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Recently, a man of experience in latter middle life, expressed his relief at and joy in finding emphasis on the God-fearing man. He had desired such a pattern, such a way, a mode, an example, and this represented a yearning in his heart, and when focussed, a delight to his spirit.

People are often seeking something to which to give allegiance, commitment, to receive as a pattern, to find as a basis, to believe in as the perfection, the desideratum; and at times, it becomes the lust for glory, when frustrated by machinations and deprivations in the heart. At other times, it becomes the wander-lust of the dilettante, never satisfied, always seeking, like a cat in the garbage can, admittedly with some hope of some sustenance, but of nothing worthy of real commendation! The decline of the disillusioned! it could almost become a pattern of this generation. Seeking amiss, they do not find; not finding, they invent; still not finding, they add passion, and still lacking, they superadd thrust. If the results appal, the way enthrals. It is like a sports car driven blindfold: it may thrill for a little while.

In a score of disappointments, they grow in vehemence, or dissolution, often both. Their zeal may carry them past all facts, to acts of horror, as with many in the Palestinian-Moslem syndrome of this day, specialising in murder, aggrandising in shame.

On this, much has been written on this site, on His authenticity, authority and magnificence (cf. SMR Chs.  1,  6, Biblical Blessings Appendix IVBarbs, Arrows and Balms, Appendix 1 279ff., Repent or Perish Ch. 2, Spiritual Refreshings... Chs.  3 and  5 - and see Index on Jesus).

Yet let us consider it further. In life in general, Christian Apologetics in particular, it is often necessary to TASTE AND SEE, as in a laboratory, yet where in some cases the taste may need to be more metaphorical, in view of the sometimes searing ingredients! Many test these things in the flesh, and are indeed seared. Man's madness with such experiments soars into the depths, if you can imagine for one moment, the lust for the illustrious, passion for glory,  combined with the mistaken directions, leading to an exuberant detachment imprinted with passion, descending, descending, as if it were going aloft. One does not need much thought to see the end, and the end of such things litters this earth. This is the spiritual spaces debris, of which less is heard than of the other kind, but far more is to be seen!

Vagrant visionaries wave their flags of arrant and often arrogant mortality, making the charge of the Light Brigade, the valiant 600, seem almost safe by comparison, or well-chosen!

As for Christ, then, let us look at some of the ingredients of His character, the dispositions of His life, the wonders of His expression.

What is to be found here ?

This then becomes:


1) In Personality

What then is one of the specialised specificities in Christ ? (before lamenting over that verbal combination, consider how likely you are to forget it! and as to Christ Himself, He is the more unforgettable, the world still covered with towers of triumphs in His grace, in word and life).

In Him, what was one feature ? A kindly and engaging, dispersive and generous graciousness, allied with a purity of resolve and an unflagging determination that crystallised issues, conquered diversions, forestalled dispersions, overcame evil with simplicity and directness, and this all, without losing sensitive touch, compassion or composure. From this the record contains no diversion, no digression, here are no 'satanic verses', and here the devil gets his come-uppance. We are asked to make zero allowances, need to find NOTHING for which to make excuse. Instead, the superb prominence in humility of person, the illustrious majesty that was more to be covered than displayed, lest false motives should spoil His seeking in truth and love for His flock. (Cf. SMR pp. 857-866, Ch. 6.)

How would He be more bountiful than in restoring the cleft ear of the servant of the High Prieist, come to arrest Him for a satanic purpose (Luke 22:50-51).

His natural compassion, stirred at the scene of the 5000 to feed them (Matthew 14:14), yet never was moved to indulgence, as if to suppress the exposure of false motive, wrongfully arising after His gift.

Thus, even after the expression of divine generosity, confirmed by miracle as a continuation and amplification of that of Elisha (II Kings 4:38-44), both in sweetness and health, and in scope of the feast provided, purity still reigned. Therefore,   He could on the next day, draw their attention back to salvation, and away from pragmatic and mercenary desires (John 6:26-54) which such liberality can evoke in some, who could corrupt almost anything, however good, if once they were given free reign! Indeed, He could use the act of power to make a testimony, a teaching of salvation, not merely in terms of the love, the mercy shown, but the meaning inherent in the action, linking it to the former acts of the Lord, with Moses, and showing its consummation of meaning in what was to follow. That ? it was His own flesh, given in sacrifice, that better manna.

Further, no mere reflection was here, or even any simple expression of consummation of a trend: rather He used it to give precise form and information concerning His cross, His sacrifice, His giving of His life. It was to be 1) a sacrificial offering 2) one to be taken so personally as to make eating its physical correlate 3) it was to be the sacrifice to end sacrifices, not merely at the direction of God Almighty, but for His personal provision in incarnation - as in Hosea 13:14, Isaiah 52-53, Micah 5:1-3, Psalm 22, John 6:62ff. (cf. Joyful Jottings 21-25, The Kingdom of Heaven Ch. 9, No. 8, With Heart and Soul, Mind and Strength Ch. 6).

He could and did inspire with majesty, impel with purity, regale with righteousness, and this,
without pomp or pomposity, carnality or compromise, fleshly heat or spiritual discomposure (Matthew 21:1-11), always citing scripture with a pellucid perspicuity, so that under challenge, He was unanswerable, His words like barbs to the barbaric, like swords to the contesting pettifoggers, like pincer movements of the military, when He surged to expose their weakness (Matthew 21:12-46).

But why ? not for lust of argument, not for tempestuousness of triumph did He act , for His words and His works agree in one, as works of truth, peace and compassion, challenge, judgment and appeal, showing the way amid confusion, the light cast like a beam into darkness, and rebuking what was molesting the flock with a severity that tenderness has as its ally in such matters! This was fully exposed in Ezekiel 34, when God execrated the self-seeking pomp and pretentious arrogations of the worldly 'pastors', and indicated that HE WOULD COME AND BE PASTOR HIMSELF! Thus in John 10:1-10, you see this fulfilled,  in Luke 11:52 His judgment on the impostors who with merely surreal spirituality, impeded salvation, instead of ministering for it!

And what did those exposed do when so exposed, now by God Himself on earth in person, as He declared would be the case ? They "began to oppose Him vehemently, and to provoke Him to speak of many things, laying wait for Him, and seeking to catch something out of His mouth, that they might accuse Him." Precisely as Israel in many of its power structures, treated the prophets, in spirit, did they seek to bait, endeavour to harass, reject and rage. Even in this they failed, for who in anything could succeed against the Maker of man! This was the nature of the expected case, for God is after all infinitely beyond sin and evil, the predicted case (Isaiah 11, 49:2,6-8, 50:4-9), and the actual case. These three agree in one. Verification delights like lilies in the well-watered pasture, set in sunshine; it is regaled, knows neither limit nor bound.

He was simply unanswerable, a walking harassment of harassment, lethal to to the lethal, by exposing their flanks, exhibiting their follies and exposing the truth in its perfection of bliss, from His own mouth (cf. Mark 11:33). To be sure, He would give power to His own to answer (John 14:12, Luke 21:15), yes His was the author of the authority, and His own practice had no imperfection, flicker of weakness or failure in performance (cf. James 1:17). When God acts in His own being, His perfection is the result, whatever the suffering, whatever the purity, whatever the criteria, whatever the circumstances, the conditions or the counter-force. It is as the small dust in the balance. This is the theology; it is also the practicality. It is the expectation, the imputation and the situation. In Christ, they combine, again, as one.

Indeed, there is no phase or facet which fails, search as one may, and it is like viewing an Old Master painting of the highest kind, only better; for not merely do tests show the quality, but the quality suggests the tests, dimension upon dimension stirring the imagination when it sees what has been done, realising the challenge faced by the conspicuousness of the solution provided.

Thus Christ's  rebukes were never stung by merely personal offence, but therapeutic in heart, solicitous in spirit, or minatory in force. To Jerusalem His rebuke is surrounded with tears (Luke 19:42ff.), though chaste in containment; to the scribes His severity does not fail to list the offence to the weak committed by the pseudo-scholarly abuse of strength, the very contrary of their office and responsibility. Of hypocrisy He is arch-foe, its intemperate gluttony of glory with its inherent unservicability being the precise contrast of His own ways (Matthew 23).

His words and His works, again, were as one (cf. John 14:10-11).

The beauty is severe, sensational, practical, probing (cf. Psalm 45, 110), the peace austere, friendly, composed, profound, the strength always adequate, always at price (cf. Mark 1:35ff., Matthew 17:14-21, Luke 22:39-46, 27:46), and the very agonies did not dim or diminish the tenderness (Luke 23:39-43). There was to be found the peace of the king of eternity, the certainty of the very word of God, the effectuality of the word on mission (Isaiah 48:16), and the power of the Prince of peace, making peace by being it, Himself the focus of the sin that condemns, freely (Isaiah 55:1ff., 53:6). Hence He did not baulk at forgiving sins personally, who in Himself was their cure (Mark 1-12).

Where His graces, mercies and opportunities were sinfully ignored, they could lead to His lament as over Jerusalem; but this was equipped with a realism at His rejection, since in Himself is the essential criterion of life, that nevertheless did not ignore or blush at the results of such denial (Luke 19:44).

Was He not Himself giving His own life for them, to cover ALL who EVER would come to receive it, and not only so, but giving it to mockery, as well as to death, apparent impotence as well as sacrifice, with a purity of motive and inflexible and indefatigable resolve that omitted no grace, no duty, even praying in the very midst of such contempt, for His oppressors, WHILE they still oppressed Him, even at the lethal end of the whole matter, as far as His mortal body was concerned (Luke 23:34). Though it was to be attested as immortal through resurrection, as a man indeed, no less than the Son of God, this transition was to be performed! He had to face its interstices, as sin-bearer, at the end, alone!

After all, His purpose was to give to the uttermost, to bring from the utmost vagrancies all who would be moved.

If He were to be moved, as rarely seen (Mark 3:5), to righteous indignation, its impact was to purify, to enable more liberty for salvation and to overcome that  odour of evil which was disposed to sully  the ardour and the beauty of holiness, inherent in Himself, maintained for the faithful. Indeed, it is the rallying at the irreconcilable obstruction, obfuscation or intrusion of the merciless in their unspiritual severities, as He did good! It is the surgeon, we see here, having his arm bumped by an odious nurse, while he performs an operation she desires not to succeed; or worse, by an assitant surgeon, miscalled, who is envious of the triumph to come, or doctrinaire, does not want it to work!

So did He scorn and drive out that commercialism in the Temple (John 2:13ff., Mark 11:15ff., Matthew 21:12ff.) which, with spiritual obscenity, dared to 'make a good thing out of' the worship of God! In doing so, His quotations assembled from Isaiah 56 and Jeremiah 7, are completed with one from Psalm 8, all with a seemingly effortless penetration, an indomitable thrust, a dazzling precision.

Yet, for all that, He zealously stirred men to use their talents, to be industriously constructive, intelligently alert, so long as their service was first of all for God (Matthew 25:14ff., Luke 19:12ff.).


There are however many other features on which one could focus. Let us for survey, list some of them.


There are with PERSONALITY, also HIS ...

bullet PROCEDURE, in its integrity (Matthew 26:52-56, Luke 22:49-53),
PRINCIPLES for procedure (John 14:12-14, Mark 11:23ff., Matthew 17:18-25, 9:35-38, 12:1-8, Matthew 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount),
PROMISES (John 14:19ff.),
bullet PROPHECIES (Matthew 23:34-39., Luke 19:42ff., Matthew 24), on the grand scale,
with THEIR PRECISION, THEIR PHASING (Luke 21:24), as on the more personal side (Luke 22:34, John 21:15-19), there is
POWER (Matthew 4:23-25, 8:14-17,12:15, 8:10-13, 20:29-34, 15:28), distance being a virtual irrelevance to its exercise, time no constraint,
PROMULGATION (Matthew 28:20ff.),
bullet PRESENCE (Matthew 18:19-20, John 14:21-23),
PERFORMANCE (Luke 24:25-29),
and there is in
PROPHETIC FULFILMENT and DETAILING of His own PRINCIPLE PLACE IN THE PROGRAM (Matthew 26:52-56, 11:4ff., Luke 23:28ff.), filled lustrously, with a lordship which never wilted nor merely dictated (Matthew 26:31-46),
there is
bullet REALISM (John 2:19ff.), with that sovereign majesty which could even touch cleansing with fearless manifestation of His identity, reaching to the very heavens in His ascription of assured result, while cleaning the very dirt of earth, and excoriating the audacities of hell, as in the temple case, both its purge and its focus as a symbol of His own body, to be resurrected,
RELISH (John 13:1ff., Matthew 6:28-29),
RELEASE (Matthew 8:14-17, Mark 5:1-30, Luke 4, Matthew 12:22ff., Luke 13:10-17, Matthew 13:14-17, John 9:1-12,35ff., John 18:7-9);
and then again, there is
bullet CURE (Matthew 11:25-30, ),
KINGLINESS (John 7:45-52, Luke 22:67-69),
CLEANNESS (John 8:34-46, Luke 18:23),
CONSISTENCY (John 18:11, Matthew 5:17-20, 26:54-56)
CROWN (Luke 23:43, John 18:34-37, 19:19-22).

On the NEGATIVE SIDE, for what is wrong or inadequate needs negation, there was this list, merely for a swift survey. What then were some of the features which Christ displayed  in this dimension.

But why such lamentation ? is it not that the judgment though borne for all who are to be healed (Isaiah 53:5), is yet to be borne by those who reject His bearing of it. It is not HE who condemns; but rather they who refuse exculpation in pardon, by vicarious virtue, sent and spent in Christ on their behalf who elicit the irrepressible truth; for there is NONE on whose behalf He is not given, just as there is NONE for whom He pays, who is not repentant. Its precision is not occasion for lassitude; its amplitude is no ground for indifference. God has done all. He holds none in overbearing tyranny; but offers to all unwearing liberty. Those who SEE, these are to become blind; but those who do not see, these being awakened, will see eternity at rest.

With what simplicity Christ here as in John 15:21-23 keeps it personal, His own person being the criterion, His own love being operative, His own works being explicit; and with what pungency He seeks to awaken, if so be, the very dead from their slumbers.


One other notorious feature of Christ's judgment is this. Precisely as with all the prophets, their bases do noted, their citations do not escape and their words like a  perfectly directed arrow, find fulfilment, aimed and arriving at the centre of the target.

Christ is the culmination of the words of the prophets (cf. Hebrews 1:1-3), the peak of all performance; but more than this, His words are direct, "it has been said, but I say" as in the Sermon on the Mount.

There is nothing more now to be said to mankind, from where He came from; it is HE who is definitive of the message to man. He fulfils; He does not destroy what preceded (Matthew 5:17-10), but it is in HIM that the culmination comes. He is as devoid of servile appeal to tradition as of limitation of His own mission (cf. John 1:14, Colossians 2:8-9, John 1:18, 3:34). Rather in Him, we find truth defined, error delimited, reality revealed. Whether it be a healing, a helping, an assurance, prediction, small (Matthew 17:26-27) or great (Mark 2:1-10), national or international (Luke 19:42ff., 21:24), what He says, goes. There is no other authority of speech but Himself, the living word of the living God. His therefore is judgment as we have seen; and it is given to Him (John 5:19ff.).

His claims are countenanced because nothing counter is ever countenanced, in any domain or feature.

If it were or ever had been otherwise, if any ever His word had been falsified - for the Word of God is not He whose directions, corrections or inspections fail - then there would be no Messiah. It is this which is His (cf. Isaiah 11, 49:2, Psalm 2); and it is only because the heights of His being matched the depth of His dealing, with nothing left over, that He could say, "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves" (John 14:11).

So beautiful is His personality, His Spirit, however, that the works are almost like the thorns on a rose: inescapable but scarcely bloom of the plant! Nevertheless, it is just that they are testable, and many are those who draw blood by their slowness to learn, unwilling for truth, slashed though they may be.

It is when you see the works in the presence of the words, that the total ensemble has its majesty revealed. All other majesty fails but this. This has the perfume of eternity, and it works in time. However, there is little time left for the world now, before He comes (cf. Answers to Questions Ch. 5). Nevertheless there is still time for him who reads, her who ponders, short though it be. If you are standing in the way of an express train, yes, you could reflect if you had the figures, that in precisely two minutes it will hit. There is another way, of course. Man does not need to meet that express.

There is a far better expression than the express!