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§ 164. Purpose of Christ’s Relatives to confine him as a Lunatic.—He declares who are his Relatives in the Spiritual Sense433433   Matt., xii;, 46-50; Mark, iii., 31, seq.; Luke, viii., 19, seq.

While Christ was thus exposing the machinations of the Pharisees and the evil spirit that inspired them, he was informed that his mother and his brothers, who could not approach on account of the throng, were seeking him.434434   By ἔξω (in Matthew and Mark) we are, perhaps, to understand “outside of the throng, or, outside of an enclosure. It is not necessary (nor, indeed, suitable) to assume that the assembly was gathered in a house. As the scene that was going on threatened bad results to the Pharisaic party by making a strong impression upon the people, the Pharisees had sought to break it up, by persuading his relatives that he had lost his senses.435435   Mark, iii., 21. This does not look [as some would have it] like a wilful colouring, added to the facts by tradition, or by Mark himself; but rather indicates, as do slight characteristic touches in other passages given by Mark alone, that this Evangelist made use of authorities peculiarly his own. Such an invention, or perversion of tradition, would have been utterly inconsistent with the tone of thought and feeling generally prevalent in regard to Christ: who, in those days, would have believed that Christ’s own brothers could listen to such a blasphemy against him! It has been supposed, again, that the statement in Mark originated in a misunderstanding of the accusation brought against Christ by the Pharisees; but this is impossible; who could suppose the accusation to mean that “he cast out devils, being himself a demoniac?” On the other hand, different members of the Pharisaic party, or the same persons with different objects in view, might have originated both slanders; at one moment charging him with the Satanic league, and at another with being a demoniac himself. His severe discourses, doubtless, appeared to many a bigoted scribe as the words of a madman (John, x., 20), and the Pharisees probably made use of them in imposing upon his relatives. The apparent contrarieties in Christ’s discourses and actions could only be harmonized by a complete and true intuition of 245his personality; to his brothers he was always an enigma and a paradox, and they could, therefore, the more easily, in an unhappy moment, be perplexed by the crafty Pharisees.436436   It is worthy of note that John (vii., 5-7) mentions, precisely with reference to this same point of time, that Christ’s brothers did not believe in his Divine calling, but wished to put him to the proof; and that he then described them as belonging to the world. It is difficult, however, to imagine that Mary could have been thus deceived; she may have followed them from anxiety of a different kind about her son.

But Christ, surrounded by a host of anxious seekers for salvation, heard the announcement undisturbed. To show, by this striking case, that blood relationship did not imply affinity for his Spirit, he asked, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to the seeking souls around him, and to his nearer spiritual kindred—the disciples—he said, “Behold my mother and my brothers! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”437437   These words are given by Luke (viii., 21) in a different connexion; one in which, indeed, Christ might very well have uttered them, although the occasion for them does not appear so obvious as in Matthew and Mark. In connexion with the account of the healing of the deaf and dumb demoniac given by Luke, we have a different passage (xi., 27, 28) from the one now under discussion, but which yet contains something of a similar import, viz.: a contrast between a mere outward love of Christ’s person and true reverence for him. This affinity of meaning may have caused the two passages to change places with each other. We presupposed this in our use of Luke, xi., 28, on p. 189. And the affinity of the two expressions may have also caused the two accounts in Matthew and Mark to be chronologically connected together.


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