Jesus goes on to say something else. One thing no Jew would ever lose was the grip of sheer loneliness of God. The Jews were unswerving monotheists. The danger of the Christian faith is that we may set up Jesus as a kind of secondary God. But Jesus himself insists that the things he said and the things he did did not come from his own initiative or his own power or his own knowledge but from God. His words were God's voice speaking to men; His deeds were God's power flowing through him to men. He was the channel by which God came to men.
Let us take two simple and imperfect analogies, from the relationship between student and teacher. Dr Lewis Muirhead said of that great Christian and expositor, A. B. Bruce, that men "came to see in the man the glory of God." Every teacher has the responsibility of transmitting something of the glory of his subject to those who listen to him; and he who teaches about Jesus Christ can, if he is saint enough, transmit the vision and the presence of God to his students. That is what A. B. Bruce did, and in an infinitely greater way that is what Jesus did. He transmitted the glory and the love of God to men.
Here is the other analogy. A great teacher stamps his students with something of himself. W. M. Macgregor was a student of A. B. Bruce. A. J. Gossip tells in his memoir of W. M. Macgregor that, "when it was rumoured that Macgregor thought of deserting the pulpit for a chair, men, in astonishment, asked, Why? He replied, with modesty, that he had learned some things from Bruce that he would fain pass on." Principal John Cairns wrote to his teacher Sir William Hamilton: "I do not know what life, or lives, may lie before me. But I know this, that, to the end of the last of them, I shall bear your mark upon me." Sometimes if a divinity student has been trained by a great preacher whom he loves, we will see in the student something of the teacher and hear something of his voice. Jesus did something like that only immeasurably more so. He brought God's accent, God's message, God's mind, God's heart to men.
We must every now and then remember, that all is of God. it was not a self-chosen expedition to the world which Jesus made. He did not do it to soften a hard heart in God. He came because God sent him, because God so loved the world. At the back of Jesus, and in him, there is God.
Jesus went on to make a claim and to offer a test, based on two things; his words and his works.
(i) He claimed to be tested by what he said. It is as if Jesus said: "When you listen to me, can you not realize at once that what I am saying is God's own truth?" The words of any genius are always self-evidencing. When we read great poetry we cannot for the most part say why it is great and grips our heart. We may analyse the vowel sounds and so on, but in the end there is something which defies analysis, but nevertheless easily and immediately recognizable. It is so with the words of Jesus. When we hear them we cannot help saying; "If only the world would live on these principles, how different it would be! If only I would live on these principles, how different I would be!"
(ii) He claimed to be tested by his deeds. He said to Philip: "If you cannot believe in me because of what I say, surely you will allow what I can do to convince you." That was the same answer as Jesus sent back to John when he sent his messengers to ask whether Jesus was the Messiah, or if they must look for another. "Go back," he said, "and tell John what is happening--and that will convince him" ( Matthew 11:1-6 ). Jesus' proof is that no one else ever succeeded in making bad men good.
Jesus said in effect to Philip: "Listen to me! Look at me! And believe!" Still the way to Christian belief is not to argue about Jesus but to listen to him and to look at him. If we do that, the sheer personal impact will compel us to believe.