If truth were not more wonderful than fiction, life would be a disappointment. If God were not able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, he would be embarrassed by our imagination. In Jesus Christ everything is at once marvelous and natural, eternal and historical, divine and human. His birth was a miracle, but if provision for the Incarnation was not made in the original design of man, then Jesus is irrelevant to our race. So Mary’s child is the first truly natural human being, worthy of the homage of peasants and sages and angels not only because he is divine, but also because he is humanity’s crown. As a boy he was as winsome as he was precocious; as a man he is a carpenter and a king. He lived by faith; to him the religious, the spiritual, and the moral took precedence over the material and temporal; yet his flesh was holy, the organ for the execution of the divine will in the world of matter, so that he did not hesitate to classify his body as the temple of God.

He was never controlled by policy; he was honest, not for profit but for truth. He drove the influential merchants out of the Temple twice. He warned of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, but refused to pronounce judgments on trifles, which would have suggested distinctions in moral character that did not exist. When a man came to him claiming that his brother had cheated him of his inheritance and asking that Jesus redress the wrong, he replied, “Who made me a ruler or a judge over you?” To him, the two brothers were alike; that is, they both fell short of God’s holiness and of man’s proper character. He was gentle with publicans and sinners, refusing to take action against them which would have classified their sin as worse than the sins of respectability, ...

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