Psalm 69:8, 9.
It is in no wise to be inferred from this scripture that natural relationships may be refused. To be "without natural affection" is one of the features of the "perilous times." (2 Tim. 3.) What we have here is wholly different. Before the commencement of our Lord's public ministry He was, as we read, "subject unto" Joseph and Mary. In this relationship, as in every other, He was perfect, and, as such, our blessed example. But when, after His baptism and anointing, He entered upon His service, come as He was to do the will of God, He, as the true Nazarite, had "the consecration of His God upon His head;" and hence, until His work was finished, He was devoted solely and entirely to the glory of God. The claims of God henceforward absorbed Him, the zeal of His Father's house consumed Him; and consequently He became a stranger unto His brethren, and an alien unto His mother's children. When therefore on one occasion some one interrupted Him, and said, "Behold,. thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee," He answered, "Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?"* etc. When, moreover, at the marriage feast of Cana of Galilee His mother came to Him with a suggestion as to the wine, He replied, "Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come." But when His work was ended, one thing only remaining to be accomplished, He, in the infinite tenderness of His perfect love in the relationship towards Mary which He had condescended to assume, committed her, ere "He bowed His head and gave up the ghost," to the care of the disciple whom He loved. The application to ourselves is evident. Every relationship in which w e are set is to be diligently observed. (See Eph. 5:22; Eph. 6:1-9; Col. 3:18; Col. 4:1.) If, however, the Lord calls to special service His claims are paramount, and, it might almost be added, exclusive. Accordingly, when He said to one, "Follow me," and he replied, "Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father," Jesus said unto him, "Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God." So likewise Levi at the word of Christ "left all, rose up, and followed Him." (Compare Deuteronomy 33:8, 9.) True that every believer is now a Nazarite, a Nazarite from his birth (the new birth); but it is not every believer who is a Nazarite according to Numbers 6, one, that is, who, in the energy of the Holy Ghost, is devoted, as Paul, for example, was, wholly and entirely to the Lord and His claims. To this privilege but few attain, even though it is proffered to many. If, however, we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our hearts.
* We do not speak here of the symbolic import of these words.
The real and true humanity of our blessed Lord is distinctly asserted in this scripture; and it is necessary to hold fast, in this as much as in a past day, that He was "very man" as well as "very God." Satan is ever assailing the one or the other of these precious truths; and he does this in. very subtle ways. To maintain, for example, as Irving did, that our Lord had a nature of the same kind as ours derived from Adam, is to undermine the foundation truth of the atonement. It cannot be said, according to Scripture, that He became "bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh:" and the very word here used (rendered "took part';) guards us from any such false thought. The nature Christ was pleased to take was holy (see Luke 1:35); whereas that of Adam, when he came forth from the hand of God, was innocent, not holy; and after the fall it was sinful. The Lord Jesus having taken human nature, He will wear it, as we know from Scripture, for ever, the same nature as when He was down here upon the earth, but in a new condition, inasmuch as it is as Man that He was glorified. We could not say, therefore, that He became one with us, as that would imply that He became one with sinful men. Thus in this chapter (Hebrews 2) it is most carefully pointed out that it is only with His people that He identifies (not, becomes "one with," but identifies) Himself: it is with "many sons" (v. 10), with those who are "sanctified," with His "brethren" (vv. 11, 12), with the "children" (vv. 13, 14), etc. But through grace we do become "one with" Him, whether considered in connection with nature and life (John 17:20-23), or as members of His body. (Eph. 5:29-32.) Moreover, he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.
1 John 5:7, 8.
The Revised Version is entirely justified in omitting the words, "There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one"; and also the words "in earth" in verse 8. The omitted words are not found in any MS. previous to the 15th century; in fact, only in four MSS. out of some 150. And they are not quoted by any Greek theologian before the 14th century; so that no impartial mind could for one moment accept their authenticity. The internal evidence, moreover, favours the same conclusion. In verse 6 the apostle says of Jesus, the Son of God, "This is He that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth." Then should follow, as a careful examination will show, the words, "For there are three that bear witness" (taking up the three things mentioned in verse 6), "the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one." The introduction of verse 7 entirely interrupts the argument. The subject of this threefold testimony, we may add, is that God "has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son." E. D.