je'-zus krist (Iesous Christos):





1. In General

2. Denial of Existence of Jesus

3. Extra-Christian Notices

4. The Gospels

(1) The Synoptics

(2) The Fourth Gospel


1. Both Gentile and Jewish

2. Old Testament Preparation

3. Post-exilic Preparation


1. The Land

Its Divisions

2. Political Situation

Changes in Territory

3. The Religious Sects

(1) The Scribes

(2) The Pharisees

(3) The Sadducees

(4) The Essenes


1. Date of the Birth of Jesus

2. Date of His Baptism

3. Length of Ministry

4. Date of Christ's Death



1. The "Modern" Attitude

2. Supernatural in the Gospels


1. Reserve of Jesus and Modern Criticism

2. A Growing Revelation


1. The Kingdom--Present or Future?

2. Apocalyptic Beliefs


1. Denial of Christ's Moral Perfection

2. Sinlessness and the Messianic Claim


1. Divisions of the History

2. Not a Complete "Life"



1. Hidden Piety in Judaism

2. Birth of the Baptist

3. The Annunciation and Its Results

4. The Birth at Bethlehem

(1) The Census of Quirinius

(2) Jesus Born

5. The Incidents of the Infancy

(1) The Visit of the Shepherds

(2) The Circumcision and Presentation in the Temple

(3) Visit of the Magi

6. Flight to Egypt and Return to Nazareth

7. Questions and Objections

(1) The Virgin Birth

(2) The Genealogies


1. The Human Development

2. Jesus in the Temple


1. The Preaching of John

The Coming Christ

2. Jesus Is Baptized


1. Temptation Follows Baptism

2. Nature of the Temptation

3. Stages of the Temptation

Its Typical Character



1. The Synoptics and John

2. Threefold Witness of the Baptist


1. Spiritual Accretion

2. "Son of Man" and "Son of God"


1. The First Miracle

2. The First Passover, and Cleansing of the Temple

3. The Visit of Nicodemus

4. Jesus and John


1. Withdrawal to Galilee

2. The Living Water

3. The True Worship

4. Work and Its Reward


1. The Scene

2. The Time

First Period--From the Beginning of the Ministry in Galilee till the Mission of the Twelve


1. Healing of Nobleman's Son

2. The Visit to Nazareth

3. Call of the Four Disciples

4. At Capernaum

a) Christ's Teaching

b) The Demoniac in the Synagogue

Demon-Possession: Its Reality

c) Peter's Wife's Mother

d) The Eventful Evening


1. The First Circuit

2. Capernaum Incidents

a) Cure of the Paralytic

b) Call and Feast of Matthew

3. The Unnamed Jerusalem Feast

a) The Healing at Bethesda

b) Son and Father

c) The Threefold Witness

4. Sabbath Controversies

a) Plucking of the Ears of Grain

b) The Man with the Withered Hand

c) Withdrawal to the Sea

5. The Choosing of the Twelve

a) The Apostolic Function

b) The Lists

c) The Men


1. The Sermon on the Mount

a) The Blessings

b) True Righteousness--the Old and the New Law

c) Religion and Hypocrisy--True and False Motive

d) The True Good and Cure for Care

e) Relation to the World's Evil--the Conclusion

2. Intervening Incidents

a) Healing of the Centurion's Servant

b) The Widow of Nain's Son Raised

c) Embassy of John's Disciples--Christ and His Generation

d) The First Anointing--the Woman who Was a Sinner

3. Second Galilean Circuit--Events at Capernaum

a) Galilee Revisited

b) Cure of Demoniac--Discourse on Blasphemy

The Sign of Jonah

c) Christ's Mother and Brethren

4. Teaching in Parables

Parables of the Kingdom


1. Crossing of the Lake--Stilling of the Storm

a) Aspirants for Discipleship

b) The Storm Calmed

2. The Gadarene (Gerasene) Demoniac

3. Jairus' Daughter Raised--Woman with Issue of Blood

a) Jairus' Appeal and Its Result

b) The Afflicted Woman Cured

4. Incidents of Third Circuit

5. The Twelve Sent Forth--Discourse of Jesus

a) The Commission

b) Counsels and Warnings

Second Period--After the Mission of the Twelve till the Departure from Galilee


1. The Murder of the Baptist and Herod's Alarms

2. The Feeding of the Five Thousand

3. Walking on the Sea

4. Gennesaret--Discourse on the Bread of Life

Peter's First Confession


1. Jesus and Tradition--Outward and Inward Purity

2. Retirement to Tyre and Sidon--the Syrophoenician Woman

3. At Decapolis--New Miracles

a) The Deaf Man

b) Feeding of the Four Thousand

4. Leaven of the Pharisees, etc.--Cure of Blind Man

5. At Caesarea Philippi--the Great Confession--First Announcement of Passion

6. The Transfiguration--the Epileptic Boy


1. Galilee and Capernaum

a) Second Announcement of the Passion

b) The Temple Tax

c) Discourse on Greatness and Forgiveness

(1) Greatness in Humility

(2) Tolerance

(3) The Erring Brother

(4) Parable of Unmerciful Servant

2. The Feast of Tabernacles--Discourses, etc.

a) The Private Journey--Divided Opinions

b) Christ's Self-Witness

c) The Woman Taken in Adultery

d) The Cure of the Blind Man.

e) The Good Shepherd

Chronological Note



1. Rejected by Samaria

2. Mission of the Seventy

3. The Lawyer's Question--Parable of Good Samaritan

4. Discourses, Parables, and Miracles

a) Original to Luke

b) The Infirm Woman--the Dropsied Man

c) Parable of the Great Supper

d) Counting the Cost

5. Martha and Mary

6. Feast of the Dedication


1. Parables of Lost Sheep, Lost Piece of Silver and Prodigal Son

2. Parables of the Unjust Steward and the Rich Man and Lazarus

3. The Summons to Bethany--Raising of Lazarus


1. Retreat to Ephraim

2. The Journey Resumed

3. Cure of the Lepers

4. Pharisaic Questionings

a) Divorce

b) Coming of the Kingdom

c) Parable of the Unjust Judge

5. The Spirit of the Kingdom

a) Parable of Pharisee and Publican

b) Blessing of the Babies

c) The Rich Young Ruler

6. Third Announcement of the Passion

7. The Rewards of the Kingdom

a) Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard

b) The Sons of Zebedee

8. Jesus at Jericho

a) The Cure of Bartimeus

b) Zaccheus the Publican

c) Parable of the Pounds

Arrival at Bethany



1. The Chronology

2. The Anointing at Bethany

3. The Entry into Jerusalem

Jesus Weeping over Jerusalem--Return to Bethany

4. Cursing of the Fig Tree--Second Cleansing of the Temple

Were There Two Cleansings?

5. The Eventful Tuesday

a) The Demand for Authority--Parables

The Two Sons--the Wicked Husbandmen--the Marriage of the King's Son

b) Ensnaring Questions, etc.

(1) Tribute to Caesar--the Resurrection--the Great Commandment

(2) David's Son and Lord

c) The Great Denunciation

d) The Widow's Offering

e) The Visit of the Greeks

f) Discourse on the Last Things

g) Parables of Ten Virgins, Talents and Last Judgment

6. A Day of Retirement

7. An Atmosphere of Plotting--Judas and the Priests


1. The Chronology

2. The Last Supper

a) The Preparation

b) Dispute about Precedence--Washing of the Disciples' Feet--Departure of Judas

c) The Lord's Supper

d) The Last Discourses--Intercessory Prayer

e) The Departure and Warning

3. Gethsemane--the Betrayal and Arrest

a) Agony in the Garden

b) Betrayal by Judas--Jesus Arrested

4. Trial before the Sanhedrin

Legal and Historical Aspects

a) Before Annas and Caiaphas--the Unjust Judgment

b) The Threefold Denial

c) Remorse and Suicide of Judas

5. Trial before Pilate

a) The Attitude of the Accusers

b) The Attitude of Pilate

(1) Jesus Sent to Herod

(2) "Not This Man, but Barabbas"

(3) "Ecce Homo"

(4) A Last Appeal--Pilate Yields

c) The Attitude of Jesus


1. The Crucifixion

a) On the Way

b) Between the Thieves--the Superscription--the Seamless Robe

c) The Mocking--the Penitent Thief--Jesus and His Mother

d) The Great Darkness--the Cry of Desertion

e) Last Words and Death of Jesus

f) The Spear-Thrust--Earthquake and Rending of the Veil

2. The Burial

a) The New Tomb

b) The Guard of Soldiers


The Resurrection a Fundamental Fact

1. The Resurrection

a) The Easter Morning--the Open Tomb

(1) The Angel and the Keepers

(2) Visit of the Women

(3) The Angelic Message

b) Visit of Peter and John--Appearance to Mary

Report to the Disciples--Incredulity

c) Other Easter-Day Appearances (Emmaus, Jerusalem)

d) The Second Appearance to the Eleven--the Doubt of Thomas

e) The Galilean Appearances

(1) At the Sea of Tiberias--the Draught of Fish--Peter's Restoration

(2) On the Mountain--the Great Commission--Baptism

f) Appearance to James

g) The Last Meeting

2. The Ascension


1. After the Ascension

2. Revelation through the Spirit

3. Gospels and Epistles

4. Fact of Christ's Lordship

5. Significance of Christ's Person

6. Significance of the Cross and Resurrection

7. Hope of the Advent


Jesus Christ: The Founder of the Christian religion; the promised Messiah and Saviour of the world; the Lord and Head of the Christian church.

I. The Names.

1. Jesus:

(Iesous) is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew "Joshua" (yehoshua`), meaning "Yahweh is salvation." It stands therefore in the Septuagint and Apocrypha for "Joshua," and in Ac 7:45 and Heb 4:8 likewise represents the Old Testament Joshua; hence, in the Revised Version (British and American) is in these passages rendered "Joshua." In Mt 1:21 the name as commanded by the angel to be given to the son of Mary, "for it is he that shall save his people from their sins" (see below on "Nativity"). It is the personal name of the Lord in the Gospels and the Acts, but generally in the Epistles appears in combination with "Christ" or other appellative (alone in Ro 3:26; 4:24; 1Co 12:3; 2Co 11:4; Php 2:10; 1Th 4:14; Heb 7:22; 10:19, etc.).

2. Christ:

(Christos) is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew "Messiah" (mashiach; compare in the New Testament, Joh 1:41; 4:25, "Messiah"), meaning "anointed" (see MESSIAH). It designates Jesus as the fulfiller of the Messianic hopes of the Old Testament and of the Jewish people. It will be seen below that Jesus Himself made this claim. After the resurrection it became the current title for Jesus in the apostolic church. Most frequently in the Epistles He is called "Jesus Christ," sometimes "Christ Jesus" (Ro 8:1,2,39; 1Co 1:2,30; 4:15; Eph 1:1; Php 1:1; Col 1:4,28 the King James Version; 1Th 2:14, etc.), often "Christ" alone (Ro 1:16 the King James Version; Ro 5:6,8; 6:4,8,9; 8:10, etc.). In this case "Christ" has acquired the force of a proper name. Very frequently the term is associated with "Lord" (kurios)--"the (or "our") Lord Jesus Christ" (Ac 11:17; 15:11 the King James Version; Ac 16:31 the King James Version; Ac 20:21; 28:31; Ro 1:7; 5:1,11; 13:14; 1Co 16:23, etc.).

II. Order of Treatment.

In studying, as it is proposed to do in this article, the earthly history of Jesus and His place in the faith of the apostolic church, it will be convenient to pursue the following order:

First, as introductory to the whole study, certain questions relating to the sources of our knowledge of Jesus, and to the preparation for, and circumstances of, His historical appearance, invite careful attention (Part I).

Next, still as preliminary to the proper narrative of the life of Jesus, it is desirable to consider certain problems arising out of the presentation of that life in the Gospels with which modern thought is more specially concerned, as determining the attitude in which the narratives are approached. Such are the problems of the miracles, the Messiahship, the sinless character and supernatural claims of Jesus (Part II).

The way is then open for treatment in order of the actual events of Christ's life and ministry, so far as recorded. These fall into many stages, from His nativity and baptism till His death, resurrection and ascension (Part III).

A final division will deal with Jesus as the exalted Lord in the aspects in which He is presented in the teaching of the Epistles and remaining writings of the New Testament (Part IV).


I. The Sources.

1. In General:

The principal, and practically the only sources for our knowledge of Jesus Christ are the four Canonical Gospels--distinction being made in these between the first three (Synoptic) Gospels, and the Gospel of John. Nothing, either in the few notices of Christ in non-Christian authors, or in the references in the other books of the New Testament, or in later Christian literature, adds to the information which the Gospels already supply. The so-called apocryphal Gospels are worthless as authorities (see under the word); the few additional sayings of Christ (compare Ac 20:35) found in outside writings are of doubtful genuineness (compare a collection of these in Westcott's Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, Appendix C; see also LOGIA).

2. Denial of Existence of Jesus:

It marks the excess to which skepticism has gone that writers are found in recent years who deny the very existence of Jesus Christ (Kalthoff, Das Christus-Problem, and Die Entstehung des Christenthums; Jensen, Das Gilgamesch-Epos, I; Drews, Die Christusmythe; compare on Kalthoff, Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus, English translation, 313 ff; Jensen is reviewed in the writer's The Resurrection of Jesus, chapter ix). The extravagance of such skepticism is its sufficient refutation.

3. Extra-Christian Notices:

Of notices outside the Christian circles the following may be referred to.

(1) Josephus.

There is the famous passage in Josephus, Ant, XVIII, iii, 3, commencing, "Now there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man," etc. It is not unlikely that Josephus had some reference to Jesus, but most agree that the passage in question, if not entirely spurious, has been the subject of Christian interpolation (on the lit. and different views, see Schurer, Jewish People in the Time of Christ, Div II, volume II, 143 ff; in support of interpolation, Edersheim on "Josephus," in Dictionary of Christ. Biography).

(2) Tacitus.

The Roman historian, Tacitus, in a well-known passage relating to the persecution of Nero (Ann. xv.44), tells how the Christians, already "a great multitude" (ingens multitudo), derived their name "from one Christus, who was executed in the reign of Tiberius by the procurator of Judea, Pontius Pilate."

(3) Suetonius also, in his account of Claudius, speaks of the Jews as expelled from Rome for the raising of tumults at the instigation of one "Chrestus" (impulsore Chresto), plainly a mistake for "Christus." The incident is doubtless that referred to in Ac 18:2. 4. The Gospels:

The four Gospels, then, with their rich contents, remain as our primary sources for the knowledge of the earthly life of Jesus.

(1) The Synoptics.

It may be taken for granted as the result of the best criticism that the first three Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) all fall well within the apostolic age (compare Harnack, Altchr. Lit., Pref; see GOSPELS). The favorite theory at present of the relations of these Gospels is, that Mr is an independent Gospel, resting on the teaching of Peter; that Mt and Lu have as sources the Gospel of Mr and a collection of discourses, probably attributable to the apostle Matthew (now commonly called Q) ; and that Lu has a third, well-authenticated source (Lu 1:1-4) peculiar to himself. The present writer is disposed to allow more independence to the evangelists in the embodying of a tradition common to all; in any case, the sources named are of unexceptionable authority, and furnish a strong guaranty for the reliability of the narratives. The supreme guaranty of their trustworthiness, however, is found in the narratives themselves; for who in that (or any) age could imagine a figure so unique and perfect as that of Jesus, or invent the incomparable sayings and parables that proceeded from His lips? Much of Christ's teaching is high as heaven above the minds of men still.

(2) The Fourth Gospel.

The Fourth Gospel stands apart from the Synoptics in dealing mainly with another set of incidents (the Jerusalem ministry), and discourses of a more private and intimate kind than those belonging to the Galilean teaching. Its aim, too, is doctrinal--to show that Jesus is "the Son of God," and its style and mode of conception are very different from those of the Synoptic Gospels. Its contents touch their narratives in only a few points (as in Joh 6:4-21). Where they do, the resemblance is manifest. It is obvious that the reminiscences which the Gospel contains have been long brooded over by the apostle, and that a certain interpretative element blends with his narration of incidents and discourses. This, however, does not warrant us in throwing doubt, with so many, on the genuineness of the Gospel, for which the external evidence is exceptionally strong (compare Sanday, The Criticism of the Fourth Gospel; Drummond, Character and Authorship of the Fourth Gospel; and see JOHN, GOSPEL OF). The Gospel is accepted here as a genuine record of the sayings and doings of Jesus which it narrates.

II. The Preparation.

1. Both Gentile and Jewish:

In the Gospels and throughout the New Testament Jesus appears as the goal of Old Testament revelation, and the point to which all providential developments tended. He came, Paul says, in "the fullness of the time" (Ga 4:4). It has often been shown how, politically, intellectually, morally, everything in the Greco-Roman world was ready for such a universal religion as Jesus brought into it (compare Baur's Hist of the Church in the First Three Cents., English translation, chapter i). The preparation in Israel is seen alike in God's revelations to, and dealings with, the chosen people in the patriarchal, Mosaic, monarchical and prophetic periods, and in the developments of the Jewish mind in the centuries immediately before Christ.

2. Old Testament Preparation:

As special lines in the Old Testament preparation may be noted the ideas of the Messianic king, a ruler of David's house, whose reign would be righteous, perpetual, universal (compare Isa 7:13-9:7; 32:1,2; Jer 33:15,16; Ps 2:1-10, etc.); of a Righteous Sufferer (Ps 22, etc.), whose sufferings are in Isa 53 declared to have an expiatory and redeeming character; and of a Messianic kingdom, which, breaking the bounds of nationalism, would extend through the whole earth and embrace all peoples (compare Isa 60; Ps 87; Da 2:44; 7:27, etc.). The kingdom, at the same time, is now conceived of under a more spiritual aspect. Its chief blessings are forgiveness and righteousness.

3. Post-exilian Preparation:

The age succeeding the return from exile witnessed a manifold preparation for the advent of Christ. Here may be observed the decentralization of the Jewish religious ideals through the rise of synagogue worship and the widespread dispersion of the race; the contact with Hellenic culture (as in Philo); but especially the marked sharpening of Messianic expectations. Some of these were of a crude apocalyptic character (see APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE; ESCHATOLOGY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT); many were political and revolutionary; but some were of a purer and more spiritual kind (compare Lu 2:25,38). To these purer elements Jesus attached Himself in His preaching of the kingdom and of Himself as its Lord. Even in the Gentileworld, it is told, there was an expectation of a great One who about this time would come from Judea (Tacitus, History v.13; Suet. Vespas. 4).

III. The Outward Situation.

1. The Land:

Of all lands Palestine was the most fitted to be the scene of the culminating revelation of God's grace in the person and work of Jesus Christ, as before it was fitted to be the abode of the people chosen to receive and preserve the revelations that prepared the way for that final manifestation. At once central and secluded--at the junction of the three great continents of the Old World, Asia, Africa and Europe--the highway of nations in war and commerce--touching mighty powers on every hand, Egypt, Syria, Assyria, kingdoms of Asia Minor, as formerly more ancient empires, Hittite and Babylonian, now in contact with Greece and Rome, yet singularly enclosed by mountain, desert, Jordan gorge, and Great Sea, from ready entrance of foreign influences, Palestine has a place of its own in the history of revelation, which only a Divine wisdom can have given it (compare Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, Part II, chapter ii; G.A. Smith, Hist. Geog. of the Holy Land, Book I, chapters i, ii; Lange, Life of Christ, I, 246 ff).

Its Divisions.

Palestine, in the Roman period, was divided into four well-defined provinces or districts--Judaea, with Jerusalem as its center, in the South, the strong-hold of Jewish conservatism; Samaria, in the middle, peopled from Assyrian times by mixed settlers (2Ki 17:24-34), preponderatingly heathen in origin, yet now professing the Jewish religion, claiming Jewish descent (compare Joh 4:12), possessing a copy of the law (Sam Pentateuch), and a temple of their own at Gerizim (the original temple, built by Manasseh, circa 409 BC, was destroyed by John Hyrcanus, 109 BC); Galilee--"Galilee of the Gentiles" (Mt 4:15; compare Isa 9:1)--in the North, the chief scene of Christ's ministry, freer and more cosmopolitan in spirit, through a large infusion of Gentile population, and contact with traders, etc., of varied nationalities: these in Western Palestine, while on the East, "beyond Jordan," was Peraea, divided up into Peraea proper, Batanea, Gaulonitis, Ituraea, Trachonitis, Decapolis, etc. (compare Mt 4:25; 19:1; Lu 3:1). The feeling of bitterness between Jews and Samaritans was intense (Joh 4:9). The language of the people throughout was ARAMAIC (which see), but a knowledge of the Greek tongue was widely diffused, especially in the North, where intercourse with Greek-speaking peoples was habitual (the New Testament writings are in Greek). Jesus doubtless used the native dialect in His ordinary teaching, but it is highly probable that He also knew Greek, and was acquainted with Old Testament Scriptures in that language (the Septuagint). In this case He may have sometimes used it in His preaching (compare Roberts, Discussions on the Gospels).

2. Political Situation:

The miserable story of the vicissitudes of the Jewish people in the century succeeding the great persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabean revolt--a story made up of faction, intrigue, wars, murders, massacres, of growing degeneracy of rulers and nation, of repeated sackings of Jerusalem and terrible slaughters--till Herod, the Idumean, misnamed "the Great," ascended the throne by favor of the Romans (37 BC), must be read in the books relating to the period (Ewald, History of Israel, V; Milman, Hist of Jews; Schurer, History of the Jewish People in Time of Christ, Div I, Vol I; Stanley, Jewish Church, III, etc.). Rome's power, first invited by Judas Maccabeus (161 BC), was finally established by Pompey's capture of Jerusalem (63 BC). Herod's way to the throne was tracked by crime and bloodshed, and murder of those most nearly related to him marked every step in his advance. His taste for splendid buildings--palace, temple (Mt 24:1; Joh 2:20), fortresses, cities (Sebaste, Caesarea, etc.)--and lavish magnificence of his royal estate and administration, could not conceal the hideousness of his crafty, unscrupulous selfishness, his cold-blooded cruelty, his tyrannous oppression of his subjects. "Better be Herod's hog (hus) than his son (huios)," was the comment of Augustus, when he heard of the dying king's unnatural doings.

Changes in Territory.

At the time of Christ's birth, the whole of Palestine was united under Herod's rule, but on Herod's death, after a long reign of 37 (or, counting from his actual accession, 34) years, his dominions were, in accordance with his will, confirmed by Rome, divided. Judea and Samaria (a few towns excepted) fell to his son Archelaus (Mt 2:22), with the title of "ethnarch"; Galilee and Perea were given to Herod Antipas, another son, with the title of "tetrarch" (Mt 14:1; Lu 3:1,19; 23:7; Ac 13:1); Herod Philip, a third son, received Iturea, Trachonitis, and other parts of the northern trans-Jordanic territory, likewise as "tetrarch" (Lu 3:1; compare Mt 14:3; Mr 6:17). A few years later, the tyranny of Archelaus provoked an appeal of his subjects to Augustus, and Archelaus, summoned to Rome, was banished to Gaul (7 AD). Thereafter Judea, with Samaria, was governed by a Roman procurator, under the oversight of the prefect of Syria.

3. The Religious Sects:

In the religious situation the chief fact of interest is the place occupied and prominent part played by the religious sects--the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and (though unmentioned in the Gospels, these had an important influence on the early history of the church) the Essenes. The rise and characteristics of these sects can here only be alluded to (see special articles).

(1) The Scribes.

From the days of Ezra zealous attention had been given to the study of the law, and an order of men had arisen--the "scribes"--whose special business it was to guard, develop and expound the law. Through their labors, scrupulous observance of the law, and, with it, of the innumerable regulations intended to preserve the law, and apply it in detail to conduct (the so-called "tradition of the elders," Mt 15:2 ff), became the ideal of righteousness. The sects first appear in the Maccabean age. The Maccabean conflict reveals the existence of a party known as the "Assidaeans" (Hebrew chacidhim), or "pious" ones, opposed to the lax Hellenizing tendencies of the times, and staunch observers of the law. These in the beginning gave brave support to Judas Maccabeus, and doubtless then embraced the best elements of the nation.

(2) The Pharisees.

From them, by a process of deterioration too natural in such cases, developed the party of legalists known in the Gospels as the "Pharisees" ("separated"), on which Christ's sternest rebukes fell for their self-righteousness, ostentation, pride and lack of sympathy and charity (Mt 6:2 ff; 23; Lu 18:9-14). They gloried in an excessive scrupulosity in the observance of the externals of the law, even in trivialities. To them the multitude that knew not the law were "accursed" (Joh 7:49). To this party the great body of the scribes and rabbis belonged, and its powerful influence was eagerly sought by contending factions in the state.

(3) The Sadducees.

Alongside of the Pharisees were the "Sadducees" (probably from "Zadok")--rather a political and aristocratic clique than a religious sect, into whose possession the honors of the high-priesthood and other influential offices hereditarily passed. They are first met with by name under John Hyrcanus (135-106 BC). The Sadducees received only the law of Moses, interpreted it in a literal, secularistic spirit, rejected the Pharisaic traditions and believed in neither resurrection, angel nor spirit (Ac 23:8). Usually in rivalry with the Pharisees, they are found combining with these to destroy Jesus (Mt 26:3-5,57).

(4) The Essenes.

The third party, the "Essenes," differed from both (some derive also from the Assideans) in living in fraternities apart from the general community, chiefly in the desert of Engedi, on the Northwest shore of the Dead Sea, though some were found also in villages and towns; in rejecting animal sacrifices, etc., sending only gifts of incense to the temple; in practicing celibacy and community of goods; in the wearing of white garments; in certain customs (as greeting the sunrise with prayers) suggestive of oriental influence. They forbade slavery, war, oaths, were given to occult studies, had secret doctrines and books, etc. As remarked, they do not appear in the Gospel, but on account of certain resemblances, some have sought to establish a connection between them and John the Baptist and Jesus. In reality, however, nothing could be more opposed than Essenism to the essential ideas and spirit of Christ's teaching (compare Schurer, as above, Div. II, Vol. II, 188 ff; Kuenen, Hibbert Lects on National Religions and Universal Religions, 199-208; Lightfoot, Colossians, 114-79).

IV. The Chronology.

The leading chronological questions connected with the life of Jesus are discussed in detail elsewhere (CHRONOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT; QUIRINIUS, etc.); here it is sufficient to indicate the general scheme of dating adopted in the present article, and some of the grounds on which it is preferred. The chief questions relate to the dates of the birth and baptism of Jesus, the duration of the ministry and the date of the crucifixion.

1. Date of the Birth of Jesus:

Though challenged by some (Caspari, Bosanquet, Conder, etc., put it as late as 1 BC) the usual date for the death of Herod the Great, March, 4 BC (year of Rome 750), may be assumed as correct (for grounds of this dating, see Schurer, op. cit., Div. I, Vol. I, 464-67). The birth of Jesus was before, and apparently not very long before, this event (Mt 2). It may therefore be placed with probability in the latter part of the previous year (5 BC), the ordinary dating of the commencement of the Christian era being thus, as is generally recognized, four years too late. There is no certainty as to the month or day of the birth. The Christmas date, December 25, is first met with in the West in the 4th century (the eastern date was January 6), and was then possibly borrowed from a pagan festival. December, in the winter season, seems unlikely, as unsuitable for the pasturing of flocks (Lu 2:8), though this objection is perhaps not decisive (Andrews, Conder). A more probable date is a couple of months earlier. The synchronism with Quirinius (Lu 2:2) is considered in connection with the nativity. The earlier datings of 6, 7, or even 8 BC, suggested by Ramsay, Mackinlay and others, on grounds of the assumed Roman census, astronomical phenomena, etc., appear to leave too long an interval before the death of Herod, and conflict with other data, as Lu 3:1 (see below).

2. Date of Baptism:

John is said by Luke to have begun to preach and baptize "in the fifteenth year of Tiberius" (Lu 3:1), and Jesus "was about thirty years of age" (Lu 3:23) when He was baptized by John, and entered on His ministry. If the 15th year of Tiberius is dated, as seems most likely, from his association with Augustus as colleague in the government, 765 AUC, or 12 AD (Tacitus, Annals i.3; Suetonius on Augustus, 97), and if Jesus may be supposed to have been baptized about 6 months after John commenced his work, these data combine in bringing us to the year 780 AUC, or 27 AD, as the year of our Lord's baptism, in agreement with our former conclusion as to the date of His birth in 5 BC. To place the birth earlier is to make Jesus 32 or 33 years of age at His baptism--an unwarrantable extension of the "about." In accord with this is the statement in Joh 2:20 that the temple had been 46 years in building (it began in 20-19 BC) at the time of Christ's first Passover; therefore in 780 AUC, or 27-AD (compare Schurer, op. cit., Div. I, Vol. I, 410).

3. Length of Ministry:

The determination of the precise duration of our Lord's ministry involves more doubtful elements. Setting aside, as too arbitrary, schemes which would, with some of the early Fathers, compress the whole ministry into little over a single year (Browne, Hort, etc.)--a view which involves without authority the rejection of the mention of the Passover in Joh 6:4--there remains the choice between a two years' and a three years' ministry. Both have able advocates (Turner in article "Chronology," and Sanday in article "Jesus Christ," in H D B, advocate the two years' scheme; Farrar, Ramsay, D. Smith, etc., adhere to the three years' scheme). An important point is the view taken of the unnamed "feast" in Joh 5:1. John has already named a Passover--Christ's first--in 2:13,23; another, which Jesus did not attend, is named in 6:4; the final Passover, at which He was crucified, appears in all the evangelists. If the "feast" of Joh 5:1 (the article is probably to be omitted) is also, as some think, a Passover, then John has four Passovers, and a three years' ministry becomes necessary. It is claimed, however, that in this case the "feast" would almost certainly have been named. It still does not follow, even if a minor feast--say Purim--is intended, that we are shut up to a two years' ministry. Mr. Turner certainly goes beyond his evidence in affirming that "while two years must, not more than two years can, be allowed for the interval from Joh 2:13,23 to Joh 11:55." The two years' scheme involves, as will be seen on consideration of details, a serious overcrowding and arbitrary transposition of incidents, which speak to the need of longer time. We shall assume that the ministry lasted for three years, reserving reasons till the narrative is examined.

4. Date of Christ's Death:

On the hypothesis now accepted, the crucifixion of Jesus took place at the Passover of 30 AD. On the two years' scheme it would fall a year earlier. On both sides it is agreed that it occurred on the Friday of the week of the Passover, but it is disputed whether this Friday was the 14th or the 15th day of the month. The Gospel of John is pleaded for the former date, the Synoptics for the latter. The question will be considered in connection with the time of the Last Supper. Meanwhile it is to be observed that, if the 15th is the correct date, there seems reason to believe that the 15th of Nisan fell on a Friday in the year just named, 783 AUG, or 30 AD. We accept this provisionally as the date of the crucifixion.


I. The Miracles.

1. The "Modern" Attitude:

Everyone is aware that the presence of miracle in the Gospels is a chief ground of the rejection of its history by the representatives of the "modern" school. It is not questioned that it is a super-natural person whose picture is presented in the Gospels. There is no real difference between the Synoptics and John in this respect. "Even the oldest Gospel," writes Bousset, "is written from the standpoint of faith; already for Mark, Jesus is not only the Messiah of the Jewish people, but the miraculous eternal Son of God, whose glory shone in the world" (Was wissen wir von Jesus? 54, 57). But the same writer, interpreting the "modern" spirit, declares that no account embracing supernatural events can be accepted as historical. "The main characteristic of this modern mode of thinking," he says, "rests upon the determination to try to explain everything that takes place in the world by natural causes, or--to express it in another form--it rests on the determined assertion of universal laws to which all phenomena, natural and spiritual, are subject" (What Is Religion? English translation, 283).

2. Supernatural in the Gospels:

With such an assumption it is clear that the Gospels are condemned before they are read. Not only is Jesus there a supernatural person, but He is presented as super-natural in natural in character, in works, in claims (see below); He performs miracles; He has a supernatural birth, and a supernatural resurrection. All this is swept away. It may be allowed that He had remarkable gifts of healing, but these are in the class of "faithcures" (thus Harnack), and not truly supernatural. When one seeks the justification for this selfconfident dogmatism, it is difficult to discover it, except on the ground of a pantheistic or monistic theory of the universe which excludes the personal God of Christianity. If God is the Author and Sustainer of the natural system, which He rules for moral ends, it is impossible to see why, for high ends of revelation and redemption, a supernatural economy should not be engrafted on the natural, achieving ends which could not otherwise be attained. This does not of course touch the question of evidence for any particular miracle, which must be judged of from its connection with the person of the worker, and the character of the apostolic witnesses. The well-meant effort to explain all miracles through the action of unknown natural laws--which is what Dr. Sanday calls "making both ends meet" (Life of Christ in Recent Research, 302)--breaks down in the presence of such miracles as the instantaneous cleansing of the leper, restoration of sight to the blind, the raising of the dead, acts which plainly imply an exercise of creative power. In such a life as Christ's, transcendence of the ordinary powers of Nature is surely to be looked for.

II. The Messiahship.

1. Reserve of Jesus and Modern Criticism:

A difficulty has been found in the fact that in all the Gospels Jesus knew Himself to be the Messiah at least from the time of His baptism, yet did not, even to His disciples, unreservedly announce Himself as such till after Peter's great confession at Caesarea Philippi (Mt 16:13 ). On this seeming secrecy the bold hypothesis has been built that Jesus in reality never made the claim to Messiahship, and that the passages which imply the contrary in Mark (the original Gospel) are unhistorical (Wrede; compare on this and other theories, Schweitzer, The Quest of the Historical Jesus, English translation; Sanday, The Life of Christ in Recent Research). So extreme an opinion is rejected by most; but modern critics vie with each other in the freedom with which they treat the testimony of the evangelists on this subject. Baldensperger, e.g., supposes that Jesus did not attain full certainty on His Messiahship till near the time of Peter's confession, and arbitrarily transposes the earlier sections in which the title "Son of Man" occurs till after that event (Das Selbstbewusstsein Jesu, 2nd edition, 246). Bousset thinks that Jesus adopted the Messianic role as the only one open to Him, but bore it as a "burden" (compare his Jesus). Schweitzer connects it with apocalyptic ideas of a wildly fantastic character (op. cit., chapter xix).

2. A Growing Revelation:

There is, however, no need for supposing that Peter's confession marks the first dawn of this knowledge in the minds of the apostles. Rather was it the exalted expression of a faith already present, which had long been maturing. The baptism and temptation, with the use of the title "Son of Man," the tone of authority in His teaching, His miracles, and many special incidents, show, as clearly as do the discourses in John, that Jesus was from the beginning fully conscious of His vocation, and His reserve in the use of the title sprang, not from any doubt in His own mind as to His right to it, but from His desire to avoid false associations till the true nature of His Messiahship should be revealed. The Messiahship was in process of self-revelation throughout to those who had eyes to see it (compare Joh 6:66-71). What it involved will be seen later.

III. Kingdom and Apocalypse.

1. The Kingdom--Present or Future?:

Connected with the Messiahship is the idea of the "Kingdom of God" or "of heaven," which some in modern times would interpret in a purely eschatological sense, in the light of Jewish apocalyptic conceptions (Johannes Weiss, Schweitzer, etc.). The kingdom is not a thing of the present, but wholly a thing of the future, to be introduced by convulsions of Nature and the Parousia of the Son of Man. The language of the Lord's Prayer, "Thy kingdom come," is quoted in support of this contention, but the next petition should guard against so violent an inference. "Thy will be done," Jesus teaches His disciples to pray, "as in heaven, so on earth" (Mt 6:10). The kingdom is the reign of God in human hearts and lives in this world as well as in the next. It would not be wrong to define it as consisting essentially in the supremacy of God's will in human hearts and human affairs, and in every department of these affairs. As Jesus describes the kingdom, it has, in the plain meaning of His words, a present being on earth, though its perfection is in eternity. The parables in Mt 13 and elsewhere exhibit it as founded by the sowing of the word of truth (Sower), as a mingling of good and evil elements (Tares), as growing from small beginnings to large proportions (Mustard Seed), as gradually leavening humanity (Leaven), as of priceless value (Treasure; Pearl; compare Mt 6:33); as terminating in a judgment (Tares, Dragnet); as perfected in the world to come (Mt 13:43). It was a kingdom spiritual in nature (Lu 17:20,21), universal in range (Mt 8:11; 21:43, etc.), developing from a principle of life within (Mr 4:26-29), and issuing in victory over all opposition (Mt 21:44).

2. Apocalyptic Beliefs:

It is difficult to pronounce on the extent to which Jesus was acquainted with current apocalyptic beliefs, or allowed these to color the imagery of parts of His teachings. These beliefs certainly did not furnish the substance of His teaching, and it may be doubted whether they more than superficially affected even its form. Jewish apocalyptic knew nothing of a death and resurrection of the Messiah and of His return in glory to bring in an everlasting kingdom. What Jesus taught on these subjects sprang from His own Messianic consciousness, with the certainty He had of His triumph over death and His exaltation to the right hand of God. It was in Old Testament prophecy, not in late Jewish apocalypse, that His thoughts of the future triumph of His kingdom were grounded, and from the vivid imagery of the prophets He borrowed most of the clothing of these thoughts. Isa 53 e.g., predicts not only the rejection and death of the Servant of Yahweh (53:3,1-9,12), but the prolongation of His days and His victorious reign (53:10-12). Dnl, not the Book of En, is the source of the title, "Son of Man," and of the imagery of coming on the clouds of heaven (Da 7:13). The ideas of resurrection, etc., have their ground in the Old Testament (see ESCHATOLOGY OF THE OLD TESTAMENT). With the extravagant, unspiritual forms into which these conceptions were thrown in the Jewish apocalyptic books His teaching had nothing in common. The new apocalyptic school represented by Schweitzer reduces the history of Jesus to folly, fanaticism and hopeless disillusionment.

IV. The Character and Claims.

1. Denial of Christ's Moral Perfection:

Where the Gospels present us in Jesus with the image of a flawless character--in the words of the writer to the Hebrews, "holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners" (Heb 7:26)--modern criticism is driven by an inexorable necessity to deprive Jesus of His sinless perfection, and to impute to Him the error, frailty, and moral infirmity that belong to ordinary mortals. In Schweitzer's portraiture (compare op. cit.), He is an apocalyptic enthusiastic, ruled by illusory ideals, deceiving Himself and others as to who He was, and as to the impending end of the world. Those who show a more adequate appreciation of Christ's spiritual greatness are still prevented by their humanitarian estimate of His person and their denial of the supernatural in history from recognizing the possibility of His sinlessness. It may confidently be said that there is hardly a single writer of the modern school who grants Christ's moral perfection. To do so would be to admit a miracle in humanity, and we have heard that miracle is by the highest rational necessity excluded. This, however, is precisely the point on which the modern so-called "historical-critical" mode of presentation most obviously breaks down. The ideal of perfect holiness in the Gospels which has fascinated the conscience of Christendom for 18 centuries, and attests itself anew to every candid reader, is not thus lightly to be got rid of, or explained away as the invention of a church gathered out (without the help of the ideal) promiscuously from Jews and Gentiles. It was not the church--least of all such a church--that created Christ, but Christ that created the church.

(1) The Sinlessness Assured.

The sinlessness of Jesus is a datum in the Gospels. Over against a sinful world He stands as a Saviour who is Himself without sin. His is the one life in humanity in which is presented a perfect knowledge and unbroken fellowship with the Father, undeviating obedience to His will, unswerving devotion under the severest strain of temptation and suffering to the highest ideal of goodness. The ethical ideal was never raised to so absolute a height as it is in the teaching of Jesus, and the miracle is that, high as it is in its unsullied purity, the character of Jesus corresponds with it, and realizes it. Word and life for once in history perfectly agree. Jesus, with the keenest sensitiveness to sin in thought and feeling as in deed, is conscious of no sin in Himself, confesses no sin, disclaims the presence of it, speaks and acts continually on the assumption that He is without it. Those who knew Him best declared Him to be without sin (1Pe 2:22; 1Joh 3:5; compare 2Co 5:21). The Gospels must be rent in pieces before this image of a perfect holiness can be effaced from them.

(2) What This Implies.

How is this phenomenon of a sinless personality in Jesus to be explained? It is itself a miracle, and can only be made credible by a creative miracle in Christ's origin. It may be argued that a Virgin Birth does not of itself secure sinlessness, but it will hardly be disputed that at least a sinless personality implies miracle in its production. It is precisely because of this that the modern spirit feels bound to reject it. In the Gospels it is not the Virgin Birth by itself which is invoked to explain Christ's sinlessness, but the supernatural conception by the Holy Spirit (Lu 1:35). It is because of this conception that the birth is a virgin one. No explanation of the supernatural element in Christ's Person is more rational or credible (see below on "Nativity").

2. Sinlessness and the Messianic Claim:

If Jesus from the first was conscious of Himself as without sin and if, as the converse of this, He knew Himself as standing in an unbroken filial fellowship with the Father, He must early have become conscious of His special vocation, and learnt to distinguish Himself from others as one called to bless and save them. Here is the true germ of His Messianic consciousness, from which everything subsequently is unfolded. He stood in a rapport with the Father which opened His spirit to a full, clear revelation of the Father's will regarding Himself, His mission, the kingdom He came to found, His sufferings as the means of salvation to the world, the glory that awaited Him when His earthly work was done. In the light of this revelation He read the Old Testament Scriptures and saw His course there made plain. When the hour had come He went to John for baptism, and His brief, eventful ministry, which should end in the cross, began. This is the reading of events which introduces consistency and purpose into the life of Jesus, and it is this we mean to follow in the sketch now to be given.


1. Divisions of the History:

The wonderful story of the life of the world's Redeemer which we are now to endeavor to trace falls naturally into several divisions:

A. From the Nativity to the Baptism and Temptation.

B. The Early Judean Ministry.

C. The Galilean Ministry and Visits to the Feasts.

D. The Last Journey to Jerusalem.

E. The Passion Week--Betrayal, Trial, and Crucifixion.

F. The Resurrection and Ascension.

2. Not a Complete "Life":

To avoid misconception, it is important to remember, that, rich as are the narratives of the Gospels, materials do not exist for a complete biography or "Life" of Jesus. There is a gap, broken only by a single incident, from His infancy till His 30th year; there are cycles of events out of myriads left unrecorded (Joh 21:25); there are sayings, parables, longer discourses, connected with particular occasions; there are general summaries of periods of activity comprised in a few verses. The evangelists, too, present their materials each from his own standpoint--Matthew from theocratic, Mark from that of Christ's practical activity, Luke from the universalistic and human-sympathetic, John from the Divine. In reproducing the history respect must be had to this focusing from distinct points of view.


I. The Nativity.

1. Hidden Piety in Judaism: Old Testament prophecy expired with the promise on its lips, "Behold, I send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom ye desire, behold, he cometh, saith Yahweh of hosts" (Mal 3:1). In the years immediately before Christ's birth the air was tremulous with the sense of impending great events. The fortunes of the Jewish people were at their lowest ebb. Pharisaic formalism, Sadducean unbelief, fanatical Zealotry, Herodian sycophantism, Roman oppression, seemed to have crushed out the last sparks of spiritual religion. Yet in numerous quiet circles in Judea, and even in remote Galilee, little godly bands still nourished their souls on the promises, looking for "the consolation of Israel" and "redemption of Jerusalem" (Lu 2:25,38). Glimpses of these are vouchsafed in Zacharias and Elisabeth, in Simeon, in Anna, in Joseph and Mary (Lu 1; 2; Mt 1:18 ). It was in hearts in these circles that the stirrings of the prophetic spirit began to make themselves felt anew, preparing for the Advent (compare Lu 2:27,36).

2. Birth of the Baptist:

(Luke 1)

In the last days of Herod--perhaps in the year 748 of Rome, or 6 BC--the aged priest Zacharias, of the course of Abijah (1Ch 24:10; compare Schurer, Div. II, Vol. I, 219 ff), was ministering in the temple at the altar of incense at the hour of evening prayer. Scholars have reckoned, if on somewhat precarious grounds, that the ministry of the order to which Zacharias belonged fell in this year in the month of April or in early October (compare Andrews, Life of our Lord). Now a wonderful thing happened. Zacharias and his wife Elisabeth, noted for their blameless piety, were up to this time childless. On this evening an angel, appearing at the side of the altar of incense, announced to Zacharias that a son should be born to them, in whom should be realized the prediction of Malachi of one coming in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare the way of the Lord (compare Mal 4:5,6). His name was to be called John. Zacharias hesitated to believe, and was stricken with dumbness till the promise should be fulfilled. It happened as the angel had foretold, and at the circumcision and naming of his son his tongue was again loosed. Zacharias, filled with the Spirit, poured forth his soul in a hymn of praise--the Benedictus (Lu 1:5-25,57-80; compare JOHN THE BAPTIST).

3. The Annunciation and Its Results:

(Lu 1:26-56; Mt 1:18-25)

Meanwhile yet stranger things were happening in the little village of Nazareth, in Galilee (now enNacirah). There resided a young maiden of purest character, named Mary, betrothed to a carpenter of the village (compare Mt 13:55), called Joseph, who, although in so humble a station, was of the lineage of David (compare Isa 11:1). Mary, most probably, was likewise of Davidic descent (Lu 1:32; on the genealogies, see below). The fables relating to the parentage and youth of Mary in the Apocryphal Gospels may safely be discarded. To this maiden, three months before the birth of the Baptist, the same angelic visitant (Gabriel) appeared, hailing her as "highly favored" of God, and announcing to her that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, she should become the mother of the Saviour. The words "Blessed art thou among women," in the King James Version of Lu 1:28 are omitted by the Revised Version (British and American), though found below (1:42) in Elisabeth's salutation. They give, in any case, no support to Mariolatry, stating simply the fact that Mary was more honored than any other woman of the race in being chosen to be the mother of the Lord.

(1) The Amazing Message.

The announcement itself was of the most amazing import. Mary herself was staggered at the thought that, as a virgin, she should become a mother (Lu 1:34). Still more surprising were the statements made as to the Son she was to bear. Conceived of the Holy Spirit (Lu 1:35; Mt 1:18), He would be great, and would be called "the Son of the Most High" (Lu 1:32)--"the Son of God" (Lu 1:35); there would be given to Him the throne of His father David, and His reign would be eternal (Lu 1:32,33; compare Isa 9:6,7); He would be "holy" from the womb (Lu 1:35). His name was to be called Jesus (Lu 1:31; compare Mt 1:21), denoting Him as Saviour. The holiness of Jesus is here put in connection with His miraculous conception, and surely rightly. In no case in the history of mankind has natural generation issued in a being who is sinless, not to say superhuman. The fact that Jesus, even in His human nature, was supernaturally begotten--was "Son of God"--does not exclude the higher and eternal Sonship according to the Divine nature (Joh 1:18). The incarnation of such a Divine Being as Paul and John depict, itself implies miracle in human origin. On the whole message being declared to her, Mary accepted what was told her in meek humility (Lu 1:38).

(2) The Visit to Elisabeth.

With the announcement to herself there was given to Mary an indication of what had befallen her kinswoman Elisabeth, and Mary's first act, on recovering from her astonishment, was to go in haste to the home of Elisabeth in the hill country of Judea (Lu 1:39 ). Very naturally she did not rashly forestall God's action in speaking to Joseph of what had occurred, but waited in quietness and faith till God should reveal in His own way what He had done. The meeting of the two holy women was the occasion of a new outburst of prophetic inspiration. Elisabeth, moved by the Spirit, greeted Mary in exalted language as the mother of the Lord (Lu 1:42-45)--a confirmation to Mary of the message she had received; Mary, on her part, broke forth in rhythmical utterance, "My soul doth magnify the Lord," etc. (Lu 1:46-56). Her hymn--the sublime Magnificat--is to be compared with Hannah's (1Sa 2:1-11), which furnishes the model of it. Mary abode with Elisabeth about three months, then returned to her own house. (3) Joseph's Perplexity.

Here a new trial awaited her. Mary's condition of motherhood could not long be concealed, and when Joseph first became aware of it, the shock to a man so just (Mt 1:19) would be terrible in its severity. The disappearance of Joseph from the later gospel history suggests that he was a good deal older than his betrothed, and it is possible that, while strict, upright and conscientious, his disposition was not as strong on the side of sympathy as so delicate a case required. It is going too far to say with Lange, "He encountered the modest, but unshakably firm Virgin with decided doubt; the first Ebionite"; but so long as he had no support beyond Mary's word, his mind was in a state of agonized perplexity. His first thought was to give Mary a private "bill of divorcement" to avoid scandal (Mt 1:19). Happily, his doubts were soon set at rest by a Divine intimation, and he hesitated no longer to take Mary to be his wife (Mt 1:24). Luke's Gospel, which confines itself to the story of Mary, says nothing of this episode; Matthew's narrative, which bears evidence of having come from Joseph himself, supplies the lack by showing how Joseph came to have the confidence in Mary which enabled him to take her to wife, and become sponsor for her child. The trial, doubtless, while it lasted, was not less severe for Mary than for Joseph--a prelude of that sword which was to "pierce through (her) own soul" (Lu 2:35). There is no reason to believe that Joseph and Mary did not subsequently live in the usual relations of wedlock, and that children were not born to them (compare Mt 13:55,56, etc.).

4. The Birth at Bethlehem:

(Matthew 2:1; Luke 2:1-7)

Matthew gives no indication of where the events narrated in his first chapter took place, first mentioning Nazareth on the occasion of the return of the holy family from Egypt (2:23). In 2:1 he transports us to Bethlehem as the city of Christ's birth. It is left to Luke to give an account of the circumstances which brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem--thus fulfilling prophecy (Mic 5:2; Mt 2:5,6)--at this critical hour, and to record the lowly manner of Christ's birth there.

(1) The Census of Quirinius.

The emperor Augustus had given orders for a general enrollment throughout the empire (the fact of periodical enrollments in the empire is well established by Professor W.M. Ramsay in his Was Christ Born at Bethlehem?), and this is stated to have been given effect to in Judea when Quirinius was governor of Syria (Lu 2:1,2). The difficulties connected with the enrollment or census here mentioned are discussed in the article QUIRINIUS. It is known that Quirinius did conduct a census in Judea in 6 AD (compare Ac 5:37), but the census at Christ's birth is distinguished from this by Luke as "the first enrollment." The difficulty was largely removed when it was ascertained, as it has been to the satisfaction of most scholars, that Quirinius was twice governor of Syria--first, after Herod's death, 4-1 BC, and again in 6-11 AD. The probability is that the census was begun under Varus, the immediate predecessor of Quirinius--or even earlier under Saturninus--but was delayed in its application to Judea, then under Herod's jurisdiction, and was completed by Quirinius, with whose name it is officially connected. That the enrollment was made by each one going to his own city (verse 3) is explained by the fact that the census was not made according to the Roman method, but, as befitted a dependent kingdom, in accordance with Jewish usages (compare Ramsay).

(2) Jesus Born.

It must be left undecided whether the journey of Mary to Bethlehem with Joseph was required for any purpose of registration, or sprang simply from her unwillingness to be separated from Joseph in so trying a situation. To Bethlehem, in any case, possibly by Divine monition, she came, and there, in the ancestral city of David, in circumstances the lowliest conceivable, brought forth her marvelous child. In unadorned language--very different from the embellishments of apocryphal story--Luke narrates how, when the travelers arrived, no room was found for them in the "inn"--the ordinary eastern khan or caravanserai, a square enclosure, with an open court for cattle, and a raised recess round the walls for shelter of visitors--and how, when her babe was born, Mary wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger. The wearied pair having, according to Luke, been crowded out of, and not merely within, the inn, there is every probability that the birth took place, not, as some suppose, in the courtyard of the inn, but, as the oldest tradition asserts (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, 78), in a cave in the neighborhood, used for similar purposes of lodgment and housing of cattle. High authorities look favorably on the "cave of the nativity" still shown, with its inscription, Hic de virgine Maria Jesus Christus natus est, as marking the sacred spot. In such incredibly mean surroundings was "the only begotten of the Father" ushered into the world He came to redeem. How true the apostle's word that He "emptied" Himself (Php 2:7)! A problem lies in the very circumstances of the entrance into time of such a One, which only the thought of a voluntary humiliation for saving ends can solve.

5. The Incidents of the Infancy:

(Luke 2:8-39; Matthew 2:1-12)

Born, however, though Jesus was, in a low condition, the Father did not leave Him totally without witness to His Sonship. There were rifts in the clouds through which cidents of the hidden glory streamed. The scenes in the narratives of the Infancy exhibit a strange commingling of the glorious and the lowly.

(1) The Visit of the Shepherds.

To shepherds watching their flocks by night in the fields near Bethlehem the first disclosure was made. The season, one would infer, could hardly have been winter, though it is stated that there is frequently an interval of dry weather in Judea between the middle of December and the middle of February, when such a keeping of flocks would be possible (Andrews). The angel world is not far removed from us, and as angels preannounced the birth of Christ, so, when He actually came into the world (compare Heb 1:6), angels of God made the night vocal with their songs. First, an angel appearing in the midst of the Divine glory--the "Shekinah"--announced to the sorely alarmed shepherds the birth of a "Saviour who was Christ the Lord" at Bethlehem; then a whole chorus of the heavenly host broke in with the refrain, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men in whom He is well pleased" (literally, "men of good pleasure")--since, the Christmas hymn of the generations (Lu 2:1-14). The shepherds, guided as to how to recognize the babe (Lu 2:12), went at once, and found it to be ever, as they had been told. Thence they hastened to spread abroad the tidings--the first believers, the first worshippers, the first preachers (Lu 2:15-20). Mary cherished the sayings in the stillness of her heart.

(2) The Circumcision and Presentation in the Temple.

Jewish law required that on the 8th day the male child should be circumcised, and on the same day He received His name (compare Lu 1:59-63). Jesus, though entirely pure, underwent the rite which denoted the putting off of fleshly sin (Col 2:11), and became bound, as a true Israelite, to render obedience to every Divine commandment. The name "Jesus" was then given Him (Lu 2:21). On the 40th day came the ceremony of presentation in the temple at Jerusalem, when Mary had to offer for her purifying (Le 12; Mary's was the humbler offering of the poor, "a pair of turtle-doves, or two young pigeons" (Le 12:8; Lu 2:24)), and when the first-born son had to be redeemed with 5 shekels of the sanctuary (Nu 18:15,16; about $3.60). The observance was an additional token that Christ--personally sinless--did not shrink from full identification with our race in the responsibilities of its sinful condition. Ere it was completed, however, the ceremony was lifted to a Diviner level, and a new attestation was given of the dignity of the child of Mary, by the action and inspired utterances of the holy Simeon and the aged prophetess Anna. To Simeon, a righteous and devout man, "looking for the consolation of Israel," it had been revealed that he should not die till he had seen the Lord's Christ, and, led by the Spirit into the temple at the very time when Jesus was being presented, he recognized in Him the One for whom he had waited, and, taking Him in his arms, gave utterance to the beautiful words of the Nunc Dimittis--"Now lettest thou thy servant depart, Lord," etc. (Lu 2:25-32). He told also how this child was set for the falling and rising of many in Israel, and how, through Him, a sword should pierce through Mary's own soul (Lu 2:34,35). Entering at the same hour, the prophetess Anna--now in extreme old age (over 100; a constant frequenter of the temple, Lu 2:37--confirmed his words, and spoke of Him to all who, like herself, looked "for the redemption of Jerusalem."

(3) Visit of the Magi.

It seems to have been after the presentation in the temple that the incident took place recorded by Matthew of the visit of the Magi. The Magi, a learned class belonging originally to Chaldea or Persia (see MAGI), had, in course of time, greatly degenerated (compare Simon Magus, Ac 8:9), but those who now came to seek Christ from the distant East were of a nobler order. They appeared in Jerusalem inquiring, "Where is He that is born King of the Jews?" and declaring that they had seen His star in the East, and had come to worship Him (Mt 2:2). Observers of the nightly sky, any significant appearance in the heavens would at once attract their attention. Many (Kepler, Ideler, etc.; compare Ramsay, op. cit., 215 ff) are disposed to connect this "star" with a remarkable conjunction--or series of conjunctions--of planets in 7-6 BC, in which case it is possible that two years may have elapsed (compare the inquiry of Herod and his subsequent action, Mt 2:7,16) from their observation of the sign. On the other hand, the fact of the star reappearing and seeming to stand over a house in Bethlehem (Mt 2:9) rather points to a distinct phenomenon (compare BETHLEHEM, STAR OF). The inquiry of the Magi at once awakened Herod's alarm; accordingly, having ascertained from the scribes that the Christ should be born at Bethlehem (Mic 5:2), he summoned the Magi, questioned them as to when exactly the star appeared, then sent them to Bethlehem to search out the young child, hypocritically pretending that he also wished to worship Him (Mt 2:7,8). Herod had faith enough to believe the Scriptures, yet was foolish enough to think that he could thwart God's purpose. Guided by the star, which anew appeared, the wise men came to Bethlehem, offered their gifts, and afterward, warned by God, returned by another road, without reporting to Herod. It is a striking picture--Herod the king, and Christ the King; Christ a power even in His cradle, inspiring terror, attracting homage! The faith of these sages, unrepelled by the lowly surroundings of the child they had discovered, worshipping, and laying at His feet their gold, frankincense and myrrh, is a splendid anticipation of the victories Christ was yet to win among the wisest as well as the humblest of our race. Herod, finding himself, as he thought, befooled by the Magi, avenged himself by ordering a massacre of all the male children of two years old, and under, in Bethlehem and its neighborhood (Mt 2:16-19). This slaughter, if not recorded elsewhere (compare however, Macrobius, quoted by Ramsay, op. cit., 219), is entirely in keeping with the cruelty of Herod's disposition. Meanwhile, Joseph and Mary had been withdrawn from the scene of danger (Mt 2:17 connects the mourning of the Bethlehem mothers with Rachel's weeping, Jer 31:15).

6. Flight to Egypt and Return to Nazareth:

(Matthew 2:13-15,19-23)

The safety of Mary and her threatened child was provided for by a Divine warning to retire for a time to Egypt (mark the recurring expression, "the young child and his mother"--the young child taking the lead, Mt 2:11,13,14,20,21), whither, accordingly, they were conducted by Joseph (Mt 2:14). The sojourn was not a long one. Herod's death brought permission to return, but as Archelaus, Herod's son (the worst of them), reigned in Judea in his father's stead (not king, but "ethnarch"), Joseph was directed to withdraw to Galilee; hence it came about that he and Mary, with the babe, found themselves again in Nazareth, where Luke anew takes up the story (Lu 2:39), the thread of which had been broken by the incidents in Matthew. Matthew sees in the return from Egypt a refulfilling of the experiences of Israel (Ho 11:1), and in the settling in Nazareth a connection with the Old Testament prophecies of Christ's lowly estate (Isa 11:1, netser, "branch"; Zec 3:8; 6:12, etc.).

7. Questions and Objections:

The objections to the credibility of the narratives of the Virgin Birth have already partly been adverted to. (See further the articles on MARY; VIRGIN BIRTH; and the writer's volume, The Virgin Birth of Christ.)

(1) The Virgin Birth.

The narratives in Matthew and Luke are attested by all manuscripts and versions genuine parts of their respective Gospels, and as coming to us in their integrity. The narrative of Luke is generally recognized as resting on an Aramaic basis, which, from its diction and the primitive character of its conceptions, belongs to the earliest age. While in Luke's narrative everything is presented from the standpoint of Mary, in Matthew it is Joseph who is in the forefront, suggesting that the virgin mother is the source of information in the one case, and Joseph himself in the other. The narratives are complementary, not contradictory. That Mark and John do not contain narratives of the Virgin Birth cannot be wondered at, when it is remembered that Mark's Gospel begins of purpose with the Baptism of John, and that the Fourth Gospel aims at setting forth the Divine descent, not the circumstances of the earthly nativity. "The Word became flesh" (Joh 1:14)--everything is already implied in that. Neither can it be objected to that Paul does not in his letters or public preaching base upon so essentially private a fact as the miraculous conception--at a time, too, when Mary probably still lived. With the exception of the narrowest sect of the Jewish Ebionites and some of the Gnostic sects, the Virgin Birth was universally accepted in the early church.

(2) The Genealogies

(Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-28)

Difficulty is felt with the genealogies in Matthew and Luke (one descending, the other ascending), which, while both professing to trace the descent of Jesus from David and Abraham (Luke from Adam), yet go entirely apart in the pedigree after David. See on this the article GENEALOGY OF JESUS CHRIST. A favorite view is that Matthew exhibits the legal, Luke the natural descent of Jesus. There is plausibility in the supposition that though, in form, a genealogy of Joseph, Luke's is really the genealogy of Mary. It was not customary, it is true, to make out pedigrees of females, but the case here was clearly exceptional, and the passing of Joseph into the family of his father-in-law Heli would enable the list to be made out in his name. Celsus, in the 2nd century, appears thus to have understood it when he derides the notion that through so lowly a woman as the carpenter's wife, Jesus should trace His lineage up to the first man (Origen, Contra Celsus, ii.32; Origen's reply proceeds on the same assumption. Compare article on" Genealogies" in Kitto, II).

II. The Years of Silence--the Twelfth Year.

1. The Human Development:

(Luke 2:40,52)

With the exception of one fragment of incident--that of the visit to Jerusalem and the Temple in His 12th year--the Canonical Gospels are silent as to the history of Jesus from the return to Nazareth till His baptism by John. This long period, which the Apocryphal Gospels crowd with silly fables (see APOCRYPHAL GOSPELS), the inspired records leave to be regarded as being what it was--a period of quiet development of mind and body, of outward uneventfulness, of silent garnering of experience in the midst of the Nazareth surroundings. Jesus "grew, and waxed strong, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon him .... advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" (Lu 2:40,52). The incarnation was a true acceptance of humanity, with all its sinless limitations of growth and development. Not a hint is offered of that omniscience or omnipotence which theology has not infrequently imputed to Jesus even as child and boy. His schooling was probably that of the ordinary village child (He could read, Lu 4:17 ff, and write, Joh 8:6-8); He wrought at the carpenter's bench (compare Mr 6:3; Justin Martyr, following tradition, speaks of Him as making "plows and yokes," Dial., 88). His gentleness and grace of character endeared Him to all who knew Him (Lu 2:52). No stain of sin clouded His vision of Divine things. His after-history shows that His mind was nourished on the Scriptures; nor, as He pondered psalms and prophets, could His soul remain unvisited by presentiments, growing to convictions, that He was the One in whom their predictions were destined to be realized.

2. Jesus in the Temple:

(Luke 2:41-50)

Every year, as was the custom of the Jews, Joseph and Mary went, with their friends and neighbors, in companies, to Jerusalem to the Passover. When Jesus was 12 years old, it would seem that, for the first time, He was permitted to accompany them. It would be to Him a strange and thrilling experience. Everything He saw--the hallowed sites, the motley crowd, the service of the temple, the very shocks His moral consciousness would receive from contact with abounding scandals--would intensify His feeling of His own unique relation to the Father. Every relationship was for the time suspended and merged to His thought in this higher one. It was His Father's city whose streets He trod; His Father's house He visited for prayer; His Father's ordinance the crowds were assembled to observe; His Father's name, too, they were dishonoring by their formalism and hypocrisy. It is this exalted mood of the boy Jesus which explains the scene that follows--the only one rescued from oblivion in this interval of growth and preparation. When the time came for the busy caravan to return to Nazareth, Jesus, acting, doubtless, from highest impulse, "tarried behind" (verse 43). In the large company His absence was not at first missed, but when, at the evening halting-place, it became known that He was not with them, His mother and Joseph returned in deep distress to Jerusalem. Three days elapsed before they found Him in the place where naturally they should have looked first--His Father's house. There, in one of the halls or chambers where the rabbis were wont to teach, they discovered Him seated "in the midst," at the feet of the men of learning, hearing them discourse, asking questions, as pupils were permitted to do, and giving answers which awakened astonishment by their penetration and wisdom (Lu 2:46,47). Those who heard Him may well have thought that before them was one of the great rabbis of the future! Mary, much surprised, asked in remonstrance, "Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us?" evoking from Jesus the memorable reply, "How is it that ye sought me? knew ye not that I must be in my Father's house?" or "about my Father's business?" the King James Version (Lu 2:48,49). Here was the revelation of a selfconsciousness that Mary might have been prepared for in Jesus, but perhaps, in the common intercourse of life, was tending to lose sight of. The lesson was not unneeded. Yet, once it had been given, Jesus went back with Joseph and Mary to Nazareth, and "was subject unto them"; and Mary did not forget the teaching of the incident (Lu 2:51).

III. The Forerunner and the Baptism.

1. The Preaching of John:

(Matthew 3:1-12; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-18)

Time passed, and when Jesus was nearing His 30th year, Judea was agitated by the message of a stern preacher of righteousness who had appeared in the wilderness by the Jordan, proclaiming the imminent approach of the kingdom of heaven, summoning to repentance, and baptizing those who confessed their sins. Tiberius had succeeded Augustus on the imperial throne; Judea, with Samaria, was now a Roman province, under the procurator Pontius Pilate; the rest of Palestine was divided between the tetrarchs Herod (Galilee) and Philip (the eastern parts). The Baptist thus appeared at the time when the land had lost the last vestige of self-government, was politically divided, and was in great ecclesiastical confusion. Nurtured in the deserts (Lu 1:80), John's very appearance was a protest against the luxury and self-seeking of the age. He had been a Nazarite from his birth; he fed on the simplest products of nature--locusts and wild honey; his coarse garb of camel's hair and leathern girdle was a return to the dress of Elijah (2Ki 1:8), in whose spirit and power he appeared (Lu 1:17) (see JOHN THE BAPTIST).

The Coming Christ.

John's preaching of the kingdom was unlike that of any of the revolutionaries of his age. It was a kingdom which could be entered only through moral preparation. It availed nothing for the Jew simply that he was a son of Abraham. The Messiah was at hand. He (John) was but a voice in the wilderness sent to prepare the way for that Greater than himself. The work of the Christ would be one of judgment and of mercy. He would lay the axe at the root of the tree--would winnow the chaff from the wheat--yet would baptize with the Holy Spirit (Mt 3:10-12; Lu 3:15-17). Those who professed acceptance of his message, with its condition of repentance, John baptized with water at the Jordan or in its neighborhood (compare Mt 3:6; Joh 1:28; 3:23).

2. Jesus Is Baptized:

(Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21,22)

John's startling words made a profound impression. All classes from every part of the land, including Pharisees and Sadducees (Mt 3:7), came to his baptism. John was not deceived. He saw how little change of heart underlay it all. The Regenerator had not yet come. But one day there appeared before him One whom he intuitively recognized as different from all the rest--as, indeed, the Christ whose coming it was his to herald. John, up to this time, does not seem to have personally known Jesus (compare Joh 1:31). He must, however, have heard of Him; he had, besides, received a sign by which the Messiah should be recognized (Joh 1:33); and now, when Jesus presented Himself, Divinely pure in aspect, asking baptism at his hands, the conviction was instantaneously flashed on his mind, that this was He. But how should he, a sinful man, baptize this Holy One? "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" (Mt 3:14). The question is one which forces itself upon ourselves--How should Jesus seek or receive a "baptism of repentance"? Jesus Himself puts it on the ground of meetness. "Suffer it now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness" (Mt 3:15). The Head was content to enter by the same gateway as the members to His specific vocation in the service of the kingdom. In submitting to the baptism, He formally identified Himself with the expectation of the kingdom and with its ethical demands; separated Himself from the evil of His nation, doubtless with confession of its sins; and devoted Himself to His life-task in bringing in the Messianic salvation. The significance of the rite as marking His consecration to, and entrance upon, His Messianic career, is seen in what follows. As He ascended from the water, while still "praying" (Lu 3:21), the heavens were opened, the Spirit of God descended like a dove upon Him, and a voice from heaven declared: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mt 3:16,17). It is needless to inquire whether anyone besides John (compare Joh 1:33) and Jesus (Mt 3:16; Mr 1:10) received this vision or heard these words; it was for them, not for others, the vision was primarily intended. To Christ's consecration of Himself to His calling, there was now added the spiritual equipment necessary for the doing of His work. He went forward with the seal of the Father's acknowledgment upon Him.

IV. The Temptation.

1. Temptation Follows Baptism:

(Matthew 4:1-11; Mark 1:13,14; Luke 4:1-13)

On the narrative of the baptism in the first three Gospels there follows at once the account of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. The psychological naturalness of the incident is generally acknowledged. The baptism of Jesus was a crisis in His experience. He had been plenished by the Spirit for His work; the heavens had been opened to Him, and His mind was agitated by new thoughts and emotions; He was conscious of the possession of new powers. There was need for a period of retirement, of still reflection, of coming to a complete understanding with Himself as to the meaning of the task to which He stood committed, the methods He should employ, the attitude He should take up toward popular hopes and expectations. He would wish to be alone. The Spirit of God led Him (Mt 4:1; Mr 1:12; Lu 4:1) whither His own spirit also impelled. It is with a touch of similar motive that Buddhist legend makes Buddha to be tempted by the evil spirit Mara after he has attained enlightenment.

2. Nature of the Temptation:

The scene of the temptation was the wilderness of Judea. Jesus was there 40 days, during which, it is told, He neither ate nor drank (compare the fasts of Moses and Elijah, Ex 24:18; 34:28; De 9:18; 1Ki 19:8). Mark adds, "He was with the wild beasts" (verse 13). The period was probably one of intense self-concentration. During the whole of it He endured temptations of Satan (Mr 1:13); but the special assaults came at the end (Mt 4:2 ff; Lu 4:2 ). We assume here a real tempter and real temptations--the question of diabolic agency being considered after. This, however, does not settle the form of the temptations. The struggle was probably an inward one. It can hardly be supposed that Jesus was literally transported by the devil to a pinnacle of the temple, then to a high mountain, then, presumably, back again to the wilderness. The narrative must have come from Jesus Himself, and embodies an ideal or parabolic element. "The history of the temptation," Lange says, "Jesus afterwards communicated to His disciples in the form of a real narrative, clothed in symbolical language" (Commentary on Matthew, 83, English translation).

3. Stages of the Temptation:

The stages of the temptation were three--each in its own way a trial of the spirit of obedience.

(1) The first temptation was to distrust. Jesus, after His long fast, was hungry. He had become conscious also of supernatural powers. The point on which the temptation laid hold was His sense of hunger--the most over-mastering of appetites. "If thou art the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." The design was to excite distrustful and rebellious thoughts, and lead Jesus to use the powers entrusted to Him in an unlawful way, for private and selfish ends. The temptation was promptly met by a quotation from Scripture: "Man shall not live by bread alone," etc. (Mt 4:4; Lu 4:4; compare De 8:3). If Jesus was in this position, it was His Father who had brought Him there for purposes of trial. Man has a higher life than can be sustained on bread; a life, found in depending on God's word, and obeying it at whatever cost.

(2) The second temptation (in Luke the third) was to presumption. Jesus is borne in spirit (compare Eze 40:1,2) to a pinnacle of the temple. From this dizzy elevation He is invited to cast Himself down, relying on the Divine promise: "He shall give His angels charge over thee," etc. (compare Ps 91:11,12). In this way an easy demonstration of His Messiahship would be given to the crowds below. The temptation was to overstep those bounds of humility and dependence which were imposed on Him as Son; to play with signs and wonders in His work as Messiah. But again the tempter is foiled by the word: "Thou shalt not make trial of (try experiments with, propose tests, put to the proof) the Lord thy God" (Mt 4:7; Lu 4:12; compare De 6:16).

(3) The third temptation (Luke's second) was to worldly sovereignty, gained by some small concession to Satan. From some lofty elevation--no place on a geographical map--the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them are flashed before Christ's mind, and all are offered to Him on condition of one little act of homage to the tempter. It was the temptation to choose the easier path by some slight pandering to falsehood, and Jesus definitely repelled it by the saying: "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve" (Mt 4:10; Lu 4:8). Jesus had chosen His path. The Father's way of the cross would be adhered to.

Its Typical Character.

The stages of the temptation typify the whole round of Satanic assault on man through body, mind, and spirit (Lu 4:13; compare 1Joh 2:16), and the whole round of Messianic temptation. Jesus was constantly being tempted

(a) to spare Himself;

(b) to gratify the Jewish signseekers;

(c) to gain power by sacrifice of the right.

In principle the victory was gained over all at the commencement. His way was henceforth clear.


I. The Testimonies of the Baptist.

1. The Synoptics and John:

While the Synoptics pass immediately from the temptation of Jesus to the ministry in Galilee the imprisonment of the Baptist (Mt 4:12; Mr 1:14,15; Lu 4:14), the Fourth Gospel furnishes the account, full of interest, of the earlier ministry of Jesus in Judea while the Baptist was still at liberty.

2. Threefold Witness of the Baptist:

(John 1:19-37)

The Baptist had announced Christ's coming; had baptized Him when He appeared; it was now his privilege to testify to Him as having come, and to introduce to Jesus His first disciples.

a) First Testimony--Jesus and Popular Messianic Expectation:

(John 1:19-28)

John's work had assumed proportions which made it impossible for the ecclesiastical authorities any longer to ignore it (compare Lu 3:15). A deputation consisting of priests and Levites was accordingly sent to John, where he was baptizing at Bethany beyond Jordan, to put to him categorical questions about his mission. Who was he? And by what authority did--he baptize? Was he the Christ? or Elijah? or the expected prophet? (compare Joh 6:14; 7:4; Mt 16:14). To these questions John gave distinct and straightforward replies. He was not the Christ, not Elijah, not the prophet. His answers grow briefer every time, "I am not the Christ"; "I am not"; "No." Who was he then? The answer was emphatic. He was but a "voice" (compare Isa 40:3)--a preparer of the way of the Lord. In their midst already stood One--not necessarily in the crowd at that moment--with whose greatness his was not to be compared (Joh 1:26,27). John utterly effaces himself before Christ.

b) Second Testimony--Christ and the Sin of the World:

(John 1:29-34)

The day after the interview with the Jerusalem deputies, John saw Jesus coming to him--probably fresh from the temptation--and bore a second and wonderful testimony to His Messiahship. Identifying Jesus with the subject of his former testimonies, and stating the ground of his knowledge in the sign God had given him (1:30-34), he said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world" (1:29). The words are rich in suggestion regarding the character of Jesus, and the nature, universality and efficacy of His work (compare 1 Joh 3:5). The "Lamb" may point specifically to the description of the vicariously Suffering Servant of Yahweh in Isa 53:11.

c) Third Testimony--Christ and the Duty of the Disciple:

(John 1:35-37)

The third testimony was borne "again on the morrow," when John was standing with two of his disciples (one Andrew, 1:40, the other doubtless the evangelist himself). Pointing to Jesus, the Baptist repeated his former words, "Behold, the Lamb of God." While the words are the same, the design was different. In the first "behold" the idea is the recognition of Christ; in the second there is a call to duty--a hint to follow Jesus. On this hint the disciples immediately acted (1:37). It is next to be seen how this earliest "following" of Jesus grew.

II. The First Disciples.

1. Spiritual Accretion:

(John 1:37-51)

John's narrative shows that Jesus gathered His disciples, less by a series of distinct calls, than by a process of spiritual accretion. Men were led to Him, then accepted by Him. This process of selection left Jesus at the close of the second day with five real and true followers. The history confutes the idea that it was first toward the close of His ministry that Jesus became known to His disciples as the Messiah. In all the Gospels it was as the Christ that the Baptist introduced Jesus; it was as the Christ that the first disciples accepted and confessed Him (Joh 1:41,45,49).

a) Andrew and John--Discipleship as the Fruit of Spiritual Converse:

(John 1:37-40)

The first of the group were Andrew and John--the unnamed disciple of Joh 1:40. These followed Jesus in consequence of their Master's testimony. It was, however, the few hours' converse they had with Jesus in His own abode that actually decided them. To Christ's question, "What seek ye?" their answer was practically "Thyself." "The mention of the time--the 10th hour, i.e. 10 AM--is one of the small traits that mark John. He is here looking back on the date of his own spiritual birth" (Westcott).

b) Simon Peter--Discipleship a Result of Personal Testimony:

(John 1:41,42)

John and Andrew had no sooner found Christ for themselves ("We have found the Messiah," Joh 1:41) than they hastened to tell others of their discovery. Andrew at once sought out Simon, his brother, and brought him to Jesus; so, later, Philip sought Nathanael (Joh 1:45). Christ's unerring eye read at once the quality of the man whom Andrew introduced to Him. "Thou art Simon the son of John: thou shalt be called Cephas"--"Rock" or "Stone" (1:42). Mt 16:18, therefore, is not the original bestowal of this name, but the confirmation of it. The name is the equivalent of "Peter" (Petros), and was given to Simon, not with any official connotation, but because of the strength and clearness of his convictions. His general steadfastness is not disproved by His one unhappy failure. (Was it thus the apostle acquired the name "Peter"?)

c) Philip--the Result of Scriptural Evidence:

(John 1:43,14)

The fourth disciple, Philip, was called by Jesus Himself, when about to depart for Galilee (Joh 1:43). Friendship may have had its influence on Philip (like the foregoing, he also was from Bethsaida of Galilee, Joh 1:44), but that which chiefly decided him was the correspondence of what he found in Jesus with the prophetic testimonies (Joh 1:45).

d) Nathanael--Discipleship an Effect of Heart-Searching Power:

(John 1:45-51)

Philip sought Nathanael (of Cana of Galilee, Joh 21:2)--the same probably as Bartholomew the Apostle--and told him he had found Him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets had written (Joh 1:45). Nathanael doubted, on the ground that the Messiah was not likely to have His origin in an obscure place like Nazareth (Joh 1:46; compare Joh 7:52). Philip's wise answer was, "Come and see"; and when Nathanael came, the Lord met him with a word which speedily rid him of his hesitations. First, Jesus attested His seeker's sincerity ("Behold, an Israelite indeed," etc., Joh 1:47); then, on Nathanael expressing surprise, revealed to him His knowledge of a recent secret act of meditation or devotion ("when thou wast under the fig tree," etc., Joh 1:48). The sign was sufficient to convince Nathanael that he was in the presence of a superhuman, nay a Divine, Being, therefore, the Christ--"Son of God .... King of Israel" (Joh 1:49). Jesus met his faith with further self-disclosure. Nathanael had believed on comparatively slight evidence; he would see greater things: heavens opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man (Joh 1:51). The allusion is to Jacob's vision (Ge 28:10-22)--a Scripture which had possibly been theme of Philip's meditation in his privacy. Jesus puts Himself in place of that mystic ladder as the medium of reopened communication between heaven and earth.

2. "Son of Man" and "Son of God":

The name "Son of Man"--a favorite designation of Jesus for Himself--appears here for the first time in the Gospels. It is disputed whether it was a current Messianic title (see SON OF MAN), but at least it had this force on the lips of Jesus Himself, denoting Him as the possessor of a true humanity, and as standing in a representative relation to mankind universally. It is probably borrowed from Da 7:13 and appears in the Book of Enoch (see APOCALYPTIC LITERATURE). The higher title, "Son of God," given to Jesus by Nathanael, could not, of course, as yet carry with it the transcendental associations of John's Prologue (Joh 1:1,14,18), but it evidently conveyed an idea of superhuman dignity and unique relation to God, such as the better class of minds would seem to have attributed to the Messiah (compare Joh 5:18; 10:33 ff; Mt 26:63).

III. The First Events.

An interval of a few weeks is occupied by a visit of Jesus to Cana of Galilee (Joh 2:1 ) and a brief sojourn in Capernaum (Joh 2:12); after which Jesus returned to Jerusalem to the Passover as the most appropriate place for His public manifestation of Himself as Messiah (Joh 2:13 ). The notes of time in John suggest that the Passover (beginning of April, 27 AD) took place about three months after the baptism by John (compare 1:43; 2:1,12).

1. The First Miracle:

(Joh 2:1-11)

Prior to His public manifestation, a more private unfolding of Christ's glory was granted to the disciples at the marriage feast of Cana of Galilee (compare Joh 2:11). The marriage was doubtless that of some relative of the family, and the presence of Jesus at the feast, with His mother, brethren and disciples (as Joseph no more appears, it may be concluded that he was dead), is significant as showing that His religion is not one of antagonism to natural relations. The marriage festivities lasted seven days, and toward the close the wine provided for the guests gave out. Mary interposed with an indirect suggestion that Jesus might supply the want. Christ's reply, literally, "Woman, what is that to thee and to me?" (Joh 2:4), is not intended to convey the least tinge of reproof (compare Westcott, in the place cited.), but intimates to Mary that His actions were henceforth to be guided by a rule other than hers (compare Lu 2:51). This, however, as Mary saw (Joh 2:5), did not preclude an answer to her desire. Six waterpots of stone stood near, and Jesus ordered these to be filled with water (the quantity was large; about 50 gallons); then when the water was drawn off it was found changed into a nobler element--a wine purer and better than could have been obtained from any natural vintage. The ruler of the feast, in ignorance of its origin, expressed surprise at its quality (Joh 2:10). The miracle was symbolical--a "sign" (Joh 2:11)--and may be contrasted with the first miracle of Moses--turning the water into blood (Ex 7:20). It points to the contrast between the old dispensation and the new, and to the work of Christ as a transforming, enriching and glorifying of the natural, through Divine grace and power.

After a brief stay at Capernaum (Joh 2:12), Jesus went up to Jerusalem to keep the Passover. There it was His design formally to manifest Himself. Other "signs" He wrought at the feast, leading many to believe on Him--not, however, with a deep or enduring faith (Joh 2:23-25)--but the special act by which He signalized His appearance was His public cleansing of the temple from the irreligious trafficking with which it had come to be associated.

2. The First Passover, and Cleansing of the Temple:

(John 2:13-25)

A like incident is related by the Synoptics at the close of Christ's ministry (Mt 21:12,13; Mr 11:15-18; Lu 19:45,46), and it is a question whether the act was actually repeated, or whether the other evangelists, who do not narrate the events of the early ministry, simply record it out of its chronological order. In any case, the act was a fitting inauguration of the Lord's work. A regular market was held in the outer court of the temple. Here the animals needed for sacrifice could be purchased, foreign money exchanged, and the doves, which were the offerings of the poor, be obtained. It was a busy, tumultuous, noisy and unholy scene, and the "zeal" of Jesus burned within Him--had doubtless often done so before--as He witnessed it. Arming Himself with a scourge of cords, less as a weapon of offense, than as a symbol of authority, He descended with resistless energy upon the wrangling throng, drove out the dealers and the cattle, overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and commanded the doves to be taken away. Let them not profane His Father's house (Joh 2:14-16). No one seems to have opposed. All felt that a prophet was among them, and could not resist the overpowering authority with which He spake and acted. By and by, when their courage revived, they asked Him for a "sign" in evidence of His right to do such things. Jesus gave them no sign such as they demanded, but uttered an enigmatic word, and left them to reflect on it, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (Joh 2:19). The authenticity of the saying is sufficiently vouched for by the perverted use made of it at Christ's trial (Mt 26:61 parallel). It is a word based on the foresight which Christ had that the conflict now commencing was to end in His rejection and death. "The true way to destroy the Temple, in the eyes of Jesus, was to slay the Messiah. .... If it is in the person of the Messiah that the Temple is laid in ruins, it is in His person it shall be raised again" (Godet). The disciples, after the resurrection, saw the meaning of the word (Joh 2:22).

3. The Visit of Nicodemus:

(John 3:1-12)

As a sequel to these stirring events Jesus had a nocturnal visitor in the person of Nicodemus--a Pharisee, a ruler of the Jews, a "teacher of Israel" (Joh 3:10), apparently no longer young (Joh 3:4). His coming by night argues, besides some fear of man, a constitutional timidity of disposition (compare Joh 19:39); but the interesting thing is that he did come, showing that he had been really impressed by Christ's words and works. One recognizes in him a man of candor and uprightness of spirit, yet without adequate apprehensions of Christ Himself, and of the nature of Christ's kingdom. Jesus he was prepared to acknowledge as a Divinely-commissioned teacher--one whose mission was accredited by miracle (Joh 3:2). He was interested in the kingdom, but, as a morally living man, had no doubt of his fitness to enter into it. Jesus had but to teach and he would understand.

(1) The New Birth.

Jesus in His reply laid His finger at once on the defective point in His visitor's relation to Himself and to His kingdom: "Except one be born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (Joh 3:3); "Except one be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (Joh 3:5). Nicodemus was staggered at this demand for a spiritual new birth. There is reason to believe that proselytes were baptized on being received into the Jewish church, and their baptism was called a "new birth." Nicodemus would therefore be familiar with the expression, but could not see that it had any applicability to him. Jesus teaches him, on the other hand, that he also needs a new birth, and this, not through water only, but through the Spirit. The change was mysterious, yet plainly manifest in its effects (Joh 3:7,8). If Nicodemus did not understand these "earthly things"--the evidence of which lay all around him--how should he understand "heavenly things," the things pertaining to salvation?

(2) "Heavenly Things."

These "heavenly things" Jesus now proceeds to unfold to Nicodemus: "As Moses lifted up the serpent," etc. (Joh 3:14). The "lifting up" is a prophecy of the cross (compare 12:32-34). The brazen serpent is the symbol of sin conquered and destroyed by the death of Christ. What follows in Joh 3:16-21 is probably the evangelist's expansion of this theme--God's love the source of salvation (Joh 3:16), God's purpose not the world's condemnation, but its salvation (Joh 3:17,18) the self-judgment of sin (Joh 3:19 ).

4. Jesus and John:

(John 3:22-36)

Retiring from Jerusalem, Jesus commenced a ministry in Judea (Joh 3:22). It lasted apparently about 6 months. The earlier Gospels pass over it. This is accounted for by the fact that the ministry in Judea was still preparatory. Jesus had publicly asserted His Messianic authority. A little space is now allowed to test the result. Meanwhile Jesus descends again to the work of prophetic preparation. His ministry at this stage is hardly distinguishable from John's. He summons to the baptism of repentance. His disciples, not Himself, administer the rite (Joh 3:23; 4:2); hence the sort of rivalry that sprang up between His baptism and that of the forerunner (Joh 3:22-26). John was baptizing at the time at Aenon, on the western side of the Jordan; Jesus somewhere in the neighborhood. Soon the greater teacher began to eclipse the less. "All men came to Him" (3:26). John's reply showed how pure his mind was from the narrow, grudging spirit which characterized his followers. To him it was no grievance, but the fulfillment of his joy, that men should be flocking to Jesus. He was not the Bridegroom, but the friend of the Bridegroom. They themselves had heard him testify, "I am not the Christ." It lay in the nature of things that Jesus must increase; he must decrease (3:27-30). Explanatory words follow (3:31-36).

IV. Journey to Galilee--the Woman of Samaria.

1. Withdrawal to Galilee:

Toward the close of this Judean ministry the Baptist appears to have been cast into prison for his faithfulness in reproving Herod Antipas for taking his brother Philip's wife (compare Joh 3:24; Mt 14:3-5 parallel). It seems most natural to connect the departure to Galilee in Joh 4:3 with that narrated in Mt 3:13 parallel, though some think the imprisonment of the Baptist did not take place till later. The motive which Joh gives was the hostility of the Pharisees, but it was the imprisonment of the Baptist which led Jesus to commence, at the time He did, an independent ministry. The direct road to Galilee lay through Samaria; hence the memorable encounter with the woman at that place.

2. The Living Water:

Jesus, being wearied, paused to rest Himself at Jacob's well, near a town called Sychar, now 'Askar. It was about the sixth hour--or 6 o'clock in the evening. The time of year is determined by Joh 4:35 to be "four months" before harvest, i.e. December (there is no reason for not taking this literally). It suits the evening hour that the woman of Samaria came out to draw water. (Some, on a different reckoning, take the hour to be noon.) Jesus opened the conversation by asking from the woman a draught from her pitcher. The proverbial hatred between Jews and Samaritans filled the woman with surprise that Jesus should thus address Himself to her. Still greater was her surprise when, as the conversation proceeded, Jesus announced Himself as the giver of a water of which, if a man drank, he should never thirst again (Joh 4:13,14). Only gradually did His meaning penetrate her mind, "Sir, give me this water," etc. (Joh 4:15). The request of Jesus that she would call her husband led to the discovery that Jesus knew all the secrets of her life. She was before a prophet (Joh 4:19). As in the case iof Nathanael, the heart-searching power of Christ's word convinced her of His Divine claim.

3. The True Worship:

The conversation next turned upon the right place of worship. The Samaritans had a temple of their own on Mount Gerizim; the Jews, on the other hand, held to the exclusive validity of the temple at Jerusalem. Which was right? Jesus in His reply, while pronouncing for the Jews as the custodians of God's salvation (Joh 4:22), makes it plain that distinction of places is no longer a matter of any practical importance. A change was imminent which would substitute a universal religion for one of special times and places (Joh 4:20). He enunciates the great principle of the new dispensation that God is a Spirit, and they who worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth. Finally, when she spoke of the Messiah, Jesus made Himself definitely known to her as the Christ. To this poor Samaritan woman, with her receptive heart, He unveils Himself more plainly than He had done to priests and rulers (Joh 4:26).

4. Work at Its Reward:

The woman went home and became an evangelist to her people, with notable results (Joh 4:28,39). Jesus abode with them two days and confirmed the impression made by her testimony (Joh 4:40-42). Meanwhile, He impressed on His disciples the need of earnest sowing and reaping in the service of the Kingdom, assuring them of unfailing reward for both sower and reaper (Joh 4:35-38). He Himself was their Great Example (Joh 4:34).


1. The Scene:

Galilee was divided into upper Galilee and lower Galilee. It has already been remarked that upper Galilee was inhabited by a mixed population--hence called "Galilee of the Gentiles" (Mt 4:15). The highroads of commerce ran through it. It was "the way of the sea" (the King James Version)--a scene of constant traffic. The people were rude, ignorant, and superstitious, and were densely crowded together in towns and villages. About 160 BC there were only a few Jews in the midst of a large heathen population; but by the time of Christ the Jewish element had greatly increased. The busiest portion of this busy district was round the Sea of Galilee, at the Northeast corner of which stood Capernaum--wealthy and cosmopolitan. In Nazareth, indeed, Jesus met with a disappointing reception (Lu 4:16-30; Mt 13:54-57; compare Joh 4:43-45); yet in Galilee generally He found a freer spirit and greater receptiveness than among the stricter traditionalists of Judea.

2. The Time:

It is assumed here that Jesus returned to Galilee in December, 27 AD, and that His ministry there lasted till late in 29 AD (see "Chronology" above). On the two years' scheme of the public ministry, the Passover of Joh 6:4 has to be taken as the second in Christ's ministry--therefore as occurring at an interval of only 3 or 4 months after the return. This seems impossible in view of the crowding of events it involves in so short a time--opening incidents, stay in Capernaum (Mt 4:13), three circuits in "all Galilee" (Mt 4:23-25 parallel; Lu 8:1-4; Mt 9:35-38; Mr 6:6), lesser journeys and excursions (Sermon on Mount: Gadara); and the dislocations it necessitates, e.g. the plucking of ears of corn (about Passover time) must be placed after the feeding of the 5,000, etc. It is simpler to adhere to the three years' scheme.

A division of the Galilean ministry may then fitly be made into two periods--one preceding, the other succeeding the Mission of the Twelve in Mt 10 parallel. One reason for this division is that after the Mission of the Twelve the order of events is the same in the first three evangelists till the final departure from Galilee.

First Period--From the Beginning of the Ministry in Galilee till the Mission of the Twelve

I. Opening Incidents.

1. Healing of Nobleman's Son:

(Joh 4:43-54)

From sympathetic Samaria (Joh 4:39), Jesus had journeyed to unsympathetic Galilee, and first to Cana, where His first miracle had been wrought. The reports of His miracles in Judea had come before Him (Joh 4:45), and it was mainly His reputation as a miracle-worker which led a nobleman--a courtier or officer at Herod's court--to seek Him at Cana on behalf of his son, who was near to death. Jesus rebuked the sign-seeking spirit (Joh 4:48), but, on the fervent appeal being repeated, He bade the nobleman go his way: his son lived. The man's prayer had been, "Come down"; but he had faith to receive the word of Jesus (Joh 4:50), and on his way home received tidings of his son's recovery. The nobleman, with his whole household, was won for Jesus (Joh 4:53). This is noted as the second of Christ's Galilean miracles (Joh 4:54).

2. The Visit to Nazareth:

(Matthew 4:13; Luke 4:16-30)

A very different reception awaited Him at Nazareth,"His own country," to which He next came. We can scarcely take the incident recorded in Lu 4:16-30 to be the same as that in Mt 13:54-58, though Matthew's habit of grouping makes this not impossible. The Sabbath had come, and on His entering the synagogue, as was His wont, the repute He had won led to His being asked to read. The Scripture He selected (or which came in the order of the day) was Isa 61:1 ff (the fact that Jesus was able to read from the synagogue-roll is interesting as bearing on His knowledge of Hebrew), and from this He proceeded to amaze His hearers by declaring that this Scripture was now fulfilled in their ears (Lu 4:21). The "words of grace" he uttered are not given, but it can be understood that, following the prophet's guidance, He would hold Himself forth as the predicted "Servant of Yahweh," sent to bring salvation to the poor, the bound, the broken-hearted, and for this purpose endowed with the fullness of the Spirit. The idea of the passage in Isa is that of the year of jubilee, when debts were canceled, inheritances restored, and slaves set free, and Jesus told them He had come to inaugurate that "acceptable year of the Lord." At first He was listened to with admiration, then, as the magnitude of the claims He was making became apparent to His audience, a very different spirit took possession of them. `Who was this that spoke thus?' `Was it not Joseph's son?' (Lu 4:22). They were disappointed, too, that Jesus showed no disposition to gratify them by working before them any of the miracles of which they had heard so much (Lu 4:23). Jesus saw the gathering storm, but met it resolutely. He told His hearers He had not expected any better reception, and in reply to their reproach that He had wrought miracles elsewhere, but had wrought none among them, quoted examples of prophets who had done the same thing (Elijah, Elisha, Lu 4:24-28). This completed the exasperation of the Nazarenes, who, springing forward, dragged Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, and would have thrown Him down, had something in the aspect of Jesus not restrained them. With one of those looks we read of occasionally in the Gospels, He seems to have overawed His townsmen, and, passing in safety through their midst, left the place (Lu 4:28-30).

3. Call of the Four Disciples:

(Matthew 4:17-22; Mark 1:16-22; Luke 5:1-11)

After leaving Nazareth Jesus made His way to Capernaum (probably Tell Hum), which thereafter seems to have been His headquarters. He "dwelt" there (Mt 4:13). It is called in Mt 9:1, "his own city." Before teaching in Capernaum self, however, He appears to have opened His ministry by evangelizing along the shores of the Sea of Galilee (Mt 4:18; Mr 1:16; Lu 5:1), and there, at Bethsaida (on topographical questions, see special articles), He took His first step in gathering His chosen disciples more closely around Him. Hitherto, though attached to His person and cause, the pairs of fisher brothers, Simon and Andrew, James and John--these last the "sons of Zebedee"--had not been in constant attendance upon Him. Since the return from Jerusalem, they had gone back to their ordinary avocations. The four were "partners" (Lu 5:10). They had "hired servants" (Mr 1:20); therefore were moderately well off. The time had now come when they were to leave "all," and follow Jesus entirely.

a) The Draught of Fishes:

(Luke 5:1-9)

Luke alone records the striking miracle which led to the call. Jesus had been teaching the multitude from a boat borrowed from Simon, and now at the close He bade Simon put out into the deep, and let down his nets. Peter told Jesus they had toiled all night in vain, but he would obey His word. The result was an immense draught of fishes, so that the nets were breaking, and the other company had to be called upon for help. Both boats were filled and in danger of sinking. Peter's cry in so wonderful a presence was, "Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord."

b) "Fishers of Men":

The miracle gave Jesus opportunity for the word He wished to speak. It is here that Mt and Mr take up the story. The boats had been brought to shore when, first to Simon and Andrew, afterward to James and John (engaged in "mending their nets," Mt 4:21; Mr 1:19), the call was given : "Come ye after me, and I will make you fishers of men." At once all was left--boats, nets, friends--and they followed Him. Their experience taught them to have large expectations from Christ.

4. At Capernaum:

(Matthew 4:13; Luke 4:31)

Jesus is now found in Capernaum. An early Sabbath--perhaps the first of His stated residence in the city--was marked by notable events. The Sabbath found Jesus as usual in the synagogue--now as teacher. The manner of His teaching is specially noticed: "He taught them as having authority, and not as the scribes" (Mr 1:22). The scribes gave forth nothing of their own.

a) Christ's Teaching:

(Mark 1:22,27; Luke 4:32)

They but repeated the dicta of the great authorities of the past. It was a surprise to the people to find in Jesus One whose wisdom, like waters from a clear fountain, came fresh and sparkling from His own lips. The authority also with which Jesus spoke commanded attention. He sought support in the opinion of no others, but gave forth His statements with firmness, decision, dignity and emphasis.

b) The Demoniac in the Synagogue:

(Mark 1:23-27; Luke 4:33-37)

While Jesus was teaching an extraordinary incident occurred. A man in the assembly, described as possessed by "an unclean spirit" (Mr 1:23; Lu 4:33) broke forth in cries, addressing Jesus by name ("Jesus, thou Nazarene"), speaking of Him as "the Holy One of God," and asking "What have we to do with thee? Art thou come to destroy us?" The diseased consciousness of the sufferer bore a truer testimony to Christ's dignity, holiness and power than most of those present could have given, and instinctively, but truly, construed His coming as meaning destruction to the empire of the demons. At Christ's word, after a terrible paroxysm, from which, however, the man escaped unhurt (Lu 4:35), the demon was cast out. More than ever the people were "amazed" at the word which had such power (Mr 1:27).

Demon-Possession: Its Reality.

This is the place to say a word on this terrible form of malady--demon-possession--met with so often in the Gospels. Was it a reality? Or a hallucination? Did Jesus believe in it? It is difficult to read the Gospels, and not answer the last question in the affirmative. Was Jesus, then, mistaken? This also it is hard to believe. If there is one subject on which Jesus might be expected to have clear vision--on which we might trust His insight--it was His relation to the spiritual world with which He stood in so close rapport. Was He likely then to be mistaken when He spoke so earnestly, so profoundly, so frequently, of its hidden forces of evil? There is in itself no improbability--rather analogy suggests the highest probability--of realms of spiritual existence outside our sensible ken. That evil should enter this spiritual world, and that human life should be deeply implicated with that evil--that its forces should have a mind and will organizing and directing them--are not beliefs to be dismissed with scorn. The presence of such beliefs in the time of Christ is commonly attributed to Babylonian, Persian or other foreign influences. It may be questioned, however, whether the main cause was not something far more real--an actual and permitted "hour and the power of darkness" (Lu 22:53) in the kingdom of evil, discovering itself in manifestations in the bodies and souls of men, that could be traced only to a supernatural cause (see DEMONIAC). (The present writer discusses the subject in an article in the Sunday School Times for June 4, 1910. It would be presumptuous even to say that the instance in the Gospels have no modern parallels. See a striking paper in Good, Words, edited by Dr. Norman MacLeod, for 1867, on "The English Demoniac.") It should be noted that all diseases are not, as is sometimes affirmed, traced to demonic influence. The distinction between other diseases and demonic possession is clearly maintained (compare Mt 4:24; 10:1; 11:5, etc.). Insanity, epilepsy, blindness, dumbness, etc., were frequent accompaniments of possession, but they are not identified with it.

c) Peter's Wife's Mother:

(Matthew 8:14,15; Mark 1:29-31; Luke 4:38,39)

Jesus, on leaving the synagogue, entered the house of Peter. In Mark it is called "the house of Simon and Andrew" (1:29). Peter was married (compare 1Co 9:5), and apparently his mother-in-law and brother lived with him in Capernaum. It was an anxious time in the household, for the mother-in-law lay "sick of a fever"--"a great fever," as Luke the physician calls it. Taking her by the hand, Jesus rebuked the fever, which instantaneously left her. The miracle, indeed, was a double one, for not only was the fever stayed, but strength was at once restored. "She rose up and ministered unto them" (Lu 4:39).

d) The Eventful Evening:

(Matthew 8:16; Mark 1:32-34; Luke 4:40,41)

The day's labors were not yet done; were, indeed, scarce begun. The news of what had taken place quickly spread, and soon the extraordinary spectacle was presented of `the whole city' gathered at the door of the dwelling, bringing their sick of every kind to be healed. Demoniacs were there, crying and being rebuked, but multitudes of others as well. The Lord's compassion was unbounded. He rejected none. He labored unweariedly till every one was healed. His sympathy was individual: "He laid his hands on every one of them" (Lu 4:40).

II. From First Galilean Circuit till the Choice of the Apostles.

1. The First Circuit:

(Mark 1:35-45; Luke 4:42-44; compare Matthew 4:23-25)

The chronological order in this section is to be sought in Mark and Luke; Matthew groups for didactic purposes. The morning after that eventful Sabbath evening in Capernaum, Jesus took steps for a systematic visitation of the towns and villages of Galilee.

The task He set before Himself was prepared for by early, prolonged, solitary prayer (Mr 1:35; many instances show that Christ's life was steeped in prayer). His disciples followed Him, and reported that the multitudes sought Him. Jesus intimated to them His intention of passing to the next towns, and forthwith commenced a tour of preaching and healing "throughout all Galilee."

a) Its Scope:

Even if the expression "all Galilee" is used with some latitude, it indicates a work of very extensive compass. It was a work likewise methodically conducted (compare Mr 6:6: "went round about the villages," literally, "in a circle"). Galilee at this time was extraordinarily populous (compare Josephus, Wars of the Jews, III, iii, 2), and the time occupied by the circuit must have been considerable. Matthew's condensed picture (Mt 4:23-25) shows that Christ's activity during this period was incredibly great. He stirred the province to its depths. His preaching and miracles drew enormous crowds after Him. This tide of popularity afterward turned, but much of the seed sown may have produced fruit at a later day.

b) Cure of the Leper:

(Matthew 8:2-4; Mark 1:40-45; Luke 5:12-16)

The one incident recorded which seems to have belonged to this tour was a sufficiently typical one. While Jesus was in a certain city a man "full of leprosy" (Lu 5:12) came and threw himself down before Him, seeking to be healed. The man did not even ask Jesus to heal him, but expressed his faith, "If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." The man's apparent want of importunity was the very essence of his importunity. Jesus, moved by his earnestness, touched him, and the man was made whole on the spot. The leper was enjoined to keep silence--Jesus did not wish to pass for a mere miracle-worker--and bade the man show himself to the priests and offer the appointed sacrifices (note Christ's respect for the legal institutions). The leper failed to keep Christ's charge, and published his cure abroad, no doubt much to his own spiritual detriment, and also to the hindrance of Christ's work (Mr 1:45).

2. Capernaum Incidents:

His circuit ended, Jesus returned to Capernaum (Mr 2:1; literally, "after days"). Here again His fame at once drew multitudes to see and hear Him. Among them were now persons of more unfriendly spirit. Pharisees and doctors, learning of the new rabbi, had come out of "every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem" (Lu 5:17), to hear and judge of Him for themselves. The chief incidents of this visit are the two now to be noted.

a) Cure of the Paralytic:

(Matthew 9:2-8; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 5:17-26)

In a chamber crowded till there was no standing room, even round the door, Jesus wrought the cure upon the paralytic man. The scene was a dramatic one. From Christ's words "son," literally, "child" (Mr 2:5), we infer that the paralytic was young, but his disablement seems to have been complete. It was no easy matter, with the doorways blocked, to get the man brought to Jesus, but his four bearers (Mr 2:3) were not easily daunted. They climbed the fiat roof, and, removing part of the covering above where Jesus was, let down the man into the midst. Jesus, pleased with the inventiveness and perseverance of their faith, responded to their wish. But, first, that the spiritual and temporal might be set in their right relations, and the attitude of His hearers be tested, He spoke the higher words: "Son, thy sins are forgiven" (Mr 2:5). At once the temper of the scribes was revealed. Here was manifest evasion. Anyone could say, "Thy sins are forgiven." Worse, it was blasphemy, for "who can forgive sins but one, even God?" (Mr 2:7). Unconsciously they were conceding to Christ the Divine dignity He claimed. Jesus perceives at once the thoughts of the cavilers, and proceeds to expose their malice. Accepting their own test, He proves His right to say, "Thy sins are forgiven," by now saying to the palsied man, "Take up thy bed and walk" (Mr 2:9,11). At once the man arose, took his bed, and went forth whole. The multitude were "amazed" and "glorified God" (Mr 2:12).

b) Call and Feast of Matthew:

(Matthew 9:9-13; Mark 2:13-17; Luke 5:27-32)

The call of Matthew apparently took place shortly after the cure of the paralytic man. The feast was possibly later (compare the connection with the appeal of Jairus, Mt 9:18), but the call and the feast are best taken together, as they are in all the three narratives.

(1) The Call.

Matthew is called "Levi" by Luke, and "Levi, the son of Alpheus" by Mark. By occupation he was a "publican" (Lu 5:27), collector of custom-dues in Capernaum, an important center of traffic. There is no reason to suppose that Matthew was not a man of thorough uprightness, though naturally the class to which he belonged was held in great odium by the Jews. Passing the place of toll on His way to or from the lake-side, Jesus called Matthew to follow Him. The publican must by this time have seen and heard much of Jesus, and could not but keenly feel His grace in calling one whom men despised. Without an instant's delay, he left all, and followed Jesus. From publican, Matthew became apostle, then evangelist.

(2) The Feast.

Then, or after, in the joy of his heart, Matthew made a feast for Jesus. To this feast he invited many of his own class--"publicans and sinners" (Mt 9:10). Scribes and Pharisees were loud in their remonstrances to the disciples at what seemed to them an outrage on all propriety. Narrow hearts cannot understand the breadth of grace. Christ's reply was conclusive: "They that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that are sick," etc. (Mr 2:17, etc.).

(3) Fasting and Joy.

Another line of objection was encountered from disciples of the Baptist. They, like the Pharisees, "fasted oft" (Mt 9:14), and they took exception to the unconstrained way in which Jesus and His disciples entered into social life. Jesus defends His disciples by adopting a metaphor of John's own (Joh 3:29), and speaking of Himself as the heavenly bridegroom (Mr 2:19). Joy was natural while the bridegroom was with them; then, with a sad forecast of the end, He alludes to days of mourning when the bridegroom should be taken away (Mr 2:20). A deeper answer follows. The spirit of His gospel is a free, spontaneous, joyful spirit, and cannot be confined within the old forms. To attempt to confine His religion within the outworn forms of Judaism would be like putting a patch of undressed cloth on an old garment, or pouring new wine into old wineskins. The garment would be rent; the wineskins would burst (Mr 2:21,22 parallel). The new spirit must make forms of its own.

3. The Unnamed Jerusalem Feast:

(John 5)

At this point is probably to, be introduced the visit to Jerusalem to attend "a feast," or, according to another reading, "the feast' of the Jews, recorded in Joh 5. The feast may, if the article is admitted, have been the Passover (April), though in that case one would expect it to be named; it may have been Purim (March), only this is not a feast Jesus might be thought eager to attend; it may even have been Pentecost (June). In this last case it would succeed the Sabbath controversies to be mentioned later. Fortunately, the determination of the actual feast has little bearing on the teaching of the chapter.

a) The Healing at Bethesda:

(John 5:1-16)

Bethesda ("house of mercy") was the name given to a pool, fed by an intermittent spring, possessing healing properties, which was situated by the sheep-gate (not "market," the King James Version), i.e. near the temple, on the East Porches were erected to accommodate the invalids who desired to make trial of the waters (the mention of the angel, Joh 5:4, with part of 5:3, is a later gloss, and is justly omitted in the Revised Version (British and American)). On one of these porches lay an impotent man. His infirmity was of long standing--38 years. Hope deferred was making his heart sick, for he had no friend, when the waters were troubled, to put him into the pool. Others invariably got down before him. Jesus took pity on this man. He asked him if he would be made whole; then by a word of power healed him. The cure was instantaneous (John 5:8,9). It was the Sabbath day, and as the man, at Christ's command, took up his bed to go, he was challenged as doing that which was unlawful. The healed man, however, rightly perceived that He who was able to work so great a cure had authority to say what should and should not be done on the Sabbath. Meeting the man after in the temple, Jesus bade him "sin no more"--a hint, perhaps, that his previous infirmity was a result of sinful conduct (John 5:14).

b) Son and Father:

(John 5:17-29)

Jesus Himself was now challenged by the authorities for breaking the Sabbath. Their strait, artificial rules would not permit even of acts of mercy on the Sabbath. This led, on the part of Jesus, to a momentous assertion of His Divine dignity. He first justified Himself by the example of His Father, who works continually in the upholding and government of the universe (Joh 5:17)--the Sabbath is a rest from earthly labors, for Divine, heavenly labor (Westcott)--then, when this increased the offense by its suggestion of "equality" with the Father, so that His life was threatened (Joh 5:18), He spoke yet more explicitly of His unique relationship to the Father, and of the Divine prerogatives it conferred upon Him. The Jews were right: if Jesus were not a Divine Person, the claims He made would be blasphemous. Not only was He admitted to intimacy with the Divine counsel (Joh 5:20,21; compare Mt 11:27), but to Him, He averred, was committed the Divine power of giving life (Joh 5:21,26), of judgment (Joh 5:22,27), of resurrection--spiritual resurrection now (Joh 5:24,25), resurrection at the last day (Joh 5:28,29). It was the Father's will that the Son should be honored even as Himself (Joh 5:23).

c) The Threefold Witness:

(John 5:30-47)

These stupendous claims are not made without adequate attestation. Jesus cites a threefold witness:

(1) the witness of the Baptist, whose testimony they had been willing for a time to receive (Joh 5:33,15);

(2) the witness of the Father, who by Christ's works supported His witness to Himself (Joh 5:36-38);

(3) the witness of the Scriptures, for these, if read with spiritual discernment, would have led to Him (Joh 5:39,45-47). Moses, whom they trusted, would condemn them. Their rejection of Jesus was due, not to want of light, but to the state of the heart: "I know you, that ye have not the love of God in yourselves" (Joh 5:42); "How can ye believe," etc. (Joh 5:44).

4. Sabbath Controversies:

Shortly after His return to Galilee, if the order of events has been rightly apprehended, Jesus became involved in new disputes with the Pharisees about Sabbath-keeping. Possibly we hear in these the echoes of the charges brought against Him at the feast in Judea. Christ's conduct, and the principles involved in His replies, throw valuable light on the Sabbath institution.

a) Plucking of the Ears of Grain: (Matthew 12:1-8; Mark 2:23-28; Luke 6:1-5)

The first dispute was occasioned by the action of the disciples in plucking ears of grain and rubbing them in their hands as they passed through the grainfields on a Sabbath (the note of time "second-first," in Lu 6:1 the King James Version, is omitted in the Revised Version (British and American). In any case the ripened grain points to a time shortly after the Passover). The law permitted this liberty (De 23:25), but Pharisaic rigor construed it into an offense to do the act on the Sabbath (for specimens of the minute, trivial and vexatious rules by which the Pharisees converted the Sabbath into a day of wretched constraint, see Farrar's Life of Christ, Edersheim's Jesus the Messiah, and similar works). Jesus, in defending His disciples, first quotes Old Testament precedents (David and the showbread, an act done apparently on the Sabbath, 1Sa 21:6; the priests' service on the Sabbath--"One greater than the temple" was there, Mt 12:6), in illustration of the truth that necessity overrides positive enactment; next, falls back on the broad principle of the design of the Sabbath as made for man--for his highest physical, mental, moral and spiritual well-being: "The sabbath was made for man," etc. (Mr 2:27). The claims of mercy are paramount. The end is not to be sacrificed to the means. The Son of Man, therefore, asserts lordship over the Sabbath (Mr 2:28 parallel).

b) The Man with the Withered Hand:

(Matthew 12:10-14; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11)

The second collision took place on "another sabbath" (Lu 6:6) in the synagogue. There was present a man with a withered hand. The Pharisees themselves, on this occasion, eager to entrap Jesus, seem to have provoked the conflict by a question, "Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?" (Mt 12:10). Jesus met them by an appeal to their own practice in permitting the rescue of a sheep that had fallen into a pit on the Sabbath day (Mt 12:11,12), then, bidding the man stand forth~, retorted the question on themselves, "Is it lawful on the sabbath day to do good, or to do harm? to save a life, or to kill?" (Mr 3:4)--an allusion to their murderous intents. On no reply being made, looking on them with holy indignation, Jesus ordered the man to stretch forth his hand, and it was at once perfectly restored. The effect was only to inflame to "madness" (Lu 6:11) the minds of His adversaries, and Pharisees and Herodians (the court-party of Herod) took counsel to destroy Him (Mr 3:6 parallel).

c) Withdrawal to the Sea:

(Matthew 12:15-21; Mark 3:7-9)

Jesus, leaving this scene of unprofitable conflict, quietly withdrew with His disciples to the shore, and there continued His work of teaching and healing. People from all the neighboring districts flocked to His ministry. He taught them from a little boat (Mr 3:9), and healed their sick. Mt sees in this a fulfillment of the oracle which is to be found in Isa 42:1-4.

5. The Choosing of the Twelve:

(Matthew 10:1-4; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-16; Ac 1:13)

The work of Jesus was growing on His hands, and friends and enemies were rapidly taking sides. The time accordingly had come for selecting and attaching to His person a definite number of followers--not simply disciples--who might be prepared to carry on His work after His departure. This He did in the choice of twelve apostles. The choice was made in early morning, on the Mount of Beatitudes, after a night spent wholly in prayer (Lu 6:12).

a) The Apostolic Function:

"Apostle" means "one sent." On the special function of the apostle it is sufficient to say here that those thus set apart were chosen for the special end of being Christ's witnesses and accredited ambassadors to the world, able from personal knowledge to bear testimony to what Christ had been, said and done--to the facts of His life, death and resurrection (compare Ac 1:22,23; 2:22-32; 3:15; 10:39; 1Co 15:3-15, etc.); but, further, as instructed by Him, and endowed with His Spirit (compare Lu 12:12; Joh 14:16,17,26, etc.), of being the depositories of His truth, sharers of His authority (compare Mt 10:1; Mr 3:15), messengers of His gospel (compare 2Co 5:18-21), and His instruments in laying broad and strong the foundations of His church (compare Eph 2:20; 3:5). So responsible a calling was never, before or after, given to mortal men.

b) The Lists:

Four lists of the apostles are given--in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Ac (1:13, omitting Judas). The names are given alike in all, except that "Judas, the son (or brother) of James" (Lu 6:16; Ac 1:13) is called by Mt Lebbaeus, "and by Mr Thaddaeus." The latter names are cognate in meaning and all denote the same person. "Bartholomew'" (son of Tolmai) is probably the Nathanael of Joh 1:47 (compare 21:2). The epithet "Cananaean" (Mt 10:4; Mr 3:18) marks "Simon" as then or previously a member of the party of the Zealots (Lu 6:15). In all the lists Peter, through his gifts of leadership, stands first; Judas Iscariot, the betrayer, stands last. There is a tendency to arrangement in pairs: Peter and Andrew; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew; lastly, James, the son of Alpheus, Judas, son or brother of James, Simonthe Zealot and Judas Iscariot. The list contains two pairs of brothers (three, if "brother" be read with Judas), and at least one pair of friends (Philip and Nathanael).

c) The Men:

All the apostles were men from the humbler ranks, yet not illiterate, and mostly comfortably circumstanced. All were Galileans, except the betrayer, whose name "Iscariot" i.e. "man of Kerioth," marks him as a Judean. Of some of the apostles we know a good deal; of others very little; yet we are warranted in speaking of them all, Judas excepted, as men of honest minds, and sincere piety. The band held within it a number of men of strongly contrasted types of character. Allusion need only be made to the impetuous Peter, the contemplative John, the matter-of-fact Philip, the cautious Thomas, the zealous Simon, the conservative Matthew, the administrative Judas. The last-named--Iscariot--is the dark problem of the apostolate. We have express testimony that Jesus knew him from the beginning (Joh 6:64). Yet He chose him. The character of Judas, when Jesus received him, was doubtless undeveloped. He could not himself suspect the dark possibilities that slept in it. His association with the apostles, in itself considered, was for his good. His peculiar gift was, for the time, of service. In choosing him, Jesus must be viewed as acting for, and under the direction of, the Father (Joh 5:19; 17:12). See special articles on the several apostles.

III. From the Sermon on the Mount till the Parables of the Kingdom--a Second Circuit.

1. The Sermon on the Mount:

The choice of the apostles inaugurates a new period of Christ's activity. Its first most precious fruit was the delivery to the apostles and the multitudes who thronged Him as He came down from the mountain (Lu 6:17) of that great manifesto of His kingdom popularly known as the Sermon on the Mount. The hill is identified by Stanley (Sinai and Palestine,368) and others with that known as "the Horns of Hattin," where "the level place" at the top, from which Christ would come down from one of the higher horns, exactly suits the conditions of the narrative. The sick being healed, Jesus seated Himself a little higher up, His disciples near Him, and addressed the assembly (compare Mt 7:28,29). The season of the year is shown by the mention of the "lilies" to be the summer.

Its Scope.

His words were weighty. His aim was at the outset to set forth in terms that were unmistakable the principles, aims and dispositions of His kingdom; to expound its laws; to exhibit its righteousness, both positively, and in contrast with Pharisaic formalism and hypocrisy. Only the leading ideas can be indicated here (see BEATITUDES; SERMON ON THE MOUNT; ETHICS OF JESUS). Matthew, as is his wont, groups material part of which is found in other connections in Luke, but it is well to study the whole in the well-ordered form in which it appears in the First Gospel.

a) The Blessings:

(Matthew 5:1-6; Luke 6:20-26)

In marked contrast with the lawgiving of Sinai, Christ's first words are those of blessing. Passing at once to the dispositions of the heart, He shows on what inner conditions the blessings of the kingdom depend. His beatitudes (poverty of spirit, mourning, meekness, hunger and thirst after righteousness, etc.) reverse all the world's standards of judgment on such matters. In the possession of these graces consists true godliness of character; through them the heirs of the kingdom become the salt of the earth, the light of the world. The obligation rests on them to let their light shine (compare Mr 4:21-23; Lu 8:16; 11:33).

b) True Righteousness--the Old and the New Law:

(Matthew 5:17-48; Luke 6:27-36)

Jesus defines His relation to the old law--not a Destroyer, but a Fulfiller--and proceeds to exhibit the nature of the true righteousness in contrast to Pharisaic literality and formalism. Through adherence to the latter they killed the spirit of the law. With an absolute authority--"But I say unto you"--Jesus leads everything back from the outward letter to the state of the heart. Illustrations are taken from murder, adultery, swearing, retaliation, hatred of enemies, and a spiritual expansion is given to every precept. The sinful thought or desire holds in it the essence of transgression. The world's standards are again reversed in the demands for nonresistance to injuries, love of enemies and requital of good for evil.

c) Religion and Hypocrisy--True and False Motive:

(Matthew 6:1-18; compare Luke 11:1-8)

Pursuing the contrast between the true righteousness and that of the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus next draws attention to motive in religion. The Pharisees erred not simply in having regard only to the letter of the Law, but in acting in morals and religion from a false motive. He had furnished the antidote to their literalism; He now assails their ostentation and hypocrisy. Illustrations are taken from almsgiving, prayer and fasting, and in connection with prayer the Lord's Prayer is given as a model (Luke introduces this in another context, Lu 11:1-4).

d) The True Good and Cure for Care:

(Matthew 6:19-34; compare Luke 11:34-36; 12:22-34)

The true motive in religious acts is to please God; the same motive should guide us in the choice of what is to be our supreme good. Earthly treasure is not to be put above heavenly. The kingdom of God and His righteousness are to be first in our desires. The eye is to be single. The true cure for worldly anxiety is then found in trust of the heavenly Father. His children are more to God than fowls and flowers, for whom His care in Nature is so conspicuously manifest. Seeking first the kingdom they have a pledge--no higher conceivable--that all else they need will be granted along with it (this section on trust, again, Luke places differently, 12:22-34).

e) Relation to the World's Evil--the Conclusion:

(Matthew 7:1-29; Luke 6:37-49; compare 11:9-13):

Jesus finally proceeds to speak of the relation of the disciple to the evil of the world. That evil has been considered in its hostile attitude to the disciple (Mt 5:38 ); the question is now as to the disciple s free relations toward it. Jesus inculcates the duties of the disciple's bearing himself wisely toward evil--with charity, with caution, with prayer, in the spirit of ever doing as one would be done by--and of being on his guard against it. The temptation is great to follow the worldly crowd, to be misled by false teachers, to put profession for practice. Against these perils the disciple is energetically warned. True religion will ever be known by its fruits. The discourse closes with the powerful similitude of the wise and foolish builders. Again, as on an earlier occasion, Christ's auditors were astonished at His teaching, and at the authority with which He spoke (Mt 7:28,29).

2. Intervening Incidents: A series of remarkable incidents are next to be noticed.

a) Healing of the Centurion's Servant:

(Matthew 8:1,5-13; Luke 7:1-10)

(1) The healing of the centurion's servant apparently took place on the same day as the delivery of the Sermon on the Mount (Lu 7:1,2). It had been a day of manifold and exhausting labors for Jesus. A walk of perhaps 7 miles brought Him back to Capernaum, the crowds accompanying. Yet no sooner, on His return, does He hear a new appeal for help than His love replies,"I will come and heal him." The suppliant was a Roman centurion--one who had endeared himself to the Jews (Lu 7:5)--and the request was for the healing of a favorite servant, paralyzed and tortured with pain. First, a deputation sought Christ's good offices, then, when Jesus was on the way, a second message came, awakening even Christ's astonishment by the magnitude of its faith. The centurion felt he was not worthy that Jesus should come under his roof, but let Jesus speak the word only, and his servant would be healed. "I have not found so great faith," Jesus said, "no, not in Israel." The word was spoken, and, on the return of the messengers, the servant was found healed.

b) The Widow of Nain's Son Raised:

(Luke 7:11-17)

The exciting events of this day gathered so great a crowd round the house where Jesus was as left Him no leisure even to eat, and His friends, made anxious for His health, sought to restrain Him (Mr 3:20,21). It was probably to escape from this local excitement that Jesus, "soon afterwards," is found at the little town of Nain, a few miles Southeast of Nazareth. A great multitude still followed Him. Here, as He entered the city, occurred the most wonderful of the works He had yet wrought. A young man--the only son of a widowed mother--was being carried out for burial. Jesus, in compassion, stopped the mournful procession, and, in the calm certainty of His word being obeyed, bade the young man arise. On the instant life returned, and Jesus gave the son back to his mother. The amazement of the people was tenfold intensified. They felt that the old days had come back: that God had visited His people.

It was apparently during the journey or circuit which embraced this visit to Nain, and as the result of the fame it brought to Jesus (Lu 7:17,18; note the allusion to the dead being raised in Christ's reply to John), that the embassy was sent from the Baptist in prison to ask of Jesus whether He was indeed He who should come, or would they look for another.

c) Embassy of John's Disciples--Christ and His Generation:

(Matthew 11:2-30; Luke 7:18-35)

It was a strange question on the lips of the forerunner, but is probably to be interpreted as the expression of perplexity rather than of actual doubt. There seems no question but that John's mind had been thrown into serious difficulty by the reports which had reached him of the work of Jesus. Things were not turning out as he expected. It was the peaceful, merciful character of Christ's work which stumbled John. The gloom of his prison wrought with his disappointment, and led him to send this message for the satisfaction of himself and his disciples.

(1) Christ's Answer to John.

If doubt there was, Jesus treated it tenderly. He did not answer directly, but bade the two disciples who had been sent go back and tell John the things they had seen and heard--the blind receiving their sight, the lame walking, the deaf cured, the dead raised, the Gospel preached. Little doubt the Messiah had come when works like these--the very works predicted by the prophets (Isa 35:5,6)--were being done. Blessed were those who did not find occasion of stumbling in Him. Jesus, however, did more. By his embassy John had put himself in a somewhat false position before the multitude. But Jesus would not have His faithful follower misjudged. His was no fickle spirit. Jesus nobly vindicated him as a prophet and more than a prophet; yea, a man than whom a greater had not lived. Yet, even as the new dispensation was higher than the old, one "but little" in the kingdom of heaven--one sharing Christ's humble, loving, self-denying disposition--was greater even than John (Mt 11:11).

(2) A Perverse People--Christ's Grace.

The implied contrast between Himself and John led Jesus further to denounce the perverse spirit of His own generation. The Pharisees and lawyers (Lu 7:30) had rejected John; they were as little pleased with Him. Their behavior was like children objecting to one game because it was merry, and to another because it was sad. The flood of outward popularity did not deceive Jesus. The cities in which His greatest works were wrought--Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum--remained impenitent at heart. The heavier would be their judgment; worse even than that on Tyre and Sidon, or on Sodom itself. Over against their unbelief Jesus reasserts His dignity and declares His grace (Mt 11:25-30). All authority was His; He alone knew and could reveal the Father (no claims in John are higher). Let the heavy laden come to Him, and He would give them rest (parts of these passages appear in another connection in Lu 10:12-21).

d) The First Anointing--the Woman Who Was a Sinner:

(Luke 7:36-50)

Yet another beautiful incident connected with this journey is preserved by Lk--the anointing of Jesus in Simon's house by a woman who was a sinner. In Nain or some other city visited by Him, Jesus was invited to dine with a Pharisee named Simon. His reception was a cold one (Lu 7:44-46). During the meal, a woman of the city, an outcast from respectable society--one, however, as the story implies, whose heart Jesus had reached, and who, filled with sorrow, love, shame, penitence, had turned from her life of sin, entered the chamber. There, bathing Christ's feet with her tears, wiping them with her tresses, and imprinting on them fervent kisses, she anointed them with a precious ointment she had brought with her. Simon was scandalized. Jesus could not be a right-thinking man, much less a prophet, or He would have rebuked this misbehavior from such a person. Jesus met the thought of Simon's heart by speaking to him the parable of the Two Debtors (Lu 7:41,42). Of two men who had been freely forgiven, one 500, the other 50 shillings, which would love his creditor most? Simon gave the obvious answer, and the contrast between his own reception of Jesus and the woman's passionate love was immediately pointed out. Her greater love was due to the greater forgiveness; though, had Simon only seen it, he perhaps needed forgiveness even more than she.

3. Second Galilean Circuit--Events at Capernaum:

(Luke 8:1-4,19-21; Matthew 12:22-50; Mark 3:22-35 compare Luke 11:14-36)

Her faith saved her and she was dismissed in peace. But again the question arose, "Who is this that even forgiveth sins?" Luke introduces here (Lu 8:1-4) a second Galilean circuit of Jesus, after the return from which a new series of exciting incidents took place at Capernaum.

a) Galilee Revisited:

(Luke 8:1-4)

The circuit was an extensive one--"went about through cities and villages (literally, "according to city and village"), preaching." During this journey Jesus was attended by the Twelve, and by devoted women (Mary Magdalene, Joanna, wife of Herod's steward, Susanna, and others), who ministered to Him of their substance (Lu 8:2,3). At the close of this circuit Jesus returned to Capernaum.

b) Cure of Demoniac--Discourse on Blasphemy:

Jesus, no doubt, wrought numerous miracles on demoniacs (compare Lu 8:1,2; out of Mary Magdalene He is said to have cast 7 demons--perhaps a form of speech to indicate the severity of the possession). The demoniac now brought to Jesus was blind and dumb. Jesus cured him, with the double result that the people were filled with amazement: "Can this be the son of David?" (Mt 12:23), while the Pharisees blasphemed, alleging that Jesus cast out demons by the help of Beelzebub (Greek, Beelzeboul), the prince of the demons (see under the word). A quite similar incident is narrated in Mt 9:32-34; and Lu gives the discourse that follows in a later connection (11:14 ff). The accusation may well have been repeated more than once. Jesus, in reply, points out, first, the absurdity of supposing Satan to be engaged in warring against his own kingdom (Mt 18:25 parallel; here was plainly a stronger than Satan); then utters the momentous word about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. All other blasphemies--even that against the Son of Man (Mt 12:32)--may be forgiven, for they may proceed from ignorance and misconception; but deliberate, perverse rejection of the light, and attributing to Satan what was manifestly of God, was a sin which, when matured--and the Pharisees came perilously near committing it--admitted of no forgiveness, either in this world or the next, for the very capacity for truth in the soul was by such sin destroyed. Mr has the strong phrase, "is guilty of an eternal sin" (3:29). Pertinent words follow as to the root of good and evil in character (Mt 12:33-37).


The Sign of Jonah.

Out of this discourse arose the usual Jewish demand for a "sign" (Mt 12:38; compare Lu 11:29-32), which Jesus met by declaring that no sign would be given but the sign of the prophet Jonah--an allusion to His future resurrection. He reiterates His warning to the people of His generation for their rejection of greater light than had been enjoyed by the Ninevites and the Queen of Sheba.

Two incidents, not dissimilar in character, interrupted this discourse--one the cry of a woman in the audience (if the time be the same, Lu 11:27,28), "Blessed is the womb that bare thee," etc., to which Jesus replied, "Yea rather, blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it"; the other, a message that His mother and brethren (doubtless anxious for His safety) desired to speak with Him.

c) Christ's Mother and Brethen:

To this, stretching out His hand toward His disciples, Jesus answered, "Behold, my mother and my brethren" (Mr 3:34), etc. Kinship in the spiritual kingdom consists in fidelity to the will of God, not in ties of earthly relationship.

4. Teaching in Parables:

(Matthew 13:1-52; Mark 4:1-34; Luke 8:4-15; 13:18-21)

On the same day on which the preceding discourses were delivered, Jesus, seeing the multitudes, passed to the shore, and entering a boat, inaugurated a new method in His public. teaching. This was the speaking in parables. Similitude, metaphor, always entered into the teaching of Jesus (compare Mt 7:24-27), and parable has once been met with (Lu 7:41,42); now parable is systematically employed as a means of imparting and illustrating important truths, while yet veiling them from those whose minds were hostile and unreceptive (Mr 4:10-12; Lu 8:9,10). The parable thus at once reveals and conceals. The motive of this partially veiled teaching was the growing hostility of the Pharisees. In its nature the parable (from a verb signifying "to place side by side") is a representation in some form of earthly analogy of truths relating to Divine and eternal things (see PARABLE). The parables of the kingdom brought together in Mt 13 form an invaluable series, though not all were spoken in public (compare Mt 13:36-52), and some may belong to a later occasion (compare Lu 13:18-21). Mr adds the parable of the Seed Growing Secretly (4:26-29). Of three of the parables (the Sower, the Tares, the Dragnet), Jesus Himself gives the interpretation.

Parables of the Kingdom.

In series the parables at once mirror the origin, mixed character and development of the kingdom in its present imperfect earthly condition, and the perfection which awaits it after the crisis at the end. In the parable of the Sower is represented the origin of the kingdom in the good seed of the word, and the varied soils on which that seed falls; in the Seed Growing Secretly, the law of orderly growth in the kingdom; in the parable of the Tares, the mixed character of the subjects of the kingdom; in those of the Mustard Seed and Leaven, the progress of the kingdom--external growth, internal tramsformative effect; in those of the Treasure and Pearl the finding and worth of the kingdom; in that of the Dragnet the consummation of the kingdom. Jesus compares His disciples, if they understand these things, to householders bringing out of their treasure "things new and old" (Mt 13:52).

IV. From the Crossing to Gadara to the Mission of the Twelve--a Third Circuit.

1. Crossing of the Lake--Stilling of the Storm:

(Matthew 8:18-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25; compare 9:57-62)

It was on the evening of the day on which He spoke the parables--though the chronology of the incident seems unknown to Lu (8:22)--that Jesus bade His disciples cross over to the other side of the lake. At this juncture He was accosted by an aspirant for discipleship. Matthew gives two cases of aspirants; Luke (but in a different connection, 9:57-62), three. Luke's connection (departure from Galilee) is perhaps preferable for the second and third; but the three may be considered together.

The three aspirants may be distinguished as,

(a) The forward disciple: he who in an atmosphere of enthusiasm offered himself under impulse, without counting the cost. The zeal of this would-be follower Jesus cheeks with the pathetic words, "The foxes have holes," etc. (Mt 8:20; Lu 9:58).

(b) The procrastinating disciple. The first candidate needed repression; the second needs impulsion.

a) Aspirants for Disciplineship:

He would follow Jesus, but first let him bury his father. There had come a crisis, however, when the Lord's claim was paramount: "Leave the dead to bury their own dead" (Mt 8:22). There are at times higher claims than mere natural relationships, to which, in themselves, Jesus was the last to be indifferent. (c) The wavering disciple. The third disciple is again one who offers himself, but his heart was too evidently still with the things at home. Jesus, again, lays His finger on the weak spot, "No man, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back," etc. (Lu 9:62). As mentioned, the latter two cases tally better with a final departure from Galilee than with a temporary crossing of the lake.

b) The Storm Calmed:

The inland lake was exposed to violent and sudden tempests. One of these broke on the disciples' boat as they sailed across. Everyone's life seemed in jeopardy. Jesus, meanwhile, in calmest repose, was asleep on a cushion in the stern (Mr 4:38). The disciples woke Him almost rudely: "Teacher, carest thou not that we perish?" Jesus at once arose, and, reproving their want of faith, rebuked wind and waves ("Peace, be still"). Immediately there was a great calm. It was a new revelation to the disciples of the majesty of their Master. "Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?"

2. The Gadarene (Gerasene) Demoniac:

(Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39)

The lake being crossed, Jesus and His disciples came into the country of the Gadarenes (Matthew), or Gerasenes (Mark, Luke)--Gadara being the capital of the district (on the topography, compare Stanley, Sinai and Palestine,380-81). From the lake shore rises a mountain in which are ancient tombs. Here Jesus was met by a demoniac (Matthew mentions two demoniacs: M. Henry's quaint comment is, "If there were two, there was one." Possibly one was the fiercer of the two, the other figuring only as his companion). The man, as described, was a raving maniac of the worst type (Mr 5:3-5), dwelling in the tombs, wearing no clothes (Lu 8:27), of supernatural strength, wounding himself, shrieking, etc. Really possessed by "an unclean spirit," his consciousness was as if he were indwelt by a "legion" of demons, and from that consciousness he addressed Jesus as the Son of God come for their tormenting. In what follows it is difficult to distinguish what belongs to the broken, incoherent consciousness of the man, and the spirit or spirits who spake through him. In the question, "What is thy name?" (Mr 5:9) Jesus evidently seeks to arouse the victim's shattered soul to some sense of its own individuality. On Jesus commanding the unclean spirit to leave the man, the request was made that the demons might be permitted to enter a herd of swine feeding near. The reason of Christ's permission, with its result in the destruction of the herd ("rushed down the steep into the sea") need not be too closely scrutinized. It may have had an aspect of judgment on the (possibly) Jewish holders of the swine; or it may have had reference to the victim of the possession, as enabling him to realize his deliverance. Whatever the difficulties of the narrative, none of the rationalistic explanations afford any sensible relief from them. The object of the miracle may be to exclude rationalistic explanations, by giving a manifest attestation of the reality of the demon influence. When the people of the city came they found the man fully restored--"clothed and in his right mind." Yet, with fatal shortsightedness, they besought Jesus to depart from their borders. The man was sent home to declare to his friends the great things the Lord had done to him.

3. Jairus' Daughter Raised--Woman with Issue of Blood:

(Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56)

Repelled by the Gerasenes, Jesus received a warm welcome on His return to Capernaum on the western shore (Mr 5:21). It was probably at this point that Matthew gave the feast formerly referred to.

It was in connection with this feast, Matthew himself informs us (9:18), that Jairus, one of the rulers of the synagogue, made his appeal for help. His little daughter, about 12 years old (Lu 8:42), was at the point of death; indeed, while Jesus was coming, she died. The ruler's faith, though real, was not equal to the centurion's, who believed that Jesus could heal without being present.

a) Jairus' Appeal and Its Result:

Jesus came, and having expelled the professional mourners, in sacred privacy, only the father and mother, with Peter, James and John being permitted to enter the death-chamber, raised the girl to life. It is the second miracle on record of the raising from the dead.

b) The Afflicted Woman Cured:

On the way to the ruler's house occurred another wonder--a miracle within a miracle. A poor woman, whose case was a specially distressing one, alike as regards the nature of her malady, the length of its continuance, and the fruitlessness of her application to the physicians, crept up to Jesus, confident that if she could but touch the border of His garment, she would be healed. The woman was ignorant; her faith was blended with superstition; but Jesus, reading the heart, gave her the benefit she desired. It was His will, however, that, for her own good, the woman thus cured should not obtain the blessing by stealth. He therefore brought her to open confession, and cheered her by His commendatory word.

4. Incidents of Third Circuit:

(Matthew 9:27-38; 13:53-58; Mark 6:1-6)

At this point begins apparently a new evangelistic tour (Mt 9:35; Mr 6:6), extending methodically to "all the cities and villages." To it belong in the narratives the healing of two blind men (compare the case of Bartimeus, recorded later); the cure of a demoniac who was dumb--a similar case to that in Mt 12:22; and a second rejection at Nazareth (Matthew, Mark). The incident is similar to that in Lu 4:16-30, and shows, if the events are different, that the people's hearts were unchanged. Of this circuit Matthew gives an affecting summary (9:35-38), emphasizing the Lord's compassion, and His yearning for more laborers to reap the abundant harvest.

5. The Twelve Sent Forth--Discourse of Jesus:

(Matthew 10; Mark 6:7-13; Luke 9:1-6; compare Luke 10:2-24; 12:2-12, etc.)

Partly with a view to the needs of the rapidly growing work and the training of the apostles, and partly as a witness to Israel (Mt 10:6,23), Jesus deemed it expedient to send the Twelve on an independent mission. The discourse in Mt attached to this event seems, as frequently, to be a compilation. Parts of it are given by Luke in connection with the mission of the Seventy (Lu 10:1 ; the directions were doubtless similar in both cases); parts on other occasions (Lu 12:2-12; 21:12-17, etc.; compare Mr 13:9-13).

The Twelve were sent out two by two. Their work was to be a copy of the Master's--to preach the gospel and to heal the sick. To this end they were endowed with authority over unclean spirits, and over all manner of sickness. They were to go forth free from all encumbrances--no money, no scrip, no changes of raiment, no staff (save that in their hand, Mr 6:8), sandals only on their feet, etc.

a) The Commission:

They were to rely for support on those to whom they preached. They were for the present to confine their ministry to Israel. The saying in Mt 10:23, "Ye shall not have gone through the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come," apparently has reference to the judgment on the nation, not to the final coming (compare 16:28).

b) Counsels and Warnings:

The mission of the Twelve was the first step of Christianity as an aggressive force in society. Jesus speaks of it, accordingly, in the light of the whole future that was to come out of it. He warns His apostles faithfully of the dangers that awaited them; exhorts them to prudence and circumspection ("wise as serpents," etc.); holds out to them Divine promises for consolation; directs them when persecuted in one place to flee to another; points out to them from His own case that such persecutions were only to be expected. He assures them of a coming day of revelation; bids them at once fear and trust God; impresses on them the duty of courage in confession; inculcates in them supreme love to Himself. That love would be tested in the dearest relations, In itself peace, the gospel would be the innocent occasion of strife, enmity and division among men. Those who receive Christ's disciples will not fail of their reward.

When Christ had ended His discourse He proceeded with His own evangelistic work, leaving the disciples to inaugurate theirs (Mt 11:1).

Second Period--After the Mission of the Twelve till the Departure from Galilee

I. From the Death of the Baptist till the Discourse on Bread of Life.

1. The Murder of the Baptist and Herod's Alarms:

(Matthew 14:1-12; Mark 6:14-29; Luke 9:7-9; compare 3:18-20)

Shortly before the events now to be narrated, John the Baptist had been foully murdered in his prison by Herod Antipas at the instigation of Herodias, whose unlawful marriage with Herod John had unsparingly condemned. Josephus gives as the place of the Baptist's imprisonment the fortress of Macherus, near the Dead Sea (Ant., XVIII, v, 2); or John may have been removed to Galilee. Herod would ere this have killed John, but was restrained by fear of the people (Mt 14:5). The hate of Herodias, however, did not slumber. Her relentless will contrasts with the vacillation of Herod, as Lady Macbeth in Shakspeare contrasts with Macbeth. A birthday feast gave her the opening she sought for. Her daughter Saleme, pleasing Herod by her dancing, obtained from him a promise on oath to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by Herodias, she boldly demanded John the Baptist's head. The weak king was shocked, but, for his oath's sake, granted her what she craved. The story tells how the Baptist's disciples reverently buried the remains of their master, and went and told Jesus. Herod's conscience did not let him rest. When rumors reached him of a wonderful teacher and miracle-worker in Galilee, he leaped at once to the conclusion that it was John risen from the dead. Herod cannot have heard much of Jesus before. An evil conscience makes men cowards.

Another Passover drew near (Joh 6:4), but Jesus did not on this occasion go up to the feast.

Returning from their mission, the apostles reported to Jesus what they had said and done (Lu 9:10); Jesus had also heard of the Baptist's fate, and of Herod's fears, and now proposed to His disciples a retirement to a desert place across the lake, near Bethsaida (on the topography, compare Stanley, op. cit., 375, 381).

2. The Feeding of the Five Thousand:

(Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-14)

As it proved, however, the multitudes had observed their departure, and, running round the shore, were at the place before them (Mr 6:33). The purpose of rest was frustrated, but Jesus did not complain. He pitied the shepherdless state of the people, and went out to teach and heal them. The day wore on, and the disciples suggested that the fasting multitude should disperse, and seek victuals in the nearest towns and villages. This Jesus, who had already proved Philip by asking how the people should be fed (Joh 6:5), would not permit. With the scanty provision at command--5 loaves and 2 fishes--He fed the whole multitude. By His blessing the food was multiplied till all were satisfied, and 12 baskets of fragments, carefully collected, remained over. It was astupendous act of creative power, no rationalizing of which can reduce it to natural dimensions.

3. Walking on the Sea:

(Matthew 14:22-33; Mark 6:45-52; John 6:15-21)

The enthusiasm created by this miracle was intense (Joh 6:14). Matthew and Mark relate (Luke here falls for a time out of the Synopsis) that Jesus hurriedly constrained His disciples to enter into their boat and recross the lake--this though a storm was gathering--while He Himself remained in the mountain alone in prayer. John gives the key to this action in the statement that the people were about to take Him by force and make Him a king (6:15). Three hours after midnight found the disciples still in the midst of the lake, "distressed in rowing" (Mr 6:48), deeply anxious because Jesus was not, as on a former occasion, with them. At last, at the darkest hour of their extremity, Jesus was seen approaching in a way unlooked-for--walking on the water. Every new experience of Jesus was a surprise to the disciples. They were at first terrified, thinking they saw a spirit, but straightway the well-known voice was heard, "Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid." In the rebound of his feelings the impulsive Peter asked Jesus to permit him to come to Him on the water (Matthew). Jesus said "Come," and for the first moment or two Peter did walk on the water; then, as he realized his unwonted situation, his faith failed, and he began to sink. Jesus, with gentle chiding, caught him, and assisted him back into the boat. Once again the sea was calmed, and the disciples watch found themselves safely at land. To their adoring minds the miracle of the loaves was eclipsed by this new marvel (Mr 6:52).

4. Gennesaret--Discourse on the Bread of Life:

(Matthew 14:34-36; Mark 6:53-56; John 6:22-71)

On the return to Gennesaret the sick from all quarters were brought to Jesus--the commencement apparently of a new, more general ministry of healing (Mr 6:56). Meanwhile--here we depend on John--the people on the other side of the lake, when they found that Jesus was gone, took boats hastily, and came over to Capernaum. They found Jesus apparently in the synagogue (6:59). In reply to their query, "Rabbi, when camest thou hither?" Jesus first rebuked the motive which led them to follow Him--not because they had seen in His miracles "signs" of higher blessings, but because they had eaten of the loaves and were filled (6:26)--then spoke to them His great discourse on the bread from heaven. "Work," He said, "for the food which abideth unto eternal life, which the Son of man shall give unto you" (6:27). When asked to authenticate His claims by a sign from heaven like the manna, He replied that the manna also (given not by Moses but by God) was but typical bread, and surprised them by declaring that He Himself was the true bread of life from heaven (6:35,51). The bread was Christ's flesh, given for the life of the world; His flesh and blood must be eaten and drunk (a spiritual appropriation through faith, 6:63), if men were to have eternal life. Jesus of set purpose had put His doctrine in a strong, testing manner. The time had come when His hearers must make their choice between a spiritual acceptance of Him and a break with Him altogether. What He had said strongly offended them, both on account of the claims implied (6:42), and on account of the doctrine taught, which, they were plainly told, they could not receive because of their carnality of heart (6:43,44,61-64). Many, therefore, went back and walked no more with Him (6:60,61,66); but their defection only evoked from the chosen Twelve a yet more confident confession of their faith. "Would ye also go away?"

Peter's First Confession.

Peter, as usual, spoke for the rest: "Lord, to whom shall we go? .... We have believed and know that thou art the Holy One of God" (Joh 6:69). Here, and not first at Caesarea Philippi (Mt 16:16), is Peter's brave confession of his Master's Messiahship. Twelve thus confessed Him, but even of this select circle Jesus was compelled to say, "One of you (Judas) is a devil" (Joh 6:70,71).

II. From Disputes with the Pharisees till the Transfiguration.

The discourse in Capernaum seems to mark a turning-point in the Lord's ministry in Galilee. Soon after we find Him ceasing from public teaching, and devoting Himself to the instruction of His apostles (Mt 15:21; Mr 7:24, etc.).

1. Jesus and Tradition--Outward and Inward Purity:

(Matthew 15:1-20; Mark 7:1-23)

Meanwhile, that Christ's work in Galilee was attracting the attention of the central authorities, is shown by the fact that scribes and Pharisees came up from Jerusalem to watch Him. They speedily found ground of complaint against Him in His unconventional ways and His total disregard of the traditions of the elders. They specially blamed Him for allowing His disciples to eat bread with "common," i.e. unwashen hands. Here was a point on which the Pharisees laid great stress (Mr 7:3,4). Ceremonial ablutions (washing "diligently," Greek "with the fist"; "baptizings" of person and things) formed a large part of their religion. These washings were part of the "oral tradition" said to have been delivered to Moses, and transmitted by a succession of elders. Jesus set all this ceremonialism aside. It was part of the "hypocrisy" of the Pharisees (Mr 7:6). When questioned regarding it, He drew a sharp distinction between God's commandment in the Scriptures and man's tradition, and accused the Pharisees (instancing "Corban" (which see), in support, Mr 7:10-12) of making "void" the former through the latter. This led to the wider question of wherein real defilement consisted. Christ's rational position here is that it did not consist in anything outward, as in meats, but consisted in what came from within the man: as Jesus explained afterward, in the outcome of his heart or moral life: "Out of the heart of men evil thoughts proceed," etc. (Mr 7:20-23). Christ's saying was in effect the abrogation of the old ceremonial distinctions, as Mark notes: "making all meats clean" (Mr 7:19). The Pharisees, naturally, were deeply offended at His sayings, but Jesus was unmoved. Every plant not of the Father's planting must be rooted up (Mr 7:13).

2. Retirement to Tyre and Sidon--the Syrophoenician Woman:

(Matthew 15:21-28; Mark 7:24-30)

From this point Jesus appears, in order to escape notice, to have made journeys privately from place to place. His first retreat was to the borders, or neighborhood, of Tyre and Sidon. From Mr 7:31 it is to be inferred that He entered the heathen territory. He could not, however, be hid (Mr 7:24). It was not long ere, in the house into which He had entered, there reached Him the cry of human distress. A woman came to Him, a Greek (or Gentile, Greek-speaking), but Syrophoenician by race. Her "little daughter" was grievously afflicted with an evil spirit. Flinging herself at His feet, and addressing Him as "Son of David," she besought His mercy for her child. At first Jesus seemed--yet only seemed--to repel her, speaking of Himself as sent only to the lost sheep of Israel, and of the unmeetness of giving the children's loaf to the dogs (the Greek softens the expression, "the little dogs"). With a beautiful urgency which won for her the boon she sought, the woman seized on the word as an argument in her favor. "Even the dogs under the table eat of the children's crumbs." The child at Jesus' word was restored.

3. At Decapolis--New Miracles:

(Matthew 15:29-39; Mark 7:31-37; 8:1-10)

Christ's second retreat was to Decapolis--the district of the ten cities--East of the Jordan. Here also He was soon discovered, and followed by the multitude. Sufferers were brought to Him, whom He cured (Mt 15:30). Later, He fed the crowds.

The miracle of the deaf man is attested only by Mk. The patient was doubly afflicted, being deaf, and having an impediment in his speech. The cure presents several peculiarities--its privacy (Mt 15:33); the actions of Jesus in putting his fingers into his ears, etc. (a mode of speech by signs to the deaf man); His "sign," accompanied with prayer, doubtless accasioned by something in the man's look; the word Ephphatha (Mt 15:34)--"Be opened."

a) The Deaf Man:

(Mark 7:32-37)

The charge to those present not to blazon the deed abroad was disregarded. Jesus desired no cheap popularity.

b) Feeding of Four Thousand:

(Matthew 15:32-39; Mark 8:1-9)

The next miracle closely resembles the feeding of the Five Thousand at Bethsaida, but the place and numbers are different; 4,000 instead of 5,000; 7 loaves and a few fishes, instead of 5 loaves and 2 fishes; 7 baskets of fragments instead of 12 (Mark's term denotes a larger basket). There is no reason for doubting the distinction of the incidents (compare Mt 16:9,10; Mr 8:19,20).

4. Leaven of the Pharisees, etc.--Cure of Blind Man:

(Matthew 16:1-12; Mark 8:11-26)

Returning to the plain of Gennesaret (Magdala, Mt 15:39 the King James Version; parts of Dalmanutha, Mr 8:10), Jesus soon found Himself assailed by His old adversaries. Pharisees and Sadducees were now united. They came "trying" Jesus, and asking from Him a "sign from heaven"--some signal Divine manifestation. "Sighing deeply" (Mark) at their caviling spirit, Jesus repeated His word about the sign of Jonah. The times in which they lived were full of signs, if they, so proficient in weather signs, could only see them. To be rid of such questioners, Jesus anew took boat to Bethsaida. On the way He warned His disciples against the leaven of the spirit they had just encountered. The disciples misunderstood, thinking that Jesus referred to their forgetfulness in not taking bread (Mark states in his graphic way that they had only one loaf). The leaven Christ referred to, in fact, represented three spirits:

(1) the Pharisaic leaven--formalism and hypocrisy;

(2) the Sadducean leaven--rationalistic skepticism;

(3) the Herodian leaven (Mr 8:15)--political expediency and temporizing.

Arrived at Bethsaida, a miracle was wrought on a blind man resembling in some of its features the cure of the deaf man at Decapolis. In both cases Jesus took the patients apart; in both physical means were used--the spittle ("spit on his eyes," Mr 8:23); in both there was strict injunction not to noise the cure abroad. Another peculiarity was the gradualness of the cure. It is probable that the man had not been blind from his birth, else he could hardly have recognized men or trees at the first opening. It needed that Jesus should lay His hands on Him before he saw all things clearly.

5. At Caesarea Philippi--The Great Confession--First Announcement of Passion:

(Matthew 16:13-28; Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-27)

The next retirement of Jesus with His disciples was to the neighborhood of Caesarea Philippi, near the source of the Jordan. This was the northernmost point of His journeyings. Here, "on the geographical frontier between Judaism and heathenism" (Liddon), our Lord put the momentous question which called forth Peter's historical confession.

(1) The Voices of the Age and the External Truth.

The question put to the Twelve in this remote region was: "Who do men say that the Son of man is?" "Son of man," as already said, was the familiar name given by Jesus to Himself, to which a Messianic significance might or might not be attached, according to the prepossessions of His hearers. First the changeful voices of the age were recited to Jesus: "Some say John the Baptist; some, Elijah," etc. Next, in answer to the further question: "But who say ye that I am ?" there rang out from Peter, in the name of all, the unchanging truth about Jesus: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." In clearness, boldness, decision, Peter's faith had attained a height not reached before. The confession embodies two truths:

(1) the Divinity,

(2) the Messiahship, of the Son of man.

Jesus did honor to the confession of His apostle. Not flesh and blood, but the Father, had revealed the truth to him. Here at length was "rock" on which He could build a church. Reverting to Peter's original name, Simon Bar-Jonah, Jesus declared, with a play on the name "Peter" (petros, "rock," "piece of rock") He had before given him (Joh 1:42), that on this "rock" (petra), He would build His church, and the gates of Hades (hostile evil powers) would not prevail against it (Mt 16:18). The papacy has reared an unwarrantable structure of pretensions on this passage in supposing the "rock" to be Peter personally and his successors in the see of Rome (none such existed; Peter was not bishop of Rome). It is not Peter the individual, but Peter the confessing apostle--Peter as representative of all--that Christ names "rock"; that which constituted him a foundation was the truth he had confessed (compare Eph 2:20). This is the first New Testament mention of a "church" (ekklesia). The Christian church, therefore, is founded

(1) on the truth of Christ's Divine Sonship;

(2) on the truth of His Messiah-ship, or of His being the anointed prophet, priest and king of the new age.

A society of believers confessing these truths is a church; no society which denies these truths deserves the name. To this confessing community Jesus, still addressing Peter as representing the apostolate (compare Mt 18:18),gives authority to bind and loose--to admit and to exclude. Jesus, it is noted, bade His disciples tell no man of these things (Mt 16:20; Mr 8:30; Lu 9:21).

(2) The Cross and the Disciple.

The confession of Peter prepared the way for an advance in Christ's teaching. From that time, Matthew notes, Jesus began to speak plainly of His approaching sufferings and death (16:21). There are in all three solemn announcements of the Passion (Mt 16:21-23; 17:22,23; 20:17-19 parallel). Jesus foresaw, and clearly foretold, what would befall Him at Jerusalem. He would be killed by the authorities, but on the third day would rise again. On the first announcement, following His confession, Peter took it upon him to expostulate with Jesus: "Be it far from thee, Lord," etc. (Mt 16:22), an action which brought upon him the stern rebuke of Jesus: "Get thee behind me, Satan," etc. (Mt 16:23). The Rock-man, in his fall to the maxims of a worldly expediency, is now identified with Satan, the tempter. This principle, that duty is only to be done when personal risk is not entailed, Jesus not only repudiates for Himself, but bids His disciples repudiate it also. The disciple, Jesus says, must be prepared to deny himself, and take up his cross. The cross is the symbol of anything distressing or painful to bear. There is a saving of life which is a losing of it, and what shall a man be profited if he gain the whole world, and forfeit his (true, higher) life? As, however, Jesus had spoken, not only of dying, but of rising again, so now He encourages His disciples by announcing His future coming in glory to render to every man according to His deeds. That final coming might be distant (compare Mt 24:36); but (so it seems most natural to interpret the saying Mt 16:28 parallel) there were those living who would see the nearer pledge of that, in Christ's coming in the triumphs and successes of His kingdom (compare Mr 9:1; Lu 9:27; Mt 26:64).

6. The Transfiguration--the Epileptic Boy:

(Matthew 17:1-20; Mark 9:2-29; Luke 9:28-43)

About eight days after the announcement of His passion by Jesus, took place the glorious event of the transfiguration. Jesus had spoken of His future glory, and here was pledge of it. In strange contrast with the scene of glory on the summit of the mountain was the painful sight which met Jesus and His three companions when they descended again to to the plain.

a) The Glory of the Only Begotten:

Tradition connects the scene of the transfiguration with Mount Tabor, but it more probably took place on one of the spurs of Mount Hermon. Jesus had ascended the mountain with Peter, James and John, for prayer. It was while He was praying the wonderful change happened. For once the veiled glory of the only begotten from the Father (Joh 1:14) was permitted to burst forth, suffusing His person and garments, and changing them into a dazzling brightness. His face did shine as the sun; His raiment became white as light ("as snow," the King James Version, Mark). Heavenly visitants, recognized from their converse as Moses and Elijah, appeared with Him and spoke of His decease (Luke). A voice from an enveloping cloud attested: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Little wonder the disciples were afraid, or that Peter in his confusion should stammer out: "It is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, I will make here three tabernacles (booths)." This, however, was not permitted. Earth is not heaven. Glimpses of heavenly glory are given, not to wean from duty on earth, but to prepare for the trials connected therewith.

b) Faith's Entreaty and Its Answer:

The spectacle that met the eyes of Jesus and the chosen three as they descended was distressing in the extreme. A man had brought his epileptic boy--a sore sufferer and dumb--to the disciples to see if they could cast out the evil spirit that possessed him, but they were not able. Their failure, as Jesus showed, was failure of faith; none the less did their discomfiture afford a handle to the gainsayers, who were not slow to take advantage of it (Mr 9:14). The man's appeal was now to Jesus, "If thou canst do anything," etc. (Mr 9:22). The reply of Jesus shifted the "canst" to the right quarter, "If thou canst (believe)" (Mr 9: 23). Such little faith as the man had revived under Christ's word: "I believe; help thou mine unbelief." The multitude pressing around, there was no call for further delay. With one energetic word Jesus expelled the unclean spirit (Mr 9:25). The first effect of Christ's approach had been to induce a violent paroxysm (Mr 9:20); now the spirit terribly convulsed the frame it was compelled to relinquish. Jesus, taking the boy's hand, raised him up, and he was found well. The lesson drawn to the disciples was the omnipotence of faith (Mt 17:19,20) and power of prayer (Mr 9:28,29).

III. From Private Journey through Galilee till Return from the Feast of Tabernacles.

1. Galilee and Capernaum:

Soon after the last-mentioned events Jesus passed privately through Galilee (Mr 9:30), returning later to Capernaum. During the Galilean journey Jesus made to His disciples His 2nd announcement of His approaching sufferings and death, accompanied as before by the assurance of His resurrection. The disciples still could not take in the meaning of His words, though what He said made them "exceeding sorry" (Mt 17:23).

a) Second Announcement of Passion:

(Matthew 17:22,23; Mark 9:30-33; Luke 9:44,45)

The return to Capernaum was marked by an incident which raised the question of Christ's relation to temple institutions. The collectors of tribute for the temple inquired of Peter: "Doth not your teacher pay the half-shekel?" (Greek didrachma, or double drachm, worth about 32 cents or is. 4d.).

b) The Temple Tax:

(Matthew 17:24-27)

The origin of this tax was in the half-shekel of atonement-money of Ex 30:11-16, which, though a special contribution, was made the basis of later assessment (2Ch 24:4-10; in Nehemiah's time the amount was one-third of a shekel, Ne 10:32), and its object was the upkeep of the temple worship (Schurer). The usual time of payment was March, but Jesus had probably been absent and the inquiry was not made for some months later. Peter, hasty as usual, probably reasoning from Christ's ordinary respect for temple ordinances, answered at once that He did pay the tax. It had not occurred to him that Jesus might have something to say on it, if formally challenged. Occasion therefore was taken by Jesus gently to reprove Peter. Peter had but recently acknowledged Jesus to be the Son of God. Do kings of the earth take tribute of their own sons? The half-shekel was suitable to the subject-relation, but not to the relation of a son. Nevertheless, lest occasion of stumbling be given, Jesus could well waive this right, as, in His humbled condition, He had waived so many more. Peter was ordered to cast his hook into the sea, and Jesus foretold that the fish he would bring up would have in its mouth the necessary coin (Greek, stater, about 64 cents or 2s. 8d.). The tax was paid, yet in such a way as to show that the payment of it was an act of condescension of the king's Son.

c) Discourse on Greatness and Forgiveness:

(Matthew 18:1-35; Mark 9:33-50; Luke 9:46-50)

On the way to Capernaum a dispute had arisen among the disciples as to who should be greatest in the Messianic kingdom about to be set up. The fact of such disputing showed how largely even their minds were yet dominated by worldly, sensuous ideas of the kingdom. Now, in the house (Mr 9:33), Jesus takes occasion to check their spirit of ambitious rivalry, and to inculcate much-needed lessons on greatness and kindred matters.

(1) Greatness in Humility.

First, by the example of a little child, Jesus teaches that humility is the root-disposition of His kingdom. It alone admits to the kingdom, and conducts to honor in it. He is greatest who humbles himself most (Mt 18:4), and is the servant of all (Mr 9:35). He warns against slighting the "little ones," or causing them to stumble, and uses language of terrible severity against those guilty of this sin.

(2) Tolerance.

The mention of receiving little ones in Christ's name led John to remark that he had seen one casting out demons in Christ's name, and had forbidden him, because he was not of their company. "Forbid him not," Jesus said, "for there is no man who shall do a mighty work in my name, and be able quickly to speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is for us" (Mr 9:39,40).

(3) The Erring Brother.

The subject of offenses leads to the question of sins committed by one Christian brother against another. Here Christ inculcates kindness and forbearance; only if private representations and the good offices of brethren fail, is the matter to be brought before the church; if the brother repents he is to be unstintedly forgiven ("seventy times seven," Mt 18:22). If the church is compelled to interpose, its decisions are valid (under condition, however, of prayer and Christ's presence, Mt 18:18-20).

(4) Parable of the Unmerciful Servant.

To enforce the lesson of forgiveness Jesus speaks the parable of the Unmerciful Servant (Mt 18:23-35). Himself forgiven much, this servant refuses to forgive his fellow a much smaller debt. His lord visits him with severest punishment. Only as we forgive others can we look for forgiveness.

2. The Feast of Tabernacles--Discourses, etc.:

(John 7-10:21)

The Gospel of John leaves a blank of many months between chapters 6 and 7, covered only by the statement, "After these things, Jesus walked in Galilee" (7:1). In this year of His ministry Jesus had gone neither to the feast of the Passover nor to Pentecost. The Feast of Tabernacles was now at hand (October). To this Jesus went up, and Joh preserves for us a full record of His appearance, discourses and doings there.

a) The Private Journey--Divided Opinions:

(John 7:1-10)

The brethren of Jesus, still unpersuaded of His claims (Joh 7:5), had urged Jesus to go up with them to the feast. "Go up," in their sense, included a public manifestation of Himself as the Messiah. Jesus replied that His time for this had not yet come. Afterward He went up quietly, and in the midst of the feast appeared in the temple as a teacher. The comments made about Jesus at the feast before His arrival vividly reflect the divided state of opinion regarding Him. "He is a good man," thought some. "Not so," said others, "but He leadeth the multitude astray." His teaching evoked yet keener division. While some said, "Thou hast a demon" (Joh 7:20), others argued, "When the Christ shall come, will he do more signs?" etc. (Joh 7:31). Some declared, "This is of a truth the prophet," or "This is the Christ"; others objected that the Christ was to come out of Bethlehem, not Galilee (Joh 7:40-42). Yet no one dared to take the step of molesting Him.

b) Christ's Self-Witness:

(John 7:14-52)

Christ's wisdom and use of the Scriptures excited surprise. Jesus met this surprise by stating that His knowledge was from the Father, and with reference to the division of opinion about Him laid down the principle that knowledge of the truth was the result of the obedient will: "If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God" (Joh 7:17). It was objected that they knew who Jesus was, and whence He came. In a sense, Jesus replied, this was true; in a deeper sense, it was not. He came from the Father, whom they knew not (Joh 7:28,29). The last and great day of the feast--the eighth (Nu 29:35)--brought with it a new self-attestation. Jesus stood and cried, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me .... from within him shall flow rivers of living water" (Joh 7:37,38). The words are understood to have reference to the ceremony of pouring out a libation of water at this feast--the libation, in turn, commemorating the gift of water at the striking of the rock. The evangelist interprets the saying of the Spirit which believers should receive. Meanwhile, the chief priests and Pharisees had sent officers to apprehend Jesus (Joh 7:32), but they returned without Him. "Why did ye not bring him?" The reply was confounding, "Never man so spake" (Joh 7:45,46). The retort was the poor one, "Are ye also led astray?" In vain did Nicodemus, who was present, try to put in a moderating word (Joh 7:50,51). It was clear to what issue hate like this was tending.

c) The Woman Taken in Adultery:

(John 8)

The discourses at the feast are at this point interrupted by the episode of the woman taken in adultery (Joh 8:1-11), which, by general consent, does not belong to the original text of the Gospel. It is probably, however, an authentic incident, and illustrates, on the one hand, the eagerness of the official classes to find an accusation against Jesus, and, on the other, the Saviour's dignity and wisdom in foiling such attempts, His spirit of mercy and the action of conscience in the accusers. In His continued teaching, Jesus put forth even higher claims than in the foregoing discourse. As He had applied to Himself the water from the rock, so now He applied to Himself the symbolic meaning of the two great candelabra, which were lighted in the temple court during the feast and bore reference to the pillar of cloud and fire. "I am the light of the world," said Jesus (Joh 8:12). Only a Divine being could put forth such a claim as that. The Jews objected that they had only His witness to Himself. Jesus replied that no other could bear adequate witness of Him, for He alone knew whence He came and whither He went (Joh 8:14). But the Father also had borne witness of Him (Joh 8:18). This discourse, delivered in the "treasury" of the temple (Joh 8:20), was soon followed by another, no man yet daring to touch Him. This time Jesus warns the Jews of the fate their unbelief would entail upon them: "Ye shall die in your sins" (Joh 8:24). Addressing Himself next specially to the Jews who believed in Him, He urged them to continuance in His word as the condition of true freedom. Resentment was again aroused at the suggestion that the Jews, Abraham's seed, were not free. Jesus made clear that the real bondage was that of sin; only the Son could make spiritually free (Joh 8:34-36). Descent from Abraham meant nothing, if the spirit was of the devil (Joh 8:39-41). A new conflict was provoked by the saying, "If a man keep my word, he shall never see death" (Joh 8:51). Did Jesus make Himself greater than Abraham? The controversy that ensued resulted in the sublime utterance, "Before Abraham was born, I am" (Joh 8:58). The Jews would have stoned Him, but Jesus eluded them, and departed.

d) The Cure of the Blind Man:

(John 9)

The Feast of Tabernacles was past, but Jesus was still in Jerusalem. Passing by on a Sabbath (Joh 9:14), He saw a blind man, a beggar (John 9:8), well known to have been blind from his birth. The narrative of the cure and examination of this blind man is adduced by Paley as bearing in its inimitable circumstantiality every mark of personal knowledge on the part of the historian. The man, cured in strange but symbolic fashion by the anointing of his eyes with clay (thereby apparently sealing them more firmly), then washing in the Pool of Siloam, became an object of immediate interest, and every effort was made by the Pharisees to shake his testimony as to the miracle that had been wrought. The man, however, held to his story, and his parents could only corroborate the fact that their son had been born blind, and now saw. The Pharisees themselves were divided, some reasoning that Jesus could not be of God because He had broken the Sabbath--the old charge; others, Nicodemus-like, standing on the fact that a man who was a sinner could not do such signs (Joh 9:15,16). The healed man applied the logic of common-sense: "If this man were not from God, he could do nothing" (Joh 9:33). The Pharisees, impotent to deny the wonder, could only cast him out of the synagogue. Jesus found him, and brought him to full confession of faith in Himself (Joh 9:35-38).

e) The Good Shepherd:

(John 10:1-21)

Yet another address of Jesus is on record arising out of this incident. In continuation of His reply to the question of the Pharisees in John (9:40), "Are we also blind?" Jesus spoke to them His discourse on the Good Shepherd. Flocks in eastern countries are gathered at night into an enclosure surrounded by a wall or palisade. This is the "fold," which is under the care of a "porter," who opens the closely barred door to the shepherds in the morning. As contrasted with the legitimate shepherds, the false shepherds "enter not by the door," but climb over some other way. The allusion is to priests, scribes, Pharisees and generally to all, in any age, who claim an authority within the church unsanctioned by God (Godet). Jesus now gathers up the truth in its relation to Himself as the Supreme Shepherd. From His fundamental relation to the church, He is not only the Shepherd, but the Door (10:7-14). To those who enter by Him there is given security, liberty, provision (10:9). In his capacity as Shepherd Christ is preeminently all that a faithful shepherd ought to be. The highest proof of His love is that, as the Good Shepherd, He lays down His life for the sheep (10:11,15,17). This laying down of His life is not an accident, but is His free, voluntary act (10:17,18). Again there was division among the Jews because of these remarkable sayings (10:19-21).

Chronological Note.

Though John does not mention the fact, there is little doubt that, after this visit to Jerusalem, Jesus returned to Galilee, and at no long interval from His return, took His final departure southward. The chronology of this closing period in Galilee is somewhat uncertain. Some would place the visit to the Feast of Tabernacles before the withdrawal to Caesarea Philippi, or even earlier (compare Andrews, Life of our Lord, etc.); but the order adopted above appears preferable.


Departure from Galilee:

An interval of two months elapses between John 10:21 and 22--from the Feast of Tabernacles (October) till the Feast of the Dedication (December). This period witnessed the final withdrawal of Jesus from Galilee. Probably while yet in Galilee He sent forth the seventy disciples to prepare His way in the cities to which He should come (Lu 10:1). Repulsed on the borders of Samaria (Lu 9:51-53), He passed over into Peraea ("beyond Jordan"), where he exercised a considerable ministry. The record of this period, till the entry into Jerusalem, belongs in great part to Luke, who seems to have had a rich special source relating to it (9:51-19:27). The discourses in Luke embrace many passages and sections found in other connections in Matthew, and it is difficult, often, to determine their proper chronological place, if, as doubtless sometimes happened, portions were not repeated.

I. From Leaving Galilee till the Feast of the Dedication.

1. Rejected by Samaria:

(Luke 9:51-55)

Conscious that He went to suffer and die, Jesus steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem. His route was first by Samaria--an opportunity of grace to that people--but here, at a border village, the messengers He sent before Him, probably also He Himself on His arrival, were repulsed, because of His obvious intention to go to Jerusalem (Lu 9:53). James and John wished to imitate Elijah in calling down fire from heaven on the rejecters, but Jesus rebuked them for their thought (the Revised Version (British and American) omits the reference to Elijah, and subsequent clauses, Lu 9:55,56).

2. Mission of the Seventy:

(Luke 10:1-20)

In the present connection Luke inserts the incidents of the three aspirants formerly considered (9:57-62; compare p. 1645). It was suggested that the second and third cases may belong to this period.

A new and significant step was now taken by Jesus in the sending out of 70 disciples, who should go before Him, two by two, to announce His coming in the cities and villages He was about to visit. The number sent indicates how large a following Jesus had now acquired. (Some see a symbolical meaning in the number 70, but it is difficult to show what it is.) The directions given to the messengers are similar to those formerly given to the Twelve (Lu 9:1-5; compare Mt 10); a passage also found in Matthew in a different connection (11:21-24) is incorporated in this discourse, or had originally its place in it (11:13-15). In this mission Jesus no longer made any secret of His Messianic character. The messengers were to proclaim that the kingdom of God was come nigh to them in connection with His impending visit (Lu 10:9). The mission implies that a definite route was marked out by Jesus for Himself (compare Lu 13:22), but this would be subject to modification according to the reception of His emissaries (Lu 10:10,11,16). The circuit need not have occupied a long time with so many engaged in it. The results show that it aroused strong interest. Later the disciples returned elated with their success, emphasizing their victory over the demons (Lu 10:17). Jesus bade them rejoice rather that their names were written in heaven (Lu 10:20). Again a passage is inserted (Lu 10:21,22) found earlier in Mt 11:25-27; compare also Lu 10:23,24, with Mt 13:16,17.

3. The Lawyer's Question--Parable of Good Samaritan:

(Luke 10:25-37)

Jesus had now passed "beyond the Jordan," i.e. into Peraea, and vast crowds waited on His teaching (compare Mt 19:1 f; Mr 10:1; Lu 12:1). At one place a lawyer put what he meant to be a testing question, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life?" Jesus referred him to the great commandments of love to God and one's neighbor, eliciting the further query, "And who is my neighbor?" In reply Jesus spoke to him the immortal parable of the Good Samaritan, and asked who proved neighbor to him who fell among the robbers. The lawyer could give but one answer, "He that showed mercy on him." "Go," said Jesus, "and do thou likewise."

The incident of Martha and Mary, which Luke inserts here (Lu 10:38-42), comes in better later, when Jesus was nearer Bethany.

4. Discourses, Parables, and Miracles:

(Luke 11-14)

At this place Luke brings together a variety of discourses, warnings and exhortations, great parts of which have already been noticed in earlier contexts. It does not follow that Luke has not, in many cases, preserved the original connection. This is probably the case with the Lord's Prayer (Lu 11:1-4), and with portions of what Matthew includes in the Sermon on the Mount (e.g. 11:9-13,13-36; 12:22-34; compare Lu 13:24-27 with Mt 7:13,14,22,23), and in other discourses (e.g. Lu 11:42-52 = Mt 23:23-36; Lu 12:2-12 = Mt 10:26-33; Lu 12:42-48 = Mt 24:45-51; Lu 13:18-21, parables of Mustard Seed and Leaven = Mt 13:31,32, etc.).

a) Original to Luke:

Of matter original to Luke in these chapters may be noted such passages as that on the Friend at Midnight (11:5-8), the incident of the man who wished Jesus to bid his brother divide his inheritance with him, to whom Jesus spoke the parable of the Rich Fool (12:13-21), the parable of the Barren Fig Tree, called forth by the disposition to regard certain Galileans whom Pilate had slain in a tumult at the temple, and eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam had fallen, as sinners above others (13:1-9: "Nay," said Jesus, "but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish"), and most of the teaching in Luke 14, referred to below. In 11:37,38, we have the mention of a Pharisee inviting Jesus to dine, and of his astonishment at the Lord's neglect of the customary ablutions before eating. Luke 11:53 gives a glimpse of the fury to which the scribes and Pharisees were aroused by the severity of Christ's denunciations. They "began to press upon him vehemently .... laying wait for him, to catch something out of his mouth." In 13:31 ff it is told how the Pharisees sought to frighten Jesus from the district by telling Him that Herod would fain kill Him. Jesus bade them tell that "fox" that His work would go on uninterruptedly in the brief space that remained ("day" used enigmatically) till He was "perfected" (13:32). The woe on Jerusalem (13:34,35) is given by Matthew in the discourse in chapter 23.

b) The Infirm Woman--the Dropsied Man:

Of the miracles in this section, the casting out of the demon that was mute (Lu 11:14 ) is evidently the same incident as that already noted in Mt 12:22 ff. Two other miracles are connected with the old accusation of Sabbath breaking. One was the healing in a synagogue on the Sabbath day of a woman bowed down for 18 years with "a spirit of infirmity" (Lu 13:10-17); the other was the cure on the Sabbath of a man afflicted with dropsy at a feast in the house of a ruler of the Pharisees to which Jesus had been invited (Lu 14:1-6). The motive of the Pharisee's invitation, as in most such cases, was hostile (Lu 14:1). In both instances Jesus met the objection in the same way, by appealing to their own acts of humanity to their animals on the Sabbath (Lu 13:15,16; 14:5).

c) Parable of the Great Supper:

This feast at the Pharisee's house had an interesting sequel in the discourse it led Jesus to utter against vainglory in feasting, and on the spirit of love which would prompt to the table being spread for the helpless and destitute rather than for the selfish enjoyment of the select few, closing, in answer to a pious ejaculation of one of the guests, with the parable of the Great Supper (Lu 14:7-24). The parable, with its climax in the invitation to bring in the poor, and maimed, and blind, and those from the highways and hedges, was a commentary on the counsels He had just been giving, but it had its deeper lesson in picturing the rejection by the Jews of the invitation to the feast God had made for them in His kingdom, and the call that would be given to the Gentiles to take their place.

d) Counting the Cost:

The injunctions to the multitudes as to the sacrifice and cross-bearing involved in discipleship are pointed by the examples of a man building a tower, and a king going to war, who count the cost before entering on their enterprises (Lu 14:25-35).

5. Martha and Mary:

At or about this time--perhaps before the incidents in Lu 14--Jesus paid the visit to Jerusalem at the Feast of the Dedication described in Joh 10:22-39. This seems the fitting place for the introduction of the episode of Martha and Mary which Luke narrates a little earlier (10:38-42). The "village" into which Jesus entered was no doubt Bethany (Joh 11:1). The picture given by Luke of the contrasted dispositions of the two sisters--Martha active and "serving" (compare Joh 12:2), Mary retiring and contemplative--entirely corresponds with that in John. Martha busied herself with preparations for the meal; Mary sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His word. To Martha's complaint, as if her sister were idling, Jesus gave the memorable answer, "One thing is needful: for Mary hath chosen the good part," etc. (Lu 10:42).

6. Feast of the Dedication:

(John 10:22-39)

The Feast of the Dedication, held in December, was in commemoration of the cleansing of the temple and restoration of its worship after its profanation by Antiochus Epiphanes (164 BC). Great excitement was occasioned by the appearance of Jesus at this feast, and some asked, "How long dost thou hold us in suspense? If thou art the Christ, tell us plainly." Jesus said He had told them, and His works attested His claim, but they were not of His true flock, and would not believe. To His own sheep He gave eternal life. The Jews anew wished to stone Him for claiming to be God. Jesus replied that even the law called the judges of Israel "gods" (Ps 82:6, "I said, Ye are gods, and all of you sons of the Most High") how could it then be blasphemy for Him whom the Father had sanctified and sent into the world to say of Himself, "I am the Son of God"? The Jews sought to take Him, but He passed from their midst.

II. From the Abode at Bethabara till the Raising of Lazarus.

After leaving Jerusalem Jesus went beyond Jordan again to the place where John at first baptized (Joh 10:40; compare Joh 1:28, called in the King James Version "Bethabara," in the Revised Version (British and American) "Bethany," distinct from the Bethany of John 11). There He "abode," implying a prolonged stay, and many resorted to Him. This spot, sacred to Jesus by His own baptism, may be regarded now as His headquarters from which excursions would be made to places in the neighborhood. Several of the incidents recorded by Luke are probably connected with this sojourn. 1. Parables of Lost Sheep, Lost Piece of Silver, Prodigal Son:

(Luke 15)

The stronger the opposition of scribes and Pharisees to Jesus became, the more by natural affinity did the classes regarded as outcast feel drawn to Him. He did not repel them, as the Pharisees did, but ate and drank with them. Publicans and sinners gathered to His teaching, and He associated with them. The complaining was great: "This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them." The defense of Jesus was in parables, and the Pharisees' reproach may be thanked for three of the most beautiful parables Jesus ever spoke--the Lost Sheep (compare Mt 18:12-14), the Lost Piece of Silver, and the Prodigal Son (Luke 15). Why does the shepherd rejoice more over the one lost sheep brought back than over the ninety-nine that have not gone astray? Why does the woman rejoice more over the recovery of her lost drachma than over all the coins safe in her keeping? Why does the father rejoice more over the prodigal son come back in rags and penitence from the far country than over the obedient but austere brother that had never left the home? The stories were gateways into the inmost heart of God. There is joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth more than over ninetynine just persons that need no repentance (Lu 15:7).

2. Parables of the Unjust Steward and the Rich Man and Lazarus:

(Luke 16)

Two other parables, interspersed by discourses (in part again met with in other connections, compare Lu 16:13 with Mt 6:24; Lu 16:16 with Mt 11:12; Lu 16:18 with Mt 5:32; 19:9, etc.), were spoken at this time--that of the Unjust Steward (Lu 16:1-9) and that of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Lu 16:19-31). The dishonest steward, about to be dismissed, utilized his opportunities, still dishonestly, to make friends of his master's creditors; let the "children of light" better his example by righteously using mammon to make friends for themselves, who shall receive them into everlasting habitations. The rich man, pampered in luxury, let the afflicted Lazarus starve at his gate. At death--in Hades--the positions are reversed: the rich man is in torment, stripped of all he had enjoyed; the poor man is at rest in Abraham's bosom, compensated for all he suffered. It is character, not outward estate, that determines destiny. The unmerciful are doomed. Even a messenger from the unseen world will not save men, if they hear not Moses and the prophets (Lu 16:31).

In this connection Luke (17:1-10) places exhortations to the disciples on occasions of stumbling, forgiveness, the power of faith, renunciation of merit ("We are unprofitable servants"), some of which are found elsewhere (compare Mt 18:6,7,15,21, etc.).

3. The Summons to Bethany--Raising of Lazarus:

(John 11)

While Jesus was in the trans-Jordanic Bethabara, or Bethany, or in its neighborhood, a message came to Him from the house of Martha and Mary in the Judean Bethany (on the Mount of Olives, about 2 miles East from Jerusalem), that His friend Lazarus ("he whom thou lovest") was sick. The conduct of Jesus seemed strange, for He abode still two days where He was (Joh 11:6). As the sequel showed, this was only for the end of a yet more wonderful manifestation of His power and love, to the glory of God (Joh 11:4). Meanwhile Lazarus died, and was buried. When Jesus announced His intention of going into Judea, the disciples sought hard to dissuade Him (Joh 11:8); but Jesus was not moved by the fears they suggested. He reached Bethany (a distance of between 20 and 30 miles) on the fourth day after the burial of Lazarus (Joh 11:17), and was met on the outskirts by Martha, and afterward by Mary, both plunged in deepest sorrow. Both breathed the same plaint: "Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died" (Joh 11:21,32). To Martha Jesus gave the pledge, "Thy brother shall rise again," strengthening the faith she already had expressed in Him (Joh 11:22) by announcing Himself as "the resurrection, and the life" (Joh 11:25,26); at Mary's words He was deeply moved, and asked to be taken to the tomb. Here, it is recorded, "Jesus wept" (Joh 11:35), the only other instance of His weeping in the Gospels being as He looked on lost Jerusalem (Lu 19:41). The proof of love was manifest, but some, as usual, suggested blame that this miracle-worker had not prevented His friend's death (Joh 11:37). Arrived at the rock-tomb, Jesus, still groaning in Himself, caused the stone at its mouth to be removed, and, after prayer, spoke with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth" (Joh 11:43). The spirit returned, and the man who had been dead came forth bound with his grave-clothes. He was released and restored to his sisters.

Even this mighty deed did not alter the mind of the Pharisees, who held a council, and decided, on the advice of Caiaphas (Joh 11:50), that for the safety of the nation it was "expedient" that this man should die.

The circumstantiality of this beautiful narrative speaks irresistibly for its historical truth, and the objections raised by critical writers center really in their aversion to the miraculous as such.

III. From the Retirement to Ephraim till the Arrival at Bethany.

1. Retreat to Ephraim:

(John 11:54-57)

The hostility of the ruling classes was now so pronounced that, in the few weeks that remained till Jesus should go up to the Passover, He deemed it advisable to abide in privacy at a city called Ephraim (situation uncertain). That He was in secrecy during this period is implied in the statement (Joh 11:57) that if anyone knew where He was, he was to inform the chief priests and Pharisees. The retirement would be for Jesus a period of preparation for the ordeal before Him, as the wilderness had been for the commencement of His ministry.

2. The Journey Resumed:

On His leaving this retreat to resume His advance to Jerusalem the narratives again become rich in incident and teaching.

3. Cure of the Lepers:

(Luke 17:11-19)

It is not easy to define the route which brought Jesus again to the border line between Samaria and Galilee (Lu 17:11), but, in traversing this region, He was met by ten lepers, who besought Him for a cure. Jesus bade them go and show themselves to the priests, and on the way they were cleansed. Only one of the ten, and he a Samaritan, returned to give thanks and glorify God. Gratitude appeared in the unlikely quarter.

4. Pharisaic Questionings:

At some point in this journey the Pharisees sought to entrap Jesus on the question of divorce.

a) Divorce:

(Matthew 19:3-12; Mark 10:1-12) Was it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? (Mt 19:3). Jesus in reply admitted the permission to divorce given by Moses (Mr 10:3-5), but declared that this was for the hardness of their hearts, and went back to the original institution of marriage in which the two so joined were declared to be "one flesh." Only one cause is admissible as a ground of separation and remarriage (Mt 19:9; compare Mt 5:31,32; Mark has not even the exception, which is probably, however, implied). Comments follow to the disciples in Mt on the subject of continence (Mt 19:10-12).


b) Coming of the Kingdom:

(Luke 17:20-37)

Another question asked by the Pharisees of Jesus was as to when the kingdom of God should come. The expectation excited by His own ministry and claims was that it was near; when should it appear? Rebuking their worldly ideas, Jesus warned them that the kingdom did not come "with observation"--was not a "Lo, there! Lo, here!"; it was "within" them, or "in their midst," though they did not perceive it. In the last decisive coming of the Son of Man there would be no dubiety as to His presence (Lu 17:24,25). He adds exhortations as to the suddenness of His coming, and the separations that would ensue (Lu 17:26-37), which Mt gives as part of the great discourse on the Last Things in chapter 24.

c) Parable of the Unjust Judge:

(Luke 18:1-8)

In close connection with the foregoing, as furnishing the ground for the certainty that this day of the Son of Man would come, Jesus spoke the parable of the Unjust Judge. This judge, though heedless of the claims of right, yet yielded to the widow's importunity, and granted her justice against her adversary. How much more surely will the righteous, long-suffering God avenge His own elect, who cry unto Him day and night (Lu 18:7,8)! Yet men, in that supreme hour, will almost have lost faith in His coming (Lu 18:8).

A series of sayings and incidents at this time throw light upon the spirit of the kingdom.

5. The Spirit of the Kingdom:

The spirit of self-righteousness is rebuked and humble penitence as the condition of acceptance is enforced in the parable of the Pharisee and Publican.

a) Parable of Pharisee and Publican:

(Luke 18:9-14)

The Pharisee posing in his self-complacency at his fastings and tithes, and thanking God for his superiority to others, is set in vivid contrast to the abased publican, standing afar off, and able only to say, "God, be thou merciful to me a sinner" (Lu 18:13). Yet it was he who went down to his house "justified" (Lu 18:14).

b) Blessing of the Babies:

(Matthew 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:15-17)

A similar lesson is inculcated in the beautiful incident of the blessing of the babes. The disciples rebuked the mothers for bringing their little ones, but Jesus, "moved with indignation" (Mark), received and blessed the babes, declaring that to such (to them and those of like spirit) belonged the kingdom of heaven. "Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me," etc.

c) The Rich Young Ruler:

(Matthew 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30)

A third illustration--this time of the peril of covetousness--is afforded by the incident of the rich young ruler. This amiable, blameless, and evidently sincere young man ("Jesus looking upon him loved him," Mr 10:21) knelt, and addressing Jesus as "Good Teacher," asked what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus first declined the term "good," in the easy, conventional sense in which it was applied, then referred the ruler to the commandments as the standard of doing. All these, however, the young man averred he had observed from his youth up. He did not know himself. Jesus saw the secret hold his riches had upon his soul, and revealed it by the searching word, "If thou wouldest be perfect, go, sell that which thou hast," etc. (Mt 19:21; compare Mark, "One thing thou lackest," etc.). This was enough. The young man could not yield up his "great possessions," and went away sorrowing. Jesus bases on his refusal earnest warnings against the love of riches, and points out, in answer to a question of Peter, that loss for His sake in this life is met with overwhelmingly great compensations in the life to come.

6. Third Announcement of the Passion:

(Matthew 20:17-19; Mark 10:32-34; 18:31-33)

Not unconnected with the foregoing teachings is the third solemn announcement to the disciples, so hard to be persuaded that the kingdom was not immediately to be set up in glory, of His approaching sufferings and death, followed by resurrection. The disciples had been "amazed" and "afraid" (Mk) at something strange in the aspect and walk of Jesus as they Lu were on the way, going to Jerusalem (compare Lu 9:51). His words gave the explanation. With them should be taken what is said in a succeeding incident of His baptism of suffering (Mr 10:38,39; compare Lu 12:50).

7. The Rewards of the Kingdom:

The spirit of the kingdom and sacrifice for the kingdom have already been associated with the idea of reward, but the principles underlying this reward are now made the subject of special teaching.

First by the parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard the lesson is inculcated that reward in the kingdom is not according to any legal rule, but is governed by a Divine equity, in accordance with which the last may often be equal to, or take precedence of, the first.

a) Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard:

(Matthew 20:1-17)

The laborers were hired at different hours, yet all at the end received the same wage. The murmuring at the generosity of the householder of those who had worked longest betrayed a defectiveness of spirit which may explain why they were not more highly rewarded. In strictness, the kingdom is a gift of grace, in the sum total of its blessings one and the same to all.

b) The Sons of Zebedee:

(Matthew 20:20-28; Mark 10:35-45)

Still there are distinctions of honor in God's kingdom, but these are not arbitrarily made. This is the lesson of the reply of Jesus to the plea of the mother of the sons of Zebedee, James and John, with, apparently, the concurrence of the apostles themselves, that they might sit one on the right hand and the other on the left hand in His kingdom. It was a bold and ambitious request, and naturally moved the indignation of the other apostles. Still it had its ground in a certain nobility of spirit. For when Jesus asked if they were able to drink of His cup and be baptized with His baptism, they answered, "We are able." Jesus told them they should share that lot of suffering, but to sit on His right hand and on His left were not favors that could be arbitrarily bestowed, but would be given to those for whom it had been prepared of His Father--the preparation having regard to character and fitness, of which the Father alone was judge. Jesus went on to rebuke the spirit which led one to seek prominence over another, and laid down the essential law, "Whosoever would become great among you shall be your minister," enforcing it by His own never-to-be-forgotten example, "Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom, for many" (Mt 20:28; Mr 10:45).

8. Jesus at Jericho:

Accompanied by a great throng, possibly of pilgrims to the feast, Jesus drew near to the influential city of Jericho, in the Jordan valley, about 17 miles distant from Jerusalem. Here two notable incidents marked His progress.

a) The Cure of Bartimeus:

(Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-82; Luke 18:35-43)

As they approached the city (Luke) (Matthew and Mark place the incident as they "went out") a blind beggar, Bartimeus, hearing that "Jesus the Nazarene" (Mark) passed by, loudly called on Him as the "Son of David" to have mercy on him. The multitude would have restrained the man, but their rebukes only made him the more urgent in his cries. Jesus stopped in His way, called the blind man to Him, then, when he came, renewing his appeal, healed him. The cry of the beggar shows that the Davidic descent, if not the Messiahship, of Jesus was now known. Matthew varies from the other evangelists in speaking of "two blind men," while Matthew and Mark, as noted, make the cure take place on leaving, not on entering the city. Not improbably there are two healings, one on entering Jericho, the other on going from the city, and Matthew, after his fashion, groups them together (Luke's language is really indefinite; literally, "as they were near to Jericho").

b) Zaccheus the Publican:

(Luke 19:1-10)

The entrance of Jesus into Jericho was signalized by a yet more striking incident. The chief collector of revenue in the city was Zaccheus, rich, but held in opprobrium ("a sinner") because of his occupation. Being little of stature, Zaccheus had climbed into the branches of a sycomore tree to see Jesus as He passed. To his amazement, and that of the crowd, Jesus stopped on His way, and called Zaccheus by name to hasten to come down, for that day He must abide at his house. Zaccheus joyfully received Him, and, moved to a complete change in his views of duty, declared his purpose of giving half his goods to the poor, and of restoring fourfold anything he might have taken by false accusation. It was a revolution in the man's soul, wrought by love. "Today," Jesus testified, "is salvation come to this house ..... For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost."

c) Parable of the Pounds:

(Luke 19:11-27)

The expectations of the multitude that the kingdom of God should immediately appear led Jesus to speak the parable of the Pounds, forewarning them that the consummation they looked for might be longer delayed than they thought, and impressing on them the need of loyalty, faithfulness and diligence, if that day, when it came, was not to prove disastrous to them. The nobleman went into a "far country" to receive a kingdom, and his ten servants were to trade with as many pounds (each = 100 drachmas) in his absence. On his return the faithful servants were rewarded in proportion to their diligence; the faithless one lost what he had; the rebellious citizens were destroyed. Thus Jesus fore-shadowed the doom that would overtake those. who were plotting against Him, and checked hopes that disregarded the moral conditions of honor in His kingdom.

Arrival at Bethany.

From Jericho Jesus moved on to Bethany, the abode of Lazarus and his sisters. To His halt here before His public entrance into Jerusalem the next events belong.


Importance of the Last Events:

We reach now the closing week and last solemn events of the earthly life of Jesus. The importance attached to this part of their narratives is seen by the space the evangelists devote to it. Of the Gospels of Matthew and Mark fully one-third is devoted to the events of the Passion Week and their sequel in the resurrection; Luke has several chapters; John gives half his Gospel to the same period. It is obvious that in the minds of the evangelists the crucifixion of Jesus is the pivot of their whole narrative--the denouement to which everything tends from the first.

I. The Events Preceding the Last Super.

1. The Chronology:

The arrival in Bethany is placed by John "six days before the Passover" (12:1). Assuming that the public entry into Jerusalem took place on the Sunday, and that the 14th of Nisan fell on the following Thursday, this would lead to the arrival being placed on the Friday or Saturday preceding, according to the mode of reckoning. It is in the highest degree unlikely that Jesus would journey from Jericho on the Jewish Sabbath; hence He may be supposed to have arrived on the Friday evening. The supper at which the anointing by Mary took place would be on the Saturday (Sabbath) evening. Matthew and Mark connect it with events two days before the Passover (Mt 26:2; Mr 14:1), but parenthetically, in a way which leaves the other order open.

2. The Anointing at Bethany:

(Matthew 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-9)

This beautiful deed occurred at a supper given in honor of Jesus at the house of one Simon, a leper (Matthew and Mark)--probably cured by Jesus--at which Martha, Mary and Lazarus were guests. Martha aided in serving (Joh 12:2). In the course of the meal, or at its close, Mary brought a costly box of nard (valued by Judas at "300 shillings," about $50, or 10 pounds; compare the American Revised Version margin on Joh 6:7), and with the perfume anointed the head (Matthew, Mark) and feet (John) of Jesus, wiping His feet with her hair (Matthew and Mark, though not mentioning the "feet," speak of the "body" of Jesus). Indignation, instigated by Judas (John), was at once awakened at what was deemed wanton waste. How much better had the money been given to the poor! Jesus vindicated Mary in her loving act--a prophetic anointing for His burial--and declared that wherever His gospel went, it would be spoken of for a memorial of her. It is the hearts from which such acts come that are the true friends of the poor. The chief priests were only the further exasperated at what was happening, and at the interest shown in Lazarus, and plotted to put Lazarus also to death (Joh 12:10).

3. The Entry into Jerusalem:

(Matthew 21:1-11; Mark 11:1-11; Luke 19:29-44; John 12:12-19)

On the day following--Palm Sunday--Jesus made His public entry as Messiah into Jerusalem. All the evangelists narrate this event. The Mount of Olives had to be crossed from Bethany, and Jesus sent two disciples to an adjacent village--probably Bethphage (this seems to have been also the name of a district)--where an ass and its colt would be found tied. These they were to bring to Him, Jesus assuring them of the permission of the owners. Garments were thrown over the colt, and Jesus seated Himself on it. In this humble fashion (as Mt and Joh note, in fulfillment of prophecy, Zec 9:9), He proceeded to Jerusalem, from which a multitude, bearing palm branches, had already come out to meet Him (John). Throngs accompanied Him, going before and after; these, spreading their garments, and strewing branches in the way, hailed Him with hosannas as the Son of David, the King of Israel, who came in the name of the Lord. Very different were the feelings in the breasts of the Pharisees. "Behold," they said, "how ye prevail nothing; lo, the world is gone after him" (Joh 12:19). They bade Jesus rebuke His disciples, but Jesus replied that if they were silent, the very stones would cry out (Lu 19:40).

Jesus Weeping over Jerusalem--Return to Bethany.

One incident in this progress to Jerusalem is related only by Lu 19:41-44. As at a bend in the road Jerusalem became suddenly visible, Jesus paused and wept over the city, so blind to its day of visitation, and so near to its awful doom. Not His own sufferings, but the thought of Jerusalem's guilt and woes, filled Him with anguish. On reaching the city, Mark's testimony is explicit that He did no more than enter the temple, and `look round on all things' (Mr 11:11). Then eventide having come, He returned to Bethany with the Twelve.

4. Cursing of the Fig Tree--Second Cleansing of Temple:

(Matthew 21:12-22; Mark 11:12-26; Luke 19:45-48)

The morning of Monday found Jesus and His disciples again on their way to the city. Possibly the early hours had been spent by Jesus in solitary prayer, and, as they went, it is recorded that "he hungered." A fig tree from which, from its foliage, fruit might have been expected, stood invitingly by the wayside, but when Jesus approached it, it was found to have nothing but leaves--a striking symbol of the outwardly religious, but spiritually barren Jewish community. And in this sense Jesus used it in pronouncing on it the word of doom, "No man eat fruit from thee henceforward for ever" (Mark). Next morning (Tuesday), as the disciples passed, the tree was found withered from the roots. Matthew combines the events of the cursing and the withering, placing both on the second day, but Mark more accurately distinguishes them. Jesus used the surprise of the disciples as the occasion of a lesson on the omnipotence of faith, with added counsels on prayer.

Were There Two Cleansings?

Pursuing His journey on the first morning, Jesus reached the temple, and there, as His first act, is stated by Mt and Mr to have cleansed the temple of the traders. It is a diffcult question whether this is a second cleansing, or the same act as that recorded by John at the beginning of the ministry (Joh 2:13-22; see above), and here narrated out of its chronological order. The acts are at least quite similar in character and significance. In favor of a second cleansing is the anger of the priests and scribes (Mr 11:18; Lu 19:47), and their demand next day for His authority. No other incidents are recorded of this visit to the temple, except the healing of certain blind and lame, and the praises of the children, "Hosanna to the son of David"--an echo of the previous day's proceedings (Mt 21:14-16). In the evening He went back to Bethany.

5. The Eventful Tuesday:

Far different is it with the third day of these visits of Jesus to the temple--the Tuesday of the Passion Week. This is crowded with parables, discourses, incidents, so numerous, impressive, tragical, as to oppress the mind in seeking to grasp how one short day could embrace them all. It was the last day of the appearance of Jesus in the temple (Joh 12:36), and marks His final break with the authorities of the nation, on whom His words of denunciation (Mt 23) fell with overwhelming force. The thread of the day's proceedings may thus be briefly traced.

a) The Demand for Authority--Parables:

(Matthew 21:23-22:14; Mark 11:27-12:12; Luke 20:1-18)

On His first appearance in the temple on the Tuesday morning, Jesus was met by a demand from the chief priests, scribes and elders (representatives of the Sanhedrin), for the authority by which He acted as He did. Jesus met them by a counterquestion, "The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or from men?" The dilemma was obvious. If John was Divinely accredited, why did they not accept his testimony to Jesus? Yet they feared to say his mission was of men, for John was universally esteemed a prophet. They could therefore only lamely reply: "We cannot tell" (the King James Version). Matters had now come to an issue, and Jesus, reverting to the method of parable, set forth plainly their sin and its results to themselves and others.

The Two Sons--the Wicked Husbandmen--the Marriage of the King's Son.

The parables spoken on this occasion were: that of the Two Sons, one who said "I go not," but afterward repented and went, the other who said, "I go, sir," but went not--pointing the moral that the publicans and harlots went into the kingdom of God before the self-righteous leaders who rejected the preaching of John (Mt 21:28-32); that of the Wicked Husbandmen, who slew the servants, and finally the son, sent to them, and were at length themselves destroyed, the vineyard being given to others--a prophecy of the transferring of the kingdom to the Gentiles (Matthew, Mark, Luke); and that of the Marriage of the King's Son (Mt 22:2-14), akin to that of the Great Supper in Lu 14:16-24 in its gathering in of the outcasts to take the place of those who had been bidden, but distinguished from it by the feature of the wedding garment, the lack of which meant being thrust into the outer darkness. The Pharisees easily perceived that these parables were spoken of them (Mt 21:45; Mr 12:12; Lu 20:19), and were correspondingly enraged, yet dared not touch Jesus for fear of the people.

b) Ensnaring Questions, etc.:

(Matthew 22:1-46; Mark 12:13-37; Luke 20:19-44)

The attempt was next made on the part of the Pharisees, Herodians and Sadducees--now joined in a common cause--to ensnare Jesus by captious and compromising questions. These attempts He met with a wisdom and dignity which foiled His adversaries, while He showed a ready appreciation of a candid spirit when it presented itself, and turned the point against His opponents by putting a question on the Davidic sonship of the Messiah.

(1) Tribute to Caesar--the Resurrection--the Great Commandment.

First the Pharisees with the Herodians sought to entrap Him by raising the question of the lawfulness of tribute to Caesar. By causing them to produce a denarius bearing Caesar's image and superscription, Jesus obtained from them a recognition of their acceptance of Caesar's authority, and bade them render Caesar's things to Caesar, and God's to God. The Sadducees next tried Him with the puzzle of the wife who had seven husbands, leading up to denial of the resurrection; but Jesus met them by showing that marriage relations have no place in the resurrection life, and by pointing to the implication of a future life in God's word to Moses, "I am the God of Abraham," etc. God "is not the God of the dead, but of the living," a fact which carried with it all the weight of resurrection, as needed for the completion of the personal life. The candid scribe, who came last with His question as to which commandment was first of all, had a different reception. Jesus met Him kindly, satisfied him with His answer, and pronounced him "not far from the kingdom of God" (Mr 12:34).

(2) David's Son and Lord.

The adversaries were silenced, but Jesus now put to them His own question. If David in Ps 110 could say "Yahweh saith unto my lord, Sit thou on my right hand," etc., how was this reconcilable with the Christ being David's son? The question was based on the acceptance of the oracle as spoken by David, or one of his house, of the Messiah, and was intended to suggest the higher nature of Christ as one with God in a Divine sovereignty. David's son was also David's Lord.

c) The Great Denunciation:

(Matthew 23; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 20:45-47; compare Luke 11:39-52)

At this point, in audience of the multitudes and of His disciples in the temple, Jesus delivered that tremendous indictment of the scribes and Pharisees, with denunciations of woes upon them for their hypocrisy and iniquity of conduct, recorded most fully in Mt 23. A more tremendous denunciation of a class was never uttered. While conceding to the scribes and Pharisees any authority they lawfully possessed (23:2,3), Jesus specially dwelt on their divorce of practice from precept. They said and did not (23:3). He denounced their perversion of the right, their tyranny, their ostentation, their keeping back others from the kingdom, their zeal in securing proselytes, only to make them, when gained, worse than themselves, their immoral casuistry, their scruples about trifles, while neglecting essentials, their exaltation of the outward at the expense of the inward, their building the tombs of the prophets, while harboring the spirit of those that killed the prophets. He declared them to be foul and corrupt to the last degree: `sons of Gehenna' (23:15,33). So awful a condition meant ripeness for doom. On them, through that law of retribution which binds generation with generation in guilt and penalty, would come all the righteous blood shed since the days of Abel (the allusion to "Zachariah son of Barachiah," 23:35, is unmistakably to 2Ch 24:21--this being the last book in the Hebrew Canon--but "Barachiah" seems a confusion with Zec 1:1, perhaps through a copyist's gloss or error). At the close indignation melts into tenderness in the affecting plaint over Jerusalem--"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, .... how often would I have gathered thy children together," etc. (Mt 23:37-39)--words found in Luke in an earlier context (13:34,35), but assuredly also appropriate here. For other parts of the discourse found earlier, compare Lu 11:39-52. All seems to have been gathered up afresh in this final accusation. It can be imagined that the anger of the Pharisees was fierce at such words, yet they did not venture openly to touch Him.

d) The Widow's Offering:

(Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4)

Before finally leaving the temple, Jesus seems to have passed from the outer court into the women's court, and there to have sat down near the receptacles provided for the gifts of the worshippers. Many who were wealthy cast of their gold and silver into the treasury, but the eye of Jesus singled out one poor widow who, creeping up, cast in two mites (Greek lepta, the smallest of coins), which made up but a farthing. It was little, but it was her all, and Jesus immortalized her poor offering by declaring that, out of her want, she had given more than the wealthlest there. Gifts were measured in His sight by the willingness that prompted them, and by the sacrifice they entailed.

e) The Visit of the Greeks:

(John 12:20-36)

It is perhaps to this crowded day, though some place it earlier in the week (on Sunday or Monday), that the incident should be referred of the request of certain Greeks to see Jesus, as related in Joh 12:20 ff. Who these Greeks were, or whence they came, is unknown, but they were evidently proselytes to the Jewish faith, and men of a sincere spirit. Their request was made through Philip of Bethsaida, and Philip and Andrew conveyed it to Jesus. It is not said whether their wish was granted, but we can hardly doubt that it was. Jesus evidently saw in the incident a prelude of that glory that should accrue to Himself through all men being drawn to Him (Joh 12:23,32). But He saw as clearly that this "glorifying" could only be through His death (Joh 12:24,33), and He universalized it into a law of His Kingdom that, as a grain of wheat must fall into the earth and die if it is to be multiplied, so only through sacrifice can any life be made truly fruitful (Joh 12:24,25). The thought of death, however, always brought trouble to the soul of Jesus (Joh 12:27), and a voice from the Father was given to comfort Him. The multitude thought it thundered, and failed to apprehend the meaning of the voice, or His own words about being "lifted up" (Joh 12:29,34).

f) Discourse on the Last Things:

(Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21:5-36)

Jesus had now bidden farewell to the temple. As He was going out, His disciples--or one of them (Mark)--called His attention to the magnificence of the buildings of the temple, eliciting from Him the startling reply that not one stone should be left upon another that should not be thrown down. Later in the evening, when seated on the Mount of Olives on their return journey, in view of the temple, Andrew, James and John (Mark) asked Him privately when these things should be, and what would be the signs of their fulfillment. In Matthew the question is put more precisely, "When shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming (parousia), and of the end of the world?" (or "consummation of the age"). It is in answer to these complex questions that Jesus spoke His great discourse on the destruction of Jerusalem and His final coming, some of the strands in which it is difficult now to disentangle. In the extended report in Mt 24 certain passages appear which are given elsewhere by Luke (compare Lu 17:20-37). It may tend to clearness if a distinction be observed between the nearer event of the destruction of Jerusalem--also in its way a coming of the Son of Man--and the more remote event of the final parousia. The former, to which Mt 24:15-28 more specially belong, seems referred to by the "these things" in 24:34, which, it is declared, shall be fulfilled in that generation. Of the final parousia, on the other hand, it is declared in 24:36 that "of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only" (compare Mr 13:32). The difficulty occasioned by the immediately of Mt 24:29 is relieved by recalling the absence of perspective and grouping of future events in all apocalyptic prophecy--the consummation ever rising as the background of the immediate experience which is its prelude. The discourse then divides itself into a general part (Mt 24:4-14), delineating the character of the entire period till the consummation (false Christs and prophets, wars, tribulations, apostasies, preaching of the gospel to all nations, etc.); a special part relating to the impending destruction of the city, with appropriate warnings (Mt 24:15-28); and a closing part (Mt 24:32-51) relating mainly to the final parousia, but not without reference to preceding events in the extension of Christ's kingdom, and ingathering of His elect (Mt 24:30,31). Warning is given of the suddenness of the coming of the Son of Man, and the need of being prepared for it (Mt 24:37-51). The whole is a massive prophecy, resting on Christ's consciousness that His death would be, not the defeat of His mission, but the opening up of the way to His final glorification and triumph.

g) Parables of Ten Virgins, Talents and Last Judgment:

(Matthew 25)

To this great discourse on the solemnities of the end, Jesus, still addressing His disciples, added three memorable parables of instruction and warning (Mt 25)--the first, that of the Ten Virgins, picturing, under the figure of virgins who went to meet the bridegroom with insufficient provision of oil for their lamps, the danger of being taken unawares in waiting for the Son of Man; the second, that of the Talents, akin to the parable in Luke of the Pounds (19:11-27), emphasizing the need of diligence in the Lord's absence; the third, that of the Sheep and Goats, or Last Judgment, showing how the last division will be made according as discipleship is evinced by loving deeds done to those in need on earth--such deeds being owned by Christ the King as done to Himself. Love is thus declared to be the ultimate law in Christ's kingdom (compare 1Co 13); the loveless spirit is reprobated. "These shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life" (Mt 25:46).

6. A Day of Retirement:

(compare John 12:36)

Lu 21:37,38 might suggest that Jesus taught in the temple every day till the Thursday of the Passover; if, however, the denunciation took place, as nearly all agree, on Tuesday, an exception must be made of the Wednesday, which Jesus probably spent in retirement in Bethany in preparation of spirit for His last great conflict (others arrange differently, and put some of the preceding events in this day). The summary in Joh 12:36-43 connects the blindness of mind of the Pharisees with Isaiah's vision (Isa 6:10), and with the prophecy of the rejected Servant (Isa 53:1).

7. An Atmosphere of Plotting--Judas and the Priests:

(Matthew 26:1-5,14-16; Mark 14:1,2,10,11; Luke 22:1-6)

The plot for the destruction of Jesus was meanwhile maturing. Two days before the Passover (Tuesday evening), Jesus forewarned the disciples of His approaching betrayal and crucifixion (Mt 26:2); and probably at that very hour a secret meeting of the chief priests and elders was being held in the court of the house of the high priest, Caiaphas (Matthew), to consult as to the means of putting Him to death. Their resolve was that it should not be done on the feast day, lest there should be a tumult; but the appearance of Judas, who since the anointing had seemingly meditated this step, speedily changed their plans. For the paltry sum of 30 pieces of silver (shekels of the sanctuary, less than $20 or 4 pounds; the price of a slave, Ex 21:32; compare Zec 11:12), the recreant disciple, perhaps persuading himself that he was really forcing Jesus to an exercise of His Messianic power, agreed to betray his Lord. The covenant of infamy was made, and the traitor now only waited his opportunity to carry out his project.

II. From the Last Supper till the Cross.

1. The Chronology:

A question of admitted difficulty arises in the comparison of the Synoptics and John as to the dates of the Last Supper and of the crucifixion. The Synoptics seem clearly to place the Last Supper on the evening of the 14th of Nisan (in Jewish reckoning, the beginning of the 15th), and to identify it with the ordinary paschal meal (Mt 26:17-19). The crucifixion then took place on the 15th. John, on the contrary, seems to place the supper on the day before the Passover (13:1), and the crucifixion on the 14th, when the Passover had not yet been eaten (18:28; 19:14). Many, on this ground, affirm an irreconcilable discrepancy between John and the Synoptics, some (e.g. Meyer, Farrar, less decisively Sanday) preferring Jn; others (Strauss, Baur, Schmiedel, etc.) using the fact to discredit Jn. By those who accept both accounts, various modes of reconciliation are proposed. A favorite opinion (early church writers; many moderns, as Godet, Westcott, Farrar) is that Jesus, in view of His death, anticipated the Passover, and ate His parting meal with His disciples on the evening of the 13th; others (e.g. Tholuck, Luthardt, Edersheim, Andrews, D. Smith), adhering to the Synoptics, take the view, here shared, that the apparent discrepancy is accounted for by a somewhat freer usage of terms in John. Details of the discussion must be sought in the works on the subject. The case for the anticipatory view is well given in Westcott, Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, 339 ff; and in Farrar, Life of Christ, Excur. X; a good statement of that for the Synoptics may be seen in Andrews, Life of our Lord; compare Tholuck, Commentary on John, on 13:1; Luthardt, Commentary on John, on 13:1; 18:28; D. Smith, Days of His Flesh, App. II. The language of the Synoptists ("the first day of unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the passover," Mr 14:12) leaves no doubt that they intended to identify the Last Supper with the regular Passover, and it is hardly conceivable that they could be mistaken on so vital a point of the apostolic tradition. This also was the view of the churches of Asia Minor, where John himself latterly resided. On the other hand, the phrase to "eat the passover" in Joh 18:28 may very well, in John's usage, refer to participation in the special sacrifices which formed a chief feature of the proceedings on the 15th. The allusion in Joh 13:1 need mean no more than that, the Passover now impending, Jesus, loving His disciples to the end, gave them a special token of that love during the meal that ensued. The "preparation of the passover" in Joh 19:14,31 most naturally refers to the preparation for the Sabbath of the Passover week, alluded to also by the Synoptics (Mt 27:62; Mr 15:42; Lu 23:54). The objections based on rabbinical regulations about the Sabbath are convincingly met by Tholuck (see also Andrews). We assume, therefore, that our Lord ate the Passover with His disciples at the usual time--the evening of the 14th of Nisan (i.e. the beginning of the 15th).

2. The Last Supper:

(Matthew 26:17-35; Mark 14:12-31; Luke 22:7-38; John 13; compare 1Co 11:23-25)

In the scene in the upper chamber, at the observance of the Last Supper, we enter the holy of holies of this part of the Lord's history. It is difficult, in combining the narratives, to be sure of the order of all the particulars, but the main events are clear. They may be exhibited as follows:

a) The Preparation:

On "the first day of unleavened bread"--Thursday, 14th of Nisan--Jesus bade two of His disciples (Luke names Peter and John) make the needful preparations for the observance of the Passover. This included the sacrificing of the lamb at the temple, and the securing of a guest-chamber. Jesus bade the disciples follow a man whom they would meet bearing a pitcher, and at the house where he stopped they would find one willing to receive them. The master of the house, doubtless a disciple, at once gave them "a large upper room furnished and ready" (Mark); there they made ready.

b) Dispute about Precedence--Washing of the Disciples' Feet--Departure of Judas:

Evening being come, Jesus and the Twelve assembled, and took their places for the meal. We gather from Joh 13:23 that John reclined next to Jesus (on the right), and the sequel shows that Judas and Peter were near on the other side. It was probably this arrangement that gave rise to the unseemly strife for precedence among the disciples narratedin Lu 22:24-30. The spirit thus displayed Jesus rebuked, as He had more than once had occasion to do (compare Mr 9:33-37); then (for here may be inserted the beautiful incident in Joh 13:1 ff), rising from the table, He gave them an amazing illustration of His own precept, "He that is chief (let him become) as he that doth serve ..... I am in the midst of you as he that serveth" (Lu 22:26,27), in divesting Himself of His garments, girding Himself with a towel, and performing the act of a servant in washing His disciples' feet. Peter's exclamation must have expressed the feelings of all: "Lord, dost thou wash my feet?" The act of the Divine Master was a wonderful lesson in humility, but Jesus used it also as a parable of something higher. "If I wash thee not (i.e. if thou art not cleansed by the receiving of my word and spirit, which this washing symbolizes), thou hast no part with me"; then on Peter's further impulsive protest, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head," the word: "He that is bathed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit" (i.e. sanctification of the inner man is once for all, but there is need for cleansing from the sins of the daily walk). Resuming His place at the table, He bade them imitate the example He had just given them.

Is it I?

An ominous word had accompanied the reply to Peter, "Ye are not all clean" (Joh 13:10,11). As the supper proceeded, the meaning of this was made plain. Judas, who had already sold his Master, was at the table with the rest. He had permitted Jesus to wash his feet, and remained unmoved by that surpassing act of condescending love. Jesus was "troubled in spirit" and now openly declared, "One of you shall betray me" (the Greek word means literally, "deliver up": compare Lu 22:4,6, and the Revised Version margin throughout). It was an astounding announcement to the disciples, and from one and another came the trembling question, "Lord, is it I?" Jesus answered that it was one of those dipping his hand with Him in the dish (Mark), and spoke of the woe that would overtake the betrayer ("Good were it for that man if he had not been born"). John, at a sign from Peter, asked more definitely, "Who is it?" (John). Jesus said, but to John only, it was he to whom He would give a sop, and the sop was given to Judas. The traitor even yet sought to mask his treachery by the words, "Is it I, Rabbi?" and Jesus replied, though still not aloud, "Thou hast said" (Matthew); then, as Satanic passion stirred the breast of Judas, He added, "What thou doest, do quickly" (John). Judas at once rose and went out--into the night (Joh 13:30). The disciples, not comprehending his abrupt departure, thought some errand had been given him for the feast or for the poor. Jesus was relieved by his departure and spoke of the glory coming to Himself and to His Father, and of love as the mark of true discipleship (Joh 13:31-35).

c) The Lord's Supper:

The forms of the observance of the Passover by the Jews are given elsewhere (see PASSOVER). Luke alone of the New Testament writers speaks of 2 cups (22:17,20); in Jewish practice 4 cups were used. The "Western" text, Codex Bezae (d), omits Luke's 2nd cup, from which some (compare Sanday, Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes)) infer duplication, but this is not necessary. Luke's 1st cup (Lu 22:17) may be that with which the paschal supper opened; the 2nd cup--that mentioned by all the writers--was probably the 3rd Jewish cup, known as "the cup of blessing" (compare 1Co 10:16). Some, however, as Meyer, make it the 4th cup. It is implied in Matthew, Mark, John, that by this time Judas had gone. Left thus with His own, the essentials of the paschal meal being complete, Jesus proceeded, by taking and distributing bread and wine, associating them with His body and blood, soon to be offered in death upon the cross, to institute that sacred rite in which, through all ages since (though its simplicity has often been sadly obscured) His love and sacrifice have been commemorated by His church. There are variations of phrase in the different accounts, but in the essentials of the sacramental institution there is entire agreement. Taking bread, after thanks to God, Jesus broke it, and gave it to the disciples with the words, "This is my body"; the cup, in like manner, after thanksgiving, He gave them with the words, "This is my blood of the covenant (in Luke and Paul, "the new covenant in my blood") which is poured out for many" (Matthew adds, "unto remission of sins"). Luke and Paul add what is implied in the others: "This do in remembrance of me" (Lu 22:19; 1Co 11:24). Nothing could more plainly designate the bread and wine as holy symbols of the Lord's body and blood, offered in death for man's redemption, and sealing in His blood a new covenant with God; nor, so long as the rite is observed in its Divine simplicity, as Jesus instituted it, will it be possible to expunge from His death the character of a redeeming sacrifice. In touching words Jesus intimated that He would no more drink of the fruit of the vine till He drank it new with them in their Father's Kingdom (on the doctrinal aspects, see EUCHARIST; SACRAMENTS; LORD'S SUPPER).

d) The Last Discourses--Intercessory Prayer:

The Supper was over, and parting was imminent, but Jesus did not leave the holy chamber till He had poured out His inmost heart in those tender, consolatory, profoundly spiritual addresses which the beloved disciple has preserved for us in John 14; 15; and 16, followed by the wonderful closing intercessory prayer of John 17. He was leaving them, but their hearts were not to be disquieted, for they would see Him again (14:18; 16:16 ff), and if, ere long, He would part with them again in visible form, it was only outwardly He would be separated from them, for He would send them the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, who would take His place, to guide them into all truth, and bring all things to their remembrance that He had said to them (14:16,17; 15:26; 16:7-14). If He went away, it was to prepare a place for them, and He would come again to receive them to Himself in His Father's house (14:1-3); let them meanwhile show their love to Him by keeping His commandments (14:15,23,14). In the Spirit He Himself and the Father would dwell in the souls that loved Him (14:21-23). The intimacy of their union with Him would be like that of branches in the vine; only by abiding in Him could they bring forth fruit (15:1 ff). They would have tribulations (15:18 ff; 16:1,2), but as His dying bequest He left them His own peace (14:27); that would sustain their hearts in all trial (16:33). With many such promises did He comfort them in view of the terrible ordeal through which they were soon to pass; then, addressing His Father, He prayed for their holy keeping, and their final admission to His glory (17:9-18,24).

These solemn discourses finished, Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn (the "Hallel") and departed to go to the Mount of Olives. Comparing the evangelists, one would infer that the conversation in which Jesus foretold the denial of Peter at least commenced before they left the chamber (Lu 22:31 ; John connects it, probably through relation of subject, with the exposure of Judas, Joh 13:36-38); but it seems to have continued on the way (Matthew, Mark).

e) The Departure and Warning:

Jesus had spoken of their being "offended" in Him that night. In his exaltation of spirit, Peter declared that though all should be offended in Him, he would never be offended. Jesus, who had already warned Peter that Satan sought to have him, that he might sift him as wheat (Lu 22:31; but "I made supplication for thee," etc.), now told him that before the cock should crow, he would thrice deny Him. Peter stoutly maintained that he would die rather than be guilty of so base an act--so little did he or the others (Mt 26:35; Mr 14:31) know themselves! The enigmatic words in Lu 22:36 about taking scrip and sword point metaphorically to the need, in the times that were coming upon them, of every lawful means of provision and self-defence; the succeeding words show that "sword" is not intended to be taken literally (22:38).

3. Gethsemane--the Betrayal and Arrest:

(Matthew 26:36-56; Mark 14:32-53; Luke 22:39-53; John 18:1-12)

Descending to the valley, Jesus and His disciples, crossing the brook Kidron ("of the cedars"), entered the "garden" (John) known as Gethsemane ("oil-press"), at the foot of the Mount of Olives. Here took place the agony, which is the proper commencement of the Passion, the betrayal by Judas and the arrest of Jesus.

During the evening the thoughts of Jesus had been occupied mainly with His disciples; now that the hour had come when the things predicted concerning Him should have fulfillment (Lu 22:37 "your hour, and the power of darkness," Lu 22:53), it was inevitable that mind and spirit should concentrate on the awful bodily and mental sufferings that lay before Him.

a) Agony in the Garden:

It was not the thought of physical suffering alone--from that also the pure and sensitive humanity of Jesus shrank with natural horror--but death to Him, the Holy One and Prince of Life, had an indescribably hateful character as a hostile power in humanity, due to the judgment of God on sin, and now descending upon Him through the workings of the vilest of human passions in the religious heads of His nation. What anguish to such an One, filled with love and the desire to save, to feel Himself rejected, betrayed, deserted, doomed to a malefactor's cross--alone, yet not alone, for the Father was with Him! (Joh 16:32). The burden on His spirit when He reached Gethsemane was already, as the language used shows, all but unendurable--"amazed," "sore troubled," "My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death" (Mark). There, bidding the other disciples wait, He took with Him Peter, and James, and John, and withdrew into the recesses of the garden. Leaving these also a little behind, He sank on the ground in solitary "agony" (Luke), and "with strong crying and tears" (Heb 5:7), poured out His soul in earnest supplication to His Father. "Let this cup pass away from me"--it could not be, but thus the revulsion of His nature was expressed--"howbeit not what I will, but what thou wilt." The passage in Lu (22:44), "His sweat became as it were great drops of blood," etc., though omitted in certain manuscripts, doubtless preserves a genuine trait. Returning to the three, He found them overpowered with sleep: even the support of their wakeful sympathy was denied Him! "Watch and pray," He gently admonished them, "that ye enter not into temptation." A second and third time the same thing happened--wrestling with God on His part, sleep on theirs, till, with Divine strengthening (Lu 22:41), victory was attained, and calm restored. "Sleep on now," He said to His disciples (the crisis is past; your help can avail no more): "Arise, let us be going" (the future has to be faced; the betrayer is at hand. See the remarkable sermon of F.W. Robertson, II, sermon 22).

b) Betrayal by Judas--Jesus Arrested:

The crisis had indeed arrived. Through the darkness, even as Jesus spoke, was seen flashing the light of torches and lanterns, revealing a mingled company of armed men--Roman soldiers, temple officers (John), others--sent by the chief priests, scribes and elders, to apprehend Jesus. Their guide was Judas. It had been found impracticable to lay hands on Jesus in public, but Judas knew this retreat (Joh 18:2), and had arranged, by an act of dastardly treachery, to enable them to effect the capture in privacy. The sign was to be a kiss. With an affectation of friendship, only possible to one into whose heart the devil had truly entered (Lu 22:3; Joh 13:27), Judas advanced, and hailing Jesus as "'Master," effusively kissed Him (Mt 26:49; Mr 14:45 margin). Jesus had asked, "Betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?" (Luke); now He said, "Friend, do that for which thou art come" (Matthew). The soldiers essayed to take Jesus, but on their first approach, driven back as by a supernatural power, they fell to the ground (Jn). A proof thus given of the voluntariness of His surrender (compare Mt 26:53: "Thinkest thou that I cannot beseech my Father," etc.), Jesus, remarking only on the iniquity of secret violence when every day they had opportunity to take Him in the temple, submitted to be seized and bound. At this point Peter, with characteristic impetuosity, remembering, perhaps, his pledge to die, if need be, with Jesus, drew a sword, and cut off the right ear of the high priest's servant, Malchus (John gives the names). If he thought his deed justified by what Jesus had earlier said about "swords" (Lu 22:36,38), he was speedily undeceived by Jesus' rebuke (Joh 18:11), and by His healing of the ear (Luke; the last miracle of Jesus before His death). How little this flicker of impulsive boldness meant is shown by the general panic that immediately followed. "All the disciples," it is related, "left him, and fled" (Matthew, Mark). Mr tells of a young man who had come upon the scene with only a linen cloth cast about his naked body, and who fled, leaving the cloth behind (14:51,52). Not improbably the young man was Mark himself.

4. Trial before the Sanhedrin:

(Matthew 26:57-75; 27:1-10; Mark 14:53-72; 15:1; Luke 22:54-71; John 18:12-27; compare Ac 1:18,19):

It would be about midnight when Jesus was arrested, and He was at once hurried to the house of Caiaphas, the high priest, where in expectation of the capture, a company of chief priests, scribes and elders--members of the Sanhedrin--were already assembled. Here the first stage in the trial of Jesus took place.

The legal and constitutional questions connected with the trial of Jesus are considered in the article on JESUS CHRIST, THE ARREST AND TRIAL OF; see also Dr. Taylor Innes, The Trial of Jesus Christ; on the powers of the Sanhedrin, see SANHEDRIN, and compare Schurer, Jewish People, etc., II, 1, pp. 163 ff. There seems little doubt that, while certain judicial forms were observed, the trial was illegal in nearly every particular. The arrest itself was arbitrary, as not rounded on any formal accusation (the Sanhedrin, however, seems to have arrogated to itself powers of this kind; compare Ac 4:1 ff); but the night session, lack of definite charge, search for testimony, interrogation of accused, haste in condemnation, were unquestionably in flagrant violation of the established rules of Jewish judicial procedure in such cases. It is to be remembered that the death of Jesus had already been decided on by the heads of the Sanhedrin, so that the trial was wholly a means to a foregone conclusion. On the historical side, certain difficulties arise. Joh seems to make the first interrogation of Jesus take place before Annas, father-in-law to Caiaphas (on Annas, see below; though deposed 15 years before, he retained, in reality, all the dignity and influence of the high-priesthood; compare Lu 3:2; Ac 4:6); after which He is sent to Caiaphas (Joh 18:13,14,19-24). The narrative is simplified if either

(1) Joh 18:19-23 are regarded as a preliminary interrogatory by Annas till matters were prepared for the arraignment before Caiaphas; or

(2) 18:24 is taken as retrospective (in the sense of "had sent," as in the King James Version), and the interrogation is included in the trial by Caiaphas (compare 18:19: "the high priest").

Annas and Caiaphas may be presumed from the account of Peter's denials to have occupied the same official residence; else Annas was present on this night to be in readiness for the trial. The frequently occurring term "chief priests" denotes the high priests, with those who had formerly held this rank, and members of their families (compare Schurer, op. cit., 203 ff). They formed, with the scribes, the most important element in the Sanhedrin.

a) Before Annas and Caiaphas--the Unjust Judgment:

First Jesus was led before Annas, then by him, after a brief interview, was transferred, still bound, to Caiaphas. Annas had been deposed, as above noticed, much earlier (15 AD), but still retained the name and through his sons and relations, as long as he lived, exercised much of the authority of high priest. Like all those holding this high office, he and Caiaphas were Sadducees. Annas--if he is the questioner in Joh 18:19-23--asked Jesus concerning His disciples and His teaching. Such interrogation was unlawful, the duty of the accuser, in Jewish law, being to produce witnesses; properly, therefore, Jesus referred him to His public teaching in the temple, and bade him ask those who heard Him there. An officer standing by struck Jesus with his hand for so speaking: an indignity which Jesus endured with meek remonstrance (18:22,23).

(1) An Illegal Session.

Meanwhile a company of the Sanhedrin had assembled (23 sufficed for a quorum), and Jesus was brought before this tribunal, which was presided over by Caiaphas. A hurried search had been made for witnesses (this, like the night session, was illegal), but even the suborned testimony thus obtained ("false witnesses") was found useless for the purpose of establishing, constructively or directly, a charge of blasphemy against Jesus. At length two witnesses were produced who gave a garbled version of the early saying of Jesus (Joh 2:19) about destroying the temple and rebuilding it in three days. To speak against the temple might be construed as speaking against God (compare Mt 23:16,21; Ac 6:13,14), but here too the witnesses broke down through lack of agreement. At all costs, however, must Jesus be condemned: the unprecedented course therefore was taken of seeking a conviction from the mouth of the accused Himself. Rising from his seat, the high priest adjured Jesus by the living God to tell them whether He was the Christ, the Son of God (in Mark, "Son of the Blessed"). In using this title, Caiaphas had evidently in view, as in Joh 5:18; 10:33, a claim to equality with God. The supreme moment had come, and Jesus did not falter in His reply: "Thou hast said." Then, identifying Himself with the Son of Man in Daniel's vision (Da 7:13,14), He solemnly added, "Henceforth (from His resurrection on) ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." It was enough. Without even the pretense of inquiry into the truth or falsehood of the claim, the high priest rent his garments, exclaiming, "He hath spoken blasphemy," and by assent of all Jesus was adjudged worthy of death. Abuse and insult followed. The minions of the Sanhedrin were permitted to spit on the condemned One, smite Him, blindfold and mock Him, saying, "Prophesy unto us, thou Christ: who is he that struck thee?" Then, with further blows, He was led away (Mt 26:68).

(2) A Morning Confirmation. To give color of judicial sanction to these tumultuous and wholly irregular night proceedings, a more formal meeting of the Sanhedrin was convened as soon as day had dawned (Mt 27:1; Mr 15:1; Lu 22:66-71). Probably the irregularities were held to be excused by the urgency of the occasion and the solemnities of the feast. Jesus was again brought forward; new questions were put which He declined to answer. Possibly a new avowal of His Messiahship was made (more probably Luke includes in this scene, the only one he records, some of the particulars of the earlier proceedings). The judgment of the past night was confirmed.>

b) The Threefold Denial:

While this greatest moral tragedy of the trial and condemnation of Jesus was in process, a lesser, but still awful, tragedy in the history of a soul was being enacted in the court of the same building (from this the chamber in which the Sanhedrin sat was visible), in the threefold denial of his Master by the apostle Peter. Peter, who had followed "afar off" (Luke), had gained access to the court through an unnamed disciple, whom it is easy to identify with John (Joh 18:15). As he stood warming himself at a fire which had been kindled, the maid who had admitted them (John), gazing attentively at Peter, said boldly, "Thou also wast with Jesus the Galilean" (Mt 26:69). Unnerved, and affrighted by his surroundings, Peter took the readiest mode of escape in denial. "I know him not." His heart must have sunk within him as he framed the words, and the crowing of a cock at the moment (Mark--perhaps an hour after midnight), reminding him of his Master's warning, completed his discomfiture. Guiltily he withdrew to the porch, only a little after to be accosted by another (the maid had spoken to her neighbors, Mark), with the same charge. More afraid than ever, he declared again, "I know not this man," and, seeing he was not believed, strengthened the denial with an oath. Yet a third time, an hour later, a bystander (or several, Mark), this time founding on his Galilean speech, pronounced, "Of a truth thou art one of them." Peter, to clear himself, cursed and swore, anew disclaiming knowledge of his Lord. To this depth had the boastful apostle fallen--as low, it might seem, as Judas! But there was a difference. As Peter spoke the cock again crew--the cockcrow which gives its form to three of the narratives (Mark alone mentions the double cockcrowing). At the same instant, either from within, or as He was being led forth, Jesus turned and looked on His erring disciple. That look--so full of pity, sorrow, reproach--could never be forgotten! Its effect was instantaneous: "Peter went out, and wept bitterly."

c) Remorse and Suicide of Judas:

Peter's heartfelt repentance has its counterfoil in the remorse of Judas, which, bitter as it also was, cannot receive the nobler name. First, Judas sought to return the 30 shekels paid him as the price of blood ("I betrayed innocent blood"); then, when callously rebuffed by the priests and elders, he flung down the accursed money in the sanctuary, and went and hanged himself. Matthew and Ac seem to follow slightly divergent traditions as to his end and the purchase of the potter's field. The underlying facts probably are that the priests applied the money, which they could not put into the treasury (Matthew), to the purchase of the field, where, either before or after the purchase, Judas destroyed himself (Acts: falling and bursting asunder), assigning it as a place to bury strangers in. Its connection with Judas is attested by its name, "Akeldama," "the field of blood."

The Jews might condemn, but they had no power to execute sentence of death (Joh 18:31). This power had been taken from them by the Romans, and was now vested in the Roman governor. The procurator of Judea was Pontius Pilate, a man hated by the Jews for his ruthless tyranny (see PILATE), yet, as the Gospels show him, not without a sense of right, but vacillating and weak-willed in face of mob clamor, and risk to his own interests.

5. Trial before Pilate:

(Matthew 27:2,11-31; Mark 15:1-20; Luke 23:1-25; John 18:28-40; 19:1-16)

His residence in Jerusalem ("Praetorium," the English Revised Version "palace") was probably Herod's former palace (thus Schurer, G.A. Smith, etc.), on the tesselated pavement (Joh 19:13) in the semicircular front of which was placed the tribunal (bema) from which judgments were delivered. It was to this place Jesus was now brought. The events took place when it was "early" (Joh 18:28), probably between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m. (compare Joh 19:14, Roman camputation).

a) The Attitude of the Accusers:

Jesus was taken within the Pretorium, but His accusers were too scrupulous about defilement at the Passover festival (Joh 18:28) to enter the building. Pilate therefore came out to hear their accusation. They would fain have had him endorse their condemnation without further inquiry, but this he would not do. They would not have it that it was a simple question of their law, yet had to justify their demand for a death sentence (Joh 18:31). They based, therefore, on the alleged revolutionary character of Christ's teaching, His forbidding to pay tribute to Caesar (a false charge), His claim to be a king (Lu 23:2,5), to all which charges Jesus answered not a word (Mr 15:3,5). At a later stage, after Pilate, who knew very well that no mere sedition against the Roman power had called forth all this passion (witness the choice of Barabbas), had repeatedly declared that he found no crime in Jesus (Mr 15:14; Lu 23:4,14,22; Joh 18:38; 19:4,6), the real spring of their action was laid bare: "We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God" (Joh 19:7). When it was seen how this declaration made Pilate only the more unwilling to yield to their rage, return was made to the political motive, now in the form of personal threat: "If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar's friend" (Joh 19:12). This was Pilate's weak point, and the Jews knew it. The clamor grew ever louder, "Crucify him, crucify him." Hate of Jesus and national degradation could go no farther than in the cry, "We have no king but Caesar" (Joh 19:15).

b) The Attitude of Pilate:

Pilate was from the first impressed with the innocence of Jesus, and was sincerely anxious, as his actions showed, to save Him from the terrible and ignominious death His implacable enemies were bent on inflicting upon Him. His crime was that, as Roman judge, he finally, against his own convictions, through fear of a charge of disloyalty to Caesar, yielded up to torture and death One whom he had pronounced guiltless, to gratify the brutal passions of a mob. By Pilate's own admissions, Christ's death was, not a punishment for any crime, but a judicial murder. First, through private examination, Pilate satisfied himself that the kingship Jesus claimed ("Thou sayest") carried with it no danger to the throne of Caesar. Jesus was a king indeed, but His kingdom was not of this world; was not, like earthly kingdoms, supported by violence; was founded on the truth, and gathered its subjects from those that received the truth (Joh 18:36,37). The indifference to the name of truth which the jaded mind of Pilate confessed ("What is truth?") could not hide from him the nobility of soul of the Holy One who stood before him. He declared publicly, "I find no fault in this man," and thereafter sought means of saving Him, at least of shifting the responsibility of His condemnation from himself to others.

(1) Jesus Sent to Herod.

Hearing in the clamor round the judgment seat that Jesus was a Galilean, and remembering that Herod Antipas, who had jurisdiction in that region, was in the city, Pilate's first expedient was to send Jesus to Herod, to be examined by him (Lu 23:6-11). This act of courtesy had the effect of making Herod and Pilate, who had been at enmity, again friends (Lu 23:12); otherwise it failed of its object. Herod was pleased enough to see One he had so often heard about--even thought in his flippancy that a miracle might be done by Him--but when Jesus, in presence of "that fox" (Lu 13:32), refused to open His mouth in answer to the accusations heaped upon Him, Herod, with his soldiers, turned the matter into jest, by clothing Jesus in gorgeous apparel, and sending Him back as a mock-king to Pilate.

(2) "Not This Man, but Barabbas."

Pilate's next thought was to release Jesus in pursuance of a Jewish custom of setting free a prisoner at the feast, and to this end, having again protested that no fault had been found in Him, offered the people the choice between Jesus and a notorious robber and murderer called Barabbas, then in prison. Just then, as he sat on the judgment seat, a message from his wife regarding a dream she had ("Have thou nothing to do with that righteous man," Mt 27:19) must strongly have influenced his superstitious mind. Pilate could hardly have conceived that the multitude would prefer a murderer to One so good and pure; but, instigated by the priests, they perpetrated even this infamy, shouting for the release of Barabbas and the crucifixion of Jesus.

(3) "Ecce Homo."

Pilate's weakness now began to reveal itself. He proposed to "chastise" (scourge) Jesus--why "chastise," if He was innocent?--then release Him. But this compromise, as was to be anticipated, only whetted the eagerness for blood, and the cries grew ever louder, "Crucify him." Pilate, however, as if yielding to the storm, did deliver Jesus to be scourged (scourging--a fearful infliction--preceded crucifixion), the cruelty being aggravated by the maltreatment of the soldiers, who, outstripping former mockeries, put on His head a crown of thorns, arrayed Him in a purple robe, and rained blows upon His bleeding face and form. It seems to have been a design of Pilate to awake pity, for once again he brought Jesus forth, and in this affecting guise, with new attestation of His innocence, presented Him to the people in the words, "Behold, the man!" (Joh 19:5). How hideous the mockery, at once to declare of such an one, "I find no crime in him," and to exhibit Him to the crowd thus shamefully abused! No pity dwelt in these hearts, however, and the shouts became still angrier, "Crucify him."

(4) A Last Appeal--Pilate Yields.

The words of the leaders, "He made himself the Son of God," spoken as a reason for putting Jesus to death (Joh 19:7), struck a new fear into the heart of Pilate. It led him again to enter the Pretorium, and inquire of this strange prisoner, unlike any he had ever seen, "Whence art thou?" Jesus was silent. "Knowest thou not," asked Pilate, "that I have power to release thee, and have power to crucify thee?" Jesus answered only that he, Pilate, had no power over Him at all save what was given him of God; the greater therefore was the crime of those who had subjected Him to this abuse of Divinely given power. Again Pilate went out and sought to release Him, but was met by the fierce cries that foreboded complaint to Caesar (Joh 19:12). A tumult seemed imminent, and Pilate succumbed. Here probably (though possibly after the choice of Barabbas) is to be placed the washing of his hands by Pilate--a vain disclaiming of his responsibility--recorded in Mt 27:24, and the awful answer of the people, "His blood be on us, and on our children" (27:25). Pilate now ascends the judgment seat, and, fully conscious of the iniquity of his procedure, pronounces the formal sentence which dooms Jesus to the cross. The trial over, Jesus is led again into the Pretorium, where the cruel mockery of the soldiers is resumed in intensified form. The Holy One, thorn-crowned, clad in purple, a reed thrust into His hand, is placed at the mercy of the whole band, who bow the knee in ridicule before Him ("Hail, King of the Jews"), spit upon Him in contempt, smite Him on the head with the reed (Matthew, Mark). Then, stripped of the robe, His own garments are put on Him, in preparation for the end.

c) The Attitude of Jesus:

In all this hideous scene of cruelty, injustice, and undeserved suffering, the conspicuous feature in the bearing of Jesus is the absolute calmness, dignity and meekness with which He endures the heaviest wrongs and insults put upon Him. The picture in Isa 53:7,8 is startling in its fidelity: "When he was afflicted he opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is mute, so he opened not his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away," etc. There is no return of the perturbation of Gethsemane. As if the strength won there had raised Him into a peace that nothing could shake, He passed through the frightful physical exhaustion, mental strain, agony of scourging, suffering from wounds and blows, of that terrible night and morning, with unbroken fortitude and unembittered spirit. Not a word of complaint passes His lips; He makes no reply to accusations; when reviled, He reviles not again; He takes all with submission, as part of the cup the Father has given Him to drink. It is a spectacle to move the stoniest heart. Well to remember that it is the world's sin, in which all share, that mingled the bitter draught!

III. The Crucifixion and Burial.

1. The Crucifixion:

(Matthew 27:31-56; Mark 15:20-41; Luke 23:26-49; John 19:16-37)

Crucifixion was the form of punishment reserved by the Romans for slaves, foreigners and the vilest criminals, and could not be inflicted on a Roman citizen. With its prolonged and excruciating torture, it was the most agonizing and ignominious death which the cruelty of a cruel age could devise. Jewish law knew nothing of it (the `hanging on a tree' of De 21:22,23, was after death; compare Ga 3:13), yet to it the Jewish leaders hounded Pilate on to doom their Messiah. The cross was no doubt of the usual Roman shape (see CROSS). The site of Golgotha, "the place of a skull" (in Luke "Calvary," the Latinized form), is quite uncertain. It may have been a slight mound resembling a skull (thus Meyer, Luthardt, Godet, etc.), but this is not known. It is only plain that it was outside the wall, in the immediate vicinity of the city (see note below on sepulcher). The time of the crucifixion was about 9 a.m. (Mr 15:25). The day (Friday) was the "preparation" for the Sabbath of the Passover week (Matthew, Mark, Luke; compare Joh 19:14,31).

a) On the Way:

It was part of the torment of the victim of this horrible sentence that he had to bear his own cross (according to some only the patibulum, or transverse beam) to the place of execution. As Jesus, staggering, possibly fainting, under this burden, passed out of the gate, a stranger coming from the country, Simon, a man of Cyrene, was laid hold of, and compelled to carry the cross (such an one would not be punctilious about rabbinical rules of travel, especially as it was not the regular Sabbath). Jesus, however, was not wholly unpitied. In the crowd following Him were some women of Jerusalem, who bewailed and lamented Him. The Lord, turning, bade these weep, not for Him, but for themselves and for their children. "If they do these things in the green tree, what shall be done in the dry?" (Lu 23:27-31).

b) Between the Thieves--the Superscription--the Seamless Robe:

Golgotha being reached, the crucifixion at once took place under the care of a centurion and a quaternion of soldiers. With ruthless blows, hands and feet were nailed to the wood, then the cross was reared (the perpendicular part may, as some think, have first been placed in position). As if to emphasize, from Pilate's point of view, the irony of the proceedings, two robbers were crucified with Jesus, on right and left, an undesigned fulfillment of prophecy (Isa 53:12). It was doubtless when being raised upon the cross that Jesus uttered the touching prayer--His 1st word on the cross (its genuineness need not be questioned, though some ancient manuscripts omit)--"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke). Above His head, according to custom, was placed a tablet with His accusation, written in three languages, Hebrew, Greek and Latin. The chief priests took offense at the form, "This is the King of the Jews," and wished the words changed to, "He said, I am King," etc., but Pilate curtly dismissed their complaint: "What I have written I have written" (John). Whether Jesus still wore the crown of thorns is doubtful. The garments of the Crucified were divided among the soldiers, but for His inner garment, woven without seam, they cast lots (compare Ps 22:18). A draught of wine mingled with an opiate (gall or myrrh), intended to dull the senses, was offered, but refused.

c) The Mocking--the Penitent Thief--Jesus and His Mother:

The triumph of Christ's enemies now seemed complete, and their glee was correspondingly unrestrained. Their victim's helplessness was to them a disproof of His claims. Railing, and wagging their heads, they taunted Him, "If thou art the Son of God, come down from the cross"; "He saved others; himself he cannot save." At first the robbers who were crucified with Him (possibly only one) joined in this reproach, but ere long there was a change. The breast of one of the malefactors opened to the impression of the holiness and meekness of Jesus, and faith took the place of scorn. He rebuked his neighbor for reviling One who had "done nothing amiss"; then, addressing Jesus, he prayed: "Jesus, remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom." The reply of Jesus--His 2nd word on the cross--surpassed what even the penitent in these strange circumstances could have anticipated "Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise" (Luke). A not less touching incident followed--perhaps preceded--this rescue of a soul in its last extremity. Standing near the cross was a group of holy women, one of them the mother of Jesus Himself (Joh 19:25 Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas--some identify the two latter--Mary Magdalene). Mary, whose anguish of spirit may be imagined, was supported by the disciple John. Beholding them--His 3rd word from the cross--Jesus tenderly commended His mother to the care of John; to Mary, "Woman, behold, thy son"; to John, "Beho1d, thy mother." From that time Mary dwelt with John.

Three hours passed, and at noon mocking was hushed in presence of a startling natural change. The sun's light failed (Luke), and a deep darkness, lasting for 3 hours, settled over the land. The darkness was preternatural in its time and occasion, whatever natural agencies may have been concerned in it. The earthquake a little later (Matthew) would be due to the same causes. It was as if Nature veiled itself, and shuddered at the enormity of the crime which was being perpetrated.

d) The Great Darkness--the Cry of Desertion:

But the outer gloom was only the symbol of a yet more awful darkness that, toward the close of this period, overspread the soul of Jesus Himself. Who shall fathom the depths of agony that lay in that awful cry--the 4th from the cross--that burst loudly from the lips of Jesus, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani"--"My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me" (or, "Why didst thou forsake me?")--words borrowed from Ps 22:1! It was before remarked that death was not a natural event to Jesus, but ever had in it to His mind its significance as a judgment of God on sin. Here it was not simply death that He experienced in its most cruel form, but death bereft of the sensible comforts of the Father's presence. What explanation of that mystery can be found which does not take into account with Isa 53 (compare Joh 1:29) His character as Sin-Bearer, even as the unbroken trust with which in His loneliness He clings to God ("My God") may be felt to have in it the element of atonement? On this, however, the present is not the place to dwell.

e) Last Words and Death of Jesus:

The end was now very near. The victim of crucifixion sometimes lingered on in his agony for days; but the unexampled strain of body and mind which Jesus had undergone since the preceding day brought an earlier termination to His sufferings. Light was returning, and with it peace; and in the consciousness that all things were now finished (Joh 19:28), Jesus spoke again--the 5th word--"I thirst" (John). A sponge filled with vinegar was raised on a reed to His lips, while some who had heard His earlier words ("Eli, Eli," etc.), and thought He called for Elijah, said, "Let us see whether Elijah cometh to save him" (Matthew). With a last effort, Jesus cried aloud--6th and memorable word--"It is finished," then, in a final utterance--the 7th--commended His spirit to God: "Father into thy hands I commend my spirit" (Luke). Following on this word, bowing His head, He surrendered Himself to death. It will be seen that of the 7 words spoken from the cross, 3 are preserved by Luke alone (1st, 2nd, 7th), 3 by John alone (3rd, 5th, 6th), while the 4th cry ("Eli, Eli," etc.) occurs only in the first 2 evangelists (Matthew and Mark, however, speak of Jesus "crying with a loud voice" at the close).

f) The Spear Thrust--Earthquake and Rending of the Veil:

Jesus had died; the malefactors still lived. It was now 3 o'clock in the afternoon, and it was desired that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the approaching Sabbath. Permission was therefore obtained from Pilate for the soldiers to break the legs of the crucified (crurifragium), and so hasten death. When it was discovered that Jesus was already dead, a soldier, possibly to make sure, pierced His side with a spear, and John, who was present, notices as a special fact that "there came out blood and water" (19:34). Whether this means, as Stroud and others have contended, that Jesus literally died of rupture of the heart, or what other physiological explanation may be given of the phenomenon, to which the apostle elsewhere attaches a symbolical significance (1 Joh 5:6), need not be here discussed (see BLOOD AND WATER). This, however, was not the only startling and symbolically significant fact attending the death of Jesus. A great darkness had preluded the death; now, at the hour of His termination, the veil of the temple (i.e. of the inner shrine) was rent from top to bottom--surely a sign that the way into the holiest of all was now opened for mankind (Heb 9:8,12)--and a great earthquake shook the city and rent the rocks. Mt connects with this the statement that from the tombs thus opened "many bodies of the saints .... were raised; and coming forth out of the tombs after his resurrection they entered into the holy city and appeared unto many" (27:52,53). There is nothing in itself improbable, though none of the other evangelists mention it, in such an early demonstration being given of what the Lord's death and resurrection meant for believers. In other ways the power of the cross was revealed. A dying robber had been won to penitence; now the centurion who commanded the soldiers was brought to the avowal, "Truly this was the Son of God" (Matthew, Mark; in Luke, "a righteous man"). The mood of the crowd, too, was changed since the morning; they "returned, smiting their breasts" (Lu 23:48). "Afar off," speechless with sorrow, stood the women who had followed Jesus from Galilee, with other friends and disciples. The evangelists name Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James and Joses, Salome (Mark), and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward (Luke).

2. The Burial:

(Matthew 27:57-66; compare 28:11-15; Mark 15:42-47; Luke 23:50-56; John 19:38-42)

Jesus had conquered hearts on His cross; now His death reveals friends from the wealthier classes, hitherto kept back by fear (Joh 19:38,39), who charge themselves with His honorable burial. One was Joseph of Arimathea, a just man, "looking for the kingdom of God," of whom the interesting fact is recorded that, though a member of the Sanhedrin, "he had not consented to their counsel and deed" (Luke); the other was Nicodemus, he who came to Jesus by night (Joh 3:1,2; 19:39), mentioned again only in Joh 7:50-52, where, also as a member of the Sanhedrin, he puts in a word for Jesus.

a) The New Tomb:

Joseph of Arimathea takes the lead. "Having dared," as Mr says (15:43, Gr), he begged the body of Jesus from Pilate, and having obtained it, bought linen cloth wherein to wrap it, and reverently buried it in a new rock-tomb of his own (Matthew, Mark), "where never man had yet lain" (Luke). John furnishes the further particulars that the tomb was in a "garden," near where Jesus was crucified (19:41,42). He tells also of the munificence of Nicodemus, who brought as much as 100 pounds (about 75 lbs. avoir.) of spices--"a mixture of myrrh and aloes" (19:39), with which to enwrap the body of Jesus. This is not to be thought of as an "anointing": rather, the spices formed a powder strewn between the folds of the linen bandages (compare Luthardt, Commentary on Joh 19:40). The body, thus prepared, was then placed in the tomb, and a great stone rolled to tile entrance. The burial was of necessity a very hurried one, which the holy women who witnessed it--Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses are specially mentioned (Matthew, Mark)--purposed to supplement by an anointing when the Sabbath was past (compare Lu 23:56).

b) The Guard of Soldiers:

Though Jesus was dead, the chief priests and Pharisees were far from easy in their minds about Him. Mysterious words of His had been quoted about His building of the temple in three days; possibly Judas had told something. about His sayings regarding His death and rising again on the 3rd day; in any case, His body was in the hands of His disciples, and they might remove it, and create the persuasion that He had risen. With this plea they went to Pilate, and asked from him a watch of soldiers to guard the tomb. To make assurance doubly sure, they sealed the tomb with the official seal. The result of their efforts was only, under Providence, to provide new evidence of the reality of the resurrection!

The uncertainty attaching to the site of Golgotha attaches also to the site of Joseph's rock-tomb. Opinion is about equally divided in favor of, and against, the traditional site, where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre now stands. A principal ground of uncertainty is whether that site originally lay within or without the second wall of the city (compare Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, 457 ff; G.A. Smith, Jerusalem, II, 576; a good conspectus of the different opinions, with the authorities, is given in Andrews, Part VII).


The Resurrection a Fundamental Fact:

The resurrection of Jesus, with its completion in the ascension, setting the seal of the Father's acceptance on His finished work on earth, and marking the decisive change from His state of humiliation to that of exaltation, may be called in a true sense the corner stone of Christianity (compare 1Co 15:14,17). It was on the preaching of Christ crucified and risen that the Christian church was founded (e.g. Ac 2:32-36; 1Co 15:3,4). Professor Harnack would distinguish between "the Easter faith" (that Jesus lives with God) and "the Easter message," but the church never had any Easter faith apart from the Easter message. The subversion of the fact of the resurrection is therefore a first task to which unbelief addresses itself. The modern spirit rules it out a priori as miraculous. The historical fact is denied, and innumerable theories (imposture, theories of swoon, of hallucination, mythical theories, spiritualistic theories, etc.) are invented to explain the belief. None of these theories can stand calm examination (see the writer's work, The Resurrection of Jesus). The objections are but small dust of the balance compared with the strength of the evidence for the fact. From the standpoint of faith, the resurrection of Jesus is the most credible of events. If Jesus was indeed such an One as the gospel history declares Him to be, it was impossible that death should hold Him (Ac 2:24). The resurrection, in turn, confirms His claim to be the Son of God (Ro 1:4).

1. The Resurrection:

(Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20; 21; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8)

With the narratives of the resurrection are here included as inseparably connected, those of the appearances of Jesus in Jerusalem and Galilee. The accounts will show that, while the body of Jesus was a true body, identical with that which suffered on the cross (it could be seen, touched, handled), it exhibited attributes which showed that Jesus had entered, even bodily, on a new phase of existence, in which some at least of the ordinary limitations of body were transcended. Its condition in the interval between the resurrection and the ascension was an intermediate one--no longer simply natural, yet not fully entered into the state of glorification. "I am not yet ascended .... I ascend" (Joh 20:17); in these two parts of the one saying the mystery of the resurrection body is comprised.

a) The Easter Morning--the Open Tomb:

The main facts in the resurrection narratives stand out clearly. "According to all the Gospels," the arch-skeptic Strauss concedes, "Jesus, after having been buried on the Friday evening, and lain during the Sabbath in the grave, came out of it restored to life at daybreak on Sunday" (New Life of Jesus, I, 397, English translations). Discrepancies are alleged in detail as to the time, number, and names of the women, number of angels, etc.; but most of these vanish on careful examination. The Synoptics group their material, while Joh gives a more detailed account of particular events.

(1) The Angel and the Keepers.

No eye beheld the actual resurrection, which took place in the early morning, while it was still dark. Matthew records that there was "a great earthquake," and tells of the descent of an angel of the Lord, who rolled away the stone, and sat upon it. Before his dazzling aspect the keepers became as dead men, and afterward fled. The chief priests bribed them to conceal the facts, and say the body had been stolen (Mt 28:2-4,11-15).

(2) Visit of the Women.

The first intimation of the resurrection to the disciples was the discovery of the empty tomb by the women who had come at early dawn (Mt 28:1; Mr 16:2; Lu 24:1; Joh 20:1) with spices, prepared to anoint the body of Jesus (Mr 16:1; compare Lu 23:56). Apparently ignorant of the guard, the women were concerned on their way as to who should roll away the stone from the door of the tomb (Mr 16:3), and were much surprised to find the stone rolled away, and the tomb open. There is no need for supposing that the women mentioned all came together. It is much more probable that they came in different groups or companies--perhaps Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, or these with Salome, first (Matthew, Mark; compare the "we" of Joh 20:2); then Joanna and other members of the Galilean band (Luke). (On the appearance of Jesus to Mary, see below.)

(3) The Angelic Message.

As the women stood, perplexed and affrighted, at the tomb, they received a vision of angels (Matthew and Mark speak only of one angel; Luke and John mention two; all allude to the dazzling brightness), who announced to them that Jesus had risen ("He is not here; for he is risen; .... come, see the place where the Lord lay"), and bade them tell His disciples that He went before them to Galilee, where they should see Him (Matthew, Mark; Luke, who does not record the Galilean appearances, omits this part, and recalls the words spoken by Jesus in Galilee, concerning His death and resurrection; compare Mt 16:21). The women departed with "trembling and astonishment" (Mark), yet "with great joy" (Matthew). Here the original Mr breaks off (Mr 16:8), the remaining verses being an appendix. But it is granted that Mark must originally have contained an account of the report to the disciples, and of an appearance of Jesus in Galilee.

b) Visit of Peter and John--Appearance to Mary:

(John; compare Mark 16:9,10; Luke 24:12,24)

The narrative in John enlarges in important respects those of the Synoptics. From it we learn that Mary Magdalene (no companion is named, but one at least is implied in the "we" of 20:2), concluding from the empty tomb that the body of Jesus had been removed, at once ran to carry the news to Peter and John ("They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we know not where they have laid him"). These apostles lost no time in hastening to the spot. John, who arrived first, stooping down, saw the linen cloths lying, while Peter, entering, beheld also the napkin for the head rolled up in a place by itself. After John likewise had entered ("He saw, and believed"), they returned to their home. Meanwhile Mary had come back disconsolate to the tomb, where, looking in, she, like the other women, had a vision of two angels. It was then that Jesus addressed her, "Why weepest thou?" At first she thought it was the gardener, but on Jesus tenderly naming her, "Mary," she recognized who it was, and, with the exclamation, "Rabboni" ("Teacher"), would have clasped Him, but He forbade: "Touch me not," etc. (Joh 20:17, margin "Take not hold on me"), i.e. "Do not wait, but hasten to tell my disciples that I am risen, and ascend to my Father" (the ascension-life had already begun, altering earlier relations).

Report to the Disciples--Incredulity.

The appearance of Jesus to the other women (Mt 28:9,10) is referred to below. It is probable that, on the way back, Mary Magdalene rejoined her sisters, and that the errand to the disciples--or such of them as could be found--was undertaken together. Their report was received with incredulity (Lu 24:11; compare Mr 16:11). The visit of Peter referred to in Lu 24:12 is doubtless that recorded more precisely in John.

c) Other Easter-Day Appearances (Emmaus, Jerusalem):

Ten appearances of Jesus altogether after His resurrection are recorded, or are referred to; of these five were on the day of resurrection. They are the following:

(1) The first is the appearance to Mary Magdalene above described.

(2) The second is an appearance to the women as they returned from the tomb, recorded in Mt 28:9,10. Jesus met them, saying, "All hail," and as they took hold of His feet and worshipped Him, He renewed the commission they had received for the disciples. Some regard this as only a generalization of the appearance to Mary Magdalene, but it seems distinct.

(3) An appearance to Peter, attested by both Lu 24:34 and Paul (1Co 15:5). This must have been early in the day, probably soon after Peter's visit to the tomb. No particulars are given of this interview, so marked an act of grace of the risen Lord to His repentant apostle. The news of it occasioned much excitement among the disciples (Lu 24:34).

(4) The fourth was an appearance to two disciples on their way from Jerusalem to Emmaus--a village about two hours distant (Lu 24:12-35; Mr 16:12,13). They were conversing on the sad events of the last few days, and on the strange tidings of the women's vision of angels, when Jesus overtook them, and entered into conversation with them. At first they did not recognize Him--a token, as in Mary's case, of change in His appearance--though their hearts burned within them as He opened to them the Scriptures about Christ's sufferings and glory. As the day was closing, Jesus abode with them to the evening meal; then, as He blessed and brake the bread, "Their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight" (Lu 24:30,31). They hastily rose, and returned to the company of disciples at Jerusalem. According to Mr 16:13, their testimony, like that of the women, was not at first believed.

(5) The fifth appearance was that to "the eleven," with others, in the evening--an appearance recorded by Luke (24:36 ff), and John (20:19-23), and alluded to by Paul (1Co 15:5). The disciples from Emmaus had just come in, and found the company thrilling with excitement at the news that the Lord had appeared to Simon (Luke). The doors were closed for fear of the Jews, when suddenly Jesus appeared in their midst with the salutation, "Peace be unto you" (Luke, John; doubt is unnecessarily cast on Lu 24:36,40, by their absence from some Western texts). The disciples were affrighted; they thought they had seen a spirit (Luke); "disbelieved for joy" (Lu 24:41). To remove their fears, Jesus showed them His hands and His feet (in Jn, His side), and ate before them (Luke). He then breathed on them, saying, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit," and renewed the commission formerly given to remit and retain sins (John; compare Mt 18:17,18). The breathing was anticipative of the later affusion of the Spirit at Pentecost (compare Joh 7:39; Ac 2$); the authority delegated depends for its validity on the possession of that Spirit, and its exercise according to the mind of Christ (compare e.g. 1Co 5:3). The incident strikingly illustrates at once the reality of Christ's risen body, and the changed conditions under which that body now existed.

d) The Second Appearance to the Eleven--the Doubt of Thomas:

Eight days after this first appearance--i.e. the next Sunday evening--a second appearance of Jesus to the apostles took place in the same chamber and under like conditions ("the doors being shut"). The peculiar feature of this second meeting was the removal of the doubt of Thomas who, it is related, had not been present on the former occasion. Thomas, devoted (compare Joh 11:16), but of naturally questioning temperament (Joh 14:5), refused to believe on the mere report of others that the Lord had risen, and demanded indubitable sensible evidence for himself. Jesus, at the second appearance, after salutation as before, graciously gave the doubting apostle the evidence he asked: "Reach hither thy finger, and see my hands," etc. (Joh 20:27), though, as the event proved, the sign was not needed. The faith and love of the erst-while doubter leaped forth at once in adoring confession: "My Lord and my God." It was well; but Jesus reminded him that the highest faith is not that which waits on the evidence of sense ("Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed," Joh 20:29).

e) The Galilean Appearances:

The scene now shifts for the time to Galilee. Jesus had appointed to meet with His disciples in Galilee (Mt 26:32; Mr 16:7; compare Mr 14:28). Prior, however, to this meeting--that recorded in Mt 28:16-20, probably to be identified with the appearance "to above five hundred brethren at once" mentioned by Paul (1Co 15:6)--there is another appearance of Jesus to seven disciples at the Lake of Galilee, of which the story is preserved in Joh 21:1-23.

(1) At the Sea of Tiberias--the Draught of Fishes--Peter's Restoration.

The chapter which narrates this appearance of Jesus at the Lake of Galilee ("Sea of Tiberias") is a supplement to the Gospel, but is so evidently Johannine in character that it may safely be accepted as from the pen of the beloved disciple (thus Lightfoot, Meyer, Godet, Alford, etc.). The appearance itself is described as the third to the disciples (Joh 21:14), i.e. the third to the apostles collectively, and in Jn's record seven disciples are stated to have been present, of whom five are named--Peter, Thomas, Nathaniel (probably to be identified with Bartholomew), and the sons of Zebedee, James and John. The disciples had spent the night in fishing without result. In the morning Jesus--yet unrecognized--appeared on the beach, and bade them cast down their net on the right side of the boat. The draught of fishes which they took revealed to John the presence of the Master. "It is the Lord," he said to Peter, who at once flung himself into the lake to go to Jesus. On landing, the disciples found a fire of coals, with fish placed on it, and bread; and Jesus Himself, after more fish had been brought, distributed the food, and, it seems implied, Himself shared in the meal. Still a certain awe--another indication of a mysterious change in Christ's appearance--restrained the disciples from asking openly, "Who art thou?" (Joh 21:12). It was not long, however ("when they had broken their fast"), before Jesus sufficiently disclosed Himself in the touching episode of the restoration of Peter (the three-fold question, "Lovest thou me?" answering to the three-fold denial, met by Peter's heartfelt, "Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee," with the words of reinstatement, "Feed my lambs," "Feed my sheep"). In another way, Jesus foretold that Peter would have the opportunity of taking back his denial in the death by which he should glorify God (Joh 21:18,19; tradition says he was crucified head-downward). Curious inquiries were set aside, and attention recalled to duty, "Follow thou me" (Joh 21:22).

(2) On the Mountain--the Great Commission--Baptism.

Though only the eleven apostles are named in Matthew's account (Mt 28:16), the fact of an `appointment' for a definite time and place ("the mountain"), and the terms in which the message was given to the "disciples," suggests a collective gathering such as is implied in Paul's "above five hundred brethren at once" (1Co 15:6). The company being assembled, Jesus appeared; still, at first, with that element of mystery in His appearance, which led some to doubt (Mt 28:17). Such doubt would speedily vanish when the Lord, announcing Himself as clothed with all authority in heaven and earth, gave to the apostles the supreme commission to "make disciples of all the nations" (Mt 28:18-20; compare Mr 16:15, "Go ye into all tho world" etc.). Discipleship was to be shown by baptism "into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (one name, yet threefold), and was to be followed by instruction in Christ's commands. Behind the commission, world-wide in its scope, and binding on every age, stands the word of never-failing encouragement, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Doubts of the genuineness of these august utterances go as a rule with doubt of the resurrection itself.

It will be noticed that the Lord's Supper and Baptism are the only sacraments instituted by Jesus in His church.

f) Appearance to James:

Paul records, as subsequent to the above, an appearance of Jesus to James, known as "the Lord's brother" (1Co 15:7; compare Ga 1:19). No particulars are given of this appearance, which may have occurred either in Galilee or Jerusalem. James, so far as known, was not a believer in Jesus before the crucifixion (compare Joh 7:3); after the ascension he and the other brethren of Jesus are found in the company of the disciples (Ac 1:14), and he became afterward a chief "pillar" of the church at Jerusalem (Ga 1:19; 2:9). This appearance may have marked the turning-point.

g) The Last Meeting:

The final appearance of Jesus to the apostles (1Co 15:7) is that which Luke in the closing verses of his Gospel (Lu 24:44-53), and in Ac 1:3-12, brings into direct relation with the ascension. In the Gospel Luke proceeds without a break from the first appearance of Jesus to "the eleven" to His last words about "the promise of my Father"; but Ac 1 shows that a period of 40 days really elapsed during which Jesus repeatedly "appeared" to those whom He had chosen. This last meeting of Jesus with His apostles was mainly occupied with the Lord's exposition of the prophetic Scriptures (Lu 24:44-46), with renewed commands to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in His name, "beginning from Jerusalem" (Lu 24:47,48; compare Ac 1:8), and with the injunction to tarry in Jerusalem till the Spirit should be given (Lu 24:49; compare Ac 1:4,5). Then He led them forth to Olivet, "over against Bethany," and, while blessing them, "was carried up into heaven" (Lu 24:50,51; compare Ac 1:10,12).

2. The Ascension:

(Luke 24:50-53; Ac 1:6-14; compare Mark 16:19)

Jesus had declared, "I ascend unto my Father" (Joh 20:17), and Luke in Ac 1 narrates the circumstances of that departure. Jesus might simply have "vanished" from the sight of His disciples, as on previous occasions, but it was His will to leave them in a way which would visibly mark the final close of His association with them. They are found, as in the Gospel, "assembled" with Him at Jerusalem, where His final instructions are given. Then the scene insensibly changes to Olivet, where the ascension is located (Ac 1:12). The disciples inquire regarding the restoration of the kingdom to Israel (even yet their minds are held in these temporal conceptions), but Jesus tells them that it is not for them to know times and seasons, which the Father had set within His own authority (Ac 1:7). Far more important was it for them to know that within the next days they should receive power from the Holy Spirit to be witnesses for Him to the uttermost part of the earth (Ac 1:8). Even as He spake, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight (Ac 1:9). Then, as the apostles stood gazing upward, two heavenly messengers appeared, who comforted them with the assurance that in like manner as they had seen Jesus ascend into heaven, so also would He come again. For that return the church still prays and waits (compare Re 22:20).

See, further, ASCENSION.

Retracing their steps to Jerusalem, the apostles joined the larger company of disciples in the "upper room" where their meetings seem to have been habitually held, and there, with one accord, to the number of about 120 (Ac 1:15), they all continued steadfastly in prayer till "the promise of the Father" (Lu 24:49; Ac 1:4) was, at Pentecost, bestowed upon them.


1. After the Ascension:

The earthly life of Jesus is finished. With His resurrection and ascension a new age begins. Yet the work of Christ continues. As Luke expressively phrases it in Ac 1:1,2, the Gospels are but the records of "all that Jesus began both to do and to teach, until the day in which he was received up." It is beyond the scope of this article to trace the succeeding developments of Christ's activity through His church and by His Spirit; in order, however, to bring the subject to a proper close, it is necessary to glance, even if briefly, at the light thrown back by the Spirit's teachings, after the ascension, on the significance of the earthly life itself, and at the enlargement of the apostles' conceptions about Christ, consequent on this, as seen in the Epistles and the Apocalypse.

2. Revelation through the Spirit:

It was the promise of Jesus that, after His departure, the Spirit would be given to His disciples, to teach them all things, and bring to their remembrance all that He had said to them (Joh 14:26). It was not a new revelation they were to receive, but illumination and guidance of their minds into the meaning of what they had received already (Joh 16:13-15). This promise of the Spirit was fulfilled at Pentecost (Ac 2). Only a few personal manifestations of Jesus (Ac 7:55,56; 22:17,18; 23:11) are recorded after that event--the two chief being the appearance to Paul on the way to Damascus (1Co 15:8; compare Ac 9:3 , etc.), and the appearance in vision to John in Patmos (Re 1:10 ). The rest was internal revelation (compare Ga 1:12,16; Eph 1:17; 3:3-5). The immense advance in enlargement and clearness of view--aided, no doubt, by Christ's parting instructions (Lu 24:44-48; Ac 1:2)--is already apparent in Peter's discourses at Pentecost; but it is not to be supposed that much room was not left for after-growth in knowledge, and deepened insight into the connection of truths. Peter, e.g., had to be instructed as to the admission of the Gentiles (Ac 10:11); the apostles had much gradually to learn as to the relations of the law (compare Ac 15; 21:20 ff; Ga 2, etc.); Paul received revelations vastly widening the doctrinal horizon; both John and Paul show progressive apprehension in the truth about Christ.

3. Gospels and Epistles:

It is therefore a question of much interest how the apostolic conceptions thus gained stand related to the picture of Jesus we have been studying in the Gospels. It is the contention of the so-called "historical" (anti-supernaturalistic) school of the day that the two pictures do not correspond. The transcendental Christ of Paul and John has little in common, it is affirmed, with the Man of Nazareth of the Synoptic Gospels. Theories of the "origins of Christianity" are concocted proceeding on this assumption (compare Pfieiderer, Weizsacker, Bousset, Wernle, etc.). Such speculations ignore the first conditions of the problem in not accepting the self-testimony of Jesus as to who He was, and the ends of His mission into the world. When Jesus is taken at His own valuation, and the great fact of His resurrection is admitted, the alleged contradictions between the "Jesus of history" and the "Christ of faith" largely disappear.

4. Fact of Christ's Lordship:

It is forgotten how great a change in the center of gravity in the conception of Christ's person and work was necessarily involved in the facts of Christ's death, resurrection and exaltation to the right hand of power. The life is not ignored--far from it. Its influence breathes in every page, e.g. of Paul's epistles. But the weakness, the limitations, the self-suppression--what Paul in Php 2:7 calls the "emptying"--of that earthly life have now been left behind; the rejected and crucified One has now been vindicated, exalted, has entered into His glory. This is the burden of Peter's first address at Pentecost: "God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified" (Ac 2:36). Could anything look quite the same after that? The change is seen in the growing substitution of the name "Christ" for "Jesus" (see at beginning of article), and in the habitual speaking of Jesus as "Lord."

5. Significance of Christ's Person:

With belief in the lordship of Jesus went necessarily an enlarged conception of the significance of His person. The elements were all there in what the disciples had seen and known of Jesus while on earth (Joh 1:14; 1 Joh 1:1-3), but His exaltation not only threw back light upon His claims while on earth--confirmed, interpreted, completed them--but likewise showed the ultimate ground of these claims in the full Divine dignity of His person. He who was raised to the throne of Divine dominion; who was worshipped with honors due to God only; who was joined, with Father and with Holy Spirit as, coordinately, the source of grace and blessing, must in the fullest sense be Divine. There is not such a thing as honorary Godhead. In this is already contained in substance everything taught about Jesus in the epistles: His preexistence (the Lord's own words had suggested this, Joh 8:58; 17:5, etc.), His share in Divine attributes (eternity, etc.), in Divine works (creation, etc., 1Co 8:6; Col 1:16,17; Heb 1:2; Re 1:8; 3:14, etc.), in Divine worship (Php 2:9-11; Re 5:11,12, etc.), in Divine names and titles (Heb 1:8, etc.). It is an extension of the same conception when Jesus is represented as the end of creation--the "Head" in whom all things are finally to be summed up (Eph 1:10; compare Heb 2:6-9). These high views of the person of Christ in the Epistles are everywhere assumed to be the possession of the readers.

Jesus had furnished His disciples with the means of understanding His death as a necessity of His Messianic vocation, endured for the salvation of the world; but it was the resurrection and exaltation which shed light on the utmost meaning of this also. Jesus died, but it was for sins. He was a propitiation for the sin of the world (Ro 3:25; 1 Joh 2:2; 4:10). He was `made sin' for us (2Co 5:21).

6. Significance of the Cross and Resurrection:

The strain of Isa 53 runs through the New Testament teaching on this theme (compare 1Pe 1:19; 2:22-25, etc.). Jesus' own word "ransom" is reproduced by Paul (1Ti 2:6). The song of the redeemed is, "Thou didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe," etc. (Re 5:9). Is it wonderful, in view of this, that in the apostolic writings--not in Paul only, but in Pet, in Jn, in He, and Rev, equally--the cross should assume the decisive importance it does? Paul only works out more fully in relation to the law and the sinner's justification a truth shared by all. He himself declares it to be the common doctrine of the churches (1Co 15:3,4).

7. Hope of the Advent:

The newer tendency is to read an apocalyptic character into nearly all the teaching of Jesus (compare Schweitzer, Quest of the Historical Jesus). This is an exaggeration, but that Jesus taught His disciples to look for His coming again, and connected with that coming the perfection of His kingdom, is plain to every reader of the Gospels. It will not be denied that the apostolic church retained this feature of the teaching of Jesus. In accordance with the promise in Ac 1:11, it looked for the glorious reappearing of its Lord. The Epistles are full of this hope. Even Joh gives it prominence (1Joh 2:28; 3:2). In looking for the parousia as something immediately at hand, the early believers went even beyond what had been revealed, and Paul had to rebuke harmful tendencies in this direction (2Th 2). The hope might be cherished that the coming would not long be delayed, but in face of the express declarations of Jesus that no one, not the angels, not even the Son, knew of that day and hour (Mt 24:36; Mr 13:32), and that the Father had set these things in His own authority (Ac 1:7; compare also such intimations as in Mt 13:30; 24:14; 25:19; 28:19; Lu 19:11, etc.), none could affirm this with certainty. Time has proved--proved it even in the apostolic age (2Pe 3:3,4)--that the Advent was not so near as many thought. In part, perhaps, the church itself may be to blame for the delay. Still to faith the Advent remains the great fixed event of the future, the event which overshadows all others--in that sense is ever near--the polestar of the church's confidence that righteousness shall triumph, the dead shall be raised, sin shall be judged and the kingdom of God shall come.


The literature on the life and teaching of Jesus is so voluminous, and represents such diverse standpoints, that it would be unprofitable to furnish an extended catalogue of it. It may be seen prefixed to any of the larger books. On the skeptical and rationalistic side the best account of the literature will be found in Schweitzer's book, From Reimarus to Wrede (English translation, Quest of the Historical Jesus). Of modern believing works may be specially named those of Lange, Weiss, Ellicott Edersheim, Farrar, D. Smith. Dr. Sanday's book, The Life of Christ in Recent Research, surveys a large part of the field, and is preparatory to an extended Life from Dr. Sanday's own pen. His article in HDB has justly attracted much attention. Schurer's Hist of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ (ET, 5 volumes; a new German edition has been published) is the best authority on the external conditions. The works on New Testament Biblical theology (Reuss, Weiss, Schmid, Stevens, etc.) deal with the teaching of Jesus; see also Wendt, The Teaching of Jesus (ET). Works and articles on the Chronology, on Harmony of the Gospels, on geography and topography (compare especially Stanley, G.A. Smith) are legion. A good, comprehensive book on these topics is Andrews, Life of our Lord (revised edition). The present writer has published works on The Virgin Birth of Christ and The Resurrection of Jesus. On the relations of gospel and epistle, see J. Denney, Jesus and the Gospel.


James Orr

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