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3. THE CLASSES OP PEOPLE AMONGST WHOM JESUS MOVED.

With whom then had Jesus to deal when he came forward to teach in public? In the Synoptics with the most different classes of people. Here we find crowds of people following him into the wilderness to listen to him for days together. The sick come and ask for healing, sometimes abashed like the woman with an issue of blood, who, with out being seen, hoped to be able to touch the hem of his garment (Mk. v. 25-34), sometimes, like blind Bartimaeus at Jericho, crying aloud (Mk. x. 46-48). A rich man desires to learn from the Master what he must do in order 14to attain everlasting life (Mk. x. 17); a scribe wishes to know which is the most important commandment in the Law of Moses (Mk. xii. 28); another would like to follow him, but does not reflect that Jesus has no place where he can lay his head (Mt. viii. 19 f.); others again desire to follow him, but would first bury their fathers (Mt. viii. 21 f.) or take solemn farewell of their friends (Lk. ix. 61 f.); yet another has a legacy dispute with his brother, and Jesus is to settle it (Lk. xii. 13 f.); the chief tax-gatherer Zacchaeus climbs up a mulberry-tree in order to see Jesus as he passes by (Lk. xix. 1-10). Another tax-gatherer, who may have been called Levi (so Mk. ii. 14Lk. v. 27) or Matthew (so Mt. ix. 9), at the beck of Jesus leaves his business to follow him, and at the meal which he prepares afterwards we find Jesus in the midst of the tax-gatherers and their whole company, which was regarded as sinful, but which he so much cultivated that it came to be said, he is “a glutton and a wine-bibber, an associate of publicans and sinners” (Mt. xi. 19). It was at Levi’s meal that the Pharisees and scribes, with long fringes to their garments (Mt. xxiii. 5) in token of a singular piety, were present to find fault with Jesus, just as they opposed him everywhere else, raising objection in the name of the Law of Moses to his disciples plucking ears of corn on the Sabbath or to his doing work on the Sabbath by healing a sick man (Mk. ii. 23-iii. 6), or to his declaring that the sins of the paralytic man were forgiven (Mk. ii. 1-12). And he on his part is never tired of pronouncing against that hypocrisy and affectation of holiness of theirs through which they allow themselves to be surprised at prayer in the street, that they may keep their piety well in evidence, and at the same time consume the houses of widows and declare it to be a work well pleasing to God to 15give to the Temple something which is needed for the support of one’s own poor parents (Mk. vii. 11-13; Mt. vi. 5 and chap. xxiii.). In return they try to set snares for him and by captious questions to entice from him an utterance on the strength of which proceedings may be taken against him. And the Sadducees, the aristocratic priestly party, which gave itself up to the joys of life, but held firmly to its position of authority and was relentless in matters of the law, also associated themselves with these efforts (Mk. xii. 18-27).

Where is all this varied picture in Jn.? Only a few of its features confront us there. In Jn. also the Pharisees vigilantly enforce the command that the Sabbath shall not be profaned by any work (ix. 14-16). But what Jesus finds fault with in them, apart from this, is not their factitious holiness, but only their unwillingness to believe in him. In Jn. not only do the Scribes not appear, but—and this is far more important—the publicans and sinners, the poor and oppressed, are missing also. As the particular persons with whom Jesus had to do, apart from his disciples and the sick persons whom he healed, mention can be made only of his mother (at the marriage feast of Cana, ii. 1-11, and at the cross, xix. 25-27), Nicodemus (iii. 1-21; vii. 50-52; xix. 39-42), the woman of Samaria (iv. 7-30), and Martha and Mary (at the raising of their brother Lazarus, xi. 1-44, and at the anointing of Jesus, xii. 1-8).

For the rest, Jesus is confronted only by a single class of men, “the Jews.” Over thirty times this expression recurs in the first eleven chapters. Of course in the Synoptics also they are all Jews with whom Jesus holds intercourse; but in them a distinction is actually made between Jews and Jews, which is not made here. Every thing remains indefinite. To the sick man who was healed 16at the Pool of Bethesda, “the Jews” say, “it is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed” (v. 10). After he has learned who healed him, he tells “the Jews,” it was Jesus (v. 15). Was he not himself a Jew then? And was not Jesus also a Jew? The Gospel of Jn. is very liable to make us forget this. Jesus journeys to Jerusalem not for this and that feast, which since he was a child of his people was a festival for him also, but to “the feast of the Jews”; with the exception of the Feast of the Dedication of the Temple (x. 22) all the feasts mentioned in Jn. and referred to above (p. 9 f.) are described in this way. Jesus says to the Pharisees, and another time to “the Jews,” “in your law it is written” (viii. 17; x. 34); for Jesus himself, then, this Law is not valid. We even read in vii. 11-13 that at Jerusalem “none spake openly about him for fear of the Jews.” Here by the Jews cannot be meant the whole population, but only the authorities whose attitude was particularly hostile to Jesus. The strange expression indicates, however, that the same hostile feeling is imagined to prevail among the whole people.

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