International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
CHRIST, OFFICES OF
General Titles of our Lord
I. CHRIST'S MEDIATION EXPRESSED IN THE SPECIFIC OFFICES
Historical Review of the Theory
II. THE THREEFOLD OFFICE IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
The Failure of the Offices to Secure Their Desired Ends
III. THE PROPHET
The Forecast of the True Prophet
IV. CHRIST THE PROPHET
1. Christ's Manner of Teaching
2. Christ as Prophet in His Church
V. THE PRIESTHOOD OF CHRIST
1. Judaic Priesthood
2. Sacrificial Relations of Christ in the Gospels
3. Christ's Ethical Teaching Affected by Sacrificial Ideas
4. Mutual Confirmations of the Synoptics
5. The Dual Outgrowth of Sacrifice, the Victim and Sacrificer
6. Christ's Priesthood in the Apostolic Ministry and Epistles
7. The Crowning Testimony of the Epistle to the Hebrews
8. Christ's Relation to Sin Expressed in Sacrificial Terms
VI. CHRIST'S KINGLY OFFICE
The Breakdown of the Secular Monarchy
VII. THE MESSIANIC BASIS OF THE THREEFOLD OFFICE OF THE LORD
General Titles of our Lord:
This term has been used by theologians to describe the various characters of our Lord's redemptive work. Many appellative and metaphorical titles are found in Scripture for Christ, designative of His Divine and human natures and His work: God (John 20:28); Lord (Matthew 22:43, 14); Word (John 1:1, 14); Son of God (Matthew 3:17 Luke 1:35 Colossians 1:15 1 John 5:20); Firstborn from the dead (Colossians 1:18); Beginning of the Creation of God (Revelation 3:14); Image of God (2 Corinthians 4:4); Express Image of His Person (Hebrews 1:3 the King James Version); Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1:8; Revelation 22:13); Son of Man (Matthew 8:20 John 1:51 Acts 7:56); Son of David (Matthew 9:27; Matthew 21:9); Last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45, 47); Captain of Salvation (Hebrews 2:10 margin); Saviour (Luke 2:11 John 4:42 Acts 5:31); Redeemer (Isaiah 59:20 Titus 2:14); Author and Perfecter of Faith (Hebrews 12:2); Light of the World (John 8:12); Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36); Creator of all things (John 1:3, 10); Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5); Prophet (Deuteronomy 18:15 Luke 24:19); Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14); King (Luke 1:33 Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16); Way, Truth and Life (John 14:6). These and many others express the mediatorial office of the Lord. As mediator, He stands between God and Man, revealing the Father to man, and expressing the true relation of man to God. The term (Greek mesites), moreover, signifies messenger, interpreter, advocate, surety or pledge in Galatians 3:19, 20, where a covenant is declared to be assured by the hand of one who intervenes. Thus the covenant is confirmed and fulfilled by Him who secures that its stipulations should be carried out, and harmony is restored where before there had been difference and separation (1 Timothy 2:5 Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 12:24). Thus is expressed the purpose of God to redeem mankind by mediation.
I. Christ's Mediation Expressed in the Specific Offices.
In presenting a systematic idea of this Redemptive Work of Christ by Mediation, Christian thought gave to it a harmonious character by choosing the most general and familiar titles of the Lord as the most inclusive categories expressive of the mode of Redemption. These were prophetic, priestly and regal.
Historical Review of the Theory:
The first trace of this division is found in Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica, I, 3, and his Demonstratio Evangelica, IV, 15. It was accepted very largely in the Greek church, and continues to be used by Russian ecclesiastical writers. The Roman church has not so generally followed it, though it is found in the writings of many Roman theologians. The earlier reformers, especially Lutheran, ignored it. But Gerhard employed it and the Lutheran theologians followed his example, although some of these repudiated it, as Ernesti, Doderlein and Knapp. Calvin employed the division in his Institutes, II, 15. It was incorporated in the Heidelberg Catechism and has been adopted by most theologians of the Reformed church and by English and American divines. In Germany most theological writers, such as De Wette, Schleiermacher, Tholuck, Nitzsch, Ebrard, adopt it, affirming it as expressive of the essential quality of the work of redemption, and the most complete presentment of its contents. The justification of this position is found in the important place occupied in the progress of revelation by those to whom were entrusted the duties of teaching and leading men in relation to God in the offices of priest, prophet and king. Even the modern development of Christian thought which extends the view of Divine dealing with man over the entire race and its religious history, not excluding those who would find in the most recent conditions of the world's life the outworking of the will of God in the purposes of human salvation, cannot discover any better form of expressing Christ's relation to man than in terms of the prophetic, the priestly and the governmental offices. The prophet is the instrument of teaching: the priest expresses the ethical relation of man to God; while the king furnishes the typical form of that exercise of sovereign authority and Providential direction which concerns the practical life of the race.
II. The Threefold Office in the Old Testament.
From the close relation which Jesus in both His person and work bore to the Old Testament dispensation, it is natural to turn to the preparatory history of the early Scriptures for the first notes of these mediatorial offices. That the development of the Jewish people and system ever moved toward Christ as an end and fulfillment is universally acknowledged. The vague and indeterminate conditions of both the religious and national life of Israel manifest a definite movement toward a clearer apprehension of man's relationship to God. Nothing is more clear in Israel's history than the gradual evolution of official service both of church and state, as expressed in the persons and duties of the prophet, the priest and the king. The early patriarch contained in himself the threefold dignity, and discharged the threefold duty. As the family became tribal, and the tribe national, these duties were divided. The order of the household was lost for a while in the chaos of the larger and less homogeneous society. The domestic altar was multiplied in many "high places." Professional interpreters of more or less religious value began to be seers, and here and there, prophets. The leadership of the people was occasional, ephemeral and uncertain. But the men of Divine calling appeared from time to time; the foundation work of Moses was built on; the regular order of the worship of Yahweh, notwithstanding many lapses, steadily prevailed. Samuel gave dignity to his post as judge, and he again beheld the open vision of the Lord; he offered the appointed sacrifices; he established the kingly office; and although he was not permitted to see the family of David on the throne, like Moses he beheld afar off the promised land of a Divinely appointed kingdom. With the accession of the Davidic house, the three orders of God's service were completely developed. The king was seated on the throne, the priest was ministering at the one altar of the nation, the prophet with the Divine message was ever at hand to teach, to guide and to rebuke.
The Failure of the Offices to Secure Their Desired Ends:
Notwithstanding this growth of the special institutions-prophet, priest and king-the religious and national condition was by no means satisfactory. The kingdom was divided; external foes threatened the existence of the nation; idolatry was not extinguished, and the prophets who were true to Yahweh were compelled to warn and rebuke the sins of the rulers and the people, and even to testify against the priests for their unfaithfulness to the truth and purity of the religion which they professed. The best hopes of Israel and the Divine promises seem thus to be contradicted by the constant failure of the people to realize their best ideals. Hence, slowly arose a vague expectation of reform. The idea of the better condition which was coming grew ever more distinct, and settled down at length to Israel's Messianic hope, expressed in various forms, finally converging to the looking for of one who should in some mysterious way gather into himself the ideas which belonged especially to the three great offices.
III. The Prophet.
In this article we are concerned only with the offices as they tend to their fulfillment in Christ. For the more general treatment of each office, reference must be made to the special articles.
The Forecast of the True Prophet:
The first appearance of the idea of the special prophet of Yahweh is in Deuteronomy 18:15. Moses had been sent by the people to hear the Lord's words on their behalf (Exodus 20:19 Deuteronomy 5:27); and this incident in the later passage of Deuteronomy 18:15-22 is connected with the promise of a prophet, while at the same time reference is made to the general fact of prophecy and the conditions of its validity and acceptance. Here we find the germ of the expectation of the Prophet, which occupied so large a place in the mind of Israel. In the act of the people sending Moses to receive the word, and Yahweh's promise to send a prophet whom they would accept, we see also the suggestion of a distinction between the first dispensation and the latter. The Divine promise was to the effect that what was given by Moses God would consummate in a prophetic revelation through a person. The conception of this personality is found in the second part of Isaiah (40-66). Isaiah's mission was vain, Isaiah 49:4, but the coming one shall prevail, 49-53 (passim). But the success of this servant of Yahweh was not to be only as a prophet, but by taking on himself the penalty of sin (Isaiah 53:5), and by being made an offering for sin; and as Mighty Victor triumphing over all foes (Isaiah 53:10-12), the dignities of whose kingship are set forth in various parts of the prophetic writings. Thus the general effect of the course of the earlier revelation may be summed up in this prophetic ministry with which has been combined a priestly and a royal character. It was an ever-advancing manifestation of the nature and will of God, delivered by inspired men who spake at sundry times and in divers manners, but whose message was perfected and extended by Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1), who thus became the Prophet of the Lord.
IV. Christ the Prophet.
Christ's ministry illustrates the prophetic office in the most extensive and exalted sense of the term. He was designed and appointed by the Father (Isaiah 61:1, 2; compare Luke 4:16-21 Matthew 17:5). In 1 Corinthians 1:30, Christ is declared to be made to us wisdom. His intimate knowledge of God (John 1:18 Matthew 11:27 John 16:15), the qualities of His teaching dependent upon His nature, both Divine and human (John 3:34); His authority (John 1:9, 17, 18 Luke 4:18-21); His knowledge of God (Mark 12:29 John 4:24 Matthew 11:25 John 17:11, 25 Matthew 18:35)-these all peculiarly fitted Christ to be the Revealer of God. Besides His doctrine of God, His ministry included the truth concerning Himself, His nature, claims, mission, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, and the religious life of man. He taught as none other the foundation of religion, the facts on which it was based, the essence of Divine service, the nature of sin, the grace of God, the means of atonement, the laws of the kingdom of God and the future state. By the acknowledgment of even those who have denied His Divine nature and redemptive work, He has been recognized as the Supreme Moral Teacher of the world. His claim to be the Prophet is seen in that He is the source of the ever-extending revelation of the eternal. His own words and works He declared were only part of the fuller knowledge which would be furnished by the system which He established (Luke 9:45; Luke 18:34 John 12:16; John 14:26; John 15:26; John 16:12, 13, 14).
1. Christ's Manner of Teaching:
How remarkable was His method of teaching! Parable, proverb, absolute affirmation, suggestion, allusion to simple objects, practical life-these all made His teaching powerful, easily understood, living; sometimes His action was His word-and all with a commanding dignity and gracious winsomeness, that was felt by His hearers and has ever been recognized (Matthew 7:29). So perfect and exalted was the teaching of Jesus that many have supposed that revelation ceased with Him, and the immediate followers whom He especially inspired to be His witnesses and interpreters. Certainly in Him the prophetic ministry culminated.
2. Christ as Prophet in His Church:
An important aspect of Christ's prophetic office is that of His relation to the church as the source, through the instrumentality of His Spirit, of ever-enlarging knowledge of Divine truth which it has been able to gain. This is the real significance of the claim which some churches make to be the custodians and interpreters of the tradition of faith, with which has also gone theory of development-not as a human act but as a ministration of the Lord through His Spirit, which is granted to the church. Even those who hold that all Divine truth is to be found in the sacred Scriptures have yet maintained that God has much truth still to bring out of His word by the leading and direction of the Spirit of Jesus. The Scripture itself declares that Christ was the light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world (John 1:9). He Himself promised that the Spirit which He would give would guide His followers into all truth (John 16:13). The apostles claimed to receive their teaching and direction of the church from the Lord (1 Corinthians 11:23). The testimony of Jesus is definitely declared to be the spirit of prophecy (Revelation 19:10). Indeed, all the apostolic writings in almost every line affirm that what they teach is received from the Spirit, who is the Spirit of the Lord.
V. The Priesthood of Christ.
1. Judaic Priesthood:
For the history of the development of the priesthood of Israel on which our Lord's High-Priesthood is ideally based, reference must be made to the article especially dealing of with that subject. The bearings of that institution upon the work of Jesus as Redeemer alone fall under this section. Judaism like all religions developed an extensive system priestly service. As the moral sense of the people enlarged and became more distinct, the original simplicity of sacrifice, especially as a commensal act, in which the unity of the celebrants with each other and with God was expressed, was expanded into acts regularly performed by officials, in which worship, thanksgiving, covenant and priestly expiation and atonement were clearly and definitely expressed. The progress of sacrifice may be seen in the history of the Old Testament from Cain and Abel's (Genesis 4:3, 4), Noah's (Genesis 8:20), Abraham's covenant (Genesis 15:9-18), etc., to the elaborate services of the Mosaic ritual set forth in Lev, the full development of which is found only in the later days of Israel. When Christ appeared, the entire sacerdotal system had become incorporated in the mind, customs and language of the people. They had learned more or less distinctly the truth of man's relation to God in its natural character, and especially in that aspect where man by his sin had separated himself from God and laid himself open to the penalty of law. The conception of priesthood had thus grown in the consciousness of Israel, as the necessary instrument of mediation between man and God. Priestly acts were performed on behalf of the worshipper. The priest was to secure for man the Divine favor. This could only be gained by an act of expiation. Something must be done in order to set forth the sin of man, his acknowledgment of guilt, the satisfaction of the law, and the assurance of the Divine forgiveness, the restored favor of God and finally the unity of man and God.
2. Sacrificial Relations of Christ in the Gospels:
That the work of Christ partook of the nature of priestly service is already indicated by references in the Gospels themselves. He was called "Jesus; for it is he that shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Salvation from sin, in the habit of thought at which the Jew had arrived, must have expressed itself most clearly in the symbolic signification of the sacrifices in the temple. Thus in the very name which our Lord received His priesthood is suggested. The frankincense of the Magi's offering is not without its mystical meaning (Matthew 2:11). Some may find in the Baptist's words, "baptize you in the Holy Spirit and in fire" (Matthew 3:11), a suggestion of priestly action, for the understanding of John's declaration must be found in the conventional ideas of the Jewish thought of the period, determined as they undoubtedly were by the history of priestly service in the past and the fully developed ritual of the temple. The baptizing of the proselyte was not necessarily a priestly act, as indeed we cannot be certain that the baptism was always necessary at the introduction of a proselyte into the Jewish church. But the association of circumcision with the initiation of the proselyte certainly introduced the priest, and the sprinkling of the congregation by the priest was a familiar part of his official duties. It is quite probable therefore that John's use of the expression carried with it something of the sacerdotal idea.
3. Christ's Ethical Teaching Affected by Sacrificial Ideas:
The spirit of our Lord's teaching, as seen in the Sermon on the Mount, etc., as it reflects the thought of the Galilean ministry, may be regarded as prophetic rather than priestly. Still the end of the teaching was righteousness, and it was impossible for a Jew to conceive of the securing of righteousness without some reference to priestly administration and influence. The contrast of the effect of Christ's teaching with that of the scribes (Matthew 7:29) keeps us in the vicinity of the law as applied through the sacerdotal service of which the scribes were the interpreters and teachers, and surely therefore a hint of our Lord's relation to priesthood may have found its way into the minds of His immediate hearers. He was careful to recognize the authority of the priest (Matthew 8:4). The doctrine of sacrifice emerges somewhat more distinctly in the reference to the cross, which our Lord associates with the thought of finding life by losing it (Matthew 16:24, 25), and when the taking up the cross is interpreted by following Christ, and this hint is soon followed by Christ's distinct reference to His coming sufferings (Matthew 17:9, 12), more definitely referred to in Matthew 17:22, 23. Now the object of the work of the Lord takes clearer form. The Son of Man is come to save that which was lost (Matthew 18:11 the American Revised Version, margin). As the time of the catastrophe drew nearer, the Lord became still more distinct in His references to His coming death (Matthew 20:18, 19), and at length declares that "the Son of man came. to give his life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28). our Lord's quotations (Matthew 21:42; Matthew 23:39) concerning the rejected "corner stone," and the Blessed One "that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Psalm 118:22, 26), are drawn from a psalm filled with the spirit of the priestly service of the temple, and in their reference to Himself again illustrate the ever-increasing recognition of His priesthood. He also uses the official term "Christ" (Messiah, the anointed one) more frequently (Matthew 24:5, 23, 14). On the eve of the betrayal and trial the crucifixion is clearly foretold (Matthew 26:2); and the death (Matthew 26:12). The full significance of the death is asserted at the institution of the Lord's Supper. The bread is "my body," the wine is "my blood of the new covenant," and it is declared to be "poured out for many unto remission of sins" (Matthew 26:26-28 margin).
4. Mutual Confirmations of the Synoptics:
A similar succession of ideas of our Lord's priestly work may be found in the other gospels (see Mark 1:8, 44; Mark 8:29; see below on the significance of the term Christ; Mark 8:31, 34; Mark 9:9, 10). The inability of the disciples to understand the life that was to follow death here is indicated-the truth of the gospel of death and resurrection so closely bound up with the conception of sacrifice, where the blood is the life which given becomes the condition of the new union with God, being thus revealed by Christ as the initial doctrine to be continuously enlarged (Mark 9:31; Mark 10:21, 33, 14, 45; 11:09; 12:10; 13:21, 22; 14:8, 22-25, 61, 62). In Luke the priestly "atmosphere" is introduced in the earliest part of the narrative, the history of Zacharias and Elisabeth giving emphasis to the setting of John's own mission (Luke 1). The name Jesus (Luke 1:31); the special relation of the new kingdom to sin, necessarily connected with sacrifice in the mind of a priest, found in Zacharias' psalm (Luke 1:77, 78); the subtle suggestion of the Suffering One in the "also" of Luke 2:35 the King James Version (the American Standard Revised Version omits) shows that the third Gospel is quite in line with the two other Synoptics (see also Luke 3:3; Luke 5:14). The claim to forgive sins must have suggested the sacrificial symbol of remission (Luke 5:24; Luke 9:23; Luke 13:35; Luke 14:27; Luke 18:31; Luke 20:14; Luke 22:19, 20; 24:7, 26, 46, 47). In the Fourth Gospel, we have the word of the Baptist, "Behold, the Lamb of God" (John 1:29, 36), where Christ's relation to sin is distinctly expressed (see LAMB OF GOD)-the baptism in the Spirit (John 1:33). It is highly probable that the apostle John was the "other" of the two disciples, (John 1:40) and, having heard the Baptist's words, is the only evangelist who records them, thus introducing from his personal knowledge the sacrificial idea earlier into his history than the Synoptics. Christ declares that He will give His life for the life of the world (John 6:51). The entire passage (John 6:47-65) is suffused with the conception of "life for life," one of the elements constituting the conception of the sacrificial act. In John 8:28 (compare John 3:14; John 12:32) Christ predicts His crucifixion. The Good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep (John 10:15). In John 10:17, 18, Christ claims the power to lay down His life and to take it again. He is the sacrifice and the Sacrificer.
5. The Dual Outgrowth of Sacrifice, the Victim and Sacrificer:
Here appears for the first time the double relation of Christ to the sacrificial idea, worked out in the later thought of the church into the full significance of our Lord's priestly office. In John 11:25, 26 Christ is the source of life, and life after death. It is hardly possible that this conception should not have, even if remotely suggested, some reference to the significance of sacrifice; for in the sacrifices the Divine claim for the blood, as specially to be set apart as the Divine portion, was ever present. God ever claimed the blood as His; for to Him the life was forfeited by sin. And moreover He alone possesses life and gives it. Of that forfeit and that Divine sovereignty of life, sacrifice is the expression. This is fully realized and made actual in Christ's life and death for man, in which man shares by His unity with Christ. Man at once receives the penalty of sin in dying with Christ, and rises again into the new life which our Lord opened, and of which He is the ceaseless energy and power through the spirit of God. The emergence of this idea is illustrated by the evangelist in the sayings of Caiaphas, where as the high priest of the nation he gives, though unconsciously, a significant expression to the truth that it was "expedient" that Jesus `should die for the nation and for the children of God everywhere scattered' (John 11:47-52). Here the symbolic significance of sacrifice is practically realized: death in the place of another and the giving of life to those for whom the sacrifice was offered. The vitalizing power of Christ's death is asserted in the discourse following the visit of the Greeks (John 12:24-33). The idea of life from the dying seed is associated with the conception of the power of attraction and union by the cross. The natural law of life through death is thus in harmony with the gift of life through sacrifice involving death. That sacrifice may be found much more widely than merely in death, is shown by the law of service illustrated in the washing of the disciples' feet (13:14-17); and this is declared to spring out of love (John 15:13). For the priestly ideas of our Lord's prayer (John 17) see INTERCESSION; INTERCESSION OF CHRIST; PRAYERS OF CHRIST.
6. Christ's Priesthood in the Apostolic Ministry and Epistles:
Christ's priestly office finds illustration in the Acts of the Apostles, in the apostolic declaration of Christ's Messianic office, not only Lord, but also Christ the Anointed One (Acts 2:36). Peter's reference to the stone which completed the temple, the service of which was essentially sacrificial, as the Symbol of Christ, the Crown of that Spiritual Temple (Acts 4:11); Philip's application of the passage in Isaiah of the sheep led to the slaughter (Isaiah 53:7, 8) to our Lord (Acts 8:32, 35); Peter's discourse to Cornelius, culminating in the remission of sins through Christ (Acts 10:43)-all indicates the steady growth in the apostolic ministry of the conception of our Lord's priestly office. The idea takes its most distinct form in Paul's sermon at Antioch (Acts 13:38, 39).
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CHRIST, THE EXALTATION OF
I. THE RESURRECTION
1. Its Glorification of Christ
2. Resurrection Body-Identity, Change, Present Locality
3. The Agent of the Resurrection
II. ASCENSION OF OUR LORD
1. Its Actuality
2. General Doctrine of the Church
3. Lutheran Doctrine
4. Theory of Laying Aside the Existence-Form of God
III. EXALTATION TO THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD
1. Its Significance
2. Its Essential Necessity
V. THE SECOND ADVENT
This term is given to that condition of blessedness, glory and dominion into which our Lord entered after the completion of His earthly career of humiliation and suffering, and which is to be regarded as the reward of His meritorious obedience, and the issue of His victorious struggle, and at the same time the means of His prosecution and completion of His work as Redeemer and Saviour of the world. The classic passage of Scripture, rich in suggestion, and the source of much controversy in the development of Christian theology, is Philippians 2:5-11. The word "exalted" of Philippians 2:9, huperupsoo, occurs only in this place in the New Testament and, like its Latin representative, is limited to ecclesiastical use. Compare Romans 14:9 Ephesians 1:19-23 1 Peter 3:21, 22.
Christ's Exaltation includes His Resurrection, Ascension, Session at the right hand of God, and Advent as Judge and Consummator of the world's redemption.
I. The Resurrection.
1. Its Glorification of Christ:
The historic place and validity of this event will be found under other heads; our concern is with the event as it relates to the glorification of our Lord.
(1) It revealed His power over death.
(2) It confirms all His claims to Divine Sonship.
(3) It attests His acceptance and that of His work by God.
(4) It crowns the process of the redemption of the world.
(5) It forms the beginning of that new creation which is life eternal, and over which death can have no power.
(6) It is the entrance of the Son of God into the power and glory of the New Kingdom, or the restored Kingdom of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe.
The following Scriptures among many others may be consulted: Revelation 1:18 Acts 2:24 Romans 1:4 1 Corinthians 15:20; John 5:25 Romans 4:25 Romans 6:4, 5 Colossians 2:12 Philippians 3:10; Romans 6:9.
2. Resurrection Body-Identity, Change, Present Locality:
An interesting and important question arises in connection with Christ's exaltation, relating to the nature of the body of the risen Lord. It was clearly identical with that of His natural life. It was recognized by the marks which were upon it: Luke 24:39, 40 John 20:24-29. It received food: Luke 24:43 (compare Luke 24:30; John 21:12, 13 Acts 10:41). Nevertheless it was changed. After the resurrection, it was not at once recognized: John 20:15; John 21:7 Luke 24:31. It appeared under apparently new conditions of relation to material substance: John 20:19 Luke 24:36. It suddenly became visible, and as suddenly vanished. These facts suggest what reverently may be surmised as to its exalted condition. The apostle's declaration as to the resurrection-body of the redeemed furnishes some hints: 1 Corinthians 15:35-49; compare Philippians 3:21. We may cautiously, from the history of the resurrection and the Pauline doctrine, conclude, that our Lord still possesses a human body. It is of material substance, with new properties. It occupies space. It was seen by Paul, by Stephen, by the seer of the Apocalypse. It is glorious, incorruptible, spiritual.
3. The Agent of the Resurrection:
By whom was the resurrection effected? It is referred by some Scriptures to God. See Psalm 16:10 (compare Acts 2:27, 31); and the distinct affirmation by Peter (Acts 2:32). Paul declares that Christ was "raised. through the glory of the Father" (Romans 6:4). In Ephesians 1:19, 20, it was the mighty power of God which was wrought in Christ "when he raised him from the dead." Elsewhere it is ascribed to Christ Himself. He declared: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19). In John 10:17, 18, our Lord declares: "I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one taketh it away from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." The efficient agent is said, according to the generally received reading of Romans 8:2, to have been the Spirit of God, and thus the resurrection is referred to each person of the Godhead. The doctrine of the Lutheran church refers the act to the human power of the Lord Himself, which by incarnation had been endowed with attributes of Deity. This view consists with their teaching of the omnipresence of the body of Jesus (see below on the section "Ascension").
II. The Ascension of our Lord.
1. Its Actuality:
The exaltation of Christ consisted further in His ascension. Some have held that the resurrection and ascension of Jesus ought to be regarded as aspects of the same event. But Mary saw the risen Lord, though she was forbidden to touch Him, for "I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend," etc. (John 20:17). This, compared with the invitation to Thomas to touch Him, eight days later, suggests something in the ascension added to that which the resurrection implied, and the general thought of the church has consistently regarded the latter as a further step in the exaltation of the Lord.
2. General Doctrine of the Church:
The fact of ascension is recorded in Mark 16:19, and Luke 24:50, 51, and with greater detail in Acts 1:9-11. According to these accounts, the ascension was seen by the disciples, and this suggests that heaven is a locality, where are the angels, who are not ubiquitous, and where Christ's disciples will find the place which He declared He was going to prepare for them (John 14:2). Heaven is also undoubtedly referred to as a state (Ephesians 2:6 Philippians 3:20), but Christ's body must be in some place, and where He is, there is Heaven.
3. Lutheran Doctrine:
This is certainly the doctrine of the church in general, and seems to be consistent with the Scriptural teaching. But the Lutherans have maintained that the ascension of the Lord merely involved a change of state in the human nature of Christ. He possessed during His life on earth the Divine attributes of omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience, but He voluntarily abstained from their exercise. But at His ascension He returned to the full use of these powers. The ascension is Christ's return to immensity. The community of natures gave these Divine qualities to the humanity of Jesus, which Luther declared involved its ubiquity, and that as He was at the right hand of God, and God was everywhere, so Christ in His human personality was in no specific place but everywhere. This omnipresence is not of the infinite extension of the body of the Lord, but He is present as God is everywhere present in knowledge and power.
4. Theory of Laying Aside the Existence-Form of God:
Another theory of the ascended humanity-of the Lord depends upon the conception of the Son of God laying aside at incarnation the "existence-form of God," and while affirming that Christ's body is now in a definite place, it proceeds to hold that at the ascension the accidental and variable qualities of humanity were laid aside, and that He dwells in heaven as a glorified man. Ebrard says: "He has laid aside forever the existence form of God, and assumed that of man in perpetuity, in which form by His Spirit He governs the church and the world. He is thus dynamically present to all His people." This form of doctrine seems to involve as the result of the incarnation of the Son of God His complete and sole humanity. He is no more than a man. The Logos is no longer God, and as the ascension did not involve the reassumption of the "existence-form of God," Christ in glory is only a glorified man.
The ascension was necessary, in conformity with the spiritual character of the kingdom which Christ founded. Its life is that of faith, not sight. A perpetual life of even the resurrected Christ on earth would have been wholly inconsistent with the spiritual nature of the new order. The return of Christ to the special presence of God was also part of His high-priestly service (see CHRIST, OFFICES OF) and His corporal absence from His people was the condition of that gift of the Spirit by which salvation was to be secured to each believer and promulgated throughout the world, as declared by Himself (John 16:7). Finally, the ascension was that physical departure of the Lord to the place which He was to prepare for His people (John 14:2, 3). The resurrection was this completion of the objective conditions of redemption. The ascension was the initial step in the carrying out of redemptive work in the final salvation of mankind.
III. Exaltation Completed at the Right Hand of God.
1. Its Significance:
The term "the right hand of God" is Scriptural (Acts 7:55, 56 Romans 8:34 Ephesians 1:20 Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 12:2 1 Peter 3:22) and expresses the final step in the Lord's exaltation. Care must be taken in the use of the expression. It is a figure to express the association of Christ with God in glory and power. It must not be employed as by Luther to denote the relation of the body of Christ to space, neither must it be limited to the Divine nature of the Logos reinstated in the conditions laid aside in incarnation. Christ thus glorified is the God-man, theanthropic person, Divine and human.
2. Its Essential Necessity:
This exaltation is based upon the essential glory of the Son of God, who "being the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person. sat down on the right hand" (Hebrews 1:3 the King James Version). It is the claim which the Lord makes for Himself in His prayer (John 17:4, 5), and is thus specifically declared in Philippians 2:6-11: "God highly exalted Him." But in His glory Christ received the power universal and Divine. In Ephesians 1:20-22 His supreme dignity and power are affirmed "far above. every name," "all things. under His feet" (compare Hebrews 2:8 1 Corinthians 15:27; 1 Peter 3:22). Christ at the "right hand of God" is the highly suggestive picture of His universal dominion asserted by Himself (Matthew 28:18): "All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth." It is vain to speculate upon the relation of Christ's nature in this exalted state. We cannot distinguish between the human and Divine. We can only believe in, and trust and submit to the One Glorified Person who thus administers the kingdom in perfect harmony with its Divine laws in all the ages, and His own revelation of the will of God, as given to man in His own earthly career: pitiful, tender, serving, helping, restoring, saving, triumphant. The exaltation is for His mediatorial and finally saving work. He is the Head of His church; He is the Lord of angels and men; He is the Master of the ages.
IV. The Second Advent.
The exaltation of Christ is to be completed by His coming again at the close of the dispensation, to complete His redemptive work and judge the world, and so to establish the final Kingdom of God. This belief has found a place in all the ecumenical symbols. Theology has ever included it in its eschatology. It is clear that the apostles and the early church expected the second coming of the Lord as an immediate event, the significance of which, and especially the effect of the nonfulfillment of which expectation, does not fall within the province of this article to consider. The various theories of the Parousia, the different ideas as to the time and the form of the second Advent, do not concern its relation to the exaltation of the Lord. Whenever and however He may return; whether He is ever coming to the church and to the world, His visible or His spiritual presence, do not affect the fact that He has been exalted to the position of ultimate Lord and final judge of men. We may therefore define this crowning condition of exaltation as:
An advent, real, personal and visible. We must guard against the extremes of limiting this advent on the one side to a final particular event, on the other to those critical and catastrophic movements in world history which have led to the extension of God's kingdom and a virtual judgment of men. The Lord is ever coming, and also He will return. See Acts 1:11 Luke 17:24 Matthew 24:30; Matthew 25:31 Luke 19:12 Matthew 13:40, 41, 49; Luke 18:8 John 5:28, 29; John 6:40, 54; 21:22 Acts 3:20 2 Thessalonians 1:10; Hebrews 9:28 James 5:8 Jude 1:14 1 John 2:28 Revelation 1:7. The reality and visibility of the advent depend upon the personal and abiding relation of the Lord to the world-redemption. Christianity is not merely a spiritual dynamic drawn from a series of past events. It is the living relation of the complete humanity of the redeemed to the God man, and must therefore be consummated in a spiritual and material form. The ultimate of Christianity is no more docetic than was its original. A reverent faith will be satisfied with the fact of the glory whenever it shall arrive. The form and time are unrevealed. Preparation and readiness are better than speculation and imaginary description.
The Judgment is clearly taught by Scripture. our Lord declares that He is appointed Judge. (John 5:22; John 9:39). Paul teaches that we must "all stand before the judgment-seat of God" (Romans 14:10). Here again there is the suggestion of the judgment which is ever being made by the Lord in His office as Sovereign and Administrator of the kingdom; but there is also the expectation of a definite and final act of separation and discernment. Whatever may be the form of this judgment (and here again a wise and reverent silence as to the unrevealed is a becoming attitude for the believer), we are sure that He who will make it, is the glorified Word incarnate, and it will be the judgment of a wisdom and justice and love that will be the complete glory of the Christ.
See also ASCENSION; JUDGMENT; PAROUSIA; RESURRECTION.
L. D. Bevan
GENEALOGY OF JESUS CHRIST, THE
1. The Problems Involved
2. Nature and Importance of the Issue
II. THE GENEALOGIES SEPARATELY
1. Peculiarities of Matthew's Genealogy
2. Explanation of the Foregoing
3. Peculiarities of Luke's Genealogy
4. Explanation of the Foregoing
III. THE GENEALOGIES COMPARED
IV. THE GENEALOGIES AND THE VIRGIN BIRTH
1. Text of Matthew 1:16
2. General Conclusions
1. The Problems Involved:
The genealogy of Jesus as contained in the First and Third Gospels presents three special problems which lie somewhat part from general questions of New Testament criticism:
(1) the construction and purpose of each list taken separately;
(2) the relation of the two lists, in their coincidences and variations, to each other;
(3) the relationship of both lists to the statement concerning the virgin birth of our Lord with which they are directly connected. These questions necessarily involve the conclusion to be arrived at concerning the trustworthiness of the list of names as forming an actual historical connection between Jesus and His ancestors according to the flesh.
2. Nature and Importance of the Issue:
Before these problems are dealt with, it would be well to consider the kind and degree of importance to be attached to the question at issue. As we see it, the only vital point at stake is the balance, sanity and good judgment of the evangelists.
(1) That Jesus had a line of ancestors by His human birth may be taken for granted. The tradition, universal from the earliest times among believers and granted even by the bitterest opponents, that He was connected with the line of David, may also readily be accepted. The exact line through which that connection is traced is, on general principles, of secondary importance. The fact is that, while natural sonship to David on the part of the Messiah was of vital importance to many Jewish inquirers, it failed of any very enthusiastic endorsement on the part of Jesus Himself (see the truly remarkable interview recorded in Mark 12:35-37). The expressions of Paul in this connection will be referred to later; at this point it is sufficient to say that physical kinship to David cannot be insisted upon as the only justification for his words.
(2) If, then, the purpose of the evangelists in having recourse to these lists is worth while, the question of their correctness need not even be raised. Unless some vital issue is involved, the supposition of a special inspiration to go behind lists currently accepted is gratuitous. No such issue seems to be presented here. The Davidic kinship of Jesus, in any sense essential to His Messiahship, is independent of the lists which are used to justify it. This is preliminary to the actual discussion and need not prevent us from giving all due credit to lists which could not have been carelessly compiled nor lightly used.
II. The Genealogies Separately.
1. Peculiarities of Matthew's Genealogy:
(1) The construction and incorporation of Joseph's genealogical tree is, in the light of all the facts, the primary consideration.
(2) The artificial division into three groups of fourteen generations each. The apparent defect in this arrangement as it actually stands (the third group lacks one member) is probably traceable to a defect of the Septuagint version of 1 Chronicles 3:11, which is reproduced in the Greek gospel (see Zahn, Introduction to the New Testament, English translation, 564, note 4). This arrangement into groups is the more striking because it makes 14 generations from the captivity to Joseph, where Luke makes 20 or 21, and because the first group of 14 is formed by the omission of three names. It is perfectly clear, therefore, that this artificial grouping is essential to the purpose of the evangelist.
(3) The insertion of the names of brothers, thus following the historical lists and broadening the genealogy by including collateral lines.
(4) The insertion of the names of women-a practice not only foreign but abhorrent to ordinary usage. This peculiarity is the more marked when we notice that these names introduce what would be considered serious blots in the family history of the Davidic house (see Matthew 1:5, 7).
(5) The principle upon which the division into periods is constructed:
(a) from Abraham to David,
(b) from David to the Captivity,
(c) from the Captivity to Jesus. Attention has repeatedly been called to the fact that this gives a definite historical movement to the genealogy. It involves the origin, the rise to power, the decay and downfall of the house of David (see Allen, ICC, "Matthew," 2; compare Zahn, N T, English translation, I, 535).
2. Explanation of the Foregoing:
Of the many theories which have been constructed to explain the foregoing six peculiarities of the genealogy of Matthew, altogether the most satisfactory is that of Professor Zahn. His contention is that the list was framed not to prove the natural connection of Jesus with the house of David-a fact which no one doubted-but to defend the one vital point where attack had been made, namely, the legitimacy of Jesus' connection with David. No one seems to have questioned that Jesus was born of Mary and was closely connected with the royal house. The question was whether He was of legitimate birth. It was charged-and the slander which was very early in origin and circumstantial in character obtained an extraordinary hold upon the hostile Jewish mind-that Jesus was the illegitimate offspring of Mary. The Gospel of Matthew meets that slander by giving a bird's-eye view of the movement of the history from Abraham to the Messiah in the form of a genealogy of Joseph, who in the light of all the facts concerning the origin of Jesus marries Mary and gives her the protection of his stainless name and royal lineage. The extraordinary boldness and brilliancy of this apologetic method ought not to be overlooked. The formal charge that Jesus is son of Mary, not of Joseph, is admitted-the slander involved is refuted by bringing Joseph forward as a witness for Mary. Nothing could have been more natural for a man fearless in the confidence of truth; nothing could have been more impossible for one insecure in his hold upon the facts. So far as the genealogy is concerned, just the moment we realize that the purpose is not to prove the natural sonship of Jesus to David, but to epitomize the history, all hesitancy and apprehension concerning the historicity of the successive names disappear. The continuity of blood relationship through these successive generations becomes of no essential importance. Zahn's explanation (the argument in full should be read by every student), simple in itself, explains all the facts, as a key fits a complicated lock. It explains the choice of a genealogy as a method of epitomizing history and that genealogy Joseph's, the artificial grouping at the expense of changing the traditional lists, the inclusion of the names of brothers and of women.
3. Peculiarities of Luke's Genealogy:
(1) The choice of Joseph's genealogical tree on the part of one who is so deeply interested in Mary.
(2) The reversal of order in going back from Joseph to his ancestors. Godet emphasizes the fact that, in the nature of the case, a genealogy follows the order of succession, each new individual being added to the roll of his family. Luke's method indicates that his genealogy has been constructed for a special purpose.
(3) The carrying of the line back of the history of the covenant, which begins with Abraham, to Adam, who represents the race in general. This fact, together with another, that the line of Joseph is traced to David through Nathan who was not David's heir, proves that Luke was not concerned with establishing the Davidic standing of Jesus.
(4) The placing of the genealogy, not at the beginning of the Gospel, but at the beginning of the ministry, between the baptism and the temptation.
(5) The omission of the article before the name of Joseph.
4. Explanation of the Foregoing:
(1) In his comment upon the fourth peculiarity enumerated above, namely, the placing of the genealogy at the beginning of the ministry, Godet (Gospel of Luke, American edition, 126) has this to say: "In crossing the threshold of this new era, the sacred historian casts a general glance over the period which thus reaches its close, and sums it up in this document, which might be called the mortuary register of the earlier humanity." In other words, in connecting the genealogy directly with the ministry, Luke exhibits the fact that his interest in it is historical rather than antiquarian or, so to say, genealogical. As Matthew summarizes the history of the covenant people from the days of Abraham by means of the genealogical register, modified so as to make it graphic by its uniformity, so Luke has written the story of the humanity Jesus, as the Second Adam, came to save, by the register of names summarizing its entire course in the world.
It has recently been commented upon that genealogical lists such as those of Genesis and the New Testament are not infrequently used to convey ideas not strictly germane to the matter of descent or the cognate notion of chronology. For example, the statements as to the longevity of the patriarchs are of historical interest only-they are not and could never have been of value for chronological purposes (see Warfield, "Antiquity and Unity of Human Race," Princeton Review, February, 1911).
(2) In commenting upon the order which Luke adopts, Godet (who has thrown more light upon this portion of the Gospel than anyone else) says: "The ascending form of genealogy can only be that of a private instrument, drawn up from the public document with a view to the particular individual whose name serves as the starting-point of the whole list" (127).
(3) From the fact that the name of Joseph is introduced without an article Godet draws three conclusions:
(a) that this name belongs rather to the sentence introduced by Luke;
(b) that the genealogical document which he consulted began with the name of Heli;
(c) and consequently, that this piece was not originally the genealogy of Jesus or of Joseph, but of Heli (ibid., 128).
(a) The importance of these considerations is twofold. In the first place it indicates that Luke is bringing together two separate documents, one of which contained a statement of the foster-fatherhood of Joseph, while the other contained the genealogy of Heli, between whom and Joseph there existed a relationship which made Luke desirous of connecting them.
(b) In addition, the absence of the article serves to call attention to something exceptional in the relationship of Joseph to the rest of this ancestral line which is brought into connection with his name. To this point we shall recur later. We have an explanation for all the suggested problems except one, and that one, in a sense, the most difficult of all, namely, the choice of Joseph's genealogy.
III. The Genealogies Compared.
In order, however, to discuss this question intelligently, we must enter upon the second stage of our inquiry-as to the relationship between the two lists.
(1) The most notable fact here is of course the wideness of the divergence together with the contrasted and unintelligible fact of minute correspondence. Between Abraham and David the two lists agree. Between David and Joseph there is evident correspondence in two (see Matthew 1:12 Luke 3:27), and possible correspondence in four names (that is, if Abiud (Matthew 1:13)) and Judah (Luke 3:30) are the same). This initial and greatest difficulty is of material assistance to us because it makes one conclusion certain beyond peradventure. The two lists are not divergent attempts to perform the same task. Whatever difficulties may remain, this difficulty is eliminated at the outset. It is impossible that among a people given to genealogies two lists purporting to give the ancestry of a man in the same line could diverge so widely. There is, therefore, a difference between these lists which includes the purpose for which they were compiled and the meaning which they were intended to convey.
(2) Two of the most striking points in the lists as they stand may be brought into connection and made to explain each other. The two lists coincide in the names of Zerubbabel and Shealtiel-they differ as to the name of Joseph's father, who is Jacob according to Matthew and Heli according to Luke. As to the second of these two important items this much is clear. Either these two lists are in violent contradiction, or else Joseph was in some sense son of both Jacob and Heli. Now, in connection with this seeming impossibility, turn to the other item. The names of Shealtiel and Zerubbabel belong to the captivity. Their being common to both lists is easily explained by the fact that during that troubled period a number of collateral family branches might be narrowed down to one or two common representatives (see Zahn, op. cit., 535). In the New Testament genealogies Zerubbabel is the son of Shealtiel-according to 1 Chronicles 3:19 he is the nephew of Shealtiel and the son of Pedaiah. He is, therefore, at one and the same time heir and, legally, son of two men and would appear as such on two collateral lists.
Shealtiel himself appears in Matthew (1:12) as the son of Jechoniah and in Luke (3:27) as the son of Neri. In 1 Chronicles 3:17 he appears as son of Jechoniah. The name of Neri is peculiar to Luke, so that we cannot check his use of it and discover the actual parentage of Shealtiel. His appearance in two lists with a double reference of parentage is not surprising in view of what we have already seen. Besides this, a reasonable explanation at once appears. In Jeremiah 36:30 it is asserted that Jehoiakim should have "none to sit upon the throne of David," and of his son (Jehoiachin, Jechoniah, Coniah) it is said (Jeremiah 22:30), "Write ye this man childless," etc. It has been rightly pointed out (see HDB, II 557) that this means simply legal proscription, not actual childlessness. It suggests, however, that it might be thought necessary to provide in the genealogy an heir not of their blood for the two disgraced and proscribed members of the royal house, In view of these facts the contradictory references as to Joseph's parentage present no difficulty.
Joseph may easily have been and undoubtedly was, legally, son and heir of both Jacob and Heli. Godet's objection to this is based upon the supposition that Heli and Jacob were brothers, which leaves the divergence beyond these two names unexplained. It is evident, however, that the kinship between Jacob and Heli might have been more distant than this supposition calls for.
(3) When we come to explain how it happened that Joseph was connected with both these lines and that Matthew chose one list and Luke the other we are necessarily shut up to conjecture. There is one supposition, however, which is worthy of very careful consideration because it solves so many and such difficult problems. The authorities have been divided as to whether Luke's genealogy is Joseph's, as appears, or Mary's. Godet makes a strong showing for the latter, and, after all has been said per contra, some of his representations remain unshaken (compare Godet and Plummer sub loc.). Most of the difficulties are removed at one stroke, and the known facts harmonized, by the simple supposition that Luke has given us the meeting-point of the lineage both of Joseph and Mary who are akin. This explains the apparent choice of Joseph's list; the peculiar position of his name in that list; the reversal of the order; the coincidences and discrepancies with reference to Matthew's; the early tradition of Mary's Davidic origin; the strange reference in the Talmud (Chaghigha' 77 4) to Mary as the daughter of Heli; the visit of Mary with Joseph to Bethlehem at the time of the registration; the traditional discrepancy of ages between Joseph and Mary, such that (apparently) Joseph disappears from the scene before Jesus reaches maturity. Against this nothing of real weight can be urged (the kinship with Elisabeth is not such: see Edersheim, LTJM, I, 149) except that it is too simple and too felicitous. Its simplicity and felicitous adjustment to the whole complex situation is precisely its recommendation. And there we may let the matter rest.
IV. The Genealogies and the Virgin Birth.
We have now to deal with the relationship of the genealogies to the virgin-birth statement which forms the vital center of the infancy narratives and to the general question of the Davidic origin of Jesus.
1. Text of Matthew 1:16:
The first part of this question may be most directly approached by a brief consideration of the text of Matthew 1:16. The text upon which the Revised Version (British and American) is based reads: "And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ." Beside this there are two readings, one contained in the so-called Ferrar group of manuscripts, and the other in the Sinaitic which, differing among themselves, unite in ascribing the parentage of Jesus to Joseph. This has been seized upon by negative critics (see for list and discussion Machen, Princeton Review, January, 1906, 63; compare Bacon, HDB, article "Genealogy of Jesus Christ," Am. Jour. Theol., January, 1911, who long ago gave in his advocacy to the supposition that the evangelists could easily reconcile the supernatural birth with the actual paternity of Joseph) to support the idea of a primitive Christian tradition that Joseph was the father of Jesus. Of this contention Zahn leaves nothing, and concludes his argument with this statement: "The hope of finding indications in old manuscripts and versions that the authors of lost Gospels or brief writings which may have been worked over in our Matthew and Luke regarded Joseph as the physical father of Jesus, should at last be dismissed. An author who knew how to make even the dry material of a genealogy to its least detail contribute to the purpose of his thought concerning the slandered miracle of the Messiah's birth, cannot at the same time have taken over statements from a genealogy of Joseph or Jesus used by him which directly contradicted his conception of this fact. Any text of Matthew which contained such statements would be condemned in advance as one altered against the author's interest" (op. cit., 567). It is interesting to note that Allen (ICC, "Matthew," 8), starting from the extreme position that the Sinaitic form of statement, of all extant texts, most nearly represents the original, reaches the same conclusion as Zahn, that Matthew's Gospel from the beginning taught the virgin birth.
2. General Conclusions:
(1) It is clear, therefore, from the general trend as well as from specific statements of both Gospels, that the genealogies and the birth-narratives were not floating traditions which accidentally touched and coalesced in mid-stream, but that they were intended to weld inseparably the two beliefs that Jesus was miraculously conceived and that He was the heir of David. This could be done only on the basis of Joseph's genealogy, for whatever the lineage of Mary, Joseph was the head of the family, and the Davidic connection of Jesus could only be established by acknowledgment of Him as legal son by Joseph. Upon this basis rests the common belief of the apostolic age (see Zahn, ibid., 567, note references), and in accordance with it all statements (such as those of Paul, Romans 1:3 2 Timothy 2:8) must be interpreted.
(2) For it must be remembered that, back of the problem of reconciling the virgin birth and the Davidic origin of Jesus, lay the far deeper problem-to harmonize the incarnation and the Davidic origin. This problem had been presented in shadow and intimation by Jesus Himself in the question: "David himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he his Son?" It is further to be noticed that in the annunciation (Luke 1:32) the promised One is called at once Son of God and Son of David, and that He is the Son of God by virtue of His conception by the Spirit-leaving it evident that He is Son of David by virtue of His birth of Mary. With this should be compared the statement of Paul (Romans 1:3, 1): He who was God's Son was "born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." This is at least most suggestive (see Orr, Virgin Birth of Christ, 119, with note, p. 121), for it indicates that as Paul and Luke were in very close sympathy as to the person of our Lord, so they are in equally close sympathy as to the mystery of His origin. The unanimity of conviction on the part of the early church as to the Davidic origin of Jesus is closely paralleled by its equally firm conviction as to His supernatural derivation. The meeting-point of these two beliefs and the resolution of the mystery of their relationship is in the genealogies in which two widely diverging lines of human ancestry, representing the whole process of history, converge at the point where the new creation from heaven is introduced.
The literature on this subject is very copious. The works referred to in the text will serve to introduce the reader to more extensive investigations. The whole situation is well summarized by Plummer (ICC, "Luke," sub loc.).
Louis Matthews Sweet
HUMILIATION OF CHRIST
hu-mil-i-a'-shun (Acts 8:33 Philippians 2:8).
See KENOSIS; PERSON OF CHRIST.
INTERCESSION OF CHRIST
The general conception of our Lord's mediatorial office is specially summed up in His intercession in which He appears in His high-priestly office, and also as interceding with the Father on behalf of that humanity whose cause He had espoused.
1. Christ's Intercession Viewed in Its Priestly Aspect:
The function of priesthood as developed under Judaism involved the position of mediation between man and God. The priest represented man, and on man's behalf approached God; thus he offered sacrifice, interceded and gave to the offerer whom he represented the benediction and expression of the Divine acceptance. (For the various forms of these offerings, see special articles.) As in sacrifice, so in the work of Christ, we find the proprietary rights of the offerer in the sacrifice. For man, Christ as one with man, and yet in His own personal right, offers Himself (see Romans 5; and compare Galatians 4:5 with Hebrews 2:11). There was also the transfer of guilt and its conditions, typically by laying the hand on the head of the animal, which then bore the sins of the offerer and was presented to God by the priest. The acknowledgment of sin and the surrender to God is completely fulfilled in Christ's offering of Himself, and His death (compare Leviticus 3:2, 8, 13; Leviticus 16:21; with Isaiah 53:6 2 Corinthians 5:21). our Lord's intercessory quality in the sacrifice of Himself is not only indicated by the imputation of guilt to Him as representing the sinner, but also in the victory of His life over death, which is then given to man in God's acceptance of His representative and substitute.
In the Epistle to the Hebrews, the intercessory character of our Lord's high-priestly office is transferred to the heavenly condition and work of Christ, where the relation of Christ's work to man's condition is regarded as being still continued in the heavenly place (see Hebrews 9:11-28). This entrance into heaven is once for all, and in the person of the high priest the way is open to the very presence of God. From one point of view (Hebrews 10:12) the priestly service of the Lord was concluded and gathered up into His kingly office (Hebrews 10:13, 14-18). But from another point of view, we ourselves are bidden to enter into the Holiest Place; as if in union with Christ we too become a kingly priesthood (Hebrews 10:19-22; and compare 1 Peter 2:9).
It must not be forgotten, however, that this right of entrance into the most Holy Place is one that depends entirely upon our vital union with Christ, He appears in heaven for us and we with Him, and in this sense He fulfills the second duty of His high-priestly office as intercessor, with the added conception drawn from the legal advocacy of the Roman court. The term translated "Advocate" in 1 John 2:2 is parakletos, which in John 14:16 is translated "Comforter." The word is of familiar use in Greek for the legal advocate or patronus who appeared on behalf of his client. Thus, in the double sense of priestly and legal representative, our Lord is our intercessor in Heaven.
Of the modes in which Christ carries out His intercessory office, we can have no knowledge except so far as we may fairly deduce them from the phraseology and suggested ideas of Scripture. As high priest, it may surely be right for us to aid our weak faith by assuring ourselves that our Lord pleads for us, while at the same time we must be careful not to deprave our thought concerning the glorified Lord by the metaphors and analogies of earthly relationship.
The intercessory work of Christ may thus be represented: He represents man before God in His perfect nature, His exalted office and His completed work. The Scripture word for this is (Hebrews 9:24) "to appear before the face of God for us." There is also an active intercession. This is the office of our Lord as advocate or parakletos. That this conveys some relation to the aid which one who has broken the law receives from an advocate cannot be overlooked, and we find Christ's intercession in this aspect brought into connection with the texts which refer to justification and its allied ideas (see Romans 8:34 1 John 2:1).
2. Christ's Intercessory Work from the Standpoint of Prayer:
In PRAYERS OF CHRIST (which see), the intercessory character of many of our Lord's prayers, and especially that of John 17, is considered. And it has been impossible for Christian thought to divest itself of the idea that the heavenly intercession of Christ is of the order of prayer. It is impossible for us to know; and even if Christ now prays to the Father, it can be in no way analogous to earthly prayers. The thought of some portion of Christendom distinctly combined prayer in the heavenly work of the Lord. There is danger in extreme views. Scriptural expressions must not be driven too far, and, on the other hand, they must not be emptied of all their contents. Modern Protestant teaching has, in its protest against a merely physical conception of our Lord's state and occupation in heaven, almost sublimed reality from His intercessory work. In Lutheran teaching the intercession of our Lord was said to be "vocal," "verbal" and "oral." It has been well remarked that such forms of prayer require flesh and blood, and naturally the teachers of the Reformed churches, for the most part, have contented themselves (as for example Hodge, Syst. Theol., II, 593) with the declaration that "the intercession of Christ includes: (1) His appearing before God in our behalf, as the sacrifice for our sins, as our high priest, on the ground of whose work we receive the remission of our sins, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and all needed good; (2) defense against the sentence of the law and the charges of Satan, who is the great accuser; (3) His offering Himself as our surety, not only that the demands of justice shall be shown to be satisfied, but that His people shall be obedient and faithful; (4) the oblation of the persons of the redeemed, sanctifying their prayers, and all their services, rendering them acceptable to God, through the savor of his own merits."
Even this expression of the elements which constitute the intercession of the Lord, cautious and spiritual as it is in its application to Christian thought and worship, must be carefully guarded from a too complete and materialistic use. Without this care, worship and devout thought may become degraded and fall into the mechanical forms by which our Lord's position of intercessor has been reduced to very little more than an imaginative and spectacular process which goes on in some heavenly place. It must not be forgotten that the metaphorical and symbolic origin of the ideas which constitute Christ's intercession is always in danger of dominating and materializing the spiritual reality of His intercessional office.
L. D. Bevan
je'-zus krist (Iesous Christos):
I. THE NAMES
II. ORDER OF TREATMENT
PART I. INTRODUCTORY
I. THE SOURCES
1. In General
2. Denial of Existence of Jesus
3. Extra-Christian Notices
4. The Gospels
(1) The Synoptics
(2) The Fourth Gospel
II. THE PREPARATION
1. Both Gentile and Jewish
2. Old Testament Preparation
3. Post-exilic Preparation
III. THE OUTWARD SITUATION
1. The Land
2. Political Situation
Changes in Territory
3. The Religious Sects
(1) The Scribes
(2) The Pharisees
(3) The Sadducees
(4) The Essenes
IV. THE CHRONOLOGY
1. Date of the Birth of Jesus
2. Date of His Baptism
3. Length of Ministry
4. Date of Christ's Death
PART II. THE PROBLEMS OF THE LIFE OF JESUS
I. THE MIRACLES
1. The "Modern" Attitude
2. Supernatural in the Gospels
II. THE MESSIAHSHIP
1. Reserve of Jesus and Modern Criticism
2. A Growing Revelation
III. KINGDOM AND APOCALYPSE
1. The Kingdom-Present or Future?
2. Apocalyptic Beliefs
IV. THE CHARACTER AND CLAIMS
1. Denial of Christ's Moral Perfection
2. Sinlessness and the Messianic Claim
PART III. COURSE OF THE EARTHLY LIFE OF JESUS
1. Divisions of the History
2. Not a Complete "Life"
A. FROM THE NATIVITY TO THE BAPTISM AND TEMPTATION
I. THE NATIVITY
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
II. THE YEARS OF SILENCE-THE TWELFTH YEAR
1. The Human Development
2. Jesus in the Temple
IlI. THE FORERUNNER AND THE BAPTISM
1. The Preaching of John
The Coming Christ
2. Jesus Is Baptized
IV. THE TEMPTATION
1. Temptation Follows Baptism
2. Nature of the Temptation
3. Stages of the Temptation
Its Typical Character
B. THE EARLY JUDAEAN MINISTRY
I. THE TESTIMONIES OF THE BAPTIST
1. The Synoptics and John
2. Threefold Witness of the Baptist
II. THE FIRST DISCIPLES
1. Spiritual Accretion
2. "Son of Man" and "Son of God"
III. THE FIRST EVENTS
1. The First Miracle
2. The First Passover, and Cleansing of the Temple
3. The Visit of Nicodemus
4. Jesus and John
IV. JOURNEY TO GALILEE-THE WOMAN OF SAMARIA
1. Withdrawal to Galilee
2. The Living Water
3. The True Worship
4. Work and Its Reward
C. THE GALILEAN MINISTRY AND VISITS TO THE FEASTS
1. The Scene
2. The Time
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
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
II. FROM THE FIRST GALILEAN CIRCUIT TILL THE CHOICE OF THE APOSTLES
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
III. FROM THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT WILL THE PARABLES OF THE KINGDOM-A SECOND CIRCUIT
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
IV. FROM THE CROSSING TO GADARA TO THE MISSION OF THE TWELVE-A THIRD CIRCUIT
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
I. FROM THE DEATH OF THE BAPTIST TILL THE DISCOURSE ON THE BREAD OF LIFE
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
II. FROM DISPUTES WITH THE PHARISEES TILL THE TRANSFIGURATION
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
III. FROM PRIVATE JOURNEY THROUGH GALILEE TILL RETURN FROM THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES
1. Galilee and Capernaum
a) Second Announcement of the Passion
b) The Temple Tax
c) Discourse on Greatness and Forgiveness
(1) Greatness in Humility
(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
D. LAST JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM-JESUS IN PERAEA
I. FROM LEAVING GALILEE TILL THE FEAST OF THE DEDICATION
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
II. FROM THE ABODE AT BETHABARA TILL THE RAISING OF LAZARUS
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
III. FROM THE RETIREMENT TO EPHRAIM TILL THE ARRIVAL AT BETHANY
1. Retreat to Ephraim
2. The Journey Resumed
3. Cure of the Lepers
4. Pharisaic Questionings
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
E. THE PASSION WEEK-BETRAYAL, TRIAL, AND CRUCIFIXION
I. THE EVENTS PRECEDING THE LAST SUPPER
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
II. FROM THE LAST SUPPER TILL THE CROSS
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
III. THE CRUCIFIXION AND BURIAL
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
F. THE RESURRECTION AND ASCENSION
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
PART IV. EPILOGUE: THE APOSTOLIC TEACHING
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.
(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 Acts 7:45 and Hebrews 4:8 likewise represents the Old Testament Joshua; hence, in the Revised Version (British and American) is in these passages rendered "Joshua." In Matthew 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 Romans 3:26; Romans 4:24 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 11:4 Philippians 2:10 1 Thessalonians 4:14; Hebrews 7:22; Hebrews 10:19, etc.).
(Christos) is the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew "Messiah" (mashiach; compare in the New Testament, John 1:41; John 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" (Romans 8:1, 2, 39 1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 1 Corinthians 4:15 Ephesians 1:1 Philippians 1:1 Colossians 1:4, 28 the King James Version; 1 Thessalonians 2:14, etc.), often "Christ" alone (Romans 1:16 the King James Version; Romans 5:6, 8; Romans 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" (Acts 11:17; Acts 15:11 the King James Version; Acts 16:31 the King James Version; Acts 20:21; Acts 28:31 Romans 1:7; Romans 5:1, 11; 13:14 1 Corinthians 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).
PART I. INTRODUCTORY
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 Acts 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;; 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.
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;; in support of interpolation, Edersheim on "Josephus," in Dictionary of Christ. Biography).
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 Acts 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 Mark is an independent Gospel, resting on the teaching of Peter; that Matthew and Luke have as sources the Gospel of Mark and a collection of discourses, probably attributable to the apostle Matthew (now commonly called Q); and that Luke has a third, well-authenticated source (Luke 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 John 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" (Galatians 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 Isaiah 7:13-9:7; Isaiah 32:1, 2 Jeremiah 33:15, 16 Psalm 2:1-10, etc.); of a Righteous Sufferer (Psalm 22, etc.), whose sufferings are in Isaiah 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 Isaiah 60 Psalm 87 Daniel 2:44; Daniel 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 Luke 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 v0.13; 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;).
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 (2 Kings 17:24-34), preponderatingly heathen in origin, yet now professing the Jewish religion, claiming Jewish descent (compare John 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 B.C., was destroyed by John Hyrcanus, 109 B.C.); Galilee-"Galilee of the Gentiles" (Matthew 4:15; compare Isaiah 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 Matthew 4:25; Matthew 19:1 Luke 3:1). The feeling of bitterness between Jews and Samaritans was intense (John 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 B.C.), 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 B.C.), was finally established by Pompey's capture of Jerusalem (63 B.C.). 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 (Matthew 24:1 John 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 (Matthew 2:22), with the title of "ethnarch"; Galilee and Perea were given to Herod Antipas, another son, with the title of "tetrarch" (Matthew 14:1 Luke 3:1, 19; Luke 23:7 Acts 13:1); Herod Philip, a third son, received Iturea, Trachonitis, and other parts of the northern trans-Jordanic territory, likewise as "tetrarch" (Luke 3:1; compare Matthew 14:3 Mark 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 A.D.). 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," Matthew 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.
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JESUS CHRIST, THE ARREST AND TRIAL OF
" 1. Jewish and Roman Law
2. Difficulties of the Subject
3. Illustrations of Difficulties
I. THE ARREST
1. Preparatory Steps
2. The Arrest in the Garden
3. Taken to the City
II. THE JEWISH TRIAL
1. The Jewish Law
2. The Mishna
3. Criminal Trials
4. The Trial of Jesus
5. The Preliminary Examination
6. The Night Trial
7. False Witnesses
8. A Browbeating Judge
9. The Morning Session
10. Powers of the Sanhedrin
11. Condemnation for Blasphemy
III. THE ROMAN TRIAL
1. Taken before Pilate
2. Roman Law and Procedure
3. Full Trial Not Desired
4. Final Accusation
5. Examination, Defence and Acquittal
6. Fresh Accusations
7. Reference to Herod
8. Jesus or Barabbas
9. Behold the Man!
10. Pilate Succumbs to Threats
11. Pilate Washes His Hands
12. The Sentence
This subject is of special interest, not only on account of its inherent importance, but more particularly on account of its immediately preceding, and leading directly up to what is the greatest tragedy in human history, the crucifixion of our Lord. It has also the added interest of being the only proceeding on record in which the two great legal systems of antiquity, the Jewish and the Roman, which have most largely influenced modern legislation and jurisprudence, each played a most important part.
1. Jewish and Roman Law:
The coexistence of these two systems in Judea, and their joint action in bringing about the tremendous results in question, were made possible by the generous policy pursued by Rome in allowing conquered nations to retain their ancient laws, institutions and usages, in so far as they were compatible with Roman sovereignty and supremacy. Not only so, but, in a large degree, they permitted these laws to be administered by the officials of the subject peoples. This privilege was not granted absolutely, but was permitted only so long as it was not abused. It might be withdrawn at any time, and the instances in which this was, done were by no means rare.
Of the matters considered in this article, the arrest of Jesus and the proceedings before Annas, Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin took place professedly under Jewish law; the proceedings before Pilate and the reference to Herod, under Roman law.
2. Difficulties of the Subject:
It is very difficult to construct from the materials in the four Gospels a satisfactory continuous record of the arrest, and of what may be called the twofold trial of Jesus. The Gospels were written from different viewpoints, and for different purposes, each of the writers selecting such particulars as seemed to him to be of special importance for the particular object he had in view. Their reports are all very brief, and the proper chronological order of the various events recorded in different Gospels must, in many eases, be largely a matter of conjecture. The difficulty is increased by the great irregularities and the tumultuous character of the proceedings; by our imperfect knowledge of the topography of Jerusalem at this time (29 A.D.); also by the fact that the reports are given mainly in popular and not in technical language; and when the latter form is used, the technical terms have had to be translated into Greek, either from the Hebrew or from the Latin.
3. Illustrations of Difficulties:
For instance, opinions are divided as to where Pilate resided when in Jerusalem, whether in the magnificent palace built by Herod the Great, or in the castle of Antonia; as to where was the palace occupied by Herod Antipas during the Passover; whether Annas and Caiaphas occupied different portions of the same palace, or whether they lived in adjoining or different residences; whether the preliminary examination of Jesus, recorded by John, was before Annas or Caiaphas, and as to other similar matters. It is very satisfactory, however, to know that, although it is sometimes difficult to decide exactly as to the best way of harmonizing the different accounts, yet there is nothing irreconcilable or contradictory in them, and that there is no material point in the history of the very important proceedings falling within the scope of this article which is seriously affected by any of these debatable matters.
For a clear historical statement of the events of the concluding day in the life of our Lord before His crucifixion, see the article on JESUS CHRIST. The present article will endeavor to consider the matters relating to His arrest and trial from a legal and constitutional point of view.
I. The Arrest.
During the last year of the ministry of Jesus, the hostility of the Jews to Him had greatly increased, and some six months before they finally succeeded in accomplishing their purpose, they had definitely resolved to make away with Him. At the Feast of Tabernacles they sent officers (the temple-guards) to take Him while He was teaching in the temple (John 7:32); but these, after listening to His words, returned without having made the attempt, giving as a reason that "never man so spake" (John 7:46).
After His raising of Lazarus, their determination to kill Him was greatly intensified. A special meeting of the council was held to consider the matter. There Caiaphas, the high priest, strongly advocated such a step on national grounds, and on the ground of expediency, quoting in support of his advice, in a cold-blooded and cynical manner, the Jewish adage that it was expedient that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. Their plans to this end were frustrated, for the time being, by Jesus withdrawing Himself to the border of the wilderness, where He remained with His disciples (John 11:47-54).
On His return to Bethany and Jerusalem, six days before the Passover, they were deterred from carrying out their design on account of His manifest popularity with the people, as evidenced by His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the first day of the Passover week (Palm Sunday), and by the crowds who thronged around Him, and listened to His teachings in the temple, and who enjoyed the discomfiture of the Pharisees, Sadducees and Herodians, as they successively sought to entangle Him in His talk.
Two days before the Passover, at a council meeting held in the palace of Caiaphas, they planned to accomplish their purpose by subtlety, but "not during the feast, lest a tumult arise among the people" (Matthew 26:3-5 Mark 14:1, 2). While they were in this state of perplexity, to their great relief Judas came to them and agreed to betray his Master for money (Matthew 26:14-16 Mark 14:10, 11).
1. Preparatory Steps:
This time they determined not to rely solely upon their own temple-guards or officers to execute their warrant or order of arrest, fearing that these officials, being Jews, might again be fascinated by the strange influence which Jesus exercised over His countrymen, or that His followers might offer resistance. They therefore applied to Pilate, the Roman procurator (governor), for the assistance of a band of Roman soldiers. He granted them a cohort (Greek: speira, 400 to 600 men) from the legion then quartered in the castle of Antonia, which adjoined and overlooked the temple-area. The final arrangements as to these would probably be completed while Judas was at the supper room. It has been suggested that the whole cohort would not go, but only a selection from them. However, it is said that Judas "received the band (cohort) of soldiers" (John 18:3), and that they were under the command of a chief captain (Greek: chiliarch, Latin tribune, John 18:12). If there had not been more than 100 soldiers, they would not have been under the command of a captain, but the chief officer would have been a centurion. The amazing popularity of Jesus, as shown by His triumphal entry into the city, may have led the authorities to make such ample provision against any possible attempt at rescue.
The Garden of Gethsemane, in which Judas knew that Jesus would be found that night, was well known to him (John 18:2); and he also knew the time he would be likely to find his Master there. Thither at the proper hour he led the band of soldiers, the temple officers and others, and also some of the chief priests and elders themselves; the whole being described as "a great multitude with swords and staves" (Matthew 26:47). Although the Easter full moon would be shining brightly, they also carried "lanterns and torches" (John 18:3), in order to make certain that Jesus should not escape or fail to be recognized in the deep shade of the olive trees in the garden.
2. The Arrest in the Garden:
On their arrival at the garden, Jesus came forward to meet them, and the traitor Judas gave them the appointed signal by kissing Him. As the order or warrant was a Jewish one, the temple officers would probably be in front, the soldiers supporting them as reserves. On Jesus announcing to the leaders that He was the one they sought, what the chief priests had feared actually occurred. There was something in the words or bearing of Jesus which awed the temple officers; they were panic-stricken, went backward, and fell to the ground. On their rallying, the impetuous Peter drew his sword, and cut off the ear of one of them, Malchus, the servant of the high priest (John 18:6-10).
On this evidence of resistance the Roman captain and soldiers came forward, and with the assistance of the Jewish officers bound Jesus. Under the Jewish law this was not lawful before condemnation, save in exceptional cases where resistance was either offered or apprehended.
Even in this trying hour the concern of Jesus was more for others than for Himself, as witness His miracle in healing the ear of Malchus, and His request that His disciples might be allowed their liberty (John 18:8). Notwithstanding His efforts, His followers were panic-stricken, probably on account of the vigorous action of the officers and soldiers after the assault by Peter, "and they all left him and fled" (Mark 14:50).
It is worthy of note that Jesus had no word of blame or censure for the Roman officers or soldiers who were only doing their sworn duty in supporting the civil authorities; but His pungent words of reproach for not having attempted His arrest while He was teaching openly in the temple were reserved for "the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and elders" (Luke 22:52), who had shown their inordinate zeal and hostility by taking the unusual, and for those who were to sit as judges on the case, the improper and illegal course of accompanying the officers, and themselves taking part in the arrest.
3. Taken to the City:
The whole body departed with their prisoner for the city. From the first three Gospels one might infer that they went directly to the palace of Caiaphas, the high priest. In the Fourth Gospel, however, we are told that they took him first to Annas (John 18:13).
Why they did so we are not informed, the only statement made being that he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas (John 18:13). He had been the high priest from 7 A.D. to 15 A.D., when he was deposed by Valerius Gratus, the Roman procurator. He was still the most influential member of the Sanhedrin, and, being of an aggressive disposition, it may be that it was he who had given instructions as to the arrest, and that they thought it their duty to report first to him.
Annas, however, sent Jesus bound to Caiaphas (John 18:24). Having delivered over their prisoner, the Roman soldiers would proceed to their quarters in the castle, the temple officials retaining Jesus in their charge.
Meanwhile, the members of the Sanhedrin were assembling at the palace of the high priest, and the preliminary steps toward the first or Jewish trial were being taken.
II. The Jewish Trial.
1. The Jewish Law:
It is the just boast of those countries whose jurisprudence had its origin in the common law of England, that their system of criminal law is rounded upon the humane maxims that everyone is presumed to be innocent until he is proved to be guilty, and that no one is bound to criminate himself. But the Jewish law went even farther in the safeguards which it placed around an accused person. In the Pentateuch it is provided that one witness shall not be sufficient to convict any man of even a minor offense. "One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall a matter be established" (Deuteronomy 19:15).
2. The Mishna:
These principles of the Mosaic law were elaborated and extended in the system which grew up after the return from Babylon. It was begun by the men of the Great Synagogue, and was afterward completed by the Sanhedrin which succeeded them. Up to the time of our Lord, and for the first two centuries of the Christian era, their rules remained largely in an oral or unwritten form, until they were compiled or codified in the Mishna by Rabbi Judah and his associates and successors in the early part of the 3rd century. It is generally conceded by both Jewish and Christian writers that the main provisions, therein found for the protection of accused persons, had been long incorporated in the oral law and were recognized as a part of it in the time of Annas and Caiaphas.
3. Criminal Trials:
The provisions relating to criminal trials, and especially to those in which the offense was punishable by death, were very stringent and were all framed in the interest of the accused. Among them were the following: The trial must be begun by day, and if not completed before night it must be adjourned and resumed by day; the quorum of judges in capital cases was 23, that being the quorum of the Grand Council; a verdict of acquittal, which required only a majority of one, might be rendered on the same day as the trial was completed; any other verdict could only be rendered on a subsequent day and required a majority of at least two; no prisoner could be convicted on his own evidence; it was the duty of a judge to see that the interests of the accused were fully protected.
The modern practice of an information or complaint and a preliminary investigation before a magistrate was wholly unknown to the Jewish law and foreign to its genius. The examination of the witnesses in open court was in reality the beginning of a Jewish trial, and the crime for which the accused was tried, and the sole charge he had to meet, was that which was disclosed by the evidence of the witnesses.
4. The Trial of Jesus:
Let us see how far the foregoing principles and rules were followed and observed in the proceedings before the high priest in the present instance. The first step taken in the trial was the private examination of Jesus by the high priest, which is recorded only in John 18:19-23. Opinions differ as to whether this examination was conducted by Annas at his residence before he sent Jesus to Caiaphas (John 18:24), or by the latter after Jesus had been delivered up to him.
Caiaphas was actually the high priest at the time, and had been for some years. Annas had been deposed from the office about 14 years previously by the Roman procurator; but he was still accorded the title (Acts 4:6). Many of the Jews did not concede the right of the procurator to depose him, and looked upon him as still the rightful high priest. He is also said to have been at this time the vice-president of the Sanhedrin. The arguments as to which of them is called the high priest by John in this passage are based largely upon two different renderings of John 18:24. In the King James Version the verse reads "Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest," a reading based upon the Textus Receptus of the New Testament which implies that Jesus had been sent to Caiaphas before the examination. On the other hand, the Revised Version (British and American), following the Greek text adopted by Nestle and others, reads, "Annas therefore sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest," implying that Annas sent him to Caiaphas on account of what had taken place in the examination.
However, it is not material which of these two leading members of the Sanhedrin conducted the examination. The same may also be said as to the controversy regarding the residence of Annas at the time, whether it was in some part of the official palace of the high priest or elsewhere. The important matters are the fact, the time, and the manner of the examination by one or other of these leading members of the council, not the precise place where, or the particular person by whom, it was conducted.
5. The Preliminary Examination:
The high priest (whether Annas or Caiaphas) proceeded to interrogate Jesus concerning His disciples and His doctrine (John 18:19). Such a proceeding formed no part of a regular Jewish trial, and was, moreover, not taken in good faith; but with a view to entrapping Jesus into admissions that might be used against Him at the approaching trial before the council. It appears to have been in the nature of a private examination, conducted probably while the members of the council were assembling. The dignified and appropriate answer of Jesus pointedly brought before the judge the irregularity he was committing, and was a reminder that His trial should begin with the examination of the witnesses: "I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? Ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said" (John 18:20, 21 the King James Version). The reply to this was a blow from one of the officers, an outrageous proceeding which appears to have passed unrebuked by the judge, and it was left to Jesus Himself to make the appropriate protest.
6. The Night Trial:
The next proceeding was the trial before the council in the palace of Caiaphas, attended at least by the quorum of 23. This was an illegal meeting, since a capital trial, as we have seen, could not either be begun or proceeded with at night. Some of the chief priests and elders, as previously stated, had been guilty of the highly improper act for judges, of taking part in and directing the arrest of Jesus. Now, "the chief priests and the whole council" spent the time intervening between the arrest and the commencement of the trial in something even worse: they "sought false witness against Jesus, that they might put him to death" (Matthew 26:59). This, no doubt, only means that they then collected their false witnesses and instructed them as to the testimony they should give. For weeks, ever since the raising of Lazarus, they had been preparing for such a trial, as we read: "So from that day forth they took counsel that they might put him to death" (John 11:53).
Caiaphas, as high priest and president of the Sanhedrin, presided at the meeting of the council. The oath administered to witnesses in a Jewish court was an extremely solemn invocation, and it makes one shudder to think of the high priest pronouncing these words to perjured witnesses, known by him to have been procured by the judges before him in the manner stated.
7. False Witnesses:
But even this did not avail. Although "many bare false witness against him," yet on account of their having been imperfectly tutored by their instructors, or for other cause, "their witness agreed not together" (Mark 14:56), and even these prejudiced and partial judges could not find the concurring testimony of two witnesses required by their law (Deuteronomy 19:15).
The nearest approach to the necessary concurrence came at last from two witnesses, who gave a distorted report of a figurative and enigmatic statement made by Jesus in the temple during His early ministry: "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" (John 2:19). The explanation is given: "He spake of the temple of his body" (John 2:21). The testimony of the two witnesses is reported with but slight variations in the two first Gospels as follows: "This man said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days" (Matthew 26:61); and "We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands" (Mark 14:58). Whether these slightly different statements represent the discrepancies in their testimony, or on account of some other variations or contradictions, the judges reluctantly decided that "not even so did their witness agree together" (Mark 14:59).
8. A Browbeating Judge:
Caiaphas, having exhausted his list of witnesses, and seeing the prosecution on which he had set his heart in danger of breaking down for the lack of legal evidence, adopted a blustering tone, and said to Jesus, "Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But Jesus held his peace" (Matthew 26:62, 63), relying on the fact that the prosecution had utterly failed on account of the lack of agreement of two witnesses on any of the charges. As a final and desperate resort, Caiaphas had recourse to a bold strategic move to draw from Jesus an admission or confession on which he might base a condemnation, similar to the attempt which failed at the preliminary examination; but this time fortifying his appeal by a solemn adjuration in the name of the Deity. He said to Jesus: "I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou art the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Henceforth ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven" (Matthew 26:63, 64). Caiaphas, although knowing that under the law Jesus could not be convicted on His own answers or admissions, thereupon in a tragic manner "rent his garments, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy: what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? They answered and said, He is worthy of death (Matthew 26:65, 66).
The night session then broke up to meet again after daybreak in order to ratify the decision just come to, and to give a semblance of legality to the trial and verdict. The closing scene was one of disorder, in which they spat in their prisoner's face and buffeted him (Matthew 26:67, 68 Luke 22:63-65).
9. The Morning Session:
The following morning, "as soon as it was day," the council reassembled in the same place, and Jesus was led into their presence (Luke 22:66). There were probably a number of the council present who had not attended the night session. For the benefit of these, and perhaps to give an appearance of legality to the proceeding, the high priest began the trial anew, but not with the examination of witnesses which had proved such a failure at the night session. He proceeded at once to ask substantially the same questions as had finally brought out from Jesus the night before the answer which he had declared to be blasphemy, and upon which the council had "condemned him to be worthy of death" (Mark 14:64). The meeting is mentioned in all the Gospels, the details of the examination are related by Luke alone. When asked whether He was the Christ, He replied, "If I tell you, ye will not believe: and if I ask you, ye will not answer. But from henceforth shall the Son of man be seated at the right hand of the power of God" (Luke 22:67-69). This answer not being sufficient to found a verdict of blasphemy upon, they all cried out, "Art thou then the Son of God?" To this He gave an affirmative answer, "Ye say that I am. And they said, What further need have we of witness? for we ourselves have heard from his own mouth" (Luke 22:70, 71).
10. Powers of the Sanhedrin:
It will be observed that neither at the night nor at the morning session was there any sentence pronounced upon Jesus by the high priest. There was on each occasion only what would be equivalent to a verdict of guilty found by a jury under our modern criminal practice, but no sentence passed upon the prisoner by the presiding judge. When Judea lost the last vestige of its independence and became a Roman province (6 A.D.), the Sanhedrin ceased to have the right to inflict Capital punishment or to administer the law of life and death. This jurisdiction was thenceforth transferred to the Roman procurator. The Sanhedrin submitted very reluctantly to this curtailment of its powers. A few years later it exercised it illegally and in a very riotous manner in the case of Stephen (Acts 7:58). Annas, however, of all men, had good reason not to violate this law, as his having done so during the absence of the procurator was the cause of his being deposed from the office of high priest by Valerius Gratus (15 A.D.).
The proceedings may have been taken before the high priest in the hope that Pilate might be induced to accept the verdict of the Sanhedrin as conclusive that Jesus had been guilty of an offense punishable by death under the Jewish law.
11. Condemnation for Blasphemy:
Now what was the precise crime or crimes for which Jesus was tried at these two sittings of the council? The first impression would probably be that there was no connection between the charge of destroying the temple and building another in three days, and His claiming to be the Son of God. And yet they were closely allied in the Jewish mind. The Jewish nation being a pure theocracy, the overthrow of the temple, the abode of the Divine Sovereign, would mean the overthrow of Divine institutions, and be an act of treason against the Deity. The profession of ability to build another temple in three days would be construed as a claim to the possession of supernatural power and, consequently, blasphemy. As to the other claim which He Himself made and confessed to the council, namely, that He was the Christ, the Son of God, none of them would have any hesitation in concurring in the verdict of the high priest that it was rank blasphemy, when made by one whom they regarded simply as a Galilean peasant.
To sum up: The Jewish trial of our Lord was absolutely illegal, the court which condemned Him being without jurisdiction to try a capital offense, which blasphemy was under the Jewish law. Even if there had been jurisdiction, it would have been irregular, as the judges had rendered themselves incompetent to try the case, having been guilty of the violation of the spirit of the law that required judges to be unprejudiced and impartial, and carefully to guard the interests of the accused. Even the letter of the law had been violated in a number of important respects. Among these may be mentioned:
(1) some of the judges taking part in and directing the arrest;
(2) the examination before the trial and the attempt to obtain admissions;
(3) endeavors of the judges to procure the testimony of false witnesses;
(4) commencing and continuing the trial at night;
(5) examining and adjuring the accused in order to extort admissions from Him;
(6) rendering a verdict of guilty at the close of the night session, without allowing a day to intervene;
(7) holding the morning session on a feast day, and rendering a verdict at its close; and
(8) rendering both verdicts without any legal evidence.
III. The Roman Trial.
Early on the morning of Friday of the Passover week, as we have already seen, "the chief priests with the elders and scribes, and the whole council" held a consultation (Mark), in the palace of the high priest; and after the examination of Jesus and their verdict that He was guilty of blasphemy, they took counsel against Him "to put him to death" (Mt), this being, in their judgment, the proper punishment for the offense of which they had pronounced Him guilty.
1. Taken before Pilate:
For the reasons already mentioned, they came to the conclusion that it would be necessary to invoke the aid of the Roman power in carrying out this sentence. They thereupon bound Jesus, and led Him away and delivered Him up to Pilate, who at this time probably occupied, while in Jerusalem, the magnificent palace built by Herod the Great. Jesus was taken into the judgment hall of the palace or Pretorium; His accusers, unwilling to defile themselves by entering into a heathen house and thereby rendering themselves unfit to eat the Passover, remained outside upon the marble pavement.
2. Roman Law and Procedure:
The proceedings thus begun were conducted under a system entirely different from that which we have thus far been considering, both in its nature and its administration. The Jewish law was apart of the religion, and in its growth and development was administered in important cases by a large body of trained men, who were obliged to follow strictly a well-defined procedure. The Roman law, on the other hand, had its origin and growth under the stern and manly virtues and the love of justice which characterized republican Rome, and it still jealously guarded the rights and privileges of Roman citizens, even in a conquered province. Striking illustrations of this truth are found in the life of Paul (see Acts 16:35-39; Acts 22:24-29; 25:10-12). The lives and fortunes of the natives in an imperial province like Judea may be said to have been almost completely at the mercy of the Roman procurator or governor, who was responsible to his imperial master alone, and not even to the Roman senate. Pilate therefore was well within the mark when, at a later stage of the trial, being irritated at Jesus remaining silent when questioned by him, he petulantly exclaimed: "Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to release thee, and have power to crucify thee?" (John 19:10).
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KING, CHRIST AS
" I. THE REALITY OF CHRIST'S KINGSHIP
1. The Old Testament Foreshadowings
In the Psalms and Prophets
2. The Gospel Presentation
(1) Christ's Claim to Be King
(2) Christ's Acceptance of the Title
(3) Christ Charged and Condemned as King
(4) The Witness of the Resurrection and of Apostolic Preaching
(5) The Testimony of the Epistles and Apocalypse
II. CHRIST'S TITLE TO KINGSHIP
1. By Birth
2. By Divine Appointment
3. By Conquest
4. By the Free Choice of His People
III. THE NATURE OF CHRIST'S KINGSHIP
(1) Kingdom of Grace, of Power
(2) Kingdom of Glory
I. The Reality of Christ's Kingship.
There can be no question but that Christ is set before us in Scripture as a king. The very title Christ or "Messiah" suggests kingship, for though the priest is spoken of as "anointed," and full elucidation of the title as applied to Jesus must take account of His threefold office of prophet, priest and king, yet generally in the Old Testament it is the king to whom the epithet is applied.
1. The Old Testament Foreshadowings:
We may briefly note some of the Old Testament predictions of Christ as king. The first prediction which represents the Christ as having dominion is that of Jacob concerning the tribe Of Judah: "Until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the obedience of the peoples be" (Genesis 49:10); then kingly dignity and dominion are suggested by the star and scepter in Balaam's prophecy (Numbers 24:15-17). As yet, however, Israel has no king but God, but when afterward a king is given and the people become familiar with the idea, the prophecies all more or less have a regal tint, and the coming one is preeminently the coming king.
In the Psalms and Prophets
We can only indicate a few of the many royal predictions, but these will readily suggest others. In Psalm 2 the voice of Yahweh is heard above all the tumult of earth, declaring, "Yet I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion." So in Psalms 24; 45; 72; 89 and 110 we have special foreshadowings of the Messianic king. The babe that Isaiah sees born of a virgin is also the "Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6, 7), of the increase of whose government there shall be no end, and as the prophet gazes on him he joyfully exclaims: "Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness" (Isaiah 32:1). Jeremiah, the prophet of woe, catches bright glimpses of his coming Lord, and with rapture intensified by the surrounding sorrow cries: "Behold, the days come, saith Yahweh, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land" (23:5). Ezekiel, dwelling amid his wheels, sees in the course of Providence many revolutions, but they are all to bring about the dominion of Christ: "I will overturn, overturn, overturn.... until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him" (21:27). Daniel sees the rise and progress, the decline and fall of many mighty empires, but beyond all he sees the Son of man inheriting an everlasting kingdom (7:13). Hosea sees the repentant people of Israel in the latter days seeking Yahweh their God, and David (the greater David) their king (3:5). Micah sees the everlasting Ruler coming out of Bethlehem clad in the strength and majesty of Yahweh, who shall "be great unto the ends of the earth" (5:4). Zechariah, exulting in His near approach, cries: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy king cometh unto thee" (9:9), and he follows His varied course through gloom and through glory, until the strong conviction is born in his heart and expressed in the glowing words: "Yahweh shall be King over all the earth" (14:9). The more extreme higher critics would, of course, deny that these are direct predictions of Jesus Christ, but most, if not all, would admit that they are ideal representations which were only fully realized in Jesus of Nazareth.
2. The Gospel Presentation:
The Gospels present Christ as king. Matthew, tracing His genealogy, gives special prominence to His royal lineage as son of David. He tells of the visit of the Magi who inquire for the newborn king of the Jews, and the scribes answer Herod's question by showing from Micah's prophecy that the Christ to be born in Bethlehem would be a "governor," and would rule, "be shepherd of my people Israel" (Matthew 2:5, 6). Luke's account of the Nativity contains the angel's declaration that the child to be born and named Jesus would occupy the throne of David and reign over the house of Jacob forever (Luke 1:32, 33). In John's account of the beginning of Christ's ministry, one of His early disciples, Nathanael, hails Him as "King of Israel" (John 1:49), and Jesus does not repudiate the title. If Mark has no such definite word, he nevertheless describes the message with which Jesus opens His ministry as the "gospel" of "the kingdom of God" (1:14, 15). The people nurtured in the prophetical teaching expect the coming one to be a king, and when Jesus seems to answer to their ideal of the Messiah, they propose taking Him by force and making Him king (John 6:15).
(1) Christ's Claim to Be King
Christ Himself claimed to be king. In claiming to be the Messiah He tacitly claimed kingship, but there are specific indications of the claim besides. In all His teaching of the kingdom it is implied, for though He usually calls it the "kingdom of God" or "of heaven," yet it is plain that He is the administrator of its affairs. He assumes to Himself the highest place in it. Admission into the kingdom or exclusion from it depends upon men's attitude toward Him. In His explanation of the parable of the Tares, He distinctly speaks of His kingdom, identifying it with the kingdom of God. "The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and them that do iniquity..... Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father" (Matthew 13:41-43). He speaks of some seeing "the Son of man coming in his kingdom" (Matthew 16:28), of the regeneration, "when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory" (Matthew 19:28), of Himself under the guise of a nobleman who goes "into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom," and does receive it (Luke 19:12-15).
(2) Christ's Acceptance of the Title
When the mother of John and James comes asking that her two sons may occupy the chief places of honor in His kingdom, He does not deny that He is a king and has a kingdom, while indicating that the places on His right and left hand are already determined by the appointment of the Father (Matthew 20:21-23). He deliberately takes steps to fulfill the prediction of Zec: "Behold, thy king cometh," and He accepts, approves and justifies the hosannas and the homage of the multitude (Matthew 21:1-16 Mark 11 Luke 19 John 12). In His great picture of the coming judgment (Matthew 25), the Son of man sits upon the throne of His glory, and it is as "the king" that He blesses and condemns. The dying thief prays, "Remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom" (Luke 23:42), and Jesus gives His royal response which implies full acceptance of the position.
(3) Christ Charged and Condemned as King
His claim throughout had been so definite that His enemies make this the basis of their charge against Him before Pilate, that He said that "he himself is Christ a king," and when Pilate asks, "Art thou the King?" He answers, "Thou sayest," which was equivalent to "yes" (Luke 23:2, 3). In the fuller account of John, Jesus speaks to Pilate of "my kingdom," and says "Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end have I been born" (John 18:37). His claim is perpetuated in the superscription of the cross in the three languages: "This is the King of the Jews," and although the priests wished it to be altered so as to detract from His claim, they yet affirm the fact of that claim when they say: "Write not, The King of the Jews; but, that he said, I am King of the Jews" (John 19:21). The curtain of His earthly life falls upon the king in seeming failure; the taunt of the multitude, "Let the Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross" (Mark 15:32), meets with no response, and the title on the cross seems a solemn mockery, like the elaborate, cruel jest of the brutal soldiers clothing Him with purple, crowning Him with thorns and hailing Him King of the Jews.
(4) The Witness of the Resurrection and of Apostolic Preaching.
But the resurrection throws new light upon the scene, and fully vindicates His claims, and the sermon of Peter on the day of Pentecost proclaims the fact that the crucified one occupies the throne. "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified" (Acts 2:36). The early preaching of the apostles, as recorded in the Acts, emphasizes His lordship, His kingship; these men were preachers in the literal sense-heralds of the king.
(5) The Testimony of the Epistles and Apocalypse.
We need not consider in detail the testimony of the Epistles. The fact that Christ is king is everywhere implied and not infrequently asserted. He is "Lord of both the dead and the living" (Romans 14:9). He is risen "to rule over the Gentiles" (Romans 15:12). "He must reign, till he hath put all his enemies under his feet" (1 Corinthians 15:25). He is at the right hand of God "above all rule, and authority," etc. (Ephesians 1:20-22). Evil men have no "inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God" (Ephesians 5:5), and believers are "translated into the kingdom of the Son of his love" (Colossians 1:13). He has been given the name that is above every name "that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow," etc. (Philippians 2:9-11). Those who suffer with Christ are to "reign with him" (2 Timothy 2:12), at "his appearing and his kingdom" (2 Timothy 4:1), and He will save them "unto his heavenly kingdom" (2 Timothy 4:18); "the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:11). Of the Son it is said: "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever" (Hebrews 1:8), and He is a King-Priest "after the order of Melchizedek" (Hebrews 7:17). In the Apocalypse, appropriately, the predominant aspect of Christ is that of a king. He is the "ruler of the kings of the earth" (Revelation 1:5), "King of the ages" (Revelation 15:3), "King of kings" (Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:16), "and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 11:15). The reality of Christ's kingship is thus placed beyond all doubt.
II. Christ's Title to Kingship.
1. By Birth:
After the analogy of earthly kingships it might be said that Jesus Christ is a king by birth. He was born a king. His mother, like His reputed father, "was of the house and family of David" (Luke 2:4). The angel in nouncing His birth declares that He will occupy the throne of His father David. The Pharisees have no hesitation in affirming that the Christ would be Son of David (Matthew 22:45 Mark 12:35 Luke 20:41). Frequently in life He was hailed as "Son of David," and after His ascension, Peter declares that the promise God had made to David that "of the fruit of his loins he would set one upon his throne" (Acts 2:30) was fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth; while Paul declares that the gospel of God was "concerning his Son, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh" (Romans 1:3). So that on the human side He had the title to kingship as son of David, while on the Divine side as Son of God He had also the right to the throne.
2. By Divine Appointment:
David was king by Divine choice and appointment, and this was the ideal in the case of his successors. The figment of "Divine right"-by virtue of which modern kings have claimed to rule-was, in the first instance, a reminiscence of the Biblical ideal. But the ideal is realized in Christ. Of the coming Messianic King, Yahweh said: "Yet I have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion" (Psalm 2:6), and the great proclamation of Pentecost was an echo of that decree: "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified" (Acts 2:36), while the apostle declares that "God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name" (Philippians 2:9), and again and again the great Old Testament word of Yahweh is applied to Christ: "Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet" (Hebrews 1:13).
3. By Conquest:
Often in the olden times kingship was acquired by conquest, by superior prowess. According to one etymology of our word "king," it means the "able man," "the one who can," and everyone remembers Carlyle's fine passage thereon. In the highest sense, this is true of Christ, who establishes His sway over men's hearts by His matchless prowess, the power of His infinite love and the charm of His perfect character.
4. By the Free Choice of His People:
Except in the most autocratic form of kingship, some place has been given to the suffrage of the people, and the other phases of the title have been confirmed and ratified by the voice of the people as they cry, "God save the king!" and no king is well established on the throne if he is not supported by the free homage of his subjects. Christ as king wins the love of His people, and they gladly acknowledge His sway. They are of one heart to make Him king.
III. The Nature of Christ's Kingship.
We know that the Jews expected a material kingdom, marked by earthly pomp and state; a kingdom on the lines of the Davidic or Solomonic kingdom, and others since have made the same mistake.
The Scriptures plainly declare, Christ Himself clearly taught, that His kingship was spiritual. "My kingdom," said He, "is not of this world" (John 18:36), and all the representations given of it are all consistent with this declaration. Some have emphasized the preposition ek here, as if that made a difference in the conception: "My kingdom is not of this world." Granted that the preposition indicates origin, it still leaves the statement an assertion of the spirituality of the kingdom, for if it is not from this kosmos, from this earthly state of things, it must be from the other world-not the earthly but the heavenly; not the material but the spiritual. The whole context shows that origin here includes character, for Christ adds, "If my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews." Because it is of an unworldly origin, it is not to be propagated by, worldly means, and the non-use of worldly means declares it to be of an unworldly character. So that to assert that Christ means that His kingdom was not to arise out of this world, but to come down from heaven, is not at all to deny, but rather, indeed, to declare its essential spirituality, its unworldliness, its otherworldliness.
Throughout the New Testament, spirituality appears as the prevailing characteristic of Christ's reign. Earthly kingdoms are based upon material power, the power of the sword, the power of wealth, etc., but the basal factor of Christ's kingdom is righteousness (Matthew 5:20; Matthew 6:33 Romans 14:17 Hebrews 1:8, etc.). The ruling principle in earthly kingdoms is selfish or sectional or national aggrandizement; in the kingdom of Christ it is truth. Christ is king of truth. "Art thou a king then?" said Pilate. "I am," said Christ (for that is the force of "thou sayest that I am a king"). "To this end have I been born, and to this end am I come into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth," and He adds, "Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice" (John 18:37). Elsewhere He says: "I am the.... truth" (John 14:6), and at the head of the armies of heaven He still wears the title "Faithful and True" (Revelation 19:11); but if righteousness and truth occupy such a prominent place in His kingdom, it follows that it must be distinguished by its spirituality. His immediate subjects are spiritual men and women; its laws are spiritual; its work is spiritual; all the forces emanating from it, operating through it, centering in it, are spiritual.
The Jewish idea of the Messiah's reign was a narrow national one. For them it meant the glorification of the sons of Abraham, the supremacy of Judaism over all forms of faith and all systems of philosophy; the subjection to Jewish sway of the haughty Roman, the cultured Greek and the rude barbarian. The Messiah was to be a greater king than David or Solomon, but still a king after the same sort; much as the limits of the kingdom might extend, it would be but an extension on Jewish lines; others might be admitted to a share in its privileges, but they would have to become naturalized Jews, or occupy a very subordinate place. The prophetic ideal, however, was a universal kingdom, and that was the conception endorsed and emphasized by Christ. (For the prophetic ideal such passages may be noted as Psalms 2; 22; 72; Isaiah 11:10 Daniel 7:13, 14, etc.) Of course, the predictions have a Jewish coloring, and people who did not apprehend the spirituality might well construe this amiss; but, closely examined, it will be found that the prophets indicate that men's position in the coming kingdom is to be determined by their relation to the king, and in that we get the preparation for the full New Testament ideal. The note of universality is very marked in the teaching of Christ. All barriers are to be broken down, and Jews and Gentiles are to share alike in the privileges of the new order. "Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 8:11), and stranger still to the Jewish ear: "The sons of the kingdom shall be cast forth into the outer darkness" (Matthew 8:12). In the parables of the kingdom (Matthew 13), the field, in which is sown the good seed of the kingdom, is the world, and the various other figures give the same idea of unlimited extent. The same thought is suggested by the declaration, "Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold" (John 10:16), also by the confident affirmation: "I, if I be lifted up, from the earth, will draw all men unto myself" (John 12:32), and so with many other statements of the Gospels.
The terms of the commission are enough to show the universal sovereignty which Christ claims over men: "Go ye therefore," He says, as possessing all authority in heaven and on earth, "and make disciples of all the nations" (Matthew 28:19), coupled with the royal assurance, "Ye shall be my witnesses.... unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). The Book of Acts shows, in the carrying out of the commission, the actual widening of the borders of Christ's kingdom to include believers of all tions. Peter is taught, and announces clearly, the great truth that Gentiles are to be received upon the same terms as the Jews. But through Paul as the apostle of the Gentiles this glorious truth is most fully and jubilantly made known. In the dogmatic teaching of his Epistles he shows that all barriers are broken down, the middle wall of the fence between Jew and Gentile no longer exists. Those who were aliens and strangers are now made nigh in Christ, and "are no more strangers and sojourners, but ye are fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God" (Ephesians 2:19). That household, that commonwealth, is, in Pauline language, equivalent to the kingdom, and in the same epistle, he describes the same privileged position as being an "inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God" (Ephesians 5:5). The Saviour's kingdom cannot be bounded by earthly limits, and all attempts to map it out according to human rules imply a failure to recognize the true Scriptural idea of its universality.
(1) Kingdom of Grace, of Power.
Most of what we have said applies to that phase of Christ's kingdom which is generally called his kingdom of grace; there is another phase called the kingdom of power. Christ is in a special sense king in Zion, king in His church-that is universal in conception and destined to be so in reality-but He is also king of the universe. He is "head over all things"; Ephesians 1:22 Colossians 1:18, and other passages clearly intimate this. He rules over all. He does so not simply as God, but as God-man, as mediator. It is as mediator that He has the name above every name; it is as mediator that He sits upon the throne of universal power.
(2) Kingdom of Glory.
There is also the phase of the kingdom of glory. Christ's reign now is truly glorious. The essential spirituality of it implies its glory, for as the spiritual far surpasses the material in value, so the glory of the spiritual far transcends the glory of the material. The glory of worldly pomp, of physical force, of human prowess or genius, must ever pale before the glory of righteousness, truth, spirituality. But Christ's kingdom is glorious in another sense; it is a heavenly kingdom. It is the kingdom of grace into which saved sinners now enter, but it is also the kingdom of heavenly glory, and in it the glorified saints have a place. Entrance into the kingdom of grace in this earthly state secures entrance into the kingdom of glory. Rightly does the church confess: "Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ." The kingdom is yet to assume an externally glorious form. That is connected with the appearing of Christ (2 Timothy 4:1), the glory that shall be revealed, the heavenly kingdom. The kingdom in that stage cannot be entered by flesh and blood (1 Corinthians 15:50), man in his mortality-but the resurrection change will give the fitness, when in the fullest sense the kingdom of this world shall have "become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ" (Revelation 11:15).
It would be easy to multiply quotations in proof of this. The great passage in Daniel 7 emphatically declares it. The echo of this is heard in the angel's announcement: "He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end" (Luke 1:33). The reign of 1,000 years which so greatly occupies the thoughts of so many brethren, whatever we may decide as to its nature, is but an episode in the reign of Christ. He is reigning now, He shall reign forever. Revelation 11:15, above quoted, is often cited as applying to the millennium, but it goes on to say "and he shall reign (not for 1,000 years simply, but) for ever and ever." So, many of the glowing predictions of the Old Testament, which are often assigned to the millennium, indicate no limit, but deal with the enduring and eternal.
The difficult passage in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28 must be interpreted in the light of those declarations concerning the eternity of Christ's reign. It is evidently as mediator that He delivers up the kingdom to the Father. The dispensation of mediator comes to an end. All has been done according to the purpose of redemption. All the ransomed are finally gathered home. He sees of the travail of His soul and is satisfied. Obdurate enemies are subdued. God's glory has been fully vindicated. The Son becoming subject to the Father, God governs directly and is all in all. But the Son in some sense still reigns and through Him God's glory will ever shine, while the kingdom eternally rests upon redemption. We may summarize by saying that Christ is king of truth, king of salvation (Matthew 21:5 Zechariah 9:9); king of grace; king of peace (Luke 19:38 Hebrews 7:2); king of righteousness (Hebrews 1:8; Hebrews 7:2); king of glory (Matthew 25:31-34); king eternal; king of saints, king of the ages; king of kings (Revelation 19:16). "Upon his head are many diadems" (Revelation 19:12).
See also CHRIST, OFFICES OF.
OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST
The "obedience" (hupakoe) of Christ is directly mentioned but 3 times in the New Testament, although many other passages describe or allude to it: "Through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous" (Romans 5:19); "He humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8); "Though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered" (Hebrews 5:8). In 2 Corinthians 10:5, the phrase signifies an attitude toward Christ: "every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ."
1. As an Element of Conduct and Character:
His subjection to His parents (Luke 2:51) was a necessary manifestation of His loving and sinless character, and of His disposition and power to do the right in any situation. His obedience to the moral law in every particular is asserted by the New Testament writers: "without sin" (Hebrews 4:15); "who knew no sin" (2 Corinthians 5:21); "holy, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners" (Hebrews 7:26), etc.; and is affirmed by Himself: "Which of you convicteth me of sin?" (John 8:46); and implicitly conceded by His enemies, since no shadow of accusation against His character appears. Of His ready, loving, joyful, exact and eager obedience to the Father, mention will be made later, but it was His central and most outstanding characteristic, the filial at its highest reach, limitless, "unto death." His usually submissive and law-abiding attitude toward the authorities and the great movements and religious requirements of His day was a part of His loyalty to God, and of the strategy of His campaign, the action of the one who would set an example and wield an influence, as at His baptism: "Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness" (Matthew 3:15); the synagogue worship (Luke 4:16, "as his custom was"); the incident of the tribute money: "Therefore the sons are free. But, lest we cause them to stumble," etc. (Matthew 17:24-27). Early, however, the necessities of His mission as Son of God and institutor of the new dispensation obliged Him frequently to display a judicial antagonism to current prescription and an authoritative superiority to the rulers; and even to important details of the Law, that would in most eyes mark Him as insurgent, and did culminate in the cross, but was the sublimest obedience to the Father, whose authority alone He, as full-grown man, and Son of man, could recognize.
2. Its Christological Bearing:
Two Scriptural statements raise an important question as to the inner experience of Jesus. Hebrews 5:8 states that "though he was a Son, yet learned (he) obedience by the things which he suffered" (emathen aph' hon epathen ten hupakoen); Philippians 2:6, 8 Existing in the form of God.... he humbled himself, becoming obedient, even unto death." As Son of God, His will was never out of accord with the Father's will. How then was it necessary to, or could He, learn obedience, or become obedient? The same question in another form arises from another part of the passage in Hebrews 5:9: "And having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author (cause) of eternal salvation"; also Hebrews 2:10: "It became him (God).... to make the author (captain) of their salvation perfect through sufferings." How and why should the perfect be made perfect? Gethsemane, with which, indeed, Hebrews 5:8 is directly related, presents the same problem. It finds its solution in the conditions of the Redeemer's work and life on earth in the light of His true humanity. Both in His eternal essence and in His human existence, obedience to His Father was His dominant principle, so declared through the prophet-psalmist before His birth: Hebrews 10:7 (Psalm 40:7), "Lo, I am come (in the roll of the book it is written of me) to do thy will, O God." It was His law of life: "I do always the things that are pleasing to him. I do nothing of myself, but as the Father taught me, I speak these things" (John 8:29, 28); "I can of myself do nothing..... I seek not mine own will, but the will of him that sent me" (John 5:30). It was the indispensable process of His activity as the "image of the invisible God," the expression of the Deity in terms of the phenomenal and the human. He could be a perfect revelation only by the perfect correspondence in every detail, of will, word and work with the Father's will (John 5:19). Obedience was also His life nourishment and satisfaction (John 4:34). It was the guiding principle which directed the details of His work: "I have power to lay it (life) down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment received I from my Father" (John 10:18); "The Father that sent me, he hath given me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak" (John 12:49; compare 14:31, etc.). But in the Incarnation this essential and filial obedience must find expression in human forms according to human demands and processes of development. As true man, obedient disposition on His part must meet the test of voluntary choice under all representative conditions, culminating in that which was supremely hard, and at the limit which should reveal its perfection of extent and strength. It must become hardened, as it were, and confirmed, through a definite obedient act, into obedient human character. The patriot must become the veteran. The Son, obedient on the throne, must exercise the practical virtue of obedience on earth. Gethsemane was the culmination of this process, when in full view of the awful, shameful, horrifying meaning of Calvary, the obedient disposition was crowned, and the obedient Divine-human life reached its highest manifestation, in the great ratification: "Nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done." But just as Jesus' growth in knowledge was not from error to truth, but from partial knowledge to completer, so His "learning obedience" led Him not from disobedience or debate to submission, but from obedience at the present stage to an obedience at ever deeper and deeper cost. The process was necessary for His complete humanity, in which sense He was "made perfect," complete, by suffering. It was also necessary for His perfection as example and sympathetic High Priest. He must fight the human battles under the human conditions. Having translated obedient aspiration and disposition into obedient action in the face of, and in suffering unto, death, even the death of the cross, He is able to lead the procession of obedient sons of God through every possible trial and surrender. Without this testing of His obedience He could have had the sympathy of clear and accurate knowledge, for He "knew what was in man," but He would have lacked the sympathy of a kindred experience. Lacking this, He would have been for us, and perhaps also in Himself, but an imperfect "captain of our salvation," certainly no "file leader" going before us in the very paths we have to tread, and tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. It may be worth noting that He "learned obedience" and was "made perfect" by suffering, not the results of His own sins, as we do largely, but altogether the results of the sins of others.
3. In Its Soteriological Bearings:
In Romans 5:19, in the series of contrasts between sin and salvation ("Not as the trespass, so also is the free gift"), we are told: "For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one shall the many be made righteous." Interpreters and theologians, especially the latter, differ as to whether "obedience" here refers to the specific and supreme act of obedience on the cross, or to the sum total of Christ's incarnate obedience through His whole life; and they have made the distinction between His "passive obedience," yielded on the cross, and His "active obedience" in carrying out without a flaw the Father's will at all times. This distinction is hardly tenable, as the whole Scriptural representation, especially His own, is that He was never more intensely active than in His death: "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished" (Luke 12:50); "I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No one taketh it away from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (John 10:17, 18). "Who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto God" (Hebrews 9:14), indicates the active obedience of one who was both priest and sacrifice. As to the question whether it was the total obedience of Christ, or His death on the cross, that constituted the atonement, and
the kindred question whether it was not the spirit of obedience in the act of death, rather than the act itself, that furnished the value of His redemptive work, it might conceivably, though improbably, be said that "the one act of righteousness" through which "the free gift came" was His whole life considered as one act. But these ideas are out of line with the unmistakable trend of Scripture, which everywhere lays principal stress on the death of Christ itself; it is the center and soul of the two ordinances, baptism and the Lord's Supper; it holds first place in the Gospels, not as obedience, but as redemptive suffering and death; it is unmistakably put forth in this light by Christ Himself in His few references to His death: "ransom," "my blood," etc. Paul's teaching everywhere emphasizes the death, and in but two places the obedience; Peter indeed speaks of Christ as an ensample, but leaves as his characteristic thought that Christ "suffered for sins once.... put to death in the flesh" (1 Peter 3:18). In Hebrews the center and significance of Christ's whole work is that He "put away sin by the sacrifice of himself"; while John in many places emphasizes the death as atonement: "Unto him that.... loosed us from our sins by his blood" (Revelation 1:5), and elsewhere. The Scripture teaching is that "God set (him) forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood" (Romans 3:25). His lifelong obedience enters in chiefly as making and marking Him the "Lamb without blemish and without spot," who alone could be the atoning sacrifice. If it enters further, it is as the preparation and anticipation of that death, His life so dominated and suffused with the consciousness of the coming sacrifice that it becomes really a part of the death. His obedience at the time of His death could not have been atonement, for it had always existed and had not atoned; but it was the obedience that turned the possibility of atonement into the fact of atonement. He obediently offered up, not His obedience, but Himself. He is set forth as propitiation, not in His obedience, but in His blood, His death, borne as the penalty of sin, in His own body on the tree. The distinction is not one of mere academic theological interest. It involves the whole question of the substitutionary and propitiatory in Christ's redemptive work, which is central, vital and formative, shaping the entire conception of Christianity. The blessed and helpful part which our Lord's complete and loving obedience plays in the working out of Christian character, by His example and inspiration, must not be underestimated, nor its meaning as indicating the quality of the life which is imparted to the soul which accepts for itself His mediatorial death. These bring the consummation and crown of salvation; they are not its channel, or instrument, or price.
See also ATONEMENT. LITERATURE.
DCG, article "Obedience of Christ"; Denney, Death of Christ, especially pp. 231-33; Champion, Living Atonement; Forsythe, Cruciality of the Cross, etc.; works on the Atonement; Commentaries, in the place cited.
Philip Wendell Crannell
PERSON OF CHRIST
Method of the Article
I. THE TEACHING OF PAUL 1. Philippians 2:5-9
(1) General Drift of Passage
(2) our Lord's Intrinsic Deity
(3) No Examination
(4) our Lord's Humanity
2. Other Pauline Passages
II. THE TEACHING OF THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS
(1) Background of Express Deity
(2) Completeness of Humanity
(3) Continued Possession of Deity
III. THE TEACHING OF OTHER EPISTLES
IV. THE TEACHING OF JOHN
1. The Epistles
2. Prologue to the Gospel
(1) The Being Who Was Incarnated
(2) The Incarnation
(3) The Incarnated Person
3. The Gospel
V. THE TEACHING OF THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS
VI. THE TEACHING OF JESUS
1. The Johannine Jesus
(1) His Higher Nature
(2) His Humiliation
2. The Synoptic Jesus
(1) His Deity
(a) Mark 13:32
(b) Other Passages: Son of Man and Son of God
(c) Matthew 11:27; 28:19
(2) His Humanity
(3) Unity of the Person
VII. THE TWO NATURES EVERYWHERE PRESUPPOSED
VIII. FORMULATION OF THE DOCTRINE
Method of the Article:
It is the purpose of this article to make as clear as possible the conception of the Person of Christ, in the technical sense of that term, which lies on-or, if we prefer to say so, beneath-the pages of the New Testament. Were it its purpose to trace out the process by which this great mystery has been revealed to men, a beginning would need to be taken from the intimations as to the nature of the person of the Messiah in Old Testament prophecy, and an attempt would require to be made to discriminate the exact contribution of each organ of revelation to our knowledge. And were there added to this a desire to ascertain the progress of the apprehension of this mystery by men, there would be demanded a further inquiry into the exact degree of understanding which was brought to the truth revealed at each stage of its revelation. The magnitudes with which such investigations deal, however, are very minute; and the profit to be derived from them is not, in a case like the present, very great. It is, of course, of importance to know how the person of the Messiah was represented in the predictions of the Old Testament; and it is a matter at least of interest to note, for example, the difficulty experienced by our Lord's immediate disciples in comprehending all that was involved in His manifestation. But, after all, the constitution of our Lord's person is a matter of revelation, not of human thought; and it is preeminently a revelation of the New Testament, not of the Old Testament. And the New Testament is all the product of a single movement, at a single stage of its development, and therefore presents in its fundamental teaching a common character. The whole of the New Testament was written within the limits of about half a century; or, if we except the writings of John, within the narrow bounds of a couple of decades; and the entire body of writings which enter into it are so much of a piece that it may be plausibly represented that they all bear the stamp of a single mind. In its fundamental teaching, the New Testament lends itself, therefore, more readily to what is called dogmatic than to what is called genetic treatment; and we shall penetrate most surely into its essential meaning if we take our start from its clearest and fullest statements, and permit their light to be thrown upon its more incidental allusions. This is peculiarly the case with such a matter as the person of Christ, which is dealt with chiefly incidentally, as a thing already understood by all, and needing only to be alluded to rather than formally expounded. That we may interpret these allusions aright, it is requisite that we should recover from the first the common conception which underlies them all.
I. Teaching of Paul.
1. Philippians 2:5-9:
(1) General Drift of the Passage.
We begin, then, with the most didactic of the New Testament writers, the apostle Paul, and with one of the passages in which he most fully intimates his conception of the person of his Lord, Philippians 2:5-9. Even here, however, Paul is not formally expounding the doctrine of the Person of Christ; he is only alluding to certain facts concerning His person and action perfectly well known to his readers, in order that he may give point to an adduction of Christ's example. He is exhorting his readers to unselfishness, such unselfishness as esteems others better than ourselves, and looks not only on our own things but also on those of others. Precisely this unselfishness, he declares, was exemplified by our Lord. He did not look upon His own things but the things of others; that is to say, He did not stand upon His rights, but was willing to forego all that He might justly have claimed for Himself for the good of others. For, says Paul, though, as we all know, in His intrinsic nature He was nothing other than God, yet He did not, as we all know right well, look greedily on His condition of equality with God, but made no account of Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and, being found in fashion as a man, humbled Himself, becoming obedient up to death itself, and that, the death of the cross. The statement is thrown into historical form; it tells the story of Christ's life on earth. But it presents His life on earth as a life in all its elements alien to His intrinsic nature, and assumed only in the performance of an unselfish purpose. On earth He lived as a man, and subjected Himself to the common lot of men. But He was not by nature a man, nor was He in His own nature subject to the fortunes of human life. By nature He was God; and He would have naturally lived as became God-`on an equality with God.' He became man by a voluntary act, `taking no account of Himself,' and, having become man, He voluntarily lived out His human life under the conditions which the fulfillment of His unselfish purpose imposed on Him.
(2) Our Lord's Intrinsic Deity.
The terms in which these great affirmations are made deserve the most careful attention. The language in which our Lord's intrinsic Deity is expressed, for example, is probably as strong as any that could be devised. Paul does not say simply, "He was God." He says, "He was in the form of God," employing a turn of speech which throws emphasis upon our Lord's possession of the specific quality of God. "Form" is a term which expresses the sum of those characterizing qualities which make a thing the precise thing that it is. Thus, the "form" of a sword (in this case mostly matters of external configuration) is all that makes a given piece of metal specifically a sword, rather than, say, a spade. And "the form of God" is the sum of the characteristics which make the being we call "God," specifically God, rather than some other being-an angel, say, or a man. When our Lord is said to be in "the form of God," therefore, He is declared, in the most express manner possible, to be all that God is, to possess the whole fullness of attributes which make God God. Paul chooses this manner of expressing himself here instinctively, because, in adducing our Lord as our example of self-abnegation; his mind is naturally resting, not on the bare fact that He is God, but on the richness and fullness of His being as God. He was all this, yet He did not look on His own things but on those of others.
It should be carefully observed also that in making this great affirmation concerning our Lord, Paul does not throw it distinctively into the past, as if he were describing a mode of being formerly our Lord's, indeed, but no longer His because of the action by which He became our example of unselfishness. our Lord, he says, "being," "existing," "subsisting" "in the form of God"-as it is variously rendered. The rendering proposed by the Revised Version margin, "being originally," while right in substance, is somewhat misleading. The verb employed means "strictly `to be beforehand,' `to be already' so and so" (Blass, Grammar of New Testament Greek, English translation, 244), "to be there and ready," and intimates the existing circumstances, disposition of mind, or, as here, mode of subsistence in which the action to be described takes place. It contains no intimation, however, of the cessation of these circumstances or disposition, or mode of subsistence; and that, the less in a case like the present, where it is cast in a tense (the imperfect) which in no way suggests that the mode of subsistence intimated came to an end in the action described by the succeeding verb (compare the parallels: Luke 16:14, 23; Luke 23:50 Acts 2:30; Acts 3:2 2 Corinthians 8:17; 2 Corinthians 12:16; Galatians 1:14). Paul is not telling us here, then, what our Lord was once, but rather what He already was, or, better, what in His intrinsic nature He is; he is not describing a past mode of existence of our Lord, before the action he is adducing as an example took place-although the mode of existence he describes was our Lord's mode of existence before this action-so much as painting in the background upon which the action adduced may be thrown up into prominence. He is telling us who and what He is who did these things for us, that we may appreciate how great the things He did for us are.
(3) No Examination.
And here it is important to observe that the whole of the action adduced is thrown up thus against this background-not only its negative description to the effect that our Lord (although all that God is) did not look greedily on His (consequent) being on an equality with God; but its positive description as well, introduced by the "but...." and that in both of its elements, not merely that to the effect (Philippians 2:7) that `he took no account of himself' (rendered not badly by the King James Version, He "made himself of no reputation"; but quite misleading by the Revised Version (British and American), He "emptied himself"), but equally that to the effect (Philippians 2:8) that "he humbled himself." It is the whole of what our Lord is described as doing in Philippians 2:6-8, that He is described as doing despite His "subsistence in the form of God." So far is Paul from intimating, therefore, that our Lord laid aside His Deity in entering upon His life on earth, that he rather asserts that He retained His Deity throughout His life on earth, and in the whole course of His humiliation, up to death itself, was consciously ever exercising self-abnegation, living a life which did not by nature belong to Him, which stood in fact in direct contradiction to the life which was naturally His. It is this underlying implication which determines the whole choice of the language in which our Lord's earthly life is described. It is because it is kept in mind that He still was "in the form of God," that is, that He still had in possession all that body of characterizing qualities by which God is made God, for example, that He is said to have been made, not man, but "in the likeness of man," to have been found, not man, but "in fashion as a man"; and that the wonder of His servanthood and obedience, the mark of servanthood, is thought of as so great. Though He was truly man, He was much more than man; and Paul would not have his readers imagine that He had become merely man. In other words, Paul does not teach that our Lord was once God but had become instead man; he teaches that though He was God, He had become also man.
An impression that Paul means to imply, that in entering upon His earthly life our Lord had laid aside His Deity, may be created by a very prevalent misinterpretation of the central clause of his statement-a misinterpretation unfortunately given currency by the rendering of English Revised Version: "counted it not a prize to be on an equality with God, but emptied himself," varied without improvement in the American Standard Revised Version to: "counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself." The former (negative) member of this clause means just: He did not look greedily upon His being on an equality with God; did not "set supreme store" by it (see Lightfoot on the clause). The latter (positive) member of it, however, cannot mean in tithesis to this, that He therefore "emptied himself," divested Himself of this, His being on an equality with God, much less that He "emptied himself," divested Himself of His Deity ("form of God") itself, of which His being on an equality with God is the manifested consequence. The verb here rendered "emptied" is in constant use in a metaphorical sense (so only in the New Testament: Romans 4:14 1 Corinthians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 9:15; 2 Corinthians 9:3) and cannot here be taken literally. This is already apparent from the definition of the manner in which the "emptying" is said to have been accomplished, supplied by the modal clause which is at once attached: by "taking the form of servant." You cannot "empty" by "taking"-adding. It is equally apparent, however, from the strength of the emphasis which, by its position, is thrown upon the "himself." We may speak of our Lord as "emptying Himself" of something else, but scarcely, with this strength of emphasis, of His "emptying Himself" of something else. This emphatic "Himself," interposed between the preceding clause and the verb rendered "emptied," builds a barrier over which we cannot climb backward in search of that of which our Lord emptied Himself. The whole thought is necessarily contained in the two words, "emptied himself," in which the word "emptied" must therefore be taken in a sense analogous to that which it bears in the other passages in the New Testament where it occurs. Paul, in a word, says here nothing more than that our Lord, who did not look with greedy eyes upon His estate of equality with God, emptied Himself, if the language may be pardoned, of Himself; that is to say, in precise accordance with the exhortation for the enhancement of which His example is adduced, that He did not look on His own things. `He made no account of Himself,' we may fairly paraphrase the clause; and thus all question of what He emptied Himself of falls away. What our Lord actually did, according to Paul, is expressed in the following clauses; those now before us express more the moral character of His act. He took "the form of a servant," and so was "made in the likeness of men." But His doing this showed that He did not set overweening store by His state of equality with God, and did not account Himself the sufficient object of all the efforts. He was not self-regarding: He had regard for others. Thus, He becomes our supreme example of self-abnegating conduct.
See also KENOSIS.
(4) Our Lord's Humanity.
The language in which the act by which our Lord showed that He was self-abnegating is described, requires to be taken in its complete meaning. He took "the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men," says Paul. The term "form" here, of course, bears the same full meaning as in the preceding instance of its occurrence in the phrase "the form of God." It imparts the specific quality, the whole body of characteristics, by which a servant is made what we know as a servant, our Lord assumed, then, according to Paul, not the mere state or condition or outward appearance of a servant, but the reality; He became an actual "servant" in the world. The act by which He did this is described as a "taking," or, as it has become customary from this description of it to phrase it, as an "assumption." What is meant is that our Lord took up into His personality a human nature; and therefore it is immediately explained that He took the form of a servant by "being made in the likeness of men." That the apostle does not say, shortly, that He assumed a human nature, is due to the engagement of his mind with the contrast which he wishes to bring out forcibly for the enhancement of his appeal to our Lord's example, between what our Lord is by nature and what He was willing to become, not looking on His own things but also on the things of others. This contrast is, no doubt, embodied in the simple opposition of God and man; it is much more pungently expressed in the qualificative terms, "form of God" and "form of a servant." The Lord of the world became a servant in the world; He whose right it was to rule took obedience as His life-characteristic. Naturally therefore Paul employs here a word of quality rather than a word of mere nature; and then defines his meaning in this word of quality by a further epexegetical clause. This further clause-"being made in the likeness of men"-does not throw doubt on the reality of the human nature that was assumed, in contradiction to the emphasis on its reality in the phrase "the form of a servant." It, along with the succeeding clause-"and being found in fashion as a man"-owes its peculiar form, as has already been pointed out, to the vividness of the apostle's consciousness, that he is speaking of one who, though really man, possessing all that makes a man a man, is yet, at the same time, infinitely more than a man, no less than God Himself, in possession of all that makes God God. Christ Jesus is in his view, therefore (as in the view of his readers, for he is not instructing his readers here as to the nature of Christ's person, but reminding them of certain elements in it for the purposes of his exhortation), both God and man, God who has assumed man into personal union with Himself, and has in this His assumed manhood lived out a human life on earth.
2. Other Pauline Passages:
The elements of Paul's conception of the person of Christ are brought before us in this suggestive passage with unwonted fullness. But they all receive endless illustration from his occasional allusions to them, one or another, throughout his Epistles. The leading motive of this passage, for example, reappears quite perfectly in 2 Corinthians 8:9, where we are exhorted to imitate the graciousness of our Lord Jesus Christ, who became for our sakes (emphatic) poor-He who was (again an imperfect participle, and therefore without suggestion of the cessation of the condition described) rich-that we might by His (very emphatic) poverty be made rich. Here the change in our Lord's condition at a point of time perfectly understood between the writer and his readers is adverted to and assigned to its motive, but no further definition is given of the nature of either condition referred to. We are brought closer to the precise nature of the act by which the change was wrought by such a passage as Galatians 4:4. We read that "When the fullness of the time came, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, that he might redeem them that were under the law." The whole transaction is referred to the Father in fulfillment of His eternal plan of redemption, and it is described specifically as an incarnation: the Son of God is born of a woman-He who is in His own nature the Son of God, abiding with God, is sent forth from God in such a manner as to be born a human being, subject to law. The primary implications are that this was not the beginning of His being; but that before this He was neither a man nor subject to law. But there is no suggestion that on becoming man and subject to law, He ceased to be the Son of God or lost anything intimated by that high designation. The uniqueness of His relation to God as His Son is emphasized in a kindred passage (Romans 8:3) by the heightening of the designation to that of God's "own Son," and His distinction from other men is intimated in the same passage by the declaration that God sent Him, not in sinful flesh, but only the likeness of sinful flesh." The reality of our Lord's flesh is not thrown into doubt by this turn of speech, but His freedom from the sin which is associated with flesh as it exists in lost humanity is asserted (compare 2 Corinthians 5:21). Though true man, therefore (1 Corinthians 15:21 Romans 5:21 Acts 17:31), He is not without differences from other men; and these differences do not concern merely the condition (as sinful) in which men presently find themselves; but also their very origin: they are from below, He from above-`the first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven' (1 Corinthians 15:47). This is His peculiarity: He was born of a woman like other men; yet He descended from heaven (compare Ephesians 4:9 John 3:13). It is not meant, of course, that already in heaven He was a man; what is meant is that even though man He derives His origin in an exceptional sense from heaven. Paul describes what He was in heaven (but not alone in heaven)-that is to say before He was sent in the likeness of sinful flesh (though not alone before this)-in the great terms of "God's Son," "God's own Son," "the form of God," or yet again in words whose import cannot be mistaken, `God over all' (Romans 9:5). In the last cited passage, together with its parallel earlier in the same epistle (Romans 1:3), the two sides or elements of our Lord's person are brought into collocation after a fashion that can leave no doubt of Paul's conception of His twofold nature. In the earlier of these passages he tells us that Jesus Christ was born, indeed, of the seed of David according to the flesh, that is, so far as the human side of His being is concerned, but was powerfully marked out as the Son of God according to the Spirit of Holiness, that is, with respect to His higher nature, by the resurrection of the dead, which in a true sense began in His own rising from the dead. In the later of them, he tells us that Christ sprang indeed, as concerns the flesh, that is on the human side of His being, from Israel, but that, despite this earthly origin of His human nature, He yet is and abides (present participle) nothing less than the Supreme God, "God over all (emphatic), blessed forever." Thus Paul teaches us that by His coming forth from God to be born of woman, our Lord, assuming a human nature to Himself, has, while remaining the Supreme God, become also true and perfect man. Accordingly, in a context in which the resources of language are strained to the utmost to make the exaltation of our Lord's being clear-in which He is described as the image of the invisible God, whose being antedates all that is created, whom, through whom and to whom all things have been created, and in whom they all subsist-we are told not only that (naturally) in Him all the fulhess dwells (Colossians 1:19), but, with complete explication, that `all the fullness of the Godhead dwells in him bodily' (Colossians 2:9); that is to say, the very Deity of God, that which makes God God, in all its completeness, has its permanent home in our Lord, and that in a "bodily fashion," that is, it is in Him clothed with a body. He who looks upon Jesus Christ sees, no doubt, a body and a man; but as he sees the man clothed with the body, so he sees God Himself, in all the fullness of His Deity clothed with the humanity. Jesus Christ is therefore God "manifested in the flesh" (1 Timothy 3:16), and His appearance on earth is an "epiphany" (2 Timothy 1:10), which is the technical term for manifestations on earth of a God. Though truly man, He is nevertheless also our "great God" (Titus 2:13).
II. Teaching of the Epistle to the Hebrews.
The conception of the person of Christ which underlies and finds expression in the Epistle to the Hebrews is indistinguishable from that which governs all the allusions to our Lord in the Epistles of Paul. To the author of this epistle our Lord is above all else the Son of God in the most eminent sense of that word; and it is the divine dignity and majesty belonging to Him from His very nature which forms the fundamental feature of the image of Christ which stands before his mind. And yet it is this author who, perhaps above all others of the New Testament writers, emphasizes the truth of the humanity of Christ, and dwells with most particularity upon the elements of His human nature and experience.
(1) Background of Express Deity.
The great Christological passage which fills Hebrews 2 of the Epistle to the Hebrews rivals in its richness and fullness of detail, and its breadth of implication, that of Philippians 2. It is thrown up against the background of the remarkable exposition of the divine dignity of the Son which occupies Hebrews 1 (notice the "therefore" of 2:1). There the Son had been declared to be "the effulgence of his (God's) glory, and the very image of his substance," through whom the universe has been created and by the word of whose power all things are held in being; and His exaltation above the angels, by means of whom the Old Covenant had been inaugurated, is measured by the difference between the designations "ministering spirits" proper to the one, and the Son of God, nay, God itself (1:8, 9), proper to the other. The purpose of the succeeding statement is to enhance in the thought of the Jewish readers of the epistle the value of the salvation wrought by this divine Saviour, by removing from their minds the offense they were in danger of taking at His lowly life and shameful death on earth. This earthly humiliation finds its abundant justification, we are told, in the greatness of the end which it sought and attained. By it our Lord has, with His strong feet, broken out a pathway along which, in Him, sinful man may at length climb up to the high destiny which was promised him when it was declared he should have dominion over all creation. Jesus Christ stooped only to conquer, and He stooped to conquer not for Himself (for He was in His own person no less than God), but for us.
(2) Completeness of Humanity.
The language in which the humiliation of the Son of God is in the first instance described is derived from the context. The establishment of His divine majesty in chapter 1 had taken the form of an exposition of His infinite exaltation above the angels, the highest of all creatures. His humiliation is described here therefore as being "made a little lower than the angels" (Hebrews 2:9). What is meant is simply that He became man; the phraseology is derived from Psalm 8 the King James Version, from which had just been cited the declaration that God had made man (despite his insignificance) "but a little lower than the angels," thus crowning him with glory and honor. The adoption of the language of the psalm to describe our Lord's humiliation has the secondary effect, accordingly, of greatly enlarging the reader's sense of the immensity of the humiliation of the Son of God in becoming man: He descended an infinite distance to reach man's highest conceivable exaltation. As, however, the primary purpose of the adoption of the language is merely to declare that the Son of God became man, so it is shortly afterward explained (Hebrews 2:14) as an entering into participation in the blood and flesh which are common to men: "Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same." The voluntariness, the reality the completeness of the assumption of humanity by the Son of God, are all here emphasized.
The proximate end of our Lord's assumption of humanity is declared to be that He might die; He was "made a little lower than the angels.... because of the suffering of death" (Hebrews 2:9); He took part in blood and flesh in order that through death...." (Hebrews 2:14). The Son of God as such could not die; to Him belongs by nature an "indissoluble life" (Hebrews 7:16 margin). If He was to die, therefore, He must take to Himself another nature to which the experience of death were not impossible (Hebrews 2:17). Of course it is not meant that death was desired by Him for its own sake. The purpose of our passage is to save its Jewish readers from the offense of the death of Christ. What they are bidden to observe is, therefore, Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels because of the suffering of death, `crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God the bitterness of death which he tasted might redound to the benefit of every man' (Hebrews 2:9), and the argument is immediately pressed home that it was eminently suitable for God Almighty, in bringing many sons into glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect (as a Saviour) by means of suffering. The meaning is that it was only through suffering that these men, being sinners could be brought into glory. And therefore in the plainer statement of Hebrews 2:14 we read that our Lord took part in flesh and blood in order "that through death he might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the Devil; and might deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage"; and in the still plainer statement of 2:17 that the ultimate object of His assimilation to men was that He might "make propitiation for the sins of the people." It is for the salvation of sinners that our Lord has come into the world; but, as that salvation can be wrought only by suffering and death, the proximate end of His assumption of humanity remains that He might die; whatever is more than this gathers around this.
The completeness of our Lord's assumption of humanity and of His identification of Himself with it receives strong emphasis in this passage. He took part in the flesh and blood which is the common heritage of men, after the same fashion that other men participate in it (Hebrews 2:14); and, having thus become a man among men, He shared with other men the ordinary circumstances and fortunes of life, "in all things" (Hebrews 2:17). The stress is laid on trials, sufferings, death; but this is due to the actual course in which His life ran-and that it might run in which He became man-and is not exclusive of other human experiences. What is intended is that He became truly a man, and lived a truly human life, subject to all the experiences natural to a man in the particular circumstances in which He lived.
(3) Continued Possession of Deity.
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PRAYERS OF CHRIST
1. The Lord's Prayer
2. Christ's Doctrine of Prayer: Sacredness, Importunity, Conditions
3. Prayers Offered by Christ
(1) The High-priestly Prayer
(2) The Prayer in Gethsemane
(3) The Prayers on the Cross
(4) Prayer after the Resurrection
(5) General Conclusions
In the history and doctrine of prayer, nothing is more important than the light shed upon the subject by the prayers of Jesus. These are to be studied in connection with His teaching concerning prayer found in the model of the Lord's Prayer, and general statements and hints to His disciples.
1. The Lord's Prayer:
This model of prayer is given in two forms (Matthew 6:9-13 Luke 11:2-4). The differences of form show that exactness of similarity in words is not essential. The prayer includes adoration, supplication for the Kingdom, for personal needs, for forgiveness, for deliverance from temptation and the ascription of glory. It is at once individual and universal; it sets the recognition of divine things first, and yet clearly asserts the ethical and social relations of life.
See LORD'S PRAYER, THE.
2. Christ's Doctrine of Prayer: Sacredness, Importunity, Conditions:
That men should pray is taken for granted (Matthew 6:5). Its sacredness is involved in the command for privacy (Matthew 6:6); its importunity (Luke 11:5-9; Luke 18:1-8); its necessary conditions of humility, absence of self righteousness (Luke 18:9-14), of display and repetition (Matthew 6:7); necessity of faith and a forgiving spirit (Mark 11:24-26); of agreement in social prayer (Matthew 18:19); submission to the will of Christ, "in my name" (John 14:13).
3. Prayers Offered by Christ:
In Matthew 11:25, 26 the King James Version, Christ thanks God: "Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight." This language shows the essence of prayer to be not the mere expression of need and request for what is required, but resort to God. The prayer gives us insight into the deeper experience of the Son with the Father, and His perfect submission to the Father's will, with thanksgiving even for what might seem inexplicable. It thus illustrates the truth that the highest form of prayer is found in the serenity of the soul.
Matthew 14:23 narrates the retirement of the Lord to a "mountain apart to pray." No word of what the prayer was is given, but the record is suggestive. Following a day of severe toil and probably excitement, Jesus betakes Himself to prayer. The reality, the true humanity of the Christ, are here revealed. The former prayer may almost be regarded as that of the Son of God addressed to the Father in the sublime communion of the Godhead. This passage emphatically is a prayer-scene of the Son of Man. The association of this incident of prayer in Christ's life with the miracle of walking on the sea (an example of miracle in the person of the Lord Himself, and not performed on another) opens up an interesting question of the relation of the supernatural and the natural. Here perhaps lies an explanation of the true significance of the miraculous. The communion of the Lord with a supreme Father had filled the physical nature of Jesus with spiritual forces which extended the power of the spirit over the material world beyond the limits by which man is bound in his normal and sinful condition (see Lange, Commentary on Mt; Matthew 15:36; compare 14:19). Christ's recognition of God as the Giver of food, in thanks at the meal, or "asking a blessing," should be noted as an example which in modern times is largely ignored or followed as a mere formality. But it is significant; it expresses that intense and all-compelling sense of the divine which ever dwelt in Him; of which prayer is an expression, and which is evoked so naturally and becomingly at a social meal. In Matthew 17:21, our Lord's reference to prayer as a necessary condition of miraculous power, in the light of Mark 7:34, where "looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him (the deaf man), Ephphatha," may imply His own prayer in connection with the exercise of miraculous energy. This is apparently indicated in John 11:41, 42, although, as above, it is the expression of the intimate relation between Christ and the Father, which is the essence of prayer, and in which relation He ever exercised the fullest power of God Himself. Matthew 19:13 records that little children were brought to Him that He should put His hands on them and pray. That He prayed is not related, but 19:15 relates that He laid His hands on them and, presumably, with the imposition, prayed. The scene is most suggestive, in the light of our Lord's words. In Matthew 19:14 and in 26:26 Our Lord blesses the bread or gives thanks at the institution of the Supper, and has set the mode of celebration universally adopted, even giving the term Eucharist ("giving of thanks") to the service.
(1) The High-priestly Prayer.
This prayer (John 17) is the special prayer of the Lord, and may be regarded as the sole example furnished by the evangelists of our Lord's method of prayer. The thanksgiving in Matthew 11:25 is the only other instance of any extent in the report of the prayers of Jesus, but even that is brief compared to what is here furnished. The fullness of this prayer clearly shows that it was uttered in the hearing of the disciples. Their relation to it is remarkable. Auditors, they yet could not share in it. At the same time, it was a profound revelation to them both of the relation of the Master to God, and the character of the work which He had come to perform, and the part which they were to take in it. John gives us no hint as to the place in which it was spoken; 14:31 indicates a departure from the upper room. But apparently the prayer was offered where the discourses of John 15 and 16 were delivered. It has been suggested by Westcott that some spot in the temple courts was the scene of John 15; 16 and 17. It has been generally supposed that the ornament of the Golden Vine would naturally suggest the figure of the Vine and Branches which our Lord employs. John 18:1 shows that the prayer was offered before the Lord and His disciples had passed over the brook Kidron. The determination of the exact spot is certainly impossible, except the probability that the words were spoken in the vicinity of the temple.
The first part of the prayer (John 17:1-5) is an expression of profound communion between the Son and the Father, and the prayer that the Father should glorify the Son, but with the supreme end of the Father's own glory. The absolutely unique character of Christ's relation to God is the calm assertion of John 17:4. Its consciousness of completeness in the work which He had received from God, impossible for the children of men, marks the supreme nature of the Son of God.
In the second part of the prayer (John 17:6-19), our Lord prays for His disciples, to whom He has revealed Himself and His relation to God (John 17:7, 8). He prays that they may be kept by the Father, and for their unity. Their separation from the world is declared (John 17:14), and our Lord prays that they may be kept from the evil that is in the world, which is alien from them as it is from Him.
In the third portion of the prayer Christ's relation to His ultimate followers is referred to. Their unity is sought, not an external unity, but the deep, spiritual unity found by the indwelling of Christ in them and God in Christ. The prayer closes by the declaration that Christ's knowledge of the Father is revealed to His people, and the end and crown of all is to be the indwelling of God's love in man by the dwelling of Christ in him.
This prayer is unique, not merely among the prayers of our Lord, but also among the prayers of humanity. While it is distinctly a petition, it is at the same time a communion. In one or two places our Lord expresses His will, thus setting Himself upon a level with God. The fact of this prayer of triumph in which every petition is virtually a declaration of the absolute certainty of its realization, immediately preceding the prayer of Gethsemane, is both difficult and suggestive. The anomaly is a powerful argument for the historic reality. The explanation of these contrasted moods is to be found in the depth of our Lord's nature, and especially in the complete consistency of His dual nature with the spheres to which each nature belongs. He is most divine; He is most human. In the fullness of the reach of the prayer and its calm confidence, the believer may find a ceaseless and inexhaustible source of comfort and encouragement. Attention might be called to the remarkable forecast of the history and experience of the church which the prayer furnishes.
(2) The Prayer in Gethsemane.
This is recorded by the three Synoptics (Matthew 26:36-44 Mark 14:22-40 Luke 22:39-46), and is probably referred to in Hebrews 5:7. Brief though the prayer is, it exhibits most clearly recognition of God's infinite power, a clear object sought by the prayer, and perfect submission to God's will. All the elements of prayer, as it can be offered by man, are here except the prayer for forgiveness. It is to be noted that the prayer was three times repeated. This is not to be regarded as inconsistent with our Lord's prohibition of repetition. It was vain repetition which was forbidden. The intensity of the prayer is expressed by its threefold utterance (compare Paul's prayer in regard to the thorn in 2 Corinthians 12:8).
(3) The Prayers on the Cross.
In Matthew 27:46 Mark 15:34, Christ uses the prayer of Psalm 22:1. In the moment of complete desolation, the Sufferer claimed His unbroken relationship with God. This is the victory of the atoning sacrifice. Luke 23:34 records the prayer of intercession for those who crucified Him; in 23:46 is the calm committal of His spirit to the Father. Prayer here again assumes its highest form in the expression of recognition and trust. Thus the three prayers on the cross not only reveal the intimate relation of our Lord to the Father, but they also illustrate prayer such as man may offer. They represent supplication, intercession, communion. Prayer thus expresses our relation to God, to others, to ourselves; our trust, our love, our need. In all things He was made like unto His brethren, except without sin (see POINTS). His prayers on the cross illustrate His high-priestly office. It rises at that intense crisis to its supreme manifestation and activity.
(4) Prayer after the Resurrection.
It is to be observed that after His resurrection there is no record of any prayer, offered by Christ. In the supper at Emmaus He "blessed" the bread (Luke 24:30); and the ascension took place in the midst of blessing (Luke 24:51), suggestive of the course of the church as ever beneath the benediction of the Lord, to be ended only at the final consummation. The act of eating the fish and honeycomb (Luke 24:43) seems to have been unaccompanied by any act of specifically religious form. Mark, with characteristic regard to details, records Christ's "looking up to heaven" (Mark 6:41; Mark 7:34); John 11:41 refers to a similar act, and adds the Lord's words of thanksgiving that God had heard Him (see also John 17:1). The gesture was usual in association with Christ's prayers; it is appropriate and suggestive. Luke narrates that Christ prayed at His baptism (Luke 3:21); that He spent a night in prayer before choosing the Twelve (Luke 6:12, 13); that the transfiguration was preceded by prayer (Luke 9:29); and records the prayer in the garden (Luke 22:41-45). The third evangelist thus in addition to the notes of our Lord's prayers in retirement, which the other evangelists record, adds these instances of the special relation of prayer to events of critical importance.
(5) General Conclusions.
The following conclusions as to prayer may be drawn from the records of Christ' prayers:
(1) Prayer is the highest exercise of man's spiritual nature.
(2) It is natural to the soul even in perfect accord with God.
(3) It is not only the expression of need, the supply of which is sought of God, but by the example of Christ it is the highest expression of trust, submission and union with God.
(4) It is to be used both in solitude and in society; it is personal and intercessory.
(5) It may be accompanied by the plea of Christ's name, and for Christ's sake.
These are the laws which should direct it; that is to say, it should be based upon the merit and the intercession of Christ, and should be addressed to God under the limitations of the Kingdom of the Lord and His purposes for good, both for the interest of the suppliant and others, under the conditions of the interest of the whole Kingdom.
L. D. Bevan