Charles F. (Charles Force) Deems.

Who was Jesus? online

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as he was leaving the city. [Kitto, Augustine, Morrison.] Some [Osiander]
make four to have been healed. — 2. That the cases of healing were two, and
distinct; one being on his entry into the city, the other on his depart inc.
[Lightfoot, Ebrard, Krafft, Tischendorf, "Wiesler, Greswell, Bucher, Lex,
Neander.] According to tliis solution, Matthew combines the two in one, and
deeming the exact time and place unimportant, represents them as both occur-
ring at the departure of Jesus from the city. — 3. That two were healed, and
both at his entry; but one being better known than the other, he only is men-
tioned by Mark and Luke. [Doddridge, New come, Lichenstein, Friedlicb.]
— 4. That one of the blind men sought to be healed as Jesus approached the
city, but was not ; that the next morning, joining himself to another, they
waited for him by the gate, as he was leaving the city, and were both healed
together. Luke, in order to preserve the unity of his narrative, relates the
healing of the former, as if it had taken place on the afternoon of the entry.
[Bengel, Stier, Trench, Ellicott. See modifications of this view in McKnight
and Crosby, and another in Lange on Matt. xx. 30.] — 5. That only one was
healed, and he when Jesus left the city. Matthew, according to his custom,
uses the plural where the other Evangelists use the singular. [Oosterzee on
Luke ; Da Costa.] — 6. That Luke's variance with Matthew and Mark, in regard
to place, may be removed by interpreting (xviii. 35) ' as lie was come nigh to
Jericho,' e v ty the phrase, " The Son of Man is come to seek and save that
which was lost." They believed a conflict would, come between
Jesus and the Church, and that Jesus would triumph and would
set up " the kingdom of God. " at once. This is the parable :

" A certain nobleman went into a far country, to receive for himself a king-
dom, and return. And having' called ten of liis own slaves, he gave them ten
mime, and said, 'Trade till I come.' But his citizens hated
him, and sent a message after him, saying, ' We will not P»^le of the Pounds,
have this man to reign over us.' And it was so on his return, having received
the kingdom, that he commanded those slaves to whom he had given the
money to he called to him, that he might know what they had gained by
trading. Then came the first and said, ' Lord, your mina has gained ten
mime.' And he said to him. ' Well ! good slave ! because you have been faith-
ful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.' And the second came and
said, 'Lord, your mina has gained five niinse.' And he said to this man, 'Be
you also over five cities.' And the other came and said, 'Lord, behold your
mina, which I have kept laid up in a napkin ; for I feared you, because you
are an austere man. You take up what you did not lay down, and reap what
you did not sow.' lie said to him, 'Out of your own mouth will I condemn
you, wicked slave. You knew that I am an austere man, taking up what I
laid not down, and reaping what I did not sow. Wherefore then did you
not give my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required
it with interest ?' And he said to those who stood by, 'Take from him the
mina, and give to him that has ten mime.' And they said to him, ' Lord, he
has ten mina?. 1 ' I say that to every one who hath shall be given, and from
him who hath not, even what he has shall he taken away. But mine enemies,
those who would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay
them before me.' "

This parable is very far from being identical with that of the
talents, as we shall see when we come to study the latter. That a
writer professing to discharge the functions of criticism should
see in this an awkward amalgamation of two other parables,
namely, iii' the Talent.-, and of the Unfaithful Husbandmen, is a
conspicuous display of tin- power of a preconceived theory over
critical acumen. (Strauss's Lift of Jesus, i. 351.) The parables
have a lew things in common, but the points of instruction are
totally different. Elerc Jesus is surrounded by two classes "I per-
Bons, one a multitude representing the Jewish people, and the

other his little baud of disciples. This ['arable of the pounds id


intended to teach a lesson to both, as both were more or less look-
ing for the setting up of a kingdom which should overthrow

The formal portion of the parable is taken from the then well-
known circumstances in the career of Archelaus, the son of Herod
the Great. (See the note, page 59.) Jesus dis-

j. . v, ' tinouishes between the servants of the king and
case or Archelaus. ° m °

the rebellious subjects of the kingdom, and has a
lesson for each. The latter will reject their king. The Jews will
reject Jesus for their spiritual as they had rejected Archelaus for
their civil sovereign. The result will be their destruction and the
establishment of Jesus in his kingdom. lie meant to tell them
that so far from the setting tip of a kingdom of temporal power,
he was to be rejected by them ; but that this rejection would not
harm him, but would destroy the Jewish nation, which very soon
subsequently proved to be true in history.

He intimated, also, that his was to be a reign of spiritual in-
fluence, and therefore, instead of putting arms into the hands of
his servants he gave them small properties, which

Adapted to the ^^ were ^ llS6j calmly working, negotiating,

,. . , and trading until the Lord should come. Such

disciples. o

conduct on their part would be the best possible
protest against the rebellious subjects, because it would show that
these servants had such perfect faith in the return of their master
and king that they quietly persisted in trade, so as to have ac-
complished all that was possible before his return. He taught
his disciples that they who had the faith, the industry, and the
endurance to do this should receive a reward proportionate to
their success, but out of all proportion to the small sum put in
their hands to trade with. If we understand even the Attic
mina as the money here designated, the sum did not exceed $15
gold, equal in its purchasing capabilities in that age to many times
$15 this day, but still being only one-sixtieth of a talent. He
that made it tenfold Mas created ruler over ten cities, and he that
made it fivefold, over five cities. As Von Gerlach well says,
" Ten minae would scarcely purchase a home; and the superabun-
dant recompense of grace is ten cities."

This interpretation is consistent with the whole narrative, and
with the circumstances under which it was uttered, and the state
of mind of those to whom it was addressed. As far as practi-


caLIe it corrected all their misapprehensions before their arrival in

The Passover was approaching. Many had gone up from the
country to Jerusalem to make ceremonial purification for the great
festival. These persons hoped to find the marvellous Teacher in
the Holy City. They made inquiry among themselves, saying :
" What think you ; that he will not come up to the feast ? " This
special form of the inquiry is recorded by John, who states as a
reason for it that the church authorities had given directions that
if any should discover where Jesus was, information should be
given at once that the church might seize him.

" Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany." This
note of time assists us in adjusting the chronologic connection of
events. It does not fix with precision the exact „ ,, _ .

r _ Bethany. Fri-

day of the arrival in Bethany. That will depend & a y 3i st March,

upon the mode of calculation of each reckoner, and Saturday, 1st

(See Andrews, p. 396-398.) The six days may A P ri h AD - ao -

include both the Passover and the day of arrival, . a ** V1 > ar

liii Xlv - » J° nu xu - i-

or include the former and exclude the latter,

or include the latter and exclude the former, or exclude both.
Robinson, including both days, makes his arrival on Saturday;
Strong, by the same computation, fixes it on Sunday — Robinson
putting the Passover on Thursday, and Strong on Friday. Gres-
well agrees with Robinson, and Luthardt with Strong, but reach
these several conclusions by other processes. The language of
Moses is, " In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the
Lord's Passover." (Levit. xxiii. 5.) The first month is Nisau,
and six days before the 14th must have been on the 8th of Nisan.
But when did the 14th Nisan fall? on Thursday or Friday? In
this case my opinion agrees with that of the great majority of
reckoners in fixing the Passover on Thursday; and, not including
the Passover, the date of the arrival will be Friday.

The correctness of this conclusion is favored by the consider-
ation that Jesus would not. unnecessarily travel fifteen miles Erom
Jericho to Bethany on the Sabbath, nor is it possible that he jour-
neyed part of the way on Friday and then finished the journey
after sunset of Saturday, the Sabbath, as between the two towns
was a wilderness with no stopping-place, and the road is exceed-
ingly bad; and moreover, he was with a cavalcade of pilgrims

pushing towards the 1 1 < .1 \ City, it would seem that he probablj 1


readied Jericho in the evening of Thursday, 7 Nisan (30th
March), remained all night with Zacehseus, made the whole jour-
ney to Bethany the next day, reaching the place that evening
before the beginning of the Sabbath. He knew that it was to be a
week of conflict and anguish, and he would naturally desire to be
with his friends- of Bethany, refreshing himself in their quiet

It was soon reported in Jerusalem that Jesus was at the house
of Lazarus. Great crowds began to stream out to the little vil-
lage, which was less than a Sabbath-day's jour-
row s j from the city. There was a double induce-
see him. J . J

ment : they might see Jesus, and at the same time

gaze upon Lazarus, who had had the strange experience of being

raised from the dead. This combined attractiveness of Jesus and

his friend Lazarus incensed the church, and an ecclesiastical

council was held to compass the death of both, because Lazarus

was living proof that Jesus possessed the strange power of raising

the dead, and those who saw them both together believed on

Jesus. It was decided to destroy both men after the Passover.

They had not then calculated upon the assistance of Judas, whose

co-operation hastened the consummation of their plans.

The Sabbath — Saturday, April 1 — was spent in

as a a o ^ ie quiet of the house of Lazarus. It was the
Jesus. x

last Sabbath in the career of Jesus, and it was

appropriate to spend it with the beloved family of Bethany.






Sunday morning came. The Sabbath had ended. Jcsns and
his followers took up their journey to Jerusalem. It was a gay
time in the national calendar. The crowds of
pilgrims going up to the great feast received ac- Between Beth -

. i -nn i r t an y an & Jerusa-

cessions every hour. When the party or Jesus lem paim-Sun-
reached a village called Bethphage, which means day, April 2. Matt.
House of Figs, the site of which it seems not xxi - ; Mark xi - ;
possible now to identify, but which lay some- Luke xix " ; ,Tohn
where on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent forth
two of his disciples, saying, " Go into the village over against you,
and immediately you shall find an ass tied, and with her a foal
whereon never man sat ; having loosed them, bring them unto me.
And if any one say anything to you, yon shall say, ' The Lord has
need of them,' and immediately he will send them."

The disciples went on their errand and found a colt tied outside
a door at a cross-roads. When they commenced to untie it the
owners said, " What are you doing, loosing that colt ?" When tin 1
disciples repeated the words of Jesus, the objectors said no more,
but let them take it away. It would seem that the dam followed
the foal. It was natural that they should keep together. The
presence of the ass kept the colt quiet. On the latter the disciples
of Jesus spread their garments, and he sat on them, and thus rode
forward down the Mount, in the midst of the cavalcade. Tho



Jesus riding 1 .

historian Matthew says that in the doing of this was fulfilled what
was spoken through the prophet, " Tell the daughter of Zion, see
your King comes to you, meek, and sitting upon an ass, even upon
a foal, an offspring of a beast of burden." *

Why Jesus should have done this is a question which naturally
arrests us at this point. It 'is manifest, from the whole tenor of
the history, that he felt that his hour was now about
to come. lie expected to stand no more by the
Sea of Galilee, or walk the streets of Capernaum, Bethsaida, and
the other places which had been his haunts. lie addressed him-
self as to a last conflict with his foes. They had laid a price upon
his head. lie did not intend to evade their vigilance, but he in-
tended not to throw himself recklessly into their hands. There-
fore he always left the city in the evening, spending the night in
a neighboring village, and returning to the Temple-service in tho
morning. But he would avoid no responsibility of his position.
He rode into Jerusalem. There should be no pomp, and there-
fore no blooded steed with rich caparisons and insignia of royalty
should carry him. An ass's colt should testify at once his poverty
and his dignity. lie went in so lifted up that all the people might
see him, and " the church " should perceive that he was not afraid
of his fate.

* Strauss {Life of Jesus, ii. 291) holds
that the "Evangelical narratives" of
this advance of Jesus to Jerusalem ' ' are
formed not so much upon a given fact
as upon Old Testament passages and
dogmatic ideas." In proof of which

Online LibraryCharles F. (Charles Force) DeemsWho was Jesus? → online text (page 54 of 77)