And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God; but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness. Honour thy father and thy mother: and Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? Jesus said unto him. If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
If Christ had been an adventurer or was interested only in gaining a following He would have welcomed this young man, who was not only rich, but, according to Luke, a ruler. And what a splendid recommendation the young man gave himself; all of the commandments he had kept from his youth up. How could one ambitious for worldly success afford to reject such an applicant? But Christ would not lower the standard a hair’s breadth even to secure the support of a rich young ruler who had led a blameless life. He demanded the first place in the heart—a very reasonable demand—and, seeing in the young man’s heart the first place occupied by love of money, He demanded the throne. The young man, unwilling to purchase eternal life at that price, went away sorrowing—his heart still centered on his great possessions. Of whom but an honest person could such a story be told?
Was Christ deceived? That is the theory set forth in a little volume entitled “A Jewish View of Jesus” (published recently by the Macmillan Company). The author, H.G. Emelow, pays the following high tribute to “Jesus the Jew” (and it is the most charitable view an orthodox Jew can hold):
“Yet, these things apart, who can compute all that Jesus has meant to humanity? The love He has inspired, the solace He has given, the good He has engendered, the hope and joy He has kindled—all that is unequalled in human history. Among the great and good that the human race has produced, none has even approached Jesus in universality of appeal and sway. He has become the most fascinating figure in history. In Him is combined what is best and most enchanting and most mysterious in Israel—the eternal people whose child He was. The Jew cannot help glorying in what Jesus thus has meant to the world; nor can he help hoping that Jesus may yet serve as a bond of union between Jew and Christian, once His teaching is better known and the bane of misunderstanding is at last removed from His words and His ideal.”
But could honest delusion produce a character who, in “the love He has inspired,” “the