I have been concerned that we might get further gain from considering the Lord Jesus as our Teacher. At the beginning of the Acts this same servant, Luke, said that he put this Gospel together “concerning all things which Jesus began both to do and to teach.” There was clearly a great emphasis in his mind, led of the Holy Spirit, to set out the teaching the Lord Jesus gave when He was here.
These Scriptures speak in different ways about the way, and I thought that we might get help in considering these various aspects of the way. If we have come to the Lord, we are in the way. That is how the early believers were described – as being “of the way” (Acts 9:2).
I wondered if we might seek help from the Spirit of God in pondering “the sufferings which belonged to Christ, and the glories after these.” I suggested reading from the Song of Songs, thinking particularly of those verses which refer to His head, His hands and His feet. I wondered, too, if we might speak of His head, and get impressions of the glory that attaches to Him in the realm of His headship; and enquire whether in very truth this One of Whom the beloved speaks is lifted up as a banner by all of us.
What is in mind in reading these Scriptures is the thought of what has been prepared. In John 12 it is what the household in Bethany prepared. In Luke’s Gospel it is what Peter and John prepared; also, it says in Matthew and Mark it is what the disciples prepared. In John 14 it is what the Lord has prepared. And in 1 Corinthians it is what God has prepared. We can get, I think, only a little of what these Scriptures may have for us, because in themselves they are very full.
What is in mind in reading these Scriptures is the cross. It is a subject which deserves considerable attention, always having in our minds what R. D. Edwards said in his hymn as to the wonderful character of the cross. There God’s heart is revealed to us:
O the cross of Christ is wondrous!
There I learn God’s heart to me
I think, beloved brethren, we need to consider what the cross means. I am looking at it not exactly from the way man approaches it, but I am looking at it from God’s point of view, because I think that is a side of the truth which we need to consider in greater depth.
The thought of resurrection has come before me. I think there are certain things in Christianity which we perhaps accept as fact, and do not fully appreciate how they are to be worked out in our lives, and I think for myself that resurrection is one of these things.
What we have read here this afternoon are Scriptures about three river crossings. Now, the Christian life, as we know, is a journey, an experience. There are stages of growth in the Christian life, and I thought we could firstly look at the meaning of these three river crossings, and then see something else about them.
I have been thinking about some lines of a hymn that we often sing to the Lord Jesus,
In Thee all human graces blend,
And to Thy Father e’er ascend
As incense rare.
From these passages we might enquire into this wonderful blend of human graces seen in perfection in the Lord Jesus. In the Old Testament, and in the Gospels and epistles, a range of different qualities are often used to describe the Lord Jesus.
The woman in Luke 7 had an alabaster box of myrrh. Myrrh generally speaks in Scripture of the suffering love of Christ. She took that myrrh and she anointed the feet of the Lord Jesus out of affection and appreciation for Him. I thought it would be good if, after our meeting today, each of us might be able, out of our appreciation of the suffering love of the Lord Jesus, just to take something out of our box of myrrh and anoint that blessed One.
There are many aspects to His sufferings – we cannot cover them all. We certainly cannot fathom them all.
Most of us have known something of our relationship with the Lord over a much longer period than the three years, or thereabouts, that Philip, the disciple, had accompanied the Lord! We have the advantage of the indwelling Spirit. But how well we know divine Persons – know the Lord; know the Father; and indeed know the Spirit of God? Soon, very soon, all or most of us here will be there in the eternal scene, dwelling with Them eternally. How well do we know Them now?