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Title: Quiet Talks about Jesus
Author: Gordon, S. D. (Samuel Dickey), 1859-1936
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Quiet Talks about Jesus" ***

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Quiet Talks about Jesus

by

S. D. Gordon

Author of "Quiet Talks on Power," and "Quiet Talks on Prayer"



Contents



A Bit Ahead

  I. The Purpose of Jesus.
     1. The Purpose in Jesus' Coming
     2. The Plan for Jesus' Coming
     3. The Tragic Break in the Plan
     4. Some Surprising Results of the Tragic Break

 II. The Person of Jesus.
     1. The Human Jesus
     2. The Divine Jesus
     3. The Winsome Jesus

III. The Great Experiences or Jesus' Life.
     1. The Jordan: The Decisive Start
     2. The Wilderness: Temptation
     3. The Transfiguration: An Emergency Measure
     4. Gethsemane: The Strange, Lone Struggle
     5. Calvary: Victory
     6. The Resurrection: Gravity Upward
     7. The Ascension: Back Home Again Until----

 IV. Study Notes



"Show me, I pray thee, Thy glory."--_Moses_.

"When I could not see for the glory of that light."--_Paul_.

"But we all with open face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord
are transformed into the same image from glory to glory."--_Paul_.

"The light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus
Christ."--_Paul_.

    "Since mine eyes were fixed on Jesus,
      I've lost sight of all beside,
    So enchained my spirit's vision,
      Looking at the Crucified."
          --From _Winnowed Hymns_.



A Bit Ahead



So far as I can find out, I have no theory about Jesus to make these talks
fit into. I have tried to find out for myself what the old Book of God
tells about Him. And here I am trying to tell to others, as simply as I
can, what I found. It was by the tedious, twisting path of doubt that I
climbed the hill of truth up to some of its summits of certainty. I am
free to confess that I am ignorant of the subject treated here save for
the statements of that Book, and for the assent within my own spirit to
these statements, which has greatly deepened the impression they made, and
make. There is no question raised here about that Book itself, but simply
a taking and grouping up together of what it says.

Most persons simply _read_ a book. A few _study_ it, also. It is good to
read. It is yet better to go back over it and _study_, and meditate. Since
learning that the two books on power and prayer have been used in Bible
classes I have regretted not including study notes in them. For those who
may want to study about Jesus there has been added at the close a simple
analysis with references. The reading pages have been kept free of
foot-notes to make the reading smooth and easier. The analysis is so
arranged that one can quickly turn in reading to the corresponding
paragraph or page in the study notes.

A great musician strikes the key-note of a great piece of music, and can
skilfully keep it ever sounding its melody through all the changes clear
to the end. It has been in my heart to wish that I could do something like
that here. If what has come to me has gotten out of me into these pages,
there will be found a dominant note of sweetest music--the winsomeness of
God in Jesus.

It is in my heart, too, to add this, that I have a friend whose constant
presence and prayer have been the atmosphere of this little book in its
making.



I. The Purpose of Jesus



  1. The Purpose in Jesus' Coming.
  2. The Plan for Jesus' Coming.
  3. The Tragic Break In The Plan.
  4. Some Surprising Results of the Break.



The Purpose in Jesus' Coming



God Spelling Himself out in Jesus.


Jesus is God spelling Himself out in language that man can understand. God
and man used to talk together freely. But one day man went away from God.
And then he went farther away. He left home. He left his native land,
Eden, where he lived with God. He emigrated from God. And through going
away he lost his mother-tongue.

A language always changes away from its native land. Through going away
from his native land man lost his native speech. Through not _hearing_ God
speak he forgot the sounds of the words. His ears grew dull and then deaf.
Through lack of use he lost the power of _speaking_ the old words. His
tongue grew thick. It lost its cunning. And so gradually almost all the
old meanings were lost.

God has always been eager to get to talking with man again. The silence is
hard on Him. He is hungry to be on intimate terms again with his old
friend. Of course he had to use a language that man could understand.
Jesus is God spelling Himself out so man can understand. He is the A and
the Z, and all between, of the Old Eden language of love.

Naturally enough man had a good bit of bother in spelling Jesus out. This
Jesus was something quite new. When His life spoke the simple language of
Eden again, the human heart with selfishness ingrained said, "That sounds
good, but of course He has some selfish scheme behind it all. This purity
and simplicity and gentleness can't be genuine." Nobody yet seems to have
spelled Him out fully, though they're all trying: All on the spelling
bench. That is, all that have heard. Great numbers haven't heard about Him
yet. But many, ah! _many_ could get enough, yes, _can_ get enough to bring
His purity into their lives and sweet peace into their hearts.

But there were in His days upon earth some sticklers for the old spelling
forms. Not the oldest, mind you. Jesus alone stands for that. This Jesus
didn't observe the idioms that had grown up outside of Eden. These people
had decided that these old forms were the only ones acceptable. And so
they disliked Him from the beginning, and quarrelled with Him. These
idioms were dearer to them than life--that is, than _His_ life. So having
quarrelled, they did _worse_, and then--softly--_worst_. But even in their
worst, Jesus was God spelling Himself out in the old simple language of
Eden. His best came out in their worst.

Some of the great nouns of the Eden tongue--the _God_ tongue--He spelled
out big. He spelled out _purity_, the natural life of Eden; and
_obedience_, the rhythmic harmony of Eden; and _peace_, the sweet music of
Eden; and _power_, the mastery and dominion of Eden; and _love_, the
throbbing heart of Eden. It was in biggest, brightest letters that _love_
was spelled out. He used the biggest capitals ever known, and traced each
in a deep dripping red, with a new spelling--s-a-c-r-i-f-i-c-e.



Jesus is God, following us up.


You see, the heart of God had been breaking--_is_ breaking over the ways
things have been going down on this planet. Folk fail to understand Him.
Worse yet, they misunderstand Him, and feel free to criticize Him. Nobody
has been so much slandered as God. Many are utterly ignorant of Him. Many
others who are not ignorant yet ignore Him. They turn their faces and
backs. Some give Him the cut direct. The great crowd in every part of the
world is yearning after Him: piteously, pathetically, most often
speechlessly yearning, blindly groping along, with an intense inner tug
after Him. They know the yearning. They feel the inner, upward tug. They
don't understand what it is for which they yearn, nor what will satisfy.

For man was made to live in closest touch with God. That is his native
air. Out of that air his lungs are badly affected. This other air is too
heavy. It's malarial, and full of gases and germy dust. In it he chokes
and gasps. Yet he knows not why. He gropes about in the night made by his
own shut eyes. He doesn't seem to know enough to open them. And sometimes
he _will_ not open them. For the hinge of the eyelid is in the will. And
having shut the light out, he gets tangled up in his ideas as to what _is_
light. He puts darkness for light, and light for darkness.

Once man knew God well; close up. And that means _loved_, gladly, freely.
For here to know is to love. But one day a bad choice was made. And the
choice made an ugly kink in his will. The whole trouble began there. A man
sees through his will. That is his medium for the transmission of light.
If it be twisted, his seeing, his understanding, is twisted. The twist in
the will regulates the twist in the eye. Both ways, too, for a good change
in the will in turn changes the eyes back to seeing straight. He that is
willing to do the right shall clearly see the light.

But that first kink seems to have been getting worse kinked ever since.
And so man does not see God as He is. Man is cross-eyed Godward, but
doesn't know it. Man is color-blind toward God. The blue of God's truth is
to him an arousing, angering red. The soft, soothing green of His love
becomes a noisy, irritating yellow. Nobody has been so much misunderstood
as God. He has suffered misrepresentation from two quarters: His enemies
and His friends. More from--which? Hard to tell. Jesus is God trying to
tell men plainly what He is really like.

The world turned down the wrong lane, and has been going that way
pell-mell ever since. Yet so close is the wrong lane to the right that a
single step will change lanes. Though many results of being in the wrong
lane will not be changed by the change of lanes. It takes time to rest up
the feet made sore by the roughness of the wrong lane. And some of the
scars, where men have measured their length, seem to stay.

The result of that wrong turning has been pitiable. _Separation from God_,
so far as _man_ could make separation. There is no separation on God's
part. He has never changed. He remains in the world, but because of man's
turning his face away, He remains as a stranger, unrecognized. He remains
just where man left Him. And any one going back to that point in the road
will find Him standing waiting with an eager light glistening in His eyes.
_No_! That's not accurate. He is _a bit nearer_ than ever He was. He is
following us up. He is only a step off. Jesus is God eagerly following us
up.



The Early Eden Picture.


But one will never get to understand this Jesus until he gets a good look
at man as he was once, and as he is now. The key to understanding Jesus is
man, even as Jesus is the key to God. One must use both keys to get into
the inner heart of God. To get hold of that first key one must go back to
the start of things. The old Book of God opens with a picture that is
fascinating in its simplicity and strength. There is an unfallen man. He
is fresh from the hand of God, free of scar and stain and shrivelling
influence. He is in a garden. He is walking hand in hand with God, and
working side by side with God: friendship and partnership. Friends in
spirit: partners in service.

The distinctive thing about the man is that he is _like God_. He and God
are alike. In this he differs from all creation. He is God's link between
Himself and His Creation. Particular pains is taken by repetition and
change of phrase to make clear and emphatic that it was in the very image
of God that man was made. Just what does it mean that we men were made in
God's likeness? Well, the thing has been discussed back and forth a good
bit. Probably we will not know fully till we know as we are known. In the
morning when we see Him we shall be like Him fully again. Then we'll know.
_That_ morning's sun will clear up a lot of fog. But a few things can be
said about it now with a positiveness that may clear the air a bit, and
help us recognize the dignity of our being, and behave accordingly.

Man came into being by the breath of God. God breathed Himself into man.
The breath that God breathed out came into man as life. The very life of
man is a bit of God. Man is of the essence of God. Every man is the
presence-chamber of God.

God is a _Spirit. Man_ is a spirit. He lives in a body. He thinks through
a mind. He _is_ a spirit, using the body as a dwelling-place, and the
mind as his keenest instrument. All the immeasurable possibilities and
capacities of spirit being are in man.

God is an _infinite_ spirit. That is, we cannot understand Him fully. He
is very close to us. The relationship is most intimate, and tender, yet
His fulness is ever beyond our grasp and our ken. _Man_ is infinite in
that he knows that God is infinite. Only like can appreciate like. He can
appreciate that he cannot appreciate God, except in part. He understands
that he does not understand God save in smaller part. He knows enough to
love passionately. And through loving as well as through knowing he knows
that there is infinitely more that he does not know. Only man of all
earth's creation knows this. In this he is like God. The difference
between God and man here is in the degree of infinity. That degree of
difference is an infinite degree. Yet this is the truth. But more yet: man
has this same quality _man_ward. He is infinite in that he cannot be fully
understood in his mental processes and motives. He is beyond grasp fully
by his fellow. Even one's most intimate friend who knows most and best
must leave unknown more than is known.

God is an _eternal_ spirit. He has always lived. He will live always. He
knows no end, at either end. All time before there was time, and after the
time-book is shut, is to Him a passing present. _Man_ is an eternal
spirit, because of God. He will know no end. He will live always because
the breath of God is his very being.

God is _love_. He yearns for love. He loves. And more, He _is_ love. Man
is like God in his yearning for love, in his capacity for love, and in his
lovableness. Man must love. He lives only as he loves. True love, and only
that, is the real life. He will give up everything for love. He is
satisfied only as he loves and finds love. To love is greater than to be
loved. One cannot always have both. God does not. But every one may love.
Every one does love. And only as there is love, pure and true--however
overlaid with what is not so--only so is there life.

God is _holy_. That word seems to include purity and righteousness. There
is utter absence of all that should not be. There is in Him all that
should be, and that in fulness beyond our thinking. Man was made holy.
There is in the Genesis picture of Eden a touch that for simplicity and
yet for revealing the whole swing of moral action is most vivid. In the
presence of conditions where man commonly, universally, the world around,
and time through, has been and is _most sensitive to suggestion of evil_
there is with this first man the utter absence of any thought of evil.[1]
In the light of after history there could be no subtler, stronger
statement than this of his holiness, his purity, at this stage.

And in his _capacity for holiness_, in that intensest longing for purity,
and loathing of all else, that comes as the Spirit of God is allowed
sway, is revealed again the capacity for God-likeness. It is the prophetic
dawn within of that coming Eden when again we shall _see His face_, and
have the original likeness fully restored.

God is _wise_, all-wise. Among the finest passages of the' Christian's
classic are those that represent God as personified wisdom. And here
wisdom includes all knowledge and justice. That the Spirit of God breathed
into man His own mental life is stated most keenly by the man who
proverbially embodied in himself this quality of wisdom. "The spirit of
man is the lamp of the Lord searching out the innermost parts." The
allusion is clearly to intellectual powers. There is in man the same
quality of mental keenness that searches into things as is in God. It is
often dulled, gripped by a sort of stupor, so overlaid you would hardly
guess it was there. But, too, as we all know, it often shines out with a
startling brilliance. It is less in degree than with God, but it is the
same thing, a bit of God in man. This explains man's marvellous
achievements in literature, in invention, in science, and in organization.

Two light master-strokes of the etching point in the Eden picture reveal
the whole mental equipment of the man. The only sayings of Adam's
preserved for us are when God brought to him the woman. She is the
occasion for sayings that reveal the mental powers of this first man.
Fittingly it is so. Woman, when true to herself, has ever been the
occasion for bringing out the best in man. "And the man said, _this time_
it is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; _this_ shall be called
woman, because out of man was this one taken. Therefore doth a man leave
his father and his mother and cleave unto his wife, and they become one
flesh." ... "And the man called his wife's name Eve; because she was the
mother of all living." Here is revealed at a glance the keen mental powers
at work. Here is the simplicity of statement that marks the speech of
strong men. The whole forest is in a single acorn. The whole of a human
life is in the primal cell. The chemist knows the whole body by looking
into one drop of blood. Here is revealed in one glance the whole man. Mark
the keen sense of fitness in the naming of woman--the last and highest
creation. Adam was a philologist. His mind was analytical. Inferentially
the same keen sense of fitness guided in all the names he had chosen. Here
is recognition of the plan for the whole race, a simple unlabored
foresight into its growth. A man's relation to his wife, his God-chosen
friend, as being the closest of life, and above all others is recognized,
together with the consequent obligation upon him. She comes first of all.
She becomes the first of all his relationships. The man and the woman--one
man and one woman--united, make the true unit of society. Any disturbance
of that strikes at the very vitals of society.

And God is a _Sovereign_--_the_ sovereign of the vast swing of worlds.
_Man_ likewise is a sovereign in the realm of nature, and over all the
lower creation. He was given dominion, kingship, over all the
earth-creation. Man is a king. He is of the blood royal. He was made to
command, to administrate, to reign. He is the judge of last appeals on the
bench of earth.

But there is more here. The chief characteristic of an absolute sovereign
is the imperial power to choose, to decide. Man was made an absolute
sovereign in his own will. God is the absolute sovereign. He has made man
an absolute sovereign in one realm, that of his will, his power of choice.
There is one place where man reigns alone, an absolute autocrat, where not
even God _can_ come save as the autocrat desires it, that is in his will.
And if that "_can_" bother you, remember that it was God's sovereign act
that made it so. So that God remains sovereign in making man a sovereign
in the realm of his will. There every man sits in imperial solitude.

Here then is the picture of man fresh from the hand of God. A spirit, in a
body, with an unending life, partly infinite, like God in his capacity for
love, for holiness, and wisdom, with the gift of sovereignty over the
lower creation, and in his own will. Like Him too in his capacity for
_fellowship_ with God. For only like can have fellowship with like. It is
only in that in which we are alike that we can have fellowship. These two,
God and man, walking side by side, working together, friendship in spirit;
partnership in service.

This man is in a _garden_ of trees and bushes, with fruit and flowers and
singing birds, roses with no pricking thorns, soft green with no weeds,
and no poison ivy, for there is no hate. And he is walking with God,
talking familiarly as chosen friend with choicest friend. Together they
work in the completion of creation. God brings His created beings one by
one to man to be catalogued and named, and accepts his decisions. What a
winsome picture. These two, God and a man in His likeness, walking and
working side by side; likeness in being; friendship, fellowship in spirit;
partnership, comradeship in service. And this is God's thought for man!



Man's Bad Break.


Then come the climax and the crisis. A climax is the climbing to the top
rung of the ladder. A crisis is the meeting place of possible victory and
possible disaster. A single step divides between the two--the
precipice-height, and the canon's yawning gulf.

It was a climax of opportunity; and a crisis of action. _God's_ climax of
opportunity to man. _Man's_ crisis of action. God made man sovereign in
his power of choice. Now He would go the last step and give him the
opportunity of using that power and so reaching the topmost levels. God
led man to the hill of choice. The man must _climb_ the hill if he would
reach its top.

Only the use of power gives actual possession of the power. What we do not
use we lose. The pressure of the foot is always necessary to a clear
title. To him that hath possible power shall be given actual power through
use.

This opportunity was the last love-touch of God in opening up the way into
the fulness of His image. With His ideal for man God went to His limit in
_giving_ the power. He could give the power of choice. Man must _use_ the
power given. Only so could he own what had been given. God could open the
door. Man must step over the door-sill. Action realizes power.

The tree of knowledge of good and evil was the tree of choice. Obedience
to God was the one thing involved. That simply meant, as it always means,
keeping in warm touch with God. All good absolutely is bound up in
this--_obeying God_, keeping in warm touch. To obey Him is the very heart
of good. All evil is included in disobeying Him. To disobey, to fail to
obey is the seeded core of all evil.

Whichever way he chose he would exercise his God-like power of choice.
Whichever way he chose, the knowledge would come. If he chose to obey he
would know good by choosing it, and evil by rejecting it. He knew neither
good nor evil, for he had not yet had the contact of choice. Knowledge
comes only through experience. In choosing not to obey, choosing to
disobey, he would know evil with a bitter intimacy by choosing it. He
would become acquainted with the good which he had shoved ruthlessly away.

With the opportunity came the temptation: God's opportunity; Satan's
temptation. Satan is ever on the heels of God. Two inclined planes lead
out of every man's path. Two doors open into them side by side. God's door
up, the tempter's door down, and only a door-jamb between. Here the split
hoof can be seen sticking from under the cloak's edge at the very start.
Satan hates the truth. He is afraid of it. Yet he sneaks around the
sheltering corner of what he fears and hates. The sugar coating of his
gall pills he steals from God. The devil bare-faced, standing only on his
own feet, would be instantly booted out at first approach. And right well
he knows it.

A cunning half lie opens the way to a full-fledged lie, but still coupled
with a half-truth. The suggestion that God was harshly prohibiting
something that was needful leads to the further suggestion that He was
arbitrarily, selfishly holding back the highest thing, the very thing He
was supposed to be giving, that is, likeness to Himself. Eve was getting a
course in suggestion. This was the first lesson. The school seems to be in
session still. The whole purpose is to slander God, to misrepresent Him.
That has been Satan's favorite method ever since. God is not good. He
makes cruel prohibitions. He keeps from us what we should have. It is
passing strange how every one of us has had that dust in his eyes. Some of
us might leave the "had" out of that sentence.

See how cunningly the truth and the lie are interwoven by this old
past-master in the sooty art of lying. "Your eyes shall be opened, and ye
shall be as God knowing good and evil." It was true because by the use of
this highest power of choice he would become like God, and through
choosing he would know. It is cunningly implied with a sticky, slimy
cunning that, by not eating, that likeness and knowledge would not come.
That was the lie. The choice either way would bring both this element of
likeness to God in the sovereign power of choice, and the knowledge.

Then came the choice. The step up was a step down: up into the use of his
highest power; down by the use of that power. In that wherein he was most
like God in power, man became most unlike God in character. First the
woman chose: then the man. Satan subtly begins his attack upon the woman.
Because she was the weaker? Certainly not. Because she was the stronger.
Not the leader in action, but the stronger in influence. He is the leader
in action: she in influence. The greater includes the less. Satan is a
master strategist, bold in his cunning. If the citadel can be gotten, all
is won. If he _could_ get the woman he _would_ get the man. She includes
him. She who was included in him now includes him. The last has become
first.

She was deceived. He was not deceived. The woman chose unwarily for the
supposed good. The man chose with open eyes for the woman's sake. Could
the word gallantry be used? Was it supposed friendship? He would not
abandon her? Yet he proved _not her friend_ that day, in stepping down to
this new low level. Man's habit of giving smoothly spoken words to woman,
while shying sharp-edged stones at her, should in all honesty be stopped.
Man can throw no stones at woman. If the woman failed God that day, the
man failed both God and the woman. If it be true that through her came the
beginning of the world's sin, through her, too, be it gratefully and
reverently remembered, came that which was far greater--the world's
Saviour.

The choice was made. The act was done. Tremendous act! Bring your
microscope and peer with awe into that single act. No fathoming line can
sound its depth. No measuring rod its height nor breadth. No thought can
pierce its intensity. That reaching arm went around a world. Millenniums
in a moment. A million miles in a step. An ocean in a drop. Volumes in a
word. A race in a woman. A hell of suffering in an act. The depths of woe
in a glance. The first chapter of Romans in Genesis three, six. Sharpest
pain in softest touch. God mistrusted--distrusted. Satan embraced. Sin's
door open. Eden's gate shut.

Mark keenly the immediate result that came with that intense rapidity
possible only to mental powers. At once they were both conscious of
something that had not entered their thoughts before. To the pure all
things are pure. To the imagination hurt by breaking away from God, the
purest things can bring up suggestions directly opposite. Through the open
door of disobedience came with lightning swiftness the suggestion of
using a pure, holy function of the body in a way and for a purpose not
intended. Making an end of that which was meant to be only a means to a
highest end. Degrading to an animal pleasure that which held in its pure
hallowed power the whole future of the race. There is absolutely no change
save in the inner thought. But what a horrid heredity in that one flash of
the imagination! Every sin lives first in the imagination. The imagination
is sin's brooding and birth-place. An inner picture, a lingering glance, a
wrong desire, an act--that is the story of every sin. The first step was
disobedience. That opened the door. The first suggestion of wrong-doing
that followed hot on the heels of that first step, through that open door,
struck at the very vitals of the race--both its existence and its
character. That first suggested unnatural action, with its whole brood,
has become the commonest and slimiest sin of the race.

Here, in the beginning, the very thought _shocked_ them. In that lay their
safety. Shame is the recoil of God's image from the touch of sin. Shame is
sin's first checkmate. It is man's vantage for a fresh pull up. There are
only two places where there is no shame: where there is no sin; where sin
is steeped deepest in. The extremes are always jostling elbows. Instantly
the sense of shame suggested a help. A simple bit of clothing was
provided. It was so adjusted as to help most. Clothing is man's badge of
shame. The first clothing was not for the body, but for the mind. Not for
protection, but for concealment, that so the mind might be helped to
forget its evil suggestions. It is one of sin's odd perversions that draws
attention by color and cut to the race's badge of shame. It would seem
strongly suggestive of moral degeneracy, or of bad taste, or, let us say
in charity, of a lapse of historical memory.

Mark the sad soliloquy of God: "Behold the man has become as one of us: He
has exercised his power of choice." He tenderly refrains from saying, "and
has chosen wrong! so pitiably wrong!" That was plain enough. He would not
rub in the acid truth. He would not make the scar more hideous by pointing
it out. "And now _lest_ he put forth his hand and take of the tree of
life." "_Lest!_" There is a further danger threatening. In his present
condition he needs guarding for his own sake in the future.
"_Lest_"--wrong choice limits future action. Sin narrows.

With man's act of sin came God's act of saving. Satan is ever on the heels
of God to hurt man. But God is ever on the heels of Satan to cushion the
hurt and save the man. It is a nip-and-tuck race with God a head and a
heart in the lead. Something had to be done. Man had started sin in
himself by his choice. The taint of disobedience, rebellion, had been
breathed out into the air. He had gotten out of sorts with his
surroundings. His presence would spoil his own heaven. The stain of his
sin would have been upon his eternal life. The zero of selfishness would
have been the atmosphere of his home. The touch of his unhallowed hand
must be taken away for his own sake. That unhallowed touch _has_ been upon
every function and relationship of life outside those gates. Nothing has
escaped the slimy contact.

Sin _could_ not be allowed to stay _there_. Its presence stole heaven away
from heaven. Yet sin had become a part of the man. The man and the wrong
were interwoven. They were inseparable. Sin has such a tenacious, gluey,
sticky touch! Each included the other. _It_ could not be put out without
_his_ being put out. So man had to be driven out for his own sake to rid
his home-spot of sin. The man was driven out that he might come
back--_changed_. Love drove him out that later it might let him in. The
tree of life was kept _from_ him for a time that it might be kept _for_
him for an eternity.

When he had _changed his spirit_, and _changed sides_ in the fight with
evil started that day, and gotten victory over the spirit now dominant
within himself, those gates would swing again. When the stain of his
choice would be taken out of his fibre it would be his right eagerly to
retrace these forced steps, and the coming back would find more than had
been left. Love has been busy planning the home-coming. The tree of life
has been grown in his absence to a grove of trees. The life has become
life more abundant.



Outside the Eden Gate.


The story of what took place outside that guarded gate makes clear the
love, the wise farsighted love that showed the man the way out that day.
To tell the story one must use a pen made of the iron that has entered his
own soul, and though the pen be eased with ball point, it scratches and
sticks in the paper for sheer reluctance. And only the tears of the heart
will do for ink.

That was a costly meal. That first bite must have been a big one. Its
taste is still in the mouth of the race. If that fruit were an apple it
must have been a crab. There has been a bad case of indigestion ever
since. If you think there were no crab-apples in Eden, then the touch of
those thickening lips must have soured it in the eating--man's teeth are
still on edge. The fruit became tough in the chewing. It's not digested
yet. That Garden of Eden must have been on a hill, with lowlands below,
and high hills above, and roads both ways. The man seems to have gotten
into the lowland road, and after a bit, struck some marshes and swamps,
with a good bit of thick gray fog.

The first result of the break with God was _in the man himself_. Man has
two doors opening into himself from God--the eye and the ear. Through
these God comes into the man and makes Himself known. Through these comes
all man knows of God. Both have their hinges in the will, the heart. Man
gave both doors a slam shut that day in Eden. Yet they went shut
_gradually_. That was the God-side of their shutting. He quickly slipped
in an air cushion so the shutting might be softened and delayed, and
meanwhile His presence be appealing to the man.

Refusing to obey God was equal to hearing without being willing to listen.
It was the same thing as looking with that reluctance that won't see, and
then doesn't see. Hearing and seeing lie deeper than ears and eyes, down
in the purpose, the will, the desire of the heart. Unwillingness dulls,
and then deafens the ears. It blurs, and then blinds the eye. An earnest,
loving purpose gives peculiar keenness to the ears, and opens the eye of
the eye. Ears and eyes are very sensitive organs. If their messages be not
faithfully attended to they sulk and pout and refuse to transmit messages.
It is a remarkable fact that habitual inattention to a sound or sight
makes one practically deaf or blind to it; and that close attention
persisted in makes one's ears and eyes almost abnormally keen and quick.
Love's ears and eyes are proverbially acute.

One may be so wholly absorbed in something that he absolutely does not see
the thing on which his eyes are turned. He does not hear the sounds that
are plainly coming to his ear because his thought, back of that his heart,
is elsewhere. Hearing, seeing is with the heart back of ears and eyes. God
is spoken of as silent. Yet His silence may be simply our deafness. The
truth is He is speaking all the time, but we are so absorbed that we do
not hear. He is ever looking into our faces with His great, tender, deep
eyes, but we are so wrapped up in something else that the gaze out of our
eyes is vacant to that Face, and with keenest disappointment, so often
repeated, He gets no answering glance.

Let anybody in doubt about the strict accuracy of this do some
experimenting on himself, either with outer things or regarding God. Let
him obey the inner voice in some particular that may perhaps cut straight
across some fixed habit, and then watch very quietly for the result. It
will come with surprising sureness and quickness. And the reason why is
simple. The man is simply moving back into his native air, and of course
all the powers work better.

This truth about the nerves of the ears and eyes running down into the
heart is constantly being sounded out in the old Book. A famous bit in
Isaiah puts it very clearly, and becomes a sort of pivot passage of all
others of this sort. That fine-grained, intense-spirited young Hebrew was
caught in the temple one day by a sight of God. That wondrous sight held
him with unyielding grip through all the after years. With the sight came
the voice, and the message for the nation: "Tell these people--you are
continually hearing, but you do not listen, nor take in what you hear.
Your eyes are open, they look, but they do not see." Then the voice said,
"Make their heart _fat_, and their ears _heavy_, and their eyes _shut_."

That is to say, by continually telling them what they will continually
refuse to hear because it does not suit the habit of their lives, he would
be setting in motion the action that would bring these results. The ears
that won't hear by and by _can't_ hear. The heart that will not love and
obey gets into a state of fatty degeneration. The valves that refuse to
move in loving obedience will get too heavy with fat to move at all. The
fat clogs the hinges. There is the touch of a soft irony in the _form_ of
the message. As though Isaiah's talking would affect their ears, whereas
it is their refusal to hear that stupefies the hearing organ. In
faithfulness God insists on telling them the truth even though He knows
that their refusal to do will make things worse. But then God is never
held back from good by the possible bad that may work out of it.

When Jesus came, the Jews, to whom His messages to the world were directly
spoken, were in almost the last stages of that sort of thing. So Jesus,
with the fine faithfulness of love blending with the keenest tact, spoke
in language veiled by parable to overcome the intense prejudice against
plainly spoken truth. They were so set against what He had to tell that
the only way to get anything into them at all was so to veil its _form_ as
to befool them into _thinking it truer_. Toward the close, His keenness,
for which they were no match, joining with the growing keenness of their
hate, made them see at once that the sharp edge of some of those last
parables was turned toward themselves.

In explaining to His puzzled disciples about this form of teaching, with
a sad irony that reveals both His heart's yearning and His mental
keenness, He uses more than once with variations this famous bit from
Isaiah. He makes the truth stand out more sharply by stating the opposite
of what He desires, making the contrast between His words and His known
desires so strong as not only to make plain the meaning intended, but to
give it a sharper emphasis.

The result that began with ears and eyes quickly affected the _tongue_.
That is nature's path. The inner road from ear and eye is straight to the
tongue. The tongue is the index of man's whole being. While through ear
and eye he receives all that ever gets in, through the tongue his whole
being is revealed. Of course his personality reveals itself very much
otherwise. In the carriage of the body. Strikingly so in the look of the
eye. The body itself, especially the face, becomes in time the mould of
the spirit within. Yet the tongue--what is said, how it is said, what is
_not_ said, the tone of voice--the tongue is the index of the spirit.

There is no stronger indication of mastery over one's powers than in
control of the tongue. When God would break up man's first great ambitious
scheme of a self-centred monopoly on the Shinar plains, He simply touched
his tongue. The first evidence of God's touch in the re-making of man on
that memorable Pentecost day was upon his tongue.

The effect upon his tongue of the break with God has been radical and
strange. Dumbness, and slowness or thickness of speech alternate with an
unnatural sharpness. Sometimes the spittle has a peculiar oiliness that
results in a certain slipperiness of statement. Sometimes it has a bitter,
poisonous, acid quality that eats its way into the words. There is a queer
backward movement in biting sometimes. Withal a strange looseness of
speech regarding the holiest things, and the most awesome truths, and the
Holy One Himself.

The moment a man gets a vision of God he is instantly conscious of
something the matter with his tongue. The sight that comes to his eyes,
the sound to his ears makes him painfully self-conscious regarding the
defect in his tongue. Moses found himself slow-tongued. Isaiah felt the
need of the cleansing coal for his tongue.

But man's whole inner mental process was affected. A peculiar sense of
fear, of dread, is woven inextricably into the very fibre of man's being.
His first reported word after that break was, "I was afraid." That sense of
fear--a horrid, haunting, nightmare thing--has affected all his thinking
and planning and every-day speech. No phrase is oftener on man's tongue
than "I'm afraid." Isaiah's classic utterance about ears and eyes has a
counterpart equally classic from Paul's pen, about the effect of sin upon
man's mental processes. A few lines in the letter to the Ephesian circle
of churches give a sort of bill of details of the mental steps down that
slope from the Eden gate.

Paul is urging these friends to live _no longer_ as they, in common with
all the races, had been living, in "the vanity of their mind, being
darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because
of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their
hearts; who, being past feeling, gave themselves up to lasciviousness to
make a greedy trade of all uncleanness." Here are seven steps down. The
first five are put in reverse order. Beginning where they have been, he
traces the five steps back to the starting point, and then adds the two
likely to follow with any who persist past this point.

The start of all sin is in the setting of one's self against God. Choosing
some other way than His. It is called here "hardening of the heart." The
native juices of the heart are drawn away from God and dry up. In this
Book the heart is the seat of both affection and will. It is the pivotal
organ of life. Any trouble there quickly and surely affects the whole
being. Then follows "ignorance." Of course. The heart controls both ear
and eye, the two great channels inward of knowledge. The hardening of the
heart locks both doors. And hard on the heels of that comes "_Alienated_
from the life of God." That is, _cut off,_ shut out of fellowship and
intimacy. Life is _union with God_. Through union God's life flows into
us. Union is rooted in knowledge _and_ in sympathy, fellow-feeling, a
common desire and purpose. The man snapping that tying cord cuts himself
off.

The next step is peculiarly pathetic--"darkened in their understanding."
The man has shut the shutters close, and pulled the shades down tight. Of
course it's dark inside. He is unable to see. First unwilling, now unable.
If the only thing that can be gotten for use as light be _darkness_, how
intense is that darkness! Then comes the pitiable result of acting as if
darkness were man's native air--"the vanity of the mind." That word vanity
means aimlessness. The mind is still keen, even brilliant, but the guiding
star is shut out, and that keen mind goes whirring aimlessly around.
Sometimes a very earnest aimlessness. The man's on a foggy sea without sun
or star. The compass on board is useless.

But more pitiable and pathetic yet; indeed utterly laughable if it were
not so terribly serious and pathetic:--this man in the dark proceeds
gravely to decide that this darkness of his own making is a superior sort
of light, and bows low in worship of its maker. He has even been known to
write brilliant essays on the light-giving power of blinding darkness,
with earnest protests at the evil of this thing commonly called light.
Sometimes having carefully cottoned up the shutters that no scrap of sun
light or sun warmth may get in, he strikes a friction match, and sits
warming himself, and eloquently sets forth his own greatness as shown by
the match, _friction_ match. Most of this sort of light and heat is of the
friction sort.

Then with reluctant hand, one who knows Paul's tender heart can well
believe, the curtain is drawn aside for the last two stages; the grosser,
gutter, animal stages, which, not always by any means, but all too
commonly follow. "Past feeling!" The delicate sense of feeling about right
and purity dulls and goes. The fine inner judgment blunts and leaves. The
shrinking sensitiveness toward the dishonorable and impure loses its edge
and departs. _Then_--pell mell, like a pack of dogs down a steep hill,
follows the last--"lasciviousness," the purest, holiest things in the
gutter-slime, and then, cold-blooded, greedy trading in these things.
That's the picture painted in shadows of Rembrandt blackness, newly
blackened, of the effect in man himself of turning away from God.

Now Jesus is the music of God's heart sounding in man's ears anew, that he
may be wooed back the old road to the Eden life. Jesus is the face of God,
close up, looking tenderly, yearningly, into man's face, that his eye may
be caught and held, and his heart be enchained.



Sin's Brood.


The second great result of that Eden break has been in _the growth of
sin_. In the seventeenth century after that it was said that man's heart
was a breeding place of thoughts whose pictured forms were bad, only bad,
with no spots of good, nor spurts of good. A thousand years later, Moses
giving the Hebrew tribes the ten commandments, adds a crowd of
particulars, some of them very grewsome, which serve as mirrors to reveal
the common practice of his age. The slant down of those first centuries
has evidently been increasing in its downward pitch.

More than a thousand years later yet, there is a summary made by Paul that
reveals the stage reached by sin in his day. Probably no one knew the
world of his time, which has proved to be the world's crisis time, as did
Paul the scholar and philosopher of Tarsus. Himself a city man, well bred
and well schooled, a world traveller, with acute, disciplined powers of
observation, and a calm scholarly judgment, he had studied every phase of
life cultured and lowly.

He pitched upon the great city centres in his active campaigning, and
worked out into the country districts. He was a world-bred man. He knew
the three over-lapping worlds of his time: the Hebrew, with its ideals of
purity and religion; the Greek, with its ideals of culture; and the Roman,
with its ideals of organization and conquest. He is writing from Corinth,
then the centre of Greek life, to Rome, the centre of the world's life.
His letter is the most elaborate of any of his writings preserved to us.
In its beginning he speaks of man, universally, morally, as he had come to
know him. His arraignment is simply terrific in its sweep and detail.

Let me pause and be measuring the words cautiously and then put this
down:--the description of the latter half of the first chapter of Romans
is a true description of man to-day. At first flush that sounds shocking,
as indeed it is. It seems as if this description can apply only to
degraded savages and to earth's darkest corners. But the history of Paul's
day, and before, and since, and an under view of the social fabric to-day,
only serve to make clear that Paul's description is true for all time, and
around the world.

There is a cloak of conventionality thrown over the blacker tints of the
picture to-day in advanced Christian lands. It is considered proper to
avoid speaking of certain excesses, or, if speech must be used, modestly
to say "unnamable." And it is a distinct gain for morality that it is so.
Better a standard recognized, even though broken. But commonly the
conditions are not changed. The differences found in different
civilizations to-day are differences only of _degree_. In the most
advanced cities of Christendom to-day may be found every bit of this
chapter's awful details, _but properly cloaked_. In European lands the
cloaks are sewed with the legal-stitch, which is considered the proper
finish. In lands where our Christian standards are not recognized the
thing is as open as in this chapter.

In four short paragraphs containing sixty-six lines in the American
Revision, Paul packs in his terrific philippic. He swings over the ground
four times. Nowhere does he reveal better his own fidelity to truth, with
the fineness of his own spirit. Here, delicacy of expression is rarely
blended with great plainness. No one can fail to understand, and yet that
sense of modesty native to both man and woman is not improperly disturbed,
even though the recital be shocking.

Here is paragraph one: Man knew God both through nature and by the direct
inner light. But he did not want Him as God. It bothered the way he wanted
to live. The core of all sin is there. All its fruitage grows about that
core. He became vain in his reasonings. He gave himself up to keen,
brilliant speculation. Having cut the cord that bound him to God,
unanchored, uncompassed, on a shoreless, starless sea, he drifts
brilliantly about in the dense gray fog.

Then he befooled himself further by thinking himself wise. He preferred
somebody else to God. Whom? Himself! Then--birds; then-beasts on all fours
with backbone on a line with the earth, nose and mouth close to the
ground; then--gray-black, slimy, crawling, creeping things. He traded off
the truth of God for a lie; the sweet purity of God for rank impurity. He
dethroned God, and took the seat himself. He bartered God for beasts and
grew like that he preferred. God's gracious restraint is withdrawn when he
gets down to the animal stage. Only here man out-animalled the animals.
The beasts are given points on beastliness. The life he chose to live held
down by the throat the truth he knew so well. That's the first summary.

The next two paragraphs are devoted to that particular sort of unnatural
sin first suggested to man after his disobedience, and which in all time
and all lands has been and is the worst, the most unnatural, the most
degrading, and the most common. It came first in the imagination. It came
early in the history of actual sin. It is put first by Paul in his
arraignment here. He gives it chief place by position and by particularity
of description. First was the using of a pure, natural function to gratify
unnatural desires. Then with strange cunning and lustful ingenuity
changing the natural functions to uses not in the plan of nature. Let it
all be said in lowest, softest voice, so sadly awful is the recital. Yet
let that soft voice be very distinct, that the truth may be known. Then
lower down yet the commercializing of such things. Unconcerned barter and
trade in man's holy, most potent function. Putting highest price on most
ingenious impurity.

Then follows the longest of these paragraphs running up and down the grimy
gamut of sin. Beginning with _all_ unrighteousness, he goes on to specify
depravity, greedy covetousness, maliciousness. Oozing out of every pore
there are envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity. Men are whisperers,
backbiters, God-haters, and self-lovers, in that they are insolent,
haughty, boastful. They are inventors of evil things, without
understanding, breakers of faith, without natural affection, ruthlessly
merciless.

The climax is reached in this, that though they _know_ God, and what He
has set as the right rule of life, they not only _do_ these things named,
but they delight in the fellowship of those who habitually practise them.
The stage of impulsiveness is wholly gone. They have settled down to this
as the deliberate choice and habit of life. Man is still a _king_, but all
bemired. He is the image and glory of God, but how shrivelled and
withered; obscured, all overgrown with ugly poison vines.

Let it be remembered at once that this is a _composite_ picture of the
race. Many different sorts of men must be put together to get such a view.
Sin works out differently in different persons. A man's activities take on
the tinge of his personality. So sin in a man takes on the color and tone
of his individuality.

One man has the inner disposition against God, accompanied by no excesses
at all. These things disgust him. He is refined in his tastes, perhaps
scholarly and intellectual in his thinking. That inner disposition may be
a sort of refined ignoring of God either defiant or indifferent. In
another, the animal nature swings to the front, stronger perhaps by
heredity, and, yielded to, it runs to the excess of riot. Then there is
the man with the strange yellow fever, whose love for the bright-colored
precious metal burns in his blood and controls every impulse and purpose.
And the man with intense love of power, of controlling men and things for
the sake of the immense power involved, with himself as the centre of all.

There is every imaginable degree of each of these, and every sort of
combination among them. The lines cross and re-cross at every possible
angle in various persons. A man is apt to get money-drunk then
society-drunk (with a special definition for the word society in this
connection), then lust-drunk. Or, he may swing direct from
money-intoxication into power-intoxication. Please notice keenly that each
of these four grows up out of a perfectly normal, natural desire. Sin
always follows nature's grooves. There is nothing wrong in itself. The sin
is in the wrong motive underneath, or the wrong relationship round about
an act. Or, it is in excess, exaggeration, pushing an act out of its true
proportion. Exaggeration floods the stream out of its channel. Wrong
motive or wrong relationship sends a bad stream into a good channel.

But sift down under the surface and always is found the same thing. The
upper growth is varied by what it finds on the surface to mingle with, but
the sub-stuff is ever the same. The root always is self. The whole seed of
sin is in preferring one's own way to God's way; one's self to God. The
stream of life is turned the wrong way. It is turned in. Its true
direction is up. The true centre of gravity for man is not downward, nor
inward, but upward and outward.



God's Treatment of Sin.


God's treatment of sin lets in a flood of light on the sort of thing it
is. Three times over in this summary Paul says that God "_gave them up._"
As they cast out all acknowledgment of God, He gave them up to an
_outcast_ mind. When they turned God out-of-doors, God left them indoors
to themselves. It was the worst thing He could do, and the best. Worst--to
be left alone with sin. Best, because the sin would get so vile that the
man in God's image would want to turn it out, and get God back. Man never
turns from sin until he feels its vileness to the sickening point. When
things get to the acute stage, and a sharp crisis is on, then as a rule
there will be an eager turning to the One who can cleanse and make over
new; but usually not until then.

Sin has a terrific gait. Give it a loose rein and man will get winded and
ready to drop. Only then is he ready to drop it. Sin can't be patched up
or mended. Nursing only helps it to its feet for a fresh start. The whole
trouble is in the nature of the thing. The heart pumps the hot blood of
rebellion. Its lungs can breathe only self-willed air. The worst
punishment of sin is that left alone it breeds more sin, and worse sin.
The worst of sin is in its brood. It is very prolific. Every sin is a
seed-sin. The breeding process gets the sort more refined in its
coarseness.

    "This is the very curse of evil deed,
    That of new sin it becomes the seed."[2]

And the plain statements of the Book, and the inevitable working of man's
nature, reveal all the bad results of sin intensifying indefinitely in
the after-life. Jesus is God letting sin do its worst, upon Himself, that
man might see its utter, stubborn damnableness, and eagerly turn from it,
and back to Him.



A Bright Gleam of Light.


Yet be it keenly marked, there is a very bright gleam of light across this
dark picture. In going over the story of sin with its terrific results now
and afterward, one needs to be very tender, for he is talking about
_men_--his _brothers_. And to be very careful not to say things that are
not so. Some good, earnest people have been thinking that the whole race
except a small minority were given over to eternal misery. The vast
majority of men has never heard the name of Jesus. And some very godly
people have seemed to think that these are lost forever.

Yet the old Book of God speaks very plainly here. Its meaning can be
gotten without any twisting of words. Neither the Jewish nation nor the
Christian Church can be regarded as favorites of God. God has no favorites
for salvation. The Jewish nation was chosen for _service_' sake. Through
it there came a special after-revelation of God. Through it came the
world's new Man. The Church is the repository of God's truth to-day, with
its window panes not always quite clear. Its great mission is to tell the
whole race of Jesus. Both were chosen for service.

Every nation knew God directly at the first. And be it said thoughtfully,
every man has enough of revelation and of inner light to lead him back to
God. A man's choice in this life is his choice always. Any student of the
ordinary working of man's mind can certify that. Whatever sort of being a
man deliberately, persistently chooses to be here and now, he will be
always. The only change possible in the after-life will be in the degree.
Never in the sort.

The Gospels speak of _believing on Jesus_, and of the bad results for
those who decline or refuse to have anything to do with Him. Of course it
is speaking of those who have heard of Him. There can be no believing on
Jesus without hearing, and of course in simple fairness no condemning on
any such grounds. The gospel message is wholly concerned with those who
hear.

But there is clear and plain teaching about the great outside majority of
past generations and of our own who have never heard. It was a member of
both Jewish nation and Christian Church, whose tongue, touched by the
Spirit of God, said, "God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation
he that feareth Him and worketh righteousness is acceptable to Him." That
is a simple standard, yet a searching one. Anybody, anywhere, with a truly
reverential thought upward, and a controlling purpose to be right in his
life, will find the door swinging wide. No other badges or tickets
required. This would include that remarkable woman of India, Chundra
Lelah,[3] all those weary years before the simple story of Jesus brought
its flood of light and peace, and all of her innumerable class.

Paul puts it as simply and a little more fully in the letter to the
Romans, that careful treatise which sums up with marvellous fulness and
brevity the gospel he preached to the world. In chapter two, he says, "to
them who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and
incorruption (He will give) eternal life." Note that in his review thus
far he has not yet gotten to Jesus the Saviour.

These people of whom he is now speaking have never heard of Jesus. They
are the great majority. Mark keenly the simple description of them. It is
a description, not of an achievement, but of a purpose. The absorbing aim
in their lives is _seeking upward_. The seeking controls the life. The
mastering spirit of these seekers is _patience, steadfastness_. They are
seeking for the highest thing. They are doing what seems to them to be
right, while seeking. They are doing right _patiently_.

Patience! What a world of conflicting experiences in a word!
Misunderstandings, breaks, slips, stumblings, failures, falls; but in all,
through all, _patience_, steadfastness. Taking a fresh hold at every turn.
And the gripping fingers ever learning a new tenacity. Pulling steadily up
a steep mountain side, in a blazing hot sun, blinded by dust, struck by
loosened rocks above rolling down, but--patiently, steadily, with
dust-blinded eyes, tugging _up_. To such is given the heart's
desire--eternal life. Ah! God judges a man by his _direction_, by the set
of his face. He may not be far up, but his face is turned up. His heels
show their backs. His toes point toward the top. That reveals the purpose,
the desire of the man inside. His choice is to be _up_. And it is choice
that makes character as well as revealing it. And the one thing that
concerns God is the character as revealed in the purpose.

There is a simple, pathetic story from mission lands, variously told, and
well vouched for, of a missionary pausing long enough in a village to tell
the story of Jesus to the crowd that gathered, and then pushing on. This
was the first visit of a missionary to this place and so the first news of
Jesus. The crowd listened eagerly with various results. There was one
listener, an old man, held in repute for his wisdom, who at once accepted
the missionary's story, and announced his acceptance of Jesus. His
neighbors expressed their surprise at his prompt acceptance of such a new
thing. The old man's quiet answer in effect was this: "Oh, I have long
trusted this Jesus, but I never knew His name before." There was no change
of purpose with this man, but, in the story of Jesus, the burst of light
that brought unspeakable peace as he kept on in his upward tug.

Yet all this will not hold back from glad sacrifice, from free giving,
from eager going to foreign mission lands a single man or woman who has
been caught by Jesus' Spirit. _The Master said, "Go ye_." That's enough.
For the largest wealth that may be given, for the keenest sacrifice that
may be endured, for the strongest life that may be devoted--that is quite
enough. And if more were needed--then to go, to give, to sacrifice for the
sake of helping our struggling brothers yonder know Jesus, and His
wondrous sacrifice and His _great peace_. To make them conscious of the
disgustingness of sin, to bring to them _a vision of Jesus' face_ to
allure, and enchain, to give a man's will an earnest boost, when he
_-would_ choose, but cannot seem to for the suction of sin, inherited and
ever growing upon his choosing powers. God sent _His_ best. Jesus
sacrificed His all in going. We'll gladly follow in such a train. Jesus is
God sending His best, sacrificing His dearest, giving His most, _going
Himself_ to get men started up the hill out of the bog.



The Broken Tryst.


Man's break back in Eden was very hard on God. That evening early, in the
twilight, God came walking in the garden to have the usual talk with His
friend. He came to keep tryst. It was the usual trysting place and
trysting hour, and God had the trysting spirit. We may think He came early
for this bit of fellowship. He was prompt. Nothing would be allowed to
disturb this appointment. But God was disappointed. It was His first
disappointment. The first one to be disappointed on this earth was God.
Adam had always met Him before. We may easily think met Him eagerly,
jubilantly, with glad, free, open face and clinging hands.

But the man was not there this time. He failed God. He broke tryst. He
stayed away. Indeed he had gone away. God didn't fail. He was there. The
man failed. They had a long distance talk. God called Adam. He was not
content to come to the trysting place. He must find the missing tryster.
Some folk would make God a sort of hard and dry keeper of His word: A sort
of trim syllogism, dry as punk. Some seem to think Him to be as they seem
to be. How our poor God has been slandered by His supposed defenders! God
was not satisfied to keep the appointment. _He wanted the man._ He
hungered for His friend, upon whom He had imprinted His own image. His
heart was hungry for fellowship. He wanted the comfort of a bit of talk.
So He starts at once eagerly, insistently to find the man.

That voice of God spoke out, tender, gentle, plaintive, pleading. You can
just hear the soft, very soft woodsman's cry, "Hello-alo, hello, Adam,
A-a-dam--here I am--waiting for you--I've kept my tryst--where are
_you_?--hello-o--hello--_where_--are--you?" The voice that spoke worlds
into being, that brought life and beauty to all creation, that brought
instant reverence and adoration from myriads of the upper world, that
voice now speaks to one, two: two who were one. All the heart of God, all
the power of God, in the soft voice talking to one man. God has always
been after the one man, and still is.

And the breezes hushed to hear that voice with its new pleading tone. The
birds stilled their song for this new music in minor mellowing tone.
Silence for a moment, the breezes hushed, the birds stilled, the creation
near by held its breath, God held _His heart still_, that He might catch
the first response to its cry. The twilight of that day had a pathetic
sight. It saw a broken tryst; a lonely God; words of fellowship unspoken.
A man and woman hiding. Skulking behind trees. Trees served a new purpose
that evening, not a good purpose. They never were meant to hide behind.
Sin perverts the use of all things.

All these weary years God has been standing wherever men are: standing,
waiting, calling man back to his tryst. Among the trees, in the crowded
city of man's making, He is ever calling, and eagerly, wondrously, helping
every one who answers. He is so near that a reaching hand always touches
Him. The voice of the heart never misses His ear. But His love and grief
shine out most on that bit of a hill, outside a city wall, on the east
coast of the middle-of-the-earth sea. That is earth's tallest hill. It can
be seen farthest away of any. Jesus up on that hill is God calling man
back to his broken tryst.



God's Wooing.


God seems to have fairly outdone Himself to get man to turn toward the old
trysting place. For when a man will turn around enough to get even a
glimpse of that God-Face, and a whisper of that God-Voice, he can
withstand no longer.

God has taxed all the ingenuity of His love to let man know about Himself.
He revealed Himself directly to the whole race at the start. He has in
every generation, and in every clime, on every hilltop and valley, in
every village and crowded city, been revealing Himself to the heart of
every man. There cannot be found one anywhere who has not heard the quiet
inner voice drawing up, and away from wrong.

In this world of wondrous beauty God is speaking. The glory-telling
heavens, the winsome coloring of trees and all growing things, the soft
round hills, the sublime mountains, the sea with its ever-changing mood
but never-changing beneficence upon the life of the whole earth, the great
blue and gray above, the soothing green below, the brighter colors in
their artistic proportion, the wondrous blendings--surely every bush and
other green thing, every bright twinkler in the blue, everything is aflame
with the presence that burns but in great love consumes not. His eyes are
indeed badly bothered that cannot see; his ears in queer fix that do not
hear. Yet sometimes the empty shoes seem few enough. But they are ever
increasing, and will yet more and more, by retail method, with wholesale
result.

But God comes closer yet in His wooing. The web of life's daily run, with
its strange mixing and blending, shadings and tints, is of His weaving.
He sits at life's loom ever watching and weaving. Were He but recognized
oftener and His hand allowed to guide the skein, how different the
weaving!

    "Children of yesterday,
      Heirs of to-morrow,
    What are you weaving--
      Labor and sorrow?
    Look to your looms again;
      Faster and faster
    Fly the great shuttles
      Prepared by the Master.
    _Life's in the loom,
      Room for it_--_room_!

    "Children of yesterday,
      Heirs of to-morrow,
    Lighten the labor
      And sweeten the sorrow:
    Now--while the shuttles fly
      Faster and faster,
    Up and be at it--
      At work _with_ the Master.
    _He stands at your loom_,
      _Room for Him_--_room_!

    "Children of yesterday,
      Heirs of to-morrow,
    Look at your fabric
      Of labor and sorrow.
    Seamy and dark
      With despair and disaster,
    Turn it--and lo,
      The design of the Master.
    _The Lord's at the loom_,
      _Room for Him--room_."[4]

When men's eyes seemed unable to see clearly these revelations of
Himself, God picked out a small tribe, and through long, patient,
painstaking discipline, gave to it, for the whole world, a special
revelation of Himself. In it, in the Book which preserves its records, in
the Man who came through it, God came nearer yet.

In Jesus, God told out His greatness most, and His love most tenderly. Man
is the fairest flower of earth's creation. It was love's fine touch that
to him God should reveal Himself best and most in the fairest flower of
the eternal creation. Only man could fully appreciate Jesus, God's Man,
and man's Brother.

But Jesus was known only to one generation--His own generation--to one
narrow strip of country, one peculiarly exclusive tribe, the very small
majority of all to whom He had come. So there came to be a Book that all
after-generations might know Him too. We of later generations know _of_
Jesus through the Book, in some shape or other, before we can come to know
Himself direct. And so we prize the Book above all others. Not for the
Book's sake, at all, of course, but because through it we come to know
Jesus. With loving reverence we handle it, for it tells of Him, our
God-brother.

Some learned folk have been much taken up with the make-up of the Book,
its paper and type, and punctuation, and binding. And they have done good
service in clearing away a lot of dust and cobwebs that had been gathering
on it for a long time. But we plain folk, absorbed in getting things
done, do not need to wait on their conclusions. If in those pages we have
found Jesus, and God in Jesus, the Book has fulfilled its mission to us.

To all directly, in nature's voice, and in our common daily life; to a
nation chosen for the special purpose, and through that nation and its
books; through Jesus to those who knew Him, and, by a Book telling of Him,
to all following, God came, _comes_ in His wooing, and looked, _looks_
tenderly into man's face. Each of these paths leads straight to God, and
each comes to include the others.

But chiefly in Jesus God came. Jesus is God going out in the cold black
night, over the mountains, down the ravines and gullies, eagerly hunting
for His lost man, getting hands, and face, and more, torn on the brambly
thorn bushes, and losing His life, in the darkness, on a tree thrust in
His path, but saving the man.



The Plan for Jesus' Coming



The Image of God.


Man is God's darling--the king and crown of creation. The whole creation
was made for him to develop and rule over and enjoy. He is in a class by
himself. When he made his bad break there was just one thing left to do.
God must get a new leader for His man to lead him back into all the
original plan for himself. Of the whole earth man stood next to God
Himself. God could not find that leader lower down. So He went higher.
Jesus is God giving the race a new Leader who would withstand the lure of
temptation and realize the ambition of God's heart for His darling.

The man was made in the image of God, for self-mastery, and through
self-mastery for dominion over all of God's creation. That was the plan
for the man. That, too, is the plan for the new Man. There is only one
place to go to find God's plan for the coming One. That is in the Hebrew
half of the Bible. One can hardly believe, unless he has been through the
thing, how hard it is to get out of the Old Testament its vision of the
coming One without any coloring from the New getting into his eyes.

We have been reading the Old Testament _through_ the events of the New
for so long that it gives a severe mental wrench to try to do anything
else. Yet only so, be it sharply marked, can the plan for the coming of
Jesus be gotten, and, further, only so can Jesus be understood. One must
attempt to do just that to understand at all fairly what a reverent Hebrew
in prophetic times expected; what such earnest Hebrews as Simeon and Anna
were looking for.

I have tried to make a faithful effort to shut severely out of view the
familiar facts of the gospel story for my own sake, to try to understand
God's plan as it stood before there was a gospel story.

This old Hebrew picture is so full of details that are found in the
reality that one who has not actually gone studiously over the Old
separately will be very likely to think that the New Testament details are
being _read into_ the Old. If that be so, it is urgently requested that
such an opinion be held off until the old Hebrew pages have been carefully
examined as outlined in the study notes, that you may get the refreshment
of a great surprise.

It must be kept keenly in mind that there is a difference between God's
plan and that which He knows ahead will occur. Sovereignty does not mean
that everything God plans comes to pass. Nor that everything that comes to
pass is God's plan. Clearly it has not been so. It _does_ mean that
through very much that is utterly contrary to His plan He works out, in
the long run, His great purpose. He works His own purpose out of a tough
tangled network of contrary purposes; but in doing it never infringes upon
man's liberty of action. He yields and bends, and, with a patience beyond
our comprehension, waits, that in the end He may win _through_ our
consent. And so not only is His purpose saved, but man is saved and
character is made in the process.

The plan is a detail of the purpose. There is one unfailing purpose
through continual breakings of the plan. God's purpose remains unchanging
through all changes. Yet here not only is His purpose unbroken, but His
plan is to work out in the end unbroken too, though suffering a very
serious break midway.

The plan goes back to the first broken plan. There was dominion or
kingship of the earth by a masterful man bearing the image and imprint of
God. All this was lost. Through loss of contact with God came the blurring
of the image and the loss of self-mastery. Through loss of these came loss
of dominion. These are to be restored--all three. This is the key to the
plan for the coming of Jesus. A universal dominion, under the lead of a
Master-Man, in God's image, and through these a restoration of blessing to
all the earth of men. This is the one continuous theme of the old Hebrew
writings. The emphasis swings now to one aspect, now to another, but
through all the one thought is a king, a world-wide kingdom bringing
blessing to all creation.

But if Jesus was to lead man back He must first get alongside, close up,
on the same level. This was the toughest part of the whole thing. The
hardest part in saving a man is getting the man's consent to be saved.
There is no task tougher than trying to help a man who thinks he doesn't
need help, even though his need may be extreme. You may throw a blanket
over a horse's head and get it out of a burning stable or barn; or a lasso
over a bull's head to get it where you want, but man cannot be handled
that way. He must be _led_. The tether that draws must be fastened inside,
his _will_. He must be lifted from inside. That is a bit of the God-image
in him. And so God's most difficult task was getting _inside the man_ that
had shut Him out.



Fastening a Tether Inside.


And a long time it took. That it took so long, measured by the calendar,
suggests how great was the resistance to be overcome. A long round-about
road it does seem that God took. Yet it was the shortest. The circle route
is always the shortest. It is nature's way. Nature always follows the line
of least resistance. The eagle, descending, comes in circles, the line of
least resistance. Water running out of a bowl through the hole in the
bottom follows the circuitous route--the easiest.

God's longest way around was the shortest way into man's heart. Standards
had to be changed. New standards made. Yet in making a standard there must
be a starting point. God's bother was to get a starting point. When man
was too impure in his ingrained ideas to receive any idea of what purity
meant, things were in bad shape. When he was grubbing content in the
gutter, how was he ever to be gotten up to the highlands, when you
couldn't even lift his eyes over the curbstone? All the prohibitions of
the Mosaic code are but faithful mirrors of man's condition. A wholly new
standard had to be set up. That was God's task. It must be set up
_through_ men if they were to be attracted to it. So God started on His
longest-way-around-shortest road into man's heart.

A man is chosen. Through this man, by the slow processes of generations, a
nation is grown. Yet a nation only in numbers at first; in no other sense;
a mob of men. Then this mob is worked upon. They are led through
experiences that will make them soft to new impressions. Then slowly,
laboriously, by child-training methods, the new standard is brought to
them. Yet after centuries the best attained is only that their tenacious
fingers have hold of a _form_, not yet the spirit. Yet this is an immense
gain.

By and by this is the pedigree: A man, a family, tribes, a nation, a
strong nation, a broken nation, a literature, ragged remnants of a nation,
an ideal the like of which could not be found anywhere on earth, and a
_book_ embodying that ideal written as with acid-point in metal, as with
sharpest chisel in hardest stone.

At last a start was made. God had gotten a hook inside man's will to
which He could tie His tether, and _draw_, lovingly, tenderly,
tenaciously, persistently, _draw_ up out of the mire, toward the
highlands, toward Himself.



The First Touches on the Canvas.


This old Hebrew picture is found to be a mosaic made up of bits gathered
here and there, scattered throughout the Book. Some of the bits are of
very quiet sober colors found in obscure corners. Others are bright. When
brought together all blend into one with wondrous, fine beauty. The first
bit is of grave hue. It comes at the very beginning. There is to be sharp
enmity, then a crisis, resulting in a fatal wound for the head of evil,
with scars for the victor.

After this earliest general statement there are three distinct groups or
periods of prediction regarding the coming One. During the making of the
nation, during its high tide of strength and glory under David and his
son, during the time of its going to pieces. As the national glory is
departing, the vision takes on its most glorious coloring. The first of
these is during the making of the nation. As the man who is to be father
of the chosen family is called away from his kinfolk to a preparatory
isolation, he is cheered with the promise that his relationship is to be a
relationship of leadership and of great blessing _to the whole earth_.
This is repeated to his son and to his grandson, as each in turn becomes
head of the family. As his grandson, the father of the twelve men whose
names become the tribe names, is passing away he prophetically sees the
coming leadership narrowed to Judah, through whom the great Leader is to
come.

Later yet, in a story of divination and superstition characteristic of the
time, a strange prophet is hired by an enemy to pronounce a curse upon the
new nation. This diviner is taken possession of by the Spirit of God, and
forced to utter what is clearly against his own mercenary desires. He sees
a coming One, in the future, who is to smite Israel's enemies and rule
victoriously.

During the last days of Moses that man, great to the whole race, speaks a
word that sinks in deep. In his good-bye message he says there is some One
coming after him, who will be to them as he had been, one of their own
kin, a deliverer, king, lawgiver, a wise, patient, tender judge and
teacher. The nation never forgot that word. When John the Baptist came,
they asked, "Art thou _the_ prophet?"

The second group of predictions is found during the nation's strength and
glory. To David comes the promise that the royal house he has founded is
to be _forever_, in contrast with Saul's, even though his successors may
fail to keep faith with God. It is most striking to note how much this
meant to David. He accepts it as meaning that the nation's Messiah and the
world's King is to be of his own blood. "Thou hast spoken also of thy
servant's house for a great while to come." Then follows this very
significant sentence: "And this is (or, must be) the law of _the man_
(or, _the_ Adam)." This promise must refer to the plan of God concerning
the woman's seed, _the_ man, _the Adam._

At the close, when the tether of life is slipping its hold, this vision of
the coming greater Heir promised by God evidently fills his eye. He says:

    "_There shall lie One_ that ruleth over men;
    A righteous One, that ruleth in the fear of God.
    And it shall be then as the light of the morning,
    When the sun ariseth,
    A morning without clouds,
    The tender grass springing out of the earth through
        clear shining after rain."

    "Verily, my own house has not been so with God;
    Yet hath He made with me an everlasting covenant,
    Ordered in all things and sure.
    For this covenant is now all my comfort and all my desire,
    Although he has not yet brought it to pass."

This seems to be the setting of those psalms of his referring to the
coming One. It was to be expected that his poetical fire would burn with
such a promise and conception. In the Second Psalm he sees this coming
Heir enthroned as God's own Son, and reigning supremely over the whole
earth despite the united opposition of enemies. In the One Hundred and
Tenth Psalm this Heir is sharing rule at God's right hand while waiting
the subduing of all enemies. He is to be divine, a king, and more, a
_priest_-king. Surrounded by a nation of volunteers full of youthful vigor
He will gain a decisive victory over the head of the allied enemies, and
yet be Himself undisturbed in the continual freshness of His vigor. And
all this rests upon the unchanging oath of Jehovah.

David's immediate heir found his father's pen, and in the Seventy-second
Psalm repeats, with his own variations, his father's vision of the coming
greater Heir. While there is repetition of the kingdom being world-wide
and unending, with all nations in subjection, the chief emphasis is put
upon the blessing to that great majority--the poor. They are to be freed
from all oppression, to have full justice done them, with plenty of food
to eat, and increased length of life.

That David's expectation had thoroughly permeated his circle is shown in
the joyous Forty-fifth Psalm, written by one of the court musicians. It
addresses the coming One as more than human, having great beauty and
graciousness, reigning in righteousness, victoriously, with a queen of
great beauty, and a princely posterity for unending generations.



A Full-length Picture in Colors.


These are but the beginnings. It is in the prophetic books, the third of
the groups, that the full picture with its brightest coloring is found.
The picture is not only winsome beyond all comparison and glorious, but
stupendous in its conception and its sweep. It is most notable that, as
the flood-tide of the nation's prosperity ebbs from its highest mark, the
vision to the prophetic eye of a coming glory grows steadily in
brightness and in distinctness. As the great kings go, the great prophets
come. It is to them we must turn for the full-length picture.

The one _continuous_ subject of the prophets is the coming King and
kingdom and attendant events. Immediate historical events furnish the
setting, but with a continual swinging to the coming future greatness. The
yellow glory light of the coming day is never out of the prophetic sky.
Its reflection is never out of the prophetic eye. Jeremiah is the one most
absorbed in the boiling of the political pot of his own strenuous time,
but even he at times lifts his head and gets such glimpses of the coming
glory as make him mix some rose tincture with the jet black ink he uses.

The common thread running through the fabric of the prophetic books clear
from Isaiah to Malachi is the phrase "in that day." Sometimes it thickens
into "the day of the Lord," "the great day of the Lord," "Jehovah hath a
great day," "at that time." About this thread is woven in turn the whole
series of stirring scenes and events that are to mark the coming time.
Sometimes it is of local application; most times of the future time, and a
few times the meaning slides from one to the other, touching both.

Over all of these pages is the shadow of _Somebody_ coming down the aisle
of the ages, who is to be the world's Master. The figure of a man, large
to gigantic size, majestic, yet kindly as well as kingly, looms out
through these lines before the reader's face. The old idea of God Himself
dwelling in the midst of the people, sharing their life, made familiar by
Eden, by the flame-tipped mount and the glory-filled tent, comes out
again. For this coming One is said to be God Himself. But more than that
He is to be a man, and a _son_ of man; man bred of man. The blending of
the two, God and man, is pointed to in the unprecedented thing of a pure
virgin birth for this one. God and a pure maiden join themselves in His
coming. He is to be of native Hebrew stock, in direct descent from the
great David, and born in David's native village. Of course He is to be a
king as was David, but unlike that ancestor, to be not only a king, but a
priest, and a preacher and teacher.

The _kingdom_ he will set up will be like Himself in its blending of the
human and divine. Its origin is not human, but divine. The _capital_ is to
be Zion or Jerusalem. It will be marked by the glorious presence of God
Himself visibly present to all eyes. The _characteristics_ of the kingdom
are of peculiar attractiveness, at any time, to any people of this poor
old blood-stained, gun-ploughed battle-field of an earth. The stronger
traits that men commonly think of as desirable are combined with traits
that have been reckoned by men of all generations as absurdly,
unpractically idealistic.

There will be vengeance upon all enemies, who have been using Israel as a
common football, and great victory. Yet, strangely, these will be gotten
_without the use of violent force_, and will be followed by great peace.
The kingdom is to be established in loving-kindness and marked to an
unparalleled degree by a sense of right and justice to all. This feature
is emphasized over and over again, with refreshing frequency to those so
eager for such a revolutionary change in their affairs. Absolute gentle
fairness and impartiality will decide all difficulties arising. Even the
most friendless and the most obnoxious thing will be fairly judged.

That great universal majority, _the poor_, will be especially guarded and
cared for. There will be no hungry people, nor cold, nor poorly clad; no
unemployed, begging for a chance to earn a dry crust, and no workers
fighting for a fair share of the fruit of their sweat-wet toil. But there
are tenderer touches yet upon this canvas. Broken hearts will be healed
up, prison doors unhung, broken family circles complete again. It is to be
a time of great rejoicing by the common people. Yet all this will be
brought about, not immediately, but gradually, following the natural law
of growth; though the beginning will be marked by a great crisis, coming
suddenly.

The effect upon Israel _nationally_ is to be tremendous, sweepingly
reversing the conditions under which most of these predictions are made.
Israel is to become a Spirit-baptized nation, wholly swayed by the Spirit
of God, and that gracious sway never to be withdrawn. All judgments for
her sins are removed and all impurity thoroughly cleansed away. Possession
of their own land is assured. And the capital city is to become a _holy_
place from which, in common with the whole land, all impurity has been
cleansed away. All weakness and disability are gone, and full freedom from
the exactions of her former enemies to be enjoyed. Not only is Israel to
be at peace with all nations, but, far more, is to have the _leadership_
of the nations of the earth, and leadership of the highest sort--in a
world-wide spiritual movement, in the day when the Spirit of God is to be
poured out upon all flesh.

This leadership is to be a glorious and absolute supremacy among all the
nations of the earth. And yet this is not to be by man's method of
conquest, but of their own earnest accord all nations will come a-running
eagerly, voluntarily, with all their wealth and resources for the
upbuilding and service of Israel. In that time the Hebrew capital
Jerusalem will likewise be the capital of the earth.

No less radical and sweeping will be the changes in Israel _personally_,
individually. The people are to be _made over new within_. The modern word
for this sort of thing is regeneration. The old-fashioned word is a _new
heart--a new spirit_. The change is to be at the _core_; a change of the
sort. With this will come a marked spirit of devotion to God, and a
peculiar open-mindedness to the truth. There will be an absence of all
sickness and a decided increase in length of life and great increase in
numbers. There will be no longer any disappointment in plans, and the
_sense_ of _slavish fear_, which is universal, not only with all the
race, but through all time, will be utterly absent. Israel is to be a
nation of persons with thrilled hearts and radiant faces.



Back to Eden.


The effect upon _all the nations_ of the earth is a large part of the
background of the picture. Through Israel's advancement under the new
order, every other nation is to come back to God. The outpouring of the
Spirit upon Israel is to be followed by an outpouring upon _all_ flesh.
There are the two outpourings of God's Spirit in these old prophetic
pages. This will be followed by a universal, voluntary coming to Israel
for religious instruction. She becomes the teacher of the nations
regarding God, until by and by the whole earth shall be filled with the
knowledge of the only God. Her influence upon them for good will be as the
heavy fertilizing eastern dews and the life-giving showers are to
vegetation.

But further yet, Israel is to be the _only_ medium of God's blessing upon
the nations--the only channel. Those refusing her leadership will, for
lack of vital sap, die of dry rot. The wondrous blessing enjoyed by this
central nation, the unhingeing of dungeon doors, the opening of blind
eyes, the mellowing of all the hard conditions of life, the reign of
simple, full justice to all, is to be shared with all the nations.
Israel's peace with all nations is to become a universal peace between and
among all nations.

But there's still more. There are to follow certain radical changes in
the realm of _nature_. Splendid rivers of water are to flow through
Jerusalem, necessitating changes in the formation of the land there. The
fortress capital of the Jews strongly entrenched among the Judean hills is
to become, as the world's metropolis, a mighty city, with rivers to float
the earth's commerce. The light of the sun and moon will be greatly
increased, and yet this greatly intensified light will become at Jerusalem
a shadow cast by the greater light of the presence of God. A devout Hebrew
would associate this back with the light of the Presence-cloud in the
Arabian barrens. While the devout Christian will likely, quickly think
forward from that to the light that was one time as the sun, and, again,
above the sun's brightness. Naturally, with this comes a renewed fertility
of the earth's soil, and the removal of the curse upon vegetation. Before
the healing light and heat the poisonous growth, the blight of drought and
of untempered heat disappear. There is to be a new earth and above it a
new heaven.

To complete the picture, the _animal_ creation is to undergo changes as
radical as these. Beasts dangerous because of ferocity and because of
treachery and poisonous qualities will be wholly changed. Meat-eating
beasts will change their habit of diet, and eat grain and herbs. There
will be a mutual cessation of cruelty to animals by man and of danger to
man from animals, for all violence will have ceased.

And then the climax is capped by repeated assurances that this marvellous
kingdom will be as extensive as the earth and absolutely unending.

The whole thing, be it keenly noticed, is simply a return to the original
condition. In the Eden garden was the presence of God, a masterful man in
the likeness of God, with full dominion over all creation. There was full
accord in all nature, and perfect fellowship between man and nature.

All this is to come to pass through the coming One. He is the key that
unlocks this wondrous future. Through all, above all, growing ever bigger,
is the shadowy majestic figure of _a Man coming._ His personal
characteristics make Him very attractive and winsome. He will be of
unusual mental keenness both in understanding and in wisdom, combined with
courage of a high order, and, above all, dominated by a deep reverential,
a keenly alert, love for God. He will be beautiful in person and, in sharp
contrast with earth's kings, while marked personally with that fine
dignity and majesty unconscious of itself, will be gentle and
unpretentious in His bearing. His relations with God are direct and very
intimate, being personally trained and taught by Him. Backed by all of His
omnipotence, He will be charged with the carrying out of His great plans
for the chosen people and through them for the world.

In a fine touch it is specially said that "He will judge the _poor_." Poor
folk, who haven't money to employ lawyers to guard their interests, and
haven't time for much education to know better how to protect themselves
against those who would take advantage of them--the _poor_, that's the
overwhelming majority of the whole world--He will be _their_ judge. They
will have a friend on the bench. But He will have this enormous advantage
in judging all men, poor and otherwise, that He will not need to decide by
what folk tell Him, nor by outside things. He will be able to read down
into the motives and back into the life.

Such is the plan for the coming One outlined in these old pages. To many a
modern all this must seem like the wildest dream of an utterly unpractical
enthusiast. Yet, mark it keenly, this is the conception of this old Hebrew
book that has been, and is, the world's standard of morals and of wisdom.
The book revered above all others by the most thoughtful men, of all
shades of belief. It is striking how the parts of this stupendous
conception fit and hold together. There is a mature symmetry about the
whole scheme. For instance, the changes in the light of sun and moon run
parallel with the changes in growth and in the healthfulness and longer
lives of man. Increased light removes both disease and its cause, and
gives new life and lengthened life.

Surely these Hebrews are a great people _in their visions_. And a vision
is an essential of greatness. Yet this sublime conception of their future
is not regarded as a visionary dream, but calmly declared to be the
revealed plan of God for them, and through them for the earth. And that,
too, not by any one man, but successively through many generations of
men. The prophetic spirit of the nation in the midst of terrible disaster
and of moral degradation never loses faith in its ultimate greatness,
through the fulfilling of its mission to the nations of the earth.

Is it to be wondered at that the devout Israelite, who believed in his
book and its vision, pitched his tent on the hilltop, with his eye ever
scanning the eastern horizon, for the figure of the coming One? And when
eyes grown dim for the long looking believed that at last that figure was
seen, the heart breathed out its grateful relief in "Now lettest thou thy
servant depart in peace, for my eyes have seen."



Strange Dark Shadowings.


But, too, there is in this vision of glory something very different, so
mixed in that it won't come out. There are dark shadows from the first
touch upon the canvas. Always there is a bitter, malignant enemy. There is
decisive victory, but it comes only after sharp, hard, long-continued
fighting. But in the latter parts, that is, in David's time, and
intensifying in the later pages, there is something darker yet. Through
these lines run forebodings, strange, weird, sad forebodings of evil.
There are dark gray threads, inky black threads, that do not harmonize
with the pattern being woven. And the weavers notice it, and wonder, and
yet are under a strange impulse to weave on without understanding.

Their coming One is to be a king, but there is the distinct consciousness
that there would be for Him terrible experiences through which He must
pass, and to which He would yield on His way to the throne. The very
conception seems to involve a contradiction which puzzles these men who
write them down. Like a lower minor strain running through some great
piece of music are the few indications of what God fore_knew_, though He
did not foreplan, would happen to Jesus. A sharp line must always be drawn
between what God plans and what He knows will happen. The soft sobbing of
what God could see ahead runs as a minor sad cadence through the story of
His plans.

Sometimes these forebodings are _acted out_. In the light of the Gospels
we can easily see very striking likenesses between the experiences in
which keen suffering precedes great victory, of such _national leaders_ as
Joseph and David, and the experiences of Jesus. Here is _God's_ plan of
atonement by blood, involving suffering, but with no such accompaniments
of hatred and cruelty as Jesus went through. Read backward, Jesus'
experience on the cross is seen to bear striking resemblances, in part, to
this old scheme of atonement; yet only in part: the parts concerning His
character and the results; but not the _manner_ of his death, nor the
_spirit_ of the actors.

Then there are the few direct specific passages predicting a stormy trip
for the king before the haven is reached. There is a vividness of detail
in the very language here, that catches us, familiar with after events,
as it could not those who first heard. There is the Twenty-second Psalm,
with its broken sentences, as though blurted out between heart-breaking
sobs; and then the wondrous change, in the latter part, to victory
_through_ this terrible experience. And the scanty but vivid lines in the
Sixty-ninth Psalm. There is that great throbbing fifty-third of Isaiah,
with its beginning back in the close of the fifty-second, and the striking
ahead of its key-note in the fiftieth chapter.

Daniel listens with awe deepening ever more as Gabriel tells him that the
coming Prince is to be "_cut off_." To the returned exiles rebuilding the
temple Zechariah acts out a parable in which Jehovah is priced at thirty
pieces of silver, the cost of a common slave. And a bit later God speaks
of a time when "they shall look upon Me (or Him) whom they _have
pierced_." And later yet, a still more significant phrase is used, as
identifying the divine character of the sufferer, where God speaks of a
sword being used "against the man that is _My Fellow_," adding, "Strike
the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered." It is God's Fellow--one
on a par with Himself--against whom the opposition is directed.

Such is the great vision in these Hebrew pages of the plan for the coming
One. There is a throne on a high mountain peak bathed in wondrous sublime
glory, but the writers are puzzled at a dark valley of the shadow of
death through which the king seems to be obliged to pick His way up to the
throne.

Jesus is to be God's new Man leading man back on the road into the divine
image again, with full mastery of his masterly powers, and through mastery
into full dominion again; but the road back seems to be _contested_, and
the new Man gets badly scarred as He fights through and up to victory.



The Tragic Break in the Plan



The Jerusalem Climate.


Then _Jesus_ came. His coming was greeted with great gladness above, and
great silence below. Above, the stars sent a special messenger to bid Him
welcome to the earth they lightened and brightened. Below, the rusty
hinges of earth's inn refused to swing for Him. So man failing, the lower
creation shared room with Him.

Above, was the sweetest music, the music of heaven. Three times the music
of heaven is mentioned: at the creation, at this coming of Jesus, at the
coming crowning of Jesus in John's Revelation. Below, the only music was
that of the babe's holy young mother, God's chosen one to mother His Son,
crooning to her babe; and the gentle lowing in minor key of the oxen whose
stall He shared. Above, the great glory shining, the messenger of God
speaking a message of peace and love. Below, only darkness and silence.

Among the cultured leaders of the city of David, and of Solomon, and of
God's once glorified temple, there were no ears for the message, nor eyes
for the glory. They had gone deaf and blind Godward long before. To them
came no message, for no door was open. To simple men of nature who lived
with the stars and the hills and the sheep, came the new shining of the
glory, and the wondrous messenger and message. Their doors were open. They
practised looking up. Of course neither city nor country mattered, nor
matters. God always speaks into the upturned ear and looks into the
upturned face.

And so Jesus came. With all of its contrasts it was a winsome coming. A
pure young mother nursing her babe; the babe with its sweet wondrous face,
a fresh act of God indeed; the simple unselfish cattle; the bright stars;
the Glory shining; the sudden flood of music; the Lord's messenger; the
message--a very winsome coming.

He came into the peculiar climate of Jerusalem. Jerusalem is Judea. Out of
the Babylonian remnant of Israel had come great men, true leaders, with
great zeal for the city, and the temple, and the temple service, and for
the law. They made the mould in which this later Jerusalem was cast. But
that mould retaining its old form, had now become filled with the baser
metals. The high ideals of the new makers of the city had shrunk into mere
ideas. The small, strongly entrenched ruling circle were tenacious
sticklers for traditions as interpreted by themselves. That fine old word
conservative (with an underneath meaning of "what we prefer") was one of
their sweetest morsels. Underneath their great pride as Moses' successors,
the favored custodians of the nation's most sacred treasures, was a
passionate love for gold. The temple service was secretly organized on
the profit-sharing plan, with the larger share, as usual, for the
organizers.

That hardest thing in the whole range of human action to overcome, either
by God or man or the devil--prejudice--they had, in the Simon-pure form,
superlatively refined. The original treasure of God's Word was about as
much overlaid and hidden away by writings about it as--it has been in some
other times. Of course they were looking for a Messiah, the one hope of
their sacredly guarded literature. But He must be the sort that they
wanted, and--could use.

Herod the King was a man of great ability, great ambition, great passion,
and great absence of anything akin to conscience. But the virtual ruler
was the high priest. His office was bargained for, bought and sold for the
money and power it controlled in the way all too familiar to corrupt
political life in all times, and not wholly unknown in our own. The old
spiritual ideals of Moses, and Samuel, preached amid degeneracy by Elijah
and Isaiah, were buried away clear out of sight by mere formalism, though
still burning warm and tender in the hearts of a few. This was the
atmosphere of the old national capital into which Jesus came.



The Bethlehem Fog.


Then it was that Jesus came. Strange to say, there is a shadow over His
coming from the beginning. A gray chilling shadow of the sort of gray that
a stormy sky sometimes shows, gray tingeing into slaty black. Yet it was
the coming that made the shadow. It takes light, and some thick thing like
a block, and some distance for perspective, to make a shadow. The nearer
the light to the block thing the blacker the shadow. Here the light came
close to some thick blocks; of stupid thickness; human blocks grown more
toughly thick by the persistent resisting of any such transparent thing as
light.

This was a foggy shadow. A fog is always made by influences from below. A
lowering temperature chills the air, and brings down its moisture in the
shape of a gray subtle pervasive mist, that blurs the outlook, and often
gathers and holds black smoke, and mean poisonous odors and gases from bog
and swamp. Such a fog endangers both health and life. This was just such a
shadowing fog. There was a decided drop in the temperature, a sudden
chill, a fog formed that sucked up the poison of the marshes, and
threatened to stifle the baby breath of the new-born King.

A subtle, intangible, but terribly sure something haunts and hunts the
King from the first. His virgin mother is suspected by the one nearest her
of the most serious offense that can be charged against a woman. The
shadow that later grew to inky blackness came ahead of the man, and, under
the stable eaves, waited grimly His arrival. The feverish green of Herod's
eyes will be content with nothing but a new, bright, running red, and
plenty of it. Satan's plan of killing was started early. He was not
particular about the way it was done. The first attempt was at Bethlehem.
The venomous spittle oozed out there first. But he must move along natural
channels: just now, a murderous king's jealous dread of a possible rival.

The first hint of the actual coming of the long expected One is from the
star-students of the east. Their long journey and eager questioning bring
the birth of Jesus before the official circle of the nation. It is most
significant that His birth causes at once a special meeting of the
nation's ruling body. Herod was troubled, of course. But--all Jerusalem
was troubled _with_ him. Here is a surprising sympathy. It reflects at
once vividly the situation. It was strangely suggestive that news of their
King coning should trouble these national leaders. These devout
star-watchers are wise in the source of information they came to. These
leaders knew. They quickly pointed out the spot where the coming One
_should_ be born.

A pure virgin under cruel suspicion, a roomless inn, a village filled with
heart-broken mothers, a quick flight on a dark night to a foreign land by
a young mother and her babe, the stealthy retirement into a secluded spot
away from his native province, a fellow feeling between a red-handed king
and the nation's leaders--ugh! an ugly, deadly fog.



The Man Sent Ahead.


A high fence of silence shuts out from view the after years. Just one
chink of a crack appears in the fence, peering through which, one gets a
suggestion of beautiful simplicity, of the true, natural human growing
going on beyond the fence.

When mature years are reached, the royal procession is formed. A man is
sent ahead to tell of the King's coming. John was Jesus' diplomatic
representative, His plenipotentiary extraordinary; that is, the one man
specifically sent to represent Him to the nation whose King He was.
Treatment of John was treatment of Jesus. A slight done him was slighting
his sovereign Master. If Sir Henry Mortimer Durand were to be slighted or
treated discourteously by the American authorities, it would be felt at
London as a slight upon the King, the government, and the nation they
represent. Any indignity permitted to be done on American soil to von
Stuckenburg would be instantly resented by Kaiser William as personal to
himself. John was Jesus' Durand, His von Stuckenburg, His Whitelaw Reid.
And no diplomat ever used more tactful language than this John when
questioned about his Master. In Jesus' own simile, John was His _best
man_. Jesus was a bridegroom. John stood by His side as His most intimate
friend.

Jesus and John are constantly interwoven in the events of Jesus' career.
We moderns, who do everything by the calendar, have been puzzled in the
attempt to piece together these events into an exact calendar arrangement.
And the beautiful mosaic of the Gospels has been cut up to make a new,
modern, calendar mosaic. But these writers see things by _events_, not by
_dates_. They have in mind four great events, and about these their story
clusters. And in these Jesus and John are inextricably interwoven. First
is John's wilderness ministry, heading up in his presenting Jesus to the
nation. Then John's violent seizure, and Jesus' withdrawal from the danger
zone. Then John's death, and Jesus' increased caution in His movements.
Then Jesus' death. John comes, points to Jesus, and goes. Jesus comes,
walks a bit with John, reaches beyond him and then goes, too.

John baptized. That is, he used a purifying rite in connection with his
preaching. It helps to remember the distinction between baptism as
practised in the Christian Church, and as practised by John, and by Jesus
in His early ministry. In the church, baptism has come to be regarded as a
dedicatory rite by some, and by others an initial and confessional rite.
But in the first use of it, by John and Jesus, it was a purifying rite. It
was a confession too, but of sin, and the need of cleansing, not, as
later, of faith in a person, or a creed, although it did imply acceptance
of a man's leadership. To a Hebrew mind it was preaching by symbol as well
as by word. The official deputation sent from Jerusalem to look John up
asked why he should be using a purifying rite if he were neither the
Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet. They could understand the
appropriateness of either of these three persons using such a rite in
connection with his preaching as indicating the national need of
cleansing. And in the beginning Jesus for a time, through His disciples,
joined in John's plan of baptizing those who confessed sorrow for sin.

Jesus acknowledged John as His own representative, and honored him as
such, from first to last. He gives him the strongest approval and backing.
The national treatment of John always affects Jesus' movements. When,
toward the close, His authority is challenged, He at once calls attention
to the evident authority of His forerunner and refuses to go farther.

A trace of that ominous, puzzling foreboding noticed in the Old Testament
vision of the coming One creeps in here. Pointing to Jesus, John says,
"Behold the lamb of God, who beareth (away) the sin of the world." Why did
John say that? _We_ read his words backward in the light of Calvary. But
_he_ could not do that, and did not. He knew only a _King_ coming. Why?
Even as Isaiah fifty-third, and Psalm twenty-second were written, the
writers there, the speaker here, impelled to an utterance, the meaning of
which, was not clear to themselves.

This relation and intimacy between these two, John and Jesus, must be
steadily kept in mind.



The Contemptuous Rejection.


From the very first, though Jesus was _accepted by individuals_ of every
class, _He was rejected by the nation_. This is the twin-fact standing out
in boldest outline through the Gospel stories. The nation's rejection
began with the formal presentation of Him to it by John. First was the
simple refusal to accept, then the decision to reject, then the
determination that everybody else should reject too. First, that He should
not be admitted to their circle, then that He should be kept out of their
circle, and then that He should be kept out of every circle. There are
these three distinct stages in the rejection from the Jordan waters to the
Calvary Hill.

First came _the contemptuous rejection_. John was a great man. Made of the
same rugged stuff as the old prophets, he was more than they in being the
King's own messenger and herald. In his character he was great as the
greatest, though not as great in privilege as those living in the kingdom.
He preached and baptized. With glowing eyes of fire, deep-set under shaggy
brows, and plain vigorous speech which, if pricked, would ooze out red
life, he told of the sin that must be cleaned out as a preparation for the
coming One. And to all who would, he applied the cleansing rite.

He had great drawing power. Away from cultured Jerusalem on the hilltops
down to the river bottoms, and the stony barrens of the Jordan; from the
Judean hill country, away from the stately temple service with its music
and impressive ritual, to his simple open-air, plain, fervid preaching, he
drew men. All sorts came, the proud Pharisee, the cynical Sadducee, the
soldiers, the publicans, farmers, shepherds, tradespeople--all came. His
daily gatherings represented the whole people. The nation came to his
call. It was the unconscious testimony of the nation to his rugged
greatness and to his divine mission. They were impelled to come, and
listen, and do, and questioningly wonder if this can be the promised
national leader.

One day a committee came from the Jewish Senate to make official inquiry
as to who he claimed to be. With critical, captious questions they demand
his authority. True to his mission and his Master, he said, "I am not
_the_ One, but sent to tell you that He's coming, and so near that it's
time to get ready." Then the next day, as Jesus walks quietly through the
crowd, probably just back from the wilderness, he finishes his reply to
the deputation. With glowing eyes intently riveted upon Jesus, and finger
pointing, before the alert eyes of his hundreds of hearers--Pharisees,
Sadducees, official committee, Roman soldiers, and common folk--he said in
clear, ringing tones, "_That is He: the coming One!_"

No more dramatic, impressive presentation could have been made of Jesus to
the nation. To their Oriental minds it would be peculiarly significant,
Mark keenly the result. On the part of the leaders _utter silence_ There
could be no more cutting expression of their contempt. With eyebrows
uplifted, eyes coldly questioning, their lips slightly curling, or held
close together and pursed out, and shoulders shrugging, their contempt,
utter disgusted contempt, could not be more loudly expressed. If they had
had the least disposition to believe John's words about Jesus, even so far
as to _investigate_ patiently and thoroughly, how different would their
conduct have been! But--only silence. And silence long continued. Jesus
gave them plenty of time before the next step was taken. No silence ever
spoke in louder voice. That same day five thoughtful men of that same
throng _did_ investigate, and were satisfied, and gave at once loyal,
loving allegiance.

A few months later, the Passover Feast drew crowds from everywhere to
Jerusalem. Jesus coming into the temple areas, with the crowds, one day,
is struck at once with the strange scene. Instead of reverent, holy quiet,
as worshippers approached the dwelling-place of God, with their offerings
of penitence and worship, the busy bustle of a market-place greets His
ears. The noise of cattle and sheep being driven here and there, the
pavement like an unkempt barnyard, loud, discordant voices of men handling
the beasts and bargaining over exchange rates at the brokers'
tables--strange scene. Is it surprising that His ear and eye and heart,
perhaps fresh from a bit of quiet morning talk with His Father, were
shocked? Here, where everything should have called to devotion, everything
_jarred_.

Quietly and quickly putting some bits of knotted string together, He
started the stock out, doubtless against the protests of the keepers. With
flashing light out of those keen eyes, He tipped over the tables, spilling
out their precious greedy coins, and ordered the crates of pigeons
removed. But all with no suggestion of any violence used toward anybody.
Reluctantly, perhaps angrily, wholly against their plans and wishes, the
crowd, impelled by _something_ in this unknown Man, with no outer evidence
of authority, goes. It is a remarkable tribute, both to the power of His
personal presence and to His executive faculty.

Of course the thing made trouble. It was the talk of the town, and of all
the foreigners for days after. The leaders were aroused and angered,
deeply angered. This stranger had kicked up a pretty muss with His
inconvenient earnestness and inconsiderate quoting of Scripture. It was a
practical assumption of superior authority over them. It was an assumption
of the truth of John's ignored claim that He was the promised King.

Was not this arrangement in the temple area a great convenience for the
many strangers, who were their brothers and guests; a real kindly act of
hospitality? Yes--and was it not, too, a finely organized bit of business
for profiting by these strangers, a using of their proper authority over
the temple territory to transfer their brothers' foreign coins safely over
to their own purses? Aye, it was a transmuting of their holy offices into
gold by the alchemy of their coarse, greedy touch.

Jesus' conduct was the keenest sort of criticism of these rulers, before
the eyes of the nation and of the thousands of pilgrims present. These
leaders never forgave this humiliating rebuke of themselves. It made their
nerves raw to His touch ever after. Here is the real reason of all their
after bitter dislike. They had a sensitive pocket-nerve. It was a sort of
pneumogastric nerve so close did it come to their lives. Jesus touched it
roughly. It never quit aching. Scratch all their later charges against Him
and under all is this sore spot. The tree of the cross began growing its
wood that day. Their hot, captious demand for authority, meant as much for
the ears of the crowd as for His, brought from Jesus, who read His future
in their hearts, a reply which they could not understand. They asked their
question for the crowd to hear, He replied for His disciples to remember
in the after years. There could be no evidence of authority more
significant than this temple incident.

His first public work was done at this time. The great throng of pilgrims
from around the world, attracted to Him by this simple daring act of
leadership, witnessed a group of mighty acts during these Passover days.
The angry leaders had critically asked for "signs" of His authority. He
gave them in abundance, not in response to their captious demand, but
doubtless, as always, in response to pressing human needs. The result was
that many persons accepted Him, but the nation in its rulers, maintained
their attitude of angered, contemptuous silence. But underneath that
surface the pot is beginning to boil.

Of all the members of the national Senate, one, _just one_, comes to make
personal inquiry, and sift this man's claim sincerely and candidly. And
he, be it marked, chooses a darkened hour for that visit. That night hour
speaks volumes of the smouldering passion under their contempt. That Jesus
recognized fully their attitude and just what it meant comes out in that
quiet evening talk. To that sincere inquirer, He frankly Jays, "You people
won't receive the witness that John and I have brought you." He was
pleading before a court that stubbornly refuses testimony of fact. And to
this honest seeker, whom we must all love for his sincerity, He reveals
His inner consciousness of a tragic break coming, with a pleading word for
personal trust, and a saddened "men love darkness."

With the going away of the Passover crowds, Jesus leaves the national
capital, and assists in the sort of work John was doing. His power to draw
men, and men's eagerness for Him, stand out sharply at once. John had
drawn great crowds of all classes. Jesus drew greater crowds. Multitudes
eagerly accepted John's teaching and accepted baptism from him. As it
turned out, greater multitudes of people, under the very eyes of these
ignoring, contemptuous leaders, accepted Jesus' leadership. John baptized.
Jesus baptized through His disciples. These leaders in their questioning
of John had tacitly acknowledged the propriety of "the Christ" using such
a rite. Jesus follows the line of least resistance, and fitted into the
one phase of His work which they had recognized as proper.

The pitiable fact stands out that the only result with _them_ is a wordy
strife about the relative success of these two, Jesus and John. The most
that their minds, steeped in jealousies and rivalries, ever watching with
badger eyes to undercut some one else, could see, was a rivalry between
these two men. John's instant open-hearted disclaimer made no impression
upon them. They seemed not impressionable to such disinterested loyalty.

A little later, probably not much, John's ruggedly honest preaching
against sin came too close home to suit Herod. He promptly shuts up the
preacher in prison, with no protest from the nation's leaders. These
leaders had developed peculiar power in influencing their civil rulers by
the strenuousness of their protests. That they permitted the imprisonment
of John with no word of protest, was a tacit throwing overboard of John's
own claims, of John's claims for Jesus, and of Jesus' own claim.

Here is the first sharp crisis. From the first, the circle of national
leaders characterized by John, the writer of the Gospel, as "the Jews,"
including the inner clique of chief priests and the Pharisees, ignored
Jesus; with silent contempt, coldly, severely ignored. This was before the
temple-cleansing affair. That intensified their attitude toward the next
stage. They had to proceed cautiously, because the crowd was with Jesus.
And full well these keen leaders knew the ticklishness of handling a
fanatical Oriental mob, as subsequent events showed. Now John is
imprisoned, with the consent of these leaders, possibly through their
connivance.

Jesus keenly and quickly grasps the situation. First ignored, then made
the subject of evil gossip, the temple clash, and now His closest friend
subjected to violence, His own rejection is painfully evident. He makes a
number of radical changes. His _place_ of activity is changed to a
neighboring province under different civil rule; His _method_, to
preaching from place to place; His _purpose_, to working with
_individuals_. There's a peculiar word used here by Matthew to tell of
Jesus' departure from Judea to a province under a different civil ruler;
"He _withdrew_." The word used implies going away because of danger
threatening. We will run across it again and each time at a crisis point.

The leaders refused Jesus because He was not duly labelled. It seems to be
a prevailing characteristic to want men labelled, especially a
characteristic of those who make the labels. There is always an eager
desire regarding a stranger to learn whom he represents, who have put
their stamp upon him and accepted him. And if the label is satisfactory,
he is acccepted in the degree in which the label is accepted. Others are
marked with a large interrogation point. Inherent worth has a slow time.
But sure? Yes, but slow. Jesus bore no label whose words they could spell
out or wanted to. They were a bit rusty in the language of worth. How
knoweth this man letters, having never learned! He seems to know, to know
surprisingly well. He seems keenly versed in the law, able quickly to turn
the tables upon their catch questions. But then it can't be the real
article of learning, because He hasn't been in our established schools. He
has no sheepskin in a dead language with our learned doctors' names
learnedly inscribed. How indeed! An upstart!!

Yet always to the earnest, sincere inquirer there was authority enough. In
His acts, an open-minded doctor of the law could read the stamp of God's
approval. The ear open to learn, not waxed up by self-seeking plans, or
filled with gold dust, heard the voice of divine approval out of the
clouds, or in His presence and acts.



The Aggressive Rejection.


Then came the second stage, _the aggressive rejection._ This is the
plotting stage. Their hot passion is cooling now into a hardening purpose.
This has been shaping itself under the surface for months. Now it is open.
This was a crowded year for Jesus, and a year of crowds. The Galileans
had been in His southern audiences many a time and seen His miracles. The
news of His coming up north to their country swiftly spread everywhere.
The throngs are so great that the towns and villages are blockaded, and
Jesus has recourse to the fields, where the people gather in untold
thousands.

An ominous incident occurs at the very beginning of this Galilean work. It
is a fine touch of character that Jesus at once pays a visit to His home
village. One always thinks more of Him for that. He never forgot the home
folk. The synagogue service on the Sabbath day gathers the villagers
together. Jesus takes the teacher's place, and reads, from Isaiah, a bit
of the prophecy of the coming One. Then with a rare graciousness and
winsomeness that wins all hearts, and fastens every eye upon Himself, He
begins talking of the fulfilment of that word in Himself.

Then there comes a strange, quick revulsion of feeling. Had some
Jerusalem spy gotten in and begun his poisoning work already? Eyes begin
to harden and jaws become set. "Why, that is the man that made our
cattle-yoke."--"Yes, and fixed our kitchen table."--"He--the Messiah!"
Then words of rebuke gently spoken, but with truth's razor edge. Then a
hot burst of passion, and He is hustled out to the jagged edge of the hill
to be thrown over. Then that wondrous presence awing them back, as their
hooked hands lose hold, and their eyes again fasten with wonder, and He
passed quietly on His way undisturbed. Surely that was the best evidence
of the truth of His despised word.

Seven outstanding incidents here reveal the ever-hardening purpose of the
leaders against Jesus. First comes another clash in the temple. Their
ideas of what was proper on the Sabbath day receive a shock because a man
enslaved by disease for years was healed with a word from Jesus' lips.
Could there be a finer use of a Sabbath day! We can either think them
really shocked, or hunting for a religious chance to fight Him. Jesus'
reply seems so to enrage that a passion to kill Him grips them. It is
notable that they had no doubt of the extent of Jesus' claim; "He called
God His own Father, making Himself equal with God." On these two things,
His use of the Sabbath, and His claim of divinity, is based the aggressive
campaign begun that day.

The incident draws from Him the marvellous words preserved by John in his
fifth chapter. In support of His claim He quietly brings forward five
witnesses, John His herald, His own miraculous acts, His Father, the
Scriptures entrusted to their care, and Moses, the founder of the nation.
That was a great line of testimony. This first thought of killing Him
seems to have been a burst of hot, passionate rage, but gradually we shall
find it cooled into a hardened, deliberate purpose.

At once Jesus returns to the northern province. And now they begin to
follow Him up, and spy upon His movements and words. In Capernaum, His
northern headquarters, a man apparently at unrest in soul about his sins,
and palsied in body, is first assured of forgiveness, and then made bodily
whole. Their criticism of His forgiving sins is silenced by the power
evidenced in the bodily healing. But their plan of campaign is now begun
in earnest, and is evident at once. Later criticism of His personal
conduct and habits with the despised classes is mingled with an attempt to
work upon His disciples and undermine their loyalty. The Sabbath question
comes up again through the disciples satisfying their hunger in the grain
fields, and brings from Jesus the keen comment that man wasn't made for
the Sabbath, but to be helped through that day, and then the statement
that must have angered them further that He was "Lord of the Sabbath."

Another Sabbath day in the synagogue they were on hand to see if He would
heal a certain man with a whithered hand whom they had gotten track of,
"that they might accuse Him." They were spying out evidence for the use of
the Jerusalem leaders. To His grief they harden their hearts against His
plea for saving a _man_, a _life_, as against a tradition. And as the man
with full heart and full eyes finds his chance of earning a living
restored, they rush out, and with the fire spitting from their eyes, and
teeth gritting, they plan to get their political enemies, the Herodians,
to help them kill Jesus. A number of these incidents give rise to these
passionate outbursts to kill, which seem to cool off, but to leave the
remnants that hardened into the cool purpose most to be dreaded.

A second time occurs that significant word, "withdrew." Jesus withdrew to
the sea, followed by a remarkable multitude of Galileans, and others from
such distant points as Tyre and Sidon on the north, Idumea on the extreme
south, beyond the Jordan on the east, and from Jerusalem. He was safe with
this sympathizing crowd.

The crowds were so great, and the days so crowded, that Jesus' very eating
was interfered with. His friends remonstrate, and even think Him unduly
swayed by holy enthusiasm. But it is a man come down from Jerusalem who
spread freely among the crowds the ugly charge that He was in league with
the devil, possessed by an _unclean_ spirit, and that that explained His
strange power. No uglier charge could be made. It reveals keenly the
desperate purpose of the Jerusalem leaders. Clearly it was made to
influence the crowds. They were panic-stricken over these crowds. What
could He not do with such a backing, if He chose! Such a rumor would
Spread like wildfire. Jesus shows His leadership. He at once calls the
crowds about Him, speaks openly of the charge, and refutes it, showing the
evident absurdity of it.

Then a strange occurrence takes place. While He is teaching a great crowd
one day, there is an interruption in the midst of His speaking Oddly, it
comes from His mother and her other sons. They send in a message asking
to see Him at once. This seems very strange. It would seem probable from
the narrative that they had access to Him constantly. Why this sudden
desire by the one closest to Him by natural ties to break into His very
speaking for a special interview? Had these Jerusalem men been working
upon the fears of her mother heart for the safety of her Son? She would
use her influence to save Him from possible danger threatening? There is
much in the incident to give color to such a supposition. Perhaps a man of
such fineness as He could be checked back by consideration for His
mother's feelings. They were quite capable of pulling any wire to shut Him
up, however ignorant they showed themselves of the simple sturdiness of
true character. But the same man who so tenderly provides for His mother
in the awful pain of hanging on a cross reminds her now that a divine
errand is not to be hindered by nature's ties; that clear vision of duty
must ever hold the reins of the heart.

Then comes the most terrible, and most significant event, up to this time,
in the whole gospel narrative--the murder of John. This marks the sharpest
crisis yet reached. For a year or so John had been kept shut up in a
prison dungeon, evidence of his own faithfulness, and of the low moral
tone, or absence of moral tone, of the time. Then one night there is a
prolonged, debased debauchery in a magnificent palace; the cunning, cruel
scheme of the woman whose wrong relation to Herod John had honestly
condemned. The dancing young princess, the drunken oath, the terrible
request, the glowing-coal eyes closed, the tongue that held crowds with
its message of sin, and of the coming One stilled, the King's herald
headless--the whole horrible, nightmare story comes with the swiftness of
aroused passion, the suddenness of a lightning flash, the cold cruelty of
indulged lust.

Instantly on getting the news Jesus "_withdrew_"--for the third time
withdrew to a retired desert place. This had tremendous personal meaning
for Him. Nothing has occurred thus far that spells out for Him the coming
tragic close so large, so terribly large, as does this. He stays away from
the Passover Feast occurring at this time, the only one of the four of His
public career He failed to attend.



The Murderous Rejection.


This crisis leads at once into the final stage, _the murderous rejection_.
Jesus is now a fugitive from the province of Judea, because the death plot
has been deliberately settled upon. The southern leaders begin a more
vigorous campaign of harrying Him up in Galilee. A fresh deputation of
Pharisees come up from Jerusalem to press the fighting. They at once bring
a charge against Jesus' disciples of being untrue to the time-honored
traditions of the national religion. Yet it is found to be regarding such
trivial things as washing their hands and arms clear up to the elbows each
time before eating, and of washing of cups and pots and the like. Jesus
sharply calls attention to their hypocrisy and cant, by speaking of their
dishonoring teachings and practices in matters of serious moment. Then He
calls the crowd together and talks on the importance of being clean
_inside_, in the heart and thought. Before all the crowds He calls them
hypocrites. It's a sharp clash and break. Jesus at once "withdrew." It is
the fourth time that significant danger word is used. This time His
withdrawal is clear out of the Jewish territory, far up north to the
vicinity of Tyre and Sidon, on the seacoast, and there He attempts to
remain unknown.

After a bit He returns again, this time by a round-about way, to the Sea
of Galilee. Quickly the crowds find out His presence and come; and again
many a life and many a home are utterly changed by His touch. With the
crowd come the Pharisees, this time in partnership with another group, the
Sadducees, whom they did not love especially. They hypocritically beg a
sign from heaven, as though eager to follow a divinely sent messenger. But
He quickly discerns their purpose to _tempt_ Him into something that can
be used against Him. The sign is refused. Jesus never used His power to
show that He could, but only to help somebody.

The fall of that year found Him boldly returning to the danger zone of
Jerusalem for attendance on the harvest-home festival called by them the
Feast of Tabernacles. It was the most largely attended of the three annual
gatherings, attracting thousands of faithful Jews from all parts of the
world. The one topic of talk among the crowds was Jesus, with varying
opinions expressed; but those favorable to Him were awed by the keen
purpose of the leaders to kill Him. When the festival was in full swing,
one morning, Jesus quietly appears among the temple crowds, and begins
teaching. The leaders tried to arrest Him, but are held back by some
hidden influence, nobody seeming willing to take the lead. Then the clique
of chief priests send officers to arrest Him. But they are so impressed by
His presence and His words, that they come back empty-handed, to the
disgust of their superiors. Great numbers listening believe on Him, but
some of the leaders, mingling in the crowd, stir up discussion so sharp
that with hot passion, and eyes splashing green light, they stoop down and
pick up stones to hurl at Him and end His life at once. It is the first
attempt at personal violence in Jerusalem. But again that strange
restraining power, and Jesus passes out untouched.

As he quietly passes through and out, He stops to give sight to a blind
man. Interestingly enough it occurs on a Sabbath day. Instantly the
leaders seize on this, and have a time of it with the man and his parents
in turn, with this upshot, that the man for his bold confession of faith
in Jesus is shut out from all synagogue privileges, in accordance with a
decision already given out. He becomes an outcast, with all that that
means. It's a fine touch that Jesus hunts up this outcast and gives him a
free entrance into His own circle.

After this feast-visit to Jerusalem, Jesus probably returns to Galilee, as
after previous visits there, and then one day leads His band of disciples
up to the neighborhood of snow-capped Hermon. Here probably occurs the
transfiguration, the purpose of which was to tie up these future leaders
of His, against the events now hurrying on with such swift pace. From this
time begins the preparation of this inner circle for the coming tragedy so
plain to His eyes.

Then begins that memorable last journey from Galilee toward Jerusalem
through the country on the east of the Jordan. With marvellous boldness
and courage He steadfastly set His face toward Jerusalem. The
ever-tightening grip of His purpose is in the set of His face. The fire
burning so intensely within is in His eye as He tramps along the road
alone, with the disciples following, awestruck and filled with wondering
fear. Thirty-five deputations of two each are sent ahead into all the
villages to be visited by Him. What an intense campaigner was Jesus! He
was thoroughly, systematically stumping the whole country for God.

As He approaches nearer to the Jerusalem section the air gets tenser and
hotter. The leaders are constantly harrying His steps, tempting with catch
questions, seeking signs, poisoning the crowds--mosquito warfare! He moves
steadily, calmly on. Some of the keenest things He said flashed out
through the friction of contact with them. A tempting lawyer's question
brings out the beautiful Samaritan parable. The old Sabbath question
provokes a fresh tilt with a synagogue ruler. There is a cunning attempt
by the Pharisees to get Him out of Herod's territory into their own. How
intense the situation grew is graphically told in Luke's words, they
"began to set themselves vehemently against Him, and to provoke Him to
speak many things; laying wait for Him to catch something out of His
mouth."

Though unmoved by the cunning effort of the Pharisees to get Him over from
Herod's jurisdiction into Judea, despite their threatening attitude, the
winter Feast of Dedication finds Him again in Jerusalem walking in one of
the temple areas. Instantly He is surrounded by a group of these Jerusalem
Jews who, with an air of apparent earnest inquiry, keep prodding Him with
the request to be told plainly if He is really the Christ. His patient
reply brings a storm of stones--almost. Held in check for a while by an
invisible power, or by the power of His presence shown under such
circumstances so often, again they attempt to seize His person, and again
He seems invisibly to hold their hands back, as He quietly passes on His
way out of their midst.

Then comes the stupendous raising of Lazarus, which brings faith in Him to
great numbers, and results in the formal official decision of the national
council to secure His death. He is declared a fugitive with a price set
upon His head. Anybody knowing of His whereabouts must report the fact to
the authorities. This decides Him not to show Himself openly among them.
In a few weeks the pilgrims are crowding Jerusalem for the Passover.
Jesus' name is on every tongue. The rumor that He was over the hills in
Bethany takes a crowd over there, not simply to see Him, but to see the
resurrected Lazarus. Then it was determined to kill Lazarus off, too.

That tremendous last week now begins. Jesus is seen to be the one masterly
figure in the week's events. In comparison with His calm steady movements,
these leaders run scurrying around, here and there, like headless hens.
The week begins with the most public, formal presentation of Himself in a
kingly fashion to the nation. It is their last chance. How wondrously
patient and considerate is this Jesus! And how sublimely heroic! Into the
midst of those men ravenous for His blood He comes. Seated with fine,
unconscious majesty on a kingly beast, surrounded by ever-increasing
multitudes loudly singing and speaking praises to God, over paths
bestrewed with garments and branches of living green, slowly He mounts the
hill road toward the city. At a turn in the road all of a sudden the city
lies spread out before Him. "He saw the city and wept over it."

    "He sat upon the ass's colt and rode
    Toward Jerusalem. Beside Him walked
    Closely and silently the faithful twelve,
    And on before Him went a multitude
    Shouting hosannas, and with eager hands
    Strewing their garments thickly in the way.
    Th' unbroken foal beneath Him gently stepped,
    Tame as its patient dam; and as the song
    Of 'Welcome to the Son of David' burst
    Forth from a thousand children, and the leaves
    Of the waving branches touched its silken ears,
    It turned its wild eye for a moment back,
    And then, subdued by an invisible hand,
    Meekly trod onward with its slender feet.

    "The dew's last sparkle from the grass had gone
    As He rode up Mount Olivet. The woods
    Threw their cool shadows directly to the west;
    And the light foal, with quick and toiling step,
    And head bent low, kept up its unslackened way
    Till its soft mane was lifted by the wind
    Sent o'er the mount from Jordan. As He reached
    The summit's breezy pitch, the Saviour raised
    His calm blue eye--there stood Jerusalem!
    Eagerly He bent forward, and beneath
    His mantle's passive folds a bolder line
    Than the wont slightness of His perfect limbs
    Betrayed the swelling fulness of His heart.
    There stood Jerusalem! How fair she looked--
    The silver sun on all her palaces,
    And her fair daughters 'mid the golden spires
    Tending their terrace flowers; and Kedron's stream
    Lacing the meadows with its silver band
    And wreathing its mist-mantle on the sky
    With the morn's exhalation. There she stood,
    Jerusalem, the city of His love,
    Chosen from all the earth: Jerusalem,
    That knew Him not, and had rejected Him;
    Jerusalem for whom He came to die!

    "The shouts redoubled from a thousand lips
    At the fair sight; the children leaped and sang
    Louder hosannas; the clear air was filled
    With odor from the trampled olive leaves
    But 'Jesus wept!' The loved disciple saw
    His Master's tear, and closer to His side
    He came with yearning looks, and on his neck
    The Saviour leaned with heavenly tenderness,
    And mourned, 'How oft, Jerusalem! would I
    Have gathered you, as gathereth a hen
    Her brood beneath her wings--but ye would not!'

    "He thought not of the death that He should die--
    He thought not of the thorns He knew must pierce
    His forehead--of the buffet on the cheek--
    The scourge, the mocking homage, the foul scorn!

    "Gethsemane stood out beneath His eye
    Clear in the morning sun; and there, He knew,
    While they who 'could not watch with Him one hour'
    Were sleeping, He should sweat great drops of blood,
    Praying the cup might pass! And Golgotha
    Stood bare and desert by the city wall;
    And in its midst, to His prophetic eye
    Rose the rough cross, and its keen agonies
    Were numbered all--the nails were in His feet--
    Th' insulting sponge was pressing on His lips--
    The blood and water gushed from His side--
    The dizzy faintness swimming in His brain--
    And, while His own disciples fled in fear,
    A world's death agonies all mixed in His!
    Ah!--He forgot all this. He only saw
    Jerusalem--the chosen--the loved--the lost!
    He only felt that for her sake His life
    Was vainly given, and in His pitying love
    The sufferings that would clothe the heavens in black
    Were quite forgotten.

              "Was there ever love,
    In earth or heaven, equal to this?"[5]

And so the King entered His capital. It was a royal procession. Mark
keenly the result. Again that utter, ominous, loud silence, that greeted
His ears first, more than three years before. He had come to His own home.
His own kinsfolk received Him not!

Then each day He came to the city, and each night, homeless, slept out in
the open, under the trees of Olivet, and the blue. Now, He rudely shocks
them by clearing the temple areas of the market-place rabble and babble,
and now He is healing the lame and maimed in the temple itself, amid the
reverent praise of the multitude, the songs of the children, and the
scowling, muttered protests of the chief priests. Calmly, day by day, He
moves among them, while their itching fingers vainly clutch for a hold
upon Him, and as surely are held back by some invisible force. By every
subtle device known to cunning, crafty men, they lay question-traps, and
lie in wait to catch His word. He foils them with His marvellous, simple
answers, lashes them with His keen, cutting parables and finally Himself
proposes a question about their own scriptures which they admit themselves
unable to answer, and, utterly defeated, ask no more questions. Then
follows that most terrific arraignment of these leaders, with its
infinitely tender, sad, closing lament over Jerusalem. That is the final
break.

Then occurs that pathetic Greek incident that seems to agitate Jesus so.
This group of earnest seekers, from the outside, non-Jewish world brings
to Jesus a vision of the great hungry heart of the world, and of an
open-mindedness to truth such as was to Him these days as a cool,
refreshing drink to a dusty mouth on a dry hot day. But--no--the Father's
will--simple obedience--only that was right. The harvest can come only
through the grain giving out its life in the cold ground.

Before the final act in the tragedy Jesus retires from sight, probably for
prayer. Some dear friends of Bethany in whose home He had rested many a
time, where He ever found sweet-sympathy, arranged a little home-feast for
Him where a few congenial friends might gather. While seated there in the
quiet atmosphere of love and fellowship so grateful to Him after those
Jerusalem days, one of the friends present, a woman, Mary, takes a box of
exceeding costly ointment, and anoints His head. To the strange protests
made, Jesus quietly explains her thought in the act. She alone understood
what was coming. Alone of all others it was a woman, the simple-hearted
Bethany Mary, who _understood_ Jesus. As none other did she perceive with
her keen love-eyes the coming death, and--more--its meaning.

It is one of the disciples, Judas, who protests indignantly against such
_waste_. This ointment would have brought at least seventy-five dollars,
and how much such a sum would have done for the _poor_! Thoughtless,
improvident woman! Strange the word didn't blister on his canting lips.
John keenly sees that his fingers are clutching the treasure bag as he
speaks the word, and that his thoughts are far from the poor. Jesus gently
rebukes Judas. But Judas is hot tempered, and sullenly watches for the
first chance to withdraw and carry out the damnable purpose that has been
forming within. He hurries over the hill, through the city gate, up to the
palace of the chief priest.

Within there was a company of the inner clique of the leaders, discussing
how to get hold of Jesus most easily. They sit heavily in their seats,
with shut fists, set jaws, and that peculiar yellow-green light spitting
out from under their lowering, knit brows. These bothersome crowds had to
be considered. The feast-day wouldn't do. The crowd would be greatest
then, and hardest to handle. Back and forth they brew their scheme. Then a
knock at the door. Startled, they look alertly up to know who this
intruder may be. The door is opened. In steps a man with a hangdog,
guilty, but determined look. It is one of the men they have seen with
Jesus! What can this mean? He glances furtively from one to another.

Then he speaks: "How much'll you give if I get Jesus into your hands?" Of
all things this was probably the last they had thought might happen. Their
eyes gleam. How much indeed--a good snug sum to get their fingers securely
on his person. But they're shrewd bargainers. That's one of their
specialties. How much did he _want_? Poor Judas! He made a bad bargain
that day. Thirty pieces of silver! He could easily have gotten a thousand.
Judas did love money greedily, and doubtless was a good bargainer too, but
anger was in the saddle now, and drove him hard. Without doubt it was in a
hot fit of temper that he made this proposal. His descendants have been
coining money out of Jesus right along: exchanging Him for gold.

Only a little later, and the Master is closeted with His inner circle in
the upper room of a faithful friend's house in one of the Jerusalem
streets, for the Passover supper. A word from Him and Judas withdraws for
his dark errand. Then those great heart-talks of Jesus, in the upper room,
along the roadway, under the full moon, maybe passing by the massive
temple structure, then under the olive trees. Then the hour grows late,
the disciples are drowsy, the Master is off alone among those trees, then
weird uncertain lights of torches, a rabble of soldiers and priests, a man
using friendship's cloak, and friendship's greeting--then the King is in
the hands of His enemies. An awful night, followed by a yet more awful
day, and the plan of the kingdom is broken by the tragic killing of the
King.



Suffering the Birth-pains of a New Life.


Why did Jesus die? It's a pretty old question. It's been threshed out no
end of times. Yet every time one thinks of the gospel, or opens the Book,
it looks out earnestly into his face. And nothing is better worth while
than to have another serious prayerful go at it. The whole nub of the
gospel is here. It clears the ground greatly not to have any theory about
Jesus' death, but simply to try thoughtfully to gather up all the
statements and group them, regardless of where it may lead, or how it may
knock out previous ideas.

It can be said at once that His dying was not God's own plan. It was a
plan conceived somewhere else, and yielded to by God. God had a plan of
atonement by which men who were willing could be saved from sin and its
effects. That plan is given in the old Hebrew code. To the tabernacle, or
temple, under prescribed regulations, a man could bring some live animal
which he owned. The man brought that which was his own. It represented
him. Through his labor the beast or bird was his. He had transferred some
of his life and strength into it. He identified himself with it further by
close touch at the time of its being offered. He offered up its life. In
his act he acknowledged that his own life was forfeited. In continuing to
live he acknowledged the continued life as belonging to God. He was to
live as belonging to another. He made, in effect, the statement made long
after by Paul: "I am offering up my life on this altar for my sin;
nevertheless I am living: yet the life I live is no longer mine, but
another's. Mine has been taken away by sin." There was no malice or evil
feeling in the man's act, but only penitence, and an earnest, noble
purpose.

The act revealed the man's inner spirit. It acknowledged his sin, that
life is forfeited by sin, his desire to have the sin difficulty
straightened out, and to be at one again with God. He expressed his hatred
of sin and his earnest desire to be free of it. I am not saying at all
that this was true of every Hebrew coming with his sacrifice. I may not
say it of all who approach God to day through Jesus. But clearly enough,
all of this is in the old Hebrew _plan_ devised by God. It was the new
choice that brought the man back to God, even as the first choice had
separated him from God. And the explicit statement made over and over is
this, "and it shall make atonement."

Clearly Jesus' dying does not in any way fit into the old Hebrew _form_ of
sacrifice, nor into the spirit of the man who caused the death of the
sacrifice, though in spirit, in requirement it far more than fills it out.
The Old Testament scheme is Jewish. The manner of Jesus' death is not
Jewish, but Roman. As a priest He was not of the Jewish order, but of an
order non-Jewish and antedating the other by hundreds of years. In no
feature does He fit into the old custom. But every truth taught by the old
is brilliantly exemplified and embodied in Him.

The epistle to the Hebrews was written to Jews who had become Christians,
but through persecution and great suffering were sorely tempted to go back
to the old Jewish faith. They seemed to be saying that Jesus filled out
neither the kingdom plan, nor the Mosaic scheme of sacrifice. The writer
of the epistle is showing with a masterly sweep and detail the immense
superiority of what Jesus did over the old Mosaic plan. Read backward,
these provisions are seen to be vivid illustrations of what Jesus did do,
not in form, not actually, but in fact, in spirit, in a way vastly ahead
of the Hebrew ritual. The truth underneath the old was fully fulfilled in
Jesus, though the form was not.

One needs always to keep sharply in mind the difference between God's
_plan_ and that which He clearly saw ahead, and into which He determined
to fit in carrying out His purpose. There is no clearer, stronger
statement of this than that found in Peter's Pentecost sermon: "Him being
delivered up by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye by
the hands of men without law did crucify and slay." God knew ahead what
would come. There was a conference held. The whole matter talked over.
With full knowledge of the situation, the obstinate hatred of men, the
terrific suffering involved, it was calmly, resolutely advised and decided
upon that when the time came Jesus should yield Himself up pliantly into
their hands. That is Peter's statement.

This in no way affects the fact that Jesus dying as He did is the one
means of salvation. It does not at all disturb any of Paul's statements,
in their plainest, first-flush meaning. It does explain the kingdom plan,
and the necessity for Jesus finishing up the kingdom plan some day. For
though God's plan may be broken, and retarded, it always is carried
through in the end. It explains too that evil is never necessary to good.
Hatred, evil never helps God's plans. The good that God brought out of the
cross is not through the bad, but in spite of the bad.

The preaching of the Acts is absorbed with the astounding, overshadowing,
appalling fact of the killing of the nation's King. But through it all
runs this strain of reasoning: the kingdom plan has been broken by the
murder of the King. He has been raised from the dead in vindication of His
claim. This marvellous power that is so evident to all eyes and ears is
the Holy Spirit whom the killed King has sent down. It proves that He is
now enthroned in glory at God's right hand. He is coming back to carry out
the kingdom plan. Now the thing to do is to repent, and so there will come
blessing now, and by and by the King again.

When the first church council is held to discuss the matter of letting
non-Jewish outsiders into their circle, the clear-headed,
judicial-tempered James, in the presiding chair, puts the thing straight.
He says: "Peter has fully told us how God _first_ visited the outside
nations to take out of them a people for Himself. And this fits into the
prophetic plan as outlined by Amos, that _after_ that the kingdom will be
set up and then _all_ men will come."

This brings out in bold relief the fact that the _horrible_ features of
Jesus' dying, the hatred and cruelty, were no part of the plan of
salvation, and not necessary to the plan. The cross was the invention of
hate. There is no cross in God's plan of atonement. It is the superlative
degree of hate, brooded and born, and grown lusty in hell. It was God's
master touch that, through yielding, it _becomes_ to all men for all time
the superlative degree of love. The ages have softened all its sharp
jagged edges with a halo of glory.

It is perfectly clear, too, that Jesus died of His own accord. He chose
the _time_ of His death and the _manner_ of it. He had said it was purely
voluntary on His part, and the record plainly shows that it was. All
attempts to kill Him failed until He chose to yield. There are ten
separate mentions of their effort, either to get hold of His person or to
kill Him at once before they finally succeeded. He was killed _in intent_
at least three times, once by being dashed over a precipice, and twice by
stoning, before He was actually killed by crucifixion. Each time
surrounded by a hostile crowd, apparently quite capable of doing as they
pleased, yet each time He passes through their midst, and their hooked
fingers are restrained against their will, and their gnashing teeth bite
only upon the spittle of their hate.

This makes Jesus' _motive_ in yielding explain His death. The cross means
just what His purpose in dying puts into it. If we read the facts of the
gospel stories apart from Jesus' words, the cross spells out just one
word--in large, pot-black capitals--HATE.

What was Jesus' motive or purpose in dying? His own words give the best
answer. The earlier remarks are obscure to those who heard, not
understood. And we can understand that they could not. At the first
Passover He speaks of their destroying "this temple," and His raising it
in three days. Naturally they think of the building of stone, but He is
thinking of His body. To Nicodemus He says that the Son of Man must "be
_lifted up_": and to some critics that when the "bridegroom" is "taken
away" there will be fasting among His followers.

Later, He speaks much more plainly. After John has gone home by way of
Herod's red road, at the time of the feeding of the 5,000 there is the
discussion about bread, and the true bread. Jesus speaks a word that
perplexes the crowd much, and yet He goes on to explain just what He
means. It is in John, sixth chapter, verses fifty-three to fifty-seven
inclusive, He says that if a man eat His flesh and drink His blood he
shall have eternal life. The listening crowd takes the words literally and
of course is perplexed. Clearly enough it is not meant to be taken
literally. Read in the light of the after events it is seen to be an
allusion to His coming death. Such a thing as actually eating His flesh
and drinking His blood would necessitate His death.

We men are under doom of death written in our very bodies, assured to us
by the unchangeable fact of bodily death. Now if a man take Jesus into his
very being so that they become one in effect, then clearly if Jesus die
the man is freed from the necessity of dying. Through Jesus dying there is
for such a man _life_. That is the statement Jesus makes.

In five distinct sentences He attempts to make His meaning simple and
clear. The first sentence puts the _negative_ side: there is no life
without Jesus being taken into one's being. Then the positive side:
through this sort of eating there is _life_. And with this is coupled the
inferential statement that they are not to be spared _bodily_ death,
because they are to be _raised up_. The third sentence, that Jesus is the
one true food of real life. The fourth sentence gives a parallel or
interchangeable phrase for eating and drinking, _i.e._, "_abideth_ in me
and I in Him." A mutual abiding in each other. The food abides in the man
eating it. The man abides in the strength of the food He has taken in.
Eating My flesh means abiding in Me. The last sentence gives an
illustration. This living in Jesus, having Him live in us as closely as
though actually eaten, is the same as Jesus' own life on earth being lived
in His Father, dependent upon the Father. And when the crowds take His
words literally and complain that none can understand such statements, He
at once explains that, of course, He does not mean literal eating--"The
flesh profiteth nothing" (even if you did eat it): "it is the _Spirit_
that gives life:" "the _words_ ... are _Spirit_ and _life_." The taking
of Jesus through His words into one's life to dominate--that is the
meaning.

A few months later, in Jerusalem, He speaks again of His purpose, in
John's tenth chapter, "The good shepherd layeth down His life for the
sheep." "I lay down my life for the sheep." The death was for others
because of threatening danger. "Other sheep I have which are not of this
fold: them also I must lead." Here is clear foresight of the wide sweep of
influence through His death. "I lay down my life that I may take it
again." The death was _one step_ in a plan. There is something beyond. "I
lay it down of myself. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the
right to take it again. This commandment I received from my Father." The
dying was voluntary and was agreed to between the Father and Himself. To
the disciples He speaks of the need of taking up a "cross" in order to be
followers, and to the critical Pharisee asking a sign, He alludes to
Jonah's three days and nights in the belly of the sea monster. Neither of
these allusions conveyed any definite idea to those listening.

Then the last week when the Greeks came; "Except a grain of wheat fall
into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if it die, it
beareth much fruit." The dying was to have great influence upon others.
"And I if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto myself."
The dying was to be _for others_, and to exert tremendous influence upon
the whole race.

In that last long talk with the eleven, "that the world may know that I
love the Father and as the Father gave me commandment even so I do." The
dying was in obedience to His Father's wish, and was to let men know of
the great love between Father and Son. "Greater love hath no man than
this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." This dying was for
these friends. And in that great prayer that lays His heart bare, "for
their sakes I sanctify myself that they also may be sanctified in truth."
The dying is _for others_, and is for the securing in these others of a
certain spirit or character. The reference to the dying being in accord
with the Father's wish comes out again at the arrest, "The cup that the
Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?"

To these quotations from Jesus' lips may be added a significant one from
the man who stood closest to Jesus. Referring to a statement about Jesus
made by Caiaphas, John adds: "being high priest that year he prophesied
that Jesus should die for the nation; and not for the nation only, but
that He might gather together into one the children of God that are
scattered abroad." As John understood the matter, the death was not simply
for others, but for the _Jewish nation_ as a nation, and beyond that for a
gathering into one of _all_ of God's children. Jesus was to be God's
magnet for attracting together all that belong to Him. The death was to be
a roadway through to something beyond.

From His own words, then, Jesus saw a _necessity_ for His dying. He
"must" be lifted up. That "must" spells out the desperateness of the need
and the strength of His love. Sin contains in itself death for man as a
logical result. And by death is not meant the passing of life out of the
body. That is a mere incident of death. Death is separation from God. It
is gradual until finally complete. Love would plan nothing less radical
than a death that would be for man the death of death. His death was to be
_for others_, it was purely _voluntary_, it was by agreement with His
Father, in obedience to His wishes, and an evidence of His filial love.
The death is a step in a plan. There is something beyond, growing out of
the death.

Jesus plans not merely a transfer of the death item, but a _new_ life, a
new _sort_ of life, in its place. The dying is but a step. It is a great
step, tremendously great, indispensable, the step that sets the pace. Yet
but one step of a number. Beyond the dying is the _living_, living a _new_
life. He works out in Himself the plan for them--a dying, and after that a
new life, and a new sort of life. Then according to His other teaching
there is the sending of some One else to men to work out in His name in
each of them this plan. That plan is to be worked out in each man choosing
to receive Him into his life. He will send down His other self, the Holy
Spirit, to work this out in each one. Jesus' death released His life to be
re-lived in us. Jesus plans to get rid of the sin in a man, and put in
something else in its place. The sin must be gotten out, first washed
out, then burned out. Then a new seed put in that will bear life. What a
chemist and artist in one is this Jesus! He uses bright red, to get a pure
white out of a dead black.

In addition to the plan for man individually, the dying is to produce the
same result in the Jewish nation. There is to be a national new-birth. A
new Jewish people. And then the dying is to have a tremendous influence
upon all men. On the cross Jesus would suffer the birth-pains of a new
life for man and for the world. Such, in brief, seems to be the grouping
of Jesus' own thought about His dying. Its whole influence is manward.

The value of Jesus' dying lies wholly in its being _voluntary_. Of
deliberate purpose He _allowed_ them to put Him to death. Otherwise they
could not, as is fully proven by their repeated failures. And the purpose
as well as the value of the death lies entirely in His _motive_ in
yielding. If they could have taken His life without His consent, then that
death would have been an expression of their hate, and only that. But as
it is, it forever stands an expression of two things. On their part of the
intensest, hottest hate; on His part of the finest, strongest love. It
makes new records for both hate and love. Sin put Jesus to death. In
yielding to these men Jesus was yielding to sin, for they personified sin.
And sin yielded to quickly brought death, its logical outcome.

Jesus' dying being His own act, controlled entirely by His own intention,
makes it _sacrificial_. There are certain necessary elements in such a
sacrifice. It must be voluntary. It must involve pain or suffering of some
sort. The suffering must be _undeserved_, that is, in no way or degree a
result of one's own act, else it is not sacrifice, but logical result. It
must be for others. And the suffering must be of a sort that would not
come save for this voluntary act. It must be supposed to bring benefit to
the others. Each of these elements must be in to make up fully a
sacrifice. There are elements of sacrifice in much noble suffering by man.
But in no one do all of these elements perfectly combine and blend, save
in Jesus.

To this agree the words of the philosopher of the New Testament writers.
It would be so, of course, for the Spirit of Jesus swayed Paul. The
epistle to the Romans contains a brief packed summary of his understanding
of the gospel plan. There is in it one remarkable statement of the
_Father's_, purpose in Jesus' death. In the third chapter, verse
twenty-six, freely translated, "that He might be reckoned righteous in
reckoning righteous the man who has faith." "That He might be reckoned
righteous"--that is, in His attitude toward sin. That in allowing things
to go on as they were, in holding back sin's logical judgment, He was not
careless or indifferent about sin or making light of it. He was controlled
by a great purpose.

God's great difficulty was to make clear at once both His love and His
hate: His love for man: His hate for the sin that man had grained in so
deep that they were as one. For the man's sake He must show His love to
win and change him. For man's sake He must show His hate of sin that man,
too, might know its hatefulness and learn to hate it with intensest hate.
His love for man is to be the measure of man's hate for sin. The death of
Jesus was God's master-stroke. At one stroke He told man His estimate of
man and His estimate of man's sin; His love and His hate. It was the
measureless measure of His hate for sin, and His love for man. It was a
master-stroke too, in that He took sin's worst--the cross--and in it
revealed His own best. Out of what was meant for God's defeat, came sin's
defeat, and God's greatest victory.

And the one simple thing that transfers to a man all that Jesus has worked
out for him is what is commonly called "faith." That is, trusting God,
turning the heart Godward, yielding to the inward upward tug, letting the
pleasing of God dominate the life. This, be it keenly marked, has ever
been the one simple condition in every age and in every part of the earth.

Abraham _believed_ God and it was reckoned to him for righteousness. The
devout Hebrew, reverently, penitently standing with his hand on the head
of his sacrifice, at the tabernacle door, _believed_ God and it was
reckoned to _him_ for righteousness. The devout heathen with face turned
up to the hill top, and feet persistently toiling up, patiently seeking
glory and honor and incorruption _believes_ God, though he may not know
His name, and it is reckoned to _him_ for righteousness. The devout
Christian, with his hand in Christ's, _believes_ God, and it is counted to
_him_ for righteousness.

The devout Hebrew, the earnest heathen, and the more enlightened believer
in Jesus group themselves here by the common purpose that grips them
alike. The Hebrew with his sacrifice, the heathen with his patient
continuance, and the Christian who _knows_ more in knowing Jesus, stand
together under the mother wing of God.



Some Surprising Results of the Tragic Break



The Surprised Jew.


God proposes. Man disposes. God proposed a king, and a world-wide kingdom
with great prosperity and peace. Man disposed of that plan for the bit of
time and space controlled by his will, and in its place interposed for the
king, a cross. Out of such a radical clashing of two great wills have come
some most surprising results.

The first surprise was for the Jew. Within a few weeks after Jesus' final
departure, Jerusalem, and afterward Palestine, was filled with thousands
of people believing in Him. A remarkable campaign of preaching starts up
and sweeps everything before it. Jesus' name was on every tongue as never
before. But there were earnest Jews who could not understand how Jesus
could be the promised Messiah. He had not set up a kingdom. Their
Scriptures were full of a kingdom.

The Jew, whether in their largest colony in Babylon, or in Jerusalem, or
in Rome, or Alexandria, or the smaller colonies everywhere, was full of
the idea, the hope, of a kingdom. He was absorbed with more or less
confused and materialized, unspiritual ideas of a coming glory for his
nation through a coming king. But among the followers of this Jesus there
is something else coming into being, a new organization never even hinted
at in their Scriptures. It is called the church. It is given a name that
indicates that it is to be made up of persons taken out from among all
nations.

There comes to be now a three-fold division of all men. There had been
with the Jews, always, a two-fold division, the Jew and the Gentiles, or
outside nations. Now three, the Jew, the outsiders, and the church. The
church is an eclectic society, a chosen out body. Its principle of
organization is radically different from that of the Hebrew nation. There
membership was by birthright. Here it is by individual choice and belief.

Foreigners coming in were not required to become Jews, as under the old,
but remained essentially as they have been in all regards, except the one
thing of relationship to Jesus in a wholly spiritual sense. There is
constant talk about "the _gospel_ of the kingdom," but the kingdom itself
_seems_ to have quite slipped away, and the church is in its place. Such a
situation must have been very puzzling to any Jew. His horizon was full of
a kingdom--a _Jew_ kingdom. Anything else was unthinkable. These intense
Orientals could not conceive of anything else. It had taken a set of
visions to swing Peter and the other church leaders into line even on
letting outsiders into the church.

This Jesus does not fill out this old Hebrew picture of a king and a
kingdom. How _can_ He be the promised Messiah? This was to thousands a
most puzzling question, and a real hinderance to their acceptance of
Jesus, even by those profoundly impressed with the divine power being
seen.

This was the very question that had puzzled John the Baptist those weary
months, till finally he sends to Jesus for some light on his puzzle. Jesus
fills out part of the plan, and splendidly, but only part, and may be what
seems to some the smaller part. Can it be, John asks, that there is to be
another one coming to complete the picture? To him Jesus does not give an
answer, except that he must wait and trust. He would not in words
anticipate the nation's final rejection, though so well He knew what was
coming. Their chance was not yet run out for the acceptance of Jesus that
would fill out John's picture. God never lets His foreknowledge influence
one whit man's choice. It was a most natural and perplexing difficulty,
both for John and later for these thousands.

The answer to all this has its roots down in that tragic break. In the old
picture of the Messiah there are two distinct groups of characteristics of
the coming king, _personal_ and _official_. He was to have a direct
personal relation to men and an official relation to the nation, and
through it to the world. The personal had in it such matters as healing
the sick, relieving the distressed, raising the dead, feeding the hungry,
easing heart strains, teaching and preaching. It was wholly a personal
service. The official had, of course, to do with establishing the great
kingdom and bringing all other nations into subjection. Now, it was a bit
of the degeneracy of the people and of the times, that when Jesus came the
blessings to the individual had slipped from view, and that the national
conception, grown gross and coarse, had seized upon the popular
imagination, and was to the fore.

Jesus filled in perfectly with marvellous fulness the individual details
of the prophetic picture. Of course filling in the national depended upon
national acceptance, and failure there meant failure for that side. And,
of course, He could not fill out the national part except through the
nation's acceptance of Him as its king. Rejection there meant a breaking,
a hindering of that part. And so Jesus _does not_ fill out the old Hebrew
picture of the Messiah. He could not without the nation's consent. Man
would have used force to seize the national reins. But, of course, God's
man could not do that. It would be against God's plan for man. Everything
must be through man's consent.

Out of this perplexity there came to be the four Gospels. They grew up out
of the needs of the people. Mark seems to have written his first. He makes
a very simple recital, setting down the group of facts and sayings as He
had heard Peter telling them in many a series of talks. It is the
simplest of the four, aiming to tell what he had gotten from another. But
it offers no answer to these puzzling questions.

Matthew writes his account of the gospel for these great numbers of
perplexed, earnest Jewish questioners. They are Palestinian Jews,
thoroughly familiar with Jewish customs and places. Sitting backward on
the edge of the Hebrew past, thoroughly immersed in its literature and
atmosphere, but with his face fastened on Jesus, he composes out of the
facts about Jesus and the old prophetic scriptures a perfect bit of
mosaic. There is the fascination of a serpent's eye in turning from the
prophetic writings to the Gospel of Matthew. Let a man become immersed and
absorbed in the vision of the Hebrew prophetic books and then turn to
Matthew to get the intense impression that this promised One _has_ come,
at last has actually come, _and_--tragedy of tragedies--_is being
rejected_.

This is the gap gospel. It bridges the gap between the prophetic books and
the book of Acts, between the kingdom which has slipped out and the church
which has come in. It explains the adjournment of the kingdom for a
specified time, the church filling a sort of interregnum in the kingdom.
The kingdom is to come later when the church mission is complete. It tells
with great care and with convincing power that Jesus filled perfectly the
prophecy of the Messiah in every detail _personally_, and did not fill out
the _national_ features because of the nation's unwillingness. That is
the Matthew Gospel.

Paul was the apostle to the outside nations. His great work was outside of
Palestine. He dealt with three classes, Jews, outsiders who in religious
matters had allied themselves with the Jews, but without changing their
nationality, and then the great outside majority, chiefly the great crowds
of other nationalities. These people needed a gospel of their own. Their
standpoint is so wholly different from the Jews' that Matthew's gospel
does not suit, nor Mark's. Paul, through Peter and Barnabas and others,
has absorbed the leading facts and teachings of those three years, and
works them over for his non-Jewish crowds. He omits much that would appeal
peculiarly to Jews, and gives the setting and coloring that would be most
natural to his audiences.

His studious companion, Doctor Luke, undertakes to write down this account
of Jesus' life as Paul tells it, and for Paul's audience and territory,
especially these great outside non-Jewish crowds of people. He goes to
Palestine, and carefully studies and gathers up all the details and facts
available. He adds much that the two previous writers had not included.
One can easily understand his spending several days with Mary, the now
aged mother of Jesus, in John's home in Jerusalem, and from her lips
gleaning the exquisite account of the nativity of her divinely conceived
Son. He largely omits names of places, for they would be unknown and not
of value or interest. When needed, he gives explanation about places.

These three gospels follow one main line; they tell the story of the
_rejection_ of Jesus. Then there arose a generation that did not know
Jesus, the Jesus that had tramped Jerusalem's streets and Galilee's roads.
Some were wondering, possibly, how it was that these gospels are absorbed
in telling of Jesus' _rejection_. There surely was a reason for it if He
was so sweepingly rejected. So John in his old age writes. His chief
thought is to show that from the first Jesus was _accepted by individuals_
as well as _rejected by the nation_. These two things run neck and neck
through his twenty-one chapters, along the pathway he makes of witnessed,
established facts regarding Jesus. The nation--the small, powerfully
entrenched group of men who held the nation's leadership in their
tenacious fingers--the nation rejects. It's true. But the ugly reason is
plain to all, even the Roman who gave final sentence. From the first,
Jesus was accepted by men of all classes, including the most thoughtful
and scholarly.

He is writing to the generation that has grown up since Jesus has gone,
and so to all after generations that knew of Him first by _hearing_ of
Him. He is writing after the Jewish capital has been leveled to the
ground, and the nation utterly destroyed as a nation, and to people away
from Palestine. So he explains Jewish usages and words as well as places
in Palestine, to make the story plain and vivid to all. And the one point
at which he drives constantly is to make it clear to all after
generations that men of every sort of Jesus' own generation believed;
questioned, doubted, examined, weighed, _believed_, with whole-hearted
loving loyalty followed this Jesus.

This decides the order in which, with such rare wisdom, the churchmen
later arranged the four gospels in grouping the New Testament books. The
order is that of the growth of the new faith of the church from the Jewish
outward. Next to the Hebrew pages lies the gap gospel, then the earliest,
simplest telling, then the outsiders' gospel, and then the gospel for
after generations.



The Surprised Church.


Man proposes. God disposes. Man may for a time set aside God's plan, but
through any series of contrary events God holds steadily to His own plan.
Temporary defeat is only adjournment, paving the way for later and greater
victory. Another surprise is for the church, that is, the church of later
generations, including our own. The old Jew saw only a triumphant king,
not a suffering king. He saw only a kingdom. There was no hint of any such
thing as a church. The church to-day, and since the day of Constantine,
sees only a church. The kingdom has merged into the church or slipped out
of view.

There seems to be a confused mixing of church and kingdom, but always with
the church the big thing, and the kingdom a sort of vague,
indefinite--folks don't seem to know just what--an ideal, a spiritual
conception, or something like that. The church is supposed to have taken
the place of the kingdom. Its mission seems to be supposed to be the doing
for the world what the kingdom was to do, but, being set aside, failed to
do.

In reading the old Book there is a handy sort of explanation largely in
use that applies all that can be fitted into the theory in hand, and
calmly ignores or conveniently adjusts the rest. The Old Testament
blessings for the Jewish kingdom are appropriated and applied to the
church. The curses there are handed over to the Jews or ignored. There
seems to be a plan of interpreting one part of the Bible one way and
another part in a different way. This part is to be taken literally. This
other not literally, spiritually, the only guiding principle being the
man's preconceived idea of what should be. The air seems quite a bit foggy
sometimes. A man has to go off for a bit of fresh air and get straightened
out with himself inside.

A whiff of keen, sharp air seems needed to clear the fog and bring out the
old outlines--a whiff?--a gale! Yet it must needs blow, like God's wind of
grace always blows, as a soft gentle breeze. The common law among folk in
all other matters for understanding any book or document is that some one
rule of interpretation be applied consistently to all its parts. If we
attempt to apply here the rule of first-flush, common sense meaning, as
would be done to a house lease or an insurance policy, it brings out this
surprising thing. The church is distinct from the kingdom. It came
through the kingdom failing to come. It fits into a gap in the kingdom
plan. It has a mission quite distinct from that of the kingdom.

The church is to complete its mission and go. The kingdom, in the plain
meaning of the word kingdom, is to come, and be the dominant thing before
the eyes of all men. The church goes up and out. The kingdom comes in and
down. Later the church is to be a part of the executive of the kingdom.
This seems to be the simple standpoint of the Book.

The tragic break does not hinder the working of the plan. It simply
_retards_ it awhile. A _long_ while? Yes--to man, who counts time by the
bulky measurement of years, and can't seem to shake off the _time_ idea;
who gets absorbed in moments and hours and loses the broad swing of
things. To God?--No. He lives in eternities, and reckons things by events.
His eye never loses the whole, nor a single detail of the whole.

But yet more. That break leads to an _enriching_ of the plan. Out of hate
God reveals love. Not a greater love, but a greater opportunity for
greatly revealing love. Man's unwillingness and opposition may _delay_
God's plan, but cannot hinder it. A man can hinder it for his own self if
he so insist. But for others he can only delay, not hinder. Though God may
patiently yield His own plan, for a time, to something else, through which
meanwhile His main purpose is being served, yet He never loses sight of
His own plan--the highest expression of His love. And when He does so
yield, it is that _through_ the interruption He may in the long run work
out the higher and the highest.

And so in the fulfilment of God's plan as given by His Hebrew spokesmen,
there is a sort of sliding scale. A partial fulfilment takes place,
leaving the full fulfilment for the full working out of the plan. The
fulfilment takes place in two stages, the first being only less full than
the final. Thus Elijah is to come. But first comes John, a man with most
striking resemblance to Elijah. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit
prophesied in Joel is to be upon _all_ flesh. But before that takes place,
comes the Pentecost outpouring, filling out the Joel prophecy in spirit,
but not in the full measure.

As a matter of good faith the King must come back and carry out the
kingdom plan in full. And judging simply by the character of God and of
Jesus, I haven't a bit of doubt that He will do it. No amount of
disturbance ever alters the love of God, nor His love-plan in the long
run, however patiently He may bear with breaks.

Even this phase is in the minor strain of the old Hebrew. "They shall look
upon Him whom they have _pierced;_ and they shall _mourn_ for Him, as one
mourneth for his only son." _There_ is a future meeting of the rejected
King and His rejecting people, and this time with sorrow for their former
conduct, which implies different conduct at this meeting time. And to this
agrees the whole swing of the New Testament teaching. Peter says the
going away of Jesus is to be "_until_ the restitution of all things." He
is to return and carry out the old plan.

It's a bit unfortunate that some earnest, lovable people have pushed this
phase of truth so much to the front as to get it out of its proportion in
the whole circle of truth. Truth must always be kept in its place in the
circle of truth. Truth is fact in right proportion. Out of that it begins
to breed misstatement and error. Jesus' coming back is not to wind things
up. It is to begin things anew. There will be certain phases of judgment,
doubtless, a clearing of the deck for action, but no general judgment till
long after. The kingdom is to swing to the front, and bring a new life to
the earth for a very long time. Then after that the wind-up.

The gospel preached in the Acts is the "gospel of the _kingdom_." They are
always expecting it to come. Paul constantly alludes to the Master's
return as the great thing to look forward to, as distinctly at the close
as at the beginning of his ministry. The book of Revelation is distinctly
a kingdom book, and however it may, with the versatility of Scripture to
serve a double purpose, foreshadow the characteristics of history for the
centuries since its writing, plainly its first meaning has to do with the
time when "the kingdom of the world is become the kingdom of our Lord and
of His Christ." The King is coming back to straighten matters out, and
organize a new running of things. This is the church's surprise, and a
great surprise it will apparently be to a great many folks, though not to
all.



The Surprising Jew.


There is a third surprise growing out of this tragic break, the greatest
of all--_the Jew_. The first surprises were for the Jew, the later
surprise for the church; this surprise has been and is for all the world.
The Jew has been the running puzzle of history. A strange, elusive,
surprising puzzle he has been to historians and all others. Not a nation,
only a people, flagless, countryless, without any semblance of
organization, they have been mixed in with all the peoples of the earth,
yet always distinctly separate.

They have been persecuted, bitterly, cruelly, persistently persecuted, as
no other people has ever been, yet with a power of recovery of none other
too. With an astonishing vitality, resourcefulness, and leadership, they
have taken front rank in every circle of life and every phase of activity,
in art, music, science, commerce, philanthropy, statesmanship; holding the
keys of government for great nations, of treasure boxes, and of exclusive
social circles; making their own standards regardless of others, and with
the peculiarity of strongest leadership, pushing on, whether followed or
not.

And now the past few years comes a new thing. This surprising Jew is
surprising us anew. From all corners of the earth they are gathering as
not since the scattering to the Assyrian plains, gathering to discuss and
plan for the getting into shape as a nation again on the old home soil.
Jews of every sort, utterly diverse in every other imaginable way, except
this of being Jews, men who hate each other intensely because of divergent
beliefs in other matters, yet brushing elbows in annual gatherings to plan
with all their old time intensity a new Jewish nation. Along the highways
of earth, made and controlled by Christian peoples, they come. What does
it mean? They continue to be, as they have been, the puzzle of history.

This tragic break of the kingdom and the persistency of the King's plan
regardless of the break hold the key to the puzzle. The Jew has been
preserved, divinely preserved, against every attempt at his destruction.
For he is the keystone in the arch of the King's plan for a coming
world-wide dominion.

Jesus is God's spirit-magnet for the Jew and for all men. Around Him they
will yet gather, with the new Jewish nation in the lead, the church
closest to the person of the king, and all men drawn. Jesus is God's
organizer of the social fabric of the world. In response to His presence
and touch, each in his own place will swing into line and make up a
perfect social fabric.

With the new zeal for pure, holy living now in the church, the clearer
vision coming to her of the Lord's purpose of evangelizing the world, the
evidence in all parts of the world of men turning their thought anew to
God, this remarkable Jewish movement toward national life, it is a time
for earnest men to get off alone on bent knees, and with new, quietly deep
fervor, to pray "Thy kingdom come." "Even so come, Lord Jesus."



II. The Person of Jesus



  1. The Human Jesus.
  2. The Divine Jesus.
  3. The Winsome Jesus.



The Human Jesus



God's Meaning of "Human."


Jesus is God becoming man's fellow. He comes down by his side and says,
"Let's pull up together." Jesus was a man. He was as truly human as though
only human. We are apt to go at a thing from the outside. God always
reaches _within_, and fastens His hook there. He finds the solution of
every problem within itself. When He would lead man back the Eden road to
the old trysting place under the tree of life He sent a man. Jesus takes
His place as a man and refuses to be budged from the human level with His
brothers.

That word human has come to have two meanings. The first true meaning, and
a second, that has grown up through sin, and sin's taint and trail. The
second has become the common popular meaning; the first, the forgotten
meaning. It will help us live up to our true possible selves to mark
keenly the distinction. The first is God's meaning, the true. The second
is sin's, the hurt meaning. Constantly we read the effect and result of
sin into God's thought as though that were the real thing. This is grained
in deep, woven into the adages of the race. For instance, "To err is
human, to forgive divine." Yet this catchy statement is not true, save in
part. To forgive is human--God's human--as well as divine. Not to forgive
is devilish. It is not human to err. It is possible to the human being to
err, as it is with angels, but, in erring, man is leaving the human level
and going lower down.

To understand what it means to say that Jesus is human we must recall what
human meant originally, and has properly come to mean. Man as made by God
before the hurt of sin came had certain powers and limitations. His
powers, briefly, were, mastery of his body, of his mental faculties, and
powers in the spirit realm so lost to us now that we cannot even say
definitely what they are. And mastery means poised, mature control, not
misuse, nor abuse, nor lack of use, but full proper use. Possibly there
were powers of communication between men in addition to speech unknown to
us. Then, too, he had dominion over nature, over all the animal creation,
over all the forces of nature, and not only dominion, but fellowship with
the animal creation and with the forces of nature: dominion _through_
fellowship.

He had certain limitations. Having a body was a limitation. The necessity
for food, sleep, rest, and for exertion in order to move through space
acted as a constant check upon his movements and achievements. He could
not go into a building except through some opening. The law of growth, of
such infinite value to man under his conditions, was likewise a check.
Only by slow laborious effort and application would there come the
discipline of mental powers and the knowledge necessary to life's work.



The Hurt of Sin.


Now, in addition to these natural limitations sin has made other changes.
It has lessened the powers and increased the limitations. There has been
immense loss in the power over the forces of nature, though now, by slow
and very laborious efforts, after centuries, much is being regained.
Instead of fellowship there has been an estrangement between man and the
lower animals and between man and the forces of nature. All of this has
immensely added to man's limitations, though it is true that most men do
not know of what has been lost, so complete has the loss been.

The natural limitations have been added to. Sin affects the judgment. It
brings ignorance and passion, and they affect the judgment. There results
lack of care of the body, improper use of the strength, and ignorant and
improper use of the bodily functions. Then come weakness and disease and
shortened life, not to speak of the misery included in these and the
enjoyment missed. In the chain of results comes the toil that is drudgery.
Not work, but excessive work, more than one should do, with less strength
than one should have. Work itself under natural conditions is always a
delight. But through sin has come strain, tugging, friction, unequal
division. The changes wrought in nature by sin call for greater effort
with less return. Toil becomes slavish and grinding. Then poverty adds its
tug. And sorrow comes to sap the strength and take away the buoyancy. And
then man's inhumanity to his brothers and sisters. These are some of the
limitations added by sin and ever increasing.



Our Fellow.


Now, Jesus was human; truly naturally human, God's human, and then more
because of the conditions He found. The love act of creation brought with
it self-imposed limitations to God. And now the love act of saving brings
still more. God made man in His own image. In His humanity Jesus was in
the image of God, even as we are. Adam was an unfallen man. Jesus was that
and more, a tested and now matured unfallen man, and by the law of growth
ever growing more. Adam was an innocent, unfallen man up to the
temptation. Jesus was a virtuous unfallen man. The test with Him changed
innocence to virtue.

In His experiences, His works, His temptations, His struggles, His
victories, Jesus was clearly human. In His ability to read men's thoughts
and know their lives without finding out by ordinary means, His knowledge
ahead of coming events, His knowledge of and control over nature, He
clearly was more than the human _we_ know. Yet until we know more than we
seem to now of the proper powers of an unfallen man matured and growing
in the use and control of those powers we cannot draw here any line
between human and divine. But the whole presumption is in favor of
believing that in all of this Jesus was simply exercising the proper human
powers which with Him were not hurt by sin but ever increasing in use.

Jesus insisted on living a simple true human life, dependent upon God and
upon others. He struck the key-note of this at the start in the
wilderness. Everything He taught He put through the test of use. He _was_
what He taught. As a man He has gone through all He calls us to. He blazed
the way into every thicket and woods, and then stands ahead, softly,
clearly calling, "Come along _after_ Me."

He was a normal man, God's pattern unchanged. All the powers of body and
mind and spirit were developed naturally and _held in poise_, no lack of
development, no over development of some part, no misuse of any power, nor
abuse, but each part perfectly fitting in and working naturally with each
other part.

He experienced all the proper limitations of human life. He needed food
and sleep and rest and needed to give His body proper thought and care. He
was under the human limitations regarding space and material construction.
He got from one place to another by the slow process of using His strength
or joining it with nature or that of a beast. He entered a building
through an opening as we do. Both of these are in sharp contrast with the
conditions after the resurrection. His stock of knowledge came by the law
of increase, the natural way; some, and then more, and the more gaining
more yet.

But there's more than this. There's a bit of a pull inside as one thinks
of this, as though Jesus in His _humanity_ after all is on a level above
us, hardly alongside giving us a hand. Ah! there is more. He had
fellowship with us in the limitation that sin has brought. He shared the
experiences that men were actually having. He knew the bitterness of
having one's life plan utterly broken and something else--a rude jagged
something else--thrust in its place. But the bitterness of the experience
never got into His spirit or affected His conduct. The emergency He found
down here wrought by sin affected Him.

He was _hungry_ sometimes without food at hand to satisfy His hunger. He
always showed a peculiar tender sympathy with hungry people. He couldn't
bear the sight of the hungry crowds without food. He would go out of His
way any time to feed a man. He makes the caring for hungry folks a test
question for the judgment time. There's a great note of sympathy here with
the race. Every night hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters go
hungry to bed. It was said at one time that the death rate of London rises
and falls with the price of bread. If true when said it probably is more
intensely true to-day. Jesus ate the bread of the poor, the coarsest,
plainest bread. But then, that may have been simply His good common
sense.

Jesus got _tired_. Could there be a closer touch! He fell asleep on a
pillow in the stern of the boat one day crossing the lake. And the sleep
was like that of a very tired man, so sound that the wild storm did not
wake Him up. It was His tiredness that made Him wait at Jacob's well while
the disciples push on to the village to get food. He wouldn't have asked
them to go if they were too tired, too. Was He ever _too_
tired--over-tired--like we get? I wonder. There was the temptation to be
so ever tugging. Probably not, for He was wise, and had good self-control,
_and_ then He trusted His Father. Yet He probably went to the full limit
of what was wise. Certainly He lived a strenuous life those three and a
half years.

Jesus knew _the pinch of poverty_. He was the eldest in a large family,
with the father probably dead, and so likely was the chief breadwinner,
earning for Himself and for the others a living by His trade. He was the
village carpenter up in Nazareth, an obscure country village. I do not
mean abject grinding poverty, of course. That cannot exist with frugality
and honest toil. But the pinch of constant management, rigid economy,
counting the coins carefully, studying to make both ends meet, and needing
to stretch a bit to get them together. It is not unlikely that house rent
was one of the items.

The ceaselessness of His labors those public years suggests habits of
industry acquired during those long Nazareth years. He was used to working
hard and being kept busy. It would seem that He had the care of His mother
after the home was broken up. At the very end He makes provision for her.
John understands the allusion and takes her to his own home. He must have
thought a great deal of John to trust His mother to his care. Could there
be finer evidence of friendship than giving His friend John such a trust?

Jesus was _a homeless man_. Forced from the home village by His fellow
townsmen, for those busy years he had no quiet home spot of His own to
rest in. And He felt it. How He would have enjoyed a home of His own, with
His mother in it with him! No more pathetic word comes from His lips than
that touching His homelessness--foxes have holes, and the birds of the air
nests, but the Son of Man hath neither hole nor nest, burrowed or built,
in ground or tree.

And Jesus knew the sharp discipline of _waiting_. He knew what it meant to
be going a commonplace, humdrum, tread-mill round while the fires are
burning within for something else. He knew, and forever cast a sweet soft
halo over all such labor as men call drudgery, which never was such to Him
because of the fine spirit breathed into it. Drudgery, commonplaceness is
in the _spirit_, not the work. Nothing could be commonplace or humdrum
when done by One with such an uncommon spirit.



There's More of God Since Jesus Went Back.


I have tried to think of Him coming into young manhood in that Nazareth
home. He is twenty now, with a daily round something like this: up at dawn
likely--He was ever an early riser--chores about the place, the cow,
maybe, and the kindling and fuel for the day, helping to care for the
younger children, then off down the narrow street, with a cheery word to
passers-by, to the little low-ceilinged carpenter shop, for--eight
hours?--more likely ten or twelve. Then back in the twilight; chores
again, the evening meal, helping the children of the home in difficulties
that have arisen to fill their day's small horizon, a bit of quiet talk
with His mother about family matters, maybe, then likely off to the
hilltop to look out at the stars and talk with the Father; then back
again, slipping quietly into the bedroom, sharing sleeping space in the
bed with a brother. And then the sweet rest of a laboring man until the
gray dawn broke again.

And that not for one day, _every_ day, a year of days--_years_. He's
twenty-five now, feeling the thews of his strength; twenty-seven,
twenty-nine, still the old daily round. Did no temptation come those years
to chafe a bit and fret and wonder and yearn after the great outside
world? Who that knows such a life, and knows the tempter, thinks _he_
missed those years, and their subtle opportunity? Who that knows Jesus
thinks that _He_ missed such an opportunity to hallow forever, fragantly
hallow, home, with its unceasing round of detail, and to cushion, too, its
every detail with a sweet strong spirit? Who thinks _He_ missed _that
chance_ of fellowship with the great crowd of His race of brothers?

    "In the shop of Nazareth
    Pungent cedar haunts the breath.
    'Tis a low Eastern room,
    Windowless, touched with gloom.
    Workman's bench and simple tools
    Line the walls. Chests and stools,
    Yoke of ox, and shaft of plow,
    Finished by the Carpenter
    Lie about the pavement now.

    "In the room the Craftsman stands,
    Stands and reaches out His hands.

    "Let the shadows veil His face
    If you must, and dimly trace
    His workman's tunic, girt with bands
    At His waist. But His _hands_--
    Let the light play on them;
    Marks of toil lay on them.
    Paint with passion and with care
    Every old scar showing there
    Where a tool slipped and hurt;
    Show each callous; be alert
    For each deep line of toil.
                Show the soil
    Of the pitch; and the strength
    Grip of helve gives at length.

    "When night comes, and I turn
    From my shop where I earn
    Daily bread, let me see
    Those hard hands; know that He
    Shared my lot, every bit:
    Was a man, every whit.

    "Could I fear such a hand
    Stretched toward me? Misunderstand
    Or mistrust? Doubt that He
    Meets me full in sympathy?

    "Carpenter' hard like Thine
    Is this hand--this of mine;
    I reach out, gripping Thee,
    Son of Man, close to me,
    Close and fast, fearlessly."[6]

To-day up yonder on the throne _there's a Man_--kin to us, bone of our
bone, heart of our heart, toil of our toil. _He_--knows. If you'll listen
very quietly, you'll hear His voice reaching clear down to you saying,
with a softness that thrills, "Steady--steady--_I_ know it all. I'm
watching and _feeling_ and _helping_. Up yonder is the hill top and the
glory sun and the wondrous air. Steady a bit. Stay up with _Me_ on the
glory side of your cloud, though your feet scratch the clay." Surely
there's more of God since Jesus went back!



The Divine Jesus



Jehovah--Jesus.


Of all the men who knew Jesus intimately John stands first and highest. He
misunderstood for a time. He failed to understand, as did the others. He
did not approach the keen insight into Jesus' being and purpose that Mary
of Bethany did. But, then, she was a woman. He was a man. Other things
being equal (though they almost never are), woman has keener insight into
the spirit and motives than has man. But John stood closer to Jesus than
any other. Jesus drew him closer. And that speaks volumes for John's
fineness of spirit. He alone of the inner twelve did not forsake in the
hardest hour that Thursday night, but went in "_with_ Jesus." How grateful
must Jesus have been for the presence of His sympathetic friend that black
night, with its long intense shadows!

Now John writes about Jesus. And what this closest friend says will be of
intensest interest to all lovers of Jesus. But it is of even intenser
interest to note keenly _when_ John writes. He waits until the end. He
gets the longest range on Jesus that his lengthening years will permit.
Distance is essential to perspective. You must get far away from a big
thing to see it. The bigger the thing to be seen, the longer the distance
needed for good perspective. John shows his early appreciation of the size
of Jesus by waiting so long. When all his mental faculties are most
matured, when any heat of mere youthful attachment has cooled off, when
the eye of the spirit is clearest and keenest, when the facts through long
sifting have fallen into right place and relation in the whole circle of
truth, then the old man settles to his loving task.

He had been _looking_ long. His perspective has steadily lengthened with
the looking years. The object has been getting bigger and bigger to his
eyes. He is getting off as far as possible within his earthly span. At
last he feels that he has approximately gotten the range. And with the
deep glow of his heart gleaming up out of his eyes, he picks up a
freshly-sharpened quill _to tell folk about Jesus_.

As he starts in he takes a fresh, long, earnest look. And so he writes,
like a portrait artist working, with his eyes ever gazing at the vision of
that glorified Face. He seems to say to himself, "How _shall_ I--how _can_
I ever _begin_ to tell them--about _Him_!" Then with a master's skill he
sets out to find the simplest words he can find, put together in the
simplest sentences he can make, so simple folk everywhere may read and get
something of a glimpse of this Jesus, whose glory is filling his eyes and
flooding his face and spilling out all over the pages as he writes.

He is seeing back so far that he is getting beyond human reach. So he
fastens his line into the farthest of the far-reaches of human knowledge,
the creation, and then flings the line a bit farther back yet. He must use
a human word, if human folk are to understand. So he says "_beginning_."
"In the beginning," the beginningless beginning, away back of the Genesis
beginning, the earliest known to man.

Then he recalls the tremendous fact that when, in the later beginning man
knew about, the worlds came into existence, it was by a _word_ being
spoken, a _creative, outspoken word_. The power that created things
revealed itself in a few simple words. Then he searches into the depths of
language for the richest word he knew to express thought outspoken. And
taking that word he uses it as a _name_ for this One of whom he is trying
to tell. The scholars seem unable to sound the depths of the word that
John in his own language uses. It means this, and beyond that, it means
_this_, deeper yet, and then _this_. And then all of these together, and
more. That is John's word. "In the beginning was _the Word_."

Then with a few swift touches of his pen he says, "This was Jesus before
He came among men, the man Jesus whom we know." In the earliest beginning
the whole heart and thought of God toward man was outspoken in a person.
This person, this outspeaking God, it was He who later became known to us
as Jesus. Jesus, away back before the farthest reach of our human
knowledge, was God speaking out of His inner heart to us. This Jesus _is_
God speaking out His innermost heart to man. Did you ever long to hear God
speak? Look at Jesus. He's God's speech. This One was _with_ God. He _was_
God. It was _He_ who spoke things into being, that creative span of time.
Only through Him _could_ anything come into being. All life was in Him,
and this life was man's light. It is He who came into our midst, shining
in the darkness that could neither take Him in nor hold Him down from
shining out.

Every now and then as he writes John's heart seems near the breaking
point, and a sob shakes his pen a bit, as it comes over him all anew, and
almost overcomes him, how this wondrous Jesus, this throbbing heart of
God, was treated. Listen: "He came to His _own possessions_, and they who
were His--own--kinsfolk--and the quiver of John's heart-sob seems to make
the type move on the page--_His own kinsfolk_ received him not into their
homes, but left Him outside in the cold night; _but_--a glimpse of that
glorious Face steadies him again--as many as _did_ receive Him, whether
His own kinsfolk or not, to them He gave the right to become _kinsfolk of
God_, the oldest family of all."



God's Spokesman.


John has a way of reaching away back, and then by a swift use of pen
coming quickly to his own time, and then he keeps swinging back over the
ground he has been over, but each time with some added touch, like the
true artist he is.

John's statement, "the world was made by Him," takes one back at once to
the early Genesis chapters. There the creating One, who, by a word, brings
things into existence is called God. And then, that we may identify Him,
is called by a _name_, Jehovah. The creator is God named Jehovah. And this
Jehovah, John says, was the One who afterward became a Man, and pitched
His tent among men. And as one reads the old chapters through, this is the
God, the Jehovah, who appears in varying ways to these Old Testament men,
one after another. He talked and walked and worked with Adam in completing
the work of creation, and then broken-hearted led him out of the forfeited
garden.

Then to make his standpoint unmistakably plain to every one, before
starting in on the witness borne by the herald, he makes a summary. All
that he has been saying he now sums up in these tremendous words,
"_God_--no one ever yet has seen; the only begotten God,[7] in the bosom
of the Father, this One has been the spokesman." In what He _was_, and in
what He _did_ as well as in what He _said_, He hath been the spokesman.
Here is a difference made between the Father God, whom no one has seen,
and the only begotten God, who has been telling the Father out.

Now God revealed Himself to men in the Old Testament times. Repeatedly in
the Old Testament it distinctly speaks of men seeing God in varying ways
and talking with Him. Adam walked with Him, and Enoch, and Noah. Abraham
had a _vision_, and talked with the three men whose spokesman speaks as
God. Isaac has a night-vision and Jacob a dream and a night meeting with a
mysterious wrestler. Moses _spoke_ with Him "face to face" and "mouth to
mouth," and is said to have seen His "form." Yet after that first forty
days on the mount when Moses hungrily asks for more, He is told that no
man could endure the sight of that great glory of God's face. And he is
put in to a cleft of the rock, and God's hand put over the opening (in the
simple language of the record), and then only the _hinder_ part of God
passing is seen, while the wondrous voice speaks. Yet the impression so
made upon Moses far exceeds anything previous and completely overawes and
melts him down. The elders of Israel "saw God," yet the most _distinct_
impression of anything seen is of the beautiful _pavement under His feet_.
Isaiah's most definite impression, when the great vision came to him, was
of a train of glory, seraphim and smoke and a voice. Ezekiel has rare
power in detailed description. He has overpowering visions of the "glory of
Jehovah." Yet the most definite that he can make the description is a
storm gathering, a cloud, a fire, a centre spot of brightness, a clearness
as of amber, and four very unusual living creatures.

These men "saw" God. He "appeared" to them. Evidently that means many
different things, yet the word is always honestly used. It never means as
we gaze into another man's face. But always there is that profound
impression of having been in God's own presence. They _met_ Him. They
_saw_ Him. They heard His voice.

Yet John says here, "_God_--no one ever yet at any time has seen; the only
begotten God, in the bosom of the Father--this One has been the
spokesman." Clearly John, sweeping the whole range of past time, means
this: they saw Him whom we call Jesus. Jesus is Jehovah, the only
_begotten_ God. To all these men the only begotten God was the spokesman
of the Father.

Sometimes it was a voice that came with softness but unmistakable
clearness to the inner spirit of man, a soundless voice. Sometimes in a
dream, a more realistic vision of the night or of the day time; again, in
the form of a man, thus foreshadowing the future great coming. This One
who _came_ to them in various ways, this Jehovah has _come_ to men as
Jesus. This is John's statement. This is the setting of His gospel. The
setting becomes a part of the interpretation of what the gospel contains.
It explains what this that follows _meant to John_.

Is it surprising that John's Gospel has been pitched upon as the critics'
chief battle-field of the New Testament? Battle-field is a good word. The
fire has been thick and fast, needle-guns--sharp needles--and
machine-guns--Gatling guns and rattling--but no smokeless powder. The
cloud of smoke of a beautiful scholarly gray tinge has quite filled the
air. Men have been swinging away from a man, the Man to a book. But no
critic's delicately shaded and shadowing cloud of either dust or smoke, or
both, can hide away the Man. He's too tall and big. The simple hearted man
who will step aside from the smoke and noise to the shade of a quiet tree,
or the quiet of some corner, with this marvellous bit of manuscript from
John's pen for his keen, Spirit-cleared eye, will be enraptured to find a
_Man, the_ Man, the _God_-Man.



Whom Moses Saw.


What did Jesus say about Himself? The critics of the world, including the
skeptical, infidel critics, seem to agree fully and easily on a few things
about this Jesus on whose dissection they have expended so much time and
strength. They agree that in the purity of His life, the moral power of
His character, the wisdom of His teachings, the rare poise of His conduct
and judgment, the influence exerted upon men, He clear over-tops the whole
race. Surely His own opinion of Himself is well worth having. And it is
easy to get, and tremendous when gotten. It fits into John's conception
with unlabored simplicity and naturalness.

According, then, to Jesus' own words, He had come down out of heaven, and,
by and by, would go back again to where He was before. He had come on an
errand for the Father down into the world, and when the errand was
finished He would go back home to the Father again. He had seen the
Father, and He was the only one who _had_ ever seen Him. He was the Son of
God in a sense that nobody else was, a begotten Son, and the only Son who
had been begotten. Therefore He naturally called God His Father, and not
only that, but His _own_ Father, making Himself _equal_ with the Father.

This statement it was that swung the leaders over from silent contempt to
aggression in their treatment of Him. The Jews understood this perfectly
and instantly. They refused to accept it. Reckoning it blasphemous, they
attempted to stone Him. They were partly right. If it were not true, it
_was_ blasphemous, and their law required stoning. Yet they were fools in
their thought, and not even keen fools. For no blasphemous man could have
revealed the character and moral glory that Jesus constantly revealed
before their eyes.

Then follows one of John's exquisite reports of Jesus' words in reply. In
it run side by side the essential unity of spirit between Father and Son,
with the absolute life-giving or creative power invested in the Son. A
sweet, loving, loyal unity of spirit is between the two. It is love unity.
There can be none closer. In this unity the Son has full control of life
for all the race of men, and final adjustment of the character wrought out
by each. At His word all who have gone down under death's touch will come
into life again, and each by the character he has developed will go by a
moral gravitation to his natural place.

And then follows the bringing forward of witnesses, John, the Father, the
works, the Scriptures, and the climax is reached in the one whose name was
ever on their lips--Moses. And this is the significant reference to Moses,
"He wrote of _Me_." Sift into that phrase a bit. It cannot mean, he wrote
of me in the sacrifices provided for with such minute care. For Moses
clearly had had no such thought. It might be supposed to mean that
unconsciously to himself there was, in his writings about the sacrifices,
that which would be seen later to refer to Jesus in His dying. And there
is the resemblance in purity between Moses' sacrifices and the great
Sacrifice. Yet where there is so much plain meaning lying out on the face
of the thing, this obscure meaning may be dropped or checked in as an
incidental. There is a single allusion in Moses' writing to a prophet
coming like himself.

But Moses is ever absorbed in writing about a wondrous One who revealed
Himself to him in the burning bush, the pillar of cloud and fire, the
little peaked tent off by itself on the outskirts of the camp, and the
soft distinct voice. There was the One with whom He had twice spent forty
days in the mount, and whose great glory left its traces in his face. Ever
Moses is writing of this wondrous Jehovah. Jesus quietly says, "He wrote
of _Me_."

Another time He said, "I and the Father are one," provoking another
stoning. Invisibly holding back their hands He said, "The Father is in Me,
and I in the Father," and again they are aroused. In connection with this
word "Father," it may be noted that the Old Testament has been called the
"dispensation of the Father." But this seems scarcely accurate. God
speaking, appearing there is spoken of as Father very rarely, and then
chiefly in the great promises of the future glory. The common name for Him
is _Jehovah_. Jesus practically gives us the name Father for God. He
constantly refers to God as _His_ Father. It was He who taught us to call
God Father. He never speaks of Jehovah, but of the Father. His language in
this always fits in perfectly, as of course it would, with John's
standpoint, that Jesus is the Jehovah of the Old Testament times. A little
later Jesus says, "Moses gave you not the manna from heaven, but--my
Father giveth (note the change in the time element of the word)--giv_eth_
you the true bread." It is a sort of broken, readjusted sentence, as
though He was going to say who it was that gave the manna, and then
changes to speaking of the Father and the present. He does not say who it
was that _did_ give that manna. It is plain enough from John's standpoint
what _he_ understands Jesus to mean as he puts the incident into his
story.



Jesus is God Wooing Man.


During the autumn before His death, while in attendance on one of the
Jerusalem feasts, the leaders are boasting of their direct descent from
Abraham, and attacking Jesus. On their part the quarrel of words gets very
bitter. They ask sharply, "Who do you pretend to be? Nobody can be as
great as Abraham; yet your words suggest that you think you are." Then
came from Jesus' lips the words, spoken in all probability very quietly,
"Your father Abraham exulted that he might see my day, and he saw it, and
was glad." It is a tremendous statement, staggering to one who has not yet
grasped it.

In attempting to find its meaning, some of our writing friends have
supposed it means that, after Abraham's death, when he was in the other
world, at the time of Jesus being on the earth, he was conscious of Jesus
having come and was glad. But this hardly seems likely, else it would
read, "He _sees_, and _is_ glad." The seeing and gladness were both in a
day gone by. Others have supposed that it refers to the scene on Moriah's
top, when the ram used as a sacrifice instead of Isaac enabled Abraham to
see ahead _by faith_, not actually, the coming One. But this, too, seems a
bit far-fetched, because Abraham was surprised by the occurrences of that
day. He fully expected to sacrifice his son, apparently, so there could be
no exultant looking forward to _that_ day for him. And deeper yet, the
coming One was not expected to be a sacrifice, but a king.

The natural meaning seems to lie back in Abraham's own life. Abraham was
Israel's link with the idolatrous heathen, as well as the beginning of the
new life away from idolatry. He grew up among an idolatrous people, yet in
his heart there was a yearning for the true God. Back in his old home
there came to him one day the definite inner voice to cut loose from these
people, his own dear kinsfolk, and go out to a strange unknown land, with
what seemed an indefinite goal, and there would come to him a vision of
the true God.

It was a radical step for a man of seventy-five years to take. He was
living among his own kinsfolk. His nest was feathered. It meant leaving a
certainty for an uncertainty. It meant breaking his habit of life, a very
hard thing to do, and starting out on a wandering roaming life. Not
unlikely his neighbors thought it a queer thing, a wild goose chase, this
going off to a strange land in response to a call of God that he might see
a vision of the true God. Decidedly visionary. But the old man was clear
about the voice. The fire burned within to know God, the real true God.
All else counted as nothing against that. He would _see God_. And a
warming glow filled his heart and shone in his eyes and kept him steady
during the break, the good-byes, the start away, the journeying among
strangers. Into the strange land he came, and pitched his tent. And--one
night--in his tent--among these strange Canaanites, there came the
promised vision. "Jehovah appeared unto Abraham," and tied up there anew
with him the promise made back in his native land. This seems to be the
simple explanation of these words about Abraham. "He exulted that he might
see my day. He _saw_ ... and was glad."

With a contemptuous curl of the lip instantly they come back with: "Thou
art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?" More quietly
than ever, with the calmness of conscious truth, come those tremendous
words, emphasized with the strongest phrase He ever used, "Verily, verily,
I say unto you, before Abraham was born, I am." The common version omits
"born," and so the sharp contrast is not made clear. Abraham was _born_.
He came into existence. Jesus says "I _am_." That "I am" is meant to mean
absolute existence. An eternal now without beginning or ending. Their
Jewish ears are instantly caught by that short sentence. Jesus was
identifying Himself with the One who uttered that sentence out of the
burning bush! Again stones for speech. Again the invisible power holds
their feverish impotent hands. That "I am" explains the meaning of the
expression "my day." It stretches it out backward beyond Abraham's day. It
lengthens it infinitely at both ends.

This is Jesus' point of view, this marvellous Jesus. He is the Jehovah in
Genesis' first chapters. It is with Him that Adam broke tryst that day,
and with Him that Enoch renewed the tryst after such a long wait, and took
those long walks. It is His voice and presence in the black topped,
flaming mount that awed the Israel crowd so. His voice it was that won and
impressed so winsomely the man waiting in the hand-covered cleft of the
rock that early morning, and long after, that other rugged, footsore man,
standing with face covered in the mouth of a cave. Isaiah saw _His_ glory
that memorable day in the temple. It was He who rode upon the storm before
Ezekiel's wondering eyes and who walks with His faithful ones on the seven
times heated coals, and reveals to Daniel's opened ears the vision of his
people's future. Jehovah--He comes as Jesus. Jesus--He is Jehovah. No
sending of messengers for this great work of winning His darling back to
the original image and mastery and dominion will do for our God. He comes
Himself. Jesus is God coming down to woo man up to Himself again.



The Winsome Jesus



The Face of Jesus


Jesus was God letting man see the beauty of His face and listen to the
music of His voice, and feel the irresistibly gentle drawing power of His
presence. Jesus was very winsome. He _drew_ men. He said that if He were
lifted up He _would_ draw men. They who heard that could believe it, for
He drew them before He was lifted up. He drew the _crowds_. Yet many a
leader that has drawn the crowds has led them astray. He drew _men_--men
of strongest mentality, scholarly, cultured, thoughtful men, and every
other sort. Yet men have often been befooled in their leaders. He drew
_women_. Here is a great test. Men may be deceived in a man. But woman,
true strong woman, pure womanly woman, because of her keen discernment
into spirit and motive, cannot be deceived, when true to her inner
conviction.

He drew _children_. This was the highest test. The child, fresh from the
hand of God, before it is appreciably hurt by parents or surroundings, is
drawn to the pure and good. They are repelled by selfishness and badness.
They draw out the best. They are drawn only by the true and beautiful and
good. That is, in the early years, before the warping of a selfish, sinful
atmosphere has hurt them. This is an infallible test. This told most His
winsomeness.

_Bad people_ were drawn to Him. That is, bad in their lives. Rarely indeed
is a human so wholly bad as to be untouched by true goodness, by sincere
love. Here is the touchstone of service. He touched that spot in the
lowest, and by His presence increased the hunger of their hearts for
purity and for sympathy up toward purity.

His _enemies_--a very small group, but in a position of great power,
holding the national reins--His enemies were drawn to Him, by a drawing
they fought, but could not resist. They admired Him while hating Him. His
presence disturbed because it accused the opposite in them. They
recognized the purity, the love, the rugged honesty, the keen insight, the
poised wisdom, and they hated Him the more intensely, so committed were
they in the practice of their lives to the opposite of these. Jesus was
very winsome. It was to be expected of Him, for He was a _man_ unstained
and unhurt by sin. Man, God's sort of man, is winsome, for he is in the
image of God. It was to be expected of Him, for He was God. And God is
winsome. Did men but _know_ God they would throw themselves at His feet in
the utter abandon of strong love.

Jesus' _personality_ must have been very attractive, because of the man
living within. He found expression in it. The spirit of a man finds
expression in his presence. He goes out to others through his presence.
From what we know of Jesus His presence must have had something distinctly
impressive about it. He would have a gently majestic bearing. He walked
upright like the king He was. He had the true dignity that is not
conscious of its dignity.

Jesus must have had a remarkable _face_. One's presence centers peculiarly
in the face. It comes to bear the imprint of the man inside. A man cannot
keep out of his face the dominant spirit of his life. The sin of the life,
the purity of the heart, is always stamped on the face. The finer the
nature the plainer is the facial index. That is the reason women's faces
reveal the inner spirit more than men's. Quite apart from His features,
the inner spirit of Jesus must have made His face beautiful with a manly
fascinating beauty. Yet in all likelihood those features were finely
chiselled and the skin clear, and with the transfiguring power of the
spirit within, that face must have been a great face in its beauty.

Jesus' face must have borne the impress of His experiences. The early home
experience would bring out patience and simplicity and sympathy. Those
forty days in the wilderness would intensify the purity and strength, and
bring evidence of struggle and of victory. The Jordan waters, with the
voice of approval, would deepen the mark of peace. Constant contact with
the sick and suffering would bring out yet more the tenderness and
gentleness. Constant teaching of undisciplined folk would intensify the
patience. Constant contact with sin would intensify the unflinching
sternness of purity. The Transfiguration would deepen the spirituality,
with possibly an added glory-touch. Gethsemane wrote in the deep lines of
intense suffering, with the intangible spirituality of victory and great
peace. And, at the last, Calvary with its scars marked in a beauty of
suffering and of spirituality refined beyond description. A marvellous
face that human face of Jesus.

_Indeed_, the glory of God was in the face of Jesus as He walked quietly
among men. Looking into that face men saw God. That simple, gentle,
patient, pure face, with its deep peace and victory and yet its
yearning--that was God looking out into men's faces.



The Music of God in the Voice of Jesus.


The face of that face was the _eye_. The eye is the soul of the face.
Through it the man looks out and shows himself. Through it we look in and
see him. Where the fires of self-ambition burn the flame is always in the
eye. Only where those fires are out or never lit does the real
beauty-light of God come into the eye. Great leaders have ever been noted
for their eyes, before whose glance strong men have cowed and quailed, or
eagerly coveted the privilege of service.

Those must have been matchless eyes of Jesus, keen, kindly, flashing out
blinding lightning, sending out softest subdued light. The Nazareth mob
couldn't stand the look of those eyes, nor the bolder Jerusalem mob
reaching down for the stones, nor the deputation sent to arrest, nor even
the reckless Roman soldiers at the garden gate. The disciples who were
closest sometimes followed him afraid and amazed because of the look of
those eyes. And yet the little children put their arms around His neck,
and looked up fearlessly and lovingly. And the crowd listened by the hour
with their eyes fastened upon His.

The _voice_ of Jesus must have been music itself. It speaks once of His
singing a hymn. How we would all have loved to hear Him sing! But that
voice was music at all times, whether in song or speech. Low, modulated,
rhythmic, gentle, rich, resonant--wondrous music. Those who have heard
Spurgeon and Gladstone almost always speak of the rare musical quality in
their voices. So, and more would it be with this Jesus. It has been said
that the personality reveals itself in the speech. It reveals itself yet
more, and more subtly, in the sound of the voice. The power or weakness of
a man is felt in the sound of his voice. The blind have unusual skill in
reading character in the voice. Were we wiser we could read men's
character much more quickly in the voice. Children and animals do. The
voice that stilled the waves and spoke forgiveness of sins, that drew the
babes, and talked out to thousands at once, must have been full of
sweetest music and thrilling with richest power.

Jesus made much of the personal _touch_, another means whereby a man's
power goes out to his fellow. He believed in close personal touch. He drew
men into close contact with Himself. He promised that when gone Himself,
Somebody else was to come, and live as He had done right with us in close
touch. He touched those whom He helped, regardless of conditions. There
was power in His touch. Some of Himself went out through that touch of
His. The fever, the weakness, the disease fled before His touch.

Is it to be wondered at that everywhere, in the temple yards, on Judean
hills or Galilean, by the blue waters of Galilee or the brown waters of
the Jordan, men crowded to Jesus? They couldn't help it. He was
irresistible in His presence, His face, His eye, and voice and touch. It
could not be otherwise. He was God on a wooing errand after man. Moses'
request of Jehovah, "Show me ... Thy glory," was being granted now to the
whole nation. In Jesus they were gazing on the glory of God. A veiled
glory? Yes, much veiled, doubtless, yet not as much as when Moses looked
and listened.

Jesus _draws_ men. All classes, all nations, all peoples are drawn to Him.
It is remarkable how all classes in Christendom quote Jesus, and claim Him
as the leader of their own particular views. They will selfishly claim Him
who will not follow Him.

Jesus draws _us_. Let us each yield to His drawing. That is the sincerest
homage and honor we can give Him. That will draw out in us to fullest
measure the original God-likeness obscured by sin.

Let us lift this drawing Jesus _up_ by our lives of loyalty to Him, by our
modest, earnest testimony for Him, by our unselfish love for the men He
loved so. _Up_ let us lift Him before men's eyes; _up_ on the cross,
transfigured by His love; _up_ on the Olives' Mount, Victor over all the
forces of sin and death; _up_ at the Father's right hand in glory, waiting
the fullness of time for the completion of His plan for man.

Thou great winsome God, we have seen Thy beauty in this Jesus. We have
heard Thy music in His voice. We feel the strong pull upon our hearts and
wills of Thy presence in Him. We cannot resist Thee if we would. We would
not if we could. We are coming a-running to keep tryst with Thee under the
tree of life thou art planting down in our midst. We will throw ourselves
at Thy feet in the utter abandon of our strongest love, Thy volunteer
slaves.



III. The Great Experiences of Jesus' Life



  1. The Jordan: The Decisive Start.
  2. The Wilderness: Temptation.
  3. The Transfiguration: An Emergency Measure.
  4. Gethsemane: The Strange, Lone Struggle.
  5. Calvary: Victory.
  6. The Resurrection: Gravity Upward.
  7. The Ascension: Back Home Again Until----



The Jordan: The Decisive Start



The Anvil of Experience.


Experience is going through a thing _yourself_, and having it go _through_
you. And "through" here means not as a spear is thrust through a man's
body, piercing it, but as fire goes through that which it takes hold of,
permeating; as an odor goes through a house, pervading it.

A man _knows_ only what he experiences; what he goes through; what goes
through him. He knows only what he is _certain_ of. And he is certain of
only that which he _experiences_.

It is one of the natural limitations of our humanity that it is so. Even
the primary knowledge of space, and time, and so on comes in this way. A
man knows space only by seeing or thinking through space. He knows time
only by living consciously through some moments of time. Such knowledge is
primary only in point of time.

Experience is weaving fact into the fabric of your life. The swift drive
of the double-pointed shuttle, the hard push of the loom back and forth
_goes through you_.

Experience is sowing truth in actual personal occurrences. The cutting,
upturning edge of the plow, the tearing teeth of the harrow, go on inside
your very being, while perhaps the moments drag themselves by, slow as
snails.

Experience is hammering truth into shape upon the anvil of your life,
while the pounding of the lightning trip-hammer is upon your own quivering
flesh. It is seeing that which is most precious to you, so dear as to be
your very life, seeing that in a furnace, seven times heated, while you,
standing helplessly by, hope and trust perhaps, and yet _wonder_, even
while trusting, wonder _if_--(shall I say it the way your heart talks it
out within?), or, at most, wonderingly watch with heart almost stopped,
and eyes big, to see _if_ the form of the Fourth will intervene in _your_
case, or whether something else is the Father's will.

Experience is the three young Hebrews stepping with quiet, full,
heel-to-toe tread into the hotly flaming furnace, not sure but it meant
torture and death, only sure that it was the only right thing to do. It is
the old Babylonian premier actually lowering nearer and nearer to those
green eyes, and yawning jaws, and ivories polished on many a bone, clear
of duty though not clear of anything else.

A man having a financial understanding with his church, or a contract with
his employer, or a comfortable business, may be an earnest Christian,
living a life of prayer and realizing God's power in his life, but he
cannot know the meaning of the word _trust_ as George Mueller knew it
when he might waken in the morning with not enough food in hand for the
breakfast, only an hour off, of the two thousand orphans under his care,
and in answer to his waiting prayer have them all satisfied at the usual
breakfast hour. George Mueller himself did not know the meaning of "trust"
before such experiences as he did afterwards. No one can. We _know_ only
what we _experience_.

Now Jesus became a perfect man by means of the experiences He went
through. He is an older _Brother_ to us, for He has gone through ahead
where we are now going, and where we are yet to go. He was perfectly human
in this, that He did not know our human experiences, save as He Himself
went through those experiences. With full reverence be it said of the
divine Jesus, it was necessarily so, because He was so truly human.

The whole diapason of human experience, with its joyous majors and its
sobbing minors, He knew. Except, of course, the experiences growing out of
sin. These He could not know. They belong to the abnormal side of life.
And there was nothing abnormal about Him. It was fitting that Jesus,
coming as a man to save brother men, should develop the full human
character through experience. And so He did. And forever He has a
fellow-feeling with each of us, at every point, for He Himself has _felt
our feelings_.

Jesus' experiences brought Him suffering; keen, cutting pain; real
suffering. Where there is possible danger or pain in an approaching
experience there is _shrinking_. It is a normal human trait to shrink from
pain and danger. Jesus' experiences in the suffering they brought to Him
far outreach what any other human has known. He shrank in spirit over and
over again as the expected experiences approached. He shrank back as none
other ever has, for He was more keenly alive to the suffering involved. He
suffered doubly: in the shrinking beforehand; in the actual experience.

But, be it keenly remembered, shrinking does not mean _faltering_. Neither
suffering in anticipation nor actually ever held Him back for a moment,
nor an inch's length, nor in the spirit of full-tilted obedience to His
Father's plan. This makes Jesus' experiences the greatest revealers of His
character. He was sublime in His character, His teachings, His stupendous
conceptions. He was most sublime in that wherein He touches us most
closely--His experiences.

With a new, deep meaning it can be said, knowledge is power. We humans
enter into knowledge and so into power only through experience.
Experiences are sent, or when not directly sent are allowed to come, that
through these may come knowledge, through knowledge power, through both
the likeness of God, and so, true service in helping men back to God.

Let us, you and I, go through our experiences _graciously_, not
grudgingly, not balking, cheerily, aye, with a bit of joy in the voice and
a gleam of light in the eye. And remember, and not forget, that alongside
is One who _knows_ the experience that just now is ours, and, knowing,
sympathizes.

There were with Jesus the commoner experiences and the great outstanding
ones: the mountain range with the foot-hills below and the towering peaks
above. From His earliest consciousness until the cross was reached, Jesus
ran the whole gamut of human experiences common to us all, with some
greater ones, which are the same as come to all men, but with Him
intensified clear beyond our measurements.

These greater experiences were tragic until the great tragedy was past.
Each has in it the shadow of the greatest. The Jordan waters meant turning
from a kingdom down another path to a cross. The Wilderness fight pointed
clearly to successive struggles, and the greatest. The Transfiguration
mount meant turning from the greatest glory of His divinity which any
earthly eye had seen to the little hill of death, which was to loom above
the mount. Gethsemane is Calvary in anticipation. Calvary was _the_
tragedy when love yielded to hate and, yielding, conquered. There love
held hate's climax, death, by the throat, extracted the sting, drew the
fang tooth, and drained the poison sac underneath. Love's surgery.

And the tinge of the tragedy remains in the Resurrection and Ascension in
lingering scars. They are still in that face. It is a scale ascending
from the first. In each is seen the one thing from a different angle. The
cross in advance is in each experience, growing in intensity till itself
is reached, and casting its shadow as it is left behind.



Our Brother.


Through the crowds at the Jordan River, there quietly walked one morning a
Man who came up to where John stood. He took a place in the line of those
waiting to be baptized, so indicating His own intention. John is absorbed
in his work, but as he faces this Man, next in order, he is startled. This
is no ordinary man. That face! Its wondrous purity! That intangible
something revealing the man! That spirit looking through those eyes into
his own! In that presence he feels his own impurity. It is the instant
unpremeditated recognition by this fine-grained Spirit-taught John of his
Master, his Chief. The remonstrance that instinctively springs to his lips
is held in check by the obedience he at once feels is due this One.
Whatever _He_ commands is right, however unexpected it may be, or however
strange it may seem.

Why did Jesus go to John for baptism? The rite was a purifying one. It
meant confession of sin, need of cleansing, a desire for cleansing, a
purpose to turn from wrong and sin and lead a new life. How _could_ Jesus
accept such a rite for Himself? Why did He? Read in the light of the whole
story of Jesus the answer seems simple. Jesus was stepping down into the
ranks of man as His _Brother_. The kingdom He was to establish among men
was to be set up and ruled over by man's Brother. The salvation was to be
by One, close up, alongside. The King will brush elbows with His subjects,
for they are brothers too. No long-range work for Jesus, but personal
touch.

In accepting John's baptism, Jesus was allying Himself with the race of
men He had come to lead up, and out, as King. He was allying Himself with
them _where they were_. It was not the path always trodden by man in
climbing to a throne. But it was the true path of fellowship with them in
their needs. He was getting hold of hands, that He might be their leader
up to the highlands of a new life. He steps to their level. He would lift
from below. He would get by the side of the man lowest down. It was clear
evidence at the start that He was the true Messiah, the King. He was their
_Brother_. He would get down alongside, and pull up with them side by side
out of the ditch of sticky mud up to good footing.

And mark keenly--and the heart glows a bit at the thought--the point He
chooses for getting into that contact with His brothers. It is _the point
where they are turning from sin_. John's baptism meant turning from sin.
It is at that point that Jesus comes forward. A man can always be
live-sure of Jesus meeting him there, close up, with outstretched hand. He
is waiting eagerly, and steps up quickly to a man's side as in his heart
he turns from sin.

But there's more yet. Read in the after light cast upon it there is much
more. This was the voluntary path away from the kingdom. It was the
beginning of all that came after. The road up the hill of the cross not
far away led out of those waters. This was the starting point. Jesus
calmly turned His face for the time being--a long time it has proved--away
from the promised Kingdom of His Father and toward the planned cross of
Satan.

It meant much, for it was the _first step_ into the path marked out. What
the Father had chosen for Him, He now chooses out for Himself. So every
bit of service, every plan, must be _twice chosen:_ by God for a man; by
the man for himself as from God. He entered eagerly, for this was His
Father's plan. That itself was enough for Jesus. But, too, it was the path
where His needy brothers were. That would quicken His pace. It was the
road wherein He would meet the _enemy_. And with a fresh prayer in His
heart and a quiet confidence in His eye He steps into the road with that
calmness that strong purpose gives.

As it proved there was danger here for Him. This was not the way approved
by man's established ideals for starting a kingdom. He was driving
straight across the carefully marked out roads of man's usage. He was
disregarding the "No trespassing" signs. There was danger here. A man
cutting a new path right across old ones meets stubborn undergrowth, and
ugly thorn hedges. Jesus struck the thorns early, and right along to the
last getting sharper. And they tore His face badly, as He cut the way
through for His brothers.

Yes, there were dangers as He pushed His way through the undergrowth down
to the water. Poison ivy thick, and fanged snakes darting guiltily aside
from fear even while wanting to strike in, tangled, gnarly roots hugging
the ground close, and bad odors and gases, and the light obscured--dangers
thick! And these Jordan waters prove chill and roily. His stepping in
stirs the mud. The storm winds sweep down the valley. A bit of a hill up
above to the west casts a long sinister shadow out over the water.

And He must have known the dangers. No need of supernatural knowledge
here. His familiarity with David and Jeremiah and other Hebrew writers,
His knowledge of human nature as it had grown to be, His knowledge of a
foe subtler than human, the fine sensitiveness of His finely organized
sensitive spirit--these would lead Him to scent the danger.

But He falters not. The calmness of His will gives steadiness to His step
down the river's bank. Aye, the dangers lured Him on. He had a keen scent
for danger, for it was danger to His race of men, whose King He was in
right and would prove Himself in fact. He would draw the thorn points by
His own flesh that men might be saved their stinging prod and slash. He
would neutralize the burning acid poison of the undergrowth by the red
alkaline from His own veins. He would use the thorns to draw the healing
salve for the wounds they had caused. He would put His firm foot on the
serpent's head that His brothers might safely come along after. This was
the meaning of His plunge into the swift waters by John's side.

The intense significance of this decisive step by Jesus is brought out
strikingly by what follows. What followed is God's comment upon it. Quick
as the act was done came the Father's approval. John's crowds were not the
only intent lookers-on that day. Jesus stands praying. Since He is going
this road it must be a-knee. Then the rift in the upper blue, the Holy
Spirit straight from the Father's presence comes upon the waiting Man and
the voice of pleased approval. And the heart of Jesus thrilled with the
sound of that approving voice. He could go any length, down any steep, if
He might only ever hear that voice in approval. Then the Holy Spirit took
possession of Him for the earth-mission. In the pathway of obedience down
that rough steep came the coveted power of God upon Him.

Three times in His life the Father's voice came, and each time at a
crisis. Now at the plunge into the Jordan waters, which meant brotherhood
with the race, and meant, too, a frostier chill of other waters later on.
At the opening of the Greek door through which led an easy path to a
great following, and away from a cross, when Jesus, with an agony
intensified by the intensified nearing of those crossed logs, turned His
step yet more steadily in the path He had chosen that first Jordan day.
And between these two, on the mountain top, when the whole fabric of the
future beyond the cross hung upon three poor wobbling, spiritually stupid,
mentally untrained Galilean fishermen.

This is the meaning of that step into the Jordan. It was the decisive
start.



The Wilderness: Temptation



The University of Arabia.


The Jordan led to the Wilderness by a straight road. A first step without
slipping leads to the second. Victory opens the way to fresh struggles for
higher victories. The perfect naturalness of Jesus is revealed here, His
human naturalness. He had taken the decisive step into the Jordan waters.
And while absorbed in prayer had become conscious of a new experience. The
Spirit of God came upon Him in unusual measure. The effect of that always
is to awaken to new alertness and vigor every mental power, as well as to
key up every moral resolve. Jesus is _caught_ at once by the grasp, the
grip of this new experience of the wondrous Spirit's control. Keenly alive
to its significance, awakened anew to the part He was to perform, and to a
consciousness of His peculiar relation to God and to man, He becomes
wholly absorbed in this newly intensified world of thought.

Under the Spirit's impulse, He goes off into the solitude of the
wilderness to think. And in this mood of deep absorption, with every
faculty fully awake and every high moral impulse and purpose in full
throb, came the temptation with the recorded climax at the close.

There came an intensifying of all His former consciousness, and
convictions, regarding His own personality and His mission to mankind, as
absorbed from the Hebrew parchments, with the undercurrent, lying away
down, of a tragedy to be met on the way up to the throne.

Jesus was a man of great _intensity_. He could become so absorbed as to be
unconscious of other things. As a boy of twelve, when first He caught
fire, He was so taken up with the flood of thoughts poured into His mind
by the temple visit, that for three days and two nights He remained away
from His parents, simply absorbed in the world of thought awakened by that
visit. He could remain forty days in the wilderness without being
conscious of hunger. The impress of that forty days mentally remain with
Him during the remainder of His human life. Intensity is possible only to
strong mentality. The child's mind, the undisciplined mind, the mind
weakened by sickness or fatigue goes quickly from one thing to another.
The finest mental discipline is revealed in the greatest intensity, while
yet all the faculties remain at normal, not heated, nor disturbed by the
discoloration of heat.

He withdrew into the wilderness to think and pray. He wanted to get away
from man that He might realize God. With the near flaming footlights shut
out, He could see clearly the quiet upper lights, His sure guides. These
forty days gave Him the true perspective. Things worked into proportion.
He never lost this wilderness perspective. The wilderness means to Him
_alone with God_, the false perspective, the flaming of near lights, the
noise of men's shuffling feet all gone. And when He went out among men for
work, that wilderness atmosphere went with Him. And when the crowds
thickened, and work piled up, and dangers intensified, off He would go for
a fresh bit of improvised wilderness.

The temptation follows the natural lines of man's powers. Man was made
with mastery of himself, kingship over nature and all its forces, and
utter dependence, even for his very breath, upon God. While made perfect
in these, he would know them fully only through growth. He had three
relationships, to God, his fellows, and himself. His relation to God would
keep true the relation to himself, and adjust the relation to his fellows.
Keeping God in proper proportion in the perspective keeps one's self in
its true place always. Utter dependence by every man upon God would make
perfect harmony with his fellows. The dominion of nature was through
self-mastery, and this in turn would be only through the practice of utter
dependence upon God.

Now all sin comes under this grouping, the relation to God, the relation
to others, within one's self. Temptation follows the line of exaggeration,
misuse, misadjustment, wrong motive. It pushes trust over into unwarranted
presumption. Dominion over nature crosses the line into the relation to
other men. Fellow-feeling gives way to an ambition to get ahead of the
other man and to boss him. Proper appetite and desire become lust and
passion. The dominion that man was to have over nature, he seeks also to
have over his brothers, so crossing the line of his own proper dominion
and trespassing on God's. Only God is to have dominion over all men. Where
a man is lifted to eminence of rule among his fellows he is simply acting
for Somebody else. He is not a superior. He is a servant of God, in ruling
over his fellows.

John's famous grouping of all sin as "the lust of the flesh, lust of eye
and pride of life," refers to what is out "in the world." It touches only
_two_ of these three: sin in one's self and in relation to his fellows,
with the dominion line out of adjustment. Out in the world God has been
left clean out, so the phase of trust isn't touched upon by John.

Jesus' temptation follows these natural lines. Improper use of power for
the sake of the bodily appetite; to presume on God's care in doing
something unwarranted; to cross the line of dominion over nature and seek
to control men. For, be it remembered, Jesus was here as a man. The realm
of the body, the realm of religion, the realm of wrong ambition, these
were the temptation lines followed then, and before, and ever since.

The going into the wilderness was planned by the Holy Spirit. He was in
charge of this campaign of Jesus to win back the allegiance of man and
the dominion of the earth. Jesus yielded Himself to the control of the
Holy Spirit for His earthly mission, even as later the Holy Spirit yielded
Himself wholly to the control of the exalted Jesus for _His_ earthly
mission.

Here the Spirit proves Himself a keen strategist. He drives hard at the
enemy. He forces the fighting. A decided victory over the chief at the
start would demoralize all the forces. It would be decisive of the whole
conflict, and prophetic of the final outcome. Every demon possessing a man
on the earth heard of his chief's rout that day, and recognized his
Victor, and feared Him, and knew of his own utter defeat in that of his
chief. Having gotten the chief devil on the run, every sub-devil fled at
Jesus' approach.

The Spirit would show to man the weakness of the devil. The devil can do
nothing with the man who is calmly set in his loyalty to God. This new
Leader of the race was led up to the dreaded devil that men might know for
all time his weak spot. The poison of those fangs is completely
neutralized by simple, steady loyalty to God. But the rattles do make a
big scary noise.

It is safe to go where the Spirit of God leads, and not safe to go
anywhere else. The wilderness, any wilderness, becomes a place of victory
if the Spirit of God be leading there. Any temptation is a chance for a
victory when the Spirit leads the way. A man's controlling motive
determines the attractiveness or ugliness of any place. To Jesus this
wilderness barren was one of the mountain peaks. Its forbidding chasms and
ugly gullies and darting snakes ever afterwards speak to Him of sweet
victory. The first great victory was here. He made the wilderness to
blossom with the rose of His unswerving loyalty to His Father. And its
fragrance has been felt by all who have followed Him there. To the tempter
it was a wilderness indeed, barren of anything he wanted. He quit it the
first chance he could make. He would remember the beasts and serpents and
dreary waste. For here he received his first death-thrust.

Every man whom God has used has been in the wilderness. The two great
leaders before Jesus, and the great leader after Him, had each a
post-graduate course in the University of Arabia. A degree in that school
is required for those who would do valiant service for God. Only so can
the eyes and ears be trained away from the glare and blare of the crowd.
They needed it, we need it, for discipline. He, the matchless Man, for
that too, and that He might make it a place of sure victory for us.



Earth's Ugliest, Deepest Scar.


Jesus is the _only_ One of whom we are told that He was led up to be
_tempted_. He was the leader of the race for the regaining of the blurred
image, the lost mastery and dominion. He Himself bade us pray not to be so
tempted. He out-matched the tempter. Any one of us, alone, is clearly
out-matched by that tempter. But we may always rest secure in the victory
He achieved that day. Only so are we safe.

It is noteworthy that the _place_ of the temptation was chosen by the
Spirit, and what place it is He chooses. Mark keenly, the tempter did not
choose it. He was obliged to start in there, but he seized the first
chance to get away to scenes more congenial to himself.

The wilderness is one of the most marked spots on the earth's crust. That
remarkable stretch of land going by swift, steep descents almost from
Jerusalem's very door down to the Dead Sea. It was once described as "the
garden of God," that is, as Eden, for beauty and fertility, like the
fertile Egyptian bottoms. For long centuries no ghastlier bit of land can
be found, haggard, stripped bare, its strata twisted out of all shape,
blistering peeling rocks, scorching furnace-heat reflected from its rocks,
swept by hot desert winds, it is the land of death, an awful death; no
life save crawling scorpions and vipers, with an occasional hyena and
jackal. Here sin had a free line and ran riot. It ran to its logical
conclusion, till a surgical operation--a cauterization--was necessary to
save the rest. Earth's fairest became earth's ugliest. It is the one spot
where sin's free swing seamed its mark deepest in. The story of sin's
worst is burned into the crust of the earth with letters over a thousand
feet deep. This is sin's scar: earth's hell-scar.

There is no talk of the glory of the kingdom here. Yet there had been
once. This is the very spot where that proposition on smaller scale was
made to a man in a crisis of _his_ life, and where, lured by the
attractive outlook, he had chosen selfishly. This is the wilderness, sin's
wilderness, whither the Holy Spirit led Jesus for the tempter's assault.
No man does great service for God till he gets sin into its proportion in
his perspective.

Jesus was tempted. Temptation, the suggestion to wrong, must find some
point of contact within. Therein consists the temptation to the man.
Without doubt there was a response within to the temptations that came to
Jesus. Satan always throws his line to catch on a hook inside. The
physical sense of hunger responded to the suggestion of getting hold of a
loaf. The unfailing breath of Jesus' life was trusting His Father. For the
_way_ a thing should be done, as well as for getting the result, He
trusted His Father. This trust, underlying and permeating His whole life,
furnishes the point of contact for the second temptation.

The ruling of a world righteously--not for the glory of reigning,
ingrained in _us_, but for the world's good and betterment--was ingrained
in Jesus by His birth, and fostered by His study of the Hebrew scriptures,
and by the consciousness of His mission. Here is the point of contact with
the third temptation. At once it is plain that there is nothing wrong here
in the inward response. For instantly it was clear that a response of His
_will_ to these outer propositions would not be right, would be wrong, and
so these points of contact were instantly held in check by His will.

"_Every_ temptation" was brought, we are told: "tempted in _all_ points."
This does not mean that every particular temptation came to Jesus, but the
heart, the essential, of every temptation. Every temptation that comes to
us is along the line of the three that came to Him. By rejecting the
_first_ of each line He shut out its successors. By accepting the first of
a series of temptations a man opens the way for the next, and so on.
Temptations come on a scale descending. There are the first, the initial
temptations, and then all that follow in their train. Rejecting the first
stops the whole line. Not only that, but stops also the _momentum_,
terrific, downward momentum of the whole line.

The first temptation is the door through which must pass all other
temptations of that sort. If that door be opened these other temptations
have a chance. If that door be kept shut, all these others are kept
waiting. Temptation is always standing with its pointed toe at the crack
of the door, waiting the slightest suggestion of an opening. This first
temptation is always the likeliest of its class to get in. It is not
always the same, of course. It is subtly chosen to suit the man. Jesus
kept these doors rigidly shut, key turned, bolts pushed, bar up, chain
hooked. So may we.

The tempting is to be done by "the devil." That is his strong point,
tempting people. It is one way of recognizing some of his kin. It is a
mean, contemptible sort of thing. He had fallen into a hole of his own
digging, and would pull in everybody else. He is never constructive in his
work, always destructive. Best at tearing down. Never builds up. His
allies can often be told by their resemblance to him here. Jesus is to be
tempted by this master-tempter. He is going to prove to all his brothers
that the tempter has no power without the consent of the tempted. The door
into a man has only the one knob. And that's on the inside.



Waiting the Father's Word.


Quite likely the form of the tempter's words suggests the upper current of
Jesus' thought. "If thou be the _Son of God_." Jesus was likely absorbed
with His peculiar relation to His Father, with all that that involved. The
tempter cunningly seeks to sweep Him off of His feet by working on His
mood. It is ever a favorite method with the tempter to _rush_ a man. A
flush of feeling, the mood of an intense emotion tipped over the balance
with a quick motion of his, has swept many a man off his feet. But Jesus
held steady. There was no unholy heat of ambition to disturb the calm
working of His mind.

Why "if"? Did Satan doubt it? Is he asking proof? He gets it. Jesus did
not need to prove His divinity except by continuing to be divine. He
proved best that He was Son of God by being true to His Sonship. He
naturally acted the part. We prove best that we are right by being right,
not by accepting captious, critical propositions. The stars shine. We know
they are stars by their shine. Satan would have Jesus use His divinity in
an undivine way. He was cunning. But Jesus was keener than the tempter was
cunning.

"Get a loaf out of this stone. Don't go hungry. Be practical and
sensible." The cold cruelty of Satan! He makes no effort to relieve the
hunger. The hunger asked for bread and he gave it a stone. That is the
best he has. He is a bit short on bread. He would use the physical need to
break down the moral purpose. He has ever been doing just that. Sometimes
he induces a man to break down his strength in religious activity. And
then he takes advantage of his weakened condition. Even religious activity
should be refused save at the leading of God's Spirit. It will not do
simply to do _good._ The only safe thing is to do _God's will_, to be tied
fast to the tether of the Spirit's leading.

Jesus _could_ have made a loaf out of the stone. He did that sort of thing
afterwards. It was not wrong to do it, since, under other circumstances,
He did it. But it is wrong to do anything, even a good thing, at the
devil's suggestion. He would shun the counsel of the ungodly. The tempter
attacks first the _neediest_ point, the hunger, and in so far the weakest,
the likeliest to yield. Yet it was the strongest, too, for Jesus could
make bread. The strongest point may become the weakest because of the very
temptation the possession of strength gives to use it improperly. Strength
used properly remains strength; used improperly it becomes weakness. The
strong points always need guarding, that the balance be not tipped over
and lost. Strength is never greater than when used rightly; never greater
than when refused to the improper use. The essence of sin is in the
improper use of a proper thing.

The first step toward victory over temptation is to recognize it. Jesus'
quick, quiet reply here touches the human heart at once, and touches it at
its neediest and most sensitive point, the need of sympathy, of a fellow
feeling. He said, "_Man_ shall not live." The tempter said, "God." Jesus
promptly said, "Man." He came to be man, the Son of man, and the Brother
of man. He took His place as a _man_ that day in the Jordan water. He will
not be budged from man's side. He will stay on the man level in full touch
with His fellows at every step of the way.

He was giving to every man, everywhere in the world, under stress of every
temptation; with every rope tugging at its fastenings, and threatening
every moment to slip its hold, and the man be lost in the storm, _to every
man_ the right, the enormous staying power to say, "_Jesus_--a _man
_--such a one as I--was _here_, and as a _man_ resisted--and _won_. He is
at my side. I'll lean on Him and _resist_ too,--and _win_ too--in the
strength of His winning."

Jesus says here, "My life, my food, the supplying of my needs is in the
hands of my Father. When _He_ gives the word, I'll do: not before. I'll
starve if He wishes it, but I'll not mistrust Him; nor do anything save as
He leads and suggests. I'll not act at _your_ suggestion, nor anybody's
else but His. Starving doesn't begin to bother me like failing to trust
would do. But I haven't the faintest idea of starving with such a Father."

"Not by bread alone, but by every word ... of God." Not by a loaf, but by
a word. When a man is where God would have him, he can afford to wait
patiently till God gives the word. A man is never unsteadier on his feet
than when he has gone where he was not led. "_I go at my Father's word."
"I wait_ for my Father's word." Jesus' study of the parchment rolls in
Nazareth was standing Him in good stead now. Through many a prayerful hour
over that Word had come the trained ear, the waiting spirit, the doing of
things only at the Father's initiative. He could make bread, but He
wouldn't, unless the Father gave the word. It was not simply that He would
_not_ act at the tempter's suggestion, but He would not act at all except
at the Father's word. And to this Jesus remained true, whether the request
for evidence came from the tempter direct, or from sneering Pharisee at
the temple's cleansing, or from unbelieving brothers.

Life comes not through what a man can make, but through the Father's
controlling presence: not through our effort, but through the Father's
power transmitted through the pipe line of our ready obedience.

    "Just to let thy Father do
        As He will.
    Just to know that He is true,
        And be still.
    Just to follow hour by hour
        As He leadeth.
    Just to draw the moment's power
        As it needeth.
    Just to trust Him. This is all.
    Then the day will surely be
        Peaceful, whatsoe'er befall,
    Bright and blesséd, calm and free."[8]

Jesus held every activity, every power subject to the Father's bidding.
Not only obedient, but nothing else. Waiting the Father's send-off at
every turn: this is the message from Jesus that first tug, and first
victory. Jesus had held true in the realm of the body, in His relationship
to Himself.



Love Never Tests.


Satan shifts the scene. These wilderness surroundings grate on his nerves.
The setting of this place, once first class, is now rather worn. He's
famous at that. It's a favorite device of His; quick scene-shifting. A man
wins a victory over temptation, but a quick change of surroundings finds
him unprepared if he isn't ever alert for it, and down he goes before the
new, unexpected rush, before he can get his wind. The tempter is not a
fool, as regards man. That is, as a rule he is not. In the light of all
facts obtainable about his career, that word _might_ be thought of. Yet no
man of us may apply the word to him. Not one of us is a match for him.
We're not in the same class. In his keen subtlety and cunning he can
outmatch the keenest of us; outwit and befool without doing any extra
thinking. I am not using the word _wisdom_ of him. We are safe only in the
wisdom of our big Brother who drew his fangs in the wilderness that day.

He chooses shrewdly the spot for each following temptation. He's a master
stage manager. He always works for an _atmosphere_ that will help his
purpose. He took Jesus up to one of the wings of the temple in the holy
city. The holy city, and especially its temple, would awaken holiest
emotions. Here it was that Jesus, as a boy, years before, had probably
first caught fire. It is likely that He never forgot that first visit.
Here everything spoke to Him of His Father. The tempter is skilfully
following the leading of Jesus' reply. Jesus had given a religious answer.
So He is given a religious atmosphere, and taken to a religious place. He
would trust the Father implicitly. Here is an opportunity to let men see
that beautiful spirit of trust. Here is a chance for a master-stroke. A
single simple act will preach to the crowds. "You'll come down in the
midst of an open-mouthed, admiring crowd." The devil loves the
spectacular, the theatrical. He is always working for striking, stagy
effects.

How many a man has yielded to the _religious_ temptation! He is taken up
in the air, and seems to float among ethereal clouds. It is better for us
to live in the strength of Somebody else's victory, and keep good hard
earth close to the soles of our feet, or we may come into contact with it
suddenly with feet and head changing places.

The devil "taketh" Jesus. How could he? He could do it only by Jesus'
consent. Jesus yields to his taking. He has a strong purpose in it. He was
going for the sake of His brothers. The tempter cannot take anybody
anywhere except with his full consent. He tries to, and often befools men
into thinking he can. It's a lie. He cannot. Every man is an absolute
sovereign in his will, both as regards God and Satan. God will not do
anything with us without our ready consent. And be it keenly remembered
that the tempter _cannot_. Here Jesus gave consent for His brothers' sake.

The tempter acts his part like an old hand. The proper thing here is some
scripture, repeated earnestly in unctuous tones. Was it from this tempter
that all of us religious folks and everybody else have gotten into the
_inveterate_ habit of quoting verse and sentence entirely out of
connection? Any devil's lie can be proven from the Scriptures on that
plan. If it was he who set the pace, certainly it has been followed at a
lively rate. It was a cunning quotation, cunningly edited.

The angels _are_ ministering spirits. On their hands they do bear us up.
It is all true, blessedly true. But it is only true for the man who is
living in the first verse of that ninety-first psalm, "in the secret place
of the most High." The tempter threads his way with cautious skill among
those unpleasant allusions to the serpent, and the dragon, and getting
them under our feet, and then twisting and trampling with our hard heels.
He knew his ground well, and avoids such rough, rude sort of talk. It was
a cunning temptation, cunningly staged and worded and backed. He was doing
his best. One wonders if he really thought _Jesus_ could be tripped up
that way. So many others have been, and are, even after Jesus has shown us
the way. A dust cloth would help some of us--for our Bibles--and a little
more exercise at the knee-joint, and a bit of the hard common sense God
has given every one of us.

Did Jesus' wondrous, quiet calm nettle the tempter? Was He ever keener and
quieter? He would step from the substantial boat-deck to the yielding
water, He would cut Himself off from His Nazareth livelihood and step out
without any resources, He would calmly walk into Jerusalem when there was
a price upon His head, for so He was led by that Spirit to whose
sovereignty He had committed Himself. But He would do nothing at the
suggestion of this tempter. Jesus never used His power to show He had it,
but to help somebody. He could not. It is against the nature of power to
attempt to prove that you have it by using it. Power is never concerned
about itself, but wrapped up in practical service. There were no
theatricals about Jesus. He was too intensely concerned about the needs of
men. There are none in God-touched men. Elisha did not smite the waters to
prove that Elijah's power rested upon him, but _to get back across the
Jordan_ to where his work was needing him and waiting his touch. Jesus
would wear Himself out bodily in ministering to men's needs, but He
wouldn't turn a hair nor budge a step to show that He could. This is the
touch-stone by which to know all Jesus-men.

He rebukes this quotation by a quotation that breathes the whole spirit of
the passage where it is found. Thou shalt not _test_ God to see if He will
do as He promises. These Israelites had been testing, criticizing,
questioning, doubting God. That's the setting of His quotation. Jesus says
that love never tests. It trusts. Love does not doubt, for it _knows_. It
needs no test. It could trust no more fully after a test, for it trusts
fully now. Aye, it trusts more fully now, for it is trusting _God_, not a
_test_. Every test of God starts with a question, a doubt, a misgiving of
God. Jesus' answer to the second temptation is: love never tests. It
trusts. Jesus keeps true in His relation to His Father.



The Devil Acknowledges the King.


Another swift shift of the scene. Swiftness is a feature now. In a moment
of time, all the kingdoms, and all the glory of all the earth. Rapid work!
This is an appeal to the eye. First the palate, then the emotions, now the
eye. First the appetites, then the religious sense, now the ambition. The
tempter comes now to the real thing he is after. He would be a god. It is
well to sift his proposition pretty keenly, on general principles. His
reputation for truthfulness is not very good, which means that it is very
bad. Who wants to try a suspicious egg? He could have quite a number of
capitals after his name on the score of mixing lies and the truth. He has
a distinct preference for the flavor of _mixed_ lies.

Here are the three statements in his proposal. All these things have been
delivered unto me. I may give them to whom I will. I will give them to
you. The first of these is true. He is "the prince of this world." The
second is not true, because through breach of trust he has forfeited his
rule, though still holding to it against the Sovereign's wish. The third
is not true. Clearly he hadn't any idea of relinquishing his hold, but
only of swamping Jesus. Two parts lie: one part truth--a favorite formula
of his. The lie gets the vote. A bit of truth sandwiched in between two
lies.

He asks for worship. Did he really think that possibly Jesus would
actually worship him? The first flush answer is, surely not. Yet he is
putting the thing in a way that has secured actual worship from many a'one
who would be horrified at such a blunt putting of his conduct. We must
shake off the caricature of a devil with pointed horns, and split hoof,
and forked tail, and see the real, to understand better. From all accounts
he must be a being of splendor and beauty, of majestic bearing, and
dignity. His appeal in effect is this:--These things are all mine. You
have in you the ingrained idea of a world-wide dominion over nature, and
of ruling all men as God's King. Now, can't we fix this thing up between
us? Let's be friendly. Don't let's quarrel over this matter of world
dominion.

You acknowledge me as your sovereign. You rule over all this under me.
I'll stand next to God, and you stand next to me. It's a mere technical
distinction, after all. It'll make no real change in your being a
world-wide ruler, and it will make none with me either. Each will have a
fair share and place. Let's pull together.--The thing sounds a bit
familiar. It seems to me I have heard it since somewhere, if I can jog up
my memory. It has raised a cloud of dust in many a man's road, and blurred
the clear outlines of the true plan--_has_ raised?--_is_ raising.

Jesus' answer is imperative. It is the word of an imperative. He is the
King already in His Father's plan. He replies with the sharp, imperial
brevity of an emperor, a king of kings, "Get thee hence!" Begone! The
tempter obeys. He knows his master. He goes. Biting his teeth upon his hot
spittle, utterly cowed, he slinks away. Only one Sovereign, Jesus says.
All dominion held properly only by direct dependence upon Him, direct
touch with Him, full obedience to Him. No compromise here. No mixing of
issues. Simple, direct relation to God, and every other relation _through_
that. No short cuts for Jesus. They do but cut with deep gashes the man
who cuts. The "short" describes the term of his power, a short shrift.

When the devil has used up all his ammunition--. That's a comfort. There
is an end to the devil if we will but quietly hold on. Every arrow shot.
Not a cartridge left. Yet he is not entirely through with Jesus. He has
retired to reform the broken lines. He'll melt up the old bullets into
different shape. They have been badly battered out of all shape by
striking on this hard rock. He's a bit shaken himself. This Jesus is
something new. When he can get his wind he will come back. He came back
many times. Once through ignorant Peter with the loaf temptation in new
shape, once through His mother's loving fears with the emotional
temptation, and through the earnest, hungry Greeks, and the bread-full
thousands with the kingdom temptation. Yet the edge of His sword is badly
nicked, and never regains its old edge.

But now he goes. He obeys Jesus. The tempter resisted goes, weakened. He
is a coward now. He fights only with those weaker than himself. He
doesn't take a man of his own size. Temptation resisted strengthens the
man. There is a new resisting power. There is the fine fettle that victory
gives. Jesus is Victor. The Jordan experience has left its impress. Every
act of obedience is to the tempter's disadvantage. In Jesus we are
victors, too. But only in Him.

Through Jesus we meet a fangless serpent. The old glare is in the eye, the
rattles are noisy, but the sting's out. He is still there. He still can
scare; but can do not even that to the man arm-in-arm with Jesus. Jesus
keeps true the relationship to all men and to nature by keeping true the
relationship to His Father.

Our Father, lead us not into temptation as Jesus was led. We're no match
for the tempter. Help us to keep arm-in-arm with Jesus, and live ever in
the power of His victory.



The Transfiguration: An Emergency Measure



God in Sore Straits.


The darkest hour save only one has now come in Jesus' life. And that one
which was actually darkest, in every way, from every view-point darkest,
had in it some gleams of light that are not here. Jesus is now a fugitive
from the province of Judea. The death plot has been settled upon. There's
a ban in Jerusalem on His followers. Already one man has been cut off from
synagogue privileges, and become a religious and social outcast. The
southerners are pushing the fight against Jesus up into Galilee.

Four distinct times that significant danger word "withdrew" has been used
in describing Jesus' departure from where the Judean leaders had come.
First from Judea to Galilee, then from Galilee to distant foreign points
He had gone, for a time, till the air would cool a bit. The bold return to
Jerusalem at the fall Feast of Tabernacles had been attended, first by an
official attempt to arrest, and then by a passionate attempt to stone
Jesus to death.

And now the Galilean followers begin to question, and to leave. His
enemies' northern campaign, together with His own plain teaching, has
affected the Galilean crowds. They come in as great numbers as ever to
hear and to be healed. But many that had allied themselves as Jesus'
followers decide that He is not the leader they want. He is quite too
unpractical. The kingdom that the Galileans are eager for, that the Roman
yoke may be shaken off, seems very unlikely to come under such a leader.
Many desert Him.

Jesus felt the situation keenly. The kingdom plan in Jerusalem had failed.
And now the winning of individuals as a step in another plan is slipping
its hold. These people are glad of bread and the easing of bodily
distress, but the tests of discipleship they pull away from. He turns to
the little band of His own choosing, with a question that reveals the keen
disappointment of His heart. There's a tender yearning in that question,
"Will ye also go away?" And Peter's instant, loyal answer does not blind
His keen eyes to the extremity. With sad voice He says, "One of you, my
own chosen friends, one of you is a--devil." Things are in bad shape, and
getting worse.

It was a time of dire extremity. God was in sore straits. The kingdom plan
was clearly gone for the present. The rub was to save enough out of the
wreckage to get a sure starting-point for the new plan, through which, by
and by, the other original plan would work out. There can be no stronger
evidence of God's need of men than this transfiguration scene. Just
because He had made man a sovereign in his will, God must work out all of
His plans _through_ that sovereign will. He would not lower one whit His
ambition for a man free in his own will. He Himself would do nothing to
mar the divine image in man. For man's sake, and _through_ man's
will--that is ever God's law of dealing.



Fire and Anvil for Leaders.


The great need just now was not simply for men who would be loving and
loyal, but men who would be _leaders_. It has ever been the sorest need.
Men are not so scarce, true-hearted men, willing to endure sacrifice, but
_leaders_ have always been few, and are. Nothing seems to be less
understood than leadership; and nothing so quickly recognized when the
real thing appears. Peter _was_ a leader among these men. He had dash and
push. He was full of impulse. He was always proposing something. He acted
as spokesman. He blurted out whatever came. The others followed his lead.
There were the crude elements of leadership here. But not true leadership
of the finer, higher kind.

The whole purpose of the transfiguration was to get and tie up leaders. It
was an emergency measure, out of the regular run of things. Goodness makes
character. It takes goodness plus ability to make true leadership. The
heart can make a loving follower. It takes a heart, warm and true, plus
_brains_ to make a leader. Character is the essential for life. For true
leadership, there needs to be character plus ability: the ability to keep
the broad sweep of things, and not be lost in details, nor yet to lose
sight of details; to discern motive and drifts; to sift through the
incidentals which may be spectacular and get to the essential which may be
in Quaker garb.

There are two sorts of leadership, of action, and of thought. By
comparison with the other, leaders of action are many, leaders of thought
few. Peter was the leader in action of the disciples, and in the earlier
church days. John became the leader in thought of the later years of the
early church. Paul was both, a very unusual combination. Leaders are born,
it is true. But the finest and truest and highest leaders must be both
born leaders, and then born again as leaders. There needs to be the
original stuff, and then that stuff hammered into shape under hard blows
on the anvil of experience. The fire must burn out the clay and dirt, and
then the hammer shape up the metal. Leaders must have convictions driven
in clear through the flesh and bone, and riveted on the other side.

_Simon_ loved Jesus, but there needed to be more before _Peter_ would
arrive. It took the transfiguration to put into the impulsive, unsteady,
wobbling Simon the metal that would later become steel in Peter. Yet it
took much more, and finally the fire of Pentecost, to get the needed
temper into the steel. These same lips could give that splendid statement
that has become the church's foundation; and, a bit later, utter boldly
foolish, improper words to Jesus; and, later yet, utter vulgar profanity,
and words far worse, aye, the worst that could be said about a _friend_,
and in that friend's _need_, too.

This was a fair sample of the clay and iron, the Simon and the Peter in
this man. Yet it was with painful slowness that he had been brought up to
where he is now. Two years of daily contact with Jesus. Slow work! No,
rapid work. Nobody but Jesus could have done it in such a short time.
Nobody but Jesus could have done it at all. And, mark you keenly, this man
is the _leader_ of the band of men that stand closest to Jesus. This is
the setting of the great transfiguration scene.



An Irresistible Plan.


Jesus goes off, away from the crowds, to have a bit of quiet time with
this inner band of His. Here is the strategic point, now. The key to the
future plan is in this small group. If that key can be filed into shape,
cleaned of rust, and gotten to fit and turn in the lock, all may yet be
well. The nub of all future growth is here. With simple, keen tact He
begins His questionings, leading on, until Peter responds with his
splendid declaration for which the church has ever been grateful to him.
"Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." It comes to Jesus' ears
as a grateful drink of cold water to a thirsty man on a hot day in a
dusty road.

Then to this leader and to the inner circle, He reveals the changed plan.
For the first time the word church is used, that peculiar word which later
becomes the name of the new organization, "a company of persons called
out." He is going to build up a church upon this statement of faith from
Peter's lips, and this church will hold the relation to the kingdom of
key-holder, administrator. The church is to be a part of the
administration of the coming kingdom.

And so Jesus begins His difficult, sad task of preparing this band for the
event six months off in Jerusalem. There is to be a tragedy before the
building of the church which will hold the kingdom keys. So thoroughly
does Peter fail to understand Jesus, that with stupid boldness he attempts
to "rebuke" Him. Peter "took" Jesus. A great sight surely! He slips his
hand in Jesus' arm and takes Him off to one side to--straighten--Him--out.
This Jesus is being swept off His feet by undue emotional enthusiasm.
Peter would fix it up and save the day. It would take Peter to do that.

And this is a sample of the best leadership in this inner group. Things
were in bad shape. All the machinery hung upon a little pin holding two
parts together. That pin threatens to bend and break for lack of temper.
The Son of God leaves all else and turns aside to attend to a pin. The
future of the kingdom hung upon three undisciplined country fishermen.
The transfiguration spells out God's dire extremity in getting a footing
in human hearts _and brains_ for His plans. Something must be done.

Mark what that something was to be: so simple in itself, so tremendous in
its results. They were to be allowed to _see Jesus_. That would be enough.
The Jesus within would look out through the body He was using. The real
Jesus within looked out through the Jesus they knew. He let these men see
Himself a few moments; simply that. All of that, yet simply that. They
were His lovers. They were to be sorely tried by coming events. They were
to be the leaders. To _love_, for a time of _sore need_, for _service's_
sake, for the sake of the _multitudes_ whose _leaders_ they were to be,
for the saving of the _church_ plan, and beyond of the _kingdom_ plan, the
Jesus within looked out for a few moments into their faces.

It was the same plan used later in getting another leader. Jesus had to go
outside these men for a man with qualifications needed by the situation
that these men did not have. The human element again in evidence. Paul
says, "When I could not see for the glory of that light." That light
bothered his eyes. The old ambitions were blurred. He couldn't see them.
The outlines dimmed, the old pedigree and plans faded out. They could no
longer be seen for the glory of that light. It is the plan the Master has
ever used, and still does. It is irresistible.



"The Glory of that Light."


It was six days, or eight counting both ends, after the first telling of
the coming tragedy that shook them so. Here is a bit of practical
psychology. Jesus lets the brain impression made by that strange
announcement _deepen_ before making the next impression. Jesus went up
into the mountain "to pray." Prayer never failed Him. It was equal to
every need with Jesus. It was while praying that the wondrous change came.
Changed while praying. When Moses came down from that long time alone with
God, his face was full of the glory reflected from God's presence.
Stephen's face caught the light of another Face into which he was intently
looking.

Jesus was changed _from within_. It was His own glory that these men saw.
He had wrapped Himself up in a bit of human tapestry so He could move
among men without blinding their eyes. Now He looks out through the
strands. They are astonished and awed to find that face they know so well
now shining as the sun, and the garments made transparent as light,
glistening like snow, by reason of the great brilliance of the light
within. Yet Jesus let out only a part of the glory. When Paul saw, on the
Damascus road, the light was _above_ the shining of the sun.

When their eyes get over the first daze, the disciples come to see that
besides Jesus there are two others, two of the old Hebrew leaders. There
is Moses, the great maker of the nation, the greatest leader of all. And
rugged Elijah, who had boldly stood in the breach and saved the day when
the nation's king was proposing to replace the worship of Jehovah with
demon-worship. They are talking earnestly together, these three,
about--what? The great sacrifices Jesus had been enduring? The
disappointment in the kingdom plan? The suffering and shame to be endured?
The bitter obstinacy of the opposition? The chief priests' plotting?
Listen! They are talking about the departure, the exodus, the going out
and up, Jesus is about to _accomplish_. They are absorbed in Jesus. He was
about to execute a master-stroke. He is going to accomplish a great move.
They are wholly absorbed in Him, this Moses, and Elijah, and in this great
move of His for men.

Meanwhile these men lying on the ground are waking up and rubbing their
eyes. The only jarring note is a human note. John and James look with awe,
reverent awe. It is an insight into their character that nothing is said
about them. Their sense of reverence and power of control are to the
front. It is dear, impulsive old Peter who can't keep still, even amid
such a scene. His impulsive heart is just back of his lips, with no
check-valves between. He must offer a few remarks. This great vision must
be duly recognized. What a sensation it would make in Jerusalem to get
these two men to stay and come down and address a meeting! That would turn
the tide surely. Luke graciously explains that he did not know what he
was saying. No, probably not. The tongue seemed to be going mechanically,
rather than by the controlling touch of the will. Peter seems to have a
large posterity, some of whom abide with us to this day.

Then the vision is shut out by the intervening cloud. This human
interference disturbs the atmosphere. For Peter's sake, the glory is
hidden that the impression of it may not be rubbed out even slightly by
his own speech. We blur and lose the impression God would make upon us, by
our speech, sometimes. A bit of _divine_ practical psychology, this
movement of the cloud. Then the quiet voice that thrilled them with the
message of the Jordan, "This is My Son; My Chosen One: hear ye Him." Then
it is all over.

It is most striking that this wondrous vision of glory is for these three
obscure, untutored men, of lowly station. Not for the nation's leaders.
Yet the reason is plain. They had gladly accepted what light had come. To
them came more. Their door was open. It is these men who had obeyed light
that now received more. To him that hath received what light has come
shall be given more. From him that hath no light, because he won't let it
in, shall be taken away even what light he has. Shut fists will stifle
what is already held, and the life of it oozes out between the fingers.

In each of the three Gospels recording this scene it is introduced by the
same quotation from Jesus' lips. There were some persons in His presence
who would not die until they had seen the kingdom of God. The writers'
reference is clearly to the vision that follows. It is said to be a vision
of the coming kingdom. Jesus, with the divine glory within, no longer
concealed, but shining out with an indescribable splendor, up above the
earth, with two godly men, one of whom had died, and the other had been
caught up from the earth without death, talking earnestly about men and
affairs on the earth, and in direct communication with the Father--that is
the vision here of the kingdom.



A Vision of Jesus.


And so the darkest hour save only one was filled with the brightest light.
The after, darker hour of Calvary had gleams of light from this
transfiguration scene. There was faithful John's sympathetic presence all
through the trial. John never flinched. And Peter had tears that caught
the light from Jesus' eyes, and reflected their glistening rays within.
Those tears of Peter's were a great comfort to Jesus that night and the
next day. The two greatest leaders were sure.

The transfiguration served its purpose fully. The memory of it saved Peter
out of the wreckage of Simon, else Judas' hemp might have had double use
that night. Under the leadership of these men, the little band hold
together during that day, so awful to them in the killing of their leader
and the dashing of all their fondest hopes on which they had staked
everything. Two nights later finds them gathered in a room. Could it have
been the same upper room where they had eaten _with Him_ that
never-to-be-forgotten night, and listened to His comforting words? Only
Thomas does not come. Everybody swings in but one. That shows good work by
these leaders. But another week's work brings him, too, into the meeting
and into the light.

These three men never forgot the sight of that night. John writes his
Gospel under the spell of the transfiguration. "We beheld _His glory"_ he
says at the start, and understands Isaiah's wondrous writings, because he,
too, "_saw His glory."_ The impression made upon Peter deepened steadily
with the years. The first impression of garments glistening beyond any
fuller's skill has grown into an abiding sense of the "_majesty" _ of
Jesus and "_the majestic glory_." I think it wholly likely, too, that this
vision of glory was in James' face, and steadied his steps, as so early in
the history he met Herod's swordsman.

It was _a vision of Jesus_ that turned the tide. There's nothing to be
compared with that. A man's life and service depend wholly on the vision
of Jesus that has come, that is coming. When that comes, instinctively he
finds himself ever after saying, without planning to,

    "Since mine eyes were fixed on Jesus,
      I've lost sight of all beside.
    So enchained my spirit's vision,
      Looking at the Crucified."

With the Damascus traveller he will be saying, "When I could not see for
the glory of that light." May we each with face open, uncovered, all
prejudice and self-seeking torn away, behold the glory of Jesus, even
though for the sake of our eyes it come as a reflected glory. Then we
shall become, as were Moses and Stephen, unconscious reflectors of that
glory. And the crowd on the road shall find Jesus in us and want Him.
Then, too, we ourselves shall be changing from glory to glory, by the
inner touch of Jesus' Spirit, as we continue gazing.



Gethsemane: The Strange, Lone Struggle



The Pathway In.


Great events always send messengers ahead. There is a movement in the
spirit currents. A sort of tremor of expectancy affects the finer currents
of air. The more sensitively organized one is, that is to say, the more
the spirit part of a man dominates body and mind, the more conscious will
he be of the something coming.

Jesus was keenly conscious ahead of the coming of Calvary. Apart from the
actual knowledge, there was a painful thrill of expectancy, intensifying
as the event came nearer. The cross cast long, dark shadows ahead. The
darkest is Gethsemane. It would be, for it was nearest. But there were
other shadows before that of the olive grove. Jesus plainly reveals in His
behavior, in His appearance, that He felt keenly, into the very fibre, so
sensitively woven, of His being, that the experience of the cross would be
a terrific one for Him. It was deliberately chosen by Him, and the time of
its coming chosen in the full knowledge that it would be an awful ordeal.
It would establish the earth's record for suffering, never approached
before or since.

As He turns His face for the last time away from Galilee, and to Judea,
it is with the calmness of strong deliberation. Yet the intenseness of the
inner spirit, in its look ahead, is shown in His face, His demeanor. As He
comes to a certain Samaritan village on the road south, the usual
invitation to stop for rest and a bit of refreshment is withheld out of
respect to His evident purpose. It is clear to these villagers that His
face is set to go to Jerusalem. In Luke's striking language, "_His face
was going to Jerusalem._" What going to Jerusalem meant to Him had no
meaning to them. They saw only that face, and were so caught by the
strong, stern determination plainly written there that they felt impelled
not to offer the usual hospitality.

They were Samaritans, it is true, a half-breed race, hated by Jews, and
hating them, but invariably they had been friendly to Jesus. That must
have been a marked face that held back these homely country people from
pressing their small attentions upon Jesus. They are keener to read the
meaning of that face than are these disciples who are more familiar with
the sight of it. The impress already made upon the inner spirit by the
great event toward which Jesus had determinedly set Himself was even thus
early marked in His face.

Later, on that journey south, as the time and place are nearing, He
strides along the road, with such a look in His face as makes these men,
who had lived in closest touch, "amazed," that is, awed and frightened.
And as they followed behind, they were "afraid." It is the only time it is
said that the sight of His face made them _afraid_. Then He explains to
them what is in His thoughts, with full details of the indignities to be
heaped upon His person. The sternness of His purpose, perhaps not only the
terrible experience of knowing sin at such close range, but, not unlikely,
an anger, a hot indignation against sin and its ravages, which He was
going to stab to death, flashed blinding lightning out of those eyes.

It was, not unlikely, something of the same feeling as made Him shake with
indignation as He realized His dear friend Lazarus in the cold, clinging
embrace of death, sin's climax. The determination to conquer sin, give it
a death thrust, mingled with His acute consciousness of that through which
He must go in the doing of it, wrote deep marks on His face. It is the
beginning already of Gethsemane, as that, in turn, is of Calvary.

Earlier in the last week occurs the incident which agitates Jesus so, of
the Greeks' request for an interview. These earnest seekers for truth,
from outside the Jewish nation, seem to bring up to His mind the great
outside world, so hungry for Him, and for which He was so hungry. But,
quick as a flash, there falls over that the inky black shadow of a cross
in His path, and the instant realization that only _through it_ could He
get out to these great outside crowds.

As though unaware of the presence of the crowds, He begins talking with
Himself, out of His heart, saying words which none understand. "Now is my
innermost being agitated, all shaken up; and what decisive word shall I
speak? Shall I say, 'Father, save me from this experience'? He can. No, I
cannot say that, for for this purpose I have deliberately come to it. This
is what I will say--and the agitation within His spirit issues in the
victorious tightening of every rivet in His purpose--'Father, glorify Thy
name.'" This is Gethsemane already, both in the struggle and in the
victory through loyalty to the Father's will.



The Climax of Jesus' Suffering.


And now comes Gethsemane. Both hat and shoes quickly go off here, for this
is holiest ground. One looks with head bowed and breath held in, and
reverential awe ever deepening. The shadow of the cross so long darkening
His path is now closing in and enveloping Jesus. The big trees cast black
shadows against the brilliance of the full moon. Yet they are as bright
lights beside this other shadow, this inky shadow cast by the tree up
yonder, just outside the Jerusalem wall, with the huge limb sitting
sharply astride the trunk.

The scene under these trees has been spoken of by almost all, if not by
all, as a strange struggle. With a great variety of explanations men have
wondered why He agonized so. It _was_ a strange struggle, and ever will
be, not understood, strange to angels and to men and to demons. It is
strange to angels of the upper world, for they do not know, and cannot,
the terrific meaning of sin as did Jesus. It is strange to all other men
except Jesus, for we do not know the meaning of purity as Jesus did. And
it was strange to demons, for in the event of the morrow sin was working
out a new degree of itself, a new superlative, in its final attack on
Jesus. Sin was trying to strangle God. Even demons stared.

Purity refined beyond what angels knew, and sin coarsened beyond what
demons knew were coming together. Purity's finest and sin's coarsest were
coming together in the closest touch thus far, in this Man under those old
brown-barked gray-leaved, gnarly trees. The shock of such extremes meeting
would be terrific. It _was_ terrific here under the trees. It was yet more
so on the morrow. Here was the cross in anticipation. Calvary was in
Gethsemane.

Man never will understand the depth of Gethsemane. We are incapable of
sympathizing with Jesus here. Yet it is true that as the Holy Spirit
within a man increases the purity, and the horror of sin, there comes an
increasing sense of sympathy with Him, and an increasing appreciation that
we cannot go into the depths of what He knew here. In the best of us sin
is ingrained. Jesus was wholly free from taint or twist of sin. He knew it
only in others. Now He, the pure One, purity personified, was coming into
_closest_ contact with sin, and sin at its worst. He had been in contact
with sin in _others_. He had seen its cruel ravages and been indignant
against it.

Now, on the morrow, He is to know sin by a horrid intimacy of contact, and
sin at a new worst. He was yielding to its tightest hold. Sin at its
ugliest would stretch out its long, bony arms and gaunt hands, and fold
Him to itself in closest embrace and hold Him there. And He was allowing
this, that so when sin's worst was done, He might seize it by the throat
and strangle it. He would put death to death. Yet so terrific is the
struggle that He must accept in Himself that which He thereby destroys.
This is the agony of Gethsemane. It may be told, but not understood. Only
one as pure as He could understand, and then only under circumstances that
never will come again.

The horror of this contact with sin is intensified clear out of our reach
by this: it meant _separation from His Father_. The Father was the life of
Jesus. The Father's presence and approving smile were His sunshine. From
the earliest consciousness revealed to us was that consciousness of His
_Father_. Only let that smile be seen, that voice heard, that presence
felt by this One so sensitive to it, and all was well. No suffering
counted. The Father's presence tipped the scales clear down against every
hurting thing.

_But_--now on the morrow that would be changed. The Father's face
be--hidden--His presence _not_ felt. That was the climax of all to Jesus.
Do you say it was for a short time only? In minutes y-e-s. As though
experiences were ever told by the clock! What bulky measurements of time
we have! Will we never get away from the clocks in telling time? No clock
ever can tick out the length to Jesus of that time the Father's face was
hidden. This hiding of the Father's face was the climax of suffering to
Jesus.



Alone.


It was a very full evening for Jesus. In the upper room of a friend's
house they meet for the eating of the Passover meal. There is the great
act of washing His disciples' feet, the eating of the old Hebrew prophetic
meal, the going out of Judas into the night of his dark purpose, the new
simple memorial meal. Then come those long quiet talks, in which Jesus
speaks out the very heart of His heart, and that marvellous prayer so
simple and so bottomless.

Very likely He is talking, as they move quietly along the Jerusalem
streets, out of the gate leading toward the Kedron brook, and then over
the brook toward the enclosed spot, full of the great old olive trees. The
moon is at the full. This is one of His favorite praying places. He is
going off for a bit of prayer. _So_ He approaches this great crisis. There
is a friendly word spoken to these men that they be keenly alert, and
_pray_, lest they yield to temptation. It is significant, this word about
temptation. Then into the woods He goes, the disciples being left among
the trees, while He goes in farther with the inner three, then farther
yet, quite alone. Intense longing for fellowship mingles with intense
longing to be alone. He would have a warm hand-touch, yet they cannot help
Him here, and may do something to jar.

Now He is on His knees, now prone, full length, on His face. The
agony is upon Him. Snatches of His prayer are caught by the
wondering three ere sleep dulls their senses. "My Father--if it be
possible--_let--this--cup--pass_--from--me--Yet--_Thy--will_--be done."
The words used to tell of His mental distress are so intense that the
translators are puzzled to find English words strong enough to put in
their place. A frenzy of fright, a nightmare horror, a gripping chill
seizes Him with a terrible clutch. It is as though some foul, poisonous
gas is filling the air and filling His nostrils and steadily choking His
gasping breath. The dust of death is getting into His throat. The strain
of spirit is so great that the life tether almost slips its hold. And
angels come, with awe stricken faces, to minister. Even after that, some
of the life, that on the morrow is to be freely spilled out, now reddens
the ground. The earth is beginning to feel the fertilizing that by and by
is to bring it a new life.

By and by the mood quiets, the calm returns and deepens. The changed
prayer reveals the victory: "My Father, if this cup _can_not pass away
except I drink it--if only through this experience can Thy great love-plan
for the race be worked out--Thy--will"--slowly, distinctly, with the
throbbing of His heart and the iron of His will in them, come the
words--"Thy--will--be--done." In between times He returns to the drowsy
disciples with the earnest advice again about being awake, and alert, and
praying because of temptation near by.

And gentle reproach mingles in the special word spoken to Peter. "Simon,
are you sleeping? Could you not be watching with me _one hour_?" Yes, this
was Simon now, the old Simon. Jesus' new Peter was again slipping from
view. Then the great love of His heart excuses their conduct. What
masterly control in the midst of unutterable agitation! Back again for a
last bit of prayer, and then He turns His face with a great calm breathing
all through those deep lines of suffering, and with steady step turns
toward the cross.



Calvary: Victory



Yielding to Arrest.


It is probably close to midnight when Jesus steps out from among the trees
to meet the crowds headed by the traitor. He knew they were coming, and
quietly goes to meet them. There is a great rabble that the chief priests
had drummed up, a city rabble with Roman soldiers, some of the chief
priests' circle, and in the lead of all, Judas. Judas keeps up the
pretense of friendship, and, advancing ahead of his crowd, greets Jesus
with the usual kiss. Jesus dispels the deception at once with His question
of reproach, "Betrayest thou with a _kiss_?" Damnable enough to betray,
but to use love's token in hate's work made it so much worse. Then He
yields to Judas' lips. It was the beginning of the indignities He was to
suffer that night. Jesus quietly adds, "Friend, do what you have planned.
Let there be no more shamming." But Judas' work is done. The silver
secured under his belt is earned. He drops back into the crowd.

Jesus steps out into the clear moonlight, and faces the crowd pressing
eagerly up. His is the one masterly, majestic presence. Quietly He asks,
"Whom are you hunting for?" Back comes the reply, "Jesus of Nazareth."
Jesus at once replies, "I am He." Again, that strange power of Jesus'
presence is felt, but now more marked than ever before. The crowd falls
backward and down to the ground. Soldiers, priests, crowds, Judas lying
prone before Jesus! Again the question and the answer, and then the word
spoken on behalf of His followers. This manifestation of power is _for
others_ this time.

Recovering themselves, the crowds press forward. The bewildered Peter
makes an awkward stroke with a sword he had secured and cuts off the right
ear of a man in the front of the crowd. Jesus gently stops the movement
with a word. The Father would even then send twelve legions of angels if
He were but to give the word. But He was not giving words of that sort,
but doing what the Father wished. With a word of apology for His impetuous
follower, the man's ear is restored with a touch. Surely _he_ never forgot
Jesus.

The leaders, now satisfied that Jesus will not use His power on His own
behalf, seize Him and begin to bind His hands. As He yields to their
touch, Jesus, looking into the faces of the Jewish leaders, said, "You
hunt me and treat me as though I were a common robber. I have never tried
to get away from you. But now for a while things are in your control, the
control of the powers of night."

Meanwhile the disciples forsook Him and fled, except two, John and Peter.
Peter followed at what he thought a safe distance. John kept along with
the crowd, and went in "_with Jesus_." Mark tells about the attempted
arrest of a young man who seemed friendly to Jesus, but in the struggle he
escaped, leaving his garments behind. And so they make their way, a
torch-light procession through the darkness of the night, back across the
brook, up the steep slope to the city gate, and through the narrow streets
to the palace of the high priest.



The Real Jewish Ruler.


Here Jesus is expected. Late as it is He is at once brought before Annas.
Annas was an old man who had been high priest himself once, years before,
and who had afterwards absolutely controlled that office through the
successive terms of his sons and now of his son-in-law. He was the real
leader of the inner clique that held the national reins in a clutching
grip. Caiaphas was the nominal high priest. The old man Annas was the real
leader. He controlled the inner finances and the temple revenues. To him
first Jesus is taken. He begins a quizzical, critical examination of Jesus
about disciples and teaching. Possibly he is trying to overawe this young
Galilean. Jesus calmly answers. "I have taught openly, never secretly;
everybody knows what my teaching has been. Why ask Me? These people all
around have heard all my teaching." He was ever in the open, in sharp
contrast with these present proceedings. One of the underlings of the
high priest--struck--Jesus--in the face, saying, "Answerest thou the high
priest so?" Jesus quietly replies, "If I have spoken something wrong tell
me what it is, but if not, why do you strike Me?" Annas ignores the gross
insult by one of his own men, and, probably with an exultant sneer that
the disturber of the temple revenues is in his power at last, gives order
that Jesus be bound and taken to his chief underling, Caiaphas.

This is the first phase of the condemnation determined upon beforehand,
and the real settling of the _Jewish_ disposition of Jesus. Still the
forms had to be gone through. So Jesus is sent with the decision of Annas
in the thongs on His hands to Caiaphas, high priest that year by the grace
of the old intriguer Annas, and by Roman appointment. The thing must be
done up in proper shape. These folks are great sticklers for proper forms.

Probably it is across a courtyard they go to another part of the same pile
of buildings or palace. Caiaphas, too, is ready, unusual though the hour
is. With him are several members of the senate, the official body in
control of affairs. The plans have been carefully worked out. This night
work will get things in shape before the dreaded crowds of the morrow can
be aroused. Now begins the examination here. These plotters have been so
absorbed in getting Jesus actually into their power that they seem to have
over-looked the details of making out a strong case against Him. They
really didn't need a case to secure their end, yet they seem to want to
keep up the forms, probably not because of any remnants of supposed
conscience left unseared, but to swing the bothersome, fanatical crowds
that must always be reckoned with. Now they deliberately try to find men
who will lie about Jesus' words, and swear to it. They find some willing
enough--money would fix that--but not bright enough to make their stories
hang together. At last some one brings up a remark made three years before
by Jesus about destroying the temple and rebuilding it in three days. It
is hard to see how they might expect to make anything out of that, for in
the remark, as they understood it, He had proposed to undertake the
rebuilding of the famous structure if they should destroy it. And then
they can't even agree here. Clearly they're hard pushed. Something must be
done. Precious time is slipping away. The thing must be in shape by dawn
if they are to get it through before the crowds get hold of it.

All this time Jesus stands in silence, doubtless with those eyes of His
turned now upon Caiaphas, now on the others. His presence disturbed them
in more ways than one. That great calm, pure face must have been an
irritant to their jaded consciences. Suddenly the presiding officer stands
up and dramatically cries out, as though astonished, "Answerest thou
nothing? Canst thou not hear these charges against Thee?" Still that
silence of lip, and those great eyes looking into His enemies' faces. Then
comes the question lurking underneath all the time, put in the form of a
solemn oath to the prisoner, "I adjure Thee by the living God, that Thou
tell us whether Thou art the Christ, the Son of God." Thus appealed to,
Jesus at once replies, "_I am_." And then, knowing full well the effect of
the reply, He adds, "_Nevertheless_--notwithstanding your evident purpose
regarding Me--the Son of Man will be sitting at the right hand of Power,
and coming in the clouds of heaven, and ye shall see it."

In supposed righteous horror Caiaphas tore his garments, and cried, "What
further need is there of witnesses? Behold you have heard His blasphemy.
What verdict do you give?" Back come the eager cries, "He deserves
death--Guilty." So the second session closes with the verdict of guilty
agreed upon. Yet this was not official. The senate could meet only in
daylight hours. The propriety of form they were so eager for requires them
to wait until dawn should break, and then they could technically give the
decisive verdict now agreed upon. While they are waiting, the intense
hatred of Jesus in their hearts and their own cruel thirstings find outlet
upon Jesus' person. They--spat--in--His--face, and struck Him, with open
hand and shut fist. He is blind-folded, and then struck by one and another
with derisive demands that He use His prophetic skill to tell who had been
hitting Him. And this goes on for possibly a couple of hours before dawn
permits the next step, soldiers vying with senators in doing Him greatest
insult.



Held Steady by Great Love.


Meanwhile a scene is being enacted within ear-shot of Jesus that hurts Him
more than these vulgar insults. Peter is getting into bad shape. John was
acquainted in the high priest's house-hold, and, going directly in without
striking his colors, is not disturbed. Peter gets as far as the gateway,
leading through a sort of alley into the open courtyard, around which on
the four sides the palace was built. Here, as a stranger, he was refused
admittance, until John comes to speak a word for him. In the center of the
open court a fire was burning to relieve the cold of the night, and about
this was gathered a mixed crowd of soldiers and servants and attendants.
Peter goes over to the fire, and, mingling with the others, sits warming
himself, probably with a studied carelessness. The maid who let him in,
coming over to the fire, looks intently into his face, and then says, "You
belong to the Nazarene, too." Peter stammers out an embarrassed, mixed up
denial, "I don't know what you mean--I don't understand--what do you say?"

Taken unawares, poor Peter mingles a lie with the denial. As soon as
possible he moves away from the fire toward the entrance. It's a bit warm
there--for him. He remembered afterwards that just then the crowing of a
cock fell upon his ear. Again one of the serving-maids notices him and
says to those standing about, "This man was with Jesus." This time the
denial comes sharp and fiat, "I don't know the man." And to give good
color to his words, and fit his surroundings, he adds a bit of profanity
to it.

An hour later, as he moves uneasily about, he is standing again by the
fire. Something about him seems to make him a marked man. Evidently he has
been talking, too. For now a man looking at him, said, "You belong to this
Jesus. I can tell by the twist of your tongue." Peter promptly says, "No."
Lying comes quicker now. But at once another speaks up, who was kin to the
man that temporarily lost his ear through Peter's sword. "Why," he said,
"certainly I saw you with Him in the garden." Again the denial that he
knew Jesus mingled freely with curses and oath. And even as he spoke the
air was caught again with the cock's shrill cry. And then Jesus, in the
midst of the vulgarity being vented upon Him, turned those wondrous eyes
upon Peter. What a look must that have been of sorrow, of reproach, and of
tenderest love. It must surely have broken Peter's heart. The hot tears
rushing up for vent were his answer. Those tears caught the light of love
in that look, as he goes away into the night and weeps bitterly. Those
bitter tears were as small, warm rain to a new growth within.



An Obstinate Roman.


And now the impatient leaders detect the first streaks of gray coming up
in the east. The national council can now properly meet. Like their two
chiefs, these men are prompt. The whips had been out over the city
drumming up the members for this extraordinary session. There seems to
have been a full attendance. Jesus, still bound, is led through the
streets; followed by the mixed rabble, to the meeting hall, probably in
the neighborhood of the temple. He is brought in and faces these men. How
some of those eyes must have gloated out their green leering! Here are the
men He had not hesitated to denounce openly with the severest invective
ever spoken.

Some time is spent in consultation. The difficulty here is to fix upon a
charge upon which they can themselves agree, and which will also be
sufficient for the desired action by the Roman governor. It was a tough
task. They fail in it. These men divided into groups that were ever at
swords' points. There were utter opposites in beliefs and policies. But
their common hate of Jesus rises for the time above their hatred for each
other. The charge must appeal to Pilate, for only he has power of capital
punishment, and nothing but Jesus' blood will quench their thirst.

Their consultation results in another attempt to question Jesus in the
hope of getting some word that can be used. The president goes back to his
former question, "If Thou art the Christ, tell us." Jesus reminds them of
the lack of sincerity in their questionings. They would not believe Him,
nor answer His questions. Then He repeats the solemn words spoken in the
night session, "From henceforth shall the Son of Man be seated at the
right hand of the power of God." Eagerly they all blurt out, "Art Thou
then the Son of God?" Back comes the quiet, steady reply, "Ye say that I
am," equal to a strong yes. Instantly they decide fully and formally upon
His condemnation. So closes the third phase of the Jewish examination. The
death sentence is fixed upon. The thing has been formally fixed up. The
ground is now cleared for taking Him to Pilate for His death sentence.

It is still early morning when Jesus is taken to Pilate. It was an
imposing procession of the leading men of the nation, headed very likely
by Caiaphas, that now led Jesus across the city, through its narrow
streets, up to the palace of the Roman governor. Jesus is conducted into
Pilate's hall of judgment within, but, with their scrupulous regard for
the letter of their law, these principals would not enter his palace on
that day, but remained without. They seem to be expecting Pilate to send
the prisoner back at once with their death sentence endorsed.

To their surprise and disgust,[A] Pilate comes out himself and wants to
know the charge against the prisoner. They are not prepared for this. It
is their weak point, and has been from the first. Their bold, sullen
answer evades the question, while insisting on what they want, "If He were
not a criminal we would not have brought Him to thee." They didn't want
his opinion, but his power, his consent to their plot. But Pilate doesn't
propose to be used as such a convenience. With scorn he tells them that if
they propose to judge the case they may. This wrings from them the
humiliating reminder that the power of capital punishment is withheld from
them by their Roman rulers, and nothing less will satisfy them here. Then
they begin a series of verbal charges. They are all of a political nature,
for only such would this Roman recognize. This man had been perverting the
nation, forbidding tribute to Caesar and calling Himself a King.

It takes no keenness for Pilate to see the hollowness of this sudden
loyalty to Caesar. He returns to the beautiful marble judgment hall, and
has Jesus brought to him again. He looks into Jesus' face. He is keen
enough to see that here is no political schemer. At most probably a
religious enthusiast, or reformer, or something as harmless from his
standpoint. "Art _Thou_ the King of the Jews?" he asks. Jesus' answer
suggests that there was a kindliness in that face. If there be a desire
for truth here He will satisfy it. This political charge had been made
outside while He was within. "Do you really want to know about Me, or are
you merely repeating something you have heard?" He asks, with a gentle
earnestness.

But Pilate at once repudiates any personal interest. "Am I a _Jew_?" he
asks, with plain contempt on that word. "Thine own people are accusing
thee. What hast Thou done?" Then comes that great answer, "My kingdom is
not of this world, if so I would be resisting these leaders and these
present circumstances would all be different. But my kingdom is not of
your sort or theirs." Again there likely came a bit of softening and
curious interest in Pilate's face, as he asks, "Art Thou really a _King_
then?" Jesus replies, "To this end have I been born, and to this end am I
come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Every one
that is of the truth heareth my voice." Pilate wonders what this has to do
with being a king. With a weary, impatient contempt, he says, "_Truth_?
What is that?" The accused seems to be an enthusiast, a dreamer, yet
withal there certainly was a fine nobility about Him. Certainly He was
quite harmless politically.

Leaving Him there, again he goes to the leaders waiting impatiently
outside. To their utter astonishment and rage he says, "I find no fault in
this man." It is the judgment of a keen, critical, worldly Roman; an
acquittal, the first acquittal. The waiting crowd bursts out at once in a
hot, fanatical tumult of shouted protests. Is all their sleepless planning
to be disturbed by this Roman heathen? The prisoner was constantly
stirring up the people all through Judea and Galilee. He was a dangerous
man. Looking and listening, with his contempt for them plainly in his
face, and yet a dread of their wild fanaticism in his heart, Pilate's ear
catches that word Galilee. "Is the man a Galilean?" "Yes." Well, here's an
easy way of getting rid of the troublesome matter. Herod, the ruler of
Galilee, was in the city at his palace, come to attend the festival. It
would be a bit of courtesy that he might appreciate to refer the case to
him, and so it would be off his own hands. And so the order is given.



A Savage Duel.


Once more Jesus is led through these narrow streets, with the jeering
rabble ever increasing in size and the national heads in the lead. They
are having a lot of wholly unexpected trouble, but they are determined not
to be cheated of their prey. And now they are before Herod. This is the
murderer of John. He is glad to see Jesus. There has been an eager
curiosity to see the man of whom so much was said, and he hoped to have
his morbid appetite for the sensational satisfied with a display of Jesus'
power. He plies Him with questions, while the chief priests with fierce
vehemence stand accusing Him, and asking for His condemnation.

But for this red-handed man Jesus has no word. To him rare light had come
and been recognized, and then had been deliberately put out beyond recall.
He has gone steadily down into slimiest slush since that. Now, with
studied insolence, he treats this silent man with utmost contempt. His
soldiers and retainers mock and deride, dressing Him in gorgeous apparel
in mockery of His kingly claims. When they weary of the sport He is again
dismissed to Pilate, acquitted. It is the second mocking and the second
acquittal.

Again the weary tramping of the streets, with the chief priests' rage
burning to the danger point. Twice they have been foiled. Now the matter
must be _forced_ through, and quickly, too, ere the crowd that are
friendly have gotten the news. They hurry Jesus along and make all haste
back to Pilate. Now begins the sixth and last phase of that awful night.
Things now hasten to a climax. The character of Pilate comes out plainly
here. He really feared these wildly fanatical Jews whom he ruled with a
contemptuous disgust undisguised. Three times since his rule began their
extreme fanaticism had led to open riot and bloodshed, and once to an
appeal to the emperor, by whose favor he held his position. His hold of
the office was shaky indeed if the emperor must be bothered with these
superstitious details about their religion. The policy he pursued here was
but a piece of the whole Roman fabric. Yet had he but had the rugged
strength to live up to his honest conviction----. But then, that is the
one question of life everywhere and always. He failed in the test, as do
thousands. Unconsciously he was touching the quivering center of a whole
world's life, and so his action stands out in boldest outline.

He comes out now and sums up the case. He had examined the prisoner and
found no fault touching their charges of perverting the people. Herod,
their own native ruler, who was supposed to know thoroughly their peculiar
views, had also fully acquitted Him. Now, as a concession to them, he
will disgrace this man by a public scourging and let him go as harmless.
Instantly the air is filled with their fierce shrill cries, "Away with
Him: Away with Him."

But Pilate seems determined to do the best he can for Jesus, without
risking an actual break with these fanatical Orientals such as might
endanger his own position. It was usual at feast times to release to the
people some one who had been imprisoned for a political offense. The
crowds, prompted by the chief priests, doubtless, begin to ask for the
usual favor. Pilate brings forward a man named Barabbas, who was a robber
and murderer and charged with leading an insurrection against Roman rule.
Meanwhile, as he waits, a messenger comes up to him and repeats a message
from his wife. She has been suffering much in dreams and urges that he
have nothing to do with "that righteous man."

Apparently Pilate brings forward the two men, the one a robber and
murderer, the other with purity and goodness stamped on every line of His
face. It is a dramatic moment. "Which of the two will you choose?" he
asks. It is the appeal of a heathen to the better nature of these Jews,
called the people of God. Quick as a flash of lightning the word shot from
their lips and into his face, "_Barabbas!_" "What, then, shall I do with
Jesus, who is called Christ?" He is weakening now. His question shows it.
They are keen to see it and push their advantage. Again the words shoot
out as bullets from their hot lips, "Crucify Him: crucify Him." Still he
withstands them. "Why? What evil has He done? I find no fault in Him. To
please you I will chastise Him and release Him." But they have him on the
run now. At once the air is filled with a confused jangle of loud shrill
voices, "Away with Him! Give us Barabbas! Crucify! Crucify."

Apparently he yields. Barabbas is released. Jesus is led away to be
scourged by the soldiers. His clothing is removed, and He is bent over,
with thongs on the wrists drawn down, leaving the bare back uppermost and
tense. The scourging was with bunches of leather strips with jagged pieces
of bone and lead fastened in the ends. The blows meant for the back, even
if laid on by a reluctant hand, would strike elsewhere, including the
face. But reluctance seems absent here. Then occurs another, a third of
those scenes of coarse vulgarity, horrid mockings, based on His kingly
claims. The whole band of soldiers is called. Some old garments of royal
purple are put upon Jesus. One man plaits a crown of the thorns that grow
so large in Palestine, and with no easy gesture places it upon His head. A
reed is placed in His hand. Then they bow the knee in turn, with "Hail!
King of the Jews," and spit in His face, and rain blows down upon the
thorn-crown. All the while their coarse jests and shouts of derisive
laughter fill the air. Surely one could never tell the story were he not
held in the grip of a strong purpose.

But now Pilate springs a surprise. The scourging might be preliminary to
crucifixion or a substitute. Again Jesus is brought forward, as arrayed by
the mocking soldiers. There must have been an unapproachable majesty in
that great face, as so bedecked, with the indescribable suffering lines
ever deepening, He stands before them with that wondrous calm still in
those sleepless eyes. Pilate seems caught by the great spirit of Jesus
dominant under such treatment. He points to Him and says, "Behold the
Man!" Surely this utter humiliation will satisfy their strange hate.

Realizing that their fight is not yet won as they had thought, they make
the air hideous with their shouts, "Crucify--crucify--crucify." Anger and
disgust crowd for place in Pilate, as, with a contemptuous sneer, he says,
"_You_ crucify Him. _I_ find no fault in Him." It would be illegal, but it
would not be the first illegal thing. But these men are bound to get all
they want from their weakening governor. One of the leaders sharply spoke
up, "We have a law, and by our law He ought to die because He pretends to
be the Son of God." The Roman custom was to respect the laws of their
subject-peoples. All pretense of a political charge is now gone.

Pilate is startled. The sense of fear that has been strong with him
intensifies. That face of Jesus had impressed him. His wife's message
disturbed him. Now that inward feeling that this man was being wronged
grips him anew. At once he has Him led into his judgment hall for another
private interview. Looking into that face again with strangely mingling
emotions, he puts the question, "Whence art Thou?" But those lips refuse
an answer. The time for speech is past. Angered by the silence on the part
of the man he had been moved to help, Pilate hotly says, "Speakest Thou
not to _Me_? Knowest Thou not I have the power to release or to crucify?"
Then this strangely masterful Man speaks in very quiet tones, as though
pitying His judge, "Thou wouldst have no power against Me, except it were
given thee from above: therefore he that delivered Me unto thee hath
greater sin."

Again Pilate comes out to the waiting crowd more determined than ever to
release Jesus. But the leaders of the mob take a new tack. They know the
governor's sensitive nerve. "If thou release this man thou art not
Caesar's friend. Every one that maketh himself a king speaketh
against Caesar." That word "Caesar" was a magic word. Its bur catches
and sticks at once. It was their master-stroke. Yet it cost them
dear. Pilate instantly brings Jesus out and sits down on the
judgment seat. The thing must be settled now once for all. As Jesus
again faces them he says, "_Behold!--your King._" Again the hot shouts,
"Away--Away--Crucify--Crucify." And again the question. "Shall I crucify
your King?"

Now comes the answer, wrung out by the bitterness of their hate, that
throws aside all the traditional hopes of their nation, "_We have no king
but Caesar_." Having forced that word from their lips, Pilate quits the
prolonged duelling.

Yet to appease that inner voice that would not be stilled--maybe, too,
for his wife's sake, he indulges in more dramatics. He washes his hands in
a basin of water, with the words, "I am innocent of the blood of this
righteous man. See ye to it." Back come the terrible words, "His blood be
on us and on our children." Surely it has been! Then Jesus is surrendered
to their will. They have gotten what they asked, but at the sacrifice of
their most fondly cherished national tradition and with an awful heritage.
Pilate has yielded, but held them by the throat in doing it to compel
words that savagely wounded their pride to utter. The savage duel is over.



Victory.


Jesus is turned over to the soldiers for the execution of the sentence.
His own garments are replaced, and once more He is the central figure in a
street procession, this time carrying the cross to which He has been
condemned. His physical strength seems in danger of giving way under the
load, after the terrible strain of that long night. The soldiers seize a
man from the country passing by and force him to carry the cross. As they
move along, the crowd swells to a great multitude, including many women.
These give expression to their pitying regard for Jesus.

Turning about, Jesus speaks to them in words that reveal the same clear
mind and masterly control as ever. "Daughters of Jerusalem, be weeping for
yourselves and your babes, rather than for Me. The days are coming when
it shall be said, 'Blessed are the barren, and the womb that never bare,
and the breasts that never gave suck.' If they have done these things
while the sap of national life still flows, what will be done to them when
the dried-up, withered stage of their national life is reached!"

Now the chosen place is reached, outside the city wall, probably a rise of
ground, like a mound or small hill. And the soldiers settle down to their
work. There are to be two others crucified at the same time. A drink of
stuff meant to stupefy and so ease the pain of torture was offered Jesus,
but refused. And now the cross is gotten ready. The upright beam is laid
upon the ground handy to the hole in which the end of it will slip, and
the cross-piece is nailed in place. Jesus is stripped and laid upon the
cross with His arms, outstretched on the cross-piece. A sharp-pointed
spike is driven through the palm of each hand and through the feet. The
hands are also tied with ropes as additional security. There is a small
piece half-way up the upright where some of the body's weight may be
supported.

As the soldiers drive the nails, Jesus' voice is heard in prayer, "Father,
forgive them; they know not what they do." Then strong arms seize the
upper end, and, lifting, shift the end of the cross into the hole, and so
steady it into an upright position. It is nine o'clock, and the deed has
been done. The soldiers, having finished their task, now go after their
pay. Jesus' garments are divided up among them, but when the outer coat
is reached it is found to be an unusually good garment, woven in one
piece. It was the love gift of some friend likely. So they pitch dice, and
in a few moments one of them is clutching it greedily as his own.

As quickly as the cross is in position the crowds are reading the
inscription which has been nailed to the top to indicate the charge
against the man. It was in three languages, Latin the official tongue,
Greek the world tongue, and Aramaic the native tongue. Every man there
read in one or other of these tongues, "_The King of the Jews_."
Instantly the Jewish leaders object, but Pilate contemptuously dismisses
their objection. This inscription was his last fling at them. And so Jesus
was crucified as a King. There He is up above them all, while the great
multitude stands gazing.

Now begins the last, coarse, derisive jeering. Some of the crowd call out
to Jesus, "Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days,
save Thyself; if Thou art the Son of God, come down from the cross." The
chief priests have dignified the occasion with their presence. Now they
mockingly sneer out their taunts, "He saved others; but He can't save
Himself. He is the King of Israel. Let Him come down from the cross and we
will believe on Him." The two others hanging by His side, in their pain
and distress, join in the taunting cries, and the soldiers add their
jibes.

But through it all Jesus is silent. There He hangs with those eyes
watching the people to whom His great heart was going out, for whom His
great life was going out, calm, majestic, masterful, tender. The sight
affects at least one of those before unfriendly. The man hanging by His
side is caught by this face and spirit. He rebukes the other criminal,
reminding him that they were getting their just deserts, but "This Man
hath done nothing amiss." Then turning so far as he could to Jesus, he
said, with a simplicity of faith that must have been so grateful to Jesus,
"Jesus, remember me when Thou comest in Thy kingdom." Instantly comes the
reply, "Verily, I say unto thee, to-day shalt thou be with Me in
Paradise."

In the crowds were many of Jesus' personal acquaintances, including women
from Galilee. Close by the cross stood His mother and aunt and faithful
John and a few others of those dear to Him. Most likely John is supporting
Jesus' mother with his arms. Turning His eyes toward the group, Jesus
speaks to His mother in tones revealing His love, "Woman, behold thy son;"
and then to John, "Behold thy mother." _So_ He gives His mother a son to
take His own place in caring for her, and to His friend John this heritage
of love. John understands, and from that hour the ties between these two
were of the closest and tenderest sort.

So the hours drag along until noon. And now a strange thing occurs that
must have had a startling effect. At the time of day when the sunlight is
brightest a strange darkness came over all the scene, the sun's light
being obscured or failing wholly. And for three hours this strange, weird
spectacle continues. Then the hushed silence is broken by an agonizing cry
from the lips of Jesus, "My God--My God--why--didst--Thou--forsake--Me?"
One of the bewildered bystanders thinks He is calling for Elijah, and
another wonders if something startling will yet occur.

Jesus speaks again--"I--thirst" and some one near by with sponge and stick
reaches up to moisten His lips. Then a shout, a loud cry of _victory_
bursts in one word from those lips, "_It is finished_." Then softly
breathing out the last words, "Father, into Thy hands I commend My
spirit," and bowing His head, Jesus, masterful, kingly to the last,
_yielded up_ His spirit.



The Resurrection: Gravity Upward



A New Morning.


It was near the dawning of a new morning, the morning of a new day
destined to be a great day. While yet dark there come a number of women
out of the city gate toward the tomb where Jesus' body had been laid. They
carry spices and ointment. With woman's ever tender thoughtfulness they
are bent upon some kindly service for that precious body. They had
followed up the burial and noted the arrangements with a view to this
morning's early service. Their whole thought is absorbed with a tomb and a
body and a bit of loving attention. They wonder as they come along whom
they can get to roll the heavy stone over into its groove at the side of
the opening. Mary Magdalene is in the lead. With her in the darkness is
her friend Mary, the mother of John and James. Others come along a little
behind, in small groups.

As they get near to the place the keen eyes of Mary Magdalene notice at
once with a quick start that the stone is rolled away. Somebody has been
tampering with the tomb in the night. Leaving her companion, she starts
back on a run into the city and finds Peter, and tells him that the Lord
has been taken away, and they don't know where He has been laid. Peter,
too, is startled. He gets John, and the two start back on a run.

Meanwhile the other women have gone on toward the tomb. As they approach
they are startled and awed to find a man there, with the glorious
appearance of an angel, sitting upon the stone. To these awe-stricken
women this angel being quietly said, "Do not be afraid. I know you are
looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. He is risen, as He
told you. Come and see the place where He lay." And as they gaze with wide
open eyes, he adds, "Go quickly and tell His disciples, and be sure you
tell Peter, that He is risen from the dead, and lo, He goeth before you
into Galilee. You will meet Him there. Lo, I have told you." But the women
were panic-stricken, and ran away down the road, and told no one except
some of the apostles. And to them their story seemed ridiculous. They
refused to believe such talk.

And now Peter and John come breathless to the tomb. John is in the lead.
Either he is younger or swifter of foot. As he comes up he stops at the
opening of the tomb, and, with a bit of reverential awe, gazes within. He
can see the linen cloths lying; but the body they had encased is clearly
not in them. Peter comes up, and steps at once inside for a closer
inspection. There the linen cloths are, just as they had enswathed the
body, but flattened down, showing the absence of anything inside their
folds. The napkin that had been about the head was folded up neatly and
laid over to one side. Then John enters, and as he continues looking
conviction comes to him that Jesus has indeed risen. Wondering greatly at
this thing, wholly unexpected by them, they go off to their homes in the
city.

And now another little group of the women come up, and are perplexed in
turn as the others, the stone away, the body of Jesus not there. As they
stand with staring eyes and fearing hearts, two men unexpectedly appear in
clothing that dazzles the women's eyes. Frightened, they bow down before
these men, who seem to be angels. But the men quickly reassure them with
their words. Why were they seeking a living One in a tomb? Jesus was not
there. He was risen. And they remind the women of Jesus' own words about
being killed and then rising again. As the men talk the women remember the
Master's words, and wonderingly see their meaning now, and hurry away to
tell their friends the great news.



Jesus Seeking Out Peter.


And now Mary Magdalene has gotten back to the tomb. In her zeal for the
safety of that precious body, she had made quite a journey into the city
and back. Her zeal took her quickly to Peter. Her sorrow makes the way
back longer. She had been first to come, but had not heard the news that
came to her companions. Now she stands at the open tomb weeping. She
stoops and looks in to see if it can be really true that _He_ is not
there. To her surprise two angel beings are seated, one at each end of
where Jesus' body had been lying. They say to her, "Why are you weeping?"
She replies, "Because they have taken away _my Lord_, and I know not where
they have laid Him." Turning back in her grief as the words are spoken,
she sees some one else standing. Again the same question by this One. Why
was she weeping? Whom was she looking for? Her eyes are blinded with the
rain of tears. This is likely the man in charge of the garden wherein this
family tomb was.

With earnest tones she says, "Sir, if _thou_ didst carry Him away, tell me
where thou didst lay Him and _I_ will have Him taken away." Then that one
word came to her ears, her name, in that unmistakable voice, "Mary."
Quicker than a flash came the response, "_Oh, my Master_!" That same
wondrous, quiet voice continues, "Do not continue to be clinging to Me. I
am not yet ascended to my Father. Be going to my brethren and tell them I
ascend to My Father and your Father, My God and your God." And Mary
quickly departs on her glad errand for Him. She was the first to see His
face and hear His voice, and have her hand upon His person, and do
something at His bidding.

And now the other women who had been at the tomb in the garden and fled
away are on the road approaching the city. As they hurry along, to their
utter amazement--here is Jesus in the road approaching them. With a glad
smile in His eyes, the old, sweet voice speaks out in rich tones the usual
simple salutation of greeting, "Good morning." At once they are down on
their knees and faces, holding His feet and worshipping. And Jesus softly
says, "Do not be afraid. Go tell my brethren to meet Me in Galilee, up by
the old blue waters of the sea."

While these incidents were occurring, all in such short time, something
else is going on of a different sort. The Roman soldiers guarding that
tomb had had a great shock. They had been suddenly displaced by another
guard. The sacred Roman seal had been ruthlessly broken, the stone rolled
back from the opening, and some one sat upon it. Their bewildered,
stupefied senses heard the movements and were aware of a strange, blinding
light. Then they knew that the body they were to guard was no longer
within. That was about as much as they could get together. They hurry to
town and tell the chief priests. Quickly the chief priests gather their
clique to confer about this new phase. Was there ever such mulish
obstinacy? No thought of candid investigation seems to enter their mind.
The way of covering this new difficulty is after all easy. Money will buy
the soldiers, and they will do as they are bid. It took a good bit of
gold. The soldiers probably were keen to know how to work so good a mine.
And the story was freely circulated that the body was stolen while the
soldiers slept.

Peter has gone down the road from the garden toward the city after having
satisfied Himself that Jesus was not in the tomb. He was _wondering_ what
all this meant. John, lighter of foot, had hurried ahead to his home in
the city, very likely to tell the news to Jesus' mother, his own new
mother. Peter plods slowly along. There is no need of haste now. He is
thinking, wondering, thinking. It was still early morning, with the sweet
dew on the ground, and the air so still. Down past some big trees maybe he
was walking, deeply absorbed, when--Somebody is by his side. It is the
Master! But we must leave them alone together. That was a sacred
interview, meant only for Peter.



Made Known in the Breaking of Bread.


The news now quickly spread; the two stories, that of the soldiers, that
of the disciples. Folks listened to the one they preferred. Everybody was
discussing this new startling appendix to the crucifixion. A bit later in
the day two others were walking along one of the country roads leading out
of the city, toward a village a few miles away. They jog along slowly as
men who are heavy footed with disappointment. They are intently absorbed
in conversation, eagerly discussing and questioning about something that
clearly puzzled them.

A Stranger, unrecognized, overtakes them and joins in their conversation.
He asks, "What is this that you are so concerned about?" So absorbed are
they with their thoughts, that at His question they stand still, looking
sad and unable for a moment to answer. Where would they begin where there
was so much? Then one of them says, "Do you lodge by yourself in the city,
and even then do not know the things that have been going on there?" The
Stranger draws them out. "What things?" He says. Thus encouraged, they
find relief in unburdening their hearts. It was all about Jesus, a man of
great power in word and deed, before God and all the people; the great
cruelty with which the rulers had secured a sentence of death for
Him--and--crucified--Him.

"We were, however, hoping," they said, "that He was the One who was about
to redeem the nation. And now it is the third day since these things
occurred. And most surprising word was brought by certain women that has
greatly stirred us. They went early to the tomb, and did not find His
body, but saw a vision of angels who positively said that He was alive.
And some of our party went there and found it true as the women said.
But--they did not see _Him_."

Then the Stranger began speaking in a quiet, earnest way that caught them
at once. "O foolish men, so slow you are in heart to believe the messages
of the old prophets! Was it not needful that the Christ should suffer
these very things and to enter into His glory?" Then He began freely to
quote passages from all through their sacred writings. As they walk along
listening to this wonderful explanation, which now sounds so simple from
this Man's lips, they come up to their home in the village. The Stranger
seemed inclined to go on. But they earnestly urge Him to come in and get
some refreshment and stay over night. He may talk more. They have heard no
such winsome talk since Jesus was with them.

He yields. And, as they gather over the simple evening meal, the Stranger
picks up the loaf, and looking up repeats the simple grace, and breaking
the loaf reaches the pieces over. But as their hands go out for the bread,
their eyes turn toward the Stranger's face. Instantly they are
spell-bound--_that face_--why--it is the _Master!!_ Then He is not there.
And they said to each other, "Did you ever hear such talking?" "My heart
was burning all the time He was talking." "And mine, too." Then they
hasten back to the city. Those miles are so much shorter now! They go
straight to the house where they have been meeting.

"_Even So Send I You_."

Here were gathered most of the apostles and several others. Eagerly they
were discussing the exciting news of the day. Some _know_ that Jesus has
risen. Mary Magdalene, with eyes dancing, says, "I _saw_ Him." But some
are full of doubt and questionings. How _could_ it be? The door is
guarded, for if the frenzy of the national leaders should spread, _they_
come next. There's a knock at the door. Cautiously it is opened. Two dusty
but radiant faces appear. "The Lord is risen _indeed_," they exclaim. And
then they tell the story of the afternoon and His wondrous explanation and
of that meal.

As they are talking, all at once--who's that?--right in their midst. It
looks like Jesus. There is that face with those unmistakable marks. And
you can see their eyes quickly searching between the sandal straps. Yes,
it looks like Him. But it can't be. Their eyes befool them. It's been a
hard day for them. It must be a spirit. As they start back, there comes in
that voice they can never forget, the old quiet "Good evening."--"Peace
unto you." Then He holds out His hands and feet, saying, "Do not be
troubled--it is I Myself--handle Me, and make sure. A spirit does not have
flesh and bones as you see that I have." Then He said, "Have you something
to eat?" and He ate a bit of broiled fish.

Reassured by such simple practical evidence, a glad peace fills their
hearts and faces. They talk together a bit. Then Jesus rising, said again,
"Peace unto you--as the Father hath sent Me, even so send I you." Then He
breathed strongly upon them, saying in very quiet, solemn tones, "Receive
ye the Holy Spirit--Whosesoever sins ye forgive they are forgiven.
Whosesoever ye retain they are retained." And again, as they look, He is
not there.

But one man was absent that new Sabbath evening hour. Thomas simply could
not believe, and would not, without the most sane, common-sense evidence.
He missed much by not being at that meeting. The next Sabbath evening he
is present with the others. Again the Master comes as before, unexpectedly
standing in their midst, as they talk together about Him. And now Thomas
is fully satisfied after his week of doubting. Some of us folks will
always be grateful for Thomas.

Some time later, there occurs that second wondrous draught of fishes, at
the command of the unrecognized Stranger, one morning at the breaking of
the day, and the talk with Peter and the others as they walk along the old
shore of the sea. And to James, who seems to have been a leader by dint of
a strong personality, He appears.

And one day when there was an unusually large meeting of His followers, as
many as five hundred, He came as before and was recognized. And then at
the last upon Olives' top came the goodbye meeting and message.

It is surely worthy of remark that the Bethany home is not represented at
either cross or tomb. Many of His dear friends are named in connection
with both, but not these. Here are some of those dearest to Him, and to
whom He is most dear. Here is one, a woman, who had discerned more keenly
ahead than any other that He was to die and why. She had understood the
minor strains of the old Hebrew oratorio as none other. She had learned
at His feet. And here, too, was one who knew death, and the life beyond,
and then a return again to this life. It was not indifference that kept
them away. They loved tenderly, and were tenderly loved. Their absence is
surely most significant. Mary's ointment had already been used. This
morning in glad ecstasy of spirit she and her brother and sister wait.
_They know._



Gravity Upward.


Two things stand out very clearly about Jesus' resurrection. It was not
expected by these followers, but received at first with incredulity and
doubt and stubborn unwillingness to accept it without clear undisputable
proof. And then that they were thoroughly satisfied that He was actually
back again with them, with His personal identity thoroughly established;
so satisfied that their lives were wholly controlled by the consciousness
of a risen Jesus. Sacrifice, suffering, torture, and violent death were
yielded to gladly for His sake.

A new morning broke that morning, the morning of a new day, a new sort of
day. That resurrection day became a new day to them and to all Jesus'
followers. The old Sabbath day was a _rest_-day. God Sabbathed from His
work of creation. This new day is more, it is a _victory_-day. Every new
coming of it spells out Jesus' victory over sin and death and our victory
in Him. The old Hebrew rest-day came at the week's close. The new
victory-day comes at the week's beginning. With the fine tingle of
victory in our spirits we are ever at the beginning of a new life and new
victory and great things to come.

Did Jesus rise? Or, was He raised? Both are said of Him. Both are true. He
was raised by the power of the Father. Every bit of His human life was
under the direction and control of His Father. Every act of His from first
to last was in the strength of the Father. This last act was so. The
Father's vindication of His Son was seen in the power that raised Him up
from out of the domain of death. He was raised.

_Jesus rose_ from the dead. The action was in accord with the law of His
life. He rose at will by the moral gravity of His character. He had gone
down, now He lets Himself rebound up. The language used of His death is
very striking. No one of the four descriptions of the death upon the cross
says that He _died_. The words commonly used to describe the death of
others are not used of Jesus. Very different language is used. Matthew
says, "He dismissed His spirit." Mark and Luke each say, "He breathed out"
His life. John says, "He delivered up His spirit."

His dying was voluntary. Not only the time of it and the manner of it, but
the fact of it was of His own choosing. The record never suggests that
death overcame Him. He yielded to it of His own strong accord. He was not
overcome by death. He could not be, for sin having no hold within His
being, death could have none. Physical death is one of the logical results
of the sin within. Jesus yielded up His spirit. It was a free, voluntary
act. He had explained months before that so it would be. "I lay down My
life that I may take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down
of Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take
it again. This commandment I received from My Father." This being so, the
return to life followed the same voluntary course. Having accomplished the
purpose in dying, He now recalled His spirit into the body and rises by
His own choice.

Man's true gravity is toward a center upward. Sin's gravity is toward a
center downward. When an ordinary man, a sinful man, dies, he is overcome
by the logical result of the sin in himself. He is overcome by the moral
gravity downward of His sin. He has no choice. His own moral gravity apart
from sin is upward. But that is overbalanced by the downward pull of the
sin ingrained in his very being. And this quite apart from his attitude
toward the sin.

In Jesus there was no sin. Being free of it, He rose at will. "It was not
possible that He should be held by death," for it had no hold upon Him.
His gravity was upward. For a purpose, a great strong purpose, He yielded
to death's embrace. Now that purpose being achieved, He quietly lets
Himself up toward the natural center of gravity of His life.



The Life Side of Death.


Clearly Jesus' body had undergone changes through death and resurrection.
It is the same to outer appearance, so far as _personal identity_ is
concerned. The doubting, questioning disciples handle His person, they
know His face, they recognize His voice. He eats with them and talks with
them and moves in their midst as before. Even the doubter, stubborn in his
demand for tangible, physical evidence, is convinced by the feel of his
hands that this is indeed Jesus back again. Further, He moves about among
them unrecognized till He chooses to be known. Yet this may have been His
power over them rather than any changed quality in His person.

But mark that the limitations of space and of material obstructions are
gone after the resurrection. He no longer needs to get that body through
space by physical strength or management, but seems to go where He will by
choosing to be there. He is no longer affected in His movements by the
walls of a building or other such material obstruction, but comes and goes
at will. The arrangement of the linen cloths in the tomb, as marked so
keenly by Peter and John, is significant. They are found lying as they
were when enfolding that body, as though He had in rising risen up through
them.

Clearly the body is the same so far as personal identity is concerned. But
the limitations are gone. The control of spirit over body seems full,
without any limitations. As one of us can, _in spirit,_ be in a place far
removed as quick as thought, so He seems to have been able to be
_actually_, bodily, where He wanted to be as quickly. All the old powers
remain. All the old limitations are gone, never to return. Jesus had moved
over to the life side of death. He had gone down into death's domain,
given it a death blow, and then risen up into a new Eden life, where
neither sin nor death had power to touch. Those forty days were sample
days of the new Eden life on earth.

Jesus has become the leader of a new sort of life lived on the earth,
mingling in its activities, but free of its power, _controlled from
above_. He asks every one who will to come along after Him. We can, for He
has. It is possible, because of Him. We may, for He asks us to. It is our
privilege. Let us go.



The Ascension: Back Home Again Until----



Tarry Ye--Go Ye.


One day the disciples and followers of Jesus had met in Jerusalem, when
Jesus Himself came again in their midst and talked with them quite a bit.
He said particularly that they were not to leave Jerusalem, but wait
there. In a few days the Holy Spirit would come upon them, and they were
to wait until He came. Then He asked them to go with Him for a walk. And
they walk together along those old Jerusalem streets, out the gate and off
past Gethsemane toward the top of Olives over against Bethany. On the way
they ask Him if it was His plan to set up the kingdom then. He turns their
thought away from Palestine toward the world, away from times and seasons
toward telling a race about Himself.

And now they are standing together on the Mount of Olives. There is Peter,
the new man of rock, and John and James, the sons of thunder, and little
Scotch Andrew, and the man in whom is no guile, and the others. But one's
eyes quickly go by these to the Man in the center of the group. These men
stand gazing on that face, listening for His words. There is a
consciousness that the goodbye word is about to be spoken. Yonder they can
see the bit of a depression and the tops of some old trees. That is
Gethsemane. And over beyond that is the city wall and the little knoll
near by outside. That is Calvary. With memories such as these suggest they
listen with eyes as well as ears. "Ye shall receive power," the Master is
saying, "and ye shall be _My witnesses_ here in Jerusalem and in all
Judea, your brothers, and in Samaria, the nearby people you don't like,
and unto the uttermost part of the earth, everybody else." They are held
by the words and by that face. Then He lifts up His hands in blessing upon
them. And as they gaze they notice He is rising, His feet are off the
earth, then higher and higher. Then a shining glory cloud sweeps down out
of the blue, and now they see Him no more.



Coming Again.


They continue gazing, held spellbound by the sight, thinking maybe they
may get another look. Then two men in white apparel are in their midst and
speak to them: "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into the
heavens? This Jesus who was received up into heaven shall so come in like
manner as ye beheld Him going into heaven." That word at once sends them
back to the waiting-place of which the Master had spoken. From that time
they never lost the upward glance, but they were ever absorbed in obeying
the Master's command.

Jesus' ascension was a continuation of the resurrection movement. The
resurrection was the beginning of the ascension. Having finished the task
involved in dying, Jesus responded to the natural upward movement of His
life. On His way up from the tomb to His Father's home and throne, He
tarried awhile on the earth for the sake of these disciples and leaders,
then yielded again to the upward movement. The two men in white apparel
give the key to the ascension. Jesus will remain above until the next
great step in the kingdom plan. Then He will return to carry out in full
the Father's great love-plan for man and for the earth.

His last act with these men was conducting them to the Mount of Olives.
That is ever to be the point of outlook for His follower. Yonder in full
view is Gethsemane and Calvary. Following the line of His eyes and
pointing finger, as the last word is spoken, leads us ever to the man
nearest by, to the uttermost parts of the earth, and to all between.
Following His disappearing figure keeps us ever looking upward to Himself
and forward to His return.



Study Notes



Analysis and References


The spirit-key to an understanding of God's Word is surrender of will and
life to His mastery. "He that is willing to do His will will know of the
teaching." The mental-key to a grasp of the contents of that Book is
_habitual broad reading_. It cannot be too insistently insisted upon that
wide reading from end to end of the Book, and from end to end of the year,
is _the_ simple essential to a clear understanding and a firm grasp of the
Bible. It is the only possible salvation from the piece-meal, microscopic
study of sentences and verses that has been in common use _clear out of
all proportion_. Such disproportionate study steals away very largely the
historical setting, and the simple meaning in the mind of speaker and
writer. Wide reading habitually indulged in should come first, and out of
that will naturally grow the closer study. This is the true order. In
giving references it is needful to mark particular verses. Yet this is to
be regretted because of our inveterate habit of reading only the marked
verses instead of getting the sweep of their connection. The connection is
a very large part of the interpretation of any passage. The references
here are meant to be indices to the whole passage in connection. They are
not meant to be full, but simply to start one going. They should be
supplemented by others suggested by one's own reading, by marginal
references (those of the American Revision are specially well selected),
and by concordance and topical text-book. What a student digs out for
himself is in a peculiar sense his own. It is woven into his fibre. It
helps make him the man he comes to be. Those who may want a course to
follow rigidly without independent study will find these notes
disappointing. For those who want a daily scheme of study the allotment
for the day can be by certain designated pages of reading with the
corresponding paragraphs in the Study Notes. The paragraphing will be
found to be in some measure, though not wholly, a sub-analysis. The
American Revision is used here.



I. The Purpose of Jesus.



1. The Purpose in the Coming of Jesus.


_God Spelling Himself out in Jesus_: change in the original
language--bother in spelling Jesus out--sticklers for the old
forms--Jesus' new spelling of old words.

_Jesus is God following us up_: God heart-broken--man's native air--bad
choice affected man's will--the wrong lane--God following us up.

_The Early Eden Picture_, Genesis 1:26-31. 2:7-25: unfallen
man--like God--the breath of God in man--a spirit, infinite,
eternal--love--holy--wise--sovereign over creation, Psalm 8:5-8--in his
own will--summary--God's thought for man.

_Man's Bad Break_, Genesis 3. the climax of opportunity--the tree of
choice--the temptation--blended lies--the tempter's strategy--the choice
made--the immediate result--safety in shame--the danger of staying in
Eden--guarding man's home--the return, Rev. 2:7. 22:14, 2. John 10:10.

_Outside the Eden Gate_: a costly meal--result in the man himself--ears
and eyes affected--looking without seeing--a personal test--Isaiah's
famous passage, Isaiah 6:9-10, see Isaiah 42:18, 20, 23. 43:8. 29:10.
Jeremiah 5:21. 6:10. 7:26. Ezekiel 12:2. Psalm 69:23. Micah 3:6. Acts
7:51.--Jesus' use of parables--Jesus' irony--Matthew 13:10-15. Mark
4:10-12. Luke 8:9-10. See John 12:40. Acts 28:26, 27. Romans 11:8. John
9:39-41--tongue affected--the tongue man's index--effect of seeing
God--whole mental process affected--sense of dread--- Paul's seven steps
down in mental process, Ephesians 4:17-19--Jesus the music of God, the
face of God.

_Sin's Brood_: result in the growth of sin--three stages, flood, Moses,
Paul--Paul's Summary, Romans I:18-32, see Matthew 15:19. Galatians
5:19-21. 2 Timothy 3:2-5.--Paul's Outlook--a summary of to-day--the
conventional cloak--four great paragraphs--man still a king, Genesis 9:6.
1 Corinthians 11:7. James 3:9.--a composite picture--analysis of sin--the
root of sin.

_God's Treatment of Sin_: "gave them up," Romans 1:24, 26, 28. see Job
8:4. 1 Kings 14:16. Psalms 81:12. Acts 7:42, Romans 9:22 (endured).--the
worst thing and the best--sin's gait--Jesus is God letting sin do its
worst upon Himself.

_A Bright Gleam of Light_: the non-Christian world--God has no
favorites--all know God directly, Romans 1:20, 32. John 1:9--believing on
Jesus--the outside majority--Peter's statement, Acts 10:34, 35.--Paul's
statement, Romans 2:7.--persistent climbers--trusting the unknown
Jesus--the Master's command--to help our brothers--Jesus is God
sacrificing His best.

_The Broken Tryst_, Genesis 3:8-9: God keeping tryst--man not there--God's
search--a lonely God--still calling--Jesus is God calling man back to the
broken tryst.

_God's Wooing_: direct revelation to all--the inner light, John 1:9. Acts
17:26-28. Job 12:10. Psalms 139:1-16.--through nature, Psalms 19:1-6.--in
the daily weave of life, Acts 17:28.--"The Lord's at the loom"--a special
revelation, Romans 3:2. Deuteronomy 4:8.--in Jesus, Heb. 1:1-3.--the
Book--the mission of the Book, John 20:31.--summary--chiefly Jesus.



2. The Plan for the Coming of Jesus.


_God's Darling_, Psalms 8:5-8.--the plan for the new man--the Hebrew
picture by itself--difference between God's plan and actual events--one
purpose through breaking plans--the original plan--a starting
point--getting inside.

_Fastening a Tether inside_: the longest way around--the pedigree--the
start.

_First Touches on the Canvas_: the first touch, Genesis 3:15.--three
groups of prediction--first group: to Abraham, Genesis 12:1-3; to Isaac,
Genesis 26:1-5; to Jacob, Genesis 28:10-15; through Jacob, Genesis
49:9-11. through Balaam, Numbers 24:17-19; through Moses, Deuteronomy
18:15-19, see Matthew 21:11. John 1:21. 6:14. Acts 3:22. 7:37.--second
group: David, 2 Samuel 7:16, 18, 19. 23:3-5. Psalms 2nd, 110th. Solomon in
72nd Psalm. Forty-fifth Psalm.

_A Full Length Picture in Colors_: third group in prophetic books--one
continuous subject--"day of the Lord," 134 times,--Somebody coming--His
Person; _divine_, Isaiah 7:14. 9:6. 33:22. Micah 4:7. 5:2. Haggai 2:9.
_human_, Isaiah 32:2. Daniel 7:13. _manner of birth_, Isaiah 7:14. _of
native stock_, Isaiah 9:6. Ezekiel 29:21. _of David's line,_ _ Isaiah 9:7.
11:1. 16:5. Jeremiah 23:5. 33:15, 17, 21, 26. Amos 9:11. Zechariah 3:8.
6:12. _a branch of Jehovah, _ Isaiah 4:2. _a King_, Isaiah 9:6. 32:1.
33:17. Jeremiah 23:5. Zechariah 6:13. 9:9. _called David_, Jeremiah 30:9.
Ezekiel 37:24, 25. Hosea 3:5. _a priest-king,_ Zechariah 6:13. _a
preacher_, Isaiah 61:1-3. _a teacher_, Isaiah 9:6 (counsellor).--the
kingdom, Daniel 2:34,44. Obadiah:21 (Jehovah's).--the capital, Isaiah 2:3.
4:5. 33:20,21. 59:20. 65:18, 19. Joel 3:16, 17, 20, 21. Micah 4:7, 8.--the
presence of God, Ezekiel 37:27. Joel 3:21. Zechariah 2:10, 11. Zephaniah
3:17.--visibly present, Isaiah 4:5, 6.--characteristics, vengeance, Isaiah
61:2. 63:1-6. Zephaniah 3:19.--great victory, Zechariah 9:9.--- but
without force, Isaiah 11:4. Zechariah 9:10.--peace, Isaiah 2:4. 9:6,
7.--established in loving kindness, Isaiah 16:5.--justice and right,
Isaiah 9:7. 16:5. 32:1. Jeremiah 23:5. 33:15.--the poor and meek, Isaiah
11:4, 5.--broken-hearted, poor and imprisoned, Isaiah 61:1-3.--protection
from all ills, Isaiah 32:2.--impartiality in judging even the most weak
and obnoxious, Isaiah 42:3, 4.--gradual increase, Isaiah 9:7. 42:4. a
great crisis, Zephaniah 4:1. Habakkuk 3:1-15. with unexpected suddenness,
Malachi 3:1--effect upon Israel _nationally_; Spirit-baptized, Isaiah
44:2. Ezekiel 37:9-14. 39:29.--never withdrawn, Isaiah 59:21.--judgments
removed, Zephaniah 3:14, 15.--impurity cleansed, Isaiah 4:4. Malachi 3:2,
3.--possession of land, Zephaniah 2:7.--capital holy, Joel 3:17.--weakness
gone, Micah 4:6, 7. freedom from enemies, Isaiah 33:18, 19.--Jeremiah
30:8-10. Joel 3:17. Zechariah 14:11. Micah 5:6.--at peace, Isaiah 33:20.
Micah 5:5.--leadership, Isaiah 2:2. Micah 4:1, 3. 5:8.--spiritual
leadership, Joel 2:28, 29.--supremacy, etc., Isaiah 60:1-22. 11:10. 2:2.
Micah 4:1, 3. 5:8. Zechariah 2:10.--Jerusalem center, Isaiah 60:10-14.
Zechariah 14:16. effect upon Israel _personally_; made over new, Ezekiel
11:17-20. 36:25-27. Jeremiah 31:31-34. Isaiah 4:3.--devotion and
open-mindedness, Isaiah 32:3-4. 44:5.--sickness absent, Isaiah
33:24.--longer lives, Isaiah 65:20.--increase in numbers, Jeremiah 33:22.
Ezekiel 37:26. Isaiah 44:4.--no disappointed plans, Isaiah 65:21-23. Amos
9:14.--fear gone, Micah 4:4.--thrilled hearts, Isaiah 60:5. effect upon
_other nations_; to come back to God, Micah 5:3 (see John 10:16).--Spirit
upon all, Joel 2:28.--voluntary coming to Israel for instruction, Isaiah
2:3. Micah 4:2.--earth filled with knowledge, Isaiah 11:9.--her influence
as the dew, Micah 5:7.--the only medium, Isaiah 60:12. wondrous blessings
shared with all, Isaiah 42:1, 6, 7. 49:6. 51:4. 61:1.--universal peace,
Micah 4:3-4. Zechariah 9:10. changes in nature; at Jerusalem, Isaiah
33:21. Joel 3:18 l.c. Zechariah 14:8. Ezekiel 47:1-5. Zechariah
14:4.--increased light, Isaiah 30:26.--overshadowed by presence of God,
Isaiah 60:19 (Presence cloud, Exodus; as sun, Matthew 17:2 with parallels;
above sun Acts 26:13).--renewed fertility, Ezekiel 36:29, 30. Hosea 2:21.
Joel 3:18. Amos 9:13. Zechariah 14:10. Isaiah 4:2.--removal of curse upon
earth, Zechariah 14:11. Isaiah 65:17.--the animal creation, Isaiah 11:6-9.
65:25. Hosea 2:18 (see Romans 8:20-22).--without limit, Isaiah 2:2. 9:7.
Daniel 2:44. 7:14. Micah 4:1. 5:4. Zephaniah 3:20. Zechariah 9:10. Joel
3:20.--a return to original conditions--characteristics of the coming
One--mental equipment, Isaiah 11:2. 42:1. 61:1.--personal beauty and
dignity, Isaiah 4:2. 33:17. Daniel 7:14. Micah 5:14.--unpretentious,
Zechariah 9:9.--direct touch with God, Isaiah 49:1-3. 50:4.--backed by
power of God, etc., Isaiah 42:1, 6. 49:3. 52:13. 53:11. 59:20. Zechariah
3:8. Malachi 3:1.--the poor cared for righteously, Isaiah 11:3-5.--divine
insight, Isaiah 11:3.

_Back to Eden_: a wild dream--the Hebrew Book's conception--Simeon and
Anna, Luke 2:25-38.

_Strange Dark Shadowings_: weird forebodings--acted out, Joseph and
David--Psalms 22. 69:20, 21. Isaiah 50:6, 7. 52:13-53:12. Daniel 9:24-26.
Zechariah 11:4-14. 12:10. 13:7. a valley-road to the throne.



3. The Tragic Break in the Plan.


_The Jerusalem Climate_: the contrasting receptions, Luke 2. the music of
heaven, Job 38:6, 7. Luke 2:13, 14. pick out the choruses of Revelation,
the crowning book.--the after-captivity leaders, see Ezra and
Nehemiah--ideals and ideas--present leaders--Herod--the high priest--the
faithful few, Luke 2:25, 38. 23:51.

_The Bethlehem Fog_: Matthew 1 and 2. Luke 2. a foggy shadow--suspicion of
Mary--a stable cradle--murder of babes--star-students--senate meeting--a
troubled city-flight--Galilee.

_The Man Sent Ahead_: the growing boy--John's relation to Jesus--trace
passages in gospels referring to John.

_The Contemptuous Rejection_: accepted by individuals, rejected by
nation--John's drawing power--a dramatic presentation. John
1:19-34.--ominous silence--five satisfied seekers, John
1:35-51.--cleansing of temple, John 2:13-22.--first public work, John
2:23-25.--Nicodemus, John 3:1-21.--helping John, John 3:22, 23. 4:1 with
Matthew 3:5-7. Luke 3:7-14. the dispute about the two men, John 3:25-30
(note American Revision)--John's arrest--effect upon Jesus, Matthew
4:12-25.--"withdrew."

_The Aggressive Rejection_: the second stage--Nazareth, Luke
4:16-30.--seven incidents, _i.e._ (i) healing at pool of Bethesda, John
5:1-47. (2) forgiving and healing palsied man, Matthew 9:2-8 with
parallels. (3) criticizing Jesus' personal conduct, Matthew 9:10-17 with
parallels. (4) grain fields on the Sabbath, Matthew 12:1-8 with parallels.
(5) healing whithered hand, Matthew 12:9-14 with parallels.--second
"withdrew," Mark 3:7-12 with parallels. (6) charge of having an unclean
spirit, Mark 3:20-30 with parallels. (7) interruption by his mother,
Matthew 12:46-50 with parallels.--the murder of John, Matthew 14:1-12 with
parallels.--third "withdrew," Matthew 14:13 with parallels.--staying in
Galilee during fourth Passover, John 6:4, 5.

_The Murderous Rejection_: a fugitive from Judea, John 7:1.--fresh attack
by southern leaders, Matthew 15:1-20 with parallel in Mark.--fourth
"withdrew"--outside national lines, Matthew, 15:21 with parallel in
Mark.--return to Sea of Galilee and request for sign, Matthew 15:29-16:4
with parallel in Mark.--Feast of Tabernacles, John 7: 2-8:59.--the blind
man cured, John 9:1-40.--Transfiguration, Matthew 17:1-8 with
parallels.--the beginning of the last journey, Luke 9:51. Mark 10:1, 32.
Matthew 19:1.--the Seventy, Luke 10:1-17.--getting nearer to Jerusalem,
divorce question, Mark 10:2-12. Matthew 19:3-12.--Good Samaritan, Luke
10:25-37. Beelzebub, "vehemently," Luke 11. fresh tilt over Sabbath
question, Luke 13:10-17.--cunning attempt to get Him into Judea, Luke
13:31.--Feast of Dedication, John 10:22-40.--Lazarus, John 11:1-46. formal
decision against Him, John 11:47-53. a fugitive, John 11:57. no more
openly, John 11:54. crowding pilgrims, John 11:55, 56. Lazarus again, John
12:9-11. the last week; triumphal entry, Matthew 21:1-17 with parallels,
daily visits and return to Olivet, Luke 21:37-38; cleansing temple,
Matthew 21:12-17 with parallels; duel of questionings, Matthew 22. Mark
11:27-12:34. Luke 20:1-44; His terrific arraignment, Matthew 23:1-39 with
parallels; Greeks, John 12:20-36. Bethany feast, Matthew 26:6-13 with
parallels, Judas, Matthew 26:14-16 with parallels; with the inner circle,
Matthew 26:17-46 with parallels.

_Suffering the Birih-pains of a New Life_: why did Jesus die?--God's plan
of atonement, Leviticus 1:3-9--Paul's statement in effect, Galatians
2:20.--Jesus' dying does not fit into Hebrew ritual--standpoint of
Hebrews--what God counselled, Acts 2:23.--this affects only the form not
the virtue of Jesus' death--preaching of Acts, 2:14-36, 38, 39. 3:12-26.
4:8-12. 5:29-32, and on, first church council, Acts 15.13-18 with Amos
9:11-12.--the superlative of hate--Jesus' death voluntary, John 10:17,
18--ten attempts before the cross; three to kill at once, Luke 4:30. John
8:59. 10:31. other attempts, Matthew 12:14. John 5:18. 7:1, 30, 32. 10:39.
11:53 Jesus' own explanation:--the temple, John 2:19. lifted up, 3:15.
Matthew 9:15 with parallels. His flesh, John 6:53-57. with Jesus' own
interpretation, good Shepherd, John 10:11; for the sheep, 10:15; other
sheep, 10:16; take it again, 10:17; of Myself, 10:18. cross, Matthew 10:38
with parallels. Jonah, Matthew 12:39, 40. 16:4 with parallel in Luke.
Greeks, John 12:24-33. the Father's command, John 14:31. for friends, John
15:13. sanctified, John 17:19. the Father's cup, John 18:11. John's
comment, John 12:47-52.--the necessity for dying--a step in a wider
plan--for the nation--wholly voluntary--six elements in a perfect
sacrifice--Jesus alone is a perfect sacrifice--Paul's comment, Romans
3:26.--God's master-stroke--faith--Hebrew heathen and Christian grouped.



4. Some Surprising Results of the Break.


_The Surprised Jew_: a clash of wills--thousands of believing Jews--the
church displacing kingdom--two-fold division of men formerly--now
three-fold--church different in organization from kingdom--the Baptist
puzzled--Jesus did not fill out Hebrew prophecy--two characteristics,
personal and official--personal details fulfilled--official not because of
rejection--out of situation grew four gospels--Mark--Matthew's the gap
gospel--Paul's audiences--Luke's gospel--these three tell of rejection
mainly--John's gospel--the order of the gospels in canon.

_The Surprised Church_: God holds to His plan--mixed ideas of kingdom and
church--a handy principle of interpretation--one law consistently
applied--the church to fulfil its mission and go--the kingdom simply
retarded, yet to come--the plan enriched--sliding scale of fulfilment--the
King must come--- even this in Hebrew picture, Zechariah 12:10. New
Testament teaching. Peter, Acts 3:21.--keeping truth in proportion--the
gospel of the kingdom--Paul, 1 Thessalonians 1.10. 2:19. 3:13. 4:13-18.
5:10-23. 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10. 2:1-9. 1 Corinthians 1:7, 8. 3:13. 5:5.
15:23, 25, 51, 52. 16:22. 2 Corinthians 1:14. 5:2-4. Romans 8:18, 19, 23.
11:12-29. 13:11, 12. 16:20. Colossians 3:4. Ephesians 1:10, 14, 18. 4:4,
30. 5:27. Philippians 1:6, 10. 2:16. 3:20. 4:5. 1 Timothy 1:1 (note Paul's
use of "hope" throughout). 6:14. Titus 2:13. 2 Timothy 1:12, 18. 2:12.
4:1, 8.--The Book of Revelation--the coming surprise. _The Surprising
Jew_: greatest surprise--for all--the puzzle of history--divinely
preserved--the keystone of the coming kingdom--Jesus the spirit magnet for
Jew and all.



II. The Person of Jesus.



1. The Human Jesus.


_God's meaning of "Human":_ man's fellow--two meanings of word
human--original meaning--natural limitations.

_The Hurt of sin_: sin's added limitations.

_Our Fellow_: Jesus truly human--up to first standard--His
insistence--perfect in His humanness--fellowship in sin's
limitations--hungry, Matthew 16:5. John 4:6-8.--tired, John 4:6. Mark
4:38.--poverty, Matthew 13:55. Mark 6:3.--hard toil, John
19:25-27.--homeless, Luke 4:16-30. Matthew 8:20. Luke 9:58.--discipline of
waiting.

_There's More of God since Jesus Went Back_: the Nazareth home--fellowship
with His brothers--"In the shop of Nazareth"--a Man on the throne.



2. The Divine Jesus.


_Jehovah-Jesus:_ John 1:1-18. the intimacy of John, John 13:23. 19:26.
20:2. 21:7, 20. "with Jesus," John 18:15.--John writes of Jesus--- when he
wrote--getting the range--his literary style--the beginning--the
Word--this was Jesus--the tragic tone.

_God's Spokesman_: the Creator was Jehovah--- Jehovah is Jesus--the
Spokesman--Old Testament revelations, Adam, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac,
Jacob, Moses, the elders of Israel, Isaiah, Ezekiel,--Whom these
saw--various ways of speaking--John's Gospel a battlefield--finding the
Man. _Whom Moses Saw_: Jesus' own standpoint--"down from heaven," John
3:13, 31. 6:38. 8:42. would go back again, John 6:62. John 16:5, 10. 13:1.
come on an errand, then going back, John 16:28 13:3. He only had seen the
Father, John 6:46. only begotten Son, John 3:16, 18. His own Father, John
5:17, 18. 10:32-33. 19:7.--Jesus' answer to Jews' objection, John
5:19-47.--"He wrote of Me," the true meaning--I and the Father one, John
10:30.--the Father in Me, John 10:38. the name Father in Old Testament, 2
Samuel 7:14. 1 Chronicles 17:13. 22:10. Psalm 68:5. 89:26. 103:13. Isaiah
63:16. 64:8. Jeremiah 3:4, 19. Malachi 3:17.--Jehovah the common
name--trace Jesus' use of Father about 180 times--manna, John 6:32.

_Jesus is God Wooing Man_: "Abraham--saw and was glad," John
8:33-59--supposed meanings--natural meaning--"I am"--Jesus is Jehovah come
Himself to woo man.



3. The Winsome Jesus.


_The Face of Jesus_: Jesus drew crowds, men, women, children, bad people,
enemies--His personality--face--impress of experiences--the glory of God
in that face, 2 Corinthians 4:6. Hebrews 1:3.

_The Music of God in the Voice of Jesus_: the eye--Jesus' eyes, Luke
4:16-30. John 8:59. 10:31. 7:32, 45, 46. 18:6. Mark 10:32. 9:36. 10:13-16.
Luke 19:48.--His voice, Matthew 26:30. personal touch, Matthew 8:3, 15.
9:29. 17:7. 20:34. Mark 1:41. 7:33. Luke 5:13. 22:51. (John 14:16-20). His
presence irresistible. Moses' request, Exodus 33:18. Jesus draws
men--yielding to His power.



III. The Great Experiences of Jesus' Life.



1. The Jordan: The Decisive Start. Matthew 3:13-17. Mark 1:9-11. Luke
3:21-22.


_The Anvil of Experience_: knowledge only through experience--the Fourth,
Daniel 3:25.--three Hebrews, Daniel 3.--Babylonian premier, Daniel
6:16-23.--George Mueller--Jesus made perfect through experience, Hebrews
2:10. 5:8, 9. 7:28, l.c.--all our experiences, Hebrews 2:14-18.
Philippians 2:7. Hebrews 4:15, except through sin, Hebrews 4:15, l.c.
7:26. 2 Corinthians 5:21, f.c. 1 Peter 2:22. 1 John 3:5, l.c.--Jesus'
suffering, Philippians 2:6-8. Hebrews 2:9, 17, 18. 4:15. His obedience,
Luke 2:51. Matthew 26:39. John 10:18. 14:31. Philippians 2:8. Romans 5:19.
Hebrews 5:8. knowledge through experience--common experiences--mountain
peaks--the tragic in each.

_Our Brother_: Jesus coming for baptism--John's objection--why
baptized--getting in touch--the point of contact--choosing for Himself the
Father's choice--the dangers--His strong purpose--the Father's
approval--three times the voice, here, transfiguration, Matthew 17:5. Mark
9:7. Luke 9:35. Greeks, John 12:28. the decisive start.



2. The Wilderness: Temptation. Matthew 4:1-11. Mark 1:12, 13. Luke 4:1-13.


_The University of Arabia_: Jesus' naturalness--the Spirit's
presence--intensity, Luke 2:45-51.--a true perspective--- the temptation's
path--sin's path--John's grouping, 1 John 2:16.--the Spirit's
plan--why--the devil's weakness--the Spirit's leading--a wilderness for
every God-used man, Moses, Elijah, Paul.

_Earth's Ugliest, Deepest Scar_: Jesus the only one led up to be
tempted--the wilderness--its history, Genesis 13:10-13.
18:16-19:38.--Jesus really tempted--no wrong here in inner response--every
temptation--by the devil.

_Waiting the Father's Word_: the tempter's skill--acting divinely--a stone
for hunger--not wrong in itself--recognizing temptation--"man"--waiting
the Father's word--the trained inner ear--not our power but God's through
our obedience.

_Love never tests_: a more agreeable setting--touching tender chords--the
religious temptation--only through consent--bad scripture quoting, Psalm
91--a helpful dust-cloth--using power only to help--a true quotation,
Deuteronomy 6:16.

_The Devil acknowledges the King_: a dazzling scene--analyzing the
tempter's proposition--a common cunning trap--Jesus' kingly conduct--the
devil obeys Him--but to return--a coward--our safety in Jesus--lead us not
into temptation.



3. The Transfiguration: An Emergency Measure. Matthew 16:28-17:1-8. Mark
9:1-8. Luke 9:27-36.


_God in Sore Straits_: the darkest hour save one, fugitive, John 7:1. ban,
John 9:22, 34. pushing, Matthew 15:1. Mark 7:1.--the danger zone,
"withdrew," Matthew 4:12. 12:15. 14:13. 15:21. Tabernacles, John 7:32.
8:59.--Galileans desert, John 6:60-66.--the inner circle infected, John
6:67-71.--God needs men.

_Fire and anvil for Leaders_: mental strength--seasoned leadership--Simon
and Peter.

_An Irresistible Plan_: alone with the twelve--the changed plan, Matthew
16:18-21.--Peter's stupid boldness, Matthew 16:22, with Mark 8:32.--the
best available stuff--to see the Jesus within--getting Paul, Acts 9:1-9.
22:6-11. 26:12-18.

_The Glory of that Light_: while praying--changed from within--absorbed
with Jesus' master-stroke--the jarring human note--the glory
obscured--through an opened door--the kingdom.

_A Vision of Jesus_: gleams of light--the purpose secured, John 20:19, 24,
26-29.--an indelible impress, John 1:14. 12:41. Mark 9:3 with 1 Peter
1:16-17. Acts 12:2.--changed while looking, Acts 22:11. 2 Corinthians
3:18.



4. Gethsemane: The Strange, Lone Struggle. Matthew 26:36-46. Mark
14:32-42. Luke 22:39-46. Hebrews 5:7.


_The Pathway in_: messengers ahead--Jesus _felt_ the cross drawing
near--the look of His face, Luke 9:51-55.--His disciples afraid, Mark
10:32.--indignation against sin, John 11:33, 38. marginal reading American
Revision.--the Greeks, John 12:20-28.

_The Climax of Suffering_: the darkest shadow--why the struggle is
strange--shock of extremes--His purpose in yielding--separation from the
Father--Matthew 27:46. Mark 15:34 margin.--the superlative degree of
suffering.

_Alone_: a full evening, Matthew 26:17-19 with parallels. John, chapters
13 to 17.--for prayer--on knees and face--the changed prayer--ready for
the worst.



5. Calvary: Victory. Matthew 26:47-27:61. Mark 14: 43-15:47. Luke
22:47-23:56. John 18:1-19:42.


_Yielding to Arrest_: the betrayal--protecting the disciples--checking
Peter's violence--the arrest--the disciples forsake Him--except two, John
18:15, 16.

_The Real Jewish Ruler_: Annas the intriguer--an unrebuked insult--the
case settled at once--before Caiaphas--difficulty in fixing a charge--the
dramatic question and solemn answer--second condemnation--gross insults.

_Held Steady by Great Love_: Peter gains entrance through John, John
18:16.--the stammering denial--the bolder--with oaths and curses--Jesus'
look--Peter's tears.

_An Obstinate Roman_: before the senate--trying to make a case--the formal
condemnation--before Pilate--an unexpected set-back--alone with
Pilate--acquitted--shrill protests--off to Herod.

_A Savage Duel_: before Herod--no word for him--more insults--a second
acquittal--back to Pilate--his character--his summing up--their
protests--his wife's message--Barabbas or Jesus--Pilate weakening--the
scourging and coarse mocking--Pilate's surprise--a new charge--the
governor startled--alone again with Pilate--the use of Caesar's
name--renunciation of national hopes--the defeated governor's small
revenge--the duel over.

_Victory_: out to Calvary--the pitying women--crucified--praying for the
soldiers--pitching dice for His clothes--the inscription--coarse taunts
and jests--winning a man at the very last--providing for His mother the
darkness--the agonizing cry--the shout of victory.



6. The Resurrection: Gravity Upward. Matthew 28:1-15. Mark 16:1-8. Luke
24:1-49. John 20:1-21:25. 1 Corinthians 15:4-7.


_A New Morning_: early visit to the tomb--Mary Magdalene's alarmed call
for Peter--the message of the angels--Peter and John come--another group
of women get an angelic message.

_Jesus seeking out Peter_: Mary Magdalene meets Jesus--He meets other
women--the soldiers' story--alone with Peter.

_Made Known in the Breaking of Bread_: the Emmaus travellers--the
Stranger's explanation--the evening meal--the Master!

_Even so Send I you_: the meeting in Jerusalem--the Master's unexpected
presence--the sure proofs--breathing on them--Thomas' stubborn doubts--a
week later--a second great catch of fish--to James--to five hundred--on
Olives' top--the Bethany home not represented.

_Gravity Upward_: the resurrection not expected--fully assured--the new
victory-day--Jesus was raised--He rose at will--His dying voluntary, so
the rising--man's true gravity--sin's gravity--Jesus' gravity upward.

_The Life Side of Death_: bodily changes in Jesus--personal identity
unchanged--limitations gone--the Leader of a new sort of life.



7. The Ascension: Back Home Again Until----


_Tarry ye--Go ye_: the Jerusalem meeting--the walk to Olives--not
Palestine only, but a world--the last word--upward--seen no more.

_Coming again_: gazing upward, Acts 1:10, 11.--a continuation upward--the
Olivet outlook.



Footnotes



[1] Genesis 2: 25.

[2] Schiller.

[3] "An Indian Priestess." Published by Hodder & Stoughton.

[4] Mary A. Lathbury.

[5] Nathaniel Parker Willis.

[6] Arthur Peirce Vaughn.

[7] So the best manuscripts.

[8] Frances Ridley Havergal.



Transcriber's Notes


[A] Original text read "disguest".





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