The general lines of a picture of Jesus as seen in the third gospel should now be clear: prophet-messiah, new Moses and new Elias, at one and the same time resembling and far transcending the prophets of the past; not only man of God but God's true Son in constant, prayerful conversation with his Father; the full possessor of the Holy Spirit. All this, however, is only part of the third gospel's central theme, it is only a still picture representing no more than the Galilean ministry. But Luke's plot centres on Jerusalem not Galilee, and far from giving a still picture it presents us with a powerful and tragic drama. As prophet, Jesus must receive the treatment of a prophet: be persecuted by the Achabs and Jezabels of his time. As Messiah, he must journey to Jerusalem and the temple as Zacharias and Malachy had prophesied. Jerusalem turns Jezabel and the central theme of the third gospel is the clash of Jesus and Jerusalem.
The prelude is Jesus' visit to Nazareth, placed by Luke at the very beginning of the public ministry. This incident has exceptional importance in pre-figuring the whole gospel plot.
He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up; and he went into the synagogue there, as his custom was, on the sabbath day, and stood up to read. The book given to him was the book of the prophet Isaias; so he opened it, and found the place where the words ran: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has anointed me, and sent me out to preach the gospel to the poor, to restore the broken-hearted; to bid the prisoners go free, and the blind have sight; to set the oppressed at liberty, to proclaim a year when men may find acceptance with the Lord. Then he shut the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. All those who were in the synagogue fixed their eyes on him, and thus he began speaking to them, This scripture which I have read in your hearing is to-day fulfilled. All bore testimony to him and were astonished at the gracious words which came from his mouth; Why, they said, is not this the son of Joseph ? Then he said to them, No doubt you will tell me, as the proverb says, Physician, heal thyself; do here in thy own country all that we have heard of thy doing at Capharnaum. And he said, Believe me, no prophet finds acceptance in his own country. Why, you may be sure of this, there were many widows among the people of Israel in the days of Elias, when a great famine came over all the land, after the heavens had remained shut for three years and six months, but Elias was not sent to any of these. He was sent to a widow woman in Sarepta, which belongs to Sidon. And there were many lepers among the people of Israel in the days of the prophet Eliseus; but it was none of them, it was Naaman the Syrian, who was made clean. All those who were in the synagogue were full of indignation at hearing this; they rose up and thrust him out of the city, and took him up to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, to throw him over it. But he passed through the midst of them, and so went on his way (4:16-30).
Historically here, as elsewhere, Luke's plan is artificial; he is grouping together two or even three visits to Nazareth as if they were one, for obviously the astonishment at Jesus' gracious words was not on the same occasion as the attempt to murder him; further, this scene is placed first in the ministry but the sentence 'all that we have heard of thy doing at Capharnaum' shows that historically it was not so. But this account of the visit to Nazareth does not aim at the mere narration of historical fact; it is meant to do much more, to sum up in advance the whole theme of the gospel: Nazareth is Israel. Jesus, forcefully depicted as the prophet in the tradition of Elias and Eliseus, comes to preach the gospel of salvation in Nazareth, which symbolizes Israel precisely as being Jesus' own city, his own people; what is done at Nazareth will be done in all Israel at Jerusalem. It is his own that reject him; they thrust him out of the city, they will not be evangelized by him. And he, rejected by his own, turns to the Gentiles (symbolized by Capharnaum) even as Elias and Eliseus did. The immediate sense of Jesus' reference to the miracles of Elias and Eliseus was the unexpectedness of God's gifts, a frequent Old and New Testament theme. The people of Nazareth doubtless looked to benefit from the unusual fortune of having a prophet among their young men: very human plans, but—Jesus tells them— not divine ones. God remains sovereignly free, and Jesus performs his miracles unexpectedly at Capharnaum just as Elias and Eliseus performed theirs outside Israel. This is a perfectly natural and historically authentic saying of Jesus.Luke rightly saw a fuller sense in the saying. The principle to which jesus appealed had a far wider application, and the reference to Naaman and the widow of Sarepta quite naturally pointed to the calling of the Gentiles, just as the behaviour of Nazareth pointed to the behaviour of all Jewry.
The visit to Nazareth is followed by the record of the Galilean ministry, carried out around Capharnaum. For the most part Luke follows Mark in this section, and I do not need to examine it in detail. It is the record of Jesus' prophetical works, which begin with the exorcism of an unclean spirit, and they serve as visible signs of his power and authority; chief among them is that great miracle, of which Luke alone tells us, the raising to life of the son of the widow of Nairn. It is the record of his preaching of the kingdom of God, of repentance, the forgiveness of sins and sincerity of life. The period culminates in the revelation of Jesus' future sufferings and glory. 'The Son of man, he said, is to be much ill-used, and rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be put to death, and rise again on the third day' (9:22); this is the first of the prophecies of the Passion and is immediately followed by another of Jesus' future glory: 'If anyone is ashamed of acknowledging me and my words, the Son of man will be ashamed to acknowledge him, when he comes in his glory, with his Father and the holy angels to glorify him' (9:26). These words about suffering and glory are confirmed soon after by the mysterious experience of the Transfiguration, at once the climax of the Galilean ministry and a revelation of what is about to happen in Judaea; with the Transfiguration passed, we enter on the 'journey narrative' of the third gospel.
This, the central section of Luke's gospel, gives us a series of incidents not otherwise mentioned in the gospels, placed within the framework of a journey up to Jerusalem; this single journey to the holy city is central to the whole of Luke's plot, and its significance has now to be examined. First of all, it is important to notice that Luke's gospel speaks of only one journey to Jerusalem, there is no suggestion whatsoever of more than one; hence a division of this central section into the first, second and third journeys to Jerusalem, as given for instance in the Desclée Latin Bible and the English Westminster version, is quite gratuitous and foreign to the thought of St Luke.
The journey to Jerusalem begins in 9:51: 'He set his face steadfastly towards the way that led to Jerusalem.' From this moment the whole of Jesus' life and ministry is Jerusalem-bound ; and he goes there, in fulfilment of prophecy, as himself messiah and prophet. The phrase calls to mind the last journey of Elias, but also Isaias' words on the prophet servant of the Lord: 'The Lord God is my helper: therefore am I not confounded. Therefore have I set my face as a most hard rock' (Is.50:7). The idea of the Jerusalem journey is emphatically repeated in the two following verses: 'And he sent messengers before him, who came into a Samaritan village, to make all in readiness. But the Samaritans refused to receive him, because his journey was in the direction of Jerusalem' (9:52-3).All the narrative of the subsequent chapters has for background the recurrent strain of the progress to Jerusalem. Jesus is making his way towards Jerusalem, going up to Jerusalem, almost arrived at Jerusalem in 13:22, 17:11, 18:31, 19:11, 19:28. Yet it is clear from the geographical and time details given that this is not one single historical journey, any more than the visit to Nazareth was one single historical visit. Luke has assembled a good deal of information from various sources on Our Lord's life and has ordered them within the artificial framework of a journey to Jerusalem. But artificial does not mean mistaken. Nor is it unimportant. Luke is indeed following Matthew and Mark in speaking of only one visit of Jesus to Jerusalem and making Jesus' ministry consist of one Galilean period followed by one Judaean period; but neither Matthew nor Mark have anything of Luke's concern about the journey up to Jerusalem, which has for Luke ceased to be a primarily geographical matter. Once we grasp the fact of Luke's preoccupation with Jesus' going up to Jerusalem we have to ask the reason for it, the significance of it, and hence too the significance of Jerusalem.
The first striking thing about Jerusalem in the New Testament is its name: rather, its two names, Hierosolyma and Jerusalem. What, if any, was the point of using one rather than the other? Hierosolyma (the Greek form) is always used by
Matthew (with one exception), Mark and John; it is also found four times in the third gospel, frequently in Acts, and three times in the Epistle to the Galatians. Jerusalem (the Hebrew form) occurs once in Matthew, frequently in the third gospel and Acts, and also in Romans, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Hebrews and the Apocalypse. St Luke is the only New Testament writer who frequently makes use of both forms. St. Paul's use of the two in Galatians is precise and important: Hierosolyma is a geographical name, Jerusalem a theological one.
Moreover Hebrews and the Apocalypse, treating like Galatians of the heavenly Jerusalem, and hence speaking theologically and not geographically, also use 'Jerusalem'. The gospels, on the other hand, are clearly concerned above all with the geographical place, and hence it may be explained that Matthew, Mark and John use the form Hierosolyma. This distinction between the two words, on the basis of the theological or the geographical preoccupation of the writer, may not, however, even outside St Luke's books, entirely explain the use of the two forms. St Paul in Romans and 1 Corinthians uses the Jerusalem form five times, four of them seemingly in a primarily geographical context; the fifth is different: Paul tells the Romans that 'My own work has been to complete the preaching of Christ's gospel, in a wide sweep from Jerusalem as far as Illyricum' (Rom.15:19). This also may seem a purely geographical statement but it is not really, for Paul's preaching did not actually begin in Jerusalem; he writes 'from Jerusalem' and not 'from Damascus' or 'from Antioch' because it was of the theological nature of the evangelical preaching ordered by Jesus to begin at Jerusalem (Lk.24:47; Acts 1:8) and Paul's mission was based on these instructions of the Lord. The other four references all concern the collection Paul was making for the Church of Jerusalem, and even here theology was much to the fore: the collection was being made by the Gentile churches for that of Jerusalem on account of the latter's especial ecclesiological position and as a proof of goodwill between people who did not always see eye to eye on theological questions. So we may conclude that—outside St Luke—the one has a fairly definite theological, the other a geographical connotation; it is noteworthy that St Matthew's sole use of Jerusalem ('Jerusalem, Jerusalem, still murdering the prophets' 23:37) is very clearly theological. We would expect St Luke to abide by this general, and in particular Pauline, usage.
The name Jerusalem occurs 68 times in Luke (Gospel 27, Acts 41), the name Hierosolyma 28 times (Gospel 4, Acts 24). St Luke then manifestly shows a preference for Jerusalem over Hierosolyma, in this following St Paul.Without doubt Jerusalem is by far the more important form: every use of Hierosolyma is for a clearly geographical indication, not one occurring in a text of the first importance. All the especially significant texts use the form Jerusalem. Twice Luke has taken a text from Mark or Matthew in which the name occurs, but has changed the form from Hierosolyma to Jerusalem. One is an insignificant geographical reference (6:17), the other a text of great importance (18:31). In general it is hardly disputable that his use of the Jerusalem form, particularly in the gospel, gives the city a special theological significance in his story.
To turn from the word to the reality, one may say that Jerusalem has a double character in St Luke's thought. It is the sacred city of God, the city of David and the temple, the place destined by prophecy for the Messiah's visit and reception. But it is also the city which constantly rejects the prophets, and finally the prophet-messiah, Jesus; on account of this, its original character will be lost.
When Jesus makes his way towards Jerusalem, he is fully aware that he is travelling to the faithless city that is to reject him, yet he goes there because it remains the city of God until it finally does so. It is the object of his tenderest love (13 :34; 19:42), and the deepest tragedy of the third gospel is not that of the crucified Messiah, it is the tragedy of the city which has failed to recognize its Lord. Luke was well aware of Jerusalem's holiness, and this is strikingly clear in his two first chapters; what he wished to stress was the other side—not what it had been, but what it became; and there was for him an intimate connection between Jesus' death and the very idea of Jerusalem. The two are linked, even before the journey narrative begins, in the account of the Transfiguration when Jesus spoke with Moses and Elias ' of the death [exodus] which he was to achieve at Jerusalem' (9:31). Luke alone mentions this subject of their conversation. The strange word used—Exodus—instead of referring directly to Jesus' death, seems to suggest the whole sweep of his departure from this world, death included.At the moment of the Transfiguration Jesus, the prophet successor of Moses and Elias, is already joined with his death in Jerusalem.
From now on Jesus advances towards death in Jerusalem with resolution. Verse 9:51 does more than mark the beginning of the journey narrative, for the phrase ' set his face steadfastly' not only reminds us of the servant of the Lord of Isaias, it also indicates the firm determination which gives meaning to the whole prolonged journey to Jerusalem, indeed to the entire public ministry culminating in this ' visitation' of the city. The reason for the journey, the point of Jesus' firm resolution, is to be found in its end and achievement: 'the time was drawing near for his assumption.'The coming drama weighs on the whole narrative and it is not surprising to find that other references to the journey Jerusalemwards are linked up with prophecies of the Passion:' Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and all that has been written by the prophets about the Son of Man is to be accomplished. He will be given up to the Gentiles, and mocked, and beaten, and spat upon; they will scourge him, and then they will kill him; but on the third day he will rise again' (18:31-3).
Jerusalem is the place where Jesus is to be martyred and depart this world; but, much more, it is that which is to martyr Jesus, 'this generation', an active force rejecting the Messiah who comes to it, and represented in particular by the pharisees and chief priests. This is made most clear by Jesus himself in two striking passages; in the first he denounces pharisees and lawyers:
Woe upon you, for building up the tombs of the prophets, the same prophets who were murdered by your fathers; sure witness that you approve what your fathers did, since you build tombs for the men they murdered.Whereupon the wisdom of God warns you, I will send my prophets and my apostles to them, and there will be some they will kill and persecute; so they will be answerable for all the blood of prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zacharias, who was killed between the altar and the temple; yes, I tell you, this generation will be held answerable for it (11:47-51).
Again a little later Jesus said to the pharisees in words of fearful force :
Today and tomorrow and the next day I must go on my journeys ; there is no room for a prophet to meet his death, except at Jerusalem. Jerusalem, Jerusalem, still murdering the prophets, and stoning the messengers that are sent to thee, how often have I been ready to gather thy children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and thou didst refuse it! Behold, your house is left to you, a house uninhabited (13 :33-5).
Here is the very heart of Luke's theology of Jerusalem; she is the spoilt one of God, to whom has been sent a long line of prophets and messengers, but she has rejected them all and become instead the adulterous city, the murderer of the prophets, the supremely fitting place for Jesus to meet his death: but only on account of this final great refusal is she herself to be rejected and left abandoned. Jesus came to the city with open arms, but Jerusalem, official Jewry, the pharisees, refused his embrace and so caused the break between the old and the new Israel, between the faithless mass of the Jewish people and the faithful remnant of the little flock.
What were the reasons behind the attitude of the pharisees towards Jesus ? Of course their lack of faith was above all the moral and religious failure of self-satisfied churchmen, small-minded people, to find room for the new dimensions which Jesus and his teaching proclaimed. He called for a revolution of heart, a conversion from worldliness to sincerity, and they were not willing to be converted; furthermore it was because his teaching centred on himself and proclaimed himself to be the new authoritative teacher of the Jewish people that the scribes, pharisees and sadducees—the recognized leaders and teachers of the Jewish community—could not tolerate his presence in Israel. But there was more to it than this. A wider reason for the antagonism of their whole class towards Jesus lay in the fact that he was a prophet and not a scribe. 'Jerusalem, Jerusalem, still murdering the prophets'—just the one thing which these people could not endure was a prophet. There was simply no room for one in their religious economy, in which everything centred upon the law—the Torah—and its interpretation by skilled and learned men. For them the great prophets of the past had had a very minor part to play in sacred history; old prophets were for them but new scribes writ large, their job had been to recall people to the observance of the Torah, and since there were now an adequate number of far better educated scribes to fulfil this function there could be no point in any further prophets. The past prophetical contribution to the religion of Israel is summed up in one of the sayings of the Rabbis: 'Forty-eight prophets and eight prophetesses have prophesied after Moses for Israel: they have taken away nothing of what was written in the Torah, and they have added nothing, except for the law of the feast of Purim contained in the book of Esther.'Furthermore, if a modern prophet was to be tolerated at all he could clearly have no other work than a faithful teaching of the law; but Jesus' work was quite other than this. He set himself above the law (6:1-11; 13:10-17), and it was this that no scribe or pharisee could endure. Useless to justify his claims by miracles, for in their eyes no vision or miracle could have any force against the overwhelming authority of the Torah as they interpreted it; so the Rabbi Jeremias declared that 'The Torah having been given once for all on Sinai, we pay no attention to a heavenly voice.' Evidently, then, Jesus' whole prophetical approach, both in his teaching and the proofs of his teaching, was ruled out from the start by the pharisees of Jerusalem, though it was popular enough in Galilee where the religion of the scribes had little influence. Jesus like John was a prophet and as such the pharisees had little use for either. Consequently he accused them of blindness, false moral teaching, hypocrisy and the murdering of the prophets, and they in their turn resolved to lie in wait for him and add his name to their list of victims (11:37-54).
Their chance—and his—was found in the dramatic meeting of prophet and Jerusalem. Jesus had at last arrived at the holy city after his long journey, and he entered it in all solemnity as messianic king (19:29-48). His triumphal, authoritative behaviour at once provoked the reaction of his enemies, and his scouring of the temple was followed by the question of authority: ' What is the authority by which thou doest these things ?'; the battle was begun (20:1-7). Jesus refused to answer this impudent demand of priests and scribes; instead he told them a parable, that of the unfaithful vine-dressers. It was aimed at his interrogators and in hardly veiled terms Jesus summed up in it the whole of sacred history and its culmination in himself and their rejection of him: He is the corner-stone discarded by the builders (20:9-18). The priests and scribes would tolerate no more; afraid on account of the people of arresting Jesus there and then for sedition, they nevertheless made up their minds: 'They would hand him over to the supreme authority of the governor' (20:19-20). From this moment the issue was decided, though outwardly the fight could continue; to trap Jesus they gave him rope and asked him questions; they awaited an opportune moment to make his arrest; they welcomed the traitor. Jesus on his side denounced his enemies, again and more solemnly pronounced the doom of Jerusalem, and then—after eating his last meal with his disciples and leaving them the enduring memorial of his freely-accepted Passion—he prepared in prayer for the end. The soldiers arrived, the long hours of mockery followed, the trials before the Sanhedrin, before Pilate and Herod, and then on Calvary the death of the cross. This was the fate reserved for the king who had come in the name of the Lord.
Those are the bare bones of the story; in his account of them Luke kept close to the historical order, and his narrative is very similar to those of Matthew and Mark. Nevertheless he has his personal variations. He replaces the drying-up of the fig-tree, which in Matthew and Mark symbolizes the sterility of Jerusalem, by an immediate prophecy of the city's destruction on account of her blindness. He passes rapidly over the scouring of the temple and he also omits a few minor passages in Matthew and Mark which might seem to digress from the dramatic unity of the narrative. But he is describing the same events in the same way and for their interpretation largely relies upon the same Old Testament passages—texts for the most part used already by Jesus himself.
The immediate culmination of the great journey is to be found in Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem and the Temple:
They brought the colt to Jesus, and spread out their garments on it, and bade Jesus mount. As he went, they strewed the road with their garments; and when he drew near the descent of mount Olivet, the whole company of his disciples began rejoicing and praising God for all the miracles they had seen. Blessed is the king, they said, who comes in the name of the Lord; peace and glory in heaven above.Some of the Pharisees who were among the multitude said to him, Master, rebuke thy disciples; but he answered, I tell you, if they should keep silence, the stones will cry out instead. . . . Then he went into the temple, and began driving out those who sold and bought there; it is written, he told them, My house is a house of prayer; and you have made it into a den of thieves. And he taught in the temple daily (19:35-40, 45-7).
Luke has substituted 'king' for Mark's 'kingdom', making more explicit the fulfilment of the prophecy of Zacharias 9:9; while his insertion of 'Peace and glory in heaven above' recall Luke 2:14. The whole of this passage is full of the purest Lucan spirit—peace, the rejoicing and praising of the disciples over Christ's acts of power, glory, the contrast between the company of the disciples and the company of the pharisees, prayer, the evocation of prophecy. The prophecies in question here are Malachy, Zacharias and Psalm 117. Malachy, after speaking of the mission of the precursor, foretold the Messiah's arrival at the temple of God.
And presently the Lord whom you seek, and the angel of the testament whom you desire shall come to his temple. Behold he cometh, saith the Lord of hosts. And who shall be able to think of the day of his coming ? and who shall stand to see him ? For he is like a refining fire and like the fuller's herb. And he shall sit refining and cleansing, and he shall purify the sons of Levi and shall refine them as gold and as silver: and they shall offer sacrifices to the Lord in justice (Mal.3 :1-3).
To Malachy's vision of the visitation and cleansing of the temple is added Zacharias' picture of the Messiah's joyful yet humble entry into the city: 'Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: Behold thy king will come to thee, the just and saviour. He is poor and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foal of an ass' (Zach.9:9). With this in mind Luke (like Jn.12:13) included the royal title in the disciples' refrain taken from Psalm 117:26: 'Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the Lord'. At this joyful cry the pharisees, of course, at once began their usual carping complaints: 'Master, rebuke thy disciples'. But the time for keeping the messianic secret was long past and Jesus roundly replied to them 'I tell you, if they should keep silence, the stones will cry out instead' (19:39-40). To this same psalm Jesus himself returned next day in dispute with the pharisees. He had told them of the vine-dressers, how they killed the well-beloved son of the man who had planted the vineyard.
This is the heir, let us kill him so that his inheritance may pass into our hands. And they thrust him out of the vineyard and killed him. And now, what will the owner of the vineyard do to them ? He will come and make an end of those vine-dressers, and give his vineyard to others. God forbid, they said, when they heard that (20:14-16).
The language of parable was too thin to conceal for a moment Jesus' meaning, and the words of the vine-dressers too close to the thoughts of the Jews. The vineyard, as every reader of Isaias 5 knew, was Israel; scribes and priests the vine-dressers; Jesus himself is the Son and in his audience are his murderers; dropping parable, he appeals to Psalm 117:22 which becomes from this moment one of the key texts of Christian theology.
He fastened his eyes on them, and said, Why then, what is the meaning of those words which have been written, The very stone which the builders rejected has become the chief stone at the corner ? If ever a man falls against that stone, he will break his bones; if it falls upon him, it will grind him to powder (20:17-18).
With that, the stage is set. The combatants are decided. Jesus has come up to Jerusalem with no other aim than to die and so effect his glorious 'exodus' from this world, preparatory to the descent of the Spirit on his disciples; while his enemies, priests and scribes, have now finally decided to kill him. The days of the pasch approach. Jesus' firm resolution to meet his death in Jerusalem is manifested in his desire to eat this final pasch before his Passion: 'With desire I have desired to eat this pasch with you, before I suffer' (22:15). It becomes the sacrament of his Passion to be re-enacted by his disciples, the new alliance in his blood, pledge of the kingdom's coming. With it we are in the moment of the final drama: the kingdom which the Father has given to Jesus he hands on with his body and blood to his disciples (22:29). There follows Jesus' agony in the garden, the sweat of his blood, the comforting of an angel. 'It was fitting that Christ should suffer' (24:26): this was the rejection of the corner-stone, the dereliction of the Servant of the Lord required for the salvation of God's people. Luke speaks less of the sufferings of the Passion than Matthew, Mark or John, though he does not conceal them and he knew their fruitfulness. But he shows Jesus as the well-beloved Son to the end, praying to the Father, prophesying to the women and to the repentant thief, enduringly merciful. He freely died, it was for this that he had come up to Jerusalem, on account of this that he instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist, as it was this that the prophets had foretold. He had accepted the lot of the well-beloved son, to be thrust out of the vineyard, out of the city, and killed.
If the Passion and cross were Jesus' free choice, they were also Jerusalem's responsibility and guilt. He was the son, but they were the vine-dressers. Their fate could be no less certain than his: the owner of the vineyard would come and ' make an end of those vine-dressers'. At this moment the old order is no more; the veil of the temple is rent in two, and Jesus himself has taken the place of the temple. Jerusalem is no longer the Holy City, the physical sons of Abraham no longer the Israel of God. The visible sacrament of this spiritual rejection is the city's destruction, 'Your house is left to you, a house uninhabited'. In the third gospel the prophecies of Jerusalem's destruction are developed at length,and the punishment of the faithless city is shown with peculiar clarity, 'and all because thou didst not recognise the time of my visiting thee' (19:44). Now the very clarity of these prophecies on the fall of Jerusalem has been a cause of scandal for the Rationalists. For instance, Luke alone mentions Jerusalem by name in the es-chatological discourses; instead of Mark's 'When you see the abomination of desolation standing where it should never stand (let him who reads this, recognise what it means), then those who are in Judaea must take refuge in the mountains' (Mk.13:14.) he has 'When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, be sure that the time has come when she will be laid waste. Then those who are in Judaea must take refuge in the mountains' (21:20-1). This sort of thing has made the Rationalists allot to the third gospel a date after the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, but this is really very unlikely; Harnack rightly insisted on a date about A.D. 63. Luke's particular stress on Jerusalem's siege and destruction is easily understood once we grasp the continuity of the Jerusalem theme throughout his work. His purpose required as that of the two first evangelists did not, that Jerusalem, the holy-unholy city, should be mentioned by name in the prophecies of woe.
Furthermore it is quite wrong to think that Luke's passages give an eye-witness or contemporary account of Titus' taking of the city. Here, if anywhere, his language is that of the Old Testament, and must be understood as such.Above all, without chapters 6 and 7 of Jeremias, it is not possible to explain St Luke's ideas about the rejection and destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, in which the Jews so falsely put their trust. 'Trust not in lying words, saying: the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, it is the temple of the Lord' (Jer.7:4). Luke's great concern was to draw Christians and Jews away from centredness on the Jerusalem temple, which had become a dead thing, and he found a great ally in Jeremias. Detail for detail these two chapters of Jeremias provided the groundwork for Jesus' prophecies on the fate of Jerusalem. Take first Luke 13 :34-5 :
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, still murdering the prophets, and stoning the messengers that are sent to thee, how often have I been ready to gather thy children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and thou didst refuse it! Behold, your house is left to you, a house uninhabited. I tell you, you shall see nothing of me until the time comes, when you will be saying, Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.
The first part of this passage reminds one of Jeremias 7:25-6: 'No day dawned but I was at work betimes, sending my servants to prophesy to them, but still they would not listen, still hearing they gave me none'; the next part of Luke has an obvious parallel in Jeremias 6:8, 'Jerusalem, be warned in time; else my love thou shalt forfeit, and I will make a ruin of thee, a land uninhabited.' The last words of Our Lord in St Luke's passage refer to the coming entry into Jerusalem and therefore link the whole passage up with Luke 19:41-6, which runs as follows:
And when he drew near, seeing the city, he wept over it saying: If thou hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace: but now they are hidden from thy eyes. For the days shall come upon thee: and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee and compass thee round and straiten thee on every side. And beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee. And they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone; because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation. And entering into the temple, he began to cast out them that sold therein and them that bought. Saying to them: It is written: My house is the house of prayer. But you have made it a den of thieves!
Here Jesus' first words recall Jeremias 6:13-14: 'From the prophet even to the priests, all are guilty of deceit, saying: Peace, peace. And there was no peace.' Luke 19:43—'Thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee and compass thee round' —is a reminder of Jeremias 6:6,' Thus saith the Lord of hosts. Hew down her trees, cast up a trench about Jerusalem.' Luke 19:44 links up with two passages of Jeremias: 'Behold I will bring destruction upon this people, by which fathers and sons together shall fall' (6:21) and 'They shall fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall fall down, saith the Lord' (6:15). Finally, in the scouring of the temple, Jeremias 7:11, referring to the temple become a den of thieves, is explicitly quoted.
Luke's whole doctrine finds its sources in the teaching of the great prophets on Jerusalem's fornication (' Peccatum peccavit Jerusalem', Lam.1:8) and consequent punishment, developed especially in Jeremias and Ezechiel; and to appreciate it we have to enter into his forceful understanding of the fulfilment of the Old Testament in this rejection of Jerusalem and consequent calling of the Gentiles. For that was what followed the clash between builders and corner-stone: the vine-owner will 'give his vineyard to others', the suffering servant will become a light to the Gentiles.
Jerusalem is punished, the door of salvation is opened to the peoples of the whole world. If Israel and Jerusalem are represented in the gospel story especially by the pharisees, the Gentiles seem to be symbolized by the publicans. The pharisees were those 'who had confidence in themselves, thinking they had won acceptance with God, and despised the rest of the world [lit: others]' (18:9); above all they despised the publicans (15:1-2). The contempt of pharisees for publicans within the nation is paralleled by the contempt of Jews for Gentiles on the supra-national level. But as it is not the pharisee but the publican who is made pleasing to God (18:10-14) so not the Jew but the Gentile receives salvation. This is made very clear in chapter 19, in the contrast between Jericho and Jerusalem: Zacchaeus, the publican of Jericho, welcomes the Lord and Jesus can say, 'Today, salvation has been brought to this house; he too is a son of Abraham' (19:9); but the pharisees of Jerusalem refuse to welcome Jesus, and become a subject not for rejoicing but for tears (19:39-42). Jerusalem rejects her Lord and Israel is rejected; Jericho welcomes the Lord, and salvation is thrown open to the Gentiles, who become the new sons of Abraham, sons in faith. This is the final act in the drama, an act which will be more stressed when the drama is re-enacted with Paul as chief character, but which is already quite clearly envisaged in the Gospel. The Jews, profitless vinedressers, are to be cast out of the kingdom while 'Others will come from the east and the west, the north and the south, to take their ease in the kingdom of God' (13:29). For the Jews, with all their sense of an exclusive revelation, this was to be the hardest punishment of all.
The deep theological sense of the journey narrative in the third gospel is now clear. It brings together the two participants in the drama of the Passion, history's most decisive event: Jesus and Jerusalem. St Luke brings out the respective parts which the two played in this event, the freedom and deliberateness of Jesus in his advance towards the cross, the guilt of Jerusalem faithful only to her faithlessness. So as to stress this, to bring to the light the central point of Jesus' life, all other visits to Jerusalem during the public ministry are ignored. For Luke there is only one, one journey, one visitation, one supreme and decisive encounter culminating in Jesus' martyrdom and Jerusalem's destruction; and it is always for Jerusalem, not for Jesus, that one must weep. Jesus cried over the misguided city immediately on catching sight of her (19:41); and at the supreme hour of the Passion, when official Jerusalem seems triumphant and Jesus on his way to a criminal's death, he feels precisely as at the moment of his greatest earthly triumph: 'It is not for me that you should weep, daughters of Jerusalem; you should weep for yourselves and for your children' (23:28).Jesus, with the eye of a prophet, saw what was hidden from both adversary and sympathizer: that the stone rejected by the builders had fallen upon them and was about to grind them to powder.
Yet the early chapters of the third gospel give us a very different picture of Jerusalem. Whereas in the public ministry the whole atmosphere is of strife, of division between the city and her Lord, the atmosphere of the first chapters is one of idyllic peace and unity. Harsh episodes such as the massacre of the Innocents and the flight into Egypt are ignored. Instead we find Jerusalem and the temple faithfully accepting its new-born Lord. Zachary, Elizabeth, above all Mary, are examples of the true Israel. In the temple Simeon takes Jesus in his arms, Anna gives thanks, the learned doctors listen with amazement to the answers of Jesus. The contrast between all this and the later chapters is very powerful, and is quite intentional; in these first chapters Luke provides the matter for a clear comparison. This is the way Jerusalem should have received its Lord, the way indicated by the sacred scriptures, the way taken by the true Israel, not official Jewry but the 'little flock' which abandoned the old Jerusalem for the new, the earthly for the heavenly. These chapters have also the important function of further stressing Jesus' fidelity to the temple.
However, at the end of these two chapters Luke records an incident'—the finding in the temple—which is perhaps symbolical of what was to come.Jesus goes up with his own to Jerusalem for the paschal feast as he was to go up later for the pasch of the Passion. He is separated from his people, enters into the world of his Father, and only returns to his people on the third day (compare the 'after three days' of 2:45 with 'the third day' of 24:7, 21). Now as afterwards his friends seek to find him (2:45; 24:2, 23) and fail in their understanding of what was happening (2:50; 24:25; 18:34). Now as afterwards a temporary separation of Jesus from his mother and family (the disciples receive this title by right of 8:21) is ended by joyful reunion. This incident, together with Simeon's prophecy of the 'sign which men will refuse to acknowledge' and the sword which shall pierce Mary's soul, are the first hints of that tragic drama in which, across Jesus' rejection and death in Jerusalem, the Old Israel goes down and the New is born— 'This child is destined to bring about the fall of many and the rise of many in Israel' (2:34).
St Luke tells us of one other and very mysterious visit of Jesus to Jerusalem, that in 4:9-13, when Satan led him there and placed him on a pinnacle of the temple; it is for Luke the third and greatest of the messianic temptations for which Jesus had been led by the Spirit into the desert. In his narrative he has changed the Matthaean order of the temptations, placing this one—instead of the high mountain—at the end for climax. Matthew placed the temptation on the mountain last because it was for him the most significant:' Once more, the devil took him up to the top of an exceedingly high mountain, from which he shewed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them, and said, I will give thee all these if thou wilt fall down and worship me' (Mt.4:8-9). Matthew's gospel is that of the kingdom. Here on the mountain Jesus rejects a false kingdom and immediately afterwards (5:1) goes up another mountain to teach of the coming of the true one. The same gospel ends on a mountain in Galilee with Jesus' proclamation of his kingdom to his apostles and the gift he has received of all authority in heaven and on earth. But this viewpoint is foreign to the mind of Luke, whose equivalent to the sermon on the Mountain of Matthew is a sermon on the plain (Lk.6:17) not, as Matthew's is, explicitly concerned with the kingdom: while the third gospel ends not on a mountain in Galilee but just outside Jerusalem. The temptation order of the two gospels (like their Resurrection narratives) is to be explained by the chief preoccupations of their writers—Jerusalem in the one case, the Kingdom in the other. In this temptation visit to the temple of Jerusalem Jesus refuses the role of false messiah; and when he visits her again it will be as true Messiah, not making his presence known by a pointless miracle but arriving, in accordance with prophecy, humbly upon an ass.
We can see now that the principal act of the third gospel is reached only after a series of preludes. First of all, the old and faithful Israel is described, in contrast with the scribes and pharisees who later came, and so disastrously, to represent Jerusalem. Secondly, in the mysterious incident of the boy Jesus' visit to the temple, a type of his later Jerusalem journey is suggested. Thirdly, following Jesus' messianic baptism, the temptation visit shows us the kind of messiah which Jesus was not. Fourthly, in the scene at Nazareth with which the public ministry begins, the whole course of Jesus' ministry and Israel's reaction to him is clearly symbolized.
What may seem strange is that after all the sturm und drang of the central part of the gospel, we arrive back at the end in an atmosphere strangely similar to the beginning. In chapter 24 all is again at peace, the Passion seems but a passing phase, and after the Ascension the apostles 'went back full of joy to Jerusalem, where they spent their time continually in the temple, praising and blessing God' (24:52-3; see also Acts 2:46-7). This re-emergence of the temple reminds one of the similar phenomenon in the final chapters of Ezechiel (40-8). Yet in so far as the visible temple is in question, this was not destined to last. The apostles must wait in the city, but only until clothed with power from on high, then they must go forth to all nations. In fact the Jerusalem in which they now abide, praising and blessing God, is already the new Jerusalem, 'our mother, a city of freedom', as is that of the last chapters of Ezechiel when re-interpreted in the Apocalypse. The temple veil was rent for ever in two at the moment of Our Lord's death, and this could mean no less than that the visible temple of Jerusalem was God's house no more.