The Perfect Servant and the Perfect Saviour.

1882 134 The Lord Jesus became a Servant that He might be a Saviour. Impossible to be the Saviour of men without being the Servant of God. As He was a perfect Servant, so He is perfect Saviour. The Word opens the volume of the Book, and we read the eternal counsel of God. It was written therein before the world was made, "Lo I come to do Thy will, O God." The Son who in due time came to be a Servant is the Creator. Not only were all things created by Him, but for Him; a sphere where He might do the will of God. Creation is the stepping-stone to redemption. In Heb. x. we read, "A body hast Thou prepared me," for sacrifices and offering God would not. "Then said I, Lo I come to do thy will, O God." Redemption is here the will specially referred to. A body was not needed for creation, it was for redemption. The Lord was here as Servant in the prepared body, doing the will of God; came here as it man to glorify God in a world that had rebelled against its Creator, not by the destruction of the rebellious creature, but by providing a way of salvation. This was a way wherein God was more abundantly glorified than by the destruction of the sinner.

But if God be thus more abundantly glorified, it must be in a way that completely vindicates His character in all its infinite perfectness. This is what the Lord Jesus did. It is this great work which He came to do, and in doing it became God's servant. God would save, and sent the Lord Jesus to be a Saviour. On the very threshold this question had to be answered, "How can God be just and justify the ungodly?" This was of the utmost importance, for God must be just, whether any ungodly soul was justified, or not. Let the whole creation be lost rather than one of the infinite attributes of God be sullied. If the demands of righteousness were inexorable, the resources of infinite wisdom and love were able to meet them all. In the cross is the sternest vindication of righteousness and the fullest declaration of His love, and the love not less holy than the righteousness. Every question which could possibly occur to any created mind as to the moral attributes of God finds its answer there. Blood, precious blood, was shed there, therefore a holy and just God can remit sins. In view of it there was forbearance for the sins that are past; as an accomplished fact, unlimited grace now with highest blessing. It makes every act of mercy a righteous thing; it justifies, nay, we might say, spite of the God-dishonouring notion, but pretended human thought of mercy of the non-eternity of hell-punishment, it makes it necessary and righteous. For when we consider who it was that died there, that all creation is nothing iii comparison with the value of the blood there spilt, what less penalty than eternal death could be righteously meted to those who have despised and rejected the Saviour that hung there? God knows the value of the cross, it is His Word that pronounces eternal death, it is His vengeance upon the despiser of Christ. For the One that died upon the cross is the Son of His love.

To give a divine ground whereon God might righteously forgive and save was the great work the Lord Jesus came to do. It was to declare God's righteousness while receiving sinners justly condemned. To do this the Lord had to take the place of a servant. In never doing His own will as His own, but always because it was the Father's will, He showed His perfectness as a servant. Yet He was the Son, the Word who was with God and who was God. As the Eternal Son, coequal with the Father; as man, of no reputation, humbling Himself even to the death of the cross. This was His service, this the will of God He came to do.

The Gospel of Mark presents the Lord as The Servant; but (I judge) rather as the servant for man than the servant of God. It is in Mark, service as meeting the need of man. All through this Gospel it is the servant hasting to do His work, constantly going about from place to place. As soon as one thing was done, "immediately" He proceeds to another. Untiring love scattering blessings all around, and teaching by means of bodily cures, the grace and power that was present to heal the soul, if any had eye and heart to see and feel Who it was that was there in the guise of a servant. But it is not Mark but John who brings out the true servant character of the Lord in its most absolute form. Mark is full of the doings of the Lord, the servant, John gives the spring of action the ever present motive. Mark may present man's need, in John it is the Father's will that is prominent. No where else do we find more absolutely expressed the Lord's entire submission to the will of the Father. As in John 5:19, "The Son can do nothing of Himself but what He seeth the Father do: for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." Here also in John we have more fully set forth than in the other Gospels that the Lord Jesus is the Son of God; and the two — Son of God, and Servant — for the most part blended together in the same verse. So in the verse just quoted, He could do nothing of Himself, He only copied what the Father did. Could a mere man do what the Father did? If the Lord as the Servant only did what He saw the Father do, He must be God to see — to comprehend all the ways of the Father — and no less to do. The Godhead shines through the Servant in marvellous power and brightness; but it brightness which can only be apprehended by faith. This is the wonder of His Person. He is the Incomprehensible, the mystery, now revealed. Faith believes His Person, and bows before Him in silent adoration. If He took a servant's place, He would be as perfect there as when sitting on the throne of God.

In John vi., He is the true bread from heaven, but it is the Father's giving, so that in coining into the world He was simply obeying the Father. Many would not receive Him as such; they saw Him, but would not believe. He was the true bread, there to give life to the world; and to each one coming such power of life that he would never hunger nor thirst. Some there were whom the Father gave to Him. Whoever they were, as a true Servant He would receive each and all on the ground that they were brought to Him by the Father. They shall come and He would in no wise cast them out. It was enough for the true Servant to know the Father's will. "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me."

In this chapter it is not so much the fact that the Son became the Saviour as a sequence of being a Servant (though this is true, for it was service to come into the world, and take a Servant's place) as that He was a Servant in the act of saving. In saving a soul from death and condemnation He was doing His Father's will. When this truth is apprehended by faith, it delivers the soul from the dishonouring thought that the Lord Jesus by His death had to reconcile God to the believer. Many a believer has suffered in consequence of allowing such an unscriptural thought in his mind. For however expressed, when put nakedly before us, it is that the Lord Jesus had to persuade God to receive sinners and forgive them. This is so contrary to the truth that here in John it is the Father bringing souls to the Lord. And in a previous chapter the well-known and oft-quoted verse "God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son." Such a notion is not only soul-injuring but it falsifies God's character. How often the Lord speaks of Himself as the "Sent" into the world. This thought of God, which is not confined to a few doubting christians but is found in public writings and hymns, is a hindrance to true communion and confidence in God, and denies Him in the very thing in which He is most manifest, viz., His love.

We who believe are reconciled to God, for we were haters of God; but God commendeth His love to us that while we were enemies Christ died for us. So that it is equally unscriptural to say that the cross reconciled God to the world. Love caused the cross, not the cross caused God's love. The cross was needed as the only way by which God's love for a lost world could be known. Sin had barred every other way. The Lord Jesus became a Servant according to the exigencies of Divine love.

The Father has given souls to the Lord Jesus, and His will is that not one should be lost, but that the Lord should raise it up at the last day. In caring for those given to Him, guarding them so that they are not destroyed by the enemy, nor lost by their own folly, keeping even the body when laid in the grave so as to raise it up again at the last day, — in doing all this the Lord Jesus is the Servant doing the Father's will.

The Lord, by the will of the Father, came as the object of faith, and every one that saw and believed on Him has eternal life, and having life the Lord would raise him up at the last day. Here too as the resting place for the soul He is the Servant; it was the Father's will that He should be such. The previous verse is simply the Father giving souls to the Lord, and confiding them to His care. This gives faith's connection between the Lord Jesus and the believer. Those who are given see and believe. And mark the sovereignty of grace, and the perfectness of the order of scripture in showing how a soul is saved; for he is not given to the Lord because he sees and believes, but he sees and believes because he is given, born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of man, but of God. The Father gives, and the Lord receives from His hand, and faith forms a moral connection between the Saviour and the believer. In both the Lord is the perfect Servant doing the Father's will. "I will raise him up at the last day." The tie of faith cannot be broken; it is beyond the power and domain of death.

The murmuring of the Jew brings out another truth, that none could come save those drawn by the Father. No one would come. But again the assurance, "I will raise him up at the last day."

It is a question of life; and that the bread which came down from heaven might be eternal life for man who believed, it was necessary that He should die. Therefore to eat of that bread and not die could only be after He was offered up to God as a sacrifice for sin; only by death did the Lord Jesus become bread of life. The Jew again objecting, the Lord gives a fuller statement, that unless they eat His flesh and drink His blood they have no life. He is not only the One upon whom we feed as the living bread — eating His flesh — but the additional truth (as I judge) of drinking His blood; it is the owning that our blood was justly forfeited to God, but that He bore our judgment. To drink His blood is confessing that we deserve death but are redeemed by His blood. On the cross He was the divinely appointed substitute by the Father. Through His death we have eternal life, and for the fourth time the Lord Jesus says, "I will raise him up at the last day.

In all this the Lord is the perfect Servant. He is also the perfect Saviour. It is by and in perfect obedience to the Father's will that He is Saviour; the act of service is the act of saving. He was sent to save, and saves perfectly and eternally. What more perfect service and devotion to the Father's will than to die, and then to retake His life? But this was the Father's commandment, that He might be a perfect Saviour, One who had conquered death, and conquered for the sake of those who believed in Him. So that service to the Father, and salvation for man, are both expressed in "I will raise him up at the last day."

John 13 shows the Lord Jesus still a Servant for its even while He is on the Father's throne. That which the disciples could not then understand, we now know. As our High Priest, Intercessor, Advocate, He is still girded with the towel and washes the feet of His saints, Perfect Servant, and Perfect Saviour.