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He is able to say—are delivered to Me of My Father, that is, as the connection shows, not the whole government of the world, but all that is hidden from the wise and prudent and revealed to babes, the whole of God's revelation in the gospel. The words that immediately follow mean the same thing in another form: “No man knoweth the Father but the Son, and He to whomsoever He will reveal Him." All knowledge of God as the heavenly Father, as holy love imparting itself, and along with that, all satisfying and comforting communion with God, comes through Him and Him only; as it is said in the Fourth Gospel : "No man cometh to the Father but by Me.” This Son, so unique and exalted, is for that very reason a mystery to men: “No man knoweth the Son but the Father,"—the Father alone knows all that He has intrusted to the Son, and laid upon Him. Not that that is to remain a mystery, while the mystery of the Father would be revealed through the Son. The Father also reveals the secret of the Son, as, for example, to Peter when He declared of him: “Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father in heaven” (Matt. xvi. 17), though at that moment no man had recognised the Son as Messiah in the spiritual divine sense. Jesus Himself, therefore, gives us here the explanation of the name Son which He claims in a unique sense with regard to the Father. It is a mutual relation that has no equal, a mutual knowledge of which the world bas no conception, a relation of inmost confidence with one another. But it is not, on that account, a metaphysical mystery. Peter did not see any metaphysical relation in Jesus (Matt. xvi. 16), but a mystery of salvation; and that also is the point in Matt. xi., as testified by the words which follow: “ Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." It is a very curious error which supposes that the uniqueness and perfection of His relation as a Son must overstep the ideal limits of the human personality. If the pure in heart are to see God (Matt. v. 8), must not the countenance of God in its whole purity be reflected in the absolutely pure human heart ? And if God has indeed prepared the heart of man to be His dwellingplace on earth, must not His whole fulness dwell in the human heart which is fully opened to Him, and offers Him a
perfect home, in which there is a sanctuary undefiled.
And our conception of the relation of Jesus as Son is conclusively established by the mapedóon of Matt. xi. 27. All things are delivered unto Me of My Father; but delivered by Him whom He not only extols in true human devotion as His Father, but at the same time as Lord of heaven and earth ; they are the original property of the Father, and not of the Son. That is the synoptic testimony of Jesus about Himself. It contains no trace of that speculative theology with which the Church of later days, applying Greek philosophical conceptions to biblical views, attempted to explain to herself the union of the divine and human which was consummated in Him; it does not even contain a trace of the pre-existence idea, in which Paul and John gave to the Church a starting point for that subsequent theology. But, , it may be asked, what does this christological self-testimony lack to make Jesus known to us as the Saviour of the world —to describe Him as the man who by personally realising in Himself communion with God, needed only to communicate Himself to His brethren in order to communicate to them God and eternal life?
THE HEAVENLY FATHER AND THE WORLD
§ 1. THE NEW IDEA OF GOD
It is clear that the restoration of the kingdom of God must begin with a new revelation of God, springing out of the conciousness of Jesus. The true and perfect knowledge of God of which Jesus speaks in the words just discussed (Matt. xi. 27), is indeed the immediate precondition of that communion with God which is to be brought about. It is not therefore difficult to resolve the misunderstanding which has led to the recent assertion that Jesus had no new idea of God to announce,
1 The attempt has indeed been made, by combining Matt. xxiii. 34 with Luke xi. 49, to make Jesus synonymous with the codice Dsov (retained by Luke from the common source), which would to some extent correspond with what started the apostles in their doctrine of pre-existence. But even assuming that Matthew, by putting an éryá instead of the gopia Orov, desired to identify Jesus with the hypostatic wisdom of God (Prov. viii.), that would still be only an idea of the first evangelist's, not Jesus' own.
as His God was simply the God of the Old Testament. All New Testament views are, of course, as already remarked, rooted in the Old Testament. But they only come to flower in the New Testament, and in relation to their Old Testament stage of development they appear as really new. How then should the fundamental idea of all, the idea of God, form an exception to this rule ? Moreover, the consciousness which Jesus expresses is quite unlike that of one who merely preaches the God of the law and the prophets. When He says: “No man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him," He unquestionably asserts an idea of God dwelling in Him and to be communicated by Him, which neither Moses nor Isaiah before Him cherished. Accordingly, His apostles—in direct contradiction to that modern assertion -were able to make His whole gospel consist in the revelation of a new and perfect idea of God: “This is the message we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John i. 5).
§ 2. THE NAME FATHER
Jesus Himself, in the name Father which He put in the place of the Old Testament Jahveh or Jehovah, or Adonai, Lord, which was read and spoken for it, has expressed in a form more simple and yet more vivid than these words of John, the new idea of God which dwelt in Him.
The name Father for God was not indeed completely unknown either to heathendom or Judaism. The Homeric Greeks even prayed to Father Zeus, and the Abba, that is, Father, seems to have been not unusual in the Jewish prayers of Jesus' day. But
1 Cf. Weiss, N. T. Theology, vol. i. p.
64. 2 The old Christian cry, Abba (Rom. viii. 15; Gal. iv. 6), probably originated with Jesus. Cf. Mark xiv. 36. If it appears at the same time in old Jewish prayers, it may be asked whether its origin in these is not due—as so many old Rabbinic sayings suggest—solely to the desire not to lag behind Christian ideas and modes of expression.
the Greeks, in doing so, thought only of the author and preserver of nature, and the Jews of the covenant God of the Old Testament, who had, as it were, adopted Israel as His son, and made him His firstborn among the nations (Ex. iv. 22; Hos. xi. 1). Accordingly, the few passages in which the Old Testament speaks of God as Father, even in such pre-eminently fervent words of prophecy as Isa. lxiii. 16, Jer. xxxi. 20, refer not so much to a personal relation of God to the individual, as His gracious relation to the nation as such. The name “sons of the living God," is only meant by way of promise for the Israelites (Hos. ii. 1). And if pious men after the Exile speak here and there of God as their Father (Mal. ii. 10; Sir. xxiii. 1, 4; Wisd. ii. 16, 18, xiv. 3), they do so, really, only in the sense of Creator and gracious Preserver. Jesus' use of the name Father is related to these Old Testament applications of it, quite in the same way as His idea of divine sonship is related to the Old Testament examples of that sonship. He first stamped the name Father as one proper to God, and at the same time put into it all the fulness of God's revelation dwelling in Himself. In the first place, the name Father on the lips of Jesus is the expression of a purely personal relation that has no equal. “My Father," He says above all (Luke ïi. 49; Matt. vii. 21, x. 32, xi. 27, xii. 50, xv. 13, xvi. 17, etc.), and therewith declares that He knows Himself beloved by and familiar with the eternal and holy One, to whom Israel looks up in pious fear, or even with awe and dread, as only a son can be beloved by his father and familiar with him. But then He also gives His followers this feeling and the right of expressing it—not, indeed, to the whole nation, but to those who gather around Him under the standard of the kingdom of God, those whom He calls His brethren and sisters, because they are willing to do the will of His Father in heaven (Mark iii. 5). He speaks to them of God as “ your heavenly Father," in the sense of a personal relation also, in which every one of them may severally find
1 The sayings of Matt. V.-vii. and xxiii., which Cremer, p. 688, adduces in support of the contention that Jesus applied the words “
Father" to the nation also, are, as their tenor proves, addressed rather to the disciples, and only woven up by the evangelist into conjectural or actual popular addresses. BEYSCHLAG. I,
rest in God—“thy Father," it is said to each individual (Matt. vi. 4, 18). And it is, at the same time, manifest that the concept of relation must have as background a concept of nature; God does not become the heavenly Father of the disciples because they have entered into the relation of sons with Him, but it is His fatherliness, His holy love, which draws and places them in the relation of children to Him. "Όπως γένησθε υιοί του πατρός υμών του εν ουρανούς is significantly said in Matt. v. 45. He is their Father : they have to become correspondingly His sons. And if He has not yet become Father to others, that is due simply to the fact that He has not yet been revealed to them in His fatherliness by the Son (Matt. xi. 27). And so Jesus makes the relation name a character name; He not only says My Father and your Father, but also simply the Father (Matt. xi. 27; Mark xiii. 32, and still more frequently in the Fourth Gospel). The character of God which this fatherliness implies follows of itself. Fatherhood is love, original and underived, anticipating and undeserved, forgiving and educating, communicating and drawing to its heart. Jesus felt, conceived, and revealed God as this love which—itself personal—applies to every child of man. That He really desired to characterise the eternal heart of God in this way as the prototype of the human father's heart, is shown by His own express comparison between the two. Μatt. vii. 11: εί ούν υμείς, πονηροί όντες, οίδατε δόματα αγαθά διδόναι τοίς τέκνοις υμών, πόσω μάλλον ο πατήρ υμών ο εν τοις ουρανούς, δώσει αγαθά τους αιτούσιν ajtóv! If earthly fathers are good, and givers of good things to their children, how much more is the heavenly Father, who just as the heavenly Father is raised above all the limitations and defects of earth, and is the arya@ós simply, the morally perfect, in contrast with those rovnpois—morally imperfect men!
§ 3. The eis åryaós AND TÉNELOS
Jesus has also cleared that idea of God which follows from the name Father by two further important declarations. The first is the saying addressed to the rich young man alluded to above: τί με λέγεις αγαθών και ουδείς αγαθος, ει μη