The Man Christ Jesus
“Now consider how great this man was.”— Hebrews vii. 4.
CONSIDER how great Melchizedek was. There is something majestic about every movement of that dimly-revealed figure. His one and only appearance is thus fitly described in the Book of Genesis,— “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: and blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.” We see but little of him, yet we see nothing little in him. He is here and gone, as far as the historic page is concerned, yet is he “a priest for ever,” and “it is witnessed that he liveth.” Everything about him is on a scale majestic and sublime.
“Consider how great this man was” in the combination of his offices. He was duly appointed both priest and king: king of righteousness and peace, and at the same time priest of the Most High God. It may be said of him that he sat as a priest upon his throne. He exercised the double office to the great blessedness of those who were with him; for his one act towards Abraham would seem to be typical of his whole life; he blessed him in the name of the Most High God. “Consider how great this man was,” that he not only ruled his people with righteousness and brought them peace, but he was their representative towards God and God’s representative to them; and in each character distributed divine blessings.
“Consider how great this man was” in the power of his benedictions. Abraham had already been greatly blessed, so much so that he is described as “he that received the promises.” Yet a receiver of promises so great, a man with whom God had entered into solemn covenant, was yet blessed by Melchizedek, “and without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better.” This great man yet further blessed the blessed Abraham, and the father of the faithful was glad to receive benediction at his hands. No small man this: no priest of second rank; but one who overtops the sons of men by more than head and shoulders, and acts a superior’s part among the greatest of them.
“Consider how great this man was” in his supremacy over all around him. He met Abraham when he was returning as a conqueror from the overthrow of the robber kings; and the victorious patriarch bowed before him and gave him tithes of the best of the spoil. Without a moment’s hesitation the man of God recognized the priest of God, and paid to him the tribute of a subject to the officer of a great king. In Abraham’s bowing all the line of Aaronic priesthood did homage unto Melchizedek; for as the apostle saith, “Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes in Abraham, for he was yet in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.” So that all kings in Abraham, and all priests in Abraham, did homage unto this man, who, as king and priest, was owned to be supreme. “Consider how great this man was.” When Paul had once proved that Melchizedek was greater than Abraham, he felt that he had clearly proved him to be greater than all others, at least to the Hebrews; for the seed of Abraham can recognize none greater than Abraham; and since Abraham by paying tithes acknowledges his subordination to Melchizedek, it is clear that the priest of the Most High God was the greatest of men.
“Consider how great this man was” as to the singularity of his person, “without father, without mother, without descent”: that is to say, we know nothing as to his birth, his origin, or his history. Even this explanation hardly answers to the words, especially when it is added, “Having neither beginning of days, nor end of life.” So mysterious is Melchizedek that many deeply-taught expositors think that he was veritably an appearance of our Lord Jesus Christ. They are inclined to believe that he was not a king of some city in Canaan, as the most of us suppose, but that he was a manifestation of the Son of God, such as were the angels that appeared to Abraham on the plains of Mamre, and that divine being who appeared to Joshua by Jericho, and to the three holy ones in the furnace. At any rate, you may well “consider how great this man was” when you observe how veiled in cloud is everything about his coming and going— veiled because intended to impress us with the depth of the sacred meanings which were shadowed forth in him. How much more shall this be said of him of whom we ask—
“Thy generation who can tell,
Or count the number of thy years?”
“Consider how great this man was” in the speciality of his office. He had no predecessor in his priesthood, and he had no successor. He was not one who took a holy office and then laid it down; but as far as the historic page of Scripture is concerned we have no note of his quitting this mortal scene; he disappears, but we read nothing of his death any more than of his birth. His office was perpetual, and passed not from sire to son; for he was the type of One “who is made not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life” “Consider how great this man was” in his being altogether unique. There is another “after the order of Melchizedek,” the glorious Antitype in whom Melchizedek himself is absorbed; but apart from him Melchizedek is unique. Who can equal this strange, mysterious priest, prophet, king, sent of the Most High God to bless the father of the faithful? He is altogether alone: he receives no commission from the hands of men, nor from God by men; and he does not transmit to a successor what he had not received from a predecessor. Melchizedek stands alone: one mighty crag, rising out of the plain; a lone Alp, whose brow is swathed in cloud sublime. “Consider how great this man was;” but think not to measure that greatness. I shall leave you to that consideration; for my business this morning is not with Melchizedek, but with a greater than he.
I shall take my text in its connection, but lift it up to a higher application. Beloved friends, if Melchizedek was so great, how much greater is that man whom Melchizedek represents! If the type is so wonderful what must the Antitype be! I invite you to consider “how great” is he of whom it is written, “The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” I will not say “Consider how great this man was,” for there is no verb: the “was” is inserted in italics by the translators. We are to consider “how great this man.” Say “was” if you will, but read also “is,” and “shall be.” Consider how great this man was and is, and is to be, even the Man Christ Jesus.
And first, this morning, let me exhort you to consider how great this man is: then let me assist you to consider how great this man is: and then let us practically improve our consideration of how great this man is, trying to turn it to holy account as the Holy Ghost may enable us.
I. First, then, LET ME EXHORT YOU TO CONSIDER HOW GREAT THIS MAN, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, IS.
This subject claims your consideration. I do not think it should be a matter of option with you whether you will now consider the greatness of your Lord or not; it is his due and right that you should consider his greatness. For he of whom we speak,— “this man,” is one well known among us. If you be true to your profession he is one most dear to you, to whom you owe all things, aye, owe your very selves. He is one between whom and you there is a troth plighted: you are espoused unto him, your hearts are his, even as his heart is yours. If you do not consider him, who will? He has loved you, and given himself for you. Strangers may listen to our teaching at this time, and in vain we may cry,
“Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?
Is it nothing to you that Jesus should die?”
But you are no stranger, you are not even a guest in his house, but you are a child living at home with him. He is your brother, and much more; for he is bone of your bone, and flesh of your flesh. All your interests are wrapped up in him. You are one with him; by an endless union, one. I claim, therefore, and I am sure you assent at once to the claim, that you should often consider your Lord, and the greatness of his nature, person, office, and work. His greatness should be your perpetual theme. I would urge that all other thoughts should now be banished, for this is your Lord’s own day, and therefore to him it should be dedicated with glad consent. If you are “in the Spirit on the Lord’s day,” you will, like John in Patmos, give all your thoughts to the Son of Man who walketh among the golden candlesticks. I urge it on you that you do now consider with your whole heart and mind, “how great this man is.” Do you not consent to the claim?
Certainly the subject needs consideration; for, dear friends, we shall never gain an idea of how great he is unless we do consider, and consider much. Here is a great deep, and it cannot be fathomed by the thoughtless. You think you know Christ, and, blessed be his name, you do know him in a sense; but do you know the thousandth part of him? When the apostle Paul had known Christ for many years he wrote to the Philippians, and he then expressed himself as desiring to know Christ; for though he knew him to his own personal salvation, yet he felt that he did not know him to the full. He owned that he knew the love of Christ, but he added, “it passeth knowledge.” Well may each of us who has been for years a student at the Master’s feet exclaim, “I find myself a learner yet.” I suppose the saints who have been in heaven now for thousands of years, and have been evermore adoring him, are still students of him. This is the philosophy which the most cultured mind shall never fully compass,— “God manifest in the flesh.” “Consider how great this man is!” This is a matter worthy of continual research, and calling for profound thought. You must weigh this subject, and turn it over, and meditate upon it the livelong day. You must let it lie both day and night upon your hearts as a bundle of camphire, perfuming the bosom in which it lies. You must look, and look, and look, and look again: still looking unto Jesus. The angels standing on the golden mercy-seat have ever their eyes bent downward, desiring to look within; and that must be your posture. Oh, you servants of the Lord, by looking to Jesus you began to live, by looking to him you shall continue to live, and your life shall find strength and growth. This sacred subject shall ever need more and more consideration from you. Oh the depths of the love, and wisdom, and glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ!
I go a little further, and say that not only does my subject claim your consideration and need your consideration, but it solemnly commands it. The text is not a mere piece of advice; it is by inspiration that the apostle bids you to-day out of this sacred page, “Consider how great this man was.” He charges you to think of Melchizedek, but much more would he have you remember Melchizedek’s Antitype. Oh, do not, my brethren, do not need to be pressed to this divine study: love it, never cease from it. Count every minute wasted in which you are not learning more about Jesus. Reckon all other knowledge to be as mere draff and dogs’ meat as compared with the knowledge of Christ crucified. In these days of science, falsely so called, determine with the apostle to know nothing among men save Jesus Christ and him crucified. It is imperative upon you that you love the Lord your God with all your heart, and all your soul, and all your mind; and that God in Christ Jesus should call into exercise every faculty of your inner man, while, with blended intellect and emotion, you consider how great he was.
Follow out this meditation, I pray you, because there is an exceeding great reward for any man who will u consider how great this man was.” I find for myself that the only possibility of my living is living in Christ and unto Christ. Look you about and try to live by the wisdom of man. Unstable as water and fickle as the wind is the product of human wisdom. The history of philosophy, from the beginning until now, is the history of fools; and never was folly so self-evident as in the philosophy which is now dominant. I believe that within a century it will be found impossible to make men believe that educated men were ever so degraded as to accept the philosophy of the present hour; it will seem to be so altogether absurd and contrary to all reason and common sense, that it will be rejected with scorn as a popular delusion of a dark age. Even to-day this generation is kicking about like footballs the philosophies of preceding ages, and we may rest assured that future generations will do the same with the dotings of to-day. I find, therefore, that I must come back to the revelation of God. Here is a rock beneath my feet— “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.” Certain great facts concerning God and his Christ have been made known to us by the Holy Ghost, and these are infallibly sure. God’s revelation is true, whatever man’s dreams may be. On the basis of revelation there is foothold. A personal knowledge of Christ revealed by the Spirit is also a sure matter. I get to Jesus, I speak to him, and meditate upon him, and he rises before me greater than ever, till in his presence all the learning of men condenses into folly. He is “God only wise.” Ah, then I live when he is all in all! My heart is glad and my glory rejoiceth when I forget all else save Christ Jesus my Lord. Therefore, brethren, I say that you shall find a great reward in full often coming near to your Lord, and considering again and again how great he is.
Consider his greatness, and I again remind you that the blessing comes only by consideration. I may speak to you this morning about the greatness of my Master, but I shall not succeed in fully declaring it. I am never more vexed with myself than when I have done my very best to extol his dear name! What is it but holding a candle to the sun? What are my lispings compared with the loud acclamations which such an one as he is might well expect from those who love him? You must carefully consider, or you will miss the blessing. It will not be enough for you to hear, or read; you must do your own thinking, and consider your Lord for yourselves. You may even read the Bible itself without profit, if you do not consider as well as read. The wine is not made by gathering the clusters, but by treading the grapes in the wine-vat: under pressure the red juice leaps forth. Not the truth as you read it, but the truth as you meditate upon it, will be a blessing to you. “Read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest.” “Consider how great this man was.” Shut yourselves up with Jesus, if you would know him. “Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.” In Christ there is shelter, and the more you consider him the greater your peace will be. Come and lay your finger into the prints of the nails, and thrust your hand into his side. Commune with the personal Christ, who ever liveth; and evermore “consider how great this man was.”
Thus have I exhorted you to this duty; now let me try to help you in it. But what help will mine be unless the Divine Spirit be with me, that the word spoken may be with power?
II. LET ME NEXT ASSIST YOU TO CONSIDER HOW GREAT THIS MAN WAS.
And first, lest the very use of the expression, “this man,” should leave anybody for a moment in doubt as to our faith in his Godhead, I bid you consider how great this man was in his relationship to God. For though he was man, he was not merely man. He was assuredly and truly man in all respects, “man of the substance of his mother,” bone of our bone and flesh of our flesh; and yet he was indeed and of a truth very God. Do not think of him as a divine man, or as a human God; he was neither the one nor the other. He was perfectly man, yet he was infinitely God. Think, then, into what a position of honour and dignity his manhood was uplifted by union with the Godhead in one person. Born, growing, gathering strength, coming to manhood, suffering, dying, in all this he was man; yet he was never at any time less divine. Our Lord’s humanity is not to be thought of apart from his deity, for he is one and indivisible. I have sometimes heard objections made against certain expressions in Dr. Watts’s hymns in which our Lord is spoken of as the God that bled and died, and so forth. I fear that the objection is frequently aimed less at the poet than at the truth of the deity of our Lord: the objector figures as a critic because he dares not avow himself a heretic. Take note that in the Scriptures you shall find frequent confusions of speech upon the person of our Lord, intentionally made, in order to show that although the natures were distinct, yet they were indissolubly united in the one person of Jesus. Of his one person might popularly be predicated that which in strict accuracy could only be true of his humanity, or only of his deity. To the one person of our Lord will be found to be ascribed what he did both as God and as man, and it is not needful for us to be wise or accurate above what is written by the Spirit of God. It is possible to be so true to the letter as to be false to the spirit. Cavillers have no monopoly of wisdom. My Lord Jesus is to me no less a man because he is God. Oh, how my heart loves him! He is to me fairest of the sons of men, chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely. But he is to me because of his manhood none the less, but all the more, “God over all, blessed for ever.” Into the dust my spirit bows before his majesty, and my soul adores him. I ask you, therefore, to consider the greatness of his manhood because it never was apart from his Godhead, and cannot be thought of except in connection therewith. “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.” Inconceivable is the greatness of the man who is thus one with God.
You, my brethren, are not in doubt upon this vital matter; let me, therefore, ask you to consider “how great this man was” as to his relationship to men. Christ Jesus is the second man, the Lord from heaven. Adam, our first father, was the head of the race, and all men were in him as their representative: in him they stood in the garden; in him, alas, they fell when he broke the divine command, and the Lord took up the quarrel of his covenant, and cast him out of Paradise. “Oh, what a fall was there, my brethren; then you and I and all of us fell down.” We inherit because of Adam’s failure a nature whose tendencies are towards evil. Adam was a very great personage in relation to the race: he was the summary of all the generations, the fountain of the stream of humanity. To him we might apply the language of the prophet, “Thou hast been in Eden, the garden of God Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” As Adam came forth from God he was as a covering cherub, under whose wings the race nestled down. But now comes in the Lord Jesus Christ as the greater man, the representative man, in whom none are made to fall, but multitudes arise. In this man the Lord is again well pleased with men. Time was when God looked on rebellious man, and it repented him that he had made him; but now that he turns his eye to this perfect man he feels no such repentance; but, on the contrary, we read that “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself.” For the sake of the man Christ Jesus he deals with the innumerable race of sinners in a way of long-suffering and pity, and does not destroy them. Long ago had the flood-gates been pulled up again, and man been swept away by a deluge, not of water but of fire, if it had not been that the long-suffering Lord looks on the Well-Beloved Christ, and therefore spares mankind. Yea, more; for his sake he sends the gospel of peace to men, and in the name of Jesus glad tidings are sent to every creature. It has sometimes happened that the illustrious deed of one man has served to elevate a class, or even a nation into honour. A grand, heroic deed has welded you not only to that one person but to all his kith and kin. Consider, then, how great this man was, that the divine mind which cannot look upon sin without indignation, nevertheless was so charmed to look upon the person and character of this glorious Man, that an amnesty was proclaimed to the race, and a message was sent to the sons of men bidding them repent and turn to him and live. “Consider,” then, “how great this man was.”
Come a little closer, and reach forward to that which will delight your hearts far more; consider the relationship of Christ to his own people. Now we get on sure ground, and feel a rock beneath our feet. Long before the heavens and the earth were made, God with prescient eye beheld the person of his Son as God in human nature, and he saw all his elect lying in him. The church is his body, “the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” God the Father saw in the divine decree the mystical Christ, and he was well pleased with all his redeemed for Christ Jesus’ sake. How wondrous was that transaction when in the council chamber of eternity the covenant was made, and the Lord Jesus Christ became the surety of that covenant. He entered into covenant with the eternal God on the behalf of his chosen that he would make atonement for their sin, and would perfect the righteousness which should cover everyone of them, and make them to be accepted in the Beloved. No actual sacrifice was offered for thousands of years; but see “how great this man was,” since on the strength of his bare promise the Lord continued to save men for thousands of years, admitting them to his infinite glory before the Mediator had appeared, or the Redeemer had put a hand to the work. Consider that you and I, and all of us who are in Christ, are this day beloved for his sake, accepted for his sake, justified for his sake. Still doth God embrace us in the arms of almighty love for his sake; for his sake heaven is being prepared for us; fox his sake the treasures of the infinite are given to us; because we are the covenanted ones for whom he pledged his troth, and for whom in the fulness of time he poured out his heart’s blood, that he might redeem us unto God. “Consider how great this man was.” He is so great that all the saints are blessed in him. He is so great that we, as many as have believed, dwell evermore in the clefts of this great Rock, and find in him our castle and high tower. “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.” “Consider how great this man was.”
Let me help you a little further, dear friends, to “consider now great this man was,” by reminding you of the surroundings of his first advent. Thousands of years before his birth holy men had been speaking of him. Prophets and seers all pointed to him as The Coming One. “How great this man was,” since the wisest and best of mankind all looked forward to his day with gladness. Think of that wonderful system of types, and emblems, and symbols which God ordained by his servant Moses; for the whole of this system was meant to set forth the Messiah, who would yet appear in the fulness of time. To him witnessed each bleeding sacrifice, each censer of sweet incense, each golden vessel, each curtain and wall of tabernacle or temple: all spoke concerning him. Ay, and more than that, all the histories of all the empires were all but concentric rings of which he was the centre; for the Lord Jesus is the centre of history, the sum total of all God’s doings and manifestations among the sons of men. That was an august Person towards whom all the past had been labouring, and for whom all the present was agonizing. “How great this man was,” that when he came the saints were watching for him: Simeon and Anna could not depart till he appeared Angels stood on tip-toe ready to descend and sing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Humble shepherds, as they watched their flocks, did but wait for the signal to hasten to adore him; and wise men from the east forgot the fatigues of a long journey that they might lay their gold and incense at his feet. “How great this man was,” when, being born and laid in a manger, the whole earth was moved by his appearing.
Consider, too, “how great this man was,” not only as to the outward circumstances of his coming, but as to the secret mystery of his birth. For this man was not “born in sin,” as we are; neither was he “shapen in iniquity.” This is a thing to be thought of and considered in our privacy, but it cannot be omitted here. Thus said the angel to the blessed Virgin, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” “Conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,” he was truly a man, but not fallen man. The method by which the pure human nature of the man Christ Jesus was produced is a great mystery, but it serves to make us see “how great this man was.” I will say no more than this, that we have here the fulfilment of the promise, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Think of that word of old: “When he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” Let us, therefore worship. Reverently forbearing all idle intrusion into the deep things of God, let us go to Bethlehem, and “consider how great this man was.”
Now, let us look at his life. After he emerged from the obscurity of his childhood, what a life was that of our Lord! His greatest adversaries, unless they have been mad, have never dared to speak against his character. If the Christian religion were supposed to be an invention, the existence of the narrative of the life of Jesus would be more wonderful than the facts themselves. The conception of a perfect character requires a perfect mind, and a perfect mind would never have prepared a fiction and imposed it upon men as a veritable history. If the life of Jesus be a fable, then a perfect being has deceived us; and this it is not possible for us to imagine. The life of Jesus Christ is great throughout. It is so tender and so gentle that it is never little and mean: it is so unselfish that it never ceases to be majestic; it is so condescending that it is pre-eminently sublime. Above all, it is fall of truth, transparent, artless, natural. No one ever thought of Jesus as acting a part yet; he is reality itself. He is so simple, so unaffected, so truly “the holy child Jesus,” that in this he is great above all. Never was a man so wholly seen as the Christ; and yet never was man so little understood. You have read memoirs bf departed worthies, and you have felt, “The biographer did well to say no more upon this point;” but you never felt that anything need be reserved as to the character of Jesus. If his chroniclers had kept on writing till the world itself had been made a library of the lives of Christ they would never have recorded an unworthy act or a regrettable word. It is not only that his pursuits were majestic, for he came to save men; that his motives were divine, for he revealed the Father; but it is himself that is so great— I mean his soul, his spirit, the man himself. Look at Alexander, he is a great conqueror, but what a pitiful creature he appears when the drunkard’s bowl has maddened him. What a poor thing is Napoleon as seen in privacy! In his captivity he was as petulant as a spoiled child. Consider the Lord Jesus, and it does not matter where you view him: in the wilderness he is grandly victorious over temptation, in the crowd he is greatly wise in answering those who would entrap him. Behold him in his agony in the Garden; was there ever such an Agoniser? Behold him as the crucified; did ever cross hold such a sufferer? When Jesus is least he is greatest, and when he is in the direst darkness his brightness is best revealed. In death he destroys death; in the grave he bursts the sepulchre. “Consider how great this man was”: the field of his life is ample; do not be slow to investigate it.
Beloved, I cannot speak as I would of him. The blaze of this Sun blinds me! Yet consider how great this man was in his death; for then he appeared as the great Sin-offering, putting away the sin of his people. The Lord had made to meet in him the iniquity of us all. What a weight was on him, yet he sustained it! The wrath of God on account of sin fell upon him who had never sinned, and he bore it all. A penalty which must have made a hell for us for ever was exacted of our Lord upon the cross, and he discharged it. He drank the whole of our bitter cup. He bore in himself all that was necessary to vindicate the divine justice until he could truly say, “It is finished.” “Lama Sabachthani” is the most terrible word that ever came from human lips; and therefore “It is finished” is the greatest utterance that tongue ever gave forth. The work was colossal; what if I say it was infinite; and therefore our Lord Jesus when he cried “It is finished,” had reached the summit of greatness. “Consider how great this man was.”
Now, beloved, consider for a minute “how great this man was” when he rose again; for he could not be holden with the bonds of death, and his body could not see corruption. It was a great thing in itself for Christ to rise, but what I want you to remember is, that we all rose in him. “As in Adam ail die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive”; and especially his covenanted people were raised up together with him. There was for his redeemed a death in his death and a rising again in his rising again; for we have been made partakers of his resurrection, and we live in newness of life by his rising from the dead. This is his cry as he rises from the tomb, “Because I live ye shall live also.” “Consider how great this man was” whose life imparts life to all who are in him.
But he has gone up on high, and has led captivity captive. Think of the gifts which were showered down from heaven in consequence of this man’s ascent into the highest. For the Holy Spirit descended never to return till the close of this dispensation, and now all the gifts that rest in the church of God, and all the works of regeneration, illumination, sanctification, and the like, which are wrought by the blessed Paraclete, are the effects of the entrance of this man into the secret place of the tabernacles of the Most High. Every soul regenerated, every heart comforted, every mind quickened, every eye illuminated, every creature spiritually blessed, reflects glory upon this man. How great is he!
Beloved, I would we had time this morning to introduce you to this man as he now sits at the right hand of God, even the Father. There is no need for me to depict him; if there were it were impossible to me. What said the man who loved him best, and knew him best? “When I saw him I fell at his feet as dead.” “Consider how great this man is” now, when every angel pays him homage, and at the name of Jesus every knee doth bow, of things in heaven; as by-and-by every knee shall bow of things on earth, and things that are under the earth, for Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. “Consider how great this man is,” and then remember that he shall shortly come to be our Judge! Possibly, while I am yet speaking to you, he may appear; no man knoweth the day nor the hour; but “how great this man is” will be clearly seen when, in flaming fire, he shall take vengeance upon those that will not obey him. How “great” will he be when in the manifestation of his glory all believers shall be glorified. I think I hear, even now, sounding out of my theme, shouts of “hallelujah, hallelujah,” from assembled worlds. Yes, the music peals forth loud and long, “King of kings, and Lord of lords. HALLELUJAH. For he shall reign for ever and ever. HALLELUJAH! Break forth with your loud hosannas, oh, ye waiting spirits of believing men, for the time is at hand when he shall be admired in all them that believe! Consider how great this man is. I have but reached the fringe of my subject. We see but the skirts of our Lord’s garments; his actual glory is unspeakable, unsearchable. Oh, the depths! Oh, the depths!
III. This in a few words is THE PRACTICAL IMPROVEMENT of the whole subject, with which we must wind up. Consider how great this man was, and as you consider, believe in his infinite power to bless men. He is full of blessing as the sun is full of light, that he may shine upon his needy creatures. Christ is full of blessing that he may bless poor, needy, empty sinners. Dost thou say, poor sinner, “I am so great a sinner that he cannot save me”? Consider what this man did when he was here on earth; he went about and laid his hands on the diseased, and they were cured; he looked at devils, and they fled; he spoke to fevers and they disappeared. And he in heaven is, and if I may so say, greater than when he was here below, for here on earth he was veiled in humiliation, but now he is enthroned in infinite majesty, “able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Believe in the infinite blessedness treasured up in Christ for every believing soul, and come and take your share of it this morning. All that you want, and all that you wish— come and receive freely, for he doth graciously dispense it, and it is a part of his glory that he delights to enrich the children of men. Let faith in Jesus be one lesson— may God write it on each heart.
And then let us ascribe to our Lord Jesus Christ all the honour that our thoughts can compass. Let us give to him this day our very selves over again. Consider how great this man was, and go away feeling how greatly you are indebted to him, what great things you ought to do for him, and how little your greatest thing is when you have done it as compared with the greatness of his deservings.
“Let him be crowned with majesty
That bowed his head to death;
And be his honour sounded high
By all things that have breath.”
Do not you feel that question pressing upon your heart?
“Oh what shall I do
My Saviour to praise!”
Do something; and having done it do more, and yet more. Give up your whole being to the showing forth of how great this Man is!
Once more, considering how great this Man is, do not be afraid, nor troubled, nor tumbled up and down in your thoughts about anything that is happening, or is yet to happen. “Consider how great this man was.” Our wise men are going to do away with the old faith; modern culture means to stamp out old-fashioned orthodoxy. Christianity itself is getting to be effete, and something better is to supersede it. Listen! “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed. He that sitteth in the heaven shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” One said to me the other day, “The current of thought does not seem to run in the direction of evangelical religion.” Well, I said I should not believe in evangelical religion an atom the more if the current of thought did run that way. We do not believe according to the counting of heads. The currents of men’s thoughts are so uncertain that you can better tell the flight of birds, or the changing of English weather. The gospel is perhaps the surer to be true because there are so few who believe it. It is according to our expectation that God’s revealed truth should be abhorred and hated by the wise men of every generation. I shall not believe the gospel any the less if I am left alone, nor shall I believe it any the more if the whole world shall cry it up. Let God be true and every man a liar. He whose faith stands upon the concensus of popular opinion has placed his feet upon the sand, but he who has read his Bible and has been taught of the Spirit of God what truth is, will hold to it come what may. When you consider how great this man is, it seems to me that to be a fool for his sake is the highest wisdom, and that to cling to what he says is the best philosophy, and to believe him, and none beside is not alone a duty but a necessity of every Christian spirit. Be of good cheer, dear friends! Let no man’s heart fail him because of modern doubt. Let no man be troubled because of the fierceness of the fight I can hear already the sounding of the trumpets of the Lord’s coming. He is not far away; even if thousands of years intervene before his feet shall touch the Mount of Olivet the victory will never be doubtful. All is done that is required for winning the battle, his blood has been shed, his life has been accepted as a ransom. The eternal decree has settled it, nothing can change it! “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied.” Amen.