There are a number of occasions in the Scriptures when we read of things done by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. They describe events which have a profound significance and are deeply moving and instructive.
The Lord ‘gave himself for our sins’, Gal. 1. 4. He, the Holy One, came down to earth, and became what He had never been before. The Lord came unto His own, the Jews, but they did not receive Him, John 1. 11. Rather, He was ‘despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief’, Isa. 53. 3.
What could cause the Lord to leave heaven, a sphere in which He had shared glory with His Father from before the world was created? It was love for His Father, and for us, that caused Him to come down to earth. He came to do His Father’s will, to glorify His Father, and complete the work His Father had given Him to do.1 The work He did, and the precious blood He shed, has an infinite and eternal value because of who He is. He gave Himself for us, to save us from the guilt and penalty of sin. He redeemed us so that we might be free from the dominion of sin, and be with Him eternally.2
The Lord, who made all things and holds all things together,3 came down to this earth, ‘made himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men’, Phil. 2. 7. What amazing grace and humility was His!
Against the background of the tension among the disciples because they wanted pre-eminence in the kingdom of God,4 the Lord rose from supper, ‘laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself’. He poured water into a bowl, washed the disciples’ feet and wiped them with the towel. What a wonder to think that the Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten, eternal, beloved Son of God, bowed at the disciples’ feet, including those of Judas Iscariot who was to betray Him! What an act of grace!
Our Lord said, ‘I am meek and lowly in heart’, Matt. 11. 29. Let us pray that the gracious mind that was in the Lord might be in us also.5
The Lord was ever His Father’s delight. At the start of His public ministry and towards the end of that earthly ministry, God said, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’.6
Romans chapter 15 verse 3 brings before us the fact that the Lord, throughout His time on earth, sought, above all things, to glorify His Father, and do His will. The Lord voluntarily endured reproaches, mockery, and the hatred, enmity and hostility of men to God.7 What a challenge to us to be less self-centred, and more God-centred in our lives!
The Lord ‘glorified not himself to be made an high priest’, Heb. 5. 5. The Lord Jesus did not seek self-gratification in this office as our Great High Priest. The Lord’s eternal priesthood was, like Aaron’s, divinely appointed, but the Lord is the Son of God and His priesthood is of a higher order. It is not of the Levitical order. He is ‘a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec’.8
In Luke 24 we have an account of one of the post-resurrection appearances of the Lord Jesus Christ. Two sad, disappointed, dejected and confused people were walking from Jerusalem to a village called Emmaus. They were the Lord’s disciples: they loved Him and were sad because He had been crucified. As they walked, ‘Jesus himself drew near, and went with them’, v. 15, but they were prevented from knowing Him, v. 16. It was as the Lord revealed Himself in the Old Testament scriptures that their heart burned within them.
The knowledge that the Lord had risen from the dead, and was alive, turned the sadness of the disciples into great joy, and this has been the experience of believers ever since. Is it ours?
The love of the Lord for us is so great that He wants us to be with Him forever. Thus, we read, ‘The Lord himself shall descend from heaven … and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord’.9
Prospects for the world are grim. Yet, for the believer the Lord could come at any moment! Until He comes, let us, as individuals, and as assemblies of the Lord’s people, seek to serve and witness for Him in love, doing His will, showing love to one another, and to the lost around us.