Rev. Anthony Martlew, L Th.
THE GREATNESS OF CHRIST
There was a time when there was no time. There was a time when there was no space. There was a time when there was nothing, when only one thing existed, and that was God. No time, no space, no world, no thought, no substance, ONLY GOD.
The human mind cannot begin to understand the mystery of God. With our limited understanding, all things must have a beginning, and an end. We cannot comprehend that something has existed for ever, and ever, and ever, and will continue to exist for ever, and ever, and ever.
Our minds are trapped in the concept of birth, life and death, for that is man’s destiny on this planet. Each of us exists for a fleeting moment of time; an insignificant scrap of flesh and blood, moving on a revolving ball, which is itself a tiny fragment of matter, floating in a vast endless, sea of space.
At this point, many give up, and dare not think too deeply on the mysteries of it all.
But not all who look out into the heavens, give up in despair. We see the stars, each one having its own glory, which are so far from us, that we estimate their distance in light years. For it is the very vastness of it, the silence and majesty of a night sky, which is the greatest proof that this mystery is, in very essence, the handiwork of a Mighty Creator.
We may as well admit, that trying to understand how God could always have existed, is not possible. We are limited in our mental capacity, and such a mystery is not within our bounds. The Creator has not even attempted to reveal it to us, for even the greatest scientific minds, are mere babes when so great a mystery is under review. But, in spite of its vastness of space and time, the Creator of it all has humbled Himself and made Himself known to mankind. The Godhead has sent a part of Himself, manifest as human flesh, in order that we might have tangible evidence, not only of His existence, but above all, of His concern and love for humanity.
If God had simply created time and space, and the planets, and populated earth with mankind and then turned His back on His handiwork, and left us like struggling ants to live and die, ever forgotten in eternity; I, of all men, would be the most miserable.
There are those who know not Christ, there are those who have known Him, and then rejected Him, believing that at death they will be absorbed into the cosmos, with no self-consciousness.
When we view the vastness of space at night (and feel the dreadful silence of it) we either see it as a vast emptiness, a frightening place, or we see it as part of the majesty of the Ever-living God. When we focus our thoughts on the certainty of Christ’s birth, life and ministry, followed by His death and resurrection, we then see that this vastness of space, is after all, a wonderful reality of our beliefs. In one moment of time, we see eternity IS GOD, for He is Eternal.
With the reality of Christ as our Saviour, space and eternity, are not frightening, but something that leaves us gasping in awe at the majesty of God.
We cannot comprehend it, but we accept, and know that in spite of our minuteness, that we are the sons and daughters of the Ever-living God, and eternity is part of our inheritance.
We will, when the scales have been removed from our eyes, be able to understand many great mysteries, even such mysteries as when our Lord said, ‘Before Abraham was, I am’ - (John 8:5 8).
Only five words, but they encompass the mystery of time and eternity, the reality of Christ in the Godhead. Two thousand years after Abraham’s death, here was this man who claimed to be alive before him. What a Claim!
There are 12 ‘I Ams’ in Scripture, four in the Old and eight in the New Testaments. ‘I Am’ is one of the very names of God. Here in John, we find this Jesus, claiming that He had life before Abraham - and also claiming for Himself one of God’s names.
All this is incredible knowledge, for so many just look upon Christ as a good man, or a prophet.
Think of Him so if you will, but you must also remember some of the claims, which He made during His ministry -
I and my Father are one.
I am the truth, the way and the life..
I am the resurrection.
He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.
And many more!
This, then, is the Christian’s challenge to the unbeliever in the Deity of Christ.
If they only accept Christ as a good man, an example to be followed, and do not accept His Deity, they are following, as an example, a liar! He is, however, One who has made the greatest claim that anyone could ever make, namely, to actually be God!
Paul speaks of Christ as the Creator of all matter, and that, by His power, everything consists.
John, at the beginning of his gospel, explains that the Word is God, and that the Word was made flesh.
There can be no doubt that He whom we call Jesus, the same who was lifted up upon the cross, is very God, uncreated, not made, being of one substance of the Father.
To think, that we, insignificant creatures upon this speck in space, have instant access to this Mighty Ever-living God! This for me, is the most wonderful truth that it is possible to have.
This is the very essence of our hope; the concept of God the Creator, coming down out of heaven, leaving behind for a while His greatness, and becoming lower than the angels which He created.
And then, in our stead, taking upon Himself the burdens of the world’s evil, and dying in our place in order to appease the judicial demands of the Father!
Amazing? Of course it is, but everything about God is amazing. And yet, as real as all this is to us, we are very much in the minority who are able to perceive it. The vast majority of those who have ever lived, and are living now, know nothing, and care nothing for all this.
They miss out on the very meaning of life, and willingly immerse themselves in the frivolities of vanity, to seek pleasures for themselves, fondly believing that their worldly possessions are all that matter. Poor puny man, how blind is it possible to be?
Psalm 9:1 “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork”, declares the psalmist. The whole creation cries out to be understood as the work of a loving God.
And yet, as Isaiah was moved to write,
“His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark: sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.” - Isaiah 56:10
History abounds with those who spiritually sleep their way through life, awaking only to feed themselves with the pleasures of this life. Their eyes cannot see, or ears hear, the overtures of a loving Saviour, whose arms are always raised in loving welcome. He has borne, generation after generation, the lack of requital of this love - but still it never ceases.
Generations come, and pass into the eternities, but the Ever-Living holds out His arms, and that wonderful love continues. Down the centuries, men have sworn and blasphemed and declared their hatred for the Creator. There have been times when it repented the Lord that He had made man upon the earth: but even then, under extreme provocation, He has continued to pour out His love.
How many times must He have felt the misery and frustration of rejection? Our wonderful Saviour, when in His manhood, knew exactly what it was like, for Isaiah wrote: “He was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” - Isaiah 53:3. Two thousand years after the world’s greatest demonstration of love, man still passes on the other side of the street, shutting his ears and eyes to the meaning of it all.
The enemy has done his work well, for this present generation have their ears permanently blasted senseless by what is deemed by some to be music, so loud, that the still small voice of God cannot enter.
We, who have accepted the Lord’s invitation, and have gone in and supped with Him, we wonder just how to reach these lost souls, and show them that they have a desperate need.
Our task today is infinitely more difficult than those of previous generations. Satan has made sure that everything is stacked against the success of evangelism. This is not to say that we must cease from our Christian profession to tell others of the Lord’s love whenever we can. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict - not ours!
Remember, His love for His creation is greater than any human word or thought. This, then, is the God we worship,
A God of Greatness and Power,
A God of Smallness and Love,
A God of Infinite Majesty,
A God of Humility,.
A God of Wrath and Judgement,
A God of Compassion,
A God of Yesterday, Today and For Ever.
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