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COMPARED VIEW OF THE FIRST THREE
I APPREHEND that the Gospel of Mark, which brings under our view the service of Christ, and particularly His prophetic service, and, hence, records simply the accomplishment of that service, as the events arose, is that of the three first gospels, which gives, generally, the chronological order of events. Luke places, in general, events in the same order as Mark, where he follows chronological order at all. In a large portion of his gospel, he drops the chronological order, and gives a general series of instructions, of which the occasions and elements are found scattered in the other two Gospels, or found only in Luke. I take Mark, therefore, as presenting, in the main, the historical order.
It is to be remarked, that, as is stated in the end of John, very few of the events or miracles of our Lord's life are recorded; only such as shew forth his ministry, and specially in the earlier part in Galilee, and then at the close at Jerusalem. In these, the Gospels, in the main, go together. Luke has a large portion of the middle part of his Gospel, occupied with general moral teaching. But the way in which this comes in, is not difficult to perceive, as, in the ninth chapter, it is said, the time was come for Christ's delivering up. In all the Gospels, the common history of the concluding events, begins with the healing of the blind man near Jericho. In Matthew, the method pursued by the Evangelist, is very evident; and the displacement of subjects, where they are found, is connected with that method. I will begin with him. The birth of Christ itself not found in Mark is treated in connection with the subject of the Evangelist, or rather of the Holy Ghost, by his pen. Luke's account of Christ's birth, far more detailed than Matthew's, bears its own stamp, too.
But I will now consider the order of Matthew, and the reasons of it, as far as God enables me.
Matthew gives us the presenting of Messiah-Jehovah, son of David, to the people; and the form His service took in consequence of His rejection, with the substitution of the new thing, which took place of Messiah's being then received — the church prophetically announced, and the kingdom of glory. The residue of Israel have also their place beyond the intervening epoch of the Church, existing on to the close. The general subject of the Gospel, what characterises it, is the presenting of Messiah-Jehovah, according to hope and promise, and its consequences. Hence, the genealogy by which the Gospel begins,a is Messiah's genealogy, traced to David and Abraham, the two great depositaries of promise, and heads of blessing to Israel, by original promise, and given royalty. Christ was heir of both. It begins also the Gospel, for the accomplishment of this blessing, according to promise, is its subject. Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision, for the truth of God to confirm the promises made to the fathers. Luke has his genealogy elsewhere, after the whole history of Christ's birth has been given in connection with Israel, but in Israel's subject-place in the world. From heaven only, the angels announce its universal scope. It is connected with the opening of His ministry, and goes up to Son of Adam, Son of God.
To return to Matthew. In speaking of Christ's birth, Joseph is addressed as son of David, Mary being espoused to him. The child's name thus divinely born, is to be called Jehovah the Saviour, for He is to save His peuple from their sins; all coming to pass, that the prophecy of
Remark, that the Gospel of Matthew begins with this genealogy; for, coming in the way of promise, the connection of Christ with the stock of promise, was the foundation-stone of His position. In Luke, the genealogy is not till chap. iv., and goes up to Adam. The connection is with man. cedes, is a very full and most interesting statement of every element of the actual condition of Israel. Then begins the Son of Man's history --- grace.
Emmanuel's coming might be fulfilled. He was the Emmanuel of Israel who was thus born.
Next, at Bethlehem, according to the prophecy, the Gentiles come to own Israel's king, in contrast, moreover, with the false one. Such is His place; but, from the beginning, to be rejected in it. But He is to begin Israel's fortunes afresh, so to speak, as called out of Egypt, the true vine. In due time, He returns back, but it is to take His place with the remnant of Israel, the poor of the flock, in despised Galilee, and be called a Nazarene. Such was the place in Israel of JehovahMessiah. Fulfilment of promise - The place to which He had really a title, what He really was - His place, in fact. Such are the three great elements of the history of the introduction of Christ into the world, as given in this Gospel. Of course, this is not in Mark; but it gives to us the character of the Gospel. Matthew then passes on to the opening of His ministry, John preparing His way. This, and the temptation, are given in all three Gos
as the two opening facts, but with some characteristic differences. As to John's ministry, it is simply generally introductory. In Luke, you have, “ All flesh shall see the salvation of God;" and various moral instructions to different classes, and the title of “generation of vipers," is applied to the multitude in general. In Matthew, he is simply to prepare the way of the Lord (Jehovah). His prophetic appearance is noticed. The Pharisees and Sadducees only are a generation of vipers. In Luke, he preaches the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. In Matthew, “ Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” As regards the temptation, Mark only briefly mentions the fact. The only point to be noticed is, that Luke puts the temptation of the pinnacle of the temple last, giving the moral order: Matthew, the offer of the kingdoms of the world; after which, he sends Satan (now fully manifested), away.
Luke, consequently, does not notice this last circuinstance, not necessary for his object. Matthew and Mark both notice *hat Jesus' ministry commenced after John was cast into prison. This makes Him go into Galilee.
In Matthew, thereupon, a fact is noticed which casts a
light on the course of the Lord's ministry, connecting Him, as it does, with the poor and despised of the flock in Galilee. He came and dwelt in Capernaum, leaving Nazareth; accomplishing thus, a remarkable prophecy of Isaiah, directly connected with the most specific prophecy there is, of the separation of the residue in Messiah's time (see Isaiah viii. 13, and following).
All this is generally stated in Luke (iv. 14, 15), only His preaching in Nazareth is givenb- of that when we speak of Luke.
The call of Andrew, Simon, James, and John, follows, as in Mark; for here what naturally followed historically, has its place in Matthew. It is not merely preaching, but the beginning of the gathering of the residue round His own person. They leave all, and follow Him. They believed on Him, note, already (John i.). Luke here leaves the order, to give the character and service of Christ's ministry, with which the Spirit is specially occupied in that part of that Gospel." Mark had already stated, generally, His preaching on His going into Galilee; and then proceeds with historical circumstances in Capernaum, etc. But Matthew opens out here, into a large general view of His public ministry, and the attention it drew; and then gives a full summary of all the principles of the kingdom He was preaching, and what characters had a place in it. Hence, after His beginning to gather the residue, he tells us of His going all round Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom (Mark says, Kingdom of God), healing, casting out devils, so that His fame spread throughout all Syria. The (åkon) report went abroad, and multitudes followed him from on all sides. This, of course, embraces some considerable time, and presents, purposely, a general view of the work, and its effects; a picture, in a few verses, of the effects of his ministry, The Gospel of the Kingdom was spread abroad, and attention universally attracted, for it was accompanied with power.
Hereupon, the Spirit of God, without defining any time, but merely saying that the sight of the multitudes gave occasion to it, enters into a full statement, well known as the Sermon on the Mount, of the great principles of the Kingdom embraced as preached, before it came in power, by a faithful few, to whom persecution for righteousness, and for His name's sake, are presented as a probable part of their lot. These principles are the spirituality of the law, and the revelation of the name of the Father. Israel was on the way to the Judge. It was not the great, wise, doctors, Pharisees, but the
b It is a common practice with Luke, to give events briefly and synoptically, and then expatiate on the details of some one point, which brings out moral principles and feelings.
of the flock who entered into the mind of God about the state of things
were like Christ — who would enter into the Kingdom. It is not preaching the Gospel of salvation, but the principles of the Kingdom. The suitableness of this, after shewing us how the preaching of that kingdom had attracted the notice of all, is evident. The comparison of Mark iii. 13, and Luke vi., shews, I think, clearly, that these are the same occasion; but Mark does not give the sermon; and Luke, who does more briefly, shews it was when he had chosen the twelve. This last circumstance is not given in Matthew. They are noticed as already chosen, at the time of their sending forth (x. i.), which was a subsequent act. We can hardly speak of date in Matthew for the Sermon on the Mount; because, while Mark gives details of Christ's ministry in Galilee (of which Matthew, indeed, gives many afterwards), Matthew here gives a general comprehensive view of that ministry as a whole. Still it was, in a general way, at its commencement; and the sermon is introduced, out of its historic place, before all the details of the ministry in Galilee, in order to give the character of the heirs of the kingdom, when the fact of its preaching in Galilee, and the public attention it had excited, had been brought before us. The place which these instructions have in this Gospel, is entirely determined by the subject. He gathers the residue round Himself. The kingdom is announced in all the prophetic country (Galilee) with power, the report spread, the character of the kingdom given. This closes this great introductory portion. We have then the details of the presentation of Jehovah Messiah, and the result gradually developed: and that at once very rapidly and character. istically. For the great statement, as a whole, of what