JOHN'S GOSPEL THE COMPLEMENT OF LUKE'S
I Present in this lecture an orthodox essay in the higher criticism. It is an attempt to show from internal evidence the relation between the Gospel of Luke and the Gospel of John. It is not wholly original. In the year 1900, Doctor Gumbel, gymnasial professor and consistorialrath at Speyer on the Rhine, gave to the world an exegetical study which he entitled "John's Gospel a Complement of Luke's Gospel." The word "complement," however, does not fully represent the German word Ergdnsung. The author means that the third and the fourth Gospels constitute one whole; that John composed his Gospel with Luke's Gospel before him; that his own work is intended as a supplement and not as an independent account of Jesus' life and teaching; that he therefore limits himself to filling up the gaps in Luke's narrative, omitting everything which Luke had narrated, except in those cases where his own eye-witness and ear-witness enable him to add useful interpretation or detail.
It must be acknowledged that the reasoning of this little German book, if it be sound, will do much to settle the disputed questions as to the date and the authorship of the fourth Gospel, and to place on an impregnable basis the historicity and trustworthiness of the other Gospel narratives. When the halves of a broken jar are dug out of the ground at Mycenae or Gnossos, and are found to fit each other so that every indentation of the one corresponds to a protuberance of the other, there is double reason to deduce from its shape and epigraphy the facts of its history. Our author contends that John's Gospel and Luke's Gospel fit into each other like two dove-tailed parts of a bureau drawer, or like the interlaced fingers of our two hands. The later is constructed to complete the earlier, but to add only those matters of personal observation and experience which are needed to make the twofold history a perfect whole. This demonstration, if it be well grounded, will relieve John's Gospel from the charge that it is merely a philosophical speculation of the second century, and will give to the higher aspects of Jesus' life the value of settled history. I regard the work of Professor Gumbel as an important contribution to theological science, and I am glad in this essay to call attention to it. But I must not take his conclusions for granted at the start. Let me proceed to the proof.
The apostle John was born in Galilee. James was his elder brother. His father, Zebedee, was a masterfisherman who had hired servants and was a man of means. John's mother was probably Salome. At any rate, she still lived after he had become a disciple. She was ambitious, and not content that her sons should always follow their trade as fishermen. She had still the worldly conception of Jesus' mission, and she incited James and John to ask that one of them may sit at Christ's right hand and the other on his left in his future kingdom. The annual visits to Jerusalem at the time of the feasts gave opportunity to the sons to become acquainted with the localities of the sacred city. It is not therefore wonderful that this child of well-to-do parents shows minute knowledge of Bethesda, the Pool of Siloam, Solomon's Porch, the brook Kidron, Gabbatha, Bethany, fifteen furlongs from Jerusalem. But the fact that our Saviour on the cross commits his mother to John's care, so that he takes her to his own home, indicates that the family had a permanent residence in Jerusalem, and that they were householders of some consequence.
The author of the fourth Gospel has an acquaintance with official and notable persons in Jerusalem, more intimate than is shown by the other Evangelists. It is John who recognized the representatives of the Sanhedrin when they came to ask the credentials of the Baptist; it is John who tells us of Christ's conversation with Nicodemus and of the gift of spices which Nicodemus made for Christ's burial; it is John who is the friend of Annas and of Caiaphas, and who has the entree to the high priest's house. This last fact of John's relation to the high priest throws light upon his whole history. That relation could not have been formed after John had become Jesus' disciple. It indicates that before John went to the banks of Jordan to hear the Baptist he had lived in Jerusalem and had become - intimate with its rulers. These connections could not have been made by a known follower of Jesus, and after Jesus' criticism had made scribes and Pharisees his enemies.
It requires some historical imagination to reconstruct our view of those early days. Is it too much to suppose that John's ambitious mother, knowing his fervid religious spirit, and eager to withdraw him from manual toil, had sent him when a mere youth to the great rabbinical school at Jerusalem, and had maintained him there? That was the road to education and to station. What happened to Saul of Tarsus might easily happen to John. It is quite possible that the family of Zebedee was of priestly rank, and that relatives of theirs held priestly office. Polycrates, the Christian Father, bishop of Ephesus in 196, relates that John was born a priest, wearing the high-priestly miter, and the German writer Delff asserts1 that this word miter, or nezaXov, indicates that John was of the family of the high priest and had actually performed high-priestly functions. "James is also said to have worn the netaXov, or miter. I pay little regard to this tradition. But it shows in the early church a belief that John's connection with the high priest was something more than a mere matter of friendship. The young man had some claim upon the elder because of family relationship.
Consider now how much it would mean to an ardent and spiritual soul to be sent for education into such surroundings. Who were the high priests of that day? Not Pharisees, but Sadducees. They were a sacerdotal aristocracy, comparatively few in number, but comprising most of the able and original thinkers of the Jewish nation. It was their sharpness and vigor that had given them wealth and political influence. They had seized the reins of government, had formed alliances with the Romans, had made the high priesthood hereditary in their families. Over against the narrow traditionalism and ceremonialism of the Pharisees they were the speculators, the inquirers, the philosophers, the skeptics of the day. They did not believe in the resurrection, nor in angel or spirit. They were rationalists rather than believers, politicians rather than rationalists. Free thought could be tolerated among them, so long as it did not imperil their standing and their power. Hence it was not until Jesus' work was half done that they joined with the Pharisees to put him to death.
1 Geschichte d. Rabbi Jesus v. Nazareth, 71.
It is said that Philo of Alexandria, whose birth antedated that of Jesus by twenty years, went on one occasion to Jerusalem to offer prayer and sacrifice. It is quite possible that on that visit he may have exchanged with the doctors of the law some ideas with regard to the mediating principle between God and the world. Jerusalem had thirty-two synagogues, and each part of the world had its peculiar place of meeting in this center of Judaism. There was a synagogue of the Alexandrians in Jerusalem, and Apollos, Paul's convert, was an Alexandrian by race. The Alexandrian doctrine of the Logos must have been known and discussed in the Jewish schools, and here the warmhearted and receptive John may have gotten his first acquaintance with that great word whose meaning only dimly revealed itself to him, but which he found so useful after he had seen that the Word had become flesh and had dwelt among us.
If Jesus at the age of twelve was found among the doctors of the temple, both hearing them and asking them questions, we may believe that the disciples whom Jesus loved had a similar experience. And he must have found others of like mind. Nicodemus did not need to be an old man to be a ruler of the Jews, for it was only thirty years that were required for qualification. John must have formed his acquaintance before he became Jesus' disciple, and so may have afterward introduced him to our Lord, and even have been present when Nicodemus came to Jesus by night. The Sadducean indifferentism and abstract speculation could not satisfy either of these spiritually inclined young men. Nor could the Pharisees, with their insistence upon outward ceremonial, answer the deep demand of their hearts for one who should make atonement for sin and give life to the stricken soul.
When John the Baptist uttered his call to repentance and proclaimed the near approach of the promised Messiah, all Palestine was stirred, and all truly earnest Jews were moved, as by a common impulse, to flock to John's baptism. That one word, " Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh," and so taketh away, "the sin of the world," was to John the beginning of a new life. Though his modesty leads him to keep back all mention of his own name, "that other disciple " who was with Andrew, was, if not the first, then certainly the second of those whom Jesus called to follow him. From Jesus John learns his own sinfulness and need of redemption, but also Jesus' perfect ability to supply that need. So he stays with Jesus and rejoices in him as the promised Messiah and Saviour of the world.
Matthew and Mark add little to our knowledge of John's personality, but what they give us confirms the view we have taken. John is recognized as belonging to the inner circle of the disciples. At the raising of Jairus' daughter, at the transfiguration, and in Gethsemane, Jesus takes with him John, as well as Peter and James. But we have only two utterances of John in the synoptic narratives: the one when John forbids the man who was casting out demons in Jesus' name without following the Lord, and the other when with James he would call down fire from heaven upon the Samaritans who refuse our Lord a night's lodging. Jesus calls the two brothers, James and John, "sons of thunder," apparently because of their tropical impulsiveness and disposition to take Jesus' part against every enemy of their Lord. With Peter, after Jesus' resurrection and after Pentecost, John goes up to the Beautiful Gate of the temple and assists in the cure of the lame man; with Peter, he is imprisoned and protests against the repressive edict of the Sanhedrin; with Peter, he is sent to Samaria to invoke upon the new converts the descent of the Holy Spirit. But in all these cases Peter appears to be the speaker, and John aids only by his counsel and example. And now John disappears wholly from the sacred record, and we hear of him only from tradition. Let us follow Scripture for a little and turn our attention to Luke, if perchance we may learn something of the origin of his Gospel.
Eusebius, the church Father, tells us that Luke was born in Antioch. The text of Beza, in Acts n : 26, reads " when we were assembled," and makes it possible that Luke's acquaintance with Paul began in the meetings of the church at Antioch. But it is wellnigh certain from the " we " sections of the Acts that Luke and Paul were intimately associated from the time of Paul's entering Macedonia to the time of his second imprisonment at Rome. This association covers a period of fourteen years, A. D. 50-64, though for seven years of these fourteen Luke was probably left by Paul at Philippi as pastor. On his third missionary journey Paul takes Luke as his constant companion and assistant. From Paul Luke must have learned all that Paul knew of Jesus' history, together with Paul's interpretation of Jesus' work. Scholars of all schools have acknowledged the Paulinism of Luke's Gospel. It is nominally addressed to a Greek of distinction, but it is evidently intended for the whole Greek-speaking world. All Jewish limitations seem in it to be broken down. It is the Gospel of universal humanity. Samaritans and Gentiles are made object-lessons of faith and prayer, of benevolence and blessing. Renan called Luke's Gospel " the most beautiful book ever written," and Harnack says that his story was " the indispensable condition of the incorporation of Paul's Epistles in the New Testament canon."
When was Luke's Gospel written? Its date must be determined by comparison with that of the Acts. But the Acts gives us no account of the trial or of the release of the apostle Paul. Inasmuch as Harnack has recently acknowledged that the Acts must have been written before the close of Paul's first Roman imprisonment, and that the Gospel must be dated yet earlier, we may reasonably conclude that Paul's imprisonment at Caesarea was the time and the occasion of its writing. After two full years of ministry at Ephesus Paul had gone to Jerusalem, knowing that bonds and death were not far away in the future. He is arrested and imprisoned in Caesarea. Luke is with him there. But while Paul is in bonds, Luke is free. For two whole years Luke can go to and fro from Caesarea to Jerusalem, and from Jerusalem to Caesarea, serving as Paul's messenger, gathering from Mary, Jesus' mother, and from relatives of Jesus, from the elder apostles, and from other eye-witnesses the materials for his Gospel, and with Paul's sanction, if not his actual supervision, collating all the earlier narratives, and writing his own account of Christ's life and ministry.
It is quite probable that Luke may have had in his hands our present Gospels of Mark and even of Matthew, and that he may have incorporated in his own narrative such portions of those Gospels as suited his purpose. The earliest germs of our New Testament were probably the Logia, or sayings of Jesus, and these, in the Hebrew or Aramaic in which they were originally spoken, may have been written down within five or ten years after Jesus' death. Matthew himself may have been the first to commit them to writing. Mark, however, was the first to add the story of Jesus' life and miracles, and so to transform the Logia into a complete Gospel. Then Matthew may have enlarged his original work and translated it into Greek. When Luke begins his Gospel by saying that "many have taken in hand to draw up a narrative concerning those matters which have been fulfilled among us," he may be acknowledging his indebtedness to the two preceding Gospels, as well as to the new sources of information which he has himself discovered.
It is also possible that the Ephesian church possessed the- Gospels of Mark and of Matthew. But there was special reason why Paul should have wished that church to possess the Gospel according to Luke: Matthew was written for Jewish Christians, and Mark for Roman Christians, while Luke incorporated what was best in these and yet was written for the whole Gentile and Greek-speaking world. Is it not probable that one of Paul's first concerns, as he went to Rome or after he had reached the eternal city, was to furnish his dear Ephesian converts with Luke's priceless record of Jesus' works and teachings? We know that he sought by letters to supply the lack of his own personal ministrations to the churches of Asia. This central church of Asia was a pivot upon which the Christian future of the whole Eastern world revolved, and he had, therefore, spent with it a longer time than he had devoted to any other church of the Gentiles. Luke's Gospel would largely make up for Paul's own absence and for the loss of his oral testimony. The Ephesians, moreover, knew and loved the Evangelist, for Luke was with Paul when he parted from the Ephesian elders, and in Paul's letter to the Colossians, who were so near to Ephesus, he speaks of Luke as " the beloved physician." Could Paul withhold from the Ephesians this help to their faith? What his own preaching could not do this written Gospel of Luke might do, by fixing indelibly in their minds the lineaments of the Son of God. I think it probable that the Ephesian church was possessed of the Gospel according to Luke, and that Paul himself took care that they should possess it as a substitute for his oral teaching, and as a permanent expression of his view of Jesus' life and work.
There can be no doubt that Paul during his two years' stay in Ephesus had taught the Ephesians the main facts of Jesus' life. He had done this orally. Now that he has given them Luke's written Gospel, his work is done. The year 64, or the year A. D. 65, marks the date of Paul's martyrdom. The Ephesian church must now have other leadership. The death of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the approaching fall of the Jewish state, leaves the apostle John free to take up Paul's work and to carry it on to larger issues. And so this deeply pondering, but quiet and undemonstrative, man finds himself at last and is called to utterance. Many years of care for our Lord's mother have made him possessed of abundant material which has found no outlet in the way of publication. He was sent to Ephesus to give his own life-picture of Jesus to the world. He could furnish what Paul could not, namely, his own personal reminiscences of Christ, together with the inferences and reflections which had come to him from long meditation upon that marvelous divine manifestation and from deeply drinking in the spirit of Jesus.
So John leaves Jerusalem and takes Paul's place at Ephesus, in Asia Minor. There he cares for the churches of Asia for thirty years, or to the end of his life. He suffers exile for a time in the Isle of Patmos, but the result is the Apocalypse. Polycrates, a bishop of Ephesus, a century after John's death, testifies that the remains of the apostle rest in Ephesus. During this long ministry of thirty years, Irenaeus tells us that John would not use water in which Cerinthus the heretic had bathed; Clement of Alexandria relates his seeking out the young robber who had fallen away from Christ; Jerome informs us that, in his old age, the apostle had but one sermon, "Little children, love one another!" All this was supplemental to Paul's teaching and method, but it was in no respect contradictory to it. Paul had taught the preexistence and deity of Christ before John came to Ephesus, and the doctrine of union with Christ was central to the theology of both. John, like Paul, was a cultivated Jew, and in his own way able to withstand the Judaizers and to win the heathen. Paul had the wider training, but John had the greater personal knowledge of Christ. And it was this that the Ephesian church most needed.
John, at Ephesus, had the great advantage of finding the church already in possession of a written Gospel. Luke's Gospel was virtually Paul's testimony, and John had only to supplement Luke's Gospel by adding his own recollections of Jesus, and his own interpretations of Jesus' works and words. Where Luke has spoken John omits, except in those cases where additional detail is needed to complete the narrative. But there are large tracts of Jesus' life and ministry for which Luke did not possess the material. The early Judean ministry Luke does not narrate, apparently for the reason that his informants were the men of Galilee. John, who had lived in Jerusalem and who knew the authorities there, could tell of Nicodemus and the Sanhedrin. and of Jesus' first year of appeal to the ecclesiastical chiefs of the Jewish nation.
One reason why the Synoptists do not tell us more of Jesus' early life and ministry is probably that the disciples did not at the first appreciate the importance of his acts and utterances. Only gradually did they learn to mark every step and treasure up every word. It takes some education, moreover, to retain long discourses in the memory, and correctly to reproduce them. John was gifted in both these respects beyond the other apostles. From the very beginning his intense spiritual nature found the words of Jesus to be spirit and life, and we have seen it probable that his early education qualified him to remember and to repeat all that he saw and heard. The methods of the rabbinical schools were very unlike those to which we are accustomed, though they still prevail in the East, as in the Mohammedan University, the Azhar Mosque, of Cairo. The rabbins did not dictate. The scholars repeated what they heard. Instances are frequent in which long lectures are retained and reproduced by the hearer, with scarcely the loss of a single word. It is not at all impossible that the discourse to Nicodemus is a substantially verbatim report, and that John's account of Jesus' words to his disciples on the night of his betrayal is a nearly precise reproduction of that wonder . ful address by one who lost no part of it. Bruce, in his "Training of the Twelve," declares that the twelve apostles probably knew the whole Old Testament by heart. Pundita Ramabai, at Oxford, recited from the Rigveda, passim, and showed that she knew more of it by heart than the whole contents of the Old Testament.
I make these remarks to show that John's nature and training qualified him to add precisely those elements which Luke's Gospel lacked—the elements of personal acquaintance with Jesus and of spiritual 1
reception and retention. But there was another advantage which John possessed at Ephesus. He had come out from the falling Jewish state; he could regard the Jews as enemies of his Lord; and he was safe from their hatred and violence. That is probably the reason why he could tell the story of Lazarus' resurrection when the synoptic writers make no mention of it. The Jewish authorities had sought to put Lazarus to death, and they might make it dangerous for any who would tell the story of his awakening. When John took up his residence in Ephesus, Lazarus was probably no longer living. So John was at liberty to utter freely all that he knew, and what he knew formed a supplement to Luke's Gospel not only interesting, but also absolutely necessary in the way of explanation and completion. As I have said in another connection, the Christ of John's Gospel is required to vindicate the truthfulness of the Synoptics. Only Christ's deity can explain his perfect humanity. And John's Gospel is the Gospel of Christ's deity.
I have no doubt that the original gospel was entirely oral. That does not bring suspicion on the narrative, for the reason that memory has latent powers which in our day of printing are undeveloped. Memory retains what it must, and the events of Jesus' life, as well as his utterances, came to seem of such importance that it was matter of life and death to preserve the record of them. For thirty years after Jesus' death they were handed down by tradition. There was an oral gospel, more or less complete, preserved in parts which suited the needs of each Christian community, but in parts which when put together made a coherent whole. The human aspect of Christ's life had gained its hold upon the churches. Even thus early, however, Ebionites, like Cerinthus, so exaggerated the human as really to deny the divine. It was John's mission to rescue the church from a degrading heresy by giving his testimony that Christ was the Eternal Word, who was with God in the beginning, and who was himself God. This he did for many years by oral utterance, using Luke's Gospel for his text, making it the basis of his preaching, but supplementing it with reminiscences and reflections of his own which he ultimately reduced to writing.
Time will not permit a full account of the many points in which Luke and John are interlaced and complementary to one another. I must select a few characteristic examples and must let them suffice. And the first is, of course, found in the prologue of John's Gospel. Luke had traced everything from the beginning (&vcodev), but John finds an earlier beginning. Luke carried the genealogy of Jesus back through David and Abraham to Adam, the son of God; but John goes back to eternity past, and sees in Christ none other than Deity revealed. He does not tell the story of Jesus' birth because Luke had already narrated it, and the Ephesians were familiar with it. But he can supplement it with his own insight into its meaning, and can express the truth in language which he had learned from the Alexandrian philosophy in the rabbinical school at Jerusalem. There he had heard of the Logos, the formative law of nature, the ideal of perfection, the firstborn Son of God. But the rabbins had never gotten beyond the existence of this Logos in the thought of God. John had learned from his acquaintance with Jesus that this Logos was an actual and not merely an ideal person. Jesus' own words, " Before Abraham was born, I am," and " The glory which I had with thee before the world was," had shown him that Jesus' personality transcended all space and time, reached back into eternity past, and was bound up with the personality of God himself. Jesus is the Word made flesh, deity revealed, divinity brought down to our human comprehension and engaged in the work of our salvation.
This is John's interpretation of Jesus' life, under the influence of the promised Spirit of God. John does not say that Jesus used the word " Logos " of himself, or that he derived the knowledge of it from Jesus. The form comes from John's early training, though the substance has been taught him from on high. He therefore gives us the term Logos only in his prologue. It constitutes his thesis. The Gospel is its proof. When, in spite of the growing enmity and rejection of the Jews, the last doubter among the apostles is won, and Thomas bows at Jesus' feet, crying, " My Lord and my God!" John's thesis is proved, and the Gospel comes to its intended end, the last chapter being subsequently added to correct a prevalent belief that Jesus had promised to its author an immortality on earth. John's Logos-doctrine confirms Luke's account of the immaculate conception, and gives the reason for it; indeed, it is still possible that the original text in John 1 : 13 referred, as an extant reading would have it, not to believers, but to Christ, " who was born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the
will of man, but of God." The terminology of John came from Philo, but the doctrine itself came from God. John was not even its sole discoverer and publisher, for Paul, in his letter to the Colossians, before John came to Ephesus, declared Christ to be "the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him were all things created, in the heavens and upon the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things have been created through him and unto him; and he is before all things, and in him all things consist."
It has been said by Bruce that we have no trace in Luke's Gospel of a doctrine of the atonement. I do not think this statement correct, for Luke tells us of the baptism of suffering and death which Christ was to undergo, and quotes Jesus' words at the last supper in which he says of the bread, " This is my body which is given for you," and of the wine: "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, even that which is poured out for you." But if there were in Luke any lack of clearness in proclaiming the doctrine of atonement, surely John's account of the Baptist's testimony would fill the gap. He has before him Luke's story of the Baptist's stern and minatory preaching and the Baptist's announcement of the Judge who was standing at the door. John tells us what sort of deliverance the Messiah is to bring, for he gives the Baptist's designation of Christ as "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world." This, indeed, was the message which drew the heart of John to Christ. Like Luther, the young man was seeking a gracious God. That search led him to the Baptist. And the singular, tde, "behold!" seems to be directed to John himself, and points him to One who is the sacrifice for sin, who pays the debt of the guilty, who reconciles sinful men to the holy God. Luke had used the words "grace" and "glory" in his account of the annunciation to Mary and to the shepherds; John uses these same words to describe the impression which Jesus made upon his followers: " For the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only-begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
In Luke there is a chasm between Jesus' baptism and his ministry in Galilee. John shows how the new grew out of the old. He fills the vacancy by telling us that Jesus returned to the Baptist after his baptism and then received his testimony, only gradually beginning to preach and winning the best of the Baptist's disciples. Without John's account, Luke's narratives of Christ's beginnings in Galilee would lack all proper connection with the narrative of his baptism. John tells us of the marriage at Cana—possibly the marriage of Jesus' own sister—and of the presence there of Mary, the mother of Jesus; but he tells us nothing of Jesus' temptation because Luke had narrated it. John tells us of the first cleansing of the temple and of Christ's nocturnal interview with Nicodemus, and the natural inference is that while the other disciples remained in Capernaum after their return from the Jordan, John, who had a home in Jerusalem, was with Christ, and was the witness and recorder of his Judean ministry. Luke had told of Jesus' visit to Nazareth, and John omits it; Luke had not told of the Saviour's talk with the Samaritan woman on the way to Galilee, and therefore John relates it. When Jesus goes up alone to Jerusalem, John is there to report the cure of the paralytic, and to hear, possibly from Nicodemus, of the rising enmity of the Pharisees. From Luke alone we should never know why the Pharisees sent their emissaries to Galilee to gather evidence against Jesus. In fact, it is John who relates four journeys of Jesus to Jerusalem, while Luke gives us only two. John's Gospel is therefore the basis of our chronology of Jesus' life, and is indispensable as the completion and explanation of Luke's story.
John's return from his private visit to Jerusalem marks the close of the Judean and the beginning of the Galilean ministry. The first year of Christ's work was, roughly speaking, a year of appeal to the Jewish authorities; the second year was a year of appeal to the Jewish people. Now comes the second calling of his apostles. It had doubtless been expected and longed for. There is a temporary popularity. So long as the multitude could cherish hopes of revolution, and could expect a miraculous supply of their physical wants, Jesus was sure of a following. But his spiritual demands are too great for weak human nature. The Pharisees poison the minds of the crowd against him, and the people forsake him. There is a rising tide of opposition which presages condemnation and death. Between the fifth and the sixth chapters of John's Gospel there is a cleft which only Luke's Gospel enables us to fill. But John knows this link of connection to be in the hands of his readers, and he only shows us how it was that the people came to take sides with the Pharisees. He tells us that the chief priests, who were Sadducees, were now added to the number of Christ's enemies. Since the Sanhedrin has passed a decree against him, and has sent officers to take him, Jesus predicts his own death and goes to meet it. Luke tells us of the end of the battle, and of Jesus' leaving Capernaum, but only John tells us why.
The journey to Jerusalem is a gradual progress. The way lies beyond Jordan. There is a great congeries of parables, discourses, and miracles which only Luke records. The parables of the Good Samaritan, the Friend at Midnight, the Rich Fool, the Guests' Excuses, the Lost Sheep, the Lost Money, the Lost Son, the Unrighteous Steward, Dives and Lazarus, the Unjust Judge, the Pharisee and the Publican, the Ten Pounds, the Cumbering Fig Tree; the miracles performed on the woman with a spirit of infirmity, the man afflicted with dropsy, the ten lepers; the discourses at the sending out of the Seventy and on their return, with regard to prayer, trust in God, and coming judgment, the Galileans slain by Pilate, whether few are saved, the lament over Jerusalem, on counting the cost, on forgiveness and faith, on the kingdom that cometh not with observation, on Zacchseus as also a son of Abraham—all these wonderful revelations of truth and power are peculiar to Luke, and they are not related by John. John tells us why Jesus was compelled to leave Galilee and to spend so long an interval in Perea; Luke gives us the result in that marvelous cluster of parables and miracles which form so unique a feature of his Gospel
The year of appeal to the Jewish people had proved as futile as the previous year of appeal to the Jewish authorities. This breathing-spell in Perea constitutes the last year of Jesus' life, and it is an appeal to his own chosen circle of disciples. He would fit them to preach the gospel after his death. He betakes himself with his apostles to the wilds beyond the Jordan for privacy, and to escape the machinations of the Jews. There he shapes the pillars of his future church. But even this work comes soon to an end. How strange it is that Luke throws no light upon the sudden breaking up of our Lord's seclusion and his venturing an approach to Jerusalem! It is John who supplements Luke's Galilean informants as to the closing week of Jesus' life. The death of Lazarus draws Jesus to Bethany, and it is Lazarus' resurrection that precipitates Jesus' apprehension and condemnation. We have seen a reason why Luke should be silent, so long as Lazarus was alive and was in danger from the Jews, and we owe to John alone the account of that wonderful and fateful miracle. But we could not fully understand even John, if Luke had not previously told of Jesus' intimacy with Mary and Martha and Lazarus. Jesus' friendship for that family of Bethany was such that he gave his own life for his friends. Luke, however, mentions only the place; John gives us the time. Luke tells us of the crowd that accompanied Jesus to the holy city; John tells us whence they came, namely, from Jerusalem itself. Mary's anointing and Judas' reproof are peculiar to the fourth Gospel, but they are so interwoven with Luke's narrative as to indicate John's intention to complete it.
John gives us no account of the Lord's Supper, though he was sent with Peter to prepare for it. How can that be explained except by supposing that he had Luke's Gospel before him? The long report of Jesus' discourse and prayer makes up for the lack. But there are graphic touches besides. Jesus rose to wash the disciples' feet; he must have been sitting. He announces his betrayal: this rouses Judas to execute his plan. John gives no words of Christ's passion in Gethsemane, for Luke had given them already. But he does tell the effect of Jesus' majesty upon the servants, and he adds Jesus' request, "Let these go their way," to show how easy it would have been for Jesus to escape, and how careful he was to shield his disciples. He adds the name "Malchus" to Luke's telling of Peter's sword. John does not mention Jesus' taking three to watch with him. He conceals his own personality. Mark, Peter's interpreter, alone gives this.
John describes the preliminary examination before Annas, while Caiaphas summons the Sanhedrin; but he leaves Luke to tell of the trial before Caiaphas. Perhaps John was not there, but had gone to recover Peter after his denial. John has not denied his Lord, though the maidservant's words, " Thou too," to Peter indicates that John was now known to be a disciple. Luke states the result of the trial before Pilate, but he does not explain the steps which led to it. What occurred in Pilate's palace must have been told by Jesus himself, for neither Jews nor disciples entered there. Only John reveals the deepest ground of complaint on the part of Christ's enemies when he shows them accusing Jesus of claiming to be the Son of God.
John's narrative of the crucifixion, the entombment, and the resurrection is fragmentary in itself, but with Luke's it is complete. John explains the term "Golgotha." He mentions the quadruple of soldiers. He shows how the Lord who forgave his enemies could care for his friends when his mother and the penitent thief alike received the blessing. The words, " I thirst," and " It is finished," are peculiar to John. The piercing of Jesus' side shows that there was no need of breaking his legs, and John sees in this a fulfilment of the prediction that "a bone of him shall not be broken." Luke had told of Joseph's providing Jesus' tomb; John adds that Nicodemus brought a hundred pounds of spices. Luke tells us of the women coming to the sepulcher; only John tells of Jesus' appearance to Mary. Luke describes the manifestation of the Lord to the disciples at Emmaus; only John tells of Jesus' second appearance to his apostles when the doors were shut, when he showed his wounded side, and when he won the doubting Thomas to faith in his Lordship and Deity.
The ascension was a marvelous event and most important to the Gospel narrative. Why does not John mention it? Simply because Luke had told of it already. There is no antithesis or evasion here. The omission confirms the previous record. Luke is vouched for. Indeed, his Gospel may be indirectly alluded to when John says: " Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book, but these are written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing ye may have life in his name." "This book" may possibly imply the existence of an earlier book already in the possession of the Ephesian Christians. What John did not write Luke had already written, and the testimony of both is that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that life and salvation are to be found only in personal union with him.
Students of the New Testament history have very commonly been puzzled by the omission in the fourth Gospel of all mention of Jesus' birth and childhood, his temptation in the wilderness, his rejection at Nazareth, his miracles in Capernaum, his choosing of the Twelve, the Sermon on the Mount, the parables by the sea, the Gadarene demoniac, the raising of Jairus' daughter, the mission of the Twelve and of the Seventy, the confession of Peter, the transfiguration, the discourses against the Pharisees, the Rich Young Ruler, the predictions of the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world, the institution of the last supper, the walk to Emmaus, the. ascension. This omission is now satisfactorily accounted for. John's readers had all these before them in another book, which it is his purpose only to supplement and complete. He narrates the same matters of which Luke had written, only when he can add new incidents or confirmations from his own observation and experience, as, for example, when he tells the story of the feeding of the five thousand as a text for Jesus' declaration of himself as the Bread of Life, or when he adds the account of Thomas' conversion to Luke's report of Christ's second appearance to the disciples after his resurrection. Throughout John's Gospel there is an avoidance of incidents related by Luke, and a studious silence with regard to what had been already written, a silence so discriminating and complete as to preclude all possibility of its being accidental.
But the argument is not perfectly conclusive if we leave it here. The things which John does say are more important than those which he omits. The testimony of John the Baptist, the miracle at Cana, the conversations with Nicodemus and the woman of Samaria, the healings of the nobleman's son, of the infirm man at the pool of Bethesda, of the man born blind, Jesus' proclamation of himself as the Bread of Life, as the Light of the World, as the Good Shepherd, his answer to the Greeks who sought him, his raising of Lazarus, his farewell discourses and his intercessory prayer—all these are not only sublime disclosures in themselves, but they so fit into gaps in Luke's Gospel as to convince us that there was design in the relation of them. Every convexity of the one, whether great or small, so answers to a concavity in the other as to render it well-nigh certain that the purpose of the author was to turn what might have seemed to some a merely human gospel into the record of a divine life lived upon the earth. But John's Gospel does not come to us as an antithesis or contrast to the Gospel of Luke. It only brings out Luke's real meaning, or the meaning of the Holy Spirit who inspired Luke's writing, and was promised to lead Christ's followers into all the truth as it was in Jesus.
My treatment of this large subject has been a very meager and hasty one, but I trust it has led to certain reasonable conclusions. Let me summarize them as follows:
1. John follows Luke, and is not to be considered as an independent narrative.
2. Luke is already well known and only needs supplementing.
3. John's supplementary matter, with a single exception, consists only of personal reminiscences.
4. That exception is the philosophical prologue which adopts a great word from the rabbins, but fills it with a new and personal meaning.
5. John's Gospel is intended to complete the Gospel of Luke, and with this to constitute one historical narrative.
6. Its record of events and of discourses is so minute and exact that it can be the work only of the apostle John.
7. The origin of its Logos-doctrines must be referred, not to Ephesus and to the influence of Alexandrian philosophy there, but to Jerusalem and to the schools of the rabbins, where both John and Paul had studied.
8. The Logos-doctrine itself is absolutely needed to supplement the picture of Jesus as given us by the Synoptics, and it was substantially the teaching of Paul before John wrote his Gospel.
9. The divine aspect of our Lord's personality is as essential as the human aspect, and Christ is none other than God manifest in the flesh.
10. John's Gospel relieves Luke's from the charge of being a merely humanitarian picture of Christ's religion, and makes Christianity to be nothing less than a vital and personal union of the human spirit with the omnipresent and omnipotent Christ.