the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
Fausset's Bible Dictionary
(See JESUS.) ("Jehovah salvation"); for "He Himself (autos , not merely like Joshua He is God's instrument to save) saves His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). CΗRΙSΤ , Greek; ΜΕSSΙΑΗ , Hebrew, "anointed" (1 Samuel 2:10; Psalms 2:2; Psalms 2:6 margin; Daniel 9:25-26). Prophets, priests, and kings (Exodus 30:30; 1 Kings 19:15-16) were anointed, being types of Him who combines all three in Himself (Deuteronomy 18:18; Zechariah 6:13). "By one offering He hath perfected forever them that are being sanctified" (Hebrews 10:5; Hebrews 10:7; Hebrews 10:14; Hebrews 7:25). "Christ," or the Messiah, was looked for by all Jews as "He who should come" (Matthew 11:3) according to the Old Testament prophets. Immanuel "God with us" declares His Godhead; also John 1:1-18. (See IMMANUEL.) The New Testament shows that Jesus is the Christ (Matthew 22:42-45).
"Jesus" is His personal name, "Christ" is His title. Appropriately, in undesigned confirmation of the Gospels, Acts, and epistles, the question throughout the Gospels is, whether Jesus is "The" (the article is always in the Greek) Christ (Matthew 16:16; John 6:69), so in the first ministry of the word in Acts (Acts 2:36; Acts 9:22; Acts 10:38; Acts 17:3). When His Messiahship became recognized "Christ" was used as His personal designation; so in the epistles.
"Christ" implies His consecration and qualification for the work He undertook, namely, by His unction with the Holy Spirit, of which the Old Testament oil anointings were the type; in the womb (Luke 1:35), and especially at His baptism, when the Holy Spirit (as a dove) abode on Him (Matthew 3:16; John 1:32-33). Transl. Psalms 45:7; "O God (the Son), Thy God (the Father) hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows." Full of this unction without measure (John 3:34) He preached at Nazareth as the Fulfiller of the scripture He read (Isaiah 61:1-3), giving "the oil of joy for mourning," "good tidings unto the meek" (Luke 4:17-21). Jesus' claim to be Messiah or "the Christ of God" (Luke 9:20), i.e. the anointed of the Father to be king of the earth (Psalms 2:6-12; Revelation 11:15; Revelation 12:10), rests:
(1) On His fulfilling all the prophecies concerning Messiah, so far as His work has been completed, the earnest of the full completion; take as instances Isaiah 53; Psalm 22; Micah 5; Hosea 6:2-3; Genesis 49:10, compare Luke 2; "the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy" (Revelation 19:10; Luke 24:26; Luke 24:44-46; Acts 3:22-25).
(2) On His miracles (John 7:31; John 5:36; John 10:25; John 10:38). Miracles alleged in opposition, or addition, to Scripture cannot prove a divine mission (2 Thessalonians 2:9; Deuteronomy 13:1-3; Matthew 24:24), but when confirmed by Scripture they prove it indisputably.
"Son of David" expresses His title to David's throne over Israel and Judah yet to be (Luke 1:32-33). "King of Israel" (John 1:49), "King of the Jews" (Matthew 2:2; Matthew 21:5), "King of Zion." As son of David He is David's "offspring"; as "root of David" (in His divine nature) He is David's "lord" (Revelation 22:16, compare Matthew 22:42-45). His claim to the kingship was the charge against Him before Pilate (John 18:37; John 19:3; John 19:12). The elect of God (Luke 23:35, compare Isaiah 42:1). The inspired summary of His life is, "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him" (Acts 10:38). To be "in Christ," which occurs upward of 70 times in Paul's epistles, is not merely to copy but to be in living union with Him (1 Corinthians 15:18; 2 Corinthians 12:2), drawn from Christ's own image (John 15:1-10). In Christ God is manifested as He is, and man as he ought to be. Our fallen race lost the knowledge of man as utterly as they lost the knowledge of God.
Humanity in Christ is generic (1 Corinthians 15:45; 1 Corinthians 15:47), as the second "man" or "last Adam," "the Son of man" (a title used in New Testament only by Himself of Himself, except in Stephen's dying speech, Acts 7:56; from Daniel 7:13; marking at once His humiliation as man's representative Head, and His consequent glorification in the same nature: Matthew 20:28; Matthew 26:64.) Sinless Himself, yet merciful to sinners; meek under provocation, yet with refined sensibility; dignified, yet without arrogance; pure Himself, yet with a deep insight into evil; Christ is a character of human and divine loveliness such as man could never have invented; for no man has ever conceived, much less attained, such a standard; see His portraiture, Matthew 12:15-20. Even His own brethren could not understand His withdrawal into Galilee, as, regarding Him like other men, they took it for granted that publicity was His aim (John 7:3-4; contrast John 5:44). Jesus was always more accessible than His disciples, they all rebuked the parents who brought their infants for Him to bless (Luke 18:15-17), they all would have sent the woman of Canaan away.
But He never misunderstood nor discouraged any sincere seeker, contrast Matthew 20:31 with Matthew 20:32-24. Earthly princes look greatest at a distance, surrounded with pomp; but He needed no earthly state, for the more closely He is viewed the more He stands forth in peerless majesty, sinless and divine. (On His miracles, see MIRACLES and on His parables, see PARABLES.) He rested His teaching on His own authority, and the claim was felt by all, through some mysterious power, to be no undue one (Matthew 7:29). He appeals to Scripture as His own: "Behold I send unto you prophets," etc. (Matthew 23:34; in Luke 11:49, "the Wisdom of God said, I will send them prophets".) His secret spring of unstained holiness, yet tender sympathy, was His constant communion with God; at all times, so that He was never alone (John 16:32), "rising up a great while before day, in a solitary place" (Mark 1:35).
Luke tells us much of His prayers: "He continued all night in prayer to God," before ordaining the twelve (Luke 6:12); it was as He was "praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended, and (the Father's) voice came from heaven, Thou art My beloved Son," etc. (Luke 3:22); it was "as He prayed, the fashion of His countenance was altered, and His raiment was white and glistering" (Luke 9:29); when the angel strengthened Him in Gethsemane, "in an agony He prayed more earnestly," using the additional strength received not to refresh Himself after His exhausting conflict, but to strive in supplication, His example confirming His precept, Luke 13:24 (Luke 22:44; Hebrews 5:7). His Father's glory, not His own, was His absorbing aim (John 8:29; John 8:50; John 7:18); from His childhood when at 12 years old (for it was only in His 12th year that Archelaus was banished and His parents ventured to bring Him to the Passover: Josephus, Ant. 17:15) His first recorded utterance was, cf6 "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" or else "in My Father's places" (Luke 2:49; Psalms 40:6; Psalms 40:8).
Little is recorded of His childhood, but as much as the Spirit saw it safe for us to know; so prone is man to lose sight of Christ's main work, to fulfill the law and pay its penalty in our stead. The reticence of Scripture as remarkably shows God's inspiration of it as its records and revelations. Had the writers been left to themselves, they would have tried to gratify our natural curiosity about His early years. But a veil is drawn over all the rest of His sayings for the first 30 years. "He waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom ... He increased in wisdom" (Luke 2:40; Luke 2:52), which proves that He had a" reasonable soul" capable of development, as distinct from His Godhead; Athanasian Creed: "perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting." His tender considerateness for His disciples after their missionary journey, and His compassion for the fainting multitudes, outweighing all thought; of His own repose when He was weary, and when others would have been impatient of their retirement being intruded on (Mark 6:30-37), are lovely examples of His human, and at the same time superhuman, sympathy (Hebrews 4:15). Then how utterly void was He of resentment for wrongs.
When apprehended, instead of sharing the disciples' indignation He rebuked it; instead of rejoicing in His enemy's suffering, He removed it (Luke 22:50-51); instead of condemning His murderers He prayed for them: cf6 "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). What exquisite tact and tenderness appear in His dealing with the woman of Samaria (John 4), as He draws the spiritual lesson from the natural drink which He had craved of her, and leads her on to convict herself of sin, in the absence of His disciples, and to recognize Him as the Messiah. So in the account of the woman caught in adultery. When "every man went unto his own house" He who had not where to lay His head "went to the mount of Olives," His wonted resort for prayer; "early in the morning He came again into the temple." Then followed the scribes' accusation of the woman from the law, but He who wrote on stone that law of commandments now writes with His finger on the ground (the law of mercy), showing the power of silence to shame the petulant into self recollection, the censorious into self condemnation. His silent gesture spoke expressively.
Then His single speech, cf6 "he that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her" (John 8:7). followed by the same silent gesture, made them feel the power of conscience and withdraw. Then she stays, though her accusers were gone, awaiting His sentence and is made to feel the power of His holiness, condemning her sin yet not herself, cf6 "Go and sin no more." John 8:11. The same spirit appears here as in His atonement, which makes sin unspeakably evil, yet brings the sinner into loving union with God in Christ. Other systems, which reject the atonement, either make light of sin or else fill the sinner with slavish and unconquerable dread of wrath. Stoning was the penalty of unfaithfulness in one betrothed. If Jesus decided she should be stoned, He would be opposing Rome which claimed power of deciding all capital cases (John 18:31). If Jesus decided to let her off, He would forfeit the favor of the Jews, as a setter aside of Moses' law. His reply maintained the law, but limited its execution to those free from sexual uncleanness, which none of her accusers were. The lesson is not for magistrates, but for self constituted judges and busybodies, whose dragging of filthy stories against others into the social circle is only defiling.
They were not witnesses in court; there was no judicial trial. The context (John 8:12, cf6 "I am the light of the world", referring to the rising sun and the lighted lamps at the feast of tabernacles, John 7:37; and John 8:15, cf6 "ye judge after the flesh, I judge no man".) confirms the genuineness of the passage, which is omitted from good manuscripts. His birth was in the year 750 from Rome's foundation, four before the era "Αnno Domini ", some months before Herod's death. The first Adam was created, and not born; the Second Adam, in His manhood, both born and created with a body free from the inherited taint of original sin (Hebrews 10:5). The census of the Roman empire ordered by Augustus led Joseph and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the city of David their ancestor, in fulfillment of Micah's prophecy (Micah 5). Spring was probably the season for the shepherds beginning to watch over their flocks by night. The season when winter deadness gives place to new vegetation and life was the appropriate birth time of Him who "maketh all things new." So Song of Solomon 2:10-13. Spring was the Passover season, Israel's national birthday. So that the spiritual, national, and natural eras, in this view, coincide.
To allow time between the presentation in the temple and the arrival of the wise men and the other events before Herod's death, perhaps February may be fixed on. The grotto at Bethlehem is mentioned by Justin Martyr in the second century as the scene of His birth. The humble (1 Corinthians 1:26-31) Jewish shepherds were the earliest witnesses of the glory which attended His birth. For in every successive instance of His voluntary humiliation, the Father, jealous for the honour of His co-equal on, provided for His glorification (Luke 2:8-18; so Luke 22:43; Luke 23:4; Luke 23:40-43; Luke 23:47; Matthew 3:14-17; John 12:28). Simeon and Anna were the divinely appointed welcomers of the Son of God at His lowly presentation in the temple, the former discerning in Him" God's salvation," the "light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory (especially) of His people Israel"; the latter "speaking of Him to all who looked for redemption in Jerusalem."
The Gentile wise men of the East (Persian magi possibly, the Zend religion teaching the expectation of a "Ζoziosh" or "Redeemer"; or magoi being used generally, these wise men coming from Balaam's region, the East, and knowing his prophecy, "there shall come a star out of Jacob, and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel": Numbers 24:17; Numbers 23:7, whence they ask for the "King of the Jews" and mention the "star") came later, and found Him no longer in a manger where the shepherds found Him, but in a "house" (Matthew 2:11). They were the firstfruits of the Gentile world; their offering of gold is thought to mark His kingship, the frankincense His priesthood, and the myrrh His coming burial, in God's purpose if not theirs. Herod, being an Edomite who had supplanted the Jewish Asmonaeans or Maccabees, was alarmed to hear of one "born king of the Jews," and failing to find Jesus slew all children from two years old and under (Herod fixed on this age as oriental mothers suckle infants until they are two years old). (See HEROD.) God saved His Son by commanding the mother and Joseph to flee to Egypt, the land of the type Israel's sojourn, when fleeing from famine, and the land from whence God called His Son Israel (Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:15); not by miracle, but by ordinary escaping from persecution, as sharing His people's trials (Matthew 10:23).
His interview with the doctors in the temple shows that His human consciousness already knew His divine mission and was preparing for it. Stier describes His one utterance in childhood as "a solitary floweret out of the wonderful enclosed garden of 30 years, plucked precisely there where the swollen bud at the distinctive crisis bursts into the flower." The description "He increased ... in stature ... and in favor with God and men," (Luke 2:52) combined with Psalms 45:2, "Thou art fairer than the children of men, grace is poured into Thy lips," implies that His outward form was a temple worthy of the Word made flesh. Isaiah 53:2 expresses men's rejection of Him, rather than the absence of graces inward or outward in Him to cause that rejection. In the 15th year of the emperor Tiberius, dating from his joint rule with Augustus (15 years from 765 after the founding of Rome, i.e. two years before Augustus' death in 767), i.e. 780 (30 counted back bring our Lord's birth to 750), when Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judea and Annas and Caiaphas jointly in fact exercised the high priesthood, Caiaphas being nominally the high priest (John 18:13), John Baptist, as last prophet of the Old Testament dispensation, by preaching repentance for sin and a return to legal obedience, prepared the way for Messiah, the Saviour from sin; whereas the people's desire was for a Messiah who would deliver them from the hated foreign, yoke. (See ANNAS; CAIAPHAS.)
Wieseler thinks John's preaching took place on the sabbatical year, which, if it be so, must have added weight to his appeals. We know at all events that he came "in the spirit and power of Elias." Jesus received His solemn consecration to His redeeming work by John's baptism with water (to which He came not, as all others, confessing sin, but undertaking to "fulfill all righteousness") and at the same time by the Holy Spirit's descent permanently, accompanied by the Father's acceptance of Him as our Redeemer, "this is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," namely, as undertaking to become man's Saviour. Thus "Christ glorified not Himself to be made an high priest, but He that said Thou art My Son" (Psalms 2:7; Hebrews 5:5; Matthew 3:14). John, though knowing His goodness and wisdom before, as he must have known from the intimacy between the cousin mothers, Mary and Elisabeth (Luke 1), and knowing that Messiah should come, and when Jesus presented Himself feeling a strong presentiment that this was the Messiah, yet knew not definitely Jesus' Messiahship, until its attestation by God the Father with the Holy Spirit at His baptism (John 1:31-33).
Under the power of the Spirit received at His baptism He encountered Satan in the wilderness. The mountain of Quarantania, a perpendicular wall of rock 1,400 feet above the plain, on this side of Jordan, is the traditional site. Satan's aim was to tempt Him to doubt His sonship, "if Thou be the Son of God," etc. The same voice spoke through His mockers at the crucifixion (Matthew 27:40). Faith answers with Nathanael (John 1:49). Mark 1:13 says "He was with the wild beasts," a contrast to the first Adam among the beasts tame and subject to man's will. Adam changed paradise into a wilderness, Jesus changed the wilderness into paradise (Isaiah 11:6-9). Jesus' answer to all the three temptations was not reasoning, but appeal to God's written word, "it is written." As Christ was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners" (Hebrews 7:26), the temptation must have been from without, not from within: objective and real, not subjective or in ecstasy. The language too, "led up ... came ... taketh Him up ... the Spirit driveth Him" (ekballei , a necessary though a distasteful conflict to the Holy One), etc., implies reality (Matthew 4:1; Matthew 4:3; Matthew 4:5; Mark 1:12).
In fallen man suggestions of hatred of God, delight in inflicting pain, cruel lust, fierce joy in violating law, are among the inward temptations of Satan; but Jesus said before His renewed temptation in Gethsemane, cf6 "the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me" (John 14:30). As 40 is the number in Scripture implying affliction, sin, and punishment (Genesis 7:4; Genesis 7:12; Numbers 14:33; Numbers 32:13-14 Psalms 95:10; Deuteronomy 25:3; Ezekiel 29:11; Ezekiel 4:6; Jonah 3:4), Christ the true Israel (Deuteronomy 8:3; Deuteronomy 8:16; Deuteronomy 9:9; Deuteronomy 9:11-25) denied Himself 40 days, answering to Israel's 40 years' provocation of God and punishment by death in the wilderness. Not by His almighty power, but by His righteousness, Jesus overcame. First Satan tried Him through His sinless bodily wants answering to "the flesh" in fallen man. But Jesus would not, when hungry, help Himself, though He fed multitudes, for He would not leave His voluntarily assumed position of human absolute dependence on God. He who nourished crowds with bread Would not one meal unto Himself afford O wonderful the wonders left undone, And scarce less wonderful than those He wrought!
O self restraint passing all human thought, To have all power and be as having none! O self denying love, which felt alone For needs of others, never for His own! The next temptation in the spiritual order (Matthew gives probably the chronological order) was, Satan tried to dazzle Him, by a bright vision of the world's pomps "in a moment of time," to take the kingdoms of the world at his hands (as "delivered" to him, owing to man's fall) without the cross, on condition of one act of homage to him "the prince of this world." But Jesus herein detected the adversary, and gives him his name, cf6 "Get thee behind Me, Satan" (His very words to Peter, who, as Satan's tool, for the moment urged the same avoidance of the cross: Matthew 16:23), for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord," (Luke 4:8) etc. The kingdom of the world shall come to Him, just because His cross came first (Philippians 2:5-11; Revelation 11:15; Isaiah 53:12). To the flesh and the world succeeds the last and highest temptation, the devil's own sin, presumption. Satan turns Jesus' weapon, the word, on Himself, quoting Psalms 91:11-12, and omitting the qualification "in all thy ways," namely, implicit reverent faith and dependence on God, which were "Christ's ways."
Christ would no more presume because He was God's Son than doubt that He was so. To cast Himself from the temple S.W. wall pinnacle, then 180 feet above the valley before soil accumulated, or the topmost ridge of the royal portico, to test God's power and faithfulness, would be Israel's sin in "tempting Jehovah, saying, Is Jehovah among us or not?" though having had ample proofs already (Exodus 17:7; Psalms 78:18-20; Psalms 78:41; Deuteronomy 6:16, which Jesus quotes). All His quotations are from the same book, which rationalism now assails. Thus the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, which lured the first Adam, could not entice the Second (Genesis 3:6; compare 1 John 2:16-17). The assault against man's threefold nature, the body (the lack of bread), the soul (craving for worldly lordship without the cross), and the spirit (the temptation on the temple pinnacle), failed in His case. It was necessary the foundation should be tested, and it stood the trial (Isaiah 28:16). Satan left Him "for a (rather until the) season," namely, until he renewed the attack at Gethsemane, "and angels came and ministered unto Him," God fulfilling the promise of Psalm 91: in Christ's, not Satan's, way.
Then began His public course of teaching and of miracles, which were not mere wonders, but "signs," i.e. proofs, of His divine commission; and not merely signs of supernatural power, but expressive intimations of the aim of His ministry and of His own all loving character; the spiritual restoration, which was His main end, being shadowed forth in the visible works of power and mercy. The Jews understood them and His words as His setting up the claim to be equal with God (John 5:1-19; John 10:30-33). It is certain that He made the claim (John 14:8-11). Such a Holy One as He would never have made it if it were not true. His whole character excludes the notion of self-deceiving enthusiasm. They evaded the force of His miracles (while recognizing their truth, which they would have denied if they could) by attributing them to Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24).
His incarnation being once granted, His divine sympathy, expressed by miracles of healing man's sufferings, follows as the necessary consequence (Matthew 8:17, compare Isaiah 53:4). His death in our nature to atone for our sins, and His resurrection, are the culminating point of His suffering with us and for us, that He and we through Him should be free from sin, sorrow, and death forever (1 Peter 3:18; 1 Peter 4:1-2; Romans 6:4-11). John's testimony to Him, "Behold the Lamb of God," followed but a few days after the temptation, Jesus meeting John at the Jordan valley on His homeward journey toward Galilee. John's words so impressed his two disciples Andrew and probably John (the apostle) that they left the Baptist for Christ. On the third day after leaving Bethany (John 1:28, the Sinaiticus, Vulgate and Alexandrinus manuscripts; John 2:1) He reached Cana of Galilee and performed His first miracle. He who would not work a miracle in the wilderness at the outset of His ministry, to supply His own needs, worked one to supply our luxuries. As His ministry began, so it ended. with a social meal.
The poet happily describes the miracle, "the modest water saw its God and blushed" ("vidit et erubuit lympha pudica Deum ".) Next, He goes to Capernaum, a more suitable center for His ministry amidst the populous western shores of the Galilean lake than secluded Nazareth. Next, He went to Jerusalem for His first Passover during His ministry, and drives out of the temple court of the Gentiles the sheep and oxen, and overthrows the money changers' tables (for the traffic was an insult to the Gentile worshipper, and was not practiced in the court of the Israelites, and made devotion impossible), not by mere force but moral power. The whip of small cords was a puny weapon, but symbolized His coming universal empire. The act repeated at the close (Matthew 21:12) of His ministry, as at its beginning, befitted Him who came as purifier of the temple literal and spiritual (Malachi 3:1-4).
His own divinely formed body (the Sanctuary, the Holy of Holies, of God; naos ) was typified by that literal (hieron ) temple (John 2:18-20); its being destroyed by the Jews, and raised up by Himself in three days, was the sign He gave to those who challenged His authority in purging the temple of stone. John describes His officially taking possession of that temple which when a boy He called His Father's house (Luke 2:49, "in My Father's places," Greek), with a punitive scourge, the symbol of authority. The synoptical three evangelists describe the final purgation before the close of His ministry, without the scourge. A mere word and awe inspiring look made all, as in Gethsemane, fall back abashed before Him alone. The interview with Nicodemus issuing in his ultimate conversion occurred toward the close of the paschal week (John 3). (See NICODEMUS.) Then He passed to northeastern Judea, where by His disciples He baptized many (John 3:22-26; John 4:1-2) and stayed to nearly the end of the year. After His eight months' ministry in Judea, upon John's imprisonment which threatened danger to His infant church, He proceeded through Samaria, the shortest route, to the safe retreat of Galilee.
At Jacob's well the chief reason for His "must needs go through Samaria" appeared in the conversion of the Samaritan woman, His first herald in Sychem, the firstfruits of the harvest gathered in by Philip the deacon after His ascension (Acts 8:5 ff). It was now December, four months before harvest (John 4:35); but the fields were "white already to harvest" spiritually. His two days' ministry in Samaria, without miracles, produced effects not realized by His eight months' stay in Judea with miracles. Proceeding to "His own country" Galilee (the place of His rearing) He was received by the Galileans only because they had seen His miracles when at the feast in Jerusalem; as mournfully at Cana, the scene of His first miracle, which He now revisits, He tells the nobleman who sought healing for his son, cf6 "Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe". (John 4:48)
The care was followed by the conversion of the nobleman and his whole house. Jesus returned to Jerusalem at "the feast" of Passover (John 5:1; the Sinaiticus manuscript reads "the"; the Alexandrinus and Vaticanus manuscripts omit it, which would favor the view that the feast was Purim); thus there would be four Passovers during His ministry: John 2:13; John 5:1; John 13:1 (the last), besides the one He stayed away from because of threatened violence (John 6:4; John 7:1); and thus His ministry lasted three and a half years; not two and a half, as making the feast to be Purim would imply. The cure of the man infirm for 38 years at Bethesda pool followed on the sabbath, proving that He who had shown Himself Lord of the temple is Lord also of the sabbath. (See BETHESDA.) This was the turning point in His history; henceforth "the Jews" (i.e. the hierarchical party, adherents of the sanhedrim, in John's usage), on His claiming unity in working, dignity, and honour with the Father as justifying His healing on the sabbath, commenced that rancorous opposition which drove Him in a day or two after from Jerusalem.
He only visited the capital twice again before His last Passover; namely, seven months afterward at the feast of tabernacles in the middle of October (John 7:1, etc.), and at the feast of dedication in December (John 10:22-23); probably the two months between these two feasts were spent in Judea. He returned to Nazareth in Galilee, His old home. Luke 4:15 refers summarily to the same visit to Galilee as John 4:3-43. A chasm then intervenes in Luke between Luke 4:15 and Luke 4:16; Luke 4:14 refers to the earlier visit while He was fresh from the "Spirit's" baptism, John 1:43, etc., 2; and Luke 4:16, etc., refers to the visit to Galilee implied in John 6:1, succeeding the visit to Jerusalem (John 5:1-10). By the next sabbath He was in Nazareth, and preached from Isaiah 61:1. Though at first wondering at His gracious words, His hearers were so offended at His announcing God's sovereignty in ministering mercy to the Gentiles, sometimes, rather than to Israel when apostate, that they sought to cast Him down from the brow of the hill (a precipice of the western hill, that by the Maronite church) whereon their city was built; but "He passed through the midst of them." (Luke 4:30)
His main Galilean ministry begins with this, as recorded in the Synoptical Gospels: Matthew 4:12; Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:14-15; after John's imprisonment, which had not taken place at the earlier visit (John 3:24; John 1:45; John 2; John 4:1-3, etc.). (See GOSPELS.) His Judaean ministry is John's main subject. However, Luke from Luke 9:51 to Luke 19:28 records Christ's ministry between the feast of tabernacles in October, A.U.C. 782, and the triumphal entry before the last Passover, April, 783. Eusebius (H.E. iii. 24.) states that the three synoptical evangelists recount" what was done by our Saviour in the space of one year after the imprisonment of John the Baptist." This period is divided into two by the feeding of the 5,000 about the time of that Passover which our Lord was debarred from keeping at Jerusalem by the murderous designs of the hierarchical party there. The events up to and including the feeding, a period of little more than three weeks, are fully detailed; those of the remaining period are only in part narrated. Luke's order of events seems from his own statement (Luke 1:3, "from the very first," namely, the Baptist's birth, "to write in order") to be the chronological one; in the first portion (namely, that before the feeding) it, is confirmed by Mark, also by John.
Matthew's grouping of the discourses and events in clusters is designed for other than chronological sequence: the Sermon on the Mount, the instructions to the twelve before their mission, the collection of parables (Matthew 13), that of miracles (Matthew 8 and Matthew 9): he notices place, where the order of time is not observed, showing it was not ignorance of the order of time which caused his non-observance of it (Matthew 8:5; Matthew 8:14; Matthew 8:18; Matthew 8:28; Matthew 9:1; Matthew 12:9; Matthew 13:1). In fulfillment of Isaiah 9:1 He, after His rejection at Nazareth (Matthew 4:13-17), settled at Capernaum hard by the populous plain of Gennesar, a "people that sat in darkness," being half gentilized by the neighbouring nations. (See CAPERNAUM.) The people remembering His miracle on the nobleman's son a few weeks before (John 4:46) "pressed upon Him to hear God's word" (Luke 5:1); then the miraculous draught of fish was the occasion of His drawing Simon, (Andrew), James and John permanently from earthly fishing to become cf6 "fishers of men" (Luke 5:1-10; Matthew 4:18-22; Mark 1:14-20).
Zebedee being a man of means, and with ship and "hired servants" (Luke 5:7; Mark 1:20; John's acquaintance with the high priest, John 18:15, implies the same), the report of the miracle and its effect on the four attracted many to hear Jesus Christ next sabbath in the synagogue. Then followed the casting out of the demon (whose wild cry is recorded in Mark 1:24, Ea), and the cure of the fever of Simon's wife's mother (Luke 4:33-39), transposed in Luke to bring into better contrast by juxtaposition Christ's rejection the sabbath before at Nazareth and His welcome this sabbath at Capernaum. Mark chronologically places the two cures after the miraculous draught, not before. Fevers are generated at the marshy land of Tabiga, especially in spring, the season in question. Luke as a "physician" calls it "a great fever," in contradistinction to "a small." Jesus "rebuked" it, as He did the sea (Matthew 8:26), as the outbreak of some hostile power (compare Isaiah 13:16), and infused in her full strength, enabling her to minister. In the casting out demons three things are noteworthy:
(1) the patient's loss of conscious personality (Mark 5:7), so that he becomes identified with the demon whose mouthpiece he is;
(2) the appalled demon's recognition of the Son of God;
(3) Christ's prohibiting the demon to testify to Him, that the people's, belief might not rest on such testimony, giving color to the Jews' slander (Matthew 12:24; Mark 1:34).
His ceaseless energy in crowding the day with loving deeds vividly appears in Mark 1:32-34; Luke 4:40-41. Retiring for communion with God into a solitary place long before day, He was tracked by Simon and the people; but He told them He must go and preach to the other "village towns" (koinopoleis ) also, with which the Gennesareth plain was studded. His circuit lasted until the eve of the next sabbath, when (Mark 2:1) He was again in Capernaum. The only incident recorded of the circuit was He healed the leper in the synagogue by His holy touch.
Emissaries of the hostile hierarchy from Jerusalem (Luke 5:17) now watched His movements: at first "reasoning in their hearts," which His omniscience detected, as if His assuming the power, to forgive sins in the case of the palsied man were "blasphemy" (Mark 2:6; Mark 2:8); then "murmuring" at His eating with the publican Levi whom He called that day before the sabbath (Mark 2:14-17; Luke 5:30); then objecting to His not fasting, from whence He was called "a winebibber and glutton," to which He replied by images from the wine before them and the garments they wore, the spirit of the new dispensation must mould its own forms of outward expression and not have those of the old imposed on it, nor can the two be pieced together without injury to both; lastly "filled with madness" at His healing on the sabbath a man with withered right hand, besides His previous justification of the disciples against their censure for plucking grain ears on the sabbath, "the first of a year standing second in a sabbatical cycle" (Ellicott, Life of Christ; Luke 6:1, the Alexandrinus manuscript, but the Sinaiticus and the Vaticanus manuscripts omit it), and proclaiming Himself its Lord. They resolve to "destroy" Him (Mark 2:23-28; Mark 3:1-6; Matthew 12:1-14).
This resolve at Capernaum was the same as they had already formed at Jerusalem (John 5:1-18), and on the same plea. Nay, they even joined the Herodians their political opponents to compass their end (Mark 3:6). Seven miracles He performed on the sabbath (Mark 1:21-29; Mark 3:1-2; John 5:9; John 9:14; Luke 13:14; Luke 14:1). Their murderous plotting was the time and occasion of His withdrawal to the solitary hills W. of the lake, and choosing 12 apostles who should be His witnesses when He was gone. The horned hill of Hattin was probably the scene of their being chosen (Luke 6:12-13), and of the Sermon on the Mount. The beginning and end of this sermon are the same in Luke 6 as Matthew 5-7; the general order is the same; and the same miracle, the centurion's servant, succeeds. Some of the expressions are found in other collocations in Luke (who gives only the summary in Luke 6), our Lord giving the same precepts on more occasions than one (compare Matthew 5:18; Matthew 6:19-21; Matthew 6:24; Matthew 7:13; Matthew 7:22, respectively, with Luke 12:58; Luke 12:33; Luke 16:13; Luke 13:24-25; Luke 13:27).
The sermon's unity precludes its being thought a collection of discourses uttered at different times. Possibly, though not so probably, the longer form was spoken at the top of the hill (Matthew 5:1) to the apostles and disciples, the shorter when "He came down and stood on the level" a little below the top (Luke 6:17), to the "great multitude." The variations in the two forms are designed by the Holy Spirit to bring out fresh lights of the same truths. Luke's does not notice the portion on almsgiving, prayer, and fasting (Matthew 6). The healing of the centurion's servant follows: the first Gentile healed, without seeing Him, by a word, at the request preferred twice by others before he presumed himself to ask (Luke 7:3-6; Matthew 8:5-6). The next day, He ascended the steep up to the hamlet Nain, and restored to the sorrowing widow her son who was being carried for burial, probably to the sepulchral caves on the W. of Nain, of which traces remain. The anointing of His feet (only) in Simon's house in some neighbouring town by the sinful but forgiven woman followed. Mary of Bethany anointed His head as well as His feet.
Both wiped His feet with their hair, the sinful woman also kissed and washed His feet with her tears (Luke 7:38; John 12:3; Mark 14:3). Not Mary Magdalene, whose possession by demons does not prove impurity, as on the other hand this woman's impurity does not prove demoniacal possession. About the same time John Baptist from his dungeon at Machaerus sent two disciples to inquire whether Jesus is He that should come; primarily to convince them (as Jesus in fact did from His miracles and His gospel preaching: Luke 7:18-23; Mark. 11) that thus to the last he should be the Bridegroom's friend, introducing the bride to Him (John 3:1-29; John 3:27-30); secondarily to derive for himself the incidental comfort of accumulated conviction. Next, followed the short circuit of a couple of days preaching from city to city, attended by ministering women (Luke 8:1-3): Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Susanna, and many others, including possibly the woman who "loved much" and evidenced it because she knew by "faith ... her many sins forgiven" (Luke 7:46-50).
He returned to His "home" at Capernaum (margin Mark 3:19-20), and the multitude flocked together so eagerly that the disciples "could not so much as eat bread"; so His kinsmen "went out (of their temporary abode at Capernaum) to lay hold on Him, saying, He is beside Himself." A few verses later (Mark 3:31) they with His mother arrived at the house "desiring to speak with Him," and He replied to His informants, "My mother and My brethren are these which hear the word of God and do it." The cure of the demoniac blind and dumb was the occasion of the Pharisees attributing His miracle to Beelzebub (a charge repeated again subsequently: Luke 11:14-15), and elicited His warning that they were verging toward the unpardonable sin against the Holy Spirit, namely, the expression of their inward hatred of what they knew and felt divine so as to lose the power of fulfilling the conditions required for forgiveness. On the evening of the same day from a fishing vessel He spoke the series of parables beginning with that one recorded by all the three synoptical Gospels, that of the sower, as His eyes rested on the grainfields reaching to the margin of the lake.
At the close the apostles took away from the lingering multitude their wearied Master "as He was" (Mark 4:36), in the vessel toward the eastern shore. A storm wind from one of the deep ravines in the high plateau of Jaulan, which "act like gigantic funnels to draw down the winds from the mountains" (Thomson, Land and Book) and converge to the head of the lake, burst upon the waters (Luke 8:23, "came down" appropriately, for the lake is 600 ft. lower than the Mediterranean), and the ship filled and they were in jeopardy. His word sufficed to quell the sea in the world of nature, as previously the demons in the spirit world. On reaching the eastern shore the two Gergesene demoniacs (of whom the prominent one alone is noticed by Mark and Luke) met Him. The tombs where was their home still are visible in the ravines E. of the lake. The manifold personality of the one, his untameable wildness, self mutilation with stones, his kneeling, shouting, and final deliverance are graphically told by Mark (Mark 5). By our Lord's command he became first preacher to his own friends, and then in Decapolis (Luke 8:39).
On Christ's return to the western shore followed the raising of Jairus' daughter with studied privacy (contrast the public raisin; of the Nain widow's son, each being dealt with as He saw best for them and for His all wise ends), preceded by the cure of the woman with the issue of blood. Again He visited Nazareth and taught on the sabbath. The same incredulity of His countrymen (John 1:11), though now expressed by contempt rather than by violence as before, showed itself: "is not this the carpenter?" etc. (Mark 6:1-6, referring probably to His having worked with Joseph the carpenter in youth.) Their unbelief, which made Him "marvel," stayed His hand of power and love (Isaiah 59:2); but even the promiscuous and exceptional cures He wrought there manifested His divine grace and power. Soon after John Baptist's murder the twelve returned and "told Jesus all they had done and taught" (Mark 6:30, etc.), and He considerately invited them to retire to the further side of the lake for rest, to the neighbourhood of Bethsaida Julias. Five thousand people soon broke in on His retirement, and instead of sending them away He first fed their souls, then their bodies, making them sit on the green grass table land N.E. of the lake, or else the plain by the Jordan's mouth (Luke 9:10-17).
The miracle constrained them to confess, "this is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world" (John 6:14); it is one of the seven selected by John to be recorded. On the same evening that the Jerusalem multitudes were having the paschal lambs slain for the feast, He the true Lamb in eastern Galilee was feeding other multitudes, and on the following day in the Capernaum synagogue discoursed on the bread of life and His flesh which must be eaten in order to have life (John 6:22, etc.). From ministering in Judaea He had gone to minister in eastern Galilee, which was the more Judaized part. Now He proceeds to the more Gentile part, namely, northern Galilee. Teaching and preaching characterized this period, as miracles had the former. Thus, a progressive character is traceable in Christ's ministry. Luke devotes to this period only from Luke 9:18-50, Mark from Mark 6:45-49. Matthew gives the fullest record of it. Christ's performance of miracles was regulated by the faith of those to whom He ministered; amidst the imperfect faith of the northern frontier lands little scope for them was afforded, and they were few.
After feeding the 5,000 Christ directed His disciples (Mark 6:45) to cross to Bethsaida (not Julius at the head of the lake, but on the W. at Khan Minyeh, or Bat-Szaidu, or "the house of fish," a name likely to belong to more than one place on a lake so famous for fish. The gale which brought boats from Tiberius to the N.E. coast, but delayed a passage to the W., must have been from the S.W.: John 6:23. Therefore the Bethsaida here was a town on the W. coast which the apostles were making for, but in vain). It was "evening" (Matthew 14:15), i.e. the "first evening" or opsia , between three and six o'clock, toward its close, before the 5,000 sat down, the day being "far spent" (Mark 6:85). At the beginning of the second evening (from sunset to darkness) after six the disciples embark (John 6:16), and before its close reach the mid lake (Mark 6:47; Matthew 14:24) and encounter the gale which, beginning after sunset, was now at its height. For hours they made slow progress, until Jesus "in the fourth watch" came walking to them on the waters (the attribute of God: Job 9:8; Psalms 77:19).
He had "departed into a mountain Himself alone" because He perceived that the people would come and take H
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Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Jesus Christ'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​fbd/​j/jesus-christ.html. 1949.