« PreviousContinue »
illustrated by parallel passages.
A careful comparison of the parables of the talents (Matt. xxv, 14–30) and of the pounds (Luke xix, 11-27) will show that they have much in common, together with not a few things that are different. They were spoken at different times, in different places, and to different hearers. The parable of the talents deals only with the servants of the lord who went into a far country; that of the pounds deals also with his citizens and enemies who would not have him reign over them. Yet the great lesson of the necessity of diligent activity for the Lord in his absence is the same in both parables.
A comparison of parallel passages is necessary in order to deterThe word hate mine the sense of the word hate in Luke xiv, 26: “If
any one comes unto me, and hates not his father, and
mother, and wife, and children, and brothers, and sisters, and even his own life besides, he cannot be my disciple.” This statement appears at first to contravene the fifth commandment of the decalogue, and also to involve other unreasonable demands. It seems to stand opposed to the Gospel doctrine of love. But, turning to Matt. x, 37, we find the statement in a milder form, and woven in a context which serves to disclose its full force and bearing. There the statement is: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” The immediate context of this verse (verses 34–39), a characteristic passage of our Lord's more ardent utterances, sets its meaning in a clear light.
think,” he says, verse 34, “that I came to send peace Matt. x, 34-39.
on the earth; I came not to send peace but a sword.” He sees a world lying in wickedness, and exhibiting all forms of opposition to his messages of truth. With such a world he can make no compromise, and have no peace without, first, a bitter conflict. Such conflict he, therefore, purposely invites. He will conquer a peace, or else have none at all. “The telic style of expression is not only rhetorical, indicating that the result is unavoidable, but what Jesus expresses is a purpose--not the final design of his coming, but an intermediate purpose—in seeing clearly presented to his view the reciprocally hostile excitement as a necessary transition, which he therefore, in keeping with his destiny as Messiah, must be sent first of all to bring forth.” Before his final purpose is accomplished he sees what bitter strifes must come; but the grand result will be well worth all the intermediate woes. Therefore he will call father, mother, child, although it cause many household divisions; and so he adds, as explaining how he will send
· Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Commentary, in loco.
" Do not
a sword rather than peace: “For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes shall be they of his own household.” When this state of things shall come to pass, how many will be called upon to decide whether they will cleave to Christ, or to an unchristian father? Micah's words (vii, 6) will then be true. Son will oppose father, daughter will rise up against mother, and if one remains true to the Lord Christ, he will have to forsake his own household and kin. He cannot be a true disciple and love his parents or children more than Christ. Hence he must needs set them aside, forsake them, love them less, and even oppose them, assuming toward them the hostile attitude of an enemy for Christ's sake. The import of hate, in Luke 26, is accordingly made clear.
This peculiar meaning of the word is further confirmed by its use in Matt. vi, 24: “No man can serve two masters : for
Matt. vi, 24. either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” Two masters, so opposite in nature as God and Mammon, cannot be loved and served at one and the same time. The love of the one necessarily excludes the love of the other, and neither will be served with a divided heart. In the case of such essential opposites, a lack of love for one amounts to a disloyal enmitythe root of all hatred. Another parallel, illustrative of this impressive teaching, is to be found in Deut. xiii, 6–11, where it is enjoined that, if brother, son, daughter, wife, or friend entice one to idolatry, he shall not only not consent, but he shall not have pity on the seducer, and shall take measures to have him publicly punished as an enemy of God and his people. Hence we derive the lesson that one who opposes our love and loyalty to God or Christ is the worst possible enemy. Compare also John xii, 25; Rom. ix, 13; Mal. i, 2, 3; Deut. xxi, 15.
The true interpretation of Jesus' words to Peter, in Matt. xvi, 18, will be fully apprehended only by a comparison and careful study of all the parallel texts. Jesus says to Peter, “Thou
Peter a living art Peter (TÉTpos), and upon this petra (or rock, étrì stone. Matt. xvi, TAÚTV TV tétpo), will I build my Church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against her.” How is it possible from this passage alone to decide whether the rock (TÉTpa) refers to Christ (as Augustine and Wordsworth), or to Peter's confession (Luther and many Protestant divines), or to Peter himself? It is noticeable that in the parallel passages of Mark (viii, 27–30) and Luke (ix, 18-21) these words of Christ to Peter do not occur. The
immediate context presents us with Simon Peter, as the spokesman and representative of the disciples, answering Jesus' question with the bold and confident confession, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus was evidently moved by the fervid words of Peter, and said to him, “ Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona, for flesh and blood revealed it not to thee, but my Father who is in the heavens.” Whatever knowledge and convictions of Jesus' messiahship and divinity the disciples had attained before, this noble confession of Peter possessed the newness and glory of a special revelation. It was not the offspring of “flesh and blood,” that is, not of natural human birth or origin, but the spontaneous outburst of a divine inspiration from heaven. Peter was for the moment caught up by the Spirit of God, and, in the glowing fervour of such inspiration, spoke the very word of the Father. He was accordingly pronounced the blessed (uakápos) or happy one.
Turning now to the narrative of Simon's introduction to the John 1, 41-43 Saviour (John i, 41-43), we compare the first mention compared. of the name Peter. He was led into the presence of Jesus by his own brother Andrew, and Jesus, gazing on him, said, “Thou art Simon, the son of Jonah; thou shalt be called Cephas, which is interpreted Peter" (TTÉTPOS). Thus, at the beginning, he tells him what he is and what he shall be. A doubtful character at that time was Simon, the son of Jonah; irritable, impetuous, unstable, irresolute; but Jesus saw a coming hour when he would become the bold, strong, abiding, memorable stone (Peter), the typical and representative confessor of the Christ. Reverting again to the passage in Matthew, it is easy to see that, through his inspired confession of the Christ, the Son of the living God, Simon has attained the ideal foreseen and foretold by his Lord. He has now become Peter indeed; now “thou art Peter,” not “shalt be called Peter.” Accordingly, we cannot avoid the conviction that the manifest play on the words petros and petra (in Matt. xvi, 18,) has a designed and important significance, and also an allusion to the first bestowal of the name on Simon (John i, 43); as if the Lord had said : Remember, Simon, the significant name I gave thee at our first meeting. Then I said, Thou shalt be called Peter; now I say unto thee, Thou art Peter. But there is doubtless a designed significance in the change from
petros to petra, in Matt. xvi, 18. It is altogether probpetra. able that there was a corresponding change in the Aramaic words used by our Lord on this occasion. He may, perhaps, have employed merely the simple and emphatic forms of the Aramaic word Cephas (9'2 and xpa). What, then, is meant by
FOUNDATION OF THE APOSTLES.
the trétpa, petra, on which Christ builds his Church? In answering this question we inquire what other scriptures say about the building of the Church, and in Eph. ii, 20–22 we find it written that Christian believers constitute “the household of
Ephesians ii, God, having been built upon the foundation of the 20-22 compared. apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief cornerstone; in whom all the building, fitly framed together, grows unto a holy temple in the Lord; in whom ye also are builded together for a habitation of God in the Spirit.” Having made the natural and easy transition from the figure of a household to that of the structure in which the household dwells, the apostle speaks of the latter as “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets.” The prophets here intended are doubtless the New Testament prophets referred to in chapters iii, 5 and iv, 11.
The foundation of the apostles and prophets has been explained (1) as a genitive of apposition—the foundation which is constituted of apostles and prophets; that is, the the apostles apostles and prophets are themselves the foundation and prophets. (so Chrysostom, Olshausen, De Wette, and many others); (2) as a genitive of the originating cause—the foundation laid by the apostles (Calvin, Koppe, Harless, Meyer, Eadie, Ellicott); (3) as a genitive of possession—the apostles and prophets' foundation, that is, the foundation upon which they as well as all other believers are builded (Beza, Bucer, Alford). We believe that in the breadth and fulness of the apostle's conception, there is room for all these thoughts, and a wider comparison of Scripture corroborates this view. In Gal. ii, 9, James, Cephas, and John are spoken of as pillars (otūłoi), foundation-pillars, or columnar supports of the Church. In the apocalyptic vision of the New Jerusalem, which is “the bride, the wife of the Lamb” (Rev. xxi, 9), it is said that “the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and upon
Rev. xxi, 14. them twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb” (Rev. xxi, 14). Here it is evident that the apostles are conceived as foundation-stones, forming the substructure of the Church; and with this conception “the foundation of the apostles and prophets" (Eph. ii, 20) may be taken as genitive of apposition. But in 1 Cor. iii, 10, the apostle speaks of himself as a wise architect,
1 Cor. iii, 10. laying a foundation (Deuéacov čonka, a foundation I laid). Immediately after (verse 11) he says: “Other foundation can no one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” This foundation Paul himself laid when he founded the Church of Corinth, and first made known there the Lord Jesus Christ. Having once laid this foundation, no man could lay another, although he
might build thereupon. Paul himself could not have laid another had some one else been first to lay this foundation in Corinth (compare Rom. xv, 20). How he laid this foundation he tells in chap. ii, 1-5, especially when he says (verse 2) “I determined not to know any thing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” So then, in this sense, Ephesians ii, 20 may be taken as genitive of the originating cause—the foundation which the apostles laid. At the same time we need not overlook or ignore the fact presented in 1 Cor. iii, 11, that Jesus is himself the foundation, that is, Jesus Christ—including his person, work, and doctrine—is the great fact on which the Church is builded, and without which there could be no redemption. Hence the Church itself, according to i Tim. iii, 15, is the “pillar and basis (édpalwua) of the truth.” Accordingly we hold that the expression “foundation of the apostles and prophets” (Eph. ii, 20) has a fulness of meaning which may include all these thoughts. The apostles were themselves incorporated in this foundation, and made pillars or foundation stones; they, too, were instrumental in laying this foundation and building upon it; and having laid it in Christ, and working solely through Christ, without whom they could do nothing, Jesus Christ himself, as preached by them, was also conceived as the underlying basis and foundation of all (1 Cor. iii, 11).
Another Scripture, in 1 Peter ii, 4, 5, should also be collated 1 Peter ti, 4, 5, here, for it was written by the apostle to whom the
words of Matt, xvi, 18, were addressed, and seems to have been with him a thought that lingered like a precious memory in the soul: “To whom (i. e., the gracious Lord just mentioned) approaching, a living stone, by men indeed disallowed, but before God chosen, precious, do ye also yourselves, as living stones, be built up a spiritual house." Here the Lord is himself presented as the elect and precious corner-stone (comp. verse 6), and at the same time Christian believers are also represented as living stones, built into the same spiritual temple. Coming back now to the text in Matt. xvi, 18, which Schaff pro
one of the profoundest and most far-reaching prophetical, but, at the same time, one of the most controverted, sayings of the Saviour," I we are furnished, by the above collation of cognate Scriptures, with the means of apprehending its true import and signifi
Filled with a divine inspiration, Peter confessed his Lord Christ, to the glory of God the Father (compare 1 John iv, 15, and Rom. x, 9), and in that blessed attainment and confession he be
* Lange's Commentary on Matthew, translated and annotated by Philip Schaff, p. 293. New York, 1864. Compare also Meyer, Alford, and Nast, in loco.