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We have no right to demand to know why Jesus did any particular thing. We have a right and duty to seek the lesson contained in his every word and his every act; but this study of his words and deeds must proceed on the principle that everything which he said and everything which he did is absolutely perfect. When we cannot see this perfection, the defect is in us. Jesus Christ has proven himself to be the Son of God, and everything which the Son of God does must be perfect.

Hence we do not seek to know just why Jesus chose to go up to this particular feast about the middle of the feast. He was not exposed to danger, even if he went up publicly, He was divine, and no creature could lay hands on him till his hour was come. But he chose this way in his wisdom, and we cannot fully see his reasons. It sheds some light on the present question to know that Jesus in his life illustrates the principle that God expects all men to employ prudence and industry to accomplish one's work. It would be an abuse of God's power to neglect natural means, and to appeal to God to supply the defect. Pray as if everything depended on Heaven; labor as though nothing depended on Heaven.

Some time after the departure of the brethren of the Lord for Jerusalem, Jesus with a few followers went secretly down through Peræa, and thence up by Bethany, and thus came to the feast. We are not able to say whether all the Apostles were with him in this journey. In fact, we can not tell anything about the details of the journey.

The absence of Jesus was noticed at the feast during the first three days; and in the various comments made on this absence St. John gives us a vivid description of the state of popular thought. The Pharisees ruled everything in Jerusalem. Members of their party ask contemptuously: "Where is he?” Through contempt they do not mention Jesus' name. So great was the dread of the Pharisees that no one dared to express publicly an opinion favorable to Jesus. In fact, it seems that all feared to mention Jesus' name in public. But throughout the Holy City there were groups of men speaking in low, guarded tones (yoyyuopos) of the wonderful Nazarene. Some men were defending him; others condemning him; and the political and social power were on the side of those who condemned him.

Oft in the history of the Church this condition of things has repeated itself. When the forces which oppose Christ's cause obtain possession of power, they exult as though the cause of righteousness by its intrinsic weakness had failed in the combat. They mistake God's forbearance as weakness; they treat the followers of the Crucified as inferior beings, on account of the humility of their condition. The world sets up its gods, wealth, social station, worldly culture, and pleasure, and compared to the proud state of this worship, “the foolishness of the cross” is despised. The boastful worshipper of the world struts up and down the stage, while the hamble follower of Christ is silent and waits for the new heavens and the new earth. .

LUKE IX. 51-56 51. And it came to pass, 51. Εγένετο δε εν τω συμwhen the days were well-nigh πληρούσθαι τας ημέρας της ανcome that he should be received αλήμψεως αυτού, και αυτός το up, he steadfastly set his face πρόσωπον εστήρισεν του πορεύεσθαι to go to Jerusalem.

εις Ιερουσαλήμ. 52. And sent messengers be- 52. Και απέστειλεν αγγέλους fore his face: and they went, προ προσώπου αυτούς και πορευand entered into a village of the θέντες εισήλθον εις κώμήν ΣαμαSamaritans, to make ready for ρειτών ώς ετοιμάσαι αυτώ. him.

53. And they did not receive 53. Και ουκ εδέξαντο αυτόν, him, because his face was ότι το πρόσωπον αυτού ήν πορευthough he were going to Jeru- όμενον εις Ιερουσαλήμ. salem.

54. And when his disciples 54. 'Ιδόντες δε οι μαθηται James and John saw this, they Ιάκωβος και Ιωάννης, είπαν: Κύsaid: Lord, wilt thou that we ριε, θέλεις είπωμεν πυρ καταβήναι bid fire to come down from από του ουρανού και αναλώσαι Heaven, and consume them? αυτούς;

55. But he turned, and re- 55. Στραφείς δε επετίμησεν buked them (and said: Ye know αυτοίς (και είπεν: Ουκ οίδατε οπου not what manner of spirit ye are πνεύματός εστε υμείς: ο γάρ Υιός of: for the Son of man came not του ανθρώπου ουκ ήλθε ψυχάς


to destroy men's lives, but to ανθρώπων απολέσαι, αλλά σώσαι.) save them.)

56. And they went to an- 56. Και επορεύθησαν εις ετέother village.

ραν κώμην. . In Verse fifty-two ás is inserted before étoludo ai in X and B. In Verse fifty-four the phrase: ós kai 'Hlías étroinoev is found in A, C, D, X, , A, A, II, et al. It has also the endorsement of Basil and Chrysostom, and is adopted by the Peshitto, Gothic, and Ethiopian versions. The portion of the fifty-fifth verse of the Greek text which we have enclosed in brackets is found in K, M, U, T, 4, II, et al. It is adopted by the Clementine Vulgate, the Syriac, the Gothic and Armenian versions. It is not found in X, A, B, C, E, G, H, L, S, V, X, A, Z, et al. Neither is it found in many of the best MSS. of the Vulgate.

Luke speaks of the grand consummation of Jesus' work as his being received up. The great drama of the world's redemption consisted of several acts. The last act extended from the judgment hall of Pilate to the Ascension of Christ. In the Ascension Christ went back to Heaven after having completed his work. This destiny was ever in the mind of Christ. He knew the exact time of all the scenes of this great final act, and he ordered his life accordingly.

There are four feasts of the Passover included in the public life of our Lord on earth. Three of these are now over.

On two of these Christ came to Jerusalem. On the third one, the one preceding the present date, Jesus remained in Galilee. But as the Feast of Tabernacles approached, Jesus began to make preparations to go down to Jerusalem. Luke records the steady fixed purpose of the Lord to offer himself up, when he writes: "he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem. This firm determination of the Lord was revealed to the Apostles in the responses of Jesus to their attempts to dissuade him from going to the place where men were prepared to kill him.

The text of Luke does not imply that Jesus took now a direct, continuous journey to Jerusalem; but only that the general trend was southward toward the Holy City, and that Jesus often spoke of going there to complete his work. In fact, we find that at this very time Jesus refused to accompany his kinsfolk to the feast in Jerusalem.

As Jesus and his apostolic band came down through Samaria, Jesus sent some of the Apostles into a small village (noun) of the Samaritans to seek for hospitality. The bitterest political and religious hatred existed between the Jews and Samaritans. The causes of this hatred we have already explained in the course of this work. When therefore the men of the Samaritan village learned that the appeal for hospitality came from Jewish travellers, who were going down to Jerusalem to worship, they would not receive them, or do aught for them.

When James and John, the Sons of Thunder, knew of this refusal, they ask the Lord that they may cause fire to come down from Heaven to destroy the men of this village.

The text here is very uncertain. As we have indicated in the apparatus criticus, some ancient authorities add, even as Eliah did.

We read in II. Kings, 1. 9-12, that Ahaziah, king of Israel, sent a captain and fifty men to apprehend Eliah. “And Eliah said: If I be a man of God, let fire come down from Heaven and consume thee and thy fifty.” The king sent another captain and fifty men, and the miracle was repeated on them.

If the allusion to this event be made by James and John, it is very apt. In fact, without accepting the doubtful reading, we may still hold that the two Apostles in making the proposition had in mind the deed of Eliah.

On account of this ardent disposition James and John were called by Jesus the Sons of Thunder. The very nature of their present proposition evinces that they had faith in Jesus' power. They speak with the utmost assurance that, if Jesus so wills it, they can draw fire from Heaven on the Samaritan village.

This is the impulse that springs up naturally in the human breast, the wish to avenge one's self. The degree of the revengeful feeling differs according to the gravity of the injury and attendant circumstances. Men wait for years for revenge, and shape all the actions of their lives to encompass revenge.

Now the Lord's life stands out in grand contrast to this powerful propensity of human nature. The three cardinal themes of his teaching are faith, forgiveness and mercy. Hence he rebukes the Apostles for their fierce indignation, and they seek food and lodging places in another village.

As we have pointed out in the variants, many ancient authorities add: “—and said: Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of. For the Son of Man came not to destroy men's souls, but to save them.” Knabenbauer strenuously argues for the genuineness of this reading.

We believe that in asking for this dire punishment of the Samaritan village the two Apostles were moved by other considerations than their own personal injury. Their divine Master had been rejected, had been denied the common offices of hospitality. They had already heard from his divine lips that, if any city should refuse to receive them, they were to shake off the dust of their feet as a testimony against such city. Great then must be the crime of the Samaritan village which closed its doors against their divine Master.

But John and James judged somewhat rashly. The Apostles had been advised by Christ to shake off the dust of their feet against a city which rejected them; but there was a difference between shaking off the dust of one's feet against a city, and calling down fire to destroy it. The former treatment was a symbolic action, which showed what a great crime it was to refuse to accept the New Testament. It still left time for repentance. It showed a man what a crime he was committing, and, at the same time, gave him time to profit by the teaching of the symbolic act. God delights not in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his wicked way and live.

The Samaritans had grown up in their prejudices, and race-hatred was a factor in this present event. All these things must be taken into account in judging a man's deed, and therefore only God, who knows the secrets of hearts, can judge a man. God gives man abundant evidence that he hates sin, but in all is mingled the evidence that God loves the sinner, and waits for his return. In man's righteous indignation there is danger of excess, danger of an unreasonable outburst of passion. In Christ no such imperfection could have place. We need his example always before our eyes to shape our conduct to that perfection which God wills of us.

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