Our Great Example

The incomparable perfection of our Lord Jesus Christ shines in unsullied beauty, whether in His exaltation and glory or in the lowly circumstances of this life. It is this unchanging excellency which distinguishes Him from all others. The “yesterday” of His humiliation, and the “today” of His patience, as well as the “for ever” of His great glory, finds Jesus Christ to be “the same.” Blessed be His name. The earth and the heavens are the works of His hands; and presently He will roll them up as a garment, and they shall be changed; but He is the same, and His years shall not fail.

What a wonderful sight for our eyes to see Him down here in this world with His loved ones around Him—to see Him at that last Passover supper with His disciples, as it is pictured for us by the Holy Spirit in John 13. He is so great, and yet so lowly. He loved them with a perfect love that sought to serve them even as He does His own today, and yet He was their Lord and Teacher. The Father loved Him: He ever did so: but the blessedness and perfection of His life in this world called out the Father’s love to Him in a special way. We are told in John 3:35, the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. The knowledge of this was specially with our blessed Lord at the sacred hour of the last supper. He knew that universal glory and authority and pre-eminence were His; but that in nowise altered His own personal lowliness and loveliness. He was quite cognizant at this moment that the glorious governance of everything was given to Him, and that the wealth of the universal inheritance was His: yet His moral grace and glory were unaltered; and they shine with exceptional lustre here. “Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands,” rose from supper, and stooped down, and washed the feet of His disciples. What a sight indeed! One so great and glorious at the feet of His followers! The Lord at the feet of those He loved! The appointed Head over all things washing and wiping the feet of His own!

Ah, but He would have them and us to have part with Him. And He said to Peter, who refused to submit to the Lord’s hands, “If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with Me.” It is the desire of His loving heart that His own should enter into that which He now has with the Father. It was concerning His own that He said to the Father, “The glory which Thou hast given Me I have given them.” We are his coheirs. Oh, how blessed to be “heirs of God, and Christ’s joint heirs.” But, beloved brethren, do we cherish the knowledge of this glorious greatness with lowliness and humility, and meekness and love? If so, we too shall then shine in the moral grace of Christ. The example which He has left us will be delightful to our hearts. John 13 will be practically known to us then; and this is what our blessed Lord desires; for He said, “If I therefore, the Lord and the Teacher, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another’s feet; for I have given you an EXAMPLE” (13:14, N.Tr.).

May we have power to behold adoringly our wonderful Example—to behold the Lord of glory in His lowly loveliness. And He is the same today as He was yesterday. He will be the same for ever.

An expert said to me a few days ago, “You can quickly distinguish a real diamond from an imitation. They may appear to shine with equal brilliance, but if you place them in water the imitation becomes like the water that surrounds it, while the real diamond still sheds its own lustre as before.” Our blessed Lord, the Son of the Father, whether above in His own glory or below in this world and sin and need, shines unchanged and undimmed, always the same, in His own moral perfection.