Four Great Sights: Part 1

 •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 7
I offer you a chain of four golden links, four passages from the Scriptures for your consideration that show our Lord to us in four different positions. First, coming into the world; second, going out of the world; third, exalted to the highest place in heaven; and fourth, coming again. In a manger, on a cross, upon a throne, coming again in clouds of glory. How different the circumstances, yet the same Person, admirable and perfect wherever He is seen.
1. His Advent
Consider the first. The great hour had arrived, and He who had been promised had come. It was by God's own word that His coming had been foretold many centuries before, and faithful men had waited; their eager eyes had longed for the sight of Him, but He had not appeared in their day; they had died in faith, but had passed on the great hope to their successors, who had treasured it and passed it on to others in an unbroken line of faith. But now the due time had come, and the virgin daughter of David's royal house had brought forth her firstborn, according to the Scriptures, and laid Him in a manger. The great Deliverer had appeared, but not as some had supposed He would come, with mighty hosts attending and with great power and glory to insist upon His rights and to exercise an undisputed sway over all nations on earth, but in weakness, lowliness, and unparalleled poverty.
Only the anointed eye could discern who He was-the eye of faith-for though the angels voiced the gladness of heaven and proclaimed the greatness of that Babe, His lowly birth and great humility made no appeal to men, except to such as Simeon, who had the eye of faith. He was an old man, unknown and perhaps poor in the world, but rich in heaven's reckoning, and highly favored of God. He entered the temple and took the Babe, now eight days old, in his arms, and blessed God and said, "Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word: for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation." Luke 2:29, 3029Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: 30For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, (Luke 2:29‑30). What an affecting scene was that! The aged saint who had waited until his natural eyes had grown dim for a sight of God's Salvation, looks upon Him at last and knows Him; his arms embrace Him, and he loves Him and presses Him to his heart, and is satisfied and at peace.
Yet things were not as a godly Israelite would have had them in the land. The nation was under the heel of a Gentile power; the proud leaders of it were as dead as corpses toward God; and darkness, demon-possession and disease held the people in bitter bondage. There was a great parade of external religion, but underneath the surface, moral putrefaction and death and everything that was hateful to God. Yet Simeon was at rest about it all; for though he saw not yet everything put right, he saw Jesus, and that was enough; the One who would put things right had come.
It is clear that only faith could have given him such rest; unbelief might have argued that some adverse force would appear that would shatter his hopes, or that the One upon whom his eyes rested with adoration and joy was but a helpless babe, dependent upon His mother, and she one of the poorest in the land, the wife of a village carpenter; but faith saw Him to be Emmanuel, God with us, and was satisfied.
Yet here, indeed, is a marvelous thing; the Babe that lay in the arms of Simeon was He who had created the hosts of heaven, and without Him nothing was made that was made. He had come forth from the Father, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, and had come into the world, a human babe. This is the mystery of the incarnation. Who would dare to explain it? No creature mind can grasp the immensity of it, yet we can believe and rejoice and give thanks that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world, a Light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of His people Israel. Yes, He sent Him from heaven, and He came bringing light and life and love from thence to men in their misery and sin.
That old man with his keen eye and his steadfast trust is a pattern for us, and we might well covet the rest of heart that he knew. Things are not as we would have them in the world; confusion and chaos abound; things are even worse in the Church. But has our faith laid hold of the great fact that the Son of God has come, and that upon Him help has been laid, and that He can and will undo the works of the devil and bring heaven and earth into reconciliation to God? In the knowledge of this, there is a peace and rest of heart.
2. His Exit
Simeon seemed to have realized that the road upon which Christ's holy feet would tread for the accomplishment of God's will would be a rough one, and that men would be tested and exposed by His coming; and it was even so, as we well know who have read and believed the divine record. We part company with Simeon beholding with adoration the lowly Babe, and we take our stand with John as, astonished and bewildered, he gazes upon a cross. Thirty-three eventful years had passed between the two, in the last three of which "Jesus of Nazareth... went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him." Acts 10:3838How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. (Acts 10:38). Yet, in spite of His life of ministry and love, He was hated and despised by men; His way was no royal progress to the throne; instead
"His path, uncheered by earthly smiles, Led only to the cross."
And John saw it and bear record that ye might believe. And herein is a strange thing, for what was it that John saw? He saw his Lord and Master, the One whom he trusted would have redeemed Israel, hanging upon a felon's cross, with thorn crowned head bowed in death, and blood and water flowing from His spear-ripped side. That was a sight that shattered the faith of many and destroyed their hopes, yet John tells us that he bears record of it, that we might believe. What was there in that sight to command our faith? It looked as though the cause of the Lord was lost. His foes exulted in what they considered was His extinction. His disciples, with the women who had followed Him, thought that He had been utterly defeated, and they mourned and wept in hopeless sorrow. But the conclusions of foes and friends were hasty and wrong; it was not defeat, but victory, as John had surely learned when he bore record of it that we might believe. But what are we to believe? We are to believe that God's love is greater than man's hatred, and that there and then when man's hatred of God broke all bounds and rose up to murder His Son and drive Him from the world that they claimed as their own, His love triumphed, and,
"The very spear that pierced His side, Drew forth the blood to save."
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." 1 John 4:1010Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10). Seeing with the eye of faith what John saw, we exclaim with rapture, "We have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love." We see not only God's salvation in His beloved Son whom He sent into the world, but we see in that cross the great atoning sacrifice, apart from which He could not have been the Savior; we see Satan defeated, sin expiated, and God glorified; and seeing it, we believe and admire and adore.