In a recent study of what people in the UK think about Jesus, it was found that following a conversation with a practicing Christian, around a third of non-Christians said they wanted to know more about Jesus, felt more positive towards Jesus, and were open to an encounter with Jesus. This seems to reflect a growing openness towards hearing about Jesus from Christians compared to previous findings, perhaps reflecting the upheavals and uncertainties of the last couple of years. So what would we most of all want our non-Christian friends to know about Jesus? Samuel Rutherford had no doubts about the attractiveness of Jesus to sinners, even people who thought they had no use for Him in their lives. In the following updated extract, Rutherford describes some of the wonder of Jesus as the Saviour. More than bare facts and doctrines, Rutherford is gripped with the beauty and loveliness of Christ, the eternal Son of God. Jesus has such a powerful magnetic influence that once He gives someone a glimpse of Himself, they can’t help but be drawn to Him for salvation. What then are some of these glimpses we want people to see?
Jesus Christ has a unique aptitude for drawing sinners to Himself.
Jesus is the Redeemer
The Father is not the Redeemer, nor is the Holy Spirit, but Jesus Christ is in person the Lord Redeemer. In the deep of God’s wisdom, the Son was thought fittest to make sons (Gal. 4:4). As Lord Saviour, Christ is a fit person to rescue captives, and to draw them into the state of sonship. I do not say this in a way that excludes the other two persons of the Trinity, for the Father draws sinners to the Son (John 6:44), and the Spirit of grace is a special agent in the work of conversion. But Christ is personally the one who draws sinners, and God works all plans He designed in heaven by Christ. It is Christ who brings many sons to glory (Heb. 2:10).
Jesus is the Mediator
Christ’s role is to be a congregating and uniting Mediator (Col. 1:20). He reunites heaven and earth. He is our peace (Eph. 2:14), the Shepherd who gathers in one the sons of God (John 11:52). By the merit of His blood He makes sinners legally one with God. He is Emmanuel, God with us. We were banished out of paradise, but the Son was sent out to bring in the out-law sons.
Jesus embodies God’s mercy to sinners
In Christ, God has laid down (so to speak) His compassion, mercy, and gentleness to sinners. In His person and work, Christ has taken away infinite wrath, and satisfied divine justice. God nowhere has so much mercy, graciousness, kindness, tender compassion to sinners and such a sea of love, as in the Lord Jesus. O but He is a most lovely, desirable, compassionate God in Christ!
The sinner finds all that God can have in him, or do for saving, in the Mediator Christ. Nothing can come out of God to the sinner, except through Christ. There is no golden pipe, no channel but this. All God, and whole God, is in Christ, and all God as communicable to the creature. If only God was seen in His lovelyness, His beauty would be strong ropes to draw hell itself up to heaven. Love, grace, mercy, are uniting attributes in God, attributes which solder or fuse things permanently together. These essential attributes that are in one person of the Trinity are in all three persons of the Trinity, yet the mediatorial manifestation of love, grace, and free mercy is only in the Son. Christ is the treasury, store-house, and repository of the free goodness and mercy of the Godhead. As the sea is a congregation of waters, so Christ is a confluence of these lovely and attractive attributes that are in the Godhead.
Jesus reflects God’s beauty to sinners
Christ is the face of God (2 Cor. 4:6). The beauty and loveliness of the person, and much of their majesty and glory, is in the face. So the beauty and majesty and glory of God is manifested in Christ. He is the brightness of the Father’s glory (Heb. 1:3); the Father is as it were all sun, Christ the Son is the substantial rays, light-shining, the eternal and essential radiating of this sun of glory. The sun’s glory is manifested to the world in the light and beams that it sends out to the world, and if the sun kept its beams within itself, we would see nothing of its beauty and glory. No man or angel could see anything of God, if He had not had a consubstantial Son, begotten of himself by an eternal generation. But Christ is the beams, and the splendour, and the shining (but the consubstantial shining) of the Father. As God incarate Christ reveals the excellency, glory, and beauty of God.
Christ is the drawing loveliness of God. If you see a creature’s beauty, or a man’s face, you see the creature itself and the man himself. That’s what Christ says to Philip (John 14:9). “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father. I am as like the Father, as God is like Himself; there is a perfect, indivisible, essential unity between the Father and me. I and the Father are one; one very God; He the begetter, I the begotten.”
So you see that God has pledged all His beauty, His loveliness, and His attractive virtue in Christ, the lodestone of heaven. Wisdom is a fair, lovely, and alluring beauty. Well, Christ is the essential wisdom of God. If ever your eyes once fastened on that dainty lovely thing Christ, that eternal, infinite flower and lily that sprang out of the essence and beautiful nature of God, with eternal, infinite greenness, beauty, fragrance, vigour, life, never to fade, that essential wisdom and substantial Word – if ever your eyes once fell on Him in a vision of glory, it would be un-possible to take your eyes off Him again! Such attractive rays and visual lines of lovely beauty and glory would come from His face to your eyes, and such darts of love into your understanding, heart, and affection, that you would be captivated by His glory for ever and ever.
Jesus came as close as He possibly could to sinners
Then there is so much warmness of heart, and such a fire of love, such a stock of free grace, so wide, so tender, so large a heart of mercy and compassion toward sinners, that He had to put Himself into such a posture of mercy that would most conveniently allow Him to get a strong pull of sinners to draw them – a large and wide handful, His arms full of sinners.
How? He had to be a man for us, to get all the organs of lovely drawing sinners to Him. He got Himself a human heart to love humans, human bowels to compassionate humans, human hands to touch the leper’s skin, a human mouth and tongue to pray for humans, to preach to humans, and in our nature to publish the everlasting gospel, human legs to be the good shepherd to walk over mountain and wilderness to seek and to save lost sheep; a human soul to sigh and groan for humans; human eyes to weep for sinners.
To lay down His life for His poor friends, He became a created clay-tent of free grace, a shop and a warehouse of compassion towards us. He borrowed the womb of a sinner to be born, He sucked the breasts of a woman who needed a Saviour, He ate and drank with sinners and publicans, He came to seek and to save lost sinners, He was numbered with sinners, He died between two sinners, He made His grave with sinners, He borrowed a sinner’s tomb to be buried in.
And now He keeps up the old relationship with sinners, even now that He is in heaven. Honour has not changed Him, He has not forgotten His old friends. “For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). In heaven Christ cannot now sigh, but He can feel sighing, He cannot weep, but He has a man’s heart to compassionate our weeping, in such a way as is suitable to His glorified condition. The head is in heaven, but He has left His heart in earth with sinners: that Comforter, His Holy Spirit, who He has sent to abide with us.
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