.....It is difficult for us to realise how profound was the respect with which the humbler Jews looked up to the Priests, the Sanhedrists, the Pharisees, the Teachers of the Law. The titles which the Rabbis so eagerly accepted, the tone of contempt which they adopted towards those who were not initiated into their system, the insolence in which they depreciated all who did not belong to their little clique, had gradually led the mass of the Jews to accept these teachers at their own estimate, and to obey their decisions with almost abject humility. It was inconceivable to them how one of the people should dare to scorn the wisdom, to set aside the authority, to defy the injunctions of their idolised theologians. It startled them that He should denounce as blind guides and pernicious hypocrites the men whom they had been accustomed to regard as little Ezras or Simeons- as "uprooters of mountains"- as "glories of the Law"- as men of whom the least was "worthy that the Shechinah should rest upon him." They, too, were inclined to repeat, "Is not this the carpenter?"
....The burst of unpopularity which had followed His discourse at Capernaum about the Bread of Life- the discourse in which He had checked the false Messianic enthusiasm excited by the feeding of the five thousand- rendered His position more and more isolated. So great was His peril that, though the Feast of Tabernacles was at hand, He could not go publicly to Jerusalem. It was at this sad crisis that His brethren came to Him, and said, with impatient perplexity, "Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that Thy disciples also"- not merely these few Galilaeans, but those who have believed on Thee in Jerusalem and Judaea- "may behold the works that Thou doest; for no man doeth anything in secret" -as Thou art now practically doing- "and seeks to be publicly acknowledged. If Thou doest these things" -and though the words are not a denial of His work they are at least a cold and hesitating acknowledgment- "if Thou doest these things, manifest Thyself to the world." This forward and ungracious speech, in which they ostentatiously separate themselves from His disciples, is accounted for by the remark of the Apostle, "For even His brethren were not believers on Him." Their belief, such as it was, was neither permanent nor deep. They may have given to His claims a general acceptance, but their faith was lacking in energy and depth. Had it not been so, they would never have aspired to control His actions. Once more His calm words involved a deep reproof: "My opportunity has not yet come: your opportunity is always ready. The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth, because I bear witness concerning it that its deeds are evil. Go ye up unto the feast. I do not mean yet to go up unto the feast, because my opportunity is not yet fulfilled." Accordingly He did not go up to the feast publicly, or with them, or as one who went to observe it; He only appeared in the Temple suddenly in the midst of it. But what a severance between Himself and them the words reveal! How marked is the emphasis of the contrasted pronouns? How unmistakably do His words imply that they belonged as yet to the world of Judaism and Pharisaism; to the world which hated Him; to the world which they were in no sort of peril, but which was seeking to take His life. They were members of the religious world; they sided with the dominant parties; they walked in the odour of sanctity; they were breathing the beatitude of orthodox benediction. His was the isolation and the persecution of the Prophet- of the Prophet who awoke the deadliest of all forms of hatred- the hatred of professional partisans; the hatred which must ever be the meed of those who are not afraid to pluck off the mask of the hypocrite, to startle the slumbers of a false orthodoxy, and to expose the insincerity of a false pretence.
- from pages 288-290, The Early Days of Christianity