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§ 221. Christ’s Words of his Death.

Christ answered the Pharisees that there was no occasion for such 234craft and stratagem; he should stay in Galilee a few days, but would not leave it sooner; he had nothing to fear during the time fixed by God for his labours there; at Jerusalem was his career to terminate, and thither he should go to meet his fate. “Go tell that fox, behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to-day and to-morrow (i. e., but a short time), and the third day (shortly) I shall be perfected (find the end of my labours). Nevertheless, I must go on with my labours594594   To give a complete sense to v. 33, we must (with the Peschito) insert ἐργάξεσθαι, or some like word, after αὔριον. to-day and to-morrow;595595   This is by no means a mere repetition; the preceding verse says what is done; this, what must be done: δεῖ με—implying a ruling Providence. “Do not think that any human power can shorten my ministry; it is the Divine will that I work here a short time, and then go to end my earthly career at Jerusalem.” and the day following I go away, for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.”596596   The verses following (34, 35) are found, also, in Matt., xxiii., 37-39. The question is, to which place do they originally belong? Both the place and time given by Matthew appear entirely suitable, and the connexion between verses 34, 35 (Luke), appears to prove that the words were spoken at Jerusalem. It may be said that ὁ οἶκος ὑμῶν does not necessarily designate the Temple; and hence that Jesus might have used the words when leaving Galilee; but, in fact, he was not leaving that country, but said expressly that he would remain a little time longer. On the whole, therefore, we adopt the connexion in Matthew as the original one. The affinity between verses 33 and 34 in Luke may have led to the insertion of the passage in this place.

The extent of this last declaration may appear strange, as John the Baptist, whom Christ called the greatest of prophets, did perish out of Jerusalem. But obviously he did not mean to express a general and inevitable law, but only to characterize strikingly the persecuting spirit of the hierarchical party in the metropolis, to which the witnesses of the truth must always fall victims. And although Jerusalem itself was not the seat of John’s labours, still the city—i. e., the ruling party there—was the cause of his death.597597   Cf. p. 179.


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