Charles F. (Charles Force) Deems.

Who was Jesus? online

. (page 24 of 77)
Online LibraryCharles F. (Charles Force) DeemsWho was Jesus? → online text (page 24 of 77)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Simon II., Pastoral Activity ; and Judas II. (Iscariot), Church
Property. \ But these seem to be rather fanciful. Gentlemen
who have been missionary secretaries and treasurers, and heads
of church publishing houses, would scarcely consent to recog-
nize Judas Iscariot as their representative in the Apostolic col-
lege. Calm and unprejudiced historians would say, that while on
one side of their lives these characteristics were manifested, quite
as conspicuously on the other side were other things exhibited ;
and so Peter might just as well represent Falsehood and Coward-
ice; James, Bigotry and Ill-Temper; John, Vanity and Ferocity;
Thomas, Blind Infidelity; Matthew, Venality and Baseness; Si-
mon II., Intolerance and Ritualism; Judas Iscariot, Corruption
and Treachery ; and all the rest of the disciples, Want of ( Jharacter.


11. Simon II. Judas I. Simon II.

12. Judas II. (Is- Judas II. Judas II.

It will be perceived that they all
agree as to the relative places of five of
the Apostles, making Peter 1st, Philip
Tali. Xathanael Gth, James II. f>th, and
Judas Iscariot 12th. Matthew and
Luke make Andrew 2d, James I 3d,
and John 4th. Luke and Mark make
Matthew 7th, and Thomas 8th. Mat-
thew and Mark make .hulas I. as the
10th, and Simon II. as the 11th. It
will be seen that Matthew and Luke
agree throughout, except where DO

led Matthew into putting himself last in
the second class, and in the relative po-
sition of Judas I. and Simon.

* John twice speaks of MmsAfe& the
disciph- " whom Jeans loved " ixiii 23;
xx. 2), a fact which the other historians
did not think important enough to men-
tion. But who could help adverting to
the most beautiful fact f his own life,
< >r make memorable a 1"\'

■ distinguishing r It may have
been vanity, hut it u I and

Lovely and loving vanity, which is not
i ;.i. and onghl to be par-
donable t" man.

\ See Lange on Matthew x.


The fact is, that when they were called to be special messen-
gers and ambassadors from Jesus to the nations, they were not

The selection not po- such men as ordinary prudence would select.
utic - There was not one that would compare with Saul

of Tarsus, who afterward took the whole moulding of their infant
society. They were all from the middle ranks. They were not
learned in the schools, and seemed wholly unfitted to cope with
the scholarship and measure arms with the philosophy of the
times. They had no money, nor rich connections, nor political
associations or influence. They were, as compared with refined
society, ill-bred, stupid, and incredulous. If the purpose had
been a political revolution, there was not a man among them who
could compare with the Swiss Tell, or perhaps even the Neapolitan
Masaniello. If they were to overthrow Jewish prejudice and
silence the Rabbis, there was no one amongst them who could
talk, except Peter, and he was always so uncertain that no reli-
ance could be placed upon him. In advance, one could not tell
whether he would brag, or lie, or run. There were probably only
two who knew anything of the Greek tongue, namely, Peter and
Philip. If the nations were to be speedily moved by Christianity,
it must, as men would reason, be done through the Roman power
or Greek civilization. But these men were all laymen, and had
neither political influence nor intellectual culture ; they had no
standing even among their own people, and certainly no influence
with their conquerors and civil rulers. Peter and Andrew were
brothers. So were James I. and John, the friends of Peter and
Andrew. So were James II. and Judas I. Four of them had been
disciples of the ascetic John the Baptist. All of them, except
Judas Iscariot, were of the most uncouth part of the Jewish popula
tion ; they were Galiloeans, and several of them fishermen. They
spoke their vernacular brokenly. It is as if a man should select
a dozen negroes, of average character, from the plantations of the
Southern States of America, and set them on the work of revolu
tionizing the philosophy of all schools, and the elements of all
civilization, and the systems of all religion.

It is to be noticed that they did not choose him : he chose
them. This he tells them. (John xv. 16.) This is true of their

They did not choose public work. They had gathered about thim and
hhn - clung together through personal love of him, but

they had not settled it in their minds* precisely what he was, and



their regard for him was largely mingled with an expectation of
future secular good and glory, if their general expectation should
prove correct. " What shall we have, therefore ? " was the ques-
tion of Peter, who, with all his faults, was certainly not the most
6elfish among the disciples. (Matt, xix. 27.)

It is to be specially noticed that there is nothing of the modern
Ch urch idea in anything done by Jesus on this or any other occa-
sion.* These men were not inducted into any Nothing of the
priestly office, or given any pre-eminence over " Chlu-ch " lclea -
their brethren. They were distinguished, discriminated, set apart
for a special work, but not clothed with corporate powers. There
was no baptism or any other rite indicative of an entrance upon
church membership. Jesus did not baptize. His disciples had
done so, but they had taken the idea from John the Baptist, who
baptized those who were already in the church, and whose bap
tismwas to indicate the Messiah. If an outward formal sign did
no good, it did no hurt, and Jesus had allowed it. But he had
established no sacrament. These men had no creed. There was
no creed. They loved Jesus. They hi/ped great things from
Jesus. He loved them, and intended to instruct them, and leave
with them "the gospel of the kingdom." What he seems to have;
seen in them, and what was the basis of their call, was the reli-
giousness of their general character. Whatever culture they
lacked, and whatever faults they had, they had devoutness,

Online LibraryCharles F. (Charles Force) DeemsWho was Jesus? → online text (page 24 of 77)