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The Things Concerning Himself Luke 24:27

The sacrificial work of Christ was and is central to the purposes of God in respect of the human family. This was the divine design for man's redemption even prior to his creation, as indicated by the word in Revelation 13:8, "the lamb that hath been slain from the foundation of the world". The primary declaration of this fundamental truth was made subsequent to Adam's transgression; at that time God said, regarding the seed of the woman, "It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel" (Gen. 3:15).

We are indebted to the New Testament Scriptures for a clear understanding of this statement, although its content had been extensively amplified in the writings of the Old Testament prophets. Isaiah, one of these prophets, wrote concerning the birth of Christ, "behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel" (Isa. 7:14). Although the word "virgin" appears as "maiden" in the text of some versions of the Scriptures, as also in the RVM, this does not nullify the treasured acceptance of the virgin birth of Christ. This delicate subject is alluded to and supported by Mary's question, "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?" (Luke 1:34).

The life of Christ was repeatedly the subject matter of Isaiah's prophecy. In ch. 42:14 he wrote of His servant character, focusing specifically on what He shall not do as opposed to the general criteria for assessing the worth

and qualities of a servant by what He can do. This seemingly negative approach brings into bold relief the incomparable perfections of Christ. These, however, are not confined to His servant character; the divine records show that every facet of His life came under intense and ceaseless scrutiny. Some of the apostles comment on this spotless life; the individual characteristic of each writer is evident, yet each is nevertheless led by the Holy Spirit in his writings. Peter, the constantly active member of the disciples, stated, "Christ ... who did no sin"; Paul, recognizably a man of outstanding learning and intellectual abilities wrote, "Him who knew no sin"; and John, who was concerned in his writings with love, and seemed keenly interested in emotions and inner feelings, "in Him was no sin". This threefold cord attests to the sinless perfections of Christ under human observation. His consuming interest during

the first thirty years of His life is summarized in the words, "I must be in the things of My Father" (Luke 2:49 RVM). At the termination of this

period of devotion, God who is "of purer eyes than to behold evil, and that canst not look on perverseness" (Hab. 1:13), declared, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mat. 3:17). This combined testimony of God and men underscores His singular excellence and righteousness, a completely sinless life was the essential forerunner to an efficacious and acceptable sacrifice.

In chapter 53, Isaiah enumerates events leading up to, and including, the death of Christ: His growing up acceptably before God, the contrasting blindness of Israel to His beauty, and consequently the despising and rejecting of their Messiah, are outlined. He touchingly details the sorrow, shame and suffering of the Saviour and our hearts are moved as we contemplate the agonies of crucifixion and view afresh that "deeper woe" which is referred to in the words, "Thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin". Sadly, yet gratefully we grasp the meaning of the New Testament words, "Christ also suffered for sins once... that He might bring us to God" (1 Pet. 3:18).

These prophetic revelations are not confined to the prophecy of Isaiah; this was confirmed when the risen Lord said to His disciples, "all things must needs be fulfilled, which are written in the law of Moses, and the

prophets, and the Psalms concerning Me" (Luke 24:44). The New Testament clarifies what previously may have been obscure, gradually unfolding the overall theme of the Old Testament writers - the unsearchable riches of Christ.

God's purposes do not terminate in redemption. The apostle Paul stated, "Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor. 15:3), but he also wrote in the letter to Titus, "who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a people for His own possession" (2:14).

This "people" are comprised of individuals who are not only redeemed, but are also subject to the "apostles' teaching" (Acts 2:42). On this basis they are gathered into one (i.e. one thing), which was the expressed desire in the Lord's prayer (John 17:11-23). The process by which this takes place is described in 1 Peter 2:14, which is set in stark contrast to those in v.8, who "stumble at the word, being disobedient". The chapter commences with the responsibility of individuals and leads to a unity described in v.9 under the four headings which introduce various aspects of collective responsibility. This "people for God's own possession" are termed a "royal priesthood" in v.9, and "a spiritual house, a holy priesthood" in v.5; in this latter role they enter into the holy place by the blood of Jesus (Heb. 10:19). A priesthood functions under the headship and leadership of a high priest whose term of service, during tabernacle and temple times, was governed by his life span. But of our Lord Jesus Christ, appointed by God and named "High Priest", "a great High Priest" and "great Priest over the house of God", it is said, "Thou art a Priest for ever". The service of the holy priesthood could not exist apart from our High Priest. Its principal function is the filling of His hands with spiritual sacrifices which, perfected through Him, are presented to His God and Father, for it is written, "it is necessary that this High Priest also have somewhat to offer" (see Heb. 8:1-5). The brief review of His incarnation, life of devotion, and work of redemption, promotes thoughts which will be constantly central to our worship, but as previously mentioned, the complete canon of Scripture concentrates on the full revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ; this is confirmed in the record in Luke 24, during that memorable journey to Emmaus when, "beginning from Moses and from all the prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures, the things concerning Himself". Not only is this vast mine of wealth of the Old Testament available to us, but additionally, the priceless gems of the New Testament from His birth to His death and resurrection, together with His present and eternal glories, provide the countless offerings, which in our worship presentation, are acceptable

to God through Jesus Christ. Such inexhaustible treasures negate the necessity of "offering oftentimes the same sacrifices", as applied under the law.

The Holy Spirit desires to take of the things which are Christ's and reveal them unto us. Exercised hearts yearn for that teaching, having learned the truth expressed in Genesis 2:10: what flows out is only what flows in initially. David impressively stated this when he said, "all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee" (1 Chron.29:14).

The more we discern and discover of the limitless revelation of the things concerning Himself the deeper may be our conviction of poverty and inadequacy in our presentations to God. Instructions were given in Leviticus chapter 2 regarding the meal offering. Only one handful of the flour brought was to be offered unto God, however, all the frankincense had to be offered. Correspondingly, what we offer as a holy priesthood may appear to be just a handful in comparison to the extensive revelation presented in the Scriptures, nevertheless, this is what God expects and accepts, but He receives with this that which is such a delight to Him - the full fragrance of Christ.

To all our prayers and praises Christ adds His sweet perfume.

We cannot give more!

We should not give less!