“Here we come to worship, here we come to bow down. Here we come to say that you’re our God. You’re altogether lovely...”
Perhaps you enjoy singing this praise song as I do! What a pleasure to pass along this meditation as we approach the Easter season and renew our worship of The Living Eternal One, The Lovely One, Jesus the Christ. – Austin Pryor
All other greatness has been marred by littleness, all other wisdom has been flawed by folly, all other goodness has been tainted by imperfection; Jesus Christ remains the only Being of whom, without gross flattery, it could be asserted, “He is altogether lovely.”
First of all, this loveliness of Christ consists in His perfect humanity. Am I understood? I do not now mean that He was a perfect human, but that He was perfectly human. In everything but our sins, and our evil natures, He is one with us. He grew in stature and in grace. He labored, and wept, and prayed, and loved. He was tempted in all points as we are — sin apart. Beloved, there is no other who establishes with us such intimacy, who comes so close to these human hearts of ours; no one in the universe of whom we are so little afraid. He enters as simply and naturally into our lives as if He had been reared on the same street. How wholesomely and genuinely human He is! His disciples ask Him foolish questions, and rebuke Him, and venerate and adore Him all in a breath; and He calls them by their first names, and tells them to fear not, and assures them of His love. And in all this He seems to me altogether lovely.
Jesus receives sinners and eats with them — all kinds of sinners. Nicodemus, the moral, religious sinner, and Mary of Magdala, “out of whom went seven devils” — the shocking kind of sinner. He comes into sinful lives as a bright, clear stream enters a stagnant pool. The stream is not afraid of contamination but its sweet energy cleanses the pool.
I remark again, and as connected with this, that His sympathy is altogether lovely. He is always being “touched with compassion.” The multitude without a shepherd, the sorrowing widow of Nain, the little dead child of the ruler, the demoniac of Gadara, the hungry five thousand — what ever suffers touches Jesus. His very wrath against the scribes and Pharisees is but the excess of His sympathy for those who suffer under their hard self-righteousness.
That leads me to remark that His humility was altogether lovely. He, the only one who ever had the choice of how and where He should be born, entered this life as one of the “masses.” What meekness, what lowliness! “I am among you as one that serveth.” He “began to wash His disciples’ feet.” “When He was reviled He reviled not again.” “As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth.” Can you think of Jesus posing and demanding His rights?
But it is in His way with sinners that the supreme loveliness of Christ is most sweetly shown. How gentle He is, yet how faithful; how considerate, how respectful. Nicodemus, candid and sincere, but proud of his position as a master in Israel, and timid lest he should imperil it, “comes to Jesus by night.” Before he departs, Nicodemus has learned his utter ignorance of the first step toward the kingdom, but he has not heard one harsh word, one utterance that can wound his self-respect.
Yea, He is altogether lovely. And now I have left myself no room to speak of His dignity, of His virile manliness, of His perfect courage. There is in Jesus a perfect equipoise of various perfections. All the elements of perfect character are in lovely balance. His gentleness is never weak. His courage is never brutal. My friends, you may study these things for yourself. Follow Him through all the scenes of outrage and insult on the night and morning of His arrest and trial. Behold Him before the high priest, before Pilate, before Herod. See Him browbeaten, bullied, scourged, smitten upon the face spit upon, mocked. How His inherent greatness comes out. Not once does He lose His self-poise, His high dignity.
See, as the yelling mob falls back, the cross, bearing this gentlest, sweetest, bravest, loveliest man, upreared until it falls into the socket in the rock. Hear Him ask the Father to forgive His murderers. Is He not altogether lovely? What does it all mean? “He bore our sins in His own body on the tree.”
I close with a word of personal testimony. This is my beloved, and this is my friend. Will you not accept Him as your Saviour, and beloved and friend?