On Following Jesus!

The way, the truth and the life!

“King and Judge are in the prophetic delineation (description) of the figure of the Messiah practically synonymous. Nor does it require profound study of the life of Jesus to discover the vigorous exercise of this function in all his intercourse with his followers. The very conception of “following” can be understood only from this background. The solemn manner in which Jesus puts his “I say unto you” by the side of, or even apparently over against, the commandment of God, goes far beyond the highest that is conceivable in the line of prophetic authority (Matthew 5:20-43). The verses:
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever, therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:17-20).

in this same chapter are by no means a Jewish-Christian accretion (addition) to the original Gospel but in perfect consonance with the Messianic attitude of the speaker. While distinguishing his precepts from those of Judaism as “light” and “easy” Jesus still retains for them the figure of “burden” and “yoke,” and this especially significant in view of the then current phrase, “taking the yoke of the law upon one’s self,” which designated the passing of the young man under the full regime of the law. It is nothing but the deep-seated Messianism of Paul that makes him speak of “being under the law to Christ” (1Corinthians 9:21). The Christless Gospel is perhaps sometimes simply a product of the desire for a Gospel that shall have less of subordination in it. The overemphasis on the autonomy and spontaneity of the Christian life may have contributed towards bringing the Messianic idea into disfavour. As in so many other instances, this would be a case of a principally irreligious tendency presuming to take to task and endeavouring to correct what is deeply religious. Such a sentiment, at any rate, is quite in line with the conception of the modern Jesus, from whom much of the spirit of authority has evaporated. But it would hardly be congenial to the mind of Him, who in the plerophory of Messianic exousia (appearing) spoke the words:

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it” (Matthew 7:24-27).

The sentiment we are criticising does not lead toward, but away from Christ.”

(Geerhardus Vos)

(James R Hamilton, 5th June 2017)
Sermon Audio

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