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.
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 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.
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 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.
Some of the glories of Christ can be seen in type through the words of Moses who asked, “Let me, I pray Thee, see Thy glory” (Ex 33:18). Moses was permitted to see God from behind. He was placed in a cleft of the rock, and God’s goodness passed before him. God is glorified in His goodness, and Moses was wonderfully privileged to be on the mount and to see the glory of God shining in Christ. But, by the Spirit, we can look upon the glory of the Lord.
These Scriptures show something of what Scripture has to say about life. When Scripture speaks about life it is not, of course, speaking about the natural life which we all have and which much of creation has; Scripture is speaking of life according to God, which is imparted to us by God Himself. It is a gift of God.
The four Scriptures read bear on the effect that the precious truth of the near return of Jesus should have in our lives and in our pathways today. The first Scripture is really an example of how to live. The second Scripture is a warning. The third Scripture is a declaration. The fourth Scripture is an admonition.
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.