D. C. Hinton, Hayes, Middx.
OUR CONSIDERATION OF DANIEL, the man who purposed in his heart; of David, the man who counted upon his God; and of Moses, the man who endured, has been with the object of now concentrating upon the perfection of The Man. We hear the words 'Behold the man', and see the Christ of God confronting a howling Jewish mob, having suffered every indignity and shame that the evil heart of man could devise, wearing a crown of thorns and an old military cloak. This was in men's eyes a fitting end for the One who was the Man after God's own heart. How opposite indeed are God's thoughts to those of the natural heart of man. They were privileged to behold the perfect Man. The One who had purposed in His heart to finish the work that His Father had given Him to do, and would allow nothing, however legitimate in itself, to hinder Him in this. Thus He was undeterred either by the opposition of those who should have known better or even the failure of those closest to Him. In ever increasing loneliness, when it became apparent that even His disciples had failed to enter into His thoughts or to realize what lay ahead. He still did always those things that pleased the Father.
The results of this are of infinite importance to the believer, for it is because He was the One who lived in perfect obedience to His Father here on earth that He is now the perfect High Priest in glory. He was tested in every way it was possible for a man to be tried apart from those trials which result from one's sin. Because He was victorious in it all He is now able to save right on to the very end every believer who will seek His assistance to guard them against stumbling. There is no excuse at all for failure - to suggest such is to belittle His ability to keep.
His object in coming into the world was to glorify His Father through a life of obedience, even unto death. This was manifested both in His private life and His public life. For He received heavenly witness to His faithfulness both at the entrance to His public ministry and at the commencement of His last journey up to Jerusalem. We do not give sufficient thought to the fact that He said 'As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you', John 17. 18. So we are placed in the world with the same object - to represent and glorify the Father in our private and public lives. For this to be so, obedience must characterize us. Is it so with the reader? As a result of His purpose of heart to obey and glorify His Father, He was also the One who had complete confidence in His God. This is seen throughout His life as the Father works through Him, hearing His requests and delighting to answer them so that men should see the glory of God (e.g., the raising of Lazarus). He counted that even though He went into death, the death of the cross, and was made sin, He who knew no sin, yet His God would raise Him triumphant from among the dead. Here was One going forth on His own to do battle with Satan and all his hosts, in order to procure a victory far greater in its results than the defeat of Goliath.
What lessons for us! How often we wonder why our prayers are not answered - is it that the glory of our God and Father is not the sole object of our petitions? Is it that we are not obedient to His every command?
Like Moses He endured, looking beyond the things of time to those which are eternal. He knew the shame and reproach of men, the misunderstanding of His disciples, the hatred of those who professed obedience to His God. He became a stranger unto His own brethren, the song of the drunkard. Yet through it all He went steadfastly on in the path of His Father's will. His eyes were ever upon the glory and the joy that would be His when the work of Calvary was complete. A similar path lies before the faithful child of God today. He will be misunderstood, reproached, ridiculed, even hated, but he must endure steadfastly, 'For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory', 2 Cor. 4. 17.
In the Scriptures care has been taken that we should not just behold Him in His shame and suffering, but also view Him in His coming glory. So in Zechariah 6 He is pictured crowned, not with thorns but with royal diadems. 'Behold the man, whose name in The Branch' - 'He shall bear the glory'. The 'tender plant' out of a dry ground, Isa. 53. 2 -again we have the thought of that which spoke to God of life and fruitfulness in a scene of death and sterility. This was a time of national weakness and departure, yet God gave to the faithful a pledge that there was a time of glory to come and One to be glorified as king-priest. How this should have thrilled the heart of a faithful Jew, and encouraged him to be steadfastly obedient to the commands of God: for there was the earnest of the future glory - the crowns in the temple.
In this age believers are bidden to live in the light of the eternal glory. Just as by the grace of God we have been brought into the blessing resulting from His death, so through no merit of our own we shall share His glory. We are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the earnest or pledge of the incorruptible glory so soon to come. He will lead the obedient believer into all truth if He is allowed and will teach him the mind and will of God. What a privileged position compared with that of Zechariah's day. These two views of our Lord, the past with its shame and sorrow, the future with all its glory and joy, are expected to produce a definite result in our lives.
In 2 Pet. i. 8-11 we are told that it is expected that the believer will grow by adding to his faith, courage, knowledge, self-control, patience, brotherly kindness and love. All these attributes were displayed to perfection in the perfect Man we have been considering and we are expected to display them as well, thus giving ever greater evidence of possessing the divine nature. For such there is prepared an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour. The one who is not so characterized is described as 'blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins'. That is, his eye is not yet upon the coming glory and his life ordered in the light of it, and he has also forgotten what it cost the Saviour to procure his salvation. Solemn thought that for such there will be no abundant entrance - he will be saved, but as by fire.
There was one Man who satisfied perfectly every requirement that a holy God could demand of a man. For Him therefore is laid up glory and honour beyond compare for He alone is worthy of it. He has left us an example that we should follow His steps: and to the extent to which our lives are mirrors of His will we share His glory.
'With such a blessed hope in view
we should more holy be,
More like our risen, glorious Lord,
whose face we soon shall see'.