, Rabbi, 
Reformer, or Leader of men. But the confession which 
marked Jesus as the Christ also constituted His followers 
the Church. It separated them, as it separated Him, from 
all around ; it gathered them into One, even Christ ; and 
it marked out the foundation on which the building made 
without hands was to rise. Never was illustrative answer 
so exact as this : ' On this Rock ' — bold, outstanding, well- 
defined, immovable — ' will I build My Church.' 

Without doubt this confession also marked the high- 
point of the Apostles' faith. Never afterwards, till His 
Resurrection, did it reach so high. Nay, what followed 
seems rather a retrogression from it : beginning with their 
unwillingness to receive the announcement of His Decease, 
and ending with their unreadiness to share His sufferings 
or to believe in His Resurrection. 

Perhaps it was the Sabbath when Peter's great con- 
fession was made ; and the ' six days ' of St. Matthew and 
St. Mark become the ' about eight days' of St. Luke, when 
we reckon from that Sabbath to the close of another, and 
suppose that at even the Saviour ascended the Mount of 


274 Jesus the Messiah 

Transfiguration with the three Apostles : Peter, James, and 
John. There can scarcely be a reasonable doubt that 
Christ and His disciples had not left the neighbourhood of 
Caesarea, and hence that < the mountain ' must have been 
one of the slopes of gigantic, snowy Hermon. 

It was then, as we have suggested, the evening after 
the Sabbath, when the Master and those three of His dis- 
ciples, who were most closely linked to Him in heart and 
thought, climbed the path that led up to one of these heights. 

As St. Luke alone informs us, it was ' to pray ' that 
Jesus took them apart up into that mountain. ' To pray,' 
no doubt in connection with ' those sayings ; ' since their 
reception required quite as much the direct teaching of 
the Heavenly Father, as had the previous confession of 
Peter, of which it was, indeed, the complement. And the 
Transfiguration, with its attendant glorified Ministry and 
Voice from heaven, was God's answer to that prayer. 

On that mountain-top ' He prayed.' And, with deep 
reverence be it said, for Himself also did Jesus pray. He 
needed prayer, that in it His Soul might lie calm and still 
in the unruffled quiet of His Self-surrender, and the victory 
of His Sacrificial Obedience. And He needed prayer also, 
as the introduction to, and preparation for, His Trans- 
figuration. Truly, He stood on Hermon. It was the 
highest ascent, the widest prospect into the past, present, 
and future, in His Earthly Life. 

As we understand it, the prayer with them had ceased, 
or merged into silent prayer of each, or Jesus now prayed 
alone and apart, when what gives this scene such a truly 
human and truthful aspect ensued. It was but natural 
for these men of simple habits, at night, and after the 
long ascent, and in the strong mountain-air, to be heavy 
with sleep. ' They were heavy — weighted — with sleep,' 
as afterwards in Gethsemane their eyes were weighted. 8 
» st Matt Yet they struggled with it, and it is quite con- 
stMwk sistent with experience that they should continue 
xiv. 40 i n that state of semi-stupor during what passed be- 
tween Moses and Elijah and Christ, and also be 'fully awake' 
'to see His Glory, and the two men who stood with Him.' 

What they saw was their Master, while praying, 

The Transfiguration 275 

' transformed.' The ' form of God ' shone through the 
' form of a servant ; ' ' the appearance of His Face became 

• st. Luke other,' a it 'did shine as the sun. ,b Nay, the 

* st. Mat- whole Figure seemed bathed in light, the very 
thew garments whiter far than the snow on which the 
moon shone — ' so as no fuller on earth can white them,' c 

1 glittering,' d ' white as the light,' And more than 

c St. Mark thig they saw an( j heard> They gaw , with Hini 

" e two men,' e whom, in their heightened sensitive- 
ness to spiritual phenomena, they could have no 
difficulty in recognising, by such of their conversation as 
they heard, as Moses and Elijah. The column was now com- 
plete : the base in the Law ; the shaft in that Prophetism 
of which Elijah was the great Representative; and the 
apex in Christ Himself— a unity completely fitting to- 
gether in all its parts. And they heard also that they 
spake of ' His Exodus — outgoing — which He was about 
to fulfil at Jerusalem.' f Although the term 
1 Exodus,' ■ outgoing,' occurs otherwise for 
1 death,' we must bear in mind its meaning as contrasted 
with that in which the same Evangelic writer designates 
BActsxiii. the Birth of Christ, as His ' incoming.' g In 
24 truth, it implies not only His Decease, but its 

manner, and even His Resurrection and Ascension. In 
that sense we can understand the better, as on the lips of 
Moses and Elijah, this about His fulfilling that Exodus : 
accomplishing it in all its fulness, and so completing Law 
and Prophecy, type and prediction. 

And still that night of glory had not ended. A strange 
peculiarity has been noticed about Hermon : in ' a few 
minutes a thick cap forms over the top of the mountain, 
and as quickly disperses and entirely disappears.' Sud- 
denly a cloud passed over the clear brow of the mountain — 
not an ordinary, but ' a luminous cloud,' a cloud uplit, filled 
with light. As it laid itself between Jesus and the two 
Old Testament Representatives, it parted, and presently 
enwrapped them. Most significant is it, suggestive of the 
Presence of God, revealing, yet concealing — a cloud, yet 1 umi- 
nous. And this cloud overshadowed the disciples : the shadow 

T 2 

276 Jesus the Mess/ah 

of its light fell upon them. A nameless terror seized them. 
Fain would they have held what seemed to escape their grasp. 
Such vision had never before been vouchsafed to mortal 
man as had fallen on their sight ; they had heard Heaven's 
converse ; they had tasted Angels' Food, the Bread of His 
Presence. Could the vision not be perpetuated — at least 
prolonged ? In the confusion of their terror they knew 
not how otherwise to word it, than by an expression of 
ecstatic longing for the continuance of what they had, of 
their earnest readiness to do their little best, if they could 
but secure it — make booths for the heavenly Visitants — 
and themselves wait in humble service and reverent atten- 
tion on what their dull heaviness had prevented them from 
enjoying and profiting by to the full. They knew and felt 
it : ' Lord ' — ' Rabbi ' — ' Master ' — ' it is good for us to be 
here/ 'They wist not what they said.' In presence of the 
luminous cloud that enwrapped those glorified Saints, they 
spake from out that darkness which compassed them about. 

And now the light-cloud was spreading ; presently its 
fringe fell upon them. Heaven's awe was upon them : for 
the touch of the heavenly strains, almost to breaking, the 
bond betwixt body and soul. ' And a Voice came out of 
the cloud, saying, This is My Beloved Son : hear Him.' 
It had needed only One other Testimony to seal it all ; 
One other Voice, to give both meaning and music to what 
had been the subject of Moses' and Elijah's speaking. 
That Voice had now come — not in testimony to any fact, 
but to a Person — that of Jesus as His ' Beloved Son,' and 
in gracious direction to them. They heard it, falling on 
their faces in awestruck worship. 

How long the silence had lasted, and the last rays of 
the cloud had passed, we know not. Presently, it was a 
gentle touch roused them. It was the Hand of Jesus, 
as with words of comfort He reassured them : ' Arise, and 
be not afraid.' And as, startled, they looked round about 
them, they saw no man save Jesus only. The heavenly 
Visitants had gone, the last glow of the light-cloud had 
faded away, the echoes of Heaven's Voice had died out. 
It was night, and they were on the Mount with Jesus, and 
with Jesus only. 


(St. Matt. xvii. 9-21 ; St. Mark ix. 9-29 ; St. Luke ix. 37-43.) 

It was the early dawn of another summer's day when the 
Master and His disciples turned their steps once more 
towards the plain. They had seen His Glory ; they had 
had the most solemn witness which, as Jews, they could 
have; and they had gained a new knowledge of the Old 
Testament. It all bore reference to the Christ, and it 
spake of His Decease. Perhaps on that morning better 
than in the previous night did they realise the vision, and 
feel its calm happiness. 

It would be only natural that their thoughts should 
also wander to the companions and fellow-disciples whom 
on the previous evening they had left in the valley beneath. 
A light had been shed upon that hard saying concerning His 
Rejection and violent Death. They — at least these three — 
had formerly simply submitted to the saying of Christ 
because it was His, without understanding it; but now 
they had learned to see it in quite another light. How 
they must have longed to impart it to those whose diffi- 
culties were at least as great, perhaps greater ; who perhaps 
had not yet recovered from the rude shock which their 
Messianic thoughts and hopes had so lately received. 

But it was not to be so. Evidently it was not an event 
to be made generally known, either to the people or even 
to the great body of the disciples. They could not have 
understood its real meaning; in their ignorance they would 
have misapplied to carnal Jewish purposes its heavenly 
lessons. But even the rest of the Apostles must not know 
of it : that they were not qualified to witness it, proved 
that they were not prepared to hear of it. 

And so it was that, when the silence of that morning- 
descent was broken, the Master laid on them the command 
to tell no man of this vision, till after the Son of Man 
were risen from the dead. The silence thus enjoined was 

278 Jesus the Messiah 

the first step into the Valley of Humiliation. It was also 
a test whether they had understood the spiritual teaching 
of the vision. And their strict obedience, not questioning 
even the grounds of the injunction, proved that they had 
learned it. So entire, indeed, was their submission that 
they dared not even ask the Master about a new and 
beemingly greater mystery than they had yet heard : the 
• st. Mark meaning of the Son of Man rising from the 
■* 10 dead. a Did it refer to the general Resurrection ; 

was the Messiah to be the first to rise from the dead, and 
to waken the other sleepers — or was it only a figurative 
expression for His triumph and vindication? Evidently 
they knew as yet nothing of Christ's Personal Resurrection 
as separate from that of others, and on the third day after 
His Death. Among themselves, then and many times 
b st. Mark afterwards, in secret converse, they questioned 
ixl ° what the rising again from the dead should 

mean. b 

There was another question, and it they might ask of 
Jesus, since it concerned not the mysteries of the future 
but the lessons of the past. Thinking of that vision, of 
the appearance of Elijah and of his speaking of the Death 
of the Messiah, why did the Scribes say that Elijah should 
first come — and, as was the universal teaching, for the 
purpose of restoring all things? If, as they had seen, 
Elijah had come — but only for a brief season, not to abide 
together with Moses as they had wished when they proposed 
to rear them booths ; if he had come not to the people but 
to Christ, in view of only them three — and they were not 
even to tell of it ; and if it had been not to prepare for a 
spiritual restoration, but to speak of what implied the 
opposite : the Rejection and violent Death of the Messiah 
— then, were the Scribes right in their teaching, and what 
was its real meaning ? The question afforded the oppor- 
tunity of presenting to the disciples not only a solution 
of their difficulties, but another insight into the necessity 
of His Rejection and Death. They had failed to dis- 
tinguish between the coming of Elijah and its alternative 
sequence. Truly ' Elias cometh first ' and Elijah had ' come 

The Coming of Elijah 279 

already ' in the person of John the Baptist. The Divinely 
intended object of Elijah's coming was to 'restore all 
things.' This, of course, implied a moral element in the 
submission of the people to God, and their willingness to 
receive his message. Otherwise there was this Divine 
alternative in the prophecy of Malachi : ' Lest I come to 
smite the land with the ban/ Elijah had come; if the 
people had received his message there would have been 
the promised restoration of all things. As the Lord had 
• st. Matt sa, id on a previous occasion:* 'If ye are willing 
xi - 14 to receive him, this is Elijah, which is to come/ 

Similarly, if Israel had received the Christ, He would have 
gathered them as a hen her chickens for protection ; He 
would not only have been, but have visibly appeared as 
their King. But Israel did not know their Elijah, and 
did unto him whatsoever they listed; and so, in logical 
sequence, would the Son of Man also suffer of them. And 
thus has the other part of Malachi's prophecy been ful- 
filled, and the land of Israel been smitten with the ban. 

Amidst such conversation the descent from the moun- 
tain was accomplished. Presently they found themselves 
in view of a scene, which only too clearly showed that 
unfitness of the disciples for the heavenly vision of the 
preceding night, to which reference has been made. 

It was, indeed, a terrible contrast between the scene 
below and that vision of Moses and Elijah, when they had 
spoken of the Exodus of the Christ, and the Divine Voice had 
attested the Christ from out the luminous cloud. A con- 
course of excited people — among them once more ' Scribes/ 
who had tracked the Lord and come upon His weakest 
disciples in the hour of their greatest weakness — is gathered 
about a man who had in vain brought his lunatick son for 
healing. He is eagerly questioned by the multitude, and 
» st Matt moodily answers ; or, as it might almost seem 
xvit 14 f rom St. Matthew, b he is leaving the crowd and 
those from whom he had vainly sought help. This was 
the hour of triumph for these Scribes. The Master had 
refused the challenge in Dalmanutha, and the disciples, 
accepting it, had signally failed. There they were, ' ques- 

28o Jesus the Messiah 

tioning with them ' noisily, discussing this and all similar 
phenomena, but chiefly the power, authority, and reality of 
the Master. It reminds us of Israel's temptation in the 
wilderness, and we should scarcely wonder if they had 
even questioned the return of Jesus, as they of old did that 
of Moses. 

At that very moment Jesus appeared with the three. 
We cannot wonder that, ' when they saw Him, they were 
greatly amazed and running to Him saluted 
Him.' a Before the Master's inquiry about the 
cause of this violent discussion could be answered, the 
man who had been its occasion came forward and, ' kneel- 
» st. Mat- ing to Him,' b addressed Jesus. Describing the 
thew symptoms of his son's distemper, which were 

those of epilepsy and mania — although both the father 
and Jesus rightly attributed the disease to demoniac in- 
fluence — he told how he had come in search of the Master, 
but only found the nine disciples, and how they had 
attempted and failed in the desired cure. 

Why had they failed ? For the same reason that they 
had not been taken into the Mount of Transfiguration — 
because they were 'faithless.' because of their ' unbelief.' 
They had that outward faith of the ' probatum est ' (' it is 
proved ') ; they believed because of what they had seen ; 
but that deeper faith, which consisted in the spiritual view 
of that which was the unseen in Christ, and that higher 
power, which flows from such apprehension, they had not. 
In such faith as they had, they repeated forms of exorcism, 
tried to imitate their Master. But they signally failed, as 
did those seven Jewish Priest-sons at Ephesus. In that 
hour of crisis, in the presence of questioning Scribes and a 
wondering populace, and in the absence of the Christ, only 
one power could prevail, that of spiritual faith ; and ' that 
kind ' could ' not come out but by prayer.' 

For one moment we have a glimpse into the Saviour's 
soul : the poignant sorrow of His disappointment at the 
unbelief of the ' faithless and perverse generation,' with 
which He had so long borne ; the patience and condescen- 
sion, the Divine ' need be ' of His having thus to bear even 

Healing of the Luna tick Boy 281 

with His own, together with the humiliation which it in- 
volved; and the almost home-longing, as it has been called, 
of His soul. These things are mysteries. The next 
moment Jesus turns Him to the father. At His command 
the lunatick is brought to Him. In the Presence of Jesus, 
and in view of the coming contest between Light and 
Darkness, one of those paroxysms of demoniac operation 
ensues, such as we have witnessed on all similar occasions. 
This was allowed to pass in view of all. But both this, 
and the question as to the length of time the lunatick had 
been afflicted, together with the answer and the descrip- 
tion of the dangers involved which it elicited, were 
evidently intended to point the lesson of the need of a 
higher faith. To the father, however, who knew not the 
mode of treatment by the Heavenly Physician, they seemed 
like the questions of an earthly healer who must con- 
sider the symptoms before he could attempt to cure. ' If 
Thou canst do anything, have compassion on us, and 
help us.' 

There is all the calm majesty of Divine self-conscious- 
ness, yet without trace of self-assertion, when Jesus, 
utterly ignoring the 'if Thou canst,' turns to the man 
and tells him that, while with the Divine Helper there is 
the possibility of all help, it is conditioned by a possibility 
in ourselves, by man's receptiveness, by his faith. ' If 
thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that 

It was a lesson, of which the reality was attested by 
the hold which it took on the man's whole nature. While 
by one great out-going of his soul he overleapt all, to lay 
hold on the fact set before him, he felt all the more the 
dark chasm of unbelief behind him. Thus through the 
felt unbelief of faith he attained true faith by laying hold 
on the Divine Saviour, when he cried out and said : ' Lord, 
I believe ; help Thou mine unbelief.' 

Such cry could not be, and never is, unheard. It wag 
a reality, and not accommodation to Jewish views, when, as 
He saw ' the multitude running together, He rebuked the 
unclean spirit, saying to him : Dumb and deaf spirit, I 

282 Jesus the Messiah 

command thee, come out of him, and no more come into 

Another and a more violent paroxysm, so that the by- 
standers almost thought him dead. But the unclean spirit 
had come out of him. And with strong gentle Hand the 
Saviour lifted him, and delivered him to his father. 



(St. Matt. xvii. 22— xviii. 22 ; St. Mark ix. 30-50 ; St. Luke ix. 43-50.) 

Now that the Lord's retreat at CaBsarea Philippi was 
known to the Scribes, and that He was again surrounded 
and followed by the multitude, there could be no further 
object in His retirement. Indeed, the time was coming 
that He should meet that for which He had been, and was 
still, preparing the minds of His disciples — His Decease 
at Jerusalem. Accordingly, we find Him once more with 
His disciples in Galilee — not to abide there, but prepara- 
tory to His journey to the Feast of Tabernacles. The few 
events of this brief stay, and the teaching connected with 
it, may be summed up as follows. 

1 . Prominently, perhaps, as the summary of all, we 
have now the clear and emphatic repetition of the predic- 
tion of His Death and Resurrection. The announcement 
filled their hearts with exceeding sorrow; they compre- 
hended it not ; nay, they were — perhaps not unnaturally — 
afraid to ask Him about it. 

2. It is to the depression caused by His insistence on 
this terrible future, to the constant apprehension of near 
danger, and the consequent desire not to 'offend,' and so 
provoke those at whose hands Christ had told them He 
was to suffer, that we trace the incident of the tribute- 
money. We can scarcely believe that Peter would have 

The Tribute-Money 283 

answered as he did, without previous permission of his 
Master, had it not been for such thoughts and fears. It 
was another mode of saying, ' That be far from Thee ' — or, 
rather, trying to keep it as far as he could from Christ. 

It is well known that, on the ground of the injunction 
in Exod. xxx. 13 &c, every male in Israel, from twenty 
•comp. years upwards, was expected annually to con- 
sKingsxii. tribute to the Temple-Treasury the sum of one 
xxiv. e ; half-shekel of the Sanctuary,* equivalent to about 
Neh. x .32 u 2d. or Is. 3d. of our money. Whether or not 
the original Biblical ordinance had been intended to insti- 
tute a regular annual contribution, the Jews of the Dis- 
persion would probably regard it in the light of a patriotic 
as well as religious act. 

It will be remembered that, shortly before the previous 
Passover, Jesus with His disciples had left Capernaum, 
that they returned to the latter city only for the Sabbath, 
and that, as we have suggested, they passed the first 
Paschal days on the borders of Tyre. It must have been 
known that He had not gone up to Jerusalem for the 
Passover. Accordingly, when it was told in Capernaum 
that the Rabbi of Nazareth had once more come to what 
seems to have been His Galilean home, it was only natural 
that they who collected the Temple-tribute should have 
applied for its payment. It is quite possible that their 
application may have been, if not prompted, yet quickened, 
by the wish to involve Him in a breach of so well-known 
an obligation, or else by a hostile curiosity. 

We picture it to ourselves on this wise. Those who 
received the Tribute-money had come to Peter, and per- 
haps met him in the court or corridor, and asked him : 
' Your Teacher (Rabbi), does He not pay the didrachma ? ' 
While Peter hastily responded in the affirmative, and then 
entered into the house to procure the coin, or else to report 
what had passed, Jesus, Who had been in another part of 
the house, but was cognisant of all, ' anticipated him/ 
Addressing him in kindly language as ' Simon,' He pointed 
out the real state of matters by an illustration which must, 
of course, not be too literally pressed, and of which the 

284 Jesus the Messiah 

meaning was : Whom does a King intend to tax for the 
maintenance of his palace and officers? Surely not his 
own family, but others. The inference from this, as re- 
garded the Temple-tribute, was obvious. As in all similar 
Jewish parabolic teaching, it was only indicated in general 
principle : ' Then are the children free.' But even so, be 
it as Peter had wished, although not from the same motive. 
Let no needless offence be given ; for, assuredly, they 
would not have understood the principle on which Christ 
would have refused the Tribute-money, and all misunder- 
standing on the part of Peter was now impossible. Yet 
Christ would still further vindicate His royal title. 
He will pay for Peter also, and pay, as heaven's King, 
with a stater, or four-drachm piece, miraculously pro- 

If we wish to mark the difference between the sobriety 
of this record and the extravagances of legend, we may 
remind ourselves of a somewhat kindred Jewish Haggadah 
intended to glorify the Jewish mode of Sabbath observance. 
One Joseph, known as ' the honourer ' of the Sabbath, had 
a wealthy heathen neighbour, to whom the Chaldseans had 
prophesied that all his riches would come to Joseph. To 
render this impossible, the wealthy man converted all his 
property into one magnificent gem, which he carefully 
concealed within his head-gear. Then he took ship, so as 
for ever to avoid the dangerous vicinity of the Jew. But 
the wind blew his head-gear into the sea, and the gem was 
swallowed by a fish. And, lo ! it was the holy season, and 
they brought to the market a splendid fish. Who should 
purchase it but Joseph ? for none as he would prepare to 
honour the day by the best which he could provide. But 
when they opened the fish, the gem was found in it — the 
moral being : ' He that borroweth for the Sabbath, the 
Sabbath will repay him.' 

3. The event next recorded in the Gospels took place 
partly on the way from the Mount of Transfiguration to 
Capernaum, and partly in Capernaum itself, immediately 
after the scene connected with the Tribute- money. It is 
recorded by the three Evangelists, and it led to explana- 

The Dispute by the Way 285 

tions and admonitions, which are told by St. Mark and 
St. Luke, but chiefly by St. Matthew. This circumstance 
seems to indicate that the latter was the chief actor in 
that which occasioned this special teaching and warning of 
Christ, and that it must have sunk very deeply into his 

•st. Mark As St. Mark puts it, a by the way they had 

ix - 34 disputed among themselves which of them should 

» st. Matt, be the greatest — as St. Matthew explains, b in 
xviii ; 1 the Messianic Kingdom of Heaven. Of a dispute 
serious and even violent, among the disciples, we have 
evidence in the exhortation of the Master, as reported by 
ix S 42 M 5o* ^ t# Mark, in the direction of the Lord how to 
deal with an offending brother, and in the 

* st. Matt, answering inquiry of Peter. d Nor can we be at 

r 15, 21 a loss to perceive its occasion. The distinction just 
bestowed on the three in being taken up the Mount, may 
have roused feelings of jealousy in the others, perhaps 
of self-exaltation in the three. Alike the spirit which 
John displayed in his harsh prohibition of the man that 

• st. Mark did not follow with the disciples,* 5 and the self- 

righteous bargaining of Peter about forgiving the 
'st. Matt, supposed or real offences of a brother/ give evi- 
xyiii ' 21 denceof this. 

In truth, the Apostles were still greatly under the in- 
fluence of the old spirit. It was the common Jewish view 
that there would be distinctions of rank in the Kingdom 
of Heaven. It can scarcely be necessary to prove this by 
Rabbinic quotations, since the whole system of Rabbinism 
and Pharisaism, with its separation from the vulgar and 
ignorant, rests upon it. But even within the circle of 
Rabbinism there would be distinctions, due to learning, 
merit, and even to favouritism. In this world there were 
God's special favourites, who could command anything at 
His hand — to use the Rabbinic illustration, like a spoilt 
child from its father. And in the Messianic age God would 
assign booths to each according to his rank. 

How deep-rooted were such thoughts and feelings 
appears not only from the dispute of the disciples by the 

286 Jesus the Messiah 

»st. Matt, way, but from the request proffered by the mother 
xx * 20 of Zebedee's children and her sons at a later 


We have already seen that there was quite sufficient 
occasion and material for such a dispute on the way from 
the Mount of Transfiguration to Capernaum. We suppose 
Peter to have been only at the first with the others. To 
judge by the latter question, how often he was to forgive 
the brother who had sinned against him, he may have been 
so deeply hurt that he left the other disciples, and 
hastened on with the Master, Who would, at any rate, 
sojourn in his house. For neither he nor Christ seems to 
have been present when John and the others forbade the 
man, who would not follow with them, to cast out demons 
in Christ's Name. Again, the other disciples only came 
into Capernaum, and entered the house, just as Peter had 
gone for the stater, with which to pay the Temple-tribute 
for the Master and himself. And, if speculation be per- 
missible, we would suggest that the brother, whose offences 
Peter found it so difficult to forgive, may have been none 
other than Judas. In such a dispute by the way, Judas, 
with his Judaistic views, would be particularly interested ; 
perhaps he may have been its chief instigator ; certainly, 
he, whose natural character amidst its sharp contrasts to 
that of Peter presented so many points of resemblance to 
it, would on many grounds be specially jealous of and 
antagonistic to him. 

Quite natural in view of this dispute by the way is 
another incident of the journey, which is afterwards 
»> st Mark related. b As we judge, John seems to have been 
st. ilk ix. tne Principal actor in it ; perhaps in the absence 

49 of Peter he claimed the leadership. They had 
met one who was casting out demons in the Name of Christ 
— whether successfully or not, we need scarcely inquire. 

50 widely had faith in the power of Jesus extended ; so real 
was the belief in the subjection of the demons to Him ; 
so reverent was the acknowledgment of Him. A man 
who, thus forsaking the methods of Jewish exorcists, 
owned Jesus in the face of the Jewish world, could not be 

The Dispute by the Way 287 

far from the Kingdom of Heaven. John had, in name of 
the disciples, forbidden him. because he had not cast in his 
lot wholly with them. To forbid a man in such circum- 
stances would be either prompted by the spirit of the 
dispute by the way, or else must be grounded on 
evidence that the motive was, or the effect would ultimately 
be (as in the case of the sons of Sceva), to lead men ' to 
speak evil ' of Christ, or to hinder the work of His disciples. 
Assuredly, such could not have been the case with a man 
who invoked His Name, and perhaps experienced Its 
efficacy. More than this — and here is an eternal principle : 
1 He that is not against us is for us ; ' a saying still more 
• st. Luke clear, when we' adopt the better reading in St. 
ix. 50 Luke, a ' Ho that is not against you is for you.' 

The lesson is of the most deep-reaching character. 
Not that it is unimportant to follow with the disciples, 
but that it is not ours to forbid any work done, however 
imperfectly, in His Name, and that only one question is 
really vital — whether or not a man is decidedly with 

Such were the incidents by the way. And now, while 
withholding from Christ their dispute, and, indeed, anything 
that might seem personal in the question, the disciples, 
on entering the house where He was in Capernaum, 
addressed to Him this inquiry : ' Who then is greatest in 
the Kingdom of Heaven ? • It was a general question — 
but Jesus perceived the thought of their heart ; b 
He knew about what they had disputed by the 
« st Mark way, c and now asked them concerning it. The 
1x1 33 account of St. Mark is most graphic. Conscience- 

stricken ' they held their peace.' It seems as if the Master 
had at first gone to welcome the disciples on their arrival, 
and they, ' full of their dispute,' had without delay addressed 
their inquiry to Him in the court or antechamber, where they 
met Him. Leading the way into the house, ' He sat down,' 
not only to answer their inquiry, but to teach them what 
they needed to learn. He called a little child — perhaps 
Peter's little son — and put him in the midst of them. Not 
to strive who was to be greatest, but to be utterly without 

288 Jesus the Mess/ah 

self-consciousness, like a child — thus to become turned 
and entirely changed in mind, ' converted,' was the condi- 
tion for entering into the Kingdom of Heaven. Then, as 
to the question of greatness there, it was really one of 
greatness of service, and that was greatest service which 
implied most self-denial. Suiting the action to the teach- 
ing, the Blessed Saviour took the happy child in His 
Arms. Not to teach, to preach, to work miracles, nor to 
do great things, but to do the humblest service for Christ's 
sake, was to receive Christ — nay, to receive the Father. 
And the smallest service, as it might seem — even the 
giving a cup of cold water in such spirit — would not lose 
its reward. 

These words about receiving Christ, and 'receiving 
in the Name of Christ,' had stirred the memory and con- 
science of John, and made him half wonder, half fear, 
whether what they had done by the way, in forbidding the 
man to do what he could in the Name of Christ, had been 
right. And so he told it, and received the further and 
higher teaching on the subject. St. Mark and St. 
Matthew record further instruction in connection with 
» st. Luke this, to which St. Luke refers at a somewhat later 
xvii. 1-7 period. 21 The love of Christ goes deeper than 
the condescension of receiving a child, utterly un-Pharisaic 
and un-Rabbinic as this is. b A man may enter 
xviii. 2-6,' into the Kingdom and do service — yet, if in so 

and parallels doing he digregard ^ kw Q f loye to the littJe 

ones, far better his work should be abruptly cut short ; 
better one of those large millstones turned by an ass 
were hung about his neck and he cast into the sea ! We 
pause to note, once more, the Judaic, and therefore 
evidential setting of the Evangelic narrative. The 
Talmud also speaks of two kinds of millstones — the one 
turned by hand, referred to in St. Luke xvii. 35 : the 
other turned by an ass. Similarly, the figure about a 
millstone hung round the neck occurs also in the Talmud 
— although there as figurative of almost insuperable diffi- 
culties. Again, the expression, ' it were better for him,' 
is a well-known Rabbinic expression. Lastly, according 

'Salted for the Fire' 289 

to St. Jerome, the punishment which seems alluded to in 
the words of Christ, and which we know to have been in- 
flicted by Augustus, was actually practised by the Romans 
in Galilee on some of the leaders of the insurrection under 
Judas of Galilee. 

And yet greater guilt would only too surely be in- 

• st. Matt, curred ! Woe unto the world ! a Occasions of 
s^Marklx. stumbling and offence would surely come, but 
43-48 woe to the man through whom such havoc was 
wrought. What then is the alternative ? If it be a ques- 
tion as between offence and some part of ourselves, a limb 
or member, however useful — the hand, the foot, the eye — 
then let it rather be severed from the body, however pain- 
ful, or however seemingly great the loss. It cannot be so 
great as that of the whole being in the eternal fire of 
Gehenna, where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not 
quenched. Be it hand, foot, or eye — practice, pursuit, or 
research — which consciously leads us to occasions of 
stumbling, it must be resolutely put aside in view of the 
incomparably greater loss of eternal remorse and anguish. 

Here St. Mark abruptly breaks off with a saying in 
which the Saviour makes general application, although the 

* st. Mark narrative is further continued by St. Matthew. b 
ix.49,50 j t seems to us that, turning from this thought 
that even members which are intended for useful service 
may, in certain circumstances, have to be cut off to avoid 
the greatest loss, the Lord gave to His disciples this as the 
final summary and explanation of all : ' For every one 
shall be salted for the fire ' — or, as a very early gloss 
which has strangely crept into the text paraphrased and 
explained it, ' Every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.' 
No one is fit for the sacrificial fire nor can offer anything 
as a sacrifice, unless it have been first, according to the 
Levitical Law, covered with salt, symbolic of the incor- 
ruptible. ' Salt is good ; but if the salt,' with which the 
spiritual sacrifice is to be salted for the fire, ' have lost its 
savour, wherewith will ye season it ? ' Hence, ' have salt 
in yourselves,' but do not let that salt be corrupted by 
making it an occasion of offence to others, or among your- 

290 Jesus the Messiah 

selves, as in the dispute by the way, or in the disposition 
of mind that led to it, or in forbidding others to work who 
follow not with you, but ' be at peace among yourselves.' 

To this explanation of the words of Christ it may, 
perhaps, be added that, from their form, they must have 
conveyed a special meaning to the disciples. It was a 
well-known law that every sacrifice burned on the Altar 
»Lev.ii.i3 must be salted witn salt. a Indeed, according to 
the Talmud, not only every such offering, but 
even the wood with which the sacrificial fire was kindled, 
was sprinkled with salt. Salt symbolised to the Jews of 
that time the incorruptible and the higher. The Bible 
was compared to salt, so was acuteness of intellect, so 
was the soul. Lastly, the question: 'If the salt have 
lost its savour, wherewith will ye season it?' seems to 
have been proverbial, and occurs in exactly the same 
words in the Talmud, apparently to denote a thing that is 

Most thoroughly anti-Pharisaic and anti-Kabbinic as 
all this was, what St. Matthew further reports leads still 
farther in the same direction. We seem to see Jesus still 
holding this child, and, with evident reference to the 
Jewish contempt for that which is small, point to him and 
apply, in quite other manner than they had ever heard, 
the Rabbinic teaching about the Angels. In the Jewish 
view, only the chiefest of the Angels were before the Face 
of God within the curtained Veil, while the others, ranged 
in different classes, stood outside and awaited His behest. 
The distinction which the former enjoyed was always to 
behold His Face, and to hear and know directly the Divine 
counsels and commands. This distinction was, therefore, 
one of knowledge ; Christ taught that it was one of love. 
Look up from earth to heaven; those representative, it 
may be guardian Angels nearest to God, are not those of 
deepest knowledge of God's counsel and commands, but 
those of simple, humble grace and faith — and so learn 
not only not to despise one of these little ones, but who is 
truly greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven ! 

Yet a further depth of Christian love remained to be 

On Forgiveness of a 'Brother* 291 

shown, that which sought not its own, but the things of 
others. Hitherto it had been a question of not seeking self, 
nor minding great things, but, Christ-like and God-like, to 
condescend to the little ones. What if actual wrong had 
• st. Matt. Deen done, and just offence given, by a l brother ' ? a 
xviii. 15 j n sucn case? a i so ^ th e principle of the Kingdom 
— which, negatively, is that of self-forgetfulness, positively, 
that of service of love — would first seek the good of the 
offending brother. We mark here the contrast to Rab- 
binism, which directs that the first overtures must be 
made by the offender, not the offended ; and even prescribes 
this to be done in presence of numerous witnesses, and, if 
needful, repeated three times. As regards the duty of 
showing to a brother his fault, and the delicate tenderness 
of doing this in private so as not to put him to shame, 
Rabbinism speaks the same as the Master of Nazareth. 
Yet, in practice, matters were very different; and neither 
could those be found who would take reproof, nor yet such 
as were worthy to administer it. 

Quite other was it in the Kingdom of Christ, where 
the theory was left undefined, but the practice clearly 
marked. Here, by loving dealing, to convince of his 
wrong him who had done it, was not humiliation nor loss 
of dignity or of right, but real gain : the gain of our 
brother to us, and eventually to Christ Himself. But even 
if this should fail, the offended must not desist from his 
service of love, but conjoin in it others with himself so as 
to give weight and authority to his remonstrances, as not 
being the outcome of personal feeling or prejudice — per- 
haps, also, to be witnesses before the Divine tribunal. If 
this failed, a final appeal should be made on the part of 
the Church as a whole, which, of course, could only be 
done through her representatives and rulers, to whom 
Divine authority had been committed. And if that were 
rejected, the offer of love would, as always in the Gospel, 
pass into danger of judgment. Not, indeed, that such was 
to be executed by man ; but that such an offender, after the 
first and second admonition, was to be rejected. 1 * 
He was to be treated as was the custom in regard 

u 2 

292 Jesus the Messiah 

to a heathen or .a publican — not persecuted, despised, or 
avoided, but not received in Church-fellowship (a heathen), 
nor admitted to close familiar intercourse (a publican). 
And this, as we understand it, marks out the mode of what 
is called Church discipline in general, and specifically as 
regards wrong done to a brother. Discipline so exercised 
(which may God restore to us) has the highest Divine 
sanction, and the most earnest reality attaches to it. For 
in virtue of the authority which Christ had committed to 
the Church in the persons of her rulers and representatives, 
what they bound or loosed — declared obligatory or non- 
obligatory — was ratified in heaven. Nor was this to be 
wondered at. The Incarnation of Christ was the link 
which bound earth to heaven; through it whatever was 
agreed upon in the fellowship of Christ as that which was 
*st. Matt. to b e asked, would be done for them of His 
xviii. 19 ' Father Which was in heaven. a Thus the power 
of the Church reached up to heaven through the power of 
prayer in His Name Who made God our Father. And 
so, beyond the exercise of discipline and authority, 
there was the omnipotence of prayer — 'if two of you 
shall agree ... as touching anything ... it shall be 
done for them ' — and with it also the possibility of a higher 

service of love. For in the smallest gathering 
fcw.19,20 . n the Name of ctl rist His Presence would be, 
and with it the certainty of nearness to, and acceptance 
with, God. b 

It is bitterly disappointing that, after such teaching, 
even a Peter could come to the Master — either immediately, 
or perhaps after he had had time to think it over, and 
apply it — with the question how often he was to forgive 
an offending brother, imagining that he had more than 

satisfied the new requirements, if he extended it 
* ver ' 21 to seven times. Such traits show better than 
elaborate discussions the need of the mission and the re- 
newing of the Holy Ghost. And yet there is something 
touching in the simplicity and honesty with which Peter 
goes to the Master, as if he had fully entered into His 
teaching, yet with such a misapprehension of its spirit. 

On Forgiveness of a 'Brother* 293 

Surely, the new wine was bursting the old bottles. It was 
a principle of Rabbinism that, even if the wrongdoer had 
made full restoration, he would not obtain forgiveness till 
he had asked it of him whom he had wronged, but that it 
was cruelty in such circumstances to refuse pardon. The 
Jerusalem Talmud adds the beautiful remark: l Let this 
be a token in thine hand — each time that thou showest 
mercy, God will show mercy on thee ; and if thou showest 
not mercy, neither will God show mercy on thee.' But 
it was a settled rule, that forgiveness should not be ex- 
tended more than three times. Even so, the practice was 
very different. 

It must have seemed to Peter, in his ignorance, 
quite a stretch of charity to extend forgiveness to seven, 
instead of three offences. It did not occur to him that the 
very act of numbering offences marked an externalism 
which had never entered into, nor comprehended the 
spirit of Christ. Until seven times ? Nay, until seventy 
times seven ! The evident purport of these words was to 
efface all such landmarks. Peter had yet to learn what 
we too often forget : that Christ's forgiveness, as that of 
the Christian, must not be computed by numbers. It is 
qualitative, not quantitative : Christ forgives sin, not sins 
— and he who has experienced it follows in His footsteps. 



(St. John vii. 1-16 ; St. Luke ix. 1-56, 57-62 ; St. Matt. viii. 19-22.) 

The part in the Evangelic History which we have now 
reached has this peculiarity and difficulty, that the events 
are recorded by only one of the Evangelists. The section 
in St. Luke's Gospel from chapter ix. 51 to chapter 
xviii. 14 stands absolutely alone. St. John mentions three 

294 Jesus the Messiah 

appearances of Christ in Jerusalem at that period : at the 
a gt John Feast of Tabernacles, 6 at that of the Dedication, 5 
▼n. tox. and His final entry, which is referred to by all 
»> x. 22-42 the other Evangelists. But, while the narrative 
« st. Matt. f gt. John confines itself exclusively to what 
st.' Mark x. happened in Jerusalem or its immediate neigh- 
Lnkexva' bourhood, it also either mentions or gives suffi- 
11 &c - cient indication that on two out of these three 

occasions Jesus left Jerusalem for the country east of the 
Jordan (St. John x. 19-21 ; St. John x. 39-43, where the 
words in ver. 39, c they sought again to take Him,' point 
to a previous similar attempt and flight). Besides these, 
St. John also records a journey to Bethany — though not 
to Jerusalem— for the raising of Lazarus, d and 
after that a council against Christ in Jerusalem, 
in consequence of which He withdrew out of Judaean 

• xi. 54 territory into a district near ' the wilderness ' e — 
f st. Luke as we infer, that in the north, where John had 
Sy.« T ' li; keen baptising and Christ been tempted, and 

* st. Luke whither He had afterwards withdrawn/ We 
viii. 29 regard this ' wilderness ' as on the eastern bank 
of the Jordan, and extending northward towards the 
eastern shore of the Lake of Galilee. 8 

If St. John relates three appearances of Jesus at 
kwTV this time in Jerusalem, St. Luke records three 

" St. Luke ' . 

ix. 51 ; xiii. journeys to Jerusalem, the last of which agrees, 
in regard to its starting point, with the notices 

' St. Matt. _ , . o , . „ t , * 

xix. i ; of the other Lvangelists. 

St. Luke's account of the three journeys to 
Jerusalem fits into the narrative of Christ's three appear- 

ar.ces in Jerusalem as described by St. John. 
ix. 51-xviii. The unique section in St. Luke j supplies the 

record of what took place before, during, and 
after those journeys, of which the upshot is told by St. 
John. We have now some insight into the plan of St. 
Luke's Gospel, as compared with that of the others. We 
see that St. Luke forms a kind of transition between the 
other two Synoptists and St. John. The Gospel by St. 
Matthew has for its main object the Discourses or teaching 

The Journey jv Jerusalem 295 

of the Lord, around which the History groups itself. It 
is intended as a demonstration, primarily addressed to the 
Jews, and in a form peculiarly suited to them, that Jesus 
was the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. The Gospel 
by St. Mark is a rapid survey of the History of the Christ 
as such. It deals mainly with the Galilean Ministry. The 
Gospel by St. John, which gives the highest, the reflective, 
view of the Eternal Son as the Word, deals almost exclu- 
sively with the Jerusalem Ministry. And the Gospel by 
St. Luke complements the narratives in the other two 
Gospels (St. Matthew and St. Mark), and it supplements 
them by tracing, what is not done otherwise : the Ministry 
in Perasa. 

The subject primarily before us is the journeying of 
Jesus to Jerusalem. In that wider view which St. Luke 
takes of this whole history, he presents what really were 
three separate journeys as one — that towards the great 

St. John goes farther back, and speaks of the circum- 
stances which preceded Christ's journey to Jerusalem. The 
events chronicled in the sixth chapter of St. John's Gospel 
•st j hn t°°k P^ce immediately before the Passover,* 
*L4 which was on the fifteenth day of the first eccle- 

siastical month (Nisan), while the Feast of 
Tabernacles b began on the same day of the seventh eccle- 
siastical month (Tishri). The six or seven months between 
• ch.Yi. the Feast of Passover and that of Tabernacles, d 
d ch# viL and all that passed within them, are covered by 
this brief remark : ' After these things Jesus walked in 
Galilee : for He would not walk in Judaea, because the 
Jews [the leaders of the people] sought to kill Him.' 

But now the Feast of Tabernacles was at hand. The 
pilgrims would probably arrive in Jerusalem before the 
opening day of the Festival. For besides the needful pre- 
parations — which would require time, especially on this 
Feast, when booths had to be constructed in which to live 
during the festive week — it was the common practice to 
offer such sacrifices as might have previously become due 
at any of the great Feasts to which the people might go 

296 Jesus the Messiah 

up. Remembering that five months had elapsed since the 
last great Feast (that of Weeks), many such sacrifices 
must have been due. Accordingly, the ordinary festive 
companies of pilgrims, which would travel slowly, must 
have started from Galilee some time before the beginning 
of the Feast. These circumstances fully explain the details 
of the narrative. They also afford another illustration of 
the loneliness of Christ in His Work. His disciples had 
failed to understand His teaching. In the near prospect 
of His Death they either displayed gross ignorance, or else 
disputed about their future rank. And His own ' brethren ' 
did not believe in Him. The whole course of late events, 
especially the unmet challenge of the Scribes for c a sign 
from heaven,' had deeply shaken them. If He really did 
these ' Works,' let Him manifest Himself before the world 
— in Jerusalem, the capital of their world, and before those 
who could test the reality of them. Let Him come for- 
ward, at one of Israel's great Feasts, in the Temple, and 
especially at this Feast which pointed to the Messianic in- 
gathering of all nations. Let Him now go up with them 
in the festive company into Judaea, that so His disciples — 
not the Galileans only, but all —might have the opportunity 
of ' gazing ' on His Works. 

As the challenge was not new, so from the worldly 
point of view it can scarcely be called unreasonable. To 
manifest Himself ! This truly would He do, though not 
in their way. For this ' the season ' had not yet come, 
though it would soon arrive. Their * season ' — that for 
such Messianic manifestations as they contemplated — was 
' always ready.' And this naturally, for ' the world ' could 
not ' hate ' them ; they and their demonstrations were quite 
in accordance with the world and its views. But towards 
Him the world cherished personal hatred, because of their 
contrariety of principle, because Christ was manifested, 
not to restore an earthly kingdom to Israel, but to bring 
the Heavenly Kingdom upon earth — ' to destroy the works 
of the Devil.' Hence, He must provoke the enmity of 
that world which lay in the Wicked One. Another mani- 
festation than that which they sought would He make, 

The Journey to Jerusalem 297 

when His ' season was fulfilled ; ' soon, beginning at this 
very Feast, continued at the next, and completed at the 
last Passover ; such manifestation of Himself as the Christ, 
as could alone be made in view of the essential enmity of 
the world. 

And so He let them go up in the festive company, while 
Himself tarried. When the noise and publicity (which He 
wished to avoid) were no longer to be apprehended, He 
also went up, but privately, not publicly, as they had sug- 
gested. Here St. Luke's account begins. It almost reads 
like a commentary on what the Lord had just said to His 
brethren about the enmity of the world, and His mode of 
manifestation. ' He came unto His own, and His own re- 
ceived Him not. But as many as received Him, to them 
gave He power to become children of God . . . which were 
born . . . of God.' 

The first purpose of Christ seems to have been to take 
the more direct road to Jerusalem, through Samaria, and 
not to follow that of the festive pilgrim-bands, which tra- 
velled to Jerusalem through Peraea, in order to avoid the 
land of their hated rivals. But His intention was soon 
frustrated. In the very first Samaritan village to which 
the Christ had sent beforehand to prepare for Himself and 
His company, His messengers were told that the Rabbi 
could not be received ; that neither hospitality nor friendly 
treatment could be extended to One Who was going up to 
the Feast at Jerusalem. The messengers who brought 
back this strangely un-Oriental answer met the Master 
and His followers on the road. It was not only an out- 
rage on common manners, but an act of open hostility to 
Israel, as well as to Christ, and the i Sons of Thunder,' 
whose feelings for their Master were, perhaps, the more 
deeply stirred as opposition to Him grew more fierce, pro- 
posed to vindicate the cause, alike of Israel and its Messiah- 
King, by the open and Divine judgment of fire called down 
from heaven to destroy that village. Did they in this 
connection think of the vision of Elijah, ministering to 
Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration — and was this 
their application of it ? But He Who had come, not to 

2g8 Jesus the Messiah 

destroy, but to save, turned and rebuked them, and passed 
from Samaritan into Jewish territory. 

This journey was decisive not only as regarded the 
Master, but those who followed Him. Henceforth it must 
not be as in former times, but wholly and exclusively as 
into suffering and death. It is thus that we view the next 
three incidents of the way. 

It seems that as, after the rebuff of these Samaritans, 
they ' were going ' towards another, and a Jewish village, 
' one ' of the company, and as we learn from St. Matthew, 
1 a Scribe/ in the generous enthusiasm of the moment — 
perhaps stimulated by the wrong of the Samaritans, per- 
haps touched by the love which would rebuke the zeal of 
the disciples, but had no word of blame for the unkindness 
of others — broke into a spontaneous declaration of readiness 
to follow Him absolutely and everywhere. But there was 
one eventuality which that Scribe, and all of like enthusiasm, 
reckoned not with — the utter homelessness of the Christ in 
this world ; and this, not from accidental circumstances, 
but because He was ' the Son of Man.' 

The intenseness of the self-denial involved in following 
Christ, and its contrariety to all that was commonly re- 
ceived among men, was immediately brought out. This 
Scribe had proffered to follow Jesus. Another of His dis- 
ciples He asked to follow Him, and that in circumstances 
» st. Luke of peculiar trial and difficulty.* The expression 
ix. 59 t to follow ' a Teacher would, in those days, be 

universally understood as implying discipleship. Again, 
no other duty would be regarded as more sacred than that 
they, on whom the obligation naturally devolved, should 
bury the dead. To this everything must give way — even 
prayer, and the study of the Law. Lastly, we feel certain 
that when Christ called this disciple to follow Him, He 
was fully aware that at that very moment his father lay 
dead. Thus, He called him not only to homelessness — for 
this he might have been prepared — but to set aside what 
alike natural feeling and the Jewish Law seemed to impose 
on him as the most sacred duty. In the apparently strange 
reply which Christ made to the request to be allowed first 

Of Following Christ 299 

to bury his father, we pass over the consideration that, 
according to Jewish Law, the burial and mourning for a 
dead father and the subsequent purifications would have 
occupied many days, so that it might have been difficult, 
perhaps impossible, to overtake Christ. We would rather 
abide by the simple words of Christ. They teach us 
this searching lesson, that there are higher duties than 
either those of the Jewish Law, or even of natural reverence, 
and a higher call than that of man. 

Yet another hindrance to following Christ was to be 
faced. Another in the company would go with Him, but 
he asked permission first to go and bid farewell to those 
whom he had left in his home. It almost seems as if 
this request had been one of those ' tempting ' questions 
addressed to Christ. It shows that to follow Christ 
was regarded as a duty, and to leave those in the earthly 
home as a trial ; and it betokens not merely a divided 
heart, but one not fit for the Kingdom of God. For 
how can he draw a straight furrow in which to cast 
the seed, who, as he puts his hand to the plough, looks 
around or behind him ? 

Thus, these are the three vital conditions of following 
Christ : absolute self-denial and homelessness in the world ; 
immediate and entire self-surrender to Christ and His 
Work ; and a heart and affections simple, undivided, 
and set on Christ and His Work — while there is no 
other trial of parting like that which would involve parting 
from Him, no other or higher joy than that of following 



(St. Luke x. 1-16 ; St. Matt. ix. 36-38 ; xi. 20-24 ; St. Luke x. 17-24 ; 
St. Matt. xi. 25-30 ; xiii. 16 ; St. Luke x. 25, 38-42.) 

It seems most likely that it was on His progress south- 
wards at this time that Jesus ' designated ' those ' seventy ' 

300 Jesus the Messiah 

1 others,' who were to herald His arrival in every town and 

With all their similarity, there are notable differences 
between the Mission of the Twelve and this of ' the other 
Seventy.' Let it be noted that the former is recorded by 
the three Evangelists, so that there could have been no 
»st. Matt confusion on the part of St. Luke. a But the 
It 5 £ vt Mission of the Twelve was on their appointment to 
st & Luke ix. ^ ne Apostolate ; it was evangelistic and mission- 
1 &c. ary ; and it was in confirmation and manifesta- 

tion of the l power and authority' given to them. We 
regard it, therefore, as symbolical of the Apostolate just 
instituted, with its work and authority. On the other 
hand, no power or authority was formally conferred on the 
Seventy, their mission being only temporary ; its primary 
object was to prepare for the coming of the Master in the 
places to which they were sent; and their selection was 
from the wider circle of disciples, the number being now 
Seventy instead of Twelve. Even these two numbers, as 
well as the difference in the functions of the two classes of 
messengers, seem to indicate that the Twelve symbolised 
the princes of the tribes of Israel, while the Seventy were 
the symbolical representatives of these tribes, like the 
b Num. xi. seventy elders appointed to assist Moses. b This 
16 symbolical meaning of the number Seventy con- 

tinued among the Jews. We can trace it in the LXX 
(supposed) translators of the Bible into Greek, and in the 
seventy members of the Sanhedrin, or supreme court. 

We mark that, what may be termed ' the Preface ' to 
the Mission of the Seventy, is given by St. Matthew (in a 
somewhat fuller form) as that to the appointment and 
-st. Matt, mission of the Twelve Apostles; and it may 
ix. 36-38 k aye b eeil} fcha^ kindred words had preceded both. 
Partially, indeed, the expressions reported in St. Luke x. 2 
<• st. John had been employed long before. 4 Those ' multi- 
iv - 35 tudes ' throughout Israel — nay, those also which 

' are not of that flock ' — appeared to His view like sheep 
without a true shepherd's care, ' distressed and prostrate,' 
and their mute misery appealed to His Divine com- 

The Mission of the Seventy 301 

passion. This constituted the ultimate ground of the 
Mission of the Apostles, and now of that of the Seventy, 
into a harvest that was truly great. Compared with the 
extent of the field, and the urgency of the work, how few 
were the labourers ! Yet, as the field was God's, so also 
could He alone ' thrust forth labourers ' willing and able 
to do His work, while it must be ours to pray that He 
would be pleased to do so. 

On these introductory words,* which ever since have 
• st. Luke formed ' the bidding prayer ' of the Church in her 
x ' 2 work for Christ, followed the commission and 

special directions to the thirty-five pairs of disciples who 
went on this embassy. In almost every particular they 
are the same as those formerly given to the Twelve. We 
mark, however, that both the introductory and the con- 
cluding words addressed to the Apostles are wanting in 
whgi was said to the Seventy. It was not necessary to 
warn them against going to the Samaritans, since the 
direction of the Seventy was to those cities of Peraea and 
Judaea, on the road to Jerusalem, through which Christ 
was about to pass. Nor were they armed with precisely 
*> st. Matt, the same supernatural powers as the Twelve. b 
comp 8 .' Naturally, the personal directions as to their 
st. Luke x. 9 conduct were in both cases substantially the 
same. We mark only three peculiarities in those addressed 
to the Seventy. The direction to ' salute no man by the 
way ' was suitable to a temporary and rapid mission, which 
might have been interrupted by making or renewing ac- 
quaintances. Both the Mishnah and the Talmud lay it 
down, that prayer was not to be interrupted to salute even 
a king, nay, to uncoil a serpent that had wound round the 
foot. All agreed that immediately before prayer no one 
should be saluted, to prevent distraction, and it was 
advised rather to summarise or to cut short than to inter- 
rupt prayer, though the latter might be admissible in case 
of absolute necessity. None of these provisions, however, 
seems to have been in the mind of Christ. If any parallel 
is to be sought, it would be found in the similar direction 
of Elisha to Gehazi, when sent to lay the prophet's staff 
on the dead child of the Shunammite. 

302 Jesus the Messiah 

The other two peculiarities in the address to the 
Seventy seem verbal rather than real. The expression,* 
»st. Luke l if the Son of Peace be there/ is a Hebraism, 
b si Matt, equivalent to f if the house be worthy,' b and re- 
s'" fers to the character of the head of the house and 
the tone of the household. Lastly, the direction to eat 

• st. Luke and drink such things as were set before them c 
*• 7 ' 8 is only a further explanation of the command to 
abide in the ' house which had received them, without 
seeking for better entertainment. On the other hand, the 
whole most important close of the address to the Twelve — 
•fit Matt which, indeed, forms by far the largest part of it d 
xi. 16-42 — i s wan ti n g i n the commission to the Seventy, 
thus clearly marking its merely temporary character. 

In St. Luke's Gospel, the address to the Seventy is 
followed by a denunciation of Ohorazin and Beth- 

• st. Luke saida. e This is evidently in its right place 
x. 13-16 there, after the Ministry of Christ in Galilee had 
been completed and finally rejected. In St. Matthew's 
Gospel, it stands immediately after the Lord's rebuke of 
'st. Matt the popular rejection of the Baptist's message/ 
xi 20-24 The ' woe ' pronounced on those cities, in which 
' most of His mighty works were done,' is in proportion to 
the greatness of their privileges. The denunciation of 
Chorazin and Bethsaida is the more remarkable, that 
Chorazin is not otherwise mentioned in the Gospels, nor 
yet any miracles recorded as having taken place in (the 
western) Bethsaida, From this two inferences seem inevi- 
table. First, if this history were legendary, Jesus would 
not be represented as selecting the names of places, which 
the writer had not connected with the legend. Again, ap- 
parently no record has been preserved in the Gospels of most 
of Christ's miracles — only those being narrated, which were 
necessary in order to present Jesus as the Christ, in ac- 
k st John cordance with the respective plans on which each 
xxi. 25 f ^e (3- 0S p e i s was constructed. 8 

Chorazin and Bethsaida are compared with Tyre and 
Sidon, which under similar admonitions would have re- 
pented, while Capernaum, which, as for so long the home 

The Mission of the Seventy 303 

of Jesus, had truly ' been exalted to heaven,' is compared 
with Sodom. And such guilt involved a still greater 
punishment. The very site of Bethsaida and Chorazin 
cannot be fixed with certainty. The former probably re- 
presents the 'Fisherton' of Capernaum; the latter St. 
Jerome places two miles from Capernaum. If so, it may 
be represented by the modern Kerazeh, somewhat to the 
north-west of Capernaum. As for Capernaum itself — 
standing on that vast field of ruins and upturned stones 
which marks the site of the modern Tell Hum, we feel 
that no description of it could be more pictorially true 
than that in which Christ prophetically likened the city 
in its downfall to the desolateness of death and ' Hades.' 

Whether or not the Seventy actually returned to Jesus 
before the Feast of Tabernacles, it is convenient to consider 
in this connection the result of their Mission. It had 
filled them with 'joy ; ' nay, the result had exceeded their 
expectations, just as their faith had gone bevond the mere 
letter unto the spirit of His Words. As they reported it 
to Him, even the demons had been subject to them through 
His Name. In this they had exceeded the letter of Christ's 
commission ; but as they made experiment of it, their faith 
had gi own, and they had applied His command to ' heal 
the sick' to the worst of all sufferers, those grievously 
vexed by demons. The Prince of Light and Life had 
vanquished the Prince of Darkness and Death. The 
• Bb John Prince of this world must be cast out.* In 
xii^i spirit, Christ gazed on ' Satan falling as lightning 

from heaven/ He sees of the travail of His soul, and is 
satisfied ! 

What the faith of the Seventy had attained was now 
to be made permanent to the Church, whose representatives 
they were. For the words in which Christ now gave 
authority and power to tread on serpents and scorpions, 
and over all the power of the Enemy, and the promise 
that nothing should hurt them, could not have been ad- 
dressed to the Seventy for a Mission which had now come 
to an end, except in so far as they represented the Church 
Universal. Yet it is not this power or authority which is 

304 Jesus the Messiah 

to be the main joy either of the Church or the individual, 
but the fact that our names are written in heaven. And 
so Christ brings us back to His great teaching about the 
need of becoming children, and wherein lies the secret of 
true greatness in the Kingdom. 

The joy of the disciples was met by that of the Master, 
and His teaching presently merged into a prayer of thanks- 
giving. Throughout the occurrences since the Transfigu- 
ration, we have noticed an increasing antithesis to the 
teaching of the Eabbis. But it almost reached its climax 
in the thanksgiving, that the Father in heaven had hid 
these things from the wise and the understanding, and 
revealed them unto babes. As we view it in the light of 
those times, we know that ' the wise and understanding ' 
— the Rabbi and the Scribe — could no't, from their stand- 
point, have perceived them. And so it must ever be the 
law of the Kingdom and the fundamental principle of 
Divine Revelation that, not as ' wise and understanding,' 
but only as ' babes ' — as ' converted,' ( like children ' — we 
can share in that knowledge which maketh wise unto salva- 
tion. This truly is the Gospel, and the Father's good 

The words a with which Christ turned from this address 
» st. Luke x. *° t ne Seventy and thanksgiving to God, seem 
almost like the Father's answer to the prayer of 
the Son. They refer to and explain the authority which 
Jesus had bestowed on His Church : ' All things were 
delivered to Me of My Father ; ' and they afford the highest 
rationale for the fact that these things had been hid from 
the wise and revealed unto babes. For as no man, only 
the Father, could have full knowledge of the Son, and con- 
versely no man, only the Son, had true knowledge of the 
Father, it followed that this knowledge came to us, not of 
wisdom or learning, but only through the Revelation of 
Christ : ' No one knoweth Who the Son is, save the Father ; 
and Who the Father is, save the Son, and he to whomso- 
ever the Son willeth to reveal Him.' 

St. Matthew, who also records this — although in a 
different connection — concludes this section by words which 

The Yoke of Christ 305 

have ever since been the grand text of those who, following 
• st Matt i n the wake of the Seventy, have been ambassa- 
xi. 28-30 ' dors f or Christ. 6 On the other hand, St. Luke 
23?24 Lukex * concludes this part of his narrative by adducing 
c Comp> st. words equally congruous to the occasion, b which, 
Matt. xiii. 16 indeed, are not new in the mouth of the Lord. c 
From their suitableness to what had preceded, we can 
have little doubt that both that which St. Matthew, and 
that which St. Luke report were spoken on this occasion. 
Because knowledge of the Father came only through the 
Son, and because these things were hidden from the wise 
and revealed to ' babes,' did the gracious Lord open His 
Arms and bid all that laboured and were heavy laden come 
to Him. These were the sheep, distressed and prostrate, 
whom to gather, that He might give them rest, He had 
sent forth the Seventy on a work for which He had prayed 
the Father to thrust forth labourers, and which He has 
since entrusted to the faith and service of love of the 
Church. And the true wisdom, which qualified for the 
Kingdom, was to take up His yoke, which would be found 
easy, not like that unbearable yoke of Rabbinic 
conditions ; d and the true understanding to be 
sought was by learning of Hitn. In that wisdom of enter- 
ing the Kingdom by taking up its yoke, and in that know- 
ledge which came by learning of Him, Christ was Himself 
alike the true lesson and the best teacher for those ' babes.' 
For He is meek and lowly in heart, and so, by coming unto 
Him, would true rest be found for the soul. 

These words, as recorded by St. Matthew — the Evan- 
gelist of the Jews— must have sunk the deeper into the 
hearts of Christ's Jewish hearers, that they came in their 
own old familiar form of speech, yet with such contrast 
of spirit. One of the most common figurative expressions 
of the time was that of ' the yoke,' to indicate submission 
to an occupation or obligation. Thus we read not only of 
the ' yoke of the Law,' but of that of ' earthly governments,' 
and ordinary ' civil obligations.' This yoke might be ' cast 
off,' as the ten tribes had cast off that ; of God,' and thus 
brought on themselves their exile. On the other hand, to 


306 Jesus the Messiah 

k take upon oneself the yoke ' meant to submit to it of tree 
choice and deliberate resolution. Of Isaiah it was said 
that he had been privileged to prophesy of so many 
blessings, ' because he had taken upon himself the yoke of 
the Kingdom of Heaven with joy.' And, as previously 
stated, it was set forth that in the ' Sherwi,' or Creed — which 
was repeated every day — the words, Deut. vi. 4-9, were 
recited before those in xi. 13-21, so as first generally to 
' take upon ourselves the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven, 
and only afterwards that of the commandments.' And this 
yoke all Israel had taken upon itself, thereby gaining the 
merit ever afterwards imputed to them. 

Yet, practically, ' the yoke of the Kingdom ' was none 
other than that ' of the Law ' and j of the commandments ; ' 
oue of laborious performances and of impossible self- 
righteousness. It was \ unbearable,' not ; the easy ' yoke 
of Christ, in which the Kingdom of God was of faith, not 
of works. This voluntary making of the yoke as heavy as 
possible, the taking on themselves as many obligations as 
possible, was the ideal of Rabbinic piety. There was, 
therefore, peculiar teaching and comfort in the words of 
■ st. Luke x. Christ ; and well might He add, as St. Luke 
23,24 reports,* that blessed were they who saw and 

heard these things. 

It seems not unlikely, that the scene next recorded by 
b St. Luke b stands in its right place. Such an 

inquiry on the part of a ' certain lawyer,' as to 
what he should do to inherit eternal life, together with 
Christ's Parabolic teaching about the Good Samaritan, is 
evidently congruous to the previous teaching of Christ 
about entering into the Kingdom of Heaven. Possibly, 
this Scribe may have understood the words of the Master 
about these things being hid from the wise, and the need 
of taking up the yoke of the Kingdom, as enforcing the 
views of those Rabbinic teachers who laid more stress 
upon good works than upon study. 

From this interruption, which, but for the teaching 
of Christ connected with it, would have formed a discord 
in the heavenly harmony of this journey, we turn to a far 

The Home at Bethany 307 

other scene. It must mark the close of Christ's journey to 
the Feast of Tabernacles, since the home of Martha and 
Mary, to which it introduces us, was in Bethany, close to 
Jerusalem, almost one of its suburbs. From the narrative 
of Christ's reception in the house of Martha, we gather 
that Jesus had arrived in Bethany with His disciples, but 
» st. Lute x. that He alone was the guest of the two sisters.* 
38 We infer that Christ had dismissed His disciples 

to go into the neighbouring City for the Feast, while Him- 
self tarried in Bethany. With this agrees the notice in 
St. John vii. 14, that it was not at the beginning, but 
' about the midst of the feast,' that S Jesus went up into 
the Temple.' Although travelling on the two first festive 
days was not actually unlawful, yet we can scarcely conceive 
that Jesus would have done so — especially on the Feast of 
Tabernacles ; and the inference is obvious, that Jesus had 
tarried in the immediate neighbourhood, as we know He 
did at Bethany in the house of Martha and Mary. 

Other things, also, do so explain themselves — notably, 
the absence of the brother of Martha and Mary, who pro- 
bably spent the festive days in the City itself. It was the 
beginning of the Feast of Tabernacles, and the scene re- 
corded by St. Luke b would take place in the 

8-42 open leafy booth which served as the sitting 
apartment during the festive week. For, according to 
law, it was duty during the festive week to eat, sleep, pray, 
study — in short, to live — in these booths, which were to 
be constructed of the boughs of living trees. And, although 
this was not absolutely obligatory on women, yet the rule 
which bade all make 'the booth the principal, and the 
house only the secondary dwelling,' would induce them to 
make this leafy tent at least the sitting apartment alike 
for men and women. They were high enough, and yet 
not too high ; chiefly open in front ; close enough to be 
shady, and yet not so close as to exclude sunlight and air. 
Such would be the apartment in which what is recorded 
passed ; and, if we add that this booth stood probably in 
the court, we can picture to ourselves Martha moving 
forwards and backwards on her busy errands, and seeing, 

x 2 

308 Jesus the Messiah 

as she went, Mary still sitting a rapt listener, not heeding 
what passed around ; and, lastly, how the elder sister could, 
as the language of verse 40 implies, enter so suddenly the 
Master's Presence, bringing her complaint. 

To understand this history, we must dismiss from our 
minds preconceived, though, perhaps, attractive thoughts. 
There is no evidence that the household of Bethany had 
previously belonged to the circle of Christ's professed dis- 
ciples. It was, as the whole history shows, a wealthy home. 
Although we know not how it came so to be, the house 
was evidently Martha's, and into it she received Jesus on 
His arrival in Bethany. It would have been no uncommon 
occurrence in Israel for a pious, wealthy lady to receive a 
great Rabbi into her house. But the present was not an 
ordinary case. Martha must have heard of Him, even if 
she had not seen Him. But, indeed, the whole narrative 
» comp. st. implies a that Jesus had come to Bethany with 
Luke x. 38 t ] ie v | ew f accepting the hospitality of Martha, 
which probably had been proffered when some of those 
1 Seventy,' sojourning in the worthiest house at Bethany, 
had announced the near arrival of the Master. Still, her 
bearing affords only indication of being drawn towards 
Christ — at most, of a sincere desire to learn the good news, 
not of actual discipleship. 

And so Jesus came. He was to lodge in one of the 
booths, the sisters in the house, and the great booth in the 
middle of the courtyard would be the common living apart- 
ment of all. This festive season was a busy time for the 
mistress of a wealthy household, especially in the near 
neighbourhood of Jerusalem, whence her brother might, 
after the first two festive days, bring with him any time 
that week honoured guests from the City. To these cares 
was now added that of doing sufficient honour to such a 
Guest — for she must already have deeply felt His greatness. 
And so she hurried to and fro through the courtyard, 
literally, ( distracted about much serving.' 

Her younger sister, also, would do Him all highest 
honour; but not as Martha. Her homage consisted in 
forgetting all else but Him, Who spake as none had ever 

The Feast of Tabernacles 309 

done. ' She sat at the Lord's Feet, and heard His Word.' 
And so, time after time, as Martha passed on her busy 
way, she still sat listening and living. At last the sister, 
who in her impatience could not think that a woman 
could in such manner fulfil her duty or show forth her 
religious profiting, broke in with what sounds like a 
querulous complaint : ' Lord, dost Thou not care that my 
sister did leave me to serve alone ? ' Mary had served with 
her, but she had now left her to do the work alone. With 
tone of gentle reproof and admonition, the afFectionateness 
of which appeared even in the repetition of her name, 
* Martha, Martha '—as similarly, on a later occasion, ' Simon, 
Simon '—did He teach her in words which, however simple 
in their primary meaning, are so full that they have ever 
since borne the most many-sided application : ' Thou art 
careful and anxious about many things : but one thing is 
needful ; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which 
shall not be taken away from her.' 




(St. John vii. 11-36.) 

It was the non-sacred part of the festive week, the half- 
holy days. Jerusalem wore quite another than its usual 
aspect ; other, even, than when its streets were thronged 
by festive pilgrims during the Passover-week, or at Pente- 
cost. For this was pre-eminently the Feast for foreign 
pilgrims, coming from the farthest distance, whose Temple- 
contributions were then received and counted. As the 
Jernsalemite would look with proud self-consciousness, not 
unmingled with kindly patronage, on the swarthy strangers, 
yet fellow-countrymen, or the eager-eyed Galilean curiously 
stare after them, the pilgrims would in turn gaze with 
mingled awe and wonderment on the novel scene. 

All day long the smoke of the burning, smouldering 

310 Jesus the Messiah 

sacrifices rose in slowly-widening column, and hung between 
the Mount of Olives and Zion ; the chant of Levites and the 
solemn responses of the Hallel were borne on the breeze, or 
the clear blast of the Priests' silver trumpets seemed to 
waken the echoes far away. And then, at night, how all 
these vast Temple-buildings stood out, illuminated by the 
great Candelab; as that burned in the Court of the Women, 
and by the glare of torches, when strange sound of mystic 
hymns and dances came floating over the intervening dark- 
ness ! Truly, well might Israel designate the Feast of 
Tabernacles as ' the Feast," and the Jewish historian describe 
it as ' the holiest and greatest.' 

Early on the 14th Tishri (corresponding to our Sep- 
tember or early October), all the festive pilgrims had arrived. 
Then it was indeed a scene of bustle and activity. Hos- 
pitality had to be sought and found ; guests to be welcomed 
and entertained ; all things required for the Feast to be got 
ready. Booths must be erected everywhere — in court and 
on housetop, in street and square, for the lodgment and 
entertainment of that vast multitude; leafy dwellings 
everywhere, to remind of the wilderness-journey, and now 
of the goodly land. Only that fierce castle, Antonia, which 
frowned above the Temple, was undecked by the festive 
spring into which the land had burst. To the Jew it must 
have been a hateful sight, that castle, which guarded and 
dominated his own City and Temple. Yet, for all this, 
Israel could not read on the lowering sky the signs of the 
times, nor yet knew the day of their merciful visitation. 
And this, although of all festivals that of Tabernacles 
should have most clearly pointed them to the future. 

Indeed, the whole symbolism of the Feast, beginning 
with the completed harvest, for which it was a thanks- 
giving, pointed to the future. The Rabbis themselves 
admitted this. The strange number of sacrificial bullocks 
— seventy in all — they regarded as referring to ' the seventy 
nations ' of heathendom. The ceremony of the outpouring 
of water, which was considered of such vital importance as 
to give to the whole festival the name of ' House of Out- 
pouring,' was symbolical of the outpouring of the Holy 

The Feast of Tabernacles 311 

Spirit. As the brief night of the great Temple-illuminat i< m 
closed, there was solemn testimony made before Jehovah 
against heathenism. It must have been a stirring scene, 
when from out the mass of Levites,with their musical instru- 
ments, who crowded the fifteen steps that led from the 
Court of Israel to that of the Women, stepped two Priests 
with their silver trumpets. As the first cockcrowing in- 
timated the dawn of morn, they blew a threefold blast, 
another on the tenth step, and yet another threefold blast 
as they entered the Court of the Women. And, still 
sounding their trumpets, they marched through the Court 
of the Women to the Beautiful Gate. Here, turning round 
and facing westwards to the Holy Place, they repeated : 
'Our fathers, who were in this place, they turned their 
backs on the Sanctuary of Jehovah, and their faces east- 
ward, for they worshipped eastward, the sun ; but we, our 
eyes are towards Jehovah.' ' We are Jehovah's — our eyes 
are towards Jehovah.' Nay, the whole of this night- and 
morning-scene was symbolical : the Temple-illumination, 
of the light which was to shine from out the Temple into 
the dark night of heathendom ; then, at the first dawn of 
morn the blast of the Priests' silver trumpets, of the army 
of God, as it advanced with festive trumpet-sound and call 
to awaken the sleepers, marching on to quite the utmost 
bounds of the Sanctuary, to the Beautiful Gate, which 
opened upon the Court of the Gentiles — and then again 
facing round to utter solemn protest against heathenism, 
and make solemn confession of Jehovah ! 

But Jesus did not appear in the Temple during the 
first two festive days. The pilgrims from all parts of the 
country had expected Him there, for everyone would now 
speak of Him — ' not openly,' in Jerusalem, for they were 
afraid of their rulers. But they sought Him, and inquired 
after Him — a low, confused discussion of the -pro and con. 
in this great controversy among the ' multitudes,' or festive 
bands from various parts. Some said : ' He is a good man,' 
while others declared that He only led astray the common, 
ignorant populace. And now, all at once, in the half-holy- 
days, Jesus Himself appeared in the Temple, and taught. 

312 Jesus the Messiah 

We know that on a later occasion a He walked and taught 
»st. John x. *** ' Solomon's Porch/ and, from the circumstance 
23 that the early disciples made this their com- 

"Actsv.12 mon mee tiDg_place, b we may draw the inference 
that it was here the people now found Him. Although 
neither Josephus nor the Mishnah mentions this ' Porch ' by 
name, we have every reason for believing that it was the 
eastern colonnade, which abutted against the Mount of 
Olives and faced 'the Beautiful Gate,' that formed the 
principal entrance into the ' Court of the Women/ and so 
into the Sanctuary. For all along the inside of the great 
wall which formed the Temple-enclosure ran a double 
colonnade — each column a monolith of white marble, 25 
cubits high, covered with cedar-beams. These colonnades, 
which, from their ample space, formed alike places for quiet 
walk and for larger gatherings, had benches in them — and, 
from the liberty of speaking and teaching in Israel, Jesus 
might here address the people in the very face of His 

We know not what was the subject of Christ's teach- 
ing on this occasion. But the effect on the people was 
one of general astonishment. They knew what common 
« st. John unlettered Galilean tradesmen were — but this, 
* comp. Acts whence came it ? c ' How does this one know litera- 
xxvi, 24 ture (letters, learning),* 1 never having learned ? ' 
To the Jews there was only one kind of learning — that of 
Theology; and only one road to it — the Schools of the Rabbis. 
Their major was true, but their minor false, and Jesus 
hastened to correct it. He had, indeed, ' learned,' but in 
a School quite other than those which alone they recognised. 
Yet, on their own showing, it claimed submission. 
Among the Jews a Rabbi's teaching derived authority 
from the fact of its accordance with tradition — that it 
accurately represented what had been received from a 
previous great teacher, and so on upwards to Moses, and to 
God Himself. On this ground Christ claimed the highest 
authority. His doctrine was not His own invention : it 
was the teaching of Him that sent Him. The doctrine 
was God-received, and Christ was sent direct from God to 

'Sent of God" 313 

bring it. He was God's messenger of it to them.* 

• st. John Everyone who in his soul felt drawn towards God, 
vii - 16 ' 17 each one who really 'willeth to do His Will/ 
would know ' concerning this teaching, whether it is of 
God,' or whether it was of man. It was this felt, though 
unrealised influence, which had drawn ail men after Him, 
so that they hung on His lips. 

Jesus had said : ' He shall know of the teaching, 
whether it be of God, or whether I speak from Myself.' 
From Myself? Why, there is this other test of it : ■ Who 
speaketh from himself, seeketh his own glory ' — there can 
be no doubt or question of this, but do I seek My own 
glory? — 'But He Who seeketh the glory of Him Who 
sent Him, He is true [a faithful messenger], and un- 
righteousness is not in Him.' b Thus did Christ 
appeal and prove it : My doctrine is of God, and 
I am sent of God ! 

Sent of God, no unrighteousness in Him ! And yet at 
that very moment there hung over Him the charge of de- 
fiance of the Law of Moses, nay, of that of God, in an open 
breach of the Sabbath-commandment — there, in that very 
City, the last time He had been in Jerusalem ; for which, 
as well as for His Divine Claims, the Jews were even then 

• st. John v. seeking ' to kill Him.' c And this forms the tran- 

sition to what may be called the second part of 
Christ's address. Here He argues as a Jew would argue 
with Jews, only the substance of the reasoning is to all 
times and people. In His reply the two threads of the 
former argument are taken up. Doing is the condition of 
knowledge — and a messenger had been sent from God ! 
Admittedly, Moses was such, and yet every one of them 
was breaking the Law which he had given them ; for were 
they not seeking to kill Him without right or justice ? 

• ch. vii. 19, This, put in the form of a double question,* 1 re- 

presents a peculiarly Jewish mode of argumenta- 
tion, behind which lay the truth, that those whose hearts 
were so little longing to do the Will of God, not only must 
remain ignorant of His Teaching as that of God, but had 
also rejected that of Moses. 

314 Jesus the Messiah 

A general disclaimer, a cry ' Thou hast a demon ' (art 
possessed), ' who seeks to kill Thee ? ' here broke in upon 
the Speaker. But He would not be interrupted, and con- 
tinued : ' One work I did, and all you wonder on account 
of it ' — referring to His healing on the Sabbath, and their 
utter inability to understand His conduct. Well, then, 
Moses was a messenger of God, and I am sent of God. 
Moses gave the law of circumcision — not, indeed, that it 
was of his authority, but had long before been God-given 
— and, to observe this law, no one hesitated to break the 
Sabbath, since, according to Rabbinic principle, a positive 
ordinance superseded a negative. And yet when Christ, 
as sent from God, made a man every whit whole on the 
Sabbath (' made a whole man sound '), they were angry 
• st. John with Him ! a Every argument which might have 
vii. 21-24 | 3een ur g e( j f n favour of the postponement of Christ's 
healing to a week-day, would equally apply to that of cir- 
cumcision ; while every reason that could be urged in favour 
of Sabbath-circumcision, would tell an hundredfold in favour 
of the act of Christ. Let them not judge, then, after the 
mere outward appearance, but 'judge the right judgment.' 

From the reported remarks of some Jerusalemites in the 
crowd we learn that the fact that He, Whom they sought 
to kill, was suffered to speak openly, seemed incomprehen- 
sible. b Could it be that the authorities were 
shaken in their former ideas about Him, and now 
regarded Him as the Messiah ? But it could not be. It was 
a settled popular belief, and in a sense not quite unfounded, 
that the appearance of the Messiah would be sudden and 
unexpected. He might be there, and not be known ; or He 
might come, and be again hidden for a time. As they put 
it, when Messiah came no one would know whence He was ; 
but they all knew ' whence this One ' was. And with this 
rough and ready argument they, like so many among us, 
settled off-hand and once for all the great question. But 
Jesus could not, even for the sake of His disciples, let it 
rest there. * Therefore ' He lifted up His voice, that it 
reached the dispersing, receding multitude. Yes, they 
thought they knew both Him and whence He came. 

Discourse nv the Temple 315 

It would have been so had He come from Himself. But He 
had been sent, and He that sent Him ' was real ; ' though they 
knew Him not. And so, with a reaffirmation of His two- 
• st. John fold claim, His Discourse closed/ But they had 
vii. 29 understood His allusions, and in their anger would 

fain have laid hands on Him, but His hour had not come. 
Yet others were deeply stirred to faith. As they parted 
they spoke of it among themselves, and the sum of it all 
was : ' The Christ, when He cometh, will He do more 
miracles (signs) than this One did ? ' 

So ended the first teaching of that day in the Temple. 
And as the people dispersed, the leaders of the Pharisees 
— who, no doubt aware of the presence of Christ in the 
Temple, yet unwilling to be in the number of His hearers, 
had watched the effect of His Teaching — overheard the 
furtive, half- spoken remarks (' the murmuring ') of the 
people about Him. Presently they conferred with the 
heads of the priesthood and the chief Temple-officials. 
Although there was neither meeting, nor decree of the 
Sanhedrin about it, nor, indeed, could be, orders were 
given to the Temple-guard on the first possible occasion 
to seize Him. Jesus was aware of it, and as, either on this 
or another day, He was moving in the Temple, watched 
by the spies of the rulers and followed by a mingled crowd 
of disciples and enemies, deep sadness in view of the end 
filled His heart. ' Jesus therefore said ' — no doubt to His 
disciples, though in the hearing of all — ' Yet a little while 
am I with you, then I go away to Him that sent Me. 
Ye shall seek Me, and not find Me; and where I am, 
thither ye cannot come.' b Mournful words, these, 
which were only too soon to become true. But 
those who heard them naturally failed to comprehend their 
meaning. Was He about to leave Palestine, and go 
among the dispersed who lived in heathen lands, to teach 
the Greeks ? Or what could be His meaning ? 

316 Jesus the Messiah 

'in the last, the great day of the feast.' 

(St. John vii. 37-viii. 11.) 

It was ' the last, the Great Day of the Feast,' and Jesus was 
once more in the Temple. We have in this Feast the 
only Old Testament type yet unfulfilled ; the only Jewish 
festival which has no counterpart in the cycle of the 
Christian year, just because it points forward to that great, 
yet unfulfilled hope of the Church: the ingathering of 
Earth's nations to the Christ. 

The celebration of the Feast corresponded to its meaning. 
Not only did all the priestly families minister during that 
week, but it has been calculated that not fewer than 446 
Priests, with, of course, a corresponding number of Levites, 
were required for its sacrificial worship. In general, the 
services were the same every day, except that the number 
of bullocks offered decreased daily from thirteen on the 
first to seven on the seventh day. Only during the first 
two, and on the last festive day (as also on the Octave of 
the Feast), was strict Sabbatic rest enjoined. On the 
intervening half-holy days, although no new labour was to 
be undertaken, unless in the public service, the ordinary 
and necessary avocations of the home and of life were 
carried on, and especially all done that was required for 
the festive season. But ' the last, the Great Day of the 
Feast,' was marked by special observances. 

Let us suppose ourselves in the number of worshippers 
who are leaving their ' booths ' at daybreak to take part in 
the service. The pilgrims are all in festive array. In his 
right hand each carries a myrtle and willow-branch tied 
together with a palm-branch between them. This was 
supposed to be in fulfilment of the command, Lev. xxiii. 
40. < The fruit (A.V. ' boughs ') of the goodly trees,' 
mentioned in the same verse of Scripture, was supposed to 
be the so-called Paradise-apple, a species of citron. This 
each worshipper carries in his left hand. 

• The Last, the Great Day of the Feast' 317 

Thus provided, the festive multitude would divide into 
three bands. Some would remain in the Temple to attend 
the preparation of the Morning Sacrifice. Another band 
would go in procession ' below J erusalem ' to a place which 
some have sought to identify with the Emmaus of the 
Resurrection-Evening. Here they cut down willow- 
branches, with which, amidst the blasts of the Priests' 
trumpets, they adorned the altar, forming a leafy canopy 
about it. Yet a third company was taking part in a still 
more interesting service. To the sound of music a pro- 
cession started from the Temple. It followed a Priest 
who bore a golden pitcher, capable of holding about two 
pints. Onwards it passed, probably through Ophel, which 
recent investigations have shown to have been covered 
with buildings to the very verge of Siloam, down the edge 
of the Tyropoeon Valley, where it merges into that of the 
Kedron. To this day terraces mark where the gardens, 
watered by the living spring, extended from the King's 
Gardens down to the entrance into the Tyropoeon. 

When the Temple-procession had reached the Pool 
of Siloam, the Priest filled his golden pitcher from its 
waters. Then they went back to the Temple, so timing 
it that they should arrive just as the pieces of the 
sacrifice were being laid on the great Altar of Burnt-offering 
towards the close of the ordinary Morning-Sacrifice service. 
A threefold blast of the Priests' trumpets welcomed the 
arrival of the Priest, as he entered through the ' Water- 
gate,' which obtained its name from this ceremony, and 
passed straight into the Court of the Priests. Here he 
was joined by another Priest, who carried the wine for the 
drink-offering. The two Priests ascended ' the rise ' of 
the altar, and turned to the left. There were two silver 
funnels here, with narrow openings, leading down to the 
base of the altar. Into that at the east, which was some- 
what wider, the wine was poured, and, at the same time, 
the water into the western and narrower opening. 

Immediately after ' the pouring of water,' the great 
( Hallel,' consisting of Psalms cxiii. to cxviii. (inclusive), 
was chanted antiphonally, or rather with responses, to the 

318 Jesus the Messiah 

accompaniment of the flute. As the Levites intoned the 
first line of each Psalm, the people repeated it ; while to 
each of the other lines they responded by Hallelu Yah 
(' Praise ye the Lord '). But in Psalm cxviii. the people 
not only repeated the first line, * give thanks to the 
Lord,' but also these, ' then, work now salvation, Jeho- 
*Ps. cxviii van ?' a ' O Lord, send now prosperity ;' b and 
25 ' again, at the close of the Psalm, ' give thanks 
to the Lord.' As they repeated these lines, 
they shook towards the altar the branches which they held 
in their hands — as if with this token of the past to express 
the reality and cause of their praise, and to remind God of 
His promises. It is this moment which should be chiefly 
kept in view. 

The festive morning-service was followed by the offer- 
ing of the special sacrifices for the day, with their drink- 
offerings, and by the Psalm for the day, which, on 'the 
last, the Great Day of the Feast,' was Psalm lxxxii. from 
verse 5. The Psalm was, of course, chanted as always 
to instrumental accompaniment, and at the end of each of 
its three sections the Priests blew a threefold blast, while 
the people bowed down in worship. In further symbolism 
of this Feast, a3 pointing to the ingathering of the heathen 
nations, the public services closed with a procession round 
the altar by the Priests, who chanted, ' then, work now 
salvation, Jehovah ! Jehovah, send now prosperity.' c 
c P 8 . cxviii. But on ; the last, the Great Day of the Feast,' 
25 this procession of Priests made the circuit of the 

altar, not only once but seven times, as if they were again 
compassing, but now with prayer, the Gentile Jericho 
which barred their possession of the promised land. Hence 
the seventh or last day of the Feast was also called that 
of ' the Great Hosannah.' As the people left the Temple, 
they saluted the altar with words of thanks, and on the 
last day of the Feast they shook off the leaves on the 
wij low-branches round the altar, and beat their palm- 
branches to pieces. On the same afternoon the ' booths ' 
were dismantled, and the Feast ended. 

We can have little difficulty in determining at what 

■ The Last, the Great Day of the Feast* 319 

part of the services of ' the last, the Great Day of the 
Feast,' Jesus stood and cried, ' If any one thirst, let him 
come unto Me and drink ! ' It must have been with 
special reference to the ceremony of the outpouring of the 
water, which was considered the central part of the service. 
Moreover, all would understand that His words must refer 
to the Holy Spirit, since the rite was universally re- 
garded as symbolical of His outpouring. The forthpouring 
of the water was immediately followed by the chanting of 
the Hallel. But after that there must have been a short 
pause to prepare for the festive sacrifices. It was then, 
immediately after the symbolic rite of water-pouring, 
immediately after the people had responded by repeating 
those lines from Psalm cxviii. — given thanks, and prayed 
that Jehovah would send salvation and prosperity, and 
had shaken their branches towards the altar, thus praising 
1 with heart and mouth and hands,' and then silence 
had fallen upon them — that there rose, so loud as to be 
heard throughout the Temple, the Voice of Jesus. He 
interrupted not the services, for they had for the moment 
ceased : He interpreted, and He fulfilled them. 

Of those who had heard Him, none but must have 
understood that, if the invitation were indeed real, and 
Christ the fulfilment of all, then the promise also had its 
deepest meaning, that he who believed on Him would not 
only receive the promised fulness of the Spirit, but give it 
forth to the fertilising of the barren waste around. It 
was, truly, the fulfilment of the Scripture-promise, not 
of one but of all : that in Messianic times the c prophet,' 
literally the ' weller forth,' viz., of the Divine, should not be 
one or another select individual, but that He would pour 
out on all His handmaidens and servants of His Holy 
Spirit, and thus the moral wilderness of this world be 
changed into a fruitful garden. What was new to them 
was that all this was treasured up in the Christ, that out 
of His fulness men might receive. And yet even this was 
not quite new. For was it not the fulfilment of that old 
prophetic cry : ' The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon 
Me : therefore has He Messiahed (anointed) Me to preach 

320 Jesus the Messiah 

good tidings unto the poor ' ? So, then, it was nothing 
new, only the happy fulfilment of the old, when He thus 
' spake of the Holy Spirit, Which they who believed on 
Him should receive,' not then, but upon His Messianic 

And so we scarcely wonder that many on hearing 
Him said, though not with that heart-coaviction which 
would have led to self-surrender, that He was the Prophet 
promised of old, even the Christ ; while others, by their 
side, regarding Him as a Galilean, the Son of Joseph, 
raised the ignorant objection that He could not be the 
Messiah, since the latter must be of the seed of David and 
come from Bethlehem. Nay, such was the anger of some 
against what they regarded a dangerous seducer of the 
poor people, that they would fain have laid violent hands 
on Him. But amidst all this, the strongest testimony to 
His Person and Mission remains to be told. It came, as 
so often, from a quarter whence it could least have been 
expected. Those Temple-officers, whom the authorities had 
commissioned to watch an opportunity for seizing Jesus, 
now returned without having done their behest, and that 
when, manifestly, the scene in the Temple might have 
offered the desired ground for His imprisonment. To the 
question of the Pharisees, they could only give this reply, 
which has ever since remained unquestionable fact of 
history, admitted alike by friend and foe : ' Never man so 
spake as this Man.' 

The scene which followed is so thoroughly Jewish, that 
it alone would suffice to prove the Jewish, and hence 
Johannine, authorship of the Fourth Gospel. The harsh 
sneer : ' Are ye also led astray ? ' is succeeded by pointing 
to the authority of the learned and great, who with one 
accord were rejecting Jesus. ' But this people ' — the 
country-people, the ignorant, unlettered rabble — * are 

But there was one standing among the Temple- autho- 
rities, whom an uneasy conscience would not allow to 
remain quite silent. It was the Sanhedrist Nicodemus. 
He could not hold his peace, and yet he dared not speak 

Teaching in the Temple 321 

for Christ. So he made compromise of both by taking 
the part of, and speaking as a righteous, rigid Sanhedrist. 
' Does our Law judge (pronounce sentence upon) a man, 
except it first hear from himself and know what he doeth ? 
Prom the Rabbinic point of view, no sounder judicial saying 
could have been uttered. Yet such common-place helped 
not the cause of Jesus, and it disguised not the advocacy 
of Nicodemus. We know what was thought of Galilee in 
the Rabbinic world. ' Art thou also of Galilee ? Search 
and see, for out of Galilee ariseth no prophet.' ■ 




(St. John viii. 12-59.) 

The addresses of Jesus which followed must have been 
delivered either later on that day, or, as seems more likely, 
chiefly, or all, on the next day, which was the Octave 
of the Feast, when the Temple would be once more 
thronged by worshippers. 

On this occasion we find Christ first in ' the Treasury,' a 
- L T . and then b in some unnamed part of the sacred 

• St. John . n i 

viii. 20 building, in all probability one of the ' Porches. 

Greater freedom could be here enjoyed, since 

these ' Porches,' which enclosed the Court of the Gentiles, 

did not form part of the Sanctuary in the stricter sense. 

Discussions might take place, in which not, as in ' the 

Treasury,' only ' the Pharisees,' c but the people 

generally, might propound questions, answer, or 

assent. Again, as regards the requirements of the present 

narrative, since the Porches opened upon the Court, the 

1 The reader will observe that the narrative of the woman taken in 
adultery, as also the previous verse (St. John vii. 53-viii. 11) have 
been left out in this History— although with great reluctance. By this 
it is not intended to characterise that section as Apocryphal. All that 
we feel bound to maintain is that the narrative in its present form did 
not exist in the Gospel of St. John. 


322 Jesus the Messiah 

Jews might there pick up stones to cast at Him (which 
would have been impossible in any part of the Sanctuary 
itself), while, lastly, Jesus might easily pass out of the 
Temple in the crowd that moved through the Porches to 
the outer gates. 

But the narrative first transports us into l the Treasury,' 
where ' the Pharisees ' — or leaders — would alone venture 
to speak. This would be within ' the Court of the Women,' 
the common meeting-place of the worshippers, and, as we 
may say, the most generally attended part of the Sanctuary. 
Here, in the hearing of the leaders of the people, took 
place the first Dialogue between Christ and the Pharisees. 

It opened with what probably was an allusion alike to 
one of the great ceremonies of the Feast of Tabernacles, to 
its symbolic meaning, and to an express Messianic expec- 
tation of the Rabbis. As the Mishnah states : On the first, 
or, as the Talmud would have it, on every night of the 
festive week, ' the Court of the Women ' was brilliantly 
illuminated, and the night spent in the demonstrations 
already described. This was called ' the joy of the Feast.' 
This ' festive joy,' of which the origin is obscure, was no 
doubt connected with the hope of earth's great harvest-joy 
in the conversion of the heathen world, and so pointed to 
1 the days of the Messiah.' In connection with this we 
mark that the term ' light ' was specially applied to the 
Messiah. In a very interesting passage of the Midrash we 
are told that, while commonly windows were made wide 
within and narrow without, it was the opposite in the 
Temple of Solomon, because the light issuing from the 
Sanctuary was to lighten that which was without. This 
»st. Luke ii. reminds us of the language of devout old Simeon 
32 ' in regard to the Messiah,* as ' a light to lighten 

the Gentiles, and the glory of His people Israel.' We 
ought to refer to a passage in another Midrash, where, 
after a remarkable discussion on such names of the Messiah 
as ' the Lord our Righteousness,' ' the Branch,' ' the Com- 
forter,' ' Shiloh,' ' Compassion,' His Birth is connected with 
the destruction, and His return with the restoration of the 
Temple. But in that very passage the Messiah is also 

Teaching in the Temple 323 

specially designated as the * Enlightener,' the words : ' the 
light dwelleth with Him,' a being applied to 

•Dan. ii. 22 T fi s rr 


What has just been stated shows that the Pharisees could 
not have mistaken the Messianic meaning in the words of 
Jesus, in their reference to the past festivity : < I am the 
Light of the world.' Substantially, the Discourses which 
follow are a continuation of those previously delivered at 
this Feast. What Jesus had gradually communicated to 
the disciples, who were so unwilling to receive it, had now 
become an acknowledged fact. It was no longer a secret 
that the leaders of Israel and Jerusalem were compassing 
the Death of Jesus. This underlies all His Words. And 
He sought to turn them from their purpose, not by appeal- 
ing to their pity or to any lower motive, but by claiming 
as His right that for which they would condemn Him. He 
was the Sent of God, the Messiah ; although, to know Him 
and His mission, it needed moral kinship with Him that 
had sent Him. But this they did not possess; nay, no 
man possessed it, till given him of God. This was not 
exactly new in these Discourses of Christ, but it was now 
far more clearly stated and developed. 

As a corollary He would teach that Satan was not a 
merely malicious being, working outward destruction, but 
that there was a moral power of evil which held us all — not 
the Gentile world only, but even the most favoured, learned, 
and exalted among the Jews. Of this power Satan was 
the concentration and impersonation; the prince of the 
power of 'darkness.' This opens up the reasoning of 
Christ, alike as expressed and implied. He presented 
Himself to them as the Messiah, and hence as the Light of 
the World. It resulted that only in following Him would 
a man * not walk in the darkness,' but have the light — and 
t , st , John that, be it marked, not the light of knowledge, 
via. 12 b u t of life. b On the other hand, it also followed 
that all who were not within this light were in darkness 
and in death. 

It was an appeal to the moral in His hearers. The 
Pharisees sought to turn it aside by an appeal to the 

Y 2 

324 Jesus the Messiah 

external and visible. They asked for some witness, or pal- 
• st. John pable evidence, of what they called His testimony 
viu.i3 #bout Himself, a well knowing that such could 
only be through some external, visible, miraculous mani- 
festation, just as they had formerly asked for a sign from 
heaven. The Bible, and especially the Evangelic history, 
is full of what men ordinarily, and often thoughtlessly, call 
the miraculous. But in this case the miraculous would 
have become the magical, which it never is. If Christ had 
yielded to their appeal, and transferred the question from 
the moral to the coarsely external sphere, He would have 
ceased to be the Messiah of the Incarnation, Temptation, 
and Cross, the Messiah-Saviour. A miracle or sign would 
at that moment have been a moral anachronism — as much 
as any miracle would be in our days, when the Christ 
makes His appeal to the moral, and is met by a demand 
for the external and material evidence of His witness. 

The interruption of the Pharisees b was thoroughly 
Jewish, and so was their objection. It had to be 
met, and that in the Jewish form in which it had 
been raised, while the Christ must at the same time con- 
tinue His former teaching to them concerning God and 
their own distance from Him. Their objection had pro- 
ceeded on this fundamental judicial principle — l A person 
is not accredited about himself.' Harsh and unjust as this 
principle sometimes was, it evidently applied only in judi- 
cial cases, and hence implied that these Pharisees sat in 
judgment on Him as one suspected, and charged with guilt. 
The reply of Jesus was plain. Even if His testimony about 
Himself were unsupported, it would still be true, and He 
was competent to bear it, for He knew as a matter of fact 
whence He came and whither He went — His own part in 
this Mission, and its goal, as well as God's — whereas they 
knew not either. But more than this: their 
demand for a witness had proceeded on the as- 
sumption of their being the judges, and He the panel — a 
relation which only arose from their judging after the 
flesh. Spiritual judgment upon that which was within 
belonged only to Him Who searcheth all secrets. Christ, 

Teaching in the Temple 325 

while on earth, judged no man ; and, even if He did so, it 
must be remembered that He did it not alone, but with, 
and as the Representative of, the Father. Hence such 
»st. John judgment would be true. a But as for their 
viii. 15, 16 ma i n charge, was' it either true or good in law ? 
In accordance with the Law of God, there were two wit- 
nesses to the fact of His Mission: His own, and the 
frequently-shown attestation of His Father. And, if it 
were objected that a man could not bear witness in his own 
cause, the same Rabbinic canon laid it down, that this only 
applied if his testimony stood alone. But if it were cor- 
roborated, although by only one male or female slave — who 
ordinarily were unfit for testimony — it would be credited. 

The reasoning of Christ, without for a moment quitting 
the higher ground of His teaching, was quite unanswerable 
from the Jewish standpoint. The Pharisees felt it, and, 
though well knowing to Whom He referred, tried to evade 
it by the sneer — where (not Who) His Father was ? This 
gave occasion for Christ to return to the main subject of 
His address, that the reason of their ignorance of Him 
b was that they knew not the Father, and, in turn, 

that only acknowledgment of Him would bring 
true knowledge of the Father. b 

Such words would only ripen in the hearts of such men 
the murderous resolve against Jesus. Yet, not till His 
hour had come ! Presently we find Him again, now in 
one of the Porches — probably that of Solomon — teaching, 
this time, ' the Jews.' We imagine they were chiefly, if 
not all, Judseans — perhaps Jerusalemites, aware of the 
murderous intent of their leaders — not His own Galileans, 
whom He addressed. It was in continuation of what had 
gone before — alike of what He had said to them, and of 
what they felt towards Him. The words are Christ's fare- 
well to His rebellious people, His tear-words over lost 
Israel ; abrupt also, as if they were torn sentences, or else 
headings for special discourses : 'I go My way ' — ' Ye shall 
seek Me, and in your sin shall ye die ' — ' Whither I go, ye 
cannot come ! ' They thought that He spoke of His dying, 
and not, as He did, of that which came after it. But how 

326 Jesus the Messiah 

could His dying establish such separation between them ? 
»st. John This was the next question which rose in their 
viii.22 minds. a Would there be anything so peculiar 
about His dying, or did His expression about going 
indicate a purpose of taking away His Own life ? 

It was this misunderstanding which Jesus briefly but 
emphatically corrected by telling them, that the ground of 
their separation was the difference of their nature : they 
were from beneath, He from above ; they of this world, 
He not of this world. Hence they could not come where 
He would be, since they must die in their sin, 

b yy 23 24 

as He had told them — 'if ye believe not that 
Iam.' b 

The words were intentionally mysteriously spoken, as 
to a Jewish audience. Believe not that Thou art ! But 
' Who art Thou ? ' Their question condemned themselves. 
In His broken sentence, Jesus had tried them — to see how 
they would complete it. All this time they had not yet 
learned Who He was ; had not even a conviction on that 
point either for or against Him, but were ready to be 
swayed by their leaders ! ' Who I am ? ' Has My testi- 
mony by word or deed ever swerved on this point ? I am 
what all along, from the beginning, I tell you. Then, 
• 25 26 P uttm g aside this interruption, He resumed His 

argument. Many other things had He to say 
and to judge concerning them, besides the bitter truth of 
their perishing if they believed not that it was He — but He 
that had sent Him was true, and He must ever speak into the 
world the message which He had received. When Christ 

referred to it as that which ' He heard from 

a vej> # 26 

Him,' d He evidently wished thereby to emphasise 
the fact of His Mission from God, as constituting His 
claim on their obedience of faith. But it was this very 

point which, even at that moment, they were not 

understanding. 6 And they would only learn it, 
not by His Words, but by the event, when they had 
' ver 28 ' ^^ Him up,' as they thought to the Cross, but 

really on the way to His Glory . f Then would 
they perceive the meaning of the designation He had 

Teaching in the Temple 327 

given of Himself, and the claim founded on it : a ■ Then 
• st. John shall ye perceive that I am.' Meantime : ' And 
(Sm 8 rer of Myself do I nothing, but as the Father taught 
24) Me, these things do I speak. And He that sent 

Me is with Me. He hath not left Me alone, because what 
pleases Him I do always.' 

If the Jews failed to understand the expression ' lifting 
up,' which might mean His Exaltation, though it did mean 
in the first place His Cross, there was that in His appeal to 
His Words and Deeds as bearing witness to His Mission and 
to the Divine Help and Presence in it, which by its sincerity 
and reality found its way to the hearts of many. Instinc- 
tively they felt and believed that His Mission must be 
Divine. Whether or not this found articulate expression, 
Jesus now addressed Himself to those who thus far — at least 
for the moment — believed on Him. They were at the crisis 
of their spiritual history, and He must press home on them 
what He had sought to teach at the iirst. By nature far from 
Him, they were bondsmen. Only if they abode in His Word 
would they know the truth, and the truth would make 
them free. The result of this knowledge would be moral, 
and hence that knowledge consisted not in merely believ- 
ing on Him, but in making His Word and teaching their 
dwelling — abiding in it. b But it was this very 
moral application which they resisted. In this 
also Jesus had used their own forms of thinking and teach- 
ing, only in a much higher sense. For their own tradition 
had it, that he only was free who laboured in the study of 
the Law. Yet the liberty of which He spoke came not 
through study of the Law, but from abiding in the Word 
of Jesus. But they ignored the spiritual, and fell back upon 
the national application of the words of Christ. As this 
is once more evidential of the Jewish authorship of this 
Gospel, so also the characteristically Jewish boast, that as 
the children of Abraham they had never been and never 
could be in real servitude. It would take too long to 
enumerate all the benefits supposed to be derived from 
descent from Abraham. Suffice here the almost funda- 
mental principle : ' All Israel are the children of Kings/ 

3 2 $ Jesus the Messiah 

and its application even to common life, that as ' the chil- 
dren of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, not even Solomon's 
feast could be too good for them.' 

Not so, however, would the Lord allow them to pass it 
by. He pointed them to another servitude which they 
• st. John knew not, that of sin, a and, entering at the same 
viii. 34 t j me a ] so on t h e i r own ^eas, jj e to i(j t j iem that 

continuance in this servitude would also lead to national 
bondage and rejection : ' For the servant abideth not in 
the house for ever.' On the other hand, the Son abode 
there for ever ; whom He made free by adoption into His 
Family, they would be free in reality and essentially. 15 
«>ver.35 Then, for their very dulness, He would turn to 
their favourite conceit of being Abraham's seed. 
There was, indeed, an obvious sense in which, by their 
natural descent, they were such. But there was a moral 
descent — and that alone was of real value. Abraham's 
seed? But they entertained purposes of murder, and 
that because the Word of Christ had not free course, 
made not way in them. His Word was what he had seen 
with (before) the Father, not heard— for His Presence 
there was eternal. Their deeds were what they had 
heard from their father — the word ' seen ' in our common 
text depending on a wrong reading. And thus He showed 
them — in answer to their interpellation — that their father 
could not have been Abraham, so far as spiritual descent 
«w. 37-40 was con cerned. c They had now a glimpse of 
His meaning, but only to misapply it, accord- 
ing to their Jewish prejudice. Their spiritual descent, 
they urged, must be of God, since their descent from 
"ver.41 Abraham was legitimated But the Lord dis- 
pelled even this conceit by showing that if theirs 
were spiritual descent from God, then would they not 
reject His Message, nor seek to kill Him, but recognise 
e ver . 4 2 and love Him. e 

r w. 43-47 -Q ut w h ence a \\ ^ m i sun derstanding of His 

speech ? f Because they were morally incapable of hearing 
it — and this because of the sinfulness of their nature : an 
element which Judaism had never taken into account. 

Teaching in the Temple 329 

And so, with infinite wisdom, Christ once more brought 
back His Discourse to what He would teach them concern- 
ing man's need, whether he be Jew or Gentile, of a Saviour 
and of renewing by the Holy Ghost. If the Jews were 
morally unable to hear His Word and cherished murderous 
designs, it was because, morally speaking, their descent 
was of the Devil. Very differently from Jewish ideas did 
He speak concerning the moral evil of Satan, as both a 
murderer and a liar — a murderer from the beginning of 
the history of our race, and one who * stood not in the 
truth, because truth is not in him/ Hence ' whenever 
he speaketh a lie ' — whether to our first parents, or now 
concerning the Christ — ' he speaketh from out his own 
(things), for he (Satan) is a liar, and the father of such an 
one (who telleth or believeth lies).' Which of them could 
convict Him of sin? If therefore He spake truth and 
they believed Him not, it was because they were not of 
God, but, as He had shown them, of their father, the 

The argument was unanswerable, and there seemed only 
one way to turn it aside — a Jewish Tu quoque, an adapta- 
tion of the ' Physician, heal thyself : ' Do we not say rightly, 
that Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a demon ? ' By no strain 
of ingenuity is it possible to account for the designation 
1 Samaritan,' as given by the Jews to Jesus, if it is regarded 
as referring to nationality. But in the language which 
•they spoke, what is rendered into Greek by ' Samaritan,' 
while literally meaning such, is almost as often used in 
the sense of ' heretic' But it is also sometimes used as 
the equivalent of Ashmedai, the prince of the demons. 
If this, therefore, were the term applied by the Jews to 
Jesus, it would literally mean, c Child of the Devil.' 

This would also explain why Christ only replied to the 
charge of having a demon, since the two charges meant 
substantially the same : 'Thou art a child of the devil and 
hast a demon.' In wondrous patience and mercy He 
almost passed it by, dwelling rather, for their teaching, 
on the fact that, while they dishonoured Him, He honoured 
His Father. He heeded not their charges. His concern 

330 Jesus the Messiah 

was the glory of His Father ; the vindication of His own 
honour would be brought about by the Father — though, 
alas ! in judgment on those who were casting such dis- 
• st John honour on the Sent of God. a Then He once 
viu.50 more pressed home the great subject of His 

Discourse, that only ' if a man keep ' — both have regard 
to, and observe — His ' Word,' ' he shall not gaze at death 
[intently behold it] unto eternity ' — for ever shall he not 
come within close and terrible gaze of what is really 
death, of what became such to Adam in the hour of his 

It was, as repeatedly observed, this death as the con- 
sequence of the Fall, of which the Jews knew nothing. 
And so they once more misunderstood it as of physical 
death, and, since Abraham and the prophets had died, 
regarded Christ as setting up a claim higher than theirs. b 
b The Discourse had contained all that He had 

wished to bring before them, and their objections 
were degenerating into wrangling. It was time to break 
it off by a general application. The question, He added, 
was not of what He said, but of what God said of Him — 
that God, Whom they claimed as theirs, and yet knew 
not, but Whom He knew, and Whose Word He ' kept.' 
But, as for Abraham — he had ' exulted ' in the thought of 
the coming day of the Christ, and, seeing its glory, he 
was glad. Even Jewish tradition could scarcely gainsay 
this, since there were two parties in the Synagogue of # 
which one believed that, when that horror of great dark- 
ness fell on him, c Abraham had in vision been 
shown not only this, but the coming world — 
and not only all events in the present ' age,' but also those 
in Messianic times. And now theirs was not misunder- 
standing, but wilful misinterpretation. He had spoken of 
Abraham seeing His day; they took it of His seeing 
Abraham's day, and challenged its possibility. Whether 
or not they intended thus to elicit an avowal of His claim 
to eternal duration, and hence to Divinity, it was not time 
any longer to forbear the full statement, and, with Divine 
emphasis, He spake the words which could not be mis- 

Healing of the Man Born Blind 331 

taken : ' Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham 
was, I AM.' 

It was as if they had only waited for this. Furiously 
they rushed from the Porch into the Court of the Gentiles 
— with symbolic significance even in this — to pick up 
stones, and to cast them at Him. But, once more, His 
hour had not yet come, and their rage proved impotent. 
Hiding Himself for the moment, as might so easily be 
done, in one of the many chambers, passages, or gateways 
of the Temple, He presently passed out. 

It had been the first plain disclosure and avowal of 
His Divinity, and it was l in the midst of His enemies,' 
and when most contempt was cast upon Him. Presently 
would that avowal be renewed both in Word and by 
Deed ; for ' the end ' of mercy and judgment had not yet 
come, but was drawing terribly nigh. 


(St. John ix.) 

After the scene in the Temple described in the last chapter, 
and Christ's consequent withdrawal from His enemies, we 
are led to infer that no long interval of time elapsed before 
the healing of the man born blind. Probably it happened 
the day after the events just recorded. 

It was the Sabbath, the day after the Octave of the 
Feast, and Christ with His disciples was passing — presum- 
ably when going into the Temple — where this blind beggar 
was wont to sit, probably soliciting alms, perhaps in some 
such terms as these, which were common at the time: 
' Gain merit by me ; ' or ■ O tenderhearted, by me gain 
merit, to thine own benefit.' But on the Sabbath he 
would of course neither ask nor receive alms, though his 
presence in the wonted place would secure wider notice, 
and perhaps lead to many private gifts. Indeed, the 

332 Jesus the Messiah 

blind were regarded as specially entitled to charity ; and 
the Jerusalem Talmud relates instances of the delicacy 
displayed towards them. As the Master, and His disciples 
passed the blind beggar, Jesus ' saw ' him with that look 
which they who followed Him knew to be full of meaning. 
Yet, so thoroughly Judaised were they by their late con- 
tact with the Pharisees, that no thought of possible mercy 
came to them, only a question addressed to Him expressly 
and as ' Rabbi : ' through whose guilt this blindness had 
befallen him — through his own, or that of his parents. 

Thoroughly Jewish the question was. Many instances 
could be adduced in which one or another sin is said to 
have been punished by some immediate stroke, disease, or 
even by death ; and we constantly find Rabbis, when 
meeting such unfortunate persons, asking them how, or by 
what sin this had come to them. But, as this man was 
' blind from his birth,' the possibility of some actual sin 
before birth would suggest itself, at least as a speculative 
question, since the 'evil impulse' might even then be 
called into activity. At the same time, both the Talmud 
and the later charge of the Pharisees, ' In sins wast thou 
born altogether,' imply that in such cases the alternative 
explanation would be considered, that the blindness might 
be caused by the sin of his parents. It was a common 
Jewish view that the merits or demerits of the parents 
would appear in the children. Certain special sins in the 
parents would result in specific diseases in their offspring, 
and one is mentioned as causing blindness in the children. 
But the impression left on our minds is that the disciples 
felt not sure as to either of these solutions of the difficulty. 
It seemed a mystery, inexplicable on the supposition of 
God's infinite goodness, and to which they sought to apply 
the common Jewish solution. 

Putting aside the clumsy alternative suggested by the 
disciples, Jesus told them that it was so in order ' that the 
works of God might be made manifest in him.' They 
wanted to know the ' why,' He told them the ' in order to,' 
of the man's calamity; they wished to understand its 
reason as regarded its origin, He told them its reasonable- 

Healing of the Man Born Blind 333 

ness in regard to the purpose which it and all similar 
suffering should serve, since Christ has come, the Healer 
of evil — because the Saviour from sin. Thus He trans- 
ferred the question from intellectual ground to that of the 
moral purpose which suffering might serve. 

To make this the reality to us, was ' the work of Him ' 
Who sent, and for which He sent the Christ. And rapidly 
now must He work it, for perpetual example, during the 
»st. John & w hours still left of His brief working-day. a 
ix. 4, 5 This figure was not unfamiliar to the Jews, though 

it may well be that, by thus emphasising the briefness of 
the time, He may also have anticipated any objection to 
His healing on the Sabbath. 

Once more we notice how in His Deeds, as in His 
Words, the Lord adopted the forms known and used by 
His contemporaries, while He filled them with quite other 
substance. It has already been stated that saliva was 
commonly regarded as a remedy for diseases of the eye, 
although, of course, not for the removal of blindness. 
With this He made clay, which He now used, adding to it 
the direction to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam, a term 
which literally meant ' sent.' A symbolism this, of Him 
Who was the Sent of the Father. 

And so, what the Pharisees had sought in vain, was 
freely vouchsafed when there was need for it. With perfect 
simplicity the man's obedience and healing are recorded. 
We judge that his first impulse when healed must have been 
to seek for Jesus, naturally, where he had first met Him. 
On his way, probably past his own house to tell his parents, 
and again on the spot where he had so long sat begging, 
all who had known him must have noticed the great change 
that had passed over him. So marvellous indeed did it 
appear, that while part of the crowd that gathered would, 
of course, acknowledge his identity, others would say : 
' No, but he is like him ; ' in their suspiciousness looking 
for some imposture. For there can be little doubt that on 
his way he must have learned more about Jesus than merely 
His Name, b and in turn have communicated to his 
informants the story of his healing. Similarly, 

334 Jesus the Messiah 

the formal question now put to him by the Jews was ms 
much, if not more, a preparatory inquisition than the out- 
come of a wish to learn the circumstances of his healing. 
And so we notice in his answer the cautious desire not to 
say anything that could incriminate his Benefactor. He 
tells the facts truthfully, plainly ; he accentuates by what 
means he had ' recovered,' not received, sight ; but other- 
» st. John wise gives no clue by which either to discover 
ix. 12 or ^ incriminate Jesus. a 

Presently they bring him to the Pharisees, not to take 
notice of his healing, but to found on it a charge against 
Christ. The ground on which the charge would rest was 
plain : the healing involved a manifold breach of the 
Sabbath-Law. The first of these was that Jesus had made 
clay. Next, it would be a question whether any remedy 
might be applied on the holy day. Such could only be 
done in diseases of the internal organs (from the throat 
downwards), except when danger to life or the loss of an 
organ was involved. It was, indeed, declared lawful to 
apply, for example, wine to the outside of the eyelid, on the 
ground that this might be treated as washing ; but it was 
sinful to apply it to the inside of the eye And as regards 
saliva, its application to the eye is expressly forbidden, on 
the ground that it was evidently intended as a remedy. 

There was, therefore, abundant legal ground for a 
criminal charge. And, although on the Sabbath the 
Sanhedrin would not hold any formal meeting, and even 
had there been such, the testimony of one man would not 
have sufficed, yet ' the Pharisees ' set the inquiry regularly 
on foot. First, as if not satisfied with the report of those 
who had brought the man, they made him repeat it. b The 
wondrous fact could neither be denied nor ex- 
plained. The alternative, therefore, was : whether 
their traditional law of Sabbath-observance, or else He 
Who had done such miracles, was Divine ? Was Christ not 
of God, because He did not keep the Sabbath in their way ? 
But then, could an open transgressor of God's Law do 
such miracles ? In this dilemma they turned to the simple 
man before them. ' Seeing that He opened ' his eyes, what 

Healing of the Man Born Blind 335 

did he say of Him ? what was the impression left on hip 
*st. John ix. mind, who had the best opportunity for judg- 

17 and incr? * 

following lu f5 * 

vcrses There is something very peculiar, and, in one 

sense, most instructive, as to the general opinion entertained 
even by the best disposed who had not yet been taught the 
higher truth, in his reply, so simple, so comprehensive in 
its sequences, and yet so utterly inadequate by itself: ' He 
is a Prophet.' One possibility still remained. After all, 
the man might not have been really blind; and they 
might, by cross-examining the parents, elicit that about 
his original condition which would explain the pretended 
cure. But on this most important point, the parents, 
with all their fear of the anger of the Pharisees, remained 
unshaken. He had been born blind ; but as to the manner 
of his cure, they declined to offer any opinion. 

For to persons so wretchedly poor as to allow their son 
to live by begging, the consequences of being ' un-Syna- 
gogued,' or put outside the congregation — which was to be 
the punishment of any one who confessed Jesus as the 
Messiah — would have been dreadful. Talmudic writings 
speak of two, or rather, we should say, of three, kinds of 
1 excommunication,' of which the first two were chiefly dis- 
ciplinary, while the third was the real ' casting out,' ' un- 
Synagoguing,' ' cutting off from the congregation.' The 
first and lightest degree was, properly, * a rebuke,' an in- 
veighing. Ordinarily, its duration extended over seven 
days ; but, if pronounced by the Head of the Sanhedrin, 
it lasted for thirty days. In later times, however, it only 
rested for one day on the guilty person. Perhaps St. Paul 
referred to this ' rebuke ' in the expression which he used 
*iTim v 1 a ^ oufc an offending Elder. b He certainly adopted 
the practice in Palestine, when he would not 
have an Elder ' rebuked,' although he went far beyond it 
when he would have such ' entreated.' Yet another 
direction of St. Paul's is evidently derived from these 
arrangements of the Synagogue, although applied in a far 
different spirit. When the Apostle wrote : ' An heretic 
after the first and second admonition reject,' there must 

336 Jesus the Messiah 

have been in his mind the second degree of Jewish excom- 
munication, called from the verb to thrust, thrust out, cast 
out. This lasted for thirty days at the least, although among 
the Babylonians only for seven days. At the end of that 
term there was ' a second admonition,' which lasted other 
thirty days. If still unrepentant, the third, or real ex- 
communication, was pronounced, which was called the 
ban, and of which the duration was indefinite. Hence- 
forth he was like one dead. He was not allowed to study 
with others, no intercourse was to be held with him, he 
was not even to be shown the road. He might, indeed, 
« comp. buy the necessaries of life, but it was forbidden 
1 cor. v. 11 £ eat or drink w ith sucn an one. a 

When we remember what such an anathema would 
involve to persons in the rank of life, and so poor as the 
parents of that blind man, we no longer wonder at their 
evasion of the question put by the Sanhedrin. And if we 
ask ourselves, on what ground so terrible a punishment 
could be inflicted to all time and in every place— for the 
ban once pronounced applied everywhere — simply for the 
confession of Jesus as the Christ, the answer is not difficult. 
The Rabbinists enumerate twenty-four grounds for excom- 
munication, of which more than one might serve the purpose 
of the Pharisees. But in general, to resist the authority of 
the Scribes, or any of their decrees, or to lead others either 
away from ' the commandments,' or to what was regarded 
as profanation of the Divine Name, was sufficient to incur 
the ban, while it must be borne in mind that excommuni- 
cation by the President of the Sanhedrin extended to all 
places and persons. 

As nothing could be elicited from his parents, the man 
who had been blind was once more summoned before the 
Pharisees. It was no longer to inquire into the reality of 
his alleged blindness, nor to ask about the cure, but simply 
to demand of him recantation, though this was put in the 
most specious manner. Thou hast been healed : own that 
it was only by God's Hand miraculously stretched forth, 
and that ' this man ' had nothing to do with it, save that 
the coincidence may have been allowed to try the faith of 

Healing of the Man Born Blind 337 

Israel. It could not have been Jesus Who had done it, 
for they knew Him to be { a sinner.' Of the two alterna- 
tives they had chosen that of the absolute Tightness of 
their own Sabbath-traditions as against the evidence of 
His Miracles. Virtually, then, this was the condemnation 
of Christ and the apotheosis of traditionalism. 

The renewed inquiry as to the manner in which Jesus 
had healed him a might have had for its object to betray 
• st. John ^ ne man m *° a positive confession, or to elicit some- 
ix. 26 thing demoniacal in the mode of the cure. The 

blind man had now fully the advantage. He had already 
told them. As he put it half ironically : Was it because 
they felt the wrongness of their own position, and that they 
should become His disciples ? It stung them to the quick ; 
they lost all self-possession, and with this their moral 
defeat became complete. ' Thou art the disciple of that 
Man, but we (according to the favourite phrase) are the 
disciples of Moses.' Of the Divine Mission of Moses they 
knew, but of the Mission of Jesus they knew 
nothing. 1 * The unlettered man had now the full 
advantage in the controversy. ' In this, indeed,' there was 
' the marvellous,' that the leaders of Israel should confess 
themselves ignorant of the authority of One, Who had 
power to open the eyes of the blind — a marvel which had 
never before been witnessed. If He had that power, whence 
had He obtained it, and why ? It could only have been 
from God. They said, He was *a sinner' — and yet there 
was no principle more frequently repeated by the Rabbis, 
than that answers to prayer depended on a man being 
' devout ' and doing the Will of God. There could there- 
fore be only one inference : If Jesus had not Divine Autho- 
rity, He could not have had Divine Power. 

The truthful reasoning of that untutored man, which 
confounded the acuteness of the sages, shows the effect of 
these manifestations on aii whose hearts were open to the 
truth. The Pharisees had nothing to answer, and, as not 
unfrequently in analogous cases, could only in their furv 
cast him out with bitter reproaches. Would he teach 
them — he, whose very disease showed him to have been a 


338 Jesus the Messiah 

child conceived and born in sin, and who, ever since his 
birth, had been among ignorant, Law-neglecting ' sinners ■ ? 

But there was Another Who watched and knew him : 
He Whom, so far as he knew, he had dared to confess, 
and for Whom he was content to suffer. Let him now 
have the reward of his faith, even its completion. Ten- 
»st John derly did Jesus seek him out, a and, as He found 
ix. 35 Him, this one question did He ask, whether the 

conviction of his experience was not growing into the 
higher faith of the vet unseen : ' Dost thou believe on the 
Son of God?' 

To such a soul it needed only the directing Word of 
Christ. ' And Who is He, Lord, that I may believe on 
Him ? ' b It seems as if the question of Jesus 
had kindled in him the conviction of what was 
the right answer. To such readiness there could be only 
one answer. In language more plain than He had ever 
before used, Jesus answered, and with immediate confession 
of implicit faith the man worshipped. And so it was that 
the first time he saw his Deliverer, it was to worship Him. 

There were those who still followed Him — not convinced 
by, nor as yet decided against Him — Pharisees, who well 
understood the application of His Words. Formally, it had 
been a contest between traditionalism and the Work of 
Christ. They also were traditionalists — were they also 
blind ? But nay, they had misunderstood Him by leaving 
out the moral element, thus showing themselves blind 
indeed. It was not the calamity of blindness ; but it was 
a blindness in which they were guilty, and for which they 
were responsible, which indeed was the result of 
their deliberate choice : therefore their sin — not 
their blindness only — remained. 



(St. John x. 1-21.) 

It was in accordance with the character of the Discourse 
presently under consideration, that Jesus spake it, not 
indeed in Parables in the strict sense (for none such are 
recorded in the fourth Gospel), but in an allegory in the 
»st. John Parabolic form, a hiding the higher truths from 
x - 6 those who having eyes had not seen, but reveal- 

ing them to such whose eyes had been opened. If the 
scenes of the last few days had made anything plain, it was 
the utter unfitness of the teachers of Israel for their pro- 
fessed work of feeding the flock of God. The Kabbinists 
also called their spiritual leaders ' feeders/ The term com- 
prised the two ideas of ' leading ' and ' feeding/ which are 
separately insisted on in the Lord's allegory. It only re- 
quired to recall the Old Testament language about the 
shepherding of God, and that of evil shepherds, to make 
the application to what had so lately happened. They 
were, surely, not shepherds, who had cast out the healed 
blind man, or who so judged of the Christ, and would cast 
out all His disciples. They had entered into God's Sheep- 
fold, but not by the door by which the Owner, God, had 
brought His flock into the fold. To it the entrance had 
been His love, His thoughts of pardoning, His purpose of 
saving mercy. Not by that door, as had so lately fully 
appeared, had Israel's rulers come in. They had climbed 
up to their place in the fold some other way — with the 
same right, or by the same wrong, as a thief or a robber. 
They had wrongfully taken what did not belong to them — 
cunningly and undetected, like a thief ; they had allotted 
it to themselves, and usurped it by violence, like a robber. 
What more accurate description could be given of the 
means by which the Pharisees and Sadducees had attained 
the rule over God's flock, and claimed it for them- 
selves ? 

How different He, Who comes in and leads us through 


340 Jesus the Messiah 

God's door of covenant-mercy and Gospel-promise -the 
door by which God had brought, and ever brings, His flock 
into His fold ! This was the true Shepherd. The allegory 
must, of course, not be too closely pressed ; but, as we 
remember how in the East the flocks are at night driven 
into a large fold, and charge of them is given to an under- 
shepherd, we can understand how, when the shepherd 
comes in the morning, 'the doorkeeper' or 'guardian' 
opens to him. And when a true spiritual shepherd comes 
to the true spiritual door, it is opened to him by the 
guardian from within — that is, he finds ready and imme- 
diate access. Equally pictorial is the progress of the 
allegory. Having thus gained access to his flock, it has 
not been to steal or rob, but the shepherd knows and calls 
them, each by his name, and leads them out. We mark 
that in the expression : ' when he has put forth all his 
own,' — the word is a strong one. For they have to go 
each singly, and perhaps they are not willing to go out 
each by himself, or even to leave that fold, and so he 
' puts ' or thrusts them forth, and he does so to ' all his 
own.' Then the Eastern shepherd places himself at the 
head of his flock, and goes before them, guiding them, 
making sure of their following simply by his voice, which 
they know. So would His flock follow Christ, for they 
know His Voice, and in vain would strangers seek to lead 
them away, as the Pharisees had tried. It was not the 
• st. John known Voice of their own Shepherd, and they 
x.4,5 would only flee from it. a 

We can scarcely wonder that they who heard it did 
not understand the allegory, for they were not of His flock 
and knew not His Voice. But His own knew it then, and 
would know it for ever. ' Therefore,' b both for 
the sake of the one and the other, He continued, 
now dividing for greater clearness the two leading ideas of 
His allegory, and applying each separately for better com- 
fort. These two ideas were : entrance by the door, and 
the characteristics of the good Shepherd — thus affording a 
twofold test by which to recognise the true, and distin- 
guish it from the false. 

The 'Good Shepherd' 341 

1. The Poor.— Christ was the Door. a All the Old 
• st. johm. Testament institutions, prophecies, and promises, 

so far as they referred to access into God's fold, 
meant Christ. And all those who went before Him, pre- 
tending to be the door— whether Pharisees, Sadducees, or 
Nationalists — were only thieves and robbers : that was 
not the door into the Kingdom of God. And the sheep, 
God's Hock, did not hear them ; for although they might 
pretend to lead the flock, the voice was that of strangers. 
The transition now to another application of the allegorical 
idea of the ' door ' was natural and almost necessary, 
though it appears somewhat abrupt. Even in this it is 
peculiarly Jewish. We must understand this transition 
as follows : I am the Door ; those who professed otherwise 
to gain access to the fold have climbed in some other way. 
But if I am the only, I am also truly the Door. And, 
dropping the figure, if any man enters by Me, he shall be 
saved, securely go out and in (where the language is not 
to be closely pressed), in the sense of having liberty and 
finding pasture. 

II. This forms also the transition to the second 
leading idea of the allegory : the True and Good Shepherd. 
Here we mark a fourfold progression of thought, which 
reminds us of the poetry of the Book of Psalms. There 
the thought expressed in one line or one couplet is carried 
forward and developed in the next, forming what are 
called the Psalms of Ascent (' of Degrees '). And in the 
Discourse of Christ also the final thought of each couplet 
of verses is carried forward, or rather leads upward in the 
next. Thus we have here a Psalm of Degrees concerning 
the Good Shepherd and His Flock, and, at the same time, 
a New Testament version of Psalm xxiii. Accordingly its 
analysis might be formulated as follows : 
b 1. Christ the Good Shepherd, in contrast to 

others who falsely claimed to be the shepherds^ 

2. The Good Shepherd Who layeth down His life for 
His sheep I 

3. For the sheep that are Mine, whom I know, and for 
whom I lay down My Life ! 

34 2 Jesus the Messiah 

4. In the final Step of ' Ascent ' a the leading thoughts 
• st. John x. of the whole Discourse are taken up and carried 
17,18 to the last and highest thought. The Good 

Shepherd that hrings together the One Flock! Yes — by 
laying down His Life, but also by taking it up again. 
Both are necessary for the work of the Good Shepherd : 
nay, the life is laid down in the surrender of sacrifice, in 
order that it may be taken up again, and much more fully, 
in the Resurrection-Power. And therefore His Father 
loveth Him as the Messiah-Shepherd, Who so fully does 
the work committed to Him, and so entirely surrenders 
Himself to it. 

And all this, in order to be the Shepherd-Saviour — to 
die, and rise for His Sheep, and thus to gather them all, 
Jews and Gentiles, into one flock, and to be their Shep- 
herd. This, neither more nor less, was the Mission which 
God had given Him ; this, l the commandment ' which He 
h , had received of His Father — that which God had 

given Him to do. h 

It was a noble close of the series of those Discourses 
in the Temple, which had it for their object to show that 
He was truly sent of God. 

And, in a measure, they attained that object. To some, 
indeed, it all seemed unintelligible, incoherent, madness ; 
and they fell back on the favourite explanation of all this 
strange drama — He hath a demon! But others there 
were, not yet His disciples, to whose hearts these words 
went straight. ' These utterances are not of a demonised ' 
— and then it came back to them : ' Can a demon open 
the eyes of the blind ? ' 

And so, once again, the Light of His Words and of 
His Person fell upon His Works, and, as ever, revealed 
their character, and made them clear. 



(St. Matt. xii. 22-45; St. Luke xi. 14-36.) 

It was well that Jesus should, for the present, have parted 
from Jerusalem with words like these. Even ' the schism ' 

• st John that had come among them* concerning His 
x. 19 Person made it possible not only to continue His 
Teaching, but to return to the City once more ere His final 
entrance. For His Peraean Ministry, which extended 
from after the Feast of Tabernacles to the week preceding 
the last Passover, was, so to speak, cut in half by the 

brief visit of Jesus to Jerusalem at the Feast of 

22-39 ' the Dedication.* Of these six months we have 

• st. Luke (with the solitary exception of St. Matthew xii. 
xvii. n 22-45), no other account than that furnished by 

• st. John St. Luke, c although, as usually, the Jerusalem 
xi 2 i 2 -45; ; and Judaean incidents of it are described by St. 
xi - 46 - 54 John. d 

It will be noticed that this section is peculiarly lacking 
in incident. It consists almost exclusively of Discourses 
and Parables, with but few narrative portions interspersed. 
And this chiefly from the character of His Ministry in 
Peraea. We remember that, similarly, the beginning of 
Christ's Galilean Ministry had been chiefly marked by 
Discourses and Parables. In fact, His Peraean was sub- 
stantially a resumption of His early Galilean Ministry, 
only modified and influenced by the much fuller knowledge 
of the people concerning Christ, and the greatly developed 
enmity of their leaders. Thus, to begin with, we can 
understand how He would, at this initial stage of His 
Peraean, as in that of His Galilean Ministry, repeat, when 
asked for instruction concerning prayer, those sacred 
words ever since known as the Lord's Prayer. The varia- 
tions are so slight* as to be easily accounted for by the 

344 Jesus the Messiah 

individuality of the reporter. They afford, however, the 
occasion for remarking on the two principal differences. 
In St. Luke the prayer is for the forgiveness of ' sins,' 
while St. Matthew uses the Hebraic term ' debts,' which 
has passed even into the Jewish Liturgy, denoting our 
guilt as indebtedness. Again the ' day by day ' of St. Luke, 
which further explains the petition for ' daily bread,' com- 
mon both to St. Matthew and St. Luke, may be illustrated 
by the beautiful Kabbinic teaching, that the Manna fell 
only for each day, in order that thought of their daily 
dependence might call forth constant faith in our ' Father 
Which is in heaven.' 

From the introductory expression : < When (or when- 
ever) ye pray, say ' — we venture to infer, that this prayer 
was intended, not only as the model, but as furnishing the 
words for the future use of the Church. Yet another 
suggestion may be made. The request, < Lord, teach us to 
• st. Luke P^y, as John also taught his disciples,' a seems 
xi - ! to indicate what was < the certain place,' which, 

now consecrated by our Lord's prayer, became the school 
for ours. It seems at least likely, that the allusion of the 
disciples to the Baptist may have been prompted by the 
circumstance that the locality was that which had been 
the scene of John's labours— of course, in Peraea. This 
chapter will be devoted to the briefest summary of the 
Lord's Discourses in Peraaa, previous to His return 
to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Dedication of the 

The first of these was on the occasion of His casting 
*> st. Luke out a demon, b and restoring speech to the de- 
xi - 14 monised ; or if, as seems likely, the cure is the 

same as that recorded in St. Matt. xii. 22, both sight and 
speech, which had probably been paralysed. This is one 
of the cases in which it is difficult to determine whether 
narratives in different Gospels, with slightly varying 
details, represent different events or only differing modes 
of narration. When recording similar events the Evange- 
lists would naturally tell them in much the same manner. 
Hence it does not follow that two similar narratives in 

Concerning the Two Kingdoms 345 

different Gospels always represent the same event. But 
in this instance it seems likely. 

It is the Pharisees' charge that He was an instrument 
of Satan which forms the main subject of Christ's address, 
» st. Mark His language being now much more explicit than 
in. 22 formerly,* even as the opposition of the Pharisees 

had more fully ripened. The following are the leading 
features of Christ's reply : 1st, It was utterly unreason- 
b st Matfc able, b and inconsistent with their own premisses, 
xii - 25 showing that their ascription of Satanic agency 

■ w. 27-30 to wna t Christ did was only prompted by hostility 
to His Person. This mode of turning the argument 
against the arguer was peculiarly Hebraic, and it does not 
imply any assertion on the part of Christ as to whether or 
not the disciples of the Pharisees really cast out demons. 
Mentally we must supply — according to your own pro- 
fessions, your disciples cast out demons. If so, by whom 
are they doing it ? 

But 2ndly, beneath this logical argumentation lies 
spiritual instruction, closely connected with the late 
teaching during the festive days in Jerusalem. It is 
directed against the superstitious and unspiritual views 
entertained by Israel alike of the Kingdom of evil and of 
that of God. For if we ignore the moral aspect of Satan 
and his kingdom, all degenerates into the absurdities and 
superstitions of the Jewish view concerning demons and 
Satan. On the other hand, introduce the ideas of moral 
evil, of the concentration of its power in a kingdom of 
which Satan is the representative and ruler, and of our 
own inherent sinfulness, which makes us his subjects — and 
all becomes clear. Then, truly, can Satan not cast out 
Satan — else how could his kingdom stand ? Then, also, is 
the casting out of Satan only by ' God's Spirit,' or ' Finger : ' 
*w 25-28 an< ^ tms ^ s tne Kingdom of God. d Nay, by their 
own admission, the casting out of Satan was part 
of the work of Messiah. Then had the Kingdom of God 
indeed come to them — for in this was the Kingdom of 
God ; and He was the God-sent Messiah, come not for the 
glory of Israel, nor for anything outward or intellectual, 

346 Jesus the Messiah 

but to engage in mortal conflict with moral evil, and with 
Satan as its representative. In that contest Christ, as the 
Stronger, bindeth ' the strong one,' spoils his house (divideth 
his spoil), and takes from him the armour in which his 
strength lay (' he trusted ') by taking away the power of 
• st. Matt. sin. a This is the work of the Messiah — and, 
therefore, also, no one can be indifferent towards 
Him, because all, being by nature in a certain relation 
towards Satan, must, since the Messiah had commenced 
His Work, occupy a definite relationship towards 
* ver * " the Christ Who combats Satan. b 

But it is conceivable that a man may not only try to be 
passively, but even be actively on the enemy's side, and 
this not by merely speaking against the Christ, which 
might be the outcome of ignorance or unbelief, but by re- 
presenting that as Satanic which was the object of His 
Coming. Such perversion represents sin in its 
' 31 ' 32 absolute completeness, and for which there can 
be no pardon, since the state of mind of which it is* the 
outcome admits not the possibility of repentance, because 
its essence lies in this, to call that Satanic which is the 
very object of repentance. 

3rdly. Recognition of the spiritual, which was the oppo- 
site of the sin against the Holy Ghost, was, as Christ had 
so lately explained in Jerusalem, only to be attained by 
spiritual kinship with it. d The tree must be 

3 ~ 37 made good, if the fruit were to be good ; tree and 
fruit would correspond to each other. How then could 
these Pharisees ' speak good things,' since the state of the 
heart determined speech and action ? Hence, a man would 
have to give an account even of every idle word, since 
however trifling it might appear to others or to oneself, it 
was really the outcome of 'the heart,' and showed the 
inner state. And thus, in reality, would a man's future 
in judgment be determined by his words ; a conclusion the 
more solemn, when we remember its bearing on what His 
disciples on the one side, and the Pharisees on the other 
said concerning Christ and the Spirit of God. 

4thly. Both logically and morally the Words of Christ 

Concerning the Two Kingdoms 347 

were unanswerable ; and the Pharisees fell back on the old 
device of challenging proof of His Divine Mission by some 
• st. Matt, visible sign.* But this was an attempt to shift 
xii - 38 the argument from the moral to the physical. 

It was the moral that was at fault, or rather, wanting in 
them ; and no amount of physical evidence or demonstration 
could have supplied that. Hence, as under previous similar 
«>st. Matt, circumstances, 5 He would offer them only one 
xvi * 1_4 sign, that of Jonas the prophet. But whereas on 
the former occasion Christ chiefly referred to Jonas' preach- 
ing (of repentance), on this He rather pointed to the 
allegorical history of Jonas as the Divine attestation of his 
Mission. As he appeared in Nineveh, he was himself ' a 
st. Luke sign unto the Ninevites ; ' c the fact that he had 
xi - 30 been three days and nights in the whale's belly, 

and that thence he had, so to speak, been sent forth alive 
to preach in Nineveh, was evidence to them that he had 
been sent of God. And so would it be again. After three 
days and three nights ' in the heart of the earth ' — which 
is a Hebraism for ' in the earth ' — would His Resurrection 
Divinely attest to this generation His Mission. The 
Ninevites did not question, but received this attestation of 
Jonas ; nay, an authentic report of the wisdom of Solomon 
had been sufficient to bring the Queen of Sheba from so 
far ; in the one case it was because they felt their sin ; in 
the other, because she felt need and longing for better 
wisdom than she possessed. But these were the very 
elements wanting in the men of this generation ; and so 
both Nineveh and the Queen of Sheba would stand up, 
not only as mute witnesses against, but to condemn, them. 
For, the great Reality of which the preaching of Jonas had 
been only the type, and for which the wisdom of Solomon 
<» st. Matt, had been only the preparation, had been presented 
xii. 39-43 to them in Christ. d 

5thly. And so, having put aside this cavil, Jesus returned 

to His former teaching e concerning the Kingdom 

of Satan and the power of evil. Here, also, it 

must be remembered that, as the words used by our Lord 

were allegorical and illustrative, they must not be too 

348 Jesus the Messiah 

closely pressed. As compared with the other nations of 
the world, Israel was like a house from which the demon 
of idolatry had gone out with all his attendants — really 
the ' Beel-Zibbul ' whom they dreaded. And then the 
house had been swept of all the foulness and uncleanness 
of idolatry, and garnished with all manner of Pharisaic 
adornments. Yet all this while it was left really empty ; 
God was not there ; the Stronger One, Who alone could 
have resisted the Strong One, held not rule in it. And so 
the demon returned to it again, to find the house whence he 
had come out, swept and garnished indeed — but also empty 
and defenceless. The folly of Israel lay in this, that they 
thought of only one demon — him of idolatry — Beel-Zibbul, 
with all his foulness. So, to continue the illustrative 
language of Christ, Satan came back i with seven other 
spirits more wicked than himself — pride, self-righteousness, 
unbelief, and the like, the number seven being general — 
and thus the last state — Israel without the foulness of gross 
idolatry, and garnished with all the adornments of Pharisaic 
devotion to the study and practice of the Law — was really 
worse than had been the first with all its open repulsive- 

6thly. Once more was the Discourse interrupted, this 
time by a truly Jewish incident. A woman in the crowd 
burst into exclamations about the blessedness of the Mother 
» st. Luke who had borne and nurtured such a Son. a The 
xi. 27 phraseology seems to have been not uncommon, 

since it is equally applied by the Rabbis to Moses, and even 
to a great Rabbi. 

And yet such praise must have been peculiarly unwel- 
come to Christ, as being the exaltation of only His Human 
Personal excellence, intellectual or moral. It quite looked 
away from that which He would present : His Work and 
Mission as the Saviour. This praise of the Christ through 
His Virgin-Mother was as unacceptable and unsuitable as 
the depreciation of the Christ, which really, though un- 
consciously, underlay the loving care of the Virgin-Mother 
when she would have arrested Him in His Work, and 
which (perhaps for this very reason) St. Matthew relates in 

Concerning the Two Kingdoms 349 

the same connection.* Accordingly, the answer in both 
» st. Matt, cases is substantially the same : to point away 
xii. 40, 47 f rom jjis merely Human Personality to His Work 
and Mission — in the one case : * Whosoever shall do the 
Will of My Father Which is in heaven, the same is My 
brother, and sister, and mother ; ' in the other : ' Yea 
rather, blessed are they that hear the Word of God and 
keep it.' 

7thly . And now the Discourse draws to a close b by a fresh 
" st. Luke application of what, in some other form or con- 
xi 33-36 nection, Christ had taught at the outset of His 
«st. Matt. v. public Ministry in the ' Sermon on the Mount.' c 
i5;vi.22,23 jjjghtly to understand its present connection, 
we must pass over the various interruptions of Christ's 
Discourse, and join this as the conclusion to the previous 
part, which contained the main subject. This was, that 
spiritual knowledge presupposed spiritual kinship. As 
here put, it is that spiritual receptiveness is ever the con- 
dition of spiritual reception. What was the object of 
lighting a lamp ? Surely, that it may give light. But if 
so, no one would put it into a vault, or under the bushel, 
but on the stand. Should we then expect that God would 
light the spiritual lamp, if it be put in a dark vault ? Or, to 
take an illustration of it from the eye, which, as regards 
the body, serves the same purpose as the lamp in a house. 
Does it not depend on the state of the eye whether or not 
we have the sensation, enjoyment, and benefit of the light ? 
Let us therefore take care, lest by placing, as it were, the 
lamp in a vault, the light in us be really only darkness. 1 
On the other hand, if by means of a good eye the light is 
transmitted through the whole system, then shall we be 
wholly full of light. And this, finally, explains the recep- 
tion or rejection of Christ : how, in the words of an Apostle, 
the same Gospel would be both a savour of life unto life, 
and of death unto death. 

1 Iu some measure like the demon who returned to find his house 
empty, swept, and garnished. 

350 Jesus the Messiah 


(St. Luke xi. 37-64.) 

Bitter as was the enmity of the Pharisaic party against 
Jesus, it had not yet so far spread, nor become so avowed, 
as in every place to supersede the ordinary rules of courtesy. 
It is thus that we explain that invitation of a Pharisee to 
the morning-meal, which furnished the occasion for the 
second recorded Peraean Discourse of Christ. It is the 
last address to the Pharisees recorded in the Gospel of 
St. Luke A similar last appeal is recorded in a much 
■st Matt later portion of St. Matthew's Gospel,* only 
xxiii. that St. Luke reports that spoken in Peraea, 

St. Matthew that made in Jerusalem. This may also 
partly account for the similarity of language in the two 

What makes it almost certain that some time must 
have elapsed between this and the previous Discourse (or 
rather that, as we believe, the two events happened in 
different places), is, that the invitation of the Pharisee was 
to the ' morning-meal.' We know that this took place 
early, immediately after the return from morning-prayers 
in the Synagogue. It is, therefore, scarcely conceivable 
that all that is recorded in connection with the first Dis- 
course should have occurred before this first meal. On the 
other hand, it may well have been, that what passed at the 
Pharisee's table may have some connection with something 
that had occurred just before in the Synagogue, for we 
conjecture that it was the Sabbath-day. We infer this 
from the circumstance that the invitation was not to the 
principal meal, which on a Sabbath ' the Lawyers ' (and, 
indeed, all householders) would, at least ordinarily, have in 
their own homes. We can picture to ourselves the scene. 
The week-day family-meal was simple enough, whether 
breakfast or dinner — the latter towards evening, although 

Meals among the Jews 351 

sometimes also in the middle of the day, but always before 
actual darkness, in order, as it was expressed, that the 
sight of the dishes by daylight might excite the appetite. 
The Babylonian Jews were content to make a meal with- 
out meat ; not so the Palestinians. With the latter the 
favourite food was young meat : goats, lambs, calves. Beef 
was not so often used, and still more rarely fowls. Bread 
was regarded as the mainstay of life, without which no 
entertainment was considered as a meal. Indeed, in a sense 
it constituted the meal. For the blessing was spoken over 
the bread, and this was supposed to cover all the rest of the 
food that followed, such as the meat, fish, or vegetables — in 
short, all that made up the dinner, but not the dessert. 
Similarly, the blessing spoken over the wine included all 
other kinds of drink. Otherwise it would have been neces- 
sary to pronounce a separate benediction over each different 
article eaten or drunk. He who neglected the prescribed 
benedictions was regarded as if he had eaten of 
»Ps.xxiv.i ijyjigj dedicated to God, since it was written: 
' The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof/ a 

Let us suppose the guests assembled. To such a morn- 
ing-meal they would not be summoned by slaves, nor be 
received in such solemn state as at feasts. First, each 
would observe, as a religious rite, ' the washing of hands.' 
Next, the head of the house would cut a piece from the 
whole loaf — on the Sabbath there were two loaves — and 
speak the blessing. But this only if the company reclined 
at table, as at dinner. If they sat, as probably always at the 
early meal, each would speak the benediction for himself. 
The same rule applied in regard to the wine. 

At the entertainment of this Pharisee, as indeed gene- 
rally, our Lord omitted the prescribed ' washing of hands ' 
before the meal. But as this rite was in itself indifferent, 
He must have had some definite object, which will be ex- 
plained in the sequel. 

In regard to the position of the guests, we know that 
the uppermost seats were occupied by the Rabbis. The 
Talmud formulates it in this manner \ That the worthiest 
lies down first, on his left side, with his feet stretching 

35 2 Jesus the Messiah 

back. If there are two ' cushions ' (divans), the next 
worthiest reclines above him, at his left hand ; if there are 
three cushions, the third worthiest lies below him who had 
lain down first (at his right), so that the chief person is in 
the middle (between the worthiest guest at his left and the 
less worthy one at his right hand). The water before 
eating is first handed to the worthiest, and so in regard to 
the washing after meat. But if a large number are present, 
you begin after dinner with the least worthy, till you come 
to the last five, when the worthiest in the company washes 
his hands, and the other four after him. The guests being 
thus arranged, the head of the house, or the chief person at 
table, speaks the blessing, and then cuts the bread. Then, 
generally, the bread was dipped into salt, or something 
salted, etiquette demanding that where there were two 
they should wait one ior the other, but not where there 
were three or more. 

The wine was mixed with water, and, indeed, some 
thought that the benediction should not be pronounced till 
the water had been added to the wine. Various vintages 
are mentioned : among them a red wine of Saron, and a 
black wine. Spiced wine was made with honey and pepper. 
mlLr .. ., Another mixture, chiefly used for invalids, con- 

» Mentioned , , , .. ,, -i-ii , 

in st. Mark sisted or old wine, water, and balsam ; yet another 
was ' wine of myrrh.' * Palm wine was also in 
use, and foreign drinks. 

As regards the various kinds of grain, meat, fish, and 
fruits used by the Jews, either in their natural state or 
preserved, almost everything known to the ancient world 
was embraced. At feasts there was an introductory course, 
followed by the dinner itself, which finished with dessert, 
consisting of pickled olives, radishes and lettuce, and fruits, 
among which even preserved ginger from India is men- 
tioned. Fish was a favourite dish, and never wanting at a 
Sabbath-meal. It was a saying, that both salt and water 
should be used at every meal, if health was to be preserved. 
Very different were the meals of the poor — locusts, eggs, 
or a soup made of vegetables : the poorer still would satisfy 
their hunger with bread and cheese or bread and fruit. 

Meals among the Jews 353 

At meals the rules of etiquette were strictly observed, 
especially as regarded the sages. According to some, it 
was not good breeding to speak while eating. The learned 
and most honoured occupied not only the chief places, but 
were sometimes distinguished by a double portion. Ac- 
cording to Jewish etiquette, a guest should conform in 
everything to his host, even though it were unpleasant. 
Although hospitality was the greatest and most prized 
social virtue, which, to use a Rabbinic expression, might 
make every home a sanctuary and every table an altar, an 
unbidden guest, or a guest who brought another guest, was 
proverbially an unwelcome apparition. Sometimes, by way 
of self-righteousness, the poor were brought in, and the 
best part of the meal ostentatiously given to them. 1 After 
dinner, the formalities concerning handwashing and prayer 
already described were gone through, and then frequently 
aromatic spices burnt, over which a special benediction 
was pronounced. We have only to add, that on Sabbaths 
it was deemed a religious duty to have three meals, and to 
procure the best that money could obtain, even though one 
were to save and fast for it all the week. Lastly, it was 
regarded as a special obligation and honour to entertain 

We have no difficulty now in understanding what 
passed at the table of the Pharisee. When the water for 
purification was presented to Him, Jesus would either 
refuse it ; or if, as seems more likely at a morning-meal, 
each guest repaired by himself for the prescribed purifica- 
tion, He would omit to do so, and sit down to meat without 
this formality. No one who knows the stress which 
Pharisaism laid on this rite would argue that Jesus might 
have conformed to the practice. Indeed, the controversy 
was long and bitter between the Schools of Shammai and 
Hillel on such a point as whether the hands were to be 
washed before the cup was filled with wine, or after that, 
and where the towel was to be deposited. A religion 
which spent its energy on such trivialities must have 
lowered the moral tone. All the more that Jesus insisted 
1 For fuller details see ' Life and Times, &c.,' vol. ii. p. 209. 

A A 

354 Jesus the Messiah 

so earnestly, as the substance of His teaching, on that 
corruption of our nature which Judaism ignored, and on 
that spiritual purification which was needful for the recep- 
tion of His doctrine, would He publicly and openly set 
aside ordinances of man which diverted thoughts of purity 
into questions of the most childish character. On the 
other hand, we can also understand what bitter thoughts 
must have filled the mind of the Pharisee, whose guest 
Jesus was, when he observed His neglect of the cherished 
rite. It was an insult to himself, a defiance of Jewish 
Law, a revolt against the most cherished traditions of the 
Synagogue. Remembering that a Pharisee ought not to 
sit down to a meal with such, he might even feel that he 
should not have asked Jesus to his table. 

What our Lord said on that occasion will be considered 
in detail in another place. Suffice it here to mark that 
He first exposed the mere extern alism of the Pharisaic law 
of purification, to the utter ignoring of the higher need of 

• st. Luke inward purity, which lay at the foundation of all.* 
xL39 If the primary origin of the ordinance was to 
prevent the eating of sacred offerings in defilement, were 
these outward offerings not a symbol of the inward sacri- 
fice, and was there not an inward defilement as well as the 

outward ? b To consecrate what we had to God 

b ygf 40 

in His poor, instead of selfishly enjoying it, would 
not, indeed, be a purification of them (for such was not 
needed), but it would, in the truest sense, be to eat God's 
offerings in cleanness. We mark here a pro- 
gress and a development as compared with the 
former occasion when Jesus had publicly spoken on the 
«« st. Matt, same subject.* 1 Formerly He had treated the 
xv. 1-9 ordinance of the Elders as a matter not binding ; 
now He showed how this externalism militated against 
thoughts of the internal and spiritual. Formerly He had 
shown how traditionalism came into conflict with the 
written Law of God ; now, how it superseded the first 
principles which underlay that Law. Formerly He had 

• st. Matt. l & id down the principle that defilement came not 
xv. io, u from without inwards but from within outwards ; e 

Morning-Meal in the Pharisee's House 355 

now He unfolded this highest principle that higher conse- 
cration imparted purity. 

The same principle, indeed, would apply to other things, 
such as to the Rabbinic law of tithing. At the same time 
it may have been, as already suggested, that something 
which had previously taken place, or was the subject of 
conversation at table, had given occasion for the further 
• st. Luke remarks of Christ.* Thus, the Pharisee may 
xi - 42 have wished to convey his rebuke of Christ by 

referring to the subject of tithing. And such covert mode 
of rebuking was very common among the Jews. It was 
regarded as utterly defiling to eat of that which had not 
been tithed. Indeed, the three distinctions of a Pharisee 
were : not to make use nor to partake of anything that 
had not been tithed ; to observe the laws of purification ; 
and, as a consequence of these two, to abstain from familiar 
intercourse with all non-Pharisees. This separation formed 
b the ground of their claim to distinction.* It will 

be noticed that it is exactly to these three things 
our Lord adverts : so that these sayings of His are not, 
as might seem, unconnected, but in the strictest internal 
relationship. Our Lord shows how Pharisaism, as regarded 
the outer, was connected with the opposite tendency as re- 
garded the inner man : outward purification with ignorance 
of the need of that inward purity, which consisted in 
God-consecration, and with the neglect of it ; strictness of 
outward tithing with ignorance and neglect of the principle 
which underlay it, viz. the acknowledgment of God's right 
over mind and heart (judgment and the love of God) ; 
while, lastly, the Pharisaic pretence of separation, and 
consequent claim to distinction, issued only in pride and 
self-assertion. Thus, tried by its own tests, Pharisaism 
failed. It was hypocrisy, although that word was not 
« st. Luke mentioned till afterwards ; c and that both nega- 
xii - \ tively and positively : the concealment of what 

it was, and the pretension to what it was not. And the 
Pharisaism which pretended to the highest purity was 
really the greatest impurity — the defilement of graves, 
only covered up not to be seen of men ! 

▲ ▲2 

356 Jesus the Messiah 

It was at this point that one of ' the Scribes ' at table 
broke in. Remembering in what contempt some of the 
learned held the ignorant bigotry of the Pharisees, we can 
understand that he might have listened with secret enjoy- 
ment to denunciations of their ' folly.' As the common 
saying had it, ' the silly pietist,' ' a woman Pharisee,' and 
the (self-inflicted) ' blows of Pharisaism,' were among the 
plagues of life. But, as the Scribe rightly remarked, by 
attacking, not merely their practice but their principles, 
the whole system of traditionalism, which they represented, 
• st. Luke was condemned.* And so the Lord assuredly 
xi - 45 meant it. The 'Scribes' were the exponents 

of the traditional law : those who bound and loosed in 
Israel. They did bind on heavy burdens, but they never 
loosed one ; all these grievous burdens of traditionalism 
they laid on the poor people, but not the slightest effort 
t did they make to remove any of them. b Tradi- 

tion, the ordinances that had come down — they 
would not reform nor put aside anything, but claim and 
proclaim all that had come down from the fathers as a 
sacred inheritance to which they clung. So be it! let 
them be judged by their own words. The fathers had 
murdered the prophets, and they built their sepulchres ; 
that also was a tradition — that of guilt which would be 
avenged. Tradition, learning, exclusiveness — alas ! it was 
only taking away from the poor the key of knowledge ; 
and while they themselves entered not by 'the door ' into 
the Kingdom, they hindered those who would have gone 
in. And truly so did they prove that theirs was the in- 
»vr 47-52 heritance, the 'tradition,' of guilt in hindering 
and banishing the Divine teaching of old, and 
murdering its Divine messengers. 

There was terrible truth and solemnity in what Jesus 
spake, and in the Woe which He denounced on them. 
But after such denunciations, the entertainment in the 
Pharisee's house must have been broken up. With 
what feelings they parted from Him appears from the 

' And when He was come out from thence, the Scribes 

To the Disciples 357 

and the Pharisees began to press upon Him vehemently, 
and to provoke Him to speak of many things; laying wait 
for Him, to catch something out of His Mouth.' 


(St. Luke xii. 1-xiii. 17.) 

The record of Christ's last warning to the Pharisees, and 
of the feelings of murderous hate which it called forth, is 
followed by a summary of Christ's teaching to His disciples. 
The tone is still that of warning, but entirely different 
from that to the Pharisees. It is a warning of sin that 
threatened, not of judgment that awaited; it was for pre- 
vention, not in denunciation. The same teaching, because 
prompted by the same causes, had been mostly delivered 
also on other occasions. Yet there are notable, though 
seemingly slight, divergences, accounted for by the differ- 
ence of the writers or of the circumstances, and which 
mark the independence of the narratives. 

1 . The first of these Discourses a naturally connects 
• st. Luke itself with what had passed at the Pharisee's 
xu- 1-12 table, an account of which must soon have spread. 
Although the Lord is reported as having addressed the 
same language chiefly to the Twelve when sending them 
on their first Mission, b we mark characteristic 
variations. The address — or probably only its 
summary — is introduced by the following notice of the 
circumstances : ' In the mean time, when the many thou- 
sands of the people were gathered together, so that they 
trode upon each other, He began to say to His disciples : 
" First [above all], beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, 
which is hypocrisy." ' There is no need to point out the 
connection between this warning and the denunciation 
of Pharisaism and traditionalism at the Pharisee's table. 
Although the word ■ hypocrisy ' had not been spoken 
there, it was the sum and substance of His contention 

358 Jesus the Messiah 

that Pharisaism, while pretending to what it was not, 
concealed what it was. And it was this which, like ' leaven/ 
pervaded the whole system of Pharisaism. Not that as in- 
dividuals they were all hypocrites, but that the system was 
hypocrisy. And here it is characteristic of Pharisaism, 
that Rabbinic Hebrew has not even a word equivalent 
to the term ' hypocrisy.' The only expression used refers 
either to flattery of, or pretence before men, not to that 
unconscious hypocrisy towards God which our Lord so 
truly describes as ' the leaven ' that pervaded all the Phari- 
sees said and did. 

After all, hypocrisy was only self-deception.* ' But 
» st. Luke there is nothing covered that shall not be re- 
xii - 2 - vealed.' Hence, what they had said in the dark- 

ness would be revealed, and what they had spoken about 
in the store-rooms would be proclaimed on the housetops. 
b Nor should fear influence them. b Man could 

only kill the body, but God held body and soul. 
And as fear was foolish, so was it needless in view of that 
Providence which watched over even the meanest of God's 

creatures. Rather let them, in the impending 
vv * ' struggle with the powers of this world, rise to 
consciousness of its full import. And this contest was not 
only opposition to Christ, but, in its inmost essence, blas- 
phemy against the Holy Ghost. Therefore, to succumb 

implied the deepest spiritual danger. d Nay, but 

let them not be apprehensive ; their acknowledg- 
ment would be not only in the future. Even now, in the 
hour of their danger, would the Holy Ghost help them, 
and give them an answer before their accusers and judges, 
whoever they might be — Jews or Gentiles. Thus, if they 
fell victims, it would be with the knowledge — not by neglect 
— of their Father ; in their own hearts, before the Angels, 

before men, would He give testimony for those 

1 who were His witnesses. 6 

2. The second Discourse recorded in this connection 

was occasioned by a request for judicial interposition on 

t 16-21 t ^ ie P art °^ Christ. This He answered by a 

Parable/ which will be explained in conjunction 

To the Disciples 359 

with the other Parables of that period. The outcome ot 
this Parable, as to the uncertainty of this life, and the 
consequent folly of being so careful for this world while 
neglectful of God, led Him to make warning application 
•st. Luke to His Peraean disciples.* Only here the nega- 
xn. 22-34 j.j ye i n j unc tion that preceded the Parable, ' be- 
ware of covetousness,' is, when addressed to ' the disciples,' 
carried back to its positive underlying principle : toxlismiss 
all anxiety, even for the necessaries of life, learning from 
the birds and the flowers to have absolute faith and trust- 
in God, and to labour for only one thing — the Kingdom 
of God. But even in this they were not to be careful, 
b ver 32 but to have absolute faith and trust in their 
Father, ' Who was well pleased to give ' them 
'the Kingdom/ b 

With but slight variations the Lord had used the same 
language, even as the same admonition had been needed, 
at the beginning of His Galilean Ministry, in the Sermon 
e st. Matt. on tne Mount. Perhaps we may here also 
vi. 25-33 regard the allusion to the springing flowers as a 
mark of time. Only, whereas in Galilee this would mark 
the beginning of spring, it would, in the more favoured 
climate of certain parts of Peraea, indicate the beginning 
of December, about the time of the Feast of the Dedication 
of the Temple. More important, perhaps, is it to note, 
«» st. Luke that the expression d rendered in the Authorised 
xiL 29 and Revised Versions, ' neither be ye of doubtful 

mind,' really means, ' neither be ye uplifted,' in the sense 

• comp. of not aiming, or seeking after great things. 6 
jer. xiv. 5 rp ne con text here shows that the term must refer 
to the disciples coveting great things, since only to this 
the remark could apply, that the Gentile world sought 
such things, but that our Father knew what was really 
needful for us. Of deep importance is the final consola- 
tion, to dismiss all care and anxiety, since the Father was 
pleased to give to this ' little flock ' the Kingdom: The ex- 
pression c flock ' carries us back to the language which Jesus 

had held ere parting from Jerusalem. 1 Hence- 

* st. joun x. g^ t ^. 9 ^ es ig nat i on W0ll id mark His people. 

360 Jesus the Mess/ah 

These admonitions, alike as against covetousness, and 
as to absolute trust and a self-surrender to God, which 
would count all loss for the Kingdom, are finally set forth, 
alike in their present application and their ultimate and 
permanent principle, in what we regard as the concluding 
»st. Luke P art of this Discourse.* Its first sentence, ' Sell 
xii. 33, 34 that ye have, and give alms,' which is only re- 
corded by St. Luke, indicates not a general principle, but 
its application to that particular period, when the faithful 
disciple required to follow the Lord unencumbered by 
bcomp worldly cares or possessions. 1 * The general 
st. Matt. principle underlying it is that expressed by 
• 1 cor. vii. St. Paul, c and finally resolves itself into this : 
that the Christian should have as not holding, 
and use what he has not for self nor sin, but for necessity. 

3. Closely connected with, and yet quite distinct from 
the previous Discourse, is that about the waiting attitude 
of the disciples in regard to their Master. The Discourse 
itself consists of three parts and a practical application. 

(1) The Disciples as Servants in the absence of their 
„ 0i r , Master : d their duty and their reward? This 

d St. Luke . . f i -1 1 ,» i 

xii. part, containing what would be so needlul to 

these Peraean disciples, is peculiar to St. Luke. 
The Master is supposed to be absent, at a wedding, so 
that the exact time of his return could not be known to 
the servants who waited at home. In these circumstances, 
they should hold themselves in readiness, that, whatever 
hour it might be, they should be able to open the door at 
the first knocking. Such eagerness and devotion of service 
would naturally meet its reward, and the Master would, in 
turn, consult the comfort of those who had not allowed 
themselves their evening-meal, nor lain down, but watched 
for him. Hungry and weary as they were from their 
zeal for him, he would now, in turn, minister to their 
personal comfort. And this applied to servants who so 
watched — it mattered not how long, whether into the 
second or the third of the watches into which the night 
was divided. 

The ' Parable ' now passes into another aspect of the 

To the Disciples 361 

case, which is again referred to in the last Discourses of 

• st. Matt. Christ.* Conversely — suppose the other case, 
xxiv. 43, 44 f people sleeping : the house might be broken 
into. If one had known the hour when the thief would 
come, sleep would not have been indulged in ; but it is 
just this uncertainty and suddenness which should keep 
the people in the house ever on their watch till Christ 

* st. Luke came. b 

xii. 39, 40 jfc was a £ this particular point that a question 

of Peter interrupted the Discourse of Christ. To whom 
did this ' Parable ' apply about ' the good man ' and ' the 
servants ' who were to watch : to the Apostles, or also to 
all ? We can understand how Peter might entertain the 
Jewish notion, that the Apostles would come with the 
Master from the marriage-supper, rather than wait for His 
return and work while waiting. It is to this that the 
reply of Christ refers. If the Apostles or others are rulers, 
it is as stewards, and their reward of faithful and wise 
stewardship will be advance to higher administration. 
But as stewards they are servants — servants of Christ, and 
ministering servants in regard to the other and general 
servants. What becomes them in this twofold capacity 
is faithfulness to the absent yet ever near Lord, and to 
their work, avoiding on the one hand the masterfulness 
of pride and of harshness, and on the other the self- 
degradation of conformity to evil manners, either of which 
would entail sudden and condign punishment in the sudden 
and righteous reckoning at His appearing. The ' Parable/ 
therefore, alike as to the waiting and the reckoning, 
applied to work for Christ, as well as to personal relation- 
ship towards Him. 

In this Perasan Discourse, as reported by St. Luke, c 
.Luke there now follows what must be regarded, not 

indeed as a further answer to Peter's inquiry, 
st. Matt. but as referring to the question of the relation 

between special work and general discipleship 
which had been raised. For, in one sense, all disciples 
are servants, not only to wait, but to work. As regarded 
those who, like the professed stewards or labourers, knew 

xii. 42-46 

362 Jesus the Messiah 

their work, but neither ' made ready,' nor did according 
to His Will, their punishment and loss (where the illus- 
trative figure of ' many ' and ' few stripes ' must not be too 
closely pressed) would naturally be greater than that of 
them who knew not— though this also involves guilt— 
that their Lord had any will towards them, that is, any 

• st Luke work for them. a 

xii.47, 48 (2) In the absence of their Master ! A period 

this of work, as well as of waiting; a period of trial 

also. b Here also the two opening verses, in 
»w. 49-53 their connec tion with the subject-matter under 
the first head of this Discourse, but especially with the 
closing sentences about work for the Master, are peculiar 
to St. Luke's narrative. The Church had a work to do in 
His absence— the work for which He had come. He 
1 came to cast fire on earth '—that fire which was kindled 
when the Risen Saviour sent the Holy Ghost, and of which 
the tongues of fire were the symbol. That fire must they 
spread : this was the work in which, as disciples, each one 

must take part. Again, in that Baptismal 
cw.49,50 Agony of His t^ey a i so mU st be prepared to 
share. It waa fire : burning up, as well as purifying and 
giving light. And here it was in place to repeat to His 
Persean disciples the prediction already addressed to the 

* st Matt x. Twelve when going on their Mission,* 1 as to 
34-36 ' the certain and necessary trials connected with 
carrying ' the fire ' which Christ had cast on earth, even 
to the burning up of the closest bonds of association and 

kinship. 6 
xii 5i-53 e (3) Thus far the disciples. And now for its 

' ver ' 54 application to ' the multitudes.' f Let them not 
think that all this only concerned the disciples. Were 
they so blinded as not ' to know how to interpret the 
, ver 56 time ' «— they who had no difficulty in interpret- 
» ver. 57 m g ft when a cloud rose from the sea, or the 
sirocco blew from the south ? h Why then did they not 
of themselves judge what was fitting and necessary, in 
view of the gathering tempest ? 

What was it ? Even what He had told them before in 

Two Events and their Moral 363 

Galilee,* for the circumstances were the same. What 
• st. Matt, common sense and common prudence would 
v. 25, 2« dictate to every one whom his accuser or creditor 
haled before the magistrate : to come to an agreement 
with him before it was too late, before sentence had been 
» st. Luke pronounced and executed. b Although the illus- 
xii. 58, 59 tration must not be pressed, its general meaning 
would be the more readily understood that there was a 
similar Rabbinic proverb, although with very different 
practical application. 

4. Besides these Discourses, two events are recorded 
before Christ's departure to the ' Feast of the Dedication/ 
Each of these led to a brief Discourse, ending in a 

The first records two circumstances not mentioned by 
the Jewish historian Josephus, nor in any other historical 
notice of the time, either by Rabbinic or other writers. 

It appears that then, or soon afterwards, some persons 
told Christ about a number of His own Galileans, whom 
Pilate had ordered to be cut down, as we infer, in the Tem- 
« st. Luke pH while engaged in offering their sacrifices ; c 
xm. 1-5 so tha^ j n fa e pictorial language of the East, 
their blood had mingled with that of their sacrifices. 
Clearly, their narration of this event must be connected 
with the preceding Discourse of Jesus. He had asked 
them whether they could not discern the signs of the 
terrible national storm that was nearing. And it was in 
reference to this, as we judge, that they repeated this story. 
To understand their object, we must attend to the answer 
of Christ. It is intended to refute the idea, that these 
Galileans had in this been visited by a special punishment 
of some special sin against God. 

Very probably these Galileans were thus murdered 
because of their real or suspected connection with the 
Nationalist movement, of which Galilee was the focus. 
It is as if these Jews had said to Jesus : Yes, signs of the 
times and of the coming storm ! These Galileans of yours, 
your own countrymen, involved in a kind of Pseudo- 
Messianic movement, a kind of ' signs of the times ' rising, 

364 Jesus the Messiah 

something like that towards which you want us to look — 
was not their death a condign punishment ? This latter 
inference they did not express in words, but implied in 
their narration of the fact. But the Lord read their 
thoughts and refuted their reasoning. For this purpose 

• st. Luke He adduced another instance,* when a tower at 
xiii - 4 the Siloam-Pool had fallen on eighteen persons 
and killed them, perhaps in connection with that con- 
struction of an aqueduct into Jerusalem by Pilate, which 
called forth on the part of the Jews the violent opposition 
which the Roman so terribly avenged. As good Jews 
they would probably think that the fall of the tower, 
which had buried in its ruins these eighteen persons 
who were perhaps engaged in the building of that cursed 
structure, was a just judgment of God ! For Pilate had 
used for it the sacred money which had been devoted to 
Temple-purposes, and many there were who perished in 
the tumult caused by the Jewish resistance to this act of 
profanation. But Christ argued that it was as wrong to 
infer that Divine judgment had overtaken His Galilean 
countrymen, as it would be to judge that the Tower of 
Siloam had fallen to punish these Jerusalemites. Not 
one party only, nor another ; not the supposed Messianic 
tendency (in the shape of a national rising), nor, on the 
other hand, the opposite direction of absolute submission 
to Roman domination, was in fault. The whole nation 
was guilty ; and the coming storm, to the signs of which 
He had pointed, would destroy all, unless there were 
spiritual repentance on the part of the nation. 

Having thus answered the implied objection, the Lord 
tvv t6 _ 9 next showed, in the Parable of the Fig-tree, b the 
need and urgency of national repentance. 
The second event recorded by St. Luke in this connec- 

• rv. 10-17 tion c recalls the incidents of the early Judasan d 
« st. John and of the Galilean Ministry . e In Jerusalem there 
v - 16 is neither reasoning nor rebuke on the part of 
xfi^is"' the Jews, but absolute persecution. There also 
»st. John the Lord enters on the higher exposition of His 
▼. 16, 17 &c ac tions, motives, and Mission/ In Galilee there 

The Woman with a 'Spirit of Infirmity' 365 

is questioning, and cunning intrigue against Him on the 
part of the Judaeans who dogged His steps. But while no 
violence can be attempted against Him, the people do not 
»st. Matt, venture openly to take His part. a But in Peraea 
xii. 1-21 we are con f ron ted by the clumsy zeal of a country- 
Archisynagogos (Chief Ruler of a Synagogue), who is 
very angry, but not very wise ; who admits Christ's healing 
power, and does not dare to attack Him directly, but in- 
stead rebukes, not Christ, not even the woman who had 
been healed, but the people who witnessed it, at the same 
time telling them to come for healing on other days, not 
perceiving, in his narrow-minded bigotry, what this 
admission implied. 

Little more requires to be added about this incident in 
'one of the Synagogues' of Peraea. Let us only briefly 
recall the scene. Among those present in this Synagogue 
had been a poor woman, who for eighteen years had been 
a sufferer, as we learn, through demoniac agency. In fact, 
she was, both physically and morally, not sick, but sickly, 
and most truly was hers ' a spirit of infirmity,' so that l she 
was bowed together, and could in no wise lift herself up.' 
For we mark that hers was not demoniac possession at all 
— and yet, though she "had not yielded, she had not effec- 
tually resisted, and so she was ' bound by ' a spirit of 
infirmity,' both in body and soul. 

We recognise the same. ' spirit of infirmity ' in the cir- 
cumstances of her healing. When Christ, seeing her, 
called her, she came ; when He said unto her, ' Woman, 
thou hast been loosed from thy sickliness,' she was unbound, 
and yet in her weakliness she answered not, nor straightened 
herself, till Jesus ' laid His Hands on her,' and so strength- 
ened her in body and soul, and then she was immediately 
4 made straight, and glorified God.' 

As for the Archisynagogos, we have, as already hinted, 
such characteristic portraiture of him that we can almost 
see him ; confused, irresolute, perplexed, and very augry, 
bustling forward and scolding the people who had done 
nothing, yet not venturing to silence the woman, now no 
longer infirm — far less to reprove the great Rabbi, Who 

366 Jesus the Mess/ah 

had just done such a ' glorious thing/ but speaking at 
Him through those who had been the astounded eye- 
witnesses. He was easily and effectually silenced, and all 
who sympathised with him put to shame. ' Hypocrites ! ' 
spake the Lord — on your own admissions your practice and 
your Law condemn your speech. Every one on the Sab- 
bath looseth his ox or ass, and leads him to the watering. 
The Rabbinic law expressly allowed this, and even to draw 
the water, provided the vessel were not carried to the 
animal. If, as you admit, I have the power of ' loosing ' 
from the bonds of Satan, and she has been so bound these 
eighteen years, should she — a daughter of Abraham — not 
have that done for her which you do for your beasts of 
burden ? 

The retort was unanswerable ; it covered the adversaries 
with shame. And the Peraeans in that Synagogue felt 
also, at least for the time, the freedom which had come to 
that woman. They took up the echoes of her hymn of 
praise, and ' rejoiced for all the glorious things that were 
done by Him.' And He answered their joy by setting 
before them ' the Kingdom,' which He had come both to 
preach and to bring, in its reality and all-pervading energy, 
as exhibited in the two Parables of * the Mustard-seed ' and 
' the Leaven/ spoken before in Galilee. These were now 
repeated, as specially suited to the circumstances. And 
the practical application of these Parables must have been 
obvious to all. 


(St. Luke xiii. 22 ; St. John x. 22-42.) 

About two months had passed since Jesus had left Jeru- 
salem after the Feast of Tabernacles. At the Feast of the 
Dedication of the Temple we find Christ once more in the 

There seems special fitness in Christ's spending what, 

At the Feast of the Dedication 367 

by a computation of dates, we may regard as the last anni- 
versary season of His Birth, in the Temple at that Feast. It 
was not of Biblical origin, but had been instituted by Judas 
Maccabseus in 164 B.C., when the Temple, which had been 
desecrated by Antiochus Epiphanes, was once more purified, 
and re-dedicated to the service of Jehovah. Accordingly, 
it was designated as ' the Dedication of the Altar.' 

During the eight days of the Feast the series of Psalms 
• fs. cxiii.- known as the Hallel a was chanted in the Temple, 
cxviii. ^ e people responding as at the Feast of Taber- 
nacles. Other rites resembled those of the latter Feast, 
b 2 Mace. Thus, originally, the people appeared with palm- 
*• 7 branches. b This however does not seem to have 

been afterwards observed, while another rite, not mentioned 
in the Book of Maccabees — that of illuminating the Temple 
and private houses — became characteristic of the Feast. Tra- 
dition had it, that when the Temple- Services were restored 
by Judas Maccabseus, the oil was found to have been 
desecrated. Only one flagon was discovered of that which 
was pure, sealed with the very signet of the High-Priest. 
The supply proved just sufficient to feed for one day the 
Sacred Candlestick, but by a miracle the flagon was con- 
tinually replenished during eight days, till a fresh supply 
could be brought from Thekoah. In memory of this, it 
was ordered the following year, that the Temple be illu- 
minated for eight days on the anniversary of its ' Dedication/ 
But the ' Lights ' in honour of the Feast were lit not only 
in the Temple, but in every home. One would have suf- 
ficed for the whole household on the first evening, but 
pious householders lit a light for every inmate of the home, 
sc that, if ten burned on the first, there would be eighty 
on the last night of the Festival. According to the Talmud, 
the light might be placed at the entrance to the house or 
room, or, according to circumstances, in the window, or 
even on the table. According to modern practice the light 
is placed at the left on entering a room (the Mezuzah, or 
folded scroll of the Law, is on the right). Certain bene- 
dictions are spoken on lighting these lights, all work is 
stayed, and the festive time spent in merriment. The first 

368 Jesus the Messiah 

night is specially kept in memory of Judith, who is supposed 
to have slain Holofernes, and cheese is freely partaken of 
as the food of which, according to legend, she gave him so 
largely, to incite him to thirst and drunkenness. Lastly, 
during this Festival all fasting and public mourning were 
prohibited, though some minor acts of private mourning 
were allowed. 

This Festival, like the Feast of Tabernacles, com- 
memorated a Divine victory, which again gave to Israel 
their good land, after they had once more undergone sor- 
rows like those of the wilderness : it was another harvest- 
feast, and pointed forward to yet another ingathering. As 
the once extinguished light was relit in the Temple, it grew 
day by day in brightness, till it shone out into the heathen 
darkness, that once had threatened to quench it. That He 
Who purified the Temple, was its True Light, and brought 
the Great Deliverance, should (as hinted) have spent the 
last anniversary season of His Birth at that Feast in the 
Sanctuary, shining into their darkness, seems most fitting. 

Thoughts of the meaning of this Feast and of what was 
associated with it, will be helpful as we listen to the words 
which Jesus spake to the people in ' Solomon's Porch.' 
It is winter, and Christ is walking in the covered Porch in 
front of the ' Beautiful Gate,' which formed the principal 
entrance into the ' Court of the Women ' As He walks up 
and down, the people are literally barring His way — ' came 
round about ' Him. From the whole circumstances we can- 
not doubt that the question which they put, ' How long 
holdest Thou us in suspense ? ' had not in it an element of 
genuine inquiry. Their desire that He should tell them 
i plainly ' if He were the Christ, had no other motive than 
that of grounding on it an accusation. The more clearly 
we perceive this, the more wonderful appear the forbear- 
ance of Christ and the wisdom of His answer Briefly He 
puts aside their hypocrisy. What need is there of fresh 
speech ? He told them before, and they ' believe not.' 
From words He appeals to the indisputable witness ot 
deeds : the works which He wrought in His Father's Name. 
Their non-belief in presence of these facts was due to their 

At the Feast of the Dedication 369 

not being of His Sheep. As He had said unto them before 
it was characteristic of His Sheep (as generally of every 
flock in regard to its own shepherd) to hear — recognise, 
listen to— His Voice and follow Him. We mark in the 
• st. John words of Christ a triplet of double parallelisms 
x.27,28 concerning the Sheep and the Shepherd, in 
ascending climax,* as follows : 

My sheep hear My Voice, And I know them, 

And they follow Me : And I give unto them eternal life ; 

And they shall never perish. And no one shall snatch them out of 

My Hand. 

Richer assurance could not have been given. But 
something special has here to be marked. The two first 
parallelisms always link the promise of Christ to the 
attitude of the sheep ; not, perhaps, conditionally, but as 
a matter of sequence and of fact. But in the third 
parallelism there is no reference to anything on the part 
of the sheep ; it is all promise, and the second clause only 
explains and intensifies what is expressed in the first. 
If it indicates attack of the fiercest kind, and by the 
strongest and most cunning of enemies, be they men or 
devils, it also marks the watchfulness and absolute 
superiority of Him Who hath them, as it were, in His 
Hand — perhaps a Hebraism for ' power' — and hence their 
absolute safety. And, as if to carry twofold assurance of 
it, He reminds His hearers that His Work, being < the 
Father's Commandment,' is really the Father's Work, 
given to Christ to do, and no one could snatch them out 
of the Father's Hand. 

One logical sequence is unavoidable. Rightly under- 
stood, it is not only the last and highest announcement, 
but it contains and implies everything else. If the Work 
of Christ is really that of the Father, and His Working 
also that of the Father, then it follows that He 'and the 
Father are One ' (' one ' is in the neuter). This identity 
of work (and purpose) implies the identity of Nature 
(Essence) ; that of working, the identity of Power. And 
so, evidently, the Jews • understood it when they again 
took up stones with the intention of stoning Him — no 

B B 

370 Jesus the Messiah 

doubt because He expressed, in yet more plain terms, 
what they regarded as His blasphemy. Once more the 
Lord appealed from His Words, which were doubted, to 
His Works, which He hath 'showed from the Father,' 
any one of which might have served as evidence of His 
Mission. And when the Jews ignored this line of evidence, 
and insisted that He had been guilty of blasphemy, since, 
being a Man, he had made Himself God, the Lord replied 
in a manner that calls for our special attention. From 
the peculiarly Hebraistic mode of designating a quotation 
• Ps.ixxxii. fr° m tne Psalms a as 'written in the Law,' we 
6 gather that we have here a literal transcript 

of the very words of our Lord. He had claimed to be 
One with the Father in work and working ; from which, 
of course, the necessary inference was, that He was also 
One with Him in Nature and Power. Let us see whether 
the claim was strange. In Ps. lxxxii. 6 the titles ' God ' 
and ' Sons of the Highest ' had been given to Judges as 
the ^Representatives and Vicegerents of God, wielding His 
delegated authority, since to them had come His Word of 
authorisation. But here was authority not transmitted 
by ' the word,' but personal and direct consecration and 
Mission on the part of God. The comparison made was 
not with Prophets, because they only told the word and 
message from God, but with Judges, who, as such, did 
the very act of God. If those who, in so acting, had 
received an indirect commission, were 'gods,' the very 
representatives of God, could it be blasphemy when He 
claimed to be the Son of God, Who had received, not 
authority through a word transmitted through long cen- 
turies, but direct personal command, to do the Father's 
Work ; had been directly and personally consecrated to it 
by the Father, and directly and personally sent by Him, 
not to say, but to do, the work of the Father ? 

All would, of course, depend on this, whether Christ 
•» st. John really did the works of the Father. b If He 
x - 37 did the works of His Father, then let them 

believe, if not the words, yet the works, and thus would 
they arrive at the knowledge, ' and understand ' — distin- 

The Second Series of Parables 371 

guishing here the act from the state — that ' in Me is the 
Father, and I in the Father.' In other words, recognising 
the Work as that of the Father, they would come to 
understand that the Father worked in Him, and that the 
root of His Work was in the Father. 

The stones that had been taken up were not thrown, 
for the words of Christ rendered impossible the charge 
of explicit blasphemy which alone would, according to 
Rabbinic law, have warranted such summary vengeance. 
But ' they sought again to seize Him,' so as to drag Him 
before their tribunal. His time, however, had not yet 
come, ( and He went forth out of their hand.' 




(St. Luke x. 26-37 ; xi. 5-13.) 

The period between Christ's return from the * Feast of the 
Dedication' and His last entry into Jerusalem, may be 
arranged into two parts, divided by the brief visit to 
Bethany for the purpose of raising Lazarus from the dead. 

The Parables of this period look back upon the past, and 
forward into the future. Those spoken by the Lake of Galilee 
were purely symbolical. This second series of Parables could 
be understood by all. They were typical, using the word 
' type ' as an example, or perhaps more correctly, an exem- 
• As in 1 cor. plification.* Accordingly, they are also intensely 
FhViiiiifi practical. Their prevailing character is not 
2 TheS* w. ' descriptive, but hortatory ; and they bring the 
':. 1 p Tim..iv. Gospel, in the sense of glad tidings to the lost, 
7;'iPet. v.3 to the hearts of all who hear them. 

Of the Parables of the third series it will for the 
present suffice to say that they are neither symbolical nor 
typical, but their prevailing characteristic is prophetic. 

The Parables of the second (or Pergean) series, which 
are typical and hortatory, and \ Evangelical ' in character, 

B b 2 

372 Jesus the Messiah 

are thirteen in number, and, with the exception of the 
last, are either peculiar to, or else most fully recorded in, 
the Gospel by St. Luke. 

»st. Luke x. 1. The Parable of the Good Samaritan* — 
This Parable is connected with a question ad- 
dressed to Jesus by a < lawyer ' — not one of the Jerusalem 
Scribes or Teachers, but probably an expert in Jewish 
Canon Law, who possibly made it more or less a profession 
in that district, though perhaps not for gain. We have 
suggested that the words of this lawyer referred, or else 
that himself belonged, to that small party among the 
Rabbinists who, at least in theory, attached greater value 
to good works than to study. Knowing the habits of his 
class, we do not wonder that he put his question to 
' tempt '—test, try— the great Rabbi of Nazareth. 

We seem to witness the opening of a regular Rabbinic 
contest as we listen to this speculative problem : ' Teacher, 
what having done shall I inherit eternal life?' At the' 
foundation lay the notion that eternal life was the reward 
of merit, of works : the only question was, what these works 
were to be. The idea of guilt had not entered his mind ; 
he had no conception of sin within. There was a way in 
which a man might inherit eternal life, not indeed as 
having absolute claim to it, but in consequence of God's 
Covenant on Sinai. And so our Lord, using the common 
Rabbinic expression, ' What readest thou ? ' pointed him to 
the Scriptures of the Old Testament. 

The reply of the ' lawyer ' is remarkable, not only on 
its own account, but as substantially that given on two 
» st. Matt. otner occasions by the Lord Himself. b The ques- 
£&%5f tion therefore naturally arises, whence did this 
lawyer, who certainly had not spiritual insight, 
derive his reply? As regarded the duty of absolute love 
to God, indicated by the quotation of Deut. vi. 5, there 
could, of course, be no hesitation in the mind of a Jew. 
The primary obligation of this is frequently referred to, 
and. indeed, taken for granted, in Rabbinic teaching. 
The repetition of this command formed part of the daily 
paayers. When Jesus referred the lawyer to the Scriptures, 

Parable of the Good Samaritan 373 

he could scarcely fail to quote this first paramount obliga- 

Hillel had summed up the Law, in briefest compass, in 
these words : ' What is hateful to thee, that do not to 
another. This is the whole Law ; the rest is only its ex- 
planation/ Still, the two*principles just mentioned are 
not enunciated in conjunction by Rabbinism, nor seriously 
propounded as either containing the whole Law or as secur- 
ing heaven. They are also subjected to grave modifications. 

On the ground of works — if that had been tenable — the 
lawyer's answer really pointed to the right solution of the 
question : this was the way to heaven. To understand any 
other answer would have required a sense of sin ; and it is 
the preaching of the Law which awakens in the mind a 
sense of sin. a But the difficulty of this ' way ' 

•Rom. vii. 7 ,-, , ., ,„ , T J J 

would soon suggest itselt to a Jew. 

Whatever complexity of motives there may have been, 
there can be no doubt as to the main object of the lawyer's 
question : ' But who is my neighbour ? ' He wished l to 
justify himself,' in the sense of vindicating his original 
question, and showing that it was not quite so easily 
settled as the answer of Jesus seemed to imply. And 
here it was that Christ could in a ' Parable ' show how far 
orthodox Judaism was from even a true understanding, 
much more from such perfect observance of this Law as 
would gain heaven. 

Some one coming from the Holy City, the Metropolis 
of Judaism, is pursuing the solitary desert-road, those 
twenty-one miles to Jericho, a district notoriously insecure, 
when he ' fell among robbers, who, having both stripped and 
inflicted on him strokes, went away leaving him just as 
he was, half dead.' This is the first scene. The second 
opens with an expression which, theologically, as well as 
exegetically, is of the greatest interest. The word ren- 
dered ' by chance ' occurs only in this place, for Scripture 
commonly views matters in relation to agents rather than 
to results. The real meaning of the word is ' concurrence,' 
much like the corresponding Hebrew term. And better 
definition could not be given, not, indeed, of ' Providence,' 

374 Jesus the Mess/ ah 

which is a heathen abstraction for which the Bible has no 
equivalent, but for the concrete reality of God's providing. 
He provides through a concurrence of circumstances, all in 
themselves natural and in the succession of ordinary 
causation (and this distinguishes it from the miracle), 
but the concurring of which is»directed and overruled by 
Him. And this helps us to put aside those coarse tests 
of the reality of prayer and of the direct rule of God which 
men sometimes propose. 

It was by such a ' concurrence ' that first a priest, then 
a Levite, came down that road, when each successively 
' when he saw him, passed by over against (him)/ It 
was the principle of questioning, ' Who is my neighbour ? * 
which led both priest and Levite to such conduct. Who 
knew what this wounded man was, and how he came 
to lie there; and were they called upon, in igno- 
rance of this, to take all the trouble, perhaps incur the 
risk of life, which care of him would involve ? Thus 
Judaism (in the persons of its chief representatives) had, 
by its exclusive attention to the letter, come to destroy 
the spirit of the Law. Happily, there came yet another 
that way, not only a stranger, but one despised, a semi- 
heathen Samaritan. He asked not who the man was, 
but what was his need. Whatever the wounded Jew 
might have felt towards him, the Samaritan proved a 
true { neighbour.' * He came towards him, and beholding 
him, he was moved with compassion.' He first bound up 
his wounds, and then, taking from his travelling provision 
wine and oil, made of them what was regarded as the 
common dressing for wounds. Next, having ' set ' (lifted) 
him on his own beast, he walked by his side, and brought 
him to one of those khans, or hostelries, by the side of 
unfrequented roads, which afforded free lodgment to the 
traveller. Generally they also offered entertainment, 
in which case, of course, the host, commonly a non- 
Israelite, charged for the victuals supplied to man or 
beast, or for the care taken. In the present instance the 
Samaritan seems himself to have tended the wounded 
man all that evening. But even thus his care did not 

Parable of the Importunate Neighbour 375 

end. The next morning, before continuing his journey, 
he gave to the host two dinars — about one shilling and 
threepence of our money, the amount of a labourer's wages 
• st. Matt. f° r t wo days a — as it were, two days' wages for 
xx - 2 his care of him, with this provision, that if any 

further expense were incurred, he would pay it when he 
next came that way. 

So far the Parable : its lesson ' the lawyer ' is made 
himself to enunciate. l Which of these three seems to 
thee to have become neighbour of him that fell among the 
robbers ? ' Though unwilling to take the hated name of 
Samaritan on his lips, especially as the meaning of the 
Parable and its anti-Rabbinic bearing were so evident, 
the ' lawyer ' was obliged to reply : ' He that showed 
mercy on him,' when the Saviour answered, ' Go, and do 
thou likewise.' 

The Parable implies not a mere enlargement of the 
Jewish ideas, but a complete change of them. The whole 
old relationship of mere duty is changed into one of love. 
Thus matters are placed on an entirely different basis 
from that of Judaism. The question now is not ' Who is 
my neighbour ? ' but ' Whose neighbour am I ? ' The 
Gospel answers the question of duty by pointing us to 
love. Wouldst thou know who is thy neighbour ? Become 
a neighbour to all by the utmost service thou canst do 
them in their need. And so the Gospel would not only 
abolish man's enmity, but bridge over man's separation. 

2. The Parable which follows in St. Luke's narrative b 
»> st. Luke seems closely connected with that just com- 
xi. 5-13 mented upon. It is also a story of a good 
neighbour who gives in our need, but presents another 
aspect of the truth to which the Parable of the Good 
Samaritan had pointed. Love bends to our need: this 
is the objective manifestation of the Gospel. Need looks 
up to love, and by its cry elicits the boon which it seeks. 
And this is the subjective experience of the Gospel. The 
one underlies the story of the first Parable, the other that 
of the second. 

This second Parable is strung to the request of some 

376 Jesus the Messiah 

disciples to be taught what to pray. a A man has a 
• st. Luke friend who, long after nightfall, unexpectedly 
Kl ' comes to him from a journey. He has nothing 

in the house, yet he must provide for his need, for hospitality 
demands it. Accordingly, though it be so late, he goes to 
his friend and neighbour to ask him for three loaves, stating 
the case. On the other hand, the friend so asked refuses, 
since at that late hour he has retired to bed with his 
children, and to grant his request would imply not only 
inconvenience to himself, but the disturbing of the whole 
household. It is not ordinary but, so to speak, extra- 
ordinary prayer, which is here alluded to. 

To return to the Parable: the question (abruptly 
broken off from the beginning of the Parable in ver. 5) 
is, what each of us would do in the circumstances just 
b detailed. The answer is implied in what follows. b 

It points to continued importunity, which would 
at last obtain what it needs. ' I tell you, even if he will 
not give him, rising up, because he is his friend, yet at 
least on account of his importunity, he will rise up and 
give him as many as he needeth.' It is a gross misunder- 
standing to describe this as presenting a mechanical view 
of prayer ; as if it implied either that God was unwilling 
to answer, or else that prayer, otherwise unheard, would 
be answered merely for its importunity. The lesson is 
that where, for some reasons, there are or seem special 
difficulties to» an answer to our prayers, the importunity 
arising from the sense of our absolute need, and the 
knowledge that He is our Friend and that He has bread, 
will ultimately prevail. The difficulty is not as to the 
giving, but as to the giving then — ' rising up ; ' and this 
is overcome by perseverance, so that (to return to the 
Parable) if he will not rise up because he is his friend, 
yet at least he will rise because of his importunity, and 
not only give him ' three ' loaves, but, in general, ' as 
many as he needeth.' 

So important is the teaching of this Parable that 
Christ makes detailed application of it. He bids us ' ask,' 
and that earnestly and believingly ; l seek,' and that 

Parable of the Foolish Rich Man 377 

energetically and instantly; 'knock,' and that intently 
and loudly. Ask — He is a Friend, and we shall ' receive ; ' 
1 seek ' — it is there, and we shall ' find ; ' ' knock ' — our 
need is absolute, and it shall be opened to us. And such 
importunity applies to 'every one,' whoever he be, and 
whatever the circumstances which would seem to render 
his prayer specially difficult of answer. 

More than this, God will not deceive by the appearance of 
what is not reality. He will even give the greatest gift. 
The Parabolic relation is now not that of friends, but of 
father and son. If the son ask for bread, will the father 
give what seems such, but is only a stone ? If he ask 
for a fish, will he tender him what looks such, but is a 
serpent ? If he seeks an egg, will he hand to him what 
breeds a scorpion ? The need, the hunger, of the child will 
not, in answer to its prayer, receive at the Father's Hands 
that which seems, but gives not the reality of satisfaction 
— rather is poison. Let us draw the inference. Such is 
our conduct — how much more shall our heavenly Father 
give His Holy Spirit to them that ask Him ? 




(St. Luke xii. 13-21 ; xiii. -6-9 ; xiv. 16-24.) 

The three Parables which successively follow in St. Luke's 
Gospel may generally be designated as those ' of warning/ 
This holds especially true of the last two of them, which 
refer to the civil and the ecclesiastical polity of Israel. 
Each of the three Parables was spoken under circumstances 
which gave occasion for such illustration. 
• st. Luke 1 . The Parable of the Foolish Rich Man.'' It 

xn 13-21 a pp earg that some one among them that listened 
to Jesus, conceived the idea that the authority of the Great 
Rabbi of Nazareth might be used for his own selfish 

378 Jesus the Messiah 

purposes. Evidently Christ must have attracted and 
deeply moved multitudes, or His interposition would not 
have been sought; and, equally evidently, what He preached 
had made upon this man the impression that he might 
possibly enlist Him as his champion. On the other hand, 
Christ had not only no legal authority for interfering, but 
the Jewish law of inheritance was so clearly denned, and 
we may add so just, that if this person had had any just 
or good cause, there could have been no need for appealing 
to Jesus. Hence it must have been ' covetousness,' in the 
strictest sense, which prompted it — perhaps a wish to have, 
besides his own share as a younger brother, half of that 
additional portion which, by law, came to the eldest son of 
the family. 

This accounts for the immediate reference of our Lord 
to covetousness, the folly of which He showed by this 
almost self-evident principle— that ' not in the superabound- 
ing to any one [not in that wherein he has more than 
enough] consisteth his life, from the things which he pos- 
sesseth.' In other words, that part of the things which a 
man possesseth by which his life is sustained, consists not in 
what is superabundant : his life is sustained by that which 
he needs and uses ; the rest, the superabundance, forms no 
part of his life, and may, perhaps, never be of use to him. 
And herein lies the danger : the love of these things will 
engross mind and heart, and care about them will drive 
out higher thoughts and aims. The moral as regarded the 
Kingdom of God, and the warning not to lose it for thought 
of what ' perisheth with the using,' are obvious. 

The Parable itself consists of two parts, of which the 
first shows the folly, the second the sin and danger of that 
care for what is beyond our present need, which is the 
characteristic of covetousness. The rich man is surveying 
his land, which is bearing plentifully — evidently beyond its 
former yield, since the old provision for storing the corn 
appears no longer sufficient. In the calculations which he 
now makes, he looks into the future, and sees there pro- 
gressive increase and riches. As yet, the harvest was not 
reaped ; but he was already considering what to do, reckon- 

Parable of the Foolish Rich Man 379 

ing upon the riches that would come to him. And so he 
resolved to pull down the old, and build larger barns, where 
he would store his future possessions. In these plans for 
the future — and it was his folly to make such absolutely — 
he thought not of God. His whole heart was set on the 
acquisition of earthly riches, not on the service of God. 
He remembered not his responsibility ; all that he had was 
for himself, and absolutely his own, to batten upon : ' Soul, 
thou hast much goods laid up for many years ; take thine 
ease, eat, drink, be merry/ He did not even remember 
that there was a God Who might cut short his years. 

And now comes the quick, sharp contrast. ' But God 
said unto him' — not by revelation, nor through inward 
presentiment, but with awful suddenness, in those un- 
spoken words of fact which cannot be gainsaid or answered : 
1 Thou fool ! this very night ' — which follows on thy plans 
and purposings — ' thy soul is required of thee. But the 
things which thou hast prepared, whose shall they be?' 
Here, with the obvious evidence of the folly of such state 
of mind, the Parable breaks off. Its sinfulness — nay, and 
beyond this negative aspect of it, the wisdom of righteous- 
ness in laying up the good treasure which cannot be taken 
from us, appears in this concluding remark of Christ — ' So 
is he who layeth up treasure (treasureth) for himself, and 
is not rich towards God.' 

It was a barbed arrow, we might say, out of the Jewish 
quiver, but directed by the Hand of the Lord. For we 
read in the Talmud that a Rabbi told his disciples, 
' Repent the day before thy death ; ' and when his dis- 
ciples asked him : ' Does a man know the day of his 
death ? ' he replied, that on that very ground he should 
repent to-day, lest he should die to-morrow. And so 
would all his days be days of repentance. The Son of 
Sirach, the Talmud, and the Midrash furnish similar warn- 
ings and parallels. But we miss in them the spiritual 
application made by Christ. 

2. The special warning intended to be conveyed by 
• st. Luke the Parable of the Barren Fig-tree a suffici- 
xiii. 6-9 ently appears from the context. As previously 

380 Jesus the Messiah 

explained, the Lord had not only corrected the erroneous 
interpretations which the Jews were giving to certain 
recent national occurrences, but pointed them to this higher 
moral of all such events, that, unless speedy national re- 
pentance followed, the whole people would perish. This 
Parable offers not merely an exemplification of this general 
prediction of Christ, but sets before us that which underlies 
it : Israel in its relation to God ; the need of repentance ; 
Israel's danger ; the nature of repentance, and its urgency ; 
the relation of Christ to Israel ; the Gospel ; and the final 
judgment on impenitence. 

As regards the details of this Parable, we mark that 
the fig-tree had been specially planted by the owner in his 
vineyard, which was the choicest situation. This, we know, 
was not unusual. Fig-trees, as well as palm- and olive- 
trees, were regarded as so valuable, that to cut them down, 
if they yielded even a small measure of fruit, was popularly 
deemed to deserve death at the Hand of God. Ancient 
Jewish writings supply interesting particulars of this 
tree and its culture. On account of its repeated crops, 
it was declared not subject to the ordinance which en- 
joined that fruit should be left in the corners for the poor. 
Its artificial inoculation was known. The practice men- 
tioned in the Parable of digging about the tree and dunging 
it, is frequently mentioned in Rabbinic writings, and by 
the same designations. Curiously, Maimonides mentions 
three years as the utmost limit within which a tree should 
bear fruit in the land of Israel. Lastly, as trees were re- 
garded as by their roots undermining and deteriorating the 
ground, a barren tree would be of threefold disadvantage : 
it would yield no fruit ; it would fill valuable space, which 
a fruit-bearer might occupy ; and it would needlessly 
deteriorate the land. Accordingly, while it was forbidden 
to destroy fruit-bearing trees, ifc would, on the grounds 
above stated, be duty to cut down a ' barren ' or ' empty ' 

These particulars will enable us more fully to under- 
stand the details of the Parable. Allegorically, the fig- 
tree served in the Old Testament as emblem of the Jewish 

Parable of the Barren Fig-Tree 381 

nation a ; in the Talmud, rather as that of Israel's lore, and 

hence of the leaders and the pious of the people. 

The vineyard is in the New Testament the 

symbol of the Kingdom of God, as distinct from the nation 

of Israel. 5 Thus far then, the Parable may be 

L St i &c";' thus translated : God called Israel as a nation, 

inJewith and planted it in the most favoured spot— as a 

thought the ficr-tree in the vineyard of His own Kingdom. 

two were ° _ T _. -i • » tt i i • i . 

scarcely « And He came seeking, as He had every right to 

separated. ^ f ^^ thereon> an( J f oun( J none> ' ft was tne 

third year (not after three years, but evidently in the third 
year, when the third year's crop should have appeared), 
that He had vainly looked for fruit, when He turned to His 
Vinedresser — the Messiah, to Whom the vineyard is com- 
mitted as its King — with this direction : c Cut it down — 
why doth it also deteriorate the soil V It is barren, 
though in the best position ; as a fig-tree it ought to bear 
figs, and here the best ; it fills the place which a good tree 
might occupy ; and besides, it deteriorates the soil. And 
its three years' barrenness has established (as before ex- 
plained) its utterly hopeless character. Then it is that 
the Divine Vinedresser, in His infinite compassion, pleads, 
and with far deeper reality than either Abraham or Moses 
could have entreated, for the fig-tree which Himself had 
planted and tended, that it should be spared ' this year 
also/ ' until then that I shall dig about it, and dung it ' — 
till He labour otherwise than before, even by His Own 
Presence and Words, nay, by laying to its roots His most 
precious Blood. 'And if then it bear fruit' — here the 
text abruptly breaks off, as implying that in such case it 
would, of course, be allowed to remain ; ' but if not, then 
against the future (coming) year shalt thou cut it down/ 
The Parable needs no further commentation. 

3. The third Parable of warning — that of the Great 
« st. Luke Supper c —refers not to the political state of Israel, 
xiv. 16-24 Du t to their ecclesiastical status, and their con- 
tinuance as the possessors and representatives of the 
Kingdom of God. It was spoken after the return of Jesus 
from the Feast of the Dedication, and therefore carries us 

382 Jesus the Messiah 

beyond the point in this history which we have reached. 
Accordingly, the attendant circumstances will be explained 
in the sequel. 

What led up to the Parable of ' the Great Supper' 
happened after these things : after His healing of the man 
with the dropsy in sight of them all on the Sabbath, after 
His twofold rebuke of their perversion of the Sabbath- 
Law, and of those marked characteristics of Pharisaism, 
which showed how far they were from bringing forth fruit 
worthy of the Kingdom, and how they misrepresented 

• st. Luke t ne Kingdom, and were utterly unfit ever to do 
xiv. 1-11 otherwise.* The Lord had spoken of making a 
feast, not for one's kindred, nor for the rich — whether such 
outwardly, or mentally and spiritually from the standpoint 
of the Pharisees — but for the poor and afflicted. This would 
imply true spirituality, because that fellowship of giving, 
which descends to others in order to raise them as brethren, 
not condescends, in order to be raised by them as their 

Master and Superior. 5 And He had concluded 

I) TTTT 10 19 

with these words : ' And thou shalt be blessed — 
because they have not to render back again to thee, for 

it shall be rendered back to thee again in the 

Resurrection of the Just.' c 
It was this last clause — but separated, in true Phari- 
saic spirit, from that which had preceded and indicated the 
motive — on which one of those present now commented, 
probably with a covert, perhaps a provocative, reference to 
what formed the subject of Christ's constant teaching : 

* Blessed whoso shall eat bread in the Kingdom of Heaven/ 
An expression this, which to the Pharisee meant the com- 
mon Jewish expectancy of a great feast at the beginning 
of the Messianic Kingdom. Whether or not it was the 
object of his exclamation, as sometimes religious common- 
places or platitudes are in our days, to interrupt the course 
of Christ's rebukes, or as before hinted, to provoke Him 
to unguarded speech, must be left undetermined. What 
is chiefly apparent is, that this Pharisee separated what 
Christ said about the blessings of the first Resurrection 
from that with which He had connected them as logically 

Parable of the Great Supper 383 

their moral antecedent : viz. love, in opposition to self- 
assertion and self-seeking. The Pharisee's words imply 
that like his class he, at any rate, fully expected to share 
in these blessings as a matter of course, and because he 
was a Pharisee. Thus to leave out Christ's anteceding 
words was not only to set them aside, but to pervert His 
saying, and to place the blessedness of the future on the 
very opposite basis from that on which Christ had rested 
» st. Luke it. Accordingly, it was to this man personally • 
xiv - 16 that the Parable was addressed. 

There can be no difficulty in understanding the main 
ideas underlying the Parable. The man who made the 
* Great Supper ' was He Who had, in the Old Testament, 
prepared ' a feast of fat things.' b The ' bidding 
bis. xxv. e, 7 man y 1 p rece ^ e( i the actual announcement of the 
day and hour of the feast. This general announcement 
was made in the Old Testament institutions and prophecies, 
and the guests bidden were those in the city, the chief 
men — not the ignorant and those out of the way, but the 
men who knew, and read, and expounded these prophecies. 
At last the preparations were ended, and the Master sent 
out His Servant — referring to whomsoever He would em- 
ploy for that purpose. It was to intimate to the persons 
formerly bidden, that everything was now ready. Then it 
was that, however differing in their special grounds for it, 
or expressing it with more or less courtesy, they were all 
at one in declining to come. The feast to which they had 
been bidden some time before, and to which they had ap- 
parently agreed to come, was, when actually announced as 
ready, not what they had expected, at any rate not what 
they regarded as more desirable than what they had, and 
must give up in order to come to it. For — and this seems 
one of the principal points in the Parable — to come to that 
feast, to enter into the Kingdom, implies the giving up of 
something that seems, if not necessary, yet most desirable, 
and the enjoyment of which appears only reasonable. 

Then let the feast be for those who were in need of it, 
and to whom it would be a feast : the poor and those 
afflicted — the maimed, and blind and lame, on whom those 

3 8 4 Jesus the Messiah 

great citizens who had been first bidden would look down. 
This, with reference to, and in higher spiritual explanation 
of what Christ had previously said about bidding such to 
•st. Luke our feasts of fellowship and love. a Accordingly, 
xiv. 13 the Servant is now directed to ' go out quickly 
into the (larger) streets and the (narrow) lanes of the City ' 
— a trait which shows that the scene is laid in ' the City/ 
the professed habitation of God. The importance of this 
circumstance is evident. It not only explains who the 
first bidden chief citizens were, but also that these poor 
were the despised ignorant, and the maimed, lame, and 
blind — such as the publicans and sinners. These are they 
in ' the streets ' and ' lanes ; ' and the Servant is directed, 
not only to invite, but to ' bring them in,' as otherwise 
they might naturally shrink from coming to such a feast. 
But even so, ' there is yet room ; ' for the Lord of the house 
has, in His liberality, prepared a very great feast for very 
many. And so the Servant is once more sent, so that the 
Master's * house may be filled.' But now he is bidden to 
* go out,' outside the City, outside the Theocracy, \ into the 
highways and hedges,' to those who travel along the 
world's great highway, or who have fallen down weary, 
and rest by its hedges; into the busy, or else weary, 
heathen world. This reference to the heathen world is the 
more apparent that, according to the Talmud, there were 
commonly no hedges round the fields of the Jews. And 
this time the direction to the Servant is not, as in regard 
to those naturally bashful outcasts of the City — who would 
scarcely venture to the great house — to ' bring them in,' 
but ' constrain ' [without a pronoun] ' to come in.' Their 
being invited by a Lord Whom they had not known, per- 
haps never heard of before, to a City in which they were 
strangers, and to a feast for which — as wayfarers, or as 
resting by the hedges, or else as working within their en- 
closure — they were wholly unprepared, required special 
urgency, * a constraining,' to make them either believe in 
it, or come to it from where the messengers found them, 
and that without preparing for it by dress or otherwise. 
And so the house would be filled. 

The Three Parables of the Gospel 385 

Here the Parable abruptly breaks off. What follows 
are the words of our Lord in explanation and application 
of it to the company then present : ' For I say unto you, 
that none of those men which were bidden shall taste of 
My Supper.' And this was the final answer to this 
Pharisee and to those with him at that table, and to all 
such perversion of Christ's Words and misapplication of 
God's Promises as he and they were guilty of. 


(St. Luke xv. ) 

A simple perusal of the three Parables grouped together 
in the fifteenth chapter of St. Luke's Gospel, will convince 
us of their connection. They are peculiarly Gospel 
Parables ' of the recovery of the lost : ' in the first 
instance, through the unwearied labour; in the second, 
through the anxious care, of the owner ; and in the third 
Parable, through the never-ceasing love of the Father. 

Properly to understand these Parables, the circum- 
stances which elicited them must be kept in view. As 
Jesus preached the Gospel of God's call, not to those who 
had, as they imagined, prepared themselves for the King- 
dom by study and good works, but as that of a door open, 
and a welcome free to all, ' all the publicans and sinners 
were [constantly] drawing near to Him.' It has been 
shown, that the Jewish teaching concerning repentance 
was quite other than, nay, contrary to, that of Christ. 
Theirs was not a Gospel to the lost : they had nothing to 
say to sinners. They called upon them to ' do penitence,' 
and then Divine Mercy, or rather Justice, would have its 
reward for the penitent. Christ's Gospel was to the lost as 
such. It told them of forgiveness, of what the Saviour 
was doing, and the Father purposed and felt for them ; and 
that, not in the future and as reward of their penitence, 
but now in the immediate present. From what we know 


3%6 Jesus the Messiah 

of the Pharisees, we can scarcely wonder that ' they were 
murmuring at Him, saying, This man receiveth " sinners," 
and eateth with them.' Whether or not Christ had on this, 
• st. Matt, as on other occasions,* joined at a meal with such 
ix. 10, 11 persons, their charge was so far true, that ' this 
One,' in contrariety to the principles and practice of 
Rabbinism, ' received sinners ' as such, and consorted with 

These three Parables proceed on the view that the work 
of the Father and of Christ, as regards ' the Kingdom/ is 
the same ; that Christ was doing the work of the Father, 
and that they who know Christ know the Father also. 
That work was the restoration of the lost ; Christ had come 
to do it, and it was the longing of the Father to welcome 
the lost home again. Further, and this is only second in 
importance, the lost was still God's property ; and he who 
had wandered farthest was a child of the Father, and con- 
sidered as such. 

In other particulars there are, however, differences, all 
the more marked that they are so finely shaded. These 
concern the lost, their restoration, and its results. 

1. The Parable of the Lost Sheep. — The Lost Sheep is 
only one among a hundred : not a veiy great loss. Yet 
which among us would not, even from the common motives 
of ownership, leave the ninety-and-nine, and go after it, all 
the more that it has strayed into the wilderness ? At the 
outset we remark that this Parable and the next, that of the 
Lost Drachm, are intended as an answer to the Pharisees. 
Hence they are addressed to them. Should not the Christ 
do even as they would have done to the straying and 
almost lost sheep of His own flock ? We think not only 
of those sheep which Jewish pride and superciliousness 
had left to go astray, but of our own natural tendency to 
wander. And we recall the saying of St. Peter, which, no 
doubt, looked back upon this Parable : ' Ye were as sheep 
going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and 

«>iPetii25 ? ish< ?P °. f y° ur soul s.' b It is not difficult in 

imagination to follow the Parabolic picture : how 

in its folly and ignorance the sheep strayed further and 

Parable of the Lost Drachm 387 

further, and at last was lost in solitude and among stony 
places ; how the shepherd followed and found it, weary and 
footsore ; and then with tender care lifted it on his shoulder, 
and carried it home, glad that he had found the lost. And 
not only this, but when, after long absence, he returned 
home with his found sheep, that now nestled close to its 
Saviour, he called together his friends, and bade them 
rejoice with him over the erst lost and now found 

To mark hero the contrast between the teaching of 
Christ and that of the Pharisees, we put down in all its 
nakedness the message which Pharisaism brought to the 
lost. Christ said to them : ' There is joy in heaven over 
one sinner that repenteth.' Pharisaism said — and we quote 
literally— ' There is joy before God when those who pro- 
voke Him perish from the world.' 

2. In proceeding to the second Parable, that of the 
Lost Drachm, we must keep in mind that in the first the 
danger of being lost arose from the natural tendency of 
the sheep to wander. In the second Parable it is no longer 
our natural tendency to which our loss is attributable. 
The drachm (about 7^d. of our money) has been lost, as 
the woman, its owner, was using or counting her money. 
The loss is the more sensible as it is one out of only ten, 
which constitute the owner's property. But it is still in 
the house — not like the sheep that had gone astray — only 
covered by the dust that is continually accumulating from 
the work and accidents around. And so it is more and 
more likely to be buried under it, or swept into chinks and 
corners, and less and less likely to be found as time passes. 
But the woman lights a lamp, sweeps the house, and seeks 
diligently till she has found it. And then she calleth 
together those around, and bids them rejoice with her over 
the finding of the lost part of her possessions. And so 
there is joy in the presence of the Angels over one sinner 
that repenteth. The interest of this Parable centres in the 

3. If it has already appeared that the two first Para- 
bles are not merely a repetition, in different form, of the 

o c 2 

388 Jesus the Messiah 

same thought, but represent two different aspects and 
causes of the ' being lost ' — the essential difference between 
them appears even more clearly in the third Parable, that 
of the Lost Son. Before indicating it in detail, we may 
mark the similarity in form, and the contrast in spirit, of 
analogous Rabbinic Parables. The Midrash a 
• on ex. m.i re | ateg k QW w h en Moses fed the sheep of Jethro 
in the wilderness, and a kid had gone astray, he went after 
it, and found it drinking at a spring. As he thought it 
might be weary, he laid it on his shoulder and brought it 
back ; when God said that, because he had shown pity on 
the sheep of a man, He would give him His own sheep, 
Israel, to feed. As a parallel to the second Parable, this 
may be quoted as similar in form, though very different in 
spirit, when a Rabbi notes that, if a man had lost a sela 
(drachm) or anything eJse of value in his house, he would 
light ever so many lights till he had found what provides 
for only one hour in this world. How much more, then, 
should he search, as for hidden treasures, for the words of 
the Law, on which depends the life of this and of the world 
to come ! And in regard to the high place which Christ 
assigned to the repenting sinner, we may note that, accor- 
ding to the leading Rabbis, the penitents would stand 
nearer to God than the 'perfectly righteous,' since, in 
Is. lvii. 19, peace was first bidden to those who had been 
afar off, and then only to those near. 

It may be added that besides illustrations, to which 
reference will be made in the sequel, Rabbinic tradition 
supplies a parallel to at least part of the third Parable, that 
of the Lost Son. It tells us that while prayer may some- 
times find the gate of access closed, it is never shut against 
repentance, and it introduces a Parable in which a king- 
sends a tutor after his son, who, in his wickedness, had left 
the palace, with this message : ' Return, my son ! ' to which 
the latter replied : ' With what face can I return ? I am 
ashamed ! ' On which the father sends this message : ' My 
son, is there a son who is ashamed to return to his father — 
and shalt thou not return to thy father ? Thou shalt re- 
turn.' So, continues the Midrash, had God sent Jeremiah 

Parable of the Prodigal Son 389 

after Israel in the hour of their sin with the call to return,* 
and the comforting reminder that it was to their 

• Jer. 11L 12 ^ . , ° 


In the Parable of ' the Lost Son,* the main interest 
centres in his restoration. It is not now to the innate ten- 
dency of his nature, nor yet to the work and dust in the 
house that the loss is attributable, but to the personal, free 
choice of the individual. He does not stray ; he does not 
fall aside — he wilfully departs, and under aggravated cir- 
cumstances. It is the younger of two sons of a father who 
is equally loving to both, and kind even to his hired ser- 
vants, whose home, moreover, is one not only of sufficiency 
but of wealth. The demand which he makes for the ' por- 
tion of property falling ' to him is founded on the Jewish 
Law of Inheritance. Presumably, the father had only these 
two sons. The elder would receive two portions, the 
younger the third of all movable property. The father 
could not have disinherited the younger son, although, if 
there had been several younger sons, he might have divided 
the property falling to them as he wished, provided he 
expressed only his disposition, and did not add that 
such or such of the children were to have a less share or 
none at all. On the other hand, a man might, during his 
lifetime, dispose of all his property by gift, as he chose, 
to the disadvantage or even the total loss of ^he first- 
born, or of any other children ; nay, he might give all to 

It thus appears that the younger son was, by law, fully 
entitled to his share of the possessions, although, of course, 
he had no right to claim it during his father's lifetime. 
His conduct, whatever his motives, was most heartless as re- 
garded his father, and sinful as before God. Such a disposition 
could not prosper. The father had yielded to his demand, 
and, to be as free as possible from control and restraint, 
the younger son had gone into a far country. There the 
natural sequences soon appeared, and his property was 
wasted in riotous living. 

The next scene in the history is misunderstood when 
the objection is raised, that the young man's misery is 

390 Jesus the Messiah 

there represented as the result of Providential circumstances 
rather than of his own misdoing. For our awakening, in- 
deed, we are frequently indebted to what is called the 
Providence, but what is really the manifold working to- 
gether of the grace of God. And so we find special mean- 
ing in the occurrence of this famine. That in his want 
' he clave to one of the citizens of that country,' seems to 
indicate that the man had been unwilling to engage the 
dissipated young stranger, and only yielded to his desperate 
importunity. This also explains how he employed him in 
the lowest menial service, that of feeding swine. To a Jew 
there was more than degradation in this, since the keeping 
of swine (although perhaps the ownership rather than the feed- 
ing) was prohibited to Israelites under a curse. And even in 
this demeaning service he was so evil entreated, that for very 
hunger he would fain have ' filled his belly with the carob- 
pods that the swine did eat.' But here the same harshness 
which had sent him to such employment met him on the 
part of all the people of that country : ' and no man gave 
unto him,' even sufficient of such food. What perhaps 
gives additional meaning to this description is the Jewish 
saying, ' When Israel is reduced to the carob-tree, they 
become repentant.' 

It was this pressure of extreme want which first 
showed to the younger son the contrast between the 
country and the circumstances to which his sin had 
brought him, and the plentiful provision of the home he 
had left, and the kindness which provided bread enough 
and to spare for even the hired servants. There was 
only a step between what he said, ' having come into him- 
self,' and his resolve to return, though its felt difficulty 
seems implied in the expression, ' I will arise.' Nor would 
he go back with the hope of being reinstated in his position 
as son, seeing he had already received aud wasted in sin 
bis portion of the patrimony. All he sought was to be 
made as one of the hired servants. And alike from true 
feeling, and to show that this was all his pretence, he 
would preface his request by the confession, that he had 
sinned ' against heaven ' — a frequent Hebraism for ' against 

Parable of the Prodigal Son 391 

God ' — and in the sight of his father, and hence could no 
longer lay claim to the name of son. 

But the result was far other than he could have ex- 
pected. When we read that, ' while he was yet afar off, 
his father saw him,' we must evidently understand it in 
the sense, that his father had been always on the outlook for 
him, an impression which is strengthened by the later 
command to the servants to ' bring the calf, the fatted 
» st. Luke one j' a as if i* na ^ keen specially fattened against 
xv. 23 n i s return. As he now saw him, ' he was moved 

with compassion, and he ran, and he fell on his neck, and 
covered him with kisses.' Such a reception rendered the 
purposed request, to be made as one of the hired servants, 
impossible. The father's love had anticipated his con- 
fession, and rendered its self-spoken sentence of condemna- 
tion impossible. And so he only made confession of his 
sin and wrong — not only as preface to the request to be 
taken in as a servant, but as the outgoing of a humbled, 
grateful, truly penitent heart. Here it deserves special 
notice, as marking the absolute contrast between the 
teaching of Christ and Rabbinism, that we have in one of 
the oldest Rabbinic works a Parable exactly the reverse of 
this, when the son of a friend is redeemed from bondage, 
not as a son, but to be a slave, that so obedience might 
be demanded of him. The inference drawn is, that the 
obedience of the redeemed is not that of filial love of the 
pardoned, but the enforcement of the claim of the master. 

They have reached the house. And now the father 
would not only restore the son, but convey to him the 
evidence of it, and he would do so before, and by the 
servants. The three tokens of wealth and position are to 
be furnished him. \ Quickly' the servants are to bring 
forth the ' stola,' the upper garment of the higher classes, 
and that ' the first ' — the best, and this instead of the 
tattered, coarse raiment of the foreign swineherd. Similarly, 
the finger-ring for his hand, and the sandals for his un- 
shod feet, would indicate the son of the house. And to 
mark this still further, the servants are not only to bring 
these articles, but themselves to ' put them on ' the son, 

39 2 Jesus the Messiah 

so as thereby to own his mastership. And yet further, 
the calf, ' the fatted one ' for this very occasion, was to be 
killed, and there was to be a joyous feast, for ' this ' his 
son ' was dead, and is come to life again ; was lost and is 

While this was going on, so continues the Parable, 
the elder brother was still in the field. On his return 
home, he inquired of a servant the reason of the festivities 
which he heard within the house. The harsh words of 
reproach with which he next set forth his own apparent 
wrongs could have only one meaning : his father had never 
rewarded him for his services. 

But in this very thing lay the error of the elder son, 
and to apply it- -the fatal mistake of Pharisaism. The 
elder son regarded all as of merit and reward, as work 
and return. But it is not so. We mark, first, that the 
same tenderness which had welcomed the returning son 
now met the elder brother. The father spoke to the angry 
man, not in the language of merited reproof, but addressed 
him lovingly as S son,' and reasoned with him. And then, 
when he had shown him his wrong, he would fain recall him 
to better feeling by telling him of the other as his ' brother.' a 
• st. Luke But the main point is this. There can be here 
xv. 32 no question of desert. So long as the son is in 

His Father's house, He gives in His great goodness to His 
child all that is the Father's. But this poor lost one — still 
a son and a brother — he has not got any reward, only 
been taken back again by a Father's love, when he had 
come back to Him in the misery of his need. This son, or 
rather, as the other should view him, this ' brother,' had 
been dead, and was come to life again ; lost, and was 
found. And over this ' it was meet to make merry and be 
glad,' not to murmur. Such murmuring came from thoughts 
of work and pay — wrong in themselves, and foreign to the 
proper idea of Father and son ; such joy, from a Father's 
heart. The elder brother's were the thoughts of a servant : 
of service and return ; the younger brother's was the 
welcome of a son in the mercy and everlasting love of a 



(St. Luke xvi.) 

Although widely differing in their object and teaching, 
the last group of Parables spoken during this part of 
Christ's -Ministry is, at least outwardly, connected by a 
leading thought. The word by which we would string 
them together is Righteousness. There are three Parables 
of the (/^righteous : the Unrighteous Steward, the Un- 
righteous Owner, and the Unrighteous Dispenser, or Judge. 
And these are followed by two other Parables of the 
$eZ/-righteous : Self-righteousness in its Ignorance, and 
its dangers as regards oneself; and Self-Righteousness in 
its Harshness, and its dangers as regards others. But 
when this outward connection has been marked, we have 
gone the utmost length. Much more close is the internal 
connection between some of them. 

I. The Parable of the Unjust Steward. — Here we dis- 
» st. Luke tinguish — 1. The illustrative Parable.* 2. Its 
?tojj moral. b 3. Its application in the combination 
• w. 10-13 f the moral with some of the features of the 

1. The illustrative Parable. d This may be said to 
<i w. i_ 8 converge to the point brought out in the conclud- 
« ver. 8 m g verse : e ^he prudence which characterises the 
dealings of the children of this world in regard to their 
own generation — or, to translate the Jewish forms of ex- 
pression into our own phraseology, the wisdom with which 
those who care not for the world to come choose the means 
most effectual for attaining their worldly objects. It is 
this prudence by which their aims are so effectually 
secured, and it alone, which is set before ' the children of 
light,' as that from which to learn. And the lesson is the 
more practical, that those primarily addressed had hitherto 
been among these men of the world. Let them learn 
from the serpent its wisdom, and from the dove its harm- 

394 Jesus the Messiah 

lessness ; from the children of this world, their prudence 
as regarded their generation, while, as children of the new 
light, they must remember the higher aim for which that 
prudence was to be employed. Thus would that Mamon 
which is ' of unrighteousness ' and which certainly ' faileth,' 
become to us treasure in the world to come — welcome 
us there, and, so far from ' failing,' prove permanent — 
welcome us in everlasting tabernacles. Thus also shall 
we have made friends of the ' Mamon of unrighteousness, ' 
and that, which from its nature must fail, become eternal 

The connection between this Parable and what the 
Lord had previously said concerning returning sinners, is 
evidenced by the use of the term ' wasting ' in the charge 
against the steward, just as the prodigal son had ' wasted ' 
»st. Luke his substance.* Only, in the present instance, 
xv - 13 the property had been entrusted to his adminis- 

tration. As regards the owner, his designation as ' rich ' 
seems intended to mark how large was the property com- 
mitted to the steward. The c steward ' was not, as in St. 
Luke xii. 42-46, a slave, but one employed for the adminis- 
tration of the rich man's affairs, subject to notice of 
*> st. Luke dismissal. 1 * He was accused — the term implying 
xvi. 2, 3 malevolence, but not necessarily a false charge — 
not of fraud, but of wasting his master's goods. And his 
master seems to have convinced himself that the charge 
was true, since he at once gives him notice of dismissal. 
The latter is absolute, and not made dependent on the 
' account of his stewardship,' which is only asked when he 
gives up his office. Nor does the steward either deny the 
charge or plead any extenuation. His great concern 
rather is, during the time still left of his stewardship, 
before he gives up his accounts, to provide for his future 
support. The only alternative before him in the future is 
that of manual labour or mendicancy. But for the former 
he has not strength ; from the latter he is restrained by 

Then it is that his * prudence ' suggests a device by 
which, after his dismissal, he may without begging be 

Parable of the Unjust Steward 395 

received into the houses of those whom he has made 
friends. It must be borne in mind that he is still steward, 
and, as such, has full power of disposing of his master's 
affairs. "When, therefore, he sends for one after another of 
his master's debtors, and tells each to alter the sum in the 
bond, he does not suggest to them forgery or fraud, but *in 
remitting part of the debt, he acts, although unrighteously, 
yet strictly within his rights. Thus neither the steward 
nor the debtors could be charged with criminality, and the 
master must have been struck with the cleverness of a man 
who had thus secured a future provision by making friends, 
so long as he had the means of so doing (ere his Mamon 
of unrighteousness failed). 

A few archaeological notices may help the interpretation 
of details. It seems likely, that the ' bonds,' or rather 
'writings,' of these debtors were written acknowledg- 
ments of debt. In the first case they are stated as ' a 
hundred bath of oil,' in the second as ' a hundred cm- of 
wheat.' In regard to these quantities we have the pre- 
liminary difficulty, that three kinds of measurement were 
in use in Palestine — that of the 'Wilderness,' or the 
original Mosaic ; that of ' Jerusalem,' which was more 
than a fifth larger ; and that of Sepphoris, probably the 
common Galilean measurement, which, in turn, was more 
than a fifth larger than the Jerusalem measure. Assuming 
the measurement to have been the Galilean, one bath 
would have been equal to about 39 litres. In the Parable, 
the first debtor was owing 100 of these bath, or, accor- 
ding to the Galilean measurement, about 3,900 litres of oil. 
The value of the oil would probably amount to about 101. 
of our money, and the remission of the steward, of course, 

The second debtor owed ' a hundred cor of wheat ' — 
that is, in dry measure, ten times the amount of the oil of 
the first debtor, since the cor was ten ephah or bath, the 
ephah three seah, the seah six qabh, and the qabh four log. 
This must be borne in mind, since the dry and the fluid 
measures were precisely the same ; and here, also, their 
threefold computation (the ' Wilderness,' the ' Jerusalem/ 

396 Jesus the Messiah 

and the i Galilean ') obtained. Striking an average between 
the various prices mentioned we infer that the hundred cor 
would represent a debt of from 100Z. to 125£., and the re- 
mission of the steward (of 20 cor), a sum of 201. to 25Z. 
Comparatively small as these sums may seem, they are in 
reality large, remembering the value of money in Palestine, 
which, on a low computation, would be five times as great 
as in our own country. These two debtors are only men- 
tioned as instances, and so the unjust steward would easily 
secure for himself friends by the ' Mamon of unrighteous- 
ness ' — the term Mamon, we may note, being derived from 
the Syriac and Rabbinic word of the same kind (signifying 
to apportion). 

Another point on which acquaintance with the history 
and habits of those times throws light is, how the debtors 
could so easily alter the sum mentioned in their respective 
bonds. For the text implies that this, and not the writing 
of a new bond, is intended ; since in that case the old one 
would have been destroyed, and not given back for altera- 

The materials on which the Jews wrote were of the 
most diverse kind : leaves, as of olives, palms, the carob, 
&c. ; the rind of the pomegranate, the shell of walnuts, 
&c. ; the prepared skins of animals (leather and parch- 
ment) ; and the product of the papyrus, used long before 
the time of Alexander the Great for the manufacture of 
paper, and known in Talmudic writings by the same name. 
But what interests us more, as we remember the ' tablet ' 
on which Zacharias wrote the name of the future Baptist, 8 
• st. Luke i s tne circumstance that it bears not only the 
i,e3 same name, but that it seems to have been of 

such common use in Palestine. It consisted of thin 
pieces of wood fastened or strung together. The Mishnah 
enumerates three kinds of them : those where the wood 
was covered with papyrus, those where it was covered with 
wax, and those where the wood was left plain to be written 
on with ink. The latter was of different kinds. Black 
ink was prepared of soot, or of vegetable or mineral sub- 
stances. Gum Arabic and Egyptian and vitriol seem also 

Parable of the Unjust Steward 397 

bo have been used in writing. A pen made of reed was 
employed, and the reference in an Apostolic Epistle a to 
writing ' with ink and pen ' finds even its verbal 
counterpart in the Midrash. Indeed, the public 
' writer ' — a trade very common in the East — went about 
with a reed-pen behind his ear, as badge of his em- 
ployment. With the reed-pen we ought to mention its 
necessary accompaniments : the pen-knife, the inkstand 
(which, when double, for black and red ink, was some- 
times made of earthenware), and the ruler — it being re- 
garded by the stricter set as unlawful to write any words 
of Holy Writ on any unlined material, no doubt to ensure 
correct writing and reading. 

In all this we have not referred to the practice of 
writing on leather specially prepared with salt and flour, 
nor to the parchment in the stricter sense. For we are 
here chiefly interested in the common mode of writing, 
that on the ' tablet,' and especially on that covered with wax. 
Indeed, a little vessel holding wax was generally attached 
to it. On such a tablet they wrote, of course, not with a 
reed-pen, but with a stylus, generally of iron. This in- 
strument consisted of two parts, which might be detached 
from each other : the hard pointed ' writer,' and the 
' blotter,' which was flat and thick for smoothing out letters 
and words which had been written or rather graven in the 
wax. There can be no question that acknowledgments of 
debt, and other transactions, were ordinarily written down on 
such wax-covered tablets ; for not only is direct reference 
made to it, but there are special provisions in regard to 
documents where there are such erasures, or rather efface- 
ments — such as, that they require to be noted in the docu- 
ment, under what conditions and how the witnesses are in 
such cases to affix their signatures, &c. — just as there are 
particular injunctions how witnesses who could not write 
are to affix their mark. 

2. We return to notice the moral of the Parable. b It is 
» st. Luke put in these words : ' Make to yourselves friends out 
XV1 - 9 of [by means of] the Mamon of unrighteousness, 

that, when it shall fail, they may receive you into ever- 

39$ Jesus the Messiah 

lasting tabernacles.' From what has been previously stated 
the meaning of these words offers little serious difficulty. 
We recall the circumstance that they were primarily 
addressed to converted publicans and sinners, to whom the 
expression ' Mamon of unrighteousness ' — of which there 
are close analogies, and even an exact transcript in the 
Targum — would have an obvious meaning. Again, the 
addition of the definite article leaves no doubt, that ' the 
everlasting tabernacles' mean the well-known heavenly 
home ; in which sense the term ' tabernacle ' is, indeed, 
already. used in the Old Testament. But as a whole we 
regard it as an adaptation to the Parable of the well- 
known Rabbinic saying, that there were certain graces of 
which a man enjoyed the benefit here, while the capital, 
so to speak, remained for the next world. And if a more 
literal interpretation were demanded, we cannot but feel 
the duty incumbent on those converted publicans, nay, in 
a sense, on us all, to seek to make for ourselves of the 
Mamon — be it of money, of knowledge, of strength, or 
opportunities — which to many has, and to all may so 
easily become that ' of unrighteousness ' — such lasting and 
spiritual application : gain such friends by means of it, 
that, ' when it fails,' as fail it must when we die, all may 
not be lost, but rather meet us in heaven. Thus would 
each deed done for God with this Mamon become a friend 
to greet us as we enter the eternal world. 

3. The suitableness both of the Parable and of its appli- 
cation to the audience of Christ appears from its similarity 
to what occurs in Jewish writings. We almost seem to 
hear the very words of Christ : ' He that is faithful in 
that which is least, is faithful also in much,' in this of the 
Midrash : l The Holy One, blessed be His Name, does not 
give great things to a man until he has been tried in a 
small matter ; ' which is illustrated by the history of Moses 
and of David, who were both called to rule from the faithful 
guiding of sheep. 

Considering that the Jewish mind would be familiar 
with such modes of illustration, there could have been no 
misunderstanding of the words of Christ. These converted 

Parable of Dives and Lazarus 399 

publicans might think that theirs was a very narrow sphere 
of service, one of little importance ; or else, like the Phari- 
sees, that faithful administration of the things of this world 
( c the Mamon of unrighteousness ') had no bearing on the 
possession of the true riches in the next world. In answer 
to the first difficulty, Christ points out that the principle 
of service is the same, whether applied to much or to little ; 
that the one was, indeed, meet preparation for, and, in 
» st Luke truth, the test of the other.* Therefore, if a man 
s™- 10 failed in faithful service of God in his worldly 
matters, could he look for the true Mamon, or riches of the 
world to come ? Would not his unfaithfulness in the lower 
stewardship imply unfitness for the higher ? And — still 
in the language of the Parable — if they had not proved 
faithful in mere stewardship, ' in that which was another's/ 
could it be expected that they would be exalted from 
stewardship to proprietorship ? And the ultimate applica- 
tion of all was this, that dividedness was impossible in the 
service of God. b There is absolutely no distinc- 
tion to the disciple between spiritual matters and 
worldly, and our common usage of the words secular and 
spiritual is derived from a serious misunderstanding and 
mistake. To the secular, nothing is spiritual ; and to the 
spiritual, nothing is secular : No servant can serve two 
Masters ; ye cannot serve God and Mamon. 

II. The Parable of Dives and Lazarus? — Although 
primarily spoken to the Pharisees, and not to 
the disciples, yet, as will presently appear, it 
was spoken for the disciples. 

The words of Christ had touched more than one sore 
spot in the hearts of the Pharisees. It is said that 
they derided Him — literally, 'turned up their noses at 
d Him.' d The mocking gestures, with which they 

pointed to His publican-disciples, would be ac- 
companied by mocking words in which they would extol 
and favourably compare their own claims and standing 
with that of those new disciples of Christ. But one by 
one their pleas were taken up and shown to be untenable. 
They were persons who by outward righteousness and 

400 Jesus the Messiah 

pretences sought to appear just before men, but God 
knew their hearts; and that which was exalted among 
men, their Pharisaic standing and standing aloof, was 
»st. Luke abomination before Him. a These two points form 
xvi. is ^q ma j n subject of the Parable. Its first object 
was to show the great difference between the ' before men ' 
and the i before God ; ' between Dives as he appears to 
men in this world, and as he is before God and will be in 
the next world. Again, the second main object of the 
Parable was to illustrate that their Pharisaic standing and 
standing aloof— the bearing of Dives in reference to a 
Lazarus — which was the glory of Pharisaism before men, 
was an abomination before God. Yet a third object of the 
Parable was in reference to their covetousness, the selfish 
use which they made of their possessions — their Mamon. 
But a selfish was an unrighteous use ; and, as such, would 
meet with sorer retribution than in the case of an unfaith- 
ful steward. 

Christ then proceeds to combat these grounds of their 
bearing, that they were the custodians and observers of 
the Law and of the Prophets, while those poor sinners had 
no claims upon the Kingdom of God. Yes — but the Law 
and the Prophets had their terminus ad quern in John the 
Baptist, who ' brought the good tidings of the Kingdom of 
God.' Since then ' every one ' had to enter it by personal 
bcom st resolution and ' force.' b It was true that the 
Matt. xi. 12, Law could not fail in one tittle of it. c But, 
?emar U ks on notoriously and in everyday life, the Pharisees, 
cst^ukT wno ^hus spoke of the Law and appealed to it, 
xvi." ig, 17 were the constant and open breakers of it. Wit- 
d ver * 18 ness here their teaching and practice concerning 
divorce, which really involved a breach of the seventh 
commandment . d 

Bearing in mind that we have here only the ' headings, 1 
or rather the ' stepping stones,' of Christ's argument — from 
notes by a hearer at the time, which were afterwards given 
to St. Luke — we perceive how closely connected are the 
seemingly disjointed sentences which preface the Parable, 
and how aptly they introduce it. The Parable itself is 

Parable of Dives and Lazarus 401 

strictly of the Pharisees and their relation to the ■ publicans 
and sinners ' whom they despised, and to whose steward- 
ship they opposed thoughts of their own proprietorship. 
It tells in two directions: in regard to their selfish use of 
the literal riches — their covetousness ; and in regard to 
their selfish use of the figurative riches — their Pharisaic 
righteousness, which left poor Lazarus at their door to the 
dogs and to famine, not bestowing on him aught from their 
supposed rich festive banquets. 

It will be necessary in the interpretation of this Parable 
to keep in mind that its Parabolic details must not be ex- 
ploited, nor doctrines of any kind derived from them, 
either as to the character of the other world, the question 
of the duration of future punishments, or the possible 
moral improvement of those in Gehinnom. All such things 
are foreign to the Parable, which is only a type and illus- 
tration of what is intended to be taught. 

1. Dives and Lazarus before and after death.* — The 
• st. Luke Parable opens by presenting to us ' a rich man' 
xvi. 16-22 «clothed in purple and byssus, joyously faring 
every day in splendour.' Byssus and purple were the most 
expensive materials, only inferior to silk, which if genuine 
and unmixed — for at least three kinds of silk are mentioned 
in ancient Jewish writings — was worth its weight in gold. 

Quite in accordance with this luxuriousness was the 
feasting every day, the description of which conveys the 
impression of company, merriment, and splendour. This 
is intended to set forth the selfish use which this man made 
of his wealth, and to point the contrast of his bearing to- 
wards Lazarus. Here also every detail is meant to mark 
the pitiableness of the case, as it stood out before Dives. 
The very name — not often mentioned in any other real, 
and never in any other Parabolic story — tells it : Lazarus, 
Laazar, a common abbreviation of Elazar, as it were, ' God 
help him ! ' Then we read that he \ was cast ' at his gate- 
way, as if to mark that the bearers were glad to throw 
down their unwelcome burden. Laid there, he was in full 
view of the Pharisee as he went out or came in, or sat in 
his courtyard. And as he looked at him, he was covered 

D D 

402 Jesus the Messiah 

with a loathsome disease ; as he heard him, he uttered a 
piteous request to be filled with what fell from the rich 
man's table. Yet nothing was done to help his bodily 
misery, and, as the word ' desiring ' implies, his longing 
for the ' crumbs ' remained unsatisfied. So selfish in the 
use of his wealth was Dives, so wretched Lazarus in his 
view ; so self-satisfied and unpitying was the Pharisee, so 
miserable in his sight and so needy the publican and 
sinner. * Yea, even the dogs came and licked his sores ' — 
for it is not to be understood as an alleviation, but as an 
aggravation of his ills, that he was left to the dogs, which 
in Scripture are always represented as unclean animals. 

So it was before men. But how was it before God ? 
There the relation was reversed. The beggar died — no 
more of him here. But the Angels 'carried him away 
into Abraham's bosom.' Leaving aside for the present the 
Jewish teaching concerning the ' after death,' we are struck 
with the sublime simplicity of the figurative language used 
by Christ, as compared with the wild and sensuous fancies 
of later Rabbinic teaching on the subject. It is, indeed, 
true that we must not look in this Parabolic language for 
Christ's teaching about the c after death.' On the other 
hand, while He would say nothing that was essentially 
divergent from the purest views entertained on the subject 
at that time, yet whatever He did say must, when stripped 
of its Parabolic details, be consonant with fact. Thus, the 
carrying up of the soul of the righteous by Angels is certainly 
in accordance with Jewish teaching, though stripped of all 
legendary details, such as about the number and the greetings 
of the Angels. But it is also fully in accordance with Chris- 
tian thought of the ministry of Angels. Again, as regards 
the expression ' Abraham's bosom,' it occurs, although not 
frequently, in Jewish writings. On the other hand, the appeal 
to Abraham as our father is so frequent, his presence and 
merits are so constantly invoked ; notably, he is so expressly 
designated as he who receives the penitent into Paradise, that 
we can see how congruous, especially to the higher Jewish 
teaching which dealt not in coarsely sensuous descriptions 
of Paradise, the phrase ' Abraham's bosom ' must have been. 

Parable of Dives and Lazarus 403 

2. Dives and Lazarus after death : a The ' great con- 
• st. Luke trast' fully realised, and how to enter into the 
xvj. 23-26 Kingdom. — Here also the main interest centres 
in Dives. He also has died and been buried. Thus ends 
all his exaltedness before men. The next scene is in Hades 
or Sheol, the place of the disembodied spirits before the 
final Judgment. It consists of two divisions : the one of 
consolation, with all the faithful gathered unto Abraham as 
their father ; the other of fiery torment. Thus far in ac- 
cordance with the general teaching of the New Testament. 
As regards the details, they evidently represent the views 
current at the time among the Jews. According to them, 
the Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life were the abode of 
the blessed. Nay, in common belief, the words of Gen. 
ii. 10 : * a river went out of Eden to water the garden,' in- 
dicated that this Eden was distinct from, and superior to, the 
garden in which Adam had been originally placed. With 
reference to it, we read that the righteous in Paradise see 
the wicked in Gehinnom, and rejoice ; and, similarly, that 
the wicked in Gehinnom see the righteous sitting beatified 
in Paradise, and their souls are troubled. Again, it is 
consonant with what were the views of the Jews, that con- 
versations could be held between dead persons, of which 
several legendary instances are given in the Talmud. The 
torment, especially of thirst, of the wicked, is repeatedly 
mentioned in Jewish writings. The righteous is seen be- 
side delicious springs, and the wicked with his tongue 
parched at the brink of a river, the waves of which are 
constantly receding from him. But there is this very 
marked and characteristic contrast, that in the Jewish 
legend the beatified is a Pharisee, while the sinner tor- 
mented with thirst is a Publican ! Above all, we notice 
that there is no analogy in Rabbinic writings to the state- 
ment in the Parable, that there is a wide and impassable 
gulf between Paradise and Gehenna. 

To return to the Parable. When we read that Dives 
in torments • lifted up his eyes,' it was, no doubt, for help, 
or, at least, alleviation. Then he first perceived and re- 
cognised the reversed relationship. The text emphatically 

d d 2 

404 Jesus the Messiah 

repeats here : ' And he,' — literally, this one, as if now for 
the first time he realised, but only to misunderstand and 
misapply it, how easily superabundance might minister 
relief to extreme need — ' calling (viz. upon = invoking) 
said : " Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send 
Lazarus.'" The invocation of Abraham, as having the 
power, and of Abraham as ' Father,' was natural on the 
part of a Jew. All the more telling is it, that the rich 
Pharisee should behold in the bosom of Abraham, whose 
child he specially claimed to be, what, in his sight, had 
been poor Lazarus, covered with moral sores, and, re- 
ligiously speaking, thrown down outside his gate. And it 
was the climax of the contrast that he should now have to 
invoke, and that in vain, his ministry, seeking it at the 
hands of Abraham. And here we also recall the previous 
Parable about making, ere it fail, friends by means of the 
Mamon of unrighteousness, that they may welcome us in 
the everlasting tabernacles. 

It should be remembered that Dives now limits his re- 
quest to the humblest dimensions, asking only that Lazarus 
might be sent to dip the tip of his finger in the cooling 
liquid, and thus give him even the smallest relief. To this 
Abraham replies, though in a tone of pity : ' Child,' yet 
decidedly — showing him, first, the Tightness of the present 
position of things ; and, secondly, the impossibility of any 
alteration, such as he had asked. Dives had in his life- 
time received his good things ; those had been his, he had 
chosen them as his part, and used them for self, without 
communicating of them. And Lazarus had received evil 
things. Now Lazarus was comforted and Dives in 
torment. It was the right order — not that Lazarus was 
comforted because in this world he had suffered, nor yet 
that Dives was in torment because in this world he had 
had riches. But Lazarus received there the comfort which 
had been refused to him on earth, and the man who had 
made this world his good, and obtained there his portion, 
of which he had refused even the crumbs to the most needy, 
now received the meet reward of his unpitying, unloving, 
selfish life. But, besides all this, Dives had asked what 

Parable of Dives and Lazarus 405 

was impossible: no intercourse could be held between 
Paradise and Gehenna, and on this account a great and 
impassable chasm existed between the two, so that even if 
they would, they could not pass from heaven to hell, nor 
yet from hell to those in bliss. 

• st. Luke 3. Application of the Par 'able , a showing how 

xvi. 27-31 ^q L aw an( j ^q p r0 p ne t s cannot fail, and how 
we must now press into the Kingdom. 

We now find Dives pleading that Lazarus might be 
sent to his five brothers, who, as we infer, were of the same 
disposition and life as himself had been, to ' testify unto 
them' — the word implying earnest testimony. Presum- 
ably, what he so asked to be attested was, that he, Dives, 
was in torment ; and the expected effect, not of the testi- 
mony but of the mission of Lazarus, b whom they 
are supposed to have known, was that these his 
brothers might not come to the same place. At the same 
time, the request seems to imply an attempt at self-justi- 
fication, as if during his life he had not had sufficient 
warning. Accordingly, the reply of Abraham is no longer 
couched in a tone of pity, but implies stern rebuke of Dives. 
They need no witness-bearer : they have Moses and the 
Prophets, let them hear them. If testimony be needed, 
theirs has been given and it is sufficient — a reply this, 
which would specially appeal to the Pharisees. And when 
Dives, now, perhaps, as much bent on self-justification as 
on the message to his brothers, remonstrates that although 
they had not received such testimony, yet ' if one come to 
them from the dead,' they would repent, the final, and as 
history has shown since the Resurrection of Christ, the true 
answer is, that ' if they hear not [give not hearing to] 
Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be influenced 
[moved : their intellects to believe, their wills to repent] 
if one rose from the dead.' 

And here the Parable, and the warning to the Pharisees, 

abruptly break off. When next we hear the Master's 

voice, c it is in loving application to the disciples 

of some of the lessons which were implied in what 

He had spoken to the Pharisees. 

406 Jesus the Messiah 



(St. Luke xviii. 1-14 ; St. Matt, xviii. 23-35.) 
We must bear in mind that between the Parable of 
Dives and Lazarus and that of the Unjust Judge, most 
momentous events had intervened. These were : the visit 
of Jesus to Bethany, the raising of Lazarus, the Jerusalem 
• st. Joixn council against Christ, the flight to Ephraim, a a 
xi - brief stay and preaching there, and the commence- 

»> st. Luke ment of His last journey to Jerusalem. b During 
xvii. 11 t hi s i as t s i ow p r0 g r ess from the borders of Galilee 
« st. Luke to Jerusalem, we suppose the Discourses and 
xvii * the Parable about the Coming of the Son of Man 

to have been spoken. And although such utterances will 
be best considered in connection with Christ's later and 
full Discourses about ' The Last Things,' we readily per- 
ceive, even at this stage, how, when He set His Face 
towards Jerusalem, there to be offered up, thoughts and 
words concerning the ' End ' may have entered into all 
His teaching. 

The most common but also the most serious mistake 
in reference to the Parable of * the Unjust Judge,' is to 
regard it as implying that, just as the poor widow 
insisted in her petition and was righted because of her 
insistence, so the disciples should persist in prayer, and 
would be heard because of their insistence. The inference 
from the Parable is not that the Church will be ultimately 
vindicated because she perseveres in prayer, but that she 
so perseveres, because God will surely right her cause : it 
is not that insistence in prayer is the cause of its answer, 
but that the certainty of that which is asked for should 
lead to continuance in prayer, even when all around seems 
to forbid the hope of answer. This is the lesson to be 
learned from a comparison of the Unjust Judge with the 

Parable of the Unjust Judge 407 

Just and Holy God in His dealings with His own. If the 
widow persevered, knowing that although no other con- 
sideration, human or Divine, would influence the Unjust 
Judge, yet her insistence would secure its object, how much 
more should we ' not faint,' but continue in prayer, who 
are appealing to God, Who has His people and His cause 
at heart, even though He delay — remembering also that 
even this is for their sakes who pray ! And this is fully 
expressed in the introductory words: 'He spake also a 
Parable to them with reference to the need be of their 
always praying, and not fainting/ 

If it be asked, how the conduct of the Unjust Judge 
could serve as illustration of what might be expected from 
God, we answer, that the lesson in the Parable is not from 
the similarity, but from the contrast between the Unrigh- 
teous human and the Righteous Divine Judge. * Hear 
what the Unrighteous Judge saith. But God [mark the 
emphatic position of the word], shall He not indeed vin- 
dicate [the injuries of, do judgment for] His elect . . . ?' 
In truth, this mode of argument is perhaps the most 
common in Jewish Parables, and occurs on almost every 
page of ancient Rabbinic commentaries. It is called the 
Might and heavy,' and answers to our reasoning a fortiori 
orde minor e ad majus (from the less to the greater). Accord- 
ing to the Rabbis, ten instances of such reasoning occur 
in the Old Testament itself. 1 In the present Parable the 
reasoning would be : 'If the Judge of Unrighteousness ' 
said that he would vindicate, shall not the Judge of all 
Righteousness do judgment on behalf of His Elect? In 
fact, we have an exact Rabbinic parallel to the thought 
underlying, and the lesson derived from, this Parable. 
When describing how at the preaching of Jonah Nineveh 
repented and cried to God, His answer to the loud persis- 
tent cry of the people is thus explained : ' The bold (he who 
is unabashed) conquers even a wicked person [to grant him 
his request], how much more the All-Good of the world ! ' 

1 These ten passages are: Gen. xliv. 8; Exod. vi. 9, 12; Numb. xii. 
14; Deut. xxxi. 27 ; two instances in Jerem. xii. 5; 1 Sam. xxiii. 3 { 
Prov. xi. 31 ; Esth. ix. 12 ; and Ezek. xv. 5. 

408 Jesus the Messiah 

The Parable opens by laying down as a general principle 
the necessity and duty of the disciples always to pray — 
the precise meaning being defined by the opposite, or 
limiting clause : ' not to faint,' that is, not ' to become 
weary,' The word c always ' must be understood in the sense 
of under all circumstances, however apparently adverse, 
when it might seem as if an answer could not come, and 
we should therefore be in danger of ' fainting ' or becoming 
weary. Thus it is argued even in Jewish writings, that a 
man should never be deterred from, nor cease praying — the 
illustration being from the case of Moses, who knew that it 
was decreed he should not enter the land, and yet continued 
praying about it. 

The Parable introduces to us a Judge in a city, and a 
widow. Except where a case was voluntarily submitted 
for arbitration rather than judgment, or judicial advice was 
sought of a sage, one man could not have formed a Jewish 
tribunal. Besides, his mode of speaking and acting is 
inconsistent with such a hypothesis. He must therefore 
have been one of the Judges, or municipal authorities, 
appointed by Herod or the Eomans — perhaps a Jew, but 
not a Jewish Judge. Possibly, he may have been a police- 
magistrate, or one who had some function of that kind 
delegated to him. We know that, at least in Jerusalem, 
there were two stipendiary magistrates, whose duty it was 
to see to the observance of all police-regulations and the 
prevention of crime. At any rate there were in every 
locality police-officials, who watched over order and law. 
Frequent instances are mentioned of gross injustice and 
bribery in regard to the non-Jewish Judges in Palestine. 

It is to such a Judge that the Parable refers — one who 
* st. Luke was avowedly a inaccessible to the highest motive, 
**"*- 4 the fear of God, and not even restrained by the 
lower consideration of regard for public opinion. It is an 
extreme case, intended to illustrate the exceeding unlikeli- 
hood of justice being done. For the same purpose, the 
party seeking justice at his hands is described as a poor, 
unprotected widow. This widow came to the Unjust 
Judge (the imperfect tense in the original indicating 

Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican 409 

repeated coming), with the urgent demand to be vindicated 
of her adversary : that is, that the Judge should make 
legal inquiry, and by a decision set her right as against 
him at whose hands she was suffering wrong. For reasons 
of his own he would not ; and this continued for a while. 
At last, not from any higher principle, nor even from regard 
for public opinion — both of which, indeed, as he avowed to 
himself, had no weight with him — he complied with her 
request, as the text (literally translated) has it : ' Yet at any 
• comp. st. ra te a because this widow troubleth me, I will do 
Luke xi. 8 justice for her, lest, in the end, coming she bruise 
me * — do personal violence to me, attack me bodily. Then 
follows the grand inference from it : If the ' Judge of 
Unrighteousness ' speak thus, shall not the Judge of all 
Righteousness — God — do judgment, vindicate [by His 
Coming to judgment and so setting right the wrong done 
to His Church] ' His Elect, which cry to Him day and 
night, although He suffer long on account of them ' — delay 
His final interposition of judgment and mercy, and that, 
not as the Unjust Judge, but for their own sakes, in order 
that the number of the Elect may all be gathered in, and 
they fully prepared ? 

2. The Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, which 
»> st. Luke follows, b is only internally connected with that of 
xviii. 9-14 i ^ e Unjust Judge.' It is not of unrighteous- 
ness, but of self-righteousness — and this, both in its posi- 
tive and negative aspects : as trust in one's own state, and 
as contempt of others. Again, it has also this connection 
with the previous Parable, that, whereas that of the Un- 
righteous Judge pointed to continuance, this to humility 
in prayer. 

Probably something had taken place which is not 
recorded, to occasion this Parable, which, if not directly 
addressed to the Pharisees, is to such as are of Pharisaic 
spirit. It brings before us two men going up to the 
Temple — whether ' at the hour of prayer,' or otherwise is 
not stated. Remembering that, with the exception of the 
Psalms for the day and the interval for a certain prescribed 
prayer, the service in the Temple was entirely sacrificial, 

410 Jesus the Messiah 

we are thankful for such glimpses which show that, both in 
the time of public service, and still more at other times, 
the Temple was made the place of private prayer.* On 
• comp. st. the present occasion the two men, who went to- 
37 ^Aote ii. gather to the entrance of the Temple, represented 
46;'v.i2,42 the two religious extremes in Jewish society. 
To the entrance of the Temple, but no farther, did the 
Pharisee and the Publican go together. Within the sacred 
enclosure — before God, where man should least have made 
it, began their separation. ' The Pharisee put himself by 
himself, and prayed thus : O God, I thank Thee that I am 
not as the rest of men — extortioners, unjust, adulterers — 
nor also as this Publican [there]/ Never, perhaps, were 
words of thanksgiving spoken in less thankfulness than 
these. They referred not to what he had received, but to 
the sins of others by which they were separated from him, 
and to his own meritorious deeds by which he was separated 
from them. Thus his words expressed what his attitude 
indicated; and both were the expression, not of thank- 
fulness, but of boastfulness. It was the same as their 
bearing at feasts and in public places ; the same as their 
contempt and condemnation of ' the rest of men,' and espe- 
cially ' the publicans ; " the same that even their designation 
— ' Pharisees,' ' Separated ones' — implied. The ' restof men' 
might be either the Gentiles, or more probably, the common 
unlearned people, whom they accused or suspected of every 
possible sin, according to their fundamental principle : 
1 The unlearned cannot be pious.' And it must be added 
that, as we read the Liturgy of the Synagogue, we come 
ever and again upon such and similar thanksgiving — that 
they are ' not as the rest of men.' 

But this was not all. From looking down upon others 
the Pharisee proceeded to look up to himself. Here 
Talmudic writings offer parallelisms. They are full of 
references to the merits of the just, to ' the merits and 
righteousness of the fathers,' or else of Israel in taking upon 
itself the Law. And for the sake of these merits and of that 
righteousness, Israel, as a nation, expects general accept- 
ance, pardon, and temporal benefits. All spiritual benefits 

Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican 411 

Israel as a nation, and the pious in Israel individually, 
possess already, nor do they need to get them from 
heaven, since they can and do work them out for 
themselves. And here the Pharisee in the Parable sig- 
nificantly dropped even the form of thanksgiving. The 
religious performances which he enumerated are those 
which mark the Pharisee among the Pharisees : ' I fast 
twice a week, and I give tithes of all that I acquire/ The 
first of these wa3 in pursuance of the custom of some 
' more righteous than the rest/ who, as previously ex- 
plained, fasted on the second and fifth days of the week. 
But, perhaps, we should not forget that these were also 
the regular market days, when the country-people came to 
the towns, and there were special Services in the Syna- 
gogues, and the local Sanhedrin met — so that these saints 
in Israel would, at the same time, attract and receive 
special notice for their fasts. As for the boast about 
giving tithes of all that he acquired — and not merely of 
his land, fruits, &c. — it has already been explained 
that this was one of the distinctive characteristics of ' the 
sect of the Pharisees.' Their practice in this respect may 
be summed up in these words of the Mishnah : ' He tithes 
all that he eats, all that he sells, and all that he buys, 
and he is not a guest with an unlearned person [so as not 
possibly to partake of what may have been left untithed].' 
Although it may not be necessary, yet a quotation 
will help to show how truly this picture of the Pharisee 
was taken from life. Thus, the following prayer of a 
Rabbi is recorded : ' I thank Thee, Lord my God, that 
Thou hast put my part with those who sit in the Academy, 
and not with those who sit at the corners [money-changers 
and traders]. For I rise early, and they rise early : I rise 
early to the words of the Law, and they to vain things. 
I labour and they labour : I labour and receive a reward, 
they labour and receive no reward. I run and they run : 
I run to the life of the world to come, and they to the pit 
of destruction.' We also recall such painful sayings as 
those of Rabbi Simeon ben Jochai, to which reference has 
already been made — notably this, that if there were only 

412 Jesus the Messiah 

two righteous men in the world, he and his son were 
these ; and if only one, it was he ! 

The second picture, or scene, in the Parable sets before 
us the reverse state of feeling from that of the Pharisee. 
Only we must bear in mind, that as the Pharisee is not 
blamed for his giving of thanks, nor yet for his good- 
doing, real or imaginary, so the prayer of the Publican is 
not answered because he was a sinner. In both cases 
what decides the rejection or acceptance of the prayer is, 
whether or not it was prayer. The Pharisee retains the 
righteousness which he had claimed for himself, whatever 
its value; and the Publican receives the righteousness 
which he asks : both have what they desire before God. 
If the Pharisee ' stood by himself,' apart from others, so did 
the Publican : ' standing afar off,' viz. from the Pharisee 
— quite far back, as became one who felt himself unworthy 
to mingle with God's people. In accordance with this : 
' He would not so much as lift his eyes to heaven,' as men 
generally do in prayer, 'but smote his breast' — as the 
Jews still do in the most solemn part of their confession 
on the Day of Atonement — ' saying, God be merciful to 
me the sinner.' The one appealed to himself for justice, 
the other appealed to God for mercy. 

Once more, as between the Pharisee and the Publican, 
the seeming and the real, that before men and before God, 
there is sharp contrast ; and the lesson which Christ had so 
often pointed is again set forth, not only in regard to the 
feelings which the Pharisees entertained, but also to the 
glad tidings of pardon to the lost : ' I say unto you, This 
man went down to his house justified above the other/ 
In other words, the sentence of righteousness as from God 
with which the Publican went home was above, far better 
than, the sentence of righteousness as pronounced by 
himself, with which the Pharisee returned. This saying 
casts also light on such comparisons as between 'the 
righteous ' elder brother and the pardoned prodigal, or the 
ninety-nine tbat ' need no repentance ' and the lost that 
was found, or on such an utterance as this : f Except your 
righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes 

Parable of the Unmerciful Servant 413 

and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the Kingdom 

• st. Matt, of Heaven.'* And so the Parable ends with 
v - 20 the general principle, so often enunciated : * For 
every one that exalteth himself shall be abased ; and he 
that humbleth himself shall be exalted.' And with this 
fully accords the instruction of Christ to His disciples 
concerning the reception of little children, which im- 
«> st. Luke mediately follows. 1 * 

• st! Matt 7 3. The parable with which this series closes — 
xviii. 23-35 ^ a ^ f the Unmerciful Servant c — can be treated 
more briefly, since the circumstances leading up to it have 
already been explained. We are now reaching the point 
where the solitary narrative of St. Luke again merges with 
those of the other Evangelists. The Parable of the Un- 
merciful Servant belongs to the Perasan series, and closes it. 

Its connection with the Parable of the Pharisee and 
the Publican lies in this, that Pharisaic self-righteousness 
and contempt of others may easily lead to unforgiveness 
and unmercifulness, which are utterly incompatible with 
a sense of our own need of Divine mercy and forgiveness. 
And so in the Gospel of St. Matthew this Parable follows 
on the exhibition of a self-righteous, unmerciful spirit, 
which would reckon up how often we should forgive, 
forgetful of our own need of absolute and unlimited pardon 

• st. Matt. a ^ the hands of God d — a spirit, moreover, of 
xviii. 15-22 harshness, that could look down upon Christ's 
1 little ones,' in forgetfulness of our own need perhaps of 
cutting off even a right hand or foot to enter the Kingdom 

• st. Matt, of Heaven 6 ,- 

xviii. 1-14, In studying this Parable, we must once more 

remind ourselves of the general canon of the need 
of distinguishing between what is essential in a Parable, 
as directly bearing on its lessons, and what is merely intro- 
duced for the sake of the Parable itself, to give point to 
its main teaching. 

Keeping apart the essentials of the Parable from the 
accidents of its narration, we have three distinct scenes, or 
parts, in this story. In the first, our new feelings towards 
our brethren are traced to our new relation towards Goc^ 

414 Jesus the Messiah 

as the proper spring of all our thinking, speaking, and 
acting. Notably, as regards forgiveness, we are to re- 
member the Kingdom of God : ' Therefore has the Kingdom 
of God become like ' — ' therefore ' : in order that thereby we 
may learn the duty of absolute, not limited, forgiveness — 
not that of ■ seven,' but of ' seventy times seven.' And 
now this likeness of the Kingdom of Heaven is set forth 
in the Parable of c a man, a King ' (as the Rabbis would 
have expressed it, ' a king of flesh and blood '), who would 
' make his reckoning ' ' with his servants ' — not his bond- 
servants, but probably the governors of his provinces, or 
those who had charge of the revenue and finances. ' But 
after he had begun to reckon' — not necessarily at the 
very beginning of it — 6 one was brought to him, a debtor of 
ten thousand talents.' Reckoning them only as Attic 
talents this would amount to the enormous sum of about 
two and a quarter millions sterling. No wonder that one 
who during his administration had been guilty of such 
peculation, or else culpable negligence, should, as the 
words ' brought to him ' imply, have been reluctant to 
face the king. The Parable further implies that the 
debt was admitted ; and hence, in the course of* ordinary 
judicial procedure — according to the Law of Moses,* 
. and the universal code of antiquity — that 
Lev.'xxv.' ' c servant,' with his family and all his property, 
was ordered to be sold, and the returns paid 
into the treasury. 

It is not suggested that the ' payment ' thus made would 
have met his debt. This trait belongs not to the essentials of 
the Parable. Nor does the promise : ' I will pay thee all.' 
In truth, the narrative takes no notice of this, but on the 
other hand, states : ' But, being moved with compassion, 
the lord of that servant released him [from the bondage 
decreed, and which had virtually begun with his sentence], 
and the debt forgave he him.' A more accurate repre- 
sentation of our relation to God could not be made. We 
are the debtors to our heavenly King, Who has entrusted 
to us the administration of what is His, and which we 
have purloined or misused, incurring an unspeakable debt, 

Parable of the Unmerciful Servant 415 

which we can never discharge, and of which, in the course 
of justice, unending bondage, misery, and ruin would be 
the proper sequence. But if in humble repentance we 
cast ourselves at His Feet, He is ready in infinite com- 
passion, not only to release us from meet punishment, but — 
O blessed revelation of the Gospel ! — to forgive us the debt. 

It is this new relationship to God which must be the 
foundation and the rule for our new relationship towards 
our fellow-servants. And this brings us to the second 
part, or scene, in this Parable. Here the lately pardoned 
servant finds one of his fellow-servants, who owes him the 
small sum of 100 dinars, about 4>l. 10s. In the first case, 
it was the servant brought to account, and that before the 
king; here it is a servant finding, and that his fellow- 
servant ; in the first case he owed talents, in the second 
dinars (a six-thousandth part of them) ; in the first, ten 
thousand talents; in the second, one hundred dinars. 
Again, in the first case payment is only demanded, while 
in the second the man takes his fellow-servant by the 
throat — a not uncommon mode of harshness on the part of 
Roman creditors — and says : ' Pay what,' or, according to 
the better reading, ' if thou owest anything.' And lastly, 
although the words of the second debtor are almost the 
same as those in which the first debtor besought the king's 
patience, yet no mercy is shown, but he is 'cast' [with 
violence] into prison, till he have paid what was due. 

It can scarcely be necessary to show the incongruous- 
ness or the guilt of such conduct. But this is the object 
of the third part, or scene, in the Parable. Here the other 
servants are introduced as exceedingly sorry, no doubt 
about the fate of their fellow-servant. Then they come to 
their lord, and l clearly set forth,' or ' explain ' what had 
happened, upon which the Unmerciful Servant is summoned, 
and addressed as ' wicked servant,' not only because he had 
not followed the example of his lord, but because, after 
having received such immense favour as the entire remis- 
sion of his debt on entreating his master, to have refused 
to the entreaty of his fellow- servant even a brief delay in 
the payment of a small sum argued want of all mercy and 

4i6 Jesus the Messiah 

positive wickedness. And the words are followed by the 
manifestation of righteous anger. As he has done, so is it 
done to him — and this is the final application of the Para- 
•st. Matt. ble. a He is delivered c to the tormentors : ' in other 
xviu. 35 words, he is sent to the hardest and severest prison, 
there to remain till he should pay all that was due by him 
— that is, in the circumstances, for ever. And here we may 
remark that as sin has incurred a debt which can never 
be discharged, so the banishment, or rather the loss and 
misery of the sinner, will be endless. 

We pause to notice how near Rabbinism has come to 
this Parable, and yet how far it is from its sublime teach- 
ing. At the outset we recall that unlimited forgiveness — 
or, indeed, for more than the farthest limit of three times 
— was not the doctrine of Rabbinism. It did, indeed, 
teach how freely God would forgive Israel, and it introduces 
a similar Parable of a debtor appealing to his creditor, and 
receiving the fullest and freest release of mercy, and it also 
draws from it the moral, that man should similarly show 
mercy ; but it is not the mercy of forgiveness from the 
heart, but of forgiveness of money debts to the poor, or of 
various injuries, and the mercy of benevolence and benefi- 
cence to the wretched. But, however beautifully Rabbin- 
ism at times speaks on the subject, the Gospel conception 
of forgiveness, even as that of mercy, could only come by 
experience of the infinitely higher forgiveness, and the in- 
comparably greater mercy, which the pardoned sinner has 
received in Christ from our Father in Heaven. 


Christ's discourses in per^ea — close of the per^ean 

(St. Luke xiii. 23-30, 31-35; xiv. 1-11, 25-35; xvii. 1-10.) 

From the Parables we now turn to such Discourses of the 
Lord as belong to this period of His Ministry. Their con- 
sideration may be the more brief, that throughout we find 
points of correspondence with previous or later portions of 
His teaching. 

Discourses in Per ma 417 

1. The words of our Lord, as recorded by St. Luke, a are 
a st Luke not spoken, as in 'The Sermon on the Mount,' b 
siii. 23-3o e i n connection with His teaching to His disciples, 
comp. It. but are in reply to a question addressed to Him 
h^v^s 1 - 3 ' by some one— probably, a representative of the 
it' Matt P Vii Pharisees : c ' Lord, are they few, the saved ones 
si-81 y [that are being saved]?' We can scarcely 
st e Luke°riii. doubt that the word ' saved ' bore reference, not 
81 " to the eternal state of the soul, but to admission 

to the benefits of the Kingdom of God— the Messianic 
Kingdom, with its privileges and its judgments, such as 
the Pharisees understood it. The question, whether ' few * 
were to be saved, could not have been put from the 
Pharisaic point of view, if understood of personal salva- 
tion ; while, on the other hand, if taken as applying to 
part in the near-expected Messianic Kingdom, it has its 
distinct parallel in the Rabbinic statement, that, as re- 
garded the days of the Messiah (His Kingdom), it would 
be similar to what it had been at the entrance into the 
land of promise, when only two (Joshua and Caleb) out 
of all that generation were allowed to have part in it. 

As regards entrance into the Messianic Kingdom, 
this Pharisee, and those whom he represented, are told 
that the Kingdom was not theirs, as a matter of course — 
their question as to the rest of the world being only 
whether few or many would share in it — but that all must 
4 struggle [agonise] to enter in through the narrow door/ 
'When once the Master of the house is risen up,' to 
welcome His guests to the banquet, and has shut to the door, 
while they standing without vainly call upon Him to 
open it, and He replies : ' I know you not whence ye are,' 
would they begin to remind Him of those covenant-privi- 
leges on which, as Israel after the flesh, they had relied 
(' we have eaten and drunk in Thy Presence, and Thou hast 
taught in our streets'). To this He would reply by a 
repetition of His former words, grounding alike His 
disavowal and His refusal to open on their inward contra- 
riety to the King and His Kingdom : ' Depart from Me, 
all ye workers of iniquity.' It .was a banquet to the 

E E 

4i 8 Jesus the Messiah 

friends of the King : the inauguration of His Kingdom. 
When they found the door shut, they would indeed knock, 
in the confident expectation that their claims would at 
once be recognised, and they admitted. And when the 
Master of the house did not recognise them as they had 
expected, and they reminded Him of their outward connec- 
tion, He only repeated the same words as before, since it 
was not outward but inward relationship that qualified the 
guests, and theirs was not friendship, but antagonism to 
Him. Terrible would then be their sorrow and anguish, 
when they would see their own patriarchs (' we have 
eaten and drunk in Thy Presence ') and their own prophets 
(' Thou hast taught in our streets ') within, and yet them- 
selves were excluded from what was peculiarly theirs — 
while from all parts of the heathen world the welcome 
guests would flock to the joyous feast. And here pre- 
•comp. also eminently would the saying hold good, in oppo- 
xix^'xx. sition to Pharisaic claims and self-righteousness : 
16 ' There are last which shall be first, and there are 

first which shall be last.' a 

2. The next Discourse, noted by St. Luke, b had been 
»» st. Luke spoken 'in that very day,' as the last. It was 
xiii. 31-35 occasioned by a pretended warning of 'certain 
of the Pharisees' to depart from Perasa, which, with 
Galilee, was the territory of Herod Antipas, as else the 
Tetrarch would kill Him. Probably the danger of which 
these Pharisees spoke might have been real enough, and 
from their secret intrigues with Herod they might have 
special reasons for knowing of such. But their suggestion 
that Jesus should depart could only have proceeded from 
a wish to get Him out of Persea, where, evidently, His 
works of healing were largely attracting and influencing 
the people. 

But if our Lord would not be deterred by the fears of 
•st. John His disciples from going into Judasa, feeling 
that each one had his appointed working day, in 
the light of which he was safe, and during the brief dura- 
tion of which he was bound to ' walk,' far less would He 
recede before His enemies. Pointing to their secret 

Dr scours es in Persea 419 

intrigues, He bade them, if they chose, go back to ' that 
fox,' and give to his low cunning, and to all similar 
attempts to hinder or arrest His Ministry, what would be 
a decisive answer, since it unfolded what He clearly fore- 
saw in the near future. ' Depart?' — yes, ' depart' ye to 
tell 'that fox,' I have still a brief and an appointed time 
to work, and then ' I am perfected,' in the sense in which 
we all readily understand the expression, as applying to His 
Work and Mission. ' I know that at the goal is death : 
yet not at the hands of Herod, but in Jerusalem, the 
slaughter-house of them that " teach in her streets." ' 

But the thought of Jerusalem — of what it was, what 
it might have been, and what would come to it — may well 
have forced from the lips of Him Who wept over it a cry 
• st. Luke of mingled anguish, love, and warning. a It may 
"st. Matt De tnat these very words, which are reported by 
xxiii. 37-39 Sk Matthew in another connection, 1 * are here 
quoted by St. Luke, because they fully express the thought 
to which Christ here first gave distinct utterance. But 
some such words, we can scarcely doubt, He did speak 
even now, when pointing to His near Decease in 

3. The next in order of the Discourses recorded by St. 
« st. Luke Luke c is that which prefaced the Parable of ' the 
^chapter Great Supper,' expounded in a previous chapter.* 1 
WL A very brief commentation will here suffice. It 

appears that the Lord accepted the invitation to a Sabbath- 
meal in the house ' of one of the Rulers of the Pharisees ' 
— perhaps one of the Rulers of the Synagogue in which 
they had just worshipped, and where Christ may have 
taught. His acceptance was made use of to 'watch Him.' 
The man with the dropsy had, no doubt, been introduced 
for a treacherous purpose^ although it is not necessary to 
suppose that he himself had been privy to it. On the 
other hand, it is characteristic of the gracious Lord, that, 
with full knowledge of their purpose, He sat down with 
such companions, and that He did His Work of power and 
love unrestrained by their evil thoughts. But, even so, 
He must turn their wickedness also to good account. Yet 

E E 2 

420 Jesus the Messiah 

we mark that He first dismissed the man healed of the 
»st. Luke dropsy before He reproved the Pharisees. 11 It 
xiv - 4 was better so — for the sake of the guests, and 

for the healed man himself. 

And after his departure the Lord first spake to them, 
as was His wont, concerning their misapplication of the 
Sabbath-Law, to which, indeed, their own practice gave 
the lie. They deemed it unlawful ' to heal ' on the Sabbath- 
day, though, when He read their thoughts and purposes as 
against Him, they would not answer His question on the 
point. And yet, if ' a son, 1 or even an ox,' of any of them 
had ' fallen into a pit,' they would have found some valid 
legal reason for pulling him out ! Their Sabbath-feast, 
and their invitation to Him, when thereby they wished to 
lure Him to evil — and, indeed, their much-boasted hospi- 
tality — was all characteristic, only external show, with 
utter absence of all real love ; only self-assumption, pride, 
and self-righteousness, together with contempt of all who 
were regarded as religiously or intellectually beneath them. 
Even among themselves there was strife about ; the first 
places' — such as, perhaps, Christ had on that occasion 
witnessed, amidst mock professions of humility, when, 
perhaps, the master of the house had afterwards, in true 
Pharisaic fashion, proceeded to re-arrange the guests ac- 
cording to their supposed dignity. And even the Rabbis 
b had given advice to the same effect as Christ's b — 

and of this His words may have reminded them. 

But further — addressing him who had so treacherously 
bidden Him to this feast, Christ shovved how the principle 
of Pharisaism consisted in self-seeking, to the necessary 
exclusion of all true love. This self-righteousness appeared 
even in what, perhaps, they most boasted of — their hos- 
pitality. For if in an earlier Jewish record we read the 
beautiful words : ' Let thy house be open towards the 
street, and let the poor be the sons of thy house,' we have 
also this later comment on them, that Job had thus had 
his house opened to the four quarters of the globe for the 
poor, and that when his calamities befell him, he remon- 
• So — and not * ass ' — according to the best reading. 

Discourses in Peraia 421 

strated with God on the ground of his merits in this respect, 
to which answer was made that he had in this matter 
come very far short of the merits of Abraham. So entirely 
self-introspective and self-seeking did Rabbinism become, 
and so contrary was its outcome to the spirit of Christ, the 
inmost meaning of Whose Work, as well as Words, was 
entire self-forgetful ness and self-surrender in love. 

4. In the fourth Discourse recorded by St. Luke, a we 

• st Luk P ass fr° m ^ e parenthetic account of that Sabbath- 

xiv.' 25-35 meal in the house of the ' Ruler of the Pharisees,' 

back to where the narrative of the Pharisees' 

threat about Herod and the reply of Jesus had left us. b 

At the outset we mark that we are not told what con- 
stituted the true disciple, but what would prevent a man 
from becoming such. Again, it was now no longer (as in 
the earlier address to the Twelve), that he who loved the 
nearest and dearest of earthly kin more than Christ — and 
hence clave to such rather than to Him — was not worthy 
of Him ; nor that he who did not take his cross and follow 
after Him was not worthy of the Christ. Since then the 
enmity had ripened, and discipleship became impossible 
without actual renunciation of the nearest relationship, 
«st. Luke an d? more than that, of life itself. The term 
xiv. 26 c na te ' points to this, that, as outward separation 

consequent upon men's antagonism to Christ was before 
them in the near future, so in the present inward separa- 
tion, a renunciation in mind and heart, preparatory to that 
outwardly, was absolutely necessary. And this immediate 
call was illustrated in twofold manner. A man who was 
about to begin building a tower, must count the cost of his 
undertaking.* 1 It was not enough that he was 
prepared to defray the expense of the founda- 
tions ; he must look to the cost of the whole. So must 
they in becoming disciples look not on what was involved 
in the present following of Christ, but remember the cost 
of the final acknowledgment of Jesus. Again, if a king 
went to war, common prudence would lead him to consider 
whether his forces were equal to the great contest before 
him ; else it were far better to withdraw in time, even 

422 Jesus the Messiah 

though it involved humiliation, from what, in view of his 

• st. Luke weakness, would end in miserable defeat.* So, 
xiv. 31,32 an( j mucn more? must the intending disciple 
make complete inward surrender of all, deliberately count- 
ing the cost, and in view of the coming trial ask himself 
whether he had indeed sufficient inward strength — the 
force of love to Christ — to conquer. 

Or else, and here Christ breaks once more into that 
pithy Jewish proverb — ' Salt is good ; ' ' salt, if it have 
b lost its savour, wherewith shall it be salted ? ' b 

We have preferred quoting the proverb in its 
Jewish form to show its popular origin. Salt in such 
condition was neither fit to improve the land, nor on the 
other hand to be mixed with the manure. The disciple 
who had lost his distinctiveness would neither benefit the 
land, nor was he even fit, as it were, for the dunghill, and 
could only be cast out. And so, let him that hath ears to 
hear, hear the warning ! 

5. We have still to consider the last Discourses of 

• st Luke Christ before the raising of Lazarus. As being 
xvii. 1-10 addressed to the disciples, d we have to connect 

them with the Discourse just commented upon. 
In point of fact, part of these admonitions had already 

• w i-4 ^ een s P°k en on a previous occasion, and that 
com'p. st. more fully, to the disciples in Galilee. e Only we 
Si'j^SS, must again bear in mind the difference of cir- 
jStt P 'x S vii. cumstances. Here they immediately precede the 
'st Jotmxi ra ^ n g °f Lazarus/ and they form the close of 

Christ's public Ministry in Peraea. Hence they 
come to us as Christ's parting admonitions to His Perasan 

They are intended to impress on the new disciples 
these four things : to be careful to give no offence g ; to be 

• st. Luke careful to take no offence h ; to be simple and 
h w.3,4 earnest in their faith, and absolutely to trust its 
'ver.e all-pervading power 1 ; and yet, when they had 
made experience of it, not to be elited, but to remember 
their relation to their Master, that all was in His 
service, and that, after all, when everything had been 

Discourses in Per ma 423 

done, they were but unprofitable servants.' In other 

• st. Luke words, they urged upon the disciples holiness, 
xvii.7-10 i 0V6j f a ith, and service of self-surrender and 

The four parts of this Discourse are broken by the 
prayer of the Apostles, who had formerly expressed their 

difficulty in regard to these very requirements : ^ 
Iviiii-t ' Add unto us faith.' It was upon this that the 
?st. Luke Lord s P ake to them, for their comfort, of the 
xvii. 6 absolute power of even the smallest faith, c and of 

the service and humility of faith. d The latter 
wns couched in a Parabolic form, well calculated to impress 
on them those feelings which would keep them lowly. 
They were but servants ; and, even though they had done 
their work, the Master expected them to serve Him, before 
they sat down to their own meal and rest. Yet meal and 
rest there would be in the end. Only, let there not be 
self-elation, nor weariness, nor impatience; but let the 
Master and His service be all in all. Surely, if ever there 
was emphatic protest against the fundamental idea of 
Pharisaism, as claiming merit and reward, it was in the 
closing admonition of Christ's public Ministry in Peraea : 

* When ye shall have done all those things which are 
commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants; we 
have done that which was our duty to do.' 

And with these parting words did He most effectually 
and for ever separate, in heart and spirit, the Church from 
the Synagogue. 


(St. John xi. 1-54.) 
From listening to the teaching of Christ, we turn once 
more to follow His working. It will be remembered that 
the visit to Bethany divides the period from the Feast of 
the Dedication to the last Paschal week into two parts. It 
also forms the prelude and preparation for the awful events 

424 Jesus the Messiah 

of the End. For it was on that occasion that the members 
of the Sanhedrin formally resolved on His Death. It now 
only remained to settle and carry out the plans for giving 
effect to their purpose. 

At the outset, we must here once more meet, however 
briefly, the preliminary difficulty in regard to Miracles, of 
which the raising of Lazarus is the most notable. Un- 
doubtedly, a Miracle runs counter not only to our experi- 
ence, but to the facts on which our experience is grounded; 
and can only be accounted for by a direct Divine interpo- 
sition, which also runs counter to our experience, although 
it cannot logically be said to run counter to the facts on 
which that experience is grounded. Beyond this it is im- 
possible to go, since the argument on other grounds than 
of experience — be it phenomenal [observation and historical 
information] or real [knowledge of laws and principles] — 
would necessitate knowledge alike of all the laws of Nature 
and of all the secrets of Heaven. 

On the other hand, to argue this point only on the 
ground of experience (phenomenal or real), were not only 
reasoning a priori, but in a vicious circle. It would really 
amount to this : A thing has not been, because it cannot 
be ; and it cannot be, because, so far as I know, it is not 
and has not been. But to deny on such d priori prejudg- 
ment the possibility of Miracles ultimately involves a denial 
of a Living, Reigning God. For the existence of a God im- 
plies at least the possibility, it may be the rational necessity, 
of Miracles. And the same grounds of experience, which 
tell against the occurrence of a Miracle, would equally 
apply against belief in a God. We have as little ground 
in experience (of a physical kind) for the one as for the 
other. This is not said to deter inquiry, but for the sake 
of our argument. For we confidently assert, and challenge 
experiment of it, that disbelief in a God, or Materialism, 
involves infinitely more difficulties, and that at every 
step and in regard to all things, than the faith of the 

We may now follow this solemn narrative itself. Per- 
haps the more briefly we comment on it the better. 

Death of Lazarus 425 

It was while in Peraea, that this message suddenly 
reached the Master from the well-remembered home at 
Bethany, f the village of Mary and her sister Martha,' con- 
cerning their (younger) brother Lazarus : ' Lord, behold 
he whom Thou lovest is sick ! ' We note as an important 
fact that the Lazarus, who had not even been mentioned in 
the only account preserved to us of a previous visit of Christ 
• st. Luke x. to Beth any , a is described as ' he whom Christ 
38 &c. loved.' What a gap of untold events between 

the two visits of Christ to Bethany — and what modesty 
should it teach us as regards inferences from the circum- 
stance that certain events are not recorded in the Gospels ! 
The messenger was apparently dismissed by Christ with 
this reply : ' This sickness is not unto death, but for the 
glory of God, in order that the Son of God may be glorified 
thereby.' This answer was heard by such of the Apostles 
as were present at the time. They would naturally infer 
from it that Lazarus would not die, and that his restoration 
would glorify Christ, either as having foretold it, or prayed 
for it, or effected it by His Will. 

And yet, probably at the very time when the messenger 
received his answer, and ere he could have brought it to 
the sisters, Lazarus was already dead. Nor did this awaken 
doubt in the minds of the sisters. We seem to hear the very 
words, which at the time they said to each other, when 
each of them afterwards repeated to the Lord : ' Lord, if 
Thou hadst been here, my brother would not have died.' 
They probably thought the message had reached Him too 
late. Even in their keenest anguish, there was no failure 
of trust. Yet all this while Christ knew that Lazarus had 
died, and still He continued two whole days where He 
was, finishing His work. And yet — and this is noted be- 
fore anything else, alike in regard to His delay and to His 
after-conduct — He ' loved Martha, and her sister, and 
Lazarus.' Christ is never in haste, because He is always 

It was only after these two days that Jesus broke 
silence as to His purposes and as to Lazarus. Though 
thoughts of him must have been present with the disciples, 

426 Jesus the Messiah 

none dared ask aught, although not from misgiving, nor 
yet from fear. This also of faith and of confidence. At 
last, when His work in that part had been completed, He 
spoke of leaving, but even so not of going to Bethany, 
but into Judaea. For, in truth, His work in Bethany was 
not only geographically, but really, part of His work in 
Judaea ; and He told the disciples of His purpose, just be- 
cause He knew their fears and would teach them, not only 
for this but for every future occasion, what principle applied 
to them. For when in their care and affection they re- 
minded the ' Rabbi ' that the Jews ' were even now seeking 
to stone ' Him, He replied by telling them in figurative 
language that we have each our working day from God, 
and that while it lasts no foe can shorten it or break up 
our work. The day had twelve hours, and while these 
lasted no mishap would befall him that walked in the way 
[he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world]. 
It was otherwise when the day was past and the night had 
come. When our God-given day has set, and with it the 
light been withdrawn which hitherto prevented our stum- 
bling — then, if a man went in his own way and at his 
own time, might such mishap befall him, ' because,' figura- 
tively as to light in the night-time, and really as to 
guidance and direction in the way, ' the light is not in 

But this was only part of what Jesus said to His dis- 
ciples in preparation for a journey that would issue in such 
tremendous consequences. He next spoke of Lazarus, their 
' friend,' as ' fallen asleep ' — in the frequent Jewish figura- 
tive sense of it, and of His going there to wake him out of 
sleep. The disciples would naturally connect this mention 
of His going to Lazarus with His proposed visit to Judaea, 
and, in their eagerness to keep Him from the latter, inter- 
posed that there could be no need for going to Lazarus, since 
sleep was according to Jewish notions one of the six, or, 
according to others, five symptoms or crises in recovery 
from dangerous illness. And when the Lord then plainly 
stated it, ' Lazarus died,' adding, what should have aroused 
their attention, that for their sakes He was glad He had 

Burial of Lazarus 427 

not been in Bethany before the event, because now that 
would come which would work faith in them, and proposed 
to go to the dead Lazarus — even then, their whole atten- 
tion was so absorbed by the certainty of danger to their 
loved Teacher, that Thomas had only one thought : since 
it was to be so, let them go and die with Jesus. 

We already know the quiet happy home of Bethany. 
When Jesus reached it, ' He found ' — probably from those 
• comp. st. who met Him by the way a — that Lazarus had 
John xi. 20 J3 een a i rea( }y f our days in the grave. According 
to custom, he would be buried the same day that he had 

This may be a convenient place for adding to the 
account already given, in connection with the burying of 
the widow's son at Nain, such further particulars of the 
Jewish observances and rites, as may illustrate the present 
history. Referring to the previous description, we resume, 
in imagination, our attendance at the point where Christ 
met the bier at Nain and again gave life to the dead. But 
we remember that, as we are now in Judaea, the hired 
mourners — both mourning-men and mourning-women — 
would follow, and not, as in Galilee, precede the body. 
From the narrative we infer that the burial of Lazarus did 
not take place in a common burying-ground, which was never 
nearer a town than 50 cubits, dry and rocky places being 
chosen in preference. Here the graves must be at least a 
foot and a half apart. It was deemed a dishonour to the dead 
to stand on, or walk over, the turf of a grave. Roses and 
other flowers seem to have been planted on graves. But 
cemeteries, or common bury ing-pl aces, appear in earliest 
«> 2 Kings times to have been used only for the poor, b or for 
""xxv'i. 23 strangers. In Jerusalem there were also two 
xxviirf' places where executed criminals were buried. 
Acts i. 19 All these, it is needless to say, were outside the 
City. But there is abundant evidence that every place 
had not its own burying-ground ; and that, not unfre- 
quently, provision had to be made for the transport of 
bodies. Indeed, a burying-place is not mentioned among 
the ten requisites for every fully-organised Jewish commu- 

428 Jesus the Messiah 

nity. 1 The names given, both to the graves and to the 
burying-place itself, are of interest. As regards the former, 
we mention such as ' the house of silence ; ' ' the house of 
stone ; ' ' the hostelry,' or literally, ' place where you spend 
the night ; ' ' the couch ; ' ' the resting-place ; ' ' the valley 
of the multitude,' or ' of the dead.' The cemetery was 
called ' the house of graves ; ' or ' the court of burying ; ' 
and ' the house of eternity.' By a euphemism, ' to die ' 
was designated as ' going to rest ; ' ' being completed ; ' 
' being gathered to the world,' or ' to the home of light ; ' 
c being withdrawn,' or ' hidden.' Burial without coffin 
seems to have continued the practice for a considerable 
time, and rules are given how a pit, the size of the body, 
was to be dug, and surrounded by a wall of loose stones to 
prevent the falling in of earth. It is interesting to learn 
that, for the sake of peace, just as the poor and sick of the 
Gentiles might be fed and nursed as well as those of the 
Jews, so their dead might be buried with those of the Jews, 
though not in their graves. On the other hand, a wicked 
person should not be buried close to a sage. Suicides were 
not accorded all the honours of those who had died a 
natural death, and the bodies of executed criminals were 
laid in a special place, whence the relatives might after a 
time remove their bones. The burial terminated by casting 
earth on the grave. 

But, as already stated, Lazarus was, as became his sta- 
tion, jiot laid in a cemetery, but in his own private tomb 
in a cave — probably in a garden, the favourite place of 
interment. Though on terms of close friendship with 
Jesus, he was evidently not regarded as an apostate from 
the Synagogue. For every indignity was shown at the 
burial of an apostate ; people were even to array themselves 
in white festive garments to make demonstration of joy. 
Here, on the contrary, every mark of sympathy, respect, 
and sorrow had been shown by the people in the district 
and by friends in the neighbouring Jerusalem. In such 

1 These were : a law court, provision for the poor, a synagogue, a 
public bath, a secessus, a doctor, a surgeon, a scribe, a butcher, and a 

Burial of Lazarus 429 

case it would be regarded as a privilege to obey the 
Rabbinic direction of accompanying the dead, so as to 
show honour to the departed and kindness to the survivors. 
As the sisters of Bethany were ' disciples,' we may well 
believe that some of the more extravagant demonstrations 
of grief were, if not dispensed with, yet modified. We can 
scarcely believe that the hired ' mourners ' would alternate 
between extravagant praises of the dead and calls upon the 
attendants to lament ; or that, as was their wont, they 
would strike on their breasts, beat their hands, and dash 
about their feet, or break into wails and mourning songs, 
alone or in chorus. In all probability, however, the 
funeral oration would be delivered — as in the case of all 
distinguished persons — either in the house, or at one of 
the stations where the bearers changed, or at the burying- 
place ; perhaps, if they passed it, in the Synagogue. It 
has previously been noted what extravagant value was in 
later times attached to these orations, as indicating both 
a man's life on earth and his place in heaven. The dead 
was supposed to be present, listening to the words of the 
speaker and watching the expression on the faces of the 

When thinking of these tombs in gardens, we natu- 
rally revert to that which for three days held the Lord of 
Life. It is, perhaps, better to give details here rather 
than afterwards to interrupt, by such inquiries, our solemn 
thoughts in presence of the Crucified Christ. Not only 
the rich, but even those moderately well-to-do, had tombs 
of their own, which probably were acquired and prepared 
long before they were needed, and treated and inherited 
as private and personal property. In such caves, or rock- 
hewn tombs, the bodies were laid, having been anointed 
with many spices, with myrtle, aloes, and, at a later period, 
also with hyssop, rose-oil, and rose-water. The body was 
dressed and, at a later period, wrapped, if possible, in the 
worn cloths in which originally a Roll of the Law had 
been held. The ' tombs ' were either ' rock-hewn/ or 
natural \ caves,' or else large walled vaults, with niches along 
the sides. Such a ' cave ' or ' vault ' 6 feet in width, 9 feet 

430 Jesus the Mess/ah 

in length, and 6 feet in height, contained ' niches ' for eight 
bodies. The larger caves or vaults held thirteen bodies. 
These figures apply, of course, only to what the Law- 
required, when a vault had been contracted for. At the 
entrance to the vault was ' a court ' 9 feet square, to hold 
the bier and its bearers. After a time the bones were 
collected and put into a box or coffin, having first been 
anointed with wine and oil, and being held together by 
wrappings of cloth. This circumstance explains the exis- 
tence of the mortuary chests, or osteophagi, so frequently 
found in the tombs of Palestine by late explorers, who 
have been unable to explain their meaning. Inscriptions 
appear to have been graven either on the lid of the mortuary 
chest, or on the great stone ' rolled ' at the entrance to the 
vault, or to the ' court ' leading into it, or else on the inside 
walls of yet another erection, made over the vaults of the 
wealthy, and which was supposed to complete the burying- 

These small buildings surmounting the graves may have 
served as shelter to those who visited the tombs. They 
also served as * monuments,' of which we read in the Bible, 
in the Apocrypha and in Josephus. But of gravestones 
with inscriptions we cannot find any record in Talmudic 
works. At the same time, the place where there was a 
vault or a grave was marked by a stone, which was kept 
whitened, to warn the passer-by against defilement. 

We are now able fully to realise all the circumstances 
and surroundings in the burial and raising of Lazarus. 

Jesus had come to Bethany. But in the house of 
mourning they knew it not. As Bethany was only about 
two miles from Jerusalem, many from the City, who were 
on terms of friendship with what was evidently a distin- 
guished family, had come in obedience to one of the most 
binding Rabbinic directions — that of comforting the 
mourners. In the funeral procession the sexes had been 
separated, and the practice probably prevailed even at that 
time for the women to return alone from the grave. This 
may explain why afterwards the women went and returned 
alone to the Tomb of our Lord. The mourning, which 

Burial of Lazarus 431 

began before the burial, had been shared by the friends 
who sat silent on the ground, or were busy preparing the 
mourning meal. As the company left the dead, each had 
taken leave of the deceased with a * Depart in peace ! ' 
Then they had formed into lines, through which the 
mourners passed amidst expressions of sympathy, repeated 
(at least seven times) as the procession halted on the 
return to the house of mourning. Then began the mourn- 
ing in the house, which really Lasted thirty days, of which 
the first three were those of greatest, the others, during 
the seven days, or the special week of sorrow, of less 
intense mourning. But on the Sabbath, as God's holy day, 
all mourning was intermitted — and so ' they rested on the 
Sabbath, according to the commandment.' 

In that household of disciples this mourning would not 
have assumed such violent forms, as when we read that the 
women were in the habit of tearing out their hair, or of a 
Rabbi who publicly scourged himself. But we know how 
the dead would be spoken of. In death the two worlds 
were said to meet and kiss. And now they who had 
passed away beheld God. They were at rest. Such 
beautiful passages as Ps. cxii. 6, Prov. x. 7, Is. xi. 10, last 
clause, and Is. lvii. 2, were applied to them. Nay, the holy 
dead should be called ' living.' In truth, they knew about 
us, and unseen still surrounded us. Nor should they ever 
be mentioned without adding a blessing on their memory. 

In this spirit, we cannot doubt, the Jews were no*v 
1 comforting ' the sisters. They may have repeated words 
like those quoted as the conclusion of such a consolatory 
speech : ' May the Lord of consolations comfort you ! 
Blessed be He Who comforteth the mourners ! ' But 
they could scarcely have imagined how literally a wish 
like this was about to be fulfilled. For already the 
message had reached Martha, who was probably in one of 
the outer apartments of the house : Jesus is coming ! She 
hastened to meet the Master. Not a word of complaint, 
not a murmur, nor doubt, escaped her lips — only what 
during those four bitter days these two sisters must have 
been so often saving to each other, when the luxurv of 

432 Jesus the Messiah 

solitude was allowed them, that if He had been there, their 
brother would not have died. And still she held fast by 
it, that even now God would give Him whatsoever He asked. 
Her words could scarcely have been the expression of any 
real hope of the miracle about to take place, or Martha 
would not have afterwards sought to arrest Him, when 
He bade them roll away the stone. And yet is it not 
even so, that when that comes to us which our faith had 
once dared to suggest, if not to hope, we feel as if it were 
all too great and impossible — that a very physical ' cannot 
be ' separates us from it ? 

It was in very truth and literality that the Lord 
meant it, when He told Martha her brother would rise 
again, although she understood His Words of the Re- 
surrection at the Last Day. In answer, Christ pointed 
out to her the connection between Himself and the 
Resurrection ; and, what He spoke, that He did when 
He raised Lazarus from the dead. The Resurrection 
and the Life are not special gifts either to the Church or 
to humanity, but are connected with the Christ — the out- 
come of Himself. Most literally He is the Resurrection 
and the Life — and this, the new teaching about the 
Resurrection, was the object and the meaning of the 
raising of Lazarus. 

It is only when we think of the meaning of Christ's 
previous words that we can understand the answer of 
Martha to His question : ' Believest thou this ? Yea, 
Lord, I have believed that Thou art the Christ, the Son of 
God [with special reference to the original message of 
• st. John Christ a ], He that cometh into the world' ['the 
xi - 4 Coming One into the world ' = the world's 

promised, expected, come Saviour]. 

What else passed between them we can only gather 
from the context. It seems that the Master ' called ' for 
Mary.. This message Martha now hasted to deliver, 
although ' secretly.' Mary was probably sitting in the 
chamber of mourning, with its upset chairs and couches, 
and other melancholy tokens of mourning, as was the 
custom ; surrounded by many who had come to comfort 

Raising of Lazarus 433 

them. As she heard of His coming and call, she rose 
1 quickly/ and the Jews followed her, under the impression 
that she was again going to visit and to weep at the tomb 
of her brother. For it was the practice to visit the 
grave, especially during the first three days. When she 
came to Jesus, where He still stood, outside Bethany, she 
was forgetful of all around. She could only fall at His 
Feet, and repeat the poor words with which she and her 
sister had these four weary days tried to cover the naked- 
ness of their sorrow : poor words of faith, which she did 
not, like her sister, make still poorer by adding the poverty 
of her hope to that of her faith. To Martha that had 
been the maximum, to Mary it was the minimum of her 
faith ; for the rest, it was far better to add nothing more, 
but simply to worship at His Feet. 

It must have been a deeply touching scene : the out- 
pouring of her sorrow, the absoluteness of her faith, the 
mute appeal of her tears. And the Jews who witnessed 
it were moved as she, and wept with her. What follows 
is difficult to understand. But if with a realisation of 
Christ's Condescension to, and union with humanity as its 
Healer, by taking upon Himself its diseases, we combine 
the statement formerly made about the Resurrection, as 
not a gift or boon but the outcome of Himself — we may, 
in some way, not understand, but be able to gaze into 
the unfathomed depth of that Theanthropic fellow-suffering 
which was both vicarious and redemptive, and which, 
before He became the Resurrection to Lazarus, shook His 
whole inner Being, when, in the words of St. John, ' He 
vehemently moved His Spirit and troubled Himself/ 

And now every trait is in accord. ' Where have ye 
laid him ? ' As they bade Him come and see, the tears 
that fell from Him were not like the violent lamentation 
that burst from Him at sight and prophetic view of doomed 
»st. Luke Jerusalem.* Yet we can scarcely think that the 
xix. 4i j ews rightly interpreted it, when they ascribed 
it only to His love for Lazarus. But surely there was not 
a touch either of malevolence or of irony, only what we 
feel to be quite natural in the circumstances, when some of 

F F 

434 Jesus the Messiah 

them asked aloud : ' Could not this One, Which opened 
the eyes of the blind, have wrought so that [in order] 
this one also should not die ? ' Scarcely was it even 
unbelief. They had so lately witnessed in Jerusalem that 
Miracle, such as had c not been heard ' * since the world 

• st. John began,' a that it seemed difficult to understand 
**• 32 how, seeing there was the will (in His affection 
for Lazarus), there was not the power — not to raise him 
from the dead, for that did not occur to them, but to 
prevent his dying. Was there, then, a barrier in death ? 
And it was this, and not indignation, which once more 
caused that Theanthropic recurrence upon Himself, when 
again ' He vehemently moved His Spirit.' 

And now they were at the cave which was Lazarus' 
tomb. He bade them roll aside the great stone which 
covered its entrance. Amidst the awful pause which pre- 
ceded obedience, one voice only was raised. It was that 
of Martha. Jesus had not spoken of raising Lazarus. 
But what was about to be done ? She could scarcely 
have thought that He merely wished to gaze once more 
upon the face of the dead. Something nameless had 
seized her. She dared not believe; she dared not dis- 
believe. Did she, perhaps, not dread a failure, but feel 
misgivings, when thinking of Christ as in presence of 
commencing corruption before these Jews — and yet, as we 
so often, still love Him even in unbelief? It was the 
common Jewish idea that corruption -commenced on the 
fourth day, that the drop of gall, which had fallen from 
the sword of the Angel and caused death, was then 
working its effect, and that, as the face changed, the soul 
took its final leave from the resting-place of the body. 
Only one sentence Jesus spake of gentle reproof, of re- 
minder of what He had said to her just before, and of the 
message He had sent when first He heard of Lazarus' 

* st. John illness. b And now the stone was rolled away. 
xi - 4 We all feel that the fitting thing here was 
prayer — yet not petition, but thanksgiving that the Father 
' heard ' Him, not as regarded the raising of Lazarus, 
which was His Own Work, but in the ordering and 

Raising of LazArvs 435 

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 seut to do His Will ! 

One loud command spoken into that silence ; one loud 
call to that sleeper, and the wheels of life again moved at 
the outgoing of The Life. And, still bound hand and foot 
with graveclothes, 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 shud- 
dering 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 
1 Loose him, and let him go/ 

We know no more. What happened afterwards — how 
they loosed him, what they said, and what were Lazarus' first 
words, we know not. 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 re- 
mained, 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 to the Pharisees. Then was 
hastily gathered a meeting of the Sanhedrists, not to judge 
Him, but to deliberate 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 
should die, than the community perish.' 

This was the last prophecy in Israel ; with the sentence 

F F 2 

436 Jesus the Messiah 

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 
Peraea 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. 



(St. Matt. xix. 1, 2; St. Mark x. 1; St. Luke xvii. 11; 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 retirement of Ephraim was past, and the Saviour of 
men prepared for His last journey to Jerusalem. All the 
»st Matt th ree Synoptic Gospels mark this, although with 
xix. i, 2 ; varying details. a From the mention of Galilee 
i ; st. Luke by St. Matthew, and by St. Luke of Samaria and 
Galilee— or more correctly, ' between (along the 
frontiers of) Samaria and Galilee,' we 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. 
The whole company would then form one of those festive 
bands which travelled to the Paschal Feast, nor would 

Healing of Ten Lepers 437 

there be anything strange or unusual in the appearance 
of such a band, in this instance under the leadership of 

Another notice, furnished by SS. Matthew and Mark, 
is that during this journey through Peraea, * great multi- 
• st Mat- tudes' resorted to, and followed Him, and that 
thew a 'He healed ' a and 'taught them.' b This will 
account for the incidents and Discourses by the 
way, and also how, from among many deeds, the Evange- 
lists may have selected for record what to them seemed the 
most important or novel, or else best accorded with the 
_ T , plans of their respective narratives. 

c St. Luke lo-r-ii i n 

xvii. 12-19 1 . fet. Luke alone relates the very first incident 

by the way, c and the first Discourse.* 1 

It is a further confirmation of our suggestion as to the 
road taken 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 
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 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 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 

But now the characteristic difference between these 
men appeared. Of the 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. No 

43 8 Jesus the Messiah 

longer now did he remain afar off, but fell on his face at 
the Feet of Him to Whom he gave thanks. This Samari- 
tan 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 heip 
from Christ, and still more when setting out for the priests 
before they had experienced the healing. But perhaps we 
may over-estimate the faith of these men. Bearing in mind 
the views of the Jews at the time, and what constant suc- 
cession of miraculous cures had been witnessed these years, 
it cannot seem strange that lepers should apply to Jesus. 
Nor yet perhaps did it, in the circumstances, involve very 
much greater faith to go to the priests at His bidding — 
implying, of course, that they were or would be healed. 
But it was far different to turn back and to fall down at 
His Feet in worship and thanksgiving. That made a man 
a disciple. 

And the Lord emphasised the contrast in this between 
the children of the household and ' this stranger.' Accord- 
ing to the Gospels, a man might either seek benefit from 
Christ, or else receive Christ through such benefit. In the 
one case the benefit sought was the object, in the other the 
means: in the one it ultimately led away from, in the 
other it led to Christ and to discipleship. And so Christ 
now spake to this Samaritan : ' Arise, go thy way ; thy 
faith has made thee whole.' 

2. The Discourse concerning the Coming of the 
Kingdom, which is reported by St. Luke immediately after 
» st. Luke the healing of the ten lepers, a will be more con- 
xvii. 20-37 ven i en tly considered in connection with the 

* st. Matt, fuller statement of the same truths at the close 
xxiv - of our Lord's Ministry. b 

3. This brings us to what we regard as, in point of 

• st. Matt, time , the next Discourse of Christ on this j ourney , 
Bt'iilx. recorded both by St. Matthew and, in briefer 
2-12 form, by St. Mark. 

Christ had advanced farther on His journey, and now 
once more encountered the hostile Pharisees. It will be 

On Divorce 439 

remembered that He had met them before in the same 
• st. Luke part of the country,* and answered their taunts 
xvi - 14 and objections, among other things, by charging 
them with breaking in spirit that Law of which they pro- 
fessed to be the exponents and representatives. And this 
He had proved by reference to their views and teaching 
on the subject of divorce. b This seems to have 
»»T7. 17,18 ran k] e( j i n their minds. Probably they also 
imagined, it would be easy to show on this point a marked 
difference between the teaching of Jesus and that of Moses 
and the Rabbis, and to enlist popular feeling against Him. 
Accordingly, when these Pharisees again encountered Jesus, 
now on His journey to Judaea, they resumed the subject pre- 
cisely where it had been broken off when they had last met 
Him, only now with the object of 'tempting Him.' Perhaps 
it may also have been in the hope that, by getting Christ 
to commit Himself against divorce in Persea — the territory 
of Herod — they might enlist against Him, as formerly 
against the Baptist, the implacable hatred of Herodias. 

But their main object evidently was to involve Christ 
in controversy with some of the Rabbinic Schools. This 
appears from the form in which they put the question, 
« st. Matt, whether it was lawful to put away a wife ' for 
xix - 3 every cause ' ? c St. Mark, who gives only a very 

condensed account, omits this clause ; but in Jewish circles 
the whole controversy between different teachers turned 
upon this point. All held that divorce was lawful, the only 
question being as to its grounds. There can however be 
no question that the practice was discouraged by many of 
the better Rabbis, alike in word and by their example : 
nor yet, that the Jewish Law took the most watchful care 
of the interests of the woman. In fact, if any doubt were 
raised as to the legal validity of a letter of divorce, the 
Law always pronounced against the divorce. At the same 
time, in popular practice, divorce must have been very 
frequent ; while the principles underlying Jewish legis- 
lation on the subject are most objectionable. 

No real comparison is possible between Christ and 
even the strictest of the Rabbis, since none of them actually 

440 Jesus the Messiah 

prohibited divorce, except in case of adultery, nor yet laid 
down those high eternal principles which Jesus enunciated. 
But we can understand how from the Jewish point of view 

I tempting Him,' they would put the question, whether it 
was lawful to divorce a wife ' for every cause.' Avoiding 
their cavils, the Lord appealed straight to the highest 
authority — God's institution of marriage. He Who at the 
beginning had made them male and female had in the 
marriage-relation ' joined them together,' to the breaking 
of every other, even the nearest, relationship, to be ' one 
flesh ' — that is, to a union which was unity. Such was 
the fact of God's ordering. It followed that they were one 
— and what God had willed to be one, man might not put 
asunder. Then followed the natural Rabbinic objection, 
why, in such case, Moses had commanded a bill of divorce- 
ment. Our Lord replied by pointing out that Moses had 
not commanded divorce, only tolerated it on account of 
their hardness of heart, and in such case commanded to 
give a bill of divorce for the protection of the wife. And 
this argument would appeal the more forcibly to them, that 
the Rabbis themselves taught that a somewhat similar con- 
• Deut. xxi cession had been made a by Moses in regard to 

II female captives of war — as the Talmud has it, 
1 on account of the evil impulse.' But such a separation, 
our Lord continued, had not been provided for in the 
original institution, which was a union to unity. Only one 
thing could put an end to that unity — its absolute breach. 
Hence, to divorce one's wife (or husband) while this unity 
lasted, and to marry another, was adultery, because, as the 
divorce was null before God, the original marriage still 
subsisted — and in that case the Rabbinic Law would also 
have forbidden it. The next part of the Lord's inference, 
that ' whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit 
adultery,' is more difficult of interpretation. Generally, it 
is understood as implying that a woman divorced for 
adultery might not be married. Be this as it may, the 
Jewish Law, which regarded marriage with a woman 
divorced under any circumstances as unadvisable, absolutely 
forbade that of the adulterer with the adulteress. 

The Blessing to Little Children 441 

That the Pharisees had rightly judged, when ' tempting 
Him,' what the popular feeling on the subject would be, 
appears even from what ' His disciples ' [not necessarily 
the Apostles] afterwards said to Him. They waited to ex- 

• st. Mark press their dissent till they were alone with Him 
x - 10 ' in the house,' a and then urged that, if it were 
as Christ had taught, it would be better not to marry at 
»> st. Matt. all. To which the Lord replied, b that ' this say- 
xix. 10-12 | n g » f fa e disciples, * it is not good to marry,' 
could not be received by all men, but only by those to 
whom it was c given.' For there were three cases in which 
abstinence from marriage might lawfully be contemplated. 
In two of these it was, of course, natural ; and, where it 
was not so, a man might, ' for the Kingdom of Heaven's 
sake' — that is, in the service of God and of Christ — have 
all his thoughts, feelings, and impulses so engaged that 
others were no longer existent. It is this which requires 
to be ' given ' of God ; and which ' he that is able to receive 
it ' — who has the moral capacity for it — is called upon to 

4. The next incident is recorded by the three Evange- 

• st. Matt, lists. It probably occurred in the same house 
lt?Mark 8 *, where the disciples had questioned Christ about 
Luke xviii His teaching on the Divinely sacred relationship 
15-17 of marriage. And the account of His blessing of 
1 infants ' and ' little children ' most aptly follows on the 
former teaching. We can understand how, when One 
Who so spake and wrought rested in the house, Jewish 
mothers should have brought their ' little children,' and 
some their ' infants,' to Him, that He might ' touch,' * put 
His Hands on them, and pray.' What power and holiness 
must these mothers have believed to be in His touch and 
prayer ; what life to be in, and to come from Him ; and 
what gentleness and tenderness must His have been, when 
they dared so to bring these little ones ! For how utterly 
contrary it was to all Jewish notions, and how incompatible 
with the supposed dignity of a Rabbi, appears from the 
rebuke of the disciples. It was an occasion and an act 
when, as the fuller and more pictorial account of St. Mark 

442 Jesus the Messiah 

informs us, Jesus ' was much displeased ' — the only time 
this strong word is used of our Lord — and said unto them : 
1 Suffer the little children to come to Me, hinder them not, 
for of such is the Kingdom of God.' Then He gently re- 
minded His own disciples of their grave error, by repeating 
• st. Matt, what they had apparently forgotten,* that, in 
xviiL 3 order to enter the Kingdom of God, it must be 
received as by a little child — that here there could be no 
question of intellectual qualification, nor of distinction due 
to a great Rabbi, but only of humility, receptiveness, meek- 
ness, and a simple application to, and trust in the Christ. 
And so He folded these little ones in His Arms, put His 
Hands upon them, and blessed them. 



(St. Matt. xix. 16-22 ; St. Mark x. 17-22 ; St. Luke xviii. 18-23 
St. Matt. xix. 23-30; St. Mark x. 23-31; St. Luke xviii. 24-30 
St. Matt. xx. 17-19 ; St. Mark x. 32-34 ; St. Luke xviii. 31-34 
St. Matt. xx. 20-28 ; St. Mark x. 35-45.) 

As we near the goal, the story seems to grow in tenderness 
and pathos. It is as if all the loving condescension of the 
Master were to be crowded into these days ; all the press- 
ing need also and the human weakuesses of His disciples. 
As ' He was going forth into the way ' — probably at early 
morn, as He left the house where He had blessed the chil- 
dren brought to Him by believing parents — His progress 

b st.Luk was arres ^ e ^' I* was ' a y oun g man,' ' a ruler,' b 
probably of the local Synagogue, who came with 
all haste, ' running,' and kneeling, to ask what 
to him, to us all, is the most important question. 

The actual question of the young Ruler is one which 
repeatedly occurs in Jewish writings, as put to a Rabbi 
by his disciples. Amidst the different answers given, we 

The Young Ruler 443 

scarcely wonder that they also pointed to observance of the 
Law. And the saying of Christ seems the more adapted 
to the young Ruler when we recall this sentence from the 
Talmud : ' There is nothing else that is good but the Law.' 
But here again the similarity is only of form, not of 
substance. For it will be noticed that, in the fuller ac- 
count by St. Matthew, Christ leads the young Ruler upwards 
through the table of the prohibitions of deeds to the first 
positive command of deed, and then, by a rapid transition, 
to the substitution for the tenth commandment in its 
negative form of this wider positive and all-embracing 
• Lev.xix. command:* ■ Thou shalt love thy neighbour as 
18 thyself.' Any Jewish ' Ruler,' but especially one 

so earnest, would have at once answered a challenge on the 
first four commandments by ' Yes ' — and that not self- 
righteously but sincerely, though of course in ignorance of 
their real depth. And this was not the time for lengthened 
discussion and instruction : only for rapid awakening, to 
lead up, if possible, from a heart-drawing towards the 
Master to real discipleship. Best here to start from what 
was admitted as binding — the ten commandments — and 
to lead from that in them which was least likely to be 
broken, step by step, upwards to that which was most 
likely to awaken consciousness of sin. 

And the young Ruler did not, as that other Pharisee, 
reply by trying to raise a Rabbinic disputation over the 
»st. Luke x. i Who is neighbour to me ? ' b but in the sincerity 
29 of an honest heart answered that he had kept — 

that is, so far as he knew them — ' all these things from his 
youth.' On this St. Matthew puts into his mouth the 
question — ' What lack I yet ? ' What he had seen and 
heard of the Christ had quickened to greatest intensity all 
in him that longed after God and heaven, and had brought 
him in this supreme moral earnestness to the Feet of Him 
in Whom, as he felt, all perfectness was, and from Whom 
all perfectness came. He had not been first drawn to 
Christ, and thence to the pure, as were the publicans and 
sinners ; but, like so many — even as Peter, when in that 
hour of soul-agony he said : ' To whom shall we go ? Thou 

444 Jesus the Messiah 

hast the words of eternal life,' — he had been drawn to the 
pure and the higher, and therefore to Christ. 

And Jesus saw what he lacked ; and what He saw, 
He showed him. For, ' looking at him ' in his sincerity 
and earnestness, ' He loved him.' One thing was needful 
for this young man : that he should not only become His 
disciple, but that, in so doing, he should ' come and follow ' 
Christ. It seems as if to some it needed, not only the 
word of God, but a stroke of some Moses'-rod to make the 
water gush forth from the rock. And thus would this 
young Ruler have been * perfect ; ' and what he had given 
to the poor have become, not through merit nor by way of 
reward, but really, ' treasure in heaven.' 

What he lacked — was earth's poverty and heaven's 
riches : a heart fully set on following Christ ; and this 
could only come to him through willing surrender of all. 

There is something deeply pathetic in the mode in 
which St. Mark describes what follows : ' he was sad ' — 
the word painting a dark gloom that overshadowed the 
face of the young man. We need scarcely here recall 
the almost extravagant language in which Rabbinism de- 
scribes the miseries of poverty ; we can understand his 
feelings without that. Such a possibility had never entered 
his mind: the thought of it was terribly startling. 
Rabbinism had never asked this ; if it demanded alms- 
giving, it was in odious boastfulness ; while it was declared 
even unlawful to give away all one's possessions — at most, 
only a fifth of them might be dedicated. 

And so, with clouded face he gazed down into what he 
lacked — within ; but also gazed up in Christ on what he 
needed. And, although we hear no more of him who 
that day went back to his rich home very poor, because 
'very sorrowful,' we cannot but believe that he whom 
Jesus loved yet found in the poverty of earth the treasure 
of heaven. 

Nor was this all. The deep pity of Christ for him 
who had gone that day, speaks also in His warning to 
*st. Mark Sis disciples.* But surely those are not only 
x - 23 riches in the literal sense which make it so 

The Young Ruler 445 

difficult for a man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven 
— so difficult, as to amount almost to that impossibility 
which was expressed in the common Jewish proverb, 
that a man did not even in his dreams see an elephant 
pass through the eye of a needle? But when in their 
perplexity the disciples put to each other the question : 
Who then can be saved ? He taught them that what was 
impossible of achievement by man in his own strength, 
God would work by His Almighty Grace. 

It almost jars on our ears when Peter, perhaps as 
spokesman of the rest, seems to remind the Lord that they 
had forsakeu all to follow Him. St. Matthew records also 
the special question which Simon added to it: 'What 
shall we have therefore ? ' The Lord's reply bore on two 
points : on the reward which all who left everything to 
follow Christ would obtain ; a and on the special 

* bt. Matt. • • 1 1% /-ni • v. 

rix. 29 ; acknowledgment awaiting the Apostles of Christ. b 
29" 3o7 B? In regard to the former we mark, that it is two- 
Luke xviii. f()ld They who had f orsa ken a n 1 f or His sake ' c 
*st. Matt. < a nd t h e Gospel's,' d ' for the Kingdom of God's 
o st. Mat- S ake ' — and these three expressions explain and 
stMark supplement each other — would receive ' in this 
d st - Mark time ' ' manifold more ' of new, and better, and 
closer relationships of a spiritual kind fur those which they 
had surrendered, although, as St. Mark significantly adds, 
to prevent all possible mistakes, ' with persecutions.' But 
by the side of this stands out unclouded and bright the 
promise for ' the world to come ' of ' everlasting life.' As 
regarded the Apostles personally, some mystery lies on 
the special promise to them (that ' in the regeneration ' 
they should ' sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of 
Israel '). We could quite understand that the distinction 
of rule to be bestowed on them might have been worded 
in language taken from the expectations of the time, 
in order to make the promise intelligible to them. But, 
unfortunately, we have here no explanatory information 
to offer. The Rabbis, indeed, speak of a renovation or 
regeneration of the world which was to take place after 
the 7,000 or else 5,000 years of the Messianic reign. 

44 6 Jesus the Messiah 

Such a renewal of all things is not only foretold by the 
prophets,* and dwelt upon in later Jewish 
ample is. " writings, b but frequently referred to in Rabbinic 
6™xv. 4 i7 h ' literature. But as regards the special rule or 
Emwhxci 'judgment' of the Apostles, or ambassadors of 
16,17; 4 the Messiah, we have not, and, of course, cannot 
expect any parallel in Jewish writings. Yet that 
the delegation of such rule and judgment to the Apostles 
is in accordance with Old Testament promise will be seen 
from Dan. vii. 9, 10, 14, 27 ; and there are few references 
in the New Testament to the blessed consummation of all 

• Actsiii things in which such renewal of the world, and 
21 ; Rom. even the rule and judgment of the representatives 

viii. 19-21 ; c , , n , 1 a x u 3 m., 

2 Pet. iii. oi the Uhurch, d are not referred to. 
13 ; Rev. The reference to the blessed future with its 

M^Ber* rewards was followed by a Parable, recorded as 
x'x. 4 ; xxt with one exception all of that series, only by 
St. Matthew. It will best be considered in 
connection with the last series of Christ's Parables. But it 

• st. Matt. was accompanied by a most needful warning. 6 
xx. 17-19 Thoughts of the future Messianic reign, its glory, 
and their own part in it might have so engrossed the 
minds of the disciples as to make them forgetful of the 
terrible present, immediately before them. In such case 
they might not only have lapsed into that most fatal Jew- 
ish error of a Messiah -King Who was not Saviour — the 
Crown without the Cross — but have even suffered ship- 
wreck of their faith, when the storm broke on the Day of 
His Condemnation and Crucftixion. How truly such pre- 
paration was required by the disciples appears from the 
narrative itself. 

There was something sad and mysterious in the words 
with which Christ had closed His Parable, that the last 
ttUfVM should be first and the first last f — and it had 

»bt.Matt. .-,... , , . .„ 

xx. 16 ; st. carried misgiving to those who heard it. Yet 
the disciples could not have indulged in illu- 
sions. His own sayings on at least two previous occa- 
« st. Matt. sions, g however ill or partially understood, must 
xvii.wjs3 nave l e d them to expect at any rate grievous 

Prophecy of Christ's Passion 447 

opposition and tribulations in Jerusalem, and their en- 
deavour to deter Christ from going to Bethany, to raise 
Lazarus, proves that they were well aware of the 
• st. John danger which threatened the Master in Judaea.* 
xi. 8, 16 yet not only ' was He now going up to 
Jerusalem,' but there was that in His bearing which 
was quite unusual. As St. Mark writes, ' And going 
before them was Jesus ; and they were amazed [utterly 
bewildered, viz. the Apostles]; and those who were 
following, were afraid.' It was then that Jesus took the 
Apostles apart, and, in language more precise than ever 
before, told them how all things that were ' written by the 
prophets shall be accomplished on the Son of Man ' b — not 
" st. Luke merely, that all that had been written concerning 
xviii.31 f^e Son of Man should be accomplished, but a 
far deeper truth, all-comprehensive as regards the Old 
Testament: that all its prophecy ran up into the Sufferings 
of the Christ. As the three Evangelists report it, the 
Lord gave them full details of His Betrayal, Crucifixion, 
and Resurrection. And yet we may, without irreverence, 
doubt whether on that occasion He had really entered into 
all those particulars. In such case it would seem difficult 
to explain how, as St. Luke reports, ' they understood 
none of these things, and the saying was hid from them, 
neither knew they the things which were spoken ; ' and 
again, how afterwards the actual events and the Resurrec- 
tion could have taken them so by surprise. Rather do we 
think that the Evangelists report what Jesus had said, in 
the light of after-events. At the time they may have 
thought that it pointed only to His rejection by Jews and 
Gentiles, to Sufferings and Death — and then to a Resurrec- 
tion, either of His Mission or to such a reappearance of 
the Messiah, after His temporary disappearance, as Judaism 

One other incident, and the Peraean stay is for ever 
ended. It almost seems as if the fierce blast of temp- 
tation, the very breath of the destroyer, were already 
sweeping over the little flock, as if the twilight of the 
night of betrayal and desertion were already falling 

448 Jesus the Messiah 

around. And now it has fallen on the two chosen dis- 
ciples, James and John — ' the sons of thunder/ and one 
of them, ' the beloved disciple ! ' Peter, the third in that 
band most closely bound to Christ, had already had his 
•st. Matt, temptation,* and would have it more fiercely — to 
xvi - 23 the uprooting of life, if the Great High-Priest 
had not specially interceded for him. And, as regards 
*> st. Matt, these two sons of Zebedee and of Salome, b we 
Smplst know what temptation had already beset them, — 
?s" Ma v rk 4 ° now Jonn nad forDi( iden one to cast out devils, 
ix"38 because he followed not with them, c and how 

both he and his brother, James, would have called down 
fire from heaven to consume the Samaritans who would 
* st. Luke not receive Christ. d It was essentially the same 
1x54 spirit that now prompted the request which 

their mother Salome preferred, not only with their full 
« By st. concurrence, but, as we are expressly told, e with 
Mark (x. 35) fa^ ac ti ve participation. There is the same 
faith in the Christ, tLe same allegiance to Him, but also 
the same unhallowed earnestness, the same misunder- 
standing — and, let us add, the same latent self-exaltation, 
as in the two former instances, in the present request that, 
as the most honoured of His guests, and also as the nearest 
to Him, they might have their places at His Eight Hand 
st. Matt, and at His Left in His Kingdom/ Terribly in- 
st.' Markk congruous as is any appearance of self-seeking 
35-45 at that moment and with that prospect before 

them, we cannot but feel that there is also ah intenseness 
of faith almost sublime, when the mother steps forth from 
among those who follow Christ to His Suffering and 
Death, to proffer such a request with her sons, and for 

And so the Saviour seems to have viewed it. He, 
Whose Soul is filled with the contest before Him, bears 
with the weakness and selfishness which could cherish such 
ambitions at such a time. To correct them, He points to 
that near prospect, when the Highest is to be made low. 
' Ye know not what ye ask ! ' The King is to be King 
through suffering — are they aware of the road which leads 

The Request of James and John 449 

to that goal ? Those nearest to the King of Sorrows must 
reach the place nearest to Him by the same road as He. 
Are they prepared for it ; prepared to drink that cup of 
soul-agony, which the Father will hand to Him— to sub- 
mit to, to descend into that Baptism of consecration, when 
the floods will sweep over Him ? In their ignorance, and 
listening only to the promptings of their hearts, they 
imagine that they are. Nay, in some measure it would be 
so; yet, finally to correct their mistake: to sit at His 
Right and at His Left Hand, these were not marks of 
mere favour for Him to bestow — in His own words : it 'is 
not Mine to give except to them for whom it is prepared 
of My Father.' 

But as for the other ten, when they heard of it, it was 
only the pre-eminence which, in their view, James and 
John had sought, that stood out before them, to their 
• st. Matt. env 7 anc * indignation.* And so in that solemn 
&c.? 4 st. k° ur would the fire of controversy have broken 
Mark x.' 41, out among them who should have been most 
closely united— had not Jesus hushed it into 
silence when He spoke to them of the grand contrast 
between the princes of the Gentiles as they ' lord it over 
them,' or the ' great among them ' as they ' domineer ' 
over men, and their own aims — how, whosoever would be 
great among them, must seek his greatness in service — 
not greatness through service, but the greatness of service ; 
and whosoever would be chief or rather ' first ' among 
them, let it be in service. The Son of Man Himself— let 
them look back, let them look forward — He came not to 
be ministered unto, but to minister. And then, breaking 
through the reserve that had held Him, and revealing to 
them the inmost thoughts which had occupied Him when 
He had been alone, going before them on the way, He 
spoke for the first time fully what was the deepest mean- 
ing of His Life, Mission, and Death : ' to give His Life a 
»» st. Matt, ransom for many,' b to pay with His Life-Blood 
stMark X . tne price of their redemption, to lay down His 
45 Life for them : in their room and stead, and for 

their salvation. 

These words must have sunk deep into the heart of 

G G 

450 Jesus the Messiah 

one at least in that company. A few days later, and the 
beloved disciple tells us of this Ministry of His 
• st. John Tj 0ve a £ the Last Supper,* and ever afterwards, in 
24^ Tow. n * 8 writings and in his life, does he seem to bear 
I Tim ii e- tnem about with him, and to re-echo them. Ever 
iPet.'i.'i9; since also have they remained the foundation- 
i John iv. 10 trut j 1 on w hi c h the Church has been built : the 
subject of her preaching, and the object of her experience. b 





(St. Luke xix. 1-10 ; St. Matt. xx. 29-34 ; St. Mark x. 46-52 ; St. Luke 
xviii. 35-43; St. John xi. 55-xii. 1; St. Matt. xxvi. 6-13; St. Mark 
xiv. 3-9 ; St. John xii. 2-11.) 

Once more, and now for the last time, were the fords 
of Jordan passed, and Christ was on the soil of Judaea 
proper. Behind Him were Peraea and Galilee; behind 
Him the Ministry of the Gospel by Word and Deed ; before 
Him the final Act of His Life, towards which all had 
consciously tended. And He was coming openly, at the 
head of His Apostles, and followed by many disciples — a 
festive band going up to the Paschal Feast, of which 
Himself was to be ' the Lamb ' of sacrifice. 

The first station reached was Jericho, the 'City of 
Palms,' a distance of only about six hours from Jerusalem. 
The ancient City occupied not the site of the present wretched 
hamlet, but lay about half an hour to the north-west of it, 
by the so-called Elisha-Spring. A second spring rose an 
hour further to the north-north-west. The water of these 
springs distributed by aqueducts gave, under a tropical 
sky, unsurpassed fertility to the rich soil along the ' plain ' 
of Jericho, which is about twelve or fourteen miles wide. 
Herod the Great had first plundered, and then partially 
rebuilt, fortified, and adorned Jericho. It was here that 

In Jericho 45 1 

he died. Long before, it had recovered its ancient fame 
for fertility and its prosperity. If to its special advantages 
of climate, soil, and productions we add that it hxy on the 
caravan-road from Damascus and Arabia, that it was a 
great commercial and military centre, and lastly, its near- 
ness to Jerusalem, to which it formed the last l station ' 
on the road of the festive pilgrims from Galilee and Persea 
— it will not be difficult to understand either its importance 
or its prosperity. 

We can picture to ourselves the scene, as our Lord on 
that afternoon in early spring beheld it. There it was, 
indeed, already summer, for, as Josephus tells us, even in 
winter the inhabitants could only bear the lightest clothing 
of linen. It is protected by walls, flanked by four forts. 
These walls, the theatre, and the amphitheatre, have been 
built by Herod ; the new palace and its splendid gardens 
are the work of Archelaus. All around wave groves of 
palms, rising in stately beauty ; stretch gardens of roses, 
and Especially sweet-scented balsam -plantations — the 
largest behind the royal gardens, of which the perfume is 
carried by the wind almost out to sea, and which may have 
given to the city its name (Jericho, ' the perfumed '). And 
in the streets of Jericho a motley throng meets : pilgrims 
from Galilee and Peraea, priests who have a c station ' here, 
traders from all lands, who have come to purchase or 
to sell, or are on the great caravan-road from Arabia 
and Damascus — robbers and anchorites, wild fanatics, 
soldiers, courtiers, and busy publicans — for Jericho was 
the central station for the collection of tax and custom, 
both on native produce and on that brought from across 

It was through Jericho that Jesus, ' having entered,' 
■ st. Luke was passing.* Tidings of the approach of the 
six. 1-10 band, consisting of His disciples and Apostles, 
and headed by the Master Himself, must have preceded 
Him these six miles from the fords of Jordan. His Name, 
His Works, His Teaching — perhaps Himself, must have 
been known to the people of Jericho, just as they must 
have been aware of the feelings of the leaders of the people, 


452 Jesus the Messiah 

perhaps of the approaching great contest between them 
and the Prophet of Nazareth. Was He a good man ; had 
He wrought those great miracles in the power of God or by 
Satanic influence — was He the Messiah or the Antichrist ; 
would He bring salvation to the world, or entail ruin on 
llis own nation : conquer or be destroyed ? Close by was 
Bethany, whence tidings had come, most incredible yet 
unquestioned and unquestionable, of the raising of Lazarus. 
And yet the Sanhedrin — it was well known — had resolved 
on His death ! At any rate there was no concealment 
about Him ; and here, in face of all, and accompanied by 
His followers — humble and unlettered, but thoroughly con- 
vinced of His superhuman claims, and deeply attached — 
Jesus was going up to Jerusalem to meet His enemies ! 

It was the custom when a festive band passed through 
a place, that the inhabitants gathered in the streets to bid 
their brethren welcome. And on that afternoon surely 
scarce any one in Jericho but would go forth to see this 
pilgrim-band. A solid wall of onlookers before ' their 
gardens was this ' crowd ' along the road by which Jesus 
' was to pass.' Would He only pass through the place, or 
be the guest of some of the leading priests in Jericho ; 
would He teach or work any miracle, or silently go on His 
way to Bethany ? Only one in all that crowd seemed un- 
welcome ; alone, and out of place. It was the ' chief of 
the Publicans' — the head of the tax and customs depart- 
ment. As his name shows, he was a Jew : but yet that 
very name Zacchasus, * Zakkai ' ' the just 'or 'pure,' sounded 
like mockery. We know in what repute Publicans were 
held, and what opportunities of wrong-doing and oppression 
they possessed. And from his after-confession it is only 
too evident that Zacchasus had to the full used them for 
evil. And he had got that for which he had given up alike 
his nation and his soul : * he was rich.' If, as Christ had 
taught, it was harder for any rich man to enter the Kingdom 
of Heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a 
needle, what of him who had gotten his riches by such 
means ? 

The narrative is singularly detailed and pictorial. 

A Guest with Zacchalus 453 

Zacchaeus, trying to push his way through ' the press,' and 
repulsed ; Zacchaeus, ' little of stature/ and unable to look 
over the shoulders of others. 

Needless questions have been asked as to the import 
of Zacchams' wish ' to see who Jesus was.' It is just this 
vagueness of desire, which Zacchaeus himself does not 
understand, that is characteristic. And since he cannot 
otherwise succeed, he climbs up one of those wide-spread- 
ing sycamores in a garden, perhaps close to his own house, 
along the only road by which Jesus can pass — c to see Him.' 
Now the band is approaching, through that double living 
wall : first, the Saviour, viewing the crowd, but with 
different thoughts from theirs — surrounded by His Apostles, 
the face of each expressive of such feelings as were upper- 
most ; conspicuous among them, he who c carried the bag,' 
with furtive, uncertain glance here and there, as one who 
seeks to gather himself up to a terrible deed. Behind them 
are the disciples, men and women, who are going up with 
Him to the Feast. Of all persons in that crowd the least 
noted, the most hindered in coming — and yet the one 
most concerned, was the Chief Publican. Never more 
self-unconscious was Zacchaeus than at the moment when 
Jesus was entering that garden-road and passing under 
the overhanging branches of that sycamore, the crowd 
closing up behind, and following as He went along. Only 
one thought — without ulterior conscious object, temporal 
or spiritual — filled his whole being. The present abso- 
lutely held him — when those Eyes out of which heaven 
itself seemed to look upon earth, were upturned, and that 
Face of infinite grace, never to be forgotten, beamed 
upon him the welcome of recognition, and He uttered 
the self-spoken invitation in which the invited was the 
real Inviter, the guest the true Host. 

As bidden by Christ, Zacchaeus c made haste and came 
down.' Under the influence of the Holy Ghost he 
i received Him rejoicing.' Nothing was as yet clear to 
him, and yet all was joy within his soul. But a few steps 
farther, and they were at the house of the Chief Publican. 
But now the murmur of disappointment and anger ran 

454 Jesus the Messiah 

through the accompanying crowd — which perhaps had 
not before heard what had passed between Jesus and 
the Publican — because He was gone to be guest with a 
man that was a sinner. And it was this sudden shock 
of opposition which awoke Zacchaeus to full conscious- 
ness. In that moment Zacchaeus saw it all: what his 
past had been, what his present was, what his future 
must be. Standing forth, not so much before the crowd 
as before the Lord, and scarcely conscious of the confession 
it implied — Zacchaeus vowed fourfold restoration, as by a 
thief* of what had become his through false 

• Ex xxii 1 « 

accusation, as well as the half of all his goods to 
the poor. And so the whole current of his life had been 
turned in those few moments ; and Zacchaeus the public 
robber, the rich Chief of the Publicans, had become an 

It was then that Jesus spake in the hearing of all for 
their and our teaching : ' This day became — arose — there 
salvation to this house,' '.forasmuch as,' truly and spiritu- 
ally, ' this one also is a son of Abraham.' And as regards 
this man and all men, so long as time endureth : ' For the 
Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.' 

The Evangelic record passes with significant silence 
over that night in the house of Zacchaeus. It was in the 
b morning, when the journey in company with His 

xx. 29-34; disciples was resumed, that the next public inci- 
46^52? st!" dent occurred in the healing of the blind by the 
£2|* viiL wayside. b It may have been that, as St. Matthew 
relates, there were hvo blind men sitting by the 
wayside, and that St. Luke and St. Mark mention only 
one — the latter by name as ' Bar Timaeus ' — because he 
was the spokesman. 

Once more the crowd was following Jesus, as He re- 
sumed the journey with His disciples. And there by the 
wayside, begging, sat the blind men. As they heard the 
tramp of many feet and the sound of many voices, they 
learned that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. But what 
must their faith have been, when there, in Jericho, they 
not only owned Him as the true Messiah, but cried — in a 

The Healing of Blind Bartimaeus 455 

mode of address significant, as coming from Jewish lips : 
' Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me ! ' It was 
in accordance with what one might almost have expected — 
certainly with the temper of Jericho, as we learnt it on 
the previous evening, when ' many,' the ' multitude,' ' they 
which went before,' would have bidden that cry for help 
be silent as an unwarrantable intrusion and interruption. 
But only all the louder and more earnest rose the petition, 
as the blind felt that they might for ever be robbed of the 
opportunity that was slipping past. And He, Who listens 
to every cry of distress, heard this. He stood still, and 
commanded the blind to be called. Then it was that the 
sympathy of sudden hope seized the ' multitude ' — the 
wonder about to be wrought fell upon them, as they com- 
forted the blind in the agony of rising despair with the 
» st. Mark words, ' He calleth thee.' a As so often, we are 
x - 49 indebted to St. Mark for the vivid sketch of 

what passed. We can almost see Bartimaeus as, on receiv- 
ing Christ's summons, he casts aside his upper garment 
and hastily comes. That question : what he would that 
Jesus should do unto him, must have been meant for those 
around more than for the blind. The cry to the Son of 
David had been only for mercy. It might have been for 
alms — though, as the address, so the gift bestowed in 
answer, would be right royal — 'after the order of David.' 
But the faith of the blind rose to the full height of the 
Divine possibilities opened before them. Their inward 
eyes had received capacity for The Light, before that of 
earth lit up their long darkness. In the language of St. 
Matthew, ' Jesus had compassion on them, and touched their 
eyes.' This is one aspect of it. The other is that given by 
St. Mark and St. Luke, in recording the words with which 
He accompanied the healing : ' Thy faith hath saved thee.' 

And these two results came of it : ' all the people, 
when they saw it, gave praise unto God ; ' and as for 
Bartimaeus, though Jesus had bidden him ' go thy way,' 
yet ' immediately he received his sight,' he ' fol- 
lowed Jesus in the way,' glorifying God. b 

The arrival of the Paschal band from Galilee and Peraea 

456 Jesus the Mess/ah 

was not in advance of many others. In truth, most pil- 
grims from a distance would probably come to the Holy 
City some days before the Feast, for the sake of purification 
in the Temple, since those who for any reason needed 
such — and there would be few families that did not — 
generally deferred it till the festive season brought them 
to Jerusalem. We owe this notice, and that which follows, 
*st. John to St. John, a and in this again recognise the 
xi. 55-57 Jewish writer of the Fourth Gospel. It was only 
natural that these pilgrims should have sought for Jesus, 
and, when they did not find Hirn, discuss among them- 
selves the probability of His coming to the Feast. His 
absence would, after the work which He had done these 
three years, the claim which He made, and the defiant 
denial of it by the priesthood and the Sanhedrin, have been 
regarded as a virtual surrender to the enemy. There was 
a time when He need not have appeared at the Feast 
— when, as we see, it was better He should not come. 
But that time was past. The chief priests and the Phari- 
sees also knew it, and they ' had given commandment 
that, if any one knew where He was, he should show it, 
that they might take Him.' It would be better to as- 
certain where He lodged, and to seize Him before He 
appeared in public, in the Temple. 

But it was not as they had imagined. Without con- 
cealment Christ came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, 
whom He had raised from the dead. He came there six 
days before the Passover — and yet His coming was such 
"st. John tnat they could not ' take Him.' b They might 
xiL1 as well take Him in the Temple; nay, more 

easily. For the moment His stay in Bethany became 
known, ' much people of the Jews ' came out, not only for 
His sake, but to see that Lazarus whom He had raised 
from the dead. And of those who so came many went 
away believing. Thus one of their plans was frustrated. 
The Sanhedrin could perhaps not be moved to such flagrant 
■ st. John outrage of all Jewish Law, but ' the chief priests,' 
xii.10,11 wno £ a( j no suc h scruples, consulted how they 
might put Lazarus also to death. 

In the House of Simon the Leper 457 

Yet, not until His hour had come could man do aught 
against Christ or His disciples. And in contrast to such 
scheming, haste, and search, we mark the calm and quiet 
of Him Who knew what was before Him. Jesus had 
arrived at Bethany six days before the Passover — that is, 
on a Friday. The day after was the Sabbath, and ' they 
• st John made Him a supper.' a It was the special festive 
A 1 meal of the Sabbath. The words of St. John 

seem to indicate that the meal was a public one, as if the 
people of Bethany had combined to do Him this honour, 
and so share the privilege of attending the feast. In point 
of fact, we know from St. Matthew and St. Mark that it 
took place ' in the house of Simon the Leper ' — not, of 
course, an actual leper — but one who had been such. 
Among the guests is Lazarus ; and, prominent in service, 
Martha ; and Mary (the unnamed woman of the other two 
Gospels, which do not mention that household by name) 
is also true to her character. She had ' an alabaster ' of 
' spikenard genuine,' which was very precious. It held f a 
litra,' which was ' a Roman pound,' and its value could not 
have been less than nearly 9/. 

Remembering the fondness of Jewish women for s