Some of the Solitudes of the Lord Jesus
by Inglis Fleming
Blessed indeed is the portion of the believer in that he is to be for ever with the Lord, enjoying with Him all that His love can bestow upon him; He, the Son of God, keeping back nothing which He can share with the objects of His love. But there are brought before us in the Scriptures times and positions in which our Lord was alone, where none shared with Him, where it was His glory to be solitary. And the believer loves that thus it should be, “that in all things He might have the pre-eminence.” Let us consider some of these.
We see Him. . .
SOLITARY IN HIS MANHOOD
He was the “holy thing” born of the Virgin Mary. Adam as created had innocent humanity; as fallen—and we are associated with him in his fall—his was sinful humanity. In Christ we see holy humanity: no taint of sin was in Him. As the Holy Ghost presents Him by Paul, He “knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21); as He presents Him by Peter, He “did no sin” (1 Pet. 2:22); as He presents Him by John, “In Him is no sin” (1 John 3:5).
In Him we reach all perfection, and as we see Him in the manger of Bethlehem or in the house where the Magi offered their gifts, we glorify God and worship before Him. Glorious, unique humanity was His. Truly Man and truly God in one Person, “Made of a woman” yet “God manifest in the flesh”, “Over all God blessed for ever.”
“Image of the Infinite Unseen,
Whose being none can know.”
Prying eyes are forbidden to look too closely into this ark of God, for “No man knoweth the Son but the Father.” He is the subject for our heart’s deepest adoration and not for our mind’s keenest analysis.
“The higher mysteries of Thy fame
The Creature’s grasp transcend.”
It must be so. The finite cannot contain the infinite. It is the creature’s place to bow and worship as he exclaims with Thomas, “My Lord and my God.”
SOLITARY IN HIS LIFE
If we see Him in His pathway, as portrayed in the pages of the Evangelist’s, we view Him alone.
The apostles heard, saw, contemplated, handled Him as in their midst. He companied with them, but it is evident that they understood Him but little. Especially this was so when He spoke of His death; He “went before them; and they were amazed, and as they followed, they were afraid” (Mark 10:32). As yet He could not bring them to the position His love had designed for them. He was pent up and could say, “I have a baptism to be baptized with and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!” (Luke 12:50). He could not declare to them all the deep secrets of His heart until that baptism of death and judgment for us had taken place and His atoning work was done, for, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
Alone in His perfect pathway, He glorified His Father in every stage and step of His journey. But if the will of God were to reach fruition, then the Son who had come to do that will must die. No harvest of glory for the Father could be reaped apart from His death: no union for us with Christ in incarnation was possible.
We look upon Him and wonder at His words and works and ways, our renewed nature delighting in seeing the green track across the arid desert. Its beauty is forced upon us by the absolute contrast with all of ourselves. He could declare, “I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me”; “I do always those things that please Him”; “Nevertheless, not My Will but Thine be done”; “Father, glorify Thy Name”—was His prayer even in view of His hour of deepest woe at the cross of Calvary.
SOLITARY IN ATONEMENT
Here again we see Him alone. None could be with Him there.
“No victim of inferior worth
Could ward the stroke which justice aimed,
For none but He in heaven or earth
Could offer that which justice claimed.”
But who can tell the horrors of that awful hour? No mind of man can penetrate the darkness, or measure the distance, or fathom the depths known by the Son of God when “made sin for us,” and bearing “our sins in His own body on the tree.” He, the holy Son of God, was there the sin-offering, shut up with our judgment and thus forsaken of God. The forsaking by His disciples was borne in meekness; His turning and looking upon Peter, who denied Him in the judgment ball, telling of His heart’s care for them in that hour of severest strain. The brutality of the multitudes of soldiers and civilians had led to His cry, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!” But when abandoned by God in righteousness, then the exceeding bitter cry broke from the sorrowing Sufferer, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” He was alone in atonement that He might not be alone in glory. The judgment storm broke upon Him and He bore its force and fury in solitude.
The Holy One of God had shrunk in His perfection from the drink of the cup. But in His perfection He took it and drained it, that the cup of unmixed blessing might pass to us.
Thus in resurrection He is able to bring us to have “part with” Him in all that is possible for us as His creatures. The will of God which He came to do has been done, and by that will we are set apart to God as worshippers.
Thus in Psalm 22, in which prophetically the agonizing cry is heard from the heart and lips of our Lord Jesus Christ, we find Him saying, when the darkness is past and He is heard from the horns of the unicorn, “I will declare Thy Name unto My brethren: in the midst of the church will I sing praise to Thee.” No longer alone, He is in the midst of an assembly He has won for His Father and for Himself. He ministers down to them in telling into their ears the story of the Father’s love and counsels, and He ministers up as He sings praise in the midst of those He has gained as worshippers for the Father.
ALONE IN WORTHINESS
In Revelation 5 we find Him acclaimed as the Worthy One to open the seven-sealed Book of Judgment. In the vision of the Seer of Patmos we have before us the presentation of a heavenly scene before the pouring out of the judgments of God upon this world.
Heaven and earth are searched for one worthy to take the book, to break the seals and to open the scroll. When all the seeking has been in vain and none can be discovered, then the “Lamb as it had been slain” is seen. He comes and takes the book to open the seals of it. Then it is the choir of the redeemed bursts out in their song of praise, “Thou art worthy, for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” The angels begin a great refrain, and this is caught up by every creature and the volume of praise becomes universal.
Are we not glad, beloved, that thus it shall be and that in that day His glory shall be sounded by every voice, for He alone is worthy.
Bowing in adoration we shall cast our crowns at His pierced feet in that day.