King's Business - 1928-03

March 1928


T h e

K i n g ’ s

B u s i n e s s

manifested itself thus was but the scintil­ lations emanating from the divmc glory o f His deity. V. 29. “And H e asked them, But whom say ye that I am?” The question concern­ ing Christ is one that must be settled by each individual soul. This same question in another form was put by Jesus to His critics in the w ords: “ What think ye o f the Christ? Whose son is H e?” Men may theorize and speculate today ^con­ cerning the possibility or impossibility of deity’s assuming human form, and by their philosophy and learned speculation, arrive at the conclusion that such is im­ possible, but this conclusion cannot re­ move the historical fact that, according to the Old Testament prediction, God did assume the human form and tabernacled among men (see Jno, 1:1-17). Though the critics may dispose o f the question with a denial, let no man conclude that the question is settled. Though the skep­ tic dismisses the case with a negation, when all things are laid bare before the eyes o f Him with whom we have to do, it will be seen that the negation simply pushed the answer into the future, to the eternal woe and destruction, of him who refused to accept the only atonement for man’s sin. Peter, like an honest man, faced the issue and dealt with .it, answering, “ Thou art the Christ.” To this conclusion Peter did npt come by any system o f speculation. Being an honest, conscientious, practical man who wanted truths and facts, he had been blessed by the Lord with special spiritual insight which enabled him to recognize the fact that his Master was the promised Messiah of Old Testament prediction. No system o f logic can illuminate the path for one who is “dead in sins” and enable him to see in Jesus the incarnation of God for man’s re­ demption. But when one hungers and thirsts after righteousness and wills to do the will o f God, his eyes will be opened by God’s Spirit (cf. Acts 16:14). V. 30. “And H e charged them that they should tell no man o f Him.” Nearly two years prior to this time the Samaritan woman had confessed her belief that Jesus was the promised Messiah. At various times Jesus had been addressed as “the Son o f David,” His Messianic title. Such confessions fanned into a flame the Mes­ sianic hopes of the masses, which at this time were running high, as is evidenced by the “apocalyptical literature o f the age.” Realizing the excitement that would be aroused by such a declaration o f faith on the part of the disciples and, wishing to avoid unnecessary complications with the existing social and political order, Jesus emphatically charged the disciples to desist from discussing His Messianic claims. He realized that the time was not ripe for the public proclamation that He was the long-expected Messiah. Such public utterances by His closest disciples, doubtless, would have thrown the entire country into a feverish expectation of the immediate establishment o f the kingdom o f God in the form of. a political govern­ ment in Jerusalem which would throw off the Roman yoke, and would have resulted in a rebellion against the Roman authori­ ties. Just as the apostles were to with­ hold this great vital truth until the proper time for its proclamation, so the Holy Spirit withheld much truth from even the apostles during the lifetime of Jesus be­ cause they were not ready to receive it,

to the meaning of the words o f the Golden Text—“deray himself’ ? Have we said to the old self-life— “I know you not” ? If so, we are at the point where we can “take up His cross and follow Him.” But we cannot reverse the order.

side, a murder. Spiritually, it was a di­ vine sacrifice. Through all His teachings, Jesus insisted upon the supreme impor­ tance of His death. Without it, the beauty o f His precepts, the purity of His life, the gentleness o f His nature, would have won admiration and respect. But it is His death and resurrection that has com­ pelled the reverence of the world and that has supplied the power for the saving of souls and the transformation o f lives. How is it that after nineteen centuries the cross of Jesus is as real and vivid as though it were enacted but nineteen hours ago? It lives, because HE LIVES. P ith and P oint . If there is any possibility that Jesus is what He claimed to be, the most vital ques­ tion in the world is “What shall I do with Him ?” The significance and worth of the cross can be understood only in the light of Peter’s confession (8:29). A man may be a spokesman for God one minute and for the devil the next minute (8:29, 33). Many are ready to deny themselves a list o f THINGS who are not willing to deny THEMSELVES (v. 34). Some people would like to slip into heaven on His merits without having to take up His, cross. Taking up His cross is something more than wearing a crucifix. We are not only to suffer ourselves to be laid on a cross, but to “ take up this cross” willingly. —o— S uggestive Q uestions . What is the great foundation fact of Christianity? (1 Cor. 3:11; 1 Jn. 5:1, 5, 10; Jn. 20 :31.) What notion did the disciples hold, even after the resurrection, and what was our Lord’s answer to it? (8:32; cf. Acts 1 :6 ; Lk. 24:25-27.) How does the Saviour’s answer to Peter (8:33) compare with His answer to the devil in the wilderness? (Mt. 4:10.) What light is thrown upon Jesus’ pre­ dictions of His death and resurrection, by John 10:18? How was Jesus’ prediction that He should be “delivered” fulfilled? (10:33; ,cf. 14:64.) How was His prediction that the “ Gen­ tiles’* should combine with the Jew in His death, fulfilled? (10:33; cf. 15:1.) How was the prediction that He would be “ mocked” fulfilled? (10:34; cf. 14:65.) G olden T ext I llustration . I f any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me (Mk. 8:34). In the time of our Lord’s rejection by men, one o f His disciples, who had re­ peatedly affirmed that he, of all men, would be loyal to His Master to the end, was seen “following afar off." The Mas­ ter was haled before the authorities. His sulky disciple is seen mixing with the world’s crowd, rather than identifying himself with the prisoner. A little maid spies him and asks: “A rt thou not one of this man’s disciplesf” Do you recall the answer? “I know not the man.” That was DENIAL. Have we not here a clue — o — • ,

Philippi : disciples, AN D Jesus went forth , and His dis- ciples, into the villages of Caesarea and on the way H e asked His saying unto them, Whom do

men say that I am?" (v. 27), The occur­ rences of this lesson occupy less than a yeaf o f the close of the public ministry of Jesus. On the “third tour” o f Galilee, which was accom­ plished both by Jesus and the twelve dis­


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ciples whom He sent in all directions, preaching the kingdom of God, the dis­ ciples had an excellent opportunity of get­ ting in touch with the masses of the peo­ ple and o f learning their estimate o f Jesus. It is natural that the people would express themselves more freely to the disciples in the absence o f Jesus .than they would to Him or to them in His presence. Jesus,, knowing all things, and “ not needing that any man should testify con­ cerning H im " but wishing to draw forth an expression o f the faith o f the disciples, asked the latter what reports they had heard concerning Him when they were on their evangelistic tour. All of the tests, experiences and questions which Jesus put to the disciples were designed for the strengthening and the building up o f the faith of those who would carry on His work after His departure. The loving Lord is Working all things together for good for those who are the called accord­ ing to His purpose. V. 28. “And they told Him, saying, John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but others, one o f the prophets." The variety o f answers given by the apostles to Jesus’ question simply reflected the various esti­ mates which the people had of Jesus. The fact that some identified Him as John the Baptist, who had been dead at this time at least eighteen months and who, accord­ ing to their opinion, had arisen from the _dead, and that others affirmed that He was Elijah, while still others affirmed that He was one o f the former prophets come to life, proves that the life and teaching o f Jesus manifested some unusual and supernatural power which could not be ac­ counted for by them on the naturalistic plane; hence, the explanation by the popu­ lace was sought for in the supernatural manifestation o f the return of somfe of the prophets o f old. The estimate concern­ ing practical and vital issues o f life o f the great masses of people who accept facts as they are presented in a real world apart from theories and speculations, usually proves more dependable- than the pronouncements o f “ experts” whose opinions are apt to be biased by precon­ ceptions. To the honest truth-seeker, the­ ories and speculations crumble and vanish in the presence o f stern realities. Re­ gardless o f the theories concerning the nature and person o f Christ, the masses of people saw the supernatural power of God manifested in His life. Oh that they could see today that the power which

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