The prophecies of Jesus of his Passion.
Three times all three synoptics – to put it more vaguely with regard to Luke – let the Lord proclaim His suffering, His death and His resurrection in advance before His entry into Jerusalem; but in the way in which they increase the certainty of these prophecies and insert them into the whole of their writings, they differ from each other.
1. The increase of certainty.
After Peter’s confession, as reported in Mark 8:31, Jesus opened up to the disciples that “the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.” After the Transfiguration, as they traveled incognito through Galilee – because the Lord did not want to attract attention, the manner of his appearance was already somewhat subdued and he wanted to enter the path of death without delay – he told the disciples the same thing, only more generally stating that “the Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men,” etc. Finally, as they were already on the way to Jerusalem (Mark 10:32-34), the prophecy becomes more specific or rather so specific that it is almost nothing but the program of the play whose performance is imminent. “See,” Jesus said to the twelve, “we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes. They will condemn him to death and hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. And after three days he will rise again.”
Whatever one may think about these prophecies and Jesus’ exact knowledge of the brutalities he would experience in the last hours, it is enough to say that in the Gospel of Mark, the increasing specificity of the prophecies is quite appropriate.
Luke has not changed much. The first prophecy he leaves unchanged, the second he abbreviates; Jesus only says: the Son of man shall be delivered into the hands of men, for Jesus has to waste too many words beforehand to call the disciples to attention – “Receive these words in your ears! “and the evangelist has to remark far too much on the disciples’ inability to hear these words to leave room for writing out Mark in full. The third prophecy he leaves (C. 18, 31 – 33) also essentially unchanged, except that he thought he had to change the active construction to the passive, and at most he was entitled to do so, since he believed he had to change the words “the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes and they will condemn him to death” in Mark’s Gospel to “everything that is written about the Son of Man in the prophets.”
Here, again, Matthew reveals to us the abstract nature of the later perspective, which makes the anachronisms that are already inherent in the original religious view even greater, and wants to see everything as already completed from the beginning, even barbarically blurring the small nuances of the original religious reflection. Immediately after Peter’s confession, in his abstract and anticipatory manner, Matthew has the Lord say that “he must now go to Jerusalem” and suffer much, etc. – followed by the prophecy that is the first in Mark’s Gospel. Matthew includes the second prophecy unchanged, at least without burdening it with an addition, but in the third, in which the brutalities of Jesus’ opponents are listed, he cannot resist removing one, the spitting, – so much was he dependent on the number of words! – and instead has the Lord say that he will be crucified (Matthew 20:19).
But he pushed the definiteness even further. Mark tells us how two days before Easter the priests had decided on the death of Jesus, but had postponed the execution of their decision until after the feast; He also tells us how the betrayal of Judas gave the priests the opportunity to carry out their plan earlier, and finally, when he lets Jesus speak of his death and of the betrayer during the meal of the Passover evening, he knows that we will believe that Jesus was not surprised by the passion events against his knowledge, just as he also shows us how Jesus voluntarily went to meet it when he gave himself up in the garden of Gethsemane, when he knew that the betrayer would find him.
Where the facts speak so loudly and clearly, a prophecy about what is imminent would have been very unnecessary and even out of place, especially since Jesus had already concluded his account of the last things in the previous discourse and uttered prophecies that far surpass the fate that now awaits him. Only before Jesus enters the scene of his suffering were prophecies in their place. Nevertheless, Matthew could not resist having the Lord tell the disciples at the end of that discourse on the last things and at the beginning of the Passion narrative (Matthew 26:1-2): “You know that in two days’ time it will be Passover, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
By considering the position of these three prophecies, we will reveal their origin and the origin of their context in one fell swoop, and we will also have the opportunity to answer some of the most important questions of criticism – although these pitiful questions cannot really be called important, because their solution reveals their whole misery.
2. The position of the three prophecies in the writing of Mark.
Each time these three prophecies in the writing of Mark have an inner relation to the preceding one, each time they are followed by an event which contrasts with them, which gives Jesus cause for a rebuke, whereupon Jesus again has cause to instruct his own in a more general form.
1. a) The first prophecy.
Peter acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah, but now the Lord shows the disciples the dark side of the messianic image by saying that he must suffer. After highlighting the internal contrast of the messianic ideal in this way, the other contrast is presented, which is formed by the selfishness of the world. Peter represents this selfishness, and the Lord rebukes him, calling him Satan, because he is focused on the human aspect rather than the divine. Jesus then teaches the crowd and his disciples about the duty of self-denial in a more general way.
Whoever wants to follow him must deny himself and take up his cross. For whoever wants to keep his soul will lose it; but whoever loses his soul for my sake and – what the two others leave out – for the sake of the Gospel, will keep it. What good would it do a man if he gained the whole world and was deprived of his soul? (i.e. if his life were taken from him, he would not be able to enjoy his gain. Similarly, spiritual life is a prerequisite, without which nothing has worth or even existence for humans.) Luke has taken the nerve out of the saying when he abandons the expression in which the soul is apparently distinguished from the ego and held up to it as valuable, and instead has put the sensible expression: “when one loses oneself and is deprived of oneself. “Or what can man give so that he may redeem his soul? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of none of my words – therefore the mention of the Gospel is original and necessary – among this adulterous generation, of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Matthew has overlooked the fact that the passage is designed to emphasise the importance of the confession and writes in his tendency to move from the abstract to the general: “the Son of Man will come . . . . . . and then he will repay each one according to his deeds”). And Jesus said to them: “Truly I say to you, there are some among those standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God – (Matth, correctly explaining your context, writes: the Son of Man in his! Kingdom) – come in power.
Note not only the position and arrangement of the contrasting elements, but also their extension and spread. The historical account is compact, intense, and the contrasts are not kept far apart, but all are equally elaborated. The concluding speech (Mark 8:34-38, 9:1) – as if the sermon on the preceding theme or the moral of the story – is not excessively prolonged.
1. b) The second prophecy.
The second prophecy forms the inner contrast or complement to the transfiguration, and the outer contrast to the image of the suffering Messiah must be the selfish dispute of the disciples as to which of them is the greater (C. 9, 30-34). Jesus rebukes these children, who always seem to want to remain children, and – if these sentences belong to the Mark – is given the opportunity by a remark of John to further consider the duties of his own.
1. c) The third prophecy.
Jesus had in vain exhorted a rich man to renounce his possessions, to follow Him and to take up the cross (C. 10, 21. 22). On the other hand, the Messiah declares that he is ready to face the suffering that awaits him, but at the same time he has to reject the senseless claims of two attackers who fight for the next places on his side. No sooner had he done so than the other disciples, grumbling at the insolence of the two, gave him the opportunity to speak again of the duty of self-denial which each of his followers must practise. —-
Everywhere, then, the same structure, the same relationship of the group, the same contrasts, yes, the same thoughts and even the same turns of phrase, transitions, constructions and words!
How beautiful, the theologian will perhaps say, when he is forced to notice the arrangement of the reports and to see in the first place, how beautiful, how marvellous! We may already say: what poverty and paucity of invention!
But, we must add, in Mark we find these two turns of phrase always purely executed, the groupings appropriately arranged, the contrasts in their correct proportion and in their proper tension. We find none of this in Matthew and Luke, because they no longer knew the tendency and inner context of these passages in the Gospel.
3. The position of the three prophecies in Luke’s writing.
It has already been noted that Luke made his account less consistent when he left out the dialogue between Peter and Jesus after the first prophecy. It is also not necessary to mention that he gave the two first prophecies a false position by including so much between them and the note that Jesus was really serious about traveling to Jerusalem. He presents the second prophecy (Luke 9:44) in the same context in which he found it in Mark. Although the third prophecy (Luke 18:31) also follows the account of the rich man, Luke does not include the request of the sons of Zebedee – he believed that he could use the details that Mark provides in connection with this third prophecy at another place more effectively, as we will see later.
It is clear that if he twice omitted a necessary part of the original account, he no longer knew its tendency, and if he communicates the second prophecy with its original setting, he only acted as a mere copyist.
Luke gave his reflection a different direction, a direction that directly relates to the intelligence of the disciples, while Mark, in his vivid contrasts, only presents the matter in such a way that the disciples were not yet capable of practicing the self-denial that Jesus demanded of them and which he himself was about to practice to the highest degree.
After the healing of the possessed man, which follows the transfiguration, Mark gives no concluding formula to instruct us about the impression the miracle made on the people; we have become sufficiently acquainted with his manner to know why: he really wants the following incidents, which form contrasts to the preceding, to follow as such contrasts. Jesus heals the possessed man, he comes home with the disciples, they ask him why they could not cast out the devilish spirit, Jesus explains to them, “and as they set out, they travelled through Galilee, and he would not let himself be known. “For – we now learn why he wanted to travel incognito – he instructed the disciples that “the time of suffering was not far off. Right! Thus the thought of suffering stands in clear contrast to the preceding, also to the transfiguration. No sooner has Jesus arrived in Capernaum than the other contrast develops: Jesus asks the disciples what quarrel they had on the way and now has to chastise them because of their jealousy about precedence.
Luke concludes the account with all that has gone before, when he immediately, after helping the demoniac to health, remarks that everyone was amazed – everyone! that is, also the crowd that was present down at the mountain. Now the tension between the word “suffering” and the word “transfiguration” is not only removed, but when Luke says: When all were amazed at all that Jesus did,” and when we are to think that Jesus, who now wants to speak of his sufferings, is alone with his disciples, we lose all sense of hearing and seeing. Could he not have found another formula to distinguish the disciples from all those who were just now marvelling at the greatness of God? He could not. Enough, after Jesus has spoken of his suffering, it is said: “But they understood not this word, and it was hid from them, lest they should understand it; and they feared to ask him concerning this word. ” (C. 9, 43-45.)
Mark did not need this contrast. A foreign hand has bestowed upon him the reflection of Luke and inserted it into his writing: (C. 9, 32) “but they understood not the word, and feared to ask him ” *). Matthew saved the later glossator the trouble by turning the matter into a spiritual one and writing: (17, 23) and they became very sad.
*) Wilke, p. 504.
Luke has become so entrenched in his conception of the contrast that he places the same remark just as broadly and almost literally as after the second also after the third, although it is he who has Jesus refer to the prophecies of the prophets on this occasion. (18, 31-34) If Jesus could remind the disciples of the prophecies, i.e. if he could refer to a dogma as he does here, i.e. if he could refer to a dogma as a Christian preacher can do, then the disciples must have known what he was talking about. Mark incorporated the prophecies of O.T. into the speeches of Jesus himself and therefore, among other things, did not yet think of the crucifixion, as Matthew had the temerity to do. He speaks only of being overawed, scourged, humiliated and spat upon.
We come to Matthew.
4. The stater in the fish’s mouth.
Matth. 17, 21-27.
Peter’s being given the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and his being raised to the rock on which the church is to rest securely, both of these things, because they are inserted too superficially into the structure of the original gospel, have already been moved back to the place where they belong.
Before we move on from the rich man’s dispatch to Jesus’ third prophecy of His sufferings, time will also take too long: but here too it will be very easy for us to remove the interpolated parable of the denarii (Matth. 20, 1-16).
As for the second prophecy, here we have only to remove the intruder who wants to make the progress of the interest resound too annoyingly to the contrast which is unfit for it. We will cut off the excessive extension of the conclusion later in order to restore the correct measure of the original representation. That intruder is the miracle of the stater in the fish’s mouth.
When they were travelling in Galilee, says Matthew, Jesus told the disciples about the future of his sufferings, but the evangelist does not say that Jesus travelled through Galilee with the intention of going straight to Jerusalem, he does not say that Jesus travelled incognito through Galilee and explained to the disciples the striking nature of this journey, pointing to the future of his sufferings. He said nothing of all this, because on the arrival of the company in Capernaum he wanted to give the Lord another opportunity to perform an extraordinary miracle. If the people who demanded the taxes should admonish Peter and his master, Jesus was not allowed to travel incognito. But if Jesus does not travel incognito, if he does not travel through Galilee to continue the way beyond the province, then this prophecy is not motivated: if the disciples’ dispute about precedence does not fall out on that journey on which Jesus spoke of his sufferings, then the two sides of the contrast are torn out of their tension, and if Matthew, after he has performed the miracle with that statue, cannot help himself but say that on that day the disciples approached Jesus with the question as to which of them was the greatest, then the lameness of the disciples’ childishness has become excessive. Yet Mark is still so reserved that he presents the matter as if Jesus had asked the disciples what they had discussed on the way, and since they had kept silent out of shame, by means of his keen insight he saw through their dispositions and knew their quarrel. 9, 47), Jesus saw through the thoughts of their heart; but Matthew, who had to form a new transition after the interpolated episode of the Stater, formed it so badly that he lets the disciples step shamelessly before Herm with their childish question and that he even, when he lets them ask: “Who then is (!) the greatest?” he must betray that this question is connected with something that has gone before. Only he has so clumsily formed this hindsight from the preceding that it now appears as if Jesus had previously given the childish disciples a well-founded reason for their question. We only need to recognise this confusion and bring together what belongs together in order to crush the episode of the stater.
The question of whether the tax Jesus is being asked to pay is the Roman poll tax or the legal temple tax should not be raised again. When Jesus comes home *) and precedes Peter with the question whether “the kings of the world” levy interest on their children, and when Peter answers: rather on the foreigners, he adds: therefore the sons are free, it is clear that he wants to draw the conclusion from the custom of the “worldly” kings, how the “heavenly” king also treats his children. The Jewish people are like a group of foreigners and adopted servants to the heavenly king, whose children are Jesus and his disciples.
*) Matth. 17, 25 και ότε εισήλθεν εις την οικίαν and V. 24 ελθοντων δε αυτων εις καπερναουμ, is still the formula of Mark C. 9, 33: και ηλθεν εις καπερναουμ και εν τη οικια γενομενος επηρωτα. Matth. writes προέφθασεν by making the marvellous perspicacity which Jesus there evidences in Mark more glaringly noticeable to the reader for ſhis purpose. Jesus knows what Peter has encountered and immediately speaks about the matter, just as he knows what the disciples have discussed on the way to Mark and seeks to bring them to confession.
Matthew formed this story out of the later and only later possible view, according to which Jesus and his followers were regarded as the true children of God and the Jews as servants, whom Jehovah, if he willed, could also bid farewell to again. The fourth evangelist borrowed this view from Matthew, but confused his treatment of it by developing the definition of servitude even further, without distinguishing this further development from the form in which he found it in the Scriptures of his predecessor.*)
*) Joh. 8, 31-36. Herewith is determined that which we Crit. d. ev. Gesch. d. Joh. p. 328 still left undefined.
Matthew has placed the miracle in the wrong place here, as it is very unbecoming for someone who has just admitted that he must suffer to find a divine law too burdensome and its observance indecent. It is the same contradiction into which Matthew fell above when he copied Mark’s first prophecy of Jesus’ sufferings, for if the Messiah must suffer and demands unlimited self-denial from his followers, it was very inappropriate to bestow the keys of the kingdom of heaven on Peter and legitimize hierarchical pride in general.
But in any case, even apart from its surroundings, the tendency of that fish anecdote is an unworthy one. It is at least unworthy how the exalted man disputes the obligation to pay interest, denies it for his person and for his own, yet acknowledges it again by paying the interest, but, by bowing, is at the same time endeavouring to secure for himself the recognition of his exaltedness by the amusingly ironic way in which he pays the interest.
5. The origin of Jesus’ prophecies of his suffering.
If we have now succeeded in restoring the original report, then his last hour will also have struck.
Weisse says *) that the “scene between Jesus and Peter” which followed the first prophecy was, as he somewhat forcefully expresses it, “drawn directly from the mouth of this disciple by the reporter” and that it “stands as a powerful argument against any doubt about the factual correctness of such proclamations from Jesus’ mouth.” However, regarding these prophecies, which – we may say immediately, without intending to make the criticism that will lead to this result useless or save us from it – are not based on success, but, together with the gospel accounts of suffering and resurrection, are modeled on the Old Testament ideal, we need only look at them humanely – and criticism must be humane – to be sure that as they stand – and in a form other than as they stand, they do not exist for either the rationalist or the believer – no living person speaks like that. Only a book speaks like that.
*) I, 531
The fact that they occur just three times, and that their definiteness increases appropriately in the original report, proves their authorial origin, an origin which, moreover, Matthew also proves when he makes their definiteness even greater and adds to the three a fourth, an even more definite one.
It would be unnecessary, especially since it is such an easy task in any case, to show the nullity of the tradition hypothesis everywhere, or to trace it back to its nothingness, i.e., to the imagination of scholars. We took over the business this time in order to give Mark his last honour. Gfrörer says that the three prophecies are basically one and the same. (Correctly understood, we admit this. But he takes it incorrectly. In the Christian Church the tradition had been preserved that Jesus, before his arrival in Jerusalem, had foretold the destinies awaiting him there. “So tradition had such a strong memory that it did not allow a weak “hint” to be lost! As if it were not much easier for the faithful to put the strongest and most fluent speeches about the future into the mouth of the Lord! As if the believer as such did not have to be convinced that the Lord foreknew everything exactly as it was to come! – In short, Gfrörer now thinks: “Because of the ambiguity which lay in this determination of the time, the prophecy was indented by means of three different sagas in three special places” *). But we know nothing more of such a framework into which various – we can hardly write the word – legends or – or ghosts again inserted the ghost of a legend or tradition – or what shall we call the absurdity? – interpolated. The three prophecies arose where we read them written, first, all together and in the order in which we see them before us. They came into being with their surroundings, which form the necessary contrast to them. Mark also knows how to write, as a man writes who creates such things, for he remarks, when he wants to report the third prophecy, that Jesus again saw the twelve and spoke to them of his future. “Again!” (παλιν C. 10, 32) after he had already told them twice about the near future.
*) Die heil. Sage, ll, 56. 64.
Mark first formed everything, everything, the prophecies and the contrasts belonging to them. Calvin has very well noticed the difficulty that now arises from the triple number, at least from the repeated repetition of this prophecy, but he has removed the difficulty very badly when he says, “although the apostles had already been taught before about the end of the Lord, yet they had not made sufficient progress in their understanding, and Jesus now repeats anew what he had already said often. ” But this would be a very unskilful teacher, who is content merely to repeat something anew **) when he knows that his pupils have not grasped what he had told them before. What teacher will chase down the same tirade in such a case? The teacher who really deserves the name will indeed take up the matter “anew,” but he will take it up from a “new” side, and of course precisely from the side which he knows was not yet clear to his pupils. This is how real, human teachers act, but they do not recite the same formula.
**) de iutegro repelit, quod saepius dixerat.
Mark formed these prophecies and had the Lord pronounce them three times, so that he would follow the law of the holy trinity and at the same time have the opportunity to add an artistic enhancement to his writing.
The enhancement lies not only in the prophecies, but also in the contrasting surroundings.
The background is first formed by the confession of Peter, in which the recognition of Jesus as the Messiah first emerges, the second time – in the transfiguration – the background is already more brilliant, and the third time the glory of Jesus and his kingdom is secured in a negative way, in that the rich and powerful of this world are humiliated in that rich man.
After each of these prophecies, Jesus has the opportunity to shame and rebuke human thoughts and behavior, first by scolding Peter for not wanting to hear about suffering, then after the second prophecy, by rejecting a more definite arrogance and the desire for superiority in general, and finally, after the third prophecy, the sons of Zebedee come with their request for seats at his right and left hand.
Who is now so bold as to deny that not only these three prophecies, but each of them in turn, originally belong together with their contrastive surroundings, that the prophecies, as they each follow one another with their surroundings, form a whole, and that as this whole they owe their origin to a single pen, to the plastic art of one man, to the invention of Mark?
Very well! Let us hear the last proof! If Mark did not want to compose too badly – and he did indeed compose quite skilfully – i.e. if he did not want to place the teaching of his Lord too low, he had to present the matter in such a way that the disciples, who were so often to be reminded of his suffering, would also be instructed about it more closely. In fact, this instruction always followed regularly. But how? After an event that Jesus could not foresee had happened. Did Jesus know that Peter would speak as he did, did he know that the disciples on the journey through Galilee would argue about precedence, that the Zebedees would come up with this senseless idea? Did he know that his disciples would commit such childish pranks? No, he did not know. But he should have known them better and should have taught them immediately when he spoke of suffering and especially when he thought he would have to speak of it more often. But no, he did not have to: the Lord of Mark knows that he only has to wait a few moments or until he returns from Caesarea Philippi to Capernaum to get the opportunity for these teachings.
That is to say, Mark has formed everything in such a way that what otherwise follows in one flow in the intelligible world complements itself in separate plastic formations – a complementation that is only possible in the world of ideal conception, in the real world it would be the opposite.
But not everyone who undertakes to create a world of ideal perception is therefore a master. The evangelists are not masters. There was only one Greek, there is only one Homer. The ideal world of the Gospels lacks the harmony of humanity, of moral, human motives, that harmony which even the contrasts must not lack. The ideal world of the sacred writers is a prosaic and disgustingly disjointed world.
These three contrasts must follow the three prophecies, so that a sermon on the necessity of self-denial, suffering and mutual subordination follows.
But then, as Weisse demands, we are to be forced to devour such positive stones and blocks, such figures of extremely “individual truth”, or to worship them as fetishes? If Jesus has clearly said that he must suffer and just added that he will rise on the third day, should Peter then come and say that this should not happen? When Jesus speaks of suffering and death, should the disciples behave like children and argue about who is the greatest? When Jesus speaks again of suffering, shall the Zebedees know nothing better than to think how to get ahead of the others in order to take the seats on the right and left of the Lord?
It would be pointless to say that if Jesus knew what kind of childish people he was dealing with, he should either not have spoken of such things to them at all, or if he really wanted to, he should have taken them to the children’s school. It would be pointless to say explicitly that if Jesus had spoken so clearly of his suffering, the disciples, even children, would have understood him. Jesus did not make these disclosures to the disciples, he did not have to trouble himself with their childishness; Peter, the Twelve and the Zebedees had only to act so incomprehensibly foolishly that Jesus might be given the opportunity, i.e. that the evangelist – if we may misuse the word – might have vivid occasions to set forth the meaning of suffering in the kingdom of God or to indicate the applications to which the spirit should apply the thought of his Saviour’s suffering for the salvation of his soul.
If Jesus had to prophesy his suffering in advance and describe those last hours down to the crudest coincidences, so that his omniscience and the voluntariness with which he approached the suffering might become clear, the childish imaginings of his disciples serve to put the seal of divine sublimity on his calmness and self-assurance for the evangelical view.
Whoever still dares to take these prophecies as the words of Jesus, may make even the smallest detail comprehensible to the sensible, may tell us, for example, what the disciples must have thought when Jesus asked them to take up their “cross”. Bengel is right, and he will continue to be right until evidence to the contrary is produced, when he says that the cross was not used by the Jews in a figurative or literal sense. He is right when he says that Jesus alludes to his cross, but he is wrong when he tries to explain the possibility of such an allusion by saying that Jesus had already carried the cross in secret *). Did the disciples know this, or had they noticed it, or had Jesus shown it to them?
*) to Matth. 10, 38: alludit ad crucem suam, quam ipse jam tum ferebat occulto.
Luke has formed a prophecy on his own, which we still have to consider, in order to answer a question in which it has again played a great role.
6. Jerusalem, the murderess of the prophets, and the festival journeys of Jesus.
The situation in which some of the Pharisees warn Jesus that Herod is after his life no longer exists for us. Go,” Jesus answers his enemies, who are very worried at this time, “and tell this fox: behold, I cast out demons and heal diseases today and tomorrow, and on the third day I will come to an end (Luk 13:31, 32). 32) – which is different from the words of an evangelist who knows so much about how the demons obey the name of Jesus, to whom the healing of the sick seems to be one of the most important aspects of the business of Jesus, and who has very clumsily placed the account after three days, which is lost in the original prophecy of Jesus, in order to use it as a rubric for the main business of Jesus and the completion of his course. “Only that I must walk today and tomorrow and the day after, for it is not possible for a prophet to perish outside Jerusalem” v. 33. – thus another, also not particularly happy application of the three days and a somewhat too dogmatic transformation of the words of Jesus, which Luke reads in Mark and which he himself writes down again C. 18, 31. Where is the dogma written that no prophet can perish outside Jerusalem, or what antecedence could Jesus bring to a dogma of this kind? Does an evangelist, in a passage so well invented, write the further reflection (v. 34) “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often have I wished to gather thy children together, as a bird gathereth her young under her wings, and ye would not? Behold, your house shall be left desolate. But I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, till it come to pass, that ye should say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.” (Here, then, in this place, where Jesus had not yet been in Jerusalem, here, where Jesus first declared that he must go to Jerusalem, because it was only here that the prophet could perish, here is this saying originated, for it is at the same time supposed to be a prophecy of the reception which Jesus found on entering the holy city, for here they cried, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Peace in heaven and glory in the highest! was also shouted by varying the theme of that English hymn of praise: Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth). Matthew did not see the relation of that saying to the entry into Jerusalem; he believed it, because Jerusalem is at the same time thought of as a city about which the Lord had often endeavoured to give a better place, when he made it – separated from that confused twofold execution of the triple number – the last word which the Lord spoke to the people (C. 23, 37 – 39). We do not need to mention that it is inappropriately attached to a speech that is not directed against the people, not against the holy city, but against the Pharisees.
Luke formed the saying first and, what is more, in a very inappropriate place and linked it to an even more inappropriate occasion, if possible.
But, one might still ask, in order to save the presuppositions of the fourth Gospel *), does not the presupposition that Jesus was often in Jerusalem ring through this saying, a presupposition which therefore seems to be all the more correct and justified because it contradicts the other presuppositions of the Synoptics? No! Luke formed the saying first! On a saying which stands in such a suspicious environment and with which, in so far as it speaks of death in Jerusalem, there is certainly an inner connection, does one want to found a system? Doesn’t the primal gospel show a trace that could lead us to the presupposition of the fourth gospel?
*) Strauss L. I. I. 505. 506.
Weisse thinks himself justified by the saying to conclude a longer duration of Jesus’ one stay in Jerusalem, which, as he at the same time thinks, the Synoptics rightly assume alone **). But he builds on the wrong place which Matthew gave to the saying. He builds on sand. In Luke’s writing the saying has its solid ground, as far as there can be such a thing in the chimerical world of this writing.
**) I, 420.
Luke is certainly not the man who could come to the aid of the fourth evangelist, nor is he the man who could justify Weisse in ascribing to Jesus’ stay in Jerusalem, of which the synoptics alone know, a duration that was as long as possible. Luke remains faithful to the Synoptic presupposition also in the second part of his writing, when he (Acts 10, 37) lets Peter describe the life in the same way as he has described it in the Gospel *), namely that Jesus “began from Galilee”, travelled around and finally performed his deeds in Jerusalem and Judea. Luke also has Peter (v. 38) speak as if the healing of the sick and the casting out of devils were the main deeds of Jesus, i.e. Luke has formed the speech in which the Lord speaks of the necessity of His healing miracles.
*) and how the priests also describe the course of it, when they delivered Jesus to Pilate: Luk 23, 5: αρξαμενος απο της γαλιλαιας εως ωδε. Literally the same Acts. 10, 37.
But Luke lets the Lord speak as if he had much and often to do with Jerusalem? This does not give us the right to form theological hypotheses. He also lets Peter speak as if Judea and Jemsalem had been a main scene of Jesus’ miraculous activity, and yet in the Gospel itself he knows only as much and as little about Jesus’ stay in Jerusalem as his predecessor Mark. Luke forms the first point in the transition from the view of the Synoptics to that of the Fourth, namely, the point at which Judea and Jerusalem became important for the entire activity of Jesus, but he has not yet drawn the line from this point that the Fourth drew. He only formed a sentence in which he emphasised Jesus’ activity in Jerusalem and partly also spoke of this activity in the sense that Jesus took care of the children of Jerusalem by taking care of the chosen people in general.
Otherwise, or rather everywhere, he is dependent on the view of Mark and proves that he has his more exact knowledge of the life of Jesus through Mark. He even continues this view quite correctly in additions. If the angel who reports the resurrection of their Master to the women says that they should tell the disciples that Jesus would go ahead of them to Galilee, where they would see him as he had told them, Luke has the angel say that they should remember what he told them “while he was still in Galilee” (C. 24, 6.). Jesus, writes Luke (C. 16, 47.), taught daily in the temple, i.e. he wanted to use this new opportunity to work through his teaching.
There can be no doubt about the opinion of Mark. When he says: Jesus entered Jerusalem, went into the temple and after he had looked at everything, he went out to Bethany, because it was already late, this means: Jesus satisfied the curiosity of a man from the province and today he could do nothing but look at the temple, namely, he could not teach because it was already late.
Matthew did not copy this passage from Mark, since he – very hastily and somewhat too hotly – had the merchants driven out of the temple immediately after the Lord’s entry; instead, he formed another passage, which proves his agreement with Mark’ basic premise. When Jesus enters Jerusalem, the whole city is in an uproar and people ask, “Who is this? But the crowd answered: this is the prophet Jesus from Nazareth in Galilee (C. 21, 10. 11.). This time we do not wish to reproach Matthew particularly for not having made it clear to us where the multitudes come from who are distinguished from the citizens of the holy city; he has at least shown us that, according to his view, Jesus also comes for the first time from the province to the capital.
Weisse reminds us that the rejoicing of the people at the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem proves that Jesus had not been in this city before or – to put it more correctly – that according to the Synoptics the moment has come when the Son of David enters the holy city. The Fourth, therefore, could not understand this rejoicing in its true sense; he even had to use the miracle of Lazarus to win over the crowds, since according to his previous account Jesus only had to expect trouble and distress in Jerusalem.
*) I, 297.
Whether at the time of Jesus, as Weisse remarks, who is only concerned with the positive statements of the Synoptics, people in Galilee thought more freely about the feast commandments, is not our concern here, but it is more than likely and at least puts the mechanical pragmatism of the fourth Gospel in its proper light. Whether the feast attendance was not necessary for Jesus is a personal question, and therefore cannot be answered by us, since we have not yet received a single message about Jesus. But Weisse’s remark is correct that according to the synoptic accounts Jesus travels to Jerusalem not to visit the feast but to suffer. However, we do not conclude from this, as Weisse does, that Jesus ‘ travelled to Jerusalem only at the time of this Christian sacrificial pascha, but . . . . . .
but that Mark the Evangelist was not at all concerned about all these questions of the theologians and Jews when he wrote his Gospel. He did not even think about the annually recurring feasts; their cycle had been forgotten in the ideal world in which he lived and which he described. The only thing he knew about it was that Jesus had to suffer at the Passover: for the time until then he knew nothing of chronology, as little as of a festival cycle.
It will now be seen where we want to go and where this matter will finally and for all time come to an end.
How can we take it into our heads to decide what a man had to do, or whether he attended the festivals of his people more than once, when all the reports that are supposed to teach us about him have dissolved? How can we go so far in our hunger for historical fragments as to want to decide from a writing whose author really lives in an ideal world and who, until he comes to the Passover, has breathed from the river of Lethe and forgotten all earthly measure of time, whether Jesus also visited the festivals more than once? Only one thing is certain, that the Passover – even the Passover! – has ideal significance for Mark, and that the time until this feast seems to him an eternity in which he knows no earthly calendar.
The fourth evangelist, who used no other sources for his news of the life of Jesus than the Gospels which we still possess, has distributed the life of his Lord in the Jewish festival cycles – but the admiration which was paid for it to the strength of his memory, the accuracy of his account, or higher influences, is now at last reduced to its proper measure, or rather to the opposite feeling.
One might now be inclined to agree with the Synoptics. For is it not more beautiful and more dignified how they present the matter, that Jesus first appears at the outermost edge of the holy land, establishes his work and only now enters the holy city in order to attack the corrupt hierarchy in the centre of its power and to fulfil his destiny?
It is more beautiful and more worthy, but not historical, for as yet we have found no trace of what is called history.
Weisse assumes that the public activity of Jesus must be attributed “a duration of a not too small number of years” *). We have no say in this, for reasons which we have already given. But we have a question to ask about the assumption that Mark got his material from Peter and yet, if we want to use this wretched prose of observation, which is quite inappropriate here, attributes such a very short period of time to the activity of Jesus. He has,” answers Weisse *), “in his endeavour to explain the isolated stories of Peter – that is to say, Peter has never – never – never! – never said a word about the whole? – into the solid whole of a history of the Lord’s life, by the manner of his transitions from one matter to another – Olshausen, how much wrong you have been done! – has created a semblance of continuity of events and thus also of changes in the setting of events, which a more skilful narrator, at least one who was at the same time a critical researcher, would undoubtedly have avoided. “
*) I, 292
*) I, 313 – 314.
No! Only one who knew an eyewitness like Peter would have avoided such a thing!
The Urevangelist, whom the Church called Mark, was not such a one.
The Urevangelist does not look at the transitions in any other way than the way he presents them. But carefully! He means to give definite, definite transitions, but in his ideal world he has at the same time lost the miserable prose of the earthly measure of time; he believes he is describing the history of an eternity, or at least he forgets the transitions, which are meant to be completely serious, in the view of the content, which to him is an infinite one. This is the contradiction of evangelical chronology. But the fact that it was possible for the evangelist to squeeze the creation of his ideal conception into such a short period of time for our calculation, proves first of all that the Christian principle is not capable of creating a true, extensive work of art and that the evangelist knew nothing less than the real life of Jesus.
But we want to hold him in such high esteem in any case that he is no longer asked the question of the festive journeys. This question is known only to the fourth and the theologian.
Admittedly, the theologian makes it very easy for himself in this respect too. He says: “the difference (between John and the poor Synoptics) in regard to chronology is easily (!) eliminated by the remark (!) that in the first three Gospels there are no chronological provisions at all” *).
*) Neander, 8. I. Chr. p. 380.
One can see that theology is an easy science; but its weight has become even lighter through criticism.
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