George H. Morrison - Devotional Sermons
His eyes were as a flame of fire--Rev 1:14
When John was an old man he had a vision of the ascended Lord. One thing that instantly struck him in that vision was that His eyes were as a flame of fire. And one likes to think that in that touch there is some sweet and haunting recollection of eyes which he never could forget. Sir Walter Scott tells us that the eyes of Burns were the noblest he ever saw in human head. Anyone who ever saw the eyes of Mr. Gladstone will carry some thought of their splendor to the end. And John could never forget the eyes of Christ, the depth of them, and how they glowed and burned: His eyes were as a flame of fire. Of this there is singular corroboration in the words of the father of the epileptic boy. "Master," he cried, "look upon my son, for he is my only child." The Roman centurion wanted Christ to speak, but all that this father craved for was a look--what a tribute to the power of Christ's looks! It might be profitable to meditate a moment on some of the recorded looks of Christ.
There is, for instance, the look of detection. You have that in the story of the poor ill woman who pushed through the crowd and touched His garment's tassel and immediately found that her flow of blood was staunched. Perceiving that virtue had gone out of Him, the Master asked, "Who touched me?" The disciples ridiculed that question in the thronging and surging of the crowd. And immediately, we read, our Lord looked round to see who had done this thing--and the woman came trembling to His feet. In that look she felt that she was seen. Under that gaze she knew that she was known. She was singled out from all that surging multitude by the penetrating eyes of Jesus. This poor woman felt that instantly, and I believe that everybody feels it who comes into personal contact with the Lord. We have all known people who suggest that look. They seem to see right into us and search us. There is often something strangely disconcerting in the steady gaze of an innocent little child. And when we remember that our Lord was sinless and uncoarsened by any touch of evil, we begin to appreciate why it was that His eyes were as a flame of fire. It was along such avenues that men were led towards the divinity of Jesus. Had they not read in the psalms, "There is not a word in my tongue but lo! O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether"? And then--they met with Jesus, and the Psalm came floating back into their memories, for immediately they felt that they were known.
Then, again, there is the look of anger in the story of the man who had the withered hand. We read that our Lord looked round on them with anger, being grieved at the hardness of their hearts. Our anger is so often sinful that we hesitate to think of Christ as angry. When a husband is angry with his wife he is generally repentant towards nightfall. But the anger of Christ is a pure and holy thing; it is the other side of His burning love for souls, and whenever anyone despises souls His eyes are as a flame of fire. I do not think you ever find Christ angry at the hideous treatment He Himself received. Smitten, you never hear Him crying, "God shall smite thee, thou whited wall." All this He bore in patience and in beauty, as a heavy part of the cross He had to carry--His anger flamed and burned at others' wrongs. Sometimes the deepest anger is the anger that does not say one word. Sometimes in a look is a rebuke more poignant than in the bitterest speech. I don't think anyone ever would forget the look of anger in the eyes of Christ that day. God grant that it never light on us.
And then there is the look of disappointment. We have that in the fall of Simon Peter when the Lord turned and looked on Peter, and Peter went out into the night and wept. There was more than disappointment in that look. There was the tender memory of happier days. There was the love that gripped him in his weakness, and held him, and would not let him go. But it seems to me that what broke the heart of Peter and drove him out into the night to weep was the look of utter disappointment. We speak of the ascended Christ and sing our praise to the triumphant Christ. But do we ever think in quiet, reflective moments on the disappointed Christ? Is there anyone who reads this column on whom the Lord is looking, as He looked on Peter, with a look of utter disappointment? He expected such splendid things of you. He remembers the love of your espousals. He recalls the day of your conversion. He sees you as you bowed in dedication. And now, are you worldly, sensual, dishonest? Have you a name to live and yet are dead? And the Lord turned and looked on Peter, and Peter went out into the night and wept.
And then there is the look of trust, of quiet and perfect confidence in God. For that we turn to the stupendous miracle of the feeding of the hungry thousands. First, our Lord made everyone sit down; then into His hands He took the loaves and fishes. And then--what did He do then?--did He break the bread and give it to the multitude? Not so; He looked up and blessed and brake, and no one ever would forget that scene--the crowd, the solitude, the greenness of the grass; and, in the hush, the Savior looking up. One look round to see that all were seated. One look downward to the sorry loaves. Then, in the great quietness, one look upward, to draw for His need on God's unfailing reservoirs. Do you meet things like that? Do you know the power of that upward look? One look upward, and our Lord was ready for everything that mighty hour demanded.
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