Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. The Lord Jesus Christ is unchangeable -
I. IN HIS PERSON. "Our Lord's Godhead is the seat of his personality. The Son of Mary is not a distinct human person mysteriously linked with the Divine nature of the eternal Word. The Person of the Son of Mary is Divine and eternal. It is none other than the Person of the Word." This personality is immutable. This has been already asserted by the writer of this Epistle: "Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth," etc. (Hebrews 1:10-12). He is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever" in his great attributes - his eternity, spirituality, omniscience, omnipotence, etc. He is the same in his perfect and blessed character - in his righteousness and faithfulness, his love and mercy, his forbearance and tenderness, etc. In this respect how vast is the difference between him and us! We are ever changing in many respects. Our outward appearances, the particles of which our bodies are composed, the opinions which we entertain, the experiences which we pass through, the characters which we are forming, - all these change. But he is sublimely unchangeable, eternally and infinitely perfect.
II. IN HIS WORD. The teaching of our Lord, like his personality, continues and changes not. His words are true, vital, suited to the conditions and needs of human nature and life. More than eighteen centuries have passed away since they were uttered; but they have lost none of their clearness, or freshness, or force. They are still the great fountains of religious light to our race. And the noblest human spirits still say to him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life." It has been well said by Dr. Parker, "Plato's definitions are practically forgotten, but the Nazarene's words intermingle with universal civilization. A great composer said he was spending a long time over his work because he intended it to live long, but this Galilean peasant talks extemporaneously, as if simply answering the question of the hour; yet his words float over all generations, and are prized by men today as if they had been addressed exclusively to themselves. These 'sayings' are not local lamps, but suns set in the firmament commanding the range of all nations.... In Christ's 'sayings' there was always something beyond - a quickening sense that the words were but the surface of the thought; there was nothing to betoken conclusion, much less exhaustion; there was ever a luminous opening even on the clouds that lay deepest along the horizon, which invited the spectator to advance and behold yet fuller visions" ('Eece Deus'). How different is the teaching Of Jesus Christ from the changing opinions, speculations, and theories of men - even of distinguished men! Of every province of human thought and investigation we may truthfully say -
"Our little systems have their day;
They have their day, and cease to be." But Jesus said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." "The Word of God liveth and abideth The Word of the Lord abideth forever."
III. IN HIS WORK. Part of his great work was perfectly and splendidly accomplished while he was upon earth. The work which was given him to do upon earth, says Dr. Wardlaw, "was the expiation of human guilt, and the provision of a righteousness for the justification of the ungodly; the laying of the groundwork of man's redemption - the foundation on which might rest together the glory of God and the hopes of sinners. But his mediatorial work did not cease then. It does not properly terminate till 'the end come,' when he shall have accomplished all the ends for which his office as Mediator had been assumed."
"He who for man their Surety stood,
And poured on earth his precious blood,
Pursues in heaven his mighty plan;
The Savior and the Friend of man."
(Logan.) Many of the miracles which he wrought when upon earth are illustrations, parables, of the work which he is ever performing in human spirits.
1. As Savior of sinners he is the same. The cross upon which he gave himself in death for us has lost none of its ancient power. By his glorious gospel and his Holy Spirit he is still convincing men of sin, drawing them to himself, and imparting to them pardon and peace, liberty and joy.
2. As the Helper of his people he is the same. "He ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25). "Christ's perpetual presentation of himself before the Father," says Canon Liddon, "is that which constitutes his intercession." He is in the presence of God as our Representative, our Advocate, and our Friend. From the unchangeableness of Jesus Christ we infer:
1. That he is essentially Divine. All created beings change. This is one thing in which each and all of them are alike. We are different today from what we were yesterday, and tomorrow we shall differ from what we are today. Immutability belongs only to God (cf. Hebrews 1:10-12).
2. That be is worthy of our utmost confidence. If he were fickle, changeable in his character and purposes, loving man today and regarding him with indifference to-morrow, how could we trust him? Nay, if it were even possible for him to change, how could we calmly and confidently commit cur souls to him? But seeing that he is what he is in his character and in his relation to us, and that he is "the same yesterday, and today, and forever," we may repose in him the fullest confidence of our being.
3. That the success of His cause is assured. In the preceding verse we were reminded of the death of Christian ministers and elders; but the great Head of the Church ever liveth and is ever the same. "He shall not fail, nor be discouraged," etc. (Isaiah 42:4). - W.J.
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