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The Self-revelation of Jesus

The Self-revelation of Jesus

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John i., 35-51.


John i., 35-51.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 18, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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THE SELF-REVELATIO OF JESUSBY REGIALD J. CAMPBELLMIISTER OF THE CITY TEMPLE LODOJohn i., 35-51.A LITTLE time ago a well-known preacher, de-claring his own experience and doing his bestto move his hearers to a more solemn appre-hension of spiritual truth, said, " It is not thepreaching of Christ, not eloquence, not earnest-ness, not spiritual experience, not even the liv-ing of a good life, that brings men to a savingknowledge of Christ it is Christ Himself."The statement arrested me at once, because Ifelt that, thought it might be somewhat exag-gerated, yet it was the basal truth upon whichall spiritual life exists the self-revelation of Jesus.The great need of to-day is that of a nearvision of Jesus. The longer I live the moream I convinced that men do want to see Jesus.They do not want many propositions about38 THE KEYS OF THE KIGDOMChristianity, except those propositions aboutGod which are to be found in our experienceof Christ. When we seek spiritual satisfaction,each of us along the line of our own needs andexpressing our own nature, we are seekingreally for a revelation of Jesus. It is very
remarkable that this should be so,, in our ownday especially, because it shows how complete-ly victorious is the spiritual nature of man overevery other part of his nature. Every asser-tion of the highest in us is an appeal forJesus.When we compare our own day with whathave been called (I know not with how muchexactness) the ages of faith, we are struck, inspite of outward differences, with the similari-ty of the experience of Christ which prevailedthen and prevails now. When you are readingthe pages of Thomas a Kempis you feel your-self in some degree in another world, an entire-ly new environment, but the experience thatlies at the back of it, the experience of Christ, is precisely the same as that of anysaint of God in this place to-day; the reverentfamiliarity with Jesus which was the note andcharacteristic of the ages of faith is reproducednow, and where it is not reproduced it is soughtTHE SELF-REVELATIO OF JESUS 39after as much as in the days of Thomas aKempis. The great need of the present day isto bring men back to Jesus. Let me ask you,then, to revise what you already know of theprocess that has given us Jesus.It is not so very many years ago that Christwas, so to speak, rediscovered not the Christof faith, but the Jesus of actual history. Theecclesiastical Christ has nearly disappeared.There was a time in the history of the Churchwhen Jesus was lost sight of because the SecondPerson in the Trinity occupied a place so con-
spicuous. And then came a tendency, whichis now, I think, spending itself, to rediscoverthe actual Christ as He lived and walked andtalked in the days of His flesh; and as Dr.Fairbairn has said very pithily, though thatrediscovery of Jesus meant for us a new begin-ning in many ways, it cannot add anything toour actual experience of the Christ of faith.We have come very near to the historical Je-sus; we see Him now as He seemed to thefishermen of Galilee; we recognise His win-someness, His tenderness, His compelling pow-er, His authority ; but we know no more reallyof the spiritual loveliness of Christ than St.Bernard or St. Francis of Assisi. Christ hasfor us, as He had for them, the religious value40 THE KEYS OF THE KIGDOMof God. We identify Him with the best thatwe know of the Divine nature. He is the sat-isfaction of our souls at their highest; He candeal with human misery and weakness andpain. We ask to-day, as they asked in thelong ago, " Let us see Jesus."Then, how are we to obtain any clearervision of Jesus ? The thought may be shapingitself in your mind while I speak, " By goingstraight to the Holy Book." Here He is mir-rored for us. o one going to the ew Testa-ment for the first time could be other than ar-rested by the picture that its pages present of the Jesus of history. othing precisely likeHim has ever been seen. His uniqueness isdemonstrated by our increasing knowledge of what He did in the days of His flesh. Butdo you think that we go to the Bible for our

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