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SECTION XII.

THE SECOND JOURNEY OF JESUS FROM CAPERNAUM. -THE

CONTINUATION OF THE GOSPEL IN FACTS. TRIUMPH OVER THE CEREMONIAL OF THE PEOPLE, AND OVER DEATH. TRIUMPH OVER THE EMBARRASSMENT OF THE OLD TESTAMENT PROPHET, AND THE OFFENCE THEREBY GIVEN TO THE PEOPLE. TRIUMPH OVER THE PHARISAICAL SPIRIT : THE MANIFESTATION OF THE GLORY OF DIVINE GRACE IN THE HOUSE OF A PHARISEE. CONTINUATION OF THE GOSPEL IN WORDS : THE PARABLES CONCERNING THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

(Chap. vii. 11-viii. 21.)

With the other journey of Jesus, during which He visited many cities and towns—the district adjoining the sea—there now commence much greater revelations of the Gospel in facts, and also the doctrine of the kingdom of heaven is presented in a new series of discourses.

It came to pass in the time immediately thereafter, that Jesus went into a city called Nain, accompanied by a large number of His disciples and a numerous assemblage of the people. Now, when He came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said unto her, 'Weep not. And He came near and laid hold of the bier; and they that bare it stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak; and He delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on all; and they glorified God, saying, that a great prophet is risen up among us, and that God hath visited His people. And this rumour of Him went forth throughout all Judea, and throughout all the region round about.

. 1 We select this expression, because, according to the order of time, it was the third journey.

? The reasons for the reading év tão e Ens, see above, iii. 90. : See above, iii. 90.

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The compassion of Christ for the widow who bewails her only son, and His comforting word, Weep not !—that is the first characteristic of this narrative. The second is, that with a word, and with a sign, in the power of the Spirit, He can interrupt the powerful ceremonial of the Jews with reference to the dead

—the inflexible law of the funeral procession to the grave. When He had spoken to the woman the word, Weep not! He touched the bier, and its bearers stood still. The third characteristic appears in His raising the dead. The first dead

person, then, whom, according to the Hellenic Gospel, He restores to life, is a youth, who had died in the bloom of his years.

He turns the funeral procession into a triumphal procession, which accompanies the again blooming youth back into the city. This history is told by Luke alone.

The second triumph which Jesus soon thereafter achieved, was won over the doubt and embarrassment of the last and greatest of Old Testament prophets, and over the offence thereby caused to the people. It happened, namely, that the disciples of John the Baptist brought to him, during his imprisonment, a report of these deeds of Christ. This occasioned him to send two of his disciples to Jesus, with the inquiry, 'Art thou He that should come, or look we for another ? They arrived, and punctually delivered their message. . And in the same hour, remarks the Evangelist, Jesus cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits, and unto many that were blind He gave sight. To these the Lord pointed, when He returned for answer, 'Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard : how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the Gospel is preached; and blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in Me.

Thus did He again confirm in the obedience of faith the stumbling giant spirit who represented the old theocracy. The offence thus likely to be caused to the mind of the people He guarded against, by His address regarding John, after the messengers had again departed. What went ye out into the wilderness for to see ? A reed shaken with the wind ? Or what went ye out for to see ? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously apparelled and live delicately are in kings' courts. Or what went ye out for to see ? A

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prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face, which shall prepare Thy way before Thee. For I say unto yon, Among those that are born of women, there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.?

The Evangelist then gives us a more detailed account of the contrast between the conduct of the people and that of the Pharisees towards the Baptist. And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, testified to the righteousness of Godwhich lay in the judgment of God, as expressed in the baptism of John-being baptized with his baptism. But the Pharisees rejected the counsel of God concerning themselves, being not baptized of him.

To this the concluding words of the Lord had especially respect : “Whereunto then shall I liken the men of this generation ? and to what are they—in their astonishing singularitylike? They are like unto children sitting in the market-place, and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not wept. For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and ye say, He hath a devil (of malignant melancholy). The Son of man is come eating and drinking, and ye say, Behold, the man is a glutton and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But the wisdomrevealing itself in John and in the Son of man—was—and isjustified of all her children. The wisdom of God, in its manifestation, is confirmed and sealed as to the truth of it, by its children assenting to it, and yielding to it their allegiance.

The third triumph of Christ was also a double triumph in one act, as it had been in the case of the first and second. It was the most glorious of all. Had He triumphed, in the first case, at once over the ceremonial of the dead, and over death itself; in the second, over the spiritual danger which threatened the prophet, and the danger of offence which threatened the people ; He was now victorious in the heart of a woman who had

1 The apparent contradiction between this passage and Matt. iii. 7 may be explained by the remark, that the Pharisees at first, in part, followed in the train of the people to the Jordan; then, however, bethought themselves, and turned back. See above, ii. 15.

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been a sinner, and inaugurated a triumph of grace in the house of a Pharisee, in the midst of a circle of pharisaical spirits.

This glorious history of the woman who had lived in gross sin is found again in Luke only, and it forms one of the most expressive characteristics of his Gospel. One of the Pharisees, we are told, desired Him—the Lord—that He would eat with him. And He went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, who was a sinner (an excommunicated person), when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster-box of ointment, and approached His feet from behind, weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment.

In the appearance of the woman lies the living expression of the redeeming grace which had been imparted to her, through the influence exerted by Christ on her heart.

When the Pharisee who had bidden Him saw it, he spake within himself, and said, “This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him ; for she is a sinner. Jesus answered aloud to the muttering speech of his heart, and said, “Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he said, “Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors; the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me, therefore, which of them will love him most ?' Simon answered, 'I suppose he to whom he forgave most.'

And He said unto him, “Thou hast rightly judged. And, turning towards the woman, He said unto Simon, “Seest thou this woman?. I entered into thy house : thou gavest Me not-even—water for My feet; but she hath washed My feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest Me no kiss : but this woman, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss My feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed My feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto you, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much ; but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.' And He said unto her, “Thy sins are forgiven. Then they that sat at

' meat with Him began to say within themselves, Who is this that

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forgiveth sins also ? And He said to the woman, “Thy faith hath saved thee: go in peace.”

. Thus did this sinful woman fetch the peace of forgiveness from the house of a Pharisee, from the midst of pharisaical judges, amongst whom Jesus represented a throne of grace. But also to the morbid sentiment of right in the mind of the Pharisees, the Lord provided satisfaction, saying, Much has been forgiven her, for she hath loved much. It is His pleasure to designate the faith, the longing of the woman, as a species of love, through which forgiveness is conveyed;' which then, however, again makes its appearance as the love of reconciliation. And thus is Simon left to draw the conclusion, that a love of forgiveness has preceded, in order that his sentiment of right may be satisfied. To himself, however, must he apply the word, To whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little—in order that, from his want of love, he may infer the want in him of the spirit of reconciliation.

The same holy, independent spirit which Christ had manifested in the absolution of this sinful woman, was also intimated in the character of the travelling companions with whom He farther proceeded on this journey, 2—from city to city, and from village to village, preaching the glad tidings of the kingdom of God, along with the Twelve. Besides these, namely, He was accompanied by several women who had been healed of evil spirits and of infirmities : Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna (the lily, see vol. iii. p. 88), and many others, who ministered to Him of their substance. Such an accompaniment was a breach in the thraldom of rabbinical custom, and was formed in the free spirit of New Testament manners.

1 On this passage, see Olshausen, ii. 111. "He who shall believe in the forgiveness of sins, must have an analogous fund of (receptive) love at the root of his innermost life.'-Id.

2 The expression, xa sens, indicates the continuation of this clearly defined second journey.

3 These were still with Him at the beginning of His third journey, but were then sent out before into the cities and villages. In this journey they formed His forerunners, and could therefore, in a general survey and undetailed description of it, be regarded as travelling with Him. It must be observed, that the section, chap. ix. 1-6, belongs, in point of time, to the one before us.

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