Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

Beautiful Savior, Lord of All Nations

Fairest Lord Jesus - and most powerful, too.

Be it Thine, I beg, most loving Saviour, to reveal Thyself to us who beseech Thee, so that knowing Thee, we may love Thee only, love Thee alone, desire Thee alone, contemplate Thee alone by day and by night, and ever hold Thee in our thoughts...

  - Columbanus, Sermon XII, Irish, 7th century[1]

You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

  - Psalm 45.2

“Fairest Lord Jesus” ranks high on my list of favorite hymns; but you have to be careful with that hymn, lest the impression you get of Jesus be something less than complete.

As we sing “Fairest Lord Jesus” we doubtless imagine a caring and compassionate face, looking down upon us with great sympathy and love. Those tender eyes. That gentle smile. Those nail-pierced hands extended to receive and comfort us.

And so it is.

But the Jesus of the loving face and ready embrace is only half the story.

For He is also Jesus of the flashing eyes, set jaw, and steely visage – Jesus, the Warrior/King (cf. Rev. 1; 6.1, 2). This is Jesus, under Whose feet every enemy is being trampled (Ps. 110), and the progress of Whose Kingdom not even the gates of hell can withstand (Matt. 16.18).

Read on in Psalm 45, which the writer of Hebrews applies directly to our exalted Savior (Heb. 1.8, 9). See there the other half of our fairest Lord Jesus.

He has a sword strapped on His thigh (Ps. 45.3), the mighty and living Word of God. Sharp arrows are slung over His shoulder (v. 5), and these are the people He deploys for the progress of His Kingdom (cf. Zech. 9.13). He brandishes a fearsome scepter across His lap, the holy and righteous and good Law of God, by which He establishes the upright character of His Kingdom (v. 6).

He rides out in splendor and majesty, conquering and to conquer (v. 4; cf. Rev. 6.2). He is our compassionate Shepherd, to be true, but He is also a powerful Warrior, Who goes forth day by day to increase righteousness, peace, and joy and to advance His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven (v. 4; cf. Is. 9.6, 7; Rom. 14.17, 18).

When you contemplate the Savior Who came as a Babe in a manger, did many good works, taught many profound truths, died in scorn and pain, rose in power, and reigns in compassionate love, bear in mind the words of Milton’s “Ode on the Morning of Christ’s Nativity.” Here the poet, reflecting on Jesus’ birth, considered Christ’s power over demons, false deities, bogus worldviews, and the devil himself, and wrote:

Our Babe to show His Godhead true,
Can in His swaddling bands control the damnèd crew.

The poet Robert Southwell, a generation before Milton, expressed the same idea:

This little babe, so few days old,
Is come to rifle Satan's fold;
All hell doth at his presence quake,
Though he himself for cold do shake,
For in this weak unarméd wise
The gates of hell he will surprise.

This beautiful Savior is also Lord of all nations. He is the King of glory, the Reconciler of the cosmos, King of kings and Lord of lords; and He goes forth daily, conquering and to conquer.

Look Him in the face, and see the glory of the Conquering One (2 Cor. 4.6). Then, settled into His bow, let Him launch you each day to seek and advance, in your own Personal Mission Field, His righteous, peaceable, and joyous reign.

For reflection
1. Why is being an arrow a good way to think about our mission in the world?

2. How should contemplating the beauty of our Lord affect the way we work in our Personal Mission Field?

Psalm 45.1-4 (Manoah: When All Your Mercies, O My God)
O my heart, let now a pleasing theme overflow to praise the Lord;
My song I pledge to You, my King, and dedicate my words.

You of all men are the fairest, Lord, and Your lips are flush with grace;
Thus God has blessed You evermore before His holy face.

Your sword gird on Your thigh, O Lord, in splendid majesty;
Ride out, resplendent in Your Word, to glorious victory.

Show me Your glory, Lord Jesus! Fill me with zeal to follow wherever You lead, and take me with You, conquering and to conquer!

Look into Jesus’ face – today

Why would you not want to do this? Today, and every day? Yes, this requires engaging your mind to imagine things only God can reveal to you. And yes, it means disciplining your heart for a new desire and focus on Jesus. And the will to do it, day after day. Here’s a challenge: Give yourself to this effort for one month, and see if your view of Jesus doesn’t change dramatically. We have two tools to help you in this effort. Glorious Vision: 28 Days in the Throne Room of the Lord is a month-long meditation on Psalm 45, incorporating “Fairest Lord Jesus” throughout. It’s free by clicking here.

Or order a copy of Be Thou My Vision, 28 days of meditations using resources from our Crosfigell archive to draw you closer into the presence of our fairest Lord and glorious King. To order your copy, click right here.

As you pray…
Would you prayerfully consider helping The Fellowship? Take a few minutes today and ask the Lord whether He would have you share with us regarding the financial needs of this ministry. God supplies all our needs, and He does so through friends who share our vision and benefit from our ministry. It’s easy to give to The Fellowship of Ailbe, and all gifts are, of course, tax-deductible. You can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

T. M. Moore, Principal
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All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[1] Walker, p. 115.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT.
Books by T. M. Moore

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