The Life of Jesus
It is a very happy thing to speak about the Lord Jesus. To speak about others is sad history-but a black background to the coming in of Jesus. For He is another kind of Man altogether. God had looked to see if there was anyone that responded to Himself. The Epistle to the Romans shows that every member of man's body was used in self-will in defiance of God in the practice of sin. Look at the summary of chapter three: his eyes, his tongue, his throat, his feet-all summed up as a person of wickedness. Now into the scene comes another Man for whom God has waited. Think of who He was that came! What care was divinely exercised that He should have a body suited to the glory of the Person who was to occupy it. See Luke 1: 35; the amazing mystery! He was born in an outcast position in the poorest of circumstances. Jesus, of whom it is said that He is "God blessed for ever", was born in a stable! Just a part of an inn that was used for animals, and He was born there, touching creation humanly at its lowest level. His mother wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger. Oh strange, yet befitting, beginning to all that life of woe!
Strange, yet befitting. Think of heaven's pleasure. We do not read much of heaven's pleasure when other children were born, but it was declared then. The heavens resound with praise at the birth of One who was to be the pleasure of God. Oh what a Babe! How different from any other babe! We have very little said in New Testament testimony about the childhood and secret life of Jesus. This is remarkable, brethren. Yet in Psalm 22, which Jesus quoted when forsaken on the cross, it also speaks of the way He had depended upon God. It says in verses nine and ten, "Thou art He that took Me out of the womb; Thou didst make Me trust, upon My mother's breasts. I was cast upon Thee from the womb; Thou art My God from My mother's belly". Think of that. Passing in retrospect in the holy mind of Jesus, as He is about to lay down His holy life, He goes back to its beginning here when He was a babe upon His mother's breasts. He trusted in God. There was never another babe like that. We shrink from saying much about this profound mystery. It is so holy. In the tiny conditions of infancy, He was cast upon God. What pleasure for God that must have evoked. Babies are not very old when they begin to show signs of self-will. A temper will display itself in the tiniest child. Never did it show itself in the Lord Jesus. "I was cast upon Thee". This marked Him throughout His secret and public life.
Then in Isaiah 53, we are given a little touch of the life of Jesus. He was the Arm of the Lord. How choice it is to our hearts when the Arm of the Lord comes on our views. "He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness" when we see Him. These are expressions which refer to Jesus in His youth. Think of Jesus growing up as a tender sapling. The young people will have seen in the parks and gardens how men plant the tree saplings. They do not just put them in the ground and leave them in the wind; the storm will crush them. They give them a standard for support. That is how the Lord Jesus was here. In every moment of the day, every night, He would say, "Preserve Me, O God: for in Thee do I put My trust". Psalm 16: 1. Think of Him saying that. We do not often talk like that. We make up our minds what we are going to do, and often turning to God is very remote even with the most pious of us; but not with the Lord Jesus, a tender sapling.
Defenceless, yet dependent and preserved as He trusted in His God. Has the meaning of 2 Corinthians 8: 9 sunk into our hearts? Paul is speaking about the collection. He says "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor". Think of the poverty of Galilee. What a rebuke to the sumptuous indulgence and self satisfaction of those at Corinth, and to those living in the present time! The Lord Jesus lived in poverty. The poverty of Galilee, as it was then, would have had to be seen to be believed. Jesus was born into it and lived in it to the pleasure of God. Hundreds of years before this, when King Solomon lived in his greatness, he built a house with the help of supplies from King Hiram of Tyre. He gave Hiram a reward for supplying the timber. He gave him twenty cities in the region of Galilee. We are told in 1 Kings 9: 10-14 that Hiram came to look at them. He called them the land of Cabul, which means "as of nothing" or worthless. That is what he thought about Galilee. He did not mind being associated with Solomon in the splendour of his house and external glory, but he considered the reproach of Galilee as being worthless. Into these conditions came the Lord Jesus. He was brought up in Nazareth in poverty. Think of God looking down on those wretched dwellings, with the hand to mouth existence, the disease, the need and suffering of men under the rule of Herod, and seeing One Lovely Man there. Was there any chafing resentment in the heart of Jesus because of the conditions? No, not any. It is said in Psalm 16: 6, "The lines are fallen unto Me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage". "I have set the LORD always before Me" verse 8. Think of the Lord Jesus
saying that in conditions where outwardly there was hardly a vestige remaining to show that it was the heritage of the people of God. Yet God had that in Jesus which the inheritance had never yielded to Him before.
Precious, holy life lived in secret; lived here among men for the pleasure of God!
Our dear brother was called Home to be with his Lord on August 6 while this issue
of the magazine was in preparation.