Jesus and man

Closely allied with his attitude towards the individual was the view which Jesus held of man. He was vividly aware of the strange mixture which is man. He fully recognized the depravity in man and declared that human fathers had to face the fact that they are evil. He saw and stated emphatically the tragic disaster that is the climax of the way of life which many, presumably most men pursue. Some of his sayings seem to disclose him as a hopeless pessimist. There would be many, he said, who would fail to respond to the invitation to enter the kingdom and when, all too tardily, they sought to retrieve their mistake would find that they were too late.

But Jesus held that men could enter into life, that men could, if they would, have a confident faith through which the seemingly impossible could become a reality. He appealed to men to think, sure that if they properly employed their reason it would lead them to correct conclusions. He believed that infinite possibilities were available to men if they would rake the right way towards attaining them. His works of healing both body and spirit Jesus regarded as demonstrations of God's power, but he declared that this power was available to others if they would only reach out in faith and claim it. Life would be sheer wonder and joy if men would only enter the door which was there for them, the door into God's kingdom of light and love. Pain might also be there, but it was not incompatible with the fullness of life. Indeed, it could be made to contribute to a richer and a deeper harmony. Jesus never entered into the age-long debate of determinism as against indeterminism, of predestination and free will, but he quietly assumed that men had sufficient power of choice either to reject or to meet the conditions of entering upon the life which God had designed for them.

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