International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
ETHICS OF JESUS
Contents I. IN THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS
1. The Blessings of the Kingdom (1) Nature of the Kingdom (2) Blessedness of the Kingdom (3) Righteousness-Its Contrasts (4) Apocalyptic Theories
2. The Character of the Subjects of the Kingdom (1) Condition of Entrance (2) Christ's Attitude to Sin (3) Attainment of Righteousness (a) Repentance (b) Faith "Coming" to Christ (c) Imitation of Christ-Service Example of Jesus
3. Commandments of the King The Great Commandments (a) Love to God God's Worship, etc. The Church (b) Duty to Man Exemplified in Christ The New Motives
II. IN THE FOURTH GOSPEL
1. Eternal Life 2. Its Source in God 3. Through the Son 4. Need of New Birth 5. Nature of Faith 6. Fruits of Union with Christ LITERATURE
I. In the Synoptic Gospels.
If, following the custom prevalent at present, we adopt, as the general name for the teaching of Jesus in the Synoptists, the Kingdom of God, then the divisions of His ethical teaching will be (1) the Blessings of the Kingdom, (2) the Character of the Subjects, (3) the Commandments of the King.
1. The Blessings of the Kingdom:
(1) Nature of the Kingdom.
"The Kingdom of God" was not a phrase invented by Jesus. It was used before Him by the Baptist. Its proximate source, for both Jesus and John, was the prophet Daniel, who uses it in very striking passages (2:44, 45; 7:13, 14). The idea of a kingdom of God goes back to the very commencement of the monarchy in Israel, when the prophet Samuel told those who demanded a king that Yahweh was their king, and that they should desire no other. Through all the subsequent history of the monarchy, which was, on the whole, so disappointing to patriotic and pious minds, the conviction lingered that, if God Himself were king, all would be well; and, when at length the Hebrew state was destroyed and the people were carried into captivity, the prophets still believed that for their country there was a future and a hope, if only Yahweh would take to Himself His great power and reign. In the period between the Old Testament and the New Testament such sentiments so greatly prevailed that Schurer has compiled, from the apocryphal literature, a kind of Messianic creed, embracing no fewer than eleven articles, which he supposes to have prevailed before the Advent. It may be doubtful how far such beliefs had taken possession of the general mind. Many of the Sadducees were too satisfied with things as they were to concern themselves about such dreams. But the Pharisees undoubtedly gave a large place in their minds to Messianic expectations, and for these the Zealots were ready to fight. It is, however, to the prosdechomenoi, as they are called, because they were "waiting for the consolation of Israel," that we must look for the purest expression of this heritage derived from the piety of the past. In the hymns at the beginning of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, with which the birth of Jesus was greeted, we encounter an intense and lofty conception of the kingdom of God; and, as the earthly home in which Jesus grew up belonged to this select section of the population, there is little doubt that it was here He imbibed both His Messianic ideas and the phraseology in which these were expressed. His use of the term, the kingdom of God, has sometimes been spoken of as an accommodation to the beliefs and language of His fellow-countrymen. But it was native to Himself; and it is not unlikely that the very commonness of it in the circle in which He grew up rendered Him unconscious of the difference between His own conception and that which prevailed outside of this circle. For, as soon as He began to preach and to make known the sentiments which He included within this phrase, it became manifest that He and His contemporaries, under a common name, were thinking of entirely different things.
They emphasized the first half of the phrase-"the kingdom"; He the second-"of God." They were thinking of the external attributes of a kingdom-political emancipation, an army, a court, subject provinces; He of the doing of God's will on earth as it is done in heaven. Even He had felt, at one stage, the glamor of their point of view, as is manifest from the account of the Temptation in the Wilderness; but He had decisively rejected it, resolving not to commence with an external framework on a large scale, to be subsequently filled with character, but to begin with the individual, and trust to time and Providence for visible success. The triumphal entry into Jerusalem proves that He never abandoned the claim to be the fulfiller of all the Old Testament predictions about the kingdom of God; but His enemies not unnaturally interpreted the failure of that attempt as a final demonstration that their own view had been the correct one all along. Still, God was not mocked, and Jesus was not mocked. When, at the end of a generation, the Jewish state sank into ruin and the city by which Jesus was martyred had been destroyed, there were springing up, all over the world, communities the members of which were bound more closely to one another than the members of any other kingdom, obeyed the same laws and enjoyed the same benefits, which they traced up to a King ruling in the heavens, who would appear again on the great white throne, to be the Judge of quick and dead.
(2) Blessedness of the Kingdom.
The enemies of Jesus may be said to have carried out to the bitter end their conception of the kingdom of God, when they nailed Him to a tree; but, in the face of opposition, He carried out His own conception of it too, and He never abandoned the practice of employing this phrase as a comprehensive term for all the blessings brought by Him to mankind. He used, however, other nomenclature for the same objects, such as Gospel, Peace, Rest, Life, Eternal Life, Blessedness. His exposition of the last of these, at the commencement of the Sermon on the Mount, is highly instructive. Seldom, indeed, has the structure of the Beatitudes been clearly understood. Each of them is an equation, in which "blessed" stands on the one side and on the other two magnitudes-the one contained in the subject of the sentence, such as "the poor in spirit," "the meek," and so on; and the other contained in a qualifying clause introduced by "for." Sometimes one of these magnitudes may be a minus quantity, as in "they that mourn"; but the other is so large a positive magnitude that the two together represent a handsome plus, which thoroughly justifies the predicate "blessed." It is remarkable that the first and the eighth of the reasons introduced by "for" are the same: "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," justifying the statement that this is Christ's own name for the blessedness brought by Him to the world; and the sentences between these, introduced in the same way, may be looked upon as epexegetic of this great phrase. They embrace such great conceptions as comfort, mercy, the inheritance of the earth, the vision of God and sonship, which are all certainly blessings of the kingdom; and the list does not finish without mentioning a great reward in heaven-an immortal hope, which is the greatest blessing of all.
(3) Righteousness-Its Contrasts.
If the preacher of the Sermon on the Mount was to expound at length any one of these bright conceptions, it might have been expected to be the kingdom of God itself; and this we should have desired. But the one to which this honor fell has still to be mentioned. It is "righteousness." In one of the Beatitudes the speaker had promised that to be filled with this should be part of the blessedness which He was expounding; and, when He had finished the Beatitudes, He turned back to this conception and devoted the rest of His discourse to its interpretation. Nowhere else, in the reports of His preaching which have come down to us, is there to be found an exposition so sustained and thorough. There is no better way of describing a new thing, with which those who listen are unfamiliar, than to contrast it with something with which they are perfectly acquainted; and this was the method adopted by Jesus. He contrasted the righteousness with which the subjects of the kingdom were to be blessed with the figure of the righteous man familiar to them, first, in the discourses of the scribes, to which they were wont to listen in the synagogue, and secondly, in the example of the Pharisees, to whom they were wont to look up as the patterns of righteousness. It is well known what ample opportunities He found, by means of this felicitous disposition, for probing to the very depths of morality, as well as for covering His opponents with ridicule and exploding the honor in which they stood with the masses. The whole of this scheme is, however, exhausted long before the Sermon comes to a close; and the question is, whether, in the latter half of the Sermon, He still keeps up the exposition of righteousness by contrasting it with the ordinary course of the world. I am inclined to think that this is the case, and that the key to the latter half of the discourse is the contrast between righteousness and worldliness. The doctrine, at all events, which issues from the whole discussion is that the righteousness promised is distinguished by three characteristics-inwardness, as distinguished from the externality of those who believed morality to extend to outward words and deeds alone, and not to the secret thoughts of the heart; secrecy, as distinguished from the ostentation of those who blew a trumpet before them when they were doing their alms; and naturalness, like that of the flower or the fruit, which grows spontaneously from a healthy root, without forcing.
SeeSERMON ON THE MOUNT.
(4) Apocalyptic Theories. This substitution of righteousness for the kingdom in the greatest public discourse which has come down to us is a significant indication of the direction in which the mind of Jesus was tending, as He drew away from the notions and hopes of contemporary Judaism. It is evident that He was filling the idea of the kingdom more and more with religious and moral contents, and emptying it of political and material elements. There are scholars, indeed, at the present day, who maintain that His conception of the kingdom was futuristic, and that He was waiting all the time for an apocalyptic manifestation, which never came. He was, they think, expecting the heavens to open and the kingdom to descend ready made to the earth, like the New Jerusalem in the Apocalypse. But this is to assume toward Jesus exactly the attitude taken up toward Him in His own day by Pharisees and high priests, and it degrades Him to the level of an apocalyptic dreamer. It ignores many sayings of His, of which the parable of the Mustard Seed may be taken as an example, which prove that He anticipated for Christianity a long development such as it has actually passed through; and it fails to do justice to many passages in His teaching where He speaks of the kingdom as already come. Of the latter the most remarkable is where He says, "The kingdom of God is within you"-a statement preceded by a distinct rejection of the notion of an apocalyptic manifestation; for the word "observation," which He employs in describing the way in which the kingdom is not to come, is an astronomical term, describing precisely such a phenomenon as He is supposed by such scholars as John Weiss and Schweitzer to have been expecting. The more it became evident that He was not to command the homage of the nation, the more did He devote Himself to the education of the Twelve, that they might form the nucleus of His kingdom upon earth; and it was certainly not with apocalyptic visions that He fed their receptive minds.
2. The Character of the Subjects of the Kingdom:
(1) Conditions of Entrance.
The righteousness described so comprehensively in the Sermon on the Mount is not infrequently spoken of as the condition of entrance to the kingdom of God; but this is altogether to misunderstand the mind of Jesus. The righteousness described by Him is the gift of God to those who are already inside the kingdom; for it is the supreme blessing for the sake of which the kingdom is to be sought; and the condition imposed on those who are outside is not the possession of righteousness, but rather a bottomless sense of the want of it. The more utterly they feel their own lack of righteousness, the more ready are they for entrance into the kingdom. They must "hunger and thirst after righteousness." It has been remarked already that the description, in the Beatitudes, of the character of the candidates for the kingdom is sometimes of a negative character; and indeed, this is the account in the teaching of Jesus generally of those whom He attracts to Himself. They are drawn by a sense of boundless need in themselves and by the apprehension of an equivalent fullness in Him; He calls those "that labor and are heavy laden," that He may give them rest.
(2) Christ's Attitude to Sin.
The first word of the prophetic message in the Old Testament was always the denunciation of sin; and only after this had done its work did the vision of a good time coming rise on the horizon. The same was repeated in the message of John the Baptist; and it did not fail to reappear in the teaching of Jesus, though His mode of treating the subject was entirely His own. He did not, like the prophets, take up much time with convicting gross and open sinners. Perhaps He thought that this had been sufficiently done by His predecessors; or, perhaps He refrained because He understood the art of getting sinners to convict themselves. Yet, in the parable of the Prodigal Son, He showed how profoundly He understood the nature and the course of the commonest sins. If, however, He thus spared transgressors who had no covering for their wickedness, He made up for this leniency by the vigor and even violence with which He attacked those who hid their sins under a cloak of hypocrisy. Never was there a prophetic indignation like that with which He assailed such sinners in Matthew 23; and He shaped the same charges into an unforgettable picture in the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. He never named the Sadducees in the same unreserved manner as He thus designated their antagonists; but in more parables than one it is possible that He had them in view. The Unjust Judge was probably a Sadducee; and so was the Rich Man at whose gate the beggar Lazarus was wont to sit. The sin of the Sadducees, at all events, did not escape His prophetic animadversion. In Luke especially He alludes with great frequency to worldliness and the love of money as cankers by which the life of the human soul is eaten out and its destiny destroyed. Thus did Jesus exercise the prophetic office of denouncing all the sins of His time; and He showed what, in this respect, He thought of mankind in general when He began a sentence with, "If ye then, being evil" (Luke 11:13), and when He gave the dreadful description of the heart of man which begins, "Out of the heart come forth evil thoughts" (Matthew 15:19).
(3) Attainment of Righteousness.
To all serious students of the Sermon on the Mount it is well known that the popular notion of it, as containing a simple religion and an easy-going morality, is utterly mistaken; on the contrary, the righteousness sketched by the Preacher is far loftier than that ever conceived by any other religious teacher whatever. Not only, however, does He thus propose to conduct human beings to a platform of attainment higher than any attempted before, but He, at the same time, recognizes that He must begin with men lower than almost any others have allowed. It is here that the ethics of Jesus differ from those of the philosophers. He takes the task much more seriously; and, as the ascent from the one extreme to the other is much longer, so the means of reaching the goal are much more difficult. Philosophers, assuming that man is equal to his own destiny, lay the demands of the moral law before him at once, taking it for granted that he is able to fulfill them; but the path adopted by Jesus is more remote and humbling. There are in it steps or stages which, in His teaching, it is easy to discern.
The first of these is repentance. This was a watchword of all the prophets: after sin had been denounced, penitence was called for; and no hope of improvement was held out until this had been experienced. In the message of John the Baptist it held the same place; and, in one of the Gospels, it is expressly stated that Jesus began His ministry by repeating this watchword of His predecessor. Not a few of the most touching scenes of His earthly ministry exhibit penitents at His feet, the most moving of them all being that of the woman who was "a sinner"; and, in the parable of the Prodigal Son, we have a full-length picture of the process of repentance.
The second step is faith-a word of constant recurrence in the teaching Of Jesus. In many cases it is connected with His healing ministry; but this was a parable of a more interior ministry for the soul. In many cases it formed a school of preparation for the other, as in the case of the man borne of four, who was brought to Christ for the healing of his body, but was presented, in addition, with the gift of the forgiveness of his sins. In healing him Jesus expressly claimed the power of forgiving sins; and, in His great saying at the institution of the Lord's Supper, He showed the connection which this was to have with His own death.
(c) Imitation of Christ-Service:
Instead of speaking of faith and of believing, Jesus frequently spoke of "coming" to Himself; and then followed the invitation to "follow" Him, which, accordingly, is the third stage. Following Him meant, in many cases, literally leaving home and occupation, in order to accompany Him from place to place, as He journeyed through the land; and, as this involved sacrifice and self-denial, He frequently combined with "following" the invitation to take up "the cross." But by degrees this literal meaning dropped away from the invitation, or at least became secondary to that of imitation, which must be the only meaning when Paul, adopting the language of his Master, calls upon men and women to be "followers" of him, as he was of Christ. It is seldom that Jesus, in so many words, calls upon others to imitate Himself; indeed, He does so less frequently than Paul; but it is implied in following Him, if not literally expressed; and it was a direct consequence of keeping company with Him and coming under the influence of His example. It is highly characteristic that, in the only place where He directly calls upon others to "learn" from Him, the virtue to which He draws attention is meekness-"Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart." The same quality was often emphasized by Him, when He was describing the character which He wished to see exhibited by others, "For every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (Luke 14:11). In spite, however, of the importance thus attached by Him to humility, He not only combined with it, as has been pointed out by Bushnell, in his famous chapter on the character of Christ in Nature and the Supernatural, the most stupendous personal claims, but also attributed to His followers a position of personal distinction among men, and called upon them to perform services far beyond the reach of ordinary mortals, saying to them, "Ye are the salt of the earth," "Ye are the light of the world," and ordering them to make disciples of all nations. The principle by which this apparent contradiction is bridged over is another favorite idea of His teaching, namely, Service. He who is able to serve others on a large scale is, in a sense, superior to those he serves, because he is furnished with the resources of which they stand in need; yet he places himself beneath them and forgets his own claims in ministering to their necessities. There are few of the utterances of Jesus in which the very genius of His ethical system is more fully expressed than that in which He contrasts greatness as it is conceived among men of the world with greatness as He conceives it and His followers must learn to conceive it: "Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant." Of this difficult rule, He was able to add, He Himself had given, and was still to give, the most perfect illustration; for "even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:25 ff the King James Version).
This reminds us that, while the character of the subjects of the kingdom is to be learned from the words of Jesus, it may be also derived from His example. That which He demanded from others He fulfilled in His own conduct; and thus the dry precepts of the moral law were invested with the charm of a living personality. Brief as the records of His life are, they are wonderfully rich in instruction of this kind; and it is possible, by going through them with study and care, to form a clear image of how He bore Himself in all the departments of human life-in the home, in the state, in the church, as a friend, in society, as a man of prayer, as a student of Scripture, as a worker, as a sufferer, as a philanthropist, as a winner of souls, as a preacher, as a teacher, as a controversialist, and so on. This is the modern imitation of Christ-that of the details of His earthly existence-the Imitation of a Kempis was an imitation of the cosmical history of the Son of God, as He moves on His Divine mission from heaven to the cross and back to the throne of the universe. Seethe writer's Imago Christi.
3. Commandments of the King:
The Great Commandments.
In accordance with Scriptural usage, Jesus called by the name of "commandments" those actions which we call "duties"; and He has made this part of our subject easy by reducing the commandments to two: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second like unto it is this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" (Matthew 22:37-39). He did not invent either of these commandments; for both occur in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 6:5 Leviticus 19:18). There, however, they lie far apart and are buried out of sight. The second of them was still more deeply buried under a misinterpretation of the scribes, to which reference is made in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus rescued them from oblivion; He showed the vital and indissoluble connection between the sentiments which they enforce-love of God and love of man-which had been long and violently separated; and He lifted them up into the firmament of ethics, to shine forever as the sun and moon of duty.
(a) Love to God:
It has been denied by some writers on Christian ethics that there can be any such thing as duties to God, and by writers on philosophical ethics love to God is not generally regarded as coming within the scope of their science. But the duty of man is concerned with all the objects, and especially all the beings, he is related to; and to Jesus the outflow of man's heart toward Him who is the author of his being and the source of all his blessings seemed the most natural of actions. "I love Yahweh" was a sentiment to which mankind had risen even in the Old Testament (Psalm 116:1), where it corresponds with not a few expressions of the Divine love equally fervent; and it is not a figure of speech at all when Jesus demands love for His Father from heart and soul, strength and mind.
Love to God involves, however, love to what may be called the Things of God, toward which Jesus always manifested tenderness and honor. Those who are not themselves ecclesiastically minded have, indeed, taken it for granted that Jesus
was indifferent, if not hostile, to the objects and actions by which the Almighty is honored; and it is often said that the only service of God which mattered in His eyes was the service of man. But, although, like the prophets before Him, Jesus exposed with withering rebuke the hypocrisy of those who put ritual in the place of righteousness, it requires no more than a glance at His sayings, and the other records of His life, to perceive that His mind was occupied no less with duties to God than with duties to men; indeed, the former bulk more largely in His teaching. The only arrangement of religion with which He seems out of sympathy is the Sabbath; but this was due to a peculiarity of the times; and it is quite conceivable that in other circumstances He might have been a strenuous supporter of Sabbath observance. If there had been in His day a Sadducean attempt to rob the people of the day of rest, He would have opposed it as strenuously as He did the Pharisaic attempt to make it a burden and a weariness to the common man. By declaring the Sabbath to have been made for man (Mark 2:27) He recognized that it was instituted at the beginning and intended for the entire course of man's existence upon earth. With the other things of God, such as His House, His Word, and His Worship, He manifested sympathy equally by word and deed; He frequented both the Temple and the synagogue; so imbued was His mind with the lit of the Old Testament that He spoke habitually in its spirit and phraseology, having its figures and incidents perfectly at command; and by both precept and example He taught others to pray.
Nothing is commoner than the statement that Jesus had nothing to do with the founding of the church or the arrangement of its polity; but this is a subjective prejudice, blind to the facts of the case. Jesus realized that the worship of the Old Testament was passing away, but He was Himself to replace it by a better order. He did not merely breathe into the air a spirit of sweetness and light; if this had been all He did, Christianity would soon have vanished from the earth; but He provided channels in which, after His departure, His influence should flow to subsequent generations. Not only did He found the church, but He appointed the most important details of its organization, such as preaching and the sacraments; and He left the Twelve behind Him not only as teachers, but as those who were able to instruct other teachers also. There may be ecclesiastical arrangements which are worked in a spirit far removed from the love of God; and such are of course contrary to the mind of Christ; but the love of God, if it is strong, inevitably overflows into the things of God, and cannot, in fact, permanently exist without them.
(b) Duty to Man:
As has been hinted above, the sayings of our Lord about the details of duty to man are less numerous than might have been expected, but what may be lacking in numbers is made up for in originality and comprehensiveness. Many single sayings, like the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12) and the lovely word about a cup of cold water given in the name of Christ (Matthew 10:42), are revolutionary in the ethical experience of mankind; and so are such parables as the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son and the Unmerciful Servant. The commandment to love enemies and to forgive injuries (Matthew 5:43-48), if not entirely novel, received a prominence it had never possessed before. The spirit of all such sayings of Jesus is the same: He seeks to redeem men from selfishness and worldliness and to produce in them a godlike passion for the welfare of their fellow-creatures. These they may bless with gifts of money, where such may be required, still more with sympathy and helpfulness, but most of all with the gospel.
Besides such directions as to the behavior of man to man, there are also among the words of Jesus memorable maxims about the conduct of life in the family, in the state, and in society; and here again He taught even more by example than by precept. As son, brother and friend, He fulfilled all righteousness; but He also, as teacher, determined what righteousness was. Thus He opposed the laxity as to divorce prevalent in His time, pointing back to the pure ideal of Paradise. His conception of womanhood and His tenderness toward childhood have altered entirely the conceptions of men about these two conditions. He was a patriot, glorying in the beauty of His native Galilee and weeping over Jerusalem; and though, from birth to death, He was exposed to constant persecution from the constituted authorities, He not only obeyed these Himself but commanded all others to do the same. Nothing moved Him more than the sight of talents unused, and, therefore, it lay deep in His system of thought to call upon everyone to contribute his part to the service of the body politic; but no less did He recognize the right of those who have done their part of the general task to share in the fruits of industry; "for the laborer is worthy of his hire" (Luke 10:7).
Priceless, however, as are the commandments of Jesus in regard to the things of man, as well as in regard to the things of God, it is not in these that we have to seek His ethical originality, but in the new motive brought into play by Him for doing the Divine will, when once it has been ascertained. As He made it easy to love God by revealing God's love, so did He make it easy to love man by revealing the greatness of man, as an immortal creature, who has come from God and is going to God. Whatever is done to man, good or evil, Jesus esteems as done to Himself; for the great saying to this effect, in the account of the Last Judgment in Matthew 25, though applicable in the first place to Christians, may be extended to men in general. The corollary of the fatherhood of God is the brotherhood of men; and the second great commandment stands under the protection of the first.
II. In the Fourth Gospel.
1. Eternal Life:
In the Fourth Gospel Eternal Life takes the same place as the kingdom of God in the other three. The author is not, indeed, unaware that Jesus employed the latter phrase for the sum of the blessings brought by Him to the world; and it has already been remarked that the Synoptists occasionally employ "life" as an equivalent for the phrase they usually make use of. The reason of John's preference for his own phrase may have lain in some personal idiosyncrasy, or it may have been due to the Gentileenvironment in which he wrote. But the phrase is one suggestive and instructive in itself in the highest degree. It had already entered deeply into the language of religion before the time of Christ; indeed, in every part of Holy Writ the idea is common that separation from God is death, but that union with Him is life.
2. Its Source in God:
In the teaching of Jesus, as this is found in John, the world lies in death, because it has become separated from God, and the children of men are in danger of perishing everlastingly as the punishment of their sin; but "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
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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
je'-zus (Iesous, for yehoshua`):
(1) Joshua, son of Nun (the King James Version Acts 7:45 Hebrews 4:8; compare 1 Maccabees 2:55; 2 Esdras 7:37).
(2) (3) High priest and Levite.
See JESHUA, 2, 5.
(4) Son of Sirach.
(5) An ancestor of Jesus (Luke 3:29, the King James Version "Jose").
(6) (7) See the next three articles.
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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je'-zus jus'-tus Iesous ho legomenos Ioustos, "Jesus that is called Justus," Colossians 4:11):
1. A Jew by Birth:
One of three friends of Paul-the others being Aristarchus and Mark-whom he associates with himself in sending salutations from Rome to the church at Colosse. Jesus Justus is not mentioned elsewhere in the New Testament, and there is nothing more known about him than is given in this passage in Colossians, namely, that he was by birth a Jew-"of the circumcision"-that he had been converted to Christ, and that he was one of the inner circle of intimate friends and associates of the apostle during his first Roman captivity.
2. He Remains True to Paul:
The words also contain the information that at a stage in Paul's imprisonment, when the welcome extended to him by the Christians in Rome on his arrival there had lost its first warmth, and when in consequence, probably, of their fear of persecution, most of them had proved untrue and were holding aloof from him, J. J. and his two friends remained faithful. It would be pressing this passage unduly to make it mean that out of the large number-hundreds, or perhaps even one or two thousands-who composed the membership of the church in Rome at this time, and who within the next few years proved their loyalty to Christ by their stedfastness unto death in the Neronic persecution, all fell away from their affectionate allegiance to Paul at this difficult time. The words cannot be made to signify more than that it was the Jewish section of the church in Rome which acted in this unworthy manner-only temporarily, it is to be hoped. But among these Jewish Christians, to such dimensions had this defection grown that Aristarchus, Mark and J. J. alone were the apostle's fellow-workers unto the kingdom of God. These three alone, at that particular time-from among the Jewish Christians-were helping him in the work of the gospel in Rome. That this defection refers to the Jewish section of the church and not to the converts from among the Gentiles, is evident from many considerations. It seems to be proved, for example by verse 14 of the same chapter (i.e. Colossians 4:14), as well as by Philemon 1:24, in both of which passages Paul names Demas and Luke as his fellow-laborers; and Luke was not a Jew by birth. But in the general failure of the Christians in Rome in their conduct toward Paul, it is with much affection and pathos that he writes concerning Aristarchus, Mark, and J. J., "These only are my fellow-workers unto the kingdom of God, men that have been a comfort unto me."
RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST, THE
" 1. First Proof: The Life of Jesus
2. Second Proof: The Empty Grave
3. Third Proof: Transformation of the Disciples
4. Fourth Proof: Existence of the Primitive Church
5. Fifth Proof: The Witness of Paul
6. Sixth Proof: The Gospel Record
7. Summary and ConClusion
8. Theology of the Resurrection
The Resurrection has always been felt to be vital in connection with Christianity. As a consequence, opponents have almost always concentrated their attacks, and Christians have centered their defense, upon it. It is therefore of the utmost importance to give attention to the subject, as it appears in the New Testament. There are several converging lines of evidence, and none can be overlooked. Each must have its place and weight. The issues at stake are so serious that nothing must be omitted.
1. First Proof: The Life of Jesus:
The first proof is the life of Jesus Christ Himself. It is always a disappointment when a life which commenced well finishes badly. We have this feeling even in fiction; instinct demands that a story should end well. Much more is this true of Jesus Christ. A perfect life characterized by divine claims ends in its prime in a cruel and shameful death. Is that a fitting close? Surely death could not end everything after such a noble career. The Gospels give the resurrection as the completion of the picture of Jesus Christ. There is no real doubt that Christ anticipated His own resurrection. At first He used only vague terms, such as, "Destroy this Temple, and in three days I will raise it up." But later on He spoke plainly, and whenever He mentioned His death, He added, "The Son of man.... must be raised the third day." These references are too numerous to be overlooked, and, in spite of difficulties of detail, they are, in any proper treatment of the Gospels, an integral part of the claim made for Himself by Jesus Christ (Matthew 12:38-40; Matthew 16:21; Matthew 17:9, 23; 20:19; 27:63 Mark 8:31; Mark 9:9, 31; 10:34; 14:58 Luke 9:22; Luke 18:33 John 2:19-21). His veracity is at stake if He did not rise. Surely the word of such a One must be given due credence. We are therefore compelled to face the fact that the resurrection of which the Gospels speak is the resurrection of no ordinary man, but of Jesus-that is of One whose life and character had been unique, and for whose shameful death no proper explanation was conceivable (Denhey, Jesus and the Gospel, 122). Is it possible that, in view of His perfect truthfulness of word and deed, there should be such an anti-climax as is involved in a denial of His assurance that He would rise again (C.H. Robinson, Studies in the Resurrection, 30)? Consider, too, the death of Christ in the light of His perfect life. If that death was the close of a life so beautiful, so remarkable, so Godlike, we are faced with an insoluble mystery-the permanent triumph of wrong over right, and the impossibility of believing in truth or justice in the world (C.H. Robinson, op. cit., 36). So the resurrection is not to be regarded as an isolated event, a fact in the history of Christ separated from all else. It must be taken in close connection with what precedes. The true solution of the problem is to be found in that estimate of Christ which "most entirely fits in with the totality of the facts" (Orr, The Resurrection of Jesus, 14).
2. Second Proof: The Empty Grave:
Another line of proof is the fact of the empty grave and the disappearance of the body. That Jesus died and was buried, and that on the third morning the tomb was empty, is not now seriously challenged. The theory of a swoon and a recovery in the tomb is impossible, and to it Strauss "practically gives its deathblow" (Orr, op. cit., 43). At Christ's burial a stone was rolled before the tomb, the tomb was sealed, and a guard was placed before it. Yet on the third morning the body had disappeared, and the tomb was empty. There are only two alternatives. His body must have been taken out of the grave by human hands or else by superhuman power. If the hands were human, they must have been those of His friends or of His foes. If His friends had wished to take out His body, the question at once arises whether they could have done so in the face of the stone, the seal and the guard. If His foes had contemplated this action, the question arises whether they would seriously have considered it. It is extremely improbable that any effort should have been made to remove the body out of the reach of the disciples. Why should His enemies do the very thing that would be most likely to spread the report of His resurrection? As Chrysostom said, "If the body had been stolen, they could not have stolen it naked, because of the delay in stripping it of the burial clothes and the trouble caused by the drugs adhering to it" (quoted in Day, Evidence for the Resurrection, 35). Besides, the position of the grave-clothes proves the impossibility of the theft of the body (see Greek of John 20:6, 7; John 11:44; Grimley, Temple of Humanity, 69, 70; Latham, The Risen Master; The Expository Times, XIII, 293 f; XIV, 510). How, too, is it possible to account for the failure of the Jews to disprove the resurrection? Not more than seven weeks afterward Peter preached in that city the fact that Jesus had been raised. What would have been easier or more conclusive than for the Jews to have produced the dead body and silenced Peter forever? "The silence of the Jews is as significant as the speech of the Christians" (Fairbairn, Studies in the Life of Christ, 357).
The fact of the empty tomb with the disappearance of the body remains a problem to be faced. It is now admitted that the evidence for the empty tomb is adequate, and that it was part of the primitive belief (Foundations, 134, 154). It is important to realize the force of this admission, because it is a testimony to Paul's use of the term "third day" (see below) and to the Christian observance of the first day of the week. And yet in spite of this we are told that a belief in the empty tomb is impossible. By some writers the idea of resurrection is interpreted to mean the revival of Christ's spiritual influence on the disciples, which had been brought to a close by His death. It is thought that the essential idea and value of Christ's resurrection can be conserved, even while the belief in His bodily rising from the grave is surrendered (Orr, The Resurrection of Jesus, 23). But how can we believe in the resurrection while we regard the basis of the primitive belief in it as a mistake, not to say a fraud? The disciples found the tomb empty, and on the strength of this they believed He had risen. How can the belief be true if the foundation be false? Besides, the various forms of the vision-theory are now gradually but surely being regarded as inadequate and impossible. They involve the change of almost every fact in the Gospel history, and the invention of new scenes and conditions of which the Gospels know nothing (Orr, op. cit., 222). It has never been satisfactorily shown why the disciples should have had this abundant experience of visions; nor why they should have had it so soon after the death of Christ and within a strictly limited period; nor why it suddenly ceased. The disciples were familiar with the apparition of a spirit, like Samuel's, and with the resuscitation of a body, like Lazarus', but what they had not experienced or imagined was the fact of a spiritual body, the combination of body and spirit in an entirely novel way. So the old theory of a vision is now virtually set aside, and for it is substituted theory of a real spiritual manifestation of the risen Christ. The question at once arises whether this is not prompted by an unconscious but real desire to get rid of anything like a physical resurrection. Whatever may be true of unbelievers, this is an impossible position for those who believe Christ is alive.
Even though we may be ready to admit the reality of telepathic communication, it is impossible to argue that this is equivalent to the idea of resurrection. Psychical research has not proceeded far enough as yet to warrant arguments being built on it, though in any case it is difficult, if not impossible, to obtain material from this quarter which will answer to the conditions of the physical resurrection recorded in the New Testament. "The survival of the soul is not resurrection." "Whoever heard of a spirit being buried?" (Orr, The Resurrection of Jesus, 229).
In view of the records of the Gospels and the general testimony of the New Testament, it is impossible to be "agnostic" as to what happened at the grave of Jesus, even though we are quite sure that He who died now lives and reigns. It is sometimes said that faith is not bound up with, holding a particular view of the relations of Christ's present glory with the body that was once in Joseph's tomb, that faithis to be exercised in the exalted Lord, and that belief in a resuscitation of the human body is no vital part of it. It is no doubt true that faith today is to be exercised solely in the exalted and glorified Lord, but faith must ultimately rest on fact, and it is difficult to understand how Christian faith can really be "agnostic" with regard to the facts about the empty tomb and the risen body, which are so prominent in the New Testament, and which form an essential part of the apostolic witness. The attempt to set faith and historical evidence in opposition to each other, which is so marked a characteristic of much modern thought will never satisfy general Christian intelligence, and if there is to be any real belief in the historical character of the New Testament, it is impossible to be "agnostic" about facts that are writ so large on the face of the records. When once the evidence for the empty tomb is allowed to be adequate, the impossibility of any other explanation than that indicated in the New Testament is at once seen. The evidence must be accounted for and adequately explained. And so we come again to the insuperable barrier of the empty tomb, which, together with the apostolic witness, stands impregnable against all the attacks of visional and apparitional theories. It is becoming more evident that these theories are entirely inadequate to account for the records in the Gospels, as well as for the place and power of those Gospels in the early church and in all subsequent ages. The force of the evidence for the empty grave and the disappearance of the body is clearly seen by the explanations suggested by various modern writers (those of Oscar Holtzmann, K. Lake, and A. Meyer can be seen in Orr, The Resurrection of Jesus, chapter viii, and that of Reville in C. H. Robinson, Studies in the Resurrection of Christ, 69; see also the article by Streeter in Foundations). Not one of them is tenable without doing violence to the Gospel story, and also without putting forth new theories which are not only improbable in themselves, but are without a shred of real historical or literary evidence. The one outstanding fact which baffles all these writers is the empty grave.
Others suggest that resurrection means a real objective appearance of the risen Christ without implying any physical reanimation, that the "resurrection of Christ was an objective reality, but was not a physical resuscitation" (C. H. Robinson, Studies in the Resurrection of Christ, 12). But the difficulty here is as to the meaning of the term "resurrection." If it means a return from the dead, a rising again (re-), must there not have been some identity between that which was put in the tomb and the "objective reality" which appeared to the disciples? Wherein lies the essential difference between an objective vision and an objective appearance? If we believe the apostolic testimony to the empty tomb, why may we not accept their evidence to the actual resurrection? They evidently recognized their Master, and this recognition must have been due to some familiarity with His bodily appearance. No difficulty of conceiving of the resurrection of mankind hereafter must be allowed to set aside the plain facts of the record about Christ. It is, of course, quite clear that the resurrection body of Jesus was not exactly the same as when it was put in the tomb, but it is equally clear that there was definite identity as well as definite dissimilarity, and both elements must be faced and accounted for. There need be no insuperable difficulty if we believe that in the very nature of things Christ's resurrection must be unique, and, since the life and work of Jesus Christ transcend our experience (as they certainly should do), we must not expect to bring them within the limitations of natural law and human history. How the resurrection body was sustained is a problem quite outside our ken, though the reference to "flesh and bones," compared with Paul's words about "flesh and blood" not being able to enter the kingdom of God, may suggest that while the resurrection body was not constituted upon a natural basis through blood, yet that it possessed "all things appertaining to the perfection of man's nature" (Church of England Article IV). We may not be able to solve the problem, but we must hold fast to all the facts, and these may be summed up by saying that the body was the same though different, different though the same. The true description of the resurrection seems to be that "it was an objective reality, but, that it was not merely a physical resuscitation." We are therefore brought back to a consideration of the facts recorded in the Gospels as to the empty tomb and the disappearance of the body, and we only ask for an explanation which will take into consideration all the facts recorded, and will do no violence to any part of the evidence. To predicate a new resurrection body in which Christ appeared to His disciples does not explain how in three days' time the body which had been placed in the tomb was disposed of. Does not this theory demand a new miracle of its own (Kennett, Interpreter, V, 271)?
3. Third Proof: Transformation of the Disciples:
The next line of proof to be considered is the transformation of the disciples caused by the resurrection. They had seen their Master die, and through that death they lost all hope. Yet hope returned three days after. On the day of the crucifixion they were filled with sadness; on the first day of the week with gladness. At the crucifixion they were hopeless; on the first day of the week their hearts glowed with certainty. When the message of the resurrection first came they were incredulous and hard to be convinced, but when once they became assured they never doubted again. What could account for the astonishing change in these men in so short a time? The mere removal of the body from the grave could never have transformed their spirits and characters. Three days are not enough for a legend to spring up which should so affect them. Time is needed for a process of legendary growth. There is nothing more striking in the history of primitive Christianity than this marvelous change wrought in the disciples by a belief in the resurrection of their Master. It is a psychological fact that demands a full explanation. The disciples were prepared to believe in the appearance of a spirit, but they never contemplated the possibility of a resurrection (see Mark 16:11). Men do not imagine what they do not believe, and the women's intention to embalm a corpse shows they did not expect His resurrection. Besides, a hallucination involving five hundred people at once, and repeated several times during forty days, is unthinkable. 4. Fourth Proof: Existence of the Primitive Church:
From this fact of the transformation of personal life in so incredibly short a space of time, we proceed to the next line of proof, the existence of the primitive church. "There is no doubt that the church of the apostles believed in the resurrection of their Lord" (Burkitt, The Gospel History and Its Transmission, 74).
It is now admitted on all hands that the church of Christ came into existence as the result of a belief in the resurrection of Christ. When we consider its commencement, as recorded in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, we see two simple and incontrovertible facts:
(1) the Christian society was gathered together by preaching;
(2) the substance of the preaching was the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ was put to death on a cross, and would therefore be rejected by Jews as accursed of God (Deuteronomy 21:23).
Yet multitudes of Jews were led to worship Him (Acts 2:41), and a great company of priests to obey Him (Acts 6:7). The only explanation of these facts is God's act of resurrection (Acts 2:36), for nothing short of it could have led to the Jewish acceptance of Jesus Christ as their Messiah. The apostolic church is thus a result of a belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The early chapters of Acts bear the marks of primitive documents, and their evidence is unmistakable. It is impossible to allege that the early church did not know its own history, that myths and legends quickly grew up and were eagerly received, and that the writers of the Gospels had no conscience for principle, but manipulated their material at will, for any modern church could easily give an account of its history for the past fifty years or more (Orr, The Resurrection of Jesus, 144). And it is simply absurd to think that the earliest church had no such capability. In reality there was nothing vague or intangible about the testimony borne by the apostles and other members of the church. "As the church is too holy for a foundation of rottenness, so she is too real for a foundation of mist" (Archbishop Alexander, The Great Question, 10).
5. Fifth Proof: The Witness of Paul:
One man in the apostolic church must, however, be singled out as a special witness to the resurrection. The conversion and work of Saul of Tarsus is our next line of proof. Attention is first called to the evidence of his life and writings to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Some years ago an article appeared (E. Medley, The Expositor, V, iv, 359). inquiring as to the conception of Christ which would be suggested to a heathen inquirer by a perusal of Paul's earliest extant writing, 1 Thessalonians. One point at least would stand out clearly-that Jesus Christ was killed (2:15; 4:14) and was raised from the dead (4:14). As this Epistle is usually dated about 51 A.D.-that is, only about 22 years after the resurrection-and as the same Epistle plainly attributes to Jesus Christ the functions of God in relation to men (1:1, 6; 2:14; 3:11), we can readily see the force of this testimony to the resurrection. Then a few years later, in an epistle which is universally accepted as one of Paul's, we have a much fuller reference to the event. In the well-known chapter (1 Corinthians 15) where he is concerned to prove (not Christ's resurrection, but) the resurrection of Christians, he naturally adduces Christ's resurrection as his greatest evidence, and so gives a list of the various appearances of Christ, ending with one to himself, which he puts on an exact level with the others: "Last of all he was seen of me also." Now it is essential to give special attention to the nature and particularity of this testimony. "I delivered unto you first of all that which also I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried; and that he hath been raised on the third day according to the scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3 f). This, as it has often been pointed out, is our earliest authority for the appearances of Christ after the resurrection, and dates from within 30 years of the event itself. But there is much more than this: "He affirms that within 5 years of the crucifixion of Jesus he was taught that `Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures' " (Kennett, Interpreter, V, 267). And if we seek to appreciate the full bearing of this act and testimony we have a right to draw the same conclusion: "That within a very few years of the time of the crucifixion of Jesus, the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus was, in the mind of at least one man of education, absolutely irrefutable" (Kennett, op. cit., V, 267).
Besides, we find this narrative includes one small but significant statement which at once recalls a very definite feature of the Gospel tradition-the mention of "the third day." A reference to the passage in the Gospels where Jesus Christ spoke of His resurrection will show how prominent and persistent was this note of time. Why, then, should Paul have introduced it in his statement? Was it part of the teaching which he had "received"? What is the significance of this plain emphasis on the date of the resurrection? Is it not that it bears absolute testimony to the empty tomb? From all this it may be argued that Paul believed the story of the empty tomb at a date when the recollection was fresh, when he could examine it for himself, when he could make the fullest possible inquiry of others, and when the fears and opposition of enemies would have made it impossible for the adherents of Jesus Christ to make any statement that was not absolutely true. "Surely common sense requires us to believe that that for which he so suffered was in his eyes established beyond the possibility of doubt" (Kennett, op. cit., V, 271).
In view, therefore, of Paul's personal testimony to his own conversion, his interviews with those who had seen Jesus Christ on earth before and after His resurrection, and the prominence given to the resurrection in the apostle's own teaching, we may challenge attention afresh to this evidence for the resurrection. It is well known that Lord Lyttelton and his friend Gilbert West left Oxford University at the close of one academic year, each determining to give attention respectively during the long vacation to the conversion of Paul and the resurrection of Christ, in order to prove the baselessness of both. They met again in the autumn and compared experiences. Lord Lyttelton had become convinced of the truth of Paul's conversion, and Gilbert West was convinced of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. If, therefore, Paul's 25 years of suffering and service for Christ were a reality, his conversion was true, for everything he did began with that sudden change. And if his conversion was true, Jesus Christ rose from the dead, for everything Paul was and did he attributed to the sight of the risen Christ.
6. Sixth Proof: The Gospel Record:
The next line of proof of the resurrection is the record in the Gospels of the appearances of the risen Christ, and it is the last in order to be considered. By some writers it is put first, but this is in forgetfulness of the dates when the Gospels were written. The resurrection was believed in by the Christian church for a number of years before our Gospels were written, and it is therefore impossible for these records to be our primary and most important evidence. We must get behind them if we are to appreciate fully the force and variety of the evidence. It is for this reason that, following the proper logical order, we have reserved to the last our consideration of the appearances of the risen Christ as given in the Gospels. The point is one of great importance (Denney, Jesus and the Gospel, 111).
Now, with this made clear, we proceed to consider the evidence afforded by the records of the post-resurrection appearances of Christ. Modern criticism of the Gospels during recent years has tended to adopt the view that Mark is the earliest, and that Matthew and Luke are dependent on it. This is said to be "the one solid result" (W. C. Allen, "St. Matthew," International Critical Commentary, Preface, vii; Burkitt, The Gospel History, 37) of the literary criticism of the Gospels. If this is so, the question of the records of the resurrection becomes involved in the difficult problem about the supposed lost ending of Mark, which, according to modern criticism, would thus close without any record of an appearance of the risen Christ. On this point, however, two things may be said at the present juncture: (1) There are some indications that the entire question of the criticism of the Gospels is to be reopened (Ramsay, Luke the Physician, chapter ii; see also Orr, The Resurrection of Jesus, 63;). (2) Even if the current theory be accepted, it would not seriously weaken the intrinsic force of the evidence for the resurrection, because, after all, Mark does not invent or "doctor" his material, but embodies the common apostolic tradition of his time (Orr, The Resurrection of Jesus, 62).
We may, therefore, meanwhile examine the record of the appearances without finding them essentially affected by any particular theory of the origin and relations of the Gospels. There are two sets of appearances, one in Jerusalem and the other in Galilee, and their number, and the amplitude and weight of their testimony should be carefully estimated. While we are precluded by our space from examining each appearance minutely, and indeed it is unnecessary for our purpose to do so, it is impossible to avoid calling attention to two of them. No one can read the story of the walk to Emmaus (Luke 24), or of the visit of Peter and John to the tomb (John 20), without observing the striking marks of reality and personal testimony in the accounts. As to the former incident: "It carries with it, as great literary critics have pointed out, the deepest inward evidences of its own literal truthfulness. For it so narrates the intercourse of `a risen God' with commonplace men as to set natural and supernatural side by side in perfect harmony. And to do this has always been the difficulty, the despair of imagination. The alternative has been put reasonably thus: Luke was either a greater poet, a more creative genius, than Shakespeare, or-he did not create the record. He had an advantage over Shakespeare. The ghost in Hamlet was an effort of laborious imagination. The risen Christ on the road was a fact supreme, and the Evangelist did but tell it as it was" (Bishop Moule, Meditations for the Church's Year, 108). Other writers whose attitude to the Gospel records is very different bear the same testimony to the impression of truth and reality made upon them by the Emmaus narrative (A. Meyer and K. Lake, quoted in Orr, The Resurrection of Jesus, 176).
It is well known that there are difficulties connected with the number and order of these appearances, but they are probably due largely to the summary character of the story, and certainly are not sufficient to invalidate the uniform testimony to the two facts: (1) the empty grave, (2) the appearances of Christ on the third day. These are the main facts of the combined witness (Orr, op. cit., 212).
The very difficulties which have been observed in the Gospels for nearly nineteen centuries are a testimony to a conviction of the truth of the narratives on the part of the whole Christian church. The church has not been afraid to leave these records as they are because of the facts that they embody and express. If there had been no difficulties men might have said that everything had been artificially arranged, whereas the differences bear testimony to the reality of the event recorded. The fact that we possess these two sets of appearances-one in Jerusalem and one in Galilee-is really an argument in favor of their credibility, for if it had been recorded that Christ appeared in Galilee only, or Jerusalem only, it is not unlikely that the account might have been rejected for lack of support. It is well known that records of eyewitnesses often vary in details, while there is no question as to the events themselves. The various books recording the story of the Indian mutiny, or the surrender of Napoleon III at Sedan are cases in point, and Sir William Ramsay has shown the entire compatibility of certainty as to the main fact with great uncertainty as to precise details (Ramsay, Paul the Traveler, 29). We believe, therefore, that a careful examination of these appearances will afford evidence of a chain of circumstances extending from the empty grave to the day of the ascension.
7. Summary and Conclusion:
When we examine carefully all these converging lines of evidence and endeavor to give weight to all the facts of the case, it seems impossible to escape from the problem of a physical miracle. That the prima facie view of the evidence afforded by the New Testament suggests a miracle and that the apostles really believed in a true physical resurrection are surely beyond all question. And yet very much of present-day thought refuses to accept the miraculous. The scientific doctrine of the uniformity and continuity of Nature bars the way, so that from the outset it is concluded that miracles are impossible. We are either not allowed to believe (see Orr, The Resurrection of Jesus, 44), or else we are told that we are not required to believe (C. H. Robinson, Studies in the Resurrection of Christ, chapter ii), margin, the reanimation of a dead body. If we take this view, "there is no need, really, for investigation of evidence: the question is decided before the evidence is looked at" (Orr, op. cit., 46).
We challenge the tenableness of this position. It proves too much. We are not at all concerned by the charge of believing in the abnormal or unusual. New things have happened from the beginning of the present natural order, and the Christian faith teaches that Christ Himself was a "new thing," and that His coming as "God manifest in the flesh" was something absolutely unique. If we are not allowed to believe in any divine intervention which we may call supernatural or miraculous, it is impossible to account for the Person of Christ at all. "A Sinless Personality would be a miracle in time." Arising out of this, Christianity itself was unique, inaugurating a new era in human affairs. No Christian, therefore, can have any difficulty in accepting the abnormal, the unusual, the miraculous. If it be said that no amount of evidence can establish a fact which is miraculous, we have still to account for the moral miracles which are really involved and associated with the resurrection, especially the deception of the disciples, who could have found out the truth of the case; a deception, too, that has proved so great a blessing to the world. Surely to those who hold a true theistic view of the world this a priori view is impossible. Are we to refuse to allow to God at least as much liberty as we possess ourselves? Is it really thinkable that God has less spontaneity of action than we have? We may like or dislike, give or withhold, will or not will, but the course of Nature must flow on unbrokenly. Surely God cannot be conceived of as having given such a constitution to the universe as limits His power to intervene if necessary and for sufficient purpose with the work of His own hands. Not only are all things of Him, but all things are through Him, and to Him. The resurrection means the presence of miracle, and "there is no evading the issue with which this confronts us" (Orr, The Resurrection of Jesus, 53).
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ARREST, AND TRIAL OF JESUS
a-rest', see JESUS CHRIST, THE ARREST AND TRIAL OF.
See JESUS CHRIST.
DESCENT, OF JESUS
See APOCRYPHAL GOSPELS.
JESUS, GENEALOGY OF
See GENEALOGY OF JESUS CHRIST.