The Attractiveness Of Christ
Mr. John W. Bramhall, who was commended to the work of the Lord in 1934 and makes his home in Charlotte, N.C., is a frequent contributor to Focus.
In this warm devotional study he shows how certain individuals were attracted to Christ. In so doing he helps the reader appreciate more fully our altogether lovely
Lord Jesus Christ.
Scripture Reading: Luke 2:15-16; John 1:35-39; 12:32-33; 19:35-42; Acts 7:55-56
In the five selected Scripture portions above there are various ways in which certain individuals were attracted to Christ. They have their application for our hearts today that we, too, may be drawn closer to Him. C.H. Mackintosh wrote: “The Person of Christ is the perfect object for the heart.” How true and important this is. Let us note, then, the above incidents for our encouragement.
Attracted to Christ by His Birth
The angelic “birth announcement” by the heavenly hosts impelled the shepherds to say to one another, “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” What a priceless privilege was theirs to be the first to gaze upon “Emmanuel … God with us,” and this, on the very day of His earthly birth! These humble shepherds honoured the mighty Creator when born, while all the world lay in darkness and ignorance of His entrance into this earthly scene.
Simeon later held the Christ-child in his arms and gazed upon his salvation. Anna, the prophetess, came into the temple to contribute her thanksgiving for Him and told of Him to all who were looking for redemption in Jerusalem. The wise men came from afar to worship Him who was “born King of the Jews”. All these were attracted to Him at His birth. How much there is for us to meditate upon from the Word of God in relation to the Lord of Glory who came to earth and was manifested in the flesh! Wondrous mystery! (1 Timothy 3:16).
Attracted to Christ by His Walk
It was when John the Baptist was “looking upon Jesus as He walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God.” These words attracted Andrew and John to Christ, and “they followed Jesus.” The perfect walk of the Lamb of God upon the earth caused them to seek His blessed Person and His abode, leading them on toward the heavenly home above from whence He came and to which He returned. How blest a home!
Are we attracted to Christ by His walk? Do we follow the lowly and perfect path of the Son of God, noting from the inspired record how He walked? What lessons there are for us if we will study the path of Christ from the manger to the cross, the only example for us to follow. It was ever a path that led downward, a path of humiliation that’ brought Him ultimately to “the death of the cross” (see Philippians 2:5-8). We should be attracted to Him by His walk and seek to “follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21). Let us study His walk and be more attracted to His blessed Person.
Attracted to Christ by His Death
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all unto me… signifying what death He should die” (John 12:32-33). With millions of others, we realize that we were first attracted to Him by His atoning and vicarious death. Christ points to His crucifixion by using the same expression spoken to Nicodemus in John 3:14 & 15. Crucified, He has become the great center of attraction, drawing to Himself multitudes from all peoples, nations and countries, delivering them from the power of Satan, sin, death and hell.
These words may even look further, when on the basis of His death and His future exaltation, “every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11). Yet we must not assume that these words support the deadly heresy of a universal salvation that all men shall actually be saved.
Is there any subject that touches the heart of a believer so deeply than the thoughts of His death? Shall we ever be able to comprehend the fulness of His love and grace that was perfectly displayed toward us by the cross? Not alone in the weekly remembrance of the Lord’s Supper, but each moment of life our hearts can dwell upon the wonder of His love that is revealed in the cross.
Death, death of stricken love, wrath’s sea exploring!
Death, Life’s mysterious death—Deep mounting deep!
Death, whence Thy bursting heart fills ours out-pouring
All, all in worship — Lord — low at Thy feet!|
Attracted to Christ by His Burial
Have you noticed that in the account of the Saviour’s burial only two men and two women are mentioned as attendants to His funeral? They were Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus; and the two Marys (see Matthew 27:61). How remarkable that the men had been secret disciples to the time of His death, but when His precious body hung lifeless on the cross they openly demanded of Pilate to be given the custody of His body for burial, when all His professing disciples, for above all others Joseph and Nicodemus valued the blessed body of their Lord and tenderly taking it down from the cross, they cleansed it for burial and wrapped it “in linen clothes with the spices” (John 19:38-40). Thus the Scripture was carefully fulfilled of Him: “And men appointed His grave with the wicked, but He was with the rich in His death” (Isaiah 53:9, JND). This will be eternally remembered by God..
However, we know it was but an interrupted funeral, for “death could not keep its prey.” What an attachment these two men and two women manifested to even the lifeless body of their blessed Lord and Saviour! What are our thoughts concerning this? Sacred and precious thoughts can be ours if we will dwell upon the amazing fact of our Saviour’s body being lifeless between His death and His resurrection. His spirit and soul were in the unseen realm of the dead, while His precious body lay lifeless in the tomb. Has there ever been such an historic event and tremendous fact of divine history embraced in this experience of Christ, the Son of God, being in death? And all for our salvation!
Attracted to Christ in Glory
The last Scripture reveals Stephen being stoned to death by his persecutors; yet not even the violent circumstances surrounding his martyrdom could prevent him “being full of the Holy Spirit” and “looking up steadfastly into heaven” to see “the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:55). Even in death, His heart was attracted to Christ in glory. “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God” was his triumphant cry. What a vision was his! The glorified Christ was seen waiting to receive him. “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” he said. And again, “Lay not this sin to their charge,” as he prayed for his enemies. What mattered the suffering and the cruelty heaped upon his body! The heavens were opening and his heart was completely occupied with Christ above in glory. Heaven was completely attracting him to the glorious Person of his risen, ascended, and now glorified Lord.
What about us beloved? Will Christ in glory be our attraction in death? Will we be attracted to Christ in glory when that moment comes? Why not? One truth is certain, if we make Him our attraction during life, then He certainly will be the same for us in death.
Should we not be completely attracted to Christ by His birth, by His walk, by His death, by His burial; and at the journey’s end be attracted to Christ in glory? Forever in eternal glory when with Him through endless ages we shall be occupied with His blessed Person and attracted to Him eternally! Is He not worthy of this now? Yes, “the Person of Christ is the perfect object for the heart.”
O patient, spotless One!
Our hearts in meekness train
To bear Thy yoke and learn of Thee;
That we may rest obtain.
Saviour! Thou art enough
The mind and heart to fill;
Thy life, to calm the anxious soul,
Thy love its fear dispel.
O fix our earnest gaze.
So wholly, Lord, on Thee,
That with Thy beauty occupied,
We elsewhere none may see.