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stands in the same line with the Father and the Spirit, confronting all nations. He belongs to the Divine as contrasted with the human side in religious experience. That He was truly human it could never have occurred to the evangelist to doubt; but just as little could it have occurred to him to think that He was merely human, another child of the same race, to whom we are related precisely as we are to each other. Jesus as Matthew sees Him and exhibits Him at last is the Lord-the Lord who is exalted in divine power and glory, and who is perpetually present with His own.
How far this conception of Jesus modified the presentation of His life in the gospel, or whether it modified it at all, are questions reserved for the present: what we are concerned to note is that His place in the faith of the evangelist is that which is assigned Him in New Testament faith in general. The facts may or may not be able to support His greatness, but this greatness is what they are asked to support.
(c) The Gospel according to Luke
In the third gospel it is easier even than in Matthew to point out the characteristics of the writer's faith. They are conspicuous alike in what he tells of the birth of Jesus, and of His intercourse with the disciples after the resurrection. Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and the evangelist does not leave us in any doubt as to what these epithets mean. He does, indeed, in the opening chapters, use language of a peculiarly Jewish cast in describing the Saviour and the work He had to do: 'He shall be great and shall be called Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and He shall rule over the house of Jacob for ever, and of His kingdom there shall be no
end' (if). But like Matthew he refers the origination of the historic person who is the subject of this prophecy to the immediate act of God. 'The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee,' the angel says to His mother, 'and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; wherefore also that which is to be born shall be called holy, the Son of God' (15). Clearly, to the writer, the Divine Sonship of Jesus was nothing official, nothing to which any Israelite might aspire, or to which any man by the favour of heaven might be promoted; it is of His very being, and in the nature of the case can belong to Him alone. Any one who will may say that the mode in which the personality of Jesus originated cannot be a question of religious importance: but, however that may be, those who believed that His personality did originate in this unparalleled way must have given Him an unparalleled place in their faith.
In the body of his gospel the scene which throws most light upon Luke's way of regarding Jesus, is that which is given in ch. 416-30. This scene is antedated by the evangelist, as is clear from the reference to a ministry of Jesus at Capernaum in ver. 23, but it stands where it does because it is characteristic for the writer, and forms to his mind an appropriate frontispiece to the story of Jesus. The heart of it lies in the words, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears; but as these are words of Jesus, not of the evangelist, their full import need not be considered here. All we are called to remark is that Luke, though he makes no continuous appeal, like Matthew's, to the argument from prophecy, still writes from the beginning in the consciousness that God's gracious promises to His people were fulfilled in Jesus. 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for He hath anointed Me to preach glad tidings to the poor.' The universal scope of the gospel-the fact that it is destined for all
mankind, and that Jesus, therefore, is Lord of all-is hinted also in this typical introduction to His ministry. He is rejected in His own city, but reminds His unbelieving townsmen how in ancient times, though there were many widows and many lepers in Israel, only a Sidonian and a Syrian had experienced the mercy of God. But all that is characteristic in Luke's faith is condensed into what he tells us of the Risen Jesus and His intercourse with the eleven. It is the Risen Jesus who is the Christ, and we see in Luke 24 4 f his sig44 ff. nificance in the evangelist's religion. It is He who is the subject of the Old Testament throughout; in the law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms-in the three great divisions of the Hebrew Scriptures-there are things written which have been fulfilled in Him, and to which His life, death, and resurrection are the only key. He opens the mind of His disciples to understand these things. The purport of all revelation, He would have them know-and this certainly is the understanding of Luke is that the Christ should suffer, and should rise again on the third day, and that repentance for remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations. That the commission implied in this may be properly discharged, and the disciples prove worthy witnesses to their Master, He promises to send forth upon them the promise of the Father, the Spirit which will invest them in power from on high. It needs a greater effort than we can easily make to realise that Jesus had the place which this implies in the hearts of men who knew Him upon earth. But it is not open to question that it is the place He had in the mind of Luke. He owed His being in the world to the immediate and mysterious act of God. In His baptism He Himself was clothed with power from on high. The great and gracious purpose of God, shadowed forth in ancient
Scripture, was achieved in Him. The hope of the sinful world lay in the repentance and remission of sins preached in His name. The spiritual power-in other words, the power of God-which accompanied the apostles' testimony and evoked new life in the souls of men, was His gift. The words in ch. 24 52-they worshipped Him’— are possibly not part of the original text, but there is nothing in them out of harmony with this representation of Jesus. The person whose origin and career are such as the evangelist describes-the Person who is now exalted to God's right hand, and who sends the promised Spirit-is not a member of the Church but its Head. Luke has a peculiar interest in His humanity; on six separate occasions he tells us of His prayers, besides referring to His habit of withdrawing to desert places for devotion; but side by side with this simple human dependence on God there is that transcendent something which is fully revealed in His exaltation, in His gift of the Spirit, and in His mission of the apostles to all the world. It is not the particular way in which Luke conceived this or any part of it-in other words, it is not his Christology as an intellectual construction-with which we are concerned; it is the fact that Jesus had in the religious life of the evangelist the place and the importance which are here implied. Not that there is anything in it which we have not seen elsewhere, but it shows us once more, and if possible more clearly than ever, how incomparable is the significance of Jesus for Christian faith.
It is natural for us to examine the synoptic gospels separately, yet we must not overlook the fact that they are not independent, and that it is not the personal peculiarities of their authors which make them important. In point of fact they are anonymous writings, and though there are excellent reasons for connecting them with the
persons whose names they bear, it is not on this that their value depends. It lies greatly in the fact that they were produced in the Church, for the Church, and by men who were members of the Church, so that they are witnesses to us not of the individual peculiarities of their writers, but of the common faith. They were all written in the generation which followed the death of St. Paul, and what we see in them, speaking broadly, is Jesus as He was apprehended by the Church of those early days. The Jesus whom we see here is the Jesus on which the Christian community over all the world depended for its being. As far as He lived at all for the early Catholic Church he lived in the character in which He is here exhibited. In other words, He lived not as another good man, however distinguished his goodness might be, but as one who confronted men in the saving power, and therefore in the truth and reality of God. Whether the words in Luke 24" are genuine or not, the fact remains that at no date can we find any trace of a Church which did not worship Him.
CHRIST IN THE JOHANNINE WRITINGS
The New Testament writings which bear the name of John are certainly connected somehow, though how it is not easy to determine. It is not so long ago since the Apocalypse and the Fourth Gospel were regarded as the opposite extremes of early Christianity, representative of modes of thought and feeling so remote and antagonistic as to be virtually exclusive of each other; but deeper study has brought them in some respects into closer mutual relation than any books of the New Tes