Thursday, 22 March 2012

"Fairer than...greater than...lower than...higher than..."

Just a few short thoughts on the subject of our Lord Jesus Christ and hopefully you will enjoy them as much as I have in recent days.

"My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever." Ps 45:2

It is always a good place to start at to consider the beauties of our Lord Jesus Christ, particular perhaps when we gather on a Lord's Day morning to remember and worship him. The verses above really capture the enthusiasm of the Psalmist as he considers his subject and tries to express his worship. His heart is overflowing, his tongue is eager to give voice to his thoughts, willingly and abundantly! Oh that we might be able to catch hold of that zeal!

Of course the Psalm is Messianic, that is a Psalm that speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ and surely as we consider him we would agree that he is fairer than all others we would care to consider. Think of the beauties of the Saviour that we see in the gospel records - his grace, compassion, holiness and purity, his wisdom and love  for those in need around him! His meekness and humility despite his rejection and sufferings... Surely his beauty surpasses all others, he is the altogether lovely one and the gospels bear record to his lovely character.

"Fairer than all the earth beside, chiefest of all unto thy bride,
Fullness divine in thee I see, beautiful man of Calvary!"

"...greater than the temple... than Jonas... than Solomon" Matthew 12

Our verses bring together that 3 fold cord, that wonderful trio of thoughts here in Matthew 12.

The temple - the temple system had failed at this stage, it merely represented empty ceremony, ritualism and was corrupt and ineffective and the Lord pronounced this diagnosis throughout his earthly ministry. It should be obvious to us that Christ is greater than the temple! Hebrews tells us of "a new and living way", "a better covenant" and "a greater and more perfect tabernacle". The temple was where the priests served, and Christ is indeed the greatest priest, for who better to represent man before God than a man who was God himself? This is an amazing truth, that the Son of God was also the Son of Man, God was manifest in the flesh!

Jonas - The reference to Jonah would surely remind us of a message and a messenger from God (as Jonah was a prophet) and Christ is surely greater! As we said in our previous point, who better to bring a message to men from God than God himself? Indeed the scriptures say "the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us"

Solomon - The mighty and glorious king Solomon was the greatest king in Biblical history, God said there would be none like him, yet the Lord Jesus is greater than Solomon! The verses remind us of his rejection, as the Queen of the south (a gentile outsider) came to see Solomon if all that was said of him was true, and she saw and believed! The Jews of the day lived alongside the Saviour, he came unto his own, but his own received him not. They rejected him and despised him, they would not have this man to reign over them! How sad.

Thankfully scriptures such as 1 Tim 6:15 and throughout the book of the Revelation remind us that he is "King of Kings, and Lord of Lords" surely he is greater than Solomon, and will be universally proclaimed as such in a coming day (Phil 2:9-11)

"But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." Heb 2:9

It is always worth remembering that the Lord's incarnation brought him lower than the angels, what a monumental stoop that must have been for Him who is "better than the angels"... I think that sometimes we forget this immense stoop to "lower than" so easily, possibly because we cannot fully understand what it means when the scripture says that "though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor". We have mentioned Philippians 2 already and this passage would also tell us much about that humbling downward stoop he took, in fact it mentions a 7 fold humbling in verses 7 and 8.

The verses tell us why he was incarnated, it was so that he might die. What a strange yet marvellous thought, that here was one who was born so that he might die! Even stranger still when we consider that he knew nothing of death from his position with his father God in eternity past. Yet he tasted death for every man, he knows all about the suffering of death, he went through it all, the agony and shame of it! What is more he bore the judgement for sin at the hands of a holy God, and forsaken he bore it alone.

"For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens" Heb 7:26

Praise God we can close our thoughts by considering the Lord Jesus in this way, as higher than the heavens. He has been down to the depths for us, but how good it is to know that he has been vindicated! God raised him from the dead and has exalted him above all others at his right hand, Philippians 2 follows the same theme; "wherefore God hath highly exalted him"

Praise God that we can sing the words of a hymn that is primarily taken up with his sorrows and sufferings;

"Now in heaven exalted high, Hallelujah! What a Saviour!"

We trust this post has been heart-warming and thought-provoking.

Yours in Christ, Mark




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