The Unveiling of Jesus Christ # 3
The Personal Greatness of the Son of Man
Now here He is presented in the Revelation, and He is not presented in the language of Deity, although it runs very close. At some points, you cannot distinguish between the humanity and the deity. You do not know whether John is speaking of God or of Christ at certain points. The fact is, he is speaking of the One Who is both. But the title, as we have already seen, by which He is presented in this matchless, incomparable unveiling, is 'Son of Man.' Let us now consider the personal greatness of the Son of Man, Who is, at the same time, Son of God, Very God.
We have referred to the Letter to the Hebrews, and we call it in now for our help in this matter. We read from it, and we begin with this "effulgence of His glory," and then we read: "Whom He appointed heir of all things" - appointed heir of all things! - "through Whom ... He made the ages ...", and so on. "But one hath somewhere testified, saying, What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? or the Son of Man, that Thou visitest Him? Thou ... didst set Him over the works of Thy hands: Thou didst put all things in subjection under His feet ... We see not yet all things subjected to Him. But we behold Him Who hath been made for a little while lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for every man.'"
Here is the Son of Man in His Own Personal Greatness. See Who He is: 'the effulgence ...', 'the express image ...'. See His appointment: 'Heir of all things." See His instrumentality and agency: 'through Whom the ages were made.' The Son of Man - how great that One is! You would not think that, when you see Him walking about Palestine - not all that! You do not recognize Him. But that same One is now here before John, with these devastating effects; that same One, now revealed, unveiled, as to what He is essentially in His Person; Who He is; what position He holds. He is here as the Heir of all things come for His inheritance. And the rest of the book sees Him working it out - the securing of that inheritance of which He is the Heir, and, in the end, of a 'new heaven and a new earth.' What a glorious inheritance comes into view in the last chapters of this book! This is the Son of Man; this is His greatness! But we are completely defeated at any attempt at a true, not exaggerated, unveiling of Jesus Christ. There is His personal greatness.
But as the Son of Man, we have, in that very title, His representative greatness. To borrow again from the Letter to the Hebrews, where first He is appointed Heir of all things, then He is the 'Captain of their salvation,' 'bringing many sons to glory.' The word 'Captain' there would be better translated the 'Pioneer' of their salvation - the One Who goes before to lead them into that into which HE Himself has entered. Of course, that is the substance of this Letter to the Hebrews. HE has gone before; HE has entered into the heavens; HE has 'passed through the heavens;' HE has gone the whole way, and reached the end, as the Pioneer of the many sons being brought to glory, whom He calls His 'brethren.' His representative greatness, as there at the end, in fullness, in glory - for there He represents all those whom He is going to bring and is bringing - how great it is! We read in the Revelation of a 'great multitude which no man can number out of every tribe and kindred and tongue ... thousands ... ten thousands of thousands ...'. Language is taxed to the breaking point to describe the fruit of the sufferings of the Lamb! And He is the Representative in glory of them all. How great is His Person and His representation!
And then, His official greatness. That is seen through this book of the Revelation, and again in the Letter to the Hebrews. His official greatness, as High Priest - what a great High Priest He is, as according to that book; what a tremendous thing He does! Think of it: through century after century, sacrifices of lambs, and goats, and bulls, and other things - blood enough to fill an ocean - all through the centuries, day after day, and never reaching an end in effectiveness where sin was concerned: but He, One Offering - only one! - went far beyond the millions of sacrifices on Jewish altars. How great was His sacrifice, and His priesthood, as He offered Himself without spot to God, once for all.
And here, in this book, as the other side of His official greatness, we have His description as "King of kings, and Lord of lords!" What a thing to say, in a day when that tyrant at Rome was dominating the world, assuming lordship over all lordships, and seeking to subject to himself every power, not only in earth, but in heaven, since he claimed deity. In that day, the unveiling of Jesus Christ is 'King of kings' - yes, and Nero among them! - 'Lord of lords.'
To sum up: I believe we would have very much better converts if they were presented with a very much greater Christ. To anyone who does not know in their own life and experience salvation in Jesus Christ, what it really means to be born again - to be really a 'child of God,' and to know it - to be able to join in heartily with this Apostle John when he said, 'Beloved, now are we the children of God ... Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called children of God, and such we are!' - to any such I would say this. While Jesus would be your Saviour, the Forgiver of your sins, and many other things to you, He is far, far greater than anything you can imagine. Salvation takes its greatness from the measure of the Saviour. If you want a great salvation, see what a great Saviour He is. And remember that because of what He is, you need have no fears in putting your trust in Him; and need not fear that you may not be able to keep it up! No, you won't, but He will; He will be able to keep you up - He is great enough! We need an unveiling of the greatness of Jesus Christ, to get a better kind of Christian.
For the recovery from our spiritual losses and declensions and failures, and deliverance from all these things which are so abhorrent to us and to Him, there is only one way, and that is, really to see His greatness. If we do that, we cannot live on a little level. I recently went to the Planetarium in London. The thing that was with me, while listening to the lecture, and afterward, was, how ever can anyone be 'little' when they are dealing with these things all the time! I suppose it is possible even for a Fellow of the Astronomical Society to be a 'little' man in character (I am not implying this about this man, but it is possible!). But it is not possible to have a revelation of the greatness of Jesus Christ and remain a little person! Oh, for our enlargement, our ennoblement, our deliverance from our pettinesses, and all this which is so despicable! What is the answer? A new grasp of His greatness - that is all!
And then, if we are suffering; if we are knowing adversity and trial; if the clouds seem to be gathering, and increasing, how will we get through? Only by getting away, and asking, seeking, pursuing in prayer a new heart revelation, a new unveiling, of Jesus Christ, and that will surely do it.
(continued with # 4)