Thou Art Worthy
In the burnt offering, there were two details of great importance; first, it was to be willingly offered; second, it was to be accepted (Lev. 1:3-4). From the human side, whatever was given to God had to be by the offerer’s own voluntary will; from the divine side, it had to be accepted. The offerer, therefore, had to be willing, and the offering had to be worthy to be accepted by God. As an illustration of this, let us briefly observe the lives of, perhaps, two of the greatest men who ever lived, Moses and Paul. The first of these was the greatest prophet; and the second, the greatest apostle. Both of these men were Hebrews (Ex. 2:11. Phil. 3:5); both were well educated (Ex. 2:11. Acts 22:3); both were great sinners in their own estimation (Ex. 2:13. 2 Cor. 11:23); both had a revelation of God (Ex. 19:20. 2 Cor. 12:2-4); both received a great message (Ex. 33:11. 1 Cor. 11:23); both had a great desire, Moses desired to know God (Ex. 33:13), and Paul desired to know Christ (Phil. 3:10).
It is interesting to notice that our Lord Jesus blended both these desires in His high-priestly prayer (John 17:3): “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God (the desire of Moses), and Jesus Christ, whom Thou has sent (the desire of Paul.
Each of these two men had a passion for the blessing of others, and this passion led them to utter memorable words of warm devotion. Even, although under much provocation, Moses pled for Israel, saying, “Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if Thou wilt forgive their sin —; and if not, blot me, I pray Thee, out of Thy book which Thou hast written” (Ex. 32:32). This was the language of a man of high distinction, not of high distinction because God buried him and Satan contended with the arch-angel over his body, but of high distinction because of his place in the purposes of God. So great was this man, that of all the many human names only that of Moses will remain throughout Eternity. Of the redeemed we read, “They sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb” (Rev. 15:3). What a high honour for the meekest man of all the earth to have his name associated with that of the Lamb forever!
What gracious self-denial was seen in Moses! He was willing to be blotted out of God’s book if the Lord would not forgive Israel’s sin. He was willing to die for the nation that it perish not.
With no less passion did Paul the servant of Christ write, “I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Rom. 9:2-3). Both of these men were willing to die for their own people, but great as they were, they were not worthy.
In the burnt offering the victim had to be worthy; it had to be accepted, and its physical worthiness determined whether or not the Lord would receive it. Moses and Paul were willing, but neither was worthy, and that is the reason why Christ had to become incarnate. Our Lord Jesus was willing (John 10:17-18), and, bless His Name, He was worthy. It was who He was, in all the intrinsic value and worth of His glorious person, that gave virtue to what He did on Calvary.
After the triumph of His cross, the gates of Heaven were lifted up, and the everlasting doors swung wide open to let the King of Glory enter. The Apostle John saw in vision the glorious future. “The four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:10-11).
Later, John adds another description which states that there were “ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands: Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing” (Rev. 5:11-12).
Ah! Christ was willing to die for the people, but of all the great ones of earth, He alone was the only One worthy. That is why we ought to love Him.
“Come let us sing the song of songs;
The saints in Heaven began the strain.
The worship which to Christ belongs,
Worthy the Lamb, for He was slain.
To Him, enthroned by filial right,
All power in Heaven and Earth proclaim:
Honour and majesty and might,
Worthy the Lamb, for He was slain.”