And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.…
I. These precious words of the blessed Saviour DESCRIBE AN ADVENT, A COMING, AS ACCOMPLISHED. He has come. It is the statement of a past event, an event which has changed the whole current of human history. Its force lay in the great purpose for which it was undertaken. He did not drop into the world. He was not born as animals are. He came. He chose to come. He planned a coming, which He executed. All that philosophy can perceive, or poetry conceive, of grandeur of emprise, of Divine philanthropy, and of glorious endeavour, are in the enterprise of Jesus. Consider what He left in order to endure the incarnation necessary for the accomplishment of His most transcendent undertaking. He came from other heavens that were glorious places, whose population was not lost, where the kingdom of God was established, and where His will was done. No moral darkness and confusion were there. Think of the world to which He came. It is a planet of wonderful adaptabilities, and inhabited by a race of still more wonderful capabilities. As king of the kingdom of God, to Jesus order is of the highest consequence. He is the author of harmony. How disorderly was the world to which He camel Every man and woman and child frantically or persistently struggling to break themselves from the moral law, which is a cord of love, having lost much of what would seem to be a natural sense of the beauty of holiness, gone so far as to give the Dame of virtue to that kind of brute bravery which meets a wild beast in an amphitheatre very much on the beast's own level; a world full of sin, and full of the anguish and degradation of sin, where He could not turn His eyes without beholding a wrong or a sufferer? Above all, He knew that He was coming to His own, and that His own would not receive Him. It was a plunge out of supernal light into the heart of darkness.
II. We are never to forget, as a most charming characteristic of the coming of Jesus, that IT WAS WHOLLY VOLUNTARY. He CAME. He was not brought. He was not compelled to come. No law of justice could have broken His consciousness of holiness and greatness if He had not come.
III. WHY SHOULD HE HAVE COME AT ALL? There was something to save, something precious in His eyes, whatever it may seem in ours. Cold criticism would ask why it was necessary, whether some other expedient might not have been devised; but love is swifter than reason. How could He come to save us? is the question of reason in moments when it is unloving. How could He not come to save us? is the question of rational love.
IV. HIS INCARNATION DID MANY THINGS FOR US WHICH WE DO NOT SEE COULD BE OTHERWISE DONE.
1. It was a manifestation of God: "God was manifest in the flesh." The visible world had so engrossed us that our race was going down into lowermost materialism, so that the Roman type of thought was "earthly," the Grecian "sensual," and the barbarian "devilish." And on one of these types all human thought would have formed itself for ever. But the Son of man came, and, by His words and deeds and spirit, gave such evidence of the existence of a Personal God and a spiritual world that our intellects were saved. We have since had certain centre and blessed attraction. If the Son of man had not come long before the age in which we live, the intellect of the race would have been utterly lost in the deep abyss of atheism, toward which it was rushing.
2. The heart and head have close fellowship. The corruption of the former does much to increase the errors of the latter, and the mistakes of the head aggravate the sorrows of the heart. The Son of God has come to save our hearts, as well as our intellects, by making the interests of God and man identical.
3. Under the atheistic errors of the intellect and the desperation of the heart, how manhood was sinking away! No human being can now estimate how low humanity would have sunk before our times if the Son of man had not come. All sublime and beautiful living is of the inspiration of His history.
4. He died for us that He might save our souls. The saving of our souls is the great object of the coming of the Son of man.
(C. F. Deems, L. L. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And Jesus entered and passed through Jericho.