On this same Saturday night, in Capernaum a group of fifty leading citizens met at the synagogue to discuss the momentous question: “What shall we do with Jesus?” They talked and debated until after midnight, but they could not find any common ground for agreement. Aside from a few persons who inclined to the belief that Jesus might be the Messiah, at least a holy man, or perhaps a prophet, the meeting was divided into four nearly equal groups who held, respectively, the following views of Jesus:
1. That he was a deluded and harmless religious fanatic.
2. That he was a dangerous and designing agitator who might stir up rebellion.
3. That he was in league with devils, that he might even be a prince of devils.
4. That he was beside himself, that he was mad, mentally unbalanced.
There was much talk about Jesus’ preaching doctrines which were upsetting for the common people; his enemies maintained that his teachings were impractical, that everything would go to pieces if everybody made an honest effort to live in accordance with his ideas. And the men of many subsequent generations have said the same things. Many intelligent and well-meaning men, even in the more enlightened age of these revelations, maintain that modern civilization could not have been built upon the teachings of Jesus—and they are partially right. But all such doubters forget that a much better civilization could have been built upon his teachings, and sometime will be. This world has never seriously tried to carry out the teachings of Jesus on a large scale, notwithstanding that halfhearted attempts have often been made to follow the doctrines of so-called Christianity.