I recently came across a series of lectures on the character of Jesus delivered in part between January and Easter of 1907 and January and Easter of 1908. They were delivered on Sunday evenings at Broadway Tabernacle church in New York City by its pastor, Charles Jefferson. He states as the reason for the study (which could well be said about today),
“The time is ripe for a restudy of his character and career. We have fallen upon distracted and distracting days. The world is crying out for something, it scarce knows what. Wealth has come, but the heart is hungry; knowledge has come, but life for many has slipped into a riddle and delusion. The world is filled with the inventions of human skill and genius, but there is a vast emptiness which neither science nor art is able to fill. “
The lectures, 26 in all, present the character of Jesus as the focus of the New Testament and Christian living. They have been collected and are available in a largely unedited form. You can purchase the collection on Amazon.com. I believe you will find them a fascinating read and one that, as it did me, provides you with a fresh and transformative look at the person of Jesus.
Here are a few selected passages from the introductory lectures:
The New Testament was written by men who were determined that we should fix our eyes on (Jesus) the “man”. They wish us to catch the beat of his heart, the swing of his mind, the orbit of his ideas. Everything is minimized and subordinated to that which is central and all important, the texture of his spirit and the attitude of his personality. With one accord they cry, “Behold the man!”
These Gospel writers evidently did not intend to write a biography of Jesus, otherwise they would have not confined themselves within such narrow limits. We are driven to the conclusion that they were writing not the biography of Jesus but the character of Jesus.
Notwithstanding the Gospels are so small, we know Jesus, his mind and heart and spirit, better than we know any other man who has ever lived upon the earth.
If you read the lectures, share your thoughts and comments below. I would love to hear how they impacted you.