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Free Books » Bonar, Horatius » Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles

Chapter 73 - 2 Peter 1:16 - The Majesty of the Christ of God Light & Truth: The Lesser Epistles by Bonar, Horatius




The Majesty Of The Christ Of God.


"Eye-witnesses of His majesty."-2 Peter 1:16.



     'Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.'  We do not see the things that Peter saw in the way in which he saw them,-yet we see them. We do not hear what Peter heard in the way in which Peter heard,-yet we do hear. We see through Peter's eyes; we hear through Peter's ears; we touch with Peter's hands. And though this is not all that we shall one day realize, yet let us remember that 'blessed is he that hath not seen, and yet hath believed;' and that there is such a thing as 'seeing Him who is invisible,'-for a Christian is one who, according to Peter, 'sees afar off' (2 Peter 1:9). He sees what eye hath not seen.

     Peter was the eye witness of His majesty; and not on the transfiguration mount alone, but in many a place, for many a day. He could say with John, 'We beheld His glory.' He was one of those who 'were glad when they saw the Lord.' Let us then look through Peter's eyes, and see what is to be seen in Jesus, of majesty, or glorious excellency. It is the majesty of love and grace, as well as of grandeur and of power.

     I. The majesty of the Word made flesh.-It is the majesty both of the divine and the human, the united majesty of the two perfect natures,-perfect Godhead, perfect manhood; the majesty of the person of the God-man, in whom it pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell. Christ's person contains in it more of majesty than the whole universe together, visible or invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers. There is nothing like it for glory and for beauty, for perfection and for excellency, for dignity, and nobleness, and royal splendor. He is the chief among ten thousand. And it is this glorious beauty of which the Psalmist speaks when 'inditing the good matter,' and when he says, 'Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O most Mighty, with Thy glory and Thy majesty, and in Thy majesty ride prosperously.' It is His majesty that Daniel describes, when he saw Him 'girded with the fine gold of Uphaz; His body like the beryl, His face as lightning, His eyes as lamps of fire, and the voice of His words as the voice of a multitude' (Daniel 10:5 also Revelation 1:14, 15). It is the majesty both of glory and of love. Blessed are they whose eyes thus see the King in His beauty!

     II. The majesty of the Father's Servant.-He came 'not to be ministered unto, but to minister.' As 'the Servant' He went about on earth, doing the Father's will; serving the Father and serving us. 'I am among you as He that serveth.' In doing, in speaking, in suffering, He was the servant still; and in all His varied acts of service there was majesty as well as love. His was wondrous service,-the service of the holy to the unholy. Never before had the Father been so served; nor man so served.  What majesty in His daily walk; in His words of grace; in His miracles of love; in His washing His disciples' feet; in His intercourse with publicans and sinners! Never had there been service so humble, so lowly, so loving, so gentle; yet never any so full of majesty. He stooped, yet it was the stooping of majesty. He opened eyes, He cleansed lepers, He fed the hungry, He raised the dead, He forgave sin, He took the little ones in His arms, all in majesty,-majesty which, while it repelled none, yet allowed no freedom, no irreverence; altogether affable, yet full of divine dignity. It was the majesty of one who was far above men and angels, yet had come down and taken the lowest place, that He might serve all and bless all, and win all to Himself. Love shines throughout, the love of Him who came to seek and save the lost.

     III. The majesty of the crucified Christ.-On the cross His majesty shines forth in circumstances of weakness and shame. The cross seemed no place for majesty, yet it burst forth there; it was no throne of glory, yet glory was there; and the spectacle was one of the most glorious ever seen. Never before had sorrow been so clothed with majesty, nor death so compassed about with greatness. His seven cries upon the cross were the utterances of majesty. The nails, the spear, the thorns, the purple robe; the agony, the thirst, the blood,-all proclaimed His majesty. It was seeming weakness, but real strength; seeming shame, but real glory; seeming defeat, yet real victory. He hung there as the Sin-bearer; and in that sin-bearing, in that sacrifice, in that offering up of Himself to purge our sins, what majesty!  At His table we commemorate His great work of expiation; and in the very simplicity of the elements the majesty shines forth. The bread and wine are common things, small and contemptible to man; yet to the eye that sees through them and comprehends their mighty import, their wondrous sacramental symbolism, what majesty! Yet is it still the majesty of love,-the love of Him who gave His flesh for the life of the world.

     IV. The majesty of the risen Son of God.-By the resurrection He was declared to be the Son of God with power (Romans 1:4). He was crucified through weakness, but He 'lived,' or rose again, by the power of God. In the cross and tomb weakness was intermingled with strength; but in the resurrection it is all strength, all glory, all majesty, without any intermingling element of weakness, or shame, or meanness. In resurrection He was re-clothing Himself with the brightness and power which had been in abeyance during the days of His flesh. From that first day of the week when He rose from the dead, there was a continual ascent up to the glory which He had with the Father before the foundation of the world, and on to the triumphant splendor of His second coming. Now He is clothed with majesty, He is girded with strength, He has put on glory. Resurrection has been to Him transfiguration. His humiliation is at an end. His ineffable greatness, His divine grandeur, may no more be hidden. He comes forth from the grave like the new risen sun: night, and shade, and veil all left behind. He is risen! This is our message; and it proclaims not only majesty, but love,-the love of Him who died, and rose, and revived, that He might be Lord of the dead and of the living.

     V. The majesty of the ascended and interceding High Priest.-In love He descended, veiling His glory; in love He ascends, revealing that glory. The attitude of blessing in which He parted from His disciple was the attitude of majesty; His reception into the cloud, or 'shekinah-glory,' proclaimed the majesty. His entrance into heaven, leading captivity captive, exhibited it yet more. His intercession, which followed upon that ascension, is the present great exhibition of majesty. We see Jesus, the great High Priest, as the Advocate and Intercessor; and in His discharge of that office we have the revelation of His heavenly majesty. And it is still the majesty of love. It is an intercession as gracious as it is glorious and divine,-the intercession of Him of whom it is written, 'If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.'

     VI. The majesty of the coming King.-The full display of His majesty has not yet come. Now we see not yet all things put under Him. He wears the crown of heaven, but He has not yet put on the crown of earth. When He returns, then shall His full glory be revealed, and His royal majesty appear. We shall see Him face to face; we shall see Him as He is, and be like Him. Then we shall not know Him simply upon the report of another, but for ourselves. We shall not see Him with another's eyes, or hear with another's ears; we shall be 'eye-witnesses of His majesty.' When that which is perfect is come, that which is imperfect shall be done away; 'for now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face; now we know in part, but then shall we know even as also we are known.' Even now we know that we have not followed cunningly devised fables; but then sight shall be added to faith, and we shall see the King in His beauty, with no intervention of distance, or shadow, or symbol. That shall be the perfection of our joy.

     Meanwhile it is a true report which is brought to us concerning the Christ of God, the King of glory. It is a true report which we hear of His grace and truth, of the love which passeth knowledge, of the tenderness and pity of this glorious One. There is no love like His, so lowly, yet so lofty; so full of gentleness, yet so pervaded with majesty. In all this wondrous love He presents Himself to us, and bids us share its fullness. It is the fullness of joy; it is the fullness of rest and peace.