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inighty to help.' ” 1 The Devil did not yet despair, but made one more vigorous attack. Again he bore him through the air, this time to a very lofty mountain, from the top of which he could see all the kingdoms of the world, with all their wealth and splendor. Over all this the Devil could dispose at will; and, as he showed his wide dominions to Jesus, he cried, “ All this will I give you if you will fall down and wor. ship me.” But Jesus did not hesitate a moment. 6. Out of my sight, Satan!” he cried with indignant scorn ; " for it is written, • The Lord thy God shalt thou worship, and Him alone shalt thou revere.' ” 2 Then the Devil left him, and angels drew near the victor and gave him food. It was a sign of God's approval, — the true and faithful hero's reward.
Such is the story as Matthew gives it. It is a weird scene, and is sketched with high artistic power. Luke, besides other slight alterations, changes the order of the second and third temptations. Mark simply states that the spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness, where he remained forty days, tempted all the while by Satan and surrounded by wild creatures, while the angels brought bim food and drink. We may remark that the introduction of the first two temptations —" If you are God's son ” — shows at once that it is as the Messiah that Jesus is tempted. It is of course absurd to ask seriously where we must place the scene of this conflict; but the barren mountain-land north-west of Jericho has been pointed out ever since the Middle Ages as the true locality. It is called “Quarantania," after the forty days Jesus is supposed to have
66 The desert” is here a general designation of the abode of evil spirits, and also contains a reference to the forty years' wandering of the people of Israel, which furnished the model for this story. Its leading idea is that the Messiah triumphed over the temptations to which Israel succumbed. This is the meaning of the number “ forty" and of the introduction of the wild creatures; but the prolonged fast during all these days is borrowed from the story of the stay of Moses on Mount Sinai. 4
The meaning of the separate temptations is not quite clear. The first recalls the murinuring of the Israelites for want of food, when God showed that he could preserve their life without bread ; that is, by other than the ordinary means, – by marna and quails. The Tempter urges Jesus to secure him.
spent in it.
1 Deuteronomy vi. 16.
2 Deuteronomy vi. 13. 8 Compare p.
and Deuteronomy . 2 14-16. 4 Exodus xxxiv. 28; Deuteronomy iz s, 18.
self an existence free from care. Ile, the Messiah, must not suffer want! Jesus refers him to a saying of Moses, which, as he uses it, is an expression of absolute trust in God. He will provide the necessary sustenance, and while pursuing the highest purposes Jesus will lay on Him all lower cares. Hereupon the Devil lays hold of the very weapons by which his first attack has been repelled; namely, trust in God and reverence for the Scripture. He urges Jesus, as he stands on the sacred height, to risk every thing. In the fulfilment of his Messianic mission he may safely brave all dangers, and, if need be, establish the kingdom of God by force, for God must needs support him. But Jesus, unlike Israel, who tested Yahweh to see whether he would give them water at Massah, refuses thus to challenge God. The Messiah must not regard himself as protected against mortal danger by any special interposition of God. He regards such reckless presumption as a violation of the reverence due to God, and will use no'le but spiritual means to reach his end. Finally Satan, who is lord of the heathen world which pays him homage (foi idolatry is the worship of Satan), and has established his chief seat in the world-empire of Rome, now tries to persuade the Messiah, for whom universal empire is reserved in the future, to obtain it by a shorter and an easier way than by fidelity to Israel's god, — to obtain it now at the price of forsaking God, and accommodating himself, for example, to the ideas of heathendoin. But if Israel of old had yielded to this temptation and had worshipped Satan,' Jesus refuses to wipe out the line of sharp demarcation which separates the people of the Lord from the worshippers of demons. The splendor of Rome cannot draw away his soul from obedience to the Law and from his own sacred purposes. He will enter upon no such unhallowed compromise, but flings away the thought with horror.
The question whether this picture of the mental conllict and development of Jesus is a good one cannot be answered by a simple yes or no. In itself the conception is particularly unfortunate. For the untroubled communion of Jesus with God left no room for such morbid fancies as made a man like Luther suppose himself to be engaged in personal wrestling with the actual Devil. Moreover, the third temptation, which stamps the whole picture as of Jewish-Christian origin, shows small appreciation of the spirit of Jesus." Finally, the position of the scene at the beginning of his i Deuteronomy xxxii. 17.
2 Compare pp. 229, 224 ff., 279, 280.
career, before he had the least idea of becoming the Messiah, is at variance with history. On the other hand, the first two temptations are rather happily drawn ; and in the conception that Jesus was tempted in every thing just as we are, but without sin,” ? there is a profound psychological truth which acqnires special value when we consider the time at which it was uttered. For man, even for Jesus himself, there is no virtue without temptation, and no progress without dangers ever renewed. Not without sharp internal conflicts and unbroken moral effort did Jesus grow so good and great. Besides the ordinary temptations to which every man is exposed by his carnal nature and by intercourse with a sinful world ; besides the temptations of pride and ambition to which every one who stands out above his surroundings and above his age is pre-eminently liable, — we may suppose that two very special dangers threatened Jesus. The peculiar bent of his spiritual genius was such that exaggeration or one-sided development might easily hurry his religious life into fanaticism, as the history of too many prophets shows; and the genuine enjoyment of life which characterized him as an Israelite, together with the instinct of self-preservation, made him far from indifferent to the earthly expectations of his contemporaries, more especially when he had received bis call as the Messiah. We shall presently see how hard he found it, as the Messiah, to reconcile himself to the thought of possible rejection at the hands of his people ; but at present we will not dwell upon those points any longer.
Self-knowledge and incessant watchfulness and prayer enabled him to hold his own in every conflict. More specifically, his strong sense of his mission and the wonderful purity and exaltation of his purpose strengthened and defended him. He issued from temptation victorious. i See pp. 168 ff.
2 Hebrews iv. 15.
CONFLICT AND TRIUMPH FORESEEN.
Matthew XVII. 10–13, XVI. 21-28.1
E will now take up the thread of the history again at
cance of the fact that the Twelve greeted their Master as the future Messiah.
They had shown that they felt his greatness, and they had been initiated into his most secret thoughts. The natural consequence was that Jesus lived henceforth on a footing of closer intimacy with them than ever. If for the present they were to keep what had taken place a profound secret from the outer world, henceforth there were to be no secrets in their own inner circle. Jesus could now impart to them without reserve his plans and expectations, and, indeed, he was bound to do so for more reasons than one.
Not only must his line of conduct very seriously affect their future lot, but they were, as already said, still slaves to their national prejudices, and in the utmost need of further enlightenment.
We still have records of several conversations on subjects connected with the Messiah, sometimes started by Jesus himself, and sometimes by the disciples. For instance, on one occasion they asked him the very natural question,
" When the Scribes tell us that before the foundation of the Messianic kingdom Elijah must appear, are they mistaken?” To which Jesus answered, “ They are right in saying that Elijah comes first and makes all things ready in Israel. But I tell you that Elijah has already come, but they did not know him ; and in the blindness of their passion they persecuted him. And the same lot awaits the Son of Man at their hands." The disciples knew that he was speaking of the Baptist, and indeed he afterwards plainly declared, “ John was the man of whom we read, · Behold! I send my messenger before your face to prepare your way before you.' If you will believe me when I say it, he is the Elijah that was to come!” 2
The Master to share the fate of John! How utterly amazed must the Twelve have been to hear such a declara
1 Luke ix. 22-27; Mark ix. 11-13, viii. 31-ix. 1.
tion! Bui for that very reason Jesus constantly returned to the subject from the moment when they acknowledged him as the Messiah at Cæsarea Philippi. During the last few weeks or months before the Passover he was much alone with them, and had many opportunities of speaking of this matter to them. He soon began : according to the Gospels it was in the decisive hour of the confession itself. He laid before them in the clearest possible light how the path that he must tread had been pointed out to him, and whither it led. He must go to Jerusalem. So much at least was certain. Not only had his work been harassed of late, and his very life endangered in his fatherland, but the hour had come for him to leave the secluded regions of Galilee and advance to the capital itself, there to announce the kingdom of God and force on the decision for which his cause was ripe. Not only a chance-collected crowd, but all Israel must hear from his own lips what he had to offer, and must choose whether to accept it or no. Though many of the religious leaders more especially had already declared against him, yet he must make the whole nation hear his appeal and choose whether it would forsake its ambitious dreams, forsake its soulless forms and worship of the letter, and accept the kingdom of God he preached with all its inexhaustible spiritual blessings. The city of the Lord, the heart of Israel, was the appointed place for this great trial, and the thrice-glorious festival of the Passover was the appointed time. For there and then, what with the worshippers that came from every part of Palestine and the pilgrims that streamed in from the dispersion,” the people might be said to be present collectively.
So far Jesus doubtless carried with him the hearty approbation of his friends. Where but at Jerusalem, when but at the great feast, should the kingdom of the Messiah be established? But this was not in all respects what their Master anticipated. When he reached Jerusalem, as he went on tu explain to them, the chances would be still heavier against him than in Galilee. He would have no choice but to assert his utmost claims at once and risk every thing; so that failure would involve the most disastrous results, and would be almost sure to cost him his life. Of course he could not be certain of the issue. He was certain of one thing only ; and that was that whatever came to pass would be the will of God, and that even the saddest result in the eyes of men would become under God's ruling power the most blessed both for him and for the kingdom of God. But at that moment, as he