« VorigeDoorgaan »
THE RESURRECTION OF THE SON OF GOD CELEBRATED BY HIMSELF.
MATTHEW Xxviii. 9.
And as they went to tell his disciples, behold Jesus met them, saying, All Hail.
NEVER man spake like this man," is the apolorv which some officers made for not apprehending oui Lord Jesus Christ, and bringing him before the Pharisees.-The account which he himself gives of his speaking is mysterious and sublime. "I have not spoken of myself; but the Father who sent me, he gave me a command"ment what I should say, and what I should speak. And "I know that his commandment is life everlasting; what"soever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto "mc, so I speak."
Before he died, and after he rose from the dead, our Lord spake many good words. All his words are good, and, to men of a spiritual taste "sweeter than honey and "the honey-comb." But among the multitude which his Spirit hath recorded, there are two very notable, the last before he laid down his life, and the first after he took it up again. Before our Saviour laid his life down, the last, or one among the last words which he spake, is "Finished." The meaning of this comprehensive and triumphant word is illustrated in the preceding discourse. The prophecies of his humiliation were accomplished; the prefigurations and shadows of his death were substantiated; the action with the powers of darkness was over; the righteousness of the law was fulfilled; the payment of the price. of redemption was completed; and the work which the Father gave him to do was finished in the highest degree of perfection.
After he took his lite up again, the first, or one among the first words which he spakt, is "All Hail.” WV Ben the scripture was turned into cur language, this parase expressed the mecuing of the original. The word which cur Lord used may be translated and parapurased in this manner: 'Be glad and rejoice in the Lord, ye daughters of Galilce. Through the blood of ne everlasting covemart, the God of peace bath brought me again from the deed, Yonder is Calvary, where ye beheld me crucified and in this garden is the grave where ye saw me buried; but now I am risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them who sleep.'
In order to ilustrate more clearly and extensively the meaning of this con.prehensive and cheerful word, we shali speak concerning the Lord Jesus Christ, who uttered it; the Persons to whom be addressed it; the Place where, and the Day on which it proceeded from his lips; and the Sources and Springs of joy and peace in believing which it opens to his people.-By the illustration of these particulais, may the Holy Spirit increase our knowledge, and confirm our experience of the power of his resurrection.
In the FIRST place, we shall speak concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, who uttered this gracious and cheerful word, "All Hail" To speak of him in the ear of the world is never unseasonable, nor is any thing in relation to him improper to be spoken. There is, notwithstanding, a propriety in ordering our speech, and selecting those conside, ations of him which adapt themselves to any given theme of discourse. Omitting, therefore, many things which might be spoken concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, we shall on this occasion only exhibit a description which he gave of himself to John, in Patmos, some years after his ascension. "Fear not, I am the First and the “Last; I am be that liveth and was dead, and behold I am "alive for evermore, Amen, and have the keys of hell and
of death." You will perceive a suitableness in this description to the circumstances in which he uttered the word, "All Hail;" and a propriety in illustrating the several particulars of it in a discourse concerning this word.
First, Our Lord Jesus Christ is the First and the Last. These sublime titles the King of Israel and the Lord of
Hosts claimed, as appears in several parts of the prophecy of Isaiah; and by these he distinguished himself from, and exalted himself above, every other king and lord.All the fulness of the Godhead dwelling bodily in our Lord Jesus Christ, he thinks it not robbery to claim titles of the only living and true God, and particularly to call himself the First and the Last, which are assertions of his eternity and immutability, nearly corresponding in meaning to these words, "without variableness or shadow of turning," and "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for "ever." Eternity and immutability are both attributes of his person and characters of his office. In his person he is the First and the Last, or the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. And as he is eternally and immutably the same in his person, he is eternally and immutably the same in his office. None was in it before him, and therefore in his office he is the First; and none will be in it after him, and therefore in his office he is the Last. "Who hath wrought and done, "calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord "the First, and with the Last, I am he." "Thus "saith the Lord, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, "the Lord of Hosts, I am the First and I am the Last, "and beside me there is no God." "I, even I, am the "Lord, and beside me there is no Saviour." "Hearken "unto me, O Jacob, and Israel my called, I am He, I am "the First, I also am the Last." In this sovereign and divine manner, the God and Saviour of Israel maintained, before his people and in the face of the world, his claim to these glorious titles, the First and the Last. And in a manner equally sovereign and divine, the Lord Jesus Christ, in our nature, maintains, before the churches and in the face of the world, his claim to the same splendid titles. "I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the "Ending; saith the Lord, who is, and who was, and who is "to come, the Almighty." "I am Alpha and Omega, the "First and the Last." "And he said unto me, it is done: "I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End." "I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the "First and the Last."
Secondly, Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Living One. "I am," saith he to John, "he who liveth." As the Son Christ hath life in himself." The Life, and that Eternal Life, who was with the Father, appear among the titles
by which he is distinguished in Scripture. "The Life was "manifested, and we have seen and bear witness, and shew "unto you that Eternal Life, which was with the Father, and "was manifested unto us." None, excepting the person unto whom these titles essentially belong, could say, "I am he "that liveth," or, "I am the Living One." Before he was made of a woman and born into the world, our Lord Jesus Christ was the Living One. When he died on the cross, and lay in the grave, he was the Living One. And now, after he is risen, and is on the right hand of God, he is the Living One. Like his titles, "First and Last," Living One is both an attribute of his person and a character of his office. In his person, he is "the true God and "eternal life;" and in his office, he is "the way, the truth "and the life." "Our life is hid with Christ in God," and the power of disponing it is in his hand. "Father, the "hour is come, glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glo"rify thee. As thou hast given him power over all flesh, "that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast "given him." Adore, O hearer, the wisdom and love of the Father, in disponing eternal life to the Son, who is the true God and Eternal Life, with the power of dispon ing it to us! Celebrate the faithfulness and mercy of the Son, in disponing it accordingly in a testament confirmed by his death! And acknowledge the grace and power of the Holy Ghost, in appending his attestation and seal to both dispositions, and confirming these gracious words, which are the summary of both, "I appoint unto you a kingdom, "as my Father hath appointed unto me."
Thirdly, Christ Jesus our Lord, according to the description, "was dead." In the description of himself which we are illustrating, his death is a mysterious particular. That he who is the Living One should die, and be numbered among the dead, is a great mystery. The mystery, however, is acknowledged by himself. "I am the Living "One who was dead." Paul, knowing the importance of the mystery of his death, made the revelation of it the first object of his ministry at Corinth, as it had been first revealed to himself. "I delivered unto you first of all that "which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins, "according to the scriptures." You do not deny the fact, but do you acknowledge the mystery of the death of Christ. It is not the death of a man, but the death of him
who is God-man, and Mediator between God and man. Neither is the death of Christ the suffering of a martyr, but the offering of a sacrifice. He died on the cross, died for us, for obtaining the redemption of our transgressions, and for making reconciliation for our iniquities. Art thou convinced, O hearer, of the necessity of this expedient of reconciliation? Upon the intervention of this mysterious expedient, a rock of salvation and a building of mercy ap pear, to which the guilty ought to betake themselves, and in which they will find God reconciling the world to himself by the death of his Son. But if it be refused, and set at nought, look where they will, they must find themselves surrounded with black, unfathomable despair.
Fourthly, Our Lord Jesus Christ is alive again, and alive for evermore. This part of the description of himself he introduces with the term, 'Behold,' and concludes with the word 'Amen.' "Behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen.” From the attention claimed by the first word, and the belief demanded by the last, we are taught to infer the importance and sublimity of the sentence, the elevation and majesty with which the glorious Speaker pronounced it, and the strength and sweetness of the consolation which he poured with it into the fainting believer by whom it was heard. Nothing is of greater importance to our faith in the death of the Son of God in our nature, than an assurance that he is alive again in our nature. Unless his resurrection had followed, faith in his death would have been vain and unprofitable. "If Christ be not risen, then is our "preaching vain, and your faith also is vain." But he is risen and dieth no more. "Knowing," saith a witness taught by the revelation of the Spirit, "that Christ, being raised "from the dead, dieth no more, death hath no more domin"ion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once; "but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God." "God, willing "more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the im"mutability of his counsel, confirmed it with an oath;" and Christ, willing more abundantly to strengthen among believers in his death the assurances and consolations of his resurrection, after he had shewed himself alive by many infallible proofs, descended in a manifestation of his glory, caused his gracious voice to be heard in Patmos, and said to the disciple whom he distinguished with his love, "Be“hold, I am alive for evermore, Amen." This condescen