The Person of the Christ
Extracted from “Christ and the Assembly”
Intimations of the Coming Christ in the Old Testament
It has often been said that the New Testament is latent, or hidden, in the Old Testament; the Old Testament is patent, or revealed, in the New Testament. So in our present enquiry we have the advantage of all the light of the New Testament shining on the Old Testament page. The first passage to be noted in the first verse of the Bible: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth (Gen. 1:1).
In the light of the revelation of the Holy Trinity in the Scriptures, three Persons in the GodheadFather, Son and Spirityet one God, we are able to understand why the word God in Genesis 1:1 should be in the plural. There are three numbers in the Hebrew language. It possesses a dual number in addition to our singular and plural. The dual number means two of persons or things, so that necessitates that the plural shall embrace three at least.
Since the New Testament teaches there are three Persons in the Godhead, we are not surprised to find the word God in the plural number in the Hebrew language. And further, the verb, created, following the plural noun, God, is in the singular. This teaches at once that though there are three Persons in the Godhead, yet there is but one God Three in One and One in Three. We are thus assured that the hand of direct inspiration is at work most unmistakeably in this Scripture.
Nay further, the word God (Elohim) is in the plural over 2,500 times through the Old Testament, and only a little over 300 times in the singular. One passage in particular brings the singular and plural together. We refer to Deuteronomy 6:4:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord [Jehovah, singular] our God [Elohim, plural] is one Lord [Jehovah, singular].
Here in the very affirmation of the Unity of the Godhead, the truth of the Trinity of Divine Persons is carefully guarded.
We read in Romans 5:14, that
Adam... is the figure of Him that was to come.
This brings us to the second chapter of Genesis. Why should Eve be created, or made, in the way she was? Why was she not created as Adam was, out of the dust of the earth? Why was Adam put into a deep sleep by the Lord God, and a rib (literally, side) taken from Adam, and a woman built therefrom, and given to Adam as a help meet?
In Ephesians 5 we have this applied. The Apostle Paul is giving instructions as to the conduct of wives towards their husbands, and husbands towards their wives. Adam exclaimed when he beheld his wife.
This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh (Gen. 2:23).
In Ephesians 5:30, Paul, speaking not of an earthly husband, but of our Lord, says,
We are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.
He then proceeds,
For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery, BUT I SPEAK CONCERNING CHRIST AND THE CHURCH (Eph. 5:31-32).
Here the light of the New Testament is thrown upon the Old Testament page. We get a beautiful figure of Christ and the Church. Adam fell into a deep sleep. Our Lord went into the sleep of death. As a result of Adam falling into a deep sleep, he had the joy of receiving his bride. Christ loved the church, gave Himself for her, and will have the joy of presenting her, His Bride, to Himself in the coming day of glory.
Could Moses have had any idea how beautifully the story of Eve's entrance into the world would fit in with a story that was as yet in his day lying many centuries ahead?
We gather that the marriage estate is not merely a convenient illustration of Christ and the church, but rather that it is formed on the model of Christ and the church.
Genesis 3:15 gives us the first definite intimation of the coming Christ. We read,
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and HER SEED: it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
God Himself is the Speaker, who knows all things from the beginning, and He did not announce the seed of the man, but of the woman. If Moses had been left to Himself to record this announcement would he have made this blunder, as men would say? But did he make a blunder? He did not. Again we see Who guided his pen. It was the first intimation of the virgin-birth of our Lord.
We trace the enmity all down the ages between the Satanic seed and the promised seed. And we see how this came to a head in the life of our Lord. It appeared as though Satan had gained a victory at last when Christ hung dead on a gibbet of shame. How aptly does Moses phrase it when he speaks of the bruising of the heel. How short lived was Satan's exultation when our Lord rose from the dead on the third day. Instead of Satan's victory, It was Christ's. His very death was the weapon that gained the victory. Satan's head was bruised there. His power was annulled. His doom is certain.
We often sing with triumph of our Lord,
He Satan's power laid low;
Made sin, sin's reign o'erthrew;
Bow'd to the grave, destroyed it so,
AND DEATH BY DYING SLEW.
So in this striking prophecy we have the first intimation of the Virgin Birth of our Lord.
We cannot comment on every intimation of the coming of Christ in the Old Testament, but must content ourselves with a mere handful of them, but sufficient for our purpose. We pass on over 3,000 years, and we find a very distinct prophecy as to the Virgin Birth. We read:
The Lord Himself shall give you a sign: Behold a virgin [literally THE virgin] shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel [GOD with us] (Isa. 7:14).
We find what was in germ in the prophecy of Genesis 3:15 is now stated in plain terms. We are told it is a sign. The ONLY Person to be so born was marked out as Immanuel (God with us), God walking as a lowly Man on earth.
We must not expatiate on this lovely scene. Read the delicate and restrained accounts of the Virgin Birth in Matthew 1:18-25, and Luke 2:1-7, the former Gospel giving the account of the birth of Christ from the standpoint of Joseph; the latter, from the mother's.
We are told distinctly that this is given to us as a SIGN. We need to insist upon it these days. We heard of a score of ministers, who were gathered together lately. They discussed the matter of the Virgin Birth. All but one declared they did not believe in the miraculous birth of our Lord. The one, who did affirm his belief in this sign, was scoffed at for his pains. To disbelieve the Virgin Birth of our Lord is to deny the Divine inspiration of the Scriptures and to reject the God-sent Saviour.
But God would by this means draw attention to THE Saviour of mankind. He stands a figure all by Himself. In the words of Thomas of old, we can say to Him, My Lord and my GOD (John 20:28).
The same prophet Isaiah, often called the royal prophet, in foretelling the coming Christ, clearly indicates His Godhead and His Manhood.
Unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, the Prince of peace (Isa. 9:6).
What but Divine inspiration would dare to set in the same verse a child born into this world and yet call the Child the Father of eternity? And when heaven gives a name, it is a true name, and gives an accurate description of the person. How the readers of the Scriptures in Old Testament times must have puzzled over this text. Yet the solution is plain enough in the light of the New Testament, that Christ was the Son of God from all eternity, and became a Man in this world. When as a Babe He lay in the arms of His virgin mother, His name was The Father of eternity.
It is very significant that Scripture tells us a CHILD is born but not that a SON is born. Those who are teaching that the Lord only became the Son of God in incarnation, would have fastened on that text as the vindication of their false teaching, if it had been so rendered. But it tells us. A Son is GIVEN The well-known gospel verse, John 3:16, agrees with this:
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.
The Son is given, NOT born in order to be the Son born, but when He took Manhood in lowly grace, He was still AS EVER the Son.
The first name given prophetically to the Child born is Wonderful. That seems to carry the meaning that the Incarnation is a mystery to human minds. That is borne out by the reply of the angel to Manoah, the father of Samson, the child to be born. Manoah asked for the name of the angel that he might do him honour. The angel replied:
Why askest thou after My name, seeing it is secret (Jud. 13:18).
The word, secret, is the same word rendered wonderful.
This answers to the New Testament, when our Lord said,
No man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him (Matt. 11:27).
There are two steps in the knowledge of the Father, (1) as revealed by the Son and (2) then by those to whom the Son reveals the Father. But in the case of the Son there is but one step, that is, He is known in the meaning of that verse only by the Father, and that is true for ever.
But the reader may say, But I know the Lord Jesus.
Yes, that is blessedly true of all believers, but none but the Father can understand the mystery of the Eternal Word becoming flesh, how Deity and manhood can combine in one blessed Person. No one will ever fathom the secret of that wonderful union of Godhead with manhood, so that God Himself may be revealed to men and an atoning death take place whereby sinful men may be blessed and saved, and have Divine life.
Another name is that of Mighty God. This falls into line with John 1:1,
The Word was with God, and the Word was GOD.
We can well sing,
Thou art the everlasting Word,
The Father's only Son,
God manifest, God seen and heard,
The Heaven's belov'd One,
Worthy, O Lamb of God art Thou,
That every knee to Thee should how.
There is a third very striking statement in Isaiah. In it is indicated more fully than anywhere else in the Old Testament the truth of the Holy Trinity. We read,
Come ye near unto Me, hear ye this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning for the time that it was, there AM I: and now the (1) Lord God and (2) His Spirit, hath sent (3) ME (Isa. 48:16).
Here we have three Persons(1) The Lord (Adonai, plural) God (Jehovah, singular), (2) His Spirit and (3) ME. The One who speaks of Himself as ME, is evidently Divine for He says, From the beginning, from the time that it WAS, there am I. We are reminded of the Lord's own words to the Jews,
Before Abraham WAS, I am (John 8:58).
We are familiar with the thought of the Son sending the Spirit, as was witnessed on the Day of Pentecost, but here we get the Spirit sending the Son. The passage says Has SENT Me. All through the Gospel of John we get the Lord again and again affirming that He is the sent One.
The Father hath SENT Me (John 5:36).
And the Father Himself which has SENT Me, hath borne witness of Me (John 6:37).
As the living Father hath SENT Me (John 6:47).
These are but three passages out of many that sprinkle plentifully John's Gospel.
Our Lord opened the eyes of a blind man. He anointed the man's eyes with clay made from His spittle, and sent him to wash in the pool of Siloam, which is by interpretation, SENT. Our Lord was under no necessity to put clay on the man's eyes. In other cases His word of power sufficed for the miracle. He had evidently a meaning to teach by His action, possibly not so much for the blind man as for ourselves.
Surely the teaching our Lord would have us learn is that His incarnation would only make it more difficult to understand that He was GOD. How could men know that He was God as He walked a Man amongst men? To put clay upon a blind man's eyes, only made it still more difficult for him to see. The moment he washed in the pool of Siloam (by interpretation SENT) his sight was restored. The moment a soul learns that the lowly Jesus, who went about doing good in this world, was the SENT of the Father, His only begotten, eternally-existing Son, equal with the Father in the Godhead, then everything becomes plain. We must work, as it were, from His Godhead to His Manhood, and then all is understandable. If we seek to work from His Manhood to His Godhead, we shall ever be in confusion, like clay put upon blind eyes. To work from His Godhead to His Manhood is the way Scripture puts it, as for instance,
Christ Jesus... being (1) in the form of God... took upon Himself (2) the form of a servant (literally bondslave) and was made in the likeness of men (Phil. 2:5-7).
It is a wonderful moment in our history when we learn that the lowly Jesus was the SENT of the Father, His only begotten Son, from all eternity. The works that I do bear witness of Me, that the Father hath sent Me (John 5:36).
Psalm 2 has two wonderful intimations of the coming Christ.
Thou art My Son; this day have I begotten Thee (v. 7).
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little (v. 12).
The first passage has been the subject of much controversy. Two ways of looking at it may occur to the mind. One is that the Lord became the Son by incarnation. The other is that He was ever the Son, and when the Son came into altered circumstances, and was found as a man among men, He was greeted from Heaven as the Son, the altered circumstances, not altering nor impairing His eternal relationship with His Father.
The Eternal Sonship of our Lord is a truth running all through Scripture. Different writers touch upon it from various points of view. Yet Scripture being inspired, these writers do not contradict but support each other. If then a passage is capable of two ways of looking at it, and one way would throw the passage into contradiction with the general teaching of Scripture on the subject, it is plain that that explanation is not the right one. To say this passage teaches that the Lord only became the SON when born into the world, is to throw the rest of Scripture into confusion. If persisted in, it means the twisting of Scripture to bolster up a false exegesis, besides doing grave dishonour to our Lord Jesus Christ.
The explanation surely is this. The Lord said, Thou art My Son EVER the Son This day have I begotten Thee the altered circumstance of lowly Manhood has left unimpaired in the slightest degree the relationship between Father and Son from all eternity. This explanation is supported by the general teaching of Scripture on this vital subject, and runs completely in harmony with it.
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, is an eastern way of calling for universal subjection. To kiss the hand of a monarch is a well-known custom when a subject bows to his Sovereign. Philippians 2:10-11, tells us the day is coming when all shall bow. Psalm 2:12 urges the voluntary doing it, which submission brings blessing. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him (Ps. 2:12).
Another striking intimation is Proverbs 30:4,
Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in His fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His SON'S name, if thou canst tell.
This is a most remarkable intimation. It must have struck the pious students of the Old Testament Scriptures with amazement. Who could tell? The incarnation of the Son of God was yet in the womb of the future. In the light of the New Testament how understandable the passage becomes.
A still more striking intimation of the coming Christ is seen in Proverbs 8. As we all know the Proverbs is largely taken up with the praise of wisdom, and the warnings against folly. Solomon, the author of the Proverbs, was the wisest man that ever lived. God addressed these words to the youthful king,
Lo I have given thee a wise and understanding heart: so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee (1 Ki. 3:12).
Yet he stands as a monument of folly and sin at the end of his days, showing that the head, gigantic intellect, power to weigh the wisdom of one's actions, were not sufficient to preserve him from folly. His head was all right, but his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God. He went after strange wives, and heathen gods, and wrecked his kingdom. Not for his sake, but for the sake of his father, David, the cleavage between Judah and Israel did not take place till the reign of his foolish and wicked son, Rehoboam.
How fitting that this book, which shows that the wisest man, even its author, fails, should present to us One who never fails. Under the name of Wisdom, the Son of God is presented to us. Wisdom is here not a quality, but the Spirit here speaks of a glorious Person. We have here a wonderful intimation of the coming Christ. We read,
I love them that love Me (v. 17).
An abstract quality cannot love. A blessed Person with a heart can lovethis Person loves them that love Him.
Further down the chapter we learn there were two Persons before the foundation of the world, who formed a Divine Society. Love and rejoicing ever flowed between them. We read,
Then I was by Him, as One brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing alway before Him (v. 30).
Was not the Son ever the delight of the Father? Did not the Son ever rejoice before the Father?
Then we read that Wisdom was rejoicing in the habitable part of His earth; and My delights were with the sons of men (v. 31).
HIS earth! Whose? Evidently the One who speaks. Who can call the earth HIS earth, but the Creator Himself? And who has shown His delight in the sons of men but the Lord Jesus? Who has died that men might live? Christ! So we read,
Of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us WISDOM, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30).
The Old Testament answers to the New Testament as the face answers to the mirror, as the obverse answers to the reverse in the seal.
A striking prediction is found in the little prophecy of Micah:
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel: whose going forth have been from of old, from everlasting (chap. 5:2).
Here the Deity and Manhood of the Lord are indicated, the Deity from everlasting, the Manhood in time, the place of His entrance into the worldBethlehem.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king (Matt. 2:1).
Zechariah 8:8 gives yet another striking intimation of the coming Christ:
Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the man that is My Fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts: smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered, and I will turn Mine hand upon the little ones.
Who could be the Fellow of God, but God; who could be smitten but the Man, Christ Jesus, the Shepherd of the Sheep? Did not our Lord call Himself the Good Shepherd that laid down His life for the sheep? He was God's Fellow. He was the Shepherd. He died for us.
We have touched very briefly on very few and comparatively well-known Scriptures, showing the Old Testament intimations of the coming Christ. How we can thank God for this wealth of allusion, that is by no means exhausted in this short article. How we can worship the Father and the Son the Sender and the Sent. Hallelujah!
The Word in Eternity and Made Flesh
The Gospel of Matthew gives the descent of our Lord from Abraham, the fountain head of God's promises; and David, the head of the kingly race of Israel. The Gospel of Luke gives us the ascent of our Lord to Adam, which was... of God. But in the Gospel of John we have no descent or ascent of earthly genealogy, nothing is said of the Virgin birth, no account of our Lord's entrance into the world in detail as to earthly circumstances. Our Lord is presented here as the Eternal Word. As such He had no beginning. The Word was God, and God has no beginning.
There is nothing more profound in the whole of the Scriptures than the opening of the Gospel of John. Like all presentations of Divine truth, the language is of the simplest nature, so that a child can understand its import. Yet the greatest philosopher, the most mature Christian that ever lived, can never fathom the mighty depths of its meaning. One feels like a child on the golden strand looking with amazement and bewilderment at the mighty ocean.
The opening words of John's Gospel are truly majestic:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made (John 1:1-3).
The first chapter of John's Gospel speaks of our Lord under more designations than any other chapter in the Bible. We may be familiar with most of them, but what does the Spirit of God intend to convey to us by the term, WORD? There are two designations for WORD in the Greek language, both of which are employed in the Holy Scriptures. Rhema, which is the word employed to denote actual speech manipulated by the organs of the mouth. Logos, which is used to convey the idea of THOUGHT expressed in speech; in other words, the word by which the inward thought is expressed.
Both words were in common usage in the Greek language.
Logos was the word that was used by the philosopher, Heraclitis (500 B.C.) in his search after God. He saw everything in nature in a state of flux, change, disintegration in everything. Spring always followed by autumn, the budding leaf by the falling leaf, maturity followed by decay, whether in trees, or with men, or even, as we know, with the vast sun itself in the heavens. It may shine for millions of years, but it is burning itself out. Heraclitis observing this flux in nature decided in his mind there must be some permanent force, some fixed source from whence all flowed. This principle he frequently called Logos, twice at least he used the word, GOD.
The Stoics, a school of philosophy founded by Zeno of Citium about B.C. 280, coined a word in their search after this universal principle from which everything in nature flows. They used the two word. logos spematikos, to express their meaning, that there was some principle with the power of life and universal begetting. But it remained for the fisherman John, the beloved Apostle of the Lord, by the INSPIRATION of the Holy Spirit, not by his own searching, to take up the designation of the word, Logos, and apply it to our Lord. The word may have been, and was, in common and ordinary usage among the Greeks, but the Spirit of God used it in an authoritative way as applied to our Lord. What was the meaning of this choice? The Spirit of God did not employ the word, rhema, the word for speech without connecting thought, but the word Logos, setting forth the idea of thought expressed in speech.
Perhaps a simple line of thought, which has helped the writer, may assist at this juncture. Speech is the expression of thought. It is the distinguishing feature of man in contrast to the beasts. They have cries, the birds have songs of a limited and fixed nature, insects have their sounds, but the lower creation lacks speech. So they remain static in their condition ever since creation's day. Man has powers of advance in many ways through thought and speech.
Suppose I become the tenant of a house. It has a garden, protected by an unusually high wall, which shuts out any possible view of the next garden.
I am informed there is a next-door neighbour, a gentleman, who has never been seen out-of-doors. The only exercise out of his house he takes is walking in his garden. He is a mystery. His appearance is a matter of conjecture. I know nothing of him, save what I have just said.
One day walking in my garden my neighbour speaks to me. I am all attention. A few words and he passes on. I have got to know him just a little. How? By his word. His voice was kind and sympathetic, what he said was neighbourly. I look for further talks, and day after day my neighbour speaks to me. As he utters his THOUGHTS expressed in WORDS, I begin to know what my neighbour is like. I discover him to be talented, high-souled, noble in his feelings and thoughts. How do I know so much? By his WORD.
This is but a feeble illustration of a stupendous truth. We are told in Scripture of God dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen (1 Tim. 6:16).
Just as I could never seen my neighbour, so in a far higher sense we can never see God absolute. This was the case when the Scripture was written. It is equally true today and for all eternity. This must be so in the very nature of the Supreme Being.
How did I get to know so much of my neighbour? By his word, by his speech. How do I get to know God? After all that is the biggest question that can ever be asked by mortal man. I get to know God, not by a spoken word, but by THE LIVING WORD, a glorious Person, equal to the task, for He was God as we read in John 1:1. Who could reveal God, the Infinite, but the Word, who but God, the Infinite, who took upon Himself manhood that He might be seen of men? This is the amazing thing. This is what makes the four Gospels, especially the fourth Gospel, so inexpressibly precious. This goes beyond spoken speech, infinitely beyond the logos of the ancients in their vain search of the Unsearchable. No wonder Zophar of old asked the question,
Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty to perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? (Job 11:7-8).
The first thing that is predicated of the Word was that He made everything. He was the Creator. If the Word created everything, then He existed before the creation. Who existed before creation? God. The Word was God. The Word is the eternal Word. Of that Scripture leaves us in no doubt.
What was the first expression of the Word that we can have an understanding of? Creation! It declared God's eternal power and Godhead (Rom. 1:20), so that even the heathen with no Bible or knowledge of Christ are left without excuse.
As David looked up into the night heavens and saw the moon and the stars, those unnumbered orbs of light that stud the sky, he saw the work of God's fingers (Ps. 8:3). But this did not reveal God's heart. It showed the skill of His fingers whether seen when He flung off from His potter's wheel that monster sun, Sirius, which apparently exceeds in lustre 5,000 times our sun; or fashioned a midge, that can be crushed between finger and thumb, whose whole life is bounded between the sunrise and sunset of one day, complete with all its infinitesimally minute organs, functioning in life. Nay it was His bare word that brought all things into existence. So we read,
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the WORD of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (Heb. 11:3).
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork (Ps. 19:1).
We marvel at God's fingers. We stand in silent awe at the wonders of creation. Man laboriously perfects his inventions by slow steps. God created things that were perfect from the first moment of creation. Man corrects his mistakes. God makes none.
The Word had only to speak, and everything sprang into existence. The thought was in His mind, and the word the creatorial word brought everything into existence. We stand amazed in contemplation of such wonders that surpass our powers to understand. Thus creation is to us the first expression of the activity of THE ETERNAL WORD.
But now another affirmation is made of the Word:
In Him was life; and the life was the light of men (John 1:4)
In Him was life, that is life uncommunicated, life inherent, life without a beginning.
This is the true God, and ETERNAL LIFE (1 John 5:20).
He is the Fountain of life. He is the Source of life.
But wonders of wonders. The time had come when that life was to be manifested, when men should be invited to see that life, which declared God's glory and good pleasure in men. The One who created all things came into the world His hands had made. He came not with outward pomp and glory, but in humility and graciousness, born of a peasant virgin mother, though of royal lineage, born in a stable and cradled in a manger.
He gathered disciples round Him, lowly men, men of no culture, He did not go to the Temple at Jerusalem, and pick out the leaders of the nation, or the scholars of His age, the young men of culture and personality and attainments. He called His disciples in the main from the fishing nets of Galilee. And their testimony was this when they saw His life and heard His words:
The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth... no man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared Him (John 1:14, 18).
For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that Eternal Life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us (1 John 1:2).
These disciples companied with the Lord for three-and-a-half years of His public ministry. What a privilege! What an education! To see His movements, to mark His humility, to behold His miracles, showing forth the power of the kingdom of God, to hear His words as He told them of His Father, was a privilege past telling.
His disciples beheld His glory as of an only begotten of a Father. That was the great impression He left on their wondering minds. Did He not say concerning His disciples, in that memorable prayer to His Father just before He went to the cross,
I have given unto them the words which Thou gavest Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from Thee, and they have believed that Thou didst send Me (John 17:8)?
How intimate was this relationship between the Father and the Son, so intimate that it coloured every moment of His life, and influenced every one of His words and works, so He says,
Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? the WORDS that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the WORKS (John 14:10).
Again and again He gives utterance to these wonderful thoughts. He was in the Father, the Father was in Him. His WORDS were the Father's words; His WORKS were the Father's works. The relationship was unique, and He came to reveal God as God and as Father, and He alone was competent to do this.
He came full of grace and truth. Grace and truth are two nouns which should in the ordinary way be followed by a plural verb. But in this case they are followed by a verb in the singular. Why? To show evidently that you cannot divorce the one from the other. They are like two flowers on one stem. And yet it is significant that grace is first in order. Truth with men may be hard and brutal, but truth in revealing the nature of the blessed God must exhibit Him as a God of LOVE, a God who is gracious, and yet withal a God of inflexible holiness and righteousness.
This leads us to the cross. It is there we see the Word shining out the very picture of the God He came to reveal. God's grace was seen in the gift of His Son. His truth in that He abated nothing of the judgment due to sin, when He the Holy Sin-bearer stepped into the breach, and took the sinner's place.
GOD WAS IN CHRIST, reconciling the world unto Himself (2 Cor. 5:19).
Is there anything to touch this for grandeur and beauty in all the religions of the world other than Christianity? The gods of the heathen are monsters of cruelty and lust. God is love. God is light. God is in the light. He is revealed. No longer does He make darkness His secret place (Ps. 18:11). God has been revealed. The Father has been made known. Guilty man has been brought into blessing, far beyond his bare needs, but brought into acceptance in the Beloved, blessed with all spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 1:3).
We may indeed thank God profoundly for such a wealth of revelation brought to us by the Eternal Word, the Eternal Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Worthy is He of praise and worship for ever and ever.