October 24th, 1965 @ 7:30 PM
Dr. W. A. Criswell
10-24-65 7:30 p.m.
On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the evening message entitled The God-Man, Christ Jesus. Turn to the Book of Matthew chapter 8, and we shall read from verses 18 through 27, the First Gospel chapter 8, Matthew chapter 8. And all of us reading out loud, verses 18 through 27. And if your neighbor does not have a Bible share yours with him. And on the radio, open your Bible and read out loud with us, Matthew chapter 8, verses 18 through 27. Now all of us reading together:
Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave commandment to depart unto the other side.
And a certain scribe came, and said unto Him, Master, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest.
And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man hath not where to lay His head.
And another of His disciples said unto Him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
But Jesus said unto him, Follow Me; and let the dead bury their dead.
And when He was entered into a ship, His disciples followed Him.
And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but He was asleep.
And His disciples came to Him, and awoke Him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
And He saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him!
And the thought that lies back of the message tonight is found in the exclamation of these apostles who, when they saw the very elements, furious and beating, when they saw the very elements calm in the presence of the Son of God, they marveled saying, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him!”
Now, God help me as I try to lead us, my own soul and spirit, into a contemplation of our Lord in the days of His flesh, as though we had looked upon Him, could have followed Him through all the course of His life. What kind of a man was He? And what kind of an impression would He have made upon us? And how would we have felt had we seen Him, and talked to Him, and witnessed the glory of His majesty?
First of all: as we looked at Him and followed Him, He would have been in stature and in presence another man, a man, very much so, very much so, with all the habits of life that we have. For example, here in the ship He is fast asleep [Matthew 8:24]. A man made out of flesh and blood, just as we are, in all points tried as we are and here [Hebrews 4:15], fast asleep. On the road through Samaria, He was wearied by the journey and sat thus on the curb that surrounded the well [John 4:6]. In the wilderness He was an hungered [Matthew 4:2].
In all ways, in His manner, in His life, in every way, He was one of us, and when we looked on Him He would have been another man. He was a poor man. He was born a child of want and poverty, and He labored out of necessity. He was not of the luxurious and the affluent who were at ease in Herod’s palace. He was born in the humblest of homes. And of the thirty-three years of His life He labored with His hands. He was a carpenter [Mark 6:3]. He made things. He worked, and in all of His life as a workman, He was poor. And when He became a teacher, an itinerant, peripatetic teacher, those who followed after Him ministered unto Him [Mark 15:41]. They brought Him food to eat without which He would have had nothing to eat, and they gave unto His necessities.
And when He died He was crucified naked, and there is nothing in any tradition, or least of all in the Word of God, that when those who looked upon Him looked upon any other one than another man. He died like any other man would have died; when they pressed on His brow the crown of thorns blood flowed down His face; when they drove great nails through hands and feet blood poured out [Matthew 27:29-35], and when they thrust that Roman spear into His side it opened a fountain of crimson [John 19:34]; a man.
And all through His life, had we followed Him from the day He was born until He was crucified on the cross, we would have followed a man. But there was something other and over and beyond and beside, “And they marveled, saying, But what manner of man is this?” [Matthew 8:27].
Now as we follow our Lord, let us look at Him. The first thing in their astonishment here; there is something about Him that is miraculous, that is marvelous. Why, the very elements of the world, in high places and in low places, seen and unseen, material, immaterial, spiritual and physical, the very forces of the world are subject to Him. He seems to hold them in the palm of His hand!
And His disciples came and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, we are dying. The waves are overwhelming our ship, and we are perishing.” And He arose and rebuked the fury of the wind and the storm and the sea, and there was a great calm; just did it, just spake the word [Matthew 8:24-26]. And His whole life was like that. Without effort, not toiling, not grasping, not reaching, not extending Himself, just speak the word and the whole elements of fury lay down like a quiet animal. And it all was that way. The diseased, brought to Him, laid at His feet, He healed them just by speaking [John 5:8]. And these that were tormented by the investiture of spirits from evil and darkness, they were saved and well again [Mark 5:15].
That’s no man, a man couldn’t do that. The world in the palm of His hand, with the same ease by which He flung the planets out into space [Amos 5:8], all of these marvelous things, just doing them. “What manner of man is this!” [Matthew 8:27]. And as you followed Him around, and as you walked with Him, and as you listened to Him talk, there are things that He says that were they said by any other man would be, ah, most unbecoming, if not blasphemous. But when they fall from His gracious lips, they seem so right, so belonging.
For example, in the eleventh chapter of this First Gospel, and the twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth verses, listen to His words: “Come unto Me, come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” [Matthew 11:28]. How precious! But look, but look, “Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” [Matthew 11:29-30]. Upon the lips of any other man in the earth, they would not be becoming, they would not be seemly, “For I am meek and lowly in heart.” Yet when the Master says it, it is not only becoming, it is not only seemly, it is not only correct and right, but it is moving, it is touching. It does something to your soul just to listen to the words.
I heard the voice of Jesus saying,
“Come unto Me and rest;
Lay down thou weary one,
Lay down Thy head upon My breast.
I came to Jesus as I was,
Weary, and worn, and sad;
I found in Him a resting place,
And He hath made me glad.
[“I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say,” Horatius Boner]
Why, dear people, there is not a philosopher, there is not a poet, there is not a sage, there is not a seer, there is not an apostle, there is not a prophet, there is not a teacher who ever lived who said things so sweetly humble. And yet in Him there is no egotism, there is no boasting, there is no self-glory. It just fits. And everything else He says is just like that. It is no different. For example, He has just said, “For I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” [Mark 11:29]. Now, look, turn around:
My sheep hear My voice …
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone pluck them out of My hand.
My Father, who gave them Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to pluck them out of M Father’s hand.
For I and My Father God are one.
Who? How sayest thou, Show us the Father, and it will sufficeth us?
Have you been so long time with Me, and yet dost thou not know Me?
For I and My Father are one. He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father.
Oh, words, words that identify Him with God, Jehovah God! A Man speaks, and yet when I read them, I am not offended. I feel this is truth. This is the Word. This is God’s message for my soul. Listen to Him. Listen to Him.
Or, as He will break bread and say, “This is My body” [Matthew 26:26]. Or again, “This is My blood shed for the remission of sins” [Matthew 26:28] . . . and “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man, except you drink the blood of the Son of Man, you have no life in you” [John 6:53]. O, what garish things, what impossible things, what carnivorous things, what cannibalistic things, what terrible things if a man were to say that. But when the Lord holds the bread in His hands and blesses it [Matthew 26:26], and if I could have received from His own blessed hands, and when the Lord blesses the cup and they all drink of it [Matthew 26:27]; O, when I drink of it, I don’t feel it is blasphemous. I feel this is God’s atonement for my sins. “What manner of man is this!” [Matthew 8:27].
But, dear people, we have just begun. You look at this. You look at this. Now watch this carefully; this is an astonishing, a phenomenal, an amazing thing; now look at it. “And it came to pass as He passed by the sea; He saw two boats there fishing in the lake. And He entered into one of them, Simon’s, later called Cephas, a stone, petros, Peter, Simon. And He said to him after He delivered His message, He said, “Cast out, launch out into the deep and let down your nets, and you will catch.” And Simon, who had spent all his life fishing, Simon said, “Master, oh no, Lord. It is no use. It does not reward. Master, we have toiled all night long, all night long, and we’ve caught nothing. Nevertheless, Lord, at Thy word I will let down the net.” And it came to pass, when he let down the net, he enclosed a multitude of fishes, so much so that the nets began to tear apart. And they beckoned at their partners, and both ships lent their hands and brought in that tremendous catch [Luke 5:1-7]. Now, and when Simon Peter saw it, when that old rugged, rough fisherman saw it, when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees and said, “Lord, depart from me, I am a sinful man, O Lord” [Luke 5:8].
Why, sweet friends, there wasn’t anything said about sin, wasn’t mentioned, wasn’t discussed, wasn’t approached, wasn’t referred to, wasn’t hinted at. There is not anything in there about sin. And yet, in the presence of the glory of the Son of God, without any word, without any discussion, when Simon Peter saw it he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Lord, leave me, depart from me, I am a sinful man, O Lord” [Luke 5:8]. Isn’t that an amazing thing? In the presence, in the presence of this Man, you feel like you need forgiveness, like you need help from heaven, like you need to get right. You just felt that way in the presence of the Son of God. It just was. It was something that came into your soul.
It is an identical thing as you read in the sixth chapter of Isaiah when He saw the Lord, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple [Isaiah 6:1]. And above the throne on which He sat were the seraphim: and with twain of their wings they covered their face, and with twain of their wings they covered their feet, and with twain they lifted themselves from the earth. And they cried Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God of hosts: the earth is filled with His glory [Isaiah 6:2-3]. And when Isaiah looked upon it, he said, “Woe is me! Woe is me! For I am undone; I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell among a people of unclean lips, for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts” [Isaiah 6:5].
Nothing had been said to Isaiah about sin, or uncleanness, or iniquity, or transgression. He just felt that way, being a sinner man, as he looked on the glory of God [Isaiah 6:5]. That’s what this is, an identical thing; in the presence of Jesus, Lord, Lord, my life, my heart, stained with sin [Luke 5:8].
That’s what the centurion here said to the Lord when he asked Him to heal his servant, and the Lord said, “Why, I will come.” And the centurion said, “Lord, not so, not so. I am not worthy that Thou shouldest come unto my house” [Matthew 8:5-8]. Isn’t that amazing? Or as the rich young ruler, out into the road running, as Jesus passed by through Perea, and knelt at His feet, and said, “didaskalē agathē, that I might have eternal life” [Mark 10:17] kneeling at His feet.
Did you ever notice this? In the twenty-third chapter, when the Lord died, nailed to a cross [Luke 23:26-44], “And all the people that came together to that sight, beholding the things which were done, smote their breasts, and returned” [Luke 23:48]. There was just something about this God-Man that when we stood in His presence, we felt, Lord, unworthy, unworthy. And down on our knees, and in the dust of the ground, and on our faces do we lie, unworthy, Lord, unworthy. Isn’t that an amazing thing?
You listen to me. Whenever a man boasts of his goodness, he hasn’t been close to Jesus, because when you draw nigh to the Lord, oh, that sense of unworthiness overwhelms you. “Lord, I am a sinner man, a sinner man, and I do not deserve to stand in Your presence” [Luke 5:8].
What manner of man is this, the God-Man? [Matthew 8:27]. Look once again. To look upon Him, ah, what conviction, a faith, the gift of His gracious hands and the words of salvation that fall from His lips. Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, Didymus, wasn’t with them when Jesus came. Other disciples said to him, “Thomas, we have seen the Lord.” We have seen the Lord. Thomas said, “Why, why, He is dead and buried! And I wouldn’t believe that. I wouldn’t believe that until I put my hands in the print of the nails and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side. I wouldn’t believe that. Dead men don’t rise” [John 20:25].
And the next Sunday night, when the disciples were together, Thomas was with them, and Jesus in the midst, just suddenly in the midst, standing there, said, “Shalom, Peace” [John 20:26]. Then He turned to Thomas. Oh, oh, I can just see Thomas, as he burns with shame and repentance and contrition in his soul, and the Lord turns to Thomas and repeats the very words Thomas said. The Lord was there, listening, heard everything Thomas had said, and repeats his own words of unbelief and rejection and disavowal, says to him, “Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing” [John 20:27].
Now look, dear people, Jesus is not the only one that has been raised from the dead. I mean glorified, resurrected. Matthew, in the twenty-seventh chapter plainly states that when the Lord Jesus was resurrected, when the Holy Spirit raised Him from the dead, there were also other saints, the firstfruits, a harbinger, an earnest, a promise, a type, a picture of the day when God shall raise us from the dead. There were other saints who were raised from the dead after His resurrection; Christ and those firstfruits, those first saints, and they appeared to those holy disciples in Jerusalem [Matthew 27:52-53]. Isn’t that right?
But did you ever read, but did you ever read in the Bible that when these others who were resurrected, glorified, raised from the dead, these firstfruits, that when they appeared to those in Jerusalem, that they said to them, “Look, raised, resurrected, my Lord and my God.” Did you read that in the Bible? Never! Never, ever! But you wait. Here is this God-Man Christ Jesus, raised from the dead, and the tokens of His own personality, His own identity, this is Jesus, and He bears in His hands the scars of the nails, and He bears in His side the wound of the spear, and He says to Thomas, “Thomas, behold My hands that it is I and My side that it is none other [John 20:27]. And Thomas answers and says, “My, my Lord and my, my God” [John 20:28].
I repeat, there were others raised, there were others glorified at this time who were seen by the saints in Jerusalem [Matthew 27:52-53], but not as Thomas bowed before this God Man and cried the great avowal of faith, and salvation, and commitment, and trust, and wonder and awe and worship, “My, my Lord and my, my God” [John 20:28].
That formally concludes the glorious testimony of John, with a beatitude for us. “Thomas, Thomas,” said Jesus, “because thou hast seen, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” [John 20:29]. “Many other things, many other sēmeion, many other signs did Jesus in the presence of the disciples which are not written in this book: But these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life in His name” [John 20:30-31].
And that’s the testimony of this preacher tonight, and that believing, and that trusting, and that coming, and that receiving you might have life in His name [Romans 10:9-10].
And while the Spirit of Jesus presses to your heart this holy appeal, come tonight. “Pastor, this evening, this service, this hour, I trust Jesus as my Savior. I bow in His presence, my Lord, my God, the Savior, Christ Jesus” [Romans 10:9-10]. In this balcony round, you, on this lower floor, you, down one of these stairways, into the aisle and to the front, “Here I come, pastor, here I am.” On the first note of this first stanza, “I make it tonight. God, forgive me my sins [Ephesians 1:7; 1 John 1:7, 9]. God, write my name in the Lamb’s Book of Life [Revelation 20:12, 15, 21:27]; the Holy Spirit come into my soul [Romans 8:16]. The Lord keep me and save me forever, and I trust Him for it, and here I am, here I come” [2 Timothy 1:12]. A couple to put their lives in the church, a family, a child, a youth, as the Spirit of Jesus shall whisper the word to your soul, make it tonight. When we stand up in a moment to sing, when you stand up, stand coming. May the first step be into that aisle and down here to the front, and the moment you move for God, that moment God does something for your soul. Choose the Lord [Acts 16:30-31], trust the Lord [John 3:16], love the Lord, follow the Lord, let God live in your soul. Do it tonight, make it now, make it tonight, this moment, do it, and come, while we stand and while we sing.
THE GOD MAN
Dr. W. A. Criswell
10-24-65I. A Man
A. He slept, ate, hungered for food (Matthew 4:2, 8:24, John 4:6)
B. Jesus lived the life of a common, poor man
C. He died and bled like any other man
D. Yet there was something other and over about Him (Matthew 8:27)II. The something more
A. The ease with which He commanded the forces of the universe (Matthew 8:26-27)
B. The astonishing words of self-description (Matthew 11:28-30, 26:26-30, John 6:53, 10:27-30, 11:25-26, 14:8-9)
C. Self-conviction in His presence (Luke 5:1-11, Isaiah 6:1-8, Matthew 8:5-13, Mark 10:17, Luke 23:48)III. The self-commitment of faith (John 20:24-29)
A. Resurrection of the saints (Matthew 27:52-53)
1. But only the resurrected Jesus identified as the Lord (John 20:28)