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Title: Quiet Talks on John's Gospel
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.

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Quiet Talks on _John's Gospel_

By

S. D. Gordon



1915



Preface



_Everything depends on getting Jesus placed._ That lies at the root of
all--living, serving, preaching, teaching. John had Jesus placed. He had
Him up in His own place. This settles everything else. Then one gets
himself placed, too, up on a level where the air is clear and bracing,
the sun warm, and the outlook both steadying and stimulating. Get the
centre fixed and things quickly adjust themselves about it to your eyes.

It will be seen very quickly that this little book makes no pretension
to being a commentary on, or an exposition of, John's Gospel. That is
left to the scholarly folk who eat their meals in the sacred classical
languages of the past. It is simply a homely attempt to let out a little
of what has been sifting in these years past of this wondrous miniature
Bible from John's pen.

The proportions of this homely little messenger of paper and type may
seem a little odd at first. The longest chapter is devoted to only the
opening eighteen verses of John, the prologue. While the whole of the
first twelve chapters of John, excepting that prologue, is brought into
one smaller chapter. It wasn't planned so, though I felt it coming as
the wondrous mood of this book came down over me. I think it mast be
the effect of the atmosphere of John's book.

Sometimes John packs so much in so little space, and again he goes so
particularly into the details of some one incident. The prologue is a
miniature Bible. The whole Bible story is there in its cream. And on the
other hand John spends five chapters (xiii.-xvii.), almost a fifth of
the whole, on a single evening. He devotes seven chapters (xiii.-xix.),
almost a third of all, on the events of twenty-four hours. John is
controlled not by mere proportion of space or quantity, but by the finer
proportions of thought and quality.

It has been difficult to hold these homely talks down to the limit of
space they take here. So many veins of gold in this mine, showing
clearly large nuggets of pure ore, lie just at hand untouched in this
little mining venture. But it seemed clearly best to get the one clear
grasp of the whole. That helps so much. But there'll be strong
temptation to get one's pick and spade and go at this gold mine again.

But now these things are written that we common folk may understand a
bit better, and in a warm way, that Jesus was God on a wooing errand to
the earth; and that we may join the blest company of the won ones, and
become co-wooers with God of the others.

S. D. G.



Contents



I. John's Story

II. The Wooing Lover

     Who it was that came.

III. The Lover Wooing

     A group of pictures illustrating how the wooing was done and how
     the Lover was received.

IV. Closer Wooing

     An evening with opening hearts: the story of a supper and a walk in
     the moonlight and the shadows.

V. The Greatest Wooing

     A night and a day with hardening hearts: the story of tender
     passion and of a terrible tragedy.

VI. An Appointed Tryst Unexpectedly Kept

     A day of startling joyous surprises.

VII. Another Tryst

     A story of fishing, of guests at breakfast, and of a walk and talk
     by the edge of blue Galilee.



I

John's Story



    "I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
      I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
    I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
      Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
    I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
          Up vistaed hopes, I sped;
          And shot, precipitated,
    Adown Titanic glooms of chasméd fears,
      From those strong Feet that followed, followed after."

    --_Francis Thompson, in "The Hound of Heaven_."

"These are written that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son
of God; and that believing ye may have life in his name."--_John xx.
31_.



I

John's Story



The Heart-strings of God.


There's a tense tugging at the heart of God. The heart-strings of God
are tight, as tight as tight can be. For there's a tender heart that's
easily tugged at one end, and an insistent tugging at the other. The
tugging never ceases. The strings never slack. They give no signs of
easing or getting loose.

It's the tug of man's sore need at the down-end, the man-end, of the
strings. And it's the sore tug of grief over the way things are going on
down here with men, at the other end, the up-end, the heart-end, of the
strings. It's the tense pull-up of a love that grows stronger with the
growth of man's misunderstanding.

But the heart-strings never snap. The heart itself breaks under the
tension of love and grief, grieved and grieving love. But the strings
only strengthen and tighten under the strain of use.

Those heart-strings are a bit of the heart they're tied to, an inner
bit, aye the innermost bit, the inner heart of the heart. They are the
bit pulled, and pulled more, and pulled harder, till the strings grew.
Man was born in the warm heart of God. Was there ever such a womb! Was
there ever such another borning, homing place!

It was man's going away that stretched the heart out till the strings
grew. The tragedy of sin revealed the toughness and tenderness of love.
For that heart never let go of the man whom it borned. Man tried to pull
away, poor thing. In his foolish misunderstanding and heady wilfulness
he tried to cut loose. If he had known God better he would never have
tried that. He'd never have _started_ away; and he'd never have tried to
_get_ away.

For love never faileth. A heart--the real thing of a heart, that is,
God's heart--never lets go. It breaks; but let go? not once: never yet.
The breaking only loosens the red that glues fast with a tighter hold
than ever. The fibre of the heart--God's heart--is made of too strong
stuff to loosen or wear out or snap. Love never faileth. It can't;
because it's love.

Now all this explains Jesus. It was man's pull on these heart-strings
that brought Him down. The pull was so strong and steady. It grew tenser
and more insistent. And straight down He came by the shortest way, the
way of those same heart-strings. For the heart-strings of God are the
shortest distance between two given points, the point of God's giving,
going love, and the point of man's sore need, given a sharper-pointed
end by its very soreness.

It is a sort of blind pull, this pull of man on the heart of God; a
confused, unconscious, half-conscious, dust-blinded, slippery-road sort
of pulling, but one whose tight grip never slacks. Man needs God, but
does not know it. He knows he needs _some_thing. He feels that keenly.
But he does not know that it's God whom he needs, with a very few rare
exceptions. It doesn't seem to have entered his head that he'll never
get out of his tight corner till God gets him out.

Down the street of life he goes, eyes blinded by the thick dust, ears
deafened by the cries of the crowd, by the noise of the street without,
and the noise of passions and fevered ambitions within, heart a-wearied
by the confusion of it all, groping, stumbling, jostled and jostling,
hitting this way and that, with the fever high in his blood, and his
feet aching and bleeding; sometimes the polish of culture on the
surface; _some_times rags and dirt; but underneath the same thing.

Yet under all there's a vague but very real feeling of that unceasing
pull upward upon His heart-strings. But though blind and vague and
confused that tugging is never the less tense, but ever more, and then
yet more.

Jesus was God answering the tug of man's need on His heart-strings. And
so naturally there was an answering feel in man's heart. Man felt the
answer a-coming. There was a great stir in the spirit-currents of earth
when Jesus came. A thrill of expectancy ran through the world, Roman,
Greek, Barbarian, far and wide, as Jesus drew near. The book-makers of
that time all speak of it. It was the vibration of those same
heart-strings connecting man and God.

The move at God's end was felt at man's. The coming down along the
highway of the strings thrilled and stirred and awed the hearts into
which those strings led, and where they were so tightly knotted. The
earth-currents spread the news. Man heard; he felt; he knew: vaguely,
blindly, wearily, yet very really he heard and felt and recognized that
help, a Friend, some One, was nearing.

And then when Jesus walked among men how He did pull upon their hearts!
So quietly He went about. So sympathetically He looked and listened. So
warm was the human touch of His hand. So strong was the lift of His arm
to ease their load. So potent was the spell of His unfailing power to
give relief. How He did pull! And how men did answer to that pull!
Unresistingly, eagerly, as weary child in mother's arms at close of day,
they came crowding to Him.



The Fourfold Message.


It is fascinating to find one book in this old Book of God given up
wholly to telling of this, John's Gospel. Of course the whole of the
Book is really given up to it, when one gets the whole simple view of it
at one glance. But so many of us don't get that whole simple glance.

So to make it easier for us simple common folk, and to make sure of our
getting it, there is one little book, hardly big enough to call a book,
just a few pages devoted wholly to letting us see this one thing. You
can see the whole of the sun in a single drop of water. You can see the
whole of the Book of God in this one little book that John wrote.

John's Gospel is like the small tracing of the artist's pen on the
lower corner of an etching, the remarque, put there as a signature, the
artist's personal mark that the picture is genuine, the real thing. The
whole consummate skill of the artist is revealed at a glance in the
simple outline-tracing on the margin. The whole of the God-story in the
larger picture of the whole Book is given in few simple clear lines in
this exquisite little thing commonly called John's Gospel.

It is striking to make the discovery that John's little book has _a
distinctive message as a book_. It is full of messages, of course. But I
mean that there is a distinct story told by the book as a whole, by the
very way it is put together. It is told by the very sort of language
used, the words chosen as the leading words of the book. It is told by
the picture that clearly fills John's eye as he writes, and by the very
spirit that floods the pages as a soft light, and that breaks out of
them as the subtle fragrance of locust blossoms in the spring.

The fragrance of flowers cannot be analyzed: it must be smelled and
felt. That's the only way you'll ever know it. The fine scholarly
analyses of John are helpful. But there's the subtler something that
cannot be diagramed or analyzed or synthesized. It eludes the
razor-edged knife, and the keenly critical survey. It is recognized only
by one's spirit, and then only when the spirit is warm, and in tune with
John's.

Of course each of the Gospel stories has a message of its own, quite
apart from the group of facts common to them all. And these four
messages together give us the fuller distinctive message of these four
little books. And a very winsome message it is, too, that takes hold of
one's heart, and takes a warm strong hold at that.

_Matthew_ tells us that Jesus is a _King_. For a great purpose He chose
to live as a peasant, as one of the common folks. But He was of the
blood royal. He has the long unbroken kingly lineage. He showed kingly
power in His actions, kingly wisdom in His teachings, and the fine
kingly spirit in His gracious kindliness of touch. He was gladly
accepted and served as King by those who understood Him best. He was
acknowledged as King by the Roman Governor; and He died as a King, and
as a King was laid in a newly hewn tomb.

_Mark_ adds a fine touch to this picture, a warm touch with colour in
it,--this King of ours is _a serving King_. This comes not only with a
warm feel, but it comes as a distinct surprise. Men's kings are _served_
kings. There have been kings, and are, who rendered their people a fine
high service, and do. But the overpowering impression given the common
crowd watching on the street is that kings are superior beings, to be
waited upon, humbly bowed to, and implicitly obeyed. They are to be
served.

Bat Mark's picture shows us a King whose passion is to serve. The
service which He draws out of His followers is drawn out by His warm
serving spirit towards us. The words on the royal coat-of-arms are, "Not
to be ministered unto, but to minister." And in the first meaning of the
words He Himself used that means "not to be _served_ but to _serve_." In
Mark the air is tense with rapid action. The quick executive movement of
a capable servant is felt in the terse words short sentences and swift
action of the story.

There's yet warmer colouring in _Luke's_ picture. This serving King is
_nearest of kin to us!_ He is not only of the blood royal, but of the
blood human. He is bone of our bone, blood of our blood, and life of our
common life. He came to us through a rare union of God's power with
human consent and human function, never known before nor repeated since.
This is the bit that Luke adds to the composite message of these four
little God-story books.

Here Jesus has a tenderness of human sympathy with us men, for He and we
are brothers. There's an outlook as broad as the race. No national
boundaries limit its reach. No sectional prejudices warp or shut Him off
from sympathetic touch with any. He shares our common life. He knows our
human temptations, and knows them with a reality that is painful, and
with an intensity that wets His brow and shuts His jaw hard.

This king who serves is _a man_. He _can_ be a king of men for He is a
_man_. He has the first qualification. I might use an old-fashioned word
in the first old-time meaning,--He is _a fellow_, one who shares the
bed and bread of our common experience. And so He is _kin to us_, both
in lineage and in experience, in blood and in spirit.

And John's share in this partnership message adds a simple bold touch of
colouring that makes the picture a masterpiece, _the_ masterpiece. This
King who serves, and is nearest of kin to us, is also _nearest of kin to
God_. He is not only of the blood royal, and the blood human, but of the
blood divine. He was with God before calendars came into use. He was the
God of that creative Genesis week. He came on an errand down to the
earth, and when the errand was done, and well done, He went back home,
bearing on His person the marks of His fidelity to the Father's errand.
This is John's bit of rich high colouring.

And so _we are nearest of kin to God_ through Jesus. Kinship is always a
matter of blood. There is a double kinship, through the blood of
inheritance, and the blood of sacrifice. Our _inherited_ kinship of
blood has been lost. But His blood of sacrifice has made a new kinship.
We had broken the entail of our inheritance clean beyond mending. We
were _outcasts_ by our own act. But He _cast in_. His lot with us, and
so drew us back and up and in. He made a new entail through His blood.
And that new entail is as unbreakable as the old broken one is
unmendable. And so we come into the family of a King. And we are
kingliest in character when we are Christliest in spirit and action. We
are most like the King when we are helping others.

Our true motto, in our relation to our fellows, is: "I am among you as
he that serveth." Towel and basin, bended knee and comforted
pilgrim-feet and refreshed spirit,--this is our family crest. We're kin
to all the race through Jesus. Black skin and white, yellow and brown;
round heads and long, slanting eyes and oval, in slum alley and palatial
home, below the equator and above it,--all are our kinsmen.

We are reaching highest when we are stooping lowest to help some one up.
We're nearest like God in character when we're getting nearest in touch
to those needing help. We are kingliest and Godliest and Christliest
when we're controlled by men's needs, but always under the higher
control of the Holy Spirit.

This is the composite message of the four Gospels; and this is its
practical human outworking.



God on a Wooing Errand.


But it's the other John message we are especially after just now.
There's another message of John's book quite distinct from this, though
naturally allied with it. And this other is the crowding message of his
book. Its thought crowds in upon you till every other is crowded into
second place. And as it gets hold of you it crowds your mind and heart
and life till every other is either crowded out, or crowded to a lower
place; _out_, if it jars; _lower place_, if it agrees, for every
agreeing bit yields to the lead of this tremendous message.

But one must get hold of John before John's message gets hold of him.
John was swayed by a passion. It was a fiery passion flaming through all
his life. It burned through him as the fierce forest fire burns through
the underbrush. Every base thing was eaten up by its flame. Every less
worthy thing came under its heat. It melted and mellowed and moulded his
whole being.

It was _the Jesus-passion_. It was kindled that memorable afternoon
early in his life down in the Jordan bottoms.[1] John's namesake, the
Herald, applied the kindling match. From then on the flames never
flickered nor burned low. They increased steadily, and they increased in
purity, until his whole life was under their holy heat.

John didn't always understand his Master. Sometimes he misunderstood.
But he never failed in his trust of Him, nor in his fidelity to Him. Of
the chosen inner circle John was the one who remained true through the
sorest test, that betrayal-night test. Judas betrayed; Peter denied; the
nine fled in terror down the road to save their cowardly lives; John
went in "_with_ Jesus." That fiery nature of his, that early won for him
the stormy name "son of thunder," came completely under the sway of this
holier tenderer stronger flame, and burned itself out in a passion of
love for Jesus.

The Jesus-passion swayed John completely. This explains the man, and his
career. It explains this little book of his ripe old age. And only this
can. One must read the book through John's own heart, then he begins to
understand it. This Jesus-passioned man is the key to the book, the
human key.

And the distinctive message of the book is simply this: _Jesus was God
on a wooing errand to the earth_. That simple sentence covers fully all
that is found in John's twenty-one chapters. Every line in these
fourteen or fifteen pages can be traced back into that brief statement.

Indeed this becomes an outline of the book. See: in the opening
paragraphs the wooing Lover is coming down to earth.[2] In the first
twelve chapters the Lover is pleading winsomely and earnestly for
acceptance.[3] Then He is seen in closest touch with the inner group of
those who have accepted, opening His heart yet more, wooing still
closer.[4] Then comes the last tragic pleading, pleading in intensest
action, with those who persist in rejecting.[5] And then the last close
heart-touches with the inner circle.[6]



The Water-Mark of John's Gospel.


The very words John so thoughtfully chooses as his leading words bear
the distinct impress of this, like the sharply indented stamp of the
mint on the new coin. Two such words stand out above all others,
"believe" and "witness." The first actually occurs oftenest, sounding
out like the dominant chord of music running throughout a symphony. The
second is like the chief warp-thread into which the fabric is being
woven.

The two words are really twins, born at the same time, of the same
mother. They grow up together and work in perfect accord. The witnessing
is that men may understand and believe. It's the servant leading up to
the belief that shall become the mastering thing. The belief is servant,
too, in turn, leading up to the witnessing that becomes the mastering
passion in those who believe.

These words are worth digging into for the fine gold that lies hidden
within waiting the miner's pick. The word "believe" is a nugget of pure
gold, whether you take our English word or John's word lying underneath.
The underneath word, that John uses in his own mother tongue, runs a
sliding scale of meaning.

It's a ladder rising from bottom round to topmost. It means to be
persuaded that a thing is true; then to place confidence in it, to
trust. And _trust_ always contains the idea of _risk_. The heart-meaning
always is that you _risk_ something very precious to you, risk it to the
point of heart-breaking disaster if your trust proves wrong.

Our English word is of very close kin. It runs the same sort of sliding
scale, from something valuable and precious in itself, on to something
that _satisfies you_ regarding the matter in hand. You are not only
satisfied but pleased, content. And so there is the same trusting and
risking, the same leaning your whole weight upon the thing. Deep down
at its root, _believe_ is a close kinsman to _love_. They both spring
out of the same warm creative womb.

When we dig a bit into that word _believe_ in the usage of common life
it means three distinct things, each leading straight into the
other,--knowledge, belief, trust. That is, _facts_, facts _accepted_,
facts _trusted_ in regard to something that takes hold of your life. You
hear something. You believe it's true. But there must be the third
thing, risking something valuable. There's no belief in the
heart-meaning without this thing of _risking_. The trust that risks is
the life blood of faith. The rest is only the bony skeleton with tendons
and sinews and flesh. There's no life without the blood. There's no
belief without trust.

And the word _witness_ is the same pure-gold sort of nugget, assaying
full weight. John's native word and our own are just the same in
meaning. Their meaning is _to tell what you know_. We shall be running
across this word again, and digging a bit deeper into it. But this is
the thing that stands out in it. You tell something that you yourself
know. There's personal knowledge. There's a telling some one else this
thing you know. And yet more, there's the purpose in the telling, that
others may know what you know, and get all the good that comes with
knowing it.

The _witnessing_ is that others may _believe_. It is a striking thing in
John that the _thought_ of witness is more common than the _word_. The
word occurs several times, and always in a leading way. But the thought
of witnessing is the colouring of every page, and the chief colouring.

I said that these two words were twins, born at the same time, of the
same mother. That warm-hearted brooding mother is the word _wooing_.
Originally _wooing_ means bending towards, inclining forward or reaching
out towards another. And the purpose of the reaching out is to get the
other to reach forward towards you. And that purpose puts the warm feel
into the reaching out.

All words were pictures first. Here in this word _wooing_ is a picture,
by one of the old masters, waiting to be restored, with all the dusty
accumulations of the years carefully removed. And here's the picture: a
man standing, with the light of the morning shining in His eyes, body
bending forward, hands reaching out, with an eagerness, an expectancy in
every line of His body, and tender love glowing out of His face, and
sounding in the very tones with which the voice is calling.

This picture is really the water-mark on the paper of John's Gospel.
Hold up the paper of John's Gospel to the light. The best light for the
purpose is found on Mount Calvary. High altitudes have clearer light.
You see more distinctly. Now look. Hold still that you may see all the
outlines more distinctly. There's the form of a Man standing in pleading
attitude, with outstretched hands. His face combines all the fineness of
the finest woman's face, with all the strength of the strongest man's,
and more, immensely more, all the purity and tenderness and power of
_God's_ face. It _is_ God Himself in human form coming a-wooing to
earth, and we call His name Jesus. This conception is the very
atmosphere of John's Gospel.

Jesus is the witness of the Father to men. He knew the Father. He knew
Him by closest intimacy. He lived with Him. He came down to _tell_ what
He knew. He wanted others to know too. He wanted them to know _even as_
He knew. _Telling_ is the whole of Jesus; telling men of the Father.

His mere presence, His character, His warm sympathy, His practical
helpfulness, His words, His actions, most of all His dying and His
rising, all these were a _telling_, a witnessing, a wooing; telling the
Father's love, telling the damnableness of our sin by giving His very
life blood to get it out of us; so telling us how we might really know
the mother-heart of the Father.



Jesus the Dividing Line.


There are several contrasts between the first three Gospels and John's.
It is very striking to notice one in particular in this connection. One
reading the first three Gospels for the first time is impressed with the
fact of Jesus' _rejection_. This stands out peculiarly and dominantly.
It was the great fact, told most terribly in the death of Jesus. It was
the thing that stood out sharpest in the generation to which Jesus
belonged, the generation for whom these three Gospels were written at
the first.

But John wrote his story for an after-generation, a generation that had
not known the man Jesus by personal touch and observation. And so it was
for all after-generations. And John makes it very clear that Jesus was
rejected, _and_ accepted.

He was indeed _rejected_; that fact stands out as painfully here as in
the others. He was rejected by the little inner clique that held the
national reins, and held them with fevered tenacity, and drove hard. And
the reason for it is made to stand out as plainly as the fact. The envy
and jealousy, the intense bitterness and viciousness and devilish
obstinacy back of the rejection stand as boldly out to all eyes as to
Pilate's.

But the other side stands out sharply too. Jesus was _accepted_. He was
accepted by all classes, by the cultured, and the scholarly, by
thoughtful studious leaders and officials of the nation. He was accepted
by the great middle classes and by those in lowest scale socially, and
by the moral outcasts. Intense Hebrews, Roman officials of high rank,
half-breed Samaritans, and men of outside nations group themselves
together by their full acceptance of Jesus.

He was listened to, doubted, questioned, discussed, thought over, _and
then accepted._ And He was accepted with a faith and with a love that
counted not suffering nor sacrifice for the sake of Him whom they
believed and trusted and loved. John makes this clear, rejected _and_
accepted.

Jesus divided the crowds. Down the road He comes, with quiet strength,
witnessing to the great simple truth of the Father's pure strong wooing
love. And the crowd looks and listens and--_divides_. Some reject;
clearly they are a minority, but entrenched in a position of power that
proves quite sufficient for their purpose. Though it took all the power
at their command to carry out their purpose.

Others accept. These are the crowds, the majority. Some don't
understand. Their motives are selfish or mixed, like some other folks'
motives. Some are played upon by the cunning of the leaders and swung
away. But there remain the thoughtful ones whose faith goes from
weakness to strength; it grows from more to yet more. It mellows from a
true simple faith to a deepened, seasoned, sorely-tested,
surely-toughened faith that loves, loves clear down to the roots, and
endures gladly. This is the simple warp-thread into which John's very
simple story of Jesus is woven.



Spelling God.


_I_ want to give you _a bunch of keys_, as we start into these homely
talks in John's Gospel. They are simple keys. Any one can use them. They
fit easily and smoothly into every lock, the lock of your life, the lock
of any circumstance, any sore problem that may come up to baffle all
your efforts. They bring treasures within easy reach. They open up the
way into all you need. There is a key to God, a key to the Book of God,
and then there are three keys to this little John book.

_The key to God_ is in one little word. It has two spellings, sometimes
with four letters, sometimes with five, and both correct spellings. The
four-lettered spelling is for all the world. The five-lettered spelling
is chiefly used in the western half of the earth, and along certain
lines and in certain spots here and there in the eastern half where the
word is known.

That first spelling is l-o-v-e. God is love. Love is of God. _God is
always controlled by a purpose_ in all His dealings with the race, and
with you and me. There is no chance-happening with Him, no caprice, no
shadow in His path that tells of His being swerved aside, by anything we
do, from a steady purpose.

And that controlling purpose is _always a purpose of love._ It's a
purpose of strong steady pure clinging brooding love. The bother is we
don't know what that word _love_ means; none of us. We know words but
not the real things they stand for. We don't know the real thing of love
because we don't know the real thing of God. If we knew, oh! if we but
knew it--Him--how that simple statement would melt us down, and mellow
us through, and mould us all over anew!

That's the shorter spelling. It is the universal spelling. That love is
being spelled out to all the race by every twinkling star in the upper
blue, every shade of green in the lower brown, by every cooling shading
night, and every fragrantly dewy morning. Every breath of air and bite
of food and draught of water is repeating God's spelling lesson. These
are the pages in God's primer. So we all may learn to spell out God. And
so we get the right spelling of our own lives.

Then there's the other spelling, the five-lettered, J-e-s-u-s. It's the
same thing, only spelled differently; spelled in a yet better way. The
spelling grows bigger to us when Jesus comes. When we know Him it takes
more to spell out and to tell out God's love. God grows larger to our
eyes as He comes walking among us as Jesus. No, He doesn't grow larger.
We simply begin to find out how large He is.

This is the closer, more human spelling. The letters are nearer and seem
bigger as they come walking down the street where we live, and knock at
our own door. They're easier spelled out. We can get hold of them
better. Love is a thing, we _think_. Jesus is _a person_. It's so
different to touch a person. But when we know, we know that both
spellings tell the same thing. So far, only about a third of us have
heard anything about this second, this closer spelling. Two out of three
haven't heard about it yet. But those who really know this spelling are
eager for the others to get it, too.

God is always controlled by a great simple purpose in thinking of you
and me. And it is an unfailing purpose of strong tender love. This is
the first key. Any one may take it and use it. It is unfailing. It will
fit every lock. It unlock every problem. It will open up the riches to
any life. They're brought within easy reach of any hand by the steady
use of this key.

This is the key to God. It unlocks the doors and lets Him freely into
our lives. Then we find out how much truer it is than we can understand.

Then there's _the key to the Book of God._ There are many keys here, of
course. Daily time alone with the Book, thoughtful reading, prayer, some
simple plan, putting into your life what has been put in its
pages,--these are all good keys. But there's a master-key, _the_
master-key. It is simply this: glad surrender of will to the God of the
Book. I mean a strong intelligent yielding to His mastery in all of
one's plans and life. The highest act of the strongest will is yielding
to a higher will when you find it. And you find the higher, the highest,
will here.

This is the master-key. Bending the will affects eyes and ears and mind.
The hinges of eye and ear are in the will. As the will bends those
hinges move of themselves. Eye and ear and mind open. The lower the will
bends, the more fully and habitually, the more will eyes and ears open,
the keener and more alert will be the mental processes, the more
intelligent the understanding. And there comes to be a continual mutual
shifting. With better understanding can come stronger more intelligent
yielding of will, and so again clearer light.

And it is striking to discover that there's a practical connection
between the joints of the knees and the joint of the will. The bending
of knees to a sharp right angle affects the will. It is easier to bend
it. It bends better and more. And this grows. The habitual bending of
the knees helps make habitual and stronger and more intelligent the
bending of the will.

This is the master-key to the Book of God. It opens every lock and page.
It opens us to the Book, and opens the Book to us. It frees out to us
the wondrous Spirit who is in these pages. And so through the opened
Book there come to be the direct touch with the God of the Book. We
don't come to the Book merely; we come _through_ it to Him who comes
through it to us. This is the second key in this bunch.



Three Keys.


Now, I want to give you _the three keys to John's Gospel._ There's a
back-door key, a side-door key, and a front-door key. These keys hang
outside the doors, low down, that so any one who wants to can easily
reach up, and get them. And if used faithfully and simply they will be
found to unlock every page and line and difficult question.

_The back-door key_ hangs right at the back door. It is the very last
verse of chapter twenty. That really was the last chapter at first. The
thought of the book comes to a close there. The story is complete. Then
the Holy Spirit led John to add a little, a second last-chapter, an
added touch for good measure. Love is never content. It is always adding
more.

Here is the key: "_these are written that ye may believe that Jesus is
the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye may have life through
His name_." This was John's whole thought in telling the Jesus-story.
The practical gripped him wholly and hard. This is the thing that guides
his selection of incidents. This purpose shapes the shape of the book.
It explains everything told, and just why it is told in just the way it
is told.

John lets Jesus walk before our eyes fresh from His Father's presence.
The mere fact of His presence, the winsomeness of His personality, the
clearness of His teaching, the power of His actions, the uncompromising
purity of His character amidst sin-stained crowds and sin-dirtied
surroundings, the unflinching rigidity of His ideals, the persuasiveness
of His very manner and tone of speech, the patience and gentleness, the
rugged granite strength, the mother tenderness, above all the
willingness to suffer so terribly,--all this is a plea, a tremendous
overpowering plea, all the stronger because presented so simply and
briefly. Jesus is a Lover and this is His wooing.

And John's one thought in writing is the same as the one thought in the
Lover's heart. John has become simply an echo of Jesus. It is this, that
_you_, whoever you are, wherever, whatever, that you may _believe_. You
look and listen, question, puzzle a bit maybe, but keep on listening and
looking, thinking, weighing, till you are clear these things are just so
as John tells them. Yon accept them as trustworthy. Then you accept
_Him_, Jesus, as He comes to you, your wooing Lover, your Lover-God,
your Saviour and Lord.

You _believe_: that is you _love_. The grammar of the word works itself
out inside you thus,--believe, trust, love. The truth comes in through
eyes and ears and feeling, into brain and will; through emotion clear
down into your heart. You love. You cannot help yourself. You love
_Him_, Jesus, the One so lovable.

John says that you _may_ believe. It is possible. It is the reasonable
intelligent thing to do after such a presentation. John makes it easy
for us to believe. His telling of the story is so strong and convincing,
though so simple and short, that believing is the natural thing. Jesus
Himself, as He conies to us through John's eyes and speech, is so
believable, so trustworthy, so lovable.

Now we _may_ believe. It's the thing to do after a thoughtful kneeful
study of the case as put by John. We _may believe_ clear into and
through intellect and emotions and will, right down into the depths of
heart and love, clear out into every action of the life.

And John sweeps in the whole crowd of the world in the way he puts it
here. Listen: "that you may believe that Jesus is _the Christ_." That
was for the Jew peculiarly in the first instance. The Jew had been
taught through generations that there was One coming who was God's
chosen One for the Hebrew nation. He was the _Anointed One_. The Hebrew
said _Messiah_. The Greek said _Christ_. Both mean the same, the One
chosen of God, anointed by Him as the King and Leader of His chosen
people, and through them of all the race.

Listen further: "that Jesus is _the Son of God." That_ is for all of us,
Jew and foreigner, insider and outsider. This Jesus is in a distinctive
sense _the_ Son of God, the only begotten Son. This pure loving pleading
wooing suffering dying rising-again Jesus, this is the only begotten Son
of the Father. All there is in a Father comes to, and is in, an only
begotten son. This is God Himself coming to us in His Son.

Once let this sift into thought and heart, then who would _not_ believe,
_and_ trust, _and_ love, _and_ fall on his face in the utter devotion of
a voluntary slave before such a God!

And so believing, trusting, loving, touching, His life flows in and
fills up and floods out. We have it _now_. That word _eternal_, used so
often by John with the word _life_, is not a mere _length_ word. It is
not a calendar word. It tells the sort of life, the quality of life,
that comes in through the opening door of our believing. This is John's
back-door key, but it lets you clear in through the whole house.

Then there is _the side-door key_. It hangs at the side, a bit towards
the back. It is in the Thursday night talk, as we commonly call it, that
last heart-talk with the inner group on the betrayal night. It is in
chapter sixteen, verse twenty-eight: "_I came out from the Father, and
am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go unto the
Father_."

Run through this Gospel with that fresh in your mind, and it is
perfectly fascinating to find how much like a magnet it is, picking out
to itself so many bits from the Master's lips that fit exactly into it.
Jesus' constant thought was that He used to be with the Father; He came
down on an errand to the earth. By and by when the errand was done He
would go back home again.

This sentence becomes a simple, exact, comprehensive outline of the
entire Gospel. Notice: "_I came out from the Father_": that is chapter
one, verses one to eighteen. There Jesus is seen coming down from His
Father's own presence. Then chapter one, verse nineteen through to the
close of the twelfth chapter is fully described and covered by the next
clause, "_and am come into the world_." Here He is seen in the world, in
the midst of its crowds and contentions and oppositions.

"_Again, I leave the world_,"--chapters thirteen to nineteen. In chapters
thirteen to seventeen He is tenderly leaving the inner circle. In
chapters eighteen and nineteen He is going out of the world by the
terrible doorway of the cross it had carpentered for Him. How quietly He
says the words, though the terrible going is yet to come, and is now so
near that He can already feel the shame and the thorns and the nails.

And as quietly He looks beyond and adds, "_and go unto the Father_." In
chapters twenty and twenty-one He lingers a little for the sake of these
being left behind, but His face is already turned homeward. They would
hold Him in their midst. He quietly tells them that He is going back
home to the Father to get things ready for them, as He had said.



He Comes to His Own.


_The front-door key_ hangs right at the very front, outside, low down,
where even a child's hand can reach it. It is in chapter one, verses
eleven and twelve: "_He came unto His own, and they that were His own
received Him not. But as many as received Him to them gave He the right
to become children of God, even to them who believe on His name_." This
is the great key, the chief key to this whole house. It flings the front
door wide open and you are inside at once, and take in the whole of the
house at a glance, one glance, one wonderful glance.

The first twelve chapters tell of Jesus coming to His own, His own
nation, humanly, racially, His own chosen people. He is coming steadily
and persistently, in spite of rebuffs; coming patiently, tenderly,
earnestly; coming ever closer in the ever increasing measure of divine
power seen in His actions.

And continually, persistently, He is being rejected and accepted. He is
rejected silently and contemptuously, then aggressively and bitterly,
viciously and murderously. "His own received Him not." But many received
Him, eagerly and warmly and thoughtfully. They received Him with a
growing depth of conviction and deepening tenderness of love. And as
they come, He is ever receiving them, giving them that touch of new
life that marks only the children of God.

In chapters thirteen to seventeen He is receiving into closer fellowship
those who have received Him, and at the same time wooing them into yet
closer touch. The story of the trial and crucifixion in chapters
eighteen and nineteen, puts the most terrific emphasis on the words,
"_received Him not_." They not only keep Him out of His own possessions,
but do their worst in putting Him out of life. And the little book
closes in its last two chapters with His receivers being received into
the sweetest intimacies of tested triumphant love and into the inner
secrets of rarest resurrection power.

This is the most heart-breaking of all of John's heart-breaking
sentences. John had a hard time writing this Gospel of his. He was not
simply writing a book; that might have been fairly easy. But he was
telling about a friend of his, _the_ friend of his life, his one dearest
Friend. And when he remembers how they treated Him his eyes fill up, and
his heart beats till it thumps, and his quill sticks into the paper in
sheer reluctance to tell the story.

I think likely in the original manuscript, John's own first copy, the
writing was a bit shaky and uneven here. The dew of his wet eyes drops
and blurs the words a bit as he puts down, "He came to His own, and . .
they who were His own . . _received . . Him . . not_."

One day a young student was crossing the quadrangles of one of the old
Scottish Universities towards his quarters in the dormitory. He was not
feeling well. His eyes had troubled him and made his work very
difficult. On the advice of a friend he sought the judgment of an expert
in the treatment of the eyes. The specialist made a very thorough
examination and then informed the young student tactfully but plainly
that he would lose his eyesight, surely and not slowly.

Lose his eyesight? A sudden terrific actual blow between his eyes could
not have stunned his body more than this stunned brain and heart. Lose
his eyesight! All his plans and coveted ambitions seemed slipping clean
out from his grasp. With the loss of eyes would go the loss of
university training, and so of all his dreams. Dazed, blinded, he groped
his way rather than walked out of the physician's office.

His life was to be joined with another's. And now he turned his
distracted steps towards her home, hungry doubtless for some word or
touch of comfort for his sore heart. And he was thinking, too, that with
this utter break-up of the future she must be told. And as he talked he
said in quiet manly words that under these unexpected circumstances, and
the radical change in his prospects, she must be free to do as she
thought best.

And she took her freedom! Yet she was a woman. And a woman's mission is
to teach man love by the real thing of love, by being it herself, and
drawing it out into full flower in him. That was the second staggering
blow. A second time he groped his dazed way out of the house, down the
street, into his lone student quarters.

But another One was near, brooding over him, and tenderly holding his
breaking heart, and speaking words of warm comfort, and breathing in the
freshing breath of true love. And as he yielded to this it overcame all
else. A new mood came and dominated. And it became the fixed thing
mastering all his life. Now he sits down, and out of his torn bleeding
but newly-touched heart writes the words we have all learned to sing:

    "O Love that will _not_ let me go,
      I rest my weary soul in Thee,
    I give Thee back the life I owe,
      That in thine ocean depths its flow
        May richer, fuller be.

    "O Light that followest all my way,
      I yield my flickering torch to Thee;
    My heart restores its borrowed ray
      That in Thy sunshine's glow its day
        May brighter, fairer be.

    "O Joy that seekest me through pain,
      I cannot close my heart to Thee;
    I trace the rainbow through the rain,
      And feel the promise is not vain
        That morn shall tearless be.

    "O Cross that liftest up my head,
      I dare not ask to hide from Thee;
    I lay in dust life's glory dead,
      And from the ground there blossoms red
        Life that shall endless be."

And with but a single change, the change of a word or two in one line,
they stand as at first written. I suppose his biographer omitted the
incident for the same reason that the first three Gospels may have
omitted the incident of Lazarus while he was still living. So there was
a sheltering from personal embarrassment.

He came to his own and his own received him not. _He_--Jesus came to
_His_ own and they that were His own received Him not. Aye, there's more
to add: He _comes_ to His own--you and me--to-day. And His own--

You and I must finish that sentence, each in his own way. And we will;
and we do. We may copy out in our lives just what these men of old did
as told by John. Some of us do. We _may_ do some fine revision work on
the text of John's version as we translate it now into the experience of
our own hearts, and into the life of our own lives. That's the only way
to understand the next sentence about being taken into the family of God
and sharing the fullness of life that is common there.

And this bit that is put down here is only a bit of copy work. _These
things_ are talked and written only that we may be given a lift into
closer touch of heart and life with the Christ, the Son of God, and the
Brother and Saviour of men.



II

The Wooing Lover

     _Who it Was that Came_



       "But with unhurrying chase,
        And unperturbed pace,
    Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
        They beat--and a Voice beat
        More instant than the Feet--
    _'All things betray thee, who betrayest Me'_"

                    --"_The Hound of Heaven._"


    "Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any
    man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in
    to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."

    --_Rev. iii. 20._



II

The Wooing Lover

(John i. 1-18.)



In His Own Image.


Love gives. It gives freely and without stint, yet always thoughtfully.
It gives itself out, its very life. This is its life, to give its life.
It lives most by giving most. So it comes into fullness of life.

So it _gets_. A thing of life, in its own image, comes walking eagerly
with outstretched arms to its embrace. It gives that it may get. Yet the
giving is the greater. It brings most joy.

This is the very essence of life, this giving creating spirit. It is
everywhere, in lower life and higher and highest, wherever the touch of
God has come. The sun gives itself out in life and light and warmth. And
out to greet it comes a bit of itself--the fine form and sweet fragrance
of the rose, the tender blade of grass, the unfolding green of the leaf,
the wealth of the soil, the song of the bird and the grateful answer of
all nature.

The hen sits long patient days on her nest. And forth comes cheeping
life in her own image, answering the call of her mothering spirit. The
mother-bird in the nest in the crotch of the tree gives her life day by
day in brooding love. And her wee nestling offspring, in her own image,
answers with glad increase of strength and growth.

Father and mother of our human kind give of their very life that new
life may come. And under the overshadowing touch of an unseen Presence
comes a new life made in their image, and in His who broods unseen over
all three. And over the life wrecked by sin broods the Spirit of God.
And out through the doorway of an opening will, comes a new creature of
winsome life in the very image of that brooding Spirit of God.

This is the holy commonplace of all life. It is the touch of God. It is
everywhere about us, and beneath and above. The father-mother Spirit of
God broods over all our common life. And when things go wrong, He broods
a bit closer and tenderer. He meets every need of the life He has
created. And He meets it in the same way, by giving Himself.

And there's always the response. The fragrance of the rose answers the
sun. The pipped shell brings the longed-for answer to the gladdened
mother-bird. The ever wondrous babe-eyes give unspeakable answer to the
yearning of father and mother heart. The heart of man leaps at the call
of his God.

This makes quite clear the wondrous response men gave Jesus when He
walked among us. Jesus was God coming a bit closer in His brooding love
to mend a break and restore a blurred image. And men answered Him. They
couldn't help it. How they came! They didn't understand Him, but they
felt Him. They couldn't resist the tender, tremendous pull upon their
hearts of His mere presence.

And Jesus drew man into the closest touch of intimate friendship. The
long-range way of doing things never suited Him. And it doesn't. He
didn't keep man at arm's length. And He doesn't. And then because they
were friends, He and they, they were eager to serve, and willing even to
suffer, to walk a red-marked roadway for Him they loved.



The Gospel According to--You.


Among all those who felt and answered the call of Jesus was one called
John, John the disciple. Jesus drew John close. John came close. John
lived close. John came early and he stayed late. He stayed to the very
end, into the evening glow of life. And all his long life he was under
the tender holy spell of Jesus' presence. He was swayed by the
Jesus-passion. Always burning, he was yet never consumed; only the alloy
burned up and burned out, himself refined to the quality of life called
eternal.

Then John came to the end of his long life. And he knew he would be
slipping the tether of life and going out and up and in to the real
thing of life. And I think John was a bit troubled. Not because he was
going to die. This never troubles the man who knows Jesus. The
Jesus-touch overcomes the natural twinges of death. But he was troubled
a bit in spirit for a little by the thought that he would not be on
earth any longer to talk to people about Jesus. And to John this was the
one thing worth while. This was the life-passion.

And so I think John prayed about it a bit. For this is what he did. He
said to himself, "I will write a book. I'll make it a little book, so
busy people can quickly read it. I'll pick out the simplest words I know
so common folks everywhere that don't have dictionaries can easily
understand. And I'll make them into the shortest simplest sentences I
can so they can quickly get my story of Jesus." And so John wrote his
little book. And we call it the story of Jesus according to John, or, as
we commonly say the Gospel--the God-story--according to John.

And all this is a simple bit of a parable. It is a parable in action.
Jesus is brooding over us, giving Himself, warmly wooing us. He woos us
into personal friendship with Himself. And then He asks that each of us
shall write a gospel. This is the Gospel according to John; and these
others according to Luke and Mark and Matthew. He means that there shall
be the gospel according to--_you_. What is your name? put it in there.
Then you get the Master's plan. There is to be the gospel according to
Charles and Robert and George, and Mary and Elizabeth and Margaret.

And you say, "Write a gospel? I couldn't do that. You don't mean that.
That's just a bit of preaching." No, it isn't preaching. It's so. I do
not mean to write with a common pen of steel or gold; nor on just common
paper of rags or wood-pulp. But I do mean--_He_ means--that you shall
write with the pen of your daily life. And that you shall write on the
paper of the lives of those you're touching and living with every day.

Clearly, He meant, and He means, that you and I shall live such simple
unselfish lovable Jesus-touched lives, in just the daily commonplace
round of life, that those we live with shall know the whole story of
Jesus' love and life; His love burned out for us till there were no
ashes, and His life poured out for us till not a red drop was left
unspilled.

Are _you_ writing _your_ gospel? Is your life spelling out this simple
wondrous God-story? I can find out, though, of course, I shall not. What
I mean is this,--_the crowd knows._ The folks that touch you every day,
they know. This old Bible was never printed so much as to-day, nor
issued more numerously. And--thoughtfully--it was never read _less_ by
the common crowd on the common street of life than to-day.

That doesn't mean that the crowd doesn't read what it supposes to be
religious literature. It does. I wish we church folk read our religious
literature as faithfully as this crowd I speak of reads its. It is
reading _the gospel according to you,_ and reading it daily, and
closely, and faithfully, and remembering what it reads, and being shaped
by it.

This Bible I have here is bound in--I think it is called sealskin. I
tried to get the best wearing binding I could. But I've discovered that
there's a better binding than this. The best binding for the Gospel is
shoe-leather. The old Gospel of the Son of God is at its best as it is
being tramped out on the common street of life. Its truths stand out
clearest as they're walked out. Its love comes warmest, its power is
most resistless as it comes to you in the common give-and-take of daily
touch in home and shop and street. Are you writing your copy of the
Gospel?

You know that sometimes scholars have found some precious manuscripts in
old monasteries. They have gone into some old, grey, stone monkery in
the Near East, and they have run across old manuscripts hidden away in
some dark cell, covered with dust and with rubbish, perhaps. With much
tact and diplomacy they have at length managed to get possession of the
coveted manuscript. And they have been fairly delighted to find that
they have gotten hold of a remnant, a very precious remnant, of one of
these Gospels. In just this way much invaluable light has been gotten
that made possible these precious revised versions.

I wonder if _your_ gospel--the one you're writing with your life--is
_just a remnant,_ a ragged remnant. And perhaps there's a good bit of
dusting necessary, and removing of rubbish, to get even at what there is
there. And some of the shy hungry hearts that touch you and me need to
use quite a bit of unconscious diplomacy perhaps to get even as much as
they do. I wonder. The crowd knows. It could throw a good bit of light
here. How much of this old Jesus-story _are_ you really _living!_

Of course, there's a special touch of inspiration in these four Gospels.
The Holy Spirit brooded over these men in a special way as they wrote.
That is true. These are the standard Gospels. We would never know the
blessed story but for these four Spirit-breathed little books. But it is
also true that that same Holy Spirit will guide you in the writing of
your version of the Gospel.

These four Gospels are different from each other. The colouring of
Luke's warm personality, and of his physician habit of thought is in his
Gospel very plainly. And so it is with each one of these Gospels. And,
even so, there will be the colouring of your personality, your habit of
thought, the distinct tinge of the experience you have been through, in
the gospel you write with the pen of your life, and bind up in the
shoe-leather of your daily round.

But through all of this there will be the simple, subtle, but very real,
atmosphere of the Holy Spirit, helping you make the story plain and
full, and helping people to understand that story as it is _lived_, as
they never can simply by hearing it told with tongues or read through
eyes.

Are you writing your gospel? Is your daily life spelling out the life
and love of Jesus, that life that was poured out till none was left,
that love that was burned out till even the ashes were burned up, too?
This is the Master's plan. And practically it is the crowd's only
chance.



God in Human Garb.


Now I want to have you turn with me to the opening lines of John's
Gospel. There are not many of these opening lines. The whole story is a
short one. These lines at the beginning are like an etching, there are
the fewest touches of pen on paper, of black ink on white surface. But
the few lines are put in so simply and skilfully that they make an
exquisite picture. It's the picture of _God coming in human garb as a
wooing Lover._

I think it might be best perhaps if I might simply give you _a sort of
free reading_ of these opening lines, with a word of comment or
illustration to try to make the meaning simpler. It will be a putting of
John's words into the simple every-day colloquial speech that we
English-speaking people use. John used very simple language in his own
telling of the story in his mother-tongue. And it may help if we try to
do the same.

You will quickly see how very simple this free translation will be. Yet,
let me say, that though homely and simple it will be strictly accurate
to what John is thinking and saying in his own native speech. I mean of
course, so far as I can find out just what he is thinking and saying.

Let us turn then to John's Gospel, at its beginning. And it will help
very much if we keep our Bibles open as we talk and read together.

Listen: _in the beginning there was a wondrous One_. He was the mind of
God thinking out to man. He was the heart of God throbbing love out to
man's heart. He was the face of God looking into man's face. He was the
voice of God, soft and low, clear and distinct, speaking into man's
ears. He was the hand of God, strong and tender, reaching down to take
man by the hand and lead him back to the old trysting-place under the
tree of life, down by the river of water of life.

He was the person of God wearing a human coat and human shoes,
hand-pegged, walking in freely amongst us that we might get our tangled
up ideas about God and ourselves and about life untangled, straightened
out. He was God Himself wrapped up in human form coming close that we
might get acquainted with Him all over again.

This is part of the meaning of the little five-lettered word in his own
tongue that John chooses and uses, at the first here, as a new name for
Him who was commonly called Jesus. It was because of our ears that he
used the new word. If he had said "Jesus" at once, they would have said
"Oh! yes, we know about Him." And at once their ears would have gone
shut to the thing that John is saying.

For they didn't know. And we don't. We know _words_. The thing, the real
thing, we know so little. So John uses a new word at the first, and so
floods in new light. And then we come to see whom he is talking about.
It's a bit of the diplomacy of God so as to get in through dulled ears
and truth-hardened minds down in to the heart.

Nature always seems eager to meet a defect. It seems to hurry eagerly
forward to overcome defects and difficulties. The blind man has more
acute hearing and a more delicate sense of feel. The deaf man's eyes
grow quicker to watch faces and movements and so learn what his ears
fail to tell him. The lame man leans more on other muscles, and they
answer with greater strength to meet the defect of the weaker muscles.

The bat has shunned the light so long through so many bat-generations
that it has become blind, but it has remarkable ears, and nature has
grown for it an abnormal sense of touch, and a peculiar sensitiveness
even where there is no contact, so that it avoids obstacles in flying
with a skill that seems uncanny, incredulous.

I remember in Cincinnati one night, sitting on the platform of a public
meeting by the side of a widely known Christian worker and speaker who
was blind. As various men spoke he quietly made brief comments to me,--"
_He_ doesn't strike fire." And then, "_He_ doesn't touch them." And
then, "Ah! _he's_ got them; that's it; now they're burning." And it was
exactly so as he said. I sat fascinated as I watched the crowd and heard
his comments. The sense of discerning what was going on in another way
than by sight had been grown in him by the very necessity of his
blindness. Defect in one sense was overcome by nature, by increase in
another sense.

When Queen Victoria was in residence in Scotland at Balmoral it was her
kindly custom to present the various clergymen who preached in the
Castle chapel with a photograph marked with her autograph. When George
Matheson, the famous blind preacher, came she showed the fine thoughtful
tact for which she was famous. Clearly an autographed photograph would
not mean much in itself to a blind man. So the Queen had a miniature
bust-statue made and presented to him as her acknowledgment of his
service. And so where his eyes failed to let him see, his sense of touch
would carry to his mind and heart the fine features of the gracious
sovereign he was so glad to serve.

Jesus was God coming in such a way that we could know Him _by the feel_.
We had gone blind to His face. We couldn't read His signature plainly
autographed by His own hand on the blue above and the brown below. But
when Jesus came _men knew God by the feel_. They didn't understand
Jesus. But the sore hungry crowds reached out groping trembling fingers,
and they knew Him. They began to get acquainted with their gracious
Sovereign.

All this gives the simple clue to this word "_Word_" which John uses as
a new name for Jesus. Man had grown deaf to the music of God's voice,
blind to the beauty of His face, slow-hearted to the pleading of His
presence. His hand was touching us but we didn't feel it. So He came in
a new way, in a very homely close-up way and walked down our street into
our own doors that we might be caught by the beauty of His face, and
thrilled by the music of His voice, and thralled by the spell of His
presence.



God at His Best.


John goes on: _and this wondrous One was with God_. There were two of
them. And the two were together. They were companions, they were
friends, fellows together. _And this One was God_. Each was the same as
the other. _This is the same One who was in the later creative beginning
with God. It was through this One that all things were made. And, of all
things that have been made, not any thing was made without Him_.

You remember that John's Gospel and Genesis begin in the same way,--"in
the beginning." But John's "in the beginning," the first one, is not the
same as the Genesis "in the beginning." John's is the beginning before
there was any beginning. It is the beginning before they had begun
making calendars on the earth, because there wasn't any earth yet to
make calendars on. Then this second time the phrase is used John comes
to the later creative beginning with which Genesis opens. This is what
John is saying here.

"_In Him was life_." Out of Him came life. Out of Him comes life. There
was no life, there is none, except what was in this One, and what came,
and comes out from Him all the time. How patient God is! There walks a
man down the street. He leaves God out of his life. He may remember Him
so far as to use His name blasphemously to punctuate and emphasize what
he is saying. Yonder walks a woman in the shadow of the street at night.
And her whole life is spent walking in the dark shadow of the street of
life. And her whole life is a blasphemy against her personality, and
against the God who gave her that precious sacred personality.

Take these two as extreme illustrations. There is life there; life of
the body, of the mind, life of the human spirit. Listen softly, all the
life there is there, is coming out all the time from this One of whom
John is talking. It is not given once as a thing to be taken and stored.
It is _being_ given. It is coming constantly with each breath, from this
wondrous One. This is what John is saying here.

How _patient_ God is! Only we don't know what patience is. We know the
word, the label put on the outside. We don't know the thing, except
sometimes in very smallest part. For patience is love at its best.
Patience is God at His strongest and tenderest and best.

I think likely when we get up yonder, we'll stop one another on the
golden streets. There'll be a hand put out, gripping the other hard. And
we'll look into each other's eyes with our eyes big. And we'll say with
breaking voices, "How _patient_ God was with us down there on the earth,
down there in London and New York."

In Him was life. Out of His hand and heart is coming to us all the time
all we are and all we have. We may leave God practically out. So many of
us do. But He never leaves us out. The creating, sustaining touch of His
Hand is ever upon each of us, upon all the world.

Though He cannot do all for us He would except as we gladly come and let
Him. What He is giving us is so _much_. It's our _all_. Yet it is the
smaller part. There's the fuller part. This is the whole drive of John's
story, this fuller part. Out of Him Jesus, into us will come the newer,
the better, the abundant quality of life, if He may have His way.

And John adds,--"_and the life was the light of men."_ He was what we
_have_. He gives Himself; not things, but a person. With God everything
is _personal_. We men go to the impersonal so much, or we try to. We do
our best at it. We have a great genius for organization, especially in
this western half of the earth.

As I came back from a four years' absence from my own country, I was
instantly conscious of a change. Either my ears were changed or things
about me were. I think likely both. But the wheels were going faster
than ever. There were more wheels, and their whir seemed never out of
ear-shot. Commercial wheels, and educational, philanthropic and
religious, political and humanitarian, thicker and faster than ever,
driving all day, and with almost no night there.

And the whole attempt is to make the machine do the thing with as little
dependence as possible on the human element, even though the human
element was never emphasized more. Contradictory? Yet there it is. We
men go to the _im_personal. Yet deep down in our hearts we hunger for
the human touch, the warm personal touch. This after all is _the_ thing.
We all feel that. Yet the whole crowding of life's action is to crowd it
out.

But with God everything is personal. The life is the light of men. What
He is in Himself--that is what He gives. And this is all the light and
life we ever have. Men make botany. God makes flowers breathing their
freshening fragrance noiselessly up into your face. Man makes astronomy.
God makes the stars, shaking their firelight out of the blue down into
your wondering eyes on a clear moonless night. Man makes theology. And
theology has its place, when it's kept in its place. _God gives us
Jesus_.

I don't know much about botany. My knowledge of astronomy is very
limited. And the more I read of theology, whether Western or Eastern,
Latin Church or Greek, the first Seven Councils or the later ones, the
more I stand perplexed. It's a thing fearsomely and wonderfully
manufactured, this theology. But I frankly confess to a great fondness
for flowers, and for stars, and a love for Jesus that deepens ever more
in reverential awe and in tenderness and grateful devotion. The life was
the light of men. He Himself is all that we have. We go to _things_. We
reckon worth and wealth by things. He gives _Himself_. And He asks, not
_things_, but one's self.



Packing Most in Least.


And John goes quietly on with his great simple story: "_and the light
shineth in the darkness_," John has a way of packing much in little.
Here he packs four thousand years into three English letters. For he has
been back in that creative Genesis week. And now with one long stride he
puts his foot down in the days when Jesus walks among us as a man. Forty
centuries, by the common reckoning, packed into three letters e-t-h.
Rather a skilful bit of packing that. Yet it is not unusual. It is
characteristic both of John and of the One that guides John's pen. When
He is allowed to have free sway the Holy Spirit packs much in little.

That rugged old Hebrew prophet of fire and storm, Elijah, standing in
the grey dawn, in the mouth of an Arabian cave, had the whole of a new
God--a God of tender gentle love--packed into an exquisite sound of
gentle stillness, that smote so subtly on his ear, and completely melted
and changed this man of rock and thunder. It's a new man that turns his
face north again. The new God that had compacted Himself anew inside the
ruggedly faithful old man is revealed in the prophet's successor. This
is the new spirit, so unlike the old Elijah, that comes as a birth-right
heritage upon young Elisha. Great packing work that.

That fine-grained young university fellow on the Damascus road, driving
hard in pursuit of his earnest purpose, had the whole of a God, a new
God to him, packed into a single flash of blinding light out of the
upper blue. He had the whole of a new plan, an utterly changed plan for
his life, packed into a single sentence spoken into his amazed ears as
he lies in the dust.

And if this Holy Spirit may have His way--a big if? Yes: yet not too big
to be gotten rid of at once: God puts in the if's, that we may get the
strength of choosing. We put them out, _if_ we do. _If_ He may have His
way He'll pack--listen quietly, with your heart--He'll pack _the whole
of a Jesus_ inside you and me. Much in little! Most in least! And the
more we let Him in, the bigger that "most" prints itself to our eyes,
and the more that "least" dwindles down to the disappearing point.

God gives us His own self in Jesus. Jesus comes to live inside of us. He
doesn't give us things, but Himself. We talk about salvation. There's
something better--_a Saviour_. We talk about help in trouble. There's
something immensely more--_a Friend_, alongside, close up. We talk about
healing--sometimes, not so much these days; the subject is so much
confused. There's something much better--a _Healer_, living within,
whose presence means healing and health for body and spirit.

Then John says, "the light shineth _in the darkness_." This is God's way
of treating darkness. There are two ways of treating darkness, man's and
God's. Man's way is to attack the darkness. Suppose this hall where we
are were quite dark, all shuttered up, and suppose we were new on the
earth, and not familiar with darkness. We want to hold a meeting. But
how shall we get rid of this strange darkness that has come down over
everything? Let's each of us get a bucket or pail or basin, and take
some of the darkness out. So we'll get rid of it, and its inconvenience.

And if the suggestion were made seriously there might be talk of putting
the suggestor in a certain sort of institution for the safety of the
community. Yet this is the way we go at the other darkness, the worse
moral darkness.

_God's way_ is quite different; indeed just the exact reverse _let the
light shine._ The darkness can't stand the light. If the hall _were_
quite dark, and I scratched only a parlour-match, instantly as the
little flame broke out of the end of the stick some of the darkness
would go. It's surprising how much would go, and how quickly. The
darkness can't stand the light. It flees like a hunted hare before a
pack of hounds.

There may be times when action must betaken by a community against
certain forms of evil, so damnable, and so strongly entrenched, and so
threatening to the purity of home and young and of all. But note keenly
that this is _incidental_. It is immensely important at times, but it is
distinctly _secondary._ The great simple plan of God is this: _let the
light shine_. The darkness flees like a whipped cur, tail tightly curled
down and in, before the real thing of light.

Let me ask you a question. Come up a bit closer and listen quietly, for
this is tremendously serious. And it's the quietest spoken word that
reaches the inner cockles of the heart. Listen: is it a bit dark down
where you live? Morally dark? Spiritually? How about that? in commercial
circles and social and fraternal, in church and home and city and
neighbourhood. Is it a bit dark? Or, have I found the Garden of Eden at
last before the serpent entered?

Because if it be a bit dark, softly, please, let me say it very quietly,
for it may sound critical, and I would not have that for anything. We
are talking only to help. Though sometimes the truth itself does have a
merciless edge. If it be a bit dark does it not suggest that _the light
has not been shining as it was meant to_? For where the light shines the
darkness goes.

For, you see, this is still God's plan for treating darkness. It is
meant to be true to-day of each of us,--"_the light shineth in the
darkness_." Of course, _we_ are not the light. He is the Light. But we
are the light-holders. I carry the Light of the world around inside of
me. And so do you, _if you do_. It is not because of the "me," of
course, but because of the great patience and faithfulness of Him who is
the Light. A very rickety cheap lantern may carry a clear light, and the
man in the ditch find good footing in the road again.

You and I are meant to be the human lanterns carrying the Light, and
letting it shine clearly fully out. And you know when some one else is
providing the light the chief thing about the lantern is that the glass
of the lantern be kept dean and clear so the light within can get freely
out. The great thing is that _we shall live clean transparent lives_ so
the Light within may shine clearly out. We may live unselfish clean
Christly lives, by His great grace. And through that kind of lives, the
Light itself shines out, and shines out most, and most clearly.

Over at the mouth of the Hudson, where I call it home, there are some
strange things seen. Sometimes the glass of this human lantern gets
smoky, badly smoked. And sometimes it even gets cobwebby, rather thickly
covered up. And even this has been known to happen up there,--it'll seem
very strange to you people doubtless--_this_; they write finely phrased
essays on the delicate shading of grey in the smoke on the glass of the
human lantern.

They meet together and listen to essays, in rarely polished English, on
the exquisite lace-like tracery of the cobwebs on the glass of the human
lantern. But look! Hold your heart still and look! There's the crowd in
the road in the dark, struggling, jostling, stumbling, and falling into
the ditch at the side of the road, ditched and badly mired, because the
light hasn't gotten to them. The Light's there. It's burning itself out
in passionate eagerness to help. But the human lanterns are in bad
shape.

"Rhetoric!" do you say? I wish it were. I wish with my heart it were.
Look at the crowds for yourself. There they go down the street,
pell-mell, bewildered, blinded, some of them by will-o'-the-wisp lights,
ditched and mired many of them. The thing is only too terribly true.

Our Lord's great plan, bearing the stamp of its divinity in its sheer
human simplicity, is this: we who know Jesus are to _live Him_. We're to
let _the whole of a Jesus_, crucified, risen, living, shine out of _the
whole of our lives_.

Is it a bit dark down where you are? _Let the Light shine_. Let the
clear sweet steady Jesus-light shine out through your true clean quiet
Jesus-swayed and Jesus-controlled life. Then the darkness must go. It
can't stand the Light. It can't withstand the purity and insistence of
its clear steady shining. And the darkness _will_ go: slowly,
reluctantly, angrily, doggedly, making hideous growling noises
sometimes, raising the dust sometimes, but it will go. It must go before
the Light. The Light's resistless. This is our Lord's wondrous plan
_through_ His own, and His irresistible plan _for_ the crowd, and His
plan against the prince of darkness.



The Heart-road to the Head.


Then John goes on to say, "_the darkness apprehended it not_." The old
common version says "comprehended"; the revisions, both English and
American, say "apprehended." Both are rather large words, larger in
English than John would use. John loved to use simple talk. Yet there's
help even in these English words. Comprehend is a mental word. It means
to take hold of with your mind; to understand. Apprehend is a physical
word. It means to take hold of with your hand.

You can't _comprehend_ Jesus. That is just the simple plain fact. You
may have a fine mind. It may be well schooled and trained. You may have
dug into all the books on the subject, English and German and the few
French. You may have spent a lifetime at it. But at the end there is
immensely more of Jesus that you don't understand than the part that you
do understand. You've touched the smaller part only, just the edges. You
cannot take Jesus in with your mind simply. The one is too big and the
other too limited for that particular process.

But, listen with your heart, you can _apprehend_ Him. You can _take
hold_ of Him. There isn't one of us here, however poorly equipped
mentally and in training, and too busy with life's common duties to get
much time for reading, not one of us, who may not reach out your hand,
the hand of your heart, the hand of your life, the hand of your simple
childlike trust--if you're great enough in simplicity to be childlike,
to be natural, not one of us, but may reach out the hand and _take in
all there is of Jesus_.

And the striking thing to mark is this, that we don't really begin to
comprehend until we apprehend. Only as we take Him into heart and life
_can_ we really understand. It's as if the heat in the heart made by His
presence there loosens up the grey juices of your brain, and it begins
to work freely and clearly.

Of course, this is a commonplace in the educational world. It is well
understood there that no student does his best work, no matter what
that work may be, in science or philosophy or in mathematics or in
laboratorial research, his mind cannot do its best, or be at its best,
until his heart has been kindled by some noble passion. The key to the
life is in the heart, that is the emotions and purposes tied together.
The approach to the mind is through the heart. The fire of pure emotion
and of noble purpose burning together, works out _through_ the mind
_into_ the life. This is nature's order.

But what John is saying here, put into as simple language as he would
use, is this: "_the darkness wouldn't let the light in, and couldn't
shut it out, and couldn't dull the brightness of its shining_." It
tried. It tried first at Bethlehem. The first spilling of blood came
there. There was the shedding of blood at both ends of Jesus' career,
and innocent blood each time. It tried at the Nazareth precipice, and in
the spirit-racking wilderness. It tried by stones, then in Gethsemane,
then at Calvary.

And there it seemed to have succeeded. At last the light was shut in and
down; the door was shut and barred and bolted. And I suppose there was
great glee in the headquarters of darkness. But the Third Morning came.
And the bars of darkness were broken, as a woman breaks the
sewing-cotton at the end of the seam. The Light could not be held down
by darkness. It broke out more brightly than ever. The darkness couldn't
shut the light out. And it can't.

_Let the light shine._ Let it shine out through the clear clean glass
of an unselfish, Jesus-cleansed Jesus-fired life lived for Him in the
commonplace round, and the shut-away corner. _And the darkness will go_.
The darkness cannot shut out the light, nor keep it down, nor resist the
gentle resistless power of its soft clear flooding. Let the Light shine
down in that corner where you are. And the darkness, darkness that can
be felt, and _is_ felt so sorely deep down in your spirit, in its
uncanny Egyptian blackness, that darkness will break, and more, clear,
and go, go, go, till it's clear gone.

And so ends John's first great paragraph. It is so tremendous in its
simplicity that, Greek-like, men stumble over its simple tremendousness.
Away back in the beginning God revealed Himself in making a home for
man, and in bringing the man, made in His own image, to his home. And
then when the damp unwholesome darkness came stealing in swamping the
home and man He came Himself, flooding in the soft clear pure light of
His presence, to free man from the darkness and woo him out into the
light.



Tarshish or Nineveh?


Then John goes on into his second paragraph. "_There came a man, sent
from God, whose name was John_." Why? Because man was in the dark. He
sent a man to help a man. He used a man to reach a man. He always does.
Run clear through this old Book of God, and then clear through that
other Book of God--the book of life, and note that this is God's habit.
He, Himself, uses the path He had made for human feet. With greatest
reverence let it be said that God _must_ use a human pathway for His
feet.

Even when He would redeem a world He came, He must needs come, as a Man,
one of ourselves. He touches men through men. The pathway of His helping
feet is always a common human pathway. And, will you mark keenly that
_the highest level any life ever reaches_, or _can_ reach, is this: _to
be a pathway for the feet of a wooing winning God_.

And this is still true. It is meant to be true to-day that there came a
man, sent from God, whose name is--_your name_. You put in your own name
in that sentence, then you get God's plan for you. For as surely as this
particular John of the desert and of the plain living, and the burning
speech, was sent by God, so surely is every man of us a man sent by God
on some particular errand. And the greatest achievement of life is to
find and fit into the plan of God for one's life. This is the only great
thing one can do. Anything else is merely _labelled_ "great." And that
label washes off. This is the one thing worth while.

The bother is we don't always get the verbs, the action words, of that
sentence straight. John was a man _sent_ from God. And he _came_. All
men are sent But they don't all come, some _go_; go their own way. There
was a man sent from God whose name was Jonah. But he didn't come. He
went. He was sent to Nineveh on the extreme east. He went towards
Tarshish on the extreme west; just the opposite direction. Every man is
headed either for Nineveh or Tarshish, God's way or his own. Which way
are you headed?

Some of us go to Tarshish _religiously_. We go our own way, and sing
hymns and pray, to make it seem right and keep from hearing the inner
voice. We hold meetings at the boat-wharf, while waiting for the
Tarshish ship to lift anchor. We have services in the steerage and
second-class and distribute tracts and New Testaments; but all the time
we're headed for Tarshish; our way, not God's. It won't do simply to do
good. We must do God's will. Find that and fit into it.

The meetings and tracts are only good but they ought to be on the train
to Nineveh, and in Nineveh where God's sent you. Are you berthed on the
boat for Tarshish? or have you a seat engaged on the train for Nineveh?
going your own way? or God's? John was _sent_ and he _came_. You and I
are sent. Are we coming or going? coming God's way? or, going our own?



Living Martyrs.


This true-hearted burning man of the deserts _came for a witness_. Here
we strike one of John's great words. You remember the three things that
_witness_ means? that you know something; that you tell what you know;
and that you tell it most with your life. And telling it _with your
life_ means, not only by the way you live, but, too, even though the
telling of it _may cost you your life_. It came to mean all of that with
this witness.

It came to mean that with a new fullness of meaning, a peculiar
significance, to _the great Witness_, of whom John told. This was the
very throbbing heart of the wooing errand. This explains the tenderness
and tenacity of the Lover in His wooing in the midst of intensest
opposition, and in spite of it.

The opposition brought about the terrific grouping of circumstances
which the great Lover-witness used as the tremendous climax of both
wooing and witnessing. No one doubts the reality of Jesus' witness to
the Father's love before men. And no one, who has had any touch at all
with Him, doubts the tremendous pull upon one's heart of such a wooing
appeal as that Calvary climax of witnessing made, and makes.

And this, mark it keenly, is still the plan. "The-same-came-for-witness"
is meant to be true of each follower of the Christ. This is to be the
dominant underchording of all our lives. This is to be the never-absent
motive gripping us, and our possessions and our plans. The rest is
incidental in a true life.

It may be a "rest" that takes most of the waking hours with most of us,
most of our strength and thought. But there's an undercurrent in every
life. And the undercurrent is the controlling current. It makes us what
we really are. It may be quite different from the upper current
controlled by the outer necessities of circumstances. And with the true
Jesus-man _this_ is the undercurrent, this thing of witnessing.

Do you know something of Jesus? Do you know the cleansing of His blood?
Do you know the music of His peace in your heart? Do you know a bit of
the subtle fragrance of His presence? Do you know the power of His Name
when temptations come, when the road gets slippery, and your feet go out
from under you--almost. Then His Name, its power, and you hold steady.
Do you know something about such things?

Then _tell_ it. This is the plan--_telling_. It's a Gospel of _telling_.
Tell it with your lips tactfully, gently, boldly, earnestly. But tell it
far more, and most with your life. Let what you are, when you're not
thinking about this sort of thing, let that tell it. That's the greatest
telling, the best.

And, softly, now, when you get to the end of telling what you know,
listen quietly, don't go to digging into books for something to tell
your class or the meeting or the crowd. Don't do that. Books have their
place, good books, but it's always a sharply secondary place, or third,
or lower down yet. Poor crowd that must be fed on retailed books worked
over! Don't do that. _Know more._ Know Jesus better. Trust Him more
fully. Risk more on following where He clearly leads. Then you can tell
more and better.

Sometimes I'm asked, "How can I have more faith?" Well, not by thinking
about your faith. Not by books or definitions chiefly, however they may
help some. I can tell you how: _Follow where the Master's quiet voice is
clearly calling._ Go where it is plain to you that that pierced hand is
leading.

"Ah! but the way is a bit narrow," you think. "And it's steep. There are
sharp-edged stones under foot. And those bushes are growing rank on both
sides narrowing the path. And thorns scratch and hurt and sting. This
other road where I am now--this is a good Christian road. My Christian
brothers are here. I'd rather stay here."

And so you _stay_. You don't _say_ "no" to the calling voice. You simply
_act_ "no." No wonder you get confused and tangled. It's only in the
path of following clear leading that there comes sweetest peace, with no
nagging doubts and mental confusion. There only will you have more
faith, know more of Him, touch with whom is the realest faith. And so
only will the witness be told out to the crowd on the street of your
life, of the power and satisfying peace of this Jesus.

This is the witnessing we're sent to do. And the crowds crowd to listen,
when it's given. This is the way _the_ Witness did. He followed the
clear Father-voice, though the road led straight across the regular
roads through thorn hedges and thick underbrush. Should not the servant
tread it still?

The word that John uses here underneath our English word _witness_ is
the word from which our English word _martyr_ comes. And martyr has
come to mean one who gives his life clear out in a violent way for the
truth he believes. But, do you know, that is easy. "Easy?" You say,
"Surely not, you're certainly wrong there." No, you are right. It is not
easy. To face a storm of lead, or feel the sharp-edged blade, or yield
to the eating flame,--that is never easy.

But this is what I mean. There's the heroic in it, and that helps. You
brace yourself for it. The terrible crisis comes. You pull together and
pray and resolutely, desperately, face it. A little while, and it's
over. You've been true in the sharp crisis. You have taken a place with
the noble army of martyrs. And we who hear of it have a martyr's halo
about your head.

But there's something immensely harder to do. Without making a whit less
than it is the splendid courage of martyrdom, there's something that
takes immensely more courage, and a deeper longer-seasoned heroism, and
that is to be a _living_ martyr, to bear the simple true witness
tactfully but clearly, when it takes the very life of your life to do
it, though it doesn't take your bodily life in a violent way.

You know they don't martyr people these days for their Christian faith.
At least not in the western half of the earth, the Christian hemisphere.
No, that's quite behind the calendar. That's rather crude, quite behind
the cultured advanced Christian progress of _our_ day. Our Christian
civilization has gone long strides beyond that. We have grown much more
refined. Now we kill them _socially_. Many a one who would live true to
the Jesus-ideals in daily life in a simple sane way finds certain social
doors shut and carefully barred.

We kill them _commercially_ now. The man who will quietly hew to the
Jesus-line in business is quite apt to find his income reduced. The bulk
of business shrinks. The thermometer is run down below the living point.
We kill men by _frost_ now. The blockade system is skilfully used;
isolation and insulation from certain circles. We are much more refined.

The great need to-day is of _living_ witnesses to the Christ in home,
and social circle, in the street, and in the market-place.

    "So he died for his faith; that is fine,
      More than the most of us do.
    But stay, can yon add to that line
      That he _lived_ for it, too?

    "It's easy to die. Men have died
      For a wish or a whim--
    From bravado or passion or pride.
      Was it hard for him?

    "But to live: every day to live out
      All the truth that he dreamt,
    While his friends met his conduct with doubt,
      And the world with contempt.

    "Was it thus that he plodded ahead,
      Never turning aside?
    Then we'll talk of the life that he led"
      Even more than the death that he died.



The Forgotten Preacher.


With a simplicity in sticking to his main point, John goes quietly on:
"_that he might be a witness of the light_." That's rather interesting.
It was of the _light_ he was to bear witness; not of himself. It was not
the technical accuracy of his work, not its scholarliness and skill that
absorbed him, but that the _crowd got the light_. Rather striking that,
when you break away from the atmosphere round about, and think into it a
bit.

Here's a man walking down a country road. It's a hot day. The road's
dusty. He gets a bit weary and thirsty. He comes across a bit of a
spring by the side of the road. Clear cool water it is. And some one has
thoughtfully left a tin-cup on a ledge of rock near by. And the man
gratefully drinks and goes on his way refreshed. He quite forgets the
tin-cup.

Sometimes the tin-cup seems to require much attention, up in the corner
of the world where my tent is pitched. It has to be handled very
carefully and considerately if one is to get what possible drops of
water it may contain. The human tin-cup seems to bulk very big in the
drinking process, sometimes, in my corner of the planet. It is
silver-plated sometimes; just common tin under the plating. There's some
fine engraving on the silver-plating, noble sentiment, deftly expressed,
and done in the engraver's best style. But the water is apt to be
scanty, the drops rather few, in this sort of tin-cup. It's a bit
droughty.

And sometimes even this has been known to occur: they have associations
of these human tin-cups for self-admiration and other cultural purposes.
And they have highly satisfactory meetings. But meanwhile, ah! look!
hold still your heart, and look here. There's the crowd on the street,
hot dusty street, exhausted, actually fainting for want of water, just
good plain water of life. But there's none to be had; only tin-cups!
John was eager to have men get a good drink. He was content as he
watched them drink, and their eyes lighten. He was discontent and
restless with anything else or less.

Do you remember the greatest compliment ever paid John, John the Herald?
John was a great preacher. He had great drawing power. To-day we
commonly go where people are hoping they'll stay while we talk to them.
But John did otherwise. He went down to the Jordan bottoms, where the
spirit ventilation was better, and called the people to him. And they
came. They came from all over the nation, of every class. Literally
thousands gathered to hear John. He had great drawing power.

And then something happened. Here is John to-day talking earnestly to
great crowds down by the river-road. And here he is again to-morrow; but
where are the crowds? John has lost his crowd. Same pulpit out in the
open air, same preacher, same simple intense message burning in his
heart, but--no congregation! The crowd's gone. Poor John! You must feel
pretty bad. It's hard enough to fail, but how much harder after
succeeding. Poor John, I'm so sorry for you.

But if you get close enough to John to see into his eye you quit talking
like that. And if you get near enough to hear you find your sympathy is
not needed. For John's eye is ablaze with a tender light, and the sound
of an inner heart music reaches your ear as you get near him. And if you
follow, as you instinctively do, the line of the light in his eye you
quickly look down the road.

Oh! There's John's crowd. _They're listening to Jesus._John's crowd has
left him for his Master. And the forgotten preacher is the finest
evidence of the faithfulness of the preacher. The crowd's getting the
water, sweet cool refreshing water of life, direct from the fountain.
They've clean forgotten the faithful common tin-cup. And John's so glad.
John came that he might bear witness of _the light_. And he did. And the
crowd heard. And they flocked to the light.

Here's a man preaching. And the people are listening. The benediction is
pronounced. And they go out. And as they move slowly out they're
talking, always talking. We don't seem yet to have demitted our
privilege of talking after service. Here are two. Listen to them. "Isn't
he a great preacher? so scholarly, so eloquent, so polished; and all
those classical allusions. I didn't understand half he said; he
certainly is a great preacher. We're very fortunate in such a man."

And the preacher, whoever he be, may know this for a bit of the
certainty that occasionally _will_ sift in. He may be a scholar. I
wouldn't question it. And a polished orator. I wouldn't question that.
But in the main thing, the one thing he's for, as a _Jesus-witness_, he
is a splendid scholarly polished failure. Men are talking about _him_.

They've forgotten his Master, if indeed--ah, yes, if indeed he _have_ a
Master! He has a _Saviour_, let us earnestly hope, and willingly
believe. But a _Master_! One that sweeps and sways his mind and culture
and life like the strong wind sweeps the thin young saplings in the
storm--clearly he knows nothing of that. Men are talking of _him_.

And here's another talking a bit It may be just a simple homely talk. Or
he may likewise be scholarly and eloquent. A man should bring his best.
The old classic is beaten oil for the lamps of the sanctuary. But
there's the soft burning fire of the real thing in his message. And the
people feel it. The air seems a-thrill with its quiet tensity. And the
last amen is said. And again they go out.

And here are two walking down the road together, and as they come to the
cross-street, one says to his companion, "Excuse me, please, I have to
go down _this_ way." And the "have-to" is the have-to of an intense
desire to get off alone. And as he goes down the side street he's
talking, but--to himself. Listen to him: "I'm not the man I ought to be,
I wonder if Jesus is really like he said. I wonder if the thing's really
so. I believe--yes, I really think I'll risk it. My life isn't like it
should be. I'll risk trying this Jesus-way. I'll do it."

The man's clean forgotten the speaker. Oh, yes, he remembers the tone of
the voice, and the look of the face, but indistinctly, far away. He's
face-to-face with Jesus! And the forgotten speaker is the finest
evidence of the faithfulness of his speaking. He is holding up the
light. And men run into the light. They've clean forgot the little tin
candlestick, they are so taken up with the light it holds.



The One Thing to Aim At.


And John keeps driving in on the point in his mind: "_that all might
believe through Him_"; that they might listen, stop to think, agree as
to the thing being believable, then trust it; then trust _Him_, the
Light, risk something, risk, _themselves_ to _Him_, then love, love with
a passionate devotion. This was John's objective. It was the bull's-eye
of his target never out of his keen Spirit-opened eye. Nothing else
figured in.

This is _the_ thing in all our living and serving and doing and giving,
_that men may know Jesus_ to the trusting, risking, loving point, the
glad point. Everything that we can bring of gold and learning and labour
and skill is precious, it is as purest gold, _if_ it lead men into
heart-touch with Jesus. And it clean misses the mark if it does less.

Who would be content to give a Belgian or Polish starveling a bare bit
of bread, and a lonely stick of wood, and a rag of cloth. Bite and stick
and cloth are good, but it's a _meal_ and a _fire_, and some _clothing_,
the man wants. And you have both ready at hand. _Things_ are good,
provided by money and skill and research and painstaking efforts. They
_do_ good. But it's Jesus men need. It's the warm touch that lets _Him_
fully in with all of His human sympathy and all of His God-power, that's
what they need.

Given the sun and quickly come warmth and food and shelter, health and
vigour and increase of life. Given Jesus, and the warm touch with Him,
in His simple fullness, just as He is, and surely and not slowly, there
come flooding in all the rest of an abundant life, physical and mental
and of the spirit.

John "_was not the light_." He was only the candlestick. And he was
content to be that. He was a good candlestick. The light was held up. It
could shine out. How grateful the crowd was. The road had been so dark.
It is a bad thing when light and candlestick change places. The crowd
seems to get the two confused sometimes. We get to thinking that the
candlestick is the light, and the light is--lost sight of. We gather
about the candlestick. It'll surely lead the way out through the dark
night into day. It's such a good candlestick, so highly polished. And
sometimes the human candlestick itself gets things a bit mixed. It
thinks, then it feels, then it knows, with a peculiar quality of
self-assertive certainty, that after all _it_ is the light that
lighteth every one that is so blessed as to come within the radius of
its shining. And brass does take a high polish, and makes an attractive
appearance. It does send out a sparkle and radiance _if_ only it is
somewhere within range of some real light, patient enough to keep on
shining in the dark, regardless of non-appreciation or misrepresentation
or misunderstanding.

Is it any wonder the road is so full of people wandering in the night
gathered about candlesticks? Is it surprising that the ditches are so
full of men and candlesticks mixed up and mired up together? Yet it is
always heart-breaking. There may be talent and training of the highest
and best, and scholarship and culture, eloquence and skill, institutions
and philanthropies. And there is so much of these. And these are good in
themselves, and of priceless practical worth when seen and held in their
right relation to _the_ thing.

But it needs to be said often and earnestly: _these are not the light_.
They are given to point men better to the Light. They're road-signs,
index-fingers. And they are seen at their best when they point to the
Light so clearly that the crowd quite forgets them in hastening to the
Light they point out. They serve their true purpose in being so
forgotten. They are still serving and serving best even while forgotten.



The Real Thing of Light.


And John goes on to intensify yet more what he is thinking and saying:
_there was the true light_, _the real thing of light_. They were
bothered, in John's old age when he is writing, with false lights,
make-pretend lights, that led people astray. Every generation seems to
have been so bothered and confused. And even our own doesn't seem to
have entirely escaped the subtle contagion. The ground is a bit swampy
in places, boggy.

Low-lying land runs to bog and swamp. And the air gets thick with heavy
vapours. And strange will-of-the-wisp lights form out of the foul damp
gasses, and they flit about in the gloom this way and that. And people
are led astray by them deeper into swamp and bog. It's surprising to
find how many, that grow up in well-lit neighbourhoods, wander off after
the swamp lights, and even follow them so contentedly. That's partly
due, without doubt, to the false lights borrowing so much of the mere
outer incidentals from the true. And they succeed in producing a make-up
that easily deceives the unwary and untaught.

There's a teaching to-day, for instance, that magnifies bodily healing.
The name of Christ is freely used. And the old Book of God freely
quoted. And men are really healed. There can be no question of that.
There are sufficient facts at hand to make that incontestably clear.

But bodily healing does not necessarily argue divine power. There are
results secured through the operation of unfamiliar mental powers that
seem miraculous. And clearly there are devilish miracles as well as
divine. Miracles simply reveal a supernatural power, that is, a power
above the ordinary workings of nature. Then one must apply a touchstone,
a test, to learn what that power is.

It is striking that in this teaching I speak of now there is never
mention of the atoning blood of Christ. And this is the sure touchstone
by which to detect the real thing of light and the make-believe. The
outstanding thing in the life of Christ is His death, and the tremendous
meaning which His own teaching put into that fact of His death.

There is none of the red tinge to this make-believe light. It has the
unwholesome unnatural tingeing of swamp lights. And those who are healed
through this teaching will find themselves in a bondage the more
terrible because so subtle. And only the power of the blood of Christ
can ever break that bondage.

There was the real thing of light. Here _is_ the real thing of light.
There's a distinct tingeing of red in it. It's the only light. It only
is the light. Every other is a make-pretend light, however subtle its
imitations and reflections: it will lead only into swamp and bog and
ditch and worse.

And then John goes on to add a very simple bit that has not always been
quite understood in its simplicity. There was the real thing of light
_that lighteth every man that cometh into the world_. There is a little
group of varied readings into the English here, found in the margin of
the various revisions. But the central statement remains the same.
Whether John is saying that the light, that lighteth every man, was now
coming down into the world in a closer way. Or, that every man is
lighted as _he_ comes into the world, the chief thing being told is the
same. Every man in the world is lighted by this Light.

Through nature, the nightly twinklers in the wondrous blue overhead, the
unfailing freshness of the green out of the brown under foot; through
the never-ceasing wonders of these bodies of ours, so awesomely and
skilfully made, and kept going; through that clear quiet inner voice
that does speak in every human heart amidst all the noises of earth and
of passion; through these the light _is_ shining, noiselessly, softly,
endlessly, by day and night.

It is the same identical light that John is telling us of here that so
shines in upon every man, and always has. There is no light but His. His
later name is Jesus. From the first, and everywhere still, it is the
light that shines from Him that lights men. He was with the Father in
the beginning. He acted for the Father in that creation week. He gave
and sustained all life of every sort everywhere, and does, though only a
third of us know His later, nearer, newer Name--Jesus.

But the light was obscured, terribly beclouded and bedimmed, hindered by
earth-fogs, and swampy clouds rising up, until we are apt to think there
was no light, and is none; only darkness. Then He came closer, and yet
closer. He came in nearer form so as to get the light closer, and let
it shine _through_ fog and cloud, for the sake of the befogged,
beswamped crowd.

And then--ah! hold your heart still--_then_ He let _the_ Light-holder,
the great human Lantern, be _broken_, utterly broken, that so the light
might flash out through broken lantern in its sweet soft wondrous
clearness into our blinded blinking eyes, and show us the real way back
home. It was in that breaking that it got that wondrous exquisite red
tingeing that becomes the unfailing hall-mark, the unmistakable evidence
of the real thing of light.

And it's only as men know of this latest coming of the light, this
tremendous tragic Jesus-coming of the light, that they can come into the
full light. That's the reason He came in the way He did. That's the
reason when He gets possession of us there's the passion to take the
full Jesus-light out to every one. And this passion burns in us and
through us, and ours, and sweeps all in the sweep of its tender holy
flame. In this way every man may be fully lit, and so in following the
Jesus-light he shall not walk in the darkness where he has been, but in
the sweet clear light of life.



Looking for Recognition.


Then we come to the first of John's heart-breaking sentences. John had a
hard time writing his Gospel. He was not simply writing a book. That
might have been fairly easy for him with his personal knowledge and all
the facts so familiar. But he is telling about his dearest Friend. And
the telling makes his heart throb harder, and his eyes fill up, and the
writing look dim to him, as he tries to put the words down.

Listen: _He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and
the world recognized, or rather acknowledged, Him not._ It was His
world, His child, His creation. He had made it. But it failed to
acknowledge Him. He came walking down the street of life. He met the
world going the other way. And He gave it a warm good-morning greeting.
And it knew Him full well. It knew who He was. But it turned its face
aside and walked by with no return greeting. This is what John is
saying. It recognized, it acknowledged Him not.

You mothers know the glad hour that comes in a mother's life when her
little babe of the wee weeks knows her _for the first time._ She's busy
bathing or nursing, or, she's just hovering over the precious morsel of
humanity when there's really nothing needing to be done. And the babe's
eyes catch her own and _a smile comes,_ the first smile of recognition.
And the mother-heart gives a glad leap. She murmurs to herself, "Oh,
baby knows me!"

And when the father comes home that night she greets him with, "Baby
knew me to-day." And there's a soft bell-like tender ring in her voice
that vibrates on the strings of his heart. And all the folks within
range are advised of the day's event. And the mother clear forgets all
the sharp-cutting pain back there just a little before, in this joy,
this look of recognition.

I knew of a woman. She was of an old family, of unusual native gift, and
rare accomplishment. And her babe came. And the time came when
ordinarily there would be that first sweet look of recognition, but--_it
didn't come._ There was a defect; something not as it should be. And you
mothers all know how she felt, yes, and you true fathers, too. She was
heart-broken. And she turned aside from all the busy round of activity
in which she had been the natural leader. And for years she devoted all
her splendid talents, her strength and time, to just one thing, a very
simple thing; only this,--_getting a look of glad recognition out of two
babe-eyes._

_He_ looked into the face of His child, His world, for the look of
recognition. But there was none. And He was heart-broken. And He devoted
all His strength and time, Himself, for those human years to--what? One
thing, just one thing, a very simple thing, only this: to getting a look
of recognition out of the eyes of His child.

Aye, there's more yet here. He _looks_ into our faces, eager for that
simple direct answering look into His face and out of our eyes, yours
and mine. And we give Him--things, church-membership, orthodox belief,
intense activity, aggressive missionary propaganda, money in good
measure, tireless, and then tired-out service--_things!_ And all good
things. But _the_ thing, the direct look into His own face answering His
own hungry searching look, that look in the face that reveals the inner
heart that He _waits_ for so often, and waits, a bit sore at heart.

For you know the eye is the face of the face. It's the doorway into the
soul, out through which the soul, the man within, looks. I look at you,
the man inside here looks out at you through my eye. And I look at the
real you down through your eye. The real man is hidden away within, but
looks out through the eye and is looked at only through the eye. We
really give ourselves to Jesus in the look direct into His face which
tells Him all, and through which He transforms us.



A Heart-breaking Verse.


Then comes John's second heart-breaking verse; but it is just a bit more
heart-breaking in what it says. Listen: _He came to His own home, and
they that were His own kinsfolk received Him not into the house but kept
Him standing out in the cold and storm of the wintry night._

One of you men goes home to-night. It's your own home, shaped on your
own personality through the years. It's a bit late. You've had a long
hard day. You're tired. It's stormy. The wind and the rain chill you as
you turn the corner. And you pull your coat a bit snugger as you quicken
your steps and think of home, warmth and comfort, loved ones, and rest
for body and spirit, too.

As you come to the door you reach for your latch-key, and find, in the
busy rush, you seem to have forgotten it, somehow. So you ring the bell
or knock. And suppose--be patient with me a bit, please. Suppose your
loved ones know you're there. You even see a hand drawing aside the edge
of the window shade, and two eyes that you know so well peer out through
the crack at you; then the shade goes to again. Yes, they know you're
there. But the door, your own door, doesn't open. How would you feel?

And some one says to himself, "That's not a good illustration. That
thing couldn't happen. It isn't natural." No: you're right. It _isn't_
natural. It could not happen to _you_. I am sure it could not happen to
_me_. If it could I'd be heart-broken. _But this is what happened to
Him!_ This is what John is saying here. He came to His own front door,
and they whose very image revealed their close kinship to Him, received
Him not into the home, but kept the door fast in His face.

Then there's a later translation. This old King James version bears the
date of 1611, I think. And the English Revision is dated 1881, I
believe. And this American Standard Revision I am using has 1901 on its
title page. But there's a later revision. It bears a yet later date,
1915, April 27. But it is a shifting date. Each translator fixed his own
date.

This latest translation runs something like this: He _comes_ to His own.
That's you and myself. We belong to Him. He gave His breath to us in
Eden. He gave His breath to you and me at our birth. He gave His blood
for us on Calvary. We belong to Him. The image of His kinship is stamped
upon us. We may not acknowledge it, but that can't change the fact.

_He comes to His own, and His own_--and here, as the scholars would say,
there are variant readings. Let me give you one or two I have found.
Here is one: He comes to His own, and His own--puts a chair outside the
door on the top-step. It's a large armchair with a cushion in, perhaps.
And then His own talks about Him through the crack of the door, or
likelier, the window. It's reckoned safer to keep the door fast.

Listen to what he says: "He's a wonderful man this Jesus; great teacher,
the greatest; the greatest man of the race; His philosophy, His moral
standards are the ideals; wonderful life; great example." They fairly
exhaust the language in talking about this Man. But notice. It seems a
bit queer. The man they're talking _about_ is _outside the door_. His
own claim is left severely outside.

Some make it read like this: He comes to His own, and they who are His
own open the door a _crack_, maybe a fairly respectably wide crack. We
all like the word _Saviour_. Yes, we cling tenaciously to that.
Selfishly, would you say? We want to be saved from a certain place we
think of as _down_, that we've been taught about, and don't want to go
to--_if it's there;_ the way men talk about it to-day.

And we want to be saved into another certain place we think of as _up_,
and where we surely want to go _after_ we get through down on the
earth, and _must_ go away somewhere else; with that "after" and "must"
carefully underscored. And we want to be saved from all the
inconveniences possible along the way, and to secure all the advantages
and help available: yes, yes, open the door a crack.

But be careful about the width of the opened crack. Let it be just the
proper conventionalized width. Let there be no extremeism about the
wideness of that opening. Things must be proper. For what would the
other crack-open-door-owners think?

And then, too, yet more serious, this Jesus has a way, a most
inconsiderate way of coming in as far as you let Him, and of taking
things into His own hands. Certain people use that word
"inconsiderate"--to themselves, in secret. Jesus changes some things
when He is allowed all the way in. He might change your personal habits,
your home arrangements, some of your social customs and your business
plans.

Of course He changes only what needs changing, as He sees it.
But--then--you--well, some things can be carried _too far_--to suit
_you_. This Jesus has the _all_ habit. He contracted it when He was down
on the earth. Our needs grew the habit. He _gave_ all. And He has a way
of coming in all the way, and of reaching in His pierced hand and
_taking_ all.

He might even put His hand in on that most sacred thing, that holiest of
all, that you guard most jealously--that box. It has heavy hinges, and
double padlocks, and the keys are held hard under the thumb of your
will. Of course there may really not be much in it; and again there may
be very much. But much or little, it is securely kept under that thick
broad thumb of yours.

Oh! you _give_; of _course_; yes, yes, we're all good proper Christian
folk here. We give a tenth, and even much more. We support an aggressive
missionary propaganda. That's the thing, you know, in our day, for good
church people. We give to all the good things. Ye-es, no doubt. And we
are very careful, too, that that _inconsiderate_ Hand shall not disturb
the greater bulk that remains between hinge and lock. That's _yours_. Of
course you are _His_, redeemed, saved by His blood.

Well, well, how these pronouns, "His," "ours," do get mixed up! How
lovely some things are to _sing_ about, in church, and special services,
at Keswick and Northfield. But through it all we hold hard to that key,
we don't let go--_even to Him_, though it is He who entrusts all to our
temporary keeping. We do guard the width of that opening crack, do we
not?

One day I looked through that crack and caught a glimpse of _His face_
looking through full in my own, with those eyes of His. And at first I
wanted to take the door clear off of its hinges and stand it outside
against the bricks, and leave the whole door-space wide for Him.

But I've learned better. No man wants to leave the doorway of his life
unguarded. He must keep the strong hand of his controlling purpose on
the knob of the front door of his life. There are others than He, evil
ones, cunningly subtle ones, standing just at the corner watching for
such an opportunity. And they step quickly slyly in under your untaught
unsuspicious eyes, and get things badly tangled in your life. There's a
better, a stronger way.

Here's the personal translation that I try now, by His help, to work out
into living words, the language of life. He comes to His own, and His
own opens the door wide, and _holds_ it wide open, that He may come in
all the way, and cleanse, and change, readjust, and then shape over on
the shape of His own presence.

But every one must work out his own translation of that; and every one
does. And the crowd reads--not this printed version. It reads this other
translation, the one nearest, in such big print, the one our lives work
out daily. That's the translation they prefer. And that's the
translation they're being influenced by, and influenced by tremendously.



He Came to His Own.


In certain circles in England, they tell of a certain physician years
ago. He came of a very humble family. His father was a gardener on a
gentleman's estate. And the father died. And the mother wasn't able to
pay her son's schooling. But a storekeeper in the village liked this
little bright boy and sent him to school. And he went on through the
higher schooling, became a physician, and began his practice in London.
He became skilled, and then famous, and then wealthy.

He remembered his dear old mother, of course. He sent her money, and
fabrics for dresses, and wrote her. But for a long time, in the busy
absorption of his life, he had not been to see her. And the dear old
mother in the little cottage in the country lived in the sweet
consciousness that her son was a great physician up in the great London.
He was her chief topic of conversation. When the neighbours were in she
would always talk of her son, her Laddie, she called him.

"He's so good to me, my Laddie is. He sends me money. I put it in the
bank. He sends me cloth for dresses; it's quite too good for a plain
body like me. And he writes me letters, such good letters, wonderful
letters. But he's so busy up there, that he hasn't been to see me for a
long time now. You know he's a great doctor now, and he has great skill,
and there are so many needing him. And he's no time at all, even for
himself, I expect. But"--she would always finish her talk as they sat
over the tea by saying, half to herself, really more to herself than to
the little group, with a half-repressed longing sigh, "but, I wish, I
just _wish_ I could _see_ my _Laddie_."

Then some changes took place on the estate. And the cottage where she
had lived so long must be given up. And the dear old woman had to make
new plans. And she cudgeled her old head, and thought, and at last she
said to herself, "I know what I'll do. I'll go-up to London, and I'll
live with Laddie. He'll be so glad to have me." And bright-coloured
visions flitted through her mind, as she sat over her tea by the open
grate. But she wouldn't send him word; no, no, she would surprise him,
and add to his pleasure.

And the dear old soul, in her fine simplicity, did not think into what
this would mean, nor of the difference that had grown up with the years,
in manner of life, between her son and herself. He was a cultured
gentleman, with his well-appointed city home, and the circle of friends
that had grown up about him. And she was a simple uncultured country
woman with a broad provincial twist on her tongue. But she was
blissfully unconscious of this. She would go and live with her Laddie.
It would be so delightful for them both.

And so she went. It was her first train journey, and quite a time of it
she had finding the house. But at last she stands looking up at the
house. "Ugh! does my Laddie live here! in this great mansion?" But there
was the name on the door-plate. There was no mistaking that. And so she
rang the bell. "Is the doctor in?" She could hardly get the word
"doctor" out. She had never called him that before, just Laddie. But now
she must say it. "Is the doctor in?" And the word almost stuck in her
throat as she thought to herself, "This poor man opening the door
doesn't know that the 'doctor' really belongs to _me_."

But in a hard voice the servant said that it was past the hours. She
couldn't see the doctor.

"Ah! bat," she said, quite taken by surprise at being held there, "I
_must_ see him."

"But, I tell you, it's quite too late to see him to-day."

But she resolutely put her stout country-boot in the crack of the door,
and her English jaw set in true English fashion, and she said with that
quietness that has the subtle touch of danger in it, "I'll see the
doctor."

And the servant looked puzzled and went to report about this strangely
insistent woman. And the doctor was annoyed by the interruption in the
midst of something that was absorbing him. He said sharply, "It's past
the hours; I can see no one."

"I told her so, sir," replied the man deferentially, "but she insists in
a strange way, sir."

"What's she like?"

"Oh, just a plain country body, sir."

"Well, show her up."

And I am glad to remember that she had a warm embrace of his strong
arms, as he instantly recognized her in the doorway, while the servant
stared. Then he said rather nervously as the servant discreetly
withdrew, "How did yon happen to come? Why didn't you send word? Has
anything happened?" And then as she sat by the fire sipping a cup of
tea, she told the story, in her own simple slow way, and ended up with,
"And now I'm coming to live with you, Laddie." And the old eyes behind
the spectacles beamed, and the dear old wrinkled face glowed.

And he poked the fire, and tried to think You know, our English friends
depend almost wholly on the open grate fire, as we do so largely in the
South. And it's a great thing, is the open grate fire. It's a fire. It
warms your body, at least in front in extreme weather. But it's more
than a fire. It's a stimulus to thought. It refreshes your spirit, and
rests your tired nerves, and it is a wonderful thing to help you unravel
knotty problems. So he poked the fire and thought, while she, quite
unconscious of his embarrassment, went on sipping her tea and talking.

It would never do to have her come there, he thought. And his thoughts
went to the circle of friends at the dinner table in the evening, and to
the critical city servants that ran his bachelor establishment. And just
then his ear caught anew the broad provincial twist on her tongue. He
had never noticed it so broad, so decided, before. And she was talking
the small countryside talk, chickens and an epidemic among them. And
that grated strangely. It certainly wouldn't do to have her come there.

Then the tide began to rise gently on the beach of his heart. He
thought, "She's my _mother_. And if mother wants to come here, here she
comes." And he straightened up in his chair, as he gave a gentler touch
to a blazing lump of coal. Then the tide ebbed. It began running out
again. "No, it would hardly do." And he poked and thought. Finally he
broke into her run of talk.

"Mother, you know it is not very healthful here. We have bad fogs in
London. And you're used to the wholesome country air. It wouldn't agree
with you here, I'm afraid. I'll get a little cottage on the edge of
town, and I'll come and see you very often."

And the dear old woman _sensed_ at once just what he was thinking. She
was not stupid, if she was just a plain homely body. He got his brains
from his simple country mother, as many a man of note has done. But she
spoke not of what she felt. She simply said, with that quietness which
grows out of strong self-control:

"It's a bit late the night, Laddie, I'm thinking, to be talking about
new plans."

And he said softly, "Forgive me, mother: it is late, I forgot." And he
showed her to her sleeping apartment.

"And where do you sleep, Laddie?"

"Right here, mother, this first door on the left. Be sure to call me if
you need anything."

And he bade her a tender "good-night," and went back to his study to do
some more thinking and planning. And very late he came up to his
sleeping-chamber. And he was just cuddling his head into the soft pillow
for the night, when the door opened, so softly, and in there came a
little body in simple white night garb, with a quaint old-fashioned
nightcap on, candle in hand. She came in very softly. And he started up.

"Mother, are you ill? What's the matter?"

And she came over very quietly, and put down the candle on the table
before she answered. And then softly:

"No, no, Laddie, I'm not ill. I just came to tuck you in for the night
as I used to do at home. ... Lie still, my Laddie."

And she tucked the clothes about his neck, and smoothed his hair, and
patted his cheek, and kissed his face. And she crooned over him as
mother with little child. The years were quite forgot. She had her
little son again. And she talked mother's love-talk to a child.
"Good-night, Laddie ... good-night ... good-night ... mother's own boy."
And a little more tucking and smoothing and patting and kissing, and
then she turned so quietly, picked up the candle, and went out, closing
the door so softly, her great strength revealed in her gentleness.

And he was just on the point of starting up and saying, "Mother, you
must stay with me, right here"--no, the morning will do, he thought. But
when the morning came she wasn't down for breakfast. And when he went to
her room she wasn't there. It turned out afterwards that she had said to
herself, "It doesn't suit my Laddie's plans to have me here. I don't
understand why. It isn't his fault at all. It just doesn't suit. And
I'll never be a trouble to my Laddie."

And so with that rare characteristic English trait of independence, she
had quietly gone off early that morning before the house was astir. And
he broken-hearted--I'm always glad to remember that--he searched through
the wilderness of London for more than a year, searched diligently, but
could find no trace of her. And then he was graciously permitted to
minister to her last hours in a hospital where a street accident had
sent her unconscious, and where he was chief of the medical staff.

_She came to her own and her own received her not._ He loved her, but it
didn't suit his plans. _He, Jesus_, came to _His_ own, and His own
received Him not; it didn't suit their plans. Ah! listen yet further: He
_comes_ to His own, you and me, and His own--_you_ finish it. Have we
some plans, too, set plans, that we don't propose to change, even
for--(softly) even for _Him_? Each of us is finishing that sentence, not
in words so much if at all, in the words of our action. And the crowd
reads our translation.



The Oldest Family.


"But," John goes on. That was a steadying "but." It was hard on John to
recall how they treated his Friend and Master. But there is a "but."
There's another aide, an offset to what he's been saying, a bright bit
to offset the black bit. But as many as did receive Him. Some received.
Jesus was rejected, yes, abominably, contemptibly rejected. But He was
also accepted, gladly, joyously, wholeheartedly accepted, even though
it came to mean pain and shame.

_As many as received Him_, John says, _He received into His family_. The
conception of a family and of a home where the family lives, runs all
through underneath here. They would not receive this Jesus because He
didn't belong to the inner circle of the old families which they
represented. They regarded themselves as the custodians of the
exclusive aristocratic circles of Jerusalem. And Jerusalem was the upper
circle of Israel.

And every one knew that Israel was the chiefest, the one uppermost
nation, of the earth, with none near enough to be classed second. They
were the favourites of God, all the rest were "dogs of Gentiles,"
outsiders, not to be mentioned in the same breath. To these national
leaders of Jesus' day, this was the very breath of their life.

"And _this Jesus_!" They spat on the ground to relieve the intensity of
their contempt. "Who was He? A peasant! a Galilean! Nazareth!" Nazareth
was put in as a sort of superlative degree of contempt. Of course, they
could easily have found out about the lineage of Jesus. In the best
meaning of the word, Jesus was an aristocrat. Apart from its
philological derivation that word means one who traces his lineage back
through a worthy line for a long way, and so one who has the noble
traits of such lineage. In the best meaning of the word Jesus was an
_aristocrat_. His line traced back without slip or break to the great
house of David, and that meant clear back to Adam. The records were all
there, carefully preserved, indisputable. They could easily have found
this out.

I recall talking one day in London with a gentle lady of an old, titled
Scottish family, an earnest Christian, trained in the Latin Church. In
the course of the conversation she remarked, "Of course, Jesus was a
_peasant_." And I replied as gently as I could so as not to seem to be
arguing, "Of course, He was _not_ a peasant. He chose to _live_ as a
peasant, for a great strong purpose. But He was an aristocrat in blood.
His family line traced directly back through the noblest families clear
to the beginning. No one living had a longer unbroken lineage. And that
is the very essence of aristocracy."

In some circles, they count much, or most, on old families. In certain
cities of our own country, east and south, this is reckoned as the
hall-mark of highest distinction. When one goes across the water to
England and the Continent, he finds the old families of America are
rather young affairs. And as he pushes on into the East, some of the old
families of Europe sometimes seem fairly recent. I remember in the
Orient running across a family where the father had been a Shinto
priest, father and son successively, through forty-five generations; and
another where the father of the family has been successively a
court-musician for thirty-eight generations. I thought maybe I had run
into some really old families at last.

I come of a rather old family myself. It runs clear back without break
or slip to Adam in Eden. I've not bothered much with tracing it, for
there are some pretty plain evidences of ugly stains on the family
escutcheon, running all through, and repeatedly. And then even more than
that I've become intensely interested in another family, an older
family, the oldest family of all. Arrangements have been made whereby I
have been taken into this oldest family of all with full rights and
privileges. My claims to aristocracy are now of the very highest, with
all the noble obligations that go with it. That's what John is talking
of here. _As many as received Him, He received into His family, the
oldest family of all._

These people refused Jesus because He didn't belong to their set. In
their utterly selfish prejudice and wilful ignorance, these leaders shut
Him out from the circles they controlled. But with great graciousness He
received into His circle any, of any circle, high or low, who would
receive Him into their hearts. To as many as received Him into their
hearts He opened the door into His own family. He gave them the
technical right of becoming children of His Father.

Their part of the thing is put very simply in two ways. They _believed_.
They were told, they listened and thought, they accepted as true, they
risked what they counted most precious, they loved. So they believed.
And so they _received._ The door opened, the inner door, the heart door.
He went in. That settled things for them. When He graciously entered
their hearts, the inner citadel of their lives, that settled their place
in this oldest family of all.



How We Don't Get In, and How We Do.


It is of intensest interest in our day to have John go on to tell, in
his own simple taking way, just how we get into this God-family. First
of all, he tells us how we _don't_ get in. Listen: "_not of blood_,"
that is, not by our natural generation; "_nor of the will of the
flesh_," that is, not by anything we can do of ourselves, though this
has a place, a distinctly secondary place; "_nor of the will of man_,"
that is, not by what somebody else can do for us, though this too has
its place.

These are the three "_nots_"; the three ways we are _not_ saved. And it
becomes of intensest interest to notice that these are the very three
ways that the crowd is emphasizing to-day, some this, others that, as
the way of being saved. The three modern words we commonly use for these
three "nots" of John are, _family, culture_, and _influence_.

Some of us seem to be fully expecting to walk into the presence of God,
and to get all there is to be gotten there, because of the family we
belong to. This is probably stronger in some of us than we are conscious
of. It's a matter of blood with us, our blood, our natural generation.
We take greatest pride in showing what blood it is that runs in our
veins. We trace the line far back to those whose names are well known.
And this sort of thing has overpowering influence in our human affairs
down here.

His gracious majesty King George is King of England, because he is the
child of Edward and Alexandra. His one and only claim to the English
throne is that at the time of accession he was their oldest living son.
But that won't figure a farthing's worth when he comes up to the
hearthfire of God's family. And I think he understands this full well.
I'm expecting to see him there; not as King of England, but as a
brother.

It is not a matter of blood. It's a blessed thing to be well-born. It
makes a tremendous difference to have the blood of an old noble family
in one's veins, if it is good clean blood. But it'll never save us.
Salvation is not by lineal descent, not by family line. It is "not of
blood." John clears that ground.

Some of us put great stress on what we are in ourselves. This looms big
with a great crowd scattered throughout the earth. We know so much. We
have gotten it by dint of hard work. We can do some things so skilfully.
We have worked into positions of great power among men. Our names are
known. Sometimes they are spelled in large letters.

The broad word for this is _culture_, what we have gained and gotten by
our effort, of that which is reckoned good, and which _is_ good. Culture
is one of the chief words in our language to-day. Whether spelled the
English way or the German, it looms big. It is one of our modern
tidbits. It is chewed on much, and pleases our palate greatly. And
culture is good, if it is good culture.

But, have you noticed, that you have to have a thing before you can
culture it? No amount of the choicest culture will get an apple out of a
turnip, nor a Bartlett pear out of a potato, nor make a Chinese into an
Englishman, nor an American into a Japanese. Culture can improve the
stock, but _it can't change it_. It takes some other power than culture
to change the kind. Here we have to be made of the same kind as they are
up in the old family of God. There must be a change at the core. Then
culture of that new stock is only good and blessed.

This is John's second "not." It seems rather radical. It completely
undercuts so much of our present day notions. If John is right, some of
us are wrong, radically, dangerously wrong. Yet John had a wonderful
Teacher whom he lived with for a while. And after He had gone, John had
another Teacher, unseen but very real, who guided, especially in the
writing of the old Jesus-story. The whole presumption is in favour of
John's way of it being wholly right. And if that makes us wrong, we
would better be grateful to find it out _now_, while there's time to
change. Being saved is not a matter of what we can do, of our culture,
though this has its proper place.

And some of us put tremendous stress to-day on _influence_, what we can
command from others, in furtherance of our desires. Influence is spelled
in biggest type and printed in blackest ink. Whether in political
matters at Washington or at London; in financial, whether Lombard Street
or Wall Street; or in the all-important social matters, or even in the
educational, the university world, the chief question is, "Whose
influence can you get?" "What name can you quote?" "Whose backing have
you?" Influence and culture are the twin gods to-day. The smoke of
their incense goeth up continuously. Their places of worship are
crowded, with bent knees and prostrate forms and reverential hush.

Have you noticed that _Jesus_ hadn't enough influence with the officials
of His day to keep from the cross? No: but He had enough _power_ to
break the official emblem of earth's greatest authority, the Roman seal
on the Joseph tomb. Rather striking that; intensely significant for us
moderns. _Peter_ hadn't enough _influence_ with the authorities to keep
out of jail. Sounds rather disgraceful that, does it not? Aye, but he
had enough _power_ with God to open jail-doors and walk quietly out
against the wish of those highest in authority.

Influence has its proper place. It's good, _if_ it is. But we are not
saved by it. We are not saved by what some one else can do for us; "not
of the will of man." Your mother's prayers and your wife's, and the
influence of their godly lives will have great weight. It's a great
blessing to have them. They help enormously. But the thing itself that
takes a man into the presence of God, saved and redeemed, is something
immensely more than this, some action of his own that goes to the roots
as none of these other things do.

One time a deputation waited on Lincoln to press a matter of public
concern. But his keenly logical mind discerned flaws in their
impassioned and carefully worked out arguments. He waited patiently till
their case was complete. And then in that quiet way for which he was
famous, he said, "How many legs would a sheep have if you called its
tail a leg?" As he expected, they promptly answered "Five." "No," he
said, "it wouldn't; it would have only four. _Calling_ a tail a leg does
not make it one." So a simple bit of his homely sense and accurate logic
scattered their finely spun argument.

Calling either family or culture or influence the chief thing doesn't
make it so. These are John's three tremendous "nots." They rather cut
straight across the common current of thought and belief and conduct
to-day. We may indeed be grateful if a single homely drop of black ink
from John's pen put into the beautifully cloudy-grey solution of modern
thought clears the liquid and makes a precipitate of sharply defined
truth that any eye can plainly see.

This is how we _won't_ be saved. This is how we _don't_ get into the
family of God. It is "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of
the will of man"; not through family connection, nor by what we can do
of ourselves simply, nor by what we can get some of our fellows to do
for us, simply.

"_But of God_," John says. It is by Someone else, outside of us, above
us, reaching down from a higher level, and putting the germ of a new
life within us, and lifting us up to His own level. He puts His hand
_through_ the open door of our will, what we do in opening up to Him,
_through_ "the will of the flesh." He walks along the pathway of the
earnest desire of those who would help us up, "the will of man." But it
is what _He_ does that does the one thing that all depends upon. His is
the decisive action, _through_ our choosing and our friends' helping.

I said it isn't a matter of blood, of lineage. Yet it is. That statement
must be modified. Family relationship is of necessity a matter of blood.
That's the very blood of it. This _is_ a matter of blood; but not _our_
blood; _His._ There has to be a new strain of blood. Our blood is
stained. It is at fault. It is impure. There's been a bad break far back
there in the family record, a complete break. We were powerless either
to purify the stock, or to get over that gap, even if we admitted the
need.

There had to be a bridging of that gap. It had to be from the upper
side. The other fell short. The gap was still there. There had to be a
new strain of blood. This was, this _is_, the only way. We get into that
old first family only by the Father of the family reaching over the
break and putting in the new strain of blood, the germ of the family
life, and so lifting us up to the new level. And Jesus was God doing
just that.



Our Tented Neighbour.


Then John begins a new paragraph. He goes back to tell just how the
thing was done. Listen: _the Word, this wondrous One, became a man, one
of ourselves, and pitched His tent in close amongst our tents._There's
only a stretch of canvas between Him and any of us. He wanted to get
close, close enough to help, yet never infringing upon the privacy of
our tents, only coming in as He was invited. But He has remarkable
ears. A whisper reaches Him at once. And He is out of His tent into ours
to help at the faintest call. That was why He pitched His tent in
amongst ours, to be one of ourselves, and to be at hand in our need.

And then a touch of awe creeps into John's spirit as he writes, and the
light flashes out of his eye with the intensity of an old picture
surging to the front of his imagination again. There was more than a
_tent_ here, more than a _man_. Out of the man, out through the tent
doorway, and tent canvas, flashes a wondrous, soft, clear light, that
transfigures canvas and tent and man. John's face glows as he writes,
"and we beheld His _glory_."

I suppose he is thinking chiefly of that still night on white Hermon.
This despised Man had called the inner three away from the crowd, in the
dark of night, and had gently drawn aside the exquisite drapery of His
humanity, and let some of the inner glory shine out before their eyes.
So the way was lightened for them as their feet were turned with His
down towards the dark valley of the cross. I suppose John is thinking
chiefly of this.

But this is not all, I am very sure. There's more, even though this may
have been most. Glory is the character of goodness. It is not something
tacked on the outside. It is some native thing looking out from within.
So much of what we think of as glory and splendour in scenes of
magnificence is a something in the externals, the outer arrangements.
Splendid garbing, brilliant colours, dazzling shining of lights, seats
removed a distance apart and up, magnificent outer appointments,--these
seem connected in our thought with an occasion and a scene being
glorious.

But John is using the word in its simple true first meaning. Glory is
something within shining out. It is the inner native light that goodness
gives out. "We beheld _His glory_." I think John must have been thinking
of Nazareth. Thirty out of thirty-three years were spent in homely
Nazareth. Ten-elevenths of Jesus' life was spent in--_living_, simply
living the true pure strong gentle life amid ordinary circumstances,
homely surroundings. This was the greatest thing Jesus did short of
dying. He _lived_. Next to Calvary where the glory shined out
incomparably, it shined out most in Nazareth. He hallowed the common
round of life by living an uncommon life there. This was a revealing of
His glory. So He revealed the inner spirit of simple full obedience to
His Father's plan for His earth-life.

If we would only rise to His level! The way up is down. We are likest
Him when we live the true Jesus-life _regardless of where it is lived_,
on the street, in the house, amidst the ideals--or lack of ideals--of
those we touch closest. It was a wondrous glory John beheld. And the
crowd--no wonder that crowd couldn't resist Jesus. They can't even yet,
when He is _lived_.

Then John goes on quietly to explain about that glory, how it came. He
says it was "_glory as of an only begotten of a father_." The common
versions with which we are familiar, the old King James, the English and
American revisions, all say "the," "_the_ only begotten of _the_
Father." I suppose the translators wanted to make it quite clear that
Jesus was in an exceptional way the very Son of God. And so they don't
translate quite as John put it. They try to help him out a little in
making his meaning clear.

But you will notice that this old Book of God never needs any helping
out in making the truth quite clear. When you can sift through versions
and languages down to what is really being said, you find it said in the
simplest strongest way possible.

Here John is saying, "glory as of _an_ only begotten from _a_ father."
It is a family picture, so common in the East. Here in the West, the
unit of society is the individual. The farther west you come the more
pronounced this becomes, until here in our own land individualism seems
at times to run to extremes. Custom in the East is the very reverse of
this. There the unit of action is not the individual, but the _family_.
The family controls the individual in everything. We Westerners think we
can see where it runs to such extremes as to constitute one of the great
hindrances to progress there.

In the East, if a young man is to be married, he has actually nothing to
do with it, except to be present in proper garb when the time comes. The
fact that he should now be married, the choice of his bride, the
betrothal, the time, all arrangements and adjustments,--all this is done
by the families. The two that we Westerners think of as the principals
have nothing to do, except to acquiesce in the arrangements of their
elders. It is strictly a family affair.

Even so all that belongs to the family, of wealth, fame, inheritance,
distinction, vests distinctly in the head of the family, the father. He
stands for the whole family. And so, too, all of this descends directly
from the father at his death to his eldest son. In some parts the father
retires at a certain age, either really or nominally, and all becomes
vested technically in his eldest son. And if the son be an only begotten
son, then literally all that is in the father comes into the son. All
the fame, the inheritance, the traditions, the obligations, the wealth,
in short all the glory of the father comes of itself, by common action
of events, to the son.

Now this is what John is thinking of as he writes, "we beheld His glory,
glory as of _an_ only begotten of _a_ father." That is to say, all there
is in the Father is in Jesus. When you see Jesus, you are seeing the
Father. The whole of God is in this Jesus. This is what John is saying
here.



Grace and Truth Coupled.


And then John does a bit of exquisite packing of much in little. He
tells the whole story of the character, the revealed glory, of Jesus in
such a few simple words,--"_full of grace and truth_." Not grace
without truth. That would be a sort of weakly, sickly sentimentalism.
And not truth without grace. That would be a cold stern repellent
insistence on certain high standards. But grace and truth coupled,
intermingling.

Of course real grace and truth always are coupled. They tell the
exquisite poise that is in everything God does. Truth is the back-bone
of grace. Grace is the soft cushioning of flesh upon the bony framework
of truth. It is the soft warm breath of life in truth. Truth is grace
holding up the one only standard of purity and right and insisting upon
it. And as we look we know within ourselves we never can reach it. Grace
is truth reaching a strong warm hand down to where we are and _helping_
us reach it.

With God these things are always coupled. _We_ get them separated badly,
or would I better say, imitations of them. There is a sort of thing we
have called truth. It is not so common now as a generation or more ago.
It is a sort of stern elevated preaching of righteousness, but with no
warm feel of life to it. I can remember hearing preaching in my immature
boy days that made me feel that the man and the thing must be right, but
neither had any attraction for me. It was as though a man went fishing
with a carefully-made properly-labelled metallic-bait at the end of a
long stout cord, and said, as he dangled it in the sinful waters to the
elusive fish, "Now, bite; or be damned."

It was never put so baldly, of course, in words. And I was only a child
with immature childish imaginations. Yet that was the feeling about the
thing the child got. But it's scarcely worth while talking of that now
except to point the contrast; things have swung so far to the other
extreme.

The current thing to-day is grace without truth, or what is supposed to
be grace. It is a sort of man-made substitute. It's something like this.
Here's a man in the gutter, the moral gutter. It may be the actual
gutter. Or, there may be the outer trappings of refinement that easy
wealth provides; or, the real refinement that culture and inheritance
bring. But morally and in spirit, it's a gutter. The slime of sin and
low passion, of selfishness and indulgence and self-ambition, oozes over
everything in full sight. The man's in the gutter.

And along comes the modern philosopher of grace, so-called. He looks
down compassionately, and says, "Poor fellow, I'm so sorry for you. Too
bad you should have gotten down there. Let me help you a bit, my
brother." So he puts some flowering plants down in the slime of the
gutter, and he brushes the man's clothes a bit, and his hair, and
sprinkles the latest-labelled cologne-water over him, and pats him on
the shoulder, and says, "Now, you feel better, my man, don't you?" And
the man sniffs the perfume, and is quite sure he does. _But he is still
in the gutter._

There seems to be an increasing amount of this sort of thing over in my
neighbourhood. How is it in your corner of the planet? There's an
intense stress on environment; that means the _outside_ of things.
Better sanitation, improved housing, purer milk supply, and segregation
of vice which seems to mean putting some of the viler smelling slime of
the gutter, the slimer slime, all over in one guttered section by
itself. But there can be no health there. It's a _change of location_
that is needed!

The wondrous Jesus-plan is different. It holds things in poise. Grace
_and_ truth. Truth is Jesus stretching His hand up high, up to the limit
of arm's length, and saying, "Here is the standard, purity,
righteousness, utter honesty of heart and rigid purity of motive and
life. You _must_ reach this standard. It can't be lowered by the half
thickness of a paper-thin shaving. You must come to this standard. The
standard never comes down to you."

And the man in the gutter says, "I'll never reach it." And he is right.
_He_ never will--of himself, alone. Yet that's truth, true truth. "A
hopeless case" you say; "utter impractical idealizing! Case ruled out of
court." Just wait, that's only half the case, and not the warm half
either.

Grace is Jesus going down into the gutter, the gutterest gutter, and
taking the man by his outstretching hand, and _lifting_ him _clean up_
out of the gutter, up, and up, _till the man reaches the standard_, and
is never content till he does. That was a tremendous going down, and a
yet more tremendous lifting up. Jesus broke His heart and lost His life
in the going down.

But out from the broken heart came running the blood that proved both
cleansing and a salve. And out of the grave of that lost life came a new
life that proved an incentive, and a tremendous dynamic. The blood
cleanseth the _inside_ of the man in the gutter, and heals his sores,
restores his sight and hearing and sensitiveness of touch. The new life
put inside the man makes him rise up and _walk determinedly_ out of the
gutter to a _new location_. He is a new man, with a new inside, in a new
location. That threefold cord is ahead of Solomon's--it _can't_ be
broken.

And, if you'll mark it keenly, a new _in_side includes a new _out_side.
The thing that in religious talk is called conversion is a sociological
factor that cannot be ignored by the thoughtful student. The drunkard
goes down to the old-fashioned sort of mission where they insist on
teaching that the blood of Jesus cleanseth from all sin, and that the
Holy Spirit will make a new man of you, and burn the sin out.

And _something_ happens to the drunkard. He kneels a drunkard, drunk; he
rises a man, sober. He goes to the hole he calls home. And at once a
change begins to work gradually out. He treats his wife and children
differently. He works. They are fed better and clothed warmer. He gets a
better house in a better neighbourhood. The new sociological factor is
at work. It began inside; it revolutionizes the outside.

Settlement houses, better environment, improved outer conditions of
every sort, are blessed, and only blessed, after the inside is fixed or
in helping to get it fixed. If that isn't done, they are simply as a
lovely bit of pink-coloured court-plaster skilfully adjusted over an
ugly incurable ulcer. The man is befooled while the ulcer eats into his
vitals.

It's only the blood-power of a Jesus, _the Jesus,_ that can fix the
inside. He cuts out the ulcer and puts in a new strain of blood. Then
the inner includes the outer. And the most grateful of all is the man.
This is the Jesus-plan, John says, "_full of grace and truth._"

Grace is named first. It _comes_ first. That is a bit of the
graciousness of it. That's love's exquisite diplomacy. We feel the
grateful warmth of the sun in the winter's air, and are drawn by it. We
smell the fragrance of the roses and come eagerly nearer. We hear the
winsomeness of a gentle wooing voice a-calling, and instinctively answer
to it. And then we find the sun's power to heal and cleanse and its
insistence on burning up what can't stand its heat.

We find the inspiring, purifying uplift of the flowers, drawing us up
the hillside to the top. We find the voice--the Man--gently but with
unflinching unbending determination that never yields a hairbreadth,
insisting on our coming clear up to the topmost level. That's a wondrous
order of words, and coupling of helps, grace and truth.

And this is Jesus. This is John's simple tremendous picture. This Man
comes down into our neighbourhood, on our earth. He sticks up His
stretch of tent-canvas right next ours. He insists on being His own true
self in the midst of the unlikeliest surroundings. The glow of His
presence shines out over all the neighbourhood of human tents. There's a
purity of air that stimulates. Men take deep breaths. There's a
fragrance breathing subtly out from His tent that draws and delights.
Men come a-running with childlike eagerness.



Grace Flooding.


And now as Jesus comes quietly down the river road where John's crowd is
gathered, John the witness points his finger tensely out, and eagerly
cries out: _There He is! This is the man I've been telling you about! He
that cometh after me in point of time is become first in relation to me
in point of preeminence: for He was before me both in time and in
preeminence._

And then John adds a tremendous bit. He had just been talking about
Jesus being _full_ of that great combination of grace and truth. Now his
thought runs back to that. Listen: "Of _His fullness_ have we all
received."

There's another translation of this sentence that I have run across
several times. It reads in this way: "Of His _skimpiness_ have we all
received." I never found that in common print; only in the larger print
of men's lives. But in that printing it seems to have run into a large
edition, with very wide circulation. Men don't read this old Book of God
much; less than ever. They get their impression of God wholly from those
who call themselves His followers.

They watch the procession go by. Here they come crippled diseased
maimed weakened in body, piteously pathetically crutching along, singed
and burned with the flames of the same low passion that the onlooking
crowds know so well, struggling, limping, crutching along bodily and in
every other way.

And that's a crowd with very keen logic, those onlookers. It judges God
by those bearing His name, very properly. And it says more or less
_unconsciously_,--"What a poor sort of God He must be those people have.
No doubt He has a great job of management on His hands. There are so
many of them to provide for. And apparently there can't be any
abundance, certainly no overflow, no surplus. He has to piece it out the
best He can to make it go as far as possible."

"I think maybe I needn't be in any hurry to join that crowd, at least
till I have to, along towards the end of things here. There would only
be one more to carry. He has such a crowd now. And the resources are
pretty badly strained, judging by appearances." So the crowd talks. Poor
God! How He is misrepresented by some walking translations. "Of His
_skimpiness_---!" Be careful. Don't take too much. Be grateful for the
crumbs.

Please clean your spectacles, and readjust them carefully, and if you
are afflicted with the small-print Bible that seems in such common use,
get a reading-glass and look here at the proper translation. That
crutching, leather-bound translation is grossly inaccurate, if it _is_
in such big print, and in such wide circulation. Look here. Can you see
the words? This is the only correct reading: "Of His _fullness_ have all
we received." Put that into the print of your life, for your own sake
and for the crowd's sake, yes, and for God's sake, too, that the crowd
may know the kind of a God God is.

And as if John had a suspicion about possible bad translations, he did a
bit of underscoring. That word _fullness_ is underscored in John's
original copy. It's a heavy underscoring, in red. The underscoring is in
three words he adds: "Grace for grace." That is, grace _in place of_
grace. It's a sort of picture. Some grace has been received. And it is
so wondrous that nothing seems so good. And the man is singing as he
goes about his work.

Then comes a sudden soft inrushing of a flood of grace so great that it
seems to displace all that was there. Oh! the man didn't know there was
such grace as this. It seems as if he had never known grace before. And
the work-song is hushed into a great stillness, though the wondrous
rhythm of peace is greater than before.

And then before he quite knows how it happens in comes another soft
subtle inrushing flood-tide of grace that seems to displace all again.
Some temptation comes, some sore need, some tight corner. You look to
Him; lean on Him; risk all on His response. He _responds_; and in comes
the fresh inrush.

And then this sort of thing becomes a habit, God's habit of responding
to your need, need of every sort. It becomes the commonplace, the
blessed commonplace that can never be common. That's John's underscoring
of the word "fullness." May the crowds whose elbows we jostle get this
underscored translation, bound in shoe-leather, _your_ shoe-leather.

Then in his eagerness to make us understand the thing really, John makes
a contrast. "The law was _given_ through Moses; grace and truth _came_
through Jesus Christ." The law was a thing, _given_, through a man.
Grace and truth was _a man coming_, the very embodiment in Himself of
what the two words stand for.

The law, the old Mosaic law, was not a statement of the _full_ message
of God. That was given much earlier. It was given to all. It came
directly. It was given first in Eden, in its flood; and then
continuously to every man wherever he was. It was given within each
man's own heart, and through the unfailing flooding light in nature
above and below and all around. The tide of its coming has never ceased
in volume nor in steadiness of flow; and does not cease. That tide came
to flood in Jesus. And that flood has never known an ebb.

But men's eyes got badly affected. They didn't let the light in, either
clearly or fully. The light was there, but it was not getting in.
Something had to be done to help out those eyes. So the law was given.
It was merely a mirror to let a man see his face, what it was like.

Here's a mother calling to her little son, "Come here and let me wash
your face." And he calls out, "It isn't dirty." "Yes, dear, it is very
dirty, come at once." "Why, no, mother, it isn't dirty; you washed it
this morning." And the child's tone blends a hurt surprise and a settled
conviction that his mother is certainly wrong _this_ time about the
condition of his face.

And if the mother be of the thoughtful brooding kind, she says nothing,
but gets a hand mirror, and holds it before the child's face. That will
always get a child's attention. And the boy looks; he sees his dirty
face reflected. The blank astonishment on his face can't be put into
words. It tells the radical upsetting revolution in his thought on that
subject. How could it have happened that his face got into that
condition! And the washing process is yielded to at least; possibly even
asked for.

That's what the law did and does. It showed man his face, his heart, his
need. It brings upsetting revolutionary ideas regarding one's self.
There it stops. That's its limit. Then the Man who in Himself is grace
and truth does the rest.



The Spokesman of God.


Then John quietly, deftly draws the line around to the starting point in
that first tremendous statement. He completes a circle perfect in its
strength and beauty and simplicity, as every circle is. If we follow the
order of the words somewhat as John wrote them down, we find the bit of
truth coming in a very striking, as well as in a fresh way. "_God no
one has ever, at any time, seen_."

That seems rather startling, does it not? What do these older pages
say? Adam talked and walked and worked with God, and then was led to
the gate of the garden. God appeared to Abraham, and gave him a
never-to-be-forgotten lesson in star study. Moses spent nearly six weeks
with Him, twice over, in the flaming mount, and carried the impress of
His presence upon his face clear to Nebo's cloudy top.

The seventy elders "saw the God of Israel, and did eat and drink," the
simple record runs. And young Isaiah that morning in the temple, and
Ezekiel in the colony of exiles on the Chebar, and Daniel by the Tigris
at the close of his three weeks' fast,--these all come quickly to mind.
John's startling statement seems to contradict these flatly.

But push on. John has a way of clearing things up as you follow him
through. Listen to him further: The only-begotten God who is in the
bosom of the Father--_He_ has always been the _spokesman_ of God. Look
into that sentence of John's a little. It seems quite clear, clear to
the point of satisfying the most critical research, that John wrote down
the words, "the only-begotten _God_." The contrast in his mind is not
between "God," and the "only begotten Son." It is a contrast whose
verbal terms fit with much nicer exactness than that. It is a contrast
between "God" and the "only-begotten God."

There is only one such person whichever way unity. They tell the whole
story hanging at the end of John's pen. This little bit commonly called
the prologue is a gem of simplicity and compactness.

It is John's Gospel in miniature, even as John's Gospel is the whole
Bible story in miniature. You can see the whole of the sun reflected in
a single drop of water. You can see the whole of both Father and Son in
the action of love in these simple opening lines of John's Gospel.

Have you ever been walking down a country road till, weary and thirsty,
you stopped at an old farmhouse and refreshed yourself at the
old-fashioned well, with its bucket and long sweep? And as you rested a
bit by the well you wondered how deep it was. It didn't look deep at
all. The water was near, and it was so clear and sweet and refreshing,
and so easy to get at for a drink.

_Is_ it deep? So you fish a rather long bit of string out of your
pocket, and tie it to a bit of stone you find lying close by. And you
let the stone down, and down, and down, till you are surprised to find
that the well is deeper than your string is long.

Well, John's opening bit is just like that. It seems very simple, easily
understood at first flush in the mere statements made. The water is near
the top. You easily drink. And you are refreshed. But when you try to
find out how deep it is, you are startled to find that it is clear over
your head.

But it is _never over your heart_. It is too deep for you to grasp and
understand. You never touch bottom. _But_ it's never beyond
heart-understanding. You can sense and feel and love. You can open the
sluice-gates into your heart, and have the blessed flood-tide lift and
lift and bear you aloft and along. You can _love._ And that is the whole
story.

Was John an artist? Is he making a rare painting for us here? Is he
studying perspective, shading and spacing, to an exquisite nicety that
is revealed in the very way he puts words and sentences and paragraphs
together? I do not know. And if any of you think the thing I am about to
speak of is due to a mere mechanical chance of the pen, I'll not quarrel
with you. Though I shall still have my own personal thought in the
matter.

But will you notice this? John begins his prologue with a description of
a wonderful personality. He ends it with another description of this
same personality. Both descriptions are rare in beauty and boldness, in
simplicity and brevity. And right midway between the two, at almost the
exact middle line of the reading, at what is the artistic center, stands
the word "_came_."

That word "came" gathers up into itself and tells out to you the whole
story about this twice-described personality. "He came" John says.
That's the whole thing. First the _He_ fills your eye, and then what He
did--_came_. And as you step off a bit for better perspective, and
change your personal position this way and that to get the best light,
you find the picture standing out before your awed eyes.

It is a Man coming down the road with face looking into yours. He is
truly a man, every line of the picture makes that clear to you. But such
a man as never was seen before, with the rarest blending of the kingly
and the kindly in His bearing. The purest purity, the utmost
graciousness, the highest ideals, the gentlest manner, nobility beyond
what we have known, and kindliness past describing,--all these blend in
the pose of His body and most of all in the look of His face. And He is
in motion. He is walking, walking towards us, with hands outstretched.

This is John's picture of Jesus. He came to His own. He came because His
own drew Him. Out from the bosom of His Father, into the womb of a
virgin maid, and into the heart of a race He came. Out of the
glory-blaze above into the gloom of the shadow, and the glare of false
lights below, He came.

Out of the love of a Father's heart, the Only-begotten came, into
contact with the hate that was the only-begotten of sin, that He might
woo us men up, and up, and up, into the only-begotten life with the
Father.

Jesus was God on a wooing errand to the earth.



III

The Lover Wooing

     _A Group of Pictures Illustrating How the Wooing Was Done, and How
     the Lover Was Received_



              "Still with unhurrying chase,
               And unperturbed pace,
    Deliberate speed, majestic instancy
               Came the following Feet,
               And a Voice above their beat--
    _Naught shelters thee, who will not shelter Me_.'"

    --"_The Hound of Heaven_."

     "O thou hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in the time of trouble,
     why shouldst thou be as a sojourner in the land, and as a wayfaring
     man that spreadeth his tent for a night?"--_Jeremiah xiv. 8_.

     He came unto his own home, and they who were his own kinsfolk
     received him not into the house, but left him standing outside in
     the cold and dark of the winter's night. But as many as did receive
     him he received into his home, and gave each a seat in the inner
     circle at the hearthfire of God.--_John i. II, 12. Free
     translation_.



III

The Lover Wooing

(John i. 19-xii. 50)



The Mother of all Love-Words.


Brooding is love at its tenderest and best It is love giving its best,
and so bringing out the best possible in the one brooded over.

Look into the nest where the word itself was brooded. It is a warm
something, warm in itself, not a borrowed warmth. The warmth is its
chief trait. It is a soft tender unfailing cuddling warmth. It cuddles
and coos, it glows and floods a gentle comforting stimulating warmth.
And the best there is lying asleep within the thing so brooded over
awakes.

It answers to that creative mothering warmth. It pushes out, against all
obstacles, and comes shyly and winsomely, but steadily and strongly, out
to the brooding warmth, growing as it comes and growing most as it comes
into closest touch with the warm brooder.

Brooding is the mother of all love-words,--friendship, wooing, pitying,
helping, mothering, fathering, witnessing, believing. It is the
mother-word, from out whose warm womb all these others come, warm, too,
and full of gentle strong life. Its mother quality is so strong that we
are apt to think of it only in connection with actual mothers, mothers
among animals and birds and of our human kind.

But this is only one meaning, really a surface meaning, though such a
fine deep meaning in itself. Its real heart meaning lies much deeper.
_Brooding is the mother of all love._ It is its warmth that draws out
that fine feeling that makes and marks friendship. It is its tender
warmth that draws out that finest degree of friendship which knits with
unbreakable bonds two lives into one.

It reaches out most subtly to knit up again the ends that have ravelled
out under the sore stress of life. It bends compassionately over those
hurt in body, and hurt yet more in their spirit by the greedy rivalry of
life, and nurses into newness of life the shivering shredded hurt parts.
In the more familiar use of the word it fathers and mothers the newly
minted morsels of precious humanity, coming into life with big wondering
eyes.

And it warms into highest life that highest love that, through the
process of hearing, assenting, trusting, risking, giving the heart's
devotion, comes to know God as a tender Father, and Christ as a precious
personal Saviour. Whether in close friend, or ardent lover, gracious
philanthropist, devoted parent, or earnest witness, it is the same warm
thing underneath, at its fine task--brooding.

We think of it most in the mother. For it comes to its highest human
perfection there. The true thoughtful mother is first and chiefest a
brooder. She broods in spirit till her child looks into her eyes,
bearing the image, in face and mental impress and spirit, which the
brooding months have given. She broods over the inarticulate days when
the babe cannot tell the felt needs except to a brooding mother's keen
insight.

She broods over the baby-talk days; over the struggling days when the
child would tell its awakening thoughts out in words, but doesn't know
how yet; over the wilful days which come so early when the first battles
come that decide the whole future.

With a warmth of tenderness and patience, and a strength of gentle wise
insistence, more than human, she broods. It takes the very strength of
her life, far far more than in prenatal days. So there comes, slowly,
but as she keeps true to the brooding spirit, surely, the strong gentle
self-controlled life out of the warm womb of her brooding life. So comes
the child's higher birth, so preparing the way for the yet higher.

Now all this is at its native best in God. There only does it reach
finest fruitage. Some day we shall recognize the meaning of that modest
but tremendous little sentence,--_God is love_. This warm brooding
something that comes, gentle as the dawning light in the grey east,
fragrant as the dew of the new morning, irresistible in its pervasive
persuasive presence as the rays of the growing sun, giving to us warmth,
and life, and drawing out from within us warmth and life and beauty and
strength, all in its own image, this is the thing called love. This is
the thing that God is. As we know _it_ we are getting acquainted with
_Him_.

And if a break comes, instantly love in its grief sets itself with
warmth and renewed strength to the new harder brooding task. It gives
itself out yet more, regardless of cost, until in place of the broken
fragments there comes a finer sort of life out of the warm womb of love,
brooding, redeeming, bringing-back-again love. This is God. This is
Jesus. John shows us Jesus as a picture of the brooding God.



Five Pictures of Jesus.


There are five wondrous pictures of Jesus in these newer leaves of the
old Book. Three of them hang on the walls of Paul's tent-weaving
study-room. There's the Colossian picture, the _Creator-Jesus,_ infinite
in power, making all things above and below and around, and holding all
things together.[7]

Close by it in wondrous contrast is seen the Philippian picture. It is
the _Man-Jesus,_ emptied of all the upper-glory native to Him, bowing
down low and lower and lowest, till in the form of a slave He hangs on a
cross.[8]

And in contrast yet more striking and startling, close by its side hangs
the Ephesian picture. It is the _Enthroned-Jesus,_ back again in the
soft, blazing, blinding glory of the Father's presence, seated at His
right hand, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion and
every name that is named. And as you stand awed before this picture
your eye is caught by the artist's remarque sketch at the bottom. It is
a broken Roman seal, and an open tomb, and a bird with swelling throat
singing joyously.[9]

Then there's John's later Patmos picture of the _Present-Jesus_,
standing now down on the earth in the midst of His candle-holding
Church, but seen only by opened eyes. There He is seen as a Man of Fire,
ablaze with light, intently watching, with tender but omnipotent touch
waiting, ever waiting; with a patience unknown except in Him, still
waiting.[10]

But John's earlier Gospel picture is of the _Brooding-Jesus_. The word
"brooding" here takes in its fine deep significance. Jesus is seen here
as a brooding Lover, by the warmth of His wooing love drawing out the
warmth of an answering love. This is peculiarly and distinctively the
picture of John's Gospel. There is _a Man walking towards you_ in these
pages. Turn where you will there He is, and always facing you, with a
gentle eagerness in His face and in the bend-forward of His body.

There is always a warmth, a gentle radiating comforting drawing warmth
in His presence. This is the thing you feel most, the warmth. But it
isn't the only thing. There's the purity. There are ideals that seem out
of reach in their great height. There's the insistence on these ideals,
rigid stern absolutely unbending insistence. You _see_ these. You can't
help it. You feel them tremendously. They seem to leave you clear out
of reckoning, they are so high up. But there's the warmth, drawing
arousing wooing, irresistible.

You come to find that the warmth of that presence is as irresistible as
the ideals and the insistence are unbending. And the warmth woos you. It
warms you, till there come the intense admiration of the ideals, and
then the eager reaching of the whole being up towards them.

This is John's picture of the brooding wooing Jesus. This is God, in
human garb as He comes to us in John's pages. Jesus is God brooding over
us to woo out of us the love and purity, the purity and love, that He
woos into us by the touch of His own warm presence.

John's little book is put together as simply as his sentences. And as
you take it up, it falls apart almost of itself, so simple and natural
are its divisions. We had a look at the opening paragraphs of the
Gospel, those eighteen brief verses that open the doorway into all the
Gospel holds for us. _There_ is given chiefly John's simple vivid
tremendous picture of _a Person_, coming with swift long stride and
outreached hands.

Now we turn to the second part of the book. It runs from the nineteenth
verse of the opening chapter on through to the end of chapter twelve. It
is devoted to _the great winsome wooing_ of this great human Person.
Here we see Him on His wooing errand. He woos individual men. He gives
the personal touch. He devotes Himself to one person, now here, now
there. His skill and tact in personal dealing are matchless. But this
is not the chief wooing of these pages. It is _the nation_ He is wooing.
With rarest strategy and boldness and persistence He lays loving siege
to the nation through its leaders. This is central and dominant in all
His movements here. This is the second picture in the gallery of John's
Gospel.

It is a good thing to run through these fourteen pages of John's Gospel
_several times;_ to run through _rapidly_, though not hurriedly; to run
through them as a story until it stands out in your mind as _one simple
connected, story_. And then it will help greatly, if you are so blest as
to have some boy or girl near at hand to whom you can tell it as a story
in simple child (not childish) talk.

Pack the whole into one story of ten minutes, or fifteen: the man of the
story;[11] how He tried to win the people's hearts;[12] how towards the
end He spent a long evening with those who loved Him;[13] how awfully He
was treated by those who hated Him;[14] then how wondrously He surprised
His friends;[15] and then the little bit at the end where He prepares
breakfast and has a walk and talk on the seashore with a little group of
those who loved Him most.[16]

Tell that to a boy or girl as a short story. Use sensible words, but
_not one_ that your little listener wouldn't at once understand. Pretty
sharp discipline for the story-teller, especially if you stop to put in
a simpler word when you've blundered into a big one. The child will be
held by it But you will get the most yourself out of the telling.



Warp-Threads.


Now as you read the second part over, it gradually sifts itself into
several incidents about which the story is woven. These incidents form
the warp-threads of the narrative. Into this warp are woven, sometimes
little connecting links, sometimes quarrelsome discussion, sometimes
exquisite bits of Jesus' teaching, and sometimes John's comments. And as
the story grows it reaches one climax after another, each increasing in
intensity, until the intensest is reached.[17] And these incidents fall
naturally into groups. There are three _chief groups_ that seem to stand
out as giving the bolder points of the outline, and then _smaller
groups_ or _single incidents_ that lie in between.

It is very natural that the story begins with the accounts of the
deputation that was sent from Jerusalem by the official leaders of the
nation, down to the Jordan bottoms where John the witness was drawing
such great crowds. John modestly answers their questions about himself,
and then the next day with dramatic intensity points out the Man for
whom the whole nation has been looking for so long.

The only response from deputation and officials is a most significant
disappointing silence, a silence fully understood both by John[18] and
by Jesus.[19] But five Galileans in the crowd listening to John's reply
seek out, or are brought into personal questioning touch with, Jesus,
and then yield Him unquestioning belief and personal devotion. And these
five come, in after years, to be leaders known wherever Christ's name is
known.[20] So there begins the sharp contrast running throughout these
pages, between the two sides into which Jesus' presence divides the
crowds.

Then John traces the simple way in which the faith of these five men ran
its tiny but tough tenacious tendril-roots down into their very vitals.
A simple neighbourhood wedding occasion up near the old Nazareth home
drew Jesus thither with His kinsfolk and His new-made friends. And then
He meets the need of the homely occasion by helping out the shortened
supply of wine in such an unusual way as reveals His character. And the
conviction takes great fresh hold upon these five men that they have
made no mistake. This Man is all they had taken Him for, and He is
immensely more than they had thought into at first.[21]

Then comes a little connecting link. After the Cana visit, Jesus runs
into the near-by town of Capernaum with His kinsfolk and friends for a
few days, a sort of continuation of the neighbourhood courtesies.[22]

And then at once John goes to the intensest, and the most significant
incident of this whole section of the book. It is the drastic turning
out, by Jesus, of the traders in the temple-area at Jerusalem. This
touched at once the national leaders' most sensitive nerve, and touched
it roughly. It never ceased aching. This turning of the temple-area into
a common market-place, which so jarred on the holy atmosphere of the
place, and on Jesus' fine spirit, this was by arrangement with these
leaders, and yielded them large profit. Here was the sore spot.

With one deft stroke John lays bare the secret of the intense hatred of
Jesus by these national leaders, with which these pages teem, and which
came to its bursting head at the cross. Long after, when Jesus had died
and been raised, these five leading disciples find a new strengthening
of their faith in recalling words spoken at this time by Jesus.[23]

Growing naturally out of this Passover visit comes the Nicodemus
incident. Many of the Passover crowds were caught by the power of Jesus
shown in the miracles He did, but had not the seasoned thoughtful faith
of these first disciples. But one man sifts himself out by his spirit of
earnest inquiry. The sharp contrast that runs throughout these incidents
stands out here. This man is of the inner upper cultured circle, that
controlled national affairs, that sent that Jordan committee, and that
had been so upset by the temple cleansing.

Yet not only Nicodemus' earnest search for truth, and the questions
asked by him, but the fullness and fineness of spirit truth in Jesus'
words to him reveal the true faith of this rare inquirer; and this is
verified by his later actions.[24] Clearly Jesus found here an opened
door. Here is the first of those exquisite bits of Jesus' teaching that
mark John's Gospel.[25]

These four incidents make up the first group of, what I think of as, the
three chief groups of incidents in this section of John. The group
begins at the Jordan, and runs up into Galilee, but in its interest and
its chief incident, centres in Jerusalem. The action begins with John
the witness, and swings naturally to Jesus. The contrast in this group
of incidents is intense. With the same evidence at hand, first
contemptuous silence and loving allegiance, then the beginnings of
bitterest hate and of tenderest personal love, grow up side by side.

Then there is a sort of swing-away-from-Jerusalem group that includes
three incidents. After the rejection of John's witness to Jesus[26] by
the nation's leaders, Jesus withdraws from Jerusalem to the country
districts of Judea. There He takes up the sort of work John has been
doing, so bearing His witness to John. John had drawn great crowds down
to the Jordan and in the neighbourhood of its tributary streams.

Now Jesus helps in arousing and instructing these crowds. There are two
men preaching instead of one, and Jesus has the greater crowds. This is
used to make trouble. It stirs up gossipy disputings. It is made to look
like a jealous rivalry between the two men. And this supposed rivalry
and disputing about the various claims of the two men become the
uppermost thing. It reflects the characteristic spirit of the leaders.
John greatly renews his witness to Jesus with fresh emphasis and
earnestness.[27]

But as Jesus sees that His presence is only being made a bone of
contention He quietly slips away from Judea, turning north through
Samaria towards Galilee. Then comes the great story of the visit to
Sychar, with the exquisitely tactful winning of the sinful woman to a
life of purity, and then using her as a messenger to her people.
Imbedded in the story is another bit of Jesus' simple great teaching
talk.[28]

Then comes a brief connecting link. Finding no acceptance in Judea, His
own country, Jesus goes to Galilee, where visitors at the Jerusalem
Feast of Passover had been spreading the news of His words and deeds,
and so a gracious welcome now awaits Him.[29]

And here in Galilee He wins the believing love of a roman officer of
noble birth, whose son is desperately ill. The father's faith passes
through three stages, the belief that comes to ask for help, the deeper
belief that rests upon Jesus' word to him and starts back home, and the
yet deeper that gets confirmation of Jesus' word and power in the
recovery of his son from the very time Jesus spoke the assuring
word.[30]

These are the three incidents in this group away from the Jerusalem
district. It is striking that this group away from Jerusalem stands in
sharp contrast with that first group centering in Jerusalem. _There_ is
rejection by the nation's leaders running from contemptuous silence to
the beginning of open opposition. _Here_ with less evidence there is
acceptance by a Samaritan and a Roman; the one of no social standing;
the other of the highest.

The rejection of Jesus by the leaders stands in contrast thus far with
acceptance of Him by five Galileans, by a cultured scholarly aristocrat,
a half-breed Samaritan, and a Roman of gentle birth. Acceptance seems to
grow with the distance from Jerusalem. Yet everything hinged in
Jerusalem. _There_ had been the flood-light. Jerusalem was meant to be
the gateway to the world. The irony of sin! The blinding of greed! The
self-cheating of being self-centered!



Climbing towards the Climax.


And now, true to his controlling thought, John goes straight back to
Jerusalem with his story, ignoring intervening events. There's another
feast, not called a Passover, but commonly and probably correctly so
reckoned, another crowd-gathering Passover. An extreme chronic case of
bodily infirmity draws out the pity and power of Jesus, and the healed
man takes his first walk after thirty-eight years.

But the thing is done on a Sabbath day, and gives rise to bitterest and
murderous persecution, first on the score of Sabbath observance, and
then because Jesus claimed God as "His own Father" in a distinctive
sense. Friction fire may send out beautiful sparks. And the opposition
brings out one of the choicest bits of Jesus' teaching to be found in
John. This incident stands by itself.[31]

And now John reaches over a whole year with only a sentence or two for
connection, and comes again to a Passover. The Passover was _the pivot_
of the Jewish year and of Jewish national life. This Passover is made
notable by _Jesus' absence from Jerusalem_, the only Passover absence of
His ministry. And the reason is the violence of the persecution by the
national leaders.

There is the feeding of the hungry thousands with a handful of loaves
and fish. Was this the real Passover celebration? The multitudes fed by
Him who was the Lamb of God and the true Bread of life? while the
technical observance was empty of life! It wouldn't be the only thing of
the sort, in ancient times or modern.[32]

Jesus withdraws from the crowds who would like a bread-maker for a king,
gets a bit of quiet alone with His Father on the mountainside, and then
walks on the water in the storm to keep His appointment with the
disciples. Then follows a long disputation and another fine bit of
Jesus' teaching.[33] These two incidents make another distinct group,
separated from the previous one by a year on the far side and six months
on the hither side. And the contrast continues, between the acceptance
by the Galilean crowds and the intensifying opposition by the chief
group of Jerusalem leaders.

Then comes _the second chief group of incidents_. About six months later
Jesus returns to Jerusalem for the autumn Feast of Tabernacles. He
boldly teaches in the temple in the midst of much opposition, bitter
discussion, and concerted official effort against Him.[34] The dramatic
incident of the accused woman and the conscience-stricken leaders[35] is
followed by a yet more bitter discussion and by the first passionate
attempt at stoning.[36]

Then the incident of the man born blind but now blessedly given his
sight leads to the bitterest opposition thus far, and the casting of the
man out from all religious privileges; and is followed by the rare bit
of sheepfold and shepherd teaching.[37] These four incidents make up the
second great outstanding group of incidents, and mark the sharpest clash
and crisis thus far.

A few months later at another Jerusalem feast called the Feast of the
Dedication, comes a second hotly impulsive riotous attempt at stoning,
and then an attempt to arrest, both foiled by the restraint of Jesus'
mere presence and personal power.[38] And another connecting link traces
His going away beyond the Jordan River, where the crowds gather to Him,
and are won to warm personal belief.[39]

Another little gap of a few months passed over in silence, brings the
narrative to the _third_ and last _chief group of incidents_ in this
part of the book, and so leads immediately up to the great final events
of the whole book.

The illness and death of Lazarus draws Jesus back to a suburb of
Jerusalem, Bethany. Then the stupendous incident of the raising of
Lazarus leads to the official decision to put Jesus to death.[40] And a
connecting link of verses tells of Jesus' cautious withdrawal, of the
inquiring crowds coming to the approaching Passover, and of the public
notice given that Jesus was under official condemnation.[41]

It is at the home feast given in Bethany as a tribute of love to Jesus
that Judas, coldly criticizing a warm act of tender love, and gently
rebuked by Jesus, gets into that bad heat of temper out of which came
the foul bargaining and betrayal.[42] Another brief connecting link lets
us see the crowds more eagerly inquiring for Jesus because of the
raising of Lazarus, and the determined priests coolly plotting Lazarus'
death, too.[43]

Then comes Jesus' faithful open offer of Himself in kingly fashion to
the nation, with the tremendous enthusiasm of the multitudes, and the
hardening of the official purpose to do the one thing that will offset
this wild-fire enthusiasm.[44]

And then comes the apparently simple, but in meaning tremendous,
incident of the inquiring Greeks. The Jew door is slamming shut, but the
outside door is opening. Here the whole world opens its door, its front
door, in these Greek representatives of the best culture the earth knew.
But Jesus' vision never blurs. He understands; He alone. The only route
to Greece and the whole outer world is the underground route, the way
through Joseph's tomb.

And as the intense spirit-struggle passes, Jesus quietly goes on with
His searching appealing talk to the crowd, and then slips away into
hiding till His hour had full come.[45] And with breaking heart John
sadly recalls Isaiah's wondrous foresight of just these days and
events.[46] These are the four incidents in this third chief group.

And so the door shuts. The wooing ceases. This bit of John's story is
done. The evidence is all in. The case is made up. The nation's door to
its King shuts. The Lover's wooing of the nation ceases. John turns to a
new chapter. No further evidence is brought forward. The case rests with
the jury. The door had been shutting for a good while. The inside
door-keepers had been pulling it hard. But the great Man outside had His
hand on the knob delaying the shutting process, in the earnest hope that
it yet might be quite stopped. Now His hand reluctantly loosens its
hold. The knob is free. The inside pull does its work. The door goes to
with a vigorous slam.

The wooing is not _wholly_ done. There is still the indirect, the tacit
wooing. There's still opportunity. All through that fateful night from
Gethsemane's gate, to the last word at Pilate's seat the Lover is
wooing. But it is wooing by action, by presence, by yielding. No
pleading word is spoken. The direct wooing is done. Tender, earnest,
insistent, patient, tremendous, irresistible in itself save to those who
willed to resist anything and everything no matter what or
whom,--wondrous wooing it has been. Now it's over. That chapter is done.



Way-marks in John's Narrative.


Out of this simple running account several things sift themselves, and
stand out to our eyes. The action of the story swings chiefly _about
Jerusalem_. The other parts seem but background to make Jerusalem stand
out big. In this John's Gospel differs radically from the other three.
They are absorbed chiefly with the tireless gracious Galilean ministry
of Jesus, till the last great events force them to Jerusalem.

And the reason is plain. Jerusalem is Israel. It is the nation. Jesus is
wooing the _nation_ through its leaders. Why? For the nation's sake? for
Israel's sake? Yes and no. Because these Jews were favourites of God?
Distinctly _no_, though so highly favoured they had been in the wondrous
mission entrusted to them. But because Israel was the gateway to a world
Yes, for Israel's sake. _Through_ this gateway, so carefully prepared
when every other gate was closing, _through_ this out to a world--this
was the plan of action. And this will yet be found to be the plan.
Through a Jewish gateway the King will one day go out to touch His
world. This is the geography of John's story.

The action of the story swirls largely, too, about the great national
feasts, the Passovers, the Tabernacles or harvest-home feast of the
autumn, and one called "the Dedication," not elsewhere spoken of. To
these came great crowds of pilgrim Jews from all quarters of the world,
speaking many languages beside their national Hebrew, giving large
business, especially to money-brokers and traders in the animals and
birds used in the sacrifices. That classical Pentecost Chapter of Acts
gives the wide range of countries and of languages represented by these
pilgrim thousands. These feasts are the central occasions of John's
story.

_The time_ begins with John's preaching in the Jordan bottoms and
reaches up practically to the evening of the betrayal. It is commonly
reckoned three and a half years. That is, there are some months before
that first Passover, and then the events run through and up to the
fourth Passover, reckoning the unnamed feast of chapter five as a
Passover. This is the chronology of John's Gospel. John's Gospel gives
the only clue to the length of Jesus' ministry.

There are three groups _of persons_. There are _the Jews_. That is one
of John's distinctive phrases. By it he means as a rule the official
leaders of the nation, whom in common with the other writers he also
designates by their party names, Pharisees, Scribes, Chief Priests, and
so on. Among these the name of Caiaphas stands out, and later Annas.

Then there are _the crowds_, the masses of people that flock together in
any new stirring movement. There are Galilean crowds, feast-time crowds
including the great numbers of foreign pilgrim Jews, city crowds, and
country crowds. They gather to John's preaching. They gather in great
numbers in Jerusalem, and on the Galilean visits. They are easily
impressionable, swayed by subtle crowd-contagion, stirred up and played
upon cunningly by the opposition leaders.

They appeal greatly to Jesus, like unshepherded sheep. And the sick and
needy ones, so numerous, draw out His pity and warm touch and healing
power. They believe quickly, and almost as quickly are turned away and
desert the cause they had so quickly and warmly rallied to. Fickle,
unthoughtful, easily-swayed, needy crowds, but with the thoughtful ones
and groups here and there who are really helped and who stick. These
crowds are always in evidence.

And there are _the disciples_. There is the inner group of chosen ones
who companion with Jesus, sharing His bread and bed, and close witnesses
of His gracious spirit and unfailing power, with impulsive heady Peter
and faithful steady John always nearest by. What a schooling all this
was for them! And there are other disciples, not of this picked circle,
but on most intimate personal terms with the Master, some of them, like
thoughtful cautious Nicodemus, like the Bethany group of three, and Mary
the Magdalene. And there is the larger, looser, changing body of
disciples, mingling with the crowds, sometimes deserting, but no doubt
with many thoughtful devoted ones among them. These are the leading
persons figuring in John's story, grouped about the person of Jesus.

But these are simply interesting incidentals giving local colouring to
John's story. We pass by them quickly now to a few things that take
great hold of one's heart, that stand out biggest, and give the real
action of life to the story.



Tapestry Threads.


As we unravel the fabric of John's Gospel there are three threads that
stand out by reason of the distinctness of their colours. There's a
thread of clear decided blue. There's a dark ugly black thread that
gets blacker as it weaves itself farther in. And then there's a bright
yellow glory-colour thread that shines with brighter lustre as the black
gets blacker.

Trace the blue first, the thread of a simple glad acceptance of Jesus,
and trust in Him. It deepens in its fine shading of blue as you follow
it, true blue, the colour true hearts wear. From the very first Jesus is
accepted by some, by many. And this continues steadily through to the
very last. Some doors open at once to Him. Then under the influence of
His presence and gentle resistless power they open wide, and then wider.

It is fascinating to trace the simply told story of growing faith, until
one's own faith gets clearer and steadier and has more warm glow to it.
To adapt Tennyson's fine lines, as knowledge grows from more to more
there dwells in us more of the deep tender reverence of love, until all
the powers of mind and spirit chord into one symphony of unending music.
And the wheels of our common life move always to its rhythmic swing.

See how _the crowds_ crowd to Jesus, and open up to the appeal of His
words and acts and presence. Many of the pilgrim crowds of that first
Passover believe, impressed by Jesus' spirit of helpfulness and His
unusual power.[47] And the Galileans among them give Him warm welcome as
He comes up into their country.[48] It is a great multitude that follows
eagerly up on the east coast of the Galilean sea, hail Him as the
long-expected prophet of their nation, talk of plans for making Him
their King, and earnestly cry out, "Lord, evermore give us this (true)
bread."[49]

Even in the midst of the bickering discussions at the Tabernacles Feast
many of the multitude believed on Him, some as the long-talked-of
prophet, some as the very Christ Himself.[50] And as He talks to His
critics of His purpose always to please the Father, still others are
drawn in heart to Him and believe.[51] And at this same time, as the
criticism gets uglier, many make bold to speak out on His behalf[52]
though it was getting to be a dangerous thing to do. As He feels
compelled to withdraw from the tense atmosphere of Jerusalem, and goes
away into the country districts beyond the Jordan the people come
flocking to Him with open hearts.[53]

The Lazarus incident made inroads into the upper circles of Jerusalem,
many of the influential social class with whom these dear Bethany
friends seem on close terms, and who had been out there during those
stirring days, believe on Jesus, and many of the common people, too, are
won by that occurrence.[54] That tremendous raising of Lazarus had much
to do with the great acclaim of the multitudes as Jesus rode into
Jerusalem on the kingly colt.[55]

It is without doubt a sincere homage that these multitudes from far and
near, and the home crowds, render, with their palm branches and
garment-strewn roads, and spontaneous outburst of joyous song.[56] And
now as John put his bit of a knotted summary on the end of this part of
his story, he points out that even among the members of the Jewish
Senate there were many real believers.[57]

But a crowd is a strange complex thing. It doesn't know itself. It's
easily swept along to do as a crowd what would never be done by each one
off by himself. And this works in good ways as well as in bad. Jesus
drew the crowds and was drawn by them. He couldn't withstand the pull of
the crowd. The lure of its intense need was irresistible to Him. Yet He
knew crowds rarely.

He was never blinded by their enthusiasm. His keen insight saw under the
surface, though it never held Him critically back from helping. He
quickly notes that the belief of those first Passover crowds has not
reached the dependable stage.[58] He is never held back from showing the
red marks in the road to be trodden even though many of His disciples
balk at going farther on such a road, and some turn away to an easier
road,[59] so revealing an utter lack of the real thing. And even where
there's real faith of the sincere sort it is yet sometimes not of the
seasoned sort that can stand the storms.[60]

These crowds seem of close kin to more modern crowds. One touch of a
crowd rubs out centuries of difference and shows one family blood in us
all. Yet keep things poised. It was out of these crowds that there came
the disciples and close friends to whom we now turn. There's gold in the
crowds, finest twenty-four carat gold. It's all a matter of mining.
Skilful mining gets out the gold. This wondrous Lover used the
magnetic-current method of mining, the love-current. The strong warm
current, the fine personal spirit current, drew out to Him the fine
grains of gold in these human crowds.



Growing Faith.


Now we climb the hill where _the disciples_ are. The crowds are in the
bottom-lands. Many have started up the hill. Jesus always woos men
uphill. You can always tell a man by where he is standing, bottom-land,
hillside, higher-hill-slope, hilltop. We turn now from the crowds that
believed to those whose personal acceptance of Jesus drew them into the
inner circle.

The first three incidents trace the beginnings of faith in those first
close disciples who came to be numbered among the picked inner
twelve.[61] The first story is one of the rarest of John's many rare
stories. It is characteristic of the real thing of faith that beginning
with two they quickly number five. The attachment of the two to John,
the Witness, reveals them as of the earnest inquiring sort, after the
very best. John never forgot that talk with Jesus in the gathering
twilight by the Jordan. It sends Andrew out for Peter, and John likely
for James, while the Master gets Philip, and he in turn Nathaniel. That
reveals the real stuff of faith. It has a mind whose questionings have
been satisfied, a heart that catches fire, and feet that hasten
out-of-doors for others. That's the real thing.

Their faith takes deeper root at Cana. A new personal experience of
Jesus' power is a great deepener of faith, the great deepener. This is
the only pathway from faith to a deeper realer sturdier faith. A man can
get a deeper faith only by walking on his own feet where Jesus leads.

Their faith grows imperceptibly but by leaps and bounds. It grows down
deeper and so up stronger and out farther by their _companionship with
Jesus_ through those brief packed years. What a school that was! the
school of companionship with Jesus, with lessons daily, but the chiefest
lesson the Teacher Himself. What a school it _is_! The only one for
learning the real thing of faith: still open: pupils received at any
time.

If we would shut our eyes and go with them as they company with Jesus
through those wondrous days and events and experiences we may get some
hold on how their faith grew. They actually saw the handful of loaves
and fishes grow in their hands until thousands were fed. Their own eyes
saw Jesus walking on the water.

It was out of their very hearts that they cry out through Peter's lips
in answer to Jesus' pathetic pleading question and say, "To whom shall
we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life."[62] And without doubt
Thomas acts as spokesman for all when Jesus announced His intention of
returning to the danger zone, and Thomas sturdily says, "Let us _also_
go, that we may die with Him."[63]

But you are thinking of that terrible break of theirs on the betrayal
night, are you? Well, perhaps if we call to mind with what an utter
shock the events of that terrific twenty four hours came, intensified
the more by the unexpectedness and the suddenness of it; and then
if--perhaps--we may call to mind the more recent behaviour of some
modern disciples who have had enormous advantages over them in regard to
that terrific experience it may chasten our feelings a bit and soften
the edge of our thought about them.

But dear faithful John never faltered. We must always love him for that.
How humiliating for us if not even one had stood that test. And how
their after-contact with John must have affected the others. John pulled
the others back and up. And how their faith so sorely chastened and
tested came to its fine seasoned strength afterwards.

These very events of the early days now come back with new meaning to
them. Jesus' words at the temple cleansing, and the kingly entry into
Jerusalem, shine now in a new light and give new strength to their
faith.[64] But John himself brings us back to this again in that long
talk of the betrayal night. So we leave it now. But blue is a good
colour for the eyes. It reveals great beauty in the bit of
tapestry-pattern John is weaving for us to trace these true blue
threadings.

But there's more here, much more, that adds greatly to the pattern.
There are faithful disciples _and precious intimate friendships_ outside
the circle of these future leaders. Take only a moment for these as we
push on.

There's that night visitor of the early Jerusalem days. Aristocrat,
ruler, scholar, with all the supercautiousness that these qualities
always grain in, Nicodemus actually left the inner circle of
temple-rulers who were as sore to the touch as a boil over John's
drastic cleansing, and comes for a personal interview. His utter
sincerity is shown in the temper of his remarks and questions, and shown
yet more in the openness of Jesus' spirit in talking with him. For this
is a trait in Jesus' dealings,--openness when He finds an opening door.
It _must_ be so, then and now. He can open up only where there is an
opening up to Him. Openness warms and loosens. The reverse chills and
locks up.[65]

It is in another just such situation but far more acute, that this man
speaks out for Jesus in an official meeting of these same rulers.
Timidly? have you thought, cautiously? Yet he spoke out when no one else
did, though others there believed in Jesus. A really rare courage it was
that told of a growing faith.[66] And the personal devotion side of his
faith, evidence again of the real thing, stands out to our eyes as we
see him bring the unusual gift of very costly ointments for the
precious body of his personal friend.[67] It's a winsome story, this of
Nicodemus. May there be many a modern duplicate of it.

In utter social contrast stands the next bit of this sort following so
hard that the contrast strikes you at once. It's a half-breed Samaritan
this time, and a woman, and an openly bad life. The Samaritans were
hated by Jew and Gentile alike as belonging to neither, ground between
the two opposing social national millstones. Womanhood was debased and
held down in the way all too familiar always and everywhere. And a moral
outcast ranks lowest in influence.

But true love discerns the possible lily in the black slime bulb at the
pond's bottom and woos it into blossoming flower, till its purity and
beauty greet our delighted eyes. Under the simple tact of love's true
touch, out of such surroundings grows a faith, through the successive
stages of gossipy curiosity, cynical remark, interest, eagerness, guilty
self-consciousness that would avoid any such personal conversation, out
and out comes a faith that means a changed life, and then earnest
bringing of others till the whole village acclaims Jesus a Saviour,
_the_ Saviour.

And the very title they apply to Jesus reveals as by a flash-light the
chief personal meaning the interview had for this outcast woman. In one
way her faith meant more than Nicodemus', for it meant a radical change
of outer life with her. And many a one stops short of that, though the
real thing never does, and can't.[68]

Then the circle widens yet more, geographically. Jew, Samaritan, it is a
_Roman_ this time, one of the conquering nation under whose iron heel
the nation writhes restlessly. He is of gentle birth and high official
position. It is his sense of acute personal need that draws him to
Jesus. The child of his love is slipping from his clinging but helpless
grasp.

There's the loose sort of hearsay groping faith that turns to Jesus in
desperation. Things can't be worse, and possibly there might be help.
There's the very different faith that looks Jesus in the face and hears
the simple word of assurance so quietly spoken. He actually heard the
word spoken about _his_ dying darling, "_thy son liveth_."

Then there is that wondrous new sort of faith whose sharper hooks of
steel enter and take hold of your very being as you actually
_experience_ the power of Jesus in a way wholly new to you. As it came
to his keenly awakened mind that the favourable turn had come at the
very moment Jesus uttered those quiet words, and then as he looked into
the changed face of his recovering child, he became a changed man. The
faith in Jesus was a part of his being. The two could never be put
asunder. So the Roman world brought its grateful tribute of acceptance
to this great wooing brooding Lover. The wooing had won again.

And now there's another extreme social turnabout in the circle that
feels the power of Jesus' wooing. We turned from Jerusalem aristocrat to
Samaritan outcast; now it's from gentle Roman official to a beggaring
pauper. It is at the Tabernacles' visit. Jesus, quietly masterfully
passing out from the thick of the crowd that would stone Him, noticed a
blind ragged beggar by the roadway. One of those speculative questions
that are always pushing in, and that never help any one is asked: "Who's
to blame here?"

With His characteristic intense practicality Jesus quietly pushes the
speculative question aside with a broken sentence, a sentence broken by
His action as He begins helping the man. In effect He says, "Neither
this man nor his parents are immediately to blame; the thing goes
farther back. But"--and He reaches down and begins to make the soft clay
with His spittle--"_the_ thing is to see the power of God at work to
help." And the touch is given and the testing command to wash, and then
eyes that see for the first time.

But the one thing that concerns us now in this great ninth chapter is
the faith that was so warmly wooed up out of nothing to a thing of
courageous action and personal devotion to Jesus. It is fairly
fascinating to watch the man move from birth-blind hopelessness through
clay-anointed surprise and wonder and Siloam-walking expectancy on to
water-washing eyesight.

It is yet more fascinating to see his spirit move up in the language he
uses, from "the _man_ called Jesus," and the cautious but blunt "I don't
know about His being a sinner, but I know I can _see_," on to the
bolder "clearly not a sinner but a man in reverent touch with God
Himself."

Then the yet bolder, "a man _from God_," brings the break with the
dreaded authorities which branded him before all as an outcast and as a
damned soul. And then the earnest reverent cry "Who is He, Lord, that I
may believe?" reveals the yearning purpose of his own heart. And then
the great climax comes in the heart cry, "Lord, I believe, I believe
Thee to be the very Son of God."

And the outcast of the rulers casts in his lot with Jesus and begins at
once living the eternal quality of life which goes on endlessly. What a
day for him from hopeless blindness of body and heart to eyesight that
can see Jesus' face and know Him as his Saviour and Lord! Growth of
faith clearly is not limited to the counting of hours. It waits only on
one's walking out fully into all the light that comes, no matter where
it may lead your steps.



The Bethany Height of Faith.


The Bethany story is one of the tenderest of all. It touches the
heights. It's a hilltop story, both in its setting amidst the Bethany
blue hills where it grew up, and in the height of faith it records. It
has personal friendship and love of Jesus and implicit trust in Him as
its starting point. And from this it reaches up to levels unknown
before. Faith touches high water here. It rises to flood, a flood that
sweeps mightily through the valleys of doubt and questionings all around
about.

At the beginning there is faith in Jesus of the tender, personal sort.
At the close there's faith that He will actually meet the need of your
life and circumstance _without limit_. The highest faith is this:
connecting Jesus' power and love with the actual need of your life.
Abraham believed God with full sincerity that covenant-making night
under the dark sky. But he didn't connect his faith in God with his need
and danger among the Philistines.[69] Peter believed in Jesus fully but
his faith and his action failed to connect when the sore test came that
Gethsemane night.

The Bethany pitch of faith makes connections. It ties our God and our
need and our action into one knot. This is the pith of this whole story.
Jesus' one effort in His tactful patient wooing is to get Martha up to
the point of ordering that stone aside. He got her faith into touch with
the gravestone of her sore need. Her faith and her action connected.
That told her expectancy. Creeds are best understood when they're acted.
Moving the stone was her confession of faith. _Not_ that Jesus was the
Son of God. That was settled long before.

No: it meant this--that the Son of God was now actually going to _act as
Son of God_ to meet her need. Under His touch her dead brother was going
to live. The deadness that broke her heart would give way under Jesus'
touch. The Bethany faith doesn't believe that God _can_ do what you
need, merely. It believes that He _will_ do it And so the stone's taken
away that He _may_ do it. God has our active consent. Are we up on the
Bethany level? Has God our active consent to do all He would? Is our
faith being lived, acted out?

And the feast of grateful tribute that followed has an exquisite added
touch. The faith that lets God into one's life to meet its needs gets
clearer eyesight. Acted faith affects the spirit vision. There is a
spirit sensitiveness that recognizes God and discerns how things will
turn out.

Notice Jesus' words about Mary's act of anointing. There is a singularly
significant phrase in it. "Let her _keep it_ against (or in view of) the
day of My burying." "Keep it" is the striking phrase. What does that
mean? We speak of _keeping_ a day, as Christmas, meaning to hallow the
memories for which it stands. "Keep it" here seems to mean that. Let her
keep a memorial. Yet it would be a memorial _in advance_ of the event
remembered and hallowed.

It seems to suggest that Mary thus discerned the outcome for Jesus of
the coming crisis, and more, its great significance. The disciples
expected Jesus' power to overcome all opposition. She alone sensed what
was coming, His death and its tremendous spirit-meaning. And it is
possible that the raising of her brother helped her to sense ahead
another raising. For there is no mention of her at the tomb, as would
otherwise have been most natural.

Her simple love-lit faith could _see_, and could see _beyond_ to the
final outcome. This is the story of the Bethany faith, faith at flood.
This highest simplest truest faith, that had come in answer to Jesus'
patient persistent wooing for it, opens the way for the greatest use of
His power on record.

There's one story more in this true-blue faith list. It is the story of
the Greeks. At first it seems not to belong in here. There is no mention
made of the faith of these men nor of their acceptance of Jesus. But the
more you think into it the more it seems that here is its true place,
and that this is why John brings it in, not simply to show how the
outside world was reaching for Jesus, but to show the inner spirit of
these men towards Jesus.

Whether the term _Greeks_ is used in the looser sense for the
Greek-speaking Jews,[70] or for non-Jewish foreigners, or, as I think
most likely, in the meaning of men of Grecian blood, residents of
Greece, the significance is practically the same, it was the outer world
coming to Jesus. These had come a long journey to do homage to the true
God at Jerusalem. Their presence reveals their spirit.

They were eye and ear-witnesses of the stirring events of those last
days in Jerusalem. The stupendous story of the raising of the man out in
the Bethany suburb was the talk of the city. And then there was that
intense scene of the kingly entry into the city amid the acclaiming
multitudes. They knew of the official opposition, and the public
proclamation against Jesus. They breathed the Jerusalem air. That put
them in touch with the whole situation.

Now notice keenly they seek a personal interview with Jesus. This is the
practical outcome of the situation _to them_. It reminds one of that
other man, under similar conditions though less intense, at an earlier
stage, cautiously seeking a night interview. Their desire tells not
curiosity but earnestness, and the very earnestness reveals both purpose
and attitude towards Jesus.

And this is made the plainer by the very words they use as they seek out
the likeliest man of the Master's inner circle to secure the coveted
interview. They say, "Sir, _we would see Jesus_." The whole story of
conviction, of earnestness, of decision, is in that tremendous little
word "would." It was their will, their deliberate choice, to come into
personal relations with this Man of whom they were hearing so much.

And it seems like a direct allusion to that tremendous word, and an
answer to it, when Jesus, in effect, in meaning, says, "if any man
_would_ follow Me." Both the coming under such circumstances, and the
form of the request, seem to tell the attitude of these men towards
Jesus and their personal purpose regarding Him. It would be altogether
likely that they accompany Philip as he seeks out Andrew. It would be
the natural thing. And so they are with Philip and Andrew as they come
to tell Jesus.

Then this would be the setting of these memorable intense words that
Jesus now utters.[71] He senses at once the request and the earnest
purpose of these men seeking Him out. It is for them especially that
these words are spoken. And if, as some thoughtful scholars think, Jesus
spake here, not in His native Aramaic, but in the Greek tongue, it gives
colouring to the supposition. The intense earnestness of His words, and
the revealing of the intense struggle within His spirit as He breathes
out the simple prayer,--all this is a tacit recognition of the spirit of
these Greeks.

The parallel is striking with the Nicodemus interview where no direct
mention is made of the faith that later events showed was unquestionably
there. It seems like another of those silences of John that are so full
of meaning.[72] And the silence seems, as with Nicodemus, to mean the
acquiescence of the inquirers in the message they hear.

This then would seem to be the reply to the request. They have indeed
seen Jesus. And they accept it and Him, as most likely they linger
through the Passover-days at hand and then turn their faces homeward.
And so the warm wooing has drawn out this warm response from the
cultured Greek world.

So we trace the blue thread in John's tapestry picture, the true faith
that is drawn out from nothing to little and more and much and most,
under the warmth of the brooded wooing of this great Lover.



The Ugly Thread in the Weaving.


Now for that ugly dark thread, the opposition to, the rejection of, the
Lover's wooing. But we'll not linger here. We've been seeing so much of
this thread as we traced the other and studied the whole. Ugly things
stand out by reason of their very ugliness. This stands out in gloomy
disturbing contrast with all the rest. A brief quick tracing will fully
answer our present purpose. And then we can hasten on to the dominating
figure in the pattern.

The opposition begins with silent rejection, moves by steady stages,
growing ever intenser clear up to the murderous end. The sending of the
committee to the Jordan to examine John and report on him was an
official recognition of his power. The questions asked raise the
possibility clearly being discussed of John being the promised prophet,
or Elijah, or even the Christ Himself, and this is an expression of the
national expectancy. The utter silence with which John's witness to
Jesus is met is most striking.[73] Its significance is spoken of by both
Jesus and John.[74]

The intensity of the resentment over the cleansing of the temple-area
can be almost felt rising up out of the very page, in the critical
questions and cynical comment of the Jews. One can easily see all the
bitterness of their hate tracking its slimy footprints out of that
cleansed courtyard.[75]

The cunning discussion among the great Jordan crowds about the purifying
rite of baptism, stirred up so successfully by "_a Jew_," that is,
probably by one of the Jerusalem leaders, would seem to be a studied
attempt to discredit the two preachers, Jesus and John, and swing the
crowds away. It was shrewdly done and might have dissipated the fine
spiritual atmosphere by bitter strife and discussion had not Jesus
quietly slipped away.[76]

This attitude of theirs is clearly recognized and felt by Jesus. He
plainly points out that vulgarizing hurt of sin whereby God's own
messenger is not recognized when He comes in the garb of a
neighbour.[77]

Then things get more acute. The blessed healing of a
thirty-eight-year-old infirmity leads to outspoken persecution, to a
desire and purpose actually to kill Jesus. It grew intenser as Jesus'
claim grew clearer. The issue was sharply drawn. He "called God _His own
Father_, making Himself _equal with God_." They begin plotting His
death.[78]

His prudent absence from Jerusalem at the time of the next Passover
reveals graphically how tense the opposition had gotten. But even up by
Galilee's shores they have messengers at work amongst the crowds
exciting discussion and discontent and worse. In the discussion it is
easy to pick out the two elements, the nagging critics and the earnest
seekers. And the saddening result is seen in many disciples leaving
Jesus and going back again to their old way.[79]

Then things got so intense that Jesus' habit of life was broken or
changed. He could no longer frequent Judea as He had done, but kept
pretty much to the northern province of Galilee. The settled plan to
kill made His absence a matter of common prudence. This makes most
striking His great courage in going up to Jerusalem at the autumn Feast
of Tabernacles. He quietly arrived in the midst of much rumour and hot
discussion about Himself, and begins teaching the crowds openly, to the
great amazement of many.

At once begin the wordy critical attacks, egged on probably by the
warmth with which many receive Jesus' teachings. There are three
attempts to take Him by force, including an official attempt at arrest.
But, strangely enough, the very officers sent to arrest are so impressed
by Jesus' teaching that they return with their mission not done, to the
intensest disgust and rage of their superiors.[80]

Early on the morning following there's a cunning coarse attempt to
entrap Him into saying something that can be used against Him. A woman
is brought accused of wrong-doing of the gravest sort, and His opinion
is asked as to the proper punishment for so serious an offense. There's
nothing more dramatic in Scripture than the withdrawal of these
accusers, one by one, actually conscience-stricken in the presence of
the few simple words of this wondrous Man.[81]

This is followed by the intensest give-and-take of discussion thus far,
in which they give vent to their bitterest degree of vile language in
calling Him "a Samaritan," and accusing Him of being possessed with "a
demon." And then the terrible climax is reached in the enraged
passionate attempt of stoning. It is the worst yet to which their
fanatical rage has gone.[82]

Now they reach out to intimidate the multitude, by threatening to cut
off from religious and civic privileges all who would confess belief in
Jesus as Christ. And their spleen vents its rage on the man born blind
but now so wondrously given sight of two sorts.[83]

The winter Feast of the Dedication a few months later finds Jesus back
again in Jerusalem teaching. And again their enraged attempt at stoning,
the second one, is restrained by a something in Him they can neither
understand nor withstand.[84]

The Lazarus incident arouses their opposition to the highest pitch.[85]
This is recognized as a crisis. Such power had never been seen or known.
The inroads of belief are everywhere, in the upper social circles, among
the old families, even in the Jewish Senate itself, notwithstanding the
threatened excommunication. On every hand men are believing. Things are
getting desperate for these leaders. They determine to use all the
authority at hand arbitrarily and with a high hand. What strange
blindness of stubborn self-will to such open evidence of power!

A special meeting of the Jewish Senate is held, not unlikely hastily
summoned of those not infected with belief. And there it is officially
determined to put Jesus to death, and serve public notice that any one
knowing of His whereabouts must report their information to the
authorities.

And as the incoming crowds thicken for the Passover, and the talk about
Lazarus is on every tongue, it is determined to put Lazarus to death,
too. This is the pitch things have risen to as John brings this part of
his story to a close.



The Glory-Coloured Thread.


It is a relief to turn now to the chief figure in this tapestried
picture of John's weaving. Here are glory-coloured threads of bright
yellow. They easily stand out, thrown in relief both by the pleasing
blues and the disturbing blacks. It is the figure of the Man on the
errand, intent on His wooing, absorbed in His great task. Thia Man, His
tremendous wooing, wins glad grateful ever-growing acceptance. And with
rarest boldness and courage He persists in His wooing in spite of the
terrific intensifying opposition.

The gentle softening dew persists in distilling even on the hardest
stoniest soil. The _gentle winsomeness of the wooing_ stands out
appealingly as one goes through those fragments of teaching talks
running throughout. The rare faithfulness of it to the nation and its
leaders is thrown into bold relief by the very opposition that reveals
their dire spiritual plight and their sore need.

The _power of it_ is simply stupendous. As gentle in action as the
falling dew it grows in intensity until neither the gates of death nor
even the stubborn resistance of a human will can prevail against it. It
is power sufficient to satisfy the most critical search, and to make
acceptance not only possible with one's reasoning power in fullest
exercise but the rational thing.

Look a bit at the power at work here. For in looking at the power we are
getting a better look at the Man, and at the purpose that grips Him. Of
the nineteen incidents in these twelve chapters fifteen give exhibitions
of power. It is of two sorts, power over the human will, and miraculous
power.

Eight incidents reveal _power working upon the human will_. In three of
these--Nicodemus, the Samaritan woman, the accused sinful woman--the
will becomes pliant and is radically changed, so morally affecting the
whole life. In five--the temple cleansing, at the Tabernacles Feast, the
first and second attempt at stoning, and the kingly entry into the
city--the human will is stubbornly aggressively antagonistic to Jesus,
but is absolutely restrained from what it is fully set upon doing.

In the other seven incidents the power is _miraculous_ or supernatural.
In three--turning the water into wine, multiplying food supplies,
walking on the water--it is power in _the realm of nature_. In
four--healing the Roman nobleman's son, the thirty-eight-year
infirmity, giving sight to the man born blind, and the raising of
Lazarus--it is power in _the realm of the body_, radically changing its
conditions.

It will help to remember what those words _miraculous_ and
_supernatural_ mean. Miraculous means something wonderful, that is,
something filling us with wonder because it is so unusual. Supernatural
means something above the usual natural order. The two words are
commonly taken as having one meaning. Neither word means something
contrary to nature, of course, but simply on a higher level than the
ordinary workings of nature with which we are familiar. The action is in
accord with some higher law in God's world which is brought into play
and is seen to be superior to the familiar laws.

But the power, or the man that can call this higher law into action, is
of a higher order. There is revealed an intimacy of acquaintance with
these higher laws, and even more a power that can command and call them
into action down in the sphere of our common ordinary life, until we
stare in wonder. This is really the remarkable thing. Not supernatural
action itself simply, tremendous as that is, but the man in such touch
with higher power as to be able to call out the action, and to command
it at will.

This is one of the things that marks Jesus off so strikingly from other
holy men. There are miracles in the Old Testament and in the Book of
Acts. But there's an abundance and a degree of power in Jesus' miracles
outclassing all others. It is fascinating and awesome to watch the
growth of power in these movements of Jesus. It is as though He woos
more persistently in the very degree and variety of power that He uses
so freely, and with such apparent ease.

Which calls out greater power, creating or healing? making water into
wine or healing bodily ailment? Which is the greater, power in the realm
of nature or the body? _or_ in the realm of the human will? multiplying
food _or_ changing a human will? Which is greater, to induce a man
voluntarily to change his course of action, _or_ to restrain him (by
moral power only, not by force) from doing something he is dead-set on
doing?

This is the range through which Jesus' action runs in these fifteen
incidents. Is there a growth in the power revealed? Is there an intenser
plea to these men as the story goes on? Is there a steady piling up of
evidence in the wooing of their hearts?

Well, creating is bringing into material being what didn't so exist
before. Healing does something more. It creates new tissue, makes new or
different adjustments and conditions, _and_ it overcomes the opposite,
the broken tissue, the diseased conditions, the weakness, the tendency
towards decay and death. Clearly there's a greater task in healing, and
a greater power at work, or more power, or power revealed more.

Then, too, of course, the human is above the physical. Man is higher
than nature. He is the lord of creation. It is immensely more to affect
a human will than to affect conditions in nature. The whole thing moves
up to a measureless higher level. And clearly enough it is a less
difficult task to enlighten and persuade one who seeks the light, and to
woo up one who is simply carelessly indifferent, than it is to overcome
and restrain a will that is dead-set against you and is bitterly set on
an opposite course.

Of course, all of this is not commonly so recognized. It seems immensely
more to heal the body than to change a man's course of action, or, at
least, it appeals immensely more to the imagination. The man who can
heal is magnified in our eyes above the other. The miraculous always
seems the greater. It is more unusual. Stronger wills are influencing
others daily. That's a commonplace. Bodily healing is rare. And all the
world is ill. Things are ripe to have such power seize upon the
imagination then and always.

And then, too, there are interlacings here of things we see and things
we don't see. There is the element of the use of the human will in all
miraculous action, whether in nature or among men. Behind both nature's
forces and human forces are unseen spirit personalities, both evil and
good. The real battle of our human life lies there in the spirit realm.
Victory there means full victory in the realm of nature and of human
lives. There is a devil with hosts of spirit attendants. The wilderness
was a spirit-conflict of terrific intensity, ending in Jesus'
unqualified victory.

Jesus' power was more than simply creative, or healing, or over human
wills. It was the power of a pure, strong, surrendered will having the
mastery over a giant, unsurrendered, God-defiant will. This underlies
all else. But we've run off a bit. Come back to the simple story, and
see how the power of Jesus is revealed more and more before their eyes.
And in seeing the faithfulness and winsomeness of His power, see His
wooing.



Intenser Wooing.


A look at the _miraculous_ power first. The turning of the water into
wine was simple creative power at work, creating in the liquid the added
constituents that made it wine. The healing of the nobleman's son rises
to a higher level. The power overcomes diseased weakened conditions and
creates new life in the parts affected.

The healing of a thirty-eight year old infirmity rises yet higher in the
scale of power seen at work. The Roman's child was an acute case; this
an extreme chronic case of long standing. The acute case of illness may
be most difficult and ticklish, demanding a quick masterful use of all
the physician's knowledge and skill. The chronic case is yet more
difficult eluding his best studied and prolonged and repeated effort.
Clearly the power at work is accomplishing more; and so it is pleading
more eloquently.

The feeding of the five thousand is creative power simply, like the
water-wine case, but it moves up higher in the greater abundance of
power shown, the increase of quantity created, and the far greater and
intenser human need met and relieved.

The walking on the water was an overcoming one of nature's laws, a
rising up superior to it. The universal law of gravitation would
naturally have drawn His feet through the surface of the water and His
whole body down. He overcomes this law, retaining His footing on the
water as on land.

It was done in the night, but an Oriental community, like any country
community, anywhere, is a bulletin-board for all that happens. No detail
is omitted, and no one misses the news. And this like all these other
incidents become the common property of the nation.

It is interesting to note in the language John uses[86] that the motive
underneath the action was not to reveal power but simply to keep an
appointment. But then Jesus never used His power to show that He had
power, but only to meet the need of the hour. Yet each exhibition of
power revealed indirectly, incidentally _who He was_.

There is an instance similar to this in the borrowed axe-head that swam
in obedience to Elisha's touch of power to meet the need of the
distressed theological student.[87] In each instance it is the same
habit of nature that yields homage to a higher power at work.

But though there is here no increase of power shown yet the action
itself was of the sort to appeal much more to the crowd. It has in it
the dramatic. It would appear to the crowd a yet more wonderful thing
than they had yet witnessed.

The giving of sight to the man born blind is distinctly a long step
ahead of any healing power thus far related in John's story. There is
here not only the chronic element, but the thing is distinctly in a
class by itself, quite outclassing in the difficulty presented any case
of mere chronic infirmity.

It was not a matter of restoring what disease had destroyed but of
supplying what nature had failed to give in its usual course. It was a
meeting of nature's lack through some slip in the adjustment of her
action in connection with human action. There is not only the appealing
dramatic element, as in the walking on the water, but the appealing
sympathetic element in that this poor man's lifelong burden is removed.

And then the seventh and last of these, the actual raising of Lazarus up
from the dead, is a climax of power in action nothing short of
stupendous. Of the six recorded cases of the dead being raised this is
easily the greatest in the power seen at work. In the other five, in the
Elijah record,[88] the Elisha,[89] the Moabite's body at Elisha's
grave,[90] Jairus' daughter,[91] and the widow's son at Nain,[92] there
was no lapse of time involved.

Here four days of death had intervened, until it was quite certain
beyond question that in that climate decomposition would be well
advanced. Utter human impotence and impossibility was in its last
degree. Man stands utterly powerless, utterly helpless in the presence
of death. It is not the last degree of improbability. There _is_ no
improbability. It's an _impossibility_. The thing is in a class by
itself, the hopeless class. And the four days give death its fullest
opportunity. And death never fails in grim faithfulness to opportunity.

It is no wonder that all Jerusalem was so stirred. The common crowds of
home people and pilgrims, the aristocratic families, the inner official
circles, among _all_ classes, this tremendous event won recognition of
Jesus' power and claim, and with recognition personal faith. Nothing
like this had ever happened. This is the superlative degree of
miraculous power revealed in this matchless wooing of a faithless
nation.



Love Wooing Yet More.


Now a look at the power at work _in the realm of the human will_, really
a higher power, or power at work in a higher realm, though not commonly
so recognized by the crowd. There are eight incidents here. And again we
shall find the steady rise of the power seen at work. Three of these
tell of the human will changed, and four of its being restrained
against its will from doing that which it was dead-set on doing.

The ruler who withdrew from the midst of the disturbed temple managers
for a night-call upon Jesus was radically changed in his convictions and
his life-purpose. He had an open mind. The work was begun at that first
Jerusalem Passover. Under the holy spell of John's presence he is drawn
away from his enraged brother-rulers to seek the night talk. The
frankness and fullness of Jesus' talk shows plainly how open he was and
how much more he opened and yielded that evening. And the after protest
in the official meeting of the rulers, and the loving care for the body
of Jesus reveal how radical was the transformation wrought upon his will
and heart by Jesus.[93]

The Samaritan woman is changed from utter indifference to a change of
will and purpose that makes her an eager messenger to her people until
they hail Jesus as the Saviour of the world. The change involved a
radical face-about in habit and life amongst the very people who knew
her past sinful life best. It meant more than change of conviction, that
change actually put into practice across the grain of the habits of
years, and of the lower passions, so hard to change. It is a distinct
step up from the change in Nicodemus simply because there was so much
more to change. The same power had more to do. And it did it.[94]

The story of the woman accused of the gravest offense is a double one in
the power seen at work. She would naturally be hardened, and stony
hard, shameless to the point of hopeless indifference in moral sense,
and all this increased by their coarse publicity of her. And so little
is said, but so much suggested of a change in her.

The purity of Jesus' face and presence would be a tremendous power of
conviction. The gentleness of His quiet question would couple softening
of heart with conviction of her sin. The word of counsel as she is
dismissed would seem a mirror reflecting the inner longing of her heart
and the new purpose stirring within, as memory recalls early days of
virgin purity, and a wild hope within struggles towards life that there
may yet be a change even for her.

The change in her accusers is, at least, as remarkable though wholly
different. Morally hardened, as shameless and coarse as the woman as
regards a fine moral sensibility; by their own tacit confession no
better in practice than she in the point of morals raised; in their
malignant cunning only concerned with the woman's sin as a means of
venting their spleen upon the man they hated and feared,--what a hideous
spirit-photograph!

Under the strange compelling power of Jesus' word and will, utterly
conscience-stricken at being as guilty as she in the particular item
under discussion, they turn, one by one, and slink softly out, until the
last one is gone. As an instance of one will controlling and changing
another will wholly against its will to the point of forcing out
confession of personal guilt, it is most remarkable. One wonders if,
under that tremendous conviction of personal sin, some of these were
later included in those of the Sanhedrin who openly accepted Jesus. It
is quite possible. It is not improbable.[95]

The fact is noted that the very language used here under the English
indicates a different authorship of the incident than John's. Possibly a
thoughtful delicacy of regard for the woman restrains John's pen if she
were still living as he writes. And then later the Holy Spirit, who so
tactfully restrains John's pen, guides another to fit the remarkable
story in its place in the record.

The drastic turning of bargaining cattle-dealers and bickering
money-brokers, out of the temple-area, and restoring it from a barn-yard
to a place of holy worship, is a most remarkable illustration of
_restraint upon antagonistic wills_ at the point of their greatest
concern. These leaders would gladly have turned _Him_ out.

And who was He, this man with flashing eye and quiet stern word? A
stranger, unknown, from the despised country district of Galilee. And
they have authority, law-officers, everything of the sort on their side.
Yet the restraint of His presence and will over them is as absolute as
though they were in chains. They weakly ask for a sign and evidence of
power. They themselves experienced the most tremendous exhibition of
power the old temple-area had known for generations.[96]

The power of restraint at the Feast of Tabernacles is yet greater. Or
it might be more accurate to say that it is a greater antagonism that is
restrained by the same power. They are fully prepared now. The cleansing
incident took them unawares. It made them gasp to think that any one
would dare oppose them like that.

Now they are on guard. Then, too, their antagonism has intensified and
embittered to the point of plotting His death. And they have grown more
openly aggressive. There are three attempts at His arrest. Yet that
strange noiseless power of restraint is upon them. They do not do as
they would. Clearly they cannot. They are restrained. The man whose
presence so aroused, also held them in check, apparently without
thinking about it. His _presence_ is a restraint.[97]

Then a second clash of wills comes a day or so later. Their opposition
is yet intenser. There has been no cooling-off interval. His continued
open teaching in face of their attempts at arrest puts fresh kindling on
the fire. "No man took Him," but clearly they wanted to. Their open
relations become more strained. He uses yet plainer speech in exposing
their hypocrisies. This stirs them still more. Their hooked fingers
reach passionately for the stones that would make a finish at once, and
the green light flashes out of their enraged eyes. It's the sharpest
clash yet. They are at a high fever point.

It seems to take a greater use of power to restrain. "He hid Himself" is
the simple sentence used. This is one of four times that we are told of
His overcoming the hostile attack of a crowd by simply passing through
their midst and going on His way.[98] Perhaps something in the glance of
that eye of His, or in the set of His face,[99] _something_ in Him
restrained them as He quietly passes through the uproarious crowd and
goes on His way undisturbed. They are held back against their wills from
doing the thing they are so intent on doing.[100]

A few months later He is back in Jerusalem. But the interval seems not
to have cooled their passion, only to have heated and hardened their
enmity. They at once begin an aggressive wordy attack. Then losing
self-control in their rage they again reach down for the stones to kill
Him at once. And again they are restrained from their passionate
purpose, as Jesus quietly goes on talking with them. Again they attempt
to seize His person. And the simple striking sentence used, "He went
forth out of their hand," points to the extent of their purpose and to a
yet greater use of His power of restraint over their unwilling
wills.[101]

The last incident of this sort is the kingly entry into the city amid
the enthusiasm of the pilgrim and city crowds. It says not a word about
any attempt on their part nor of His restraint over them. But the very
boldness of this wholly unexpected move on His part constituted a
tremendous restraint. Their hate had gone through several stages of
refined hardening during the few months preceding. The formal decision
to kill, the edict of excommunication, the public notice that any
information of His whereabouts must be made known, and the decision to
kill Lazarus also,--all indicate the hotter burning of the flames of
their rage.

Yet into just such a situation He quietly turns the head of His untamed
unridden young colt of an ass and rides through the city surrounded by
the crowds under the very eyes of these leaders and their hireling legal
minions. The tenseness of the whole scene, the power of restraint so put
forth, the volcano smouldering underfoot waiting the slightest extra jar
to loose out its explosion, all are revealed in the little sentence so
pregnant in its concealed dynamic meaning, Jesus "_hid Himself from,
them_." There's an exquisite blending of restraint over them and
boldness with cautious prudence. He was walking very close to the edge
that time.[102]

So His power, shown so quietly but irresistibly before the eyes of all
during those brief years, rises to a double climax nothing short of
stupendous. Miraculous power in the realm of nature and of the human
body had reached its climax in the raising of Lazarus, attested beyond
question. Power over the human will both in affecting a voluntary
change, and in actually restraining its action against its own set
purpose, had risen to its climax in the bold open entry in broadest
daylight into the capital where His death was officially and publicly
decreed. The two climaxes touch. And it is tremendously significant that
whereas they sometimes question His miraculous power, they could not
deny His restraining power over themselves. How gladly they would if
only they could.

And all this, mark you keenly, is a bit of His wooing. The wooing is
ever the dominant thought in His heart. So He was revealing to them who
He was. He claims to be the Son of God, their kingly Messiah. And _He
lived His claim_. Power is the one universally recognized touchstone by
which we judge God and man. His power told _who He was_ even more than
His tremendous words did. He was acting naturally. His presence among
them thus natural, true to the power native in Him,--this was the
wooing.

But there was more than power. There was _love_. There was a perfect
blend of the two. With the power went the love. Nay, rather, with the
love went the power. Love was the dominating thing. Jesus was love in
shoes, God in action. Always there was the tenderness, the gentleness,
the patience, the purity, the unflinching ideals, yes, the courage, the
utter fearlessness tempered with a wise prudence. All _these are the
fuller spelling of love_.

Always these went in closest touch with the resisted but resistless
power. These are the two traits of God, two traits that are one. Men
always think most of the power. God Himself always emphasizes most the
love. But true power is simply love in action. The power is the outcome
of love, and under the control of love.

This is the second of John's great impelling pictures. The first shows
us _the Person,_ the Man Jesus, God with us, God making a world, and
then, in homely human garb walking amongst its people, one of
themselves.

This second shows us _the wooing_. This Man, so tender in touch, so
gentle in speech, so thoughtful in action, so pure in life, so unbending
in ideals, so fearless in the thick of opposition, so faithful to the
chosen faithless nation,--this Man Himself is the wooing. His words, His
actions, His power, His persistence, His patience, this also is the
wooing of this great God-Man-Lover. This is God spelling Himself out
into human speech, wooing men out and up and in to Himself.



Jesus Recognised by all the Race.


And it is most striking to sit still and think into how this Lover was
_recognized_ by men of all nations, and how His wooing was _understood_
and yielded to by men of all sorts. The intense Jew, the half-breed
Samaritan, the aggressive Roman, the cultured refined Greek,--that was
_all the world_. And all these recognized Him as some one kin to
themselves, bound by closest spirit-ties, to whom they were drawn by the
strong cords of His common kinship with themselves. The waves of His
personal influence were, geographically, like His last commandment to
His disciples. The movement was from Jerusalem to Judea, through
Samaria, and out into the uttermost part of the earth and the innermost
heart of the race.

And all sorts of men understood. Jesus wiped out social differences and
distinctions in the crowds that gently jostled each other in His
presence. The aristocrat and the cultured, the student and the gentle
folk, mingled freely with simple country folk, the unlettered, the
humblest and lowliest, all drawn alike to Him, and all unconscious of
differences when under the holy spell of His presence. The wealthy like
Joseph of Arimathea, and the beggar like the man born blind, the pure in
heart like Mary of Bethany and the openly bad in life like the accused
woman of Jerusalem,--all felt alike that this Jesus belonged to them,
and they to Him.

The underneath tie of real kinship of heart rubbed out all outer
distinctions. The old families of Jerusalem were glad to unlock their
jealously guarded doors to Him. And the simple Capernaum fisherfolk were
grateful when He shared bread and roof with them. All men recognized
Jesus as belonging to themselves.

And the calendar has not changed this, neither Gregorian nor Old Style.
Time finds the race the same always. Centuries climb slowly by, but the
human heart is the same, and--so is Jesus. I was greatly struck with
this in my errand among the nations. The East balks at the ways of the
West sometimes. Many books say there is no point of contact between the
two. The East balks at our Western organization, our rule of the clock,
and our rush and hurry. Our Westernized church systems and our closely
mortised logical theologies are sometimes a bit bewildering, not exactly
comprehensible to their Orientalized mode of thought.

But they never balk at Jesus. When they are told of Him, and get some
glimpse of Him, their eyes light, their faces glow, their hearts leap in
response. You book people say there is no point of contact between
Orient and Occident? But there is. Jesus is the point of contact. One
real touch of Jesus makes all the world akin. No; that can be put
better. One touch of Jesus reveals the kinship that is there between Him
and men, _and_ between all men.

In Japan it was the Portuguese that first took the Gospel a few hundred
years ago. And you still find Japanese churches founded by the
Portuguese. Fifty odd years ago it was the English tongue that again
brought that message of life to them. But as I mingled among Japanese
Christians of different communions and heard them pray, they were not
praying in Portuguese nor in English. They had no thought that He was a
Portuguese Saviour they prayed to, nor yet an English. _They prayed in
Japanese_. They felt that Jesus spoke their tongue. He belonged to them.
He and they understood each other.

As I listened to Manchu and Chinese, to Korean and Hawaiian pour out
their hearts in prayer, I could feel the close personal burning touch of
their spirits with Jesus. They and He were kin to each other. Their
very voices told the certainty in their hearts on this point.

I recall a little old bent-over woman of seventy-odd years up in
northern Sweden, a Laplander. She had come a long three days' journey on
her snow-shoes to the meetings. Night after night as I talked through
interpretation her deep-set black eyes glowed and glowed. But when one
night an hour or more was spent in voluntary prayer she needed no
interpreter. And as I listened I needed none. I _felt_ that she _knew_
that _Jesus spoke Lappish_. The two were face to-face in closest touch
of spirit.

And so it is everywhere. The flaxen-haired Holland maid kneeling by her
single cot _knows_ that Jesus talks Dutch, and her homely hearthfire
Dutch, too, at that. And the earnest Polish peasant in his Carpathian
cabin bowed before the symbol his eyes have known from infancy is
talking into an ear that knows both Polish accent and Polish heart. So
with the German of the Saxon highlands, and of the simpler speech of the
Teutonic lowlands. So with the olive-skinned Latin and the darker-hued
African kneeling on opposite sides, north and south, of the great
Central-earth Sea. Wherever knowledge of Jesus has been carried, He is
_recognized_ and claimed _as their own_ regardless of national or social
lines.

I knew a minister of our Southland, but whose public service took him to
all parts of our country. He had been reared in the South and knew the
coloured people by heart, and loved them. And when he returned to his
Southern home town he would frequently preach for the coloured people.
He was preaching to them one Sabbath with the simplicity and fervour for
which he was noted.

At the close among others, one big black man grasped his hand hard as he
thanked him for the preaching. And then with his great child-eyes big
and aglow, he said, "Youse got a white skin, but youse got a black
heart." And you know what he meant,--you have a black man's heart, you
have a heart like mine. Your heart makes my heart burn.

Now _Jesus had a Hack heart_. He had a white heart. He had a yellow, a
brown heart. He had a Jew heart, a Roman, a Greek, a Samaritan heart.
Aye, He had a _world_ heart, He had _a human heart_. And He _has_.
There's a _Man_ on the throne yonder, bone of our bone, heart of our
heart, pain of our pain.

There's more of God since Jesus went back. Human experience has been
taken up into the heart of God. Jesus belonged to us. And now belongs to
us more than ever, and we to Him. The human heart has felt His
tremendous wooing. It has recognized its Kinsman wherever He has been
able to get to them, and it has gladly yielded to the plea of His love.

Jerusalem might carpenter a cross for Him, but the world would weave its
heartfelt devotion into a crown of love for Him, bestudded with the dewy
tears of its gratitude, sparkling like diamonds in the light of His
face.



IV

Closer Wooing

     _An Evening with Opening Hearts: the Story of a Supper and a Walk
     in the Moonlight and the Shadows_



    Nigh and nigh draws the chase,
    With unperturbed pace,
    Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
    And past those noised Feet
    A Voice comes yet more fleet--
    "_Lo, naught contents thee, who content'st not Me._"

    --"_The Hound of Heaven._"

     "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I
     leave the world, and go unto the Father."--_John xvi. 28_.

    "I thought His love would weaken
    As more and more He knew me;
    But it burneth like a beacon,
    And its light and heat go through me;
    And I ever hear Him say,
    As He goes along His way,
    Wand'ring souls, O _do_ come near Me;
    My sheep should never fear Me.
    I am the Shepherd true."

    --_Frederick William Faber._



IV

Closer Wooing

(Chapters xiii.-xvii.)



Knots.


The knot tied on the end of the thread holds the seam. The clinching of
the nail on the underside holds all that has been done. Love ties knots
to hold what has been gotten. The bit of prayer knots up the kindly act.
The warm hand-grasp knots the timely word. The added word and act tie up
all that's gone before. Hate imitates love the best it can. But its
intense fires are never so hot.

The rest of John's book is simple. It is tying knots on the ends of
threads. Five knots are tied on the ends of these same three threads we
have been tracing.

There's a triple knot on the end of the blue thread of acceptance; an
ugly tangled knotty knot on the end of that black thread of opposition
and rejection; and a knot of wondrous beauty on the end of that yellow
thread of winsome wooing. Chapters eighteen and nineteen tie two of
these, the black and the glory-coloured.

Chapters thirteen through seventeen, is the first knot on the faith
thread, the betrayal-night knot. Chapter twenty is the second, the
Resurrection knot; chapter twenty-one the extra knot, the love-service
knot. We take a look now at the patient skilful tying of the first knot
on the end of that true-blue faith thread.

It's taken a good bit of careful work to _get_ that thread, tearing
loose, cleansing, spinning, twisting, careful handling, till at last a
good thread is gotten, and is being woven into the warp. Now a knot is
tied on its end to hold what has been gotten, and keep it from ravelling
out, for there's a desperately hard place coming in the weaving.

There's a clean finish at the end of the twelfth chapter of John.
There's a sharp break, an abrupt turn off to something quite different.
The direct-wooing case is made up. There is no more added to it, except
the indirect, the incidental. The evidence is all in. Wondrous wooing it
has been, in its winsomeness, its faithfulness, its rare power. Now it
is over. It's done, and well done. That door is shut, the national door.

Now another door opens. The inner door into Jesus' heart is being opened
by Him. And the inner door into the disciples' heart is being knocked at
that it, too, may open. It is the betrayal night. Jesus is alone with
the inner circle. They have received Him. Now He will receive them into
closer intimacy than yet before. They have opened their hearts to His
love. Now He opens His heart to let out more the love that is there.
Love accepted is free to reveal itself. And love revealing its warmth
and tenderness and depth yet more calls out quickly a deeper, a tenderer
love.

It's the Passover evening. They have met, the twelve and their Master,
by appointment, in the home of one of Jesus' faithful unnamed friends.
In a large upper room they are shut in, gathered about the supper board.
As they eat Jesus is quietly but intently thinking. Four trains of
thought pass through His mind side by side.[103] The Father had trusted
all into His hands. He had come down from the Father on an errand and
would return when the errand was done.

And now the hour was come. The turn in the road was reached, the sharp
turn down leading to the sharp turn up and then back. It had seemed slow
in coming, that hour.[104] Dreaded things seem to linger even while they
hasten, dreaded longed-for things, dreaded in the experience of pain to
be borne, eagerly longed for in the blessed result; as with an expectant
mother. Now the hour's here.[105]

And yonder across the board sits the man so faithfully wooed, yet
dead-set in his inner heart on a dark purpose, more evil in its outcome
than he realizes. There must be more and tenderer wooing. He shall have
yet another full opportunity. And under all is the heart-throb of love
for these who are His own, being birthed into a new life by the giving
of His very own life these months past. He loves His own, and will to
the uttermost, the utterest, the mostest, limit of love and of time left
Him before _the_ great event. These are the thoughts passing quietly,
clearly, intensely, through Jesus' mind as they sit at supper.



Teaching Three Things in One Action.


Now He acts.[106] Quietly He rises from the table, picks up a towel and
fastens its end in His waistband for convenience in use, after the
servant's usual fashion. Then He pours water into a basin and turning
stoops over the feet of the disciple nearest Him. And before they can
recover from their wide-eyed astonishment He begins bathing his feet and
then carefully wiping them with the convenient towel. And so around the
circle. Peter, of course, protests, and so calls out a little of the
explanation. And then with tender passionateness he asks for the washing
to take in all his extremities, head and hands as well as feet. How
their hearts must have felt the touch upon their feet!

Then follows a bit of explanation.[107] But the chief thing had already
been done. The acting was more than the speech. Three things the Master
was doing. The teaching about humility lies on the surface, within easy
reach. It was acted, then spoken; done, then said. It was sorely needed,
and is. In it was the key to Jesus' great victory within the twenty-four
hours following,[108] and would have been for them had they used it.
Humility is the foundation of all strength and victory. Only the strong
can stoop. It takes the strongest to stoop lowest. He who so stoops is
revealing strength.

Humility is not thinking meanly of yourself; it is merely getting into
correct personal relation with God, and so with men. It is our true
normal attitude, as dependent creatures, as those who have sinned, as
those who have been bought with blood. Everything we have is from
Another, originally and continuously; we are utterly dependent. All
rights have been forfeited by our wilful conduct; we retain nothing in
our own right. And all we have now has been secured for us at the cost
of blood; we are being carried at enormous expense. Not much room there
for self-satisfaction, is there?

Humility is simply _recognizing_ our _utter dependence upon Another_,
and _living_ it. And this controls our touch with our fellows. In this
lies the secret of all strength,--mental keenness and vigour,
sympathetic touch with others, and power of action in life and in
service. All this touches the _weakest_ spot in these men, and in--us.

But there's more here. The humility teaching is out on the surface.
There's a bit _under_ the surface, that they would soon be needing and
needing badly. It's this: the thing in you that's wrong _must_ be made
right; and it _can_ be. Every sin done by the man who is trusting Christ
as his Saviour, every such sin _must_ be cleansed away. And it _can_ be.
The feet-washing told this bit of tremendous truth.

These men trusted Christ. But their moral feet would get badly messed
that night, mired and slimed by passionate betrayal and blasphemous
denial and cowardly flight. The man going to the bath-house was clean on
returning home except where his sandalled feet had gathered some soil
from the road. These men were cleansed in heart through Christ. But the
foot-soilings must be cleansed. These two things ring out. Sin _must_ be
reckoned with and cleansed out. _And_, blessed truth! it _can_ be. This
is the second bit. It would be brought to their remembrance that same
night when the road they took dirtied them up so badly, and afterwards.

But there's a deeper, a tenderer bit yet here. There is _the love
touch_. Jesus was giving them the tenderest touch yet of His love, to
_hold_ them. The personal touch is the tenderest. Man yearns for the
personal touch, of presence, of lips, of hands. Something seems to go
_through_ the personal touch from heart to heart. The spirit-currents
find their connection so. Jesus gave the tender personal touch that
evening, the closest yet. His hands touched their feet, but He was not
thinking most about their feet. He was reaching higher up. His hands
reached past their feet for their hearts.

And they felt it so. Their hearts understood, if their heads didn't yet.
Judas felt those hands reaching to touch his heart. And he had to set
himself afresh to resist that touch. John felt it, and _remained
steady_. Peter felt it and came back with flooded eyes. The fleeing nine
felt that touch and yielded to it as they penitently returned. Love
won. That personal touch did it.

But Jesus feels Judas' heart hardening as He touches his feet, and the
gentle word already spoken availed not.[109] Now His great heart is
sorely troubled for Judas.[110] He tries once again to reach his heart
and stay his wayward feet. He reaches for his feet through his heart
this time. They're all together about the table again. Quietly, but with
tactful indirectness, Jesus lets Judas know that _He_ knows. He says,
"One of you is planning to betray Me."

The men stare one at another in questioning astonishment. Peter touches
John's arm and with eye and word quietly asks him to find out. John
reclining next to Jesus asks the question in undertone. And as quietly
Jesus makes reply. Then the last appeal is made to Judas in the last
delicate touch of special personal attention. Judas' unchanged spirit
makes wordless answer. The hardening of the purpose is a further opening
of a downward door and that door is quickly used by the evil one.

And Judas rises abruptly with jaw set and eye tense, and goes out into
the blackest night the clouds ever shut in. So the first tremendous part
of the evening's drama is now done. The wooing of Judas has been intense
and tender clean up to the last moment, _and_ resisted. Now that chapter
is done. Another corner is passed. The extremes have--parted. One man
has gone out. Eleven stay in, and in staying come closer.



Believe--Love--Obey.


The atmosphere clears now. That black cloud shifts. The pressure is
relieved. The air changes. Breathing is easier. Jesus did His best to
keep Judas in by trying to have him turn something--some one--out. But
the something that held the some one is kept within, so the man goes
out. That inside air was getting a bit thick for Judas. Love's tender
pleading unyielded to makes breathing difficult.

Again Jesus begins talking in the cleared air. The hour had full come.
The character of the Son of Man would now be revealed,[111] and in being
revealed God's character would also be understood, and God Himself would
show what _He_ thought of Jesus by His personal recognition and
acknowledgment of Him, and He would do it at once. The clock is striking
the hour. Now He was going away. They would not understand.[112]

Then Jesus strikes the great key-note of their future conduct as He
goes on. _The_ thing is this: _love one another_. This is the badge He
gives them to wear. It will always identify them as His very own. Peter
picks up the one bit he understands, and is told that he cannot yet
follow in the tremendous experience lying just ahead for Jesus, but some
day he can, and will. And then to Peter's blundering self-confidence
comes a plain tender reminder of his weakness.[113] So that wondrous
fourteenth chapter that Christendom loves begins back in the thirteenth.

And Jesus goes quietly on as they still linger about the table.[114] He
had been sorely troubled,[115] but He would have them not troubled by
their doubtings regarding Himself. It is true that they were outcasts
with Him, from their national home, but He would provide them a home,
and a better one. They did believe in God. They should believe Him just
as implicitly. This is the warp into which is woven the whole fabric of
that evening's talk. The whole talk is a plea for their trusting loving
acceptance of Himself as fully as of God. This word "_believe_" changes
its outer shape three times during that evening, making four words in
all, but it's always the same thing underneath.

So now the teaching goes on in freest exchange of question and answer.
What a picture of how we may talk everything out with our Lord and get
fully answered. Thomas' question helps Jesus to turn them away from
thinking of a roadway of clay and sand to a Man. Philip's helps Him to
insist on the presence of the Father in a distinctive sense within this
Man so familiarly talking with them. And then four times over He rings
out that word _believe_.

Then by a subtle turn He changes the word, though not the thing, to help
them understand better: "If ye _love_ Me."[116] That puts the thing at
once up on the _heart_ level. Believing is a thing of the heart. Their
heads were bothered. He said in effect,--all your head questions will be
answered in good time, but this thing is higher up than that. It's a
matter of your heart. And so that word _believe_ becomes _love_, its
second shape. And with that is quickly coupled _obey_, the third outer
shape He gives the word believe that night.

It is all the same thing underneath. _Love_ is the heart side of
_believe_, the inner side. _Obey_ is the life-side of believe, the
outer, the action side. The love looks out the window of the life and
then _comes_ out and _walks_ down the street on an errand. Love doesn't
simply love: it loves _some one_. Love that simply loves isn't love.
Love comes to life only in the personal touch.

And love keeps in perfect rhythm of action with the one loved. That is
the other way of saying _obey_. Obedience is the music of two wills
acting together. _Believe_ me, _love_ me, _obey_ me,--this is the
three-noted music of the upper room; three notes but one music; a fourth
note to be added later. This is the wondrous closer wooing.

"I go to the Father. We, the Father and I, will send the Holy Spirit to
you. He will come in through this opened door of obedience. He will
abide in you, come in to stay. He will be everything and do everything
that you need in every sort of circumstance. Keep in closest touch with
Him: this is to be your one rule. Your part is simple. _Believe_; that
means _love_; that means _obey_."

So they talk around the table. Then there's thoughtful silence, which
the Master breaks by saying, "Arise, let us go."



The Great Vine Picture.


Now they're walking down the street, silently, the Master in the lead,
with John and Peter close by.[117] The moon is at the full. Now they see
the temple, the moonlight falling full upon it. And the great brass
grape-vine with which it had been beautified by Herod at his building of
it shines with wondrous beauty in the enchantment of moonlight.

And now the Master is speaking again. Very quietly the words come as
they still gaze at the beauty of the brass vine. Listen to Him, "I am
the _true_ vine, and My Father the vine-gardener." Here is the
illustration that exactly pictures what He had been saying in the upper
room. It supplies the fourth word, the fourth outer shape that word
_believe_ takes on, _believe_, that is--_love_, that is--_obey_, that
is--_abide_.

Look at the vine, then you have the whole story pictured, simple,
clear, full. Each of these four words grows out of the other as fruit
out of blossom, and blossom out of the new branch and that out of the
old stock of the vine: believe, love, obey, abide; vine, new branches,
tiny blossom, fruit. The fruit grows out of the vine; yet it is the very
life of the vine. _Abide_ grows out of _believe_, yet it is the very
heart and inner life of believe.

So He goes on ringing the changes back and forth, now here, now there.
_Pruning_--that insures fruit, and more and better. _Praying_--that _is_
the fruit, some of it; that naturally grows out of the abiding. "_My
words_"--that is part of the abiding, the life-juice of the vine coming
into branch and blossom and fruit. "Joy"--that is the rich red juice of
the grape in your mouth. "_Friends_"--that is the other word for abide.
That's what abiding makes and reveals. _Abiding_--that is what friends
do: that's what friendship is, the real thing. _Obey_--that is the swing
of step with our great Friend as we go along the road together. So these
clusters of rich ripe fruit hang thick on the vine of this simple
teaching-talk as they walk along in the moonlight.

And now they're passing through some of the narrower streets as they
make their way east towards the city gate.[118] And these narrow streets
are shadowed. And you feel the shadows creeping into His talk. The world
will _hate_ them. Of course. This is a natural result of the abiding.
The outer crowd can no more put up with the Jesus-swayed man than with
Jesus Himself. And the hate would be aggressive.

But if they would clearly understand ahead what to expect it would help
them keep their feet when the worst storm came. And by staying steady
and true through the worst that came, they would be of the greatest
service. The Holy Spirit in them would reach out and talk to that outer
crowd. He would make clear to them their awful sin in killing Jesus, the
spotless purity and rightness of the absent Jesus, and the terrific fact
that the prince of the world whom they rally to so faithfully is
actually judged, doomed and damned. Then He adds, "now in a little bit
I'll be gone from you. Then a little later, I'll be with you again."

So He goes on ringing the changes back and forth on this in simple
conversational style. And now they are silent. The narrow street is
quite shadowed. He lets them think a bit over His words. And the
personal part takes hold most. And they talk softly together of what
this means,--a little while and He is gone; again a little while, and He
is back. They're plainly puzzled, yet restrained from breaking in upon
His deep mood.

But with characteristic gentleness He speaks of what they would
ask.[119] Clearly there is some terrible experience for Him and for them
just at hand. But He reaches past to the joy beyond, as the mother
forgets sharp pains in the joy of her new-born babe. And as He talks
they think they understand now, but again He gently reminds of the storm
about to break. And then He leaves them three wondrous words,--_peace,
good-cheer, overcome_. In the midst of the worst storm there may be
peace. In the thickest of tribulation the song of cheer may ring out. He
_has_ overcome. The outcome is settled. No doubts need nag. Sing! Sing
louder! _Christ is Victor_!

This is the second bit of the evening's closer wooing, this long quiet
talk about the supper table and along the road. It is wooing them up to
more intelligence in their believing and loving. It's wooing them to
trust _Him_, hold hard to _Him_, during the coming storm, when they
wouldn't understand. Even when they can't understand, but stand in
hopeless helpless bewilderment, they still can trust _Him_.



Taken into the Innermost Life.


They're outside the city-gate now, going down the path towards the
Kidron Brook. Now comes the third bit of that evening's closer
wooing.[120] And this is the tenderest, the most personal, the least
resistible bit, the closest wooing of all. He takes them into His
innermost heart-life for a brief moment. It must have reminded John
afterwards of that mountain-top experience when Jesus drew aside the
drapery of His humanity and let a little of the inner glory shine out.
Here He takes them with Him into the holy of holies of His own inner
life with His Father.

Let not any one think that Jesus was simply letting them hear Him pray,
so they might learn. Not that; not that. He was taking them into the
sacred privacy of His own innermost life. That was a bit of the wooing,
under the desperate happenings just ahead. But now as He takes them in
He quite forgets them, though He knows they are there. _He is absorbed
with the Father_. He isn't thinking now of the effect of all this on
them. That's past. He is alone in spirit with the Father, talking out
freely even as though actually quite alone.

We are in the innermost holy of holies here. The heart of the world's
life is its literature. The heart of all literature is this sacred Book
of God. The heart of this Book is the Gospels. The heart of these four
Gospels is John's. The heart of John's is this exquisite bit, chapters
thirteen to seventeen. And there's yet an inner heart here. It is this
bit, the seventeenth chapter, where the inner side of Jesus' prayer-life
lies open to us. And we shall find an innermost heart yet again here.

The simplicity of speech here catches the ear. The holy intimacy of
contact with God hushes the spirit. The certainty of the Father's
presence awes the heart greatly. The unquestioning confidence in the
outcome is to one's faith like a glass of kingdom wine fresh from the
King's own hand. The tenseness and yet exquisite quietness holds one's
being still with a great stillness. Both shoes and hat go off
instinctively and we stand with head bowed low and heart hushed for this
is holiest ground.

Of course, no paraphrase of this prayer can possibly approach its own
beauty and simplicity. But it may perhaps send one back to the prayer
itself to see better what is there.

They're out in the open, down near the Kidron. Jesus stops and looks up
towards the blue, the Father's open door, and quietly talks out of His
heart into His Father's heart, "Father: the hour is come"; talked of
long before this errand was started upon, brooded over these human
years, felt in His inner being as it ticked itself nearer in the
tremendous passing events. Now it is come. The clock is striking the
hour, striking on earth and echoed distinctly in the Father's ear.

"Father: reveal now the true character of the Son; yet only that the Son
may reveal Thy true character.[121] Thou hast already done so in the
control Thou hast given Him over all men, that so He may give to them
the eternal life. And this is the real life to come into intimate touch
of heart and life with Thee and with Thine anointed One, Jesus."

"I have already revealed Thy character in doing fully the errand Thou
didst send Me on. (And it _was_ fully done in all the active part,
though the greatest thing yet remained to be done in the tremendous
yielding, the strong passive yielding to Hate's worst that so Love's
truest and best might be clearly seen by men.) And now I am coming back
to be recognized and acknowledged and received by Thine own self even as
it was before I came away on this errand."

Thus far He has been alone with the Father face-to-face; just the two
together in closest communion. Now the prayer moves on from communion
and petition to intercession. He is thinking of others, of these men who
are grouped near by. He has prayed for them before. He is simply picking
up the thread of the accustomed prayer He had prayed, and would still
pray when He had gone from them up through the doorway of the blue.

He has revealed the Father to them, and they have understood and
believed and have followed. Now He _prays for them_, that they may be
_kept_; not taken out of the world; kept in it, giving their witness to
it, yet never of its spirit, always controlled by another Spirit. They
were being sent into the world for witness even as He had been.

And a great word breaks out like the bursting of a flood of sunlight out
of dark clouds,--_joy_. He had used it that evening before in the upper
room, and again along the road. Now it flashes out again. This reveals
the meaning of that _good-cheer_ and _overcome_ with which the roadway
talk closed. With the clouds of hate at their blackest, and the storm
just about to break in uncontrolled wild fury, He speaks of "My _joy_."
He is _singing_. In the thick of hatred and plotting here's the bit of
music, in the major key, rippling out. Such a spirit cannot be defeated.
Joy is faith singing in the storm because it sees already the clearing
light beyond.

And so He prays on, touching the same keys of the musical instrument of
His heart, back and forth, yet ever advancing in the theme. Now He
broadens out, in clear vision, beyond the gathering storm, to those,
through all the earth, and down the centuries, who would believe through
these men who are listening. What a sweep of faith. That singing cleared
His vision.

And then He sees them all, of many races and languages and radical
differences, all blended into one body of earnest loving believers drawn
by the one vision of Himself back in the glory of the Father's presence,
where they will all gather. And then love ties the knot on the end. A
personal love ties together Father and Son and--us, who humbly give the
glad homage of our hearts.

Right in the very midst of the prayer lies that innermost heart of which
I spoke a moment ago. It is in verse ten. Jesus says, "_All things that
are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine_." There lies the very inner
heart of all carried to the last degree. _There_ is glad giving and full
taking; surrender and appropriation. He who gives all may reach in and
take all. Here is, humanly, the secret of Jesus' stupendous character
and career.

And it is the same for the humblest of us. The road is no different. We
_may_ say, by His great grace, in the insistence of our sovereign wills,
"All that is mine is Thine: I give it Thee. I give it back to Thee: I
use all the strength of my will in yielding all to Thee, and in doing
it habitually."

Then we _can_ say, with greatest reverence and humility and yet bold
confidence, "All that is Thine _is mine._" Yet being mine it is Thine.
Still being Thine it is mine. So comes the perfection of the rhythmic
action of love. Our love gives our all to _Him_. And then _takes_ the
greater all of His--no, not _from_ Him, _for_ Him, held in trust, used
_for_ Him, while we keep knees and face close to the ground, lest we
stumble and slip and worse.

So the prayer closes. And if we might go back over it, alone in secret,
prayerfully, quietly thinking thoughtfully into it, until this great
simple prayer gets its hold upon our hearts. And then gradually it would
come to us that _so_ He is now praying for us, _you and me_.

What must it have meant to these men to stand there quietly, awed as
they listen to Him praying that prayer. How it reveals the deep
consciousness of the intimacy of relation between Father and Son. How it
must have touched and stirred them to the very depths to hear Jesus
telling the Father so simply about _their_ faith in Himself, and _their_
obedience, their break with their national allegiance to follow Himself.
And that word _joy_--did they wonder about it? And wonder more later
that night, and the days after? But the key-note of the music _caught_,
and soon they were singing the same tune, and in the same pitch.

What wooing! This was the closest wooing. The fine wooing of this
matchless Lover came to its superlative degree that night. Positive
degree, that touch upon their feet; comparative, that talk about the
board and along the road; superlative, this taking them in for a brief
moment into the secrecy of His inner communion with the Father.



Simplified Spelling.


And this closer wooing is not over. It hasn't quit yet. That vine is
still hanging out in fine view, all softly ablaze with the clear
beautifying light, not of a fine Passover moon; no, the light of His
_face_, His _life_, His _words_. That vine becomes for all time to every
heart the pictured meaning of _abide_. And that word _abide_ gives the
whole of the true life.

We say _Christian_ life, and rightly. I like to say also, the true, the
natural, life. Any other is abnormal, unnatural, untrue. I might say,
"of the higher Christian life," following the common usage of these
latter days. I still prefer to say _true_ life. Higher means that there
is a lower life. And that this lower is reckoned Christian, too. That is
the bother, the cheapening of things; we _call_ a thing Christian which
is less than the thing it is called.

Some of us need to go to school, and to sit down in the lower classes
where spelling is taught. We can spell _believe_ in the common way with
seven letters. We must learn to spell it with four letters--l-o-v-e. We
need to learn to spell _love_ with a _b_ and a _y_--o-b-e-y. We need to
learn to spell obey with five letters a-b-i-d-e. We need to find that
_abide_ is spelled best with four letters o-b-e-y.

We need to learn this simplified spelling a bit, then _all_ will become
simplified, living, loving, witnessing, praying, winning, singing with
joy over the results of our new spelling in the syllables of daily life.
Blessed Master, we would come to school to Thee to-day. Please let us
start down in the spelling class. And teach us, Thou Thyself teach us.

But the vine--let us make that the central picture on the wall, with the
Master in the picture pointing to the vine. And under the picture the
one word _abide_. Then the whole story is in easy shape to help,
pictured before our eyes. Abide--that is _Jesus walking around in your
shoes_, looking out through your eyes, touching in your hand, speaking
through your lips and your presence. He is _free_ to; that's _your_ side
of it. He's unhindered. He _does_ it; that's _His_ side of it.

Look up at the picture on the wall. The whole vine is in the fruit, is
it not? The whole of the fruit is in the vine, is it not? That's
abiding. The whole of Jesus will be in you as you go about your daily
common task, singing. The whole of you is in Jesus as everything simple
and great, is done _to please Him_, singing as you do it.

And just as between vine and fruit there are branch and blossom, pruning
and careful handling, sun and shade, dew and rain, so there are
_betweens_ here before full ripening of fruit comes. There's purifying,
cleansing by blood, cleansing by a soft fire burning within, and
pruning by the Gardener and by His human assistant, you, sharp,
incisive, hurting pruning.

There's _feeding_,--the juice of the vine _flows_ in, and is _taken_ in;
the divine word of the divine Master is meditated, the cud of it is
chewed daily. There's _obedience_,--perfect rhythm of action between
vine and branches. There's _prayer_, the intercourse of our spirits, His
and ours, together, the drawing from Him all we need, and the letting
Him use us in His interceding for His world. These are some of the
_betweens_. Through these comes the ripening fruit.

And the outer crowd comes eagerly for the fruit hanging over the fence
within easy reach. There's a warm sympathy with one's fellows; only the
thing's more than the words sound. The Jesus-spirit within will be felt
by those outside, something warm and gentle and helpful. There will be
things done, many things, earnestly thoughtfully done. The proper word
is service. But the thing's so much more than the word ever seems to
mean.

And there'll be yet more, a more of a surprising sort. The classical fox
called the grapes sour because he _couldn't_ reach them. There'll be
some outside sour talk because some of the crowd _won't_ reach the
fruit. It wouldn't agree with them the way they insist on living. The
Jesus-life abiding within and flowing freely out is a protest against
the opposite. The mere presence of a _Christ-abiding_ man convicts
people of the sin of their lives and their treatment of Jesus. It
convinces them that the absent Jesus is right, and so they are wrong.
So there's trouble out in the crowd just because of the ripe good fruit
hanging in plain sight and easy reach over the vineyard fence. And that
double result goes on getting more so, some coming to the vine drawn by
the fruit, some talking against fruit and vine. But the man abiding is
of good cheer. He sings. For the outcome is assured.

So every grape-vine, in garden, by roadway, or on hillside, with its
vine-stock, branches, blossom, and fruit, tells of the Father's ideal
for men, a unity of life with Himself, and with each other. And every
bunch of grapes hanging on one stem, with its many in one, tells of that
same ideal, the concord of love with the Father and with each other.

And that unity of love dominating all is irresistible to the outer
crowd, in the winsomeness of its wooing.



V

The Greatest Wooing

     _A Night and a Day With Hardening Hearts: the Story of Tender
     Passion and of a Terrible Tragedy_



    "Now of that long pursuit
    Comes on at hand the bruit;
    That Voice is round me like a bursting sea:
    'And is thy earth so marred,
    Shattered in shard on shard?
    _Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me_!
    Strange, piteous, futile, thing!

    Wherefore should any set thee love apart?
    Seeing none but I makes much of naught' (He said)
    'And human love needs human meriting:
    How hast thou merited--
    Of all man's clotted clay the dingiest clot?
    Alack, thou knowest not
    How little worthy of any love thou art!
    Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
    Save Me, save only Me?
    All which I took from thee I did but take,
    Not for thy harms,
    But just that thou might'st seek it in My arms.
    All which thy child's mistake
    Fancied as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
    Rise, clasp My hand, and Come.'"

    --"_The Hound of Heaven_

     "I will betroth thee unto me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto
     me in righteousness, and in justice, and in loving kindness, and in
     mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness."--_Hosea
     ii. 19, 20._

    "Jesus, Lover of my soul,
    Let me to Thy bosom fly,
    While the nearer waters roll.
    While the tempest still is high.
    Hide me, O my Saviour, hide,
    'Til the storm of life is past;
    Safe into the haven guide,
    O receive my soul at last."

    --_Charles Wesley_.



V

The Greatest Wooing

(John xviii.-xix.)



Wider Wooing.


At the top of the mountain is the peak. The peak is the range at its
highest reach. The peak grows out of the range and rests upon it and
upon the earth under all. The whole of the long mountain range and of
the earth lies under the peak. The peak tells the story of the whole
range. At the last the highest and utmost. All the rest is for this
capstone.

The great thing in Jesus' life is His death. The death crowns the life.
The whole of the life lies under and comes to its full in the death. The
highest point is touched when death is allowed to lay Him lowest. It was
the life that died that gives the distinctive meaning to the death. Let
us take off hat and shoes as we come to this peak event.

There's a change in John's story here. The evening has gone, the quiet
evening of communion. The night has set in, the dark night of hate. The
intimacies of love give place to the intrigues of hate. The joy of
communion is quickly followed by the jostling of the crowd. Out of the
secret place of prayer into the hurly-burly of passion. And the
Master's rarely sensitive spirit feels the change. Yet with quiet
resolution He steps out to face it. This is part of _the hour_, part of
His great task, the greatest part.

For the holy task of wooing is not changed. It still is wooing, but
there's a difference now. There's a shifting. The wooing goes from
closer to wider, from the disciples to the outer crowd, from the direct
wooing of the national leaders by personal plea to the indirect by
action, tremendously personal action.

It moves out into a yet wider sweep. It goes from the wooing of a nation
to the wooing of a race, from Jew distinctively to Roman
representatively, from Annas standing in God's flood light rejected to
Pilate in nature's lesser light obscured, from God's truant messenger
nation to the world's mighty ruling nation.

In the epochal event just at hand Jesus begins His great wooing of a
race. And that wooing has gone on ever since, wherever He has been able
to get through the human channels to the crowd. He was lifted up and at
once men began coming a-running broken in heart by the sight. He is
being lifted up, and men of all the race are coming as fast as the slow
news gets to them.

But back now to John's story. They pick their way over the stones of the
little Kidron into the garden of the olives. There, quite alone in the
deep shadows of the inner trees, Jesus has His great spirit-conflict,
and great victory. The touch with sin so close, so real, now upon Him
within a few hours, the sin of others upon His sinless soul,--this
shakes Him terrifically beyond our understanding, who don't know purity
as He did. But the tremendous strength of yielding brings victory, as
ever. And the battle of the morrow is fought in spirit, and won.

Now the trailers of hate come seeking with torch and lantern, soldiers
and officers, chief priests and rulers, the ever present rabble, and in
the lead the shameless traitor. They are pushing their quest now,
seeking Jesus in the hiding whence He had gone days before[122] led by
the man who knew His accustomed haunts.

But there's no need for seeking now. Jesus is full ready. He decides the
action that follows. He is masterful even in His purposeful yielding.
Quietly He walks out from the cover of the trees to meet them. And as
their torches turn full upon His advancing figure again that marvellous
power not only of restraint but decidedly more is felt by them. And the
whole company, traitor, soldiers, rulers, rabble, overpowered in spirit,
fall back and then drop to the ground utterly overawed and cowed by the
lone man they are seeking.

Does Judas expect this? Will this power they are unable to resist not
open the eyes of these rulers! But there's no stupidity equal to that
which goes with stubbornness. In a moment Jesus reveals His purpose in
this, to shield His disciples. Now the power of restraint is withdrawn
and He yields to their desires. They shall have fullest sway in using
their freedom of action as they will. And Peter's foolish attempts are
quietly overruled.

They keep up the forms by taking Jesus to Annas the real Jewish ruler of
the nation. But it is simply an opportunity for the coarseness of their
hate to vent itself upon His person. They pretend an examination here in
the night's darkness suited to their deeds. He quietly reminds them of
the frank openness of all His teachings.

Meanwhile John's friendly act has gotten Peter entrance. The attitude of
the two men is in sharpest contrast. John is avowedly Jesus' friend,
regardless of personal danger. Peter just the reverse. And the hate of
the leaders has soaked into all their surroundings even down to the
housemaids. And John notes how exactly Jesus foreknew all, even to a
thrice-spoken denial before the second crowing of a cock.

Now comes the great Pilate phase. It was the intense malignity of their
hate that made them bother with Pilate. They could easily have killed
Jesus and Pilate would never have concerned himself about it. But they
couldn't have put Him to such exquisite suffering and such shameful
indignity before the crowds as by the Roman form of death by
crucifixion.

Clearly there is a hate at work _behind_ theirs. Their hate is
distinctly _inhuman_. Is _all_ hate? There's an unseen personal power in
action here set on spilling out the utmost that malignant hate can upon
the person of Jesus. But these men are cheerful tools. Hate is tying its
hardest knot with ugliest black thread on the end of its opportunity.

This is Pilate's opportunity and he seems to sense it. And a struggle
begins between conscience and cowardice, between right action with an
ugly fight for it, and yielding to wrong with an easy time of it.
Clearly he feels the purity and the personal power of this unusual
prisoner. The motive of envy and hate under their action is as plain to
his trained eyes.

Twice the two men, Pilate and Jesus, are alone together. Did ever man
have such an opportunity, personally, and historically? With rare touch
and winsomeness Jesus woos. And Pilate feels it to the marrow under all
his rough speech. His repeated attempts with the leaders make that
clear. But cowardice gripped him hard. It's a way cowardice has.

The name of Caesar conjures up fears,--loss of position, of wealth, of
reputation, maybe of life itself. He surrenders. Conscience is slain on
the judgment seat. Cowardice laughs and wins. A sharp fling brings a cry
of allegiance to Caesar from their reluctant throats, as their hatred
wins the day. He strikes them back an ugly blow as He surrenders. That
reluctant Caesar cry told out the intensity of their hate. They hated
Caesar much, but they hated Jesus immeasurably more. They gulp down
Caesar to be able to vent their spleen upon Jesus.

And so they crucified Him. At last they succeed. They have gotten what
they were bent on. The hate burning within, these months and years,
finds its full vent. Its hateful worst is done, and horribly well done.
And they stand about the cross with unconcealed gloating in pose and
face and speech and eyes. Their part of the story is done.



Masterful Dying.


But Jesus' part--ah! that was just begun. John lays emphasis on the
mastery of Jesus here. It is marked, and reveals to John's faithful
love-opened eyes the dominating purpose of Jesus in yielding to death.
Strong, thoughtful, self-controlled, anticipating every move, He was
using all the strength of His great strong will in yielding. He was
doing it masterfully, intelligently.

This is marked throughout. At the arrest He walks frankly out to meet
those seeking Him, and restrains them in that strangely powerful way
till He was quite ready. He makes the personal plea to Pilate for
_Pilate's_ sake, impressing him so greatly, but interposing nothing to
change the purpose of His accusers. When Pilate's final decision is
given John notes that Jesus "went out _bearing the cross for Himself,_"
though provision had been made for this.[123] His influence upon Pilate
is seen in the accuracy of the kingly inscription that hangs over the
cross. In the midst of the excruciating bodily pain He thinks of His
mother, and with marvellous self-control speaks the quiet word to her
and to John that insures her future under his filial care.

And then John significantly adds, "_Jesus, knowing that all things are
now finished._"[124] With masterly forethought, and self-control and
deliberation He had done the thing He had set Himself to do. Never was
yielding so masterful. Never was a great plan carried out so fully
through the set purpose of one's enemies. His every action bears out the
word He had spoken, "No man taketh My life away from Me, I lay it down
of Myself."[125]

So now His great work is done, and thoroughly done. His lips speak the
tremendous word, "It is finished." And He bowed His head and _gave up_
His spirit. It was His own act. The self-restraint was strong upon Him
till all was done that was needed for the great purpose in hand. Then
His head is bowed, His great heart broke under the terrific strain on
His spirit as He allowed His life to go out.

From that moment no indignity touches His body. The Jews with their
wearisome insistence on empty technicalities would have added further
indignity to crucifixion. But that body is sacredly guarded from their
profane hand by unseen restraint. John with solemn simplicity points to
the unmistakable physical evidence, in the separation of blood and
water, that Jesus had actually died; no swooning, but death. And
reverently he finds the confirmation of Scripture.

Only tender love touches that body now. Two gentlemen of highest
official and social standing and of large wealth, brothers in their
faith in Jesus, and also in their timidity, now take steps at once to
have the precious body of their dear friend tenderly cared for without
regard to expense. So He is laid away in a new tomb in a garden among
the flowers of the spring time. The last touch is one of tender love. So
His greatest wooing was done, and begun; the great act done, its
tremendous wooing influence only just begun.

Jesus died deliberately. This is quite clear. It was done of love
aforethought. It was His own act fitted into the circumstances
surrounding Him. This makes His death mean just what He meant it to
mean. Run back through His teachings rather carefully and that meaning
stands clearly out.

He was the Father's messenger; simply this; but all of this. The ideals
of right so insistently and incessantly held up and pressed were the
Father's ideals. His mere presence told the Father's great love for men.
They two were so knit that when the one suffered the other suffered,
too.

It was the love for men in His own heart that drew Him down here and
drove Him along even to the Calvary Hill. He died _for_ men, in their
place, on their behalf. This was His one thought. Through this their
bondage to sin and to Satan would be broken and they would be set
free.[126] And they would be drawn, their hearts would be utterly melted
and broken by His love for them.[127] The influence would reach out
until all the race would feel its power and respond; and it would reach
into each one's life who came till the life he lived was of the
abundant, eternal sort.

The devil was a real personality to Jesus. This whole terrific struggle
ending at the cross was a direct spirit-battle with that great spirit
prince. So Jesus understood it. All the bitter enmity to Himself traces
straight back to that source. That enmity found its worst expression in
Jesus' death. The pitched spirit-battle was there. But that prince was
judged, condemned, utterly defeated and cast out in that battle, and his
hold upon men broken.[128]

And so this was the greatest wooing of all. It was greatest in its
intensity of meaning _to the Father_ looking eagerly down. It revealed
His unbending, unflinching ideals of right, and the great strength and
tenderness of His love for men. He would even give His Son. It was
greatest in its intensity of meaning _to the Son_. It meant the utmost
of suffering ever endured, the utmost of love underneath ever revealed;
and it would mean the race-wide sweep of His gracious power.

It was greatest in its intensity of meaning _to Satan_, the hater of God
and man. It told his utter defeat, and loss of power over man. So it
broke our bonds and made us free to yield to the wooing. And it was
greatest in its intensity of meaning _to us men_. For it showed to our
confused eyes the one ideal of right standing out clear and full. It
set us free from the fetters of our bondage, gave us the tremendous
incentive of love to reach up to the ideal of right, and more, immensely
more, gave us _power to reach it_.

It was the greatest wooing _in the out-reach_ of its influence, for all
men of all the earth would be touched.[129] And it was greatest _in the
in-reach_ to all the life of each one who came under its blessed
influence. The whole ministry taught this. It would mean newness of life
in body, in mind, in social nature, in spirit, and in the eternal
quality of life lived here, and to be lived without any ending.

And all the world has responded to this greatest wooing as they have
come to know of it. That three-languaged inscription on the cross was a
world appeal and a world prophecy. In Hebrew the religious language of
the world whose literature told of the one true God, in Latin the
language of the masters of the world, in Greek the language of the
culture of the world, that message went out to all the world. This Jesus
is our Kinsman-King, our Brother-Ruler, our Love-Autocrat. He revealed
His love for us in His death for us.

And men answer to Jesus' great plea. With flooded eyes and broken
hearts, and bending wills, and changed lives, men of all the race bow
gratefully at the feet of Jesus, our Saviour and Lord and coming King.



VI

An Appointed Tryst Unexpectedly Kept

     _A Day of Startling Joyous Surprises_



    "Halts by me that footfall:
    Is my gloom, after all,
    Shade of His hand outstretched caressingly?
    'Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,
    I am He whom thou seekest!
    _Thou drawest love from thee, who drawest Me._'"

    --"_The Hound of Heaven._

     "After I am raised up I will go before you into Galilee."--_Mark
     xiv. 28._



VI

An Appointed Tryst Unexpectedly Kept

(John xx.)



The Appointment.


Jesus had made an appointment. It was with these dear friends who had
responded so lovingly to His wooing. It was a significant appointment,
most significant. He had appointed to meet them three days after His
death. He had made a further appointment to meet them in Galilee. What a
stupendous appointment to make!

It was a sacred appointment, sacred as the love that made it, sacred to
Jesus as the friendship of these men with whom it was made, sacred as
His word that never was broken. Our Scottish friends use a most
significant word for appointment, the word _tryst_. They used to use it
some for ordinary appointments, but chiefly it is used for friendship
and for love-appointments. The appointment is a tryst.

Tryst is the same word as _trust_. In the old Gothic language it was one
of the words used for a covenant or treaty. In medieval Latin it was a
pledge given that an agreement would be kept. It is a fine turn of a
word that uses the very spirit of confidence in one's heart in another
as the name for the appointment made with him. The trust in the heart
gives the name to the appointment. It's an appointment with one who
_can_ be trusted to keep his word, and who _is_ trusted.

So an appointed tryst becomes more than a mere appointment. It is a
pledge of faith. Now this is the real force of the word here. Jesus had
appointed a tryst with these men, and in making it He was plighting His
troth, pledging His word to them. He had asked them to risk all for Him.
In this tryst He is pledging all to them.

He never forgot that sacred appointment. He had thought much before He
made it. He knew it would involve much to keep it. The power of God was
at stake in the making and the keeping of it. He knew that. He thought
of it. He made the appointment and He kept it. Jesus keeps His
appointments. His word never fails. Not even the gates of death, nor the
power of the evil one, can prevail against it.

This was a staggering appointment. It took so much for granted. It
reckons God's power is as big as it is. But then that's a way Jesus had,
and has. And it is a way he will come to have who companions much with
Jesus.

Jesus had spoken of this indirectly but distinctly when first He told
His disciples of His suffering and death, six months before. And each
time afterwards when He told them of His death the words were always
added, "and the third day rise again."[130] I The two things are nearly
always linked. But they hadn't seemed to sense what He meant. The thing
seems quite beyond them.

He spoke of it again on that never-to-be-forgotten night of the
betrayal, the night of the feet-washing, and that last long talk, and
that wondrous Kidron-prayer. He spoke of it more than once that night.

It was a very emphatic word He spoke as they were walking along the
darkly shadowed Jerusalem streets out towards the east gate. He said, "a
little while and ye shall behold Me no more; and again a little while
and ye shall see Me."[131] And the disciples pick this up and puzzle
over it.

And the Master explains rather carefully and at some length. There was a
time of sore trouble coming for Him and for them. And while they were
sorrowing the outer crowd would be making merry. But it would be just as
with the expectant mother, He said. All the while even when the pains
cut she is thinking of the great delight that is to be hers. Her
after-joy clean wipes out of her thought the sharp cutting of the pain.

So it would be. "_I will see you again_," He said in plainest speech.
And again that same night He said, "after I am raised up, _I will go
before you into Galilee_." Could any appointment be more explicit as to
time and place?

But they forget. Aye, there's the bother, this thing of forgetting. The
memory is ever the index of the heart and the will and the
understanding. You can tell the one by the other. Some things are never
forgot. A bit embarrassing and odd this thing of forgetting what Jesus
says.

His _enemies_ remembered, and took special pains to head off any
breaking of their careful plans.[132] And even when the angels remind
the women of the promised appointment, and they with great joy repeat
the reminder to the disciples, it seems like "_idle talk_" and is not
accepted. The thing couldn't be, they think.[133] Finally the evidence
becomes so convincing that they start off for the trysting place, "into
Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them."[134]



How the Appointment Was Kept.


Let us look a bit at the wonderful keeping, so unexpected, of this
sacred tryst. It's the third day now since Jesus' death. It is in the
dark dusk of the early morning. A little knot of women make their way
slowly along the road leading out of the city gate. Mary Magdalene is in
the lead, so far ahead of the others as to be alone. They are carrying
packages of perfumed ointments. They are thinking only of a dear dead
body and of clinging fragrant memories.

They are troubling themselves about how to get the big stone at the tomb
pushed aside. It was too much for their strength. As she drew near the
tomb Mary Magdalene's love-quickened eyes notice something quite
unexpected. The stone is moved aside! She naturally thinks some one has
taken the body secretly away in the night.

Quickly she turns and runs back towards the city to tell Peter and John.
And as quickly as they hear the startling news they are off on a smart
run towards the tomb. Meanwhile the other women go on into the tomb.
They are further startled to see a glorious looking person who assures
them that Jesus is living, having risen up out of death. All a-quiver
with fear intermingled with the first glimmering light of a great hope
that they hardly dare hope, they flee hastily back to town to tell the
others.

Now Peter and John, who have been eagerly running, arrive breathless,
with John in the lead. Gazing reverently, intently, in through the
opening John sees, not a body, but on the spot where the body had been
laid, the linen wrappings lying, held up in the shape of a body by
Nicodemus' abundant and heavy ointments just as when they held the body
of Jesus. But clearly there is nothing in them now.

Now Peter comes up, and, just like him, goes straight in, and is at once
struck by the arrangement of these cloths, just as John had been. Then
they comment on the fact that the head cloths are lying where they
naturally would be, a little apart from the others, the distance of the
head from the body.

The evidence convinces them that Jesus' spirit had indeed returned to
His body, and that He had risen up _through the cloths_, and gone. And
they start back to town in a great maze of wonder and delight.

And now Mary Magdalene, knowing nothing of all this, comes slowly back
absorbed with her thoughts that the body has been secretly removed. She
stands at the open tomb weeping. Then for the first time she stoops down
and looks in. She is startled to see two angels left there to explain
matters.

They gently say "Why weepest thou?" Still sobbing, she says, "They have
taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him." And
turning aside as she speaks she sees some One standing near her. Her
tear-misted eyes think Him the attendant in charge of the garden. Again
the question by this man, "Why weepest thou?" How strangely they talk,
these angels and this gardener! She makes a plea for the body.

Then the one word, her name, spoken in that voice she knew so
well--"_Mary_." Ah! there's no question about _that voice_. She needs no
explanation nor evidence more than this, as she cries out, "Oh, my
beloved Master." Then He acts so like Himself; He gives her an errand to
do for Him. And off she goes. She has had the wondrous privilege of the
first sight of Him, and the first errand for Him. The tryst has been
kept with Mary Magdalene.

And now the other women who had gone running down the road after
hearing the angels' startling message are amazed to meet Jesus standing
in the roadway in front of them. And the same quiet rich voice so gently
and simply gives them the usual "good-morning" salutation. At once they
are on their knees at His feet. And He softly says, "Don't be afraid. Go
tell My brethren to meet Me at the old place appointed, up by the blue
waters of Galilee." And again the tryst is kept.

But before all this, the soldiers on guard, terror-stricken by the
earthquake that had taken place, and dazed at the sight of the "angel of
the Lord" had fled at top speed to the chief priests with their
startling story. Here was a wholly unexpected bothersome finish to the
thing. But quick consultation follows. And then free use of money makes
the soldiers willing to tell what they know to be a lie. And so the two
utterly different stories, the truth and the lie, get into circulation
at once. The soldiers and the chief priests' circle have learned that
the appointment was kept.

Meanwhile Peter has gone down the road back to town in a maze of
conflicting emotions. John, lighter of foot, had hurried ahead, very
likely to tell the great news to Jesus' mother, now his own. Peter plods
slowly along, thinking hard. It was still early morning, the air so
still and fragrant with the dew. Maybe down by some big trees he is
walking, absorbed, when all at once, _some One is by his side_. It's the
Master. The appointment has been kept with Peter. But we must leave
them alone together. Peter has some things to straighten out. That's a
sacred interview meant only for him.

That afternoon two disciples walking out to a little village a few miles
away are joined by a Stranger whose talk makes their hearts burn like
the Master's used to. And as they gather about the evening meal with
Him, and He gives thanks and breaks the loaf, all at once their eyes
_see_. It is _Jesus Himself_ who has been with them all the time. Again
the appointment is kept.

At once they hasten back to town, and are just telling the news in
joyously broken speech to the disciples gathered in an upper room with
locked doors when again, all at once, Jesus appears in their midst, and
eats some bread and fish, and tells them to know by the feel that it is
really Himself with them. He has kept His sacred appointment with the
Twelve. Then a week later He comes in like manner among them again for
the sake of one man, Thomas. So He keeps the appointment with Thomas,
also.



Our Guarantee of His Promises.


Two things stand out sharply. The resurrection was not expected. It was
the most tremendous surprise. The news was received at first by those
most interested with utter stubborn unbelief. Then the evidence was so
clear and repeated, and incontestable that these same men staked their
lives on it. They suffered to the extreme for their witness that Jesus
had indeed risen.

Jesus rose from the dead. His body was re-inhabited by His spirit. The
spirit didn't die. Spirits neither sleep nor die. The body died. Then
life came into it again. It was a real body that could eat and be
touched. It was recognized as the same one they had known. But it was
changed. The old limitations were gone. New powers had come.

Jesus keeps His appointments. His pledged word never fails. Not a word
He has spoken can ever be broken. Some day He is coming back. It is an
appointment.[135] Then we, too, who have slipped the tether of life and
left our bodies temporarily in the dust, shall rise up again to meet
Him. It is a sacred appointment He has made with us.

And some of us who live in that day shall be changed instead of dying,
and shall be caught up to meet Him and our own loved ones in the air.
That's His true tryst with us up in the blue, some day. And He will keep
it.

And meanwhile everything He has promised us in the Book is sure, as
being His plighted word. His resurrection is our bond, our guarantee. As
surely as He rose on that third morning He will keep His word regarding
every matter to you and me.

His appointments never fail, whether of guidance, of bodily health and
strength, of supplies for every sort of need, of peace, of power, of
victory. The power that raised Jesus up from out the dead is pledged to
us for every promise of this Book for to-day's life. He will do an act
of creation before He will let His Word fail. He will leave no power
unused to keep the appointment of His Word with us.

Let us trust His Word to us fully. And let us _live_ our trust.



VII

Another Tryst

     _A Story of Fishing, of Guests at Breakfast, and of a Walk and Talk
     by the Edge of Blue Galilee_



     "I come unto you."--_John xiv. 18._

     "Lo, I am with you all the days."--_Matthew xxviii. 20_.



VII

Another Tryst

(John xxi.)



Jesus Unrecognised.


John's story is done. And it is well done. With the skill of a tried
jurist he has drawn up a clear full line of evidence and presented it in
a vigorous straightforward way. And he plainly states his case. His
whole purpose is that those who read his little book shall come into
warm personal touch of life with the Lord Jesus. That ties the knot on
tight at the end of chapter twenty. John's case has gone to the jury of
his readers.

But now John reaches for his pen again. The guiding Spirit has put
another bit into his heart to write down. This time it is a special bit,
not for all to whom the book is sent, but for a selected class of his
readers, namely, for those of them who have given John a favourable
verdict on the evidence presented. It grows out of chapter xx. 31 as
rose out of bud, and fruit out of blossom. It is for those who "believe
that Jesus is the Christ the Son of God," and so "have life in His
Name."

And a very tender precious bit it is, more wondrous in its sheer
simplicity than any of us seem to suspect. It is simply this: _this
Jesus is with us all the time_. This same Jesus who was so swayed by the
need of the crowd, who burned His life out day by day warmly responding
to their sore need--_He is here._

This Jesus who fed the hungry, healed the sick of every sort, and freed
men from devilish power, who convicted men so tremendously of their
wrong, restrained their evil power to hurt, wooed the hearts of all so
irresistibly, and led them into changed lives; this Jesus who died and
then did the stupendously mighty thing of rising up out of death,--_this
Jesus is with us now_ by your side and mine.

And He is just the same Jesus in His warm love and resistless power. The
_words_ are rather familiar. The _fact_--no one of us seems to have
gotten hold of it yet. This is the thing that makes John eagerly reach
for his pen again before his little book-messenger goes out on its
errand.

The thing isn't new in _information_, but in actual living _experience_
it seems to be so new as to be an unknown thing to some of us. The
Master had spoken of this that betrayal-night around the supper board.
It was really a continuation of that trysting appointment He had made
with them that evening, a wonderful continuation.

Clearly they didn't understand Him that night. But during those
after-Pentecost days they were given a continuous graphic unforgetable
illustration of its meaning. We to-day seem able to explain the part
they didn't understand, the teaching that betrayal-night. We don't seem
to get hold of the part they did understand and experience, the real
presence of the risen Jesus in the midst actively at work.

That night Jesus said: "I will make request of the Father, and He will
send you another unfailing powerful Friend to be always at your side."
Then He added: "He abides _with_ you now (in My presence) and shall be
_in_ you (after I send Him)." Then He said, "_I_ come unto you. Yet a
little while and the world _seeth_ Me no more but ye _see_ Me."

And again, "He that hath My commandments and keepeth them he it is that
(in that sheweth that he) loveth Me and ... I will _manifest_ or _shew_
Myself unto him." Here is the simple teaching: He would send the Holy
Spirit; in the Holy Spirit's coming Jesus Himself, the new risen exalted
empowered enthroned Jesus, He came; _and_ He would let them see Himself
with them.

Now this added chapter of John's is _the illustration in advance_ to
these men of what these words mean. _The great standing illustration_ is
that Book of Acts which, will you notice, doesn't end. It only breaks
off, abruptly, without even a punctuation point. It wasn't meant to end.
We are supposed to be living in it yet. But these men haven't come to
the experience of the Pentecostal Acts yet. This is an illustration in
advance to them. And it remains an illustration to us of what we seem a
bit slow in taking in.

But let us get at the simple bit of story itself. There's a little
group of the inner circle, seven including the leaders. These men
haven't found their feet yet. The stupendous events of those days,
coming in such startling succession, have left them dazed. The
crucifixion left them stupidly dazed; the resurrection left them joyous,
but still dazed. They don't know just where they are, nor what to do.

So Peter proposes fishing; an ideal proposition, when you want to get
off and think things through and out. Any fisherman knows that. And the
others readily join in. They see the good sense of it. But the fish
don't catch. And the morning finds them tired in body and more tired in
the spiritless uncertainty that hangs over them like a clinging damp
fog.

Yonder is some One standing on the beach. But that's nothing unusual.
They barely notice Him. And now this Stranger calls out to them a cheery
common question, "Caught anything?" And now He gives a--no, it can
hardly be called a _command_, so quietly is it said. Yet they are subtly
conscious of a something in the word that makes them obey, though it's
the last sort of thing to do.

And now at once the net-ropes pull _so hard;_ astonishing this! Then
John's keen spirit detects _Who_ it is. Is he thinking of the other big
unexpected haul in those same waters![136] And Peter's over the side of
the boat shoreward. Fishing has lost all attraction for him.

And when they all got ashore with their haul, tired, wet, chilled to
the marrow, hungry, what's this? A blazing fire of coals burning
cheerfully on the sands. And some fish dexterously poised, doing to a
brown turn, and some bread. And the Stranger, no, _Jesus_, He's no
longer a stranger, Jesus says quietly, "Boys, better bring the haul up
on the beach."

And the old fishing habit still strong on them counts the fish. It's
such an unusual haul, they must know how many. John must be thinking
again about that earlier haul. The net couldn't stand the strain then.
But now it's different. Ah! _every_thing's blessedly different now. "The
net was not rent."

Then the gracious call to breakfast by their Host. Was ever fish done to
such a fine turn? Did ever any fish have such an exquisite flavour? or
taste so good? Did ever men eat so gladly and yet quietly with a
distinct touch of awe in their spirits? For they _know_ it is the
Master, though no word of that has been spoken. Words were needless.

Now they're walking along the beach, Jesus and Peter in the lead but the
others quite near. And there's the bit of talk between the two. Very
gently Jesus says, "Do you love Me, Peter?" And Peter feels he hardly
dare use the sacred word for "love" that the Master has used. He had
made such an awful break at just that point. And with breaking voice he
says, "Yea, Lord, Thou knowest I have the highest regard for Thee."

And again the question, and the answer, with Peter still humbly
clinging to his more modest word. And now Jesus says, "Do you really
love Me even as you yourself say?" And Peter with his heart in his face
says passionately, "Lord, Thou knowest better than I can tell Thee."

And because he loves, Peter is given the full privilege of shepherding
the whole flock, from feeding little lambkins on to feeding all, and
guiding, through the hard places, even the wayward ones. And more yet
and higher, because Peter loves, he will be privileged to suffer, even
as his Master had suffered. The fellowship would extend even to that.

And Peter's eye falls on John. And apparently he is thinking of the
contrast between John's faithfulness and his own break that
betrayal-night. If poor faulty Peter may be so privileged how John would
be rewarded. But Jesus quietly turns Peter, and all Peter's numerous
kinsfolk of this sort, away from human comparisons. And instead He seeks
to turn their hearts to this: He is coming back in person some day for
an advance step in the kingdom program. And there they are, walking and
talking, along the beach by the blue Galilean waters.



The Same Jesus Here Now.


An unrecognized Stranger who turns out to be Jesus; an unusual haul of
fish gotten in a very unusual way; a warm fire and tasty breakfast for
cold hungry men; a tender talk about love and service and sacrifice,
and about Jesus' return;--all this is a moving-picture illustration of
the meaning of a word, one word.

It is a word Jesus used in that last long quiet talk. It's the key-word
to this added chapter, occurring three times. In the old version it is
the word "_shew_"; in the revision "manifest." "After these things Jesus
_manifested_ Himself again ... and He _manifested_ Himself on this
wise." "This is now the third time that Jesus was _manifested_ to the
disciples after that He was risen from the dead."[137]

The word used underneath literally means "to make manifest or _visible_
or know, what has been hidden or unknown."[138] Then each time it is
used it gets its local colouring from its connection. The simple
tremendous meaning here clearly is this: Jesus let Himself _be seen_ and
known. _He did not come_. He was there.

But their eyes couldn't see Him. In effect He was hidden, not seeable.
Now the change that comes is this: _He is seen_. And He is seen in His
true native character; so certain results follow. He had said, "I will
_manifest_ Myself."[139] And this was now the third time that He did it,
to the disciples, after that He was risen.

This is _the advance illustration of the Book of Acts_. This is the
tremendous thing He is burning into their hearts through eyes and
ears:--_He is always present_. He, whose power they had felt so
stupendously, and whose warm sympathy so tenderly, _He is always with
them_. The coming of the Holy Spirit meant just this. The Spirit would
be as Jesus' other self, as Jesus Himself. The one thing the Spirit
would do would be to manifest, to _shew openly_, the power of Jesus.

Then four pictures pass before their eyes to illustrate the meaning, a
fishing picture and a breakfast picture _in action_; then _in words_, a
love-service-suffering picture, and a picture of Jesus returning in
person seen by all to take an advance-step.

The fishing picture clearly meant this: great numbers of people,
surprisingly great numbers, coming, drawn not by any human skill, but by
the supernatural power of Jesus manifesting Himself in that way. The
breakfast picture meant this: that this wondrous Jesus would take tender
personal care of those in this blessed gathering ministry, even to their
bodily needs and strength.

And the love-service-suffering word-picture said so plainly this: true
service grows out of love. The chief thing is the loyal tender
attachment to the person of Jesus. Then out of this will naturally come
service, and willingness to suffer. The touchstone won't be service but
personal love. The service will simply be an expression of the love.

And the Jesus-return word-picture fills their vision with this same
Jesus coming in open glory before all eyes to carry out the kingdom
plan. As these men learned to live always in the presence of a Jesus
whom their outer eyes saw not, these pictures would become living
pictures seen in open daily life.

So this is a further bit of the tryst appointment. This is the fuller
tryst, the greater, the yet more wondrous tryst. Not only would He rise
up out of death, and appear to them in person seen by the outer eyes,
but He would be with them continually manifesting Himself in rarest
power of action, in tenderest personal care, in talking and walking with
them.

They would see the power plainly at work; then they would say with a
soft hush, "_He_ is here." They would find new bodily strength, new
guidance in perplexity, new peace in the midst of confusion, and they
would say to each other in awed tones, "_He is here: it's the Master's
touch_."

And so it would come to be a habit to _anticipate_ His presence. They
would figure Him in, and figure Him in big, as big as He is, in all
sorts of circumstances and planning and meeting of difficulties.

It is most striking that John closes his Gospel so differently from the
others. They close with the Master rising up and disappearing on a cloud
into the upper blue. John closes with Jesus walking along the beach,
talking with the little group of trusted ones. Jesus did ascend up into
the blue whence He shall some day descend. But the Holy Spirit sends
John back to his pen to give us this as the last picture, impressed on
the sensitive plate of the eyes of our heart. _This_: Jesus present with
us all the while walking along the shore of our common round of life,
clothed with matchless power, and devoting Himself to us as we to Him.

Along about the middle of the eighteenth century there came to England a
young French-Swiss, named De la Fléchère, hungry hearted for the truth.
He was so helped by John Wesley that he cast in his lot with the new
Methodist movement and John Williams Fletcher became one of Wesley's
most faithful co-labourers. Late in life he married a woman of unusual
mental and spiritual attainment.

I ran across a simple story over there of this Mrs. John Fletcher which
interested and helped me much. This saintly gifted woman told of a dream
which came to her with such vividness as to seem to her mature mind more
than a common passing vagary of sleep. In her dream she was engaged in
an intense struggle with an evil spirit. She was having a most difficult
fight.

She noticed some one standing a little bit to one side watching the
fight but taking no active part in it. The fighting became so intense
and her strength so sorely strained that she was on the point of giving
up. Then this one came over near and touched her gently and said, "Be
strong." Instantly a wondrous strength came to her and she held on.

Again the evil one attacked her viciously. She wondered why this helping
friend did not come to her assistance in the fight. Then she was moved
to say to her enemy, "Depart, _in Jesus' Name_." And instantly he fled.
And she was free and victorious. That was her dream. As she awoke there
came to her the most real sense of the presence of her Lord.

This is only one simple illustration from life. I have run across many
of the same, wholly different each from the other, but each emphasizing
the one simple tremendous fact of _the constant presence with us of this
same mighty Jesus_.

It is of keenest help to mark that humanly the _initiative of action_ is
in _our_ hands. The fight is _ours_. We decide our stand. We choose, and
we bear the brunt or result of our choice. We step out as the need
comes. Prayer and a spirit of humblest dependence on Another guides our
decision and action. But _we_ take the action. The initiative is ours.

And _always alongside is One standing close up_, putting all His
limitless power _at our disposal_, in our action. All He did in living
and dying and rising up out of death was done _on our behalf_. And now
all the tremendous result of His victory is at our command. All the
power native in Him is for our use.

This is the other tryst our Lover-Lord makes with us. "_Lo! I_ am _with
you_ all the days, sunny days and shadowy, bright days and dark, all the
days clear to the end." This is the sacred tryst He has made with us.

And He _keeps_ the tryst. We may count on Him, And as we do we shall
cast nets into hopeless waters and get a great haul. We shall find His
presence anticipating all our personal needs. We shall rejoice to serve
and--if so it prove to be--to suffer for the One we love with tenderest
devotion.

And we shall look eagerly forward to seeing Him who is always in touch
with us, here and now, to seeing Him with these outer eyes of ours,
_coming in glory_ with His resistless power, _to make some blessed
changes_.



Footnotes



[1] John i. 35-42.

[2] i. 1-18.

[3] i. 19-xii. 50.

[4] Chapters xiii.-xvii.

[5] Chapters xviii.-xix.

[6] Chapters xx.-xxi.

[7] Colossians i. 15-17.

[8] Philippians ii. 6-8.

[9] Ephesians i.19-23.

[10] Revelation i. 13-18.

[11] i. 1-18.

[12] i. 19-xii. 50.

[13] Chapters xiii.-xvii.

[14] Chapters xviii.-xix.

[15] Chapter xx.

[16] Chapter xxi.

[17] There are nineteen of these incidents:

 1. The official deputation, i. 19-51.
 2. Marriage in Cana, ii. 1-11.
 3. Cleansing the Temple, ii. 13-22.
 4. Nicodemus, iii. 1-21.
 5. Dispute about purifying, iii. 22-36.
 6. Samaritan woman, iv. 1-42.
 7. Nobleman's son, iv. 46-54.
 8. Thirty-eight years infirmity, v.
 9. Feeding five thousand, vi. 1-15.
10. Walking on water and discussion, vi. 16-71.
11. At Feast of Tabernacles, vii.
12. Accused woman, viii. 1--11.
13. First attempt to stone, viii. 12-59.
14. Man born blind, ix. 1-x. 21.
15. Second stoning, x. 22-42.
16. Lazarus, xi.
17. Bethany Feast, xii. 1-11.
18. Triumphal Entry, xii. 12-19.
19. The Greeks, xii. 20-50.


[18] iii. 32.

[19] iii. 11.

[20] i. 19-51.

[21] ii.1-11.

[22] ii. 12.

[23] ii. 13-22.

[24] vii. 50, 51; xix. 39.

[25] ii. 23-iii. 21.

[26] iii. 11, 19, 32.

[27] iii. 22-36.

[28] iv 1-42.

[29] iv. 43-45.

[30] iv. 46-54.

[31] v. 1-47.

[32] vi. 1-14.

[33] vi. 15-71.

[34] vii. 1-52.

[35] viii. 1-11.

[36] viii 12-59.

[37] ix. l-x. 21.

[38] x. 22-39.

[39] x. 40-42.

[40] xi. 1-53.

[41] xi. 54-57.

[42] xii. 1-8.

[43] xii. 9-11.

[44] xii. 12-19.

[45] xii. 20-36.

[46] xii. 37-50.

[47] ii. 23.

[48] iv. 45.

[49] vi. 1-2, 14, 15, 34.

[50] vii. 31, 40, 41.

[51] viii. 30.

[52] x. 20, 21.

[53] x. 40-42.

[54] xi. 45; xii. 9-12.

[55] xii 17-18.

[56] xii. 12-14.

[57] xii. 42.

[58] ii. 23-25

[59] vi. 60-66.

[60] xii. 42-43.

[61] i. 35-51; ii. 1-11; iii. 13-28.

[62] vi. 66-69.

[63] xi. 16.

[64] ii. 22; xii. 16.

[65] iii. 1-21.

[66] vii. 50-51 with xii. 42, 43.

[67] xix. 39.

[68] iv. 5-42.

[69] Genesis XV. 6 with xx. 11.

[70] vii. 35.

[71] xii. 24-36.

[72] Note the official deputation incident (chapter i.), and the
Nicodemus incident (chapter iii.).

[73] i. 19-34.

[74] iii. 11, 32.

[75] ii. 13-20.

[76] iii. 22-iv. 3.

[77] iv. 44.

[78] v. 16-18.

[79] vi. 30-36, 41-42, 52, 60-66.

[80] vii. throughout.

[81] viii. 1-11.

[82] viii. 12-59.

[83] ix. 1-x. 21.

[84] x. 22-39.

[85] xi. 47-57.

[86] "Jesus had _not yet_ come," intimating that they were expecting Him
in accordance with an understanding between Him and them. vi. 17.

[87] Kings vi. 1-7.

[88] Kings xvii. 17-24.

[89] Kings xiii. 20-21.

[90] Kings iv. 32-37.

[91] Luke viii. 40-42, 49-56.

[92] Luke vii. 11-17.

[93] iii. 1-21.

[94] iv. 7-42.

[95] viii. 1-11.

[96] ii. 13-21.

[97] vii. throughout.

[98] Luke iv. 30; John viii. 59; x. 39; xii. 36.

[99] Mark x. 32; Luke ix. 53.

[100] viii. 12-59.

[101] x. 22-39.

[102] xii. 12-19, 36.

[103] xiii. 1-3.

[104] ii. 4; vii. 6, 8, 30; viii. 20.

[105] xii 23, 27; xiii. 1, 31-32; xvii. 1.

[106] xiii. 4-11.

[107] xiii. 12-20.

[108] Philippians ii. 6-11.

[109] xiii. 18.

[110] xiii. 21-30.

[111] The word "glory" with its companion "glorify," is frequent in
John. We shall understand better if we remember that originally the word
he uses means the opinion that one has of another, especially a good
opinion. But as the word is used commonly here the underlying thought
is, not what one thinks of another, nor yet something that one may give
to another, but _the actual character in the one so thought of._ Glory
is the character of goodness. So _to see one's glory_ is to see his real
inner character, and to see that character openly recognized and
acknowledged. So to _glorify_ means to recognize and acknowledge openly
the true character of one. Twice in John the word is used in the cheaper
meaning of outer honour among men. vii. 18; viii. 50.

[112] xiii. 31-33.

[113] xiii. 34-38.

[114] xiv. 1-14.

[115] xi. 33; xii. 27; xiii. 21.

[116] xiv. 15-31.

[117] xv. 1-17.

[118] 18-xvi. 18.

[119] xvi. 19-33.

[120] xvii. throughout.

[121] See footnote on "glory."

[122] xii. 36.

[123] Matthew xxvii. 32 and parallels.

[124] xix. 28.

[125] x. 17-18.

[126] viii. 31-32, 34-36.

[127] xii. 32.

[128] Some references for this whole paragraph,--viii. 44; xii. 31;
xiii. 2, 27; xiv. 30; xvi. 11.

[129] x. 16; xii. 32; xvii. 20.

[130] Matthew xvi. 21; xvii. 9, 23; xx. 19; Mark viii. 31; ix. 31; x.
34; Luke ix. 22; xviii. 33.

[131] xvi. 16.

[132] Matthew xxvii. 63.

[133] Mark xvi. 6-7; Luke xxiv. 6-11.

[134] Matthew xxviii. 16.

[135] John xiv. 3, and others.

[136] Luke v. 1-11.

[137] xxi. 1, 14.

[138] So Thayer.

[139] xiv. 21, 1. c.





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