The Life of Jesus of Nazareth
Part 4 out of 5
when his dictum stood opposed to that which had been said to them of old
231. In this freedom from the bondage of tradition Jesus was not alone.
John the Baptist's message had been as simple and unsupported by appeal to
the elders. Jesus and John both revived the method of the older prophets,
and it is in large measure due to this that the people distinguished them
clearly from their ordinary teachers, and held them both to be prophets.
One thing involved in this authoritative method was a frank appeal to the
conscience of men. So completely had the scribes substituted memory of
tradition for appeal to the simple sense of right, that they were utterly
dazed when Jesus undertook to settle questions of Sabbath observance and
ceremonial cleanliness by asking his hearers to use their religious common
sense, and consider whether a man is not much better than a sheep, or
whether a man is not defiled rather by what comes out of his mouth than by
what enters into it (Matt. xii. 12; Mark vii. 15). Jesus was for his
generation the great discoverer of the conscience, and for all time the
champion of its dignity against finespun theory and traditional practice.
All his teaching has this quality in greater or less degree. It appears
when by means of the parable of the Good Samaritan he makes the lawyer
answer his own question (Luke x. 25-37), when he bids the multitude in
Jerusalem "judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous
judgment" (John vii. 24), when he asks his inquisitors in the temple whose
image and superscription the coin they used in common business bears (Mark
xii. 16). His whole work in Galilee was proof of his confidence that in
earnest souls the conscience would be his ally, and that he could impress
himself on them far more indelibly than any sign from heaven could enforce
232. Jesus was not only independent of the traditions of the scribes, he
was also very free at times with the letter of the Old Testament. When by
a word he "made all meats clean" (Mark vii. 19), he set himself against
the permanent validity of the Levitical ritual. When the Pharisees pleaded
Moses for their authority in the matter of divorce, Jesus referred them
back of Moses to the original constitution of mankind (Matt. xix. 3-9).
His general attitude to the Sabbath was not only opposed to the traditions
of the scribes, it also disregarded the Old Testament conception of the
Sabbath as an institution. Yet Jesus took pains to declare that he came
not to set aside the old but to fulfil it (Matt. v. 17). The contrasts
which he draws between things said to them of old and his new teachings
(Matt. v. 21-48) look at first much like a doing away of the old. Jesus
did not so conceive them. He rather thought of them as fresh statements of
the idea which underlay the old; they fulfilled the old by realizing more
fully that which it had set before an earlier generation. He was the most
radical teacher the men of his day could conceive, but his work was
clearing rubbish away from the roots of venerable truth that it might bear
fruit, rather than rooting up the old to put something else in its place.
233. The Old Testament was for Jesus a holy book. His mind was filled with
its stories and its language. In the teachings which have been preserved
for us he has made use of writings from all parts of the Jewish
scriptures--Law, Prophets, and Psalms. The Old Testament furnished him the
weapons for his own soul's struggle with temptation (Matt. iv. 4, 7, 10),
it gave him arguments for use against his opponents (Mark xii. 24-27; ii.
25-27), and it was for him an inexhaustible storehouse of illustration in
his teaching. When inquirers sought the way of life he pointed them to the
scriptures (Mark x. 19; see also John v. 39), and declared that the rising
of one from the dead would not avail for the warning of those who were
unmoved by Moses and the prophets (Luke xvi. 31). When Jesus' personal
attitude to the Old Testament is considered it is noticeable that while
his quotations and allusions cover a wide range, and show very general
familiarity with the whole book, there appears a decided predominance of
Deuteronomy, the last part of Isaiah, and the Psalms. It is not difficult
to see that these books are closer in spirit to his own thought than much
else in the old writings; his use of the scripture shows that some parts
appealed to him more than others.
234. Jesus as a teacher was popular and practical rather than systematic
and theoretical. The freshness of his ideas is proof that he was not
lacking in thorough and orderly thinking, for his complete departure from
current conceptions of the kingdom of God indicates perfect mastery of
ethical and theological truth. It is all the more remarkable, therefore,
that so much of his profoundest teaching seems to have been almost
accidental. The most formal discourse preserved to us is the sermon on the
mount, in which human conduct is regulated by the thought of God as Father
and Searcher of hearts. For the rest the great ideas of Jesus have
utterance in response to specific conditions presented to him in his
ministry. His most radical sayings concerning the Sabbath followed a
criticism of his disciples for plucking ears of grain as they passed
through the fields on the Sabbath day (Mark ii. 23-28); his authority to
forgive sins was announced when a paralytic was brought to him for
healing (Mark ii. 1-12); so far as the gospels indicate, we should have
missed Jesus' clearest statement of the significance of his own death but
for the ambitious request of James and John (Mark x. 35-45). Examples of
the occasional character of his teaching might be greatly multiplied. He
did not seek to be the founder of a school; important as his teachings
were, they take a place in his work second to his personal influence on
his followers. He desired to win disciples whose faith in him would
withstand all shocks, rather than to train experts who would pass on his
ideas to others. His disciples did become experts, for we owe to them the
vivid presentation we have of the exalted and unique teaching of their
Master; but they were thus skilful because they surrendered themselves to
his personal mastery, and learned to know the springs of his own life and
235. Nothing in the teaching of Jesus is more remarkable than his
confidence that men who believed in him would adequately represent him and
his message to the world. The parable of the Leaven seems to have set
forth his own method. We owe our gospels to no injunction given by him to
write down what he said and did. He impressed himself on his followers,
filled them with a love to himself which made them sensitive to his ideas
as a photographic plate is to light, teaching them his truth in forms that
did not at first show any effect on their thought, but were developed into
strength and clearness by the experiences of the passing years. Christian
ethics and theology are far more than an orderly presentation of the
teaching of Jesus; in so far as they are purely Christian they are the
systematic setting forth of truth involved, though not expressed, in what
he said and did in his ministry among men. His ideas were radical and
thoroughly revolutionary. His method, however, had in it all the patience
of God's working in nature, and the hidden noiseless power of an evolution
is its characteristic. Hence it was that he chose to teach some things
exclusively in figure. So great and unfamiliar a truth as the gradual
development of God's kingdom was unwelcome to the thought of his time. He
made it, therefore, the theme of many of his parables; and although the
disciples did not understand what he meant, the picture remained with
them, and in after years they grew up to his idea.
236. Jesus' use of illustration is one of the most marked features of his
teaching. In one sense this simply proves him to be a genuine Oriental,
for to contemplate and present abstract truths in concrete form is
characteristic of the Semitic mind. In the case of Jesus, however, it
proves more: the variety and homeliness of his illustrations show how
completely conversant he was alike with common life and with spiritual
truth. There is a freedom and ease about his use of figurative language
which suggests, as nothing else could, his own clear certainty concerning
the things of which he spoke. The fact, too, that his mind dealt so
naturally with the highest thoughts has made his illustrations unique for
profound truth and simple beauty. Nearly the whole range of figurative
speech is represented in his recorded words, including forms like irony
and hyperbole, often held to be unnatural to such serious speech as his.
237. Another figure has become almost identified with the name of
Jesus,--such abundant and incomparable use did he make of it. Parable
was, however, no invention of his, for the rabbis of his own and later
times, as well as the sages and prophets who went before them, made use of
it. As distinguished from other forms of illustration, the parable is a
picture true to actual human life, used to enforce a religious truth. The
picture may be drawn in detail, as in the story of the Lost Son (Luke xv.
11-32), or it may be the concisest narration possible, as in the parable
of the Leaven (Matt. xiii. 33); but it always retains its character as a
narrative true to human experience. It is this that gives parable the
peculiar value it has for religious teaching, since it brings unfamiliar
truth close home to every-day life. Like all the illustrations used by
Jesus, the parable was ordinarily chosen as a means of making clear the
spiritual truth which he was presenting. Illustration never finds place as
mere ornament in his addresses. His parables, however, were sometimes used
to baffle the unteachable and critical. Such was the case on the occasion
in Jesus' life when attention is first called in the gospels to this mode
of teaching (Mark iv. 1-34). The parable of the Sower would mean little to
hearers who held the crude and material ideas of the kingdom which
prevailed among Jesus' contemporaries. It was used as an invitation to
consider a great truth, and for teachable disciples was full of suggestion
and meaning; while for the critical curiosity of unfriendly hearers it was
only a pointless story,--a means adopted by Jesus to save his pearls from
being trampled under foot, and perhaps also to prevent too early a
decision against him on the part of his opponents.
238. In nothing is Jesus' ease in handling deepest truth more apparent
than in his use of irony and hyperbole in his illustrations. In his
reference to the Pharisees as "ninety and nine just persons which need no
repentance" (Luke xv. 7), and in his question, "Many good works have I
shewed you from the Father, for which of these works do you stone me?"
(John x. 32), the irony is plain, but not any plainer than the rhetorical
exaggeration of his accusation against the scribes, "You strain out a gnat
and swallow a camel" (Matt, xxiii. 24), or his declaration that "it is
easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to
enter into the kingdom of God" (Mark x. 25), or his charge, "If a man
cometh unto me and hateth not his own father and mother ... he cannot be
my disciple" (Luke xiv. 26). The force of these statements is in their
hyperbole. Only to an interpretation which regards the letter above the
spirit can they cause difficulty. In so far as they remove Jesus utterly
from the pedantic carefulness for words which marked the scribes they are
among the rare treasures of his teachings. The simple spirit will not busy
itself about finding something that may be called a needle's eye through
which a camel can pass by squeezing, nor will it seek a camel which could
conceivably be swallowed, nor will it stumble at a seeming command to hate
those for whom God's law, as emphasized indeed by Jesus (Mark vii. 6-13),
demands peculiar love and honor. The childlike spirit which is heir of
God's kingdom readily understands this warning against the snare of
riches, this rebuke of the hypocritical life, and this demand for a love
for the Master which shall take the first place in the heart.
239. Jesus sometimes used object lessons as well as illustrations, and
for the same purpose,--to make his thought transparently clear to his
hearers. The demand for a childlike faith in order to enter the kingdom of
God was enforced by the presence of a little child whom Jesus set in the
midst of the circle to whom he was talking (Mark ix. 35-37). The unworthy
ambitions of the disciples were rebuked by Jesus' taking himself the
menial place and washing their feet (John xiii. 1-15).
240. The simplicity and homeliness of Jesus' teaching are not more
remarkable than the alertness of mind which he showed on all occasions.
The comment of the fourth gospel, "he needed not that any one should bear
witness concerning man, for he himself knew what was in man" (ii. 25),
doubtless refers to his supernatural insight, but it also tells of his
quick perception of what was involved in each situation in which he found
himself. Whether it was Nicodemus coming to him by night, or the lawyer
asking, "Who is my neighbor?" or a dissatisfied heir demanding that his
brother divide the inheritance with him, or a group of Pharisees seeking
to undermine his power by attributing his cures to the devil, or trying to
entrap him by a question about tribute, Jesus was never caught unawares.
His absorption in heavenly truth was not accompanied by any blindness to
earthly facts. He knew what the men of his day were thinking about, what
they hoped for, to what follies they gave their hearts, and what sins hid
God from them. He was eminently a man of the people, thoroughly acquainted
with all that interested his fellows, and in the most natural, human way.
Whatever of the supernatural there was in his knowledge did not make it
unnatural. As he was socially at ease with the best and most cultivated
of his day, so he was intellectually the master of every situation. This
appears nowhere more strikingly than in his dealing with his pharisaic
critics. When they were shocked by his forgiveness of sins, or offended by
his indifference to the Sabbath tradition, or goaded into blasphemy by his
growing influence over the people, or troubled by his disciples' disregard
of the traditional washings, or when later they conspired to entrap him in
his speech,--from first to last he was so manifestly superior to his
opponents that they withdrew discomfited, until at length they in madness
killed, without reason, him against whom they could find no adequate
charge. His lack of "learning" (John vii. 15) was simply his innocence of
rabbinic training; he had no diploma from their schools. In keenness of
argument, however, and invincibleness of reasoning, as well as in the
clearness of his insight, he was ever their unapproachable superior. His
reply to the charge of league with Beelzebub is as merciless an exposure
of feeble malice as can be found in human literature. He was as worthy to
be Master of his disciples' thinking as he was to be Lord of their hearts.
241. In the teaching of Jesus two topics have the leading place,--the
Kingdom of God, and Himself. His thought about himself calls for separate
consideration, but it may be remarked here that as his ministry progressed
he spoke with increasing frankness about his own claims. It became more
and more apparent that he sought to be Lord rather than Teacher simply,
and to impress men with himself rather than with his ideas. Yet his ideas
were constantly urged on his disciples, and they were summed up in his
conception of the kingdom of God, or the kingdom of heaven. This was the
topic, directly or indirectly, of far the greater part of his teaching.
The phrase was as familiar to his contemporaries as it is common in his
words; but his understanding of it was radically different from theirs. He
and they took it to mean the realization on earth of heavenly conditions
(kingdom of heaven), or of God's actual sovereignty over the world
(kingdom of God); but of the God whose will was thus to be realized they
conceived quite differently. Strictly speaking there is nothing novel in
the idea of God as Father which abounds in the teaching of Jesus. He never
offers it as novel, but takes it for granted that his hearers are familiar
with the name. It appears in some earlier writers both in and out of the
Old Testament. Yet no one of them uses it as constantly, as naturally, and
as confidently as did Jesus. With him it was the simple equivalent of his
idea of God, and it was central for his personal religious life as well as
for his teaching. "My Father" always lies back of references in his
teaching to "your Father." This is the key to what is novel in Jesus' idea
of the kingdom of God. His contemporaries thought of God as the covenant
king of Israel who would in his own time make good his promises, rid his
people of their foes, set them on high among the nations, establish his
law in their hearts, and rule over them as their king. The whole
conception, while in a real sense religious, was concerned more with the
nation than with individuals, and looked rather for temporal blessings
than for spiritual good. With Jesus the kingdom is the realization of
God's fatherly sway over the hearts of his children. It begins when men
come to own God as their Father, and seek to do his will for the love
they bear him. It shows development towards its full manifestation when
men as children of God look on each other as brothers, and govern conduct
by love which will no more limit itself to friends than God shuts off his
sunlight from sinners. From this love to God and men it will grow into a
new order of things in which God's will shall be done as it is in heaven,
even as from the little leaven the whole lump is leavened. Jesus did not
set aside the idea of a judgment, but while his fellows commonly made it
the inauguration, he made it the consummation of the kingdom; they thought
of it as the day of confusion for apostates and Gentiles, he taught that
it would be the day of condemnation of all unbrotherliness (Matt. xxv.
31-46). This central idea--a new order of life in which men have come to
love and obey God as their Father, and to love and live for men as their
brothers--attaches to itself naturally all the various phases of the
teaching of Jesus, including his emphasis on himself; for he made that
emphasis in order that, as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, he might lead
men unto the Father.
Jesus' Knowledge of Truth
242. The note of authority in the teaching of Jesus is evidence of his own
clear knowledge of the things of which he spoke. As if by swift intuition,
his mind penetrated to the heart of things. In the scriptures he saw the
underlying truth which should stand till heaven and earth shall pass
(Matt. v. 18); in the ceremonies of his people's religion he saw so
clearly the spiritual significance that he did not hesitate to sacrifice
the passing form (Mark vii. 14-23); such a theological development as the
pharisaic doctrine of the resurrection he unhesitatingly adopted because
he saw that it was based on the ultimate significance of the soul's
fellowship with God (Mark xiii. 24-27); he reduced religion and ethics to
simplicity by summing up all commandments in one,--Thou shalt love (Matt.
xxii. 37-40); and at the same time insisted as no other prophet had done
on the finality of conduct and the necessity of obedience (Matt. vii.
21-27). His penetration to the heart of an idea was nowhere more clear
than in his doctrine of the kingdom of God as realized in the filial soul,
and as involving a judgment which should take cognizance only of
brotherliness of conduct. It would not be difficult to show that all these
different aspects of his teaching grew naturally out of his knowledge of
God as his Father and the Father of all men; they were the fruit,
therefore, of personal certainty of ultimate and all-dominating truth.
243. If the knowledge of Jesus had been shown only in matters of spiritual
truth, it would still have marked him as one apart from ordinary men.
There were other directions, however, in which he surpassed the common
mind. The fourth gospel declares that "he knew what was in man" (ii. 25),
and all the evangelists give evidence of such knowledge. Not only the
designation of Judas as the traitor, and of Peter as the one who should
deny him, before their weakness and sin had shown themselves, but also
Jesus' quick reading of the heart of the paralytic who was brought to him
for healing, and of the woman who washed his feet with her tears (Mark ii.
5; Luke vii. 47), and his knowledge of the character of Simon and
Nathanael (John i. 42, 47,) as well as his sure perception of the intent
of the various questioners whom he met, indicate that he had powers of
insight unshared by his fellow men.
244. Furthermore, the gospels state explicitly that Jesus predicted his
own death from a time at least six months before the end (Matt. xvi. 21),
and they indicate that the idea was not new to him when he first
communicated it to his disciples (Matt. xvi. 23; Mark ii. 20). He viewed
his approaching death, moreover, as a necessity (Mark viii. 31-33), yet he
was no fatalist concerning it. He could still in Gethsemane plead with his
Father, to whom all things are possible, to open to him some other way of
accomplishing his work (Mark xiv. 36). The old Testament picture of the
suffering and dying servant of Jehovah (Isa. liii.) was doubtless
familiar to Jesus. Although it was not interpreted Messianically by the
scribes, Jesus probably applied it to himself when thinking of his death;
yet the predictions of the prophets always provided for a non-fulfilment
in case Israel should turn unto the Lord in truth (see Ezek. xxxiii.
10-20). Moreover, the contradiction which Jesus felt between his ideas and
those cherished by the leaders of his people, whether priests or scribes,
was so radical that his death might well seem inevitable; yet it was
possible that his people might repent, and Jerusalem consent to accept him
as God's anointed. Neither prophecy, nor the actual conditions of his
life, therefore, would give Jesus any fatalistic certainty of his coming
death. In Gethsemane his heart pleaded against it, while his will bowed
still to God in perfect loyalty. It is not for us to explain his
prediction of death by appealing to the connection which the apostolic
thought established between the death of Christ and the salvation of men,
for we are not competent to say that God could not have effected
redemption in some other way if the repentance of the Jews had, humanly
speaking, removed from Jesus the necessity of death. All that can be said
is that he knew the prophetic picture, knew also the hardness of heart
which had taken possession of the Jews, and knew that he must not swerve
from his course of obedience to what he saw to be God's will for him.
Since that obedience brought him into fatal opposition to human prejudice
and passion, he saw that he must die, and that such a death was one of the
steps in his establishment of God's kingdom among men. So he went on his
way ready "not to be ministered unto but to minister, and to give his
life a ransom for many" (Mark x. 45).
245. With his prediction of his death the gospels usually associate a
prophecy of his speedy resurrection. As has been already remarked (sect.
210), it is being generally recognized that if Jesus believed that he was
the Messiah, he must have associated with the thought of death that of
victory over death, which for all Jewish minds meant a resurrection from
the dead. Jesus certainly taught that his death was part of his Messianic
work, it could not therefore be his end. The prediction of the
resurrection is the necessary corollary of his expectation of death; and
it may reverently be believed that his knowledge of it was intimately
involved with his certainty that it was as Messiah that he was to die.
246. From the time when he began to tell his disciples that he must die,
Jesus began also to teach that his earthly ministry was not to finish his
work, but that he should return in glory from heaven to realize fully all
that was involved in the idea of God's kingdom. His predictions resemble
in form the representations found in the Book of Daniel and the Book of
Enoch; and the understanding of them is involved in difficulties like
those which beset such apocalyptic writings. In general, apocalypses were
written in times of great distress for God's people, and represented the
deliverance which should usher in God's kingdom as near at hand. One
feature of them is a complete lack of perspective in the picture of the
future. It may be that this fact will in part account for one great
perplexity in the apocalyptic sayings of Jesus. In the chief of these
(Mark xiii. and parallels), predictions of the destruction of Jerusalem
are so mingled with promises of his own second coming and the end of all
things that many have sought to resolve the difficulty by separating the
discourse into two different ones,--one a short Jewish apocalypse
predicting the destruction of Jerusalem and the coming of the Son of Man
within the life of that generation; the other, Jesus' own prediction of
the end of all things, concerning which he warns his disciples that they
be not deceived, but watch diligently and patiently for God's full
salvation. The difficulties of this discourse as it stands are so great
that any solution which accounts for all the facts must be welcomed. So
far as this analysis seeks to remove from the account of Jesus' own words
the references to a fulfilment of the predictions within the life of that
generation, it is confronted by other sayings of Jesus (Mark ix. 1) and by
the problem of the uniform belief of the apostolic age that he would
speedily return. That belief must have had some ground. What more natural
than that words of Jesus, rightly or wrongly understood, led to the common
Christian expectation? Some such analysis may yet establish itself as the
true solution of the difficulties; it may be, however, that in adopting
the apocalyptic form of discourse, Jesus also adopted its lack of
perspective, and spoke coincidently of future events in the progress of
the kingdom, which, in their complete realization at least, were widely
separated in time. In such a case it would not be strange if the disciples
looked for the fulfilment of all of the predictions within the limit
assigned for the accomplishment of some of them.
247. Whatever the explanation of these difficulties, the gospels clearly
represent Jesus as predicting his own return in glory to establish his
kingdom,--a crowning evidence of his claim to supernatural knowledge. It
is all the more significant, therefore, that it is in connection with his
prediction of his future coming that he made the most definite declaration
of his own ignorance: "Of that day or that hour knoweth no one, not even
the angels in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father" (Mark xiii. 32).
This confession of the limitation of his knowledge is conclusive. Yet it
is not isolated. With his undoubted power to read "what was in man," he
was not independent of ordinary ways of learning facts. When the woman was
healed who touched the hem of his garment, Jesus knew that his power had
been exercised, but he discovered the object of his healing by asking,
"Who touched me?" and calling the woman out from the crowd to acknowledge
her blessing (Mark v. 30-34); when the centurion urged Jesus to heal his
boy without taking the trouble to come to his house, Jesus "marvelled" at
his faith (Matt. viii. 10); when he came to Bethany, assured of his
Father's answer to his prayer for the raising of Lazarus, he asked as
simply as any other one in the company, "Where have ye laid him?" (John
xi. 34). It should not be forgotten that his knowledge of approaching
death, resurrection, and return in glory did not prevent the earnest
pleading in Gethsemane, and it may be that his reply to the ambition of
James and John, it "is not mine to give" (Mark x. 40), is a confession of
ignorance as well as subordination to his Father.
248. The supernatural knowledge of Jesus, so far as its exercise is
apparent in the gospels, was concerned with the truths intimately related
to his religious teaching or his Messianic work. There is no evidence
that it occupied itself at all with facts of nature or of history
discovered by others at a later day. When he says of God that "he maketh
his sun to rise on the evil and the good" (Matt. v. 45), there is no
evidence that he thought of the earth and its relation to the sun
differently from his contemporaries; it is probable that his thought
anticipated Galileo's discovery no more than do his words. Much the same
may be said with reference to the purely literary or historical questions
of Old Testament criticism, now so much discussed. If it is proved by just
interpretation of all the facts that the Pentateuch is only in an ideal
sense to be attributed to Moses, and that many of the psalms inscribed
with his name cannot have been written by David, the propriety of Jesus'
references to what "Moses said" (Mark vii. 10), and the validity of his
argument for the relative unimportance of the Davidic descent of the
Messiah, will not suffer. Had Jesus had in mind the ultimate facts
concerning the literary structure of the Pentateuch, he could not have
hoped to hold the attention of his hearers upon the religious teaching he
was seeking to enforce, unless he referred to the early books of the Old
Testament as written by Moses. Jesus did repeatedly go back of Moses to
more primitive origins (Mark x. 5, 6; John vii. 22); yet there is no
likelihood that the literary question was ever present in his thinking.
This phase of his intellectual life, like that which concerned his
knowledge of the natural universe, was in all probability one of the
points in which he was made like unto his brethren, sharing, as matter of
course, their views on questions that were indifferent for the spiritual
mission he came to fulfil. If this was the case, his argument from the one
hundred and tenth Psalm (Mark xii. 35-37) would simply give evidence that
he accepted the views of his time concerning the Psalm, and proceeded to
use it to correct other views of his time concerning what was of most
importance in the doctrine of the Messiah. The last of these was of vital
importance for his teaching; the first was for this teaching quite as
indifferent a matter as the relations of the earth and the sun in the
249. A more perplexing difficulty arises from his handling of the cases of
so-called demoniac possession. He certainly treated these invalids as if
they were actually under the control of demons: he rebuked, banished, gave
commands to the demons, and in this way wrought his cures upon the
possessed. It has already been remarked that the symptoms shown in the
cases cured by Jesus can be duplicated from cases of hysteria, epilepsy,
or insanity, which have come under modern medical examination. Three
questions then arise concerning his treatment of the possessed. 1. Did he
unquestioningly share the interpretation which his contemporaries put upon
the symptoms, and simply bring relief by his miraculous power? 2. Did he
know that those whom he healed were not afflicted by evil spirits, and
accommodate himself in his cures to their notions? 3. Does he prove by his
treatment that the unfortunates actually were being tormented by
diabolical agencies, which he banished by his word? The last of these
possibilities should not be held to be impossible until much more is known
than we now know about the mysterious phenomena of abnormal psychical
states. If this is the explanation of the maladies for Jesus' day,
however, it should be accepted also as the explanation of similar abnormal
symptoms when they appear in our modern life, for the old hypothesis of a
special activity of evil spirits at the time of the incarnation is
inadequate to account for the fact that in some quarters similar maladies
have been similarly explained from the earliest times until the present
day. If, however, he knew his people to be in error in ascribing these
afflictions to diabolical influence, he need have felt no call to correct
it. If the disease had been the direct effect of such a delusion, Jesus
would have encouraged the error by accommodating himself to the popular
notion. The idea of possession, however, was only an attempt to explain
very real distress. Jesus desired to cure, not to inform his patients. The
notion in no way interfered with his turning the thought of those he
healed towards God, the centre of help and of health. He is not open,
therefore, to the charge of having failed to free men from the thraldom of
superstition if he accommodated himself to their belief concerning
demoniac possession. His cure, and his infusion of true thoughts of God
into the heart, furnished an antidote to superstition more efficacious
than any amount of discussion of the truth or falseness of the current
explanation of the disease. On the other hand, if we are not ready to
conclude that the action of Jesus has demonstrated the validity of the
ancient explanation, we may acknowledge that it would do no violence to
his power, or dignity, or integrity, if it should be held that he did not
concern himself with an inquiry into the cause of the disease which
presented itself to him for help, but adopted unquestioningly the
explanation held by all his contemporaries, even as he used their
language, dress, manner of life, and in one particular, at least, their
representation of the life after death (Luke xvi. 22--Abraham's bosom).
His own confession of ignorance of a large item of religious knowledge
(Mark xiii. 32) leaves open the possibility that in so minor a matter as
the explanation of a common disease he simply shared the ideas of his
time. In this case, when one so afflicted came under his treatment, he
applied his supernatural power, even as in cases of leprosy or fever, and
cured the trouble, needing no scientific knowledge of its cause. If
accommodation or ignorance led Jesus to treat these sick folk as
possessed, it does not challenge his integrity nor his trustworthiness in
all the matters which belong properly to his own peculiar work.
250. There is one incident in the gospels which favors the conclusion that
Jesus definitely adopted the current idea,--the permission granted by him
to the demons to go from the Gadarene into the herd of swine, and the
consequent drowning of the herd (Mark v. 11-13). On any theory this
incident is full of difficulty. Bernhard Weiss (LXt II. 226 ff.) holds
that Jesus accommodated himself to current views, and that the man, having
received for the possessing demons permission to go into the swine, was at
once seized by a final paroxysm, and rushed among the swine, stampeding
them so that they ran down the hillside into the sea.
251. In recent years the view has been somewhat widely advocated that his
power over demoniacs was to Jesus himself one of the chief proofs of his
Messiahship. His words are quoted: "If I, by the Spirit of God, cast out
demons, then is the kingdom of God come upon you" (Matt. xii. 28); and "I
beheld Satan falling as lightning from heaven" (Luke x. 18). The first of
these is in the midst of an _ad hominem_ reply of Jesus to the charge that
he owed his power to a league with the devil (Matt. xii. 28); and the
second was his remark when the seventy reported with joy that the demons
were subject unto them (Luke x. 18). The gospels, however, trace his
certainty of his Messiahship to quite other causes, primarily to his
knowledge of himself as God's child, then to the Voice which, coming at
the baptism, summoned him as God's beloved Son to do the work of the
Messiah. Throughout his ministry Jesus exhibits a certainty of his mission
quite independent of external evidences,--"Even if I bear witness of
myself, my witness is true; for I know whence I came and whither I go"
(John viii. 14).
Jesus' Conception of Himself
252. When Jesus called forth the confession of Peter at Caesarea Philippi
he brought into prominence the question which during the earlier stages of
the Galilean ministry he had studiously kept in the background. This is no
indication, however, that he was late in reaching a conclusion for himself
concerning his relation to the kingdom which he was preaching. From the
time of his baptism and temptation every manifestation of the inner facts
of his life shows unhesitating confidence in the reality of his call and
in his understanding of his mission. This is the case whether the fourth
gospel or the first three be appealed to for evidence. It is generally
felt that the Gospel of John presents its sharpest contrast to the
synoptic gospels in respect of the development of Jesus' self-disclosures.
A careful consideration of the first three gospels, however, shows that
the difference is not in Jesus' thought about himself.
253. The first thing which impressed the people during the ministry in
Galilee was Jesus' assumption of authority, whether in teaching or in
action (Mark i. 27; Matt. vii. 28, 29). His method of teaching
distinguished him sharply from the scribes, who were constantly appealing
to the opinion of the elders to establish the validity of their
conclusions. Jesus taught with a simple "I say unto you." In this,
however, he differed not only from the scribes, but also from the
prophets, to whom in many ways he bore so strong a likeness. They
proclaimed their messages with the sanction of a "Thus saith the Lord;" he
did not hesitate to oppose the letter of scripture as well as the
tradition of the elders with his unsupported word (Matt. v. 38, 39; Mark
vii. 1-23). His teaching revealed his unhesitating certainty concerning
spiritual truth, and although he reverenced deeply the Jewish scriptures,
and knew that his work was the fulfilment of their promises, he used them
always as one whose superiority to God's earlier messengers was as
complete as his reverence for them. He was confident that what they
suggested of truth he was able to declare clearly; he used them as a
master does his tools.
254. More striking than Jesus' independence in his teaching is the
calmness of his self-assertion when he was opposed by pharisaic criticism
and hostility. He preferred to teach the truth of the kingdom, working his
cures in such a way that men should think about God's goodness rather than
their healer's significance. Yet coincidently with this method of his
choice he did not hesitate to reply to pharisaic opposition with
unqualified self-assertion and exalted personal claim. Even if the
conflicts which Mark has gathered together at the opening of his gospel
(ii. 1 to iii. 6) did not all occur as early as he has placed them, the
nucleus of the group belongs to the early time. Since the people greatly
reverenced his critics, he felt it unnecessary to guard against arousing
undue enthusiasm by this frank avowal of his claims. He consequently
asserted his authority to forgive sins, his special mission to the sick in
soul whom the scribes shunned as defiling, his right to modify the
conception of Sabbath observance; even as, later, he warned his critics of
their fearful danger if they ascribed his good deeds to diabolical power
(Mark iii. 28-30), and as, after the collapse of popularity, he rebuked
them for making void the word of God by their tradition (Mark vii. 13).
His attitude to the scribes in Galilee from the beginning discloses as
definite Messianic claims as any ascribed by the fourth gospel to this
255. These facts of the independence of Jesus in his teaching and his
self-assertion in response to criticism confirm the impression that his
answer to John the Baptist (Matt. xi. 2-6) gives the key to his method in
Galilee. In John's inquiry the question of Jesus' personal relation to the
kingdom was definitely asked. The answer, "Blessed is he whosoever shall
find none occasion of stumbling in me," showed plainly that Jesus was in
no doubt in the matter, although for the time he still preferred to let
his ministry be the means of leading men to form their conclusions
concerning him. What he brought into prominence at Caesarea Philippi,
therefore, was that which had been the familiar subject of his own
thinking from the time of his baptism.
256. In the ministry subsequent to the confession of Peter the
self-disclosures of Jesus became more frequent and clear. His predictions
of his approaching death were at the time the greatest difficulty to his
disciples; when considered in their significance for his own life,
however, they prove that his conviction of his Messiahship was as
independent of current and inherited ideas as was his teaching concerning
the kingdom. When he came to see that death was the inevitable issue of
his work, he at once discovered in it a divine necessity; it does not seem
to have shaken in the least his certainty that he was the Messiah.
Associated with this conception of his death is the conviction which
appears in all the later teachings, that in rejecting him his people were
pronouncing their own doom. Because she would not accept him as her
deliverer, Jerusalem's "house was left unto her desolate" (Luke xiii. 35).
His sense of his supreme significance appears most clearly in some of the
later parables, such as The Marriage of the King's Son (Matt. xxii. 1-14)
and The Wicked Husbandmen (Matt. xxi. 33-44), which definitely connect the
condemnation of the chosen people with their rejection of God's Son. Two
other sayings in the first three gospels express the personal claim of
Jesus in the most exalted form,--his declaration on the return of the
seventy: "All things have been delivered unto me of my Father, and no man
knoweth who the Son is save the Father, and who the Father is save the
Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him" (Luke x. 22;
Matt. xi. 27); and his confession of the limits of his own knowledge: "But
of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels in heaven,
neither the Son, but the Father" (Mark xiii. 32). The confession of
ignorance, by the position given to the Son in the climax which denied
that any save the Father had a knowledge of the time of the end, is quite
as extraordinary as the claim to sole qualification to reveal the Father.
257. The similarity of these last two sayings to the discourses in the
fourth gospel has often been remarked; the likeness is particularly close
between them and the claims of Jesus recorded in the fifth chapter of
John. It is interesting to note that in the incident which introduces the
discourse in that chapter Jesus shows that he preferred, after healing the
man at the pool, to avoid the attention of the multitudes, precisely as in
Galilee he sought to check too great popular excitement by withdrawing
from Capernaum after his first ministry there (Mark i. 35-39), and
enjoining silence on the leper who had been healed by him (Mark ii. 44).
When, however, he found himself opposed by the criticism of the Pharisees
he spoke with unhesitating self-assertion and exalted personal claim, even
as he did in like situations in Galilee. During his earlier ministry in
Judea he had not shown this reserve. The cleansing of the temple, although
it was no more than any prophet sure of his divine commission would have
done, was a bold challenge to the people to consider who he was who
ventured thus to criticise the priestly administration of God's house. In
his subsequent dealings with Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman Jesus
manifested a like readiness to draw attention to himself. From the time of
the feeding of the multitudes all four of the gospels represent him as
asserting his claims, with this difference, however, that in John it is
the rule rather than the exception to find sayings similar to the two in
which the self-assertion in the other gospels reaches its highest
expression. Although the method of Jesus varied at different times and in
different localities, yet it is evident that he stood before the people
from the first with the consciousness that he had the right to claim
their allegiance as no one of the prophets who preceded him would have
been bold to do.
258. During the course of his ministry Jesus used of himself, or suffered
others to use with reference to him, many of the titles by which his
people were accustomed to refer to the Messiah. Thus he was named "the
Messiah" (Mark viii. 29; xiv. 61; John iv. 26); "the King of the Jews"
(Mark xv. 2; John i. 49; xviii. 33, 36, 37); "the Son of David" (Mark x.
47, 48; Matt. xv. 22; xxi. 9, 15); "the Holy One of God" (John vi. 69;
compare Mark i. 24); "the Prophet" (John vi. 14; vii. 40). It is evident
that none of these titles was common; they represent, rather, the bold
venture of more or less intelligent faith on the part of men who were
impressed by him. There are two names, however, that are more significant
of Jesus' thought about himself,--"the Son of God" and "the Son of Man."
259. The latter of these titles is unique in the use Jesus made of it.
Excepting Stephen's speech (Acts vii. 56), it is found in the New
Testament only in the sayings of Jesus, and its precise significance is
still a subject of learned debate. The expression is found in the Old
Testament as a poetical equivalent for Man, usually with emphasis on human
frailty (Ps. viii. 4; Num. xxiii. 19; Isa. li. 12), though sometimes it
signifies special dignity (Ps. lxxx. 17). Ezekiel was regularly addressed
in his visions as Son of Man (Ezek. ii. 1 and often; see also Dan. viii.
17), probably in contrast with the divine majesty.
260. In one of Daniel's visions (vii. 1-14) the world-kingdoms which had
oppressed God's people and were to be destroyed were symbolized by beasts
that came up out of the sea,--a winged lion, a bear, a four-headed winged
leopard, and a terrible ten-horned beast; in contrast with these the
kingdom of the saints of the Most High was represented by "one like unto a
son of man," who came with the clouds of heaven (vii. 13, 14). Here the
language is obviously poetic, and is used to suggest the unapproachable
superiority of the kingdom of heaven to the kingdoms of the world. The
expression "one like unto a son of man" is equivalent, therefore, to "one
resembling mankind." The vision in Daniel had great influence over the
author of the so-called Similitudes of Enoch (Book of Enoch, chapters
xxxvii. to lxxi.). He, however, personified the "one like unto a son of
man," and gave the title "the Son of Man" to the heavenly man who will
come at the end of all things, seated on God's throne, to judge the world.
This author used also the titles "the Elect One" and "the Righteous One"
(or "the Holy One of God"), but "the Son of Man" is the prevalent name for
the Messiah in these Similitudes.
261. The facts thus stated do not account for Jesus' use of the
expression. Many of his sayings undoubtedly suggest a development of the
Daniel vision resembling that in the Similitudes. This does not prove that
Jesus or his disciples had read these writings, though it does suggest the
possibility that they knew them. It is probable, however, that the
apocalypses gave formulated expression to thoughts that were more widely
current than those writings ever came to be. The likeness between the
language of Jesus and that found in the Similitudes may therefore prove no
more than that the Daniel vision was more or less commonly interpreted of
a personal Messiah in Jesus' day.
262. Much of the use of the title by Jesus, however, is completely foreign
to the ideas suggested by Enoch and Daniel. Besides apocalyptic sayings
like those in Enoch (Mark viii. 38 and often), the name occurs in
predictions of his sufferings and death (Mark viii. 31 and often), and in
claims to extraordinary if not essentially divine authority (Mark ii. 10,
28 and parallels); it is also used sometimes simply as an emphatic "I"
(Matt. xi. 19 and often). Whatever relation Jesus bore to the Enoch
writings, therefore, the name "the Son of Man" as he used it was his own
263. Students of Aramaic have in recent years asserted that it was not
customary in the dialect which Jesus spoke to make distinction between
"the son of man" and "man," since the expression commonly used for "man"
would be literally translated "son of man." It is asserted, moreover, that
if our gospels be read substituting "man" for "the Son of Man" wherever it
appears, it will be found that many supposed Messianic claims become
general statements of Jesus' conception of the high prerogatives of man,
while in other places the name stands simply as an emphatic substitute for
the personal pronoun. Thus, for instance, Jesus is found to assert that
authority on earth to forgive sins belongs to man (Mark ii. 10), and,
toward the end of his course, to have taught simply that he himself must
meet with suffering (Mark viii. 31), and will come on the clouds to judge
the world (Mark viii. 38). The proportion of cases in which the general
reference is possible is, however, very small; and even if the
equivalence of "man" and "son of man" should be established, most of the
statements of Jesus in which our gospels use the latter expression exhibit
a conception of himself which challenges attention, transcending that
which would be tolerated in any other man. The debate concerning the usage
in the language spoken by Jesus is not yet closed, however, and Dr. Gustaf
Dalman (WJ I. 191-197) has recently argued that the equivalence of the two
expressions holds only in poetic passages, precisely as it does in Hebrew,
and that our gospels represent correctly a distinction observed by Jesus
when they report him, for instance, as saying in one sentence, "the
Sabbath was made for man" (Mark ii. 27), and in the next, "the Son of Man
is lord even of the Sabbath." The antecedent probability is so great that
the dialect of Jesus' time would be capable of expressing a distinction
found in the Hebrew of the Old Testament and in the Syriac of the
second-century version of the New Testament, that Dalman's opinion carries
264. Many of those who look for a distinct significance in the title "the
Son of Man," find in it a claim by Jesus to be the ideal or typical man,
in whom humanity has found its highest expression. It thus stands sharply
in contrast with "the Son of God," which is held to express his claim to
divinity. So understood, the titles represent truth early recognized by
the church in its thought about its Lord. Yet it must be acknowledged that
the conception "the ideal man" is too Hellenic to have been at home in the
thought of those to whom Jesus addressed his teaching. If the phrase
suggested anything more to his hearers than the human frailty or the
human dignity of him who bore it, it probably had a Messianic meaning like
that found in the Similitudes of Enoch. A hint of this understanding of
the name appears in the perplexed question reported in John (xii. 34): "We
have heard out of the law that the Messiah abideth forever; and how sayest
thou, The Son of Man must be lifted up? who is this Son of Man?" Here the
difficulty arose because the people identified the Son of Man with the
Messiah, yet could not conceive how such a Messiah could die. In fact, if
the conception of the Son of Man which is found in Enoch had obtained any
general currency among the people, either from that book or independently
of it, it was so foreign to the earthly condition and manner of life of
the Galilean prophet, that it would not have occurred to his hearers to
treat his use of the title as a Messianic claim until after that claim had
been published in some other and more definite form. Their Son of Man was
to come with the clouds of heaven, seated on God's throne, to execute
judgment on all sinners and apostates; the Nazarene fulfilled none of
these conditions. The name, as used by Jesus, was probably always an
enigma to the people, at least until he openly declared its Messianic
significance in his reply to the high-priest's question at his trial (Mark
xiv. 62), and gave the council the ground it desired for a charge of
blasphemy against him.
265. What did this title signify to Jesus? His use of it alone can furnish
answer, and in this the variety is so great that it causes perplexity.
"The Son of Man came eating and drinking" is his description of his own
life in contrast with John the Baptist (Matt. xi. 18, 19). "The Son of
Man hath not where to lay his head" was his reply to one over-zealous
follower (Matt. viii. 20). Unseemly rivalry among his disciples was
rebuked by the reminder that "even the Son of Man came not to be
ministered unto but to minister" (Mark x. 42-45). When it became needful
to prepare the disciples for his approaching death he taught them that
"the Son of Man must suffer many things ... and be killed, and after three
days rise again" (Mark viii. 31). On the other hand, the paralytic's cure
was made to demonstrate that "the Son of Man hath authority upon the earth
to forgive sins" (Mark ii. 10). Similarly it is the Son of Man who after
his exaltation shall come "in the glory of his Father with the holy
angels" (Mark viii. 38). In these typical cases the title expresses Jesus'
consciousness of heavenly authority as well as self-sacrificing ministry,
of coming exaltation as well as present lowliness; and the suffering and
death which were the common lot of other sons of men were appointed for
this Son of Man by a divine necessity. The name is, therefore, more than a
substitute for the personal pronoun; it expresses Jesus' consciousness of
a mission that set him apart from the rest of men.
266. We do not know how Jesus came to adopt this title. Its association
with the predictions of his coming glory shows that he knew that in him
the Daniel vision was to have fulfilment. The predictions of suffering and
death, however, are completely foreign to that apocalyptic conception,
being akin rather, as Professor Charles has suggested, to the prophecies
of the suffering servant in the Book of Isaiah (Book of Enoch, p.
314-317). Moreover, it may not be fanciful to find in his claims to
heavenly authority a hint of the thought of the eighth Psalm, "Thou madest
him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things
under his feet" (see Dalman WJ I. 218). Although the name expresses a
consciousness of dignity, vicarious ministry, and authority, similar to
thoughts found in Daniel, Isaiah, and the Psalms, it was not deduced from
these scriptures by any synthesis of diverse ideas. It rather indicates
that Jesus in his own nature realized a synthesis which no amount of study
of scripture would ever have suggested. He drew his conception of himself
from his own self-knowledge, not from his Messianic meditations. On his
lips, then, "the Son of Man" indicates that he knew himself to be the Man
whom God had chosen to be Lord over all (compare Dalman as above). The
lowly estate which contradicted the Daniel vision prevented Jesus' hearers
from recognizing in the title a Messianic claim; for him, however, it was
the expression of the very heart of his Messianic consciousness.
267. If Jesus gave expression to his official consciousness when he used
the name "the Son of Man," the title "the Son of God" may be said to
express his more personal thought about himself. It is necessary to
distinguish between the meaning of this title to the contemporaries of
Jesus and his own conception of it. In the popular thought "the Son of
God" was the designation of that man whom God would at length raise up and
crown with dignity and power for the deliverance of his people. This
meaning followed from the Messianic interpretation of the second Psalm, in
which the theocratic king is called God's son (Ps. ii. 7). In another
psalm, which Jesus himself quotes (John x. 34), magistrates and judges are
called "sons of the Most High" (lxxxii. 6). Another Old Testament use
casts light on this,--the designation of Israel as God's son, his
firstborn (Ex. iv. 22; Hos. i. 10), with which may be compared a
remarkable expression in the so-called Psalms of Solomon (xviii. 4), "Thy
chastisement was upon us [that is, Israel] as upon a son, firstborn, only
begotten." In all these passages that which constitutes a man the son of
God is God's choice of him for a special work, while Israel collectively
bears the title to suggest God's fatherly love for the people he had taken
for his own. The Messianic title, therefore, described not a metaphysical,
but an official or ethical, relation to God. It is certainly in this sense
that the high-priest asked Jesus "Art thou the Messiah the son of the
Blessed?" (Mark xiv. 61), and that the crowd about the cross flung their
taunts at him (Matt, xxvii. 43), and the demoniacs proclaimed their
knowledge of him (Mark iii. 11; v. 7). The name must be interpreted in
this sense also in the confession of Nathanael (John i. 49); moreover, it
was not the coupling of the names "Messiah" and "son of the living God" in
Peter's confession that gave it its great significance for Jesus. In all
of these cases there is no evidence that there has been any advance over
the theocratic significance which made the title "the Son of God" fitting
for the man chosen by God for the fulfilment of his promises.
268. The case is different with the name by which Jesus was called at his
baptism (Mark i. 11). The difference here, however, arises not from
anything in the name as used on this occasion, but from that in Jesus
which acknowledged and accepted the title. With Jesus the consciousness
that God was his Father preceded the knowledge that as "his Son" he was to
undertake the work of the Messiah. The force of the call at the baptism is
found in the response which his own soul gave to the word "Thou art my
Son." The nature of that response is seen in his habitual reference to God
as in a peculiar sense _his_ Father. The name "Father" for God was used by
him in all his teaching, and there is no evidence that he or any of his
hearers regarded it as a novelty. Psalm ciii. 13 and Isaiah lxiii. 16
indicate that the conception was natural to Jewish thinking. The unique
feature in Jesus' usage is his careful distinction between the general
references to "your Father" and his constant personal allusions to "my
Father." Witness the reply to his mother in the temple (Luke ii. 49); his
word to Peter, "Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my
Father which is in heaven" (Matt. xvi. 17), his solemn warning, "Not every
one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven,
but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. vii.
21), and the promise, "Every one who shall confess me before men ... him
will I also confess before my Father" (Matt. x. 32). In the fourth gospel
the same intimate reference is common: so, for example, the temple is "my
Father's house" (ii. 16), the Sabbath cure is defended because "my Father
worketh even until now" (v. 17), the cures are done "in My Father's name"
(x. 25), "I am the vine, and my Father is the husbandman" (xv. 1). This
mode of expression discloses a consciousness of unique filial relation to
God which is independent of, even as it was antecedent to, the
consciousness of official relation.
269. The full name "the Son of God" was seldom applied by Jesus to
himself, the only recorded instances being found in the fourth gospel (v.
25; ix. 35?; x. 36; xi. 4). He frequently acquiesced in the use of the
title by others in addressing him (for example, John i. 49; Matt. xvi. 16;
xxvi. 63f.; Mark xiv. 61f.; Luke xxii. 70); but for himself he preferred
the simpler phrase "the Son." This mode of expression occurs often in
John, and is found also in the two passages, already noticed, in which the
other gospels give clearest expression to the extraordinary self-assertion
of Jesus (Matt. xi. 27; Luke x. 22; and Mark xiii. 32). In the first of
them his claim to be the only one who can adequately reveal God is founded
on the consciousness that the relation between himself and God is so
intimate that God alone adequately knows him, whom men were so ready to
set at nought, and he alone knows God. This relation, in which he and God
stand together in contrast with all other men, is expressed by the
unqualified names, "the Father" and "the Son." In the second passage Jesus
confessed the limitation of his knowledge, but again in such a way as to
set himself and God in contrast not only with men, but also with "the
angels in heaven." Such assertions as these indicate that he who, knowing
his full humanity, chose the title "the Son of Man" to express his
consciousness that he had been appointed by God to be the Messiah, was yet
aware in his inner heart that his relation to God was even closer than
that in which he stood to men.
270. There is no word in John which goes beyond the two self-declarations
of Jesus which crown the record of the other evangelists, yet in the
fourth gospel the same claim to unique relation to God is more frequently
and frankly avowed. The most unqualified assertion of intimacy--"I and the
Father are one" (x. 30)--states what is clearly implied throughout the
gospel (so xiv. 6-11; xvi. 25; and particularly xvii. 21, "that they may
be one, even as we are one"). It has often been said, and truly, that this
claim to unity with the Father, taken by itself, signifies no more than
perfect spiritual and ethical harmony with God. Yet when the words are
considered in their connection, and more particularly when the two supreme
self-declarations in the synoptic gospels are associated with them, they
express a sense of relation to God so utterly unique, so strongly
contrasting the Father and the Son with all others, that we cannot
conceive of any other man, even the saintliest, taking like words upon his
271. These titles in which Jesus gave expression to his official and his
personal consciousness present clearly the problem which he offers to
human thought. Jesus stands before us in the gospels as a man aware of
completest kinship with his brethren, yet conscious at the same time of
standing nearer to God than he does to men.
272. It is highly significant that the gospel which records most fully the
claim of Jesus to be more closely related to God than he was to men, most
fully records also his definite acknowledgment of dependence on his
Father, and of that Father's supremacy over him and all others. "The Son
can do nothing of himself" (John v. 19), "I speak not from myself" (xiv.
10), "my Father is greater than all" (x. 29), "the Father is greater than
I" (xiv. 28),--these confessions join with the common reference to God as
"him that sent me" (v. 30 and often) in giving voice to his own spirit of
reverence. It appears as clearly in his habitual submission to his
Father's will,--"My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to
accomplish his work" (John iv. 34); "I am come down from heaven, not to do
mine own will, but the will of him that sent me" (John vi. 38). This
submission reached its fulness in the prayer of Gethsemane, recorded in
the earlier gospels,--"Father, all things are possible unto thee; remove
this cup from me: howbeit not what I will, but what thou wilt" (Mark xiv.
36). Jesus was a man of prayer; not only in Gethsemane, but also
throughout his ministry he habitually sought his Father in that communion
in which the soul of man finds its light and strength for life's duty.
When he was baptized (Luke iii. 21), after the first flush of success in
Capernaum (Mark i. 35), before choosing the twelve (Luke vi. 12), before
the question at Caesarea Philippi (Luke ix. 18), at the transfiguration
(Luke ix. 29), on the cross (Luke xxiii. 46),--at all the crises of his
life he turned to God in prayer. Moreover, prayer was his habit, for it
was after a night of prayer which has no connection with any crisis
reported for us (Luke xi. 1), that he taught his disciples the Lord's
prayer in response to their requests. The prayer beside the grave of
Lazarus (John xi. 41, 42) suggests that his miracles were often, if not
always (compare Mark ix. 29), preceded by definite prayer to God. His
habit of prayer was the natural expression of his trust in God. From the
resistance to the temptations in the wilderness to the last cry, "Father,
into thy hands I commend my spirit," his life is an example of childlike
faith in God.
273. Yet throughout his life of obedience and trust Jesus never gave one
indication that he felt the need of penitence when he came before God. He
perceived as no one else has ever done the searching inwardness of God's
law, and demanded of men that they tolerate no lower ambition than to be
like God, yet he never breathed a sigh of conscious failure, or gave sign
that he blushed when the eternal light shone into his own soul. He was
baptized, but without confession of sin. He challenged his enemies to
convict him of sin (John viii. 46). Such a challenge might have rested on
a man's certainty that his critics did not know his inner life; but
hypocrisy has no place in the character of Jesus. The reply to the rich
young ruler, "Why callest thou me good?" (Mark x. 18), even if it was a
confession that freedom from past sin was still far less than that
absolute goodness that God alone possesses, simply sets in stronger light
his silence concerning personal failure, and his omission in all his
praying to seek forgiveness. It is probable, however, that that reply
deals not with the "good" as the "ethically perfect," but as the
"supremely beneficent," so that Jesus simply reminded the seeker after
life that God alone is the one to be approached as the Gracious and
Merciful One by sinful men (see Dalman WJ I. 277). Thus the reply becomes
a fresh expression of the reverence of Jesus, and still further emphasizes
his failure to confess his sinfulness.
274. In all this thought about himself Jesus stands before us as a man,
conscious of his close kinship with his fellows. Like them he hungered and
thirsted and grew weary, like them he longed for friendship and for
sympathy, like them he trusted God and prayed to God and learned still to
trust when his request was denied. He stands before us also as a man
conscious of being anointed by God for the great work which all the
prophets had foretold, and of being fully equipped with authority and
power and the promise of unapproachable dignity. Of deep religious spirit
and great reverence for the scriptures of his people, he yet used these
scriptures as a master does his tools, to serve his work rather than to
instruct him in it. He drew his knowledge from within and from above, and
proclaimed his own fulfilment of the scriptures when he filled them with
new meaning. A man always devout, always at prayer, he is never seen, like
Isaiah, prostrate before the Most High, crying, "I am undone" (Isa. vi.
5). In his moments of greatest seriousness and most manifest communion
with heaven he looked to God as his nearest of kin, and felt himself a
stranger on the earth fulfilling his Father's will. He felt heaven to be
his home not simply by God's gracious promise, but by the right of
previous possession. His kinship with men was a condescension, his natural
fellowship was with God.
275. The miracles with which the gospels have filled the record of Jesus'
life have caused perplexity to many, and they belong with other mysterious
things recorded for us in the story of the past or occurring under the
incredulous observation of our scientific generation. They all pale,
however, before the unaccountable exception presented to universal human
experience by this Man of Nazareth. It confronts us when we think of the
unschooled Jew who, in his thought of God, rose not only above all of his
generation, but higher than all who had gone before him, or have come
after, one who built on the foundation of the past a superstructure of
religion new, and simple, and clearly heavenly. It confronts us when we
think of this Man who believed that it was given to him to establish the
kingdom that should fill the whole earth, and who had the boldness and the
faith to ignore the opposition of all the world's wisdom and of all its
enthroned power, and to fulfil his task as the woman does who hides her
leaven in the meal, content to wait for years, or millenniums, until his
truth shall conquer in the realization of God's will on earth even as it
is done in heaven. It confronts us when we consider that the Man who has
shown his brethren what obedience means, who has taught them to pray, who
has been for all these centuries the Way, the Truth, the Life, by whom
they come to God, habitually claimed without shadow of abashment or
slightest hint of conscious presumption, a nature, a relation to God, a
freedom from sin, that other men according to the measure of their
godliness would shun as blasphemy. If the personal claim was true, and not
the blind pretence of vanity, the Jesus of the gospels is the exception to
the uniform fact of human nature, but he is no longer unaccountable; and
if his claim was true, his knowledge of the absolute religion, and his
choice of the irresistible propaganda, are no less extraordinary, but they
are not unaccountable. Paul, whose life was transformed and his thinking
revolutionized by his meeting with the risen Jesus, thought on these
things and believed that "the name which, is above every name" was his by
right of nature as well as by the reward of obedience (Phil. ii. 5-11).
John, who leaned on Jesus' breast during his earthly life, and who
meditated on the meaning of that life through a ministry of many decades,
came to believe that he whom he had seen with his eyes, heard with his
ears, handled with his hands, was, indeed, "the Word made flesh" (John i.
14), through whom the very God revealed his love to men. Through all the
perplexities of doubt, amidst all the obscurings of irrelevant
speculations, the hearts of men to-day turn to this Jesus of Nazareth as
their supreme revelation of God, and find in him "the Master of their
thinking and the Lord of their lives."
"Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we
have believed and know that thou art the Holy One of God."
Books of Reference on the Life of Jesus
1. A concise account of the voluminous literature on this subject maybe
found at the close of the article JESUS CHRIST by Zockler in
_Schaff-Herzog, Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge_. Of the earlier of
the modern works it is well to mention David Friedrich Strauss, _Das Leben
Jesu_ (2 vols. 1835), in which he sought to reduce all the gospel miracles
to myths. August Neander, _Das Leben Jesu Christi_, 1837, wrote in
opposition to the attitude taken by Strauss. Both of these works have been
translated into English. Ernst Renan, _Vie de Jesus_ (1863, 16th ed.
1879), translated, _The Life of Jesus_ (1863), is a charming, though often
superficial and patronizing, presentation of the subject. For vivid word
pictures of scenes in the life of Jesus his book is unsurpassed. Renan's
inability to appreciate the more serious aspects of the work of Christ
appears constantly, while his effort to discover romance in the life of
Jesus is offensive. More important than any of these is Theodor Keim,
_Geschichte Jesu von Nazara_ (1867-72, 3 vols.), translated, _The History
of Jesus of Nazara_ (1876-81, 6 vols.). The author rejects the fourth
gospel and holds that Matthew is the most primitive of the synoptic
gospels; he does not reject the supernatural as such, but reduces it as
much as possible by recognizing a legendary element in the gospels. When
the work is read with these peculiarities in mind, it is one of the most
stimulating and spiritually illuminating treatments of the subject.
2. Critically more trustworthy, and exegetically very valuable, is
Bernhard Weiss, _Das Leben Jesu_ (3d ed. 1889, 2 vols.), translated from
the first ed., _The Life of Christ_ (1883, 3 vols.). It is more helpful
for correct understanding of details than for a complete view of the Life
of Jesus. Rivalling Weiss in many ways, yet neither so exact nor so
trustworthy, though more interesting, is Willibald Beyschlag, _Das Leben
Jesu_ (3d ed. 1893, 2 vols.). The most important discussion in English is
Alfred Edersheim, _The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah_ (1883 and
later editions, 2 vols.). This is valuable for its illustration of
conditions in Palestine in the time of Jesus by quotations from the
rabbinic literature. The material used is enormous, but is not always
treated with due criticism, and the book should be read with the fact in
mind that most of the rabbinic writings date from several centuries after
Christ. Schuerer (see below) should be used wherever possible as a
counter-balance. Dr. Edersheim follows the gospel story in detail; his
book is, therefore, a commentary as well as a biography.
3. Albert Reville, _Jesus de Nazareth_ (1897, 2 vols.), aims to bring the
work of Renan up to date, and to supply some of the lacks which are felt
in the earlier treatise. The book is pretentious and learned. In some
parts, as in the treatment of the youth of Jesus, and of the sermon on the
mount, it is helpfully suggestive. The Jesus whom the author admires,
however, is the Jesus of Galilee. The journey to Jerusalem was a sad
mistake, and the assumption of the Messianic role a fall from the high
ideal maintained in the teaching in Galilee. In criticism M. Reville
accepts the two document synoptic theory, and assigns the fourth gospel to
about 140 A.D. He rejects the supernatural, explaining many of the
miracles as legendary embellishments of actual events.
4. The most important treatment of the subject is the article JESUS CHRIST
by William Sanday in the _Hastings Bible Dictionary_ (1899). It is of the
highest value, discussing the subject topically with great clearness and
with a rare combination of learning and common sense. S. T. Andrews, _The
Life of Our Lord_ (2d ed. 1892), is a thorough and very useful study of
the gospels, considering minutely all questions of chronology, harmony,
and geography. It presents the different views with fairness, and offers
conservative conclusions. G. H. Gilbert, _The Student's Life of Jesus_
(1896), is complete in plan and careful in treatment, while being very
concise. Dr. Gilbert faces the problems of the subject frankly, and his
treatment is scholarly and reverent. James Stalker, _The Life of Jesus
Christ_ (1880), is a short work whose value lies in the good conception
which it gives of the ministry of Jesus viewed as a whole. In simplicity,
insight, and clearness the book is a classic, though now somewhat out of
date. _Studies in the Life of Christ_, by A.M. Fairbairn (1882), is of
great value for the topics considered. The title indicates that the
treatment is fragmentary. The long treatises of Farrar (1875, 2 vols.) and
Geikie (1877, 2 vols.) are useful as commentaries on the words and works
of Jesus. Farrar often interprets most helpfully the essence of an
incident, and Geikie furnishes a mass of illustrative material from
rabbinic sources, though with less criticism than even Edersheim has used.
Neither of these works, however, deals with the fundamental problems of
the composition of the gospels, nor are they satisfactory on other
perplexing questions, for example, the miraculous birth.
5. The most important accessory for the study of the life of Jesus is Emil
Schuerer, _Geschichte des Juedischen Volkes im Zeitalter Jesu Christi_ (2d
ed. 1886, 1890, 2 vols. A 3d ed. of 2d part in 2 vols., 1898), translated,
_A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ_ (1885-6, 5
vols.). The political history of the Jews from 175 B.C. to 135 A.D., and
the intellectual and religious life of the times in which Jesus lived,
with the Jewish literature of Palestine and the dispersion, are all
treated with thoroughness and masterful learning. W. Baldensperger, _Das
Selbstbewusstsein Jesu im Lichte der messianischen Hoffnungen seiner
Zeit_ (2d ed. 1892), furnishes in the first part a survey of the Messianic
hopes of the Jews which is in many respects the most satisfactory account
that is accessible. The second part discusses the problem of Jesus'
conception of himself in a reverent and learned way. George Adam Smith,
_The Historical Geography of the Holy Land_ (1894), is indispensable for
the study of the physical features of the land as they bear on its
history, and on the work of Jesus. The maps are the best that have yet
6. Discussions of the Teaching of Jesus in works on Biblical Theology have
much that is important for the study of Jesus' life. The most significant
is H. H. Wendt, _Die Lehre Jesu_ (1886, 2 vols.). The second volume has
been translated _The Teaching of Jesus_ (1892, 2 vols.); the first volume
of the original work is an elaborate discussion of the sources, and has
not been done into English. Reference may be made especially to H. J.
Holtzmann, _Lehrbuch der Neutestamentlichen Theologie_ (1897, 2 vols.),
and also to G. H. Gilbert, _The Revelation of Jesus_ (1899). Gustaf
Dalman, _Die Worte Jesu_ (1898), of which the first volume only has
appeared, is a study of the meaning of the most significant expressions
used in the gospel records of the teaching of Jesus, made with the aid of
thorough knowledge of Aramaic usage and of the language of post-canonical
7. A good synopsis or Harmony of the gospels is most useful. The best
_Harmony is_ that of Stevens and Burton (1894), which exhibits the
divergencies of the parallel accounts in the gospels as faithfully as the
agreements. A good synopsis of the Greek text of the first three gospels
is Huck, _Synapse_ (1892). Robinson's _Greek Harmony of the Gospels_,
edited by M. B. Biddle, using Tischendorf's text, has also valuable notes
discussing questions of harmony.
AndLOL Andrews, The Life of Our Lord, 2d ed., 1892.
BaldSJ Baldensperger, Das Selbstbewusstsein Jesu, 2d ed., 1892.
BeysLJ Beyschlag, Das Leben Jesu, 3d ed., 2 vols., 1893.
BovonNTTh Bovon, Theologie du Nouveau Testament, 1892.
DalmanWJ Dalman, Die Worte Jesu, I., 1898.
EdersLJM Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, 2 vols.,
FairbSLX Fairbairn, Studies in the Life of Christ, 1882.
GilbertLJ Gilbert, The Student's Life of Jesus, 1896.
GilbertRJ Gilbert, The Revelation of Jesus, 1899.
HoltzNtTh Holtzmann, Neutestamentliche Theologie, 2 vols., 1897.
KeimJN Keim, The History of Jesus of Nazara, 6 vols., 1876-81.
RevilleJN Reville, Jesus de Nazareth, 2 vols., 1897.
SandayHastBD Sanday, the article JESUS CHRIST in the Hastings Bible
SchuererJPTX Schuerer, The History of the Jewish People in the Time of
Jesus Christ, 1885-86. Division I. vols. i. and ii.; Division
II. vols. i., ii., and iii.
SmithHGHL Smith, Historical Geography of the Holy Land, 1894.
SB Stevens and Burton, Harmony of the Gospels, 1894.
WeissLX Weiss, The Life of Christ, 3 vols., 1883.
WendtLJ Wendt, Die Lehre Jesu, 2 vols., 1886.
WendtTJ Wendt, The Teaching of Jesus, 2 vols., 1892.
EnBib Encyclopedia Biblica, 1899.
HastBD Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible, 1898.
SBD^2 Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, revision of the first volume
of the original English edition, 1893.
The Historical Situation
8. Read SandayHastBD II. 604-609. On the Land, its physical
characteristics, its political divisions, its climate, its roads, and its
varying civilization, SmithHGHL is unsurpassed. Its identifications of
disputed localities are cautions. Robinson, _Biblical Researches in
Palestine_, and Thomson, _The Land and the Book_, give fuller detail
concerning particular localities, but no such general view as Smith.
9. On Political conditions, SchuererJPTX I. i. and ii. is the fullest and
most trustworthy treatise. More concise essays are Oscar Holtzmann, _Nt.
Zeitgeschichte_ (1895), 57-118; S. Mathews, _History of NT Times in
Palestine_ (1899), 1-158; Riggs, _Maccabean and Roman Periods of Jewish
History_ (1900), especially Sec.Sec. 206-234, 257-267, 276-282. On the Religious
Life and Parties in Palestine, SchuererJPTX II. i. and ii.; O. Holtzmann,
_NtZeitg_, 136-177; Mathews, _NT Times_, see index; Riggs, _Mac. and Rom.
Periods_, Sec.Sec. 235-256; Muirhead, _The Times of Christ_ (1898), 69-150. In
addition Wellhausen, _Die Pharisdaeer und die Sadducaeer_ (1874); on the
_Essenes_, Conybeare in HastBD I. 767-772, also Lightfoot, _Colossians_,
80-98, 347-419; Wellhausen, _Isr. u. jued. Geschichte_^3 (1897), 258-262;
on the Samaritans, A. Cowley, in _Expos_. V. i. 161-174; Jew. Quar. Rev.
VIII. (1896) 562-575.
10. On the Messianic hope, SchuererJPTX II. ii. 126-187; BaldSJ 3-122;
Muirhead, _Times of Xt._, 112-150; Briggs, _Messiah of the Gospels_
(1894), 1-40; WendtTJ I. 33-84; Mathews, _NT Times_, 159-169; Riggs, _Mac.
and Rom. Periods_, Sec.Sec. 251-256.
11. On the language of Palestine see Arnold Meyer, _Jesu Muttersprache_
(1896); DalmanWJ I. 1-57; SchuererJPTX II. i. 8-10, 47-51; Neubauer,
_Studia Biblica_, I. 39-74.
12. On Jewish literature dating near the times of Jesus see SchuererJPTX
II. iii.; BaldSJ. 3-122; EdersLJM I. 31-39; Deane, _Pseudepigrapha_
(1891); Thomson, _Books which influenced our Lord_, etc. (1891); and
special editions, such as Alexandre, _Sibylline Oracles_ (1869); Deane,
_The Wisdom of Solomon_ (1881); Charles, _The Book of Enoch_ (1893), _The
Apocalypse of Baruch_ (1896), _The Assumption of Moses_ (1897), and _The
Book of Jubilees_ (1895); Charles and Morfill, _The Secrets of Enoch_
(1896); Ryle and James, _The Psalms of the Pharisees_ [Psalms of Solomon]
(1891); Bensly and James, _Fourth Esdras_ (1895); Charles, EnBib I.
213-250; HastBD I. 109f.; Porter, HastBD I. 110-123; James, EnBib I.
13. On the sources outside the gospels see Anthony, _Introduction to the
Life of Jesus_, 19-108; KeimJN I. 12-59; BeysLJ I. 59-72; GilbertLJ 74-78;
Knowling, _Witness of the Epistles_; Stevens, _Pauline Theol_. 204-208;
Sabatier, _Apostle Paul_, 76-85. On Josephus as a source see also
SchuererJPTX I. ii. 143-149; RevilleJN I. 272-280. On the individual
gospels see Burton, _The Purpose and Plan of the Four Gospels_ (Univ.
Chic. Press, 1900); Bruce, _With Open Face_, 1-61; Weiss, _Introduction to
N.T._, II. 239-386; Juelicher, _Einleitung i. d. NT_, 189-207. On Matthew,
Burton Bib. Wld. I. 1898, 37-44, 91-101; on Mark, Swete, _Comm. on Mark_,
ix-lxxxix; on Luke, Plummer, _Comm. on Luke_, xi-lxx; Mathews, Bib. Wld.
1895, I. 336-342, 448-455; on John, Burton, Bib. Wld. 1899, I. 16-41,
102-105; Westcott, _Comm. on John_, v-lxxvii; Rhees in Abbott's _The Bible
as Literature_, 281-297. On the synoptic question see Sanday SBD^2,
1217-1243, and Expositor, Feb.-June, 1891; Woods, _Studia Biblica_, II.
59-104; Salmon, _Introduction_^7, 99-151, 570-581; Stanton in HastBD II.
234-243; Juelicher, _Einl._ 207-227. A. Wright, _Composition of the Four
Gospels_ (1890) and _Some NT Problems_ (1898), defends the oral tradition
theory in a modified form. On possible dislocations in John see Spitta,
_Urchristentum_, I. 157-204; Bacon, Jour. Bib. Lit. 1894, 64-76; Burton,
Bib. Wld. 1899, I. 27-35. For the history of opinion see specially H. J.
Holtzmann, _Einl._^3 340-375. On the Johannine question see Sanday,
Expositor, Nov. 1891-May 1892; Schuerer, Cont. Rev. Sept. 1891; Watkins
SBD^2 1739-1764; Burton, Bib. Wld. 1899, I. 16-41; Reynolds in HastBD II.
694-722; Zahn, _Einl._ II. 445-564 (defends Johannine authorship);
Juelicher, _Einl._ 238-250 (rejects Johannine authorship). For the history
of opinion see Watkins, _Bampton Lecture_ for 1890; Holtzmann, _Einl._^3
433-438. P. Ewald, _Hauptproblem der evang. Frage_, argues the
authenticity of the fourth gospel from the one-sidedness of the synoptic
story. See also Jour. Bib. Lit. 1898, I. 87-102.
14. Reville proposes to reconstruct Jos. Ant. xviii. 3. 3 thus: "'At that
time appeared Jesus, a wise man, who did astonishing things. That is why a
good number of Jews and also of Greeks attached themselves to him.' Then
follows some phrase probably signifying that these adherents had committed
the error of proclaiming him Christ, and then 'denounced by the leading
men of the nation, this Jesus was condemned by Pilate to die on the cross.
But those who had loved him before persevered in their sentiment, and
still to-day there exists a class of people who take from him their name
15. On the testimony of Papias (Euseb. _Ch. Hist_. iii. 39. 4) see
Lightfoot, Cont. Rev. 1875, II. 379 ff., and McGiffert's notes in his
_Eusebius_, 170 ff.
16. For a collection of probably genuine Agrapha see Ropes, _Die Spruche
Jesu_, 154-161, and Amer. Jour. Theol. 1897, 758-776; Resch, _Agrapha_,
gives a much longer list. He is criticised by Ropes. On lost and
uncanonical gospels see Salmon, _Intr._^7 173-190, 580-591; Kruger, _Early
Christian Literature_, 50-57. For the recently discovered Gospel of Peter
see Swete, _The Gospel of Peter_; and on the so-called _Sayings of Jesus_
found in Egypt in 1896 see Harnack, _Expositor_, V. vi. 321-340, 401-416,
and essay by Sanday and Lock. _Apocryphal Gospels_ are most conveniently
found in _Ante-nicene Fathers_, VIII. 361-476.
The Harmony of the Gospels
17. The Diatessaron of Tatian is translated with notes by Hill, _The
Earliest Life of Christ_. See also _Ante-nic. Fathers_, IX. 35-138.
18. For the extreme position concerning Doublets see Holtzmann,
_Hand-commentar zum NT_ I. passim. E. Haupt, Studien u. Kritiken, 1884,
25, remarks that Jesus must often have repeated his teaching in
essentially the same form.
19. For data and discussion of the various problems see Wieseler,
_Chronological Synopsis_; Lewin, _Fasti Sacra; _ KeimJN II. 379-402;
AndLOL 1-52; SchuererJPTX I. ii. 30-32, 105-143; O. Holtzmann, _NtZeitg_,
118-124, 125-127, 131-132; Turner HastBD I. 403-415; Ramsay, _Was Christ
born at Bethlehem_; and von Soden in EnBib. I. 799-812. For patristic
opinion concerning the length of Jesus' ministry, see HastBD I. 410. For
the argument for a one-year ministry, see KeimJN II. 398; O. Holtzmann,
_NtZeitg_, 131f. For two years, see Wieseler, _Chron. Synop_. 204-220;
WeissLX I. 389-392; Turner, in HastBD. For three years, see AndLOL
189-198; note by Robertson in Broadus, _Harmony of the Gospels_, 241-244.
Compare RevilleJN II. 227-231; Zahn, _Einl._ II. 516f.
The Early Years
20. On the problem of the Virgin birth see GilbertLJ 79-89; WeissLX I.
211-233; Swete, _Apos. Creed_, 42-55; Bruce, _Apologetics_, 407-413;
Ropes, Andover Rev. 1893, 695-712; FairbSLX 30-45; Godet, _Comm. on Luke_,
Rem. on chaps. I. and II.; BovonNTTh I. 198-217. These maintain
historicity. The other side: BeysLJ I. 148-174; Meyer, _Comm. on Matt_.,
Rem. on 1.18; Keim JN II. 38-101; Reville, New World, 1892, 695-723, and
JN I. 361-408; HoltzmannNtTh I. 409-415. On the early years of
Jesus see EdersLJM I. 217-254; WeissLX I. 275-293; Hughes, _Manliness of
Xt_, 35-60; WendtTJ I. 90-96; Stapfer, _Jesus Christ before his Ministry;
_ FairbSLX 46-63; BeysLJ II. 44-65; RevilleJN I. 409-438.
21. For some of the early legends concerning the birth and childhood of
Jesus, see the so-called _Protevangelium of James_, the _Gospel of
Pseudo-Matthew_, and the _Gospel of Thomas_, Ante-nic. Fathers, VIII.
361-383, 395-398. For Jewish calumnies see Laible, _J. X. im Thalmud_,
22. On the two genealogies see AndLOL 62-68; WeissLX I. 211-221; Godet on
Luke, iii. 23-38. These refer Luke's genealogy to Marv. Hervey SBD^2
1145-1148, Plummer on Luke, iii. 23, EdersLJM I. 149, GilbertLJ 81f.,
with the early fathers (see Plummer), refer both to Joseph. For the view
that they are unauthentic see Holtzmann, _Hand-comm._ I. 39-41; Bacon in
HastBD II. 137-141.
23. On the "brethren" of Jesus see Mayor, HastBD I. 320-326;
AndrewsLOL 111-123. These make the brethren sons of Joseph and
Mary. Lightfoot, _Galatians_^10, 252-291, regards them as sons of Joseph
by a former marriage.
John the Baptist
24. On the character and work of John the Baptist see KeimJN II. 201-266
and references in the index under John the Baptist. Keim's is much the
most satisfactory treatment; it is, moreover, Keim at his best. See also
Ewald, _Hist, of Israel_, VI. 160-200; WeissLX I. 307-316; FairbSLX 64-79;
W. A. Stevens, Homil. Rev. 1891, II. 163 ff.; Bebb in HastBD II. 677-680;
Wellhausen _Isr. u. judische Geschichte_, 342f.; Feather, _Last of the
Prophets_. Reynolds, _John the Baptist_, obscures its excellencies by a
vast amount of irrelevant discussion.
25. On the existence of a separate company of disciples of John see Mk.
ii. 18, Mt. ix. 14, Lk. v. 33; Mk. vi. 29, Mt. xiv. 12; Mt. xi. 2f., Lk.
vii. 18f.; Lk. xi. 1; Jn. i. 35f.; iii. 25; Ac. xix. 1-3. Consult
Lightfoot, _Colossians_, 400 ff.; Baldensperger, _Der Prolog des vierten
The Messianic Call
26. On the baptism of Jesus see WendtTJ I. 96-101; EdersLJM I. 278-287;
BaldSJ 219-229. WeissLX I. 316-336 says that the baptism meant for Jesus,
already conscious of his Messiahship, "the close of his former life and
the opening of one perfectly new" (322); KeimJN II. 290-299 makes it an
act of consecration, but eliminates the Voice and Dove; BeysLJ I. 215-231
thinks that Jesus, conscious of no sin, yet not aware of his Messiahship,
sought the baptism carrying "the sins and guilt of his people on his
heart, as if they were his own" (229). Against Beyschlag see E. Haupt in
Studien u. Kritiken, 1887, 381. Baldensperger shows clearly that the
Messianic call was a revelation to Jesus, not a conclusion from a course
27. On the temptation see WendtTJ I. 101-105; WeissLX I. 337-354; EdersLJM
I. 299-307; FairbairnSLX 80-98; BaldSJ 230-236; BeysLJ I.
231-237; KeimJN II. 317-329. All these see in temptation the necessary
result of the Messianic call at the baptism.
28. The locality of the baptism of Jesus cannot be determined. Tradition
has fixed on one of the fords of the Jordan near Jericho, see SmithHGHL
496, note 1. On the probable location of Bethany (Bethabarah) (Jn. i. 28)
see discussion in AndLOL 146-151; EnBib 548; and especially Smith's note
29. On the anointing of Jesus with the Holy Spirit see WeissLX I. 323-336;
BeysLJ I. 230f. For the influence of the Spirit in the later life of Jesus
see Mk. i. 12; Mt. iv. 1; Lk. iv. 1; iv. 14, 18, 21; Mk. iii. 29, 30; Mt.
xii. 28; Jn. iii. 34; compare Ac. i. 2; x. 38. Clearly these refer not to
the ethical and religious indwelling of the Divine Spirit (comp. Rom. i.
4), but to the special equipment for official duty. This is the OT sense,
see Ex. xxxi. 2-5; Jud. iii. 10; I. Sam. xi. 6; Isa. xi. 1f.; xlii. 1;
lxi. 1; and consult Schultz, _Old Test. Theol._ II. 202f. Jesus seems to
have needed a like divine equipment, notwithstanding his divine nature.
See GilbertLJ 121f.
30. How this Messianic anointing is to be related to the doctrine of
Jesus' essential divine nature cannot be determined with certainty. It
must not be forgotten, however, that it is a _datum_ for Christology, and
that it cannot be explained away. It indicates one of the particulars in
which Jesus was made like unto his brethren. What was involved when the
Son of God "emptied himself and was made in the likeness of men" (Phil.
ii. 7) we can only vaguely conceive. Two views of early heretical sects
seem rightly to have been rejected. The Docetic view, held by some
Gnostics of the 2d cent., dates the incarnation from the baptism, but
distinguishes Christ from the human Jesus, who only served as a vehicle
for the manifestation of the Son of God; the Christ descended on Jesus at
the baptism, ascending again to heaven from the cross, compare Mt. iii. 16
and xxvii. 50 in the Greek; see Schaff _Hist. of Xn Church_^2, II. 455f.
The recently discovered Gospel of Peter presents this view, Gosp. Pet. Sec.
5. The Nestorian view represents that the baptism was, in a sense, Jesus'
"birth from above" (Jn. iii. 3, 5); thus the incarnation was first
complete at the baptism though the Logos had been associated with Jesus
from the beginning. See Schaff, _Hist, of Xn Church_^2, III. 717 ff.;
Conybeare, _History of Xmas_, Amer. Jour. Theol. 1899, 1-21.
31. The traditional locality of the temptation is a mountain near Jericho
called _Quarantana_, see AndLOL 155; the tradition seems to date no
further back than the crusades. It is, however, probable that the
"wilderness" (Mt. iv. 1, Mk. i. 12, Lk. iv. 1) is the same wilderness
mentioned in connection with John's earlier life and work (Mt. iii. 1, Mk.
i. 4), the region W and NW of the Dead Sea, see SmithHGHL 317. Others
(Stanley, _Sinai and Palestine_, 308; EdersLJM I. 300, 339 notes) hold
that the temptation took place in the desert regions SE of the sea of
Galilee; this is possibly correct, though the record in the gospels
suggests the wilderness of Judea. On the source of the temptation story
see WeissLX I. 339 ff.; BeysLJ I. 234; Bacon, Bib. Wld. 1900, I. 18-25.
The First Disciples
32. SandayHastBD II. 612f.; GilbertLJ 144-157; WeissLX I. 355-387; AndLOL
155-165; EdersLJM I. 336-363; BeysLJ II. 129-148 (assigns here a
considerable part of the synoptic account of work in Capernaum).
33. _The early confessions_. On the genuineness of the Baptist's testimony
to "the Lamb of God" see M. Dods in _Expos. Gk. Test_. I .695f.; Westcott,
_Comm. on John_, 20; EdersLJM 1. 342 ff.; WeissLX 1. 362f. (thinks the
evangelist added "who taketh away the sin of the world"); Holtzmann,
_Hand-comm._ IV. 38f. holds that the evangelist has put in the mouth of
the Baptist a conception which was first current after the death of Jesus.
On the confessions of Nathanael and the others, see Jour. Bib. Lit. 1898,
34. _Cana_ is probably the modern Khirbet Kana, eight miles N of Nazareth.
A rival site is Kefr Kenna, three and one-half miles NE from Nazareth. See
EnBib and HastBD, also AndLOL 162-164.
35. _The miracles of Jesus_ are challenged by modern thought. It is
customary in reading other documents than the N.T. instantly to relegate
the miraculous to the domain of legend. Miracles, however, are integral
parts of the story of Jesus' life, and those who attempt to write that
life eliminating the supernatural are constrained to recognize that he had
marvellous power as an exorcist and healer of some forms of nervous
disease. So E. A. Abbott, _The Spirit on the Waters_, 169-201. Our
knowledge of nature does not warrant a dogmatic definition of the limits
of the possible; see James, _The Will to Believe_, vii.-xiii., 299-327.
The question is confessedly one of adequate evidence. The evidence for the
supreme miracle--the transcendent character of Jesus--is clear, see Part
III. chap. iv.; and the miraculous element in the story of his life must
be considered in view of this supreme miracle. In association with him his
miracles gain in credibility. In estimating the evidence for them their
dignity and worthiness is important. What the devout imagination would do
in embellishing the story of Jesus is exhibited in the apocryphal gospels;
the miracles of the canonical gospels are of an entirely different type,
which commends them as authentic. By definition a miracle is an event not
explicable in terms of ordinary human experience. It is therefore futile
to attempt to picture the miracles of Jesus in their occurrence, for the
imagination has no material except that furnished by ordinary experience.
For our day the miracles are of importance chiefly for the exhibition they
give of the character of Jesus; they can be studied with this in view
without regard to the curious question how they happened. Read
SandayHastBD II. 624-628; and see Fisher, _Grounds of Christian and
Theistic Belief, _ chaps, iv.--vi., _Supernatural Origin of
Christianity_^3, chap, xi.; Bruce, _Miraculous Element in the Gospels;
Apologetics_, 409 ff.; Illingworth, _Divine Immanence_; Rainy, Orr, and
Dods, _The Supernatural in Christianity_.
Part II.--The Ministry
36. SandayHastBD II. 609f.; GilbertLJ 136-143; AndLOL 125-137; BeysLJ I.
The Early Ministry in Judea
37. SandayHastBD II. 612^b-613^b; WeissLX II. 3-53; EdersLJM I. 364-429;
BeysLJ II. 147-168; GilbertLJ 158-179.
38. On _the chronological significance of John iv_. 35 see AndLOL 183;
WeissLX II. 40; Wieseler, _Synop_. 212 ff, who find indication that the
journey was in December. EdersLJM I. 419f.; Turner in HastBD I. 408, find
indication of early summer. Some treat iv. 35 as a proverb with no
chronological significance; so Alford, _Comm. on John_.
39. Geographical notes. _Aenon_ near Salim has not been identified. Most
favor a site in Samaria, seven miles from a place named Salim, which lay
four miles E of Shechem, see Conder, _Tent Work in Palestine_, II. 57, 58;
Stevens, Jour. Bib. Lit. 1883, 128-141. But can John have been baptizing
in Samaria? WeissLX II. 28 says "it is perfectly impossible that he [John]
can have taken up his station in Samaria." Other suggestions are: some
place in the Jordan valley (but then why remark on the abundance of water,
Jn. iii. 23?); near Jerusalem; and in the south of Judea. See AndLOL
173-175. _Sychar_ is the modern 'Askar, about a mile and three-quarters
from Nablus (Shechem), and half a mile N of Jacob's well. See SmithHGHL
40. General questions. _Was the temple twice cleansed?_ (see sect. 116).
Probably not. The two reports (Jn. ii. 13-22; Mk. xi. 15-18 ¶s) are
similar in respect of Jesus' indignation, its cause, its expression, its
result, and a consequent challenge of his authority. They differ in the
time of the event (John assigns to first Passover, synoptics to the last)
and in a possibly greater sternness in the synoptic account. These
differences are no greater than appear in other records of identical
events (compare Mt. viii. 5-13 with Lk. vii. 2-10), while the repetition
of such an act would probably have been met by serious opposition. If the
temple was cleansed but once, John indicates the true time. At the
beginning of the ministry it was a demand that the people follow the new
leader in the purification of God's house and the establishment of a truer
worship. At the end it could have had only a vindictive significance,
since the people had already signified to the clear insight of Jesus that
they would not accept his leadership. For two distinct cleansings see the
discussion in AndLOL 169f., 437; EdersLJM I. 373; Plummer on Luke xix.
45f. For one cleansing at the end see KeimJN V. 113-131. For one cleansing
at the beginning see WeissLX II. 6 ff.; BeysLJ II. 149 ff.; GilbertLJ 159
41. _The journey to Galilee_. Do John (iv. 1-4, 43-45) and Mark (i. 14 =
Mt. iv. 12; Lk. iv. 14) report the same journey? Both are journeys from
the south introducing work in Galilee; yet the reasons given for the
journey are different (compare Jn. iv. 1-3 with Mk. i. 14). If the
Pharisees had a hand in John's "delivering up" (Mk. i. 14; comp. Jos. Ant.
xviii. 5. 2), the same hostile movement may have impelled Jesus to leave
Judea. He may not have heard of John's imprisonment until after his
departure, or some time before he opened his new ministry in Galilee. See
GilbertLJ 173f. AndLOL 176-182 argues against the identification.
42. _The nobleman's son_ (Jn. iv. 46-54). Is this a doublet of Mt. viii.
5-13; Lk. vii. 2-10? John differs from synoptics in the time, the place,
the disease, the suppliant, his plea, and Jesus' attitude. Matthew and
Mark differ from each other concerning the bearers of the centurion's
messages to Jesus. John's account is similar to synoptic superficially,
but is probably not a doublet. Compare Syro-Phoenician's daughter (Mk. vii.
29f.). See GilbertLJ 202; Meyer on John iv. 51-54; Plummer on Luke vii.
10. WeissLX II. 45-51 identifies. Read SandayHastBD II. 613.
III and IV
The Ministry in Galilee
43. Read SandayHastBD II. 613-630; GilbertLJ 180-283. Consult WeissLX II.
44 to III. 153; EdersLJM I. 472 to II. 125; BeysLJ II. 140-147,168-294.
See AndLOL 209-363 for discussion of details, and KeimJN III. 10 to IV.
346 for an illuminating, though not unprejudiced, topical treatment.
44. Geographical notes. _Capernaum_. The site is not clearly identified,
two ruins on the NW of Sea of Galilee are rival claimants,--Tell Hum and
Khan Minyeh. Tell Hum is advocated by Thomson, _Land and Book, Central
Pal. and Phoenicia_ (1882), 416-420; Khan Minyeh, by SmithHGHL 456, EnBib
I. 696 ff. Latter is probably correct. See AndLOL 224-237.
_Bethsaida_. The full name is Bethsaida Julias, located at entrance of
Jordan into the Sea of Galilee. SmithEnBib I. 565f., SmithHGHL
457f., shows that there is no need of the hypothesis of a second Bethsaida
to meet the statement in Mk. vi. 45, or that in Jn. i. 44. See also AndLOL
230-236. Ewing HastBD I. 282f. renews the argument for two Bethsaidas.
_Chorazin_ was probably the modern Kerazeh, about one mile N of Tell Hum,
and back from the lake. See SmithEnBib I. 751; SmithHGHL 456;
45. _The mountain of the sermon on the mount_ (Mt. v. 1; Lk. vi. 12)
probably refers to the Galilean highlands as distinct from the shore of
the lake. More definite location is not possible. See AndLOL 268f.;
EdersLJM I. 524. The traditional site, the Horns of Hattin, is a hill
lying about seven miles SW from Khan Minyeh, which has near the top a
level place (Lk. vi. 17) flanked by two low peaks or "horns."
46. _The country of the Gerasenes, Gadarenes, or Gergesenes_. Gadarenes is
the best attested reading in Mt. viii. 28, Gerasenes in Mk. v. 1 and Lk.
viii. 26; Gergesenes has only secondary attestation. Gadara is identified
with Um Keis on the Yarmuk, some six miles SE of the Sea of Galilee. This
cannot have been the site of the miracle, though it is possible that
Gadara may have controlled the country round about, including the shores
of the sea. Gerasa is the name of a city in the highlands of Gilead,
twenty miles E of Jordan, and thirty-five SE of the Sea of Galilee, and
it clearly cannot have been the scene of the miracle. Near the E shore of
the sea Thomson discovered the ruins of a village which now bears the name
Khersa. The formation of the land in the neighborhood closely suits the
narrative of the gospels. This is now accepted as the true identification.
See Thomson _Land and Book, Central Palestine_, 353-355; SBD^2 1097-1100;
HastBD II. 159f.; AndLOL 296-300. The name "Gadarenes" may indicate that
Gadara had jurisdiction over the region of Khersa; the names "Gerasenes"
and "Gergesenes" may be derived directly and independently from Khersa, or
may be corruptions due to the obscurity of Khersa.
47. _The feeding of the five thousand_ took place on the E of the sea, in
a desert region, abundant in grass, and mountainous, and located in the
neighborhood of a place named Bethsaida. Near the ruins of Bethsaida
Julias is a plain called now Butaiha, "a smooth, grassy place near the sea
and the mountains," which meets the requirements of the narrative. See
48. _The return of Jesus from the regions of Tyre "through Sidon"_ (Mk.
vii. 31) avoided Galilee, crossing N of Galilee to the territory of Philip
and "_the Decapolis_." This latter name applies to a group of free Greek
cities, situated for the most part E of the Jordan. Most of the cities of
the group were farther S than the Sea of Galilee; some, however, were E
and NE of that sea, hence Jesus' approach from Caesarea Philippi or
Damascus could be described as "through Decapolis." See SmithHGHL 593-608;
En Bib I. 1051 ff.; SchuererJPTX II. i. 94-121.
49. Of _Magadan_ (Mt. xv. 39) or _Dalmanutha_ (Mk. viii. 10) all that is
known is that they must have been on the W coast of the Sea of Galilee.
They have never been identified, though there are many conjectures. See
SBD^2, HastBD, and En Bib.
50. _Caesarea Philippi_ was situated at the easternmost and most important
of the sources of the Jordan, it is called Panias by Jos. Ant. xv. 10.3,
now Banias. Probably a sanctuary of the god Pan. Here Herod the Great
built a temple which he dedicated to Caesar; Philip the Tetrarch enlarged
the town and called it Caesarea Philippi. See SBD^2; HastBD; EnBib.
51. _The mountain of the transfiguration_. The traditional site, since the
fourth century, is Tabor in Galilee. Most recent opinion has favored one
of the shoulders of Hermon, owing to the supposed connection of the event
with the sojourn near Caesarea Philippi. WeissLX III. 98 points out that
there is no evidence that Jesus lingered for "six days" (Mk. ix. 2) near
that town, and that therefore the effort to locate the transfiguration is
futile. GilbertLJ 274 thinks that Mk. ix. 30 is decisive in favor of a
place outside Galilee; he therefore holds to the common view that Hermon
is the true locality. See AndLOL 357f.
52. General questions. _Was Jesus twice rejected at Nazareth?_ (comp. Lk.
iv. 16-30 with Mk. vi. 1-6^a; Mt. xiii. 54-58). Here are two accounts that
read like independent traditions of the same event; they agree concerning
the place, the teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath, the astonishment
of the Nazarenes, their scornful question, and Jesus' rejoinder. Luke
makes no reference to the disciples (Mk. vi. 1) nor to the working of
miracles (Mk. vi. 5); Matthew and Mark, on the other hand, say nothing of
an attempt at violence. These differences are no more serious, however,
than appear in the two accounts of the appeal of the centurion to Jesus
(Mt. viii. 5-8; Lk. vii. 3-7). Moreover, Lk. iv. 23 indicates a time after
the ministry in Capernaum had won renown, which agrees with the place
given the rejection in Mark. The general statement (Lk. iv. 14f.) suggests
that the visit to Nazareth is given at the beginning as an instance of
"preaching in their synagogues." The three accounts probably refer to one
event reported independently. For identification see WeissLX III. 34;
Plummer on Luke iv. 30; GilbertLJ 254f. For two rejections see Godet's
supplementary note on Lk. iv. 16-30; Meyer on Mt. xiii. 53-58; EdersLJM I.
457, note 1; Wieseler, _Synopsis_, 278. BeysLJ I. 270 identifies but
prefers Luke's date.
53. _Were there two miraculous draughts of fish?_ Lk. v. 1-11 is sometimes
identified with Jn. xxi. 3-13. So WendtLJ I. 211f., WeissLX II. 57f., and
Meyer on Luke v. 1-11. Against the identification see Alford, Godet, and
Plummer on the passage in Luke. The two are alike in scene, the night of
bootless toil, the great catch at Jesus' word. They differ in personnel,
antecedent relations of the fishermen with Jesus, the effect of the
miracle on Peter, and the subsequent teaching of Jesus, as well as in
time. These differences make identification difficult.
54. _Where in the synoptic story should the journey to the feast in
Jerusalem_ (Jn. v.) _be placed?_ There is nothing in John's narrative to
identify the feast, although it is his custom to name the festivals to
which he refers (Passover, ii. 13, 23; vi. 4; xi. 55; xii. 1; Tabernacles,
vii. 2; Dedication, x. 22). Even if John wrote "the feast," rather than "a
feast" (the MSS. vary, A B D and seven other uncials omit the article), it
would be impossible to decide between Passover and Tabernacles. The
omission of the article suggests either that the feast was of minor
importance, or that its identification was of no significance for the
understanding of the following discourse. Since a year and four months
probably elapsed between the journey into Galilee (Jn. iv. 35) and the
next Passover mentioned in John (vi. 4), v. 1 may refer to any one of the
feasts of the Jewish year. The commonest interpretation prefers Purim, a
festival of a secular and somewhat hilarious type, which occurred on the
14th and 15th of Adar, a month before the Passover. It is difficult to
believe that this feast would have called Jesus to Jerusalem. See WeissLX
II. 391; GilbertLJ 137-139, 142, 234-235. Against this interpretation see
EdersLJM II. 765. Edersheim advocates the feast of Wood Gathering on the
15th of Ab--about our August. On this day all the people were permitted to
offer wood for the use of the altar in the temple, while during the rest
of the year the privilege was reserved for special families. See LJM II
765f.; Westcott, _Comm. on John_, add. note on v. 1, argues for the feast
of Trumpets, or the new moon of the month Tisri,--about our
September,--which was celebrated as the beginning of the civil year.
Others have suggested Pentecost, fifty days after the Passover; the day of
Atonement--but this was a fast, not a feast; and Tabernacles. The majority
of those who do not favor Purim prefer the Passover, notwithstanding the
difficulty of thinking that John would refer to this feast simply as "a
feast of the Jews." Read AndLOL 193-198, remembering that the question
must be considered independently of the question of the length of Jesus'
ministry. The impossibility of determining the feast renders the
adjustment of this visit to the synoptic story very uncertain. It may be
that there was some connection between the Sabbath controversy in Galilee
(Mk. ii. 23-28) and the criticism Jesus aroused in Jerusalem (Jn. v.). If
so, one of the spring feasts, Passover or Pentecost, would best suit the
circumstances; but this arrangement is quite uncertain.
55. _Do the five conflicts of Mk. ii. 1 to iii. 6 belong at the early
place in the ministry of Jesus to which that gospel assigns them_? It is
commonly held that they do not, and the argument for a two-year ministry
rests on this assumption (see SandayHastBD II. 613). Holtzmann,
_Hand-commentar_ I. 9f., remarks that at least for the cure of the
paralytic and for the call and feast of Levi (Mk. ii. 1, 13, 15) the
evangelist was confident that he was following the actual order of events;
note the call of the fifth disciple, Mk. ii. 13, between the call of the
four, Mk. i. 16-20, and that of the twelve, iii. 16-19. The question about
fasting may owe its place (Mk. ii. 18-22) to association with the
criticism of Jesus for eating with publicans (Mk. ii. 16). In like manner
the second Sabbath conflict (Mk. iii. 1-6) may be attached to the first
(ii. 23-28) as a result of the identity of subject, for it is noteworthy
that Mark records only these two Sabbath conflicts; moreover, the plot of
Herodians and Pharisees to kill Jesus strongly suggests a later time for
the actual occurrence of this criticism. The first Sabbath question,
however, may belong early, as Mark has placed it. Weiss, Markusevangelium,
76, LX II. 232 ff., places these conflicts late. Edersheim, LJM II. 51
ff., discusses the Sabbath controversies after the feeding of the
multitudes. RevilleJN II. 229 places the first of them early.
56. _The sermon on the mount._ Luke (vi. 12-19 = Mk. iii. 13-19^a
indicates the place in the Galilean ministry; Matthew has therefore
anticipated in assigning it to the beginning. The identity of the two
sermons (Mt. v. 1 to vii. 27; Lk. vi. 20-49) is shown by the fact that
each begins with beatitudes, each closes with the parables of the wise and
foolish builders, each is followed by the cure of a centurian's servant in
Capernaum (Mt. viii. 5-13; Lk. vii. 1-10), and the teachings which are
found in each account are given in the same order. Matthew is much fuller
than Luke, many teachings given in the sermon in Matthew being found in
later contexts in Luke. Much of the sermon in Matthew, however, evidently
belonged to the original discourse, and was omitted by Luke, perhaps
because of less interest to Gentile than to Jewish Christians. The
following sections are found elsewhere in Luke, and were probably
associated with the sermon by the first evangelist: Mt. v. 25, 26; Lk.
xii. 58, 59; Mt. vi. 9-13; Lk. xi. 2-4; Mt. vi. 19-34; Lk. xii. 21-34; xi.
34-36; xvi. 13; Mt. vii. 7-11; Lk. xi. 9-13; Mt. vii. 13, 14; Lk. xiii.
24. The first evangelist's habit of grouping may explain also the presence
in his sermon of teachings which he himself has duplicated later, thus:
Mt. v. 29, 30 = xviii. 8,9; v. 32 = xix. 9, comp. Mk. x. 11, ix. 43-47,
Lk. xvi. 18; Mt. vi. 14, 15 = Mk. xi. 25. Matthew vii. 22, 23 has the
character of the teachings which follow the confession at Caesarea
Phillipi, and is quite unlike the other early teachings. It may belong to
the later time, for it was natural for the early Christians to associate
together teachings which the Lord uttered on widely separated occasions.
The sermon as originally given may be analyzed as follows: The privileges
of the heirs of the kingdom of God, Mt. v. 3-13; Lk. vi. 20-26; their
responsibilities, Mt. v. 13-16; the relation of the new to the old, Mt. v.
17-19; the text of the discourse, Mt. v. 20; the new conception of
morality, Mt. v. 21-48; Lk. vi. 27-36; the new practice of religion, Mt.
vi. 1-8, 16-18; warning against a censorious spirit, Mt. vii. 16-20; Lk.
vi. 43-46; the wise and foolish builders, Mt. vii. 24-27; Lk. vi. 47-49.
57. _The discourse in parables._ Matthew gives seven parables at this
point (xiii.), Mark (iv. 1-34) has three, one of them is not given in
Matthew, Luke (viii. 4-18) gives in this connection but one,--the Sower.
Many think that the Tares of Matthew (xiii. 24-30, 36-43) is a doublet of
Mark's Seed growing secretly (iv. 26-29); so Weiss LX II. 209 note,
against which view see WendtLJ I. 178 f., and Bruce, _Parabolic Teaching
of Xt_, 119. Matthew has probably made here a group of parables, as in
chapters v. to vii. he has made a group of other teachings. The
interpretation of the Tares, and of the Draw-net (xiii. 40-43, 49, 50),
may indicate that these parables were spoken after Jesus began to teach
plainly concerning the end of the world (Mk. viii. 31 to ix. 1), Luke
gives the Mustard Seed and Leaven in another connection (xiii. 18-21), and
it may be that Matthew has taken them out of their true context to
associate them with the other parables of his group; yet in popular
teaching it must be recognized that illustrations are most likely to be
repeated in different situations. On the parables see Goebel, _The
Parables of Jesus_ (1890), Bruce, _The Parabolic Teaching of Christ_, 3d
ed. (1886), Juelicher, _Die Gleichnissreden Jesu_ (2 vols. 1899), and
the commentaries on the gospels.
58. _The instructions to the twelve_. Mt. ix. 36 to xi. 1. x. 1, 5-14
corresponds in general with Mk. vi. 7-11; Lk. ix. 1-5. The similarity is
closer, however, between x. 7-15 and Lk. x. 3-12--the instructions to the
seventy (see sect. A 68). The rest of Mt. x. (16-42) is paralleled by
teachings found in the closing discourses in the synoptic gospels, and in
teachings preserved in the section peculiar to Luke (ix. 51 to xviii. 14.
See SB sects. 88-92, footnotes). It is probable that here the first
evangelist has made a group of instructions to disciples gathered from all
parts of the Lord's teachings; such a collection was of great practical
value in the early time of persecution.
59. _Did Jesus twice feed the multitudes_? All the gospels record the
feeding of the five thousand (Mt. xiv. 13-23; Mk. vi. 30-46; Lk. ix.
10-17; Jn. vi. 1-15), Matthew (xv. 32-38) and Mark (viii. 1-9) give also
the feeding of the four thousand. The similarities are so great that the
two accounts would be regarded as doublets if they occurred in different
gospels. The difficulty with such an identification is chiefly the
reference which in both Matthew (xvi. 9, 10) and Mark (viii. 19, 20) Jesus
is said to have made to the two feedings. The evangelists clearly
distinguished the two. In view of this fact the differences between the
accounts become important. These concern the occasion of the two miracles,
the number fed, the nationality of the multitudes (compare Jn. vi. 31 and
Mk. vii. 31), the number of loaves and of baskets of broken pieces (the
name for basket is different in the two cases, and is preserved
consistently in Mk. viii. 19, 20; Mt. xvi. 9, 10). See GilbertLJ 259-262,
Gould, and Swete, on Mk. viii. 1-9; Meyer, Alford, on Mt. xv. 32-38.
WeissLX II. 376f., BeysLJ I. 279f., WendtLJ I. 42, Holtzmann _Hand-comm._
I. 186 ff., identify the accounts. See also SandayHastBD II. 629.
60. _Did Peter twice confess faith in Jesus as Messiah_? Synoptics give
his confession at Caeesarea Philippi (Mk. viii. 27-30; Mt. xvi. 13-20; Lk.
ix. 18-21). John, however, gives a confession earlier at Capernaum (vi.
66-71). WeissLX III. 53 identifies the two, placing that in John at
Caesarea Philippi, since there is no evidence that all of the long
discourse of Jn. vi. was spoken in Capernaum the day after the feeding of
the five thousand. This may be correct, yet the marked recognition which
Jesus gave to the confession at Caesarea Philippi does not demand that he
first at that time received a confession of his disciples' faith. The
confession in Jn. vi. 68, 69 declared that the twelve were not shaken in
their faith by the recent defection of many disciples. At Caesarea Philippi
the confession was made after the revulsion of popular feeling had been
made fully evident, and after the twelve had had time for reaction of
enthusiasm consequent upon the growing coldness of the multitudes and
active opposition of the leaders. The confession of Caesarea Philippi holds
its unique significance, whether or not Jn. vi. 68 is identified with it.
61. _The journey to Tabernacles_ (Jn. vii.). Where in the synoptic story
should it be placed? Lk. ix. 51 ff. records the final departure from
Galilee. The journey of Jn. vii. is the last journey from Galilee given in
John. Yet the two are very different. In John, Jesus went in haste,
unpremeditatedly, in secret, and unaccompanied, and confronted the people
with himself unexpectedly during the feast. In Luke (Mk. x. 1 and Mt. xix.
1 are so general that they give no aid) he advanced deliberately, with
careful plans, announcing his coming in advance, accompanied by many
disciples, with whom he went from place to place, arriving in Jerusalem
long after he had set out. The two journeys cannot be identified. John
seems to keep Jesus in the south after the Tabernacles, but his account
does not forbid a return to Galilee between Tabernacles and Dedication (x.
22). After the hurried visit to Tabernacles, Jesus probably went back to
Galilee, and gathered his disciples again for the final journey towards
his cross--for the visit to Jerusalem had given fresh evidence of the kind
of treatment he must expect in the capital (Jn. vii. 32, 45-52; viii. 59).
See AndLOL 369-379. Andrews suggests that the feast occurred before the
withdrawal to Caesarea Philippi (376); this is possible, but it seems more
natural to place it during the sojourn in Capernaum after the return from
the north (Mk. ix. 33-50). See SB, sects. 82-85.
62. On the phenomena and interpretation of _Demoniac Possession_ see J. L.
Nevius, _Demon Possession and allied Themes_; Conybeare, Jew. Quar. Rev.
VIII. (1896) 576-608, IX. (1896-7) 59-114, 444-470, 581-603; J. Weiss in
_Reaelencyklopaedie_,^3 Hauck-Herzog, IV. 408-419; Binet, _Alterations of
Personality_, 325-356; James, _Psychology, _ I. 373-400; and the articles
on DEMONS in EnBib and HastBD.
The Journey through Perea to Jerusalem
63. Read SandayHastBD II. 630-632; see GilbertLJ 298-310: WeissLX III.
157-223; KeimJN V, 1-64; BeysLJ I. 287-294. II. 333-419; AndLOL 365-420;
EdersLJM II. 126-360.
64. This journey began sometime between Tabernacles and Dedication
(October and December) of the last year of Jesus' life, and continued
until the arrival in Bethany six days before the last Passover.
65. Geographical notes. _Perea_--a part of the domain of Antipas--was the
Jewish territory E of the Jordan. Its northern limit seems to have been
marked by Pella (Jos. Wars, iii 3. 3) or Gadara (Wars, iv. 7. 3), and its
E boundary was marked by Philadelphia (Ant. xx. 1. 1); it extended S to
the domain of Aretas, king of Arabia. The population was mixed, though
predominatingly Jewish. Cities of the Decapolis, however, lay within the
limits of Perea, and introduced Greek life and ideas to the people. On the
highlands back from the Jordan it was a fertile and well populated land.
See SmithHGHL 539f.; SchuererJPTX II. i. 2-4.
66. On _Bethany and Jericho_ see BDs and, for the latter, SmithHGHL 266
67. _Ephraim_, (John xi. 54) is generally identified with the Ephron of
II. Chron. xiii. 19 (Jos. Wars, iv. 9. 9). Robinson located it at et
Taiyibeh, 4 m. NE of Bethel, and 14 from Jerusalem. See HastBD l. 728;
68. General questions. _The mission of the seventy_. Luke records two
missions, that of the twelve (ix. 1-6), and that of the seventy (x. 1-24).
Many regard these as doublets, similar to the two feedings in Mark. So
WeissLX II. 307 ff., BeysLJ I. 275, WendtLJ I. 84f. In favor of this
conclusion emphasis is given to the fact that in Jewish thought seventy
symbolized the nations of the world as twelve symbolized Israel. It is
suggested that in his search for full records Luke came upon an account of
the mission of disciples which had already been modified in the interests
of Gentile Christianity, and failing to recognize its identity with the
account of the mission furnished by Mark, he added it in his peculiar
section. The similarity of the instructions given follows from the nature
of the case. A second sending out of disciples is suitable in view of the
entrance into a region hitherto unvisited. As Dr. Sanday has remarked, the
sayings connected by Luke with this mission bear witness to the
authenticity of the account. There is therefore no need to identify the
two missions. See particularly SandayHastBD II. 614, also GilbertLJ
226-230, Plummer's _Comm. on Luke_, 269 ff. Luke probably gives the
correct place for the thanksgiving, self-declaration, and invitation of
Jesus, in which the synoptists approach most nearly to the thought of John
(Lk. x. 21, 22; Mt. xi. 25-30). The return of the seventy (Lk. x. 17-20)
followed the woes addressed to the unbelieving cities (Lk. x. 13-16; Mt.
69. _The destination of the seventy_. It is customary to think of them as
sent to the various cities of Perea (see AndLOL 381-383). Were it not for
the words "whither he himself was about to come" (Lk. x. I), it would be
natural to conclude that they were sent E to Gerasa and Philadelphia, and
S to the regions of the Dead Sea. If John's account is accepted, Jesus
spent not a little time of the interval between his departure from Galilee
and his final arrival in Bethany in and near Jerusalem. It may be that
after the withdrawal from the Dedication he went far into the Perean
districts. But John x. 40 is against it. The question must be left
unanswered. The messengers may have visited places in all parts of
The Controversies of the Last Week
70. See GilbertLJ 311-335; WeissLX III. 224-270; AndLOL 421-450; KeimJN V.
65-275; BeysLJ II. 422-434; EdersLJM II. 363-478; SandayHastBD II 632f.
71. _The supper at Bethany_. John is definite, "six days before the
passover" (xii. I). Synoptists place it after the day of controversy, on
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