"In His Use of Scripture"
"That all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning Me."
What the Lord Jesus accompished here on earth as a man He owed greatly to His use of the Scriptures. He found in them the way marked in which He was to walk, the food and the strength by which He could work, the weapon by which He overcame every enemy. The Scriptures were indeed indispensible to Him throughout His life and passion: from beginning to end His life was the fulfillment of what had been written of Him in the volume of the Book.
It is hardly necessary to attempt proving this. In the temptation in the wilderness it was by His "It is written" that He conquered Satan. In His conflicts with the Pharisees He continually appealed to the Word: "What saith the Scripture!" "Have ye not read!" "It is written!" With His disciples it was always from the Scriptures that He proved the certainty and necessity of His sufferings and resurrection: "How otherwise can the Scriptures be fulfilled?" And, with His Father in His last sufferings, it is in the words of Scripture that He pours out the complaint of being forsaken, and then again commends His spirit into the Father's hands. All this has a very deep meaning. He Himself was the living Word. He had the Spirit without measure. If anyone could ever have done without the written Word, it was Jesus. And yet we see that it was everything to Him. He demonstrated that the life of God in human flesh and the Word of God in human speech are inseparably connected. Jesus would not have been what He was, could not have done what He did, had He not yielded Himself step by step to be led and sustained by the Word of God.
The Word of God is called seed; it is the seed of the divine life. We know what seed is. It is that wonderful organism in which the life, the invisible essence of a plant or tree, is so concentrated and embodied that it can be taken away and made available to impart the life of the tree elsewhere. This use may be twofold. As fruit we eat it, for instance, in the corn that gives us bread; and the life of the plant becomes our nourishment and our life. Or we plant it, and the life of the plant reproduces and multiplies itself. In both aspects the Word of God is seed.
True life is found only in God. But that life must have a means to be imparted to us. It is in the Word of God that the divine life takes shape, and brings itself within our reach, and becomes communicable. The life, the thoughts, the feelings, the power of God are embodied in His words. And it is only through His Word that the life of God can really enter into us. His Word is the seed of the heavenly life.
As the bread of life we eat it, we feed upon it. In eating our daily bread, the body takes in the nourishment which nature prepared for us in the seed corn. We assimilate it, and it becomes our very own, part of ourselves, it is our life. In feeding upon the Word of God, the powers of the heavenly life enter into us and become our very own--the life our our life.
Or we use the seed to plant. The words of God are sown in our heart. They have a divine power of reproduction and multiplication. The very life that is in them, the divine thought, or disposition, or powers that each of them contains, takes root in the believing heart and grows up; and the very thing of which the Word was the expression is produced within us. The words of God are the seeds of the fullness of the divine life.
The Lord Jesus was entirely dependent upon the Word of God and submitted himself wholly to it. His mother taught Him. The teachers of Nazareth instructed Him in it. In meditation and prayer, in the exercise of obedience and faith, He was led, during His years of preparation, to understand and appropriate it. The Word of the Father was to the Son the life of His soul. What He said in the wilderness was spoken from His inmost personal experience. "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." (Matt 4:4) He felt He cold not live unless the Word brought Him the life of the Father. The Word was to Him not instead of the Father, but the vehicle for the living fellowship with the living God, and He had His whole mind and heart so filled with it that the Holy Spirit could at each moment find within Him the right word to suggest just as He needed it.
If you would become a man of God, strong in faith, full of blessing, rich in fruit to the glory of God, be full of the Word of God. Like Christ, make the Word your bread. Let it dwell richly in you. Have your heart full of it. Feed on it. Believe it. Obey it. It is only by believing and obeying that the Word can enter into our inward parts, into our very being. Take it daily as the Word that is proceeding out of the mouth of God, as the Word of the living God, who in it holds living fellowship with His children and speaks to them in living power. Take your thoughts of God's will, and God's work, and God's purpose with you. The Word taught you by the Father will enable you to fulfill all that is written in the Scriptures concerning you.
In Christ's use of Scripture the most remarkable thing is this: He found Himself there; He saw His own image and likeness. And He gave Himself to the fulfillment of what He found written there. It was this that encouraged Him under the bitterest sufferings, and strengthened Him for the most difficult work. Everywhere He saw traced by God's own hand the divine way; through suffering to glory. He had but one thought to be what the Father had said He should be, to have His life correspond exactly to the image of what He should be as He found in the Word of God.
In the Scriptures our likeness too is to be found, a picture of what the Father means us to be. Seek to have a deep and clearer impression of what the Father says in His Word that you should be. If this is fully understood, it is inconceivable what courage it will give to conquer every difficulty. To know: it is ordained of God, I have seen what has been written concerning me in God's book; I have seen the image of what I am called in God's counsel to be. This thought inspires the soul with a faith that conquers the world.
The Lord Jesus found His own image not only in the institutions, but especially in the believers of the Old Testiment. Moses, Aaron, Joshua, David and the prophets were types. And so He Himself is the image of believers in the New Testament. It is in Him and His example that we find our own image in the Scriptures. "To be changed into the same image, from glory to glory, by the Spirit of the Lord" we must in the Scripture-glass gaze on that image as our own. The Spirit teaches us to take Christ as our example and to gaze on every feature as the promise of what can be.
Blessed is the believer who has not only found Jesus in the Scriptures but also in His image the promise and example of what he is to become. Blessed is the believer who yields himself to be taught by the Holy Spirit to not dilute the Scriptures but in simplicity to accept what it reveals of God's thoughts about His children.
It was "according to the Scriptures" that Jesus Christ lived and died; it was "according to the Scriptures: that He was raised again, all that the Sriptures said He must do or suffer He was able to accomplish because He knew and obeyed them. All that the Scriptures had promised that the Father should do for Him, the Father did. Give yourself with an undivided heart to learn in the Scriptures what God says concerning you. Let the Scriptures in which Jesus found the food for His daily life be your daily food and meditation. Go to God's Word with the joyful expectation that through the blessed Spirit, the Word of God is full of divine purpose in you. Every Word of God is full of divine life and power. Be assured that when you use the Scriptures as Christ used them, they will do for you what they did for Him. God has marked out the plan for your life in His Word; each day you will find some portion of it there. Nothing makes a man more strong and courageous than the assurance that he is obeying the will of God.
O Lord, my God! Thank you for your precious Word, the divine glass of all unseen and eternal realities. I thank You that I have in it the image of Your Son, who is Your image, and also my image. I thank You that as I gaze on Him I may also see what I can be.
O my Father, teach me to understand what a blessing Your Word can bring to me. To Your Son, it was the manifestation of Your will, the communication of Your life and strength, the fellowship with Yourself. In the acceptance and the surrender of Your Word, He was able to fulfill all Your counsel. May Your Word be all this to me too. Make it to me, daily through the power of the Holy Spirit, the Word proceeding from Your mouth, the voice of Your living presence speaking to me. May I feel with each Word that it is God coming to impart to me something of His own life. Teach me to keep it hidden in my heart as a divine seed, which in its own time will spring up and produce in me in divine reality the very life that was hid in it, the very thing which I at first saw only as a thought. Teach me above all to find in it Him who is its center and substance the eternal Word. Finding Him, and myself in Him, I shall learn like Him to count Your Word my food and my life.
I ask this, O my God, in the name of our blessed Christ Jesus. Amen.