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§ 175. Various Opinions entertained of Jesus. (Luke, ix., 7-9.)

In the mean time Christ’s fame was spreading through all the land, and various opinions existed in regard to the character of the powers which could not be denied. A very small minority of the people recognized him as the Messiah; but the greater number expected that when Messiah should come, he would prove himself such by founding an earthly kingdom in visible glory; and that his power would be displayed, not in a corner of Galilee, but in the Theocratic metropolis But those who had been impressed by the labours of John the Baptist 261could hardly realize his total disappearance; and such, seeing greater works done so soon after his death, explained them thus: “He is risen from the dead, and therefore mighty works do show forth themselves in him” (Matt., xiv., 2). Others said that Elias, or one of the ancient prophets, had reappeared, to prepare the way for Messiah’s kingdom.

It is obvious that the impression produced by Christ’s works caused him to be generally regarded as higher than John—as the highest, indeed, next to Messiah; but not as Messiah himself, on account of the false expectation above mentioned. It is no matter of surprise that there should have been inconsistent and contradictory opinions at a time so disturbed and uneasy.

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