Compared View of the First Three Gospels

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I apprehend that the Gospel of Mark, which brings under our view the service of Christ, and particularly His prophetic service, and, hence, records simply the accomplishment of that service, as the events arose, is that of the three first gospels, which gives, generally, the chronological order of events. Luke places, in general, events in the same order as Mark, where he follows chronological order at all. In a large portion of his gospel, he drops the chronological order, and gives a general series of instructions, of which the occasions and elements are found scattered in the other two Gospels, or are found only in Luke 1 take Mark, therefore, as presenting, in the main, the historical order. It is to be remarked, that, as is stated in the end of John, very few of the events or miracles of our Lord's life are recorded; only such as show forth his ministry, and specially in the earlier part in Galilee, and then at the close at Jerusalem. In these, the Gospels, in the main, go together. Luke has a large portion of the middle part of his Gospel, occupied with general moral teaching. But the way in which this comes in, is not difficult to perceive, as, in the ninth chapter, it is said, the time was come for Christ's delivering up. In all the Gospels, the common history of the concluding events, begins with the healing of the blind man near Jericho. In Matthew, the method pursued by the Evangelist, is very evident; and the displacement of subjects, where they are found, is connected with that method. I will begin with him. The birth of Christ itself- not found in Mark—is treated in connection with the subject of the Evangelist, or rather of the Holy Ghost, by his pen. Luke's account of Christ's birth, far more detailed than Matthew's, bears its own stamp, too.
AT 1{But I will now consider the order of Matthew, and the reasons of it, as far as God enables me. Matthew gives us the presenting of Messiah-Jehovah, son of David, to the people; and the form His service took in consequence of His rejection, with the substitution of the new thing, which took place of Messiah's being then received—the church prophetically announced, and the kingdom of glory. The residue of Israel have also their place beyond the intervening epoch of the Church, existing on to the close. The general subject of the Gospel, what characterizes it, is the presenting of Messiah-Jehovah, according to hope and promise, and its consequences. Hence, the genealogy by which the Gospel begins, is Messiah's genealogy, traced to David and Abraham, the two great depositaries of promise, and heads of blessing to Israel, by original promise, and given royalty. Christ was heir of both. It begins also the Gospel, for the accomplishment of this blessing, according to promise, is its subject. Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision, for the truth of God to confirm the promises made to the fathers. Luke has his genealogy elsewhere, after the whole history of Christ's birth has been given in connection with Israel, but in Israel's subject-place in the world. From heaven only, the angels announce its universal scope. It is connected with the opening of His ministry, and goes up to Son of Adam, Son of God.
To return to Matthew. In speaking of Christ's birth, Joseph is addressed as son of David, Mary being espoused to him. The child's name thus divinely born, is to be called Jehovah the Savior, for He is to save His people from their sins; all coming to pass, that the prophecy of Emmanuel's coming might be fulfilled. He was the Emmanuel of Israel who was thus born.
Next, at Bethlehem, according to the prophecy, the Gentiles come to own Israel's king, in contrast, moreover, with the false one. Such is His place; but, from the beginning, to be rejected in it. But He is to begin Israel's fortunes afresh, so to speak, as called out of Egypt, the true vine. In due time, He returns back, but it is to take His place with the remnant of Israel, the poor of the flock, in despised Galilee, and be called a Nazarene. Such was the place in Israel of Jehovah-Messiah. Fulfillment of promise -The place to which He had really a title, what He really was His place, in fact. Such are the three great elements of the history of the introduction of Christ into the world, as given in this Gospel. Of course, this is not in Mark; but it gives to us the character of the Gospel. Matthew then passes on to the opening of His ministry, John preparing His way. This, and the temptation, are given in all three Gospels, as the two opening facts, but with some characteristic differences. As to John's ministry, it is simply generally introductory. In Luke, you have, " All flesh shall see the salvation of God;" and various moral instructions to different classes; and the title of "generation of vipers," is applied to the multitude in general. In Matthew, he is simply to prepare the way of the Lord (Jehovah). His prophetic appearance is noticed. The Pharisees and Sadducees only are a generation of vipers. In Luke, he preaches the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. In Matthew, " Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." As regards the temptation, Mark only briefly mentions the fact. The only point to be noticed is, that Luke puts the temptation of the pinnacle of the temple last, giving the moral order: Matthew, the offer of the kingdoms of the world; after which, he sends Satan (now fully manifested) away. Luke, consequently, does not notice this last circumstance, not necessary for his object. Matthew and Mark both notice 'hat Jesus' ministry commenced after John was cast into prison. This makes Him go into Galilee.
In Matthew, thereupon, a fact is noticed which casts a light on the course of the Lord's ministry, connecting Him, as it does, with the poor and despised of the flock in Galilee. He came and dwelt in Capernaum, leaving Nazareth; accomplishing thus, a remarkable prophecy of Isaiah, directly connected with the most specific prophecy there is, of the separation of the residue in Messiah's time (see Isa. 8:1313Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. (Isaiah 8:13), and following). All this is generally stated in Luke (4:14, 15), only His preaching in Nazareth is given- of that when we speak of Luke.
AT 4{The call of Andrew, Simon, James, and John, follows, as in Mark; for here what naturally followed historically, has its place in Matthew. It is not merely preaching, but the beginning of the gathering of the residue round His own person. They leave all, and follow Him. They believed on Him, note, already (John 1). Luke here leaves the order, to give the character and service of Christ's ministry, with which the Spirit is specially occupied in that part of that Gospel. Mark had already stated, generally, His preaching on His going into Galilee; and then proceeds with historical circumstances in Capernaum, etc. But Matthew opens out here, into a large general view of His public ministry, and the attention it drew; and then gives a full summary of all the principles of the kingdom He was preaching, and what characters had a place in it. Hence, after His beginning to gather the residue, he tells us of His going all round Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom (Mark says, Kingdom of God), healing, casting out devils, so that His fame spread throughout all Syria. The (ἀκοὴ) report went abroad, and multitudes followed him from on all sides. This, of course, embraces some considerable time, and presents, purposely, a general view of the work, and its effects; a picture, in a few verses, of the effects of his ministry, The Gospel of the Kingdom was spread abroad, and attention universally attracted, for it was accompanied with power.
Hereupon, the Spirit of God, without defining any time, but merely saying that the sight of the multitudes gave occasion to it, enters into a full statement, well known as the Sermon on the Mount, of the great principles of the Kingdom embraced as preached, before it came in power, by a faithful few, to whom persecution for righteousness, and for His name's sake, are presented as a probable part of their lot. These principles are the spirituality of the law, and the revelation of the name of the Father. Israel was on the way to the Judge. It was not the great, wise, doctors, Pharisees, but the poor of the flock who entered into the mind of God about the state of things—were like Christ—who would enter into the Kingdom. It is not preaching the Gospel of salvation, but the principles of the Kingdom. The suitableness of this, after skewing us how the preaching of that kingdom had attracted the notice of all, is evident. The comparison of Mark 3:1313And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. (Mark 3:13), and Luke 6, shows, I think, clearly, that these are the same occasion; but Mark does not give the sermon; and Luke, who does more briefly, shows it was when he had chosen the twelve. This last circumstance is not given in Matthew. They are noticed as already chosen, at the time of their sending forth (10:1), which was a subsequent act. We can hardly speak of date in Matthew for the Sermon on the Mount; because, while Mark gives details of Christ's ministry in Galilee (of which Matthew, indeed, gives many afterward), Matthew here gives a general comprehensive view of that ministry as a whole. Still it was, in a general way, at its commencement; and the sermon is introduced, out of its historic place, before all the details of the ministry in Galilee, in order to give the character of the heirs of the kingdom, when the fact of its preaching in Galilee, and the public attention it had excited, had been brought before us. The place which these instructions have in this Gospel, is entirely determined by the subject. He gathers the residue round Himself. The kingdom is announced in all the prophetic country (Galilee) with power, the report spread, the character of the kingdom given. This closes this great introductory portion. We have then the details of the presentation of Jehovah Messiah, and the result gradually developed: and that at once very rapidly and characteristically. For the great statement, as a whole, of what was doing as regards Israel, was closed with the Sermon on the Mount.
A second portion of this Gospel closes with 9:34. Into this second part I will now enter. First, He is Jehovah in Israel; for Jehovah alone cleansed the leper, and the Jewish Mosaic ordinances are here owned. This miracle is introduced out of its place. It took place after the going into Capernaum, and healing Simon's wife's mother. But it gave the first grand characteristic of Jesus' presence in this Gospel Jehovah Messiah in Israel. But Matthew teaches us the rejection, also, of this, and the consequent setting aside of Israel, and the introduction of the new thing. Hence, on the cleansing of the leprosy by " I will, be thou clean," follows the healing of the Gentile's servant, on the Gentile's faith in the divine person of the Christ, with the announcement of the admission of the nations, from all sides, into the kingdom, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, while the children of the kingdom would be thrust out. This, Mark does not mention. Though happening at this period, generally, when the Lord was frequently at Capernaum, I apprehend, from the history given in Luke, that it happened later. It is introduced here for the great principle involved in it. -What passed in the synagogue, in Capernaum, in the first mentioned visit to it, is omitted in Matthew. It had no place in the purpose for which Matthew's account is given. But he takes up the latter part of the same sabbath visit, the healing of Peter's wife's mother, and a multitude of other sick, because it gives an additional character of Christ's presence, in which, in grace, prophecy was accomplished as to Him—His profound interest in the sorrows of Israel (and, indeed of man), that is, His charging Himself and His own heart with all, taking them on Himself. This pity, note, is mentioned. His going out into the desert is left out. This scene at Capernaum is only so far out of place, as the account of the leper and the centurion are introduced before it, as the great characteristics of his position, whereas they historically come after it. Another characteristic element of His condition, as thus come in Israel, was that, Messiah and Lord as He was, He had nowhere to lay His head. He was just going to cross over the sea of Tiberias, when he declares this to the scribe: but this happened later in His service in Galilee, as we see by comparing Mark and Luke. But it is introduced here in Matthew, without any note of time, as an important element in the position of Jesus. The circumstances of this passage over the sea, afford us another element of His history. Not only is He rejected and houseless, through man's hatred, and God's love serving man in spite of that hatred; but, if so, His disciples, the remnant, will be tossed about while he appears to be asleep. But they are in the same boat with Him who can calm the sea with a word, and still the raging of the waters, though He may allow them to rise for the trial of the faith of those that are His. The healing of Legion comes in exact order as regards the passage over the sea; but as to the general order, is, consequently, displaced with it. But the picture it affords of the character and results of Christ's presence, tends to complete the divine instruction of this Gospel. Power was there to set aside wholly the most mighty, and, for man, unbridled and irresistible power of Satan. The time was not come for his being bound in the bottomless pit, and the demons therefore say, "Art thou come to torment us before the time?" The effect on the poor maniac is not told here. That is blessedly given in Luke; who, therefore, only speaks of one in whom this effect was produced. The simple point here, was the complete power of Satan, and the power present to set it aside. In Luke, we find the subsequent service of the delivered remnant unfolded. Here, it is the present position of Jesus and the Jews. A word where His power is exercised, gives complete deliverance, and thus the remnant are set free; but, as regards the mass, the result is figured by the unclean swine. They hurry on to destruction. As to Christ, He leaves their coasts.
Here Matthew returns pretty much to the general order of the history of His service in Galilee; but the bearing of the Gospel is fully maintained. The Lord heals the sick of the palsy in Capernaum, his own city, as it is called; for there he had fixed his residence when not going through the country. This case begins a new series, showing the power, character, and efficacy of His coming, always keeping in view, an illustrative of, the general subject of the Gospel. That coming is presented here to Israel, according to promise; and its result as reaching far beyond Israel on His rejection. And here the case of the paralytic is presented with special view to this result; that is, to the place Jesus takes as rejected by Israel, and the grace and personal power from which that flows. Palsied as man, as Israel particularly, was, the source of this in the government of God, lay deeper than outward circumstances. It was their sins that had brought them there. But grace had come; one having title to forgive, and specially here as regards God's ways and government, though surely in view of, and founded on, the needed sacrifice. He is really the Son of Man (far more than King of Israel); but, as such, He has brought grace and power into the midst of the people. The Lord meets the whole case—goes to the heart and conscience of the sufferer. " Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee." In reply to the reasoning of the scribes in their hearts, He, who searches the heart, replies by this wonderful truth: "The Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins." Thus He takes not the title of Messiah, not the righteous man of Psa. 1, nor the Son of God of Psa. 2, but of the Son of Man of Psa. 8; His full title, when rejected in the former character, and, at the same time, of perfect grace, as entering into man's condition and sorrow. To prove His title, He, by a word makes the paralytic rise up and walk. This act, then, under the title of Son of Man, is of the largest import. It is grace, forgiveness so as to restore. He is Son of Man—all Israel wants-but His title much larger; and, meanwhile, the Accomplisher of that which is the witness that He is the Jehovah of Israel's blessing (though coming as Son of Man), who forgives all their sins, and heals all their infirmities. He proved His title to one by the accomplishment of the other. In this way, it is very characteristic. Compare Psa. 8:33When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; (Psalm 8:3). The Lord, in this Gospel, never calls Himself anything but Son of Man; others, Son of David; and the demons, Son of God.
Next, the Lord calls Matthew, or Levi. This is still in the historical order; but introduces most important elements of the Lord's history, in connection with the subject of this Gospel. It is grace above all traditional, or even Israelitish thoughts (for he was the expression of Gentile dominion over Israel); but the Lord came as physician, not to call the righteous, but sinners. Mark! to call, not simply to bring blessing to Israel (though laboring in Israel), and crown their hopes and state. He calls, and calls sinners. It is grace; but the Lord's comment on this goes further, and is more explicit. He cannot put the new wine of power, living power and grace, which He is bringing in, into the old bottles. The whole position is brought out in its double aspect. The Bridegroom—the Bridegroom of Israel was there. The faithful remnant of Israel, the disciples, the children of the bride-chamber, who recognized Him, and attached themselves to Him, could not mourn. How should they? Besides, the truth was, these ordinances for flesh could not receive the new wine of grace, and of the Spirit. Thus, that He was present in Israel, and the impossibility of Israel, as it was, being the vessel of the power, grace and purpose of God in Him, are both here brought out. The new wine was to be put into new bottles. Chapter 8 gives, historically, His service, and its results. This applies its principles, showing the grace that met Israel in Jehovah's presence; but, in fact, the impossibility of that power in its energies, being introduced into the system in which Israel then stood. In point of fact, He is rejected by the characteristic leaders of the nation.
AT 11{In what follows in Matthew, we have the Lord's persevering grace in Israel, though the new wine, He well knew, had to be put into new bottles. Israel's real state is shown, explaining why there must be this new power—life-giving power—introduced; but grace towards Israel is shown, which will persevere across (however temporarily suspended by judgment on the people) the whole church interval of time, to resume its activity, in the latter days, towards the beloved and chosen people. This is remarkably brought out to the end of the tenth chapter. The disciples are sent forth, forbidden to go to Gentiles or Samaritans; and they would not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of Man will come. Chapter 11 brings out their present rejection, as having rejected John and Himself; the revelation of the Father by the Son being the result—the resource of the heavy-laden, the easy yoke in the midst of sorrow.
I may remark here, that Matthew having, in order to show the principles of the Kingdom, introduced the Sermon on the Mount, already as a great general feature of the Lord's teaching early in the Gospel, omits here the choosing of the twelve; on which, after coming down to a level place (English translation, " the plain "), a little lower down the mountain, the sermon seems to have followed (see Mark 3:1313And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth unto him whom he would: and they came unto him. (Mark 3:13); and Luke 6). The case of Jairus' daughter, on the other hand, and of the woman who touched the hem of His garment, are introduced here; though this comes, I apprehend, historically, after the parables by the sea-shore, and Jesus' return from healing Legion; the last Matthew had, as we have seen already given, to complete his general picture of Jewish history.
AT 9-11{The bearing of the two facts recorded in chap. 9, consequent on the teaching as to the new bottles and before the Jewish mission of chap. 10, on the course of the Messianic history as presented by Matthew, I shall now advert to. The real state of Israel was death. On the point of dying as seen by others, in God's estimate Israel was dead before Jesus came. He visited it as dying—He really found it dead. So it is treated here; but, come in life-giving power, Jesus will give it life. This will be accomplished when He comes again; but He was, at His first coming, on the way with Israel and the whole crowd around Him, and power in Him where faith was in exercise through grace, to arrest death, to give life where all else had failed. The poor woman thus represents the residue whose faith laid hold on Jesus in the midst of the crowd around, and thus-distinguished from it. These the Lord owned. They are healed and saved on the way. As regards the one for whom He set out, He must, when the time comes, not heal but raise from the dead. For God holds Israel yet as but asleep, though really morally dead. This will be at the close. Hence He acts in power with the blind in Israel, who own Him Son of David. On their faith, following Him even apart from the crowd, and assured He could do it, He gives them sight. The dumb, in like manner, receives his speech. Sight and a voice to praise are restored to them. It was never so seen in Israel. The Pharisees, blaspheming, ascribe it to Satan. But we have seen that the subject here is the persevering grace towards Israel, of which the two forms were shown in the woman and Jairus' daughter. Hence, in spite of the blasphemy of the Pharisees, which yet chews the condition of Israel as a nation, the Lord continues His course of patient grace (9:35), and seeing the shepherdless multitudes, is moved with compassion, and utters to His disciples His sense of the greatness of the harvest and the fewness of the laborers, urging them to pray to the harvest's Lord to send them out; and in this spirit sends the twelve forth. These are sent exclusively to the house of Israel—the lost sheep of the house of Israel in the midst of opposition and difficulty; but their mission continues after Christ's death, but still viewed as exclusively to Israel, and omitting all notice of the Church or Gentiles, and overleaps all the time in which the people are not as such in the land, and tells them to go through the cities, which they would not have done till the Son of Man was come. He was there, but the Lord goes on till He be come as such in power. It is, as I have said, the persevering grace to Israel distinguishing the remnant.—This mission, relatively to what immediately proceeds, is not out of its historical order in Matthew; but its exclusively Israelitish character is only in this Gospel. In chap. 11, the Lord returns to the present position of Israel in reference to Himself, and its results as to the place He was about to take, the real reason of His rejection. The preparatory message of John is closed, and he comes to have his own personal place according to his own faith. Great above all born of women, the least in the Kingdom is greater than he. The Lord bears witness to him, not he to the Lord. He is rejected; Christ is rejected by the Jews: warnings and grace alike. But the real truth of this rejection was, not his want of worthiness, but that Christ's person is too glorious to be known by any but the Father; or the Father whom He made known, by any but Him, and such as He revealed Him to; all were dependent on this, that is, on Christ's revelation of the Father to them. That is the glory of His person as Son-as Man on earth is brought out. Next in reward of perfect submission comes full joy. He had learned the sorrows of man; knew how hopeless to seek good there, and presents Himself in grace as the rest of the weary, and the spirit of submission as shown in Him for repose of soul on the way. This is historically the complete change of the dispensation. Mark has not this account, and the two parts of the discourse in Matthew (that is, the rejection of John and Christ, and the sheaving what His rejection by the Jews, while guilty as to what they did see, really came from, that is, the divine gory of His person which none could fathom; and the blessed remedy in Christ's revealing the Father to the babes), belong historically to different times. The latter part is found in Luke 10, where it is, ἐν αὐτῆ τῆ ὤρα, "the same hour," which is precise; and it is found after the mission to the seventy, where its connection is beautifully evident on the joy of His disciples on their return. It is general here, ἐν ἐκείνω τῶ καιρῶ "at that epoch" or "season"; and such it essentially was, when His rejection, now after His ministry, took a definite form and a decided character. Luke's statement in chap. 8 of what the Lord says as to John, has also a more moral character, i.e., more reference to the moral grounds of rejection, less to the dispensational. This change of dispensation is brought out in a very important point, in what follows in Matthew. The Sabbath was a formal seal of the Covenant, "I gave them my Sabbaths" (see Ez. 20:12). These were the intimation of, and based on the idea of rest in the first creation, and that by man's obedience under law, and the connection of Israel with God, as a people enjoying promise on the condition of obedience. Not only they had failed, but they had practically rejected the Great Repairer of Breaches—the Obedient One. The introduction of the facts relative to the Sabbath here, are only so far out of their chronological place as the introduction of other posterior events has pushed them forward. Their moral place, in connection with the object of the Gospel, the change of dispensation or ground of relationship with God, consequent on the rejection of Jehovah Messiah, is evident. Two great principles are presented; -the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath, and—grace—it is lawful to do good-mercy, not sacrifice, is what God delights in. Some interesting details are connected with it. David's rejection opened this liberty. Sacred things had become in a measure common. So now where David's Son was. The priests profaned it in the temple. The glory of Christ's person was above the temple, as the duties of that, because God was there, were above the Sabbath. Had they understood mercy, they would have had moral light, and not condemned those who through the glory of the Son of Man were entirely guiltless. His person was above the conventional bond He Himself had formed; His rejection (and Son of man, comp. Psa. 8 and 2, implies that), broke it on their part wholly, giving place to this higher and wider title. Thus the sign of the first covenant with Israel, and expression of God's rest in creation, had found the place in which the truth of man's and Israel's state set it. Only sovereign grace took up the hope of rest; and, blessed be His name, through the unchangeable title of His person, above the effect of responsibility in His creation.
The closing scene is then beautifully and solemnly brought out. The Pharisees seek to destroy Him. The judgment of their system, and the introduction of supreme grace was insupportable But Christ was not now to execute judgment. He would show judgment to the Gentiles, but personally, then, He would not break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax till He sent forth judgment to victory. Blind and dumb, healed by His power, are a witness to the people that He is Son of David. The Pharisees, unable to deny it, ascribed the power they cannot deny to Satan; blaspheming the Holy Ghost. For this there was no forgiveness. Sovereign grace may re-create and thus restore Israel; but the tale of its responsible condition is now told. The tree was corrupt. It was an evil and adulterous generation; no sign would be given it but that of the Son of Man in the heart of the earth like Jonas, and all their hopes buried with it, to be founded by grace on Him they had rejected. Nineveh and the Queen of the South would judge them. The unclean spirit once gone out, would return with worse; their state and judgment would be worse than when they went to Babylon. The Lord then denies all His natural ties with flesh, i.e., with Israel, in the person of His mother and brethren, and accepts only the fruit of the Word in the residue, as that which belongs to Him. In Luke, the circumstances of His mother and brethren's coming (Luke 8:1919Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press. (Luke 8:19)), is placed at the end of the parable of the Sower, bringing out the moral importance of the word without any reference to the rejection of Israel, or mark of date, though there be such found in the English; not in the Greek. The teaching as to Nineveh and Jonas, and the statement as to Beelzebub, is all given together in that part of the Gospel of Luke which is not chronologically arranged, but the events put together in their moral bearing and so applied (Luke 11:1414And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. (Luke 11:14), seq.). The message of John, and the internal change, connected with it, to the revelation of the Father by the Son, has no place in Mark. If Luke gives the moral change, and Matthew the governmental one, connected with the rejection of Jehovah-Jesus, Messiah, Mark, who shows us the service of the Lord in testimony, does not present this dispensational change in either form. The immediate facts leading to it are of course given by him historically in their place. We find, therefore, in our Gospel, before the parables (in which the essential service of Christ in the Word is given, and the subsequent forms of the Kingdom; and in Mark, what is peculiar to him, the entire absence of Christ's direct ministry when these forms arose), before this, I say, we find the blasphemy of the Pharisees, and Christ's preference of His disciples to all natural relationship. What follows the parables in Mark (save His being despised in His own country, which comes in its place in Matthew, and we will consider further on), we have already seen transposed in Matthew to an earlier part of the history, where we have seen its application to the subject he treats of. The facts I refer to are the crossing in a storm, and the history of Legion which follows; the raising of Jairus' daughter, which happened on his return; the woman with an issue of blood, which all go together; and the sending out the twelve, which, as we have seen, is given a peculiar importance in Matthew, and is introduced in connection with a most general statement of His ministry, so as to imply no date (Matt. 9:35,3635And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. (Matthew 9:35‑36)). But Matthew introduces there, in their proper place relatively to what goes before the displaced series just mentioned, two facts, omitted in Luke and Mark, which bore upon his subject in a way already noticed (9:27, 34). On this follows the general statement of His ministry and sending out of the twelve. Luke, in the main, here follows the order of Mark, i.e., gives the history chronologically (Luke 8:2222Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth. (Luke 8:22)).
The parables we have frequently noticed as beginning a new scene, taking a wholly new ground for Christ as to His own ministry on earth, and as to the Kingdom. He comes to sow, not to seek fruit. He brings with him the only thing which can produce fruit; and the Kingdom is not His presence in power, at any rate until the harvest. We get the public result in the world while He is away, and then His aim and object, and the great result under His hand. But the result of His teaching in Israel was, to be reckoned the carpenter's son, and to prove, that in His own country and house the prophet has no honor. This, in Matthew, is in its place only by the transposition of other facts, above noticed, to a preceding part. It is thus brought into direct moral connection with His rejection, and the general effect of His sowing the Word. It is not in Luke as a distinct event. In what follows, we have a development by facts of the great change taking place, rather than the unfolding of it in figure or teaching, until He opens out the new thing, and then, after that, the closing history comes on. With the evidences of the change already fully taught, came the proofs to Israel of the character of Him who was rejected.
AT 14{First we have the account (14:1-13) of John's imprisonment and death by the wicked and apostatizing King of Israel, identified with the Gentile power of the west. But this does not diminish (14:14-31), though taking his full part in the sorrow, Christ's interest in the shepherdless people. He shows Himself to be that very One who in Israel's brightest days to come will satisfy the poor with bread (Psa. 132); but withal He dismisses Israel, and while His disciples are toiling in His absence, is on high to pray; He rejoins them, and all is calm (22-33). There is such a thing as walking on the water by night to meet Him; but the eye must be fixed on Him. It fails for the earth. He rejoins the ship (the remnant of Israel), and all is calm, and He is owned Son of God. In Gennesaret, where He had been once rejected, He is now received, and all are healed. The death Of John Baptist forms no part of Luke's history; he refers to His imprisonment in closing the account of His ministry quite early in the Gospel (chap. 3). The results follow in the same succession here as in Mark. The greater part of them are not in Luke at all; that is, from the feeding the five thousand to Peter's confessing Christ; the whole of which form one subject. The retiring into the desert, in Matthew, consequent on John's death, is, in Mark, connected with the rest given to the disciples on their return from their mission. In Matthew, this mission hart been displaced to she, all God's dealings with Israel in this respect. It is found in chap. 10.
What I have spoken of just above (chap. 14), evidently forms a complete subject—a view of all His relationship with Israel from John's rejection to the Millennium.
AT 15{In chap. 15, we find the question of a Pharisaic righteousness, and tradition opposed to God's law, and all Israel's worship as a nation, rejected on Isaiah's authority. God would have the heart right. To the disciples He denounces the true, character, of the Pharisees. They had only to leave them alone; with leaders in evil they were to have nothing to do. They were leading Israel into the ditch. The disciples were dull in apprehending this truth; but He explains that truth to them in grace, skewing what man, man's heart, is. Christ having judged thus the Pharisaic Israel, an important event presents itself. He does not go out of Israel, but goes to the borders of Tire and Sidon, which He could take elsewhere as a pattern of evil and obduracy. There, a woman of the accursed race of Canaan meets Him. She appeals to Him in His character of Heir and Fulfiller of Promise: on this ground she has no title, no answer. Christ fully recognized the people in God's point of view. The bread was the children's; He is minister of the circumcision. The woman owns it; but alleges there was grace in God, out of pure goodness which could reach beyond to the dogs which had no title. Hence she receives the blessing on the ground of what God was; a principle of immense essential importance, and at this moment opening up a ground of God's dealings, which was to be the basis of all hope. Hence we see Jesus in the midst of Israel, and owning it, but a perspective of blessing which was founded on what God was in Himself, and applicable to the sorrows of one who had no title at all. In chap. 15:30, 31, the presence of persevering grace and goodness in Israel, so that every ear that could hear, and every heart that could feel, might be reached in spite of the Pharisees, is brought out in the power of Christ in grace, so that they glorified the God of Israel. Instead of this general statement, the force of which is evident as regards the place which Christ still held in respect of Israel, we find in Mark a special miracle of opening of ears, and loosing the tongue of the deaf and dumb man—Christ's personal power and its character (for He will do this for Israel as He does for us), hence it is not glorifying the God of Israel there, but Jesus has done all things well—His service and its excellency. The second time the Lord feeds the multitude, the act is presented in another way from the first, though the power be the same, and its character confirms the view we have taken. This is the case in Mark, as well as in Matthew. The second instance of miraculous feeding is not found in Luke. In the first, it is the power of Messiah as King in Israel, and able to give this power to others. There is no need, says the Lord, to send them away, " give ye them to eat." In the second, it is the patient and tender compassion towards Israel, of which we have spoken. The multitude had been long with Him, and He would not let them go fasting away. The number twelve, as elsewhere remarked, is indicative of divine governmental power exercised in man: seven of spiritual completeness; and such, I doubt not, are their bearings here. This patience of the Lord with Israel, though shown everywhere in fact, was not the subject of Luke's Gospel; it presents throughout, after the first two chapters, the morally new thing. The third chapter is transitional. The circumstances which followed the feeding the five thousand, in chap. 14, and subsequent reception when He had been rejected before; His absence on high, while the disciples were toiling on the sea, referring to the change which should take place in His relationship with Israel, have no place here; for it is His patient grace where that change has been already witnessed of and shown. Indeed, what follows is the expression of the fact, that it is now already brought to light. The two great classes which composed the nation, desire a sign- He refuses it; they could discern the sky, but not this time; they should have none but Jonas, and He leaves them; and warning His disciples against them, brings out the witness of their dullness to profit by their teaching. This closes this part of the history, and introduces the witness as to the entirely new order of things, which a rejected Savior was going to set up -the Church, and administration of the Kingdom of Heaven on the earth. In Luke, the demand of a sign is found, with other similar statements; and the Ninevites and Queen of Sheba, in the general instructions of chap. 11. The prophetic doctrine as to the Church and the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, is found only in Matthew. The Father had revealed to Peter the person of Christ, and Christ gave him his place in the Kingdom. Here the disciples are forbidden to announce Christ any more as the Messiah; and the Lord henceforth tells them of His suffering, death, and resurrection; and next shows them the glory and character of the Kingdom in the world to come; the law and prophets disappearing and leaving Christ to be heard as Son of God. Thus we have Christ—no more to be announced—the future glory of the Son of Man—and the Son of God to be heard now, the law and prophets disappearing. All this is directly associated with the glory that was to take place on His rejection. They were not to tell of it till He was risen. His (as to the Jews) provisional but rejected coming is illustrated by that of Elias in John the Baptist. What is said here of Elias, forms no part of this instruction in Luke; for there it is more moral power which forms the subject, and not dispensational history. We find after the transfiguration, the anticipated display of the Kingdom in Heaven, the power of Satan manifested; the disciples were not able to cast hire out. This marks the incapacity to avail themselves of Christ's presence here on earth as the reason of His departure; a solemn lesson in any dispensation of God. As yet, Christ Himself still exercises His patient power. The promise is given of displacing the most apparently solid seat of power if faith were there. This is remarkable after their incapacity to do the smallest thing when He was there. This is only in Matthew. In Luke, there follows the judgment of the various forms in which selfishness displays itself. In all the three Gospels, the cross is taught. In Matthew, there follows a circumstance which gives its character to all this part of the Gospel of Matthew only—blessedly associating the disciples with Christ. As children of the great King, they were free from the tribute paid to Him (the temple Didrachma), but which then, not to offend, He will pay. He shows divine know- ledge, and divine power over creation, but He is subject; and fie puts Peter into the same rank of children with Himself. Thus we have the Church and the. Kingdom in administration and in glory. The matter of the didrachma had shown in what spirit the true children of the Kingdom were to walk till it came in power.
AT 18{Thereon (chap. 18), follows a series of incidents opening out this walk, and with a good deal of detail. The principles which should govern this walk personally and collectively are taught, the assembly of disciples taking definitely the place of the synagogue as to being within and without. This is peculiar to Matthew, as introducing here the new institutions of God. Others are found dispersed in Luke, in their place, as general moral instructions, which character they also have. In particular, we have the unprofitableness of flesh, but the relationship God formed in it owned. These general instructions go to the end of chap. 20:28. As to the order of it in Matthew, there is no particular remark to make. It follows as in Mark. The general instruction of leaving all and taking up the cross, is also found in a similar way, put before the last part of the Lord's history at Jerusalem, which begins with His passing: through Jericho (Matt. 19:16, 20:19; Luke 18:1515And they brought unto him also infants, that he would touch them: but when his disciples saw it, they rebuked them. (Luke 18:15), and following). They naturally precede historically His own rejection; but in Luke, a mass of instruction comes in between the last chronologically-stated fact (10:17) and this, with much as to God's ways in grace peculiar to Him; with parts, however, of what we find here in Matthew, dispersed among other matter, according to the subject spoken of.
A few of the points in Matthew call for particular notice. The spirit of a child is the pattern of the Christian. God has His eyes on little children with special favor. They are to be received in Christ's name. It is not the Father's will they should perish: not that they are not lost in nature; but Christ came to save the lost sheep. The parable of the lost sheep is applied to them. This last part, as to God's dispensation as to them, is peculiar to Matthew. Next, extreme jealousy as to occasions of falling, in oneself; care not to stumble the weak; the means to be taken to preserve godly order as to wrongs done, are prescribed; and here the Church, i.e., two or three assembled in Christ's name, is introduced as taking its place. It thus becomes the new center—completely takes the place of the synagogue. What is there bound on earth is ratified in heaven, and what agreed thus to be sought on earth, given from heaven. The two or three assembled in Christ's name become a constituted institution, sealed, when real, by the sanction and authority of heaven, and the inside or outside of it takes the place of Jew and heathen. This is peculiar to Matthew; this is extended to the spirit of personal forgiveness as regards the individual (compare for both 1 Cor. 6) But the Kingdom of Heaven (not the Church), is hence like the King, who forgives, and afterward brings all on the guilty where the principles of His own conduct were not accepted and imitated. Thus the Jews, with whom on Christ's intercession, God dealt in grace, forgiving them the ten thousand talents, refusing grace towards the Gentiles, came under the full guilt of all as to God's ways with them as to the Kingdom. But the principle is now morally true, save the general principle stated elsewhere; this also is peculiar to Matthew.
The teaching of the Lord on marriage, is not in Luke, referring, as it does, to the peculiar instructions of Judaism. The latter part, which introduces the special power of the new thing, while sanctioning God's original and gracious institution, is in Matthew alone (1 Cor. 7 answers to this). The case of the children and of the young man, in which nature, as God created it, is held blessed:-the law, as applied to man (2nd table), shown to be the path of life, if nature could keep it, is found in all. Sovereign grace is needed for being saved, for flesh is fallen and evil; and seeks, if outwardly blameless, its delight elsewhere than in God. This is more briefly stated in Luke, as a great general principle. The answer to Peter on this point, in Matthew, has this also in particular, that it introduces the dispensational glory hereafter in the kingdom, and thereon adds the parable of the householder and laborers, to guard, by sovereign grace and goodness, against the tendency to turn the encouragement afforded by reward, into a claim of self-righteousness. It is on the seizing of this, and through this, that the already stated principle of first last, and last first, depends. Only grace, and because it is 'grace, inverts it, and puts last first; while the former states the shortcoming of nature, that first shall be thus last.
The last events now approach, and Christ sets out on His way to Jerusalem. Here, all the three Gospels are together; only the request of Zebedee's children is not found in Luke. This connects itself with the cross of which he had been speaking; and the sovereignty of God, giving to whom he would. Christ's answer, is the manifestation of His perfect meekness in humiliation -His absolute subjection to the will of His Father- His perfectness, as put to the test, in motive, and obedience, and self-renunciation. He could lead His disciples into suffering with Him, and tell them it would be so; but the reward, as to their place, and glory in the kingdom, He must refer them to the Father for. But while the expression of perfectness in Jesus, it gave a moral character to the exaltation also. The least in self, would be the greatest there. He came in perfect love, not to be honored, and to give his life a ransom for many. Nor would there be thus merely Jews in the kingdom, according to their then hopes, and His presence on the earth. The redemption-work in love was now about to be accomplished. This closed up the full character of the change, and the real work He came to do. In what follows, the Lord takes again the Jewish character, because he was for the last time, and in order to suffer, presenting Himself to the people.
This last history is, in all the three Gospels, introduced by his healing the blind man on the roadside by Jericho. Jericho itself has a peculiar character in Jewish history. The first opposing power to Israel's taking possession of promise; marked with a curse as the seat of the power of evil when the power was overcome; visited by Elijah on his way to Jordan and glory; healed by Elisha on his return to Israel, when the glorifying of Elijah had been accomplished;-it had the stamp of a certain initiatory character in God's relationship with the land of promise, not the direct title of blessing, but the way of blessing, through the curse, and the meeting the power of evil. Here the Lord, just as He was called out of Egypt, begins his last presentation to Israel. He heals the blind under the name of the Son of David -heals them who called on Him, under that name, for mercy, in persevering faith, in spite of the multitude. He had compassion on them. Luke adds here, mercy to the chief publican, and the Jewish correction of the idea of the kingdom, announcing His departure, the responsibility of His servants, and the judgment upon His citizens, who, when He was gone, sent after Him, to say they would not have Him to reign over them.
The riding into Jerusalem on the ass's colt, follows, then, alike in all the three Gospels—His presentation to Zion as king, according to Zechariah. Some details are given in Mark; His survey of the temple, and going out Again, and returning the next day, when He cleanses it. The general fact merely is stated in Matthew; that is, the 'result of His royal visitation as Jehovah the king, without holding to the order, for the fig tree was cursed before He cleansed the temple. In Luke, He weeps over the city; that Evangelist again, as he is wont, presenting the Lord's moral grace and tenderness, the kindness of Jehovah. The cursing of the fig-tree is not in Luke. This is dispensational, the judgment of fruitless Judaism, as under the old covenant, adding with it the power that would accompany faith in God, in the new thing to be set up. The whole, apparently stable, power of that system would disappear. And so it has. What follows is common to the three Gospels; but there are characteristic traits. The question of authority in the priest is met by their avowed incompetency as to John. The parable of the two sons is peculiar to Matthew. It is the Lord's judgment as to the fruit of His work among the Jews, His judgment of these last. The parable of the husbandman, and the revelation of the rejected stone, is next in all three Gospels; the various classes of persons in Israel come up for judgment. But this parable is general; referring to all that were active in the vineyard the Lord had planted. This was taken from the Jews. Broken now by stumbling on the stone, they would be ground to powder when He should fall on them, i.e. all on whom it should; for, indeed, they will not then be alone, as they were in the stumbling on the stone. But responsibility to bear fruit was not all. They had rejected gracious invitations to the marriage of the king's son. This is not in Mark. In Luke 14 there is a similar parable. I am not quite clear whether it is the same. It is, if so, introduced in Luke in its place, and its absence from Mark here accounted for. It is not introduced in Matthew, with any connection of time or circumstance, as having been spoken at this time. Its place, as to the judgment of the Jews, is evident. They are judged in it for the rejection of grace, as they are in the parable of the husbandman for failure in producing fruit. Some circumstances are added in Matthew, and which are important as to the judicial dealings of God, which are wholly omitted in Luke; while the moral tone and pursuit of grace, in spite of evil, is more largely delineated in Luke. The contrast of the dealings of God with Jews and Gentiles, with which last the house is filled, and the judgment, both of Jews and professing Christendom, is what characterizes Matthew. The difference of the two parables in Luke and Matthew, will make us sensible of the characteristic difference of what is given of God in the two Gospels. I will enter, therefore, into the details of each, sufficiently to show it. In Matthew it is a similitude of the kingdom of heaven. In Matthew, we have two messages, those, I doubt not, of the Apostles in the life time of Christ, and of the same after His death, when all was accomplished and ready. It is, in a general way, made light of. By others, the servants are ill-treated and slain. Thereupon, the murderers (the Jews) are slain, and their city destroyed. This is the judgment on the Jews and Jerusalem. Then the message is sent out to the highways (the Gentiles), and the wedding furnished. There a person is found (many called, but few chosen) not having personally what belonged to and suited the wedding, and he is cast out into outer darkness. This is, evidently, more than an earthly dispensational judgment. In Luke, a certain man makes a great supper; it is not for the king's son, nor the kingdom of heaven. The two first summons of Matthew come together, in general, or are absorbed in one; the moral details of excuse are given, and there is no slaying and ill-treating of servants. There the poor of the city (i.e. among the Jews) are sought out; but this does not fill the house, and the highways and hedges are sent to (the Gentiles), and the house filled. There is no judgment of the Jews, nor of the unworthy guests. The moral character in grace of the parable in Luke, is evident; the dispensational dealing in Matthew, equally so. Only the Jewish rejecters do not taste of the supper. We can well suppose it to be a different parable, though the Holy Ghost gives us but a very small part of what was done and said, and even of one and the same discourse, only what instructs on the point in hand.
Next, the Pharisees and Herodians are judged, the opposed classes among the Jews of strict and temporizing Jews. Christ puts the Jewish position (and, indeed, of everyone) on the true ground. I mean as to their real relationship to the Gentile power or empires. Next, the Sadducees are judged, and the true nature of the resurrection shown, and from Moses himself; only Luke, in addition, gives here a clear statement of the connection of the resurrection with the age to come; and, at the same time, affirms the abiding intermediate state of the soul. Next, the essence of the law is taught. The same instruction is found in the general teaching in Luke, not in the parallel place to this, and the parable of, the good Samaritan is annexed. But this, I apprehend, was another statement to the same effect, as may easily be conceived. The true substance of the law being stated, the position the Christ was to take, unintelligible for the Pharisee, and consequent on His rejection, is then brought out, and silences the pretended wisdom of the Jewish teachers. The Lord's instruction is drawn from Psa. 110. It is easy to see how this closes, with the most perfect fitness, these remarkable interviews.
AT 24-25{But, in Matthew's Gospel, which certainly goes over to the future hopes of Israel, while judging its present state, as we have seen (chap. 10), we have, with the general instruction to beware of scribes, a remarkable passage, recognizing their official status and authority. They sit in Moses' seat. Yet the actual, practical judgment is more full and terrible; and to this is added, that, as they excused themselves from the guilt of the prophet's death, such would be sent (apostles, prophets, etc.) to them, and they would be put to the test on this point also, that, the wickedness being come to its height, the blood of all righteous men, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zacharias the prophet, might be demanded of this generation. This is peculiar to Matthew, and shows that a ministry was sent to the Jewish nation, as such, in the Apostles and Prophets of the New Testament, ending in the judgment of the nation. The connection of this with God's dealings with the Jews, as taught in this Gospel, is evident, and important for understanding other passages and dealings of God. In Mark, this warning as to the scribes is very generally and briefly given. The plaint over Jerusalem is not found in Mark. It is in Luke; but when Christ was in Galilee, and warned by the Pharisees, because of Herod. Its appositeness to Matthew's subject here, is evident. It is, word for word, the same as in Luke, save that Luke says, "till [the time] come that," instead of "till;" and Matthew adds " henceforth " after "ye shall not see me." I cannot doubt it is the same saying. I rather apprehend that it is introduced in Matthew in connection with the subject treated of, than in historical order of time. It is introduced without any verbal connection with the history whatever. However, I do not speak with any positiveness. It is in Luke, in the general, and, as to order of time, unhistorical part of the Gospel. Mark and Luke relate here an incident omitted by Matthew the widow's mite. It naturally belonged to Luke's Gospel to introduce it in its place, which is the same it has in Mark. It did not enter into the special teaching of Matthew here, as to the destruction and judgment of Jerusalem, and the dealings of God with the Jewish nation, as such. In the two following chapters of Matthew (24, 25), we have a complete view of the state of things consequent on the Lord's absence, and His judgment on His return, including general directions and warnings for the conduct of disciples during this period. In Matthew, it is much more complete, dispensationally, than in Mark and Luke. The four parables added in Matthew, instruct us in what relates to Christians, and to the gentiles, on the Lord's return to earth; so that the whole scene is opened- to us. Luke and Mark contain only the warnings to the disciples, viewed in connection with the Jews. In this part, also, there is a difference. Mark, in the main, resembles Matthew; but there is a less exact division into what is general, and what refers to the final state of Jerusalem. Much—though that final state is spoken of—might be applied generally; and it is much more personally addressed for service. Hence, there is found there (what Matthew omits) a direction as to what they are to trust to, when called up before governors, adding details as to evil and treachery, which, in Matthew, are found in the directions given, as we have seen, for the whole course of the disciples' ministry among the Jews, from beginning to end, in chap. 10 (comp. Mark 13:1111But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. (Mark 13:11), seq., and Matt. 9:1919And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so did his disciples. (Matthew 9:19), seq.). Hence, the question also is different in Matthew. There is added to the inquiry, when the destruction of the temple should be, " What is the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age?" Hence, the direct application of the answer in Mark and Luke, is to the present. service of the disciples; though, in both, it goes on to the end. In Mark, similarly to Matthew; and in Luke, distinguishing, very clearly, the destruction by Titus, and the subsequent events. There are more than one difference in Mark. The tenth verse (of 13) does not end as Matt. 24:1414And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Matthew 24:14): " then shall the end come " (the question went only to the destruction of Jerusalem). Comp. Mark 16:15, 2015And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15)
20And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. (Mark 16:20)
. Then the passage of Matt. 10 comes in. The abomination of desolation stands merely where it ought not. There is the absence of precision in the epoch of the signs: " in those days after that tribulation." These circumstances show, that though the close is certainly given, it is not the object. The Lord's exhortation closes with " What I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch." The present testimony is spoken of in Luke. There is no abomination of desolation; the days of vengeance come, no unequaled tribulation. Jerusalem is trodden down and led captive, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. There is no question of an end coming. The 25th verse, unconnected in period with what precedes introduces the coming of the Son of Mari. The nearness, then, of the kingdom, and the exhortation to watch, closes the passage. In our Gospel (chap. 24), we have the general testimony of disciples among the Jews, with the fact of the Gospel of the Kingdom, which Christ had preached, going to all nations, bringing in the close. The bringing before kings and rulers, etc., belongs to chap. 10. Then the special last half week of Daniel is entered into in detail, the great tribulation with false Christs, etc., closing with the immediate coming of the Son of Man. The elect of Israel are gathered from all lands. To verse 44, practical warnings are given. In verses 45-51, we have the service of the disciples, in their own responsible relationship within, to the family (and, hence, practically Christendom) brought out. The result is, " the servant is made ruler of all," on the one hand; or hierarchical connection with the spirit of the world ends in his judgment as a hypocrite, on the other. The parable of the virgins (xxv.) gives the original c^1"-g of Christians,• and their return to it; the talents, the liberty of divinely. given ministry. The words " in which the Son of Man cometh," is omitted in all the best texts. The 31st verse of chap. xxv., continues from 31st verse of chap. xxiv., and gives the judgment of the nations who have heard the Gospel of the Kingdom. Thus, the whole scene, from the service of the disciples, consequent on Christ's death—that is, the testimony among the Jews; the responsibility of the disciples when things took the Christian form; the last testimony amongst, and judgment of the nations, with the special week of tribulation, and coming of the Son of Man—are all clearly brought out. The Lord's preparing for death then comes on. It was two days before the Passover. Luke is much more brief here. He leaves out the anointing by Mary; and the general fact of the priests consulting, Judas going and accepting money, Satan's influence over him, and his seeking to betray the Lord, are briefly stated altogether, as an introduction to the whole scene. The local scene is much less given. All the moral character, and incidents, and heavenly result, are much more fully stated; as the thief on the cross, with the intermediate state, and other circumstances. It is usual with Luke to give the historical facts briefly and synoptically, and enlarge on special moral details. Mark and Matthew go together in order and contents. The statement of Jesus, that He could have twelve legions of angels, and Judas going and hanging himself; Pilate's wife's message; His washing His hands, are all omitted by Mark; as are also the opening of the graves, and the resurrection of saints. Otherwise, the accounts are uniform. We find in both the council of priests, the woman's anointing Christ, Judas' going to the chief priests, the meeting to eat the Passover (His conversation at table), the Lord's supper (only remission of sins is not in Mark), the going to the Mount of Olives, the warning to Peter, Christ's prayer in Gethsemane, His appearing before Caiaphas, Peter's denial, Christ's appearing before Pilate, His mocking by soldiers, His crucifixion and death, with its effect on the centurion, and His burial. Matthew adds, at the close, the account of sealing the stone, and setting a watch at the sepulcher.
In Luke, we have many moral circumstances added, giving a different character to several points. As regards the Passover, He speaks of its fulfilling in the Kingdom of God, giving a present character to the effect, instead of leading onward to the world to come. Matthew and Mark have not this at all. So of the fruit of the vine. In Luke, the Lord does not speak of drinking it new in the Kingdom, but says, previously, He will not drink of it till the Kingdom of God be come, the desire to partake of it with them, and the Nazarite character in connection with this (vers. 16—18) are added, and besides the institution itself, the inquiry who should betray Him, is just stated and no more; but the strife, who should be the greatest, is found here only, giving a peculiar insight into their state, and the moral position of Jesus and' its consequences. The sifting of the disciples by Satan, and its connection with Simon's fall, is found also in Luke only; the change in their position as to the apparent care He would take of them also; His human dependence, and the extreme character of His sufferings in Gethsemane; that is, the angers strengthening Him and His agony and sweat as drops of blood, are carefully presented to us, while the circumstances are very briefly given, and are all much more fully in Matthew. The circumstances of His answer to the chief priests are quite summarily related in Luke 22:66-7166And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, 67Art thou the Christ? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, ye will not believe: 68And if I also ask you, ye will not answer me, nor let me go. 69Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. 70Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am. 71And they said, What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth. (Luke 22:66‑71). The coming in the clouds of heaven, the future Kingdom, is also omitted. It is the present position of Christ only which is noticed. (Note-Both in Matthew and Luke, instead of " Hereafter" must be read, " Henceforth shall the Son of Man sit," or " ye shall see the Son of Man sitting," i.e., He was taking now this new position). The answer before Pilate is related briefly in Luke, like the betrayal and His appealing before Caiaphas; and in its general effect; but the sending before Herod is found in his Gospel only. Royal apostate Judaism comes into the scene. The daughters of Jerusalem, and the Lord's answer to them, are found here only also. The intercession of Christ on the cross for the Jews, answered in Peter's sermon, the beautiful incident of the thief also, are found, both of them, in Luke only, as well as Jesus commending His spirit to His Father, that is, His confidence in His Father as a man. The centurion owns Him to be a righteous man. These are the chief peculiarities, and, as may have been seen, not unimportant ones, of Luke. We now arrive at the circumstances attending the resurrection, which are different in each Gospel; and evidently enough connected with the object of each. For instance, the ascension is left out in Matthew, and Christ is associated with His disciples in Galilee, the place of His visiting the remnant, the connection with which maintained all through Matthew, as in chaps. 10 and 24. The first verse of chap. 28, I apprehend, was Saturday evening when Sabbath was past; the second relates to an event not in immediate connection with their visit when they came in the morning. The stone was already rolled away. Indeed, Mary Magdalene seems to have been there before the others, while it was yet dark, and the stone was already gone.
Matthew puts with the women's visit, in a general way, yet in a distinct paragraph, the effect of the circumstances attending the rolling away the stone; how the keepers trembled at the visiting of the tomb by the angel to roll it away: whereas, when the women came, the angel answered and said, " Fear not ye." They are told to go and tell the disciples He would go into Galilee, and they would see Him there. Jesus meets them as they return, and tells them the same thing. We are then shown the final and willful obstinacy of the nation in rejecting the testimony of their own instruments, which they knew and believed to be true. Christ joins the disciples in Galilee. There, in virtue of all power being given him in heaven and earth, they receive their commission to go and make disciples of all the nations: the mission is now extended to the nations, not confined to Israel; they were to baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, the great dispensational Christian revelation, to teach them to observe what Christ had commanded, and He would be with them to the end of the age. This mission rested on the fact of all power being Christ's in heaven and on earth, and extended the previous missions of the residue, instituting one which embraced the nations at large. These were to be made disciples of. The account is very general and brief, only adding how the stone was rolled away to the other accounts: the whole else is the meeting in Galilee and consequent mission. This is the more remarkable as Matthew must have been present at what John relates of Jesus appearing in their midst at Jerusalem.
Mark leads us at once to the morning of the first day, at the rising of the sun; and we have the details, as to the women, of what Matthew only gave the general result of. The same message is given; but it is not followed up farther. The meeting with Mary Magdalene, of which we have the details in John, is stated, and that of the two disciples going to Emmaus, of which Luke gives the details; also the general fact of His appearing to the twelve together at meat, of which we have details in Luke and John. We have, then, His resurrection having been recounted, the universal mission and continuation of service in the power of Christ Himself, the consequence of faith and public acknowledgment of Christ on one side, and of the refusal of the Gospel on the other. The fact of His ascension and session at the right hand of God; their going forth to preach everywhere, according to the mission and of the power which accompanied their service according to promise, are then recorded. This, while connecting the accounts of all the Gospels, as to the proofs of His resurrection, has the character of service and testimony, which we have seen belong to Mark. The commencement of the account in Luke is pretty much the same as in Mark and Matthew; the women go to the sepulcher, and are told by the angels that He is risen; but no details are given, only it is said in general that the women told the apostles and the rest, and that Peter ran to the sepulcher. But we have large and interesting details as to the two who go to Emmaus; there is nothing as to going into Galilee. But two very important points are brought out, not in the other Gospels. He opens their understandings to understand the Scriptures, and they are to wait at Jerusalem till they are endued with power from on high; the two essential and necessary means of Christian service, as it has always to go on. The apparition to Simon, mentioned by Paul, 1 Cor. 15, is also mentioned, and, briefly, the Lord's coming into their midst when assembled. The corporeal reality, though it was now a spiritual body of His human nature, is very prominently brought out; He was still a living man with flesh and bones. He explains the Old Testament as to Himself, both, on the way to Emmaus and here. His death and resurrection are shown as in the mind of God, and repentance and remission of sins were to be preached to all the nations, beginning, according to the dispensation of God, and in grace, with the "Jew first." All connection with Galilee is omitted. He begins afresh with Jerusalem as from heaven, and so with all nations. It is the Gospel as we know it has been preached, and (leaving out the Church) as Paul preached it; and the Acts present it to us. The account goes on as if Christ went out that same first day to Bethany, and that He then ascended thence—so entirely is Galilee left out. Yet Luke is he who in the Acts lets us know Christ rested forty days before He ascended; but he gives, by divine wisdom, like the others,
What the truth was he was given to teach. Christ leaves them for heaven, blessing as He leaves. As to the first effect, while full of joy, they are daily in the temple. There Christianity had its cradle and its birthplace. The character of the close of the Gospel is evident. Bethany was the place Christ frequented the last week before He suffered; the home of His beloved ones in grace, where He was anointed for death where He sheaved Himself Son of God in resurrection. This He transfers to heaven, and blesses as He goes up. They associate all with the temple. This was more than tarrying in Jerusalem, or beginning with it. What a true picture of it all I How much more we learn here of the great truths of Christianity connected with His resurrection than in Matthew or Mark. It is not simply the fact, nor continuing the scene or connection in which he had been, or merely extending it. John has, as we know, while full in this part of the Lord's history, quite another character. Surely this comparison of the Gospels, and of the details of their contents, throws much light on the purpose of the Gospels, and of each of them distinctively, and abundantly confirms the divine inspiration of all, because the mind of God shines all through their structure.
UK 1{I now turn to Luke. It is remarkable how this Gospel brings out the moral condition of things in their various phases, and first of Israel in the days in which the Lord came. We have first the whole status of Judaism most clearly and graphically presented. In the body of the Gospel, Luke gives us in general the Son of Man, and the great moral principles of relationship between man and God. But for this reason, before this begins, he pictures to us very fully the state of Judaism by itself, and all the blessings which remained to the faithful in it. Herod (an Edomite) King of Judea—the Jewish service going on in Davidical order. Angels, ministers of God, His messengers to a godly priest, prophecy, and more than prophecy brought in according to promise. The house of David entering on the scene, but in poverty and low estate. Note, the explanation of the name of "Jesus," as saving. His people, is not given, but He is the Son of the Highest. At the same time, He will have the throne of His father David. Next, as Haggai said, the Spirit remains among them, and acts in holy men and women according to ancient Jewish witness, such as Hannah in the desolations of Israel. Jewish hopes are prophetically sealed of God by prophecy (1:67-79). The Jews, at the same time, are under the dominion of the Gentiles, successors of those to whom Jerusalem had been delivered. They are disposed of at their will. Still the promise is sure, and its accomplishment announced by an angel to the poor of the flock. The heavens see further into this grace; there is goodwill toward, more exactly, God's good pleasure in man. But the Jewish order still is there; the faithful accomplish the ordinances of the law, but they await with desire the fulfillment of the promise, and see it in Jesus. They know each other as a remnant. Anna spake of Him to all them who waited for redemption in Israel. Yet prophecy in the remnant sees well the place the new-born child is to hold in Israel. He is for the fall and for the rising again of many. Such is the scene presented in the first two chapters of Luke, and of which the other Gospels say nothing, while this is silent on all the royal question and Herod's effort to destroy Christ, Jesus coming up out of Egypt, the coming of the Gentiles to Israel's King, all which referred to God's dealings with Israel. Further, Christ is a real man; grows bodily and mentally, and in favor with God and man, in His gracious ways. But, child or not, His person was not changed. He depended on no outward mission to have it. At twelve years old, full of the power of His relationship, He is, with comely fitness and marvelous competency, occupied with His Father's business, yet returns into the human child's obedient place. After that comes the service. In the third chapter, we enter on what is common to this Gospel and that of Matthew, but the form is very different. John's preaching in Matthew, is repentance for, the Kingdom; in Luke, for the remission of sins. One feels the difference. One is dispensational, the other moral. So in Luke, "All flesh shall see the salvation of God." It is not merely the Pharisees and Sadducees, but the multitude, who are a generation of vipers. So he gives the practically moral test to each class that comes to him. The result as to John, at least his imprisonment, is given at once. Christ is owned Son of God by the Father, and the Holy Ghost comes on Him. Here this part of the Gospel closes, and the Lord's genealogy conies in, not connected with these Jewish scenes, and the promises of Abraham's and David's, but traced up to Adam, Son of God; introducing the great and, to us, all-important character of Son of Man.
UK 4-5{This makes us easily understand the reason why the genealogy is placed here, and the distinctive character of what precedes it. The whole Jewish condition is there, as we have seen, brought out with one little inlet into heaven, on Jesus coming into the world; and now we have His place as Son of Man, one who, as representative of man according to divine perfection and counsels, is come to begin the new thing, and become the center of the new creation. Only for that His death was needed for God's glory and our salvation (compare John 12:23,2423And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. 24Verily, 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. (John 12:23‑24)). But in His own moral perfectness we have the new thing. The moment His being Son of Man, descended according to the flesh from Adam, has been shown, He is led to be put to the test by the energy who had deceived the first Adam. This scene we have had as a fact in Mark, and detailed in Matthew, with this difference, that there it is given in historical, and, I may add, dispensational order; here, in moral, the spiritual temptation by the Scriptures coming last. Hence Luke omits the sending away of Satan after the offer of the world, and Satan's proposal that He should worship him. After this, the moral power of work and victory in obedience is noted in His returning in the power of the Spirit into Galilee. None of that power was lost; indeed, Christ not having failed in subjective obedience, the strong man was bound. Hence the first thing is not, as in Matthew, the manifestation of power, and then attention being attracted, the description of the character suited to the Kingdom; but the presentation of Himself in grace, the Spirit of the Lord being upon Him, He being, therefore, man. The gracious words told in their hearts; but in His own country He was, for them, Joseph's son—such is the place of the Lord from heaven, the Son of Man (Second Adam) presented in grace to men and to Israel. Christ had already preached and acted in Capernaum; but the Spirit of God we see thus formally presents Him in Luke. And the Lord shows, that coming in sovereign grace sent from God, there was no limitation to Israel, as Elias went to 'Sarepta, and Naaman, the Syrian, was healed; while in either case many in Israel were left aside. Hence unbridled rage in His Jewish audience. But He was not subject to its power. This is all peculiar to Luke. With the exception of displacing the calling of Andrew and Simon, as we shall see, Luke now follows the same order as Mark. First, His power over the enemy is shown (4:30-37); next, over diseases, and all that sin had brought in. This is the power He had in the world as having bound the strong man—He could spoil all his goods, work an entire deliverance of man from Satan's power, and all its consequences in this world. But He seeks no witness to Himself, does not allow the devils to speak, and retires from the gaze and throng of men when His miracles had drawn their attention. He goes first into the desert, and then, when they would stay Him, pursues His work. This characterizes His presence in the world. He now begins to gather round Himself (ch. 5). In Matthew, this gathering round Himself is brought in immediately He appears as the Light in Galilee, according to promise, preaching the Kingdom; and then He goes round everywhere; and, when crowds follow Him, explains the character suited to the Kingdom. Here His mission and power as Son of Man on the earth being shown, He, though retiring from view, begins then to gather to Himself. It will be remarked, that we have a much fuller development of the way in which the disciples are called to follow Him in Luke. Simon hears the word in his ship. Christ works a miracle which reveals His person; the effect is just and deep conviction of sin in connection with that person. Then they leave all and follow Him. It is, I apprehend, Luke who changes the place of this. In that which immediately follows, he takes the same order as Mark. In Matthew, we have the whole of this arranged according to subjects.
What characterizes these facts in Luke is, their being presented as the various displays of power in grace. First, Jesus heals that which Jehovah alone healed, the figure of sin as disease and defilement, which excluded from Jehovah's presence, and from communion with His people. He cleanses them from defilement. He charges the cleansed men to tell no man, but it is noised abroad. He heals all who come, but retires into the wilderness and prays. There is power and grace, but it is the Son of Man. Next, doctors of the law and Pharisees were then there, and (an expression so fully showing the situation), the power of the Lord (of Jehovah) was present to heal them—faith brings the paralytic man—Jesus goes to the root of evil in Israel (and everywhere), but here especially deals with it in respect of the government of God, and pardons the mans sins -Jesus brings forgiveness. The word is, "The Son of Man has power on earth to forgive." Yet it was the Jehovah of Psa. 103. Here "so seen in Israel" is omitted. Next, we find grace receiving the vile. He came to call sinners as a physician for their need. Grace was thus shown in the midst of Israel, but on principles which went necessarily beyond it. Jesus receives sinners in grace, making all new. These cases, indeed, are common to the Gospels, whatever the order may be, and prominent in them as stamping a plain character on Christ's mission. Only Matthew, introduces the centurion's case where he places it, as especially showing the bearing of the state of things on the extension of grace to the Gentiles. The fact that, though in connection with Israel, the presence of the Lord and the principles here brought into view, went necessarily further, and could not be confined to the Jews definitely, is brought out in the question as to John's disciples, and the new wine and old bottles, etc.; the vessels must be new for the new power. But Luke adds here a moral principle not noticed in the other two Gospels; that human nature will like the old thing best. This subject is pursued in two remarkable cases as to the Sabbath, the key-stone of Jewish ordinances—the case of David eating the shewbread- the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath; and the healing of the withered hand,—divine goodness rises above ordinances. Luke gives the facts more briefly than Mark. Matthew puts them much further on in the history, where they are connected with the rejection of Israel. The first of these cases presents the position of the rejected King whose need was above ordinances, and whose condition really abrogated them; adding, that as Son of Man, consequently, He was Lord of the Sabbath. The second is the title of grace to rise above them. For grace is of God.
UK 6{Next, we find the nomination of the apostles. After the Lord's personal position and character had been brought out, this finds a natural place. He selects His instruments. This still follows the same order as Mark; who, after a general statement of the position of Jesus, continues his account with this same event. Matthew has not this choice of the twelve. He continues his full account of Jesus' mission in the midst of Israel till He sends them out to continue it. In Luke we find again here the dependent character of the Son of Man. He is all night in prayer before He chooses the twelve. Here comes in the sermon on the mountain in its place; and we have clear evidence of the intended omission by the Holy Ghost of this choice of the twelve in Matthew, for as a man he must have known it, for he was one of the twelve. We have seen Matthew bringing in the sermon on the mount much earlier, as the principles of the Kingdom. (In Luke, it should not be "the plain," but "a level place" still on the mountain). Luke gives the substance of the sermon in its great moral principles. His power, note, was shown in the multitude (17-19). The Lord addresses Himself in Luke to His disciples, as being themselves in the place He speaks of, instead of stating the abstract principle. The woes, too, are added. It is an address to the heart and conscience of the persons present. He weaves in, too, as 39, 40, other general principles connected with the precepts he is giving. So 44, 45. Here we have left Mark, who does not give the sermon on the mount. He gives the choice of the apostles, and then passes on to the full blasphemy. of the Pharisees, and Jesus' refusal to listen to His mother, preceding the parables from the ship, as in Matt. 12 and 13. But the order in Luke, in this particular case, helps us, as it does in Matthew, to identify the sermon on the mount in the two Gospels. From the mountain He enters into Capernaum, and heals the Centurion's servant. Here Christ's divine title and power is shown, but he does not use it to show the rejection of Israel, and the reception of the Gentiles as in Matthew. The widow of Nain, again, spews the divine power and compassion of Jesus in the place of death and sorrow; this circumstance is peculiar to Luke. The leper, and the healing of Peter's wife's mother, are introduced respectively before and after the centurion's servant, without reference to the order of time. After this, the relative positions of John and Christ are brought forward; which is not in Mark, and is much later in Matt. I apprehend its historical place is here. In Luke, we have the moral effect of both inquired into. The people and publicans justified Christ, having humbled themselves under John's baptism; the Pharisees not; having refused to do so. Matthew introduces here Jesus thanking the Father for His way of dealing with the wise, and with babes, and the real reason of the change taking place; taking it again, I apprehend out of its historical order to complete the picture of that change furnished by John's position and message. This justifying of wisdom of her children is then illustrated by the woman who was a sinner, in contrast with Simon, the Pharisee. This deep reaching moral picture is in Luke only, as are also the few words which follow; which cast so clear a light on the Lord's life; and give the double character of devotedness;—that of the apostles, and of the women who followed Him. One of the parables of Matt. 13 is then given, i.e., the present service in the word, and responsibility of man, his duty to maintain the light. The case of Jesus' mother and brethren is then introduced in Luke, as sheaving Christ's value for those who kept His word, and not as a witness of His breaking His ties with Israel in the flesh. None of the parables relative to the Kingdom are spoken of. Here we return to the historical order which is in Mark, until the feeding of the five thousand inclusive that is, the history of Legion, Jairus' daughter, the sending out of the twelve, and the feeding of the multitude. As regards Legion, the difference is remarkable. In Matthew, we have the display of Satan's power, as it would afterward work in the Jews, and the request for Jesus' departure; not any detail as to the poor man that was healed. In Luke, as in Mark, we have the details of the effects on him;- the Lord's real work in grace in the matter. In the cases of Jairus and the woman with the issue of blood, the same brevity may be remarked in Matthew. In Luke, all the moral circumstances are much more brought out in detail, as, indeed, in Mark also. What is shown in Luke, especially, is grace, divine power acting in the kindness and goodness of a man filled with charity. It is not, as in John, a divine person so much as a divine character; and that in the perfect sympathy of a man. What shows this, as the case of the widow of Nain, Simon and the woman that was a sinner, is constantly found in Luke and not in the other Gospels. It is grace in and towards man. On the other hand, the mission of the twelve, which comes in its place here, is given much more briefly, and with no special reference to Israel; nor the elaborate unfolding of the place which testimony would have among the people until Christ's return, which is found in Matthew. We have the fact, they are to preach the Kingdom of God and heal the sick, and to go free from care and dependent on Himself. It is the same mission, but in its simple actual character. The effect on Herod is here introduced. Luke gives no account of John the Baptist's death; there is a short allusion to his imprisonment in chap. 3:19, when John's preaching is spoken of; but this part of Israel's sin formed no part of his subject. Otherwise, the same order as Mark's is still followed here. On the return of the twelve, the Lord goes into a desert place, is followed, and heals those who have need of healing. In these miracles, necessary to relate as great witnesses to Christ's power, Luke gives but the fact briefly, and, as so given, having more power in that respect. The connection of it with Israel, and His dismissal of the people, and taking Himself another position while His disciples were toiling alone, is all omitted. In Matthew and Mark, the closing circumstances of this miracle lead to a series of events and incidents, which refer all: of them to Christ's special relationship with the Jews, the moral position of these, and God's estimate of them; all of which are omitted in Luke (Matt. 14:22-15:1222And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 23And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. 24But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. 25And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. 26And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. 27But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. 28And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. 29And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? 32And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. 33Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. 34And when they were gone over, they came into the land of Gennesaret. 35And when the men of that place had knowledge of him, they sent out into all that country round about, and brought unto him all that were diseased; 36And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole. 1Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, 2Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. 3But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? 4For God commanded, saying, Honor thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. 5But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; 6And honor not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. 7Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. 9But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 10And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: 11Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. 12Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? (Matthew 14:22‑15:12); Mark 6.47-8:26). All three Gospels then come to Peter's confession of Christ, and the transfiguration. Only in Luke the common opinions as to Christ connect themselves more directly with Herod's, and what is there said. For Luke 9:1818And it came to pass, as he was alone praying, his disciples were with him: and he asked them, saying, Whom say the people that I am? (Luke 9:18) is directly connected with chap. 10, and that with what precedes. Still the transfiguration is a great central event in all, and that connected with the confession of Peter. In all, the rejection of Christ and the taking up the cross, are founded on Peter's owning Him to be the Christ, and precede the revelation of His glory. There are some differences to be noted; Matthew recounts Christ's instruction as to the Church, which was to take the place for the present of His Messiah glory; and the place Peter was to hold in the administration of the Kingdom. Here also in Luke, the matter is simply stated in its own moral force; and the details of Peter's dislike to the cross, and the Lord's rebuke, are omitted. The character of what they are about to see, is also more simply stated. In Matthew, for whom the change from Messiah to Son of Man is a main point, and the future coming of Christ in this character (see Matt. 24:3030And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:30)), the expression used in connection with this display of His glory, is the Son of Man coming in His Kingdom. In Mark, where service in the word forms the subject, it is, the Kingdom of God come with power. In Luke, simply till they see the Kingdom of God. There is a difference also in the details. The moral circumstances again appear in Luke. The disciples are asleep. The Lord is speaking of His decease. It is the entry of Moses and Elias into the cloud that alarmed them. All the ensuing conversation relative to John's being Elias, of which Matthew and Mark speak, is not found in Luke's account; but he returns after the casting out of a devil to the doctrine of the cross (vers. 44, 45). And, further, in the rest of this chap. 9 in Luke, we have all the forms which self takes, and which it would excuse and justify from the grossest to the most subtle; and the claim of Christ and the service of grace in the Kingdom, is shown to be paramount to everything. Two of the circumstances are given in Matthew and Mark; the second, that of the little child, as an example, with a large addition of instruction as to offenses; and with the addition, in Matthew, of the position which the Church takes, as in the place of Israel in respect of offenses. This passes off in Matthew to other questions relative to the Jews. We then find in Luke a mission not noticed in the other Gospels, that of the seventy. It is in principle the same as that of the twelve, only more urgent, but there is no limit as in Matt. 10. Those that rejected them were to be equally sure that the Kingdom of God had come nigh to them. Such was essentially the message, with proofs of the power of Him that sent it. From this onwards to the commencement of the closing scene, 18:31, what we read in Luke, is either not in Matthew and Mark, or is here connected with other subjects than the historical ones found in those Gospels; and the various circumstances are introduced in their moral connection. On the return of the seventy, the great moral connection of the Gospel with eternal hopes comes out. The power of Christ's name over the demons, brings to Christ's mind the final overthrow of Satan. Still the subject of joy for them was not that they could cast out devils, but that they belonged themselves to heaven, their names were registered there. This gave a very clear and definite character to the Gospel. It is in this connection that the hiding these things from wise and prudent, and revealing them to babes, is introduced here; not in connection with the rejection of John Baptist and Christ, and the total change in God's dealings with man taking place, as in Matt. 11 Hence it is added here, that the Lord turned to the disciples to remark their blindness, for these things were brought to their eyes. It is the blessing of the heavenly people which is before us; what follows is in Luke alone. After the essence of the statement of the law, the Lord shows to him who would justify himself by a cavil on the terms, that grace, the new and blessed principle of God's dealings, makes us, by its own nature, the neighbor of every one that has need, and obliterates, by its divine nature, the divisions formed by ordinance which work no grace, but, with the heart such as it is, tend to nourish pride by distinguishing him to whom they belong. The bearing of this instruction, and its deep moral character, are evident. Next, we learn the value of hearing the Word-in contrast with cares-and that of prayer, its character and success. We have then the final hardness of the Pharisees shown, and the way in which Satan possesses the heart void of God, though it seem reformed; but without application to Israel's final state, as in Matthew. The Lord turns, on one speaking of the value of natural ties with Him, to the Word; that God owned those who heard and kept it, as the only true tie—the Ninevites and Queen of Sheba, as owning the Word from feebler lips than he who was there, would condemn that generation. We have then the judgment of the moral state of the Pharisees, but not here connected with the final judgment of Jerusalem, and the connection of the disciples with Israel, as in Matthew. Still the Lord shows, that all the blood shed would be required of them, as in Matthew. We have then a general warning as to their principles, and those on which the disciples were to act, taken, partly from a private warning to His disciples, partly from His instruction to the twelve when He sent them out, partly from His statement as to the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost; but this is here employed to encourage the disciples in acting on the principles of the upright testimony He had spoken to them of; showing that the Holy Ghost who was spoken against, spoke in them, and would tell them what to say.
As the Lord had urged on His disciples, faithfulness, uprightness, and boldness in testimony, so now He goes on to press on them disinterestedness and absence of all carefulness. This, however, is introduced by one who looked to Him to order things rightly on earth. This He entirely disclaims, and turns to the multitude to press on them the folly of having their portion here, which death in a moment could snatch away. With His disciples He presses another motive, namely, their preciousness in the Father's eyes. Here some of the instructions of the sermon on the mount come in. But the Lord goes on to urge another motive, giving an additional character to their devotedness. Not only it was the Father's good pleasure to give them the Kingdom, so that they might well trust Him for all things; but He Himself was coming again. Christians were to be as those that waited for Him. He gives the beautiful picture of His love making them happy in glory, girding Himself and coming forth to serve them; till then they must watch with girded loins. The difference of the faithful and unfaithful professing servants is then brought out. One cannot but feel, that in all this and what follows, even though parts of what is recorded are found in Matthew and Mark, that we are in a wide sphere of moral instruction not entered on elsewhere; and that all this is given with a moral purpose, not in reference to historical order. He is in Israel, but developing great principles which cannot be confined to Israel.
In what immediately follows, He shows that they must bow to the truth or be judged. He came in grace, and the power of divine love; but there was nothing to answer it. His death would open the flood-gates of this love to the chief of sinners, not wait till there was righteousness enough to receive it. But while this love was in Himself, He was straitened in its display and revelation, till this baptism of death was accomplished. This love, this incoming of God, would raise all the enmity of the human heart. It was not as prince of peace that His power would be shown. Not only so, but, by the present manifestation of the grace, though straitened, the fire it would light was already kindled.
UK 14{The Jews ought to have discerned this time. Looked at, naturally, as under the law, they did not become reconciled on the way; they would go to prison till all was paid. Personally, if they did not repent, they would all perish, like those slain by Pilate at Jerusalem, whom they thought special objects of judgment. This instruction is closed by the parable of the fig tree in the garden, spared by the intercession of the gardener, i.e., for the painstaking service of Christ; then, if fruitless, to be cut down. It only spoiled the garden. In all this, and what follows, we have the judgment of the present state of Jerusalem and the people, in connection with the Lord's presence. Meanwhile, He asserts, while spewing their hypocrisy, His right to minister in grace, in divine power, blessing to Israel, in opposition to their legal ignorance of, and absence from God. The urgency of the acceptance of this ministry, is then pressed. He was going teaching through the cities and villages, and presses the entrance at the strait gate; for the time would come when they would seek to take credit from His having been among them, and He would, in glory, reject them; and they would see Gentiles with Abraham, and the fathers, and themselves, thrust out. Finally, on the Pharisees urging Herod's evil intentions, He shows that Jerusalem must fill up its guilt in rejecting Him, the Jehovah who would ever have gathered her children, and now mourned in tender grace over her who was henceforth to be desolate, till, according to Psa. 118, she saluted Him who came in the name of the Lord. In chap. 14, the Lord, on occasion of a dinner in the Pharisee's house, continues his instruction on the grace which characterized God's ways now, and that again in contrast with the sabbath; silencing them, with the same reasoning, as to their own conduct. He then unfolds the path of present grace, and its results with God; namely, first lowliness, taking the lowest place. God would exalt, in due time, those who did so. Such was His own course. Next, to act in grace, and not on the principles of worldly selfishness. The recompense would be in the resurrection of the just. In all this, He is bringing out the spirit and character of the new thing, into which He was leading men; the character of the new man in a world of evil. The reference of one of the company to the joy of eating bread in the Kingdom of God, perhaps a common place remark, perhaps felt, leads Him to apply the principles He is expounding, to the consequence of their rejection in Israel then. The kingdom was presented in grace; the Jews, in their national capacity, from temporal motives, were slighting it. The Lord would call the poor of the flock, glad to come; and the Jews, as such, be excluded. But the enjoyment of blessing, at the same time, would depend on unqualified decision in oneself, and against the much greater power, in flesh's judgment of it, exercised against those who sought it.
It will be remarked, that the parable of the great supper in Matthew, has a much more dispensational and judicial character. The city is burnt up. It is the king's son the marriage is for. The king's turning to the poor of the flock in Israel, the judgment of those entered, the conduct of many towards the messengers, are not found in Luke; nor the fact of the house being filled with gueSts. That is, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the general Gentile body of professors are not brought out. The first invited are excluded from the supper in Luke, as unworthy. I am disposed to think it a different occasion. After insisting on decision, and counting the cost, the Lord concludes by saying, a man must forsake all that he has; and if the salt has lost its savor, it is good for nothing.
UK 15{The fifteenth chapter begins a series of instruction, showing the character and effects of grace; and the change, dependent not on dispensation, but on the full revelation of the divine character, and the consequent judgment of the whole condition of man; though it was in Israel that condition was put to the test. The well-known fifteenth chapter brings out the whole scheme of God's ways in grace with the sinner in Christ, the Spirit, and the Father; and, in general, that it was the divine joy to save and act in grace. It shows the way in which Christ sought His sheep, and charged Himself with bringing it home; the way the Spirit sought diligently with the light, brought to bear on all; the path of man s ruin, and the way the Father received him on his return; and, finally, the self-righteous Jewish condition. Next, we find the way in which grace estimates this world, and man in it, with the use to be made of his forfeited position in it; i.e., of what he possessed, though he had forfeited all title to it. Of this, also, the Jews were the special illustration. When the human earthly place was lost, another future was to be the motive on which the use of present possessions was to be founded. Then the veil of the other world is removed, and we see that this world's being our portion, excludes from that. In the close of this parable, which points at the complete substitution of the heavenly blessing for the earthly, and the judging of all things, in their eternal character, by the letting in of that new light, the Lord shows that Moses and the prophets would have led the Jews to own Him, and be delivered; and that, if they did not hear them, His own resurrection would have no effect. The connection of great moral truths with the setting aside of the Jewish system, and the setting it aside by these moral truths, and the grace which belonged to God's nature, when He revealed Himself; both of them too wide for Judaism (the latter, contrasted with its spirit, as the former left all its ordinances necessarily behind), instead of setting it aside dispensationally, is very remarkable in all this part of Luke. In the beginning of chap. 17, are collected a number of passages found in Matthew and Mark, with additional matter, in which the principles on which the disciples had to walk, in their new service, are stated. Such are—care against giving occasions of stumbling to the little ones of Christ; forgiveness of what is personal; the power of faith; the recognition that, at best, we have only done our duty. The order and way in which these are introduced and used, is the only thing to be particularly noted here. In what follows, we have an interesting example of the way of deliverance from the legal ordinances. Ten lepers are cleansed. The Lord sends them—their cleansing was the fruit of Jehovah's power—to spew themselves to the priests, according to the law. They go, believing Him, and are cleansed. Nine pursue their course; one turns back. Outwardly farther from privileges' which exalt flesh, he more easily discovers that Jehovah, whom he went to own in Jerusalem, is in Him who had cleansed him. He turns back to offer his thanks there. The Lord, since he had found the true place where God was, sets him entirely free from Jerusalem: " Go thy way," He says, " thy faith hath made thee whole." He was not only blessed, but free. The Kingdom of God was really in its power in His person, amongst them. And this was so true, that, rejected as He was going to be, the time would soon come, when the disciples would be glad to have such days as they then had with Him. The Lord then, as in chap. 12, He had given the Church's place at His coming, gives the Jewish condition, and, in general, the, world's. The same instructions are given, in connection with the judgment of Jerusalem, in Matthew, of which the prophetic announcement in Luke is further on. Here it is the unfolding the condition of the disciples and the Jews, flowing from His then presence, and the place His removal would give them. The condition of the wit, nesses in the final days of Jerusalem, is given here, not, as in Matthew, in connection with the destruction of Jerusalem. This last is directly and distinctly given by itself; and with plain reference to presently coming events, as a positive object of revelation in Luke. Here, the subject is the condition of the disciples; and the warnings are connected with his teaching on that point. Hence, the direction to pray, though having a peculiar parabolic application to the latter days in Jerusalem, has a universal one for men in every circumstance in which they are in difficulty and need. But this dependence upon God was hardly to be expected when the Lord returned. Except the comparison of the times of Noe and Lot, all this is found in Luke only; and the whole is general, and applicable to the coming of Christ, in its bearing on the world at large, though where the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
The characteristic traits, suited to the Kingdom, and approved of God, are next shown. Lowliness—because of our sinfulness—lowliness in the sense of our nothingness. Here we have some. of the account, given in Matthew, of the relationship and position of children, in a moral connection, as is usual with Luke. Then, entire' devotedness, and the heart purged; not simply the outward keeping of the commandments, however sincere. Goodness is denied to man. One only is good—God Himself. What seems blessing here below, is the greatest hindrance to entering into the Kingdom; but grace can do everything. Nor will devotedness lose its reward in this world, or the next. This closes the moral developments which compose all the middle part of Luke, and form instructions of the highest interest, connected with the present moral introduction of the Kingdom. They contrast with Matt. 13, where we have the dispensational earthly survey of it; and with 16, 17, when the great change of system and organization is brought out to light. Save two or three general principles, such as taking up the cross, the young ruler seeking the best commandment to have eternal life, and the exhortation to lowliness, all this part is omitted in Matthew and Mark. It characterizes Luke; and even the topics introduced, which are found in Matthew and Mark, are so in a different connection. On the other hand, a good deal that precedes the transfiguration in Matthew and Mark, is omitted in Luke. In this part of Luke, historical order is not generally to be sought. This is now again taken up, as it is in the other Gospels too, by telling the disciples that rejection awaited Him from the Jewish rulers. The prophecies were thus going to be accomplished. The disciples did not understand Him.
The history of the last events, begins, as we have seen in reading Matthew, with the entrance into Jericho, where the blind man owns Him as Son of David, and receives his sight. But here, also, the grace which receives the vile, in spite of Jewish prejudices, must be brought out in Luke. This is the more remarkable here, as connected with His character as Son of David, and His speedy entry into Jerusalem, according to Zechariah. Zacchaeus had been honestly faithful to his conscience; but that day salvation came to his house. His, heart had been drawn; but now salvation came to him. The Son of David, Messiah the King, would, in spite of Pharisees, meet the wants of the poor and despised in Israel, however false their position. And that of Zacchaeus was so; and no attempt to satisfy the exigencies of his conscience, changed its falseness; indeed, this creates them. But, in a time of confusion, and who does not see such, grace reaches through the forms this confusion takes in individuals, to meet the need which lies at the bottom of the heart, and which grace had produced, and which shows itself in many a detail of which grace takes notice, and which grace can see (though selfishness cannot), as the Lord did here. Such grace as Jesus', draws them out, as it did here; but that grace, at the same time, passes by as well, all the efforts to quiet the conscience. It brings salvation. Zacchaeus was a son of Abraham, surely as much as the Pharisees. I am disposed to think, that the healing of the blind man is out of its place in Luke, and is introduced before the Lord's entry into Jericho, in order to give its true character to the reception of Zacchaeus.
Besides the very interesting history of Zacchaeus, Luke adds the parable of the traffic with the mina, referring to the way in which the Kingdom would be set up, and Jews' rejection of Him. It is evident that there are certain points of analogy between this and the parable addressed to the disciples in Matthew; but there are important points of distinction. Here, responsibility is much more distinctly brought out; God's sovereignty, though ever wise sovereignty, in gifts, less. In Matthew, one had five talents; another two; another one, according to his several ability. Here, each has one; all depends on the faithfulness of the servant. Hence, it is not, as in Matthew, one common joy, "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord; " but " Be thou over ten, thou over five cities." It is reward in the kingdom, not common joy with Christ; each being faithful in what was entrusted, and having gained according to what was given him. But another point is brought in, not merely the faithfulness of the servants, in which the analogy, though not sameness, of the two parables lies. The question of the Jews receiving the Kingdom or not, is treated; they could not, for they would not receive the King. Christ was now near that place where this question was to be decided, the city of the great King; and men thought the Kingdom should immediately appear. He shows them that another order was to be followed. He was going to a far country, Heaven, to receive the Kingdom. Meanwhile, He left His servants to trade; not yet to be His partners in the glory of the Kingdom; that would come afterward. They would have their place in it according to their faithfulness in His absence; to them that had, more would be given. But there was another class of persons, His citizens—over whom he should have reigned -the Jews; but they, in their rejection of the Gospel, after His departure, declared they would not have Him to reign over them. They are, on His return, brought before Him and slain. It was not merely the rejection of Christ;—He interceded for them on the cross, for that as their ignorance, and the Spirit comes to tell them, He will return on their repentance;- but their opposition to this last, as a message sent after Him, that they will not have Him. This gave the full instructions as to the course the introduction of the Kingdom would take.
He rides into the city on an ass. Part of the cry recited here, not in the other Gospels, is worthy of remark: "Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest." That is, in Luke, they not merely raise the cry of Israel in the last day, according to Psa. 118, but the announcement is extended to heaven. There, peace is settled. The power of the enemy is gone; and that glory, which is above the heavens, fully established. Peace reigns there, so that the blessing on earth can follow. This additional and characteristic announcement naturally belongs to Him who reveals the Son of Man, and heavenly and eternal things. Further, we have still grace shown here; the other special part of Christ's character in Luke; -He weeps over the city on seeing it. The question of His authority is in all the three Gospels, as is also the seeking of fruit from the husbandmen; but Luke omits the marriage of the king's son, which, in Matthew, gives the other part of God's dealing with the Jewish people. Luke had already given an analogous parable; but dealing with the subject morally as to the effect of Jesus' teaching, and calling men, and the result in its extension to the Gentiles, after He had shown His love to the poor of the flock in Israel. In Christ's reply to the Sadducees, an additional and important element is brought out in Luke—the first resurrection peculiar to the children of God. In Matthew, the present authority of scribes, etc., as in Moses' seat, is recognized; but they are denounced by the Lord in the most awful way. Here, after the manner of Luke, the true moral point of their character is stated; no authority is spoken of and they are left there. A few words suffice for this. Then comes the widow's mite, which is not in Matthew. In all this part, Luke's account tallies exactly with Mark's. The character of Jerusalem, as killing the prophets, and the Lord's patient grace, which would have so often assembled her children, found in Matthew immediately before the prophecy of chap. 24, is in Luke 13. I apprehend, as I expressed in speaking of Matt. 23, it is introduced by Matthew, in connection with his subject, somewhat out of its place, but not so far as to time as might be supposed. The journey mentioned in Luke 9, and in 17:11 (which, I suppose, are the same, if the sense of 9:51, is rightly given), was the last. The collection of moral instructions, which follows on chap. 9, leaves the chronological connection untouched. The transfiguration practically closed the Lord's ministry, as the Lord in the midst of Israel; and that, in all the three Gospels. In all the three, besides the account of the birth of the Lord, which is not in Mark, there are three parts: His ministry in Galilee, which closes with the transfiguration; then He specially announces that He is to suffer, and that as Son of Man; then we have a course of instruction, whether dispensational or moral. The latter character is largely developed in Luke, so that this second part, in which Christ has the place of Son of Man (the subject of Luke's Gospel), is very much longer; contains a great deal of additional matter, and draws out what is found in Matthew and Mark, in quite another connection. The third part begins with the blind man near Jericho. In the second part, in all three Gospels, there is, as to historical circumstances, merely the last journey, and what passed in it; so that the blind man at Jericho connects itself, through this journey, almost immediately with the transfiguration. He then finally left His service in Galilee, and set out -to suffer in Jerusalem; so that the Character of His service was changed, or rather it was closed, only that He continued to spew mercy, and to bear witness in grace, till it was actually and finally closed. But he had forbidden His disciples to say He was the Christ, for He was soon going to suffer as Son of Man, and could say now, " How long shall I be with you, how long shall I suffer you?"
John shows, I apprehend, that there was, after His leaving Galilee, a course of movements in detail, not found in the other Gospels. He goes up into the coast of Judaea from Galilee, the other side Jordan, and goes up to Jerusalem (Mark 11). Jesus was at Jerusalem in winter, at the feast of the dedication (John 10.22). They seek to kill Him, and He goes beyond Jordan again; comes up to raise Lazarus, and again departs to a country called Ephraim. Then He comes up for the last time (Luke 9 and 17) This, of course, was a little before Easter. The address to Jerusalem was thus, at any rate, on His last journey up to Jerusalem.
UK 21{To come now to the prophetic warning of the Lord. The question recorded, as put by the disciples, shows at the outset, the difference of the object of the revelation: Christ, as in Matthew, had assured them, that the temple would be thrown down. The inquiry as to the sign of Christ's coming, and the end of the age, is not presented nor noticed in Luke. The question here put, relates solely to the destruction the Lord had spoken of. Hence, while the early warnings referring to this epoch, are found here, more briefly, yet much as in Matthew, the prophetic account closes with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and says nothing of the abomination of desolation. The times of the Gentiles have then their course, till they are fulfilled, Jerusalem being trodden under foot. After this, come the signs, and the Son of man is seen coming in glory. The difference of this and Matthew is evident. The passage in Luke, while giving the subsequent events, and the coming of the Lord, is specially occupied with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, judicially ushering in the external Christian order of things; while Matthew is exclusively occupied with the time which is yet to come; and save the fact that the Gospel of the Kingdom was to be preached to all nations, confines himself to the testimony in Israel. We shall see something analogous in the Lord's supper. The close of the warning in Luke 21, is also peculiar. The warnings of Noe and Lot are not given here in Luke, but in chap. 17. Instead of that, we have verses 34-36, where the day is declared to come on the whole earth; but then the warning directed to the disciples, that they may escape and stand before the Son of Man, leaving it open to a full millennial accomplishment. Thus, while it deals with the remnant, it is much more large and general. In Luke 17, the Noe and Lot comparisons are given as a warning, in contrast to the present character of the Kingdom then, through Christ's presence. The Kingdom was there in His person; but His rejection would change all, and then He would come as a flash of lightning in the midst of the busy, selfish occupations of this world, like the deluge on the world, and the fire on Sodom. I do not think, from 17:22, the Gospel of Luke has a date, until the last events. What is narrated, is added to what precedes; and then, when the prophetic warnings are given, that is, when the residue are warned, the present change is brought forward, and the time of the Gentiles dispensationally stated. In what follows, in the main, the three Gospels are alike; only Luke, as he usually does, where not led out into moral development, gives a very brief and concentrated resume of the facts more distinctly stated elsewhere. I refer particularly now to Judas and the chief priests. The "then" of "then entered Satan," is not in the original. It was after the sop he entered in. Before that, he had put the betraying of Jesus into his heart. This is all put together, with the chief priests' counsel (22:1-6). A similar instance is as to John Baptist (3:15-19); as is also the visit of the women to the sepulcher. Then follows the choice of the room for the Passover. Here there are some important circumstances peculiar to Luke. First, the Lord's love and feeling about it (ver. 15); next, the reference to the eating the lamb for the last time, and the cup; besides the institution of the supper, the presence of Judas, and the strife among them who should be the greatest. The manner of expression, too, is according to the character of that Gospel; that is, opening the then next present order of God's dealings, instead of going on dispensationally to the renewal of God's relationship with the world. The Passover was to be fulfilled in the Kingdom of God; hence, he was glad to eat of it for the last time in His earthly association with His disciples. This is not in Matthew. It is the great moral fact of universal bearing of the death of Christ. Next, as to His drinking of the fruit of the vine. In Matthew, He takes His character of Nazarite separation from Israel, until He drinks it in a new way in the Father's Kingdom; the time of future blessedness spoken of, in this way, in Matthew (comp. chap. 13). Here, He takes the Nazarite place as a present thing, but closes, so to speak, every thought of this association in the present time, fixing the mind on the present setting up of the Kingdom. In Matthew, in connection with His death, and the founding of the new covenant thereon, he goes quite on to the establishment of the Father's Kingdom; only showing His separation from all on earth, till that establishment of the Kingdom came. The words of institution differ, also, somewhat. In Matthew, He replaces the Passover; and the words, "this is my body," only are given. Here, the gift of grace is noticed. In Matthew, it is noticed as going out beyond the Jews, to whom Christ had presented Himself, as related in that Gospel—shed for many, for the remission of sins. In Luke, it is the simple, personal application of grace—" for you." The inquiry among the disciples, who should betray Him, is found in Luke in few words, as we have seen in other cases. On the other hand, an humbling moral circumstance is stated: that, even here, was a strife among them who should be greatest;-at such a moment! But it gives occasion to the perfect and patient grace of Christ, to teach them the true path of glory He had followed—that of humility, and being servant to all; and to own, in unspeakable grace, as if dependent on their kindness, their perseverance with Him. Also, He appointed to them a kingdom, as His Father had appointed to Him; so. that they should be at table in His Kingdom, and sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. The very greatness of the glory and the blessing, ought to silence the dispute. In Matthew, the fact here revealed, is given (Matt. 19.16-30) in connection with the setting aside 'human righteousness, and riches as an 'advantage and reward connected. with it (i.e. the setting aside the Jewish system); and with the glory, in the time of the regeneration, consequent on the loss of all for faith; still showing, in chap. 20, that grace—sovereign grace -characterized God's dealings with men in the Kingdom.
UK 22{To return to Luke 22, where the general application of Christ's death to faith is spoken of. The result of the present faithfulness of the disciples in connection with Christ before His death, would meet its reward in Jewish millennial glory. But into His death—which, while witnessing judgment of sin, was the means of salvation—they could not follow Him. To be saved by it was another thing. Their service in His suffering in the Kingdom, would be recompensed with glory in the. Kingdom; but death, as such, man could not stand in such as He was; that belonged to Christ only, a lesson they had not yet learned. They could not go into it, as death from the divine judgment of sin; but they could as a sifting from the enemy, to learn that they could not, but must be dependent on another's doing it. This is found only in Luke; and the ardor of nature is suffered to go further in Peter, to teach the entire incapacity of the energy of nature to do the work of God; its ardor only making its fall more apparent and terrible: so that by the experience of what it was worth, and grace meeting it, one should be better able to strengthen others with true strength. This done, the Lord shows the difference of their position during His life; and that induced by His death. He had served them as a living Savior. They must suffer, and, humanly speaking, shift for themselves, when He became a dying one. On the earth, He was reckoned among malefactors; for the things which concerned Him drew to a close. New ones would begin.
This contrast of Christ's life, and His disciples' connection with it; and his death, and the impossibility of their being connected with Him in it, is peculiar to Luke. Into the latter, that is, the scenes connected with His death, he now enters. This point is important. The human character of the blessed Lord's suffering in Gethsemane, is much more brought out in Luke; and circumstances of the deepest interest are added, while the details of the thrice repeated prayer are omitted, and all is brought together in its moral character. The chief Circumstances added, are these.
The Lord already on arriving at the place, Himself perfect in the sense of what it was, warns them of their need and how to meet it. " Pray that ye enter not into temptation." Further, an angel from heaven appeared to Him to strengthen Him. Here we find His human position clearly brought out. Further, we have the solemn sign of the conflict in which He was. His sweat as great drops of blood falling down. All this is brought together without distinguishing His three prayers. Save the answer of the Lord to Judas as to his kiss, nothing distinctive, that I am aware of, is in what follows, only the healing of Malchus is more briefly noticed. Conflict through prayer in view of temptation, not to enter into it, characterizes Luke's account of Gethsemane, not the being sorrowful unto death. The forsaking of the disciples is not in Luke. The personal human conflict of Jesus is his subject. The trial of Peter follows in Luke. The Lord had closed His address to those that came, by saying that it was the hour of Satan's power. Alas! their hour also, but the time of the exercise of the power of darkness; happily for us for the light has shone there, and in that light, the power of darkness is gone for us. This Gospel brings in, in connection with this, Peter's history under temptation and the power of the enemy, before pursuing that of Christ's interrogatory. There is no difficulty in the details, as has been imagined. The maid spoke to the men, a man to Peter. The perfect grace of the Lord is brought out here in a circumstance omitted elsewhere—the Lord's looking at Peter. The personal sorrows of Christ are given as such in Luke. His being buffeted is given also before His interrogatory; and this last very briefly in the testimony of Christ Himself, who declares the uselessness of reply; that henceforth they would not see Him, but in glory. All the witness as to the destruction of the temple is omitted. The account of Luke is here also much more brief, but an important' act added. Judas' death is not found (see Acts), nor the message of Pilate's wife, nor the Jews taking His blood upon their head, nor, subsequently, the crown of thorns and insults. On the other hand, the sending to Herod is brought before us, and thus the full uniting of all against the rightful Lord of the world—the Christ is presented to us; with the solemn but too natural picture of the opposition to Christ, uniting those who in their personal interests and passions were otherwise enemies. They can compliment each other in treating Christ thus. Pilate, doubtless, would have quieted thus a disturbed conscience, by throwing the matter over on Herod, or avoided the guilt. But thus it was to be. Nor can men thus escape the fruit of their own wickedness. He hoped to get rid of the matter. What is noticed in Luke is, He delivered Jesus to their will. The circumstances attending Christ's crucifixion give a very different character to the scene, though the great central truth is necessarily the same. He is all through now, indeed, the green tree. It is the Man, the Man dependent on the Father, the holy confiding Man, as full of grace now as when walking through a world enlightened (had it been possible) by His miracles. His sufferings, His death as King of the Jews, are recounted surely, the veil of the temple is rent; but the accomplishing so many prophecies, and the expression of His expiatory agony are not noticed. Nature wept at His sorrow, His loss, and the terrible act was felt; but it was over themselves these daughters of Jerusalem should weep. He was the green tree, and if this happened in Him, what should be done to the dry, the lifeless Jerusalem, whose sorrows He was bearing, whose state in judgment He had in grace stepped forward to take for the remnant, who would fain have seen Him received, and acknowledged the sad estate of Jerusalem. Still a nation's sin was there. Judgment was due, and He, the green tree, took it on Him. The remnant would thus escape, but the dry tree, what would be done in it? It is not simply salvation here, but judgment on the nation. This unfolds many Psalms, and the desire that the meek and righteous should not be ashamed for His sake. Verses 35-38 very briefly recount what the other two Evangelists relate in detail, and then we have the deeply interesting account of the malefactor, which as the weeping women drew out the judicial dealings with Jerusalem, and the place Christ took as to the judgment due to the people, unfolds the heavenly portion through faith in Jesus, in virtue of expiation and grace of one who leaves this earth, however great a sinner a man may be, be he who he may, before even the Kingdom is set up at all. This we have constantly seen is in view in Luke, the eternal, moral, heavenly blessing, what we call Christianity, in contrast with the order of dispensations, while even owning these. Even the dispensational part (the weeping women) is treated morally. The poor thief, converted, justified, and cleansed, was to be that very day with Him in Paradise. The traits of His conversion and faith are admirable; the circumstance that the sun, the center of all natural light and life, and of the whole system of nature for us, was darkened, is added. Nature was put out, and its central sun darkened, as it were, but the way into the holiest laid open by the very same thing. But, on the other hand, there is no rising for the earthly witness (as in Matthew) of bodies of the Saints. Further; there is not the agony of rejection from the light of God's countenance- the opposite to all that every righteous man in Israel hitherto could say, for they had been heard. But we have the new man, the man that trusts in God. Having passed through it and drunk, in perfect obedience, the bitter cup, He can say, " Father, into thy hands I commend my Spirit." In death, He trusts His soul to His Father. So the centurion also here recognizes the Lord in this character; " Certainly this was a righteous man." Luke adds the moral effect on the people, now, as so often happens, under the effect of what their misguided passions had led to. That He was with the rich in His death is then related by all. In what follows, as we have so often found, Luke relates in a general way, bringing all together, the discovery by the women and by Peter of the resurrection of Jesus; but there is no apparition of Jesus here to any of them. Angels spoke to the women—they to the disciples. It was as idle tales to these; only Peter went to the sepulcher and found it was so, and departed wondering. But then Luke gives the details of the touching history of the journey to Emmaus, just noticed by Mark, where Jesus reveals Himself. And here it is by an allusion to His death, which, though no way the Lord's supper, intimated a part of the same truth as that. The Christ they had to know, was a Christ who had died, whose body had been broken for them, and who then disappeared, was to be known by faith. At the same time, He had expounded to them the Scriptures. This, and indeed something more, is again found after His personal revelation of Himself to Simon, and to the eleven, and others. We have His revelation of Himself first to Peter, and then the clear setting forth that He was really a risen man, having flesh and bones, and having even eaten with them. Two things, then, are presented, divinely-given intelligence of Scripture, and power given from on high. Such are the great bases of the Gospel here presented—the man risen—known in death, and gone away, Scripture understood by divinely-given spiritual intelligence and power from on high. Of this last we have little to boast. Next, all that passed in Galilee recorded by Matthew, is omitted. Matthew gives his last glimpse of Jesus there, and does not speak of the ascension. What is recorded also by John as passing in Galilee, is also omitted. He closes with the respective positions of Peter and John (representing the Jewish and Gentile parts of the Christian Church), without historically mentioning the ascension. All this part of the history is omitted in Luke, and the link of the Lord's departure is with Bethany, His home when rejected of Jerusalem, the heavenly family. There He blesses them, and, as he does so, is taken up to heaven. The mission they receive is according to this. It is not going forth to the Gentiles, assuming the acceptance of, at any rate, the remnant of Israel: nor simply enlarging the service to all creation, but as from outside all, as from heaven, to preach to all the Gentiles, beginning at Jerusalem, which for heavenly things needed it as much as Gentiles, and as to dispensation, had the first place as object of promise. They were to go to all, but " to the Jew first."The apostles were witnesses, but the Holy Ghost also would be given. Though their blessing and mission were from heaven, they find their way to the temple, there praising God.