The Son of God among the Sons of Men Part 1: John the Baptist -- By: Everett F. Harrison

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 102:405 (Jan 1945)
Article: The Son of God among the Sons of Men Part 1: John the Baptist
Author: Everett F. Harrison


The Son of God among the Sons of Men
Part 1: John the Baptist

Everett F. Harrison

I. Jesus and John the Baptist

In his admirable little book on the life of St. Paul, James Stalker turns aside momentarily to appraise the apostle John’s contribution to Christian truth, and makes the statement that “his thoughts to this day remain the property only of the few finest minds.” That is a startling observation in the light of the common Christian attitude toward the Fourth Gospel. If an elementary Bible class is to be formed, the portion of scripture more likely to be chosen than any other is John’s Gospel, and this is on the plea that it is the easiest to comprehend. The recurring terms such as life, light, love, truth, and glory are ordinary words whose frequent usage gives a promise of simplicity which is deceptive. Contrary to popular assumption, John’s Gospel is much more profound than his Revelation. In its depths lie mirrored the secrets of the Incarnation and of human destiny, discernible but unfathomable.

If the approach to the Fourth Gospel through a study of its key words is somewhat baffling, there are other avenues which may prove rewarding. One such approach, the consideration of the chosen miracles (signs) by which the deity of Jesus Christ is evidenced, has been sufficiently exploited. Not so much attention has been given to the individuals who crossed His path, men and women whose lives, on this account, could never be the same again, whether they responded to Him or not. The personal dealings of the Lord with individuals, as recorded in this Gospel, constitute a worthy study in themselves. We may find as we proceed

that truths which in the abstract remain obscure are through this medium sharpened and vivified. The interchange between the Son of God and the sons of men discloses personality as the master-key of revelation.

“The life was the light of men.”
“In thy light shall we see light.”

John holds the distinction of being the first human being introduced to us in the pages of the Fourth Gospel. This is not to be wondered at, since his ministry marked the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (Mark 1:1; Acts 1:22). Yet everything in this opening word (John 1:6–8) is so stated that attention will not be fixed upon John, but move readily to the Greater One that came after him. Here is a man; yonder is the Word, who is God. This one had a beginning (ἐγένετο); that One was (ἦν) in the beginning....

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