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7. JESUS AS A DIVINE BEING UPON EARTH.

The really dangerous aspect of the matter when, by describing Jesus as the Son of God and the Logos, people easily induced the Gentiles to believe in him, is seen in another direction. They had to carry this description through. It had to be shown in detail how be walked on earth as a divine being, simply proclaiming his high rank, doing the greatest miracles for his own glorification, and for that reason keeping away from the grave of Lazarus for two days, while at the same time an effort had to be made to maintain that he was really a man. We need not stop again to explain how difficult it is for the mind to imagine this figure, or how hard it is for the religious sentiment to accept it. Even if it were applied to the Jesus of the Synoptics, that would be a hard saying: “I am the way and the truth and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me” (xiv. 6). People without number have either never had an opportunity of hearing about him, or in spite of knowing of him, hold to another religion or to a way of thinking which cannot ascribe any merits to some mediator who has appeared at 242some previous date; and yet, as a matter of fact, they display as much humility, love, and fidelity to God as the many Christians who have devoted themselves to the faith of the Church. But how much harder is the saying, when it is the Jesus of the Fourth Gospel in whom one must believe unconditionally if one wishes to enter into communion with God!

For centuries this demand has been made and complied with; and the books of history suggest rarely to some extent how many have been the doubts, and how great has been the torture of souls. To-day, in ever widening circles, people resolutely refuse to comply with it. And since this has happened, it may be considered fortunate that Jn. has made the demand so emphatically. For as a result of it we have been made to decide that no further move can be made in his direction, and that we must go back to the Synoptics and try to find in their account and—with their own guidance—in the background of their account, the figure of Jesus as he really existed.

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