By Miltiades Yiapanis
The life of Jesus on earth was of unspeakable beauty and of great delight to God His Father. Never was there a man that lived on this earth that pleased God as His beloved Son did. In the man Jesus all virtues found their perfection and harmony and God delighted daily in Him. For the first time after the fall of man it was as if, through Jesus, the sun was shining its bright light on this gloomy and dark world. John informs us in his gospel that in Him was life and the life was the light of men. The life of Jesus is the eternal life of God and is the life of the communion of love shared by God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. This is the reason that John calls this life the light of men, for it reveals what true life is. Jesus said to the Jews of His day “I am the light of the world, whosoever follows me shall never walk in darkness but shall have the light of life. John8.v12.
In the beginning the Son lived in the everlasting embrace of the Father’s love in the communion of the Spirit. When He came into this world, through Him the life of God was manifested amongst men and women who beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John and the rest of the disciples saw and touched this life, for he writes in his first letter, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have looked carefully upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (for the Life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.)” 1John1.v1&2. The footprints of Jesus’ life are imprinted in the Holy Spirit and can be seen and followed by all who are called by Him. This reality is available to all who will believe and receive Him; it is for all generations and to all tribes, tongues and nations. He is the Spirit of truth and when received reveals Christ’s life in the heart of the one receiving Him.
The life of Jesus, in His brief walk in this world was characterized by His perfect submission and obedience of love to the will of His Father, His unsullied trust in Him under all circumstances, pressures and afflictions and His absolute reliance and dependence upon Him. In this oneness and love relationship He triumphed in the midst of everything that was against Him. He lived quietly in His Father’s love whilst surrounded by provocations, contradictions and the opposition of those whose hearts were hardened. There was hatred all around Him but He remained in peace of mind, in love and tenderness of heart. He received and embraced all who came to Him and retained His sweet disposition by not allowing bitterness to enter His soul when experiencing denial and injustice, “who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth, Who, when reviled, reviled not again, when He was threatened, He threatened not; but committed Himself to Him that judges righteously”.
God’s eternal purpose has always been that man should share in the life of God. This would have been possible if Adam had eaten of the fruit of the tree of life; instead, he disobeyed, eating from the forbidden tree. Its fruit brought not only the knowledge of good and evil but also death that caused him to pass into darkness and separation from God’s life bequeathing it to all his descendants too. God knew that only through the sacrifice and offering of the life of His Son was it possible that man could live the life which He had purposed for him. “In this the love of God was manifested towards us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” 1John 4.v9. Paul writes in his letter to the Romans that having been reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more we shall be saved through His life. Rom.5.v10. Full salvation is experienced not only by being reconciled and justified before God, but also by becoming partakers of His life through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit. We must remember that, following that new birth, it is vital that the believer learns to abide in Him as the branch abides in the vine; and only as this occurs will there be ability to endure and be changed in the oppositions, temptations and tribulations that are part of our living on this earth.
HIS LIFE FOR THE SHEEP
The good shepherd gives his life for his sheep and this is what Jesus did for His own, He came that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly. Through this the love of God was manifested in an unprecedented manner. In Christ Jesus the way has been opened so that man can know and share in the life of God, this is The Life, the eternal life; anything other than this is darkness and death. True Christian testimony is this; that we experience His grace abounding over our depravity and sin and because of the Light of His Life shining in our hearts we declare His Worthiness.
There are many allusions to the Light of His Life in the Gospel of John, the communion between Father and Son and Son and Father is revealed within its chapters; perhaps we might say that the elements of the ‘soul life’ of Jesus are disclosed to us and much blessing is to be gained by reading John’s gospel and noting down those verses that reveal the intimacy of relationship Jesus had with His Father and His consciousness of His Father’s love and will. We should then take time to reflect on the many references we will find; here are a few of them.
1. “My Father works until now, and I have been working.”
2. “Most assuredly I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” John5.v19.
3. “For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does.” John5.v20.
4. “I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father that sent me.” John5.v30.
- “And the Father Himself, which has sent me, has borne witness of me.” John5.v37.
- “And He who sent me is with me. The Father has not left me alone, for I always do the things that please Him.” John8.v29.
- “The Father that dwells in me does the works.” John14.v10.
8. “I and the Father are one” John10.v30
9. “Father I thank You that You have heard me. And I know that You always hear me.” John11.v41&42.
HIS PRECIOUS BLOOD
It is impossible for any man whilst living in his depravity and fallen state of sin to offer anything worthy for the redemption either of his own soul or that of another. ‘None of them can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him: For the redemption of their soul is precious, and it can never be found. That he should still live forever, and see no corruption.’ Psalm49.v7-9. Peter writes that redemption became possible through the work of Christ who, as a lamb offered Himself without blemish and without spot to God. “Forasmuch as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from the vain way of living that was delivered to you from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1Peter1.v18&19. The eternal worth and preciousness of His blood, springs from the fact that He was without blemish and without spot. It was His Life, lived in the days of His flesh, with its infinite dignity, spotlessness and freedom from all sin that gave the priceless value to His blood. It is precious blood having the redeeming worth of His wonderful soul that is of power to purchase back to God through out all ages, myriads of the precious but lost souls of sinful men, women, boys and girls. It was soul for soul, His Soul without spot for our souls with all their stain. By His own precious blood He entered into the Holy place once for all and obtained eternal redemption for us. Through His offering the high claims of the Righteous and Holy God and the deepest needs of sinful mankind were met. The redemptive power of the blood was, and is indisputably recognized not only by God and the devil but also by those sinful souls who have been washed and cleansed from the filth of sin, they are set free from its guilt and power and now, with conscience purged from dead works, they worship the living God.
The devil claims an authority over every man that is born in this world, but by faith in the blood of Jesus his apparent right becomes invalid, his powerful grip is broken and the soul is loosed from every dark bondage and shackle. Believers, as Peter wrote, are redeemed from the vain way of living that has its origin in the nature of the first man Adam; this they inherited from their parents at birth, but now, through and in Christ the Second Man they have a new heredity from which issues newness of life in the likeness of Him.
The life and work of Christ pleased God and satisfied the claims of His divine righteousness, His wrath for sin is appeased and His grace and compassion is made available. The change is beyond estimation because the problem of sin has been settled with the hostility that resulted being removed; now affection and mercy reign through the righteousness of Christ. At the time of the flood in the days of Noah, the fountains of the great deep were torn and the flood gates of heaven were opened bringing God’s wrath and judgment upon the unbridled evil of mankind. How different it all was when out of the torn flesh of Christ upon the cross, the river of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Spirit was shed abundantly through Jesus our Savior. The age of grace had begun.
HEIR OF ALL THINGS
When Jesus finished His work of redemption He was appointed by His Father as the Heir of all His excellent and precious promises. “All the things that the Father has are mine,” He said. John16.v15. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He said not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to his seed, which is Christ. Gal.3.v16. Being faithful to the One that appointed Him, He had now undertaken the task of the restoration of all things in heaven and on earth as had been promised beforehand. From the Hebrew letter we are informed that because of His faithfulness to God, He was awarded from Him the highest honor and position beside Him.
1. He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High.
2. He became so much better than the angels by obtaining by inheritance and a more excellent Name than they, that of a Son, (You are my Son, today I have begotten you).
3. As a Son He became the heir of all things.
4. He had all things put under Him by God.
5. He was counted worthy of more glory than Moses.
6. He became a merciful High Priest in things pertaining to God.
When Adam and Eve listened to the serpent, Satan’s rebellion against God in the heavens was extended to the earth and through Adam’s disobedience (for he was the one in responsibility, both for himself and his wife) the whole creation of God became affected by sin. When sin entered into the human order, the soul of man was marred and was deformed, for the image of God within man was defaced and distorted; the original purpose of God for mankind was no longer possible of attainment through and in Adam and his offspring. Man became a perverted being and had lost all; unable to save himself from the guilt and judgment for sin. As from that moment death began and continued as a merciless tyrant to reign over all.
At the cross Jesus fought the great and decisive battle. Nothing could stop Him finishing His work and entering into His rest. “For as much then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might render him powerless that had the power of death, that is the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.” Heb.2.v14&15. Since the fall of Adam, the devil had kept human beings in bondage to the fear of death, there was no one to challenge him, but now Christ, through His death rendered him ineffective and powerless and delivered His beloved ones out of his authority and power. As the captain of their salvation and their representative, took upon Himself their sin and shame, all their infirmities and failures, their ugliness and distortions and deformations of soul so that He might sanctify them, so saving and glorifying them. He has obtained for those He called His brethren, His beloved church of whom He was not ashamed, all that was lost and of which they were deprived. “For the joy that was before Him He endured the cross despising the shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb.12.v2. For six hours He hung there, between heaven and earth, as the Head and surety of His people, remaining steadfast to the will of God, until He canceled sin, removed condemnation and satisfied the wrath of God once and for all; so it is now possible for mankind to be set free from their sin, from the fear of death and from guilt. When all was accomplished He shouted triumphantly so that all generations might know, all people, all angels and that all demons hear “It is finished”. Everything was settled for all eternity; sin was judged, transgression was finished, sins were removed, an end of them was made, reconciliation for iniquity was achieved, everlasting righteousness was brought in, visions and prophesies were sealed and the Holy One was anointed. At that moment, the world was judged and the prince of this world was cast out and earth and heaven and all their elements were brought into the certainty of the rule of God.
Jesus is the servant who Isaiah describes so vividly, the One who did not cry nor lift up His voice to make it heard in the street; He did not grow faint nor become discouraged, He established judgment on earth, or as Mathew writes, He brought judgment unto victory. Matt.12.v20. The Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David prevailed for His own, those whom He loved before the world began who had been chosen and destined to reign with Him, He brought them out from the mire of uncleanness and shame into the heights of purity and perfection, out of the eternal torments of death into eternal rest and bliss. God was now able to bring many sons unto glory for Jesus His Son had opened the way. “For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For both He that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren. Heb.2.v10&11.
These people Jesus calls ‘His brethren’ are His house and He was faithful to them even through suffering, He is the pattern of God’s Perfect Man and the captain of their salvation opening the way for them to become partakers of His life, perfections, victory and glory. Following His triumph on the cross, He rose from the dead as a proof of that victory and having ascended on high He was crowned with unspeakable majesty and glory. He is our High Priest; “Holy, undefiled, separate from sinners and was made higher than the heavens.” Heb.7.v26. There at the right hand of Majesty He lives forever interceding for each and every one of His own so they partake of His perfect manhood, being saved to the uttermost. The Holy Spirit says, “today if you hear His voice do not harden your hearts.” Heb.3.v7. We must never forget that Christ is the gift God has given to us, all that we are, all that we possess and all our hope in the future is in Him and through Him. The depth and height and breadth of this great salvation cannot be fathomed nor fully realized and experienced as yet; it surpasses every imagination and all attempts to find out its riches, but all shall be revealed in that day, when the veil is lifted and this corruptible shall put on incorruption and this mortal put on immortality and we shall see Him face to face. Then the vastness of His redemption shall be disclosed and the majesty of His person shall be fully manifested and we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.
In his first letter the apostle Peter writes, “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, you also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood….Wherefore it is contained in the scriptures, behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious, and he that believes in Him shall not be put to shame. Unto you therefore who believe is the worth.” (Greek is timi, meaning ‘ worth’) 1Pet.2.v4-7. God chose Jesus to be His elect precious corner stone upon whom He builds His church, very few knew Him in that way, most rejected Him and when He explained something of Himself to them they chose to remain ignorant and in the end, to do away with Him. When a person comes to Him they find Him to be the living stone upon Whom they are built, they are living stones, precious and rare and are born again so becoming part of His spiritual household. Those that believe on Him are not put to shame, Peter says, instead they are transformed and partake of the preciousness of Christ; in them the eternal counsels of God find their fulfillment. “Unto you therefore who believe is the worth.” 1Pet.2.v7. Those who believe are regenerated and so become sharers in His divine nature, they shall not be ashamed in His presence, instead they will be glorified, this is in direct contrast to those who are rejected because they spurned Christ and disobeyed God. Christ could have been the stone upon which they were built; instead He became to them a stumbling block and a rock of offence.
The spiritual household of Christ is of great beauty and splendor; both the foundation and the building are comprised of living, precious, chosen stones. It is the habitation of God, how can it be otherwise? It is His church and therefore all the materials must be of the most excellent quality and worth. The nature of these living stones must be the same as that of the chief corner stone; they must be precious, cut from the same quarry from which He came. He was from above, that was His declaration to the Jews, He came from heaven, the Heavenly One. “You are from beneath, I am from above, you are from this world, I am not of this world.” John 8.v23. Every stone in this building must have their origin in heaven; each must be born from above; coming from God they are of the same heavenly nature as Jesus Christ. Human titles and classes have no bearing in this matter and do not impress God. The things in which men take pride have no place, names, denominations, organizations and dogmatic persuasions mean nothing, for unless a person is a partaker of the new life that comes from above, they have no part in the glorious church that God is building.
Peter’s letter is addressed to the pilgrims of the Diaspora and he names them the “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father being sanctified by the Holy Spirit.” 1Pet. 1.v2. He describes them in his second letter as the “partakers of divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” 2Pet.1.v4. They were born of the incorruptible word of God and have become “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, those that God possessed to declare His virtues.” 1Pet.2.v9. The virtues they manifest are His, these have become theirs through Jesus and they declare them, not so much by words, but by exhibiting them in their lives. He is the fountain of all that is good, genuine and pure; it all comes from Him. Because He lives, we live also. “And of His fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” John1.v16. “For who makes you to differ from another? What do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did receive it, why do you glory, as if you did not receive it? Now you are full, now you are rich, you have reigned as kings without us 1Cor.4.v7&8.