Elijah or Jeremiah
It is of the deepest interest to discover what was the common impression about Jesus, and in this report conveyed by the disciples we get a hint of the utmost value. "Whom do men say that I am?" said Jesus; and the answer was, "Some say John the Baptist; but others-and probably the greater number-think Thou art Elijah or Jeremiah come to earth again." Now there are many interesting suggestions in these answers; but one of them to my mind overtops all the others. Did you ever think of the vast difference there was between the characters of Elijah and Jeremiah? Yet some said about Christ, "This is Elijah," and others said, "No, it is Jeremiah." If you read again the page of the Old Testament, you will appreciate the gulf between the two. The one is ardent, enthusiastic, fierce sometimes. The other is the prophet of the tender heart and tears. And the remarkable thing is that the common people should have taken these types, which are so wide apart, and should have found in both the character of Christ. In other words, the impression which Jesus made was that of a complex, inclusive personality. You could not exhaust Him by a single prophet. It took the range of the greatest to portray His character. And I want this evening to try to bring before you some of these qualities of different natures, which harmonize so perfectly and wonderfully in the human nature of our Lord.
First, then, I am arrested in Christ's character by the perfect union of mastery and charm.1 It is one of the rarest things in the world to find the masterful man possessed of the indefinable quality of charm. There are some people born to be obeyed, and there are other people born to be loved; but it is very rarely that the compelling nature, in the language of Scripture, is "altogether lovely." Think of the masterful men whom you have known; the men whose distinguishing attribute was power; the men who never insisted on obedience yet somehow ...
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