In considering the subject of the Person of Christ, it is necessary to examine passages in close detail to ascertain their meaning, with a view to counteracting the errors that abound. This we have sought to do, but we acknowledge that it can be taxing on the mind, and also that it can be to the neglect of the devotional side of things.
This month’s article is an effort to, in a measure, address that imbalance. We will quote, with little comment, some references to the Lord Jesus Christ when He was here on earth, and leave it to the reader to meditate upon them.
In John 1:36 we read of John the Baptist: “And looking upon Jesus as He walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!” Doubtless this refers to the literal walking of the Lord Jesus, yet it aptly symbolizes “His walk,” His manner of life. All who looked upon Him saw One Who was ever walking totally in character with Who He is. He said, of His Father, “I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29). On two momentous occasions, His baptism and His transfiguration, the Father declared, “This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased” (Matt 3:17; 17:5). Well could John write, “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked” (1John 2:6).
John the apostle succinctly states, “He Whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God” (John 3:34). Even a hostile audience “wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth” (Luke 4:22). When the Lord asked His disciples, “Will ye also go away?” Peter replied with these heartwarming words: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:67, 68).
John the Baptist was a mighty witness to Who the Lord Jesus is, and what He had come to do. Yet the Lord’s works were an even greater witness. He declared, “I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given Me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of Me, that the Father hath sent Me” (John 5:36). They were unique works . He calls them “the works which none other man did” (John 15:24). It is no wonder that those who observed His works “were astonished beyond measure, saying, He hath done all things well” (Mark 7:37). After the Lord had returned to heaven, Peter gave a mighty commentary on it all: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: Who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38).
He affirmed, “I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me” (John 6:38). This does not mean that the Lord Jesus’ will was different from the Father’s, and that He was doing things differently from how He would have, had He been following His own will. Certainly not! On this occasion, He was speaking to people who thought He was a mere man (see especially verses 41 and 42), and seeking to convince them that, rather than being a man Whose origin was from earth, He had come down from heaven. As part of this work of persuading them, He stated that He was not doing His own will (as a man originating on earth would), but that He was doing the will of God. There was no difference between His will and God’s will.
Not only did He always do His Father’s will, but it was His great delight to do it. He stated, on another occasion, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34). Concerning Him, the writer to the Hebrews, quoting from Psalm 40, wrote: “I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me,) to do Thy will, O God” (Heb 10:7).
When He was a child, He was “filled with wisdom” (Luke 2:40). As an adult, it is recorded that His fellow countrymen, on hearing Him teach, “were astonished, and said, ‘Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works?'” (Matt 13:54).
Time and again, as we read His words, we marvel at His wisdom. A striking example is provided by His exchanges with the various groups that came to Him in Matthew 22, trying to “entangle Him in His talk” (v15). How fitting is Matthew’s conclusion to the chapter: “And no man was able to answer Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions” (v46).
The words “Thou … teachest the way of God truly” (Luke 20:21) were spoken to Him by insincere men, but their statement was correct. Not only did He teach God’s way truly, He demonstrated it truly. His ways were the ways that pleased God.
Take one example: His meekness. He taught it to others: “Blessed are the meek” (Matt 5:5), and He practiced it: “I am meek and lowly in heart” (Matt 11:29). He, the King, rode into Jerusalem in meekness, the very opposite of earthly kings (Matt 21:5). Paul writes of “the meekness and gentleness of Christ” (2Cor 10:1). And myriad other examples could be quoted. Time and language fail us in trying to do justice to His ways of love, compassion, gentleness, patience, and so many other graces.
We have our “strong points” and our “weak points.” Not He. There was no good quality that He ever needed to obtain, for He had them all. Nor did anything about Him ever need improvement. Every virtue was His in complete perfection. As Mary Peters wrote:
This Name encircles every grace
That God, as man, could show;
There only can the Spirit trace,
A perfect life below.