Christian Life and Jesus the Pattern of It

 •  6 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Christian life, is a common life of service in contact with human passions, faults, weaknesses,-in a word, in contact with flesh, but in order to act in the midst of it, to INTRODUCE GOD there.
And this is what Christ was. We must be really in communion with Him, by partaking thus of that nature which nothing can injure, and which shines with its own perfection in the midst of all, above everything we meet with.
Jesus was the most isolated of men, and at the same time the most accessible. The most isolated, because He was living in absolute communion with His Father, and there was neither echo nor sympathy with the perfect love which was found there; the most accessible, because He was that love for others. And in speaking of that ineffable work which opened a way to that love, through all men's sin, He says, " I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! " That baptism of bitterness and death, which, by making an end of sin—even in its last stronghold, and its last claims of ruin, by the righteousness of God against us—left that love free to act in its infinite purposes of grace. For love is infinitely inventive for the blessedness of that which is loved, and the love of God purposes that which goes infinitely beyond all our thoughts. It is the spring of the thoughts of God, who is infinite. And again, towards the end of His career, when the unbelief of His own led Him to say, " How long shall I be with you, and suffer you? " (for not even in His own was there faith,—the capacity necessary for using the resources of grace and power which were in Him, -for that is what He expects from us in this poor world) then, without a moment's interval, He adds, " Bring thy son hither." The consciousness of standing alone in His love, so that others did not even understand how they could and ought to avail themselves of it, does not for a moment hinder His energy and activity; the same phrase which contains the words, " How long? " adds this also, " Bring thy son hither."
And what was the life of that Jesus? " A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief! " A life of activity in obscurity, but which caused the love of God to penetrate into the most remote corners of society, even where there was the most need; in the midst of persons who were repelled by the pride of man, that it might maintain its ground, but which the love of God sought after. Because He had no need to make himself a character and to, keep it, He was always the same; and the more apparently He committed Himself, the more He displayed Himself in a perfection that never belied itself. The love of God had no need of protecting itself, as human society must, from that which might lay it too bare. He was always the same. The toiling life of Jesus was passed in seeking souls in all circumstances, and went through that which could put it to the test. But we see therein, on one hand, a divine reality which never failed, and from time to time—in face of self-righteousness, pride, and tyrannical boldness, and the contradiction of sinners, or in favor of some poor broken-down souls, or to justify the ways of God in their favor—a divine ground-work, the most exquisite and touching thoughts, a depth of truth which betrayed its perfection by its simplicity! All this manifesting a soul whose food was in the most intimate communion with infinite love and perfect holiness,-a soul which could say, " We speak that which we do know, and testify that we have seen; " which weighed evil by the perfection of good which was in Him; and found, in the awful discoveries of evil—if we can speak of discoveries, where everything was laid bare-which the holiness of his soul made, the opportunities of the manifestation of infinite love.
It was the love of a holy Being, rather, which made this discovery; a love which took the form of that grace which, by its own humiliation, placed, itself within the reach of all the wants of the heart, and at the same time, in presence of the pride of man, showed itself at the height of the dignity and majesty of God. How beautiful to see this divine Person, these divine qualities piercing through the humiliation, place Himself within the reach of those whom the world despised, and find—" being wearied with His journey," and becoming a debtor for a cup of cold water to a woman who hardly dared show herself with others—meat to eat, of which neither His disciples nor the world knew anything; and that in the deliverance of a poor heart, for which he had set free the spirit of life and joy, and had restored it,—or rather had given to a heart crushed under the weight of a bad conscience, and by the contempt of her fellow-creatures.
What a perspective of blessing for poor sinners this opened to His heart! For he did not despise such consolation in the midst of a world which rejected Him from its bosom. Love comforts itself thus. The heart that loves sinners needs such consolation in such a world. And where is it to be found? In obscurity; in the labors of a life which had to do with the ordinary need of souls, but which thus ripens in the truth; a life, which did not shelter itself from the misery of the world to walk " in a vain show," but introduced there the love of God! Precious grace! He was what others could write about. (Matt. 24:2424For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. (Matthew 24:24); Luke 24:4444And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (Luke 24:44); John 1:4545Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. (John 1:45); etc.)
How many hidden wants, even in the most degraded souls, would be confessed, and would manifest themselves, if such love and such goodness, which could win their, confidence, were presented to them! But that it may be so, we must be content to find ourselves in the midst of the degradation, sheltered from it ONLY by that which is inward. Now, such was the life of the Lord.
How many souls drown their thoughts in pleasure to stifle the moral sorrows which torment them! Divine love not only meets the wants, but brings them to express themselves. How delicious to see a soul open itself, and at the same time to see spiritual life entering it! One does not exactly seek for such degradation; but one finds the world, knowing that is the truth as to what is found there; and its outward forms do not redeem the soul. But this is a life of pain, patience, and blessedness, which has no equal. Christ could say, " That they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves." No doubt there is a difference of gifts; but even if God, in His grace, opens this way to us, how slow we are to walk in the steps of Him who shows us!
But take courage, His grace is there, on the road He has opened for us. We find it day by day as we go onward. And what grace it is, when all the principles which have been formed in the heart through faith, come to blow fully in heaven and show themselves in all the fullness of their results according to the heart of God. We must wait,—walking BY FAITH.