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Life of Jesus Christ in Its Historical Connexion and Historical Developement.
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§ 145. The Discourse continued: Christ intimates his future greater Works.—His Judgment, and the Resurrection. (John, v., 20-29.)

Christ proceeds to declare (v. 20) that the Father will show him greater works than these, i. e., than reviving the dead limbs of the paralytic. And what were these “greater works?” Without doubt, that work which Christ always describes as his greatest—as the aim of his whole life—the awakening, namely, of Divine life in the spiritually dead humanity; a work which nothing but the creative efficiency of God could accomplish. “That ye may marvel;” for those who then would not recognize the Son of God in the humble garb of the Son of Man would indeed, at a later period, be amazed to see works (wrought by one whom they believed to be dead) which must be acknowledged to be great in their moral effects, even if their intrinsic nature could not be understood.

He describes these greater works more exactly, and points out, at the same time, the perfect power which he would have to do them in the words: “For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them, even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.” The raising to life is as real in the latter clause as in the former. It depends upon His will, indeed; but his is no arbitrary will; and it follows that submission to his will is requisite before man can receive this Divine life. This, like that other passage—the wind bloweth where it listeth—breaks down the barriers within which Judaism inclosed the Theocracy and the Messianic calling.

And because it depends upon the Son to give light to whom He will the whole judgment of mankind is intrusted to his hands. “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.” The negative is joined to the positive. The judgment is brought about by men’s bearing towards Him from whom alone they can receive life: “That all men should honour the Son, even as also they honour the Father.” He that will not recognize the Divine mission of the Son dishonours the Father that sent him.

The truth thus enunciated in general terms, Christ presented still more vividly, by applying it to his work then beginning, and which was to be carried on through all ages, until the final judgment and the consummation of the kingdom of God. “He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but is passed from death into life (the true, everlasting, Divine life). The hour is coming, and now is, when the (spiritually) dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live; for as the Father hath (the Source of Divine) life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have (Divine) life in himself. (If the Source of life, which is in God, had not been communicated to the human nature in him, then communion with him could not communicate the Divine life to others.) And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of Man (as man he is to judge men).”

His hearers, who saw him before their eyes in human form, were startled, doubtless, by these declarations. They looked for Messiah to establish a visible kingdom, with unearthly splendours, expecting it to be attended by an outward judgment; and Christ’s announcement of a spiritual agency, that was to be coeval with the world’s history, was beyond their apprehension. He referred them, therefore, to the final aim of the course which he was laying out for the human race, the final Messianic work of the Judgment and the general Resurrection; a work in itself, indeed, more familiar to them, but which, as ascribed to him, must have still more raised their wonder. “Marvel not at this; for the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves shall Hear his voice, and shall come forth: they that have done good, to the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”

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