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7. JESUS AS LOGOS THROUGHOUT THE FOURTH GOSPEL.

But the most important feature in this expression, “we saw his majesty,” &c. (i. 14) is this, that the whole Gospel is nothing but an amplification of it, This explains the continual insistence on the omnipotence and omniscience of Jesus, the omission of the baptism, the temptation, the anguish in Gethsemane; it explains the prayer at the grave of Lazarus, which was only for the sake of the people, the saying on the cross “I thirst,” which was only in fulfilment of a passage in the Bible, Jesus inviolability when attempts were made to capture or to stone him, the falling down of the Roman battalion when he said “I am he” whom ye seek, his continual reference to his own person and to his life with God before his descent upon earth, his ambiguous style of speaking without considering whether his hearers could follow him, his continual demand that they must believe in him, his continual assurance that only faith in him could give eternal life; his unvarying uniformity from 155beginning to end, his opposition to “the Jews” without distinction, his superiority to “the law of the Jews” and “the feasts of the Jews,” and the colourlessness of the figure of the Baptist, who is only permitted to point to Jesus. This explains, in particular, certain utterances of Jesus which we have not yet mentioned: “And now (that is to say, now that I am taking farewell of the earth), Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (xvii. 5), “before Abraham was, I am” (viii. 58). The “I am” seems really to be senseless. But, as a matter of fact, there is a purpose in it, and it alone gives the sentence its real force. Strictly speaking, two sentences have been compressed into one: “before Abraham was, I was” and “I am eternal and, being such, have no change.” Next and last, iii. 13, “No man hath ascended into heaven” in order to bring information, “but he only” can bring it “who descended out of heaven, the Son of man, which is in heaven,” that is to say “who is simultaneously in heaven continually,” not “who was in heaven.” The four last words are omitted in important manuscripts, but only, we may be sure, because the copyists thought they went too far. They very appropriately reflect Jn.’s idea about Jesus, and were therefore certainly written by him. Finally, the positive summing-up of Jn.’s view is expressed by Thomas in the last words addressed to Jesus in the Fourth Gospel (xx. 28), “My Lord and my God.” In the rest of the New Testament Jesus is called “God” only in Heb. i. 8 f. (Tit. ii. 13?); in 1 Tim. iii. 16; Rom. ix. 5, he is only so called through a wrong reading or faulty punctuation.

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