Looking Upon Jesus as He Walked

"Again the next day John stood, and two of His disciples, and looking upon Jesus as He walked, he saith, BEHOLD THE LAMB OF GOD" (John 1:35-36).

Three things resulted from this testimony of John to Jesus in the disciples who heard him speak: —
1. Their hearts became engrossed with Christ.
2. They were drawn into unity and fellowship with each other.
3. They bore a fruitful testimony to others.

Than these three things nothing can be greater in the lives of any of us, but the first of them is the key to the others; it is the one secret of everything in our lives that is or can be acceptable to God. Because this is so, and that we may become engrossed with Christ, as these disciples were, I propose that we also should look upon Jesus in some of His steps as He walks through this Gospel of John, remembering as we do so that He is here the Lamb of God, and that as He walks He is on the way to Golgotha, there to pour out His precious blood for us in self-sacrificing love.

At the close of chapter 7 He was in the midst of His public testimony to the world. He had just made one of the most astounding offers that human ears had ever heard. He offered to satisfy the deep thirst of the hearts of men, no matter who they were, and to make them overflow in blessing to others. The world had nothing like this to offer. The great preacher of old described the weary round and apparent aimlessness of human life as he knew it, and the emptiness of everything under the sun, when he said, "All the waters run into the sea, and yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the waters come thither they return again." But here was something in complete contrast to that. The "greater than Solomon is here." He had come into the world from above the sun to speak His Father's words, and to offer to every man who thirsted, if they would come to Him, living waters that, flowing into their hearts, would fill them, satisfy them, and make them channels of blessing in a needy world — superior to its thirst themselves and contributors to its needs. Such a proposal as this was one surely that only God could make, and it was well calculated to gather the crowds about Him, confessing their need and beseeching Him to bestow upon them this wonderful gift — the gift from heaven. But did it do so? No, it did not. The sun sinks behind the western hills; the excitement of the great day of the feast dies away, and every man goes to his own house, leaving the Lord of glory a homeless stranger in the streets. None amongst all the inhabitants of Jerusalem who had heard this voice that day said to Him, "Sir, Thou art a wayfarer in this city; come and shelter for the night under my roof." "He was in the world, and the world was made by Him and the world knew Him not; He came unto His own, and His own received Him not" (chap. 1:10-11). They did not want Him, and the blessing He offered did not attract them AND JESUS WENT TO THE MOUNT OF OLIVES.

There was no resentment in His heart, no stern denunciation on His lips. He was here to do the will of His Father who sent Him and to speak His words. He had become man for this purpose, and His joy lay in carrying out His mission and not in the apparent success of it; and when spurned and despised He found His consolation in the presence of His Father, whose words He spoke to the people; there was the home of His heart, though the world gave Him none. Look upon Him, unrecognized, unwanted by men, but sustained and comforted in His sorrows by the Father's love. Behold Him as the Lamb without blemish! Look upon Him us He moved from the day of His witness to men to His night of communion with His Father, there to review the day that had been and renew His strength for the day that was to be, as the obedient, dependent man! And let us say whether we would have chosen to have spent the night snugly sheltered in one of those Christless homes in Jerusalem, or to have shared with Him the bleak hillside?

At the end of chapter 8 their indifference had deepened into deadly hatred. They had found their answer at last to anything and all that He could offer them, and that answer was murder. "Then took they up stones to cast at Him, but Jesus hid Himself; and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them and so passed by." What was it that brought this hatred surging up from their evil hearts? It was the declaration of His eternal Godhead. He had said, "Before Abraham was, I AM." He did not say, "I was before Abraham" as though He had begun to exist as Abraham had, but prior to him. No, He declared Himself to be "I am" — ever subsisting and self-existent God: before angels, men and worlds, the originator and Creator of them all. The stones in the hands of those Jews in the very precincts of His own temple were to cast at their God. Look upon Him, and see how He walks in the midst of their hatred, "AS JESUS PASSED BY, HE SAW A MAN WHICH WAS BLIND FROM HIS BIRTH."

The One who is in His own Person eternal God had become flesh not only to speak the words that the Father gave Him to speak, but to do His works also, and those works were works of mercy and not of judgment. The passion blazing in the eyes of His foes moved Him not save to pity, but the sightless eyes of a beggar man moved His heart to deepest compassion. His eyes were always open for needy objects, nor could all the hatred of men prevent Him from being a Blesser among them. He walked through scenes of violence and hate unchanged by it all, doing for men what none but God could do for them, for in Him was life and the life was the light of men. Behold Him, not only without blemish, unprovoked to wrath by the evil of men, but showing forth also the excellence of His own nature and the goodness of His heart; showing forth, in fact, all that God is. Let us say, as we look upon Him, whether of the twain is more attractive to us — the hearts of men from which poured forth those murderous thoughts, or His heart from which poured forth mercy and the love of God!

We come to the end of chapter 14. He had filled up the day with the works that the Father had given Him to do before men, and now the night had come when no man can work. Yet though its darkness was deepening about Him He did not stumble. "The prince of this world cometh," He says, "and hath nothing in Me." And why was that? It was because there was no self-seeking in Him. One thing only remained to make it absolutely clear to the world that He loved the Father and that the Father's commandment was everything to Him, and that one thing was the Cross — the last, the supreme test. And with that in full view He said: "ARISE, LET US GO HENCE."

There was more than the indifference or the hatred of men to meet now; that hatred remained, and was to show itself in hot frenzy against Him, but behind it and urging it, and fiercer and more relentless than it all, was Satan and his malignant forces — the power of darkness. He had tried conclusions with the Lord before, and endeavoured to allure Him from the path of obedience, but had failed, and for a season he had left Him, to nurse his wrath, to mature his plans, and to marshal his legions. Now he returns to confront the Lamb of God with the fear and horror of the death of the cross. The "many bulls," the "strong bulls of Bashan," the "ravening and roaring lion," the "dogs," "the assembly of the wicked," "the power of the dog," "the lion's mouth," and "the horns of the unicorn" of Psalm 22 show us what forces the prince of this world had at his command for this great conflict. But the Lord was undeterred and invulnerable. Satan had attacked none like Him before. He could not drive Him from the path of obedience. Yet the only compulsion for the Lamb of God in that path of suffering was His Father's commandment and His love to the Father. Yes, He had come not only to speak the Father's words and to do the Father's works, but also to obey the Father's commandments. Behold Him for a brief hour in the company of His own, whom He loved to the end, finding solace for His heart in telling them all that His love would do for them; but He may not linger there; that quiet hour must end; His time had come, and so He says, "Arise, let us go hence." Behold the Lamb of God, and mark the fact that the more severe the test with which He was tested, the more blessed is the perfection that is disclosed in Him.

In chapter 18 He goes forth to the garden, and now there is to be no further delay on the part of His foes, so "Judas, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons." Was this the time for flight or fight? For neither. Without panic, surprise, or hesitation Jesus faces the crisis. He never did hesitate. Not once in all His earthly life was He at a loss how to act, never had He to seek the advice of any, or change His mind or purpose. As it had always been so it is now, and we read, "Jesus, therefore, knowing all things that should come upon Him, went forth, and said unto them, What seek ye?" He knew from the beginning that this hour would come, and He enters it with the calmness of that eternal knowledge, to yield Himself to their will. They answer His question by saying, "Jesus, the Nazarene." It was a name of contempt upon their lips, yet a glorious Name in spite of that; but He answers them with His own eternal Name, and they go backwards and fall to the ground in the presence of God.

But He does not use His power to save Himself, for He had others to save, and so He says, "If, therefore, ye seek Me, LET THESE GO THEIR WAY." He must be sacrificed, but they must be saved. Why was this? Surely because He loved them with a love that would die for them; that was a great reason, but there was a prior reason. And we are plainly told what it was: "That the saying might be fulfilled which He spake, Of them which THOU GAVEST Me I have lost none." He had His Father's gift to keep.

There was only one way in which He could do this, and He explains that way Himself, when He says to Peter, "Put up thy sword into its sheath: the cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?" With them was given to Him this cup — a cup of bitterness and judgment and death. Their sins had filled it, their sins and ours, and it must be drunk by someone; Divine justice demanded this; the devil himself could demand it at the eternal throne, or charge that throne with having abandoned Divine rights and Divine righteousness. Into the hands of Jesus the Father places the cup, and He in holy submission takes it, to drink it to its last drop. "Let these go their way," He says. Not one drop of this burning draught must excoriate their lips. Their sins have filled it, but My love will drink it. This commandment have I received of My Father. Let us still look upon Him as He walks, and let wonder give way to adoration and gratitude to deepest devotion as we acknowledge Him to be the Lamb of God, without spot, without blemish.

Thus far have we looked upon Him and traced His ways in regard to —
The Father's words; The Father's works;
The Father's commandment;
The Father's gift of love;
The cup that His Father gave to Him.

This brings us to the depths of the way that He trod, for in chapter 19:16-17 we read, "They took Jesus and led Him away. And He, bearing His cross, WENT FORTH into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha, where they crucified Him."

They led Him away; in that their sin was consummated, He bearing His cross went forth; in that His obedience to God defeated the foe, and His love to men won its great triumph. The crucified Son of God is the Lamb of God, and as of old not a bone of the Paschal lamb had to be broken, so now was that Scripture fulfilled in His case, as verse 36 tells us. He needed not to have His legs broken as did the thieves, for He had already yielded up His life when the soldiers came to do this; but His side was pierced, and from it flowed the atoning blood, the blood of our redemption. So that we can say, "We are not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver and gold . . . but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."

We follow Him in thought through death into resurrection, and hear Him saying to Mary, "I ascend unto My Father and your Father, to My God and your God" (chap. 20:17), words that were to be spoken to His brethren — to us as well as to those disciples who spoke with Him face to face. We hear further, and from His own lips the words come, filling our hearts with a glad hope, "Till I come" (chap. 21:22), and the purpose of His coming is not hidden from us, for He has said, "I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am there ye may be also."

How worthy is He that our hearts should be engrossed with Him! We do not wonder that the two disciples who heard John speak followed Him. We follow with them surely, drawn after Him by the blessedness that we see in Him, and as we follow we are in happy and holy fellowship one with another, for no breach could come in between two hearts that have Him as their object. No rules and regulations, restrictions and prohibitions are needed to keep our feet in the path of fellowship, when our hearts are engrossed with Him. All those things by which men endeavour to hold their fellowships together are carnal and of the will of man, and are an offence to God, for there is nothing in them for His glory or His heart. But if our hearts are full of Christ, then have we much in common, and we fulfil our relationships instead of wasting our time in ordering them, and in this God finds delight. In being right in regard to Christ, we are right with God and right with each other. And the end is His own dwelling-place. It was this that those two disciples sought when they said, "Master, where dwellest Thou?" "Come and see," was His response and invitation. And as they saw where He dwelt and abode with Him, so we are to see where He dwells and we, too, are to dwell with Him there and behold His glory (chap. 17), even as we have beheld His grace.

Meanwhile, having found Him to be enough to fill our hearts and to be our Centre and our Lord, we may serve Him successfully as did Andrew, for he first found his own brother Simon and brought him to Jesus. That is the object and the end of all true service. To find others to whom He, the Lamb of God, shall became the supreme Object of heart and life.