The supernatural element in the Gospel picture of Jesus has proved to be an integral part of the whole. It cannot be separated from the rest in that easy, artificial way. The Gospel picture of Jesus is supernatural through and through.
They are telling us that we cannot know anything at all with any certainty about Jesus. Such skepticism is preposterous. It will never hold the field. You need not be afraid of it at all, my friends. The picture in the Gospels is too vivid. It is too incapable of having been invented. It is evidently the picture of a real person.
So the age-long bewilderment of unsaved men in the presence of Jesus still goes on. Jesus will not let men go. They will not accept His stupendous claims; they will not accept Him as their Savior. But He continues to intrigue and baffle them. He refuses to be pushed into their little molds. They stand bewildered in His presence.
There is only one escape from that bewilderment. It is to accept Jesus after all. Refuse to believe that the picture is true, and all is bewilderment and confusion in your view of the earliest age of the Church; accept the picture as true, and all is plain. Everything then fits into its proper place. The key has been found to solve the mighty riddle. The supernatural Jesus is thus the key to a right understanding of early Christian history. But He is also the key to far more than that. Mankind stands in the presence of more riddles than the riddle of New Testament times.
All about us are riddles - the riddle of our existence, the riddle of the universe, the riddle of our misery and our sin. To all those riddles Jesus, as the New Testament presents Him, provides the key. He is the key not to some things but to everything. Very comprehensive, very wonderfully cumulative, very profound and very compelling is the evidence for the reality of the supernatural Christ.
But if we are convinced by that evidence, we must take the consequences. If we are convinced that Jesus is what the New Testament says He is, then the word of Jesus becomes for us law. We cannot then choose whether we will believe Him when He speaks. We must believe. His authority then must for us be decisive in all disputes.
~ J. Gresham Machen, Selected Writings
Image above: The Flight into Egypt by Henry Ossawa Tanner