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"And Luke, the follower of Paul, gathered together in a book the Gospel as preached by him (Paul)."
The fact that Luke differs in the arrangement of the historical material of the "Life of Christ" from Matthew, involves no contradiction. When Matthew wrote his Gospel the first necessity was that of the converted Jews, and we have already shown how well he met the want in his Gospel. But in Luke's time Christianity had advanced to its second phase, that of converted heathendom, the apostle of which was pre-eminently Paul, though Peter also shared in the work and endorsed the teaching of Paul with his apostolical authority, so that the Baurian theory of a continued controversy between the two apostles, which makes up one half of the New Testament, is a baseless fable, conceivable only to an enemy of Christianity, whilst the great fact remains in all its integrity that the work of the heathen conversion was pre-eminently the work of Paul.
Perhaps it would help to a clearer appreciation of the peculiar character of Luke's Gospel, which proves beyond all question its genuineness, if we give in the words of one of the greatest writers on New Testament teaching, the few brief sentences in which he delineates the great points of Paul's teaching as an introduction to his chapters on the "Doctrine of Paul."
"Paul's teaching in his Epistles is not so much Jesus as an individual man with his deeds teaching_commands, &c., nor the Son as the Logos in his immediate relation to the Father, but it is Christ in his relation to mankind universally (im Allgemeinen)." Starting from the consciousness that the relation of man to God has been destroyed through sin, he raises the question, How can man obtain justification, that is, restoration of his proper relation to God? and his reply is, In Jesus
Christ-crucified and raised from the dead! In this idea, and in all its further representations, definitions, and conclusions, the Pauline teaching has its middle and its circumference,
It may be summed up in four parts-1st, the teaching concerning the necessity of salvation; 2nd, the teaching concerning a Saviour and the act of salvation; 3rd, the teaching of the extension of the work of the salvation of Christ to all mankind; and 4th, the teaching of its consummation.
We shall now advance to our task to endeavour to collect the various portions of Luke's Gospel, and treatment of the Gospel history which correspond with this teaching of Paul, and we shall find it advantageous if we compare it with that of Matthew. The latter represents Christ equally truly as the Son of David and Abraham, the restorer of the Law: the Messiah of Jewish expectation sent to the lost sheep of Israel, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt. x. 5, 6). Luke, though he does not contradict the statement of Matthew, yet in his record of this scene where Christ charges his disciples (Luke ix. 3-5), he omits the passage we have quoted, which limits their work to the Jews, though he agrees in what he states almost verbally with Matthew, and we shall find that in Luke (and also in Mark when we examine it), that the conversion of the heathen is brought out, and in this we repeat again there is no contradiction, but the perfect unity of the Gospel is maintained, though the work of Christ is applied from a different point to the Jew and Gentile. There can be no doubt that Christ commanded that the Gospel should be offered to the Jew first and then to the Gentile, and that is why we have the two commands in the same Gospel of Matthew from him to his dis
* Lutterbeck Neutestamentlichen Lehrbegriffe, 2 vols., Mainz, 1852. The very best work on the subject, written without the slightest trace of dogmatic prejudice, by one who is a Professor of Catholic Theology at the University of Giessen. See an admirable criticism of the book by Thiersch in Stud. und Kritik, 1853, Heft iv.
†There the writer is correct as a characteristic of Paul, yet he certainly foreshadows John's Aoyog in the Epis. to the Coloss.: 1, 15-18 (referred to hereafter), where he represents Christ as the image of the invisible God, "and by him all things in heaven and earth were created;" a passage which proved a great stumbling block to Schleiermacher.
ciples, first not to go to the Gentiles, but to the lost sheep of Israel, and afterwards, "Go ye therefore teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost" (Matt. xxviii. 19), so that the perfect unity of the Gospel is maintained even in the Jewish version of Matthew; and we once more repeat, that though the Gospels of Mark, Luke, and John are for heathens as well as Jews, they all unite in representing Christ as the Saviour of every sinner, both Jew and Gentile, in the whole world who believes on Him.
In Matthew we have the intuition of Christ as we have said in his affirmative relation to the law, he does not intend to abrogate it but to preserve it (Matt. v. 17, 18). What he condemns is the arbitrary amplification, contractions, and spurious perversions of the law by the Pharisees, but even as regards them in their veneration for the law he supports them by the words "Whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do ye not after their works." An accurate distinction between the pharisaic teaching to the people and the pharisaic fulfilment in their own persons.
But in Luke we find no such definite confirmation of the law, and in his account of the Sermon on the Mount, the portion in Matthew to which we have alluded (v. 17, 18) is discarded, and we hear Christ saying, "The law and the prophets were until John; since that time the kingdom of God is preached," which, though no abrogation, still places the law in the relation as laid down by Paul as a "schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ."
We must not omit to notice that Luke also has passages which agree with Matthew concerning this matter (v. 14. c. 25. xviii. 18); in these passages Christ confirms the law, but they are only exceptions to the main peculiarity of Luke, who represents Christ and his work from the standpoint of Paul.
In Luke we find many incidents which do not appear in Matthew, which agree with the Pauline view of free grace and mercy; also passages which represent Jesus as not avoiding the heathen, and an exclusion of such incidents which are in Matthew
which appear to give Jesus a national peculiarity.
This is clear from his frequent representations of Christ's kindness towards the Samaritans, whom the Jews hated when they refused to receive him into the Samaritan village, because he was going towards Jerusalem, and the disciples implored him to bring down fire from heaven to consume them he reproached them, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of," ix. 55.
So, when asked by the quibbling lawyer, "Who is my neighbour ?" he replied with the significant parable of the "Good Samaritan," a contradiction to a Jewish mind-a Samaritan good, in opposition to a Jewish priest and a Levite! He finds greater faith in the Gentile centurion than in all Israel, vii. 9. The narrative of Jesus and the Canaanitish woman fails in Matthew. The chosen people invited to the marriage supper made excuses to the lord of the supper who sent his servant out into the streets and lanes of the city to call in the poor, the maimed, the halt, and the blind, who were despised by the chosen people.
There is a distinction drawn in Luke between the strict legal righteousness which we find in Matthew, and that which is based subjectively upon the principles of Christianitybetween the high confidence of the righteous Jew and his full expectation of a just reward, and the humble, meek faith of the self-abased Christian.
In Matthew (v. 48) we read, "Be ye, therefore, perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect;" but, in a parallel passage in Luke (vi. 36) the same idea is rendered, "Be ye, therefore, merciful, as your Father also is merciful."
In the scene where Jesus draws a comparison between the character of Mary and Martha, we trace the tendency of Luke to represent the meekness of faith against the pride of works. In Mary, who sat at Christ's feet, in her humility and simple loving faith, and "heard his word," we have, symbolized by Luke, the Pauline view of Christianity, in contradistinction to the self-cumbering with service and the jealousy of her sister's want of works on the part of Martha, which is clear from the decision of
Christ, as to which of the two sisters had chosen the better part.
The parable of the Publican and Pharisee (xviii. 10), is introduced by Luke as addressed to those who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others; this reminds us also of the repetition of this inconsistency of Jewish opinion with Christianity as in later times it is reiterated in the Epistle of James ii. 1-6, which agrees with the Pauline principle of faith and the concluding sentence, "For everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted," is justification like that which Paul, 2 Cor. xi. 7, points out in opposition to the false teachers in Corinth.
So in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (xvi. 19) we have the same principle prominent and its result brought out in the different fate of the two in the other world. This is no element of Ebionism, as some have thought, but it is the distinction so often dwelt upon by Paul, and brought out again by James, who declares that God has chosen the poor of this world, who are rich in faith, to be heirs of the kingdom, a principle which has still higher authority, that of him who, in the Mount began his marvellous sermon with this very principle, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." No Ebionite poverty, but a Christian, spiritual poverty, in opposition to Jewish spiritual pride.
There is another point in connexion with the account of the marriage feast, which brings out the tendency of Luke, in the way he discards from the corresponding version of the parable in Matthew, the significant point of the expulsion of the guest who had not on the wedding garment.
As I take this incident from Schwegler, I will give it in his own language-"The original concipient of the parable is that the heathen is invited to the kingdom of God, but only through the circumstance that the Jews declined the invitation, and only upon the condition that the heathen should enter into the kingdom of God, not as being such, but
from their first becoming Jews, and from their first putting on the garment of Jewish legal justification, a stipulation which the third Evangelist could not acknowledge, and therefore he passed over that concluding paragraph, and moulds the parable in a more Pauline form.'
In the parable of the healing of the ten lepers there is another incident pointedly brought out about the Samaritans again, who were hated by the Jews with more bitter hatred than they had for pagans. The only one of the ten lepers who were healed, who manifested any sign of gratitude, was a Samaritan, who fell down on his face at the feet of Christ, and with a loud voice glorified God, and Christ said, "Where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God save this foreigner (aoyevns): finally there is in Luke the sending out of the seventy disciples, two by two, into the world, which is significant of the transition of Christianity, beyond the limits of Judaism. The instructions given to them (x. 7) agree with the teaching of Paul, I Corinth, ix. 7, and the words “ἐσθίετε τα παρατιθέμενα ὑμῖν, are in literal agreement with I Cor. x. 27. It fails altogether in the parallel passage in Matthew, because the eating customs of the Jews form the distinction between the Jewish and Pauline Christianity (see also Acts xi. 3, Galat. ii. 12).
One more point of coincidence with Pauline teaching, a significant one, we must remark, before we pass on to notice the treatment of the person and character of Peter, by Luke. We allude to his account of the institution of the Lord's Supper (comp. Luke xxii. 19, 20, with I Cor. xi. 23-26). The comparison will prove that Luke must certainly have had the account he gives in his Gospel from Paul.
We now proceed to examine the passages in which this Pauline Luke treats of Peter: and by referring to Matthew, the difference of his representation from the purely Jewish Evangelist, is suggestive.
In Matthew, Peter is represented as first chosen (iv. 18-20) and has the distinctive appellative "OWTOS" (x. 2) and in his relation to the
Nachapostolische Zeitalter in den Hauptmomente seiner Entwickelung Tubingen; 1845, 6 II. p. 62.
Church as a means of salvation, is addressed by our Lord with the famous words. "Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven:" words that have been perverted into an authority for sinners to absolve sinners in the language of that time to bind and to loose could only be understood by a Jew in the way of solving difficult questions of the law. The disputes which raged between rival Rabbis ou these points, plenty which may be gleaned from the Talmuds, were upon contradictory binding and loosing of the leaders of different schools. There can, therefore, be in those words, not the slightest allusion to any imparting of power to forgive sin, by Christ to "sinful Peter." All the passages which in Matthew are founded upon the exclusive possession by the Twelve of the apostolical dignity, fail in Luke; so also does the address made by Jesus personally to his disciples, who had gathered round him on the Mount, when he delivered his sermon, Matt. v. 2, more especially v. 13, "Ye are the salt of the earth ye are the light of the world:" the promise that they should judge the Twelve Tribes of Israel, xix. 28, sitting on twelve thrones : all these are sought in vain in Luke. In the place of this he has a more extended account of the Seventy disciples who, in a long address, are given the most minute directions, and honoured with divine protection and authority, "he that heareth you heareth me, and he that despiseth you despiseth me, and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me." Divine vengeance would follow any ill-treatment of one of the Seventy.
These were endowed also with
supernatural power over poisonous reptiles to tread on serpents and scorpions—a promise afterwards fulfilled in Paul when he shook the viper from his hand, and the barbarians declared he was a god (Acts xxviii. 6).
It is quite in keeping with what we know of the great value set by the early community upon any person who was known to have had personal communion with Jesus, and who was therefore styled an Apostle (Acts i. 22), a feeling Paul himself shared when he styled Peter, James, and John "pillars" of the Church (Galat. ii. 9), and we know also from the heresies which sprung up from the Ebionite hatred of Paul, and their bitter words against him, how difficult it was for him to maintain his apostolical call amongst the strictly Jewish Christians; and this accounts for the phenomena we notice in the Gospel of Luke when compared with that of Matthew.*
In the 9th chapter, after the sending out and the return of the Twelve, several passages occur which appear to disparage their capacity for the work in comparison with the triumphant success of the Seventy who returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name ;" and received the gratifying reply from Christ, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven;" and further on, "rejoice, because your names are written in heaven" (x. 17-20).
But at the Transfiguration, while Christ was in communion with the heavenly messengers, Luke tells us Peter and those that were with him were heavy with sleep βεβαρημένοι vπv), and they only woke up in time to see the glorification of their master; and Peter spoke as one who knew not what he was saying (un dwc ỏ λeye ix. 32, 33). The disciples, too, were unable to heal the youth, of the demon the day after the Transfiguration, when Christ had come down from the hill, and much people met
* Ritschl Das Evangelium Marcions, und das Kanonische Evangelium Lukas Tubingen, 1846. I am indebted to Ritschl for this and some of the other peculiarities in Luke's Gospel. His work is characterized by much vigour, but is a fruitless effort to prove that the Gospel of Luke, as we have it, is Marcion's Gospel, an effort similar to that of Hilgenfeld in the current year's numbers of his "Journal for Scientific Theology," to prove that our Matthew is a compilation of the original Hebrew version (which, according to him, contained no miracles)! and the interpolations of some unknown translator. This is the latest contribution to "Scientific Theology."
him, amongst whom a man cried out 'master, I beseech thee look upon my son, for he is mine only child;" then followed the attack of the demon before their eyes; and the man continues, "and I besought thy disciples to cast him out and they could not" (ix. 39, 40), and then comes the reproof of Christ, which can only refer to the disciples; "O, faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you and suffer you?"
So, also, the prediction by Christ of his death was wholly misunderstood by them (v. 45), and they were now afraid to confess their ignorance and ask him for an explanation.
Then Luke proceeds to inform us that a vain struggle arose amongst them as to who should be greatest, and Jesus rebuked them by that beautiful incident which forms one of the wonders of his teaching, "he took a child and set him by him, and said unto them, whosoever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me, and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me; for he that is least among you all the same shall be great.' The vain strife of the disciples and the pain it caused to Jesus are redeemed in the beautiful lesson of humility to which it gave rise.
After this John exclaims against one who had been seen casting out devils in the name of Christ who was not one of them, and received a reproof from Jesus.
Upon this follows the incident already alluded to of the disciples' desire for vengeance upon the hated Samaritans (v. 54), and after this chapter of characteristic traits so unfavourable to the early Twelve Apostles, Luke records in his Gospel the selection and consecration of the Seventy, who, in his opinion, appear to have been regarded as babes in opposition to the wise and prudent (x. 21).
These facts though they appear as a polemic against Peter and his companions are in no way such. In a well known work on the Gospels, characterized by very keen and penetrating criticism known under the title of "Die Evangelien ihr Geist und ihre Verfasser," by Saxon Ano
nymous,* this polemic against Peter appears to the author of this work to be the leading idea which prevails throughout the whole Gospel, and the object of its compilation. He says also that this difference in the representation of the relation of Jesus to his disciples by different writers is the result of party spirit to the exclusion of all historical probability. He says, "the mouth of Jesus has been made a servant of Pauline doctrine," and that the disciples in the 3rd Gospel were treated by Jesus like pharisees and hypocrites. He appears to see nothing but irony against the first Apostle (Peter) in the discourses of Christ as recorded by Luke.
That there can be no reason for such an assumption is best proved by the fact that Luke does not really deprive him of any honour; for, according to Luke's account (xxii. 32), although it is intimated that Peter would not resist temptation, yet when that is over he is to support his brethren.
Two more points must be noticed before we sum up into a general form the Christology of Luke.
The Pauline sympathy for the heathen manifests itself in the account of our Lord's trial, in comparison with Matthew, as regards the influence exerted by Pilate on the fate of Jesus.
In Matthew we find that both Jews and heathen are equally involved in the guilt of the execution.
Instead of hearing the case as a judge, and properly investigating the charge, he proposed in favour of Jesus the useless expedient of offering to release Jesus or Barabbas, and as soon as the people had cried out for Barabbas he tried arguments and at last gave way and ordered the execution.
But with Luke the charge brought against Jesus is that he had made himself king and rebelled against Cæsar. Pilate replied, after questioning Jesus, that he found no fault in him, and this he repeats and pleads the opinion of Herod in support of his innocence (xxiii. 14, 15), and for a third time he asked them why he should be executed; but they cried the more loudly, and the chief priests joined them, when Pilate at length
*The Gospels, their Spirit and Authors, cited by Ritschl in his "Das Evangelium Marcions."