SIR ROBERT ANDERSON
Secret Service Theologian
THE HONOUR OF
Preface and First Chapter.
THE title of this book - a quotation from the sixty-sixth
Psalm - indicates not only its subject, but its aim and purpose.
I have to thank my friend Miss A. R. Habershon for permitting me to use her Concordance of the Lord's names and titles as an Appendix. While Bible students will greatly value this Appendix, I fear it will be neglected by the ordinary reader. And these pages need never have been written were it not that the New Testament is commonly treated in a similar fashion, the Book of the Revelation being regarded as a negligible Appendix to the Gospels and Epistles. But the Patmos visions are divinely given to enable us by faith to behold what the beloved disciple saw when "in the Spirit on the Lord's day."
That some among them had "no knowledge of God," was the reproach the Apostle cast upon the Christians of Corinth. And were he with us today, might he not charge us with having no knowledge of the Lord of glory? For the Christian who accepts the opening vision of the Apocalypse as being a divine revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ as now enthroned in heaven, will need neither warning nor appeal to avoid all irreverent freedom in naming Him - to shun even the appearance of forgetting "the honour of His name." R.A.
A country-house incident-The contrast between primitive and modern practice in naming the Lord-The disciples on the Emmaus road (Luke xxiv.)-The significance of the title Kyrios
A railway-carriage conversation-Irreverent book.titles-The "Jesus" of the Critics and the Christ of God . . 8
Who is a "Christian" 7-Harnack quoted-Who are sons of God I-Paul's sermon at Athens-Meaning of "son" in Scripture-The Sonship of Christ-Meaning of monogenës. 14
The present-day importance of the subject-A Christmas sermon-The Virgin birth-Christianised Rationalism and the "New Theology." 22
The Patristic writings contrasted with Holy Scripture -The divine authorship of the Gospels accounts for the mode in which they name the Lord-Matthew and John contrasted -The Gospels and the Epistles contrasted - vii
The use of the name "Jesus" in Acts -The place and purpose of Acts in the canon - The martyr Stephen's testimony -The Apostles' use of the name 36
The use of the name " Jesus" in the Epistles-Various passages cited and explained - Phil. ii. 10, and 1 Thess. iv. 13, expounded 42
The use of the name "Jesus" in the Revelation - The pas-sages in which it occurs - The dispensational character and purpose of the Book 52
The name "Jesus Christ" in Scripture - The unscriptural use of it by Christians - Prof. Deissmann quoted - The difference between "Jesus Christ" and "Christ Jesus"- The R.V. readings-" What would Jesus do?' - The Lord's teaching in John v. 22, 23-1 Cor. i. 3-9 and 1 Peter iii. 15 cited - a Victoria Institute lecture (foot-note) . . 58
False views about Christ: Renan quoted-" Lead, kindly Light "-Certain hymns criticised-The training of children-"May we never call Him 'Jesus'? "-The purpose of this book-Spiritual instincts-William Carey quoted- "Slovenlymindedness "-The vision of glory of Revelation, chap. i. 10-18 67
"THE HONOUR OF HIS
IN the course of a country-house visit, some years ago, I
was asked for the names of men whom my friends might not only welcome to their
home as guests, but invite to conduct a Sunday evening service in their private
chapel. Great was my surprise at the reception given to the first name I put
before them. It was that of a clergyman who, I supposed, would be a persona
grata in both respects. But my friends informed me that he had already been
their guest; and though they themselves esteemed and liked him, he had given
offence to their young people by beginning to call them by their Christian
names the very first day of his visit. Happening, soon afterwards, to take up a
book recently issued by him, I found that throughout its pages the Lord of
Glory was habitually mentioned by the name of His humiliation. Knowing the man
personally, I felt greatly surprised at his lapse in the social sphere, but
vastly more surprised that in this higher sphere, a Christian so devout, and so
reverent withal, could be betrayed into a habit that would have grieved and
shocked the disciples of early times. I say this advisedly; for in New
Testament days the disciple always declared himself by the manner in which he
named his Master. As we all know, the name of "Jesus" occurs many hundreds of
times in the Gospels; but this fact lends great emphasis to the further fact
that whenever the narrative introduces words spoken by the disciples, whether
addressed to the Lord Himself, or to others about Him, He is invariably named
with a title of reverence.
In all the four Gospels only one exception to this rule can be found; and it is an exception of peculiar import. I refer to the language of the disciples on the Emmaus road, when questioned by the stranger who joined them on their way. "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth" was the manner in which they designated Him.1. "Jesus of Nazareth." The phrase as yet contained no element of contempt. It was intended merely to distinguish Him from other men who bore the not uncommon name of Jesus. But its use by these disciples had a most ominous significance. Not even Peter's denials in the court of Caiaphas gave clearer proof that the stern and terrible tragedy of the Passion had stamped out faith in His Messiahship. "We hoped that it was He who should redeem Israel" was their sad lament. They had hailed Him as the Christ, and had learned to worship Him as the Son of God. But all was over, now. For they had seen Him crucified as a common criminal; and three days had passed "since these things were done." In these liberal-minded days of ours, cultured Jews regard Him as one of the greatest of their Rabbis; and so these disciples still cherished His memory as "a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people." But yet He was no more than man - He was only Jesus of Nazareth! It was not in this fashion that they spoke of Him while He was alive and present with them.
The significance of the narrative becomes intense if we realise that the writer was himself the companion of Cleopas. And if questions of this kind were settled upon grounds of evidence, this would be assumed. Put it this way. Suppose the events recorded in the chapter had involved some violation of Roman law, would not the Evangelist's accurate knowledge of its incidents have been deemed proof of his guilt? The Christian, no doubt, might say with truth that the Divine Spirit could inspire the record, even if the writer had no personal knowledge of the facts. But the Christian recognises also that in this, as in other spheres, God is wont "to make use of means." And in the absence of everything to suggest a different conclusion, we may assume with confidence that the writer was one who "had perfect understanding of the things" of which he wrote.
And this explains a seeming difficulty. We would gladly barter many a page of Holy Writ in exchange for the briefest epitome of the wonderful teaching of the Emmaus road, when, "beginning at Moses and all the prophets, the Lord expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself." And can we suppose that this was "wasted," as men would say, upon two disciples, of whom the one, as we know, was of little note, and the other was, ex hypothesi, so insignificant that not even his name is recorded? But if the second disciple was the Evangelist, the suppression of the name needs no explanation; and what is of vastly greater moment, we can understand the deep import of the narrative. All its wonderful incidents stand out in clear relief as a part of his training for the work he was destined to perform. For was he not divinely chosen, not only to share. with the great Apostle of the Gentiles the authorship of almost half of the New Testament Scriptures, but also to become that Apostle's chief helper and companion in his many-sided ministry?
This digression has been suggested by the mode in which these disciples named their Lord. Members of the royal household do not speak of the Sovereign by his Christian name ; but we all speak in this way of kings who are dead and gone. And if we analyse our thoughts we shall find, perhaps, that when we speak of "Jesus" we are not thinking of our living Lord who hears our words, and before whom we shall soon appear, but of the great Teacher who lived and died nineteen centuries ago.
How far will this account for the extraordinary fact that although in the days of His humiliation Christians never named Him without some title of reverence, yet in this time of His exaltation and glory they do so habitually? It will fully account for it in the case of merely nominal Christians, including the whole tribe of Christianised Rationalists who contribute so largely to our "Christian" literature. But some further explanation must be sought for the fact that among devout Christians a practice prevails which has no Scriptural warrant, and which, I repeat, would have shocked the disciples of New Testament times.
The Rationalists may object, perhaps, that as a Jewish Rabbi was never called by his personal name, and as the Greek word for "Lord" sometimes meant little more than our English "Sir," it was a matter of course that Christ should be called Master and Lord. But no Christian will tolerate the figment that in the mouth of His disciples the use of these titles of reverence expressed merely the conventional courtesy accorded to Him even by unbelieving Jews. That would be indeed a trivial foundation for the teaching which, amid the solemnities of the Last Supper, He based upon them.2 Nor would it account for the words of warm approval with which He commended His disciples for using them.
True it is that, owing to the Jewish superstition which vetoed the use of the sacred name "Jehovah," the Greek language has no distinctive equivalent for our English word "Lord" as a title of deity. But there can be no doubt what Kyrios meant with those who acclaimed Him as "the Christ, the Son of the Living God 3 - a confession which distinguished the disciple from the unbeliever. And as we study the writings of the Apostles we must remember that throughout the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, upon which the language of the New Testament is formed, this same word (Kyrios) is used in every instance as the Greek equivalent of "Jehovah" in the Hebrew Bible.
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