Charles F. (Charles Force) Deems.

Who was Jesus? online

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thou owest, pay me," which signifies



that, there is nothing to be done but to
pay when anything is owing; no room
for mercy and forgiveness.



444 TIIK THIRD PASSOVER TO TUE FEAST OF TABERNACLES.

About this time Jesus made another missionary demonstration.
lie organized thirty-live companies, each consisting- of two disci-
ples other than the twelve he had already selected.
., r , It is somewhat difficult to keep the harmony of

the seventy. Luke A _ J m

x. l-:;, 1G ; Matt, the narrative at this point, and modern criticism

vii. G ; x 28-25; has attacked the whole account of the Mission of
Luke vi. 40 ; John fa Q s event y ; as given by Luke, on the ground that
there is no trace of them in the subsequent history
of Jesus or his early followers. It would seem that even a super-
ficial view of the work assigned these seventy should be an answer
to that. Jesus was shortly to go from Galilee to Jerusalem. lie
sent these messengers before his face. His time was shortening.
Seventy men could rapidly spread themselves and make procla-
mation of the gospel. It was not intended to institute a perpetual
order. Indeed it seems to have been a temporary arrangement,
and that Jesus probably remained in Capernaum, from which, we
believe, he sent forth these bands, until their return, and then
began his journey. It was to be a brief, quick movement, pre-
paratory to his travels towards Jerusalem. We are not compelled
to understand by the words " into every city and place whither he
would come," that Jesus would go to every town they visited, but
that he would not enter any town where none of the Seventy had
been.

The ground occupied by these swift missionaries we cannot
positively describe, but it is probable that it included a part of
Samaria, and much of Perea and Judcea, where he spent the last
six months of his life. The commission was this : " Go : behold
I send you as lambs in the midst of wolves ; be ye therefore wise
as the serpent and harmless as the doves. Give not the holy to
the dogs, neither cast your pearls before the swine, lest they tram-
ple them with their feet, and turning might rend you. But when
they persecute you in this city, flee into another ; for verily I say
unto you, You shall not finish the cities of Israel until the Son of
Man come. A disciple is not above his teacher, nor the slave
above his lord; it is enough for the disciple that is perfect that
he be as his teacher, and the slave as his lord. If they have called
the house-owner Beelzebul, how much more those of his house-
hold ! Fear them not, therefore."

They were simply to proclaim his coming and his gospel. Bui;
the country was excited against him. It behooved these disciples



LAST DAYS IN GALILEE. 445

to unite the innocency of doves with the supposed watchfulness of
the serpent. In declaring the truths which it was the mission
of his life to establish and propagate, they were

, . -r ,. ,, . , To proclaim his

to use discrimination, it were lolly to srive the „„. „

•> *— coming.

consecrated flesh of sacrifices to dogs. It were
folly to present jewels to swine, who, finding that these did not
satisfy hunger, would crush them into the mire and turn in their
voracity upon the givers. Yet, when they had conducted them-
selves as well as possible, no circumspection could keep them from
being assailed with malignity. When one town rejected them
they must escape to another, and thus give the whole land an op-
portunity of knowing what it was that Jesus taught, lie assured
them that they should not have visited all the towns till the Mis-
sion of the Son of Man bo accomplished by the establishment of
his claims as Messiah, if that be the meaning of the saying, " Ye
shall not finish the cities of Israel until the Son of Man come."
If that be not the meaning — and I am far from being sure, and
give it as the most plausible conjecture — then I do not know what
Jesus meant, lie was going up to Jerusalem. There were two
things to be secured, namely, an increased attention to himself
and his words, and a sufficient interest upon the part of the popu-
lace to give him protection against the growing malignity of the
church party — the priests, the scribes, the Pharisees. All this might
in some measure he produced by the ministry of the Seventy.

The Jewish Feast of Tabernacles was now at hand. It was, as
Josephus says, the holiest and greatest of their festivals. The peo-
ple would be assembled in great crowds. It would
be an occasion for a p< rwerful prophet to mala' an n ' C0 T "

i-iiii i ii • ni.-iria, John vii.,

impression which should move the whole nation. viii . Lukc ix

The younger sons of Mary, whom we should call xv ii.

the half-brothers of Jesus, did nol believe he was a prophet, yet

perhaps hoped that he mighl put himself Forward as a Messiah,

such a Messiah as they, in common with their nation, hoped

for- — a splendid deliverer, and conqueror, and king.

urged him to go into Judaea, as his popularity seemed waning

in Galilee; and moreover, all thai he had accomplished was to

attach a few fishermen to his cause. Lie had not won a p

any Bocial or ecclesiastical distinction. To this politic ad

which would have been Bound if -Ions had intend* d to claim and

maintain such a Mcssiahship as thej Bupposed, he returned this

reply :—



410 TIIE TniED PASSOVER TO TIIE FEAST OF TABERNACLES.

" My time is not at present, but your time is always ready. The
world cannot hate you ; but it hateth me, because I testify that its
works arc evil. Go you up unto this feast. I go not up to tliia
feast; for my time is not yet fulfilled."

They wished him to join their caravan, and go up publicly and
conspicuously. His time had not arrived. He would not be pre-
cipitated. He would avoid as far as possible giving any occasion
to his enemies. He would not be of the party of his brethren.
But after they had left for Jerusalem, he arranged his plans and
went up to the metropolis in a secret manner. lie sent messen-
gers before his face, who made the necessary preparations, so that
in the evening he could enter lodgings, rest, and next day proceed
on his journey. They were going along the borders of Galilee

and of Samaria. At one of the Samaritan villages
Inhospitable Sa- . . °

maritan village. the . P art 3 r were refused lodgings because they were
going to attend the feast in Jerusalem, thus wit-
nessing against Mount Gerizim. Sectarian rancor conquered ori-
ental hospitality. James and John, the latter generally conceived,
I think, to be a sweetish kind of characterless young man, were
so enraged that they desired permission from their Master to call
down fire from heaven to consume the town. They were not con-
tent that Jesus should do it. They desired the personal gratifi-
cation of vengeance on these people. Jesus rebuked them. They
then went to the next village on the route.




TALENT.— STATEK OF TOTPHON.



PART VI.

FROM THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES UNTIL THE

LAST WEEK.

FROM OCTOBER, A.D. 29, TO APRIL, A.D. 30— SIX MONTHS.



CHAPTER I.



AT THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES.



In the mean time his brothers, with many other friends, and all

the Jewish people who could travel, had gone up to the Feast oi

Tabernacles. This festival is spoken of in the

Talmud as the Feast par excellence, and by Jo- , T , ..*
- 1 i-i naclcs. John vu.

Bcphus and by Plutarch as the most holy and

glorious of all the Jewish Holidays. It was celebrated in the au-
tumn, when the heats were abated and the rains had not begun.
The harvest had been gathered, and the Day of Atonement had just
passed. In the fulness of their garners, and in the Benso of free-
dom from the guilt of their sins, the whole people rejoiced together.
Moreover, it was a joyful celebration of a sad passage in the early
history of their nation, when their fathers had dwelt in booths in
the wilderness, and even Jehovah's Banctuary was in a tent

From all parts of the land, and even from many foreign pails,

the devout poured into the Holy City. No g 1 Jew allowed

himself to sleep in a house. Boughs full of green leaves wore
brought from the country, and temporary booths constructed on
house-tops, and along thoroughfares, and in all the environs of the
city, until Jerusalem was covered with a temporary forest Glad
ness reigned, and public and private rejoicing prevailed.

The Temple service partook of the festal air of the occasion.



4-iS FROM FEAST OF TABERNACLES UNTIL THE LAST WEEK.



Immediately after the regular morning sacrifices, every day, a

priest went with a golden vessel to the fountain of Siloah, on the

„, , . side of the hill on which the Temple stood, and

TghidIc service

drew water, which he brought through the water-
gate, accompanied by a gay procession and the sound of trumpets,
and having mixed it with wine, poured it on the sacrifice upon the
altar, amid the hallelujah shouts of the people. This probably
reminded them of the supplies of water Jehovah had given to
their fathers in the emergencies of the wilderness. The joyful-
ness of this ceremonial was so great that it passed into a common
proverb : " lie that never saw the rejoicing of drawing water
never saw rejoicing in all his life." *

As a complement of the morning service, and retaining another
reminiscence of the wilderness life of their ancestors, namely, the

_ . . guidance by the pillar of fire through the night,

Evening service. & J l ° °

there were set up, in the Court or the Women,
two great golden lamp-stands, and when these were kindled they
threw their light over the whole city. Then all the Temple
music played, and the members of the Sanhedrim, the elders, the
rulers of the synagogues, the doctors of the law, and all those who
were distinguished by age, piety, and learning, danced wildly and
recklessly, in the sight of the women who crowded the balconies,
and the men who thronged the court ; he that made himself the
most ridiculous achieving the greatest success. Perhaps this ad-
dition to the ceremonials was taken from the dance of David
before the Ark.

There was another peculiarity of this festival. In addition to
the usual daily sacrifices, on the first day thirteen young bullocks,
two ranis, and fourteen lambs of the first year, were sacrificed;
the next day, twelve bullocks; the third day, eleven; and so
decreasing until on the seventh day, on which seven bullocks
were offered, making seventy in all. This number, the Jewish
doctors taught, represented the languages of the seventy nations
of the world, and the process of diminution represented the gra-
dual reduction of those nations until all things should come under
the reign of the Messiah.*}"

The legal limit of the "Feast of Tabernacles" was seven days,



* Jennings in his Jewish Antiquities
quotes this from the Mishna, tit. Sweah,
cap. v., sect. 1.



•(• It. Solomon on Numb, xix., cited
by Lightfoot in his Temple Service,
chap, xvi., sect. 1.



AT TIIE FEAST OF TABERNACLES. 449

but it was followed on the eighth day by a supplemental festival

of rejoicing, especially over the ingathered crops, their corn and

their wine. This was a day of special jollity, from

which Jennings* suc-o-ests that the heathen bor- . * .
*=> ^ rt festival.

rowed their Saturnalia. Plutarch even made the
mistake of supposing that it was kept in honor of Bacchus, for he
says {Symposia, lib. iv. prob. 5) : " In the time of the vintage the
Jews spread tables, furnished with all manner of fruits, and lived
in booths, specially of palm and ivy wreathed together, and they
call it the ' Feast of Booths ; ' and then a few days after [alluding
probably to the last day of the feast] they kept another festivity,
which openly shows it was dedicated to Bacchus ; for they carried
boughs of palms, etc., in their hands, with which they went into
the temple, the Levites (who, he fancies, were so called for Ewo^,
one of the names of Bacchus) going before with instruments of
music," etc.

It was to this gayest, of all festivities that the men of the nation
were gathering. But over all there was a shadow. The wonder-
ful words and works of Jesus had spread themselves through the
land. The mission of the Seventy had freshly excited public
attention. Everyman had something to tell or to hear of what
Jesus had been saying or doing. Misrepresentations and exag
gerations were, of course, rife. Opinions differed. Parties were
beginning to crystallize. Some were for him, some against. The
latter were more and stronger than the former, whose favorable
opinion of Jesus we find much modified by the pressure of public
sentiment. They said, "lie is a good man," while the others
said, " Nay, but he deceives the people." His friends did not
dare t render a frank expression of their views of his character
and his operations.

Suddenly, in the midst of the feast, Jesus appeared in the
Temple and began to teach. It was like an apparition.

What course he had come thev knew not. He was not at the

beginning of the feast. I ! ia absence had occasioned much anxious

speculation upon the part of friends and foes. T ... .
i ' i :it thr cease.

The days were going by, and he did not COme.

But perhaps on Wednesday, the fourth day of the feast, when

expectation of his coming had begun to Bag, he calmly walked



* Jewish Ant., book Hi., sec 0.
20



450 FROM FEAST OF TABERNACLES UNTIL THE LAST "WEEK.

into the Temple, took his position, and began to unfold his doctrine
as if nothing unusual had occurred, as if his friends were not
intensely anxious for his safety, and as if his foes had not been
forming plots to compass his destruction. He went amply with wide
knowledge, and powerfully with great authority, into his discourses.
The Jews listened and were amazed, and started the inquiry, '' I low
does this man know letters, never having learned ? " They intended
to disparage him by calling the attention of the people to the fact
that he had not received Rabbinical instruction. The intention
was to create popular prejudice against him, as if he were an in-
terloper, not being a graduate of the schools, not
His defensive i • • -i r >i • it- i

beino- m the succession ot the priests. His reply
speech. ° t .

was, " My teaching is not mine, but His who sent

me." lie did not mean his doctrines simply, but also his mode of
teaching and the spirit with which he taught. They charged that he
usurped the office of teacher. This he denied. God was with him.
In proof of this he says, " If any one will do His will he shall know
of the teaching, whether it be of God or I speak from myself."
This is a plain way of practically putting the teachings of any
teacher to the test. If a man be living in perfect purity of heart, in
strict study and obedience of the physical, intellectual, and spiritual
laws and ordinances of God, he will render himself a test of the
truth of any other man's teaching. To this test Jesus submitted
himself. As if he had said: All of the nation who are acknow-
ledged to be living pure lives confess my teaching divine : try it
yourselves : in proportion as you do what you already know that
God has taught to be the duty of man, in that proportion will you
open your hearts to me.

And then, in disproof of the allegation that he was an in-
truder into the teacher's office, ho submits the following plaiu
assertion : " He who speaks from himself seeks his own
glory ; and he who seeks the glory of Him that sent him, the
same is true, and unrighteousness is not in him." The former
is moved by a narrow and low vanity; the latter by a high
devout spirit. No ordination, no anointing, no induction into
priesthood, no consecration can make the former a teacher of
morality. His selfish vanity breaks his claim. Jesus appealed to
them whether such characteristic had ever appeared in him., lie
did not take his position from self-promptings; he did not teach
for morality what was merely the suggestion of his persona]



AT THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES. 451

fancy ; lie did not seek to glorify himself, being willing for that
purpose to warp the truth in unrighteousness. He was so con-
scious of his rectitude in this particular that he rested his appeal
on the opinion of all the people.

That was his defensive speech: he then made an attack upon
his enemies. They could not comprehend and obey him, because
they had not sought to comprehend and obey those
who had preceded him, whom they acknowledged e . a

, ; ** ° enemies.

to be divinely authorized teachers. There was
Moses, the founder of their theocracy, the acknowledged law-
giver. They had the Decalogue. They were living in violation
of it. The Jewish priesthood of his day were notoriously licen-
tious. Their rabbis and elders were so impure that when they
brought to Jesus a woman taken in adultery, his speech, which
meant, "Let him that is no adulterer throw the first stone," so
condemned the entire assembly that not a man of them could
remain in his presence. And now they stood around Jesus, a
band of conspirators and murderers. He showed them that this
was not a mere question of biblical scholarship, but of that essen-
tial religion which consists in doing the will of God. What is tbo
capability of elucidating a point of scholastic perplexity compared
with a consecration to doing the will of the Most High God?

And then he charged the rulers that they were at that
moment seeking to kill him. The multitude regarded this asser-
tion as an exaggeration of his fancy, and said, " You have a
demon! who seeks to kill you?" — meaning that he was dis-
ordered through melancholy. They did not know what secret
machinations were then at work among the rulers. Jesus gave
them a reminiscence. Some time ago, in that same city, he had
marvellously restored an impotent man to strength ; and beneficent
as was this great act of power, it wrought in the hierarchy no
sympathy for him, no disposition to co-operate with him for the
welfare of the people; hut because it infringed Bome of their
oppressive regulations for observing the Sabbath-day, they had
plotted against him, and had never ceased to endeavor to com-
pass his death.

He defended that past act. lie put the case to them thus:
"Moses gave to you circumcision (not that it is oi M
but of the fathers), and ye circumcise a man on the Sab-
bath. If a man receive circumcision on the Sabbath, that



452 FROM FEAST OF TABERNACLES UNTIL THE LAST WEEK.

the law of Moses should not be broken, are ye angry with
me because I have healed a man on the Sabbath? Judge

not according to appearance, but judge righteous

He defends his • i - j> rpi t • . rv

judgment. lhat is to say — Circumcision was

earlier than Moses, who merely confirmed in legal
enactment what the fathers had always practised as a part of
Monotheism. The male child was to be circumcised on the
eighth day, even if it fell on the Sabbath, because circumcision
was an important sanitary regulation. But the Jewish hierarchy
had sought to destroy Jesus because he had made a man every
whit whole on the Sabbath, — such poor judges were they, so
utterly incapacitated by reason of their adherence to the external
letter, utterly unmindful of the internal spirit. This argument
began to prevail with the people, and incline them favorably
towards Jesus. So, very shortly after, some of them of Jeru-
salem said, " Is not this he whom they seek to kill ? And lo ! he
speaketh boldly, and they say nothing to him. Do the rulers
know whether of a truth that this is the Christ ? But this one,
we know whence lie is: when the Christ cometh no one knoweth
whence he is." This shows how the multitude fluctuated. The
courage of Jesus struck them as admirable. They had be»
jome convinced that the rulers were seeking to destroy Jesus.
*erhaps they had been paralyzed by finding in this man some
indications of his being the Messiah, which had frightened them.
But then they swung away from that feeling by the reflection
that Jesus was a Nazarene. They knew him to be a citizen, if
not a native, of a mean town in the provinces. The opinion
was that the Messias should arise among men by sudden incarna
tion, without earthly parentage. But this man's parentage they
supposed to be known to them, which is sufficient to their minds
to set aside all supposition that he was the Messias.

Then cried Jesus in the Temple, teaching and saying, "Ye
both know me and know whence I am : and I am not come

of myself, but He who sent me is true, whom ye
Asserts his hea- knQw nQt But j kmw jr; for T am from

venly origin. ,

Him, and He hath sent me." They thought to

humiliate him by their reference to his humble extraction. With

a loud voice, openly in the Temple, he acknowledged his low

earthly relationships. As Lange says, "lie even treated with

a certain cheerful irony the supposition that therewith they knew



AT TIIE FEAST OF TABERNACLES. 453

Iiis real essential origin." But when lie speaks so freely of his

heavenly descent they desired to arrest him: but they could

not. There was something in him which repelled their rudeness.

John says that it was God's overruling providence, " because his

hour was not yet come." There were, indeed, among the people

those who believed in him because he was a miracle-worker,

for. they said, "When the Christ comes will he do more signs than

this one does?" Such sentiments among the people rendered

the rulers uneasy. While these things were going forward the

Sanhedrim was in session in the Temple, "in the stone chamber

between the fore-court of the Gentiles and the inner court," as

Tholuck says. The Pharisees probably conveyed to them this

flux and reflux of public opinion. The Sanhedrim sent officers

with orders to arrest him.

Then said Jesus, with a tone which seems to have disarmed

them, "Yet a little while am I with you, and I go to Him that

sent me. Ye shall seek me, and shall not find

me : and where I am ye cannot come." This n ,
' t J speech.

most probably meant simply that for the present
they could not touch him, but that in a short time he would have
a more complete separation from them. But the saying alarmed
them, and they said, " Where is he about to go that we shall not
find him '( Is he about to go to the dispersion among the Gen-
tiles, and teach the Gentiles ? "

Thus they were perplexed with contradictory emotions and
opinions. They affected to despise him, and yet they could think
and talk of nothing else. Jesus was the topic of public and pri-
vate discourse, lie was the nation's mystery — a riddle to the vul-
gar, a problem to the thoughtful, a prodigy to the multitude, and
a terror to the rulers. He was admired, and criticised, and hated,
and dreaded. There was such a sanctity about him that they
could not lay violent hands upon him. But he exposed to each
party the meanness and corruption of the other until he became
dreadful. To keep him was to he perpetually tormented. To
drive him from the country was to send him out to preach a doc-
trine which should embrace all mankind, and thus break lip the

monopoly of religion which the .lews supposed themselves to pos-
sess. To do him violence was perilous, because there was Buch a
profound interesl in the man and Buch a division of p< pular sen-
timent. They were terribly perplexed.



454 FROM FEAST OF TABERNACLES UNTIL, THE LAST WEEK.

The " Feast of the Tabernacles," strictly speaking, closed at the
end of the seventh day ; but on the eighth day was a supple-
mentary festival which concluded the whole, and
of ti^f^t ^ wmcn was " the great day of the feast." On the
other days the priests, as we have seen, went to
the fount of Siloam and drew water, which was brought with
great rejoicing into the Temple. This ceremonial was omitted on
the eighth day. The seven represented the wandering, the eighth
the entrance into the land of rest, the nation's home. The water
came to represent in symbol the Holy Spirit of God. It had been
always a fact to notice that there was no fountain in the Temple
limits on Mount Moriah. This was interpreted to signify that the
refreshing spirit was lacking in their dry ecclesiasticism, and the
gift of that spirit, like the opening of a fountain, was among the
most precious promises of prophecy. Joel (iii. 18) foretold that it
shonld come forth from the House of the Lord, and Ezekiel (xlvii.)
describes its breaking forth from under the threshold of the Tem-
ple. It was the great expectation of the spiritually minded Jews,
and most probably was constantly associated in their minds with
other unspeakable benedictions which should come with the



Online LibraryCharles F. (Charles Force) DeemsWho was Jesus? → online text (page 45 of 77)