June 02, 2014
From the desk of Dr. A.J. Higgins
In The Midst
In the midst of the congregation
We delight in the truth that when we are gathered together, He is in the midst (Matt 18:20). There are many other Scriptures which speak of occasions when He was in the midst. For example, He was in the midst of the doctors as a boy of twelve (Luke 2); He was amidst the two thieves on the cross (John 19) and stood in the midst in the upper room (John 20). In the book of the Revelation He is in the midst of the churches (Rev 1) and in the midst of the throne (Rev 5). Men placed Him in the midst as though the worst of the three offenders; God has given Him the central place in glory.
But Psalm 22 speaks of His being in the midst as well. In verses 12 and 16, He is in the midst of the Raging Foes. He speaks of the bulls compassing Him, of dogs compassing Him, and the assembly of evil doers enclosing Him. As hunters closing in on their prey, they pressed upon Him at Calvary and He was in their midst. Little imagination is needed to think of Him as well among the soldiers of the high priest, the soldiers of Herod, and the Praetorian Guard. Doubtless in all these instances they surrounded and mocked Him. While Scripture does not use the word “midst”, they would have surrounded Him and abused Him with their words, blasphemy, and fists. Not content with that, they came with relentless fanaticism and continued their insults at Calvary. He was in the midst as they rose, like a raging storm, against Him.
Verse 22 shows Him in the midst of the congregation. Here He is amidst His Redeemed Family. The Spirit of God took up this verse and in Hebrews 2 interprets it for us. Although the Church is not seen in the O.T., the Spirit has full liberty, as author of the Book, to apply and interpret its truths according to His will. His usage in Hebrews 2:12 is: “In the midst of the Church will I sing praise unto Thee.” On resurrection ground, He leads the family of the redeemed from earth in an eternal anthem of praise to God His Father.
A third circle of praise is noted in verses 25-28 when in the midst of the “great congregation”, the Regenerated Families of the earth, He will again ascribe praise to God. As the Lamb in the midst of the throne, He will direct all praise to His Father. Yet, every redeemed heart, whether from the Church, the millennial earth, or the myriads who will fill a new heaven and a new earth, will be bowing before Him: the saints of this age, the seed of Jacob (v 23), and saved of every age. He will be in the midst. And when eternity dawns, the exploits of the great of earth have passed into permanent oblivion, the prizes and pursuits of men have all been shown to be vanity, and all is brought into accord with the character and counsels of God, there will be a Lamb in the midst of the throne. And we shall walk eternally in the light of a living Lamb Who bears in His body mortal wounds!
1. By giving the Lord Jesus the central place at Calvary, what message were men giving to all those that passed by?
2. In what way will 1 Corinthians 15:24-26, “When He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God,” be an act of worship and praise to His Father?