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The Gospel of the rejection : a study in the relation of the Fourth Gospel to the three online

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the great prayer : "I in them."

4. They have learnt (i) Dependence on Him
as (2) the Way and (3) the Truth.

Their desire not to lose their hold on
Him is not merely the helpless longing
which we know as we stand by those who
are passing away from us, the desire to
retain the sensible personal presence of
those we love. There is more in it than

There is the sense of spiritual depen-
dence. They have learnt what they hardly
realise that they have learnt the lesson
indeed was but half-learnt, they were to
learn it afresh and for ever that night,
St Peter when he denied Him, the rest
when they forsook Him and fled they
feel, though they do not know, what
He presently told them that they might
know, that apart from Him they can do


They have learnt what St Thomas thinks
that he has not learnt, but our Lord tells
him that he knows it, when He tells him
once again what by His presence He has
been telling them all the time, " I am
the Way." They have learnt the way of
righteousness, they have seen the fulfilment
of the Eternal Law as it was never learnt
or seen by man before.

They have learnt what St Philip asks
that he may be shown, though he has seen
it all the time, "He that hath seen Me
hath seen the Father," " I am the Truth."
God as He is in His Eternal Being has
been made known to them.

5. He leads them on to the Thought of Him
as the Life the Identification with
Himself through the Spirit.

But He is leading them on beyond these
lessons to another. By the force of their
yearning desire not to be separated from
Him in whom they have found "the Way,"
the living Law of God, "the Truth," the


vision of the Father's face, He is leading
them on to the knowledge of God within
them, the Gift of the Spirit, " I in them,"
" I am the Life."

Towards this need, towards this gift He
seems to be guiding them all through the
discourse in the Upper Room, afterwards on
the way to the Garden, and in the Great
Prayer at the end.

They are to regard themselves as identified
with Him. The washing of the feet is to
teach them that " Ye should do as I have
done to you." The new commandment is,
" that ye love one another even as I have
loved you." The works that He does shall
they do also and greater works than these
shall they do because He goes to the Father.
And if they feel themselves being separated
from Him, there where He will be will He
prepare a place for them. Whatsoever they
shall ask the Father in His Name He will
do. And on them thus asking, in the love
which strives to keep His commandments,
the Prayer of Christ will call down another
Comforter, that He may be with them for



ever, the Spirit of the Truth which Christ
is no stranger to them, for while Christ
is with them He abideth with them, but
when Christ is gone He shall be in them ;
and in this coming of the Comforter to
dwell in them Christ Himself comes to
them to give them the Life which He is,
" I will come to you, because I live, ye
shall live also." " He that loveth Me shall
be loved of My Father, and I will love Him
and will manifest Myself to Him." "We
will come unto Him and make our atxxle
witH Him;** And He who records the
words records the promise too, of which the
record itself was the fulfilment, " He," the
Comforter, the Holy Spirit, "shall teach you
all things, and bring to your remembrance
all that I said to you."

So again, when they are passing from the
Upper Room to me Garden, the teaching
of the figure of the Vine is " Abide in Me
and I 'In you." "Ye cannot bear fruit
except ye abide in Me." "If ye keep My
commandments ye shall abide in My Love."
" This is My commandment, that ye love


one another, even as I have loved you."
And from this identification of themselves
with Him it follows that the world will
hate them as it hated Him, as in Him it
had both seen and hated both Him and
His Father. But once more, in the thought
of their continuation of His conflict with
the world, He recurs to the gift of the
Spirit which is to be their strength. " The
Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, shall bear
witness of Me, and ye also shall bear
witness, because ye have been with Me
from the beginning." They are not to be
offended, not to stumble at persecution.
The Comforter will come and will reprove,
convict the world. . . . Even as He spoke
they must have felt that what He was
saying was but a beginning. So He says,

1 1 have yet many things to say to you, but
ye cannot bear them now7[ By the Spirit

He would say them. "When He, the

Spirit of Truth, is come, He shall guide
you into all truth. He shall take of Mine
and show it unto you." And so though
for a little while they should have sorrow,


in a little while " Ye shall see Me." " Your
sorrow shall be turned into joy, and your
joy no man taketh from you."

And once more, in the Great Prayer, He
lifts up His eyes to the Father, whom He
has glorified by giving to them Eternal
Life, which is the knowledge of Him. " I
pray for them." " Sanctify them in the
truth. For their sakes I sanctify Myself,
that they themselves also may be sanctified
in truth," that the purpose with which He
made known to them the Father might
be fulfilled in them, "that the Love where-
with Thou lovedst Me may be in them,
and I in them."

6. The Hour of Parting enabled them to
drink in the Spirit of His Teaching,
and in that Strength to go through
the Dark Hour.

As we trace even one thread of thought
through these last discourses and the final
Prayer, we cannot help wondering how far
those who heard them were able, as they


heard, to understand. If the full meaning
of the words was long in coming home
even to him who records them, the experi-
ence of that hour of pain and love, of
promise and desire, would remain with
them promise which touched, they would
feel, the very heart of their desire.

It is said of the Three, whom He took
apart with Him while He prayed in
the garden, that they slept for sorrow.
George Tinworth in picturing the scene
has scratched, in the plaster in which he
worked, beneath the sleeping St John, " I
sleep, but my heart waketh." We, as we
read such records as these, feel of ourselves
that there is a soul within the soul which
carries us beyond the words, though it is
the words that interpret to us what we
feel. It was this living experience of the
Love of Jesus Christ in the hour of part-
ing, giving the promise of His perpetual
Presence through the gift of the Spirit,
which St John interpreted to Himself and
to the Church by the record of the words,
when Jesus was glorified and the Spirit


was come. It was through the spiritual
discipline of this experience that He
passed to witness the Judgment and the



i. The Record of the Judgment and the
Death is Bare Fact ; the Rest of the
Gospel is the Comment. From the
first the Death was in View.

THE actual record of our Lord's Judgment
and Death in St John's Gospel is a record
of bald hard fact. He omits details, which
had already been recorded, and which must
be assumed to make his story intelligible.
He adds details, such as the knowledge of
the man who was known unto the high
priest enabled him to add to the story
of the trial, and such as the memory of
him who stood by the Cross enabled Jhim
to add to the story of the Crucifixion
and here alone, in the record of the fare-



well words to Mary and to himself does
he seem for a moment to unbend from
the rigid horror of his record. But it is
bare fact throughout, fact which is left to
speak for itself, as we feel it spoke to
him, poignant fact, as when "one of the
soldiers with a spear pierced His side, and
forthwith came thereout blood and water,
and he that saw it bare record." It is
naked fact, there is almost no comment.
The rest of the Gospel is the comment
the story of the manifestation of love in
the offer of Eternal Life through the Son
of God to those who rejected it, as it was
witnessed by His own, whom having loved,
He loved to the end. And in the rest of
the Gospel the Death, the Crucifixion, the
Sacrifice, are in view from the first.

2. As the Sacrifice ; (a) Behold the Lamb of
God; (<$) The Bread which I will give
is My Flesh ; (c] Greater Love hath no
man than this.

The Sacrifice is in view as the manifesta-
tion of Love to~~HIs~6wn7 to the disciples.


They are first drawn to Htm bv the words
of the Baptist, " Behold, the Lamb of God,
that taketh away the sin of the world ! "
suggesting to the minds of those who heard
them the Lamb that was offered in the
morning and in the evening, day by day
continually, on the altar in the Temple, and
the Paschal Lamb offered at the Passover
in memory of the great deliverance, and
the prophecy of Him who was to be "led
as a lamb to the slaughter," whose soul
God was to make "an offering for sin,"
thoughts and memories full of deep mean-
ing ""to those who, as disciples of the
Preacher of repentance, had learnt the
knowledge of sin.

It was in their own Galilee, and when they
were round about Him, that He told how
the Bread that He would give, was His
flesh for the life of the world, and except
they" ate the flesh of the Son of Man and
drank His Blood they had no life in them-
selves words which to a Jew could only
point to His death as a sacrifice, and to the
appropriation of the sacrificed Life. These

' ' ' N


were the words which made many of His
disciples go back and walk no more with

^<* l ^*'tWt*^ MMaMWBM *VVHMiB^HMMMWI4B'''V'' ll ' BB ^*iw-

Him. They mark a crisis of the attach-
ment of the disciples to their Lord. It
was of these words that St Peter said :
"Thou hast the words of Eternal Life."

And again at the end, when the words
He had spoken at the Feast of Dedication
were yet fresh in their hearts, " I know
Mine own and Mine own know Me, even
as the Father knoweth Me and I know
the Father, and I lay down My life for the
sheep," when, having loved His own, He
loved them to the end, He said, " This is
My commandment, that ye love one another,
even as I have loved you. Greater love
hath no man than this, that a man lay down
his life for his friends."

in.] THE "LIFTING UP" 99

3. As the "Lifting Up" associated with the
Manifestation of the Fathers Love,
and the Attraction of the World ; (a] In
the Talk with Nicodemus ; (<5) In the
Conflict at the Feast of Tabernacles ;
(c] At the Coming of Greeks.

And, as the Sacrifice has been in view
throughout the story of the manifestation of
Love, the Crucifixion has been in view
throughout the story of the manifestation
to those who reject Him. Three times the
phrase recurs of which St John says : " This
He said, signifying what death He should
die." "The Son of Man shall be lifted
up," "When ye have lifted up the Son of
Man," " I, IF I be lifted up from the earth."
AncTthe "lifting up" of the Son of Man
seems to be associated on the one hand with
the manifestation of the Father, and on the
other hand, with the thought that, in this
lifting up, through the greater manifestation
of Love, their rejection will give to Him the
new and larger Israel of those who will be
drawn to Him and will receive Him.


First, in the talk with Nicodemus, which
shows us the secret of me rejection ^ of the
Jews, that they felt no need of spiritual
renewal, when He is saying to him, "If ye
believe not" this, "how shall ye believe if I tell
you of heavenly things ? " He goes on, "And
as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilder-
ness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted
up ; that whosoever believeth in Him may
have Eternal Life. For God so loved the
world, that He gave His only Begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth on Him should not
perish, but have Eternal Life."

And again, at the Feast of Tabernacles,
when He is telling them that the things
which He has heard "from Him" these
speaks He to the world, and they perceive
not that He is speaking to them of the
Father, He adds, " When ye have lifted
up the Son of Man, then shall ye know"tKat
fam He, and that I do nothing of Myself,
but as the Father taught Me I speak these
things." And St John describes how even
among " the Jews " the intrinsic attraction
of the words was felt, "As He spake these


words many believed on Him" though
they were not to "abide in His word."

And once more at the end of the great
drama of rejection, before that appalling
summary which closes the twelfth chapter
of trie Gospel, now when His manifestation
to " His own " is finally closing in, "His
own" receiving Him not, and, like a ray
of light flashing out into the darkness, the
coming of the Greeks to seek Him gives
promise of the gathering in of the Gentiles,
He "breaks out, "The hour is come, that the
Son of Man should be glorified. Except a
grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it
abideth by itself alone ; but if it die, it
beareth much fruit ; " and when the prayer,
" Father, glorify Thy Name," is answered
by the voice from heaven, He adds, " Now
is the judgment of this world, and I, if I
be lifted up from the earth, will draw all
men tcT Myself."

If throughout the story of the Gospel the
manifestation of Love seems to be cut off
from its fruit and result, because it leads
to nothing but rejection, here it is not so.


Here light begins to break. Here we reach
the positive issue, the positive result. The
final manifestation of Love, to which the
great rejection leads, must draw all men
to itself. This is how the whole story of
the rejection shines with a strange glory to
St John, the glory of the manifestation in
which it was to end. And this is the light
in which, in the bare record of St John, the
Judgment and the Crucifixion stand out.

4. The Kingdom which is Rejected is the
Kingdom of the Truth, the Truth oj
the Manifested Love of God.

This is the New Kingdom, the Kingdom
of those who are drawn. He had entered
Jerusalem amid the shouts of a crowd, who
welcomed Him as the King of Israel. Was
He a King? Pilate asked. The answer
was that He came to bear witness to the
Truth, and every one that was of the Truth
heard His voice. That was the nature of
His kingdom, the kingdom of those who
were drawn by the attraction of the Love
manifested as the Truth. From this kingdom


the Rulers of the Jews disinherited them-
selves. when tney found themselves driven
by their repudiation 01 Him to say: "We

have no" Icing' but Caesar""

TKe^power of tHe Roman Empire was
given to it from above, it was ordained by
the power that orders all things, as the
Prophets had always taught that the powers
that be are ordained of God. Those who
delivered our Lord to Pilate had the greater
sin, because they, the representatives of
that Higher Power, had failed to recognise
in Him the Mind of God, had failed to
see in Him the Christ, the King of the
spiritual Israel, and therefore had misused
and perverted to compass His destruction
the earthly empire which was the instru-
ment of the Divine Righteousness.

Pilate, the stages of whose struggle not to
surrender Roman justice to the ill-will of
the Jews St John so mercilessly and
minutely records, finally flings Him to
them with a taunt, "Behold, your King!"
unconscious of the irony of his condemna-
tion of them and of himself.


5. // is Hard Fact, as he, the Disciple,
then saw and felt the Fact.

The scene in itself is a scene of sheer and
hard rejection. In every detail of it we
feel at once the blind unconsciousness of
those who knew not what they did, and
yet their clear knowledge of the moral
issue as presented to their conscience, half-
enlightened as it was. As a mere crime it
was a clear-sighted and deliberate crime. It
is wonderful to think that this is the scene
whose issue was described beforehand in the
words : " I will draw all men to Myself."

But as it is called up before us we see it
through his eyes, who records it as he saw
it when he wrote the record. Who can say
with wnat ~eyes He saw it then when he
saw it. Who can say whether in thaTTiour
his mind could travel back over treasured
memories of dark prophetic words ? Rather
perhaps the story as it stands conveys to us
the truth. Just so the facts stamped them-
selves upon his heart, the bare sheer facts, as


to which, as they fell upon his soul, he could
neither feel nor think. " Not this man, but
Barabbas." "Behold, the Man!" " Behold,
your King!" "What I have written I have
written." " It is finished."



i. " They knew not" till at the Sepulchre
the Disciple " saw and believed "

FOR "as yet they knew not." Sometimes
we have^TTnowlrf ITeStJi to be the revealing
fact, bringing home to us in a flash the
secret of a man's life, the high value at
which he is rated, known only when death
has rounded his life into a whole. But to
them His death was itself a mystery,
leaving hopes wrecked, and purposes
defeated, and promises unfulfilled. The
memories of His deeds and of His words
rested like unread riddles in their minds.
The burden of wonder and sorrow and
pain lay heavy on their hearts.

What was the revealing fact? St John
tells us for himself the moment when the
new day dawned and the light shot back



over the past, and the secret stood out
plain and clear, which is written plain and
clear throughout his Gospel In Him was
Life "These are written, that ye may
believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of
God ; and that believing ye may have Life
through His Name." The Resurrection,
Life through Death, revealed the secret,
when "he saw and believed."

The s~ecret was revealed to Love. Once
more the world has dropped away and
disappeared. The Resurrection is no part
of the revelation to those who rejected
Him. For them the Cross was the last
word. It is a revelation to those who
love. The fact is recorded in the light in
which it was apprehended, as the revelation
of Eternal Life in the victory of the
Living Love over Death.

2. He saw the Negative Fact, not the
return to Life, the Old Life was over.

As yet they knew not. What was it
which he saw and believed ? The great


moment was not when He stood in the
midst of them and said, " Receive ye the
Holy Ghost." It was not when they
received His message, " I ascend unto My
Father and your Father." It was when
he saw the empty tomb, and the linen
clothes lying, from which the body had

It was a negative fact with which he was
face to face. It is no story like the raising
of Lazarus. It was not that death had
broken in upon the course of life, and then
suddenly death had seemed to be only a
dream of the night, for the dead had come
back to life. It was not that Christ was
come back to life. His death was not
cancelled, or removed, or done away, or
made as though it had not been. The
purport of what he saw was like the word
of the angel, "He is not here." It was no
delusive parting that He had made with
them after the supper. He was no longer
" with " them, though He manifested Himself
to them from time to time. "Touch Me
not" marked the character of the Risen


Life. It belonged to the Ascended Life
rather than to the earthly life which lay

3. He saw the Linen Clothes lying Empty,
revealing Life through Death.

And this was the convincing thing the
negative fact. This was what he saw, and
believed. He saw them lying the linen
clothes empty of the body which they had
enclosed. And, when he followed Simon
Peter into the tomb, he saw the napkin
which had been about His Head, not lying
with the linen clothes, but apart, twisted
round, away by itself. 1 That which died
ha3 passed away into that which lived.
Death itself contributed an element in the
truth. Life was revealed as Life through
Death. In some such way the words
indicate that conviction flashed from what
he saw. He saw and believed tlie reality
of the death, the reality of the Resurrec-

1 The interpretation is that given in Latham's " Risen
Master." ~


tion, the continuity between the life that
was and the life that is, and the difference
between the life that was and the life
that is.

4. The Continuity is Vital to the Experience.
Death was not an End but a Begin-
ning of the Life that had risen from
the Grave-clothes.

The continuity is vital to the meaning
of the experience. He had watched the
sinless life, the perfect righteousness, the
perfect love. He had seen the rejection
grow to hate, and hate threaten and seize
and condemn and kill. Death was the
utmost it could do. And here in a moment
he saw that of that righteousness and love
death was not the end. It was a beginning,
not an end. It was the beginning of a
new and wondrous life which had risen
from the grave-clothes where _they lay.
What this new life was to Jbe_ they knew
not yetT^They waited to see.


5. They sought no more the Body of the
Dead. They waited for and received
the Manifestation of the Living.

They sought no more for the body of
Him tKat was dead. They went back and
waited for the manifestation of Him that
was alive from the dead.

And word was brought to them by
Mary Magdalene that living communion
with Him was given back by His manifes-
tation in a bodily form, the means of
communion between spirit and spirit like
the body of the earthly life, through the
lips that had spoken her name, but had
forbidden her to lay hold on Him, and had
given the promise of a new communion
with Him, and with the Father to whom
He ascended.

And in the evening suddenly He was
among them Himself, breathing on them
the promise of the Spirit, which He had
told them they should receive from the
Father and from Himself, and in whose


power they should give the forgiveness of
sins in which their own new life had

6. But it was from the Negative Fact that
the Disciple dated his Conscious Belief
in the Gospel of Eternal Life.

But as St John looked back, it was to
that first hour of the dawn that he looked
back. All was rooted in that moment
when he saw and believed. As yet they
knew not. Now they knew.

And in the light of this new dawn of
knowledge he enters on the long years of
tarrying till the Master came the years
whose meditative memory gave to us and
to the Church the Gospel of Eternal Life.


i. St Johns Gospel challenges Interpretation
as a Gospel of Jerusalem, such as
the Story of the Three and Intrinsic
Probability alike demand.

IT remains to sum the results of this
study of the Gospel of St John in its
relation to the Three.

Dr Sanday says of the Fourth Gospel
("Criticism of Fourth Gospel," p. 145), that
for the particular purpose for which it was
written, "Geography did not matter, it
was quite indifferent whether the scene
was laid in Judsea or in Galilee." I do
not think that Dr Sanday would wish to
press this statement in any sense in which
I should question it. It certainly stands
for a truth which I should maintain. And
yet I will venture to take the phrase as it
113 p


stands, as representing the neglect of the
point of view from which we are bound to
start in appreciating the relation of the
Fourth Gospel to the Three.

The first thing to be said is, Geography
does matter. Given the mind of the writer
of the Fourth Gospel, as it is revealed to
us in his Gospel, it is most improbable
that to him any element of fact, which
challenges attention in his story, is in-
different to the idea which his story
presents. The fact that, as he tells us,
there was a Gospel preached in Jerusalem,
the place which God had chosen to set His
name there, in itself asks the questions to
which we have endeavoured to suggest the

The Galilean story again, the story of
the Three, not only leaves room for, but
demands, a story of a Ministry at Jerusalem
to supplement and to explain it.

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