John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be to you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come…
The two-fold proposition we offer for your acceptance is this: Jesus Christ was not a product of the age in which He lived, but a native of another world who came to this world for a purpose; that He was God and man in one person. The geologist, finding a stone where there was no other stone like it, reasonably concluded that it was imported. A Chinaman walking down the streets of Shanghai meets an American missionary. The missionary is a man like himself, but in dress, language, and religion is totally different A foolish man, that Chinaman, if he does not conclude that he has met a foreigner. Now Jesus Christ was a man like other men, and yet so different from all other men that we are justified in believing that He is more than man and not a native of this world at all. Our first proof of this proposition is Jesus Christ Himself, in His claims, His character, and His works. He claimed that He was the Son of Man. His claim was not that He was a son of man, nor the son of a man, but the Son of Man, of all men, of the human race, of humanity. His was a life world-wide. His was a heart pulsating with the blood of the human race. He reckoned for His ancestry the collective myriads of mankind. Now, was there anything in the environments of Christ to make out of Him such a world-wide Son of Man? Just the contrary. He lived in a mountain village, and village life tends to make men narrow. Travel may correct this tendency, but He did not travel out of Palestine. Born of the tribe of Judah, and having a legal right to the throne of David, we would naturally expect Him to share the narrow, bitter feeling of His Jewish kindred, and, like them, chafe under the loss of national glory. On the other hand, He shares none of their narrow feelings. He teaches them a lesson of brotherly love by condemning their priest and Levite for passing by on the other side, while He praises the hated Samaritan who stops and helps the wounded man. All through His life there was a conflict between His universal sympathy and the narrow bigotry of His people. The forces at work at that time did not produce such a man. He evidently brought into the world this new idea, which we find through Revelation to be native of the world from which He came. Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. He was not a Son of God, but the Son of God. It was evident that His friends and enemies understood Him as claiming that in being the Son of God He was God. In many places He claims attributes which none but God can possess. There are some, however, who demand more evidence than a mere claim. They wish to know the basis on which the claim rests. Let me say to such there are but three positions we can hold with reference to Christ. None but a God, a madman, or a deceiver could have made the claims that He did. The charge that He was a madman no one is foolish enough to defend. Then He was either God or the worst of men. A good man cannot claim to be what he is not. Nor does any one at this day claim that Jesus was a deceiver. There is no middle ground. The very thought shocks the conscience of one who is at all familiar with His character. If, then, there be none foolish enough to claim that He was a madman, or bad enough to assert that He was a bad man, surely the verdict that He was good is universal; and if good He was God.
(A. C. Dixon.)
Parallel VersesKJV: John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;