It is asserted by some who hate the truth that Jesus is the Son in the Godhead, that the Gospel of John alone declares it. This is false; the fact is stated very definitely in the other Gospels, but what is even more arresting and equally convincing is that it is woven into the very texture of them all. Just as the gold was woven with the blue and purple and scarlet and fine twined linen into the ephod of the High Priest (Ex. 28), and could not be separated from it without destroying the whole fabric, so the Gospels must be reduced to torn and meaningless shreds if there is taken out of them the words and works in which the Deity of Jesus shows itself. To take this away is to tear the sun from the heavens, and to take away His true humanity is to rob us of the atmosphere by which the light of the sun reaches us.
The Gospel of Matthew opens with—"Jesus Christ the Son of David, the Son of Abraham," but before we reach the end of the chapter we read, "His Name shall be called EMMANUEL, which being interpreted is, GOD WITH US" (v. 32).
"Thou shalt call His Name JESUS," said the angel of the Lord to Joseph when explaining to him that the child that Mary would bring forth was conceived of the Holy Ghost. And this name is of infinite preciousness to us because it is His personal, human name; the name which tells us of His grace and tenderness, His lowly life, His sorrow, and His death; but this name also carries with it divine glory, for it signifies JEHOVAH THE SAVIOUR. Yes, the very name of His humiliation, that which was written in derision on His cross, declares to us the greatness of His person and the love of His heart; He is Jehovah the Saviour.
This name of eternal sweetness to all who believe was given to Him because He would "save His people from their sins." They were "His people." The great I AM THAT I AM who spoke to Moses out of the burning bush and sent him to deliver Israel, His people, from Egyptian slavery, had appeared Himself to deliver them from a greater bondage. He had come to lead them into a more glorious liberty with an outstretched arm of power; but He had come in this lowly form so that they might not be afraid of Him; He had come to be the Lamb of God; the Son of Man lifted up; to suffer for their sins; and finally to take from their hearts that strange perversity that made them hug their chains and prefer their misery and bondage to God's mercy and care. He must be wilfully blind who does not see that He must be Divine and yet a man, a man who must Himself be sinless if He was to save others from their sins, a Divine Person having life in Himself if He was to impart life to others and bring them out of the bondage of death.
The wise men came saying, "Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him." Did ever a star in the heavens flame forth at the birth of a child either before or since? These princes brought their gifts, gifts such as nobles from afar would bring to a king, but "when they saw the young child with Mary His mother," they recognised first His divine glory and they "fell down and worshipped Him." Then they acknowledged His kingship and brought out their gifts gold and frankincense and myrrh. They worshipped God and gave gifts to the King. How great is this mystery of love! The One "WHOSE GOINGS FORTH HAVE BEEN FROM OF OLD, FROM EVERLASTING," who was "TO BE RULER IN ISRAEL," had come forth out of Bethlehem Ephratah (Mic. 5:2), but in such meek and lowly form that the world passed heedlessly by, yet to the anointed eye His glory shone; the glory of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
In the Holy Ghost inspired record "the young child" always has the precedence of His mother. Five times in chapter 2 we read: "the young child and His mother," in striking contrast to that blasphemous system, Rome, which paints her pictures of "Madonna and Child." But had He not been greater than the mother that bare Him, the Spirit of God would not have thus given Him the precedence, for He it was who founded the law which said, "Honour thy father and mother"; and it may be here remarked, though this belongs to Luke's gospel and not Matthew's, that when the aged Simeon came into the temple and took "the child Jesus" in his arms, recognizing in Him "God's salvation," he blessed Joseph and His mother, not the child Jesus (Luke 2:34). Had Jesus been as those other children gathered in the temple that day, what more natural than that Simeon should have blessed Him? But this could not be, for the lesser cannot thus bless the greater.
It will be noticed that whenever the angel of the Lord addresses Joseph, who, being the husband of Mary, was the young child's legal guardian, he never makes the mistake of calling Jesus "thy son." The people make this mistake, and their mistake is recorded for us in Luke 4, but the Scriptures guard this matter with the utmost care, and in this connection the prophetic word is quoted regarding the sojourn in Egypt, "Out of Egypt have I called MY SON." Turning aside to Luke's Gospel again, it is important to notice that when Mary, only dimly recognizing who He was, or forgetting it for the moment, seemed to question His loyalty and obedience to Joseph and to her, saying, "Thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing," He replied at once, "Wist ye not that I must be about MY FATHER'S business" (Luke 2:49).
It has been said by some who will seek out any subterfuge to break down the truth that Jesus is not of the first man, who came out of the dust, and sinned, and goes back to the dust again from which he came, but is the Second Man, the Lord out of heaven, that He did not realize His Sonship to the Father until His baptism. This passage exposes that falsehood, and shows us clearly that as He emerged into a responsible age the Lord knew who He was, from whom He came, and what His business was. The fact that He was the Son of the Father was publicly declared from heaven by the Father's voice at His baptism (chap. 3:17), where for the first time the truth of the Trinity appears.
The prophets of old had come before the people with "Thus saith the Lord" on their lips, for in times past and in diverse manners God spoke to the fathers thus; but in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus stood forth and said, "I SAY UNTO YOU," and those who heard Him were astonished at His doctrine, for He taught them AS HAVING AUTHORITY (chap. 7:28). This authority was the authority of the Lord, for this He declares Himself to be, having power to exclude from the kingdom of heaven all those who do not do the will of His Father which is in heaven. See how intimately He connects the kingdom of heaven with Himself. Some whose lips had owned Him, but whose hearts had not yielded to His Father's will, will desire to enter that kingdom; He will say to them, "Depart from ME"; and He will say this, as being able to look behind the profession and all that is external, and read the heart, which none but God can do (chap. 7:21).
Later on in the Gospel He stretches out His hands to mankind and cries, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest" (11:28). He knew the miseries, the burdens, the toilings, and the sins of the world, every groan and sigh and tear He noticed, and knowing all, He proposed to relieve all. What man, however mighty in influence, great in intellect, or broad in his sympathies, would dare to make such an appeal as that to men? But Jesus made it, and still makes it; and a countless host of ransomed saints will bear eternal witness to the fact that His deed is as good as His word. The Speaker is the Son, eternal, infinite, omnipotent; the mighty Creator who opens His hand and satisfies the needs of every living thing; the fountain of life and of mercy, whose compassions fail not; hence He is able, being in Himself sufficient for the whole creation and every man within it, to remove every burden from every human soul and satisfy every craving within every one of them.
He is the Son into whose hands the Father hath delivered all things, whom only the Father knows, and who knows the Father and reveals Him to whomsoever He will (chap. 11:27). He showed Himself to be the Master of the elements when He rebuked the winds and the waves and hushed their raging to a great calm (chap. 9:26); He had power on earth to forgive sins, which is God's prerogative (chap. 9:6). He claimed the absolute allegiance of the hearts of His disciples, before father or mother or son or daughter, which only God can claim (chap. 10:37). He declared Himself to be the Lord of the Sabbath (chap. 12:8), plainly indicating that though the Son of Man He was the One who had ordained the Sabbath for His people. As Creator of the abundance of earth and sea He multiplied the five loaves and two fishes so that a multitude were fed to satisfaction and twelve basketfulls remained (chap. 14:15-21). He walked triumphantly upon the heaving waves at midnight, and by His power enabled His servant Peter to do the same (chap. 14:25-31); He unmasked the Pharisees by the question of all questions. "What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is He?" "The Son of David," was their ready reply. Then He quoted the Scriptures which they knew so well. "The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool." He asked, "IF DAVID, THEN, CALL HIM LORD, HOW IS HE HIS SON?" They were silenced, for they had no answer to this great mystery. The whole Gospel of Matthew is the answer to the question; and we glory in the knowledge of this great mystery; the Son of David and Son of Man is the Son of God, and though His enemies refused His rights as David's Son, He has been raised up and made Lord of all. He sits at the right hand of God on God's very throne, and none but God could do that; and He is coming back again to the very place where His enemies cast Him out of His inheritance. He is coming back as the ROOT AND OFFSPRING OF DAVID, David's Lord and David's Son.
The Gospel closes with His place in the Godhead fully declared, for all nations are to be baptised in the Name [not "the names," the word is in the singular] of THE FATHER AND THE SON AND THE HOLY GHOST.
Finally, when the dispensations of time have served their purpose and run their course, and God shall dwell with men in a redeemed creation, every intelligent creature will rejoice in a Triune God fully revealed—
as FATHER, the source of all blessing for men;
and SON, the One who brought the blessing to men;
and HOLY GHOST, who by His power makes the blessing good in men,
"THAT GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL."
Originally published in Scripture Truth, Vol. 11 (1919), 5 Rose Street, Paternoster Square, London.
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