Bernie Payne, Nfld
I am convinced that many of the ills that befall us as the people of God today, come as a result of our failure to meditate on the word of God. More specifically, I would suggest a failure to meditate on the person of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The sad condition in many assemblies today brings discouragement, discontentment, disagreement, dissatisfaction and dismay. In some cases there may be disorder, dissention, disobedience and even departure. While it is true that a wide variety of ministry is needed to address these problems, I believe that the root cause of all is the fact that we, like the church at Ephesus (Rev. 2:4), have left our first love. Remember, it was when Peter got his eyes off the Lord that he began to sink; and so it is with ourselves. For this present meditation, we wish to consider something of the Lord Jesus in the midst.
THE MOMENT OF HIS PASSION
The apostle John writes, "And He bearing His cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst" (Johnl9:17-18). What thoughts are thus conveyed to the mind at such a scene as this! Thoughts of the silent, suffering, sinless Saviour, bearing our heavy load of sin. No other scene in all of the word of God so affects us. It causes our hearts to bow in thanksgiving and thus confess, in true contrition, our love for him who first loved us.
THE MYSTERY OF HIS PRESENCE
The promise of the Lordís presence is given in Matthew 18:20, "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." Every company of believers that gathers in accordance with the pattern given in the word of God as expressed in Acts 2:41-42, can claim this promise. This is a blessed truth indeed! Yet the marvel of it all is this; the Lordís presence is not restricted to any one particular locality, at any one particular time. On any given Lordís Day there are numerous companies of believers gathered together at the same time, though in many different locations, yet each can be assured of His presence with them.
Equally comforting is the promise to every individual believer, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5). These truths are a mystery to us for we cannot understand how they can be, nevertheless we bow in adoring worship of the One who faithfully cares for His own. "Great is the mystery of godliness" (1 Tim. 3:16). Blessed mystery, blessed person!
THE MAGNITUDE OF HIS PREEMINENCE
In the book of the Revelation the apostle John brings before us a vision of the Lord Jesus that leaves us filled with awe and wonder, as we find ourselves transported before His august presence. "I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks one like unto the Son of man" (Rev.1:12-13). The description of the Son of man that follows is so glorious that John says, "I fell at his feet as dead" (v.17). The seven golden candlesticks (lampstands) are seven assemblies. To each, the person in the midst says, "I know thy works."
Here, I am reminded of these thoughts from a previous article concerning The Preeminent One: Nothing escapes His gaze; Nothing eludes His grasp; Nothing exhausts His grace; Nothing exceeds His giving. The Lord Jesus is the head of the church (Col. 1:18). It is His authority that gathers us (Matt.18:20); It is His word that governs us (Heb.13:7); It is His Spirit that guides us (John 16:13).
As to the sphere of his preeminence, it is without limit. Christ is preeminent:
∑in His Redemption (Heb. 9:12)
∑in His Reconciliation (Col. 1:20)
∑in His Resurrection (Eph. 1:20-22)
∑in His Reign (1 Cor. 15:25, Isa. 9:7)
∑in His Rest (Isa. 11:10)
∑in His Riches (Eph. 3:8)
This list is so small compared to all that He is in His wondrous person, yet it gives us a little glimpse of the magnitude of His preeminence. "That in all things He might have the preeminence" (Col. 1:18).
THE MAJESTY OF HIS PERSON
The events detailed for us in Revelation 5 concerning the seven sealed book of judgment, are most remarkable. Consider the scene! A throne encircled by a rainbow; upon the throne One whom to look upon is like a jasper and sardine stone; in his hand a seven-sealed book. Round about the throne sit twenty-four elders, clothed in white and wearing crowns of gold (ch. 4:3-4). An angel cries with a loud voice, "Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof" (ch. 5:2). John laments because there is not a man found in all the universe who is able to open the book, or to look therein. What a sad commentary on the human race! But wait; John is told that the Lion of the tribe of Judah has prevailed (overcome) to open the book and to loose the seals. We understand that this refers to the Lord Jesus Christ in His kingly character. The lion reminds us of majesty and power.
However, it is not a lion that John sees, but a Lamb. "And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne.. .stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth" (ch. 5:6).
The Lamb would speak of meekness and purity. While these things are true of the Lord Jesus, it is not meekness and purity that are in view here. Rather, the Lamb takes the characteristics of the Lion; majesty and power. In the word Ďprevailedí there is not only the thought of strength, but also of worth. The Lamb is the only one found worthy to open the book.
We do not think of a lamb as having majesty and power, yet here is a Lamb, the Lamb of God, in all the dignity of His blessed person who, by virtue of His worth and work, has both the authority and the ability to open the seven-sealed book of judgment. Remember, it was the Lamb who bore the righteous judgment of God at Calvary because of sin. Now the Lamb is seen ready to pour out the awful judgment upon a sinful earth.
The seven horns tell us of His omnipotence; the seven eyes tell us of His omniscience; the seven spirits tell us of His omnipresence. As this scene unfolds before us we find, first of all, four beasts and twenty-four elders fall down before the Lamb, singing of His worth and work of redemption. Then we hear joining them, the voice of many angels, the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain." Finally, John says, "And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto the Lamb" (ch. 5:8-13).
No mortal can with Him compare
Among the sons of men;
Fairer is He than all the fair
That fill the heavenly train.
"Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord" (Psa. 150:6).
THE MAGNIFICENCE OF HIS PEACE
There is no person that so completely and capably cares for his own, as does the Lord Jesus. There is no circumstance beyond his control. He alone is singularly competent to counsel; therefore we may bring our every concern to him with utmost confidence.
I am reminded of the last chapter of Lukeís Gospel, where the disciples were gathered together hearing of those who had seen the Lord Jesus after he had been raised from the dead. "And as they thus spake, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you" (Luke 24:36).
This chapter begins with individuals going to the sepulchre, and we read they "found not the body of the Lord Jesus" (v. 3). A little later, when two people were walking along the road to Emmaus, "Jesus Himself drew near, and went with them" (v. 15); that is occupation. He opens the scriptures and tells them of the things concerning Himself (v. 27); that is meditation. Finally, Jesus Himself appears in their midst (v. 36); that is revelation. And what a word He speaks, "peace be unto you." We have heard these words before: "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" (John 14:27).
"My peace." There is no peace like His. Indeed, there can be no peace without Him. We are reminded that we have "peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1). This peace has been made by the "blood of His cross" (Col. 1:20). Then there is the peace of God to keep our hearts and minds (Phil. 4:7); and to rule our hearts (Col. 3:15).
Do not these words speak peace to our souls from Him who is "The Prince of Peace?" Our response should be that of those in Luke 24; "And they worshipped Him" (Luke 4:52).
* * * * *
I heard His call, "Come! Follow" that was all.
Earthís joys grew dim, my soul went after Him:
I rose and followed, that was all.
Who would not follow if they heard His call?
* * * * *
"Delayed obedience is disobedience."