Volume 13, Number 6
by Harold S. Martin
One who sets himself to the task of unfolding the wonders of Jesus has undertaken an almost impossible job, because eternity itself can not suffice to completely unfold Him. John the Baptist pointed out Jesus as the Lamb of God, baptized Him with the approval of Heaven, and then said of Jesus, “He that cometh from above is above all” (John 3:31). Paul says to the Philippians, “Wherefore God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God” (Philippians 2:9-10). It is true that some say we should not worship Jesus, because He was not divine. But Jesus wants us to worship Him.
Men of God down through the ages, refused to accept worship from other human beings. When Cornelius fell on his knees before Peter and worshipped him, Peter said, “Stand up, for I also am a man” (Acts 10:25); when the Apostle John, overcome with emotion, fell down at the feet of the interpreting angel to worship him, the angel said, “See thou do it not, for I am your fellowservant … worship God” (Revelation 22:9); when the people of Lystra brought oxen and garlands and wanted to offer sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas, the apostles rushed out among the crowd crying, “Why are you doing this? We also are men of like passions with you” (Acts 14:15). We note that neither men nor angels accepted worship from others. But when Thomas fell down at the feet of the risen Christ and worshipped Him, and said “My Lord and my God,” Jesus accepted his worship. Jesus allowed Himself to be worshipped as God. And just so He wants to become the idol of your heart.
You can never make too much of Jesus. He’s the marvel of all marvels. The Bible says of Him, “He that cometh from above is above all.” Jesus is the central subject of the Bible. All its types point to Him. All its truths converge in Him. All its glories reflect Him. The central theme of the Bible is the superiority of Jesus Christ. Abel’s lamb was a type of Christ. The Passover lamb in Egypt was a picture of Christ. The brazen serpent in the wilderness was a shadow of Christ. Abraham saw His day and rejoiced. Jacob called Him “the Lawgiver of Judah.” Moses called Him “the Prophet that was to come.” Job called Him, “my living Redeemer.” Daniel called Him “the Ancient of Days.” Jeremiah called Him “the Lord our Righteousness.” Isaiah called Him “Wonderful, Counselor, the mighty God.” The prophet Haggai called Him “the Desire of all nations.” Anyone who reads the Old Testament and doesn’t see the many Scriptures that prophesy of Jesus to come must surely read it with an unspiritual and an indifferent heart. And as for the New Testament, Jesus Christ is everywhere on its pages. The very first verse of Matthew says, “the book of the generation of Jesus Christ,’; and the very last verse of the Revelation says, “the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.” The first Name in the first verse of the first book of the New Testament is Jesus, and the last Name in the last chapter of the last book of the Bible, is Jesus. No wonder Paul says in Philippians 1:20 “Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death.”
1. JESUS IS MAGNIFICENT AS TO HIS ETERNAL SOURCE.
Jesus did not begin to exist when He was born of Mary. John 17:5 says that Jesus “had glory with the Father before the world was.” Jesus had been present with God in the eternal ages before the world began. The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem did not mark the beginning of a new person, but rather it marked the incarnation of the eternal Son of God who had been present with the Father, and “became flesh and dwelt among us.” The life of Jesus on earth was merely an episode between two eternities, one reaching back before all creation, the other reaching forward forever. Jesus existed long before He was born of Mary, for the Bible says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God; the same was in the beginning with God” (John 1: 12). Back at the time when God said, “Let there be light,” Jesus was there. When God said, “Let us make man in our own image,” Jesus was there. And so we see that Jesus was the Son of God long before He became the son of Mary.
Jesus was not just another man. He lived way back in the beginning when everything was started. In fact, before the beginning began, Jesus was. And because Jesus has always been with God, He knows all about us. He knows how we are made. He knows the secrets of our hearts, He knows our needs, and what’s more, being God, He is able to supply them all. Surely Jesus is magnificent, He is above all, there is none like Him, as to His eternal source.
2. JESUS IS MAGNIFICENT AS TO HIS MIRACULOUS BIRTH.
The Bible declares that our Lord’s mother was a virgin, that His conception was miraculous, and that the agent of conception was the Holy Spirit. The Bible says, “But when the fulness of time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman . . .” (Gal. 4:4). The birth of Jesus was no ordinary birth. When the Jewish virgin Mary went down into that mysterious land of motherhood, she came back holding in her arms the only baby in all the world who had never had an earthly father. No birth like this had ever occurred before; no birth like this will ever occur again. Jesus (who made man) was born in the likeness of men., Jesus (who created angels) was made “a little lower than the angels.” Jesus (who was before Abraham) was born two thousand years after Abraham. Jesus (who was David’s Lord) became David’s son. Jesus (who was the great Creator) was now born of the creature, woman. By a creative act, God broke through the chain of normal human generation, and brought into the world a supernatural Being, our Lord Jesus Christ. Those who deny the virgin birth of Jesus, call it a scientific impossibility, and so it truly is, but if your God is not any bigger than a group of unbelieving scientists, you have a very small God indeed! If the birth of Jesus was not supernatural, then He cannot be our Saviour, for then He was born a sinner like all the rest of us, and then He needs salvation Himself. But God was not limited to the ordinary. God is not bound by the laws of nature which we have discovered. Take away the supernatural conception of Jesus by the Holy Spirit (and put Joseph there instead) and you will have taken away our only hope of a perfectly pure, sinless Saviour. We can’t understand it, but we can believe it. Jesus is magnificent, He is above all, as to His miraculous birth.
3. JESUS IS MAGNIFICENT AS TO HIS PERFECT LIFE.
Jesus was perfect God and yet at the same time He was perfect man. As man, He hungered; as God, He is the Bread of Life. As man, He said, “I thirst”; as God, He says, “Let him that is athirst come unto me and drink.” As man, He was weary; as God, He gives rest to all who come to Him. As man, He prayed; as God, He hears and answers our prayers. As man, He wept; as God, He wipes away our tears. As man, He was tempted; as God, He did not sin. Peter says, “Who
did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:22). The life of no other man has been so carefully and so critically examined as the life of Jesus, yet persons of all generations have confessed that Jesus was the only perfect Man who ever lived. Those who journeyed. with Him for three years were so thoroughly convinced of His deity that they were willing to seal their testimony with their own lives, for His sake. Not a single time did He ever utter a word that He had to take back. Not even His bitterest enemies, though they hounded His footsteps day and night to trap Him, none could ever find anything for which to accuse Him. His own challenge in John 8:46 was this: “Which of you convicteth Me of sin?” The thief on the cross was compelled to admit, “This man hath done nothing amiss” (Luke 23:41). Even Judas, the one who betrayed Him came with that bloodmoney and threw it at the feet of the Sanhedrin, saying, “I have betrayed innocent blood.” And Pilate, the one who sat in the judgment seat and passed sentence on Him, three times over declared, “I find no fault in Him.” Every man has some good points, but Jesus has them all! Jesus is magnificent, He is above all, as to His perfect life.
4. JESUS IS MAGNIFICENT AS TO HIS SUPERNATURAL POWER.
Jesus had such mighty power in the tip of His finger, that when Peter drew the sword and slashed off the ear of the high priest’s servant, Jesus immediately touched the ear, and it was healed. And no marvel, for actually He created the ear in the first place. John says in chapter 1, verse 3, “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” Who conceived the grace of the young deer? Who conceived of the majesty of the mountains? Who put the song in the throat of the mockingbird? One Name answers all these questions, the precious name of Jesus.
When He stood before the disciples on the Mount of Olives (just before He ascended into Heaven), He said, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). Jesus walked on the waves, stilled the storms, healed the lepers, raised the dead, and opened the eyes of the blind. Jesus never met a blind man without giving him sight. Jesus never met a dumb man without making him speak. He never met a leper without cleansing him. He never met a cripple without making him walk. Jesus never approached a funeral procession without breaking it up. And-do you know that no one ever died in the presence of Jesus? Even Martha told Jesus, after her brother Lazarus had died, “Lord, if Thou hadst been here, my brother (would) not have died” (John 11:21).
Jesus meets every need. He satisfies every desire. lie hushes every fear. He calms every trouble. He is the Rose of Sharon, the Lily of the Valley, the Balm of Gilead, the Fairest of ten thousand to the soul. He is the Word of God, the Son of God, the Heir of God, the Chosen of God, the Lamb of God, the Wisdom of God, the Power of God, the Gift of God, the Bread of God, the Image of God, the Mighty God. He created the worlds. He changes the destiny of nations. He has power over death and disease. The Bible says that even the wind and the sea obey Him! Jesus is magnificent, He is above all, as to His supernatural power.
5. JESUS IS MAGNIFICENT AS TO HIS AUTHORITATIVE TEACHING.
Matthew says at the close of the Sermon on the Mount, “And it came to pass when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at His doctrine for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (Matt. 7:28-29). The scribes were the learned men and teachers of the Jewish nation. They were largely Pharisees who taught chiefly the sentiments of the Rabbis, and the traditions which had been handed down from the fathers. They spent much of their time in vain disputes, and in quoting authorities. But Jesus of Nazareth spoke so differently. There was an air of complete and final authority about all that He said. He never said, “I suppose this is the way it should be,” or “It is probably this way,” or “Consult the experts on the subject.” Jesus Christ is the authority on every subject! Jesus over and over again, said, “But I say unto you,” not, “So-and-so said.”
Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount by saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” and then, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” There is no doubt about it. There is no question about it. It is not mere supposition. “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus can claim this unique authority because He is the Son of God. His wisdom is from above. Jesus was not the product of the educational centers of His time. He never spent long weary hours at the feet of some learned master. He had never been granted a “preaching license” by the Sanhedrin. No one needed to lug an unabridged dictionary after him to find out what He meant. And yet His teachings have never been fully penetrated, simply because His wisdom was from above. Jesus is magnificent, He is above all, as to His authoritative teaching.
6. JESUS IS MAGNIFICENT AS TO HIS SACRIFICIAL SUFFERING.
Great men of this world may be valued for their lives, but Jesus is known above all for His death. The blood atonement of Jesus is the scarlet cord running through every page in the entire Bible. Cut the Bible anywhere and it bleeds. It is red with redemption truth. His death was prophesied in the Garden of Eden. His death was pictured in the sacrifices of Israel. ‘Jesus spoke of His death when He said, “For this cause came I into the world.”
There are 255 verses in the New Testament that refer directly to the death of Christ. One-fifth of the Gospel according to Matthew, and almost one-half of John’s Gospel is a record of the last week leading up to the Cross. Contrast this with the records of the lives of great men. One edition of The Encyclopedia Britannica contains a 16,000 word article on Napoleon Bonaparte–and the only thing that is said about the death of this most powerful personality that appeared since the Reformation, is this: “Napoleon died on the morning of May 5 in his fifty-second year. His body was dressed in his favorite uniform.” And that’s it; only nineteen words; that’s all it says. The death of Napoleon (you see) was not especially important. But the death of Jesus Christ is of supreme value. On that afternoon when the sky was darkened, and the sun hid its face, and the veil of the temple was rent in twain, and the Son of God cried out, “It is finished” -on that great day, the price of our redemption was paid. And now, because of His magnificent suffering, Jesus can reach down into the pit of corruption and lift the sinner up from the miry clay, and wash him white in the fountain filled with blood, drawn from Emmanuel’s veins.
That was no ordinary death that Jesus died. That was God Almighty taking upon Himself the sin of a fallen race! “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. . the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6). Jesus bore my sins in His own body on the tree. Jesus stood where I should have stood. The pains of Hell that were my portion, were heaped upon Him! Thank God that we can sing.
“The dying thief rejoiced to see
That fountain in his day,
And there may I, though vile as he,
Wash all my sins away.”
Surely, Jesus is magnificent, He is above all, there is none like Him, as to His sacrificial suffering.
7. JESUS IS MAGNIFICENT AS TO HIS PROMISED RETURN.
As surely as Jesus came the first time, so certain is it that He will come again. One of these days Jesus will come in all His glory, and all His holy angels with Him. In the 260 chapters of the New Testament, the second coming of Jesus is mentioned 318 times. If the Bible is true, this wonderful Jesus is going to come again! “Be ye therefore ready also, for the Son of Man cometh at an hour when ye think not” (Luke 12:40).
First Jesus will descend from Heaven, and from the air above, He will call out His saints and take them with Him to the Father’s house in Heaven. And then, sometime later, at the close of the Great Tribulation, Jesus will come riding upon a white horse, crowned with many crowns. He will bring an end to the battle of Armageddon. He will destroy the reign of the Antichrist. He will cast the devil into the bottomless pit. And He will set up His own kingdom upon the earth and bring peace and order to this tortured old planet. When we think of His promised return, our hearts should fill up with the glorious old song:
“All hail the power of Jesus’ name! Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.
Let every kindred, every tribe, on this terrestrial ball,
To Him all majesty ascribe, and crown Him Lord of all.”
When Jesus comes again in power and great glory, He will be the Judge from Heaven who will “bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil” (Ecclesiastes 12:14). The books will be opened; the secrets of ail hearts will be brought to light. No wonder the second coming of Jesus is made the basis of every appeal to high and holy living in the New Testament. In Hebrews 10:25, when we urged “not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together,” it’s because we “see the day” of the Lord approaching. In 1 Corinthians 11:26, when we are told to partake of the Communion bread, it’s because “ye do show the Lord’s death until He come.” In 2 Timothy 4:2, when the young minister is urged to “preach the word,” it’s because Christ shall judge the quick and the dead “at His appearing and His kingdom.” In Titus 2:12, when we are urged to live clean and pure lives, it’s because we are “looking for that blessed hope, the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” The Second Coming of Jesus is made the basis of appeal for every New Testament plea to high and holy living.
Jesus is the Light of the World, the Bread of Life, the True Vine, the Good Shepherd, the Door to Heaven; He is the Faithful Witness, the First Begotten of the dead, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the Ending, the Lord who is, who was, and who is to come-the Almighty. This Jesus whom we love and serve is peerless, matchless, incomparable, magnificent! He has no equal! He’s above all! There is no other that can be compared with Him!
The question we must honestly face right now, is the one concerning His supremacy in our lives. Where have you placed this magnificent Jesus whom God hath highly exalted? Are you giving Him the highest place? Or are you putting your family, your business, your pleasure ahead of Him? Where do you place Jesus in your love? Jesus is supreme in every other realm, how can we forbid Him complete reign over the little empire of our hearts?
And if you have never accepted Him; if you-have been saying, “I want to run my own life; I want to paddle my own canoe; I want to be king of my own castle,” remember this: There is a day coming when every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God. And the Bible says (Philippians 2:9-11) that this will include all beings in heaven, in earth, and in hell beneath.
During the trial of Jesus, Pilate raised the question, “What shall I do then with Jesus who is called Christ?” That is the question you are being asked today. What will you do with Jesus? Your answer will determine your eternal destiny. You are either going to be forever with Him, or forever without Him. Today the question is, “What will you do with Jesus?” If you reject Him all your life and die without Him, the question someday will be (not “What shall I do with Jesus?”), but “What will He do with me?” Believe the Gospel, repent, and be baptized today.