CHRIST IN A SEVENFOLD CHARACTER.
Christ is seen in seven characters in Luke 2:25-34.
Ⅰ. Consolation of Israel ( verse 25). Christ in this character is One who is alongside to encourage and comfort.
An old Christian, as he was lying on what proved to be his deathbed, said
“My soul most surely prizes
The sin atoning Lamb;
Thence all my hope arises,
Unworthy though I am.”
Ⅱ. Lord’s Christ ( verse 26). Jesus as the “ Christ” signifies God’s Anointed (John 1:41, margin). Jesus being anointed with the Holy Spirit was the evidence that He was the Sent of God (Acts 10:38), and the Baptizer with the Holy Spirit ( John 1:32,33).
Ⅲ. Jesus (verse 27). The name “ Jesus” means “ Saviour,” and is always associated with Him in His humiliation, as is illustrated in being circumcised. Godet says upon the presentation of Christ in the Temple, “ After the circumcision there were two other rites to observe. One concerned the mother. Levitically unclean for eight days after the birth of a son, and for fourteen days after that of a daughter, the Israelitish mother, after a seclusion of thirty-three days in the Temple a sacrifice of purification (Lev. 12). The other rite had reference to the child; when it was the firstborn it had to be redeemed by a sum of money from consecration to the service of God and the sanctuary. In fact, the tribe of Levi had been chosen for this officer simply to take the place of the firstborn males of all the families of Israel; and in order to keep alive a feeling of His rights in the hearts of the people, God had fixed a ransom to be paid for every firstborn male. It was five shekels, or, reckoning the shekel at 2s.4d,. nearly 12s. (Ex.13:2; Num 8:16; 18:15). Verses 22 and 23 refer to the ransom of the child, verse 24 to Mary’s sacrifice.
Ⅳ. Salvation (verse 30). Salvation is here personified. It is well to let all our blessings resolve themselves into Christ, as He Himself said when He went into the house of Zaccheus, “ To-day is salvation come to thy house” ( Luke 19:9).
Ⅴ. Light (verse 32). He is Light to discover evil to us: He is Light to remove the consequence of evil from us, through cleansing by His blood; and He is Light in showing us the path in which to walk.
Ⅵ. Glory of Thy people Israel (verse 32). Israel alas! would have none of Him; hence they are wanting in glory, but when they shall look upon Him whom they have pierced, and receive Him as their Messiah, then Christ shall be their glory indeed.
Ⅶ. Sign (verse 34). Christ is the Rise or Fall of every being. They who speak against Him shall find He is opposed to them, and a Sign of their eternal condemnation.
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》
COMPASSION OF THE LORD.
When Pharaoh’s daughter saw the fair child, Moses, weeping, she had compassion upon him, and manifested her love in the kindly interest she took in him, and the loving care she exercised on his behalf. The word “ compassion” is the same that occurs in Malachi, where it speaks of God sparing those who feared His name: “ I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him” (Mal.3:17). The same term is used in speaking of God’s gracious action in His forbearance towards Israel, when He is said to have “ had compassion on His people” (2 Chron.36:15). In Joel ii.18, the word is translated “ pitied Moses, so the Lord has graciously had compassion upon us, for “ God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were ye sinners Christ died of us” (Rom.5:8).
This fact may be further illustrated by the several instances where Christ is said to have had compassion upon people.
Ⅰ. The Shepherd having compassion upon the scattered sheep, and being willing to save them (Matt.9:36; Mark 6:34).
Ⅱ. The Divine Physician having compassion upon the sick, and healing them (Matt.14:14).
Ⅲ. The Miracle-worker having compassion upon the hungry multitude, and supplying their need (Matt.15:32; Mark 8:2).
Ⅳ. The Restorer having compassion upon the blind men, and giving them their sight (Matt.20:34).
Ⅴ. The Cleanser having compassion upon the unclean leper, and cleansing him (Mark 1:41).
Ⅵ. The Comforter having compassion upon the sorrowing mother, and raising her son to life (Luke 7:13).
Ⅶ. The Good Samaritan having compassion upon the helpless traveler, and taking care of him (Luke 5:33).
Ⅷ. The Almighty Deliverer having compassion upon the demon possessed man, and liberating him (Mark 5:19).
Ⅸ. The Father having compassion upon the prodigal, and giving him a royal welcome (Luke 15:20).
The One who had compassion upon the people when on earth, is the same One with Whom we have to do.
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》