Tag Archives: The Excellency of Christ

“The Shepherd of the whole flock is Himself a Lamb” by Jonathan Edwards

“Though Christ is now at the right hand of God, exalted as King of Heaven, and Lord of the Universe, yet as He still is in the human nature, He still excels in humility. Though the man Christ Jesus be the highest of all creatures in heaven, yet He as much excels them all in humility, as He doth in glory and dignity.

And though He now appears in such glorious majesty and dominion in heaven, yet He appears as a lamb in His condescending, mild and sweet treatment of His saints there. For He is a lamb still, even in the midst the throne of His exaltation.

And He that is the Shepherd of the whole flock is Himself a Lamb, and goes before them in heaven as such: ‘For the Lamb, which is in the midst of the throne, shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes,’ (Revelation 7:17).

Though in heaven every knee bows to Him, and though the angels fall down before Him, adoring Him, yet He treats His saints with infinite condescension, mildness and endearment. And in His acts towards the saints on earth, He still appears as a lamb, manifesting exceeding love and tenderness, in His intercession for them, as one that has had experience of affliction and temptation.

He has not forgotten what these things are, nor has He forgotten how to pity those that are subject to them. And He still manifests His lamb-like excellencies in His dealings with His saints on earth in admirable forbearance, love, gentleness, and compassions, instructing, supplying, supporting, and comforting them, often coming to them, and manifesting Himself to them by His Spirit, that He may sup with them, and they with Him, admitting them to sweet communion with Him, enabling them with boldness and confidence to come to Him, and solace their hearts in Him.

And in heaven Christ still appears, as it were with the marks of His wounds upon Him; and so appears as a lamb as it had been slain.”

–Jonathan Edwards, “The Excellency of Christ,” Sermons and Discourses, 1734–1738 (ed. M. X. Lesser and Harry S. Stout; vol. 19; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2001), 19: 581.

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“Though He be a lion, He will only be a lion to your enemies; but He will be a lamb to you” by Jonathan Edwards

“If you are a poor distressed sinner, whose heart is ready to sink for fear that God never will have mercy on you, you need not be afraid to go to Christ, for fear that He is either unable or unwilling to help you.

Here is a strong foundation, and an inexhaustible treasure, to answer the necessities of your poor soul. And here is infinite grace and gentleness to invite and embolden a poor unworthy fearful soul to come.

If Christ accepts of you, you need not fear but that you will be safe; for He is a strong lion for your defense. And if you come, you need not fear but that you shall be accepted; for He is like a lamb to all that come to Him, and receives them with infinite grace and tenderness.

’Tis true He has awful majesty; He is the great God, and is infinitely high above you. But there is this to encourage and embolden the poor sinner: that Christ is man as well as God; He is a creature, as well as the Creator; and He is the most humble and lowly in heart of any creature in heaven or earth. This may well make the poor unworthy creature bold in coming to Him.

You need not hesitate one moment, but may run to Him, and cast yourself upon Him. You will certainly be graciously and meekly received by Him. Though He be a lion, He will only be a lion to your enemies. But He will be a lamb to you.

Any one of you that is a father or mother won’t despise one of your own children that comes to you in distress. Oh how much less danger is there of Christ despising you, if in your heart you come to Him!”

–Jonathan Edwards, “The Excellency of Christ,” in Sermons and Discourses, 1734–1738 (ed. M. X. Lesser and Harry S. Stout; vol. 19; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2001), 19: 583–584. You may read this wonderful sermon in its entirety here.

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“Infinite highness and infinite condescension” by Jonathan Edwards

“There do meet in Jesus Christ infinite highness and infinite condescension. Christ, as He is God, is infinitely great and high above all. He is higher than the kings of the earth, for He is King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is higher than the heavens, and higher than the highest angels of heaven.

So great is He, that all men, all kings and princes, are as worms of the dust before Him; all nations are as the drop of the bucket, and the light dust of the balance; yea, and angels themselves are as nothing before Him.

He is so high, that He is infinitely above any need of us; above our reach, that we cannot be profitable to Him; and above our conceptions, that we cannot comprehend Him. Prov. xxx. 4. ‘What is his name, and what is his Son’s name, if thou canst tell?’

Our understandings, if we stretch them never so far, cannot reach up to His divine glory. Job xi. 8. ‘It is high as heaven, what canst thou do?’ Christ is the Creator and great Possessor of heaven and earth.

He is sovereign Lord of all. He rules over the whole universe, and doth whatsoever pleaseth Him. His knowledge is without bound. His wisdom is perfect, and what none can circumvent. His power is infinite, and none can resist Him. His riches are immense and inexhaustible. His majesty is infinitely awful.

And yet He is one of infinite condescension. None are so low or inferior, but Christ’s condescension is sufficient to take a gracious notice of them.

He condescends not only to the angels, humbling Himself to behold the things that are done in heaven, but He also condescends to such poor creatures as men; and that not only so as to take notice of princes and great men, but of those that are of meanest rank and degree, ‘the poor of the world,’ James ii. 5.

Such as are commonly despised by their fellow-creatures, Christ does not despise. 1 Cor. i. 28. ‘Base things of the world, and things that are despised, hath God chosen.’ Christ condescends to take notice of beggars, Luke xvi. 22. and people of the most despised nations. In Christ Jesus is neither ‘Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free,’ Col. iii. 11.

He that is thus high, condescends to take a gracious notice of little children, Matt. xix. 14. ‘Suffer little children to come unto Me.’ Yea, which is more, His condescension is sufficient to take a gracious notice of the most unworthy, sinful creatures, those that have no good deservings, and those that have infinite ill-deservings.

Yea, so great is His condescension, that it is not only sufficient to take some gracious notice of such as these, but sufficient for every thing that is an act of condescension. His condescension is great enough to become their friend; to become their companion, to unite their souls to Him in spiritual marriage.

It is enough to take their nature upon Him, to become one of them, that He may be one with them. Yea, it is great enough to abase Himself yet lower for them, even to expose Himself to shame and spitting; yea, to yield up Himself to an ignominious death for them.

And what act of condescension can be conceived of greater? Yet such an act as this, has His condescension yielded to, for those that are so low and mean, despicable and unworthy!

Such a conjunction of infinite highness and low condescension, in the same person, is admirable. We see, by manifold instances, what a tendency a high station has in men, to make them to be of a quite contrary disposition.

If one worm be a little exalted above another, by having more dust, or a bigger dunghill, how much does he make of himself! What a distance does he keep from those that are below him! And a little condescension is what he expects should be made much of, and greatly acknowledged.

Christ condescends to wash our feet; but how would great men, (or rather the bigger worms,) account themselves debased by acts of far less condescension!”

–Jonathan Edwards, “The Excellency of Christ,” The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 1. Ed. Edward Hickman (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1834/1998), 1:680-681. The sermon may be read here in its entirety.

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