This week's 'thought' comes from one who's writings have had an immense impact on my thinking. He's one of the most brilliant pastors, preachers, or theologians ever to grace the American scene - Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758).
This selection is taken from his sermon, "Safety, Fullness and Sweet Refreshment in Christ." It is found in the book, "Devotions From The Pen Of Jonathan Edwards." I have taken the liberty to update or paraphrase some of the language. Enjoy.
The Excellency of Christ
"For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily."
"Christ Jesus has true excellency, and so great is that excellency that when believers come to see it, they look no further, but the mind rests there.
It sees a transcendent glory and an unspeakable sweetness in Him. It sees that until now it has been pursuing shadows, but that now it has found the substance; that before it had been seeking happiness in the stream, but now it has found the ocean.
The excellency of Christ is an object adequate to the natural yearnings of the soul, and is sufficient to fill it to its capacity. It is an infinite excellency, such as the mind desires, and in which it can find no bounds. The more the mind grasps Christ, the more excellent He appears.
Every new discovery of Christ makes His beauty appear more ravishing, and the mind sees no end to it. Here is room enough for the mind to go deeper and deeper, and never come to the bottom. The soul is exceedingly ravished when it looks upon this beauty, and it never wearies of it. The mind never becomes tired of gazing upon His beauty. Christ's excellency is always fresh and new, and tends as much to delight, after it has seen a thousand or ten thousand years, as when it was seen the first moment.
The excellency of Christ is an object suited to the superior faculties of man, suited to entertain the faculty of reason and understanding. There is nothing more worthy, to which the understanding can be focused, than His excellency. There is no other object so great, noble and exalted."
It's not hard to see that Edwards was consumed with a passion for Christ and His glory. It's also not hard (if you read more of his writings) to see that his words are spoken from the personal experience of having found in Christ all that truly inspires and satisfies the soul. His was a Christ-craving, Christ-adoring, Christ-satisfied soul.
In Christ one finds the source of all that the human soul truly desires -- though so many mistakenly and sinfully pursue that soul-satisfaction in the "shadows" of the earthly things He has created. Trace any earthly "shadow" (any noble or worthy desire, yearning or craving) back to the One who's creative hand has cast that shadow, and you will find its true, better, and eternal substance in Jesus.
Yet, it's only the one who has tasted of the exceeding excellency of Christ through personal experience -- by grace, through faith -- that can testify to the unmatched sweetness of His beauty and glory. For only when He is recognized as the redeeming Lord of heaven and earth, does that illumination sweeten the taste of one's personal discoveries regarding Christ.
The words of theologian John Hannah (which I've shared before) apply well here: "The day you find anything more beautiful than Jesus, is the day you can know you never knew Jesus." Edwards would agree. I trust you do as well. But if not, then remember the invitation of the psalmist: "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (Psalm 34:8).
Just one taste of the soul-satisfying pleasure of intimate union with Jesus and it is near impossible not to be driven to want more. Yet you have to experience it to ever know it.
In the Bonds of Christian Affection, Pastor Jeff