THE HUMAN VIRTUES OF JESUS EXPRESSING THE DIVINE ATTRIBUTES
We need to see that the death of Christ has not only a negative aspect but also a positive aspect. The positive aspect was to release Him as God. That the Lord Jesus was God was concealed for thirty-three and a half years in His flesh, in His human form. In His life on earth of thirty-three and a half years, a great part of His living was the manifestation of His inner divine attributes. What was manifested became His human virtues. Today, the common readers of the Scriptures see only that Jesus was very good and full of virtues. But very few people see what the essence of the virtues of the Lord Jesus is. The essence of the virtues of the Lord Jesus is the divine attributes. The divine attributes refer to what God is. God is light and love, and God is also patience, holiness, and meekness. All that God is, is His attributes. All these attributes are inherent in God’s nature. Then what is God? God is light, love, righteousness, holiness, and patience. When we add all these attributes together, what we have is God. Hence, the law written by God was also written according to His attributes. When the Lord Jesus lived on this earth, He lived a human life, yet what He lived out was not something human but something divine. This means that the divine attributes were lived out of Him to become the virtues of Jesus.
Today, in general, preachers speak only about the virtues of Jesus and do not realize that the virtues of Jesus came out of the intrinsic divine attributes that were in Him. This means that He lived as a man, yet He lived out God. Hence, when He was on the earth, the people around Him, even His followers, such as Peter, James, and John, often asked, “Who is this One?” (Matt. 8:27; 13:53-56; Mark 4:41). They did not know who He was because they did not realize that Christ was God who became a man. Not to mention that today’s Christians do not have this realization; even the disciples who followed the Lord Jesus for three and a half years did not have such a realization. They said, “Who is this One? He is clearly a man; He is someone whom we all know; His mother is Mary, and we also know His brothers.” Furthermore, according to what is recorded in the Scriptures, the outward form of Jesus was not tall and husky, and His appearance was not comely; rather, He looked poor and lowly (Isa. 53:2; 52:14). These days I have enjoyed singing a very shallow hymn, #1060. The first stanza with the chorus says, “Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,/When Thou camest to earth for me;/But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room/For Thy holy nativity:/Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus!/There is room in my heart for Thee;/Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus, come,/There is room in my heart for Thee.” My emphasis is on stanza two: “Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang,/Proclaiming Thy royal degree;/But of lowly birth cam’st Thou, Lord, on earth,/And in great humility.” What I want to stress is the last two lines: “But of lowly birth cam’st Thou, Lord, on earth,/And in great humility.” [Note: In the Chinese version these two lines say: But You came to earth, born of a poor family, without an attractive form,/Grew up in a humble city, and were esteemed by none—Trans.] I really like these two lines; they are superb. The Lord Jesus was just such a man so that no one would ever think that there was something as a treasure in Him or that God was in Him.
Peter, John, James, Mary, and many others saw the virtues of the Lord Jesus. He endured what others could not. Regardless of how others insulted Him, He was still meek toward them. One time He and His disciples passed through a village, but the people of the entire village did not receive them. So James and John said to the Lord, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But the Lord Jesus said, “You do not know of what kind of spirit you are” (Luke 9:54-55). That was a virtue. On another occasion, little children were brought to Jesus so that He might lay His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Allow the little children and do not prevent them from coming to Me” (Matt. 19:13-14). This also was a virtue. Although they saw the virtues of the Lord Jesus, no one realized that these virtues of His were lived out by Him from all the attributes of divinity in Him. Therefore, in this year’s Chinese-speaking conference, the new hymn that I wrote says, “Flesh He became, the first God-man,/His pleasure that I God may be:/In life and nature I’m God’s kind,/Though Godhead’s His exclusively./His attributes my virtues are;/His glorious image shines through me.” This is the kind of person the Lord Jesus was when He was on the earth. God’s attributes became the virtues in Jesus, and God’s glorious image was manifested and lived out in Him.
(The High Peak of the Vision and the Reality of the Body of Christ, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)