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  • Writer's pictureDr. Roger D Duke



Part the Third Of the Sermon

By John Albert Broadus

Co-Founder of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Reader's Note: This sermon is a chapter from my book, John Albert Broadus:

Prince of the Southern Baptist Pulpit.

Bible Passage:

"And of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive." Acts 25:19

Part the Third

On the other hand the Scriptures as plainly set forth Jesus as having a human nature. The Christian world has long been half oblivious of the humanity of Christ. It is only until now that men are beginning to realize the humanity of him who is also divine—the carpenter of Nazareth who worked with hard hands over homely toil. A great many of those who try to lead the masses offer speculative delusions and talk against Christ and Christianity. Why don't they tell the people that the founder of Christianity was in the truest sense a working man and the friend of the poor? His humanity made it possible that he should be really tempted. Why could not any human nature be tempted? Our first parents in their Eden, in their purity, were tempted and fell. The high angels were tempted and fell out of heaven. The humanity of Christ could not morally be overcome with sin due to the influence of the Holy Ghost, yet the humanity of Christ could be tempted, and the temptation could be a reality. As man he could take our place before God, he could suffer in our stead, he could die and rise again for us, and his divinity gave to that suffering, atoning death and resurrection a dignity and significance.

My friends, these souls of ours crave a perfect example. We need imperfect examples such as the Scriptures furnish and life furnishes us every day, of every grade and condition, but then our souls crave an ideal of perfection, and there it is, a perfect example, at the summit of them all - a perfect example in the humanity of our Lord and Saviour [sic]. As man he gives assurance of his sympathy with his having been tempted only once like as we are, yet without sin. Oh, how wonderful is the fact! I often pause to dwell on it, that not only do tempted ones in this life bow safe around the glorious throne, but one who was tempted here sits upon the throne, and we know that he can sympathize with our infirmities, with our temptations, with our trials, and being unique, in all, exists the God-man. When he stood upon the Mount of Olives do you not remember how he said: "All authority and power in heaven and earth is given unto me," and "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world [Matthew 28:20, KJV]? Who over all the nations, who over all ages, has a right to think lightly of Jesus?

In the fourth place, Jesus has wrought a work that is unparalleled in its nature and in its importance. It is the most wonderful that has ever occurred in the universe. It is not creation, it is redemption. It is reconciliation between the holy ruler of the universe and the beings that have broken his law. A work so wonderful it is that the Scriptures give us an intimation that the most exalted creatures of God that do exist, look down amid all the world's wonders and wonder most at this. Nay, with the strange perversity which we human beings show about many things, there are many persons who cannot believe it because it is so wonderful. It seems impossible that the maker and ruler of the universe should have chosen such a stage to do these things. The theater is too small; the stage is too insignificant for such a drama as the atonement, they say. Well, nearly all the most important things in this world have had comparatively an unimportant theater. Daniel Webster had evidently thought of this when he wrote these words to be placed on his tombstone: "Philosophical argument, especially that drawn from the vestures of the material universe, and the apparent insignificance of our world have sometimes shaken my reason for the faith that is in me, but my heart has always assured and reassured me that the mission of Jesus Christ is a divine reality."

There is no need to have our faith shaken when we remember what I have said; the most insignificant spot of earth may be the scene of earth's greatest events. And this little earth came to be, as the Scriptures declare, the scene of the mightiest event of the universe, the reconciliation of God's creatures to himself.

Now once more, Jesus sustains, and must sustain, a personal relation to each one of us. I do not mean as a matter of history - there is a sense of course in which every person has a relation to each of us - but I mean as the loving Saviour [sic]. He must by the very necessity of things sustain a personal relation to each of us. We can as well shake off our own being as to prevent the necessity of that personal relation to him. We can determine its character, we can be his friends, by the grace of God, otherwise we are, [and] we cannot but be his enemies. There are those who think they can live neutral with reference to Christianity, who thinks they can treat Christian mysteries, and people in general, with a certain respect, and be kind and courteous, and play neutral. But O my friends, it is not my saying, merely Jesus himself has said "he that is not with me is against me." "He that gathereth not with me, scattereth" [Luke 11:23, KJV]. There is no neutrality. We must be his friends or we are his foes, delude ourselves as we may.

The most important question of life is, "What is a man's relationship to Jesus?" And that turns upon another question, "What does a man think and feel about himself?" Jesus came not to call righteous men, but sinners to repentance. If I am a sinner, if I have been trying hard to do right, and have learned more and more how hard it is for me to do right, if my own conscience condemns, therefore God who is greater than my heart must condemn me. If I am troubled how my guilt shall be removed, and my sinfulness; then Jesus is for me, and then I am for Jesus. But if I feel that I am a good kind of person, fond of comparing myself with my fellow men, looking upon my faults as reasonable defects, then no wonder I get so fanciful theories about Jesus. Then I am not in the position from which he came to relieve me.

O my friends, what is your relation to Jesus? It is the question of all questions: what is your relation to Jesus? It is a question which you should settle in your honest heart, and the decision you reach you ought to proclaim to your fellow men: for he said: "Whosoever shall confess, I will myself confess, and whosoever shall deny me"—and to refuse to confess him is to deny him—"him will I also deny before the angels which are in heaven" [Luke 12:8, KJV. O my friends, what is your personal relation to Jesus? It is a question which you can postpone now, if you will, but it will come back again and again. It is a question which will face you. You will face it in the day for which all other days were made; in the day when before the Saviour [sic], you shall stand, and he your judge. In that day every knee shall bow, and shall confess, willing or unwilling, that Jesus is Christ his Lord, to God the Father. O my friends prepare for that day by turning to Christ now! What is your personal relationship to Jesus? Confess him now!

Contributor bio:

Roger D. Duke retired early from Baptist College of Health Sciences after eighteen years of classroom teaching ministry. He is now a free-lance writer. Duke received his doctorate from The University of the South at Sewanee. Subsequently he has also taught at various colleges and graduate schools. He has authored or contributed to volumes on John Albert Broadus, John Bunyan, William Carey, Basil Manley, Jr., and John Paul II. He writes and blogs at

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