Charles F. (Charles Force) Deems.

Who was Jesus? online

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Name." Ii holds 1 1 ). That, the name In
not Jehovah, signifying I AM, but Yah-
veh, Tin. One to Come, equivalenl to
the Greek 5 Epxtfttvos, Ho Erkomenos,
The One Coming, the difference b< ing
in thr vi i 'Ar is. the Jewish prejudice mak-
ing the former reading, while the latter is
•orrect (2 , That the right reading is,

"The Angel Jehovah," not " The angel
of Jehovah," the latter word being appo-
sitional ; and that this Memorial Name
is complete in Christ.

Readers who wish to examine this
subject more thoroughly are referred
to Christology of Old Testament, by
Hengstenberg, vol. i. , chapter ;t. in
which he will find a very able and
learned treatise on th.* Boetratron, with
an interesting comparison of Jewish and
Persian teaching on these questions;
also. Prof. MacWhorter's book
mentioned; and BibUotheca Sacra, vol
for 1859, p. 805, an article on "The
Angel of Jehovah ; " aL o, /•"
Jan . i B57, p D8 These we havi

far as they bOT8 ii|"'ii the
we have in view in this biography of



In the mean time the Sanhedrim at Jerusalem hearing of John's
proceedings sent a deputation of priests and Levites to catechise

him as to the office which he supposed himself to
th s h dri ^ ,0 n ^ m S- The first question, as history stands in

the first chapter of John, was general, " Who are
you ? " But he knew the Messianic expectancy, and promptly and
frankly said, " I am not the Messiah, the Christ, the ordained
One." They held the tradition that the Messiah -was to be pre-
ceded by a powerful prophet, endowed as Elijah was — perhaps
by Elijah himself. This was the usual interpretation of Malaclii
iv. 5. So they asked John if he was Elijah. lie asserted that
he was not Elijah, nor the prophet whose coming had been pre-
dicted by Moses in Deuteronomy xviii. 15, a prediction which the
Jews interpreted to signify the resurrection of Jeremiah, or pome
other ancient prophet, who was not the Messiah, as appears from
Matt. xvi. 14.

The whole passage from John i. 10-28, has already been given
at p. 77. The interview with the committee of the Sanhedrim

appeal's to have taken place as the terrible trial of
John's testimony 7 . ., ., , , . ,

, T T . . Jesus m the wilderness was reaching its condu-

ce Jesus. John i. °

sion. "We learn from John i. 20, that " the next
day John saw Jesus coming unto him, and said, 'Behold the
Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world ! This is
he of whom I said, After me comcth a man which is preferred
before me; for he was before me. And I knew him not: but
.hat he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come
baptizing with water.' And John bare record, saying, ' 1 saw the
Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon
him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with
water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the
Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which


baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and hare record that
this is the Son of God.' "

This is suhstantially the testimony of John the Baptist: "Yon-
der is the Man who is 'Ho Erkomenos,' the 'Coming Our." of
whom I spoke yesterday. I did not myself at first recognize
him, but lie who commissioned me to baptize gave me a token
whereby I should he able to recognize Jehovah's Anointed, and I
do declare that those signs were displayed at his baptism, and [
now discharge the other function of my office by announcing him
the very Messiah ! " Why Jesus afforded John the opportunity
to bear this testimony we cannot tell. If the temptation took
place on the Qnarantania, according to tradition, then Jesus must
have gone a little out of his way to have another interview with
the Baptist. If the mountains of Moab were the scene, then,
on his homeward journey, Jesus would pass near the place where
John was baptizing.

But John's speech, whatever may have been its general effect
upon the minds of his scholars, does not seem to have penetrated
any one in a special manner. The next day Je-
sus asjain was seen, and then John said to two of

° ' . God.

his disciples who were standing near, " Behold
the Laml) of God ! " Something in the manner of their teacher
arrested their attention. They certainly could not have formed
any very distinct theologic or metaphysical idea from this descrip-
tion. It maybe doubted whether the Baptist himself knew what
his words meant. They were an utterance of the heart, in an
ecstatic moment, springing past the intellect into speech. John
probably did not attach to them the idea of vicarious Buffering,
which is a Christian thought ; and John probably bad only Judaic

But whatever may have been their meaning, the two disci-
ples who heard John's words followed Jesus as he walked. [Ie

turned and saw them, and spoke graciously to
them. k " \Vli:it do yoi i seek }" As if he b:id -aid,
u Do you wish to ask anything of me?" They called him
"Rabbi," giving him the Hebrew designation of teacher, ac-
knowledging him to be their superior. They inquired his place
of lodging, doubtless thai they might have a private interview,
which, if satisfactory, would lead them to attach them
him permanently. Jesus invited them to accompany him, which



they did, and spent the remainder of the day with him, it being
about four o'clock in the afternoon when they began the conver-
sation. (See John i. 39.)

These two men were Andrew of Bethsaida and John the Evan-
gelist. The latter is not positively named in the narrative, but a
Andrew and John comparison of statements in John's gospel makes
it, quite plain who is meant.'"" Of the former we
do not know very much, except that lie always seemed to have
a high place among the apostles of Jesus. His brother Simon
was a more marked character, as we shall see. There are various
traditions concerning Andrew. Eusebius says that he preached in
Scythia; Jerome and Theodoret, that his ministry was in Achaia;
Nicephorus, that it was in Asia Minor and Thrace. lie is said
to have been crucified in Patrre, in Achaia, on a cross decus-
sate (X), hence called St, Andrew's Cross. An apocryphal
book called "Acts of Andrew" is mentioned by some ancient

Andrew and John sitting with Jesus make a group worth paus-
ing to contemplate. Whatever may have been the design of this
marvellously endowed young teacher, this is the beginning of a
ministry which is to spiritualize the philosophies of the world.
This was a society composed of earnest seekers after the true and
the holy, with a true and holy teacher. From this hut on the
Jordan went forth a conquering power beside whose achieve-
ments the deeds of the Alexanders and Ccesars and Napoleons
grow pale and insignificant.

A third disciple was almost immediately added to this company,
namely, Simon, Andrew's brother. When Andrew left Jesus he
found his brother, and so powerfully had the pri-
vate discourse of Jesus impressed him that he
did not hesitate to declare to him, "We have
found the Messiah!" Simon was not naturally
disposed to be a sceptic, His temperament was ardent. He had
probably been a disciple of John, and was one of the devout Jews
who were earnestly looking for the Lord's Christ, the Anointed

Simon, after-
wards called Pe-

* Alford's reasons are (a), That the
Evangelist never names himself in his
gospel ; (b), That this account is so mi-
nute (mentioning specifications) that it
must have been made by an eye-witness;

and (c), That the other disciple certainly
would have been named if the writer
had not had some special reason for sup-
pressing the name.


of Jehovah, the great Deliverer, — looking no doubt not very spir
itually, rather with eyes full of Jewish prejudice, and hoping for
material splendors and conquests, nevertheless looking and ex-
pecting, and deeply stirred, by the ministry of the Baptist. Ag
soon as he came into the presence of Jesus, and received the
searching glance of the new Master, he was saluted by name.
" Your name is Simon. It shall be Cephas." The latter is
Syro-Chaldee, signifying Rock, and is equivalent to the Greek
name Peter, by which the Apostle was afterward commonly known.
The next day Jesus started for his home in Galilee, and met
Philip, whom he invited to add himself to the companionhood of

those: whom he was gathering about him to be his ,,, ...

. Philip.

confidential friends, and the nucleus of that dis-
ciplehood which he intended to make the depository and agency
of his teaching and influence. Philip was of Bethsaida, the city
of Andrew and Peter, and appears to have been of the number
of Galihean peasants whom John's preaching had attracted.
There seems to have been a previous friendship between him and
the sons of Jonas and of Zebedee, and this baud of young men may
have been in devout fellowship and looking for the .Messiah. Jesus
probably had seen him before, if ''finding 1 ' here implies seeking.
It is quite natural to suppose that the open eye of Jesus took in
the men whom he met from time to time at feasts or usual social
gatherings, and marked those whose characteristics struck him as
favorable. Philip was affectionate, simple-hearted, and childlike.
We shall see these characteristics as the history advances. He is
usually named at the head of the second four, as Peter is of the
first four, disciples; and when the Apostles were selected he was
one. From Acts i. 13 we learn thai he was with the company of
disciples after the Ascension, and on the day of Pentecost All
other trace of him is somewhat uncertain, ('lemcut of Alexan-
dria says that he had a wife and children; and he is accounted
among the martyrs. Polycrates, bishop of Ephcaus, speaks of
him as having " fallen asleep" in the Phrygian LLierapolis. (Euseb.,
//. A'., iii.31.) A certain apocrypha) book, entitled "Acta Philippi,"

contains many monstrous and foolish things attributed to Philip.

Philip accepted the invitation, and was as much convinced
the Messialislrip of Jesus as the other discipl

T , . , i r i x- i i Nathanael.

Ill Ins turn lie went out and r Oil lid .Nathanael,

and told him, Baying, "We have bund him of whom



the law and the prophets did write,* Jesus of Nazareth, the son
of Joseph." This address seems to imply that these two men had
had previous conversation about the Expected One. All this cir-
cle of acquaintances appears to have been on the look-out. In his

joy at the discovery he goes with child-like
tnunicate the good news to his friend. His allusion to Moses was
probably made with the passage in Deuteronomy xviii. 18 in his
mind. His calling Jesus the son of Joseph proves only that Jo-
seph was commonly reputed to be his father, as we naturally sup-
pose would be the case, even amid the circumstances which these
historians say surrounded his birth. It does not prove that Jo-
seph was his father.

To the enthusiastic announcement by Philip, Nathanael re-
plied: "Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?"
Nathanael was a Galihean: it cannot be supposed that he intended
to throw reproach upon his own province in general, nor upon
Nazareth in particular. His question means simply what it seems
to mean, namely, that Nazareth was so insignificant a place -that
it was not reasonable to expect the Messiah to spring therefrom.
It is a remarkable fact that neither in the books of the Old Tes-
tament nor in Josephus is any mention made of Nazareth ; of so
little historical importance was this place.

Philip's reply is, like most simple utterances of guileless souls,
wonderfully philosophical : " Come and see." Spiritual discov-
eries, as all thinkers know, are exceedingly difficult to report.
Each one must for himself pass through the processes of thought
and emotion which are necessary for spiritual growth. No man
can, upon the representation of another, believe in the adapted
ness of any spirit to his own spirit. He must try it for himself.
In nothing do we need to be more practical and to exercise more
common sense than in the affairs of religion.

Nathanacl readily went. As he approached, Jesus said to the
bystanders, " Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! "
These are plain words that need no explanation. Nathanael

* Reference is made to Ps. ii. 6-9 ;
Isa. ix. 6; xi. 1-5, 10; liii. 2-12; Jer.
xxiii. 5, G ; xxxiii. 15 ; Ezckiel xxxiv.
23 ; Dan. ix. 25 ; Mic. v. 2 ; Hag. ii. 7 ;
Zechariah iii. 8; ix. 9; xiii. 7; Mai.
iii. 1 ; iv. 2. Readers who examine

these passages critically may differ in
their estimates of their Messianic val-
ue, hut can hardly fail to find in them
sufficient basis for the expectations of
these men and the Jewish people gen-


Beems to have overheard this speech, and, without presuming to
appropriate to himself the tine quality mentioned, saw that the
remark naturally intimated a previous knowledge. He frankly
asked Jesus: "Whence did you knowmeT' And Jesus replied:
" Before Philip saw you, when you were under the fig-tree, I saw
you." Nathanael exclaimed: " Rabbi, you are the Son of God !
You are the King of Israel ! "

This sudden admission on Nathanael's part, of the claim of
Messiahship made for Jesus by Philip, seems a little strange.
What Jesus said — if we have ii all recorded here — amounts to
mtv little. lie might easily have seen him sitting in meditation
under his fig-tree. There must have been something more implied
in look or tone, or both, that went directly to Nathanael's heart.
lie was somehow searched. There came into his soul a feeling
of the presence of a superior spirit. By word or deed Jesus
made him feel that he knew what was in Nathanael's mind when
he sat under the fig-tree. The sight of his person was no proof
of divine or even extraordinary power.

The reply of Jesus is remarkable : " Because I said unto you
that I saw you under the fig-tree, do you believe? You shall
sec greater things than these." And to the company present he
added : •• Verily, verily,* I say unto you, hereafter ye shall see
heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending
upon the Son of Man." So far as we know, this was never liter-
ally fulfilled to those to whom it was spoken. It has been sug-
d that the disciples frequently saw around Jesus, as he talked,
or prayed, or wrought, or slept, appearances of angelic creatures,
lint this is mere conjecture. They never said so. It is poetry
and not history. The words, then, must have been symbolic : if

Literal, the fulfilment would most surely have been r< n\a\. They

do symbolize that series of wonderful deeds wherewith afterwards
his Life became adorned and made the most marvellous of Unman
histories; and that spiritualizing of human modes of thought l>y
Jesus, in which heaven has been opened; and thai more active flux
and reflux of celestial powers which have marked the Christian era

Bui now for the first time Jesus applies to himself that name
which seems to have been his favorite mode of self-designation,
u Tiik Son or Man." Others spoke of liim usually bythe name

* This 'i/i/r, a///r, translated "ver- similar the other

Lly, vurily," is peculiar to John. In i




Son of

which Nathanael had employed — " Son of God." In INTatha.iacl'a
case we must suppose the speaker to have had little
conception of the meaning of the phrase. Philip
had probably told him that John had ealled Jesus
" Son of God," and it was to his mind significant vaguely of
something very great and glorious, hut how great and how glorious
he knew not, taking it for granted, however, that it included all
Messianie functions and magnilicence. But Jesus almost invari-
ably* calls himself "The Son of Man," a name never through
his whole life applied to him by any other person.f

It is to be noticed that in the original the artiele is very rarely
omitted.^ He styles himself, with obvious intention to make
the name personally distinguishing, " the Son of Man." It was a
title not common among the Jews, and not understood by them
when Jesus employed it and applied it to himself.

The phrase occurs in the Old Testament, where it appears to
have had its origin. It is in Daniel vii. 13, where it has been
noticed that the word is notBen-ish or Ben-Adam, but Bar-Enosh,
which represents humanity in its greatest frailty and humility.
Ezekiel is repeatedly called Son of Man, hut never calls himself
so. It may have been to keep him from undue exaltation on
account of his many great and glorious visions. But he is not
called, the Son of Man. The Old Testament writers may be said
to have used the phrase to designate, generally, hwnanity in its
highest ideal. It was certainly not a customary designation of
the Messiah, else some false Messiah would have used it. More-
over, the people would sometimes at least have applied it to
Jesus, as they frequently did the name "Son of David," which
latter name Jesus accepted, and upon which he was accustomed
to base an argument for the superior dignity of the Messiah.
(See Matt. ix. 27 ; xii. 23 ; xv. 22 ; xx. 30^ 31 ; xxi. 0, 15 ; xxii.
42, 45.)

It was as the " Son of David " that the people implored his

* In John's " Gospel," however, Jesus
is frequently represented as calling him-
self the " Son of God," with a pregnant

f In Acts vii. 50 it occurs, and has
special reference to the bodily appear-
ance of Jesus, as it seemed to the eyes

of dying Stephen. See also Rev. i.

\ I now discover only one passage in
which it is omitted, namely, John v. 27,
perhaps for a reason we may present
when we reach the discussion of the


help, and as the " Son of David " ho did help them. The prophets
bad foretold that the Messiah was to come of
David's line, and frequently used the name of D „ e
David to imply the Messiah. The Jews cher-
ished the name and fame of David as their most glorious mon-
arch, the king who had done most to extend their dominions.
And so they naturally came to associate ideas of secular splendor
and conquest with the thought of the Messiah.

Perhaps it was on this account that Jesus, when he wished to
connect his person with the Messianic idea, preferred to call him-
self "The Son of Man." It lifted him from the sphere of secu-
lar to that of spiritual and everlasting life; it enlarged him from
the representative of one family — a royal family — to the repre-
sentative of all humanity. It realized Messiah, it idealised man.
Ami the mission of Jesus was to break bauds — bands of church-
ism, bands of monarchy, bands of caste, prejudice, conventional-
ities. In his work he was to bring himself down to all the
weaknesses, wants, and sympathies of man : in the results of that
work he was to lift man up to himself.

In regard to Nathanael, it may be further slated that he is
believed by many to be the same as Bartholomew. The reason

pied is, that in the first three gospels Xathan-
ael is not mentioned, while Philip a?id Bartholo-
mew are constantly named together ; whereas in John, Philip and
NatJianael are constantly coupled, but Bartholomew is never
mentioned. We may consider his real name as Nathanael, while
Bartholomew, which signifies "Son of Tolmai," is his surname.
"\Vc learn from John xxi. 2, that he was a native of ('ana, in
Galilee. Bernard ami Abbol Ruperl were of opinion that be
was the bridegroom at the marriage in Cana. He is reported
among the witnesses of the resurrection ami of thi ion of

Jesus, ami as returning to Jerusalem with the other Apostles.
(See John xxi. 2, and Acts iv. 1:.'. L3.)

The apocryphal statements are, thai be was subsequently :.u
Apostle to the Indians, whoever thej may have been, the ancient
writers using the word indefinitely. The place of his death i-;
not well ascertained. Albanopolis, in Armenia Miner, ami
[Jrbanopolis, in Cilicia, are mentioned. He is Baid b\ one author
to have died in Lycaonia. They all agree that lie was crucified
with bis bead downward. A spurious " gospel " bears his name.



ti. I

! kMiMMSf 2 " ■' * "*-^ " '• ,;^Sit


IIavusg accomplished his proposed journey, we next find Jesus
in Cana of Galilee. This village is not named in the Old Testa-
ment. According to Josephus ( Vita, c. 16), it lay
Cana of Galilee. , , r , , . r , n P ^

hair a day s journey from the sea of Gennesaret,
and about two days from the Jordan, where Jesus had had his in-
terview with Nathanael, who probably accompanied him to ("ana.
In his Researches (iii. 204), Dr. Robinson establishes it as Kana-
el-Jelel, 3£ hours N. -J- E. from Nazareth.

Here Jesus performed his first miracle, which

j ™T stmiracle ' is tims re p° rtcd in j ° hn "• i - i ° :

"And the third day there was a marriage in Cana
of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: and both Jesus was
called [invited], and his disciples, to the marriage. And when


they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, ' The)' have
no wine.' Jesus saith unto her, 'Woman, what have I to do with
thee? mine hour is not yet come.' His mother saith unto the ser-
vants, 'Whatsoever lie saith unto you, do it.' And there wn
there six water-pots of stone, after the manner of the purifying
of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece. Jesus saith
unto them, 'Fill the water-pots with water.' And they filled them
up to the brim. And he saith unto them, 'Draw out now, and
bear unto the governor of the feast.' And they bare it. When
the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine,
and knew not whence it was (but the servants which drew the
water knew), the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
and saith unto him, 'Every man at the beginning doth set forth
good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is
worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.' "

The particularity with which minutiae are mentioned renders it
probable that the historian John was one of the party; that he, and
Andrew, and Peter, and Philip went forward with
their new Rabbi, detaching themselves from John ,, ,,.

' ° orable wedding.

and attaching themselves to Jesus. From Betha-
bara on the Jordan, where the last incident is mentioned, to Cana
in Galilee, there would be parts of three days consumed in the
journey. Jesus would pass through Nazareth by the most natural
route. Perhaps there he would be told that his mother had gone
to Cana, to the wedding of some familiar friend of the family,
and that an invitation had been left for him, and any friend who
might be with him, to follow her as speedily as convenient Eis
friends continue with him, and they go in a body to < !ana. There
in event, in the Lif e of Jesus occurs which makes this the mosl
memorable wedding upon record. The marriage of no imperial
parties has been so frequently mentioned as this of these unknown
peasants of Galilee. No wedding has invoked from genius bo
many poems and so many parages of eloquence. Who the bride
and bridegroom were we have no means of knowing. They were
simple people, of the rank of Mary, and probably poor, as we learn

that the wine fell short

Jesus had heretofore performed no miracle. Thai we are ex-
pressly told by the historian John (ii. 11 i, who thus de all
those grotesque and monstrous things which are related ol •
in the Apocryphal books. Bui Mary knew his miraculous con-


ception and the marvels attending his birth. She had watched

his growth in wisdom and power, and although
The mother of , t -, ., -, . • i i 1 i i

, she had never witnessed a miracle, she had always

Jesus. g # ... .

found him a wise adviser in times of domestic

emergencies. How far he had communicated to her his views of
his mission we cannot know. They must have had long conver-
sations and deep communings about himself; and if he had nevei
given her any hints about his Mcssiahship, the Jewish woman had
Jewish hopes in her heart, and she connected them with the sacred
secrets of his birth and brooded over them with her maternal love.
There is a great probability that the disciples who were with
Jesus told her how they had come to form that brotherhood, on the
ground of the Baptist John's having proclaimed him as the Mes-
siah. The Baptist was the highest authority then. So now Mary

Online LibraryCharles F. (Charles Force) DeemsWho was Jesus? → online text (page 12 of 77)