Appearing first in Daniel, this expectation can still be traced in the Apocalypses, in Justin’s “Dialogue with Trypho,” and in certain Rabbinic sayings
|November 24, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter two||
For the disciples this turn of affairs meant the destruction of all the dreams for the sake of which they had followed Jesus. For if they had given up anything on His account, it was only in order to receive it again an hundredfold when they should openly take their places in the eyes of all the world as the friends and ministers of the Messiah, as the rulers of the twelve tribes of Israel. Jesus never disabused them of this sensuous hope, but, on the contrary, confirmed them in it. When He put an end to the quarrel about pre-eminence, and when He answered the request of the sons of Zebedee, He did not attack the assumption that there were to be thrones and power, but only addressed Himself to the question how men were in the present to establish their claims to that position of authority.
All this implies that the time of the fulfilment of these hopes was not thought of by Jesus and His disciples as at all remote. In Matt. xvi. 28, for example, He says: “Truly I say unto you there are some standing here who shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” There is no justification for twisting this about or explaining it away. It simply means that Jesus promises the fulfilment of all Messianic hopes before the end of the existing generation.
Thus the disciples were prepared for anything rather than that which actually happened. Jesus had never said a word to them about His dying and rising again, otherwise they would not have so played the coward at His death, nor have been so astonished at His “resurrection.” The three or four sayings referring to these events must therefore have been put into His mouth later, in order to make it appear that He had foreseen these events in His original plan.
How, then, did they get over this apparently annihilating blow? By falling back upon the second form of the Jewish Messianic hope. Hitherto their thoughts, like those of their Master, had been dominated by the political ideal of the prophets—the scion of David’s line who should appear as the political deliverer of the nation. But alongside of that there existed another Messianic expectation which transferred everything to the supernatural sphere. Appearing first in Daniel, this expectation can still be traced in the Apocalypses, in Justin’s “Dialogue with Trypho,” and in certain Rabbinic sayings. According to these—Reimarus makes use especially of the statements of Trypho—the Messiah is to appear twice; once in human lowliness, the second time upon the clouds of heaven. When the first systema, as Reimarus calls it, was annihilated by the death of Jesus, the disciples brought forward the second, and gathered followers who shared their expectation of a second coming of Jesus the Messiah. In order to get rid of the difficulty of the death of Jesus, they gave it the significance of a spiritual redemption—which had not previously entered their field of vision or that of Jesus Himself.
Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus
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