The Calmness of Christ in the Presence of Evil.

Matthew 26.

What is so profoundly interesting to us in this chapter is, that we get what was in the mind of Christ. His Spirit gives this wonderful moral picture of immense value to us - perfect calmness, and real power. His soul is going through that which is coming upon Him, so that when He had to deal with other persons He is never disturbed. We see in Him what it is so hard for us to have - not indifference, not the least stiffening of His mind against it; but so with His Father about it, that there is not the smallest trace of disturbance in His spirit, no indifference or stiffness of heart, but the soul reached by the sense of what is upon Him. We have to trace in ourselves a certain hardness or indifference, unable to be free from the effects of it; and so turn from it, "sleeping for sorrow," or take a sword, or take to flight.

It is beautiful for us to see Him feeling everything perfectly as a Divine Person. He learnt obedience by the things that He suffered. The world never in that sense possessed Him. Two things marked Christ - obedience and dependence, prayer and doing the Father's will. In Peter we see no obedience and no dependence, but confidence in nature. Two characteristics marked him; he does his own will, and there is no dependence on the Lord. With the Lord Jesus there was the going through the difficulties with God; and when they came, quietness and such perfect self-command; for all had been really gone through. There is nothing so firm as obedience, and nothing so humble. Perfect firmness, because I know I am obeying; perfect lowliness, because I know I am dependent. If I am in sorrow, like Christ, in the presence of God I am awake; but if I am asleep then, when I come before man, I take the sword and begin to fight. Asleep, when we should be with God about the trial; violent, when with man. Christ, when man came, was unmoved by his wickedness, because He had gone through the reality with God - betrayed by the nearest to Him; and as for the priests, all they would do was to plead against Him. Christ being there shows out man. Here was One always perfect, fully conscious of all that was coming upon Him, in perfect submission going as man to God about it; and when the judgment comes, He goes as a Lamb to the slaughter. He was not actually on the cross, but was looking at it. (v. 39.) He drank plenty of bitter cups as man, but He never asked that any might pass from Him but this; and here was a cup that His piety desired might pass. He ought to have felt it - His very perfectness made Him shrink from drinking that cup of wrath for man's sins. But He did drink it all with perfect meekness; and looking forward to it (the forsaking of God), He prays, in Psalm 22: "Be not Thou far from Me." He rehearses it all, and turns to God. As to any comfort for His spirit, He had only sleeping disciples. It is terrible, when we think of it, how man showed himself. But it is good for our souls to have Christ before us here. In the Psalms we see Him turning round and looking for one to take pity; but He found none; none could go through that - death coming with wrath; and if there was only a shadow of that, man could not go through it. He felt all that, and we see His perfectness in it - see what His spirit and mind were in passing through it. Has it got hold of your hearts? have your souls been with Him thus? As regards us, nothing stopped Him in His devotedness to save us. If you want to see perfectness of love, if you want to see devotedness of love, go and see the Lord suffering in our stead - feed on it. If you want to know the love of Christ, it passes knowledge; by divine teaching we may apprehend it. It is blessed to see His grace in the midst of evil. Being with God perfectly, He had the right word for everyone. It humbles us; yet to see that He was perfect, is joy to the heart.

I see the Lord deeply felt it all. Having loved His disciples, He says, "One of you shall betray Me" - thorough sensibility to all that is going on. Dull as they were in understanding, the word of Christ had power with them - not a doubt. Where the word of God has power, there is no thought of self, nor trust in self. "Lord, is it I?" they ask. You see in them such complete bowing of heart to the word of Christ, that they could believe anything of themselves if Christ said it. Christ's word had complete authority over their hearts; as we get Mary thinking it everything to be with Him to spend herself upon Him; loving His word. Do we get Christ having that kind of authority upon us? But the boldness of unbelief grows in proportion to belief. Judas had so lost the sense of what Christ was, of His knowledge of the heart of man, that the very consciousness of what Christ is had gone from his heart. (v. 7.) The world is conscious it cannot go along with that; if Mary spends her money upon Christ, Judas will betray Him for money - the opposite comes out. I do expect, if Christians are more faithful, the world will be more wicked; I see it in Scripture. Judas received the sop - the very thing that was blessing to the others - the very expression of Christ's intimacy. The Lord is perfectly calm in the midst of all the distress, just doing peacefully all He had to do. * * *