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The Unrecognised Christ.

The Unrecognised Christ.

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Published by glennpease
BY REGINALD J. CAMPBELL

MINISTER OF THE CITY TEMPLE LONDON



" And I knew Him not : but He that sent me to baptize
with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt
see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same
is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." St. John i. 33.
BY REGINALD J. CAMPBELL

MINISTER OF THE CITY TEMPLE LONDON



" And I knew Him not : but He that sent me to baptize
with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt
see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same
is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." St. John i. 33.

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Published by: glennpease on Jul 17, 2013
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02/04/2014

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THE URECOGISED CHRIST.BY REGIALD J. CAMPBELLMIISTER OF THE CITY TEMPLE LODO" And I knew Him not : but He that sent me to baptizewith water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shaltsee the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the sameis He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." St. John i. 33.THIS text can hardly be profitably examined orunderstood apart from its context, and thatcontext is strikingly and profoundly interesting.The writer of the fourth gospel not only had accesshere to a source unknown to or ignored by thesynopists, but he uses it most carefully and skilfully. The section concerning the witness of Johnthe Baptist to Christ is inserted in its right place,and it fulfils an easily-ascertained purpose. Whatwas that purpose ? It was to show, I think, thatJohn the Baptist was not only the herald of Christin the general, but also in the particular sense. If we are to believe the record that is given here, itis evident that John, to some company and inpublic how large the company may have been wedo not know announced Jesus by name as theChrist, the One whom he had come to proclaimto the world.Let us examine the circumstances. John hadcome into the wilderness of Judea, baptising with22 THE URECOGISED CHRIST.
 
water unto remission of sins. His message was," Repent, for the axe is laid to the root of thetree." He announced the advent of One whoshould thoroughly purge His floor and gatherthe wheat into the garner, but burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire." There was a generalMessianic expectation at the time which you andI have often considered together. Israel washumiliated and weary. It was to a miserable ageand a down-trodden people that John s messagecame. They were looking for a deliverer, a StrongOne sent by the God of Israel. They may not havethought of Him as divine in the sense in whichthe Christian consciousness would ascribe thatquality to Jesus, but they did expect a Messiahwho would carry all before him, bringing in, as itwere, the kingdom of God with a mighty hand,delivering them from their oppressors and from allthe evil they had brought upon themselves. Thiswas the burden of John s message. The fieryprophet proclaimed it with his whole soul.ow observe, if tradition is to be believed, Johnthe Baptist had known Jesus in childhood, andhe was His relative, a comparatively near relative,too. They must have been well acquainted witheach other, and yet he says in this chapter, " Iknew Him not." Quite so. It would have beenperfectly possible for one man to live near anotherand come under the spell of that other withoutTHE URECOGISED CHRIST. 23seeing all that was in him. When he says, " Iknew Him not," he speaks with perfect truth.But the events which are recorded in this firstchapter of St. John are the sequel of the great daywhen Jesus, the childhood s friend and relative
 
of St. John, comes to be baptised of him. Whenthe Pharisees put the question to John, " Art thouHe that should come? Art thou Elias? Art thouthe prophet? " His answer was, " I am not anyof these, but only the herald of the Christ." InJohn s mind, when the question was put, there wasa thought to which he presently gave expression.He remembered the hour, only forty days or sobefore, on which Jesus of azareth, his childhood sfriend, came and asked to be baptised along withthe penitents. You remember how John shrank at the request. It was because he already knewJesus. " I have need to be baptised of Thee, andcomest Thou to me?" o new discovery this.Hence he shrank from administering the rite whichprofessedly was undergone by the guilty whowished to enter into newness of life. The answerof Jesus was, " Suffer it to be so now, for thus itbecometh us to fulfil all righteousness." Johndid not know what He meant. This was not theburden of the fiery prophet s message. But whatJesus meant was, Righteousness is righteousnessindeed when it lays itself savingly alongside of unrighteousness, holiness shows itself in sympathy24 THE URECOGISED CHRIST.with penitence. The Saviour and the repentantsinner are always near together. And the Jesuswho went down into the water with John s penitents had no sin to leave there, no ne\v professionto make. But He rose, as it were, in closest moralunion with those who had now taken a new standon the side of the righteousness of God. Johnsaw something on the face of Jesus at that time\vhich he had never seen before. I am not prepared to discuss here or to examine the phenomenawhich took place at the baptism of Jesus. It may

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