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ment by God. So He stands, altogether a man on the side of men, with the feeling of the division that separates all things created from God.
The Church did not extend the reverence that it felt for Jesus to these expressions of His humility. In sharpest contrast to what Jesus Himself had said it set up the attributes of sinlessness and Godhead, and made the right to bear the name of Christian dependent on agreement therewith. This tendency can be traced back to the New Testament writings of the Apostle John. In the end this has brought about a reaction. Men have believed only in the humble words of Jesus, while they have increasingly distrusted the declarations of His majesty. But both belong together. The most wonderful feature in Jesus is the co-existence of a self-consciousness that is more than human with the deepest humility before God. The same man that exclaims, “ All things are given Me by the Father, and no man knoweth the Father but the Son," answers the rich ruler, “Why callest thou Me good ? is good but one, God.”
but one, God.” Without the first He is a man just such as we are; without the second He is an idle visionary. Jesus conceived of Himself
. as a Mediator.
The Mediator is altogether man, without subtraction of anything that is human. But He has received from God an especial call and commission to His fellow-men, and thereby He towers high above them. Jesus shares this feeling of being a mediator with other men like Him. Even if it has in His case attained the highest degree of constancy, depth, and reality, yet no formula can define its exact limits.
Let us leave the form of His consciousness, of His call - the Messianic idea entirely on one side for the present and look only at the fact itself. And how stupendous a fact it is. Jesus is a simple country child without any higher education or knowledge. Above all, He is no theologian. Up to His thirtieth year He was an artizan. In His native town no one pays any particular attention to Him. His parents have no forebodings of His greatness. This layman, an artizan by trade, comes forward in God's name. He deposes all the Scribes. They do not know God. Jesus alone has recognized Him. He sets on one side the propaganda of the Pharisees. “Come unto Me and I will refresh you !” He sets aside the Baptist John. He belongs to the old order. His simple word shall be God's word–His help God's help. And all this without ever falling into the merely fanatical or visionary. He is always modest, humble, sane and sober, and yet with this superhuman self-consciousness. It is quite impossible to realize such an inner life as this. Revelation, Redemption, Forgiveness, Help—He has all those and offers them to such as shall surrender themselves to the impression of His personality. Jesus' mode of life is as far removed from the ordinary as His selfrevelation. He stands entirely outside of human society. He does not mean to be a pattern for ordinary life. He has forsaken His calling, His family and His home, and has given Himself up to the life of an itinerant missionary. He has freed Himself from all the duties of social intercourse. He enters in again amongst men from without, but as a guest and as a stranger. In this manner He suffers Himself to be entertained hospitably with food and with shelter and to have His feet washed, and then He will leave the place, never perhaps to return again. He says expressly that He recognizes but a spiritual family--the men and the women that do God's will.
Besides this separation from the world we must notice the mysterious power of working miracles which Jesus possesses in a very high degree and which He can transmit to others. Even though Jesus uses all these powers in the service of ministering love they only thereby become the more extraordinary. If He passes nights in solitary prayer, if in His zeal for preaching and healing He forgets both food and rest, if He interrupts the ordinary sequence of natural laws, or, Himself subject to some mysterious power, appears to His companions as a being of another world and to His ignorant relations as one possessed - everywhere there is the same impression of the superhuman. All this is quite peculiar to Himself, and is not intended to be typical. His companions, too, whom He attached to His own mode of life in order that they might help Him in His missionary labours, He distinctly separated by this very fact from the disciples in the world whom He and His companions wished to serve.
It is important to notice that the self-revelation of Jesus coincides with His mode of life. It was the same great calling which filled Him with the consciousness that He was the Redeemer, and which compelled Him to work as a homeless wanderer. Both in His words and in His life He represents the exceptional.
The fact that Jesus possessed a peculiar consciousness of His call stands firmly established as a portion of the New Testament which is proof against all the attacks of controversy. Now we must discover its form, the especial idea under which the call presented itself.
The whole of early Christianity gives one unanimous answer. Jesus is the Messiah, and has considered Himself such. The question now arises whether the belief of the early Church really was the belief of Jesus Himself. For the statement of the Church is attended by difficulties which have caused doubts to arise in connection with it.
The idea of a Messiah originated in narrow Jewish patriotism. It embodies the national aspirations of the Jews for a position of magnificence in the world such as they conceived had already existed in the time of David. The 17th Psalm of Solomon is qur chief source for this idea. After the Messiah has driven away the enemies and cleansed the land of every abomination, He is to divide it justly among the Jews and govern them justly and wisely from Jerusalem as a theocratic prince. In reality, the idea of the Messiah had something archæological about it, even for the Jews. It had been revived by the learned from a bygone age, and had gradually taken root among the people. It no longer quite fits in with the kingdom of God, with the new earth, with the transfigured body, and the whole transcendentalism of later Judaism. Hence the Messiah is a favourite figure in the intermediate state of things in learned apocalypses, whilst in the final state no room is found for Him.
The question, then, rightly arises, Can Jesus have clothed His lofty self-consciousness in so narrow a national Jewish idea ? The answer depends, in the first place, on the reliability of the oldest tradition, and next on considerations of a general character. We have the trial of the King of the Jews, the entry into Jerusalem, the confession of Peter, the dispute for the places of honour on the right hand and on the left of the Messiah, which can scarcely all be inventions of disciples who inserted a later belief in the Messiah into the life of Christ. This result of our enquiry into the oldest Gospel (Mark's) is confirmed by the oldest collection of Logia, in which Jesus answers the Baptist's question, “ Art thou He that shall come, or do we look for another?” by the simple reference to the beginning of the Messianic age
of miracles ; and in like manner ascribes to His victories over the demons the signification that in them the kingdom of God has come. Surely facts lie at the basis of these traditions, which, whether they be pleasant or not, demand a hearing and can only be suppressed by forcible means.
In addition to this there are considerations of a general character. The belief of the disciples in their Messiah must be older than Jesus' death, for it could not entirely arise after that death, which was such a grievous disappointment to so many expectations. If it is older than Jesus' death it is incredible that Jesus did not share it, and yet suffered it to be held.
If Jesus did not consider Himself to be the Messiah, then He must have thought of Himself as a prophet. This by itself would possibly be sufficient to explain all that was extraordinary in His mode of life. But