The Life of Jesus of Nazareth
Rush Rhees

Part 2 out of 5

readiness not to criticise, but to idealize everything he saw, and to
think only of the significance given by it all to the scripture; to
imagine how eagerly he would talk in the temple court with the learned men
of his people about the law and the promises with which in home and school
his youth had been made familiar. Nor is it difficult to appreciate his
surprise, when Joseph and Mary, only after long searching for him, at last
found him in the temple, for he felt that it was the most natural place
in which he could be found. In his wondering question to Mary, "Did not
you know that I must be in my Father's house?" (Luke ii. 49), there is a
premonition of his later consciousness of peculiarly intimate relation to
God. The question was, however, a sincere inquiry. It was no precocious
rebuke of Mary's anxiety. The knowledge of himself as Son of God was only
dawning within him, and was not yet full and clear. This is shown by his
immediate obedience and his subjection to his parents in Nazareth through
many years. It is safe, in the interpretation of the acts and words of
Jesus, to banish utterly as inconceivable anything that savors of the
theatrical. We must believe that he was always true to himself, and that
the subjection which he rendered to Joseph and Mary sprang from a real
sense of childhood's dependence, and was not a show of obedience for any
edifying end however high.

70. That question "Did not you know?" is the only hint we possess of
Jesus' inner life before John's call to repentance rang through the land.
Meanwhile the carpenter's son became himself the carpenter. Joseph seems
to have died before the opening of Jesus' ministry. For Jesus as the
eldest son, this death made those years far other than a time of spiritual
retreat; responsibility for the home and the pressing duties of trade must
have filled most of the hours of his days. This is a welcome thought to
our healthiest sentiment, and true also to the earliest Christian feeling
(Heb. iv. 15). John the Baptist had his training in the wilderness, but
Jesus came from familiar intercourse with men, was welcomed in their
homes (John ii. 2), knew their life in its homely ongoing, and was the
friend of all sorts and conditions of men. After that visit to Jerusalem,
a few more years may have been spent in school, for, whether from school
instruction, or synagogue preaching, or simple daily experience, the young
man came to know the traditions of the elders and also to know that
observance of them is a mockery of the righteousness which God requires.
Yet he seems to have felt so fully in harmony with God as to be conscious
of nothing new in the fresh and vital conceptions of righteousness which
he found in the law and prophets. We may be certain that much of his
thought was given to Israel's hope of redemption, and that with the
prophets of old and the singer much nearer his own day (Ps. of Sol. xvii.
23), he longed that God, according to his promise, would raise up unto his
people, their King, the Son of David.

71. He must also have read often from that other book open before him as
he walked upon the hills of Nazareth. The beauty of the grass and of the
lilies was surely not a new discovery to him after he began to preach the
coming kingdom, nor is it likely that he waited until after his baptism to
form his habit of spending the night in prayer upon the mountain. We may
be equally sure that he did not first learn to love men and women and long
for their good after he received the call, "Thou art my beloved son" (Mark
i. 11). He who in later life read hearts clearly (John ii. 25) doubtless
gained that skill, as well as the knowledge of human sin and need, early
in his intercourse with his friends and neighbors in Nazareth; while a
clear conviction that God's kingdom consists in his sovereignty over
loyal hearts must have filled much of his thought about the promised good
which God would bring to Israel in due time. Thus we may think that in
quietness and homely industry, in secret life with God and open love for
men, in study of history and prophecy, in longing for the actual sway of
God in human life, Jesus lived his life, did his work, and grew in "wisdom
and in stature and in favor with God and man" (Luke ii. 52).


John The Baptist

Matt. iii. 1-17; iv. 12; xiv. 1-12; Mark i. 1-14; vi. 14-29; Luke i. 5-25,
57-80; iii. 1-22; ix. 7-9; John i. 19-37; iii. 22-30.

72. The first reappearance of Jesus in the gospel story, after the temple
scene in his twelfth year, is on the banks of the Jordan seeking baptism
from the new prophet. One of the silent evidences of the greatness of
Jesus is the fact that so great a character as John the Baptist stands in
our thought simply as accessory to his life. For that the prophet of the
wilderness was great has been the opinion of all who have been willing to
seek him in his retirement. One reason for the common neglect of John is
doubtless the meagreness of information about him. But though details are
few, the picture of him is drawn in clearest lines: a rugged son of the
wilderness scorning the gentler things of life, threatening his people
with coming wrath and calling to repentance while yet there was time; a
preacher of practical righteousness heeded by publicans and harlots but
scorned by the elders of his people; a bold and fearless spirit, yet
subdued in the presence of another who did not strive, nor cry, nor cause
his voice to be heard in the streets. When the people thought to find in
John the promised Messiah, with unparalleled self-effacement he pointed
them to his rival and rejoiced in that rival's growing success. Side by
side they worked for a time; then the picture fails, but for a hint of a
royal audience, with a fearless rebuke of royal disgrace and sin; a prison
life, with its pathetic shaking of confidence in the early certainties; a
long and forced inaction, and the question put by a wavering faith, with
its patient and affectionate reply; then a lewd orgy, a king's oath, a
girl's demands, a martyr's release, the disciples' lamentation and their
report to that other who, though seeming a rival, was known to appreciate
best the greatness of this prophet. Such is the picture in the gospels.

73. John, unlike his greater successor, has a highly appreciative notice
from Josephus: "Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of
Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment for what
he did against John, who was called the Baptist. For Herod had had him put
to death though he was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise
virtue, both as to justice towards one another, and piety towards God, and
so to come to baptism; for baptism would be acceptable to God, if they
made use of it not in order to expiate some sin, but for the purification
of the body, provided that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by
righteousness. Now, as many flocked to him, for they were greatly moved by
hearing his words, Herod, fearing that the great influence, John had over
the people might lead to some rebellion (for the people seemed likely to
do anything he should advise), thought it far best, by putting him to
death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into
difficulties by sparing a man who might make him repent of his leniency
when it should be too late. Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, in
consequence of Herod's suspicious temper, to Machaerus, the fortress
before mentioned, and was there put to death. So the Jews had the opinion
that the destruction of this army [by Aretas] was sent as a punishment
upon Herod and was the mark of God's displeasure at him" (Ant. xviii. 5.
2). This section is commonly accepted as trustworthy. Superficially
different from the gospel record and assigning quite another cause for
John's imprisonment and death, it correctly describes his character and
his influence with the people, and leaves abundant room for a more
intimately personal motive on the part of Antipas for the imprisonment of
John. If the jealousy of Herodias was the actual reason for John's arrest,
it is highly probable that another cause would be named to the world, and
a likelier one than that given by Josephus could not be found.

74. The first problem that offers itself in the study of this man is the
man himself. Whence did he come? Everything about him is surprising. He
appears as a dweller in the desert, an ascetic, holding aloof from common
life and content with the scanty fare the wilderness could offer; yet he
was keenly appreciative of his people's needs, and he knew their
sins,--the particular ones that beset Pharisees, publicans, soldiers. If a
recluse in habit, he was far from such in thought; he was therefore no
seeker for his own soul's peace in his desert life. His dress was
strikingly suggestive of the old prophet of judgment on national
infidelity (I. Kings xvii. 1; II. Kings i, 8), the Elijah whom John would
not claim to be. His message was commanding, with its double word "Repent"
and "The kingdom is near." His idea of the kingdom was definite, though
not at all developed; it signified to him God's dominion, inaugurated by a
divine judgment which should mean good for the penitent and utter
destruction for the ungodly; hence the prophet's call to repentance. His
ministry was one of grace, but the time was drawing near when the Greater
One would appear to complete by a swift judgment the work which his
forerunner was beginning. That Greater One would hew down the fruitless
tree, winnow the wheat from the chaff on the threshing floor, baptize the
penitent with divine power, and the wicked with the fire of judgment,
since his was to be a ministry of judgment, not of grace.

75. Whence, then, came this strange prophet? Near the desert region where
he spent his youth and where he first proclaimed his message of repentance
and judgment was the chief settlement of that strange company of Jews
known as Essenes. It has long been customary to think that during his
early years John was associated with these fellow-dwellers in the desert,
if he did not actually join the order. He certainly may have learned from
them many things. Their sympathy with his ascetic life and with his
thorough moral earnestness would make them attractive to him, but he was
far too original a man to get from them more than some suggestions to be
worked out in his own fashion. The simplicity of his teaching of
repentance and the disregard of ceremonial in his preaching separate him
from these monks. John may have known his desert companions, may have
appreciated some things in their discipline, but he remained independent
of their guidance.

76. The leaders of religious life and thought in his day were
unquestionably the Pharisees. The controlling idea with them, and
consequently with the people, was the sanctity of God's law. They were
conscious of the sinfulness of the people, and their demand for repentance
was constant. It is a rabbinic commonplace that the delay of the Messiah's
coming is due to lack of repentance in Israel. But near as this conception
is to John's, we need but to recall his words to the Pharisees (Matt. iii.
7) to realize how clearly he saw through the hollowness of their religious
pretence. With the quibbles of the scribes concerning small and great
commandments, Sabbaths and hand-washings, John shows no affinity. He may
have learned some things from these "sitters in Moses' seat," but he was
not of them.

77. John's message announced the near approach of the kingdom of God. It
is probable that many of those who sought his baptism were ardent
nationalists,--eager to take a hand in realizing that consummation.
Josephus indicates that it was Herod's fear lest John should lead these
Zealots to revolt that furnished the ostensible cause of his death. But
similar as were the interests of John and these nationalists, the distance
between them was great. The prophet's replies to the publicans and to the
soldiers, which contain not a word of rebuke for the hated callings (Luke
iii. 13, 14), show how fundamentally he differed from the Zealots.

78. But there was another branch of the Pharisees than that which quibbled
over Sabbath laws, traditions, and tithes, or that which itched to grasp
the sword; they were men who saw visions and dreamed dreams like those of
Daniel and the Revelation, and in their visions saw God bringing
deliverance to his people by swift and sudden judgment. There are some
marked likenesses between this type of thought and that of John,--the
impending judgment, the word of warning, the coming blessing, were all in
John; but one need only compare John's words with such an apocalypse as
the Assumption of Moses, probably written in Palestine during John's life
in the desert, to discover that the two messages do not move in the same
circle of thought at all; there is something practical, something severely
heart-searching, something at home in every-day life, about John's
announcement of the coming kingdom that is quite absent from the visions
of his contemporaries. John had not, like some of these seers, a coddling
sympathy for people steeped in sin. He traced their troubles to their own
doors, and would not let ceremonies pass in place of "fruits meet for
repentance." He came from the desert with rebuke and warning on his lips;
with no word against the hated Romans, but many against hypocritical
claimants to the privileges of Abraham; no apology for his message nor
artificial device of dream or ancient name to secure a hearing, but the
old-fashioned prophetic method of declaration of truth "whether men will
hear or whether they will forbear." "All was sharp and cutting, imperious
earnestness about final questions, unsparing overthrow of all fictitious
shams in individual as in national life. There are no theories of the law,
no new good works, no belief in the old, but simply and solely a prophetic
clutch at men's consciences, a mighty accusation, a crushing summons to
contrite repentance and speedy sanctification" (KeimJN. II. 228). We look
in vain for a parallel in any of John's contemporaries, except in that one
before whom he bowed, saying, "I have need to be baptized of thee."

79. John had, however, predecessors whose work he revived. In Isaiah's
words, "Wash you, make you clean" (Isa. i 16), one recognizes the type
which reappeared in John. The great prophetic conception of the Day of the
Lord--the day of wrath and salvation (Joel ii. 1-14)--is revived in John,
free from all the fantastic accompaniments which his contemporaries loved.
The invitations to repentance and new fidelity which abound in Isaiah,
Ezekiel, Hosea, and Joel; the summons to simple righteousness, which rang
from the lips of Micah (vi. 8), and of the great prophet of the exile
(Isa. lviii.), these tell us where John went to school and how well he
learned his lesson. It is hard for us to realize how great a novelty such
simplicity was in John's day, or how much originality it required to
attain to this discipleship of the prophets. From the time when the
curtain rises on the later history of Israel in the days of the Maccabean
struggle to the coming of that "voice crying in the wilderness," Israel
had listened in vain for a prophet who could speak God's will with
authority. The last thing that people expected when John came was such a
simple message. He was not the creature of his time, but a revival of the
older type; yet, as in the days of Elijah God had kept him seven thousand
in Israel that had not bowed the knee to Baal, so, in the later time, not
all were bereft of living faith. These devout souls furnished the soil
which could produce a life like John's, gifted and chosen by God to
restore and advance the older and more genuine religion.

80. If John was thus a revival of the older prophetic order, a second
question arises: Whence came his baptism, and what did it signify? The
gospels describe it as a "baptism of repentance for the remission of sins"
(Mark i. 4). John's declaration that his greater successor should baptize
with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matt. iii. 11) shows that he viewed his
baptism as a symbol, rather than as a means, of remission of sin. But it
was more than a sign of repentance, it was a confession of loyalty to the
kingdom which John's successor was to establish. It had thus a twofold
significance: (_a_) confession of and turning from the old life of sin,
and (_b_) consecration to the coming kingdom. Whence, then, came this
ordinance? Not from the Essenes, for, unlike John's baptism, the bath
required by these Jewish ascetics was an oft-repeated act. Further, John's
rite had a far deeper religious significance than the Essene washings.
These performed their ablutions to secure ritual cleanness as exemplary
disciples of the Mosaic ideal. The searching of heart which preceded
John's baptism, and the radical change of life it demanded, seem foreign
to Essenism. The baptism of John, considered as a ceremony of consecration
for the coming kingdom, was parallel rather to the initiatory oaths of the
Essene brotherhood than to their ablutions. Their custom may have served
to suggest to John a different application of the familiar sacred use of
the bath; indeed John could hardly have been uninfluenced by the usage of
his contemporaries; yet in this, as in his thought, he was not a product
of their school.

81. John's baptism was equally independent of the pharisaic influence. The
scribes made much of "divers washings," but not with any such significance
as would furnish to John his baptism of repentance and of radical change
of life. That he was not following a pharisaic leading appears in the
question put to him by the Pharisees, "Why, then, baptizest thou?" (John
i. 25). They saw something unique in the ceremony as he conducted it.

82. Many have held that he derived his baptism from the method of
admitting proselytes into the Jewish fellowship. It is clear, at least,
that the later ritual prescribed a ceremonial bath as well as circumcision
and sacrifice for all who came into Judaism from the Gentiles, and it is
difficult to conceive of a time when a ceremonial bath would not seem
indispensable, since Jews regarded all Gentile life as defiling. While
such an origin for John's baptism would give peculiar force to his rebuke
of Jewish confidence in the merits of Abraham (Matt. iii. 9), it is more
likely, as Keim has shown (JN. II. 243 and note), that in this as in his
other thought John learned of his predecessors rather than his
contemporaries. Before the giving of the older covenant from Sinai, it is
said that Moses was required "to sanctify the people and bid them wash
their garments" (Ex. xix. 10). John was proclaiming the establishment of a
new covenant, as the prophets had promised. That the people should prepare
for this by a similar bath of sanctification seems most natural. John
appeared with a revival of the older and simpler religious ideas of
Israel's past, deriving his rite as well as his thought from the springs
of his people's religious life.

83. This revival of the prophetic past had nothing scholastic or
antiquarian about it. John was a disciple, not an imitator, of the great
men of Israel; his message was not learned from Isaiah or any other,
though he was educated by studying them. What he declared, he declared as
truth immediately seen by his own soul, the essence of his power being a
revival, not in letter but in spirit, of the old, direct cry, "Thus saith
the Lord." Inasmuch as John's day was otherwise hopelessly in bondage to
tradition and the study of the letter, by so much is his greatness
enhanced in bringing again God's direct message to the human conscience.
John's greatness was that of a pioneer. The Friend of publicans and
sinners also spoke a simple speech to human hearts; he built on and
advanced from the old prophets, but it was John who was appointed to
prepare the people for the new life, "to make ready the way of the Lord"
(Mark i. 3). The clearness of his perception of truth is not the least of
his claims to greatness. His knowledge of the simplicity of God's
requirements in contrast with the hopeless maze of pharisaic traditions,
and his insight into the characters with whom he had to deal, whether the
sinless Jesus or the hypocritical Pharisees, show a man marvellously
gifted by God who made good use of his gift. This greatness appears in
superlative degree in the self-effacement of him who possessed these
powers. Greatness always knows itself more or less fully. It was not
self-ignorance that led John to claim to be but a voice, nor was it mock
humility. The confession of his unworthiness in comparison with the
mightier one who should follow is unmistakably sincere, as is the
completed joy of this friend of the bridegroom rejoicing greatly because
of the bridegroom's voice, even when the bridegroom's presence meant the
recedence of the friend into ever deepening obscurity (John iii. 30).

84. But John had marked limitations. He knew well the righteousness of
God; he knew, and, in effect, proclaimed God's readiness to forgive them
that would turn from their wicked ways; he knew the simplicity as well as
the exceeding breadth of the divine commandment; but beyond one flash of
insight (John i. 29-36), which did not avail to remould his thought, he
did not know the yearning love of God which seeks to save. It is not
strange that he did not. Some of the prophets had more knowledge of it
than he, his own favorite Isaiah knew more of it than he, but it was not
the thought of John's day. The wonder is that the Baptist so far freed
himself from current thought; yet he did not belong to the new order. He
thundered as from Sinai. The simplest child that has learned from the
heart its "Our Father" has reached a higher knowledge and entered a higher
privilege (Matt. xi. 11). John's self-effacement, wonderful as it was,
fell short of discipleship to his greater successor; in fact, at a much
later time there was still a circle of disciples of the Baptist who kept
themselves separate from the church (Acts xix. 1-7). He was doubtless too
strenuous a man readily to become a follower. He could yield his place
with unapproachable grace, but he remained the prophet of the wilderness
still. He seemed to belong consciously to the old order, and, by the very
circumstances ordained of God who sent him, he could not be of those who,
sitting at Jesus' feet, learned to surrender to him their preconceptions
and hopes, and in heart, if not in word, to say, "To whom shall we go,
thou hast the words of eternal life?" (John vi. 68).


The Messianic Call

Matt. iii. 13 TO iv. 11; Mark i. 9-13; Luke iii. 21, 22; iv. 1-13; John i.

85. In the circle about John all classes of the people were represented:
Pharisees and Sadducees, jealous of innovation and apprehensive of popular
excitement; publicans and soldiers, interested in the new preacher or
touched in conscience; outcasts who came in penitence, and devout souls in
consecration. The wonder of the new message was carried throughout the
land and brought great multitudes to the Jordan. Jesus in Nazareth heard
it, and recognized in John a revival of the long-silent prophetic voice.
The summons appealed to his loyalty to God's truth, and after the
multitudes had been baptized (Luke iii. 21) he too sought the prophet of
the wilderness.

86. The connection which Luke mentions (i. 36) between the families of
Jesus and John had not led to any intimacy between the two young men. John
certainly did not know of his kinsman's mission (John i. 31), nor was his
conception of the Messiah such that he would look for its fulfilment in
one like Jesus (Matt. iii. 10-12). One thing, however, was clear as soon
as they met,--John recognized in Jesus one holier than himself (Matt. iii.
14). With a prophet's spiritual insight he read the character of Jesus
at a glance, and although that character did not prove him to be the
Messiah, it prepared John for the revelation which was soon to follow.

87. The reply of Jesus to the unwillingness of John to give him baptism
(Matt. iii. 15) was an expression of firm purpose to do God's will; the
absence of any confession of sin is therefore all the more noticeable. In
all generations the holiest men have been those most conscious of
imperfection, and in John's message and baptism confession and repentance
were primary demands; yet Jesus felt no need for repentance, and asked for
baptism with no word of confession. But for the fact that the total
impression of his life begat in his disciples the conviction that "he did
no sin" (I. Pet. ii. 22; compare John viii. 46; II. Cor. v. 21), this
silence of Jesus would offend the religious sense. Jesus, however, had no
air of self-sufficiency, he came to make surrender and "to fulfil
all-righteousness" (Matt. iii. 15). It was the positive aspect of John's
baptism that drew him to the Jordan. John was preaching the coming of
God's kingdom. The place held by the doctrine of that kingdom in the later
teaching of Jesus makes it all but certain that his thought had been
filled with it for many years. In his reading of the prophets Jesus
undoubtedly emphasized the spiritual phases of their promises, but it is
not likely that he had done much criticising of the ideas held by his
contemporaries before he came to John. As already remarked he seems to
have been quicker to discover his affinity with the older truth than to be
conscious of the novelty of his own ways of apprehending it (Matt. v. 17).
When, then, Jesus heard John's call for consecration to the approaching
kingdom he recognized the voice of duty, and he sought the baptism that he
might do all that he could to "make ready the way of the Lord."

88. This act of consecration on Jesus' part was one of personal obedience.
There were no crowds present (Luke iii. 21), and his thoughts were full of
prayer. It was an experience which concerned his innermost life with God,
and it called him to communion with heaven like that in which he sought
for wisdom before choosing his apostles (Luke vi. 12), and for strength in
view of his approaching death (Luke ix. 28, 29). His outward declaration
of loyalty to the coming kingdom was thus not an act of righteousness "to
be seen of men," but one of personal devotion to him who is and who sees
in secret (Matt. vi. 1, 6). As the transfiguration followed the prayer on
Hermon, so this initial consecration was answered from heaven. A part of
the answer was evident to John, for he saw a visible token of the gift of
the divine Spirit which was granted to Jesus for the conduct of the work
he had to do, and he recognized in Jesus the greater successor for whom he
was simply making preparation (Mark i. 10; John i. 32-34). To Jesus there
came also with the gift of the Spirit a definite word from heaven, "Thou
art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased" (Mark i. 11). The language
in Mark and Luke, and the silence of the Baptist concerning the voice from
heaven (John i. 32-34), indicate that the word came to Jesus alone, and
was his summons to undertake the work of setting up that kingdom to which
he had just pledged his loyalty. The expression "My beloved Son" had clear
Messianic significance for Jesus' contemporaries (comp. Mark xiv. 62),
and the message can have signified for him nothing less than a Messianic
call. It implied more than that child-relation to God which was the
fundamental fact in his religious life from the beginning: it had an
official meaning.

89. For Jesus the sense of being God's child was normally human, and in
his ministry he invited all men to a similar consciousness of sonship. Yet
his early years must have brought to him a realization that he was
different from his fellows. That in him which made a confession at the
baptism unnatural and which led to John's word, "I have need to be
baptized by thee," was ready to echo assent when God said, "Thou art my
Son." He accepted the call and the new office and mission which it
implied, and he must have recognized that it was for this moment that all
the past of his life had been making preparation.

90. The gift of the Spirit to Jesus, which furnished to John the proof
that the Greater One had appeared, was not an arbitrary sign. The old
prophetic thought (Isa. xi. 2; xlii. 1; lxi. 1) as well as a later popular
expectation (Ps. of Sol. xvii. 42) provided for such an anointing of the
Messiah; and in the actual conduct of his life Jesus was constantly under
the leading of this Spirit (see Matt. xii. 28 and John iii. 34). The
temptation which followed the baptism, and in which he faced the
difficulties in his new task, was the first result of the Spirit's
control. Its later influence is not so clearly marked in the gospels, but
they imply that as the older servants of God were guided and strengthened
by him, so his Son also was aided,--with this difference, however, that he
possessed completely the heavenly gift (John iii. 34). Jesus' uniform
confession of dependence on God confirms this teaching of the gift of the
divine Spirit; and his uniform consciousness of complete power and
authority confirms the testimony that he had the Spirit "without measure."

91. The temptation to which the Spirit "drove" Jesus after his baptism
gives proof that the call to assume the Messianic office came to him
unexpectedly; for the three temptations with which his long struggle ended
were echoes of the voice which he had heard at the Jordan, and subtle
insinuations of doubt of its meaning. Some withdrawal to contemplate the
significance of his appointment to a Messianic work was a mental and
spiritual necessity. As has often been said, if the gospels had not
recorded the temptation, we should have had to assume one. Jesus being the
man he was, could not have thought that his call was a summons to an
entire change in his ideals and his thoughts about God and duty. Yet he
must have been conscious of the wide differences between his conceptions
of God's kingdom and the popular expectation. Those differences, by the
measure of the definiteness of the popular thought and the ardor of the
popular hope, were the proof of the difficulty of his task. The call meant
that the Messiah could be such as he was; it meant that the kingdom could
be and must be a dominion of God primarily in the hearts of men and
consequently in their world; it meant that his work must be religious
rather than political, and gracious rather than judicial. These essentials
of the work which he could do contradicted at nearly every point the
expectations of his people. How could he succeed in the face of such
opposition? His long meditation during forty days doubtless showed him the
difficulty of his task in all its baldness, yet it did not shake his
certainty that the call had come to him from God, nor his faith that what
God had called him to do he could accomplish.

92. The gospels show no hesitation in calling the experience of these days
a temptation, nor had the Christian feeling of the first century any
difficulty in thinking of its Lord as actually suffering temptation (Heb.
ii. 18; iv. 15). A temptation to be real cannot be hypothetical; evil must
actually present itself as attractive to the tempted soul. A suggestion of
evil that takes no hold concretely of the heart is no temptation, nor is
the resistance of it any victory. The sinlessness of him who sought
baptism with no confession on his lips nor sense of penitence in his heart
offers no barrier to his experience of genuine temptation, unless we think
him incapable of sin, and therefore not "like unto his brethren." Not only
do the gospels repeatedly refer to his temptations (Luke iv. 13; Mark
viii. 31-33; Luke xxii. 28; compare Heb. v. 7-9), but they also depict
clearly the reality of these initial testings. The account as given in
Matthew and Luke represents the experience with which the forty days'
struggle culminated. The absorption of Jesus' mind had been so complete
that he had neglected the needs of his body, and when he turned to think
of earthly things he was pressed by hunger. A popular notion at a later
time, and probably also in Jesus' day, was that the Messiah would be able
to feed his people as Moses had given them manna in the wilderness (John
vi. 30-32; see EdersLJM. I. 176). He had just been endowed with the
divine Spirit for the work before him; it was therefore no fantastic idea
when the suggestion came that he should use his power to supply his own
needs in the desert. Nor was the temptation without attractiveness; his
own physical nature urged its need, and Jesus was no ascetic who found
discomfort a way of holiness. The evil in the suggestion was that it asked
him to use his newly given powers for the supply of his own needs, as if
doubting that God would care for him as for any other of his children.
There was more than distrust of God suggested; the temptation came with a
hint of another doubt,--"_If_ thou art God's Son." A miracle would prove
to himself his appointment and his power. The suggested doubt of his call
he passed unnoticed; distrust of God he repudiated instantly, falling back
on his faith in the God he had served these many years (Deut. viii. 3).
His victory is remarkable because his spirit conquered unhesitatingly
after a long ecstasy which would naturally have induced a reaction and a
surrender for the moment to the demand of lower needs.

93. This firmness of trust opened the way for another evil suggestion. In
the work before him as God's Anointed many difficulties were on either
side and across his path. He knew his people, their prejudices, and their
hardness of heart; and he knew how far he was from their ideal of a
Messiah. He knew also the watchful jealousy of Rome. Others before him,
like Judas of Galilee, had tried the Messianic role and had failed. He,
however, was confident of his divine call: should he not, therefore, press
forward with his work, heedless of all danger and regardless of the
dictates of prudence,--as heedless as if, trusting God's promised care,
he should cast himself down from a pinnacle of the temple to the rocks in
Kidron below? A fanatic would have yielded to such a temptation. Many
another than Jesus did so,--Theudas (Acts v. 36), the Egyptian (Acts xxi.
38); and Bar Cochba (Dio Cassius, lxix. 12-14; Euseb. Ch. Hist. iv. 6).
Jesus, however, showed his perfect mental health, repudiating the
temptation by declaring that while man may trust God's care, he must not
presumptuously put it to the test (Matt. iv. 7). The after life of Jesus
was a clear commentary on this reply. He constantly sought to avoid
situations which would compromise his mission or cut short his work (see
John vi. 15), and when at the end he suffered the death prepared for him
by his people's hatred, it was because his hour had come and he could say,
"I lay down my life of myself" (John x. 18). His marvellous control of
enthusiasm and his self-mastery in all circumstances separate Jesus from
all ecstatics and fanatics. Yet presumption must have seemed the easier
course, and could readily wear the mask of trust. He was tempted, yet
without sin.

94. As the refusal to doubt led to the temptation to presume, so the
determination to be prudent opened the way for a third assault upon his
perfect loyalty to God. The world he was to seek to save was swayed by
passions; his own people were longing for a Messiah, but they must have
their kind of a Messiah. If he would acknowledge this actual supremacy of
evil and self-will in the world, the opposition of passion and prejudice
might be avoided. If he would own the evil inevitable for the time, and
accommodate his work to it, he might then be free to lead men to higher
and more spiritual views of God's kingdom. His knowledge of his people's
grossness of heart and materialism of hope made a real temptation of the
suggestion that he should not openly oppose but should accommodate himself
to them. Jesus did not underestimate the opposition of "the kingdoms of
the world," but he truly estimated God's intolerance of any rivalry (Matt.
iv. 10), and he was true to God and to his own soul. Again, in this as in
the preceding temptations, Jesus conquered the evil suggestions by
appropriating to himself truth spoken by God's servants to Israel. Tempted
in all points like his brethren, he resisted as any one of them could have
resisted, and won a victory possible, ideally considered, to any other of
the children of men.

95. It is not idle curiosity which inquires whence the evangelists got
this story of the temptation of Jesus. Even if the whole transaction took
place on the plane of outer sensuous life, and Jesus was bodily carried to
Jerusalem and to the mountain-top, there is no probability that any
witnesses were at hand who could tell the tale. But the fact that in any
case the vision of the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time (Luke iv.
5) could have been spiritual only, since no mountain, however high (Matt.
iv. 8), could give, physically, that wide sweep of view, suggests that the
whole account tells in pictorial language an intensely real, inner
experience of Jesus. This in no respect reduces the truthfulness of the
narratives. Temptation never becomes temptation till it passes to that
inner scene of action and debate. Since Jesus shows in all his teaching a
natural use of parabolic language to set forth spiritual truth, the
inference is almost inevitable that the gospels have in like manner
adopted the language of vivid picture as alone adequate to depict the
essential reality of his inner struggle. In any case the narrative could
have come from no other source than himself. How he came to tell it we do
not know. On one of the days of private converse with his disciples after
the confession at Caesarea Philippi he may have given them this account of
his own experience, in order to help his loyal Galileans to understand
more fully his work and the way of it, and to prepare them for that
disappointment of their expectations which they were so slow to
acknowledge as possible.

96. From this struggle in the wilderness Jesus came forth with the clear
conviction that he was God's Anointed, and in all his after life no
hesitation appeared. The kingdom which he undertook to establish was that
dominion of simple righteousness which he had learned to know and love in
the years of quiet life in Nazareth. He set out to do his work fearlessly,
but prudently, seeking to win men in his Father's way to acknowledge that
Father's sovereignty. There is no evidence that, beyond such firm
conviction and purpose, he had any fixed plan for the work he was to do,
nor that he saw clearly as yet how his earthly career would end. The third
temptation, however, shows that he was not unprepared for seeming defeat.
The struggle had been long and serious,--for the three temptations of the
end are doubtless typical of the whole of the forty days,--and the victory
was great and final. With the light of victory as well as the marks of
warfare on his face, he took his way back towards Galilee.


The First Disciples

John i. 19 TO ii. 12

97. After the withdrawal of Jesus into the wilderness, John the Baptist
continued his ministry of preaching and baptizing, moving northward up the
Jordan valley to Bethany, on the eastern side of the river, near one of
the fords below the Sea of Galilee (John i. 28). Here Galilee, doubtless,
contributed more to his audience than Judea. It is certain that some from
the borders of the lake were at this time among his constant attendants:
Andrew and Simon of Bethsaida, John the son of Zebedee, and perhaps his
brother James, probably also Philip of Bethsaida and Nathanael of Cana
(John i. 40, 41, 43-45; compare xxi. 2).

98. The leaders in Jerusalem, becoming apprehensive whither this work
would lead, sent an embassy to question John. They chose for this mission
priests and Levites of pharisaic leaning as most influential among the
people. The impression John and his message were making on the popular
mind is seen in the questions put to him, "Art thou the Messiah?"
"Elijah?" "The prophet?" (see Deut. xviii. 15), and in the challenge,
"Why, then, baptizest thou?" when John disclaimed the right to any of
these names. John's reply is the echo of his earlier proclamation of the
one mightier than he who should baptize with the Spirit (Mark i. 7, 8),
only now he added that this one was present among them (John i. 26, 27).

99. This interview occurred several weeks after Jesus' baptism, for upon
the next day John saw Jesus (John i. 29), now returned from the
temptation, and pointed him out to a group of disciples. Something in
Jesus' face or in his bearing, as he came from his temptation, must have
impressed John even more than at their first meeting; for he was led to
think of a prophetic word for the most part ignored by the Messianic
thought of his day, "He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter" (Isa.
liii. 7). As he looked on Jesus the mysterious oracle was illuminated for
him, and he cried, "Behold the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of
the world." Once again on the next day the same thought rushed to his lips
when, with two disciples, he saw Jesus passing by (John i. 35, 36). Then
as Jesus left John's neighborhood and took up again the round of ordinary
life, John seems to have reverted to his more ordinary Messianic thought,
his momentary insight into highest truth standing as a thing apart in his
life. Such a moment's insight, caused by extraordinary circumstances, no
more requires that John should retain the high thought constantly than
does Peter's confession of Christ at Caesarea Philippi exclude his later
rebuke of his Lord (Mark viii. 32, 33), or his denials (Mark xiv. 66-72).

100. The disciples who heard these testimonies from John understood them
to be Messianic (John i. 30-34), though their later consternation, when
the cross seemed to shatter their hopes (John xx. 9, 10, 24, 25), shows
that they did not comprehend their deeper meaning. Two of these disciples
at once attached themselves to Jesus, and one of them, Andrew of
Bethsaida, was so impressed by the new master that, having sought out his
brother Simon, he declared that they had found the Messiah. The other of
these earliest followers was John the son of Zebedee, and it is possible
that he also found his brother and introduced James from the very first
into the circle of the disciples. Jesus was about to take his departure
for Galilee, and on the next day, as he was leaving, added Philip of
Bethsaida to the little company of followers. Philip, impressed as Andrew
had been, brought Nathanael of Cana to Jesus. The undefined something
about Jesus which drew noble hearts irresistibly to himself, and his
marvellous knowledge of this new comer, produced the same effect in
Nathanael, as was seen earlier in Andrew and Philip, and he acknowledged
the new master as "Son of God, King of Israel" (John i. 49).

101. These early confessions in the fourth gospel present a difficulty in
view of Jesus' warm approval of Peter's acknowledgment of him at Caesarea
Philippi (Matt. xvi. 13-20). Jesus saw in that confession a distinct
advance in the disciples' thought and faith. Yet the religious feeling
which early questioned whether the Baptist even were not the Messiah (Luke
iii. 15) would almost certainly have concluded that John's greater
successor must be God's anointed. The very fact that men's thoughts about
the Messiah were varied and complex made them ready for some modifications
of their preconceptions. One with such subtle personal power as Jesus had
exercised was almost sure to be hailed by some with enthusiasm as the
looked-for representative of God. In fact, it is probable that at any
time in the early days of his ministry Jesus could have been proclaimed
Messiah, provided he had accepted the people's terms. Such a confession
would have been merely the outcome of enthusiasm. The people, even the
disciples, did not know Jesus. They all had high hopes and somewhat fixed
ideas about the Messiah, nearly every one of which was destined to rude
shock. How little they knew him Jesus realized (John i. 51), and his
self-mastery is manifest in his attitude to this early enthusiasm. He was
no visionary; he had a great work to do and a long lesson to teach, and he
was patient enough to teach it little by little. He did not rebuke the
ill-informed faith of a Nathanael, but sought gradually to supplant the
old thought of the Messiah and of the kingdom by new truth, and to bind
men's affections to himself for his own sake and the truth's sake, not
simply for the idea which he impersonated to them.

102. The visit to Cana seems to have found a place in the fourth gospel,
because there the new disciples discovered in their master miraculous
powers which were to them a sign that he was in truth God's anointed. It
is probable that at the time of this miracle the disciples thought only of
the power and the marvel, yet the sharp contrast between John's ascetic
habit and Jesus' use of his divine resources to relieve embarrassment at a
wedding feast must have impressed every man among them. Their minds,
however, were as yet too full of Messianic hopes to leave much room for
reflection. They were content to have a sign, for in the view of Jesus'
contemporaries signs were essential marks of the Messiah (John vi. 30;
vii. 31; Mark viii. 11). They did their reflecting later (John ii. 22).

103. Miracles are as great a stumbling-block to modern thought as they
were a help to the contemporaries of Jesus. The study of Jesus' life
cannot ignore this fact, nor make little of it. It is fair to insist,
however, that the question is one of evidence, not of metaphysical
possibility. Men are wisely slow to-day to claim that they can tell what
are the limits of the possible. If the question is one of evidence, it is
in an important sense true that the evidence for miracle in the life of
Jesus is appreciable only when that life is viewed in its completeness.
The miracles attributed to Jesus may be studied, however, for the
disclosure which they give of his character, and of his relation to common
human need. So it is with this first sign at Cana. Jesus had just heard
the call to be Messiah, and in his lonely struggle in the wilderness had
given a loyal answer to that call, and had set out to do his Father's
business in his Father's way. He who by the Jordan still carried the marks
of struggle, so that the Baptist saw in him the suffering Saviour of
Isaiah liii., now returned to the ordinary daily life in Galilee, and as a
guest at a wedding feast he commenced that ministry of simple human
friendliness (Matt. xi. 19; compare Mark ii. 15-17; Luke xv. 1, 2), which
set him in sharp contrast alike with John's asceticism and with the
ritualism and pedantry of the Pharisees.

104. His human friendliness is all the more worthy of note, inasmuch as on
his return to Cana Jesus did not take up again the old relations of life
as they existed before his baptism. This is clear from his reply to his
mother when she reported the scarcity of wine (John ii. 3-5). While it is
true that the title by which Jesus addressed Mary was neither
disrespectful nor unkind (John xix. 26), the reply itself was a warning
that now he was no longer hers in the old sense. A new mission had been
given him, which henceforth would determine all his conduct, and in that
mission she could not now share. Here is one of the many indications
(compare Mark iii. 21, 31-35; Luke ii. 48) that Mary did not understand
her son nor his work until much later (John xix. 25; Acts i. 14). That
with such a clear sense of his new and serious mission Jesus' first
official act was one of kindly relief for social embarrassment is most
significant. He chose to show his divine authority to his new disciples in
a way that brought joy to a festal company. Little as the disciples were
likely to appreciate it at the time, it was beautifully indicative of the
simplicity and everyday lovableness of Jesus' idea of the earnest service
of God.

105. With the disciples thus strengthened in faith, and the mother not
separated from him though unable to know his deepest thoughts, and the
brethren who could not yet nor later understand their kinsman and his
work, Jesus went down to Capernaum (John ii. 12), which proved thenceforth
to be the centre of his greatest work and teaching. There for a time, how
long cannot be known, he continued in quiet fellowship with his new
friends, until the approach of the Passover drew him to Jerusalem to make
formal opening of his Messianic work in that centre of his people's
religious life.

Part II

The Ministry


General Survey of the Ministry

106. The attempt to arrange an orderly account of the way in which Jesus
set about the work to which he was called at his baptism is met at the
outset by a problem. The vivid and familiar words of Mark (i. 14),
seconded by the representation in both Matthew (iv. 12) and Luke (iv. 14),
indicate the imprisonment of John as the occasion, and Galilee as the
scene of the inauguration of Jesus' public ministry. The fourth gospel, on
the other hand, tells of a work of Jesus and his disciples in Judea prior
to the imprisonment of John (in. 24), and makes this work follow at some
interval after the inauguration of the Messianic ministry in Jerusalem.
The minuteness of detail of time and place in the early chapters of John
(i. 19 to iv. 43), together with the vividness of their narrative, give
them strong claim to credence. They thus record a ministry earlier than
that narrated in the other gospels, proving that the actual inauguration
of Jesus' work occurred in Jerusalem at a Passover season previous to the
imprisonment of John. This is known as the Early Judean Ministry.

107. The fact that Peter was wont to tell the story of Jesus' life in such
a way as to lead Mark to set the opening of the ministry after the close
of John's activity, indicates that that beginning of work in Galilee
seemed to the disciples to be in a way the actual inauguration of Jesus'
constructive and successful work. Peter cannot have been ignorant of the
labors in Judea, though he may not himself have accompanied Jesus to the
Passover. A new stage in the life of Jesus began, therefore, with his
withdrawal to Galilee.

108. The story of the Galilean ministry is given chiefly by the first
three gospels, John contributing but two incidents to the period covered
by that ministry,--a second miracle at Cana (iv. 46-54), and a visit to
Judea (v. 1-47),--and relating more fully the story of the feeding of the
multitudes (vi. 1-71). The journey from Judea through Samaria (John iv.
1-45) should be identified with the removal to Galilee which stands at the
beginning of Mark's record (i. 14; Matt. iv. 12; Luke iv. 14). Mark's
account of the Galilean activity of Jesus (i. 14 to ix. 50) is one of such
simple and steady progress that the whole period must be considered as a

109. In the use which Matthew (iv. 12 to xviii. 35) and Luke (iv. 14 to
ix. 50) make of Mark's record this unity is emphasized. Their treatment of
the matter which they add, however, makes it best to study the period
topically rather than attempt to follow closely a chronological sequence.
As it is probable that the early writing ascribed by Papias to the apostle
Matthew failed to preserve in many cases any record of the time and place
of the teachings of Jesus, so is it certain that the first and third
evangelists have distributed quite differently the material which they
seem to have derived from that apostolic document. Mention need only be
made of the exhortation against anxiety which Matthew places in the
sermon on the mount (vi. 19-34), and which Luke has given after the close
of the Galilean activity (xii. 22-34). It is possible to form some
judgment of the general relations of such discourses from the character of
their contents, but in the absence of positive statement by the
evangelists it is hopeless to seek to give them a more definite historical
setting. A topical study can consider them as contributions to the period
to which they belong, while a chronological study would be lost in
uncertain conjectures. A topical study may, however, disclose the fact
that sequence of time was identical with development of method. This is,
in general, the case with the Galilean ministry. The new lesson which
Jesus began to teach after the confession at Caesarea Philippi marked the
supreme turning point in his whole public activity. Before that crisis the
work of Jesus was a constructive preparation for the question which called
forth Peter's confession. Subsequently his work was that of making ready
for the end, which from that time on he foretold. As has been stated, the
Galilean ministry is the story of the first three gospels, except for two
incidents and a discourse added by John. The visit to the feast of
Tabernacles (John vii. 1 to viii. 59) stands on the border between the
work in Galilee and that which followed. It was one of Jesus' many
attempts to win Jerusalem, and is evidence that the author of the fourth
gospel--either because of special interest in the capital, or because of
superior knowledge of the work of his Master in Judea--gave emphasis to a
side of the life of Jesus which the other gospels have neglected.

110. With the close of the constructive ministry in Galilee, the account
of Mark (x. 1; compare Matt xix. 1; Luke ix. 51) turns towards Jerusalem
and the cross. The journey was not direct, but traversed Perea, the domain
of Antipas beyond Jordan, and was accompanied by continued ministry of
teaching and healing (Mark x. 1-52; Matt. xix. 1 to xx. 34). It is at this
point that Luke has inserted the long section peculiar to his gospel (ix.
51 to xviii. 14), becoming again parallel with Mark as Jesus drew near to
Jerusalem (xviii. 15 to xix. 28; compare Mark x. 13-52). Much of that
which Luke adds gives evidence that in all probability it should be placed
before the change in method at Caesarea Philippi, while much of it
undoubtedly belongs to the last months of Jesus' life. Since the last
journey to Jerusalem is reported with considerable fulness, it is natural
in a study of Jesus' life to treat that journey by itself. At this point
John contributes important additions to the record (ix. 1 to xi. 57)
showing that the journey was not continuous, but was interrupted by
several more or less hurried visits to the capital, renewed efforts of
Jesus to win the city.

111. With the final arrival in Jerusalem the four gospels come together in
a record of the last days and the crucifixion (Mark xi. 1 to xv. 47; Matt,
xxi 1 to xxvii. 66; Luke xix. 29 to xxiii. 56; John xi. 55 to xix. 42).
The evangelists, in their accounts of the last week, seem to have had
access to completer and more varied information than for any other part of
the ministry. This causes some difficulties in constructing an ordered
conception of the events, yet it greatly adds to the fulness of our
knowledge. It is easier, therefore, to consider the period in three
parts,--the final controversies in Jerusalem, the Last Supper, and the
betrayal, trial, and crucifixion.

112. In a sense the resurrection and ascension form the conclusion of the
final visit to Jerusalem, and should be treated with the last week. In a
larger sense, however, they form the culmination of the whole ministry,
and therefore constitute a final stage in the study of Jesus' life. At
this point the record of the gospels is supplemented by the first chapter
of the Acts and by Paul's concise report of the appearances of the risen
Christ (I. Cor. xv. 3-8). The various accounts exhibit perplexing
independence of each other. In total impression, however, they agree, and
show that the tragedy, by which the enemies of Jesus thought to end his
career, was turned into signal triumph.

Outline of Events in the Early Judean Ministry

The first Passover of the public ministry: Cleansing of the
temple--John ii. 13-22.

Early results in Jerusalem: Discourse with Nicodemus--John ii. 23 to
iii. 15.

Withdrawal into rural parts of Judea to preach and baptize--John in.
22-30; iv. 1, 2.

Imprisonment of John the Baptist--Matt. iv. 12; Mark i. 14.

Withdrawal from Judea through Samaria--John iv. 1-42.

Unlooked-for welcome in Galilee--John iv. 43-45.

? Second sign at Cana: Cure of the Nobleman's son--John iv. 46-54 (see
sect. A 41).

[Retirement at Nazareth, the disciples resuming their accustomed
calling. Inferred from Matt. iv. 13; Luke iv. 31; Matt. iv. 18-22 and

Events marked ? should possibly be given a different place; ||s stands
for "parallel accounts;" for sections marked A--as A 41--see Appendix.


The Early Ministry in Judea

113. We owe to the fourth gospel our knowledge of the fact that Jesus
began his general ministry in Jerusalem. The silence of the other records
concerning this beginning cannot discredit the testimony of John. For
these other records themselves indicate in various ways that Jesus had
repeatedly sought to win Jerusalem before his final visit at the end of
his life (compare Luke xiii. 34; Matt. xxiii. 37). Moreover, the fourth
gospel is confirmed by the probability, rising almost to necessity, that
such a mission as Jesus conceived his to be must seek first to win the
leaders of his people. The temple at Jerusalem was the centre of worship,
drawing all Jews sooner or later to itself--even as Jesus in early youth
was accustomed to go thither at the time of feasts (Luke ii. 41).
Worshippers of God throughout the world prayed with their faces towards
Jerusalem (Dan. vi. 10). Moreover, at Jerusalem the chief of the scribes,
as well as the chief of the priests, were to be found. Compared with
Jerusalem all other places were provincial and of small influence. A
Messiah, who had not from the outset given up hope of winning the capital,
cannot have long delayed his effort to find a following there.

114. Arriving at Jerusalem at the Passover season, in the early spring,
Jesus remained in Judea until the following December (John iv. 35).
Evidently the record which John gives of these months is most fragmentary,
and from his own statement (xx. 30, 31) it seems highly probable that it
is one sided, emphasizing those events and teachings in which Jesus
disclosed more or less clearly his claim to be the Messiah. Doubtless the
full record would show a much closer similarity between this early work in
Judea and that later conducted in Galilee than a comparison of John with
the other gospels would suggest; yet it is evident that Jesus opened his
ministry in Jerusalem with an unrestrained frankness that is not found
later in Galilee.

115. It is a mistake to think of the cleansing of the temple as a distinct
Messianic manifesto. The market in the temple was a licensed affront to
spiritual religion. It found its excuse for being in the requirement that
worshippers offer to the priests for sacrifice animals levitically clean
and acceptable, and that gifts for the temple treasury be made in no coin
other than the sacred "shekel of the sanctuary." The chief priests
appreciated the convenience which worshippers coming from a distance would
find if they could obtain all the means of worship within the temple
enclosure itself. The hierarchy or its representatives seem also to have
appreciated the opportunity to charge good prices for the accommodation so
afforded. The result was the intrusion of the spirit of the market-place,
with all its disputes and haggling, into the place set apart for worship.
In fact, the only part of the temple open to Gentiles who might wish to
worship Israel's God was filled with distraction, unseemly strife, and
extortion (compare Mark xi. 17). Such despite done the sanctity of God's
house must have outraged the pious sense of many a devout Israelite. There
is no doubt of what an Isaiah or a Micah would have said and done in such
a situation. This is exactly what Jesus did. His act was the assumption of
a full prophetic authority. In itself considered it was nothing more. In
his expulsion of the traders he had the conscience of the people for his
ally. There is no need to think of any use of miraculous power. His moral
earnestness, coupled with the underlying consciousness on the part of the
traders themselves that they had no business in God's house, readily
explains the confusion and departure of the intruders. Even those who
challenged Jesus' conduct did not venture to defend the presence of the
market in the temple. They only demanded that Jesus show his warrant for
disturbing a condition of things authorized by the priests.

116. The temple cleansing is recorded in the other gospels at the end of
Jesus' ministry, just before the hostility of the Jews culminated in his
condemnation and death. Inasmuch as these gospels give no account of a
ministry by Jesus in Jerusalem before the last week of his life, it is
easy to see how this event came to be associated by them with the only
Jerusalem sojourn which they record. The definite place given to the event
in John, together with the seeming necessity that Jesus should condemn
such authorized affront to the very idea of worship, mark this cleansing
as the inaugural act of Jesus' ministry of spiritual religion, rather than
as a final stern rebuke closing his effort to win his people. Against the
conclusion commonly held that Jesus cleansed the temple both at the
opening and at the close of his course is the extreme improbability that
the traders would have been caught twice in the same way. The event fits
in closely with the story of the last week, because it actually led to the
beginning of opposition in Jerusalem to the prophet from Galilee. At the
first the opposition was doubtless of a scornful sort. Later it grew in
bitterness when it saw how Jesus was able to arouse a popular enthusiasm
that seemed to threaten the stability of existing conditions.

117. The reply of Jesus to the challenge of his authority for his
high-handed act shows that he offered it to the people as an invitation;
he would lead them to a higher idea and practice of worship (compare John
iv. 21-24). When they demanded the warrant for his act, he saw that they
were not ready to follow him, and could not appreciate the only warrant he
needed for his course. He cleansed the temple because they were destroying
it as a place where men could worship God in spirit. In reply to the
challenge, he who later taught the Samaritan woman that the worship of God
is not dependent on any place however sacred, answered that they might
finish their work and destroy the temple as a house of God, yet he would
speedily re-establish a true means of approach to the Most High for the
souls of men. He clothed his reply in a figurative dress, as he was often
wont to do in his teaching,--"Destroy this temple, and in three days I
will raise it up." To his unsympathetic hearers it must have been
completely enigmatic. Even the disciples did not catch its meaning until
after the resurrection had taught them that in their Master a new chapter
in God's dealing with men had begun.

118. The unreadiness of the Jewish leaders to receive the only kind of
message he had to offer produced in Jesus a decided reserve. He did not
lack a certain kind of success in Jerusalem. His cures of the sick won him
many followers who seemed ready to believe almost anything of him. But the
attitude taken by the leaders made it evident that Jesus must make
disciples who should understand in some measure at least his idea of God's
kingdom, and, understanding, must be ready to be loyal to it through good
report and evil. For the position taken by the leaders of the people had
an ominous significance. It could mean but one thing for
Jesus,--unrelenting conflict. If they could not be won, they who would so
legalize the desecration of God's house would not hesitate at any extreme
in opposing his messenger. This possibility confronted Jesus at the very
outset; therefore he held the popular enthusiasm in check, knowing that
as yet it had little of that kind of faith which could endure seeming

119. One of those who were drawn to him, however, gave Jesus opportunity
to lay aside his reserve and speak clearly of the truth lie came to
publish. He was a member of the Jewish sanhedrin, a rabbi apparently held
in high regard in Jerusalem. While his associates were dismissing the
claims of Jesus with a wave of the hand, Nicodemus sought out the new
teacher by night, and showed his desire to learn what Jesus held to be
truth concerning God's kingdom. Jesus first reminded the teacher of Israel
of the old doctrine of the prophets, that Israel must find a new heart
before God's kingdom can come (Jer. xxxi. 31-34; Ezek. xxxvi. 25-27), and
then declared that the heavenly truth which God now would reveal to men is
that all can have the needed new life as freely as the plague-stricken
Israelites found relief when Moses lifted up the brazen serpent. This
conversation serves to introduce the evangelist's interpretation of Jesus
as the only begotten Son of God sent in love to redeem the world (John
iii. 16-21).

120. John's record suggests that Jesus left Jerusalem shortly after the
conversation with Nicodemus. His work there was not without success, for
Nicodemus seems to have been henceforth his loyal advocate (compare John
vii. 50-52; xix. 39); and it may be that at the time of this sojourn he
won the hearts of his friends in Bethany, for the first picture the
gospels give of this household seems to presuppose a somewhat intimate
relation of Jesus to the family (Luke x. 38-42). It would be idle to
speculate whether it was at this time or later that he became acquainted
with Joseph of Arimathea, or the friends who during the last week of his
life showed him hospitality (Mark xi. 2-6; xiv. 12-16).

121. For a time after his withdrawal from Jerusalem he lingered in Judea,
carrying on a simple ministry of preparation like that of John the
Baptist. In this way the summer and early autumn seem to have passed,
Jesus growing more popular as a prophet than John himself had been. The
fact that Jesus' disciples administered baptism in connection with his
work roused the jealousy of some of John's followers, and attracted again
the attention of Jerusalem to the new activity of the bold disturber of
the temple market. John's disciples complained to him of Jesus' rivalry,
and received his self-effacing confession, "He must increase, I must
decrease." The Pharisees, on the other hand, made Jesus feel that further
work in Judea was for the time unwise, and he withdrew into Galilee for
retirement, since "a prophet has no honor in his own country" (John iv.
1-3, 44). Baffled in his first effort to win his people, this journey back
from the region of the holy city must have been one of no little sadness
for Jesus. Some urgency for haste led him by the direct road through
despised Samaria. A seemingly chance conversation with a woman at Jacob's
well, where he was resting at noonday, gave him an opportunity for
ministry which was more ingenuously received than any which he had been
able to render in Judea; and to this woman he declared himself even more
plainly than to Nicodemus, and preached to her that spiritual idea of
worship which he had sought to enforce by cleansing Jerusalem's temple.
Samaria was so isolated from all Jewish interest that Jesus felt no need
for reserve in this "strange" land. The few days spent there must have
been peculiarly welcome to his heart, fresh from rejection in Judea.

122. One reason why he wished to hasten from Judea seems to have been his
knowledge of the hostile movement which was making against John the
Baptist. Either before or soon after Jesus started for Galilee Herod had
arrested John, ostensibly as a measure of public safety owing to John's
undue popularity (Jos. Ant. xviii. 5. 2). Herod may have been encouraged
to take this step by the hostility of the Pharisees to the plain-spoken
prophet of the desert (see John iv. 1-3). The fourth gospel leaves its
readers to infer that the imprisonment took place somewhere about this
time (compare iii. 24 and v. 35), while the other gospels unite in giving
this arrest as the occasion for Jesus' withdrawal into Galilee.

123. Arrived in Galilee, Jesus seems to have returned to his home at
Nazareth, while his disciples went back to their customary occupations,
until he summoned them again to join him in a new ministry (see sect.
125). John assigns to this time the cure of a nobleman's son. The father
sought out Jesus at Cana, having left his son sick at Capernaum. At first
Jesus apparently repelled his approach, even as he had dealt with seekers
after marvels at Jerusalem; but on hearing the father's cry of need and
trust, he at once spoke the word of healing. This event is in so many ways
a duplicate of the cure of a centurion's servant recorded in Matthew and
Luke, that to many it seems but another version of the same incident.
Considering the variations in the story reported by Matthew and Luke, it
is clearly not possible to prove that John tells of a different case. Yet
the simple fact of similarity of some details in two events should not
exclude the possibility of their still being quite distinct. The reception
which Jesus gave the two requests for help is very different, and the case
reported in John is in keeping with the attitude of Jesus before he began
his new ministry in Galilee. On his arrival in Galilee he wished to avoid
a mere wonder faith begotten of the enthusiasm he excited in Jerusalem,
yet this wish yielded at once when a genuine need sought relief at his

124. The apparent result of this first activity in Judea was
disappointment and failure. He had won no considerable following in the
capital. He had definitely excited the jealousy and opposition of the
leading men of his nation. Even such popular enthusiasm as had followed
his mighty works was of a sort that Jesus could not encourage. The
situation in Judea had at length become so nearly untenable that he
decided to withdraw into seclusion in Galilee, where, as a prophet, he
could be "without honor." He had gone to Jerusalem eager to begin there,
where God should have had readiest service, the ministry of the kingdom of
God. Challenge, cold criticism, and superficial faith were the results. A
new beginning must be made on other lines in other places. Meanwhile Jesus
retired to his home and his followers to theirs.

Outline of Events in the Galilean Ministry (Chapters III. And IV.)

The imprisonment of John and the withdrawal of Jesus into
Galilee--Matt. iv. 12-17; Mark i. 14, 15; Luke iv. 14, 15.

Removal from Nazareth to Capernaum--Matt. iv. 13-16; Luke iv. 31.

The call of Simon and Andrew, James and John--Matt. iv. 18-22; Mark i.
16-20; Luke v. 1-11.

First work in Capernaum--Matt. viii. 14-17; Mark i. 21-34; Luke iv.

First circuit of Galilee--Matt. iv. 23; viii. 2-4; Mark i. 35-45; Luke
iv. 42-44; v. 12-16.

Cure of a paralytic in Capernaum--Matt. ix. 2-8; Mark ii. 1-12; Luke v.

The call of Matthew--Matt. ix. 9-13; Mark ii. 13-17; Luke v. 27-32.

? The question about fasting--Matt ix. 14-17; Mark ii. 18-22; Luke v.
33-39 (see sects. 47; A 54).

? Sabbath cure at Jerusalem at the unnamed feast--John v. 1-47 (see
sect. A 53).

? The Sabbath controversy in the Galilean grain fields--Matt. xii. 1-8;
Mark ii. 23-28; Luke vi. 1-5 (see sects. 47; A 54).

? Another Sabbath controversy: cure of a withered hand--Matt. xii.
9-14; Mark iii. 1-6; Luke vi. 6-11 (see sects. 47; A 54).

Jesus followed by multitudes from all parts--Matt. iv. 23-25; xii.
15-21; Mark iii. 7-12; Luke vi. 17-19.

The choosing of the twelve--Matt. x. 2-4; Mark iii. 13-19; Luke vi.

The sermon on the mount--Matt. v. 1 to viii. 1; Luke vi. 20 to vii. 1
(see sect. A 55).

The cure of a centurion's servant--Matt. viii. 5-13; Luke vii. 1-10;
John iv. 46-54.

The restoration of the widow's son at Nain--Luke vii. 11-17.

The message from John in prison--Matt. xi. 2-19; Luke vii. 18-35.

The anointing of Jesus by a sinful woman--Luke vii. 36-50.

The companions of Jesus on his second circuit of Galilee--Luke viii.

Cure of a demoniac in Capernaum and blasphemy by the Pharisees--Matt.
xii. 22-45; Mark iii. 19^a-30; Luke xi. 14-36.

The true kindred of Jesus--Matt. xii. 46-50; Mark iii. 31-35; Luke
viii. 19-21.

The parables by the sea--Matt. xiii. 1-53; Mark iv. 1-34; Luke viii.
4-18 (see sect. A 56).

The tempest stilled--Matt. viii. 18, 23-27; Mark iv. 35-41; Luke viii.

Cure of the Gadarene demoniac--Matt. viii. 28-34; Mark v. 1-20; Luke
viii. 26-39.

The restoration of the daughter of Jairus and cure of an invalid
woman--Matt. ix. 1, 18-26; Mark v. 21-43; Luke viii. 40-56.

Cure of blind and dumb--Matt. ix. 27-34.

Rejection at Nazareth--Matt. xiii. 54-58; Mark vi. 1-6^a; Luke iv.
16-30 (see sect. A 52).

Third circuit of Galilee--Matt. ix. 35; Mark vi. 6^b.

The mission of the twelve--Matt. ix. 36 to xi. 1; Mark vi. 7-13; Luke
ix. 1-6 (see sect. A 57).

The death of John the Baptist--Matt. xiv. 1-12; Mark vi. 14-29; Luke
ix. 7-9.

Withdrawal of Jesus across the sea and feeding of the five
thousand--Matt. xiv. 13-23; Mark vi. 30-46; Luke ix. 10-17; John vi.

Return to Capernaum, Jesus walking on the water--Matt. xiv. 24-36; Mark
vi. 47-56; John vi. 16-21.

Teaching about the Bread of Life in the synagogue at Capernaum--John
vi. 22-71 (see sect. A 59).

Controversy concerning tradition: handwashing, etc.--Matt. xv. 1-20;
Mark vii. 1-23.

Withdrawal to regions of Tyre and Sidon: the Syrophoenician woman's
daughter--Matt. xv. 21-28; Mark vii. 24-30.

Return through Decapolis--Matt. xv. 29-31; Mark vii. 31-37.

? The feeding of the four thousand--Matt. xv. 32-38; Mark viii. 1-9
(see sect. A 58).

Pharisaic challenge in Galilee, and warning against the leaven of the
Pharisees--Matt xv. 39 to xvi. 12; Mark viii. 10-21.

Cure of blind man near Bethsaida--Mark viii. 22-26.

Peter's confession of Jesus as Christ near Caesarea Philippi--Matt. xvi.
13-20; Mark viii. 27-30; Luke ix. 18-21.

The new lesson, that the Christ must die--Matt. xvi. 21-28; Mark viii.
31 to ix. 1; Luke ix. 22-27.

The transfiguration--Matt. xvii. 1-13; Mark ix. 2-13; Luke ix. 28-36.

Cure of the epileptic boy--Matt. xvii. 14-20; Mark ix. 14-29; Luke ix.

Second prediction of approaching death and resurrection--Matt. xvii.
22, 23; Mark ix. 30-32; Luke ix. 43^b-45.

Return to Capernaum: the temple tax--Matt. xvii. 24-27; Mark ix. 33^a.

Teachings concerning humility and forgiveness--Matt. xviii. 1-35; Mark
ix. 33-50; Luke ix. 46-50.

Visit of Jesus to Jerusalem at the feast of Tabernacles--John vii.
1-52; viii. 12-59 (see sect. A 60).

? The woman taken in adultery--John vii. 53 to viii. 11 (see sect.

The following probably belong to the Galilean ministry before the
confession at Caesarea Philippi (see sect. 168):--

The disciples taught to pray--Matt. vi. 9-15; vii. 7-11; Luke xi. 1-13.

The cure of an infirm woman on the Sabbath--Luke xiii. 10-17.

Two parables: mustard-seed and leaven--Matt. xiii. 31-33; Luke xiii.
18-21 (see sect. A 56).

The parable of the rich fool--Luke xii. 13-21.

Cure on a Sabbath and teaching at a Pharisee's table--Luke xiv. 1-24.

Five parables--Luke xv. 1 to xvi. 31.

Certain disconnected teachings--Luke xvii. 1-4.


The Ministry In Galilee--its Aim And Method

125. The work of Jesus in Galilee, which is the principal theme of the
first three gospels, began with a removal from Nazareth to Capernaum, and
the calling of four fishermen to be his constant followers. The ready
obedience which Simon and Andrew and James and John gave to this call is
an interesting evidence that they did not first come to know Jesus at the
time of this summons. The narrative presupposes some such earlier
association as is reported in John, followed by a temporary return to
their old homes and occupations, while Jesus sought seclusion after his
work in Judea. The first evangelist has most vividly indicated the
development of the Galilean ministry, directing attention to two points of
beginning,--the beginning of Jesus' preaching of the kingdom (Matt. iv.
17) and the beginning of his predictions of his own sufferings and death
(xvi. 21). Between these two beginnings lies the ministry of Jesus to the
enthusiastic multitudes, the second of them marking his choice of a more
restricted audience and a less popular message. Within the first of these
periods two events mark epochs,--the mission of the twelve (Matt. ix. 36;
x. I) to preach the coming kingdom of God and to multiply Jesus' ministry
of healing, and the feeding of the five thousand when the popular
enthusiasm reached its climax (John vi. 14, 15). These events fall not
far apart, and mark two different phases of the same stage of development
in his work. The first is emphasized by Matthew, the second by John; both
help to a clearer understanding of the narrative which Mark has furnished
to the other gospels for their story of the Galilean ministry. The table
at the head of this chapter indicates in outline the probable succession
of events in the Galilean period. The order adopted is that of Mark,
supplemented by the other gospels. Luke's additions are inserted in his
order where there is not some reason for believing that he himself
disregarded the exact sequence of events. Thus the rejection at Nazareth
is placed late, as in Mark. Much of the material in the long section
peculiar to Luke is assigned in general to this Galilean period, since all
knowledge of its precise location in time and place has been lost for us,
as it not unlikely was for Luke. Although Matthew is the gospel giving the
clearest general view of the Galilean work, it shows the greatest
disarrangement of details, and aids but little in determining the sequence
of events. The material from that gospel is assigned place in accordance
with such hints as are discoverable in parallel or associated parts of
Mark or Luke. Of John's contributions one--the feeding of the
multitudes--is clearly located by its identity with a narrative found in
all the other gospels. The visit to Jerusalem at the unnamed feast can be
only tentatively placed.

126. Viewing this gospel story as a whole, the parallel development of
popular enthusiasm and official hostility at once attracts attention.
Jesus' first cures in the synagogue at Capernaum roused the interest and
wonder of the multitudes to such an extent that he felt constrained to
withdraw to other towns. On his return to Capernaum he was so beset with
crowds that the friends of the paralytic could get at him only by breaking
up the roof. It was when Jesus found himself followed by multitudes from
all parts of the land that he selected twelve of his disciples "that they
might be with him and that he might send them forth to preach," and
addressed to them in the hearing of the multitudes the exacting, although
unspeakably winsome teaching of the sermon on the mount. This condition of
things continued even after Herod had killed John the Baptist, for when
Jesus, having heard of John's fate, sought retirement with his disciples
across the sea of Galilee, he was robbed of his seclusion by throngs who
flocked to him to be healed and to hear of the kingdom of God.

127. The popular enthusiasm was not indifferent to the question who this
new teacher might be. At first Jesus impressed the people by his
authoritative teaching and cures. After the raising of the widow's son at
Nain the popular feeling found a more definite declaration,--"a great
prophet has risen up among us." The cure of a demoniac in Capernaum raised
the further incredulous query, "Can this be the Son of David?" The notion
that he might be the Messiah seems to have gained acceptance more and more
as Jesus' popularity grew, for at the time of the feeding of the
multitudes the enthusiasm burst into a flame of determination to force him
to undertake the work for which he was so eminently fitted, but from which
for some inexplicable reason he seemed to shrink (John vi. 15).

128. Parallel with the growth of popular enthusiasm, and in part because
of it, the religious leaders early assumed and consistently maintained an
attitude of opposition. The gospels connect the critics of Jesus now and
again with the Pharisees of the capital--the Galilean Pharisees being
represented as more or less friendly. At the first appearance of Jesus in
Capernaum even the Sabbath cure in the synagogue passed unchallenged; but
on the return from his first excursion to other towns, Jesus found critics
in his audience (Luke connects them directly with Jerusalem). From time to
time such censors as these objected to the forgiveness by Jesus of the
sins of the paralytic (Mark ii. 6, 7), criticised his social relations
with outcasts like the publicans (Mark ii. 16), took offence at his
carelessness of the Sabbath tradition in his instruction of his disciples
(Mark ii. 24), and sought to turn the tide of rising popular enthusiasm by
ascribing his power to cure to a league with the devil (Mark iii. 22).
Baffled in one charge, they would turn to another, until, after the
feeding of the multitudes, Jesus showed his complete disregard of all they
held most dear, replying to a criticism of his disciples for carelessness
of the ritual of hand-washing by an authoritative setting aside of the
whole body of their traditions, as well as of the Levitical ceremonial of
clean and unclean meats (Mark vii. 1-23).

129. The wonder is, not that popular enthusiasm for Jesus was great, but
that it was so hesitating in its judgment about him. The province which
provided a following to Judas of Galilee a generation earlier than the
public ministry of Jesus, and which under John of Gischala furnished the
chief support to the revolt against Rome a generation later, could have
been excited to uncontrollable passion by the simple idea that a leader
was present who could be made to head a movement for Jewish liberty. But
there was something about Jesus which made it impossible to think of him
as such a Messiah. He was much more moved by sin lurking within than by
wrong inflicted from without. He looked for God's kingdom, as did the
Zealots, but he looked for it within the heart more than in outward
circumstances. Even the dreamers among the people, who were as unready as
Jesus for any uprising against Rome, and who waited for God to show his
own hand in judgment, found in Jesus--come to seek and to save that which
was lost--something so contradictory of their idea of the celestial judge
that they could not easily think of him as a Messiah. Jesus was a puzzle
to the people. They were sure that he was a prophet; but if at any time
some were tempted to query, "Can this be the Son of David?" the
incredulous folk expected ever a negative reply.

130. This was as Jesus wished it to be. An unreasoning enthusiasm could
only hinder his work. When his early cures in Capernaum stirred the ardent
feelings of the multitudes, he took occasion to withdraw to other towns
and allow popular feeling to cool. When later he found himself pressed
upon by crowds from all quarters of the land, by the sermon on the mount
he set them thinking on strange and highly spiritual things, far removed
from the thoughts of Zealots and apocalyptic dreamers.

131. The manifest contradiction of popular Messianic ideas which Jesus
presented in his own person usually served to check undue ardor as long
as he was present. But when some demoniac proclaimed the high station of
Jesus, and thus seemed to the people to give supernatural testimony; or
when some one in need sought him apart from the multitudes, Jesus
frequently enjoined silence. These injunctions of silence are enigmas
until they are viewed as a part of Jesus' effort to keep control of
popular feeling. In his absence the people might dwell on his power and
easily come to imagine him to be what he was not and could not be. Jesus
was able by these means to restrain unthinking enthusiasm until the
multitudes whom he fed on the east side of the sea determined to force him
to do their will as a Messiah. Then he refused to follow where they
called, and that happened which would doubtless have happened at an
earlier time but for Jesus' caution,--the popular enthusiasm subsided, and
his active work with the common people was at an end. But he had held off
this crisis until there were a few who did not follow the popular
defection, but rather clung to him from whom they had heard the words of
eternal life (John vi. 68).

132. Jesus' caution brings to light one aspect of his aim in the Galilean
ministry,--he sought to win acceptance for the truth he proclaimed. His
message as reported in the synoptic gospels was the near approach of the
kingdom of God. Any such proclamation was sure of eager hearing. At first
he seems to have been content to gather and interest the multitudes by
this preaching and the works which accompanied it. But he early took
occasion to state his ideas in the hearing of the multitudes, and in terms
so simple, so concerned with every-day life, so exacting as respects
conduct, and so lacking in the customary glowing picture of the future,
that the people could not mistake such a teacher for a simple fulfiller of
their ideas. In this early sermon in effect, and later with increasing
plainness, he set forth his doctrine of a kingdom of heaven coming not
with observation, present actually among a people who knew it not, like a
seed growing secretly in the earth, or leaven quietly leavening a lump of
meal. By word and deed, in sermon and by parable, he insisted on this
simple and every-day conception of God's rule among men. With Pharisee,
Zealot, and dreamer, he held that "the best is yet to be," yet all three
classes found their most cherished ideals set at nought by the new
champion of the soul's inner life in fellowship with the living God. In
all his teaching there was a claim of authority and a manifest
independence which indicate certainty on his part concerning his own
mission. Yet so completely is the personal question retired for the time,
that in his rebuke of the blasphemy of the Pharisees he took pains to
declare that it was not because they had spoken against the Son of Man,
that they were in danger, but because they had spoken against the Spirit
of God, whose presence was manifest in his works. He wished, primarily, to
win disciples to the kingdom of God.

133. Yet Jesus was not indifferent in Galilee to what the people thought
about himself. The question at Caesarea Philippi shows more fully the aim
of his ministry. During all the period of the preaching of the kingdom he
never hesitated to assert himself whenever need for such self-assertion
arose. This was evident in his dealing with his pharisaic critics. He
rarely argued with them, and always assumed a tone of authority which was
above challenge, asserting that the Son of Man had authority to forgive
sins, was lord of the Sabbath, was greater than the temple or Jonah or
Solomon. Moreover, in his positive teaching of the new truth he assumed
such an authoritative tone that any who thought upon it could but remark
the extraordinary claim involved in his simple "I say unto you." He wished
also to win disciples to himself.

134. The key to the ministry in Galilee is furnished in Jesus' answer to
the message from John the Baptist. John in prison had heard of the works
of his successor. Jesus did so much that promised a fulfilment of the
Messianic hope, yet left so much undone, contradicting in so many ways the
current idea of a Messiah by his studied avoidance of any demonstration,
that the older prophet felt a momentary doubt of the correctness of his
earlier conviction. It is in no way strange that he experienced a reaction
from that exalted moment of insight when he pointed out Jesus as the Lamb
of God, particularly after his restless activity had been caged within the
walls of his prison. Jesus showed that he did not count it strange, by his
treatment of John's quesestion and by his words about John after the
messengers had gone. Yet in his reply he gently suggested that the
question already had its answer if John would but look rightly for it. He
simply referred to the things that were being done before the eyes of all,
and asked John to form from them a conclusion concerning him who did them.
One aid he offered to the imprisoned prophet,--a word from the Book of
Isaiah (xxxv. 5f., lxi. 1f.),--and added a blessing for such as "should
find nothing to stumble at in him." Here Jesus emphasized his works, and
allowed his message to speak for itself; but he frankly indicated that he
expected people to pass from wonder at his ministry to an opinion about
himself. At Caesarea Philippi he showed to his disciples that this opinion
about himself was the significant thing in his eyes. Throughout the
ministry in Galilee, therefore, this twofold aim appears. Jesus would
first divert attention from himself to his message, in order that he might
win disciples to the kingdom of God as he conceived it. Having so attached
them to his idea of the kingdom, he desired to be recognized as that
kingdom's prince, the Messiah promised by God for his people. He retired
behind his message in order that men might be drawn to the truth which he
held dear, knowing that thus they would find themselves led captive to
himself in a willing devotion.

135. This aim explains his retirement when popularity pressed, his
exacting teaching about the spirituality of the kingdom of God, and his
injunctions of silence. He wished to be known, to be thought about, to be
accepted as God's anointed, but he would have this only by a genuine
surrender to his leadership. His disciples must own him master and follow
him, however much he might disappoint their misconceptions. This aim, too,
explains his frank self-assertions and exalted personal claims in
opposition to official criticism. He would not be false to his own sense
of masterhood, nor allow people to think him bold when his critics were
away, and cowardly in their presence. Therefore, when needful, he invited
attention to himself as greater than the temple or as lord of the
Sabbath. This kind of self-assertion, however, served his purpose as well
as his customary self-retirement, for it forced people to face the
contradiction which he offered to the accepted religious ideas of their

136. The method which Jesus chose has already been repeatedly
indicated,--teaching and preaching on the one hand, and works of
helpfulness to men on the other. The character of the teaching of this
period is shown in three discourses,--the Sermon on the Mount, the
Discourse in Parables, and the Instructions to the Twelve. The sermon on
the mount is given in different forms in Matthew and Luke, that in Matthew
being evidently the more complete, even after deduction has been made of
those parts which Luke has assigned with high probability to a later time.
This address was spoken to the disciples of Jesus found among the
multitudes who flocked to him from all quarters. It opened with words of
congratulation for those who, characterized by qualities often despised,
were yet heirs of God's kingdom. The thought then passed to the
responsibility of such heirs of the kingdom for the help of a needy world.
Next, since much in the words and works of Jesus hitherto might have
suggested to men that he was indifferent to the older religion of his
people, he carefully explained that he came, not to set aside the old, but
to realize the spiritual idea for which it stood, by establishing a more
exacting standard of righteousness. This more exacting righteousness Jesus
illustrated by a series of restatements of the older law, and then by a
group of criticisms of current religious practice. The sermon closed with
warnings against complacent censoriousness in judging other men's
failures, and a solemn declaration of the vital seriousness of "these
sayings of mine." The righteousness required by this new law is not only
more exacting but unspeakably worthier than the old, being more simply
manifested in common life, and demanding more intimate filial fellowship
with the living God.

137. The teachings included in the sermon by the first gospel, but placed
later by Luke, supplement the sermon by bidding God's child to lead a
trustful life, knowing that the heavenly Father cares for him. That Luke
has omitted much which from Matthew's account clearly belonged to the
original sermon may be explained by the fact that Gentile readers did not
share the interest which Jesus' hearers had, and which the readers of the
first gospel had, in the relation of the new gospel to the older law.
Hence the restatement of older commands and the criticism of current
practice was omitted. Similar to the teachings which the first gospel has
included in the sermon, are many which Luke has preserved in the section
peculiar to himself. It is not unlikely that they belong also to the
Galilean ministry. They urge the same sincere, reverent life in the sight
of God, the same trust in the heavenly Father, the same certainty of his
love and care; and they do not have that peculiar note of impending
judgment which entered into the teachings of Jesus after the confession at
Caesarea Philippi.

138. In the story of Mark, which is reproduced in the first and third
gospels, the use of parable was first introduced in a way to attract the
attention of the disciples, after pharisaic opposition to Jesus had become
somewhat bitter and there was need of checking a too speedy culmination
of opposition. He chose at that time a form of parable which was enigmatic
to his disciples, and could but further puzzle hearers who had no sympathy
with him and his message. Mark (iv. 12) states that this perplexity was in
accordance with the purpose of Jesus. But it is equally clear that Jesus
meant to teach the teachable as well as to perplex the critical by these
illustrations, for in explaining the Sower he suggested that the disciples
should have understood it without explanation (Mark iv. 13). Many of
Jesus' parables, however, had no such enigmatic character, but were
intended simply to help his hearers to understand him. He made use of this
kind of teaching from first to last. The pictures of the wise and foolish
builders with which the sermon on the mount concludes show that it was not
the use of illustration which surprised the disciples in the parables
associated with the Sower, but his use of such puzzling illustrations.
Some of the parables of Luke's peculiar section may belong to the Galilean
ministry, and even to the earlier stages of it. These have none of the
enigmatic character; the parables of the last days of Jesus' life also
seem to have been simple and clear to his hearers. The Oriental mind
prefers the concrete to the abstract, and its teachers have ever made
large use of illustration. Jesus stands unique, not in that he used
parables, but in the simplicity and effective beauty of those which he
used. These illustrations, whether Jesus intended them for the moment to
enlighten or to confound, served always to set forth concretely some truth
concerning the relation of men to God, or concerning his kingdom and their
relation to it. The form of teaching was welcome to his hearers, and
served as one of the attractions to draw men to him.

139. The first gospel assigns another extended discourse to this Galilean
period,--the Instructions to the Twelve. The mission of the twelve formed
a new departure as Jesus saw the Galilean crisis approaching. He sought
thereby to multiply his own work, and commissioned his disciples to heal
and preach as he was doing. The restriction of their field to Israel
(Matt. x. 5, 6) simply applied to them the rule he adopted for himself
during the Galilean period (Matt. xv. 24). Comparison with the accounts in
Mark and Luke, as well as the character of the instructions found in
Matthew, show that here the first evangelist has followed his habit of
gathering together teachings on the same general theme from different
periods in Jesus' life. Much in the tenth chapter of Matthew indicates
clearly that the ministry of Jesus had already passed the period of
popularity, and that his disciples could now look for little but scorn and
persecution. This was the situation at the end of Jesus' public life, and
parallel sayings are found in the record of the last week in Jerusalem.

140. When the teaching of the sermon and the parables is compared with
Jesus' self-assertion in his replies to pharisaic criticism and blasphemy,
the difference is striking. Ordinarily he avoided calling attention to
himself, wishing men to form their opinion of him after they had learned
to know him as he was. Yet when one looks beneath the surface of his
teaching, the tone of authority which astonished the multitudes is
identical with the calm self-confidence which replied to pharisaic
censure: "The Son of Man hath authority on the earth to forgive sins."

141. Jesus drew the multitudes after him not only by his teachings, but
also by his mighty works. He certainly was for his contemporaries a
wonder-worker and healer of disease, and, in order to appreciate the
impression which he made, the miracles recorded in the gospels must be
allowed to reveal what they can of his character. The mighty works which
enchained attention in Galilee were chiefly cures of disease, with
occasional exhibitions of power over physical nature,--such as the
stilling of the tempest and the feeding of the five thousand. The
significant thing about them is their uniform beneficence of purpose and
simplicity of method. Nothing of the spectacular attached itself to them.
Jesus repeatedly refused to the critical Pharisees a sign from heaven.
This was not because he disregarded the importance of signs for his
generation,--witness his appeal to his works in the reply to John (Matt.
xi. 4-6); but he felt that in his customary ministry to the needy
multitudes he had furnished signs in abundance, for his deeds both gave
evidence of heavenly power and revealed the character of the Father who
had sent him.

142. One of the commonest of the ailments cured by Jesus is described in
the gospels as demoniac possession, the popular idea being that evil
spirits were accustomed to take up their abode in men, speaking with their
tongues and acting through their bodies, at the same time afflicting them
with various physical diseases. Six specific cures of such possession are
recorded in the story of the Galilean ministry, besides general references
to the cure of many that were possessed. Of these specific cases the
Gadarene demoniac shows symptoms of violent insanity; the boy cured near
Caesarea Philippi, those of epilepsy; in other cases the disease was more
local, showing itself in deafness, or blindness, or both. In the cures
recorded Jesus addressed the possessed with a command to the invading
demon to depart. He was ordinarily greeted, either before or after such a
command, with a loud outcry, often accompanied with a recognition of him
as God's Holy One.

143. The record of such maladies and their cure is not confined to the New
Testament. The evil spirit which came upon King Saul is a similar case,
and Josephus tells of Jewish exorcists who cured possessed persons by the
use of incantations handed down from King Solomon. The early Christian
fathers frequently argued the truth of Christianity from the way in which
demons departed at the command of Christian exorcists, while in the middle
ages and down to modern times belief in demoniac possession has been
common, particularly among some of the more superstitious of the peasantry
in Europe. Moreover, from missionaries in China and other eastern lands it
is learned that diseases closely resembling the cases of possession
recorded in the New Testament are frequently met with, and are often cured
by native Christian ministers.

144. The similarity of the symptoms of so-called possession to recognized
mental and physical derangements such as insanity, epilepsy, and hysteria,
suggests the conclusion that possession should be classed with other
ailments due to ill adjustment of the relations of the mental and physical
life. If this conclusion is valid, the idea of actual possession by evil
spirits becomes only an ancient effort to interpret the mysterious
symptoms in accordance with wide-spread primitive beliefs. This
explanation would doubtless be generally adopted were it not that it seems
to compromise either the integrity or the knowledge of Jesus. The gospels
plainly represent him as treating the supposed demoniac influence as real,
addressing in his cures not the invalid, but the invading demon. If he did
this knowing that the whole view was a superstition, was he true to his
mission to release mankind from its bondage to evil and sin? If he shared
the superstition of his time, had he the complete knowledge necessary to
make him the deliverer he claimed to be? These questions are serious and
difficult, but they form a part of the general problem of the extent of
Jesus' knowledge, and can be more intelligently discussed in connection
with that whole problem (sects. 249-251). It is reasonable to demand,
however, that any conclusion reached concerning the nature of possession
in the time of Jesus must be considered valid for similar manifestations
of disease in our own day.

145. What astonished people in Jesus' cures was not so much that he healed
the sick as that he did it with such evidence of personal authority. His
cures and his teachings alike served to attract attention to himself and
to invite question as to who he could be. Yet a far more powerful means to
the end he had in view was the subtle, unobtrusive, personal influence
which without their knowledge knit the hearts of a few to himself. In
reality both his teaching and his cures were only means of
self-disclosure. His permanent work during this Galilean period was the
winning of personal friends. His chief agency in accomplishing his work
was what Renan somewhat too romantically has called his "charm." It was
that in him which drew to his side and kept with him the fishermen of
Galilee and the publican of Capernaum, during months of constant
disappointment of their preconceived religious ideas and Messianic hopes;
it was that which won the confidence of the woman who was a sinner, and
the constant devotion of Mary Magdalene and Susanna and the others who
followed him "and ministered to him of their substance." The outstanding
wonder of early Christianity is the complete transformation not only of
life but of established religious ideas by the personal impress of Jesus
on a Peter, a John, and a Paul. The secret of the new element of the
Christian religion--salvation through personal attachment to Jesus
Christ--is simply this personal power of the man of Nazareth. The
multitudes followed because they saw wonderful works or heard wonderful
words; many because they hoped at length to find in the new prophet the
champion of their hopes in deliverance from Roman bondage. But these
sooner or later fell away, disappointed in their desire to use the new
leader for their own ends. It was only because from out the multitudes
there were a few who could answer, "To whom shall we go? thou hast the
words of eternal life," when Jesus asked, "Will ye also go away?" that the
work in Galilee did not end in complete failure. These few had felt his
personal power, and they became the nucleus of a new religion of love to a
personal Saviour.

146. The test of the personal attachment of the few came shortly after the
execution of John the Baptist by Antipas. Word of this tragedy was
brought to Jesus by John's disciples about the time that he and the twelve
returned to Capernaum from their tour of preaching. At the suggestion of
Jesus they withdrew to the eastern side of the lake in search of rest. It
is not unlikely that the little company also wished to avoid for the time
the territory of the tyrant who had just put John to death, for Jesus was
not yet ready for the crisis of his own life. Such a desire for seclusion
would be intensified by the continued impetuous enthusiasm of the
multitudes who flocked about him again in Capernaum. In fact, so insistent
was their interest in Jesus that they would not allow him the quiet he
sought, but followed around the lake in great numbers when they learned
that he had taken ship for the other side. He who came not to be
ministered unto but to minister could not repel the crowds who came to
him, and he at once "welcomed them, and spake to them of the kingdom of
God, and them that had need of healing he healed" (Luke ix. 11). The day
having passed in this ministry, he multiplied the small store of bread and
fish brought by his disciples in order to feed the weary people. This work
of power seemed to some among the multitudes to be the last thing needed
to prove that Jesus was to be their promised deliverer, and they "were
about to come and take him by force and make him king" (John vi. 15), when
he withdrew from them and spent the night in prayer.

147. This sudden determination on the part of the multitudes to force the
hand of Jesus was probably due to the prevalence of an idea, found also in
the later rabbinic writers, that the Messiah should feed his people as
Moses had provided them manna in the desert. The rebuff which Jesus
quietly gave them did not cool their ardor, until on the following day, in
the synagogue in Capernaum, he plainly taught them that they had quite
missed the significance of his miracle. They thought of loaves and
material sustenance. He would have had them find in these a sign that he
could also supply their spirits' need, and he insisted that this, and this
alone, was his actual mission. From the first the popular enthusiasm had
had to ignore many contradictions of its cherished notions. But his power
and the indescribable force of his personality had served hitherto to hold
them to a hope that he would soon discard the perplexing role which he had
chosen for the time to assume, and take up avowedly the proper work of the
Messiah. This last refusal to accept what seemed to them to be his evident
duty caused a revulsion in the popular feeling, and "many of his disciples
turned back and walked no more with him" (John vi. 66). The time of
sifting had come. Jesus had known that such a rash determination to make
him king was possible to the Galilean multitudes, and that whenever it
should come it must be followed by a disillusionment. Now the open
ministry had run its course. As the multitudes were turning back and
walking no more with him, he turned to the twelve with the question, "Will
ye also go away?" and found that with them his method had borne fruit.
They clung to him in spite of disillusionment, for in him they had found
what was better than their preconceptions.

148. It is the fourth gospel that shows clearly the critical significance
of this event. The others tell nothing of the sudden determination of the
multitude, nor of the revulsion of feeling that followed Jesus' refusal to
yield to their will. Yet these other gospels indicate in their narratives
that from this time on Jesus avoided the scenes of his former labors, and
show that when from time to time he returned to the neighborhood of
Capernaum he was met by such a spirit of hostility that he withdrew again
immediately to regions where he and his disciples could have time for
quiet intercourse.

149. The months of toil in Galilee show results hardly more significant
than the grain of mustard seed or the little leaven. Popular enthusiasm
had risen, increased, reached its climax, and waned. Official opposition
had early been aroused, and had continued with a steadily deepened
intensity. The wonderful teaching with authority, and the signs wrought on
them that were sick, had been as seed sown by the wayside or in thorny or
in stony ground, except for the little handful of hearers who had felt the
personal power of Jesus and had surrendered to it, ready henceforth to
follow where he should lead, whether or not it should be in a path of
their choice. These, however, were the proof that those months had been a
time of rewarded toil.


The Ministry in Galilee--The New Lesson

150. With the crisis in Capernaum the ministry in Galilee may be said in
one sense to have come to an end. Yet Jesus did not immediately go up to
Jerusalem. Once and again he was found in or near Capernaum, while the
time between these visits was spent in regions to the north and northwest.
In fact, the disciples were far from ready for the trial their loyalty was
to meet before they had seen the end of the opposition to their Lord. The
time intervening between the collapse of popularity and Jesus' final
departure from Galilee may well be thought of, then, as a time of further
discipline of the faith of his followers and of added instruction
concerning the truth for which their Master stood. The length of this
supplementary period in Galilee is not definitely known. It extended from
the Passover to about the feast of Tabernacles (April to October, see John
vi. 4 and vii. 2). The record of what Jesus did and said in this time is
meagre, only enough being reported to show that it was a time of repeated
withdrawals from Galilee and of private instruction for the disciples.

151. The disciples were trained in faith by further exhibitions of the
complete break between their Master and the leaders of the people. This
break appeared most clearly, soon after the feeding of the multitudes, in
his reply to a criticism of the disciples for disregard of pharisaic
traditions concerning hand-washing (Mark vii. 1-23). The critics insisted
on the sacredness of their traditions. Jesus in reply scored them for
disregard for the plain demands of God's law, and with a word freed men
from bondage to the whole ritual of ceremonial cleanness and uncleanness
(Mark vii. 19), thus attacking Judaism in its citadel.

152. It was immediately after this that he withdrew with his disciples to
the regions of Tyre. On his return a little later to the west side of the
sea of Galilee he was met by hostile Pharisees with a demand for a sign
(Mark viii. 11-13), and after refusing to satisfy the unbelieving
challenge,--signs in plenty having been before their eyes since the
opening of his work among them,--he and his disciples withdrew again from
Galilee towards Caesarea Philippi. As they went on their way, Jesus
distinctly warned them against the influence of their leaders, religious
and political (Mark viii. 14f.). So far as our records tell us Jesus was
but once again in Capernaum. Then he was met with the demand that he pay
the temple tax (Matt. xvii. 24-27). This tax was usually collected just
before the Passover. As this last visit to Capernaum was probably not far
from the feast of Tabernacles, Jesus seems to have been in arrears. This
may have been due to his absence from Capernaum at the time of the
collection. The prompt answer of Peter may indicate that he knew that in
other years Jesus had paid this tax, as it is altogether probable that he
did. The question, however, implies official suspicion that Jesus was
seeking to evade payment, and exhibits further the straining of the
relations between him and the Jewish leaders. The conversation of Jesus
with Peter served to show his clear consciousness of superiority, and was
a further summons to the disciples to choose between him and his

153. Within the limits of the Holy Land the faith of the disciples had
been constantly tested by the increasing opposition between their master
and their old leaders. When the little company withdrew to Gentile
regions, however, Jesus had regard for their Jewish feeling. The time
would come when he would send them forth to make disciples of all the
nations. For the present he made it his business to nurture their faith in
him, and when appealed to for help by one of these foreigners, he refused
to "take the children's bread and cast it to the dogs" (Mark vii. 27).
Jesus had assumed a different attitude to the Samaritans before the
opening of his work in Galilee, and in general had shown ready sympathy
for all in distress. In fact it seems as if he welcomed the Syrophoenician
woman's great faith with a feeling of relief from a restriction that he
had felt it wise to adopt for his work in Phoenicia. It appears from his
later attitude in the Gentile regions of the Decapolis (Mark vii. 31-37;
Matt. xv. 21-31) that, having once shown his regard for the limitations of
his disciples' faith in the case of the Syrophoenician, he felt no longer
obliged to check his natural readiness to help the needy who sought him
out. Although in one instance, for reasons no longer known to us, Jesus
charged a man whom he had cured to keep it secret (Mark vii. 32-37), in
general his work in these heathen regions seems, after the visit to
Phoenicia, to have been quite unrestrained, and to have produced the same
enthusiasm that had earlier brought the multitudes to him in Galilee (Mark
viii. 1f.).

154. This continued activity of healing must have served greatly to
strengthen the determination of the disciples to cling to Jesus, let the
leaders say what they would. We can only conjecture what various teachings
filled the days, and what personal fellowship the disciples had with him
who spake as never man spake. There was need for advance in the faith of
these loyal friends. Their enthusiastic declaration when the multitudes
turned away could easily have been followed by reaction. Each new
exhibition of the irrevocableness of the break between Jesus and the
leaders was a severe test of their loyalty. These weeks of withdrawal were
doubtless filled, therefore, with new proofs that Jesus had the words of
eternal life.

155. Before he put to his disciples the crucial question, he who knew what
was in man (John ii. 25) was confident that they were ready for it. It was
after the rebuff in Galilee, when the unbelieving Pharisees had again
demanded a sign of his authority, and after he had definitely warned the
disciples against the influence of their leaders, that Jesus led his
little company far to the north towards the slopes of Hermon. There, near
the recently built Caesarea Philippi, Jesus plainly asked his disciples
what the people thought of him (Mark viii. 27-30). We have seen how
gradually sentiment in Galilee concerning the new teacher crystallized
until, from thinking him a prophet, the people, first timidly, then
boldly, concluded that such a teacher and worker of signs must be the
promised king. We have seen also how the popular estimate changed when
Jesus refused to be guided by the popular will. Now, after the lapse of a
few weeks, in answer to his inquiry concerning the common opinion of him,
he is told that the people look on him as a prophet, in whom the spirit of
the men of old had been revived; but not a whisper remains of the former
readiness to hail him as the Messiah. It was in the face of such a
definite revulsion in the popular feeling, in the face, too, of the
increasing hostility of all the great in the nation, that Peter answered
for the twelve that they believed Jesus to be the Messiah, God's appointed
Deliverer of his people (Matt. xvi. 16 ff.). In form this confession was
no more than Nathanael had rendered on his first meeting with Jesus (John
i. 49), and was practically the same as the report made by Andrew to Simon
his brother, and by Philip to Nathanael (John i. 41, 45). In both idea and
expression the reply to Jesus' question, "Will ye also go away?" (John vi.
68, 69), was virtually equivalent to this later confession of Peter. Yet
Jesus found in Peter's answer at Caesarea Philippi something so significant
and remarkable that he declared that the faith that could answer thus
could spring only from a heavenly source (Matt. xvi. 17). The early
confessions were in fact no more than expressions of more or less
intelligent expectation that Jesus would fulfil the confessor's hopes. The
confession at Capernaum followed one of Jesus' mightiest exhibitions of
power, and was given before the disciples had had time to consider the
extent of the defection from their Master. Here at Caesarea Philippi,
however, the word was spoken immediately after an acknowledgment that the
people had no more thought of finding in Jesus their Messiah. It was
spoken after the disciples had had repeated evidence of the determined
hostility of the leaders to Jesus. All the disappointment he had given to
their cherished ideas was emphasized by the isolation in which the little
company now found itself. One after another their ideas of how a Messiah
should act and what he should be had received contradiction in what Jesus
was and did. Yet after the weeks of withdrawal from Galilee, Peter could
only in effect assert anew what he had declared at Capernaum,--that Jesus
had the words of eternal life. It was a faith chastened by perplexity, and
taught at length to follow the Lord let him lead where he would. It was an
actual surrender to his mastery over thought and life. Here at length
Jesus had won what he had been seeking during all his work in Galilee,--a
corner-stone on which to build up the new community of the kingdom of God.
Peter was the first to confess openly to this simple surrender to the full
mastery of Jesus. He was the first stone in the foundation of the new
"building of God."

156. In his commendation of Peter Jesus revealed the secret of his method
in the work which, because of this confession, he could now proceed to do
more rapidly. He cuts loose utterly from the method of the scribes. He,
the new teacher, commits to them no body of teaching which they are to
give to others as the key to eternal life. The salvation they are to
preach is a salvation by personal attachment; that is, by faith. The rock
on which he will build his church is personal attachment, faith that is
ready to leave all and follow him. Peter, not the substance of his
confession, was its corner-stone, but Peter, as the first clear confessor
of a faith that is ready to leave all, a faith whose very nature it is to
be contagious, and associate with itself others of "like precious faith."
His faith was as yet meagre, as he showed at once; but it was genuine, the
surrender of his heart to his Lord's guidance and control. This was the
distinctive mark of the new religious life inaugurated by Jesus of

157. If anything were needed to prove that the idea that he was the
Messiah was no new thought to Jesus, it could be found in the new lesson
which he at once began to teach his disciples. The confession of Peter
indicated to him simply that the first stage in his work had been
accomplished. He immediately began to prepare the disciples for the end
which for some time past he had seen to be inevitable. He taught them more
than that his death was inevitable; he declared that it was divinely
necessary that he should be put to death as a result of the hostility of
the Jews to him ("the Son of Man must suffer"). All the contradictions
which he had offered to the Messianic ideas of his disciples paled into
insignificance beside this one. When they saw how he failed to meet the
hopes that were commonly held, they needed only to urge themselves to
patience, expecting that in time he would cast off the strange mask and
take to himself his power and reign. But it was too much for the late
confessed and very genuine faith of Peter to hear that the Messiah must
die. So unthinkable was the idea, that he assumed that Jesus had become
unduly discouraged by the relentlessness of the opposition which had
driven him first out of Judea and later out of Galilee. Accordingly Peter
sought to turn his Master's mind to a brighter prospect, asserting that
his forebodings could not be true. It is hard for us to conceive the chill
of heart which must have followed the glow of his confession when he heard
the stern rebuke of Jesus, who found in Peter's later words the voice of
the Evil One, as before in his confession he had recognized the Spirit of

158. The sternness of Jesus' rebuke escapes extravagance only in view of
the fact that the words of Peter had greatly affected Jesus himself. At
the outset of his public life he had faced the difficulty of doing the
Messiah's work in his Father's way, and had withstood the temptation to
accommodate himself to the ideas of his world, declaring allegiance to God
alone (Matt. iv. 10). Yet once and again in the course of his ministry he
showed that this allegiance cost him much. Luke reports a saying in which
Jesus confessed that, in view of this prospect of death which Peter was
opposing so eagerly, he was greatly "straitened" (xii. 50), and at the
near approach of the end "his soul was exceeding sorrowful" (Mark xiv.
34). It should never be forgotten that Jesus was a Jew, and heir to all
the Messianic ideas of his people. In these, glory, not rejection and
death, was to be the Messiah's portion. That he was always superior to
current expectations is no sign that he did not feel their force. They
quite mistake who find the bitterness of Jesus' "cup" simply in his
physical shrinking from suffering. The temptation was ever with him to
find some other way to the goal of his work than that which led through
death. What Peter said hid a force greater than any word of the
disciple's. It voiced the crucial temptation of Jesus' life. The answer
addressed to Peter showed that his words had drawn the thought of Jesus
away from the disciple to that earlier temptation which was never absent
from him more than "for a season" (Luke iv. 13).

159. Jesus was not content with a mere rebuke of his impulsive disciple.


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