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as at one with Moses and the prophets. And, besides this, God, whom he would have man love with all his being, is no longer really Israel's Yahweh ; nor is a man's neighbor any longer his fellow-countryman and fellow-believer only: so that Jesus, in point of fact, is not summing up the old Israelite religion, but the new religion that had grown out of it under his own vivifying touch. Finally, remember that " these two commandments” do not stand over against each other as essentially distinct. Jesus would have us love our neighbors and ourselves for God's sake, and as children of God; or, in other words, he would have us love God in our neighbor and ourself. Without intending it, Jesus sketches in these two strokes his own individuality and his own life.
We have now seen Jesus attacked and put to the test again and again, and have had ample occasion to admire the clearness of insight and presence of mind which invariably gave him a ready answer and enabled him triumphantly to maintain the position he had taken. Nay, the attempts to injure him have but served to throw an ever stronger light upon his religious and moral greatness, and have therefore taught us to understand him better and to reverence him more.
JESUS TAKES THE AGGRESSIVE.
Matruew XXII. 41-46, XXIII. 1-7, 16-28; LUKE XI. 52, 47, 48, XX.
47, XVI. 19-31; MARK XII. 1-12, XIV. 1, 2.2
ITHERTO we have only seen Jesus defending himself
against the plots of his enemies. But gradually a change took place, and those who had at first thrown themselves in his way with overweening confidence now drew back. They were no match for him. His controversial triumph was complete. No one, we are told, dared question him further, and we have no more records of his opponents intentionally drawing him into disputes. Upon this Jesus changed his
1 Compare pp. 228 ff., 220 ff.
2 Matthew xxiii. 13, 29–32, xxi. 33-46, xxvi. 3-5; Mark xii. 34 b-40; Luke IX. 40-46, xi. 39-46, xx. 9-19, xxii. 1, 2.
own attitude and took the offensive. A few specimens of his attacks are preserved.
" How can the Scribes say that the Messiah is David's sou?” he once exclaimed in the temple, before a crowd of hearers. “For David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit, declares, · The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand till I have cast thine enemies beneath thy feet!' Now if David himself calls him • Lord, how can he be his own son?”
It is true that Psalm cx., the opening lines of which are quoted by Jesus as sacred or inspired Scripture, was not composed by David and does not contain any words addressed to the Messiah ; but this raises no real difficulty, for both Jesus and his contemporaries accepted the Davidic authorship and Messianic significance of the psalm upon which the argument is built, without the least reserve. The bearing of the argument itself, however, is far from clear. Is it possible that the foes of Jesus had heard of his pretensions to being the Messiah ; that they had attempted to disarm them by reminding the people that he was not a descendant of David, and that Jesus therefore wished to show that the Messiah was not a son of David at all? Or did he simply intend to point out that the Scriptures themselves represented the assumed Davidic origin of the Messiah as a matter of no moment, since the founder of the kingdom of God had a higher title than that of Son of David? This is the sense in which the first Evangelist appears to have understood him. He makes Jesus say to the assembled Pharisees, “ What do you think about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They answer unhesitatingly, “ David's." And Jesus then refers them to the verses of the psalm already quoted, and concludes : “ If David calls him · Lord,' how can he be his son?” In any case these words distinctly implied that Jesus did not conceive of the Messiah as a king after the model of David.
Hostility ran ever higher. Jesus did not shrink from openly attacking his opponents and exposing them before the people. The Scribes, who gave the whole Pharisaic school its tone, incurred his special indignation. What must the people have thought of the sentence they heard him utter upon their pious leaders at the very focus of Jewish orthodosy and headquarters of formalism ! We have already had special occasion to give a few specimens of his preaching against the Pharisees, but we will now repeat them in the characteristic though less original form in which they appear in Luke :
1 See pp. 375 ff., and p. 292.
“Woe to you, learned ones in the Law! for you have taken away the key of knowledge. You stay outside yourselves, and keep out those that try to enter. Woe to you! for you build the tombs of the prophets, and your fathers murdered them. Thus do you testify your approval of your fathers' deeds; for they committed the murder, and sou perpetuate its memory!"
Jesus also made a fierce onslaught upon the scholastic hairsplitting that trod true holiness in the dust and unmanned the conscience. A melancholy instance was furnished by the opinions of the Scribes on the subject of oaths. We know what Jesus himself thought about them,' and can therefore understand his indignation against all the subterfuges and qualifications of the schools. “Woe to you, blind guides! for you say, “If a man swears by the temple, it is nothing ; but if he swears by the gold of the temple, it is binding.' Fools and blind ! Is the gold more than the temple which makes it sacred? Or again : If a man swears by the altar, it is nothing; but if he swears by the sacrifice upon the altar, he must keep his oath. Blind that you are! Is the sacrifice more than the altar that makes it sacred? I tell you, whoever swears by the altar swears by all that is on it too; and whoever swears by the temple swears by Him who dwells in it; and whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.”
In the same way he mercilessly scourges the pitiful formalism so scrupulously anxious about trifles, and yet so wide of swallow with regard to veritable sins. • Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites that you are! for you take care that the tithes of mint and anise and cummin are duly paid, but neglect the weightier matters of the Law,-justice, mercy, and integrity. In observing the one how dare you to neglect the other? Blind guides that you are! straining out gnats and swallowing camels! Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of cup and platter, but the inside is full of plunder and license. Blind Pharisee! first clean the inside of the cup, and then the outside will be clean also. Woe to you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites that you are! you are like so many whitewashed graves that seem all pure outside, but are full of dead men's
1 See pp. 226, 227.
bones and all uncleanness within. So do you seem r.ghteous externally, but within are full of hypocrisy and evasion of the Law."
We may note that this denunciation deals throughout with the question of cleanness." It begins by referring to the scrupulous piety that would not for the world make use of the smallest garden herbs without first making sure that the tithes, though of hardly any value, had been duly paid ; for otherwise they would be unclean and would pollute all those that used them. The conclusion alludes to the custom of the people of Jerusalem of whitewashing the tombs every year a month before Passover. The object was to warn the travellers not to come too near these unclean places; and just so the ostentatious display of cleanness on the part of the Pharisees seemed to Jesus like a warning that all manner of wickedness lay concealed behind it. Luke did not understand the reference, and lost the point by turning the saying thus : * Woe to you ! for you are like hidden graves that men may walk upon unwittingly." But this does not affect the essential point.
6. What a sweeping condemnation!” we are tempted to exclaim. But remember that these words were uttered at Jerusalem ; and, to understand the change that had come over the Master's feelings with regard to Pharisaism, we must bear in mind not only the growing hostility on either side, but the fact that here in the City of the Temple orthodoxy was driven to its extremest consequences and appeared in all its accursed moral sterility. Indeed, there was a Jewish proverb to the effect that nine out of every ten hypocrites in the world might be found at Jerusalem. Even in Galilee Jesus might have said, as he did now before all the people in Jerusalem, “ Beware of the Scribes, who take such delight in pacing along the streets in their long gowns, in receiving the respectful salutation of * Rabbi’ in the market place, in taking the front seats in the synagogues, and reclining in the best places at suppers ! They do all their pious deeds in the hope of being seen. Look how broad they make the ribbons written over with texts that they bind round their brows and their left arms when they pray, and how deep the fringes of their mantles are!”? But it was only here in Jerusalem, at the very centre of Judaism, where the fatal principles of formalism had so long spread unchecked in rank luxuriance, it was only here that he could fairly reproach the Pharisees in such words as 1 Compare pp. 276, 277.
2 See p. 250. 17
these : “ They bind lieavy burdens that none can bear, and lay them upon men's shoulders ; but they themselves will not touch them with their little fingers! They devour widows' houses, and make long prayers to save appearances.
All the heavier is the judgment they are bringing down upon their heads !” It need not surprise us to hear all this. Outward piety too often leads to formalism, and formalism to hypocrisy.
We must here observe that the several denunciations of the Pharisees, and more especially of the Scribes and lawyers, have not come down to us in their original form and connection. Luke, for instance, represents the greater part of them as uttered on the journey, and moreover in the house of a Pharisee who was entertaining Jesus. Nothing could be more inappropriate than this. Luke's Ebionite authority makes Jesus, after declaring that the contents of the cup and platter were acquired by injustice and avarice, add the words, " Ah, fools! Did not He who made the outside make the inside too? Then give away that which is inside in alms, and behold it will all be clean for you!”
The first Gospel, though it only gives a few specimens of the preaching of Jesus at Jerusalem against the popular leaders, is fuller than either of the others; but to say nothing of its stringing together sayings which were uttered upon different days and upon different occasions, and taking up fragments that are quite out of place, it introduces the whole with the following words, which certainly rose in JewishChristian circles, and are absolutely opposed to what Jesus meant: 66 The Scribes and Pharisees have sat down upon the seat of Moses; therefore, whatever they tell you, observe and do it; but do not imitate their deeds, for their precepts are fair while their lives are foul.” Observe and do what they command ! As if this were not in absolute contradiction with what follows ! As if Jesus had not come to Jerusalem for the very purpose of breaking their yoke!
And here we may naturally ask whether there are no threats or denunciations launched by Jesus against the party of the Sadducees. The third Gospel does indeed contain a picture which strongly reminds us of the haughty and ostentatious priestly nobility, with its selfish neglect and contempt of the lower classes. We will reproduce it here; for if any of its lines were drawn by the hand of Jesus, it can only have
1 See p. 244.