My heart is inditing a good matter… my tongue is the pen of a ready writer (Psalm 45:1). In a world full of darkness, error, and confusion, the Christian seems to constantly be engaged in a war of innumerable fronts. Satan’s legions are wide and varied, dawning many different uniforms under many different generals, but united in their rage against the singular banner of Truth. Accordingly, the Christian can become quickly overwhelmed, feeling compelled to muster all his strength over and over again as he sees the One he loves ceaselessly attacked. But the Beloved smiles upon His ransomed, and in the heat of the battle says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 28:11). He reminds us that it’s our privilege to do the service of the Lord, and that it’s out of the abundance of His kindness and mercy that He allows us to pick up His banner and share the honor of His cause. But were we all to fail, He would not lose an inch of ground, and we need not fret for His sake as though He needed anything. So, when He calls us to rest, we may sheathe our swords with confidence, knowing that He that sits in the heavens shall laugh at the raging of the heathen, and we may return to our Rock and Fortress for the refreshment of our souls. As we celebrate the Lord’s Resurrection, I invite the Christian to lower his sword and look to the One for whom he fights, like an infantryman gazing longingly at the picture of the one who waits back home. Or rather, since our sword is the Word of God, let us handle and look upon it unsheathed – a sword so well-polished that it flashes back our reflection better than any mirror, and whose glistening brilliance reveals the glories of its Maker. Through His Word we may see Him. Let us come and adore
JESUS. For the Christian, these two syllables are always far too few. By the time they pass from his lips, he immediately hungers for them again. What the world takes in vain, the Christian cherishes as the very keys to Heaven. He stakes his souls in those five letters, and if he were bound to never utter anything else, he would be content. He loves that Name, because he knows what it means: Salvation is of the LORD. It’s what Jonah cried out in the belly of the whale immediately after foreshadowing the death, burial, and resurrection of our King (Jonah 2:9). What Jonah only saw in shadows and types in his day, the Christian knows and lives, “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:9).
The Christian – wishing that the Savior’s Name would not so soon depart from his mouth – hastens to add Lord, and proclaims the Lord Jesus. He is not just his personal savior, but the Lord of all – King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is the One to whom every knee will bow and every tongue will confess to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11). He is that very LORD from whom salvation comes. He is the One to whom every planet, star, and galaxy does obeisance as they follow the course He mapped out for them. His is the hand that gardens every flower, molds every mountain, and fills every spring of water. He is the One who “changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him” (Daniel 2:21-22).
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consistColossians 1:16-17
Heralded by Lord, Jesus is then magnified by His Office, crowning His full title as The Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus came to be the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, and whoever truly believes this is born of God (1 John 5:1). To believe this is to believe that He accomplished the Office of the Messiah, and that – for His people – He has fully and completely trodden under foot the serpent who caused our ancestors to fall (Genesis 3:15). It’s to believe that Jesus is that rod out of the stem of Jesse who would “smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips […] slay the wicked” (Isaiah 11:4), causing the wolf to dwell with the lamb in peace together (Isaiah 11:6). It’s to believe that He is that servant, the BRANCH, that would remove the iniquity of the land in one day (Zechariah 3:4, 8-9).
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.Jeremiah 23:5-6
He is the redeemer who has saved His people, the One promised to make His own Soul an offering for sin (Isaiah 53:10).
He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healedIsaiah 53:5
Out of all the works of our God, this one is the greatest. Nowhere have the Divine Attributes intersected so perfectly than with the beams of the Cross, where perfect love was manifested and perfect justice was satisfied. The Christian knows that he’s worthy of death. He looks upon the lifeless corpse of his Savior hanging on the Cross – that beaten, bloody Body forsaken by God and man, and groans, “that should have been me… I deserved that!” The Christian knows he has sinned against a Holy God, the most Pure, Majestic, Good, and Righteous Being that could ever be comprehended, and who exceeds comprehension altogether. But this Jesus, He was the only One who didn’t deserve to suffer at all. Man has committed uncountable atrocities since his fall, bathing himself in injustice and evil devised against others without a cause, but this was the only time when the Victim was truly innocent. This is the Man who never once did any wrong, never once dwelt on an impure thought, never once harbored an ulterior motive for His own advantage; He is that very Pure, Majestic, Good, Righteous and Holy God in the flesh! And what unimaginable suffering! Besides the taunts, the humiliation, the nails, the asphyxiation – besides all that, the sweet communion He enjoyed with His Father was severed in His humanity, when He became “sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). And so He cried out, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46). So amazing is His love, that He was willing to lay aside the most blessed and wonderful joy to save the souls of His friends, who had done nothing but treat Him like an enemy. But praise be to God, the separation would not last, and He would rise from the grave with the souls of His people, and open the seals of the book that remained untouched for millennia.
How agonizing it must have been for John to see the book waiting in the hand of God – the book that would end in the perfect consummation of the Divine plan – yet there was none who could open it, or even so much as look at it! One by one the mightiest, wisest, and most pious of the human race vainly tried to open the book, but the standard had been given long ago: “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully” (Psalm 24:3-4). And so, one by one all fell short, and “no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon” (Revelation 5:4). But then an angel heralded the Good News, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in” (Psalm 24:7).
Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereofRevelation 5:5
Jesus has come to claim His place. He has ascended into Heaven bearing His scars as trophies, for in them is declared that the penalty due to His Bride, the Church, has been paid, and with His own blood He has bought her. It is finished (John 19:30). What man could never do, God did Himself. No man could ascend into the hill of the LORD, so He became Man and ascended it Himself. No man could open the book, so He became Man and opened the book Himself. No man could reach God, so He came down and offered Himself for us, and in His flesh bridged the gulf between the finite and the infinite. He has opened the first seals already, and with the end of the seals will come that blessed and holy reign that God has promised so long ago.
Brother or sister, whether or not you’re able to attend church this Easter, let your mind dwell on your Lord Jesus this Sunday. His tomb is empty and He sits on the right hand of the Father, and if you’re in Christ, you’re seated with Him even now (Colossians 3:1). As you read through the Gospels, know that the One you see there is the very Jesus described here, the very Lord of all, the very Son of God in the flesh. Pour over His words, mediate upon them, cherish them, love them – His teachings are God’s teachings, and His ministry is God’s ministry. And so, too, will you see Him in the teachings of the Apostles, Prophets, and Moses, for they were authored by the same Holy Spirit that filled Christ, and there’s no division between them. Let us learn more of Him, and strive to better worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. The more we learn of Him, the more we will see that it’s indeed our reasonable service to present our bodies “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (Romans 12:1).