His Greatness and His Love

From Notes of an Address on Revelation 1:5-8; 22:16-21

Nothing could be of greater importance than to have brought before us the greatness of our Leader. Unless we are acquainted with Him, realizing something of His greatness, we certainly shall not press on in the pathway of faith. We may begin well and walk separately, but we shall very soon tire of the difficulties of the way, and they will be too much for us, unless we have before our souls very definitely His love and His power. And these are very superficial days. So many young Christians are fed on choruses that do not exalt the Lord Jesus as they ought. Some are very blessed and very full, but others tend to make us forget the greatness of the Saviour. We need to have emphasized by the Holy Spirit the majesty, the power and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Let us read the book of the Revelation more often with this one thing in view. It is right that we should become acquainted with the events that are shortly to come to pass, but let us not miss the greatness of the Person who is to take in hand the sword and the sceptre and bring everything in the universe into subjection to God. How great He is! If He becomes real to us, we will not tire; we will find in Him strength for every step of the way.

It is very beautiful to see how He is introduced to us in the beginning of this book from which I have read. Jesus Christ, rejected of men and despised, is the faithful witness. If He had been less faithful He would have been more respected of men. He was absolutely faithful to God, and because He trod that path of absolute obedience He was despised by men, but He was the faithful witness. What a joy it must have been to the heart of God to look down upon One in this world who did His will completely: absolutely here for God, and making God known in the midst of the darkness. He had a right to everything. He was the Messiah and might have claimed everything in the land, and yet He possessed nothing. But He had God, and He bore witness to the fact that God was better than all beside. And so He bore witness to God's character. God was made known perfectly, but that life of perfect witness ended in death, and that the death of the Cross.

This was apparent defeat. "I have spent My strength for nought, and in vain" seemed to be written across His life and death. But see! — He is "the first begotten of the dead." The mighty power of death had to confess His supremacy; death that had triumphed over every man except just two. Apart from those two death had triumphed over the greatest and the best. One after the other they fell beneath the stroke of death. Death was master. But at last death was mastered. Who mastered death? Jesus Christ, your Saviour and mine. He has triumphed over the grave. He has broken the bands of death, He is the first begotten from the dead. Oh, He is great; great in His power. Death, the greatest power man had Him known, is subdued by Him.

Then not only is He "First begotten of the dead," but, "Prince of the kings of the earth." Think of His majesty, though not yet is it manifested. We see not yet all things put under Him. This is the "not yet" period, but faith is assured that God's Word will be fulfilled and even now recognizes Him as the Prince of the kings of the earth. The kings of the earth are going to unite under the Beast, the leader of the revived Roman Empire, to make war on the Lamb. But the Lamb will overcome them, for the Lamb is King of kings and Lord of lords. The crucified Lamb, He is the Prince of the kings of the earth.

Consider His majesty, for you may be sure of this, that in this present time He has His eye upon things. God has said to Him, "Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool." Things will not go beyond His permission in this period of time. While men are striving, spending their days and nights in endeavouring to find solutions for their great difficulties and to save themselves from disaster, God is over all and they will not be permitted to go beyond His will. We may be sure that their self-will will eventually be made to glorify God and bring about their own shame. Christ is the Prince of the kings of the earth and there can be no peace, no righteousness, no rest for the nations, until He takes His place. And He is going to take it and all will look to Him for wisdom and He will have all control and the whole universe will be subject to God by Him.

As the story is told, there is an interruption. There are hearts that cannot be silent and the church bursts out in praise, "Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever, Amen." Oh, let us consider what He must have thought about us; since the One who has conquered death has loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood. And not only this, but has brought us into this place of near relationship to God, as kings and priests. His own blood has done it, the blood of the Lamb. Let us consider more and more what that means — the value of the blood.

I was talking to a dear old clergyman not long ago and he said to me, "You cannot imagine the contempt with which many of our brethren clergymen look upon us, who preach the precious blood of Jesus." That is the way Christendom is sweeping: despising the blood. Why, that blood is the only thing that could wash our sins away and bring us to God, and into this place of nearness, as kings and priests. Oh, the value of that precious blood!

And then the announcement: "Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him." He is coming as Judge. He is coming as the One who is going to subdue all evil. Think of His greatness and power in that respect. The One who has saved us is the One who is going to judge those who refused to obey Him. How great indeed He is. We might well, with John the apostle, fall down at His feet as one dead. And then He closes the book with these simple words: "I Jesus." Now it is right that we should be impressed with His greatness and glory. The way that He presents Himself to us at the end will be all the sweeter to us if we read through the book and are impressed with His splendour and majesty.

But at the close He presents Himself as Jesus, and the Name comes home to us and moves us. Why, that Name means salvation, tenderness, meekness, long-suffering, grace. It is the sweetest Name our ears have ever heard. There is something greater than the crowns; something greater than kingdoms, powers and dominions; and what is that? It is His love, and while you bow down before Him in His greatness, He wants you to draw near to Him and know His love.

"I, Jesus, have sent mine angel." Don't miss that. Jesus commands the angels. He is their Lord. And if He commands the angels, oh, surely, He shall command us. And while we rejoice in His Name as He speaks to us and says, "I, Jesus," we bow down and say, Lord Jesus. "Who art Thou, Lord?" asked Saul of Tarsus. "I am Jesus," was the answer. Then said Saul, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" You see how it works? The revelation of His love to our souls prostrates us in subjection at His blessed feet. We are not right unless we are fully surrendered to Him. The weakness in our Christian living is this; we are not surrendered to Him. And why? Well, there is only one thing that can subdue us and that is His love.

"Just as I am, Thy love I own
  has broken every barrier down;
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone,
  O Lamb of God, I come."

Then He says, "I am the Root and the Offspring of David." There He lays claim to the kingdom and its glory. He is the Root of David — the One who made all the promises to David. He is the Offspring of David — the One who is going to bear the glory, fulfilling every promise. He is going to put the earth right. But He is something more, for He adds, "and the bright and morning Star." The Old Testament closes with the Sun of Righteousness arising with healing in His wings. But before the Sun of Righteousness arises the Morning Star appears. It is thus that He will appear to us. has He already arisen in our hearts? Are our eyes on the lookout for Him? He is going to fulfil His word, and He Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout. Oh, what joy that will be. Every saint of God on earth will answer immediately and those that have died in Christ will come forth from their graves fashioned like to Himself.

Why will He shout? He has been waiting in patience for His Bride for nearly two thousand years. At last the moment arrives when He is to receive His Bride, all glorious, and His shout is the shout of pent up love. At last! The work is completed, and He is satisfied, for in that day He will say the prize is worth the price that He paid. We, beloved Christians, are part of that church that is going to yield such joy, such gladness to the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ.

When He presents Himself in this way as the bright Morning Star there is a worshipping response. The Spirit says "Come." We can understand that. What a joy it will be to the Holy Ghost when that day arrives, since He has been labouring unweariedly for two thousand years in this world to prepare the church altogether suited to Christ. The Spirit says, "Come," and the Bride says, "Come." There is a longing in the heart of the Bride for the heavenly Bridegroom, so in unison with the Spirit the Bride says, "Come."

Then, "Let him that hears say Come." That is each individual of us. The Bride, who says, come, will be made up of individuals. What of the individuals? What about your heart and mine? Are we saying, "Come"? Are we each one of us in that way really moved by bridal affection as we think of the Lord Jesus Christ as the coming One?

Then, "let him that is athirst come." You may drink freely of the water of life. Who is the Fountain? Why, Christ Himself. He is the Spring of all true joy and blessing. The waters spring up pure and free and you may drink of Him. We can say to the unconverted sinner or the backslider, that word is for you. "Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely." May God revive our desire for the blessing of souls. It has been said that the Gospel day is past. But no, not so long as that verse is in the Bible. Until we see our Lord Jesus Christ, this word "whosoever" should be upon our lips, and if we are revived in our heart's desire to see Him you may be sure that we shall be earnestly seeking that others should know Him too. This last evangelical appeal in God's Book should be very precious to every one of us.

"He that testifies these things says, Surely I come quickly." He will come suddenly of course, but He says, "Behold I come quickly" — He will make haste about it. But how could that be, since all this time has elapsed? Why, that is what is in His heart. It is as though He said, Nothing will satisfy Me until I have you with Myself. It is His love that makes Him say that, and so words like that have to be interpreted not with the head but with the heart and with the understanding. I understand why the Lord Jesus Christ said that, It is His love that made Him say it, and He expected that such words would produce a response in our hearts. Do they? From the heavens there sounds this great "Amen," and then, "Even so, come Lord Jesus." Then we will reach maturity; then our worship and our praise will be perfected, and throughout all eternity we will receive into our hearts His love without measure, and respond to it without reserve. Then the church will be as faithful to Christ as Christ is to the church, and for ever the church will satisfy His heart.

Now, while we wait for that glorious moment when we shall hear His shout and respond to it, the Spirit of God adds His benediction, "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all the saints" (N.Tr.). The last word of inspiration is "all the saints." Our thoughts are carried back to those words, "Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor that ye through His poverty might be rich." That grace is still active and all-sufficient, and the Spirit of God says, May that grace be with you all until you reach the glory. And grace begun will end in glory, and we shall see the face of our glorious Lord.