Ten Lectures on Orthodoxy and Heresy in the Christian Church

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Ten Lectures on Orthodoxy and Heresy in the Christian Church

By Edward H. Hall, 1883.

In the first three Gospels then, Jesus appears exclusively as the Jewish Messiah or Christ. And the Jewish Messiah, I need not remind you, was never thought of except as a man.

Indeed, to the purely Jewish mind, trained for centuries to think of Jehovah as in absolute isolation from his human subjects, no other thought could well present itself; and certainly none other is found in all the Jewish Scriptures, or in the New Testament writings which most reflect the Jewish spirit.

According to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus was a purely human Messiah. They give, as we have seen, his human descent, with domestic incidents of his life, they record his Temptation, his gradual recognition of his coming fate, the agony of the garden, the exclamation of despair upon the cross. They represent him as foretold by the prophets, indeed, but foretold only as an anointed King. They call him the Son of God, but this was simply an Old Testament designation of the Messiah.

Two of these Gospels speak of a miraculous birth, and descent of the Holy Spirit from heaven at his baptism; but this would only make him a greater Messiah than any before. He wrought miracles, it is true; but so, according to the Jewish Scriptures, had Moses and Samuel, and Elijah and Elisha, — human beings all of them. Indeed, so did many of the Jews still living, by the testimony of Jesus himself.

If I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children cast them out?

It is quite safe to say that throughout the first three Gospels, Jesus is in no single passage ranked above humanity.