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The Openness of Jesus

The Openness of Jesus

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Published by glennpease
"And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there
came unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented."— St. Matt. viii. 5-13.
"And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there
came unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented."— St. Matt. viii. 5-13.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 14, 2012
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THE OPEESS OF JESUSBY JOH A. HUTTO, M.A.TOWARDS THOSE WHO EED HIM"And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, therecame unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him, and saying,Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievouslytormented."— St. Matt. viii. 5-13.THE references in the Gospels and " Acts" tothe Roman soldiers are, without exception,most favourable. It was a Roman soldier who,seeing Christ die upon the cross, exclaimed, " Trulythat man was the Son of God." Even when inthe course of duty they had to interfere with thework of the first disciples, they did so with theleast possible temper, and made no secret that itwas a branch of their duty which they did not like.St. Peter, a man with all the prejudices of a Jew,lost all those prejudices and became rather ashamedof himself when he met Cornelius and got aglimpse of his beautiful and serious home. I amsure it was one of the great blessings which came tothe first apostles through their loyalty to Christ, thatthat loyalty took them out of their narrow sur-roundings and brought them into contact withgood men beyond the boundaries of Judah. Jesus116
 
THE OPEESS OF JESUS 117had, indeed, assured His disciples that He hadother sheep which were not of the Jewish fold ; butprobably they did not understand His words untillong afterwards. In course of time they didunderstand, for from the very outset it was notthe Jewish soul but the Gentile soul that threwopen its doors to Christ.The first apostles tried indeed to force open theJewish heart, but for the most part they failed.St. James and some others remained at Jerusalem,doing their best and succeeding in a quiet way.But the real Christian movement, the tide on whichthis day the spiritual destiny of our world is beingborne, began not amongst Jews but amongstGentiles, amongst people, that is to say — and it isthe one point of my message now — who had no otherpreparation for the gospel than the simple and directneed of the human heart. " I turn to the Gentiles,"cried St. Paul, leaping clear of the bondage of tradi-tion ; I turn, that is to say, to the great world of the human heart. I turn to man as man, with hisancient sorrows and fears, and his ancient persever-ance of hope. Perhaps it was because the Gentileworld, the outside world, first opened its doors toChrist, that the Early Church preserved in itsreligious documents such stories as this of thecenturion, and set them, with all their charity andgood feeling, in deliberate contrast to the sour and
 
ii8 THE FEAR OF THIGSill-natured strife of the scribes and Pharisees.Take an example : " Then there come to Jesusfrom Jerusalem, Pharisees and scribes, saying.Why do Thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders, for they wash not their hands when theyeat bread ? " And alongside that, hear again thetext, " And when He was entered into Capernaum,there came unto Him a centurion, beseeching Him,and saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented."You cannot read the story of our Lord's en-counter with this Roman officer without feelingthat it left our Lord very happy. And you willfind this to be the exact case — our Lord wasalways conscious of a wave of happiness andhopefulness passing over His spirit whenever Hestood face to face with what I can only call thenatural human heart. ot that He considered thenatural human heart as, meanwhile, what it shouldbe, but simply that it seemed to Him to be some-how in a more hopeful condition than the Jewishheart, sophisticated as it had become with religiouspedantries. When Jesus had finished speaking tothe woman of Samaria, He was not depressed.On the contrary, He was full of hope. His face,we are told, was so exalted and unusual that thedisciples forbore to speak to Him for a time.And when our Lord broke tlie silence, what didTHE OPEESS OF JESUS 119

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