retrieved from the old archives, originally posted for Ash Wednesday, Feb. 2004. I believe Professor Harnack was a 19th or early 20th century theologian who was possibly going soft on Christ's divinity; but his tribute, taken in isolation, does not:
"That Jesus' message is so great and so powerful," says Harnack, "lies in the fact that it is so simple and on the other hand so rich; so simple as to be exhausted in each of the leading thoughts which he uttered; so rich that every one of these thoughts seems to be inexhaustible and the full meaning of the sayings and parables beyond our reach. But more than that - he himself stands behind everything that he has said. His words speak to us across the centuries with the freshness of the present. It is here that that profound saying is truly verified: 'Speak, that I may see thee.' "
Sublime indeed, born of superhuman wisdom and celestial holiness is the teaching of Jesus Christ, and consequently, He Himself must be more than a mere man. By the compelling majesty of His Person Jesus looms as the ideal "Superman." His very features, His words and actions, are so human and yet at the same time so exalted, that we instinctively feel He is a superior being. We are justified in asking Professor Harnack whether his own description of Christ would fit a mere man:
"The sphere in which he lived, above the earth and its concerns, did not destroy his interest in it; no, he brought everything in it into relation with the God whom he knew, and he saw it as protected in him: 'Your Father in heaven feeds them.' The parable is his most familiar form of speech. Insensibly, however, parable and sympathy pass into each other. Yet he who had not where to lay his head does not speak like one who has broken with everything, or like an heroic penitent, or like an ecstatic prophet, but like a man who has rest and peace for his soul and who is able to give life and strength to others. He strikes the mightiest notes; he offers men an inexorable alternative; he leaves them no escape; and yet the strongest emotion seems to come naturally to him, and he expresses it as something natural; he clothes it in the language in which a mother speaks to her child."
Pohle-Preuss, Christology 1913