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“Jesus comes as one unknown”– Albert Schweitzer on Luke 5

February 3rd, 2007 by isaac · 9 Comments

I’m finishing up my sermon for tomorrow and a quote flashed through my head—something I read a while ago. It’s from the end of Albert Schweitzer’s masterpiece on the historical Jesus. It’s a poetic and existential exegesis of our lectionary passage for tomorrow: Luke 5:1-11.

He comes to us as One unknown, without a name, as of old, by the lake-side; He came to those men who knew Him not. He speaks to us the same word: ‘Follow thou me!’ and sets us to the tasks which He has to fulfill for our time. He commands. And to those who obey Him, whether they be wise or simple, He will reveal Himself in the toils, the conflicts, the sufferings which they shall pass through in His fellowship, and, as an ineffable mystery, they shall learn in their own experience Who He is.

The Quest of the Historical Jesus (New York: MacMillan, 1956), p. 403.

Absolutely beautiful.

Tags: reading corner

9 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Allan Svensson // Jun 22, 2007 at 9:14 am

    Glory to God and his dear Son, Jesus Christ

    I found your Website by Search Engine, and I wish you

    the best you can get, the peace of God through Jesus Christ.

    Welcome to visit my Site.

    http://www.algonet.se/~allan-sv/INDEX.HTM

    Allan Svensson, Sweden

  • 2 isaac // Jun 24, 2007 at 10:09 am

    Allan, thanks for visiting our site. I edited your comment because the writing you cut and pasted is available on your own website. So, I’m sure folks can find what you have to say about the “restoration of the body of Christ” when you click on the link you included.

    peace,
    isaac

  • 3 Richard L Eilers // Jun 27, 2009 at 6:11 am

    I’ve been a clergy member for 44 yrs & the only thing that keeps me believing in (asSchweitzer would say in the original German) “die unaussprichlices geheimnes” of the Incarnation without all the metaphysical window-dressing is that beautiful paragraph in “The Quest” Thank You!

  • 4 Dr. Harrell C. Lucky // Apr 4, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Forty-five years ago I read these words from Schweitzer’s soul, and I grew up. Somehow I understood for the first time that Christ speaks to all creation of all time in His own good time, and will indeed “reveal Himself”. Ours to answer and obey, at all costs.

    In this day, Shalom.

  • 5 isaac // Apr 14, 2010 at 4:10 am

    Harrell, thanks for sharing your experience with Schweitzer. It really is a beautiful passage. As you put it, our task is to “answer and obey” this One who calls out to us.

    thanks,
    isaac

  • 6 Mel Swoyer // Nov 11, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Isaac, thanks for your website. I read the Schweitzer quote in 1964 and still thinks it describes an authentic Christ meeting us in, through, and beyond our existence. One of my clinical pastoral education supervisers was a Mennonite who helped me grow spiritually.
    Mel Swoyer, retired Lutheran pastor

  • 7 isaac // Dec 1, 2010 at 6:10 am

    HI Mel. I’m glad you found your way to this website. And thanks for your comment. There’s something mysteriously wonderful about this passage from Schweitzer’s book.

    peace to you,
    isv

  • 8 Jan // Dec 8, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    In the Indianapolis library, in 1968, I found a book that appeared to be a bound doctoral paper (Thin, solid black front and back, tape bound). It was about Jesus and was by Schweitzer. He wrote about Jesus in a fresh, historic way, which brought him to life to me more than anything I’ve read since. What, do you think, was the title of that tall, slim, volume?

  • 9 isaac // Jan 5, 2011 at 6:01 am

    Hi Jan. I am not familiar enough with Schweitzer’s work to guess about the book you found in the library. Sorry.