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The Father Honouring The Son.
"It is my Father that honoureth me."-John 8:54.
To honour is to do or to speak that of a person which shall not only shew him our own esteem for him, but shall let others see that, and make them esteem him likewise. Thus God honoured Abel by openly accepting his sacrifice, and shewing him to be the man of his love and favor. Thus He honoured Enoch by translating him; Noah, by singling him out to be the saved one of his generation; Abraham, by appearing to him as the God of glory, and calling him out of Ur of the Chaldees; Joseph, by bringing him out of the pit of Dothan and the prison of Pharaoh to the second rank in Egypt; Moses, by drawing him out of the Nile, and making him king in Jeshurun; David, by calling him from the sheepfolds of Bethlehem to the throne of Israel; Solomon, by giving him wisdom, and power, and riches, and a peaceful kingdom, and making him so pre-eminently the type of Messiah and his glorious kingdom.
Such is honour, and such is the way in which we see it conferred. By what God said and did to these individuals, He not only manifested his sovereign choice, but his love for them, his appreciation of their character, his sense of their fitness for the honour conferred.
All this is specially seen in the Father's dealings with his Son. We see his love and admiration for him, as well as his desire to make him the loved and admired of others. We see his delight in him, and his purpose to make him the delight of all in earth and heaven. We see his sense of his infinite excellency, and beauty, and perfection; his fitness for, and worthiness of the honour bestowed already on him since the day that he ascended on high, and to be yet more abundantly conferred on him at his second coming, when he comes to be glorified in his saints, and admired of all them that believe.
Let us consider,-
I. The bestower of the honour. It is the Father. The value of the honour depends greatly on him who bestows it. Honour bestowed for a price, or by self or by unworthy hands, or by one incapable of judging, is worthless. Flatterers have honoured kings, as Tertullus did Felix, but that was no honour at all. Napoleon put the crown upon his own head, but that was no honour. The Father, however, knows what He is bestowing, and on whom He is conferring the gift. He is fit judge both of the person and the honour. We may then be well assured that the honour received by Christ is well bestowed. The Father loveth the Son; and this assures us that He is worthy of the love; He honoureth the Son, and this assures us that He is worthy of the honour.
II. The receiver of the honour. It is the Son, the Christ. He it is whom the king delighteth to honour. He is one whom the Father knows well; and has been acquainted with from all eternity. He is God, very God. He is man, very man. He is God-man, the person in whom the two natures meet, and therefore altogether peculiar, a new thing on earth, and a new thing in heaven; one in whom all created and all uncreated perfection meets; one in whom all that is glorious in the universe centers; one in whom all that is excellent, both in heaven and earth, is displayed. He is the most marvelous revelation and incarnation of divine wisdom that can be found throughout the universe. He is the infinitely perfect handiwork of the infinitely perfect Jehovah; the only thing brought forth in time and into whose composition creature hood enters, in which there can be found no flaw, and of which we can say there is not the possibility of fall or failure in all the eternal future.
III. The nature of the honour bestowed. As in the constitution of his person we have something peculiar, so in the honour bestowed we have something corresponding to this. it is divine honour; but it is mole. It is not only all the honour which the Father receives and which the Spirit receives, but it is something in addition, something which they cannot receive, something arising out of the superadded humanity; and humanity in connection with divinity. What this is we may not understand, but we know that it must be so. Again, it is human honour, honour in connection with his perfect manhood; for He is the only true specimen of perfect manhood, and as such is entitled to all the honour which God intended for our race. Nay more, He is entitled to honour such as Adam could not receive,-the honour arising to his manhood from its connection with the Godhead; honour, therefore, of a far higher kind than could possibly be given to any creature not connected with Godhead, yet, still human honour. Thus the Godhead gets an honour such as it could not have got save in virtue of its connection with creature hood; and the creature hood gets an honour such as it could not have got save by reason of its connection with Godhead. There is in this way a peculiar honour created, and a peculiar vessel prepared for receiving it; honour such as could not have been received by any other being in the universe, save the Christ of God, the Incarnate Son. From this, too, there springs, peculiar honour to the Father from this God-man,-honour at once divine and human; honour such as no one in heaven or earth can give but he. No one can honour the Father as the Christ of God can.
IV. The times and ways in which this honour is bestowed. At his birth, baptism, transfiguration, resurrection, ascension, still more at his second coming. Every day the Father honoured Him when here. Dishonoured by man, He was honoured by God. At present, in heaven, He receives glory and honour. Hereafter, in his kingdom, the full honour is to be bestowed. When He comes again, He comes to be glorified. Thus the Father declares his worthiness, and shews his admiration and love of the Son; his purpose to fill heaven and earth with it, to spread it over all time and all eternity.
V. The results of this. The bearings of this honour on the whole universe are immeasurable and inconceivable. This honour is at once the pledge and the measure of the blessing which the universe receives, and shall receive for ever. These results are such as the following,-
1. To the Father. It is through the honour conferred on the Son that the Father is more fully unveiled and manifested, as well as more abundantly glorified. The honour bestowed on the Son comes back to the Father; for all that the Son receives, and all that He does, is to the glory of God the Father.
2. To the Holy Spirit. The Spirit's office is to glorify Christ; it is through Him that the honour comes to the Son. By means of this shall the Spirit be made fully known and glorified; His Godhead declared and illustrated; His wisdom and power displayed.
3. To the whole Godhead. The three-one Jehovah is glorified through means of the honour bestowed upon the second Person, the Incarnate Word. Each Person is more fully manifested and more abundantly glorified; and the One Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit receives new and everlasting honour.
4. To the Church. Christ's honour is hers; for all that He has is hers. She is made partaker of Christ, joint-heir with Him. The Bridegroom's glory is not for himself alone. His bride shares it with him. She shares His riches, His inheritance, His kingdom, and His crown. This she does by faith even now; she will do so in reality when He returns as King of kings, to place her beside himself upon His throne.
5. To heaven. The greatness of the King's honour adds to the glory of his palace, his metropolis, lighting up the great bridal-hall with new splendor, and irradiating with new brightness, the heavenly Jerusalem, whose brightness is already beyond that of the sun. Infinite is the addition of glory to the heaven of heavens, from the glory of Him who is its King.
6. To angels. He is their head, as well as the church's,-though not so closely knit to them as to us. Principalities and powers are his hosts, his servants, his royal retinue, and in his honour they are honoured. Each angel shines more brightly from the glory put upon the Incarnate Son.
7. To earth. At present we do not see any change The curse is still here. Creation still groans. Shame is over all. But the curse is to pass away. Creation is to be delivered. Earth is to be clothed upon with a new and immortal robe; made more fair than Paradise. All this through the honour put upon the Son. For earth is specially His country, His home,-the birthplace of the Man Christ Jesus. His body is composed of the dust; and here he found not only his cradle, but his grave. Above all other places, it has a claim to share his glory.
8. To the universe. The whole wide stretch of infinite space shall be irradiated with this glory. Every planet, every star, every fragment of creation, far and near, shall receive fresh luster from this new-lighted sun.
Let us honour Him now. He will be honoured hereafter. We are sure of that. Such is the Father's purpose. But let us honour Him now, when He is getting no honour from men. Let us honour Him here where he gets only dishonour. In the great day for which we are waiting, the day of His second coming, he will be abundantly glorified. But let us who know him not wait for this, but glorify him in this day and age of evil and unbelief.
Sinner, honour Christ! Honour him by coming to him and getting salvation at his hands. The honour which the Father puts on Him as Saviour, is the security for a present pardon to you. Your pardon is Christ's honour. God glorifies Him in receiving and blessing you. Kiss the Son!
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