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% Luke xix. 48.
of His ministry, “ All the people were astonished at His doctrine,"1 so it continued to its close," for 1 Matt. vii. 28. all the people were very attentive to hear Him." Hence by the populace our Lord was never looked upon as “uninstructed,” “not knowing the law," or in any way approaching “a heathen man or a publican.” Nor was He so regarded by the learned. When only twelve years of age He surprised the doctors in the temple by His remarkable understanding and answers; and just as Josephus tells us ' s Life, sect. 2. that he himself when a youth was frequently consulted by men learned in the law, so the Scribes and Pharisees sometimes consulted Jesus — not always, let us hope, in malice, but sometimes rather to discover His attitude towards what they regarded as criteria of orthodoxy. We have an instance of this when they brought to Him a woman taken in adultery,“ quoting, as they did, the law, and inquiring 4 John viii. 2. for His opinion.
On another occasion He was asked under what circumstances divorce was permissible.5 Again, they asked what was the first 5 Matt. xix. 3. and great commandment (that is the most essential principle) of the law, and the Pharisees wished, 6 Matt. xxii. likewise, to know when He thought the kingdom of God was coming.”
The foregoing are not inquiries such as educated men would put to an Am-ha-aretz. Such questions concerned their highest branch of learning, namely the law-the law, probably, both written and unwritten, to which again our Lord referred His inquirers. And that such questions were skilfully answered was borne witness to sometimes by
7 Luke xvii. 20.
2 Luke XX. 21.
3 Matt. ix. II.
4 Luke xv. 2.
expressed approval, as in the words, “Well, Master, 1 Mark xii. 32. Thou hast said the truth ”1; and sometimes in
general terms :: “We know that Thou sayest and teachest rightly."*
It is noticeable also that the Pharisees expected to see our Lord, as a teacher, living up to a standard resembling their own. Hence they asked His disciples : “How is it that your Master eats and drinks with publicans and sinners ? ”s And on another occasion they murmured, saying, “This Man receiveth sinners and eateth with them "k_things which the Pharisees expressly undertook not to do. But there would have been in this nothing to murmur at, and the questions would have been without point, had they regarded Him as one of the uninstructed or common people. They murmured because they expected Him to set what they thought a higher example.
The strongest proof, however, that the Pharisees regarded our Lord as an observer of the law, like themselves, is seen in the fact that early in Christ's ministry, 'as He spake, a certain
Pharisee besought Him to dine with him, and 5 Luke xi. 37. Jesus went in and sat down to meat.” 5 Nor was
this the only occasion on which He did so, for later on in His ministry He went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath day.
Now, we remember that the Roman centurion at Capernaum was sufficiently familiar with Jewish custom to be aware that Jesus would contract ceremonial defilement by coming as a guest under
6 Luke xiv. I.
his Gentile roof, since it was considered a breach 1 Luke vii. 6. of the law for a Jew to keep company or be guest with one of another nation. But the fact that 2 Acts x. 28. we find two Pharisees, one of them a chief Pharisee, inviting our Lord to be their guest, is clear proof that these rigid religionists did not look on Jesus as a heathen man or a publican.
Our Lord's enemies, even, who watched His every word, action, and behaviour in order to find fault, never accused Him. of not paying tithes or ecclesiastical dues; and if not to pay tithe in Athens was a sufficient handle wherewith a Greek comedian might hold up to ridicule a rich commercial statesman, whose obligation to pay tithe : See Sacred
not nearly so plainly enjoined as was the case with the ordinary Jew, how gladly, may we not suppose, would the enemies of our
of our Lord have exulted over a similar shortcoming, had they been able to hold up Jesus to scorn, as a transgressor of this command of Moses, and of its interpretation according to the traditions of the elders ?
But let us pass on to inquire if we can learn anything respecting our subject from our Lord's own example. On the eighth day He was circumcized, and when the days of Mary's purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they brought the child Jesus to Jerusalem, to present Him to the Lord, and “to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord.” 1
4 Luke ii. 21-4.
See p. 39.
2 Jewish Missionary Intelligencer, March, 1903, p. 43
3 Luke ii. 39,
Mr. Sunlight's description of this ceremony as now observed by the Jews in Lemberg has been quoted,' and he adds :
“ Whilst watching the proceedings, I was reminded of a similar incident which happened in the life of our Lord, commonly called 'The presentation.' ... Simeon, being no doubt one of the officiating priests in the temple, performed this rite, and that accounts for his taking up the child Jesus in his arms and blessing Him. Thus we see that the Redeemer had also to be redeemed, for it behoved Him to fulfil all righteousness.”?
Again, when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Nazareth, whence His parents went to Jerusalem every year, at the Feast of the Passover, taking up their Son also when He was twelve years old, after the custom of the feast.3
Here, then, we find the Evangelist careful to note that both parents and child were strictly observant of the Mosaic law; and, in harmony with this when, later on, John hesitated about baptizing One so much greater than himself, Jesus answered : “ Thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” So, again, during our Lord's ministry, He more than once showed His allegiance to the law, saying, for instance, to the leper healed after the sermon on the mount: “Show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded ”5; whilst
later He similarly directed the ten lepers : 6 Luke xvii. 14. show yourselves to the priests.” 6
We know of only one occasion when our Lord was applied to for money, and then it was not for
4 Matt. iii. 15.
5 Matt. viii. 4.
2 Matt. xvii. 24z; Edersheim, Temple, p. 47
a compulsory tax imposed by the Romans, but when His disciples were asked, at Capernaum, whether their Master paid the contribution for the support of the temple services. Moses, it is written, levied at God's command, for the furnishing of the tabernacle, a half-shekel for every one numbered ; also, on the return from captivity, the people charged themselves with the third part of a shekel, yearly, for the service of the house of God,' and 1 Neh. x. 32. it was to pay this contribution that Peter was directed to find a stater, or the equivalent of two half-shekels, in the fish's mouth, wherewith to pay for himself and his Master.?
Concerning our Lord's personal arrangements about money, we know that though Himself a poor Man, yet He was accustomed to give to the poor. 3 John xiii. 9. He and His little company had, indeed, a purse, and Judas carried it; but three objects only are hinted at upon which its contents were spent. At the well of Samaria we read of the disciples having gone away to buy food ;' and on another 4 John iv. 8 occasion the well-known habits of their Master left His puzzled disciples only two uses for money they could conjecture, when, the traitor having left the room, “some thought because Judas had the bag that Jesus said unto him : 'Buy what things we have need of for the feast' [which reminds us of the festival tithe], or that he should give something to the poor.
Hence it has been beautifully observed that the slender provision of the Lord and His little company was disposed of under a tripartite division, for
5 Johp xiii. 29.