The Life of the Lord Jesus Christ

By Johann Peter Lange

Edited by Rev. Marcus Dods







the public decisive conflict between Jesus and the Galilean Pharisees. great opposition between the popular sentiment and the sentiment of the hierarchy in Galilee. animated scenes in continuous succession. (the healing of a twofold demoniacal suffering, in one both blind and dumb. the second calumniation of the miraculous power of Jesus. the second demand of a sign from heaven. the family of Jesus. the disturbed feast in the Pharisee's house. the crowding in of the populace. the warning against the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and against covetousness. the discourse in parables on the sea-shore)

(Mat 12:22-50; chap. 13:24-30, 33-58. Mar 3:20-35. Luk 8:18-21; chap. 11:14-54; chap. 12)

About this time, when Jesus had apparently left His dwelling, and was working in a public place at Capernaum, or in the vicinity of a synagogue, having been summoned by the necessities of a large assembled multitude (Mar 3:20-21), there was brought to Him an object of the greatest misery, a man blind and dumb, not because he was wanting in the organs of sight and speech, but because a fearful demoniacal interdict of a twofold character both closed his eyes and sealed his mouth, and thus made his whole being inaccessible to men. Shut up in this most shocking manner, did this being come before Jesus, like a dark riddle of hellish restraint and human despair, or else wicked obstinacy.1 Even this man Jesus healed. This deed spread a holy amazement throughout the whole multitude which surrounded Him, and they declared aloud that He must surely be the Son of David, the Messiah.

But the Galilean Pharisees now came forward, quite decided in their enmity. They knew what judgment had been pronounced upon Jesus by the hierarchy in Jerusalem. Lawyers, who had come from Jerusalem, and who represented there the hostility of the Jewish party in the capital, stirred up the Galilean Pharisee party; and thus the suspicion, which had before been murmured, now rose to an open accusation: it was, that Jesus was casting out demons solely through the inspiration of Beelzebub, the chief of the devils. With this accusation on their lips, they mingled among the multitude.

But Jesus, aroused and moved, summoned them together with His commanding authority,2 and called them to account: ‘How can Satan cast out Satan?’ And He added, ‘If a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.’ The same holds good of a city, and also of a house. ‘And if Satan cast out Satan,’ He concluded, ‘he hath an end; his kingdom cannot stand.’ Then He reminds them that even their pupils (the exorcists among the Pharisees) occupied themselves in casting out devils. In whose power, He asks them, do these, then, perform the casting out of devils? ‘Therefore,’ He adds, ‘shall they be your judges.’

It lies, then, in the very nature of the case, that the casting out of devils can only proceed from God and from His Spirit; at any rate, can only succeed in His name, and that too used honestly. Since, therefore, Jesus shows Himself to be so mighty in this respect, they ought in all fairness to refer His power to the power of God’s hand, to the power of the Holy Ghost. This conclusion He makes clear to them by a parable. If a man wants to enter the house of a strong man, and take away his goods, he must first prove himself to be the stronger of the two. He must be able to subdue that strong man, to take from him his armour wherein he trusted, and to bind him; not until then can he spoil his house. He, then, who everywhere can thus confidently tear the spoil from Satan, proves Himself to be stronger than he, to be his conqueror. Thus had Jesus been announced by the prophets as the Strong Man, as the Hero of God, who was to overcome all enemies, to subdue all the strong, and to take and divide boundless spoil.3 The words, ‘He that (in the conflict) is not with Me, is against Me; and he that (in the harvest) gathereth not with Me, scattereth abroad,’ might first be taken as a new proverbial expression of the same thought. They would so far declare in the strongest manner that Jesus is opposed to Beelzebub. But even though they rest on a proverbial basis, they yet evidently contain a personal declaration of Jesus in opposition to His adversaries. As the great Champion, He stands opposed to Satan and to his government. Champion against champion, kingdom against kingdom. And wherever He stands forth in this position, no neutrality is allowed; there the watchword sounds, ‘He that is not for Me, is against Me.4 These men who censure Him should consider this. They place themselves in a hostile relation towards Him. Thereby, in fact, they themselves take position on the side of Beelzebub.

Next follows the solemn declaration of Jesus, that all sins and blasphemies shall be forgiven to men; even if any one should speak a word against the Son of man. But if any one should utter a blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, that shall not be forgiven, either in this world, or in the world to come.5 Such an one has fallen under eternal judgment, into eternal guilt.

Theology would have been spared much trouble concerning this passage, and anxious timid souls unspeakable anguish, if men had strictly adhered to Christ’s own expression. For it is not a sin against the Holy Ghost which is here spoken of, but of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.6 This blasphemy is characterized as guilt, which brings with it destruction both in time and in eternity.

We must also clearly distinguish between the definite notion of a blasphemy of the Holy Ghost, and the notion of a railing which is spoken against the Holy Ghost, or any utterance in general against the Holy Ghost. The sinner can, in fact, hardly arrive at the sin of railing against the Holy Ghost in its strictest sense.7 For, in proportion as he is disposed to go on to this blasphemy, must the object of the blasphemy, the Holy Ghost, withdraw Himself from his consciousness, so that he can as little touch Him with his blasphemy as the Sodomites were able to find the door of the house where the angels of God were lodging. But in proportion as the Holy Ghost abides within the man’s heart, unfolding there the splendour of His being, the man’s heart is affected and subdued by Him. Nevertheless the sinner can really resist such influences of the Holy Ghost which proclaim His manifestation. He can, in the egotism and arrogance of his evil disposition, resist the Truth, even when she presents herself to him with the most glorious and heavenly evidence, and when she perpetually—in all the faculties which he possesses for laying hold of the Eternal, in his conscience, in his reason, and in his feelings—is fastening upon him with her reproofs. He may thus, in spite of better knowledge and with wicked wilfulness, gainsay the manifestation of God, which has come even home to his heart. By such gainsaying, however, the man enters the satanic region. The sign of this offence is a horrible inward raging against the evidence of the truth, together with which is developed that coarseness, spite, and fury, whose most proper expression is in railing, whose most proper mind is the spirit of railing. Railing in its very nature is anti-spiritual; and hence also his speaking against the known influences of the Holy Ghost becomes in its full development a blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. But when this guilt begins, the man’s ethical consciousness becomes giddy and reeling; he stands in the midnight of madness; the Sun which he would fain blaspheme has hid Itself from him, and has smitten him with blindness.

Now if from these words of Christ we would fain discuss the possibility of forgiveness and the impossibility of forgiveness attaching to the different sins here mentioned by Him, then there comes into consideration not only the notion of these sins, but also that of forgiveness. Each sin is forgiven through the atonement, as the atonement divides itself into judgment and pardon. With the atonement which has been made for him, the sinner must receive into himself through the Spirit of God the judgment and the mercy. Thus is sin forgiven him. But in proportion as he loses this capability of his to receive the judgment and the mercy in the Holy Spirit, in the same proportion does he lose the capability of forgiveness.

Now it is a melancholy fact, that in general the sinner does not readily, or without opposition, allow the divine to come to him. Again and again he blames and reviles what is divine, because it seems to him to be something strange and even hostile. And he may so far mistake the divine as to rail against it. But this blasphemy is forgiven him when it proceeds from his want of understanding. And the proof of his having blasphemed unwittingly is, that he allows himself to be inwardly reproved and convinced by the truth, as it reveals itself more clearly to his soul. A man whose heart truth and judgment can lay hold of, can also be laid hold of by mercy.

Under the leadings of his ungodly mind, the sinner may go so far as to speak against the Son of man. Even in Him, even in His manifestation, he may mistake the divine. The whole influence of his sensuousness and of his prejudices may possibly help to keep him from at once understanding the holy spirit of Christ in the poverty of His personal manifestation upon earth, or in the servant’s form of His word and His Church upon earth. But in proportion as he has from ignorance alone mistaken and persecuted Him, will he deeply humble himself and be heartily converted when Christ reveals Himself to him in His glory, as He did once to Saul.

Sins of this sort are forgiven, Christ says. According to His expression, forgiveness is allowed in this Šon and in that until all sins of human thoughtlessness and wilful blindness are blotted out. The Šon of mercy cancels sin in the elect; the Šon of chastising retribution does so in the less elect, who through fear must be saved (see Jud 1:23) after their manner.

But it is different with the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. It consists really in this, that the man rages against truth, mercy, and judgment, when these manifestations of the Spirit fall upon his soul. But where these influences cannot take hold, there neither can forgiveness. Therefore this guilt towers beyond the Šon of mercy, and even beyond that of punishment.

If our eyes steadily take in the nature of this guilt, the thought arises, that this guilt might perhaps be cancelled in the most distant Šons in some other way than by forgiveness. For this guilt is characterized as being in a settled form the most extreme self-contradiction in the inner life; therefore as pneumatical madness. There is a purely corporeal or physical madness: the phantasies of a fever patient, or the confused dreaminess of one half-asleep. There is further a psychical madness, which we see exhibited in all kinds of mental disorders. But the most terrible kind of madness is the third, the pneumatical, in which the man begins to contradict with most fearful bitterness and coarseness his own most sacred experiences. But as it is usual for madness to resolve itself through infinite exhaustion into stupidity, so also this pneumatical phrenzy, in so far as it can clearly realize itself, appears to be only resolvable into a pneumatical idiocy which would represent in future Šons the lowest border-region of human existence.

It must, however, be taken into account, that the notion of pneumatical madness in its full meaning is almost as much fraught with difficulty as is the notion of blasphemy against the Spirit. Therewith we are thrown back upon the thought, that these words relate to an infinite approach to an infinite guilt, which is not permitted to be consummated in its full and entire reality, which would visit the sinner with self-annihilation, but whose imperfect realization even may carry with it irremediable ruin through the present Šon and that which is to come.

Christ did not charge His adversaries with this guilt against which He warns. It is plain that He presupposes the possibility that under mistake, in a greater or less degree, they might have insulted only the man in Him. But this we must not overlook, that with the public blasphemy of the divine, especially of the Son of man, there already is setting in the danger of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. Now these opposers of Christ were most peculiarly in this danger; this Mark says distinctly enough (3:30). It has been asked, whether this sin proceeds from indifference to what is holy, or from hatred against it, from demonish coldness or demonish fervour?8 Perhaps in so doing we may forget that such a coldness of death can as little exist without the fire of hatred, as that we can think of the latter without the former. In truth, how could a man arrive at the highest degree of indifference to what is holy, to the highest and brightest form of the divine? Or how could a man, in fact, in perfect reality hate the divine with real passion? It is impossible for hatred to attain to a like degree of perfection in its way as love. Love desires the personal and spiritual life with the greatest distinctness and clearness, because it knows it with the greatest distinctness and clearness, or else is capable of doing so. But even when the demonish hater denies that life, it is impossible that he can do it in the light or element of the highest knowledge of that life; at most, he can only do it in those lightning flashes by which the world of light darts through his soul her noon-tide brightness, only to vanish from his view in holy judgments. Therefore such a hatred is only conceivable as the fervid form of a horrible coldness, which proceeds from a brutish deadness to what is eternal, just as, on the other hand, such a coldness can only be explained by a morbid burning aversion to what is eternal. It has a similar identity with that of the cold fever and the hot. The one agrees with the other, even though the outward appearances are different.

Once before Jesus had told His disciples that the corrupt ordinances of the Pharisees proceeded from the corruptness of their life, of their religious character. This truth He now tells them to their face: ‘Hither make the tree good and his fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and his fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by his fruit, —the tendency of the life is known by the outward expression of the life. The fearful fruits of the expression of your life are characteristic of the tendency of your life and of your nature. A generation of vipers are ye: how then could ye, being so evil, speak good things! What the mouth utters is an overflowing, an effervescence of the heart. It is as natural to the good man to bring forth that which is good out of his good treasure, as it is to the good tree; but, likewise, the evil man is ever thrusting forth that which is evil out of the coining-place and treasure-house of evil of his heart. He warns them, however, that they deal not lightly with their words, declaring to them that for every idle word men must give account in the day of judgment. Yes, the Lord further declares, by words will man in general be judged; by his words he will be either justified or condemned. ‘The man’s words are the characteristic features of his manifestation of himself. In his thoughts he is hidden from the world, in his deeds he is affected by the world, either hindered or impelled: his word, on the contrary, is the purest reflection of his life. Of course this depends upon his words as a whole. In these the hypoerite even reveals himself so clearly, that his very words give full evidence of the untruthfulness of his heart.

However much the Lord's reproof might have struck home to His adversaries, they yet tried to rally from the impression it made upon them, and this struggle led some to determine that they would now once more require of Him to give them the Messiah’s sign from heaven, as they imagined it, in order to verify the claim which His words presupposed, that He was the Messiah. They well knew that this would draw over to their side the wonder-loving multitude. And, indeed, a new excitement was now arising.

An immense crowd surrounded Jesus, many of whom might have thought that He could no longer refuse the fulfilment of this demand. But the Lord saw in His gainsayers the spokesmen of the whole evil and adulterous, that is, idolatrous generation, who had fallen away into the heathenism of unspirituality and the worship of ordinances. He declared to them that He considered them to have really relapsed into a state of heathenism, and therefore, He said, there should no sign be given to them but that which fell to the lot of the heathen people of Nineveh, the sign of the prophet Jonas. It is not at all improbable that the Jews should have repeatedly desired of Him the great sign from heaven,9 nor yet that Jesus should have repeatedly referred them to the sign of Jonas.

Jonas was as one lost in the depth of the sea, three days and three nights enclosed ‘in the fish’s belly; from this depth he emerged, and became a sign for the Ninevites. So shall the Son of man be three days and three nights enclosed in the heart, the depth of the earth.10 As the Crucified One, He will rise forth, so to say, out of the abyss of shame, of anguish, and of death, and in His resurrection will become a sign to this generation. Ye are expecting a phenomenon from above in verification of the Messiah; a phenomenon from beneath will be given to you. But in truth it will have less effect upon you than the preaching of Jonas had upon the Ninevites.

Next the Lord enlarges upon this sad prospect. He sees in spirit the future judgment. ‘The Ninevites rising up with this generation and condemning it. The heathen Queen of the South (of Saba) rises up with it and condemns it. For the Ninevites, although heathen, repented at the preaching of Jonas; and here is One greater than Jonas. The Queen of the South, a heathen, a Woman, was so struck by the report of Solomon’s wisdom, that she came from the farthest distance; and here is One greater than Solomon,

After this the Lord addresses to His hearers the parable of the unclean spirit, who, being driven from his habitation, wanders about in the wilderness for a time; next, getting weary, looks about again for his dwelling, and then finds this dwelling open and garnished for him, as if for a festive reception ; wherefore he returns to it with seven other spirits worse than himself. We have seen how the fulfilment of this was passing before Jesus’ very eyes. He drove the one devil out of the man possessed ; but that one again encountered Him scoffing, with seven other devils, in His blaspheming enemies. And thus it happened not in solitary instances, but on a large scale,

It might have surprised Jesus’ hearers, even those who were friendly to Him, to hear Him openly and distinctly, even before His enemies, place Himself so high, especially above Jonas and Solomon. ‘Tis surprise Jesus next proceeded to remove by saying : ‘No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.’ To this they might indeed have replied: Why then do so many not see the light of Thy Spirit? This served for the answer: ‘The light of the body is the eye.’ There must ever be a light, imbibing, receptive light, corresponding to the light-giving light, if illumination is to be effected. ‘If thine eye is single and true,’ the Lord says, ‘thy whole body will be full of light;’ but if it is a cheat, thy whole body is darkened. We have seen that on another occasion (Matt. vii. 22) the Lord spoke these words concerning the objective and subjective light. We could not maintain that they were exactly so spoken on this occasion. But it is at all events clear, that here too they give a good sense, that here too it is only for want of insight into the connection that ‘criticism’ can venture to talk of mere lexical connectiou.11

Whilst Jesus was thus surrounded partly by excited adherents and wavering admirers, partly by exasperated and deadly enemies, and whilst He was defending Himself with majesty against these latter, who were seeking to rob Him of the hearts of His friends, a surprising circumstance made it apparent how busy the pharisaical cabal was against Him. Mark relates that some of His family heard how greatly He was thronged by the multitude, and perhaps, too, with what terrible fearlessness He was publicly rebuking His deadly enemies, the most powerful men in the Galilean province. Perhaps they might also have heard how determinately these had sworn His death. ‘Therefore they came (as it would seem, from no great distance; possibly from an abode which they had set up in Capernaum) to that public place where Jesus was exercising His ministry, actually intending, as they said, to lay hold of Him, because He was beside Himself, out of His mind, From what follows, these members of Jesus’ family (οἱ παρ’ αὐτοῦ) are designated as His mother and His brethren. They stand without, outside the dense circle in the midst of which He is working, and they send to call Him. With what intent, Mark has already specified.

When the brethren of Jesus are here named as those who wished to carry Him off by force, we must presume that there were those amongst them who had already been appointed His apostles. This we should have to suppose if we would wish to place Joses at the head of the party. The whole family appears to be united in this excited group. Mary herself is amongst them. How came the noble sons of Alpheus, how came this exalted woman, in this strange relation to Jesus? At any rate, the faith of these members of Jesus’ family in Him is now shaken. It only remains to be asked : In what degree? Let us picture to ourselves the scene. Like wild-fire it goes through Capernaum, that Jesus before all the people has broken with the hierarchical party; that He is condemned by His enemies; that He says to them the most dreadful things; now they would certainly bring about His death. He is out of His senses to venture on this conflict, added, no doubt, all the heartless politicians in their self-satisfied prudence. He has gone mad! was apparently soon the cry. This wild rumour terrified His family. Now we may suppose that they had begun really to be doubtful of His mission, that they really believed He was beside Himself, and that they must secure Him.12 Thus they would stand there in the most pitiable state of mind. We may also suppose that, with politic prudence, they had gone in with the report which had been spread, in order to withdraw Him under this pretence from the present danger, which, as they believed, He did not sufficiently estimate. But, in fact, we have grounds for preferring the latter supposition. For we find that Jesus’ relations do not at all press through the crowd to seize, but that, as if kept at a distance through respect for His free action, they first send to call Him, and then patiently wait whilst He finishes His discourse. We also find, some time later, that the Lord's brethren are not in the least of opinion that He should no longer carry on His ministry, but rather desire that He should remove the scene of His operations from Galilee to Judea, and that He should step forth openly before all the world (John vii. 1, &e.) In this light we ought certainly to estimate the present step of His family. Their unbelief docs not consist in their having given Him up, but in their imagining that they had to guide and to save Him by their policy. In conjunction with this, there was, no doubt, at work the notion, that it was on account of the mistaken choice of His sphere of operation that His work was now failing of success. He must away from the corner of their obscure Galilee to Judea, to Jerusalem. He must step forth upon the bright heights of the theocracy; there He will be better understood and valued. But in the meantime they wished, at any rate, to tear Him from His enemies, and to bring Him to safety—somewhat in such a way as Luther was in his days brought to the Castle of Wartburg. The sons of Alpheus were in part prudently calculating, in part of hot, fiery, impulsive natures. This explains the violence of their project. Mary apparently allowed herself to be carried away by anxiety for her Son. It was a moment of her life when her sight was obscured.

The people interrupted the Lord in His discourse by informing Him that His mother and His brethren were standing without and desiring to speak with Him. He at once understood the meaning of this message. Now there was come to Him one of the bitterest crises of His life. He had to maintain His consciousness, His mood of feeling, and His position—His divine mission against mother and brethren. In this juncture He dared not acknowledge them. Without knowing it, they were tempting Him to waver before all the people, as but recently John the Baptist had done. Therefore it behoved Him by an unshaken steadfastness not only to assert Himself, but also to save their faith, Yet in the most sparing manner He exercised this severity. He looked at His disciples, who were seated around Him, and solemnly said: ‘ Behold My mother and My brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of My Father which is in heaven, the same is My brother, and sister, and mother.’ In this declaration He asserted above all things His highest principle of active life, the will of His Father in heaven. His heavenly Father is for Him the Author of all relationships; and he who desires to be united to Him, must with Him yield obedience to His Father: such an one will He greet with every tender name of close relationship, Then He comforted Himself in His spiritual family, a circle of disciples who in this crisis did not doubt in Him, whilst His natural family seemed to waver. ‘Finally, in the third place, He pointed out the conditions on which He hoped again to greet His mother and His brethren; He expected that they would return to perfect confidence in and obedience to His Father in heaven, in which also was implied respect for the free discharge of His divine mission.

The message of Jesus’ mother and brethren apparently caused a considerable commotion in the multitude which surrounded Him. We thus find the circumstance explained, that just at this time a woman in the crowd, who had been listening to the Lord with admiration, exclaimed : ‘Blessed is the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked!’ Partly assenting, and partly putting her right, Jesus answered: ‘Yea, rather blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it” That the heart of an admirer of Jesus should swell and overflow at hearing that Mary the mother of Jesus was there, that she congratulated this highly favoured woman, does not justify us in seeing in it anything unmeet, or even a precursory expression of the later idolatrous Mary-worship. Her word was a beautiful homage, glorifying the Lord Himself at a moment when the hierarchs of the land were condemning Him as a heretic, who, as they said, was in league with the devil. But the word required to be carried further to prevent it from stiffening into error. It was quite according to truth that the woman should congratulate Mary; only it behoved her to know that Mary had only attained to her peculiar experience of the visitation of God through her peculiar hearing and keeping of the word of God, and that even now she was still subject to that condition, now in this very moment, when she was in danger, through deficiency in keeping the word of God, of preparing for herself temporarily a mood of unhappiness. The enthusiastic woman was not, however, to imagine that this blessedness of Mary’s was an exclusive one : therefore it was declared to her, that ail believers, through hearing and keeping the word of God, would share in the same blessedness with Mary. She was thus invited herself also to belong to the holy family, in which in every heart Christ is spiritually born, so that they one and all gain a likeness to His mother in the spiritual reproduction of His being, and to His brothers and sisters in the reflection of His image. At the same time, the words of Jesus served to rectify that slight deviation from the main point which might be contained in the woman's words. Through the glorification of Mary, she was in danger of swerving from Christ, but especially from God’s word in His mouth. And in so far as this possibility was near, she may really be regarded as a typical representative of the nobler form of Mary-worship of a later time. But if we consider her so, we already hear, here as in a type, a voice from the blooming time of the new Christian hierarchy, which is doing honour to the Lord with His mother in sensuous veneration, whilst the old Jewish hierarchy is blaspheming the Holy Man, and thereby also making of Mary a poor, troubled, distressed woman, who in the anxiety of the moment, full of bewilderment, is standing at a distance from her Son. Jesus again resumes the important and solemn discourse which had been stopped by the various and well-meant interruptions of women, by proclaiming to His nation a rebuking word of God.

Jesus’ discussion with His opposers had already lasted some time. He had refuted each charge which they brought against Him, and turned it upon themselves. In the sight of the people, their cause for the present seemed to be lost; but they hoped to find a fresh opportunity which they might turn to account. For this purpose, as it would seem, they make use of an occasion entirely local. Mark tells us that there was such a great crowd of people assembled round Jesus ‘that they could not so much as eat bread’ (iii. 20). Whether we are to understand from this, that there was no possibility for them to get to their own house, where they took their. meals, or that they could not leave the place where the multitude was assembled, at all events, in such circumstances, an opportunity would arise, presenting to the mind of a Pharisee dwelling near, the thought that he would ask the Lord to come into his house for a moment to take such a luncheon as might be partaken of about mid-day, either earlier or later. Jesus accepted the invitation. But He might be all the less disposed to trouble Himself about much attendance to ceremonies,—such, for example, as the pharisaical washing of hands,—because He was anxious, without loss of time, to resume His day’s work amongst the multitude; added to which, no doubt, He had known all along what was the real object of this invitation. He saw that the circle of guests was composed of His deadly enemies, who had been invited with Him. They only wanted to lay hold on a cause of offence. Such a design He might at least have evaded by the scrupulous observance of a custom which, here at all events, did not appear to Him to be in its right place. But when He had at once, without any further ceremony, taken His place at the table, the Pharisee expressed to Him his surprise that he had not first washed. Jesus had, no doubt intentionally, quietly allowed this opportunity to occur, in order that out of the hearing of the multitude He might hold up the mirror of truth before a numerous circle of His opposers, that they might see themselves as they were. Those who have thought that we must question the truth of this account, because otherwise Jesus would appear as one abusing the privilege of a guest, and delivering a bitter condemnatory discourse out of season, in a circle of fellow-guests, can hardly have understood the significance of the whole situation.13 It is a matter of much doubt whether it was a regular entertainment which took place at all; at any rate, it was only a luncheon,14 which, however inoffensive in itself, had been spoilt by the wicked design of His host, and of his like-minded guests. We can also perceive the great discordance of feeling that existed, from the excitement of the people. While Jesus is within with the Pharisee, an innumerable multitude assembled together before the house, so that they trode one upon another. Probably amongst this multitude there were many who were now anxious for the safety of Jesus in His adversary’s house, and who were much disposed to make a demonstration.

Jesus took advantage of the moment. He said: ‘Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside, namely, the outside of your cups and platters, or in your eating and drinking. ‘ But the inward part, your heart itself, is full of robbery and wickedness. Ye fools, did not He that made the outside make that which is within also?’ Rather, therefore, make up your minds at once to give forth entirely the plunder which is within you as gifts for the poor, and then both sides of your life (all) will be clean15 ‘But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye give tithes of mint, and rue, and all manner of herbs, but ye pass over judgment and the love of God. And yet this ye should place first: ye should do this duty, and yet not neglect the other. ‘Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love to have the foremost place given to yon in the synagogues, and to be greeted with obeisances in the market. Woe unto you! like covered sepulchres are ye, and mien who pass over know it not. Here the Lord was interrupted by a lawyer, who said, that by this accusation his profession also was dishonoured. Why should he think so? It might be said that he was excited, that he sympathized with the Pharisees, and therefore felt himself hit; and that, on this account, he sought to intimidate the Lord by accusing Him of attacking the profession of the lawyers. But there must have been a more especial reason at work to have induced the lawyer to represent himself as attacked. Listening with passion, he thought he had certainly understood that Jesus was attacking such details of their legal teaching itself; added to which, he really did recognize a characteristic of his profession in the whole of this condemnatory discourse. Jesus did not deny that against the lawyers also He had bitter reproaches to make. He now uttered a woe expressly over them, because they laid upon the people unbearable burdens, which they themselves would not touch with a finger; and because they adorned with monuments the graves of the prophets who had been put to death by their forefathers, that is, by the false expounders of the law in earlier times. Jesus even sees in this circumstance a proof that they concur in the deeds of their fathers. But how can He draw this conclusion? There certainly is an appearance of concurrent action in His statement of the case: The fathers have killed the prophets, the sons bury them. But this appearance is broken up if we remember that those fathers killed the prophets because they rejected them, whilst these sons build their sepulchres in admiring reverence. We cannot, however, imagine that Jesus meant to build an argument out of so merely outward an appearance. Therefore in the sentence, Ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, we must look again for a deeper meaning ; and such an one it really has. It is just through their interpretation of the Scriptures that the scribes build the sepulchres of the prophets. They contrive that, with an appearance of the fairest decorum, the prophets should be despatched entirely out of the world, inasmuch as they deprive their words and writings of all force by an interpretation which, to all appearance, seems in the highest degree to honour the prophets, whilst they are, so to say, burying the spirits of the prophets under the monuments of their own traditional ordinances. Upon this, Jesus proclaims to them in a prophetic form the judgment of God. ‘The wisdom of God saith:16 I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute. This at length will lead to the result, that the blood of all the prophets which has been shed from the foundation , of the world will be required of this generation ; from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zacharias, who perished between the altar of sacrifice (in the court of the priests) and the temple (the entrance tothe sanctuary). Verily, He added, ‘all this guilt of blood shall be required of this generation!’ Thereby He obscurely intimated that they would also kill Him, and thereby fill up to their condemnation the measure of their guilt of blood.

In conclusion, He sums up in an awful word His reproach against the scribes and lawyers: ‘Woe unto you! ye have taken away the key of knowledge; ye have entered not in yourselves (into the temple of truth), and those who were about to enter in ye have hindered!’

Thus had the Lord solemnly pronounced against His adversaries. Even if, as according to Matthew, this declaration was repeated later in a more comprehensive form, yet we must presume that the substance of what Luke has imparted He really did utter on this occasion. ‘I'he whole situation in which Jesus found Himself led Him to make such a declaration against the Galilean Pharisees, which He might certainly afterwards have repeated more at length against the Pharisees of Judea.

This caused the luncheon to break up in great excitement. The whole throng of guests gathered round Him. ‘They pressed terribly upon Him. Each one brought forward a question which was meant to entangle Him into saying something by which they might accuse Him, and each one watched and listened whether He would not let fall some word by which they might be able to ruin Him with the people.

But the people were thronging round the house in dense multitudes (Luke 12:1). They were longing for His return; His friends, no doubt with agitated feelings, knowing that He was in a dangerous position. No doubt this intense feeling of the multitude kept within bounds the fury of Jesus’ enemies. He now went forth again, and entered the circle of His faithful followers. The hour had now come when He might warn them aloud of the fatal career which the Pharisees were pursuing. ‘They had hypocritically invited Him to a friendly meal, but ill had they entertained Him. From this He starts: ‘Above all things, beware of such entertainments—of the leaven of hypocrisy, wherewith they will fain entertain you! But there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed (He added), nor hid that shall not be known. Thus He now made known the hypocrisy of the Pharisees as He had experienced it within the house. The word that follows we must not confound with the similar one in the Sermon on the Mount. ‘What ye utter in darkness shall resound in the light ; what ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be preached from the house-tops. Evidently these words are strictly in accordance with the connected circumstances. It was also quite natural to the occasion that Christ should encourage His disciples, who now saw more plainly than ever the mortal danger which was hanging over them as well as over their Master, bidding them not be afraid of men. It is true, that in giving this admonition the Evangelist quotes the same words which have already appeared in the Lord’s instructions to His apostles. We know not in what degree this relation affected that, or that this. That Luke does not always relate with historical exactness, is already shown in the fact that He inserts here, in the admonition to the disciples, Jesus’ word respecting the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost.17 Thus much is clear, that the Lord now encourages His larger and general circle of disciples not to be intimidated by the threats of His mortal enemies.

That the people in general still placed in Him unbounded confidence, is shown not only by the utterance of that woman who congratulated the mother of Jesus, but also by another voice from out of the multitude, which just at this juncture made itself heard. This voice was certainly as inopportune as possible. It interrupted the Lord’s discourse yet more abruptly than the first; it proceeded from a much more worldly spirit of allegiance, and showed that Jesus not only had to suffer from His persecutors, but also from His enthusiastic but interested admirers. For a man stepped forward from the multitude with the request: ‘Master, speak to my brother that he divide the inheritance with me. Evidently this man considered Him as an all-powerful theocratic arbiter in the land; but  he was certainly desirous of making use of this quality of Jesus to his own advantage in worldly matters, for the obtaining of his rights. Jesus expressed His astonishment at this demand: ‘Man, who made Me a judge or an arbiter (executor) over you ?’ It is the astonishment of a genuine sense of what was due to the laws of the land. He could not be the temporal judge of these contending brothers, for they lived under a properly appointed system of jurisprudence. But also He could not be their arbiter or executor, because it would have been in that case necessary that He should be appointed by the other party also. The man therefore required Him to assume a position which had not been assigned to Him by the Father. Here also we see that Christ, all through, did not allow Himself, in consequence of any act of homage, to overstep His earthly limits, which for Him indeed were not a restraint, but a safeguard of His real life and mission. But the complainant also required Him to take at once his side of the question—to consider and to judge his cause with his eyes; and this must especially have aroused His displeasure. But, above all, Christ could not and would not allow Himself to be entangled in temporal and worldly affairs. Nevertheless, not even in this case did He remain without doing anything. He cast upon the quarrel the light of the religious spirit, in order to settle it radically. In any case, covetousness had a share in the dispute of these two brothers about the inheritance, even though the complainant might really be the aggrieved party. Therefore Jesus uttered the admonition: ‘Take heed, and beware of covetousness! For a man’s life consisteth not in his having abundance’—it proceeds not from his plentiful supply of good things. This word contains an infinitely deep and searching thought. That it is abundant, belongs to the notion of abundance; just as it belongs to the notion of human life that one lives. Whatever therefore the man does not use, he does not need,—ay, and it may easily fetter, hinder, oppress him. At any rate, anxiety on account of it may become ruinous to him. Never can a plentiful supply procure life ; but life will always find a supply for its actual need, because life is higher than its supply —the food which nourishes it. ‘This declaration Jesus illustrated by the parable of the rich farmer, who, after a plentiful harvest, wished to build new barns, and then, after great cares and exertions, to give himself up to great feasting and enjoying of himself; and who was entirely absorbed in this project whilst death stood close before him. ‘I'o this parable Jesus joins exhortations against heathenish anxiety, The Evangelist Luke gives this exhortation in a form which is derived for the most part from the tradition of the first Sermon on the Mount (vers. 22-32).18

After this Jesus returns to the main subject in hand, and continues to strengthen His disciples in this new conflict with His mighty enemies, which might have such dangerous results for them. He addresses Himself to His faithful ones, who would now very soon find that they were ‘a little flock, although they were as yet surrounded by thousands who held their Master in superficial admiration. ‘Fear not, little flock,’ He exclaims to these, the kernel of His discipleship, ‘for it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom!’ To you, then, it is already given. ‘Therefore dispose of your superfluous store, and give it away in pious liberality. They must now no more allow themselves to be burdened by worldly goods, like this admirer of Jesus who was entangled in a dispute about the inheritance. Rather they are to dispose of the superfluity which encumbers them, and impart it in charity. For a new time has come for them. With this meaning Christ further adds: ‘Make to yourselves treasure-bags which wax not old, and obtain for yourselves an imperishable treasure in the heavens, which no thief approaches, which no moth destroys.” ‘Thus again the account of this exhortation of Jesus attaches itself to the tradition of the Sermon on the Mount, and becomes one with it in the remark: ‘For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also!’ Next comes the word characteristic of the present occasion: ‘ Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning” In this condition the disciples of Christ are to wait for their Lord's coming. Thus, in a parable which we have before considered (Book I. iii. 11), Jesus now first made His disciples acquainted with the thought, that yet a second coming was to follow on this His first appearance. Peter certainly could not now have understood the deeper significance of these words, when He asked the Lord whether this exhortation to be in readiness for the coming of the Son of man was intended only for them, the disciples, or for the whole multitude likewise. He no doubt thought that Jesus was only announcing in obscure language His approaching public appearance as the Messiah ; and it might have seemed to him as if the exhortation to hold themselves prepared was only a mysterious hint for the apostles, and not for the multitude at large. But Jesus answered him with the solemn parable of the faithful and unfaithful servants in the household of God’s kingdom. ‘This parable placed him with his question upon different ground. He is certainly to understand the parable as especially applying to the foremost servants in God’s house. But he is also to know this, that with these everything depends upon the contrast of faithful or unfaithful in their office. ‘Thus, therefore, the parable, as Jesus now more fully declared it in the discourse concerning the faithful and unfaithful servant, applied equally to the Pharisees and scribes as to the disciples. It can be applied as well to the Old Testament as to the New Testament economy and —hierarchy.

Thus for the Pharisees Christ’s word was a solemn judgment ; for His disciples it was a prophetic warning. And the word with which the parable concludes—‘The servant who knows his lord’s will, and yet docs not hold himself in readiness, nor does his will, shall suffer many stripes,’—contains within itself the thought, that the higher a man is placed, the heavier guilt he may contract. But it is expressly stated that they also who know not the lord's will, but yet act in a culpable manner, will likewise suffer stripes, though comparatively only few; and this shows that the exhortation in its most universal sense was addressed indiscriminately to all who were assembled.

Once more Jesus then emphatically utters the maxim which should serve to enlighten those hierarchs, as well as warn His disciples against the errors of the hierarchy:—

From him to whom much is given, much will be required ; from him to whom is entrusted much, will be required in the same proportion an (through usury) increased sum (περισσότερον).

Upon this He heaved a deep sigh. He was deeply moved by the thought of the judgment of fire, which, even to its full outbreak and its final consummation at the end of the world, must be kindled out of the infinite treasure of heavenly gifts which He was now bringing to humanity in His life, and out of the bad management of the same. He felt the loftiness of His calling—to cast fire upon the earth, to save, and judge, and glorify the world through a great refining fire ; and the sacredness of this mission, a presentiment of His calling as Judge of the whole world, fired Him with ardour. And so He uttered the lofty word: ‘I am come to send fire on the earth, and how do I wish that it were already kindled!’ He uttered this word in the brightness and loftiness of the Spirit of God, wherein the redemption and judgment of the world is identical; or even in the highest heroic passion, in which love wholly kindles up in holy wrath, and wrath wholly melts away in sorrow. The word, What would I if that conflagration of the world were already kindled! is one of Christ’s sublimest words. But well He knew that not until His crucifixion would this holy fire lay hold of the earth in the hearts of men. ‘This assurance He distinctly declared when He said: ‘I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till that be accomplished!’ The time had now come when the thought of His approaching death already filled Him with holy horror, and when He saw fit by mysterious intimations to prepare the disciples for that solemn mystery. But why did Jesus call the suffering which lay before Him a baptism? Because from the very first He well understood the significance for His life of John’s baptism, because in it He had seen a prophecy of His death. ‘To His view, the form of baptism was a consecration by death to the new life. Perhaps, also, He might have been led to the image of baptism by the image of the glorification of the world by fire. For the first purification of the world through the water of the flood has preceded the second glorification of the world which is to take place through fire, and between these two forms of the world’s renovation there is an eternal connection. Thus, then, even Christ had to pass through the baptism of death before He was able to bestow upon the world the baptism of fire in the life of His pitying and judging Spirit. But the judgment which results from His agency both begins and consummates itself by a spiritual separation of the human race, a separation between the friends and enemies of Christ. This separation the Lord now proclaims. According to the Evangelist’s account, the discourse which enlarges upon this thought repeats very similar expressions to those employed in the Lord’s instructions to His apostles (vers. 51-53).

According to Luke, Jesus yet added to the multitude a solemn word of exhortation. He called upon them to consider well the signs of the time. This call is very similar to another which Jesus afterwards addressed to the Pharisees (Matt. 16:2-4); but the two must not be confounded. The people, He says, in general well understand the weather. When a cloud rises in the west, they know that a shower is coming; and when the south wind begins to blow, they know that an oppressive and noxious heat will spread itself over the country. ‘Therefore He makes it a reproach to them, that they do not now remark the rising of the stormy cloud in the west, nor the commencing gust of a fatal simoom which will destroy the Holy Land. They ought speedily to set aside the fatal variance existing between them and Him, between the nation and its Anointed One, before they shall be overtaken by the judgment. he simile in which this exhortation is here couched, we also find in the Sermon on the Mount. It appears there to be more in its original place ; but here too it is an appropriate expression to convey the warning against the coming judgment, with which Christ was bringing His discourse to a close.

According to Matthew (13:1), Jesus still on the same day repaired to the sea-shore, and went with His disciples into a ship and taught them, whilst a multitude of people were still listening to Him from the land. We have already seen that Jesus had probably delivered several parables on a previous occasion (above, p. 141). But now Jesus was particularly desirous of instructing His disciples most of all through the parable of the tares among the wheat. Apparently the disciples, who now beheld the irremediable strife betwixt the Pharisees and scribes and their Master, were excited and in the highest degree annoyed. They found it difficult to understand such a disturbance of His work. he reviling of their enemies could not fail to have aroused their spirit; and apparently, in their bitterness and indignation, they were very much disposed to resort to some such violent means as zealotism might suggest. They would now be disposed to come as servants to their Master with the offer: Lord, if Thon wilt, we will weed out the tares! The Lord quieted them and bade them be patient till the day of harvest. And because now the time was already coming when He with His work was to be outwardly surprised and seemingly swallowed up by the mass of His enemies, and by the profane temper of the world, therefore now also He was especially desirous of setting forth the parable of the woman who mixed the little leaven with the great mass of dough, in order to leaven it all through. But further, because now it was seen that but a few of them had heartily known and laid hold of the kingdom of heaven, and because for these few a time of the heaviest self-denial and self-renunciation was approaching, therefore they were also now able to understand the parables of the man who found the treasure in the field, and of the merchant who was seeking for goodly pearls, and found the pearl of great price. With the parable of the net that was cast into the sea, and gathered into itself both good and bad fish, which were separated on the shore, He next set forth, in conclusion, the theocratic judgment which was first of all to take place even now, at the end of the Old Testament economy, but which is to be looked for in its highest sense at the end of the New Testament time.

Thus the Lord led His disciples away from the danger of getting perplexed about the work of God which He had begun in Israel, or of entering on evil courses in fanatical resentment against His enemies.

We read nothing definite concerning the manner and way in which Jesus on this day, after the accomplishment of His day’s work, received and greeted His mother and brethren. It is, however, quite evident that Matthew (13:53) makes the departure of Jesus from the sea to His own city to follow immediately upon the delivery of this last parable, or after the great day of His decisive conflict with the Galilean Pharisees.

We have already (II. iv. 9) given our reasons for believing that the account here given by Matthew, of the unfavourable reception of Jesus at Nazareth, must, according to the chronological position which Luke has given it, have taken place at an earlier period. But yet it is very possible that Jesus might now have repaired with His disciples to the mountain district of His own home, and even have entered Nazareth, without doing anything important in the place from whence He had previously been banished. ‘Thus in the evangelical tradition this occurrence might have been blended with the earlier one so as to form one account. At any rate, Matthew leads us to suppose from his account, that at the conclusion of His day’s work Jesus received His family without any reserve.



1. The view which we have obtained, by the combination of the Gospel accounts, of the great discourse in which Jesus came to an explanation with the Galilean Pharisees, not only does us the service of removing the unlifelike character which would attach to a fragmentary consideration of this occurrence, but it also does away with the real difficulties which are involved in our viewing it in any such light. For example, Ebrard’s difficulty (p. 278) is removed, who imagines that this narrative concerning the family of Jesus (οί παρ’ αὑτρῦ) cannot have reference to the mother and brethren of Jesus, wherewith also it is supposed that the family had still their permanent abode at Nazareth. Further, we are relieved of Schleiermacher conjecture (Luk. p. 178), that Matthew might have confused the exclamation of the woman, Blessed, e., with the announcement of the arrival of Jesus’ relations, in relation to which the ‘critic’ might so easily have come to the right solution, viz., by explaining the one circumstance from the other. And just so the numerous difficulties which De Wette finds in making out the internal connection of this section in Luke (see 69, &c.), and so on.

2. The hypothesis of lexical connection in the Gospels imagines that it has got a rich harvest in this portion of Luke (see Schneckenburger, Bettrage, p. 58; Strauss, i. p. 713).

3. This lifelike view of Jesus’ discourse before us with the Galilean Pharisees likewise explains the fact, that Luke in particular brings forward many passages here, which in Matthew's Gospel we find in the Sermon on the Mount, in the instructions to the apostles, and in Jesus’ denunciations of the Judean Pharisees (Matt. 23.) For as Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount, and in the instructions to the Twelve, had said much to His disciples respecting the Pharisees and the persecution which His disciples must expect, which at that time He could not give utterance to openly, so now this crisis, in which He was forced openly to break with the Pharisees, was a natural occasion for again repeating those utterances publicly, besides repeating some reproaches in their ears alone, and besides repeating also some portions of His instructions to the apostles to the wider circle of disciples whom it was now necessary to warn. And so likewise it might be expected, that in His concluding words to the Judean Pharisees, He would revert to some portions of His concluding words to the Galilean Pharisees. If therefore proper discrimination is applied in considering the relations of history, we are driven to expect that in general some of the Lord’s discourses could not fail to be repeated in the manner intimated. But the Church's reminiscence of the Gospel history could not keep distinct the different discourses, which were fundamentally so alike, in the same way as it was able to do the different occurrences, Hence it is possible that the Evangelists may have introduced portions of earlier discourses into later ones, and the reverse. But certainly it is very remarkable, that even the same Evangelist: could twice introduce similar utterances of Christ’s; as, for example, Matthew, chap. xii, 33, again brings forward words which he has already in a similar form in the Sermon on the Mount (7:17, 18). But these were just such words as, after that esoteric discourse with His disciples concerning the Pharisees, Jesus in a measure owed it to the latter to repeat to them. As concerning the connection between the two denunciations of the Galilean and Judean Pharisees, we must not fail to observe that the component parts of the discourse in Luke may be for the most part explained throughout from the circumstances of the moment. Especially does this apply to the figure (xi. 39) which compares the cleanness of the Pharisees to the cleanness of cups and platters, which they indeed keep outwardly clean (through careful washing), but with no reference to the insides, which are filled with plunder. And further, with reference to the tithing of small garden herbs, which were probably on the table at the meal, On the other hand, the words in vers. 43 and 44 might be taken from the discourse to the Judean Pharisees ; and according to that supposition, the words of the lawyer in ver. 45 would attach themselves to the accusation which Jesus made in ver. 42, and would thus be more easily explained. The rest, again, as far as the conclusion (ver. 52), closely hangs together in an especial degree. The passage which in Luke (12:2, &c.) reminds us of the instructions to the apostles in Matthew, has, with all its resemblance, peculiar points of its own. There, for example, we have, that two sparrows are sold for one farthing ; here, that tive sparrows are sold for two farthings, an interesting feature thoroughly drawn from life. In the passage (10:22, &c.) which sends us back to the Sermon on the Mount, the ravens are specified, whilst there it is the fowls of the air. In the warnings against care, we find this word of difficult meaning, καὶ μὴ μετεωρίζεσθε; perhaps, lose not yourselves in too lofty a flight. An expression of great force and pertinence is contained in the advice (ver. 33): Make to yourselves bags which wax not old; and we should be disposed to refer this expression not exactly to the treasures which wax not old, but to the ever fresh capacity for receiving everlasting goods.

4, Concerning the Pharisees casting out devils, see Von Ammon, ii. p. 151. ‘In the schools of the Pharisees a higher magic, as it was called, was taught by means of roots, exorcism, and solomonic incantations, which were supposed to drive out the demons, and to draw them out of the nose of patients.’ (Joseph. Antig. viii. 2, 5.)

5. Concerning the washings of the Jews before meals, see as above, Sepp, ii. 343. ‘According to the inviolable rules of these bare formalists, every Israelite, if he ate as much as a piece of bread, was to wash his hands, turned upwards before eating, and downwards after eating, but always only so far as the knuckles if they did not wish to be again defiled. At a sacrificial meal, on the other hand, the hands were to be immersed. They were to go four miles to get some water, rather than become guilty of neglect in this respect. ‘The man who did not perform these prescribed washings, but ate a morsel without washing, was in the eyes of the Jews as bad as an impure man and an adulterer,’ &c.

6. In examining the difficult passages in Luke xi, 51, Matt. 23:35, which speak of the innocent blood of the prophets which the wicked have shed, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zacharias, we must certainly consider the passage in Luke as the more original one. We have, therefore, next only to decide concerning the person of the martyr Zacharias. Here we must first consider that Jesus speaks of a specific blood-guiltiness,—that with which mankind, in its malignity, has burdened itself in its hatred against holiness, namely, the guilt of shedding the blood of martyrs. Hence the line of martyrs very rightly commences with Abel; he was put to death directly on account of his piety. Secondly, it must be considered that Jesus speaks of ancient blood-guiltiness of this kind, incurred in times long past; and concerning these He declares that they have not yet been expiated, and hence that they would be increased, and in due time their measure filled up, by heavier blood-guiltiness of a like kind. On this ground it is surely clear, that in the person of Zacharias we must recognize that martyr Zechariah who is spoken of in 2 Chron. xxiv. 20. The juxtaposition of these two names is then explained by the fact, that the death of Abel is the first case, the murder of Zechariah the last ‘prophet-murder of which mention is made in Holy Scripture’ (Olshausen on Matt. xxiii. 35). But there is this difficulty, that ‘that Zacharias was not a son of Barachias, as the Zacharias in Matthew is called, but the son of Jehoiada.’ ‘Lhis difficulty has been explained in different ways. 1. That Zechariah had two fathers, a natural and a foster-father. But this is a mere hypothesis. 2. That the prophet Zechariah is meant, since his father was called Barachiah. Only nothing is known concerning his murder. On account of the unsatistactoriness of these and similar suppositions, some have thought they have found an explanation in are mark which Josephus makes (De Bello Jud. iv. 5, 4), that a certain Zacharias, the son of Baruch, was murdered in the temple by the Zealots. The remarks which Olshausen has made against this last hypothesis, which would suppose this Zacharias to be here meant, are sufficiently convincing. But we may besides remark, that it would destroy the whole train of thought in these words of Jesus, according to which the blood-guiltiness incurred in former times by the murders of the prophets was to be filled up in His own death, if we were to make a new, unimportant case of murder, after the death of Jesus, the final limit. And any evangelists who should have integrated the words of Jesus in any such way as this, certainly would not have understood them. With this last remark we might certainly meet many critics and expositors of our own time, but certainly not the Evangelists of the earliest times. We are consequently driven to another explanation, Olshansen explains the difficulty thus: ‘Now there is nothing offensive in the supposition, ‘that Matthew might have confused the name of the murdered man’s father with the father of the Zacharias whose book we have in the canon of Scripture’ On the other hand, Ebrard suggests the hypothesis, that Zacharias might have been a grandson and not a son of Jehoiada, and that Barachiah stood between the two. He supports this view on grounds worthy of consideration (p, 325); [and for additional facts which lead to the same result, see Alford's note on the passage, or still more fully in Meyer.—ED.]



1) Concerning the similarity between this cure and an earlier one, in Matt. ix. 32, see p. 168.

2) ʻThus here the Son of God already had a fore-feeling of what He was afterwards fully to endure when the high priest charged Him with blasphemy.ʼ— Rauschenbusch-Leben Jesu, Schwelm, 1837, p. 159.

3) See Stier, Words of Jesus, ii. 143; Isa. ix. 1, &c., xl. 10, xlix. 24, 25, liii. 12. Comp. Rev. xx. 2

4) See Stier, ii. 153. The author draws attention to the significant contrast, that in the case of the disciples the words are reversed: He that is not against you, is for you. Mark ix. 40; Luke ix. 50.

5) Lachmann reads it thus (Mark iii. 29).

6) See Stier, ii. 157.

7) [But compare what Stier says oil the other side (ii. 159). ED.]

8) See Schaff, Die SŘnde wider den h. Geist, p. 77.

9) See Matt. xvi. 1.

10) Concerning the round number of three days and three nights, see Stier, ii. 171. In the Talm, hieros. it is expressly said, a day and a night together make up a period (עוֹנָה),and part of such a period is counted as the whole.

11) Strauss, i. 607.

12) For example, see Olshausen, ii. 109.

13) Schleiermacher, Luk. 181 ; De Wette, Luk. p. 67.

14) This with the Jews was not the principal meal of the day, but a slight repast. TR.

15) This expression, which, surely without foundation, has been taken by some in an ironical sense, cannot be understood as the recommendation of a sanctity consisting in mere outward works. Jesus requires of the Pharisees that they should cleanse themselves of all the plunder which defiled their inward part (the inside of their life). But this evidently contains a call to a change of mind, even though in form He puts it according to their way of viewing things; just as in the requirement which he makes of the rich young man, He treats him according to his own premises.

16) There is nothing at all surprising in the circumstance that Jesus should refer the fact relative to the Old Testament theocracy, of the prophets being killed, to the wisdom of God, which directs the course of this theocracy, and that in the full consciousness of the spirit of this wisdom, He should introduce it as speaking, and declaring how that it must so happen until the sufferings of the prophets should attain their perfect consummation.

17) But even here the admonition is at all events so far connected with what goes before, that it serves to give a closer meaning to the saying of Christ: Whosoever shall deny Me before men, shall be denied before the angels of God. There is, of course, He goes on to say, a denial of the Son of man which can be forgiven ; but in. the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost the denial of Christ is exhibited in its full consummation, and will be punished by complete rejection in the future judgment before the angels of God.

18) [Yet what difficulty is there in this case, and in others, in supposing that our Lord on occasion said again what He had said before, in very nearly the same, and even in the very same words? We know that He did thus repeat short sentences in varying application. Those perfect words of His would bear repetition; and His infinite affluence of thought and language would set Him above that fear of being thought poor in resources which often hinders us from saying over again the same thing.—TR.]