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2-The Messianic Expectation as Motivation for the Crucifixion of Christ – Hubert_Luns

2-The Messianic Expectation as Motivation for the Crucifixion of Christ – Hubert_Luns

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Published by Hubert Luns
It has been determined that under the Anointed One the lame will walk and the blind see, but under Herod the extremely healthy have been made lame, those who could see are become blind and the rich poor.
It has been determined that under the Anointed One the lame will walk and the blind see, but under Herod the extremely healthy have been made lame, those who could see are become blind and the rich poor.

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Published by: Hubert Luns on Dec 28, 2011
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 - 1 -
Part 2 of 4
The Messianic Expectationas Motivation for the Crucifixion of Christ »
 Art Historic Museum - Vienna, by Caracciolo (or Caravagio) 
 In the previous article we considered the Messianic Expectation of the Jews in the time of  Jesus, thereby assuming an interpretation of Psalm 2 and of a few passages from the book of  Daniel, using a very early Christian writing, presumed to be from the school of Hillel, whichcame to some remarkable conclusions on the grounds of material available in the Bible itself and of quotations from Tacitus and Suetonius. This author concludes that the obstinate opinionhad taken root, in both friend and enemy, that for those times it was foreordained that thosewho would win absolute rule over all their surrounding enemies had to come from Judea. Theauthor was of the opinion that this depicted exactly the atmosphere reigning in Palestine during the mission of Jesus and that it explained his reluctance to present Himself as the Messiah and his tendency to disappear as soon as the crowds pressed around Him and attempted to make Him king. In this matter, the anonymous writing goes beyond the point at which we stopped inthe previous article.
1 – The voice of one crying in the wilderness
«« Such being the expectation of the Jews, as we learn from profane history, a man of singular habits and appearance began to preach in a retired part of Judeah, where therewere but a few large towns (Mt. 3:2):
“Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!”.
 This man was of the sacerdotal tribe and had been consecrated to God from his infancy by the vow of the Nazarite. His habits and dress were those of a hermit, his food such ashe could pick up in the fields and woods (Mt. 3:4). He was literally (Is. 40:3, John 1:19-31):
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness. Prepare ye the way of the Lord. Make straight in the desert a highway for our God”.
He professed to have been moved bydivine impulse to proclaim the immediate approach of the Messiah. A man of suchsingular appearance, bearing such an important message, produced a great sensation,
 - 2 -
and excited the strongest curiosity. Crowds from all parts of Judeah flocked together tosee and hear him. Some thought that he was the Messiah. His fame soon reachedJerusalem, and the Jewish authorities sent a deputation of priests and Levites to inquirewho he was. He told them that he was not the Messiah, but was sent to introduce Him.
“I came to point Him out to Israel.”
Here was undoubtedly stated the true reason whyhe was raised up by divine Providence to prepare the Jewish mind for the great messagefrom God which they were about to receive, to shape their ideas from the crude mass of traditions which had excited among them into some resemblance to the dispensationthat the Messiah was about to establish.
“There was a man sent from God, whose namewas John. The same came for a witness, that all men through him might believe. He wasnot the Light, but was sent to bear witness of the Light.”
(John 1:6-8)
The disciples visit John the Baptist in prison
The effect of his preaching was precisely what was intended. He produced a strongimpression upon the public mind, and, though he wrought no miracle, all men held himto be a prophet. He presented a strong contrast, and probably by design, to the pretenders to divine mission who appeared about that time. It was on this account thatthe multitudes gathering about him created no uneasiness in the public authorities. Aman, like John, who clothed himself in the coarsest attire, in a country where the higher classes were studious of ornament, and all who had any pretensions to official dignitywere distinguished by gorgeous apparel, would naturally escape all suspicion of  political ambition. (Mt. 11:7-10, Luke 7:24-27)(…) It does not appear that John had any particular person in his mind when hecommenced his mission, but was merely informed by God, who sent him to preach, thatthe Messiah should be pointed out to him by some miraculous appearance. He hadknown Him before as a person of great piety and excellence, for when Jesus came tohim to be baptized, John said to Him (Mt. 3:13):
“I need to be baptized by You, and areYou coming to me?”.
But as the Messiah he had no knowledge of Him, for he testifies(John 1:33): «I did not know Him», that is, as the Messiah,
“but He who sent me tobaptize with water said to me: ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and 
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remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit’”.
John collectedaround him a company of disciples who he instructed in the mysteries of religion, andmany of them seem to have remained with him after he was cast into prison, till he was beheaded by Herod.(…) The mind of John the Baptist furnishes a remarkable example, which we oftenmeet with, of partial divine illumination, the clearest knowledge on some points andabsolute ignorance on others. By the light of inspiration he shadowed forth in a fewwords the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven, whose approach he foretold, and showed itto be something entirely different from the expectation of the Jews, handed down fromremote ages; yet of its details his ideas seem to have been vague, and he appears to havehad no certain knowledge that Jesus was the Messiah, though he had baptized Him andreceived the heavenly sign of which they had been forewarned. »»
 John had no certain knowledge about the Messiah
The remark 
“John the Baptist appears to have had no certain knowledge that Jesus wasthe Messiah” 
needs clarification. At the time Jesus was baptised, John the Baptist thoughtthat he had the certain knowledge that Jesus was the Messiah. Until then he had knownHim personally, and he valued Him more highly than himself, but only after the foretoldsign of the Holy Ghost had taken place, who descended like a dove on Jesus, and after the‘Bath kole’ - the Voice of God - had resounded from heaven with (Mt. 3:17):
“You are Mybeloved Son, in You I am well pleased” 
, only then did John know that Jesus was theprophesied Messiah. In the certainty of those days he exclaimed (John 1:34-35):
“This isthe Son of God!, and the next day, looking at Jesus: Behold the Lamb of God!” 
But later, when locked up in the gloomy and stinking cell of the tetrarch Herod, he realised that hisexpectations concerning a glorious and a triumphant Messiah had been belied. And he was thrown back and forth between the certainty of his expectation and the certainty of the signs that were revealed to him, which now seemed a distant memory, and he startedto have agitating doubts about the Messiahship of Jesus – Who, after all, was his nephew.
2 – God loves all people
«« One truth which John the Baptist announced bears evident marks of supernaturalorigin – since it contradicted the conceptions and prejudices of the age – that theMessiah and his Kingdom were not to be national, not belonging de jure andexclusively to the posterity of Abraham alone. There is a maxim, as common as thevery letters of the alphabet, in the writings of the rabbis, that
“All Israel is to partake inthe world to come”,
that is, in the Messianic Kingdom, merely by virtue of their descentfrom Abraham. They had not the slightest notion that it was to be a kingdom selectedfrom Israel and other nations, a new community by no means coextensive with the seedof Abraham. That it was to be a moral and a spiritual kingdom was just as far from their concepts.
“Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand! (…) Bring forth, therefore, fruitsworthy of repentance, and say not, we have Abraham for our father, for God is able toraise up children to Abraham from these stones.”
(Mt. 3:2, 9). Do not imagine that youare to belong to the kingdom of God merely because you are descended from Abraham.God is able to raise up children to Abraham from a source now as improbable to you asthe stones beneath your feet, from among the Gentiles even, whom you are accustomedto call dogs, and count as the scum of the earth. A discrimination is about to take place,not between the children of Abraham and other nations, but between the good and the bad, even among the Jews themselves.(…) But after all this knowledge of the nature of the kingdom, or Christianity, whichwas possessed by John the Baptist, and after baptising Jesus with his own hands, andreceiving the divine testimony of which he had been forewarned, so possessed was hewith the Jewish prejudices, of the temporal splendor and power of the Messiah, and so

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