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that. The terrible warnings which God sends them are all in vain—the massacre of the Galileans of Jerusalem—the fall of the tower of Siloam. All in vain is the great sign that Jesus gives them by His preaching of repentance—how far more successful was Jonah with the men of Nineveh! In vain, too, is the respite that God still gives them, that they may repent before the end. Irresistibly the whole nation is tottering down the road to ruin.
So the glad message of the kingdom finally turns into the announcement of the doom upon Israel. Jesus ranges Himself on the side of John. In the last days, just before His death, Jesus announced the fall of the Jewish Church, and even of the sanctuary, in clear and unmistakable terms. Not one stone shall remain standing on the other. At the same time the world of the Gentiles bursts into view and takes Israel's place. In the parables we are told how, instead of the invited guests who refuse the invitation, others are called to take their places at the table which is ready; how the vineyard is let out to other husbandmen, in the place of those who refuse to pay the fruits thereof to the lord of the vineyard ; and then without a parable: instead of the children of the kingdom, many shall come from the east and from the west, and shall sit at meat with the patriarchs in the kingdom of God. How this admission of the Gentiles shall be brought about Jesus leaves to His God. He just gives the promise without giving His disciples any command to go forth as missionaries. The history of the apostolic age is sufficient proof of this statement.
But was the rejection of Israel on the part of Jesus final ? Not only did Paul believe in the final salvation of Israel ; the twelve apostles, too, encouraged by this hope, were unwearied in their attempts to convert their fellow-countrymen. In this particular point, however, much caution must be exercised in the way in which we deal with the tradition. It may be that even the patriotism of the disciples would no longer resign itself to accept this terrible conclusion. The early Christians only retained the parable of the fig-tree to which a season of grace had been granted, while the parable of the barren fig-tree was turned into a miracle and so deprived of all its serious meaning. All indications point to the fact that Jesus broke with the national hope more uncompromisingly, more decisively than His disciples. For individuals, even for many such, He had hopes stretching beyond His death, for that death was itself to be the means of the salvation of many. But the people as a whole He gave up as lost, obeying therein the teaching of facts better than the great apostle.
Thus, then, the message of Jesus retains its eschatological character from first to last. It is the announcement of the end, of the near approach of the judgment and of the kingdom, and such it remains. It is only the national element that is removed; the soberness and the glad joyfulness remain : they are the marks of eternity. Thereby Jesus so purified and so deepened the Jewish eschatology that it was able to conquer the world, and that the later change of the earthly expectation into the heavenly did not affect it at all. That which is great and new in Jesus is not to be found in the
thought of a present and immanent kingdom of God—thoughts which Jesus Himself soon abandoned, and which have never been a motive power in history, but in the denationalization of the Jewish hope.
Here, again, we can trace two divergent tendencies in the early Church, both of which start from Jesus' eschatology
There is first the national Jewish tendency, fragments of which can be found in the Apocalypse—even St Paul did not show himself quite free from it—Israel must be saved, cost what it may. And there is the freer, broader view which throws a bridge over to Greek thought and finally transforms the whole Jewish eschatology into a religious hope of the next world. This latter alone understood the meaning of the work of Jesus' life.
THE RISE OF THE RELIGION.
In the eyes of Jesus and of the Jews, the kingdom is a gift of God. It is established upon earth without any human intervention, in a supernatural manner by means of a series of miracles and catastrophes. Even in the period of His most confident hopefulness Jesus did not expect it to come about through His work or that of His disciples; it grows of itself. The thought of hastening the coming of the kingdom by any efforts on our part is in its origin neither Christian nor Jewish. It only originated when the idea of the supernatural was abandoned and the conception of the kingdom of God was entirely transformed. And how should Jesus and His disciples be able to bring about the judgment, the resurrection, the suspension of death, the vision of God ? Such phantastic thoughts are entirely foreign to Jesus. What they have to do is not to try and hasten the coming of the kingdom, but to prepare themselves so that they may receive it worthily.
Jesus wished to urge men into this preparation by
the call to repentance. Like the later Christian Church, the Jewish Church had certain definite regulations for penance—the • Teschuba. If any one had sinned he could recover God's mercy by a confession of sins accompanied by sorrow, fasting and self-chastisement. It would seem that the right of renewed participation in the church services depended upon such acts of penance. Jesus starts from this point, but He immediately makes the same change which Luther afterwards repeated in the beginning of his theses. In the face of the approaching kingdom of God, He would have the whole life to be such an act of repentance—no merely external ecclesiastical penance, but a breach with the former superficial life and a drawing near. to God. For this penitence is to consist in nothing negative or ascetic, as in the Jewish acts of penance, but simply in the doing of God's will. He that repentsi.e. he that does God's will—may hope to enter into the kingdom of God. What, then, does Jesus mean by the “will of God'? What does the phrase cover as He uses it ?
Two observations are here necessary by way of preliminary to remove any possible misunderstanding.
Jesus makes a clear distinction between the apostles and the disciples in the wider sense of the word. There is one little company of men whom Jesus removes entirely from their life in the world, separating them from their calling, their family, their possessions, their homes, and associating them with Himself as His followers in His life of constant wandering But these are the future missionaries, whom Jesus makes partners in His own calling.