The Man of Sorrows; the Man of Patience; the Man of Joy

Revelation 3:7-22
I DESIRE to bring before you some remarks connected with the peculiar character of this Scripture. This presents itself the more strikingly to my own mind, in reading the titles of our Lord in verse 7. In it is seen how marvelously the divine glory and the servant character of Christ is maintained throughout. Nowhere is it more strikingly brought out than in the power of the expression, " He that is holy," as belonging exclusively to one alone. The consciousness the Lord had in Himself of His divine glory in all His course down here-" The holy, harmless, and undefiled,"-enabled Him to take this title. Only as divine could He introduce Himself as the " Holy and the tree." He the center of all the glory of God. Not kept inside the heavenly glory; but planted at a distance, and outside of heaven as OUR Redeemer: made the sun and center of redemption glory, and whether in the Church, on the cross, or in the grave, divine glory shone through everything. In the grave He could not see corruption. He was always the One of whom it could be said that He was essentially the Holy One.
With reference to the next title—" He that is true," of Him only could that be said. This title brings out divine glory in a form that tested everything.
Then, in the third place, we find Him in the servant character-" He that hath the key of David." Not only having in His hand the key of David, and pledged to open the kingdom of David to Israel: not only a key to open all the glory of the world to come; but He has power to open and close all and everything. He opened John's sphere of service, and closed it when He permitted him to be sent to Patmos. He will open the kingdom to Israel; but this is more in application to Him in the servant character as the One who opens and closes everything according to His own purpose and will.
We see here how different is the estimate Christ's mind forms of things from that which ours forms. Looking at Philadelphia there is nothing very brilliant to the mind of man; but there was something peculiarly so to Christ's mind. He saw something very peculiar in connection with that state. You and I-if we had been there, should have bemoaned ourselves because of having but little strength and honor. But Christ's thoughts and God's thoughts are very unlike our thoughts: God sees not as man. "I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou halt a little strengths, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name." They had borne testimony to His name upon the earth. The works here are very different from those of the Ephesians (chapter 2:1-7). They had labor and patience and intelligence of evil; very different in contrast with these is the "little strength," and the " not denying " Christ's name.
I cannot help thinking that there was, to His mind when He said this, a recalling of what He went through Himself whilst He was down here. He had kept the word of God, and never denied His name,
At Philadelphia it was a time of straitness, and difficulties were there. Seine said they were Jews who were not so at all. But they were kept in quietness of soul. They had got a place for Christ, and did not deny His name. It was not a time for brilliant works. Many who would make a fair show in the flesh, would admire an apostle's work more than Christ's; because there was the display of power. (Christ suppressed the display of power.) Looking at v. 10, there is something very remarkable in that word" because thou past kept the word of my patience "-in connection with a time of difficulty and temptation. Christ may have locked the door (very possibly, on account of unfaithfulness), but if the door is shut, who has closed it? If only ajar, who closed it? Surely that One who has a right to challenge our hearts: that One who did all for God.
Ah, Christ is above all discipline, and His love nearer than all sorrow, when the heart is fresh, even if it lead to Patmos. Was Ile not near John in Patmos-and to Paul when bound as a prisoner on his way to Rome? Ah, yes; Christ was nearer to him than his chains: they only made him remark the more, Christ being there with that love. What were the soldiers and the chains when he heard Christ say " Be of good cheer, Paul "... for " I am with thee?" To God's eye the chains were no such wonderful things! For such a man as Paul, what were they? Paul had been the slave of Satan; bound in Satan's chains; he was the Lord's freeman now; and he must have a little log put to keep him steady. As if the Lord had said-' You have not known how to carry the cup with a steady hand, and I must come in, in discipline, and give a check to you, but that only shows out my love more brilliantly!'
Remark the difference between the babe and the young man in Christ. In the babe there is the flow of affection; in the young man the walk of self judgment and subjectiveness, which you will not find in the babe-the young believer. But it is that subjection that is needed; we must learn to obey! The flow of affection is sweet, but it does not come up to the steadiness of-" Lo! I come to do thy will." Whether a happy path or not, it was ever obedience walking only in the path traced out by God, without a waver or turn.
What are all the mistakes of the church-all put together, if they but give occasion for the bringing out the sweetness of Christ's love and the declaring of those names—" Holy and true?" "He that openeth, and no man shutteth; He that shutteth, and no man openeth "-giving them too in connection with the word of His patience-" Behold I come quickly."
Referring to v. 12; what a blessed thought it is, as one difficulty presses upon another-making us feed upon the word of God more diligently, that it may be treasured up in our hearts; what a thing it is, that God should make known to us of that city 1 Here, where everything is driving its sharp edge upon us, and if you have any good thing at all, it is by faith; that in the midst of all that tries our hearts, we can speak of this good Word of God and of Christ. I am in trying circumstances; but that is nothing. I am pressed down with trouble, but there is the City of God; and its name is—' He will provide peace! ' This is its blessed name, and marks the fact that there will be no warfare there. I shall have to recount all His love when I get there, but I have it as a place in His presence now; He tells me it is the place where His eye has been looking ever since the day of Abraham. Will there be anything to bear there? Any of the sorrow which comes when the door is almost shut by reason of failure.? No, none! How sweet that "new name " is to one's heart, in connection with Christ-" I will write upon him my new name." The name of that Christ who is now the Man of patience; once the Man of sorrows, and hereafter to be the Man of jog.
We get three very different displays of Christ. In Christ down here, a babe in a manger-despised, rejected, and acquainted with grief; you see the Man of sorrows. Yet, nowhere do I find such divine glory as at His cross. But when I think of what I have been taken out of by Him, through that cross, and where I have been brought by Him, the next thought comes-' Where is the Christ, whose death has done all this, now?' and the answer is, He is at the right hand of God; where -as the Man of patience, He has been quietly waiting for two thousand years, for the glory and the people-His glory and His people, as the meal of such service as His!'
If you and I have served, we are ready for our reward. But this Blessed One has been going on for nigh two thousand years of patience—not claiming it. But what has He been doing? Why, turning to us and saying 'I am occupied with you in the glory (not the glory I have won)-I have an entrance into all your sorrows Turn your eyes upward; open your hearts to Me; let Me see everything. As a shepherd, I am occupied with each sheep, binding up each wound; making right each rent in the fleece.' He is now the Man of Patience, but soon to be the Man of Joy" Anointed with the oil of joy and gladness above (His) fellows." Most blessed to think of seeing the One who was emphatically the Man of Sorrows, anointed with the oil of joy! But it is well often to think of Him as the Man of Sorrows in connection with what we are passing through down here. Heap up-fill up all your till they reach so high that you can heap up no more; then turn and see Him whose heart broke in woe! Oh, talk of your sorrows if you can in the presence of His Tack of all you have had of sorrow by the way, that has worn you down, and what will you say in the presence of One who says to you-" Was ever sorrow like unto my sorrow?" And He -the Man of Sorrows, is now at the right hand of God, sitting there as the Man of Patience for nigh two thousand years, and saying to each, 'You and I have to do together -one with the other. Rob me not of my service, of my glory. Let me be occupied with you; let me serve you this little while?' He will soon be the Man of Joy, as He was the Man of Sorrows and of Patience.
Is the thought of Christ's joy sweet to your hearts? The new name, that in which He will be anointed with the oil of joy? Do you love to think there will be no face so beautiful, no face so bright as Christ's? No heart so happy and so perfect in its joy, as the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ? All the glory then will be but the setting of that gem, and that new name of Christ will be upon you I Surely that ought to give you a little patience now, as you pass along the wilderness! Are your loins weary? Ave you tired by the roughness of the way? Is all around tending to distract you? Christ says, " Be of good cheer." What are all those troubles? What are all your sorrows in the presence of my cross? Nothing! Your patience. What is it compared with mine, waiting for the glory, and stooping down to interest myself with all that interests you? '
Only " a little while" and you will soon be with Me, and I will write on you My new name-My name of joy. Christ's heart is not fed with the externals of glory, but it is fed with the joy of serving God. When all the children God has given Him are brought home, and the new name written on them, that will be Christ's joy.
Do you want comfort? I am sure you do; you want something to give you a little bit of courage; something to set you on the other side of the street? (The world has one side, and we ought to have the other.) Well, nothing can do it as much as the thought of His coming. There will then be joy enough in the morning, though there be sorrow now in the night. There will be fullness of joy in that morning when we see Him as He is, in fullness of joy for evermore.
I cannot see Him as the Man of Joy without the servant character coming out. He is the Seed of the woman (as God, all glory is His), but there is something else which nothing can fill save having the answer to the perfect affections of a perfect human heart! " I will declare thy name unto my brethren." This divine glory and the perfect servant character, are maintained unto the end.