The Person of Christ - 20 - His Moral Glory in the Gospels

 

Chapter 20 - The Moral Glories of Christ

In The Gospels

John Norris

 

Glory is displayed excellence. The moral glories of Christ are the displayed excellencies of His character and conduct. The glories of Christ are threefold: personal, official and moral (J.G. Bellett).

 

Because our Lord was always ?full of the Spirit,? the ?fruit of the Spirit? was perfectly manifested in His lovely character love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness (or kindness), goodness, faith (or faithfulness), meekness and temperance (or self-control) (Gal. 5:22-23). In Him each of these excellencies is seen in perfect balance with the rest. No one can fully apprehend the moral glories of Christ.

 

?In Him majesty was perfectly blended with meekness, dignity with condescension, conscious greatness with unostentatious simplicity, power with mercy, justice with benevolence, holy indignation against sin with tender compassion for the sinner. His gentleness was never characterized by weakness, nor His love by mere sentimentality. His zeal never degenerated into impulsiveness, nor His calmness into indifference? (W.E. Vine).

His moral beauty is in view in Psa. 45:2 ?Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed Thee forever.? Let us consider:

 

HIS EARLY YEARS (Luke 2:40-52)

 

Oh the moral glories of the Child Jesus! Little is recorded of the first thirty years of His life. Behold Him as a lovely and perfectly normal child - ?And Jesus increased in wisdom (mentally), and stature (physically) and in favour with God and man? (v.52). He grew up in a godly home. He fed upon the Word of God, delighted in it and was controlled by it.

When Joseph and Mary found Him in the temple, He was ?sitting in the midst of the doctors (teachers), both hearing them and asking them questions? (v.461). In this way, He acted in a manner which was exemplary for a youth of twelve years. Although He did not assume the role of a teacher, during the discussion ?they were astonished at His understanding and answers? (v.47). He was the Son of the Father Who was occupied with His Father?s interests, for He said, ?How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father?s business? (v.49); yet He went down to Nazareth with Joseph and Mary ?and was subject unto them? - a lovely example for saved children.

 

HIS BAPTISM BY JOHN (Matt. 3:13-17, etc.)

 

It is delightful to contemplate the moral glories of His manhood. Those of the godly remnant of Israel who were baptized of John were repentant ones who had taken their place outside the sinful nation in the expectancy of the coming of the Messiah-King. The Lord considered it appropriate to be baptized of John, not as confessing sins, but to fulfil all righteousnes. When the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, He was anointed as the Messiah-King. Surveying the flawless life of Christ up to that event, the Father said, ?This is my beloved Son, in Whom I have found my delight? (v.17, J.N.D.). His utmost delight in His Son was indicated by the descent of the Spirit upon Him.

 

HIS TEMPTATIONS (Matt. 4:1-13, etc.)

 

Our Lord never acted independently of the Father, never doubted His care of Him, never was disobedient. In these special temptations alluded to in Matthew 4:1-13, Satan endeavoured to make the Lord act independently of the Father, to mistrust Him, and to accept the kingdoms of the world without going to the cross. The humanity of Christ was expressly holy. All His temptations came from without, since He had no sinful nature. His triumph over Satan proved the truth of the Father?s words, ?This is my beloved Son in Whom I have found all my delight.?

Adam sinned in the Garden: the Lord triumphed in the wilderness, when He was with the wild beasts, and after forty days and nights of fasting. Satan?s temptations were concerned with the body (v.3), the soul (vs.5-7) and the spirit (vs.8-lO). The holy mind of Jesus was filled with the Word of God and He overcame the Evil One by quoting three scriptures from the book of Deuteronomy. He who takes unto him the whole armour of God and answers Satan with ?It is written,? shall obtain the victory over temptation (Eph. 6: 13-17).

 

HIS EARTHLY MINISTRY

 

He cleansed the temple because He had the Father?s glory in view (John 2:15-16); but when the Samaritans did not receive Him, He patiently suffered the wrong done to Himself and went to another village (Luke 9:52-55).

 

?Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister and Lazarus? (John 11:5). They were individually loved. He did not interfere with the order of their home in Bethany, but He did take time to teach Martha the needed lesson, that communion is more important than service - ?Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her? (Luke 10:41-42). Do we neglect to sit at Jesus? feet?

 

When humanity suffered, it called forth His compassion. He knew He would raise Lazarus, but ?Jesus wept? (John 11:35) - an expression of His deep sympathy with those He loved.

Our Lord was moved with compassion when He saw the great multitude, and He healed their sick (Matt. 14:14). He had compassion on the widow of Nain when she was attending the funeral of her only son, and He raised him (Luke 7:13). Our compassionate Lord touched the leper and cleansed him (Mark 1:4 1). The Saviours seeming stern  demeanour covered a heart of tenderness which yearned to bless the Syrophenician woman, when she took her rightful place before Him (Matt. 15:21-28).

 

One day, Peter and his companions were delighted to see crowds following Him, and said, ?All men seek for Thee.? The Lord said, ?Let us go into the next towns    They were no doubt surprised when the Lord avoided popularity (Mark 1:31-38). Humility is unconscious self-forgetfulness.

 

IN THE GARDEN IN GETHSEMANE

 

He had peace even when contemplating the agony of the Garden and His impending sufferings and death - ?My peace I give unto you? (John 14:27). He made no appeals to the Roman authorities for mercy, but He prayed to His Father, saying, ?Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee: take away this cup from Me; nevertheless not what I will, but what Thou wilt? (Mk. 14:36). ?Abba? is the word framed by the lips of infants and betokens unreasoning trust; whereas ?Father? expresses an intelligent apprehension of the relationship (W.E. Vine). He had a will of His own, but this was always in harmony with His Father?s will.

 

AT HIS TRIAL

 

His moral excellencies could not be hidden as He stood before Annas, Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin, Pilate and Herod. He was scourged, spat upon, mocked, crowned with thorns, falsely accused, and much more; yet not once did He lose His high dignity. All the elements of His lovely character were in perfect balance, when suffering extreme provocation.

 

AT THE PLACE CALLED CALVARY

 

Go with the jeering crowd without the gate; behold the cruel soldiers driving the spikes through His hands and feet to the rugged cross; see Him lifted high, the Lamb of God ?without blemish? (His sinless nature) and ?without spot? (the purity of His life) - I Pet. 1:19. ?They hated Him without a cause? (John 15:25). His cries from the cross reveal His moral excellencies: (1) ?Father forgive them,~for they know not what they do?(Luke 23:34) - His forgiving spirit; (2) ?Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise?(Luke 23:43) -            His words of grace; (3) ?Woman behold thy son. Then saith He to the disciple, Behold thy mother! (John 19:26-27) __ His honour to His mother, obeying Ex. 20:12; (4) ?Mv God, Mv God, why hast Thou forsaken me?(Matt. 27:46) -His dependence on His God in the darkness; (5) ?That the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst? (John 19:28) -His desire that the Word of God be fulfilled in His life; (6) ?It is finished? (John 19:28) His faithfulness in finishing the work the Father gave Him to do; (7) ?Father, into Thy hands I commend my spirit? (Luke 23:46) - His trust in Divine care.

 

AFTER HIS RESURRECTION

 

How graciously He dealt with the two on the Emmaus road, rebuking them so gently though they were slow of heart (Luke 24:25, 27, 32). How graciously He restored Peter to service and communion (John 21:15-17). He didn?t question a cold and hungry disciple regarding his love for His Lord, but warmed and fed him first.

We cannot now speak particularly of other revelations of His moral glories; but we exclaim, ?Yea, He is altogether lovely. This is my beloved and this is my friend? (Song of Sol. 5:16).