Scenes in the Life of Christ
On display in art galleries hang paintings by famous artists of landscapes, flowers, animals, and birds; of romances and war scenes; and of persons who have contributed to the welfare of mankind. None of these no matter how important, is worthy to be compared to the sacred word pictures of Christ found in the Bible. In this article your attention is directed to five beautiful and awe-inspiring scenes in the life of our adorable Lord. May the Holy Spirit make that lovely One, the Lord Jesus, through the consideration of these, more precious to us.
In Luke chapter two we view our Holy Lord lying in a manger. When His virgin mother brought forth her firstborn son, she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. Later, angels brought these good tidings to certain shepherds who “came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” Behind the loveliness of this simple family scene lies the mystery of the incarnation.
How great was that mystery? Isaiah has expressed it thus, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulders: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6). This mystery was intimated to Mary by the angel, “That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).
This mystery we consider great because of how He was born. The birth of the Saviour was predicted by God in the Garden of Eden; He declared to the serpent, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel” (Gen. 3:15). It was prophesied by the Lord through Isaiah, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isa. 7:15). The historical record by Luke asserts that this great miracle was accomplished by the Holy Spirit through the virgin bride of Joseph (Luke 1:31-35).
This mystery might also be accepted as great because of where He was born. We read, “There was no room for them in the inn.” We are not told how many rooms there were in that inn, but the only place for Christ at His birth was in the stable. He, the Eternal One, knew in advance that a manger would be His cradle; nevertheless, “He made Himself of no reputation.”
Let us now consider another scene in Immanuel’s life, a scene in a garden. “And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed, saying, Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me; Nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done. And there appeared an angel unto Him from Heaven, strengthening Him. And being in an agony He prayed more earnestly: and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (Luke 22:41-44). The suffering of Calvary He must endure on the morrow, so our Lord was bowed in the misery of anticipation. Some have experienced to a degree the misery of anticipation; they have waited in the dentist’s office for their turn, or they have lain in a hospital cot awaiting an operation, or have sat by the death-bed of a loved one awaiting his passing. Some as soldiers on the battle-line have anticipated the order to charge the enemy, and have known the mental anguish of tension and suspense; but no one has endured what our blessed Saviour endured as He faced the dreadful cup of sorrow. His agony was such that He sweat as it were great drops of blood, in spite of the fact the night was so cold that Peter warmed himself by the fire. How dreadful that cup must have been! He accepted it for our sakes.
With holy wonder we gaze on Him hanging on a tree (Acts 10:39). Under the law of Moses a rebellious son was to be stoned to death and hanged on a tree, “He that is hanged on a tree is accursed of God” (Deut. 21: 18-23). Such was the curse that fell upon Absalom, David’s rebellious son (2 Sam. 18:9-15). Behold, the Son of God who always did those things which pleased the Father hanging on a tree, surrounded by a raging mob. We might in our imagination address the elements, saying, “O Heavens, how can ye gaze upon such a scene and remain silent? O Earth, why open you not your mouth to swallow those blood-hounds baying for that perfect Man’s blood?” We can also imagine their replies. Heaven responds, saying, “My justice must be satisfied, and He only of all who lived can render what I demand.” Earth echoes, “This Man must bear the curse that makes me sigh, therefore, He must die.” Here we witness the marvels of redemption. We, the rebellious ones, deserved the curse of God, but “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written cursed is everyone that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3-13). As we look upon that scene so sublime, we bow our hearts with adoring wonder and exclaim:
“O Jesus Lord, and can it be
That Thou would’st give Thy life for me:
To bear the cross and agony,
In that dread hour of Calvary?”
The Psalmist said, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning” (Psa. 30:5). The night of Calvary was over, and on the morning of the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to find the sepulchre empty, wherein for three days her Lord had lain. Her heart was broken so she stood there weeping. Suddenly she perceived two angels in the tomb, who asked her why she wept. “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid Him,” she sobbed. She did not recognize the Lord who now stood beside her by the empty tomb. He was there witnessing her tears, ready to heal her broken heart. Such was, and is, His ministry in resurrection.
He called her by name, “Mary,” as much as to say, “You are Mine.” (Compare John 10:3); and told her that He must ascend to His Father and her Father, to His God and her God. With joyful heart she hurried to tell the disciples.
The Ascended One
The last scene is of His ascending into Heaven (Acts 1:9-11). While blessing His own He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. From two heavenly messengers the disciples heard the message at His ascension, “This same Jesus which is taken up from you into Heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven.” Our Saviour shall come again! The very same Jesus will appear a second time! His last message to His pilgrim waiting Church is, “Surely, I come quickly” (Rev. 22:20). May her response be, “Amen, even so, come Lord Jesus.”