How he embraced all - such human sympathy - coming not to destroy but to fulfil; not to judge the world but to save the world.
How he loved the children! How he loved to have them about him! How he loved their simplicity, and native integrity of mind and heart! Hear him as he says: " Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein "; and again: " Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not; for of such is the Kingdom of God." The makers of dogma, in evolving some three hundred years later on the dogma of the inherent sinfulness and degradation of the human life and soul, could certainly find not the slightest trace of any basis for it again in these words and acts of Jesus.
We find him sympathising with and mingling with and seeking to draw unto the way of his own life the poor, the outcast, the sinner, the same as the well-to-do and those of station and influence - seeking to draw all through love and knowledge to the Father.
There is a sense of justice and righteousness in his soul, however, that balks at oppression, injustice, and hypocrisy. He therefore condemns and in scathing terms those and only those who would seek to place any barrier between the free soul of any man and his God, who would bind either the mind or the conscience of man to any prescribed formulas or dogmas. Honouring, therefore the forms that his intelligence and his conscience allowed him to honour, he disregarded those that they did not.
Like other good Jewish rabbis, for he was looked upon during his ministry and often addressed as Rabbi, he taught in the synagogues of his people; but oftener out on the hillsides and by the lake-side, under the blue sky and the stars of heaven. Giving due reverence to the Law and the Prophets - the religion of his people and his own early religion - but in spirit and in discriminating thought so far transcending them, that the people marvelled at his teachings and said - surely this a prophet come from God; no man ever spoke to us as he speaks. By the ineffable beauty of his life and the love and the winsomeness of his personality, and by the power of the truths that he taught, he won the hearts of the common people. They followed him and his following continually increased.
Through it all, however, he incurred the increasing hostility and the increasing hatred of the leaders, the hierarchy of the existing religious organisation. They were animated by a double motive, that of protecting themselves, and that of protecting their established religion. But in their slavery to the organisation, and because unable to see that it was the spirit of true religion that he brought and taught, they cruelly put him to death - the same as the organisation established later on in his name, put numbers of God's true prophets, Jesus' truest disciples to death, and essentially for the same reasons.
Jesus' quick and almost unerring perception enabled him to foresee this. It did not deter him from going forward with his message, standing resolutely and superbly by his revelation, and at the last almost courting death - feeling undoubtedly that the sealing of his revelation and message with his very life blood would but serve to give it its greatest power and endurance. Heroically he met the fate that he perceived was conspiring to end his career, to wreck his teachings and his influence. He went forth to die clear-sighted and unafraid.
He died for the sake of the truth of the message that he lived and so diligently and heroically laboured for - the message of the ineffable love of God for all His children and the bringing of them into the Father's Kingdom. And we must believe from his whole life's teaching, not to save their souls from some future punishment; not through any demand of satisfaction on the part of God; not as any substitutionary sacrifice to appease the demands of an angry God - for it was the exact opposite of this that his whole life teaching endeavoured to make known. It was supremely the love of the Father and His longing for the love and allegiance, therefore the complete life and service of His children. It was the beauty of holiness - the beauty of wholeness - the wholeness of life, the saving of the whole life from the sin and sordidness of self and thereby giving supreme satisfaction to God. It was love, not fear. If not, then almost in a moment he changed the entire purpose and content, the entire intent of all his previous life work. This is unthinkable.
In his last act he did not abrogate his own expressed statement, that the very essence of his message was expressed, as love to God and love to one's neighbour. He did not abrogate his continually repeated declaration that it was the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, which brings man's life into right relations with God and into right relations with his fellow-men, that it was his purpose to reveal and to draw all men to, thereby aiding God's eternal purpose - to establish in this world a state which he designated the Kingdom of Heaven wherein a social order of brotherliness and justice, wrought and maintained through the potency of love, would prevail. In doing this he revealed the character of God by being himself an embodiment of it.
It was the power of a truth that was to save the life that he was always concerned with. Therefore his statement that the Son of Man has come that men might have life and might have it more abundantly - to save men from sin and from failure, and secondarily from their consequences; to make them true Sons of God and fit subjects and fit workers in His Kingdom. Conversion according to Jesus is the fact of this Divine rule in the mind and heart whereby the life is saved - the saving of the soul follows. It is the direct concomitant of the saved life.
In his death he sealed his own statement: " The law and the prophets were until John; since that time the Kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it." Through his death he sealed the message of his life when putting it in another form he said: " Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word and believeth on Him that sent me hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation: but is passed from death unto life."
In this majestic life divinity and humanity meet. Here is the incarnation. The first of the race consciously, vividly, and fully to realise that God incarnates Himself and has His abode in the hearts and the lives of men, the first therefore to realise his Divine Son-ship and become able thereby to reveal and to teach the Divine Fatherhood of God and the Divine Sonship of Man.
In this majestic life is the atonement, the realisation of the at-one-ment of the Divine in the human, made manifest in his own life and in the way that he taught, sealed then by his own blood.
In this majestic life we have the mediator, the medium or connector of the Divine and the human. In it we have the Saviour, the very incarnation of the truth that he taught, and that lifts the minds and thereby the lives of men up to their Divine ideal and pattern, that redeems their lives from the sordidness and selfishness and sin of the hitherto purely material self, and that being thereby saved, makes them fit subjects for the Father's Kingdom.
In this majestic life is the full embodiment of the beauty of holiness - whose words have gone forth and whose spirit is ceaselessly at work in the world, drawing men and women up to their divine ideal, and .that will continue so to draw all in proportion as his words of truth and his life are lifted up throughout the world.