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The Author’s Intent
The author of the book intends to provoke those proclaiming to be Christians to develop a deeper and unwavering commitment to Christ and to encourage those not already professing Christianity, to have an interest and craving for it, and to convince them to follow a Christian way of living.
He wants to discredit those depicting the New Testament as being implausible and outlandish to provide a true character of Jesus Christ, that though it might not be flawless, it actually suffices to deliver God’s message to humanity. He aspires to provide testimonials that may encourage others to become Christians (Jefferson 39).
Jefferson strives to convince the reader to become a Christian. He begins by explaining why some people actually forsake Christianity in favor of other religions.
He notes that some people will shun Christianity, not because it is a loathed and undesirable religion, but because of the initial influence from those who claim to be Christians. He notes that many have been discouraged by Christianity because they preferred to join it through episcopal means.
This might be through someone who professes Christianity, but has been inconsistent or pharisaical. Another instance is where the local church does not have a true Christian foundation.
This usually results in someone shunning Christianity in his/her entire life. However, Jefferson suggests that the best way to become a Christian is through a study of his character.
He states that neither professing Christianity nor making bigoted assertions are ways to become a Christian. He suggests that one should be interested in Jesus’s character other than in his outer life (Jefferson 37).
The author depicts the character of Jesus as being a sincere person. He states how Jesus in the midst of a detestable set of inexorable detractors and murderers, stood forth unruffled and steadfast in God’s ways.
He also describes Jesus as a reasonable person, original, trustful, brotherly, optimistic, patient, humble and holy.
The author’s Accomplishments
Jefferson has achieved his mission of explaining the character of Jesus, through direct quotations from the four gospels in the New Testament.
His Justifications of Jesus’ character form a strong basis of trying to convince the reader to follow Christianity. He explains the character of Jesus by considering his life as explained by those he came into contact with.
For instance, he presents Jesus’ reasonableness on topics such as fasting, the Sabbath, prayer and swearing. He uses examples of how people react to a fallen horse on the street of an American city and a drunken man in the same street.
He explains Jesus’ originality by quoting how he proclaimed himself to be the light of the world, bread and water of life, the only good shepherd, the way, the truth, the life and mediator between God and man (Jefferson 102).
In epitomizing Jesus as trustful, he notes how he was persecuted, scorned, maligned, abused, and even execrated. He was incriminated of blasphemy and of treason, but his trust in God remained steadfast.
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His brotherliness is shown in the manner he ate, talked and even visited the homes of those shunned and despised as unholy by society. He shows how Jesus was holy by leading a serene life, free from any sins.
Jefferson, Charles Edward. The Character of Jesus, New York: Thomas Y. Crowell, 1908. Archive.org. Web.