« EdellinenJatka »
Simon's son, who should betray Him, “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor ? ' This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. Then said Jesus, “Let her alone: against the day of My burial—which thou hastenest forward-hath she kept this. For the poor ye have always with you, but Me ye have not always !'
This is the prelude of the last terrible separation. The spirit of large, magnanimous self-sacrifice, drives the dark, stealthy spirit of treachery within the company of the disciples for the first time out of its lurking-place. This spirit manifests itself in the steward of the apostolical community of goods, who assumes the character of a representative of the interests of the poor, whilst he condemns the most beautiful offering of love and veneration for the Lord, an anticipation of His approaching death. He also, in his own dark way, foretells the death of Jesus, by giving the first premonition of the betrayal. The judgment pronounced against this sullen spirit, with his hypocritical concern about the common property and care for the poor, is, The poor ye have always with you, but Me ye have not always. On the other hand, the love of this female disciple is blessed, with the words, She has kept the costly treasure of ointment for the burial of Christ. This is the last and noblest destination of the treasure, which love out of a pure heart has husbanded : it shall anoint the dying Saviour, and the anointing shall be a token of His resurrection.
A large number of the Jews now learned that He was there; and they came not for Jesus' sake only, but also that they might see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests consulted to put Lazarus also to death ; for on his account many of the Jews went thither, and believed on Jesus.—Thus was a preparation made for the festive entry of Jesus into Jerusalem.
On the following day a great multitude of people who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, took branches of palm-trees, and went forth to meet Him; and they cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed be He that cometh in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel.' And Jesus, when
1 See vol. iv. p. 33.
He had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written : Fear not, daughter of Zion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass's colt (Zech. ix. 9). These things, however, understood not His disciples at the first; but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of Him, and that they had done these things unto Him.— They had thus not intended the fulfilment of that prophecy when they brought the ass's colt to IIim.—But the people, who formed His (first) retinue—from Bethlehem—bore witness, that He had called Lazarus from the grave, and raised him from the dead. For this cause also the multitude - which fetched Him -went to meet Him, because they heard that He had done this miracle.
But the Pharisees said among themselves, · Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? Behold, the whole world is gone after him!'
Whilst, thus, the people make the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to be a triumphal procession, which after His many journeyings appears as the long-wished-for festive entrance of the Messiah into His royal city, the enemies of Jesus, in the rage of despair, helplessly clasp their hands. They seem for a moment to have lost all courage, in the presence of the glory of Jesus. This is shown by their beginning in bitterness to mock at themselves, as His impotent opposers.
This is thus quite a new form of the separation : the believing people on the one side, surrounding the Lord in a joyous triumphal procession; on the other side, the unbelieving rulers of the people who appear in the background discomfited, amidst despair, exasperation, and dissension.
Yet how soon should the turning point of this favourable position of affairs show itself, in spite of the fact, that not only the Jewish people surrounded the Messias in triumph, but that also the first-fruits of the Gentiles had come to do Him homage, as the precursors of a boundless world of Gentile believers !
And there were certain Hellenes among those that had come up to worship at the feast. These addressed themselves to Philip, who was of Bethsaida in Galilee, and desired him, saying, “Sir, we would see Jesus. Philip cometh and telleth Andrew, and again Andrew and Philip tell Jesus. And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn
of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.'
He felt that He now stood on the highest eminence of His glory in this world; and thus also, in connection with this, He was filled with the anticipation of His approaching humiliation, His death. For His glory in this world was an early blossom of His higher glory beyond; and this latter He could attain to only by traversing the path of death.
He expressed this necessary condition in the form of a universal law of life. Everywhere in God's world the new, rich, and higher life proceeds from death, or rather from a deathlike dissolution of the old life, which serves as nourishment to the first germ of the new. This law of life in the physical world prevails also in the moral. Only from the priestly resignation of the old life into the hand of God, the new kingly life blossoms forth (see vol. iv. p. 55). It finds, however, its last glorious fulfilment, its highest exemplification, in the kingdom of God: here must the King of glory descend into the deep abyss of death, submit to its ignominy and anguish, in order that His life might blossom again in the resurrection, and bring forth the fruit of reconciliation in its own glorification, and in the glorification of a reconciled people.
These words of Jesus, however, obtained a very special significancy, as an expression of His first historical contact with, and salutation of, the Ilellenic world. The spirit of that people had led them to seek the ideal world, the glorification of life, on this side of death, of the grave, of pain, and of the new birth, and had thereby ever removed itself farther and farther from the real transformation of life, which proceeds from the pains of sanctification, from the inward death of world-renunciation, from the new birth, and dying in the Lord. They therefore needed this word of Christ : it was the Gospel for the Hellenes.
He states, namely, in the words that follow, that the law of life now expressed is valid, not merely with respect to the Lord, but also with respect to His people : “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep
1 Very acute and thoughtful is the remark of Stier. On this occasion He does not appeal (a proof that He speaks also for the Greeks) to the testimony of the prophets, but to a secretly prophetic, and now, by His words, brightly luminous mystery of nature.'
it unto life eternal.
' If a man seek selfishly to retain his old form of life, or his life as an egotistic life, he loses thereby his true life. If, on the other hand, he turns his back on all false worldly forms of life in repentance and sorrow, he rescues the kernel of his life, and saves it unto life everlasting. The application of these words now follows: If any man will serve Me, let him follow Me.' This is the demand of Christ. On the other hand, His first promise runs thus: “And where I am, there shall also My servant be. The second: “If any man serve Me, him will My Father honour.'
The Lord found these reminders necessary, as His followers still allowed themselves to be moved by every hopeful token, to lose entirely out of view their call to a life of self-denial, to a journey beset with sorrows, and terminating in death. Finally, also, He was led to speak thus by the announcement of the arrival of the Greeks. He Himself, on the other hand, was carried by this announcement ever deeper into a near anticipation of His own death : "Now is My soul troubled,' He continues. "And what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour? Yet for this cause came I unto this hour! For one thing only will He ask: ‘Father, glorify Thy name !' Then came there a voice from heaven : ‘I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again’ —in the New Covenant as in the Old.—Then said the people that stood by and heard it, 'It was a peal of thunder. Others said, “An angel spake unto him.' Jesus answered and said, “This voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes.' Thus did the voice of God sound wondrous to all. It came from heaven; but in its tone and expression it did not sound to all with equal clearness, because of the difference of susceptibility in the spiritual ear of the hearers : some perceived a wonderful peal of thunder without words; others, an angelic cry in most mysterious expression; a third class, a voice of God in definite words. But as the Lord had even now, by inward anticipation, passed through the judgment suspended over His life, and executed in His death, He proceeds to give utterance, by a like anticipation, in a spirit of Easter rejoicing, to His victory over the world: “Now is the judgment of this world. Now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth—as a banner be exalted on the cross—will draw all men unto Me.'—So sure is He of the saving power of His death.—This He said, remarks
the Evangelist, to signify what death He should die. But these frames of mind are not mere premonitory signs: they are the beginning of His death, and of His rising again in the Spirit.
The people felt the mortal sorrow and the farewell earnestness in the words of Jesus. But they felt it with deep dissatisfaction. These expectations of Jesus did not appear to harmonize with their Messianic ideal. We have heard out of the law,' they said, that Christ abideth for ever-residing among His people. How sayest thou then, The Son of man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of man?' In their Christology they could not find the doctrine of the Son of God; and even as little could they find that of the Son of man. They desired no true Son of man, no Saviour revealing Deity in the flower of humanity, no suffering Messiah, but an oriental, superhuman David's son, like one of the gods, and embodying the exact intermediate notion of divinity penetrated by humanity, of humanity penetrated by divinity; the ideal of all paralyzed would-be orthodox systems; a frigid, unchanging symbol of the God-man, forming the centre of the frigid symbolism of the kingdom of God, beyond which such systems never choose to go. Christ therefore addressed to them these words of warning: ‘Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you. Whosoever walketh in darkness, knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have the light believe in the light, that ye may be the children of the light.'
In these words He gave them to understand that the time of His departure was near at hand. Once more He exhorted them to make use of the short period of His stay among them to their salvation. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and hid Himself from them.—How remarkable that He withdrew Himself, according to John, just at the moment when they had expressed the offence taken by them at the doctrine of the Son of man! Once more only should He appear among the people as a prisoner, in order, like a setting sun, for the last time to spread the radiance of His life over them.
To this He had pointed in His last words. He then withdrew from the people in deep sorrow, and remained in concealment. He had spoken His last word to them, and now awaited
. the final decision. The Evangelist, however, informs us, in taking a short retrospect of the public ministry of Christ, how