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We take it, then, that the Person spoken of as
the Word " in our text is the Mighty God, and yet the Man, Christ Jesus.
Our second point is- “ And the Word was made flesh.” On a former occasion I explained to you this word, “flesh,” as it is used in the Scriptures. This evening I shall do little more than refer to one or two passages to convey to your minds that which I trust is clear in my own. By the word “flesh is meant our human nature—the perfection of humanity. Whatever makes up the whole of human nature without sin, that Christ took. In the 2nd chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews you read these words—“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same." He laid hold, not of the nature of angels, but He laid hold, or took hold of, the seed of Abraham, our flesh, or our human nature. And when He did this, there was no confounding of persons, nor mixing of natures. You must bear in mind that the human nature did not become divine,nor did the divine nature become human, but both were preserved and remain distinct and separate in the Wonderful Person of the Son of the living God. Let us look into this still further. It is said that he became, or was made flesh. This word “made" is used frequently in the Scriptures. It is translated in the 3rd verse :- “ All things were made
In the 6th verse it is said :-“ There was a man.” And in my text it is said :—“The word was made, -or became—“flesh.” Now, when the Word took our nature He did not cease to be what He was before. Let me just show you the use of this word as it occurs in the Epistle to the Hebrews. I find there these words, in the 5th chapter, and the 5th and following verses. “So also Christ glorified not Himself to be made a high priest.” Now, when He became the high priest of His people, He did not cease to be Man, nor did He cease to be God. 66 And when He became the Author of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him,” “ And when He was made a Surety for His people,” He did not cease to be what He was before—the Mighty God, -though He became what He was not before-Perfect Man, Priest, and Surety. « The Word was made flesh.” The manhood was taken into Godhead. Mysterious and incomprehensible to us, but nevertheless true-"God manifest in the flesh.”. The foundation of our Christian religion rests upon the foot of Divinity-The Son of God.
“ As Man, He suffers, bleeds, and dies ;
As God in Man He satisfies," “God sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, and condemned sin in the flesh.” He condemned sin in the body which He had prepared for His own dear Son Jesus Christ. “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God : Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God : And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God,” but is Antichrist (1 John iv. 2,3). “The Word was made flesh.”.
The third point is—“The Word was made flesh, and dwelt umong us.” This word for dwelt means to tabernacle, and thera may be a reference
to the old tabernacle, or to the feast of Tabernacles, an account of which is given in the 23rd chapter of Leviticus, where you read of the different feasts of the Lord. There were three prominent feasts. There was the feast of the Passover. And at that feast our Lord was put to death. There was the feast of Pentecost. And at that feast the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles. And there was the feast of Tabernacles. Probably it was about this feast of Tabernacles that our Lord was born. And if so, there is an aptness in the allusion of the Apostle John when
• The Word was made flesh, and dwelt, or tabernacled among
There is great beauty in this allusion if our Lord was really born about the time of the feast of Tabernacles. But I do not intend to dwell particularly upon this ; for I look upon His dwelling among us as having another reference. In the 25th chapter of Exodus we find an account of the Tabernacle which was about to be built. That Tabernacle was to be erected according to the pattern which was shown to Moses in the Mount. They were to be very particular as to the Tabernacle itselfevery vessel, every curtain, every pin, and all that was in the Tabernacle must be made according to that pattern which had been shown to Moses in the Mount. There is another thing connected with that Tabernacle, and it is this,—We read in the 40th chapter of Exodus that “ The glory of the Lord filled the Tabernacle.” This was the Shechinah glory which filled the Tabernacle. Now, just carry these thoughts to the New Testament, and see how true this is of the Lord Jesus Christ. For when we turn to the Epistle to the Hebrews viii. 2, we find there these words :—That the Lord Jesus Christ is “the true Tabernacle, which the Lord pitched and not man.” And in the 9th chapter, He is spoken of in contrast with the first Tabernacle. See the 8th verse, and also the 11th verse :-“A greater and more perfect Tabernacle, not made with hands." This is Christ Jesus. Look at the contrast between the two Tabernacles. Christ is the great and the perfect Tabernacle, “the true Tabernacle, which the Lord pitched and not man." God pitched it according to His own plan and pattern which He had designed from eternity. This will throw some light upon what is said in the 10th chapter of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the 5th verse :-“A Body hast Thou prepared Me.” This is the Tabernacle in which God Himself was to dwell—a Tabernacle prepared, fitted, and suited for Himself. He pitched His own Tent and dwelt among us. And He filled this Tabernacle with His own glory. Now, we see in Jesus the Antitype of the type, the Substance of the shadow, the excellency of the Real Tabernacle -God dwelling in human nature. The glory of God filled The Man Christ Jesus. We beheld His glory.
Our fourth point is—“Full of grace and truth.” This is the Word, made flesh, that was “full of grace and truth.” If we look at the 17th verse, it is said :—“The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Well, when we read of the law, "given by Moses,” we are carried back to Mount Sinai, the republication of the moral law, the giving of the ceremonial law, and of the civil law. They were all "given by Moses." Which of us can go to heaven by the law of Moses?
Who can scale the firey Mount? Who can penetrate the thick darkness which hides the gracious countenance of Jehovah? By the law no flesh can be saved. This way to heaven has been closed for ever. True, the ceremonial law contained the gospel in shadow, but the conscience of the worshipper remained unpurged. The shadows now pass away, seeing the good things themselves have come. These good things have appeared in the Person of Christ Jesus. He is full of grace and truth. He has the Spirit of God dwelling in Him without measure.”
“ In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. ii. 9). “ In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” He is indeed full of grace and truth.
He is full of truth to meet all the claims of divine justice. “Christ is the true End of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth ” (Rom. x. 4).
“I am the Truth." He came into the world to bear witness unto the Truth. He is the True God, the True Saviour, the True Prophet, the True Priest, and the True King. He is the Truth of all the Types, the Truth of all the Prophecies, and the Truth of all the Promises. The True Eternal Life, which neither deceives nor can be deceived. In Him and by Him we have the True Gospel, and from Him the True Spirit to guide us into all Truth. But I wish to say a few words upon the fulness of Grace which we have in Christ Jesus. He is full of grace. God's great love and favour are displayed to us in Christ Jesus. We look for justification by His Grace—and for sanctification and salvation by His Grace. We look not to Sinai, nor to self, nor to fallen creatures, nor to an arm of flesh for salvation, but to Him Whose own arm brought salvation, and out of Whose fulness we have received grace for grace-abounding grace (16 v.). Jesus is the fountain of all grace to the sinner. There is fulness of grace in Jesus to blot out, to cover, and to take away for ever, the sins of the needy and helpless. “ Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom. v. 20). Brethren, beloved, “ Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich.” Rich in the riches of his grace! Rich in the riches of His righteousness! Rich in the riches of His glory! And this we have in Him Who is “the Word”
was made flesh, and dwelt among us,-full of grace and truth.” May the Lord bless us and keep us. May the Lord make His face to shine upon us, and be gracious unto us. May the Lord lift of His countenance upon us, and give us peace” (Num. vi. 24–26).
We shall now proceed to consider the Second part of our text :“And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father." Now, let us divide this part of our text again.
“ His glory.”
The becoming excellency of His glory. “ The glory as of the only begotten of the Father.” The apostolic experience of His glory. “ We beheld His glory." We shall speak to these. First,“ lis glory." My brethren, I do not wish to appear
any other glory than that which is His Glory. True, we have no right to this glory, but Jesus prays that His people may appear in His glory before His Father. In the 17th chapter of John, you read at the 24th verse, these words :—"Father, J.
will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with me where I am, that they may behold My glory." Notice these words, it is "My glory." I wish you to emphasize these words of Christ. Mine! says Christ. . Can you measure this glory, the glory of all the perfections of deity in the man Christ Jesus? Can you measure His glory? My glory! The glory of My person. The glory of My work in all My offices for the glorious salvation of My people. Let us just glance at a few things in connection with this glory. Look at the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ in His Condescension. What was there in us to bring down the Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven? Shall we say sin only? Now read the 2nd Chapter of the Epistle to the Philipians and you will find that “Jesus Christ was in the form of God,” and thought it not robbery to be equal with God ;” but “He made Himself of no reputation, He emptied Himself and took upon Him the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men ;" “and being found in the fashion of man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Here is the glory of Jesus in His great condescension, stooping from Heaven to earth and enduring the very sufferings of hell for the salvation of His people. Here then is the glory of Jesus in His condescension. Behold His glory. Again, in all the miracles which our Lord performed, His glory was manifested. You may take for example His turning the water into wine. In the 11th verse of the 2nd chapter of this Gospel you read that when he had wrought His first miracle—“This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His glory.” When he raised Lazarus from the dead His glory was manifested. It was for the manifestation of His glory, and for the glory of His Father that He said, Lazarus come forth, and the dead came forth.
for the glory of God, and that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” Look again at the doctrines which He propounded. The Gospel takes this very title :“The glorious Gospel of the blessed God.” The Gospel reveals the glory of Jesus, and we see the glory of the Gospel in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” And “we have this treasure in earthern vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” Is there not the glory of Jesus in the doctrines of the Gospel which we are privileged to behold? And, again, there is great glory connected with the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Consider for a moment the account of the sufferings of Christ. Ought not Christ to have suffered?” And then, what? “ To enter into his glory?" There is real glory accompanying the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ. We must bear in mind that these sufferings were not for Himself but for His people. Here is the glory of Christ in His sufferings. The Prophets of old knew something of the glory of Christ's sufferings when “ the spirit testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter i. 11). The Apostles had a glimpse of the glory of Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration. Let us read the account as given by one of those who saw it (see II Peter i. 16–18)," For we have
not followed cunningly-devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty. For He received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.' And this voice which came from Heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the Holy Mount.” Then they beheld His glory. And when it is said
we beheld His glory in the Mount,” they refer to the splendour and majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is also His great glory in connection with His church. Just look at the 5th chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians –"That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, nor wrinkle, nor any such thing."
You will perceive that this is all the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ which is put upon the Church. She has no glory of her own. She is, however, glorious in the glory of her Lord, beautiful in His beauty, comely in His comeliness. The glory of her Lord is risen upon
her. And then again, her glorious Lord is glorified in her by the Holy Ghost.
“He shall glorify Me; for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you" (John xvi. 14). Thus, His glory is beheld within and without by the sinner saved.
We shall now examine the second division of the second part of our text. The becoming excellency of the glory of Christ.
“ It is "the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.” The expression the
only begotten " is used five times by the Apostle. It is suitable language to describe an only child—an only son. The glory of Christ is the glory of an only son—and pre-eminently of the only begotten Son of the Father. If any one of you had an only son, you know that he is one with you in nature, in dignity, and by right he is the heir to all your estates, and to all that you possess. The honours and the glories of the father would be his.
In an indescribable manner, the glory of the only begotten of the father is a becoming and an excelling glory of an only son. The only Son of God. Angels are sons of God by creation and have a suitable glory (Job xxxviii
. 7). Magistrates may be spoken of as sons of God by office, and they have a becoming glory.
Believers are sons of God by adoption, and they have an excellent glory. But the Son of God has a becoming super-excelling glory. The glory of the only begotten of the Father as far excels the glory of all other sons as the Creator excels the creature, To give you some idea of this I shall invite your attention to the first chapter of Hebrews :—“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son,”—Jesus Christ. Here the Son is greater than all the Prophets before Him. Now, this is the only begotten “Whom the Father hath appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds ;
Who, being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." Here the Son is placed above Creation, and