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Sermon Podcast | Audio | Video : Christian Books : Strange Dark Shadowings.

Quiet Talks About Jesus by S. D. Gordon

Strange Dark Shadowings.

But, too, there is in this vision of glory something very different, so mixed in that it won't come out. There are dark shadows from the first touch upon the canvas. Always there is a bitter, malignant enemy. There is decisive victory, but it comes only after sharp, hard, long-continued fighting. But in the latter parts, that is, in David's time, and intensifying in the later pages, there is something darker yet. Through these lines run forebodings, strange, weird, sad forebodings of evil. There are dark gray threads, inky black threads, that do not harmonize with the pattern being woven. And the weavers notice it, and wonder, and yet are under a strange impulse to weave on without understanding.

Their coming One is to be a king, but there is the distinct consciousness that there would be for Him terrible experiences through which He must pass, and to which He would yield on His way to the throne. The very conception seems to involve a contradiction which puzzles these men who write them down. Like a lower minor strain running through some great piece of music are the few indications of what God foreknew, though He did not foreplan, would happen to Jesus. A sharp line must always be drawn between what God plans and what He knows will happen. The soft sobbing of what God could see ahead runs as a minor sad cadence through the story of His plans.

Sometimes these forebodings are acted out. In the light of the Gospels we can easily see very striking likenesses between the experiences in which keen suffering precedes great victory, of such national leaders as Joseph and David, and the experiences of Jesus. Here is God's plan of atonement by blood, involving suffering, but with no such accompaniments of hatred and cruelty as Jesus went through. Read backward, Jesus' experience on the cross is seen to bear striking resemblances, in part, to this old scheme of atonement; yet only in part: the parts concerning His character and the results; but not the manner of his death, nor the spirit of the actors.

Then there are the few direct specific passages predicting a stormy trip for the king before the haven is reached. There is a vividness of detail in the very language here, that catches us, familiar with after events, as it could not those who first heard. There is the Twenty-second Psalm, with its broken sentences, as though blurted out between heart-breaking sobs; and then the wondrous change, in the latter part, to victory through this terrible experience. And the scanty but vivid lines in the Sixty-ninth Psalm. There is that great throbbing fifty-third of Isaiah, with its beginning back in the close of the fifty-second, and the striking ahead of its key-note in the fiftieth chapter.

Daniel listens with awe deepening ever more as Gabriel tells him that the coming Prince is to be |cut off.| To the returned exiles rebuilding the temple Zechariah acts out a parable in which Jehovah is priced at thirty pieces of silver, the cost of a common slave. And a bit later God speaks of a time when |they shall look upon Me (or Him) whom they have pierced.| And later yet, a still more significant phrase is used, as identifying the divine character of the sufferer, where God speaks of a sword being used |against the man that is My Fellow,| adding, |Strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.| It is God's Fellow -- one on a par with Himself -- against whom the opposition is directed.

Such is the great vision in these Hebrew pages of the plan for the coming One. There is a throne on a high mountain peak bathed in wondrous sublime glory, but the writers are puzzled at a dark valley of the shadow of death through which the king seems to be obliged to pick His way up to the throne.

Jesus is to be God's new Man leading man back on the road into the divine image again, with full mastery of his masterly powers, and through mastery into full dominion again; but the road back seems to be contested, and the new Man gets badly scarred as He fights through and up to victory.

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