The Gospel of St. John
in Relation to the Other Three Gospels
7. The Baptism with Water and the Baptism with Fire and Spirit
30 Jun 1909, Kassel
Yesterday's discussion brought us to a comprehension of the real nature of the baptism by John, the Forerunner of Christ Jesus, so that it will now be comparatively easy to understand the difference between this baptism and what we may call the baptism by Christ; and precisely by striving to fathom this difference will the very essence of the Christ-Impulse and its influence in the world become clear and distinct in our minds.
We must first of all remind ourselves that the condition to which people were reduced by the baptism in the Jordan was, after all, an abnormal one as compared with the ordinary, every-day state of consciousness. We learned that the old initiation, for instance, was based upon the withdrawal, in a certain respect, of the etheric body, which normally is firmly joined to the physical body, and that this enabled the astral body to imprint its experiences into the etheric body. Such was the procedure in the old initiation, and an abnormal condition had to supervene in the baptism by John as well. The disciple was submerged in water, resulting in a certain separation of the etheric from the physical body; and thus he could attain to a survey of his life and become aware of the connection of this individual life with the regions of the divine-spiritual world. To make it a little clearer, we can say that when the submersion was successful it produced in the disciple the conviction: I have spirit within me; I am not just a being in this physical-material body; and this spirit within me is one with the spirit underlying all things. — And he knew in addition that the Spirit Whom he thus confronted was the same that Moses had perceived in the fire of the burning bush and in the lightning on Sinai as Jahve, as I am the I AM, as ehjeh asher ehjeh. All this was revealed to him through the baptism by John.
Now, in what way did this sort of consciousness differ from that of an initiate of olden times? The latter perceived, when in the abnormal state I described yesterday, those divine-spiritual beings that had already been connected with the earth before Zarathustra's Ahura Mazdao — the Jahve of Moses — had united with the earth. So what men perceived by means of the ancient wisdom was the old spiritual world out of which man was engendered, in which he still dwelt in the old Atlantean age, and for which the people of ancient India longed: the old Gods. Unknown, however, to the old initiate was the God Who had long remained remote from the earth in order ultimately to appear with deeper effect — He Who throughout long ages influenced the earth only from without and Who then approached it gradually, so that Moses was able to perceive the approach. Not until men were initiated in the Old Testament way did they discern aught of the unity of all that is divine.
Let us consider the frame of mind of an initiate who had not only experienced what the Persian or the later Egyptian Mysteries offered, but who in addition had passed through all that could result from Hebrew occult research. Let us suppose, for example, that such an initiate had also received initiation on Mount Sinai of old, possibly in an incarnation occurring during the ancient Hebrew evolution, or even earlier. There he had been guided to cognition of the old divine world out of which mankind had evolved. Equipped with this primordial wisdom and its capacity for observing the primordial divine world, he came to the Hebrew Mysteries. There he learned what could be put somewhat as follows: The Gods I learned to know in former times were connected with the earth before the Divinity Jahve-Christ came to unite with it; now I know that the first and foremost Spirit among them, the Leading Spirit, is He Who approached the earth only gradually.
Thus an initiate of this sort learned of the identity of his own spiritual world and the world in which the approaching Christ reigns. He did not need the immersion by John the Baptist, but through this act he learned to know the connection between his own individuality — what he was as a personality — and the great Father-Spirit of the world. Only few, to be sure, could achieve this result; indeed, most of them only needed to take the baptism as a symbol, as something that served, so to speak, under the powerful influence of John's teaching, to consolidate their faith in the existence of Jahve-God. But among them were some who in earlier incarnations had developed so far that they were now able to learn to a certain extent from personal observation. — For all that, however, it was an abnormal state to which the human being was reduced by John's baptism.
John baptized with water, with the result that the etheric body was disconnected for a short time from the physical body. But John the Baptist claimed to be the Forerunner of Him Who baptized with fire and with the Holy Spirit. The baptism with fire and with the Holy Spirit came to our earth through Christ. Now, what is the difference between John's baptism with water and Christ's baptism with fire and with the Holy Spirit? That can be understood only by one who has learned the nature of such understanding from its very roots, for even today we are still dependent upon first causes for a comprehension of the Christ. This comprehension will continue to increase, but as yet men can assimilate only just the beginnings. — I ask your patience in following me along this path, begining with the A B C.
First, we must recall that spiritual processes underlie really all physical processes — even those that pertain to the human being. For people of our day this is hard to believe, but in time the world will learn to recognize the fact; and only then will a full understanding of the Christ be reached. Today even those who like to talk about spirit do not seriously believe that everything taking place in man in a physical way is ultimately controlled by spirit. They disbelieve it unconsciously, if I may put it that way, even when they consider themselves idealists. There is a certain American, for example, who systematically assembles facts intended to prove that in abnormal states man attains the ability to ascend to a spiritual world, and thereby he endeavors to establish a certain basis for a variety of phenomena. This American, William James by name, goes to work most exhaustively; but even the best of men are powerless to oppose the influential spirit of the time. They claim not to be materialists, but they are. The philosophy of William James has influenced a number of European scholars; and for this reason we shall point out several grotesque statements of his that will confirm what has just been said. He maintains, among other things, that a man does not weep because he is sad, but is sad because he weeps. Well, hitherto people have always believed that one must first be sad; that is, that a psycho-spiritual process must occur which only then can penetrate the physical principle of the human body. When the tears flow there must be present a psychic process underlying the secretion of the tear fluid.
Even today, when everything of a spiritual nature lies as though buried under a covering of matter and awaits rediscovery by a spiritual conception of the world, there remain processes within us which are a heritage of primeval times when the spiritual workings were more powerful, and which can reveal most significantly the manner in which spirit acts. There are two phenomena to which I like to draw attention in this connection: the sensation of shame, and that of fear, or fright. Let it be said in advance that it would be easy to enumerate all the hypothetical attempts to explain these two kinds of experience; but they do not concern us here, and in connection with any objection of that sort it would be a grave mistake to imagine the spiritual scientist to be unacquainted with these hypotheses. Of the sensation of shame it can be said that when a person is ashamed it is as though he were trying to prevent his environment from seeing something that is taking place in him. Inherent in the sensation of shame is a feeling akin to a wish to conceal something. And what is the physical effect of this psychic experience? It causes him to blush: the blood rushes to his face. This means that under the influence of some psycho-spiritual event, such as a sensation of shame, a transformation, a change, results in the blood circulation. The blood is driven from within outward, toward the periphery. Its course is altered as the result of a psycho-spiritual event — this is a physical fact.
And when a person is frightened his impulse is to protect himself from something he considers threatening: he pales, the blood withdraws from the outer surface. Here again is an external process called forth by a psycho-spiritual one, by fear, fright. Recall here that the blood is the expression of the ego, then ask yourself, What would a man want to do when he sees some peril approaching? He would assemble his forces and consolidate them in the center of his being. The ego, with the intention of making a stand, draws the blood back into the center of its being.
There you have physical processes resulting from psycho-spiritual processes; and similarly, the flow of tears is a physical process brought about by soul and spirit. It is not a case of some mysterious physical influences joining forces and squeezing out the tears, and of the person then becoming sad when he feels the tears flow. That is an example of the way a materialistic view turns the simplest things upside-down. Were we to go into the matter of various ills — even physical ones — which can affect human beings and which are connected with psycho-spiritual processes, we could multiply such instances indefinitely. But what concerns us at the moment is to understand that physical processes are effects of psycho-spiritual processes; and that whenever this does not appear to be the case we must realize that we have simply not yet recognized the underlying psycho-spiritual principle. Present-day man is not at all inclined to recognize this principle offhand. The modern scientist can observe the development of the human being, beginning with the moment of conception, from the very first embryonic stages in the mother's womb, then outside the maternal body; he sees the outer physical form grow and expand. And on the basis of present-day research he concludes that the genesis of a human being starts with the development of the physical form as he sees it at conception: he is averse to considering the fact that spiritual processes underlie the physical ones. He does not believe that back of the physical human embryo there is something spiritual, that this unites with the physical and then develops what derives from a former incarnation.
One who lays store by theory but ignores practical life might here object: Well, it may be possible that some higher form of cognition can discern spirit underlying matter, but we human beings simply cannot recognize it. — That is one attitude. Others say: But we don't want to make the effort which we are told is necessary for attaining to a knowledge of the divine-spiritual! What difference does it make in the world whether we know that or not? — But it is a grave error, a dire superstition, to imagine that in practical life such knowledge is of no consequence. On the contrary, we shall proceed to show as clearly as possible how very much depends upon it.
Suppose we have a man who refuses to consider the idea that a psycho-spiritual principle underlies all that is physical in the human being, who fails to understand, for instance, that the enlargement of a physical liver is the expression of something spiritual. Another man — stimulated by spiritual science, if you like — readily accepts the possibility that by penetrating into the realm of spirit one may arrive first at an inkling, then at faith, and finally at cognition and vision of spirit. Thus we have two men, one of whom rejects spirit, being satisfied with sense observation, while the other follows what we may call the will to achieve cognition of spirit. The one who refuses spiritual enlightenment will grow ever weaker, for he will be letting his spirit starve, wilt, and perish for lack of adequate nourishment which such enlightenment alone can provide. His spirit will lose strength — it cannot gain it; and everything that functions apart from this spirit will gain the upper hand and overpower him. He will become feeble in meeting all that takes place without his agency in his physical and etheric bodies. But the other, he who has the will to cognition, furnishes nourishment for his spirit which consequently gains strength and mastery over all that occurs independently in his etheric and physical bodies. — That is the most important point, and one which we shall presently be able to apply to a prominent case of our own day.
We know that upon entering the world the human being springs from two sources. His physical body is inherited from his ancestors, from his father and mother and their forbears. He inherits certain traits, good or bad, that are simply inherent in the blood, in the line of descent. But in every case of this sort the forces a child brings along from his previous incarnation unite with these inherited qualities. Now, you know that today a great deal is talked about “hereditary tendencies” whenever some disease or other makes its appearance. How this term is abused nowadays — though it is quite justified within a narrow scope! Whenever anything crops up that can be proved to have been an attribute of some ancestor, hereditary tendencies are invoked; and because people know nothing of active spiritual forces derived from the previous incarnation they endow these inherited tendencies with overwhelming power. If they knew that a spiritual factor accompanied us from our previous incarnation they would say, Well and good: we believe absolutely in hereditary tendencies, but we know as well what stems from the previous incarnation in the way of inner, central soul forces, and that if sufficiently strengthened and invigorated these will gain the upper hand over matter — that is, over hereditary tendencies. — And such a man, capable of rising to the cognition of spirit, would continue: No matter how powerfully the inherited tendencies affect me, I shall provide nourishment for the spirit in me; for in this way I shall master them. — But anyone who does not work upon his spiritual nature, upon that which is not inherited, will positively fall a prey to inherited tendencies as a result of such lack of faith; and in this way materialistic superstition will actually bring about a steady increase in their power over us. We shall be engulfed in the quagmire of hereditary tendencies unless we fortify our spirit and, by means of a strong spirit, vanquish each time anew whatever is inherited.
In our time, when the consequences of materialism are so formidable, you must naturally still guard against overestimating the power of spirit. It would be a mistake to object, If that were the case, all anthroposophists would be bursting with health, for they believe in the spirit. Man's position on the earth is not only that of an individual being: he is a part of the whole world; and spirit, like all else, must grow in strength. But once spirit has become debilitated, as at present, it will not at once affect even the most anthroposophical of men — no matter how much nourishment he furnishes the spirit — to such an extent that he can overcome what springs from material sources; yet all the more surely will this tell in his next incarnation, as expressed in his health and strength. Men will grow weaker and weaker unless they believe in the spirit, for otherwise they deliver themselves over to their inherited tendencies. They themselves have effected this weakening of their spirit, because everything here concerned depends upon their attitude toward spirit.
Nor should one imagine it an easy matter to correlate all the conditions here involved. I will give you a grotesque instance of the extent to which a man who judges only by externals may be in error. He might say: There was a man who had been an ardent adherent of the anthroposophical Weltanschauung. Now it is precisely the anthroposophists who maintain that anthroposophy invariably improves the health and even prolongs life. A fine doctrine, that: the man dies at the age of forty-three! — That much people know: the man died at forty-three — they witnessed it. But what is it that they do not know? They do not know when he would have died without anthroposophy. Maybe he would have only lived to be forty: if a man's life span were forty years lacking anthroposophy, it might well reach forty-three with its aid. When anthroposophy will have come to permeate life in general its effects will not fail to become manifest. True, if a man wants to see all its fruits in one life between birth and death he is simply an egotist: he wants everything for his own selfish purposes. But if he attains to anthroposophy for the benefit of mankind he will have it through all his future incarnations.
Thus we see that by influencing his spiritual being, by yielding himself to what really derives from spirit, man can at least provide new strength for his spirit, can make it strong and vigorous. That is what we must understand: it is possible to let ourselves be influenced by spirit and thereby become ever more completely master within ourselves.
Now let us seek the means most efficacious for receiving the influence of spirit in our present stage of evolution. We have already pointed out that spiritual science, by means of spiritual research, nourishes our spirit. We might say, what man can thus receive in the way of spiritual nourishment is as yet but little; but we also understand now that it can keep growing and growing in our subsequent incarnations. This, however, presupposes one condition; and in order to become acquainted with it we will turn to the anthroposophical Weltanschauung itself.
The anthroposophical Weltanschauung teaches us the principles that constitute man in respect of his being; it tells us of what remains invisible in a visible man we confront; and it then shows us how, as regards the core of his being, he passes on from one life to another, how all that he brings along from his last life in the way of soul and spirit is organically introduced into the physical, material elements inherited from his ancestors. Anthroposophy further discloses the way in which mankind has developed on the earth and describes its life in the Atlantean time, the preceding periods, and the post-Atlantean cultural epochs. It tells us of the transformations undergone by the Earth itself: of its earlier embodiment which we called the old Moon phase, of the still earlier Sun phase, the Saturn phase, and so forth. In this way the spiritual-scientific Weltanschauung releases us from our clinging to the merely obvious — what our eyes see, our hands touch, and what our present science investigates — and leads us out into the vast, comprehensive phenomena of the world, but particularly into the super-sensible realm. By doing this it provides man with spiritual nourishment.
Those of you who have accompanied us at all extensively into this anthroposophical Weltanschauung know that during the past seven years we have elaborated the evolution of man more in detail, described more fully the various transformations of the Earth and the life of man in the different cultural stages. It really is possible in our time to give descriptions as subtle and detailed as those presented there; and if the opportunity arises we shall enter more fully into such matters.
There we have a tableau of super-sensible facts that must be painted for the eye of the soul. But there is a certain peculiarity connected with this tableau. Among other things, we learned that our sun split off at a given time, together with the beings destined there to pursue their immediate further development. Now, the Leader of these sun beings is the Christ; and as their Leader He withdrew with the sun when it separated from the earth. For a time He then sent His force down to earth from the sun; but He kept gradually approaching the earth. In Zarathustra's time He could still be seen only as Ahura Mazdao, but Moses perceived Him in the outer elements; and when this Christ force finally appeared on earth, it appeared in a human body, in Jesus of Nazareth.
That is why the anthroposophical Weltanschauung sees the Christ Being as a sort of central point in the whole panorama of reincarnation, of the being of man, of our contemplation of the cosmos, and so forth and so on. And whoever studies this anthroposophical Weltanschauung in its true sense will say to himself: I can contemplate all that, but I can comprehend it only when the whole immense picture focuses at the great central point, at the Christ. I have pictured in different ways the doctrine of reincarnation, of the various human races, of planetary evolution, and so forth; but the Being of Christ is here painted from a single point of view, and this sheds light on all else. It is a picture with a central figure to which everything else is related, and I can fathom the significance and expression of the other figures only if I understand the main figure.
That is the way the anthroposophical Weltanschauung goes about it. We project a great picture of the various phenomena of the spiritual world; but then we concentrate upon the principle figure, upon the Christ, and only then do the details of the picture become intelligible.
All those who have taken part in our spiritual-scientific development will sense the possibility of understanding it all in this way. Spiritual science itself will become more perfect in the future, and our present comprehension of Christ will be superseded by a far loftier one. The power of anthroposophy will thereby continue to grow, but with it will also proceed the development of those who are open to this power; and the mastery of their spirit over their material nature will gain ever greater strength. Burdened as he is with an inherited body such as this is today, a man can call forth only such processes as blushing, paling, and phenomena like laughing and crying, but in time he will gain ever greater power over them: out of his soul he will spiritualize his bodily functions and thus take his place in the outer world as a mighty ruler of soul and spirit. That will be the Christ power, the Christ-Impulse acting through the agency of mankind. And it is the impulse which even today, if sufficiently intensified, can lead to the same results as did the ancient initiation.
The procedure of the old initiation was as follows: The candidate first learned comprehensively all that today we are taught by anthroposophy. That was the preparation for the old initiation. Then the sum of his attainments was directed toward a definite end which was achieved by having him lie in a grave for three and a half days, as though dead. When his etheric body was withdrawn and, in his etheric body, he moved about in the spiritual world, he became a witness to this spiritual world. In order that in the sphere of his etheric forces he might behold the spiritual world, thus achieving initiation, it was necessary at that time to withdraw the etheric body. Formerly these forces were not available in the normal state of waking consciousness: the neophyte had to be reduced to an abnormal condition. But among the forces Christ brought to earth is also this force needed for initiation; and today it is possible to become clairvoyant without the withdrawal of the etheric body.
When a person is sufficiently developed to receive so strong an impulse from the Christ, even for a short time, as to affect the circulation of his blood — this Christ influence expressing itself in a special form of circulation, an influence penetrating even the physical principle — then he is in a position to be initiated within the physical body: the Christ-Impulse has the power to bring this about. Anyone who can become so profoundly absorbed in what occurred as a result of the Event of Palestine and the Mystery of Golgotha as to live completely in it and to see it objectively, see it so spiritually alive that it acts as a force communicating itself even to his circulation, such a man achieves through this experience the same result that was formerly brought about by the withdrawal of the etheric body.
You see, then, that through the Christ impulse something has come to earth which enables the human being to influence the force that causes his blood to pulsate through his body. What is here active is no abnormal event, no submersion in water, but solely the mighty influence of the Christ-Individuality. No physical substance is involved in this baptism — nothing but a spiritual influence: and the ordinary, every-day consciousness undergoes no change. Through the spirit that streams forth as the Christ impulse something flows into the body, something that can otherwise be induced only by way of psycho-physiological development through fire: an inner fire expressing itself in the circulation of the blood. John still baptized by submersion, with the result that the etheric body withdrew and the spiritual world was revealed. But if a man opens his soul to the Christ impulse, this impulse acts in such a way that the experiences of the astral body flow over into the etheric body, and clairvoyance results.
There you have the explanation of the phrase, “to baptize with the spirit and with fire”, and those are the facts concerning the difference between the John baptism and the Christ baptism. The Christ impulse made it possible for a new class of initiates to come into being. Formerly there existed among mankind a mere handful who were disciples of the great teachers and were inducted into the Mysteries. Their etheric body was withdrawn to enable them to become witnesses to the spirit, and then to step forth and proclaim, There is a spiritual world! We have seen it for ourselves. Just as you see the plants and the stones, so we have seen the spiritual world. — Those were the “eye witnesses”; and the neophytes who thus emerged as initiates from the obscurity of the Mysteries proclaimed the gospel of the spirit, though only out of a primeval wisdom.
But while the old initiates guided people back to a wisdom out of which man had originally come forth, Christ opened the way for initiates capable of arriving at a vision of the spiritual world within the confines of the physical body and within the every-day state of consciousness. These new initiates learned through the Christ impulse the same fact that had revealed itself to the old ones, namely, that there is a spiritual world; and then they, in their turn, could proclaim its gospel. What was therefore needed to become an initiate and to proclaim the gospel of the spiritual world in a new sense, in the Christ sense, was that the force which was in the Christ should stream over as an impulse into the disciple, who had then to disseminate it.
When did a Christ initiate of this kind first arise? In all evolution the old must be merged with the new, and thus even Christ had to transform the old initiation into the new one gradually. He had to create a transition, so to speak; He had to take into account certain procedures of the old initiation, but in such a way that everything deriving from the old gods should be suffused by the Christ Being.
Christ undertook the initiation of that disciple who was to communicate to the world the Gospel of the Christ in the most profound way. An initiation of this sort lies concealed behind one of the narratives in the Gospel of St. John, behind the story of Lazarus.
Much has been written about this story of Lazarus — an incredible amount; but only those have comprehended it who have known, either through esoteric schooling or from their own contemplation, what it conceals. For the moment I shall only quote you one characteristic utterance from this story. When Christ Jesus was told that Lazarus lay sick, He replied:
This sickness is not unto death, but that the God may be manifest in him.
His sickness is for the purpose of manifesting the God in him. It was only due to a lack of understanding that the word dóxa, given in the Greek text, was translated with “for the glory of God”. Not for the glory of God was this ordained, but that the God in him might emerge and become manifest. That is the true meaning of this utterance: the divine that is in Christ is to flow over into the individuality of Lazarus; the divine, the Christ Divinity, is to be revealed in and through him.
Only by understanding the resurrection of Lazarus in this sense does it become wholly clear. Do not imagine for a moment, however, that in communicating spiritual-scientific truths it is possible to speak so openly that everything can be made obvious to all and sundry. What is concealed behind a spiritual-scientific fact of that sort is communicated under many a veil of reservation. That is inevitable; for anyone who would attain to an understanding of such a mystery should first work his way through all difficulties appearing in the way, in order to strengthen and invigorate his spirit. And precisely because it is laborious to find his way through the maze of words will he arrive at the underlying spirit.
Recall the passage dealing with the "life" which was supposed to have left Lazarus and which his sisters Martha and Mary longed to have back. Christ Jesus said unto them:
I am the resurrection, and the life.
Life is to reappear in Lazarus. You have but to take everything literally, especially in the Gospels, and you will see what all comes to light. Do not speculate or interpret, but take in its literal meaning the sentence, “I am the resurrection. and the life”. When Christ appears and raises Lazarus, what does He bring to bear? What is it that passes over into Lazarus? It is the Christ impulse, the force flowing forth from the Christ. What Christ gave Lazarus was the life. Indeed, Christ had said, “This sickness is not unto death, but that the God may be manifest in him.” Just as all the old initiates lay as dead for three and a half days, and then the God became manifest in them, so Lazarus lay in a deathlike state for the same period; but Christ Jesus was well aware that with this act the old initiations would come to an end. He knew that this ostensible death led to something higher, to a higher life: that during this period Lazarus had beheld the spiritual world; and because the Leader of this spiritual world is the Christ, Lazarus received into himself the Christ force, the vision of the Christ. Christ pours his force into Lazarus, and Lazarus arises another man. 1You will find this subject treated in detail in my book, Christianity as Mystical Fact, where a separate chapter is devoted to an attempt to clarify particularly the Lazarus miracle in the sense of spiritual science.
There is one particularly noteworthy word in the St. John Gospel: in the story of the Lazarus mystery it is said that the Lord “loved” Lazarus; and the word is again applied to the disciple “whom the Lord loved”. What does that mean? Only the akashic record can tell us. Who is Lazarus after his resurrection? He is himself the writer of the John Gospel, Lazarus, who had been initiated by Christ. Christ had poured the message of His own being into the being of Lazarus in order that the message of the Fourth Gospel, the Gospel of St. John, might resound through the world as the delineation of the being of Christ. That is why no disciple John is mentioned in this Gospel before the story of Lazarus. But you must read carefully and not be misled by those curious theologians who have discovered that at a certain spot in the Gospel of St. John — namely, in the thirty-fifth verse of the first chapter — the name John is supposed to appear as an indication of the presence of the disciple John. It says there:
Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples.
There is nothing in this passage, nothing whatever, to suggest that the disciple who later is called the one “whom the Lord loved” is meant here. That disciple does not appear in the John Gospel before the resurrection of Lazarus. Why? Because he who remained hidden behind “the disciple whom the Lord loved” was one whom the Lord had already loved previously. He loved him so greatly because He had already recognized him — invisibly, in his soul — as the disciple who was to be awakened and carry the message of the Christ out into the world. That is why the disciple, the apostle, “whom the Lord loved” appears on the scene only beginning with the description of the resurrection of Lazarus. Only then had he become what he was thenceforth. Now the individuality of Lazarus had been so completely transformed that it became the individuality of John in the Christian sense. Thus we see that in its loftiest meaning a baptism through the Christ impulse itself had been performed upon Lazarus: Lazarus became an initiate in the new sense of the word, while at the same time the old form, the old lethargy, had been retained in a certain way and a transition thus created from the old to the new initiation.
This will show you the profundity with which the Gospels reflect spiritual truths that can be brought to light through research, independently of any documents. The spiritual scientist knows that he can find beforehand anything the Gospels contain, without reference to documents. But when he finds again in the John Gospel what he had previously discovered by spiritual means, this Gospel becomes for him a document revealed by Christ Jesus' own initiate. That is why the Gospel of St. John is so profound a work.
Nowadays it is specially emphasized that the other Gospels differ in certain respects from that of St. John. There must be a reason for this; but we shall find it only when we penetrate to the core of the other Gospels as we have now done in the case of St. John. And what we discover by so doing is that the difference could arise only from the fact that the author of the John Gospel was initiated by Christ Jesus Himself. Only because of this was it possible to delineate the Christ impulse as John did. And we must examine in like manner the relation of the other Gospel writers to Christ and discover to what extent they received the baptism by fire and by the spirit. Then only will we find the inner connections between the Gospel of St. John and the other Gospels, and so penetrate ever deeper into the spirit of the New Testament.