Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

sufferer, and before His commanding word. That ‘Jesus sighed' we are told in other places, and that 'He raised His eyes to heaven' occurs still oftener; but a sigh before a miracle is peculiar to this passage. We must not think that we have a parallel in the passage (John xi. 35) where our Lord weeps before the raising of Lazarus. Weeping and sighing differ widely. In accordance with Heb. xiii. 17, we can oppose grief to joy, but joy itself is a conception with many meanings. There is a psychical χαρά and a χαρά εν πνεύματι αγίω. As to what the sighing' signifies, we must oppose those expositors who explain it in a pathological sense. Meyer praises unjustly the solution of Euthym. Zig. : επικαμπτόμενος τους πάθεσιν του ανθρώπου; and Bengel errs greatly in judging suspirium est táðos cordis. Holy Scripture points to a very different result. We read also in Mark viii. 12 of a sighing of our Lord, when the Pharisees tempted Him, and demanded a sign from heaven; but the evangelist expressly adds, ' in His spirit. Even the groanings in Rom. viii. are by the Apostle Paul referred to the Spirit. They are not witnesses of the weakness in which the tráön sink, but expressions of the Spirit-of the Spirit póluuov (which excludes the ảodéveta of the flesh).

When James (in chap. v. 9 of his epistle) writes, Grudge not one against another,' and strengthens his command by pointing to the day of judgment, it is evident that he judges the sigh as the strongest accusation that could be pronounced before the Judge. We have therefore, in this case, not to think of a pity of Jesus for the misery of the individual standing before Him (and so much the less so, as in the 33d verse the healing has already been completed); but His sigh is the most expressive picture to place symbolically before our eyes the appearance of this xwpós. And, in fact, there was here before Him the most

[ocr errors]

speaking, the most impressive picture, not of the spiritual misery of man, but of the persistency with which men remain in its bonds, and pass by Him who can loose them from the evil magic. Still more is it a picture of the opposition which our Lord found to His work, from the want of receptivity for His gifts, and for the object of His appearance on earth.'

We say the most speaking picture of it. It appears indeed to be a mere, at least an unimportant variation, when by the side of the complaint of blinded eyes that of insensible hearing is also heard; but in reality there is a discernible difference. In fact, if we are asked as to the higher significance of the one or the other, the balance unquestionably leans in favour of the hearing. All honour to the eye, but the ear is more important. The superiority of the latter over the former is fully recognised in the region of the senses. We can close the eye

if we wish to do so; it is so formed that it can be closed, and in sleep it closes of itself. On the other hand, we can only stop the ear by means of mechanical and unnatural force (Acts vii. 57); even in sleep it stands open, and is therefore at all times the ready medium to banish sleep. (There is much food for thought, according to this view, in the passage full of meaning in Eph. v. 14.) But still more evident is it that the spiritual perception is effected more through the ear than through the eye. The gospel directs itself to the ear. Blessed are they who hear the word. Where there is no hearing there is no salvation, for faith comes by hearing. Thus, when our Lord sees the deaf man, whose spiritual life is stagnated in conse

Meyer reproaches Hofmann for reading between the lines the thought that · Jesus sees in the deaf and dumb a picture of the people incompetent to hear the faith and to speak the confession.' But really Hofmann has considered the work of Jesus from the right point of view. The only thing we are doubtful of is, whether he has not laid an unjustifiable stress upon the opdñs aansiv. The point of difficulty is manifestly the hearing.

[ocr errors]

1

quence of this want, it is to Him a symbol of the closed ear of the world, which does not perceive His word, and therefore does not receive it. And if He comes forward and opens his ear, this is for us the symbol of His power to effect the spiritual hearing, and to open the heart for His gift. But for Him who did this sign, there remained still cause enough deeply to sigh. Then, if in this case His Ephphatha meets with no hindrance, He knows that He will often have to sound it in vain in a higher region; for even almightiness is powerless before unwillingness to repent.

Only in this view of the case is the narrative conceivable by us. But certainly we must not extend this explanation beyond the boundary which we have drawn. It is unwarrantable to say that Jesus sighed over the sins of the tongue which would still be committed by men, and more specially by him whom He had cured. When we take into consideration the circumstance that Jesus at the same time ordered silence, thus teaching that the tongue should be held in check; it has been on one side overlooked that this silence was imposed in no way on the healed man himself, but on the people standing around—“He charged them,' ver. 36; and on the other, that it stands as such in no other connection with the deed, but as impressing that the stress is here to be laid not on the tongue, but on the ear; for there is certainly no question as to the right use of the tongue.

We close with a consideration which will certainly

1 The command in the 36th verse, 'not to spread abroad,' has here another motive, and is to be understood otherwise than in the similar cases in which we have hitherto met with it. In the earlier cases it was each time directed to the receiver of the benefit; it must therefore be considered and understood always under this point of view. But here, where our Lord turned to the people, to the witnesses of the miracle, another key to the understanding of the prohibition must be used. And which ? Now no other than that which Matthew supplies us with in chap. xii. 16-21.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

contribute something to recommend our view. It is that the Gospel of Mark is especially the one which narrates the most numerous and the most urgent exhortations to hear aright in the spiritual sense. Compare chap. iv. 23 ff. The apophthegm with which this passage commences, “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear,' does occur also in the other evangelists; even Luke has the following words, BRétrete ÅKOVETE. But in Mark alone is found the parable immediately connected with it, that the earth of itself brings forth fruit after it has received the seed. The pith of the parable is this, that by hearing all salvation is communicated; that what is heard is to be heard aright,—that is the beginning of all wisdom. To this it is well to add that the same evangelist gives us a narrative which declares the same truth symbolically.

The sighing of Jesus 'is caused by the fruitless endeavours of the sower, caused by the closed ear of the people, to sow the seed of the word. His miracle, however, shows His power to open the ear in case no pride of self withholds him. Even as to what concerns the hearing and the being deaf, He has come for judgment into the world. And as in John ix. He attacks those blind to the word, saying, “I have appeared for judgment, in order that those who see not shall see, , and those who see shall become blind ;' so we have a perfect right to form a similar explanation of the history of the healing of the deaf and dumb: “that I am come for judgment, that those who do not hear may hear, and that those that hear may become dumb.'

If, in all the narratives in the group which we have been considering, we have placed in the foreground this symbolical intention, our meaning was not that our Lord in these miracles always represented those higher treasures He could and would bestow. But if not in all, in many cases, what He showed allegorically, He gave

also at the same time in reality. In the history of the sick of the palsy this is evident; the sick man receives in reality the forgiveness of sins—what was shown symbolically in his cure. However, we must maintain that in all the cases of this group the symbolical meaning is the predominant one. Quite otherwise is it with those miracles of Jesus in the group on the consideration of which we are about to enter.

« НазадПродовжити »